to_coin_a_phrase.gif (3045 bytes)

Randall Landers
based on an insane notion by Tim Farley



Doctor Leonard "Bones" McCoy had been the chief medical officer aboard the United Star Ship Enterprise for six months now. To the captain, he had already become a close friend; to the chief engineer, he had become a constant off-duty drinking companion and to the chief science officer and first officer, he had become "an annoyance."

McCoy looked around the sickbay one more time. It was 0530. Nurses Chapel and Reidy were due to come on duty in thirty minutes. He'd sent Nurse Fried away early. He wanted no witnesses, and since Sickbay was currently unoccupied, it would now be child's play.

He sat down at his desk's computer console, made one quick glance around the room, and punched up the code for access to the linguistic banks.

"Working," said the computer.

Funny how much the damned thing sounds like Chapel, he thought. "Give me special program designated 'Vulcan Speech Pathology.'"

"Working--please verify voice-lock with secret access code phrase."

"Get that damned Vulcan," McCoy said, chuckling evilly.

"Working--list out of Terran idiomatic expressions commencing."

The screen began to list sets of phrases.

"What're you doing, Bones?"

McCoy jumped with a start. "Captain!"

Kirk said, "Computer: Interrupt."

The computer stopped its printout, awaiting the 'Continue' command.

Kirk read a line aloud as McCoy turned red around the ears. "Go fly a kite?"

"Well, Jim...uh...well, you know I've been...uh, working on drawing...I uh...Spock out of I thought that...well, it would be best if I...used banks to do...just that."

"To do what, Bones?"

"To..." He looked at the screen. "...get his goat."

"I presume, Doctor McCoy, that you are aware that this is not exactly what the Sickbay computers were designed for?"

"I...uh...well, sir," began McCoy, and he became a bit emboldened. "My duty as Chief Medical Officer is to be certain...that, psychological makeup of each individual aboard this starship is my direct responsibility."

Kirk stared at him, not smiling. "Go on."

"Well, sir, it seemed to me that Lieutenant Commander Spock may not be fit for interaction with a crew of...Humans...without knowing a good bit of their idiomatic expressions. In fact, a definite lack of understanding of key phrases, such as 'what's sauce for the goose, is sauce for the gander,' could result in a state of severe depression in our science officer."

"Bull," said Kirk, a smile finally dawning (to McCoy's relief) on his face.


"Don't let him catch you or there will be..."

"Hell to pay?" came Spock's voice from the door.

"Spock?" exclaimed McCoy.

Kirk started laughing. "I think Spock's been pulling the wool over your eyes, Bones."

"What do you mean?" McCoy asked, warily looking for an exit.

"Simply this, Doctor. Would not the son of a Vulcan ambassador stationed on Earth know as many idiomatic expressions as you profess to know?"

"I don't know...would he?"

"It's the early avian that obtains the annelid," stated Spock coolly.

McCoy smiled and rose from his chair. "Let's go have some breakfast." He looked at Kirk and gestured at Spock behind his back with his thumb. "I see I still have my work cut out for me."

main.gif (11611 bytes)

Free counters provided by Andale.

banner.gif (1761 bytes)

Return to the index of ORION ARCHIVES -- 2266-2270 The First Mission
Return to the index of ORION ARCHIVES On-Line Fiction
Click Here to Return to the Orion Press Website