|The Lolcat Syndrome
Author: All-Knowing Alien 2 PM
Exactly what the title implies. The crew of the Enterprise most of them have been turned into cats. Shades of K/S. Would-be crack, but as usual, not quite.Rated: Fiction T - English - Humor/Parody - Spock & J. Kirk - Words: 4,961 - Reviews: 4 - Favs: 28 - Follows: 1 - Published: 06-25-10 - Status: Complete - id: 6083325
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
He knew something was wrong when Keenser was taller than he was.
It'd started off like a usual day. He'd been dinking with the little green alien bastard the night before, so it wasn't much of a surprise to wake up and see his shirt on the floor, the red material contrasting with the silver-white floor. It was Justas well he was feeling a little hot. He stretched languidly.
He also felt a little…hairy. Time for a shave, then.
Another stretch. There must've been something in that scotch, Montgomery wondered, because he felt more energetic than he had in years. Then again, those years had been spent studying in Starfleet and then being stuck in Delta Vega. Not terribly exciting, that. Unlike Jim, he'd had no cause to be outside the outpost's defence grid (or even outside the outpost – if there were any outside jobs he'd either program a robot or get Keenser to do it) and hadn't come across any abominable snowmen or what Jim referred to as 'Hell's own crab'.
"Kirk to Engineering."
Speak of the Devil. Montgomery would have gotten up to answer, but:
"Don't bother answering, Scotty, 'cause a little green bird told me what you were up to last night. If I wasn't busy, then I'd be sad you didn't invite me." He laughed, but the Chief Engineer could detect something was off, that Jim was distracted.
His meanderings were cut short by the arrival of Keenser, who slapped at the console to activate it. Montgomery winced, wishing his friend would treat his Lady better, all the while experiencing a disorientating feeling of vertigo – whatever it was that short people felt when they looked up at giants – because for once, he had to crane his neck to meet Keenser's gaze.
Not that Keenser was looking at him. Montgomery wanted to get his attention, but felt like something had gotten stuck in his windpipe. He cleared his throat, a little noisily.
"Keenser here, Captain."
"Oh, hey. Listen, can you or someone else – Scotty, if he's up to it – do something to boost our warp yield? 'Cause we need to break out of orbit, and nothing's working."
"I try, Captain."
"Good uh…man. Kirk out."
Now Keenser looked down on him. Most people found that the craggy face and beetle-black eyes made it impossible to discern Keenser's thoughts. But, honestly, if the little green bastard was your only companion on a godforsaken ice planet, you'd be able to distinguish every nuance of emotion.
Like right now, he could tell that Keenser was worried. Which was silly, because apart from the thing in his throat, Montgomery felt better than he should have, considering the amount of scotch he'd consumed mere hours ago. To prove it, he got to his feet.
Um…why was he still shorter than Keenser?
As if reading his mind, Keenser knelt – knelt! – so they were at eye level.
"Have problem, Monty."
"What is it?" he wanted to ask, but whatever came out of his mouth wasn't human-sounding. God, maybe there had been something in that scotch – something bad. Or maybe he shouldn't have had that fifth BLT.
"You…you become…what is word…" Keenser cursed colourfully for a moment, before holding his slightly cupped hands to his ear holes. "Meow meow."
Meow, m – ah'm a cat?
Montgomery shook his head irritably, only now aware of the different ears as they flopped about. Ah, it didn't matter what shape he was in – the Silver Lady was still the Silver Lady, and he was her Chief Engineer. The leap to the chair was easier than he expected (though he was dismayed to find out that Keenser was still taller than he was) and tried to peer over the console.
Only, he couldn't.
Montgomery opened his mouth to loose his usual litany of cultural epithets, though what came out was a rather plaintive yowl. He tried to brace his forepaws – his hands – on the edge, but although he could now see the screen, he could hardly interact with it. He didn't have the advantage of dexterity in this form.
Suddenly, he was lifted bodily – Scott squirmed a bit before realising that it was Keener's hands around him. The alien held him inexpertly, like anyone who hadn't been brought up near cats; with his hands gripping Montgomery's torso just below his forelegs, while his hind legs – no, just legs – dangled in the air. It was not a comfortable way to be held.
"We go see Captain," said Keenser, and walked towards the turbolift.
He knew that what would follow would likely be a confused and confusing conversation – the latter likely to be even more so with the presence of their Vulcan Science Officer. Still, Montgomery would subject himself to any and all poking and prodding and experimentation – because he had no concept of false modesty (sometimes, not even actual modesty), and he knew he was the best chance – the only chance – to get the Enterprise out of orbit.
The turbolift doors opened to reveal the bridge, and though Scott's heightened senses could enable him to detect the various smells and sights, his brain instead chose to focus on sound.
"Oh, gods, not again!"
"C'mon, Pasha, up and at 'em!"
Chekov ignored this and burrowed deeper into his cocoon of warmth. He must have curled up on himself more than ever during the course of the night, because there seemed to be more sheets than usual. Plus it was warmer.
The ensign gave a little moan when the Enterprise's helmsman's hand unerringly managed to come in contact with his head with a muted thwack.
"Nyet, Hikaru…" he whined. "Fiwe more minutes."
Another thwack. It felt like a fist, not the flat of the palm like it usually was. "Uh-uh. You promised. Jeez, Chekov, how do you get up when we have red alerts?"
"Zhat is emergency. Zhis is not."
Chekov felt movement on the bed, and then the covers were unceremoniously yanked off him. He reflexively flinched at the rush of cool air, and blinked blearily. Why did Hikaru have to set the lights at 75%?
Then his vision cleared, and he could see Hikaru clearly. On his bed. Not beside it and standing over him, not sitting to the side with the covers in one hand, not bracing a hand on it to be annoyingly cheerful and in Chekov's face. On his bed. All of him.
This wasn't as astonishing as the fact that he was…a kitty.
Said kitty looked at him approvingly, if a kitty could do such a thing. "There, see? That wasn't so bad."
"…you are koshka. Kitty."
Now it – Hikaru – seemed to raise an eyebrow. Not that cats really had eyebrows, they were covered in fur – Hikaru was mostly white with black spots on his head and on his left thigh, and his tail was black, although oddly short, more like a dog's – but as he sat on his haunches and washed his front paw, it suited him.
"Yes," he replied, nonchalantly.
Chekov frowned. "How come I ken understanding you?"
The Japanese man – kitty, now – stopped halfway through cleaning between his claws. He gave his paw a few more swipes with his pink tongue before setting his foot down and shooting Chekov a pitying look. "The same way I can understand you, Pasha. Get out of bed and you'll get it."
Since he was prone on his stomach, Chekov got up on his hands and knees to better facilitate getting up. Then he realised that was the extent of the movement he was able to make. Trembling very slightly, he looked down on himself. He was covered in brown fur, lighter on his underside and on his paws. Now shaking, he turned around to survey his own tail, bushy and with its tip lighter brown as well. When it twitched involuntarily, he jumped and managed to fall off the bed altogether.
"Pasha!" Hikaru's face appeared over the edge of the bed. The Japanese…cat…relaxed when he saw that the brown kitten – he was far too small to be considered a cat, really – had landed on his feet. Relieved, he settled himself comfortably, so as to be able to continue washing his paw and at the same time oversee Chekov's actions.
"How could zhis be happening?" he demanded, pacing up and down. His bushy tail flicked unconsciously with anger. "I do not like it!"
"It's not exactly uncommon," was the calm reply. "I mean, you remember what happened to Engineer Delacroix and Yeoman Zeller. They were stuck as aardvarks for almost a week. And the Captain got his body switched with that crazy girl. And let's not forget what happened to poor Lieutenant Anderson." Hikaru's ear flick was the only indication of his discomfort at discussing the late Lieutenant.
"Zhis is different!" Chekov exclaimed, stamping his left foreleg to emphasize his point. "Now it's us! I am not kitty, am proud nawigator!"
Sulu gave the cat's equivalent of a sigh and leaped down from his perch. He walked up to Chekov and gave him a reassuring lick to the neck. "Don't worry, Pasha. I'm sure the Captain and Mr. Spock'll figure it out. C'mon."
Nyota knew immediately that things were not as they normally were. For one thing, she did not normally sleep in the nude, which was a good thing considering the amount of mid-sleep red alerts the Enterprise had. Secondly, she was proud of her long, straight black hair, and was quite aware that she now had none.
Since it was unlikely that this was the result of some sort of prank – no one crossed Nyota Uhura lightly – she sat up, and then discovered that she now had four feet.
Oh, no, she thought. What's happened now?
The Communications Officer got up and out from under the covers, which were rather smothering. She sat primly, with her long tail tucked around her. It was probably something to do with their proximity to the unnamed planet, although she had not been part of the landing party. And, according to the reports of that landing party, there were no significant life forms, so…unlikely to be any sort of infection.
If there was an infection floating around the ship, anyway, the Captain (or whoever their C.O. was for this shift) would've raised an alert and kept them in their quarters. Even if it hadn't happened before, Nyota did know the Regulations.
Obviously the ship's computer would not understand 'Cat' – she'd have to rectify that, if she had the chance – so she jumped lightly off the bed and onto the officer chair. Then she leapt easily onto the table so it was easier for her to flick the switch (with some difficulty, with the absence of fingers) to turn on the display. She had an hour left before her shift started.
Since she no longer needed to have a shower and comb her hair and otherwise look presentable, Nyota instead decided to make better use of her time.
It took quite a few tries – enough for a slight snarl and the flattening of her ears against her skull – for her to set up the record function of her terminal. On the screen of the terminal was a list – essential to every officer under Communications. It was made up of several hundred words, and a few basic sentences, which were the building blocks of programming new languages into their universal sentences.
After the sheer number of first contacts the Enterprise had had, the entire list had been burned into Nyota's memory, but she prided herself professional enough to refer to it anyway, just in the off chance that she got them mixed up.
She was about halfway through when the pre-programmed chime sounded, signalling that she had fifteen minutes left till her shift. She sent the file to her station on the bridge, leapt down from the table and trotted briskly out of the door, her tail switching behind her.
Let's just hope someone in the turbolift's going to the bridge, she thought.
Sickbay was quiet, which was a good thing. It meant that they were not recovering from an attack, that they did not have an epidemic on their hands, that there had not been an accident in Engineering (which was the record holder for injuries incurred among all the departments on the ship). That did not mean, however, that it was empty. As the Chief Medical Officer had told their Captain all those years back, space was 'danger and disease wrapped up in darkness and silence'. While Man has made significant progress in the field of medicine – and inoculations in particular – and humans were now immune to most (if not all) the diseases that had plagued their ancestors, as they were in space, there were simply bacteria and viruses that were too foreign for the human body.
That, dear readers, is a rather roundabout way of saying that Ensign Kelly was suffering from an alien flu.
"Hey, Libby," she greeted, nose a little stuffy. She watched as the Junior Nurse checked her vitals on the panel above her bed.
"Hello, Kelly." She smiled sweetly at her friend. She'd only just transferred to the Enterprise from Starbase 15 almost a month ago – and she hadn't thought that she'd be lucky enough to already have a friend aboard. "I've got to give you your hypo for the day."
The ensign made a face. It wasn't that hyposprays were particularly painful when administered – they weren't, despite the stories they heard about their Captain – but they were annoying. And she'd been stuck in Sickbay for days now. "How long more do I have to stay here anyway? Don't get me wrong, I like spending time with you, but I'd rather it be when I'm not sick."
Libby patted her friend's hand. "Don't worry. A few more days and you'll be as right as rain."
Kelly sighed but said nothing, instead watching as the nurse slotted the canister into the hypospray. Libby leaned over the biobed, meaning to press the end of it against Kelly's arm when a sudden hiss startled her. Startled the both of them.
They turned their heads to see a cat staring at them. It had heavy brown fur – very heavy – and blue eyes and its face seemed to suggest total irritation. Its tail swished to and fro in agitation, and it looked like its gaze was focused on the hypospray in the Junior Nurse's hand – which was silly. Why would a cat be bothered with such a thing, unless it wanted to play?
"Your pet?" Kelly asked, grinning.
Libby shook her head, a little mystified. "Nope." She held out a hand to the cat, clucking. "Here, kitty, kitty."
It gave the impression of being more bad-tempered and its hiss gained a few notches in volume and displeasure. Libby snatched her hand back.
"Is there a problem here, Elizabeth?" came a new voice.
"Nurse Chapel!" Libby turned to the approaching Head Nurse. "I was about to give Kelly her vaccination, but this cat… I don't even know how it got in here."
The blonde nurse, who was likely the only person in the Medical Department able to keep her own against their prickly CMO, was calm. "Continue with your job, Elizabeth," she said, in that velvety voice she had. "I'll deal with our visitor." There was a touch of firmness when she said that.
But, again, when the hypospray neared the skin of Kelly's upper arm, the cat hissed.
When Christine Chapel surveyed it, it narrowed its eyes at her and put its ears back. The Head Nurse turned sharply and held out her hand. "Let me see that hypospray."
Libby obligingly handed it over, while Kelly looked on curiously.
"This is too high a dosage, Elizabeth."
She looked alarmed. "But – it can't be! I calculated it myself, and Dr. McCoy approved it!"
"Yes, but he also made an addendum that on the ninth day her dosage be halved."
"I…" She hung her head. "I'm sorry, ma'am."
"It's alright, dear." Christine made the appropriate adjustments before handing the hypospray over. "It wouldn't have had any adverse effects anyway." At this she shot a look at the cat, which was supremely unconcerned and turned its face the other way.
"I guess it's lucky the cat was there."
"Mmm." The Head Nurse seemed a little distracted, as she gathered the now docile cat into her arms. It levelled a glare at Libby and Kelly. "Just be careful next time. I'll be going to the bridge."
Jim woke up feeling quite warm, despite the fact that he was shirtless and that the sheet covered him only up to his waist. He could feel a slight weight on his chest, and he smiled without opening his eyes, wanting to savour the last moments of not-quite-awake-ness before the rigours of commanding a starship.
His questing fingers found the silky hair and his smile widened. He definitely didn't need to look to know that it would be as black as the lightless spaces between the stars, just like he didn't need to look to know that the ears of his partner were pointier than any human's.
But, uh…where were those ears?
Jim let his fingers still and a frown formed on his face (with his eyes still closed) when whatever his hand was on rose and fell of its own accord – definitely not in time with his own breathing. It was faster, slighter.
He lifted his hand and reached out, expecting to come in contact with a shoulder or arm or torso – but met nothing but air and the bed. Which meant – had someone managed to leave a Tribble in his room? Not likely – there were only two people who had access to his quarters when he locked the door; and it couldn't have been Bones, because he claimed to be above pranks ("Don't be a child, Jim!"). Spock…nah.
Besides, Tribbles cooed, didn't they?
Deciding he was most definitely fully awake now, Jim said "Lights, 30 percent" and opened his eyes. He stared.
"…you've got to be kidding me."
The thing on his chest sat up and surveyed him with far too intelligent brown eyes. At the back of his mind (or, actually, to the left and a little bit forward – it was kind of difficult to explain) he could feel annoyance, and not his own.
"When did this happen?"
It tapped his chest twice.
"Two hours ago?" There was a vague sense of approval at the, uh, left of his mind. "And you woke up how many hours ago?"
"And I didn't wake up?"
The cat – for that's what it was, you should have guessed it by now, honestly – flicked one of its extremely pointy ears.
Jim snorted. "Only you could figure out how to raise your eyebrow without actually having any."
The cat started purring, and the Captain couldn't help but smile. He ran a large hand along its back, and then scratched it under the chin. The purring grew louder. For a time, that was the loudest sound in the room, until Jim sighed.
"We have to be on duty in a few minutes. And we need to figure out how this happened."
The cat rose, but instead of jumping off him and onto the bed like he expected, it walked up his chest and rubbed its face against his chin and cheek, still purring at full force. He could feel in his head, that unnameable fluttery feeling that always made his heart pound. Jim smiled softly and ran his fore- and middle-finger down the cat's head and up its ear.
"Good morning to you too, Spock."
Jim took a quick shower – it amused him that Spock had even less of a like for water in this form than he did usually – and emerged with a towel around his waist. Without the need to don clothes of his own, Spock seemed to enjoy watching avidly as Kirk dropped the towel and dressed. Of course, Jim didn't feel self-conscious in the slightest.
When it came to opening the third drawer to retrieve his command golds, Spock took a running leap to the top and awkwardly gestured towards the topmost one. Jim, a little confused, obligingly opened it. When he saw what was in it – he certainly didn't memorise what was in his drawers; his yeoman liked shuffling them from time to time, for some reason – he raised his eyebrows (plural, because as much as he practiced, he couldn't raise just one like Spock did).
Spock blinked at him, as innocent as a cat could look. (And if you don't know, that really is quite innocent.)
"Oh, alright. Don't say I never do anything for you." Jim grumbled half-heartedly – the effect was rather spoiled by the fact that he was grinning – as he put the asparagus green shirt on, not missing the appreciative look (which was echoed in his head) when he fastened the gold clasp.
"Wanna lift?" Jim asked, holding out his hands.
Rather than reply – not that he could, not really – Spock bounded into them, then climbed up to perch on Jim's shoulders. The human laughed merrily, and they left the room.
That was then. This was now.
Jim had been quite annoyed that his best bridge crew had all been somehow turned into cats. He and Spock had arrived to see Uhura at her station, fur unruffled and actually working. Then, while Spock and Uhura spoke to each other in meows and Jim sort of got what they were saying (he helped them press buttons by letting his hand hover over each one before pressing the one Spock 'approved' of), Chekov and Sulu came with Lieutenant Vaako.
Mercifully, only two of those three were cats. Or, Sulu was a cat. Chekov was tiny, honestly, causing Ensign Shantay (so called because no one could pronounce her no-vowel last name) and Ensign Ahsatan to coo over him. At least, until Hikaru noticed what they were doing and stopped washing him face to glare at them. Then they returned to their positions at the Science station and the helm, respectively.
Calling up Lieutenant Needs (her first name was Maria, if Jim recalled correctly) to help Uhura with the translating sped the process up some, but Kirk still ordered that they turn around and return to Starbase 23, which was two hours away. From the reports he was getting, they would need all the help they could get. He prayed that they wouldn't get attacked anytime soon.
But they couldn't break free of orbit.
When Keenser came up with Scotty, the Captain's frustration slipped through as he smacked the flat of his hand against the arm of his chair and said exasperatedly, "Oh, gods, not again!"
Spock came and settled himself on the other arm of the chair, then. Jim felt the tension drain out of him.
"Thanks, Spock," he said lowly.
The jet-black cat merely purred.
Half a minute later had Head Nurse Chapel emerging from the turbolift, Bones in her arms. Though the sight of the CMO as a cat was rather humorous – seeing as he'd somehow retained his normal expression despite all the fur – Jim was more absorbed in the report he was getting from Ensign Kaitie-Beth from down in Engineering. She brought the unwelcome news of why they had less power than they should have, and the tally of how many people in their sector had turned into felines.
To be on the safe side – as this had never happened before – Jim put the ship on yellow alert, and ordered all crewmembers that had turned into cats to report to the mess. Then he got Nurse Chapel (who was now in charge of Sickbay) to send her nurses (surprisingly only two of them had become cats) to said mess, to distribute food.
The final tally was sobering – more than half of the Enterprise's crew were now four-legged and furry – and less than half of the remainder had enough sleep, having had no choice but shoulder their workmates' shifts. If they were attacked now…
Spock flicked a ear at him, as if to say, "Stop that." He was transmitting disapproval into Jim's head, although that might have been towards Yeoman Rand, who had just arrived on the bridge and was hovering beside the Captain. Spock found Janice annoying, although he would never admit such a thing.
And then Jim realised what they – his crew that'd been turned into cats – had in common.
He met Spock's brown eyes. "They're not blonde."
The Vulcan-cat cocked his head to the side. Obviously he needed more information than that.
"Look around the bridge Spock. All of the still-humanoids are blonde. None of the cats are." Jim grinned at the surge of pride that came from Spock. "I'm going down to the lab right now. Natasha, you have the conn."
"Sir!" said Lieutenant Ahsatan.
Needless to say, Spock followed Jim down to the labs, which was fortunate, because they had to extract some of his blood. (Of course, they had to extract blood from another cat, human this time, considering that even as a cat Spock's blood was still copper based.) And although none of the Science personnel were as smart as Spock, they were in no way idiots – you couldn't be, if you were serving on Starfleet's flagship, and they had the cure ready within four hours.
"Four point seven hours, Jim."
"Don't be so pedantic," he sniped, leaning back against the pillow. "I think I liked you better as a cat."
Spock raised an eyebrow – this time having an eyebrow to raise. "Oh?"
Jim kept his grumpy expression, though he knew that Spock knew he was joking. "You were quieter. I didn't have to deal with your snarky comments." The Vulcan looked vaguely outraged at this. "Plus you were more affectionate."
"Certain personality traits were suppressed while I was in feline form," he said stiffly.
The human was unconvinced. If that was true, then how come Uhura had managed to create an entire database for 'Cat'? How come Scotty was most worried about how he could not help repair the engines until after he'd been turned back? How come Sulu had been so nonchalant – until someone paid too much attention to Chekov? How come Bones was still the grumpy gills he always was?
"Uh-huh," he instead said flatly. "Anyway, I've decided to call the disease the Lolcat Syndrome. And the planet Lolcat. Like it?"
Spock frowned in the way only he could. Which is to say, it didn't look like he was frowning at all…except he was. "Lolcat?" he asked.
"Ancient Terran form of entertainment. You should check the ship's databases, it's sure to be there somewhere."
"Now, it's your turn to answer a question." Jim grinned as he felt a slight spike of apprehension come through their fledgling bond. Bond was really an inaccurate term, as it was not a marriage bond, per se – rather, it was a result of their extremely attuned minds. It enabled the perception of emotions if they chose to pay attention to it.
"I will certainly try."
"How come you insisted on my wearing the green shirt today?"
Ahhh, there was that green blush he so adored.
"I have told you, Jim, certain personality traits –"
"Oh, please," he interrupted. "I call bullshit. You know what I think?"
"I presume you will tell me."
He ignored that and instead propped himself up on an elbow, getting into Spock's personal space. He was good at that. "I think that being turned into a cat didn't suppress anything. It amplified it."
That damnable eyebrow raise. "You are implying that I feel affection for you?"
Jim leaned even closer, eyes on Spock's lips as he exhaled slowly and let his lips curl. His blue eyes met and held Spock's brown ones, and when he angled his head, their noses brushed. "I'm not implying. I know. Just like I know how turned on you are whenever I wear that shirt."
Jim suddenly found himself on his back, hands pinned up over his head and a very solid Vulcan straddling him. That Spock was turned on was now very obvious, even without the positively feral look he gave the human he had restrained.
"You are wrong, Captain. My feelings for you were not amplified when I was a cat." He leaned down to whisper in Jim's ear. "They are nothing compared to what I feel now."
Jim's smile was brilliant, and was only wiped off his face when Spock kissed it away.
Yes, the ending is rushed. Don't bug me about it, I can't come up with a better one. Don't own Star Trek, don't own the picture this was based off, that's by lamamama.