Required Reading

I don't own anything Star Trek, The Dark Knight Rises, The Fantastic Four, or Ninja Assassin. Characters you don't recognize belong exclusively to me. I tend to pair male protagonists with women of color, specifically black women. If this poses a problem with your ability to suspend disbelief, then this fanfic blog isn't for you. Otherwise, do enjoy.

1/30/2013

What You Owe Me (3)


3.  Family Planning


Spock and Kirk were in the main conference room with Dr. McCoy.  A very tense and tired McCoy was addressing Pike on the view screen.  The ship’s surgeon was exhausted; one could see it in his blue eyes and haggard expression.  Kirk knew that McCoy had not slept since what he personally referred to as the Screaming Mommy incident.  However, the doctor’s tone was one of relief, because he discovered the source of the problem.  It wasn’t his fault.  The computer that synthesized the progestin malfunctioned and reduced the potency of the hormone by 67%.  McCoy’s equations were all inputted correctly; the error was purely mechanical.



Kirk was relieved to discover the information.  However, it didn’t change the fact that there were ten pregnant women on board the Enterprise.  He and Spock spent the last two days researching regulations.  They found nothing that specifically addressed this particular situation, but there were rules in place that governed familial relationships on starships.


Upon hearing McCoy’s explanation, Kirk had a feeling that the regulations were about to be significantly revised.  There was no way Starfleet could hold these women or their partners responsible for a situation created by a computer error.


Pike’s forehead had a deep crease, distorting his handsome features.  His expression became grave as McCoy continued.  Once the doctor was finished, Pike looked at Kirk.  “I want you to change course and head for Starbase 112 immediately.” There was no mistaking the exasperation in his voice.


“Yes, sir,” Kirk said.


“We have a serious problem.”


“Aye, sir.  We do.”


“The Enterprise is not the only starship that has had an internal malfunction of this nature,” he said quietly.


Spock raised an eyebrow.  Kirk and McCoy gaped at the screen and simultaneously yelled, “WHAT?”


Pike didn’t bother to reprimand either gentleman for speaking out of turn.  “The U.S.S. Raider and the U.S.S. Dallas have also experienced a similar situation.  Both captains have reported a rash of…unplanned pregnancies.”


“Admiral, are you saying that this has happened elsewhere?”  Kirk was shocked.


“Yes.  Captain Hamilton of the Raider reports that he has sixteen pregnant crew members.  Captain Hurston of the Dallas has reported that she has nine.  In both cases the situation was triggered by a computer error in Medical Bay.  So far, we don’t know what caused the malfunction in the medical computer system.  Starfleet intelligence is currently investigating the possibility that the situation was caused by a malicious code introduced into the computer system.  Both ships have been ordered to the nearest starbases for appropriate adjustments.  All ships will be grounded for some time, as this problem must be addressed immediately.”


Kirk said, “Sir, what is going to happen to these women?  They shouldn’t be reprimanded for a mechanical mistake.” He refused to let anybody on his ship lose their position because of a computer error.


“Nor will they be, Captain.  This error is Starfleet’s, and Starfleet must absorb the responsibility.  The organization must take care of these women, regardless as to the decisions they make.  Believe me when I say that the Starfleet legal team and the Federation Office of Personnel Management are currently revising the regulations to address this current situation.  Precedence has definitely been established.  All ships affected will be grounded indefinitely so that they can undergo construction of family quarters and day care centers.  Medical Bay will have to be expanded to include a nursery and pediatric wing.  Personnel must be hired to staff these positions.  Also, each ship must now employ a family psychologist for counseling, as I have a feeling one will be necessary.  We have no choice but to accommodate, or risk being inundated by lawsuits.”


Kirk’s head was reeling, but he kept his cool.  “Sir, the Enterprise is a combat vessel.  As is the Raider and the Dallas.  They are not built for families, sir.  Honestly, I would not want to reassign my officers, as they are extremely efficient.  But I would not risk the safety of these children for a mission.”


“It has been suggested that each set of parents can decide if they want to remain on the front lines in galaxy-class vessels, or be transferred to starbases or non-combat starships.  Waivers are already being drafted.  They can choose.”


Spock nodded his head.  “Logical.”


“Captain Kirk,” Pike said.  “Do you mind if I ask a question?  You can decline to answer if you wish.”


“Yes sir,” Kirk said.  “Go ahead.”


“How many members of the senior staff are affected by this?”


Kirk sighed.  “Everyone, sir.  Including myself.”  He did not need to say any more, because he knew that Pike was aware that he and Spock were intimately involved with Nyota.  Pike, being no dummy, caught on instantly.


“All of you?  All of you?  Wow.”


Spock inclined his head.  “Admiral, what is the purpose of that question?”


“Curiosity,” Pike said.  “75% of Captain Hamilton’s command crew is affected.  A third of Captain Hurston’s command crew is expecting.  There is something to be said about command officers on shore leave.”  Then he chuckled.  “Or maybe it’s the fact that they were too preoccupied to remember to use backup contraceptives.  I remember those times.”  He shook his head.  They were fond memories.


McCoy couldn’t help but chortle.  “The Raider and the Dallas also had a recent shore leave?”

“The Raider’s leave was three months ago.  The Dallas was within the past six weeks.  Nearly the same time as your most recent leave, Captain Kirk.”


“I see,” Kirk said, completely stunned by Pike’s words.  “Admiral, I have some notifications to make.  We will head to Starbase 112 immediately.”


“Thank you, Captain.  Pike out.”


*


The card sharks were in Dana Hannity’s quarters, but there was no card-playing or trash talking going on.  All the women were still in a state of shock over their impending motherhood.  Koko, Iliya, Dana, Tina, Charlene, Janice and Nyota were sitting around the room.  Tina sent a request for them to meet in Dana’s room.  They were talking about their situation and consuming a multitude of caloric snacks.


“Marcy and Glynis are on duty.  We didn’t bother inviting Barbara Jean,” Koko said to the others as she tossed back a handful of peanuts.


“That old bitch better not show up here,” Janice said.  She was still upset.


“That’s why she wasn’t invited,” Dana said.  “I’m not trying to have a fight in my room.  I would hate to have any of my antiques broken because of a catfight.”  Dana was eating finger sandwiches.


Tina sighed.  “Ladies, what are we going to do?  What are each of you thinking about doing?”


Koko was the first to respond.  “I have decided to terminate the pregnancy.  Marcy has too.”


“Really?” Dana said.


“Yeah.  I don’t know who the father of this kid is, and I’d rather not be bothered with that unknown variable.   His DNA might be fucked up and I will not put up with that.  Marcy feels the same.”


“What about Glynis?”


“Don’t know,” Tina said.


“I’m having my baby,” Iliya said.  “Pavel and I will have to get married.”  She was eating grapes.


“What if he doesn’t want to?” Dana asked.  “Then what will you do?”


“We will get married,” Iliya said.  “And that is that.”


Several of the women looked at Iliya as if she was delusional.


Dana looked at her hand.  “Parker asked me to marry him.”


“When?” Koko said.  “And were you going to tell us?”


“I just told you,” Dana said.  “Parker and I want this baby.”


“Were you going to get married anyway?” Janice asked.


“Eventually.  But after this, he thought it’d be a good idea to just go ahead and do it now.”


Charlene sighed.  “I’m keeping my baby.”


Tina looked at Nyota.  “Nyota, what about you?”


Nyota nodded, surprised to even be asked the question.  “I’m keeping my baby too.”


“So am I,” Janice said in affirmation.


Tina said, “Nyota, if you don’t mind my asking, who fathered your child?”


Nyota smiled and shrugged.  “I don’t know.  We’re not trying to find out.”


“Really?” Charlene said.


Koko looked at Nyota.  “And are they cool with that?”


Nyota smiled again, warmth in her cheeks.  “They love each other as much as they love me.  They don’t care who the biological father is.  We are going to raise this child as a family.”  It felt so good to say that.


Koko groaned.  “THAT IS SO DAMNED HOT!  I don’t know if I told you, Nyota, but you are a lucky bitch!”


Tina sighed.  Nyota looked at her.  “Tina, are you keeping your child?”


“I don’t plan to.”


Nyota could sense hesitation in Tina’s voice.  She was certain no one else picked up on it.


“Tina,” Dana said, “you do know that Len knows you’re pregnant, right?”


“I don’t care what he knows!  I didn’t ask for this shit!  I don’t want this little motherfucker!”


Dana sighed.  “I told Parker after I left Medical Bay.”


Charlene sighed.  “I wasn’t going to say anything to Scotty. We were just messing around, you know.  Nothing serious, just friends with benefits.”


The women nodded.


“I was going to have an abortion and move on, but Scotty came to me.  He’d heard about the situation and went up to check the equipment in sickbay.  He asked me if I was pregnant and if I wanted the child.  I told him I didn’t, but we sat down and discussed it.  We’re not done talking, but I’m going to hold off on the abortion for a little while, at least.”


“Scotty wants the baby?”


“Yeah,” Charlene said. 


Iliya sighed.  “I haven’t told Pavel.”


Janice sighed as well.  “Nor have I told Hikaru.”  Then she frowned.  “I need to find out if Barbara Jean is lying!”


Dana laughed.  “Barbara Jean’s baby’s father could easily be Don in Stellar Cartography.”


None of the women voiced it, but they actually hoped Barbara Jean was lying about Don and Sulu, and she got knocked up on a random hookup during shore leave.  That would make her no better and no different from the others.


“Pompous bitch,” Charlene said.  “I can’t stand Barbara Jean.”


Nyota laughed.  “Do you know she insulted me for my relationship?  I found it ironic to learn that she was sleeping with two men at the same time.  At least I’m committed to mine.”  It was a matter of time before their union would be formalized; Kirk was, if anything, determined for it to happen.


Koko grinned.  “Babs isn’t fooling anybody.  She’s a hypocrite.  As soon as it was known about you, the captain and the commander, she went ahead and started fooling around just because it was the ‘in’ thing to do.  She’s always been a lemming.”


Tina frowned.  “Tell me about it.  Sharayne broke up with me when she found out I was pregnant by Leonard.”


Iliya looked at Tina.  “Did Sharayne know you were sleeping with Leonard?”


Tina nodded.  “Yeah.  She was cool about it; she knows I like the fish and the beef.  We’ve always had an open relationship, but she couldn’t deal with me having someone else’s child.  I told her I wasn’t about to keep this little bastard, but she was upset.  She doesn’t want me to have an abortion, but she doesn’t want to stay with me either.  Fucking stupid dumbass Leonard!  This is all his fault.  I knew we should have use condoms!”


“What did he say?” Janice asked.


“That asshole came to my suite after Sharayne moved out and asked me if we could talk.  I was furious because Sharayne left me.  I went into attack mode before he was even inside the room and I tried my best to claw his damn eyes out.  He wants the baby, of course.”


“Damn, Tina,” Koko said.  “I’m sorry.  But let’s keep it real.  It sounds like Sharayne was looking for a way out.”


Tina closed her eyes.  The hurt was all over her face.  “Don’t think I didn’t ask her that.”


“What did she say?”


“She denied it, of course, but come on!  I’m not a complete idiot.”


“What are you going to do?” Dana asked.


“Get an abortion and get another girlfriend.  I’m done with men.”  Again, Nyota sensed hesitation underneath the anger.


“I wish I could say that,” Koko said.  “But I am too in love with the dick to give it up.  Best believe I’ll be packing rubbers next time.”


There were general murmurs of agreement.  Tina got up to replicate some more snacks.  Nyota followed her.


“Tina, are you sure you want to have an abortion?” Nyota asked.


“Of course I want to have an abortion!  I never wanted children.  I could kill Len for doing this to me!”


Nyota looked at her.  “Tina.”


“Nyota, don’t use those communication skills on me!  I said I’m having an abortion and that’s that!”


“Then why do I sense hesitation from you?  Anger I understand, but hesitation?”


She sighed, holding the bowl of cheesy poofs.  “Even though I don’t want this baby, I know Leonard does.  I know that he misses his daughter and he sees this as a second chance to be a father.  He offered to raise the baby himself if I choose to carry to term.”


“Tina, it’s a viable option.  You’re too angry right now to make a rational decision.”


Tina handed her the cheesy poofs.  “Nyota, don’t.  Don’t patronize me.”  She grabbed the bowl of pretzels and headed back to the other ladies.  Nyota followed.


“Well, I’m sure Glynis will tell us what she’s going to do.  I don’t know about Barbara Jean.  She’s pulling the ‘embarrassed’ card.”


“I’m going to kick her ass!”  Janice said.


“Why, Jan?”  Dana asked.  “Sulu was the one messing around, not Babs.”


Janice’s face turned pink and she closed her eyes.  “I care about him!”


“Yet and still, Janice,” Dana continued. “You know how Sulu is.  You know you guys weren’t committed.  Your relationship was nothing more than casual.”


Janice looked away.  “Okay Dana, you’ve made your point, so you can back the hell off.”  She got up and left, not trying to hide her tears.


“Well,” Koko said, dusting off her pants.  “Looks to me like old Jan went and fell in love with the playboy.  What an idiot.”


“Koko, you can’t help who you fall for,” Nyota said.  “Leave Janice alone.”


“I know, Nyota.  But you can help it when you know that the man you like is…come on, let’s be real…a whore with both sexes.  You don’t put your heart on the line when you know that and Janice knew it.  Sulu didn’t keep that a secret.”


“Still,” Charlene said, “she can’t help it.  Hikaru is fun, attractive, sexy and attentive.  When a man zones in like that on you, you can’t help what happens to you.”


“She’ll be all right,” Dana said.  “She’s just mad about Barbara Jean.”


Nyota’s communicator sounded.  It was a text message from Kirk telling her to round up the rest of the women for an emergency meeting in conference room six.


*


The ten women and their partners, with the exception of Koko, Glynis and Marcy, were crowded around the table in conference room six.  Kirk, Spock and McCoy were briefing.  There was an audible sigh of relief.


Sulu seemed confused.  “Captain, I am unsure as to why I’m here or how this affects me.” Clearly, he had not been informed.


Janice turned on him.  “Hikaru, the baby I carry is yours!”


Sulu looked at her in absolute shock.  “What?  Janice, you’re pregnant?”


“Duh!” she said, rolling her eyes.  “I’m sitting here in this meeting, what do you think?  I didn’t have a chance to tell you.”


“Neither did I, Hikaru,” Barbara Jean said. 


Sulu stared at Barbara Jean, his face growing pale.  “What?  You too?”


Kirk didn’t have a chance to react before Janice screamed and jumped across the table towards the older woman.  Sulu blushed as he backed away from the table.  Barbara Jean jumped up just as Janice grabbed her collar.


“You lying old bitch, you know that you’re not pregnant by him!”  Janice was quick and she had Barbara Jean by the neck.  Barbara Jean tried to push her off but the spitfire blond was furious.  The men and women sitting near them jumped up and backed away.


Spock observed all of this with a raised eyebrow.  Kirk sighed and wondered if Spock would be willing to use the Vulcan nerve pinch on a pregnant woman.


“Catfight!”  Koko yelled.


Charlene cheered Janice on.  “Kick her ass, Jan!”


Barbara Jean shoved Janice back and she fell against the table.  Undeterred, the yeoman went for the administrative assistant once more and pushed her against the wall.  Barbara Jean grabbed Janice’s hair and Janice scratched her face.  They were screaming at each other, cursing and spitting.  It all happened so fast that Kirk didn’t have a chance to get between them, and his other officers clearly weren’t about to.  He ran over to the scrapping, furious females after casting an angry glance at his embarrassed helmsman.


“Ladies, stop it!  Stop this!  I order you to—”


Kirk tried to get between Janice and Barbara Jean and caught a quick left hook for his trouble.  He didn’t know which woman hit him, but whoever it was had a good punch.


“Damn,” McCoy said, putting a protective arm in front of Tina.


“Oh shit,” Koko said.  “Somebody’s going to the brig!”


“Spock, help me!  Scotty, help!”  Kirk was having a hard time trying to restrain the women.  Spock walked over and utilized the Vulcan nerve pinch on Barbara Jean just as Kirk grabbed Janice’s flailing arms.  His jaw hurt.


“Yeoman Rand, I order you to cease and desist!” he said.  But Janice’s blood was up and she was still trying to get to the inert Barbara Jean.  Kirk could barely restrain her.  “Mr. Spock!”


Spock calmly reached and clamped Janice’s shoulder and she went limp in Kirk’s arms.  Kirk turned and looked at Sulu and there was no mistaking the fury in his eyes.  “You need to handle this, Lieutenant.  You need to handle this today!”


Sulu’s face was bloodred.  “Yes sir.”


“Lt. Morrow, Lt. Sulu…help Dr. McCoy get these women to Medical!  And I need for this to be resolved immediately, Lt. Sulu!  Immediately!”


“Aye, Captain.”  Sulu took Janice from Kirk and carried her out of the conference room.  Morrow and McCoy picked up Barbara Jean and followed them.


Koko said to Dana in a low voice, “I think Janice won that round.”


“Koko, shh!” Dana hissed.  “The captain is pissed!”


Once the room was calm again and everyone seated, Kirk resumed his place in front of the table.


“We are headed to Starbase 112, where we will be grounded indefinitely.  The Enterprise must undergo construction of family quarters, a daycare center and a prenatal wing.  Medical Bay must be expanded.  Personnel must be added to staff these positions.  We will also have to add two OB-GYNs and a family counselor.  There will be changes, but Starfleet is committed to taking care of you, regardless of the choices you make as parents.”


“What about our duties, sir?”  Charlene asked. 


“You will have the option of remaining on the Enterprise or transferring to a non-combat starship or to a starbase.  If you choose to remain on the Enterprise, you and the father of your child must sign a waiver.”


Charlene nodded.  “Thank you, Captain.”


“Lt. Masters, I suggest that you and your partner discuss this at length.  In fact, I suggest you all discuss this at length.  We shall have plenty of time to make our decisions.  We will arrive at Starbase 112 within the next twenty-four hours.  I will be coming around to speak with you shortly after we arrive.  If there are no questions, you are dismissed.”


There was a pause and then the officers and crew members got up and left the conference room, leaving Kirk alone with Spock and Nyota.


Kirk went over to her and took her hand, pulling her to her feet.  He cupped her face and kissed her lips.  She leaned into him and returned his kiss.  She put her arms around Kirk and felt Spock come behind Kirk and join them in their hug.  Kirk closed his eyes and sighed, leaning his head back against Spock’s shoulder.  After a few moments, they released one another and Kirk looked at them.  Now he could think straight.


“We’ve got a few things to discuss,” he said.  “I’ve been researching how our duties will be affected by this.  And if we don’t take appropriate measures, there is a real chance that we will be separated.”


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