Shawn Coyne of The Story Grid calls it the “All is Lost” moment. Christopher Vogler calls it The Ordeal of the Hero’s Journey.
Basically, it’s at the center of the story, and it’s the point at which it’s “sink or swim.” The Hero faces the Dark Force and either gains the Elixir that can be brought back home to save—or doesn’t.
So which will it be?
A familiar voice comes over the intercom.
“Yes, Mr. Scott?”
“Hello, sir,” says the Boy. “Ahmed here. Good to hear your voice, Colonel. Sir.”
“What?” Kirk shouts. “Scotty, Troi, is McCoy out?”
“I’ve been showing Miss Jane how good my English has become down here, Colonel,” the Boy says. “Why, I think it’s even better than my father’s now. Don’t you think? Ask Major (MAJ) Chekhov. He’ll remember.”
“Good God,” Kirk says. “McCoy, leave Joe and Jane alone, do you hear? That’s an order!”
The Boy smiles at Jane.
“He always says that,” the Boy says. “You know the Brass. They never really know what’s going on where it matters. If you want to survive, you have to pick and choose what you pay attention to. Do you have any chocolate for me today, Miss Jane?”
Jane grips the guardrail and tries to breathe.
“MAJ Sulu,” Kirk shouts. “get her moving, up and down the aisle, to the bathroom, anywhere. We’ve got to get her away from McCoy.”
No one in the Transporter Room moves.
“Poor man,” the Boy says. “He still thinks the reasoning part of the brain runs this ship at times like these. Sad, isn’t it, Miss Jane? Although, come to think of it—maybe not as sad as…me?”
The Boy slams his hand against his abdomen.
Jane grips the guardrail even harder.
“LUST, PLAY, SEEKING!” Kirk shouts. “Get up here, Sergeants! Look, I’ll promote you to lieutenants. Just get up here and get her doing something: drinking, flirting, checking out the movie channel, I don’t care! We need to move!”
In an instant, three members of the Transporter Room crew disappear.
“He always tells them that,” says the Boy, who presses his hand even further into his abdomen. “He always promises that if they run after distractions, I’ll fade away, and everything will be forgotten and fine. They always come back, though, always…oh, Miss Jane!”
The Boy pulls his hand away, looks at it, and then turns his palm toward Jane.
“Look!” he says, “I’m bleeding!”
Jane’s knees buckle. She grips the guardrail even harder as she looks at the blood rushing out of the Boy’s abdomen.
Then she hears Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) Troi, who has moved behind her.
“Jane,” she says. “Look to your right.”
When Jane does, she sees one of the other Transporter Crew members, a young man with well-defined features, a private, straight out of boot camp, it appears.
With a slow, yet steady gait, he approaches the Boy.
The Boy begins to sink to the ground.
“The bleeding never stops here, does it, Miss Jane?” the Boy says. “At least it stopped out there. Didn’t it.”
It was not a question.
The Private tries to place his hand on the Boy’s shoulder, but the Boy shrinks away.
“He’ll try to help us, Miss Jane,” the Boy says, his eyes still fixed on Jane. “But he can’t help. We’re both medics. We both know that it’s too late for me. You remember what happened, don’t you, Miss Jane?”
LTC Troi again approaches Jane. “Look at the Private. He’s saying something.”
Jane can’t make it out.
“Don’t waste your time, girlfriend. I already told you. He can’t help you!”
It is now McCoy’s voice coming out of the Boy’s body.
“This doesn’t end well, Jane,” McCoy continues, “and you know it. Stop this now. Get out of here. I’m warning you.”
Then Jane hears the Private. But he is speaking in a woman’s voice.
“We can do this, baby!” The rich voice rolls out of the young Private. “Never give up, baby! We can do this!”
Jane straightens. “Grandmama?”
“She’s dead!” McCoy shouts, still in the Boy’s body. “And she’s not coming back. There’s nothing she can do. There’s nothing this Private can do. We are in danger, Jane. Get. The. Hell. Out. Of. Here.”
“What is going…?”
“If you don’t get out right now,” McCoy shouts, the Boy now lying on the floor. “I’ll crawl up to the damn Bridge myself and rip the controls right out of Sulu’s hands, and you’ll regret it, sister, I promise you. If I have to make a fool out of you, if I have to make you hurt yourself, I will. Survival is survival, even if that means cutting you open and taking our chances.”
The Boy/McCoy lunges to his feet.
“This is it, Jane!” he shouts. “Who’s it going to be? Me? Or the Private?”
‘That was my grandmama!’ she shouts to the Boy/McCoy. “That was . . .”
She looks toward the Private, then turns back to McCoy, and points directly at the young soldier below her.
“I’ll take the Private!” she shouts.
And in an instant, all the lights come back on.
And there, in front of her, is no longer the Boy.
It is McCoy. Smiling. A smile very different from previous ones.
“Well, my, my, Jane,” he says. He then turns toward the remaining soldiers, the three sergeants having suddenly re-appeared. “She really does mean it!”
He turns back toward Jane.
“Good for you, Jane.” He nods. “Good for you.”
At that, he turns toward the Private, who remains standing next to him.
“She’s all yours, Sir,” he says to him. “I’m ready to do whatever you need me to do.”
With a respectful nod, he then backs up to join the other soldiers.
The Private looks up at Jane.
“Yes, Jane” he says, now in his own voice. “You heard that right. He called me, ‘Sir.’”