Friday, December 28, 2012

'Tis Charity to Show Chapter IV Part 6


‘Tis Charity to Show
Chapter IV
Part 6


Literally an hour had passed and nothing had changed since Rand had turned on the recorder; the mind-numbing, drone-like reams of entries on Dr. Ellis’ uneventful working days came at her like paint balls, pelting her with useless information and no possible leads.

Rand yarned, not even bothering to stifle it.  She needed a break, but she pressed on, knowing that there were more wafers and more logs that needed her attention.  Rand brought her hands up level to her chin and looked down into her nails, wishing she could get a manicure.

“I can’t really understand this.  I don’t know if it’s too much exposure from the sun or what, but I’m getting these dry, patchy rashes on my arms and shoulders.  It’s becoming fairly distracting to me.  I’ll have to go to Dr. Grimes to see if she has anything for them.  This can’t be my childhood eczema, that’s certain, since I was cured of that condition when I was 8 years old…”

Rand reached over and pushed the ‘off’ button in utter exasperation.

“What you need, lady, is a cure for your talent of bringing on catatonic inducement,” Rand said in hopeless disgust.

Like she thought to herself before, she needed a break. 

Now, she was taking one.

Leaving the wafer inside the recorder, Rand scooped up the remaining wafers on the desk and stacked them, placing them next to the leather envelope.  She pushed herself away from the desk and got up from her chair when something made her pause midpoint.

“What the hell’s that?”  It was coming from behind the door.

That noise.

What was making that racket? Was someone moving furniture?

“It sounds like a lot more furniture than we have out there.”

Puzzled, Rand turned away from the desk and went to the door and opened it.  She poked her head out, stretching out her neck and leaning towards that noise.  Then, stepping out of the office and closing the door behind her, Rand walked down the hall, the noise getting louder as she got closer to the meeting room.  She turned the corner and then suddenly stopped, taking in the peculiar sight in front of her.

“What is all this?”

Obstructing the door to the meeting room was a row of chairs, small tables, tools, carts and containers, some were set up straight, some were upturned like they were knocked over, very much like the way the furniture was left when the landing party first got here.

“What’s all this stuff doing out in the hall?”

Was the floor being mopped?   Rand, incredulous, looked up from all the stuff in the hall to see Riley pushing the couch she had sat on earlier in the day.

“Riley?”

She headed over to the meeting room, angling her way to the side so as to not injure herself among the chaos.

On entering the meeting room, Rand saw that the row of stuff formed a curving line that went from the hall to the middle of the room’s interior, with pieces of furniture and other items that she was seeing for the first time since staying at this site.  At the end of all this mess was Riley, standing from a distance, his eyes narrowed, his stance wide-legged, his arms stiff and away from his body.  He was a man focused, obsessed, his head scanning over the furniture, the tools, the containers, the carts.

“Uh, excuse me!  Riley!  What in the hell are you doing?  What is all this?  Why are all these things out here?  Where’d you get all this?”

She looked at Riley, baffled, her arms outstretched to her sides, palms facing up.

Riley spoke to her, though he never took his eyes off his monstrosity, as he stepped up to an upright stool, picked it up, laid it to its side, and stepped back.

“Earth to Riley!  What the hell are you doing?”

Rand raised her voice, even though she was sure Riley had heard her the first time.  Finally, he turned to her indignantly, like an artist interrupted while working on his masterpiece.

“For your information, I’m making my obstacle course!”

“Your what?”

“My obstacle course, for Christ’s Sake!  You went to the Academy!   You know what they are!”

“You’re making an obstacle course,” Rand said more as a statement than a question.

“An obstacle course, yes!”

“Uh, why Kevin?”

“Why?”  Riley asked the question like it should have been obvious to her.  “I’m gonna tackle an obstacle course that’ll put that asshole’s to shame!”

“Asshole?  What asshole?”

“Russo!”

Rand took a beat and really looked at Riley, not quite believing what she was hearing.

“Russo?  You mean your instructor from back in the Academy?”  Rand asked this question in a low, deliberate voice, like she was talking to a mental patient brandishing a butter knife.

Well, he certainly was being mental!

“That instructor from back in the Academy gave me a C grade, remember? I told you about him!”  he implored, his palms facing up, his fingers clenching desperately.  “He totally fucked up my GPA!  I told you that!”

“Okay, yeah.  But that was a long time ago, Kevin.  You’re a navigator on one of the finest ships in Starfleet, and you didn’t have to make up any classes.  You graduated with the rest of your class.  You need to get over it, and you can’t have all this crap out here.”

Rand walked over to the stool that Riley had earlier rearranged.  “I’ve never seen this stool before.  A lot of this stuff I’m seeing for the first time.”

Riley shrugged.  “They were in storage.”

“Storage?” 

“The door at the very end of the pantry.  There’s stools, more folding tables and chairs, shelves.”

“Really?”

“Yeah.”

Rand picked up the stool and turned to Riley.  “Thanks for telling me where you found all this junk, ‘cause I’m putting it all back ASAP.”

“What do you mean?”

“What?  You want me to spell it out for you?  I’m putting this stuff back and you’re going to help me, since you’re the one who made the mess with all this shit.”

“Put that stool down,” said Riley threateningly.

“Kevin, you can’t have all this stuff out here just because you have some ancient vendetta towards some past gym instructor.  Now, if you’re not going to help me then move out of the way.”

“You’re not going anywhere with that!  Put that down,” yelled Riley stomping his foot, his fist clentched.

Rand lowered her eyes at Riley, like a parent gently scolding a whiney child misbehaving in the aisle of a busy grocery store.

“Now stop this, Kevin,” she said levelly.  “I’m putting this stuff away…”

“No, you don’t!"

“Kevin…”

Riley rushed towards Rand and accosted the stool she was carrying with both hands, pulling at its legs viciously while Rand held on to its seat, pulling back with equal fervor.

“Kevin, this is childish!  Put the damn stool down!”

Riley’s face was a bright red as he yanked, pulled, and even threw in an occasional kick at Rand’s ankles.

“You put the chair down and leave my obstacle course alone!  Leave me alone, you cunt!”

What?

Did he just call me cunt?

That did it!

 Feeling herself losing her composure, Rand released the chair in utter disgust, allowing Riley to tumble backward to the floor, his legs flaling in the air.  Rand went over to Riley and stood over him, jabbing an accusing finger at him while he stared up at her, his face grimacing from the contact the back of his head made with the floor.

“If I’m a cunt, then I can just get Mr. Spock to help you clean up this shit!”

Rand then took a breath, fighting to regain her cool.  She crossed her arms and turned her head to the side, raising her brows in an expression that both dared Riley to do something else stupid and condescended him for being stupid in the first place.

“You like Mr. Spock, don’t you?  Always a pleasure to work with him,” she said smugly.

Indeed, Rand hoped that this tactic would work, since she really didn’t want to have to call on Spock herself.  Not after that episode yesterday.  Let Riley deal with Spock all by himself should the first officer decide to leave his quarters and see this absurd trailing mess.

“You know dinner should be ready in about an hour, so I f think it would be best if you started on this now so that we can have a place to sit down and place our food, genius!”

Rand looked at Riley sitting on the floor and thought to herself how much he looked like a child, sitting there poking his lip out, his shoulders hunched.  She shook her head and started to turn when she heard a thick clang, like something falling on the floor, so she turned to see what is was.

“What the…”

Rand felt her right foot get caught under something, and by the time she realized it was a small cart laid on its side she lost her balance and tumbled, arms waving about wildly in a sorry attempt to regain herself, her body falling hard on the metal cart, its edges hitting her simultaneously in her chest and upper thighs.

Rand laid there, spilled over the cart, the pain in her chest and thighs stabbing and ebbing into her muscles and flesh in waves of numbing, excruciating punishment.  

She struggled to get up from the cart, but Rand was in such pain that she opted to stay where she was until the pain lessened, until she could get up.  During this time, Rand heard something, something rather out of place in light of what just happened to her.

“HA HA HA HA HA…..”

Laughter?

Was she hearing right?

Riley was standing over her, his body doubled up in laughter, high-pitched, maniacal.

He laughed so hard that, at one point, he had to sit back down on the floor, fat tears streaming down his cherry red face, his mouth contorting widely like a zoo animal at feeding time.

Yuck it up, asswipe!

Rand felt the rage build in her, rising from the soles of her feet to the top of her head, boiling inside her body.

 She wanted to rush him, beat him down like a hammer to a nail, until he was buried in the floor, but she was in too much pain to move.  Rand could only watch while Kevin Riley’s laughter became more and more hoarse, discordant, as he reveled in a twisted sort of fun at her expense.



















Thursday, December 27, 2012

'Tis Charity to Show Chapter IV Part 5


‘Tis Charity to Show
Chapter IV
Part 5


It wasn’t the furnishings in the small cramped room that gave it its clutter; there was only a desk, a chair, and a slender cabinet in the whole area.  Boxes of artifacts and specimens sorted and unsorted, knapsacks of tools, and a plethora of digital devices, were what crowded what was fairly small space.  No expense was spared in that every corner of Dr. Ellis’ office was being utilized for all they were worth. 

But in spite of the orderly compartmentalizing of items in the room, Rand had a difficult time navigating through the narrow pathways created by all the stuff.  Clearing what she could so she could create a clear space for herself at the desk, Rand sat down, took the wafers out of the leather envelope and spread them out onto the desk in fan-like formation.  She pulled out all the wafers that have been dated and placed them aside, taking the undated wafers and replacing them back into the envelope.

“No need listening to wafers with nothing on them,” she quipped.

Rand sighed and looked out of the window that was right over her desk.  The sun was not as high up as before, and the sky was a slightly darker shade of turquoise as was characteristic of the afternoon.  She gazed onto the warm- hued, darkly sanded landscape and thanked God there was a window in this miserable little closet of a room, or she’d have to burst a hole in the walls just to stop from feeling like they were closing in on her.

Rand put the leather envelope aside and pulled Dr. Ellis’ recorder towards her. 

“At least she left the thing on the desk so I wouldn’t have to fish for it,” she thought.

The recorder wasn’t portable like Rand’s, but a bulky, cumbersome, rectangular block of as device that resembled the old recorder of 20th Century Earth, except that the insides contained flat silver plates that operated wafers.  Rand picked up the wafer with the earliest date, pressed the open button which flipped up the hatch to the recorder, and placed the wafer inside.

Closing the hatch to the recorder, Rand pressed the ‘on’ button, slumped in her chair and waited while tapping her feet to the floor.  As a result of her yeoman training at the Academy, Rand was familiar with the various jargons used in many professions, but because her father was a professor of Anthropology and because she herself had a degree in the same field, she was especially familiar with the jargon that Dr. Ellis would be using in her logs, like grid, in situ, debitage, test pit.

Having a working knowledge on anthropological and archeological terms wouldn’t mean a damn thing if the Good Archeologist mentioned nothing that might give her leads on their disappearance.

“This is the log of Dr. Adrienne Ruth Ellis on the date of…”

“Oh, boy,” thought Rand.

The voice of Dr. Ellis wasn’t going to make this task any easier, since it had a flat, drone-like quality to it that made Rand recall many a heavy-lidded period where she fought mightily to keep her head from thudding on her classroom desk.  Recounts of a new found artifact, what it might have been used for and the minute detail of its physical characteristics, coupled with that voice, was enough to send Rand into a tailspin of a stupor.

“Always fun to revisit my college days,” she groaned, throwing her head back in mock self-pity.

This was going to be a long one!

Yuck.















Thursday, December 20, 2012

An Important Message concerning a blogspot called The Secret Tool.

Greetings.

I don't know just how many of you out there have been referred to my blog because of a certain site called The Secret Tool, but I have gotten 21 hits from them in one day, the date in which this entry is being posted.

From my understanding of this site, they will post different websites on their sidebar so that visitors of their blog will give you hits. This is all I know.

I'm not sure as to why they do this. Perhaps, it's a way to draw your attention to their blog.

I don't know.

One thing I do know, though.

When I get hits to my blog, I want them to come from legit sources and not from spammers.

I want this to stop.

If you have been redirected to my site in the hope that you would make some kind of monetary gain, then you've no doubt come to the wrong place.

This is a fan fiction blog, and you can't, nor are you allowed to, profit from fan fiction.

So, let me be the first to apologize to you for being led astray by this strange tool called The Secret Tool.

There is no money to be made here.

And as for the site owners of the Secret Tool, there is no soliciting on my site. Please, stop giving me automated hits.

Thank you.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

'Tis Charity to Show Chapter IV Part 4


Tis Charity to Show
Chapter IV
Part 4


Things have settled down to a sense of normalcy.  Mr. Scott and Dr. Begay had set up a table for themselves and sat down for a relaxing game of Backgammon.  Nurse Rose was sitting down in a threadbare, cushioned chair, absorbed in a novel she was reading from her padd.  Rand sat on an equally threadbare couch in a corner of the room, apart from the others, unable, as she tried, to get back to a normalcy of her own.

Rand was constantly crossing and uncrossing her legs, tossing her long, ponytailed hair, and biting her lower lip.  Squirming her butt into the cushion underneath her, she would pass a discrete glance over at the others.  A part of her wondered if they were watching her, if they were aware of her behavior, and another part of her, quite frankly, didn’t give a shit.   Rand smiled to herself as she grabbed her ponytail, wrapped it over her eyes, and held it against the intense light, watching the pins of amber course gently through the flaxen of her hair, when she heard footsteps closing in on her and felt the empty cushion next to her sink in.

“Let me take a wild guess,” she thought.

“Hey.”  It was Rose.

“Hey,” said Rand, releasing her ponytail and letting it drop to her side.

“Well, how about it, Jan?  Wasn’t that, like, really weird and scary with Mr. Spock?  I always thought he was standoffish, but I never thought that he felt that way about humans, huh?  I mean, what do you think?  You think he really meant it?”  asked Rose in a hushed urgency.

Rand turned nonchalantly to Rose, and noticed how the amber light complimented the plains of her otherwise non-descript face, even hollowing out her round jowls.

“ Too bad Rose can’t buy a portable amber-hued lamp to hook around her neck,” she thought.

Looking away from Rose, Rand reached with her fingers and looped them around the band which fastened her ponytail and pulled at it until her blond hair was free, falling around her face and back.  She shook her head and ran her fingers through the strands, reveling in its heaviness and contours of waves as they caressed her shoulders, her waist.

“That’s Spock for you,” said Rand with a simple shrug of her shoulders.  “Always standoffish.  Always weird.  Always so damn superior.”   Rand spoke breathlessly, beguilingly, each sentence ending with a drag of the final letter in each word.  Tracing her fingers over her lips, she continued to cross and uncross her legs.

“Did someone mention Spock’s name?”

Rand and Rose looked up to see Dr. Begay and Mr. Scott heading towards them, abandoning their game as they dragged their chairs along and arranged them around the couch where the women were conversing.

“That was really something earlier!  I’m frankly happy that both Spock and Riley are out of the room,” said Dr. Begay sitting down and leaning forward in his chair.  “ I never thought I’d see the day when a superior officer would vent out his racism to his underlings.  I thought that kind of crap went out in the late 21st Century.”

“In the case of Vulcan, ‘that crap’ was supposed to be done with much, much earlier,” said Rose.

“Well, it seems to me that out neighborhood Vulcan is getting in touch with his ancestral heritage right now,” Begay quipped.

“That Riley was sure feeling his oats, wasn’t he?”  said Rand, crossing her legs high up her thighs and pressing them together discretely.

“Oh my God, was he ever!” exclaimed Rose.  “What was stinging around in his bonnet?”

Rand jutted her breasts and smiled to herself at Rose’s ‘original’ expressions.  What a loser.

“I don’t know, but Riley clearly lost it for sure,” Begay snorted, shaking his head.

There was a brisk laugh that came from Scotty, who was sitting in the chair next to Begay.

“F-fu-for suure!  A l-l-lu-lune!”

A ripple of laughter came from the group, with Scotty laughing the loudest of all of them, leaning back in his chair with fits of howls.

“You said a mouthful, Scotty,” Rose giggled.

When the laughter subsided, Rose placed her hands on her stomach.  “Well, I don’t know about you all, but I really need to get into that kitchen and help myself to some of those snacks! I’m so hungry I could eat a horse!”

Rand squirmed in her seat, squeezing her breasts with her upper arms while she placed her hands daintily over her knee, her manner exaggeratedly flirtatious.

“A horse.  What an interesting choice for an animal,” cooed Rand.  She removed one of her hands from her knee and wove it through her hair.  “Because I’m so freakin’ horny I could fuck one, and his name would be Khobran!  God knows he’s hung like one!  And you can take that to the bank!” Rand hurled that last line for Rose’s undying love of clich├ęs, her delivery being unabashedly brazen, sauntering, torrid.
Mr. Scott, Nurse Rose, and Dr. Begay stopped laughing and simply looked at each other, speechless, their eyes blinking stupidly, as if adjusting to a sudden change in light, their mouths bouncing from dumbfounded slackness to hideously idiotic grins. 

There was an awkward chuckle from Scotty, his head cocking back and forth, with an expression on his face that suggested trapped flatulence.   His eyes shifted helplessly from Begay to Rose, who both had their own embarrassment to deal with.  Not that Rand cared very much, her hand alternating between rubbing and squeezing along the top of her thigh.     Then, Rand abruptly stopped what she was doing and clucked her tongue. 

“Oh,” she said pouting her lips on the ‘o’ and holding it on the vowel in a long, languid drawl.  “I have to go and listen to those boring logs of doctor whoever she is.  Probably hours and hours of absolutely nothing.”

Rand slung herself against the couch and stretched out her body in a way that looked like she was displaying it for desirous eyes, jutting out her breasts and uncurling her long, toned legs, her arms outstretched over her head.  When she finished she flopped her arms down and hoisted herself up and off the couch with deliberate tantalizing slowness. 

“Almost forgot the very thing I’ll need.” 

Rand reached down for the leather folder containing the logs and picked it up off the couch.  Turning to leave, she positioned her body in a quarter profile and tossed her hair for good measure.

“Those little wafers are probably packing weeks worth of stuff.  I better get busy,” she pulled out the word ‘busy’, as if implying something else.

“You know, I think that’s a sound decision, Janice.  Why don’t you do that?  You can use a distraction right about now, clearly,” said Dr. Begay both incredulously and sarcastically.  Rose and Scotty snickered at the doctor’s implied insult, and Dr. Begay couldn’t help but acknowledge the mirth at Rand’s expense.

Rand rolled her eyes and in an indignant huff, waved the others off in blithe dismissal and headed out of the meeting room.

“Oh, whatever,” she drawled, her words echoing behind her out the door.



















Sunday, December 2, 2012

'Tis Charity to Show Chapter IV Part 3


‘Tis Charity to Show
Chapter IV
Part 3


It was a funny thing, this situation that Rand found herself in.  She had thought, while she was making a good distance between herself and Mr. Spock, that she would feel more at ease once she was back at the site with the rest of the landing party, as they gathered together at their designated meeting place to discuss their progress.  It was a funny thing, because Rand felt just as ill at ease, surrounded by the rest of the landing party, as she did when she was alone with Spock.  It was a funny thing, because everyone here inside the dark walls of this meeting place seemed inflicted by the same unease.

Riley, Rose, everyone’s body spoke in the same language.  Eyes shifted from one person to the next, arms were crossed against chests guardedly, mouths would start to open as if wanting to speak, but then shut just as quickly. 

Nurse Rose absently brushed against Riley, and Riley turned to her abruptly, his cheekbones clenched upward, his jaw set, his eyes protruding.  His feral expression was in sharp contrast to Rose’s, whose responded with wide, fearful eyes.

Just was the hell was going on here?

“Mr. Scott.”

Rand jumped at the sound of Mr. Spock’s voice, with its deep resonance piercing through the silent disquiet of the room.  Spock turned to her and simply cocked his brow.

“Is there a problem, Yeoman?”

The others followed suite, turning to her, waiting for her to answer the first officer, their faces betraying various phases of anxiety, confusion, angst. 

Rand was embarrassed, as she slowly removed her hand from her chest and passed a look to each of the landing party members, before she settled it on Mr. Spock.

“Sorry.  Everyone else was so quiet and you suddenly spoke.  I guess you scared me, sir.”

“To be frightened is illogical, Yeoman.  You are not alone, and we always look after one another as a unit should.”

“Yes, sir.  Sorry, sir.”  Jerk.

Spock turned to Scotty, who was holding a wide flat black wallet in his hand, which was fastened by a snap button of the same color, attached to the end of a triangular flap.

“ I trust, Mr. Scott, that these are the recorded logs which you speak of.”

“Yu-yes, mu-mu-misster sp-Spock,” said Scotty, clearly struggling through his stutter.
“These wu-werrr…”

“These were the only things of significance that were found,” said Riley, cutting off Scotty impatiently.  “There was no physical evidence of any kind found outside of these tapes, sir.”

Scotty turned to Riley and gave him a look before he turned back to Rand and handed her the wallet.  Rand took the wallet and read the name on it, which was printed in black letters against a white strip: Dr. Adrienne Ruth Ellis.  Rand knew from the briefings given by Mr. Spock that Dr. Ellis was the lead archeologist of the Tijus Expedition, and that she, along with the rest of her team, had seemingly vanished without a trace in this barren world.

Rand unsnapped the button at the end of the flap and flipped it open, pulling out 15 orange wafers.  Five of the wafer disks were labeled and dated with the same black lettering and white strip background, but the rest of them were left blank.  Were these recordings the key to finding out what happened to Dr. Ellis’ expedition?  Rand wondered.

“If you pick up on anything that you think might help us on this search, you are to report it to me immediately.”

“Of course, sir.”  No shit.

Spock sighed.  “Well, the search will not be fruitless if those wafers contain anything that can shed light on what happened to the archeologists.”

“Sir, can you please tell us exactly how long this search is suppose to continue?”  There was a tinge of irritation to Riley’s question, as he stood there with his hands on his hips, his eyes narrowed at the first officer. 

Rand looked up from the wafers in her hands and stared at Riley.  Everyone else turned to Riley as well, still and nervous.

“What’s Riley’s problem?” thought Rand.

The rest of the landing party seemed to shift their attention from Riley to Spock, like spectators at a tennis match.  There was a fragility in the air, like one wrong word or move would shatter any stability there was in this grey, oppressive room. 

Spock gave Riley a pointed look and crossed his arms over his chest.

“A rather foolish question, Mr. Riley, since Starfleet clearly specifies that a search such as the one we are conducting can last anywhere from two to seven days.  After the sixth day, if the search indeed turns up empty, then we spend the seventh day collecting our equipment and readying ourselves for departure.  Period.”
Period.

Does this mean Spock is getting pissed?

Rand turned to Riley in haste and shrugged. 

“We’ve only been here a day,” she said amicably, in an attempt to ease the mounting tension between the two men.

“Well, it’s been a day too long—and I’m ready to cut this mission,” sneered Riley.

“Take it easy, Riley.  We’ve only searched the outer quadrants of this site.  We have a lot more space to cover,” chimed in Dr. Begay, his eyes watchful, ping-ponging from the first officer to the lieutenant. 

His eyes never wavering from Mr. Spock and his stance unchanged, Riley said: “Well, you try working with Stuttering Scotty in a hot arid desert and see if you don’t go ape shit!”

“N-n-nuuow h-hu-hold onnn a mmmu-minute…”

Rand went over to Scotty and stood in front of him, placing her hands on his shoulders while he tried to confront Riley.

“Do you have a fucking problem, or what?!” Rand hurled the question to Riley through gritted teeth.  Oh, did she want to hurt him for saying that to such a sweet man like Scotty!

Really hurt him, like in serious bodily harm.

Little twirp.

Riley stood there in defiance while Nurse Rose looked on like a frightened child, wide-eyed and shaky, ringing her hands, bobbing up and down like her bladder was about to explode.

Spock stood there as he was; his stance, like Riley’s, never changing. 

There was an eerie calm about Spock as he stood there quietly and turned his head to each of the members of the landing party, assessing them the way a product inspector does with a row of cheaply made merchandise, watching for defects.  When he was done, Spock took a deep breath and shook his head, the lightly etched smirk, coupled with his narrowed eyes, conveying mild disgust.

“I somehow should not be surprised when one considers the fact that I am forced to work with a genetically inferior race of humanoids, who are unable to find signs of life after only a few hours of a structured search.”

The rest of the landing party pivoted in Spock’s direction, the silence in the meeting room thick and looming.   Looks ranging from confusion to outrage were exchanged between the rest the astronauts, while whispers grew from this silence, ricocheting from one person to the next.

During all of this hushed chaos, a ray of sunlight seeped softly into the meeting room, profiling all of the mismatched furniture, the shelves and the people, draping the corners of the items and the crewmembers like trimming.

This light seemed to have a calming affect on Rand, and everyone else in the room, because she could feel Scotty’s body slacken under her grip. 

Rand eventually loosened her own grip and allowed her arms to drop to her sides.

The muffled anger from her fellow landing party members died down, and right at the head of this circle stood Spock, who unhooked his arms from their crossed position and let them drop down to his hips and placing his hands there.  He bowed his head and took a long deep breath,  his shoulders rising and falling.  When he finally faced the crew, the smirk was gone, and the former steeliness that was in his eyes was replaced by a faint look of regret.

Or was it embarrassment?

“Please forgive my harsh words.  They were uncalled for and have no basis in fact.”

Everyone passed glances at each other before looking at Spock again.

“It’s okay with me, Mr. Spock,” said Dr. Begay, nodding his head.

Everyone else followed the doctor’s example and uttered the same acceptance, though in slightly different ways.  Everything, for now, seemed fine, though with an unsteady truce.

‘You have the rest of the day to do your other duties, as the search is concluded for today.  Ms. Rand, it is of the utmost importance that you take the time to listen to the logs of Dr. Ellis, in order that you may be able to find any clues that can shed light on her team’s disappearance.”

“Yes, sir.”  This guy loves repeating himself.

Mr. Spock continued: “We have worked through mid-morning break, so there are refreshments to partake in the kitchen.  Who has evening meal preparation?”

“Scotty and I, sir,” said Dr. Begay.

Spock nodded his head.  “Very well, then.  I will be preparing my report in my quarters.”
And with that, Spock drew his lips in tightly, lowered his eye, turned, and walked out of the room without saying another word.
Rand noticed, while Spock was walking away from the others, how his fingers fidgeted.  He would follow a peculiar pattern of first wriggling his fingers, and then spreading them far apart, as if willfully trying to pull them out of their joints.

“Guess everyone’s s bit on edge,” Rand thought.

When Spock was gone, Rand turned back to the other crew members, who clearly felt secure enough to start talking among themselves again, as their conversation rippled in their closed circle.

“What in the hell was his deal?” sniped Riley, throwing a pointed thumb over his shoulder to where Spock had left.

“I don’t know what’s going on, but that sure was unsettling to say the least,” said Dr. Begay, wiping the back of his moist neck with his palm.

“His deal?! Seriously, Riley?!  You’re the one who copped an attitude out of the blue about a search that literally just started!” exclaimed Nurse Rose nervously, though finding her gumption.  “Mr. Spock never would have said those things if you didn’t act like a goddamn punk!”

“Exactly who are you calling a punk?!”

“Take a wild guess, genius!”

“All right!  The both of you, knock it off,” said Dr. Begay.

“Yee-yah-yeah!  Buu-buu-bee quiet!”

Rand, becoming agitated again, threw her hands up in surrender.  “Jesus, can we all just calm down here, please?”  She brought her hands down and laced them behind her neck.  “At this point, honestly, I’d just assume be back on the Enterprise.”

“Yuh-yoou and mee b-buh-both,” said Scotty, crossing his arms with a look of exasperation on his face.

Riley gave Sotty a long, steady look, as if sizing him up.

“Wasn’t there a famous cartoon character back in the 20th Century that sounded like you, Scotty Boy?”

Scotty exploded and tried to lunge at Riley, but was intercepted by both Rand and Begay.  Nurse Rose was useless; she just jumped up and down, screaming and flapping her hands like a special needs child.

“You asshole!!” Rand spat at Riley.
“But, I’m only trying to have fun,” said Riley blithely, his stance cocky.

“Riley, I think you need to leave!  You’re not wanted here right now,” said Dr. Begay.  “You’ve caused enough problems for one day—and I don’t think you’re attitude’s very cute!  No one here does!”

Riley’s head jerked back like he’d been slapped, his body held rigid.  He was visibly startled as he passed a glance at everyone in the room, shook his head, and stormed out of the meeting room, his shoulders hunched, his neck lowered and his head leading, like a bloodhound.

“What the hell was that screaming, Hyacinth?!” Rand shot at Rose.

“What was I supposed to do, put myself in harms way?”  Rose was petulant.

“Talk about Starfleet nursing material!  Real prime!” yelled Rand. 

Rand pictured her fist making square contact with Rose’s mouth and soundly breaking a number of teeth.

“Let’s see her jump up and down to that, only her gums would be flapping instead of her hands,” she thought with a sneer.

“ENOUGH!”

Dr. Begay placed himself between the two women, his resolve clearly gone.  “God, stop it! Stop it!”

Rand and Rose looked at each other awkwardly, but didn’t say anything.  Finally, they both turned their backs to each other.  Rand took a deep breath and looked down at her feet, shuffling them, feeling slightly antsy.  When she looked up again, she saw Scotty standing in front of her, smiling sympathetically as he reached out and placed his hand on her shoulder and gently shook it.

“Thuu-thuu- thaankss,” he said.

Rand returned his smile and gestured to Dr. Begay, who was still standing between her and Rose.

“Thank him, Scotty.  He’s the one who made the trouble go away,” she said softly.