Continuing Tales

For the Rest of Us

A Star Trek Story
by Psicygni

Part 3 of 10

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"You're going to have to ask Uhura," she hears Commander Ho say and she automatically turns away from her console, rises, and faces the Commander. And the other Commander she has with her. "This is Cadet Uhura, the one with that paper?"

"Sir," she says even though it feels funny to call him that. She doesn't know him as an instructor, despite the fact that he teaches in her department, and seeing him in the language lab is strange. Nice, but strange.

"We have met," Spock says, glancing at her before turning his attention to Ho again. His hands are neatly tucked behind his back and he looks so polished and professional in his instructor blacks that he's hardly like the same person she sees at Thex and Schori's house every week.

"Great, great. The Commander here hasn't ever seen these new interfaces for our language tutorials, Uhura, do you mind showing him? He has a couple questions about the updated models."

"What language are you currently learning?" Spock asks as he pulls over a chair and as Ho walks back to her office.

"I have Ociramman called up," she answers. "But I'm not learning it, I'm just going through and editing some of the lessons."

"You already speak it?"

"I learned it over the summer," she explains. "So many of the phrases that are preprogrammed are so generic – where's the bathroom, I'm lost, what's your name – that they fit well enough with Standard but don't really work in other languages, so I'm going through and fixing that." She enters a few commands and calls up a screen from the second level of the tutorial. "It's just how they're all initially programmed, see? Anyway, that's what I do on Tuesdays and Thursdays from thirteen hundred to fifteen hundred, since I'm sure you were curious."

She says this last part with a half embarrassed smile, realizing belatedly that he didn't ask and she doesn't really need to share the details of her posting with him, especially since it's not exactly the most interesting thing in the world.

But he's studying the monitor, leaning forward slightly in his chair to do so.

"You do this for all language tutorials?"

"Only the new ones. Vulcan, Andorian, Tellarite, all of those have been in the database so long that they've already been refined."

"You must then learn the language before you do this?"

"More or less. Just enough of it to figure out the best and most culturally appropriate way to teach it. But I don't do most of the work for these, really, it's a lot more difficult to have to code all the vocabulary and construct the grammar structure and just get it all inputted."

"Are you the only one doing this work?"

She glances over at him, about to ask why he's so curious before reminding herself that that's something she can ask him outside of work, and right then she's there as a cadet and he, a commander.

"Yes, sir, I am."

"Then you must be able to speak every language the Academy currently teaches."

"Um." She glances around the lab at all the various terminals, then at the monitor in front of her. "I guess I do."

"And understand at least the basics of their associated culture."

"I'm not fluent in all of them or anything. I just learn as much as I need to, really," she quickly explains.

"How long does that generally take you?"

She frowns at the monitor, scrolling idly through the list of phrases and their translations as she thinks.

"Depends," she finally answers. "Some are pretty complicated, but ones that share common elements with others that I've learned already don't take as long. I don't think I really know." She waits for him to say something but he doesn't, just keeps looking between the console and her. "Was there something specific you have questions about? And don't you teach computer programming? I'm not sure what I can help you with, you must know as much about these as I do."

He finally sits back in his chair – or, rather, sits upright, his back ramrod straight.

"The Commander and I are discussing various ways in which to amalgamate the databases we have for universal translators with the language tutorials." He reaches for the keypad and she slides her chair a little out of the way so that he has more room. His types so quickly on it that she has trouble figuring out what commands he's even entering before there's an entirely different program running on the screen.

"I didn't save-"

"I saved your work." He taps a couple more keys before pointing to the screen. "The way that we code the universal translators is much different, but the basic principles of the language input remain the same."

"Well, they're not designed to teach anyone the language, right?" she asks, looking at what he's called up. "Just to filter whatever it's hearing into Standard?"

"And yet there exists the very problem that you are fixing, that basic idioms, phrases, and sayings are, at times, misunderstood or come through as error messages, which can be detrimental to the success of an away mission."

"I hadn't really thought about that," she admits. "You're trying to change that?"

"I am attempting to. We are designing ways to increase the effectiveness of the program so that it better mimics someone learning a language."

"Because the translator has to learn the language in real time, as it's being spoken?"

"Precisely," he says. "Will you demonstrate the ways in which students use these terminals to learn, and perhaps highlight the most effective methods you have found? This current model has replaced the one that I was familiar with when I was a cadet. Commander Ho said that you routinely help other cadets with language tutorials and would be a proficient guide in such matters." He pauses and glances over at her. "I did not realize that you taught language tutorials as a cadet."

"I don't," she says quickly, since you have to be a Lieutenant or above to be qualified to teach those. "I just help when students need it, especially if I'm already in the lab."

"But you teach the students."

"Yes, but not officially."

"In your spare time."

"Um, sometimes," she says, then pauses and amends her answer. "Yes, sir, I do."

"I see," he says, still looking at her.

"Do you have a particular language in mind? Vulcan?" she asks when he eventually looks away again. "Would that be easiest?"

He closes the screen he had called up and leaves a list of available languages on the monitor.

"Perhaps a language I do not speak, so that I can observe the full effect of the tutorial." With another handful of quick keystrokes he eliminates Vulcan, Romulan, Andorian, and Bajoran.

"You don't speak Tellarite?" she asks, since it's still on the list on the screen.

He pauses, that professional efficiency that seems to cling to him when he's in his uniform slipping just very slightly.

"Please do not inform Gouth or Trav of that fact."

"Maybe now's the time to learn," she suggests, but can't quite staunch her smile. "And don't worry, I won't."

"Everything going well over here?" Commander Ho asks, walking past them again. "You two getting everything sorted out? Sorry to interrupt your work, Uhura, I know you were hoping to get through, what was it? Which one was it today?"


"Ociramma. That's right."

"It's no problem, sir, this is just as interesting and I'm happy to help."

"Interesting?" Spock asks when Ho has returned to her office.

Nyota pauses in calling up the first level of Tellarite. "I really meant fascinating," she tells him and watches his mouth very nearly twist. His reaction draws a wider smile out of her "And, ok, this if the first part, and I changed it from the basic 'hi, my name is-' that we would introduce in most languages."

"I have am familiar with that phrase," he says, his brow furrowed as he studies the phonetic translation under the Tellarite. "Computer, play audio."

"You've definitely heard it," she confirms when the computer's done playing the guttural Tellarite words. "It means-"

"-'You are incorrect'."

"Normally I don't take people telling me I'm wrong that well, sir," she says with a grin. "But in this case, you're right. Which, incidentally, is a phrase that doesn't exist in this language."

"This is what you chose as a first introduction to Tellarite?" he asks. "How to tell someone that they are incorrect?"

"It's useful," she says lightly. "Now, if you keep going you'll learn how to say 'you're absolutely wrong' and 'your facts are the stuff of children's tales.' After that we get into to learning how to ask for lunch and where the transporter station is."

"You will continue to explain the choices you made in such selections?"

She glances at the chronometer. Her shift ends in a half an hour and she was going to get a jump start on her Interstellar Nav homework, which always takes her forever and makes her want to tear her hair out. Between doing that and spending the rest of the afternoon in the language lab with the Commander, it's a pretty clear choice.

"That is not an order," he says quickly, looking up from the monitor to catch her eye. "I do not wish to-"

"It's no problem at all," she answers, just as quick. "I'll absolutely stay."

"Kov-skish" he says in Vulcan.

"K'ov'schich" she replies in Romulan. "See? I'm just saying that if it ever comes to it, there are some pretty incredible puns that can be made between the two languages."

"Despite a distinct cultural disinclination towards such," he responds and she doesn't think she's imagining the way he almost looks like he's smiling.

It's the third time they've had this debate in as many nights as they've walked back to campus together and while trying to convince a Vulcan of the merits of puns in his own language is proving futile, she has rather come to appreciate the debate.

"But we don't know that Romulans don't love puns," she points out.

"That is true. I suppose it is rather ill advised to make such an assumption."

"So what we really should do is send an emissary to Romulus and ask after their opinion." She shrugs and grins up at him. "You never know, it could be the deciding factor in the otherwise fraught relationship between the Empire and the Federation."

"Perhaps you should draft a memo with your specific recommendations," he says so seriously that he absolutely has to be joking. That Vulcans could joke was never something she would have believed before she met Spock, but it somehow doesn't seem that far from being impossible whenever she finds herself talking to him. And that's something that happens more often than not during and after dinners and celebrations at Threx and Schori's house, not only because they have begun to always walk back together but also because he's really interesting and smart – and not smart in a boring way no matter how much Gaila pretends he is, but smart in a captivating and compelling way that makes Nyota want to pick his brain for facts and his opinion on anything and everything.

"I'll take that under advisement," she promises, also quite serious. "Though I admit I'd be worried that Federation diplomats might not understand the solemnity of such a suggestion."

"The might find it rather unbelievable."

She squints at the sidewalk ahead of them, bites at the corner of her bottom lip, and then decides she just can't help herself.

"Punbelievable?" she asks and laughs out loud when the corner of his mouth curls very, very slightly.

"Have you ever learned about a disorder called Witzelsucht?" he asks and she has to shake her head.

"Don't think so. German?"

"Yes, I believe the word is of Germanic origin. It can be quite a serious mental condition," he tells her. "It is caused by lesions on the frontal lobe of the brain."

"And what are the symptoms?" she asks, unsure of where he's going with this.

"A tendency to construct and tell poorly formed jokes."

She has half a mind to smack his arm. "That's not even true!"

"Vulcans do not lie."

"You're just cowed by my sagacious ability to use paronomasias."




"Precisely," she says, borrowing his oft-used phrase. "A pun is its own reword."

She has to look closely to see if she got the corner of his mouth to twitch again since he's so subtle about it, but that's ok because she's found it's kind of fun to try to draw those quiet, understated smiles out of him, and she rather enjoys the effort it takes.

"We had to replace the tiles," Chorenn explains. She ran into him in the Academy mess hall, where he was working a shift despite his normal maintenance duties over at HQ. His lunch break was at the same time she had a break between classes and she cheerfully sat down next to him, happy to have someone other than other cadets to talk to, since a break from discussing homework and classes is more than welcome. "The ectoplasm from the visiting Hys'ler'ia delegation burned right through the floor."

His beak snaps together as he clicks it, and the sound that emanates is rather disapproving.

"Does Starfleet often host species that cause so much… damage?" Nyota asks.

"The are often asked to go straight to the Federation buildings in Paris, as they have facilities to handle such occurrences, but the dignitaries wanted to see 'Fleet Headquarters and Admiral Komack didn't want to dissuade them from negotiating, so he decided that it was fine." Chorenn's clicks his beak again. "At least that's the story I heard."

"I guess the Admiralty doesn't spend too much time worrying about the tiles."

"It nearly burned through to Admiral Machesky's office, which was the next floor down."

"Machesky… I thought she was out at Starbase Four?"

"Just got reassigned to HQ here in San Francisco."

"Huh. I think you must be way more clued into the scuttlebutt of Starfleet with your job. I feel like the Academy is its own little bubble."

Chorenn nods, the feather fringe that sticks straight up from his head bobbing with the motion. "It is like being on deployment on a ship, or even one of the smaller Starbases or Spacedocks. Everyone knows everyone, but you are less in touch with the rest of the 'Fleet."

"Makes me want to work at HQ some day," she admits. "It must be so interesting to be there all the time."

"It is acceptable," he says and the phrase makes her smile because those are so often Spock's words, but spoken this time through a shiny, gray beak. "However, I have thought often about requesting a transfer to a ship. Perhaps the Enterprise, upon its completion. It will depend on if my chicks have fledged, of course."

"Of course," Nyota nods. "You have six, I think you said?"

"Yes. My wife laid eight eggs, but two were not viable."

"I'm sorry," Nyota says quickly but Chorenn just shakes his head and slurps up another worm off of his plate.

"It is the way of things. You will have to come over some spring and visit the chicks in their nest when they have just hatched. They are quite loud, but I have learned that humans find them rather charming at that stage. Now they are sullen adolescents and are just beginning to grow their adult plumage, so they do not want to be seen by others."

"I'd love to," she grins. "Thank you."

"I have asked them to come to our dinners at Thex and Schori's house, and Thaalan has offered to put our celebration of Esuyp on the schedule, but the chicks will not partake." Chorenn clicks his beak again.

"I guess all teenagers are alike, in some ways."

"It is so," Chorenn agrees. "It is disappointing that they do not want to attend our meetings. They are enjoyable, as you have found. We are quite pleased to have a human among us, you know."

"Oh, thanks. Thank you, I…" she starts and then shakes her head. "I hope so, that I'm not intruding."

"Not at all. And will you be sharing a holiday with the group?"

"Oh, I- I hadn't thought about it, actually." She stabs at her salad and chases a cherry tomato around her plate. "Aren't you all a bit tired of Terran culture? Isn't that half the point of getting together?"

"The intention is to share celebrations which are meaningful to us," Chorenn says gently. "If you come to our gatherings, you are one of us and if you would like to share you should do so."

"Thank you," she says again, more seriously this time. "That's very nice to hear."

"You are most welcome."

"Where's the beef?" Gaila asks, again, and Nyota's heard it so many times she's given up laughing, and given up groaning, and is about to give up rolling her eyes at her roommate in order to not encourage the continuation of the joke.

"It is directly in front of you," Spock says because he's Spock, and that does make Nyota laugh.

"I like Andorian night," Gaila say, gleefully sliding yet another rib-eye onto her plate. "This is delicious."

Nyota's never been a big meat eater and after a few bites of tenderloin, which were admittedly delicious, she quickly ran out of dishes she was interested in trying. Fresh fruits and vegetables didn't grow in the snow and ice of Andor, so Thaalan had presented platter after platter of meat, both from Terran animals as well as a few he had imported from Andor for the evening.

Nyota is seriously considering dashing out to find a vending machine with a protein bar somewhere, but she still has half a glass of Andorian Ale and there is something rather amusing about watching Gaila eat steak after steak.

Amusing to her, at least. Spock looks like the Vulcan equivalent of nauseous, which is just overly quiet and blanker than normal as Gaila takes an enormous bite of her dinner.

"Yum," she says around it, grinning. "Wow. I could have this for every meal."

"I'll stick to the ale," Nyota says, watching Gaila swallow her mouthful.

"Is it appealing?" Spock asks, looking at the glass in her hand.

"Yeah. Strong, though. Have you tried some?"

"No, despite Thaalan's repeated efforts in that regard."

"Want a sip?" she asks, holding her glass out to him before wondering if she just committed some type of terrible Vulcan taboo. Or Andorian. Or Bajoran. Or Cheilithian. Or Aferraronian. Keeping everyone's different manners straight is challenging, to say the least, and Thaalan seems to not only be the unofficial leader of the group but the mediator as well. It proved to be useful when Crisaedh turned too quickly and her wing accidently knocked a cup of Tellarite Rum into Yeinydd's pot. There had been much confusion and yelling, but Crisaedh had shown up with a bag of fertilizer the next week and that seemed to have smoothed everything over between them.

Spock doesn't seem like she just violated some tenant of his culture, though, just slips the glass out of her hand, his fingers close enough that she can feel the peculiar heat of his skin, even though they don't touch.

"Palatable," he declares, handing it back to her with that same wash of warmth over her hand.


"Not unpleasant."

"Is that high praise from a Vulcan?" she asks. "Your expressions of enthusiasm hardly match up with who I'm used to," she says and tips her head towards where Gaila's smacking her lips over her steak.

"In that case, it is fortunate that you are a proficient communications track cadet. You appear to be quite adept at deciphering such variations between cultures."

"Proficient," she says with a laugh. "Careful, Commander, you'll make me blush."

She just gets a raised eyebrow in return, but that's pretty much as good as a wide grin from him.

"So, ok, when you were telling us about the different warriors," Nyota says to Thaalan, gesturing towards the living room where he had just finished describing the ceremony of Kori ch'Dastal. "Is that story – the way you told it with the drum and the repetition of certain parts – the same as it's told everywhere on Andor?"

"Yes, exactly in the same words and ritualization. Our mothers, who are taught by theirs, who were taught by theirs, teach us. When I marry, my wife will tell it during our ceremonies, and she will teach it to our children."

"I'm just curious because I heard a recording of the same story in one of my classes and it sounded different, so I guess that's just regional dialects?"

Thaalan had told the entire story in Andorian, and Nyota had been pleased to find that she was able to follow along with it, at least for the most part. Even those who couldn't understand had sat quietly, captivated by his voice and the sound of the beautiful hide drum he had played while he spoke.

"It may have been a clan in the southlands," he says. "Flatlanders. They are not from the mountains, as my people are."

"I'm just really impressed that the accents are so distinct, still, with so many generations since Andor established global communication. Look at Earth – we all speak Standard and we all have nearly the same accent." Nyota shrugs lightly and swirls the last of her drink around in her glass. "I feel like half the reason I wanted to study languages is that my grandmother made sure that my brother, sister, and I grew up speaking Swahili as our mother tongue. That tradition is so lost here on Earth."

"I did not know you spoke other Terran languages," Spock says from beside her. She wonders how long he's been there, since he's often so quiet and still, even in the midst of the party, like he prefers to simply absorb what's going on around him rather than actively partake in discussions.

"Maneno mazuri kama maua yana rangi yake," she says. "'Nice words are like flowers: they have their own color.' And Swahili has the nicest words, if I can say so."

"Andorian," Thaalan says with a wide grin splitting his blue face and his antennae twitching with amusement. "Is quite a bit more beautiful."

"Vulcans are hardly inclined towards competition," Spock says evenly. "However, I might admit a rather strong inclination towards my own language."

"You grew up speaking Standard at home, too, I thought," Thaalan says and Spock nods, tipping his head in acknowledgement.

"That has not rendered me without a preference for one over the other," he admits.

Nyota glances up at him. "Why did you grow up speaking-"

"Thaalan, Gouth wants to know if you brought more ale," Schori says, coming out of the crowd. "Oh, I'm sorry for the interruption."

"What's your favorite language?" Thaalan asks her.

"Bajoran," she says lightly. "Of course."

"Will you teach your young one Standard as well?"

"At home she will hear the language of her people."

"She?" Nyota asks and Schori breaks into a broad grin.


"Except when we come over, then she will hear the languages of many people," Thaalan says, extending one blue hand to rest over Schori's stomach. "We await you, small one."

"Can you have everyone here with a baby in the house?" Nyota asks and Schori laughs.

"Only human infants require such exacting environmental preferences," Schori says.

"Maybe I'll forgo purely human genetics if I ever have kids," Nyota says with a smile. "Thanks for the tip."

"Andorian children drink ale from their bottles, before they even have the teeth for chewing meat," Thaalan says proudly. "Oh, the ale. Right, right. It's in my – I'll just come get it," he says, then turns back to Nyota and Spock. "If you'll excuse me."

"Thanks for sharing tonight," Nyota says before he steps away. "Your story was beautiful."

"Of course, my dear, we are pleased you were able to attend."

When he and Schori are gone, she finds herself standing next to Spock and it feels for a moment like it's just the two of them alone in a crowded room.

And then she yawns and quickly covers her mouth with the hand that's not around her drink.


"You are fatigued."

"Yeah, I had a paper due this morning." She examines the remainder of her drink before deciding she doesn't want to finish it. She nods to the kitchen and he follows her as she walks over to rinse out her glass. "I was up late writing it and then I wanted to go to the gym this morning and –" She yawns again. "I'm assuming that I can't exactly look forward to an easier schedule once I get my commission?"

"Perhaps more regular hours, but the same amount of time committed per week."

"Great." She sets her glass on the counter. "I might head back to my dorm, then."

"In order to rest up for the remaining duration of your career?" he asks as he follows her over to where their coats are hung.

"Exactly." She peers past him as she winds her scarf around her neck, but nobody's standing nearby that she has to say goodbye to, and N'Takim and Gaila are cuddled up together on a couch, so she figures she'll hardly be missed.

Spock has his own jacket on before she can ask if he's walking back with her like he normally does. He holds the front door open for her and closes it carefully behind them before joining her out on the sidewalk.

The air is refreshingly crisp and it wakes her up a bit, makes her think that she might actually have the energy to stay for longer, but she's already outside and Spock is too, so she starts up the hill that leads back to the Academy.

"I almost went to Andor last summer," she tells him, not that the silence between them is uncomfortable, but rather that she enjoys their conversations. "There was a research posting to study sub-dialects and I applied and got offered the position, but the dates didn't line up with the Academy's calendar so I couldn't do it. Which might have been good because I don't think I own enough warm clothes to have been comfortable."

"I admit that it is not a planet that I am necessarily inclined to visit, especially recreationally."

"So Vulcans don't vacation on Delta Vega, even though it's practically a hop, skip, and a jump?"

"A shuttle trip of several hours?" he corrects and she laughs and nods. "There is only a single Starfleet outpost on the planet, hardly a vacation resort. I do wonder if it was in Andor's system if the planet would be of more interest, or at least attract more engineers or scientists who would be willing to accept positions there."

"Living on a tiny ice planet with Vulcan as the nearest populated place to go to warm up?" she asks. "Talk about weather extremes."


She's about to ask him where – or if – Vulcans do vacation when her stomach rumbles loud enough that he can hear it and she has to laugh at herself as she presses one hand over her abdomen.

"Sorry, sorry," she says, shaking her head so that her hair briefly falls like a curtain between them before she laughs again and brushes it back behind her shoulders. "I didn't eat that much, I can't handle that much meat."

"I concur."

She crosses her arms and tucks her hands against her ribs. It's finally getting chilly, with summer well behind them, something that not only the weather reminds her of, but the growing amount of work she has for her classes.

But, it's not like she doesn't have a couple free minutes.

"Want to uh-?" she asks, tipping her head towards the line of restaurants on the other side of the street. "You must be starving."

"Not literally," he answers but glances both ways and crosses quickly, so that she grins and has to half jog after him.

"What do you like?"

"I am receptive to recommendations," he says and she spends way too long calculating what might have good vegetarian choices and nixing burritos since they just seem to messy for someone like him, and vetoing all deep fried options, before she spies a food cart halfway down the block.

"Soup?" she asks.

Which is how they end up sitting on one of the benches just inside the Academy gates, watching students and professors walk across the quad, and steaming containers of soup curled in their hands.

"How's yours?"

"Quite acceptable."

"I guess it just happens sometimes, that dishes from someone's home planet don't line up with everyone's dietary needs," she says, slowly stirring the black bean soup she ordered to cool it. She tentatively dips her spoon into it, decides it's still too hot and goes back to stirring.

"Indeed. It is difficult enough to be responsible for preparing a representative sample of your culture's cuisine. Accommodating individuals beyond that effort was decided to be inefficient and contrary to the intended goal of the evening, if too many allowances were to be made."

"Have you hosted an evening?"

"Yes, Fa-wak-glansu fell just before I deployed on the Lexington and I was able to celebrate it in such a manner."

"And if you're not around everyone, or when you were on the ship and holidays came up, you just…"

"Honor them in considerably more solitude, as you seem to have already guessed."

She blows on a spoonful of soup, considering that. Next to her, Spock seems to have no qualms about the temperature and is halfway through his own, eating so neatly and economically the she wouldn't be opposed to him giving Gouth and Trav – and Gaila, maybe – some lessons.

"I admit I don't know much about your culture," she says finally. "Do you have other holidays coming up soon?"

"Arivn'van-kal'e will be celebrated in conjunction with the rising of Las'hark in several weeks."

"That's a, um, it means star? Or a type of star?"

He nods, swallowing another spoonful of his soup. "It is a star the is only seen for a number of weeks every year, and its appearance has been celebrated for centuries." He dips his spoon back in his soup before turning his attention out across quad. "It is curious that even though we now have an explanation of why Las'hark is usually not visible, which is due to a very small asteroid belt that obscures it during much of the year, we still herald its arrival. For centuries, we did not know why it appeared when it did and I assume that added to some of the reason for the ceremony surrounding it."

"Well it's still important, right? The food, the music, gathering together. It's amazing to me that so many cultures have such similar aspects of their celebrations, even with different languages and light-years between where and when these traditions originated." She pulls her spoon through the thick soup and studies the way the steam curls and rises. "It's beautiful really. And will you?" she asks, nodding her head back the way they had come from and in the general direction of Thex and Schori's. "Share Arivn'van-kal'e with us?"

"In all likelihood, though it depends on my work schedule. I am tasked with completing a number of training simulations for the fourth year command track cadets and the deadline has as of yet not been finalized."

"Oh." She manages a bite of her soup. "Well I hope that you get a chance."


"And if you need a hand, I'm not exactly wallowing in free time but I'll admit that I don't really know anything about Arivn'van-kal'e and that I'm rather curious."

"That is kind of you to offer," he says, neatly spooning up the remainder of his soup and somehow doing so without dragging his spoon across the bottom of the container.

"Not going to give me any hints about it?" she asks, braving another bite even though hers is still really hot. "I might need to know what I'm volunteering for."

"Are you an accomplished baker?"

"Um, no."

"That is unfortunate," he says. "I will find a task for you to perform, regardless."

"I'm not going to get any details other than that baked goods are involved?"

"I did not say that baked goods are part of the celebration, I only inquired after your baking skills. And you will simply have to manage your rampant curiosity," he answers.

"Are you teasing me?" she asks.

"That is hardly part of my normative cultural expression."

"You didn't answer the question," she points out.

"And I do not intend to," he says very seriously and she grins at him.

"Well what about Fa-wak-glansu. I obviously missed that one." She takes another bite and frowns at her soup. "I'm sorry, I'm taking forever. I can walk and eat if you need to go."

"I am under no obligations this evening and furthermore, I hardly believe that based upon your current rate of consumption, we will truly find ourselves here for the remaining duration of the known universe," he answers and she wonders why he left the party, then, if he had nothing to get back to on campus. "Fa-wak-glansu is a celebration of when Surak emerged from the Forge."

"So what do you do to commemorate that? Eat pastries?"

"Eat your soup," he instructs, the corner of his mouth turning up just slightly. "And I will tell you."

For the Rest of Us

A Star Trek Story
by Psicygni

Part 3 of 10

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