Series Summary: While watching the 2009 film, Star Trek, I was most intrigued with the scene where Uhura confronts Spock about her assignment to the USS Farragut. As the scene is played, she is both angered and surprised by her placement.
This series entitled, Touch, is the second sequel to my original story, Needs; which was later followed by the tale, Operation: No Return. It is not necessary for new readers to my stories to first read the previous series, since I will use endnotes where necessary to clarify certain plot points.
Here, is a summary of the important events of the story preceding Touch. At the end of her third year, Uhura helped Spock survive his pon farr and she became pregnant as a consequence of the experience. Although pleased with the pregnancy, it became necessary for them to keep it a secret until after solving a case of espionage that Spock feared placed the expected child in danger. However, while still an embryo, the baby was transplanted to another woman against Uhura's will. Sevat, a Vulcan Secret Service agent working undercover as a language professor, suppressed the Cadet's memory of the child as well as her love for Spock. Initially, Spock reacted angrily to Sevat's actions. However, the Vulcan spy convinced Spock that Uhura would hate him if she ever learned his actions to stop a terrorist plot led to the destruction of a Romulan StarShip that probably carried the woman bearing abducted embryo.
Touch takes place during Uhura's fourth and final year as a Cadet at Starfleet Academy. Besides Spock and Uhura, all of the major characters will return: Kirk, McCoy, Gaila, Pike, and even Nurse Chapel. The series also includes my original characters: Sevat, Jack (Pike's son) and three pre-Academy days close friends of Uhura, collectively known as the "precious ones." Like the previous story, one of the plotlines will include intrigue that will be introduced in the third chapter.
In Chapter 1, Uhura meets her childhood friend, Habibah Mungai, for dinner. As the Cadet conveys an account of an incident occurring during her summer assignment on a space station, one begins to see signs the strategy to keep certain information from Uhura has already started to unravel.
My text often involves adult themes. However, there is nothing in the narrative that warrants more than a "T" rating.
Note to previous readers: I promise I will not take 50 chapters to get our couple back together.
Comments: Comments are the only payment I receive for hours of work each week. I look forward to them whether they are supportive or critical. I will respond to each one if you allow for private messaging.
Disclaimer: Unfortunately, I do not own Star Trek. However, I do own is my imagination.
Dressed in casual civilian clothes, Nyota Uhura and childhood friend - Habibah Mungai – sit across from each other at a small wooden table at a Vietnamese bistro in San Francisco. As the women talk, Habibah intermittently raises her eyes to look at Uhura's relaxed hair that hangs about her shoulders.
"Who did you say told you about this place?" Uhura asked.
"Ngo Tan Dat. He's one of my colleagues on the United Earth Consulate Staff. He said this restaurant has the best Vietnamese cuisine in the Bay Area."
"Funny that you have to come all the way from Washington, D.C. to tell me about an eatery that couldn't be more than a 25 minute walk from the Academy." Uhura observed.
"I just hope everything is as good as Dat says it is. In just a couple of hours, I've got to catch a flight to Frankfurt to attend an economic summit."
Uhura noted, "Going from D.C. to San Francisco isn't exactly the most direct way to get to Frankfurt. And, I'm sure your job isn't covering the cost of this detour."
"My sister, how could I not take the time to see you before I'm off on that trade mission. Afterwards, I'll be travelling with the United Earth trade delegation throughout the Alpha Quadrant for nearly a year. By that time, you'll be assigned to a StarShip and who knows when we will see each other again."
Uhura reached out and covered her friend's hand with hers. Despite the financial burden probably placed on Habibah's meager civil servant income, Uhura was overjoyed by her friend's visit that came the day after the Cadet returned from her summer military training tour.
It did not take long for Uhura to notice her friend's eyes shifting focus to her hair. She withdrew her hand from Habibah to ready herself for what she was sure would be a controversial topic.
"I've never known you to hold your tongue, Habibah." Uhura told her. "Why don't you just ask me about it?"
"I was trying not to spoil the moment."
"Too late." Uhura quipped.
"What the f**k happened to your hair?" Habibah now said without hesitation in reference to the smooth, silky locks sported by her friend.
"Such language." Uhura feigned shocked.
"Aren't you going to answer my question?"
"I lost a bet." Uhura responded simply.
"A bet?" Her friend scoffed. "Nyota, what kind of bet would make you disrespect yourself like that?"
"Habibah, I'm not going to sit here and waste time talking about hair politics."
"Nyota, are you now ashamed of the hair you were born with?" Habibah challenged her.
"Of course not. You know this is the first time I have ever allowed chemicals on my hair."
"I don't understand why there even had to be a first time?"
"I told you I lost a bet." Uhura paused for a moment, as the waiter set down a plate of summer rolls and peanut sauce. "Do you remember me talking about a Cadet named Damitra Clarke?"
"That mzunga1 girl?"
"Oh Habibah, you know she wouldn't like to be called that. I told you about how Shaniqua nearly took my head off when I used it on her when we were kids.2 Damitra is Jamaican and quite proud of her heritage."
"All right . . . all right." Habibah reluctantly conceded. "So, what does this Jamaican have to do with your hair?"
"Actually, I only have myself to blame."
"I'm listening." Habibah told her in a tone that implied there was nothing Uhura could say to justify her new hairstyle.
"Damitra and I were part of squad assigned to a space station for our military training this summer." Uhura shook her head in antipathy. "Oh, Habibah, space station work is without a doubt the dullest appointment someone could ever get. Nothing ever happens . . . nothing at all."
"Well, obviously, that's not entirely true." Habibah commented.
Disregarding her friend's comment, she continued, "Funny, with so much time on one's hands, you seem to lose all one's ability to make a realistic assessment of one's abilities."
"You mean, you become full of yourself."
"Yeah. Guilty as charged." Uhura nodded. "When you don't have a good friend to get you to check yourself once in a while, then it can certainly lead to trouble."
Becoming interested, Habibah encouraged her by saying, "Tell me more."
On a Starfleet Space Station, Cadets exchange greetings with Uhura as she walked into the crew's Rec Room. Although she had completed her duty for that day, the East African's braided natural hair was still pinned in a bun on the top of her head. Everyone seemed to be at tables in groups playing cards or board games, with the exception of Damitra who sat alone with a set of dominoes before her.
"What's this?" Uhura asked, as she walked over to the Jamaican. "Are you being antisocial this evening?"
"I had company a little while ago." She answered listlessly. "But they left after a while."
Uhura observed, "So, you're just spending time with dominoes? I didn't even know you played the game."
"Yeah, but I'm a little out of practice."
Uhura nodded. Cadets were rarely allowed to include such diversions while on training exercises, even on StarShips. However, aware of the seemingly endless tedium of space station life, their superior officers relaxed usual restraints for the sake of morale for this assignment.
Damitra then asked nonchalantly, "Uhura, you wouldn't know how to play, would you?"
"Not since I was teenager in Kenya."
"So . . . do you want to play a few rounds?" The Jamaican proposed with seemingly little interest in her tone.
"Sure. Why not?" The East African responded without hesitation, while take a seat opposite Damitra.
The Jamaican casually began to ready the dominoes. "We ought to do something to make the game a bit more interesting."
"Make a bet."
"Neither one of us make enough credits that we should risk losing it on a game." The East African advised.
"I can always count on you to be the sensible one." Damitra commented.
Uhura was not so sure Damitra meant it as a compliment, but she smiled in response.
"Since betting credits is out of the question, then let's make another type of wager. Something we have to do, if we lose. You come up with something for me and I will come up with something for you."
"All right." Uhura agreed, thinking it would at least add a temporary bit of excitement to their lives. "If you lose, then . . . " Uhura thought, "When we return to the Academy, you'll have to accompany me to Bible Study each week for the entire year."
"Bible study for a whole year?" Damitra said with dread.
"That's right." Uhura responded, now confident from Damitra's reaction that the Jamaican thought she might lose.
"You're asking a lot of me. I'm not interested in that religious stuff the way you are."
Uhura felt emboldened, as some of the other Cadets came about their table. "You're not going to back out of it now, Damitra, are you?"
More Cadets surrounded them, as Damitra seemed hesitant to agree. "OK . . . OK." She finally acquiesced. "Now, I need to think of something for you." The Jamaican sat back in her seat and folded her arms, as if deep in thought. The anticipation grew with each passing second, until she made a request that surprised the East African with its boldness.
"Tell me the name of the guy who broke your cherry."
"What?" Uhura responded, as the spectators laughed at Damitra's audacious question.
"Tell me who you let get into your pants, Uhura."
"Why would you even ask about something like that?" The East African responded trying not to expose her embarrassment. "Do you really think I would answer such a question in front of all of these people?"
"Sure you would!" Cadet Taruska exclaimed.
Cadet Buakao chimed in, "Remember, Uhura, what happens on the space station stays on the space station."
"Right." Uhura retorted sarcastically. "Are you all forgetting that I'm one of the communications personnel on this station who has to read and code your outgoing messages? Of course, I would face court martial if I ever divulged the contents of personal messages that are in compliance with Starfleet policy. However, from my experience, I know for a fact nothing is considered off-limits with this crew when it comes to gossip."
The other Cadets laughed, but with an uneasy edge as they looked at each other with suspicion.
"All right, Uhura." Damitra told her as she gave her a sly wink. "What about your hair?"
"My hair?" Uhura asked with surprise.
"Yeah, your hair. If you lose, then you'll need to put a relaxer on your hair." Damitra told her.
"That's no way as good as the other bet." Cadet Lyons protested.
"Yeah, Damitra." Taruska argued. "Who cares what Uhura does with her hair?"
Damitra commented, "Uhura cares about her hair, don't you?"
"Sure, I do." Uhura answered. "I've never relaxed my hair in my entire life."
"Then it's settled." The Jamaican responded. "If I lose, then I will attend Bible study meetings with Uhura for an entire year. And, if Uhura loses, she'll need to get her hair straightened and keep it that way for a year."
Uhura noted how Damitra winked at her again, but the East African was not sure what she meant by the gesture. Instead, she simply said, "I agree with the terms. Let's play."
Back at the Vietnamese restaurant, Uhura and Habibah used chopsticks to dip their summer rolls in peanut sauce before tasting them.
"Mmmmm . . . " Uhura happily sighed between bites. "I could be satisfied with an entire meal with nothing but these rolls. It sure beats the food we had on the space station."
"Enough about the food, Nyota. Get back to the story. I can't believe you played dominoes with a Jamaican! Are you crazy?" Habibah remarked as she chewed her food. "It's not just a game with them. It's their national pastime."
"Well, I found that out a little too late for my own good, because I lost three straight games without putting up much of a challenge." Uhura confessed. "I discovered later she was sitting alone when I first saw her, because Damitra had already soundly defeated all the other takers in the Rec Room and was just waiting for the next victim . . . which unfortunately turned out to be me."
"I agree with the other Cadets the hair bet was kind of lame." Habibah commented. "What does she have against natural hair?"
"Nothing. In fact, she wears her own hair in cornrows."
Habibah paused, and then looked curiously at her friend. "Then, what am I missing?"
"If you were to ask Damitra, she would say that I was the one who was clueless." Uhura answered. "The next day, she found me and said I needed to pay up on my bet. I let her know I had an appointment to get my hair relaxed after my shift. But, then Damitra said . . ."
"Uhura, you know I was not really making a wager on your hair. Didn't you see me winking at you?"
"How was I to know why you were doing that?"
"Because there is no reason to waste a sure thing on something as tired as a hairdo."
"That's the wager you made for me in front of all of those witnesses." Uhura retorted. "Don't try to change it, now. I accepted the bet and, although I don't like it, I intend to make good on my agreement."
"Then, you need to tell me."
"Tell you what?"
"Tell me who you've been sleeping with."
"That, again?" Uhura rolled her eyes. "Damitra, I'm still a virgin. I'm not ashamed of it, but it is not something I need to broadcast for all to hear. It's my business and I mean to keep it private."
"Think back, Uhura." Damitra challenged her. "The night before Federation Day I brought a package to your room that turned out to be a small box of chocolates. Didn't Gaila say it came from your secret lover?"3
Uhura paused for a moment, before answering. "I vaguely recall getting the chocolates, but – Damitra – don't you think I would know if I had a lover? You know how Gaila is. She's always teasing me, especially about sex; or, I should say, the lack of sex."
The Jamaican crossed her arms and looked at Uhura warily. Still, she had never known Uhura to lie. Reluctantly, she conceded, "So, I wasted that bet."
"I guess so, if you want to look at it that way." The East African replied. "Of course, if you want to forgive the bet, I'll cancel my appointment."
"Are you kidding?" Damitra remarked. "I'm going to at least get some kind of satisfaction out of this."
Back at the restaurant, the waiter served Habibah and Uhura two steaming bowls of Pho.4 The Cadet picked up her chopsticks, but Habibah stopped her before she began to eat.
"Nyota, you act as if this is the first time you've eaten Pho." Habibah commented.
"Habibah, it is the first time I've ever eaten Pho." Uhura retorted. "And, when did you become an expert on this cuisine?"
Now, it was Habibah who rolled her eyes before saying. "As an United Earth Cultural Attaché, it's my business to learn the best of what Terrans have to offer."
"All right. I concede your point. Go ahead and give me a few tips."
"First you should take the time to take in the aroma and let it caress your soul."
"Caress my soul?" Uhura sighed. "Habibah, I'm really hungry. The summer rolls were delicious, but I'm far from satisfied. Can't we just eat?"
Habibah sternly told her friend, "Nyota, you must learn how to savor the aroma."
The words caught Uhura off-guard. She knew she had never eaten Pho before, but the phrase and the act of taking in the aroma sounded . . . all too familiar.
"Nyota." Habibah called to her. "Nyota, are you still with me?"
"Yes . . . yes." The Cadet stammered.
"Breathe . . . slowly . . . " Habibah counseled.
Uhura obeyed . . .
But, somehow it was a different voice that spoke to her . . .
A distinctly male voice she could not readily identify . . .
Habibah continued her instructions. "Now, take up your spoon and taste the broth."
Uhura did so . . .
"Hold it in your mouth for a moment . . . and, then let it find its way down your throat."
Uhura followed the direction . . .
And tapped into a seemingly distant memory . . .
A memory of sensual delight . . .
Habibah's laughter broke the spell. "Nyota, do you now see how such a ritual can heighten one's enjoyment?"
Uhura took a drink of water to dull her heightened sensual state. "Is it all right to eat, now?"
"Sure." Habibah said, before also taking a sip of water. "When the waiter comes by, remind me to ask for a pitcher of water."
Uhura nodded, as she slurped her noodles.
Habibah continued to talk, while picking out choice pieces of meat to place in her mouth. "I tell you when I was on my flight earlier today for Washington to San Francisco, you don't know how difficult it was for me to come by a some water. My throat was really dry and I was looking forward to something to quench my thirst."
"Habibah, what commercial aircraft does not have water?"
"I am sure the ship had plenty of water, but the service was terrible. I probably would have had to finally get it myself, if it weren't for the intervention of another passenger. He looked Vulcan to me."
"Oh, really. Knowing you, you probably didn't ask for his name. And, if you did, I'm sure you don't remember it."
"That's where you're wrong. It was Stock . . . or Spot . . . or Smock . . . "
Uhura laughed. "Oh, yeah. Now, I can see why you joined the diplomatic corps."
"Come on, Habibah. What kind of Vulcan name is that? You know, you really are embarrassing yourself."
"Wait a minute. Now, I remember!" She exclaimed. "It was Spock . . . Mr. Spock!"
Author's Note: In Chapter 2, Habibah fills Spock's ear with Nyota's praises. Later, while alone in his home, the Vulcan confesses his unrelenting longing for the East African Cadet. Across campus in her dorm room, Nyota wrestles with the meaning of an off-handed comment made earlier by Habibah concerning a former Vulcan lover.
Your comments are always welcome.
1 The Swahili term is often used in reference to Westerners, especially white people. Those of African descent born outside of the continent are surprised and, sometimes, offended if the term is applied to them.
2 Shaniqua is one of Uhura's pre-Academy days friends. The incident Uhura cites is dramatized in Chapter 7 of my story, Needs.
3 See Chapter 50 of my story, Operation: No Return.
4 A Vietnamese rice noodle dish, usually prepared with beef.