Hi guys! I hope you liked this story! And now, the conclusion...
"Where exactly did you find this... ah... specimen?" Admiral Ortix asked Captain Kirk's team, while Sid was in another room being inspected.
"On planet Zwicky 4," Captain Kirk answered. "Just as you specified."
Ortix nodded, then frowned. "Did you say Zwicky 4?"
The Captain nodded.
"Not Zwicky 5?"
"Don't worry, Admiral. We were very careful to follow the tracking signal."
"You followed the tracking signal?"
The Captain exchanged glances with Doctor McCoy. "Uh... Yes, those were our instructions... weren't they?"
Admiral Ortix smiled slightly and shook his head. "No, your instructions were to steer clear of the signal."
"What?" McCoy cried. "You mean we went through all that trouble and we didn't even go to the right planet?"
"I'm afraid so," the Admiral said. "I began to suspect something was wrong when the specimen appeared mammal-like. The planet Zwicky 5 is very primitive, and highly aquatic. The specimen you were looking for should have been more primitive and suited towards aquatic conditions."
"Like a jellyfish?" McCoy suggested.
"More like an oversized ameba," Admiral Ortix replied. "That is what we were expecting, at least. Our sensors had difficulty actually determining what the specimen was like, since the planet's atmosphere is so thick and wet, and I was open to any possiblity. But once we had seen more of your sloth creature, we could tell that it was not suited to live on an aquatic planet, therefore you must have mistaken the two planets."
Captain Kirk risked a glance in McCoy's direction. The doctor shot him a glare. The Captain looked back at Admiral Ortix. "I apologize for the mix-up," he said. "I remembered being instructed to follow the tracking signal."
The Amiral nodded. "Understandable. Therefore, there will be no lasting consequences for this mistake."
"Thank you, sir," Captain Kirk said, gratefully.
"However," the Admiral continued, "you will be required to remedy this situation."
The Captain nodded. "Quite understandable. We will leave immediately and bring you the proper specimen."
"I appreciate your willingness, of course, but you will have to do a little more than that."
"What else is there?"
"Take the sloth back to where it belongs."
"Take it back!" McCoy cried. "You mean, put that thing back on our ship and go all the way back?"
"Yes, that is exactly what I mean," the Admiral replied.
"You're insane!" Chekov cried. "The thing nearly destroyed our ship!"
"What else do you expect me to do? I believe I am being gracious, under the circumstances."
"The Admiral is right," Spock agreed. "If we are at fault, it is only logical that we should remedy the situation."
"Keep your pointy-eared logic out of this!" McCoy snapped. "It's all right for you, you're not the one who has to deal with it."
"On the contrary, Doctor--"
"Stop it, both of you," Captain Kirk said irritably. "It's not helping." He turned to the Admiral. "You're absolutely sure you don't want to ah... keep it for further study?"
The Admiral gave a wry smile. "I'm sure, Captain," he said. "I would suggest that you waste no more time. You've caused enough delay already."
Captain Kirk sighed. "All right, we'll take it back, if there is no alternative."
Admiral Ortix smiled. "Good. We will have its cage beamed aboard your ship."
"Thank you, you're too kind," McCoy muttered.
"And I would suggest that you get going," the Admiral added. "I am leaving on the Excelsior in a few minutes for a brief trip back to Earth. When I return in a week's time, I will be expecting you to be waiting for me with the proper specimen."
The crewmembers went back to the Enterprise, and prepared to head back to the Zwicky star system. They had not been in warp for five minutes when McCoy stepped onto the bridge, followed by Spock and Scotty.
"Jim," McCoy announced. "We have taken care of our little problem."
Captain Kirk frowned. "What do you mean?"
"I am sure you will be pleased to find the Enterprise refreshingly devoid of a certain Sid the sloth," Spock said.
"What did you do with Sid?" the Captain asked.
McCoy looked over at Scotty and Spock. None of them said anything.
"Bones," the Captain said. "Where is the sloth?"
"Well, it really wasn't my doing," McCoy said. "It was mostly Spock's idea."
"Spock's idea?" the Captain repeated, turning to his first officer. "Spock, where did you take the sloth?"
"I did not take the sloth anywhere," Spock said. "It was Mr.Scott who performed the acutal operation."
The Captain turned to Scotty. "Where is it?" he asked, sounding slightly impatient. "How did you get rid of it?"
"Well, sir, I used the transporter..." Scotty said.
"You didn't beam it back to the starbase, did you?" the Captain cried, sounding slightly worried.
"Of course not, sir!" Scotty said. "Not quite..."
"Then where is the sloth?" Captain Kirk demanded.
"On the Excelsior," Scotty announced finally.
"The Excelsior?" the Captain repeated.
"Aye," Scotty said. "Just before they went into warp, I beamed the creature onto their bridge."
"Well, I thought it was only right to give the captain a fair warning before his lower decks were torn to shreds," Scotty reasoned.
"And the great thing is, Jim," McCoy said. "If anyone asks, that thing got into the transporter and beamed itself over there. So we're off the hook."
Captain Kirk sat dumbfounded for a moment, then he started laughing. "This was Spock's idea, you say?"
"Based purely on logic, of course," Spock said quickly. "Given the specimen's previous record for being a terrible nusiance and distraction, and knowing that we had endured more than our fair share of its destructiveness, I concluded that it was only logical--"
"Oh come on, Spock," McCoy said, rolling his eyes. "There was no logic involved, and you know it. You wanted to get back at Ortix for making us carry that thing just as much as I did."
"Doctor, revenge is hardly a logical--"
"Give it up, Spock. I know what your motives were. But don't worry, I won't tell anyone." The doctor gave Spock a wink as he disappeared into the turbolift, leaving the Vulcan uncharacteristically speechless.
"What's the matter, Spock?" Captain Kirk asked, a grin spreading across his face. "Sloth got your tongue?"