In retrospect, they should not have been surprised.
Spock had had more faith in the child’s growing ability to think like the master strategist the adult was than anyone else, but even he was astounded that it had taken Jim only one hour to deduce the loopholes in his enforced punishment for the altercation with their visiting civilians.
McCoy had accompanied him back from Officers’ Mess with a well-balanced meal for the growing child (along with a nutrient mix disguised in his pudding, the most successful way to ensure it was consumed promptly).
“Bet you six hours of next shore leave he’s done nothing more chaos-inducing than hacking the parental block I put on the adult entertainment files in R&R’s holovid archive,” the doctor offered with a grin.
“I do not take shore leave, Doctor, but I shall be willing to settle for a medical examination waiver of my choice. I believe he will have deduced the meaning behind my instructions and acted accordingly.”
“Done.” An evil grin appeared. “Well, go on, moment of truth.”
Spock moved into bio-sensor range and the cabin door opened with a pneumatic hiss.
The decibel level of music which blared forth into the sound-proofed corridor momentarily deafened him, and they both stared at the unbridled pandemonium which was taking place within.
“What. The. He-heck,” McCoy gasped, dodging a flying scarlet tunic. “Is that –“
“The ancient Earth music genre known as hip-hop, I believe,” Spock intoned blankly, his brain for a moment unable to force his feet into movement in response to the chaos within. “And I am unfamiliar with the…game? In which they are participating.”
“SPOCK!” a familiar voice whooped from under what looked like a tangled pile of laughing limbs and red-faced crewmen intertwined on a mat sporting spheres of varying colors. A blonde head peeked out from under someone’s elbow and grinned at them. “Didja bring me dinner?”
It was at that precise moment that someone shifted too far one direction on the game-mat. The pile literally wobbled and then collapsed in a shrieking chorus of groans and yelps, followed by laughter and good-natured ribbing of the young Science lieutenant who hadn’t been able to get his hand on the properly-colored circle.
Flat on his back with a blonde technician on top of him (and obviously not minding it at all), Chekov lay there laughing – until he finally looked up and saw their two COs standing in the middle of the room.
“Meester Spock!” he managed, red-faced.
Someone from the desk area yipped in shock and killed the blaring music.
Spock heard a stifled profanity, followed by a slap and a reminder that there was a kid in the room, from somewhere at the bottom of the pile, and then nearly dead silence as the group of young crewmen realized exactly what position they had been found in.
A stylus rolled off the desk in the deathly stillness, clanging to the floor loud enough to make them all jump.
And McCoy lost it.
Setting the tray down on the desk, he gave in and howled with laughter, collapsing into the nearest chair. “You get your medical waiver and welcome, Mr. Spock,” he gasped between peals of mirth. “He found the loophole and boy did he exploit it!”
“You never said I couldn’t have visitors!” Jim’s voice shrilled in insistence, higher than usual in pitch, above the embarrassed mutterings from the crewman-pile on the floor. “You just said I couldn’t leave! Nothing about people not coming to see me!”
“So I did,” Spock replied calmly. “Although I believe the volume of the cacophony which you seem to term ‘music,’ and I use the term in its loosest sense, is slightly in excess. So long as you, as they say, power down, and remain fully clothed, gentlemen, then I see no reason why the…entertainment, may not continue.”
Silence. Then he heard Ensign Li snicker from under a pile of sheepish Engineering personnel, and Chekov snorted into the blond technician’s sleeve, hiding a grin. One Botany lieutenant peered over a yeoman’s shoulder to test the waters and then dissolved into a fit of extremely unmasculine giggles, which then triggered the whole group into bursts of laughter.
Jim rolled over onto the mat, hands behind his head, and smiled beatifically up at the bemused Vulcan. “Want to play Twister, Spock?” he asked innocently.
"I most definitely do not."