Spock/Uhura - Episode II
The ship had been cruising on course to the Dagema system for just over two weeks since Uhura had kissed Spock. Spock's responsibilities had been decreased as soon as he had completed the surveys of Dagema-3, at his own request, but he had not been idle. Kirk's elation at hearing that Dagema-3 was habitable was quickly replaced by frustration and confusion during Spock's briefing in the Captain's quarters.
"This is great news Spock! Great news! Starfleet Command will authorise us to survey the planet and system in detail and prepare the ground for a colony and strategic outpost immediately. They'll probably name a city or a starbase there after you. The Enterprise will be part of the history of the system and the sector as long as the Federation exists. You've outdone yourself!"
"Captain, my report will include recommendations and suggested citations for some other members of the crew whose contribution was..."
"Yes, yes, of course! I'll follow your recommendations to the letter!"
"Lt. Uhura and her team's contribution was crucial to my work" Spock spoke as stiffly as he stood. The Captain sometimes distracted himself with his own exuberance.
"Really? Nyota's overhaul paid off in the end eh? Duly noted. Attach her full briefing and the technical rundown to your report. I'll make sure the fleet gives it the proper attention and adds the new specs to the update calendar. Now, let's convene the officers and celebrate!"
"There are some further matters for your approval, Captain"
"Well... let's hear 'em!" Kirk, sitting on his couch, spread his arms and upturned palms in an exaggerated gesture, half supplication, half impatience.
"I need to make some changes to plans I have previously discussed with you. I will no longer be leading the away team to Dagema-3. I recommend Lieutenant Dumond as team leader, she's our best junior command officer, she has my full confidence and she deserves the opportunity."
"What!? I can't believe what I'm hearing. Dumond is fresh out of the Academy. You are leading that mission. You've barely slept in 2 months, you've been working like a demon to scan that planet, establish it for a colony and get back to Vulcan for your...thing"
"Captain. My apologies. I will not be leading the mission. It is your prerogative to choose an alternative from among the officers if you wish, but I do not believe that you will order me to take that role"
"And why is that, might I ask?" This was said coolly, but the Captain was displeased and suspicious, looking at Spock entirely differently now. His previous demeanour vanished. He had instantly began calculating Spock as a suddenly unknown variable, a problem even. Kirk's ability to fuel his will and his intellect on his ego was perhaps one of his greatest characteristics as a captain.
"Because you value our relationship"
"Our relationship? Spock, if you were any other man, I'd relieve you right now and have Bones down here with a stretcher and a dart for your neck on the double"
"Be that as it may, Captain. Attempting to force me to make a choice that you perceive between my duty to the ship and my duty to myself in this situation may damage our relationship irrevocably. It has been well established between us that you trust my judgement beyond your own ability to understand my reasoning, which on this occasion, I will not attempt to explain. I will also not make such a choice, for me, there is no choice to make.
"Spock, old friend, help me understand. I'm shocked, that's all. I know how hard you've been working on the survey and the job finishes with boots on the soil of Dagema-3. This is a highly strategically significant and sensitive operation. You are the flagship's first officer, as well as a representative of the Vulcan Science Academy. Your father is the Vulcan Ambassador to the Federation for God's sake!"
"I am aware, Captain"
"Answer me this. You planned to execute this mission and then take shore leave on Vulcan. What's changed?" Despite the seeming careless haste of Kirk's idiosyncratic way of speaking, there was an tacit acknowledgement of Spock's warning here. Kirk was far from careless.
"I will not be returning to Vulcan. The meditative and physical conditioning practices I would have undertaken there are no longer...applicable to my state"
"You're not going to Vulcan now either? Are you going to spend three weeks on the holodeck? You don't drink, and we never see you in Ten-Forward, or the mess..."
"Where will you go, Spock?
"I will go, to Dagema-3"
"Dagema-3" The Captain was shaking his head as he reached for the cut glass whiskey decanter on a shelf behind the couch.
"My final request is that the away team mission be delayed for three weeks from our arrival in the system, while the Enterprise stands off and sets up the initial orbital and system-wide perimeters and arrays and awaits the task force rendez-vous. Due to the strategic and diplomatic context of the incorporation of Dagema into the Federation as uninhabited territory, I am certain that Starfleet and the Council will approve of this operational decision. I will submit a parallel confidential briefing, via the Vulcan Embassy, to the Council, justifying my own course of action. My...request...to visit the planet's surface ahead of an away team will not be denied". Spock had been watching the Captain pour his drink as he spoke. Their eyes met over the glass as Kirk sipped the whiskey. Kirk's ego and explorer's desire to touch and understand everything, met the iron will and perfectly centred soul of Spock in almost exact equilibrium. As they stared into each other's eyes, unblinking, the Captain understood. For all his flaws, he truly loved and respected his friend, and everything Spock had said had been true.
"Very well Spock, very well. Although why you're so hell-bent on going down there alone and giving the away team to Dumond, I don't know"
"I won't be alone. Nyota is coming with me"
He only visited the bridge deck and Officer's Mess now when absolutely necessary. The other officers could tell something had passed between them. Spock forgave his friend his hurt and his jealousy and all the rest of his unrestrained emotion. There was no triangle between Kirk and Spock and Uhura. Nor could there ever be, there were lines connecting them, but they did not meet in her. She shared parts of herself with each of them, but there was so much that was hers alone. After being brusquely dismissed, while the Captain drank whiskey and stared into space, Spock moved on. He went directly to Lt. Dumond and briefed her. When he later observed her initial meeting with her away team in silence at the back of the room, he was inwardly deeply gratified. The appreciation and cultivation of talent and excellence was integral to his own definition of the project of his existence. She would go far, he was sure. Later, when she recounted her conversation with Spock to a few of her close friends, Dumond was asked whether the famously intimidating (at least to the junior officers) First Officer had accompanied the good news with one of his hawk-eyed interrogations. Dumond paused before answering, "No, no, he didn't ask me anything, he just told me the news, asked me to invite him to a couple of the meetings. He said he was confident I could do it". As she said this, she felt self-conscious, as if caught bragging, and deeply honoured that Spock had seen something in her.
Today, Spock had fasted, and hiked through 30Km of rocky Vulcan desert on the holodeck. He thought of the last time he and the Captain had visited Earth together. He had seen men and women surfing for the first time, on the Californian coast. He had been very aware of his own heritage and the differences and similarities between Vulcans and Men then, he had been fascinated by them. The Captain had tried to show him how to stand on the board and be carried by the waves, but the experience itself was not important to him, it was enough to watch an old man's face as he rode the ocean, almost perfectly focused, but effortless and at peace.
Spock wore the same expression now as he kneeled in the red grit, naked, on his knees and toes. He was deep in meditation, as he had been for hours. Sending his mind out of the crown of his head into the formless void, before allowing it to fall back in and crash into his body, filling it completely. As each wave of himself broke on himself, pure feeling rushed through him, a kind of sexual exaltation, pride in his own nature as a sentient, material being. At the mid point, as his mind rose through him and he began to dissociate, he allowed himself to think of Nyota Uhura. In this state she was like a dark star whose gravity could rip him apart, dissolve him completely in pursuit and fulfilment of desire.
Tomorrow they would walk this desert together.
Spock/Uhura - Episode IV