Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Foolish Blood G

Disclaimer: Paramount owns the characters. Whatever. Archiving at ASCEML and THFFF. All others require permission. Contact: frokitt@yahoo.com

Gorgeous portrait drawn by Karracaz.

Foolish Blood G

Summary: Lieutenant Spock returns to the Academy for a seminar and encounters a beautiful young cadet.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

… I had never spoken to her, except for a few casual words, and yet her name was like a summons to all my foolish blood.

--James Joyce “Araby”


~Chapter 1

The Enterprise was in space dock for repairs for six weeks and I took the opportunity to take a seminar on warp physics at the Academy. My parents happened to be on-planet and I would also be able to visit with them.

I had not spoken to the Ambassador beyond what was vital for clan business for nine years, but it would be pleasant to see my mother. My maternal grandmother also lived in the City and she insisted that I remain with her for the duration of my leave. I readily agreed, as she was spry and intelligent, respected my privacy and was an excellent cook. She had a large and eclectic collection of antique books and I very much looked forward to spending my free time perusing them. And I admit, with some satisfaction, that her ability to put Sarek firmly in his place was second only to T’Pau’s. She would make the few obligatory family dinners much easier to bear.

There was one unfortunate consequence of quartering off-post, however: a phalanx of security personnel. As the Ambassador’s son and grandson to T’Pau of Vulcan, I was a potential target for kidnap or assassination. Whenever I left Academy grounds, I was shadowed by the Embassy security retinue and they were shadowed by Golan, the captain of my father’s palace guard. I had no choice. It was either accept the security detail, reside in the frigid Officer’s Quarters at the Presidio or remain on the ship and endure site-to-site beam downs.

Surprisingly, Grandmother thought the whole situation great fun and grinned lasciviously at the silent, giant Golan.

The day was bright and uncharacteristically warm as I made my way across the Academy quadrangle toward Cochrane Hall. I say ‘uncharacteristically’ rather than ‘unseasonably’ because all seasons in the San Francisco Bay were cold and damp, and of all the many natural micro-climates that dotted the hilly peninsula on which the City was built, a warm day was a true rarity at the Presidio.

But only humans judged 21.66c degrees to be warm. I shivered in my thick jumper. I looked with longing at sunny Marin, tortured with the knowledge that it would reach an almost comfortable 30c degrees there today, a mere one point seven three miles at the other end of the Golden Gate Bridge. I realized with irritation that longing was illogical, as was irritation, and was annoyed that I was having difficulty controlling either.

Adding to my irritation was my own uncharacteristic lateness for my midday seminar. Six computers in the battle simulation lab had cascaded and I had the misfortune to be the officer with the highest computer rating in the building at the time. I had 3.2 minutes to arrive at my seminar on time and would be one minute late unless I succumbed to the indignity of running.

Captain Pike often teased me, declaring that my insistence on punctuality rivaled the Tholians’. It was not much of an exaggeration.

In my peripheral vision, I saw Golan looking especially hulking in a black pea coat and ski cap. I suppressed yet another ripple of irritation. I allowed myself a very small, very unVulcan sigh and pushed the emotions out of my mind. I lengthened my stride.

Damn. I hate to be late.

I was in a bad mood! My mother would be delighted. After a brief but fierce internal battle, I decided to take the advice that she would give me at these times: go with it. I relaxed my posture and slowed down. The Earth would not shift on its axis if one Vulcan was one minute late for a warp physics seminar.

I had been so preoccupied with my internal struggle and quest for punctuality that I failed to notice that it was reasonably warm if I avoided the shady walkways and cut across the grass. In addition, I could shave 1.1 minutes off my time and still enjoy the sunshine.

I surveyed my surroundings. It had been a decade since I was a cadet here and I’d rarely taken the time to enjoy myself. The ‘quad’ was well populated with cadets taking advantage of the weather. Some lay in the grass and here and there, pairs tossed Frisbees to one another. A curious pastime, Frisbee tossing. My initial observations were that it was a simplistic and dull activity, until a fellow plebian enticed me into a game. It proved to be a fascinating exercise in physics and logic. Unfortunately, my Frisbee partner was uninterested in analyzing force and inertia, lift, scalar multiplication and vector addition. However, a passing upperclassman by the name of Montgomery Scott overheard my analysis and we engaged in a fascinating series of experiments in Frisbee flight. Mr. Scott was an interesting man. I daresay that he used his thick Scottish brogue to mask what I’m certain was a genius-level intelligence quotient. He was quite refreshing.

I welcomed the feel of the feeble warmth on my head as I cut across the quad. The sound of a woman’s voice interrupted my reverie.

“Look out!”

I looked up in time to see an oblong brown object hurtling toward my face. I lifted my hand and plucked it out of the air. It was a football. A young woman in a wash-faded Massachusetts Institute of Technology sweatshirt was running in front of a crowd of other cadets.

“Run!” she yelled.

“I beg your pardon?”

She slid to a halt in front of me. Tendrils of hair escaped her ponytail and she swiped them out of her eyes impatiently. Perspiration shined on the smooth skin of her neck and her chest heaved with exertion. Her dark eyes were very large. To say that she was breathtakingly beautiful is not hyperbole.

I looked down into her face and my voice caught in my throat; I could not draw breath to speak.

“Either run or give me the ball!” she panted.

I stood there, frozen in place and unable to make a sound. I was finally able to inhale and the scent of limes and vanilla and her heated body dizzied me. She glanced behind her, shrieked and yanked the ball from my hands. She dodged around me and sprinted away, laughing. A pink plasticine strip affixed to the belt loop of her cut off pants streamed behind her. I had walked into the middle of a ‘flag football’ game. The other players flowed around me. I heard “excuse me, sir”, “heads up, sir” and “nice catch, sir” as they ran by.

I turned and watched the young woman run. She was as fleet and graceful as a gazelle. At her present speed—and she showed no signs of slowing—and the speed of the fastest in the crowd chasing her, I calculated that she would easily reach the ‘end zone’ before anyone could capture her flag. Indeed, she made a touchdown and was standing in the end zone shaking her hips and poking out her tongue at the rival team members. A few of them gestured at me and complained that the touchdown did not count because of my interference, but it was good-natured and no one really took issue.

A large, dark-haired man picked up the young woman and tossed her high into the air as though she were weightless. He caught her, held her to his chest and spun them in a circle. Her laughter rang out.

“Uhura, you beauty!” he said.

“Put me down, DeSalle you big oaf!”

DeSalle kissed her solidly on the lips and set her gently on the ground. She turned away and pantomimed swooning to her girlfriends. She looked at me and smiled brilliantly, giving me the thumbs up sign. There was something familiar in the way her smile lit her eyes. Did I know her? It was not possible. If I had seen her before, I would remember.

I watched for a moment longer as they set up for the extra point kick. I was perhaps premature in comparing her to a gazelle. She moved more like a le’matya.

I proceeded on my course to Cochrane Hall. Not only was I three point one minutes late for my seminar, to my dismay, I found my attention wandering to the memory of that beautiful face. I chastised myself for my shameful behavior and resolved to spend extra hours on studying the Disciplines. I attempted to focus my attention on the instructor. I was not successful.

Uhura. A name like the sound of a lover’s gasp.


“Spock, darling, you haven’t heard a word I’ve said.”

“I beg forgiveness, Grandmother.”

“You never have to beg me for anything,” she said firmly. “Now, tell me what troubles you, child.”

I opened my mouth to protest but she held up a hand. I sighed in defeat.

“I had a ‘bad’ day today.” There was no reason to mince words. Grandmother would see through any attempt at Vulcan equivocation.

“Go on.” Her expression betrayed nothing of her thoughts.

“I am finding the marshalling of my control most difficult.”

“No doubt the thought of having to meet with your insufferable father in person after nine years is causing you stress.” She pressed her lips together.

“Perhaps you are correct, Ganny.” ‘Ganny’ was what I called her back when my child’s mouth could not yet form the ‘r’ sound. I used it rarely and only in private now.

“There’s no ‘perhaps’ about it.” Her keen grey eyes regarded me. “But there is something else?”

I looked away in embarrassment. I took a deep breath. “I met—saw—a young woman this morning.”


I kept my head down.

“Look at me, sweeting.”

I looked up. She was smiling softly. “Tell me.”

“I cannot seem to keep my attention on anything other than the memory of her. I know that I have not met her before but there was a familiarity about her that has me quite confused.”

“Did you talk to her?”

“I…could not.” My face was hot. “She was very pretty,” I said quietly.

“If you are this flushed just telling me about her, ‘very pretty’ is one of your famous understatements,” she chuckled. “I’m happy to see that your head can be turned by a pretty girl. You’re more like Sarek than either of you will ever admit.”

I ducked my head to hide my expression. “No matter. I am bonded to T’Pring. It is academic.”

“You’re not married yet, grandson,” she said balefully.

I raised a brow.

“Don’t look at me that way. The only thing T’Pau and I agree on is you, and we both thought that T’Pring was a dreadful child.”

“T’Pau would not say such a thing.” I was astonished.

“Well, not out loud, silly. Vulcans have links and bonds and melds and what have you, but grandmothers of all species share a secret language when it comes to their grandchildren. She disapproved of Sarek’s selection; trust me.”

I thought her reasoning dubious but did not challenge her. “At any rate, this girl seemed rather friendly with one of her teammates. Had I the courage to speak with her, she is unavailable.”

“Just because she was friendly with another man, doesn’t mean she’s unavailable, darling. Did you see a ring on her finger?”

“I did not, but a lack of a ring does not indicate her availability.”

“Spock, I met your grandfather at my own engagement party.” She brushed imaginary lint from her lap. “If she’s not married then she’s fair game. I say you find her and ask her out, if for nothing more than to make a new friend. One can’t have too many friends.”

“Ask her out? Grandmother, I cannot even talk to her. And even if I could, she would likely refuse. I am unknown to her.”

“You are a Starfleet officer. That makes you safe. A cup of tea in the late morning on a Sunday is a nice, non-threatening first date. No girl will refuse that. If worst goes to worse, it is one cup of tea and then out the door.”

“That is logical. But--.” I ducked my head again.

Ganny put her fingers under my chin and lifted my face. “But what, dove?”

“I am Vulcan. She may not wish to…” I could not finish.

“Nonsense. You’re a beautiful boy. Any girl worth her skin would throw herself shamelessly at you, even if you were as dull as a box of rocks—and they probably do, but you don’t notice it. Heddy Clark has been driving me batty trying to force me to introduce you to her granddaughter. You remember? The one with the unfortunate eye.”

“I do not remember.”

“See what I mean?”

I worked hard to suppress a smile. “You are incorrigible.”

“Find her, darling.”

“Grandmother, I shall consider it.”

“I so hope you don’t turn out to be a prude,” she sighed.

“I am not a prude. I am Vulcan.”

“So you keep telling me. It’s been said that T’Pau is all of Vulcan in one package. T’Pau is no prude. Trust me on that one.”


She sniffed eloquently.


For the next several days, made it my habit to stroll around the quad during the time that I last saw the young woman—Uhura. I suppose that it was illogical to presume that she would again be playing flag football at the exact same time and in the exact same place. It would have been easier just to enter her name into the Starfleet personnel database. I had sufficient security clearance to do so, but the thought of using my clearance for personal gain made me uneasy. Not only did I perceive it to be unethical and possibly illegal, it was also… unromantic. I would have thought little of someone who used their authority to glean information about me and I believe that Uhura would feel the same.

The fine weather broke four days after my first encounter with Uhura, and after a week of fog, I resigned myself to the possibility that I would not see her again. It was nearing the end of the summer term and the campus was nearly deserted. There was no one of her flag football teammates that I recognized to even inquire as to her whereabouts.


One late afternoon, I took my leave from the warp simulator lab in the Sloane Building and saw with dismay deep fog swirling against the bank of glass doors. I was heartily weary of holding my body clenched against the cold to keep from visibly shivering. Golan was a huge, black-clad apparition on the other side of the glass. He turned and watched me as I approached. I hesitated before exiting the marginally warmer building and took a deep breath, girding my loins—literally.

In that moment, I heard, “Look, Finnegan, I said no!”

The corridor branched off into a ‘T’ just before reaching the glass doors and two people were standing in the corridor to my left. It was Uhura. And Finnegan.

Finnegan was a cadet in my graduating class who exercised with particular relish, the upperclassmen’s prerogative of tormenting plebes. I found him to be a puerile, obnoxious, arrogant ass. I could not say that I found him to be entirely disagreeable, however. He was a prankster, but he was no bully. He was a clever tactician and his hand-to-hand combat technique called the ‘sucker punch’, I have had cause to utilize on occasion with satisfactory results, albeit substituting the nerve pinch for the punch. Unfortunately, he employed some of these same techniques in his pursuit of women.

Finnegan had Uhura trapped, blocking her way with one of his arms braced against the wall. I knew that I had looked down at her that day on the quad, and Finnegan was not a tall man but I was struck by how small Uhura was in comparison to him. I could see the delicate bones in her wrist were she clutched her padd to her chest.

“C’mon lass, just one? I’m not in your command frat. Ya won’t regret it.”

“Even if it wasn’t fraternization, I said no. Now, back away Mr. Finnegan.”

“Give me a break, luv.”

“Don’t make me hurt you.”

“You can only hurt my heart, little one,” murmured Finnegan, reaching for her.

I stepped forward, but it was over before I completed my offer of assistance.

“Do you require assistance---.”


“---Lieutenant Finnegan?”

Finnegan was on his back on the floor.

Uhura stepped around him and brushed by me. She pushed through the glass doors and disappeared into the fog. I was torn between pursuing her and rendering first aid to Finnegan. It was a difficult decision. Golan gazed at me through the glass, his head tilted slightly in the Vulcan equivalent of, “Well?”. I sighed and turned back to Finnegan.

“Can’t. Breathe,” he gasped. His face was turning purple.

“If you can speak then you can breathe, Lieutenant,” I said.

He winced and placed a hand at the small of his back. “I think I’m in love.”

“It is obvious that she does not return your sentiment.”

He groaned and rolled over onto his side.

“Do you require my assistance to stand?” I asked.

“I’m just going to lie here for a little while.”

“Very well.” I turned to leave.

“Have you ever been in love, Mr. Spock?”

“Love is a human emotion.”

“Lucky bastard.” He looked up at me with a rueful grimace. “Sir,” he added. Though we graduated in the same class, I outranked him by only a few points; but, Finnegan was nothing if not dedicated to the recognition of the military hierarchy. I studied him for a moment, debating.

“Mr. Finnegan, may I ask what you requested of the young lady that caused her to refuse you so emphatically?”

“Tea.” He held up his index finger. “One lousy cup of tea. On a Sunday. What woman would refuse that?”


I could not reply.

Finnegan let his head fall back on the floor and sighed dramatically.

Golan fell into step beside me as I exited the building. Visibility was but a few feet and he needed to be near if he were to adequately guard me. I nodded a greeting and he inclined his head. We walked in silence for several hundred yards.

“She is…spirited,” said Golan.

My stride faltered as I struggled to cover my surprise. Golan had been in the palace guard since I was a child, and I could not recall ever having heard him speak. His voice was a melodious tenor, startlingly light coming from such a large man. I glanced at him, a signal for him to go on.

“A pleasing trait in one so beautiful, yes?”

“Perhaps,” I answered carefully.

“Judging from her curriculum vitae, an impressive intellect to match,” he said casually.

I stopped. “You know this?”

He raised a brow. Of course. Anyone who came within the remotest contact with me would be thoroughly dossiered. I realized with a pang that Golan would have also observed me on my strolls around the quad as I ‘hoped’ for a chance encounter with Uhura.

“I see.” I resumed walking.

“She who is my wife is such,” he went on, comfortably. “Difficult to charge, but a challenge that is most agreeable. I would not desire another.”

I gave him a sideways glance.

He bowed his head. “I beg forgiveness, S’haile. I speak out of turn.”

I nodded. “Se fam."

He was quiet.

“Please continue,” I urged.

“I say only that one could do worse than Nyota Uhura.”

“I am betrothed.”

“You honor the House of Sarek with your commitment,” he said, bowing his head again.

We had arrived at the flitter park. One of the agents from the Embassy retinue was waiting with my flitter. He got out and held the door for me.

I turned to Golan and waited while he quickly scanned my vehicle.

“Speak freely, Golan.”

He snapped shut his hand scanner. He folded his hands behind his back and the Embassy agent stepped quickly away from the flitter.

“A betrothal does not a marriage make, Spock-sou,” he said quietly. He regarded me for a long moment from under his heavy brows, then cocked a shoulder in apology. “My mate chides me for my romanticism. I have no doubt that you will honor your father. You have proven that time and again.” He came to attention. “Rom-halan, S’haile.”

I sat in the flitter and prepared to lift off. I looked up at the big man before I closed the door.

“Nyota Uhura,” he said. “It means ‘star’. And ‘freedom’.”



Ship's Night R

Disclaimer: Paramount owns the characters.

Title: Ship’s Night 1/4
Author: T’Prahn
Series: TOS
Rating: R
Pairing: S/U, K, Mc, Barrows
Archiving: ASCEM, Acidqueen. All others ask permission, please.
Contact: frokitt@yahoo.com


“You look so cool, so cool, so enviably cool.”

“Cat on a Hot Tin Roof”—Tennessee Williams


Summary: Babel ends, dinner on Vulcan, a malfunction turns up the heat.

~Chapter 1

Journey from Babel

Uhura leaned against the wall and indulged in a little sightseeing while she waited for a treadmill to open up. It looked like pretty much everyone from Alpha shift was in the ship’s gym, plus a few of the remaining passengers from the Babel Conference.

Scotty spotted the heavy bag and yelled unintelligible instructions to a grimly determined Chekhov. DeSalle and Sulu were engaged in a soundless but deadly-looking fencing match in a far corner.

Dr. McCoy was using one of the treadmills. He seemed only slightly out of breath, though he’d been running at a near sprint for the last twenty minutes. His thin Grambling Tigers tee shirt was sweat-soaked and clung to his lean torso.

Spock and Golan, one of Ambassador Sarek’s ‘aides’, sparred with lirpas, moving in time with the sound of a Vulcan drum. Spock was lithe and finely muscular under his thin jumper, but he looked almost like a child next to the massive Golan. Uhura winced in sympathy at the heavy thud of the lirpa’s bludgeon as it connected with Spock’s midsection. She clearly heard a rib snap but Spock spun and sank gracefully to one knee, ramming Golan solidly in the chest with a backhanded uppercut of his own.

Captain Kirk was near the top of the climbing wall and hung casually from the fingertips of his right hand as he watched Spock and Golan. McCoy flashed him a warning look and Kirk dutifully placed the toes of his right foot lightly against the wall.

The air was warm and leaden with sweat and testosterone.

“Watching your favorite show?”

Uhura barely glanced at a smirking Tonia Barrows. “Hey, Toni,” she murmured.

“I just have two words.”

“What’s that?”


“That’s one word,” Uhura laughed.

Barrows stepped around Uhura. “I need a better view,” she said.

“Don’t hurt yourself.”

“Not me.” She wiggled her fingers over her shoulder. “Call you later.” She stalked slowly by the treadmills and every head turned to follow her progress. She locked eyes with Dr. McCoy and bit down on her lower lip. McCoy smiled with one side of his mouth then looked away, blushing. Barrows glanced back at Uhura with a grin.

Uhura rolled her eyes and commandeered the treadmill that had just been vacated next to the doctor.

“Ah, Lieutenant Uhura. Your lovely presence just made a painful activity slightly less painful,” said McCoy.

“Thanks, I think.”

McCoy chuckled.

“You know the captain’s not wearing a harness,” she commented.

“It was either that or let him eat one of those horrible Tellarite cheeseburger things. I figured the food would kill him faster than a broken neck, so I let him climb without the harness.”

“He’s a tough negotiator.”

“Well, I’ve decided not to watch. Healthier for my heart.” He glanced at Kirk anyway. “He calls this ‘taking it easy’.”

The sound of a lirpa blade whistled in the air. Uhura looked up just in time to see a thin line of green appear in the small of Spock’s back.

“They’re really using those things, aren’t they?”

McCoy closed his eyes briefly. “I’m not watching them either. But, best I can tell, Spock’s winning.”

They watched Spock block a series of blows and thrusts that blurred in the air. Golan was armor plated with heavy slabs of middle-aged Vulcan muscle and looked as solid and immovable as a cliff face, until he sprang into the air and executed a forward summersault over Spock’s head. Spock jumped, twisted and ducked with supple grace, always in rhythm with the beat of the drum, his movements almost balletic. The weapons connected with enough force that the runners felt the vibrations through their feet on the moving treadmills.

McCoy snorted. “Mild-mannered Science Officer my ass.”

Uhura raised a brow. “That’s exactly what I thought when I first met him.”

McCoy pursed his lips and widened his eyes.


“I didn’t say anything.”

“You were thinking it.”

“I’m just hanging out on the treadmill, minding my own business, gorgeous.” He gave her a smile that warmed her entire body.

She gazed at him in wonder. “How do you do that?”

He hopped lightly off the still-moving treadmill and looked up at her through his dark lashes. “How do I do what, baby?”

She laughed and shook her head. Time to change the subject. She pointed at his tee shirt. “I thought you went to University of Mississippi,” she said.

He chuckled. “This is…a souvenir.” He looked down and laughed. “Let’s just say I was getting dressed in the dark. In a hurry. Like my life depended on it.”

“Sounds like an interesting story.”

“Maybe I’ll tell it to you one day.” He wiped a towel slowly across the back of his neck.

“You’re doing it again!”

“I might be.” He looked back and saw Spock standing over Golan, pressing his lirpa blade tightly against the big man’s neck. The other ‘aide’—the drummer—shouted, “Kroykah!” McCoy winced. “But I don’t live dangerously—anymore.” His eyes traveled around the gym until they connected with Tonia’s. He held her gaze briefly then turned back to Uhura. He cleared his throat. “Gotta go.”

“See you later.” Uhura kept any expression from creeping into her face.


“I’m just hanging out on the treadmill, minding my own business, gorgeous,” Uhura said with a grin.

McCoy flushed deep crimson and hurried from the room. Tonia finished ‘lifting weights’ and followed after about five minutes. As she passed by Uhura, she winked without looking at her. Uhura watched her leave and sighed with something like envy. She instructed the treadmill to increase speed and tried to concentrate on her workout.

She’d been on the Enterprise for nearly two years and hadn’t had any real romantic liaisons. She’d been happy to see Etienne DeSalle when she arrived. They were old friends from their Academy days. He was smart and funny and it was great to have someone with whom she could practice her French. But that big, gorgeous hunk was not attracted to women—not human women, at any rate. He had eyed the Klingon females at the Babel Conference with obvious interest, however.

Scotty, Sulu or Chekhov would be with her in a second, but while she felt deep affection for each of them, that affection ended at friendship. There was a flicker of something with Sulu, but he was fickle in his relations with women and his ambition for his own captaincy could pose a problem down the road. Scotty was a man’s man, a good soldier and fiercely loyal. He fell in love quickly and deeply; he would make another woman a good husband some day. And Chekov? That was just plain silly. He was a kid, a rambunctious puppy. He would make her laugh her whole life but she’d spend too much time rapping him on the nose with a rolled up laka leaf.

Dr. McCoy was as coolly seductive a man as she’d ever met but he was a total mystery to her. They flirted shamelessly with each other but that was as far as it went. She did sense however, that his openness, his flirtatious charm and the way he wore his passions on his sleeve were misdirection. Laying himself bare was a clever way to make people believe that they knew him, while he concealed his true self behind a fortress of intellect, wry wit and sexual innuendo. Tonia Barrows was determined to break through that barrier and seemed to be making some headway. Turns out McCoy has a weakness for redheads.

Jim Kirk was out of the question. She had no desire to end up a pile of ashes.

There was the shy, sweet Lt. Brent who spoke to her in a soft stammer, blushing furiously the whole time. He was quite attractive, tall, dark, and looked a lot like Spock from behind. He was always there, quiet and efficient on the bridge, brave and resourceful on away missions, sitting unobtrusively at the periphery of the Alpha command crew clique in the officer’s mess, his huge eyes missing nothing. He received commendations from both Kirk and Spock for his performance during the PSi 2000 incident. She considered asking him to dinner in her quarters, until one day he presented her with a drawing. “This is for you,” he’d said quietly, then turned and rushed away. It was an incredible sketch of her and Spock on the bridge. They were standing together by Spock’s station and Uhura was giving Spock a data tape, something she’d done a hundred times before. They were looking at each other and their fingers were touching. Their lips were parted and Spock’s dark head was bent almost as if he was going to kiss her; desire and longing smoldered in their eyes.

It was a beautiful rendering, but perhaps Brent saw something that wasn’t there. Spock was utterly unavailable to her, impenetrable, completely out of reach. Of course, he was the one she wanted.

Spock and Golan finished their match and were leaving the gym. A cut on Golan’s huge bicep bled freely. As they passed Uhura’s treadmill, she could actually feel the combined heat of their bodies, and in their hot wake, she could smell the scent of Vulcan blood and musk. She closed her eyes and inhaled deeply. She looked up and saw Golan watching her with glittering eyes.

She ducked her head and instructed the treadmill to go still faster.

End Chapter 1



~Chapter 2


“Thee are called?”

“I am Lieutenant Nyota Uhura, Madame.”

T’Pau’s eyes flickered to someone off screen, then resumed their intense scrutiny of Uhura.

“Thee will dine on Vulcan,” she said finally. “As my guest.” It was not so much an invitation as a command.

Uhura maintained her calm expression but her grip on her stylus nearly snapped the soft metal in half. “I am honored, Madame.”

T’Pau inclined her head slightly and the screen went blank. Uhura sat at her console, too stunned to do much more than blink at the dark screen. She swiveled her chair and stared at the captain with wide eyes.

“What was that all about?” she asked.

“You still don’t know why she contacted the ship?”

“No, sir.”

Kirk shrugged and rose from his chair. “Lieutenant, you’re with us. Call your back up and meet us in the transporter room in thirty.” he said.

“Thirty minutes? I can’t possibly be ready in thirty minutes!”

The captain looked puzzled. “Why not?”

“My hair? My nails? What am I going to wear?”

“It’s not a cold-engine restart, Uhura. Put on your dress uniform and be done with it,” Kirk said dismissively.

Uhura opened her mouth in horror. “Captain Kirk!” she gasped. She turned back to her console, summoned her back up then rushed to the turbolift with a, “Brent, take over for me.” thrown over her shoulder.

Thirty minutes later, Kirk, McCoy and Spock waited in the transporter room. Spock stood near the transporter platform with his hands folded behind his back. He was dressed in all black. McCoy groused alternately about the transporter and the fact that there would be nothing ‘decent’ to drink on Vulcan. He wore his dress whites which were slightly cooler than his dress blues. His eyes blazed blue fire in contrast with the white of his tunic. Kirk looked handsome and fit in his olive vest. The gold braid reflected warmly against his smooth skin. He rolled his broad shoulders impatiently. The medals pinned to his chest tinkled tinnily.

“What time is it?” asked Kirk.

“Twenty two point four seconds later than the time you last asked, Captain,” answered Spock.

“Where is she?”

“Women are always late for these things, Jim. Calm down,” drawled McCoy. “You’re going to get all sweaty and need a triox hypo before we even get down there.”

“Goddammit, I said thirty--,”

The doors swished open and Uhura entered. All three officers and the transporter technician froze. Kirk’s mouth snapped shut. The technician’s mouth dropped open. McCoy blew out a quiet breath. Spock’s hands tightened behind his back.

She was exactly on time.

Uhura wore a sand-colored, floor-length strapless dress made out of a light cotton-like fabric with intricate, purple single-thread embroidery. The tops of her breasts mounded from the tight bodice and there was a slit up to her left hip that bared her smooth, muscular thigh with every step. She had pulled her hair into a high, tight bun with one thick ringlet left out that lay curled against the nape of her neck. She wore dark plum lipstick and no jewelry. She carried a wrap the same dark plum color of her lipstick that was as fine and lightweight as a spider’s web.

She swung the wrap around her shoulders and fastened it with a wide gold clasp at her throat. The wrap covered her from neck to feet but any modesty it lent was illusory. The delicate cloud of knit obscured the shape of her body except where it touched her skin. With each step, her lovely leg revealed itself then retreated into the folds. She stepped onto a transporter pad and looked at them expectantly.

“Well, what are we waiting for?” she frowned.

They moved quickly to the platform. They were all looking at her when the captain somewhat breathlessly ordered, “Energize.”

They materialized in the palace courtyard and felt the heat like a soft hot punch to the midsection that briefly stole the air from their lungs—except for Spock. Spock inhaled deeply and there was a subtle adjustment of his body that seemed to realign his muscles more comfortably against his bones. Amanda and her attendant, T’Lan, met them. Amanda looked as cool and fresh as some exotic white flower.

“Mrs. Sarek.” Kirk inclined his head. “Thank you for having us.”

“Really, Captain. It’s Amanda. While I am delighted to have you, you are here at T’Pau’s… request.” She seemed to be suppressing a grin. She turned to the doctor and Uhura. “Dr. McCoy, Lieutenant. Welcome.”

Just then, a thunderous roar shuddered through the air, startling only the Outworlders. Amanda sighed impatiently.

“Spock, darling, please go and greet I’Tet before he has a fit. He’s been yowling like a new cub since our return. I swear he knew you were coming before you completely materialized.”

“*What* was *that*?” asked McCoy.

“That, Doctor, is a Vulcan teddy bear,” said Spock. “If you’ll excuse me.” He left them.

McCoy’s eyes were big. The corners of Amanda’s mouth twitched.

“We acquired I’Tet when Spock was about ten after I’Chaya died,” she said. “Spock and Sarek were reluctant but I insisted. A boy needs a dog, er, sehlat. As it turns out, Spock and Sarek have I’Tet hopelessly spoiled, though they would never admit it.” A gong sounded. “Ah. T’Pau has arrived. This way, please.” She paused. “Gentlemen, Lieutenant, before we go in…Vulcan communication is extremely subtle. They read much into the slightest facial expression and they miss nothing. While they do not make it a habit of eavesdropping, their hearing is acute. Please be mindful that there is no such thing as a private conversation if you are within a hundred feet of a Vulcan. Do you understand?”

They nodded.

She regarded them with her clear grey eyes. “Good. Shall we?” She motioned for them to follow.

Kirk and McCoy battled briefly over who would escort Uhura. Kirk tried to pull rank, but Uhura gently nudged him into place in front of her then maneuvered McCoy behind as they followed Amanda into the slightly cooler Great Hall.

Amanda spoke without turning. “I regret that I was not able to see you when you were last on Vulcan, Captain. The Ambassador and I were off world and there was…not time to get here to meet you.”

“No need for apology, Mrs. Sarek. Our visit was a short one,” replied Kirk.

“And eventful I understand, was it not, Dr. McCoy?”

McCoy stiffened. “Am I in trouble, Miss Amanda?”

“Twice you’ve outsmarted a Vulcan. Let’s just say that T’Pau may have a bone to pick with you.”

“I thought Vulcans didn’t eat meat,” muttered McCoy.

Amanda chuckled discreetly. “Don’t forget what I said about Vulcan hearing, Doctor.” She glanced back. “Your gown is lovely, Lieutenant. Who is the designer?”

“Thank you. It’s an Ava`iddy Thelahdi. And please, call me Nyota.”

Amanda glanced at T’Lan as a signal to remember the designer’s name.

Spock met them at the entrance of the cavernous dining hall and fell into step slightly ahead and to the left of his mother. Kirk looked back at McCoy with surprise. McCoy lifted a shoulder in puzzlement. Uhura gave him a stern look and Kirk quickly faced forward as they entered the hall.

In the middle of the room was a very long, very narrow and elaborately laid table. Crystal goblets glittered in the golden light of hundreds of candles in huge chandeliers overhead. Torches guttered and snapped in sconces along the wall. Attendants moved with unhurried efficiency around the table, setting out dishes of food, pitchers of water and decanters of what McCoy hoped was the fabled kasa juice.

Ambassador Sarek and Golan stood near the head of the table conferring with a group of Vulcan dignitaries. When the Enterprise party entered the room, Golan shifted slightly and Sarek looked over. His eyes flicked from his son to Kirk and McCoy, then lingered briefly on Uhura. He nodded a greeting and continued his conversation. Amanda excused herself and went to speak to a member of the Council. Golan’s eyes swept over them swiftly and expertly, noting the bulges of their communicators under their clothing, evaluating their posture for any sign of the peculiar tension in which assassins held themselves. Satisfied, he returned his attention to Uhura. His gaze was discreet, but definitely appreciative. Kirk and McCoy missed none of this inspection. Golan was an excellent guard and, Kirk noticed with an internal grin, he had equally excellent taste.

“I think I like him,” murmured McCoy. The doctor was just as much an expert at the visual diagnosis.

“That’s the guy you want to have your back in a knife fight,” answered Kirk.

Uhura adjusted the clasp on her wrap. Spock stepped closer to her. He made the barest signal with his hand and an attendant approached with a tray of drinks.

“Are you uncomfortable, Miss Uhura? Perhaps a glass of water?”

“Thank you, Spock. I’m fine. It’s only a couple of degrees hotter here than summer in Africa.”

“Very well.”

Kirk selected a glass of water but the doctor took a small goblet of thick amber liquid. McCoy took an experimental sip. He coughed lightly but his eyes sparkled with pleasure.

“That’s good!”

“Kasa juice is rather potent and highly effective in suppressing inhibitions in humans, Doctor. I suggest you limit yourself to one drink until you have eaten.”

“I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I’m going to take your advice.”

Spock held out his elbow. “Brace yourself Miss Uhura. The ground may open up,” he said.

Uhura laughed delightedly and laid her hand on Spock’s arm. Even McCoy had to smile. Several dark heads turned curiously in their direction. Uhura’s laugh was as sweet as her singing voice.

There was a flurry—well increase--of activity at another entrance and a hush rippled through the room. T’Pau was here. Sarek went to her and greeted her formally.

“Na’shaya, T’Pau.”

“My son.”

“Your guests await you.”

T’Pau shifted her gaze from Sarek’s face to a point over his shoulder. Spock and his friends approached.

“Greetings, T’Pau,” said Spock.

“Spock.” She looked him up and down. “Thee looks well.”

“I am well, Grandmother.”

She turned to Kirk. She stared at him without speaking as she did the day of Spock’s ku’nat’kali’fee, apparently still undecided as to her opinion of him. She turned her attention the doctor.

“McCoy. Thee will attend me.”

McCoy bowed deeply then offered his arm. “My honor, Madame.”

The set of her mouth grew fractionally less severe--as close as T’Pau would ever get to simpering. Sarek met Amanda’s eyes across the room. She was amused; he was bewildered.

As T’Pau stepped forward with the doctor, and without looking back, she said, “Spock, thee will attend Uhura.”

It was Spock’s turn to look at his mother with surprise, but Amanda was suddenly extremely interested in the thread on her sleeve.

“As you wish, T’Pau,” said Spock.

McCoy and T’Pau, Spock and Uhura walked to the dining table. Kirk frowned in confusion and turned to the Ambassador. Sarek inclined his head and indicated that they should follow. It seems that he had no more idea of what was going on than Kirk. Jim glanced back at Golan. The Vulcan gazed politely into the distance, offering nothing.

T’Pau virtually ignored the Ambassador and the members of the High Council in attendance and focused her attention on McCoy, and to a lesser degree, on Spock and Uhura. The dinner progressed uneventfully, if somewhat mysteriously.

McCoy was a skilled courtesan. He behaved with just the right mix of charm and flirtatiousness, flattery, candor and sharp, dry wit. He let his blue eyes do the rest. And T’Pau *was* charmed, but she wasn’t distracted. She allowed herself to be flattered and seduced by those eyes, but she didn’t forget why she brought them here tonight. After the other guests left, she spoke.

“McCoy,” began T’Pau.

“Please call me Leonard, Madame.”

She raised a brow. “I prefer to address thee as McCoy.”

“By your command, my lady,” said McCoy graciously.

She simpered again. “I am prepared to forgive thy…subterfuge.”

“Thank you.”

“Thee are responsible for saving the lives of my children.”

“Your ‘children’ have such incredible physiology, that I fear that my part in their survival was minimal.”

“Thee underestimates thy skill, McCoy. The healers have examined Sarek. They could not have done better. Thee has my gratitude and that of all of Vulcan.”

“I am honored.”

“Thee shall be rewarded. Ask, and I shall grant thee if it is within my power.”

“Your gratitude is reward enough, Madame. I require nothing else.”

T’Pau’s eyes flashed. “I do not offer this lightly, McCoy. It is not our way.”

“Permit me to explain, my lady.”

She sat back in her chair. It seems T’Pau liked being called ‘my lady’. “Proceed,” she said.

“I was doing my job. Their lives and the lives of the people on that ship are my charge. My responsibility. But more than that, healing is my calling. To be called is its own reward.” The doctor shifted uncomfortably and glanced shyly at Spock. “Spock is my friend. What I do for him or his family, I do gladly. He would do the same for me.”

McCoy lifted his chin. “As for the subterfuge, Madame, it was necessary. Your children are so stubborn, they make Aldeberan mules seem easy-going.”

T’Pau gazed at him for a moment then raised a brow. The humans at the table laughed outright. Spock and Sarek held identical stony expressions.

Sarek flicked a brow at Golan. “You find this amusing, General?”

“I find I have sufficient provocation, S’haile,” said Golan. “I beg forgiveness,” he said but it was clear that he was not at all contrite.

“I quite agree with him, my son,” said T’Pau. She turned to Uhura. “Thee also names my grandson ‘friend’?”

Uhura was startled to be addressed so it took her a moment to answer. “Y-Yes, Madame. I do.” She glanced at Spock. The tips of his ears burned bright green.

“To my eyes, thee has the look of a beautiful child. Hardly old enough to be playing Starfleet officer.”

“I’m well-qualified to serve,” Uhura replied. “But I am sure you are already aware of that.” She gazed at T’Pau steadily.

T’Pau nodded once, impressed at Uhura’s boldness. “I am aware of thee.” Her eyes drifted to Spock. “I can only ‘hope’ that I am not alone in my awareness.”

Spock’s blush could have lit a dark room. This time, Golan took better care in camouflaging his grin.

“I shall take my leave of thee, my children. McCoy, Uhura.” Spock helped T’Pau to her feet. She turned and studied Kirk with slightly narrowed eyes. “Live long and prosper,” she said. Amanda left with her.

A plaintive howl ululated through the air. Spock excused himself and left the hall. Sarek and Golan stood with their heads together over a personal data device, speaking in low tones. Sarek glanced up at Kirk.

“Captain, we require your opinion.”

“Certainly, Ambassador.” Kirk joined Sarek and Golan and the three of them conferred quietly over the padd.

McCoy leaned back in his chair and grinned at Uhura.

“You see something amusing, Doctor?” she asked. She had to look away from those eyes.

McCoy shrugged.

“T’Pau has fallen in love with you, I think.” she said, trying to divert his attention.

“I have that effect on older women.”

“You should be a diplomat.”

“Bite your tongue, Lieutenant,” he said looking at her mouth.

“Doctor…” she smiled and flushed, in spite of herself.

Spock returned with I’Tet. The sehlat sniffed happily around the room then settled his rump comfortably against Kirk’s shins, watching the strangers with bright, interested eyes. An attendant brought over a tray of large carrot-like roots. I’Tet politely waited while Kirk selected a root then took it gently from Kirk’s hand, carefully avoiding the captain’s fingers with his six-inch fangs. He plopped down on the cool stones and crunched his treat loudly; a fang occasionally struck the stone floor with a sound like a sculptor’s chisel against marble. He lifted his stubby tail and broke wind contentedly.

“He’s, um, adorable, Spock,” said Uhura.

“He is quite handsome; though, he will not be fully mature for another five years.”

“That behemoth is still a puppy?”

“Sehlats take approximately thirty years to grow to adulthood, Doctor. He may yet gain another one hundred and fifty kilos.”

“Holy—ahem, wow. He seems comfortable enough with Jim. Will he let me look him over?”

“He will welcome the attention.”

McCoy walked slowly nearer and stood warily watching the sehlat. I’Tet rolled and presented his belly for scratching. McCoy knelt and ran his hands through the thick fur with pleasure.

“He’s so friendly,” commented Uhura.

“I’Tet would allow the Romulans free run of the palace for the price of one marshmelon. I fear we may have over-indulged him. I find myself often revisiting my memories of his antics.”

“You miss him.” Uhura smiled up at Spock.

“Perhaps,” he said.

They gazed into each other’s eyes for a moment then looked quickly away. They stood in awkward silence until Spock cleared his throat.

“We will be returning to the ship in one hour. Would you like to see my mother’s gardens before we return, Lieutenant?” he asked.

“Yes I would, Mr. Spock.”

They walked across the courtyard and through an inconspicuous gate near the twenty-foot stone wall that enclosed the front part of the compound. I’Tet loped ahead of them, snuffling the ground and rumbling low in his chest at the le’matya that prowled the desert on the other side of the wall. The hot night air blew in Uhura’s face and tugged at the edges of her wrap. The gardens were beautiful. Spock began a scientific lecture on the flora but stopped after a look from Uhura.

They walked without speaking for several minutes.

“I trust you enjoyed yourself this evening, Lieutenant?”

“Yes, Mr. Spock. Very much. I’m still not certain as to why I was invited, however.”

“My grandmother was impressed by your ah, discretion on our previous…visit to Vulcan.”

“I see,” said Uhura.

Spock turned to her. “You neglected to inform us that you contacted T’Pau after I returned to the ship.”

“I did? I could have sworn I put it in my report.”

“You did not. T’Pau informs me that you were quite forceful in your refusal to speak with her aides, insisting on speaking only with her.”

“I only knew that you were ill and that it was a private matter. I thought she should hear it from me directly.”

Because of the nature of her position as Chief Communications Officer, Uhura was privy to a host of confidential information. With the exception of ‘eyes only’ communications to the captain or medical information to McCoy, Uhura reviewed everything that came to the ship, including private messages from family. She knew that Spock’s mother was Amanda Grayson and that Amanda Grayson was married to Sarek of Vulcan. From what she’d learned of Vulcan clan systems, it was logical to deduce that Spock was at least a member of the Vulcan ruling class, if not directly related to T’Pau. Spock never spoke of his family and Uhura would never discuss any information that she learned from reviewing communications, so she wasn’t sure about the nature of his relationship to T’Pau. In a flash of inspiration, she pulled up a holo of T’Pau, took one look and made the call.

“You actions prompted her to contact Starfleet Command.”

“I knew what Komack’s orders were. I knew that it had to be life or death for Captain Kirk to risk his career to get you to here.”

“You have T’Pau’s gratitude.” He looked down. “And mine.”

She smiled warmly. “You’re welcome.”

They sat on a stone bench that was carved into an alcove in the compound wall. Light from the palace barely reached this part of the garden and it was very private. Roses and night blooming jasmine scented the warm air. Uhura removed her wrap then inhaled deeply, closing her eyes. She leaned back on her palms and crossed her legs. The slit in her dress fell open, exposing her brown thigh. It took Spock some effort not to stare.

“It’s lovely here. Your mother’s roses are astonishing.”

Grayson Beauties were coveted throughout the galaxy and one of the most expensive flowers in the sector. The roses were dark, dark green with big, tight heads, thick woody stems and curving, inch-long thorns. The cut flowers lasted for weeks.

She fingered the spiny leaves of a Rigellian shrub. “I could spend a week exploring these gardens,” she sighed.

“They are another of the things that I ‘miss’,” said Spock. He watched as I’Tet stretched out further up the path and sharpened his fangs on a large rock.

Uhura studied his profile in the darkness. “You and your father seem to have come to a truce of sorts.”

Spock was silent for so long that Uhura was about to apologize for bringing it up.

“I suspect that it is a very fragile one. He is waiting for an opportunity to convince me to leave Starfleet. When he is not successful, our relationship will return to its former status. My father can be... intractable.”

“He does love you.”

Spock raised a brow. “My mother says that often. I see little evidence of his regard.”

“You really don’t know, do you?”

“Know what?”

“Spock, why do you think your father came out of retirement?”

He learned long ago that when a human — especially a human woman-- answered a question with a question, it was usually rhetorical. He waited for her to continue.

“He’s keeping you safe.”

Spock was surprised. “That is illogical.”

“Ending wars, forging accords, keeping the peace.”

Spock looked puzzled. “He is a diplomat. That is his function. It is his duty as a Vulcan to foster peace among all races.”

“You don’t find his timing suspicious? He was content to teach computer science at VSA until you joined Starfleet. I think it’s rather sweet.”

“You are mistaken, Lieutenant. He often risks his own life in his efforts. He does not do this for me; he does it to bring peace to the entire quadrant.”

Uhura didn’t point out that Sarek reinstated the Vulcan Imperial Guard—historically, the most feared army in the galaxy--naming it a ‘peacekeeping taskforce’, claiming that it was a conglomerate of the members of the High Council and was purely ceremonial. In a pig’s ear. Try feudal lords and their lethal, highly trained and well-equipped private armies, all of whom pledged utter fealty to T’Pau and the House of Sarek. Uhura could not imagine Sarek ever deploying this army, but he *was* the only ambassador at the Babel Conference to bring a general as one of his aides. An action like that brought a tacit understanding any proceeding: I may speak softly, but I carry a big stick.

“Yes, well. Perhaps I am mistaken. Vulcan men don’t display that level of devotion,” she said, looking around the gardens. “I pity your mother that Sarek cares so little for her that he had six acres of desert terraformed just so she could grow roses and lemons. It couldn’t have cost that much to do.”

Spock opened is mouth to reply.


“Spock here.”

“Whenever you’re ready, Spock.”

“Aye, Captain. The Lieutenant and I will meet you in the courtyard.”

“Very good, Mr. Spock. Kirk out.”

End Chapter 2


~Chapter 3

Hot as Vulcan

The Enterprise cruised away from Vulcan and headed to the Romulan Neutral Zone for three weeks of patrol. There was a lull in the aggression between the Federation and the Romulans and assuming that the lull held, it would mean three weeks of nothing to do. It was nine days through empty, de-militarized space to the RNZ--nine days of less than nothing to do.

It would have been a welcome respite for the crew, were it not for a Tellarite.

The Tellarite delegates had complained incessantly about their accommodations on the Enterprise. The engines were too loud. The quarters were too small. They could smell the Andorians. They were hungry all the time. But their loudest complaint was that the ship was too cold. Why were the Vulcans and the Be`kahrs allowed to keep their rooms comfortably warm but Tellarites were not? It was yet another illustration of Starfleet’s bias against Tellar, they proclaimed.

Mr. Scott adjusted the temperature in their quarters no less than six times and still they were not satisfied.

“If I was roasting them in a pit, I couldn’t get them any hotter, Captain,” said Scotty.

Finally, the Tellarites took matters into their own…hands. No one realized that the Tellarites had re-routed the vent-off from the deuterium tanks to blow into their quarters and the Tellarite’s manipulation caused a cascade of the ship’s entire heating system. The freezine gel paks boiled away, and one after the other the thermostats burned out. The ship heated to a suffocating 48.7c.

Kirk convened a meeting of his senior officers in the briefing room.

“Reports, gentlemen.”

“If I could get my hands on him, I’d make haggis out of the Tellarite that hurt my poor thermostats!” wailed Scotty.

“I’m sorry about your ‘poor thermostats’, Mr. Scott but what can be done about it?”

“There’s nothing for it, Sir. We need to replace the entire system. He messed it up but good. The way he’s got it looped through our life support systems, I can’t even turn it off. We’d be oxygen-starved in a matter of hours. I tried to bleed some of the cold air from the hull insulation but I nearly ruptured my eardrums. We’ve got cool rooms in sickbay and the bio labs but that’s it. We passed the point of no return to Vulcan but we’re three days out from Starbase 11. We’ll have to dock there for repairs.”

“All right, Scotty,” said Kirk. “Bones?”

“Well, Jim, it won’t kill us if we stay hydrated and take the proper precautions against heat exhaustion. It’ll be manageable if we don’t go longer than a week. We can’t let anybody work too hard unless it’s absolutely necessary and those people get first dibs on the cool rooms.”

“Thank you, Doctor. Would you like to add anything, Spock?”

“I concur with Mr. Scott, Captain.”

“I wouldn’t be so blasé about it if I were you, Spock,” interjected McCoy. “The temperature may be more comfortable for your green blood but it will become increasingly humid in here. It’s not like dry Vulcan heat. In about twelve hours you’re going to be as miserable as the rest of us.”

“That is unlikely, Doctor.”

McCoy lifted a hand, palm up. “Let’s just see how you do in one hundred percent humidity. And Jim, we gotta do something about these kelyon leotards they call uniforms before we all melt into jelly.”

“What do you suggest, Bones? We can’t very well go around without clothes.”

“I didn’t say that. As much as some of us would prefer it.” He cast a wry glance at Spock. Kirk and Scotty shared a grin.

Spock looked affronted. “Gentlemen, I--.”

McCoy waved him quiet. “Never mind, Spock. Anyway, I prescribe light, loose, natural-fiber clothing until we can turn the heat off. We don’t have any new crew. Everybody knows who everybody is. It shouldn’t be a problem.”

“Alright, then,” agreed Kirk. “Lieutenant Uhura, coordinate with sick bay and spread the word.”

“Aye, sir.”

“If there’s nothing else?” Kirk looked around the table. “Dismissed.”

Uhura caught up with McCoy in the corridor. He gave her one of his slow smiles.

“Slow down, dollface. We wouldn’t want you to get all hot and bothered.”

“What was that all about?”

“What was what all about?”

“That thing with Spock.”

He thought for a moment then laughed. “Now, that’s a shore leave story I’ll never tell. I will say that self-consciousness about nudity is a human hang up.”

“I see.”

“You sound like Spock when you say that.”

They arrived at sick bay and entered the doctor’s office.

“I’m thinking that we should employ skeleton crew protocols. What do you think?” asked Uhura.

“Sounds like a plan. We’ll have to start with the species on the crew with the lowest tolerance and go from there.”

They spent the next forty-five minutes organizing the shift rotations. There was much laughter and not-so-innocent flirting going on and each of them parted company wistfully thinking, “If only….”


“I wish people would stop buying me these goddamn caftans,” grumbled Uhura. She rummaged through a drawer.

“I thought you liked caftans?” said Barrows.

“Wear something one time and you’re marked for life. I was just trying on the stuff my grandmother sent me because I was homesick and feeling sad about the captain being lost. Then I see the captain’s space ghost, run out of my quarters to find Spock, and bam! My next birthday, I get four caftans. They make me look like an elephant in pajamas.”

“What? That’s not true. You look beautiful in them. But then again, you’d look beautiful in a burlap bag.”

“Thanks and by the way, so would you.”

“You know? I know. What confuses me is why we can’t seem to attract the man we want.”

Uhura rolled her eyes. “Tell me about it.”

“At least McCoy talks to you. The only time he talks to me is if his back’s to me.”

“Give him some time.”

“He seems to like *you* well enough.”

“That’s just a…thing we do. It’s safe. It won’t go any farther. I will admit to sometimes wanting to jump his bones. Ha! Bones. Get it?”

Tonia huffed out a laugh. “I wish I could.”

“Seriously, Toni. He’s much more relaxed when he’s off the ship. You should arrange to accidentally bump into him on shore leave somewhere. Aha! There you are, Peter.” She pulled out a blue tee shirt imprinted with a picture of a man whose huge belly ballooned over a very small bathing suit. He was watering his lawn and there was a white dog and an angry-looking toddler in the background sitting on lawn chairs drinking cocktails. ‘Family Guy’ was written across the top. “See? Why can’t people give me cartoon tee shirts? I wear these all the time.”

She studied Uhura. “You know who’s sweet on you?” she asked.

“Michael Brent,” answered Uhura.

“Really? He’s so good-looking.”

“And kind and smart and funny.”

“There’s a ‘but’ in there.”

“A nice one, too,” she smirked. “I don’t know. I almost asked him out but then he gave me this.” Uhura pulled out the drawing.

“Wow. You and Spock?” Barrows tilted her head. “Hmm.”


“I was actually thinking Kirk.”

“No way. Never happen.”

“Why not? After the mission, you could get together. I can tell he’s hot for you.”

“He’d burn me to the ground.”

“I think you could handle him, Nyo.”

“I’m kinda pissed at him right now. He yelled at me three times during the Babel transport.”


“I was a little distracted. But so was he.”

“Distracted by what?”

“We were both worried about Spock,” she said quietly.

“Spock? Nyota you--- Wait a minute. Spock?”

“I know, I know. Not in a million years. Even if it happened, it could never work. Kirk might burn me up but I could get over that. Spock would turn me inside out. I’d never recover.”

“That’s funny. I feel the same way about McCoy. But then, it might be worth it. Who knows what tomorrow will bring?”

End Chapter 3



~Chapter 4

In the Heat of the Night

It was ship’s night and the simulated evening light softened everything around the edges. Half the crew was awake and some stood outside their quarters in the marginally cooler corridors. Others drifted listlessly about. It was too damn hot. The humidity wrapped them in warm, damp fur. It was impossible to sleep. Even the pool provided no relief. After a few hours, the water was soup.

Many of the crew cut the collars and sleeves off their black Starfleet issue undershirts and most of them had kept the loose workout pants from their Academy days. Ironically, without even trying, they managed to create a type of uniform.

“Jim, I need you bust me down to Ensign,” whispered Dr. McCoy.

Kirk followed McCoy’s blue gaze. Barrows and Uhura had just entered the rec room. Uhura had her ‘Family Guy’ tee shirt tied in a knot above her navel and her black workout pants hung low on her hips. Barrows had cut the collar of her undershirt into a deep V and her lightly freckled skin glowed against the dark material. Her hair was pulled up in a loose ponytail.

“Which one?” asked Kirk.

McCoy waved is glass of iced coffee. “Take your pick.”

Jim ran his fingers through his damp hair and down the back of his sweaty neck. His eyes were brown tonight and his scent rose in warm waves from his skin. He blew out a breath. “If only, Bones. If only.”

McCoy turned to him with a raised brow. “I was just thinking that this morning.”

“Weren’t you working with Uhura this morning?”

“Yeah, but--.”

“You two seem to have a…thing. I’m not sure exactly what it is.”

“That’s because it’s nothing.”

Kirk looked skeptical.

“Well, there is something. I mean, how could you not?” He gazed at her. “She’s a complete mystery to me, Jim. Sometimes I’ll have a conversation with her and everything I think I know about women blows out the hatch.” He took a deep breath. “But it’s just not meant to be, and both of us know it. So, it’s safe to kid around a little. But let me tell ya; I’d sell the farm to get a look under that goofy tee shirt.”

“You’re her doctor. Haven’t you, uh seen?”

“It’s not the same. When I’m working, it’s just body parts.”

“Yeah, I know what you mean.” Jim stared into his glass of water. “I owe her an apology.”

McCoy looked at him curiously and Kirk gave him one of his lopsided grins.

“I acted like an ass during the Babel transport. I was stressed. I took it out on her. We were all tired. I should’ve cut her some slack. She’s never let me down before.”

“Uh oh.”

“What is it?”

“You look a little serious, Jim.”

“Don’t worry, Bones. It’ll never happen. She’d chew me up and spit me out.”

“You think so?”

“I knew from the first moment I saw her—standing there with my mouth hanging open like a dumbass, by the way.”

“You weren’t the only one.”

Kirk elbowed him. “You played it pretty cool.”

“I wasn’t talking about me.”

“Who else was there? You, me, Spock.” Jim frowned. “Spock?”

McCoy nodded.


“I think the feeling might be mutual, Jim.”

For a moment, his face looked so vulnerable and sad and young that McCoy caught his breath.

“Huh,” was all he said.

McCoy shrugged. “But what do I know? I’m just an old country doctor.”

“Don’t worry about me, Bones.” He gave him a small smile. “Worry about yourself. Barrows has got you in her bomb sights.”

“That girl makes me nervous.”

Barrows looked over and smiled.

“Bombs away,” murmured Kirk.

“Let’s go see if Scotty’s got any cold beer stashed somewhere.”

“Running, Doctor? I’m surprised. You’re the bravest man I know.”

“I’m a chickenshit. Let’s get out of here.”

“Ok, but let’s go to my place then call Scotty. General Golan gave me a case of kasa juice.”

“I love that big ass Vulcan,” McCoy said seriously.

“You can help me craft my apology and then make me send it to Uhura.”

“You’re not going to apologize in person?”

“Bwaak, bwak, bwak, bwaaak!” Kirk curled his hands into his armpits and flapped his elbows.

McCoy threw his head back and laughed. Some of the crew laughed with him, unsure why their captain was imitating a chicken. McCoy knocked back the last of his iced coffee. “Come on, chickenshit.”

Barrows watched them leave the rec room. She elbowed Uhura.

“Did you see that? I smiled at him and he left the room.”

“That wasn’t about you, Tonia.”

“Yes it was,” she said. “That’s ok. It’ll just make victory all the much sweeter.”

“Be careful, Toni. Some men don’t respond well to being chased. I know that’s old fashioned, but McCoy’s really skittish. Take it easy. You’ll scare him away. He’s nervous now and that’s a good place for him to be. Now back off and let him miss you.”

“You’re right. Good strategy.”

“I’m serious.”

“Me too.”

“Just be careful.”

“I will.” She snapped. “Listen Nyota, we can’t all get dinner invitations from planetary rulers.”

“What’s that’s supposed to mean?”

“You got to get dressed up like a fairy princess and have supper in a palace with three of Starfleet’s finest. And Sarek of Vulcan. It seems like an unfair advantage to me.”

“I didn’t ask for that Tonia. I was summoned. I couldn’t refuse T’Pau.”

Barrows smiled apologetically and gripped Uhura’s wrist. “I’m sorry, honey. Don’t listen to me. I’m tired and it’s too hot to sleep.”

“I’m hot and tired too and I’m getting a little sick of people taking their shit out on me.” She looked away, her eyes burning. A couple of crewmen glanced their way.

“Ok. I hear you. Why don’t I go get us some juice?”

“I think I need to go for a walk. There are too many warm bodies in here.”

“All right. Breakfast tomorrow?”

Uhura softened. “Sure.”


It was 0220 and there were crew members everywhere. There was nowhere Uhura could be alone. She tried her quarters but they were stifling. She drifted through the corridors with her head down, barely acknowledging greetings, so desperate for solitude that she struggled to hold back a sob that ached in her throat. She took random turbolifts and kept making left turns and ended up in the small aft observation lounge. Miraculously, she was alone.

She leaned her forehead against the clearsteel portal. After a moment, she jerked her head back. The window was cool! How could that be? All of the metal surfaces of the ship were very warm. She pressed her palms against the portal. She could feel the slight vibration of the ship’s engines down here. She closed her eyes, laid her cheek against the pane and sighed with relief. Tears she’d been holding back since Babel spilled from her eyes.

She’d worked double shifts for sixteen days straight. Sixteen days of whining, arrogant, xenophobic ambassadors and delegates, some of whom made it a sport of whispering obscene comments in her ear, believing that she would not understand their language, wanting their communications to go out right now!, each with its own encryption and alien frequency that she was supposed to wave a magic wand and pull out of the air. Sixteen days of routing com traffic and translating messages and bearing the brunt of everyone’s frustration and then getting accosted in the turbolifts when she finally went off duty and dodging groping hands in the corridors on the way to her quarters. She was angry with the captain for being such a jerk to her. Then he had to go and get himself knifed. There was the attack from the Orion ship, and the unbearable minutes while she waited to see blood bloom on the back of the captain’s shirt from his wound, or hear from sick bay that Sarek or Spock or both had died.

She was tired. She was hot. A sob began from somewhere deep inside her and came out in a soft, hiccupping gasp. Oh, Spock. You could have died.

For some reason, he didn’t startle her when he spoke.

“This space is six point four degrees cooler than the rest of the ship.”

“Mr. Spock,” she sighed, not opening her eyes. She felt him move closer.

She opened her eyes and turned around. Spock was dressed in a long, off- white, sleeveless shift. The front was open on his chest and sweat glistened in the hollow of his throat. His feet were bare. Even in the low light she could see the green flush of his blood through the surface of his skin. His lips were very pink and looked swollen. She watched a trickle of sweat roll down the side of his neck. His hair was damp.

“Am I dreaming?”

“No, Lieutenant,” he answered softly. He reached out and pressed his palm against the portal just centimeters from her head. “This is not clearsteel. It is the last of the old transparent aluminum portals. Aluminum is a poor conductor of heat.” He turned his face to her. His movement was languid and his eyes blinked sleepily.

“Are you all right, Mr. Spock?”

“Dr. McCoy was not entirely incorrect in his prediction that I might have a reaction to the humidity. I…feel strangely lethargic. For the first time in my life, I can say that I am hot.”

Uhura nodded. “That sounds normal considering the circumstances.”

“I have not experienced the inability to control my body temperature before.”

He leaned his cheek against the cool portal much the same way she did. His scent, usually dry and sharp, was deeper, darker, as if it rose from his sex. She was not convinced that she wasn’t dreaming.

“Would you like some water? Maybe a sports drink? You’re not used to perspiring like this. Maybe your electrolytes are out of balance.”

“No. I do not require more liquids.” His eyes traveled over her face. “You are crying.”

Her eyes welled up again. “I’m so tired.”

“Can you not rest?”

“Too hot.” A tear rolled down her cheek.

“I—I am sorry, Lieutenant Uhura.”

“Don’t be, Mr. Spock. It’s not your fault.” She swiped her fingers across her cheeks. “If it were even just a few degrees cooler, I could sleep a couple of hours.”

“You must go to sick bay. Do not allow yourself to become ill.” His eyes fluttered and he seemed to sway a bit.

She reached out and gripped his arms to steady him. He stumbled forward and she pressed a hand against his hip. His skin burned through the thin, damp fabric of his garment. His hands came up and held on to her shoulders.

“You’re the one who needs sick bay,” she said.

“No, Lieutenant. My mental shields are weakened. There are too many people in sick bay. It would worsen my condition.” He closed his eyes and swallowed hard. “If I could escape this humidity for even an hour…” He trailed off. He opened his eyes and they gazed at each other for a long moment.

“Escape pods,” they said in unison.

“I won’t tell if you won’t tell,” she said.

“I will not disclose our actions unless someone asks me directly.” He paused. “If we are discreet, I do not believe anyone will ask.”

“There’s a bank of pods just down the corridor. When I came in there was no one else around.”

They peeked into the corridor. It was clear. They slipped around the corner and stood in front of a pod. Spock typed in a code on the keypad and the hatch opened with a hiss. They ducked inside and Spock closed the hatch.

“If I initiate diagnostic mode, it’ll bypass the task manager and will not show on the boards in engineering,” said Uhura as she worked the pod’s console.


“Just a second, I’m almost there.” Her fingers played gracefully over the panel. Cool, dry air sighed into the tiny compartment.

“Miss Uhura.”

“One more thing, Mr. Spock.” She punched a few more buttons. Uhura turned in the chair. “How about a little night music?” The low voice of Nina Simone came to their ears. “We’ll still be able to hear if we’re paged.” She inhaled deeply. “God, that feels good!”

“In our haste, we selected a single pod and there is only one bunk. I will be quite comfortable on the deck.” He braced his hand on the low ceiling. His breathing was shallow and perspiration beaded at his hairline.

“No, Spock. Look at you. You can barely stand up. You take the bunk; I’ll sleep on the floor.” She held up a hand. “Don’t argue. I insist.”

“I will not argue. It will take some time for me to return my core temperature to normal. I confess that I can perform this more efficiently if I am lying down.”

She helped him sit and lifted his legs onto the bunk.

“Thank you, Lieutenant.”

“Spock, please call me Nyota. We’re partners in crime now.” She smiled down at him when he raised a brow. She stifled a yawn and plopped down into the chair.

“Nyota, you are exhausted. There is room enough for two on this bunk.”

“I do want to lie down.”

“I will be in deep meditation for some time. Please lie down. You will not disturb me. ”

“If you’re sure.”

“We are ‘partners in crime’.”

“Yes we are.”

She lay next to him, carefully avoiding touching him. He laced his fingers on his chest and closed his eyes. He inhaled and exhaled slowly once, twice, and then his breathing assumed a deep, regular pattern. There was less than an inch of space between them and she could feel how hot he was. She eased onto her side and faced him. She’d never been this physically close to him for this long. She’d sat next to him for almost two years and never noticed the tiny notch in his earlobe. Her eyes drifted shut and she fell asleep with the sound of the rapid thud-thud-thud of his heart in her ears.


He reached out and brushed his fingertips across her lips, down her chin, along her collarbone. He turned his hand over and brushed her nipple with his knuckles. “You are beautiful,” he whispered. He slid his hand behind her head and cupped the back of her neck. He pulled her to him and pressed is soft lips to hers. His mouth was sweet and he held her against the hot length of his body. She could feel the rapid beating of his heart in his side.

“Nyota,” he breathed.



She opened her eyes with a start. She lay with her head on Spock’s chest and one leg hooked between his, her breast pressed against his arm.

“Nyota, it is time to wake up.”

“Spock! I’m sorry, I--.” She sat up quickly.

“Do not trouble yourself. You were very tired. I did not wish to disturb you.”

She rubbed her eyes. “How long did I sleep?”

“Four point two hours.”

“I hope you haven’t been waiting too long”

“Only an hour. Ironically, it became a bit too cool in here for me and your body heat was most welcome.”

“How do you feel?”

“I am much improved. And you?”

“A lot better, thank you.” She smiled. “You make an excellent criminal, Spock.”

“I am honored,” he replied.

She laughed.

After checking the corridor for crewmen, they slipped out of the escape pod and walked casually to the turbolift. No one saw them. In the lift, Spock turned to her.

“Do you require a meal?” he asked.

“How about an iced tea and some fruit?”

“I will meet you in the officer’s mess in thirty minutes.”



Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Star Trek Convention

So-- I'm going to my first Trek con next month in Sacramento. I bought the 'Gold Package' so I'll be diggin' the scene wit a gangsta lean. I paid fat money for a photo op with Shatner and Nimoy and one with just Nimoy alone, cos he's the real reason I'm all up in there. I'll be writing about it.

Leonard Nimoy cured my writer's block.

My mother died suddenly last year. I'll tell you all about it later, but suffice it to say that nothing is worse than losing your mother. Nothing. I couldn't write. I couldn't think. I couldn't think to write. I watched a lot of TV.

One day, I was flipping thru channels and I caught the tail end of "Trekkies". Some of those people don't seem all that crazy to me. And I'm a mental health professional. What's wrong w/perpetuating the Star Trek Utopia? If you want me to call you 'Commander', hey whatever, man. Anyway--I remembered their discussion about fan fiction. I got curious and googled 'fan fic'.

Holy crap.

I started reading. Most of it's really, really bad. Some of it's excellent--I'll be linking to the good shit once I get permission from the writers.

Fan fiction is fascinating. The universe--characters, settings, events--is constructed for you. I thought creating a fiction within that fiction might be an interesting exercise. I knew a bit about Trek; I was kind of a fan. I wouldn't have to think too much. I dragged myself out of my huge, red leather, remote-controlled, heated, vibrating message recliner and started writing.

My first piece was 'Leg Man'. I put it up at ASCEML at yahoo groups and kicked back for a couple of days. It was well-received. Encouraged, I went out and bought the TOS DVD's and watched them over the weekend. That was it.

I surrendered myself to what Joan Didion calls a 'year of magical thinking' that all those who grieve are allowed. I revived my childhood love affair with Spock in all its aching longing and yearning fantasies--sublimated into my fan fiction writings of course, because you know, I'm cool like that.

It's been fun. I get to be 'T'Prahn of Vulcan'. It kick-started my 'real' writing. I've posted my fan fic and you can see me slowly emerging from my muddled thinking as the months went by.

Check it out. Tell me what you think.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

The Reception 1/4 {TOS: S/U Rating--NC-17}

Disclaimer: Paramount owns the characters. Spock is hot. He should have some sex.

Title: Stuck In the Middle With You 1/4
Series: TOS
Pairing: S/U
Rating: NC-17
Archiving: Ask permission, please.

Notes: “Fuck your mother” is a Russian expression, an all-purpose intensifier like “Wow!” or “Holy shit!”.

Summary: A soft landing, Spock says all the wrong things, an overly eager Tellarite Ambassador and a malfunctioning turbolift.

Chapter One

Lieutenant Uhura exited the turbolift at the bridge a bit early for the alpha shift, planning to run a diagnostic on one of the subspace frequency circuits before turning in her report to Spock. A tiny distortion had appeared forty-eight hours ago that had no real effect on reception but it was driving her crazy. Sulu often accused her of being every bit a perfectionist as Spock but she didn’t care. Spock was a meticulous supervisor and she knew he would appreciate her initiative. The Enterprise was hosting a Tellarite delegation in a week and Uhura wanted to make sure that any subspace communications from Starfleet reached the ship without any interference.

Plus, she thought with an internal grin, she liked to please him. His respect was hard-won and three of her seven commendations had come from Spock. Only Scotty had more from the first officer.

As she rounded the corner of the console, she was concentrating on the problem with the circuits and didn’t see the pair of long legs protruding from the access port beneath. She would have probably been able to side-step them at the last moment had not their owner decided to slide himself out of the port and sit up just as she registered him too late to stop her forward momentum. The toe of her boot connected with the sole of his and down she went. Her padd flew in one direction and her stylus in another. She let out a little shriek and tried to stop her fall by grabbing the edge of the console and missed. She felt that curious weightlessness that one experiences when they know that hitting the ground is inevitable. She closed her eyes and prepared herself for the jolt, praying that she wouldn’t bite her tongue.

She didn’t hit the deck, however. She landed on something much softer.

She opened her eyes and found herself looking into a pair of heavy-lidded chestnut eyes. She was literally nose-to-nose with Commander Spock. Neither of them moved. She had a bizarre dual sensation of paralysis and of an acutely heightened awareness of her other senses. She could feel the warmth of his exhaling breath, the cool rush of air as he inhaled and became conscious that they were so close that they were breathing the same air. Her forearms were pressed to his chest and she could feel the Vulcan heat of his body all along hers as she lay sprawled across him.

And oh! She could smell him: the faint scent of copper, a spice (cloves?) and even more faintly, musk. His smell was just so completely…male.

Her entire universe condensed into this pocket of heat and scent, this bubble of sensation, those chestnut eyes. She hadn’t realized how long his lashes were. Up close, his lips looked full and soft. He tilted his head and for a dizzying moment, she thought he would kiss her.

“Miss Uhura, for a person who carries herself with such grace, I am beginning to conclude that you are exceedingly clumsy.”

She felt his chest vibrate beneath her palms with the smooth baritone of his voice.


“It seems that I am forever lifting you from the floor. You have this unique ability to fall from a seated position or be thrown across the bridge at the slightest turbulence.”

She blinked. “It’s that stupid chair!”

“Lieutenant, a chair is an inanimate object and therefore cannot possess an intellect that would allow it to be ‘stupid’.”

“Mr. Spock, I have made repeated requests for a replacement chair that fits my body better so that I don’t continue to ‘fall from a seated position’, as you say.” She could feel his hip pressed against her pubic bone.

“Fits your body?” Spock frowned in confusion. One of his legs was between her thighs and he was becoming aware that he should either shift its position or lift her off of him.

“I am a bit more…generously proportioned than the person who designed that chair anticipated. Even without turbulence, I constantly have to brace myself against the console to keep from sliding off.”

Neither of them had moved from the positions they assumed when she first fell. She still lay on top of him, her forearms propped on his chest, their legs entangled. Her uniform gaped at the neck revealing her deep cleavage. He gazed into her eyes for such a long time that she thought again that he might kiss her.

The smooth chocolate column of her neck was very distracting. He was finding it increasingly difficult to follow the conversation. He pulled back a little and dropped his eyes briefly to the gap at her bodice. He swallowed hard. His eyes returned to hers.

“Generously proportioned?”

“Not there. Well, there, too but I meant, um, back there.” She couldn’t seem to pull her eyes from his.

“Back there?” His voice was very low now. It resonated through her body.

“Yes. Where you are rather firmly gripping me with your left hand.”

“Oh. I see.” He relaxed his fingers and moved his hand slowly until it rested next to its mate in the small of her back. They lay as they were, staring into each other’s eyes. Uhura could feel the rapid beating of his heart and feel herself rise and fall with his chest as he breathed. His hands were hot against her back.

“Would you two like to be alone?”

Uhura whipped her head around and saw Captain Kirk standing at their feet with his hands on his hips and a stern look on his face. Dr. McCoy stood next to him, grinning with all of his teeth, his hands behind his back, rocking forward onto his toes with delight. McCoy never did get the ‘rest’ part of ‘parade rest’. Scotty stood behind the Captain, horrified.

Spock rolled smoothly to his feet, carrying Uhura effortlessly with him. He set her on her feet arm’s length away and tugged down his tunic.

“A minor accident, Captain. Miss Uhura, you appear undamaged,” he said, not looking at her.

“And you know that because you gave her a thorough examination,” remarked the doctor.

“For your information, doctor, the Lieutenant and I were discussing the inadequateness of her chair. She is deceptively lightweight—“

“Deceptively! Just what are you trying to say, Mr. Spock? That I look fat?” exclaimed Uhura.

“Aha! You did examine her, you old dog.”

“Doctor, please. Miss Uhura, I was merely agreeing with your own analysis that you are more generously proportioned than the average woman of your height and weight and that perhaps a chair with restraints or arms might be more appropriate for your body type.”

“So I’m clumsy and fat.”

“You are digging a very deep hole Mr. Spock,” intoned Scott. “Yer best to quit while yer ahead”.

“If we are to prevent further mishaps, perhaps we should measure—“

Kirk widened his eyes and gave a tiny shake of his head. McCoy was making slicing motions at his neck with his fingers and Scotty stood straight with his fists clenched at his sides, a wince frozen on his face as if anticipating a blow.

Uhura glared at Spock for a long moment then spun on her heel and faced the other three men. They immediately adopted innocent poses and stepped quickly out of her way as she stalked across the bridge to retrieve her padd.

“For a second there, I thought I was gonna have to duck”, McCoy whispered.

Mr. Scott shivered and said, “Aye.”

“Spock, I suggest you stay out of her way for at least a week,” murmured Kirk, watching as Uhura snatched her stylus from the unfortunate ensign who had found it for her. “Maybe more like a month. I’ve seen what she can do with a Garcanion dagger.”

“Shh! Here she comes,” hissed Scotty.

Kirk, Scott and McCoy made a show of examining a spot on the deck, each commenting on its size or shape or color as she approached. Spock took a tiny involuntary step back when she stopped in front of him. With a final glare, she very gracefully sank to her chair, crossed her legs and began her diagnostic, icily ignoring the men standing behind her.

His eyes large, McCoy mouthed, “A year.”

End Chapter 1


The Reception 2/2

Chapter 2

Most of the senior officers of the Enterprise sat around the table in the briefing room. Kirk was addressing his staff.

“Gentlemen, the Tellar delegation will be arriving shortly. Full diplomatic protocols apply. The Tellarites are extremely difficult, sensitive and emotional. They make Andorians seem positively Vulcan.”

Spock raised an eyebrow.

“Sorry, Spock. We need to muster as much grace and humility as we possibly can. A perceived insult could undo three years of Federation negotiations. We will be hosting a formal reception at 2100 hours. Their delegation is so large that we will need to convert a cargo bay into a ballroom. Please read the brief about Tellarite social constructs from Starfleet. I know it’s complicated. And please, please swallow your pride. Just remember, if you can’t say anything nice, say nothing at all.”

“It’ll be a quiet party.”

“Thank you for your analysis, doctor.” Kirk grinned in spite of himself. “Dismissed”.

They began filing out of the room.

“Captain, may I have a word?”

“What can I do for you, Spock? Questions about the Tellarites?”

“No, sir.” He paused, his brows drawn together.

“Are you alright? “

“I have encountered a problem that I cannot resolve.”

Kirk raised his eyebrows curiously and waited.

“What is it, Spock?” Kirk was starting to become concerned.

“Lieutenant Uhura will not speak to me.”

“She’s not following orders or making reports?”

“She has been thorough and efficient, the perfect Starfleet officer.”

“I don’t understand.”

“She will not speak to me beyond what is necessary to perform her duties.”

Kirk sat back in his chair, trying to hide is amusement. “And this is a problem because?”

Spock stood and paced from one end of the long table and back. Kirk was surprised. Spock genuinely seemed to be at a loss.

“I had,” Spock cleared his throat. “I had grown accustomed to her banter. She would occasionally hum a tune or even sing at her post. On particularly uneventful shifts, it was often a welcome distraction.”

“Maybe she doesn't feel like singing, Spock." Kirk tried to lighten his mood. "It's not as if she were singing only to you." He sobered. "Have you tried to talk to her?”

“My attempts have been met with cool civility.”

“Well, as long as it not interfering with her performance, there’s not much you can do.” He stood and barked out a laugh. “I guess I was right. It’s going to take more than a week for her to forgive you.”

“I do not understand.”

“Don’t try. I don’t know what to tell you, Spock.” He waved a hand. “She’s a woman.”

“I have noted that. Excuse me, Captain.” Spock left the briefing room.

The captain looked after his friend with narrowed eyes.


The Tellar Ambassador's aide cautiously sniffed the glass of scarlet liquid Scotty served him.

"Go ahead, laddie. It'll put hair on…more hair on yer… more hair on ya." It had only been a few hours and the chief engineer was mightily sick of the Tellarites, who he was beginning to think of as fat, fussy little Tribble people. With their wrinkled, piggy noses, he kept imagining them with apples in their mouths. He gave an internal sigh. They were a pain in the backside but they sure knew how to throw a party. They brought kegs of real alcohol and even brought their own band that played surprisingly danceable music.

The Tellar delegation had arrived, and after hours of shifting quarters assignments and temper tantrums about the slightest perceived insult from the Enterprise crew or from each other, the Tellarites were finally settled in and were now enjoying the reception. There was a minor squabble when one Tellarite believed that a server gave him a glass that had an infinitesimal amount less of rum punch than had been poured for another delegate, but so far, all seemed to be having a good time. The Saurian brandy and Risan rum punch flowed freely.

Dr. McCoy leaned close to the captain. “So, Jim, what do you think of our gifts?”

Kirk ran his finger around the high collar of the coat he wore. “Actually, Bones, I rather like them. The Tellarite tailor fitted me perfectly." He stepped back and looked the doctor over. "And I must say that you look quite dashing.”

“Why, thank you Captain. You look pretty good yourself." McCoy looked across the room to where Spock stood towering over a tittering group of delegates. "If you tell Spock I told you this, I’ll deny it, but this getup really suits him. Maybe I’m a little drunk but he looks like…royalty.”

“That’s because on Vulcan, he is.”

“He wears it well.”

“You are drunk." Kirk grinned. "I think I might be a little, too.”

The Tellarites had presented the male senior staff with the Tellarite version of a formal jacket to wear to that evening’s event. The jacket was constructed of a luxurious and heavy black material that was reminiscent of Terran cashmere. The cut was like that of a priest’s cassock, fitted through the torso, flaring a bit at the hip and ending just above the knee. It was sleeveless but warm, with a high, notched collar and beautiful large buttons of faceted amber-colored stones down the front. The jacket paired excellently with the slim pants of the Starfleet dress uniform.

Spock stood across the room speaking with the Ambassador and the Ambassador’s Three Hundred Forty-fourth Wife. He looked magnificent in all black; the cut of the coat accented his lean torso and the light reflected from the amber buttons glittered in his eyes. His arms were long and slender, but well-muscled. He stood looking relaxed and elegant with his arms behind him in that habit of posture adopted by every Starfleet Academy graduate for the last 100 years. Just then, he looked over at Kirk and McCoy with one slightly raised eyebrow.

“He heard me.”

Kirk chuckled. “I’m sure he did, Bones. Even over this loud music.”

Spock excused himself from the Ambassador and strode over to the captain and doctor.

“Tellar culture is fascinating. The Ambassador has over five hundred wives but theirs is not a culture of subjugation. Each wife has equal status, retains her own property and can hold any office that a male can. Some wives even take another husband. Their relationships seem arranged according to geopolitical associations and---“

McCoy’s eyes glazed over. “Thank you, Spock but we read the cultural brief. I know all I need to know about it.”

“Dr. McCoy, your ignorance of—“,

Kirk raised his hand. “Gentlemen, I’m exhausted from dealing with the delegation’s every little itch. I have no wish to referee the two of you all evening. Can we just enjoy ourselves?”

“Yes, sir. I’ll get us some more of that awful rum punch. How many regulations are we breaking by drinking this stuff, Jim?"

"The regulations are flexible when it comes to matters of diplomacy." He raised his glass. "Drink up, Bones. Consider it your contribution to the peace process!"

"I shoulda majored in political science. Oh, shut up Spock. Man, that band is hot!” McCoy walked a little unsteadily to the drinks table, snapping his fingers to the beat.


Uhura took one last look at herself in the mirror. She wore a dress of simple design and of a lightly shimmering silky fabric that was almost the exact shade of brown as her skin. It had a high neck, long sleeves and fell to the floor but the thin material clung to every curve. She'd worried that the dress was too revealing but it was positively chaste compared to what Janice and Christine were wearing. She wore her hair loose and brushed out on her shoulders, lined her eyes with kohl and glossed her lips with just a hint of color. She smoothed her hands down her sides and turned to view herself from behind. Not bad.

She exited her quarters.


“What I was attempting to say before the doctor so rudely interrupted me, Captain, is that the Ambassador is currently looking for another wife.”

“So? Better him than me,” Kirk chuckled.

Looking over the captain’s shoulder he replied, “It could be a cause for concern.”

"Whoa," breathed McCoy, his blue eyes bright.

The captain looked from Spock to McCoy then turned to see what had captured their attention. He coughed on the sip of brandy he'd been in the process of swallowing.

"My God, Bones. What is she wearing?"

"Not much," McCoy replied.

"For a moment there, I thought she was naked."

"Jim, that dress is better than naked. Don't you agree, Spock?"

"Doctor, I am sure I would not know."

"Well, I do and I'm telling you that it is."


"I see nothing wrong with admiring a beautiful woman, Jim. Besides, I'm a doctor. It's a purely clinical observation."

"I will be certain to look up the term "whoa" in the medical dictionary," commented Spock.

"And you'll find a holostill of Miss Uhura wearing that dress right next to it."

"Damn…" whispered Kirk.

Spock said nothing else but watched intently as Lt. Uhura entered the room and made her way towards Sulu and Rand, who had their arms draped around each other’s necks and were doubled over with laughter. Several crewmembers stopped her and she exchanged a few words with them before moving on. Chekov tried to coax her onto the dance floor.

End Chapter 2