Continuing Tales

Conversational Vulcan

A Star Trek Story
by Blue Moon3

Part 3 of 16

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Conversational Vulcan

"She's a rebel, she's a saint

She's the salt of the earth, and she's dangerous."

Uhura managed to wait until half past five. She wasn't sure she could hold onto herself much longer than that, and had marched neatly across the quad to the Commanding Officers' Halls. Her stride was only as brisk as it ever was, but her hands curled into fists at her sides, betraying the emotions that simmered just below the surface.

Pressing the door chime, she went over in her head the speech she had been rehearsing since sixteen-hundred hours that afternoon. She had been trying so hard to keep a cool head. Her temper rarely got her anywhere. But nothing inflamed those emotions like betrayal.

The door slid open and Uhura took a deep, steadying breath. In the doorway stood Spock, as impassive and implacable as he had been on their first meeting. "Nyota. You are early," he stated, without the barest hint of surprise.

Where Uhura had come to find Spock's omni-present calm reassuring over the preceding months, on this occasion it only served to infuriate her further. "Yes," she struggled to emulate his even tone of voice. "May I come in?"

Without responding verbally, Spock stood aside to let her pass. Once she had done so and the door closed behind her, he moved toward the small kitchenette. "Lights," he commanded the computer, and it illuminated the small work surface. "Please be seated, Nyota, and I will prepare you some coffee."

"Thank you, but no," she said in Vulcan.

Something in her tone made Spock pause. He turned on the spot, pale face a blank mask of polite interest – as ever. He moved to the seating area and perched on his customary stool. Uhura remained standing. She would happily have graduated to pacing, would have welcomed the excuse to burn off some of the excess adrenaline that coiled unpleasantly in the pit of her stomach – but she would not do that, not when he could sit so calmly, gaze at her so levelly. She would not give him a reason to look down on her, with all her emotional weaknesses. They made her strong, she told herself firmly. They were an asset, not a failing, no matter what he thought.

"Please continue," he said softly.

Now the moment came, all her careful planning gave way to the feelings that consumed her. "What the hell were you thinking?" she demanded, her breathing coming hard and rugged.

Very briefly, an image passed into her mind. Her mother, tall and formidable, hands on broad hips, head tilted to the side. "Don't use that tone of voice with me, girl, I don't care what kind of twist your panties are in." The memory – those same words used on so many different occasions – threatened to make her laugh. She somehow doubted that Spock's reaction to her quick temper would be nearly so benign.

Spock blinked once, the only movement of his face. Though there was a slight edge to his voice as he said, "In Vulcan, please. I believe that was our agreement."

Uhura swallowed. She hadn't even noticed the switch to Swahili. It had been several years since anyone had got her so riled up she had to return to her first language. Continuing instead in Lingua Franca as a compromise, she raised her chin and confessed, "I can't. I'm too angry, I can't express myself properly."

"That is something you will have to master, if-"

"Please don't side-track me," she said, then immediately flushed as she realised she had just interrupted a superior officer. Among other things. "Look, I've just spent the last hour and a half comforting Gaila because she thinks you're going to chuck her out of Starfleet for something that wasn't her fault."

That drew a raised eyebrow. "I do not recall threatening anything of the kind," Spock said, determinedly sticking to Vulcan.

But the language was precise and cold, like Earth's ancient Latin. A tongue designed for accuracy rather than expression. This rendered it inadequate to Uhura's requirements, and she continued, with equal determination, in Lingua Franca. "You told her that her brain is made of cotton wool. What was she supposed to think?"

Uhura was infuriated further to see the corner of Spock's mouth twitch. "You are misinformed. I merely stated that the Cadet's cranial cavity could not possibly contain a typical cerebral cortex. Though, given the circumstances, 'cotton wool' may prove an accurate suggestion. You may tell her I applaud her supposition, but do not appreciate her false recounting of our discussion."

"It's not a discussion when you're dressing down a student in front of the whole class."

He leaned forward slightly, his gaze steadily, heatedly focussed on Uhura's face. "When called upon, she could not answer three questions in succession. She had clearly not prepared herself for the course. Adequate preparation is a requirement of all Starfleet courses of study. It is Starfleet's rule that she has broken, not mine."

"She did the reading," Uhura protested. "I'm her roommate; I watched her sit for three hours with the damn book in her lap. She wouldn't let me put out the light until it was done." Gaila was certainly not the most studious of students. She came with a natural disadvantage in some respects: her over-active libido was a distraction as much as a coping mechanism. But her species' physical aptitude and sociability also made them invaluable on matters of diplomacy with other life forms. She would be an excellent officer, if she could be rational for long enough to pass the written tests. Uhura liked to think her influence kept Gaila's feet on the ground.

"Then how do you explain her demonstrable absence of knowledge?" Spock demanded quite levelly.

She finally sat, leaning forward, gesturing animatedly with her hands. "Gaila's Orion," she said, as though that explained everything. To Uhura, who had spent a year and a half deep in conversation with Gaila, picking up the subtleties of her language as she did with Spock, it did explain everything.

"Thank you, Nyota, I had noticed," Spock said, his voice very nearly almost bordering on impatient.

"Then, if you know other cultures like you should, you know that she is subject to high hormonal bursts on a cyclical basis that leave her ... not herself." Uhura flushed again, her mind flitting to the undulating pattern of male visitors who passed through their shared room; the number of times she had returned from the library to discover she was required to take a walk around the block.

"I am aware," Spock said, pulling her from her reverie, "of the intricacies of the Orion condition. It has not, however, presented an adverse effect on her class work before now. It is Starfleet's policy to avoid positive discrimination."

"Extenuating circumstances," Uhura said quickly, feeling that she was at least beginning to pull him around. She paused, hoping that would be enough; hoping he wouldn't actually make her say it. But the only response from her Vulcan companion was an arched eyebrow – an indication to continue. Taking a deep breath, she ploughed on, hoping to get the explanation out of the way as quickly and painlessly as possible. "Jim Kirk was sat in front of her. I'm reliably informed he didn't shower before class. Apparently, his pheromones were ... distracting." She implied but did not explicitly reference the over-whelming lust that Gaila had quite unashamedly described in their room. Sometimes – just sometimes – sharing with a sexually peaked Orion female was not easy.

Spock leaned back, processing the new information. Uhura sat on her hands to keep from cracking her knuckles. Awkward silences had always made her edgy.

"Do you wish me to speak with Cadet Kirk?" Spock asked eventually. It was as close to an admission of error as Uhura expected she would ever get.

She sighed, shaking her head. "No. I don't really know what I wanted." She let out a nervous laugh, glancing around the room. For the first time she was sorry there were no photographs or trinkets to distract herself from Spock's intense gaze. "It just ... wasn't very fair of you."

Spock did not verbally concede the point, but did incline his head. "I will consider such variables more thoroughly in future. Perhaps Cadet Gaila could be more discerning when choosing her seating arrangements?"

As Spock had done, Uhura inclined her head in agreement. She allowed herself a nervous smile. "I'm sorry if I over-reacted. I was just so embarrassed – I've been singing your praises, saying how good it was of you to give up your free time for someone who's not even your student. I really think you're one of the nicest guys in Starfleet."

His head cocked to the side. "Please clarify 'nicest guy'. I do not believe there is an adequate Vulcan translation."

Her dark eyes widened. "Oh," she said softly, and paused to think. He was quite right. To the best of her ever-increasing knowledge, there was no direct equivalent. As much as anything, Uhura knew that if there were then Spock would be the one to know. At a loss, Uhura settled for a lengthier translation in Spock's native dialect. "The most considerate, diplomatic," she smirked, "logical ... and desirable individual in the immediate vicinity."

There went that errant eyebrow again. "'Desirable'?" he qualified, the pitch of his voice rising with the second and last syllable. Despite Uhura's aural sensitivity, she could not tell if he was expressing surprise or merely posing a question.

Before responding, Uhura gave serious thought to her chosen lexis. 'Desirable', if memory served – which Uhura's memory always did – could be accurately defined as a person or object that invokes desire. Desire itself could probably be reasoned out in a number of ways but, on this occasion, Uhura decided she would judge on the scale of her own feelings. She certainly could not deny that Spock was physically attractive. Smooth complexion, large dark eyes, shapely lips – and his lack of expression, when not infuriating, gave his face a doll-like quality. A pretty face alone would not make any man desirable, not to Uhura. But added to this were a formidable intellect, carefully veiled but clearly present sense of humour, and strangely appealing awkward social manner. All these qualities made Spock more than qualified to fit the word.

Still there was more. There was the flutter of pleasure Uhura felt in her chest when his lips twitched into a Spock-smile. There was the fact that, when his finger slid across the pressure-sensitive surface of his PADD, she couldn't look away.

It quickly became apparent that she had been lost in thought too long. She smiled awkwardly, closely examining the hands folded neatly in her lap. "Desirable," she confirmed, vocal pitch rising on the second syllable and flattening on the last.

She would not look at him. She absolutely would not look at him, because that would cause her third blush in much-too-short-a-time, and she just knew he would be counting.

Uhura herself had counted to twenty before Spock spoke again. "It is eighteen-hundred hours. Would you like to continue the evening as planned?"

"That would be nice," Uhura replied honestly.

"Vulcan, Nyota," he said, pausing a beat before adding, "please."

She smiled. "That would be desirable," she said in her precise Standard Vulcan.

Spock stood and turned his back to make coffee. She couldn't be certain, but she was fairly sure he was wearing his Spock-smile. "Tell me about your day," he requested over his shoulder, as he usually did.

Uhura took a breath, pleased that normalcy had returned, and replied in the language that she was increasingly coming to think of as one of her own.

Conversational Vulcan

A Star Trek Story
by Blue Moon3

Part 3 of 16

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