A/N This is my first ever Star Trek fic, written in celebration of finishing season one of TOS. It takes place shortly after season one episode "Tomorrow is Yesterday." I'd really appreciate any feedback, particularly regarding the technical jargon and names of devices on board ship (which I have trouble getting the hang of and a tendency to confuse with Star Wars).
Disclaimer I I have no legal rights to the Star Trek universe. I am incurring no profit from this story.
Disclaimer II Due to the particular content of this story, I felt that I should make it clear that I do not think sexual harassment is funny. However, I do think that some of the ways we try to prevent it verge on the ridiculous.
The Enterprise Receives a Lecture on Sexual Harassment
"Confidential sub space message for you, sir. From Starfleet Command."
"Thank you, Lieutenant Uhura." Kirk flipped on his private audio channel. As he listened, his face stiffened.
"What is it?" McCoy, who was standing by the captain's chair, demanded.
Kirk didn't answer directly, but rose. "Doctor, come with me. Mr. Spock, with us, please. Mr. Sulu, the bridge is yours."
Inside the security of a conference room, Kirk faced them and said tersely, "Gentlemen, Starfleet Command has just informed me that someone on board has registered an anonymous complaint of sexual harassment against the officers of the Enterprise."
"What?" McCoy demanded, shocked. "That's preposterous!"
"I am sure that Starfleet would not be taking action if they believed the accusation to be groundless," Spock countered.
McCoy glared. "You sound awfully sure of that. Do you have something to confess, Mr. Spock?"
Spock raised a pointed eyebrow. "Surely, Doctor, you are attempting to make a joke."
"No one was named in the accusation," Kirk interrupted, "but Starfleet is taking this seriously. They're sending an ethics and protocols officer to give a lecture on the fleet sexual harassment policy. Attendance is mandatory for all crewmembers. The crew at large is not to be told about the accusation. As far as they're concerned, this is merely a routine fulfillment of Starfleet training regulations."
Both Spock and McCoy nodded their understanding.
"And one more thing." Kirk hesitated, then forged ahead. "Is there a possibility, any possibility that something one of you said or did could have provoked this complaint?"
"What are you suggesting, Jim?" McCoy demanded.
"I don't have any reason to suspect either one of you," Kirk hastily explained. "But I have to be sure, absolutely sure, that my senior officers are not involved in this. So … Spock?"
Spock simply stared at him.
McCoy shrugged. "Thanks to the efficiency of the medical tricorder, I don't even get to ask women to take their clothes off anymore."
"Is that a no?"
"That's definitely a no."
Kirk nodded. "Good. We'd better head back to the bridge, so I can make the announcement."
"Hold up a second, Jim," McCoy said. "What about you?"
Kirk looked astounded. "Me, Doctor?"
"Yes, you. Come on, Jim, we all know you have a certain … shall we say, talent? … with the opposite sex. And then there's your very attractive yeoman, whose duties bring her into close, personal contact with you."
A peeved expression crossed the captain's face. The insistence of Starfleet on saddling him with distractingly attractive yeomen was a sore spot. "Dr. McCoy, Mr. Spock, let me assure you both that my behavior toward all crew members at all times has been completely within the bounds of professional courtesy." With his best military bearing, he led the way back to the bridge.
The next afternoon ...
Kirk glanced down the row at his assembled officers. Some of them were whispering to each other, and most of them looked bored as they waited for the EP officer to appear on the podium. There was no room on the Enterprise large enough to accommodate the ship's entire crew, so those assembled here represented only the most senior officers and some of their staff. The lecture would be transmitted to screens across the ship, around which the rest of the crew was gathered.
"I wish he'd get on with it," muttered McCoy who sat on Kirk's left. "I have a man in sickbay who may have picked up a nasty case of parasites on Epsilon 7."
As though in answer to his wish, a figure rose from the front row and ponderously walked to stand behind the podium. He was heavyset man in his early sixties, with iron gray hair and sagging jowls. "Captain Kirk, officers, and crewpersons of the Enterprise," he began, in a slow, heavy voice that matched his appearance. "I am Lieutenant-Commander Jacob Lloyd, permanently assigned to the Starfleet Ethics and Protocols division. It is my duty today, to acquaint you with Starfleet policy regarding sexual harassment." He stopped, then raised and lowered his massive jaw before continuing, "Some of you may think that today's session is a waste of time. You may think that a sexual harassment policy does not need explication. You may think that it is undue anxiety on the part of Starfleet that has sent me here today. And you may think that sexual harassment has nothing to do with you. But let me emphasize …" He paused, swung his head from side to side on the roll of his neck so that his gaze could sweep the entire room. "Let me emphasize that sexual harassment could happen to Any. One. Of. You."
"If only," McCoy muttered, and Kirk had to stifle a chuckle. Bones was, and always would be, incorrigible.
"Now," L.C. Lloyd continued, having paused long enough to allow the significance of his last statement to sink in, "let us define sexual harassment. Some of you may think that sexual harassment pertains only to those words and gestures which are obviously and explicitly …" He paused.
"Sexual and harassing," whispered McCoy.
"… sexual and harassing," concluded Lloyd.
Behind them, Sulu snickered.
The doctor grinned. "Maybe I'll pursue a second career in ethics and protocols."
"But the nature of sexual harassment is often insidious. It is woven into everyday activities, so much a part of our ingrained habits that we fail to realize its presence. It may take the form of a joke, a flirtatious remark, a touch, or an offensive image located in the work space. Any unwelcome sexual advance, whether spoken or written or implied, qualifies as sexual harassment." Lloyd stopped and took another slow, sweeping look around the room, the movement of his head slow and even on its cushion of fat. "At this point in the lecture, it is usual to request members of the audience to assist in a visual demonstration. Research has shown that demonstrating the nature of sexual harassment in this way is more effective than a lecture without visual accompaniment." One large arm lifted and a sausage-like finger pointed. "You, Lieutenant, please come forward."
Uhura rose from her seat and walked to the front of the room.
The finger on its arm rotated slowly. "And you, sir. Come forward, please."
Kirk couldn't help smirking a little, and McCoy looked as though Christmas had unexpectedly arrived in the middle of July as Spock stood and walked forward, his stoic expression unwavering.
"The key to determining whether or not a situation qualifies as sexual harassment lies in whether or not the remark or advance is unwelcome. Now, sir, I would like you to make a remark with sexual implications to the lieutenant. And lieutenant, please respond in a manner that indicates the advance is welcome."
Spock looked down at Uhura and said gravely, "Did you know, Lieutenant, that the mating ritual of the Myotis Lucifugus found on Omega 5 occurs only once during the species' lifetime?"
McCoy buried his face in his hands, his shoulders shaking.
Uhura looked blankly at Spock, and then turned to Lloyd. "I'm sorry, sir, but I don't think I can respond positively to that."
Lloyd frowned. "Sir, did you not understand my directions?"
"You asked me to make a remark with sexual implications. I did so."
"I meant, regarding your sexual attraction to her."
"But I harbor no such attraction. Vulcans, in general, prefer to mate with other Vulcans."
"For the sake of the demonstration," Lloyd hissed through suddenly clenched teeth, "will you kindly tell the lieutenant you find her attractive?"
"Very well." Spock turned back to Uhura. "Lieutenant," he began in his usual cool monotone, "I find you attractive."
She fluttered her eyelashes at him. "Why, Mr. Spock, I had no idea. But I like you too," she cooed in sultry tones. Chuckles rippled across the room.
Lloyd looked relieved. "In this case, any further advance by Mr. Spock would not be sexual harassment, since the lieutenant has made it clear that such advances would be welcome. But now let us play out a scene where a continuance of such behavior is not welcome. But, er, perhaps we'd better switch the roles," he added, the hastiest remark he had made since taking the podium. "Now, Lieutenant, you will play the more aggressive role, and Mr. Spock will discourage your advances. Is that clear?" He looked sharply at Spock.
"Perfectly clear, sir," Spock returned, impassive as ever.
With a smile that clearly denoted mischief, Uhura sidled up to her senior officer and slipped her arms around his neck. "Mr. Spock, isn't there any path into that stony Vulcan heart of yours?" she pleaded, staring soulfully into his eyes.
"In surgical procedures, it is usual to access the heart by employing the medical laser below the lower left rib cage."
Vulcans do not do well with metaphor, reflected Kirk. McCoy, who had only just regained his self-possession, started coughing.
Uhura dropped her arms and stepped back, shaking her head. "That's enough to discourage a girl." But catching sight of L.C. Lloyd's scowling face, she valiantly tried again. "I meant your emotions. How can I make you love me?" She twitched a hip suggestively and garnered several catcalls from the engineering staff.
"I see," said Spock. "Your mistake lay in supposing that Vulcan culture shares with human culture the erroneous supposition that emotions have some root in the cardio organ. In fact, as science proved several centuries ago, emotions are actually caused by a variety of chemical impulses secreted by various glands throughout the body. As for how you can make me love you, I am afraid that such a procedure is impossible. Vulcan emotions are so controlled as to be nonexistent in the popular human conception. Any further attempts to arouse them on your part would be useless effort, and—"
Lloyd interrupted him before he could continue the lecture. "A very clear indication that Lieutenant Uhura's advances were unwelcome, thus qualifying any further advances as sexual harassment. Let's, ah, thank our volunteers."
McCoy leapt to his feet, applauding enthusiastically. "Bravo!" When Spock returned to his seat, the doctor reached over and thumped him on the shoulder. "You know, Spock, you could have a real career on the stage."
Spock eyed him in annoyance. "Human art holds little attractions to the regulation of a Vulcan mind."
As the applause died down, Lloyd resumed his lecture. "Now, I would like to deal specifically with one particular form of sexual harassment which can be very damaging within Starfleet hierarchies. This is what is technically known as Quid Pro Quo, literally translated 'this for that,' and in the case of sexual harassment means the exchanging of sexual favors for advantages. Often, this type of sexual harassment occurs between a superior and a subordinate, the superior taking advantage of the subordinate sexually and rewarding him or her with advancement, extra break hours, and the like. Or, if the sexual favors are withheld, refusing advances in rank, pay, and otherwise disadvantaging the subordinate. Starfleet looks with extreme severity upon such behavior, and any crewmember found guilty of it will be submitted to strict discipline. Captain Kirk, will you please join me up front?"
Kirk winced in dismay, but stood and made his way to the front of the room.
"Captain, I was hoping you could assist me by explaining the nature of the discipline meted out any convicted sexual harasser."
Blast. He could practically see the page in the Starfleet Regulations of Conduct handbook, but for the life of him, he couldn't remember what the details were. "Naturally, offenses differ in severity and thus deserve different discipline," he began, stalling for time. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Sulu rifling through a book with a familiar cover.
"Yes, of course, Captain, but, what, say, is the penalty for a first time offender, convicted of making sexually harassing remarks to his or her coworkers?"
"The penalty is … " It was the handbook. Sulu looked up and rubbed his fingers together suggestively.
"… money. That is, a fine. And …" he added, as Sulu continued to gesture, dropping his book so that he could hold up seven fingers "seven …" It had to be days, "… days of …" Sulu dropped his cheek in his hand and looked bored, "revoked recreational privileges," he finished triumphantly.
Lloyd nodded approvingly. "Very good, Captain. But what is the discipline in a much more serious case, say a multiple offender accused of assault?"
Sulu was frantically flipping through the book. Kirk said as slowly as he dared, "As you say, the offense is much more serious, therefore the discipline must be equally increased in severity. The punishment in such a case is …"
Sulu looked up triumphantly and displayed his wrists as though they had been bound together.
"Immediate arrest. Followed by …"
Sulu mimed ripping off his Starfleet insignia.
"… the stripping of any rank."
The Asian's hand slashed violently across his throat, and Kirk hesitated, confused. Was that the wrong answer? Now Sulu had drawn himself up stiffly and was scowling in a dignified manner, shaking his finger at the back of McCoy's head. Next, he slumped down, clasped his hands together, and assumed a pleading expression. Then he went back to finger shaking, slashed his throat again, and flopped his head over in a dramatic death posture.
Kirk returned his attention to Lloyd. "Of course, the offender will be court martialled."
"Excellent." Although Lloyd did not actually smile, the folds of his face radiated approval. "Clearly, Captain, you recognize the gravity of the matter, since you are so thoroughly acquainted with Starfleet protocols. Thank you for your help."
"My pleasure, sir," said Kirk, letting out a silent breath of relief and turning to go back to his seat.
"One more thing, Captain."
Kirk froze, then turned back to face Lloyd. "Yes?"
"Just for fun, why don't you tell us what the penalty for a second offense of verbal harassment is." Lloyd looked as though he were awarding the room a treat.
Kirk's mind scrambled in panic: His back was now to Sulu, he couldn't very well turn around without giving the game away. But neither did he know the specific punishment for a second verbal offense. Exasperation and frustration abruptly overwhelmed the panic. He was a highly decorated Starfleet captain, he shouldn't be expected to undergo this ridiculous examination. He happened to use his memory space for more important things, when there was a perfectly good handbook detailing all of Starfleet's protocols of discipline accessible to any member of the ship.
Inspiration flared. "It doesn't matter," he said firmly, putting some of the iron of command into his tone.
Lloyd appeared stunned, "Captain …"
"It doesn't matter," Kirk repeated more loudly, turning to face the assembled crew fully, "because sexual harassment in any form will not be tolerated on this ship. Under my command, a first offense will be treated so severely, that the commitment of a second will be considered tantamount to a resignation from this crew. I want that understood by every person aboard the Enterprise."
There was a moment of shocked silence, and then McCoy, grinning again, started clapping. Applause swelled as Lloyd left the podium and came around to stand next to Kirk. "Captain Kirk, let me shake your hand, sir, let me shake your hand. With men like you behind our efforts, the Starfleet Ethics and Protocols division cannot fail to succeed in its efforts to provide a safe and respectful work environment for all Starfleet personnel!"
He engulfed Kirk's hand in his own, and the picture of the two them that was broadcast to the crew would later be resurrected from the ship's data banks to become the central image of a new EP Mutual Respect campaign that would descend into every remote outpost in the galaxy.
At last allowed to return to his seat, Kirk tried not to let his relief show on his face. McCoy leaned over and muttered, "Nice save."
"Bones," gritted Kirk, "shut your trap." He made a mental note to move Sulu to the top of the shore leave list. Speaking of quid pro quo.
Still beaming, Lloyd resumed his position behind the podium. "Now, we've defined sexual harassment, and we've reviewed the relevant Starfleet protocols. But before I conclude this lecture, there is one more aspect of the subject that I would like to touch on, and is the psychological effect, both on the persons involved in the incident and on the crew in general. But rather than listen to me drone on a list of statistics, I think it will be much more effective for you to hear a real life anecdote from someone you know and trust. Often, the person on board best placed to witness these situations is the chief medical officer."
McCoy, whose eyes had glazed over, snapped to attention.
"Doctor," Lloyd said invitingly, gesturing to the spot next to his podium.
McCoy looked pleadingly at his captain. "Do I have to?"
Kirk smiled maliciously. "Get up there, Bones, and that's an order."
Narrowing his eyes in a look that promised revenge, McCoy stood and trudged to the front. He stood next to the podium and clasped his hands behind his back, his expression betraying his complete lack of enthusiasm.
"Now, Doctor, I want you to think back across the range of your considerable experience and see if you can't tell us a story that illustrates the psychological effects of sexual harassment on a crew."
McCoy glare at him. "I'm a doctor, not a psychologist."
"We all realize that, Doctor. But your medical training has equipped you to make observations of behavior. Surely, you aren't averse to helping us out?" Lloyd raised his eyebrows.
"Let me think," sighed McCoy. He stared out over the audience for moment, and then his brightened as though the flicker of an idea had come to him. "I'm not going to name any names," he began, "because some of the people involved in this incident are still Starfleet personnel, but suffice it to say that it occurred on a ship I served on before my assignment to the Enterprise. The ship's captain had a very attractive female yeoman, and a certain lieutenant developed a passion for her. He constantly pressed her with requests to go for coffee breaks together, to sit next to him at mess, or to spend recreational leaves together, despite, her constant refusals. At last, fed, up, she told him she was going to report him to captain for sexual harassment. And she did so. There happened to be a visiting commodore aboard, and so he, the captain, and myself made up the requisite board of three to hear the complaint. The yeoman explained the situation, while we listened, and when she had finished, the captain said that he understood perfectly, but there was one question he had left. 'What's that, Captain?' she asked. 'Would you like to go out for dinner?'"
The room exploded in laughter. Scowling, Lloyd had to raise his voice in order to be heard. "Doctor, this is hardly helpful."
McCoy looked at him innocently. "Sir, I haven't finished yet."
A faint expression of relief crossed the lieutenant-commander's face, and he held up his hands to restore order. "Ladies and gentlemen, silence please. Let's allow the doctor to finish his story."
The noise subsided, and McCoy continued, "The yeoman looked at the captain for a moment, and then she replied, 'I'd love to, Captain, but I'm afraid I already have a date with the commodore.'"
The hysteria this time was uncontrollable, and McCoy returned to his seat amid thunderous applause, as Lloyd tried vainly to regain control of the room. "And that," he announced, his jowls quivering ominously, "concludes the day's presentation."
Lloyd stalked toward the exit, but paused by Kirk's chair. "You realize, Captain, that the uncooperative attitudes of the crew will be recorded in my official report."
Kirk stood up and glared back. "Uncooperative in what way? They fulfilled all of your requests. Might I remind you, that it was you who asked for volunteers?"
Lloyd gave a haughty sniff and left, making his lumbering way toward the transporter room.
Later that day, Kirk sat in his chair, savoring the peaceful atmosphere that pervaded the bridge. Spock stood nearby, running data through his computer. The turbo-lift doors slid open to reveal McCoy, who walked over to the captain's chair.
"Well, Bones, I hope you're pleased with yourself. You succeeded in completely disrupting Lieutenant-Commander Lloyd's lecture."
McCoy looked serious. "You're right. He'll probably never forgive me."
Kirk's expression was equally grave. "And I'd never have forgiven you if you hadn't."
McCoy tried, and failed, to suppress a snicker. But then his smile faded. "Seriously, Jim, Lloyd may have been a pompous bag of wind, but he had a point about the psychological effects of sexual harassment on a crew. But I've just been going over the personnel files, and I can't find anyone who I think would have had any reason whatsoever to send in that report."
He spoke in a low tone, but not soft enough to escape the keenness of Vulcan hearing. "I believe I've found the answer to that," Spock said, leaving his computer and coming to stand on the other side of the captain's chair.
Kirk looked up at him in some alarm. "Do we need to adjourn to a conference room?"
"No, Captain. No member of this crew was responsible for the anonymous tip."
"Who then?" Kirk demanded in astonishment.
"Not who, Captain, what. Do you remember when we had the computer systems worked on, shortly before our misadventure with time travel that put us in orbit around twentieth century earth?"
Kirk's face darkened with the memory. "Yes. The technicians incorporated a personality into the computer. It called me 'Dear,'" he recalled bitterly. Then his eyes widened. "Do you mean to tell me that the computer sent in the accusation?"
"Yes, Captain. Apparently it felt … slighted … when you didn't respond to its advances, and accusing the officers of sexual harassment was its idea of revenge."
"We had to endure …" McCoy searched for the appropriate descriptor, but abandoned the attempt as futile, "… that because a machine got its feelings hurt?"
"That is correct," Spock affirmed.
The trio contemplated this in silence, and then Kirk spoke. "Let's look on the bright side. The Enterprise has never been so well educated."
McCoy looked pointedly at Spock. "That's true. And some of us needed to learn a great deal."
"He has a point, Mr. Spock," Kirk agreed. "The way you stood like a statue when Lieutenant Uhura threw her arms around you—it just wasn't human."
"Thank you, Captain. If you'll excuse me, I need to check on the status reports from engineering." Spock returned to his computer.
Kirk and McCoy looked at each other.
"Hopeless," the doctor sighed, shaking his head. "Completely hopeless."
A/N Thanks so much for reading! Please review! My friend BlueSaber, who viewed the entire season with me, has also written a first Star Trek fic, so be sure to check it out!