The cool waters of the planet’s ocean were lit with fire as the first of its two suns swept over the curved horizon. It was enough to make any mortal man close their eyes against the white-gold brilliance but James T. Kirk was no ordinary man – he wasn’t even mortal.
“Would you look at that,” he breathed, his eyes roving across the ever-moving expanse of water, “makes it look as though you could drink it – like molten gold.”
“Putting aside the overly poetic metaphor, Jim such an action would be inadvisable. Salt water is not a safe source of hydration for humans, as your ancient mariners discovered.”
Turning to his First Officer, Kirk let his face slide into a grin that was entirely inappropriate for a captain of a starship.
“You’re forgetting, Spock, I’m not actually human.”
Spock raised one perfectly shaped eyebrow, “Physically that is correct, however, your human upbringing has left you with an... unfortunate disposition towards rash emotion and action. In addition your body does have its weaknesses.”
“Weaknesses!” Kirk gasped in mock horror. “You should know better.”
He winked at Spock, shifting his weight so subtly beneath his red and blue spandex costume that the whole of the landing party, bar the Vulcan was unprepared for his sudden takeoff. He stayed above them long enough to do a lazy loop-the-loop just above Spock’s pointy, black-masked head, before pelting off over the rapidly colouring ocean.
“Where’s he going?” asked Clemmings the archaeologist – an uncomfortable looking, portly man in overly-tight green spandex.
“To prove a point, I suspect,” Spock replied, trying to forget how much his fingers had twitched in restrained movement as his captain had swooped above him, just out of reach.
“...and I’ll call you Dovetail, and you... Lillyblack and you...”
Sulu wasn’t sure what to call the tiny flowing plant he had found cowering beneath the monstrous vegetation of the other, larger species of plant life that populated this planet’s rainforests.
It was immeasurably delicate, the hair-like veins tracing fragile trails through the thin membrane of the white and blue petals. Every stir of the wind sent it weaving back and forth until Sulu swore the stalk would snap with the stress.
He watched it for a few more moments, listening to the gentle drone of the insect life; life that Mr. Spock had assured the captain was completely benign after Jim had jumped up and down on his toes at the mention of ‘bugs’ and whispered something about mortal peril and an overly aggressive cricket.
Sulu was pulled out of his reverie by the arrival of a black and red spider, which made its light-footed way across the ground in front of the delicate, unnamed plant.
As it crossed the soft, mossy ground the stalks of the plant began to sway again but this time, there was no wind to move them. The spider began to skitter faster across the floor of the forest but suddenly the ground began to boil with movement – long, flexible roots shooting out of the ground and whipping around the struggling spider, before dragging it below the earth, presumably to become nutrients for the tiny plant.
Sulu was disturbed, yet fascinated by the display – it was obviously the natural food cycle of the plant and as a botanist he respected that relationship. Nevertheless, he had to restrain himself from trying to rescue the spider from its captivity – Sulu had always had a problem with imprisonment... and a rather large soft spot for spiders.
His communicator was beeping persistently on his hip and Chekov halted in mid-air between trees, letting himself swing aimlessly as he answered the call.
“Spock here,” came the reply, perhaps a little more abruptly than usual. The boy wonder’s suspicions over what had caused this irritation were confirmed when Spock continued.
“Have you seen the captain during your... explorations?”
Chekov sighed inwardly – Mr. Spock was very good at showing his disdain for Chekov’s method of travel without really saying anything at all.
“No, Mr. Spock, I have not seen him. I am on my way to rendezvous with Mr. Sulu; perhaps he has seen the captain?”
Chekov could almost hear the groan of metal as Spock squeezed the life out of his communicator but the voice that came over the channel was as unemotional as ever.
“Very well, Ensign. Ask Mr. Sulu if he has seen the captain and report back.”
Chekov replaced his comm. device and threw his outstretched wrist towards the next tree, releasing his other wrist as he did so. As he began to regain his rhythm he had to twist between jagged branches and clinging vines – these jungles were hell on his costume and it was rather hard to see through the black gauze of his eye markings.
Spock stepped delicately through the undergrowth, his gaze split between monitoring his surroundings and attempting to locate Sulu and Chekov’s whereabouts with his tricorder. His hooded mask was interfering with his vision and his cape kept catching on the undergrowth. Why the captain had insisted that they test out these ‘brilliant, individualised new uniforms’ was beyond Spock’s understanding. In the last week, Jim had taken to running into turbo lifts whenever the ship went into yellow alert – emerging resplendent in his red and blue spandex (although he hadn’t quite got the hang of super speed yet; sometimes he ended up with both legs down one leg hole. It made him look like a red and blue mermaid and Spock was afraid that one of these days one of the crew really would spontaneously combust from laughing too hard.)
If it hadn’t felt like giving in, Spock would have thrown his costume off the first chance he got. Apparently stubbornness was one of the few traits he shared with Dr. McCoy – according to Jim. This was patently illogical and Spock had told him so but Jim never seemed to accept his reasoning, he would just smile enigmatically and resume trying to play footsies with him underneath the chess table.
Finally his tricorder began to pick up two distinct sapient life forms two hundred metres north east of Spock’s current location. Spock looked up and spied a likely branch. Grasping his grapple hook in his hand, he launched it upwards and caught it in the soft wood of bough, before spiralling up the line behind it. Pulling the grapple free, he crouched in the shadow of the tree’s foliage, trying not to smile with satisfaction. Spock had spent weeks designing the myriad of gadgets that allowed him to keep up with the more super powered members of the Enterprise, namely Jim. He had invented the grapple hook as an independent source of transportation after Jim had dropped him in mid flight for the fifth time. Spock kept trying to explain all the delicate intricacies of his creations to Jim during their rec time but the captain only ever lasted three minutes before he started drawing on the table, or staging battles for control of the Romulan ale with the chess pieces.
Scouting ahead, Spock spied another likely tree and launched himself forwards once again. Three or four trees later he stilled himself once more beneath the leafy upper canopy. He could hear movement beneath him, his Vulcan ears attuned to the rustle of bodies on the carpet of leaves below. Taking out his electro-binoculars, he scanned the ground beneath him, eventually picking up two life forms. One was very definitely Lieutenant Sulu and the other... was quite possibly Ensign Chekov, although what possible reason he could have for wrestling vigorously with Sulu defied Spock’s logic.
Obviously he would have to take a closer look. Leaping gracefully from his perch, Spock dropped through the air, his black cape billowing out dramatically behind him before he landed, cat-like in the shadows beside the two writhing forms. Sounds quickly reached his sensitive ears but they were nonsensical – moans and grunts that trailed away into high-pitched giggles from the smaller, curly-haired shadow...
If Spock had been a little more human and a little less Vulcan, he would have blushed to the tips of his ears as realisation swept over him. Steeling himself for the approaching awkwardness his cleared his throat and faced his sweaty and quite possibly naked co-workers.
The speed with which the two figures moved – one scrambling for his regency trousers and blouse, the other for his red and black spandex costume. After a few minutes of frantic attempts at becoming the world’s fastest dresser, Chekov tried to stand to attention, failing miserably when the arm he had shoved his leg into pulled him over, throwing him against Sulu who was still trying to do up the buttons on his trousers. From within the pile of limbs, Spock could see the dark mop of Sulu’s hair, wedged underneath the crook of Chekov’s left knee.
“Lieutenant, Ensign. I trust you have been spending you time searching for the captain as ordered?”
Sulu had the good grace to look ashamed but Chekov simply sat up from his position behind Sulu – all bright-eyed innocence and naiveté.
“Mr. Spock! I found Mr. Sulu!”
Spock raised an eyebrow, although it could barely be seen underneath his bat-like mask.
“That, ensign is patently obvious, as is the enthusiasm of your subsequent... celebrations.”
Chekov started to smile. “You could see us from up there could you Mr. Spock?”
The boy’s grin quickly changed from sly to earnest though when his natural desire to ‘help’ began to bleed through his hormones.
“You know, sir there is a much better way for you to climb trees – Russian spiders, wery good, wery fast acting, much more reliable than those bat... thingies.”
Spock tried not to show his exasperation – this... discussion had been going on now for three months.
“Yes, thank you, Ensign I will take that into consideration if I ever have the desire to be attacked by an arachnid, however, at the present time, the captain’s whereabouts are of more importance.”
Chekov and a now fully buttoned-up Sulu both looked a little hesitant.
“With respect, sir,” said Sulu as he bent over to collect his wide brimmed hat, complete with ostrich-sized pink feather, “I think the captain can take care of himself – no matter what situation he gets himse... err, I mean, he becomes unavoidably involved in.”
Spock felt ever so slightly dizzy as a myriad of possible compromising situations with his captain in the starring role raced through his head. Most of them involved warm honey, hot candles and an Admiral’s jacket.
“That, Mr. Sulu, is exactly what I am worried about.”
“What was that again, sir?”
Captain James T. Kirk struggled – rather more slowly than entirely necessary –out of the pile of scantily-clad ladies he had fallen into and tried to straighten his costume.
“I’m sorry, don’t know what happened there,” he mumbled as the girls winked at him cheekily from their pile of squishy thighs and breasts. “Right! I’ll haaaaave... that one!”
Kirk pointed to the woman who had pulled him over in the first place.
She was shapely and beautiful and had the naughtiest look in her eye... If he were honest, she reminded Jim of himself.
“Excellent choice, sir,” simpered the man. “Your room is along that corridor and third on your left. You have a wonderful view of the sea.”
“Your establishment is floating in the middle of the water,” Jim retorted. “All your rooms have excellent views of the sea.”
The concierge just shrugged enigmatically and bowed himself out of the foyer.
Kirk wasted no time in getting the girl into his room but it took him at least twenty minutes of his hour-long appointment and one bout of crying to get his spandex pants off.
“Captain, finally. I – oh.”
It was hard to tell as he was upside down but Spock was ninety-eighty point five-five-seven percent sure that the naked man tied to the ceiling was indeed his captain – more’s the pity.
“Lois, honey! Boy am I glad to see you!”
Spock grimaced at the pet name and pulled his bat-black gloves off.
“Now normally these ropes wouldn’t be a problem,” Jim continued, “but I think that girl slipped something into my drink... either that or your second head’s always been orange.”
Spock tried to grab Jim’s naked body in the politest way possible in order to cut him down but his vain, scrabbling attempts only set the captain spinning.
“Please, Jim this is difficult enough as it is.”
“Huh, now you have four heads, Spock – how did you manage that?”
“Mr. Sulu!” Spock called and Sulu came running in from the foyer where he and Chekov had been tasting the body toppings hidden behind the counter. In Sulu’s opinion, Chekov would taste gorgeous in Apricot Sunrise.
“Sir I, oh. I see you found the captain.”
“Indeed,” intoned Spock. “Would you kindly assist me, Mr. Sulu.”
“Yessir,” Sulu replied and joined Spock in trying to steady the now swinging Jim.
Spock was dangerously close to something bordering on frustration.
“I seem... unable to find purchase on the captain’s body,” Spock muttered.
Kirk tried to wink saucily but succeeded only in looking like he was having a seizure.
“Hey! You can buy my body anytime, baby.”
“It’s the body-butter, Mr. Spock,” whispered Sulu. “He’s covered in Banana Burst.”
Spock looked implacable but his voice was filled with outrage. “That is atrocious, Mr. Sulu!”
“I know,” Sulu replied. “He’s obviously a raspberry.”
Doctor McCoy loved his sickbay – whether it was empty or full of patients he loved it. Medicine was a fine art, a precise form of creation, destruction and restoration. When he was performing surgery, everything was narrowed down to a fine point – all distractions wiped away as he became caught up in the minutiae of the human... or alien body. Through all the horrors he had seen, his love, his passion as a healer had kept him going.
There was only one man. One. Man... who made Bones think of packing it all in.
“Uh uh. Noooo way, no siree-bob. Take me to my quarters, Spock I just need to sleep it off!”
“Captain, we are unsure of what you have taken, it may have side effects...”
There was a pause.
“...It may have other side effects that we are unaware of. I strongly urge you to allow us to take you to sickbay before Doctor McCoy discovers you doing a naked handstand in the Gym and orders you to sickbay.”
Jim looked blearily across at Spock as the Vulcan held one half of the captain up by his arm, the other half supported by an uncomfortable looking Sulu.
“You’re starting to make sense,” he declared before grimacing. “The drugs must be wearing off.”
The three men made their way into the sickbay, where Bones was already pacing up and down like a caged beagle.
“I heard,” he growled. “Just put him on that bed and let’s get a look at him.”
“You’ll certainly get that,” remarked Sulu as they dumped the completely naked and slightly drooling Jim onto a bed.
“Oh good God, where are his clothes?! I thought that this was supposed to be one of his ‘undercover’ missions.”
Sulu snorted at the Doctor’s unintended double entendre but managed to control himself once McCoy had pinned him with his don’t-mess-with-me-I’m-a-doctor-dammit stare.
“I’ll just... clean myself up and report to my station. Doctor, Commander.”
Both men nodded as Sulu left the room, his hat sitting upon his head at a jaunty angle, the feather only a little worse for wear.
“Ok, Jim let’s take a tox-screen,” said McCoy.
Jim grumbled but let Bones run the scan.
“Mhmm, just your basic hallucinogen with a bit of sedative mixed in to tamp down his strength. Nothing a quick shot won’t fix.”
If Spock had been human he would have partaken in the very human pastime of slapping his forehead with his palm. The doctor was many things, most of them incredibly human and emotional. Being tactful had never been one of those things.
“WHOAH! Uh uh, not going to happen. Spock, get me out of here,” said Jim before he commenced an attempt at walking. Swooshing the sheet off the bed and around his shoulders, he took one masterful stride towards the doors and tripped up over his own feet – crashing to the floor in a tangle of medical-issue sheets and hairy legs.
Spock very carefully reached down and lifted the captain up, keeping all appendages as covered as possible and trying to ignore how close the captain’s naked butt was to his chest.
McCoy in the mean time had been preparing the hypospray and now motioned for Spock to hold Jim down if necessary while he administered the shot.
As soon as Jim could see the hypo he flung his head back and groaned.
“No... I can feel... my powers weakening... Strength... fading... All hope... lost.”
“Drama classes are four levels down, Jim,” said McCoy as he pushed the hypo against the captain’s neck. “And this is not kryptonite, it’s a vitamin complex.”
“Nnuh... Oh. What’s that gonna do?”
“Give your system a boost and save me the trouble of dragging you back in here for another few days at least. Now go to your quarters and get some rest – there’s nothing else I can do at the moment, best just to sleep to remainder of those drugs away. With you constitution, you should be fine but I will be sending a nurse to check up on you in about six hours.”
Jim grinned like a drugged hooker and tried to make a suggestive noise that ended up sounding like a clogged drain.
“A male nurse,” Bones clarified caustically, eyeing his own, tightly clasped hands as his skin shifted to the lightest shade of green.
Jim’s dazed, sleazy grin got bigger.
There was a strange clunking sound echoing along the pipes of engineering and Scotty was determined to find out the cause. It would delay his plans for external maintenance but the ship sounded out of tune and when she sounded out of tune, Scotty had to listen to his lady. He tracked the noise as it made its irregular way along the coolant pipes of the sub-light engine room, his ear cocked at an odd angle as he strained to pinpoint the noise’s precise location.
“That’s it,” he whispered to no one in particular, “just a little bit further... Gotcha!”
Scotty slammed the emergency lever shut and opened the small service hatch in the side of the pipe – one hand at the ready brandishing a spanner, the other already worming its way inside the pipe in search of its nemesis.
Scotty could feel something trapped against the grating but every time he thought he had a hold of it, it slipped from his fingers.
“Come on, ya wee bastard. Just... a little... more – ”
There was a squeak followed by a shriek and then a lot of swearing.
Scotty had managed to get a hold of the offending object and had dragged it out into the open, whereupon the half-dead mouse had squeaked in a half-hearted attempt at a ‘thank you’, Scotty had squealed like a four year old and both of them had had to sit down for five minutes to collect themselves. The mouse chose to do this by lying on its side and praying to its many angry, all-seeing gods. Scotty chose to do this by trying to list every swear word he knew in alphabetical order.
Once they had both recovered sufficiently, Scotty did the gentlemanly thing and introduced himself, a welcoming smile on his face.
“Pleased to meet ye, the name’s Montgomery Scott but you can call me Scotty.”
The mouse twitched its whiskers in what could have possibly been a response.
Scotty seemed to take it as such and nodded, letting the tiny rodent climb up his arm and onto his shoulder, where it sat still, or as still as a mouse can be, its tiny paws curled into the velour of the Engineer’s uniform.
Scotty nodded smartly, as much to himself as to anybody and started back in the direction he’d been originally headed, wearing his new friend like a furry grey epaulette.
“Ye cannae stay there for long though,” declared Scotty conversationally as he headed down the corridor to his own personal storage locker. “Red and gold might be your colours but I doubt you’ll want to get trapped under metal again anytime soon...”
Mr. Spock began to relax for the first time that day as he sat in the captain’s chair.
Its erstwhile owner was deeply asleep in his quarters and had been now for some hours, Spock’s embarrassingly flamboyant suit was hanging safely in its cupboard and Sulu and Chekov were at their posts and back in their appropriate gold uniforms.
Just as he began to mentally recite one of his favourite Vulcan poems to pass the time between status reports, he caught the glint of... something in the corner of his eye.
The ever-professional Vulcan first officer wanted to investigate the anomaly immediately but there was the tiniest part of his mind that groaned, rolled its eyes and warned him that whatever it was, no good would come of looking at it.
Spock dismissed the voice with his usual efficiency and ordered the view screen focused along the right side of the ship in order to get a clearer view of...
Scotty. Who seemed to be performing some kind of complicated dance routine alongside the Enterprise’s hull.
There was a crack, as one of the arm rests on the captain’s chair snapped in a shower of sparks and plastic. Spock’s only reaction was an uncontrolled twitching in his left eye. Normally, only Jim could incite such a breach in his Vulcan control but today had started badly and become steadily worse – Mr. Scott’s latest adventure was, to use a wholly inaccurate human euphemism, the straw that broke the camel’s back.
“Mr. Scott – ” even Spock was impressed by how even his voice sounded, “this is the Bridge, come in please.”
There was a pause and the gold and red figure halted in the middle of a loop-the-loop to float upside down in a disconcerting parody of the captain.
“Scotty here, sir. Is there anythin’ amiss?”
Chekov giggled from his station below and Sulu jabbed him hard in the ribs, his eyes never leaving the view screen as Chekov’s laugh transformed into a violent coughing fit.
“Mr. Scott, are you aware of what the punishment is for an officer that leaves his post without authorisation?”
The screen was close enough to the Scotsman for Spock to witness his attempt at scratching his metal head with his metal hand.
“No, sir I dinnae think I am.”
“In that case, Mr. Scott,” replied Spock with a little more growl in his voice than was entirely appropriate for a Vulcan, “may I suggest that you return from your... spacewalk, put away that outfit and return to your post in Engineering.”
“But Mr. Spock, I’m at my post now! There’s two hours of work out here, repairing damaged connections and hull integrity. Why, she’s not been the same since that encounter with those Klingon Birds of Prey – she’s keening man, cannae ye tell? Poor lass, crying and shuddering... and she’s listing to one side by at least twenty microns, I don’t know what these wet lads think they’re doing, they couldn’t calibrate the proper ratio of a cheese and tomato sandwich , let alone the balance of a matter-antimatter engine – ”
Spock muted the Chief of Engineering as his speech became more and more passionate and less and less coherent.
“Lieutenant Uhura, when Mr. Scott has finished, please advise him there are numerous jobs within the Enterprise that need to be attended to urgently and that by order of the captain, there will be and I quote: ‘a meeting of all senior officers, Russian boy-genius’s and kick-ass female xenolinguists,’ in the ready room at twenty-hundred hours.”
Uhura nodded perkily from her post at communications. She looked slightly surprised at Spock’s order – but that may just have been the way she looked when she pulled her hair back that tightly.
They gathered before him like friends... no, allies... no, disciples... Okay, not disciples, thought Jim, that sounded too much like a cult.
“Ouch! Don’t do that, Hikaru I bruise wery easily!”
Sulu looked entirely unrepentant and resumed molesting the parts of Pavel that couldn’t see him coming quickly enough to stop him.
“Isn’t anyone going to tell us what in the hell we’re doing here? It’s bad enough I have to spend my working hours around some of you,” grumbled McCoy. Jim just knew without asking that Bones meant him.
“Well I don’t know about all of you but I actually have plans for tonight,” stated Uhura, glancing suggestively at Spock. “I have to, ah practice my xenolinguistic skills.”
Jim stood at the head of the meeting table and surveyed what passed for his friends and crewmembers on this boat. Sulu was still assaulting Chekov, although by the look of it the kid was starting to enjoy it, Bones was testing his strength – and everyone else’s patience by trying to flex his muscles enough to rip his shirt open, Scotty seemed to be having a dirty conversation with the wall’s access port, Nyota was pretending to look out of the window near Spock whilst surreptitiously making ultrasonic trilling noises and Spock – well, Spock looked like he was close to strangling everyone in the room.
All these dysfunctional relationships and petty arguments, they reminded Jim of one great big, horrible family reunion. Ha, he thought. That’s the word I’ve been looking for – family! Jim smiled at his own brilliance.
“Alright every one, listen up. No – Listen – I said shu – Shut u – CRAM A SOCK IN IT!”
Everyone turned towards Kirk, who was now jumping up and down on the meeting room table.
“You two," he jabbed a finger at Sulu and Chekov, "no more fun-touching. You," he pointed at Bones, "stop being such a whiny bitch and watch what you’re doing, I’m the only one on this ship who gets to rip his shirt off. You," he rounded on Scotty, "have sex with a person in the next twenty-four hours or I’m banning you from the Jeffries Tubes until further notice. You," he turned towards Uhura,"if you trill any louder you’re going to make those pretty little pointed ears of his bleed and you," he said, pointing both hands at Spock, "stop glaring at me and help me get down from this thing.”
Spock’s lips thinned ever so slightly but he walked over to Jim nevertheless.
“You are aware that you can fly, captain,” he drawled.
Jim sniffed dismissively.
“I’m aware of it,” he replied as he grasped the back of Spock’s neck for balance and readied himself to jump off the table. ”I just chose to ignore the fact in order to cop a feel.”
The helping hand, or in this case, neck was suddenly removed and Jim very nearly had to use his own initiative. Thankfully he was saved by a rapidly-moving Chekov who dashed forward, tripped, fell over and ended up being used as Jim’s footstool.
“That was mean,” Jim pouted at Spock.
“But necessary,” Spock replied archly.
“Right!” exclaimed Jim as he jumped off Chekov’s back, “my vision’s cleared, you’ve all lost those second heads and the weird taste of cat fur has disappeared from my mouth – let’s get this thing started!”
The crew of the Enterprise looked at their captain with a mixture of suspicion and worry.
“What thing, Jim?” asked McCoy.
Jim smiled brilliantly and the mood of the room shifted from a feeling of slight unease to one of total fear.
“You all may have noticed in recent weeks a change to the mission uniforms – those of us with certain... talents have been singled out for ‘special duties’,” Spock cringed and McCoy rolled his eyes as Jim used his big-boy air-quotes.
“Now, I’ve been liaising with Starfleet and they have decided to let me, I mean they have ordered me, to create a crack team of superheroes in order to combat evil throughout the galaxy. We shall be called... The Enterprisers!”
Silence greeted Kirk’s words as the crew tried to look anywhere but at the captain. Seconds passed until Jim’s manic smile started to slip and his lower lip started to wobble ominously.
Chekov – never one to leave an awkward pause hanging decided to jump in and rescue his captain from a bout of near-certain hysterics.
“That sounds wonderful, captain wery original. But... what exactly are we supposed to do as... The Enterprisers?”
“Fight evil!” Jim declared.
“Fight evil how exactly, Jim?” asked McCoy.
“Ah,” schemed Jim, “that’s the best bit! Whenever we discover say, an eugenically enhanced megalomaniac bent on galactic domination or a giant, mass murdering cloud of funky-smelling smoke, we put on our heroic uniforms, we get our super on and we nail the bastards!”
More silence until Spock stepped forward.
“Am I to understand, captain that we will be required to wear those... outfits every time we undertake one of these missions?”
Spock’s shudder was almost imperceptible but Jim’s super senses picked up on it.
“Oh, come on Spock, how bad can it be?”
It was raining and Spock’s supposedly waterproof costume was riding up something awful. Uhura stood next to him, her normally perky hair, limp and lifeless around her golden headband. She held her Lasso of Truth tightly in her hands and was desperately trying to resist the urge to use it on Commander Spock.
Chekov looked cold in his skin-tight spandex and Jim looked as though he was regretting wearing his underpants on the outside of his tights. Sulu’s hat feather kept falling wetly into his eyes and Bones just looked grumpy.
Only one member of the newly-formed group was missing. Scotty had insisted that at least one of them should remain on the ship, if only to create the pretense that someone who could actually operate the windscreen wipers was in control. Kirk had grudgingly agreed that leaving the guy that made the coffee in charge probably wasn’t the best idea but Scotty was to use the time to chat up as many people as possible in order to find a date. Scotty had been less enthusiastic about that part and Jim had thrown up his hands in defeat, leaving the Scotsman in Engineering, whispering endearments to the ship’s nacelles.
Uhura glared at Kirk and brandished her whip menacingly.
“Err... and woman... Welcome to this, the first official mission of The Enterprisers.”
“Dammit, Jim this is a Starfleet mission, not a home owner's meeting!”
“In order do this right,” Jim continued, ignoring the interruption, “we’re all going to have to be on our toes and alert to any dangers that may lurk in the shadows.”
“What dangers?” whispered Chekov anxiously.
“What shadows,” scoffed Sulu, gesturing to their surroundings.
Sulu was right, there was very little in the way of shadows, not because of sunlight – the rainclouds had taken care of that – but because the entire planet seemed to be one bare expanse of grassland.
“What exactly are we looking for again, Captain?” asked Uhura.
Jim took a dramatic breath and tried to get his cape to flap behind him in a spectacular fashion.
“The locals call it the ‘Urshu’. It’s incredibly dangerous apparently, so we’ll need some brute strength in order to catch it so.... over to you Bones.”
Bones look startled, then worried, then irritated.
“Jim, I swear if I didn’t think you’d find a way to kill yourself within twelve hours of me leaving, I would resign my commission right now.”
“Atta boy,” winked Jim. “Now here’s the plan...”
He leant forward and began whispering furiously as the crew of the Enterprise craned their heads together in order to figure out exactly what it was he was saying.
To Jim’s credit, no one did.
“Jim, what in the hell does ‘pshwsh arr hngrgle mphmlt brehe mumt wass’ mean?” asked McCoy as they all straightened up, Sulu’s feather making a sad, wet splat as it fell back against his hat.
“Fine,” sulked Jim, “obviously none of you can speak Dramatic Whisper so I’ll just have to tell you the boring way. Uhura and Spock, you head around to the east and take up position a quarter of a mile from that tree over there.”
Jim pointed to a very sad-looking tree sitting alone in the middle of the soggy grass.
“Sulu, you and Chekov will swing west and take up your position the same distance away from the tree. Bones, you and I will remain here and slowly creep up on the tree’s location once the others are in place. I’ll need you to ah... change before we head off.”
McCoy nodded curtly but he didn’t look happy about it.
“Sir, how do we know that this creature is in the tree?” asked Chekov.
“Because,” replied Kirk, “it’s the only fricking landmark within three hundred fricking miles and I am not flying halfway around the world in this weather. It’s bad enough that my hair is ruined, I’m not about to risk my skin complexion in that... maelstrom of wind and rain, so it’s here or we tell the locals I disintegrated it with my x-ray vision.”
Uhura snorted her disdain for such overly dramatic descriptions of the weather and dragged a very reluctant Spock off in an easterly direction. Sulu headed west, trying to catch up with Chekov who was skipping ahead with excitement.
“Now,” Jim turned to Bones. “Let’s get you suited up, shall we?”
“It’s been four months since my last proper check-up.”
“I told that hot nurse you fancied that you were gay so that she’d set you up with her brother.”
“I once stole your antique stethoscope to use for sex games,”
“What?! Is it working?”
“Well the urge to kill is rising but I don’t seem to be changing colour.”
“Dammit Bones,” complained Jim, “you’re less reliable than a mood ring.”
Bones just glared at his captain and tried to focus the rising tide of anger in on himself, willing himself to change.
He sighed and turned to face Jim.
“It’s not working, Jim and if you can’t make me turn, no one can.”
Jim scrunched his face up in resignation.
“Fine,” he sighed. “I was hoping that it wouldn’t come to this but we need your alter ego. And I need this mission to work!”
Jim stood in front of Bones, a solemn expression on his face and placed both his hands on the doctor’s shoulders.
“You know when you had Andorian Shingles? You kept telling everyone that you were going to die in horrible pain?”
Bones nodded suspiciously.
“Well, you know how you had to spend three weeks in bed because of the awful, horrible, terrible pain? And I said to you, ‘hey, at least you haven’t got complications!’... And then you got complications?”
Another nod, this time accompanied by a warning growl.
“Well I may have inadvertently err, distracted Nurse Chapel while she was preparing your antivirals. You know, it was before she’d lowered the hemline on her dress.”
The growling got louder.
“And it’s possible that she may have given you a shot for a bladder infection instead of the antivirals that would have prevented you from getting complications that made your eyeballs bleed.”
The look in Bones’ eyes had shifted from irritation to blind rage and Jim decided that it was probably best if he removed his hands from the doctor’s shoulders and took a step back. Jim shrugged and grinned appealingly.
Bones started screaming a steady stream of increasingly incoherent swearwords and charged at Jim, who leapt delicately into the air, just out of the doctor’s reach.
McCoy’s torrent of abuse devolved into animal growls as he flexed the expanding muscles of his torso, tearing his shirt open to reveal his rippling, manly green chest.
“Nice,” commented Superkirk from his view four feet above the Incredible Bones.
Bones grunted non-committedly, dressed only in the ripped remnants of his skin tight, Starfleet-issue trousers.
“We ready?” asked the hovering Jim, “because I think Spock’s giving me the signal for ‘in position’...”
Jim squinted and shaded his eyes with his hand.
“...Either that or he’s making a rude gesture.”
Bones reached up and grabbed a hold of Superkirk’s ankle before trudging off in the direction of the tree – the protesting figure of the captain bobbing along above him like a child’s balloon.
Sulu and Chekov were carefully making their way towards the tree from the gentle rise that they had been hidden behind. Sulu had his rapier at the ready and was trying to keep his soggy feather out of his eyes. Chekov was beside him – surprisingly bouncy for the circumstances – his youthful enthusiasm and desire to impress Superkirk and Batspock keeping him perky throughout the downpour.
On the other side of the tree, Spock was trying his best to stalk his woody opponent and the creature within but it was difficult when he was dressed in a long, billowing black cape and the few clothes his partner was wearing were in bold, primary colours.
Uhura did seem to be faring a little worse than the other Enterprisers – her hair was hanging limply down her back, her strapless red bustier kept slipping and she was desperately trying to stop her blue, starry panties from turning into the world’s worst wedgie.
In the distance they could see a very green McCoy dragging a petulant Kirk by the ankle.
Jim had his arms crossed over his chest and as they drew closer, Spock realised that the rain had made the captain’s mascara run. Spock sighed inwardly, how many times had he recommended waterproof mascara for their outdoor missions... or for when a particularly mean ambassador made him cry?
Bones let Jim go as they reached the tree and Jim let himself float dejectedly to the ground. Bones shot a glance at his friend and then punched him in the arm to knock him out of his mood.
When Jim had stopped seeing more stars than there were on Uhura’s panties and had picked himself up from the ground, he turned and addressed the sodden Enterprisers.
“Alright people, this is the sharp end. In that tree waits a possibly fearsome creature that may or may not cost Chekov his life.”
Chekov did a spectacular double take and then pursed his lips petulantly when no one else seemed to care about his semi-impending doom. Only Sulu patted him consolingly on the arm and shot him a commiserating look.
“Now on the count of three, Spock you throw your batarang at the tree, Uhura you get your lasso going in case it tries to bolt, Chekov you keep your webs at the ready in case the damn thing can fly and Sulu... err, Sulu if you see it coming at you feel free to defend yourself with that pointy metal stick of yours.”
Sulu looked like he wanted to try out his ‘pointy metal stick’ on the captain.
“Bones here will ram the tree in case Spock’s gadget doesn’t do the trick,” Jim continued, “and I’ll take a supervisory position above the canopy in order to direct the battle.”
He paused in thought.
“And also in case I need to commit an overly-dramatic, body-destroying manoeuvre to save the day.”
Jim clenched his fists and crouched down.
“Ready? On three... THREE!”
Everyone leapt into action and the tree essentially exploded. Something seemed to be fleeing the wreckage, however, and Spock and Jim took off after it – one on the ground, the other through the air.
Spock was surprisingly quick but Jim was quicker and seconds later he dive-bombed out of the sky and crash landed on the creature in an explosion of grass and mud.
By the time Spock arrived, Jim was on his back, wrestling violently with what looked like a dog with rabbit’s ears. Jim seemed to be losing the fight and eventually the furry object reached his face and started licking.
“You seem to have this under control, captain or do you feel that I should call for backup?”
“Mmph geddub frkl!”
“Yes indeed,” Spock agreed. “Shall I advise the Enterprise that we are ready to beam up?”
Jim managed to wrench the overexcited mammal off his face, just as the rest of the Enterprisers caught up.
He stood up with as much dignity as possible under the circumstances with the wriggling animal tucked underneath his arm. He tried not to notice the giggles from his crewmates as they took in his mud and saliva-streaked form.
“Very well, Mr. Spock,” he growled. “But get Scotty to meet us in the transporter room.”
He glared at the ever-moving fur ball beneath his arm.