Spock was sitting in his chair, fingers pressed together, contemplating. There was a lot to think about, to plan for. He understood that it was war, with him and Uhura on one side, everyone else on the other. McCoy had been right about one thing: his obsession with her clouded his conscious judgment. But she was the one he’d been waiting for, and he considered it logical to do what needed to be done to ensure her comfort and relative satisfaction with him as her mate.
He was no fool. Everything that she went through was a direct result of his rather selfish action. It had been very un-Vulcan like; very much human. The danger to her life was always in the background, but now it was forefront, a klaxon, a flashing red light. It was time to handle everything with a preemptive strike.
She might not like it but she never had to know. He would kill for her and his child. Everyone, if necessary. It was the way things were done; the way conflicts were resolved. He was still unsure as to who paid McCoy to tamper with Uhura’s birth control shot, but it didn’t matter. The solution was actually quite simple.
This was chess; it wasn’t checkers.
Uhura sat at his feet, on two very luxuriant goosedown pillows. Her head rested against his leg and her eyes were closed. She wore one of his shirts and her elegant panties. The act was something she saw in one of his books and requested they try, for it looked simple and safe. It was a very easy start to their more intimate relationship. She could not speak or move unless he authorized it. When she became uncomfortable, she would speak the word.
Spock agreed to her request because it put no physical strain on her at all, and she was eager to begin. Every six minutes and fifty-two seconds, he would give her some juice to drink and a slice of fruit to eat. It satisfied him on a primal level to have his woman curled up at his feet, and to know she wanted to be there. After the ongoing situation was resolved, he would use a pair of handcuffs and a gag to increase the tension. He knew she would like it.
“Nyota, I must ask a question. You may respond.”
“What is it?”
“Considering the entire situation, are you content?”
She looked at him. “Do you want the truth?”
“Always. There can be no dissembling between us. Especially now.”
“I will never be fully content, Spock. This is not my true place. I belong in my universe and I don’t have to tell you that. Part of me wants to go home. I feel that here, I’m just…visiting.”
He stared at her, fingers pressed together. That much he knew. Whether she actually cared for him was a nebulous idea at best; it came and went as her emotions so often did. There were times when he felt that she did care as strongly as he felt her heartbeat. And then there were times when he was certain that she merely tolerated him. He was never sure because she was never sure, and it merely increased his desire to win her heart and protect her with everything he had. It was another one of the consequences he had to own up to.
“But things are far easier now than they were two and a half months ago. I’m adjusting, and I know that you’ve been consumed with duty, but do not forget that you promised me that you would try to find a way to send me back home. No matter what the percentage is.”
He started to remind her that he never promised, but it didn’t matter because he’d agreed to her request. It was logical. If he was able to re-create the specific series of events, and he was not sure it was possible, then sending her home would be the best way to protect her and their child. In her universe, she would be safe and the baby could have a stable existence.
Except he did not want to be parted from his child, and it was unfair for her to have to raise it alone. He acknowledged a bit of jealousy: he certainly did not want his counterpart to feel compelled to help her raise his baby. It was illogical, but it was true. The only male qualified to raise his child was him.
“When we leave Dantouine II, and we should be leaving in a matter of days, I will begin working on the problem. It is a most interesting quandary to be sure; one that, if successful, I can submit to several research journals.”
“You can do what you want to with the data,” she said. “I just want you to put your considerable intelligence towards the task.”
“I shall do so, Nyota.”
“But until then, I am all right. I am finding my way, day by day. It helps to have Marlena, Trish and Sheila on my side. They’ve been very supportive. And I feel safe knowing that I have Turock and Shavik with me at all times. My duty is easy; it does not require as much effort as it normally does. The only thing is that lately, I’ve been very tired. I want to sleep all the time. I think I may have a virus.”
“Do you feel ill?”
“Just a little queasy. I eat entirely too much and the food is so rich and so good; I just can’t get enough. I’m sure there’s something I’m consuming regularly that I shouldn’t because I’m probably allergic.”
“Do you want to take a visit to Medical Bay?” Though he himself would examine her and do the requisite tests; he wasn’t about to let McCoy within one meter of her.
“No. I’m sure I’ll be fine. It’s probably a bug of some sort. Trish has been sick.”
Spock paused, stroking her hair. “I would like for you to do something, Nyota.”
“What is it?”
“Your captain spoke of a device in my captain’s quarters, something that he said I could use to protect myself and take command of the ship.”
“I remember,” she said. She looked at him. Was he serious?
“I would like for you to ask Lt. Moreau about it. And if possible, to learn how to use it.”
She looked up at him. “Are you serious, Spock?”
“Yes. I would not lie to you. I feel it is in your best interest and mine that we take advantage of our knowledge. Do you think that Ms. Moreau will help you?”
Uhura nodded. “Yes. She hates the captain, but she sticks with him because of the perks and the power she can wield over him at times. She’s a captain’s woman, but she doesn’t care who the captain is. Do you wish to be captain, Spock?” Uhura knew that if he wanted to be, she was not going to let Marlena have him. It was as simple as that. She could convince Spock to let Marlena keep her status and perks, but she was not going to have another woman in her place. Not while she was here.
“Nyota, this is merely a fact-gathering exercise. One must be armed with all the facts to make an informed decision.”
“I understand that, but do you want to be captain?”
“It has never been my objective. I am a scientist and I am content with my research. However, I am also first officer and the responsibility that comes along with the position bears acknowledgement.”
“Is someone planning to kill the captain? It’s not you, is it?”
“It is not me, Nyota, for I have no desire for the captaincy. However, there are many who are always plotting to kill him. He is a target.”
“Then if you become captain, won’t that make you a target?”
“Logically, yes. But it is not something I wish for you to concern yourself with at this time. Speak with Lt. Moreau. Learn what you can and share with me your knowledge. I will take matters from there.” He stroked her hair. “I will have some things to attend to tomorrow, so do not expect me. I shall be on board today, but I will be ensconced in the science lab analyzing data. Please complete your duty and secure yourself in our quarters, Nyota.”
Uhura wondered if she should ask what it was he intended to do, but thought better of it. She didn’t want to know. It was better not to know, but she wasn’t stupid. She knew in her heart that somebody was about to get fucked up, and there was no other way to put it.
She said, “The captain has me working on a project in the long-range sensor lab, Spock. I have to complete it. Don’t ask me not to do my job.”
He nodded. “I have assigned K’avir to your detail as well. I feel much more secure knowing that there are three Vulcans watching over you.”
“You’re really worried, aren’t you?”
“Worry is a human emotion. It is logical for me to protect my woman, especially when I know that she is coveted by so many.”
Uhura nodded. “Right. Well, okay then. I’ll wrap up my task and get back here as fast as I can. And then I’m going to bed. I feel as if I could sleep all day.”
“Good,” he said. “If you are tired, then you should rest. Are you tired at this moment?” If she needed to sleep, then he would end the game prematurely. Her health and the health of the baby were paramount to any fun he wanted to have.
“No. I know what to do if I should get to that point.”
“Affirmative,” he said. “We shall resume.”
She nodded her head once and looked at him. He lowered the glass for her to drink, and then gave her some pear slices. She ate quietly from his fingers and held out her hands for him to wipe. Then he slid the napkin over her lips to blot the juice. The pit of his manhood seemed to roll over and beg. Then she put her head back on his leg and closed her eyes.
Spock stroked her hair once more, enjoying the moment. Her acquiescence was so appealing, so very sensual. Her acknowledgement of her deeper needs was aphrodisiatic and it made her glow in a way he’d never truly seen on another woman. It was as if a fire burned deep within; a singular flame, a light to her dark heart that beckoned his own. He didn’t think for one moment that she would have been this way with the other Spock. He stirred, wanting her, but keeping his desire at bay. She was tired and he would not sap her remaining energy. Soon, she would be asleep.
He did not lie; he would spend part of the next day in the lab analyzing data. However, the data he was reviewing had nothing to do with any science discipline. From his operatives, he determined that Chekov was the one that paid off McCoy to tamper with Uhura’s birth control. Had Uhura’s captain followed standard procedures, Chekov would be dead. Obviously the agony booth wasn’t agonizing enough, and being secured to quarters was nothing short of a vacation.
That could be and would be remedied soon.
Sulu was also preparing to strike. When and where, he did not know, but he knew it was imminent. The security chief was way too confident that he would soon be in place to achieve the captaincy. Whether Kirk was aware of it or not, things were happening around him that would shake up his command crew.
As it had to be, so it would be. He didn’t want to command as he was content to be a lesser target. But if it befell him, he would step up and take charge as any Vulcan would. Then he would run the ship as he saw fit, and she would be by his side. Unless he was successful in finding a way to send her home.
He chose not to think about that. Now was not the time.
As any skilled tactician knew, the first thing was to pretend as if nothing happened. Spock was used to keeping things tight, so he and Uhura checked in with the bridge the next day. Sulu and Chekov were at their post. Kirk was sitting on his throne, reviewing a PADD.
“Damned Empire governing body is still two light-days away,” he grumbled. “We’ve been here for nearly six damned weeks.”
“I thought you liked Dantouine II, Captain.”
“Six weeks of anything wears thin quickly, Mr. Spock. I’m ready for a bullshit border patrol just to get some fucking rest.”
“It has been tedious, Captain,” Sulu said.
Chekov didn’t say anything.
Spock said, “Captain, a word in private, please.”
“All right, Mr. Spock. The turbo lift.”
Spock followed Kirk into the lift and looked at him. The captain was unaware that Chekov tried to murder him. Had he known, the navigator would have simply vanished. “I do not know if you are aware, sir, but during your misadventure into another universe, Mr. Chekov plotted to assassinate you. He would have succeeded if Mr. Jones had not decided at the last minute to switch sides. I know of this because he reported it to me. Your counterpart knocked him out after the incident, and despite my advice, chose to keep Mr. Chekov alive. I tell you this now because I believe he may try to attack again.”
Kirk stared at him. “Are you fucking kidding me? That snivelly little shit tried to off me?”
“I do not kid, sir. Mr. Jones was working for Chekov at the time and thought it would be more profitable to switch to your detail. Your own security thought so.”
“Why didn’t they say anything to me about it?”
“Because they were unaware that you were not you at the time.”
“Motherfuckers,” Kirk said. “And you say Chekov got the drop on me? I mean, my punk-ass counterpart?”
“Your counterpart was not aware of how promotions are earned on this ship, sir. And so he walked into a carefully laid trap. My operatives have led me to believe that Mr. Chekov intends to try again. I should regret your death, as I have no desire to command.”
Kirk folded his arms and stared at his first officer. “All right, Mr. Spock. Thank you for informing me of this.”
“I would have mentioned it sooner, but as you know, I had another situation to attend to.” That was not a lie, but a convenient truth.
Kirk smiled broadly. “You’ve been banging that ass every night, haven’t you, Spock? And here we all are thinking that you had needs only once a year, and only with the Bellatrix girls. Making up for lost time, aren’t you?”
“Captain, I am not comfortable with this line of communication.”
“Sure, fine, you don’t have to be. But you’re just like the rest of us; you’ve got feet of clay and you need a woman too. That’s fine with me. You can fuck her three or four times a day if the spirit moves you, so long as you do your duty.”
“Have I not been performing up to standard, sir?”
“As far as your duty to Starfleet, of course you are. Now as far as Uhura is concerned; well, that’s for you two to discuss. However, she seems a whole lot more content now than she did two months ago. You’ve been putting the shoes to her, so that’ll do it.”
“Captain, you have never used that phrasing in my presence before. I must have clarification. What do you mean by ‘putting the shoes’ to her?”
Kirk smiled and shook his head. “As many raunchy conversations as you’ve heard with Scotty, Bones and me, you don’t know? It means that you’re laying the pipe, you’re doing what a man does, you’re fucking your woman. Well, from the look on her face. Want to share a detail or two, Commander?”
“I would rather not.” He was fiercely protective of Uhura and that included every tiny aspect of their intimate life.
“Bones and Scotty are quick to tell me about Trish and Sheila. Just embrace the male bond, Spock. Can you tell me one little thing?”
The man was absolutely avaricious when it came to such information. Spock closed his eyes and opened them again. “She is very warm and very soft. Please do not ask me any more questions, as I do not care to divulge my private life.”
Kirk grinned. “Thanks. And thanks for the heads up about Mr. Chekov.”
Spock nodded. “Sir, I must report to the biochemistry lab to complete an analysis. If you should need me…?”
“Go on, Mr. Spock. We’re in fucking orbit waiting on those sorry, slow bastards from the Empire…take your time and do what must be done. And so will I.”
Kirk started the turbo lift and punched Deck 3. His quarters were on Deck 3. He punched Deck 5 for Spock.
“I take it that you are not going back on the bridge, Captain?”
“No,” Kirk said. “I’m going to handle this shit first and then go to lunch.”
Spock nodded because he knew that a piece was about to be moved off the board.
Uhura was down in the LRS lab, working on another analysis for Kirk. Turock stood off to one corner, as still and quiet as a statue. She knew that K’avir and Shavik were on the other side of the door.
Spock recently ordered them to start carrying phasers. Uhura did not inquire as to what they were set to. But she felt confident in her emerging combat skills. For the past two days, however, she missed practice because of Spock one night and being too tired the other. She was usually very diligent in her exercises, but there were times when she was so exhausted she could do no more than fall in bed. But Turock and Shavik were excellent teachers—in a different way than her lover—and she was able to catch on very quickly to their instruction.
She was much more adept at pulling her knife while blocking a blow. She could pivot on one heel. She could maneuver with two blades and she was able to incorporate a few kicks into her movements. She was still learning the fine nuances of the Vulcan nerve grip; Shavik suggested that she cut her fingernails in order to master the technique. She learned how to deliver a quick upthrust using both sides of the blade with both hands. Shavik taught her how to drop and cut an Achilles’ tendon in under fifteen seconds and also how to kick an attacker’s feet from under them. Turock taught her how to head-butt without sustaining damage or severe pain to herself. He was very gentle with his teaching of that, but also very effective.
She was also fairly proficient at fighting from two sides. Turock and Shavik instructed her that, whenever possible, to find a way to get her back up against a wall or structure so that she didn’t have to keep turning, but taught her how to fight on both sides anyway.
Uhura felt that she could reasonably defend herself against an attack. While she would never be the expert her sentinels were, she felt like she could at least get a couple of blows in. Spock would randomly ask her to demonstrate what she was learning and while he never said anything, she knew that he was pleased with her progress.
After lunch, she spoke with Marlena and was amused to discover that she was hesitant about divulging information regarding the instrument in the captain’s quarters. When Uhura asked why, Marlena told her that if Spock took control of the Tantalus field, and subsequently, the ISS-E, then she would lose her status. Uhura reassured her that Marlena could keep her status and all the perks and benefits therewith. But she would not keep her place as the captain’s woman.
Marlena told her that she would think about it. Uhura did not argue.
She yawned. As soon as this task was done, she was going to have a shower and go to sleep. She didn’t know if Spock would return for the night, but it didn’t matter. She was too tired to care.
“I’m done,” she told Turock. She logged off and shut down the computer. Turock took his place exactly one point five meters behind her as she exited. K'avir walked in front of her and Shavik also flanked her rear.
Uhura walked, yawning again. She was so sleepy. She blinked to clear her sight and heard a commotion off to one side.
She heard Turock yell, “Run, Miss Uhura. Run!”
Turock and Shavik were engaged in a fight with three individuals in red security costumes. She turned to see K’avir holding out his hand.
“Come with me, Miss Uhura. We need to leave here now.”
She took his hand and they ran down the narrow corridor. Uhura turned back to look; one of the security officers was laid out on the floor, as well as Shavik. Turock was still fighting, but she was not sure if he had sustained serious injury.
She turned her head and held on to K’avir’s hand.
Then, as if out of nowhere, someone knocked K’avir to the ground. He didn’t hesitate to fight back. “Do not stop, Miss Uhura. Run! The turbo lift is twenty meters from here!”
Uhura took off for the turbo lift. She did not look back. Her heart was pumping and she could see the red lift doors. Just get to it and get on it.
Someone jumped in front of her and she crashed into them. They both fell over.
“What’s wrong, Lt. Uhura? What’s the matter?”
It was Michael. He helped her up.
“Michael,” she said, wary. She hadn’t seen him in months. “I need to get to the turbo lift. Move out of the way!”
“It’s all right,” he said. “What’s the hurry?”
She tried to move, but he held her by her elbows and she could not bend her arms. “Let me go, Michael! Stop touching me!”
“No one’s going to hurt you,” he said. “No one’s behind you. Calm down. Your heart’s beating too fast.”
Uhura heard the fighting continuing behind her. She took a deep breath. “Let me go. I don’t know what happened to you last time, but I do know that you didn’t die. You will if you don’t let me go!”
“He’s a punk.”
“He should have killed me, but he said he wouldn’t.”
Uhura stared at him. “What?”
“Spock should have killed me, but he didn’t. Mr. Sulu said he wouldn’t because Spock’s a pussy and only a pussy would let me live. That’s not how things are done here. Survival of the fittest, baby.” He made a tsk-ing sound.
Uhura’s eyes widened and she instinctively brought up her knee and slammed it into his balls. Michael let her go with an “Oof!” and she punched him in the jaw, wincing. He fell over and she took off for the turbo lift doors again. But he caught her ankle and she hit the floor, banging her chin against the concrete. She bit into her tongue, tasted blood and saw stars.
Michael picked her up and turned her around. Sulu was in front of her, smiling devilishly.
“Now, Uhura, now…” he said. “Now you don’t have a choice. I have taken your insolence and your insults. I have bore the brunt of your ridicule. I have taken the pain of you cutting my face. I will take from you now and discard you like so many other whores have been thrown away.”
“I’m not a whore!” She shook herself hard but Michael held her tight. He was working for Sulu and she had actually...
She felt like a fool. Uhura’s head swam. She spit in Sulu’s face. He backhanded her. She tasted more blood pooling in her mouth. She spit it out and held still for a moment.
Sulu held his own knife. “Don’t you dare say that to me, you little bitch! I saw you, saw you toss your ass in the air for him and let him fuck you like a dog just over there—” He pointed to the catwalk where she and Spock had sex the other night.
“You saw us!”
“A whore fucks in public,” Sulu said. “And that’s what you are. Well, you’re my whore now, Uhura. And I’ll fuck you here just like he did!”
Uhura closed her eyes and took a deep breath. She snapped her head back sharply, connecting with Michael’s forehead. At the same time, she jabbed her elbow into his solar plexus and slammed her heel down on his foot, grateful at once for the four-inch heel and for her Vulcan combat training. She felt his bones crunch. He bellowed, screaming, and let her go. She whipped out her knives and assumed her favorite fight stance. She held one knife in an icepick grip and the other in a saber grip.
“Damn it,” she said, glaring at Sulu. She was tired of this shit. “If you want some of me, then come and get it!” She sounded braver than she felt, but enough was enough. She didn’t know where Spock was, but she couldn’t worry about it now.
Sulu came at her and just like she had been taught, she quickly slashed him twice: once across the face and the other across the chest. He stepped back, unable to believe she cut him again.
“You…fucking…bitch…!” he screamed. Losing all pretense of skill, he raged at her, holding his knife. Uhura swallowed, feeling her head clear, taking in the situation as Turock and Shavik trained her to. It was as if time slowed down.
‘Double upward thrust.’
‘But you’ll kill him!’
‘Better him than me.’
Two and a half months ago, she never thought that she could take a man’s life…but she was ready to do just that. In this universe, the only rule that mattered was kill or be killed. When Sulu got within inches of knocking her down and stabbing her, she shoved her knives into his chest. His momentum knocked her down anyway. Blood ran out of his mouth and she turned her head, closing her eyes in pain.
She thought he was dead but then she felt a sharp ache in her abdomen. He stabbed her.
Sulu grabbed her by the head and banged it into the floor. Uhura saw black dots swirling before her eyes. Everything was blurry. Right before she lost consciousness, she saw a tall figure in black and blue running towards her…