The captain sneezed over his fried eggs and toast.
“They’re beautiful, Lieutenant, but it really wasn’t necessary.” He smiled as Lieutenant Arnett handed him three yellow roses elegantly wrapped around the stems with a white bow and clear plastic wrapping. The captain returned to his meal as the Lieutenant left with a sheepish grin.
Kirk sliced a knife through his eggs and sneezed a second time, yellow yoke splattering off his fork and onto the front of his uniform.
“What’s wrong with you, now?” As the echo of the captain’s sinus expulsion reverberated throughout the mess hall, Doctor McCoy had rushed to Kirk’s side and pressed a hand against his forehead. “No fever.” He abandoned his breakfast tray with a clatter on the table and pulled a tricorder from his pocket, proceeding to wave the device across Jim’s body.
“Just something caught in my nose.” Jim shrugged and sneezed again. “Go back to your grits. They’ll get cold.”
Spock placed his spoon parallel to his empty bowl of plomeek soup and stood, approaching the captain’s table at the end of the hall where this disruptive scene was taking place. He stood at parade rest beside the doctor. “As the captain’s medical file contains extensive details in regards to his pollen allergy, there is a ninety nine percent likelihood that he is suffering sinus aggravation due to the influx of flower bouquets he has received from crew members this morning along with boxes of chocolates, cards, and a variety of small wrapped gifts.”
Kirk started slightly, his body tensing in his seat. “Gods, Spock! Don’t sneak up on me like that.”
“Let me repeat. What the hell’s wrong with you?” Doctor McCoy yelled. “You some kind of masochist? Why the hell did you accept flowers?”
The captain ignored his chief medical officer’s emotional outpouring, and glared at Spock with narrowed eyes.
“You’ve been going through my medical files?” Jim asked with a lowered tone of accusation that Spock refused to allow to irritate his brain’s limbic system.
Spock leveled his neutral gaze upon Kirk’s aggressively visual scrutiny. “I examined your medical files when I was assigned the position of first officer aboard the Enterprise twenty two days ago.”
“Stalker,” Jim scowled.
Spock lifted an eyebrow. “As I am both first and chief science officer aboard this ship, it is only logical that I be aware of any medical fallacies its captain suffers in order to competently complete my duties. One of which is to protect you from harmful particles conveyed within foreign atmospheres or organic matter that could impair your health, disrupting your ability to optimally command the Enterprise.”
“In other words, someone has to look out for you since you obviously have no intention of defending yourself from your rabble of idiotic admires.” Reaching forward, McCoy grabbed the flowers within Kirk’s grasp and pulled. The stems slipped from the captain’s grip, several petals detaching from the tops and drifting into his lap. He sneezed again.
“What can I say, I’m a popular guy.” Kirk winked with a reddening eye. McCoy shoved an arm into the captain’s ribs. Frowning at the aggressive display, Spock wondered if it would be prudent to report the doctor for violent tendencies and possible mutiny against a superior officer.
“Gotta be batshit crazy to wanna be your Valentine.” Shaking his head vehemently, McCoy circled his eyes within their sockets. The facial spectacle gave the doctor a discomfiting appearance that made him look as maniacal as he proposed the captain’s admirers were.
Jumping up, Kirk made a grab for the roses the doctor held behind his back. McCoy dodged the captain’s clumsy maneuvers easily as he was continuously overcome by repeated sneezes.
Before the two men inflicted physical harm upon each other with their combative antics, Spock interrupted. “It would be logical to inform the crew via inter-ship communication to abstain from giving flowers to the captain in order to prevent further medical distress upon his person, and to suggest more proficient methods of expressing their appreciation for the Enterprise’s commanding officer.”
“No way am I letting you make an announcement to the whole crew about this,” Kirk objected. “It’ll be embarrassing for them and me. They mean well with the flowers and gifts. It’s not their fault they don’t know I’m allergic.”
“Affirmative. It will be yours for not informing them of their negligence.”
Kirk grimaced. “Let it go, Spock.”
“You can’t keep a greenhouse in your quarters just to save hurting a few ensigns’ feelings,” McCoy argued. “Damn kids throwing their feelings and greenery every which way with no mind to who they knockout.”
“For once, I find myself in agreement with Doctor McCoy.” The doctor glanced at Spock from his peripheral vision, an uncommon tilt to his lips that was rarely directed in the Commander’s direction unless in sarcastic jest. “Crew members should not be negligently expressing romantic feelings for their captain. Relationships with crewmates of disparate ranks are ill advised by Starfleet.”
The captain flung his head back, a prolonged stream of breath expelling from his parted lips. Resting his back against the chair, he glared pointedly at Spock, his expression tinged with exasperation. Spock had begun to understand the message conveyed in the firm press of Kirk’s mouth, his lowered eyelids, and the small furrow between his brows during their short time in service together. Every time Spock objected to the captain’s command decisions, Kirk’s face would exhibit a visual abstraction of his aversion toward his first officer, followed by a statement claiming the insignificance of the Starfleet regulation Spock had quoted and which the captain was currently violating.
“It’s Valentine’s Day, Spock.” Kirk waved a careless hand through the space between them, resting his palm against the top of the chair back. “I’m flattered the people giving me flowers and chocolates think I’m cute or whatever, but they’re just having fun. It’s not like they expect me to get down on one knee or drag them off behind the Jefferies tubes.”
“The way Ensign McCauley was waxing poetic about your heroism and chiseled features when I patched his leg up after your last mad scheme on Plades IV, I’m pretty sure he was hoping for just that,” McCoy grimaced.
“Chiseled features, huh?” Jim tilted his face toward McCoy, a sneeze expelling through his irritated nostrils a second later. The doctor whacked his right hand against the captain’s shoulder.
“It is also unprofessional for you to encourage such unprofessionalism,” Spock added.
“I didn’t demand gifts over the intercom,” Kirk said.
“Yet, if you do not discourage their actions, there is an eighty three percent chance the crew will continue them in the future.”
The captain rubbed a hand along his nose and sniffed loudly. “Look, Spock. I see where you’re coming from. I know acts of emotion like giving a guy a few flowers on Valentine’s Day puts you off. But Lieutenant Arnett is hardly going to jump my bones because I accepted yellow roses. And I can bear a little sneezing to show my gratitude for the crew and all they’ve done for me—honestly, I should be the one handing out flowers. So, I’m not going to shut down Valentine’s Day by complaining about my sinuses. I don’t want them to start tip toeing around me, thinking I’m some unapproachable fragile thing.” He shrugged. “Flowers don’t last long anyway.”
When Doctor McCoy shoved an allergen hypospray forcefully into Jim’s neck, Spock felt no pity for the captain’s complaints.
“Do you carry those things around everywhere?” Jim yelled, rubbing at the red puncture against his skin.
“When I’m hanging around you, I do,” McCoy replied gruffly, moving away to deposit the empty hypo and disheveled flowers into the recycler.
During his morning shift in the science labs, Spock discreetly discussed the composition of plant allergens with the officers on duty using the captain’s recent sufferings on their away mission to Brilia, a planet home to pollen dense flora that had aggravated the captain’s sinus’ during his visit. Ensign McCauley was within hearing distance of the conversation, his eyes focused on Spock as he revealed the details of the captain’s distress.
The likelihood of knowledge shared about the captain’s person being kept secret on the ship for longer than twenty four hours was a minimal three point one percent. Spock observed that the captain received no further plant life from crew members during the remainder of the day.