Carrying an Easter basket heaped precariously full, a lovesick Christine Chapel lurked just outside the bridge, waiting to pounce on Spock as soon as his shift was over. Even though the plomeek soup incident unfortunately hadn’t turned out quite the way she planned, Chapel was certain Spock couldn’t possibly resist the goodies she had chosen for him this time.
Enraptured by a lovely daydream, Chapel almost didn’t notice when Spock left the bridge, walking a few paces behind Kirk with his usual measured stride. She hurried to catch up with the object of her adoration, stammering and blushing as she held out the basket toward him.
“S-sir, this is for you. Happy Easter! I’m sure you’ll like the candy. There are plomeek-flavored jellybeans and . . .”
Chapel’s voice trailed off into a screech as she found herself unceremoniously tripped. Plomeek jellybeans, chocolate sehlats, and all the other delicacies that she had so carefully chosen went flying in every direction.
“Oops, so very sorry.” A soft-voiced but obviously smirking Janice Rand bent over to pick up a shattered piece of chocolate, exposing her well-rounded rump for Spock’s admiration as she did so. “I’m afraid we’ll have to throw most of this away, but I have a much better Easter basket for you anyway, Commander Spock.”
Clenching her fists, Chapel fumed in silent fury as the shameless yeoman continued to flirt. It wouldn’t be long, Chapel vowed, before Rand got what was coming to her.
“Yes, sir. Grapefruit peeps. A new flawor, and it’s wery delicious. My grandmother sent me a whole carton.” Chekov smiled ingratiatingly as he gave the captain a package of the marshmallow candies, which were yellow, but a rather sickly pale color that looked much less appetizing than the original.
Kirk mumbled a polite thanks as he stuffed the package into his front pants pocket. He could throw it away later, when that little brown-nose twerp Chekov wasn’t around to notice.
Glancing down the corridor, Kirk saw a distraught-looking Nurse Chapel approaching. He turned to face her.
“This is so hard to say, Captain. I just can’t bear to do it, but my Starfleet honor compels me.” Chapel started wringing her hands in apparent distress. “I have to tell you that my very dear friend Janice Rand has been harboring a contraband animal in her quarters. Specifically, a tribble. She bought it the last time we had shore leave. I kept quiet about it at first, but my conscience has been bothering me, Captain, and I just had to come clean. I do hope you won’t be too hard on Janice. After all, this isn’t as bad as last month, when she bought a case of black-market Romulan ale and got drunk on duty.”
Chapel’s hand flew to her mouth, and she gave Kirk a round-eyed stare. “Oh my, how very embarrassing. I forgot you didn’t know about that either.”
“I’ll deal with it, Nurse.” Observing that Chekov had gone, Kirk reached into his pocket and took out the peeps. This seemed as good an opportunity as any to get rid of them. “Enjoy these grapefruit peeps, and have a happy Easter.”
“Thanks very much, sir, but I’m on a diet.”
Chapel quickly escaped, leaving Kirk still holding the peeps, which he stuffed back into his pocket with a sigh.
Kirk rang the door chime three times before Rand finally appeared at the door, barefoot, with a pink towel wrapped around herself. Wet hair dripped down the sides of her face.
“I was just enjoying a nice peach bubble bath after a hard day’s work, Captain.” She smiled seductively. “Is there anything I can do for you?”
Before Kirk could answer, he heard the telltale cooing of a tribble, apparently from Rand’s bedroom.
With a look of dismay, Rand took a quick step backward. “But this doesn’t seem to be the best time to talk, Captain; I really ought to go and get dressed before . . .”
“Yeoman, we need to discuss what you’re keeping in your bedroom.” Kirk stepped into Rand’s quarters and followed her as she hurriedly retreated toward the scene of the crime.
“Uh, a few houseplants, sir?” By now, Rand was beginning to sound increasingly desperate as the tribble went on cooing. “And a recording of some, uh, soothing sounds to help their growth.”
The tribble noise sounded like it had to be coming from under the bed. Kirk dropped to his knees and peered underneath. Sure enough, there the animal was, in a far corner behind a heap of dirty laundry.
“You wouldn’t believe me if I told you it was just a fuzzy slipper, sir, would you?” Rand let the towel slip a bit farther down her body, as if hinting at what rewards might be gained by overlooking her transgression.
Of course, Kirk’s ethical standards wouldn’t allow him to consider such a temptation, with a member of his crew, even for a moment — although he did have to admit that his yeoman looked rather fetching in that lace-fringed pink towel. He stood up hastily and launched into a stern lecture.
“I’m extremely disappointed in you, Yeoman Rand. Starfleet has strict regulations prohibiting hazardous alien life forms, no matter how cute they may seem. Because tribbles are ambisexual and capable of self-fertilization, just one animal can cause an entire starship to be overrun with tribbles. I’m going to have to confiscate the creature and write up a report of this incident.”
“I’m sorry, sir. I was wrong to bring it aboard.” Rand spoke very meekly, with downcast eyes. Then she wiggled her derrière, which the pink towel scarcely covered. “But if you want to spank my bad little bottom instead of going to all the trouble of writing up a report, sir, there’s a studded leather paddle in the top drawer of my night table, next to the green double-ridged Risan dildo.”
“Yeoman, I’m going to forget you said that.” Actually it was much more likely he would fantasize about this delicious image for quite some time, but Rand didn’t need to know that. Being an honorable captain was hell sometimes.
“The tribble hasn’t been reproducing at all.” Rand shifted the conversation smoothly away from her unsuccessful attempt at distraction. “You see, sir, I bought it as a companion for this Xyrillian miniature grapefruit tree. The storekeeper told me that this variety of grapefruit is most likely to thrive when it has the companionship of a tribble. The juice of the grapefruit contains vitamins that keep the tribble healthy, and there’s also a contraceptive effect that prevents unwanted baby tribbles, so it’s a symbiotic relationship.”
Kirk stared dubiously at the glossy-leaved dwarf tree, which had only one small, pinkish fruit on a low branch. “The storekeeper must have made that story up.”
“No, it’s all true,” Rand insisted. “The juice of this fruit has been completely effective as a tribble contraceptive, and the tree is obviously much happier when the tribble is near it.”
“It’s a plant. How can it have any emotions?” Kirk shook his head in disgust, still looking down at the tree. A sweet citrus fragrance suddenly became much more noticeable.
“And even if the juice prevents tribble reproduction,” Kirk observed, still gazing down at the shiny leaves as they moved in an apparent breeze that he couldn’t feel, “there’s only one more fruit to be fed to the tribble, a very small fruit, and we can’t know how long the effects will last.”
“Not a problem, sir, the fruit doesn’t have to be picked.” The yeoman knelt down beside the tree, holding her towel in place with one hand and gesturing earnestly with the other as she explained. “When sufficiently stimulated, a Xyrillian grapefruit will secrete several drops of juice.”
The tree’s leaves seemed to flutter more vigorously as Kirk knelt beside Rand and examined the tiny fruit. For the first time, he noticed that the grapefruit wasn’t completely round, as he had initially assumed. The little pink globe had a vertical slit in front, with what appeared to be an opening toward the base of the slit. It bore a rather unsettling resemblance to a certain part of the female anatomy.
No, surely he had to be imagining things. Even Janice Rand wasn’t kinky enough to buy a tribble expressly for the purpose of watching it mate with a pink grapefruit.
“All you have to do is touch the fruit like this, Captain,” Rand continued, extending a neatly manicured fingertip to stroke the grapefruit’s little slit in a way that definitely looked perverted.
A drop of creamy-white juice soon appeared on the grapefruit, and its citrus aroma became stronger, deeper, and muskier. The tree’s branches shuddered vigorously, as if in a stiff breeze; but strangely, the air felt hot and stifling to Kirk. The citrus fragrance was overpowering, dizzying, compelling. The glossy leaves continued to wave as if beckoning him to come closer.
In a swift motion, Rand lifted her wet, glistening finger and brushed it across Kirk’s lips. “It’s really very delicious,” she announced with barely restrained glee.
Kirk moaned helplessly as the sweet, intoxicating juice overwhelmed his awareness. His heart hammered with a rush of sudden excitement, and he felt almost as if he couldn’t breathe. Two of the tree’s branches suddenly made a leafy grab for his shoulders and pulled his head closer to the fruit. The scent filled his nostrils, arousing him unbearably.
It was obvious what the tree wanted, and Kirk was helpless to resist. His lips parted, with the slow-motion inevitability of a nightmare, and his tongue made contact with the fruit. As he licked and sucked, the branches stroked his shoulders as if demanding more.
He might have stayed in this passionate thrall forever, but the evil spell was broken when he felt a small, furry animal repeatedly pressing itself against his right thigh. He lifted his head away from the grapefruit and looked down.
The damned tribble was trying to hump his leg.
Kirk grabbed a handful of brown fur and flung the beast onto Rand’s bed. It landed with a surprised and indignant squeak.
“Sir, is there something interesting in your pocket?” Rand seemed to be trying very hard not to laugh, but she wasn’t having much success in that endeavor.
The question eventually penetrated Kirk’s citrus-dazed brain, and he remembered the peeps. Probably the tribble wanted to eat the dreadful things; after all, tribbles ate just about anything. Or maybe it wanted to mate with the peeps. At the moment, nothing would be a surprise, Kirk thought.
Except the sound of Rand’s door chime. His foggy mind was so slow to react, Rand had already gone to answer the door before Kirk realized that answering it probably wouldn’t be the best course of action. There was a scuttling noise, almost like some insectoid dragging a heavy bag of rocks across the floor.
Then Kirk heard the gravelly sound of a universal translator rendering a Horta voice, and Rand appeared in the bedroom doorway with Crewman Chthir, a recent enlistee. Chthir was female, according to the crew roster, but Hortas of either gender looked like big lumps of stone with tentacles.
“Thank you so much for the lovely Easter basket, Janice,” the Horta was saying. “You’ve really made me feel at home on this ship by including me in your traditional celebrations. The quartz eggs were delicious, and my favorite treat was the obsidian bunny.”
“Glad you enjoyed it.”
The Horta hesitated for a moment before entering the bedroom. “Janice, is the captain all right? He doesn’t seem quite himself.”
“He’s under the influence of a Xyrillian grapefruit,” Rand explained cheerfully. “It has an intoxicating effect on many humanoids, and somewhat of an aphrodisiac effect, as well.”
“Oh, yes, I understand about such things. There are several minerals that have a similar effect on Hortas.” After a short pause, Chthir added, “I think the quartz Easter eggs I ate may have contained small amounts of one of those minerals. I am suddenly finding the captain very attractive.”
While Kirk was still staring at the Horta in disbelief, wondering if the translator had rendered her meaning accurately, he felt a sharp pain as tiny needle-like teeth jabbed the front of his thigh. The tribble was back, and it wasn’t at all happy.
“Maybe if you took off your pants, Captain, the tribble would leave you alone.” Rand’s fingers slid busily into his waistband and pulled down the pants, with the tribble still attached to the front. Before Kirk could manage to articulate just why this suggestion made no sense, Rand had already removed his pants, and Chthir helpfully pulled off his shirt as well.
Of course, Rand had required the use of both hands to take off the captain’s pants, which meant that the pink towel was no longer draped around her body. Her very alluring, very naked body. Kirk might have been able to resist the temptation under normal circumstances, but when intoxicated by alien grapefruit secretions, he didn’t stand a chance.
Almost at once, he and Rand were going at it hot and heavy, with Horta tentacles and grapefruit branches contributing to the action. Even the tribble, apparently in a better mood, climbed up on Kirk’s back and clung there, cooing. He had to admit it made a good butt-warmer.
Afterward, he lay in a pleasant, dazed reverie for a while, until Chthir excused herself to get ready for her third shift duties. Rand stood up, put on a fluffy pink robe, and started brushing her hair in front of the mirror as if everything were perfectly normal.
“Although I won’t put you on report,” Kirk informed his yeoman, “I’m still going to have to confiscate the tribble, of course. Starfleet can be told that it accidentally got on board in a shipment of cargo, like the last time.”
Kirk finished dressing and picked up the little creature, which had evidently fallen asleep. He put it into one of Rand’s lacy pillowcases, for lack of a better carrying case.
“I know.” Rand didn’t sound too disappointed as she went on brushing her hair. “But the grapefruit tree is still going to need a companion. Maybe you can come over to my quarters every once in a while? The tree really, really likes you.”
He had to admit that the little tree did look rather lonely as it waved its branches toward him in a forlorn farewell. And of course, he still owed Janice Rand a big-time spanking, on some occasion in the near future. That prospect left him feeling quite cheerful as he left Rand’s quarters.
Feeding the grapefruit-flavored peeps to the tribble, Kirk decided, ought to stop it from reproducing until he could get it off the Enterprise. Assuming the peeps didn’t kill it altogether. He smiled even more broadly, proud of himself. After all, how many of Starfleet’s captains would ever be able to say that they saved the ship with grapefruit peeps?