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.



THE STAMPEDE

ERATO'S SUITE, Movement # 4

by Ster Julie



Members of Enterprise's bridge crew burst into my hospital room, led by Jim Kirk. Somehow, even though my eyes are closed I could see that they are pissed! One by one, they lean over my sickbed and hurl accusations at me like rice at newlyweds.

"I dun't talk vit an accent," Chekov complains.

"Aye!" Scott adds. "Neither doo aye!"

"I'm a doctor, not an angst-ridden old coot," McCoy grumbles. "Treat me with some respect!"

"Boys, boys!" Uhura protests. "Leave her alone!"

"Don't start, Ny!" Sulu whines. "You were featured in two and a half stories. I never get more than a passing mention, if at all."

"I've never been passive in my life," Kirk announces. "Well, maybe once ... "

"It's not about you, Jim!" McCoy thunders. "It doesn't always have to be about you!"

"But it's NEVER about me!" Kirk gripes. "She always writes me in as filler. I thought everyone liked me. What's not to like?"

"We're ALL filler," McCoy observes. "The only one she really cares about is her precious Spock-ums."

"Spockums!" Chekov repeated with a snort.

"We're only in her stories to further the tale about Spock," Kirk observed. "Spock, Spock, Spock! What IS it about him, anyway?" Uhura gets a dreamy, far-away look in her eyes as a small smile teases her lips. The guys all roll their eyes. Uhura leans over me and brushes my sweaty hair back away from my face.

"Erato, darling," she begins, "thanks for my stories. You did a good job. Don't mind these egotistical blowhards. They are so full of themselves," she adds, turning toward the men, "and full of something else, too. Leave the poor girl alone! Can't you see she's sick?" McCoy's ears perk up.

"Sick? Here, let me take a look," he offers. Kirk pulls him back.

"Bones, you're fictional!" Kirk explains. "You can't help her."

"I'm a doctor, not a character!" McCoy explodes.

"Oh, you're a character, all right!" Uhura observes.

"See?" Scott said to no one in particular. "Even in this story, I get only one line!"

"Same here," Sulu agrees. "The only way we get a second line is to complain."

"This vould never be allowed in Russia," Chekov announces. Sulu rolls his eyes.

"Oh, don't start that Russia crap!" he begs.

"Vy not?" Chekov demands. "Dun't you know that Russia is the cradle of ciwilization?" It was now Scott's turn to roll his eyes.

"That was Iraq, Chekov," he corrected.

"Iraq?" Chekov repeats.

"Don't even go there!" Sulu orders.

Uhura stops caressing my hair to turn angrily on the three complainers.

"Would you boys shut up?" she demands. "We're frightening this poor girl and she needs her sleep so she can get well."

"Indeed," Spock agrees. "Ms. Erato is quite ill."

"Spock!" Kirk exclaims.

"It figures that you'd show up," McCoy spits. Everyone turns as a new voice enters the mix.

"Has anyone seen my wife?"

"Mr. Ambassador!"

"Father!"

"Amanda left in such a bad state this morning," Sarek stated. "I have not seen her since. Something about a ... a 'fridgie'?" Blank looks were exchanged all around.

"Where's Nurse Chapel?" Kirk asks at last.

"I thought Christine would be here for sure," McCoy comments.

"I saw her out dancing in a field of flowers," Uhura announces.

"What has she got to be so happy about?" Kirk asks grumpily.

"Me," Spock states.

"YOU?" everyone choruses.

"Yes," Spock continues. "Ms. Erato was kind enough to grant Christine's every desire in her stories."

"Oh?" McCoy comments. "And how do you feel about that?"

"I am at peace," Spock responds. "She has her fantasy, and I have my reality."

"Chapel gets her fantasies!" Kirk complains. "What about MY fantasies?"

"Reality?" McCoy repeats. "We're all a bunch of fictional characters."

"If you believe that," Spock observes, "then you have not achieved awareness."

"Awareness?" McCoy counters. "As in artificial intelligence? Poppycock!"

"Call it what you wish," Spock says. "I have been given such a rich background and culture that I have achieved self-awareness."

"That's what we're here to complain about!" Sulu states. "We don't get as much attention as you do."

"Aye," Scott comments. "How can we develop if we are ignored?"

"Hey!" Chekov fumes. "Vere's my line?"

"Calm down, Pavel," Uhura answers as she pats Chekov's hand. "You'll get your chance."

"I believe that we should continue this discussion elsewhere," Spock declares. "Ms. Erato is not able to get the sleep she so desperately needs." Kirk studies Spock for a moment.

"Spock," he asks, "when did you get so old?"

"You were killed off at the age of 63," Spock replied gently. "I am currently 152 Earth-equivalent years old." McCoy also gives Spock a critical look.

"Are you happy?" the doctor asks. Spock thinks about his wife, his children and grandchildren, his careers.

"I am content," he answers simply.

"I vould like to be content," Chekov grumbles.

"Me, too," chimes in Sulu.

"Och," Scott said with disgust, "will ye listen to yerselves, lads!"

"Put a sock in it, Scotty!" Sulu mumbles.

"Da!" Chekov agrees.

"Spock's right," Kirk says as he bends over my sweaty, feverish self. "Let's leave our little author so she can get some sleep." Kirk herds everyone out a glowing door that suddenly appears. Amanda pops out of nowhere and joins her husband, angry words still pouring from her lips.

"Sarek," she storms, "you won't believe the things she has hanging in her house. Pictures of our son in all sorts of poses and states of undress!"

Sarek guides his wife out the door, stopping only to look at me and raise one elegant eyebrow. Oh, no. Please, no! Not another visitation!

Uhura moves back to my side, leans over the bed and kisses my sweaty brow. How sweet!

"Get well soon, Sugar," she whispers. "Thanks for putting up with us. Get better soon, hear?"

* * *

I waken to the sound of someone fussing over me. I raise leaden, grainy eyelids.

"Welcome back!" the nurse exclaims.

/Away with you!/ I think. /You are far too cheery this early in the morning./

"Sure glad your fever broke, Erato," the nurse continued. "You were delirious! You'd never believe some of the things you were saying." She holds a cup to my lips so I can take a few small sips of water.

"That wasn't delirium," I rasp. "I was having visitations."

The golden door cracks open again and a wreck of a street woman, circa 17th century England, pokes her shaggy head through and sneers at me.

"Spirits! Spirits!" she cries in a taunting voice. "They'll burn ye!"

"Get out! Get out!" I scream weakly, shaking in fear as I throw the covers over my head. "No bit characters! I've had enough. AAAHHHH!!!!"

End of movement 4

End of "The Erato Suite in Four Movements"

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