Are you okay, Ny? You look a bit tired." Rand's face creased with concern.
"Yeah, I've just been feeling a bit odd the last few days. I've probably picked up a bug."
"Do you want me to get you a coffee, or something?"
"No thanks, I'll skip it. Oh Lord." Uhura clapped her hand to her mouth and stood abruptly. She grabbed hold of the table. She felt hot and cold, and the world was doing strange things.
"Ny! Are you all right? Ny? Nyota!"
Spock glanced at the communications console for what felt like the thousandth time. Jim caught him looking.
"Something troubling you, Mr. Spock?"
"It is unlike the Lieutenant to be late."
"You're right. Mr. Lamont, put out a…"
"Sickbay to Captain Kirk."
"Belay that. Yes Bones, what is it?"
"Any chance you could come down here today? I've got Uhura down here. I'm keeping her in for a rest. It's not serious but I do need to speak to you."
"I've got a stack of reports to catch up on. Would lunch time be okay?"
"Sure. You bring the sandwiches, I'll get the coffee. McCoy out."
"You'd better call Uhura's alternate, Lamont. Mr. Spock, you have the con. I have reports."
McCoy went back to Uhura's bedside.
"Well, doctor, what is it?" He looked at her for a moment.
"You're pregnant. About seven weeks." She stared at him in utter shock.
"What? But I can't be!"
"Well… I… because it's il… impossible, that's why."
"How is it impossible? You're not going to tell me you're celibate, are you?"
"No, of course not."
"And your implant should have been renewed months ago. What did you expect?"
McCoy was rather brusque with her. Uhura was one of the most intelligent women he had ever met and he was a little disappointed that she could have been so stupid.
"But… but I can't. We can't."
"Because. There's a problem. Genetic. He thought that there would be, so when we were at Starbase 13 I got the medical officer to take a sample and sent it to my – friends- family physician. They said that there is absolutely no possibility of our conceiving a child. He can, I can, we can't."
"Obviously they were wrong." His tone was gentler now.
"Obviously. Oh God! What am I going to tell him?"
"What do you mean?"
"What if he thinks I've been with someone else? He takes fidelity very seriously. If he thinks I've cheated on him it… it would break his heart."
"Have I what?"
"Cheated on him?"
"How well does he know you?"
"Probably better than anyone else."
"Then I don't see the problem. All you have to do is explain."
"And what if he doesn't believe me?"
"Would you like me to speak to him?"
"Yes – no. Thank you for the offer but it's my problem. I'll deal with it. If he doesn't believe me then there's not really much of a future for us anyway, is there?"
"Well, if you're sure?" She nodded. "Okay. I know you've got a lot of thinking to do, but see if you can get some rest. The captain's coming down later. I'm going to have to tell him."
"I'll be in my office. Just call if you need anything."
"I will. Thank you." Uhura settled back and closed her eyes. What was she going to do?
"She's WHAT?!" Jim choked on his sandwich. This had happened so often he sometimes thought that McCoy timed it deliberately.
Bones looked up at the ceiling. "What are they teaching kids these days? Look, when a gentleman and a lady love each other very much …"
"I know that bit, thank you. Weren't they using any contraception?"
"They'd been told it wasn't necessary."
"Great. And you don't know who the father is?"
"She's not saying."
"I'm going to have to talk to her."
"Leave it for a while."
"If you see her now you're going to get indigestion, and she'll get crumbs." Jim looked down at his lunch. Suddenly it didn't look so appetizing.
"Damn. Okay Len, what are her options?"
Uhura awoke with a start.
"Spock! What are you doing here?"
"I came to see how you are." He sat on the bed and took her hand.
"But what if somebody sees you?"
"What if they do?"
"They might guess."
"Would that be such a bad thing? What is wrong with you?"
"Nothing. I fainted, that's all. I'm okay. Honest."
"Nyota, you have been unwell for several days, and now this. You are not 'okay.'"
"I'm fine." She looked up at him miserably. "We both are."
At first he didn't react. Then he blinked.
"Both? You are pregnant?"
"You are having a baby?"
// For such a bright man you can be really slow at times,// she thought.
Spock continued to stare at her. This was it. He was going to end it. Uhura felt tears welling but she was determined not to cry. Suddenly he made an odd sound and she was enveloped in a crushing hug.
"I did not think that I could love you more than I already did," he whispered.
"You're not angry?" She pushed Spock away. "Let go. I can't breathe." He let go and sat back on the bed.
"Nyota, you are carrying our child. The one they said we could never have. Why would I be angry?"
"Because it's the one they said we could never have. I was afraid you'd think that I… That I'd – betrayed you…"
"Nyota, look at me." He took her hands. "You would never do something like that. You do not have it in you to be so deceitful, or so cruel."
"Oh, Spock!" And then she was in his arms again, sobbing helplessly while he rocked her and murmured reassurances.
Which was how Jim and Bones found them.
Spock stood up trying, and completely failing, to control his expression.
"Yes Captain?" None of them had ever seen him, there was no other word for it, grinning, before. It was small perhaps, but it was definitely there. Jim just stared at him for a while.
"Okay Spock, how did this happen?"
"Jim, we've been through this. When a gentleman and a lady…"
"You really do want to take a walk on the hull in your underwear, don't you Bones?" Jim asked conversationally. "I mean – this." He waved his hand. "You, Uhura. And what are you doing here, Mister?"
"It is my scheduled break, Captain. As for myself and Nyota, I have no idea how it happened. It just did." It was then that Jim noticed Spock' posture. He was still holding Uhura's hand and instead of his usual polite attention he looked – protective.
"Oh for God's sake, sit down. So, Lieutenant, it seems that congratulations are in order." Uhura was smiling but Jim noted the red puffy eyes. "How do you feel about it?"
"Very happy, sir."
"Good. You've been very discreet. How long has it been going on? Sorry, I'm being nosey."
"That's okay. We got together when I put in for that transfer."
"I know I said do anything Spock, but that's a bit above and beyond even for you."
"You should probably put in for a citation for him, Jim," McCoy said.
"Yeah, but how would I word it?" Jim asked.
Bones opened his mouth to reply, saw the way Uhura was glaring at him, and chickened out.
"You said earlier that Uhura just needs to rest?" McCoy nodded. "So there's no real reason for her to stay here?"
"No. She can go to her quarters as long as she behaves herself, although I want you both back here in the morning for some tests."
"You hear that, Lieutenant? Spock I'm assigning you to medical for the rest of the day. I'm relying on you to make sure Uhura takes things easy."
"Thank you sir."
They watched as Spock ushered Uhura out of sickbay.
"That girl has got a problem."
"What? Is she sick or something?"
"No, healthy as a horse, as far as I can tell. Didn't you see the way Spock was hovering? He's got a bad case of mother hen. Unless she's very firm with him he's going to drive her mad."
Jim gulped as he got a picture of Spock solemnly sitting on a nest full of chicks. He shook his head.
"Are you okay, Jim?"
"Yeah. I think I've been over doing it. So, if she's healthy why the tests?"
"Because she was right. She shouldn't be pregnant."
"Why ever not? Is Spock sterile?"
"Oh, no. It's odd. If she was a Vulcan/Human hybrid she could just get pregnant in the usual way. If she was something totally different, an Andorian say, there would only be the usual difficulties associated with cross species genetics. But for some reason, and nobody yet knows why, three quarter crosses like this just don't, or can't, happen. There has never been a natural conception before, and the assisted ones have all ended in miscarriage. If this baby comes to term, it will be a miracle."
"Do they know?"
"Spock does. I assume he's told her."
"Is there anything we can do?"
"Wait. And pray."
Nyota sat quietly on the bed while Spock fetched her some tea. When he returned he sat facing her and handed her the cup.
"Spock I am going to put in for a transfer. I'm going to try for a ground-based assignment."
"That would be logical."
"There's a vacancy for a communications lecturer at the academy."
"There will also shortly be one in the physics department."
"No. I won't ask you to give up space. This is your life."
"You are my life. I will not leave you alone. Either of you."
"You are not going to cry again, are you?" he asked warily.
"No," she said, through her tears.
"You realise what else this means?" Spock asked.
"You no longer have an excuse not to marry me."
"It will soon be obvious that we have – disregarded the fraternization rules."
"I suppose so."
"So we can get married."
"I don't know."
Spock blinked. Nyota grinned at the expression on his face.
"Well, you haven't asked me yet," She said.
"Are you deliberately trying to aggravate me?"
"Mm'hm. Is it working?"
"Yes. I suppose you wish me to do it 'properly'?" he asked.
"Very well." Spock went to the drawer where he kept a few items and returned with a small box. He went down on one knee by the side if the bed and took her hand "Nyota, would you do me the very great honour of becoming my wife?" He opened the box and handed it to her. Nyota was staring at him with her mouth hanging open.
"You've been studying," she said at last.
"I have. What is your answer?"
"I'll have to think about it."
Spock made a small sound.
"Yes. Yes. Yes. Now stop growling and kiss me."
A long time later Nyota took the ring out of the box. The band was in the shape if a pair of hands holding a stone.
"It's beautiful. What is it, an emerald?"
"It is a Vulcan gem. The name translates as heart stone."
"Where did you find it?"
"I did not. I had it made. There is an inscription," he added, shyly.
Nyota held the ring up to the light and muttered to herself as she translated it.
"You hold my heart."
She stared at the inscription for a while and then looked up.
"It will be all right, won't it?"
Spock didn't need to ask what 'it' was.
"I do not know."
"You're supposed to reassure me. Tell me everything's going to be okay."
"And if it is not?"
"It will be. It must be."
"I know. I know! All the studies say that I will miscarry by the twelfth week. But all the studies show that I shouldn't even be pregnant and they were wrong. Why can't they be wrong about… about…?"
"If determination has any influence then you will have a perfectly healthy baby."
"Worrying about it isn't going to do any good. Distract me."
"What sort of ceremony do you require?"
"When we marry."
All starship crews were required to undergo genetic testing every five years. McCoy took some samples from Spock and Uhura for comparison. He entered the office and sat down.
"It's you, Spock."
"I suspected as much."
"Today's sample is different. It's too slight for me to tell exactly how, but it is there. Now all we have to do is discover what caused it. It could help a lot of people."
"I have been considering that, doctor. It is a pity that the tests are not carried out more frequently or I could be more precise as to when the change occurred. However I have no doubt that it is due to the effects of the Sandoval spores."
"Of course! We know that they healed imperfections in those affected, and the inability to produce healthy offspring is a pretty major imperfection. They would have needed a healthy breeding stock. I doubt if even the spores could have kept the colonists going indefinitely."
"Does this mean I will keep the baby?" Uhura asked.
"I don't see why not," Bones replied.
"Wonderful." Nyota turned to Spock. "Spock, you're going to be a daddy."
"Thank you," he said softly. They stared at each other for a long moment.
McCoy cleared his throat. "I don't know about you two but I've got work to be getting on with."
"Of course," Spock replied. "Come, Nyota. We have to speak to the captain."
"Do me a favour, speak to Chris first. She's in the bio lab today."
"Oh Lord. I'd forgotten about her." Uhura looked distraught. "What are we going to tell her?"
"The truth." Spock suggested.
In the end McCoy went with them. He waited outside while they spoke to her. There was a loud crash. Eventually Spock and Uhura came out.
"How did she take it?" he asked.
"I'm not sure," Uhura replied. "She insists she's fine but... Well, I'm sure you heard. Perhaps you should speak to her."
Christine was furiously scrubbing the work bench.
"Chris, how are you?"
"I've just found out that my best friend is pregnant by the man I love. How do you think I am?" She didn't look up.
"If there's anything I can do…"
"Can you change things? Make him love me instead? No? I didn't think so. There's nothing more to be said then." She was glaring at him now.
"There's nothing more to say." Gathering up the cleaning materials she dumped them in the recycler and stalked out.
Sulu nudged Chekov and tipped his head back. Chekov looked over to where he was indicating. Spock and Uhura had come on to the bridge and were talking to the captain. Jim gave them both a brilliant smile and kissed Uhura. Then he returned to his seat and they went to their posts.
"I wonder what that's about," Sulu whispered.
"I dare say we'll find out eventually," Chekov answered.
Jim hit a switch. "Now hear this. Now hear this. It gives me great pleasure to announce the forthcoming marriage of Lieutenant Uhura to," he paused for effect. "Commander Spock. I'm sure you'll all join with me in wishing them both the very best for the future."
There was dead silence. Then the cheering started. In ones and twos the bridge crew went over to them and kissed or hugged Uhura, and congratulated Spock. When it was Chekov's turn he glared at Spock.
"Mr. Spock, I respect you greatly as a man, and as an officer, but if you do anything to hurt her, I will do my very best to black your eye."
Spock was nonplussed. "Noted Ensign."
Sulu was next. "Sorry about that, sir," he said. "Chekov thinks very highly of her. He's got a bit of a crush."
"He loves her."
"I understand. I shall endeavour not to incur his wrath."
Uhura decided to wear her dress uniform and as they were getting married on the ship there were very few other arrangements to make. They could marry within the week.
Two days before the ceremony Jim and Spock were in the rec room playing chess. Bones joined them.
"Have you got a best man yet?" he asked.
"Why do I require a best man?" Spock asked.
"Nyota wants a traditional Earth type ceremony, doesn't she? You need a best man."
"What is his function?"
"Make sure you don't get too drunk, get you to the church on time, marry the bride if you don't turn up, that sort of thing."
"To ensure everything runs smoothly?"
"More or less. Jim can't do it if he's conducting the service. I'm giving the bride away. Have you got any ideas?"
"I have. If you will excuse me gentlemen."
Spock rose and walked over to a table where Sulu, Chekov and a couple of men from security were sitting.
"A word please, Mr. Chekov."
"Certainly, sir." Looking apprehensive, Chekov followed Spock out of the room.
"What's that all about?" Lanning asked.
"I don't know," Sulu replied, "But Chekov did threaten him a few days ago."
"That doesn't look good," Hassith muttered. "He will probably skin Chekov alive and throw his trembling remains out of the airlock."
"That's a bit much, don't you think?" Lanning asked.
"Nothing is too much when it comes to honour," Hassith replied.
Sulu glanced at Lanning and rolled his eyes. Andorians!
Chekov returned, looking stunned.
"Well, what did he want?" Sulu was almost bouncing with impatience.
"He asked me to be his best man."
"You what?" McCoy stared in disbelief.
"I asked Mr. Chekov to be my best man."
"Any particular reason?" Jim asked.
"He threatened to black my eye."
There wasn't much they could say to that.
Spock stood quietly waiting, Chekov at his side. When Uhura entered Jim was the first to see her. She was carrying a small bouquet, and had flowers in her hair. Even in uniform she was stunning. McCoy looked as proud as if she was his own daughter as he escorted her forward.
As Uhura reached Spock's side she gave him a gentle smile. Jim only had one true love but he couldn't help wondering if, one day, a woman would smile at him like that. He stepped forward.
He was just about to start when a familiar sound filled the air. A squad of security troopers materialised. Before anybody could react they had slapped restraints on Spock and Uhura.
"Spock cha Sarek, Nyota Uhura, you are both relieved of duty, effective immediately. Take them to the brig."
"What is going on?" Spock asked. There was a dangerous edge to his voice.
"You are under arrest. You are to be taken to Earth for court martial."
Spock was already seated when Jim entered the room. Jim was shocked to see that he was shackled.
"Spock. How are you? Where's Uhura?"
"I am well, Captain. I do not know where the Lieutenant is. I have not seen her since our arrest."
Jim turned to the door.
"Guard! Bring Lieutenant Uhura now!"
"Sorry sir. We've been told to keep them apart."
"Why? In case they escape? Come on, we're in the most closely guarded area of a prison transport. What are their chances? Bedsides, I've got other things to be getting on with. Surely it's in everyone's interests to get this dealt with as efficiently as possible."
"Yessir. I'll fetch her."
A little while later Uhura was brought in. She was in restraints.
"Get those off her now!" Jim barked. "Do you always tie up pregnant women? Don't tell me you didn't know she's pregnant? Haven't you even done a basic medical check?"
"Why not? I know, you were told not to."
The guard nodded.
"Well, she is. So get them off her. And while you're at it, you can remove Commander Spock's as well."
"No sir? Why not sir?" Jim's glare could have cut through steel.
"He's Vulcan. Sir."
Jim could see that the guard wasn't going to back down on this one.
"Very well Sergeant. Dismissed."
"I said dismissed. I am their legal representative. We are entitled to a private consultation. Thank you."
The guard left the room, locking the door behind him. Jim did a quick sweep with his tricorder.
"Clean. Don't look so worried Spock. I'm just doing a little preliminary work. Sam Cogley's waiting for you on Earth. How are you Uhura?"
"Bearing up, sir."
"Good. Right, I'm just going to go and stand over here for a few minutes." Jim walked over and stood facing the corner. He heard various familiar sounds, rustling clothes, a soft sigh.
"Nyota, I wish us to bond."
"What, now? Why?"
"I want – I need to know that you are well. If we are bonded, I will."
"Will I be able to feel you as well?"
"Let's do it."
Jim heard Spock murmuring in Vulcan. Uhura repeated it and then there was silence for a while.
"Thank you, Captain."
He turned to see Spock and Uhura sitting demurely at the table. Despite their predicament they both looked happier than they had when he first saw them.
"Congratulations. I'm sorry, I couldn't help over hearing."
"Thank you. May I ask who ordered our arrest?" Spock asked.
"Komack. I might have guessed," Uhura muttered. "One day you really must tell us what you did to upset him."
"Maybe I will," Jim replied. "Although I don't think it's me this time."
"May I ask what we have done to offend him?" Spock asked.
"Breathing, as far as I can make out."
"I do not understand."
"I got an anonymous tip off. It seems our good admiral comes from Darwin. They said, 'It's Spock he's after. Komack comes from Darwin. You'll find black and white, but no grey'. I'll do some research."
"The new ensign in engineering, O'Malley, is from Darwin," Uhura said. "Or at least, her parents are. I got talking to her one night. Her father's family came from Ireland, her mother's from India."
"Yeah. Darwinites believe that the various races and species are equal, but were created differently for a purpose. To mix them is the worst sort of heresy. O'Malley's family were driven out. And if they feel like that about a Human match, imagine what they must think about Sarek and Amanda."
"And now I have compounded the sin by becoming involved with you." Spock looked, for him, appalled.
"It's not a sin." Uhura said.
"I think I'd better have a talk with O'Malley," Jim said.
"I doubt if it would do any good," Uhura replied. "She only told me because she was drunk."
"Why won't she talk?"
"She's afraid. Not for herself, for her family. They left Darwin after her brother died in a mysterious fire."
"Mysterious as in arson?"
"There was no proof."
They were silent for a while.
"So why now?" Jim asked. The others looked questioningly at him. "Komack's been an admiral for years. Why now?"
"Because now he thinks he has proof that I have committed a breach of regulations," Spock replied.
"Thinks?" Jim asked. "Uhura is pregnant by you. It is a flagrant breach of the non-fraternization rules."
"It is obvious from the wording of the relevant paragraphs that the regulations are designed to protect lower ranking officers from undue pressure from their direct superiors. We do not fall into that category. Uhura's department comes under engineering, and she is not command crew. Her direct superiors are you and Mr. Scott. I can give her orders in the course of our duties, but the kind of coercion the regulations are designed to prevent is not possible. It would perhaps be different if she was an ensign, newly commissioned and unsure of herself, but Nyota is a lieutenant and a department head."
"Good point. I'll pass it on to Sam although I've no doubt he's already thought of it. I'm going to have to get back to the ship, but is there anything I can get you?"
"If Dr. McCoy has got anything for morning sickness I'd be very grateful," Nyota said, with feeling.
"I'll send him over. And I'm going to put in an official complaint. You should both have been checked over when you were arrested, and by keeping a pregnant woman in restraints they're breaking just about every reg. there is for prisoner care."
McCoy beamed over, pronounced both the prisoners fit, and gave Uhura some pills to be taken as needed. Two hours later the ship left for Earth.
The trial was over very quickly. There was no dispute about the basic facts. Uhura was pregnant, Spock was the father, and they wished to marry. The prosecuting counsel insisted that they were in flagrant breech of the regulations governing fraternization. Sam Cogley pointed out that it was commonly understood that the regulations were there to protect the vulnerable. Indeed, one of the presiding judges was actually a guest at the wedding of one such 'illegal' couple, so he obviously couldn't see anything intrinsically wrong with it. In any case, anybody who had bothered to speak to them, or even just check their service records could see that Spock was not the type of predator who would use his position to his advantage, Uhura wouldn't succumb to that sort of pressure, and Captain Kirk would not censure or commend a member of his crew merely on the say so of another officer. He would want reasons, and proof. Then came the summing up. The prosecutor reiterated his previous arguments. Sam went for a different approach.
"Gentlemen, there are over five thousand sentient species in the known galaxy. They all have their own lifestyles, cultures, sexual and social mores. What is the single thing that is common to them all? The need for companionship, for love, if you will. Yet you send these people out, away from their homes and families, and then expect them to ignore this most basic of instincts. They cannot." He picked up a data wafer. "I have here a list of Starfleet officers in serious, committed relationships with other members of their crews. Some are lovers, some are married. There are couples, groups, and even a Ven Draha triad. They have all given me letters of resignation. Should the judgment go against the accused, I have their full authority to pass them on. There are over three thousand names on my list. Enough people to crew seven starships. Can Starfleet afford to lose so many people all at once? I don't think so."
"Mr. Cogley, are you attempting to blackmail us?" The presiding judge glared at him.
"No sir. I am merely pointing out some facts. Another fact you might like to consider is that almost all of these long term relationships are of the like to like variety. Human to Human, Tellerite to Tellerite, and so on. One of the few exceptions is standing before you now. They are also the only, I repeat, only couple to have been prosecuted. If I were sitting in judgement today I'd be inclined to wonder about that."
It was a long two hours before the judges returned from their deliberations. Spock and Uhura stood to hear the verdict. Uhura looked nervously at him Spock sent back reassurance. She smiled.
"We find the defendants not guilty. It is clear that this was a purely malicious prosecution. The court recommends that the wording of the relevant regulations is amended so that nothing like this can happen again and we would welcome any suggestions Mr. Cogley has to make on that score. Furthermore you are both to be commended for your behaviour during these last few weeks. We like to think that starship crews are the very best that Starfleet has to offer. Your records and your bearing during this farce have proved that we are correct in this belief. We wish you and your child well. Good day."
Spock and Uhura were welcomed back to the Enterprise like conquering heroes, and messages of congratulations flooded in from other ships. They had thought that the resignations were a stunt that Sam Cogley had thought up, but it soon became clear that it was spontaneous. Although nothing was said officially, it also became clear that Admiral Komack was under a very large cloud. He was quickly promoted sideways into a post that meant he was no longer in a position to do any damage of the kind he had tried to inflict on them.
They had only been gone for a month, but while they had been away Scotty and a team of volunteers had been busy. Sulu had vacated his quarters next to Spock's and the two cabins had been converted to a double, with part of Sulu's area becoming a large office, and the rest, a living area. Chekov's room mate was on leave so Sulu moved in with him until the wedding, when he would take over Uhura's old quarters.
They were married at the end of the week. As before, Jim was officiating, McCoy was giving the bride away, and Chekov was best man. Janice Rand was a bridesmaid. Uhura wanted Chapel as well, but she was still refusing to speak to either of them. The ceremony was held on the observation deck. As Uhura walked forward the lights dimmed until the scene was lit only by the stars, and a small light under the lectern.
This time it all went smoothly. At the words "You may kiss the bride," the lights came up. The newlyweds turned to face each other. Spock touched Uhura's psi points. When he removed his hands her knees sagged. He supported her for a few seconds before they turned to face their guests.
They had intended to have a small party afterwards, but the crew had other ideas. One of the cargo decks had been cleared and decorated. All of the crew popped in at one time or another.
"I can't believe his," Uhura said to McCoy. "We thought it would just be a few friends."
"They are all your friends," he replied. "Some of them even like that pointy eared hobgoblin."
"That pointy eared hobgoblin is my husband so be nice, unless you want all of your mail to get lost for the next six months?" She gave him a mock glare.
"Sorry. I'll be good."
No one had been more surprised than Uhura when Spock led her out for the first dance.
"I didn't know you could waltz."
"I am an ambassador's son," he replied. "As such my education was somewhat broader than most Vulcans."
"Can you tango as well?"
"I will show you later."
Jim and McCoy watched as Uhura danced with Scotty.
"Would you look at that?" McCoy murmured.
"It must be that bond thing. Look at them. They're on opposite sides of the room, and it looks like they're holding hands."
"I see what you mean," Jim replied. Spock joined them. "Hiya Spock. How's married life?"
"Very good so far."
"What? No 'I do not yet have sufficient data'?" McCoy asked.
"But I do."
"I've been meaning to ask you something," Jim said. "You don't have to answer if you don't want to, but I thought you bonded on the transport."
"We did. There are many levels of bond. That was just deep enough to let each of us know that the other was well."
Uhura and Scotty joined them.
"That looked like an interesting conversation," she remarked.
"I was just telling Spock that he is the envy of half the males in the fleet," Bones said.
"And I'm the envy of half the females. Spock, I'm exhausted. Is there any chance we can blow this joint?"
McCoy was on her like a flash. "Is there anything else? Do you have any pain?"
"No, I'm just tired. Spock?"
"Whenever you are ready."
"Just a minute," Jim said. "We are picking up the Catullan ambassador from Davos next week. I don't want to see either of you on the bridge before then. Do I make myself clear?"
"Captain! Thank you."
"Don't thank me, thank your staff. It was their idea, and they're the ones who are going to be working the extra hours."
"We will. Good night."
"Night you two. Have fun." McCoy's grin outshone polished dilithium.
Spock's "Thank you, we will," caused the best double take that Jim had ever seen.
They wanted to leave unnoticed but Sulu nearly saw them. They knew he would make a big deal of it, but luckily Chekov was still on the job and managed to distract him. Uhura blew him a grateful kiss.
There was nobody around, so they walked arm in arm to their new quarters.
"You were right," Nyota said. "We could have got married ages ago."
"No" Spock replied. "You were right. It could easily have gone against us. Sam told me that Admiral Komack was trying to influence the judges. Before that he tried to get people sympathetic to his views appointed to the panel."
"Is that why they came down so hard on him?"
"Yes. It was not the first time he has allowed his prejudices to control his actions."
"That's such a stupid thing to do. Yet he doesn't seem stupid."
"He is not. That is what makes him so dangerous. We must be very careful."
"Hmm. Now who do you think was responsible for that?"
They had reached their quarters. The floor was covered with confetti and rose petals. The area around the door was decorated with flowers and ribbons, and a large banner hung over the door. It read 'congratulations' in both Vulcan and Swahili.
"I would surmise it was Ms. Rand and Mr. Chekov," Spock said. "They both seemed to take their duties rather seriously."
Nyota stood at the door.
"Is there anything wrong?" Spock asked.
Nyota looked at him.
"You wish me to carry you over the threshold?"
"We-ell…" She fluttered her eyelashes at him.
Muttering something that sounded suspiciously like 'women', Spock scooped her up and carried her into their new home. He stood her by the bed and slowly, carefully, undressed her. Then he picked her up again and laid her on the bed.
"What's wrong?" Nyota asked as Spock stood, unmoving, looking down at her.
"Nothing," he replied. "I want to remember you as you are now. You are so beautiful."
"Not for much longer," she said, ruefully. "Soon it'll be saggy breasts, huge belly, stretch marks and varicose veins."
"And you will be even more beautiful than you are now."
"You say the nicest things. Come to bed."
Without further ado Spock undressed and slipped in beside her. Nyota snuggled against his chest and he rested his chin on her head. They lay like that for a while until Nyota pulled back.
"I thought you were going to show me your tango?" she asked.
"I thought you were exhausted," he replied.
"Not too tired for you," she countered, "although I might have been if we hadn't left when we did."
"Very well. First, I would do this," and he pulled her closer to him. "Then, I would do this."
"Then, perhaps, I would do this."
Spock played Nyota's body like he played his lyre, with consummate skill and an attention to detail that left her gasping. Using his mouth and hands he brought her to such a state of arousal that she climaxed as soon as he entered her.
Spock watched her as she shuddered towards her second climax. It never failed to amaze him that he could reduce this woman to a quivering wreck. In fact, in his heart of hearts, it never failed to amaze him that she wanted him at all. He was determined not to give her cause to change her mind.
When Nyota hit the peak for the third time, Spock finally let himself go. Nyota watched him as he shuddered towards his climax. It never failed to amaze her that she could reduce this man to a quivering wreck. In fact, in her heart of hearts, it never failed to amaze her that he wanted her at all. She was determined not to give him cause to change his mind.
Spock called her name as he collapsed on top of her. Mindful of his weight, and her condition, he rolled over immediately, taking her with him.
"Now," Nyota gasped, "I am exhausted. Still, I'll be able to get plenty of rest over the next few days."
"Are you sure about that?" Spock asked.
"What do you mean?"
"I still have not shown you my foxtrot, or my quickstep. And there are some Vulcan dances that I think would interest you."
A sleepy chuckle was the only answer.
Nyota made a slight sound.
"What is wrong?" Spock asked.
"Nothing," she replied as she flicked off the screen.
He walked over to the desk and turned the chair so she was facing him.
"Do not lie to me. You have tears in your eyes. You do not cry over 'nothing'."
Silently she retrieved the message.
Good morning, it began. Did you sleep well? I do hope not. With all you have on your conscience you bitch, you deserve the torments of hell, you and your miserable half-breed bastard…
It carried on, each line carrying so much spite and bile that Nyota half expected the screen to spontaneously combust. She watched Spock's knuckles tighten on the edge of the desk as he read it.
"How many of these have you had?"
"The first was the day after we married. There's been one every day since."
"But that is over ninety! Show me."
Spock knew that people were capable of terrible things, but found it hard to believe that anyone could feel the way the writer of these messages seemed to.
The first was fairly innocuous; I hope you're happy now you've got what you wanted. Each successive one was worse until today's missive which ended up wishing that Nyota would die in agony after losing the baby.
Spock got Nyota some tea, and then called the captain and doctor to their quarters. They were horrified.
"Is there any way of telling who sent them?" Jim asked.
"The code shows that the sender was logged on as O'Malley," Nyota replied.
"What, Darwin O'Malley?"
"Yes, but I'm certain it wasn't her."
"We work the same shifts. We were both in the gym when at least three of these messages were sent. Besides, look at this." She called up an image of some equipment. "Spock was running an experiment last week. He set up a monitor so he could keep an eye on it. There, in the background. You can see a terminal being used. Going by the records, what you are seeing there is one of the messages being sent. Look." She enhanced the picture. All they could see was a pair of hands encased in the sort of gloves that were worn when handling hazardous material. There was a gap between the sleeve and glove.
"What are we looking at?"
"O'Malley takes after her mother. The skin on that wrist is way too pale to be hers."
"And she definitely couldn't have sent yesterday's." McCoy said. "At the time that one was sent, she was in surgery having her appendix removed."
"Is it possible that they were recorded and sent later?"
"No," Spock replied. "All time delayed messages are automatically flagged. At present there is only one person on board who is capable of bypassing that programming."
"I take it you didn't send them? No, sorry, forget I said that. Right, I want you to let me know the minute you get another one of these. This looks like a rather clumsy attempt to frame O'Malley, so I want you both to see if you can think of anyone who hates you and her that much."
"One other thing, Uhura. You should be safe enough here or where there are a lot of people, but I don't want you going anywhere alone. If Spock can't escort you, then call either me or McCoy. Understood?"
"You think that they could be dangerous?"
Jim looked at the doctor.
"Not could be, is," McCoy said.
There was nothing in Uhura's inbox the next morning. She checked periodically throughout the day and as the end of the shift approached, she began to hope that it was over.
Jim was idly watching the stars on the main screen when the image flickered. When it cleared it showed a bed. There was a figure that appeared to be asleep on it. Uhura.
"What the…?" He twisted around to see Uhura working frantically at her board. "What's happening?"
"I don't know, sir. It's very strong. It's swamping all channels, blocking every signal."
"Spock, see what you can do to help."
A sound made him look round. On the screen Spock had appeared. He was standing by the bed, looking down at his wife. He reached out as if to touch her face, but changed his mind. He went into the 'fresher. Uhura smiled to herself as she opened her eyes. She slipped out of bed and silently padded after him.
They returned a few minutes later. Uhura backed into view. She was holding Spock's face, he had his hands on her waist, their lips were locked together. They were both naked.
A quick glance at Uhura's stricken expression told Jim all he need to know. He caught Spock's eye. "Get her off the bridge," he mouthed. A quick nod and they were gone.
When he turned around, they were on the bed. As they began caressing, Jim sent Rand down to collect a couple of communicators and give one to Scotty. She showed her usual initiative by staying in engineering until they were tested.
Meanwhile the action on the screen was getting hotter. Jim knew that they must have sex (Scratch that, this was making love.) or else Uhura wouldn't be pregnant. What surprised him was that Spock was so – enthusiastic. He appeared to be thoroughly enjoying himself. He gradually worked his way down Uhura's body, covering every inch of her skin with licks, kisses and nibbles. Spock ran his hands along her legs and lifted her knees. Then he buried his face between her thighs. Uhura gasped and clutched at the sheets.
Just then Rand returned. The communicators were also blocked so Scotty had sent a pad listing the measures he was taking to find the source of the signal.
Sulu's startled exclamation made Jim look up. Whoa indeed. No wonder Uhura had been smiling so much the last year or so. She was on her hands and knees. Spock had one hand on her hip and was using the other to guide himself into position. Carefully he moved his hips until he was completely sheathed in her. Then, unbelievably, he stopped.
Uhura made a sound in her throat and wriggled against him.
"Patience is a virtue," Spock said.
"And you're trying mine." She wriggled again. With a small chuckle he started moving. As their passion built, so did Jim's rage against whoever was doing this. Nobody, nobody, deserved to have their most private moments broadcast like this. For these two it would be almost unbearable.
Uhura's moans were now almost continuous. She bucked against Spock and cried out his name. Spock thrust hard once more, made a sound almost as if he were in pain, then stilled.
They stayed as they were for a while, fighting for breath. At last Uhura pulled away and rolled onto her back. Jim saw that she appeared to be crying. Careful not to press against her, Spock leaned down and kissed her eyes, and the tracks of her tears. He moved over and spooned against her back. He slipped his arm around her waist and kissed the curve of her neck.
"Thank you," he whispered.
The screen went dark. They thought that that was the end of it until the screen cleared and the whole scene started again. Hearing a slight noise, Jim looked up at Janice. Tears were running down her face.
"Nyo told me about the messages," she said. "You've got to find whoever's doing this. Find them and stop them."
"We will," he said. "And God help them when we do."
Spock found the pick-up quickly enough, but it took Scotty nearly three hours before he found the transmitter. There was absolutely nothing to show where it had come from, or who was responsible.
They both dreaded facing the rest of the crew but knew that they had to. They decided the best thing was to front it out so the next morning they went to the main mess for breakfast as usual. They paused and took deep breaths before entering, heads held high. Nothing happened. There was no sniggering, no laughter. It was as if nothing had happened. This was mainly because the crew admired, respected, and in most cases liked them, but it was also due to the fact that the captain had let it be known that even the slightest hint of amusement would lead to his reintroducing the ancient art of keel hauling.
There were no incidents that day. Nor the next. Nor the next. Gradually they began to relax. Then Uhura lost the baby.
"Have you got a moment, doctor?"
"Yeah sure, Uhura. What's the problem?"
"I'm not sure. It's probably nothing..." Uhura stared at him, her eyes huge with worry.
"I can't feel the baby move. I haven't since last night. Usually he wakes me up at least twice."
"Let's just take a look at you. Hop up on the bed for me."
"Hop up? I'm waddling around like a beached whale and he says hop up?" She was trying to joke but she was near to tears.
"Cheer up; it'll get worse before it gets better."
"You certainly know how to make a girl feel good."
"I try." He tipped up the bed and got her settled. "Now, what have we got here?"
McCoy ran his checks. Then he ran them again.
"Okay. You rest here for a few minutes. I've just got to correlate these results and I'll be straight back."
He entered the office and hit the communicator. "Sickbay to Mr. Spock."
"Spock here doctor."
"Get down here, now. Nyota needs you."
Spock arrived within minutes. McCoy took him over to the bed.
"I'm sorry…" He didn't get any further. Uhura whimpered as she grabbed Spock's hand.
Spock tried to speak, cleared his throat, and tried again. "Do you know what happened?"
"Not yet. I'll know more when…" He tailed off.
"You said it would be all right." Uhura's voice was a dull monotone.
"I thought it would be."
"You said. You promised." Her voice rose to a shriek. "You promised!" and then she was crying, huge racking sobs that shook her body.
Spock had been staring into space. As her voice rose he shook himself and pulled her into his arms. He sat on the bed and Uhura clutched at him like a lifebelt. He rocked her gently. McCoy was sure that Spock's shoulders were shaking.
"I'm sorry," he said again. Disease, injury, he knew what to do about those, but he was helpless in the face of this despair.
He heard the door open.
He turned and saw Chapel.
"Chris, the baby…"
"No." She shook her head. "No."
"What can I do?"
"Nothing. We can discuss what needs to be done later. We'll just leave them for now."
When McCoy entered Kirk's quarters there was already a glass of brandy poured for him. He sat down and sipped it gratefully.
"So, what happened?" Jim's eyes were red. It was a toss up whether grief or anger was the predominating emotion.
"I induced labour. She gave birth to a perfectly normal baby boy. Oh God, Jim! He was beautiful. Perfect. He had this mass of black curls, little pointy ears…" He took a large slug of brandy.
"So why did he die?"
"He was murdered. Poisoned."
"Somebody had tampered with the food replicators. Every time Uhura ate something she was getting a small dose of skansat. It's a Tellerite drug. It doesn't affect adult Humans. We metabolise it so slowly that most of it is excreted before it can do any harm, but a baby… Anything a baby excretes goes into the amniotic fluid. And then it will be re-ingested."
"Dear God. Who...?"
"Whoever sent those messages, obviously." They were silent for a while.
"How are they?"
"How do you think? Uhura's heartbroken. It's standard practice in these situations to let the parents hold the child, say goodbye. She wouldn't let him go. She kept talking to him, trying to wake him up." McCoy paused as he fought to control his voice. "I had to sedate her in the end. Spock – well who knows what Spock feels. When she was asleep he went down to the gym. He smashed the training dummy."
"Is there anything I can do?"
"Just be there. Vulcans value children above almost everything else. He spent his whole life convinced he would never have any, and then the miracle happens. To have that snatched away like that… He's controlling, for the moment."
Hours turned into days, days into weeks, and they were still no nearer to finding out who was responsible. Uhura returned to duty, but she was a pale ghost of her former self. She never sang, she never laughed. She just – was. The only remotely good thing to come out of it was that she and Chapel were reconciled. Chris was a tower of strength, taking care of her and making sure she ate whenever Spock couldn't be with her.
Spock quietly cancelled their applications for the lecturers' positions. Uhura didn't seem to care one way or the other and it was McCoy's opinion that she would make a better recovery if she was surrounded by her friends.
Jim entered the observation lounge. He liked to come and watch the stars whenever he had a chance. They were the reason he, why any of them, was here after all.
Spock was standing with his head leaning against the window. Jim walked over to him.
There was no answer.
"Spock?" Jim touched him lightly on the shoulder. He jumped.
"I am sorry, Jim. I did not hear you."
"She is still very depressed. Dr. McCoy said that it is to be expected, but he thinks that someone as resilient as she is should be showing signs of improvement by now. He has tried everything, counselling, drugs. He is even considering E.C.T."
"What on earth is that?"
"It is a very old treatment. The patient is sedated and given an electric shock to the head. It is unpleasant, but apparently it did have some effect on severely depressed patients."
"It sounds horrible. Where is she now?"
"In our quarters. She wanted to sleep. That is all she does off duty. When she is awake she keeps saying how useless she is. She keeps saying that she should have died, that I would be better off without her." He was silent for a moment. "Jim – I fear for her."
"Spock, you know if there is anything I can do, anything, you only have to ask."
"I know, and I…" He swayed.
"Spock? What is it?"
As Jim approached their quarters he could hear Uhura's voice.
"Let me go. Please, just let me go." He ran in through the open door. Uhura was sitting on the floor. Spock was kneeling behind her, holding her arms above her head. He was squeezing her wrists.
"Get McCoy," Spock gasped. "Get McCoy."
Then Jim saw the blood.
Uhura had slashed her wrists. While she was in surgery Jim helped Spock pack up his collection of weapons to be put into storage. They were almost done when Spock suddenly sat on the bed. Jim realised that he was shaking.
"I should have realised," he whispered. "I should have done this earlier."
Jim grabbed him by the shoulders and shook him roughly.
"Listen to me. It's not your fault. She was determined to kill herself. If these hadn't been here she would have found another way. She could have used a phaser. She could have walked out of an airlock, or beamed herself out and there would have been nothing you could do. Because she used one of your knives you had time to stop her. You saved her life."
"Do you really think so?"
"I know so." He would have said more but he was interrupted by the intercom. It was McCoy.
"Can you two come down here? I've got something to tell you."
Uhura was heavily sedated. Spock sat with her for a while before joining the others in the office.
"So what did you want to tell us?" Jim asked.
"I've been treating Nyota with losirin. In low doses it's very useful for cases of severe depression. However, in larger doses it causes depression and paranoia, and makes the patient extremely suggestible. Nyota has over three times the expected levels of losirin in her bloodstream."
"What?" Jim was horrified.
Spock was nodding. "That would explain why you have been unable to help her," he said.
"That's not all." Bones picked up a small object. "Scotty says it's a receiver of some sort. It was behind her ear, up against the skull. This is going to sound insane but… I think someone has been talking to her, encouraging her to – do what she did."
"I thought it was impossible to do that?" Jim was incredulous.
"With hypnosis and such, it is. You can't just tell someone to kill themselves, but she is about as depressed as it is possible to be without being completely withdrawn. She loves you very much Spock. If she was hearing voices, voices that nobody else could hear, and they were telling her that she's blighted your life, you'd be better off without her …"
"They re the precise words she used this morning." Spock was pale.
"Scotty said that the transmitter would be fairly low powered or it would interfere with communications. We both think it is probably somewhere in your quarters."
"That would be logical." Spock's voice was hoarse.
"When will Uhura wake up?"
"Not for a few hours."
"Come on, Spock. We're going to find that transmitter."
McCoy called Dr. M'Benga to watch over Uhura and joined them as soon as he arrived. They soon found the transmitter. It was attached to a recording device and set in the bed frame, behind Uhura's pillow.
Spock played the recording through the computer. The voice was heavily distorted. The words were clear, but the voice unrecognisable. He worked his magic and gradually it became clearer.
"Millions of women give birth to healthy babies every day. That's all he really wants, isn't it? And you can't even do that right, can you? You can't even do your job any more. You're a waste of space. You might as well end it now and make his life bearable again." The sheer venom in the words made the written messages seem like love letters by comparison.
Spock made one final adjustment. Then, at last, they knew.
He was up and moving before the others could react. He had disappeared by the time they reached the door, but they knew where he was going. They heard a woman scream from the open door ahead.
When they entered they saw Spock was holding her by the arms and shaking her. He looked murderous.
"Spock, let go!" Jim shouted. "For God's sake, put her down." He tried to break Spock's grip, but he had no chance.
"KROYKAH!" McCoy yelled.
Spock froze, then he let go and stepped back. He put his hands behind his back.
"Thank you doctor, captain."
Jim stalked over to the woman.
McCoy stared at her in dismay. "How could you do it? You're a nurse, Christine. How could you kill a baby?"
Jim watched as Spock closed the last bag. He and Uhura were returning to Earth for the trial, and then resigning.
"I've got some news," he said. "Chapel is pleading guilty to all charges. Komack gave her the equipment and instructions about how to use it. He escaped but they caught him trying to board a cargo ship at Lunar Prime. His aide's a Darwinite too, so Komack thought he would recruit him to the cause. He picked the wrong man. Daniels reported it, but there was no proof. Nobody believed him, so he sent me that warning. He is going to testify against Komack, and so are O'Malley and her family. Komack's father led the gang that drove them out."
"I am pleased about Chapel. Nyota would not wish to testify against someone who had been a friend."
"Have you decided what you are going to do yet?"
"We will spend some time in Africa. She wants to see her family. Then we will go to Vulcan for a while."
"And after that?"
"We will move to one of the colonies, probably Yestin. It has a higher percentage of mixed race families than anywhere else in the Federation. Maybe there she will learn to feel safe again."
"I hope so. Goodbye Spock. We'll miss you."
"Thank you, Jim. It has been a privilege to serve with you. And a pleasure."
Spock picked up the bag. Jim accompanied him to the shuttle bay where Uhura was waiting with McCoy. Sulu, Chekov, Scotty and Rand were also there.
Goodbyes were said. Then, without a backward glance, they boarded the shuttle, and were gone.
"Mum! Dad! Quickly!"
Nyota rushed into the room. Spock arrived from outside.
"What's wrong," Nyota demanded.
"Look." Jamie was pointing at the screen where a news broadcast was showing. They listened in growing horror to the reporter.
"Mystery continues to surround the disappearances of two Starfleet ships, the Reliant and Enterprise. The Reliant was on a scientific mission and the Enterprise was on a training cruise when both appeared to have left their designated areas without orders. Official sources refuse to confirm or deny that there was a battle between the two ships, but they will confirm that long range sensors show both ships heading into the Mutara Nebula shortly before its destruction in an unexplained explosion. Both ships have been presumed lost with all hands."