By Christina Moore
Risa – February 15, 2370
“Not ta be rude or anythin’ laddie, but yer blockin’ me sun.”
“In your vernacular, Captain Scott, the word is ‘lassie.’”
Montgomery Scott opened his eyes to see a tall, blonde female standing next to his deck chair. Despite the somewhat austere air she exuded, he actually thought her rather attractive, and considering himself a gentleman, he sat up to give her his full attention. His visitor, a Starfleet admiral of some rank given the pins on her collar, apparently took that as a cue to join him, and sat gracefully on the edge of the deck chair next to his, crossing her feet at the ankles and folding her hands in her lap.
Scott eyed her for a moment before saying, “Given ye called me by me old rank and the fact that ye came all the way to this over-exotic planet where there’s skin flashin’ as far as the eye can see—that and that dandy uniform yer wearin’ must mean yer wantin’ somethin’ from me.”
The woman smiled. “Guilty as charged, Captain,” she replied politely with a nod of her head. “I’d like to offer you a job.”
“Lassie,” he countered, which broadened the woman’s smile a fraction, “I retired from Starfleet more’n seventy-five years ago. I may not quite be ready t’ put m’self out to pasture, but I’m far too outdated t’ be of any use t’ you.”
“Don’t be so sure about that, Captain,” his visitor replied. “The very fact that you miraculously survived three-quarters of a century in a continuously recycling transporter pattern buffer—which I believe was your idea—is in itself not only a miracle, but a testament to your engineering genius. I think that even being seventy-six years out of date, your insight could prove invaluable to the current generation of Starfleet officers.”
Scott narrowed his yes. “And just who might ye be anyway? Have ye even the authority t’ be offerin’ me anythin’?” he asked.
She actually chuckled. “I should have considered that you wouldn’t be familiar with our current rank insignia, Captain. I’m Fleet Admiral Alynna Necheyev, Commander-in-Chief of Starfleet.”
Necheyev held out her hand, and rather a bit stunned, Scott reached out and shook it mutely. When at last his voice returned, he said, “My, my. To what do I owe the honor of a visit from the top admiral in Starfleet? Could ye not send one of yer lackeys t’ do the beggin’ for ye?”
At her raised eyebrow, Scott felt himself blushing all the way up to his mustache. “My apologies, Admiral. That was a wee bit rude. I just… I don’t see why ye’d go t’ the trouble o’ trackin’ me down and comin’ all the way out here yerself.”
“It’s quite simple, really. I don’t want you to say no.”
This time it was he who raised an eyebrow. “I think I’ve already done that.”
Necheyev smiled that benign smile of hers again, and somehow Scott knew that this woman was a shrewd player in the political arena—she would have to be to get to the top of the Starfleet food chain. He understood now why she had come herself, because it would have been only too easy for him to dismiss one of her subordinates, and he doubted many people told her “no.”
“According to one Lt. Commander Geordi La Forge,” the admiral began, “you said you never wanted to be anything but an engineer.”
“Aye, that’s true,” he replied, remembering the new Enterprise’s engineer fondly.
“So be an engineer again, Captain.”
Scott felt his eyes widen. “Beggin’ yer pardon, Admiral, but what part o’ me bein’ seventy-six years out of date don’t ye understand? I cannae be an engineer in today’s Starfleet—all yer gadgets and gizmos are beyond me understandin.’”
Necheyev shook her head. “Though I think you’re selling yourself short, Captain, I’m not asking you to be the chief engineer of a starship—though I daresay you could be that again given enough time.”
Scott sighed. “So what is it yer wantin’ from me then?”
Her smile widened. “The Starfleet Corps of Engineers—I’d like you to run it.”
His eyes widened again. “Ye want me t’ be in charge o’ the SCE? Haven’t ye got anybody else? Somebody more qualified, perhaps?”
“Perhaps,” she conceded. “But I want you.”
“If I may be frank with ye, lassie, I think what yer’ wantin’ is another feather in yer cap. Landin’ the ‘living legend’ would sure be a pretty one when it comes to playing the politics game. I’m tellin’ ye now, I’ll not be anybody’s pawn. I wasn’t in my time, I won’t be in yours.”
His visitor sighed lightly. “I’ll not insult your intelligence by denying that I haven’t thought of that,” Necheyev said, “but that is honestly not why I’m here. I came here in person to ask you to take this job because I truly believe you would be an asset, to Starfleet and the Federation.”
She smiled again. “And if you accept, there will be a promotion in it for you. I can skip you all the way to vice admiral.”
“Ye don’t need t’ be danglin’ the carrot o’ promotion in front o’ me, Admiral. I never was one that cared much for all the rank and privilege,” Scott told her.
Necheyev shrugged her thin shoulders lightly. “So it’ll be a promotion on paper only, if that suits you,” she said. “You’ll still have all the ‘rank and privilege’ as you put it, as well as the authority of said rank, but you’re perfectly welcome to continue going by Captain if you like. You can go by ‘Mr. Scott’ for all I care. Just say yes.”
For a long, silent moment, Scott studied Necheyev with his own shrewd eye. “Tell me one thing, if’n ye will, Admiral—why me? In all honesty, why not go with someone a wee bit more qualified?” he asked, genuinely curious as to what her answer would be.
His visitor smiled once more, and this time it was the genuine article, not that “this is my business deal smile” expression she’d been wearing up until now.
“Because you’re Montgomery Scott—you’re the Miracle Worker.”
San Francisco, Earth – April 1, 2370
The current uniform was a glorified pantsuit that he just couldn’t get used to. He’d tried wearing it, but it just didn’t feel right. Scott preferred his turtleneck and vest, the latter of which had a multitude of pockets along its front in which he could store a multitude of tools for ease of access. It was comfortable and durable, and when he’d presented himself to Admiral Necheyev in her office just a short while ago, she’d only raised her eyebrow at his appearance, then she’d gotten down to business.
The truth was, he mused, that he was glad she’d offered him the job. He’d had a good time traveling in the last year since he’d been rescued by the crew of the new Enterprise, visiting planets he’d been to before in his heyday with Kirk, McCoy and Spock, as well as some he’d never even heard of. He’d even visited with the ailing Leonard McCoy (whom he’d learned was a retired admiral himself) for a while, and during his stay with his old friend, he’d been visited by another: Spock had come calling, ostensibly to check in on McCoy, but had received quite the shock to learn that Scott himself was alive and well. Seeing his old shipmates again, learning what had happened to them and to the others… that had been really good for him. He’d needed to know.
But about the time that Alynna Necheyev had visited him on that Risan beach, he’d been feeling rather melancholy. He missed being in an engine room. He missed being needed. Most of all, he missed having a purpose. On the Enterprise he’d always had a purpose, and that was keeping that beautiful ship from flying apart at the seams. He remembered those days with bittersweet fondness, and often sighed when the memories came to him.
That day on the beach, before Necheyev had blocked his sunlight, he’d been wondering what to do with himself. Scott didn’t think he could travel forever, not in a tiny little shuttlepod. He was an engineer, a man used to working with his hands, and he had never liked being idle. When the admiral had made her offer, a lot of his bluster was for show—he didn’t want to seem too eager, too desperate or needy. He’d also, if he were honest with himself, been scared out of his wits. How was he supposed to compete with all the young bucks running around out there today? They knew a great deal more about the current state of warp field mechanics and quantum physics than he did—would they consider him as outdated as he considered himself? Would they think he was just in the way of their own greatness?
Montgomery Scott knew that there was only one way to find out.
So he said yes to Admiral Necheyev’s deal, even the promotion. He wore one of his two rank pins over the top pocket on the right side of his vest, but that was as far as he was willing to go where his new rank was concerned. Over the last six weeks, despite his having told Jean-Luc Picard he could not “start again like a raw cadet,” he had done what the younger captain had suggested he do a year ago—poured over one technical manual after another. Some of the reading had surprised him, shocked him—stunned him even—but he’d forced himself to slog through it so that he would be prepared to take over the Starfleet Corps of Engineers come the start of the year’s second quarter. Scott had even logged a few hundred hours in holodeck simulations, so that he could familiarize himself with the new tools of the trade and the new engines that went into today’s starships.
He still felt like he was too far behind today’s engineers, but he felt a hell of a lot better about himself and was more confident in his ability to actually do this job than he had been a month and a half ago. Scott knew that, given time, he would start to feel like a real engineer again, and all the technobabble he’d absorbed from his reading and that which he had yet to learn would become second nature to him, just as it had when he was on his Enterprise.
Right now, he was on his way over to the SCE building to get acquainted with his staff. Necheyev herself had chosen to escort him and make the introductions. He tried not to show how nervous he felt as they made their way across the Starfleet complex in San Francisco.
They entered the lobby of the impressive building (that the SCE even had their own building was an improvement from his time) and she guided him over to a lift, which they rode to the top floor of the building. When they exited into a smaller lobby, the receptionist at the desk, an ensign by rank, shot out of her chair and called out, “Admiral on deck!” as she stood stiffly at attention.
The few men and women in the lobby followed suit and stood at attention.
“At ease, everyone,” Necheyev told them. “My visit will be brief. I just wanted to introduce you all to your new Director, Vice Admiral Montgomery Scott. I believe you all know who he is.”
After a round of introductions with suddenly nervous or enthusiastic personnel, during which Scotty met his administrative assistant (the young ensign at the front desk) as well as the SCE’s deputy director, Necheyev bid them all farewell and headed for the lift.
As she was waiting for the car to arrive, she heard a young man say to Scott, “Admiral, sir, it is such an honor to meet you! I almost can’t believe it’s really you, sir—you’re a legend in the SCE!”
“Well, now let’s get one thing straight right away, laddie,” Scott told him. “Despite what me official papers or this here rank pin says, there’s no need t’ call me Admiral.”
“Uh… sir, then?” the young officer queried.
Necheyev glanced sidelong at the gaggle of officers standing around their new Director, smiling as the lift arrived and the door opened for her. As she was stepping through it, Scott’s reply came to her:
“I suppose ‘sir’ will do in a crunch, lad, but what I’d prefer is if ye call me Mr. Scott. Or better yet—
“—just call me Scotty.”