DISCLAIMER: The Star Trek characters are the property of Paramount Studios, Inc. The story contents are the creation and property of SterJulie and is copyright (c) 2004 by SterJulie. Rated PG.

Angels of the Epidemic - Avenging Angels


Spock looked longingly at his bunk at 0430 hours. He had worked long and hard -- again -- trying to delete every copy of "Fallen Angel" from the ship's computer. At least on this night, he had finished writing a very successful program that automatically deleted the footage whenever anyone tried to play it on the ship's system. He had no idea how to confiscate the duplicates the crew had made onto their personal computers.

Spock was astounded at how many copies had already been made and deleted (167!), and at the crass comments being posted on the ship's message boards.

*I knew that half the women on board dyed their hair, but did you noticed how many guys do, too?*

*Hey, you're right. Yeoman Gonzales does have a cute mole there!*

*I'd never have that pierced! It looks too painful, and, besides, isn't that against regs?*

*I LOVED it when Chapel threatened to put Kirk in restraints. Too bad she didn't!*

*Yeah, and did you catch her catfight with Uhura?*

*Did you see Spock running after his imaginary pet? ROFLMAO!* (One of these days, thought Spock, I will convince someone to tell me what that means!)

*Did you see how many of us reverted to children? Don't know if that was funny or pathetic.*

*Why is this rated NC-17? There's nudity, yeah, but it's not sexy.*

*Maybe whoever rated it wanted to lure viewers with a bogus rating.*

Perhaps it was the hour, but the more Spock read these scurrilous remarks, the more he just wanted to put his head on his arms and cry. It was so frustrating. So far, he had no evidence that the footage had gone beyond the Enterprise crew, but he knew that there was a good possibility it would, and soon. Knowing that he was at the end of his rope, Spock turned in. He had enough time for a ninety-minute nap. That would have to do.

After removing his uniform shirt and slacks, Spock fell into an exhausted sleep.

* * *

The sulfurous smell of warm tar and the tang of chicken feathers assaulted Spock's nose. He opened his eyes and found that he was in complete darkness. He cast his gaze about in the gloom but he could see nothing. Suddenly, one bright light fell upon his face, and he threw an arm across his eyes. Slowly, faces, angry faces emerged from the shadows, and Spock found that he could not move. Something was restraining him, something he could not break, no matter how hard he struggled.

"We know it was you, Spock," one of the voices hissed. Disembodied hands held the bucket of tar before his face, scooping up large spoonfuls of the hot, smelly goo. Terrified, Spock struggled against the restraints.

"We know it was you, Spock," the voice repeated. "No one on this ship has as much computer knowledge or as high a security rating as you. It had to be you!"

"Why did you do it?" another incorporeal voice asked. "Why? Were you trying to shame us all?"

"I was only trying to help," Spock said in a voice so near a whimper. "I was trying to hide the footage so that no one would ever see it."

"But instead," a ghostly voice spoke, "you made the most popular film on this ship."

"I've been trying to erase all the files," Spock pleaded, "but the crew keeps making more. The only way to be certain that all the copies are gone is to mind-meld with everyone on board! I can't do that! Please don't make me do that."

"You've humiliated all of us, Spock," a new voice continued. "Including yourself."

"That's why you did it, isn't it, Spock?" a third voice jeered. "You wanted to preserve your own dignity. Well, what about our dignity?"

"Yeah," a new voice added. "We were sick, but you proved to be the sickest of all!"

"I did it for everyone's sake!" Spock insisted writhing uselessly against the unseen fetters. "I only tried to help everyone. I'm sorry, I'm sorry!"

"You're sorry, all right," the jeerer added. "You're also a coward."

"A coward?" Spock repeated, trying to inch away from the bucket as the hands continued to glop the tar before his face.

"We saw what happened when Christine got sick," a voice accused. "You ran away like a scared little boy."

"She was naked!" Spock rejoined.

"So?" the voice queried.

"I didn't want her to know that I saw her naked," he reasoned.

"But it was okay to see her naked when you took care of her," the voice retorted. "Why was that so different?"

"When I was bathing Christine, I could concentrate on equations," Spock rationalized. "When she was delirious, I was too sleepy to do that and..." Spock stopped.

"And?" the voice demanded. Spock didn't answer. The bucket of tar got closer. Spock almost gagged on the stink. "AND?"

"And I found my body reacting to her nudity!" he hissed, mortified.

"Well, Spock," a disgusted voice rang out, "you have made a prize-winning film. Here's your prize!"

Spock screamed as he was pelted with hot droplets and chicken feathers. He kicked and punched at the air, trying to protect himself from the burning tar.

The tar never came.

Instead, upon opening his eyes, Spock found himself surrounded by chicken feathers, and several angry crewmembers. Kirk was front and center in the group. McCoy held the odiferous bucket, and Uhura and Christine held spray bottles of hot water. Spock cast a very nervous gaze around.

Kirk first tuned to McCoy.

"Cover that up, Bones," he ordered. "It stinks." Kirk turned angry eyes to his first officer.

"What the hell were you thinking, Spock?" Kirk demanded.

Spock sat up in his bed, placed his elbows on bent knees and his head in his hands. Feathers continued to float around him.

"How did you know that I edited the security tapes?" he mumbled.

"Well," Kirk said, "we used logic."

Spock winced at the way Kirk said "logic."

"Who else has both the knowledge and security clearance to edit those tapes?" the captain continued. "But the dead give away was this: YOU FORGOT TO EDIT THE TAPE OF YOU EDITING THE TAPES!" Kirk bellowed.

Spock winced again, first at the roar of Kirk's voice assaulting his ears and second at his own stupidity.

"I was only trying to help," Spock whispered pathetically.

"HELP?" Kirk yelled.

"Yes, help," Spock nodded. "I didn't want anyone to be humiliated."

"Including you," McCoy interjected rudely.

"Including me," Spock answered meekly.

"Well, Spock," Kirk continued in a quieter -- tough no less angry -- voice. "You have Security working round the clock, confiscating everyone's personal computers, deleting as many copies of the tape as we can. I've had to threaten everyone to comply or else I'll have them keelhauled." Kirk turned to McCoy in mock seriousness. "Bones, do you think we can keelhaul people in space?"

McCoy played along by rubbing his chin in thought.

"I dunno," he replied. "Perhaps we should test the theory on our dear first officer here."

Spock looked up in alarm.

"Don't worry, Spock," Kirk soothed. "We won't keelhaul you -- today. But if you ever get another boneheaded idea like this again..." Kirk brushed hand aside. "Out you go." The captain turned to the others crowded around the bed. "Ladies, gentlemen," he said ushering them toward the door, "shall we leave our good friend to his mess?"

Spock looked at his captain in dismay scooping a handful of feathers off his bunk.

"Don't let the symbolism be lost on you, Spock," Kirk said. "Finding all those copies will be as difficult as picking up each and every one of these feathers." He moved to the door. "It only looks impossible."

* * *

A few minutes later, there was a slight tapping at Spock's door.

"Come," he called. The door swished open and in walked Christine with a vacuum cleaner.

"Are you still in bed?" she asked brusquely. Ever the efficient nurse, Christine carefully took the corners of Spock's blanket with as many of the offending feathers as possible, carried it to the recycler and stuffed it inside.

Soon, there was another caller at Spock's door.

"Come," he repeated. In walked Uhura with a canister vacuum.

"That was such a mean way to teach you a lesson, Mr. Spock," Uhura said as she switched on the machine and began sucking up loose feathers.

"This was planned?" Spock replied, incredulous.

"Yes," Christine replied. "When the captain saw the security tapes of you editing the security tapes, we had to peel him off the wall."

Spock gave the nurse a disbelieving look.

"An idiom," Uhura prompted. Spock nodded.

"We," Christine said, pointing to herself and Uhura, "came up with this scheme."

"You?" Spock said, affronted.

"Yes," Uhura hissed. "Us." She stopped vacuuming and crossed her arms. "Honestly, Spock, for such and intelligent person, you can be so stupid." Spock sat up stiffly, gathering as much dignity around himself that a person in his underwear could manage.

"I beg your pardon!" Christine turned off her vacuum as well and leaned closer.

"Yes," she echoed. "Stupid. If you had left well enough alone, those tapes would have been shipped off to the SFCIA and no one would have been the wiser. It would have been lost in the black hole of data storage. None of us would be the laughingstocks we are right now."

Spock hung his head at Chapel's chastisement. She was right, of course.

A stray thought captured Spock's attention.

"How did you know I was asleep?" he asked. "How did you know I would be dreaming of being tarred and feathered?" Spock caught he mysterious glance exchanged between the two women.

"A bit of psychology, a bit of power of suggestion," Christine began.

"A bit of breaking and entering, a bit of security cameras," Uhura purred. Spock's mouth fell open.

"Dr. McCoy sprayed a type of truth serum into your air ventilation ducts," Christine stated.

"And I had sensors imbedded under your mattress to let us know when you went to bed," Uhura added. "When they went off, I checked the security camera in your cabin -- under the captain's authority, of course."

"Of course," Spock repeated, chagrined. "What kept me restrained to my bed?"

"That was your own guilt, Spock," Christine replied. "It was fortunate for us that you were in the midst of a nightmare. It played into our hand quite well."

"Scotty reconfigured your lights. The captain replicated the tar and feathers himself," Uhura said, laying her hand on Spock's arm. "Now, sugar, that part of the plan gave me the creeps. My people have bad memories of tar and feathers!"

Christine sat on the bed.

"We would never have used it on you, Spock," she assured him. "That would be just cruel."

"But we wanted to get our point across," Uhura said, poking him in the arm.

"What point would that be?" Spock said as he rubbed the spot where Uhura poked him. She is stronger than she looks! Spock thought.

"Speak up!" she replied.

"What point would that be?" Spock repeated in a louder voice. Both women sat back and laughed.

"No, Spock," Christine chuckled. "Nyota means that you should speak up about a problem before you try to fix something. Fixing the problem right away isn't always the best thing to do. Didn't you ever hear the saying, 'Let sleeping dogs lie'?"

"Is that what that means!" Spock exclaimed. "When Mother used that phrase, I thought she meant that I should let my sehlat sleep as long as he wished."

Christine shook her head and gave Spock a friendly shove. "Nyota is right," she teased. "For a smart guy, you can be pretty dense!"

Spock caught the nurse's gaze and held it. Perhaps he was still under the influence of the truth serum, perhaps not. Right now, all that mattered was being lost in Christine's beautiful eyes.

Uhura noticed the crackle of electricity in the gaze shared between the good nurse and the first officer. That was her signal to leave. She scooped up both vacuums and headed for the door.

"I'll just leave you two to finish up," she murmured as she headed to the door. But before she exited, Uhura turned back and gave Spock one last stern warning.

"Just watch yourself, mister!" she breathed. Spock reluctantly broke eye contact with Christine and looked toward Uhura. "Do something like this again and you will have to face another visitation of the Avenging Angels!"