a/n: So I decided that I wanted to take a more humorous turn. And after looking up some quotes for my "I survived Pon Farr" page on facebook, I decided that marshmallows were just too good an idea to pass up (if you don't get the marshmallow reference, you're a bad bad Trekkie. Go see "The Final Frontier").
Part II: Marsh Melons
In his brief stint as acting captain of the Enterprise, now Commander Spock had taken time to review the demographics of the crewmen and women aboard what had been, at the time, his vessel. In the statistics detailing the races of the crewmembers, he found that the majority of the crew – 93 percent, in fact – were entirely human (6 percent were humanoid alien races other than Vulcan, 2.6 percent were Terran but with alien ancestry, and .4 percent, himself were halfbreeds). After being accepted to his posting as First Officer for the Enterprises five-year mission, he quickly found it imperative that he pursue a deeper understanding of human culture, seeing as he was to be surrounded by them for a significant amount of time, especially if he chose to continue serving on starships and in the Federation. He gleaned much from his readings and research, both in interesting historical information and facts relating to proper social conduct and custom; however, he always found that he learned best from direct observation of his peers and colleagues.
Thus, when he came upon the unusual scene in Recreational Room 583, he could hardly help but stay and observe.
He had been on his way to the bridge to notify Captain Kirk about some changes he had made in the crew operating on the Gamma shift when, passing by a breakroom whose door was ajar, he was suddenly assaulted with a saccharinely acrid smell.
Nearly jerking to a halt at the intensity of the scent, Spock pivoted quickly; with curious, cautious footsteps, he backtracked a few paces, and peered into the open doorway of the breakroom.
It took a great amount of self-control not to express his utter bewilderment at the scene that presented itself.
Mr. Montgomery Scott, Chief Engineer, was currently standing on a chair, his back turned to the door, furiously fumbling with something on the wall at level with his head. Beside him, Dr. Leonard McCoy sat slouching in another chair. The doctor's look was a conflation of somewhat grim resignation and boredom; he sat with one leg crossed over the other, the opposite elbow on the table, chin cupped in his palm. On the table in front of the doctor was a strange cyndrilical object, a thin metal rod, a plate, and a bag of what appeared to be white fabric swabs; on the plate sat a blackened mass, which sizzle almost inaudibly.
As Spock entered, McCoy looked up, but didn't bother straightening from his hunched position; he greeted the first officer with a wry, I-have-a-terrible-bedside-manner-so-shoot-me upturning of one lip.
"Mr. Spock," he acknowledged.
Spock shifted the PADD he was holding from his right hand to his left, nodding. "Dr. McCoy."
At the sound of voices, Scotty craned his neck around, though he kept his hands in place. "Ay! Mr. Spock! What brings yeh down 'ere? Takin' a brek from duty, eh?"
Spock dipped his head. "Negative, Mr. Scott. I was simply drawn by the odor of cauterized sucrose."
"Mr. Spock, you're a wonderfully intelligent man and all but I'd be much obliged if ya'd speak English every once in a while."
Spock's brow furrowed slightly. "I am speaking Standard-"
"He's talking about your rank experiment, Scotty," McCoy interjected, seeing this could become very confusing very quickly. At the utterance of the word "experiment", he saw Spock's attention pique.
And indeed, the next words uttered by the first officer were, "Experiment?"
Whilst Scotty had turned back to the wall (and now that Spock was close, he could see that Scotty had opened up the room's security and maintenance box), McCoy explained, "Mr. Scott here was feeling nostalgic and thought he might try roasting marshmallows- the old-fashioned way."
"With fire," Scotty said over his shoulder.
On cue, McCoy produced an old spark-lighter, which he had palmed. "Yes. Unfortunately, all the rooms on the Enterprise except for the laboratories are programmed with a system that automatically sounds a fire alarm at even the smallest flame, since nobody uses actual fire for jack on a space-traveling vessel. Which is why Mr. Scott is now performing open-heart surgery on the spook-box up there," he gestured with his eyes.
Intrigued, Spock nodded, letting his eyes wander to Scotty's hasting fumbling with the guts of the security box. He had read about such practices, though he was uncertain what circumstances would make them appropriate; they did not seem so aboard a starship. Nevertheless, he was now undeniably curious. He looked back at the table, eyes immediately drawn to the bag of what he thought had been medical swabs, then to the blackened mass on the plate.
"And the first run of this experiment . . . was unsuccessful?"
"Aye, sir. In my hurry to stop the alarm, I abandoned the 'mallow and she burnt to a crisp," Scotty mumbled around the small tool he held between his teeth. "Ah! There. Got it." He stepped down from the chair.
As Scotty sat down eagerly to his array of marshmallow-making tools, Spock took a few more slow steps towards them. He watched Scotty set up what he now identified as a taper candle, curiosity pooling in him.
"Mr. Scott, would you or the doctor object to my observing the rest of this experiment?"
Scotty whipped his head up, a wide grin plastered on his face. "Not at all! Not at all, Mr. Spock. Here, pull up a chair-" he stuck his foot under the vacant seat next to him and pulled it out partly for Spock.
From across the table, McCoy watched as Spock sat down slowly. As Scotty happily stuck two marshmallows each on three skewers, McCoy leaned over in pseudo-confidentiality, and said to Spock, "Don't let this fool think he can teach you how to roast proper 'mallows, Commander. He's got no patience to make 'em perfect, just you watch: they'll all be too crispy."
"Oi! I can too! You just watch me, mister." He handed McCoy a skewer; bemusedly, Spock accepted one as well.
"They'll be so beautiful, they'll make yer mam cry," Scotty said smugly as McCoy took out once more the metal spark-lighter. He clicked it a few times, and finally managed to light the candle wick. He brandished his skewer.
"We'll see, sonny. Now, watch closely, Mr. Spock, and observe how to roast the perfect marshmallow. . . ."
"We-ell, I'll be a fossilized Mr. Stay-Puffed! Looks like you're a natural, Mr. Spock. Those are damn well near perrrfection!"
Spock sat back, rotating his skewer and surveying his lightly browned marshmallows. He noted with a small amount of personal satisfaction that they were evenly colored on all surfaces, not one edge or face charred.
Across the table, McCoy (whose marshmallows were almost as perfect, but currently being digested), smirked at him. It was not an unkind look, however; truth be told, Bones was actually weirdly proud of him. "Be you can't do that twice."
Spock glanced up at him from inspecting his marshmallows. "On the contrary, doctor, the effect should be easily replicated, if the same technique is used. . . ."
"Kind of like how Scotty uses the same technique to repeatedly burn all of his," McCoy observed dryly, watching the engineer pop his own crispy black mallows into his mouth.
"Oi! Ah did tha' on purpose!" Scotty replied indignantly, displaying bits of burnt sugar and white gooey insides as he defended himself.
"Oh, naturally," with a strange little smile, McCoy resituated two more marshmallows on his own skewer and handed it to Spock. "Well, let's see it then."
Just as Spock was about to put the marshmallows delicately over the candleflame, another figure abruptly appeared in the doorway. The entire party turned.
"Hey, Spock, why didn't you-" Kirk stopped, seeing his CMO, Chief Engineer, and First Officer crowded around the breakroom table. "Mr. Spock- what are you doing?"
"I am preparing to toast a marsh melon, Captain."
Kirk wrinkled his eyebrows in confusion. "A-?"
"Ma-f-ma'wo!" Scotty chimed in around about four of the aforementioned foodstuffs.
At that, Kirk's face lit up. "Marshmallows? Why didn't anybody tell me? I wanna roast some-!" He neared, and his expression got, if possible, brighter as an idea popped into his head. "Wait a minute- have you tried-?" he pulled out his phaser.
McCoy's eyes immediately widened and he shot up from his chair, nearly making it topple over. "Jim, no-!"
Realizing too what was about to happen, Scotty swallowed quickly and frantically shouted, "Cap'n, the effect of the nadion beam on organic substances such as - "
"Oh, relax, it's only set to stun, what's the worst-?"
He pulled the trigger.
There was no time to react, no time to shield himself. He simply watched with a detached sort of surprise as the marshmallows in front of him exploded.
What Spock saw next was simply this: his skewer, blackened at the tip, completely devoid of any marsh melon traces.
What the others saw, once they deemed it safe to drop the shields of their arms, was one wide-eyed, very sticky, marshmallow-covered Vulcan.
McCoy, for his part, tried to maintain some composure- which was difficult, since he was sure his mouth was going to break from trying to keep from smiling. Kirk was in too much shock to do anything but stare, slack-jawed.
Scotty, however, had no such sense of decorum nor surprise. The engineered went immediately bug-eyed- and then burst like a dam with a hoot of full-bodied laughter.
"Mr.—hah – Mr. Spock -!" he weezed, leaned to one side, holding onto the edge of the table for support. "Well, if you- hooo- you aren't the tastiest lookin' Vulcan I e'er did see- !" He doubled over, laughter shaking his entire frame.
Bones ground his teeth across the table, the traces of a grin beginning to creep on his face. It was hard, damn it, it was fucking hard to keep a serious countenance at the sight of Mr. Spock, the most severe, no-nonsense officer aboard the ship covered in white sugary debris. There was marshmallow in his hair, flecked on his face, clinging to his ears, on his uniform – there were even bits stuck to his dark, slanting eyebrows.
"You make for an austere Mr. Stay-Puffed," McCoy said in (almost) all severity.
"I . . . feel an urgent need to bathe," Spock announced quietly, realizing suddenly that he felt very . . . sticky. With cautious movements, he set his skewer down upon the surface of the breakroom table, and stood up. Stiffly, he acknowledged each of them in turn, "Mr. Scott, Dr. McCoy. . ." he paused as he turned his dark eyes on Captain Kirk, who was still staring at him in something akin to terror.
He locked eyes with Spock, dark, almost black, brown penetrating gold. Spock stepped away from the table, approaching him (although advancing might have been a better word) in his controlled, stately manner (amazing, Kirk marveled, how he could still be so regal covered in friggin marshmallow). As his first officer came near, Kirk felt his breath hitch in his chest as those dark eyes loomed at him, drawing closer and closer and. . . .
About (or perhaps precisely) two feet from Kirk, Spock stopped. He all but clicked his heels, straightening his shoulders and delivering a single, firm, curt nod, followed by a crisp address.
Kirk warbled noiselessly.
As soon as Spock had left the room, Scotty (who had momentarily stopped hooting) burst into another peal of laughter, and was joined by Bones, who was sure that he'd pulled a muscle in his jaw trying to contain his mirth.
Kirk instantly turned an indignant, furious, and thoroughly abashed shade of red.
"That's. Not. Funny," he hissed through his teeth. "I mean, fuck my balls - no, stop laughing- I think he's really pissed off at me- "
"Well, Jim, hate to break it to you but-" Bones paused to give a bark of laughter, "- he kind of has reason to be. It's not everyday your superior officer embarrasses you by blowing up a marshmallow in your face."
Kirk's brow crinkled, and his golden eyes dimmed, a trouble expression immediately taking his face. "You think I embarrassed him?" he asked anxiously.
Though Kirk was obviously distressed, McCoy shrugged cavalierly. "Maybe. Maybe not. Regardless, I never thought I'd be so entertained by you splattering sticky white stuff on the hobgoblin's face."
There was a hiccup beside them as Scotty's laugh caught in his throat. The Scotsman choked, watering eyes darting between CMO and Captain.
Kirk's face went through a gross and vertiginous array of colors before settling on a distressed fuchsia. It was difficult to tell if he was more angry or mortified by McCoy's suggestion - although Bones, with his smug smile, was betting on the latter.
"And what," Kirk asked, his voice oddly higher in pitch, "is that supposed to mean, Doctor?" he laced the titled with venom, his look clearly saying, You'll pay for this later.
Bones ignored the warning, putting on a good show for his one-man audience (aka, the silent engineer watching them with widened eyes) by shrugging. "Why, nothing," he said innocently. "Lighten up, Jim, come on - "
"'Come on' my ass - "
McCoy grinned evilly. "Not my department, kid - "
Ps. Apparently, Kraft actually sold replicas of the marshmallow dispenser that Spock used in "the Final Frontier" whilst camping with McCoy and Kirk. Is it sad that I kind of want one?