By M.P. Thomas

    The console flashed a pretty dance of red and gold lights as Spock's long fingers played quickly about the buttons before him. The beauty of the display was lost on the Vulcan, his face impassive, absorbed in his work. It was not his duty period so the work was more of a personal nature. Never-the-less his eyebrows arched with slight annoyance as a couple of crew members hurried past chattering excitedly, odd bits of red tinsel decorating their Star Fleet uniforms.

    Spock knew that most members of the Human contingent of the crew were presently in the midst of a Religious Celebration but he saw no reason why that should mean a slackening of Star Fleet standards on the bridge. He turned to Chekov and Uhuru with his best Vulcan stone face but the two seemed oblivious to the First Officer's look of disapproval. They entered the turbo lift as Spock prepared a sharp reprimand but the words never left his lips. The turbo lift doors closed behind the cheerful pair and Spock simply shrugged and turned back to his work at the console.

    A few moment later there came a not totally unexpected call from the Officers Rec. Room on deck 4. Of course, it was the ship's doctor.

    "First Officer Spock to Rec. Room 4 immediately....Intruder Alert!"

    Spock sighed, resigned to yet another, totally unnecessary, interruption to his work. "What seems to be the problem Doctor?"

    "Spock, get yourself down here, we have an intruder in the Officer's Rec. Room who is asking for you and appears to have something to give you!" The Doctor's voice was a mixture of antagonism and good natured banter that Spock knew well.

    "Really, an Intruder, Doctor?"

    "Yes Spock! Good Heavens, man, you had better get down here pronto!"

    "We have had no alerts here on the bridge, Doctor, and the sensors fail to show an intruder in the location you specify."

    "Never-the-less, Spock, it...he is here and asking for you."

    There was the muffled sound of tittering in the background which was quickly shushed by the Doctor.

    Spock sighed again and put down his computer stilus. "Very well, Doctor. I'm on my way. Spock out."

    Spock tidied up his computer disks, stood up and walked quietly to the turbo lift. He turned on entering and caught Ensign Pulver, at the Engineering console, trying to hide a wide grin. Spock's left eyebrow arched quissically. The lift doors closed and the Ensign's amused face was gone.

    On deck 4, Spock found the corridors lit with strings of multi coloured lights and festooned with glittering tinsel. Conifer branches hung with baubles were strung along the ship's bulkheads and members of the crew wandered about in strange costumes, carrying brightly wraped parcels. Most female crew were wearing a great deal of gaudy costume jewelry that sparkled in the colourful lighting. Those that noticed him showed great surprise but greeted him cheerfully with "Merry Christmas, Mr. Spock" as he passed. He merely inclined his head in reply and continued quickly on his way to the Rec Room.

    The Rec. Room doors swooshed open before him as he entered.

    "MERRY CHRISTMAS, MR SPOCK!" The room was full of extremely cheerful crew members whose shouted greeting made Spock wince despite himself.

    The Doctor emerged from the group and tried to usher Spock further in to the room. But Spock resisted and stood his ground.

    "Very well, Doctor, I am here. I have left very important work to come so I hope you have good reason to summon me. Now where is this Intruder you spoke of?"

    Zulu and three other crewmen moved in behind Spock forcing him further into the room or risk having them pressing up against his back.

    "This way Spock, I'll show you." Doctor McCoy could barely contain his glee at having enticed Spock away from the Bridge. "He's been asking for you. Says you have been an especially good boy this year...(a wave of giggles passed through the assembled crew who tried, unsuccessfully to hide their mirth behind their hands)....and he has something very nice for you."

    "Really Doctor, and what exactly does this creature expect to gain from annoying his Superior Officer with this foolish masquerade?" Some of the smiles quickly vanished from certain junior crew members at this point.

    The Doctor grinned into Spock's face, still unconcerned with the First Officer's uncompromising attitude. "Come on Spock, join in the spirit of it all. It won't hurt too much, I promise."

    "Doctor, I think there is more than enough 'Spirit' at work in this Rec. Room as it is and I really have far more important duties to attend to than providing a dupe for your childish jokes."

    McCoy looked a little annoyed now.

    "Just come and look for yourself, Spock!"

    "Very well, Doctor. Take me to this Intruder, if you must."

    Spock followed McCoy into the center of the room. A loud and cheerful "HO HO HO" rose from somewhere in front of them. The crowd parted and there, sitting on a tinsel bedecked mockup of the Captain's Chair was the oddest looking Human Spock had ever encountered in all his years with Star Fleet and after meeting many, very strange Humans in deed. He was oddly rotund, as if nature had slapped the excess weight on to his body in great, soft slabs. His extremely long beard was startlingly white, as were the wisps of hair that peeked out from under his bright red cap. In fact the man (Spock presumed no human female could be this unattractive!) wore a whole suit of thick, red fur trimmed with white, despite the excessively hot atmosphere of the Rec. Room. His face was rich, cherry red in colour. Beads of red perspiration trickled down his face, revealing equally red skin underneath. On his lap he held a strange looking toy animal. Spock's wide reading habits meant that despite never having seen one before, he recognised it as a teddy bear. This one was quite unique in that the ears on top of its head were extremely long and pointed.

    All around him peels of good natured laughter erupted as Spock at last stood face to face with the 'Intruder' of the U.S.S. Enterprise.

    The red faced man in the red suit lifted the teddy bear up for Spock to take.

    "Her ye are laddy. Ye been a good wee lad and ye deserve a wee gifty." The odd Red Man looked close to melt down as the thick Scottish accent emitted, some what slurred, from behind the long, white beard.

    Spock stood perfectly still, staring down at this strange apparition and the toy that was still held up for him.

    "Come on Lad, take ye teddy and I hop' ye'll be ver' happy together."

    Still Spock stood very still and stared. He made no move to take the toy animal. The laughter around him was almost deafening but slowly, bit by bit, it began to subside until everyone was quiet and watching Spock with some apprehension.

    McCoy stepped forward and, laughing, said "Come on Spock. Loosen up that stiff shirt of yours a bit. it's just a little fun. Even you know what fun is, don't you?"

    Spock seemed to come out of his trance. He turned on the Doctor and McCoy stepped backwards quickly, almost stumbling. The look on Spock's face was one of rigidly controlled displeasure. McCoy might have called it fury, except that Vulcans were not supposed to have such emotions. Spock's voice was razer sharp and cold as the Anterian Steppes.

    "I realise that Humans have scant regard for customs and beliefs that are not their own, but I didn't think even you, Doctor, would sink to openly ridiculing another culture in such a way as you have exhibited here!"

    McCoy stammered in surprise. "Ridiculing, Spock? I don't know what you mean!" He waved his hand towards the now visibly deconstructing Man In Red and the teddy bear. "It's just a bit of harmless fun. It took us hours to get those ears just right!"

    Spock drew himself up to his full height and glowered around at the now anxious looking crew. Then he turned his full glare on to the wilting McCoy.

    "You quite obviously have been researching Vulcan mythology, Doctor, and know quite well that this pitiful effigy is meant to represent Great Grandfather Santek."

    "Great Grandfather Santek?" Echoed a bewildered McCoy.

    "Giver of tokens to juveniles and harbinger of the brief Vulcan winter. But in your haste to bring discomfort to me and merriment to yourselves you have ridiculed this ancient, much admired figure of peace and wisdom. One of the few childhood icons of Vulcan Mythology!"

    "But, Spock....(the Doctor was now floundering under the Vulcan's attack)..we never realised!.....we never thought!.....Spock!" McCoy appealed to the Vulcan.

    Spock brushed the blurted apology aside with a dismissive wave of his hand and continued. "Look at this absurd costume!" He gestured with impatience at the sinking figure in the Chair. Further more no Vulcan would ever allow themselves to get into such a state of physical neglect. This is a hideous travesty and a disgrace to every Vulcan's cherished childhood memories."

    Spock turned on his heel and marched through the crowd which quickly parted to let him through.

    "Wait! Spock!" Called the now distraut McCoy but Spock's back only stiffened as he strode out of the Rec Room doors.

    As the doors closed behind him, leaving a sea of stunned faces within, Spock walked straight in to a surprised Captain Kirk.

    "Spock! I never expected to find you down here. Not today of all days."
    Kirk studied the unusual expression on his First Officer's face. "You do seem uncommonly pleased with yourself, Spock. What have you been up to?"

    "Just spreading a little seasonal humbug, Captain." Spock replied solomnly.

    "Humbug, Spock?"

    "I believe that is the term, Captain."

    Kirk shrugged and laughed. "Good to see you are taking an interest in the crews activities, Spock."

    "It was a uncommon pleasure, Captain." There was an mischievous gleam in Spock's eye.

    "Well.....carry on then, Spock."

    "Thank you, Captain. I intend to do just that."

    Spock turned around again and walked back into the Rec Room with a curious Kirk following close behind. The First Officer strode back through the startled crowd, straight up to the 'Man in Red' being helped to disrobe of his heavy furs by McCoy. The revealed Scotty shrank back in to the mock Captain's chair as the Vulcan bore down on him but Spock merely reached out and picked up the teddy bear, saying in a good imitation of the Chief Engineer's Scottish accent "But then, I have been a good, wee lad so I will take my token thank you, Santek."

    Now, with the toy tucked firmly under his arm, he marched back to the doors while the crew gaped in mounting astonishment.

    Spock paused at the doors. Turned and then executed a grand bow to the entire room. "Merry Christmas." He said warmly.

    After a stunned moment the whole room erupted in cheers, laughter and loud hand clapping.

    McCoy looked suitably miffed and relieved, simultaneously.

    "Spock! Why you pointy eared......!" But he was laughing too much to finish the insult.

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