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Star Trek: The Original Series: Constellations Anthology Kindle Edition
About the Author
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
First, Do No Harm
Dayton Ward & Kevin Dilmore
Blood was everywhere.
Revati Jendra knelt before the young male's motionless form, fighting to bring her breathing back under control after the harried sprint from her clinic to the village's small ironworks. Coughing as she inhaled some of the building's sooty, metallic-tasting air, she pried open the injured adolescent's eyes to see that his large, black pupils remained sensitive even to the dim, orange-hued light within the metal shop. That was a good sign, at least a somewhat better sign than the pale pink blood staining his chalk-white hair and widening into a disturbingly large pool where his head rested on the bare, dirty floor of the shop.
"He just fell, Beloren," said a voice from the crowd, addressing her, as nearly all of the villagers did, by the Grennai term for "healer." It was a name to which she'd grown accustomed during the year or so she had lived and worked among them. "He started shaking and then just let go of the ladder."
A growing crowd of concerned friends and co-workers -- all of them, Jendra thought, appearing too young to be working in such a place -- began to encircle her as she lowered her ear to the injured male's lips, listening and feeling for even the faintest breath.
If only they weren't hovering over me, this could go so much more damned quickly.
Spasms abruptly wracked the young man's body, and Jendra reached down to support his head with one hand while rolling him to one side in case he started to vomit. "I need help to move him," she called out to no one in particular as he continued to tremble. "We have to take him to the white home right away." Though possessing only rudimentary facilities, the Grennai hospital and its staff would probably be able to see this young man through most of his injuries. As his seizure started to fade, however, Jendra began to suspect that the man's fall had been no mere accident.
In a practiced move, she reached into the pocket of her frayed, homespun overcoat and retrieved a small, light-colored cloth. Hoping her actions appeared to the onlookers as trying to staunch the flow of blood from her patient's wound, Jendra activated the small Starfleet medical scanner concealed within the cloth. Pressing it against the dark skin of the man's head and watching as it turned pink with his blood, she manipulated the hidden, silenced device in order to determine the extent of his injuries. While his neck and spine were undamaged, the scan had detected a small tumor within the man's brain, and Jendra recognized it as the likely culprit behind the man's seizures.
"Step aside," said a strong, deep voice, that of Crimar, the ironworks supervisor. Jendra looked up to see the burly Grennai and one of his workers carrying a makeshift stretcher. Sweat matted their stark white hair to their heads and soot stained their rough, woven clothing. "We will carry him, Beloren."
"Just a moment, Crimar," she said as she searched through her worn, leather medicine satchel. While she knew the bag did not contain what she needed to eliminate the tumor, which under Grennai medical standards would be undetectable and eventually fatal, Jendra was sure she could cure the young man given a little time and privacy. Unable to administer a hypospray in the midst of the onlookers, Jendra opted for an oral dose of trianoline. She slipped the small strip into his mouth, where it dissolved instantly on contact with his tongue. Within moments, the medication would begin to relieve some of the trauma the fall had inflicted upon his brain.
After taking an additional few moments to wrap the man's head in a thick bandage, Jendra pointed to one of the workers and had him kneel next to her. She handed him another wad of cloth, instructing him to hold it against the victim's wound.
"Keep pressing here until you get to the beloren at the white home," Jendra ordered as she rose and waved to Crimar. "Take him now. I'll follow after you." She stepped back, allowing the supervisor to direct two workers to load their comrade onto the stretcher.
After directing the rest of the workforce to return to their respective tasks, Crimar turned to Jendra. "Thank you for coming so quickly, Beloren," he said. Though normally she found his accent as he spoke in his native language to be fluid and almost musical, on this occasion his tone was flat and emotionless. "But he has lost much blood. Surely he will die?"
"Not if I can help it," Jendra replied, the resolve in her voice abruptly shattered beneath the force of a ragged cough that hunched her aging, slender form. Seeing the look of concern in Crimar's wide eyes, she offered a weak smile as she wiped her mouth. "I'm fine, my friend. It's merely the soot in here. Maybe you could tidy up for me the next time I pay a visit?"
A wide smile creased Crimar's dark features. "I hope that is not for some time, Beloren."
Jendra patted his shoulder as she suppressed what would have been another coughing fit, then gathered her meager medical bag and headed for her home. As she walked down the village's main thoroughfare with its dual row of one- and two-story wooden frame buildings, she hoped she would not have any patients awaiting her return. Still, she knew that as the villagers became more accustomed to her presence, they would come in a steady stream even for the most minor of ailments. That seemed to be the way of the Grennai as she moved from settlement to settlement, this one her fifth since her return to this planet more than a year earlier.
While her personal mission of medical duty on this decidedly primitive world -- catalogued in Starfleet databases only as NGC 667 -- had not gone precisely as she originally planned, Jendra managed to allow herself some small measure of satisfaction in her accomplishments this afternoon as well as what she would do for her latest patient at the first opportunity. Thanks to her, with an admitted assist from her borrowed Starfleet-issue medical equipment, one young man's life would change for the better.
The least I can do for these kind people, and we should be doing a damn sight more.
Hoping to catch a little rest before following up with her patient, Jendra opened the door to the clinic that doubled as her home. Moving shadows in the hallway leading to her examination room caught her by surprise, though, and she stopped. Hushed voices -- she could not make out any words -- carried from the far room.
Making her way down the hall, minding her steps so as not to clatter her hard-soled shoes against the wooden floor, Jendra peered into the exam room and saw three cloaked figures searching through her belongings. They seemed to know exactly what they were looking for and were gathering specific items atop her worktable: two Starfleet medical tricorders, a communicator, assorted surgical instruments, a hypospray kit, and other equipment that was at extreme odds with the room's comparably primitive trappings.
Her temper flaring at the violation, Jendra burst into the room, hoping to catch the intruders off guard. "Just what the hell do you think you're doing here?" she shouted.
Three Grennai males looked up at her with matching expressions of alarm, though none of them moved from where they stood. Instead, one of the men regarded her, his features changing from shock to what Jendra read as annoyance. In a firm voice, he said, "I've been waiting to ask you exactly the same question, Dr. Jendra."
The words were in Federation Standard, rather than the language native to Grennai in this region. Jendra's jaw dropped as she fumbled for her own response. She remained silent as one of the other men stepped forward, his hand reaching up to move his hood back from his head, and Jendra was startled to realize that she recognized his face.
"Revati, we need to talk."
Despite the darkened skin, white hair, and obviously prosthetic ears, there was no mistaking the voice of Dr. Leonard McCoy.
McCoy watched as Revati Jendra -- cosmetically altered just as he was to resemble the indigenous Grennai -- regarded him with an expression first of shock, then confusion before comprehension dawned and a wide smile creased her aged features.
"Leonard?" Jendra exclaimed, stepping forward to clasp both of his hands in hers. Smiling, she said, "I never thought I'd see you again, least of all here."
"You're not exactly the easiest person to track down," McCoy replied, relief at seeing her seeping into his voice. "I've been worried about you. A lot of people have."
Her smile fading, Jendra cast her head downward. "I can imagine." She cleared her throat before returning her gaze to meet his, and McCoy saw a hint of regret in her eyes. "Not a chance this is happy coincidence, I suppose."
"You suppose correctly, Doctor."
Even with his normal features disguised beneath the darkened skin tone and the artificial hair and ears, there was no hiding or suppressing James Kirk's command presence. McCoy saw the familiar set to his captain's jaw as he stepped forward to confront Jendra. "We're here to take you back with us."
She glanced at McCoy before offering a warm, knowing smile the doctor would have recognized regardless of the situation at hand. "You must be Captain Kirk," she said. Looking at McCoy's other companion, she added, "And Mr. Spock. Leonard has spoken very highly of you both." She held out her hand in greeting.
As if unprepared for Jendra's lack of initial resistance, the captain paused before nodding. "Thank you," he offered, his tone less rigid now. As Kirk and Jendra shook hands, McCoy noticed the slight yet obvious relaxing of his friend's stance and, yes, even the first hints of that now-familiar glint in the man's eye. For Jim Kirk, turning on the charm for a woman -- any woman -- seemed a reflex as natural as breathing.
"I'm sorry we have to meet under these circumstances, Doctor," Kirk said after a moment, his...--This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
- ASIN : B000JMKRFM
- Publisher : Pocket Books/Star Trek (September 5, 2006)
- Publication date : September 5, 2006
- Language : English
- File size : 1068 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 400 pages
- Page numbers source ISBN : 0743492544
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #537,718 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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The fourth story is a considerable improvement. It is that Star Trek standard, the crew caught between two feuding parties until they can figure out enough to bring the two sides to the negotiating table. I love this type of story. Plus, there is some great sense of wonder stuff too. It's a little metaphysical for me, but is very well written. However, this story was for me marred by the gratuitous inclusion of another "American Empire" Starfleet officer, commanding the station the Enterprise visits. There is no reason to include such an attitude in the story. The fifth story is a genuinely good story. The ship's in trouble, Spock's in trouble, and McCoy and Kirk have to save both. The next story is Christopher Bennett's. The idea is interesting, but this guy just has no subtlety. Everything is right in your face, with no depth. The next story isn't much better, too short and too simplistic.
Then comes Dave Galanter's The Leader, starting an end run of five good stories. The Leader is probably the best writing of the whole collection, and leads all categories except most entertaining and most moving.The next story features Scotty and Sulu sharing command of the Enterprise. It is the story with the coolest sense of wonder features, and is a very good story overall. The tenth story is a bit of a look into Spock's past, and the specific circumstances that led him into Starfleet. It is also a story about how people change, for better or worse. It is a quite good but not great story. The eleventh story is Jeffrey Lang's, of Immortal Coil fame. It's the humour story, and he does a wonderful job. The final story is one of the most moving Trek stories I have read.
The Original Series is, to me, a setting about hope and idealism and exploration. I would not recommend this book to fans of the Original Series. This is a very dark depiction of the Federation. The post-Dominion War setting is dark, moody and introspective, and much more appropriate for these stories. So much for the intention to celebrate 40 years of Star Trek.