Disclaimer: Copyright 2006
Spock listened to the excited jabber of his floormates that evening. The announcement had only hit the campus that afternoon but was spreading faster than Rigellian fever and with possibly as catastrophic results.
"Wow, 'Men of
"What a great idea for a charity calendar! Gonna raise money for the Starfleet Discretionary Fund. You know, for widows and orphans. Can you believe the brass okayed it?"
"Gotta get some comp pics ready. They said subtle beefcake. What the hell's that mean?"
"No raunchy naked shots geddit? This is for the imagination of the viewer."
"Hah. I say some skin showing in just the right place would sell even more copies! They'll be here next week, I'm hitting the gym."
Cadet Spock stopped, his insides churning. He knew what would come next, it always did.
"How 'bout you audition? A sexy Vulcan! It'd be a real scream!"
"All the chicks would go crazy for those pointed ears!"
The group dissolved into derisive laughter. Spock did not even give them a glance as he opened the door to his room. He would be leaving on his senior voyage in a few weeks with Captain Pike's ship, and after that, graduation and commissioning would follow in the spring. So far as he was concerned, he was already in the stars.
After his meditation, he crawled into bed, pleasantly exhausted from his hike in the Marin Headlands that day. Now he could present a fresh mind for his midterm studying.
For a moment he considered the inanity of such an emotional tempest caused by a calendar. How could humans exist with these firestorms constantly engulfing their psyche? Vulcan males had no need to be "sexy" as his classmates called it. Matches were made logically. No need for romance, sexual chemistry (whatever THAT was, he'd heard it mentioned often enough) or any other nonsense. He himself was bound to T'Pring and when the time was correct, they would mate and produce logical, fine offspring.
The idea of love and companionship with a female was as alien to him as....well, it was alien. Disgustingly, humanly so.
Never, he thought, in a million light years, would HE, Spock of Vulcan, succumb to such preposterous illogic.
Just about twenty years later.....
"The MEN of STARFLEET?" Kirk's voice was incredulous as he read the memo on his monitor.
"It's a big thing, Jim," Admiral Tom
Jackson replied. "That first
calendar at the Academy became a runaway bestseller, more so because it wasn't
just sexy brawn but the real thing. Real
cadets in action, nothing
"Ok, Tom, give me the bad news. When's the film crew coming?" Kirk tried his best not to hide his face in his hands. This was the last thing he needed right now, media types.
"Lieutenant Davidovich will be with you in about a week, plenty of time to notify the crew. You're her first stop, make it good. The reality holo, 'The Making of the Men of Starfleet,' will be released with the calendar, as will similar holos about the other versions. It will put us in a very positive light, and the Discretionary Fund will benefit handsomely."
"If you say so, Tom. I guess I owe you for that inspection, don't I?" Kirk finally admitted, resigning himself to the circus to come.
"Not exactly...but I know you'll all do us
Kirk sat there for a few minutes, still trying to comprehend what was about to happen. Then, with a sigh, he got up and headed down to sickbay. His physician would have just the prescription for what ailed him.
* * *
The official announcement was posted on the ship's computer system the next morning, with an invitation for all interested males to submit an online application for consideration. The Starfleet Media team would review these and then go through the entire ship, filming the selection process. Several rounds of interviews would be held before the finalist was chosen, who would then be photographed for the calendar.
It was a very good thing that the
The spa was the next victim. In less than an hour, not an appointment was available until after the film crew left. Haircuts, facials, manicures, teeth whitening, waxing, perms, highlights. For MEN. A few hopefuls actually double booked another appointment on the day when the last interviews, for the finalists, were scheduled. Lt. Cho, who had taken over the spa's management, threatened to quit over the testosterone ego overdose, but said so with a smile. Business was business, after all.
Christine took a break at lunch to talk to Kala
"I only wish I could be there. What a scream!" Kala was looking well, very Manhattanesque these days. "Is Greg behaving himself?"
"Of course. He mopes around so badly Spock's threatened to send him to Gol." Christine gave an impish grin.
"He WOULDN'T!" Kala pretended indignation but knew better. "Anyway, Greg's transfer happens in three more months. You know there's going to be a Kal'Hyah for the boys when you get here in December! Is Spock ready to be Greg's Tawi'Yan?"
"Worf sends him instructional holomessages. They think it's wonderful...and funny at the same time. I thought Sarek's eyes would pop when we told him."
"No, not after he arranged for Greg to talk to Ambassador Kl'o'rox. We're in his debt. Anyway, I'd better run. Miss you! Love to your hubby, and my sweetie too."
* * *
The holodeck was quickly booked solid for the next week, all with sports programs. Lt. Rocco, the PFT instructor in the gym, suddenly found his services in demand as never before. But the crowning touch came late that afternoon in sickbay.
"You want WHAT?" Christine asked the young ensign, thinking she'd been hearing things.
"A pec implant and a nose job, and maybe a chin implant too? It wouldn't take long. But I need to have it done right away so I can heal before the film crew gets here." He paused, then gave her a charming smile. "I'll pay extra, honest."
The film crew should already BE here, Christine thought, before she politely informed the young man that elective plastic surgery was not an option. She was chalking that one up to a drink with Len when her next potential patient came in, a muscular inhabitant of engineering.
"I'd like my ears pinned and maybe a hair transplant," he began.
* * *
"Seventeen requests for face lifts. Nine for pec implants. Twenty THREE nose jobs. Chin lifts, ab implants, ear pinning, lip plumping, hair transplants." Christine lowered her voice. "And two penile enlargements." At this she collapsed against her husband in a helpless gale of giggles. "Who said women are the vain ones?"
She could feel his mirth through their link even before he started laughing along with her. For a couple of minutes they sat there, enjoying the sensation of sharing a happy moment together in their marriage. Day to day mundanity of duty just wasn't like this.
When Spock finally regained his composure, he reached past his wife, who was sitting on his lap, and hit his computer keyboard. A moment later a note appeared.
"One hundred and ninety six males have submitted a preliminary application. However, to keep things fair, the computer will only give a total number of applicants. The names are a secret." He let his hand slide down his wife's waist and caress her backside, which was attractively clad in lycra yoga gear.
"Jim? Len?" She started giggling again. "You?"
"I was party to the first calendar project, so suffice it to say no, I did not apply then and have no desire to do so now. I prefer to be your Man of Starfleet, Th'yla. Exclusively." The hand began traversing her quad, seeking her inner thigh.
Christine's curiosity had been piqued. "Really? You were there for the first calendar?" She looked back at him with a smirk. " Didn't you want to apply at all? What was your reaction?"
In a split second, an almost anally emotionless version of her husband -- his senior year academy self -- looked back at her. His arms were crossed across his chest, while his face wore its most holier than thou expression. He shook his head.
"A most illogical waste of energy and resources. I cannot understand how you Terrans exist in such a blatantly emotional world."
Christine shrieked with laughter as he continued. Spock had long ago decided that to be illogical at times was totally logical, and that meant looking back with amusement on his "pigheaded youth" phase, as she referred to it. His imitation of this was absolutely spot on accurate, too. Thank goodness THAT Spock had jumped out an airlock a long time ago.
"Stop, stop!" she finally begged. "I'll be late for yoga!" A moment later her husband, back from his time travels, embraced her suggestively, with a promise for later showing in his eyes. Christine got up, somewhat reluctantly, to head off for her class.
"So what happened once the selection process began?" she could not resist asking.
"Just wait," he replied, using of her own favorite phrases. "You'll see."
But I want to see NOW, she thought to herself as she left.
* * *
After yoga, Christine hung around for awhile with Nyota and Lt. Singh (who now insisted she be called Yasmine), speculating about what the coming days would bring. The sea change amongst the male members of the crew was almost palpable. But it just seemed like Cinderella getting ready for the ball, in all three cultures. Everyone knew what happened at 24:00:01.
She entered her quarters, knowing Spock was probably meditating. Scotty had built out their new joined living space with a spot for his meditation, screened off from the living and sleeping alcoves. A sigh escaped her as she headed off for a long, hot, relaxing shower. Yasmine might be becoming a friend but when it came to yoga, she was all business. Good business.
When Christine came out of the bath, she noticed candlelight in the sleeping alcove. A smile crossed her face. She remembered the promise in her husband's eyes earlier. Now she wouldn't have to collect on it. He was giving it freely.
She wandered slowly into their bedroom and feasted on the sight being presented to her. Spock was stretched across the bed, clad only in his most faded pair of jeans. The top button was undone, the zip half lowered. His eyes met hers, then watched as her gaze traversed his form, lingering at the delightful bulge straining at the blue denim...and the tantalizing peek of something very hard making an appearance near the arrow of body hair that led down south.
"What is this, husband?" she purred as she allowed his hands to undo the ties of her robe. She felt his delight at finding her naked underneath.
"I am just reminding you, my love, how sexy this Vulcan can be. For you."
"And I am pleased," she whispered as she allowed herself to be welcomed into his embrace.
* * *
The media crew descended upon the
"Captain Kirk? I'm Mayella Davidovich from Fleet Comm. It's an honor to be here with you and we look forward to our time onboard." A tall, thin blonde woman peered out at Kirk from behind the requisite artiste styled eyeglasses popularized by the Vulcan filmmakers, Somm and T'Annu.
Kirk regarded the unmistakably mediaesque look
of the Lieutenant standing before him. She
might have been more at home on a
"Well, Lieutenant, welcome on board. You have the run of the ship and I suppose you have your agenda." Kirk smiled his best charming smile.
"We'll be busy but out of your way. Hopefully there won't be any red alerts," the woman replied. She looked determined to complete her assignment on time and obviously knew Kirk's reputation as a womanizer. "If you'll excuse us, we'll get right to work."
* * *
The next day and a half were a nightmare for a small percentage of the crew. For the rest, it was all showmanship as interviews were conducted, candidates selected, and lots of interesting "on the job" footage was shot. One could not turn a corner, it seemed, without running into a film set. The selection process was the main focus, with much attention focused on not only the winners advancing, but the plight of those not so fortunate. In fact, that seemed to be a great deal of the project's focus.
An unbelievable range of offduty wear was sported during this time: sports gear, national dress, formal tuxedos, you name it, someone was wearing it. A trip to the mess hall was quite an introduction to the tastes of the male crew, and not for food. Christine never knew there were so many fashion plate wannabees on board. Of course, the range of clothing did stretch from sexually sublime to totally ridiculous.
The film crew took it all in stride. Every inch of the ship was visited, and filmed, it seemed, from the bridge (Kirk had donned a dress uniform for that shot, so he'd obviously applied as a candidate) to the cargo holds. Even a visit to sickbay had gotten rises out of several patients who were there. One told a much fabricated war story about injuring himself on during an attack by the inhabitants of a hostile world; Christine ran into her office with Ade and Len and they all guffawed silently. The ensign had pulled his back out doing too much kickboxing in an effort to look buff for the filming. Well, he still got his three minutes of fame, even in a sickbed.
The interviews were held in secret, one on one with Lt. Davidovich, and filmed as well. It was very clear that each visit to a starship would produce a sea of vidreels that had to then be waded through in order to produce the edited down version the public would view. The reality special would be two hours in length, which gave each ship about 5 minutes worth of total shots to be used. The rest of the show would consist of interviews of Starfleet brass, a history of the calendar, finalist profiles and, of course, the actual calendar's production. Much ado, Christine thought, about very little in the end, but that had been the way of the entertainment business since the first cave man had drawn a portrait of a bison on a stone wall. He was talented, yes, but his agent, now THAT was another story.
"Even after all these years, I still cannot comprehend at times the fascination your culture has with emotions," Spock remarked to his wife as they headed off to he gym for a match of volleyball doubles one night after duty shift ended. "Why such a focus on those who were not selected? It does not seem all that logical, as this is a contest, is it not?"
"We are who we are. The sad loser is almost more interesting than the happy winner. I guess we Terrans focus on the 'what if' everywhere," Christine replied, giving her husband a knowing smile.
They entered the gym to find their opponents waiting. Without a beat being lost, the conversation pulsed along their bond.
*I agree, 'what if' can lead to fascinating....developments. Perhaps later?*
* * *
"11-9," Uhura announced from her referee's chair, where she was sitting part of the match out to keep score, which all of them took turns at. She gave a blast on her whistle just as the gym doors opened. A familiar entourage came in, headed over to the boxing ring, it seemed. The volleyball players stopped to watch.
"Hide me," Greg Dillon moaned. "They were down in Engineering for three hours yesterday. Mr. Scott and I were ready to strangle the lot of them. AND that Lieutenant kept insisting I be interviewed, even though I said no!"
"Didn't you apply?" Christine asked,
"Are you kidding?" Greg replied. "Kala would kill me. Her FATHER would kill me, then laugh at me. My mother AND my father would laugh. My brother, he'd tease me for the rest of my life. We're fishermen. Not glamour pusses. No, thank you."
"Fame is fleeting," Spock said sagely as he set the ball up for service. "Shall we instead concentrate on the match? It is currently three to two in Christine's and my favor."
"Just wait," Ade M'Benga told the Vulcan. "The game's not over...yet."
"Indeed." Spock threw the volleyball up and neatly smacked it over the net and the match proceeded.
Too late, Spock realized his wife had called the ball hers and was moving to her knees to make the save. Though he changed position quickly, it wasn't fast enough and their legs tangled up in each other's.
Christine came down on her backside, her elbow cracking the gym floor with a hard thwacking sound. "@*^(^_*&^!" she muttered.
Spock rarely heard his wife swear, at least not in public, so he instantly knew something was seriously wrong. He dropped to his knees beside her, cradling her head and shoulders loosely against him, as M'Benga made a cursory inspection.
"I bet you fractured that left radial head," he said matter of factly, indicating a bruise already beginning to form. "Nothing serious, but let's get you down to sickbay right away and we can get that healed up in no time."
"Are you all right, Christine?" Spock asked softly, all concern, but not overly emotional. Through their link, however, it was much more an intense reaction.
"I'm fine," she sighed. "But could you help me up, someone? I'm still kind of seeing stars from the pain." Whacks to the funny bone, when coupled with a fracture, however tiny, were agonizing at best.
The group made its way out the doors to the lift, never noticing they were being watched quite intently.
* * *
Early the next morning, Lt. Davidovich met with Kirk in the briefing room.
"So who's the lucky man?" Kirk asked glibly, wondering if he had a chance. He had been a finalist, but maybe that was only for show.
The filmmaker looked over her PADD one last time. "The Vulcan."
Kirk choked. "The Vulcan? There's only one on board, my first officer. You don't mean Spock, do you? He told me he didn't apply!"
"It makes no matter, captain. I happened to see him last night in the gym. He looked positively magnificent in his PFT gear and his volleyball game is excellent. But what caught my attention was his caring side. He collided with a PFT instructor and was very solicitous about her injury." She glanced at her screen once more. "I'd like to interview and film him this morning and do the shoot this afternoon, before we leave. In the gym."
"Hold on a minute," Kirk interrupted. This was like a rollercoaster ride gone wrong. "One thing at a time, lieutenant. PFT instructor? What did she look like?"
"Tall, fit, dark hair, long legs." Lt. Davidovich was sounding a trifle annoyed.
Kirk started laughing. "That's his wife, Lieutenant. Of course he'd be concerned about her welfare. But that brings up another issue. He's married, very much so, and I don't think his wife would appreciate his being on show in his PFT gear for the entire quadrant."
"A sexy married man is as old as there have been sex symbols, captain. It just adds to the mystique. He is a splendid example of Starfleet's finest. And it's not his wife's decision," came the straightforward reply. "It's his."
"Uh, they're a package deal, ma'am. Forgive me, I should know. You need to ask both of them, but I don't think you'll get anywhere." It was now Kirk's turn to be annoyed.
"Then arrange it as soon as possible. Leave the rest to me." Lt. Davidovich rose to leave.
"OK," Kirk agreed, "but Spock's really not the calendar pinup type, you know."
"He will be once I get through with him," she replied over her shoulder.
* * *
"I am...honored, Lieutenant, that you selected me, but before I give an answer, I must confer with my wife...and with the Vulcan High Council. After all, I cannot make such a decision without clearing it with all parties concerned." Spock was calm and collected as always, but through their link, Christine felt his astonishment and dismay.
*Help,* he begged. *I cannot do this.*
*Let's go ask your father. She'll listen to him.*
As they started to leave, Lt. Davidovich stopped Christine. "A word, if I may?" she asked. The two women regarded each other warily.
"I'll get right to the point, Doctor Chapel. I would appreciate any influence you might exercise over your husband to convince him to accept this honor. He is perfect for what we have in mind. Think of the good this project will do for the Discretionary Fund. Your husband owes it to all the recipients he's never met."
Christine knew full well what the Discretionary Fund meant, having been one of the recipients long ago. Her husband knew this recipient intimately.
"He is my husband, Lieutenant, but the decision will be his. I'm not in favor of this, but it will be his choice, you understand. Our marriage is a partnership. One does not override another's decision in such a case. Now, if you will excuse me, we'll get back to you as soon as Vulcan makes its feelings known." Christine turned and walked out the door as politely as possible, her insides seething.
* * *
"A most...unusual situation, my son." Sarek's calm face stared back from the monitor. "If you shall give me a few moments, I will confer with those who would need to know, and give a reply."
Spock put the transmission on hold and turned to his wife, somewhat perplexed. "I do not understand," he said. "I would think the answer would be an outright no. After all, Vulcan already has its unofficial sex symbol, young Stark."
Christine kissed his brow. "Just wait," she said softly.
* * *
Sarek helped himself to a cup of tea and stood on the patio with his wife.
"You could have said no immediately, Sarek," Amanda chided. "Why prolong the agony? It's clear he doesn't want to take the opportunity, no matter how much of an honor it is."
"I have my reasons, my wife," he replied, a hint of amusement in his voice. "Of course I shall say no. I would do so anyway, as you say, Spock does not wish the honor, but it is also clear this lieutenant would not take his no for an answer. I just want to take care of some...unfinished business. Let him...sweat."
"Sarek! Is this about that condom wrapper? You promised to let it go months ago!" Amanda's face registered shock. Her husband and son were clearly back to their old game playing ways.
"I may have promised to let it go, Aduna. But I never promised not to bring it up again."
* * *
"I never knew your father to be so closed minded lately," Kirk remarked as he poured some drinks for the three of them.
"He is not, Jim. But though Christine said no, and I said no, it was obvious that a higher authority would have to intervene in this matter. And so my father was pleased to comply with my request." He took a sip of the Aldebaran whiskey, a clear indication it had been a trying day indeed.
The media crew had reluctantly taken Sarek's no
as a no. The
"Poor Ensign Milque'tos," Christine sighed. "His life will never be the same again. But I can't believe no one noticed him before this!"
"Still waters tend to run very deep," Spock replied.
"So no regrets, Spock?" Kirk asked.
"None. Christine and I discussed the matter thoroughly and decided one sexy Vulcan was quite enough in the quadrant. Let Stark bask in the limelight. I prefer to remain at my post." He let his mouth turn up a fraction.
I'll bet, Kirk thought as he watched them leave a bit later. Until he's off duty, that is. They were a helluva lucky couple to have found each other...and to know each other so well. Kirk poured himself another shot and toasted their somewhat unconventional union. It worked. That was all that mattered.
* * *
"You can arouse me just with a look....a thought...or a memory, you know that?" Christine asked as she lay against her husband in a tangle of bedcovers. "If that's not a sex symbol, I don't know what is."
"Indeed," Spock replied softly, letting his hands caress the skin he never tired of touching. "And you can do the same for me, Th'yla. But you know that already."
Christine recalled the nights when they were separated by duty, feeling sexual fulfillment course across their link just from a memory of their time together. Talk about powerful.
"I do, my husband." She drew herself up on an elbow and started tracing the line of fur that led down his abdomen. "But tell me, what did your father say at the end of that transmission to us? My Vulcan's not that good yet, and he was mumbling."
Spock allowed himself the luxury of some laughter, then drew her closer, again ready to explore the hedonistic delights they loved to share.
"He said, and I quote, 'Next time, my son, you would do well to dispose of your...garbage.'"
Christine was laughing so hard and so loud Spock could only silence her one way.
With a kiss.
The calendar project was hugely successful and skyrocketed several participants into the realms of near superstardom. Poor Ensign Milque'tos nearly had a nervous breakdown from it all, but never once complained.
Christine kept her photo of Spock, wet, suntanned and stark naked (taken by her during their trip to Majoricia) in her cabin desk, hidden, for those days when she needed a extra little inspiration to get through her shift.