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Kirk groaned as the alarm woke him from the first decent night's sleep he'd had for weeks. What the HELL had happened now? It had all been so peaceful; the mission had been a success, and everyone was looking forward to a well-deserved R & R when the blasted epidemic had struck the crew. Only himself, Scotty, and of course Spock of the senior officers had escaped, and it had been sheer hell for a while. Then the sudden unexplained breakdown in Engineering that had sent the Enterprise spinning wildly through a time-warp to finish up in orbit round 20th century Earth. There had been nothing else to do but remain where they were until enough of the crew were back on their feet to deal with the problem. As soon as enough of the bridge crew had recovered to take over, Kirk had retired to his quarters and thankfully sunk into oblivion. Now this. Irritably he punched the intercom button.
"Well?" he growled - this had better be important; it was.
"McCoy here. Scotty's just collapsed in Engineering. I've got him in sickbay - I think you'd better come and take a look at him."
"On my way." So Scotty had ignored his advice and carried on - he should have known. The stubborn fool thought that only he could look after his beloved engines.
He arrived in sickbay to find that Scotty had already come round, and a full scale argument was in session.
"I've got to get back - it's my fault, and I must try to rectify it."
"Your collapse is certainly your own fault," Spock replied distantly. "If you hadn't been so obstinate, and rested when you were told to, it would not have happened."
Scotty frowned, and was about to speak when Kirk interrupted. "All right, calm down. What's done is done, and for all we know, it might have happened anyway - perhaps a delayed reaction to the epidemic."
McCoy broke in then. "How am I supposed to work when half the crew's in here upsetting my patients? Why can't you all get out and attend to your own departments. Not you!" He laid a hand on Scotty's shoulder as the engineer tried to get up. "You're staying here even if I have to knock you out to keep you!"
A few days later, when Scotty was fully recovered, the senior officers were all gathered in the briefing room. Scotty was feeling, in his own dialect, scunnered. Under Spock's direction the damage to the engines had been put right, and they were only awaiting the final figures from the computer before using the slingshot effect to return to their own time. That blasted Vulcan had done it again. He'd show him - one day!
They were interrupted by the intercom. Kirk answered it, and returned looking perturbed.
"What's wrong now?" asked McCoy.
"It's McPhee. Apparently he's not fully recovered from the epidemic; anyway, he's broken out of sickbay, stolen a shuttlecraft, and headed for Earth. I'll have to send someone to look for him. More delay!" Kirk looked anxious as well as angry.
Scotty felt as if everyone was blaming him for this as well. "I'll go. He's one of my men, and the whole thing's my fault, so I should be the one to go."
"Don't be stupid," said Kirk. "How can it be your fault?"
"If I'd spotted the fault in Engineering sooner, we wouldn't be here."
"If it comes to that, if it hadn't been for the epidemic we'd all be on shore leave now," replied McCoy. "Anyway, I don't think you're fit enough to go."
Scotty looked round the room. "I can see it in your faces," he said irrationally. "You all think it's my fault. I ought to go."
The argument raged, but Scotty was adamant; he wanted to go. Kirk finally had to agree, and the meeting was ended to allow preparations to be made. Only Kirk and McCoy were left.
"I'm not happy about this, Jim - I don't think he's fit enough yet. Exhaustion is a funny thing - you can't be sure the patient's fully recovered."
"I can't say I'm any too happy myself, but you know Scotty; if we don't let him go he's going to brood about it, and convince himself we're all against him. It's a pity I can't afford to send you along with him."
The two men thought for a moment, then McCoy smiled. "How about sending Christine with him? She can keep an eye on him, and if they pretend to be married, it will provide a good cover story if they need one."
"Christine would never agree - you know how she feels about Spock," retorted Kirk.
"She just might if we tell her that the thought of her with another man might arouse Spock's Human jealousy."
"She'd never fall for that!"
"A woman in love will believe anything she wants to believe," grinned Bones. The two men looked at each other, one laughing, the other puzzled.
"Well, anything is worth a try," said Kirk at last.
"Do you really believe he might get jealous?" Christine asked eagerly.
McCoy looked serious, although his eyes twinkled. "Well, he is half Human."
Christine thought for a moment. "I suppose I should go - Mr. Scott needs looking after."
"Thank you, Christine, that's a load off my mind," said Kirk, who was trying not to look at the self-satisfied McCoy, knowing that if he did so he would find it impossible to keep from laughing.
"I dinna ken why the lassie has tae come," grumbled Scotty.
"Well, you never know," Kirk soothed him. "You might need a cover story, and a married couple on holiday won't arouse any suspicions."
Unconvinced, Scotty was prepared to argue the point, but was interrupted by Chekov. "We've discovered Mr. McPhee's location, sir. He appears to be in what was called a 'Glesga pub' with several strange people wearing unusual clothes."
Spock interrupted. "I have the precise coordinates now, Captain. It appears that the men with him are proposing to attend what they refer to as a 'football match'."
Scotty's eyes gleamed. "I wonder..." he murmured thoughtfully. Kirk looked at him inquiringly. "Ah've jist remembered stories ma grandfaither used tae tell me aboot how, long ago, nations used tae play this game called fitba. It consisted o' twa teams, each o' eleven men, who wid try tae pit the ball in the opposing team's net. This was called a goal. Whoever scored the maist goals won the game."
"It sounds very childish to me," said Spock disparagingly.
"Dinna knock it till ye've tried it, laddie!" retorted Scott. "Men wid go crazy for joy if their nation won."
Spock said nothing, but his look conveyed all.
"All right, that's enough, you'd better get going," Kirk interrupted. "Mr. Spock will beam down with you and collect the Galileo - at least McPhee had the sense to land in a secluded area and conceal the shuttlecraft. You'll have to make your own way into Glasgow from there - I'll expect to hear from you as soon as you've located McPhee."
As Scotty and Christine prepared to leave the Galileo, she looked at Spock hopefully. Was there a gleam of jealousy in his dark eyes? She believed there was. Would he say anything before she and Scotty left? He did, but not what she had expected.
"We will expect you to get in touch at once if Mr. Scott seems to be overdoing things again, Nurse," he said coolly.
"I hope I would not need to be reminded of that, sir," she said dejectedly. "If you're ready, Mr. Scott, we should be on our way."
Scotty turned and stared at Spock, wondering what he could have said to make the lassie so upset. Oh well, better get on with it; the sooner they found McPhee, the sooner they could all go home.
A few hours later the couple walked into the pub where McPhee had been located.
"I don't see him, Mr. Scott," said Christine.
"Don't you think you ought to call me Scotty, since we're supposed to be married?"
"Er... yes, I suppose so, Mr... er... Scotty."
"You sit there; I'll get you a drink, and ask about McPhee."
Naturally, the barman could not remember one of the many customers he had served that day. Scotty returned to Christine, and was about to give her this information when a slightly inebriated gentleman made his presence felt. "Haw, Jimmy! Did ah hear ye asking fur a wee guy called McPhee?"
"Aye, ye did," Scotty replied cautiously.
"A wee chap wi' broon curly hair?" the stranger wanted to know.
"Aye," repeated Scotty.
"A nice wee fella... rather strange... no' quite wi' us, if ye ken whit ah mean' Whit wid ye be wantin' wi' him?"
Scotty hurriedly thought up a good reason. "I'm his uncle. Scott's the name - Scotty to my friends, and this is, er, my wife, Christine."
"0h, I see," their friend replied. "Well, ma name's Gordon, Hamish Gordon."
Christine interrupted. "Mr. Gordon, what did you mean about my... my husband's nephew being rather strange?"
Hamish looked at her in surprise. "Well - ye ken. He doesna' seem tae be clued up aboot whit's goin' on in the world. The puir laddie didna' even know the match wis on the morra... and it the maist important o' all - Scotland versus England," he intoned almost reverently.
Scotty and Christine looked at each other. "You see," Scotty explained, "he has been away from home for quite a long time - only just got back, that's why I want to see him."
"Aye, I suppose that could explain it. Onyway, that's no' helpin' ye tae find him. Ah dinna ken where he is noo, but ah'm meetin' him here the morra morning fur a wee dram before we go tae the match. Why not join us... aboot eleven o'clock, then." Taking their consent for granted, he vanished in the crowd.
"Well, Christine, should we wait, or should we try to find him tonight?" asked Scotty.
She looked at him, and saw the signs of strain in his face. "No, sir, we could spend a lot of time looking, and not find him in the end. At least we know where he'll be tomorrow. I think it would be best if we put up for the night at a hotel."
"Ur ye makin' an improper suggestion tae a superior officer, Christine?" Scotty asked with a broad grin.
She blushed in confusion. "No, sir, it's just that, er, umm..."
"It's all right, Christine, I ken whit ye meant. But ye do realise, of course, that we'll have tae share a room? Separate beds, of course," he went on hastily as Christine looked startled. "Ye ken it widna look right fur a married couple tae ask fur separate rooms. And another thing - please try an' remember tae call me Scotty. Even in these backward days a man disnae insist on his wife callin' him 'sir'."
"Of course, er, Scotty. I forgot," Christine replied.
Next morning Scotty and Christine arrived early at the pub. They had agreed it would be best if they got there before McPhee, and of course, before their new-found friend. They were just beginning to think he wasn't going to show up when they saw him at the bar. McPhee purchased a drink, and retired to a corner to enjoy his newly discovered beverage. Scotty approached him from behind in case he took fright at the approach of his formidable superior.
"Whit the hell dae ye think ye're daein', laddie?" Scotty said severely.
McPhee turned round with a startled expression. "Mr. Scott, sir. What are you doing here?"
"Ma question should be answered first, dae ye no' think so?" Scotty barked. McPhee gulped with dismay, knowing full well that in this mood Scotty would accord him no mercy; he was in for a severe reprimand even before he returned to the Enterprise to face the combined wrath of the Captain and the First Officer. McPhee thought longingly of a nice, deep hole somewhere far away. He supposed he had better explain.
"Well sir, you see, my father's family came from Scotland, and I've never seen it, and I've always wanted to, and... and I was so fed up in sickbay with nothing to do, especially when we should have been on leave, and I found out we were in orbit round Earth, and it seemed a good idea, and.... and..." His disjointed explanation limped to a halt in the face of Scotty's discouraging stare.
"Aye well, laddie, I ken it wis an unfortunate end tae yer first mission, but that's nae excuse. God help ye when the Captain gets his hands on ye!"
Christine broke in. "I think we ought to get back, Scotty, before Mr. Gordon arrives."
"Too late - he's here," said Scotty resignedly.
"So ye found him, then," Hamish greeted them cheerfully.
Christine explained the situation to McPhee, while Scotty tried to convince Hamish that they had to leave right away.
"Oh, ye canna dae that tae the puir wee sowl! He's that excited aboot seein' the game. Never been tae an international, he wis tellin' me. Surely a few hours widna' mak' ony difference? The gemme'll be over by five, and Ah'll show ye the best way through the crowds tae get ye hame."
Scotty looked at McPhee's eager face and hesitated. It would be quite a thrill to experience at first-hand the thrilling stories his grandfather used to tell him, but what would Jim say? Actually, he need never know, if Christine could be persuaded to go along with it.
Christine looked from one to the other; they were both watching her like small boys waiting expectantly for a great treat.
"We-ell," she said slowly, "it wouldn't delay us too long, I suppose."
"Great!" said Hamish. "We've time for a dram before we go."
A couple of hours later four slightly merry people made their way towards Hampden Park to join many more slightly or wholly merry people and lend their support to the Scottish team. As they approached the ground Christine stopped beside a vendor selling - among other things - tartan scarves and tammies.
"I think we should be pro-properly attired for thish game," she said, not exactly drunkenly, but certainly not so coherently as usual. Scotty felt rather guilty. He shouldn't have let her drink all that whisky; after all, she wasn't used to it. At least there was plenty of time to sober her up before the Captain, Bones or Spock saw her. Anyway, he was quite in agreement - they should be properly dressed. Within a few minutes Scotty, Christine and McPhee had bedecked themselves with tartan scarves, tammies and rosettes; Christine had also insisted on buying a ricketty; she thought the noise made by this strange wooden instrument was wonderful, although the others implored her not to twirl it anywhere near their ears.
At last they were finally there - Hampden Park... Scotland V England. Scotty and McPhee looked at each other. Both had heard the same wonderful tales passed down from their grandfathers. The atmosphere was intense as 90,000 people, mostly Scots, stood or sat in the vast stadium, urging their team on to victory. Their voices rose in salute to their heroes; their cries of dismay when those same heroes made some mistake, or the opposing team some masterly move, were heartrending. There were no goals but plenty of thrills in this match until almost the end of the game. The Scottish right winger passed to the midfield, then ran on to intercept the return ball... and GOAL!!!!! Scotland had scored! The crowd went wild with joy. None more so than the three people to whom the game had been a thrilling new experience. As they joined in the hugging and shouts of joy, Scotty turned to McPhee.
"Well, dae ye think it wis worth it, Angus?"
"Aye, Uncle Scotty, it wis," and McPhee grinned happily as Scotty playfully punched him for attempting to imitate his Scottish accent.
"Ye cheeky monkey!"
It was a very happy crew that made their way back through the Glasgow streets thronged with equally jubilant supporters who laughed and joked with each other as they walked along. Total strangers were the best of friends; enemies were forgiven, and brought into the fold.
"Ah think we ought tae huv a celebration drink," said Hamish.
"Great idea," said Christine. "Where's the nearest pub?"
Scotty was past caring whether he and his companions returned to the Enterprise drunk or sober, and readily agreed.
An hour or so later, he began to think they really should be getting back. He left the crowd and went out to contact the Enterprise. "Mishun accomplished, sir. When dae ye want us back?"
"Scotty, where the hell have you been? We've all been worried sick about you. Are you all right?"
"Aye, Captain, we're all... all... ri... allri... all O.K."
"Mr. Scott! Are you drunk?"
"No, shir, not quite. Nearly, but not quite."
"Good God! What on Earth...! Oh, never mind, the important thing is to get you back. The transporter is out of action. You'll have to go back to your original beamdown point, and Mr. Spock will meet you with the Galileo."
"Whit's wrong wi' the transporter, sir?" asked Scotty anxiously.
"How do I know? You can have a look at it when you get back."
Scotty returned to the others, and told them the change in plan.
"Well, Hamish, we'd like tae thank ye fur yur hospitality." Scotty warmly shook hands with their new friend. "We've all enjoyed ourselves tremendously." The others agreed, and added their farewells.
"If ye're sure ye must go, ah'll get ye there - ah've a van ah can borrow, fur ye'll no get transport noo."
Spock was beginning to wonder what these mad Humans could be up to now when he heard a ricketty old van swerve along the path. From it came the unmistakeable tones of Scotty's voice raised in song. The van stopped a few yards from where the Galileo was hidden, and with a final "Scoot - land - the - Braaave", the figures of Scotty, McPhee and Christine stumbled out. Before anyone could stop her, Christine dragged their new friend to meet Spock.
"Awfy pleased tae meet ye, sur," he said, apparently seeing nothing unusual in a shuttlecraft or a totally outraged Vulcan. Spock coldly ignored both Christine and Hamish, and turned to Scotty.
"If you are ready, Mr. Scott," he said pointedly, then turned and entered the Galileo. The others made their final farewells to the now almost unconscious Hamish, and followed him. Spock barely glanced at his passengers, but the happy trio could only stand and giggle childishly at anything and everything. Christine in fact found it vastly amusing to wrap her tartan scarf around Spock's neck and urge him to join in their rendition of 'Flower of Scotland', an invitation he had not the least difficulty in refusing. If looks could have killed, poor Christine would have been ten feet under, but at that moment she couldn't have cared less.
A few hours later none of the culprits felt much like singing. The effects of the whisky had worn off, thanks to one of McCoy's more noxious potions, and each of them had undergone an interview with the Captain which they somehow did not care to discuss. On the way to her quarters, Christine saw Spock approaching. Too late to avoid him, and she supposed she ought to apologise. She shuddered at the thought. Any of the others would have understood, but Spock! Screwing up her courage she said, "Mr. Spock, sir..." and hesitated.
"Yes, Nurse Chapel?" His voice dripped icicles.
"I'd like to apologise for last evening, sir. I'm afraid I don't remember much about it, but I believe I was... rather rude to you."
"Yes, you were; but I feel most of the blame lies with Mr. Scott for allowing you to drink so much of that curious beverage, especially when he is so familiar with its effects..."
Christine blushed, but could think of nothing to say. Just then Scotty emerged from the transporter room.
"Weel, that's it fixed, then - nae problem."
"What was wrong with it?" Spock inquired.
Scotty winked. "Wouldn't you like to know, laddie; wouldn't you like to know!" He grinned and wandered off along the corridor, singing loudly. "Bonnie Scotland, Bonnie Scotland, we'll support ye evermair... we'll support ye..."
Meanwhile, in a multi-storey flat in the heart of the Gorbals, Hamish was facing the wrath of his wife.
"That's it, Hamish Gordon! Ye're jinin' the A.A. the morra! Spaceships I could maybe swallow... but green men wi' pointed ears... never!"