could you imagine The Enterprise having like a yearly inspection and Kirk bugs out every time because the best running ship in the fleet certainly doesn’t become so because they follow therules. He has to remind the crew a week in advance to actually call him Captain and use formal titles. Bones and Scotty’s shared bathroom which is one hundred percent a liquor cabinet/distillery cannot be a thing.
Sulu has to collect all of his plants out of everywhere that’s not the Botany Labs and hide the illegal ones he picked up during their journey in his quarters. Scotty has to remove all of his Scotty-Approved-Modifications from Engineering. Spock can’t work four shifts in a row and break the ensigns that challenge him in the gym to sparring matches. Bones can’t medically offer alcohol to anybody. Uhura needs to not curse every ten minutes, in any language. Chekov needs to focus more on his console and less on every pair of legs walking by his station.
So, I was thinking about what a goddamn badass Leonard McCoy is.
Actually, I was thinking about drug shortages. I am a resident in the United States. The United States of America. First world medicine, folks. And sometimes - all too frequently - I have to revise the treatment plan of a healthy patient undergoing elective surgery because I do not have access to the ideal drug.
In other words, I compromise.
That’s a sickening feeling, friends.
Which brings me back to Bones.
Bones, Chief Medical Officer on a five year mission in deep space, where no man has gone before. Bones, who cares so goddamn deeply. Bones, desperately filing requisition forms for medications that he has no hope of receiving in the foreseeable future. Bones, elbow deep in a unfortunate ensign that caught the wrong end of a blast in engineering, sweat dripping in his eyes, nagging thoughts of, “is his name Jason or Joseph?” Bones, mad as hell because medical takes another budget cut. Bones praying frantically to a god he doesn’t believe in, “oh, please, not again.” Bones, eyeballing a unknown species and making a quick judgment call, based on a hasty heart rate estimate and an eyeballed weight, the effective loading dose of a - probably - renal toxic drug. Bones, hissing at Spock to shut the hell up, all the while making his own calculations. Bones, who years after the mission has ended, bolts up out of a dead sleep in a panic of adrenaline, because endless nights of call have made gentle awakenings impossible. Bones, staring dumbstruck at Starfleet Medical’s supply rooms. Bones, dedicatedly carting his tiny medkit on his hip, facing an alien world with a tricorder and a few hypos. Bones, hiding in his quarters for days, pouring over all of the federation’s published xenophysiology records, searching for a connection, wondering where it went wrong. Bones replaying the day’s scene in his mind, fear still gripping his chest as Jim sleeps peacefully in the biobed. Bones alone in the field, performing a bilateral finger thoracostomy on a blue-lipped yeoman who reminds him a little too much of Joanna (if somebody does not write this fic, I will). Bones, fresh out of med school, feverently murmuring his oath with conviction and wide-eyed naivety. Bones blaming himself. Bones bitching about the unpredictability of genetically modified antimicrobials. Bones needing a goddamn drink. Bones, contemplating the nuances of therapeutic nihilism. Bones, forcing himself to meet Jim’s eyes as Jim officiates a funeral. Bones, calculating pharmacokinetics in his head. Bones, knowing there was nothing to be done, but dammit, what if? Bones, painstakingly documenting his every discovery, every treatment plan, every failure and every triumph, for the next generation of medical professionals. Bones in his office with his head in his hands. Bones, absolutely giddy and shaking with relief, “Don’t be so melodramatic; you were barely dead.”
Practicing medicine is terrifying. Every day, I am horrified at the thought that I will not be able to provide for my patients. I love my field with every breath in my body, but the responsibility is overwhelming, and sobering.
Disease and danger, indeed.
“By golly, Jim, I’m beginning to think I can cure a rainy day.”