(Standard Year 2248)

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“Personal Log: Bones suggested I keep this record after I blew up at him yesterday. Vent a little spleen was how he put it. I suppose he’s right. After Shas and the whole ordeal with Spock, then with the close call on Alcon and the reunion with Kor on Canti what we all need is several weeks of leave, preferably on Lorelei. But orders are orders and Mendez doesn’t seem to care that we haven’t had leave in four months. My crew is getting progressively crazier and I can’t blame them. The pressure is getting to all of us. Including me.”

Jim Kirk switched off the log recorder, rubbing his temples. The experiments with stabilizing the Valjiir shuttles were floundering. One had crashed in a test flight over Alpha Metaxa III, a planet with an evolving humanoid culture. Prime Directive protection was in effect and at least this time there’s no plague or hostile aliens or anything else that would make the Silmarils tsk at me for leaving them alone. The Enterprise was to retrieve the wreckage before it was discovered.

“Shit,” he said aloud to the empty room.


“Personal Log: The coffee free-for-all was started, of course, by Lieutenant Valley.”

He had just come off duty and into the messhall. A group of angry officers stood grumbling at the replicator. Lieutenant Majiir knelt next to the control panel, tinkering. Jim asked Sulu what was going on.

“The damned thing won’t give coffee,” Sulu said, then added as if just realizing who he was speaking to, “Sir.”

Great, he thought. Lieutenant Valley glared impatiently, giving the Indiian instructions in curt tones.

“Ruth, I know what I am doing,” Lieutenant Majiir snapped, obviously affected by the irritability around her.

“So fix it!” Valley retorted.

Jim walked away, sighing. It was going to be another long evening.

“A minute later a cheer arose as Lieutenant Majiir proudly extracted a cup of coffee from the machine. It was cold. Lieutenant Riley chose that moment to make a snide comment about Valjiir’s abilities. Lieutenant Valley scowled and offered Riley the coffee, apparently under the impression that he could absorb it through the material of his uniform, because she poured it down his chest. He grabbed a second cup, returning the gesture. It splashed onto Mrs. Majiir who was tinkering again. She promptly got another cup and returned it. Riley then doused Majiir, Sulu doused him, accidentally intercepting Valley’s own retaliation.

“Within minutes there was enough coffee flying around to fill a tanker. Being the captain, I tried to stop it. I hardly have to say who it was who got the last cupful – from Miss Valley.”

Jim pulled at his wet, sticking tunic.

“It was, of course, an accident.”


“I’ll take you home again….” echoed through the darkened hallway. Jim sighed. Didn’t he have enough problems? It wasn’t bad enough that he had been woken out of the first good night’s sleep in weeks. Kevin Riley had been a wretched, love-sick drunk since the fight with Lieutenant Valley earlier that evening - outside Sulu’s quarters which were a scant two doors from Jim's own. Riley was asking advice from Mrs. Majiir. Jim had growled a half-serious suggestion to give Riley enough sake to put him out and tried to get back to sleep. Only an hour later Security had called when most of Deck Four had reported a similar disturbance. This time, however, Riley was singing. Jim said he’d handle it.

“No more Irishmen,” he mumbled as he rounded the corridor. Riley sat against Lieutenant Valley’s door, an empty bottle of sake in his hand.

Jim crouched. “Lieutenant,” he said heavily, “Let’s go to Sickbay.” Riley stared at him bleary eyes.

“Ah, Captain, did ya ever see a fairer flower than my Ruth?” he sighed.

“No, Lieutenant. Never. Come on.”

“Ruth, I love you!”

Jim pulled him to his feet and Riley stumbled against the opposite bulkhead.

“Ruth!” he called miserably. Jim turned to help him, the door behind him whooshed open, and a large volume of cold water came cascading down his neck and shoulders.

He closed his eyes.

He clenched his fists.

He slowly turned around.

“Good evening, Miss Valley,” he said.

“Captain, I… I’m sorry, I thought you were…” she stammered.

“Yes, I know. It’s alright. I understand.” He blinked away some of the water from his eyes. Ruth grinned sheepishly and waved as the door slid shut. Only then did Jim realize that she had been stark, beautifully naked.

“Captain?” a calm voice inquired behind him.

He gazed heavenward and set his jaw.

“I do have a logical explanation, Spock.”

“Of course, Captain.” Spock’s eyebrows were nowhere to be seen, lost somewhere under his bangs. “I was responding to a report from Security, but I see you have the situation well in hand.” He stared half a second, then moved past Jim down the corridor. Jim could’ve sworn he was shaking his head.

In the privacy of his quarters, Jim shrieked, “WHY is the woman trying to drown me?!?


“Dear Log: I have just spent several hours trapped under a wet tunic, a cup of coffee, and the irrepressible Lieutenant Valley. This is not as kinky nor as pleasant as it may sound. I intend to relate the entire story in vivid detail while it is still fresh, leaving it as explanation for several murders and my suicide.”

He stopped speaking and shook his head, smiling grimly. That’s almost not a joke. With a deep breath, he went on.

“Perhaps I should first explain that, prior to this incident, I was an inadvertent eavesdropper to a private conversation. The gym and, in fact, all recreation areas have been abnormally packed due to our strained situation. Therefore, so was the locker room. I had indulged in some wrestling before going on duty and had showered when I caught the tail end, if you will pardon the expression, of a conversation between Lieutenants Riley and Sulu. They were having something of a disagreement. Mr. Sulu’s contention was that ‘she may be the most versatile, she may be more beautiful, she may be more skilled, but I still say there’s nothing like heated mercury.’ Mr. Riley, on the other hand, stated that ‘gold-tipped cream is the sweetest fruit there ever was.’ To this, Sulu pointed out that Riley couldn’t really make a comparison as he had never tasted quicksilver, and he, Mr. Sulu, had had ample experience with both. By this time I had figured out what and who they were discussing. My presence went unnoticed as Sulu began a detailed comparison of the obvious and not-so-obvious charms of Lieutenants Valley and Majiir. Which I won’t go into.” Jim paused, eyes closing. “But to get back to the original story. It was about two hours into the watch. We’d been having trouble with our emergency power banks. Scotty had done some repairs and was testing them. Yeoman Rand had just given me a cup of coffee and was distributing other cups to grateful officers on the Bridge. Miss Valley – gold-tipped – um, Miss Valley was approaching me with science reports to initial when the lights on the Bridge went out. All of them. There was a sharp thud and Mr. Sulu muttered a string of obscenities to which Miss Valley responded, ‘sorry, Roy.’ I interrupted with a request for a status report from Mr. Scott. The next thing I knew, I heard a gasp, more obscenities and felt warm coffee soaking my lap – what does she have about liquids? – as something heavy sprawled against me. I believe I said something like, ‘Ah, Miss Valley, we meet again.’

“Of course, the lights chose that moment to come back on.

“The silence was hysterical. Ruth Valley, lying across my lap, one arm around my shoulder, her lovely face inches from my own. Sulu’s chair was knocked over, and he himself was on his rear end on the deck. Before I could get an explanation, Sulu grinned in my direction. Lieutenant Riley glared daggers through me. Lieutenant Uhura cleared her throat and Spock – Spock, my friend, how could you? – asked if I was in need of any assistance. “’Miss Valley,” I said, ‘would you mind getting up?’ “’I can’t,’ she replied, and took an – oh god – deep breath. ‘My foot got caught under the platform when I tripped over Sulu because he was reaching for the emergency power tie-in and I couldn’t see him and I didn’t know that I’d knocked his chair over too so I fell over it and I reached out to stop my fall and grabbed your cup which is why it spilled and when I realized where I was grabbing I tried to stop and that’s how my foot got stuck sorry about your coffee sir.’

“”Miss Valley,’ I tried again, ‘can’t you simply remove your foot…’

“’No, sir,’ she said. ‘It’s broken.”

“’You’re a healer…’ I began in exasperation.

“’That’s the problem,’ she explained. ‘Every time I try to move it I break it again.’

“It was determined that a damage control party would be necessary to extricate the lieutenant’s foot. Then, of course, the pilgrimage started. Suddenly the entire ship had business on the Bridge. I suspect it was Janice who spread the word, as she left rather suddenly after the lights came back on. I’ll have to have a talk with her.

Anyway, in order to be more comfortable – I swear it – I moved my arm under Lieutenant Valley’s left shoulder. This caused her uniform to ride up. Her legs are incredibly long and lithe and my mind began to recall Sulu’s earlier descriptions. Which I still won't go into. She was pressed quite tightly against my thighs and I found myself praying not to get an erection. That would’ve been all I needed. I can see her reaction, squirming uncomfortably, ‘Captain, something’s poking me in the – ‘ the blush, the giggle, the wicked grin, ‘Bwana, I didn’t know you…’ But I digress.

“Bones was at least honest. He came onto the Bridge bouncing, grinning, asking if medical attention was needed. I reminded him that Miss Valley was a keheil and never needed medical attention. For her part, Miss Valley stuck her tongue out at him. Something I truly wish she hadn’t done. Then Bones said, ‘Well, to tell you the truth, Jim, I wouldn’t pass up a sight like this for a month of Sundays.’ The constant suppressed laughter from my crew was getting annoying. When Lieutenant Valley started – why must she put her whole body into everything she does? – it took every ounce of restraint I had not to give just one good swat to her pretty, upturned – now comes the erection. God, I don’t need this!”

With a start, Jim stopped the recording, erasing the last few seconds.

“Ah, technical problems. Where was I? Oh yes. Spock moved behind me, Lieutenant Riley muttering something about getting a better view to which Spock replied that he was merely concerned with our well-being. Riley had apparently forgotten Vulcans have excellent hearing. Sulu, for whom the comment was intended, replied, ‘wouldn’t you?’ I must have betrayed my emotions because the level of suppression became decidedly more pronounced. A phaser, wide-stun, I pleaded, silently, of course. Spock remarked that I was a most interesting shade of red, then added, ‘And you, Miss Valley.’ I don’t suppose I can blame him for taking the perfect opportunity to avenge himself for all her teasing, but why me?

”Well, anyway, you get the picture. The piece de resistance came with two incidents. Miss Valley had just remarked that she had never noticed the color of my eyes before – dear god, deliver me from – and Lieutenant Majiir stepped onto the Bridge with some tools Scotty had requested. She stared at us for a very long time, then began glowing. Miss Valley grinned at her. She took on several additional magnitudes of brightness and dashed back into the turbolift. The Bridge crew ceased even trying to suppress their hilarity. Uhura collapsed into hysteria. Ensign Mrraal yowled. Sulu had to hold onto the Helm, gasping with bellyaching laughter. And Spock cleared his throat and went back to the Science Station.

“I have never been so embarrassed in my life. I relieved the lot of them. I think I’m going to kill the lot of them. When they finally got Lieutenant Valley free, she handed me what was left of the cup and said, ‘Here’s your coffee, sir.’

“Lord, why me?”


Jim absently scratched his arm as he waited in the transporter room. It wasn’t like Lieutenant Majiir not to respond to a call immediately. She was the logical choice for the recovery mission, she’d designed the Chutzpah’s engines. He hit the intercom, calling again, and got an answer from Sickbay.

“McCoy here, Jim. I can’t let Lieutenant Majiir go anywhere.”

Christ, what now? “On my way,” Jim replied.


“She’s got what?”

“Indiian measles,” McCoy replied. Jilla sat miserably on a Sickbay bed, her face and arms covered with bright silver splotches. “Kids usually get it at, oh, about age five. Then it’s not serious. But after puberty – I’ve got to keep her under close surveillance. You’ll have to take Ruthie.”

Jim sighed, scratching the side of his face. “Is this thing contagious to other races?”

“Very. But it’s only troublesome to Indiians. Vulcans will develop similar symptoms, but less severe.”

Jim nodded, scratching his shoulder.

“In Humans it just causes a persistent itching.”

There was silence for several seconds as Jim stared at his scratching hand, then at McCoy, then closed his eyes.

“Oh shit,” he said.


“This should take care of it,” McCoy said as he gave Jim an injection. “It worked on Sulu and I don’t have to tell you what he was like.”

Ruth giggled. “He was scratching like there was no tomorrow.”

Jim scowled. “No doubt, Lieutenant. Let’s get going and get the shuttle.” He turned and stalked onto the transport platform.


“Dear Log – on second thought, Dear Dr. Han. She’s the top psychologist in the Federation. I’ve just reviewed my last few entries. I’m definitely going crazy. If this can be forwarded to the esteemed doctor, it may shed some light on future cases. Anyway, Doctor, I’m on the surface of Alpha Metaxa III, staring at a ridiculous-looking pile of junk that’s supposed to be the remains of a shuttlecraft. Lieutenant Valley – it was supposed to be Mrs. Majiir, the engineer of the infamous Valley-Majiir duo but she’s got measles; Christ, of all thing, measles! – when asked how the thing got off the ground in the first place replied, ‘We believed.’ She then clarified her statement by saying, ‘Jilla laid hands on the engines. I prayed over the computers.’ I shouldn’t’ have asked what prayer they used, but I did. ‘Come on, baby, hold together,’ she replied, and grinned, making reference to a twentieth century film I’d once shown to the crew.”

“Captain, what are you doing?” Ruth asked. Jim switched off the recorder.

“Log entry, Lieutenant,” he replied curtly. “And don’t sneak up on me like that.”

“I didn’t…”

“Can we salvage this thing?” he interrupted.

“We’ll have to, sir,” Ruth said, kneeling beside the wreckage. “Look at this mess! I told them it wouldn’t work without…”

The beeping of Jim’s communicator stopped her muttering.

“Kirk here,” Jim answered.

“Spock, here, Captain. Our sensors have picked up a rapidly approaching Klingon vessel. Their intelligence is most efficient. Starfleet has directed us to break orbit so as to lead the Klingons away from the vicinity of the shuttlecraft. We will be out of contact for a minimum of three planetary days, and I suggest we beam you and Lieutenant Valley aboard immediately.”

“Captain, it will take at least that long to get the shuttle in working order,” Ruth interrupted. “If we leave, the time wasted gives the planet’s population that much more opportunity to discover it.”

“Sulu here, sir. I can lose those Klingons and be back here by the time you’ve got the shuttle operational.”

“Starfleet directive did state we break orbit at once,” Spock rejoined.

No, please you can’t leave me here, not with her, please, I can’t stand it, how can you, don’t leave, me three days with Ruth Valley, she’ll drown me, I know she will, why me, what did I do, please, how can you do this to me, don’t leave me!!

”Dear Dr. Han; I’m a sick man. I need help. Please, put me away before I do something drastic.”


There was a cave not too far from the wreckage. They spent the rest of the day carting what they could inside. There was less chance of discovery that way. Spock had beamed down survival packs. Alpha Metaxa was setting as they finished camoflaguing the rest of the shuttle and the entrance to the cave.

Jim set his lantern on low beam as Ruth bent over the computer components of the shuttle. The light caught her hair, which she had long since released from its usual bun. It shimmered like a golden aura around her…

He stopped the train of thought abruptly.

“Miss Valley,” he said, “I think we should maintain proper military decorum for the duration of this – experience.”

Ruth turned, eyes flashing violet in the light. “Of course Captain. I hadn’t thought otherwise,” she said, her voice perplexed.

"Yeah, well, I had, so…” Jim mumbled. “Never mind, Lieutenant. Let’s get to work.”


“Dear Jade: I do hope first names are acceptable to you. I’m still on Alpha Metaxa III and the shuttle is still in pieces and Miss Valley is asleep. I can’t. The bedrolls are comfortable enough and we both worked hard all day but – have I told you about Ruth Valley? Who sir me sir Bwana Jim I do not need this aggravation five doctorates A-8 computer rating assistant science officer keheil smart-mouthed uppity invariably right Ruth Valley? She came onto my ship a little more than two years ago and has been a plague ever since. My plague, a personal thorn, a constant reminder of a captain’s – and a man’s flaws. Why she picks on me I’ll never know. Maybe it’s just authority. She teases Spock, her immediate superior, unmercifully, but oddly enough, he doesn’t seem to mind. Why, I don’t know. Bones adores her – although he certainly didn’t at first – but Bones adores anyone who can help him bring a little irritation into Spock’s life. Why I let her get to me is another mystery. No one else seems to mind her brassy, breezy, cheerful insubordination. So I humbly accept that I’m the one with problems.

“I just hope tomorrow she doesn’t spill anything on me.”

Jim grimaced at the beauty sleeping on the other side of the cave, then sighed and continued contemplating the ceiling.


“Miss Valley, what are you doing?”

Ruth turned slowly, pushing her hair back with her forearm. “I’m trying to reconstruct the navigational circuits to find out what went wrong.”

“If they were put together incorrectly during initial construction,” Jim returned, “your putting them together correctly won’t tell you what went wrong.”

“We have to get her working, don’t we?” Ruth replied tightly.

After we find out why she didn’t.”

She stared. So did he. “Captain, you’re in my way.”

“Lieutenant, I was a navigator for many years. I know those components like…”

“Not these you don’t.”

“Miss Valley…”

“Respectfully, sir.”


“Jade: If I hear one more ‘respectfully, sir’ I think I’m going to spank her. How can she be so flighty one minute and Attila the Hun the next? She was delightful this morning – there’s a stream not far from the cave and she got up early and went swimming. When she came back she looked fresh and lovely – like some water sprite. She apologized for not having any coffee. I told her I didn’t need it. She stared at me like I’d grown another head and said, “barbarian.’ What does she know? If I were a barbarian she wouldn’t be sleeping on the other side of the cave. I ask again: why me?”


“Jade, honey: Looking back, my reaction was pretty unreasonable. The action stemming from it is simply incredible.”

Ruth had set the bowl of water on the rocky ledge, but Jim bumped into it, sending it streaming down his back. He shouted at the top of his lungs the words that had been going through his mind for days.

“Damn it woman, why are you trying to drown me?!”

Ruth whirled around, her face scarlet and threw a wrench at the rock formation just above his head. Or at least that was what she hit. Then she started yelling.

“You son-of-a-bitch, I’ve had all I can take of your ridiculous blatherings! Let me tell you, if I wanted to drown you, you’d be dead by now! I don’t understand why you keep accusing me of this shit, but I’m not about to just stand here and let you scream any goddamn thing that comes into your gigantic head! You’ve been driving me crazy for two days, two days, and I don’t want to be here anymore than you do! You think it’s so great being stuck with you? Your ego’s the size of Rigel 12! And I don’t care if you are the captain, you’re still an idiot when it comes to engineering or computers so why don’t you just hole up somewhere and let me get this thing fixed so some fortunate day we can get the hell out of here!” She paused, then added, glaring beautifully, “respectfully, sir!”

“Of course, at the time I didn’t think it was so beautiful. I was as red-faced as she and I managed, frostily, ‘Did anyone ever tell you that you’re a spoiled brat and the thing you need most in this galaxy is a good, hard spanking?’ She laughed scornfully.

“’I haven’t met the man who could!’ she said.

“I know a challenge when I hear one. And I was just angry enough to do it. I grabbed her. She began fighting like a wildcat, kicking, scratching and biting. She’s a very strong woman. Fortunately, I’m stronger. We wrestled for about ten minutes, quite a bit of clothing getting torn in the process. When I finally got her over my knee, most of her back was bare. She was shrieking furiously and I raised my hand intending to whip the daylights out of her. Then she cried, ‘Jim, don’t!’

“That stopped me. She said my name and I knew where all that extra adrenaline was coming from. In an earlier entry I mentioned something about praying not to get an erection. All the prayer in the universe wouldn’t have stopped this one. I’ve never felt such a rush. Then I noticed that she was trembling. I let her go and she slowly twisted around, pushing her hair from her eyes. They were wide and full of awe – and unmistakably consenting. I kissed her. No hesitant first lover’s kiss. This was passionate and bruising and she returned my urgency like she’d been wanting nothing else for decades. I forgot all about my ship, my mission, the fact that she was a member of my crew. She was a woman, warm, willing, and we wanted each other. That was the only thing that mattered.

“Funny, but it was actually easier to work with her afterwards. Or maybe not so funny. We’d lost captain and lieutenant somewhere and became just Jim and Ruth. I wasn’t trying to prove whatever it was I’d been trying to prove. She wasn’t challenging me, wasn’t letting me dominate here either. We were equals, each giving and taking with equal ease, equal freedom. The work went well. The night went better.”


“Jim, you’re scratching again.”

Jim opened his eyes to see Ruth’s face staring apparently unconcernedly down at him. He scratched at his chest. “You’re right,” he supplied.

“Maybe I’m a carrier?”

“Or maybe McCoy’s shot wore off.”

“Well, either way….” Ruth murmured, and her fingers lightly rested on his. Her eyes narrowed slightly and Jim shivered as she healed the itching.


“Hello again, Jade, honey: She healed me. She was inside me. I was inside her. I lost all I am, and I felt, for one flashing second, all she is. It’s more frightening – and more completing – than anything I’ve ever known. This is who sir me sir Bwana Jim I don’t need this aggravation? She’s got depth I’ve never dreamed of. To be able to lose herself at will, to take on the control of another, take their pain – then regain all her being as if it never happened…”

“If that log’s about me, I want to hear it.”

Jim smiled. “I don’t think so, angel.”

“Why? All bad?”

“No. But your ego’s already the size of Rigel 12.”

“I think I heard that somewhere.”

“Funny, so do I.”


“Personal Log, last entry: I’ve come to a conclusion. I have certain indications to support it. Ruth and I have spent two more than pleasant nights here and a fairly productive day, after two harried days and a sleepless – for me, anyway – night. She thinks my calling her ‘angel’ is funny but other than that, she’s stopped baiting me. I no longer believe she was trying to drown me. It’s been almost as relaxing as a leave. Nothing’s gone wrong. Until this morning.

“I was sitting on the edge of my bedroll which has been next to Ruth’s, shirtless, pulling on my boots when Mrs. Majiir walked into the cave.

“Need I describe what happened next? She lit up like the Beta Niove Nova. Ruth came around the almost completed panel of the shuttle, her torn uniform refurbished into the semblance of a halter and skirt, calling, ‘Jim, if you don’t get up I’m going to have to – ‘

She stopped, stared at Mrs. Majiir, and blushed. We probably could’ve come up with some other explanation, but that blush said everything. Mrs. Majiir said, without looking at either of us. ‘There was a great deal of static on all frequencies and so communicator contact was impossible. I am scheduled for beam up in an hour to report your progress.’

“Ruth brazened her way through it, but Mrs. Majiir kept glowing.

“Ruth said, ‘respectfully, sir,’ twice in that hour.

“And she managed to spill a cup of water on my leg.

“One can hardly blame Lieutenant Majiir. She said nothing, did nothing to acknowledge the obvious. She can’t help it that she glows. I certainly can’t be blamed. But I know who can.

“I’ll bet you thought I was going to say Ruth. I think I know her a little better now. She’s private, especially about her emotions. And who sir me sir I do not need this aggravation respectfully Bwana sir is her way of covering an embarrassing case of hero-worship. Blame the Academy for that. When I was a man, a lover, she was fine. But Captain…?

“I wonder – is there any way to keep being a man to her?

Respectfully then, Jade, ma’am – James T. Kirk.”


“…and I dispatched the tapes to Dr. Han.”

Jim nearly choked on his coffee. He was in his office going through routine paperwork with Yeoman Rand and she’d just handed him the last statboard.

“You did what?!” he gasped out.

Rand looked surprised. “I sent the tapes from Alpha Metaxa III that were directed to…” she began.

“No,” Jim muttered. “No, no, tell me you’re joking.”

“No, sir. I was going through the reports and…”

“Did you listen to them?” Jim demanded.

“Of course not, sir,” Rand replied in an offended tone. “The scan gave an address so I sent them off immediately.”

Jim groaned and not for the first time silently damned his yeoman’s efficiency and his own whimsy.


Dr. Jade Melissa Han thoughtfully removed the cassette from her viewer. The tape had obviously been sent in error – which hadn’t prevented her from viewing it anyway. A most interesting case. Quite healthily resolved, actually. And the recordee had shown a great deal of insight at the end of the incident. A smile pulled at the corners of her mouth. Most interesting. One might even say fascinating, mightn’t one? Respectfully, then, Captain James T. Kirk. I can’t wait to meet you.

The End

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