Transporter (Star Trek: TOS story)
|Fandom:||Star Trek: The Original Series|
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It was published in the print zine KaleidoScope #8.
"Kirk and McCoy are accidentally transported to a nearby planet when the transporter malfunctions, but when they are found, McCoy brings along a young boy heʼs been treating after the boy attempted suicide over his deformities."
Reactions and Reviews
There is a very odd aspect to this story. It appears to me to be actually two stories that aren’t in the slightest bit related. I had to look back to make sure I wasn’t into a new story without realizing it. So, let’s look at the two distinct parts.
In the beginning Kirk and McCoy are incorrectly transported and materialize on the edge of a cliff, which crumbles beneath them, sending them on a horrendous tumbling fall down the rocky slope. They are both bruised and battered which generally signals something of an h/c nature. However in this case, their injuries and their struggle to get to water and hopefully to civilization (lost the communicators, of course) is told in a very impertinent manner. Bones, once he’s recovered sufficiently, gripes up a storm about the transporter and their whole situation. The people they’re so eager to find take them immediately as prisoners and plan to sell them at a slave auction. Meanwhile back on the ship, an anxious Spock discovers the transporter malfunction is due to...chocolate! Even though it’s been spilled on the console and is unacceptable to Spock, there is still almost a flippant attitude about the whole thing. Nothing here is taken quite seriously, the way I read it. Spock is adequately concerned about Kirk’s disappearance, but the whole thing is told in a completely different tone than you would expect. Once they’ve been rescued, but are still on the planet’s surface, McCoy’s abilities as a doctor are called into play first by an injured child and then by a teenager who attempts suicide by stabbing himself multiple times. At this point it is almost as though another author took over – certainly another mood must have come into play because the remainder of the story takes on a remarkably different tone. McCoy manages to convince the teen’s family he needs long-term treatment only available on the starship. Thank goodness this is a civilization in talks with the Federation, so the prime directive doesn’t come into play. Once the boy’s on the ship we learn the real reason for McCoy’s actions. He is horribly deformed with facial anomalies that have caused him so much grief he wants only to die. When Kirk, Spock and McCoy are discussing this, Kirk seems incredulous someone this young would want to die. Spock, however, seems to understand very well. This is a chilling moment, exceptionally well handled by the author in a few brief words. Suddenly we see a glimpse of what Spock’s childhood must have been like, and it is so painful. It hurts Kirk when he realizes what is being revealed because even though they are bonded, he didn’t know how miserable Spock was as a boy. This is a short but very well written scene. McCoy begins reconstructive surgery on the young man, gradually rebuilding his face until it is normal. Even then, he is shy and awkward and in another very perceptively written scene, someone asks him to come join them in a computer game in the rec room. The boy seems elated and Kirk doesn’t understand the significance of the event. Spock very patiently explains to a confused Kirk that he hasn’t been able to comprehend the boy’s feelings and reactions because he was a normal boy with a normal childhood. This tells us so much about Spock. He then openly recalls the first time he was invited, metaphorically he says, to play. “I shall forever treasure the happiness I denied feeling, but will never forget.” Kirk finds himself holding Spock and wondering if Spock is still friends with the one who finally invited him to play. Spock hears his thoughts and mentally answers, “Indeed. He is still my best friend, T’hy’la. In fact...I married him.”The sensitivity with which this second segment of the story is told is leagues removed from the early portion dealing with Kirk and McCoy’s fall. It turns out to be a lovely, heartwarming story. 
- from The K/S Press #126