‘Idleness’ was not something one should ever find on the USS Enterprise. As a definition one would not find it on board or even planned as a contingency situation. One would be even harder pressed to find any such procedure in any of the Starfleet Technical Manual. Even on stretches of travel spanning months—years—through space, there was at any given time a few dozen tasks any one individual could and should be completing— anywhere from the trivial to the vital.
Idleness has no place on the USS Enterprise.
Unfortunately for the crew of said ship the majority of tasks are only possible when on full power. And now, sixty-three days into a five-year mission, there was a problem. At least according to the eloquence of Mr. Scott (using such refined phrases as; “God damned anti-matter” and “massive power draining lug" and “Spock, are you daft laddie? I said I’m working on it, now get the hell out!” spouting off loud and clear. And now the crew finds themselves learning firsthand the definition of ‘idleness’.
Only two stardates into the outage and the crew’s restlessness is palpable. Even Mr. Spock, not one to have another’s anxiousness affect him so, begins to find himself pacing the halls with impatience.
The ship’s hallways are a dimly lit in sickly yellow light with the reserve generator power. Reserve generator power that holds just enough electricity to power emergency lights in necessary portions of the ship, allow for basic recharging stations for communicators and PADDs, and to aid with refrigeration of medical necessities.
Other than that, as another eloquent crew member known as Dr. McCoy stated; “We’re shit out of luck, pal.”
To say all the ‘idleness’ irked Mr. Spock was quite the understatement. Even as he paced the halls, feeling this acute need to do something, well, there simply wasn’t anything to do. All computers, consoles, screens and workstations were dead. Even navigation was down, currently holding the Enterprise in stasis; a holding pattern in the great, waning solar system they found themselves in.
He made a sharp turn towards the science labs, entering without a word. He came upon utter silence and a sight that made his blood pressure spike.
One young member of the crew had his legs kicked up, boots on the console of his workstation, leaning back in his seat with standard issue headphones, focused wholly on the communicator in his hand.
“Ensign!” Spock admonished loudly, at least loud enough for the entirety of the cabin to spook audibly. No doubt each member on the platform assumed the aggravated voice was meant for them. Arms crossed, Spock watched as they all fumbled with their own communicators, snapping them closed and shoving them into various pockets and drawers. The Vulcan was mildly baffled as a PADD was dropped with a thud and was promptly kicked under a desk. The young crewmen and crewwomen flushing red with—embarrassment?
“What is the meaning of all this?”
One brave sole, a blue uniformed technician, cleared her throat, already shaking her head. “We were at proper stations Mr. Spock. We uh,” Spock’s eyes narrowed as the young woman tucked her communicator into a bag, attempting to be discreet. “We’re just uh, waiting while Engineering got the ship up to full power.”
“And the meaning behind your communicators?” Spock lifted his chin. “It is not necessary to use, as you were all in the same location.”
“Yes. Sir. Sorry, sir.”
“The communication bridge is currently severed, to whom were you all communicating with?”
“It’s an uh,” the cadet cleared her throat, tossing a desperate look to her neighboring stations, who all remained mute on the matter. “A new application, sir. On each communicator and PADD.”
“It’s a …an uh, um,” she looked up suddenly, smiling.
“It’s an interplanetary species analyzer and data gathering application for the purposes of edification.”
He absorbed this information. “Fascinating,” he decided, and gave a nod, pleased. “Continue as you were. Remain at your stations.”
“Sir, yes sir,” the crew replied happily in unison as they quickly brought out their communicators once more.
Pleased with a completed task he tucked under the ‘morale’ and ‘productivity’ folders in his mind, Spock continued onto the bridge.
To find Jim Kirk leaning back in the Captain’s chair, sitting at such an angle his legs dangled off an armrest. His head dangled off the other armrest, as he lifted a PADD high in the air, clearly using it. At Spock’s entrance, Jim shifted slightly and shot him a bright white smile.
Before he could stop it, an offended sigh left Spock’s mouth.
“Hey Spock. How’s it going?”
“Please Jim, have respect for the chair.” The Vulcan managed after a moment.
Kirk’s mouth dropped open as he shuffled to upright himself. “I am! There’s no one,” he motioned to the empty bridge, “here, Spock.There’s nothing to do.”
“There is always something a Captain can be doing.”
“I can guarantee that I’ve done all that can be done Spock. And now I’m,” Jim Kirk waved a hand to the window, to the utter vacuum of space. “—watching, as you can see. We’re in a safe zone so the odds of any sort of negative situation occurring is slim to none.”
“The probability is more in line with twelve percent but,” Spock motioned. “I do see you are using the new information application.”
“The new… what? This?” Jim motioned. “The new game?”
Jim motioned with his hand for Spock to approach. Reluctant and wary, the Vulcan does.
“Yeah sure, Tribble Tershausu, it’s the new game everyone is playing. Check it.” Jim jumped out of the chair, and directed Spock to sit, handing the Vulcan the device. Getting a chance to look, really look, Spock glared, perplexed, at the screen.
A handful of small and fluffy Tribbles bounced in an animated pattern on the screen.
The Vulcan's right eyebrow raised in confusion.
“—and you have these things, here,” Jim had been explaining, as he tapped on on an icon, “—that’s where you can purchase the various stuff for each Tribble to interact with.”
Remembering, Spock turned to look at Jim. “And you said everyone is playing this game?”
“Yeah. Oh, c’mon Spock, don’t gimmie that look…”
“This cannot possibly be the best use of a Captain’s time,” Spock stated warily, bringing a hand to his forehead.
“Yeah well…” Jim drifted, frowning. “I suppose you’re right. It was just sorta a way to kill time, you know?”
Standing, Spock clicked off the PADD and sighed.
“All right, all right,” Jim conceded, putting his hands in the air. “Fair enough, as usual, you’re right. I can… be more vigilant at the whole watching thing.”
“Thank you Jim.” He stated as he gave a nod, and promptly exited.
Sighing, Jim Kirk sat back down in his seat, crossed his legs and stared into the void, his chin in his hand.
It took him nearly thirty minutes to realize Spock had left with his PADD.
He found the Vulcan just down the hall and to the left, the PADD in his hands. Tribbles bobbed on the screen, and Jim smiled broadly.
“Spock, I swear—”
The other turned, surprise on his features. “Jim, this is not what—“
“Oh c’mon, I won’t give you a hard time.”
Still wary, Spock continued. “If anything this offers insight into—“
“Yeeees…?” Jim interrupted, a smirk on his face.
“This is clearly an educational application,” despite his calm tone, Spock’s shoulder bunched defensively. “This is a look into evaluating interplanetary beings—“
“Uh-huh,” Jim leaned down, getting a better look at Spock’s screen. Several animated Tribbles rolled happily on the PADD. New items and toys had definitely been added. He grinned and cocked his head. “So… who’s your favorite Tribble?”
Undaunted, Spock turned his head calmly. “One cannot objectively hold a favorite. Each clearly hold both ‘pros’ and ‘cons’, however,” he pointed. “Thelik does indeed have the higher power level—“
“Do you even know what that means? Besides, clearly the best is Admeowal Pike.”
“…Do ...do Tribbles 'meow'?"
"Don't ruin my joke, Spock."