DISCLAIMER: The Star Trek characters are the property of Paramount Studios, Inc. The story contents are the creation and property of T'Kuht and is copyright (c) 2002 by T'Kuht. Rated G.
Out of the Blue...
Lt. Commander Spock couldn't figure out who could possibly be sending him a personal message from Earth. He didn't know anyone from there well enough to warrant the expense of a message. Opening the file, he began the short but informative letter.
"You said you would be of assistance if I ever needed it. I hope you were sincere and not merely being polite. I don't know if you recall meeting me when you delivered my sister's belongings, but I am Christine Chapel..."
He stopped a moment before continuing. The blue eyes swam before him. He had read the news blips about the disappearance of Dr. Roger Korby and recalled the pang hearing about it because he had seen how blissfully happy she had been when she spoke of him. He had missed meeting Korby because he had to attend a dinner with his parents that had been dismally annoying and long. Even his mother's presence hadn't helped matters at all. Even before he read the rest of the letter he knew he would help her. She reviewed the matter succinctly and her request that he use his influence to get her into deep space. Since he had met her, Spock had done a little discreet background research. She was not only an excellent researchist, but her expertise in chemistry was so far beyond the personnel aboard the Enterprise that he had often thought she would be an asset aboard the starship. Now, she was asking his help to get into deep space. She had said she didn't care what ship or capacity, she had to get out and get to Exo III.
Saving the message, he cross referenced the ship's destination schedule. They would only be a few parsecs away from Exo III within the next year if things remained as they were now. Even if they could not get there as quickly as scheduled, at least she'd be closer than she was on Earth. Reviewing his files of crew replacements, he had only two positions she would even be remotely qualified: ship's psychiatrist to replace the dead Dr. Dehner, or Head Nurse to take over for the transferring Kellye McNamara. Composing a short note to Christine and filling out a request for personnel, he did what he could with the influence he had.
* * *
Christine Chapel sat with a trunk, a duffel, and a backpack. She had closed up the cottage that she had loved so well and now hated with a passion and packed only her essentials. She was going into space the only way she knew how ... working her way through it. She'd run out of money trying to search for him. Korby Research Associates was in the process of folding up because their main drive was gone, and she was now alone. She had nowhere else to turn and while sitting feeling sorry for herself she looked at a picture of Leigh and her when they were younger. A gawky, gangly Vulcan's face appeared to her and those words he had said when she was so happy. "If you ever need assistance..." She had turned to a total stranger with bleak hope. Now, she had been rewarded with trusting the one man in the galaxy who was still honest and sincere. She would be forever loyal and in his debt.
"Lt. Chapel, you're next," the transporter chief said and smiled. They'd talked a little while she was waiting and he smiled, "Hope you like it. The Enterprise is a good ship."
"I'm sure I will," she said as they piled her belongings on the transporter pad, and she stood ready to be energized.
The world went from a standard issue bland transporter station to a standard issue transporter room. With a blink, she fought the wave of vertigo and focused on the people in the room. Behind the transporter stood a middle aged man with a lock of dark brownish black hair, in a Scots accent he said, "Welcome aboard, lassie."
She liked him immediately and smiled. She turned her attention to the others in the room. One was the infamous Captain James Kirk. He was already known, and he'd only been in command of a starship for a little under a year. Spock, oh, how he'd improved in looks over four years. He stepped forward to greet her, "Miss Chapel, I trust you have been well."
"I'm getting better every day," she said without letting go of the plastered smile she had on her face. She was weary and exhausted from the pretense of being all right. No one else had known her reasons for being aboard, only the Vulcan. He had enough influence to get her assigned over other seasoned personnel. By the look of gratitude in her eyes she would not disappoint or dishonor him. He also saw something else or the lack of something. There was no longer the unabashed glee in her expression.
Spock introduced her to the Captain and to Dr. Piper who would be leaving at the next stop and picking up a new CMO. She smiled nicely, exchanged pleasantries and turned to gather their things. Montgomery Scott stopped her, "They'll be delivered to your quarters, lass."
"Thank you," she said and turned back to the captain. He was saying something about how nice it was to have such an accomplished scientist or something, she really didn't pay attention. She kept her eyes glued to Spock. He met her gaze and nodded slightly as if in acknowledgment of her gratitude. "Mr. Spock, if you could show Miss Chapel to her quarters I am sure she would be glad to get unpacked."
Spock nodded in assent and watched the others leave while Scott put her belongings on an anti-grav cart. Spock signaled to Scott, "I will take care of the cart. Thank you, Mr. Scott."
The two walked in silence to the turbo-lift. She'd studied diagrams of the Enterprise for two weeks while waiting to be shipped out from Earth. It was still confusing. All the corridors looked the same and there was no sky or grass or trees or fresh air. She stopped her thoughts before she became claustrophobic. Spock led her to deck 7 and pointed out that the sickbay quarters were all on that deck as well. Keying open the cabin, he had her place her voice and palm print in the computer before anything else.
"Recreational and meal facilities are located quarter way around the saucer section on this deck. The main recreational areas are in the aft compartments. You have been given the rank Lieutenant?" he said almost as a question.
"Yes, second class. It was an honorary title, I guess. Thank you very much. I owe you a great deal," she tried to say. It just sounded corny. Vulcans did not accept such lame excuses for conversation.
"Miss Chapel, may I make myself clear. Your presence on board this vessel will certainly be an asset. Your research and training indicate that the only position I could recommend you for will be almost wasted. However, I hope to be able to change that in time. Dr. Piper is not willing to share his departmental personnel within the rest of the sciences division. The new CMO may prove more reasonable," he said with a trace of annoyance.
"This is fine, Mr. Spock. Please, don't go to any more trouble on my account."
Spock turned to look at her. She was so different than that woman he had met earlier. She was almost a broken image of herself. He mourned the loss of the vital woman he had known. "It is no 'trouble'; it is a privilege. I will leave you to unpack. If you wish a tour of the ship, feel free to call on me. I do not have duty until 0700 the day after next."
She nodded. "Perhaps we could have that dinner I asked you to so long ago. That would give you an opportunity to show me around as well."
Spock nodded in agreement. "For dinner then. I shall call on you at 1800?"
"Yes, that will be fine. I don't have much to put away," she said. With that Spock bowed his head once and left. She was alone in a strange place, but she had a friend.