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) 2001 by T'Kuht. This story is Rated PG.
Spock tapped a finger along the computer console. When Lt. Uhura had asked him at his station whether he wished to take part in this year's Christmas festivities or not and he had replied yes simply to answer her so that she would go back to her own tasks, he did not realize that she would be assigning him a 'pal' that he would have to purchase a gift for. Yet, here it was. The message that was attached assured him that it was a completely random drawing, but something told him that it was not precisely as random as had been promised. Still, what would he even consider getting for Dr. Leonard McCoy? He knew of the doctor's predilection for alcoholic beverages, but Spock did not necessarily approve of such indulgences. It would have to be something more ... unusual. He would have to ask for assistance even if he did have to remain anonymous.
Spock began rehearsing his planned questions. He would have to rely on the only person that he knew that would know most of the doctor's ins and outs. The only problem with his plan was that Christine Chapel was not exactly someone he had casual conversations with. Still, he would have to rely on her input to guide him. He knew from the crew rotations that she would be in lab #2 working alone. That would be the perfect opportunity. Dr. McCoy would not be on duty, so he did not have to be concerned about being discovered by accident.
Lab #2 was a large multi-purpose laboratory. It could house several experiments running at the same time. She was there, bent over her work analyzing the latest set of samples from Vega Delta II. A strain of influenza was creating havoc with the new population and needed immediate attention. "Miss Chapel?"
"Just a moment, Mr. Spock," she replied. To someone else it might sound as if she were being rude by not complying promptly. However, he had known her long enough to also know that she was seldom rude, and the research always came first. If she did not answer him immediately, it was for a good reason.
He waited patiently taking in the different gurgling experiments that were in progress. From the logs, eight out of the twelve presently going were hers. She finished with her work, turned the blue eyes to him. "You wanted something. Mr. Spock?"
"Yes. I find myself at a loss," he began and completely forgot what he was going to ask.
Her bemused expression stopped him. "I have a problem," he tried again. Christine smiled. Why he did not know. She looked at him as though he were a small child who was trying to fess up to a crime. Sensing his discomfort, she prompted, "Perhaps if you were to just get to the point."
"The point, yes. I am taking part in the gift exchange that Miss Uhura has set up. The name that I drew was Dr. McCoy's. I thought that you could perhaps give me some idea as to what would be appropriate."
"Oh, is that all? Good grief, the way you were acting you'd have thought you were going to rob a bank. Leonard for Christmas, well, he likes bourbon," she said automatically.
"I did not wish to indulge his alcoholic tastes. I thought perhaps something more ... meaningful."
"More personal? Like you'd actually taken the time to think of something instead of just going to the old standbys. Okay, well, let me think. He doesn't really ask for anything. He's not someone who goes shopping either. If it weren't for the ship's stores, he'd probably not bother buying new underwear. Clothes are rather silly. He doesn't collect anything." She chewed on her bottom lip and her eyebrows came together in consternation. She looked at Spock in frustration, "You know, he's hard to buy for."
"Perhaps a service or something that is not necessarily purchased?" Spock considered.
Christine laughed in a burst that was so out of character for her that he flinched and let one eyebrow ascend to his bangs. "I'm sorry, that whole scenario just brought too many images to mind. In case you don't know it, I'm very visual. I ... see sentences and ideas. Anyway, that might be something to consider. I really don't have a clue what to give him, but there is still quite a bit of time. I'll think about it and see if I can wheedle some ideas out of him. I'm sure that if I ask him about Christmas, he won't be nearly as suspicious as if you did."
Spock agreed. "Your assistance would be greatly appreciated. When Miss Uhura asked for my participation, she did not completely divulge all the details."
"That's Ny, she likes to sneak up on people. If you're not careful, she'll have you dressing as Santa."
"One of the elves. She thought I was a natural," Spock explained with a sigh. It sent another gale of laughter through the nurse. She began waving in front of her to try to get some air circulation. Spock was surprised. She was normally so reserved that she was known to mirror his own calm. He waited until she was once again able to breathe before taking his leave. He was certain that with Nurse Chapel as his assistant, he would be on the right course.
* * *
"You know, it is so hard to buy for some people at Christmas," Christine said absently as Leonard signed the last of the forms that was shoved in front of him.
"Mmm-hmm, yeah," McCoy said absently.
"Don't you think that some people are hard to buy for?" she fished again.
"What? Yeah, why?"
"Just trying to make conversation. Now, me, I'm easy to buy for," Chapel began.
McCoy stopped her. "I don't have your name. Quit hinting."
"Oh no, I wasn't. Who do you have?"
"Ensign Chekov. Now what the hell am I gonna get that Russian teenie bopper."
"He's hardly a teenie bopper. He's 22 years old."
"And barely old enough to drink. My daughter is four months older than he is. Can't believe it's been 23 years since she was born. Did I tell you she was born on Christmas Eve?" McCoy said with a proud smile.
Christine suddenly had a brilliant idea, but how Spock could arrange it, she didn't know. "No, I don't think you did. What a present, right?"
"Best present a person could ask for. We almost named her Noelle, but we'd had Joanna picked out and it was already on her birth announcements and engraved on stuff," McCoy said absently. He looked up at the clock. "Hey, it's time for you to head out. Remember the stress lecture I gave you last week. Go on now, scoot."
Christine did what McCoy told her to for once.
It took her a few minutes, but she finally found Spock sitting with Jim Kirk in the officer's recreation room. She didn't wish to just walk right up to them, but she had no other means to get to Spock. Passing them, she paused, "Hello Captain, Mr. Spock." When she said his name, she winked at him hoping to get him to know that she wished to speak to him. Unfortunately, Kirk saw it as well. Wrinkling his brow in curiosity, the captain offered her a seat. "Why don't you join us, Miss Chapel?"
"Uh, well." She glanced at Spock, chewed her bottom lip a split second and decided. "Let me get a glass of tea."
When she returned, she made certain to sit so that Spock could see her right eye. She didn't wink well with her left. She kept twitching the eye up and down until he finally noticed. "Miss Chapel, do you have something the matter with your eye?"
"No, silly, I have some ... information for you," she finally blurted which piqued Kirk's curiosity even more.
Spock nodded. "Indeed, Captain, if you will excuse me. Miss Chapel."
They left a bemused captain sitting with a still half-finished game of chess in front of him.
* * *
Spock ushered her inside his quarters, which was only half way around the corridor. The combined heat and the extra gravity made her stop abruptly before walking very far into the cabin. "Yes?"
"Well, I don't know how you could do this, but I figure that you have enough clout to manage it," she began apologetically.
"Well, Joanna's birthday is Christmas Eve. She'll be 23 this year. Wouldn't it be wonderful if she could visit with him? He talks about her every once in a while, but it's always with a tinge of regret. I don't know if you know much about his relationship with her."
"I know that he is divorced from her mother. Other than that, I know nothing. So, you are suggesting that I somehow have Joanna McCoy brought to the ship for the holiday? That would take a great deal of work. However, if the captain were to be included in the effort, it might be something that could be accomplished. Do you know how she can be contacted?" Spock asked.
"No, I don't. I know that she is in medical school. That's another problem. From my own experience, if she's in the middle of exams or rotations, she won't be able to get here. Wait a minute ... if she can't get here, can we go to her or at least send McCoy to her?"
Spock thought a second. Earth for the holidays was an impossibility, however, if they could arrange a transport for McCoy. "He could be spared for a short time. Dr. M'Benga would be able to take over his duties. I believe that we will be able to unite Dr. McCoy and his daughter in some means this year for the holidays."
Christine beamed. She resisted a huge urge to grab him and give him a kiss but barely. "I'll see what I can do about finding out specifically where she is. Oh, wait, what if she has other plans or doesn't want to meet him?"
Spock thought a moment. "Then I purchase a bottle of bourbon and wish him a happy holiday."
Christine sighed and prayed silently that the other idea would work.
* * *
"What medical school did you go to again?" Christine asked as she moved the tape pile from one end of McCoy's desk to the other.
"University of Georgia, where else? Why?"
"Just curious. I went to Notre Dame for mine. I suppose Joanna is following her daddy's footsteps?" Christine tried as casually as she could.
"Yeah, but she's going to a Yankee school. Her mother insisted she go to Johns Hopkins. Well, Jocelyn and I never did see eye to eye on matters and Joanna was just one of those matters," Leonard McCoy grumbled as he shuffled through a drawer. "Where is the damned form I have to fill out for the monthly sanitation reports?"
"Top drawer, blue tape. Johns Hopkins, huh? What is her field of study?"
"Right now she's thinking of either pathology or forensics. Who'd have thought I'd have a detective in the family?"
"Well, all research is detective work after a fashion. Still, it is a rather fascinating field of study. I might go into that when this little trip is done. You never know," Christine said and headed into the room her little cubicle was in to send a message to Spock. McCoy stepped in just as she was addressing the comm board," Hmm, Jim said that you and Spock had some big secret meeting. What's that all about?"
"Nothing. Really, Doctor, he is my superior officer as well. I had to report the findings of one of my experiments to him. You do have a pernicious little mind," she said and with an air of being insulted, she left to try to contact Spock in another fashion.
* * *
Commander Spock approached the captain's cabin. He had asked if the captain wished to play chess that evening and wanted to speak to him before they got to the recreation room. He found that it would be necessary to include the captain in the surprise. Jim Kirk had just finished a session in the gym and was still drying off from the shower. Spock was early. That was slightly unusual. The door slid open and allowed the Vulcan to step in. Seeing the captain in a pair of regulation shorts and a towel, he nodded, "I did not realize that being early would be a difficulty."
"It's okay. You are early, though. So, are you going to disappear on me this time?"
Spock was confused. He had never disappeared on Jim Kirk that he could think of. "I do not understand?"
"The last time we played chess. Christine Chapel came in and you two whisked off to whereabouts unknown," the hazel eyes gleamed with delight at being able to tease his first officer just a little bit.
"She had an important piece of information to give to me. That is, in fact, why I am here early."
"Oh, please tell."
"It is regarding the 'secret Santa' tradition that I am taking part in. I have drawn Dr. McCoy's name and we have settled on a suitable present. But, we will need your assistance as well," Spock explained as succinctly as possible.
Kirk wondered what in the universe they could be getting the doctor.
If it were McCoy, it might have been any number of odd things, but with Spock, he was fairly safe. "All right, I'll do what I can."
"Miss Chapel suggested, and I concurred, that this would be a not only appropriate present but one that Dr. McCoy would appreciate more than others."
"He can't have a still."
"No, not a still. We wish to arrange to either bring his daughter to him or he to his daughter. We are not certain how much command authority it will take to accomplish this."
"Let me get this straight, for Leonard McCoy's Christmas present, you want to give him a nice visit with his daughter? Spock, that is positively the nicest thing I think I've heard of. You know he really misses her, don't you?" Kirk revealed. McCoy didn't talk about his past to many people, and if it hadn't been for the fact that Jim Kirk had met Joanna, he probably wouldn't know that he did have a daughter.
"Dr. McCoy has never spoken of his daughter to me other than to mention that he has one. I had asked Nurse Chapel to assist in finding something a little more personal than a bottle of bourbon. This is what she suggested. Apparently, it will also be Joanna McCoy's 23rd birthday. She is currently enrolled in Johns Hopkins University, they are on Christmas break at that time, but at such short notice it is difficult to be able to be certain that she could actually arrive here. We thought that perhaps sending McCoy to her would work. That would require a command decision from you or a request from him. Since this is supposed to be a surprise, we cannot receive the request from him."
"You have my authority. Personally, I'd like to see her again. She's as opposite our good doctor as you could imagine. I even teased McCoy that she couldn't possibly be his. But, anyway, whatever it takes, I think it will do him good. He likes to pull this ultra-bachelor, unattached appearance, but he really misses his daughter. If you haven't noticed, he treats most of the ladies aboard as if they were his little girl, especially Christine," Kirk added to see what Spock's reaction would be. He had never actually spoken to Spock about this odd dance that Spock and Chapel seemed to do. There were times Kirk thought he could actually see the tension between the two. There were others when both of them seemed almost unaware of each other's presence.
"No, I had not noticed, but I shall take your assessment as truth. I have your permission to do whatever is necessary to bring the two together for the holidays?"
"Yes," Kirk answered with a wave and pulled on his boots. Now that he was redressed for the chess game, they could go to the recreation room.
* * *
"Christine!" Leonard McCoy hollered again from the supply closet.
She came into the closet, "What?"
"Where is that batch of conephedrine?"
"I believe that you put it in the locked cabinet. You don't need to bellow at me you know," she chided lightly.
"Well, someone has to bellow around here, and I am the chief bellower. Here it is. We should probably order another half case," he noted. "You know how we always go through that when we have a new batch of shore leave flu." McCoy noted.
Christine laughed. Shore leave flu was just another nickname for one of the variety of venereal diseases that had cropped up in the Galaxy. "You know, with as many females aboard ship, you'd think that the men would have plenty to keep them occupied regarding sexual activities," McCoy grumbled.
"Some just like the exotic."
"Speaking of exotic, young lady, how is Mr. Spock these days? I've heard that you are having a high old time with him. He comes in here when I'm not around. Probably knows I'd run him off with a shotgun if I had a chance."
"No, as I told you, I do run experiments for Mr. Spock. He comes to check on those. As for him coming when you are not around, I have nothing to do with that," Christine answered as convincingly as she could. She hoped he'd get off this track soon. She was getting tired of having to give out the same explanation every time.
McCoy went back to tracking down his supplies that needed to be ordered while they were doing that. He wanted to make certain that he had everything done and turned in on time. It would be a first.
"Well, oh chief bellower, if you don't mind, I'm going to lunch," Christine said loftily.
McCoy's grumble waved her out of the room.
* * *
"Well?" Christine asked and watched the two men at their chess game.
"The captain has given us authorization. We can use any means to bring the two together," Spock said. Kirk moved his bishop.
"Great. Do you want me to try to contact her or you?"
"Will she know who you are?" Spock asked.
"I don't know. I've never met her. If McCoy's told her about me, I have no clue. I'm sure that she would know your name at least. Perhaps the Captain."
Kirk nodded. "We've met. Send her a message from me if you feel it will be necessary. She's a very nice girl. It probably won't be any problem at all."
* * *
Joanna McCoy practically threw herself onto the bed. She was stuck studying for three tests right before Christmas. The dormitory was pretty quiet. Many of the other students had opted to leave early instead of taking extra credit exams to get out of coursework the next semester. This was the precise reason she'd decided to go ahead with the alternative. Without her roommates she could concentrate instead of having to always answer questions or deliberate what outfit to wear or what to order for supper. Checking her messages before she put it on hold, she made herself comfortable in the worn but comfortable easy chair that went with the apartment. Sifting through the ones for her roommates she finally found the one listed for her and played it.
"Greetings, Joanna, I don't know if you remember me or not, but I'm Captain Jim Kirk of the Enterprise. Your father works for me, so to speak. Don't worry, nothing's wrong, we've just got an idea. For a surprise Christmas present for your father, we'd like to arrange for you two to have a nice visit. We know that you are in the middle of exams, but there is surely something that we can arrange even if it's sending him all the way to you to make this work. Let us know what we can work out. Go ahead and reverse the charges on this message so that it won't blow your student budget. Merry Christmas and don't tell your dad about any of this," Jim Kirk cautioned. His smile stayed on the screen a second before it darkened and a reply prompt took its place. She thought a second. It had been years since she'd actually seen her father in person. Still, she had these tests to take. But if they were determined to make this happen as a surprise for her dad, she was just as determined to help them out. Punching the reply button, she began, " Hello Captain Kirk, well, if we can work something out with my schedule, I'll attach it at the end of this message, I'll be happy to meet daddy."
* * *
Leonard McCoy was a royal grump during the holidays. He seemed to relish his bah humbug spirit tinged with a little bit of the jolly spirit of Christmas past. It gave him no end of pleasure to pester those junior crewmen who were foolish enough to imbibe too much without taking any precautions. When they wandered in or toddled in a little worse for wear, he needled them relentlessly. As the latest of the hapless crewmen dragged himself out, Christine Chapel watched from the door with arms folded across her chest. "You are mean."
"I'm a Grinch, that's what. I love being mean this time of year," he admitted.
"You are definitely mean. While you were torturing that pitiful creature, the captain called down. He wants to see you in the briefing room. Have you been naughty this year?"
"Yeah, so naughty that Santa is gonna send me a stocking full of switches."
"I wouldn't doubt it an instant, you old Scrooge," Christine chuckled as she watched him leave and wished she could be there when he got the news.
* * *
"What do you mean I have to take a shuttle to Starbase 2? We don't need any supplies, I just ordered them," McCoy complained. He was getting shipped off just as the festivities were getting started.
"Just what I said. We've had word that emergency supplies are being shipped to Starbase 2 instead of being relayed here. So we're sending you to fetch them. After all, you made out the lists. You need to go make sure that everything is there. What's the problem? You always complain that the holidays are nothing more than a cheap excuse to drink too much and overeat."
"Yeah, but..." McCoy started.
"It's got to be done," Kirk said authoritatively.
"Shit, if you put it that way, I guess I'll go. Who's driving me?"
"I'm sending Spock with you," Kirk said sending McCoy into more fits.
"You're sending me with that elf? He couldn't drive a shuttle straight if his life depended on it. He's wrecked two of them in the last year alone."
"Now, that one was technically mine."
The doctor stomped off shaking his head and grumbling about his luck.
* * *
The shuttle trip from the Enterprise to Starbase 2 was not going to be long. It was only a day's journey, but for both men, it was not a pleasant ride. McCoy was mad because he was being sent out two days before Christmas. Spock therefore was bombarded with the good doctor's complaints. And, as Spock had pointed out on numerous occasions, Leonard McCoy was a very vocal individual.
"Jim has some nerve. He knows that I was planning on going to that party Scotty's planning. Now I'm gonna miss it. Last year I couldn't go because I had the flu, damn."
Spock simply kept piloting. There were moments during the tirades that the Vulcan's reserve nearly broke and he would explain the real purpose of going to Starbase 2. But, he held fast to that surprise element. If Joanna did not appear, there would be no harm done.
* * *
Joanna McCoy sat where she'd been instructed to. She could see the shuttle landing dock from her seat. She was actually as close to the landing bay as possible. Unless she was a passenger boarding or disembarking, she could not get onto the tarmac. A voice broke through the bustle of the crowd going in and out. "Shuttlecraft Columbia approaching. Landing procedures in place."
She watched as the sleek little craft came to rest on the spot assigned for it. It would take a few moments for the shuttle to open and let the occupants out. Putting the book she'd been studying into the satchel, she got ready to greet the father she hadn't personally seen in almost four years. She had graduated from high school the week that he had been sent out to serve aboard the Enterprise.
It would be easy enough to spot them. Vulcans weren't that numerous on Starbase 2, especially in Star Fleet blue. However, she wasn't certain that either man would know what she looked like. Commander Spock had never met her and she'd not sent any recent photos to her father.
* * *
Spock kept searching through the faces of the crowded Starbase. He wasn't really sure of what he was looking for. He was certain that she would not have a large sign saying 'Joanna McCoy' on it, but he wished she had considered doing so. He had been given a basic description, and in his mind he tried putting some of McCoy's general features into his daughter's vision. However, seeking a surly middle-aged female out of a group was not working well. The two men began walking, McCoy still grumbling as he went.
"Spock, I swear, when I get back to the ship I'm gonna run Jim through the most rigorous physical I can to get even with him for this."
"Doctor, surely you do not base your physicals on your moods with other crewmembers, why would you do so with the Captain?"
"Because I can, that's why," Bones McCoy pouted. They headed down the gangway and toward one of the large corridors. Spock was beginning to formulate a way to stall McCoy so that they could remain there for a time, but he didn't need to.
"I see being out in space hasn't taught you any manners, Dr. McCoy."
The two men stopped in their tracks at the sound of the young woman's voice and turned to see who was addressing them. Leonard McCoy was about to open his mouth with another smart comment when he saw who the chiding remark was from. "Baby!"
Spock stood amongst the throng while Leonard McCoy practically grabbed Joanna and hauled her off her feet. After a few minutes, he released her and began the questions, "How, why, who?"
Joanna nodded toward the Vulcan," I think he can answer the questions better than I can."
Leonard McCoy turned to face his usual sparring partner. "Spock, what is all this?"
With utter aplomb and not a trace of emotion, he answered, "Merry Christmas, Dr. McCoy."
"What do you mean?"
"I am your secret Santa. After a suggestion made by Nurse Chapel, arrangements were made for you to visit with your daughter for the holidays and her birthday. Happy birthday, Miss McCoy," he said as an aside but never lost that smug unemotional tone.
"Thanks. Dad, Captain Kirk sent me a message and somehow between my schedule and yours, we arranged this meeting. It's not a long one, but well, it's better than nothing."
McCoy looked ready to cry at any moment. Shaking his head, he gripped his little girl's hand hard. "You green blooded ... Christmas elf. How long do I have with her?"
"Two days. We have to rendezvous with the Enterprise before the 27th. I regret it could not be longer. However, duty does take precedence."
"Two days, well, we'll make the best of it. Spock, you're with us," Bones assumed as they began walking out into the main area.
"No, I shall be conducting the business that we were sent here for. That is, unless you would prefer to inventory and catalogue the supplies while I spent time with your daughter?"
"Nope, no deal. She's all mine. Okay, so you're gonna stick around down here." They came to an area where they would split up. "When do I need to report at the last minute?"
"Report here at 1800 on the 26th. That should be sufficient time."
"Okay. If anything happens, I'll contact you here."
Spock watched as the McCoys began walking away from him. He had just turned back when a hand stopped him. He met the doctor's very grateful eyes. "Thank you. This was the best present I've had since the day she was born. You know, you can be a nice guy when you want to be."
"It was my pleasure."
But McCoy would not let him get the last word. "And if you tell anyone what I just said, I'll deny it to the end. But have a Merry Christmas in your own way, Mr. Spock."
With that Leonard and Joanna went to spend two whirlwind days together while Spock went back to the quiet and logical business of the day.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all.....