It was their first five year mission, Spock and Jim had bonded. McCoy was blissfully happy that his two flirty-as-hell best friends had finally eloped together. Spock and Jim made out on the hot sands of Vulcan. Nearly died because of it, if it were not for the resourceful, reliable medical hand of McCoy. They were nearing the end of their first five year mission. Hikaru was eying becoming a lieutenant commander, an upgrade from lieutenant, and Pavel was looking forward to be part of the security track. Things hadn't changed, except for Christine and Nyota marrying. T'Pring become a lieutenant science officer aboard the Enterprise. The obvious signs of flirtation between Nyota and T'Pring and Christine. Frankly, that was getting on his nerves.
They had yet to resolve this sexual tension and the amount of blushing was ridiculous. Christine could hardly speak when it came to being around T'Pring. Suddenly, she was clumsy. Suddenly, she stuttered. Suddenly, she didn't have the ability to speak coherent sentences. McCoy made it his mission to keep his nurses in tip top shape in sick bay. To help Christine, he did this by reorganizing her schedule for the time that most science officers would come in. Her feelings were getting to the job. At least he didn't let his feelings for Jim and Spock get in the way. Sheesh, at one point he had been like Christine in his youth when it came to Jocelyn. A bitter reminder, never the less, but annoying that she hadn't walked up to the science officer. For example, he was going to lead the charge into a three way date for the women starting tomorrow. With help from Charlene Masters.
He preferred to have help from other women when it came to making one of their own confront their feelings. It was a personal, intimate touch to the conversation. Every woman was different and unique so he got in the experts, their best friends. Such as Masters. He wasn't quite sure if he knew the nurse, the communications officer, and the science officer well enough to orchestrate it himself. Sure, he made Christine and Nyota date by his own intervention. But this was different. He decided that before the transporter sent his pattern down to a Class M Planet. Sand was drifting over several dunes that were hill like in nature. He saw a cactus in a unusual spot near a clasp of dried, dead weeds. There were other catcuse littering the landscape. McCoy wiped a bead of sweat off a brow. The sun was pounding against the away team. Spock gave his report of the scenery to the captain. Jim marveled at the scenery. One of the security officers sneezed, twice. There were lifeforms on this planet located in a circular area where vegetation was plentyful nearby.
Spock was scanning what seemed to be a large dark scorpion with his tricorder.
"This reminds me of Vulcan," McCoy noted.
"It is not meant to be that way," Spock said. "fifty percent of this planet is covered in plant life," Spock stood up from where he had knelt. "The desert is synesthetic made by unknown means and could be the result of improper and outside forces of husbandry."
"So a field of corn can become this if it wasn't taken care of?" McCoy asked. "synthetically."
"And locusts," Spock said. "indeed."
"Ah ha," McCoy said. "I seem to recall wind is a notable factor."
"And erosion," Spock added.
"Science," McCoy said. "why would someone ontentionally make a desert?"
"To explore how a population would deal with unexpected changes like this," Spock said.
"That is a terrible way to explore population control," McCoy said.
"Environmental control," Spock corrected said. "a controlled experiment that likely was a success."
"All right, environmental control," McCoy said.
"this likely has been going on for thousands of years," Spock gestured toward the dead plant. "that is not grass."
"Then what is it?" McCoy asked.
"That is a tree branch," Spock said.
"Now, you don't meant to tell me that this use to be a forest," McCoy said.
"Sixty-three point seventy-seven percent likely," Spock said.
"Hey Jim---" McCoy started.
McCoy looked around noticing they were surrounded by three security officers and there was not a sign of Jim lurking. He could feel his heart beating against his chest. He could hear his blood rushing in his ears. Normally, McCoy didn't get terrified because Spock was always with him. The officers, Hallister, Chon, and Erson were looking around with hands on the handles of their phasers. It was quite alarming that Jim wasn't around. They were on attire that allowed them to stand the heat on the planet consisting mostly of lacking sleeves on their uniform, tons of sun screen, and hats that were the color of their tracks. Save for McCoy who wasn't wearing one.
"Where did Jim go?" McCoy asked.
Spock looked over.
"I believe he went over the sand dune to catch the sun hat you brought," Spock said.
"Why you little shit, I didn't bring a sun hat!" McCoy said.
"Yes, you did," Spock said
"Did not," McCoy argued back.
"Sir," Hallister said.
"Uh," Chon said.
"That is entirely---" Erson started to say.
"True," Hallister finished.
"That is quite ridiculous," McCoy said.
"And quite illogical," Spock agreed. "That is what I told you on the bridge." McCoy angerly bounced in defeat. The Vulcan was right.
"Okay, let's check if he is over there," McCoy said, heading off in the direction of the towering sand like mountain.
He could feel the sand in his boots were getting under his toes. His eyes winced. Everyone was dripping sweat. They had bottles lining their belt save for McCoy who had a dozen in his medical sack. The security officers followed after the doctor as did Spock. They peered over the sand like mountain to see a trail of foot prints leading to another mountain. McCoy went after the trail of foot prints grumbling to himself and generally making comments along the lines of going to kill the captain. Spock understood that this was a figure of speech but yet, it brought a sense of alarm. They went over two sand dunes to find a bustling village of some sort laying below them with people wearing garments that resembled dresses wearing hoods and layered attire. The crew went down to the busy market place.
"Jim!" McCoy called. "Get your bubble ass back here!"
"I believe the crowd is too loud for him to hear," Hallister said.
"Your words fell on deaf ears," Erson said.
"The captain is not deaf," Spock held his two fingers out.
"Not yet, anyway," McCoy agreed.
Suddenly, Jim appeared out of thin air completing the gesture, "Bones, your sun hat."