PG, one cuss word
Scotty belongs to Paramount, everyone else belongs to me.
Notes: Inspired by my friend Rach, a look at Scotty from fifteen through sixteen; how he gets into the idea of testing the Perera Field Theory mentioned in the novel Kobayashi Maru, as well as how he eventually gets the notion to go into Starfleet, all from the point of view of someone who has more in common with him than just a few coincidental traits. And how that person eventually comes to terms with the connection. Read it in its original, and best, format here, where the two parts are intact and don't have to be broken up by word limits.
Junkyard Dogs: Part I.I
The irony didn't escape him.
It wasn't as though the basic necessities weren't provided for every single Earth resident; food, clothing, shelter, healthcare, education... all available to anyone who wanted 'em. Sure, after all the basic necessities things had to be earned, but everyone was afforded the opportunity to enable themselves to do so.
Therefore, the fact that Jay could hear a thief mucking around his junk yard struck him as somehow ironic. The fact that it was the third time someone had been prowling around in as many weeks was a good reminder that there would always be useless people in society, no matter how much opportunity was given.
This time, he was ready. He didn't bother with a stun-gun; he took a cricket bat he kept for just these purposes. It was late, probably close to midnight, and there was a fairly steady mist coming down. After the first two break-ins, he'd decided to stick around the yard for a few nights to see if he couldn't catch the culprit in the act, and then soundly make the culprit regret being there. Hadn't found what had been taken yet, but there were only so many reasons someone would be prowling around a junk yard in the middle of the night.
His business partner had suggested it might not be that good an idea to go bashing in the skulls of any lurkers, maybe just call the authorities. But Jay was a scrapper, and while he didn't plan on killing anyone tonight, he did plan on causing a hurting to whoever decided to make themselves a nuisance.
The thief in question wasn't trying too hard to be sneaky. Jay could see the weak light from under one of the wrecked skimmers, and a pair of beat up old leather boots sticking out from under it. Whoever was under there didn't hear him approach; admittedly, though, he wasn't exactly broadcasting his presence. After a few moments of watching, Jay quietly leaned his cricket bat against the wrecked bumper of another skimmer. Figured that he could grab it fast, if his fists weren't enough to do the trick.
He wasted no time; grabbed the boots sticking out and dragged the body wearing the boots out from under the skimmer. Not too hard a task, considering that the ground was muddy.
What he wasn't prepared for was the full, feral fury that body was capable of. Jay barely got the thief out from under the vehicle before there were fists flying rather erratically, and none of them his own. He didn't even have a chance to go for his bat; something snarled and hit him upside the head, not quite hard enough to ring his bell, and then tried to get free.
He shook off the hit, then jumped just as the thief was scrambling up, slamming the body back down in the mud. And he was just about to start swinging himself when he caught a look at the thief's face... muddy, barely illuminated, but still entirely recognizable.
He dropped his fist.
"Should I call ahead to the hospital?" Winslow asked, without looking up from where he was finishing the accounting. While he could have done it tomorrow, he had figured that it might not be a bad idea to stick around a couple nights and make sure Jay didn't land himself in prison for homicide.
"No," Jay said, and Winslow glanced up to see that Jay had the thief in hand.
He looked back down at his books as he processed what he saw, and then looked right back up again, squinting. And one of his eyebrows rose slowly. "Well."
"Aye." Jay let go of the thief's arm, shaking his head.
The thief was actually not much of a thief, at least on looks. More like... well, like a boy. Covered in mud, soaked, dressed in some fairly ratty clothes, he was quite a sight. Wiry thing; looked just a little too lean, a little too thin. If not for the fact that Winslow knew who he was, the suggestion might have been to call the authorities and send him to detention.
"Cait Scott's boy," Winslow said, after a moment. "Not exactly the thief we were expecting."
"I'm not a thief!" the boy snarled back, looking wired to run and defiant. "I dinna take a thing!"
"What the Hell were ye doin' here, then?" Jay snapped back, glaring at the kid.
The kid didn't try to hold the look, just turned his head away and stared fixedly at a spot on the floor to his side. Sullen, but obviously upset.
"Should I get him a towel, at least?" Winslow asked, as much to break the tense silence as anything else.
"I'll get it." Jay was still scowling when he stalked out of the office, shoulders hunched up.
"So, what were you doing?" Winslow asked, after Jay was gone.
"Just fixin' things," the boy replied, barely audible, not looking up. He continued to glare at the floorboards, but he was working his jaw in a way that had nothing to do with anger.
"Fixing things... in a junk yard." Well, that was an interesting hobby. Especially for a fifteen year old, in the middle of the night, in the rain. "Why?" He didn't get an answer, and prompted again, "Montgomery. Why?"
Either shocked by the fact that Winslow knew his name, or just responding to the tone of the question, the boy froze for a moment and then sighed, a resigned sound. "I saw that skimmer last week while I was here, an' I knew I could fix it. There isna much wrong with it, mechanically speakin'."
Winslow nodded; his next question would have been why at this hour, alone in the rain, but then Jay stalked back out again.
"Here. Clean yerself up," he said, brusquely, holding the towel out. "I'm goin' to call yer mother, and have her come and get ye."
"She's not home," the boy said, backing up a step, any defiance in his expression draining away. "I can walk back, it's not that far."
"If yer family's still livin' where they always have, it's all the way across the city and then some." Apparently, Jay didn't want to hold the towel out any longer, and laid it across the back of a chair. Then he headed to the comm.
Winslow watched between them for a moment; it was pretty obvious to him that Montgomery was about to take off out the door, and he was certain that Jay wouldn't be able to catch up fast enough. And there was no way he was about to try to go running after someone decades younger than he was. "Why don't you just take him home yourself? A little out of the way, but that saves a good deal of trouble on all sides."
Jay stared at him... actually, both of them stared at him. Disbelief, surprise, wariness and anxiety. Winslow refused to allow himself to compare those expressions.
"It just saves some trouble," Winslow repeated. All the while thinking, "Likely, saving it for later."
Jay worked his hands on the steering wheel of the skimmer, peering out into the mist and waiting for the traffic signal to change. The silence was suffocating; he reminded himself to have a word with Winslow when this was over. Actually, several words. Some of them unsuitable for polite company.
Caitlyn Scott's son stared out the window, arms crossed tight, and Jay was half tempted just to let the kid out to walk the rest of the way. He wouldn't, but this comparatively short ride was miserably uncomfortable. He was pretty sure the boy wouldn't mind, either. The only reason the kid took the ride was to avoid having anyone called to come and pick him up, including the authorities.
Jay tapped his fingers, then accelerated a little harder than he normally would have, only to be caught by the next signal. Middle of the bloody night, and it figured he had to hit every one. If he had a sensor net in his skimmer, of course, the signals would scan his vehicle and change for him, but Jay didn't particularly like anyone being able to track his skimmer and record the movements. In as such, he had to just wait for the damn timer.
"Fixin' a totalled skimmer," he said after a moment, more to break the silence than start a conversation. "In the middle o' the night."
"Aye, sir," the boy replied, and it didn't even qualify for a half-hearted tone. When it became perfectly apparent that he wasn't going to be allowed to get away, and that the least bad option out of several bad options was to be escorted home, any rebellion ended. Reminded Jay a little of one of those animals that just went lifeless when confronted with a threat, but he didn't know why he thought of it.
Silence fell again. It was closer to one in the morning now; Jay had insisted the kid go back to the worker's area, get washed up, and put some non-muddy clothes on. No way he was going to let the seats of his vehicle get ruined. His night already had been.
Cleaned up, wearing coveralls three sizes too big, any impressions of a thief had pretty much vanished. Favored his mother, the boy did, almost uncannily. Jay thought that was probably a good thing, but it didn't make this ride any less uncomfortable. At least the boy wasn't asking questions about how Jay and Winslow knew his mother. Jay didn't really want to contemplate how he'd answer those.
"When's the last time ye ate?"
"Lunch." There was a pause, then the boy added, "I'll make somethin' when I get home."
The rest of the drive went back to that suffocating silence. Jay didn't have anything else he wanted to ask, or to say, and was pretty sure the feeling was mutual. If not for vastly different reasons.
"This is fine," the boy said, a little rushed, just before Jay was ready to turn up the driveway. "I... I mean..."
Didn't want anyone hearing a skimmer come up to the house. Jay stopped the vehicle. "Ye can just send those coveralls back in the post."
"Aye, sir." And without wasting another moment, the kid all but jumped out of the skimmer and jogged up the drive.
Jay hesitated only a moment more, and then pulled away. It was a relief.
It had been a mutual decision. Maybe not an easy one, but when it was all weighed and measured out, it had seemed like the most sensible one at the time. Cait would stay with her often-absent husband, and Jay enlisted in the Merchant Marine, leaving the yard to Winslow to run for awhile, just so they couldn't go changing their minds about it.
Jay was in a foul mood when he came back to work the next morning. And the day after. Winslow wisely kept quiet; Jay thought about telling the old man exactly what he thought about the interference, but that would mean talking about the kid, and Jay just didn't want to. Best to forget the encounter. All choices had already been made, long ago -- dwelling on those now would only make everyone miserable. Any contact with that family could only lead to bad things.
Sure, he coulda handled it better. No doubts about that. It wasn't really the boy's fault that Jay had some... past history with his mother. In fact, Jay was sure that kid was about the only innocent in the whole mess they got themselves into, long ago.
She'd always been on the move. She loved travel, loved cooking, loved being renowned for her talents. She was passionate about it, too, Cait was. Jay supposed Robert, much as he didn't care for the man, was probably a better match for the restless-spirited Caitlyn. Wasn't home all that much either, and didn't try to keep her back to keep the home fires burning. Didn't ask she take his name, didn't do anything except eventually ask her for children.
It was a pretty passionless marriage. Cait had told Jay that, honestly, laying in his arms one night while her husband was halfway across the quadrant doing his thing. Oh, she loved Robert. But, in the way a lot of spouses claimed throughout the centuries, wasn't all that much in love with him. Jay, on the other hand, had grown up with Cait and Edward and Charlie. Went to school with them, even got into trouble with them. Had a romance with Cait before she took off for better and brighter things. And when she came back for a year to prepare for starting a family -- getting the house in order, working out the finances, all of it pretty damn organized -- they happened to go rekindling their old flame before Robert was due back from his travels for his... contribution.
In the end, it had been a mutual decision to break it off. Jay told her flat out that he'd marry her, if she decided to divorce Robert, but he didn't want to spend the rest of his life only seeing his wife on occasion. Cait wasn't ready to give up her fast-paced lifestyle, even if she did want children. Jay didn't think children should be raised by mostly absentee parents. Robert had no problems with that.
The last time he'd seen her had been eight years ago now, despite them both basing themselves around Aberdeen, and it had been nearly so uncomfortable for him as seeing her firstborn son. A brief, pitifully polite conversation, and then they split and didn't look back.
He could have handled it better. But when the boy came back three days after being caught, likely right after classes given how he was dressed, Jay was pretty damn sure Cait could have probably handled things better herself.
Who the Hell irons coveralls?
"Ye coulda sent 'em in the post," Jay said, leaning on the desk, holding his coffee mug. Mostly so he wouldn't have to see Winslow, who was sitting at said desk.
The kid didn't apparently have an answer for that. Just carefully set the cleaned, ironed coveralls over on a side table, then fidgeted. Looked like he wanted to do two or more things at the exact same time, at least one of which was to turn around and leave. After a moment, not looking at Jay or really anyone else, he finally said, "I can fix it. The skimmer, I mean, an' ye can take it into the body-shop, replace some panels, resell it on the used market."
"Make more on it partin' it out than tryin' to resell it," Jay replied, with a half-shrug that looked more casual than it felt.
Wasn't hard to see the disappointment; there was a moment, then the kid just nodded, finally looking up, though not all the directly. "Aye, sir. Then, uh..." And he shook his head, turning around and heading for the door.
"How much more ye got on it?" Jay asked, just before the kid grabbed the handle.
Another long pause, thoughtful. "Three, four hours work on the drive components. Canna do much about the sensor systems, given the body damage, but I can get it runnin'."
Jay didn't need to turn around to know that Winslow was probably watching this exchange in rapt fascination. He coulda handled things better before. It wasn't the boy's fault, that old history, and Jay didn't have to get to know him or anything, maybe just try to handle things a little better this time. "A'right. Ye can come back tomorrow, work on it. Business hours only, no more sneakin' in at night. And I dinna plan on payin' any."
"Not lookin' for pay," the kid said, but he drew himself up some and was a little more direct. "Just see no point in it not bein' fixed, if it can be."
"Fine. Bring yer own tools, and wear somethin' that ye can afford to ruin." Jay cut the conversation off with that, heading over to dump his now cool coffee out in the sink and pour himself a new cup.
"Aye, sir." There was a sort of relieved, almost happy note in the kid's voice, and then he headed out.
Jay still didn't look back at Winslow, but could feel his old friend eyeing him. After he couldn't stand it, he finally turned around and snapped, though without much bite, "Dinna say a damn thing. Keeps him from sneakin' in, and it's not like I'm plannin' on runnin' to Cait's doorstep, beggin' her to change things after this bloody long."
Winslow just returned the look, then shrugged and went back to the paperwork.