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.
Queen for a Day
"Mr. Spock, may I sit here," Captain James Kirk asked as he approached his first officer. The Vulcan looked up from his soup with the expression he termed as a wary, caged animal expression. He froze his features and only allowed his eyes to move. He didn't trust anyone. But, he was the captain and could order Spock to allow him to sit there. He nodded.
Ever since the crew had decided that it was going to be necessary to create a diversion from the most dismal area of space they'd surveyed since setting out, Spock had been inundated with propositions: food, money, alcohol, sexual favors, and anything else the crew could think of. He had even been sent nude photographs to view on his desk comp. This entire idea of a "queen" pageant to pick the most beautiful woman on the ship was ludicrous to him. Still, they had picked him because he was the only one who was considered totally impartial. At times, he wished he'd somehow been stricken with a disease for the duration. He was trying to chose one out of 183 crew women. It was proving to be an impossible task.
"So, how's it going Mr. Spock?" Kirk asked after he started on the dietary salad he was once again ordered to eat. Every time he got saddled with a boring ship's survey detail, he gained weight.
"If you refer to the mapping and survey mission, all is according to schedule. If you refer to the queen pageant, that is not going as well as the crew expects." Perhaps Jim Kirk could help with this situation. He knew women and what was considered pretty among humans. "Both really. So you're at a loss, huh? I don't envy you the task. I mean, you have to judge 183 lovely, young females. And if I do say so, we seem to have our share of beauties..." he said just as Ensign Kamaritz walked by. She was new to the ship and, according to the one who knew her, she was hot. The dark tan and the dark brown hair along with the crystal green eyes completely outshone everyone in the room. It didn't help that she was wearing a bathing suit. Kirk shook himself out of his reverie. Spock was regarding him with a slightly cocked head and upswept eyebrow.
Spock steepled his fingers in his customary thinking mode. "It is not that Vulcans do not recognize aesthetically pleasing features, it is that we pay no attention to them. I am now asked to judge someone simply on the basis of a personal preference when I have none."
Kamaritz walked past again. She was certain to make her rounds about the room slowly. She smiled at the captain, or rather toward the captain but aimed at Spock. He sighed, "I have been bombarded with physical features."
Kirk tried not to laugh into his tea. "I can see that. Like I said, I don't envy you one bit. Perhaps if you could give them some sort of rating system. You know put a number to a feature and then evaluate each female. The one with the most points wins," Kirk suggested. It wasn't precisely accurate, but it was a start.
Spock thought a moment. "Yes ... if it were an equation that I could simply solve. That is the solution, thank you, Captain."
He left so suddenly that he nearly ran smack into Kamaritz as she started to walk past him again. He simply said, "Yes, I have seen you, Ensign, please dress yourself."
Spock frantically tried to work out an equation to find the most beautiful woman on the ship. He had tried rating physical features. That ended up with a draw between 20 women. That would not do. He considered the one most liked by the crew. There was no way to discover that unless he went by the BBS messages, some quite lurid and lewd. He had no stomach for them after a particularly graphic account of a menage-a-trois between Lt. Palmer, Lt. Dandridge, and Ensign Johns. It was too much for him. He then decided to take the definitions of 'queen' and 'beautiful' and use them as his basis. A queen was simply someone who was a female head of a monarchy and had queenly virtues. Beauty was defined as the quality of being very pleasing. So, he needed someone who most exemplified queenly virtues and was pleasing. He started with the junior crew.
* * *
The night of the announcement of queen of the ship arrived. Spock had his person chosen, but he knew it would be a scandal. After all, it would be said she worked too closely with him. But, he had to make a choice. The announcement was being piped through the ship and a large gathering of the girls most likely to be chosen had arrived in the large dance area on deck 11. There was going to be a mixer and dance afterwards. All the women were dressed in revealing or even nearly nude conditions. They crowded around the stage intent upon letting him get another look before his decision. At precisely 1900, he stepped up to the microphone. "If I may have the crew's attention. Last week it was put upon me to decide who the 'most beautiful' woman on the ship is. I have done so. I wish to explain how I came to this conclusion before I announce the winner."
The room was hushed and everyone was waiting for a pin to drop. Leonard McCoy was standing back in the back with Kirk and Sulu. They all figured that Uhura would probably win. She was the one Spock seemed to get along with the best. She was also very popular among the crew. Spock continued, "Vulcans do not judge people on their appearance as do humans. Therefore, I had to devise a way to judge someone without personal bias. I first considered the qualities of a queen. A queen is one who considers duty to her people and country over and above all else. She must consider others before she even thinks about herself. She must do what is best for the whole, not the individual. Using this as a basis, I began to disqualify people. Using only crew records, I found that out of 183 women on board, there are only 25 who have been here since the beginning of the five year mission. With these 25, I cross referenced and found that only 5 have no blemishes on their records. I used these 5 women as my candidates. Only one of these five women fit the next qualification, duty time logged in. That one woman has worked more hours, logged more lab time, and contributed more to both off and on ship research than not only all the other women, but all the male crew as well. She is also the only woman out of 183 who has not presented herself to me in the last week as a possible candidate. She did not parade in front of me scantily dressed or tried to bribe me. I was not sent her picture, I was not given her name as a suggestion. In fact, the time that I have seen her during this week, she neither asked nor suggested anyone to be picked. She has been steadfastly working at her duties. I do not believe she is in this room."
That popped the balloon. Most of the women knew it wasn't going to be them, but they'd hoped against hope. Grumbling started. Finally Sulu asked, "So who is it, Mr. Spock?"
He stared at the top of his boots before raising his head to answer succinctly, "Lt. Christine Chapel.
He could hear at least two versions of 'foul' and a few other words he didn't care to register. He knew there would be difficulties if he chose her. Leonard McCoy was agog. Kirk started chuckling, "Well, I'll be..."
Before there was a clash at the microphone, Spock left and the music started up to try to get people onto the dance floor. He joined his fellow officers. McCoy was shaking his head, "You never fail to amaze me. I didn't think you even saw Chris?"
"As I said, I picked her due to concrete data. I did not choose her on looks or even personal bias. Where is she, by the way, I believe she is supposed to perform some duties here?"
"She's in lab #2. She's been so worked up over that new line of Vanadium that she hasn't peeked her nose out of that room in days. I doubt if she even heard your announcement. Why don't you go inform her?" McCoy urged. He wished he could see Christine's face when she was told.
Spock considered a moment. Nodding to the men, he retrieved the small rhinestone tiara that was to be presented and went out to seek the 'queen' of the ship.
* * *
Christine Chapel blinked trying to get the moisture into her eyes. She'd been staring into a holomicrometer for an hour now and was getting bleary eyed. Stifling a yawn, she checked the time. Oh, she'd missed the queen contest thing. She figured Uhura would win. She'd hear all about it at breakfast. Right now she had more important things to think about. The door slid open behind her and, twisting the lab stool so that she could see who it was, she was surprised to see Spock. "Aren't you supposed to be on deck 11?"
"I have already been there and announced the winner," Spock stated, hands behind his back.
She turned back to her work. With a little laugh, she said, "So, how did Uhura look in the tiara?"
Spock came up behind her and placed the tiny thing in front of her on the lab table. "I do not know. She is not the one who should wear it."
Christine allowed her eyes to travel from the datapadd to the piece of costume jewelry. Looking at him in complete stupefaction, she uttered, "But, I'm not..."
"I deemed you to be the queen of the ship due to quantifiable data. If you were there, you would have heard. As it is, allow me to say that according to my calculations, you are the most beautiful woman on board." His voice was soft, tender, and sincere.
She considered the statement. It was something she'd wanted to hear for a long time. "Thank you. I'm flattered."
"As I said. I used data I could quantify. You are the most dutiful person on this ship. You spend more time working than anyone else. If that is not what a queen should be doing, then my definition is incorrect."
Christine picked up the tiara. After all these years, it wasn't the smiles or the food or the concern she'd shown him that got his notice. It was her love of duty and devotion to work. It was something they both shared. What she did by second nature without thinking twice was what he considered beautiful. Funny... Spock removed the tiara. "May I?"
She nodded and sat so that her head was easily accessibly from his height. He secured the jewelry in the platinum locks. She looked a little odd in her uniform and the sparkly ornament. Standing back to look at her, he said, "May I escort you to the dance, Miss Chapel?"
She smiled, "I can't. I have an experiment in process, and it will need checked in half an hour."
At her statement, Spock was a little taken aback. He had assumed she'd leap at the chance. "As you wish. Perhaps later?"
"Well, maybe about 2200? It should be in a more stable condition by then. After all, if you chose me for my honor to duty, isn't it only logical that I remain on duty until my experiment is done?" she countered.
Spock nodded. Yes, it was logical. "I shall return then."
"All right. I'll try to finish," she answered and smiled. As she returned to her work, the ridiculous tiara on her head, he couldn't help but realize that she was beautiful, very beautiful indeed. He left to go about his own duties until 2200.