DISCLAIMER: The Star Trek characters are the property of Paramount Studios, Inc. The story contents are the creation and property of Joanne K. Seward and is copyright (c) by Joanne K. Seward.

Nary a Peep

Joanne K. Seward

Commander Spock, first officer of the USS Enterprise was weary. Very weary, in fact. Not that he would have admitted it to anyone. But he was definitely tired and he found he was forced to admit the fact -- logic would not permit self-deception. Of course anyone, himself included, would also be forced to admit that the cause was more than sufficient. Five days ago the Enterprise had encountered an ion storm. Any ion storm was to be feared, but this storm had been a large and particularly violent one. The ship had been damaged. Severely. Captain Kirk had sustained a head injury while replacing an unconscious Sulu at the helm. He'd remained at that station despite the injury until Spock had managed to reach the bridge then he'd slumped into unconsciousness alongside an equally insensible Chekov, leaving Spock and Lieutenant Uhura to man the bridge alone.

And man it they had for the following four and a half days while Mr. Scott had fiddled with this and that, attempting to get enough systems back on-line in order to allow the ship to limp toward the nearest Starbase -- a feat he had accomplished a mere forty-two minutes and thirty-seven point oh-six-seven seconds ago. Approximately.

Luckily, Captain Kirk had been released from a teeming sickbay by that time. McCoy hadn't been happy about letting him take command, but one look at Spock and Uhura had convinced him that a still-healing Kirk in command was preferable to the bleary-eyed and disheveled Vulcan who'd been on his feet for one hundred hours virtually without food or rest. Spock had managed to retain his erect posture long enough to gain the lift, then he'd slumped against the wall until the car deposited him just down the hall from Christine Chapel's quarters -- his own quarters were in the section of the ship that had been most heavily damaged.

Fortunately, he and Christine often cohabited. Even when they slept in their own quarters, they spent most of their off-duty time together, including sharing meals. Unfortunately, Christine was still on duty. And would be for at least another hour. Equally unfortunate was the fact that Spock was hungry. Starving in fact, his stomach growling audibly -- something that almost never happened to Vulcans. And Christine was notorious for keeping only the most minimal of supplies in her quarters. Yet the thought of going to the mess hall seemed beyond Spock's abilities at the moment.

And so, already having a general idea of what he would find, Spock peered into Christine's cache of "goodies." Tea. A bottle of an Earth-style sweetened carbonated-water-based drink. A small box of chocolate "truffles." An orange. A Citherian plum. A small bag of Terran peanuts in their shells. Another bag of raisins. And something he'd never seen before. Several somethings, actually, in a variety of brilliant colors.

Curious, he lifted the small boxes out of the drawer. "Peeps," he read. The open package he held contained bright pink "bunnies." The next package he could see held yellow confections in a different shape. Intrigued, Spock lifted it out -- more "Peeps" but these were shaped like chicks. Also purple chicks... And another package of blue ones. Underneath that lay yet another package -- this one contained white "eggs." And still another package filled with orange pumpkins.

Spock shook his head. Christine had spoken of her liking for something called "Peeps" more than once but there'd been no indication it was closer to an addiction on her part.

Spock's stomach growled again and he looked down at the open package of "Peeps." Certainly Christine wouldn't mind if he ate just one... Decision made, Spock reached into the open package and lifted out one of the pink bunnies between his long, thin fingers. A sweet, intoxicating scent rose from the pink candy. Spock paused -- refined sugar, eaten in mass quantities could be dangerous to Vulcans... However, he would not be eating more than one "Peep." The danger was therefore minimal.

Spock brought the marshmallow bunny to his lips. He took a small bite. The outside was ever so slightly harder than he'd expected, almost crispy, but then Christine had said she liked them "a little stale." No doubt this crispiness was what she was referring to.

As he explored the sweet mouthful with his tongue Spock noted a certain graininess. A quick examination of the bunny provided confirmation -- the exterior of the confection was studded with a fine coating of sugar. It provided an interesting contrast with the smooth center.

Another bite and another and Spock's initial conclusion was confirmed: Peeps bunnies were quite delicious. The scientist noted something else -- the pink bunny was gone. Totally consumed.

And Spock was curious. What about all those other Peeps in Christine's stock -- did all the various colors and shapes ttaste alike? Then, too, there was that matter of "stale" versus "fresh." Surely Christine, who maintained a preference for "stale" Peeps wouldn't mind if he were to open another "fresh" package in order to compare the two... As for the sugar content -- how much sugar could one small confection contain?

And so it began. A bite of a "fresh" yellow chick. Soft. Intoxicatingly sweet. But somewhat lacking, he thought, in contrast to the crunchiness of the pink bunny. Odd -- once again he seemed to have consumed the entire Peep without realizing he'd done so. And the orange pumpkins appeared to be beckoning him. Spock lifted the package and noted the transparent overwrap had been pierced at one end -- another odd thing...Unless Christine had developed a system for "staling" the candies. In which case she must have been intending to open this package soon. Well, as the captain often said, there is no time like the present.

Or was that Dr. McCoy?

No matter, the -- the sentiment remained the same. As did the soft but slightly crunchy bite of the orange pumpkin. And the blue chick. And the white egg. And--

Suddenly Spock's stomach roiled, his head began pounding and Spock knew that he was going to be ill. But to be ill here -- on Mount Seleya -- sacred ground to Vulcans-- No. Kroyykah! He must descend the steps!

Spock forced himself to his feet and rushed toward the door -- door? -- what was a door doing on Mount Seleya? No matter. He must descend the mountain. Holy ground must not be desecrated! He stumbled down the ladder -- what happened to the steps? -- one hand clutching the rail, the other clamped over his mouth. Farther and farther he descended. Then he was on level ground. He lurched across the corridor -- were there corridors on Mount Seleya? -- both hands futilely clasped over his mouth. His stomach heaved. Bile burned his esophagus and spilled out of his mouth between his fingers. His head spun dizzily. He could hear voices -- voices speaking in an alien tongue. His name sounding odd and un-Vulcan. And then there was blackness. Blessed blackness.

* * *

"Spock WHAT?" Leonard McCoy demanded of the voice on the other end of the intercom.

"He passed out, Doctor, in what appears to be a drunken stupor."

"Vulcans don't get drunk," McCoy bellowed into the voice pick-up.

"Well, he sure looked drunk, Doctor. He stumbled across the corridor puking his guts out then he crashed into the bulkhead where he just sort of melted. It was the weirdest thing I've even seen, sir--"

The voice on the intercom might have continued speaking but McCoy had stopped listening. "Stay with him until the medics get there, do you understand? Do not leave him!"

Not waiting for a response, McCoy turned to face Christine Chapel, his head nurse and Spock's -- Spock's what? All he could think of was an ages old term -- significant other. "Set up trauma bed one with his stats, Chris. And don't worry -- I'm sure he'll be fine." He gave her a quick squeeze on the shoulder then he headed for the doors of sickbay, his first response team falling in behind him.

* * *

"D'ya see it, Chris?" McCoy asked, his eyes locked on the monitor over Spock's head. An intravenous line supplying fluids ran into the Vulcan's left arm and a respirator mask lay ready if needed.

With visible effort, Christine tore her eyes away from the stertorously breathing Vulcan in the bed. "See what," she asked, unable to think of anything but Spock's dreadful grey color, strained breathing and the horrible smell filling the air around him.

"That" McCoy said, pointing to one of the indicators.

"It reads almost like an overdose," she said, struggling to bring her medical mind to bear when all that seemed to be working was her human female mind.

"That's exactly what it is," McCoy confirmed.

"But of what? And how did it get into his system? Spock would never take drugs and I can't imagine anyone injecting him without a fight--"

"Not an injection, Chris and, if my suspicion is correct, it's not exactly a drug, either."

"Not..."

A lab tech bustled into the trauma area. "Doctor -- this is the printout on Mr. Spock's blood work. Lab says they're working on the vomitus you collected but everything they've got so far agrees with your hypothesis."

McCoy took the printout and ran an experienced eye over it. "Hmm. Not a drug or alcohol, Christine, but sugar."

"Sugar? How could sugar affect anyone this way?"

"Vulcan's just can't process very much refined sugar at any one time," McCoy said, his eyes still on the printout.

"Well, of course they can't. But Spock knows that. He almost never eats anything sugary."

"No, of course he doesn't. Besides being dangerous to Vulcans those things are empty calories and therefore illogical. But what happens when you expose an exhausted and ravenous Vulcan to something that's almost totally made of refined sugar?"

"They say 'no thank you,'" Chapel replied with some asperity.

"Maybe some do, Chris," McCoy said gently. "But not this one. Not this time. He was starving. He was so exhausted he could hardly get his eyes to focus. And he ate something full of sugar. I'm not sure of what it was. Maybe he'll remember when he wakes up. Meantime we'll just get him hydrated, give him some basic nutrients and let him sleep. I don't think we need to pump his stomach -- from what I can tell he's already taken care of that himself ... all the way down jeffreys tube three and across the corridor on deck seven..." Surveying his head nurse, he added, "Which is pretty much my prescription for you, too. Get out of here. Get a bite to eat. Then go take a nap. I'll call you if there's any change whatsoever."

"Leonard, I can't--"

"Yes you can," McCoy said firmly. And you will. I'll have security escort you if you don't go on your own."

"Leonard!"

"Don't 'Leonard' me, Christine. You're in almost as bad shape as this sleeping beauty of yours. Now get out of here. Take a shower. Eat. Sleep. I'll call you. I promise." So saying, McCoy turned her around and propelled her toward the doors of sickbay.

* * *

Exhausted though she was, Christine couldn't conceive of closing her eyes and going to sleep with Spock still unconscious so she opted for the second of McCoy's prescriptions and headed for the mess hall. Where she sat and poked at the stir-fried vegetables on her plate. Finally, after a half hour had passed and only two bites had actually made it past her lips, she gave up. She'd go to her quarters where she could make a cup of tea, eat a truffle or two ... or couple of Peeps. Actually Peeps sounded pretty good right now. All that wonderful -- all that wonderful sugar.

"Oh God!" Chapel exclaimed, startling the lone crewman seated on the opposite side of the mess hall.

"Ma'am? Is something wrong?" he asked, getting to his feet.

"What? Oh, no. Nothing. Thank you."

"Of course, Ma'am."

Pausing only to return her tray and utensils to the recycler, Christine made a dash for her quarters. The door seemed to take forever to open but--

* * *

Peep wrappings. On the floor. On the desk. In the wastebasket. Six boxes, Christine counted. Six sets of cellophane wrapping. Six empty packages of Peeps. SIX! No one could eat that many...

* * *

"Peeps," she exclaimed.

Spock groaned faintly and tried to push himself to a sitting position.

"You ate my Peeps!"

Spock groaned again and flinging one hand over his eyes, gave up the effort to sit up. "Do you think, Christine, that you could moderate your vocal level?"

"What on Earth were you thinking?" she demanded.

"Christine," he begged. "Your voice, please."

"You had to know they were mostly sugar," she said, but she did lower her voice.

"Yes, of course. I suppose I did. I do not recall much of what occurred. I was fatigued and hungry. The Peeps were there. They looked -- interesting. I ate one--"

"You ate one!" she exclaimed then, remembering his condition, repeated more softly, "You ate one? Spock, do you have any idea how many Peeps you devoured?"

"I do not believe I 'devoured' them. Nor do I recall the precise number of--"

Exasperated, she said, "Let's just put it this way, Spock. I don't know of anyone who's eaten six whole packages of Peeps at one sitting. I've half a mind to send a letter to 'Ripley's Galactic Believe It Or Not'."

"Christine--"

"Oh, but that might draw too much attention to a man -- a Vulcan -- who puked his way down jeffreys tube three..."

"Christine, I beg of you--"

"That's right, Spock, go ahead and beg," McCoy said from the doorway. "Begging is always good." Smiling, he added, "But if I were you, I'd look into replacing a six month supply of Peeps."

"Ripley's Galactic Believe It Or Not," Christine said significantly.

Spock moaned and closed his eyes. "I think I am going to be sick..."



The End