Author's Notes: Anyone ever wonder what happened to Janice Rand?
Well, me either, but I figured I'd write about it anyway.
Title blatantly stolen from Tagore's beautiful novel.
home and the world
The short career of Yeoman Janice Rand.
The first thing Janice Rand notices is that Captain Kirk has a mouth like a burned sailor, and it doesn't matter who's listening. Apparently the rest of the crew grew up with terrible parents, too, because none of them so much as raise an eyebrow when he takes a big bite of apple and sighs, "Jesus Christ, I fucking love this ship."
There's no such thing as taboo on the bridge, which is the next thing Rand notices; she'd been told in the Academy that a ship was like a well-run office building: all-business. The boss wouldn't socialize with the crew, and the First Officer was the go-to if you needed anything. Rand's not sure what kind of pipe her teachers were smoking, but they'd obviously never been to the USS Enterprise, because Spock has yet to actually speak to her but Captain Kirk ("please, call me Jim") has given her two noogies and at least one ulcer.
He's got this terrifically annoying habit of calling her Randy, which no one else finds funny but makes him laugh every time. She's heard rumors that he used to be sort of a psychopath who drove cars off of cliffs and got kicked out of bars, and she can tell from the way he carries himself, like all the boys back in Chicago: tall, shoulders back, sort of ready for a fight or a fuck or whatever's coming his way. She's fairly certain that he's just about the most unprofessional captain that Starfleet has ever employed, a fact which is cemented in her mind the day after the Christmas party, when he stumbles into the bridge in just his undershorts and socks and asks blearily, "So that we're clear, did I vomit on Spock last night, or just near him?"
Captain Kirk talks to diplomats with his mouth full and is always sporting one bruise or another and once she overhears him say to Chekov, "Masturbation is like candy. You eat and you eat and you eat and people keep telling you that you'll get fat, but …" he gestures to himself. "You see what I'm saying?"
Rand doesn't, but Chekov must, because he flushes red and won't meet anyone's eyes for three days.
She doesn't really understand the hoopla over this man until Spock and Uhura are kidnapped on some foreign planet by tentacled men/fish, and suddenly it's like there's this whole other person in the Captain's body, one made of steel where her Captain Kirk is made of energy and puppy eyes.
Afterwards, when the Captain's bleeding and stranded in sick bay but Spock and Uhura don't have a scratch between them, Rand goes down to visit and stands awkwardly at the foot of his bed.
"What's the frown for, Randy?" he asks, lips only sort of moving as Dr. McCoy hovers around them like a mother hen, clucking all the time and muttering hateful comments about the Captain's general parentage.
She hesitates. "Permission to speak freely, sir."
He waves a hand dismissively. "Yeah, yeah. Of course."
"I underestimated you. I thought that your casualness indicated unprofessionalism, but it turns out that it's just your way of hiding that you're secretly good at this job."
He looks at her for a long time, not speaking; then he relaxes his head against his pillow and laughs. "Well, shit, Randy," he says, grinning, "you're gonna make me cry with all this touchy-feely stuff."
She opens her mouth to respond, but Dr. McCoy brushes past her carrying a needle that makes the Captain's eyes go wide. The doctor has a frighteningly joyful look as he murmurs, "No, Jim. I'm going to make you cry. See if this doesn't teach you not to be so stupid—"
She flees before the yelling starts.
Uhura is beautiful, and smart, and more terrifying than anyone else on the ship because she has this way of looking at you like she's imagining stabbing you in the eyes. It's a look she reserves mostly for the Captain and Scotty, though Rand sees it thrown Dr. McCoy's way a couple of times and Sulu gets it once for tentatively asking if he could buy her a drink.
Rand never gets it, because Rand's not fucking stupid, so she knows how not to piss the translator off.
For her first three weeks, Rand's pretty sure that Uhura's a lesbian; she's a little embarrassed about how long it takes for her to get the "plug in the Spock-et" jokes that Scotty always makes when he's had too much to drink (so, every afternoon at six).
Even after learning that Uhura somehow sees something in the First Officer that no one else seems to (a sex drive?), Rand thinks that maybe the translator is the only sane one on this ship. She does normal, officer-y things like take drinks on Tuesdays with Dr. McCoy's head nurse Christine, and keeps a professional demeanor during work hours, and does her paperwork on time. She's efficient, smart, and focused. She's what they told her the A Team would be like in the Academy.
So it's a surprise when Rand gets summoned to the bridge and finds the captain, Scotty, Chekov, Sulu, and Dr. McCoy staring up at the big screen. It takes her a couple of moments to really process what she's seeing, and once she does her jaw drops so low it touches the floor.
It's a band. Most of the members are blue, with little spikes covering their heads like hair. Other than that, they look human. She's not familiar with several of the instruments, but a drum set is unmistakeable and someone's playing what looks to be a guitar. It's a catchy tune, and the lead singer is bouncing around on stage with the microphone, waving her hands as the crowd in front of her pushes against the stage, screaming and reaching for her.
She looks young, but not too much so; the video must have been taken in the year or so before she joined the Academy. She's dressed in a tube top and this itty bitty little skirt, and damn — Rand always knew the translator had nice legs, but…
They're all of them standing there dumbly when the bridge door opens and Uhura walks in with Spock; Chekov scrambles frantically with the controls but succeeds in his panic only to increase the volume.
Spock's expression doesn't change, but there's the tiniest twitch at the corner of his mouth. Rand glares down at the ground and furiously prays that Uhura doesn't decapitate them all.
After a long moment of silence, Uhura walks to her computer screen and hums thoughtfully. "The drummer was my boyfriend," she says, examining herself on the screen. "We went double platinum on Raxicalicophalipatorious."
Then she shrugs in an almost cheerful manner. "You can watch for the next five minutes. Then I'm taking the tape and destroying it, and if I ever hear any one of you mentioning it again I will rip your eyes out through the back of your skull."
She seems to be focusing specifically on the Captain when she says this, but everyone gets a taste of her glare.
The song is stuck in Rand's head for the rest of the month, but she doesn't dare hum it.
First Officer Spock doesn't actually speak to her for the first six months of her time on the Enterprise, but Rand doesn't think that has so much to do with snobbery as it does him not noticing that she's there.
Rand doesn't really mind; something about Spock gives her the willies, the way his expression never changes and his voice doesn't betray any emotion whatsoever. She knows that he and Uhura break up only because the translator spends two weeks being unnecessarily violent with her glances and purposefully spilling all of Scotty's drinks so that he's woefully sober by the end of the night; Spock's demeanor doesn't change. She's told that once the Captain goaded him into a fist fight, but Rand's not sure she believes it.
Once she spills an entire mug of coffee on him, just to see what happens; he glances thoughtfully down at his robes and says in that monotone of his, "That is quite hot. Perhaps next time you might be more careful."
"I'm sorry," she offers, trying to look sad or scared or something that might make him feel sorry for her.
"There is no need to apologize for accidents," Spock returns. "Although I'm told that in your culture it's important that I appreciate the gesture." He walks away. Now Rand's 0 for 2: no coffee, no reaction from First Officer Spock.
As it turns out, however, face-to-face confrontation isn't necessary for mind-altering awkwardness to scar her for life. It happens at midnight-ish, and she goes back to the bridge because she can't find her lucky pen. She thinks she might have dropped it under the Captain's chair when she was tying his shoes. (The Captain, in all his infinite wisdom, had burned both of his hands trying to juggle flaming batons after Sulu had told him it was a coming-of-age ritual for 'his people'.)
There are already people there when she enters, but they don't notice her, probably because they're too busy making out.
Rand freezes, completely at a loss for what protocol is here. On the one hand, she's totally supposed to report it because fraternization on the ship is technically against regulations. On the other, writing a report would require a) getting close enough to figure out who it actually is, and b) writing the words make out on an official document, and Rand's just not comfortable doing either one of those things.
She doesn't really know what to do, so she sort of just ends up standing there awkwardly, listening.
The couple pulls apart and then a hand goes up to cup the other's face. "In the future, Captain, I would ask that you refrain from such foolish endeavors as handling fire when you clearly have no experience in the arena of juggling."
The other man laughs. leaning in to lightly kiss his partner's mouth. "Sorry, Spock. I don't like making promises I know I'm going to break tomorrow at noon when Sulu gives me juggling lessons." He pauses. "And for serious, man, if you're going to let me stand here and touch you in your naughty places, you're going to have to call me Jim."
Spock pauses for a moment. "That was a joke," he decides. "About the juggling lessons."
The Captain chuckles, and Rand officially gives up on understanding what it is about the people on this ship that they all seem to want a piece of a rock that talks.
Then Spock says, "I don't want you getting hurt again," in this tiny, tiny little voice that's still got the same monotone, but there's a little quiver at the end of it and he brings the Captain's burnt hands up to his face to examine them. "It's bad for the ship, because without you here I can't run it."
"Sure you can," the Captain murmurs. "You're probably better at it than I am."
"No," Spock tells him, still whispering. "When you're hurt I am emotionally compromised. Without you in the Captain's chair I am always emotionally compromised."
Rand sneaks back into the hallway. She doesn't write up a report and she never spills coffee on the First Officer again.
"We're all going to die," Sulu mutters with a sigh, and hands over a chunk of cash to Scotty.
Rand frowns as the Scotsman cheerfully counts his money. "Well, boys, on the bright side, you can't take it with you anyway," he says.
They're in a cell somewhere, Rand's not exactly sure. The Captain has been gone for nearly two hours, and Spock has spent three quarters of it standing at the bars, eyes closed, focusing on something but Rand doesn't know what.
Uhura is passing the time by reading the writing scratched out on the wall. When Scotty asks her to translate, she replies in a deadpan, "One upon a time there was a crew of idiots who thought it would be funny to go to the beach on a hostile planet. They were all kidnapped and killed, except the beautiful translator who they worshipped as their queen. The end."
Rand wonders who found these people and broke their normal reactions to terrifying situations bone.
"You know," Scotty mutters thoughtfully, "since we're going to die anyway, Uhura…"
"No," she says flatly.
"Now's not the time," Sulu snaps sharply, and Rand smiles gratefully at him, because at least someone has their priorities in order. Then covers his eyes. "I wouldn't want to see that. God, Scotty, the thought of you actually … mmph. I think I just vomited in my mouth, a little bit."
"We're really going to die, aren't we," she moans, and Scotty puts a comforting hand on her shoulder.
"Here," he says, pulling a flask, seriously, out of nowhere, and handing it to her. Normally Rand is opposed to drinking on the job, but hey, she thinks, fuck it, she's going to die, anyway.
"I advise against imbibing at this juncture," Spock says without turning around. "The Captain says he's almost ready."
Rand frowns. "What are you — "
"Mind meld," Sulu says shortly, all business, climbing to his feet. "Scotty, you got the key?"
The Scot looks regretfully down at the flask in his hand before dashing it on the floor. It takes all of her practiced calm not to yelp. Scotty bends down and picks up a tiny key (what?) from the floor and tosses it to Spock, who fits it into the cell's lock. The door swings open and everything starts happening: there's fighting and shouting and then they're in the hallway and how did they get guns, again?
When they reach the Captain, he's got a bloodied lip and swollen eye, but he's grinning. "Good of you to show up," he says cheerfully. "I took out two of them but there's— "
"Scotty already got the sentinels at the door," Sulu interrupts.
"Scrolls in hand, Captain."
The Captain beams fondly at them all in a twisted version of his usual smile and says into his communicator, "Beam us up, Chekov!"
By the time they get back onto the ship Rand's head is spinning. Scotty pushes Chekov out of his chair and lovingly caresses his computer. "I'll never leave you again, baby," he purrs. Uhura walks over and holds out a hand. "Aw, c'mon," he whines. "We almost died."
"Almost only counts star shoes and transgalactic checkers," she tells him flatly. "Nobody died, and I got called pretty twice. Cough up the cash."
Rand stares at them all and shakes her head. "That's it. That's it. I do not understand you people! First you're all hey, we're a band of idiots and then I laugh in the face of death and then just when I think I get it you suddenly turn into the cast of Space Bandits and it has to be said, it really does: you. are all. insane!"
Chekov grins at her. "Velcome to ze Enterprise, Randy."
When they come back, Rand is reassigned to the USS Premiere. She hadn't brought much with her when she first came to the Enterprise, so it doesn't take her long to pack.
Some of the crew is waiting for her at the unloading dock, this tiny little group of people she never fully understood. Scotty has Chekov in a headlock and Sulu is debating heatedly with Uhura over which of them has more power in the bridge (an argument which Uhura wins by flatly turning her Glare of Death on him and raising an eyebrow) and McCoy is threatening the Captain with a loaded syringe while Spock stands between them and reminds the doctor that if he kills the Captain, Spock will be promoted. That seems to be enough to settle whatever argument they're having, because the doctor settles down and the Captain presses his fingers subtly against his First Officer's and they both smile.
She knows they're waiting for her, but Rand has never been good with goodbyes. Anyway, she knows what they're going to say. Goodbye. Nice to know you. We'll miss you, Randy.
They won't, though, really.
Family's family because it doesn't need anybody else.