‘Tis Charity to Show
Rand couldn’t believe what she was hearing! She just about had it with Mr. Spock; he had walked out on her when she and the others needed his assistance during Dr. Begay’s bizarre attack, and now he had the unmitigated gall to call a meeting at an hour when everyone was winding down.
“Spock, why the hell are we running around this tree again?! I thought this was all settled! Why are we having another night search?! And further off the settlement grounds, to boot?! At least, if we’re going further out, we should wait ‘till morning—not that we’ll find anything—but what the hell?!”
“Is it not logical to go beyond the encampment if evidence fails to materialize within its confines?”
“Mr. Spock, if we couldn’t find anything in these quadrants, then it’s safe to say we won’t find anything outside of them!”
“Yeoman, it is not up to you as to how this search is to be conducted. This mutinous behavior of yours is most disturbing…”
“Mutinous behavior?! It is being mutinous to point out that nothing’s been found to give us even a hint of the whereabouts of Dr. Ellis’ expedition party?! Why would you have us search the outskirts, at this hour I might add, when everything on this site is exactly how they left it? Tools, excavation, paperwork—everything in its place?! I can tell you right now they never left this encampment, they couldn’t have! That’s the only thing we can be sure of, even after you had us search this goddamn site twice, Mr. Spock! Twice! Nothing’s been found!”
Spock stood glaring at Rand, but she pressed on undeterred.
“I gave you the logs, which had nothing more but a manic woman complaining about her eczema before the recording was cut off completely! All communication to the ship is gone—which you won’t address! I say that we should try to get back to the ship and declare this mission unsuccessful!”
Murmurs from the other crewmembers ran like a chorus behind her; Rand had become their voice, and by the pointed glare that was emanating from Spock, it was patently clear that he resented it.
When Spock spoke, every word was drawn out, every syllable stressed, his vocal pitch dangerously low.
“We are to prepare for this search. I would strongly advise that all of you retrieve your equipment. Now.”
“Rand is right! Why can’t we do this in the morning! We’re all very tired, Spock,” Riley whined.
Standing next to Riley was Dr. Begay, silent, solemn, still quite shaken from his psychotic episode from earlier this evening, but nodding in agreement with the others. Riley continued.
“It doesn’t make any sense! You’ve been acting like a slave driver, making us go over areas we’ve gone over before with no results! And now we have to search the outskirts now?! Captain Kirk would never treat us like this! That’s for damn sure!”
More murmurs of agreement. Mr. Spock’s jaw clenched, his nostrils flared like a predator smelling blood, and his eyes hardened for a moment before they returned to their familiar emotionless calm. When the first officer spoke again, he did so in a level tone while he scanned the faces of each individual officer, making it a point to meet their eyes.
“I’m afraid that this type of behavior is all too typical of terrans, who, as you’d say, ‘can’t make the cut when the going gets tough.’ “
He crossed his arms, his brows knitted. Spock’s voice was of a much lower pitch now; it carried a simmering rage he contained with enough deftness to be under wraps, but yet still audible.
“You will obey my orders, for that, I am certain. If any one of you see fit to go against me, then you will be looking at a possible court-marshal. That is your choice.”
His brow raised, Spock unfolded his arms and left the room. The rest of the landing party looked at each other, eyes wide, their bodies jittery.
“Can he do that?! Can he court-marshal us, even if we have legitimate questions about his command?!” asked Rand in a hushed panic.
“Look, I don’t know and I’m not willing to test Mr. Spock on this! Can we just do what he ‘commands’ of us and get it over with? Let’s just get this done,” said Dr. Begay, disgusted.
The crewmembers left their spots, exhausted and beaten, to get ready for the search.