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) 2001 by Cheree Cargill. This story is Rated PG.
MIRI: SEXUAL POLITICS
Stardate: 2714.9. First Officer Spock recording.
Only one day out from Exo III, we diverted our course after picking up an automated distress signal that led us to an uncataloged Class M planet. It was, amazingly, an exact duplicate of Earth. The odds of such a resemblance are astronomical, too remote to be reasonably calculated. It was only later that I was able to deduce how this could be.
There was a spatial anomaly for which I could not account when we encountered it but it seemed to do no damage to the ship or the crew. I filed it away for later analysis, for we then beamed down to investigate Earth 2, as we informally dubbed the planet, and were subsequently trapped on the surface for ten days, struggling to find a cure for the artificial disease that had wiped out all the adults there.
As we left orbit and headed back toward the coordinates of our original course, we again passed through the anomaly and it was then that I suddenly understood what had happened and where we had been. As soon as we were clear of the phenomenon, the ship's chronometers abruptly changed and read 2713.5, the exact time when we had originally entered Earth 2's space over ten days earlier.
We had gone through a warp in time and space and had come upon not a duplicate Earth, but a parallel Earth. The planet we encountered was, in fact, Earth as it had proceeded along a different time line. In that dimension, the population had been nearly wiped out in the mid-20th century by the unloosing of biological experiments gone awry!
We were now back in our own universe and back in our own time. It was as if nothing had happened, for those ten days had never occurred in our world. We could not contact our sociology team that had been left behind and Captain Kirk has turned the problem over to Starfleet Command, deciding this needed a higher solution than he could give it. I fully agree. As far as I know, we are the first to experience such a parallel space/time continuum and now the exploratory and science divisions of Starfleet will take over the problem. We have supplied the coordinates of the anomaly and can only hope that it will still be there and allow traffic to pass through it.
But we have already been given our next assignment. We are forty-two point eight lightyears out of Tantalus, the penal colony established in this remote sector, and due there within the next twenty-four hours. The pace we have kept has been grueling and I can only guess when we might reach a port where the crew can be given shore leave. It will not be for some time to come, I know.
Tonight, however, Captain Kirk and I engaged in a rather uncomfortable discussion about a member of the crew and a problem that became evident on Earth 2.
As we sat in his office, the Captain paced restlessly before me and finally said, "What's your opinion of Rand, Spock?"
I took a moment to think. She had served as my yeoman as well as Kirk's since her arrival on board seventeen months ago. "Efficient," I answered. "A bit over-eager. Tends to take things personally. Not as skilled in the position as she ought to be after this length of time."
"I agree," Kirk responded, hands behind his back as he walked back and forth. "What did you think of her performance on this last mission?"
"A bit overemotional, even for a human," I replied and Kirk shot an amused glance at me for a second. "Of course, that might have been due to the disease."
"Speak plainly," the Captain answered. "This is off the record."
I drew a breath. "Very well. I found her growing a bit familiar in her relations to the senior officers, particularly with you, Jim. I would not deem her conduct entirely professional."
"Neither would I," he muttered, "and there lies the problem. I don't think it's been any secret that she's had her eye on me since she came on board."
"She's in love with me, Spock," the Captain said and made another round of his office.
In the back of my mind, I heard another voice speak nearly those same words. "I'm in love with you, Mr. Spock." I put the recollection hurriedly out of my head. It was not the same thing. As First Officer, I was not prohibited from fraternizing with the crew, although I did not consider it a good idea, and Nurse Chapel did not work as directly with me as Yeoman Rand did with Kirk. She was in and out of his cabin all during the day and sometimes after hours, not only attending to clerical and business matters, but bringing him food and coffee, seeing to his needs, being at his beck and call. An unscrupulous man might be tempted to take advantage of that situation.
Jim rounded on me as I sat silent. "She made her feelings quite clear to me down on the planet," he said. "It's not the first time but the others have been more subtle. And, what disturbs me is ... I responded, Spock. At the time things just seemed so hopeless that ... I slipped."
"Understandable, Jim," I replied. "She is an attractive woman and, if you will forgive me, you are quite attracted to attractive women."
He grunted and sat down in his chair, leaning an elbow on his desk and propping his chin in his palm. "Well, the thing is, I'm afraid I'll keep on responding to her." He slapped his hand down on the desktop and pinned me with a hard glare. "I want her off the ship, Spock. I want her transferred at the earliest possible moment."
"For what reason?" I asked. "Officially, I mean. Being in love with your captain is not valid grounds for transfer."
"Well ... how's her efficiency rating? Any reprimands? You're the personnel officer, Spock. Surely you can find something," he groused.
"Her rating is high," I answered calmly. "No reprimands. Interacts well with her peers. I have given her quite good marks in her position as my yeoman. "
Kirk stewed about it for a moment longer. "So, how would you put this? Inappropriate fraternization? Insubordination? Conduct unbecoming a member of the crew?"
"I think Starfleet might argue with any of those," I said.
Kirk sat glumly for a long moment, then a speculative expression came over his face. "When are we due to put in at Starbase 11?" he asked.
"Approximately two months from now," I answered. "Routine maintenance."
"Jose Mendez owes me a favor or two," the Captain mused. "I think he needs a really good, conscientious yeoman, don't you, Spock?"
I merely gazed at him.
Kirk brightened at the seeming solution to his problem. "Yes, a nice, efficient yeoman is exactly what he needs!"
"My question remains, Captain. On what grounds will you request her transfer?"
"Oh, no, Mr. Spock," he smiled. "I won't be the one doing the requesting. Jose is going to ask for her by name! Sterling reputation, knows a good crewman when he sees one, great opportunity for a talented young woman on her way up the Fleet ladder!"
"I am not sure that is entirely ethical," I pointed out.
"Well ... sometimes we are forced to do things that seem questionable at the time, but are for the best in the long run," Kirk answered, lacing his hands behind his head and leaning back in a comfortable position. "Janice may be reluctant to leave, but it'll be the kindest thing. I'm fond of her, yes, but it would be cruel to lead her on and then be forced to end any hopes she might have of a relationship with me."
My thoughts drifted back to Nurse Chapel's confession of her feelings for me. "I see your point, Captain," I said. "It would indeed be cruel when there is no hope."
"Okay, problem solved," Kirk said contentedly. "Anything else on your mind, Mr. Spock?"
"Nothing of import, Captain," I responded. "You have my daily report and we have discussed anything pressing."
"Good. Now, I hate to throw you out, but I'm beat and I want to hit the sack," he answered, rising.
I got to my feet as well and gathered my report padds. "Good night then, sir. Sleep well."
"Same to you, Spock. See you tomorrow."
I left his cabin and walked the short distance to my own. As I prepared for meditation, I thought once again of my own "problem." I did not have the influence to have her transferred, nor would I. It is not logical to remove a person as highly trained and talented as Lt. Chapel simply because of misplaced emotional ties. She is too essential to the medical department and would be difficult to replace. I will simply have to fathom a way to keep our relationship on a strictly professional footing.
With that thought in mind, I kneel on my meditation cushion and begin the Incantation of Remembrance to the Ancestors.