“As a woman, you have an awesome power. Men are willing to fill your head with a lot of flowery bullshit, but all they really want is what’s between your legs. Wars have been fought over us; men have killed and men have died for what they say is the heart of the woman, but you better know it’s the pussy. That’s all they want, Nyota. That’s all. Maybe you’ll meet someone who actually cares about the package that surrounds the pussy, but 99% of them don’t give a shit about it. That’s all they want from you; it’s all they see. If you don’t give it, they’ll take it. Make it work for you. Use that power between your legs and bring mighty men to their knees and don’t fuck around with a man that ain’t worth it. If you don’t own it, they will. Make them work for it and make them pay for it, by any means necessary. That’s the best advice I can give you as your mother, Ny.”
The words have always been there, deep in the recesses of mind, usually intermingled with a horrific memory: my best friend and academy roommate Denise got raped and beaten by some older cadets because she wouldn’t date the alpha of the group. I saw Denise’s battered body and tried my best to be her friend throughout, but she committed suicide some months later. Those memories of how she tried to cope with what had been taken from her along with my mother’s words about a woman’s sex are ingrained into my mind. When Denise died, I took a vow to never let any man take it from me and I meant that shit. Any man that got between my legs paid through the fucking nose for it. And I knew it was good because I took steps to make sure it was. I didn’t always have to use my sex as a weapon, but I had no qualms when I had to. I used my power to maximum benefit and I was seductive enough that I didn’t always have to give up the pussy to get what I want. All I had to do was pretend that I would and men fell at my knees in their efforts to give me what I wanted in order to get it. Suckers.
After Denise died, I didn’t want to stay in our dorm and at the time, there weren’t any vacancies anywhere else. However, I was determined to get out of that room and I seduced the head of the Housing Department into finding a new dorm for me. I ended up with one of the posh corner suites in the nicest residence hall on campus and I never had another roommate the remainder of my time in the Academy.
One other thing my mother taught me was knives. How to use them, hide them and respect them. She insisted that I learn how to defend my sex, and therefore myself. By the time I enrolled in the Imperial Starfleet Academy, I’d mastered many kinds of knives and kept them on my person at all times. When I got assigned to my first starship duty, the ISS Vegas, I got attacked by the Chief Engineer, a fucking bastard named Elliott. He caught me off guard in the lounge and had his hand under my skirt before I could utter a word of protest. It took me a second to realize what was about to happen and another to defend myself. I slit that asshole’s throat and almost killed him. His personal guard retaliated and I did kill him, but not without sustaining some injuries. When it became evident that I wasn’t fucking around and was willing to kill to protect myself, the captain got rid of me and I ended up on the ISS-E. Not too long after my arrival, I realized it was business as usual and those shitheads weren’t any different from the thugs on the Vegas or at the academy.
I merely got better at protecting the goods. It was either them or me, and as far as I was concerned, it was going to be them. I never looked back until now.
I found it hard to catch my breath; the brig was almost a fucking tomb. Time passed; I didn’t know how fast or slow. What I did know was that this time, I was in my prison to stay. I couldn’t concentrate, except to note that I could mark the days I was imprisoned by the bathroom breaks and the three meals I got from a scared little punk-ass ensign. And then the food they sent me wasn’t anything I could or would eat; it was as if they were ignoring my meal card. I did consume the water and juice and whatever bread they sent, but that was it. I wished I could get mad; anger is a wonderful motivating emotion. But I couldn’t. I was scared. I needed to do something to take my mind off my situation. I slept as much as I could and kept my stockings around my face. If I couldn’t see the walls, then I would survive this stint.
After the second dinner tray, I was restless, but I refused to remove the stockings. I traveled the perimeter of the room and found myself thinking about everything that had happened to make me wind up here again. I didn’t like thinking about it and so I decided to focus on some sort of activity. The only real thing I could do was exercise, and so I embraced it. I hadn’t done my regular workout in what felt like ages, but since I had nothing but time, I decided to catch up on my calisthenics. I didn’t need to see to do them.
I started with crunches. Under normal circumstances, I did 500 in five minutes every morning. I decided to challenge myself, tightened the stockings over my face, took several deep breaths and started with 200 standard crunches, shifted into 200 oblique crunches and then 200 butterfly crunches before I started breaking a real sweat. The activity felt good; my blood was pumping and I found that I didn’t think about anything else. I took a moment’s respite and switched to boxer crunches, knocking out 300 of those in two minutes. By then, my hair, already mussed, was a limp, dirty mess.
What did it matter? No one came to visit me, not even Spock. I didn’t know if it made sense to be angry about it. It was exhausting to think about it, at any rate.
I lay flat on my back and stretched out my arms and legs to rest my tired abs and thought that when I got my next tray I would eat everything on it. I was hungry now, but I didn’t want to dwell on that either. Then I rolled over on my stomach and started doing pushups. It was mindless activity and I welcomed it. I stopped counting after one hundred. I just kept going.
At some point I stopped and used the stockings to wipe the sweat off my face. I removed them and frowned; they were filthy and nasty and yet I couldn’t bear to look at the walls that seemed to close in on me.
I jumped and turned to the glass. Captain Kirk was outside of my cell, sitting in a chair.
“Lieutenant. I see you’ve been keeping yourself occupied.”
“How long have you been sitting there?”
“Not long. I called your name twice, but you did not hear me. So I decided to wait.”
“Let me remind you that I’m the captain, Lieutenant, and you are an officer on board this ship. Do not forget your place.”
I exhaled, wiped my forehead again and got to my feet, standing at attention. I was exhausted and to do anything more than what he asked me just made me feel more tired. “Sir.”
“That’s more like it.”
“Captain, I want to apologize.”
“Well, that’s a start, but let’s have a conversation first. As you were.”
I swallowed and sat back down. My nail polish had started to chip. I felt filthy and desperately wanted a bath. “Captain, if I may?”
“How long have I been in here?”
I closed my eyes. Three days?
“What you did warrants imprisonment, Lieutenant. You cannot use the excuse of where you are from to escape punishment this time.”
I sighed. “You know how it is over there, sir.”
“I do and it is an experience I won’t soon forget. I can sympathize with the fact that you are a fish out of water, but you are an adult. You are fully aware that you are over here now. You are aware of the differences and of the consequences. Fortunately, Mr. Sulu does not hold a grudge. I had a talk with him and once I explained a few things, he understood. Bones fixed him right up; doesn’t look like he was ever injured.”
“I’m sorry about that, Captain. I didn’t—Mr. Sulu in my world is an animal, a predator, a murderer—”
“I know that and I explained that to our Mr. Sulu. He was not happy to hear such unpleasant descriptors about his counterpart. I let him discern for himself the relationship you had with your world’s Mr. Sulu. But I have a question for you, Lieutenant.”
“What is it, Captain?”
“Do you want to go home?”
“What?” I put a hand to my chest, actually surprised that he would ask me such a thing. “What?”
“Remember your place, Lieutenant.”
“I’m sorry, Captain. Did you just ask me if I want to go home?”
“Well, do you?”
“Are you sure?”
“Yes sir. I hate it over there. I abhor that place.”
“Really? Because Mr. Spock can figure out a way to send you back if you wish to return.”
I wrapped my arms around my body and shook my head. “I don’t want to go back. I want to stay here. I don’t want to go back to that hellhole!”
“I need you to be absolutely clear on this then, Lt. Uhura. If you do anything else to put a member of my crew in jeopardy, I will have Mr. Spock send you back to your universe immediately. I am not going to put up with any more of your violent behavior. Period.”
I couldn’t respond. For once in my life, words escaped me. I closed my eyes. He was absolutely serious. As was I; I did not want to go back to my world and I would fight it tooth and nail. I didn’t know how, but I knew I would.
“Do you understand me, Lieutenant Uhura?”
“Do you understand me? If you so much as lay a fingernail on any member of my crew, I will have you out of here faster than you can spit. I will not put up with you disrupting my ship anymore. Do you understand, Lieutenant? I will strip you of your rank and confine you to quarters until Mr. Spock is able to find a way to send you home, and he absolutely will do that, no matter how fond of you he is. No more of this craziness. No more of your knife-wielding antics or crass attitude. You will behave or you will be put off this ship. If Spock can’t send you back, then I will drop you off at the nearest starbase.”
A very long moment passed as I absorbed his words. I looked down at my hands. “Yes, sir. I understand.” I felt small, like a bug squashed under a boot. Embarrassment flooded through me and I tried not to tremble at the influx of such emotion.
Another long moment passed. Then Captain Kirk stood up and dusted off his pants. “You’re released from the brig, but you are hereby confined to quarters.”
“For how long?”
“Sorry, sir. For how long will I be confined?”
“For as long as I say, Lieutenant.”
“Are you going to send me back to my universe?”
“Are you going to make me send you back, Lt. Uhura?”
I closed my eyes, thinking about all that had transpired to land me in the brig and was overwhelmed. I felt small and I was too tired to be irritated or give attitude. “I don’t want to go home, Captain Kirk. I’ll do my best to do better, sir.”
“Be sure you do, Lieutenant. This is the last time I intend to have this discussion with you.”
When I got back to my suite, the first thing I did was take a long, long hot shower. I stood under the shower head and let the water beat against my face and mingle with the tears that slid out of my eyes. I haven’t cried in years. I didn’t even know why I was crying. I did know a few things, though: I liked it over here. It was peaceful and women were treated with dignity and respect. They were treated as equals and not as property. If I could get my shit together, I could conceivably have a decent future as a senior officer.
I liked Mr. Spock. Of course, my initial attraction to him was a holdover from my desire from my world’s Spock. Except this one wasn’t a stuck-up bastard and recognized me as a woman. The sex was fantastic, but I knew I liked him for more than just the ability to get me off. I wondered if anything could happen between us now or if I had ruined it when I slashed Mr. Sulu’s face. Would he even want to be associated with someone like me after that? He was the Enterprise’s First Officer and represented Starfleet no matter what he did. I knew that his duty was paramount, no matter what he might feel—or felt—for me. I sensed that he’d have no problem kicking me to the curb if my antics jeopardized his station. And I would be wrong to put him in that position.
Was that why he never came to the brig to visit me? Did he consider our connection a waste of his time? Had I obliterated any chance of a semblance of a relationship between us with my ugly ways? A man like Spock wouldn’t want a violent, foul-mouthed bitch of a girlfriend. Not in this universe, anyway.
I washed my hair slowly with gobs of shampoo, scratching my scalp in long slow sweeps. I didn’t know how long I cried and after some time it didn’t matter. I stayed in the shower until the water ran cold and then I got out. I dried off and put on my robe and went to go sit in my living area and dry my hair. My stomach growled but I didn’t feel like eating. I deep-conditioned my hair and removed the polish from my nails as I sat in silence. After some time, I got in bed and tried to go to sleep. It might have been hours before I did.
I didn’t want to go back to my universe, but if I was going to stay here, I knew I’d have to change.
First Officer’s Personal Log:
Lieutenant Uhura has regressed. She, unbeknownst to me, had been carrying a concealed weapon. I, in spite of my discipline, was frustrated by her behavior. I do not understand why she felt the need to carry a knife on her person after I was clear that it was unnecessary for her to do so. She has injured Mr. Sulu. Captain Kirk ordered her to the brig and she is there as of this documentation.
I am distressed. I do not know how to handle this situation. I had hoped to have a conversation with Miss Uhura this evening to discuss the parameters of our association. I am quite fond of her; of her vivacity and brashness, even though it is sometimes inappropriate. I admit that I find such behavior highly desirable when we are alone.
I did not know what would become of Lt. Uhura. Captain Kirk is furious. I knew from his anger that she would be confined for quite some time. Her claustrophobia would not get her early release this time.
Three days, ten hours and fifty-two minutes after she was imprisoned, Captain Kirk informed me that he had released her from the brig, but confined her to quarters.
“How long will she remain confined, Captain?”
“Until I’m satisfied she won’t cut anyone else, Mr. Spock.”
I raised an eyebrow. “I do not understand how you will be able to glean that information, Captain.”
He looked at me. “Spock, I know you like her. You don’t have to say anything about it, because I’m not trying to embarrass you, but she can’t go on like this. I can’t have the crew in jeopardy because she can’t get used to being in a normal environment. I don’t want to tell you what to do, but you should be aware that I will ask you to figure out how to send her back if she acts out again.”
I nodded my head once. “If you would like me to begin working on the problem, I will.”
“Yes, if you wish.”
“It wouldn’t bother you to send her back home, Spock? I mean, you’re not obvious but I know you like her. You’d be okay with sending back a woman that you are attracted to? It’s such a rare thing for you.”
“I would not shirk my duty, sir. It is not the Vulcan way. Yes, I am…fond…of Lt. Uhura, but my duty is to the Enterprise.”
Captain Kirk looked at me for one minute and forty-two seconds. “Fascinating.”
At 0400 hours, I went by the Lieutenant’s quarters. I did not know if she would be awake, but I was willing to sit until she did wake up. I did not have to report to my shift until 0700 hours.
She was asleep and I took a moment to gaze at her before occupying the large recliner in her sitting area. While waiting for her to wake up, I contemplated the parameters that would be required in order for her to be returned to her universe, just in case Captain Kirk asked me to do it.
I woke up suddenly and looked around. I didn’t know what happened to wake me up, but something did.
“Computer, lights. Twenty percent.”
My room illuminated and I saw a silhouette in my recliner. Instinctively, my hand went under my pillow but there was no knife hidden there. I looked around for something to defend myself with, but was stunned into stillness when I heard my name.
“Spock? What are you doing here?”
“I wanted to check on you.”
“How long have you been in here?”
“One hour, forty-six minutes and nineteen seconds. I am glad that you have been released from the brig. I do not wish you extended discomfort.”
I sighed, staring at him. He had not moved. “Spock? Look, I’m sorry about all this. I was doing my thing when Sulu just rolled upon me. I’ve had…dealings…with him before and they haven’t been pleasant and I just responded.”
“You have not had dealings with our Mr. Sulu. And I would remind you that you must remember where you are. The captain is understandably upset.”
“Is Mr. Sulu all right?”
“Yes. Dr. McCoy is an excellent surgeon. There is no evidence that he was attacked.”
“Good,” I said, shifting to sit with my back against the headboard. I was stiff and tired and I didn’t know how long I’d been asleep. My stomach was screaming for food, however.
“I expressed a desire to speak with you about our connection. We did not have a chance to have that conversation.”
“Do you want to have something with me, Spock?”
“I cannot have anything with you if you persist in this manner. It puts me in a difficult position, one that I am unfamiliar with.”
“I wasn’t trying to put you in any position other than sexual ones, Spock.”
“Is that all you seek me for, Lieutenant?”
I bit my lip and frowned. “No. I meant that I wasn’t trying to put you in a difficult spot. I just…”
“I did not know you had a second knife. When did you get it?”
“Same day I got the first one. I told you, Spock. I’m used to protecting myself. I know that I don’t have to be so vigilant over here, but I can’t stop being who I am!”
“I think that you do not give yourself enough credit, Nyota. I think that you are more that what you appear to be. You can do anything if you try. My first duty is to this ship and my captain. And while I wish to explore what lies between us, I will not do so to the detriment of my responsibility.”
I looked at my fingernails. I was going to do them as soon as Spock left and I had a chance to fully wake up. “I know that.”
“Do you wish to do likewise with me, Nyota?”
I took a deep breath. “Yes.”
“Do you understand what it is you have to do first?”
“Meaning my behavior?”
“The captain has instructed me to find a way to send you home if you have another violent outburst. The chance of it happening is .00002 percent, but I am confident that I can find a way to simulate the events that brought you to us.”
“Would it bring back the pastel princess too?”
“Of that I am not sure.”
“Do you prefer her to me?”
“I do not.”
I smiled. I couldn’t help it. “Why not?”
He raised an eyebrow. “It is not my way to criticize my crewmates and subordinates.”
“I didn’t ask you to criticize her. I just want to know why you prefer me over her.”
He waited a long moment before responding. Then he looked directly in my eyes. “You are alive in a way that she is not.”
I was shocked to hear such a revelation. “Really?”
“Nyota. By design, I live an austere life. I am comfortable with it. Since your arrival, however, I have found an outlet I did not know I required. My…response to you is most favorable and I have come to welcome it. I do not wish any different.”
That was probably the sweetest thing I’d ever heard. Especially from a guy I actually liked.
“Spock, I want to stay here. I know I haven’t been easy to deal with, but I don’t want to go back to that place.”
“I am pleased to hear that, of course. I do not wish for you to leave, but if you do anything else to upset the captain, there will be nothing I can do to keep it from happening.”
“I want to stay here, Spock. I will do my best to behave and I mean it this time.”
“I will do what I can to help you,” he said. “And so will Lt. Masters. She has expressed concern and I have taken the liberty to have her deliver your meals while you are confined.”
I nodded and looked at my bent legs under the blanket. Did I even know how to be a significant other? Did I have it in me to be a man’s woman? I didn’t have a clue as to how to be a girlfriend, much less a good one. I guess what I felt was so strong that he could feel it.
“I do not know what it means to be a significant other either, Nyota. I am unfamiliar with such connections, in spite of living among humans most of my life. I do not know if I am capable of such a relationship. In that, we are the same.”
I bit my lip, hesitant. “If you want it and I want it, then it’s worth finding out, isn’t it?”
“Logic dictates that it is, Nyota. But before that can take place, you must prove to the captain that you are able to assimilate into our culture.”
I nodded. For the first time in my life, I wanted something that my pussy wouldn’t be able to snare for me. I didn’t know if I would be successful, but the man in my room was worth any effort I had to put forth. “Spock, I want to stay here with you and I’ll do what I have to do. I’ll try, at any rate.”