Trouble on Deck Five

By: M. C. Pehrson

Word Count: 3060

Rating: PG for mild language and some sensuality

Summary: A spider attack on Spock’s wife leads to loads of other trouble aboard the Enterprise

Spock_dress_uniform
Image Credit: Desilu Productions

 

1:  Looking For Trouble

The arachnid was quite small by Vulcan standards, but large enough to startle Spock’s human wife as she was entering the shower stall in their quarters.

Emitting a little shriek, she exclaimed, “A spider!”   

It was evening. Doctor Lauren Fielding abruptly retreated from the bathroom, and arriving entirely nude before Spock’s desk, proclaimed to him in one breath, “I’m going over to sick bay and check on a patient and I sincerely hope that monster has been taken care of by the time I get back. Totally out of here. Gone.”

They had not been bonded very long. Looking up from his datapadd, Spock found his wife’s unveiled figure of far more interest than the numerical figures he had been perusing. He would have liked to explore her pleasing attributes in even greater depth, but later for that.

“Be assured,” he said, “I shall attend to it.” In his own manner, of course. Unless the spider was highly poisonous he would not destroy it, for Vulcans respected life in all its myriad forms. A common motto of his people read, Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations.

Lauren hurriedly pulled on her uniform and exited the scene. The door hissed shut behind her.

Rising, Spock entered the bathroom and there indeed was a brown intruder the size of a Vulcan slor nut, but of the Terran variety Lycosidae, commonly known as a wolf spider. Quite harmless, even when seriously provoked into biting. Studying it, he wondered how such a diminutive creature could intimidate a woman who faced down deadly diseases and had no difficulty at all confronting him when her temper was up. And unless he handled this matter to her satisfaction, Lauren’s temper was sure to rise.

Taking a tissue, he reached down to grasp the spider, but it jumped and darted quickly about the stall, evading his repeated attempts. Then suddenly, without any warning, it leaped out of the shower, scuttled across the bathroom floor, and disappeared into the living area.

This was not good.

Tissue still in hand, Spock commenced to search every corner of the cabin, twice over, without any success. For now nothing more could be done.

Since Lauren had not yet returned, he decided to shower while the stall was free. He prided himself on quick, efficient showering, not a motion wasted. In a mere 2.8 minutes he stepped out, dripping from head to toe, and reaching for his towel discovered that he was no longer alone.

The spider was back. Poised boldly just inside the bathroom door, it seemed almost to taunt him. Here was his chance.

Securing the towel around his waist, he cast about for some object with which to entrap the spider. He went for the closest thing at hand—his regulation gray Starfleet briefs, neatly folded on the nearby counter. After mentally taking measure, he lobbed them, and the spreading fabric landed perfectly on target. Bending down, Spock gathered the material very carefully so as to prevent any possibility of escape. Then, quite wet and growing chilled, he went to the cabin door, triggered it open, and glanced both left and right. The way was clear. He would release the spider into the general population where it could roam freely and perhaps find some small insects to devour.

Standing in the doorway, he fully extended his arm, intending to give the material a shake, but as he flicked it, the underwear somehow slipped his grasp and landed midway in the corridor. The spider escaped the cloth and ran.

It was what one might call a “mixed success”, but with no one in sight, Spock had only to retrieve his laundry-marked apparel and escape back into the concealing comfort of his cabin.

At that very instant he heard footsteps approaching at a rapid pace. With one parting glance at his wayward briefs, he retreated into his quarters and stood, heart thumping, pointed ear pressed to the door. All too predictably, the footsteps halted. Who might it be? Captain Kirk…or perhaps even Uhura? He inwardly quailed at the possibilities as he envisioned one or the other stooping down and examining the unusual find.

After a tense moment of silence, the door sprang open so suddenly that he might have fallen, had he not caught his balance in time. And there stood his fair-haired wife, one delicate brow arched, her mouth twitching with amusement as she looked him over.

“Spider gone?” she asked casually.

“Of course,” he replied, stepping aside so she could enter.

As the door enclosed them in privacy, she brought her left hand out from behind her. And holding his briefs up for display, she smiled at him wryly and said, “I can’t wait to hear the story.”

 

2:  Trouble of the Worst Kind

“Ow! Damn! What the hell!”

At the sound of his captain’s voice, Spock came to an abrupt halt and listened, head cocked, his eyes upon Kirk’s door. It was morning aboard the Enterprise. With breakfast in mind, he had been walking toward the turbolift when the muffled oaths reached his sensitive Vulcan ears. Now concern for the captain’s welfare drew him closer, and after a moment of deliberation, he pressed the door chime.

“Who’s there?” Kirk barked over the intercom.

“Spock, sir. Is…all well?”

“Come on in.”

The door sprang open at Spock’s touch and he entered to find Kirk in stocking feet, partly clothed, and fuming.

Gingerly fingering his extreme lower back, the captain said, “I was getting dressed and it bit me. Must have been hiding out in my uniform. A spider. A great big brown one. After it bit me, I shook it loose and it ran straight under my bed.”

“A brown spider,” Spock said, beginning to feel stirrings of responsibility for the unfortunate mishap. “I…may have glimpsed such a creature in the corridor last evening. If so, its venom is not dangerously toxic.”

Kirk grimaced from the discomfort of his injury. “Tell that to my ass!”

Thinking to be of help, Spock suggested, “Shall I get Lauren? She may still be in our cabin.”

Kirk huffed. “I don’t care if she is a doctor, there’s no way I’m letting that wife of yours take a look at this.” And so saying, he dropped his trousers…and all that lay beneath. “Spock, what do you see?”

This was clearly outside the duties of an executive officer, but Starfleet put a high value on  flexibility. Steeling himself for the task, Spock eyed the well-rounded buttock, and there indeed was an angry cutaneous eruption.

“Most certainly a bite,” he reported. “Red in color, with a diameter of approximately two centimeters…and spreading.” Thinking of the spider still lurking nearby, he added, “Sir, if you will permit me to handle it…”

The trousers abruptly came up, and turning on him, Kirk launched into a mystifying tirade. “Is that supposed to be funny, Spock? Well, I’m not laughing! How the hell am I supposed to sit down? Call Housekeeping! I want this entire cabin checked out from stem to stern!”

Upon reviewing his own previous statement, Spock now realized how it might have been misinterpreted. Feeling warm in the face, he explained, “Perhaps I was imprecise in my speech. By ‘handle it’ I meant the spider and its pressing need for removal.” He thought it best to withhold comment on Jim’s misapplication of nautical terminology.

“Pressing, yes,” Kirk said testily. Having secured his clothing, he slipped into his shoes, threw on his uniform jacket, and added, “Be my guest.”

At that, he was out the door, leaving Spock in a renewed state of confusion.

Be my guest. What could the captain have meant? By entering Kirk’s quarters, he had in a sense already become his guest. He could not make himself any more of a guest. And now his host had left him to his own devices, wondering if he should call down to Housekeeping or tend to the spider himself. Unsure how to proceed, he conducted a swift but thorough search, and finding no sign of the elusive arachnid, pressed the intercom button.

“Spock to Housekeeping,” he said, and ordered a cleaning crew.

By so doing, he relieved himself of that particular responsibility, and having lost his appetite, left to perform the duties for which he was more suited.

 

3:  Here Comes Trouble

She was a bonnie lass. From the very first day, Montgomery Scott had thought so. Not many women went in for Engineering—or recreational drinking, for that matter—but Lieutenant Marlowe was one fine-looking exception. And it did not hurt a bit that her name really was Bonnie.

It was well past the dinner hour in Scott’s quarters. They were celebrating with some soft music and liquid refreshment. Bonnie dabbled in genealogy, and that very day she had found them a common ancestor…from Glasgow, the very heart of Scotland. Now having drained the last store of his liquor (he had been running low), they were both feeling quite sentimental.

Gazing fondly at his dark-haired companion, Scott suddenly felt the need arising for a wee drop more. “Wait a minute,” he recalled. “I believe I have somethin’ blue…way back in the corner of that bottom cabinet.”

As he shifted in preparation to leave his chair, Bonnie said brightly, “Oh, let me!”

And of course he did. Ach, what a woman! She was so slender and light on her feet that she had the cabinet door open in a second, and began to rummage.

Scott heard a sharp intake of breath.

Yanking her hand from the shelf, she rolled back on her shapely haunches and said, “There’s a spider!”

“Is it black?” Scott asked. Those were the worst ones.

Bonnie peered into the cabinet’s shadowy depths. “No. He’s brown. But will you look at that! I swear…I swear…he’s dancing.”

“Ah, ye’re daft…”Scott growled.

“No. Come here.” Her eyes were hard on the creature. “Look for yourself, Scotty.”

With a muffled Gaelic oath, Scott levered himself off his chair, walked over, and stood beside her.

“Down here,” she urged.

Scott sighed and with some difficulty lowered himself to his knees. He did not like being reminded that he was no longer young and fit.

“See his legs?” Bonnie exclaimed, pointing.

Scott peeked into the cabinet and then stared hard. There indeed was a furry brown spider, lifting its little legs rhythmically, as if—yes, as if keeping time to the music. Right beside the blue bottle. The one with the crack that was seeping.

“What makes ye think it’s a he?” Scott wondered.

“With that face?”

Their bodies in close proximity, they studied the whimsical sight at some length.   

Finally Scott said, “He’s tipsy, that’s what. He’s been lappin’ up the leakage from that bottle.”

Bonnie giggled, grabbed a shot glass from the shelf, and plopped it down over the dancer. The spider just barely fit.

“There,” she said with satisfaction. “But now what?”

“We can’t very well slay him,” Scott said with feeling. “Not our little drinkin’ buddy.”

Bonnie’s eyes brightened—green they were, like grass on a rain-swept hill. “I’ve got an idea.”

Jumping up, she found a piece of paper, slipped it under the shot glass, and expertly inverted the whole shebang without allowing the spider any chance to escape. Then standing tall, she proudly held it out to Scott, still stuck there on his knees.

Scott brought his eyeball in for a good close look. “Oh, he’s angry now. Fightin’ mad. You’ve gone an’ shut down the bar.”

They laughed together at that one, and while Bonnie was considering her next move, Scott made it to his feet.

“Let’s send him on a little adventure,” she said. And smiling roguishly, she crooked her finger at Scott and tiptoed to the door.

Having a great deal of fun, Scott followed her into the empty corridor where Bonnie pulled open a laundry chute and dumped in the critter, shot glass and all.

“Bombs away!” she said merrily.

And after draining the bottle of blue, they parted for the evening in high humor.

 

  1. Pack up Your Troubles

Nyota Uhura was putting fresh sheets on her bed and humming a favorite tune when a big spider popped out from a fold of fabric.

Her eyes widened and the tune came to an abrupt end.

“Oh!” she gasped, instinctively freezing. With a creepy-crawly feeling, she noticed a whole horde of much smaller bugs milling around the awful thing. What could they be? Ever so cautiously she leaned in for a closer look and discovered that they were not bugs at all.

“Why…it’s babies!” she said aloud.

Her voice startled them. Tiny and furry and too many to count, they quickly scampered to the spider and climbed aboard. Like babies anywhere, they knew that their mother would keep them safe from the big scary giant.

Uhura’s heart promptly melted. Tearing her eyes from the adorable sight, she rushed out the door, eager to share her discovery. It was day’s end. Leonard McCoy happened to be passing by on the way to his cabin, and he looked even more tired than usual.

Nevertheless she exclaimed, “Doctor, come here, you have to see this!”

Seizing the Chief Surgeon by his arm, she pulled him into her cabin and was relieved to find that the spider had not moved even an inch. But the babies were back in motion. Not feeling immediately threatened, the bolder ones among them were climbing back down from their mama to explore the sheet yet again.

McCoy had probably expected a medical emergency. Taking stock of the situation, he cocked an acerbic eyebrow and asked, “Want me to squish em’?”

Uhura gasped. “Squish them? Not a chance!”

By now the weary doctor looked truly out of sorts. “My dear lady, we can’t have those things runnin’ loose around here. Someone’s liable to get bitten. Someone already has—and he wants them off his ship.”

“The captain?” She could not help but wonder where the spider got him. She had not noticed any bite in plain view.

“Never mind,” he said hastily. Seeing that Uhura’s motherly instinct was in full play, he explained, “Those little bitty ones won’t be cute for long. Then we’ll have a full scale infestation on our hands.”

Uhura knew he was right. And besides, how would she keep them—in a jar? What sort of life was that? “Maybe…maybe we can drop them off on some nice planet…”

McCoy bristled yet again. “You know better. Deliberately introducing a Terran species into an alien environment? The results could be catastrophic. Why, their native microbes alone might make their way into local populations and decimate them.”

Uhura’s heart sank. “But…but to kill them. When they’re so little and helpless like that.” Tears actually welled in her eyes.

Moved by the sight, McCoy gentled. “Now wait a minute. Let me think. Maybe we can figure somethin’ out.” He had not thought long before his worry lines smoothed a bit and his lips curved into the beginnings of a smile. “Hey, doesn’t Sulu have a couple of terrariums in his quarters? He could make some sort of covers for them…and when the babies got bigger, try to separate the boys from the girls so they don’t keep makin’ more babies …”

“That’s a wonderful idea!” Uhura said. Then reality threatened her budding hopes. “But do you think Captain Kirk would approve of it?”

With a conspiratorial gleam in his eye, the doctor drawled, “Who’s tellin’?”

Thrilled at the thought of rescuing her little family from extermination, Uhura impulsively kissed his cheek and murmured, “You really are a softie, aren’t you?”

McCoy’s smile widened into an endearing, self-conscious grin, and then he was on his way out the door.

 

  1.  No End of Trouble

“Come on, baby. Open wide. Here it comes…”

Hikaru Sulu gently laughed as he dangled a tasty morsel over the gaping maw of his Ardanan “pet”. Held by long tweezers, the spider scrabbled madly at the air as if sensing that the golden plant below him meant certain death. Aurea edacis—or “Edie” as Sulu called her, was prized by the Cloud Dwellers at Stratos for attracting unwanted insects and disposing of them efficiently.

But this spider was having none of it. He was not like the other members of Uhura’s thriving brood that went to their demise like good little vermin.

Thinking of Uhura, Sulu suddenly wondered if he had locked his cabin door. His smile faded at the thought of her coming unexpectedly upon this scene. She had no idea that he was now actively breeding wolf spiders for the sole purpose of keeping Edie fat and happy. The clients from his ant farm went into the spiders, and they in turn….well….

Sulu let the spider drop. But instead of running down Edie’s luscious red throat, it scurried just beneath the rim of her lips while Edie made soft, desperate noises.

Just then the door chimed.

Sulu swung around and stared at it, knowing that the door’s speaker would engage at the sound of his voice.

“Who’s there?” he asked.

“Pavel,” came the heavily accented response.

Sulu relaxed. Just Chekov—but even so, it was best to keep quiet about this. Word had a way of spreading like crazy through a starship.

“Uh…just a minute,” he said. Turning back to Edie, he found her relaxed and content, as if already digesting her meal. Apparently the spider had finally found its way down.

“Okay Pavel, come on in,” he called. And giving Edie a little pat, he failed to notice a small brown houseguest escaping out the door as his shipmate entered.

Helter-skelter it ran down the straight open place until, by chance, another portal opened. Two very large creatures dwelled within, but detecting moisture, the wolf spider darted headlong toward the scent. As he made the dangerous crossing, a set of grotesque lower appendages nearly flattened him, but onward he rushed and found the damp, dimly lit shelter he was seeking.

He had hardly settled in when the lights brightened. One of the tall creatures entered the area and moved straight toward him. Tensing, he prepared to jump out of its way.

But before reaching him the creature stopped, and from its great pink mouth came a very loud, frightening noise that sounded like, “Spoooock!”

 

oooOOoo

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