Title: Vulcans Tell No Lies
Summary: Bones n' Spock discuss that well-known rumor that vulcans tell no lies
All Spock wanted to do was enjoy a nice cup of Talsian tea in Rec Room #4, because Rec Room #4 was the one with the really nice porthole view of the stars, and he had the table right next to it.
He should have known better by now then to expect a peaceful, unbroken length of time from anywhere on the ship other than his own cabin.
Dr. McCoy and Lieutenant O'Neill had wandered in, in animated conversation, both of whom he pointedly ignored. At first. The two got progressively louder and plunked down at a table next to his.
"Look, Robert, ask anyone onboard, I'm only telling you what half the galaxy already knows. It's a matter of biological fact."
"Biology? I don't see what biology has to do with it!"
"It has everything to do with it! It's a physical incapability. Somethin' to do with their brain chemistry."
"I find that hard to believe," O'Neill answered, wearing a skeptical smile as he sipped his drink.
"Hey, which one of us is the doctor here, anyway?"
The Lieutenant scoffed.
"You're always telling me you have a hard enough time keeping track of where their organs are, let alone how their brains function--"
"--never mind that! It's simply a well-known established fact! Common knowledge. You'd have to be living under a rock in order to not--"
Spock cleared his throat, the better to glower at the bickering couple when they paused and glanced in his direction. Well, glower was a bit strong of a word. Stern, reprehensible look was more accurate. They had broken his peaceful tea break, after all.
When Lieutenant O'Neill saw him, he stiffened in his seat and looked as if he'd caught sight of a ghost; Bones just looked mildly annoyed, as he always did when noticing Spock-- it was obvious neither one had even been aware of the quiet vulcan's presence.
"Spock-- maybe you can help us settle a minor dispute," McCoy said, forcing good cheer into his tone.
"I prefer not to play mediator to emotional arguments, doctor."
Bones smiled disarmingly and waved at his companion,
"Oh, we're not arguing, we just tend to raise our voices when we get into things. The Lieutenant and I were having a debate on something that involves your people, as a matter of a fact."
O'Neill swallowed, eyes flickering about the room, a mixture of guilt and fear on his face.
"Uh, I really should go. I'm on duty in a half an hour and I've got to, uh, I-- should go."
McCoy leveled an accusatory gaze upon the man,
"You just want to bail because you're about to be proven wrong."
O'Neill laughed nervously and was about to protest when McCoy turned and pointed at Spock,
"Spock, would you please explain to this gentleman the old axiom that vulcans cannot lie?"
The vulcan raised a single, elegant brow. After a moment he answered,
"That statement is incorrect, doctor."
McCoy's brows knitted and he gazed in disbelief at Spock a moment, and then sputtered,
Ah, how often humans needed to hear something repeated before they accepted it. Spock sighed on the inside.
"The premise you are attempting to support is flawed, therefore I cannot substantiate it."
"Well, ah, there you go. I'll see you later, Doc," O'Neill half-mumbled hurriedly, getting up from his seat.
Bones shot a glare from Spock over to the retreating Lieutenant.
"Robert! We're not finished with this!"
The man made a noncommittal gesture and nod on his way out of the room and then was gone.
Spock had hoped that perhaps now that the Lieutenant was gone, Dr. McCoy would no longer wish to pursue the issue. This turned out to be a very empty hope. Bones was all the more embroiled and, having had his bicker-partner run out on him, he turned instead to target somebody new.
"Spock!" he barked, making the vulcan wince as he raised his cup.
"Why'd you go and do that? Made me look like a damn fool-- when everyone knows it's true you can't lie! Why didn't you tell him?"
Spock took a long sip of tea, as if somehow entertaining the fanciful notion that Bones might simply disappear if he ignored him long and hard enough. When the irate man was still glaring daggers at him, the vulcan regrettably had to answer.
"As I have already said twice, doctor, I did not 'tell him' because your statement is simply inaccurate."
The doctor folded his arms across his chest and eyed him quite bitterly, asking,
"Then what exactly do you find inaccurate?"
The vulcan considered a moment whether it was worth explaining. He gazed at the irritated human, gauging his chances of avoiding a prolonging of this discussion, but it seemed rather inevitable.
Hoping to salvage at least a few minutes of his break time by promptly getting rid of the doctor, he summarized;
"The first flaw is your use of the word 'cannot'. The well-known 'axiom' of which you speak is that vulcans 'do not' tell lies. It is not a biological incapability to lie; rather, it is a cultural taboo."
Bones sunk a bit in his chair, looking mildly rebuked at this.
"The second flaw is that you have overgeneralized this concept. It is far from an axiom that applies to all cases and all instances. There are situations in which it is considered appropriate to conceal certain truths or even intentionally mislead another."
McCoy huffed a little at this.
"Sounds to me like you're just splitting hairs, Spock. I'm still basically right; whether you're bound by biology or culture, in almost every instance, there's no way you can stand being anything other than totally, brutally honest."
"If it pleases you to think so, doctor, than I will not continue to argue the point," Spock murmured, turning to gaze out the porthole at the stars drifting lazily by, hoping that would be the end of it.
"Ah-haa, very clever, Spock. But you're just giving up because you know I'm right."
"I am 'giving up' because I know that any discussion with you inevitably turns out to be fruitless."
"Because I always win."
Spock raised a brow and glanced sharply at him, and then decided not to dignify that with a reply.
"It's okay, Spock. I understand. I'm a bit of a sore loser myself. You just sit here and look at your stars, drink your tea. I won't make anything more of it."
"Nothing would please me more," Spock replied tiredly.
"Very well then."
He sipped his drink.
Continued to stare at Spock.
Spock tried to ignore him, something he was very good at.
"Oh," McCoy said, as if something had just occurred to him, but it was obvious he had been planning it out in his head;
"I hope you don't mind if I paraphrase our little discussion to O'Neill later on. You know, so I can prove my point to him."
This time, Spock did sigh outloud. His break time was now over with. The last of his tea had gone cold, anyway.
He rose from his seat and went to put the cup in the recycler.
"You may tell the Lieutenant whatever strikes your human fancy, doctor, as your version of paraphrasing shall no doubt distort the facts beyond recognition anyway."
As he turned from the recycler to leave the room, he caught McCoy's expression; that challenging gleam in his eyes, that insane drive that kept him from knowing when to quit.
To his surprise, though, Bones then chuckled in amusement, as if his relentless badgering was nothing more than lighthearted fun.
"You still refuse to acknowledge when I get a one-up on you, huh?"
The vulcan leveled a serious gaze on the man and replied coolly,
"Do not flatter yourself by assuming it is personal, doctor. I simply refuse to give credence to that which is clearly false. To do so would be an insult to my value of the truth, which you yourself have insisted is so terribly binding that it renders me incapable of any sort of deception."
Bones returned the stare in silence, still not convinced, but without any snappy retort at the moment.
So Spock turned and went to leave the room. He was almost out of there, almost finally free from this fruitless discussion, when Bones came up with that snappy retort he had been a bit slow in formulating. He shouted it after Spock's retreating back, just as he was reaching the doors.
"If you're so damn sure of yourself, Spock, then why don't you prove it?"
The vulcan stopped as the doors swooshed open in front of him. He hesitated a brief moment, considering.
Then he turned to face McCoy again. The doors swooshed back shut. The doctor had a defiant grin on his face. Spock took a few thoughtful paces back into the room, hands tucked behind his back, and then regarded Dr. McCoy anew, with a measured, intelligent gaze.
"In the course of our conversation, doctor, it managed to slip my mind that I was meant to inform you of a recent development on the bridge. It would seem your . . . enthusiasm for . . . debate can serve as quite a distraction at times."
McCoy's face crumpled into one of mild annoyance and confusion, his standard expression around Spock.
"Yes? Get out with it, then."
Spock paused, studying McCoy for a few moments longer. Then he stated, in that same serious tone in which he used for everything,
"Captain Kirk has just given birth to a litter of five kittens."
It took a moment to even register with McCoy; when it did, his face melted into a mask of stark shock. Spock could feel the sudden surprised gazes of others in the rec-room, as well, but he paid them no heed, keeping his focus wholly on the good doctor. The man opened and closed his mouth a few times before finally stuttering something intelligible--
Spock nodded slightly.
"--five of them?"
Another slight nod. Bones blinked.
Spock added somberly,
"I am, of course, their father."
McCoy swallowed, and if it were possible to look even more surprised, he did at that moment.
". . . of course . . ."
"As the ship's chief medical officer, I thought it might be prudent for you to know. I am now due to return to duty, doctor, so if you shall excuse me, I will be on the bridge."
At that, Spock turned and left the room.