The away party materialized in Transporter Room 3. Dez was next to Uhura, holding two bags. Uhura held two more. Kirk and Spock flanked them.
Dez was quite surprised to see Mr. Spock standing next to Captain Kirk when she was formally discharged. Uhura stood between them, holding three bags from N’jeti. She had a satisfied smile on her face and Dez recognized the expression. Uhura looked like she had gotten the fuck of her life last night, so she expected to see the captain with her. There was no earthly reason for Mr. Spock to be present, but he was. She noticed that they stood very close to each other. Was there something going on?
Apparently, Uhura mentioned Dez’s reluctance to get close to a man. Captain Kirk merely smiled and welcomed her back and Commander Spock did the same thing. Uhura hugged her and presented her with the bags from N’jeti.
“I couldn’t help it,” she said.
“You didn’t have to, Lieutenant Uhura.”
“I know. I wanted to.”
There was a contented glow in Uhura’s eyes. Dez couldn’t help being happy for her. So the rumors about the captain were true. But why was Spock there with them when he didn’t need to be? Was it possible…?
When they were back on the Enterprise, Uhura helped Dez carry her things to her new quarters. She took time to show Dez what she bought and hung her new clothes in her closet.
“Thanks, Nyota,” she said. “You really didn’t have to do that.”
“Dez, it’s the least I could do. You won’t be back on duty for a while, so there’s no point in wearing that uniform until you have to.”
“I agree with that,” she replied.
Uhura smiled at her. “I know that some of the other women on board will stop by at some point, so I’ll let you get settled.”
“Before you leave, can I ask you a question?”
“Did you have a good time last night?”
Uhura sighed and closed her eyes. Last night was unbelievable, mind-boggling. She flushed with color and slid her hands up and down her hips. “Yes,” she said. She had the passion marks to show for it.
“I can tell. Do you mind if I ask another question?”
“If it’s none of my business, don’t hesitate to say so.”
Uhura shrugged. “Shoot.”
“Are you also involved with Mr. Spock?”
Uhura widened her eyes. “What?” How in the hell did Dez know that?
“Dez…” Should she tell her the truth? Dez had been incredibly candid yesterday when she realized that Uhura was in love with the captain.
“Why was he there? There was no reason for him to beam down with you and the captain for a mere hospital discharge, unless he was with you two last night.”
“Dez—” Uhura was unprepared for the Bajoran’s startling insight.
“Nyota, your secret is safe with me. I won’t tell. But I couldn’t help but wonder when I saw the three of you. You guys were standing so close together. I’m not blind. If you are involved with Mr. Spock as well as Captain Kirk, then…”
“Then that’s your business. I told you yesterday that I didn’t care. I still don’t. However, I find it very interesting.”
Uhura sighed and declined to respond. Either she was as transparent as a piece of glass or Dez was remarkably astute. She needed to learn some serious discipline. Maybe it was time to start meditating.
Dez shook her head. “I have to ask, what in the hell are you packing down there? Kryptonite?”
“Kryptonite. You know, the substance that makes Superman weak. You’ve got something they like.”
Uhura had to laugh. “You’re crazy.”
“Maybe I am,” Dez said. “But I have to commend you, Nyota. Whatever you have, you need to bottle and sell it. You would make a fortune. I’ve got to say that I’m really impressed.”
Uhura blushed. She decided to trust Dez. It actually felt good to have someone on board the ship that she could confide in. “It was completely unexpected, Dez. Our relationship began in Kalamar. It’s wild, it’s insane and it breaks so many rules that we might get court-martialed. But there’s a fire, a passion between us so hot that it’s tangible. I can’t keep away from either man and they can’t stay away from me. We can’t help it. I’m not even going to lie to you. I’m so happy with them in my life that there are some things I can give up as long as it’s not either of them.”
“Is it all focused on you?”
“Yes.” Although Spock and Kirk’s comfort level around each other had increased since Kalamar and they already had a strong bond, there was never any doubt as to the center of their personal relationship. However, Uhura didn’t discount that more could happen. She didn’t worry about it. Whatever would, would. Their relationship already defied logic and sensibility.
Dez nodded her head, smiling. “There’s nothing better than a real good love except a really great love. Good for you, Nyota. Not all of us are able to feel that way about one person, much less two. My advice is still sound. Take the opportunity to love them as hard as you can when you can. And to hell with everyone else.”
“You say that like it’s going to be easy to do.”
“Oh, it won’t be. It won’t be easy at all. You’ve got to decide for yourself what’s important.”
“I already know what’s important, but I don’t want either of them to lose their careers over this thing. I don’t want to lose mine, but…” She trailed off, realizing how contradictory her words were.
“I assume that all three of you knew that going in?”
She nodded. “Yes.”
“And it still happened.”
“So, you were all very aware that you could lose your careers, be disgraced, be the subject of horrible gossip, and be the progenitors of a new Starfleet regulation manual. And you still became involved with one another.”
“Yes. It’s foolish, it’s reckless, it’s crazy and I can’t believe I’m gambling with my life…but…”
“Nyota,” Dez said, “that’s love. Love doesn’t make a bit of sense. In fact, there’s quite of bit of medical research that implies that the brain waves of someone in love are an exact match to the brain waves of a person who’s insane.”
Uhura sighed. “I guess I am. I guess they are, too. I just wish there was an easy way to handle this.”
“Well, you didn’t pick an easy affair. If you had fallen for anyone other than your commanding officers, this wouldn’t even be an issue. Although it’s utter bullshit for Starfleet officials to expect that commanding officers won’t fall in love with anyone on board a starship during a five-year mission.”
“I think if it were just the one, it wouldn’t be such a big deal.” Uhura wasn’t entirely sure of that, however.
“Still,” Dez continued, “that’s such a contradiction that it deserves to be challenged. What makes captains and commanders so special that they can’t have significant others? Please. I bet none of the other captains are celibate or single.”
Uhura cocked her head to the side, much like Spock did when he was faced with an interesting premise. “Are you telling me to fight?”
“I’m not telling you to do anything, Nyota. I’m just acknowledging that however this goes down—and it will—you, the captain and the commander need to be ready to ride it out. Even if it includes the loss of your jobs and the respect of, I personally think, unworthy individuals, you need to be prepared for the backlash. When I asked you if he was worth it—and I’ll modify that to include Mr. Spock—that’s what I meant. Is this thing worth it? Are they? Because if they are, then do what you have to do. And if they feel the same way about you, then they will too.”
“How in the world did you get to be so insightful?”
Dez looked over at her closet and smiled. “You wouldn’t believe me if I told you.” She yawned.
Uhura smiled back. “I’m going to let you rest, Dez.”
“Thank you for not being judgmental of me.”
“Why would I be? I have no room to judge anybody. And that look on your face—other women would kill for it. You have nothing to fear from me. I think it’s hot.”
“Maybe we can have dinner from time to time, Dez. I’m glad that I can call you a friend.”
“Likewise,” she said. “And come by anytime.”
* * *
She sat astride a naked Spock, sliding her slick hands over the muscles of his back. Spock was always relaxed, so muscle tension was never an issue. However, he had come to enjoy it whenever Uhura gave him massages. She always had to ask him if he wanted one; he never thought to ask for it. She had strong fingers and kneaded his neck and back in slow, controlled movements. They were in his quarters. Uhura lit some candles and was playing soft North African music. She wore one of his T-shirts and she was silent as she rubbed him down.
He lay with his face against the pillow, breathing deeply. Uhura wore nothing under his T-shirt and he welcomed the feel of her sex, warm and plump, against his buttocks. She smelled of honeysuckle and made tiny noises of contentment as she touched him. It was times like these when he felt as whole and as connected as he had ever been. The only other link he had ever felt this secure about was the one he had with his mother.
“Nyota,” he moaned.
“Yes?” she said.
“You please me with such attention to detail.”
“You’re rubbing off on me. Pun intended.”
She slid her thumbs up and down his cervical vertebrae, feeling his release through his breathing. Then she slid her fingers through his hair, rubbing his scalp in tight, slow circles. After a few minutes of that, she balled her hands into fists and ground them into his spine, making him sigh again.
“You please me,” he said.
“I want to keep on pleasing you, Spock.” She moved her fists up and down, down and up. She could do this all night. Another few minutes passed. Uhura removed the T-shirt and lay down on top of him, pressing her naked body into his, sliding her arms around him.
“Baby,” she murmured into his neck.
“Nyota,” he said by way of response.
“Sometimes I still find it hard to believe that you and Jim are so accepting of this arrangement. I know that you’re friends, but even close friendships have their limits. Sharing a woman crosses that line, but you two don’t seem to mind it. I ask because I don’t want either of you to be resentful of the other to the point that I can’t be with either of you. I’m in love with you, with Jim, and with this whole thing in spite of how crazy it is.”
“Resentment is irrelevant at this point, Nyota. You attempted to back away from him and from me. Neither of us was willing to accept that. You gave us three options: for him to leave you, for me to leave you, or for us to share you. We willingly chose the third option, as the others were unacceptable. The captain and I, though we have our differences, have none when it comes to you. You gave us a choice, Nyota. We chose to be with you rather than without you. So we get along because there is no other suitable alternative. It has gotten easier to accept with the passage of time.”
Uhura kissed the back of his neck, gently pushing against him. “I guess because you two were having such a heated competition for my heart that there are times that I still can’t believe it came down to this.”
“Yes, our rivalry was very intense, but do you not merit such passion?”
She ran the tip of her nose between his shoulder blades. He sighed. “You are most worthy of anything the captain and I did and were willing to do for you.”
Uhura began dropping tiny kisses along his spine. “When you talk like that, you make me so hot, Spock. I don’t think I’ll ever dry up.”
“I am merely being honest, Nyota. Were Jim here, he would tell you the same thing.”
“Yes,” she breathed between kisses, “and he would make me hot, too.”
“We turn you on in very different ways. I speculate that you enjoy both.”
“You bet your wonderfully firm ass I do.” She rubbed her vagina against said body part.
“Fascinating,” he murmured.
Uhura lay on top of Spock, resuming her silence. Her question was answered, at least from Spock’s perspective. She planned to ask Kirk about it when she had a chance. She had no doubt that he would give the same answer as Spock, but she still wanted to hear the words. However, Spock was right; neither man was willing to let her go. They could have walked out of her life and she would not have been upset with either. For them to give of themselves so selflessly when they were initially antagonists was a larger concept than she could get her mind around at times.
Spock would reassure her forever if he needed to.
Kirk entered Spock’s quarters about an hour later. Uhura was asleep on top of Spock, who lay on his stomach. He took a moment to appreciate the view. No one in the galaxy would ever be privy to such an intimate and beautiful sight. Spock was angular and linear; Uhura all curves. She rested against him much like a baby marsupial slept against its mother.
He undressed and got in bed with them, moving slowly as not to wake them up. However, Kirk knew that no matter how quiet he tried to be, Spock would always hear him or know that he was there.
“Captain,” he said in a low voice.
“I trust that all is well?”
“Yes. I trust all is well here too.”
Kirk fluffed a pillow and lay back. Spock’s room was very warm, so he didn’t require any cover. Nyota slept naked on top of Spock, so what was good enough for her was good enough for him.
“That’s actually a sexy sight, Spock,” Kirk said, looking at them.
“I imagine it is a fascinating one as well.”
“Do you want her to get up?”
“I am perfectly capable of supporting her while she sleeps, Captain.”
“Okay.” Kirk absently ran his hand along the curve of her back.
“Captain, I must ask a question of you.”
“A curious expression. Do you think that we will resume regular active duty anytime in the near future?”
“So you’re bored by this bullshit star-mapping assignment too?”
“My team of scientists, though maintaining accuracy of reports and research on the data we are collecting, have expressed their ennui with the current mission.”
“Yeah,” Kirk said. “Bones and Scotty are bored as hell too. They’ve been drinking a little more than usual. Crew members are shooting craps in Engineering, pitching pennies in Social Sciences and running a bid whist tournament in Security. The gym is full. The holodeck’s been in near-constant use since I announced it was open. And I can tell just by the chatter between Sulu and Chekov that scuttlebutt is flourishing. I don’t have the heart to chastise the crew, as it’s my fault we’re on this particularly dull task.”
“Perhaps a social function might alleviate the excess energy, Captain.”
Kirk looked thoughtful. “That’s not a bad idea, Spock. They’ve earned it.”
“I shall not attend.”
“Of course you won’t. However, your last social function was quite enjoyable, was it not?”
“It was very stimulating.”
“I doubt if we can get away with that at the crew’s social function. Not to mention that I’ll never let Nyota wear that outfit again. In public, that is.”
“You’re not going to tell me what I can and can’t wear, Skippy.” Uhura murmured.
Kirk stared at her. “You’re awake?”
“Mmmn. I have been for the past few minutes, ever since you got in bed. I’ll wear what I want. And no, you won’t be able to get away with it.”
“You can wear what you want in private, but not in front of the crew.” Kirk said.
Spock said, “You have been listening to us?”
“I always listen to you. I’m not crazy enough to wear my sexy things in front of the crew, Jim. Give me some credit. The social is a great idea. Everyone’s restless and itching for some real activity. It would also be good for Dez.”
“You’ve gotten tight with her in the past few days, Nyota.”
“We have a bond,” she said. “She’s my friend.”
“That is logical,” Spock said.
Uhura kissed Spock’s shoulder and rolled off, coming down between her lovers. Kirk cupped her face to kiss her. Spock adjusted so they had more room.
She felt their hands, as always, on her belly. Sometimes she wondered how they would really feel about her getting pregnant; they were obsessed with rubbing her stomach. “Guess what.”
“What?” Kirk said.
“She knows about us.”
“What?” Kirk said. “You told her?”
“No,” Uhura said. “She told me. She figured it out. How, I don’t know, but she is very keen and has remarkable powers of deduction.”
“With those abilities, she would make an excellent science officer,” Spock said.
“How did she figure it out, Nyota?” Kirk asked.
“She wanted to know why we returned to Kalamar and I told her. She said that there had to be a mighty good reason why you would do what I asked you to, because you don’t do it for others.”
“I didn’t realize she paid that close attention to my actions.”
“The rest she was able to figure out. Then she asked me why Spock was with us when she was discharged.”
Kirk closed his eyes. They had been so satisfied after the night before that neither of them considered the illogicality of Spock’s presence at a mere hospital discharge. “Shit,” he said.
“I didn’t tell her anything, Jim. She figured it out on her own. But she said that our secret was safe; we don’t have to worry about her saying anything.”
“It doesn’t matter,” Kirk said. “Someone knows. It won’t be long before everyone else does.”
“It was bound to come out eventually, Jim. Such a secret is very difficult to protect,” Spock said.
Uhura continued. “Dez told me that after what we went through, we have the right to love who we want how we want. She reminded me that I could have lost my life on Amigosa V and that I could have been denied all this. Basically, she told me, and I quote, ‘Fuck what everyone has to say. To hell with what they think. And screw regulations.’”
“Fascinating,” Spock said again.
“I like her,” Kirk said.
“I don’t want either of you to get in any more trouble because of me, Jim. I know what your captaincy means to you. I know what your position means to you, Spock. We stand to be disgraced when this comes to light. We’re going to lose our jobs. We knew that when we started this, and yet here we are. But Dez asked me if you were worth it, and I said absolutely. I’ll resign my position if it means that you two can keep yours.”
“No,” Spock said.
“You’ll do no such thing,” Kirk said.
“This is going to come out, guys. It’s going to, one way or another. Not that I don’t trust Dez to keep our secret, but things have a way of coming out. We can’t stop it. And Starfleet will come down hard on us. Dez told me that I needed to be ready to ride it out, whatever it may be. The only alternative to stop this from happening is for us to break up.”
Spock said nothing. Kirk sighed. “Do you want to end our relationship?”
“Of course not.”
“And you know that Spock and I were well aware of the ramifications when we started courting you?”
“Yes, but at the time you both thought it would be a couple, not a triad.” She grasped their fingers and wove them together over her navel.
“I fail to see the distinction, Nyota,” Spock said. “The mere fact of your romantic involvement with either of us, much less both, is grounds for Starfleet disciplinary measures.”
“That’s completely contradictory because my dad was married to my mother when he commanded the U.S.S. Kelvin. Granted, he was captain for twelve minutes, but he was married while he was.”
“Jim, were they not married prior to enlisting in Starfleet?” Spock asked.
Kirk sighed. “It doesn’t matter. Nyota, if you break up with me, how is that going to fix anything or stop Starfleet from disciplining us anyway? We’re already in trouble; we may as well just make it worthwhile.”
“That is logical,” Spock said.
Their fingers remained locked on her belly, thumbs brushing against her navel. Uhura stroked them. “What will happen to us?”
Spock said, “I’ll go to New Vulcan with you as my mate. Jim is welcome to come with us. We shall be disgraced, perhaps, but it ultimately will not matter.”
“Don’t get me wrong,” Kirk said, “I was born to command the Enterprise and I love her with everything I have and I’ll die to defend her. I would not give that up so easily. But,” and he kissed Uhura’s fingers, “I love you more. If my command is stripped from me and I’m disgraced, yes, I’ll be upset. However, I’ll deal with it. I’ve learned to deal with a lot of things I don’t like.”
“I wouldn’t want you to hate me for being the reason you lost your commission, Jim.”
“You say that as if you were the one who pursued us,” Spock said.
“I don’t know,” she said, sighing. “Dez gave me a lot to think about. I was totally transparent around her, otherwise she wouldn’t have been able to guess. I was so placated by our night in Kalamar that my guard was down. I need to be more disciplined in my actions.”
Spock said, “You once said that women will know you’re in love because of the smile on your face. If Jim and I make you that happy, you will not be able to conceal it at all times. Do not try to.”
“Well,” she said, “Since breaking up isn’t an option, the only thing we have to do is wait for it to come out.”
Kirk raised an eyebrow. Both of them were picking up Spock’s habits. “Of course, we could do a preemptive strike.”
“What?” Uhura said.
“Please explain,” Spock said.
“We could just tell Admiral Pike that we’re in love. Then it won’t be a surprise.”
“Are you serious?” Uhura gasped.
“Well, then Starfleet would know. And Pike would tell us what we would have to do. And then we’d know what we’re faced with. It’s better than not knowing.”
“Logical,” Spock said.
“Do you want to do this, Jim?” Uhura asked.
“Not really, but are there any other options? I owned up to what I did on Amigosa V; I can own up to this.”
“If you are willing to do so, Captain, then so am I,” Spock said.
“Fine. Then we’ll do it after the crew social. At least my last act as captain can be a generous one.”
“I’m with the two of you no matter what,” Uhura said. She took Jim’s head in her hands and kissed him deeply. Then she turned to Spock and did the same. “Put your arms around me,” she said.
They adjusted to encircle her in their arms. Then, sighing, Kirk put one of his hands on Spock’s shoulder and Spock put a hand on Kirk’s waist so that they were all physically connected. Uhura closed her eyes. “Irish told me to love you as hard as I can for as long as I can. I intend to do that. Even if it’s just for a few more days.”