A/N: This is hot off the presses. I couldn't wait to post it. So, there may be some typos that I haven't caught. Thanks so much for reading and for your comments. I really do appreciate them! Enjoy!
Pride and Logic Chapter 27
The second quarter was coming to an end and registration for the next term opened a few hours ago. As usual, Nyota perused the course list as soon as it was made available. Most of her classes had already been selected-the requisite courses for her specializations in zeno-linguistics and communications programming. She only had room in her schedule for one or two elective courses and Nyota wanted to chose wisely.
Unlike the previous year, she did not scour the course catalog for the most interesting seminar but for a particular professor: Commander Spock. Uhura was not surprised to find his name absent from the list of instructors. He was originally scheduled to teach four courses this term, three of these were reassigned to less interesting professors. Commander Spock's course in comparative Romulan and Vulcan syntax was cancelled outright.
Uhura may not have been surprised by Commander Spock's continued absence from the Academy, but she was disappointed all the same. She longed to see him, although she did not know what she would say to him should they meet again. Would it be appropriate to offer her condolences for the death of his brother? Although she knew there was no love lost between them, Uhura expected that Sybok's death would still be a cause for mourning. Uhura knew that Spock felt deeply and, although his anger could burn hot and long, his loyalty and affections were just as potent and enduring. Perhaps that is why Spock's absence and continued silence had caused Uhura so much disquiet. Nyota had sent him two more messages since her return to the Academy. Unlike their predecessors, they remained unanswered. Uhura had begun to force herself to come to terms with the fact that Commander Spock no longer held her in any particular regard. As much as this pained her, Uhura could not bring herself to cease thinking of him. She merely wanted to know that he was well.
Uhura would be loathe to call herself love sick. She did not think of the commander excessively during the day, finding something familiar in the way a random cadet walked, seizing on some snippet of a passing conversation that inspired a sense of deja vu, or catching a scent on the air, a cross between clean linen and musk that made her remember moments spent gazing at alien constellations, her head at ease on his shoulder. She did not check her comm every hour hoping for a message from him, however terse. Uhura knew herself to be too sensible to give way to such notions, or she hoped herself to be so at the very least.
Nyota seemed most vulnerable to maudlin recollections of the quiet Vulcan in those moments when she hovered between sleep and wakefulness. Spock came to her then as an ephemera, a pleasant dream she could not recall but whose presence lingered as she pulled herself out of bed and into her running clothes. Every morning she would try to seize on some detail of the dream as she made her way across campus and onto the running paths that bordered the bay. Months of such efforts were fruitless. She could recall his voice, but not his words nor the language he spoke. She could recall his presence, the familiar brush of his mind against hers. It was quite dissimilar from the one time he shared his thoughts with her. Then she had felt as if she would drown in him, be swept away by the tide of his emotions but for the anchor of her hand clasped in his. This touch was more tentative, gentle and earnest in its intent to soothe and comfort. Though the details of the dream slipped through her fingers, the peace lingered.
So, Uhura found herself sitting in front of a blank monitor contemplating calling Amanda Grayson. Nyota was not overly concerned that her call would be an imposition. She knew that it would be an acceptable time to call someone in ShiKahr; it would be just after most Vulcans left from work and before they would sit down for the evening meal. And Nyota felt herself to be on very good terms with Lady Amanda. Amanda had sent a lovely bouquet of fire lilies to her home in Nairobi while she was recovering along with a warm holo message wishing Nyota a speedy recovery. After a few minutes more of nervous dithering, Uhura concluded that calling Amanda Grayson to inquire after the well being of her family would be more than acceptable.
"Computer. Call the home of one Lady Amanda and Ambassador Sarek, D'H'riset, ShiKahr Vulcan."
Nyota sat up in her seat and smoothed back her hair as the computer connected her call. A few seconds passed before her monitor was filled with the unsmiling face of Seved, one of Lady Amanda's servants.
"Ms. Uhura, well met," Seved greeted with a small incline of his head.
"Greetings, Seved. I trust that you are well," Nyota replied with a nervous smile.
"I am in optimal physical condition, Ms. Uhura. Would you like to converse with the Lady Amanda?"
Seved nodded his head. "One moment."
Seved walked out of the sight of the view screen, no doubt to inform Lady Amanda of her call. Uhura examined the now empty parlour with its red earthen tones and floor to ceiling windows overlooking a sand garden. Uhura felt herself uncoil at the memory of sitting in that very parlour with the windows flung open so that they could enjoy a rare cool evening breeze. Barely a minute passed before Lady Amanda sat down before the viewscreen, her mouth curved in a wide toothy smile.
"Oh, Nyota! How wonderful," she enthused. "What a pleasant surprise! You are looking very well, indeed! How are you dear?"
Uhura smiled in return, the last vestiges of her nervousness evaporating in the warmth of Lady Amanda's greeting.
"I am doing well. Classes are wrapping up nicely and my life is blessedly mundane."
Lady Amanda's smile dimmed.
"I understand, dear. Sometimes boring can be a blessing in disguise. I am so happy that you are well."
"Thank you again for the beautiful flowers and the note."
Lady Amanda waved her hands. "They were no trouble, dear. I am glad that you enjoyed them. Now, what can I do for you, Nyota?"
Nyota looked down at her lap and took a deep breath. "This may be a bit presumptuous. And if so, I apologize."
"Go on dear," Amanda prompted, smiling encouragingly. "I am sure you'll have nothing to apologize for.
Uhura looked up from her lap and returned Amanda's smile with a small one of her own. "Well, I'm calling because I'm worried about Spock. I've sent him a few messages and I haven't received any reply. Its been a few months now and I am just concerned. I have been told he is on some spiritual retreat. And I suppose that is why he hasn't returned my messages. But, I just had to know. Is he well?"
"Honey, I am sorry. I don't have much more information myself," Amanda replied. "You see, he has gone to study with the priests at Gol.. No one can contact him, as pilgrims to Gol are kept in strict isolation. Sarek and I have not heard from him these two months at least."
Nyota blinked back her disappointment. "I see."
Lady Amanda pursed her lips as she considered Uhura. After a moment, she sighed and leaned towards the screen. "Sarek would be very upset with me for doing this, but there is more that you should know."
"Please, I'd be obliged for any news you could give."
"Gol is not just a temple," Amanda explained. "Gol is home to priests who help Vulcans achieve kolinahr."
Uhura thought quickly over all she knew on Vulcan culture and beliefs. She remembered one spirited debate in Spock's seminar on the merits of kolinahr. Kolinahr was the highest level of Surakian practice. It was the purging of all emotion and the attainment of a psyche ruled by pure logic. It was a state to which many aspired but few achieved. Uhura sat back in her seat with a defeated sigh.
"The purging of all emotion? Why would Spock want that?"
"Spock was in quite a state when he returned home. To most humans he would have seemed like his normal self, but I could tell he was much disturbed. All followers of Surak strive to regulate their emotions, but if one cannot, it is preferable to be incapable of emotion rather than be an undisciplined v'tosh ka'tur. I tried to persuade him to try another path or meet with a healer, but he was adamant that kolinahr was his only salvation."
Nyota shut her eyes and took a calming breath.
"I am truly sorry," Nyota finally replied. "Spock has...he had such a beautiful heart."
Amanda nodded her head in agreement. "It is my hope that kolinahr won't rob him of that completely. Logic cannot wipe out love. It can only bury it."
The two looked at each other, weighing and appreciating the other's loss.
"I am sorry too," Lady Amanda said. "I had such hopes."
Nyota looked away quickly and wiped at her cheeks. The call soon ended. Nyota could not decide if she was glad to have definitive knowledge that Spock's affections for her were at an end or if she was sorry that she had placed the call and invited this fresh pain.
After sitting several moments in dejected silence, Uhura rose from her seat and made her way to the bathroom. She went about the motions of wrapping her hair, stripping off her cadet uniform and showering. She forewent the quick and efficient sonic shower for real hot water. She lathered mechanically and stood under the spray, noting the sound of the water hitting her plastic shower cap, feeling her muscles loosen under the near scalding water. She brushed her teeth and scrubbed her face clean, donned her comfortable pajamas with the long sleeves and climbed into bed.
Colbert's pub was packed with cadets celebrating the end of the second quarter and saying their farewells before winter break. Uhura sat with her back against the wall in their usual booth, nursing a lager. Kirk and McCoy sat next to her, nursing drinks of their own. All three were decked out in their formal uniforms, shiny new medals pinned to their chests.
It had been a small ceremony. Starfleet had not wanted to draw unwanted media attention to the ceremony and renew the scandal. However, they did not want the valor of Uhura and her rescuers to go unrecognized. Nyota, Lieutenant-Commander Shuran, McCoy and Kirk stood before a panel of Academy administrators and mid-level Starfleet brass as their accomplishments were read. They each had been awarded commendations for valor and conduct becoming an officer. After the ceremony, had congratulated the three cadets, and with a press of Nyota's hand, made his excuses. The three cadets stood on the steps of the auditorium watching Shuran's retreat, when Uhura turned to her companions and announced her need for a strong drink.
Scotty, Hikaru and Gaila soon joined them at the pub. The trio was dressed in civilian attire and in high spirits.
"So, let me see 'em," Scotty ordered as he slid into the booth, one hand gripping a large tumbler of scotch the other gesturing for Kirk to hand the medal over.
Kirk took another gulp of his ale before undoing the medal on his chest and handing it over for Scotty's inspection.
"It's nothing special," Kirk remarked as Scotty passed the medal around the table.
"Looks pretty special to me," Hikaru replied. "I mean, they called you to a super secret ceremony. What's the deal with that anyway? I thought brass loved handing out commendations in front of the entire Academy. You know, demonstrating exemplary service and what not."
"I wasn't even invited," Gaila interjected, "and I'm almost family."
"Maybe Starfleet has the good sense not to air their dirty laundry," McCoy growled as he plucked the medal from Scotty's fingers and returned it to Kirk.
"Maybe," Hikaru took a sip of his beer. "Doesn't look good for recruitment."
Nyota wished she had stopped by her room and changed out of her dress reds. The last thing she wanted to talk about was the ceremony or what happened to her. She was surprised that she made it through the short ceremony with her smile firmly fixed in place. She didn't think she deserved a medal for fighting for her life. She had been determined to survive and her survival was reward enough.
Nyota urged McCoy and Sulu out of their seats so that she could get out of the booth. She shrugged out of her uniform jacket before carefully draping it over the back of the bench, popped open a few buttons of her blouse and ran her fingers through her hair, undoing her simple french braid.
"Enough of this talk of medals. I came here to drink and dance. I've got my drink. How about a dance, Kirk?"
Sulu snorted, nearly choking on his drink. "Well, this is a new development."
"I figure I owe the hero a turn on the dance floor," Nyota replied with a grin before turning to Kirk. "What do you say, Kirk?"
Kirk considered her for a moment, his bright blue eyes raking over her figure, before reaching for Scotty's tumbler of scotch and downing it in one go. His eyes watered as he slammed the tumbler back on the table.
"Och, that wasn't cheap," Scotty fumed. "You're paying for the next round."
"What, no hero's discount?" Kirk smirked before grabbing Uhura's hand and pulling her onto the dance floor.
Uhura and Kirk melted into the crowd of gyrating bodies as a throbbing bass heavy song blared over the speakers. Uhura wanted nothing more than to get lost in the music, to bend and twirl her limbs, roll and dip her hips until her frustrations were forgotten. Kirk was a surprisingly good dancer. He clutched her hips as he dipped and rolled with Uhura, his movements easy and fluid.
"Not bad, farmboy," Uhura laughed.
Kirk grinned in reply. "I told you I did more than sleep with farm animals."
Uhura smiled at the memory of their first conversation at the Riverside Bar two years ago. She had been put off by his swagger and easy smile that had oozed entitlement. With his bright blue eyes and square jaw, he thought he was God's gift to women. As if one crooked smile and well worn pick up line would have her on her knees. That night had established the pattern of their relationship. Him doggedly pursuing. Her soundly rejecting. Kirk had seldom seen fit to show her that he was more than good looks and blunt charm until recently.
Uhura smiled up at him. "Well, I've come to realize that I was wrong about few things."
Kirk's smile dimmed.
The music switched to a slow song and Kirk turned as if he was heading back to the booth. Uhura grabbed his hand.
"Hey, one more?"
Kirk seemed to hesitate for a moment before allowing Uhura to pull him close. Nyota draped her arms around his neck.
She looked up at him and smiled shyly. "Is this okay?"
Kirk replied by settling his hands low on her waist. They swayed in silence for a few minutes, Uhura's head coming to rest on his chest.
"You know you don't owe me anything," Kirk finally said, his voice barely audible over the music.
Uhura lifted her head and looked up at him, her head cocked to the side. "What do you mean?"
"I mean you don't owe me anything, Uhura. You don't have to be nice to me and you don't have to go around calling me a hero."
Uhura smiled and shook her head. "But I want to be nice to you. You've been a real friend to me, Jim. And call me Nyota. I think you've earned..."
Kirk laughed darkly. "You, know. I thought Spock was crazy for not wanting you to know. But, damn, if this isn't worse than your dislike."
"Spock?" Uhura stopped dancing, as Kirk's hands dropped from her hips. "What does Spock have to do with it?"
"We've got you so convinced that we're big damn heroes," Kirk hissed. "When really we were just along for the ride."
Kirk's angry reply drew the attention of a few of their neighbors. He seemed to notice and pulled Uhura closer to him. Kirk bent his head to speak directly in her ear.
"I know I promised him, but this ain't right. You want to know who the hero is? Spock. He went ham on a whole mess of Orions to get to you. He was crazed and relentless. And when he thought you were dead he damn near laid down in the snow to die."
Uhura stepped back from him, her eyes wide. "What are you saying?"
Kirk looked over her shoulder towards their booth and a concerned looking McCoy.
"Why don't you ask your boy Len? I need some air."
Kirk turned and pushed his way through the crowd. Nyota stood rooted to the spot. Spock had come for her. She suddenly felt light headed. McCoy was at her side in a moment, his hand at the small of her back a steadying presence.
"Darling, you look fit to pass out."
"I'm well," Uhura replied. "I've just had a bit of a shock."
"Well, come back to the booth and I'll get you a glass of water."
Len began to urge her towards the table but Uhura held him back.
"What's wrong, Ny?"
"I need you to tell me the truth about what happened. Why was Spock there and why didn't you tell me he came for me?"
Len stood mutely for a moment before swearing loudly.
"Well, I guess that answers the question of why Jim flew out of here like his tail was on fire. I'd thought he'd be better about holding his tongue."
Uhura felt her shock give way to anger.
"This is not about James Kirk," Uhura snarled. "This is about me and why my 'friends' saw fit to lie to me about the most traumatic event of my life."
"Nyota, you gotta know that it wasn't my intention to lie to you."
"But you did," Uhura replied as she stalked back to the booth to grab her jacket and hat. "You are going to tell me everything tonight!"
Scotty, Hikaru and Gaila looked at her wonderingly as she snatched her things from the table.
"Your face looks like thunder," Hikaru commented as he handed over her hat. "What happened out there?"
Uhura ignored his question as she shrugged on her jacket. She fixed Gaila with a hard stare.
"Did you know?"
"Know about what?" Gaila replied as she looked between Uhura and McCoy.
"She didn't know much, Ny," Len cut in. "Let's go somewhere more private and I'll tell you everything."
Uhura nodded curtly and headed for the door. Gaila pushed her way out of the booth to follow but was stopped by McCoy.
"Let me talk to her first, Gaila. I'm sure she'll need you later, but there are a few things she needs to hear from me. Alone."
Gaila regarded him warily for a moment. "Fine. I'll wait for her at home. But tell her everything, Len. She deserves to know."
McCoy nodded curtly before pulling out his wallet and slapping a handful of credits on the table.
"That should cover all our drinks," Len said as he grabbed his hat.
"What is all this about?" Scotty asked.
"Something complicated and long overdue," Len grumbled as he turned to follow Uhura. "For Pete's sake, I'm a doctor, not a therapist."
Uhura stormed out of the bar. She was confident that Len was not far behind. Spock had come for her. She was determined to know everything. She thought about going back to the dorms, but she couldn't wait. She had to know everything now. A small park was located just two blocks uphill from the bar. It boasted a few trees, three or four benches, and a pretty view of the bay. The park was blessedly empty when she arrived. Uhura walked over to the stone wall lining the scenic overlook and leaned against it waiting for McCoy to catch up.
"Tell me everything, Len. No more secrets."
"You might want to sit down for this, darling," McCoy replied.
Nyota glared at him before sitting heavily on a park bench, her arms crossed and her eyebrow cocked. McCoy dragged one hand heavily over his face before beginning.
"Spock was involved in everything, from start to finish. When I woke up in the hospital after Sybok whipped my ass, he was the first person I called. Starfleet police didn't look like they knew their ass from a hole in the ground, but Spock was on top of everything."
As Uhura listened to McCoy's tale, her anger slowly melted into shock, admiration and concern. Spock had been instrumental in her rescue. He had gathered a ransom of several million credits, secured a spaceship and tracked her ship across solar systems to get to her. He had killed his own brother with his bare hands to save her.
"I swear, Ny, I would have told you everything but he made me swear to leave his involvement out of it."
Uhura took a deep breath in an attempt to keep at bay the tears that threatened to fall. She had cried too often these past few months for her taste.
She looked up at McCoy. "Did he give a reason for this secrecy?"
"He didn't want you to feel any obligation towards him," McCoy replied.
Uhura put her head in her hands. McCoy sat heavily on the bench beside her.
"I think he's in love with you, darling. Damn Vulcan's too honorable to even have the appearance of purchasing your affections. But I don't understand why he was even worried. You can hardly stand the man. I can see you warming up to tolerate him, but love him..."
McCoy stopped short at Uhura's sudden burst of laughter. He watched her as she clutched her sides in an attempt to stifle her mirth. He couldn't help but to join in. He had not heard her laughter since before the incident.
"It's mighty nice to see you smile, darling. But I can't help but wonder what is so amusing."
Uhura leaned against him, her previous ire forgotten. "I have to laugh, Len, or I would cry. You're right. Commander Spock could not earn my love. My heart is already his. I have loved him these past six months at least. This revelation only serves to prove to me two things. That Spock is the very best of men and that I am the most unfortunate woman in the federation."
Len shook his head in disbelief. "Love? Commander Spock? Are talking about the same uptight Vulcan?"
Uhura smiled ruefully. "We are. Our affections for one another could not be more ill timed."
McCoy looked at her in confusion. "I think I am missing several parts of this story. But how about you explain why this timing is so tragic."
"These past few months I have been convinced that although I loved him, he held no particular regard for me. His very absence from the Academy only confirmed this. And Spock was convinced that I cared nothing for him. He rescued me, swore you and Kirk to secrecy and then went off to Vulcan to undertake kolinahr."
"Its when Vulcan's purge all emotions. Many humans incorrectly believe that Vulcans have no emotions. Believe me, they do. They are just good at regulating them. But kolinahr renders them truly incapable of feeling any emotion."
Uhura stood up and walked over to the low wall bordering the park. She leaned against it and looked down the tall hill at the bay below. McCoy followed her and leaned next to her.
"So, Spock's completely incapable of loving you."
Uhura nodded. "That sums it up."
The pair stood leaning against one another and noting the brightly lit sailboats that navigated the bay until Uhura began to feel chilled. McCoy walked her back to her dorm, respecting Uhura's unspoken wish for silence. They parted ways at the door to her building, Len pressing a kiss to Nyota's forehead. Uhura wanted to do nothing more but curl up in her bed and sleep forever.
Uhura stepped of the elevator on her floor and made her way to her suite. Nyota stopped, her mouth hanging open in shock. Two burly Vulcan men stood at attention on either side of her door. Uhura looked at the men in confusion before drawing herself up to her full height.
"Who are you and why are you here?"
"Would you be Nyota Uhura?" one of the guards inquired, ignoring her question.
Uhura's nostrils flared in indignation. She pulled out her communicator and pressed her finger lightly to the distress button."Yes, I am. Now you have ten seconds to tell me who are you and what the hell are you doing outside my suite before this place is crawling with Starfleet police."
The guard who addressed her did not even do her the dignity of arching an eyebrow in response.
"The Lady T'Pau awaits you inside your domicile."
Uhura quickly put her communicator away. As she looked between the two guards in confusion.
"Lady T'Pau of Vulcan?"
"Yes, Ms. Uhura," the other guard replied before gesturing to her door. " I suggest that you do not keep her ladyship waiting."
Uhura huffed before walking into her suite. Gaila met her at the door, her blue eyes wide and her face grey.
"Ny," she whispered. "She just barged in here demanding to speak with you. I barely had time to hide my toys."
Uhura rolled her eyes before petting Gaila on the arm and moving into the sitting room. Lady T'Pau stood in the middle of the room leaning on her tall walking staff and assessing the decor with barely concealed disapproval. The diminutive woman in black somehow loomed over the room.
"Lady T'Pau," Uhura called as she dropped into a stiff curtsey. "To what do I owe the honor?"
Lady T'Pau turned towards her, her grey eyes flicking over Nyota's person.
"It is good that thee has seen fit to return to thine abode at a near respectable hour. I observed an adequate patch of wilderness just outside of the building. Thee shall attend me."
Without waiting for a reply, Lady T'Pau walked past Uhura and out of the front door. All Uhura could do was roll her eyes and follow.