‘Kirk to Enterprise,’ called Jim to his communicator. The ion storm was approaching fast, and was causing severe electric disturbances and lightning on the planet surface where Jim had transported with a small landing party. The communicator only buzzed as a response, so Jim tried moving closer to a large boulder, which offered some protection from the storm. ‘Kirk to Enterprise… OK, how about if I stand over here?’
Jim now leaned against the boulder and immediately felt warmer: the stone protected him from the worst winds. The shelter brought the communicator back to life, and a familiar voice greeted the captain.
‘Get ready to beam up the landing party. The storm is over us already.’
‘Yes captain. Spock out.’
As the landing party was getting ready to be transported Scotty became suddenly very agitated. ‘Hallomma hargh, te balham ne. Habbah!’ he said and waved his hands frantically. ‘Scotty, that’s the most convincing your accent has ever been,’ Jim muttered to himself, careful not to be overheard. Significantly louder he then asked: ‘Yes, Mr. Scott?
Scott spat to the ground, made a face and explained: ‘Helluva hard, those bloody rations. Horrible! Remind me never to take those bullet meals with me again. I’d rather starve than choke on those damnable things. I think I broke a tooth!’ He kept spitting for a while, and threw a Starfleet Special Emergency Ration over the boulder into the howling storm. Jim sighed.
The captain grabbed his communicator and informed the ship that they were ready to be beamed up. He missed Spock already, and was looking forward to spending some time together with his First Officer as soon as their duties would allow it. He always found Spock’s company refreshing. A gentle smile played on Jim’s lips as he disappeared from the surface of the planet.
‘Captain, I can see an alien ship approaching,’ informed the navigations specialist currently on duty as Jim returned to the Bridge of the Enterprise. ‘It’s not showing up in the radar. It’s a circular vessel, some sort of lettering and numbers.’ The specialist adjusted the scans, checked out the memory disks in the recorder and suddenly blushed. ‘Oh, no, sorry. It’s my TACS disc.’
The second navigator chuckled. He remembered the times he had trained using the TACS, Tactical Assistant for the Critical Scanner. It was a handy little program, but it had its faults, and apparently the junior navigator had just found another TACS bug. At least no one had issued red alert before the error was noticed – not this time.
Mr. Spock stepped to the Bridge. This was one of the times he wished his Vulcan ears hadn’t picked up the little incident while he was still in the turbolift. His face was stern when he relieved the junior crewman from his post. ‘Mr. Johnson, return to your quarters and review the Starfleet Manual of Scanning Techniques, chapter 4. I’ll take it from here.’
‘Come now, Spock,’ said Jim, sprawling on his seat and grinning while the dismissed Mr. Johnson left the Bridge with his head hanging in embarrassment . ‘If I didn’t know you better, I’d say it insults you to know computers aren’t infallible after all.’ While waiting for Spock’s I’m not a human-speech, which undoubtedly was coming, Jim began to unwrap his late lunch. The meal had been waiting for him at the armrest of his seat.
‘Insults me, captain? I assure you, that is entirely a human affliction.’
Jim stuck his tongue out at Spock. ‘I have no emotions. My mother was a Vulcan, and my father was Gordon Brown,’ he mimicked and laughed softly. No doubt Spock would have his revenge later tonight when they were somewhere more private. Jim loved to tease Spock during the day and let him take it out on him during the night. Spock had his ways, each more pleasant than be previous one, to get back at Jim.
For now the Vulcan stayed stoic despite Jim’s playful mockery. Jim prepared to explain about the boring old politician he had referred to, but Spock spoke first.
‘The severe deficiencies of the ship’s computers are to be expected. After all, computers are as faulty as the humans who programmed them,’ Spock stated casually while adjusting the viewer to his height. Jim’s laughter died. As usual, the Vulcan had got the last word. Jim rummaged through his lunch bag. Suddenly he cried out.
‘Alright! Which one of you ate my Scottish egg?’
Scotty whirled around in his chair and wiped a few telltale crumbs from the corners of his mouth.
‘Sorry, ser. The bullet meal left such a horrid taste-‘
Jim was just about to snap at Scotty when Uhura called to him. ‘I’m receiving a transmission, Sir.’
Many days had passed since they had had any real contacts with other Starfleet ships or practically anyone else, for that matter. Mr. Chekov was therefore skeptical about the authenticity of the incoming message. He glanced at Mr. Sulu, took his most serious face and said with a contrasting, high and cheery voice: ‘This is the federation of Gay Planets. Open your docking bay and prepare to be boarded.’ Mr. Sulu laughed heartily. ‘Come on, mate, only seven days to the next shore leave. Hang in there,’ he comforted the poor Chekov. Chekov’s lousy mood was not improved at all when Uhura informed them that the transmission had been from the Starfleet Command: the shore leave was to be delayed for three solar days.
Spock had invited Jim over to his quarters for the evening for a game of chess. The chessboard had been left untouched since Jim had arrived: he had immediately pounced on Spock, kissed him savagely and in a frenzy pressed his body against the Officer. No words were needed. Jim just stood there, holding Spock in his arms and while the Vulcan whispered soothing words to his ear. Jim found Spock’s presence the best cure for practically anything. He kept hoping that one day Spock too would learn to enjoy being touched. For now, he had to settle for a game of chess later that night: that provided the intellectual stimulus and mental challenge Spock so much yearned.
Later they shared a shower. Spock settled for a normal dry refresher cycle, while Jim luxuriated in a long, warm shower with hot water and sweetly scented shower gel. Afterwards he grabbed Spock’s own towel, which was decorated with Vulcan symbols, and rubbed himself dry. Jim was somewhat annoyed to note that his own replicator-made towels were much coarser than this soft towel he was using. ‘Spock, your towel is a lot softer than mine,’ he called out while drying his privates.
‘Affirmative,’ was the only answer he got. Spock made no offer to get a towel like that for his captain. Jim decided that he’d sleep in Spock’s quarters that night, and would take care to steal all the blankets while Spock was asleep. That should teach the Vulcan to share!
‘Captain’s log. Just saw some aliens. OMG WTF LOL :)’
Jim stared at the log entry for a long time. Then he stared at it for some more.
‘Bones, just… just what is this?’
The doctor grinned. ‘That would be an excerpt from the official ship’s logs, Jim. You were running a dangerously high fever, but you kept saying it didn’t affect your leadership skills. I decided to keep this one, print it and frame it.’
‘Yeah. Right. Well, could you anyway take it off from the sickbay wall?’
‘At least I didn’t save the bit where you stormed to the Bridge and shouted ‘who are these aliens?’, and Scotty had to explain you can’t call them that anymore, it’s Uhura and Sulu.’
Jim looked positively ashamed. Bones laughed and proceeded to take the medical readings and samples he needed to complete Jim’s annual check-up. ‘Don’t worry Jim. You’re as healthy as ever. Nothing to worry about’.
‘You mean I have no good reason to greet the next visitor by a sharp salute? Velcome to the SS Enterprise Mr. Eccleston,’ Jim bellowed in a horribly bad German accent. Bones stared at him. ‘The readings are normal, but maybe you should rest anyway,’ he then volunteered, eyeing at Jim suspiciously. Sometimes Jim’s sense of humor was… eccentric.
The captain chuckled, jumped off the medical bed and bid farewell to the doctor. After he had left Bones picked up the picture of the log entry, smiled and put it back to the box he had found it from. No reason to show it to anyone else, and no reason to throw it away, either. With a stubborn oaf such as Jim some good old-fashioned blackmailing just might be needed one day.
Jim had some spare time, so he decided to check up on the junior crewmen. It was always fun to see the new stars of the Starfleet and to hear the latest rumors from the Academy. Jim found the youngsters at the maintenance area. Before he even entered he heard a shrilly female voice shouting: ‘Now which one of you put your red top in the washing with all the yellow ones?’
Jim recognized that tone. An angry woman was a force to be reckoned with, and right now Jim had no wish to do so. He turned on his heels and peeked into the neighboring rec room frequently used by the most junior of the crewmen. There he saw a young blonde male in command uniform prancing about the room while his colleagues laughed and clapped their hands.
’There’s going to be some changes around here,’ he said, waving his arms and practically dancing in a most stereotypically homosexual manner. The other crewmen in the room roared in laughter. ‘They call me Captain Tatty Bojangles,’ the crewman chirped and swirled around in a pirouette. Jim sighed. Tatty… oh, he remembered sir Thaddeus Bojangles, an eccentric fellow if you ever saw one, but an excellent trainer. He himself had got into a fight after impersonating old Tatty to a fellow who turned out to be Thaddeus’s son. Jim won that match and laughed how Tatty’s kid hit like a girl. He then found out Tatty had another, older son, who belonged in the local boxing team. Jim’s bruises had taken ages to heal.
Jim smiled to his memories as he traipsed along the corridors. His communicator beeped as soon as he was out of the rec area. It was Jim’s old friend, captain Picard of the Starfleet.
‘What’s wrong, captain Picard?’ Jim asked as soon as he had returned to his own quarters, where he could speak to the old captain in peace. ‘What’s wrong?’ bellowed Picard. ‘I’m a serious Shakespearean actor, and I am talking to the Ambassador of the Worm People!’
‘The Worm People?’ wondered Jim. ‘Anyway I’d think your experience in amateur theater would help you to deal with… with whoever it is you’re dealing with.’ But Picard wasn’t having any of it. He rambled on and on in an incredibly unbroken sentence, moving from topic to topic. Jim found it quite hypnotic.
While Picard was still complaining about “the worms”, Spock stepped in to Jim’s quarters. He listened for a while, curious, and then walked over to Jim. His strong hands began to massage Jim’s stiff shoulders and aching neck expertly. His fingers moved in circles around Jim’s shoulder blades and sent warm feelings of relaxation all around the captain’s body.
A lot of things in life are uncertain, but one thing Jim knew for sure at that time: he’d survive this mess of actor-Captains, laundry fiascos and stolen lunches only with Spock by his side.