Just a little piece of day to day life aboard the ship. Won't be very long. Rated K.

Copyright Mistress V 2009, etc. etc. etc. We all know who owns Trek.

En Garde! 1/?

by Mistress V

Christine Chapel hit the send button on her keyboard and closed out the communication from her mother. It was two weeks since the Risan debacle and messages of sympathy were still coming in. Thank goodness the engagement wasn't really a public one or else she'd never get out from under it.

The ship just entered orbit around Starbase 4 for a few days of official duty. The first delegates for the Babel conference would be arriving soon after they left, either by shuttle or during a stopover at their home world. McCoy was understandably apprehensive at the prospect of treating so many different species, so he'd ordered the staff to read up in advance on everything from space sickness to insomnia.

She paused, thinking. Ambassador Sarek would be coming aboard early, given the distance of the new colony from any pickup points. Dr. M'Benga was more than capable of handling any Vulcan health issues, but she was the best qualified nurse to assist so she decided to skim the visitor's dossiers, just to be safe. It was a quiet Friday late afternoon, the perfect time for such an activity. Her superior was off accompanying Kirk to the base so he could be briefed on the upcoming assignment.

The doors whooshed open a bit later and she looked up from her desk. Hikaru Sulu stood there, a grimace of pain on his face as he rubbed his right shoulder.

"Come on in, Sulu," she offered. "What have you done to yourself?"

The helmsman followed her to an examination cubicle and hopped up on the diagnostic bed. "My shoulder," he replied. "It's been hurting something awful the past few days. I thought I could work through it, but the pain's just getting worse. And I have some workouts scheduled, so this can't be hampering me."

"I see." Christine palpitated the joint, frowning. "Doctor?" she called.

"Now what, Sulu?" Dr. Warren Fiskess asked sourly. "I told you about not overusing that joint until it was completely healed." Then the physician sighed. "All right, tell us. What were you trying this time? A Romulan mace?"

"No, but do you know where I can get one? I've looked everywhere." Sulu warmed to his favorite topic. "I was working out my new mek'leth. A real beauty, too. Guess I kinda...over did it, huh?"

"That's an understatement. Look, man, I'm limiting you to nothing more exciting than trimming your plants in the arboretum for the next couple of days. I know this will put a dent into your usual swashbuckling activities, but if you don't rest that shoulder, you won't even be able hold onto the helm. That means complete rest. No swords, bayonets, lirpas, tridents. Nothing." The doctor depressed a hypospray into the inflamed muscle, then returned it to the man's side.

"Not even a slingshot?" Sulu tried, ever hopeful.

"Not even. Or else you can treat yourself next time."

"Boy, he's sure taking lessons from McCoy," the helmsman observed as he gave his joint a surreptitious rotation. "Ouch. Wonder what brought this on?"

"You're overcompensating for the weight," Christine replied matter of factly. "I've seen pictures of those Klingon weapons. This one has two separate extensions, not one, it probably feels odd in your in your hand. So you draw back at the elbow. Right?"

"Yeah, right! How'd you know that?" Sulu asked, surprised. He'd not had much interaction with the nurse before.

"I had the same problem when I was breaking a new bow. It didn't sit the same so I leaned back too much. My shoulder took a couple of weeks to get used to it. I had to follow my doctor's orders and rest it, too." She sighed humorously. "Of course I didn't. Thankfully, I recovered." She now mimed drawing back a bowstring. "As you can see."

"Bow? As in archery?"

"Well, I certainly wasn't a gift wrapper." Christine laughed and began putting away things. "You've been sprung, so you can run along but try to follow doctor's orders, OK?"

"Ms. Chapel," Sulu continued, "may I ask you some advice?"

"Sure, is it medical?"

"No, it's related to archery. You see, I also just got a set of antique samurai equipment, a replica of stuff used in the Kamakura Shogunate. For archery on horseback, actually. I thought I could write a holodeck program, except I'm not sure how it's used. I don't suppose you know anything about that, do you?"

"I might." Christine smiled. "I did historical re-enactments in my college days, though not from that particular era. I'd love to take a look at what you've bought yourself. But what made you pick archery on horseback? Didn't the samurai use more traditional methods?"

"I've been researching my family history," Sulu explained. "Now that I'm in Starfleet and all, trying to see where my lineage came from. There was a Yabusame captain in service, Hiroshi Sulu-san. Way back when. I guess weaponry's just in my genes."

"You know, I love watching swordplay, especially when it's done right. Call me a frustrated fencer wannabee." She picked up a hypospray and extended it theatrically. "En garde. I always wanted to learn how to fence with a dagger, like in those old vids."

"I can teach you easy. Let's say we swap lessons? And I'd also like to extend an invitation for you to come to the first meeting of the new ancient weapons club. Tomorrow night at 20:00." Sulu was grinning now. "It was the captain's idea, with Babel coming up and all."

"Ancient weapons? How ancient?" Christine had visions of early phase pistols.

"Everything from slingshots to old fashioned police special revolvers. Since we'll be ferrying so many different cultures, the captain thought it'd be a good idea if we learned about their means of defense You know, hand to hand stuff. As a precaution, of course. Security's planning to be there."

"Sounds interesting. Pencil me in." Maybe there were other archers on board. Christine hadn't really announced all of her hobbies, and she missed the activity.

"I'm hoping some of the visiting ambassadorial staff can give some informal lectures, too, maybe even demonstrate some of their own historical fighting implements."

"Watch out for the Andorians," Christine said. "That blade of theirs, descended from the ice mining tool? It's pretty darn lethal." Christine recalled the interesting discussion she'd had with Thava, the Andorian operative, about the history of the Imperial Guard.

"Will do. See you tomorrow night? "

"You will."

************

The next afternoon, Christine took the newest batch of seedlings, for Kaferian apple trees, from bioresearch and made the journey down to the arboretum. Commander Mitchel brought the seeds aboard and insisted a few plants be grown. He claimed the fruit was beyond delicious.

She found the plot of ground that belonged to the lab and got to work. All kinds of things were being grown in the area, each in its own uniquely controlled micro environment. It was a popular spot during the crew's off time.

"Hi, Ms. Chapel! Need some help?"

Christine looked up and saw Sulu on the path next to where she was working. "I wouldn't say no," she told the capable amateur botanist. "I don't have a clue about these, but the instructions are all here." She handed a PADD over. "Oh and by the way, please call me Christine when we're not working. Ms. Chapel just sounds so formal."

"Sure, Christine." Sulu sat down and swiftly skimmed through the material. "Keferian apples, huh? They're quick growers, and they're good eating. You ever have one?"

"Can't say that I have, but Commander Mitchell's been raving on about them." She sat back on her heels. "What do we do?"

"Hand me a trowel," Sulu instructed.

"Here you go."

"No, you thrust too quickly. Pull back and try again. Aim for my left side. You thrust, I'll parry."

"Are you speaking English?" Christine asked, puzzled.

Sulu burst out laughing. "I'm sorry. I kind of fence in my sleep, it's just second nature. I was teaching you how to fight with a dagger, like you said yesterday. Guess I kind of forgot myself." He took the gardening tool and began marking out rows proficiently. "I was telling you to strike while I defended."

"Oh." Christine mounded dirt around a plant. "I wouldn't mind learning, though. Just in case I ever run across an overly aggressive patient."

"Come on, then. These are all settled in." Sulu indicated the half dozen seedlings now safely transplanted. "Once you're good enough, I'll let you try my replica USMC Raider Stiletto. It's mighty fine."

They got up and moved onto the path where Sulu began teaching his companion the basics of dagger fighting. Christine was a quick learner and it wasn't long before the pair was dueling away quite happily.

"Prepare to surrender, my fairest maid!" Sulu shouted lustily. "I have you in my snares."

"Surrender? Never! Have a taste of this!"

Christine lunged forward and lost her balance, falling past her opponent onto the path below. A moment later she was on her hands and knees, eye level with a pair of canvas clad male legs. She let her gaze travel upward and was mortified to find the first officer staring down at her, one eyebrow raised in puzzlement.

"Oh Mr. Spock, forgive me!" She didn't know what else to say. "What brings you here?" she continued brightly.

"I am about to see to my Vulcan plants," he replied crisply. "And you?" Sure enough, he was attired in work styled clothes and carried a basket that held tools, supplements and other gardening supplies.

"We finished planting those Keferian apples," she said, indicating the area behind her. "And then Mr. Sulu was showing me how to...er..."

"Fence, sir. With a dagger, only we were using these small shovels instead. We just got into it, I guess. It won't happen again," Sulu finished, equally ill at ease.

"There is no need to apologize. After all, this is a place of enjoyment and recreation for the crew's use. Although I might not recommend so...physical an activity here, lest the flora get smashed." Was there amusement in his tone?

"Say, Mr. Spock, could I come along and check out your plomeek vines? I know you were having some problems adjusting the controls here to replicate Vulcan. Maybe I can help." Sulu quickly changed from swashbuckler to agriculturalist.

"Certainly, I would appreciate your input." Spock paused and nodded at Christine. "Good day, Miss Chapel."

End of 1.

The school of archery on horseback that I mentioned was largely ceremonial in nature. Such warriors were held in high esteem. It is still demonstrated today in Japan and elsewhere.

Gary Mitchell loved Keferian apples in the TOS ep "Where No Man Has Gone Before" so why not here, too?

A mek'leth is a two-pronged Klingon sword, about half the size of a bat'leth. And there's indeed such a WW2-era (rare) military dagger as well, now an expensive collector's item