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The Duke

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PROLOGUE

 

The disabled, war weary Klingon ship crept away from the Enterprise in defeat.

Captain Kirk sat back in the captain’s chair, watching the enemy vessel on the viewscreen. “That’s a relief. Lieutenant Uhura, secure from general quarters.”

Dr. McCoy patted the man’s shoulder. “I knew you could do it, Jim.” He glanced over at the science station. “Didn’t I tell him, Mr. Spock?”

The first officer was bent over his station, peering through his viewer, the blue light illuminating his saturnine features. “Doctor, I seem to recall you complained the entire battle and predicted our untimely demise several times.”

McCoy glared at the Vulcan’s backside. “When, Mr. Spock? When, have I ever lost confidence in our illustrious captain? Now, as for you, I can safely proclaim that I’ve never had any confidence in your abilities.”

That finally got the Vulcan to stand up and turn around. “Indeed, Doctor? None at all?”

McCoy folded his arms in mock defiance. “Nope.”

“Gentlemen, please,” Kirk said. “Let’s not start another war.”

Spock stepped down to stand next to McCoy at the captain’s chair.

At the same time, McCoy glanced at his own left hand. He held it up to investigate. “Hmph. Look at that. I sustained an injury in the battle.”

“Are you alright, Bones?”

“Yeah, I’m fine, Jim. Just a scratch.”

“Hmm.” Spock suddenly took hold of McCoy’s hand and had a look for himself. “Perhaps you should have your injury examined by a doctor.”

McCoy yanked his hand out of the Vulcan’s clutches. “Dammit!”

Kirk broke out in hysterical laughter. Spock raised an eyebrow and went back to his station.

McCoy scowled. “That’s not very goddamned funny. That pointy eared, green blooded, pain in the ass--”

“Bones, you two keep up that kind of banter, I’m gonna think you’re secretly married.”

“Not a chance in hell, Jim. Besides, we--”

“Captain!” Uhura’s voice rang out. “An official from the planet below is hailing us.”

“On speaker, Lieutenant.”

 

REGUS IV

 

Kirk, Spock and McCoy materialized in the middle of what appeared to be a busy, dirty and dusty metropolitan town. Row upon rows of shops selling their wares along narrow cobblestone streets. Gas lamps lining the road.

Men strolled by, clad in top hats, tail coats, knee breeches, buckle shoes. One doffed his hat as he passed. “Pleasant day, Sirs.”

A woman carrying a pink parasol, clad in a long linen gown, short puffy sleeves, waistline right underneath the breast, a bonnet on her head, winked at Spock as she strolled by.

“Must be those ears,” McCoy said.

“Perhaps.”

Once again it was apparent that the landing party was severely out of place in their Starfleet uniforms.

“Fascinating,” Spock murmured as a horse drawn carriage went past.

They stared every which way around them as they tried to avoid being run over by yet another fast moving coach or kicked by a horse or stepping in dung.

“This place,” Kirk said as they darted to and fro, “is right out of an old Earth history book.”

“If we move to the sidewalk, we should be relatively safe from vehicular traffic,” Spock suggested. Kirk nodded agreement and moved the party.

“Look at the paving stones, Jim,” McCoy said, pointing to the sidewalk. “Those are real. Quarry mined.”

“Yes,” Jim replied. “Don’t trip. They’re uneven.”

“It looks to be circa 1810-1815, old English Earth calendar, most definitely, Jim,” McCoy told him.

“Interesting,” Spock said.

“What is?” McCoy asked him.

“I had not thought of you as a historian, Doctor.”

“I’ll have you know that I have several interests and abilities besides medicine.”

“Indeed? Such as?”

“Gentlemen,” Kirk warned. “Not now.”

“Captain,” Spock said. “I find this planet quite illogical.”

“You too, Mr. Spock?”

“Why’s that?” McCoy asked the both of them.

“The planetary head in the transmission--” Spock began

“Oh yes, The ‘Prince Regent of the Planet Regus IV’,” Kirk said.

“Indeed. The Prince Regent of this planet was well aware of who we truly are. He referred to the Federation, the Enterprise, our mode of transport, starships, he invited us to ‘beam down’ to their ‘humble planet’. However, the Prince Regent’s personal knowledge of modern day technology does not match up with this rather primitive appearance on the richter scale.”

“Someone has interfered in this planet’s development,” Kirk replied. “Violated the prime directive. Since no one in the Federation has ever visited Regus IV, we can well assume--”

“Klingons, Jim?” McCoy asked.

“Has to be,” Jim replied as they walked further along, turning the corner. “Let’s hope the contamination has gone only so far.”

A man squinted at them, then appeared to recognize them. “Aha!” The man hurried over. “Gentlemen! Welcome!” The man was clad in a black tail coat, long pants, buckled shoes. “There you are, my good men. Forgive me for being so dreadfully late. Captain Kirk and company I presume?”

“You presume correctly. This is my first officer, Mr. Spock and my chief medical officer, Dr. McCoy.”

“Ah. How do you do?”

“I assume you are the Prince Regent of Regus IV?”

“Oh, dear me, Captain, no, sir. I am the Regent’s steward, Ebbins. I have been sent to meet you. However, I must beg forgiveness for my delay. I was not entirely certain of your precise beam down point.” The man chuckled and added, “I would have liked to have seen you materialize out of thin air. I bet that is quite a show!”

“It’s uh.” Kirk gave a small shrug. “Nothing much.”

“Oh, I bet it’s rather exciting, Sir. Rather exciting indeed. Scrambling molecules and such!”

Spock raised an eyebrow at that. McCoy smirked.

“Something like that,” Kirk replied.

The man gave them all the once over and did not seem at all phased by Spock’s pointy ears. “I bet you are dreadfully cold, Sir. It gets so very drafty here. Vulcan, Sir?” the man asked Spock.

“Affirmative.”

“Oh yes, the Vulcans prefer the temperature much warmer, do they not, Sir?”

“Indeed. However I--”

The first officer broke off as Ebbins reached out and fingered his tunic. “It is rather a thin fabric,” the steward said with a tut. “In this ghastly weather, indeed. Well, I don’t envy your lot. You shall catch cold. Well.” Ebbins chuckled again, “I suppose your fancy fabrics aboard the Enterprise are quite advanced and warm enough and you have no such need for coats and hats.” Ebbins released Spock. “Forgive my handling of you, Sir. How rude of me. Come, Gentlemen.”

Ebbins led the way, they fell in step behind him.

“Gotta be those ears,” McCoy whispered to Jim.

“Bones,” Jim hissed.

They approached a black carriage, bearing a royal standard on the side, pulled by a team of white horses. Another servant, dressed in red lively, wearing a long white powdered wig, opened the door and stood at attention.

Ebbins waved them inside. “Right this way, Gentlemen.”

Kirk, Spock then McCoy entered the carriage and sat down. The man joined them on the opposite facing bench. The door slammed shut and they were off.

“Comfortable?” Ebbins asked.

It wasn’t really. The seat felt hard as a rock. McCoy shifted. He could feel every bump. Spock sat ramrod straight, in that way he did when the first officer found the seat awkward.

Kirk gave a small, polite smile. “It’s fine, thank you.”

“No cushions, I’m afraid, Captain. Cushions are for the ladies. However, it’s not far.”

“Where are we going?” Kirk asked.

“Buckingham House, of course. On the Mall.”

“Ah,” Kirk replied. “Of course.”

“Ever ridden in a horse drawn carriage, Gentlemen? I must say it’s a quite a few steps down from your fancy, warp powered starship, is it not? All those new fandangled computers and such like.”

“No,” Kirk replied. “I can’t say that I have ever ridden in a horse drawn carriage.” It hit a hard bump and they all jolted forward. McCoy grunted at the shock.

“I’ve ridden in one of these, before,” McCoy said. “Back home. Though that one, I recall, had much better suspension.”

“These blasted wonky streets,” Ebbins muttered. He yelled out: “Coachman! Do try to be careful! We have guests!”

“Mr. Ebbins,” McCoy said. “I--”

“Just ‘Ebbins’, Sir,” the steward corrected.

“This place,” McCoy continued, “y’know, it looks a lot like images I’ve seen of old London in England on Earth. It’s remarkable. Almost identical.”

“Looks like?” Ebbins cocked his head. “My word, Sir. It IS London. The year is eighteen hundred and twenty."

*

At Buckingham House, Ebbins ushered Kirk, Spock and McCoy through a long elaborate hallway, filled with lush fabrics, gilt edges and hundreds of paintings hanging on the walls. The hallway was also filled with plaster or perhaps porcelain sculptures of various naked men. “Bones,” Kirk whispered. “Am I seeing what I think I’m seeing? Do they have--?”

“Erections, Jim? Yep,” McCoy whispered back. “They sure do.”

“Fascinating.” Spock picked up a small painted statue of a naked man, the large erect organ pointing right at him.

McCoy elbowed the first officer. “Bet you don’t have those on Vulcan, do ya.”

Ebbins reached over and delicately took the statue out of Spock’s clutches. He set it down on its pedestal. “Onward, if you don’t mind, Gentlemen.”

They moved into yet another hallway lined with more large oil paintings of what appeared to be royalty. The people depicted wearing sashes, crowns or tiaras and badges.

Kirk came to a dead stop, the two footmen trailing their party nearly running into him. “Nice painting.”

“Ah, that is George III,” Ebbins told him.

“The man we’re meeting with?”

“No Sir, that is his father. The sovereign. You are meeting with the Prince Regent.”

“I see.”

“Right this way, Gentlemen.”

 

THE REGENT

 

“How do you do, Captain, Gentlemen?” A small, dark haired man sat before them in a purple and gilt chair, wearing what looked to be an old fashioned English or French military uniform with huge epaulettes on the shoulders. “I am George, Prince Regent of this humble planet: Regus IV. Did you beam down just fine? I dare say you did. All intact, I see, everything there? Including the genitalia? Oh dear, what would would you do if that ever happened? Say... one day you accidentally beamed down sans balls?”

“Sans...what?” Kirk asked.

“However, I may safely assume by your ample bulges in the right place that you are all in one piece!” the prince regent added.

McCoy raised an eyebrow, glanced down at himself, looked back up.

“Splendid!” the regent said. “Well, as you can see, I don’t trust those blasted transporters much, myself.”

McCoy glanced over at the captain, who was standing there openmouthed. Spock’s head was tilted.

“Scattering one’s atoms doesn’t seem like a very nice way to travel, not very nice at all. No, indeed. Anyway, you must be very cold, freezing on our humble planet. Those uniforms don’t look very warm. Not very warm at all. My man shall build up the fire.” The regent clapped his hands. “Ebbins!” The steward immediately went to the fireplace and threw on another log. “Ebbins! Did you not supply them with blankets and coats for the journey? Ebbin’s give the Vulcan a blanket! He must be so very cold!”

Spock shook his head. “Thank you, but I do not require a blanket. I am quite--”

The regent clapped. “Gentlemen! Please come and stand by the fire! Please be our guests, warm yourself, Captain Kirk and your shipmates... uh...whatever your names might be.”

“We’re fine, Your Highness. Thank you,” Kirk said, managing to get a word in.

“Your Grace, is fine.”

“I see,” Kirk said. “Thank you, Your Grace. Allow me to introduce my first officer, Mr. Spock and my chief medical officer, Dr. McCoy.”

“Oh! How do you do!” the regent replied. “Oh dear, both of you, very attractive. And you captain, you are also, very attractive. I suppose they don’t let any ugly folks on board your ship, do they?”

“I wouldn’t know, Your Grace. Anyway, I--”

“Well then, this is a celebration of your safe arrival. Come you must be hungry!” The regent clapped his hands again. Several servants appeared bearing silver trays. “Come, eat! Here’s some ham and several types of cheese and some fruit and some cake. Mmmm cake! And some brandy and some wine. Mmmm. I love wine.”

“Thank you, Your Grace,” Kirk said.

The regent looked at Spock, studying him for long moments. “Ah. You don’t eat ham do you, Mr. Spock. Oh of course you don’t, Where are my manners? You’re one of those vegetarians. Well, you can drink tea, can’t you? You can have a spot of milky in your tea, can’t you? Or should we hold the milk?”

A servant appeared at Spock’s elbow with a silver tray bearing a delicate teacup and saucer.

Spock picked up the tea cup. “I do not mind milk in my tea. Thank you.”

“Give this man a piece of cake!” the regent said. “Vulcans can have cake can’t they?”

Spock tried to answer. He was interrupted by a servant arriving with a piece of cake on a very delicate, fussy, gold rimmed plate that matched the tea cup and saucer.

“Of course you can, you can have cake,” the regent said. “No meat in cake. Let him eat cake!” The regent and his servants chuckled at that.

Spock raised an eyebrow, then blinked at the tea and cake.

“I’m sure the cake’s safe to eat, Mr. Spock,” Kirk said.

“Wait!” the prince said. Spock looked up. “Hold on! There is not only cow’s milk in cake, but chicken eggs. Two eggs in the ingredients. Do you eat chicken eggs, Mr. Spock?”

“I--” Spock began.

“Of course you can eat chicken eggs,” the regent replied. “Vulcans are not vegans are they? Are they Ebbins?”

“They are not vegans, Your Grace. They are vegetarians.”

“So the cake is safe for you to consume, Mr. Spock,” the regent said. “Goody!”

“Spock, go ahead, you’re alright. If you get sick, I’ll take care of ya,” McCoy whispered.

Spock took a bite of the cake, though it seemed he was reluctant.

“What do you think of the cake, Mr. Spock? Good?” the regent asked.

“Good,” Spock replied.

“Yay!” the regent replied. “Mr. Spock likes the cake, everybody!” The regent and the servants applauded. Kirk, Spock and McCoy stared, bewildered at the regent’s glee.

“So...you are a doctor, eh?” the regent asked McCoy.

“Uh, yes. That’s correct.”

“I bet your sickbay looks positively smashing! All that equipment, lasers and scanners and fancy drugs and that sort of thing.”

“It’s uh...very...uh....” McCoy said with a shrug, wondering how much he should divulge to the man.

“Well, I dare say it’s a sight better than blood letting!” the regent said. He and the servants broke out in guffaws.

“Blood letting?” McCoy said, aghast.

“Leeches, my good man. Get rid of the ill humors. It’s all we have in 1820.”

McCoy choked on his tea. “Oh. Right.”

“You’re going to make my doctor pass out,” Kirk said. “It’s alright, Bones.”

McCoy shook his head, had another sip of tea. He noticed Spock had devoured his slice of cake. “Did you skip breakfast?”

“Negative, Doctor.”

“Are you perhaps wondering why I invited you down here, Captain, Mr. Spock? Dr. McCartney?”

“Uh...it’s McCoy,” McCoy said.

“We were wondering, Your Grace,” Kirk said.

“Well, Captain, I thought it proper that I thank you in person for saving our humble planet from the Klingons. We’ve been monitoring your ship on the planetary scanners.”

“Planetary scanners?”

“Oh yes, of course. Saw the entire battle. Very entertaining. The Klingon Bird of Prey went away with it’s little tail between its legs. Those losers. Quite a fantastic sight. Capital! Capital, I must say. Captain Kirk, you are a very brave man. A brave man indeed. A most fantastic starship captain. Isn’t he, Ebbins?”

“Oh, Quite!”

“Why, thank you,” Kirk replied, sipping on his tea. “Good tea.”

“Of course it is! Only the best for you my good man. How do you like your tea, Dr. McGovern?”

“It’s ‘McCoy’. Thank you, it’s just fine, Your Grace.”

“More than fine. It’s capital!”

“Yes, I agree,” McCoy said, politely. “Capital.”

Kirk cleared his throat. “So you... watched the entire battle on your...scanner?”

“Oh yes,” the regent said. “Would you like to see our equipment?”

“Certainly.”

 

FUN

 

The regent and his steward escorted them to an adjacent chamber. Ebbins walked over to a wooden cabinet and opened it, revealing a most contemporary device, the afore mentioned planetary scanner.

The regent plopped down into another elaborate gilt and purple velvet chair. “Come captain! Mr. Spock! Dr. McKinley!”

“Uh, that’s McCoy.”

“You what?” the regent said.

“Never mind.”

“Mind you, we don’t use this thing very often,” the regent told them. “Only on special occasions, when it alerts us to orbiting ships.” The scanner looked distinctively out of place in the wooden cabinet, surrounded by fussy early 19th century furnishings. The regent hovered his hand over the controls. It shifted between various views: A star field, then a view of the planetary horizon. “See? What do you think, Captain? Neat, eh?”

“Who supplied this to you?” Kirk asked.

“It’s mine.” The regent seemed to be rather taken aback. “I know what you three are thinking: ‘Did the Klingons give you this?’ Absolutely not. Why the devil would we want one of those bastards’ scanners for? No, no, no. I brought this with me.”

“The scanner is not of Klingon origin,” Spock said.

“That’s because it is from Earth!” the regent insisted. “You see, here on Regus IV, even though we are technically classed as a pleasure planet, we do need to protect ourselves. We have some effective planetary defenses, several laser beams at the ready, if it comes to that. However, we prefer to sit back and watch your Federation starships protect us occasionally. Makes for great theatre, doesn’t it, Ebbins?”

“Indeed it does, Your Grace.”

“You see?”

Kirk nodded and said: “Your Grace, allow me to extend an official invitation to your planet to join the federation. And consequently we would continue our protection. We also would not interfere in your planetary development.”

“I’d have to put it up to a council vote. Certainly, if it was all up to me, I would join you in a heartbeat. How about we discuss those particulars later, Captain. You know, we’re sitting on a sizable amount of tri-lithium, deep inside the planet’s mines.”

“I see why the Klingons were so interested in this place.”

“Well, you didn’t think they were interested in us otherwise? We put on quite a primitive facade here.”

“Ah,” Kirk said. “I see. This is all a facade. I’ve seen something like this before.”

“Of course it is a facade. We’re not really--” the regent leaned in closer to deliver a stage whisper: “Captain, we’re not really in 1820’s London, England, you know.”

“Are the entire planet’s inhabitants aware of that or just you?”

“Everybody! They come here willingly. We’re all actors, you see.”

“Actors?”

“Yes!” the regent nodded emphatically. “You know! Performers! In the business! The theatre! We play at this sort of thing. Hence the ‘pleasure planet’ status. It’s all pretend, my good man! The Old English Regency period. I went to RADA, you know!”

“RADA?” Kirk asked.

“The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art,” Spock supplied. “Located in London, England, Earth--”

“--the milky way galaxy, the universe,” the regent finished for him. “Yes. Indeed. RADA is the only drama school that exists.”

“Incorrect,” Spock said. “There are many notable drama schools located on Earth, still in operation.”

“No, no, no, my dear, Mr. Spock. The only drama school worth attending is RADA,” the prince insisted.

“There are several drama schools,” Spock countered, “worth attending in England. Such as Central School of Speech and Drama and Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance. In addition, there are several notable drama schools in the former United States. Such as the Juilliard School of Drama in New York and Carnegie Mellon in--”

The prince regent turned bright red. “Central? Rose Bruford? Juilliard? Carnegie Mellon?! How dare you speak these things in my presence? HOW DARE YOU?!”

“Spock,” McCoy hissed under his breath to get the first officer to back off. “Spock.”

The regent pointed at Spock. “Seize him!” Two burly servants came up and told hold of the Vulcan’s arms.

Kirk’s hand moved to his phaser.

Spock stopped and said: “Perhaps I was mistaken, Your Grace. The only drama school I have heard of is RADA.”

The regent finally relaxed and chuckled. “I was just kidding anyway. You’re not really under arrest.” The servants released Spock. Kirk’s hand moved away from his phaser. “You know what, Mr. Spock? I like you. You have spunk. You have cajones. You have balls. You don’t take crap from anybody, do you.”

“You missed your calling as an ambassador,” McCoy whispered to the Vulcan. “Way to flip flop.”

“So you’re from...?” Kirk motioned to the regent.

“Earth! London, England. I thought that was quite obvious, Captain.”

“So let me get this straight, Your Grace. You and your people come to here to play?”

“Yes, Captain. Oh dear... how exasperating for me to repeat myself, explaining this to you over and over. Many of us came to this colony planet to get away from Earth and its rules. Enjoy a simpler time.”

“You didn’t go through federation channels to found a colony planet.”

“No, Captain, I did not. But...that’s allowed. It’s not a crime. Nobody wanted this one. I took the planet nobody wanted, until the klingons found out we have several tri-lithium mines.”

“True, it is not illegal to colonize a planet independently. It’s not very wise, but it is, as you said, allowed.”

“And, Captain, I mean this most sincerely, I like you. You invited us to join the federation and I am most keen. However, the council might be anti-federation, I don’t know. Even with the offer of continued protection.” The regent shrugged. “You see, my dear Captain, I’m only playing at being Regent of this planet. This fantasy playground colony was my idea. Wasn’t it, Ebbins?”

“Of course, Your Grace.”

“I’m Regent and my poor, poor, father, George III, is the sovereign. I’m ruling Regus IV in his place.”

“Your father is ill, Your Grace?” McCoy asked.

“Oh yes. He’s ill and he’s insane. Absolutely bonkers. He’s got porpheria. Poor dear. Dreadful disease.”

“Porpheria? Where is your father?” McCoy rested his hand on his medikit. “I have a cure for that.”

The regent and the steward broke out into laughter.

McCoy felt anger welling up in him as he glanced from the regent to the steward and back. “Now, wait just a moment, I don’ t find illness very funny. I’m a doctor--”

“My good man, Dr. McGovern--”

“It’s McCoy. Dr. McCoy.”

“Tell him, Ebbins.” The regent flicked his hand.

“Doctor, I must inform you: The sovereign, George III, does not really exist.”

“What?”

The regent let out a long sigh. “My father George III is not really here on Regus IV and he’s not ill, not really, and most importantly, he’s not really the sovereign. And also, his name is not George. It’s all just pretend!”

“Pretend,” McCoy said, narrowing his eyes.

“Yes, indeed!”

McCoy shifted his feet. “Let me be the judge of that. Let me see your father, I want to make sure he’s alright.”

“You may see him but you’ll have a long way to travel in your starship. My father is back on Earth!”

“On Earth?”

“Yes, I believe I just said that! And, I assure you my father is quite well, thank you.”

“Oh.” McCoy scowled. “Well, good.”

“I thought you would be pleased at that, Dr. McFlower.”

“It’s McCoy, Your Grace. Perhaps I should examine you instead, to make certain you’re in possession of all your mental faculties.”

The regent laughed. “You may check me over, my good man. And perhaps that might be a great idea for all of us, as doctors are few and far between on our planet, but I assure you, I am mentally well.”

The regent waved at the steward. Ebbins turned off the planetary scanner and closed the cabinet.

“How did you get to this planet, Your Grace?” Kirk asked. “What type of transport?”

“Freighter.”

“Freighter?”

“Oh, yes. Many of us arrived that way. Some of us came in on chartered passenger spaceships but I was trying to save a few bob.”

“The inhabitants can leave any time they want to?”

“Of course! They’re not chained here! When they get fed up with playing they are welcome to leave any time they want to. We rarely have anyone leave, however. Nearly everyone enjoys this immensely.”

“What’s the current population?”

“Several thousand. If you want exact figures, Ebbins can supply you with them. Anyone may apply but there is a rigorous application process similar to what RADA has. There’s an audition. A panel takes care of the selection. You know, they need to make certain the applicant won’t be disruptive, ill, make sure they’re not Klingon!” The regent and the steward broke out in more laughter.

“Yes, of course, Your Grace,” Kirk said.

“You could do the same.”

“Do what?” Kirk asked.

“Play. Here.”

“I’m afraid, we don’t have the time. The most we could spare was a few days.”

“A few days would be fine though I recommend a bit longer. I’ll wave the audition, just for you lot. You can stay with us as little or as long as you like.”

“What’s the catch?”

“Nothing. Just...have fun.”

“What do we do? Dress in costume?” Kirk said.

“Yes. First you are cast in the part you will play, then you will receive intense instruction on how to play it well. You will improvise your interactions with others, having a hand in creating a Regency era character. You will attend parties, dance at balls, attend the theatre or opera, have stately homes in London and the country, interact with servants, townspeople, whoever. Experience 1820’s English life. Immerse yourselves. You should try it, Captain. Think it of it as a bonding exercise with your crew. A relaxing shore leave where you can leave your troubles behind and have an old fashioned adventure. Haven’t you ever done a murder mystery weekend? It’s a bit like that, but without the murdering.”

“No, I’ve never done anything like that. How long will it take your council to come to a vote?”

“It will take a fortnight for them to decide,” the regent said.

“That’s...two weeks.”

“Indeed. Well, what do you say? In fact, your entire ship is invited. As many as wish to join in. Then afterwards you will turn in your costumes and go on your merry way. Perhaps we can learn something about each other. Remember, it is a game. A fun game.”

Kirk wrinkled up his face. “Let me discuss it with my officers.”

“By all means! Please!”

Kirk pulled Spock and McCoy over to the corner. “Well? What do you think?”

Spock remained very quiet, but McCoy said: “Two weeks shore leave, down here? Might be fun.”

“Think so?”

“Yeah, why not? Can we spare two weeks?”

“Yes, we can. We need a break, don’t we.”

“Well, the crew would certainly appreciate it. We could use a rest, Jim. In fact, I prescribe it.”

Kirk nodded, flipped open his communicator. “Kirk to Enterprise.”

“Scott here.”

“Mr. Scott, prepare for an interesting two week shore leave.”

“Uh...does that include me, Captain?”

“You, especially, Mr. Scott.”

Kirk went on to fill the chief engineer in on the details of the shore leave.

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