And now, with the Elixir: three out of three.
So, let us finally return to that lone doctor, leaning against the guardrail, looking out over Boston Harbor, over at Logan International Airport, the planes landing, taking off.
“Beautiful day, huh?” comes the familiar voice, just to his left.
Doc turns to see leaning against the same guardrail, looking out at the same harbor, a tall, fit man in a polo shirt and cargo shorts.
Colonel James T. Kirk.
“Yes, it is, Colonel,” Doc says, smiling. “Yes, it is.”
“God, we were so young when we lived here, weren’t we?” Kirk says, still looking ahead.
“How true,” Doc replies, joining Kirk back in a mutual gaze over the Atlantic.
“So many years, so much war since,” Kirk says.
“True, sir. How true.”
For a while, both men are silent.
“These two were the easy ones, you know?” Kirk says.
“They only blame themselves for destruction that they didn’t directly cause,” Kirk says. “We both know that soon GI John from Special Forces will be coming to us, ‘the one who caused destruction directly and doesn’t know where to go from there. And GI Jenny, from Ordinance, the one who felt the destruction from that IED (improvised explosive device) in her very brain-ship.”
A gull flies in to perch on the guardrail to Doc’s right, drawing both men’s attention.
“All the more important that we continue being the General’s emissaries then, huh?” Doc says, turning back toward Kirk.
The gull then flies off, pulling their gazes back to it.
“So will we ever be done?” Kirk finally says, looking back at Doc.
“With War?” Doc asks, still looking forward.
“No,” says Kirk. “Come on, we’re both smarter than that. You know what I mean: you, me, listening, absorbing, releasing eventually, into the waves, into the smiles of our children and their friends, even into our conversations together, yours and mine, alone in the quiet of the night? All to start over the next day, then the next?”
Doc turns toward him.
“You mean ‘done’ as in before we’re done-done?”
“Yeah. Before then.”
Doc smiles as well.
“What do you think?”
Kirk leans forward. “Knowing us?”
Both men smile, shake their heads, and then mutter in unison, “Probably not.”
At that, Kirk stretches his arms high, turns, and begins to walk back toward the Faneuil Hall Marketplace.
“Where do you think you’re going?” asks Doc.
“To that place that had those great Bloody Mary’s,” says Kirk, still walking forward. “Just a small one, before we head back to the hotel.”
“But it’s not there anymore. We both know that, from the last time we were here in town.”
Kirk stops and, then with only the slightest turn of his head backwards, says, “For you it’s not.”
And with a chuckle, he moves ahead, as Doc only shakes his head, as the Colonel slowly begins to fade, and as a familiar voice, one last time, is heard.
“Colonel’s Log, Stardate Now:
In war, each man, each woman hopes against hope that his or her sacrifices might end up meaning something, something bigger, something more. Yet each also realizes that sacrifices too often come in the small moments, one person at a time, one decision at a time, one horrific, inescapable event at a time.
Yet our brains, our minds, our souls remind us that what we’ve always hoped for did not vanish in those horrific moments. They remind us that meaning still lives within our brain’s chemistry, within the logical and imaginative wanderings of our minds, within the solidness of our immaterial souls.
All three remind us of the one Truth that undergirds our cells, our Selves, us:
Love may not be able to conquer all, but until, and even in spite of Death, Love will—will—conquer what it can.