CHRISTMAS AS HOSTED BY SPOCK: A STAR TREK FAN-FICTION STORY
By Lila Tulip, December 29, 2016
Word Count: 3,694
Rating G (suitable for all audiences)
Summary: Invited by Captain Kirk to celebrate Christmas, Spock takes it on himself to make it a meaningful and memorable holiday.
Spock was acutely aware of the captain coming over and standing beside him on the bridge. He spared a moment’s thought to how Kirk liked trying to tease a response from him by silently hovering nearby. The captain only attempted it when the route was quiet and “endless stars” – as Kirk liked to call them – stretched ahead. Then he would wander up to Spock on the pretence that he was observing the status of equipment and crew members.
Such antics used to make Spock curious, but long months of acquaintance had left him with a reasonable ability to decipher some of the captain’s motives. Clearly Kirk enjoyed drawing out his second-in-command’s human nature, needling him, cajoling, and most often merely spending time with him. And Spock wouldn’t deny that the strongest bonds of friendship now existed between them. He would never forget his fear, disgust, and horror when he thought he had killed the captain during his pon farr—powerful emotions based on more than a first officer’s relief that he hadn’t slain his captain.
“Are you aware, Mr. Spock, that Christmas is around the corner?” Kirk now remarked with fake nonchalance.
“Captain, I am indeed aware that Christmas, which Christians celebrate as the birth of Jesus Christ, is three months away. Hardly ‘around the corner’, might I add?”
Glancing up at Kirk’s chuckle, Spock saw mirth in the brown eyes he knew so well. Trouble lay ahead if he weren’t careful.
“Vulcans are so terribly precise, Mr. Spock.”
“I thought that was a quality that pleased you, Captain. Perhaps I am wrong?”
Kirk flashed another smile and leaned on the computer board. Spock raised an eyebrow at the offending arm, but the captain ignored him.
“No, Spock, your human perception is correct. I do so admire your precision and accuracy and insights based on logic.”
Spock swivelled in his chair, as there was no point in continuing the façade. Jim was in good humour, with a dash of his mischievous nature shining through. Spock would not admit it, but that was a quality he appreciated in his captain and friend. Whether he encouraged the streak was another thing. His Vulcan father would disapprove; his mother would be happy at her son embracing his human heritage.
Spock liked to consider that he was approaching the whole matter rationally. After all, if the captain was going to race into danger or implement one of his “exciting” ideas, then surely it was only logical that his first officer follow to ensure he was safe. Since human friendship seemed based on the premise that friends looked after each other, Spock was merely honouring his captain’s human heritage and possibly his own.
“If I may say so, Captain, you do not sound very pleased about my precision and use of logic.”
“Not at all, just wishing you would loosen a little.”
“Your notions of ‘loosening’ appear to involve the disregard of precision.” Spock would have smiled at the Kirk’s reaction—his quiet snort and his grin—but that would give the captain what he wanted, and Spock couldn’t allow him to win…at least not yet.
“Precision isn’t always necessary, but we digress from my point. Christmas, Mr Spock! What are your plans?”
“I had none.”
“May I presume, Captain, that you have a plan for Christmas…that somehow involves me?”
Kirk’s grin grew wider than ever. “As a matter of fact, I was hoping you would join me for Christmas this year. The idea being that you, Bones, and I spend the day together relaxing and celebrating the holiday.”
Warmth spread through Spock at being included in his captain’s plans. The fact that he would have to spend time with McCoy was a minor frustration, but easily handled.
“Thank you for the invitation, Captain. I will attend.”
“May I inquire why you asked me three months beforehand?”
“Only if I can ask you a question, Spock.”
“Illogical approach, but I accept.”
Kirk pretended to check Spock’s monitor as he said, “I’m just wondering. How long have you assumed I would ask you about Christmas?”
“I did not know you were planning a private celebration. However, based on my familiarity with your mind, I knew that a celebration of some sort was to be expected.”
Kirk shook his head in amusement, then kept his side of the bargain. “As for your question, three months is never too early. I’m a busy man and executing the perfect Christmas party takes a lot of planning. Whether my guests would be available is the most important fact to know so I can proceed from there. Logical, you see?”
The captain winked and strolled off before Spock could say anything.
Spock sighed. Humans were very strange, particularly Captain James T. Kirk.
Life with humans was nothing short of fascinating. Spock’s mother had been with his father for many years, absorbing Vulcan culture so that her human nature seemed seeped in Vulcan logic. Whenever her human passions rose or her illogical side surfaced, Spock had been surprised—and secretly grateful on occasion—most notably when he had been especially lonely as a half-Vulcan, half -human child.
On the Enterprise under Captain Kirk, life was fascinating on a frequent basis. Now was another one of those times. Spock watched with interest as his captain argued with Scotty about his quarters.
“Can’t you do anything? How did it even happen?”
Kirk waved his arm to take in his quarters, his very wet quarters. His bed was saturated and the floor squished as Spock walked over to examine his friend’s bookcase. Thankfully the few precious antique books that Jim had brought with him were secured behind strengthened glass panels. They, at least, had been saved from the miniature flood.
“A coolant pipe burst, Captain. There was an overload to the system when we encountered those pesky Romulans. I’ll have it fixed, but yere cabin…” An apologetic expression lingered as Scotty surveyed the wreckage. “I fear, Captain, ye’ll have to move out. The coolant is nae good for any of us. And the smell!”
“Mr Scott is correct,” Spock agreed. “These quarters are uninhabitable.”
Kirk glanced at him ruefully and sighed. His anger had drained from him and now he only seemed disappointed. “Of course, Spock. I know it isn’t your fault, Scotty. How soon before I can return?”
Scotty frowned, doing silent calculations. “A month to be sure, Captain. We need to take everything out, fix the affected area and then clean the room down so it’s safe.”
Dismay seeped into Kirk’s voice. “A month? Well, you know what you are doing, Scotty. Call for some assistance, and Spock and I will salvage what we can.”
“Sir,” Scotty nodded and left.
Spock quietly observed the captain as he wandered over to him. Sad brown eyes met his and those clever lips curled slightly.
“It seems I mislaid Noah’s Ark, right when I need it most. How careless of me.”
“Unless you can bend physics, Jim, you wouldn’t be able to fit Noah’s Ark into your quarters.”
Kirk’s brief laugh faded to a disproportionately sad look.
Maintaining eye contact with his friend, Spock ventured to ask, “Is something more wrong, Jim?”
“You know me well, Spock.” Jim sounded pleased by the fact, so Spock simply nodded. “It’s about our Christmas party. My quarters are no longer available, and while we could locate to another room…”
“It shan’t be the same?” Spock didn’t quite understand, but he comprehended enough. Humans became attached to places, and the captain’s quarters would have been what Jim termed “cozy” and McCoy called “free from damn idiots trying to kill themselves, apart from you two, that is”.
Spock tried not to be disturbed by the fact he could conjure the doctor’s exact words and tone in his mind.
“Yes, Spock. Not at all the same.”
In that case, Spock knew there was only one thing he could do. “We shall have Christmas in my quarters, Jim.”
The captain’s jaw dropped in shock. “Your quarters?”
“It is only logical, under the circumstances.”
A sly grin appeared, and his friend’s brown eyes regained their sparkle. “Naturally, it’s only logical under the circumstances, Spock. I suppose that’s the Vulcan way of saying you can’t stand to see your friends disappointed?”
“Jim, you seem determined to apply emotion to a very rational decision.”
The captain laughed and Spock once again felt warmth at the pleasure he had given his friend. Yet he only savoured it for a moment before resurrecting his Vulcan control.
Kirk clapped him on the shoulder. “I am only human, Spock; allow me my fun. Since that is sorted out, let’s move my books first. We can discuss the celebration afterwards.”
Looking him in the eye, Spock gathered himself and said, “If you have no objection, I would prefer having full control of the celebration. You do enjoy surprises, Jim.”
His friend appeared slightly doubtful, but then agreed. “Very well, if you like. But if you need any help, you know where to find me.”
“I should hope I know where to find you, as your first officer and…” Spock trailed off and simply stopped. He still found it hard to say “friend”, yet if the soft set of Jim’s face and the way he just patted his arm were good indicators, he did not have to.
“Lieutenant Uhura, do you have a moment?”
Uhura glanced up from her pad where she had been reading. She was seated in the mess at a table by herself. Spock was loath to disturb her quiet reflections, yet he required assistance. He had less than a month to plan his Christmas party and only limited experience to call upon. He had already contacted his mother and was waiting for her response.
“Oh Mr. Spock, of course, please sit.” She tapped the pad with one elegant finger and immediately fixed all her attention on him.
Spock sat and kept his voice low but clear. “Lieutenant, I need your help in a private matter.”
Her eyes went wide. “Sir, I assure you whatever you say will go no further.”
“I know, Lieutenant.” Spock mentally ran over what he had planned to say, before carefully continuing. “The captain has invited me and Doctor McCoy for a private celebration on Christmas Day. However, as his quarters are no longer available, I offered my quarters.”
Uhura clearly found this delightful, for she was smiling now and leaning near in a manner Spock suspected to be “conspiratorial”. Though her behaviour would likely call attention to them, he decided against correcting her posture, since he required her good will for his endeavour.
“The captain agreed and offered to help me prepare, but I would like the party to be a surprise. The Captain already works so very hard; do you not agree?”
Lieutenant Uhura smiled a strange smile and laughed with no indication of malice, but Spock could not understand what was so funny about his statement.
“I do agree, Mr. Spock. So you have come to me for help, instead?”
“You are exceptionally quick, Lieutenant. I will repay your time and assistance; you simply need to state how you would like your payment.”
Lieutenant Uhura tapped her pad, a thoughtful expression on her face. Her lips twitched and she examined him closely before whispering, “Oh I know the perfect reimbursement. A group of us plan to go carolling on Christmas Eve. Would you play your lyre, sir? Your musical talents would be a welcome addition.”
Spock considered the request. It would be honouring human tradition and culture, which was only respectful. His father might actually approve since Vulcans appreciated music, and of course his mother would be thrilled. It would also assist Lieutenant Uhura in bringing happiness to the crew, thus raising morale. Yes, for those reasons such a public display could be condoned.
“I will play my lyre for your Christmas carolling. Please send the carol list to my pad.” Spock took his out and fired off his address. “I trust there shall be a practise?”
Lieutenant Uhura nodded happily, her voice a low, excited whisper. “There will be, Mr. Spock. Thank you.”
“No, thank you for agreeing to aid me.”
“About that…what exactly did you have in mind?”
Spock sighed and realised he would have to admit defeat and join this conspiracy-style conversation. Leaning forward slightly, Spock began explaining what he wanted.
With some doubt, Spock examined the shiny metallic shreds he was holding. “Lieutenant Uhura, are you certain that so much tinsel is needed?”
Uhura paused in the act of throwing tinsel over the tree that Spock had procured. “Of course!” she exclaimed incredulously. “Why, the captain and the doctor will wonder what is wrong if there isn’t plenty of tinsel.”
Spock wasn’t sure if Lieutenant Uhura was joking with him or not, as so much tinsel seemed extreme. Nevertheless, Uhura clearly knew more than he did in this area, so he had little choice but to comply.
“Then I shall continue, though if I may make an observation?”
“Yes, Mr. Spock?”
“The red tinsel has been neglected. Is there a reason for that?”
Uhura grinned and gave a mirthful laugh. “If you like that colour—or if your Vulcan logic says it’s only logical—please go ahead and add red to the tree.”
Spock ignored the obvious teasing, and putting down the silver tinsel, seized the red. Now, where to place it on the already overly-burdened tree?
“Thank you, Spock, for hosting our Christmas party,” said Jim as he entered Spock’s quarters, followed closely by Doctor McCoy.
“Yes, thank you,” added McCoy as he juggled the bottle of whiskey and presents he had brought.
“Your thanks are appreciated,” Spock told them, “though it is no inconvenience to host our Christmas celebration.”
McCoy snorted. “I can’t wait to see what—”
He stopped abruptly as he passed through the temporary hanging curtain Spock had put up to help conceal the setting. It had been Lieutenant Uhura’s suggestion, and Spock had solemnly followed her orders.
“Dammit, Jim!” McCoy called from beyond the curtain. “It seems our resident green-blooded elf outdid himself!”
“I am not an elf, Doctor.”
Jim chuckled. “No offence is meant, Spock. Bones is referring to Santa’s elves.”
“Ah, the mythical Father Christmas based on Saint Nicholas?”
Jim grinned. “Yes.”
“Stop your nattering and come see,” urged Bones.
“Coming, Bones!” said Jim as he pushed through the curtain.
Spock followed closely and nearly collided with his captain when Jim came to a sudden halt, clearly awestruck. Then with slow steps Jim walked forward, eyes drinking in the sight. He turned in a circle. His astonished gaze landed on Spock.
“Did you do all this?”
“Yes, I did—with the assistance of Lieutenant Uhura.”
“Lieutenant Uhura?” repeated Jim and a faint smile appeared. “She advised on the…tree…and tinsel?”
Spock’s eyebrow rose as he turned to the item in question. The botany lab had kindly loaned him a fir tree still young and growing, as long as he kept it safe. So he had the beautiful green tree transferred to his quarters where it stood in a pot of rich soil, and fans bathed it in cool air, so it would not be harmed by the warmer temperature of his room.
The branches were carefully draped in colourful lights of twinkling green, gold, deep blue like Earth’s waters, red, orange, and yellow like Earth’s sun. Spock secretly found the display quite beautiful and enjoyed watching the colours shine and sparkle.
The tinsel was plentiful, arrayed nearly over the entire tree in a swathe of gold, silver and brilliant red. Uhura had finally stopped him from adding more of the strangely delightful tinsel to the tree, and managed to hang a few baubles on the branches.
“You do not like it? The lieutenant said tinsel was vital – and the lights and baubles, as well.”
“I do like it,” reassured the captain, as he placed his present under the tree. “Just surprised by how much tinsel.”
“Ah, I thought more tinsel would add to the Christmassy atmosphere everyone keeps referring to.”
“Oh, there’s plenty of that,” remarked McCoy, adding his gifts to the pile. “I’m still in shock.” The doctor prodded a Nativity display on the end table. “Whose idea was this?”
“Since Christmas is about the birth of Christ, I thought it only appropriate to include a reminder of the event.”
McCoy smiled in amusement. “That it is, Spock. Now if there’s room between all that copious tinsel and the Nativity display, can we squeeze onto your couch?”
The doctor’s smirk was entirely out of place, but Spock decided to let it pass without comment. “You can see there is sufficient space on the couch. Please sit and I shall fetch the tea. Jim, would you please switch on the music?”
Jim nodded and squeezed his arm. “I do love the decorations, Spock. I should have guessed Lieutenant Uhura was behind all this when you played along with those carols yesterday.”
McCoy settled onto the couch, rearranging a cushion for his comfort. “Now that was something worth seeing,” he said cheerfully.
“I am grateful that you both enjoyed it,” remarked Spock, deciding to retreat before further comment was made.
“Okay Spock, I’ll keep Bones in line and protect the sweets.”
Jim hurried to one of the three small tables Spock had put out. Each was full to bursting with traditional mince pies, pierniczki (Polish ginger biscuits), makowiec (poppy-seed cake) – all thanks to the Polish engineer “Ala”, working with Scotty.
Apples and oranges in various sizes were on another table, with vegetable sticks and dip—Spock’s attempt at healthy choices. The final table had teacups and glasses. A bowl, kept warm by an electronic heater, stood beside the glasses. The wonderful smell of mulled wine drifted from it: cinnamon, star anise, nutmeg and cloves. Jim inhaled the aroma as he served himself and McCoy, since Spock did not usually drink alcohol.
From across the cabin, Spock heard music switch on, and “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” began playing. Checking that his tea was properly brewed, he carried the steaming pot into his living area. Jim had left a space next to him, so Spock sat and poured three cups.
“Thanks, Spock,” said McCoy as he took turns sipping tea and mulled wine.
“Yes, thanks,” added Jim as he nibbled on a mince pie and Polish biscuit. “What now?”
“I have a play we can watch,” Spock informed him. “A Christmas Carol, if you are both content with the choice.”
Both men agreed, and Spock relaxed as he realised he had successfully travelled thus far in his Christmas host duties.
For the next four hours, the officers drank tea or mulled wine and ate far too much sugar. Well, the captain and doctor did. Spock managed to restrict himself to a handful of biscuits, a slice of cake, and a mince pie. McCoy joined him with some vegetable and dips, which Spock found gratifying. But eventually the doctor began to doze—a mixture of too much alcohol (particularly whisky) and food—with his opened gifts on his lap. Jim had given him a set of beautifully coloured crystal glasses for his whiskey, while Spock had found a dissection kit styled from the 20th century, which included scalpels. McCoy had been delighted, despite muttering “those damn Middle Ages”.
In turn, Spock had received from him an electronic book of poetry by Lord Byron. It was a pleasant gesture, for while Spock had read Byron, he did not own this particular edition. The text was in beautiful cursive, changing script font for each poem. The artwork suited each subject perfectly, from what little he had perused.
McCoy had also given the captain a decorative rug for when he returned to his refurbished quarters.
Jim, as always, seemed to know exactly what to give Spock. The first of two gifts was the latest collection of music from Vulcan “Fit for the Lyre”; the second was a blank music book for Spock to create his own music, if he so wished.
Spock had been touched by both of the captain’s presents and struggled to show a modicum of happiness without descending into overt emotion. And he had withheld his own gift to Jim until now, when McCoy finally slumbered.
“So Spock, why all the secrecy regarding my present?” murmured the captain, his cheeks flushed from wine, food, and the heat of the room. Tinsel from the nearby tree shrouded his shoulders.
Spock rose from the couch and retrieved the captain’s gift from underneath the tree. In silence he handed it to Jim who, sensing the serious atmosphere, straightened. He peeled back the wrapping paper with great care. Slowly his face transformed with delight. His fingers lovingly stroked the leather cover, resting on the engraved title.
“A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens,” he read aloud, then searched his first officer’s eyes. “Spock…how?”
“Through contacts I have made. I know how much pleasure you take in actual books, so it was not any real trouble.”
Jim opened the book gently and grinned as he turned a few pages. Colour images richly illustrated the story.
“I thought the tale appropriate to the setting. Do you like it, Jim?”
“Do I like it? No.” In spite of the words, Jim unexpectedly hugged Spock and laughed when he released him. Startled by his captain’s high emotions, Spock watched in confusion until Jim said sincerely, “I love the gift, Spock. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
Spock struggled with a feeling of joy, savouring the exquisite sensation, yet attempting not to be overcome by it.
“I am pleased, Jim…for you are my friend.”
The bright lights from the tree played over Jim’s smile, wide with delight. His voice was deep and low as he said, “Thank you, Spock. I consider you my friend, too.”
Spock relaxed, for once at peace with his human and Vulcan heritage. The struggle would perhaps always be there, but for now he was content.
“Merry Christmas, Jim.”
“Merry Christmas, Spock.”