"So how much do we have?" a small gaggle of ensigns sat at one end of the mess room piling tokens before them, a hum of low voiced conversation swarmed across the table.
"I've managed to convince some of the other girls to throw in, we have over 200 in 'Enterprise' credits' "
"Ha! If only they were really worth anything"
"Well they could be worth an interesting night with one First Officer, perhaps a few theories can be put to the test – if you know what I mean?"
Christine could not help but notice the pantomime wink of the young officer not far from where she sat. Leaning over to Uhura she expressed a feeling shared between the two "Bitch!"
"Poor Spock he's going to be eaten alive if that bunch get hold of him"
"Explain to me again how the Captain got him to agree"
"Something to do with a chess game, I missed most of the conversation McCoy was laughing too much for me to get all of the details"
"They'll humiliate him"
"The Captain wont allow that, I've already heard the 'rules' he's been really strict with Riley, nothing outside cultural norms, nothing involving pain or bondage, nothing sexual – at most those sold might have to cook a meal or clean a cabin"
"I still don't like the look in their eyes, its like hungry cats circling a innocent bird"
Uhura looked up from her coffee, a hint of surprise caught in her eyes.
"Spock, innocent? Really?"
A small giggle rippled through Christine's body, followed by a deep inward breath. "No not innocent at all" She placed her head onto the table and gently hit it several times.
"Captain the thought of slavery is abhorrent, I do no understand your willingness to agree to this"
"It's a diversion Spock, and its not slavery"
"My understanding is that members of the crew will be sold to be controlled by those who buy them"
"Well technically yes, but only people who want to be involved will be, no one will be forced to participate, and as for the control, there will be tasks for people to perform in a limited period of time…. Fun tasks, mutually agreeable tasks"
"I am not convinced Captain, and I still query your agreement to this"
"The crew are going stir crazy, logging star systems is necessary, but not necessarily the most riveting of assignments. Besides you made a promise"
"Captain my agreement was prior to full details being disclosed"
"Spock I'm not going to force you, obviously but I do feel that if the command crew are part of this it will boost morale"
Kirk stepped forward taking Spock by the arms, pressing his fingers firmly on either side. A grin befitting an adolescent Cheshire cat etched across his face.
Spock failed to restrain the roll of his eyes
A glittering sea of a million eyes turned as one as the men entered the room. At least to the men on display it felt like a million eyes, all hungry and eager.
"I am not comfortable with this Captain"
"Spock, I have to agree that this is not quite as I expected, who do you think is running the ship, everyone is here? Except, Bones" Kirk looked from one end of the stage to the other. "If he has backed out … the chick…."
Doctor McCoy strode upon the stage, wearing full dress uniform. Turning to the crowd he smiled and winked, causing a rousing chorus of applause to erupt across the room.
Kirk leaned back against the wall, slowly shaking his head. Spock stood still, hands tightly held behind his back.
"Spock you look worried, wondering if anyone will bid for you?" McCoy snickered at his own joke.
"Doctor I am the first officer of the Enterprise it is illogical to think that that I would not command a significant price, and without the need for grandiose displays"
"Well I suppose so, though I expect that there will also be a curiosity factor"
"Curious? In relation to what Doctor?"
"Well eer you know, your ummm, well if you would ….or if you could…I mean other than at…well you know"
"Doctor I have no idea as to what you are referring"
"Well I'm sure there are some people on board who maybe curious about certain aspects of your personality that when given the opportunity to explore ..You know… urges…"
Spock clearly affronted, became rigid as realisation slapped him in the face.
"Captain I was advised that the purpose of this display was staff morale, not as Doctor McCoy has implied staff immorality!"
"Spock trust me your virtue will be safe" unfortunately Kirk's words did not hold his usual assuring tone.
An uneasy silence fell across the three. Kirk had agreed to this auction as purely an innocent means to bring the crew together after a long and uneventful mission. Somewhere between the initial agreement to sanction the event and the hoard of what appeared to be primarily starving women merging forward towards the platform, the aim of the activity appeared to have become obscured.
McCoy attempted to look innocently at his feet, though his attention was drawn towards a corner of the room where a busty Lieutenant was regularly turning her attention to the handful of credits in her hand.
Spock finally broke the personal considerations, he had obviously been ruminating over McCoy's comments.
"Doctor note that Vulcans choose to be 'active' in selective situations, it does require particularly stimulating situations or encouragement of a bond mate, this does not constitute a stimulating situation. Vulcans do not " he raked his brain for the words "put it around like humans"
McCoy gagged, nearly choking on his own surprise.
"Captain have I used the wrong phraseology?"
"No Spock, I'd say you hit the nail on the head. It's a moot point NOTHING like that is going to happen, at most you might be asked to make a salad"
"With whipped cream and a cherry on top" McCoy muttered under his breath, revelling in his friends state of discomfort.
"I'm just saying curiosity killed the cat, or in this case purchased the Vulcan"
"Spock nothing will happen, I can assure you"
"I was unaware that the protection of virtue was in the Captain's mandate"
"Well it's certainly not a self imposed mandate" McCoy commented, continuing to relish the moment
"That's it Bones, seriously, I'm taking you out of this soon if you don't quiet down. Why are you being so smug anyway?"
"Well no-one said presale negotiations weren't allowed", he waved to the dark haired Lieutenant who had previously caught his attention.
"You've rigged the auction!"
"I've equalized the odds"
"Hello CREW!" Riley strode onto the stage, commanding the attention of the people before him. "We are here today to have some fun, play by the rules" he turned and nodded slightly to Kirk "and at the end of the day get someone else to do the laundry – who might it be? the good Doctor, an Engineer knows how to use a refresher unit – or at least how to fix one", Riley smiled and playfully hit Lieutenant Scott in the arm. "A commanding Fir." he turned to acknowledge Spock, though the scowl with which he was received quickly moved him along the line to Kirk "A commanding Figure of a Captain?"
Laughter echoed about the hall
"I say – LET THE BIDDING BEGIN!"
The flurry of activity was overwhelming. Kirk had known that Riley had talents, other than those required for Starfleet, however he was in genuine awe as he watched Riley control and contain the swarm before him. He quickly dispatched some of the lower ranking officers, mostly to their respective partners, before moving onto the command crew.
Tension mounted briefly with Scotty being presented, though it would be a brave person male or female to challenge Uhura. There was little competition before she led away her prize.
"And now to First Officer Spock, what can we say about this fine Starfleet Officer?" Riley leaned into Kirk and whispered, "really what can I say, I get the feeling I'm two seconds away from a nerve pinch"
"Well observed, lets just assume the purchasing public have enough knowledge without a …."
"One thousand credits!" silence spilled across the room, small pockets of burbling speculation flowed up through the hush.
"One thousand credits", Riley looked about the room unable to identify the bidder "Any advances on one thousand credits"
Again the room fell to silence.
"Going once, going twice – sold to ….well I'm not sure"
"Riley, down here" a medic peered up from the crowd holding a small envelope "I was asked to hand this to Mr Spock"
Spock stepped forward to retrieve the note; handing it to Kirk they both read the contents in silence.
"You don't need to agree to this Spock, I'm not sure it's within the spirit of activity"
"It requests my attendance at one of the unoccupied cabins, there is nothing against the condition you have set"
"Its your choice Spock"
He considered the hand written note, that in itself was odd, certainly odd enough to peak his curiosity.
"I will inform you of the outcome Captain"
"The whole outcome Spock", McCoy yelled from the side of the stage, the Lieutenant noted previously wrapped firmly about his waist.
The room was dark, slightly heated, feint strains of ancient earth jazz filtered through. Vague hints of exotic incense seduced the spirit on entry, the thin streams of smoke conducting a twirling dance towards the ceiling.
He felt nervous, illogically and awkwardly nervous. He had been given a note at the completion of the auction, directing him to one of the spare cabins on the lower decks. The situation had seemed odd, however the Captain had been correct that the auction had buoyed the crews mood. As he had agreed to participate he could do little other than fulfil his commitment.
Before him a figure sat, face hidden by a flowing black robe. The figure did not acknowledge his presence. Sitting in silence, appearing to enjoy his unease.
"As a requirement of the outcome of the recent auction I am to attend this cabin for the next sixty minutes, I am required to participate in sanctioned activities as stipulated in the conditions of…." Coughing slightly "…sale"
"Remove your shirt", commanded the robe in a strangely automated voice.
"Remove your shirt First Officer"
"May I remind you that condition 4 of the agreed rules of conduct….."
"Remove your shirt First Officer. As Vulcans are not culturally opposed to skin exposure this is not a violation of agreement"
"I find the request to be unusual"
"And yet it is a request made within the regulations of this activity – agreed"
"Then remove your shirt First Officer"
The figure rose of the chair, as he could not sight the extremities of the body, clothed as the being was, it was as if the figure had floated to stand.
The body moved closer – a familiarity teased his senses; the scent from the clothes, though slight, calmed him.
Spock hesitantly lifted his command shirt, revealing the skin-tight black undershirt hugging his form underneath.
"All off Sir"
He considered, paused then proceeded to remove the undergarment.
A well-manicured finger emerged from the robe, a pale probe from a dark sea of satin. He noted the smoothness of the nail its perfectly rounded edges. Raised within centimetres of his skin, it ran down the centre of his chest. Moving indulgently over each ripple, each dip, and every imperfection of creation. He was not touched, yet the heat from their proximity caused his skin to prickle as if a chill had blown through the room.
The figure drifted to his left, staying close enough that the breath could be felt to fondle his flesh; imperceptibly he moved his body to follow. He could leave; the strangeness of the situation would contravene the conditions set by the Captain, yet he chose to stay.
"Touch Me," a whisper, or a desire spoken straight into his mind "touch me", repeated, had the words within his mind escaped his lips.
The figure flowed to stand behind him. He was able to feel the cool drape of fabric running across his skin, as its length twisted about his body.
"Who are you? identify yourself!" his voice though strong, faltered slightly as he felt his own breath shorten.
"You do not wish to know who I am Sir, just that I am"
"That makes no sense"
"Neither does your breath quickening with only the thought of what might be"
"My breath is not…"
"Our time is nearly finished, I do not wish to waste it in consultation"
The figure returned to stand before him. He breathed deeply the scent which reassured him, yet could not place.
"I know you," he voice now lowered
"No, you know of me, but you do not know me"
Stillness settled between them, a calm of private thought.
"Touch me!" he was assured that it was now his voice that commanded the person before him. Looking down into the darkness, searching for a connection to the body that floated before him, he was lost to the mystery enveloping him.
"To say goodbye" a hand materialised, female, soft yet firm in its structure. Palm facing towards him, placing it in the centre of his chest, she pressed gently forward. A rush of desire ripped through his body. Deep blue shards of pure passion pierced his psyche, buffeted by care experienced in his past yet out of reach for recognition.
"I wish, I request to see you again"
""You see me all the time"
"I am aware of your meaning. Our time has finished First Officer, for now. I will leave you to dress and attend to any outstanding matters", with this comment her hand drifted to the obvious bulge protruding from his trousers, fingers tips teasing the pending eruption.
"You will not be disturbed"
The figure left, Spock stood, half naked, confused a deep burning hunger eating at his stomach.