Author’s note: Yada, yada, yada; nobody cares; just read the ruddy thing!
She did not want to leave this warm, comforting place.
Yet, upon further study, it wasn’t exactly like her home.
She stood in the middle of a parched, sienna colored desert, with the suns relentless rays beating down upon her, brighter and hotter than she had ever felt before. No, she thought upon further perusal, this was not the high arid plains of Tanzania; this wasn’t Africa; this wasn’t even Earth. This new place, though warm, was unfamiliar… foreign… alien.
She turned sharply at the sound of a female’s faint voice upon the wind and she saw her. Approximately twenty meters away there stood a small wisp of a woman with a long, diaphanous, royal blue veil billowing out behind her.
The woman had delicate, pretty human features, the kind that spoke of a cheerful disposition even before one was able to even speak to her. The woman was beckoning for Uhura to come forward, to follow, only to disappear into the next puff of red-brown sand upon the horizon.
Behind her, she heard that faraway voice again, however, when she turned, Uhura found that no one was there.
“Nyota,” said the voice upon the wind once more, “Won’t you come into the garden? We await you there.”
Uhura had taken a few steps forward in the direction of that voice when she heard the other sounds: Water, as if flowing gently over stones; chimes, blowing softly in the breeze; and laughter… a female’s light, tinkling giggle and the deep, unmistakable sound of a male’s throaty chuckle of mirth.
As she drew nearer she saw that she had arrived at a structure of sorts; a large stone edifice, hugging the contours of the hilly valley, a dwelling similar in color and composition to the enormous, jagged boulders that towered and jutted skyward and outward at odd angles all around her.
“There you are, sleepyhead!”
Again, Nyota turned and found herself now standing in the middle of a garden. How she got there she did not know. And these were no earthly plantations; no red roses or white potted begonias that one would find in her mother’s garden back on Earth. This was an alien garden, full of strange, spindly plants in subdued colors and subtle textures with few petals and even fewer leaves.
The woman now appeared again, only this time, holding out both of her arms and gesturing with her fingers. “Come here, Nyota, let me see you.”
Uhura, on her guard took a step back. No matter how friendly the woman seemed, she had been a Starfleet officer for far too long not to approach things with caution.
“No!” she said sharply, only to regret her harsh tone at so gentle-looking a woman. “I’m sorry… I just–I don’t know who you are.”
“Oh Nyota,” the woman chided, “Of course you know who I am.”
Rationally, the face was unfamiliar and yet, irrationally, this woman did seem like someone she ought to know.
“We were all wondering when you would awaken to join us; as you can see we waited breakfast for you. I have made porridge.”
She offered up the brusque words before thinking.
“I don’t like porridge!”
“Not like porridge?” the woman said, smiling. “He always liked my porridge; I thought you would as well; something else then, perhaps. What’s your favorite thing to have for breakfast?”
Uhura furrowed her brow at this odd woman and this odd conversation about a “he”, but answered anyways. “I’ve always liked pancakes.”
“Pancakes it is then, my daughter.”
“Daughter?” she whispered more to herself then to the strange woman. “Why do you call me daughter?”
“Because you belong with us now, don’t you think? Your father and I are very glad to have you here.”
“My father? My father lives in Tanzania… with my mother.”
The woman only laughed as she gestured to a cloth-covered table overflowing with a variety of foods… real earth food—not a blue Starfleet protein nib in sight. She briefly wondered if this was some sort of alien possession of her mind; placing temptations before a person was a common tactic to obtain classified information.
“Come, my daughter, sit. I can see that you are hungry.”
From behind her, Uhura heard a familiar, deep voice laugh softly. “Nyota is always hungry, are you not, my dear one.”
Dear one? Uhura spun around in surprise at the voice over her shoulder. It was Spock… and he was smiling down at her; actually smiling.
“Spock?” she questioned incredulously.
“Spock, is that really you?”
He threw back his head and laughed as if she had said something extremely amusing.
“Yes, Nyota. It is I; who else would I be?”
“But you’re—” she very nearly said: acting strangely, but stopped herself. Perhaps this strange woman was possessing his mind, too. “Why are we here, Mr. Spock?”
“We have been here for nearly a week.”
She was now even more confused. She had not remembered arriving on this strange planet… a planet that she was beginning to think could possibly be the planet Vulcan.
“A week? Where is the Enterprise?” she asked, tersely.
“The Enterprise?” he questioned, a smile still fixed on his face. “The Enterprise is orbiting the planet,”
“This planet; the planet Vulcan?”
She felt, rather than saw his smile fade away.
“No, the Enterprise is orbiting Star Base 16.”
“Who is this woman?” she asked, trying to make a pointing gesture to indicate the human female, but her arms felt weak and heavy and she was much too tired to lift them.
“To which woman are you referring?”
“What do you mean: which woman? Spock, she is standing right here in front of us! Don’t you see her?”
“I only see you.”
“Will you stop joking with me? This isn’t funny!”
“Nyota, I believe that it is time for you to awaken. I believe that you are dreaming.”
Her eyes snapped open then and without moving her head, she let her eyes roam all around to get her bearings first. She was in her bedroom of the rented bungalow on Star Base 16. She turned her head to the right just then and there was Spock sitting on the edge of her bed holding a tray with a bowl of something steaming, gray, and disgusting.
“Oh my, goodness; what in the world is that?” she asked, regaining her faculties quite rapidly when faced with something so unappealing.
“This is your breakfast. I have made porridge.”
“Porridge? I hate porridge!”
“I know you hate porridge, but you must eat it; Doctor McCoy’s orders.”
She didn’t stop to ask him how he knew she hated porridge; she only wanted to hear about the doctor.
“Doctor McCoy is here? Where?”
“Doctor McCoy is still on board the Enterprise, however, he left strict instructions with me for your care. You are to stay in bed for the remainder of the day. Also, since you have not had sufficient nutrition for the last two days, you must consume everything that I have prepared for you.”
Uhura glanced at the tray again, disappointment clearly etched on her face.
“But she was just getting ready to serve pancakes with real butter and real maple syrup,” Uhura whined, clearly upset with the change of menu and venue.
“Who was preparing to serve pancakes?
“I have never met her before and I didn’t get her name, and Spock, I know that this is going to sound extremely silly, but, I think it was your mother.”
All during dinner that evening it had been a series of surreptitious glances and overly polite and stilted conversation. The air at the table was charged with… something and Uhura applied herself to figuring out just what that something was.
Spock had not been very forthcoming where his mother’s appearance in her dreams was concerned. In fact, as soon as she mentioned it, he had left the tray on the nightstand and excused himself to his own room, claiming that now that she was well again, he had neglected his need to meditate. He had stayed away from her for most of the day.
Left on her own for the rest of the morning and afternoon, she could not help but turn her mind to how such a transference so personal could happen. She already knew that Spock was a touch telepath, but she had to wonder at that. If she had somehow became privy to his thought patterns, how could she do so without actually being touched.
By dinner time she thought she might have pieced some of it together, yet, she couldn’t be absolutely certain what exactly she thought it was. The only thing left to do was to get him to discuss it, if she could.
She glanced up from her bowl of chicken noodle soup to regard him for a moment. If she didn’t know any better she thought that his demeanor appeared rather embarrassed, almost as if he sensed where her thoughts ran and was just waiting for the other shoe to drop.
His eyes were focused solely on his plate of stir-fried vegetables and that alone. To get them at least talking, she cast about for a topic of conversation that wouldn’t be too disturbing to him to start off with. She looked around the room and settled on the various flowers, plants, and get well soon cards.
“I didn’t realize that I had received so many gifts while I was sick. I will have a lot of thank you notes to send out as soon as we return to the Enterprise tomorrow.”
“Yes, your admirers were all quite concerned when they learned of your illness; Mr. Chekov being the most insistent that you knew that the large, red flowers were from him.”
He poked at a carrot listlessly with his fork, only to give up the thought of eating to set it aside and lay both hands on either sides of his plate.
“Oh yes, they are lovely.” She reached out and fingered a soft, red petal. “I don’t know what they are called, though.”
Spock finally lifted his eyes. “Eldeberon Marsh flowers; I find them aesthetically pleasing, as well.”
“You should hear what Chekov wrote in his card; listen to this.” She pulled the card out from her robe’s pocket: “Roses are Red, Violets are blue, in Russia it is not being the custom to give flowers to the sick or injured, but I am sending these with very special wishes of good health to you.” She laughed lightly before adding, “I really need to work with him on his English and iambic pentameter, don’t you think?”
She folded away the card and stuffed it back into her pocket. She shivered.
“You are cold. Shall I retrieve a blanket?”
“No, no; I’m fine; just shaking off the last of this virus; I am nearly back to 100 percent.”
He nodded slowly, but said nothing.
“And you don’t have to worry about me shirking my responsibilities. I will be fit for duty tomorrow morning, sir.” She saluted him teasingly.
“You are an excellent officer, Lieutenant Uhura; your not attending to your numerous responsibilities has never been a concern of mine.”
She instantly recognized her opening.
“But seriously, Spock, I wanted to thank you–for all you did while I was sick.” She paused and watched him as his facial expression distorted minutely, only to be schooled back into impassivity seconds later. Watching him for a second longer, she slowly reached across the table with her right hand to touch his left hand that rested at the side of his plate. “I guess I will never know all you did for me, will I, Spock?
Looking down at the hand that was touching his, he did not pull away; he spoke. “Miss Uhura—”
“I can only assume that you fed me, helped me to drink, helped me into bathroom, cooled my brow–”
“Miss Uhura, I—”
“–and if my ramblings from this morning are any indication of my irrational state, you found yourself in quite a predicament at times I shouldn’t wonder. A certain amount of… touching had to be involved with your care of me and that could not have been very easy for you, was it?”
“There are some things–.”
She cut him off to get a direct answer to her question.
His eyes turned away from her again; that admission seemed to pain him.
“You initiated a mind meld with me, didn’t you?”
He started to shake his head even before he answered.
“I did not initiate a mind meld.”
“But you did something to me last night.” She made her voice as gentle as possible. “What was it?”
“It was not intentional.”
“What was not intentional?”
“You were cold.”
“My guard was down. You were cold.”
“You said that already.”
“The environmental controls were insufficient for your comfort–I used my body heat to—you were cold. We slept… our bodies touched——”
She sat back in her seat with a thud and just stared at him, unmoving, unblinking.
He had no words of logic to offer her in the presence of her unwavering stare. It was several minutes before she could bring herself to speak again.
“That could not have been pleasant for you, Mr. Spock.”
“It was not… unpleasant.”
Uhura’s eyes grew large.
“At the time it seemed the only logical course. However, I now see that it was unforgivable. I apologize.”
She thought about this for a long moment. She knew she wasn’t angry with him, just very surprised by an act that was so out of character for him. His only concern had been for her well being alone. She hadn’t the words to sufficiently express how grateful she was to him for basically saving her life.
“I could have died without your help and your care, Spock.”
The absence of anger from her voice made him look into her eyes. “Rigellian Rotoviruses are rarely fatal, Nyota.”
“Yes, but all the same, I could have died.”
“I would not have let it be so. I would have regretted the loss of your friendship.”
A pregnant pause hung in the air for several long seconds before she spoke.
“You will always have it.”
She reached out again, this time she reached up and stroked his cheek.
“Thank you,” he said.
“No, thank you, Spock.”
He placed his left hand over the hand that covered his cheek and squeezed, sending Swahili words of joy through their slight telepathic bond.
Nafurahi. Mimi ni ridhika. Nimefurahi.
I rejoice. I am pleased. I am happy.
Spock then reached out with his right hand. He wanted to touch her, he wanted to connect to her thoughts at that moment.
She merely looked her agreement.
And just as his fingers began to close in on the last inch or so away from the contact point at the top of her cheek, there came a great, loud, pounding upon the door.
“Lieutenant Uhura, Mr. Spock, vhere are you? You must be letting me in? I bring fine Russian Vodka and I have come to keep you both in good company so you are not being bored!”
To be continued.
Authors footnote: And now that I have made you all Chekov haters… one final chapter to go!