Author’s note: As always, there is a second part to this chapter, but I couldn’t get it ready in time and still keep my promise to post tonight. It’s actually finished, but it needs another read-through, but I am tired and I am determined in be in the bed BEFORE 11pm. DETERMINED! Sorry, perhaps I’ll get my crap together and post it before going to work in the morning. Perhaps.
Gaila walked around Uhura’s quarters picking things up and putting things down again, almost as if she needed to inspect everything and anything in a fit of nervous energy. This was no formal Starfleet Admiral’s inspection by any means, it was merely Gaila, the woman, trying to determine just how much or how little her friend had changed.
A curious musical instrument drew her notice and she walked over to it, strummed her fingers over the strings, and produced an earsplitting sound. She winced.
“This looks like some sort of harp.”
Uhura did not bother to glance up. “It’s called a Ka’athyra, more commonly known as a Vulcan lyre.”
Uninterested, Gaila shrugged and continued on with her inspection of the lieutenant’s quarters. She eventually walked over to the other side of the room to inspect the dressing area. Since she was once Nyota’s roommate at the Academy, in her mind, she assumed that she was still permitted certain privileges. She opened the top drawer of the bureau and pulled out a long, sheer length of royal blue fabric and wrapped it around her neck.
“Can I have this veil?”
Uhura glanced up this time, pausing for a moment from the task of readying the cot that she would later sleep on.
“No, you most certainly may not,” she snapped. “And it is not a veil; it is a tu’ruth, a wrap.”
Gaila ran her fingers over a few partially recognizable letters embroidered on the edges. Her Vulcan language skills had always been atrocious; she spoke it better then she actually read it and that in itself wasn’t saying much. She tried to make out the words, but “yelkam” was all she got, and that didn’t make any sense.
“This is Vulcan, isn’t it? And where, may I ask, are you going to wear a Vulcan wrap?”
“It was a gift, now put it back, please.”
Gaila studied herself in the mirror, comparing the hue of her skin and hair and finding nothing about the wrap complimentary in the least.
“Not my color, anyway.” She took it off, bunched it up, and shoved it back into the top drawer.
Nyota sighed tiredly. “That reminds me, I have a nightgown you can wear.”
Uhura dropped the sheet she had been unfolding, went to her bureau, opened up the second drawer and took out a long white cotton gown and handed it over. Without missing a beat, she opened the top drawer, took out her tu’ruth, and carefully refolded it again.
Gaila held the nightgown aloft and away from her body in disgust.
“Nothing ever changes with you: same granny gowns, I see. You probably still wear those hideous white granny panties, too.”
Uhura ignored her. “I’ve got to get back up to the bridge, so I will leave you to your rest. If you want anything to eat just call for the captain’s steward; his name is Holliday. The Captain’s yeoman is Duncan; she can get you squared away with the quartermaster, although, I doubt very much if there’s an Admiral’s uniform available in the ships stores. I’m off duty at 1800; if you like, we’ll have dinner together if you’re awake then.”
Gaila looked at the floor while nodding, bit her lip, and took a hesitant step forward. Uhura thought she looked small like a little girl just then.
“N-Ny, before you go, tell me–Hikaru–.” Gaila, uncertain, glanced up.
Uhura looked off into the middle distance and blew out a long, slow breathe.
“Look Gaila, I’m not going to lie to you, you have a lot of work to do there, I’m afraid. He hasn’t gotten over it; he still blames you.”
“Ok, I understand.”
“He’s currently away on leave.”
Gaila’s eyes returned to the floor. “I see.”
“When he gets back, I’m not sure how he will react if he—”
“OK, I said, I got it!”
Gaila’s voice grew small. “I asked.”
Kirk swiveled around quickly and his eyes alighted on her as soon as the turbolift doors swished open. Uhura felt his eyes following her all the way to the communication’s station where she dismissed her relief.
“The Admiral?” he asked, in his usual shorthand.
“I’ve got her settled, sir; I think she’ll sleep for the rest of the afternoon.”
“Good,” he replied concisely.
To Uhura, Kirk’s eyes were inquiring for so much more, but fortunately for her, he had always been blessed with tact and would most likely save his inquiries for later. Kirk, done with her for the moment, turned his chair slightly to the left.
“Report, Mr. Spock.”
“I’ve tracked the ion storm that disabled Captain Mar-ku-set’s ship. It’s on a heading of 233 mark 7. On that course, it will pass very near the Deltan system. I recommend that we issue a warning to Deltan Space Central as a precaution to prevent the same mishap that befell the Atraides.”
Kirk turned back to Uhura. “Very well; got that, Lieutenant?”
“And Lieutenant Uhura–” Uhura stopped what she was doing and looked at him quizzically. “–please join me for lunch today in the officer’s—” he paused, changing his own course mid-sentence. “Better make that the captain’s mess at 1300.”
She turned back to her console and bent her head down in defeat. She knew very well that Kirk never used his personal mess for anyone other than the most important visitors; apparently she was going to be very important that day.
“Aye, aye, sir.”
To be continued.
Author’s footnote: Before anyone asks, Spock will show up eventually. We writer’s have to get the pesky exposition out of the way first, so patience, my lovelies. Oh, and BTW: If you noticed, I changed the title back to the original way I had it at first. And again, these stories in this (TOS) trilogy are stand-alone; you can read them out of order… or not.