Montgomery Scott had an odd relationship with the command crew of the Enterprise. Commander Spock he had known since the very beginning of the voyages under Captain Pike, back when he was just a (very talented) engineer and Spock a very young science lieutenant. Over the eleven years of Pike’s captaincy he had watched his own career take off along much the same pace as the unusual Vulcan, and none had been more pleased than he to find that Spock had agreed to remain as Science Officer when the upheaval of the century took place, the transfer of command of the flagship from the renowned Captain Pike over to a young, cocky upstart straight off exploratory duty. Kirk was a brilliantly blazing star of charisma and talent, but Scott had seen too many of those stars go nova before their time to be anything but wary of the captaincy turnover.
Kirk won his heart within fifteen minutes of coming aboard, when he collared the Chief Engineer and insisted upon a tour of the engine room before even seeing his living quarters. Scott had been much amused to watch the granite façade of a Vulcan mask slowly crumble over a short space of time in much the same manner. No one could stand before the unstoppable force which was the new Captain James Tiberius Kirk, not even a Vulcan who believed he must be even more Vulcan than his full-blooded peers. It had done the engineer's heart good, to see that uptight First Officer slowly unbend, completely accepted without stipulation from this remarkable human who had taken the hearts of the Enterprise crew (and the silver lady herself, he’d bet his pension) by storm.
And now, four years into their five-year mission, their captain had been turned into a wee child, by circumstances which he still was not clear on the details, and said wee child had said stone-faced Vulcan wrapped around his tiny little finger even more so than the adult version had. Of course, Scott would never dream of saying as much to Mr. Spock, as he had the sense to value his life and working relationships.
He had to admit, however, that he couldn’t imagine a soul who wouldn’t fall in love with their pint-sized captain in this form; it would certainly have to be a colder heart than his. And so, when Spock requested he take the child for an afternoon so that the Vulcan and their CMO could communicate with the Insonti regarding aspects of this slow re-transformation and Kirk’s delayed child development, the engineer was only too happy to oblige.
Jim was dropped off in Auxiliary Control in a miniature Starfleet uniform which one of the soft-hearted engineers in Maintenance had managed to program into the clothing replicators, all sunny smiles and wide-eyed enthusiasm. He was also quite hyperactive, which apparently was due in part to excitement over being allowed to spend the day in Engineering, and in part due to the fact that Spock appeared unable to deny the child anything when under fire from puppy-eyes and had let him have Orange Fizz-aid with his chicken salad at lunch.
Scott chuckled indulgently as he snagged the child’s collar in time to prevent him from bashing his head into the rungs of the ladder leading up to the Environmental Control center.
“What’s up there, Mr. Scott?”
“That’s the Environmental Control center, laddie,” he replied, as the child beamed in eager response to a smiling Fellustarian engineer who saw him over the railing and waved. “And you can call me Scotty, if y'like.”
“Okay. Hi, Mr. Giotto!”
Scott glanced toward the door as the child bellowed, and saw that two Security ensigns had taken up stations on either side, shooting him an apologetic look as they did so. He rolled his eyes, and saw the answering amused look from their Security Chief as he left the room; since Jim’s catwalk incident Spock had driven them all crazy posting guards whenever the child was left anywhere other than Sickbay. Paranoia didn’t exactly suit a Vulcan, but it was a bit adorable, the Scotsman thought privately.
“What’s this do?”
“That’s the control board for the auxiliary power core,” he replied. “If the warp engines go off-line, we can still have backup power controlled from this here.”
“That’d be bad, right?”
“Aye,” he agreed. “But it rarely happens on a ship this big.”
“How big is the ship? Is she pretty? Can I see the engines, pleeeeeease? Can you do warp nine with ‘em? Lookit that light’s blinking, issat bad? What’s that switch for? Why’s your uniform red an’ mine’s yellow an' Spock's is blue, Scotty? Why there no green uniforms?”
Scott looked with dismay at the subtly-laughing personnel which were working in the vicinity; he’d opened a fair can of worms with this one, he had…
Two hours later, they’d exhausted both every part of Engineering and also one little boy’s endless string of questions. Scott was slightly relieved when the child wound down, returning with curiosity to the main control center in Auxiliary Control, where Lieutenant Riley was on his back on a rolling dolly, soldering a loose wire in the back of the backup Communications motherboard.
“Well, what d’you want to do now, laddie?” he asked, seeing the little one standing something at a loss in the middle of the room.
Jim was watching the sparks fly with fascination. “Dunno,” was the response, followed by a shrug of small shoulders.
Scott had an idea. “Well, I was about to take the transporter boards apart for cleaning, as we willna be using them for a bit in this star-mapping. Would y’like to help with that?”
Hazel eyes shone with excitement. Then the little face fell, and the child scuffed one toe along the edge of the console. “Mr. Spock tol’ me if I wanna come back here again I‘m not ‘llowed to touch anything,” he mumbled sadly.
“Well, now, he also told you to do exactly what I say, didn’t he, laddie?”
“And what if I told you that if that transporter board doesn’t get cleaned properly, then something bad might happen to the next person who goes through it?”
The child’s eyes widened. “Like they could come back wif two heads?”
Highly unlikely, but the engineer nodded with appropriate solemnity. “You see, it has to be done properly or something terrible might happen to the crew, laddie.”
Jim looked undecided, obviously torn between obedient hero-worship and his desire both to tinker and to do good for the sake of his friends the crew, Scott could clearly see the struggle on the small face. He didn’t apologize for making the child think; they’d all been instructed about teaching the lad every chance they got.
“But the rule was I couldn’ touch anything,” the little one murmured, biting his lower lip. “And Spock’s inna meeting, I can’t ask him…”
“Well, then.” Scott shrugged, standing back up from where he’d been crouched before the wavering child. “Looks like you’ve got two unacceptable scenarios, lad. Can ye not think of a solution which will satisfy both?”
The small forehead wrinkled in thought for a few minutes. Then the boy’s eyes lit up. “You clean it, an’ I’ll watch an’ make sure you do it right,” he ordered, feet spread, small hands fisted on his hips in a manner so exactly reminiscent of their adult captain that everyone within earshot smiled fondly. “Then it's still obeyin’ Spock but the job gets done, right?”
Scott grinned, scooping the child up in his arms and tickling his belly until he shrieked, laughing. “Aye, laddie, that’s exactly what we’ll do.” Jim giggled again, squirming to avoid the engineer’s able fingers. “See, there’s never a no-win situation, where we canna find a solution if we just think about it for a bit.”
“Yup! Ow, Scotty, put me down!” the little one shrieked, laughing as he was assailed again by wandering fingers.
“And the solution doesnae always entail tellin’ the authority what they can do with their orders, now does it?” the engineer muttered rhetorically. “Tell me ye caught that too, Jim. ‘Twill make our adult lives a bit easier.”
He couldn’t decide whether to laugh or cry when Spock came to him later that night, wanting to know why Jim had aged six months in one afternoon.