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As Time Goes By

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As Time Goes By
by Scarlet


Narrator: With the coming of the second Romulan war, many eyes turned hopefully -- or desperately -- toward freedom on Terra. But not everybody could get to Terra directly. On the remote planet Castalanca, fortunate ones through money, or influence, or luck, might obtain exit visas for Terra. The others had to wait on Castalanca, and wait, and wait, and wait...

* * *

Scene: A transporter central in Castalanca City.

A Romulan commander -- yes, *the* Romulan commander -- is just beaming down from spacedock. Captain Montgomery Scott, prefect of the local police, leads the welcoming committee.

Scotty: Unoccupied Castalanca welcomes you, commander. You may find the climate a trifle cold...

Romulan commander: Oh, we Romulans have to get used to all climates. What about the murder of our couriers?

Scotty (proudly): My men have been rounding up twice the usual number of suspects, and we know already who the murderer is.

Romulan commander: Good. Is he in custody?

Scotty: There is no hurry. Tonight, he'll be at Spock's. Everybody comes to Spock's.

Romulan commander: I have heard about this cafe, and also about Mr. Spock himself...

* * *

Scene: Spock's Cafe Vulcan. The place is getting crowded. A beautiful woman is playing the piano.

Uhura (sings):

This day and age we're living in
Gives cause for apprehension
With speed and new invention
And things like fourth dimension
Yet we get a trifle weary
With Mr. Einstein's theory
So we must get down to earth at times
Relax, relieve the tension
And no matter what the progress
Or what may yet be proved
The simple facts of life are such
They cannot be removed...

Spock, the owner of the establishment, is sitting at a chess board. An acquintance of his, a shady individual named Chekov, joins him.

Chekov: Too bad about those Romulan couriers.

Spock: They got a lucky break. Yesterday they were just Romulan clerks, today they are the honored dead.

Chekov: You are a very cynical person, Spock, if you'll forgive me for saying so. Will you have a drink with me?

Spock: No.

Chekov: Oh, I forgot, you never drink.

Chekov discreetly puts some papers on the table.

Chekov: Do you know what this is? Letters of transit, signed by the Romulan commander. Tonight I will sell them, and then -- Da svidanya, Castalanca! You are the only one I trust. Will you keep
them for me?

Spock: I heard a rumor: Those couriers were carrying letters of transit.

Chekov: I heard that rumor, too. Poor devils...

Spock takes the letters and moves to the bar, where he is approached by a woman. She has been waiting -- and drinking -- for a long time.

Christine: Where were you last night?

Spock: That was so long ago I do not remember.

Christine: Will I see you tonight?

Spock: I never make plans that far ahead.

Christine (to the bartender): Give me another, Sulu.

Spock: No, she has had enough. Take her home.

Sulu: Yes, boss!

Spock: And come right back.

Sulu: Yes, boss...

Meanwhile, at the roulette table:

Police officer: Mr Chekov? Come with us, please.

Chekov (stalling for time): May I cash my chips first?

The police officer nods. Chekov cashes his chips, runs for the door, reaching for a phaser, but the police soon catch up with him and take him away. Spock apologizes to the guests for the disturbance, and encourages everybody to continue enjoying themselves. Uhura starts playing again...

Uhura (sings):

You must remember this
A kiss is still a kiss
A sigh is just a sigh
The fundamental things apply
As time goes by

Spock (interrupting): I thought I told you never to play --

Uhura just nods towards one of the tables. Spock turns and freezes as he looks into the bluest eyes on Castalanca -- the eyes he has been trying to forget.

McCoy: Hello, Spock.

Spock doesn't answer at first. He glances around the table and realizes that the doctor is not alone.

McCoy (gestures to his escort): This is Captain Kirk.

Spock (with respect but also dignity): Live long and prosper.

Kirk (making the correct reply): Peace and long life. One hears a great deal about Mr. Spock on Castalanca.

Spock: And about James T. Kirk everywhere.

McCoy (to Spock): We haven't met since the day the Romulans conquered Paloris.

Spock: I remember every detail. The Romulans wore grey, you wore blue.

McCoy: I've put that shirt away. When the Romulans leave Paloris, I'll wear it again.

Kirk: I hate to say it, but it's getting late...

As Kirk and McCoy start to leave, Spock's and McCoy's eyes meet again.

McCoy: Say good night to Uhura for me. There's still nobody in the quadrant that can play "As Time Goes By" like Uhura.

* * *

After closing time, Spock is sitting alone at a table. He is drinking Romulan ale, something he never does.

Spock: Of all the gin joints on all the planets in the entire galaxy, he beams down into mine.

He downs another glass. Uhura is still playing the piano.

Spock: You know what I want to hear.

Uhura: No, I don't.

Spock: You played it for him, you can play it for me.

Uhura: Well, I don't think I can remember it.

Spock: If he can stand it, I can. Play it!

Uhura (sings):

And when two lovers woo
They still say "I love you"
On that you can rely
No matter what the future brings
As time goes by

Uhura plays on, and Spock loses himself in memories -- until, suddenly, the door opens.

McCoy: Spock, I have to talk to you.

Spock: Why did you have to come to Castalanca? There are other places.

McCoy: I wouldn't have come, if I'd known you were here. Believe me, Spock.

Spock: Interesting how your voice remains unchanged. I can still hear it: "I will go to any place with you, Spock."

McCoy: Don't, Spock. I can understand how you feel...

Spock (harshly): How long was it we had, Leonard?

McCoy: I didn't count the days.

Spock: I did, every one of them. I distinctly remember the last one: A Vulcan standing in a shuttlebay with a comical look on his face because his insides have been kicked out.

McCoy: Can I tell you a story? It's about a simple country doctor who met a man he'd heard a lot about. A great, courageous man. He opened up a galaxy full of excitement. He talked about the final frontier and about boldly going where no man had gone before. I admired him, worshipped him with a feeling I supposed was love.

Spock: Yes, very pretty. Tell me, who was it you left me for? Was it Kirk, or were there others in between? Or are you not the kind that tells?

McCoy storms out in anger. Spock hides his face in his hands.

Uhura (sings):

Moonlight and love songs
Never out of date
Hearts full of passion
Jealousy and hate
Woman needs man
And man must have his mate
That no one can deny

* * *

Scene: Kirk's and McCoy's hotel room in Castalanca city.

McCoy: Jim, don't go to the underground meeting tonight.

Kirk (heroically): I must.

McCoy (hesitant): Jim... what did you find out about Spock?

Kirk: Apparently he has the letters, but no intention of selling them.

McCoy: Did he give you any reason?

Kirk: He suggested I ask you. I don't know why he said that.

McCoy tries to smile, but sinks down on the bed, visibly disturbed.Kirk sits down next to him, concerned.

Kirk: Bones... When I was in the Romulan prison camp, were you lonely on Paloris?

McCoy (slowly): Yes, Jim, I was.

Kirk: I know how it is to be lonely. (pause) Is there anything you want to tell me?

McCoy can't bring himself to look at Kirk, who has his arm reassuringly around the doctor's shoulders.

McCoy (quietly): No, Jim, there isn't.

* * *

Scene: Spock's room above the cafe. Spock enters the room-- and finds McCoy there.

Spock (super-Vulcan): Your unexpected visit is not by any chance connected with the letters of transit?

McCoy: You can ask any questions you want, but you must give me those letters.

Spock: I went through all that with your Captain.

McCoy: If you're bothered by any un-Vulcan emotions, I'm asking you to put them aside for something more important.

Spock: Do I have to hear again what a great man the Captain is, what an important cause he is fighting for?

McCoy (furious): It used to be your cause too.

Spock: I am not fighting for anything any more, except myself. I am the only cause I am interested in.

Spock turns and walks over to the window; McCoy follows.

McCoy: Spock -- we loved each other once. If those days meant anything to you...

Spock (coldly): You would say anything to get what you want.

Spock walks away from the window. When he looks up, McCoy is pointing a phaser at him.

McCoy (desperate): I want those letters. Give them to me!

Spock: If Kirk and the cause mean so much to you, you will not stop at anything. I will even make it easier for you.

Spock walks calmly towards McCoy, until they are practically touching.

Spock: Go ahead and shoot. You will be doing me a favor.

McCoy struggles to keep his calm.

McCoy: Spock -- I tried to stay away. I thought you were out of my life.

He turns away, fighting back tears. Spock quietly takes the doctor in his strong arms, and McCoy is all too happy to sink into the embrace, to let himself be comforted.

McCoy: The day you left Paloris -- if you knew what I went through. If you knew how much I loved you -- how much I still love you...

Spock silences McCoy with a passionate kiss.

* * *

Uhura (sings):

It's still the same old story
A fight for love and glory
A case of do or die
The world will always welcome lovers
As time goes by...

* * *

Scene: The transporter central.

Spock and McCoy have agreed to leave Castalanca together, using the two transit visas that Kirk wanted for McCoy and himself. Kirk knows nothing about their agreement.

Spock (to Scotty): Fill in the names: Leonard McCoy and James T. Kirk.

McCoy: But last night you said...

Spock: Last night we said many things. Inside of us, we both know that you belong with Jim. You are part of his work, the thing that keeps him going. If you leave him, you will regret it.

McCoy: What about us?

Spock (warmly): We will always have Paloris.

Kirk and McCoy mount the transporter platform. Spock and Scotty watch them fade away.

Spock (murmuring to himself): Here is looking at you, Leonard.

Suddenly, the Romulan commander bursts into the hall. Catching the last glimpses of Kirk and McCoy, she reaches for her communicator.

Spock (raising a phaser): Put down that communicator!

Romulan commander (into communicator): Get me Romulan command!

Spock kills her. The next moment, the police pour into the hall.

Scotty: The Romulan commander has been killed...

Everybody waits for Scotty's next words.

Scotty: Round up the usual suspects.

The police force leaves, and Scotty turns to Spock.

Scotty: Spock, I think you've become a patriot.

Spock: This seemed like a good time to start.

Scotty (opening a bottle): I think perhaps you're right.

He looks at the bottle -- it's Romulan ale. He throws the bottle into the recycler.

Spock: Scotty, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

The two men walk into the fog, as Uhura sings:

Oh yes, the world will always welcome lovers
As time goes by.