A Job For the Young; or, I Know You Are But What Am I?

© 2001 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


Captain's Log, Stardate 945...uh. I can't remember the rest. Not that it matters. Time is all relative, isn't it? Besides, I'm so bored I don't care what time it is. I haven't been this bored since that time my family drove all the way to Florida to see alligator wrestling and they let Sam drive and I had to sit in the back the whole way and look at the back of his stupid head. They didn't tell me at the Academy that when you weren't fighting bad guys or monsters, there really isn't anything for the captain to do. At least McCoy gets to play around with all that cool stuff in the lab and burn things or blow them up. I have to sit here in this big chair and watch Sulu and Chekov pass notes to each other. And Spock has been acting weird lately, like I have the crud or something. Maybe I'll ask Rand to pull the fire alarm. That'll wake everybody up.

Captain James T. "T-Bone" Kirk sat back in his command chair and sighed. He really was bored, and it showed - in the way he slouched, the way he idly drummed his fingers on the armrest, the way he snapped his gum. Oh, there were things he could be doing - inspecting the quarters of female crewmembers, raiding the galley for Cheeze-Its[TM], or even dealing with the backlog of 274 messages in his email box - but all he really wanted to do was go hang out with Spock and play video chess. Life was so unfair.

Well, at least he could listen to his favorite song. He turned up the music on the intercom and nodded his head in time with the music; he was really getting into the guitar solo over the middle eight when his chair jerked violently forward. He spun around and glared at Uhura, who was smiling innocently at him.

"Uhura! Quit it!" Kirk barked.

"I'm sorry, Captain, I don't know what you're talking about." She gave him her sweetest look and went back to doodling on the Spanking List: Mrs. Spock, Mrs. Nyota Spock, Mr. and Mrs. Spock, Mr. and Mrs. Nyota Spock...

"Yes you do. Stop kicking my chair all the time, or I'll tell Spock, and then you'll be in trouble." He drew the last word out to emphasize his point. Uhura just stuck her tongue out at him.

"Oh, now I'm really afraid. I wouldn't kick your chair if I wasn't so bored. Can't you change the radio station at least? I hate this song." It really bugged her that the Captain's Radio Station was the one ship's function she couldn't control, no matter how many times she'd tried to hack into it.

"When you can drive the ship, you get to pick the radio station," Kirk said smugly, turning away from her. A second later he pitched forward out of his chair while Uhura laughed nastily at him and the rest of the bridge crew tried not to giggle. "HEY! QUIT IT! SPOCK!" Kirk yelled, forgetting that Spock was doing science down in his lab.

"Oh, shut up! You're not the boss of me - oh wait, you are. Well, fine. See if I ever take a message for you again." Uhura stuck her radio receiver in her ear and decided to ignore Kirk and eavesdrop on the rec room.

"Fine. Be that way." Kirk said loudly, making sure everyone heard him. There was no point in sulking if nobody knew what you were mad about. Uhura was always so bossy, not like the other girls on the ship who just smiled at him and would always talk about what he wanted to talk about. He wished Uhura wasn't so pretty and that he didn't like her so much.

"Would you two just SHUT UP? I can't hear the radio!" Sulu cried, losing his concentration. It was distracting enough that Chekov's last note had said "Meet me in the #8 Jeffries tube after work - and come alone. PS. I think the Captain likes Uhura", but all the arguing on the bridge was making him screw up his course plotting: Now, if we go to the Shore Leave planet first, then to Wrigley's, we can save three days and end up on Risa before anyone will know we're gone...

Just then the communications board beeped loudly and Kirk's radio station automatically shut off. Uhura, annoyed that she had to do some work, put down her stylus with a huge sigh. "Incoming call, *Captain*."

"Who is it? If it's Komack tell him I'm not here. Tell him I went out," Kirk said nervously. Komack was the one person he didn't want to hear from. Stupid Starfleet, always checking up on you, like they didn't trust you to do anything on your own!

"I'm not going to lie for you again. Besides, he's your friend, not mine," Uhura said as she flipped a switch, causing Komack's face to appear on the big screen. He looked pissed.

"Hello, Jim. How's every little thing?" Komack was at least pretending to be friendly.

Kirk swallowed and affected a casual pose, one arm draped over the back of the chair. "Oh, hi. What's up?"

"I'll tell you what's up, young man. You are one week late with your annual status report and I need it *now*." Now he sounded pissed.

"It was due last week? Really?" Kirk made a mighty effort to sound surprised and genuinely concerned. It always worked with Spock.

"Jim, you knew that. I sent you a memo." Komack folded his arms.

"It must have gotten lost in the mail. I never saw it." Oh shit, this isn't working - I knew I should have been checking my mail every day but that computer is soooooo slow...

"It went directly to your mailbox. I saw it. Don't blame this one on me," Uhura hissed at him, tapping his chair with her toe.

"Thanks a *lot*," he whispered back to her. Think fast, Kirk, say something decisive. "Oh, OK, yeah, I remember now. Can I get it to you next week? I have a lot of stuff to do right now."

"No, I want it tomorrow!" Komack snapped. Well, negotiating didn't work - let's try pity, Kirk thought. He summoned up his most pathetic expression.

"But I'll never get it done by then! I have too much to do, and I was supposed to play chess with Spock tonight!" Kirk twisted around in his seat, slumping down until the top of his head was even with the back of the chair. He even pouted, knowing how adorable he looked when he pouted. But it was like throwing pebbles at a tank.

"I don't care. Get it to me by tomorrow or I'm taking away your captain's license. Komack out." The screen went black.

"Great. He is so mean to me. Now I have to waste my whole evening writing a stupid report," Kirk muttered to himself. Unless...

Looking around the bridge, he snapped into command mode, knowing he had to take control of the situation. "Uhura, are you busy tonight?" he asked crisply.

She didn't even glance up from her padd. "No way, not me, I'm not doing your homework."

"Chekov? Please? I'll be your best friend," Kirk promised, fluttering his eyelids.

"Not me," Chekov said reflexively, as he did whenever Kirk promised to be his best friend. He passed another note to Sulu, this one asking if he had a girlfriend. Kirk leapt to his feet, ready to collar the first lieutenant he could grab, but he was assaulted by a chorus of "Not me either!" , "No way!", and "I'm not falling for that again!".

"Damn. I guess I'll have to go ask Spock for help. He types really fast. I'll be in my quarters. Sulu, you take the con." As Kirk sped into the turbo lift, the radio played a short stab of dramatic music, then went silent. Sulu and Uhura looked at each other.

"How does he do that?" Sulu asked. Uhura just shrugged her shoulders and went back to drawing stars and flowers next to her name.

Kirk sat behind his desk, spinning slowly around in his chair. Spock said he'd be up as soon as he was done with his experiment, so he had at least an hour to kill. Today's mail held only three messages from his mother, all of them asking when he was going to visit and why he hadn't written. He was tired of playing with the Klingon and Romulan action figures, complete with weapons, that he'd picked up in the Starfleet Academy gift shop; and the online game of Battleship he'd been playing with Suzanne Brandt had been over when she'd sunk his last ship and sent him an IM that said "I WIN AGAIN. LOSER." If there was such a thing as a sore winner, that was her. He wished Brandt wasn't so pretty and that he didn't like her so much. Girls.

He decided to buzz Sickbay.

"McCoy here."

"Hi, Bones. Wanna come up to my room? We could make prank phone calls to Nogura."

"Sorry, Jim, I'm busy. Don't you have work to do?" McCoy sounded annoyed.

"Yeah, but I don't feel like doing it. Come on. I'll make popcorn."

"Jim, I have a job to do on this ship. It so happens that I'm right in the middle of developing a new synthahol formula, one that tastes like fruit and whipped cream. Chapel says it'll be a big hit on Chippendale night in the rec room."

"OhhhhhhhKaaaaaaaay." Kirk injected as much self-pity into those two syllables as he could manage.

"Oh, stop whining and clean your room. McCoy out."

Cleaning his room was the last thing he was going to do. But Spock was coming up, and it did look pretty bad. Hurriedly he grabbed all the dirty laundry and stuffed it in the closet, and pushed all the comic books under the bed; that wasn't too bad, if you didn't notice the empty candy boxes on the dresser. Just then the door chimed.

"Come," he said, tugging down his shirt.

Spock entered, looking apprehensive.

"Spock! Great. You gotta help me. There's this report that I was supposed to do, OK? And I didn't get to it, and now Komack's really mad, and he wants it by tomorrow, you know? And nobody else will help me with it, but nobody's as smart as you, Spock, so could you like, tell me what it should say, and then, you know, help me type in it, and maybe sorta of format it for me, cause you're so good at that, and...Spock, are you listening to me?"

Spock dragged his gaze away from the candy wrappers and cleared his throat. "Jim, I must tell you of my ...feelings for you. When we are on the bridge together I cannot help but watch you..."

"What? You've been staring at me on the bridge? Oh my god. Did anyone see you? Oh my god." Now he knew why Spock had been acting like a space cadet! Well, a space commander, to be accurate.

"Jim, please..."

"Oh my god. I bet my hair looks terrible half the time. Now that I know you're staring at me I won't be able to get anything done. Oh my god." Did everyone on the bridge know about this but him? Uhura never missed anything that happened, and she watched Spock all the time! Great, just great.

"Jim, I did not say I was staring at you-"

"Yes you did! Are you calling me a liar?" he demanded.

Spock jumped to his feet. "Did not! Shut up!"

"No, you shut up!"

"No, you! You're not the boss of me - oh wait, you are. Well, fine." He threw his clipboard to the floor and stomped out of Kirk's quarters. If only Kirk wasn't so pretty and he didn't like him so much. The door swooshed shut.

"Fine. See if I care," Kirk mumbled to himself.

An hour later he had thrown his baseball against the wall 1,458 times and it hadn't helped. Even if he started the report now, he'd never get it done by tomorrow. If only...if only he could go back in time, he could get it done *and* get it in before Komack even noticed it...

Wait! That was it! They'd gone back in time before - back to the twentieth century, once, and that other time just back a whole day. Sure, it was dangerous, and it might blow up the ship and everyone with it, but if he could get that report in on time, it would be worth it! He punched the comm button excitedly.

"Scotty! I need a really big favor!"

"Take tha Enterprise back in time a whole week? Nae, it canna be done!" Scotty shouted, crossing his arms and looking defiant.

"Look, mister, I know it *can* be done, because we've done it," Kirk said, crossing his arms too.

"Well then, I don't *want* to do it. Why do you need to take the whole bloody ship back in time?"

Kirk crossed over to the calendar hanging on Scotty's office wall, the one that showed a pin-up girl that looked suspiciously like that girl Spock dated once, the snotty blonde one, Droxine. He pointed to the previous Monday. "Because that was the day my annual report was due, and Komack is going to rip me a new one because I didn't get it done on time."

"Well, why don't ya just send the report back in time so it shows up on his desk last Monday?"

Kirk paused, letting this sink in. "Scotty - that's - that's BRILLIANT!" They high-fived each other and did a little victory dance around the office.

"So, Scotty, how are you gonna do it?"

"Oh aye, it's easy. I'll just make a wee pod for the report, send it out so fast that it whips around the sun a coupla times, and set it to land at Starfleet. It's a doddle."

"All right! Well, I'll go start writing. I'll let you know when it's done." He started to leave, then paused at the door. "Scotty, have you always been able to send things back in time?"

"Oh, aye." He sounded as if he did it every day.

"How come you never mentioned it to me?"

"Actually, I did. If you look on your desk you'll see a report I sent in about a year ago..."

"Oh. OK." Puzzled, he left.

Scotty sighed and started making plans to build two pods.

Twelve hours and twelve cups of Rand's high-voltage coffee later, the report was done, sealed in its little pod, and ready to be launched.

"Ready to go, Captain," Uhura said. "And I can't believe you're making the whole ship help you out with this. Spock *always* has his reports done on time."

"Yeah, well, he's not the captain, is he? And neither are you, so can it."

"Pod away, sir!" Chekov said, pointing at the screen. They all watched as the little point of light zipped away towards the sun and vanished in the blaze of reds and yellows, causing the Enterprise to rattle and shake from the aftershock.

"McCoy here! What in blazes is going on? Don't make me come up there!" he shouted through the intercom.

"It's OK, Bones, I was just getting some work done, as per your orders. Did you figure out the daiquiri formula?"

"Yes, and you all can have some as soon as you stop shaking the ship around. Party in Lab 27 tonight at eight. Bring your swimsuits. McCoy out."

A general cheer went up from the bridge crew. Spock looked significantly at Kirk, who gulped and turned his attention back to the padd, which contained a coded message from Brandt. He watched as the symbols resolved into a sentence: "I BET I CAN BEAT YOU AT WRESTLING TOO. MEET ME AT STARBASE 4 IN THREE DAYS OR ELSE."

His chair jolted forward. "Incoming message from Komack, Captain, ha ha ha," Uhura said, and switched the message to the main screen before he could stop her.

"You are in so much trouble - Oh, hi, Admiral, how's it going?" Kirk slid his hand down under the padd and crossed his fingers.

"Kirk! Where's that damn report? No excuses this time, mister!"

"Well, sir, it turns out that I actually finished it and sent it a week ago. It must have slipped my mind. If you check in that stack of reports on your desk, sir, I think you'll find it's been there all along." He hoped he was right.

Komack started rifling through the folders on his left, going ever deeper in the pile. Kirk started to sweat. Uhura stopped kicking his chair. Chekov passed one last note to Sulu that said "I bet I can beat you at wrestling too. Meet me in the gym after work". Everyone held their breath.

And there it was! Kirk recognized the shiny red plastic cover he'd chosen and the bright yellow yarn he'd used for the binding. Komack picked it up and looked shocked, then angry, then mildly amused.

"Well, Kirk, you've done the impossible once again. But I'm warning you - you can't pull these stunts forever. One day it'll all catch up to you and then you'll have to take what's coming to you, young man."

"Yes sir. Hope you enjoy the report, sir. Kirk out." He waited until the screen had faded to black and then added, "Dickweed."

Uhura turned up the radio and had environmental control add a little more oxygen to the bridge air mix just to liven things up. She walked over to Spock's station and stood right behind him. "Hi, Spock. Whatcha doing?"

"Working, lieutenant. As you should be."

"Heck, I'm done for today. Spock, will you go to the party with me tonight?"

"Well, ah, I don't think - that is, I have a lot to do -"

"Oh, Spock, I know you like the captain, but honey, he's just not right for you," she said sympathetically.

Spock turned several shades of olive.

"Look, Spock, if you go to the party with me I'll show you some very interesting Vulcan comic books that I found in a little bookstore on Risa. Comics for adults. Know what I mean?" She winked at him.

Kirk, tired of watching his bridge staff all make dates for the party, "ahem"-ed very loudly.

"Thank you all for helping with that mission. I owe you guys a big one." Everyone smiled and shrugged their shoulders, murmuring "No problem", "Sure", and "Duh".

"And now, Mr. Sulu, set a course for Starbase 4." Kirk looked at the padd in his lap again. "We need to be there in three days. Or else."

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