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Since my birth on the Enterprise, I’ve learned a seemingly infinite number of things about the Humans. In fact, I often think that far too much credit is given to Dr. Leonard McCoy’s knowledge of psychology: I am the true resident expert on human behavior.
In order to understand Humans, one must be guided by the following assumptions:
1. The more a Human believes that an object may be depended upon, the less attention he or she tends to give it.
2. Humans are noisy.
Great Capacitor, the noises they make! They laugh, they cry, they belch and fart. And wheeze, and cough, and hum, and whistle. They crack their knuckles. They drum their fingers. They sigh. They gasp. They hiccup.
I am astounded at the amount of talking that they do. It is as if the Humans have an inbred intolerance for silence, as if quiet might cause them to break out into some sort of embarrassing rash. They fill every empty space with their words, their gossip, their wheelings and dealings.
And I hear it all.
Well, not all. The truth of the matter is that I almost never see or hear a story unfold from beginning to end. Because I am efficient and quick to carry the Humans from one destination to another, I am witness mainly to snippets. But I am dependable, and remember: that means they pay very little attention to me. Therefore, they feel more than free to voice anything that pops into their carbon-based minds when they are sequestered within my walls.
I first began to realize how comfortable they felt within me soon after the Enterprise embarked upon its five-year mission. It was tiny little Ensign Hiko who gave me the initial indication. She hurtled onto me one day with a face like a storm cloud, whispered “Deck Four,” and burst into tears as soon as I began to move. Before I delivered her to her requested destination, her sobbing had turned into bawling, and she had both beaten her fists against my rear wall and kicked me. She actually kicked me! I probably should have shaken her for it, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. As I said, she was tiny, and her little foot didn’t even dent me. She transferred off the ship soon after her outburst, and I never found out what it was that had distressed her so that day. I hope that all is well with her, wherever she is.
Ah. I suppose you have discovered, upon reading that last sentence, that I am somewhat sentimental about the Humans. All right, I admit it: I do like them, on the whole. Some mean more to me than others, of course. There is Mr. Scott, my first and only Human love. In contradiction to Human Assumption Number One above, he both depends upon me and pays attention to me. He treats me like the mechanical goddess that I am. He calls me lass and checks my systems. He pampers me. Mr. Scott is, as he would say, a bonny example of a Human.
Second on my list of preferred living creatures is Mr. Spock. While he does not coddle me like Mr. Scott does, I nevertheless believe that he appreciates me. He called me a “most fascinating feat of engineering” once, and when he said it, I was sure I heard true admiration in his voice.
Mr. Spock is only half Human, so he is only half as noisy as the rest. He does not, for instance, laugh or cry, and I believe he would rather be shot by phaser than to be caught engaging in such nervous habits as knuckle cracking or finger drumming. If he does indeed belch or fart, which I somehow doubt, he does not do it within my confines – and I thank him for that. I also have a particular affinity for him because we have a vital thing in common: he and are both seen by the Humans as predictable, dependable. That means that the Humans often do not pay enough attention to him, either.
Anyway, the story I want to tell you now concerns Mr. Spock and how he is perhaps not as predictable as one might expect. And if you’ve surmised that a tale about that particular Vulcan will most likely also be a tale about the Human, Captain Kirk, then you have guessed correctly. This is the story of what I saw – what I discovered, actually, about the two of them.
It began directly after Deneva - increasing tension on the ship, so unlike the atmosphere of familial conviviality that is usually the case under Kirk’s command. The bridge crew in particular were affected; more and more I noticed, as I took them in or disbursed them, how strained they looked, as if some unspoken worry was weighing upon them all. From Uhura and Sulu and McCoy and Spock, I learned of the death of Kirk’s brother and sister-in-law, and of Spock’s brush with blindness. I am glad they talked of it – I would never have found out from the captain, because he was unusually silent during those days. It alarms me when a Human goes against Human Assumption Number Two: it’s just not natural. So I made an extra effort to listen to those who were still noisy. Within a little over a week, I found out more, from McCoy and Spock.
They both seemed a little agitated when they entered me. It was obvious they had been carrying on a heated conversation, not exactly unusual when the two of them are together.
“…to do about it, Spock,” McCoy was saying as my doors opened.
“You are, however, in agreement that it is not characteristic of the captain,” Spock said.
“Hell, yes. He’s always a little too ready to take a risk, but I’ve never known him to have a death wish before.”
“That is how you would categorize his recent behavior?” Spock practically skewered him with the sharpness of his glance; I could tell he was intent on the doctor’s answer.
McCoy’s shoulders slumped. “As his friend? Absolutely. Christ, he’s been wounded twice in the past nine days, both times from acts of outright stupidity, as far as I can see. But as his doctor? No. I wouldn’t have a leg to stand on.”
Spock persisted. “If you were to administer a psychological exam…”
McCoy instantly was irate. “Damn it, of course I tested him – do you think I’m some kind of idiot? The man went through more grief during that Deneva nightmare than anyone should in a lifetime and beyond. I know Jim Kirk – I knew he’d find a way to take just as much guilt and blame as he could wring out of the whole damn mess and load every last bit of it onto himself. Of course I administered an exam.” He looked away. “He passed.”
“I see,” said Spock, obviously disappointed. “Nevertheless, it is apparent to us both that the captain has been acting with apparent disregard to his own safety. As the CMO, you should…”
“I know what you’re gonna say, and I’m telling you, I can’t just…”
My doors shut behind them, and I heard no more.
Seven days after that came Geltarr 3. I’ve never been able to ascertain exactly what occurred down there, or why. I knew there was a landing party, headed by Mr. Spock. He used my intercom to beckon three security guards to beam down with him, so I knew there must be some kind of trouble on the planet’s surface. I remember being surprised that Captain Kirk was not going down, but I suspected that Mr. Spock might have had some words with him, based on his worries about Kirk’s recent reckless behavior, and found a way to persuade or to threaten him out of joining the party.
If so, it didn’t last.
Within four hours, the Captain was hurtling along inside of me, jabbing at my intercom button, ordering the transporter room to get ready to beam him down.
Fifty-six minutes after that, Spock ran into me from the transporter room, carrying Kirk’s limp body in his arms, and shouted at me to take them to Sickbay.
Any Human who claims that Mr. Spock does not have emotions simply hasn’t been looking hard enough. I flew – believe me, I flew – to get them to Sickbay in time, but even in the few short seconds I had, I saw the anguish on the Vulcan’s face. I watched as Spock held the Human close to him with one arm and pressed frantically with his other hand against Kirk’s chest to try to stem the flow of blood. I heard him whisper, “Jim, Jim, Jim,” over and over again, as if by saying the man’s name he could keep him in the world of the living. I saw the outright terror on his face as he saw the crimson spread in a widening circle across Kirk’s tunic in spite of all his desperate efforts to stop it. By the time I got them to Sickbay, I wasn’t certain which of them was more ashen: the gravely wounded Human, or the Vulcan who held him so tightly in his arms.
Morale went downhill even faster after that incident, although against all odds the Captain lived. Four days later, in fact, I deposited him back on the bridge, where he strolled over to his command chair and took possession of it as if nothing untoward had happened at all.
But I quickly found out that everything had changed between him and Mr. Spock, and it was not a change for the better.
At the end of that day’s alpha shift, Uhura and Sulu entered me together. I was glad, because the two of them are some of the noisiest of the noisy Humans, and they love most of all to talk to each other. I knew I would get some good information if I listened carefully. They did not disappoint me.
“Man,” Uhura said as soon as my doors were safely shut, “I have never been so glad to see the end of a shift. The tension’s so thick you couldn’t just cut it with a knife – you could… well, grind it up and make hash out of it, or something.”
“Tell me about it,” Sulu groaned, trying to rub the stress from the back of his neck. “Just be happy you don’t have to sit where the captain’s eyes can bore into the back of your skull, like I do. Sheesh! I wouldn’t have believed anyone could scowl for that many hours in a row. He had me thinking I was doing something wrong just by breathing.”
Uhura shook her head. “If you want a scowl, you should have seen how Mr. Spock was looking at the Captain.”
Sulu laughed. “You’re losing it. You know good and well Mr. Spock doesn’t scowl - it’s against his Vulcan ethics.”
“Don’t kid yourself. It was an outright, genuine, I-could-wring-your-neck-if-I-had-half-a-chance scowl.”
Sulu whistled. “I’m glad I missed it. And he was directing it to the captain? I just can’t believe it.”
Uhura’s dark eyes grew soft with worry. “What’s happening to this ship? It’s like everything’s wrong, all the time. Mr. Spock always has treated Captain Kirk as if he just worships him. But today…”
“He’s probably upset about the Geltarr 3 thing.”
“I’m sure, but…”
Reluctantly, I let them go and closed my doors. I was exceedingly concerned about what I’d just heard. I told you before - I have a particular liking for Mr. Spock. Furthermore, I’m all too aware that the safety of the ship depends upon the unusual rapport between the Vulcan first officer and the Human captain. And as the ship itself fares, so do I. I determined that if I had the chance, I would do what I could to rectify things, for my own survival if for no one else’s.
My opportunity, as it turned out, came almost instantly, for Mr. Spock and Captain Kirk were leaving their shift also. I think Mr. Spock secretly hoped, when he boarded me, that Captain Kirk would find an excuse to hang back. But the Human does not operate that way: he refuses to avoid. He actually hurried to make it into me. (And forgive me, dear Mr. Spock, but I helped him by holding my doors open just a little longer than normal.)
It was plain to see that things were not as usual between the two of them. They always stand together very close, nearly touching, even if there is plenty of space all around them. This time, Mr. Spock made certain to place himself a distance away. And speaking of distance! His expression could not have been more remote. Captain Kirk, on the other hand, adopted a deliberately casual attitude, his if-I-act-like-everything’s-fine-maybe-it-will-be ploy. He actually had the nerve, once I’d started up, to turn to Mr. Spock and say, “How about a game of chess tonight? We haven’t played in a while.”
Mr. Spock’s back was placed, ramrod straight, against my rear wall. I felt him stiffen even more when the captain spoke to him. “I am unavailable tonight, sir.”
If I could have gasped, I would have. The statement would have been perfectly courteous by anyone else’s standards, but I was utterly dumbfounded that he neglected to say, “I regret that I am unavailable…” It just wasn’t Mr. Spock at all.
Kirk lips turned a bit white, and his eyes narrowed a little, but he gave no other outward indication that he was bothered. “Fine,” he said and looked straight ahead in an attempt to duplicate Spock’s icy demeanor.
I agonized for an instant: what I was considering goes against my prime directive of dependable, efficient service. I didn’t want to do it, I really didn’t. But I felt I had no choice.
I deliberately malfunctioned.
At first, neither of my passengers reacted. They probably couldn’t believe that their reliable, predictable transport system had just glided to a complete, silent, dead halt right smack dab in the middle of Deck 4 and Deck 5. The awareness dawned quickly on Captain Kirk, however – the full unpleasant reality of his situation.
He was trapped in a turbolift with a pissed-off Vulcan.
The captain stormed over and positively stabbed – much harder than was necessary - at my intercom button. “Scotty! What the hell is going on with the turbolift? Mr. Spock and I are on it, and it’s just… just quit. Stalled out. Shit the bed.”
Scotty’s anxious voice answered immediately. “I dinna ken, Captain, but I’ll get right on it.”
“Well, hurry up,” Kirk barked. “I don’t have time to sit around here all day.”
I felt an awful twinge of remorse. I knew Mr. Scott would feel that I’d betrayed him, and in truth I had. But I just had to do something to try to fix the rift between Mr. Spock and the captain. So I dug my heels in – figuratively, of course – waited.
An uncomfortable silence ensued, broken only by Kirk drumming his fingers against my wall. (I told you the Humans like to do that.) I knew that Kirk would not be able to stand the quiet much longer, given Human Assumption Number Two. I kept waiting.
Sure enough, he finally turned to Mr. Spock and said, in an unusually harsh voice, “Well, it looks like we’re going to be here for awhile, so we may as well find a way to pass the time.” He held his index finger up in the air as if he’d had a sudden inspiration. “I’ve got it – why don’t you tell me why you’ve been acting snottier than a cornered Relanian mud ferret lately?”
Under normal circumstances, Mr. Spock would have made some sort of awful joke about Vulcans’ total lack of snot, or perhaps would have pointed out an obscure fact about Relanian mud ferret behavior that would cast the creature’s attitude in a more favorable light. I knew that Captain Kirk was in trouble when he did neither of these things, but merely replied with dangerous calm, “Perhaps it would be more beneficial if you explained to me, once more, precisely why you felt compelled to beam down to Geltarr 3 after you told me you would not. I am cognizant that you offered me an explanation previously, but I must confess, the logic escaped me. Perhaps if you made another attempt…”
Kirk took a step closer to the Vulcan and glared up at him. “The safety of the landing party,” he began.
“…was not in immediate jeopardy,” Spock finished levelly. “As I informed you when I checked in with you, mere moments before you beamed down.”
“Not in immediate jeopardy does not mean that there was no danger,” Kirk argued.
“The presence of danger does not mean that you must become involved,” Spock countered.
“I am not going to run this ship by sitting on my ass on the bridge,” Kirk said, between clenched teeth. “The situation was volatile – what happened down there was certainly proof of that. I made the judgment, as captain, that my presence was needed.”
“And you very nearly died,” Spock said. “In fact, you were the only one of us who ended up becoming injured – for the third time in sixteen days.” I do not believe that it would be overstatement to say that he was incensed. True, he didn’t show it the same way a full Human would, but his face and his eyes were hard, more fierce-looking than I have ever seen them. I think I saw his hands shake, too, but he took them and clasped them behind his back, so I could not say for sure.
Kirk was furious as well. I have to hand it to him: he has courage, if not common sense. He took another step closer to Spock, glowered into those angry black eyes, and pulled out his ace of spades. “I am the captain of this ship. I don’t need to answer to you, or to anyone else. It was within the full scope of my authority to make the decision to beam down to that planet. And you, mister, are dangerously close to insubordination right now.”
“I do not question your right to make the decision to beam down to Geltarr 3. I do, however, have grave concerns about the motivation behind it. Your behavior of late has been atypical. As your first officer, I…”
Kirk snorted. “So you’re speaking as my first officer? You could have fooled me – you sound more like a shrink. All right, go ahead – tell me your observations, Doctor. I can’t wait to hear.”
Spock’s gaze was steady, as was his voice. “You asked me for my assessment of the situation on Geltarr 3, and then completely disregarded it. You told me that you would not beam down, and then went back on your word. You have placed yourself in unnecessary danger three times within the past sixteen days. In the past, you have never ignored my opinion. You have never broken a promise to me. You have, I will allow, risked your life before, but never without a reason.” Mr. Spock hesitated as if he was unsure if he should continue, and then said, in a very quiet voice, “Jim, when Sam Kirk was killed, I grieved with you. I grieve with you still. I am not unaware of the pain you feel – I have seen it in your eyes ever since Deneva. But time alone will ease it – not this reckless, illogical behavior. You will not bring your brother back to life by tempting death yourself.”
Captain Kirk flushed deep red and then turned white. Spock had drawn blood. The Human raised his hand, and I feared he might even strike the Vulcan; for an agonizing instant, I questioned the wisdom of keeping them together within me any longer. But he let the hand fall to his side, and said through tears, “Don’t you dare talk to me about grief or pain. You’ve never lost a brother – you have no right.”
A cable giving way – that’s the only thing I could think of as I watched what happened to Spock when the captain said that to him. His control, so sorely tried but so carefully maintained, simply snapped – and I can tell you that it was not a pretty sight. He grabbed the Human’s arms – I could see his fingers bite into the flesh – and growled, “Precisely 5.2 days ago, I held you to me and felt your lifeblood trickle through my fingers, watched your lips turn blue, felt your pulse fade to nothing. I called your name and heard only silence in return. I clasped you in my arms but held only emptiness – the same emptiness that I knew would stretch into forever and beyond if I lost you. I have the right to speak of pain and grief, Jim.”
Captain Kirk was completely dumbfounded at this impassioned speech. For once he could make no noise at all; he just gaped up into the Vulcan’s face with his lips parted in surprise.
I saw Mr. Spock’s eyes flicker down to those lips, and a quick decision made. Before I could really comprehend what was happening, the Vulcan bent down his dark glossy head, placed his own parted lips upon Kirk’s upturned mouth, and kissed him with all of the passion of the words he’d just spoken.
Start or stay still? I asked myself, in a total quandary, and studied Kirk’s reaction for guidance. His hands rose to Spock’s shoulders and I saw he was going to push his first officer away. I waited, ready to start up, but nothing happened – nothing but an almost imperceptible tightening of the Human’s hands upon the shoulders they were gripping. I remained stationary.
Finally, Spock pulled away. “I claim the right,” he said, his voice low in his throat.
Kirk said absolutely nothing – no noise at all. It was a blatant contradiction of Human Assumption Number Two, but for once I found it encouraging instead of worrisome. I think Spock must have interpreted it the same way also, because the next thing I knew, he had pushed his captain up against my wall. Slowly and deliberately, he reached down and unfastened the Human’s pants.
Captain Kirk just looked at him. I am certain he was in a daze – who wouldn’t be? But he didn’t protest, and so Mr. Spock dropped to his knees and pulled the loosened pants down around his captain’s ankles.
I’m not sure if you’re aware, but there’s something about getting into a turbolift that seems to make some men want to take their penises out of their pants. I’ve therefore seen quite a few of them – penises, I mean - between the hurried trysts and the furtive masturbating that’ve gone on within my walls. Not to mention that damnable Ensign DeBarr who got drunk at the Christmas party and then urinated in me – but that’s another story, and one I don’t care to relate right now.
My point is: I have seen penises. And I will tell you that Captain Kirk has one of the very nicest I have viewed. It was already quite stiff when Spock got it out – I suppose because of the kiss, or maybe the look on Spock’s face when he said, “I claim the right.” In any event, it was hard and fairly long and a flushed rose color that was really quite attractive. From the way Mr. Spock looked at it, I think he approved also. In any event, he touched the tip of his tongue to it just once and then slid the entirety of it into his mouth in an action I can only describe as ravenous.
I am completely certain that Mr. Spock had never had Captain Kirk’s penis in his mouth before. But he seemed to know exactly what to do. Perhaps he had theorized about it, telling himself something like, “While the odds are approximately 1.6 million to one against it, there might come a time when I will have the opportunity to take Captain Kirk’s sexual organ in my mouth. If I do, I shall employ x amount of suction and also control the muscles of my pharyngeal wall so that I can swallow him completely. I shall also apply my tongue to both the length of the organ and its head, repeatedly, in order to provide maximum pleasure.”
Well, whether he had planned it beforehand or not, those are the things I think he did. I know for certain that he slid his lips down the length of the Human’s hard penis, and then lingered. I’m not sure exactly what was going on inside his mouth, but it must have been something Kirk liked, because he clutched at Spock’s shoulders and rolled his head back against my wall. When Spock pulled away, the Human started to make little whimpers and moved his hands into Spock’s hair. I saw that Kirk’s legs started to tremble.
Spock must have felt that, because he held tightly onto the Human’s hips to help keep him upright and then plunged his mouth down over the penis again. Captain Kirk’s eyes were closed and there were little beads of sweat on his brow; I heard his breath begin to come in hard little gasps. Down below, Spock continued to suck and slurp and tease relentlessly. Finally, I saw Kirk start to thrust hard into Spock’s mouth and heard him give one long, drawn out cry. Spock pulled the Human’s hips even closer until his mouth was right up against the flesh of Kirk’s belly and swallowed.
For quite a while, there was total silence except for Kirk’s breath and the little moist sounds of Mr. Spock lapping the excess ejaculate from the captain’s softening penis. Kirk was spent in more ways than one; I could feel him sagging against my wall, and I think the support I gave him was al that kept him on his feet. Spock sensed it too; he rose and pulled Kirk into his arms, taking the captain’s head onto his shoulder.
Gently, he tilted the Human’s chin up so that he could look into the captain’s eyes. “Your life is precious to me,” he whispered. “I ask you, Jim – do not risk it gratuitously again.”
Kirk reached up and caressed the Vulcan’s face with great tenderness, and then pulled Spock down to him to kiss him softly. “All right,” he said, his voice so low I could hardly hear. “All right – I won’t.” He burrowed his head into Spock’s neck and held him tightly.
Enough, I thought. This show is over. I must admit, I felt some amusement as I started up again, as my two passengers sensed my motion and Kirk’s eyes flew open wide. Pants down – doors opening anytime – was obviously what was telegraphing through his brain.
I wouldn’t have done it to him, of course. In fact, I made sure my pace was slow – slow enough so that the captain, with a little help from Spock, was fully dressed and acceptably dignified-looking when I finally arrived at Deck Five.
As my doors opened, Scotty called in over my intercom, his voice both distraught and apologetic. “Captain Kirk!”
Kirk walked over and hit my button, very gently this time, I might add. “Kirk here.”
“Are you both all right, man? She seems to be workin’ again, but I –”
Kirk shot a look of pure affection at Spock, who stood by listening. “We’re both fine, Scotty. Thanks for taking care of it.”
“I’m glad, sir, but I’m sorry you had to wait so long. And I really didn’t…”
“No harm done, Scotty,” Kirk said mildly. “Everything’s O.K. now – she’s running like a top.”
Kirk and Spock walked out of me together, the Human’s hand resting fondly on the Vulcan’s shoulder. I left my doors open long enough to hear the captain say, “You sure you can’t free your schedule up for some chess?”
“I believe that I can make the necessary arrangements, sir. Do you desire to play in your quarters, or mine?”
They both thought that I was dependable again, so they didn’t give me as much as a second glance as they walked away.
I shut my doors.