Summary: Sort-of-sequel to What Did You Mean?. After 5. Scotty and Uhura fluff.
Disclaimer: I don't even own the story line. I got the idea from a newspaper article on sailboats.
Newport Harbor bustled with activity. But docked not too far off shore was a small schooner; her sails furled, bobbing placidly on the rippling water. Her aft end read Claymore. Her captain sat below-deck, constructing a small engine to power the sailing vessel out on the open ocean.
Montgomery Scott wiped the perspiration from his forehead and sat back to look at his handy-work. It wasn't a warp engine but it would do to move his little 20-foot schooner through even choppy waves when the winds weren't agreeable.
Looking at his chronometer he decided he was done for the day and grabbed a drink and went to sit up on the deck. He admired the yachts and little dinghies that floated nearby and watched as a training boat sailed by, almost clipping another schooner.
He smiled as he thought back to his first time out on the water.
By Newport's lofty standards, his fantasy had seemed modest.
After all, the Rhode Island seaside enclave was a destination for highbrow entertainment. One favorite pastime for locals was retiring to the polo field for a sip of bubbly champagne and a peek at a match. Newporters and tourists alike favored the mansion known as Astor's Beechwood, where actors posing as the kin of mogul John Jacob Astor greeted visitors as if they were guests of the family. And in the evening, the scene shifted to the Spiced Pear, dining spot of the moment, for a cut of Kobe beef, a taste of Tandoori venison or a nibble of sake-poached pear.
All Scotty wanted to do was sail.
At first, yacht watching was enough of a thrill. In a slow drive a month earlier along Newport Harbor, he'd perused all sorts of nautical eye-candy that were on display. There were stately schooners with authentic walnut and brass interiors and grand, custom-made yachts in full-masted majesty. Elegant classic 12-Meters, including the celebrated Weatherly and Intrepid, both winners of the coveted America's Cup.
His meandering took him through Newport's small, boutique-packed downtown and then south along Ocean Drive, which hugged a pristine stretch of Atlantic coastline. Finally, he chugged up Castle Hill with its grab-the-camera panorama of Naragansett Bay, where the water was a startling blue and the islands lush and emerald green. But it was the fleet of Shields sailboats – long, 30-foot racing craft that jockeyed for position at the start of a competition – which caught his attention.
A chap dressed in slacks and Topsiders seemed to notice his excitement. He turned out to be Johnny Milligan, veteran of a number of sailing races and owner of Astors' Beachwood.
"Maneuvering one of those boats is much more of pain than it seems," he said. "Better to take it all in from a pretty perch up here."
His warning came too late. Scotty could already hear sails flapping overhead and feel the wind at his back. For once, transforming a flight of fancy into reality would be simple enough. After all, he was the Chief Engineer aboard the Enterprise. He could do anything.
Or so he thought.
Sail Newport, known for honing locals' nautical skills, assured him that as a part of a two-hour course, he could get out on the water with an instructor and see what it was really like to take charge of an actual sailing craft. In two days, he had an appointment with a boat.
That left just enough time to hit the high points of the city, about 35 miles southeast of Providence, Rhode Island. First stop: the International Tennis Hall of Fame of Bellevue Avenue. The Hall of Fame was a sprawl of plaques and displays – including historic photographs, a gamut of tennis fashions, and other memorabilia – paying homage to its 200 or so inductees.
In high sports mode, he headed to Glen Farm, a set of polo fields perched amid massive stone barns six miles from downtown Providence. There, the field was filled with rushing horses and sweaty players. The U.S. national team was facing off against Scotland.
Scotty stood there and cheered on his home team for a while before wandering the stands, admiring the newest styles of the season.
"The Captain would love watching the game," he chuckled to himself. "Dr. McCoy and Mr. Spock would probably complain about how 'illogical' and 'dangerous' it was. Uhura would love to see these hats. I should pick everyone up something before I leave."
The hats, several were variations of the shell-shaped headwear Queen Elizabeth II favored, had even more stare-right-at-me appeal than the ones in church on Easter Sunday. The men – sporting their historical Ralph Lauren looks – could have stepped out of a 20th century prep school handbook.
On the return trip, he quickly calculated the amount of time before he got a turn at the tiller. Only thirty-six hours to go.
A slightly cloudy Saturday offered just the opportunity for a look at Newport's premier attraction: the stone 'cottages' that were more like sprawling estates. Built as summer residences for the Vanderbilts, Wetmores and other well-off New York and Philadelphia families, they encompassed massive amounts of acreage.
'In' New Yorkers had long since abandoned Newport for the Hamptons and other locales back in the late 20th century. And the homes, towering over Bellevue Avenue like the remains of a fallen empire, had mostly become museums.
The Chanler was one of the exceptions. It was an elegant estate where President Theodore Roosevelt and his ancestor, Lady President Audrey Roosevelt had been frequent visitors, transformed into an oceanfront boutique bed-and-breakfast offering total immersion in the mansion experience. Wandering through one mahogany-covered foyer after another, it was easy to see Old Money one-upmanship at work.
Finally, the sea called. His sailing lesson – a half-hour orientation to the boat, followed by two hours out on the bay – started on a sunny morning at a picnic table on the harbor near Fort Adams. Brianne Kelly, an attractive dark-haired 23-year-old with the spunk of a third-generation sailor, was his instructor.
She started with 'PADD talk.' Drawing a diagram of a boat on a small PADD, she explained the major parts. The sheet, the line wrapped around the winch, was used to ease the sail in and out. The tiller, attached to the sail frame, was used to steer. The boom kept the sail extended. His head began to swirl with the ancient sailing terms.
"If you can grasp how these parts work, it'll be easy," Kelley said. "If you can't, we'll have to keep going over it until you do."
"The only way learn is to hit the water," she added. With that, Kelley, her assistant Eddy, and Scotty climbed into Barking Mad, one of the J-22's – the 22-foot boats Sail Newport used for training.
"Grab the tiller," Kelley yelled. "You're on."
And so he was. As they headed into the bay, passing schooners and other vessels, Kelley explained the traffic rules. She also showed Scotty how to watch for wind shifts and adjust the sail accordingly. Finally, she fell silent, allowing the engineer to learn from trial and error.
He encountered both. Tacking, or shifting the direction, required quite a bit of agility. In a harrowing moment, a strong gust forced him to heel until the port side of the deck was almost under the water. Eddy clutched the starboard rail and grimaced.
After a couple of hours, Scotty had calmed Barking Mad. As the wind picked up, he tacked and headed for shore, sometimes moving up to five knots. It felt glorious. He was really sailing.
Scotty grimaced as the J-22 came perilously close to sideswiping a yacht. He studied the sky for a minute and decided he had enough sunlight left for a short sail. He untied the ropes securing the schooner to the dock and unfurled the sails, enjoying the gentle wind at his back.
About a mile out the wind died down and Scotty was content to just bob on the gently lapping waves. He dropped anchor, lashed the tiller in place, and stretched out on the double seat. The sun slowly sank in the sky until it hung just above the water, ready to take the plunge.
The sound of a shuttlecraft flying low overhead and someone transporting down onto the deck woke him from his reverie. He quickly sat up and found himself staring up at a pair of sparkling brown eyes.
"Hello Scotty." Uhura beamed down at him.
"What brings yeh here, Lassie?"
"Spring break. I thought I'd check out this little boat you've been bragging about."
"And whatta yeh think of her?"
"It's wonderful." Uhura said as she twirled around and then abruptly dropped onto the seat next to Scotty.
"Aye, that it is."
"Brings back memories, doesn't it?"
"Hmm? How's that?" The retired Engineer questioned as he offered her a drink.
"Being on the Enterprise. Not really being tied down and able to just…go…wherever, whenever."
Scotty smiled sadly. "Good memories. How's everyone doin'?"
"Spock and Dr. McCoy are still taking it hard. Everyone's upset of course. How are you? You were right there."
He thought back to his last moments with the Captain and then with a sigh, swiped the memories of the Captain's demise from his mind. "Ah try not ta think about it. But…Ah do think that it's what the Cap'n would've wanted. A heroes death."
Uhura smiled wryly. "You're right. I can't see James T. Kirk dying of old age."
He patted her knee and stood. "Enough of all this sad reminiscin'. Ah'm wantin' ta try mah new engine."
"But I thought this was a sailing ship Scotty. Did you build an engine for this thing?"
He smiled cheekily. "Ya know me too well, Lassie. Idle hands and all that. Yeh want ta take look?"
They both clambered below-deck and Scotty put the final touches on his small engine as Uhura picked through the cluttered interior.
"You need a maid."
"You applyin' for the job, Lassie?" Scotty asked over his shoulder.
"I don't know." Uhura held a pair of boxers aloft and studied them. "Nice."
Scotty turned, blushed, and swiped the undergarment from her.
"Where in the galaxy did you find boxers with the Starfleet insignia all over them?"
"Mah sister got 'em for me for mah last birthday."
He tried to squeeze past her but found himself stuck, pressed up against her.
She giggled. "This boat isn't big enough for the two of us."
"Ah'm startin' ta realize that. On the count a three, all right? One…Two…Three!"
They both wrenched themselves towards the fore end of the boat and unceremoniously fell onto his bunk. Scotty looked a bit mortified for a second when he found she'd landed on top of him. But, when Uhura picked her head up from his chest and waggled her eyebrows at him, he laughed at the ridiculousness of the situation. His chuckles rumbled deep in his chest until she laughed along with him. She couldn't help it. The vibrations from his chest tickled.
Feeling impulsive, Uhura leaned down and kissed him full on the mouth. Realizing what she'd done, she pressed her lips together and smiled uncertainly down at him. When he didn't return the smile right away she scrambled up and offered him a hand up. They slowly climbed topside and Scotty lifted the anchor and untied the tiller.
"Ah'm not sure," he frowned at the shore and turned to her. "Where would yeh like ta go, Lassie?"
"Where would I like to go?"
She tipped her head back and stared at the sky for a few minutes. "Anywhere. Anywhere away from the Academy. Somewhere new. Somewhere I've never gone before."
"Help meh furl the sails and Ah'll see if'n Ah can take yeh there."
She picked her head up. "You mean I can go with you?"
"Aye. Just pick a destination."
"I've never been to Bermuda."
"That might be a little far for meh."
Uhura pouted. "Alright. How about once around the harbor and then to the Spiced Pear for dinner?"
"That Ah can do. But Ah'm expectin' some kind of payment for mah troubles."
"Payment? I offered dinner didn't I?"
"Ah was gonna go there anyway, Lassie. But don't worry, Ah'll think of somethin'."
He suddenly swooped down and stole a kiss from her startled lips. Smiling down at her, he skillfully turned the schooner back towards the harbor. She wrinkled her nose, his moustache was a bit on the bristly side.
"That was unfair. I wasn't ready."
He bent over until he was nose to nose with her. "Would yeh like meh ta try again?"
The corners of her mouth lifted ever so slightly into a grin. He smiled back and leaned the rest of the way in. She savored his lips this time and sighed softly when he pulled back.
"I love you."
"That's good ta know, Lassie."
She raised an eyebrow. That wasn't the reply she was waiting for.
"And why is that?"
"Because Ah've loved yeh for a long time and Ah've been waitin' for yeh ta say that for about the same."
He kissed her again and she gently turned his head towards the prow of the boat. "Keep you're eyes on the water, Scotty. I'd like to make it back to land dry."
"Aye. Ah'll do the best Ah can. But seein' yeh drenched is a tempting idea."
She couldn't help laughing as she wrapped her arms around him. "That as it may be, I'm taking you with me because I'm not letting go."