A/N: Sorry about the delay with this chapter. Between school and work, fanfiction had to wait. lol
Thank you for those who are still sticking in there with me.
"This planet is beautiful."
Nyota Uhura touched the trunk of a smaller tree as she looked at the light blue sky. The jungle that surrounded them embraced them like a mother would a child and Nyota felt a calmness that came to her any time she discovered beauty. This was a connection to the universe and in some ways her own sense of the spiritual.
"It seems rather ordinary for a tropical world." Spock answered scanning one of the greenest plants she had ever seen. Jim Kirk gave a wry smile.
"Leave it to Spock to bring us all down to Earth."
Spock eyebrow twitched up and his humans companions gave a laugh. Nyota brushed his hand and Spock gazed at her with a confused expression.
"I know what you're about to say…just leave it be, Spock."
Nyota had become used to managing and maintain a balance between the three men beside her. She was the one who could stop her captain from doing something without thinking or keep Dr. McCoy from spouting out about death scenarios and airborne pathogens. And in times like these, she was the one who would stop Spock from pushing a point too hard in a logical direction. While the men pushed and pulled on another on their beliefs, actions, and attitudes, she was, in many ways, the one who could see all sides and bring an understanding that might not always be there. Not to say that she herself couldn't get lost in her own human frailties where Kirk would try to get her to loosen up, or McCoy would let out some of that Kentucky common sense, or Spock would get her to come to a logical conclusion to her emotions. They were all there for each other and though it hadn't seemed this way at the beginning of their journey together as Starfleet officers, these men were her best friends.
Well, one of them was more than that.
All four crew members looked up to see a lean humanoid cutting a path through the jungle. His light blue skin glistened in the sunlight and he used as small crystal to continue to cut.
"One of the natives?" Kirk asked.
"Any idea of what he's saying, darling?" McCoy questioned as the blue man continued to cut.
Nyota shook her head. She had worked on recordings of this particular species taken from Starfleet probes and had figured out some expressions and common verbiage with other species nearby, but she could not quite get a lock on all of them. The being looked up and then caught sight of them.
"Kallooo!" The man shouted. Another echoing noise rose through the jungle and then another. Suddenly the sounds echoed all around.
"Nutalla! Kalloooo!" The away team looked around to find themselves surrounded by more of the men, some hanging from the trees, others peaking from behind the bushes. The man with the crystal held up his hand and the noise stopped. The members of the Enterprise crew put their hands over their phasers, ready for anything.
"I guess we're not in Kansas, anymore." McCoy cracked.
The Ta'Kans had escorted them to the main village 6 kilometers from their beam down location and dusk was upon them. Nyota had been able to translate small words to the men who approached them in the jungles of Delta 257 and they seemed amazed that she knew some of their language as well. When asked where they had come from with their strange skins and in Spock's case, long pointy ears, Nyota had pieced together enough of the Ta'kanian language to convince them they were from a neighboring village.
"Nu talik. San bunrtali." The main Ta'Kan had said to Nyota. She could piece together his meaning of welcome and invitation to dine.
The man smiled, his green teeth showing. "Nahabu! Grantala!"
"What did he just say?" Kirk whispered in her ear as they continued to walk.
"That we are welcome to their feast in the main square. It would be their honor to have us."
The blue man waved his hands to have them venture forward and the crew members followed. He was leading them towards a small cave on the side of the village. Spock cocked his head.
"I am unsure of this, Captain."
"I'm not too sure either, Mr. Spock." Kirk paused as the man continued to wave. "But we are explorers for a reason. Lt. Uhura, ask him where we are headed."
"Natali. Parto san quini. Sanborto."
The man squinted and gave a small smirk. "Nahabu! Na partni shacu."
"He said that he is leading us to the lake of life. All visitors must see it before participating in the feast."
Jim looked pensive at this put began to walk again. They entered the cave and walked down the steep steps to the bottom. The cave had many torches to light the way, but to Nyota it still felt extremely spooky no matter how much light was given. They finally reached the bottom to find a lake of water.
A lake of black water.
"Haminlik. Tolantani sand qoukle andpoihnl."
"He says this is the lake of the spirits."
"Napantolik. Nahabu. Saleaital pan toleyk. Swaning panlley dkanlij."
"That we must dedicate ourselves to the lake. That…I don't get that part."
Kirk gazed and Nyota. "Ask him what we are supposed to do to 'dedicate' ourselves?"
"Halknoink pallkil? Sanlkkpo."
"Ranshi. Nahabu. Notally sanpi cotol."
"He wants us to drink."
"We do not know of what this water contains. It may be poisonous." Spock said.
"Makisik. Nahabu. Sandlkki."
"He says we have to drink in order to ….I didn't catch the last part. But I think he will be offended if we don't."
Spock took out a scanner and approached the black river. The blue man became upset.
"Ragalinel! Houljlliki! Panlinlkinl!"
"Spock, step back." Kirk commanded seeing the man grabbing his crystal.
"Nakljpokl!" Nyota said and the man seem to calm. He put the crystal back in his scabbard.
"It might be advisable to drink the damn water." McCoy offered. "Worse comes to worse we can always beam out."
"There is no guarantee that you would be able to heal us if we were to become infected or poisoned by the water, Doctor." Spock countered.
"It's better than getting a crystal in the gut and being run through by the Ta'kan."
"He does have a point." Kirk said. He went closer to the water, bent down on his knees, and cupped his hands. The Ta'Kan seemed pleased, so Kirk continued and dipped his hands in. He drank the water.
"It's not bad. It's kinda sweet."
Nyota went to him and knelt beside him, doing the same. She felt a sense of clarity that she could not understand. Like her mind was less cloudy and extremely focused. She felt Spock's hand on her shoulder.
"Nyota, are you well?"
"Yeah, Spock. Why?"
"You have been here for two minutes without motion."
She felt light. When she walked it was as if she floated and the beauty of the planet was shining through her eyes and her talk. Nyota could feel that Spock was becoming concerned but she was beyond caring. She felt great. Powerful.
The food tasted better than anything she had ever had. She had devoured the Ta'Kan meats with relish of a starving lioness. The Ta'Kan's were pleased with this and as the day became night, they gave her more to drink and more to eat. More and more she was becoming the center of their activities.
"We should get out of here." McCoy whispered to Kirk. She could hear them but did not care. She watched their dances. She watched their motions around the dance fire.
"Uhura!" she heard Kirk call out, but she was with them. Dancing. Talking with their tongue. She felt Spock hands on her, pulling her back, but she pushed them away.
This was nirvana. This was heaven.
It soon turned to hell.
Her reactions were slow and her friends were gone. The Ta'Kan were touching her. She could hear snippets of their word.
"Nokiriliti pan tukil" She will save us all.
"Krilliana Nahabu" She has been sent from the heavens to save us. The spirits are inside her.
She felt as if she were no longer a part of her body. That something else was in control of her. The Ta'Kan stopped touching her and she rose.
"Nalikli Nahabu." Sent from the heavens to save us from the evil spirits.
The man in front of her was strong and able. Nyota beckoned for him, but did not beckon. She was not in control now. Something else. A being. She could not….
He touched her and kissed her. He was on top of her and she whispered in his ear.
"Notilil Nahabu." The heavens beckon you to lie with me. "Salinki palilti." I am of the spirit in the dark waters.
Spock! Spock help me! Nyota screamed in her head. No! Gods no!
Nyota did not want to look but this being that was controlling her kept her eyes open. By the third man it was over and Nyota felt more in her own body. She shook and cried as they held her down. A woman whispered in her ear.
"Salindia" Sorry. We are sorry.
Nyota shook her head and cried out again.
"Haliniti panko panko!" We will survive because you were chosen.
She felt the being…spirit…enter again.
Nyota screamed but no sound came from her mouth. Her hands were bloody with the crystal. Five children lay dead before her, their red eyes looking up, pleading.
"Nailitl san fee!" She heard herself say. I am pleased by their sacrifice.
Visions filled her head. She could see Spock, but he was not Spock.
She could see the villages being burned with Spock at the head with a dozen men. She could see Kirk fighting Spock. She could see Spock….Spock was drowning. In the dark waters, Spock was drowning.
"Nyota! Help me! Nyota!"
She tried to pull him out but he was sucked under.
"Paliktai! Natalii!" Nyota commanded. You will not live another moon.
The villagers were frightened. What can we do, goddess? What can we do?
Die. Die is what you can do.
They strapped her down to the stone and she was herself again. She was frightened. She was helpless. She was no longer a goddess.
But she was Nyota Uhura and she could find her way out of this. She could do it.
She heard him before she saw him.
Spock. Spock help me.
Spock Prime held her and she cried harder than she ever had in her life. She felt used. She felt dirty.
The children's red eyes haunted her waking thoughts.