Disclaimer: If I owned Star Trek, I'm sure someone would have let me know by now.
AN: One of several vignettes written for a meme. This one was Spock!Prime encounters Uhura and they have a touching, wistful moment. I hope that comes through and that it's not too vague. Hmm... ate my formatting. I hope there are no stray bits of HTML floating through here. If so, I apologize.
Vega Prime, the fourth planet in the Vega Star System, had been selected as the ideal location for a Vulcan colony. It wasn't until Nyota Uhura stepped off the shuttle craft for the first time that she realized just how ideal it was. The sun, Vega in this case, felt like it was hovering several feet above the generally flat and predominantly monotone landscape of the planet. The sun heated the generous breeze of Vega Prime to a disturbing degree—it felt as if the star, itself, were breathing down the back of her uniform as she helped to direct the Romulan workers off the shuttle craft and onto the surface.
Strangely enough, the Romulan Empire had been surprisingly eager to help re-establish the Vulcan culture on Vega and had contracted very serious amounts of construction and Terra-forming without any request for compensation. The aid was welcome, albeit unsettling and moderately ironic—she was fairly certain the racial identities of Nero and his Crew hadn't been released in a public report, so the Empire wasn't accountable even by association. Whatever the reasons, they'd insisted on being the first forward to help Vulcan. Unfortunately, while eager to aid in reconstruction, Romulan vessels were not particularly well equipped to transport large numbers of people or large amounts of equipment. This, of course, is where Starfleet obliged them. And so, Uhura and the other seventeen members of Starfleet who spoke fluent Romulan and Vulcan were stuck on rotation shuttling the contractors and aid to and from the starships.
Vega Prime, like Vulcan, had a day that lasted considerably longer than twenty-four hours and was currently in the shallowest point at its orbit around its star. This meant that the longest summer day Uhura had ever experienced in her ilife/i was now put to disgrace on a very regular basis. A basis that was beginning to get to her. The Vulcans and the Romulans didn't seem to notice the blistering heat—Uhura recalled something about it being forty-six degrees Celsius—but the Starfleet personnel were starting to show signs of wear. Two of the smarter ones—i.e. The least tolerant to heat—had beamed up hours ago and claimed the only two working environmental-jumpsuits off the Enterprise, thus leaving the rest of them to suffer in their regulation uniforms as they stood in the open directing groups and translating short conversations and debacles.
As Uhura directed the seventh group of the day—carpenters, she thought...maybe stone-masons...the words were very, very similar and it was very, very bgod-awfully hot/b—toward the lone mesa that stood at the site, she forced a smile and fought to keep from squinting in the harsh, yellow sunlight. She'd never liked lemonade, not even when she was a little girl and her grandmother had poured in enough sugar-syrup to make the tang almost indistinguishable, but she might kill someone for a glass of it today.
So caught up was she in envisioning this phantom glass of icy relief, that she nearly leaped out of her skin when a shadow fell over her and blessedly blocked out the harshness of the sun. She turned, and had to look up at the tall Vulcan behind her—he was clad in a very traditional hooded, white robe and his features were oddly familiar. Had he been on the Enterprise? Uhura shook off the feeling and forced a smile across her features again—she didn't really need to smile, but she'd been brought up polite and it felt more than a little necessary.
"Shacha, moi kima. Wani'ra Uhura, ishota?" Uhura greeted for possibly the hundredth time in an hour—Hello, good afternoon. I am Uhura, is there anything I can do for you? She'd said it enough times that she'd be surprised if she wasn't slipping into Vulcan for months. The Vulcan man in front of her arched an eyebrow and a flash of interest danced across his face.
"Your Anakana is impressive," he commented and Uhura closed her eyes briefly before smiling in relief—someone who spoke English, what a lovely break.
"Thank you, is there anything I can help you with?" Uhura repeated in as cheerful a voice as she could manage—the fact that she could speak English, and this man was blocking the sun made it significantly easier.
"You appear to be suffering the initial stages of heat-stroke, la'Uhura," he stated very calmly and Uhura immediately felt her forehead. She realized how silly the action was and how obvious her exhaustion must be if she reflexively tried to take her own temperature, and frowned lightly as she dropped her hand to her side. She caught the flicker of a smile on the Vulcan man's lips and arched her own eyebrow.
"Thank you for informing me," Uhura said politely and tried to think of a way to explain that she couldn't take a break because of something non-life-threatening. It almost felt like he could read her expressions as she contemplated an excuse, and he cut her off before she could deliver one.
"Work will not grind to a halt if you take a moment," he pointed out and motioned toward a small, spartan structure near the landing pads. "Rest and rehydrate. Your numbers are so few, wearing yourself to sickness would be...detrimental."
The one comforting thing about working with a large group of Vulcans was the overwhelming logic that permeated their actions. She was never approached for conversation while she was working and she was only requested to do things that she could manage, or logically could request, herself. So, being approached with a logical request, she could find little reason to turn the offer down and inclined her head. The tall Vulcan ushered her forward, and she stepped through the open door of the structure with moderate relish—the shade was still around forty degrees, but it beat forty-six and there was a solar fan mounted near the shuttered windows.
The structure was a covered storehouse, as much of the colony was, and had very minimal furniture and amenities. A large compression freezer covered the far wall, and Uhura had the sudden urge to shut herself in it for several minutes. Without realizing it, she stood for a long time, staring off at the freezer and was startled back to reality when the Vulcan man offered her a cold, ceramic glass.
"Human biology absorbs water most efficiently at room temperature," he said as he placed the cold glass in her hands, "But psychologically, the benefits of a cold refreshment outweigh the biological failings."
"Thank you so much," Uhura said very sincerely as she took a generous drink—it was chilled and the temperature change hurt her teeth, but she didn't mind enough to slow her drinking.
"Take a seat, and enjoy the respite," he encouraged and motioned to the bench beside the newly activated fan, beneath the opened window. Uhura could hardly keep the smile off her face as she sat down under the fan with her drink. When the Vulcan man sat down, quietly but with the weight of many years, next to her, she beamed at him. His expression relaxed as he took in her smile and they sat in silence for a few moments.
"I'm sorry, I didn't ask your name," Uhura apologized with a short laugh, "I suppose I really did need this." The ice in her drink clinked against the ceramic as she lifted it to her lips again.
"As I noticed," the Vulcan man commented in turn. "It is a daunting task," he continued evenly and the sounds of construction fluttered in through the open window, "but your aid does not go unappreciated."
Uhura sat, absorbing the relative cool of the building and the passing quiet, for a while. Eventually she found herself staring at the Vulcan man—he hadn't actually mentioned his name—who was sitting beside her with his eyes closed in quiet countenance. She couldn't get over the startling familiarity of him, but she couldn't place his features. She hadn't gotten a very good look at all of the elders Spock had saved, so it was quiet possible he was among them. He did look old enough to be an elder, for what it counted.
"You are staring," he stated without bothering to open his eyes. For a second she wondered how he knew. "Do you require more to drink?"
"Oh, sorry—no, I'm fine," Uhura said quickly and he looked down at her. "You just seem very...familiar."
"Hm," he hummed and arched an eyebrow. Uhura cocked her head to the side in response and he tucked his arms into the opposite sleeve and rested them in his lap. "You quite remind me of a woman I knew once, a very close acquaintance of mine."
"Oh?" Uhura prompted.
"We were," he paused for several seconds and a wistfulness glanced across his face, "close friends for many long years." He sighed softly and Uhura watched him as he stared off at the opposite wall. "But that was...I suppose...a very long time ago."
"Not too long ago, I hope," Uhura added because it seemed like the right thing to say. The man beside her didn't look back at her, but the thoughtfulness returned to his features.
"Indeed," he said and they lapsed, once more into relative quiet.
After a few minutes, Uhura closed her eyes and leaned against the windowsill. The warm air and the cool drink in her hands were very comfortable, and the world felt tranquil despite the loud noises of construction and the shouting of Romulan and Starfleet workers. It was so peaceful next to this Vulcan man, she began to wonder if the Vulcans themselves generated the famed serenity of their late homeworld. If so, then there was some hope for this colony.
A long, meditative silence passed by her before she was startled back into reality by a pair of tromping, irritated Romulan carpenters. The pair blew through the door of her small, temporary haven arguing about what variety of tools could be most usefully applied to fasten rock to aluminum, loudly retrieved a pair of boxes off a pallet in the corner, and left as noisily as they had entered. If they noticed her, they hadn't made it obvious.
The glass in her hands was warm and the water hot when she finished it. Unfortunately, the man who'd led her here was gone and she wondered, briefly, if she'd simply imagined him. A small smile pulled at her lips as she looked down at the empty, ceramic glass, and she stood to get back to work. She'd tell Spock about it, but, if he wasn't an elder, he probably wouldn't know the man.