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Author's Note: Written for Medie for Fandom Stocking
There are some things they forget to teach at Starfleet Academy.
As an non-com, Petty Officer First Class J. Mia Colt had undergone all of the mandatory training courses and passed them with flying colours. Hand-to-hand combat, basic warp theory, Federation History, everything from how to properly file requisitions in triplicate down to how to scale a Jeffries Tube in the pitch dark to effect repairs to the duotronic computer systems in the middle of a battle with the Klingons.
In short, she had spent two years training among the best and brightest of her generation, to compete for a slot aboard one of the dozen deep-space heavy cruisers as a yeoman. She was bright, she was competent, and she was dedicated. Master CPO Flynn would never have made her Captain's Yeoman if she hadn't been up to the task.
But there had never been a class in 'how to get your cranky captain to stay in bed when he has a cold'. If there had been, Mia would have been able to teach it by now.
The first time Pike showed up for alpha shift sporting a sore throat and runny nose, Colt had simply provided him with a steady stream of cups of herbal tea—nothing with dairy or caffeine—and had consulted Dr Boyce as to what he believed was the proper course of action.
"The proper course of action, when the captain is suffering from a virus that has plagued mankind since the stone age and for which there is still no goddam cure, is stay in bed and not infect his entire bridge crew," Boyce had growled as he pushed himself away from his desk, grabbing a portable medkit as he rushed out of Sickbay toward the turbolifts.
Colt had trailed behind him, unsure of what else to do. As a result, she was there to witness the epic battle of wills between the Enterprise's Captain and her Chief Medical Officer as they struggled for control of both the ship and the situation.
In the end, glaring daggers at Colt for ratting him out to Boyce, Pike had summoned Number One to the bridge and allowed the doctor to escort him back to his quarters.
That had, however, only been the beginning. Boyce had assigned Colt to make sure that for the four to seven days course of the virus that Pike rested, drank fluids, and effectively quarantined himself in his quarters to prevent the spread of the virus.
"With a couple hundred people sealed up in a tin can like this—biofilters or no biofilters—we could have a third of the humanoid crew down for a week if this spreads. So I'm counting on you to keep Chris in bed until he screens clear of the virus."
"But, sir... how?"
"Set phasers to stun if you have to," Boyce had said with a cheerful and only slightly sadistic smile, and then abandoned her to her fate.
She'd done her best. She'd given him PADDs loaded with enough paperwork to keep him busy for the remainder of the shift, until Mr Spock relieved the first officer and Number One could report to him in his quarters with the log.
She'd had the kitchen serve up a giant bowl of chicken vegetable soup, administered his analgesics, and done everything short of tuck him in with a bedtime story.
She was rewarded by a captain who continued to move from the bed to his computer terminal, spill tea all over his desk, litter the floor around his desk with used tissues, and growl and bark at her like a stray dog every time she appeared to check on him.
As Colt effectively handed off the grumpy, sneezing captain to his XO at the end of Beta shift, she paused in the hallway on Deck 5 outside the Captain's cabin.
"Ma'am? How did Yeoman Cusack handle the captain when he was ill?" she asked, swallowing her usual mortal terror of speaking to the First Officer, due to utter exhaustion and not a little frustration.
Number One didn't exactly smile, but her blue eyes danced beneath her arched brows as she leaned toward Colt conspiratorially. "I believe it involved a great deal of whiskey."
"For the captain, or Cusack?"
For the first two days, it wasn't so bad. It was taxing, but nothing Colt couldn't handle. She'd get him anything he needed, respond to dozens of hails asking her to round up reports from the department heads on Alpha and Beta shift, and continued the steady stream of hot liquids that helped mitigate the symptoms of upper respiratory infections due to the common rhinovirus.
Then day three happened.
Pike was wracked with fever and chills, could barely sleep, and managed to accidentally delete an entire department's worth of crew evaluations he'd been working on in fits and starts since that morning. When Colt went to fetch clean bed linens from storage, he'd damn near taken her head off.
"For God's sake, Colt, you're not my mother!" Pike roared, and then collapsed back against the pillows as a coughing fit overtook him.
"No, sir, I'm not," she agreed, dropping the blankets and fresh pillow cases on the foot of the bed. "In fact, sir, your mother doesn't work here. So I suggest that you act like the adult she raised and follow your doctor's orders. And if you don't, then I swear by all that is holy that I will comm Mrs Pike and tell her exactly what kind of child you've been behaving like."
He just stared at her, his mesmerising blue eyes red-rimmed, nose irritated from constant blowing, and dark hair lying lank against his scalp from two days spent in bed.
"Sir," she added belatedly as she realised she had just gone off on not only her commanding officer, but a man she'd had a crush on since she first transferred to the Enterprise from the Hawking and saw him bare-chested in the Medbay.
(No matter how often he was brusque or curt with her, Colt found that summoning the image of him with his shirt off made it slightly more bearable. But that was wearing awfully thin by this point, and she was wondering now exactly what she'd seen in him. Particularly as she was now starting to develop a sore throat.)
Times like these she cursed her colouring, as her fair skin burned with an unwanted blush. But she kept staring him down, arms crossed, and refused to back down.
Captain Pike actually looked ashamed. That was new.
"Of course, Colt. You're correct. I apologise," he'd said meekly, and for the first time, Mia Colt realised something about not just her captain—but captains in general.
Sometimes, they were big babies.
"I'll be back at the end of shift with more analgesics. I suggest, sir, that while I am gone, you try and rest. Also, a hot water shower with plenty of steam will help with the majority of your symptoms. And as I am your yeoman, sir, and not a cleaning service, I'll requisition a second waste-paper basket from the Quartermaster, and have it lined with a bio-filter bag, so that you can confine these," she gestured to the tissues littering the floor, "to something that will keep the germs from spreading."
After that, Pike was manageable. He still grumbled, but as the cold loosened its grip, his spirits rose. However, by the time Boyce had cleared him for duty, Mia herself had to admit she had caught the Captain's cold. Her throat was like sandpaper, and her nose was sore from constant blowing. She requested sick leave and it was instantly granted.
She spent a day in her bunk, blankets up to her chin, existing on endless cups of herbal tea and broth from the food slot in the quarters she shared with another petty officer. Yeoman Preston was bunking with another enlisted crewman while Mia was laid out, to try and keep the stupid virus from spreading. And as cheerfully as Preston had accepted the situation, Colt still felt guilty. But there was something to be said for having their quarters all to herself for a change.
She got caught up on her reading, had watched 2/3rds of a popular colonial holo-drama, and was fast asleep when the sound of the door swishing open woke her.
"Linny, you're s'posed to stay away," she mumbled from the depths of her pillow. Boyce would have her hide if her roommate came down with her cold.
"Yeoman Preston is still on duty," a male voice replied, and Colt's eyes went wide as she pushed herself into a sitting position.
Captain Pike stood in the middle of her quarters, a large tray in his hands.
"Captain!" Colt jerked the blankets up to her chin, blinking rapidly to make sure this wasn't some fever dream.
"I tried the doorchime, but there was no answer."
"I was asleep, sir."
Her mental faculties weren't the sharpest, as her inner voice seemed only able to repeat ohmygodohmygodohmygod in an endless loop as the captain set the tray down on her desk.
"Good. You need the rest. Now, the kitchen sent up soft-boiled eggs, toast, clear juice, and Boyce gave me a hypo of vitamins, analgesics and antihistamines to go with it. Speaking from experience, the hypo really does help."
Colt just kept blinking, trying not to think about how her hair was a rat's nest, her lips were chapped, and she probably smelled like menthol from the chest rub that her mother had always sworn by for colds and coughs.
"Captain... what are you doing here?"
"Boyce told me you'd got stuck with my cold and it struck me that it isn't particularly fair, you having to play nursemaid to me when I was laid up, when there's nobody to bring you soup and meds when you're laid up."
"But sir, that's part of a yeoman's job!"
"Actually, I think you'll find it really isn't," he said ruefully, and her words came back to haunt her, making her blush to the roots of her copper-coloured hair.
"Your job is to handle my office, and nail my ass to a chair when the paperwork is due. Not keep pouring liquids down my throat when I'm sick. And I wasn't particularly gracious about that, either." He pulled the low table next to her bed, and handed her the spoon resting alongside the plate. "So how about we just think of this as turnabout being fair play. Now, eat up before the food gets cold. Congealed eggs aren't particularly appetising, and you need some protein to keep your strength up."
Colt had to admit that, even with her reduced appetite and the propensity of everything she ate or drank to taste like mucus (causing her to lose her breakfast twice already), the hot buttered toast really did smell good. And she registered for the first time that the slices of toast were cut into strips, artfully arranged on the plate.
"Cook's idea." Pike's smile was rueful. "He figured you'd appreciate it."
"My mother used to do that, when I was a kid."
"Mine too—I think it's a universal mom trait. And since neither of our mothers work here—"
"I am so sorry, sir."
"Don't be. Sometimes I needed someone who, when I bellow, bellows right back at me."
"I'd have thought Number One—"
"—stays the hell out of my way, when I'm in mood. Boyce is the one who tends to yell. Or show up with booze. Or both."
Pike reached out and patted her hand awkwardly. "Now, eat up, Yeoman. I need you fighting fit."
As the door swooshed shut behind him, Colt tucked into the meal, marvelling at the day's events.
Starfleet didn't teach you how to handle a sick captain. But it looks like she'd managed to teach a sick captain how to handle his yeoman.
(God help her.)