DISCLAIMER: The Star Trek characters are the property of Paramount Studios, Inc. The story contents are the creation and property of Cheree Cargill and is copyright (c) 2000 by Cheree Cargill. This story is Rated PG-13.



MUDD'S WOMEN: DETOURS AND BEGINNINGS

Cheree Cargill



Stardate: 1330.1. First Officer Spock recording.

I am overcome with irrepressible mirth. Odd as it seems, I cannot contain the sense of unaccountable hilarity that pervades me. Is it some rogue emotion that results from my contact with our passengers? Am I being affected in a way that I could not foresee or control?

It is all too funny for words. The human male crewmembers' reactions to the women fill me with delight. The human female crewmembers' reactions to the males' reactions delight me even more. The ship fairly hums with sexual tension. Never have I seen a more blatant exhibition of human mating display as in the presence of the three women Leo Walsh has brought aboard with him.

I was present in the transporter room with Dr. McCoy and Engineer Scott when they were beamed aboard. For a moment, I believed that I would be forced to wipe the drool from Scott's chin! Their reaction to the women was instantaneous. I thought it odd that neither of them moved from behind the transporter controls until I happened to glance in Scott's direction and my peripheral vision caught a distinct change in the contours of his trousers. A quick peek in the direction of McCoy's groin confirmed that neither of them were in any condition to stroll complacently down the corridor. Fascinating! To be so instantly stimulated by the mere sight of three human females in exotic dress.

Thankfully I am immune to the sexuality radiating like visible waves from our guests. Still, the women turn their charms on me full blast as I escort them and Walsh to the Captain's cabin. I admit that it is difficult to resist, even for me. Although my mental shields are raised to their full extent, my human half struggles to respond. Deep within, I feel the stirrings of arousal and I steel myself even more.

Walsh is observing me closely. "You're part Vulcanian, aren't you?" he asks. I grunt in answer, unwilling to allow him to distract me. "Ah, well, a pretty face doesn't affect you at all. That is, not unless you want it to. You can save it, girls. This kind can turn his emotions on and off."

The waves of blatant seduction beating at me diminish dramatically. I still feel it but it is no longer battering at my shields. The turbolift halts and the door opens. The petite blonde and sultry brunette exit but the other blonde woman, the one with the sadness in her eyes, pauses and addresses me directly.

"I apologize for what he said, sir. He's so used to buying and selling people--"

"That's enough, Evie," Walsh interrupts her and hurries her out the door.

I hesitate for a second before following them. Her nearness and honesty have caused a quiver to run through my mental barriers. For no particular reason, I like her instantly and that is when the full extent of the amusement hits me. I cannot control it. Have my emotions, thwarted from their attempt to reach sexual arousal, rerouted into this unexplainable humor at the situation? Or am I simply so dazzled by this woman that I feel the absurd need to dance with joy? As I lead them to the Captain's cabin, I must struggle to avoid laughing out loud.

I am only partially successful. As the door slides open, I announce with irony and deep amusement in my voice, "The captain of the transport to see you, sir." Then I step back to let the four pass.

Kirk has his back to the door and turns around, ready to do battle. But he abruptly looks as if he has taken a body blow. He rocks visibly and stares, speechless, as the three women glide into his presence. I can almost see his body temperature climb and can't help sneaking a glance at the front of his trousers.

He has more control than Scott or McCoy but I still find his reaction hilarious. It is all I can do to keep a straight face and, even then, I know that my mouth is pulling into a smile. I clamp my teeth together and cross my arms, leaning back against the wall, waiting.

Kirk does his best to question Walsh but he cannot concentrate with the women present. Finally he directs me to take them to guest quarters and one by one they move past me, enveloped in their tantalizing radiance as if in clouds of perfume. I cannot help myself. My eyes go to their beautiful, shapely hips, swaying invitingly as they walk away, beckoning me to follow, teasing me with the pure sexual nature of the movement. I know that I am very close to losing control, too. Strangely, I hardly care.

I look back at Kirk and shrug, a smirk of amusement and surrender on my face. What can I do? my expression asks. I'm a man, too! and turn to follow them. The door slides closed behind me.

Somehow, I manage to convey them to their quarters and there I leave them. Out of their presence, the giddiness I have begun to feel fades away to a low hum. I still am suffused by an unnatural sense of the ridiculous, but I can function now. I must function now. The ship is in deep trouble and I am needed on the bridge. The farther I get away from the women, the more normal I feel. Yes. Something about them ... a perfume or telepathic influence ... is doing this. As I board the turbolift, I sigh and shake myself, gathering my controls about me once more. By the time I reach the bridge, I feel like myself once more.

Scott is at his station and seems back in control as well. I seat myself in the command chair, sinking back into the comfortable leather, mulling over our situation. The turbolift opens again and Sulu and Farrell exit. Both are still pie-eyed and dizzy. "You can feel their eyes on you with they walk past!" Farrell sighs as they take their stations at the helm. "Like they're pulling on you. Did you notice?"

"I noticed," Sulu answers and guides the navigator to his seat before taking his own. I say nothing, confident that they too will be back to normal in a few moments.

Scott, however, glances at them in dismay and steps down to stand beside me, leaning close to speak to me in a confidential manner. I have only known him for a few weeks but already I have found him to be steadfast and a brilliant engineer, prone to blustering but with a backbone of steel when necessary. He is second officer of the ship, next in command after me, and, though he much prefers the confines of the engineering department, as I do my science duties, he nevertheless is a man experienced and brave, one I do not hesitate to leave in charge.

Now, he murmurs to me, "Trouble, Mr. Spock."

"I'm well aware of that, Mr. Scott," I reply, thinking he is referring to Sulu and Farrell, as well as to the general state of the crew.

Instead, with the practicality born of an engineer, he discusses the state of the ship itself. Three of the four dilithium crystals that power the warp engines have burned out and the last one is cracked. There are no replacements on board. I sigh and lean my elbow on the armrest of the command chair, rubbing my lip in an uncharacteristic display of concern.

We damaged our entire supply going through the energy barrier at the edge of the Galaxy and barely managed to recharge our engines enough at Delta Vega to make it to Starbase 11. We took their whole supply of spare crystals. The rest had gone to fuel the reactors on Epsilon Ceti 6 following a devastating ion storm there. We were fortunate that they still had four crystals available.

Now these are nearly gone and there are no more to be had in this sector. The nearest supply is Rigel 12. If we can make it on battery power, that is. It will be a close thing. We are eight lightyears from Rigel and have barely enough energy to power the warp engines that far. Even calling for assistance from another ship or base will drain our battery supply. Should this last crystal fail before we reach Rigel, we will be adrift in space and help cannot reach us before our life support is exhausted.

This is not a decision I can make unilaterally. I press the intercom key on the chair arm.

"Kirk here," the captain's voice answers at once.

"Needed on the bridge, Captain."

* * *

Eighteen point two hours out from Rigel. The ship's batteries are draining steadily, supplementing the rapidly deteriorating single crystal that drives the warp engines. We can make no better than warp two and I sense Scott pacing anxiously at the strain even that must be putting on the warp drive. If we are forced to go to sublight, that eighteen hours will abruptly expand to five months. The captain is pacing, too.

A hearing has been held regarding our "guests". It immediately came to light that "Leo Walsh" is in fact a petty criminal named Harcourt Fenton Mudd. That is just about the only information of any use that was obtained, except for Mudd's background of fraud, deception and minor crimes. The three women were present at the hearing and every man there, with the exceptions of the Captain, myself and Harry Mudd, were intensely affected by them.

While Mudd is now confined to his quarters, the women have the run of the ship. They have committed no crimes and Captain Kirk cannot find a legitimate reason to incarcerate them. I begin to wonder, however, if their effect on the men could not be considered incitement to riot.

And there is something else. They seem to be using their charms to gather information. I was alerted to this by Nurse Chapel and had it confirmed by Lt. Uhura. I was making my daily inspection of the science labs, preparatory to writing my log, when I came upon Miss Chapel standing alone in the biology lab, fairly shaking with scarcely contained fury. Curious, I approached her.

"Miss Chapel? Is something wrong?"

She spun around, startled, and her face went pale and then red as she blushed with embarrassment. "No, no! Nothing's wrong, Mr. Spock!"

I was not convinced. "Your behavior indicates just the opposite," I said.

She was obviously flustered and she attempted to look nonchalant, but failed utterly. "It's really nothing, sir."

I pinned her with a direct stare. "Report, Lieutenant," I ordered and this time left no room for argument.

She knew it, too. "Well, one of those women ... the dark-haired one ... just came into sick bay and tried to sweet-talk Dr. McCoy into giving her some information," Chapel said.

"Sweet-talk?" I repeated incredulously.

"Sorry, sir. I don't know how else to put it. Wheedle? Persuade? Anyway, she just had him mooning over her like a love-starved puppy and I couldn't stand it! I had to get out of there before I ripped her throat out!"

I gazed in surprise at the nurse, usually so cheerful and placid. Her brows had lowered into a frown and what I felt radiating from her was hatred and jealousy. "I take it, then, that you did not feel moved by her charm," I suggested mildly.

Chapel's eyes flashed up to meet mine and I was startled to see the icy, crystalline blue they had become, her fury glittering in their depths. They were usually so soft. And then I caught myself. When had I previously noticed that? Her words dragged me back to the present.

"What charm?" she demanded, then added belatedly, "Sir. I'm sorry, Mr. Spock, but I just don't see why the men are all so ga-ga. Any woman on this ship could match those three for charm and beauty any day of the week ... and do an honest day's work besides!"

Indeed, I thought, gazing at her, but I did not say that. She has abruptly charmed me with her outspokenness and fortitude. I did not realize that she could be like this. This is distinctly odd, I realize. She is having the same effect on me as our female passengers!

But, instead, I ask her, "You said she was pumping Dr. McCoy for information. What sort?"

Chapel was calming down again. "Something about the miners on Rigel. How many there were and what their health was. That's all I heard before I walked out."

"Interesting. Thank you, Nurse. You may return to duty now."

It was a not-so-subtle hint that she should get back to work and she understood it. "Yes, sir." She left the lab and, as I watched her go, I couldn't help but notice that she was every bit as shapely and graceful as Mudd's women.

The intercraft whistles. "Bridge to Mr. Spock." It is Lt. Uhura's voice.

I go to the nearest comm and press the switch. "Spock here."

"Captain requests your presence on the bridge, sir. We're coming up on Rigel."

"On my way," I reply and exit the bio lab immediately.

* * *

It's over now and we are warping out of orbit around Rigel 12. Mudd is locked up in the brig but the three enigmatic women have stayed behind with their new husbands. I wonder how long it will be before they tire of the desolate, windswept planet and flee to more civilized environs.

Life aboard ship has returned to normal and we have received orders for our next assignment. After a stopover at Starbase 12 for resupply and to transfer Mudd to planetside facilities, we will spend a month's journey into the outlying sectors near the Beta Quadrant. No Federation ship has ventured that far and we have been given the job of mapping the area. It is always exciting to be the first into a new region and I feel that, after a bad start, our five year exploration mission has finally begun.

As we pull away from the Rigel system, the great blue-white stellar giant dwindles to a brilliant point of light and then settles into the background blanket of stars. I feel a delight permeate my soul that has nothing to do with sexual acumen and everything to do with the reason I am aboard this ship. And the smile I feel pulling at my lips is hidden quickly as I turn my chair back to my station and assume my duties.

THE END