Spock took control of the bridge not long after Uhura reported to her console. Kirk and Scotty were still down on the planet and he was rested enough to assume command from Sulu. Spock planned to work a standard eight shift and retire early for two reasons: to accommodate Kirk’s order and to have some private time with Uhura. He knew that their conversation would continue. Spock sat in the captain’s chair and received a steady stream of updates. Periodically, he got up to check his viewfinder and console, but as the ISS-E was in orbit and following SOP, there was very little to occupy his mind. He took the opportunity to resume his default setting and process the climate data he collected yesterday. It was very satisfying.
When he came on the bridge, he stopped at the communications console for the shift update. Uhura handed him the reports and there was a light in her eyes when she looked at him. His finger grazed hers when he took her stylus and it warmed him. She had a similar desire to continue their conversation. Spock returned her gaze, signed off on the PADD and took the command chair. Sulu watched Spock enter, go over to her station and he frowned.
Sulu’s desire for Uhura began a while back. Other than the fact that she was absolutely gorgeous and built like a goddess, she was a lone female, deliberately unattached and as vicious as a pit bull. The idea of taming her appealed to Sulu’s nature and every time he heard about someone getting caught up in her machinations merely intensified it. Uhura collected a bead for every man she seduced to get what she wanted. She sometimes walked around holding them like a rosary, reminding everybody that she, and only she, had the ability to use her sex as a weapon and there wasn’t a damned thing anybody could do about. It drove Sulu nuts, for it only increased her appeal.
He approached her a few months ago and inquired what he had to do to get with her. She laughed in his face and walked away from him. He tried again. And again. And again. Sulu was, if anything, persistent. One day, he brazenly grabbed her by the waist and pulled her to him for a kiss. Uhura whipped out her knife and slashed the side of his face. Then she laughed at him and told him that if he wanted to get even a whiff of her stuff, he’d have to have something she wanted and he didn’t. And even if he did, he still wouldn’t be able to handle her. She wiped her blade on her skirt, slipped it back into its sheath and walked away from him, swaying her magnificent hips in a way no other woman on board the ship could do.
Sulu was furious, but undeterred. He wanted her even more after that. He wanted her still, even though she was supposedly Spock’s woman. That mattered to him about as much as a gnat in space, for Spock couldn’t handle her either. She was as hot as a warp nacelle. He had his own methods for breaking her and they were far more effective than Spock’s bullshit collar. Sulu was not as impressed as everyone else seemed to be. He was going to have Uhura, have his revenge, and have her again. Then he would discard her and give her to one of his guards. He didn’t want anything more than to fuck her, and in that, he was no different than most of the men on board the Enterprise. She was a challenge.
While sitting in the command chair, Spock sent Uhura a message on her communicator, asking her if she cared to have lunch with him in the officers’ dining room. She responded with a yes, but asked him if he would mind if they made a brief detour by their quarters first. He agreed to it. So when it was time for lunch, he went over to her console and held out his hand. Uhura took it and he escorted her to the turbo lift, ignoring Sulu’s wandering eyes. Once inside, she stood next to him quietly, keeping her hand tucked in his arm. There was something at once protective and sexy with her hand curled around his bicep. She wondered if it had always been like that and she was just now aware of it, or was he giving off that vibe to regain her trust?
Either way, it was a sublime feeling. She was coming to realize that she wanted to feel safe with him.
Spock caressed her fingers. “Is there something you need from our quarters?”
“There’s something I want you to do.”
“What is it?” It didn’t matter what it was. He needed to earn her trust and he would do whatever she wanted.
“I’d rather wait until we get there,” she said.
The lift stopped and McCoy and Sheila entered. Spock acknowledged them with a nod. “Doctor. Lt. Stephens.”
Uhura thought that Sheila looked fabulous. She had a glorious, regal air about herself. Sheila smiled. “Mr. Spock. Hey, Nyota.”
Uhura smiled back. “Hi, Sheila. Dr. McCoy.”
Spock was intensely pleased that Uhura made some acquaintances. It would go a long way in helping her adjust.
“Mr. Spock. Lt. Uhura,” McCoy said, eyeing Uhura as if she were a piece of candy. Uhura glared at him in disgust and stepped closer to Spock. She felt Spock’s bicep tighten and she looked at Sheila. Sheila rolled her eyes. “Lenny!”
McCoy looked at her. “What?”
“You want to keep your eyes to yourself, you perv? I mean, I’m right here!”
“Lenny.” Sheila’s tone was hard and sharp. Uhura smiled to herself, as it was clear that Sheila didn’t take any shit off McCoy, no matter what he did. And if the look in McCoy’s eyes was any indication, it was a turn-on and he was whipped.
The lift stopped again. Spock glared at McCoy as he and Uhura moved past them. He said, “Doctor, if you please.” He meant, ‘Don’t fuck with me, McCoy.’
Sheila grabbed McCoy’s arm and pulled him. “Lenny, come on. Move your ass out the way!” Sheila understood and Uhura passed her a look of thanks.
Spock and Uhura walked towards their quarters, acknowledging crewmates. Spock adjusted her hand in his elbow.
“He did not make you uncomfortable?”
“I hate to say it, Spock, but I’m used to it now. Men stare at me all the time.” It was true.
“I cannot do anything about that, Nyota. I am sorry. As long as you are not touched, I must accept it.”
“Spock, you can’t keep everyone away from me.”
“I disagree,” he said. He was so matter-of-fact that Uhura knew it was wise to let the conversation drop.
Spock continued to caress her fingers. Once they got to their suite and entered, she released his arm and went over to the full-length mirror. Spock came up behind her.
She put a hand to her throat. “Spock, take this collar off.”
To his credit, he did not move.
“Do you hear me, Spock?”
“I am attuned to the sound of your voice, yes.”
“Take off the collar. Please.”
A moment passed and then he nodded. “If you wish it.”
“I wish it.”
Uhura looked down and started adjusting her top. “My boobs are getting too big,” she murmured, pulling and tucking to get her cleavage right. She normally ate lunch with Sheila, Trisha and Marlena, and she willingly indulged in the excellent food served in the officers’ dining room. Uhura knew she was eating too much, but the food was comforting and delicious. The chicken-fried steak and garlic mashed potatoes was to die for.
She felt Spock’s fingers on her skin and the graze of his goatee on the back of her ear. Involuntarily, she shuddered and closed her eyes. She had forgotten how good his hands and beard felt. Spock put his hands on her shoulders. “They are perfect,” he whispered. “Might I adjust them for you?”
At the warm feel of his fingers against her neck, Uhura looked in the mirror. For a long moment, she was entranced by the image. His goatee tickled the back of her ear. He stared at their reflection and watched the pulse in her throat quicken. As far as Spock was concerned, they belonged together. He moved his fingers slowly, enjoying the way she felt. It seemed as if a lifetime passed since he last touched her like this.
She stared for a very long moment, watching the mirror. His eyes were closed and his fingers moved in large ‘V’s from her shoulders to her cleavage and back. Uhura took a slow, shaky breath. In spite of everything, she still wanted him like crazy. He was as hot as a blood fever and as bad as an addiction. She could not resist the force that drew her to him. Uhura decided that there was nothing wrong for her to want Spock like that. She already knew he felt that way about her. A house on fire didn’t come close to describing the energy between them.
“Yes,” she breathed, closing her eyes.
“I promise to go no farther,” he said.
“Mm-hmm,” she murmured, halfway wishing he wouldn’t. But she pulled that thought back because then he would know. Uhura smiled to herself. If they actually embarked on a relationship described in his books, she realized that she would never have to tell him anything; he would know simply by touching her. It made her quiver because it already seemed like Spock knew things that she was unaware of. As if he already knew her boundaries. How intense would such a relationship be with a telepath as a dominant lover? Would it be addictive?
He slid his fingers down and over the swell of her breasts, slipping them under the fabric of her uniform and bra. Gently, he moved them over her nipples and cupped ever so much as to make the underwire in her bra press against her skin once more. Her nipples sprang up like weeds.
She closed her eyes and exhaled.
He slid one hand around to the opposite breast and cupped once more, centering it in the bra cup. Spock repeated the act with the other, slightly larger breast. Then he removed his hands and brought them together under her bosom and interlaced his fingers.
“I am not discouraged to inform you that I wish to have you right now, Nyota.” Spock’s voice was a warm, seductive current.
Uhura knew that, for it was obvious and pressed against her lower back. Were it not for the circumstances, and for the discussion that needed to take place, she would have easily let him take her. But she would not allow her desire for him to cloud her brain. She was in control of herself, of her emotions. And if she was going to be candid, she was going to be in control of this relationship.
“You cannot have me at this time, Spock,” she said. “We are to go to lunch. You need to eat.” She was certain that he’d consumed little more than the salad he had for breakfast within the past thirty hours. He was not known for having a voracious appetite.
“I wish to eat you,” he said. His need for her was overwhelming, and as it was his only outlet, he allowed it to go unchecked. Not having been with her in weeks made his blood boil. However, he would be patient and wait for her signal.
Uhura closed her eyes again. Clearly, he didn’t give a damn about what had to happen before that could. “Spock.”
“Allow me to indulge myself by telling you what else I wish, my dear. That is all; nothing more need happen until you are ready.”
She closed her eyes once more and inhaled. She was strong enough to take it. “All right. Make it quick. I’m starving.” Cedar-plank salmon and grilled asparagus were on the lunch menu.
“I wish to show you that I can be tender as well. I am aware that one side of you requires it as much as the other needs me to be forceful.”
“Don’t make this difficult,” she said.
“I am merely informing you of what you must hear. You seek a balance within yourself, which means that you must cater to both ends of your spectrum. I want you to embrace all of you, light and dark, and be the woman I know you to be; the woman I seek. And yes, you are still very much a lady. You can be both; one does not preclude the other. You do not have to choose.”
Uhura closed her eyes and subconsciously leaned into him. He knew her so well; it was almost eerie how he could voice her inner turmoil. “Take off my collar,” she said.
Spock moved his hands back up over the swell of her breasts to her neck. He splayed his elegant fingers against her throat and she couldn’t help but draw in a sharp breath. He ran his thumbs underneath the back of the collar, making the O-ring bob gently against her larynx. Uhura’s breath caught in her throat again—was he going to choke her?—and then the moment passed when he removed it. Spock tossed it on the dresser and placed a kiss on the back of her neck. She closed her eyes.
‘Sweet baby gherkins, I’ve got it bad…’
“Let’s go to lunch,” she said, and pulled away from him.
Spock served her the salmon and asparagus and took his place across from her with a plate of steamed vegetables. “It is my understanding that you have formed a connection with Lt. Moreau, Sgt. Baker and Lt. Stephens.”
“They approached me a week after you beamed down and gave me a reality check, as well as a lifeline.”
“I am grateful.”
“Are you? It would have helped if we could have talked like this before you…before we…before that night.”
“You refused to have dinner with me, where I intended to reveal certain things to you. That was the night you had a headache.”
She glared at him as she bit into a stalk. “You wanted to teach me to play chess!”
“Yes, but you are capable of multitasking, Nyota. But I did plan to inform you of the true nature of this place. You cannot wander about. There are those who wish you harm. There are those who would trap you. There are those who would use you to hurt me. You are aware of this now.”
Uhura closed her eyes as she ate. “Trish, Sheila and Marlena gave me the lowdown and shared their own stories. They told me I was one of them now, a senior officer’s woman.”
“Are you my woman, Nyota?” He gazed at her. Even though he didn’t think she would object to it at this point; if she did, he had no choice but to accept it. He would protect her regardless.
“I thought I didn’t have a choice. You told me that I was.”
“We must come to an understanding, Nyota. I want to be with you. Do you still wish to be with me?”
“Are you giving me a choice, Spock? After all that has happened? Isn’t it too late?”
“I would have you trust me,” he said. “I still desire you very much.”
She took a drink. “This is what I want to know, Spock. You told me that you wanted me for my capacity to feel, to care. How do you expect me to stay that way in this place? Knowing what you did, what you felt you had to do; how does that keep my heart from getting hard? How can I not hate you for putting me in this situation? Everything goes back to that, and you said that you would accept those consequences.”
“I do, Nyota. And you are still that lady. But there is another part of you as well, a part you can no longer ignore. A part that awakened when I brought you here, a part that both disturbs you and excites you. It does not harden you; it makes you that much more alive. Not that it is a suitable rationale for you to accept, but you could not have known it prior to being here. It would have remained dormant and you would be only half of the woman you are capable of being. Embracing it will not harden you. You are losing your inhibitions and you shall find it will serve you well in this universe. You will be freer than you realize.”
“Spock, I don’t want to talk about this over lunch.”
“But you do agree that we must talk about it. Tonight.”
“Yes. And we’ve got to discuss some other things.”
“I want my clothes back. My baggy, too-big sweats and my head scarf. I have the right to be comfortable, Spock. I shouldn’t have to walk around your quarters looking like a sex toy all the time.”
“Our quarters, Nyota. For they are yours as well.”
“Whatever,” she said. “Well?”
“I will replenish your wardrobe.”
“And don’t expect me to look perfect 24/7. I’m entitled to have bad hair days, lest you forget that I’m female.”
“I would never overlook such a detail,” he said. “I am aware that you will appear disheveled at times. What else would you like?”
“If a real relationship is what you seek, then you have to find a better way to initiate it. I admit my part in making things difficult before. I recognize now that you were attempting to court me, which is something that is obviously not done here. You men seem to just take what you want. However, courting is a part of the world where I come from, and so it was something I expected, not understanding what it cost you to do it.”
“I was able to ignore that, Nyota. Until I could not.”
“I never meant to put you in that position, Spock. Please know that.”
“I do,” he said. “As long as you understand that you cannot behave in such a fashion ever again. I wish you to consort with those of your ilk, like you do with Lts. Moreau and Stephens, and Sgt. Baker. You should not do so with any males outside of duty.”
“I don’t plan to,” she said. “I don’t want anyone dying because of me.”
“Be that as it may,” Spock said, “you are well aware that such a thing could occur.”
“No one need die because they looked at me, Spock. Or touched me.”
“You do not fully understand,” he said. “Any infraction that steps over the known boundaries results in death. There is no getting around it. I chose to let the young ensign live because I wanted you to know that I am not a complete monster; that I am capable of compassion. However, I am not able to be so lenient again.”
Uhura stared at him, understanding his meaning. “I don’t want it to come to that, Spock. I mean, I’ll do my part, but…I’d rather not have someone lose their life because…”
“Anything that is a show of weakness is a target or is open for manipulation. You would do well to know that, Nyota. Because you are my lady, there will still be those who seek to harm you because they think it might make me vulnerable.”
“Not so that it would show. I would be most aggrieved if harm befell you, but I do not expect it to. Your personal guard will see to that. Turock and Shavik are devoted to your safety because their very lives depend upon it. Do not underestimate my desire to defend you, Nyota. Do not underestimate what I feel for you. It is not wise to play with a Vulcan’s heart, and there are those upon this ship who would do so, if given the chance. Even if you should decide that you no longer wish anything between us, I will still protect you. You deserve that much from me.”
She eyed him evenly; carefully keeping the heat out of her expression. His words had a most powerful effect.
“So let me just put it out there, Spock. You took me from my world. For that, I will never forgive you. Know it. You owe me the effort to try and make that right. Agreed?”
He met her gaze just as evenly. “You are aware that the chance of the convergence of necessary synchronous events is .000012 percent.”
“You owe me the effort to try, Spock. Statistics notwithstanding.”
Spock nodded. “If you wish.”
“You also said that you would like to have a real relationship, one where we are equals. I expect that you mean much more than sex, which is all there is between us at this point. A real connection means mutual respect, love and all that…”
Spock tented his fingers. “I expect that love, which is such a capricious human emotion, would be a stretch for you after all that has happened. I do not pretend to hope that you are able to feel such for me.”
“Well, if it’s not love, then what is it that you think you feel for me, Spock? You just told me not to underestimate it.”
“What I acknowledge is far more powerful than that. And are you really sure you have a concrete definition of what love is for you? I do not require an answer, but I would like for you to consider it. I want us to reach a mutual understanding of the relationship we will have. It is the path of least resistance, a conduit that is energy-efficient. I think it is safe to assume that we must have one because the chemistry between us is extremely potent. We have very specific needs that the other can fill. It is mutually beneficial for us to be together, as well logical.”
“That’s just sex.”
She looked at him. “That’s all that is between us, Spock.”
Uhura rolled her eyes and drank her tea. Spock raised an eyebrow. She was thinking about that.
“We shall continue to discuss this, Nyota. I would say that I am willing to do what is necessary to make you comfortable around me once more. I think that is acceptable as long as everyone believes that all is well between us.”
“How can I believe that when you told me a half-hour ago that you wanted to make love to me?”
“I do not lie, Nyota.”
“So which is it?”
“It is whatever you wish it to be. I will do no more than you allow me to. In this, you shall have complete control.”
“Are you talking about the dominance thing?”
“That is the discussion we shall have tonight.”
Uhura met his gaze. He was right. “Yes.”
She opted to have dinner in their quarters. While he was gone to get the meal, she took a shower, put on her underwear and his robe. She sat at the table and brushed out her hair while she waited for him. Uhura’s hair was growing; it already sat on her shoulders. She examined her nails and decided to paint them later. When Spock came in, wheeling the service, she smiled at him. She could give him genuine smiles now and it felt good.
She knew that he wanted to hear her say it. To acknowledge what they both knew in words, to give him permission. She wanted to give herself permission to give him permission. She wanted to establish the boundaries because she wanted to have this experience with him. Could it be as intense as his books described? Could it be as passionate as she thought it could be? Would he take her places that she had never ever considered going?
Was this the type of relationship she truly desired? Not having formed any real intimate connection with a man in her world, Uhura formed her basis from what she knew of other couples. She found herself wondering what kind of relationship she could have had with her universe’s Mr. Spock. The assumption, of course, was a romantic relationship—dinners, flowers, mutual trust and respect, time together, taking care of one another, loving or falling in love, wanting to share a life. And sex, of course. Good sex, preferably great.
But was that it? Was that enough for her? She wanted a deep, intimate connection. She knew that. Her parents had one and she wanted one too.
Was Spock the man she wanted it with?
He lowered the lights and asked her to light some candles. Then he began serving the food.
“What’s with the candles?”
“I have found that I prefer the room to be illuminated that way in the evenings. And it might stimulate the conversation.”
“I don’t think that will be a problem,” Uhura said.
Dinner was nice and light; soup and salad for him, grilled fish and spinach for her. Uhura focused on her meal and when she was finished, she took a long sip of tea. Then she looked at Spock, who was staring back.
“I want you to say it, Nyota.”
“What you want from me. I want you to tell me what you want, the relationship you want us to have.”
“You already know, Spock.”
“I prefer to hear you say it so that there is no more misunderstanding between us. While I know what you want when I touch you, it is imperative that we are both aware of it.”
Uhura calmly met his gaze. “How do I say it? How do I put it? I want to hand over control of my body to you? Is that what you want me to say?”
“You are mistaken as to who actually has the control. I would prefer you say that you are a submissive in need of a dominant. Or that you are interested in pursuing a dominant/submissive relationship with me.”
“You’ve been into this for a long time, haven’t you?”
“It is a natural outgrowth of my nature and my experiences serving on board this ship.”
“How many other women have you done this with?”
“This is not something you enter into lightly, Nyota. A dom/sub relationship is not a capricious connection. It requires absolute trust, understanding, and compassion. I do not give this to just anyone. I choose to want, to have this with you, as there is something in you that calls to me. You must be able to trust me completely and know that I will never go any farther than you allow me to.”
“So I just tell you when I want you to do something…different?”
“No. I will respond to your cues. You never have to tell me anything, for I read you very well.”
She glared at him. “Spock—”
“Although you did not know it at the time, when you challenged me in the turbo lift, you were sending me a cue. You were misbehaving, as it were, and you wanted me to correct you. So I did. You took it further when you pulled a knife on me—twice—and when you slapped me—thrice. At which point, I had to push back. I will only allow you to go but so far, as will you.”
“You want me to misbehave?”
“I want you to do what arouses you. If you are stimulated by impertinence, then be impertinent. If you want me to be rough with you, then I’ll be rough with you. If you want me to spank you, I’ll spank you. I’ll know what you want, but what you won’t know is how I will handle it. That is where the trust comes in. You must be absolutely certain that I will not harm you. You cannot have any fear that I will hurt you, but you must allow yourself to let go and enjoy whatever I may do. Mutual pleasure is our objective.”
“I don’t know about this, Spock. I admit, I’m a little fearful.”
“It is not a simple decision, Nyota. You are naturally autonomous and such behavior does not come easy to an independent woman. But what you will discover is that you are completely in tune with your sexual needs and you’re free to explore them at will. I am merely your conduit.”
“What about what you want? Doesn’t this seem a little selfish?”
“My pleasure is derived from yours.”
She looked around the room. “So what do we do?”
“Do you want this with me, Nyota?”
Uhura sighed. “I admit that I do like it when you are rough with me. I found pleasure in you manhandling me in the turbo lift and spanking me. I even found pleasure in the rough sex. I was embarrassed at first because ladies don’t behave that way and gentleman—which is what you said you were—don’t act that way. But I’ve come to accept that I do like it. I’m still dealing with the lady part.”
“You already know how I feel about that, Nyota. You are every inch a lady.”
“Are you every inch a gentleman, Spock?”
“Do you know what a gentleman is, Nyota?”
“A gentleman is a man that treats a lady like she wants to be treated, like she deserves to be treated.”
“Are you aware of the distinction?”
Uhura looked at him, stunned. “Distinction?”
“There is one. But I would rather you discover that for yourself. And bear in mind that I have always tried to be a gentleman with you.”
“So I should give you permission.”
“You must give yourself permission first. It is logical to give in to your needs, to tap into your inner self. To know who you are as a woman, to know your limits and your capabilities. You tell me what your boundaries are and I will not go beyond them.”
“What if I don’t know what they are?”
“If you don’t know what they are and I traverse one of them, you must tell me and we will stop immediately and discuss it.”
“Do I just say ‘stop?’”
“You call a safe word.”
“Oh,” she said, recalling her study of the subject. “The word that lets you know a line has been crossed.”
“Affirmative.” A light flashed in his eyes. “You have been investigating the matter.”
“You have a few books on the subject.”
“Human sexuality is fascinating, and I find it very similar to Vulcan sexuality. Vulcan passions are strong and deep, and we have evolved to use logic to control them. We were once a violent people and nearly destroyed ourselves. Sex for us was—is—rough. I am aroused when a woman challenges me or fights back. Hence my reactions to you.”
Uhura nodded. She remembered. Boy, did she remember.
“I am also aroused when a woman is able to tell me exactly what I should do to please her, or manages to inform me of such in a way that is clear even if it is non-verbal. I am stimulated to be with someone who knows herself.”
“So it doesn’t always have to be rough?”
“Only if you want it to be, Nyota. But you have a softer side, a gentler side. Your lady side, as you would call it. That part of you—fueled by the mythos fed to you as a small girl—wants sex to be as the archetype says it should be. I’m willing to oblige, as I’m stirred by you either way. Lest we also forget that I’m a telepath.”
Uhura met his dark eyes. She did not deny that she found the prospect exciting. But there was still apprehension.
“Spock, I don’t know. I mean, I don’t—”
Instead of trying to verbalize, she held out her hand. He took it and closed his eyes.
“We will take it slow, Nyota. You must build your trust in me. If you can do that, then we will go a little farther each time. But you must understand that you have no control over how I will respond to you, only that I will respond in a manner I feel that you will enjoy.”
She nodded. He caressed her fingers. “You must choose a safe word. Not right this moment, but soon enough. You share it with me. We will begin from there.”
Uhura nodded again. “All right,” she said. “All right. I do want this. I’m a little scared, but I want it more than I’m afraid of it. I do know that, Spock. You were right in that something inside me has come alive.”
“And when you express it, when you allow it to come forth, it is from that I will obtain my pleasure.”
She was silent for a long moment. “Will I always have to initiate it or give you cues? What about when you want something of me? Will you just take it? Will you ask me?”
“What do you wish for me to do when I want to make love to you?” he asked. “I need you to consider that before you answer.”
Uhura bit her lip, feeling herself get warm and tingly. She closed her eyes, hesitant to say it.
“Tell me the truth,” he said. “I shall grant whatever you wish for, but I would rather you be truthful. What do you want me to do when I desire you?”
She opened her eyes and met his. There was a heat in them, that same dark wildness that was present the first time they made love. She was absolutely certain it matched what was in hers. The warmth within her grew into a blaze and she swallowed. She could hear, could feel, the electricity between them. Uhura knew what she wanted; what she’d been wanting from the beginning. She didn’t want Spock to ask for anything and that was God’s truth.
“I want you to take it,” she said, feeling her breath hitch.
Spock got up and knocked the table out of the way. The serving dishes and food went flying. He took one big step and was in front of her in a flash. He looked down at Uhura, picked her up and carried her to bed.
A/N: Special thanks to dirtyzebra2005 for her suggestion.