Into the Valley ~ The Eris Effect #Uhura

Previously ~ Bitten

Dinner arrived and the girls primped for the mess hall. Excitedly, they applied each other’s makeup and giggled about the boys they liked. As 1830 hours drew close, Nyota smiled brightly at her friend and said, “I have a surprise for you.” She went over to her bed and reached under her pillow to retrieve a gift she had replicated earlier that day.

“I think this would look really good on you,” she said, clasping it around her roommate’s neck. “The necklace is made from ivory—replicated of course, but the stones are real tanzanite. You know, to match your hair. And the ivory really brings out the golden brown in your skin.”

“Thanks, Ny!” the Trill exclaimed. “I actually have a present for you too!” She went to her bed and reached under her pillow to retrieve a small bottle of amber liquid. Before Nyota could speak, Vira began to spritz it all over. It smelled faintly of flower and desert.

“I know you’ve missed wearing perfume since you started going with Vulcan,” she grinned, “so I did some research. Spock was born in the city of Shi’Kahr. This is derived from one of the more prominent flowering plants in that entire region. This way, whenever he smells you, he’ll feel at home.”

Nyota was deeply touched. Vira’s ingenious nature once again endeared her to Nyota, who was beginning to think maybe Vira’s isolation wasn’t entirely her fault.

“Thanks, V,” she said softly, and the girls hugged.

“So, shall we go?” Nyota suggested, eyes twinkling with mischief.

“I suppose,” Vira sighed, linking arms with her roommate. “The boys are waiting.”


Vira was only partially correct, of course.

The boys were waiting; however…they weren’t waiting alone.

Spock sat stiffly apart from his roommate and the Romulan girl next to him. She had changed out of her uniform and was wearing a long sleeveless dress of peach and dark brown swirl. Her hair hung long and free, flowing wildly about her shoulders.

In short, she looked gorgeous.

The Buskirk girls approached the table slowly, with confused caution. While Vira merely stared at the new addition, Nyota offered a halting greeting. “You…must be N’Tal?”

The Romulan raised a perfectly shaped eyebrow. Her voice was clipped when she spoke. “You are correct. I am daughter of Ambassador Mioral of Romulus.”

In awkward, hesitant silence, the girls sat down. Nyota sat between Vira and Spock, while N’Tal sat between Vira and Hikaru.

Hikaru was looking quite cheerful; he kept looking back and forth between his friends and N’Tal like an eager puppy. “I showed N’Tal around school all day,” he grinned broadly.

“So…you, like, didn’t go to class at all?” Nyota asked stupidly. Then again, at least she was talking. Spock had mysteriously retreated into himself and Vira had been rendered mute.

“Headmistress waives classes whenever a new student arrives and you give them the tour,” Hikaru answered cheerfully.

Nyota frowned slightly. “They didn’t for me.”

Hikaru tipped his head to the side. “You arrived on a Saturday, Ny.”


Silence reigned uncomfortably for several seconds, until Spock finally rose and looked down at Nyota. “May I acquire anything for you ladies?” he asked. “Red leaf tea is on the menu tonight.”

“Double hot, triple sweet,” Nyota replied. “Thanks, sweetie,” she added quickly, just to put “everyone” on the “same page.”

“Iced,” Vira murmured softly, her eyes never leaving N’Tal. She was trying to figure out what was going on here. Was N’Tal strictly here as a “new girl” courtesy, or did that boyish sparkle in Hikaru’s eyes mean something else?

“N’Tal,” Hikaru said suddenly, following his roommate’s lead and getting up, “may I get you something?”

Vira’s heart sank. I’m…gonna go with “else.”

She actually felt it plummet from her chest into her feet, leaving a painful, gaping hole in its wake.
But the agony did not end there. As Hikaru dutifully went off to fetch N’Tal a drink, Vira suddenly realized that any minute now, she was going to be sitting with two couples: Nyota with her Vulcan and Hikaru with his brand spanking new Romulan, while the Trill was left out in the cold.

Vira Zwan shuddered, rising to her feet. She whispered to her roommate, “I’ll be right back,” and took off before Nyota could stop her.

So, Nyota thought grimly hesitantly turning her head to face N’Tal, and then there were two.

“You are the Vulcan’s girlfriend,” N’Tal said suddenly. Her gaze was razor sharp; Nyota could practically feel claws on her flesh as the Romulan’s eyes raked her over. “For how long?”

“Almost two weeks,” Nyota answered, keeping her voice light. Why was she asking this? What did it matter to her?

“Vulcans are a unique species, are they not?” N’Tal asked.

“Yes.” The hell else was she supposed to say?

“We were once like Vulcans,” N’Tal cocked her head to side. “But when the wars ended, and new philosophy was born, we rebelled and left for a new world.”

Ooooookay…and I should care about this because…???

“Spock has no doubt told you the story.”

“No,” Nyota shook her head. “Actually he hasn’t. We’ve done mostly Vulcan things: opera, literature, and such.”

N’Tal raised an eyebrow. “You must find it boring.”

“Actually,” Nyota countered yet again, “I find Vulcan art and music quite moving.”

The Romulan snorted, “That’s hard to believe. Most humans snore through all things Vulcan. Romulans do too.”

Nyota blinked, unsure of what to say other than, “I see.”

“How do you feel about the hru’fir he has waiting for him at home? Do you think he will ever mate with her?”

Nyota’s mouth fell open in pure shock. Before she could even think of a reply, the boys returned.  Spock glanced around for Vira. When he did not see her anywhere in the mess hall, he merely deduced the logical and sat down.

Much to Nyota’s distaste, Hikaru didn’t even seem to notice Vira had left. He instead pushed his seat nearer to N’Tal, as though preparing to hang on her every word.

“So, N’Tal,” he asked eagerly, “what exactly brings you to Stellar Valley?”

“My father is seeking asylum from the Romulan government,” she told him flatly. “While on a diplomatic mission to Vulcan, he openly denounced its fascist nature and was branded a traitor. I was sent here for my own safety, while my father attempts to continue his work on Vulcan.”

Nyota asked without thinking, “Do you think you’ll eventually be joining him on Vulcan?” Spock twitched next to her, and Hikaru flashed her a look, but Nyota quickly realized she didn’t care.  Somewhere, her roommate was probably in tears because of this girl.

N’Tal met her gaze levelly. “No. I actually started to attend the Shi’Kahr Science Academy but I had trouble…fitting in.”

Nyota raised an eyebrow and spoke again without thinking. Her words betrayed her disbelief. “And your father thought a Federation school would suit you better?”

Again, the Romulan wasn’t even fazed. “As we discussed earlier, Nyota, Vulcans are a unique species. We may look like them, but their culture is far more repressed than ours.”

“An ironic statement, considering you just mentioned Romulus is run by fascists,” Nyota pointed out.

“True,” N’Tal replied, and this time she smirked, “but while our laws are repressive, our culture is not. Romulans treasure emotion; it is the fire from which we forged our Empire.”

“Sounds like you do not share your father’s thoughts on the Empire,” Nyota raised her eyebrow.

“On the contrary, I agree whole-heartedly with my father’s thoughts,” N’Tal shrugged. “Romulan government is repressive; it puts a clamp upon our rich and ancient culture. And if it is allowed to continue as it has, we could all end up like androids, or even worse, Vulcans.” She looked directly into Spock’s eyes, as if in challenge.

Spock gave her look as if to say, You could only be so lucky, but maintained his stubborn silence.

And Nyota finally noticed that. There was a definite discomfort between these two, and she wanted to know exactly what it was. Did she hit on him? Did he flat out reject her?

“What do you think, sweetie?” she asked Spock pointedly, determined to draw the words kicking and screaming from him if necessary. He looked momentarily startled, before he slowly gave his reply.

“I admire Ambassador Mioral’s work,” he stated vaguely. “My father considers him a colleague. He says Mioral was a great asset to the Empire.”

“My father admires your father as well,” N’Tal said suddenly, locking her eyes on Spock. “His taste in women notwithstanding.”

The Vulcan twitched, and realization dawned on Nyota at once. So that’s it, she thought. N’Tal said something about his mother; she probably said something about him being mixed as well.

My father’s taste in women has never impeded his work, which is perhaps why he’s never had to flee an execution,” Spock replied crisply, rising to his feet. “If you will excuse me.”

Nyota was not about to be left alone with these two. She stood up quickly too, nodding quickly, “It was a pleasure,” before darting after Spock.

Hikaru, on the other hand, glowed at the thought of finally being alone with N’Tal.


Two and a half minutes. Wow…we’re breaking records now?

Nyota awkwardly lay down next to her boyfriend, who blissfully sighed at his dorm room ceiling.  Reaching for the trusty Kleenex, she carefully blotted her lips.

I should’ve known that would be too much for him. Nyota sighed aloud. At least it wasn’t long enough for me to get rug burn. That would suck.

“Nyota,” he murmured, “that was wonderful.”

“I figured as much,” she said. After this second disappointment, she found all her sexual urges miraculously shelved for the night. Once she realized she didn’t want to start anything else, she turned the topic to something nonsexual. “You think Hikaru’s going to be back soon?”

“Doubtful,” Spock shook his head. “He is infatuated with N’Tal.” That last word came out dripping with bile, and not all the Vulcan-ness in the ‘verse could dilute it.

“Yeah, what’s up with that? I didn’t think she was his type.”

“Nor I, but apparently she is and I now have to tolerate it.”

“So,” Nyota snickered, “what you’re saying is, you can’t stand your roommate’s new girlfriend?”


“That’s so human!”

“True,” he accepted easily. Must’ve been the orgasm; normally he wouldn’t have accepted that so easily.

“I feel bad for Vira,” Nyota said suddenly, snuggling into the crook of her warm Vulcan’s arm. “She was so excited about seeing him tonight.”

“I am not worried about this…fascination Hikaru has with N’Tal,” the Vulcan yawned. “She does not reciprocate his affection. She is fickle and impulsive, discourteous and uncivilized.”

Nyota smirked. “So basically…you think she’s a bitch?”

“If you must.”

Nyota laughed, charmed by her Vulcan. And the more charmed she felt, the more turned on she got.

Let’s see if we can make to three minutes, shall we?

Next ~ Hru'Fir