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Paul Starkey



"Damn it, Jim! I won’t have that thing in my sickbay." McCoy gestured animatedly at the lizard two crewmen were currently fixing to a nearby wall. "I’m a doctor, not a taxidermist."

Kirk laughed before clapping a hand on McCoy’s shoulder. "It’s only for a few days, Bones. Maybe you’ll even grow to like it."

"Grow to like it? It’s just a stuffed lizard!"

"I would disagree with you on that point, Doctor," said Spock.

"Oh there’s a surprise, Spock wants to disagree with me. Come on Jim, you’re the Captain you don’t have to accept it if you don’t want to," pleaded McCoy.

Kirk sighed. "Bones, there isn’t any way around this. The Alcrani ambassador needs heart surgery and this," he gestured to the Enterprise’s sickbay, "is the best facility in the sector to have that surgery carried out. And the Alcrani won’t allow him to come up here unless that is here," he added pointing at the lizard.

"But it's just a stuffed dead animal," argued McCoy.

"As I have said, Doctor, you are incorrect," countered Spock. "The Alcrani desert lizard has long been held as a symbol of good luck. Ancient Alcrani shamen discovered that the creature's blood provided an antidote to a disease called prickly flu. For the last three centuries, Alcrani doctors have had a stuffed desert lizard in their offices. It is considered most unlucky not to have a lizard present when any form of surgery takes place. As an ‘old country doctor’ yourself, I had believed you would have empathized with the Alcrani superstitions." Spock shook his head. "It is most illogical that you do not."

McCoy bit his tongue before looking at Kirk once more. "Jim..."

"That’s enough, Doctor," snapped Kirk. "If the ambassador doesn’t get this surgery, he’ll die, and any hope we have of persuading the Alcrani to join the Federation will fly straight out the window. And that means if the Alcrani want you to dress up as a desert lizard while you perform the procedure, you’ll do it. Have I made myself clear?"

"Yes, Captain."


It was two days later when a very happy Captain Kirk entered Sickbay, Spock by his side. "Well, Bones, you’ve done it again. The Ambassador is fit and healthy, and the Alcrani have agreed to join the Federation."

"It was a simple procedure, Jim," said McCoy. "A third year medical student could have performed it just as adequately as I did."

"No doubt they might have performed it quicker as well," remarked Spock.

"I take my time but I get the job done." McCoy was far too pleased with himself to allow Spock to bait him.

"Bones, just one question," began Kirk. He pointed to the lizard still affixed to the wall. "I asked Scotty to send some men down and remove that yesterday. Why is it still there?"

"Yes, they came," answered McCoy, "and I sent them packing."

"I...don’t understand?"

"Well, I decided that I quite like it now. Spock was right. I guess the Alcrani superstition was right all along."

"I never said that the superstition had any factual relevance," argued Spock.

"Well, I’ve decided to keep it as a lucky charm."

"But, Doctor, you said yourself Sickbay is no place for a stuffed animal," stated the Vulcan.

"Well, if it continues to bring me good luck it can stay there," McCoy smiled.

"But, Doctor, this is Sickbay..." repeated Spock.

"Yes, it is. And if I want to hang a stuffed animal on my wall, I will do so. Besides..." his grin widened, "the fact that that annoys you makes me like that lizard even more." And he laughed.

Kirk laughed, too.

"I fail to see why this is humorous," Spock said.

"Maybe I’ll call him Spock..." suggested McCoy, patting the lizard.

"Captain," Spock raised an eyebrow. "Request permission to return to the bridge." There was a tiny hint of emotion in his voice.

McCoy and Kirk merely laughed some more.

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