You can blame this entirely on the six hour work meeting I had a few weeks back. Beaurocracy is awesome, isn't it?
"Lieutenant Yawaa?" For those out of the loop, it wasn't always easy to keep track of the who's who of the Yeoman hierarchy, but there was no mistaking the woman walking down the hall towards the uncomfortable chair Yawaa was sat in. Much like the ship she served on, Yeoman Janice Rand's reputation preceded her.
Yawaa stood up straight and shook the hand offered her. "Yes ma'am." Though as an officer Yawaa outranked her, Rand was actually several rungs further up the scale in her own department, and in Yawaa's eyes that deserved respect.
If the unusual address phased her, Rand gave no indication. In fact it was possible her face was carved out of cool marble. She was an attractive woman in her late thirties, but she kept her hair tied back tightly, almost severely, as if to reinforce the image that her professional vocation was far more important than her looks.
"Forgive the delay, but they are ready for you now." Rand said, leading Yawaa back up the hallway. "Captain Kirk has another commitment at fifteen hundred, but I was told you only require an hour of their time."
"Oh yes," Yawaa said hastily. It had been only a month since the return of the USS Enterprise from it's deep space exploration and in the wake of such a milestone mission the ship's crew were in high demand. Yawaa wasn't certain that her task really ranked all that highly up in their list of priorities, but her supervisor had received direct orders from Admiral Barnett. Yawaa had only seen the head of Starfleet Operations the once, and quite frankly he terrified her. "I'll be as quick as I can," She promised Rand earnestly, aware that she was somehow managing to both stammer and ramble, "they must be very busy, I won't bother them too much, it's only a few-"
"Calm down." Rand said, quirking one eyebrow. "They smell fear."
"They do?" Yawaa's voice pitched uncomfortably high.
"The Captain does." Rand said dryly.
Yawaa swallowed. She'd never actually met Kirk before. She'd seen him in passing while she was still a cadet, and her former roommate was still gushing about the half dozen classes he'd taught before the Klingon War. Kirk was…well, he was something, wasn't he? "What is he like?" Yawaa asked, her curiosity getting the better of her before her training kicked in and gave her a mental dressing down for sounding like a school girl.
"Charming." Rand said in that same dry tone, using her ID to open a door to one of the large meeting rooms on the main floor. She tilted her head slightly. "Good luck."
Yawaa just about managed to collect her nerve as she was not so gently propelled into a room filled with some of the most well known faces in the Federation.
She recognized Lieutenant Riley. The Enterprise's Security Chief, a young man not yet out of his twenties, sat beside the gangly figure of Lieutenant Chekov, the ship's navigator. On Chekov's other side was Lieutenant Sulu, helmsman and Doctor Wallace, daughter of disgraced Admiral Alexander Marcus. Lieutenant Uhura, Chief Communications Officer, sat on the end of the row calmly tapping her fingers soundlessly against the table.
On the other side sat the ship's core command team. Chief Engineer Scott sat besides Chief Medical Officer McCoy, quietly talking under their breath. Commander Spock was the only person in the room who appeared to have actually been awaiting her arrival patiently, and at the seat closest to the one Yawaa was expected to take, was Captain Kirk.
He looked up from his comm at the sound of her arrival and smiled.
This…this was going to be a hellish hour. Was there some kind of selection criteria on the Enterprise? Must be slightly unhinged and ridiculously good-looking? The whole group of them could have stepped out of a high-def holo, their uniforms there for show not function. If she hadn't known who they were and what they had achieved together she'd have guessed that Starfleet PR had gone and hired another group of air head models for one of their recruitment drives.
Captain Kirk stood as she placed her PADD down on the table, and the rest of the group followed. "Lieutenant Yawaa?" He asked, a slightly impish twinkle in his eyes that was going to prove highly distracting over the course of the following hour.
"Yes sir." Yawaa said, saluting him. He returned the gesture, and they all took their seats. "I know you're all very busy and I'll try not to take up too much of your time." She said, earnestly.
"Take as much as you like," Doctor McCoy said, his accent thick enough to slice with a blade. "The longer we spend here the less time we gotta spend with Barnett's bloodsuckers."
Yawaa stared, then swallowed. "Right. Yes. Well, as you know, your encounters over the past five years have led to some changes in some of the protocols we currently have in place. We didn't know what you' be facing, and quite frankly we've been-"
"Making it up as you go?" Kirk smiled helpfully.
Yawaa blushed, mostly from embarrassment. "Well yes. But as you are all signed on for a second tour of duty, my department has reviewed some of the standard operating practices that I need to agree with you and finalize so you can brief your departments."
Kirk nodded. "Okay, fire away." He said, settling back into his chair.
Yawaa nodded awkwardly. "Right. Yes." She glanced down at some of the questions on her PADD and resisted the urge to ask if she was being pranked. "So. Power of Attorney, I suppose. In matters pertaining to incidents which result in the de-aging of an individual, both physical and or mental; transformation into a sentient species; transformation into a non-sentient species; and the as yet unrecorded but possible scenario of the entire command structure being transformed into single cell organisms."
Kirk sniggered again, shooting Spock a glance of amusement that spoke of experience. Spock, for his part, looked utterly unruffled. "You were an adorable baby, Spock." Kirk grinned widely. "Those cute little pointy ears."
"I'm certain I was, Captain." Spock said serenely, mindless of the quite chuckles from the rest of the crew. "As both you and Doctor McCoy are wont to remind me. Frequently."
"Just want you to know your cuteness was appreciated." Kirk shrugged.
"Thank you." Spock said primly. "You, unfortunately, were not a particularly 'cute' feline."
"I'm allergic to cats." Jim grumbled. "How's that my fault?"
"You're the one who told Priestess O'olo how much you respected and admired her culture." McCoy said, smirking.
"That wasn't an invitation to turn me into a damn cat." Kirk huffed. Was this the man who had punched Admiral Kormac on live broadcast? He looked more like a petulant teenager than a great leader.
"Kitten, Captain." Lieutenant Sulu said, his grin looking almost painful.
"I'm pretty sure I was not a kitten." Kirk said, eyes narrowing.
"How would you know? You were coughing up fur balls the whole damn time." McCoy snorted.
Yawaa stared at them all blankly. She had read the reports of course, her whole department had, but there had been a feeling among them all that perhaps Kirk had been embellishing his Captain's Logs for the sake of sensationalism. Kirk's somewhat warped sense of humor was apparently a well known thing in the upper echelons of Starfleet.
"They turned you into a cat?" She said, unable to help herself.
"For four days." McCoy was outright laughing now. "He was pathetic."
"Are we forgetting that Spock got zapped into a baby?" Kirk said petulantly. "That's far more interesting."
"No," Spock said calmly, "it is not."
Kirk gave her a meaningful look and Yawaa coughed, understanding now why people in her department spoke his name with both annoyance and reverence. She was fairly sure she would do anything he asked of her if he kept looking at her that way.
"So, Power of Attorney. In these situations should the care of affected individuals pass up their direct chain of command? And what contingencies do we have in place should more than one person be affected?"
"As much as I hate to say it," McCoy said reluctantly, "but this really falls under my remit."
"One of these days you'll be on the wrong side of a Yetian Priestess and you'll get turned into something weird." Kirk said irritably. "Like a duck."
"A duck?" McCoy asked, several snorts of laughter from the other side of the table earning half-hearted glares.
"You know," Kirk waved an arm absently, "quacks, waddles."
"I know what a duck is, Jim. What I don't know is why you think of all the weird and wonderful things in the universe, I'd be turned into an anatidae."
Kirk shrugged. "First thing that comes to mind when I look at you."
"If…if I may?" Yawaa stammered, hastily interjecting before the conversation could get any stranger. Kirk smiled at her again and indicated she should continue. "There should be a safeguard, just in case Doctor McCoy should be turned into a duck. Or anything really." She added quickly at McCoy's scowl.
"Okay, so the rest of the crew get transmogrified into something funky, they go to Bones. If Bones gets turned into a duck…oh, let's give him to Christine!"
"That would be Christine Chapel, correct?" Yawaa asked, making a note of it to be included in her write up.
Kirk nodded eagerly. "That's the one." He said, ignoring McCoy's splutters of indignation.
"Moving on," Spock prompted.
Yawaa moved down her list to, "Issues of consent." She continued nervously. "We're, um, we're actually working this one into service contracts for all personnel. Asking them to list two members of the crew they give prior consent to engage in sexual intercourse with should there be another Galapagos Incident."
"That's a stupid bloody name for it." Scott said, bright red.
"Now Scotty," Jim said consolingly, "we talked about this. As much as I'd love to, I'm not allowed to tag missions as 'The one where everything got fucked, literally'."
"I was more in favor of 'The one where Sulu's nerd crush on the local flora and fauna got us all screwed, literally'." Uhura said mildly.
"I said I'm sorry." Sulu said sullenly.
"And I thought we agreed never to mention it again." McCoy said, his expression a dark cloud of gloom. "Ever."
"So yes," Yawaa intercepted timidly. "Is this a safeguard we can agree on?"
"Yes." Kirk said. "Though add a note that this can be updated and changed at any time. Maybe Bones can oversee that?" He asked, eyeing his CMO.
"Sure Jim." McCoy nodded easily. "Two people adequate? What if we don't have any match ups on away teams?"
"We could just all put the Captain down." Uhura said with a wolfish grin.
"I'm flattered." Kirk said breezily. "And a little terrified. But there are rules against me sleeping with crew members, remember?"
"Unless sex pollen." Uhura snorted.
"Well yes," Jim said, rubbing the back of his neck. "I'm holding out hope that was a one time thing. I mean, how many evil sentient lust inducing tentacle plants can there actually be?" Absolute silence met his question. "Right. Next?"
"Code words." Yawaa said, "to be used in the instance of clones and counterparts from alternate realities."
"Yes!" Kirk said, snapping his fingers. "That's a must. I couldn't tell evil Uhura apart from regular Uhura." She cocked her head curiously. "You both looked like you wanted to kick me in the balls." He said, explaining. She nodded in agreement.
"Codewords are a good idea." Sulu nodded.
"Unless you're Spock, then the facial hair seems to do the trick." McCoy smirked.
"I still find it remarkable that amongst a group of our counterparts originating from a considerably darker and more savage environment that your alter ego was still considerably more mild mannered than yourself." Spock mused serenely.
"And terrifying." Kirk said emphatically. "Can we not forget terrifying? Evil Bones was evil."
"I thought he was rather charming." Doctor Wallace said sweetly.
"You're not the one he tried to vivisect." Kirk grumbled. McCoy patted his knee consolingly.
"You're a medical miracle, Jim." McCoy said, "He was curious."
"And evil." Kirk frowned in an oddly endearing way.
"So, code words?" Yawaa asked, finding it remarkable that these men and women were able to function in society, let alone command the Federation's flagship. It was obvious they were incredibly close, friends as well as colleagues, but they were rather bewildering and so terribly young. And possibly all insane.
"Bones is evil?" Kirk put in hopefully.
"Spock's goatee is badass." Sulu added.
"Perhaps something simpler." Spock said. "A word that has personal significance to each individual. They can be recorded in personal files."
"Which would be accessible, would they not?" Yawaa asked.
"Perhaps Doctor McCoy could oversee these as well?" Spock proposed.
"Oh sure, leave me with all the crazy." McCoy grumbled.
"What if he's evil again?" Kirk frowned. "Evil Bones would totally manipulate the system."
"Evil you could as well." McCoy pointed out.
"Evil me was way too chilled out to do something like that." Kirk shrugged.
"He was certainly saner than you, Ca'p'n." Scott snorted.
"Had more morals, too." Sulu added.
"Should make me easy to spot then, shouldn't it!" Kirk said with a sideways glance at his helmsman. "You'd have thought you'd shoot the right one of us."
"I said I'm sorry." Sulu said again, this time not sounding in the least repentant.
"I think you just wanted to shoot me." Kirk sniggered. Sulu simply shrugged his shoulders. "What else is on your list, Lieutenant?" Kirk said, smiling again at Yawaa.
"Those are the main ones, sir." Yawaa said, reaching the end of her list. "It's been agreed that transporter related gender changes don't actually affect the running of the ship-"
"Speak for yourself, girl me was hot." Sulu said.
"Guy Uhura was hotter." Wallace chuckled. Uhura flipped her hair over her shoulder smugly.
"I thought you said you'd not put that in your report!" McCoy hissed at Kirk.
"I lied." Kirk shrugged. "Don't worry Bones, I didn't mention what a pretty princess you made."
"I hate you a lot." McCoy said.
Yawaa would have been appalled at such talk to a commanding officer had she not been witness to the rest of the conversation. As it was she gaped at Kirk, who winked and smiled that distracting smile again.
"Is that everything you need from us?" Kirk asked her. She nodded mutely. There were probably more questions she needed answers for, more notes she should be taking, but Kirk looked done and she wasn't sure she had the mental fortitude to protest. She vaguely wondered if he'd been half so commanding as a feline and then instantly decided she wanted to leave the room. "Awesome. Thank you for your time." He stood, making it clear she was dismissed, and she quickly followed.
"No, no, thank you." She said quickly, snapping her heels and saluting.
That was the session done she knew, and before she had even left the room Kirk was asking his crew, "So who is gonna help me hide from Barnett?"
Rand was waiting for her on the other side of the door. "Did you get everything you need?" She asked.
"I think so." Yawaa said in something of a daze.
Rand smiled sympathetically. "I'd talk to your supervisor, if I were you."
"Why is that?" Yawaa asked.
"Well you've clearly upset someone if they sent you up against that lot." Rand mused. Yawaa stumbled over her feet. Was that what this was? "I wouldn't worry about it too much." rand said encouragingly. "You survived, that will count for something. How did it go?"
"Well, I think." Yawaa said, tucking her PADD under her arm. "How long until you leave again?" She asked.
"Trying to get rid of us?" Rand laughed.
"I think evil twins and captain's transformed into cats are probably better kept in the black."
Rand laughed again. "And that's just the stuff he puts in his reports."
"There is worse?" Yawaa asked, slightly horrified.
"You wouldn't believe me if I told you." Rand said dryly.
No, probably not. Just another day in the office, right? Only in Starfleet.