© 2003 Marlene Taylor
Disclaimer: This original work of amateur fiction is based on the TV series "Star Trek" which is owned by Paramount, Viacom, and whoever owns them. This not-for-profit piece of fan fictionis not intended to infringe on that ownership. The author's copyright extends only to the original material in this work.
Suzanne Brandt, gelstones, and lime-flavored jello are property of Jungle Kitty and are used with permission.
The six gelstones were perfect: perfectly blue, perfectly round, and perfectly warm in Kirk's hand. They also made perfectly musical "pings" as they spilled from his palm on to the floor and rolled away into six different dark corners of his cabin.
Dammit, he thought. That didn't help. "Oh, fudge," he said quietly. Nope, no good.
"DAMN IT!" Kirk shouted. There, that was a little better. Now what? He could call Rand and ask her to crawl around on the floor and find the little buggers, but then he'd have to explain to her why he had opened the presentation box in the first place. Probably better to deal with this personally. No job too big or too small for this captain. Sighing, he got down on his knees and began to search the cabin, quadrant by quadrant.
There was one by the door. The exquisitely carved box had come directly from Ambassador Sarek with instructions not to open it until Kirk gave it to the Keferians during the welcoming ceremony tomorrow. Since Sarek himself could not attend, Kirk had the less-than-thrilling job of introducing everyone, handing over the little ebony box, and reciting the stilted words he'd spent an hour memorizing. Ceremony. What fun. The gift of the gelstones was a grand opening gesture by the Federation in these trade negotiations and it needed to go off like clockwork. He thought of Manhattan and wondered if the Keferians knew these were worth a whole lot more than $24.
Another one, cowering behind the foot of his chair. The left side of his brain said that he'd looked in the box to make sure they hadn't been damaged in transit, or stolen, or something; the right side knew he'd looked just because he'd never seen this type of stone up close before, and once he had the box open, the little blue spheres seemed to want him to take them out of the dark. Kirk had suddenly wanted to know what it felt like to hold a king's ransom in the palm of his hand. They were curiously warm, as if heated from within, like tiny stars - that was part of their legend, and their appeal. But nobody had told him how friggin' slippery they were.
Number three had rolled behind his plant. And number four was wedged between the wall and the leg of the desk. He slid under the desk, reaching out to grasp it gently between thumb and forefinger so as not to damage it and -
"Captain Kirk?" Spock's voice came from directly above, causing him to jerk up and smack his head on the underside of the desk. Hard. Good to know I can hear the intercom down here, he thought, stifling a groan.
"Captain?" Spock said again. Kirk hauled himself up off the floor and carefully put the four little beauties back in their box.
"Kirk here," he replied wearily.
"Would you care to play chess this evening, Captain?" Thursday night, their usual play date.
"Thanks, but not tonight, Spock. I have a ... headache." He rubbed the top of his head gingerly; there was already a bump.
"Do you require medical assistance, Captain?" Spock asked. Kirk could swear he was being teased.
"Not necessary, Spock. I just need some sleep. Big day tomorrow." Which will be a total snafu if I don't find the rest of the present.
"Understood. I will be at your cabin at 0800 hours to review the presentation ceremony with you. Spock out." The light on the intercom winked out and it was back to hide and seek.
As he crawled into his bedroom he was aware of how strong the ship's vibration felt, down here on the floor: that special resonance he'd come to recognize as unique to the Enterprise, a signature as distinctive as a woman's perfume or the sound of a lover's voice. He put his ear to the deck and listened. Scotty had reported that the engines weren't functioning at their maximum capacity lately, and the engineering staff hadn't figured out why - yet. As if the ship was tired, Scotty said. Vitamins, Kirk had replied, but he was concerned just the same. Now he could hear it, he thought - a slight weariness to her hum, a certain mournfulness in the low constant rumble.
I'm sorry, he thought. I've been neglecting you. When we're done with the Keferians and their apples I'll make sure you're tuned up from top to bottom. Those swabbies will work like demons. If you're happy, I'm happy.
He found the fifth gelstone at the edge of his dresser. And out of the corner of his eye he glimpse the sixth and last one, under his bed. Oh god, when was the last time he'd looked under the bed? Come to think of it, when was the first time? He gathered up his courage and dove in.
Of course it rolled even further away as he reached for it. He came up with a handful of dust and one blue marble, which seemed to be laughing at him. "Got you, you little bastard," he said triumphantly. The dust made him sneeze. What was the point of having a staff if they didn't make sure the cabins were clean? Where was the Ship's Floor Buffer when you needed him?
"Oh, get over it, Kirk," he said aloud. The last time he'd cleaned his own cabin was just before he'd taken command of the Lydia Sutherland - far too long ago. Captain Garrovick had probably cleaned under *his* bed every day. He'd have to remember to ask Suzanne Brandt if there was dust in her Captain's Quarters.
He put the gems away in their box, locked the box in his desk, got a towel out of the bathroom, and began sweeping up the thick layer of dust under his sleeping area. There. Clean and clean - but there was a small area that seemed to be discolored. He got a portable light and shone it under the bed, and was amazed at what he found.
Set into the flooring of the deck was a square the size of his hand, marked with the Starfleet emblem, the Enterprise symbol, and Captain's stripes. OK, that made sense - it was his cabin, after all. Kirk looked more closely and saw that in fact there was a faint depression in the square, exactly the size of his hand - an ID system? The key to a lock? Had someone been stealing papers from his inbox again?
"Computer," he barked, sitting down at the very hard desk, "display schematic of my quarters. Zoom in on sleeping area." The deck under the bed showed nothing, just the plain floor grid over normal ship's infrastructure...wait. There it was. A red dot on the screen, nothing more, but in the same place.
"Computer, identify object at location D789." The image accelerated toward him until it filled the screen: a big red dot.
"Restricted," the computer voice informed him.
"Access permitted to Captain James T. Kirk pending voiceprint identification and level one security code..." it droned on. Kirk dutifully provided his code and sat back in his chair. On screen the red dot slowly resolved into two words that glowed at him:
"If this is a joke, it's not funny," he said to the computer, which remained silent. He wondered briefly if it was possible for Gary Mitchell to have set this up as a little post-mortem prank. What on earth could that mean, "captain's privilege"? He racked his brain, trying to remember if he'd heard any jokes, or rumors, or even the slightest reference to the thing under the bed - but there was nothing, nothing at all.
"Computer, retrieve all information on the Captain's Privilege."
"One entry. Use reserved for the captain of the Enterprise only."
The professional tension Kirk had felt before - warning him against the possibility of a trap, some alien danger - was gone, replaced by a delicious anticipation. This thing, whatever it was, was there for him and Starfleet knew about it. Maybe it was...a present.
He got down on the deck again and shone the light on the dark square, looking for symbols, marks, anything that would give him a clue. Nothing. He ran his fingers along the edges of the square, then over the slight depression in the center. Nothing happened.
Well, here goes nothing. He pressed his hand firmly into the center - and his hand fit perfectly; so it *had* been made for him - waited a few moments, and then removed it.
But just as he was about to call it a day, he heard a soft click from somewhere under the deck. The square slid back into a hidden recess, revealing another square of what seemed utter darkness. When he looked more closely he realized that it wasn't solid, like a piece of decking; the surface seemed to move, as if it was liquid. He got his tricorder and discovered that he was looking at a very small, very concentrated energy field.
Now how could you use an energy field this tiny, and in such a strange place? He went over the tricorder readings again: the energy would be harmless if touched, wouldn't interact negatively with anything in the cabin. And for the second time that day he had the impression that an inanimate object wanted him to touch it.
Gingerly he touched the tip of his finger to the "surface" of the square and watched it disappear into the blackness.
It felt: warm, welcoming, firm, tingling, wet, pulsating, alive.
He withdrew his finger. It wasn't wet at all, but the cabin air felt cool on his skin, which was now a rosy pink. And just a little swollen. Hmm. What does this remind me of, he thought. He looked at his finger, and he looked into the beckoning darkness.
He remembered the words he's spoken to Spock when the Psi-2000 virus had been in his bloodstream, words that had given form to his feelings about his ship. His ship, and no one else's. "I give...she takes," he'd said, and it was true. The Captain's Privilege was giving his ship everything.
Kirk was suddenly aware that his erection was pressing uncomfortably against the front of his pants.
This is crazy, Left Brain said to him. Just because it's there doesn't mean you have to do anything. You have a filthy mind.
She wants you, Right Side whispered. She wants you to do it. If it felt like that around your finger, just imagine what she can do for your Horatio Hornblower.
You guys are nuts. I'm out of here, Left Side said, and then it was very quiet in Kirk's mind.
Taking a deep breath, he opened his trousers, pulled out his eager pink cock, and positioned himself over the square.
He lowered himself slowly into the blackness, a reverse push-up, and the warm, welcoming, firm, tingling, wet, pulsating, living energy of the Enterprise surrounded his cock. The vibration of the ship was strong now against his cheek and the palms of his hands. He moved his hips, rocking gently, and by god if it didn't feel like a cunt and a mouth and a hand and lime-flavored jello all at once, sucking at him, caressing, gripping him firmly and encasing him in heat. Suddenly he felt a thrill, an arrow of pleasure straight up and into his groin and he came explosively into the depths of - well - the depths of whatever it was he was fucking.
He lay panting, gasping. Was it his imagination, or did her voice sound different now - quicker, happier? Yes, that was it, she was happy. With him. Good to know I still have it, he thought, and then laughed giddily at the very thought of telling someone, anyone, about his latest roll in the quadrotriticale. His cock was soft now, still tingling in the inky pool of energy.
"Never lose you...never," he murmured to the deck.
When he rolled over he laid very still for a while, letting himself relax, a thing which had not happened for a very long time. He heard the square slide shut and when he looked at it all was as it had been, and if you didn't know what you were looking for, you'd miss it. Tomorrow he would start cleaning his own cabin.
He shucked the rest of his clothes and sat naked at his very hard desk, wondering if this was the kind of thing you were supposed to put in your personal log. Just then the intercom beeped.
"Scott here, Captain. Just wanted you to know that the energy fluctuations we've been seeing are gone now. She seems to be at maximum efficiency, all systems at one hundred percent. I can't reckon out how it happened, though."
Kirk smiled hugely. "Thank you, Scotty. Maybe she was just trying to get us...to pay attention."
"Aye, sir, I wouldn't put it past her. She's a canny one, she is. Scott out."
Great weariness swept over him and Kirk wanted nothing more than to sleep; sleep, and wake up bright and early for all the fun tomorrow would bring. Probably best not to think about the Captain's Privilege right now. Probably best to sleep. He laid flat on his bunk and felt, as always, the comforting hum of the Enterprise.
Then a thought occurred to him that was so startling, so *disturbing*, that he sat straight up and stared into the darkness.
What was under the bed in Brandt's cabin?