probablyrisian: (jane kirk)
[personal profile] probablyrisian
Title: In Deep Tribble
Fandom: TOS
Pairing: Gen
Rating: G
Summary: The Enterprise is sent to Rhelome VI, a planet on the edge of the Klingon/Federation border, to convince the native Bisheriri to join the Federation or at least open up negotiation for dilithium. The Bisheriri aren't too happy, a Klingon ship is lurking just on the other side of the border, and the transporter just broke. What could go wrong? (Everything)
Warnings: Nada
Word count: 3,140

It was evident at once that much had transpired since Spock’s last visit to sickbay, only five minutes earlier. He observed the busy scene impassively. Captain Kirk sat on an examination table while attempting to bat away Doctor McCoy’s insistent hands. They seemed to be having a rather heated debate in hushed voices while McCoy attempted to patch up the captain. Kirk was gesturing in the direction of a security officer getting her arm patched up by Nurse Chapel. Across the room there were two more redshirts laying on beds who had clearly been through a scuffle, though they were joking and smiling with the nurses. It was a large contrast to when the landing party had first arrived, just being beamed out of a hostile situation and practically dead on their feet. The medical staff on the Enterprise was nothing to be overlooked. 

Caught up in their argument neither the doctor nor the captain noticed Spock’s entrance. With purpose he walked towards the two feuding men and cleared his throat. Immediately Kirk stopped talking and McCoy trailed off. 

Looking at Spock, Kirk asked seriously, “Report, Mister Spock. What’s the situation?” 

“The Bisheriri are not pleased, captain. As you have experienced firsthand they are a complicated race to deal with. They are notoriously self righteous; additionally they prefer to stay politically neutral as their planet is located near the Federation-Klingon border, making it difficult to negotiate for dilithium crystals-”

“Not made any easier by their barbaric sense of humor!” McCoy slammed his fist onto the examination table. “Ridiculous, how they think death is a joke. Their most famous comedians are beings who have died on stage!” 

“Yes...That might explain why when they tired of negotiations, weapons were drawn.” Kirk smiled and raised an eyebrow. McCoy frowned. 

“This is no laughing matter, Jim. You and your men could have died down there. The Federation will have to get its crystals somewhere else.”

Spock suspected this subject was the cause of the earlier quarrel. 

“Doctor may I remind you this is a mission from Starfleet, one we cannot refuse. Rhelome VI is not a planet we would wish the Klingons to have.” 

Kirk slid off the table and stood between them, smiling gently. Spock suspected the captain was about to respond with something to diffuse the tension but was cut off by Uhura over the comm. 

“Captain Kirk, come in.”

“Kirk here, what is it Uhura?”

“The Bisheriri leader is requesting an audience. She wants you to beam down immediately.”

“Any idea why, Lieutenant?” 

“She said she wants to apologize for her quick temper, sir, and wants to reopen negotiations.” 

“Alright, Kirk out,” Kirk snorted in humor before cutting off the comm. 

Spock stepped forward with a subtle look of disbelief on his face. It was unlikely the Bisheriri’s had reigned in their tempers so quickly. Looking at the captain Spock suspected Kirk was thinking the same thing. Spock could only speculate what type of situation they would beam into now. Before any decision could be made it was Sulu that now reported on the comm. 

“Sir, a Klingon vessel is approaching the border. It doesn’t seem like they’re going to cross though.”

“Thank you, Mister Sulu. Kirk out.” 

Kirk turned to face Spock and McCoy. Spock noticed the captains furrowed brows. It was a puzzling situation to be in; Spock did not envy the captain. Rhelome VI was wanted by both the Federation and Klingon Empire for its dilithium. Negotiations with the natives had not been...promising, and with impeccable timing the Klingons had arrived, making the situation frustrating. Spock felt a brief flash of annoyance that he quickly suppressed. 

Kirk was already moving, beckoning for McCoy and Spock to follow. They strode into the corridor and on their way to the transporter room. 

“McCoy I want you down there with me. If things get hairy again I’ll need your medical expertise.” At this, McCoy grumbled slightly, no doubt dreading beaming into what could be a hostile situation. 

Kirk continued, “I want Uhura down there too, she speaks the language and understands the culture. Chekov as well as two security officers, just in case.” 

Spock sent out the information as it was relayed to him. 

They entered the turbolift, Kirk muttering, “Transporter room,” before turning to Spock. 
“I want you to stay here. If something happens to me down there... I need you here.” 

Spock nodded. He almost felt regret though, at missing an opportunity to gather more data on the planet. Very little was already known about it due to the Bisheriri’s reluctance to cooperate with the Federation.

Entering the room, Spock noted that everyone was there, ready to beam down. Spock watched as the captain and doctor stood on the transporter and then turned his attention to the controls. 

“Ready to beam down,” Kirk said. Spock pressed the necessary controls, watching the party dissolve into golden light.

* * *
Two hours, thirty six minutes, and five seconds since the captain's last check-in over the communicator. Any attempt to reach him was met with silence and though there was nothing stopping Spock from locking onto the landing parties coordinates and beaming them up the Vulcan did not want to without knowing the situation. 

There seemed to a growing list of problems that if he were human, surely would give Spock a migraine. Moments ago Mr. Scott had informed him the transporter had had a malfunction. Now if they did need to perform an emergency beam out it might not be possible. Spock sat in the captain’s chair, his elbow resting on the arm of the chair and his hand covering his mouth, contemplating the circumstances. 

Some time passed before an insistent beep from his communicator roused Spock. 

“Kirk to Enterprise. Kirk to-” The message was cut off abruptly. Spock stood and attempted to reestablish communication. 

“Captain? Captain are you th-” 

Kirk cut in, his voice frantic. “Spock! Beam us up now. We’ve got one injured- Richardson is dead-” The sound of foreign yelling drowned out Kirk’s voice momentarily. 

Already gone from the bridge and using the turbolift to head to the transporter room, Spock replied, “Captain, the transporter is malfunctioning. Mr. Scott is currently effecting repairs. What is your situation?” 

“A trap- I’m not sure how long we can stay hidden. Even with the malfunction can we still be beamed up? What’s the risk?” Kirk sounded strained and Spock let a sliver of worry slip through. 

Kirk said one of the party members were injured; Spock would expect nothing less from the Captain to hide his own injury. 

Entering the transporter room at a brisk walk Spock addressed Mr Scott. “The landing party needs immediate beam up, Mister Scott are you able to do so with the current issues?” 

Spock peered down at Scott as he slid out from underneath the control station. “Aye, sir. But the risks are a mystery, the captain might come back with two left arms.” 

Spock opened his communicator. “Captain there is a high probability the beam up will not result in a desirable outcome; are you certain you have no other alternative?” 

“Yes! Spock, get us out of here!” Kirk raised his voice in frustration. A loud thud was heard in the background and Kirk half shouted into the device. “Now!” 

Spock directed his gaze at Mr Scott, who had heard the conversation and was already locking onto the landing parties coordinates. “Energizing.” 

Spock watched as the golden light shimmered on the transporter pad. Briefly the outlines of the party were in view before shimmering and flickering out again. Spock leaned over the console to assist Mr Scott, noticing his frantic movements. Spock could hear the glittering noise of the transporter again and it seemed the party had successfully been recovered. 

He heard a quiet gasp from Scott who was facing the transporter pad. Assuming it was the reaction to a shocking injury one of the crew may have sustained Spock turned around and was met with a… fascinating scene. Slowly he made his way to the pad and looked down at what lay at his feet. A large light brown tribble lay next to a smaller dark brown tribble. A few feet away lay a black furred tribble, another brown one, and two dead tribbles which both had a light blonde coloring. 

Scott came to stand beside him, an open look of disbelief on his face. “Mr. Spock, d’you think…”

It is illogical to suspect that the universe is a sentient being with a keen sense of comedic timing. And yet...

“If you were about to propose that the landing party have been rearranged into tribbles, it seems you would be correct. There is no other logical conclusion.” 

Bending down to pick up the two tribbles closest to him, the brown ones, Spock carefully inspected them. The larger one trilled happily. The darker brown tribble seemed to be unhappy, squirming and making unpleasant noises. Spock raised a pointed eyebrow.

“I believe it is safe to assume the larger of the two is our captain. Even in the form of a docile animal the good doctor finds a way to be unpleasant.” 

Scott walked onto the pad and collected the remaining living tribbles into his arms, presumably Uhura and Chekov. Spock concluded the two blonde tribbles were a pair of unfortunate security officers, the injured and dead that Kirk spoke of. 

Leading Scott to sickbay, Spock arranged for each tribble to be put in a labeled container to avoid confusion. Making sure there was nothing in sight for the tribbles to eat and reproduce (the thought of the captain giving birth was something Spock found disturbing and something he did not want to linger on, no matter what form the captain was in.) 

Spock turned to Mister Scott. “Any suggestions, engineer?” 

“I cannae say for sure, Mister Spock, but when I fix the transporter we can send the crew through the transporter and call up their original patterns. Then it’s as simple as reforming them into their human shape.” 

“I suggest you start right away, Mister Scott.” Spock turned his attention back to the tribble-fied crew on the table as he heard the swish of the automatic door opening and closing. The captain seemed to be quite excited and Spock was inexplicably drawn to the small ball of fluff. He reached a hand down to cradle the animal, his captain, in his hand. Like the last time tribbles came aboard the ship Spock felt the calming effects of the purring. Illogically Spock hoped that when everyone was restored to their proper form no one would remember this. Pushing away the effects of the tribble, Spock gently placed his captain into the container again. This was certainly not the weirdest thing to happen to the crew of the Enterprise, and it would eventually be fixed. 

* * *
Spock left sickbay and headed to the bridge. Upon arrival the bridge crew could barely contain their worried barrage of questions. 

“Sir, the captain-”

“Is everyone okay, where are they-” 

Spock held up his hand and the bridge was silent. There was no hesitation that he would tell them. They had a right to know, but how exactly would he tell his crewmen that the landing party, including the captain, were now small alien critters? His eyes scanned the room, a dozen crewmen staring. Waiting. Spock turned to Sulu, then to where Lieutenant O’Conner sat in Chekov’s usual station. 

Spock spoke slowly, almost unsure. Except he is a Vulcan. (He is definitely never unsure.) 

“Specifics are currently unknown as to what transpired on the surface of Rhelome VI. From Captain Kirk’s exchange with me it is blatantly obvious negotiations did not fare well.” At that, an ensign standing by the communications station snorted, muttering, “That’s obvious.” Spock opted to ignore him and continue. 

“The landing party went through an emergency beam up in less than optimal conditions.” Spock paused. “A transporter malfunction has transformed the party into tribbles.” 

Another snort was heard from the same ensign. Spock wondered if he had a nose problem. Sulu’s eyes had widened and he looked torn between disbelief and concern. Lieutenant M’Ress, who had taken over Uhura’s station had a hand on her cheek and was staring at Spock like he had informed her that he’d spit in her soup. 

“Sir, that isn’t a very funny joke.” She shook her head slowly.

“Vulcans do not joke.” Spock thought about how many times he had repeated that sentence. 

A silence stretched over the bridge. No one knew what to say. The communications officer cleared her throat and addressed Spock in her usual soft tone. “Uh, a Klingon...The Klingon vessel is hailing us, sir.”

Spock sat in the captain's chair and motioned for her to put the Klingons on screen. The dark face of a smug Klingon flickered onto the viewing screen. The appearance of a Klingon ship just before the captain’s beam down was something worth investigating and now was the perfect opportunity. Spock waited for the captain of the Klingon ship to speak. 

“Where is your captain, Vulcan?” He sneered, “Injured?” 

Though it was presented as a question Spock noted that the Klingon seemed assured that he already knew the answer. Spock chose his words carefully; the enemy had no need to know of the mishap with the transporter. 

“The captain was needed elsewhere on the ship, leaving me in charge.” A common misconception was that Vulcans were incapable of lies, and while they did place great honor on truth it was illogical to tell your enemy information that would put you at a disadvantage. 

The Klingon commander laughed. “A weak cover up. Your landing party is either dead or captured. Either would satisfy me.” 

Spock raised an inquisitive eyebrow. The Klingon continued in a boastful tone. “We have more to offer the Bisheriri, and they know it. Now that they’re on our side, and have your captain, I’d be willing to negotiate a surrender.” 

Spock was not inclined to believe him. There were several flaws in the Klingons plan; the biggest of them that the landing party had not, infact, been captured or killed. Negotiating was an unexpected offer. Klingons rarely, if ever, negotiated. 

The warrior continued to speak, “I’ll give you a moment to mull it over, Vulcan. Time for your crew to prepare themselves for their inevitable capture.” The view screen went dark and the bridge was silent save for the normal beeps of machinery. 

In a rare moment of uncertainty Spock didn’t know what action to take. Even if the captain was absent, McCoy was usually around to offer his emotional side of the argument. The three of them balanced each other and Spock knew it. Before Spock could think on it more he was contacted by Mister Scott.

“We got a wee bit o’ trouble down in engineering.” There were sounds of commotion audible as Scott spoke and his voice was strained. “A small group of Klingons beamed aboard in engineering, the fools. Got down here as soon as I could. I nabbed the captain ‘n crew on my way, figured the little beasties would help us out.” 

“A security team will be sent to you, Mister Scott. Spock out.” Conscious that there may have been more Klingons beamed aboard, Spock called for a red alert. The Klingons were behaving extremely illogically. Not one part of this plan had worked. Humans would call it ‘laughable’. 

A plan had formed in Spock’s mind, though. He left the bridge without a word other than to command the turbolift to bring him to deck six. With a brisk walk Spock was entering the transporter room. As expected Scott was back under the control station working on the repairs. 

At the sound of the automatic doors opening Scott had pushed himself out from behind the panels with a grunt. He sat up and gently placed his tools down. 

“Somethin’ the matter, Mister Spock? More Klingon tribble?” Scott wiped his hands on his pants before standing. Raising an eyebrow at the man’s seemingly clueless blunder in speech, Spock decided to move past it to the reason for his sudden visit. 

“Mister Scott, it is clear you have not restored the transporter.” Scott opened his mouth to justify himself, Spock was sure, but continued to talk. “I believe I have a solution to the Klingon problem, if you would have security escort our prisoners in.” 

Spock appreciated Mister Scott's ability to ‘catch on quick.’ as he contacted the security team with obvious delight. 

* * *
“Where d’ya reckon I should put them, Commander?” 

The Klingons had been cuffed and deposited on the transporter pads while Scott had gleefully placed the members of the landing party around the transporter which had effectively kept any resistance from the Klingons under control.

“It would seem most efficacious to deliver them to the bridge. If that seems too difficult, simple pad to pad transport will be adequate.”

“Aye, sir. I’ll try my best at gettin’ them on the bridge but it’ll be a tad crude.”

The speaker on the wall beeped and Spock walked to it, pressing the button. 

“Spock here.”

“Lieutenant M’Ress here. The Klingon captain would like to speak to you again.” She ended her sentence with a catlike purr. 

“Very well, Lieutenant.” Spock turned to look at Scott who in return nodded and gave him the thumbs up gesture. 

Back on the bridge Spock was now pretending to discuss surrender terms. With relief he noted the sound of something being transported over the Klingon’s video screen. A black puff of fur dropped to the floor in the background and Spock noticed with satisfaction that their bridge was already being disrupted by the former Klingon, now tribble. Two more black tribbles beamed over and one landed on the captain’s head. He made a furious noise before disconnecting the video feed. 

Almost in the same breath the turbolift opened to reveal Kirk, Uhura and Chekov. Spock swiveled the chair towards them before standing and moving to the side for Kirk. 

“What’s going on, Spock? Scotty told me we were having some Klingon trouble.” Kirk was a mix of relief and apprehension. 

“Captain I believe the situation has been resolved, though I regret to inform you it is not likely we will be negotiating with the Bisheriri. I will be reporting the entire situation to Starfleet command.” 

Kirk seemed as if he was going to respond. Instead of words a clear purring sound was made. Almost immediately Spock noticed his captain’s cheeks colored slightly in embarrassment. Uhura sat by her station with a hand over her mouth which Spock understood to mean she was suppressing laughter. Kirk cleared his throat and ordered Sulu to take them out of orbit. Onto their next mission.

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April 2016


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