David R. George's Crucible Trilogy explores the legacy of one pivotal, crucial moment in the lives of the men at the heart of Star Trek -- what led them to it, and to each other, and how their destinies were intertwined.
For Doctor Leonard McCoy, life takes two paradoxically divergent paths. In one, displaced in time, he saves a woman from dying in a traffice accident, and in doing so alters Earth's history. Stranded in the past, he struggles to find a way back to his own century. But living an existence he was not meant to, he will eventually have to move on, and ultimately face the shadows born of his lost life.
In the other, he is prevented from saving the woman's life, allowing Earth's history to remain unchanged. Returning to the present, he is nonetheless haunted by the echoes of an existence he never lived, and by fears which will bring him full circle to the shadows he never faced.
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Pocket Books/Star Trek
November 08, 2006
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Excerpt from Star Trek: The Original Series: Crucible: McCoy: Provenance of Shadows by David R. George III
In an instant, he saw how she would die.
As soon as Leonard McCoy pulled open one of the double doors at the front of the mission and stepped out into the cool, damp night, his gaze fell upon the figure of Edith Keeler approaching from across the street. A long dark cloak wrapped her slender frame, and a pale blue cloche crowned her short brunette locks. Street lamps painted the scene with a dim glow, their light reflected here and there in the puddles earlier left behind by an evening rain. McCoy smiled at Keeler, but although her gait carried her directly toward him, she seemed to take no notice of his presence. Her static features betrayed a person lost in her own thoughts.
Movement and a rumble off to the left caught McCoy's attention. He saw a large, squarish ground vehicle barreling down the wet macadam. McCoy jerked his head back toward Keeler and spied the portrait of inner focus still drawn on her face. She clearly didn't see the advancing vehicle, didn't hear the throaty plaint of its engine. In just seconds, she would march into its path.
In that moment, a surge of adrenaline overcame McCoy's grogginess, and his surroundings suddenly became real to him. What he had in his cordrazine-induced madness believed some sort of deception or illusion, what he had later attributed to dementia or hallucination brought on by his accidental overdose, he all at once understood to be none of those things. Somehow, as he watched Edith Keeler walking into jeopardy, all of the explanations and rationalizations for his unusual circumstances dissolved like dreams upon waking.
As McCoy started to move, he called to her -- "Miss Keeler!" -- but even that did not penetrate her concentration. He took one step, then another, but his reactions seemed sluggish, his torpor doubtless a result of the powerful chemical still not entirely purged from his body. Even as he jumped the curb and into the street, his legs felt as though they were pushing through molasses. He knew that he would not reach her in time.
And still he moved.
Three more running strides, and McCoy himself raced into harm's way. He heard the vehicle as it bore down on him, the mechanical growl of its engine now thunderous in his ears. Just before he lunged forward, the sound of brakes keened through the metropolitan night, and he saw Keeler's expression change, the woman at last startled out of her reverie.
McCoy left his feet, his arms outstretched, attempting to reach Keeler even as the vehicle skidded forward, its wheels scraping noisily along the rain-dampened pavement. He struck Keeler solidly at her waist. His momentum stopped her in midstride, and she tumbled backward, her arms flailing as she fell. A yelp emerged from her lips as she crashed down to the middle of the street.