Title: Spiced Peaches-The Spock/McCoy Story
Author: Tempest, with the aid of Montgomery R. Scott (PlatoHomer2@aol.com)
Fandom: Star Trek: The Original Series
Author's Notes: This is Part IV of what is going to be a Five Part essay. Please read Parts I, II, and III before reading Part IV. All errors are mine and mine alone.
When McCoy Met the Katra (Star Trek: II, III and IV):
Although there’s a degree of slashy interaction between Spock and McCoy in the beginning and body of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, this part of the essay will focus on the most pertinent interactions for their relationship, in this case, the few minutes before Spock’s death scene.
Perhaps the strongest evidence canonically for Spock/McCoy lies in Spock’s decision to leave his katra to Doctor McCoy before his death in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. In the twenty-two and a half years since this movie first hit theatres, countless theories of Spock’s reasoning have been pondered by Trekkie and slasher alike. And as a result of this speculation, the following can be noted from the action:
1) McCoy was obviously more suitable as the Keeper of the Katra, because Spock had the option of leaving his katra with Scotty, who was unconscious already, but chose McCoy instead.
2) Spock realized the situation while on the bridge and knew at that moment that he would die. Since he is able to leave his katra with a person and still function for a period without it, he could have found a way to leave it to Kirk or Saavik, but waited until he was with McCoy to make the transfer.
3) Saying “Remember” seems rather simple for transferring one’s entire essence into the mind of another person, unless one was very familiar with the mind of that person.
Regarding Spock’s death scene, over the years, many non-coyotes have brought up his touching farewell to Captain Kirk, his “you have been, and always shall be, my friend,” speech. There was no similar farewell to McCoy. The only proper response to this is that he left McCoy his katra. What better farewell could he give than the essence of his being?
At the funeral, although Kirk is delivering the eulogy, McCoy, too, is holding back tears. And of everybody at the funeral, he’s acting the strangest, unbeknownst to the crew at the time, because he’s attempting to reconcile the fact that Spock died with the feeling that Spock is still with him.
Although the interlude between the Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and Star Trek III: The Search for Spock is not very long, a lot occurs in it. Most noticeably, the beginning of McCoy’s descent into “madness,” when Spock’s katra begins to exert control over McCoy’s body. – this is a fragment.
A great explanation of how this begins is in Voice (http://cosmicduckling.com/amphi-voice.ht
From the minute Kirk realizes that it’s McCoy who has broken into Spock’s quarters, things begin to make some sense. He doesn’t inquire into why McCoy’s in Spock’s quarters; it’s almost as though he expected such an attempt. He only begins to grow concerned when he realized McCoy was speaking about Vulcan, in a voice rough, similar to Spock’s.
When the rest of the crew learns of McCoy’s breakdown, nobody seems surprised, although all are a bit overprotective. At the gathering for the dry docking of the
Uhura: How is Doctor McCoy, Sir?
Kirk: That’s the good news. He’s home, in bed, full of tranquilizers, and he promised me he’d stay there...They say it’s exhaustion...we’ll see.
This contemplation on McCoy is interrupted by the entrance of Sarek, who assumes that Kirk is the Keeper of Spock’s katra, because he was the last one to be with him. When he learns this is untrue, he and Kirk search through the computer’s records in order to determine with whom Spock might have left the katra. Neither of them was aware at the time that McCoy had been in the engine room when Spock had entered. After some extensive review, they learn that it’s McCoy who holds it. And despite what would seem like a somewhat shocking revelation, neither of them is particularly surprised with this. It can be construed that McCoy, for personal reasons both of them knew, was the most logical choice, as discussed earlier.
Meanwhile, McCoy has been attempting to sneak back to Genesis and has managed to get himself committed. Kirk and the rest of the crew realize this and conceive of the greatest jail break in Star Trek history. When Kirk enters under the guise of a friendly visit, he refers to McCoy as “Fruity as a nut cake.” Now I don’t know what part of Iowa Kirk came from, but in most places “fruity” means gay. And considering how the colloquialisms of the 23rd Century seem quite similar to those of the 20th Century, there is a very large possibility that it means the same then. Besides, Nut cakes do not contain fruit.
Kirk: (Hand in the Vulcan salute) How many fingers am I holding up?
McCoy: That’s not very damned funny.
Kirk: Good. At least your sense of humor’s returned.
McCoy: The Hell it has.
Kirk takes out a hypospray
McCoy: What’s that?
McCoy: Lexorin? What for?
Kirk: You’re suffering from a Vulcan mind meld Doctor.
Kirk: That’s right.
McCoy: (Without real anger) That green-blooded son of a bitch! It’s his revenge for all those arguments he lost.
What’s most important to note in the above exchange is that although McCoy makes the comment, there’s a lack of real surprise on his part that Spock might have done such a thing prior to dying. This implies that McCoy was either aware of the Vulcan ritual of carrying the katra, or that Spock would have had personal reason to meld with him once last time before death. Either explanation indicates a rather intimate personal relationship. The question arises of why McCoy did not know. There are a number of explanations for this: McCoy expected to feel differently and when he experienced what he did instead, he was unable to place it; McCoy thought that Spock would have warned him before doing it, and as no warning came, assumed the action had not taken place; or, possibly, he did realize on some level what was occurring but the shifts of dominance between his mind and Spock’s katra made it difficult for him to express to others.
The movie continues on a rather exciting course, with McCoy passing in and out of consciousness, sometimes his, sometimes Spock’s. It’s when they arrive on Genesis, after blowing up the
“Spock for God’s sake talk to me. You stuck this damned thing in my head. Remember? Remember? Now tell me what to do with it. Help me.” Long pause.
“I'm going to tell you something that I... I never thought I'd hear myself say...But it seems I've missed you. I don't know if I could stand to lose you again." – Doctor McCoy to Spock in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock.
When they arrive on the planet, T’Lar explains the danger involved in the fal-tor-pan, the attempt to take Spock’s katra from McCoy’s mind and place it back in Spock’s newly regenerated body. Given the choice between risking his life and leaving Spock a vegetable, McCoy makes the only possible decision.
“I choose the danger.”
In the next scene, McCoy goes through the fal-tor-pan with Spock, an intensely intimate sharing of their full minds and memories, as is bound to occur when removing one man’s mind from another’s, especially when the blending that occurred between the two of them “the scramble” as McCoy called it, is taken into consideration. When the sharing is over, it leaves behind a resonance between them.
At the very end of the movie, Spock comes upon the crew and reviews them one by one. He turns to Kirk, recognizing him from something his father told him. And when his memories of the last few minutes before his death come back, he turns around to McCoy, glancing at him for reassurance.
McCoy simply taps his temple, letting Spock know he’s with him always. With this knowledge, Spock’s able to face the rest of the crew, and his personality begins to return.
In the final part of this trilogy of helping Spock recover his memories; his relationship with McCoy comes through very strongly. It becomes evident early on in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home that McCoy desires to recover his former intimacy with Spock, but he’s not going to push.
It begins with Spock’s decision to accompany the crew back to Earth. While he sits at the panel, McCoy comes over to him.
Spock: Uhura is busy. I am monitoring.
McCoy: Hmm...Well, I just wanted to say – nice to have your katra back in your head and not in mine. (Smiles)
Spock simply stares at him.
McCoy: What I mean is, I may have carried your soul, but I sure couldn’t fill your shoes.
Spock: ...My shoes?
McCoy: Forget it. (Tries something else) Perhaps we could cover a little philosophical ground? Life...death...life, things of that nature?
Spock: I did not have time on Vulcan to review the Philosophical disciplines.
McCoy: Come on, Spock. It’s me, McCoy! You really have gone where no man has gone before. Can’t you tell me what it felt like?
Spock: It would be impossible to discuss the subject without a common frame of reference.
McCoy: You’re joking!
Spock: A joke is a story with a humorous climax.
McCoy: You mean I have to die to discuss your insights on death?
Spock: Forgive me, Doctor, I’m receiving numerous distress calls.
McCoy: (Frustrated) I don’t doubt it.
The above conversation has multiple facets of a relationship between the two, mostly on McCoy’s part. When he states, “It’s me, McCoy!” it implies that previously, they would have had such intimate conversations. Furthermore, the shy attempts at conversation from McCoy indicate that he’s uncertain where they stand, and although he’s hopeful, he doesn’t want to coerce. When he realizes Spock’s completely clueless, he can’t help but be flustered and he gives up. For the time being.
When Spock creates his theory on the strange transmission and leaves, McCoy demonstrates his protectiveness.
Kirk: (Following Spock) Bones, stay here.
McCoy: No way. Somebody’s got to keep an eye on him!
This statement on McCoy’s part is one of peculiar devotion. Kirk is, of course, going with Spock, but McCoy is reluctant to let Spock out of his sight, most likely a combination of their newfound resonance from the fal-tor-pan and the feelings he held for Spock before.
When Kirk points out, quite logically, that nobody in the twentieth century had seen an extra-terrestrial before, in a hint for Spock to cover his ears, Spock rips off part of his robe and constructs a headband that covers his ear tips and makes him look like a wandering karate master. Instead of looking to Kirk for approval, the man who suggested it, he instead looks at McCoy, who simply smiles at him and rolls his eyes. Once more, a demonstration of the dependence Spock has on him.
As the movie continues, Spock spends most of it on the wrong side of confused, and much of crew is somewhat afraid to approach him. They feel somewhat uneasy, at the very least. Even Kirk spends most of his interaction time with Spock bemoaning how different he has become since the fal-tor-pan.
But Spock and McCoy continue on the new relationship they have. When it becomes time for them to plot their course back to the future, Spock uses McCoy as his sounding board – same idea.
Spock: Mister Scott cannot give me exact figures, Admiral. So I will...make a guess.
Kirk: You? Spock, that’s incredible.
Spock: (To McCoy) I don’t think he understands...
McCoy: No, Spock. It means he feels safer with one of your “guesses” than he would with most other people’s facts.
Spock: You’re saying...it is a compliment?
McCoy: It is.
Spock: I will try to make the best guess I can.
When Spock is uncertain, he relies on McCoy for help and guidance. It is clear that he depends now on McCoy for understanding, and the trust between them is very great indeed.
At the end of the movie, Spock takes his place beside his crewmates to stand court-martial, and it implies that he has regained his memories, and he is once again whole. This means that the Spock/McCoy relationship can continue as planned.
For a good interpretation on the court-martial and afterwards, please read Return to Us (http://ainzfern.com/stories/SMCreturntou
The fal-tor-pan provides a unique moment in Spock/McCoy history for a new relationship to exist, one which might be more natural than any prior. Many S/Mc stories have been written about them getting together as a result of the fal-tor-pan, with no previous sexual relationship. If any moment works best for the establishment of an S/Mc relationship, it is this moment.
They find a new insight into one another, a new dependence, and a new connection. And this is why no matter when the relationship first existed, before or after the fal-tor-pan, it’s changed because of it.
1) Should an author choose the route of having them establish a relationship as a result of the fal-tor-pan, it’s easy enough. For the first time in their lives, they find their minds linked, both with telepathic resonance and the knowledge that for that period of time, each was the single-most important person in the other’s life. A relationship could occur, in the form of hurt/comfort, as Spock attempts to regain his memory and as McCoy attempts to regain sense of himself. It is quite likely that this can only occur in one another’s arms.
2) Should an author choose the route of having them resume a previously established relationship, there are certain elements that can’t be ignored, such as Spock’s rash decision to forfeit his life without warning McCoy, and the sacrifice to return his katra to his body. Another is the effect of it on McCoy’s mind. Hurt/comfort would exist in this relationship too, but the focus generally falls on Spock’s regaining memories in order to soothe the pain inflicted upon McCoy. However, once they’re together again, their bond is generally seen as stronger than ever.
3) They get together either as a continuation of a former relationship, or a result of the fal-tor-pan, but it doesn’t occur until Star Trek V: The Final Frontier or even later. There are some indications that it is canonically what happened, especially for the establishment of a new relationship. This delay allows for some interesting insights into character.
4) Unlike the separation presented in Star Trek: The Motion Picture, there’s really no way to ignore this event in their lives without a massive AU. The most common variation on the AU theme with the fal-tor-pan is that Spock stays dead. But this isn’t an easy look at the relationship, nor a genuinely uplifting one.
As far as I know, there are no Spock/McCoy stories wherein they are in a relationship before his death and afterward their relationship comes to an end. This could be a very depressing theme, but it could also be an interesting take.
Now That We’re Canonically Linked (Star Trek V and VI):
At the end of Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home by Vonda McIntyre, (the novelization of the movie), it’s explained that Spock and McCoy share a lingering resonance from the fal-tor-pan, which try as they might, they are incapable of severing. Spock states that he does not regret this resonance, and McCoy admits that he doesn’t either. I’d give specific quotes, but I have long since lost the book and I’m running off memory, here. But if we take the above as a true statement, this means that in the last of the Original Series crew movies, Star Trek V: The Final Frontier and Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, Spock and McCoy are linked in canon. This will be assumed for the remainder of this section and the next as well.
Although Star Trek V: The Final Frontier takes place some months after the fal-tor-pan, Spock still hasn’t completely regained himself. This allows for interesting interaction between the Spock and McCoy, including their peculiar new relationship and the possibility that Spock hasn’t yet recovered all of his memories.
McCoy: (On the subject of Row, Row, Row Your Boat) It’s a song you green-blooded Vulcan. You sing it. The words aren’t important. What’s important is that you have a good time doing it.
Spock: (Sincere) I am sorry, Doctor. (Pause) Were we having a good time?
McCoy: (Sighing) I liked him better before he died.
The implication in the above exchange is that McCoy has a personal reason for wanting Spock back the way he used to be, and this is often interpreted, among coyotes, to mean that Spock has not yet recovered his past memories of their relationship. And McCoy is growing a little tired of waiting.
For another interpretation on the above scene, please read Perchance to Dream (http://www.geocities.com/lyrastarwatcher/p
McCoy’s protectiveness of Spock continues in this movie. When Kirk, Spock, and McCoy are tossed into the brig by Sybok, and Kirk begins to yell at Spock for not having informed him that he had a brother, McCoy comes immediately to his defense, forcing Kirk to calm himself. McCoy’s own reaction to the revelation is much more sedate.
McCoy: Spock, you never cease to amaze me.
Spock: Nor I, myself, Doctor.
The protectiveness becomes a running theme. When Spock and Kirk attempt to break from the brig, only for Kirk to be shocked from the security measures, he immediately begins blaming Spock for not having warned him. And McCoy jumps to Spock’s defense, informing Kirk that, in fact, Spock had warned him and Kirk just hadn’t bothered to listen.
The movie, however, reaches an emotional crux when Sybok forces McCoy to relive the experience of having broken the Hippocratic Oath for his father by performing euthanasia, only for a cure for the disease to be discovered two weeks later. When he takes away McCoy’s pain, he gains McCoy’s trust. When he shows Spock’s pain as well, he assumes he now has Spock’s trust. But when he turns to leave, McCoy goes to follow him, but Spock does not.
Spock: I cannot go with you.
Sybok: I do not understand.
Spock: You are my brother, but you do not know me. I am not the outcast boy you left behind. Since that time, I have found my place in the universe...here...among these people...my shipmates. My place is on the
McCoy: (A pause as he’s obviously responding to Spock’s determination: I guess you’d better count me out too.
It’s apparent that McCoy draws his strength from Spock. His ability to resist Sybok lies solely within the strength he finds in Spock, and that he only turns his back on Sybok because Spock won’t go, and he won’t leave without him. This tie between them is most apparent at this point in time in the movie, but it exists throughout their relationship, the reluctance to leave one another behind.
For a more in-depth look at this particular exchange and how it affected the Spock/McCoy relationship, please read Possession is Nine Tenths... (http://www.ainzfern.com/stories/SMCposse
Another important emotional event in this movie is that only when the fantastic energy being strikes Spock down does McCoy question its divinity. When Spock was hurt for asking, “What does God need with a Starship?” does McCoy realize that this couldn’t be God, because no divine being would inflict pain on its children for non-belief. And it is at this moment that McCoy risks his own life to question the being as well.
This movie also includes the end of a journey for Spock and McCoy. At the reception held onboard the
One last thing to note about this movie: Although McCoy does not generally engage in stereotypically gay behavior, in this episode he wears the single most flamboyant outfit known to the entirety of the Star Trek Timeline. And he wears it off duty, on shore leave, implying that this was his own choice. It’s just something to think about:
Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country takes place six to seven years after the end of the mission in Star Trek V: The Final Frontier. This is plenty of time in which Spock and McCoy could have reestablished their former relationship or started a new one, and so the assumption is made that by this point in the timeline, they have already entered into a relationship, and that it is long-standing.
The most noticeable aspect of the Spock/McCoy relationship in this movie is that it is calmer, more sedate, than at any other period in the Star Trek timeline. For the most part, their arguments have stopped, and what little remains is tainted so much by obvious affection that the words are meaningless.
From the moment that Kirk and McCoy are arrested for, and convicted of, the assassination of the Klingon Chancellor Gorkon, Spock slips into his most protective mindset. He works to organize a means of rescuing them, and is willing to lie to Head Quarters on multiple occasions in order to do so successfully.
The question of why Kirk was aware of the Verillium Patch and McCoy was not is somewhat simple to explain. If the Klingons were aware that Spock and McCoy were in a relationship, and any race worthy of being an enemy of the Federation would know that Vulcans enter into telepathic bonds with their mates. If they so much as suspected that McCoy had knowledge of an escape plan, the Klingons, inventor of the mind-sifter, would have had no qualms subjecting him to torture and questioning in order to learn of the plot, knowing that the Federation and Starfleet had agreed not to interfere in any of the proceedings. The only way to protect McCoy would be to pull an Episode #59: The
Furthermore, when Kirk and McCoy arrive on Rura Penthe, they immediately move in different directions. Kirk is active, he’s networking, and he’s attempting to create an escape plan. McCoy, on the other hand, unaware of the possibility of being rescued, draws himself inward, concerned about the fact that he’s going to die on a Klingon frozen prison planet, without ever seeing Spock again.
For a very detailed explanation of McCoy’s thoughts during his dealings with the Klingons, please read In Medias Res (http://spockandmccoy.tripod.com/inmedias
The highest point of emotional display between Spock and McCoy occurs on the bridge, when Spock is in the process of questioning Valeris about the conspiracy. When she refuses to divulge any more information, Spock crosses the bridge, intent on entering into a forced mind meld in order to retrieve the necessary information. But before he crosses, he meets McCoy‘s eyes with and a look is exchanged between them.
During the forced meld, while most of the crew is fascinated by what is happening, and then later somewhat aghast, McCoy refuses to watch the violation at all, keeping his eyes carefully averted. This is due to the fact that McCoy has his own demons regarding the violation he endured at the hands of the MU Spock, so many years before.
When Spock has extracted the necessary information, he crosses the bridge again, and once more, their eyes meet. A message is exchanged this time, and Spock’s glance implies something along the lines of, “I would not violate you in such a way, and I know of your own aversion to the topic, but the circumstances are dire, and I know you will forgive me.” Which, of course, McCoy does, although the entire process has done little to set him at ease.
The most touching part of their adventure occurs once possible countermeasures to stop the Klingon ship are revealed, and the two depart on their mechanical endeavor.
Spock: Doctor, would you care to assist me in performing surgery on a torpedo?
McCoy: (Smiling) Fascinating.
The above exchange, followed by their joint attempt, is quite interesting, considering the circumstances. McCoy is not good with non-scientific, tool-oriented tasks. He has stated this many times. I’m a doctor, not a mechanic. I’m a doctor, not an engineer. I’m not a mechanic; I couldn’t get that thing to work no matter how many notes you left. And Spock is undoubtedly aware of this fact. This means that his motivation was emotional when requesting McCoy’s presence. And although it was emotional, it was also flawlessly logical.
However, two options are presented to them. Should they succeed, they have the knowledge of joint success, and they live to see another day in one another’s company. But should they fail, with whom else would it be fitting for them to die? It especially must be considered that less than one day before, the chances of them ever seeing each other again were slim, and each worried about himself and the other dying, alone.
You mix future condition and present throughout this paragraph. Fortune would have it that the two of them would be successful in their endeavor, that the Enterprise would be overall successful and all would be pardoned of charges due to the nature of the conspiracy. And with these under their belts, coupled with the knowledge that they saved the galaxy one last time, the intrepid crew of the Enterprise can fly off to the second star to the right and straight on til morning, while ignoring Head Quarters’ request, on Spock’s suggestion, and spend the three months between the end of the mission and their scheduled retirement doing whatever it is they wish. This is, of course, the happy ending for which everybody has been waiting.
This movie signifies a possible S/Mc relationship spanning some 29 years, an incredible feat, since they’re still young. Spock is only 63 years old and McCoy only 66. They have a lot of years ahead.
I hate to use cut scenes from the scripts in this essay, however, this tidbit was too good to pass up. This is indicative of a late-blooming S/Mc relationship:
McCoy: Pity they’re retiring us just as I was starting to understand you, Spock.
Spock: We were beginning to hit our stride together, Doctor.
This dialogue suggests that Spock and McCoy have finally entered into an intimate relationship. It is unfortunate it was cut, because of how suggestive it is. Then again, it might have been cut because is does imply that they just recently entered into their more intimate relationship. Perhaps the writers and director wanted everybody to know that they’d long since made that leap from friends to mates.