Disclaimer: Star Trek is the property of Paramount/Viacom. This story is copyright (c) 2006 by Mistress V. Rated R.
THE TRAINING SESSION
"When are we talking to your mother?" Christine asked Spock as they entered the turbolift.
"Tomorrow evening at 19:00, I have arranged the transmission time. You have the information you need to ask her?"
"Yep, my lists are ready. But I still don't know where we should have the reception for our shipboard ceremony. Maybe she has an idea."
"More than likely," he replied. The lift stopped to admit Kirk and McCoy. "Gentlemen, good morning."
"So we ready for the fun and games?" Kirk asked. He was not prepared for the reaction he got to his innocent question. Two sets of eyes stared back him, cold as the glaciers on Polaris.
"I can think of more productive ways to use management time, Captain," Spock said evenly.
"I have a report to finish on the crew physicals follow-up, and it's already overdue," Christine added. "I don't have time to sit around and pretend to be enthralled by psychobabble. Whose idea was this? It had to come from HQ. Len, what do you have to say?"
McCoy looked at his boots for a moment then back at his companions. "Well," he began, "I've already done this, so I won't be joining you."
The lift opened just then and the group exited, but did not go far.
"Wait a minute, Bones," Kirk addressed his CMO with a professional tone that hid something much more primal just beneath. "You've done this? Please, can you let us in on your little secret? Or do I have to order you to?"
"Look, Dr. Teleme and I were at the Academy together. He's the most brilliant HR psychologist Starfleet has, so his ideas are always good ones. He put forth that this new training become mandatory for all starship crews, and needed a test group."
"And you volunteered us, just like that?" Kirk was incredulous.
"Jim, it'll make us look good by stepping up to the plate first. Lord knows we have a lousy enough reputation already, this will get us in their good books. Teleme himself will be facilitating, it's a huge kudo for him to be here. Besides, I did this via holo with about 20 other CMO's a few weeks ago and it was kind of interesting. You won't find it too distressing. Think of it as -- brownie points."
Christine coughed and started spluttering. Kirk and McCoy turned to look at her, the argument forgotten momentarily. "Chris, you okay?" McCoy asked.
"Just swallowed wrong," she said into her hands. "I'll be fine."
Spock, though he hated seeing his beloved distressed, remained silent as he patted her back. He was extremely glad neither the Doctor nor the Captain had noticed that his face had turned a deep olive green hue for a moment.
"All better," she said. "Now, Len, you're not getting off the hook here. We have to do this now you've had us impressed into it, any pointers?
"Think -- out of the box, kids." They headed towards the briefing room.
*I do not understand why standing on an eating implement will aid us, nor why storage containers should be used in the thinking process.*
*Shut up, brownie boy.*
*Really, T'hyla, that is hardly professional.*
*And your little midnight snack was?*
*I shall cease conversing as you asked, Dr. would-you-like-a-second-helping?*
*Consider yourself slapped.*
*Affirmative. Where, exactly?*
* * *
"Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome." The Andorian looked around at the seated officers. "I'm Dr. Teleme from Starfleet and I am very grateful for your participation in this very important training session. It will be the benchmark by which we develop the program for all of Starfleet. You are most privileged. I won't take too long of your time, perhaps two hours in total, and I look forward to seeing your responses."
He began passing out sheets of black paper and boxes of oil pastels. Old-fashioned art supplies, the kind rarely seen any longer except at art colleges ... or psych units.
"It has been found that the child is at its most creative at approximately the age of three. From then, as the child struggles to mature, the creative urge is pushed to the back of its psyche. This creative urge can assist the adult as well, however. And this first exercise is going to wake up the sleeping child in all of us."
Christine looked over at Spock. His eyes were glazed over. Probably several galaxies away, she thought. The others wore similar masks of interested but bored indifference. Kirk especially looked like he was ready to explode under the facade. Control issues, of course.
The Andorian cued some music on the computer. The era seemed to be mid 1970's pop from Terra -- the bubble gum age, it had been called.
"Now pick some pastels and start drawing. Anything that pops into your mind. Let the music take you awaaaayyyyy," he enthused, like a horrible bubble bath commercial Christine had once seen at a bad film fest.
“She ain't got no money,
Clothes are kinda funny,
Hair is kinda wild and free...
Oh but love grows where my Rosemary goes...”
No one did anything.
"Come on folks, let's get moving here!" Dr. Teleme tapped his foot impatiently.
Sulu finally chose a pastel and began drawing large swirling circles in time to the music.
“Sittin' downtown in a railway station,
One toke over the line...”
"That's it, people. Everyone now!" Christine wanted to wrap the psychiatrist's antennae around his scrawny neck, though that would have been difficult, but decided instead to draw a large red heart on the paper before her.
The others finally started following the instructions. Creative angst flowed as the Picasso in everyone struggled to express itself.
“I beg your pardon...
I never promised you a rose garden...”
Christine shaded the heart carefully, then took a hot pink pastel and drew a jagged line down its middle. Spock, who was making an extremely interesting rendition of the figure PI, turned to glance at her momentarily, curious.
“All the burning bridges that are falling after me....”
She took a beige pastel and began to draw a large rectangle across the break. Across the table, Kirk added more details to his sketch of an 18th century Cutty Sark, complete with captain at the wheel. Sulu's figure of a samurai swordsman was taking shape nicely. Uhura had drawn a ringed planetscape in beautiful pastel shades, with equally beautiful cloud formations and twinkling stars. Chekov was producing an old Russian troika, surrounded in snow. Scotty drew his beloved Scottish loch, with its fishing pier and a boat. Christine had never guessed there was so much talent among the staff. Then she realized that the exercise was doing what it was intended to. She finished the band-aid and wrote Spock's name across it in Vulcan. Then, on impulse, she drew a path at one end of the heart and extended it at the other.
“When you're hot, you're hot...
When you're not, you're not..”
She glanced at Spock and was surprised to see he had added a female figure draped seductively across the top of the PI. The resemblance to her was ... fascinating.
"Okay, folks, that's time. This little masterpiece is yours to keep. Put it up in your quarters as a reminder of who you really are, because that's the person who created this drawing. Look at it every day."
He began passing out paper and pencils this time. Old fashioned paper and even more old fashioned pencils. Something was up. The attachment had a cover sheet and several blank pages.
"This second part of the exercise is more interesting. I'll be reading your responses, but only to tabulate my findings. Please feel free to write anything you wish. Be expressive. Say what you want. But you must answer one question, on only one sheet. I'll be leaving you now -- so you can talk to each other if you'd like. That actually helps. I'll see you again in about an hour. Enjoy yourselves."
The group read the questions.
1. You are leaving your present position. You must interview your successor. Please give three questions that you will ask this person during the selection process, in order to help find the most qualified candidate.
2. Write a humorous description of yourself in a format that people would not expect of you. Examples might be a resume, a limerick, etc.
3. Write a scene starring you in your alter ego, starting with 'It was...'
"Captain, before we proceed, I should alert all of us that this is carbon paper," Spock observed. "Whatever you write will be visible on the sheet below. I surmise the Doctor will be collecting the entire handout at the conclusion of the exercise. That means..."
"He wants to see everything we write, even if we change our minds. That little sneak." Kirk rubbed his hands together. "Trying to outsmart us, huh? Well, I've got some news for him, and Bones too, but I'll fix his wagon later. What do you suggest we do, folks?"
"I refuse to write this kind of crap!" Sulu was furious. "And then some shrink will read it and decide I need a planetside transfer because I have 'inner child' issues? No way. I'm not going to."
"He's right, Cap'n," Scotty said. "They could use this against us. Doesnae matter what the doctor says, who knows what others will see it?"
Chekov nodded. "This was an old tactic in Russia under the Cossacks, I will not give them that pleasure now."
"It is illogical to refuse, as we are under orders to complete the exercise. If we do not, it might be worse for our collective service records. There must be a better option." Spock was as calm as ever, but he was thinking carefully.
"I remember my first job," Christine mused. "It was at a department store, and the trainer told us the golden rule was to give the customer what they wanted."
"Yes!" Uhura agreed. " She's got it! Let's give the Doctor what he wants!"
Kirk began to smile. "I see where this is going. Yes, that's excellent. We'll all give the Doctor the same question. Question 1 to be precise -- it's the most safe. Answer it as if you really were leaving your position. Be honest and thoughtful. No funny stuff. But..."
His staff looked at him as one.
"Just in case some fool comes back and says we cheated, we need a plan B. So as your Captain, I am ordering you to also answer one of the questions any way you like. Funny, irreverent, fantasy, whatever. The catch is that you give these to me and I will eventually read them, but you have my word as your captain that I will not divulge the information to anyone unless I am court-martialed. I merely want to be prepared with ammunition in case this goes south. This is not going to be held against you. I think our plan is a good one. May I commend you all on your ideas. Now we'd best get started. But be sure to separate the blank pages and write on each one individually. That way we outsmart the bastards."
They set to work.
* * *
Through the two way glass that had been installed the night before, Leonard McCoy turned to the Andorian.
"Teleme, you son of a bitch, you're a god damned genius."
"Now Len, let's not get into that again," his friend replied. "It's well-known that starship senior officers can sniff out team building exercises faster than good booze in a bad bar. That's evil Esalen namby pamby to them and they clam up quick. This way, we get them to unite against the common enemy -- their superiors -- and they re-establish the team spirit that may have become lost. And your captain acted as you thought -- he has a fail safe in place, which he, naturally, can use if need be. The possibility of that will keep the staff in line, which, as you say, is necessary at times. Plus, for me, I get a nice list of potential question ideas to use for modeling promotional replacement interviews."
"What's with the artsy fartsy stuff, though?"
"That's just a ruse, but I can see that it may be an effective warm up. I'm impressed with what I've seen. But that Vulcan you're always complaining about. I can't figure his drawing out." He indicated the paper which could just be seen on the table. "As you can see, he obviously favors science."
McCoy snorted. "That's an understatement!"
"But the design of the PI is similar to those old drawings seen on Terran WW2 bombers. The woman he drew hanging off the figure is extremely common in these depictions. Len, I think your pointy eared computer fancies himself a pilot. Or a starship captain?"
McCoy stared back at the scene before him. "Damn, Teleme. You're more than a genius."
"The woman indicates that he is loyal to some female, which surprises me. Vulcans usually do not express this kind of feeling quite so openly. Who is she, do you know?"
McCoy grinned. "You spring for the drinks tonight at the bar planetside, my friend, and I'll paint you quite a picture, doctor to doctor, of course." He paused. "It's good to see you again Teleme."
The Andorian smiled back. "You too, Len. Well, I guess it's showtime. See you tonight -- and remember, what you know stays with you and only you."
* * *
"What a colossal waste of time!" Christine sighed as she settled onto the sofa against Spock's comfortable shoulder.
"I am inclined to agree. Pizza?"
"Sure, I'm starved. CSI vid?"
* * *
In his cabin, James Kirk poured himself a brandy and continued reading the papers his staff had written. Uhura and Scotty had just been starters. He was already, to put it mildly, amazed. He'd never use these against his staff, but he sure was getting an idea of who they really were, and that was helpful. He had to hand it to the Andorian -- it was smart. He'd deal with Bones later, but it was hardly his fault.
"It was a dark and stormy night. Majordomo Pavel Andreovich Chekov of the Tsar's Own Hussars, paced the floor of his office. Outside the snow fell in great flurries. How would he reach headquarters with news of the assassination plot against the Tsar? It would be impossible, the Cossacks were out even on such a night as this. He sighed. Suddenly, the door opened to reveal the figure of his trusted aide, the Mongolian Sulu. 'I have brought us costumes and cloaks, Pavel Andreovich. And outside is a troika to carry us to headquarters. Hurry, we must make haste before you are missed.' Chekov slapped his friend's back. 'I knew I could count on you, Sulu.' "
"It was a lousy day. Technician Hikrau Sulu looked up from the microscope and frowned. The crime scene evidence had been tampered with -- but by whom? He had gathered the evidence himself and had sealed it. It was an open and shut case against the perps, but he had heard that the Syndicate's arm reached even to this remote outpost. He struggled with himself. Should he go to his supervisor with the findings and risk telling someone who might be involved in the plot? Or should he try to break the case on his own? He turned to his lab mate, his best and most trusted ally, who had been with him through everything. 'Pav," he said. "I need your advice on something nova-hot.' "
"MY LIFE---MY CARD"
Name: Christine Chapel.
Position: ACMO, USS Enterprise
Home Planet: Terra
My Alarm Clock: A pointy eared computer
My Weakness: A pointy eared computer
My Strength: A pointy eared computer
My Downfall: A pointy eared computer
My Proudest Moment: Graduating med school, even though the pointy eared computer wasn't there to see it.
My Life's Ambition: Inner peace, true happiness and finding the perfect brownie.
My Perfect Sunday Afternoon: rollerblading in the arboretum with a pointy eared computer.
My Favorite Film: Just one?
My Dream Vacation: Horseback riding in Monument Valley, Terra ... with a pointy eared computer.
My Card: Federation Express."
"Interview questions for Captaincy. Since it is illogical to think that Captain James T. Kirk would ever willingly leave the Enterprise of his own accord, it must be presumed he is dead, gravely injured or otherwise incapacitated. It is therefore logical that I, as First Officer, interview the potential candidate, since I am well-acquainted with the shoes this person must fill (as you Terrans say).
1. What types of rapidly-moving defense projectiles (aka bullets) can you outdistance? Bonus point given if candidate can identify specific types, such as armor-piercing, full metal jacket, exploding, etc.
2. What types of locomotives does your strength overcome? Bonus points given if candidate can identify specifically what type of locomotive and why, such as steam, hydraulic, diesel, electric, monorail, etc
3. What types of buildings can you reach the summit in one attempt? Architecture styles named will give bonus points: Neo-Classical, Romanesque, Georgian, Art Deco, Mission, post Eugenics, etc."
The last one made Kirk really sit up. Surely Spock could not have written it, but there his name was at the top of the page. Where did Spock get such a wicked sense of humor? Well, probably from the woman who had written the answer he read prior to this one.
* * *
"So, what did you give Jim?" Christine asked as they watched the vid. "I did that Federation Express ad we see all the time, you know, 'My Life-My Card'."
"I presume I figured in that little epistle, Doctor?" Spock replied, pulling her closer against him.
"Is that not my line, as you are so fond of reminding me?"
"Stop changing the subject. What did you write?" She threatened to tickle him.
"I gave some suitable interview questions, although I must admit some of the films we have viewed of late did influence the style of question I provided..." His speed caught both her wrists and he kissed her soundly.
They returned to the action on screen. Grissom and Catherine were arguing again, as usual.
*That is not quite how I depicted them.* The thought slid across Christine's mind, unbidden.
She sat up and looked at Spock. "What?"
The tips of his ears flushed. "I am sorry, my thoughts were ... elsewhere."
Her eyes narrowed. "And just where were they, and with whom?"
Spock knew that look and recalled the painful bruise he had received during the Iggy broadcast. He hesitated but a moment, then decided to come clean.
"I wrote another exercise ... one that I kept. I had ... hoped to share it with you sometime. I wrote a scenario based on the show we are now viewing ... the episode last week, where Grissom left the tainted blood in the staff fridge?" He was fast turning an even darker shad of olive than he had that morning.
Christine stared at him. "You did?" she asked quietly.
"You are offended?"
She threw her head back and laughed. "Offended? I did the same thing. Same show too. Spock, I am getting a little creeped out with this soulmate thing. But I guess I can learn to live with shadowing your moves. I don't suppose you'd want to trade scenes, would you?" She reached for her binder and withdrew a folded piece of paper.
Spock walked to his desk and retrieved a similar sheet, then returned to the couch. "As a matter of fact, Doctor, I would. But I must warn you ... it gets ... intense."
"What, they go to the body farm together after she yells at him?"
"Shall we read and then discuss?"
* * *
It was disgusting. Catherine could smell the stench when she opened the fridge. She looked through the items and quickly found the offending container. Grissom and his experiments were bad enough, but why was he fouling the staff fridge with his projects?
Anger welled in her. It had been an impossibly difficult day in flaming hot Vegas heat and this was the last straw. Her leftover YooHoo was tainted. He would pay this time. She stood up and strode down the hall to find the culprit, high heels clacking noisily on the tile.
"Catherine. Always a pleasure." He did not look up from his project.
"What the hell is this?" She waved the open container under his nose.
"Oh. That." He regarded her coolly as usual.
"Yes, this. Why is it in the staff fridge? It reeks!" She slammed it down on the table so hard the contents sloshed over Grissom's report. He shot to his feet, eyes blazing.
"The lab fridge was full, Catherine, but there's no need to throw a temper tantrum."
"Temper tantrum? I'll give you a temper tantrum, mister." She reached her hand out and grabbed the front of his jeans.
Grissom stared at her hand for a moment, then at her face. A split second later, he pulled her to him and covered her lips in a bruising kiss. His hands slid up under her miniskirt and quickly removed the thong undergarment she wore. "No, Catherine, I'll give you much more than a temper tantrum ... I'll make you scream." He lifted her effortlessly up onto the lab counter top and entered her in a single thrust.
"Oh, God, Gris, what took you so long?" she moaned.
He stopped and looked at her. "Why Catherine, I didn't know you cared."
"Shut up, Gris."
* * *
It was difficult to discern which tire had been at the crime scene. Gil Grissom looked at the data he had in the computer and tried to find a match. It had been a long day and he was tired.
He heard her high heeled boots even before she entered the lab.
He did not look up from his work. "Catherine. Good evening to you too."
"What is this?" She crossed to stand in front of him, eyes furious, as she held the remains of his experiment container.
"Catherine, you may have compromised the experiment's ingredients!"
She looked incredulous. "You taint the entire staff's food and drinks, and all you care about is your sample? Brass was right. You only work at night because you have to."
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"You're a vampire, Grissom. You suck everyone's energy out of them and feed off it. Well enough's enough. I am taking this to Brass and filing a complaint." She turned to leave, but he grabbed her elbow.
"Let me go," she said icily.
"I don't think so, Catherine." He took the sample container from her hand and laid it on the table. Then he wrapped his arms around her shoulders and drew her closer.
"Grissom, I'm warning you..."
"Go right ahead, Catherine. I should have done this years ago ... and so should you." He kissed her hard, hands roaming everywhere at once.
She broke the kiss and looked up at him, gasping. "You're right, Gris. So why are you stopping?"
They tumbled back onto his desk in a flurry of paperwork and clothing.
* * *
Christine was choking again. Spock felt flushed green for the third time that day.
Their eyes met. Not a word was spoken. Spock rose and took her hand, leading her out of his cabin. The walked in silence to the turbolift.
"Bio lab" Spock told the computer.
Her eyes grew wide. *We can't go there at this time of night, people might still be working.*
*Not in my office, they won't be.*
The lift doors opened and they headed down the deserted corridor to Spock's office.
She was in his arms even before the door had completely closed. "On the counter -- why you Vulcan pervert!"
"I could say the same for you. On the desk indeed! On the paperwork, I presume?"
"Shut up and kiss me."
They never made it to the counter, or his desk. Well, not the first time.