Title: Offerings on the Vine (2/3)
Fandom: Star Trek TOS
Characters: Kirk, Spock, McCoy
Disclaimer: I own the plot bunnies but not the cast.
Summary: Spock’s and McCoy’s suspicious behavior catches the attention of the Enterprise crew. What could they be up to?
Previous Parts: 1
Okay, this is partially written because of my determination to reach 100,000 words before I go on vacation in two days (it’s a two-week vacation, ya’ll!); on the other hand, I can totally see McCoy and Spock in this situation… Enjoy! :)
Rather than an immediate round-up of his two officers for personal interrogation, Jim actually catches Spock in the act. Kirk is not-quite stomping into Sickbay when he runs into his First Officer also in pursuit of the habitat of the elusive McCoy. Spock greets the Captain with calm.
Jim eyes the Vulcan suspiciously and asks about his intended visit to Sickbay. “Not feeling so well, Mr. Spock?”
“On the contrary, Captain, I am well.”
“Oh.” Kirk elongates his spine just a little (though it doesn’t nearly bring him to Spock’s height). “I’m on my way to talk to Bones…if you’ll excuse me.”
He enters Sickbay, acutely aware of the Vulcan on his heels.
Nurse Chapel looks surprised to see them both. She says, “Hello, Mr. Spock. Do you have another delivery for the CMO?”
“Indeed.” A parcel—twice the size of the usual one Christine gets—appears as if out of thin air. “You are most gracious, Nurse, to assist me in this manner.”
Kirk watches Christine preen a little and his suspicion grows. She turns to the Captain, then. “Captain?”
“Just here to see Bones.”
“Oh but he’s stepped out, Sir.”
“A medical emergency?”
Christine hesitates and Jim has his answer. He puts on a charming smile and does a little appreciative turn around the wide-eyed nurse. Spock must be observing his behavior with interest because both of his eyebrows climb high. “You’ll tell Bones I stopped by, won’t you, Chris?”
“O-of course, Captain!”
Kirk does a precise pivot on the ball of his foot in preparation for his exit. However, before he leaves, he orders the First Officer, “My quarters after Alpha shift, Mr. Spock.”
Spock merely tilts his head in acknowledgement. Once Jim goes back to the Bridge, he has Uhura send out an official summons to the Chief Medical Officer. Kirk may currently be none-the-wiser but he knows when he is onto the scent of mischief. The hours on the Bridge wile away much too slowly.
Spock is standing as he always does on duty (or off-duty), with his hands out of sight and his face very expressionless. McCoy, on the other hand, sits in one of Kirk’s desk chairs with a leg thrown over the side and sharp amused look in his blue eyes. If Jim didn’t know better, he’d think Bones was the cat that just caught the canary.
“I’d appreciate an explanation, gentlemen.”
“Captain, I cannot offer an explanation without reference to the inquiry.”
Jim has a PADD pen in his hand as he leans forward in his chair; it goes monotonously tap-tap-tap on the surface top of the desk.
“Spock’s got a point there, Jim. Wanna tell us what’s on your mind?”
Now McCoy, perhaps, he can rile into an argument—and hopefully subsequent admission. So he adds, directly to the doctor, “You’re aggravating my crew, McCoy.”
Bones grins, then, broadly and without restraint. “Are we?” he answers in a deceptively docile tone.
Kirk drops the pen in lieu of slamming his palm against the desk with a resounding bang. “Don’t play with me, Bones!” He turns to address his First Officer. “What are the two of you up to, Mr. Spock?”
To Kirk’s surprise, McCoy also addresses Spock—except that his words are much different. “How long?”
“Fifteen days, ten hours, and six point thirty three minutes, Doctor.”
“You’ll have to remember to record that, Spock.”
“I shall. The data will provide a fascinating highlight on the Captain’s… belated surveillance of the events upon this vessel.”
Bones snorts and chuckles. “You mean his lack of observational skills.”
Jim’s brows knit together as he looks unhappily between his two friends. “What do I have to do with this affair? You’d better explain yourselves right now or—”
“Or what, Jim-boy? Have we perpetrated an infraction of any regulation?”
“Well… disturbing the peace on my ship, for one!”
“Illogical, Captain. Doctor McCoy and I have participated in no overt or prohibited activity.”
“Stop trying to distract me,” Jim says fiercely.
McCoy is laughing at him again. “Jim, you’re so easy to distract. Alright, alright—” McCoy raises his hands in surrender as Jim starts to stand up. “We’ll confess all our sins, won’t we, Mr. Spock?”
Spock makes no comment on the fallacy of McCoy’s statement. Instead, he begins an explanation for their recent behavior. “We are executing a social experiment on the conduct of the Enterprise crew. Our hypothesis states the following—”
“Wait, Spock. You’re telling me that you two are experimenting on my crewmen?”
“Not physically, Jim,” McCoy adds. “Spock and I got into this debate, you see, about the gossip mills onboard the ship… Uh uh, don’t shake your head at me, Captain! I know you know what I’m talking about.” McCoy crosses his arms and gives Jim a glare. “Anyway, we thought that we would stir things up a bit, for the purpose of science, of course. I’d say we’ve been pretty successful. Don’t you agree, Spock?”
“Indeed. It is fact that the general crew mentality concerning the relationship between the Doctor and myself is somewhat… negative. Therefore, we proposed to introduce a new aspect to our collective behavior, one which would—”
“—get everyone all riled up! We’ve got an outlined schedule too…” The doctor motions for Spock, who pulls out a PADD from behind his back. (Damn, why didn’t Kirk notice that before!) The Vulcan gives the device to the Captain, who warily accepts the PADD as if it might bite his fingers.
“You will note that the time interval between our…” Spock looks to McCoy who prompts “gift givin’.” “…exchange of select materials decreases by 12.235% with each progressive occurrence. We theorize that the increase in frequency is an attributing factor in our study.”
Jim does not peruse the data on the PADD; rather, he stares at it without seeing the details. His thoughts are a jumbled mess. One thought in particular pops to the forefront of his mind. He voices it immediately. “You’re both insane.”
Bones and Spock look at Kirk like he’s just mentioned his recurring (ludicrous) dream about frolicking Klingons in a field of posies. (Jim hopes that he retains enough intelligence to NEVER speak of it aloud.) Of course, Bones is the first one to deny Jim’s accusation.
“We’re scientists—by profession and by nature, Jim. Ya can’t blame a man for his scientific curiosity.”
You mean his inclination for making trouble. Jim only mumbles that—and Spock gives no indication of hearing it.
“Fine. How long is this study going to be underway?”
The deepening look of satisfaction on Bones’ face scares Jim just a tiny bit. Leonard McCoy may be a man of acerbic wit and (often) sharp barbs, but he also has a streak of mischief the width of a man’s arm. “Here’s the thing, Captain.” McCoy pauses, glances at Spock who nods. “We’ve reached the next stage.” The doctor leans forward with intent—which causes Jim to subtly lean back (out of range). “It’s time to up our game. You want in, Jim?”
Now, as a Captain and an honorable man, Jim knows that he should, at the very least, consider the repercussions of participation. However, that boyish devil on his shoulder whispers do it! with glee (and the Captain’s days are unsatisfactorily filled with asteroid mapping—the epitome of boring space detail) so Jim barely pauses for his next breath before agreeing, “I’m in.” He tries to salvage some dignity. “But next time, Bones, Spock… ask me first before you start using my crew as guinea pigs.”
Neither of the two officers seems to acknowledge his reprimand. Suddenly, Kirk has to wonder: How many previous experiments have these two have engaged in together? (How many of those times has Jim been the prime test subject?) Eyeing the First Officer and CMO—and knowing them both much too well—he decides that he won’t ask. Ever.
There is also a small drabble written by another author inspired by this: Go here for details.