WE KNOW WHAT YOU WANT
In the 1980s, I wrote three Star Trek novels that were then published by a small publisher called Ruff & Ready Press. For two of the three, I created several original Vulcan characters as crewmen of the starship Enterprise. My premise was that the entire former science department of the ship had been killed off in a tragic accident, and that Starfleet wisely decided to replace it with the best scientists in the Federation: Vulcans. I went on to write numerous stories using my invented characters.
One of my new Vulcans, in particular, was more sensitive, inquisitive, and open-minded than most: Spencek. He actually married a human crewwoman, Lisa Hollister, who started out by being the most uneasy around the new Vulcans, but who gradually allowed her own great sensitivity to bridge the gap, and learned to accept these aliens better than most of the other humans among the crew, who saw Vulcan aloofness as an unbreachable barrier against genuine friendship between the two species.
Here then, without further ado, is one of those stories.
McCoy was glad that they had returned to the Shore Leave Planet, where android duplicates of anyone one cared to envision would be provided. He knew whom he was going to envision. As he hurried away from the others in the landing party, he was almost giddy with excitement.
Standing in the quiet little clearing by himself, he wished and dreamed, and then there they were. Android images of Spock, Sarek, Spencek, Spornak, and Spivak surrounded him. McCoy looked all around himself quickly at their Vulcan circle, watching them all attentively, pretending fear, and then not quite totally pretending. He shuddered almost for real as they came closer to him from every direction. They extended the drama fully, as he’d hoped. From behind, Spencek planted an iron grip onto McCoy’s upper arms. His wrists were gripped firmly by Spivak on his left and Spornak on his right. From the front, Sarek’s powerful hand immobilized the human’s chin. From beside Sarek, Spock advanced his hand to the back of McCoy’s neck, where his middle finger found the tal-shaya spot. As programmed, the Vulcan-androids ignored the tears he had no trouble coaxing. Just as McCoy squeaked in terror, Spock’s hand transferred to the human’s shoulder, and paused just long enough to let the human scream. Then he pinched. McCoy blacked out and dropped. The androids departed.
Standing on top of the nearby rise, First Officer Spock, and crewmembers Spencek, Spornak, and Spivak watched the curious display, unbeknownst to the now unconscious doctor. They contemplated the meaning of the scene. They knew that the allure of this place was wish fulfillment. They knew that the desires expressed here by their human shipmates were very dear to the individuals living them. And they knew that they liked to tease McCoy.
In unspoken agreement, they decided that they had a surprise for the human doctor, upon later return to the vessel.
The Vulcans entered the lab, and McCoy looked up. They studied him with their cold brown eyes.
“Uh…, what…?” the human requested self-consciously.
Without reply, Spencek progressed behind him, Spivak maneuvered to his left, Spornak proceeded to his right, and Spock advanced from in front of him.
McCoy’s head twisted frantically from one to another of them. “What?? No!!” His eyes fixed on Spock. “How did you know?!”
Four Vulcan hands reached for him.
“No!! Did you probe my mind?! Is that how…?!”
The hands almost touched him.
“No!!!” McCoy panicked and dropped to sit on the floor, leaning forward on propped hands. “No, god no!!! Ohhhhh…!!!” His elbows buckled, he sank face-forward, and passed out, untouched.
The Vulcans observed the still form in perplexity.
Spencek stated curiously, “He went ahead to the finale. He did not wait for the pinch.”
McCoy awoke, panicked and panting, to see four Vulcans standing over him.
Spock spoke. “I do not understand why you fainted.”
McCoy gasped, “You frightened me!”
“We gave you what you wanted,” Spock contradicted.
“You made my worse fears come true!” McCoy insisted.
“And your greatest desires, apparently,” Spock countered.
McCoy admitted, “They can be one and the same.”
“That, of course, is illogical. On the planet, we saw that you created your own Vulcans to do these things to you; yet you do not want the real ones to please you.”
“Don’t you understand; I was in control of the androids; they were created from my own mind!”
“Oh, I see. You are afraid that, with us, things might… ‘get out of hand’ as you humans say?”
“But don’t you see, Leonard, that you are safer with us. Those ‘things’ do not know you, and do not care for you.”
“You’re saying that you care for me?!” McCoy was incredulous.
Spock responded ruefully, “Of course. We are shipmates, are we not? And we are friends. And I assure you, we would only do what we saw you fantasize about, no more. We were simply indulging you.”
McCoy was humbled. “Well, thanks. But there’s another reason why your actions upset me: I’m also ashamed of myself, that you saw my fantasy, I mean. I’m embarrassed.”
“You do not want us to know about human sado-masochism impulses. But we were already aware of the phenomenon.”
“No, I just didn’t want you to know that I had it.”
McCoy made a weak attempt to explain. “Emotions are complex.”
“That I know.”
McCoy ignored the faint Vulcan sarcasm. “Fear for instance. It feels bad, mostly, but it can still be fun, exciting, exhilarating, thrilling.”
Spock tilted a quizzical brow.
“I have an idea!” McCoy was suddenly inspired. “If you are curious, if you really want to understand, why don’t you mind probe me, right now, and experience the traces of those contradictory feelings directly!”
Spock considered. “The idea has merit. However, I can recommend an even better way. A way in which I would be able to read more than just residual traces of your feelings. Allow the other three to frighten you with a threatened nerve pinch while I maintain a mind meld with you. In this way, I will be able to experience the full intensity of your emotions.”
“Uh….” McCoy’s eyes darted uneasily at the other three Vulcans. “They won’t do it for real, will they? They’ll just threaten?”
Spock tilted an admonishing brow at him. “Now if I were to reassure you on that point, Doctor, you would not experience the intense reaction that I am trying to share.”
McCoy sagged. “Uh, no. I guess not.”
“Besides, I repeat, you permitted the androids to pinch you. And that was far riskier.”
McCoy nodded shy, wordless consent.
Spornak and Spivak seized and restrained him from each side, and Spencek stood in front of him and reached slowly for a shoulder. The three curiously watched as the doctor’s wide blue eyes darted frantically among them. From behind the human, Spock put out a hand and joined McCoy’s mind.
The human tried not to react to Spock’s presence inside his head, and after all, the Vulcan was doing his best to remain unobtrusive. McCoy’s vision centered on Spencek; his eyes flitted frantically back and forth between the cool brown eyes and the palely green approaching hand. McCoy’s throat constricted in fright, and chills fled up and down his spine. He issued a muffled cry.
“Fascinating.” Spock commented. “I do feel your fear. You do indeed dread it and desire it all at the same time.”
The experiment concluded, all of the Vulcans released McCoy. Suddenly overcome with weakness, the human leaned on Spock.
“Most interesting,” Spock observed as he supported the human. “Your fear-thrill, as your mind called it, was quite intriguing.” He took McCoy’s face firmly in his hand and forced the blue eyes to meet the brown. “And now I offer you once again: if you like, the four of us will reenact what we saw you desire on the planet.”
McCoy shivered, shuddered, trembled, whimpered, winced, cringed…, and accepted.
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