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. This one goes in the middle of "The Paradise Syndrome". Rated PG.

Interludes: If I Didn't Care


Acting Captain Spock emerged from the shower. He might not have slept in two weeks, but he would not neglect his personal hygiene. It also refreshed him to immerse himself in the calming sonic waves. Pulling the fresh clothing on, he prepared for more study of the glyphs on the obelisk. He knew that he could read them; it was just a matter of study and persistence. Stepping into his office area he found a tray sitting on the desk. He had not ordered food. In fact he had not eaten in two weeks either. Assuming that it was something else that McCoy was insisting upon, he set his jaw and considered ignoring it. But, that was completely illogical. The food had been ordered and was served.

With an almost annoyed sigh, he lifted the lid. The sight made an eyebrow rise. It was not the typical starship meal. A bowl of steaming green soup and a selection of small finger sandwiches sat neatly arranged with a group of slivered vegetables and fresh fruit. A note sat neatly tucked under the bowl. He removed it first and began reading.

"Mr. Spock,

"You can't possibly solve the obelisk mystery without sustenance. I hope that you like split pea. I don't have the ingredients for plomeek aboard at this time.

C. Chapel"

He folded the note back in its original form. Of course she'd fixed it. Who else had ever brought him food when he was trying to work through a problem? He considered giving her a reprimand for coming into a cabin unannounced. It was within his rights as a crewman. However, he did keep his cabin unlocked to facilitate open communication with the crew. Looking down at the food on the tray, it was appetizing and the smell of the savory soup was beckoning to him. Propriety dictated that he refuse it on the principle that he had not requested it nor was Chapel his servant. Logic dictated that he eat it because it would be a waste to dispense with it in the refuse bin. It was not the standard ship's service after all.

Sitting down at his desk, he pulled the tray around and began eating. It was delicious, but he'd come to expect everything from Miss Chapel to be delicious. Still, he would have to speak to her about the matter. It simply was not proper or dignified.

* * *

Christine Chapel was about to scream. With the tension building up in the crew, there were a few more stupid injuries than usual. She'd just set a broken finger for Ensign Chekov and had a report that Sulu nearly skewered himself at fencing practice. Add to that McCoy was driving her nuts in his ultra-Spock antagonist mode and Uhura was just plain bossy and it was no wonder that she was ready to just jump ship and hope she landed on something soft. She was cleaning up after Chekov's treatment and was waiting for Sulu when the door swooshed open. She expected Sulu but was met with Spock. He carried the tray she'd sent him. Her face turned a dark pink. "Mr. Spock, may I help you?"

He placed the tray on her desk. "It was delicious. Thank you. However, I do wish to speak to you regarding the presentation of meals at my door."

"I know I shouldn't have gone in without your permission, and if it hadn't been for Chekov's emergency call I wouldn't have, but I was standing there and they paged and I just went in. You were in the bathroom I think," she explained quickly. She wouldn't be surprised if she were in the soup this time, and not just figuratively.

"I see," Spock replied. His concern was turned to Chekov. "May I ask what Ensign Chekov's affliction was?"

"A broken finger. He was a little too physical in the gym. I was expecting Sulu, he's somehow run himself through with that rapier he uses to fence with," she explained.

"Have you noticed an upswing in crew injury cases since we have been on this mission?" Spock asked, concerned for the crew's welfare. He had to come up with something on this obelisk. The crew was beginning to fall apart.

"It's not so much that there are more injuries, but they have become more severe. It's a textbook case of trying to relieve too much stress and anxiety by doing strenuous activity. When we get closer to that planet they should start calming down," Chapel said out of experience.

Spock nodded in agreement with her assessment. Sulu hobbled into sickbay, his tunic tossed over his shoulder and his boot off. He'd run the rapier through his foot. With a laugh she said, "Okay, let's hear it?"

Sulu glanced at Spock. He was a little embarrassed to admit what had happened. "Well, I was done fencing and had showered. I was dressing and had one boot on and one off when I knocked the rapier off the shelf and it landed tip down, right in my foot."

Christine shook her head and clucked as she helped him hobble across to the table. It was probably just a flesh wound and wouldn't require anything more than a tetanus check. "I thought you didn't fence with the tip uncovered."

The helmsman's face darkened, and he hung his head away from the prying eyes of his commanding officer," I, uh, well, it was more exciting this way."

"Oh, great, so how many cut up crewmen are there this time, Sulu?" Chapel said with mock indignation. She was having a hard time keeping a straight face at the sight of Sulu with a rapier sticking out of his foot.

"Oh, I wasn't fencing with anyone. I can't find anyone willing to do it anymore."

Spock spoke, "Then why was the tip uncovered?"

"I have a virtual partner, but I still like to see the wound when I hit it. If I have the tip on, it won't let me do that. So, I have to have it uncovered."

A raised eyebrow was the Vulcan's only reply. He watched Chapel administer the necessary treatment. Sulu didn't like the betadine flush. It burned and he howled a second. "Well, next time don't set your shotgun up against the tree and leave your dog to watch it. That dog'll shoot you ever time," she said with a thick hillbilly accent.

"Yes ma'am," Sulu replied just as thick. They laughed. Spock was lost.

"I do not understand," he said.

"Haven't you heard about the hunter who went out with his dogs and set his shotgun up against the tree and the dog knocking it over and shooting and killing the hunter?" Christine asked. It was obvious that Spock had not. She shrugged, "Well now you have."

Patting Sulu's foot she smiled at him. "You're done. I'd try to keep from doing anything strenuous on that for a while. Don't want to aggravate it."

"Do I get soup?" Sulu asked hopefully.

"No, if Chekov's broken finger didn't rate soup, your hole in your foot doesn't, either. You can always help me make the soup and then you can have it," she tried.

He shook his head. "Nyah, it's better when you make it for me."

"All right, well, off you go," she said and made a notation on her padd.

Spock still stayed waiting to speak to her. He hadn't realized that she made soup for others. He thought he was the only one. She had forgotten all about him until she nearly smacked into him when she turned around. "Oh, Mr. Spock. Oh, you wanted to speak to me."

"Yes. The soup was delicious."

"You've said that already."

"Yes, it is just that it is not necessary for you to prepare soup for me. I am capable of going without food for long periods of time," he said.

"I know that. But, what is the logic of doing so when it is not necessary?" she posed. Her eyes questioned him like a child would when presenting the obvious. He was at a loss. She'd won that round.

"Indeed," he answered and started to leave.

"Have you come any closer to finding an answer to the obelisk?" she asked before he made it to the door.

Spock shook his head. The matter was beginning to completely disturb him. "It is a language, however, I cannot seem to find the pattern to break it with."

Chapel thought a second. "You know McCoy was looking at the footage of that as well and I thought it looked more like musical notes. Well, maybe not notes but you know how the notes are arranged on a bar of music. But, I'm not a musician or a code expert so you've probably already thought of that idea and dismissed it."

Spock's eyes widened enough to let her know that he had not thought of that. In fact it was such a new idea that it was like an epiphany to him. He felt a resurgence of interest in the project and if he'd been human would have lifted her in the air. She seemed to sense his mood change and became quite serious, crossed her arms across her chest in a fashion that reminded him of his mother. "Do you like cream of celery?"

Spock considered a second before answering. "I prefer cream of potato."

The nurse smiled as she gathered her things. "Then cream of potato for supper, but I will make sure to let you know when it is ready."

"I would appreciate that," he relented to the inevitable and went back to his study. Now that he had a new aspect to work with, he would require more food to keep him energized.