A Little Friendly Competition

Chapter One: Name of the Game

Christine Chapel strode confidently into the room, her thankfully-longer-than-usual skirt flowing smoothly around her knees. She twirled her weapon of choice in her hands, countenance almost smug at the familiar surroundings.

"Hi, Nyota!" she greeted her best friend. "Ready to get beaten?"

Nyota Uhura slowly smiled, her grin flashing brilliantly in the rec room. "That depends," she replied, twirling her own weapon, "Are you ready to get your head out of the clouds? Because the action's on the ground, and that's where you'll be when you lose."

Christine grinned. Some said she was too competitive for her own good, but she disagreed. She saw her competitive spirit as merely encouraging her own personal growth.

"Bring it on, Nyota," she challenged.

Several crewmembers near the court backed out of the way. The two fiercest women on the Enterprise were getting ready to brawl, and no one was going to get in their way. They weren't stupid, after all.

"Shall I?" Nyota asked, holding the ball in her hand, ready to serve.

Christine took up her stance on the other side of the court, knees bent to lower her center of gravity, braced for action. She twirled her tennis racket deftly in her hand.

"Please do," she replied charmingly.

The crewmembers of the U.S.S. Enterprise looked like bobble heads; their heads kept moving back and forth as they watched the tennis match, totally drawn into the intense game. Both Christine and Nyota were in top form as they pounded the tennis ball back and forth on the court, leaping to hit high balls and sliding on their knees to strike lower ones. Those few who had never see the two spar were amazed by the amount of physical prowess it took to play the game, not to mention the endurance and speed; beyond that, the two best friends were perfectly matched, and neither one wanted to lose. Needless to say, the match was fascinating.

Only a few noticed at first when Hikaru Sulu entered the room, eyes trained on the match as well. He came and stood with the rest of the onlookers, who were all below him in rank, and watched silently for a while, until one young ensign's voice was heard above the sounds of one very sad tennis ball.

"Wow! Look at them go! How do they do that?"

Sulu chuckled and turned to the new recruit, replying, "Oh, they do that at least once a week if they can, Ensign. And they're able to do it because they're incredibly strong and skilled; you don't want to mess with those two. Don't worry, you'll learn the ins and outs of this ship in no time, Ensign; the details are just as important as the big picture, even if they do show up a little later sometimes."

Before the ensign could reply in the affirmative, Christine couldn't help but cut in. "The second most important detail around here is to be careful around the Iron Doctor. The most important? Be careful around the Iron Nurse; that's me," she added, winking at the young kid before striking the tennis ball with a resounding crack.

The ensign visibly gulped. So did half the others in the room. "Y-Yes, Ma'am," he stuttered.

She was about to reply when Uhura slammed her tennis racket into the ball, sending it practically flaming to Christine's side of the court. With a quick twist, run, and a slide, Christine just saved the ball and swung it back, making use of every ounce of momentum Nyota had already given it. After a couple more rapid fires, the two again settled into their steady rhythm, each catching their breaths and trying not to let their sweaty hands loosen their holds on the tennis rackets.

"Say, Christine, how about we make this more interesting?" Uhura's voice broke through the game.

Christine raised an eyebrow. "Interesting how?" she asked, adding a little extra force to her swing. Uhura lazily batted the ball back as if it was child's play.

It was not.

"Oh, I don't know," she drawled, a mischievous grin lighting up her features. "How about...if I win, you have to play someone of my choice, and if I lose, you can do the same to me." She risked a quick glance at Sulu. "Personally, I wouldn't mind watching you cream Hikaru."

Christine grinned at Sulu's terrified face before returning the ball once more. "Why not?" she replied cheerfully. "But I've got to warn you, Nyota: I play to win."

Uhura's eyes flashed confidently; the look was enough to scare everyone in the room save only her best friend. "I know, Christine. But you won't this time." With a sudden leap and a twist, she slammed the tennis ball just inside Christine's half of the court. Christine was just a fraction too slow to catch it, and the crowd of crewmembers gasped as she slid in too late, knees scraping the floor until she fell forward.

Uhura rushed over, breathing heavily, and offered her hand. Christine looked up, swallowed her pride, and took it. Hauling Christine to her feet, Uhura glanced quickly in her eyes. Christine noticed and smiled to put her friend at ease.

"It's alright, Nyota; good game," she said, brushing herself off. "That was a crazy move, by the way! How did you come up with that one?"

Uhura merely smiled, clearly at ease by her friend's lack of anger. "Oh, don't worry about it, Christine," she replied with a bit of a smirk. "Just consider it...a product of some intense practicing."

Christine put her hands on her hips. "You've been practicing behind my back?" she asked with a fake pout. Her expression quickly changed. "Well, I suppose I should be honored; if it takes you extra work to beat me, well then, who am I to argue with that?"

The two laughed in sync. "Sure, Christine, you keep thinking that I need the practice if that makes you feel better," Uhura replied, a twinkle in her eye. "Don't forget, though; you have to play whoever I tell you to."

Christine face-palmed. "Alright, fine," she replied, rolling her eyes. "Who's it going to be? Hikaru?"

A certain terrified helmsman ran out of the room for dear life.

"I'll let you know when I get there," Uhura replied in a laugh. "But I think we should give poor Hikaru a break."

The two best friends walked out of the room, laughing the whole way at Sulu's antics.

The crewmembers left in the rec-room were utterly speechless.

I hope you guys like this so far! There is a great story about to unfold here; more chapters will be up soon. Please write a review before you leave, even if you never have before! It will totally make my day! :)