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As soon as he enters the transporter room, Jim knows the mission’s been a success. Spock looks precisely as indifferent as he always does, standing rigid with his arms crossed behind his back, turned ever so slightly away from Bones. Bones has decent posture but nowhere near as tight. He looks especially chipper, which is really saying something, given that he’s just had his molecules scrambled—one of the banes of his existence. The three red shirts behind them look in varying degrees of good moods, and they file out as soon as Jim orders, “Dismissed.”

Kyle leaves the transporter console. The security detail flitters away. Spock and Bones dismount the platform and come to him to report.

Spock begins, “The people of Alpha One Beta Seven Horseshoe show remarkable advancement in all technologic aspects, Captain, but their societal maturity is lacking. I must recommend against allowing them independent status within the Federation.”

“Of course you do,” Bones snorts, “Because you wouldn’t know fun if it came up and bit you.”

Spock lifts one pointed brow, predictably reciting, “I fail to see how a descriptive action lacking any physical form could possibly ‘bite’ anyone.”

Jim stifles his grin. Both of their respective opinions will make it into his official report, despite their unique biases. They’re only the initial survey team anyway; it’s unlikely their opinions will hold much weight. Out of sheer curiosity, Jim presses, “What kind of fun did you have, Bones?”

Bones dons a long, knowing grin that has Spock noticeably tensing. He digs into the pouch carried at his side, one meant solely for medical equipment. Instead, he withdraws a small, plush toy, carefully stitched with soft fabric and lightly stuffed. It has two little black dots for eyes on its peach face, complete with two slanted brows. Its black hair is a thick felt-like material shaped like a bowl-cut. The ‘body’ is black on the bottom and blue on the top, baring a tiny Starfleet-insignia-shaped yellow button. It has no legs, but it has two stubby arms. Bones passes it over to Jim as he explains, “They had one for all the more well-known races, each in different Starfleet tunics, but I thought you might appreciate this one.”

Jim has to bite the inside of his cheek to keep from grinning so hard. It’s an incredibly simplified version of a Vulcan, but it still looks unmistakably like Spock. Jim turns it over a few times in his hand before looking up and announcing, “Why, thank you, Bones. I love it.”

“I figured you might. You always did have terrible taste.”

Jim chuckles. Spock looks severely under-amused. Jim gives him a fond look, trying to warm him up, but he doesn’t melt. The doll is adorable. But Jim knows that doesn’t exactly fit in with the typical Vulcan stoicism.

Bones adds, “You should’ve seen the dirty-blond human doll Spock bought.”

Spock quickly says, “It was cultural research.” Then he abruptly leaves without being dismissed. Jim doesn’t have the heart to call him back, even though it’s always fun to see a Vulcan blushing green.

Instead, he just says, “Thanks again,” and follows his first officer with the miniature version at his side.