“What could go wrong?”
As if summoned by the cursed phrase on the captain’s lips, the shadow of Bones appeared on the bridge.
He jabbed a finger at Kirk. “You are staying here. You will not being going down there.” The finger jabbed at the lush green planet on the display.
“Why not?” A yeoman with a death wish might have described the captain’s tone as whining.
“Because all the green stuff down there is Feleran rose. You are allergic to Feleran rose.”
“Fine,” Kirk agreed.
Several hours after the landing party came back, Kirk slunk into the med bay.
“Bones? I got a rash.”
Bones refused to turn around. He stared into the depths of his PADD. “Where?”
“My hands… and back… and ribs.”
“How’re your eyes and throat?”
“Normal, I guess.”
Bones finally looked up. “Fine. Sit. I will take a look.”
He scraped at Jim’s red raw hands and took the sample over to the computer.
Bones glared at the results. He went deadly still. “Jim. This is Feleran rose.”
He turned around. Jim had vanished.
Bones calmly pressed the button on the wall to open a ship wide communication. The button screeched with disuse.
“Jim Kirk if I find out you stepped one foot on that planet I will throw you into a supernova myself.”
There was a party in engineering. The unlucky crew who were scheduled to duty and the unfortunate who had been duped into covering shifts were miserably serving their time.
On the bridge, Ensign Kelly had the con. She was slouched almost to the floor in the captain’s seat, glaring out into open space. If she ever got her hands on Yeoman Slater she was going to launch him into the void for tricking her into this post.
The ship wide communicator chirped. Kelly jerked to attention. Music and laughter filtered over the speakers.
“Hellloooo Enterprise!” A very drunk voice sang. “This is Lieutenant Luis. I am hereby announcing my romantic engagement to Lieutenant Nelson. Aaaaaand, I am cordially inviting the whole crew to our wedding at the next space dock!”
A loud cheer echoed through the comm.
“Alright,” a grumpy voice interrupted. “You’ve had enough. We’re all very happy-,”
Ensign Maddox had been attacked on the surface of a planet. Four hours after being returned to the Enterprise, Bones was finally satisfied with Maddox’s stable condition. The young ensign was awake, but heavily sedated. He would be counting his own fingers for a few hours.
Bones leaned his head in his hands with the door to his office shut. The kid was so young. Freckled green skinned, red haired little child. They got younger every day. Bones was already planning the booze he’d be drinking to stave off the nightmares of blood on freckled skin.
The ship wide communicator chirped. Bones jumped.
Heavy breathing rasped on the comm. “This is Ensign Maddox. I am officially resigning my commission on the basis of I want to live to forty! Y’all can keep risking your lives for whatever it is we’re doing out here in the black. Give me a space suit, I’m jumping ship.”
Bones scrambled out of his office. Maddox was leaning half on the wall, still slurring into the communicator. “Starfleet can kiss my space rocks. I’m going to be a farmer.”
Maddox screamed when he saw Bones coming. He scrambled closer to the wall and thus the communicator.
“Help! Help! I’m being attacked!”
“I’m not attacking you, idiot. You’re under the influence of heavy meds. Get your butt back in bed.”
“Oppression!” Maddox yelled into the wall. His feet windmilled.
Bones grabbed his arm before he fell. Into the communicator he said “Can I get a security detail to watch Ensign Maddox while he sleeps off his drugs, please?”
“Oppression!” Maddox shrieked in Bones’ ear.
“Hurry it up before I go deaf. McCoy out.”
Replicator 3 was out to get her, Kelly decided. Every time she asked for the spaghetti and garlic toast, replicator 3 used too much garlic. The other replicators didn’t treat her like this.
The ship wide comm chirped. Chatter in the cafeteria slammed to a halt.
“I don’t know, Spock,” the captain’s voice said. “Lately I just want to punch Pike in the face.”
Kelly’s cheeks burned. This was obviously not a conversation the captain meant to broadcast. All around the cafeteria, giggles were being stifled in hands and leering grins were exchanged.
“I was under the impression your relationship with the Admiral was on pleasant terms,” Commander Spock answered.
“It is,” a sigh crackled static shipwide. “It’s just that sometimes he still treats me like a kid. Like I’m still that guy who joined Starfleet on a dare.”
“I don’t mean to misunderstand you, Jim, but you are that person.”
“I know.” Something shuffled, like the captain was rearranging himself. “But I’m more than that now. I’ve earned more respect that that. But sometimes, just for a second, I can see Pike comparing me to my father’s ghost.”
A bang echoed over the speakers. Doctor McCoy’s voice suddenly cut in. “Hey idiot. Pick up your bleeding comm. You’re broadcasting your sob story to the entire ship.”
The captain cursed. “Spock, why didn’t you say anythi-,”
Kelly bit her tongue to keep the giggles in. She looked up and caught Yeoman Tar’s eye. They both lost it.
Kelly was enjoying some peace and quiet in her quarters when the ship wide comm chirped. She set down the book she was reading on her PADD.
“-For the fourth time. Is this thing on?” The Scottish melody of the Chief Engineer floated through the ship. “Attention Enterprise. We are experiencing communication errors throughout the ship. Please be advised that faults are causing ship wide communication failures and, er, not failures.” There was a pregnant pause. “The comms may start broadcasting without warning, so, ah, watch what you say, yeah?” The message ended.
Almost immediately, a ship wide comm chirped. “Ever seen a binary nebula? Most beautiful thing in the whole universe if you ask me. There’s one out by Scorpio IV that’s all red and purple. It looks like a rose opening up. I always thought it would be a real romantic spot-,”
Kelly groaned into her PADD. It was never a dull day on the Enterprise.
Kelly was in the cafeteria cursing Replicator 3 when the next comm flub happened.
“-nothing more than a sprain, Ensign.” Nurse Chapel’s voice flooded the ship. “You’re lucky it wasn’t worse. We have safety protocols for a reason-,” the broadcast ended.
Kelly exchanged a glance with Lieutenant Nelson.
“At least it wasn’t personal medical information,” he said.
“It’s just freaky, though. It’s like there are no private conversations today,” Kelly poked at her replicated yogurt with too many chunks. “I feel like I can’t talk to anyone.” She was interrupted by another ship wide comm.
“If you ever need help with this stuff, I’m always willing to show you again-,” A female voice crackled.
Kelly waved her hands. “Like that! That was a private, essential conversation and now the whole ship is going to gossip about it.”
It went like that all day. The ship became haunted. It was eerily quiet in the halls, and in common areas, where no one wanted their private conversations to suddenly become public. Ghostly voices floated through the ship, the echoes of people who were not there.
Kelly ground her teeth through her bridge shift as she was forced to listen to someone in engineering detail the entire plot of the book Kelly had only just started. If she wasn’t on duty, she would have stuffed her fingers in her ears and sang ‘lalalalala’ until it was over.
Captain Kirk consulted with Commander Spock and Lieutenant Uhura at her station. Kelly couldn’t hear them over the villain ruining her book, but she noticed Kirk was pushing a lot of buttons and Uhura was letting him. The ship wide broadcast suddenly changed from the engineer’s voice to Kirk’s.
“If anyone besides Scotty can fix this, it’s you.”
“Then let me do it,” Uhura said. Kelly watched her lips move with the broadcast as she swatted the captain’s hands away from her controls.
“Captain-,” Spock started.
Kirk interrupted, “I’m just trying to help. What if you feed the broadcast back into a single location?” Clearly none of the team had noticed their bridge crew was tipping their heads towards their conversation.
“I tried that,” Uhura fumed. “The only place the system will let me isolate the broadcast to is the bridge.”
Spock tried again to get Kirk’s attention. “Captain,-”
“Hang on Spock.” Kirk addressed Uhura. “So isolate to the bridge. Is that so bad?”
“Do you want to listen to the crew chatter all day while you’re supposed to be commanding a starship?”
Kirk shrugged. “It’s more entertaining than plotting a course to the middle of nowhere.”
Ensign Wells stifled a laugh. Commander Spock locked eyes on him. The Vulcan eyebrow went up.
“Captain, I believe this conversation is no longer private.”
Kirk straightened up, his shoulders rigid. “Whoops.”
The whole bridge burst out in muted giggles.
Kirk turned around and faced his crew with a fake smile plastered on his pretty face. “Ok folks, show’s over. Back to your stations.”
Apparently the isolation of the broadcasts to the bridge had only been a temporary patch. In the middle of Kelly’s sleep shift, she jolted awake to a loud chorus of punk music blaring throughout the ship. Kelly groaned and stuffed her head under her pillow.
A door slammed somewhere near the location of the song. “Gary! Everyone can hear your horrible taste in music!”
It was going to be a long night.
“Good morning Enterprise,” Scotty’s whimsical accent interrupted Kelly’s breakfast again. “You will all be glad to know that the ship’s communications system has been fixed. The technology responsible has been tried and executed for its crimes. Scotty out.”
“Good morning Enterprise,” The captain’s voice echoed throughout the ship. “I’d like to take a moment to acknowledge the fact that today is day 1000 of our 5 year mission. We’ve loved and lost over that time. We’ve discovered things no one has ever imagined before. We’ve paved the way for new adventures, new loves and new losses. I’d like to have a moment of silence for those who haven’t made it this far.”
“Thank you. And now I’d like to play for you a classic Earth song that I think perfectly encapsulates the journey we are on.”
A woman’s sang along to a pumping beat. “I’m all about that bass, ‘bout that bass, no treble-,“ the song abruptly cut out.
“Scotty! I thought you said you fixed it!”