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14 July 2009 @ 12:57 pm
Fic: Wanderers and Deities (4/7) - Jupiter  
Title: Wanderers and Deities
Chapter: Jupiter, the Bringer of Jollity
Genre: Gen
Rating: PG-13
Note: See the master post for author's notes.

Jupiter is perhaps the most famous movement from the symphony, and probably the one that most of you will recognize. One of its main directions is andante maestoso, which hints at its majestic undertones.

IV. Jupiter, the Bringer of Jollity

The hot sun is beating down on his head, but there is something warm and wet breathing against the side of his face. Montgomery Scott jerks awake instantaneously to come face to face with a mouth full of teeth and a lolling pink tongue. He jerks away on instinct, bellowing acidic curses, his every sense on edge. After an intense moment where realization takes its time getting through his panicked mind, he sighs and lowers his readied phaser as he discerns that the owner of these implements is not a dangerous alien creature.

It is a dog.

It is a breed he can not identify, slightly on the smaller side with a tangle of wiry hair that has not seen care in a long time, and a stub of a tail that is wagging persistently. As far as he can tell, a pure canis familiaris. He does not have a horn or serrated teeth or huge claws or anything else to suggest that he could soon make the engineer his next meal. Instead, he is staring at Scott with pleading eyes, trembling as if trying to restrain from tackling him for want of attention.

Er, hello, Scott offers, slightly dumbfounded.

He glances around as if to look for a human companion for the animal, but he knows this effort is in vain. He has been on this planet for quite some time now, in the ruins of what was once a human colony of researchers that had been abandoned several weeks before for reasons unknown. His search of the colony has provided little evidence, and he has been waiting for transport back to the Enterprise for several hours. Of course, when her chief engineer is away, something will always go wrong, and he has been waiting out the time in shade of the lee side of a building as his junior officers struggle with a faulty transporter.

The heat, which is steady and unrelenting, must have lolled him to sleep before his newfound companion stealthily appeared.

Scott readjusts himself and leans back into the narrow strip of shade. The dog had backed away during his outburst and now watches him from a distance. He shows no signs of fear, but rather of a restraint that Scott finds oddly humorous. He can only watch the beating tail and the expressive eyes for a moment before his resolve caves in.

He pats the dusty ground beside him.

Come here, you mutt, he mutters. Canna leave you out there lookin' sorry for yourself.

In retrospect, Scott is slightly amused at how fast the dog covers the distance between them. He plants himself beside the engineer with the inexplicable trait of canine familiarity. Scott's hand reaches out to the dog, hesitant. After a pause, a thick pink tongue licks at his fingers. Scott pulls them away and begins to scratch the mongrel behind its ears. The dog leans into Scott, eyes half open and head tilted back, and sighs in contentment.

Scott lets his hand fall, ponders the dog with a curious expression.

What are you doing all alone here?

The mongrel responds with a generous sloshing of its oversized tongue along Scott's face in an exuberant display of unbridled affection. The engineer pulls away and makes a motion with his hands to push the dog away, but the animal seems to take this as an invitation and lunges his entire body weight against the engineer. Though he is not a large dog by any means, Scott is nevertheless caught off guard, and topples sideways with the dog standing on his shoulders. The engineer flings his arms like a madman, struggles to push the dog away until finally the dog eases back onto his haunches, his tail beating a small helix of dust up from the ground, tongue lolling out the side of his mouth.

Scott raises himself upright, rubbing the quantity of saliva from his cheeks. He glares at the dog from the corners of his eyes, but the animal seems unaffected by his indignation.

The communicator at his side suddenly trills to life, and one of his junior officers reports that the problem with the transporter has finally been fixed; he can now be beamed aboard at his command.

Scott throws a general thank you in the direction of the orbiting Enterprise, and gets to his feet.

A small sound draws his attention to the dog. Scott heaves a sigh, offers the dog one final pat on the head and takes a few steps away to prepare for beaming. The dog watches him intently, makes a pitiful sound, and attempts to follow him.

Stop it, you canna come with me.

The dog plants himself firmly on the ground, offers his best expression of canine disdain, and barks once, short and succinct. The noise makes Scott jump.

Quit yer bellyaching, Scott demands. He turns his back and folds his arms, as if that one statement decides everything. He hails the Enterprise. They tell him they are locking onto his signal. It is at that moment that he feels something cold and wet against his hand. He tells himself to not look down, but his eyes can not resist, and he finds the dog sitting at his side, looking up at him with absolutely pitiful eyes.

A string of curses fly through his mind. He sighs, buries his head in one hand, and hails the Enterprise again in haste.

Two to beam up.

There is a skeptical response from the other end.

Well, one man and one dog.

The junior officer's response is hesitant. Scott pulls rank and in a moment the junior officer agrees, with an obvious air of reluctance, to beam the dog aboard the Enterprise.

As he waits for the transport to begin, Scott looks down at his serendipitous companion. The dog is staring at him in the way canines often do, completely unaware of the gigantic wave of trouble that is soon to be set in motion as soon as those four paws set foot on the Enterprise. Scott dreads inwardly the explanation he is going to have to generate to cover his ass for this one.

He looks at the mischievous glint in the dun-colored eyes, and his heart softens.

Scott shakes his head. Montgomery, you old sod.

He decides that the dog's tawny coat resembles the color of an old and favorite friend, and his throat aches in memory.

I will call you Whisky, he says.

The dog continues to thrum his tail in approval as the world dissolves around them.

When the transportation is complete, Scott looks down to find Whisky sitting patiently a few steps away, as unperturbed by the beaming as if it had never happened. A wry thought crosses his mind that at least this particular canine fared better during transport than his earlier choice.

There are two junior officers present in the transporter room. Both are staring at him with expressions of muted hilarity.

It really is a dog, one of them mutters.

One look at the chief engineer's expression silences them immediately. He orders one junior officer to request that the captain join him in his quarters for a debriefing of recent events.

Scott steps off the transporter pad and Whisky follows at his heels, completely oblivious of the change of scenery, or of the people that turn to gape as the chief engineer and his slightly dirty canine companion traverse the halls of the Enterprise.

The first thing that the captain does upon entering his quarters is burst out laughing, which Scott does not take as a good sign. Bright blue eyes peruse the unusual sight of the chief engineer sitting at his desk with a dirtied, matted dog at his feet. The captain inclines his head, hesitates a moment as if formulating a difficult statement.

We can't keep him on the ship, Scotty.

The engineer nods his head gravely, well aware of the numerous protocols he is currently or soon will be violating by having Whisky on board.

The captain reports that he will have the communications officer searching the channels for any information about refugees from the lost colony. If any such persons are found, and are indeed missing a member of the canine persuasion, then it is his responsibility to ensure that the dog is returned to its rightful owner. If no one can be located, then they will have to find some way to get the dog off ship. Until then, however, the dog is to remain here in his quarters, no exceptions.

Scott promises with a confident smile that Whisky will be no trouble at all.

As the captain is leaving, he takes one more look at the dog, and his face contorts as if in disgust.

That thing is dirty as hell, Scotty.

Though he realizes that the captain is merely stating the obvious, Scott still flinches as if offended.

Give him a bath, Scotty. And that's an order.

Minutes after giving this statement, the captain has barely settled himself back on the bridge when a security officer stumbles in, voice raised, chasing a completely soaked and utterly overzealous dog with very little success at catching him. Whisky slides into the bridge, eyes wide with excitement rather than terror. He settles on the person closest to himself for protection, bounds over toward the communications officer, and plants himself behind her chair, half tucked under the console.

The doors to bridge slide open again and Scott stumbles in, dragging in with him a great quantity of water. His uniform is soaked with it and suds of soap cling precariously to his hair. He sees Whisky sitting innocently in the vicinity of the communications officer, lifts one soggy finger towards him, and unleashes a string of curses so fierce that the captain eventually has to stop him, lest he collapse from the effort.

Whisky tilts his head, and decides that this moment would be appropriate to dry himself. He shakes violently and drops of water scatter across the bridge. This elicits laughter from the communications officer but a much less pleasurable response from the first officer; the latter chases the haphazard duo from the bridge with a deadly inclination of his eyebrow and a few choice words that Scott does not take the time to comprehend as the door slides shut behind him.

Toward the end of his shift, he can hear one of his junior officers yelling across the engineering deck, to no one in particular, that the damn dog has gotten into the Jefferies tubes, and Scott can not help but hang his head in his hands and wonder how the hell the beast got out again.

After finally sequestering Whiskey in his quarters and ordering one of the junior officers to stand watch outside, Scott is returning to the engineering deck when he receives an urgent summons to the bridge. The captain explain to him that the communications officer, after repeated inquires, has managed to locate the refugees from the lost colony, and that said refugees are inquiring about a certain dog.

They have agreed to pilot the Enterprise to the coordinates of the new colony, on a planet not far from their current location, and to beam down and return the dog to the members of the colony.

Scott has a sudden hard lump in his throat that he can not explain, but he nods in response to his captain, and agrees to be ready for the transport.

It is less than an hour later that he beams down, with Whisky at his side, to the outskirts of a colony on on a small, Terran-like planet.

A man greets him. He is holding hands with a small girl with ginger-colored pigtails. She takes one look at the dog and squeals in ear piercing delight. Scott catches Whisky making a series of high-pitched noises that the engineer can only assume are of recognition. The dog runs himself in circles several times, gives a series of staccato barks, but does not stray from his side.

Whisky suddenly looks up at him as if asking permission. Scott hesitates but soon reaches down, scratches behind the dog's ears one last time.

Oh get on with it, ye mutt.

Whisky's tail begins its incessant thumping again, and the dog licks him gently against the back of his hand. Scott nods his head in silent understanding, motions Whisky away with a gentle wave of his fingers.

The dog lopes away into the waiting arms of the young girl, and she gallops forward to meet him. She buries her face in the dog's fur, blathering incoherent sounds, and Scott can tell by her trembling that she is crying. Whisky curls his body around the girl, licks the tears from her face as her sobs slowly turn to a wet, choking laugh, and she begins to run her tiny hands down the length of Whisky's body, grabbing at his fur compulsively.

Well, Scott thinks with a hollow feeling in his chest, he isn't really Whisky anymore.

As he watches the young girl and her dog his heart begins to swell and burst in his chest, but he can not put a name to the feelings grappling within him. It is an emptiness that feels so full at the same time, a contradiction that he can not hope to understand.

He does not need to understand, however, as a small hand tugs at the hem of his uniform. He looks down to see the upturned face of the young girl beaming at him; her eyes are bright with tears and her face is streaked and sticky with them, but she has a cherubic gap-toothed smile. He sinks down to his knees, his face level with hers.

In a flurry of movement she latches onto him, her arms barely enough to encircle his shoulders. He does not know how to react for a moment and his arms hang limply at his sides.

Thank you, mister.

She pulls away and he can feel a distinct patch of moisture on his uniform that her tears left behind.

The girl settles on her knees, and the dog is curled beside her. She begins to chew on the thumbnail of one hand while stroking the dog's head with the other, and the whole scene looks so perfect and angelic that Scott does not wish to disturb it, and he turns his attention to the girl's father.

The man offers a hand to the engineer and shakes it firmly. Scott introduces himself and explains in brief the circumstances that united him with the lost dog on the abandoned colony on a forgotten planet in a remote corner of the galaxy.

Thank you, Mr. Scott, the man replies. He is about to continue when his daughter scuffles to her feet and bounds toward them in one exaggerated step. She stares up at Scott, her eyes wide and dream-like.

He didn't have a name before we left, you know, she declares to the engineer.

Scott stares at her, completely at a loss for words.

I think I'll name him Scott, she claims. She chews on her bottom lip for a moment, turns her eyes to the engineer, and adds: if that is okay with you, mister.

He can not help but let his jaw drop, and is thankful that he can not see the dumbfounded expression on his own face. He can think of nothing to do and nothing to say save shrugging his hands in the girl's direction almost absentmindedly.

Aye, lass. It would be an honor.

She smiles so broadly that the engineer can swear that the light of the biggest star in the galaxy is reflected in her expression. She bounds away toward the buildings in the distance, and all the engineer can hear is her repeating the name, over and over in her childish falsetto, as the newly christened dog tags along behind her. Scott watches them until they become blurred against the rust-colored backdrop, and has to blink his eyes furiously to get his vision back in focus again.

He gives his respects to the girl's father, and the man watches him with a placid expression until the Enterprise beams him back.

That evening, the captain checks in on his chief engineer in the latter's quarters. He knocks on the door, hears a mumbled acquiescence from within.

The lights in the room are dimmed, and the chief engineer is situated at his desk. He has a glass perched between his hands with a few fingers of amber liquid still swirling in the bottom; an intricate and very old glass bottle stands within his reach, still half full of the alcohol.

Scott watches with a bleary expression as the captain crosses his quarters in very measured steps and stands next to his desk. The engineer raises his glass in the captain's direction.

Scotch whisky. Very, very old, he says.

The captain asks him, very seriously, if everything is alright.

Scott pauses to think, downs the rest of the scotch in one ravenous slug, and eases the glass to the table without a sound. His hand grasps at the bottle and he stares at it for a moment before pouring another measure into the glass. He stares at the swirling liquid for a moment, slowly, deliberately.

Yea, he says. Never been better, actually.

The captain seems thoroughly unconvinced. Scott waves his hand in dismissal and assures the captain that he is not drowning his sorrows in drink.

It's kinda funny, he muses, that of all the bloody people in the universe that could've found that dog, it had to be him. And that, of all the people in the universe that could've owned that dog, it had to be her.

No, he is drinking in celebration, of life and all the unusual strings that fate weaves through it, pardon the esoteric expression.

And well, he would be less of a man if he did not oblige a lady. Even a wee little lass with pigtails.

He reunited two beings that were meant to be together, and he is a hero in one little girl's eyes. Somehow, that makes everything worth it. That he, a grown man with nearly twenty years in a military institution, could feel his heart melt about his feet when that little girl smiled at him and told him thank you, was a sensation so foreign to him and yet so wonderful that he never wants to forget it. He is drinking to honor that, to remember it.

The captain seems satisfied. He is about to turn to leave when Scott produces another glass and slides it across the table toward him. The captain stares for a breath and accepts the offer with a simple nod. The engineer pours a generous amount of the precious liquid and replaces the bottle in absolute silence.

Scott motions with his glass and admits that his customary toast is to the Enterprise. In light of recent events, however, he decides that a new dedication seems appropriate.

To Whisky, he says.

The captain cocks a wry smile, and it is all he can do not to laugh.

Both men raise their glasses, and they touch with a minute crystalline sound. In a moment the captain and his chief engineer are an exact mirror of one another, glasses turned upward and emptied without a pause for breath.

The captain replaces his glass on the table, glances pointedly at his engineer. He jerks a thumb in the direction of the antique bottle and nods his head in approval.

That's good stuff, he says.

Scott reads between the lines in the way only a close friend can, and pours more of the scotch into the captain's glass without another word exchanged between them.

To Be Continued.

 


 
5 5 comments | Leave a comment
 
 
blcwriterblcwriter on July 16th, 2009 03:00 am (UTC)
By Jove, that's good. Especially because Scotty is the sad clown. Excellent.
it's a can of peaches, sir: Spockrevengent on July 16th, 2009 04:13 am (UTC)
OMG I LOVE YOU FOR WRITING ABOUT THE PLANETS !!!
mel: G00 - Tieriaultra_maniac on July 16th, 2009 05:10 am (UTC)
Okay, your Kirk story was brilliantly done, your Chekov part was painted beautifully (especially with the end scene with Uhura); The Sulu chapter made me smiled because of it's warm feelings that developed in me but, by far, this chapter takes top honors! (This is stated before I finish the other parts though...)

I love Scotty in the new universe and there just doesn't seem to be enough fanfics of him portrayed as an honest, quirky, lovable human being. His sort of down on himself attitude is stirring and played up nicely; But I think it's the way you broke his defenses by use of the dog was so incredibly done that I can't properly give you enough praise for.

I love this piece (and the collection so far) because of the characters as you write them. Nice job and I can't wait to finish the rest of the story~
cedarrapidsgirl: mccoyclosecedarrapidsgirl on July 16th, 2009 01:55 pm (UTC)
Yay! I love this! I will admit I don't know too much about Holst's other planet ventures, as I played Jupiter in HS band, and I have it on my ipod, and can probably sing it by heart. I love Scotty as well, and he fits well with this song. Kudos!
Melisus the Wee: mccoymelisus on July 18th, 2009 02:44 am (UTC)
I don't see a lot of fic about Scotty, at least fic that actually explores his character. So this is very refreshing! This was great music to set his character against; it really fits him well and helps emphasize the offbeat nature of Scotty. He's up, he's down, and always it seems just loveable (kind of like the dog).