I wrote the rough draft of this as an exercise during one of our writer groups. We were given a random title and had to write for several minutes based on that title. For this exercise, we chose a theme: Star Trek. I’ve been re-watching the original series off and on for a while as inspiration for The Games That We Still Play, so it’s the first thing that came to mind. I hope I did the characters justice.
Since the property is not mine, I would like to fully disclose that I am making no attempt to profit off this particular story as a result.
(Please keep in mind that while I am making this story free for you to read, it’s still mine, so it’s © 2016 by J.M. Scheirer. Please don’t claim it as your own for sales purposes or bragging rights. I have a special set of skills, and I will find you, and… Well, the rest I leave up to your imagination.)
Kirk gazed across the field, the pale blossoms rippling in the faint breeze. They went on and on for kilometers, a coruscating pattern that never repeated. For a moment, he thought this might be the perfect place to bring a woman. If the ever shifting field caused him to pause in his work, no doubt a date would be utterly charmed by the sight.
“Captain?” Spock’s voice broke him out of his fixation. “Tricorder readings show the wind coming off the sea rising to fifty knots. The pressure wave will approach our position within thirty minutes, twelve seconds.”
Kirk gently shook his head as he banished the last of the hypnotic design from his mind and turned to his first officer. “Yes, thank you, Mr. Spock. Have the rest of the landing party return to the beam out location.”
Spock tilted his head in acknowledgement, but to Kirk’s puzzlement, the Vulcan hadn’t yet moved. Instead, he clasped his hands behind his back and observed the field. “Fascinating.”
Kirk chuffled a soft laugh. “Do you think this is the time to stop and smell the roses, Spock?”
“Nothing I have seen indicates them to be of the Rosaceae family.”
Kirk’s face tightened. “It’s a figure of speech, Spock. I simply meant that we shouldn’t be stopping now.”
“I see,” the Vulcan mused. “I agree that this is not exactly the best time to pause, Captain, but such a display certainly warrants recording. This will be the last time anyone will be able to note its presence.”
Kirk’s lips quirked in sly amusement. “I didn’t know Vulcans appreciated such things. Since art is so… emotional and all.”
Spock lifted an eyebrow and gave his commanding officer a look that might have been interpreted as annoyance on a human’s face. “Expression is universal. Therefore, it is logical to appreciate it in all its forms.”
“Ah, but this isn’t the expression of an intelligent being, now is it, Mr. Spock?”
“All our scans seem to indicate so. However, nature follows orderly rules. We would be remiss if we did not acknowledge such structure.”
Kirk sighed, giving up the game, and turned his attention to the scintillating display. Though he rarely managed to evoke an emotional response from his first officer, he enjoyed the challenge. “It’s not fair,” he found himself muttering as he watched the floral patterns change in the growing wind.
Beside him, Spock’s upswept eyebrow rose further up his forehead. “‘Fair,’ Captain?”
Kirk grandly gestured with both hands to the field as he turned back to his friend. “That we can’t do something about this. All of this endless variation just gone.”
Spock’s lips firmed into a line, almost expressing sympathy. “Fair or not, the Enterprise must be out of this system within three hours or risk being destroyed as well.”
Kirk looked away once more. “I know. And we will. It just seems a waste, is all.”
“I… have taken several recordings on my tricorder. For research purposes, of course.”
Kirk smirked a little before sighing again. “But it won’t be the same, my friend.”
“Nothing ever is, Captain.”
Trying to put a smile on his face, Kirk faced Spock. “What is it they say about beauty being in the eye of the beholder?”
“That beauty is subjective. Every race has its standards of…”
Kirk waved a hand as he cut the Vulcan off. “Yes, I know, Spock. It was a rhetorical question.” Spock inclined his head and opened his mouth to reply, but the beep of a communicator cut him off. Raising his own eyebrow, Kirk grabbed the device from his waist and flicked it open. “Kirk here.”
“Are ye daft, Captain?” Scotty’s distinctive brogue returned. “That planet’s about t’ be rubble in a wee short while, an’ the landing party isn’t back yet.“
In spite of himself, Kirk smiled. “Yes, Mr. Scott. I’m well aware. We’re on our way.” He paused a moment, almost laughing. “You might say that we stopped to smell the roses.”
Spock’s eyebrow leapt upward for a third time, but he didn’t speak as Scotty went on. “Roses? No one said anything about roses being down there.“
“Figure of speech, Scotty. We’re heading to the beam out site right now. Kirk, out.” In a practiced gesture, he flipped the cover back into place and returned the communicator to his side. “Well, I guess we’ve overstayed our welcome, Mr. Spock.”
“It appears so, Captain.”
Kirk led the way back across the grass to their destination as Spock used his communicator to contact the others. “It’s really a shame though,” he said a few moments after Spock had finished. “Those fields could have made this place quite the tourist destination. Now, they’ll be flowers of nothing.”
“But they will be remembered. That is what is important right now.”
“‘Till my dying day,” Kirk muttered under his breath.
Spock wisely said nothing as they grouped together with the three other members of the landing party. Kirk looked at the two men and the woman, determined that he wouldn’t lose them too, and pulled out his communicator once more. “Kirk to Enterprise.”
“Scott here, sir.“
“Five to beam out.”
The winds, now whipping to near hurricane speeds, missed the sparkling, disappearing forms.