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"Mister Chekov, lay in a course for Starbase Six," Kirk ordered tiredly. "Ahead Warp Factor Five. I'm still looking forward to a nice period of rest and relaxation on some lovely...planet." Kirk eyed the retreating brunette yeoman who had just had him sign the science department daily report. McCoy and Scott's eyes followed the captain's eyes and smiled knowingly. They had a good inkling that Kirk would not be getting any rest on this shore leave, none at all, if they knew their captain.
Lieutenant Uhura twisted the communications link in her ear. She listened a moment and groaned. She swiveled in her chair. "Captain..." she began ominously.
Kirk jerked 'round quickly to face her. "Oh, no, they don't!" he warned.
"Don't shoot the messenger, Jim," McCoy intervened.
Kirk didn't seem to hear the good doctor. He leaped off the center seat and up the stairs in a heartbeat.
Uhura kept her eyes on Kirk as she flipped a switch. The recorded message circled round the bridge.
"To Captain James T. Kirk, message from Starfleet Command, Top priority," it began. "Troyan Ambassador Petri wishes to move up your scheduled briefing from stardate 4025.0 to 4325.0 to discuss the sensitive nature of your next mission regarding the planets Troyius and Elas."
"What?!" Kirk exploded.
"You are hereby ordered to proceed with all due haste to Starbase Eleven for this meeting," the message concluded. "Komack, Admiral, Starfleet Command. Acknowledge."
A chorus of "No" was heard at the various stations on the bridge, none louder than Kirk's own.
"They can't do this to us!" Kirk complained. "That mission isn't for three months. We don't need a three month mission briefing. What we need is rest and re-creation." He turned in desperation to McCoy. "Bones," he pleaded, "tell me there's some medical regulation that says that we can't go without shoreleave for longer than six months." Kirk turned to his first officer. "Spock?" he asked. "Has it really been six months?"
"Longer, Captain," he replied, "but I am too fatigued to calculate it beyond the first decimal."
Kirk whipped back to McCoy. "See?" he observed. "Even Spock is too tired! Bones, you have to come up with an excuse for us! I'm ready to mutiny if I have to, even turn the Enterprise into a pirate ship if we don't get shore leave! We need a mental health break!"
In reply, the doctor removed two miniscule, wrapped adhesive bandages from his medkit. He crinkled the paper near his ears and shouted, "Your message is breaking up. Say again? What? Those hits we took from the giant single-celled creature obviously damaged us more than we at first thought."
Scott beamed at the doctor's inspiration and moved to the turbolift. Once inside, he spun the car around so that it could open to the bridge controls access hatch. Crawling behind Ms. Uhura's console, he ripped out one wire and loosened another. A rush of static filled the bridge.
"We'll just continue on to our next port of call at Starbase Six and look into the communications problem," McCoy concluded when Scotty returned to the bridge. The doctor lowered the bandages, raised his eyebrows to Kirk and said, "Will that fill your prescription, Captain?"
Kirk grinned from ear to ear. "Beautiful, Bones!" he triumphed. "If you were better looking, I'd kiss you!"
"Hey!" McCoy objected.
Lieutenant Uhura jumped up from her seat and moved to stand by the doctor. "He is good-looking, Captain," she defended. "I'll kiss him for you."
And she did just that.
In the end, Kirk didn't have to mutiny, thanks to Doctor McCoy. The captain recorded the misleading reply to Admiral Komack's order, full of background static thanks to Mister Scott. McCoy bounced smugly on his toes as his idea was put into play. The rest of the bridge crew smiled tiredly, planning five whole days of liberty at the beautiful facilities of Starbase 6. Even Mister Spock looked pleased.
After all, it wasn't a lie, he decided. It was just an error.
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