"Sewing is for fags," Cadet Kirk declared, and sent the tunic sailing
across the dormitory room in disgust.
impassively. He put the last stitch into the edge of the
class emblem and buried the little knot tidily in the underside of the
fabric. He held the tunic up. The emblem was sewn
impeccably into place and the whole thing looked as irritatingly
perfect as if it had come directly from ship's stores.
Maintenance is for any cadet who wishes to graduate from Starfleet
Academy," Spock corrected patiently.
is not really
difficult." Spock retrieved the crumpled shirt from the
floor. The senior emblem patch flapped over the breast, held
only by a couple of poorly applied threads. It was puckered
it did attach and seemed, perhaps, just a smidgen lopsided.
needle and thread still dangled from the fabric.
blade from his
utility kit, Spock cut the attempts at stitching. He rethreaded the
needle and deftly made a dense knot in one end of the thread.
the patch over
the stenciled outline and smoothed it into place. He
he worked. "One simply prepares one's project, chooses a
which to begin, and works one's way around the edges, taking care to
conceal the work and effort involved. Properly executed, it
should appear that there was no artificial design or interference, but
that all has fallen into place naturally."
the needle into
the breast of the shirt and pulled it though the patch. He
a number of small, tight stitches in rapid succession as he
spoke. "To sew it in place, one works in small steps applying
uniform tension to each stitch and easing off in between. The
final product will be stronger and more secure of you use a backstitch
technique, working first forward, then slightly backward, then forward
again. It is more time-consuming, but the result will be much
to Jim's bunk and handed the project back. Jim screwed up his
face but took it back to try again.
learn to sew?" Jim grumbled.
Jim's clumsy efforts, "From the Starfleet Basic Training Manual, page
274 to 279, as you should have. I found the instructions more
than adequate. Sewing is a logical step in the development of
civilization. Over 97 percent of all civilized races have
developed it intuitively, in one form or another."
was still largely an enigma, and yet Jim thought he knew a Vulcan dig
when he heard one. Jim regarded him balefully, but the
face was as cool as ever. The distraction was, however, a
with the needle and his hand jerked back in surprise. A large dollop of
blood welled up and began to drip down.
bleeding finger and sucked it into his mouth. Jim stared at
drew the blade
of his tongue around the finger and Jim had no time to think of
anything else. The alien tissue rasped as it raked over the
sensitive palmar surface. From somewhere slippery saliva,
than a human's would have been, swirled around and Jim's brain
dissolved in a whirl of pleasure. Spock sucked once with his
lips. Jim's addled brain could not think of it anyway but as
and Jim stared between his finger and Spock's mouth in absolute
coolly, "You should
seal the puncture immediately. Starfleet uniform fabric is
unforgiving of hemoglobin based stains--a rather odd oversight in the
manufacture, I must say--and a stain would count significantly against
your marks." Spock folded his hands in his lap demurely.
right." He found a tube of Dermabond and plastered the area,
taking his time, hoping the bulge in his trousers would be less evident
when he was done.
came back, sat
on the bed and just stared at Spock who had watched him through all of
you planning to do after graduation?" he asked, his mind still tumbling
a mile a minute.
command track and science positions. Of course, I have no
foreknowledge of what posting I will be offered."
pressed, "but as a Vulcan you have the option of serving on an
all-Vulcan ship. Will you take it?"
not. For one
thing, as a hybrid, if I were to accept such an assignment, it would no
longer be an all-Vulcan ship. For another, there is a certain
illogic to joining Starfleet and then so quickly choosing to limit
one's exposure to the many varieties of the universe."
you will be
getting a general deep space posting--like me?"
have some connections. I put in for the Chawla. I
could pull some more strings and get you posted with me.
acceptable," Spock said.
flatly. He picked the tunic off the bed and handed it back to
Jim. "But you will not be posted anywhere unless you receive
adequate marks for completion of Uniform Maintenance."
stared at the
shirt on his lap as if momentarily confused as what to do.
slack off in between. Move forward, then back just a little,
forward again. I am certain the final result will be
satisfactory, but try to hide your work--make it appear that it was not
carefully planned and painstakingly orchestrated." Spock
an eyebrow and tilted just the corner of his mouth in the closest thing
Jim had ever seen him achieve to a smile.