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) 2003 by Cheree Cargill. This story is Rated PG.
SPACE SEED: QUEEN OF HELL
Stardate: 3144.5, Personal Log. First Officer Spock recording.
"I'd like to slap that bitch into next week!"
They were huddled together in a quiet corner of Science Lab 3 - Nurse Chapel, Nurse Yamaguchi, Nurse Edison, and Technician Raul. Their voices were low, kept at a barely audible level, but I heard them clearly. It was Chapel who had spoken. I stopped outside the doorway and listened.
Raul chimed in, "Did you see the way she was slobbering all over him?"
"Why didn't she just crawl in bed with him?" Yamaguchi asked snidely.
"Slut," Edison opined.
"Really! She was practically tearing her clothes off!" Chapel again.
A giggle, then Yamaguchi's voice. "Of course, you gotta admit, he is a hunk!"
More giggles. "I'm gonna tell Sulu you said that!" Raul.
"Yeah, Patty, you'd take your clothes off fast enough if Hikaru pulled back the covers!" Edison.
"Whattaya mean if he pulled back the covers?"
"Patty!" "No!" "Did he really?" A chorus of voices and giggles.
"Don't laugh so hard, Christine," Yamaguchi said. "If it was Spock, you know damn well you'd--"
I made a small noise and instantly Chapel's voice said authoritatively, "That's enough! Back to work, ladies!"
I gave them a few seconds then strode into the lab. "Good afternoon, Lieutenant," I addressed Chapel, now serious and looking quite professional, although there was still a hint of color on her cheeks. "I have come for the report on the sleeper ship occupants."
"I have it ready, Mr. Spock," she answered calmly. "I'll get it right away." As she turned away to retrieve the report chip, I glanced at the other three women. They were all overly busy at their stations, studiously ignoring me. My eyebrow twitched up in amusement but then I stilled my face as Chapel returned and handed me the data chip.
"Thank you, Lieutenant. A word in private, if you please."
She appeared surprised, almost alarmed, but responded, "Of course, sir" and followed me out of the lab.
We stopped outside her office. "Whom were you discussing a few moments ago, Lieutenant?" I asked bluntly.
She looked as if I had struck her. "No - no one, Mr. Spock!" she stuttered.
"I am not hard of hearing, Lieutenant," I reminded her cooly.
"No ... no, sir." She gulped and then got herself under control. "It was McGivers, sir. She has been spending an inordinate amount of time in sick bay since we beamed over the captain of that ship. Mr. Khan."
"Does it occur to you that she is simply doing her job as historian?"
Chapel seemed to waver then rallied and looked me straight in the eye. "Yes, sir, that did occur to me, but I know the difference between professional interest and mooning over somebody and McGivers is way beyond professional."
"'Mooning over', Lieutenant?" I questioned, pinning her with a reproving stare.
"Sir, you know very well what I mean." Chapel wasn't backing down. "Sir, something fishy is going on here, or I'll turn in my credentials as Head Nurse on this ship. I know when a woman is head-over-heels in love with a man--" She caught herself and blushed again, then soldiered on. "-and McGivers is absolutely pie-eyed over Khan. And he knows it and is manipulating her like a Regulan cobra with a grass leaper!"
"I see," I responded. "Very creative metaphors, Nurse."
She reddened again but this time with frustration. "Mr. Spock, listen to me! I haven't told anybody about this until now, but suddenly this whole situation has my blood running cold! I do not trust this Khan man and I'm terrified McGivers is going to play right into his hands!"
I sobered and softened my expression. "Very well, Nurse Chapel. I trust your professional observations, no matter that they are a bit overwrought. I shall look into this farther before the reception planned for Khan this evening and bring it to the Captain's attention."
She relaxed. "Thank you, sir."
I started for the door then turned back. "Oh, incidentally, Lieutenant, the terms 'bitch' and 'slut' are not appropriate appellations for a fellow officer, regardless of your personal feelings."
She blanched. "No, sir," she answered. "I'll see that it doesn't happen again, sir."
I nodded and continued on my way.
* * *
It was the next day that Khan struck and I was hardly surprised to see that McGivers was an active part of the take-over. I simply regretted that I had not moved quickly enough in my analysis of her psychological profile to prevent her mutinous behavior. My inaction nearly cost the Captain his life and put the entire crew in jeopardy. Fortunately, we were able to regain control of the ship in short order and the Botany Bay crew are now under heavy guard in the maximum security brig. They will be dealt with as soon as we reach Star Base 12.
However, as the only member of the Enterprise crew to participate, a hearing was called to charge McGivers with her crimes. The hearing board consisted of the Captain, myself, Dr. McCoy and Mr. Scott as the senior officers of the ship. McGivers was brought in manacled, a very large security guard towering over her.
After she was seated in the witness chair, the Captain called the hearing to order and said, "Lieutenant Marla McGivers, you are charged with mutiny, treason and subversive activities. Mr. Scott will read the specifications."
Scott lifted a data padd, rose to his feet and recited, "Under Starfleet Regulations Chapter 115, Section 2381, Lieutenant Marla McGivers, you are charged with Treason by levying war against a Starfleet ship under the allegiance of the United Federation of Planets, said ship being in space and on patrol at the time.
"Under Starfleet Regulations Chapter 115, Section 2382, you are charged with Misprision of Treason, having knowledge of the commission of treason against said Starfleet ship and failing to make known the same to the Captain and/or Officers of said ship.
"Under Starfleet Regulations Chapter 115, Section 2383, you are charged with Rebellion or Insurrection, having assisted and engaged in a rebellion or insurrection against the authority of the Captain and/or Officers of a Starfleet ship under the allegiance of the United Federation of Planets, said ship being in space and on patrol at the time.
"Under Starfleet Regulations Chapter 115, Section 2384, you are charged with Seditious Conspiracy, having conspired with enemies of the United Federation of Planets against the authority of the Captain and/or Officers of said ship and levied war against said ship and persons.
"Under Starfleet Regulations Chapter 115, Section 2385, you are charged with Mutiny and Advocating the Overthrow of the Captain and/or Officers of said Starfleet ship, said ship being under the lawful command of the duly appointed Captain and Officers, in space and on patrol at the time.
"Under Starfleet Regulations Chapter 115, Section 2897, you are charged with Activities Affecting Armed Forces Generally, advising, counseling, urging or in any manner causing or attempting insubordination, disloyalty, mutiny or refusal of duty by any member of the military or Starfleet, being in space and on patrol at the time."
Scott sat back down, his face hard as he glared at the petite female huddled in her chair, head hanging in shame.
Captain Kirk mirrored his expression. "Before you enter your plea, Lieutenant, I am required to inform you that you are entitled to legal counsel. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court martial to be held before a Command Board at Star Base 12. Do you wish counsel before we proceed?"
McGivers shook her head and reached up to wipe the tears flowing down her face. "No, sir," she answered in a small voice. "What good would it do? I'm guilty as charged."
"Then you waive legal counsel?"
"Let the record show that Lieutenant Marla McGivers has waived legal counsel." I keyed the computer and it chattered back in response. Kirk demanded, "How do you plead to the charges and specifications levied against you? Guilty or not guilty?"
"I just said I was guilty, didn't I?"
"Is that your official plea, Lieutenant?"
She looked up, her face haggard and blotched from crying. "Yes, sir."
"Let the record show that Lieutenant Marla McGivers has pled guilty to the charges and specifications brought against her in the pending matter," Kirk announced.
I duly entered the reading into the ship's record of the hearing, then turned back to stare stonily at the woman. She seemed sunk in on herself, attempting to make herself small, but to no avail. She was literally at the center of attention here, isolated in the witness chair spotlighted in the middle of the briefing room.
Kirk drew a breath and continued, "Lieutenant, this is not a trial. It is a hearing. What I want to know from you is just one thing ... why?"
She shrugged and would have hugged herself had her hands not been secured with the manacles. "I don't know, sir," she murmured.
"Speak up, Lieutenant. You don't know?!"
"That is not a logical answer, Lieutenant," I interjected. "You must certainly have a reason for your actions." She didn't answer, but only shrugged again, refusing to look at us.
"Did he threaten you, Lieutenant?" Kirk asked in a softer tone. "Did he harm you in any way?"
"No, sir," she answered. "It wasn't like that at all. He was really very kind to me."
"Kind?" McCoy questioned.
"Yes, sir. He seemed to like me and..." She hesitated and looked up at us imploringly. "Well, no one's ever really liked me before."
"Come again, Lieutenant?" Kirk retorted. "What do you mean no one's ever liked you?"
"Just that, sir." Another tear slipped down her cheek and she raised her hands to wipe it away. "No one on the ship's ever liked me. I can tell. They talk about me behind my back. They won't have anything to do with me. Some of them have treated me awful."
My thoughts flashed back suddenly to the conversation I had inadvertently overheard in the lab. Rapidly I did a review of the time that McGivers had been on the ship. I could not recall, from the few times I had been in contact with her, any time when she seemed to be interacting with the other members of the crew or her peers. She invariably ate alone, did not participate in sports or recreational activities, spent her off-duty hours in her cabin. And I recalled, too, the Captain's irritation with her during the recent landing party. She did not seem to fit into the ship's complement as the majority of the crew did.
McCoy was staring at her appraisingly and asked in a carefully neutral voice, "Tell me, Lieutenant. Where are you from?"
We all looked at him and even McGivers seemed taken by surprise. Then she answered, "Beta Cignae 3 colony, sir. My family were settlers."
"Ah," McCoy nodded. "Did you come from a big family then?"
"Yes, sir. Eight brothers and sisters." McGivers was obviously confused by this turn in questioning, as were we all.
"Eight. That is a big family. What did your father do?"
"He was a miner."
"And your mother?"
"She kept house and cooked. Like a woman is supposed to."
McCoy nodded. "I see. I'll bet you all were raised to respect the Scriptures, hmm? The man is the head of the house and the wife and kids are to respect him, right?"
"Yes, sir. It's a Law of God. 'Wives, submit yourselves to your husband." McGivers let her gaze slip over our four faces, searching for a reason for this line of questioning, then centered back on McCoy. "That's the way it's supposed to be."
"Your father must have been quite a man," McCoy went on agreeably, leaning back in his chair. "Tell me about him."
McGivers blinked and paused. "Well, actually Khan reminds me a lot of my father. Big, strong, forceful. He was a real man. He kept the family in order. He didn't take any trouble from any one of us."
The doctor leaned forward suddenly and pinned her with a direct glare. "Did he beat you, Marla? Did he beat your mother or your siblings?"
She sat up ramrod straight. "No, sir! He was good and kind! He couldn't help it if we were all bad and he had to discipline us! He worked hard at keeping us within the Law. It was our fault we were sinful and he got mad sometimes! We should have done what we were told! He was just doing what was right!"
McCoy nodded. "Of course," he answered softly. He said no more.
For a moment, there was silence, then Kirk cleared his throat and took charge once again. "Do you have anything else to say, Lieutenant?"
"No, sir. I don't have anything else to say," McGivers said quietly.
"Very well. Mr. Johnson, you may return her to the brig. We will reconvene at 0900 tomorrow." Kirk rang the ship's bell and we all stood as the prisoner was escorted out.
After she and the guard were gone, we all sat back down and Kirk swung on the ship's surgeon. "All right, Bones, what was that all about?"
"Jim, all that girl is guilty of is a lousy upbringing," McCoy replied serenely.
"Didn't you listen to her? She's from Beta Cignae 3."
"What's tha' got t' do wi' it?" asked Scott, completely mystified.
"Beta Cignae 3 colony was settled by religious separatists," McCoy answered. "Very fundamentalist, traditionalist belief system. The man ruled with an iron hand and his wife and children kowtowed to his every wish. If they got out of line, he was expected to beat them into submission. Jim, that girl is a textbook case of emotional and physical abuse."
"Explain," Kirk ordered tersely.
"My God, Jim, a blind man could see it with a cane!" McCoy ticked off the symptoms on his fingers. "She was verbally and physically abused as a child and witnessed the abuse of her mother and siblings. She has low self-esteem. Her sense of power or control depends on an authority figure's acquiescence and her performance to his demands. She has the capacity for self-deception or denial. She is depressed and withdrawn, escaping into the past - into history - to find the 'ideal' man and situation. That's why she's so taken with Khan. He's the embodiment of her ideal mate and also an authority figure on the model of her father. He treats her the way her father treated her mother."
"He abuses her emotionally, you mean."
"Exactly. I have no doubt that he drew her into his confidence and then terrorized her by threatening to reject her if she didn't 'prove' her love for him by following his every demand. And to her it's completely normal, because that's the environment she grew up in."
"If she has such obvious emotional handicaps, I fail to see how she passed the Starfleet psych exams and was assigned to a starship," I said.
"Who knows? With her profession, I expect that there was a hiring call to fill certain niches and historian isn't exactly a high-demand calling," the doctor answered with a sigh. "She applied, fit the job description, and they didn't exactly have an abundance of applicants, so they worked her through just to fill a gap. Happens all the time."
"Well, then," the Captain answered, himself sighing in frustration. "What do we do with her? You know she'll be convicted of the charges and either sent to prison or more likely to a mental facility like Tantalus. Either way, she's sure to be confined for the majority of her life and that would drive her completely over the edge. Starfleet isn't very sympathetic when it comes to mutiny and treason."
"Aye," Scotty put in. "And there's also the question of what to do with Khan and his gang. My hair stands up when I think o' that bunch potentially getting loose and back in the galaxy."
"They are extremely resourceful," I agreed. "If they have the means to escape, they surely will take advantage of any opportunity."
"Yes," Kirk said softly. "Gentlemen, let's all do some research into the problem before we convene again tomorrow morning. There's got to be an answer out there."
* * *
Thus was born the "solution" of stranding them all on Ceti Alpha V. The Captain gave McGivers the choice of court martial or going with them and, not surprisingly, she chose the latter. As I stood beside the command chair and watched the desolate planet disappear from view behind us, I turned to the Captain and said softly, "She will never survive it, you know."
"I know," Jim answered in a like voice, rubbing his bottom lip with his forefinger. "But in her case, it was a no-win situation. At least this gives her a fighting chance. She may do okay, who knows?"
"Hmm," I responded and clasped my hands behind my back. "The problem is that she now thinks she's won. That as Khan's wife, she is finally in a position of power and privilege. He will surely abuse her and subject her to a wretched life."
"No doubt, Mr. Spock, no doubt. But in her eyes, perhaps, she has won. She's the Queen of Hell now, after all."