At first, Spock wondered whether he had simply imagined seeing it, tucked away beneath the ladder in a Jeffries tube. That thought lasted for just 0.032 seconds; Vulcans did not imagine seeing anything.
He descended the ladder further for a closer look. Yes, there was something there. His brows gathered together in a frown as he contemplated the probable carelessness of whichever crewman had left their equipment behind. Spock made a quick mental note to ask Mister Scott to remind his engineering crew about the dangers of misplaced tools.
Whatever it was, was wedged quite securely between a ladder rung and the wall, and Spock had to prise it free with his long fingers. When, at last, he held the object in his hand, he was sufficiently surprised for both eyebrows to ascend to his hairline.
There, in his hand, was not a work implement as expected, but a small silver-painted egg.
Spock studied the object and was glad no one seemed to be around to witness the incredible play of expressions on his normally saturnine features.
The small, roughly ellipsoid-shaped item was indeed a Terran hen's egg, the basis of many dishes highly favoured by Doctor McCoy. However, while he was aware of the variety of brown, white and speckled eggs produced by Earth fowl, Spock had never before encountered a silver egg. Logic dictated that this particular egg had been painted; the reason for this was still a mystery.
Further mystifying questions emerged: Who on the Enterprise would paint poultry produce? For what purpose had the object been deposited here?
Spock was completely at a loss to work it out; the situation fell outside any experiences he had known. Surely, this was further proof of Human irrationality. A solution presented itself; it would take an irrational Human to explain an irrational situation. With this in mind, Spock wrapped his fingers carefully around the delicate egg and set off to find the captain.
The turbolift doors swooshed shut behind Spock and he ordered the car to deliver him to Deck 5. The captain was off-duty and would most likely be in his quarters.
Spock's mind was so busy deliberating over his unusual discovery that he'd been standing in the lift for 3.72 seconds before his eye caught a hint of yellow sitting unobtrusively in the corner. Bending down to investigate, Spock discovered that he had found another egg. Like the first, this egg was painted an unnatural shade, this time in randomly shaped patches of lemon yellow and orange.
Was this the work of the same illogical – possibly insane – person? Perhaps it was one of what Humans called 'practical jokes', something he had never had the ability to comprehend.
So, now Spock had two outrageously decorated eggs in his hand. The sooner he reported these disturbing occurrences to Kirk the better. It was possible that the Enterprise carried one or more crewmembers of dubious mental health.
Stepping out of the turbolift, the Vulcan started down the short section of curved corridor which led to his captain's quarters. He stopped abruptly at the sight of a partially ajar recycler hatch. No doubt it had been left that way by a lazy crew person who had not taken the trouble to ensure that the item they were depositing for recycling was placed far enough into the recycler to allow the door to close completely.
With an unaccustomed sigh, Spock approached the open hatch intending to clear the opening and restore the otherwise tidy appearance of the corridor. He discovered that the door had been jammed open with a small... egg. Another egg!
This was absurd! Three eggs – the third painted a garish pink with purple and green spots – found in three completely unlikely places.
Spock hastened his pace with a new sense of urgency. The captain had to be informed immediately and the mystery solved before it got out of hand and the ship was placed in peril!
Repeated ringing of the buzzer to Kirk's quarters went unanswered, indicating that either the captain wasn't there or he simply wasn't responding to his buzzer. Knowing his captain as he did, Spock knew this second option was unlikely unless Kirk had company. Female company. But Kirk wasn't one to interact with his crewwomen in that manner and they weren't currently conveying any exotically beautiful young women – as they seemed to with a curious regularity.
No. Kirk was elsewhere. Thinking for a moment of paging the ship's commander, the Vulcan changed his mind. Spock still wasn't sure of what he was dealing with and did not want to alarm the crew with a ship-wide page for the off-duty captain if he wasn't absolutely certain he had cause to. And Kirk was presently not on-duty. He might not take kindly to being disturbed unnecessarily. The first officer therefore decided to look for the captain on foot. That way, he could ascertain his friend's status then inform him of the solution and ask for instructions.
Using his logical brain, Spock deduced that it was best to search first in each of the captain's favourite recreation locations beginning with those he frequented most often. The Vulcan's mind quickly calculated the route which, in the manner of utmost efficiency, allowed for the maximum coverage in the minimum time. His plan logically mapped out, Spock set off once more in search of the captain.
Cursory checks of the observation deck, the officers' lounge, the gardens and several rec. rooms failed to turn up the elusive James T. Kirk. Spock's search was not entirely in vain, however; he now had in his possession no less than sixty-three brightly painted eggs.
In what must have been one of the most bizarre experiences during his time on the Enterprise – and Spock had certainly seen some very weird alien things, the Vulcan was becoming increasingly disturbed by the fact that the ship seemed almost eerily quiet. Apart from the very occasional passing crewman, the corridors were empty and each of the venues Spock had been to looking for his captain had been almost completely devoid of humans.
The captain's seeming disappearance was of concern – and quite a mystery too; he could not have left the ship when they were not within transporter range of anywhere and there were no other vessels in the area. Unless, of course, he had taken a shuttle.
Spock was quite alarmed by the illogical nature of his thoughts. Am I so concerned for the captain's welfare that I can no longer think rationally? He instantly put the thought aside for later meditation to deal with. They were out in deep space, the shuttles were designed for short trips. Kirk was unlikely to venture out in a shuttle when he had nowhere to go.
Still, some small corner of the first officer's mind insisted that he check the shuttle bay all the same. He was still not convinced that there was not some element of deviousness at work in all of this.
By the time Spock reached the hangar deck he had collected a further forty-four eggs, bringing the total in the almost overflowing specimen container he carried to one-hundred and seven. Spock sighed. Would this mystery ever be solved?
Odd. The shuttle bay had been pressurised to allow someone to be able to breathe. So, there was someone in there. It was with some measure of caution that Spock entered through the hangar deck doors.
If Spock had been Human, he may have expressed his surprise by gasping or uttering a string of irrelevant exclamations. The first officer was Vulcan; he raised one elegant eyebrow.
He now stood at the back of a sizable crowd, each of whom was holding a different sized collection of... colourfully painted eggs! Perhaps now he might discover the answers to his questions.
Someone was talking... Captain Kirk! Spock started pressing his way through the crowd, his superior height allowing him to spot the captain over the heads of the rest of the crew.
"Captain," he called.
Perhaps the Human hadn't heard him; he appeared to be making an announcement of some kind. For a moment Spock wondered why he hadn't been informed if the captain had something important to say – and why did he not simply use the comm. system?
As he got closer to the front of the crowd, Spock noticed that Doctor McCoy was standing with the captain – and what was that they were both wearing on their heads? Headbands? With long, fluffy... ears on them?
"Captain," he began again.
"...and it looks like the totals have been added up, so we can announce..."
"...and the winner of the Easter Egg Hunt is... Spock! What are you..."
"Captain, I have located 107 oddly decorated eggs in the most unlikely locations all over the ship. I would very much appreciate it if you could kindly explain..."
Lieutenant Uhura almost dropped her bundle of eggs in disappointment. Spock's collection beat her ninety-three eggs hands down and she had been certain that she had collected the most and was just about to be named the winner.
"Well, Jim, it looks like Spock's the winner of your great egg hunt. You're gonna have to give 'im the prize." The doctor winked and grinned wickedly at Spock.
"Prize, Doctor?" Spock's eyes were once more drawn to the furry appendages adorning his two friends' heads. "Captain, Doctor, is everything all right?"
Kirk read the genuine concern in the Vulcan's eyes. "Quite all right, Spock. It seems that you have won the prize. You collected the most eggs."
"Do you mean to tell me that these were deposited all over the ship on purpose, Captain?"
"Yes. In fact, they were pretty well hidden too. You know, you actually did very well to find so many. Good spotting, Spock!" The captain beamed at the Vulcan whose mind was still attempting to assimilate what he had seen and heard.
The doctor nudged Kirk. "Give him his prize, Jim."
"Ah, yes... the prize." He turned to Spock. "Congratulations! You've just won a giant, fluffy rabbit," - which was thrust into Spock's arms - "and a da... um... dinner with me."
Spock looked at his captain. Why had he just been presented with a giant stuffed toy animal? And had Kirk almost said "date"? He turned to scan the crowd and it suddenly occurred to him that he, Kirk and McCoy were the only males in the room. Every female crewmember on board, it seemed, had entered this "Easter Egg Hunt" competition with a view to winning the grand prize of a date with Captain Kirk. Spock blushed suddenly, a green tinge lighting up his whole face.
"How about dinner and a chess game tonight, Spock?" Kirk asked, sensing the great embarrassment in his Vulcan friend. Spock nodded gratefully.
"Damn, these hurt!" Both captain and first officer were drawn to McCoy, who had ripped the headband with rabbit ears attached from his head and was now madly rubbing the spot where it had been.
Kirk too began to feel some discomfort from the headband and took his off, throwing it on a table next to McCoy's. "It was all in good fun though, Bones."
"Yeah? Well, tell that to my aching hea... Hey!" A moment of inspiration struck. "Next time, why don't you get ol' Pointy Ears here to play the Easter Bunny. All he'd need is the fluffy lil' tail!"
"Hardly, Doctor." The Vulcan was finding it difficult to hold on to his dignity and now realised that the giant blue rabbit in his arms was doing little help the situation. He turned to the female crowd and immediately encountered Nurse Christine Chapel. Sighing inwardly, he placed the huge cuddly toy in the blonde woman's arms. "Miss Chapel, no doubt you would derive more... satisfaction from this item than would I. It is yours."
The nurse smiled beatifically. A gift from Mister Spock! He CHOSE to give this to ME! "Th-thank you, Mister Spock," she stammered and blushed a deep crimson. Spock blushed in response, his faint emerald off-setting her red.
Knowing that his gift-giving gesture may induce a further embarrassingly emotional response from Nurse Chapel and prompt McCoy to engage in a fresh bout of teasing, Spock hastily made for the exit. "If you will excuse me, Captain. I have duties to attend to."
He was nearly at the door when the captain called out. "Wait a minute, Spock. I'll walk with you." Spock stood patiently by the exit and was dismayed when Doctor McCoy indicated he was coming too.
The three walked in silence for a time until Kirk turned to Spock. "I bet you were wondering what was going on when you started finding all those eggs."
"Certainly, Captain. Actually, for a time, I believed there might have been some foul play." Spock's face had become quite serious; he had been concerned. He was therefore unable to fathom the reason for the sudden outburst of laughter erupting from his two friends. "Captain? Doctor?"
"Fowl play!" giggled Kirk as he wiped tears from his cheeks.
The doctor was holding his now sore ribs. "I don't believe it! Spock made a joke and it's a baaaad one!"
"I fail to see what is so humorous about..."
"Ohh, forget it, Spock," laughed the captain. "Just put it down to Human irrationality."
The Vulcan raised his eyebrow, allowing his friends to see the twinkle in his eyes. "Indeed!
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