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The unmistakable sound came from behind Kirk's right shoulder. He stopped the involuntary swing of his chair at its conception, since Vulcans don't get hiccups; someone else must have taken over at Spock's station. He completed the checked movement to find Spock alone at the library console. Kirk allowed himself the luxury of an unseen flared eyebrow and swung himself back again. "Hic!"
Chekov's head was turning now - catching Kirk's eye he bent hurriedly over the navigation console once more, casting a surreptitious glance at Sulu as he did so. The helmsman was watching the main screen rather too carefully. Chekov remembered the cold gleam in the Captain's eye and felt his rising chuckle subside.
This time it was Uhura who giggled, covering it with a hasty cough. Kirk got up from the command chair and went up the steps to Spock's station. "Everything all right, Mr Spock?"
Disastrously, the Vulcan opened his mouth to reply. "Hic!"
The convulsion was clearly so painful that any desire to laugh left Kirk. "Try holding your breath while you count to twenty, Spock."
There was silence for a short while as every other member of the bridge crew held their breath in sympathy.
Spock let the breath go and began again. "Hic!"
The First Officer frowned, concentrating on the muscles of his diaphragm. Vulcans do not have hiccups, the mind controls the body.
Startled, he met Kirk's eye. "I seem to be unable to control the spa-pasms, sir," he said reluctantly.
"Cross your arms across your chest and pull your earlobes," Uhura suggested sympathetically.
Spock shot her a devastating look, spoilt only by yet another explosive "Hic!"
"Try it," Kirk said.
The Vulcan turned his gaze upon him. Et tu?
Kirk shrugged. "It might work. Try it." Patiently, Spock did as he was told.
"Stand up and put your left little finger on your right little toe and your right little finger on your left little toe," Sulu suggested.
The Vulcan suppressed a withering glance. Humans seemed to have the most illogical remedies for the most illogical of complaints.
"Come on." Kirk was helping him to his feet. Surely he was not going to insist upon... Inexorably his head was pushed down. A babble of conflicting advice filled the bridge.
"Right little finger across."
"No, the left toe, Mr Spock."
Thankfully, the Vulcan straightened up, carefully avoiding Kirk's eye. "Drink out of the back of a glass," Chekov suggested.
The eyebrows lost themselves in the dark hair. "Mr Chic... Chekov, a glass is normally cic-circular, how does one determine which is the back?" Spock enquired, dignity enfolding him like a cloak.
"Well, not the back, the other side," Chekov amended helpfully.
"Top...opologically, a glass has only one side, Mr Chekov, kindly be more explicit."
"Well, sir, you stand up and hold the glass normally, only instead of drinking out of the part nearest you, you lean across and drink from the part furthest away," Chekov explained.
Seeing the Vulcan's glazing eye, Kirk suggested Uhura should send for a glass of water so the navigator could demonstrate the trick.
"Captain, I hardly thi...ink," Spock began.
"Painful?" Kirk asked solicitously as the Vulcan closed his eyes.
"No, sir," the First Officer replied, "illogical. Vulcans do not suffer from hiccups. Hic! I fail to understand why I am quite unable to control myself at this time." He closed his mouth firmly over another shattering convulsion.
"I had a friend at the Academy who used to swear by one remedy," Kirk said thoughtfully. He cast a swift eye over the bridge; the crew hastily bent to their tasks.
"Thank you, Gentlemen," Kirk said sweetly. "Come over here, Mr Spock." Still hiccupping, the Vulcan followed him to the turbolift entrance. "Stand by the wall there, next to Uhura," Kirk told him, "and hold your hands above your head with your fists clenched." The Vulcan obeyed patiently. "I'm... uh... going to hit you in the stomach, Spock," Kirk explained. He swung an arm.
Uncharacteristically, the Vulcan doubled over. Stepping back to avoid him, Kirk trod heavily on the booted foot of the Yeoman emerging from the lift, receiving the contents of the glass she carried down the neck of his shirt.
"A cold key down the back sometimes helps," Uhura said reflectively into the stunned silence.
"That's for a nosebleed," Kirk said curtly. "Take the con, Lieutenant, while I go and get a clean shirt. Yeoman, another glass of water, please - un-iced this time!"
Dry and comfortable once more, he stepped out of the lift to find Spock bent forward over a glass, draining the last drops. The floor seemed a little damp. He lifted his head and Kirk waited expectantly.
Kirk sighed. "Sickbay, Mr Spock."
"Really, Captain, it is not necessary... "
"You said yourself, Spock, Vulcans don't get hiccups, neither do they double over when they get swiped amidships. Sickbay, that's an order."
Spock was thankful not to pass more than three pairs of raised eyebrows on his way to Sickbay. He paused outside McCoy's office, listening intently to make certain the Medical Officer was alone. McCoy he could face, he thought, but his condition seamed guaranteed to bring out Nurse Chapel's mothering instinct. He slipped quietly inside.
McCoy looked up, eyes creasing into a smile. "Why, Mr Spock! Try holding your breath and counting to twenty."
"I have tried that remedy, Doctor," Spock said icily, "and every other suggestion made to me. They have all been unsuccessful. Hic!"
He compressed his lips tightly, and stared at McCoy, eyes daring him to laugh. The surgeon got up, grinning, and came round the desk to him, exploding suddenly into movement, hands waving under the Vulcan's nose, and emitted a loud yell.
He studied the blank face. "Hic!"
"Oh well. Sometimes a sudden shock will do the trick," McCoy explained.
"It appears to have been ineffect...ectual," Spock said coldly.
McCoy placed his hand on the Vulcan's diaphragm. "Hic!"
McCoy removed his hand, nodding slowly. "Abnormally slack," he said. "For a Vulcan, I mean."
"Doctor, I was already aware that my muscles are no longer completely under my control... " Spock began.
McCoy waved him to silence. "You had your routine booster shots a day or two ago, didn't you?"
"You know I did, Doctor, since you insi...sisted on doing them yourself."
"Mmmm," McCoy said reflectively. "I'd better give you a thorough physical." He ignored the stormy expression and set about recalibrating the instruments. At last he swung the couch, allowing Spock to step away from it. The Vulcan slipped his shirt back on, the spasms still shaking him from time to time. It seemed extraordinary how tiring such a simple thing could be. McCoy studied him sympathetically.
"Exhausting, isn't it?"
"Unpleasant," Spock admitted, a little grimly.
McCoy selected a hypo. "This should fix it." The hypo hissed and the two men held their breath. The silence lengthened.
"Doctor, I believe you have done it," Spock said at last.
"You mean you have," McCoy told him.
"Yes," Spock agreed. "I have regained control."
"It's as well we found out the problem the easy way," McCoy said, replacing the hypo. "It could have been a lot more serious. You had a reaction to the serum, a loss of muscular tone that wouldn't have affected a Human, but with that supposedly superior Vulcan physique, it could have prevented your autonomous control over some vital function. Be thankful it was only something as undignified as hiccups!"
Spock surveyed him coolly. "Your primary treatment omitted something vital, Doctor. Should you not have been wearing your beads if you wished it to be efficacious?"
The sickbay doors hissed shut behind him.
Copyright Meg Wright