Disclaimer: Star Trek is the property of Paramount Viacom. This story is copyright © 2006 SterJulie. Rated PG.
Spock had a secret. In fact, he had several secrets, and they were hidden all over the ship.
It was Christine who first noticed a pattern.
Nurse Chapel, resourceful as ever, tracked the crew's eating habits by computer. And ever since the pon farr incident (with its accompanying "humiliation by soup" event), the computer notified her every time Spock skipped meals. And every Tuesday, which was Mr. Spock's required-by-Starfleet official day off, the Vulcan did not eat. At least, he did not eat anything from the replicators.
Christine brought this to the attention of Doctor McCoy, who scratched his chin, called it "damned peculiar," and wondered what Spock actually did on his day off. Always loving a good mystery, McCoy brought the matter to the captain's attention. Kirk was puzzled too, but reminded the good doctor that, when Spock had a day off, Kirk was on duty and therefore unable to hunt the Vulcan down.
McCoy took that as tacit permission to track the rascally, rabbit- eared first officer.
The search was on!
Doctor McCoy arose early, then rearranged the sickbay schedule so that he had a large block of free time. Where could one Vulcan go on a ship of limited size? It shouldn't take all day to find one person.
McCoy left orders for Christine to page him if Spock used the replicators. That would free him from searching the Mess Hall and Recreation Rooms.
The doctor tried to think logically, which ended up giving him a bit of a headache. Where would a scientist go on his day off? Perhaps to the laboratories? It made sense to McCoy. Spock was probably working on one of his pet projects.
McCoy visited every science lab on the ship from astrogation to zoology.
Four hours later, there was still no Spock. An emergency call from Sickbay cut short the doctor's search.
McCoy felt stupid. He had told Mister Sulu about his fruitless search the week before, to which Sulu had replied, "Why didn't you use the ship's internal sensors?"
McCoy could kick himself. Instead, he walked over to the nearest intercom, called Sickbay and gave Nurse Chapel the same instructions as the week before. Then he instructed the computer to locate the elusive Vulcan.
"Mister Spock is in the hydroponics lab."
Aha! This time, Mister Sulu accompanied the good doctor on the hunt. They got to the hydroponics lab and found it empty. Sulu moved to the computer terminal to repeat the earlier query while McCoy prowled up and down the rows of plants, as if playing hide-and- seek with Spock.
Three times the computer insisted, "Mister Spock is in the Hydroponics Lab."
Three searches found nothing amiss.
Sulu ordered a diagnostic on the computer and internal sensor systems while McCoy pouted over the herb patch.
How had that sneaky Vulcan pulled a stunt like that?
"Mister Spock is in the Astrogation Lab."
"Meester Spock is not here," Chekov insisted.
"Mister Spock is in the Astrogation Lab."
"I have been vorking here all sheeft, Doctair. Meester Spock is not here!"
Doctor McCoy was frustrated. The more the computer insisted that Spock was in the Astrogation Lab, the more vehemently Chekov disputed it. What's more, McCoy's own eyes confirmed what the navigator had been saying. Mister Spock was not in the Astrogation Lab.
Or was he?
McCoy admitted that it was a harebrained idea as well as a quantum leap of logic, but just because he couldn't see Spock didn't meant that the Vulcan wasn't there. Was one of his pet projects one of developing a personal cloaking device? Could Spock be hiding in plain sight, laughing at the doctor's futile search?
McCoy wouldn't put it past the overgrown elf!
Uhura was glad for permission for a leisurely lunch. Doctor McCoy had convinced her to help him in searching for Spock. The computer had insisted that he was in the recreation room, but the more the doctor searched, the more frustrated he had become. He asked Uhura to keep an eye out for the elusive Vulcan. If he was in the recreation room, Uhura would surely see him. A bowl of soup and four cups of coffee later, Spock was nowhere to be seen.
"You can go back to duty, Lieutenant. Our target has moved on."
"Are you certain, Doctor? I could have sworn that I smelled mlu coming from the kitchen."
"Well, that's damned peculiar. I don't know where he was before, but he's back in his cabin now. We can call off the hounds."
"Well, let me know if you come up with anything, Doctor. I love a good mystery!"
"This is certainly a mystery, all right!"
"There's something verra peculiar here."
McCoy had tracked the elusive Spock to Engineering, but of course, no one had seen the Vulcan. He poured out the whole tale to Engineer Scott like ale from a tap. Scotty knew that the computer couldn't be wrong, so he started pulling up diagrams of the engineering bay. Taking a hand held measuring laser, he measured each of the areas and compared it to his diagrams. So far, all of the rooms and bays that made up the engineering deck were correct.
"Mr. Scott? Waste reclamation is reporting that weird smell again."
That caught McCoy's attention.
Scott muttered, "Bogus frat," and headed toward waste reclamation, still carrying his portable equipment. The doctor followed a hunch and stayed on Scotty's heels.
A pungent aroma blasted the two men as they entered WR. McCoy whipped out a tricorder and took scans of the room. He headed over to one of the bulkheads.
Scott watched McCoy as he touched the surface with both hands, seeming to look for a secret entrance. The engineer pulled out his measuring laser as he played his own hunch. Sure enough, the room was a whole meter narrower that it had been originally.
Scott scurried to the adjacent room and measured it as well. It, too, was a meter narrower than it should be.
Someone had created a niche between the two room, but for what purpose?
It took some searching, but Scotty eventually found a way into the secret room. One had to enter the Jeffries tube two levels up and climb down into a hatchway, which led to another ladder that went straight into the secret hideaway.
What the doctor and the engineer saw there brought tears to their eyes.
"Ah know a still when Ah sees one," Scott said reverently, "an' that's a beaut!"
"Amen to that Scotty," McCoy breathed, looking in awe at the neat rows of pint jars already full of a crystal-clear liquid. McCoy pointed his tricorder at a jar. He read the readouts and whistled. "199 proof! It's no wonder Spock doesn't drink any of our liquor. It must seem like Kool Aid to him next to this stuff!"
"Do ye think he'd miss a jar?" Scott said as he reverently cradled a container.
"I wouldn't touch that, Scotty. Not only does Spock probably have this all catalogued, the stuff would skin you alive from the inside out."
Scott sadly put the moonshine back as McCoy photographed the area. One never knew when one might need material for blackmail!
After the two men had climbed back out of Spock's distillery, McCoy had a sudden insight.
"Hey! I'll bet Spock has more of these hiding places all over the ship! Those other times the computer said Spock was in a certain place, he really was there, behind another fake wall!"
"Where else did you look?"
"All over, Scotty. Hydroponics, astrogation, gymnasium, recreation. There's no telling where else he's carved his niche!"
Scott measured each of the areas McCoy had listed. The men found a small, fruitful garden behind the hydroponics lab, a dry-heat sauna in the gymnasium, a kitchenette between recreation and the mess hall, and a small retreat with a spectacular view port in a tiny alcove off astrogation.
* * *
McCoy and Scott studied their find over drinks in McCoy's room.
"What di'ye think the captain will do to Spock when we show him our findings?"
McCoy was pensive. He wasn't sure if Kirk needed to know about his first officer's secret places.
"I dunno, Scotty. I don't know if we should be the ones to cast the first stone."
Scott was affronted, until he remembered his own stash of contraband and the still that produced it down in engineering. Holding up a bottle of McCoy's own stock, he said, "Ah see what ye mean."
"It's just that Spock's been on the Enterprise for nearly 15 years. This is not his 'home away from home.' This is his home. He's just made himself, well, at home."
Scott picked up his drink in a toast. "Now, that's verra logical!"
A pint jar appeared on the desks of both McCoy and Scott with a note that simply read, "Thank you for keeping my confidence."
McCoy smiled. For being such a sneaky, rascally, overgrown elf of a pain in the neck, Spock was also a prince of a guy.
Six weeks had passed since McCoy had first come to Kirk with his curiosity over Spock's days off.
"Bones! How did your investigation turn out?"
Kirk nodded at the first officer as he bent over his viewer.
"Oh. It turned out to be nothing."
"Did you just ask him what he did on his days off?"
"Yeah," McCoy lied. "He's just a boring guy who does boring things. Well, I should be getting back to work."
That left Kirk scratching his jaw. What did Spock do on his days off?