Tuesday, September 26, 2006
The Island S/U/K NC-17
Disclaimer: Paramount owns these characters. I just make sure they have some sex from time to time.
Archiving: ASCEM. All others require permission.
The Island NC-17
Summary: Spock, Kirk and Uhura get marooned by a slow-moving ion storm.
Tau Omicron V
Nyota studied the two men as they slept. It was about two hours after this planet’s mid- night but light from the system’s red giant reflected off the ion storm that raged a thousand kilometers above the surface. It illuminated the room with a faint amber glow that flickered across their bodies like candlelight. She looked from one to the other and a gentle smile touched her lips. Jim lay stretched out on his stomach with his head buried beneath the pillows, snoring quietly. He’d kicked the coverlet off and it tangled in his legs, baring his smooth muscular back. His dreams were vivid and he usually thrashed throughout the night, but he always awakened well-rested. Spock slept sprawled on his back like an exhausted child. His hair had grown at a alarming rate and it now fell over his forehead in a thick sable wave, making her want to go to him, smooth it back and kiss his soft pink lips.
Golden ion fireworks brightened the room for a brief moment and Uhura looked up through the clearsteel dome. The storm that held them captive was beautiful. While she was eager to get back home to the Enterprise, part of her wanted their enchanted time to continue forever. She gazed down at Starfleet’s finest command team. These men, nearly invincible together, revered even by their enemies, looked like sweet boys when they were sleeping. She slipped into the bunk and lay on her side between them, snuggling into Spock’s warm body. He stirred and pulled her close, murmuring in Vulcan. She felt his erection against her hip but he quieted and his breathing resumed its deep even pattern. Jim rolled over and pressed his chest into her back, slipping his arm around her waist. He moved his hand up and cupped her breast and began kissing the back of her neck. She elbowed him gently and she felt his lips smile against her skin. Not offended, he settled himself more comfortably against her and drifted back to sleep. She breathed in their warm male scent. Ah, she thought. A girl could get used to this. It was too bad she couldn’t have it on the ship.
USS Enterprise: Seven weeks ago.
The Enterprise senior staff sat around the conference table in Briefing Room 2. McCoy watched as the captain craned his neck and rolled his shoulders for the third time in five minutes. Kirk had pushed away from the conference table and sat slouched in his chair with his arms folded. He frowned and pulled at his lower lip as his eyes drifted away from Spock. Spock raised a brow but continued with his report. McCoy narrowed his eyes.
Ah, shit. Jim was bored.
They’d been doing milk runs for the past three weeks and had been patrolling the Neutral Zone for a month before that. A potential break in this dull routine came when an M-class planet had been discovered in Sector 009 but the Exeter had beaten them to it, and the Enterprise pulled the ticket for this latest assignment.
They were being sent to Tau Omicron V to pick up a crew that had completed the construction of a tower that triangulated and boosted the signal from two deep-space communications arrays. They were to drop off Spock and a couple of technicians who would remain in the planet for three days to bring the tower online. They would transport the construction crew to DS7, pick up the tower maintenance crew and then return for Spock and the technicians, leaving the maintenance crew to man the tower.
Kirk was extremely annoyed that the fleet’s flagship was being utilized to shuffle equipment and crews but the Federation had spent a fortune on the project, building the arrays, terraforming the planet and constructing the tower, taking nearly a decade to complete it. But this signal booster would cut the delivery of sub-space messages to near real-time. The military, commercial and interplanetary-political implications for receiving real-time messages were huge. The Federation wanted nothing to go wrong and they wanted a starship there to make sure nothing did. The implementation had been delayed more than once and Admiral Komack insisted that the booster go online as scheduled.
McCoy ran his eyes expertly over the captain, noting the tension in his shoulders and biceps and the muscle that flexed in his jaw. An annoyed Jim Kirk was no picnic to be around, but add boredom to the mix and you had a volatile combination. Between the two of them, McCoy and Spock could usually get him to redirect his energies. Sometimes Scotty would put him to work in Engineering on some bullshit project, but they’d run out of ways to distract him days ago.
Damn. There was never a Klingon around when you needed one. McCoy returned his attention to Spock.
“The ion storm will take approximately seventy-five days to clear the system; however, there is a probability of 2360:1 that the storm’s velocity will be affected considerably by the electro-magnetic fields of the sixth planet, increasing its speed by a factor of two. At its current rate, it will reach Tau Omicron V in nine point four days.”
Jim stifled a yawn. Spock’s eyes met McCoy’s.
“Should it slingshot around the sixth planet,” Spock continued, “It will arrive in approximately three point six six days. I anticipate that it will take seventy-four hours to bring the booster online.” Spock clicked off his padd and set it on the table. He gazed impassively at the captain.
Kirk finally noticed that they were waiting for him. “Uh, very well Mr. Spock. Carry on.” He started to rise from his chair.
Another set of brown eyes had been observing the captain, unbeknownst to Spock and McCoy.
“Captain, I have an opinion regarding this mission.”
Kirk tensed and sat back down, barely suppressing his irritation. He wanted to get to the gym and knock out a few on the heavy bag after this meeting.
“Yes, Miss Uhura?”
“I believe that I should be assigned to the team.”
“Not this time, Lieutenant. Mr. Spock’s got his guys and I need you on the ship. Dismissed.” Kirk stood and the senior staff started to file out.
“Not to rout com traffic at a space station, you don’t.” Uhura had raised her voice to be heard over the scrape of the chairs being pushed back and the room grew suddenly quiet.
Kirk looked at her sharply. “’Dismissed’ usually means that the subject is closed and no longer open for discussion. Now, your objection is noted but I said that I need you on the Enterprise and—“
“And I said that I have an opinion regarding this mission. You will hear what I have to say.”
“I beg your pardon, Lieutenant?”
She took a step forward, subtly invading his personal space. “You do not need me on the Enterprise to transport a construction crew back to DS7.”
“I’ve been following this project since its inception and I’d like the opportunity to be involved in seeing it come to fruition.”
“I’m not changing my orders to satisfy your curiosity, Lieutenant.” He turned away and headed for the door. She followed close behind.
“In case you’ve forgotten Captain, I’m the Chief Communications Officer on the Federation’s flagship. I’ll not have you blithely dismiss me like I’m. Some. Decorative. Yeoman.”
Spock stiffened minutely. McCoy winced. Oh, boy.
Kirk stopped and slowly turned, his back ramrod straight. “You’re getting dangerously close to insubordination, mister.”
“I have graduate degrees in linguistics and communications software engineering from MIT. My postgraduate degree is from the Daystrom Institute. Part of my post doc research was used to create the software that drives that booster. So, it is not merely ‘curiosity’ filling my pretty little head.” She leaned forward a bit. “Sir,” she added.
He stood very still. “Stand down, Lieutenant.”
“Frankly, it surprises me that you’re not overseeing this operation yourself.”
A spark flared behind his eyes. “Lieutenant Uhura. You will not tell me how to run my ship. I decide what requires my attention and I decide how to deploy my crew.” His voice was low and tight and a vein pulsed at his temple.
“I believe you dropped the ball on this one.”
He stared down at her in furious disbelief. “Another word, Uhura and I will bust you down to yeoman.”
“What would be the difference if you did? You only pay attention to the short skirt, not the officer in it.”
“And no officer on this ship is irreplaceable, Lieutenant,” he yelled.
“Wrong again, Captain. Take a look around this room. I see five.”
Kirk’s eyes flicked around the room before returning to her face, lingering for a fraction of a second longer on Spock than on Scotty or McCoy. Uhura softened her posture just a little.
“This is a best-man scenario, sir. That storm will be there sooner rather than later, and with a twelve point nine hour margin for error, it’s a mistake to leave a project of this importance in the hands of Mr. Spock and two electricians.”
“One communications technician and one network engineer,” Spock interjected.
“And I have a higher rating than both. That makes me a two-for-one. And the logical choice for this assignment.” She carefully refrained from looking at the first officer, placing a very slight emphasis on the word ‘logical’.
Kirk’s eyes burned into hers. She returned his gaze, her expression calm. The silence lengthened. Scotty watched the captain uneasily and prayed heartily for invisibility. Spock observed Uhura with curiosity. McCoy sat relaxed in his chair, studying the lines on the back of his hand.
Finally, Kirk spoke. “Alright Lieutenant, you’ve got the job.”
“Thank you, sir.”
“In the future, it will serve you well to remember that this is not a democracy.”
“I won’t forget, Captain.”
“The next time I order you to stand down, you will do so before the words are out of my mouth. Is that clear?”
Kirk watched Uhura and Scotty walk out together. Some of the tension went out of his shoulders. He glanced at Spock. “I was going to go work out on the heavy bag but now I think I’ll just skip it and head straight for the sauna.”
“It was perhaps unwise to underestimate her.”
McCoy snorted. “I’ve been telling you guys that for four years.”
Kirk grunted and turned to leave.
“Wait a minute, Jim.”
“What is it, Bones? You want to go too?”
“No, but I think you should.”
“What? Don’t ridiculous. I don’t need to go down there.”
“Jim, you need to get off this ship. You’re bored and cranky and driving everybody nuts.”
“I’m not driving everybody nuts.” Kirk swung around and looked at Spock. “Who says I’m driving everybody nuts?”
Spock raised his brows and focused his attention on the far wall. He pursed his lips; put his hands behind his back. “It might be a welcome respite. Ah, for you.”
Kirk frowned and waved his hand dismissively. “No. No. I’m staying here.”
McCoy held out his hands. “Jim, Uhura’s right. It’s just another milk run. We don’t need you for this. Scotty can handle it.”
“What the hell am I going to do down there, Bones?”
“Swim, fish, get some fresh air and sunshine, swing from the vines, climb rocks until you’re blue in the face, jack off, whatever. It’s just three days, Jim. We’ll be back in no time.” McCoy folded his arms across his chest. “Plus you won’t have to deal with all the press and bullshit that’s going to happen when this thing goes online.”
“Yes. And a few admirals—including Komack, who is still trying to figure out a way to hand you your ass for diverting to Vulcan, T’Pau or no T’Pau. You made him look like a bureaucratic stooge.”
“That’s because he is one.” Kirk’s smile reached his eyes for the first time in days.
Spock raised an amused brow and McCoy laughed out loud, relieved that Kirk’s foul mood had finally lifted. “I don’t understand why Komack’s still so pissed.”
Kirk and Spock studiously avoided looking at each other. McCoy tilted his head back slightly and scrutinized his friend.
“You fucked his wife, didn’t you, Jim.”
“Of course not.”
Kirk shifted uncomfortably.
“Guess again, Doctor.”
McCoy stared at Spock. “You know about this?”
“Unfortunately.” Spock gave Kirk a stern look.
“Spock, you have to believe me. She said she was twenty-six and with those huge—“
McCoy groaned and covered his face with his hands. “Oh, no no no no no. You didn’t. Please tell me you didn’t bang Komack’s daughter.”
“I thought she was his mistress,” Kirk mumbled lamely.
“When did this happen?”
“During the ceremony at which the captain received his third medal of valor.”
“That wouldn’t happen to be the one he got for rescuing Komack’s sorry ass from that embarrassing situation on Ammos VI, is it?”
“It was. Imagine his reaction when he discovered that he pinned a medal on the man who had just deflowered his nineteen-year-old daughter.” Spock cut his eyes at Kirk.
“She didn’t look nineteen. And I certainly wasn’t the first man in. That girl—Ow! Jesus, Bones!”
McCoy had smacked him on the back of his head. “That’s for being stupid and because I have a daughter that age too.” McCoy stabbed a finger at him. “Get your ass down to that planet and stay out of Komack’s sight.”
“Why is everybody beating on me today?” Kirk rubbed his head, grinning ruefully. “Rock climbing, did you say?”
“With back-up antigrav boots, of course,” answered McCoy.
Later that evening, McCoy caught up with Uhura in the officer’s mess. His blue eyes sparkled at her over the rim of his coffee mug.
She finally bit. “Can I help you?”
“You’re probably the only person in the universe who could get away with that.”
She smiled and peeked at him from under her lashes. “I have no idea what you’re referring to, Doctor.”
“You know what I mean. Even Spock won’t fuck with him when he’s in that kind of mood.”
“You got away with it this time, dollface. You won’t again.”
She stood and gathered up her cup and tray. She leaned over the table and whispered, “Maybe. Maybe not. You and Spock think you’re the only ones who know how to handle James Kirk? I got tired of watching you two geniuses pussyfoot around.”
McCoy’s mouth dropped open. “You picked a fight with him.”
“Giving him a blow job was the other option. It was a tough choice.”
He looked at her appraisingly for a few beats then stood and formally inclined his head.
“I bow to the Master.”
She winked. “Watch and learn, Doctor.”
He threw his head back and laughed loudly. Uhura smiled and dropped her tray into the recycler. She glanced back at him as she sashayed out the door and he was wiping tears from his eyes, still chuckling.
“Whew! And here I was wishing for Klingons. That woman. What I wouldn’t give…” He realized that he was speaking out loud.
End Chapter 1
Tau Omicron V: Standard orbit.
The Enterprise prepared to beam up the last of the construction crew and their equipment. The process was taking longer than expected because the construction workers insisted on shuttling up a large quantity of fruit from “the Island” as they called it.
Now anxious to get off the ship, Kirk prowled the shuttle bay dressed in his climbing gear, snapping at anyone who didn’t move fast enough for him and generally getting in everybody’s way. The Quartermaster made a discreet call. Down in Engineering, Scotty heaved a long-suffering sigh, motioned to a young lieutenant and whispered tersely in his ear. Five minutes later, Kevin Riley sauntered into the shuttle bay singing “Kathleen” at the top of his lungs. The captain zeroed in on him and gave him a ten minute dressing-down before finally leaving. Riley caught the eye of the Quartermaster and tipped him a wink. The bay crew swiftly and efficiently went about the task of transferring men and materials.
Regardless of the construction crew’s delays, McCoy wasn’t authorizing their departure until the chief of the construction crew’s medical staff had debriefed him.
“Other than the usual injuries you’d expect from a construction project of this type, everyone’s fit. As a matter of fact, they’re more than fit. I tell you, Leonard, that place did wonders for all of us.”
McCoy favored him with a wry grimace. “I’ve heard that one before, Jonesy.”
Jones laughed. “No! No! It’s not what you think. No magic spores and no spontaneous regeneration of new tonsils or anything. We were down there for nearly eighteen months and as you can see, we’re all fine. The scientists from TerraForm were down there for two years before us. It was all that fresh air and sunshine and real water. And the edible vegetation! And fish! After about three weeks, we took the food replicators offline. It was nothing more sinister than that. The crew that gets to man the Bubble is going to love it down there.”
“The control room of the booster tower. It has a big clearsteel dome on top. Looks like a giant bubble. It’s actually egg-shaped. Spectacular view up there. I didn’t go up there much. Heights give me the willies. Besides, there was too much to see on the ground! The TerraForm geeks did an excellent job of selecting the flora and fauna. It will be interesting to see how it all evolves.”
“I understand they selected a couple of predators.”
“Sehlats and some type of cat. The cats weigh about forty pounds and are extremely shy of humanoids. Never saw them. The sehlats are not at all aggressive unless you get between them and their dinner. They’re huge! I can’t believe the Vulcans domesticated them. There is a large carnivorous frog but it was very specialized to only eat fish. A few insects and small reptiles. A very interesting giant beetle from some planet or other. Nothing poisonous. And then there are the Altairan lemurs. They aren’t predacious. Cute little guys about the size of a Terran squirrel with prehensile tails and opposable thumbs. Very smart and very friendly. They introduced us to the goofyfruit. Walked right up and handed me one.”
“Goofyfruit? Did you all have a nickname for everything?”
“That’s what we called it. It’s like a large mulberry but it ferments on the vine if you don’t get to it soon enough. A couple of handfuls can get you intoxicated.”
McCoy raised an eyebrow. “Sounds like you had a good time down there.”
“It’s a special place, Leonard. If I didn’t want to go home so bad, I’d stay down there forever.”
“That doesn’t make any sense.”
“You’re starting to scare me, Jonesy.”
“I was scared too so I ran every test I could possibly think of and came up with zero. When the Surak delivered the servers, I asked them to run some tests. They were here for a week and came up with the same results.”
“Hmm. The Surak is the finest science vessel in probably the whole galaxy. If the Vulcans couldn’t find anything then maybe there’s nothing to find.”
“That’s what I thought.” They were silent for a moment.
McCoy snapped his fingers. “It’s the Tahiti Syndrome. Cold drinks, warm sand, hot girl. Temperate climate, no pressures. Mellows you out, lowers your inhibitions. You never want to leave until it’s time to go.”
“You know what, Leonard? You’re right. Whew, boy!” Jones chuckled and rolled his eyes.
“What?” McCoy grinned.
“Let’s just say that what happens on the Island stays on the Island. And don’t ask me, because I’ll never tell.”
After Jones left sickbay, the doctor quickly scanned through the results of the Surak’s tests. Nothing jumped out at him. He downloaded the report to a data wafer and attached a note to Spock. He drummed his fingers on his desk, squinted at his screen and said, “Hmm.” Then he shrugged. It was just three days.
Spock leaned over his scanner and re-calculated the progress of the massive ion storm that churned its way toward the Omicron V system. It was the largest storm ever recorded in the sector, measuring millions of kilometers. The change in its velocity was infinitesimal but it shaved off precious minutes of their escape margin. As a precaution, Spock recommended that they take a shuttle to the surface rather than beam down, in the event the Enterprise was delayed and they had to rendezvous in space. A shuttle could easily out-run this storm. He recorded his observations and left instructions for Chekhov to monitor the storm. He headed to the dilithium vault.
When Spock arrived at the vault, he saw Uhura sitting at a terminal squinting through a calibration loop. She chewed at her lower lip. She was dressed in a pair very baggy, low-slung jeans and a yellow threadbare tee shirt that bore a faded picture of a stylized cartoon cat and mouse. The mouse held a bloody meat cleaver behind its back and was apparently serving the cat its own leg as a meal. The tee shirt was clearly too small for her, as it revealed a band of smooth brown skin at her midriff.
She glanced at him without moving her head from the loop. “Is that what you’re wearing?”
Spock looked down at his uniform. Uhura grinned. She didn’t have to look at him to guess his expression.
“Spock, we’re going down to this beautiful planet for three days. All we’ve got to do is install these crystal sheets, let them prime then flip a few switches. Are you going to spend all that time in a uniform? I certainly don’t plan to sit in front of a server for two days and wait for it to heat up.”
“You have the captain convinced that this operation requires your expertise.”
“Hmm. It might. If that thing crashes, you and I are the ones who could fix it.”
“It occurred to me that you deliberately provoked him yesterday.”
“Yep. I did. Sort of. Listen Spock, you should’ve assigned me to this project in the first place and secondly, the captain was being insufferable. I thought I’d kill two birds with one stone.”
“My congratulations on your finesse.”
She shrugged. “He’s beautiful when he’s angry.”
He watched her fingers play over the keyboard. “Lieutenant, may I ask what you are doing?”
“Same thing you came down here to do. I’m re-checking the calibrations.”
“I reviewed them. They are accurate.”
“I know. They used my calculations to cut these crystals. A good scientist triple-checks.”
“I studied your research. Your theory was difficult to prove but very elegant.”
“Thanks. But I’m still angry that you didn’t consider me for the away team. Why?” She finally shut down the terminal and turned to him.
“Because unlike the captain, I know that this project does not require your level of expertise.”
“I understand, but did you once consider that I might want to be there, if for nothing else to see the applications of my work? Not only that, but this is a big deal, Spock--for the Federation and for my career. Nobody remembers who writes the code for these things. My research is very important to me but goddammit, I also want my picture taken flipping the switch. I don’t usually give a damn about politics but I worked my ass off for this. And it probably wouldn’t hurt your or the captain’s careers much to be in the picture either.”
“My apologies for not considering you. Forgive me.”
“Yeah, well, I could never stay mad at you. Just don’t do it again, ok?”
“That is unlikely.”
She turned back to the terminal. “These are ready to go. Help me secure them in the strongbox.” He helped her wrap each sheet carefully and put them in the case. She keyed on the inertial dampers and picked up the case. “See you at shuttle bay four.” She stopped at the door. “Spock, go to your quarters and pack at least one article of clothing that’s not a uniform.”
“Where the hell is Spock?”
“Here, Captain.” Spock walked towards them across the shuttle bay carrying his duffle bag. He was dressed in a pair of loose-fitting pants and a shirt that he wore unbuttoned over a black tee. Uhura nodded with approval. He read the surprised expressions on Kirk and McCoy’s faces. “Lieutenant Uhura suggested that casual attire would be appropriate.”
“I can never persuade you to get out of uniform even on shore leave,” said Kirk. McCoy snickered. “You know what I mean,” Kirk snapped.
“There was no persuasion involved. I merely conceded to her logic.”
“If you girls are done talking about clothes, I’m ready to go,” said Uhura. She hitched her duffle strap on her shoulder and headed to the shuttlecraft.
The three men watched her as she walked away. Her jeans rode low on her hips and though they were loose, they somehow accentuated the firm roundness of her buttocks. The duffle strap had hiked up her shirt and they caught a glimpse of her toned belly as she ducked through the shuttle hatch.
McCoy let out a low whistle. “I wasn’t kidding about humping your hand, Jim,” he said quietly. He glanced over at Spock. “You too, Spock.”
“Really, Dr. McCoy—“
“You guys are blind and stupid. Look at yourselves. You haven’t even left the ship yet. And she’s just wearing baggy jeans and a ratty old tee shirt.” He held up his hands before they could protest. “I know you two. Better than you know yourselves. Just remember that you’ve got to come back to this ship and serve another year together.”
“Give us—all of us--some credit for being professionals, Bones.” Kirk and Spock walked toward the shuttle.
“Read my note, Spock,” McCoy called out. He watched them enter the shuttle craft. “When are they going to learn that I’m always right?” he grumbled.
End Chapter 2
Warm, humid air billowed into the shuttle craft as the hatch opened. Kirk stepped out and inhaled deeply. He could feel the moisture already working on his skin, expanding in his lungs. The tight muscles in his lower back began to uncoil almost immediately. He knew that his hair would soon curl into an unruly mess. He squinted up at the red sun. A huge flock of tiny black and orange birds wheeled and screeched in the sky.
They had landed the shuttle on a concrete pad next to one of the huge pylons that supported the three-legged tower. Each leg was thirty feet in diameter and housed the huge generators that powered the servers and plant operating systems. Oval access ports were placed at twelve-foot intervals all the way to the top. Kirk leaned back and counted twenty. It was hard to believe that just three dilithium sheets each less than a millimeter thick powered the entire complex.
Uhura hopped out of the craft and stood next to the captain. They both took a step back and shielded their eyes, looking up. Far above, the Bubble glittered in the rose-colored sunlight like a jewel in a giant scepter. Spock leaned out of the shuttle hatch, looked at Kirk and Uhura, looked up, raised a brow and ducked back inside.
The last of the construction crew had gathered nearby and were waiting for beam out. A burly man jawed nonstop into a communicator and at the same time yelled instructions at his crew on the ground, who seemed to be completely ignoring him. The foreman stomped his way over to Kirk.
“Welcome to the Island, Captain,” he said, handing Kirk a padd. “These are some little tidbits that we’d thought you’d like to know like, where’s the best fishing, places to avoid like the location of the sehlat’s den, stuff like that. There’s a map of trails in the immediate area in there, too.”
“Thank you, Mr. Michaels. This will come in handy.”
Michaels raised his arm and turned in a half-circle. “As you can see, we’ve cleared out all our equipment and outbuildings and tried to leave as small a carbon footprint as we could. We left the fire pit out by the dock. Thought you’d enjoy it. Nothing like fresh grilled fish. Maybe you got time to do some fishing? Left some filets in the stasis unit for you just in case you don’t.” He sighed. “Hard to believe that all this used to look like a small town. Except for the tower, the dock on the river and a few trails, you wouldn’t know anyone was here.”
“Yes, sir. We’re pretty proud of her ourselves. I’m sure gonna miss this place. I never been any place like this.” He looked around, smiling a little dreamily. “No, not like this. And I been everywhere.” When he turned back, Kirk was surprised to see that he was misty-eyed. Michaels fished in his pocket. “Almost forgot. Here’s the keys to the solar buggy. It’s parked under the tower. Fishing poles in the back.”
Kirk took the key card. “Thanks.”
“We left you all some goofyfruit juice in the stasis unit up in the Bubble. Be careful. It’s got a bit of a kick to it.”
“That’s very kind of you.”
“No trouble.” He leaned back and looked up. “You’ll enjoy staying up there. Its close quarters for three people, in my humble opinion. But I’m just a foreman. Engineers don’t listen to me. Oh, yeah! The code for everything is 1234. Turbolifts, access ports, doors. 1234. It just made things easier. You can change them. It’s all there in the padd I gave you. Well, gotta go. Those boys couldn’t find their ass with both hands and a flashlight if it wasn’t for me.”
Kirk looked over at the crew who seemed to have nothing else to do except wait for the foreman.
Michaels headed over to the beam out point. “Spread out dumbasses, unless you wanna end up pissing outta someone else’s dick! Very funny, Billings. Ha! Ha! It’s all shits and giggles until somebody loses an eye!” One of the crew, presumably Billings, grabbed the foreman by the back of the neck and gave him a loud kiss on his cheek. Michaels punched him on the arm, turned and nodded at the captain. He spoke into his communicator and the crew dematerialized.
Kirk grinned and went back to the shuttle. Spock was handing their gear out to Uhura. The captain’s communicator chirped.
“It’s Mr. Scott, Captain.”
“We’re due to warp out of orbit in an hour but I’ll not be taking her out until you signal that you’re settled in.”
“Thank you, Scotty. We’ll let you know.”
“Aye, sir. Scott out.”
Kirk swiped the back of his wrist over his forehead. “Whew! It’s humid. I love it!”
Spock had walked a few yards towards the perimeter of the compound and stood taking tricorder readings. Kirk clicked on the padd that Michaels gave him and drifted over to stand next to Spock. Uhura slung the captain’s duffle over her shoulder and was nearly knocked off her feet. She dropped it on the ground.
“Excuse me, gentlemen.” They looked over at her. “A little help? You can go play after we get settled.” She stood with her hands on her hips. Her thin shirt clung damply to her breasts and her navel peeked out above her sagging waistband. As he walked toward her, Spock willed himself to keep his eyes on her face and was mostly successful. Kirk was less so.
“Sorry Lieutenant,” he mumbled.
The ride up the turbolift seemed to take forever. When they finally got to the control pod, they exited into a small dark foyer. Kirk punched in the access code and they entered the egg-shaped Bubble. It was divided into four levels. The first level contained the computers that operated the generators, the lifts, environmental controls and those things that had to do with plant operations. The second level contained the communications systems and the computers that controlled the small anti-matter chamber far underground. The third level contained the galley and living areas.
They climbed the spiral staircase to the fourth level. The small oval room was bare of furniture and was capped with the thick clearsteel dome that lent the facility its name. It was warmer up here, the air thick with slightly more oxygen than the other levels and bathed in diffused pink light. There was just room enough for a couple of chairs and a double bunk.
“I fail to see the purpose of this space.”
“Look around you, Spock,” answered Kirk. Spock searched the room in confusion. “The view, Spock. The view.”
They stood under the dome and gazed out of the clearsteel in silence. The jungle stretched as far as they could see in all directions, broken only by the indigo ribbon of the river as it snaked through the trees. In the rose-tinted sunlight, the foliage took on a purplish hue that rippled light and dark like ocean waves as the wind blew through the treetops. The dock jutted from a narrow white beach on the river a half-klick north of the compound.
“Oh, look!” Uhura pointed to their left and laughed with delight. A waterfall fell into a clear pool at the base of a cliff. They could see a faint path leading from the compound to the clearing around the pool. She peered at the sun, considering. She turned to Kirk, her eyes shining. “What do you think, Captain? About three hours?”
“Maybe more. Spock?”
“Three point one, actually.”
Uhura headed for the stairs. “Time’s awasting,” she said, not looking back.
Kirk and Spock gazed at each other for a long moment. Kirk shrugged and said, “Why not?”
“I have no pressing concerns at the moment.”
Kirk signaled the ship as they headed for the lift. “See you in three days, Scotty.”
End Chapter 3
As the turbolift reached the ground floor, Uhura said, “Last one there is a rotten egg.”
“It’s what you say right before you leave your friends in the dust,” Uhura explained.
“Are we having a running competition?”
Uhura looked him and Kirk over. “Oh, it’ll be no competition.”
Kirk laughed. “You think so, Lieutenant?”
“Not even a little.”
The turbolift doors opened and she took off. Spock tensed to pursue but Kirk grabbed his arm.
“I was going to say that she forgot the rest of it.”
“The last one there is the rotten egg, but the first one has to eat it.” Kirk grinned as comprehension dawned in Spock’s eyes.
“Miss Uhura will have to ah, consume whichever of us arrives there last.” He raised a brow and folded his hands behind his back. “That is not necessarily a fate that one would wish to avoid.”
“Now that I think about it, no.”
“Then it would seem that the competition now rests between you and me.”
“It does seem that way, doesn’t it.”
“After you, Captain.”
Kirk chuckled and stepped out of the lift. They walked in companionable silence for a while.
“Do you suppose McCoy was right?”
“Uh, about that.” They had reached the clearing around the pool just in time to a flash of brown disappear into the water.
“Spock, we’ve only been here for an hour and a half and I’ve been semi-erect almost the whole time.”
“You are simply responding to the beauty of …this planet and the temporary freedom from the pressures of command. It is logical.” Spock stopped and allowed Kirk to precede him to the edge of the pool.
“So, I’ve got a logical boner. Maybe I should go back into command mode. At least one of us should attempt to maintain some sense of decorum.”
“It is possible that you are giving this more consideration than it is due.” Spock gazed over his shoulder and swallowed with some difficulty. Kirk turned to look. He blew out a breath.
Uhura had surfaced at the far end of the pool. The water glistened on her smooth brown skin and her round breasts just broke the surface as she treaded water. She pointed towards the trees. “Did you see that? A big-ass frog with these big-ass teeth hopped out of the water holding this big-ass fish in its mouth! Then this big-ass bird with blue legs and a big-ass beak walked out of the jungle and ate the frog and the fish in one bite! Holy shit! This place is great!” She splashed towards them.
“You’re right. I think too much.” Kirk laughed and stripped down to his briefs. He dove in just as Uhura reached them.
She swiped the water out of her eyes and looked up at Spock. “What?”
Kirk surfaced next to her, treading water. “What? Spock, what is it?”
“It appears that I am the ‘rotten egg’.”
“Spock, you cheated!” Kirk yelled.
“I did not.”
“What are you guys talking about? You can’t cheat at being the rotten egg. Why would he want to be the rotten egg?”
Kirk looked her. “Last one in is the rotten egg.”
“First one has to eat it.”
Uhura looked confused for a second then her eyes grew large. “Mr. Spock!” She swam quickly away from the edge. She stopped in the middle of the pool and turned around with a look of horror on her face. Suddenly she grinned. “You have to catch me first.”
Spock calmly toed off his shoes, hooked his thumbs in his waistband and pushed down his pants. She squealed and ducked under the water. He removed the rest of his clothing, folded it neatly and placed it on a rock. He glanced up at the sky, trying to reconcile the red sun with the sultry air and aggressive plant life. For him, a red sun recalled hot, sandpaper breezes. This planet’s breeze caressed his body with what felt like erotic intent, wrapping itself around his sex and leaving moisture like a lover’s lick in the crease where the inside of his thigh met his pelvic bone. It was not as hot as Vulcan but it was quite comfortable and a welcome relief from the chilly recycled air of the Enterprise. He stood in the pink sunlight, appreciating the heat on his shoulders. Kirk swam over.
“Er, Spock. Maybe you should leave your briefs on.”
“It’s too late now. I’ve already seen him.”
Kirk whirled around. “Lieutenant! I, uh—“
She rolled her eyes. “What are you, twelve?”
“He’s first officer.”
“I think I can handle seeing you guys naked. And your skivvies don’t exactly have you covered either, sir.”
“Ahem, the water’s kind of warm and—“
“We’re just swimming, Captain. Compared to what we went through on Platonius, a little nudity between senior officers is nothing. Put it in its proper perspective.”
“She is correct, Jim. Nudity in itself is not improper. It is where and when one chooses to appear nude that dictates its propriety. I am simply adapting my behavior to our current environment.” Spock climbed higher on the rocks. “Lieutenant, how deep is the water where you are?”
“About six meters. Why?”
Spock dove in from the rocks and surfaced just behind her. He placed his warm hands lightly on her waist. “I have caught you.”
She turned in his arms and put her hands on his shoulders. “You have, haven’t you?” She lifted her hand and ran her fingers through his hair. She pulled his face closer and gazed into his eyes. “Fair is fair. I guess I’ll have to eat you,” she whispered. She tilted her head and leaned in, closing her eyes. Her fingers tightened in his hair. “Not!” she yelled and dunked him under.
Kirk laughed as Spock came up sputtering. “Now who’s twelve?”
They stayed at the pool for the rest of the afternoon, diving off the rocks and exploring the caves behind the waterfall. With the exception of an uncomfortable moment when the three of them collided in the dark, they relaxed and enjoyed their naked time, each dive into the pool washing away more and more of their Starfleet officer personas. Spock and Uhura lazed on the rocks in the warm rosy sunlight and talked about obscure pre-reform Vulcan improvisational music and its similarity to a twentieth century Terran musician named Thelonious Monk. Kirk got bored with their geekspeak and swam laps. He later joined them and dozed as he listened to sound of their voices.
As the sun started to go down, they heard a rustling in the jungle, followed by a low rumble. They looked at each other.
“A sehlat,” whispered Spock.
“Time to go,” said Uhura.
“Yep,” said Kirk.
They quickly dressed and left the pool. Once they hit the trail they felt safer and slowed. Spock and Uhura resumed their conversation and Kirk lagged behind. Uhura stopped and leaned on Spock for support while she removed a rock from her shoe. He had gripped her elbow but his hand lingered after they began walking again. He slowly released her after a few steps, lightly trailing his fingers down the inside of her forearm, listening as she talked animatedly about frequency-sifting software that she was developing. Spock had tied his shirt around his waist and the tight black tee he wore underneath accentuated his lean torso. The breeze ruffled his thick hair and Kirk suddenly realized that his contemplation of Spock bordered on the sexual. Realizing that he was not particularly disturbed by that train of thought, his eyes turned to Uhura and swept appreciatively over her curves. He kept forgetting that she was so small, nearly a foot shorter than Spock.
He watched them as they walked comfortably side-by-side, occasionally brushing against each other. They looked good together, he thought. A sense of peace that he hadn’t felt in months stole over him and with that, a sense of protectiveness of the two of them that surprised him. Where did that come from?
They reached the edge of the compound. The tower yawned into the sky; the Bubble caught the last red-orange rays of the sun. Kirk pushed past Spock and Uhura and sprinted toward the tower. “Last one there is the rotten egg!”
Uhura laughed and sprang forward but Spock caught her by her belt loop, pulled her back and ran ahead.
“Hey!” By the time she got to the turbolift door, Spock and Kirk were in deep debate. Uhura bent over and brushed grass from her pant legs. “So, who gets to eat me?” She straightened. “That didn’t come out right.” Spock raised a brow. “Oh grow up, Spock.”
End Chapter 4
When they reached the control room, Spock powered up one of the tertiary computers so they could view the schematics and prepare for tomorrow. Uhura headed for the shower while Kirk rummaged in the galley and threw together their dinner.
Spock was coming up the stairs from the second level. “What is it, Jim?”
“I think this is the goofyfruit juice. It’s delicious. Have some.” He handed Spock his glass.
Spock raised an appreciative eyebrow. “It is quite good.”
Uhura came in rubbing her head with a towel and wearing coveralls that were clearly meant for someone much larger. “What’s good?”
“Goofy fruit juice.” Spock handed her the glass. She took a sip.
“Wow. Is there more?” Spock retrieved the glass from her and took another sip.
“There’s about ten gallons of it in the stasis unit. Now give me back my drink,” said Kirk. He got glasses for them and filled a pitcher with the tart green liquid. “Here, have some while I finish making dinner.”
“What excellent service, Captain,” Nyota grinned.
“I guess you could call me Jim now that you’ve seen my butt. And since I’ve seen yours, a vision beyond beautiful burned permanently into my psyche, I’ll call you Nyota.” He inclined his head.
“Nice to meet your rear end too, Jim.” She looked at Spock. “You can call me Nyota, even if my ass isn’t burned into your brain.”
“I have an eidetic memory, Nyota. I shall carry the image of your posterior beyond this life and through the seven point seven eight million years that my *katra* will reside in the Hall of Ancient Thought before the Vulcan sun goes nova.”
She stared at him with wide eyes. “You had me at ‘eidetic memory’,” she said softly, placing a hand over her heart. She let the silence stretch out. She turned to Jim and burst out laughing at the expression on his face. “Oh! That was priceless! I can’t breathe! You should see—“ She looked at him again and broke into fresh gales of laughter. Spock sipped casually from his glass but there was a definite teasing light in his eyes.
“That’s right, have a good laugh at my expense. Did you plan that?”
“No, we didn’t but you left yourself totally open.” Her laughter wound down to the occasional fit of giggles.
“You’re both fired. I’m serious.”
“Calm yourself, Jim. Nyota, where did you acquire that garment?”
“It was on a shelf in the bathroom. It was clean and I forgot my bathrobe. So.” She shrugged.
“Perhaps your bathrobe is in the same bag as your swimming suit.”
“And my pajamas. That’s why I’m taking my kit up to the dome.”
“I was going to sleep up there.”
“Sorry, Jim. I called it first.”
Spock refilled their glasses. “Actually, I was going to appropriate the dome. It is much warmer there than in the lower levels and therefore more comfortable for Vulcans.”
“You’re not making me feel guilty, Spock. I’m the girl, I get to choose.”
“You’re the girl? You’re tougher than I am.” Jim held a dripping serving spoon in his hand.
“Back off, fellas. I’m sleeping up there and you’re not. Jim, less talk, more cooking. Spock, bring that goofyjuice and let’s go down and look at those schematics. Hop to it, gentlemen.” She left the room without looking back.
They stared after her.
“I have no doubt that she will be an admiral one day,” remarked Spock.
“Uh, huh. Took her about two seconds to get us out of our clothes.”
“I have always found it difficult to refuse her anything.”
“Has it always been like that or just since we got here?”
“Have you ever said ‘no’ to her?”
“Uh, come to think of it, I haven’t. I think I’ve even apologized a couple of times for giving her orders.”
Spock frowned thoughtfully. “Jim, after the Babel Conference, I received a communiqué from my father. His message was brief and rather clinical, just an update of his physical condition. While we were no longer openly feuding, it was quite unusual for him to contact me for any reason. I assumed that my mother pressured him and he relented. After he bade me peace and long life, he paused and very casually asked me to extend his regards to Lieutenant Uhura.”
Jim stared at Spock with wide-eyed incredulity. Spock nodded once.
“My sentiments, exactly. It was exceedingly out of character for him. I did not know that they had met. When I relayed his message to her, she informed me that she encountered him in the turbolift at the end of her shift and he asked her to escort him to the observation deck. He expressed concern that he might get lost.”
“Lost? Your father memorized the S&S before he even set foot on the Enterprise. I would get lost before he would.”
“Indeed. They had a ‘nice chat’ and it seems my father is a ‘lovely man’ with a ‘charming sense of humor’.”
“So, in between beating up a Tellarite ambassador and having his third heart attack, Sarek took a time out to flirt with our communications officer?”
“My father has a singular ability to multi-task.”
“She must have made quite an impression.”
“I’d give a million credits to know what she did to get his attention.”
“My father’s logic is… uncertain when it comes to beautiful women. It is highly likely that she merely favored him with a smile.”
They were silent for a minute. Nyota shouted from the control room, “Come on, Spock!”
They exchanged a look.
“My friend, I have a feeling that we’re going to spend the next couple of days being dragged around by our dicks.”
Spock raised a brow. “Like father, like son.”
Kirk’s laughter followed him down the stairs.
Jim called them twice for dinner but they didn’t come up until well after he finally went to bed. He ended up sleeping in the dome after all.
He woke up very early the next day, crept down to the living quarters, looked in the sleeping alcove and grinned. Nyota and Spock shared one of the bunks. She was sleeping curled up on her side, all but lost in the giant coveralls. Spock slept on his back with the blankets bunched in his fists and tucked under his chin. Their tousled heads rested on the same pillow, foreheads almost touching. He watched them fondly for a minute. That protective impulse came over him again, stronger than it was the day before.
Yesterday, he had chalked his feelings up to residual command conditioning: starship captains were protective of their crew. This was different and something he was having difficulty identifying. It was less a sense of them as individuals but more a drive to preserve the connection, this togetherness among the three of them that felt most like the abiding, soul-centering friendship he already held with Spock.
And there was more than a little sexual energy in the mix. He cast back in his memory for a comparison feeling and--
Was he falling in love?
Startled, he took a deep breath to calm his nerves. He told himself to get a grip and stop acting like a moony cadet. He left a note letting them know that he was taking the solar buggy out to the cliffs for some rock-climbing and that he would be back for lunch at 1300 hours. He glanced down at them as he headed for the stairwell and realized with a pang that he didn’t want to leave them, even for a few hours. He wavered for a moment then recognized that he was being ridiculous.
What he needed was a good workout. McCoy’s ominous predictions were fucking with his head.
Spock woke first. He played Jim’s message, turned on the coffee machine for Nyota and headed to the shower. Nyota opened her eyes when she heard the shower come on and knew that she wasn’t going to be able to wait until he was done before she had to relieve herself. She peeked into the bathroom and saw him silhouetted in the frosted glass standing with his head down, letting the jets pound his shoulders and lower back. Steam billowed over the shower wall. She debated letting him know she was there but he looked so relaxed that she didn’t want to disturb him. She hurried to the toilet. She unfastened the coverall and right before she shrugged out of it, she realized that she would be practically naked should he see her. It was one thing to be nude by a beautiful waterfall and quite another to be seen sitting on a toilet with your pants around your ankles.
It was extremely intimate to be in here while he was showering, something she’d rarely done, even with lovers. There wasn’t much she could do about it because she really had to go. She slipped the coveralls off her shoulders and pushed it down her hips. She plopped down on the toilet and closed her eyes with relief. When she opened her eyes, she saw Spock looking at her from around the shower door.
“Nyota, I believe I have discovered a way to shorten the prime time for the crystal sheets. It may reduce it by as much as a third.”
She straightened. “Really?”
Spock stepped back into the stall and closed the door. She stood, pulled up her coveralls, walked over to the sink and brushed her teeth as she listened to him explain. He finished his shower and he dried himself as she rinsed her mouth. They walked out of the bathroom talking excitedly about his theory. They continued their conversation while they got dressed. They hurried to the control room and worked without stopping until that afternoon.
Jim stepped out of the turbolift filthy but exhilarated. He looked in on Spock and Nyota but didn’t see them. A hatch to one of the tower legs was open so he figured they were down there. He stepped into the galley and was irritated to find that there was no lunch. He sighed and pulled food out of the stasis unit. Twenty minutes later, he heard Nyota’s voice.
“Something smells good! I’m starved. Do you realize that we haven’t eaten since we left the Enterprise yesterday?”
Spock came over and opened the waver door. “Greetings, Jim. This looks very good.” He went to the cupboard and got a glass.
“Where the hell have you guys been? I came back here and no Spock, no Nyota and more importantly, no lunch!” Spock and Nyota looked at him with nearly identical expressions of raised brows.
“That looks like lunch to me,” said Nyota, indicating the steaming bowl in the waver. Spock held out a glass of goofyfruit juice.
Jim smiled. “Right. Less talk. More cooking.”
“Uh, actually, more showering,” said Nyota, holding her nose.
“That’s the thanks I get for making lunch?”
“I would be delighted to express any amount of gratitude that you believe sufficient. After you bathe.”
“Fuck you, Spock,” Jim muttered as he headed for the bathroom.
They tried to wait for him but their hunger would no longer be denied.
Jim walked out of the bathroom wearing jeans and a white v-neck undershirt that stretched tightly across his shoulders and hung loosely about his waist. His skin glowed from the sun and the heat of his shower and his muscular arms were still pumped from rock climbing. The tops of his bare feet were crosshatched with tiny cuts and there was a bit of blood under the nail of one of his toes. His right elbow was bruised.
He looked around the living quarters. Two dirty plates sat on the dining table. Was he supposed to wash the dishes, too? He combed his wet hair back from his forehead with his fingers and frowned. His eyelashes were spiky with moisture and as long as a girl’s.
“We’re up here,” Nyota called from the dome.
Jim sighed and served himself a plate of food. He carried his lunch up to the dome. They had appropriated the bunk that he had dragged up there the night before and added pillows from the other bunks down below. They were reclining on the pillows and were drinking goofyfruit juice, enjoying the view. Jim nudged Nyota over and sat on the edge of the bunk. She pressed her nose into his ribs and inhaled deeply. He squirmed away, feigning irritation.
“What’s next on the agenda?” Jim asked, eating his lunch. Nyota grinned and handed him her glass of juice.
“Nyota and I have completed the installation of the dilithium sheets. Currently, there is nothing to do except to wait for them to prime. We discovered an inflatable raft in one of the storerooms and were contemplating your willingness to accompany us on a short exploration of the river.”
“After a nap,” mumbled Nyota. She had stretched out on her stomach and already started to drift off.
“Correct. After a nap.”
Jim looked at Spock and to his surprise, saw him blink very slowly. “You’re sleepy, Spock?” He had never known Spock to sleep during the day.
“It is curiously relaxing up here.” Spock placed his glass on the floor, leaned his head back and closed his eyes.
“I’m not sleepy but it is nice up here. Is it just me or does time seem to pass very slowly on this planet? For the first time in years I can’t say I miss being on the ship. Can you?” Jim turned to Nyota. She opened one eye and frowned at him. He smirked. “Sorry.” She made a muffled sound and closed her eye. He set his plate and glass on the floor and settled back into the pillows. He watched her sleep. She was such a beautiful woman. The humidity had curled her hair into loose ringlets and one had escaped onto her cheek. He lifted it with his finger and gently tucked it behind her ear. Her eyelids fluttered but she didn’t wake. He slid down the pillows until his head was even with hers. His eyes roamed her face until his lids grew heavy. He slept.
End Chapter 5
On the Beach
Nyota awakened to the feel of a very warm hand resting in the middle of her back. Spock had slipped his hand under her shirt and laid it against her smooth skin. She opened her eyes to find him watching her. She smiled.
“Hi,” she whispered.
“What time is it?”
“How long have you been awake?”
“Twenty-seven minutes. We have slept longer than planned.”
“When did you put your hand on my back?”
“I do not recall.”
“Can you move it up? Higher. To the left. There. Now scratch.” She sighed. “Thanks.”
“Do we still have time to explore the river?”
“We would not get far before we had to turn back. Perhaps we should postpone our excursion until tomorrow morning.”
“Let’s at least go down to the dock and check out the beach. We only have about 48 hours left here and I’d like to get out as much as I can. We can build a fire and have dinner down there.”
“That would be agreeable.” Spock removed his hand and got up. “I will assemble the necessary supplies for us to bring along.” He headed for the stairwell.
“But first, scratch my back?” Jim rolled over onto his stomach and grinned at Spock.
“No,” answered Spock, without breaking his stride.
“Jim! I didn’t know you were awake,” laughed Nyota.
“No” floated up from the stairwell.
Jim grinned and turned to Nyota. After a moment he sobered. “This…adapting our behavior to our current environment. Skinny dipping, napping together. I can’t figure out if I should be worried. I almost kissed you while you were sleeping. Hell, I almost kissed Spock.”
“Now that I’d like to see. You think Spock would go for it?” Jim frowned, considering. She smacked him on his arm. “I’m just kidding.” She studied his face. Clearly, he was disturbed. “Listen Jim, you know that starship crews are selected for their capabilities but they remain together because of their compatibility.”
He nodded, musing. “It’s not just about being able to get along. A starship crew has to function as a body. Each member is literally responsible for the lives of the others. If they don’t fit, I rotate them out, no matter how badly they want to stay. Spock and Bones don’t get along exactly but they…fit.”
“Yes. Four years later, we have a crew of extremely competent, highly compatible people. Spock, you and I have spent twelve hours a day, almost every day for the past four years within a five foot radius of each other. You don’t spend that much time with together without developing some feelings.” She paused. “I think I can safely say that we experience a personal attachment with reciprocal positive regard—as Spock would say.”
Jim smiled. “Indeed.”
“And now we’re on this beautiful little ‘island’ in the middle of nowhere--in a crystal bubble, high in the rose-colored sky, far from reality. It’s like a fairytale. What better place for those feelings to try to express themselves? I’d be worried if they didn’t.”
He picked at a chipped nail. “Maybe. All this intimacy just makes me feel a little helpless, out of control.”
“I believe you’d feel that way even if we weren’t here. And I mean that in the nicest way.” She smoothed his hair and trailed her fingers along his jaw line. She lifted his chin with her fingertips. “You think too much.”
“That’s what Spock said yesterday at the waterfall.”
“Let me put it this way, if Spock’s not worried then I’m not worried.” She sat up and swung her legs over the side of the bunk. She looked back at him. “And you have my permission to kiss me anytime you want.” She walked over to the stairwell. “Spock,” she called. He appeared at the bottom of the stairs and looked up at her curiously. “You have my permission to kiss me anytime you want.”
He frowned. “Can it not wait until we arrive at the river? If we do not depart soon, it will be too dark to enjoy the scenery.”
“Can Jim kiss you, too?”
Nyota looked back at Jim and they both burst out laughing.
They stepped on the narrow beach at the edge of the river and set down their belongings between the dock and the fire pit. On one side of the pit was a low concrete bench and on the other was a spit and grill. They headed back for the tree line to gather firewood. As she gathered an armload of dry branches, Nyota thought about her conversation with Jim and wondered just who she was trying to convince that everything was okay. She had harbored feelings for both of them in varying intensity for years and after Platonius, those feelings had taken on a more solid form. But since their arrival on the Island, her lust for Spock in particular had grown to a near physical ache.
She looked down the beach and saw them piling wood into the pit. Jim had a thick tree branch and was banging it against the concrete bench trying to break it into smaller pieces. Spock stood by observing, his hands behind his back. Finally, he took the branch from Jim, snapped it easily into three pieces and laid them on top of the pile. It was just that type of display that made her weak in the knees. She understood what Jim meant about feeling a little out of control. She looked at Jim. He’d taken his shirt off and his skin glowed caramel in the reddish sunlight. If she wanted to be totally honest with herself, she had to admit that she could just as easily be with Jim, too.
She squared her shoulders and made her way toward them. She’d promised herself months ago that she wouldn’t go there. Again. She should take her own advice and stop thinking so much. They’d been comrades in arms for years. Of course she felt deeply for them.
But lately, Spock was just…damn.
They decided to do a little exploring before dinner and walked along the shore of the river, marveling at the interesting choices that the scientists at TerraForm had selected for the Island’s ecosystem. They found a goofyfruit vine as well as other fruit that they gathered in a canvas bag that Spock had the presence of mind to bring.
They rounded another bend in the river and saw one of Nyota’s giant birds standing in the strong current. The bird was at least a meter and a half tall and had brown tattered-looking feathers and stubby wings. Its beak was about foot long and shaped like a crocodile’s mouth, mottled gray, thick and blunt like two stone platters. Its long legs were an astonishing shade of blue, as big around as a man’s wrist with softball-sized knees. It watched them impassively as they approached but when they got within a few meters, it opened its mouth alarmingly wide and slammed its beak plates together—Clack! Boom! -- creating a sound as loud as an airgun blast. They hurried by, giving it a wide berth.
They turned back as the sun began to set. The treetops rustled with a few early-rising lemurs that raced from branch to branch, chittering and crooning, following them as they walked along the river. Nyota was thrilled when a lemur plucked the fruit she offered from her fingertips and hung upside down as it ate, its huge eyes solemnly staring at her from its round black face. The bird was in the exact spot where they last saw it but this time it ignored them, apparently believing that they were sufficiently chastened. They heard the basso croaks of frogs but didn’t see any.
By the time they got back to the fire pit, the sun was a shimmering ochre ball low in the sky. Thunder rumbled faintly from blue-black storm clouds that had gathered on the opposite horizon but the wind was cooperative and blew them far from their beach.
Jim grabbed a fishing pole and walked to the other side of the dock to spare Spock the sight of “dragging a defenseless creature through the water by its lips.” There was a moment of frustration when Spock could not get the lighter to produce a flame but Nyota rummaged in her bag, pulled out her phaser and fired a short blast at the base of their woodpile. The kindling burst into flames and the larger logs started to catch.
“Most efficient, Nyota.”
“You are being facetious. I cannot imagine you a Girl Scout.”
“You’re finally starting to get my sense of humor, Spock.”
They sat on the bench and began to skewer chunks of fruit and vegetables to grill.
“You were being humorous earlier when you gave me permission to kiss you.”
She couldn’t quite look at his face so she watched the flames. “Why did we swim naked yesterday?”
“We have no swimsuits.”
“What about this morning in the bathroom?”
“You had already seen me naked. Modesty would have been an affectation.”
She grinned. “Spock, doesn’t all this concern you? I mean, we slept in the same bunk last night without giving it a second thought.”
“It is not as if we have not slept together before.”
“On U’Tiran Prime and again on Andor, yet another time—“
“Spock, I’m not talking about hiding from Orions in a cave on some hostile planet.” He raised an amused eyebrow. “Oh, now you’re being facetious.”
“Perhaps, but I am attempting to illustrate my point. We have been through…much together.”
“I just want to make sure that we haven’t been sucked into some alternate universe or our fantasies aren’t being manufactured for us or something.”
“The scientists on the Surak were extremely thorough. We have no evidence to believe that that is the case.” His eyes traveled over her face. “If so, then we are all experiencing the same fantasy and it is not entirely unpleasant,” he added softly.
“Here comes Jim.”
Jim strolled toward them carrying a small fish on his stringer. He held it up for them to see, a big grin on his face.
“You’re awfully proud of yourself for that little thing,” said Nyota.
“I actually caught several bigger fish but every time I pulled one in, one of those frogs was attached to it. I guess this one was too small to be worth their while.” He held it up and looked at it again. Its gills bellowsed feebly.
“Oh, Jim. Put it back,” she pleaded. Spock frowned and turned away.
Jim looked at her and then at Spock’s disapproving back. “Great, now I feel like shit.” He walked to the water’s edge and knelt, carefully unhooking the fish from his stringer. He held the fish in his cupped hands until he was sure it was still alive before he let it go. He returned to the fire pit, wiping his hands on his pants. “I’m glad I did that,” he said. Nyota smiled and gave him a kiss on the cheek.
“It will not harm you to go another few hours without eating animal flesh,” said Spock.
“Don’t worry Jim. We’ve got bread and laka roots and carrots and soy butter and all kinds of fruit. All this stuff will be great grilled. These big mushrooms have a meaty texture. You’ll like them.”
“I’ll be fine. Let’s have some juice.”
After eating, they sat under the darkening sky and talked about how quickly the five-year mission was passing and what the future held for each of them. Spock had them in tears with his wry observations about human behavior, his imitation of Dr. McCoy dead on. They tried to play a game of “Stranded on a Deserted Asteroid”, but no matter how they explained, Spock absolutely could not understand why a starship could not be counted as one luxury item. They tried for “Who Would You Do?” but Spock had trouble getting why one would want to ponder a decision on whether to engage in sexual relations with one of two people whom you did not know and/or would never know, particularly if they were deceased and/or if you and they shared a prison cell with a sentence of life without the possibility of parole. He finally grasped the concept, but his drawn-out analysis of his selections took the fun out of the game. “Spin the Bottle” was out. They opted for a lively debate about whether ‘Sponge Bob Squarepants’ was a blatant rip-off of ‘Ren and Stimpy’, with Spock stubbornly holding out in the affirmative—tightly buttressing his position with the relevant socio-historic citations, of course.
All of the Altairan lemurs were active now and their chittering piqued Nyota’s linguist’s curiosity. She took Spock’s tricorder and stood at the tree line recording them. When she returned to the fire pit, she saw that Jim had stretched out on the bench and lay on his stomach watching the fire with heavy-lidded eyes, resting his head on his folded arms. Spock sat on the ground with his legs out before him, leaning back against the bench. She sat on the small space left at the end, placing a leg on either of Spock. He leaned forward to give her more room but she gripped his shoulders and pulled him back, settling him between her knees. He tilted his head back and looked at her.
“Are you comfortable, Nyota?”
“Yes, thank you.” She looked down at him. His bangs had parted a little on one side and she couldn’t stop herself from leaning forward and kissing him gently on his forehead. She pulled back and gazed at him, smoothing his hair with her fingers. He looked at her with a question in his eyes. “Just adapting my behavior to the current circumstances,” she whispered. He returned his gaze to the fire. She removed her fingers from his hair.
She ran the fingers of both hands through his thick, silky hair, luxuriating in the feel of it slipping between her fingers. “I’ve wanted to do this for years.”
“You may continue under one condition.”
“You must expand your ministrations to my neck and shoulders.”
“There’s always a catch,” she said grinning. He bent his head forward. She began to massage his scalp with her fingertips, moving slowly down to the smooth skin on his neck. She loved the way his hair ended in a crisp line in the back.
She glanced down and saw Jim gazing at her through his thick lashes. Her fingers stilled for a moment but he smiled gently, and suddenly they both knew that this was good, that whatever was happening to them was part of the natural progression of their relationship that needed only a fire on a beach far from the demands of duty and the warm maroon twilight of an island where a soft red sun held the power to open the heart.
End Chapter 6
Jim rolled over onto his back and watched her fingers work the muscles in Spock’s neck. “What is it about Spock’s hair that’s so intriguing to women?”
“Spock is…” She lifted his hair and let it flow through her fingers, watching it catch the firelight. “Irresistible,” she finished.
Jim threw up a hand in frustration. “And I get the same answer every time I ask. Even the fucking Horta…”
“It’s not so much his hair as it is his...“
“Mojo,” Jim said, rolling his eyes.
“Right, mojo,” she whispered.
“What is this ‘mojo’?” Spock asked. He sighed as Nyota pressed her thumbs into the base of his neck.
She thought for a moment. “It’s an Earth-African word that means ‘magic charm’, specifically, a small flannel or leather pouch worn around the neck as a amulet—called a mojo hand-- and filled with herbs and other objects that are purported to have powers to influence whatever the wearer wishes, such as gambling outcomes, business transactions or the attentions of a lover. Its meaning has evolved in popular usage to define a certain quality beyond the superficial a person possesses that makes them attractive to other people. Their sex appeal, if you will.”
“Thank you for that very thorough explanation, Nyota.”
“I’m a linguist. I still prefer the original meaning, though. ‘Magic charm’ suits you.”
“That is illogical; however, if it pleases you to believe so, feel free.”
“Don’t let him fool you. He knows very well his effect on women.”
“Really, Jim. Envy is a most unbecoming emotion.”
“And by the way, a massage is foreplay to a touch telepath.”
“A massage is foreplay to everyone.” Nyota chuckled. “You’re not lacking in the mojo department either, Jim.” She reached down and tweaked his nose. He caught her fingers and brought them to his lips. She smiled and stroked his lips with her thumb. “You know who else has mucho mojo?”
“Sam Kolpeki,” offered Jim.
“The ship’s trainer? Uh, no. And also, yuck. But I’ll be sure to let him know you think so the next time you two have a wrestling match.”
“Sam’s a good guy.”
“Like I said—“
“Nyota, please continue. Jim, please do not interrupt.”
“McCoy!” Jim released her hand.
“Of course. That Southern charm and that accent. He’s stronger than he appears, you know. I like the way he moves--slow and easy—and how he gets a little bit in your space sometimes. He always smells so good. He calls me ‘dollface’. And he looks at you with those blue eyes, like he knows exactly what you…” She trailed off with a delicate shiver and finally noticed that they were looking at her with alarm. “What? He’s bright and complex and very sexy.”
“Please do not tell him that.”
Jim slapped his forehead. “We’d never hear the end of it.”
“Trust me, he already knows.”
“The real question is, how do you know?” asked Jim.
“I have my sources.”
She placed her hand on Spock’s head and turned him forward so she could continue his massage. Their conversation meandered and finally dwindled to quiet staring into the fire, except for Spock’s occasional murmured instruction to Nyota: more, there, yes, lower.
Spock relaxed against her and she could feel his heated body through her clothes as she kneaded the muscles in his shoulders. She grew bolder in her touch, reaching down to undo two more buttons on his shirt. She opened his collar to expose more of his soft skin, rubbing her hands on the crisp hair just below his collarbone. She slid her hands over his skin, raking him gently with her fingernails. His breathing deepened and became ever so slightly uneven. His warm hand came up and slipped under her pant leg, nearly searing the skin where it rested lightly against her calf.
She worked her way back up to his neck, pushed her fingers into his hair, gripped it, pulled his head back and captured his mouth with her own. His lips were hot and sweet with fruit juice. She traced them with her tongue and caught his lower lip gently in her teeth, tightening her fingers in his hair. His fingers squeezed her calf.
Oh god, she wanted this man! She squeezed his shoulders with her thighs, slipped her hands down his chest and tugged on his shirt, pulling it up so that she could rub her hands on the skin of his chest and belly. He ran his hands up her arms and over her shoulders, and sighed when she dipped her hand under the elastic waistband of his pants. She combed her fingernails lightly through the silky hair on his lower abdomen, just brushing against the base of his penis. He shifted his position slightly and turned his head, thrusting his tongue into her mouth, nipping and sucking on her lips.
They kissed like this for long minutes, becoming more passionate as her hands roamed his torso. He pulled her head down and pressed his lips to her ear.
“Touch me,” he breathed.
She moved her hand deeper into his pants, feeling his hot cock slide against her wrist as she reached between his legs. She cupped his sex in her hand, gently lifting and squeezing before sliding her palm up and down his thick, hard length. He groaned softly and pushed himself against her. He rose suddenly to his knees and turned to her, clutching her hips and pulling her to the edge of the bench. He gripped her buttocks and stood, lifting her with him. He set on her feet on the bench and ran his hands under her shirt, kissing his way up her stomach, pausing to dip his tongue into her lovely navel. He pushed her bra up and ran his tongue around her nipple before sucking it hard into his mouth. She held his head to her breast and threw her head back, gasping.
“We should probably be getting back.”
Nyota brought her head forward and looked down and straight into Jim’s eyes. He hadn’t moved from his position on the bench.
“Making love on the beach isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.” He watched Spock’s lips working against her breast, catching a glimpse of his pink tongue stroking a large, dark nipple.
Nyota’s breath came in soft pants. “Spock, stop,” she said breathlessly, still looking at Jim. Spock finally removed his mouth from her and rested his forehead between her breasts.
Jim rolled to his feet and butted Spock with his shoulder as he passed. “Let’s take your logical boner back to the Bubble so you two can adapt to the current environment all night long.” He tossed sand on the remains of their fire and began packing their things.
Spock released her and turned to help Jim with the supplies. Nyota was still standing on the bench, her head turned toward the trees listening to the lemurs when Jim walked over, wrapped one arm around the back of her thighs and folded her over his shoulder. She shrieked and beat at him, laughing as he carried her on one shoulder and a bag of supplies on the other.
“Jim, put me down! Spock help! Jim, put me down or I’ll bite you on the butt.”
“If you are attempting to coerce him to release you, perhaps you should threaten him with something he will not enjoy.”
Jim put her down when they reached the path. She punched him on the arm. “Brute.” She rummaged in the bag he carried on his other shoulder and pulled out the tricorder. “Those little critters are talking about us, I just know it.” She walked on ahead of them recording the lemurs. They followed behind, watching her, listening to her mumbling to herself about fixed lexical collocations and image schemas.
Jim glanced over at Spock. Spock held his gaze for a moment then raised a brow. Jim grinned and shrugged.
“I don’t know, Spock. She’s beautiful. I just wanted to hold her, feel the weight of her body against mine. I’m sorry if I over-stepped my bounds.”
“You and I are not in competition for her affections, Jim. It is her choice. She and I are not bonded. I have no right to object to any decision she makes regarding a sexual partner. I would continue to seek her attentions but I would not block your advances. In fact, I have sensed her attraction to you.”
“It is currently not as powerful as her attraction to me, so I cannot predict if she will act on it.”
“Not as powerful--. Are you bragging, Spock?”
“Vulcans do not ‘brag’,” he answered smoothly. “Nyota and I are adults who share a personal attachment with reciprocal positive regard. This planet provides me ah, that is to say, *us* with an excellent opportunity to explore other aspects of that attachment relatively free from distraction.”
Jim stopped and frowned suspiciously at him. “Did you plan to seduce her when we got down here, Spock?”
Spock stiffened. “I resent your implication, Captain. I had no plan for a grand seduction of a fellow officer. I had, in fact, resolved to prove Dr. McCoy incorrect in his assumptions.” He lifted his chin. “The thought did not at all occur to me until twenty-three point zero one four minutes after we disembarked from the shuttle craft, when Miss Uhura put her hands on her hips and chastised us for failing to assist her in unloading the shuttle.” Spock stared at Jim and after a minute struggle, he allowed the muscles around his eyes and mouth to relax infinitesimally.
Jim let out a loud guffaw. “So all that ‘rotten egg’ business?”
“Convenient, but not necessary. I assure you, my intentions towards Nyota are genuine; however, if an opportunity that may further my agenda presents itself, it would be illogical not to avail myself of it. One utilizes the tools at one’s disposal.”
“And what, pray tell, were the ‘tools’ at your disposal when you seduced that Romulan commander? She was very tough and very smart. Too smart, I thought, to be so quickly and easily unbalanced. How did you do it?”
“With two fingers and one hand behind my back. As it were.”
“Bullshit,” Jim laughed.
“Don’t bullshit. Spock man, you are my hero.” He leaned forward and howled laughter.
Up ahead, Nyota turned and yelled, “Be quiet!”
End Chapter 7
When they reached the base of the tower, Nyota was waiting for them by the turbolift doors, studying her tricorder readings.
“You know, I could probably figure the lexical database out just from these few recordings but if I were going to write a paper with any sort of scholarship, I need to observe them in situ to capture the paradigmatic lexical relations. Just for a few days. I’m sure they have clan-specific dialects and regional differences. I could even do comparisons to the native species on Altair VI and III. Do they even speak the same language? Damn. What a great opportunity this would have been.”
Spock reached around her and punched in the lift code. She was still talking when he took the tricorder from her hands and passed it to Jim, walking her backwards into the turbolift until she was pressed against the back wall. He stood very close with his hands behind his back. His pupils were hugely dilated. He bent forward slowly, as if to whisper into her ear but stopped when his lips were just a hairsbreadth from the smooth skin on her neck. A deep throb of lust forced a small gasp from her throat and she swayed a little on her feet. He inhaled, closing his eyes. The lift stopped and he opened his eyes. She stared at him, utterly transfixed, before he finally stepped aside and let her pass.
Jim stepped off the turbolift after them and propped their bags against the wall. He paused for a moment, running his fingers through his hair and wiping a hand down his face. He pinched his lips in his palm. His heart was pounding and he sucked in shaky breath.
“Jesus Christ,” he whispered. “I guess he wasn’t bullshitting.”
Spock and Nyota moved through the Bubble without speaking. She walked ahead of him, looking back in wonder at the expression on his face. His eyes were very dark now, bottomless, the clear brown iris only a thin ring around the pupil. He took long, deep breaths, smelling her, feeding his arousal. He stared at her with such focus, such total attention, that a tiny thrill fright rippled through her. She flushed as warmth bloomed in her loins where hot blood beat in rhythm with her heart.
He was a step behind her when they entered the dome. He wrapped an arm around her waist and drew her to him, nuzzling her neck, his breath loud in her ear. He pulled her shirt over her head and dropped it to the floor. He pushed his hands under her bra and cupped her breasts, squeezing and kneading them, gently scissoring her nipples between his fingers. She pushed back into him, feeling his erection surge against the small of her back. She reached behind her and worked her hand under his waistband. He groaned and shivered when she wrapped her fingers around his cock but he grasped her wrist and gently removed her hand. He held her against his body, pinning her arms to her sides. They both recognized the need to slow things down a bit, and she relaxed in his arms. He rested his cheek on the top of her head and concentrated on controlling his breathing. He raised one hand and caressed her face with his fingertips.
“Nyota,” he whispered.
“Mmm.” She leaned her head back against his shoulder.
“I must touch you.” He rested his fingers on the side of her face.
Her heart began to pound again and she couldn’t speak.
“Does thee know of what I ask?” He spoke in Vulcan.
She swallowed and nodded.
He pulled her head back and kissed her deeply. He settled his fingertips on her temple and jaw and they gasped simultaneously as he entered her mind, the force of her need nearly overwhelming him. He allowed her to feel his hunger, and their desire doubled and redoubled, feeding back on itself. He held tightly to the control for both of them as she cried out, her orgasm threatening to wash over them both.
whispered softly across her consciousness.
He removed his fingers but the link remained in place. He saw himself as she saw him: much more attractive than he imagined himself to be—luxurious hair, full sensual lips, smoldering eyes--loyal, gentle and kind, difficult and sensitive, his amazing intellect, his mysterious and powerful sexuality. She saw herself as he saw her: intelligent, honest, compassionate, capricious, possessed of a beauty that frightened him and unbearably seductive. Embarrassment, amusement, reassurances flowed gently from one to the other through the link.
She felt something else in him, something that he was shyly revealing to her, a love strong and true and brightly burning, a sense of brother, protector, friend
With a rush of tenderness, she felt/thought
And beneath that, an exasperated but deep fondness
He turned her so that she faced him. Tears glittered on the tips of her lashes.
“Thank you for that. For showing me.” Her voice caught in her throat.
He cupped her face in his hands and gently kissed first one eyelid then the other, her forehead, her cheeks, her lips. He stroked his thumb across her mouth.
They moved apart and took off their clothes.
Nyota lay back on the bed and studied him as he finished getting undressed. He had lost his space pallor from their time in the sun and his skin glowed olive-gold under the dark hair on his chest and legs. His long, slender body was muscular but not overly defined and she was reminded that he was quite young—barely into manhood—by Vulcan standards. His stomach was flat but without the washboard musculature that maturity would bring. He hooked his thumbs in the waistband of his briefs, pushed them down and kicked them from his ankles. His cock was perfect.
He lay on his side next to her and rubbed his hand from her neck to her knees. She raised her arms to embrace him but he pressed his hand against her stomach and shook his head. She dropped her arms and held them at her sides. He slid his hand up and cupped her breast, rolling the nipple between his thumb and forefinger. He suddenly rolled on top of her, bent his head and flicked her nipple with his tongue before sucking it gently into his mouth. She hissed and arched beneath him, gripping handfuls of his hair. He pulled his mouth away from her.
“Put your hands above your head, Nyota.”
She let out a trembling breath and felt the fluttery beginnings of an orgasm build inside her. She raised her arms and crossed her wrists above her head. He bent back to her breasts and sucked and nipped and tongued her nipples with exquisite tenderness until they were hard and hot and almost too sensitive to touch.
He kissed and licked his way down her body and maneuvered himself between her legs. Her pubic hair was waxed into a small neat triangle. He rubbed his lips and nose in the soft tuft, spread her with his fingertips and breathed in her scent. He dipped his head and licked her pussy in a long swipe with the flat of his tongue. She moaned when he pressed his tongue to her engorged clit, flicking it, gently sucking and pulling at it with his lips, fast now, slow now, harder, softer, bringing them to the edge then backing off, thrusting his tongue inside her, only his control keeping them from going over. She brought her knees up. Oh, she wanted him inside her.
Faintly, feather-soft in the back of her mind
“var’tor du.” (tell me)
She could taste herself in his mouth.
“zahvan du sanosh” (your taste pleases me)
The flutter deep within her began to resolve itself into a strong beat.
“ah, baby. please”
He groaned and took her labia into his mouth and tugged, pulling away with a soft sucking sound.
“zhit, nyota tal’kam.” (words, dear one.)
He kissed his way up her body and plunged his tongue into her mouth. He pressed himself against the lips of her pussy and rocked slowly, rubbing her clit with the underside of his cock and coating his hardness with her juices. She reached for him but he curled his body away from her.
“I want to feel you inside me,” she said, gasping.
“Open your eyes,” he said.
He positioned the head of his cock at her wet opening and pressed forward gently and slowly, letting her get used to his size, dipping in and pulling out once, again, and once more, though he longed to take her quickly, hard and in one thrust.
His thick ridge passed through her tight ring and her hot flesh closed around him. He felt his resolve weaken and he was going to pull himself from the link before… /ah, you feel so/…/I cannot/…/Nyota/…A moan rumbled from deep in his chest and his entire body trembled with the effort to keep from
“you won’t hurt me.”
She held his face in her hands. “Spock, you won’t hurt me.”
She pushed her hips up to meet his and his control fled. He started pumping, seeing himself through her eyes, hearing her soft cries and her breathless chant,
“me. oh, god. fuck me”
He pressed her knees to her chest and pounded into her with long, strong thrusts that shook her breasts. And he could feel that he was hurting her but it was good
“ah. spock. yes. harder.”
so good and she shuddered beneath him and dug her nails into his forearms and arched her back and met him thrust for thrust, panting his name and making soft whimpering cries until he no longer had the strength to hold them both on the edge and he had to let her go. He clamped down on his own release as her body went rigid then bucked wildly against his.
He caressed her and waited until her orgasm subsided to occasional tremors. He gazed into her eyes and strengthened the link again, moving in steady, measured strokes, wanting her to feel more intensely her own hot tightness around him. His pleasure began to build again but he made no effort to curtail his release.
She watched his face as he moved inside her. He closed his eyes and gave her more of what she really wanted, to see him and feel him like this, vulnerable and open, his control gone from him; that was her true desire. His breath came in loud and increasingly uneven gasps as his rhythm faltered. He pumped hard and fast and came with a shout. His cock pulsed within her and she held him tightly as he shuddered and moaned. She stroked his hair and didn’t release her hold on him until his breathing slowed and he relaxed against her many minutes later. Slowly, reluctantly, they withdrew from each other’s minds.
He lifted his head and planted kisses like small, hot raindrops on her face. He rolled over onto his back, taking her with him. He cock was still hard inside her. They gazed at each other. He pushed his fingers into her curls and held her face close to his.
“Your beauty is a challenge to all that I am.” he whispered. “From the first moment I saw you, I realized that I knew nothing at all about logic, discipline or duty.”
A tear escaped from her eye and dripped on his face, sliding down his temple as if it were his own.
“Oh, Spock. I remember stepping off the transporter pad, looking up at you and feeling like I’d known you my whole life. An instant later, you just folded into yourself. You said very little to me for days.”
He kissed her softly. “Forgive me, Nyota,” he said against her mouth. “I was… unprepared. When you requested permission to come aboard, I very nearly said ‘no’.”
“I’m glad you said ‘yes’.”
She laid her head on his chest. He stroked the soft skin on her arms and shoulders, running his hands down her back to rest them on the lovely rise of her buttocks. His breathing deepened and assumed a regular pattern.
“Maybe we should um, disengage?”
He shifted his hips. “Actually, I find this quite agreeable.”
They turned their heads and Jim standing at the opening to the stairwell. He pointed over his shoulder with his thumb. “Something’s beeping down there,” he said.
“Beeping?” asked Nyota.
“Yes, it’s been going on for about an hour.”
“An hour! Why didn’t you tell us?” Nyota lifted herself off Spock, who gasped and fell back against the pillows as his cock slipped out of her body. She ran across the room and shrugged into Spock’s shirt. She pushed by Jim and ran down the stairs.
“I didn’t want to disturb you,” he called after her.
He looked over at the bunk. Spock still lay on his back, his arms outflung. “You were quiet for so long, I thought you were done.”
Jim frankly appraised his t’hy’la’s body. Spock was still impressively erect. Jim raised his brows. “Well, then. Mazal tov. And after two hours. If I weren’t a starship captain, I might start to feel a little insecure,” he said wryly. “But your jolly green looks a bit chafed there, big guy.”
Spock opened his eyes and glanced down at himself. He dropped his head back on the pillows.
“She prefers…a certain athleticism.”
“Thanks for the tip. Sounded like you do too. You guys were extremely loud. I thought you were going to come crashing through the ceiling.”
“You exaggerate, Jim.”
Spock propped himself on his elbows. “Did our activities make you uncomfortable?”
Jim wandered over and sat on the end of the bunk. He grabbed a pillow and tossed it over Spock’s midsection. He shrugged with one shoulder. “A little, at first. Then I was intrigued, then aroused, then bored. That thing started beeping and I just wanted you to hurry up and get down there and deal with it.”
Jim stood and stretched. He let out a small chuckle.
“What is humorous?”
“You two are disconcertingly unselfconscious. I’m happy to see that you have adjusted your attitude about sex.” He started to laugh. “What’s even funnier is while I’m pretending to read downstairs, I hear my unflappable Vulcan science officer yell, ‘Fuck me!’”.
“You are mistaken.”
“Puzzling. I was certain it was she who vocalized that particular phrase. I find it interesting that--”
“Spare me the deconstruction, Spock. I feel left out enough as it is.”
Nyota came back up the stairs. “Would it make you feel better to sleep up here with us tonight?”
“The dilithium sheets are primed and now those relays will be kicking over every forty minutes. We’ll have to close the hatches of all four levels if we want to get some sleep tonight.”
“I can sleep downstairs.”
“Jim, in about twenty seconds, you’re going to hear a loud ‘thump’. That’s the sound of one of the relays.”
“I’ll put my head under the pillow.”
Nyota raised a brow. “That’s what you’ll hear. Every forty minutes. All night. Thirty relays.”
“I’m convinced.” He went to the stairwell. “I’ll just get an extra pillow.”
End Chapter 8
Nyota was rummaging in the stasis unit when Jim returned from closing the hatch between the two lower levels. She had rolled her hair into a sloppy chignon and ringlets all over her head had escaped from it. As he watched, one sprang free and bounced over her forehead. She looked quite fetching dressed in Spock’s shirt. She bent to retrieve a container and the shirt gaped open, revealing a smooth expanse of firm brown thigh.
“Fairly deeply asleep.” She dipped a spoon into the container and sampled its contents.
“Asleep? That’s funny. It’s not something I would have expected of him.”
“Yes. Well. I knocked him out with one shot.”
Jim chuckled. Nyota frowned and returned the container to the stasis unit. She stretched her arms over her head and yawned.
“Oh, Jim! What I wouldn’t give for a cheeseburger and a chocolate shake right now.”
“That’s a little heavy for this late in the evening, don’t you think?”
“I’m always hungry um, after. Besides,” she glanced up at the dome. “I think I earned it.”
“I guess you did,” Jim laughed.
“And he’s a Vulcan. You don’t stand a chance.”
Jim’s laughter died on his lips. She raised her hands and curled her fingers into claws and stalked slowly toward him.
“Be afraid. Be very afraid.”
He grabbed her slender wrists and pulled her to his chest, lacing his fingers at the small of her back. He looked down at her seriously. “I’m not afraid of you. Not anymore.” He bent his head and pressed his lips to hers. She brought her hands to the back of his neck. Her lips parted and he savored the faint taste of her that Spock’s mouth must have transferred there. He could also smell Spock on her skin. The combination of her musky tang and the faint coppery Vulcan spice seemed as deeply familiar to him as a memory from childhood. He pulled back and saw that there were tears on her cheeks.
“Hey, oh no, don’t, honey, don’t. Please don’t,” he crooned. He held her face in his hands and wiped her tears with his thumbs, kissing her forehead and her lips. He cupped the back of her head and held her to him, burying his face in her hair. She fit into his arms perfectly.
“I’m not sure why I’m crying. Spock made me cry, too. It’s just that I suddenly feel very homesick. Not for Africa home or even for the Enterprise. I feel like I desperately need to get back to someplace that I haven’t yet been. Does that make sense? Maybe I’m just tired.”
“I think I know what you mean. But we are tired.” He gave her a brief squeeze and kissed the top of her head. “Let’s go to bed. Spock’s probably cold.” Her eyes welled up again. “Shit. I’m sorry, baby. I don’t know why I said that.”
“And I don’t know why your saying that makes me want to cry. Especially when this feels so right. Spock and me. And you.” She covered her mouth with her hands.
He sighed and straightened his shoulders like a man preparing to lift a heavy burden. “Come on.”
They climbed the stairs and entered the dome. Spock lay on his back with his fingers laced on his chest. They thought he was asleep until he turned his eyes to them. What happened next was truly amazing. He blinked and then bestowed upon them the warmest, most beautiful smile either of them had ever seen. Jim grinned and looked away, thrilled and embarrassed. Nyota placed a hand over her heart and smiled back at him, even as more tears flowed down her cheeks. She crawled across the bunk and slipped under the coverlet with him, molding herself to his warm body. Jim slowly undressed and sat heavily on the end of the bunk with his back to them. After a minute, he rubbed his face with his hands and turned to them. His eyes were very bright. Wordlessly, Spock held open the coverlet and Nyota held out her hand. Jim sighed and nodded, gripping her fingers. He lay down facing them and Spock dropped the coverlet over his hip. Spock gathered Nyota more closely to him and closed his eyes. Soon after, Nyota’s lashes fluttered closed. Jim brought the back of her hand to his lips then held it against his chest.
Finally, that feeling that had been so elusive, the one that he could not quite identify as he gazed upon them—was it only this morning?—came to him all at once. It was that feeling he got descending from the cobalt Iowa sky after being away for too long, banking his flitter in a wide sweep over the dusty emerald corn fields, spooking all of the horses in the lower paddock except for Black Ink, who raced below him, tossing his head and tail as if to say, “Jim’s home! Now we can run!”, and then seeing his mother dressed in a man’s shirt and trousers step off the front porch with one hand on her hip and the other shielding her eyes, looking up at her daredevil son, scolding him for flying too fast even as he vaulted out of the still-settling flitter, scooping her up in a bear hug; then, looking into his mother’s eyes, eyes filled with joy and pride and consternation, wonder and love, eyes the exact shade of his, he knew he was home.
As his eyes traveled over their sleeping faces, his chest ached with the knowledge that he loved them; he loved them like his life depended on it—because his life depended on it--and that even the Enterprise was forfeit in the face of that love.
End Chapter 9
Spock woke with the first red rays that filtered into the dome at dawn. Nyota slept curled against his side like a kitten, a mass of curls obscuring her face. Jim lay with his body fitted to hers like a puzzle piece: his arm around her waist, his lower leg sandwiched between hers. His other arm was twisted awkwardly over her head and he rested his cheek on his bicep. Spock could feel Jim’s cool toes pressed against his calf and when he moved his head, he felt his fingertips comb lightly through his hair. He lay for a moment, savoring the tenuous link that had spontaneously formed between them due to his lowered shields and their almost constant skin-to-skin contact throughout the night.
Slowly he raised his shields, gently extricating them from his and each other’s minds. The three of them would need to discuss the new development in their relationship; it would need to be done within the clear boundary of their own minds and without the influence, however unintentional, of another’s thoughts.
He eased his body to the edge of the bunk, careful not to disturb them. He had a task that he must perform and he wanted to complete it before they awakened. He closed the hatch behind him and moved swiftly down the spiral staircase.
Spock emerged from the turbolift into the warm early-morning. On his way from the dome, he had grabbed a pair of pants from the floor that turned out to be Jim’s blue jeans. They were too short and drooped off his slender waist, so low on his hips that they revealed a thick line of dark pubic hair. He paused, filled his lungs with the moist air and stretched a bit. A gigantic sehlat rolled its shaggy body in the dirt at the tree line, grunting and huffing, paddling its big hind feet in the air. It heaved itself upright and ambled away without so much as a glance at the Vulcan.
Spock grinned. A dimple appeared. Just one. On his left cheek. His hair was mussed from sleep and he looked incredibly young. In the soft dawn light, dressed in the ill-fitting jeans, he seemed as much the Iowa farm boy as Jim.
Spock keyed open the shuttle craft hatch and ducked inside. He pulled a data wafer from his pocket and inserted it into the shuttle’s computer. They had reviewed the Surak’s report during the trip from the Enterprise to the surface but Spock had not played McCoy’s attached note to him. While Spock did not believe that there were alien influences at play, he had to admit his surprise at the ease and speed with which he, Nyota and Jim had altered the nature of their attachment.
Spock believed that McCoy was perhaps the finest clinician in Starfleet, as well as a talented and accomplished research scientist and he was interested in hearing the doctor’s comments. He punched a button and McCoy’s voice filled the small space:
“Spock. I reviewed the planet data from the Surak and everything seems to be in order. Your pointed-eared kinsmen are nothing if not thorough. Like I told Dr. Jones, if the Vulcans didn’t find anything, then maybe there’s nothing to find. But places like Tau Omicron V can sneak up Starfleet officers who don’t listen to their doctor and take shore leave when they’re supposed to, like you all. I know you don’t realize it, but three of you already act like you’ve been married for a hundred years. And then after Platonius… Well. Just do an old man a favor, watch out for each other and don’t do anything…that you haven’t thought through. Hell, I don’t know what I’m trying to say. Henry Brooks Adams said, “Intimates are predestined”. I think I believe that. But it cuts both ways: it could be a wondrous thing that sustains you forever or it could be devastating. Be careful. McCoy out. Oh, make sure Jim uses those goddamn antigrav boots.”
Spock ejected the wafer and sat back in his chair. After a moment, he put the wafer back in his pocket.
He powered up the scanners and checked the progress of the ion storm. What he saw was extremely alarming. The storm had indeed slingshot around the sixth planet but had split in two before slamming back together. The force had caused a ‘bulge’ in the storm that had ruptured and sprayed ions toward the Island. An ion storm is an extremely cohesive phenomenon and like a bead of mercury, seemingly reaches out for pieces of itself that have detached. The storm flowed after its renegade fragment at greatly increased speed and recaptured it at Tau Omicron V nearly thirty hours before it was calculated to arrive. Its outer edges were already brushing against the Island’s upper atmosphere; it was too late to escape the planet in the shuttle. The turbulence would shake them apart.
They were marooned.
Spock exited the shuttle and secured the hatch. Above him, a relay kicked over with a loud thud. He heard a distant Clack! Boom! of one of the giant birds slamming its beak plates as if in answer.
Spock entered the galley and turned on the machine for coffee and hot water before climbing the stairs to the dome. Jim and Nyota were still sleeping. Jim had rolled over onto his back and Nyota onto her stomach. She was still wearing his shirt and the lower curve of her buttocks showed beneath the hem. Spock felt a tug in his genitals. He removed his pants and knelt by the edge of the bunk, sliding his hand slowly up the inside of her thigh and over her firm cheek. She stirred and sighed when he pushed the shirt up to expose more of her. He bent his head and nuzzled her smooth skin, inhaling her scent, pressing his lips to the indentation in the small of her back. His lips traveled down and over and his teeth nipped at her skin. He gripped the muscular globes and pressed them apart with his thumbs, bending his head to flick his tongue at the hot puckered flesh. Nyota inhaled sharply and shivered. Spock worked his tongue lower and thrust it between her labia, running it up and down her slit. He heard her moan and he pulled on her hip, rolling her to her side. He lifted her thigh and rested it on his shoulder. His head between her legs, he held her open with his fingertips, licking and lapping her fevered sex and sucking her clit, thrusting his tongue into her vagina and the sensitive dark button of her anus. He felt the bunk shift and Jim’s erection nudged the back of his head.
Spock glanced up and saw Jim suckling passionately at Nyota’s breast, his blunt fingers pressed deeply into her softness. Nyota was gasping and trembling but they held her fast between them. Spock tasted the sudden release of her juices and holding her thighs open with one hand, moved up behind her and slid himself into her wet pussy. He fucked her with long, slow strokes, pulling nearly all the way out then pushing back in until his hips were snug against her ass. He did this over and over again, taking his time, kissing her neck, enjoying the sound of her soft cries.
As Jim kissed his way down her body, Spock repositioned himself, holding her firmly across the ribs so that she reclined against him with one leg over his hip, giving Jim more access to her body. Nyota’s breath came in harsh shuddering pants when Jim made contact with her hard little nub. He nuzzled it with his lips, drawing it into his mouth, stroking it with his tongue, taking his cues from Spock, applying more pressure and picking up the pace when Spock did.
Nyota was nearly screaming when she came and Spock cried out a moment later. They were still shuddering with their orgasms when Jim moved up the bunk, pulled her off of Spock’s body and thrust into her. She was tight and almost painfully hot from Spock’s ejaculate and Jim groaned and bucked as his cock pulsated inside her after only half a dozen strokes. Nyota collapsed on his chest, gasping and laughing.
“Oh my god! That was—that was amazing,” she said between gasps. She heaved herself off of him and fell back on the bunk, bumping heads with Spock. “Oh no! Are you alright, Spock?” Alarmed, she held his head in her hands and pulled him to her.
“My head is undamaged.” His voice was muffled against her breasts.
“Are you sure?” Jim asked.
“I was referring only to the head on my shoulders.”
Nyota gave him a pinch and a hair pull then shoved him away. “Funny,” she said.
Jim’s laughter rang out and Nyota smashed him in the face with a pillow.
“It is not necessary to resort to violence, Nyota,” Spock said.
“I’m never speaking to either of you again,” she said.
“That may prove difficult in light of the fact that we will be spending the next seven weeks here.”
Jim’s chuckles died away. “That’s not funny, Spock.”
“Unfortunately, I am not attempting to be humorous.” He explained the storm bulge and it subsequent rupture. “I was aware of the possibility that effect could occur.”
“You knew this could happen?”
“Jim, there was no way to know where, when or if that storm would bulge. The possibilities were infinite,” said Nyota.
“When Admiral Komack refused to delay the start up until the storm cleared the system, I included my concerns in my report to Starfleet Command.”
“Komack will still somehow fix the blame on the Enterprise—on me. He’s a fuck up and a coward. They always know how to deflect responsibility onto others.”
“I may have casually mentioned my findings to my cousin who is a journalist at FNN in my last communication with her. But I am not certain.” Spock frowned as if searching his memory. But they knew that Spock never had to search his memory for anything.
“You didn’t.” Nyota’s eyes were wide.
“As I said, I am not certain. At any rate, it is not classified information.”
Jim sat up. “Let me get this straight. When Komack starts to go into his “unforeseen events” song and dance, not only will HQ have already read your report, the press will have the story too?”
“It is exceedingly expensive to have three of the fleet’s top officers on the fleet’s flagship out of commission for seven weeks of what looks like shore leave to uninformed taxpayers.”
“Since ion storms have no effect on the booster’s operation and we can send our families regular updates about our well-being. I’m sure your cousin would love to here from you, Spock. From the beach.” She grinned.
“You are correct, Nyota. There is something else, Jim. When I expressed my concerns to the Admiral, I had the distinct impression that he already knew.”
“You think he quashed the report.”
“He is ambitious and desperate to repair his reputation after the Ammon IV debacle.”
Jim winced. “Komack is screwed. He’ll be swabbing decks before this is over.”
“Even more unfortunate is the fact that we will not be able to attend the centennial anniversary of the Vulcan embassy on Earth.”
“That’s right!” Nyota gasped.
“And they have the have the celebration without Vulcan’s Favorite Son.”
“Really Jim, you penchant for hyperbole rivals Dr. McCoy’s. I am hardly Vulcan’s ‘Favorite Son’; however, Ambassador Sarek will be…displeased.”
“I would not want to be Komack when that shit hits the fan.”
“Oh, don’t say that. Sarek is a lovely man. Surely you— What?”
They gazed at her expressionlessly. Jim looked at Spock. “Why didn’t you tell us this right away when you came back from the shuttle?”
Spock frowned. “I do not understand the distinction. Our situation would have remained unchanged, regardless.”
“You decided that bad news goes down better after sex, huh? Ha! We’ll make you a diplomat sooner or later, my friend.”
“That is highly unlikely.”
Nyota scooted to the foot of the bunk and sat with her back to them. “Well, Spock, it looks like you’ll have time to fiddle around with the booster’s processing efficiency after all.”
“It is also an excellent opportunity to further develop and test your frequency-sifting software.”
She brightened. “That’s right! I brought my notes. Oh! And I can do my lemur language study.”
“What am I supposed to do for seven weeks?” asked Jim.
“Make yourself available for sex.”
“You have proven yourself an adequate cook. If you persist in walking about barefoot--”
“Very funny. If you two are quite finished, we do have some serious issues to discuss.”
End Chapter 10
“We need to talk about us,” Jim said again. Spock opened his mouth to speak but Jim held up his hand. “Let’s put on some clothes and I desperately need coffee.”
“How about we take coffee and breakfast outside somewhere. The pool maybe. Those relays kicking over will be very distracting. And I won’t feel so much like we’re having a senior officers’ briefing.” said Nyota.
They sat on the rocks by the pool, enjoying the morning and listening to the splash of the waterfall. After a couple of false starts, they fell silent, content to wait until the right words came. Spock spoke first, surprising the others.
“I am gratified in the extreme that Dr. McCoy is not here.”
Jim dropped his face into his hands and let out a chuckle. He looked up at Spock with a lopsided grin then looked away, rubbing his palms together slowly. “I hate it when he’s right.” He looked down, tracing a crack in the rock with a fingertip.
Nyota looked at them curiously. “I take it you had a conversation about this.”
“He urged caution,” answered Spock.
“One of you better start talking in sentences longer than three words.”
“He knew …our feelings about you. He strongly suggested we not act on them and reminded us that we still have a year left to serve together,” said Jim.
“And you said?”
Jim’s eyes met Spock’s. “We told him he was being ridiculous. Which, at the time, I knew was not true for me.”
“Nor for me,” said Spock.
Nyota stood and hugged her arms around herself. She looked from one to the other. “Go on.”
“What about now?”
Spock didn’t speak. Their link from last night told her what she needed to know. She looked at Jim.
Jim’s eyes returned to the crack in the rock. “When I was infected with the PSi 2000 virus, I stood in the briefing room and with all of that I had inside me, I swore an oath to never loose the Enterprise. Never. I meant it then and I meant it after we were cured of the virus. I believed the Enterprise to be the most important thing in the universe to me. I thought I had everything: the best ship, the best first officer, the best crew, the respect of everyone I knew. Then Spock got sick and I realized that I was willing to give it all up to save him.” Jim kept his eyes lowered. The breeze ruffled through his hair and the tips of his lashes glowed in the sunlight.
Nyota glanced at Spock. He was watching Jim with great concentration, a slight frown on his face.
“Afterwards, I thanked my amazing luck that I got away with what amounted to mutiny. In my arrogance, I thought I was free to return to my earlier thinking. I had my ship, my first officer—my t’hy’la—and Starfleet kept pinning medals on me. I was invincible. I didn’t need anything else. Foolishly, I was afraid of nothing.” Jim stood and brushed his hands off on the seat of his pants. “So you ask me, ‘What about now?’. Now, I’m more terrified than I’ve ever been in my life.”
“Why, Jim?” she asked.
“Because sooner or later God will punish me for my hubris or the devil will come collect for my good fortune. Either way, the price will be my dearest blood.”
In the silence that followed, they heard the cry of an animal from deep in the jungle, one of the as yet unseen cats, perhaps. Nyota walked over and sat next to Spock. She wrapped her arms around her knees and leaned on him. She cocked her head and squinted up at Jim.
“Henry or Brutus?” she asked.
“Corineius,” Spock answered.
“Ah. Good choice.”
“I wish you guys would stop doing that.”
“That was exceedingly melodramatic, Jim.”
“I almost threw my panties at you. I mean, if I was wearing any.”
“It’s how I feel, goddammit!”
Nyota snorted. “No wonder you’re scared. Keeping us safe from the universe? Big job. Good luck with that. Oh, and no pressure on us, by the way.”
“That’s not what I meant.”
“T’hy’la, I have not doubt, that should I die, you would find a way to bring me back to life.”
“Wait a minute," said Nyota. "I have to be able to raise the dead to be in a relationship with you two? The sex was good and everything but there’s mojo and then there’s mojo. I—“.
“I was just trying to tell you how I felt. I thought that’s what we were doing. Can we just move on?” Jim tried to hold on to his indignant tone but he finally smiled when he looked into her twinkling eyes.
“It is unpleasant to be the object of teasing, is it not?”
“Yeah, yeah Spock, I get it.” Jim lowered himself to the rock and put his head in Nyota’s lap.
Nyota stretched out her legs and leaned back on her palms. She watched the breeze play through Spock’s shiny hair. A relay thudded in the tower. They were quiet for nearly ten minutes. Again, it was Spock who broke the silence.
“I find that I am re-thinking my earlier opinion regarding Dr. McCoy’s presence.”
Jim looked up in surprise. “I was just thinking the same thing. Can’t you just hear him: “I’m just an old country doctor but I know you can’t teach a goat to jump out of a boat.” Or something like that.”
“His simplistic homilies can be tiresome but they are often quite edifying.”
“When I first met him, he stared at me without saying anything for so long that I started to get uncomfortable,” began Nyota. “I’m used to people staring at me but—“
“Why would people stare at you, Nyota?” asked Spock.
“A little lipstick and a hairbrush and I clean up pretty good, darling.”
Jim craned his head toward him. “She’s beautiful, Spock.” Spock raised a brow and flushed to the tips of his ears.
“Anyway, I knew it was some kind of a test so I didn’t look away.”
McCoy had sat back in his chair with his arms folded and regarded the woman across his desk. He’d seen her holo in her medical file but it did no honor to the beauty sitting before him. Her hair was shorter now than in the holo, done in a flattering, vaguely Vulcan style that framed her face and focused the attention on her incredible eyes. She was one of those women with a frame as delicate as spun glass but was strong, graceful and extravagantly endowed with firm round flesh in all the right places. Just Jim Kirk’s type.
And she was no slouch in the brains department. Her aptitude scores put her in the tri-nine percentile, she was an accomplished musician and she was extremely well-respected in her field. Actually, she seemed a bit of an over-achiever in his opinion. He could see why Spock selected her. Undergrad and grad degrees at M.I.T. Doc and post doc at Daystrom. Testing out of almost everything at the Academy. Obviously not just another pretty face. He’d have given a year’s salary to see Spock’s expression when she materialized on the transporter pad. He suppressed a grin and rested his forearms on his desk.
“Have you met the captain?” he asked.
“No, sir.” She waited for him to go on but he simply nodded. He continued to stare at her.
It was here that he usually gave his speech about Jim: a stern and rambling warning about how the captain maintained strict boundaries between himself and the crew and that she would get rotated out so quick that it would make her head spin if she so much as smiled at him the wrong way. But, for reasons he couldn’t name, he held his tongue. Uhura returned his gaze steadily until he pressed his palms against his desktop and pushed himself up.
As McCoy stood behind her in the turbolift, he realized that she was tiny; the top of her head just reached his chin. Her hair lay in a sleek black wing against her cheek. His eyes followed the line of her neck from where it began beneath her jaw, down to the curve where it met her shoulder and—his eyes snapped forward. He cleared his throat. He nearly jumped when she spoke.
“You needn’t worry, Doctor. I didn’t come all this way to be undone by an attractive superior officer.” She kept her back to him.
“’Attractive’ is not a word I would use to describe Jim Kirk, Lieutenant.”
“We were talking about the captain?” She cocked her head. McCoy cleared his throat again. “I’ve been to known to hold my own, sir,” she said.
“You’ve never met Kirk. He is…unique. As is Commander Spock.”
“Aren’t we all.” She peered down at her toe. “Darn, there’s a smudge on my boot.”
“Here, let me get that for you.” Without thinking, McCoy knelt and buffed at it with his thumb. He had to take care to keep his eyes on her foot.
Just then, the doors opened to the bridge and there stood Kirk. The doctor knelt with Uhura’s boot propped on his knee. She stood on one foot, her elegant fingertips on his shoulder for support. She reclaimed her foot, stepped around McCoy and exited the lift. She stood at attention in front of the captain.
“Lieutenant Uhura reporting for duty, sir.”
Kirk looked over her head at where McCoy was still kneeling on the floor and frowned.
McCoy rose slowly and exited the lift. He stood to the side with his hands behind his back. He watched them walk slowly toward her station, the captain listening intently to whatever she was saying. They stood talking for a moment before she sank gracefully into her chair. It wobbled a bit and Kirk reached out to steady her, stopping short of touching her. Kirk dropped his hands and turned back to the bridge pit.
McCoy shifted his gaze to Spock and his eyes widened. The Vulcan stood with his back to his console, his attention keenly focused on the new navigator. Ensign Webster was turned in his seat and leering openly at Uhura. Spock would have seemed relaxed to anyone who didn’t know him, but the doctor saw the tension in his abdomen and in the curve of his spine, and the way his weight had shifted to the balls of his feet. Jim passed slowly into McCoy’s line of vision. The captain froze next to his chair and locked his eyes on Webster; his tan skin seemed to flex and pull back tightly over the bones of his face.
Webster turned to Sulu with a lascivious grin, but Sulu was suddenly very busy with his control board. Webster looked over at Spock and the all muscles in his body turned to stone. McCoy looked quickly back at Spock and saw him coiled very slightly forward, a muscle bulging in his slender thigh, his weight balanced lightly on his toes.
McCoy clapped his hands with a loud pop. “Webster! You’re with me,” he said.
Webster jumped and whipped his head towards McCoy. He hesitated, looking at the captain. Kirk’s broad chest seemed to deflate a bit but his eyes still glittered with a hard light. He jerked his head toward the doctor and Webster scrambled to his feet and swiftly joined McCoy in the turbolift.
Spock exhaled, relaxing one vertebra at a time.
Uhura busily examined her board, either oblivious to or ignoring the drama that unfolded behind her.
When the lift doors closed, McCoy turned to Webster. “If I ever see you look at a woman on this ship like that again, I’ll snap your neck myself.” His voice was low, almost conversational; one reasonable man talking to another. “Now, you’re feeling quite ill. You’re probably contagious. You need to remain in your quarters and out of the sight of the captain and first officer for the next three days, then, you’ll ask to be reassigned way down by the deuterium tanks for the duration of your tour. If you have any objections to that, you can go back to the bridge and I’ll let Commander Spock click off your switch.”
“No what, Ensign?”
“Sir! No objection, Sir!”
“Good.” The lift doors opened and McCoy stalked out. While in the shower that evening, it occurred to him that ten minutes after meeting Uhura, he was on his knees cleaning her boot. One innocent comment from those lips and he had hit the deck like it was the thing to do. And now he was standing in the shower thinking about her. With his soapy dick in his hand. He chuckled to himself. Not just another pretty face? Uh, huh.
Over the next several days, he made random and casual visits to the bridge. He discovered that his concern that she might develop a devastating crush on the captain was unnecessary. Her manner with Kirk was respectful and appropriate and she seemed impervious to his charm. Because of this, Kirk was relaxed and expansive when she was on the bridge and basked in her warm, feminine energy, happy and comfortable when she was behind him.
More importantly, she quickly proved her worth on the bridge by refining their communications software and with her seemingly preternatural ability to locate and capture alien frequencies. Uhura was professional, cool under pressure and efficient, often anticipating orders before they came and taking the initiative. She expertly shuffled com traffic, her calm voice soothing ruffled feathers at starbases and outposts, convincing even the most impatient Tellarite to wait their turn. She got things done.
Her interaction with Spock however, was intriguing. She was warm and friendly, even flirtatious. Spock was more standoffish than usual for a few days but then he seemed to be slowly drawn in by her, impressed by her intelligence and softened by her gentle teasing. He was not threatened by her forwardness and often responded to her with an indulgent lift of his brow. It had been his habit previously to escape to the science labs during uneventful shifts. More and more, he lingered, leaving the hands on work to his lab staff and monitoring lab experiments from his console. The play of his fingers over his instruments would pause at the sound of Uhura’s singing or humming snatches of songs. A few weeks later, McCoy nearly fell out of his chair in the officer’s mess when Uhura, organizing a music group, turned to Spock, placed her hand lightly on his forearm and asked him to bring his harp and join them, to which Spock replied, without the slightest hesitation, “As you wish.”
She was skilled at navigating Jim and Spock’s intense and occasionally volatile relationship. She was the only woman he’d ever known allowed into the inner sanctum of their friendship, the only woman who didn’t burn up in their bright fire.
Over the next year, McCoy watched their familiarity grow. One day, he entered to the bridge and saw the three of them standing together. Their heads were bent over a padd, Uhura in the middle. Kirk and Spock’s shoulders were turned a little towards her, their posture a bit protective. He almost approached them but they were circumscribed in an aura of intimacy that discouraged interruption.
Life is a beauty contest and the three of them had hit the genetic trifecta: beauty, intellect and charisma. He observed them, how striking they were, how each was the best at whatever they did and thought how lonely it must be.
He suddenly realized that they weren’t being exclusionary or unapproachable; they were drawn together because they suffered from the same affliction.
“I thought he was going to give me his legendary speech about the dreaded career-destroying Kirkjones. Or the “No Woman Will Ever Come Between Them” lecture but he never did,” she mused.
“Who’s Kirk Jones?” asked Jim.
“You. Helen Noel coined that one.”
“What? Oh.” He frowned. “I thought she didn’t like me.”
“She liked you well enough but she really wanted Spock. Ultimately, her preference was women. Or more recently, a Ker andronodite.”
“She wanted Spock?”
“Miss Noel was an intelligent and discerning woman,” said Spock.
“Sorry Jim, in a game of “WWYD”, Spock beat you out every time. You were always in everybody’s Top Ten, though.”
“Top ten? What happened to Top Three?”
Nyota winced. “Well, honey. You’re the captain and everything but muscle-headed golden boys are a dime a dozen.”
“Muscle-headed! Don’t tell me, Spock’s in everybody’s Top Three.”
“He’s a touch telepath.”
Spock nodded gravely. “There is that, Jim.”
“You guys are teasing me again.” Jim looked up at Nyota.
Spock watched a bird fly overhead.
“I can’t believe this. At least I’m in your Top Three?”
Jim sat up. “What about this morning?”
“Of course you’re in my Top Three, sweetie.” She put her arm across his chest and pulled him back into her lap. “For a galactic hero, you’re kind of a baby. Can I get back to what I was saying about Dr. McCoy?”
“Wait. A Ker andronodite? And Helen Noel? Give me a second. I just want to imagine Helen with one of those gorgeous Kers.” Jim grinned. “Actually, Helen Noel could make a Gorn look—“
“Your level of maturity has eroded considerably since our arrival, Jim. Now please, stop interrupting.”
Nyota giggled. “Actually, I think she had a Gorn in her Top Three. Anyway, Dr. McCoy watched me like a hawk for days. He was worried that I was going to fall in love with Jim and make a fool of myself. But I didn’t.”
“I just can’t win, can I?” Jim mumbled. “You were always the consummate professional. I’m glad you proved Bones wrong. Back then.”
“Not exactly. I fell in love with Spock,” she said softly, gazing at Spock. After a moment, he leaned over and kissed her lips.
“Why does Spock always get picked for the team?” They ignored him.
“The two of you are so close that as time went on, I came to realize that you were a package deal. Then things started to get a little complicated. I know that the monogamous pair is not the only valid structure of humanoid sexual relationships but I always thought that it was for me. It frightened me that I didn’t know that about myself. That’s when I started seeing M’Benga.”
“I remember that.” Jim frowned. “You became very distant and even switched to beta shift for a little while.”
“Like I said, things got a little complicated.”
“I think Spock was jealous about M’Benga and took it out on me. He nearly cracked my skull with a lirpa. ”
“That was an accident, Jim. I was not jealous. I merely failed to see the logic in her selection. You however, remained intoxicated for your entire shore leave on Loridian II and instigated a brawl,” said Spock, looking away.
Nyota reached out and stroked the back of his head. “We only had two dates, my love. I spent the whole time talking about you two. In the end, Ben was the one who encouraged me to go back and see if I still felt the same. That time away lent me some perspective and my feelings weren’t quite so overwhelming. I thought that I’d worked things through and that I’d re-visit the possibilities at the end of the mission. Then Platonius happened.” She looked down at Jim. It was his turn to look away. Anger clouded his face. “It made me recognize what is truly important to me. Truth be told, I had a long speech all prepared, too. It wasn’t as goofy as Jim’s, thank god. There just never seemed to be the right time to bring it up. And I hadn’t a clue as to how to approach it. Maybe I never would have. I don’t know.
“I too, sensed a strengthening in our attachment at that time. I was concerned enough to consult McCoy,” said Spock. “He explained that very often, a shared traumatic experience could produce this effect among those involved. When I informed him that I did not form any new attachment to Miss Chapel, he was his typical, ever-helpful self.”
Jim pushed himself up and stood again. “What did he say?”
“He said, ‘I’m a doctor, not a matchmaker, dammit.’”
Jim and Nyota laughed. The corners of Spock’s mouth twitched then his expression grew serious.
“He did express concern for my emotional well-being and speculated about the effect that such a…relationship might have on what he termed as my issues with identity. He cautioned me about the possibility of the ‘pendulum swinging in the other direction.’ He perceives my relationship with Jim to be a bit enmeshed but otherwise healthy; however, adding a third person--and sexual activity--to that relationship might eventually prove to be too much for me.”
“What do think about that, Spock?” asked Nyota.
Spock rose, stood next to Jim and touched shoulders with him in the Vulcan warrior’s gesture of solidarity. He held out his hands to Nyota and helped her to her feet.
Shoulder-to-shoulder with Jim and holding Nyota’s hands, he said, “Life is short.”
The last relay kicked over in the tower. They headed back to bring the booster online.
End Chapter 11
The Booster, Komack, the Lemurs and Everything
When they reached the control room, Spock strode over to a terminal and punched in a code. The familiar sound of beeps and clicks similar to that of a starship bridge filled the air. He turned and folded his arms.
“Is that it?” asked Jim.
“Essentially, yes. A tachyon field is being generated in a chamber below us. In approximately, twenty-five point three seconds, I will enable the booster and the tachyon cannon will shoot a particle beam into space. This computer divides that beam into frequency streams of which each will be assigned a number. The data attaches to the particles and are delivered to the recipient.”
“How many frequency streams?”
“Unknown. The number is presumably finite but I ended the count task at one googol possible frequency streams.”
“The frequency management software is adequate but Nyota’s sifter will be vastly more efficient.”
“Thank you, Spock,” said Nyota. “All right, let’s send our message in a bottle. We’re online early and the storm’s early. Let’s call Scotty.” She sat at the console inserted an earpiece and set about contacting the Enterprise. She turned back to Jim. “Message, Captain?”
He shrugged. “They were on their way back here by now so they’ve picked up on the storm. We’ll let them know we’re all right and that we’re ready for the official launching of the booster tomorrow. Sound good?”
“Aye, Sir. Tau Omicron V to Enterprise. Come in Enterprise.”
“Enterprise, Scott here.”
“Stand by for Captain Kirk.”
Jim walked over. “Mr. Scott. How’s my ship?”
“She’s doing fine, Sir. The question is, how are you?”
“We’re fine Scotty. Couldn’t pick a better place to get marooned.” Jim bent forward to kiss Nyota’s neck but she flinched away, pointing at the com light. She waved a hand in front of her face and mouthed the word “visual”.
“Well, ye certainly threw a monkey wrench in Komack’s works, Captain. Because they can’t get down there to take a look at the booster, Vulcan is refusing to sign their contract until the storm passes. And if the Vulcans won’t sign, neither will Andor. And if Andor won’t sign, well, you know what the Tellarites have decided. You’re going turn on the beastie but we aren’t going to use it for the next seven weeks. Could have saved a bundle waiting that storm out. Himself is pitching a fit for sure and pointing fingers at everybody, including his dead mother.”
Jim glanced at Spock. “Wait a couple of days for the straight story, Scotty. Hang on. Lieutenant Uhura, can we get a visual on Mr. Scott?”
Scotty’s plain face winked on the screen. A second later, a hairy forearm nudged him out of the way and McCoy’s face appeared on the screen. He looked at Scotty and pointed at the screen.
“Can they see me?”
“Yes, Bones we can see you.”
“Ah. There you are.” McCoy squinted at the screen. “I guess you look alright. A little sunburned. Where’s Spock and Uhura? I want to see them too.”
Nyota leaned in and waved. “Uhura here.”
McCoy smiled. “Hello, beautiful. It sure is good to see you. I’m worried sick.”
“Don’t worry, Doctor. I’m being guarded by Superman and Mr. Incredible. Right now, I’m the safest woman in the galaxy.”
McCoy snorted. He looked over his shoulder and lowered his voice as if no one would hear him. “That’s what I’m worried about, dollface.”
“I’m perfectly fine, Dr. McCoy. Thank you.”
“Well…I haven’t seen Spock. Where’s Spock?”
“Spock here.” He leaned closer to the viewer.
McCoy looked him over with narrowed eyes but said nothing.
“Thank you, Doctor. That was by far the most satisfying examination you have ever given me,” said Spock.
“Listen, you overgrown elf—“
“Gentleman, this is not a good use this multi-trillion credit piece of equipment. We’re fine, Bones. Scotty?”
“Any word on what you guys are going to do for the next seven weeks?”
“Honor guard and milk runs, sir. Komack tried to weasel another captain in here but one word from the Vulcan embassy put a stop to that business. Ambassador Sarek is plenty pissed that the Enterprise won’t be there for the centennial celebration.”
Spock raised a brow. “I sure the Ambassador did not display anger Mr. Scott”
“You haven’t read the communiqué, Mr. Spock,” said Scotty gravely. “Ah, you might want to call the Lady Amanda too when you get a chance, sir.”
Spock raised a brow.
“We’ll keep in touch,” said Jim. “I’m sure we’ll talk to you before the ceremony tomorrow.”
“Aye aye, Captain. Dr. McCoy would like a last word with ye.”
McCoy put his face too close to the viewer. “McCoy here.” Nyota stifled a giggle.
“Yes, doctor,” sighed Spock.
“Jim, you better be using those goddamn antigrav boots. Lieutenant, is there a secure channel on this thing? I mean for medical stuff?”
“Good. I need to talk to each of you privately from time to time while you’re there and I don’t want some jackass like Komack listening in.”
“Kind of like now?” teased Nyota. McCoy frowned severely. “Just kidding,” she said quickly. “I scrambled this line.”
“Ok.” He studied her face. “Humph. I’ll contact you this evening. Uh, McCoy out.”
“Kirk out.” He looked at Spock and Nyota. “Now what?”
Nyota shrugged. She was swiveling back and forth in her chair grinning at Spock. Spock was watching her intently.
“We could go for a hike,” Jim suggested.
Spock walked over to Nyota and lifted her from the chair. He pulled her shirt over her head and pushed her pants down. She kicked them off her ankles as Spock wrapped his arms around her waist and carried her up the stairs. As they walked by Jim she grabbed him by his hair and pulled him along.
“Or we could have sex. Either way…” said Jim.
The ceremony went well, considering. Komack was pale with fury as he stood behind Nogura and Morrow. They still hadn’t decided what they were going to do with him. The story broke on FNN, complete with Spock’s report and the report that Komack quashed. Spock’s cousin made him promise to do at least one “Look How Much Fun We’re Having on the Taxpayer’s Dime” report.
Spock, Jim and Nyota spent the next weeks getting to know each other within the context of their new relationship.
They had a lot of sex.
More often than not, all three of them were present, but their interaction was heterosexual in nature. Spock and Jim’s friendship prior to Nyota was a very physical one and to consciously avoid touching each other when the three of them were together seemed like contrived machismo. Both men were passionate and inventive lovers and contact was sometimes necessary in their efforts to please Nyota. But their touch was incidental, not intentional. Likewise, the exchange of bodily fluids, while not sought after, was inevitable. They were not disturbed by each other’s scent or by the taste of the other’s ejaculate in and on Nyota’s body.
The three of them had a lot in common, such as the need for a lot of personal space. Spock required time and solitude for meditation and despite the outward appearance of gregariousness, Nyota and Jim were actually a bit introverted and studious and like Spock, often sought solitude to recharge. Nyota and Spock shared a love of music and science. Give Jim a good book—or padd—to read and he was happy for hours. They each enjoyed physical activity, Jim especially. In the evenings, they spent time down at the beach or walking along the river, talking, talking, talking.
It wasn’t always easy. Spock could be moody and withdrawn at times. Jim could be competitive and a bit demanding and Nyota was hyper-independent and quick-tempered. But they made a commitment to responsibility, honesty and respect in all things.
They used the booster frequently to hail the ship and Dr. McCoy contacted them every night. Each time, they dropped effortlessly back into their roles as Starfleet officers no matter what was happening in their relationship at the moment.
Spock and Nyota worked on increasing the efficiency of the booster’s network and on the development of Nyota’s frequency-sifting software. Jim was determined to explore every cliff face and map every cave within a twenty-mile radius.
Spock meditated in the mornings on the rocks by the pool. One day, a sehlat waddled out of the trees and rubbed its heavy body against his still form as it passed. The next day the sehlat sniffed at him, licked the side of his head and chuffed in his ear. As it trundled away, a small curve lifted the corner of the Vulcan’s mouth. From then on, it ignored him, lolling in the sun and warming its fat belly a few yards away on the mornings that it shared its rock with him.
One morning, Spock returned to the Bubble after meditating. Jim and Nyota were on the com talking to McCoy. As Spock drew near, the room filled with a pungent, musky odor that caused them to turn and look at him with alarm.
“Did you fall into a bog, Spock?” asked Nyota.
“What? What? Who fell? Spock?” McCoy was craning his head trying to see around Jim.
Jim inhaled deeply, his head tilted curiously. “What do you have there, Mr. Spock?”
“It seems that the TerraForm scientists left a gift.” He pulled a handful of slender purple-green serrated leaves from his pocket. The leaves were attached to short, thick, black stems and had fat slightly spiny buds that looked sticky with either sap or nectar.
“Oh! What a pretty color,” exclaimed Nyota.
Jim blinked. “It’s making my eyes water.”
“Indeed.” His eyes held Jim’s.
“What the hell is going on, dammit! Is Spock ok? You said he fell.”
“He’s fine, Bones,” answered Jim, not looking away from his friend.
“Let me see him!”
Spock stepped over to the com. “I am quite well, Dr. McCoy. I have an interesting addition to your hydroponic experiments. A plant that was not on the list from TerraForm. A rare and potent cross-breed, I believe.”
“What’re you talk—“ McCoy’s mouth snapped shut and he raised a brow. “I see. Can you determine which mix?”
“It is possibly a Vulcan-Terran cross. The best kind, of course. Specifically, the SKR variety.”
“Holy shit. I mean, very good Mr. Spock. I look forward to working with you on that. Handle it with care and make sure there’s enough for further study and possible cultivation.”
“I shall, Doctor. Vulcans have centuries of experience in breeding fine specimens such as this.”
“Well, then. I’ll leave it in your hands—so to speak. And Jim?”
“Everything in moderation.”
Jim stood and pinched off one of the sticky buds. “Look at all that resin. Where did you find it?”
“I noticed the seeds in the sehlat’s spoor and tracked it to a large crop near the stream that creates the waterfall. The prevailing wind kept the scent from reaching us.”
Nyota had been listening to this exchange. “What the hell are you guys talking about?”
“Nyota, do you not know what this is?”
“I wouldn’t ask if I knew, Spock.”
Jim grinned and gathered her in his arms. “You’re such a goody two shoes,” he said, kissing her neck.
“Remember you said that the next time you want to stick your dick down my throat.”
“You kiss your mother with that mouth?”
She pushed his head away. “Cut it out, Jim and tell me what it is. And don’t look at me that way, Spock. I can say it in Vulcan too.”
“It is a plant with vast and varied medicinal properties. Adepts and healers use it in their various practices. On Vulcan it is called ‘dah-patik zudlar-shidik muhl-olau’es’.
Nyota frowned. “Feather leaf with teeth that brings euphoria?”
“That is the literal translation, yes.”
“You said it was a Vulcan-Terran cross? What’s the Terran name? And what is ‘SKR’?”
“The Terran name is, ahem, Cannabis sativa. SKR is ah, Shi’Kahr Red.” Spock glanced at Jim.
“Cannabis sativa? Oh. Oh! Shi’Kahr Red. You’re not going to smoke that are you?”
Jim coughed lightly. “Of course not. We’ll take it back to the ship for further study. Just like we told Bones.”
“I wasn’t born yesterday,” she snorted. “Spock, I’m surprised at you. I thought Vulcans didn’t use mind-altering drugs.”
“As I said, the plant has vast and varied medicinal properties. Adepts use it to tap into genetic memory and as a meditation aid. Healers use it to aid extremely traumatized patients into healing trances.”
“And what are you going to use it for?” She folded her arms.
“It may be prudent to have a supply on hand…” He looked at Jim.
“Yes, Spock. Um, in case of emergencies.”
“Correct. In case of emergencies.”
After she walked away, Jim whispered, “Who knew she was going to be such a buzz kill?”
Nyota continued her recording and observation of the lemurs. One night, she called Jim and Spock to the pool. When they arrived, she placed a finger on her lips and whispered, “Listen”. The clicks, trills and croons of the lemurs were loud in the warm night air. She pressed a button on Spock’s tricorder and suddenly the air filled with voices.
Nyota! Spock! Jim! WeTree! Look! Yum! Kiss! Yum! Yum! Spock! Yum!
They looked at her in astonishment.
Nyota’s eyes sparkled. “Gentlemen, the Tau Omicron V Lemur Lexical Database. Well, not in its entirety. I have identified sixty-one words and programmed the UT in Spock’s tricorder.”
“They know us?” asked Jim.
“Yes. They make specific sounds for common activities or items for which they see, use, eat or play with everyday and I assigned words that we could recognize. They seem to have at least ten sounds for “tree” and they all sound like proper names to me, as if trees are gods. The trees are the givers of life for them so I can see why they speak of them with such reverence. Also, they don’t seem to have a concept of ‘I’ or have individual identifiers. The closest I got was ‘we’ and it was always used within the context of Tree. It seems that they do not separate themselves from their gods so I call them ‘WeTree’. They don’t quite distinguish between us either. They have a general sound to which I assigned the word ‘human’ but the computer recognized subtle differences. They recognize me as female and the two of you as male.”
“Then how did you distinguish between the sound for Jim and the sound for me?”
She grinned. “It wasn’t easy. You sound is a combination of ‘human male’ and ‘ear’. Isn’t that cute?”
Spock folded his arms and raised a brow. Jim started laughing.
“There’s more. They don’t have abstract concepts for things like good and bad. The closest I got was ‘nasty’ or ‘rotten’ and ‘yum’.”
“Why did you decide on ‘yum’ instead of ‘good’?” asked Jim.
“The context didn’t denote the word ‘good.’ It may be my bias but if you spend some time with them, you’ll know what I mean. They say ‘yum’ when they eat, when they play and when they have sex. When they see Spock, they make a combination of sounds that translate into ‘human male ear yum’. They like you, Spock. Uh, sorry, Jim yours is just ‘human male’”.
Jim’s laughter slowly died. “What?”
“Obviously, the lemurs are intelligent –“, began Spock.
“And discerning creatures. I know, I know. Even the goddamn lemurs have Spock in their Top Three.”
Nyota rolled her eyes. “Anyway, want to know the name of the giant bird? Rockmouth. They hate them! They hurl nut husks and twigs at them and yell ‘nasty’ and ‘rotten’ and ‘poop’ at them. Rockmouth! Poop!” She laughed. “What is amazing is that they call the sehlats WeTrees.”
“Interesting. Perhaps they regard them as harmless.”
“I don’t know. At any rate, the lemurs are very friendly. If you sit still for a moment, they’ll bring you a piece of fruit. They like to put it in your mouth for you.”
Just then, a lemur leapt out of a tree and landed on Spock’s shoulder. It gripped Spock’s hair in its little human-like fists and stared at Jim and Nyota. Spock stood very still. After a moment, it began to pick through Spock’s hair, trilling and crooning.
Spock! Yum! Yum! WeTree! Bug! Spock! Spock!
“He’s cute.” Jim reached out to touch the lemur and it dodged his fingers without stopping its grooming of Spock.
Jim! Poop! It muttered.
The WeTree grabbed Spock’s nose and rubbed its little face on his cheek.
Spock! Yum! Kiss! Yum! Yum! WeTree! Yum! Nyota!
“This is going to make a great paper,” Nyota sighed.
End Chapter 12
They spent their last afternoon on the planet swimming at the pool and drinking goofyfruit juice. Nyota was teary-eyed all day. She planned to stay up all night with the lemurs. Jim and Spock spent the afternoon trying to talk her out of it since it would be the last night that they’d spend together.
That morning, they sat at the table, silently drinking coffee and tea. The one subject they’d avoided needed to be discussed: their relationship on the Enterprise.
It went without saying was that they remain professional and that the safety of the ship and crew came first. Spock and Jim already spent a lot of their off duty time together as did Spock and Nyota. That aspect of their relationship did not seem to be problematic.
The issue was sex. None of them felt comfortable engaging in sexual activity while onboard. It was just one more deception that they’d have to sustain for the next eleven months until the end of the mission. It was already going to be difficult to deal with all of the rumors that will have surely grown to gigantic proportions by now.
“Well, that’s one rumor I can squash after seven weeks of being down here with you two.”
“Would that not ‘add fuel to the fire’, Nyota?” asked Spock.
“Not to a rumor that’s been raging out of control for four years, it won’t.”
“The crew thinks we’ve been having a relationship for four years?”
She looked from one to the other. “Not us. You and Spock.”
“What!” they cried.
“You guys didn’t know that? Half the crew is even convinced that you two are married.”
“I can’t believe it. I’m the straightest guy I know.”
“I am the straightest guy you know,” said Spock.
“Oh no, don’t get me into to this one, Jim. You wanted to kiss Spock. So, hey.” She held up her hands.
“Look, I—stop doing that!”
Nyota grinned and winked.
“Sexuality is fluid, Jim. While my preference for women was fixed at a very early age, I would not object to sexual relations with you if you were successful in resurrecting my dead body. In fact, I would add your name to my Top Three,” deadpanned Spock.
“Ok, then. No more sex until the end of the mission,” declared Nyota.
“How about on shore leave?” asked Jim.
“I propose we amend our declaration to say no sexual activity on the Enterprise.”
Jim and Nyota brightened. “That’s brilliant, Spock. Shore leave is exempt.”
“We shall have to be discreet,” Spock added.
They were silent again.
“Bones will figure it out.”
They were met by about a hundred applauding crew members as they stepped out onto the deck on shuttle bay two. A few of the crew looked them over speculatively but mostly they were just happy to have them back.
Everybody exclaimed at how great they looked. Kirk had slimmed down a few pounds and his arms were defined from all of the rock climbing. Spock had tanned a beautiful olive brown and his hair waved romantically over his forehead. Uhura looked beautiful with her curly locks and received so much praise that she was seriously considering keeping the style.
Scotty made a short but hilarious speech welcoming them back and returned command to the captain.
As the welcoming party drifted away, the three found themselves alone with Dr. McCoy.
“Yeah, yeah you look good but all of you are going up to sickbay for a once over.” He herded them out amid much groaning and protest.
That evening he put the finishing touches on his last report and clicked off his computer. They were disgustingly healthy. Each of them had answered “No.” to his “Is there anything else you want to tell me?”
He sat back in his chair and folded his arms, his blue eyes staring at nothing. Finally he stood and stretched.
“They’ve been fucking each other’s brains out for seven weeks,” he muttered.