Footsteps, even and unhurried, alerted Montgomery Scott to the approach of a visitor to his office on the Engineering deck, the precisely measured stride told him the identity without his having to lift his eyes from the technical manual he had been reading.
"Evening, Mr Spock," he said and looked up, cocking his head curiously at the First Officer. "Can I help ye, sir?"
Out of all the men, women, and Vulcans who called the Enterprise home (some 430 souls), none had served together longer than Spock and Scott. They had a strange relationship, if it qualified as one.
They had, perhaps, the most in common. And the least.
Scott could see in Spock a mind which revelled in the same technological minutiae as did his, a pair of (pointed) ears willing to listen to and discuss Scott's latest theories regarding warp capabilities or transporter advancement, a man who understood every system on the Enterprise the way he did.
But he didn't feel the ship the way Scott did. Nor did he drink whisky - an unfortunate genetic flaw.
Scott suspected he knew why they called Vulcan a dry planet.
"Mr Scott." The soft, low voice brought Scott back to the man standing, hands clasped behind him, in front of his desk. "I have come to ask you for..." -- an uncharacteristic hesitation -- "some guidance on a matter in which I believe you have some expertise."
Scott noted the straight back, rigid shoulders. "Aye, sir?" he prompted.
Spock fixed his gaze on a spot just behind Scott's right shoulder. "I understand, Mr Scott, that you have within your means a method of producing... alcohol."
Ah. So, that was the reason for the even-more-stony-than-usual face. Someone (if he discovered who, they'd be ensconced in waste maintenance for the next six weeks) had blabbed about Scott's improvised still and the word, as it always did on the Enterprise, reached the Vulcan First Officer's far too observant ears. Spock was here to make him dismantle it.
"Sir," he began, but Spock put a hand up to immediately quell any comment from the engineer.
"You misunderstand, Mr Scott." Spock drew his gaze back down to Scott's face and his features softened just enough that only those who had observed him for a reasonable length of time would notice. "I am not here on a matter of ship's business and no reprimand is forthcoming."
"As you are no doubt aware, it is Doctor McCoy's birthday next month - an occasion you humans seem to value," he added and Scott smiled at the typical Vulcan dismissive tone.
"And you would like me to produce some of Scotty's finest for the occasion, sir?" An unusual gesture coming from the Vulcan, Scott thought, but a damn fine one.
"Not exactly," Spock prevaricated. "I wish for you to help me concoct an alcoholic beverage suitable to the good doctor's tastes."
"Aye, sir!" Scott smiled. "I think--"
Spock was gone.
Aye. Or, as Spock would say, fascinating.