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'...And the Tribble Makes Three' by Cherrie Bramwell
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Christine clutched her pet tribble for comfort as she lay in her hot, narrow bed in her cabin on deck four of the Enterprise. For the thousandth time her mind circled round her insoluble problem - how to get one fascinating Vulcan, dark-eyed and remote, to join her there. Was Spock to remain, locked into his strange hybrid sexual cycle, forever beyond her reach? Sighing, Christine rolled over, pulled the tribble a little closer and retreated into a dream world, where she and Spock were together and all things possible.

Several decks away, in a slightly larger but still not quite long enough bed, Spock lay and attempted to follow through a train of reasoned thought. He was trying, yet again, to find some logical solution to a distinctly irresolvable dilemma. The pleasure center of his brain, located, as in humans, in the hypothalamus, was becoming increasingly disordered. Because of his Vulcan heritage, this nerve center could be activated telepathically, as well as stimulated visually or by an electric current as in humans. For many months now this most sensitive part of his brain had suffered constant telepathic excitation, as Christine's unruly thoughts bombarded him. He could get little rest; her fantasies washed over him nightly, without relief.

Spock had tried using all the blocking mechanisms learnt so painfully during his Vulcan youth. He had tried distraction by exercising his higher brain centers on problems of logic and mathematical cybernetics. He had resorted to cold showers and deep meditation. But none of these had worked! Such methods could control all his higher conscious faculties, but had little effect on the primitive and automatic nerve cell clusters in his brain stem. In his desperation he had asked Dr McCoy for sleeping tablets, but when these had proved inimical to his metabolism, he had felt reluctant to return to the doctor and risk arousing McCoy's curiosity as to the source of his insomnia.

Reaching a decision at last, Spock sat up and snapped on the cabin light. There was only one answer! He must go to Miss Chapel and explain his problem with logic and dignity. Surrounding himself with an aura of Vulcan calm and shielding his hypothalamus as well as he was able, Spock donned his night-toga and quietly left his quarters.

* * * * *

A few minutes later, Christine started guiltily as someone knocked gently on her door. Removing the tribble from between her legs, she slipped into a spare operating-theater gown she used for casual wear and opened the door.

'Mr Spock!' The colour rushed to her cheeks. 'Can I... can I... is there anything I can do for you, Sir?'

'As a matter of fact, there is, Miss Chapel,' he replied evenly, stepping firmly into the cabin and closing the door. 'I have come to ask you to help me with a situation to which only you have the solution.'

'You know... you know I'll do anything... anything at all to help you,' stammered Christine. 'Please, what is it you want?'

Spock took a deep breath. 'I would appreciate it greatly if you would desist from producing human sexual fantasies concerning my person. The conflict created with my conscious mind is interfering with the efficient performance of my duty as a Starfleet Officer. I'm sure, as a nurse, you understand.'

Christine turned pale with shock before the colour raced again to her face. She sank onto the bed and felt tears prick ominously behind her eyes.

'I'm so ashamed, Mr Spock,' she whispered. 'I... I really had no idea... I thought my dreams about you were private. They... they are the only consolation I have,' she continued pathetically, avoiding his eyes. The tribble mewed in sympathy.

Spock's face reflected a trace of pity as he looked at her bowed head. 'Please do not think I do not understand your situation,' he said gently. 'I did not wish to cause you pain in attempting to avoid my own discomfort. Perhaps there is another solution. If you would permit me to fulfill your desires your fantasies should cease to exist and the problem will, logically, be solved.'

Before Christine had a chance to reply, he sat down on the bed, picked up the tribble and ran it lightly over her body. Christine trembled and the tribble purred as it fluffed its fur with pleasure.

A considerable time later (for Christine's fantasies were many and varied and the tribble added its own dim alien thoughts to their pair-bonding) Spock left the cabin. He sighed with relief as he returned to his own quarters. Christine lay so exhausted, so soundly asleep that he was sure that his hypothalamus would now be untroubled by her errant thought waves. Indeed, he thought with satisfaction, she would now be content for a prolonged period, thus allowing him to arrive at a more logical solution to the problem than the temporary holding mechanism he had just employed.

Returning to his quarters, Spock lay down and prepared his brain for sleep. Then, with brutal clarity, a shocking picture tore into his conscious mind. Vision upon vision of his recent encounter with Christine passed before his eyes. The trigger mechanism of his pleasure center had jammed open! As his freshly stimulated hypothalamus poured its powerful hormones into his bloodstream, Spock struggled to contain wave after wave of lust. The almost-human fantasies were fuelled by startling images and complex but logical sexual sequences supplied by his resourceful Vulcan brain.

As the irony of the situation struck him, Spock almost groaned aloud. In curing Christine, he had created his own irrepressible fantasies! His soul cringed before this manifestation of his hybrid biology. Now there would be no logical solution! Her fantasies and his would become locked in a perfect cycle, a self-perpetuating telepathic loop.

'What can I do?' his inner self cried against the outward shell of Vulcan calm. 'What can I do?'

* * * * *

Three decks away, her brain sensitized by her recent experience with Spock, Christine stirred slightly, responding to a faint telepathic reflection of his wild fantasies. She stretched sensuously, pulled the tribble a little closer and smiled before falling into a deep and satisfied sleep.

* * * * *
* * * *
* * *


I'm glad I'm not a tribble
(And I'm not the only one)
If you reproduce by eating
Then there's not much left that's fun!

Val Douglas

Originally published in Grope (Bedside Grope edition) Star Trek fanzine - 1981