Disclaimer: I do not own anything pertaining to Star Trek - that joy goes to the dearly departed Gene Roddenberry and Paramount Pictures.
Author's Notes: My first foray into the world of fanfiction. I have tried really hard to stay true to the Trek world but if there are any mistakes don't hesitate to tell me.
N.B. In the fictional Star Trek universe the United States of Africa exist as a nation of the United Earth government, within the Federation. Officer Uhura originates from the states.
Chapter 1 - Moshi
"It's so annoying - people are always telling me Kilimanjaro is in Kenya. How many times have I got to say? It's in Tanzania!" Nyota Uhura shook the frustration out of her face, perspiration left a sheen on her forehead and she wiped it with the back of her hand.
"Have you considered that Earth geography may not hold the allure for others that it does for you?" Spock quipped. His mood had lightened since they arrived in the United States of Africa. It seemed that the weather agreed with him. It was very hot, almost stiflingly so.
"Ha! You're killing me," she retorted dryly, rising from her seat, "I need to see if this place can serve us something other than ugali. I won't be long."
He watched her walk into the small, plain restaurant they were seated outside of, a rhythm in her step which served to put him entirely off food and set his focus on an altogether different appetite. He was still watching her form recede when a voice interrupted his thoughts.
"Shikamo," said the rake-thin waif leaning over the rail, hands outstretched. Her grey eyes were glazed and she wore little more than rags. There was a bend in her stance that she had learned from abuse.
"Marahaba," Spock replied, the word was issued without hesitation; the customary answer to a customary greeting, embedded into the language from a time when many Africans were enslaved. The very notion of slavery was an abomination which would not have been allowed on his home planet. For all humankind's cherishing of their so-called emotional intelligence, their historical passion for bloodshed was only paralleled by the Vulcans' before Surak's teachings.
"Hey! Hey! Spock?" Nyota's voice interrupted his thoughts; he turned to face her.
"Where has she gone?" his head whipped around to the spot where that frail-looking girl had been, a thin, waif-like creature. She was no longer visible to him.
"Who?" Nyota asked.
"Really? I didn't think the city still had beggars. Oh, I hope you didn't give her any credits."
"I know it is illegal here, k'diwa," he replied, fixing his bond-mate with his eyes. "She did not request monetary aid from me, she simply gave me a greeting and was gone."
He turned to the rail once again, ever so slightly perturbed by the girl's swift disappearance. She was a secret, he assumed, one of many that the United States of Africa had. Logic determined this should be so - collective positive regard for the ruling powers must be enforced by suppressing all clear reminders of the state's failings; such as children living on the streets without assistance.
Uhura settled into the chair beside him, her black hair braided to her skin in neat rows, relieving some of the heat. Then a cool breeze blew through the thick air. She silently laid her fingers on the hem of his sleeve, always careful when touching him, knowing the contact of skin was something he found extremely intimate.
"Did you find an alternative to ugali?" he asked.
"Unfortunately not," she muttered.
He quietly turned her hand over and held it, intertwining his fingers with her own. Her heart rate increased, as it always did whenever he touched her, or when she translated his highly intellectual speech into something she deemed to be profound. It was disconcerting how many times he had seen her attempting to distil the depth of their connection into a few words. Words were a comfort to her, clearly, since her youth but when they failed, seeming futile compared to their relationship, she would struggle to find ones more adequate.
The Tanzanian city where she had promised to meet her father before the next mission was overpopulated and rowdy. Shore leave was a boon that rarely occurred so Spock and she had decided to brave the crowds for a quick visit. Then they would be off to Nairobi to see her mother and finally, back to San Francisco and the furthest reaches of exploration in space.
He watched her sigh deeply and counted her breaths, taking in the contours of her striking face. More illogical thoughts threatened from his human side. Being with Uhura for these past six months was like mixing paints. His Vulcan heritage merged with the human life his mother had given him, creating something nearly inexplicable and wholly different from the man he was before. A suitable metaphor would be taking yellow pigment and blue and combining them to form green. The colour of chlorophyll, the photosynthetic properties were unparalleled by any other on this planet.
This too, this mind wandering, was a direct result of his new life. Meditation, through sheer habit and control had become an alleviant to some of his pain, but there were places, illogical mental scar tissue that refused to heal.
The first tremor in the earth was so gentle that Spock barely regarded it. He was more sensitive than the average human, his hearing was a miracle of genetics. He would live longer, be stronger and could out-run and out-class most humans in nearly all fields. Especially those of scientific study.
The second rumble was undeniable. In the four seconds before the sound she looked up at him, her deep brown eyes earnest, and smiled. That smile was as open and comforting as any his mother had given him during his youth. He took it for granted then, this human outpouring of affection but now, he could not imagine his life without it, without her. It was as though she encouraged the repressed within him, the illogical nature of needing her in order to feel complete. She was an indecipherable part of his identity.
"The volcano," she said, her eyes widening in terror, "but it can't be."
He rose quickly, an automatic sequence of plans already in motion: find a safe place above ground. A shuttle, a ship of any kind, capable of a few thousand feet. It was imperative for their survival. He took her by the hand and ran. No one else did, no one else realised, but he could hear it. Suddenly he could smell it in the air. Something disastrous was about to happen, it was equally foreign and familiar. Like seeing his older self from an alternative reality, watching his mother slip through into a void.
"Spock," she puffed, running as fast as she could to catch up with him, but he was still dragging her along, his inertia would be more efficient this way. "What's wrong?! What is it?"
"An anomaly - I am unsure as to its origin - we are in severe danger, Nyota."
"Where do we go?" the panic crawled into her voice and the city sprawled past them. They weaved between the numerous citizens who had stopped, staring at a point in the distance. Their eyes were fixed upwards, no one was running, not a single one of them was attempting to thwart what could have been a tidal wave of sulphur and death.
He smelled it now, taking a deep breath and suddenly there was only one thing to do. They could not out-run the catastrophe. Their only chance at survival, and it was an eleven-point-five percent in his reckoning, was to find subterranean level. The nearest underground station was ten minutes away, but they didn't have ten minutes. As the rumbling in the earth increased, it was accentuated with loud groans from the heavens that rang in his sensitive ears.
"I'm scared," Nyota stated.
"As am I," he replied, he could hear her pulse thrumming, her heart hammering within her chest from exertion and adrenaline.
"I love you," there was a tone of finality as her eyes lifted to the sky, joining the throng of mindless watchers, staring at the cloud above, christened with metal and diamond and light.
"No!" he pulled her to him, "Do not look up, Nyota. Come! We must find a vehicle."
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