Kirk had assembled the senior staff in the conference room to brief them on their latest mission. The Vulcan High Council had informed Star Fleet that a multi-generational anthropological study of a pre-warp humanoid civilization was being conducted on the M-Class moon, Pandora. With the destruction of Vulcan and the establishment of the new colony underway, they couldn't spare the resources to continue the research on Pandora. The monitoring stations the Vulcan's had installed needed to be removed to minimize discovery by the native population, the Na'vi.

"Most of the monitoring stations should be easily removed." Spock offered, referring to a map on the display.

"These three, though," Chekov points out, "will prove more difficult."

"They are located within an area called the "influx," Spock acknowledged. "They will need to be manually extracted and carried to this location." He pointed to the map. "They then can be transported."

"How big are they?" Kirk asked.

"With my superior strength, and Pandora's lower gravity, I can carry two of the units."

"So we need another volunteer?"

"I'd like to volunteer, Captain."

"Lieutenant?"

"If we encounter any of the Na'vi, my xenolinguistic skills would be useful."

"Well, as per the Prime Directive, that is a scenario we are looking to avoid at all costs."

"We should strive to be prepared for any complication, and try to minimize damage should we encounter any of the indigenous peoples." Spock added.

"Agreed, Lt. Uhura and the Commander will beam just outside of the influx, hike in and retrieve the units," Kirk smiled. "We will be arriving at Pandora in two days, familiarize yourselves with the information the Vulcans have accumulated on Pandora and the Na'vi. Dismissed."

Over the next two days, Nyota worked with Spock to learn as much of the Na'vi language she could. She understood and could speak many phrases, while Spock was nearly fluent, having completed a school project on the Na'vi during his schooling on Vulcan. She also learned about the physical attributes of the Na'vi. They were significantly taller that the average human or Vulcan, and stronger too, due to carbon fibers in their skeletal tissue. Nyota concentrated her cultural research on the Omaticaya, who lived nearest the influx and would be the most likely they'd meet.

After viewing all the vids of Pandora she was excited to see the world for herself. Too bad they wouldn't be able to see the forest at night. On the vid screens the bio-luminescence looked breathtaking but there were dangerous life forms on Pandora that liked to hunt at night.

Spock insisted they simulate the approximately four hour hike into and out of the influx by hiking the ship through convoluted paths through corridors and jefferies tubes. It was times like this she wished that the prototype holodecks had been installed. Nyota was physically fit as per Starfleet Regulations, but she was a Communications Officer and not used to the physical demands of the hike and tired much easier that Spock. He also insisted on making her carry the equivalent weight of the monitoring unit. In the two days they had to prepare, they completed the simulation four times, each time easier then the last. As they walked, Spock would lecture Nyota on Pandoran terrain, flora and fauna. On the day before the away mission, Spock took her to the on-deck shooting range to test her ability with a phaser.

On the day of their mission, Kirk was in Transporter Room One to see Uhura and Spock off.

"What's with the uniform?" Kirk asked, smirking.

"If you think I'm running around an alien planet in that dress . . ." Uhura laughed.

"I get ya, but gold?"

"Ensign Chekov lent it to me." She heard the doors slide open and saw Dr. McCoy arrive to give them a final briefing before they beamed down.

"Good, you wearing pants." McCoy commented, taking in Uhura's clothes. "Here's a med kit in case of emergencies." He handed the case to Spock. "I've included a few anti-histamine hypos in case either of you experience any allergic reactions and well as a hypo to counter oxygen toxicity due to Pandora's higher oxygen levels. That shouldn't be a problem since you won't be there that long."

"That's right, once you cross into the influx, we won't be able to communicate or beam you out. You'll be on your own." Kirk reminded them. "I expect you guys back on the ship in five hours. That's an order."

"Aye, Captain." Spock responded. "Energize Mr. Scott."

"Oh, Spock, it's beautiful . . ." Nyota sighed, once they'd beamed to the surface. The forests she was used to were green but here the predominated color was an intense purple, strange and beautiful. Spock pulled from his hip pack a map and compass. He'd plotted the most efficient route through the forest. They'd retrieve the monitoring units and carry them outside the influx so they could be transported. The other units had already been beamed aboard the Enterprise and moved to various cargo bays.

Nyota moved towards Spock her foot catching on an exposed tree root; Spock caught her before she hit the ground.

"Careful," he warned. Nyota smiled then giggled.

"Sorry."

"Nyota, control your breathing." She giggled again. "The higher oxygen is causing this reaction." She slapped her hand over her mouth and used the next few second to slow her breathing and get her laughter under control.

"I'm fine now," she assured him.

Spock nodded and started walking. As they hiked, Nyota took in the site that was Pandora's lush dense forest. She could hear animals in the distance but luckily none ventured too close to them. Just in case, they both had their phasers at the ready and set to stun. Nyota had removed her gold tunic, furnished by Chekov, and was presently sweating through the black undershirt tank.

While the temperature on Pandora was relatively mild, it was extremely humid, making the air thick and soupy. It felt like it was coating her throat and lungs on every inhalation. Spock seemed unaffected and maintained a steady pace only stopping occasionally to allow them each a drink of water.

Two hours later, they had completed dismantling the second unit and were packing it into the carrying case on Spock's back. He consulted his map and indicated the direction of the final monitoring unit. He started in the direction he'd indicated when suddenly, he was gone.

"Spock!" She shouted, running to the place he'd disappeared. Below her was a 20 foot ravine of which Spock was now at the bottom. "Spock, are you ok?"

"No, Nyota, I am injured and I require your assistance." Spock answered back. "I would like for you to lower yourself to my location."

"Ok, Spock, I'm coming." Nyota removed her equipment and started the slow climb to the bottom of the ravine. She wondered how badly Spock was hurt. It had to be serious if he asked for her help. Once at the bottom she saw that Spock had a few scrapes on his face and hands, but they all looked superficial. She moved closer to him, hands reaching to ensure he was ok.

"Stop," he said before she could touch him. "I am going to remove one of the monitoring units from my pack for you to carry back up the ravine."

"But your injuries. . . "

"We'll take an accounting of my injuries once we reach the top." Spock handed her the unit and made sure that it was secure on her back before shifting the remaining unit so that it was secured to the front of his body.

While she climbed the steep side of the ravine, face towards the wall, Spock planted his left foot in the dirt and hands besides his hips and pushed backwards up the ravine. Once at the top, Nyota could see that her normally unflappable lover had a sheen of sweat on his upper lip and forehead. He must really be hurt.

"Can I check your injuries now?" Nyota asked. At his nod, she opened the med kit, extracted a tricorder moving the instrument slowly down his body in examination.

"The cuts are superficial," Spock assured her. "But my right tibia is fractured." Nyota moved the instrument to that area.

"Yes. We'll need to set this." Nyota removed the bone-setter from the med kit, unrolling it. "There's an analgesic hypo in there. Do you want it?"

"No," Spock answered. "We might have need for it later."

He showed no outward sign, not even a grimace or wince, when she propped the foot of his injured leg on her thigh. She took the bone setter and maneuvered it under Spock's leg, positioning the guide lines correctly to ensure a straight set. She then rolled the edges and secured them together covering his leg from just above the knee to his ankle.

This was going to hurt. The only broken bone she'd ever had, had been set in a doctor's office with analgesic hypos.

With a crack and small cry from Nyota, in sympathy, the once flexible material of the bone-setter became rigid and applied pressure in the correct places to set the bone. Spock had made no noise but released the breath he was holding.

"I am fine, Nyota," Spock assured her, wiping at the tears running down her cheek.

"I'm stupid," Nyota laughed. "You're hurt and I'm crying." Spock, not knowing how to respond, just remained silent.

Nyota moved back to the med kit and took out the osteo-regenerator and affixed it to the bone-setter to begin the process of healing the fracture.

"We need to move from here."

"No, Spock, you're leg."

"I can walk with a branch to assist me. There is tree a few yards from here. It's located in a clearing and therefore more secure. We will walk there and then you will retrieve the final unit."

"We need to get you back to the ship."

"No, we must complete the mission." Spock gestured towards a suitable staff. "Hand it to me, Lieutenant."

"Yes, sir." She handed him the branch he'd indicated. After settling the packs on their backs, Spock started in the direction of the tree, though at a much more slower pace than before.

Twenty minutes after Spock broke his leg, they arrived at a huge tree situated in a clearing. The tree was similar to Earth's willow tree except that these branches glowed white, with a bio-luminescence. Nyota stood in awe at the sight as Spock settled himself against the tree and positioned his packs so they didn't obstruct his view of the tree line.

"I estimate that the mobile osteo-regenerator will take roughly 10.7 hours to completely heal this fracture."

"But that will leave us on planet well into the night."

"I know," Spock replied. "You will continue the mission and retrieve the final unit. The hike from here to the final unit should take you approximately one hour and you should be back here before sunset." Spock reviewed the map with Nyota so she knew where to go. "Keep your phaser at the ready." She nodded. "The wildlife here can be particularly dangerous."

"I know."

He pulled out two hypos from the med kit. "These are pheromone blockers,' he said, putting each hypos in turn to each of their necks."These will block our scent from predators for 12 hours."

"Ok."

"You make sure you are back here before sunset. Understood?"

"Yes."

"Nyota. This is imperative. You must be back here before sunset; it's the only way I can be assured of your safety."

"I understand. Spock, um?"

"Yes?"

"You'd say it's illogical, but I could use a little reassurance," her voice catching.

"What is necessary is never illogical," He stated taking her in his arms and holding her close to his chest.

"I'm scared."

"I know but you are strong and resourceful and I have the upmost confidence in your ability to return to me intact."

"I'll try."

"No, don't try. Just do." He pulled her face close to his and kissed her lips gently. "Now go."

She brushed their lips once again before grabbing her hiking supplies and walking off in the direction of the final monitoring unit.

The hour long hike to the site Spock had indicated on the map was, fortunately, uneventful. She encountered a few grazing animals similar to earth deer but luckily no carnivores. She heard a few of the wing predators above the canopy but the pheromone blocker was working so none scented her. She was about half way back to Spock when she came to a stream she hadn't crossed on her way to the monitoring unit. She'd lost her way.

Even as a xenolinguistic expert, when one finds themselves in such a situation there is little to say except, "Shit!"

Nothing else to do but to figure out a way back. She found her location on the map and began retracing her steps.

Twenty minutes later she was back on the right route, but the sun was quickly setting. She tried to hurry her pace but found that with the dwindling light, it just made her clumsy. As twilight advanced, she could hear more movement in the forest as Pandora's nocturnal creatures awoke. She continued walking and just before full dark hit, she started to see the red eyes in the bush staring back at her.

A pack of viperwolves, nantang were hunting her. She could hear their high pitched barks and see their sleek shiny skin as they surrounded her. This didn't stop Nyota, she searched the in the faint light of a large tree where she could make her stand. She found just what she was looking for, a wide trunk that kept her entire back protected. She pointed her phaser at the pack as they closed in, moving closer. She pointed at the center of the group and fired.

Her phaser emitted a wide beam flash of light and enveloped the majority of the pack stopping them in their tracks. The few remaining soon followed the others to the ground. Luckily she'd preset her phaser to wide-beam, allowing her to hit her target without truly aiming. She exhaled in relief and would have moved forward if not for the five foot long arrow sticking out of the ground in front of her.

Again, her linguistic skills failed her. "Fuck!"

Nyota looked up to see a Na'vi woman jumping down in front of her. She was about 10 feet tall with an iridescent blue skin and large beautiful eyes. Even for her height she was thinner than the average human, but sleek and deadly none the less. Her hair was braided down her back and she wore minimal clothing as per the Omaticaya tradition.

"Si ts'impang!" You killed them! the woman screamed down at her.

"Kehe. Kehe, fo rey, ke' ten." No, no, they live, asleep. Nyota responded.

"Pesusi? Peu'si?" Who are you? What are you?" She demanded.

"Oe t'sap' alute. Oe ke'ta kifkey, " Forgive me. I am not from this world

"You are one of the sky people?" The Na'vi asked.

"You speak English?"

************************************************

"Spock, wake up!"

"I am not sleeping, Nyota," Spock responded keeping his eyes closed. "I am in a healing trance."

"Well, I need you." Spock opened his eyes to see Nyota and a Na'vi woman over him. He blinked at the stranger taking in her unusual appearance.

"Fascinating."

"This is your man, Nyota? He is injured."

"Yes, Neytiri. This is Spock; Spock this is Neytiri."

"Strange name, "Spock". I will call you, Ke'irrertok'awpo?

"Un-smiling one," Spock translated. "Fitting. How did you learn to speak Federation Standard?

Nyota answered for her, "It's not Federation Standard but the dialects are similar and mutually understandable. She speaks a variant of English from before the Third World War. Grammar and sentence structure is mostly the same just different words, here and there."

"That still does not explain how she came to learn English from the mid-21st century."

"I'll let, Neytiri tell you that," Nyota said. "Tell Spock the story of the Sky People."

"Many generations ago, the sky people sent us their stories. This was given to the Omaticaya for safekeeping so that they could teach and prepare for their arrival. The stories arrived in a flaming bowl, that our people then built a home around. At first the Omaticaya didn't understand the words of the stories but a wise man lived in the bowl and he was able to learn our language and then in turn, teach us his."

"A man living in a bowl?"

"He died long ago, but stories are still passed from elder to child and the language of the Sky People is preserved."

"What kind of stories, Neytiri?"

"Stories of great warriors, of love and heartache, but all with lessons to learn.

Spock was confused and spoke to Nyota in Vulcan.

"This story is highly improbable."

"The best I can figure," she answered in kind. "Before the war, someone launched a probe from Earth equipped with a learning computer, that then crashed here on pandora. It had the capacity to hear and decipher the Na'vi language and then teach the first group of Na'vi the English language. Then it began reciting a collection of Earth literature from Ancient Greece to modern works."

"We need to remove the probe from the surface."

""The man in the bowl' is already dead. I think the probe in non-operational. They have already incorporated the stories and existence of the 'sky people' into their culture."

"What are you saying?" Neytiri interrupted. "That was not the language of the Sky People."

"Just as different Na'vi tribes have different languages, so do the Sky People." Nyota answered her in English.

"The medicine you put on Ke'irrertok'awpo's leg will help him walk, yes? I'd like to take you to Hometree to meet the other Omaticaya."

"I will not be ambulatory until sunrise."

"So, we will rest here at the Tree of Voices until then."

Nyota looked through her pack and found some rations for Spock and her to share and they watched Neytiri sit a few dozen feet from them. She pulled the ends of her hair and touched it to the fronds of the tree.

"Amazing," Nyota whispered. "The global neural interface. I wonder what it sounds like."

"You may try, Nyota," Neytiri called to her. "I am sure the ancestors would speak to you, too."

"I can't. I don't have . . ."

"Let us try an experiment," Spock said, wrapping the strands from the tree around his fingers. "I can hear them, Nyota. Come closer."

She moved towards him and he placed the fingers of his free hand at the psy points on her face and initiated a light mind meld with her.

"I can hear them," she laughed. "So many voices, I can only make out a few words. It's like a symphony of music, so beautiful."

"Sleep, Nyota."

"Yes . . ."

Nyota woke up with her head cradled on Spock chest. She loved waking that way, it was like having her own personal heater next to her. She lifted her head and asked, "Did you sleep at all?"

"No, I stood up to watch over you." Spock answered. "Luckily, the pheromone blockers are still working and no predators came our way. How are you feeling?"

"A slight headache and a bit tired."

"That is the effect of oxygen toxicity." Spock said, administering the required medicine to combat her symptoms.

"I know it's against regs but can we go see the Hometree?"

"I think our host is going to insist," he said eyeing Neytiri. She was eating some fruit and nuts from her hip pouch. "I have scanned these food stuffs Neytiri has given us and found no compounds that would cause adverse reactions. You may eat some."

"How's your leg?" Nyota asked eating the blue fruit and purple nuts.

"Fully healed but sore. I can walk on it with little discomfort."

The two of them finished their breakfast and drank the last of the water in their packs. Spock told Neytiri that they need to refill their canteens on the way to Hometree and she said that she would lead them to a water source on the way. They started walking and after an hour they were out of the influx and Spock's communicator began sounding.

"Enterprise to Commander Spock," a worried, accented voice spoke. "If you can hear us, we are transmitting a repeating audio signal. When you hear this transmission please contact the ship."

"Ensign Chekov," Spock spoke into his communicator. "This is Commander Spock, come in Enterprise."

"Commander!" Chekov's excited voice answered. "Are you ok? Is the Lieutenant with you?"

"Yes, we are both well."

"Good to here, Commander," another accented voice replied. "You wouldn't have happened to come across the Captain down there, would ya?"

"The Captain?"

"Yes, sir. When you and Lt. Uhura didn't return Capt. Kirk and the Doctor figured one of you had to be hurt. They transported to the surface to search for you."

"How long ago was this?" Nyota asked, anxiously.

"About 3 hours ago, I was able to convince them to wait until morning."

"Should we send a search party for them?"

"Negative. Lt. Uhura and I are being escorted to Omaticaya Hometree. We will give the Kirk and McCoy two more hours, they may just be in the influx."

"Omatcaya Hometree? But sir, the Pr-"

"Mr. Scott, the damage is done. Please transport the three monitoring units the Lieutenant and I recovered in five minutes. We will leave them at this location so no Na'vi see them disappear. Spock out."

The three continued to towards Hometree with Neytiri pointing out different fauna and telling them stories. Awhile later they could see the Homtree in the distance and Nyota get more excited at the prospect of meeting more Omaticaya.

"Neytiri, you are back!" An Omaticaya child called to them as they approached.

Yes, little one. I have brought guests. These are Sky People."

"Sky People? Some of the Hunters found others like then and have them prisoner. The Chief is deciding their punishment for trespassing."

"Oh, no Nyota. Your friends, we must hurry and stop father."

All four of then started running with Neytiri in the lead; a few seconds later they entered a clearing. Nyota and Spock eyes were immediately drawn to the tow men bound before the Omaticaya.

"Father, no, they are Sky People. They have come to visit us."

Neytiri's father, chief of the Omaticaya, moved towards his daughter. Are you sure? Hunters found them trespassing on our land."

"These two were looking for their friends, Nyota and Spock." Neytiri pointed to each in turn. "You have to let them go."

"What is your purpose here, Sky People?"

Spock answered in Na'vi, "We were studying you. Your life is similar to the Sky People's life many years ago. We study you to gain better understanding of ourselves. A long time ago Sky people left a way for us to watch you but a tragedy occurred and our home was destroyed. We came to get our supplies we'd left. We have removed them from the surface, but we will leave with you, the Omaticaya, the Sky People's stories for safe keeping."

"Spock, thank you for entrusting us with them. Cut down the prisoners." The Hunter's hurried to do the Chief's bidding.

"Thank you, Omaticaya, for carrying on the words of the Sky People, And thank you Neytiri for you help. Until next time, I see you"

"I see you," the Omaticaya responded. McCoy and Kirk attempted to repeat the phrase but butchered it causing some of the Omaticaya to laugh.

In Standard, Spock said to his crew mates, "Let's walk further into the forest before initiating transport. We do not want to show them too much technology."

"Thanks for the save Spock," Kirk acknowledged. "But I had the situation under control."

"I'm sure," Nyota teased back.

"That hunter liked me." Kirk said, smiling back and winking at the female hunter that had capture him and the doctor. She giggled behind her hand and waved at him. "Ya see."

"We wouldn't have been captured if you had been more careful, Jim."

"What can I say? I've never been able to resist a beautiful lady. And I was just going to ask her for help?"

"She was bathing, Jim and you don't speak Na'vi."

"Well, we should all just be glad we're okay," Nyota interrupted their bickering.

"Spock, to Enterprise. We have the Captain and Dr. McCoy. Initiate transport."

"Acknowledged Commander," Scotty responded. Transport in 5 . . ."

"Spock? I forgot to tell you."

"4 . . ."

"Yes, Lieutenant?"

"3 . . ."

"I took out a pack of Viperwolves last night."

"2 . . ."

"Nyota?

"1 . . ."

~~~fin