Title: The Trouble With COs
Fandom: Star Trek TOS
Characters: Kirk, Spock, McCoy
Disclaimer: Just me and my weird brain; no profit but a few laughs.
Summary: Captain Kirk is on the hunt, and Lieutenant Riley learns a lesson. Humor.
“There’s something going on…” Captain Kirk peers around a boulder and motions for the two red-shirts behind him to prepare to move. Their phasers are up and at the ready.
“Not now, Bones!” Jim shouts back. The Captain prostrates himself in the blue dirt of this particular M-class planet like he’s on a field of landmines. There’s the sound of two more bodies dropping to the ground (one grunt) and the three officers crawl forward on dirty elbows and knees. It takes all of thirty seconds to round the giant rock.
Kirk uses his phaser like a pointer. “What does that look like to you?”
The young man narrows his eyes and peers over the Captain’s head. “Mr. Spock, Sir.”
“Wrong. It’s a Romulan.”
“I really think it’s Mr. Spock.”
Kirk cranes his head back towards the lieutenant and hisses. Riley knows better than to keep arguing. “Yes, Sir, definitely a Romulan.” Color comes back into his cheeks when Kirk looks satisfied, and Riley goes back to his low hum of “Oh Danny Boy.” (It’s off key.) Belatedly, he realizes that the Captain and his other red-shirt partner (doesn’t remember his name, thinks it starts with the letter M) have disappeared and reappeared in a set of bushes two feet off to the right. He scrambles after them.
The Captain is talking. “…clever Romulan thinks he can pose as the First Officer.” The nameless red-shirt is nodding along in time to every third word. “We’ll apprehend him and force the truth.”
“Er. Should we switch the phasers back to stun, Captain?”
Kirk considers this momentarily before announcing, “Good call, Lieutenant. We need the Romulan alive.”
Riley still wants to know more details (now that he’s paying attention). “And what about the Doctor?”
They all peer as one through a tiny part in the bushes. “Do you think that’s McCoy? And be careful with your answer, Riley.”
The lieutenant doesn’t illuminate the fact that it not only looks like the Doctor, it grumbles like the Doctor, and says “Damn it, Jim! Get outta those bushes! There could be snakes!” like the Doctor. Wait, snakes? Riley does a quick (frightened) visual sweep around his ankles.
“Oh! Um,” Riley thinks for a minute. Then it comes to him. “No, Sir. It’s definitely not Doctor McCoy. It’s a salt monster, using the form of the CMO to confuse us!” He feels rather proud, though a bit nervous because, after all, salt monsters are (recently) extinct.
Captain Kirk smiles and that’s not reassuring in the least. “Good job, Riley. And you—” He turns to the quiet second red-shirt, narrows his eyes, “—you—uh—Lieutenant.”
“Ensign. I need you to circle to the right and behind the enemy. Keep your phaser locked on them at all times.”
“Yes, Sir!” The red-shirt scampers off so loudly, rattling leaves and such, that the Captain looks like he might want to send the poor fellow back to the Academy for additional espionage training.
Riley’s just glad that this is almost over. Kirk is back to watching the two (disguised) Starfleet officers in the clearing. The only warning Lieutenant Riley gets is a vicious (Klingon?) curse from his Captain, a nearby shout and thud.
Then Mr. Sp—the Romulan is saying, “No, Doctor, he is still functional. The Vulcan nerve pinch—”
“—I still don’t trust your Vulcan nerve pinch, you blasted hobgoblin! It’s not right, shutting down a man’s brain like a piece of machinery—”
“—highly illogical; I have provided you with an extensive report of the—”
Riley peeks around the edge of a bush and stares, wide-eyed, at the two. The unfortunate red-shirt is facedown between the Firs—the Romulan and salt monster. “I think Ensign—I think the ensign is done-for, Captain.”
Kirk is sitting back on his haunches, listening Riley guesses, to his enemies argue. “The ensign is merely a distraction, Lieutenant.”
Riley’s eyes grow wider, if possible. (Since when does Captain Kirk sacrifice his own men?) He’s tempted to give root to the idea that this may not be the Captain at all—maybe it’s his evil side (again) or that Mirror-evil side (again). But pulling a phaser on the Captain is a bad idea in any situation. He settles for subtly scooting backwards, placing more distance (one foot) between them.
“What is the plan, Captain?”
“Just do as I do.”
That’s not very helpful. Then Captain Kirk executes a sudden (flying leap; how does he do that?) body roll out of the bushes and into the clearing. Riley sighs and tries his best. He ends up like the ensign, flat on his face (only not unconscious), at the feet of an annoyed superior officer. Make that three superior officers, except two of them aren’t really superior, they’re enemies; Riley confusedly and as quickly as possible gets to his feet and levels his phaser at the pair just like his Captain.
“Jim, Spock’s killed this stupid sheep.” McCoy prods at the lax body of the red-shirt for emphasis.
“Captain, the Doctor exaggerates—”
“Shut up, both of you!” the Captain snaps and that startles everybody (but Kirk).
Doctor McCoy’s expression goes from displeased to really displeased in record time. “Now look here, when I said I’d—”
Kirk fires his phaser just to the right of the Doctor in warning and McCoy’s mouth drops open in shock. Spock’s eyebrows have climbed sky high.
“Not another word, or I’ll turn your hideous, suckered hide back into mush.”
The CMO (okay, the salt monster) looks at the phaser, at the hard-mouthed Kirk, and then at Spock. “I’m willing to declare him mentally disturbed if you are.”
Mr. Spock might actually be considering that offer, if Riley is any judge. The Vulcan addresses his Captain. “The shuttle will arrive in less than six minutes and twenty—”
Kirk barks “Silence! You won’t fool me, Romulan. Now get down on the ground and place your hands flat.”
Spock tilts his head. “I decline.”
The phaser wobbles in the Captain’s hand (as it does in Riley’s) but he pretends not to notice. It’s better, for everyone, if he doesn’t notice. “Excuse me?”
“I deny your request for cooperation.” The Vulcan unfolds his hands from behind his back and wouldn’t you know it—that sneaky Romulan has the red-shirt’s phaser. It’s leveled in the general direction of Riley and Kirk, and Riley really hopes the Vulcan knows which one he wants to shoot first.
The Captain’s grinning for some reason but Spock says, without inflection, “You insult my Vulcan heritage. You will desist in this, then proceed to stand over there—” Spock gestures to the Doctor, who’s slowly risen to his feet (abandoned the red-shirt). “—with the ‘hideous, suckered hide.'”
“Why, you ungrateful green-blooded emotionless calculator-computer—”
“It is unnecessary to extend your inappropriate labeling of my person, Doctor. ‘Hobgoblin’ shall do.”
“Not by a long shot, Mr. Spock!”
Kirk shifts on his feet and that phaser of the Romulan’s is right on target. “Do not attempt heroics, Jim. I will shoot. Drop your weapon.”
The Captain lets the phaser hang from a finger and then gives it a little toss to the ground. Riley doesn’t have to be told by anyone what to do. He chucks his far away and places his hands in the air. But when Riley begins to sidle over towards the Doctor, as instructed, a hand grabs ahold of his tunic and jerks him back into place.
“Stay, Lieutenant. That’s an order.”
A good soldier does not question orders until his tail is on the line. Riley’s is, very much so. A groan interrupts his little speech “Sorry, Captain, but—”
The red-shirt groans again and sits up slowly, rubbing his neck. When he staggers to his feet, chaos breaks loose. Kirk dives for his phaser, forgetting to release Riley who goes down with him. By the time the Captain has a hand on a phaser, and Riley is rolling on top of a sharp bed of rocks in the dirt (smearing blue streaks all over himself), Spock has somehow re-nerve-pinched the ensign, pushed his slumping body at McCoy (who barely catches it) and moved fast enough to have his boot on the end of the phaser that Kirk is trying to pick up.
Riley stops rolling—like he’s on fire (’cause, damn, rocks hurt!)—and blinks innocently up at the Vulcan-Romulan-First Officer person. The Captain spits on the other’s boot and retracts his hands before levering himself into a sitting position.
Mr. Spock simply says “Checkmate.”
Riley is fascinated by the way Spock can magically flip that phaser into his free hand with his boot without breaking eye-contact with the Captain. (He wants to learn that trick, someday.)
So there they are, in limbo, without weapons and captured by a Romulan. It would be shameful if it weren’t so strange. Riley thinks that, finally, the Captain is going to give up and let him ride back on the shuttle to peace and safety (not this planet with miles of empty blue land). But he is learning quickly that this band of men don’t do things the right—or normal—way. Like this training exercise that is supposed to relieve Kirk’s boredom (and somehow make Riley and the other guy more experienced?); it’s wacked.
Then there’s a slow Southern drawl saying, as the Vulcan goes very rigid, “Better switch those phasers off, Mr. Spock, and hand ’em over.”
McCoy appears, slowly circling Mr. Spock, with a phaser. (Riley’s; wow, he threw it pretty far!) They all hear the whine of it… set to kill.
“Oh shut up, Jim,” the doctor repeats Kirk’s earlier words back at him. “This is one fool idea of yours, and it’s bad enough that Scotty broke the transporter again and we got stranded. Damn it, I’m gonna have to ride in that rickety shuttle! You really know how to treat a fellow, don’t you, Kirk?”
“Do you plan to exterminate me, Doctor?” Spock asks almost idly.
McCoy scowls. “Quit distractin’ me or I might just be feeling trigger-happy!”
“I assume you are aware that your phaser is set on the highest level.”
McCoy pauses, his eyebrow going up. He turns the phaser to the side and peers at it. “Oh.” Then starts fiddling with the switch. “Hold on, I think it’s stuck. Damn it—” The phaser jumps in his hand with a squeal and a nearby tree brightens before vanishing.
Spock deftly switches off his two phasers, collects them in one hand and just as deftly deprives McCoy of his toy. Kirk’s got Riley by the back of the neck and is dragging him to his feet and points over towards the ensign. “Get him and retreat back to the rocks.”
“Yes, Sir.” Riley wastes no time doing as he’s told. In the background, Doctor McCoy is looking over Mr. Spock’s shoulder and the Captain is tucking the remaining two phasers into his belt. The lieutenant hears the following conversation:
“Spock, can you fix it?”
“Why’s it screeching like that?”
“The phaser is building up a charge, Doctor. I estimate its detonation in…”
Riley listens to no more and ducks for cover again behind the large boulder. He wonders, quite strongly, what might be taking the shuttle so long. This is the last time he volunteers to “beam down” in the company of all three COs.