Unthinkable Fate

The poorly ventilated supply room in the Utopia Planitia spaceport reeked of peach bubble bath. That might have been the best thing about it. A thoroughly miserable James T. Kirk lay naked on the cold, slippery plascrete floor, his clothes long since torn to shreds by the Hortas who held him motionless with their tentacles. Well, not entirely motionless. There was one part of his body that the Hortas were quite skilled at coaxing into activity, no matter how he tried to suppress the response. In fact, he had never before found himself able to perform the aforementioned activity so many times in quick succession, and certainly he had never enjoyed it less.

Kirk knew that shouting for help would be just a waste of breath. There was no way a human voice could be heard over the hideous screeching cacophony that was Horta giggling. No help would be forthcoming from his first officer, either, who twisted and wiggled feebly on the floor nearby as the Hortas relentlessly tickled him. Only a feeble whimper, midway between laughter and anguish, now came from Spock’s throat; after several hours of this torture, he had lost his voice almost entirely.

The captain had to face the dismal fact that no one was going to come looking for him in the near future. No doubt his crew, if they even noticed he was missing, would conclude that, as usual, he was spending the night with a girl. That mental picture surely wouldn’t include a large group of rock-shaped females with devilishly flexible tentacles.

It wasn’t likely that anyone would pass by this room on some other errand, either. The supplies in the stacked crates weren’t due to be loaded aboard the Enterprise until the morning, and because the Hortas had been doing construction work in the area, anyone who heard their infernal screeching would probably just assume that it had something to do with their work.

Kirk’s tormented mind frantically sought possibilities for escape. Maybe he could try to convince the Hortas that exercising a certain part of the male anatomy too vigorously would result in sudden death. Given that his prowess in such matters had become legend in the Federation, however, there wasn’t much chance the Hortas would go for that one. But what if he really did expire from a heart attack before anyone came to rescue him? None of his previous space bimbo adventures had involved this level of repeated exertion, not to mention sheer terror.

At least the Hortas were bringing him water regularly from a sink in the corner, so he was in no danger of succumbing to dehydration. They hadn’t given him any food, but then, he probably wouldn’t have been able to eat it, anyway. The overpowering odor of peach bubble bath certainly wasn’t conducive to a healthy appetite…

A sly smile crossed Kirk’s lips for just an instant. The Hortas couldn’t possibly know that he wasn’t hungry. If he asked them to bring him some dinner, at least one of them would have to leave the room to get it, and he might get a brief reprieve from his misery while he ate. And maybe someone would be suspicious enough to investigate why a rock-eating, silicon-based alien who reeked of peach bubble bath was carrying a plate of meat and potatoes to a supply area.

“Food,” Kirk croaked. “I need food.”

The Hortas chattered among themselves for a moment and then started tearing open some of the nearby crates. There was no food in any of them, as far as Kirk knew. All of these supplies, as Spock had told him earlier, were personal comfort and hygiene items.

Cans of hair spray tumbled, with a loud clatter, to the floor along with razors, deodorant, and fluffy pink rabbits…

The captain blinked at the rabbits several times before his dulled brain registered the fact that it was almost Easter. Then, a far more horrible realization entered his consciousness, as one of his captors emitted a triumphant gong-like sound and held up a plastic-wrapped package.

All hope, now, was truly lost. The Hortas were not going to leave the room to get food for him. Rather, they were going to feed him pink Peeps.

Kirk’s final howl of ultimate despair was such a chilling sound that even the Hortas fell silent, and a nearby security patrol came rushing to the scene moments later, weapons drawn. Sadly, it was too late to save Kirk, whose mind had been irretrievably broken by this last ghastly indignity.

Thereafter, when Easter came each year, the staff at the psychiatric hospital always had to remember that there was one item that they could not, under any circumstances, put into a certain patient’s basket of goodies, lest the poor old fellow become violently agitated.