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And Other Duties As Assigned: "Special Delivery"

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“Dammit, Bones, I'm a captain, not a doctor!”

The chuckle on the other end of the subspace channel was telling. And infuriating. “Well, Captain, today you can be both.

“This shouldn't be happening! We think the gravity fluctuations we hit might have triggered it, but....” Jim shook his head to himself. He was in the middle of nowhere, in a shuttlecraft. Three hours out from rendezvous with the Enterprise. Transporting the Caitian Ambassador. Who was now in labor.

“I can't do this! If she was human, I might have a clue, but this is... I don't even...”

Oh, it's pretty simple, Jim. You let her hold your hand -

“She's got claws, Bones!”

- through the contractions, catch the kittens, and clean them up.

“How am I supposed to – wait, did you say kittens? As in... more than one?”

The Caitian Ambassador glared up at him. “I am carrying four kits, Kirk, which is normal for my race. And without my mate here, I shall need you to act in his place.”

Jim felt his eyes widen. “I... what do I need to do?”

“The kits must be cleansed the proper way to ensure health and vitality. The mate must assist.” She looked at him skeptically. “I do not think your species' tongue is properly developed for the task, but I have been told that humans are versatile.”

It took every scrap of Starfleet's considerable diplomatic training for Jim to keep his expression calm. “Just one second,” he said to the Ambassador before turning and hissing in an undertone into the comm panel. “I'm supposed to lick the kits clean?”

Come on now, you've never had a problem lick -

“And that will be quite enough, Doctor McCoy.”

You wouldn't have respected me if I hadn't said it.

That was true. But still. “You've got to help me with this, Bones.” It was a pitiful whine.

You're on yer own, Jim. Spock's got us at maximum warp, but unless something goes wrong, you'll be fine. Comm if there's a problem.

“Yeah. Kirk out,” Jim said, slapping the comm panel. “Dammit, Bones.”