Into the Valley ~ N'Tal #Uhura

Previously ~ People with Agendas

“Class,” Professor Vladimir grandly greeted them, “today I need a volunteer to read ze Song of T’Lao. Any volunteers?”

Nyota eagerly raised her hand. She hadn’t ever read much of Slaris of Vulcan before, but she’d decided she liked him a lot. Slaris was already an old, graying man when he wrote the Song of T’Lao, some seven hundred years after the death of Surak. Slaris’s written tone reflected his age; she imagined him to be a kindly and gentle man.

“Miss Uhura, proceed.”

Nyota started reading aloud with a joyous song in her heart.

“I sing of T’Lao
Beauteous queen and consort to Goval
His Majesty of the South
Her hair and eyes, like starless night
Though her body ever ailing
—And never a courtier knowing why

“Cup to cup, Their Majesties sat
Enthroned and enchanted by minstrels a hundred
None but Goval poured his queen’s tea at sunset
None but Goval served her plomeek at dawn
None but Goval sat by her death-bed, lyre in hand
Singing heart-killing songs of good-bye

“Indeed, His Majesty played
Accompanied by a tender maiden’s hands
Shir’kanna, the ancients named the maid
Whose sweet voice was a hallowed dirge
Filling T’Lao’s royal chamber
Draped in new gowns, the maiden sang

“Ah, love betrayed!
Such sorrow unrivaled
Such beauty and grace unavenged
Tender T’Lao, sickly and dying
With none but her husband
Keeping all else at bay.”

Nyota sat back, grinning. This poem was cake; did they even need to analyze this one? “He poisoned her, didn’t he?” she grinned to Professor Vladimir. “Goval was poisoning his wife and no one figured it out.”

“For several months at the beginning of their marriage,” another student piped up, “King Goval showed his wife some overly romantic gestures, letting no one but himself pour her drinks and serve her morning soup.”

“It puzzled but endeared him to everyone, so no one realized he was slipping her poison,” someone pointed out.

“T’Lao was the only queen in Vulcan history to be assassinated in this manner,” Spock pondered aloud, turning all heads towards him. “There has been much doubt as to whether or not it was truly Goval.”

Nyota’s head snapped towards her boyfriend (I can call him that now!), appalled into speechless. The poem barely needed analysis and the only Vulcan in the class was entertaining a notion of doubt?
That wasn’t like him. Granted, what he was saying had a fair measure of logic to it but still…it was like hearing a Vulcan postulate that one plus one could possibly, maybe, in some alternate reality, equal three.

“Are you all right?” Nyota asked hesitantly over lunch with Spock (I get to do that now!). “You didn’t seem like yourself in Vulcan Lit today.”

Spock actually sighed. “T’Lao died a full century before the birth of Surak. Her death is infamous amongst historians. However, there is no fact behind her death, only speculation.”

Nyota laughed. “Spock, what Vulcan king would actually serve his lady in that matter?”

He looked her directly in the eyes. “A man who loved his wife.”

Oh. Nyota’s thighs clenched together. The way he said it, the intense manner in which he said it…it didn’t help that she had real memories now of what it was like to have him kiss with almost violent passion.

“Still,” she murmured, flustered, “no one else was handling her food and drink but her husband.”

“That’s not entirely accurate,” Spock countered. In the High Vulcan he recited, “None but Goval poured his queen’s tea at sunset/None but Goval served her plomeek at dawn.” He switched back to English, stating, “He served her two things, tea and soup at two precise times of day. What about lunch? What about her dinner? Not to mention, Goval did not prepare these things, he merely served them. Seen in that light, anyone could have poisoned T’Lao. His constant isolation of her may have been an attempt to stop the poisoning. And history records that after the death of T’Lao, Goval never took another wife.”

Nyota had already stopped listening at the High Vulcan. Spock’s voice, so low and strong, made his people’s poetry sound all the more spellbinding. He recited it simply, like a child reciting the alphabet, completely unaware of its power. And he maintained unflinching eye contact the whole while.

“Speaking of men serving women,” he raised an eyebrow, “may I get you another cup of tea?”


Nyota mutely nodded, but before he could rise from his chair, she placed a hand on his knee, and leaned in.

“So, yeah,” she said lowly, so only he would hear, “I’m going to have to come to your room tonight.”

After their 1500 classes, Hikaru met with Vira in Botany Bay 6. He arrived a few moments earlier to water his Andorian dream leaves. When she got there, he smiled kindly.

“Thanks for agreeing to help me with this,” he began with rehearsed courtesy. “I can't do this without you.”

Vira’s face actually heated as she shyly lowered her eyes. “Thanks,” she simply, rather than, “I know.”

“I need your help cultivating a rak’charan,” he began. “It’s strictly for experimental purposes only. I want to see if I can breed a smaller, less toxic version. I understand it will take time and complex engineering, but—”

“Actually, it won’t take time at all,” Vira interrupted him. “The rak’charan is a desert plant, and fiercely so. It strives mostly on sunshine, and the cilliodioxin builds up in the roots merely as a response to water shortage. It may take some time to get a sample of the plant, but after that all we have to do is water it heavily, prune it daily, and drastically minimize its exposure to solar energy, authentic or synthesized. After we start growing it, it’ll take what…two, maybe three weeks to reach maturity?”

Hikaru’s mouth fell open as he stared at her for several very long moments.

Uh-oh. Vira mentally winced. Me and my big mouth, shooting off again. She sighed. I’m never going to have a boyfriend at this school.

“Vira,” Hikaru gasped, “you are, like, ridiculously brilliant.”

Then again…maybe….

“I would’ve never guessed cilliodioxin build up was a simply response to a lack of water,” Hikaru blinked.

That’s because you don’t have an extensive experience with xenobotany, Vira wanted to say. You’re human, and if it doesn’t look like something you already know or doesn’t cause intoxication, you don’t want anything to do with it.

Wow.  Vira flinched at her own thoughts. I really am an arrogant bitch, aren’t I? She paused in her racing thought for a split second before deciding, Well…it's good to know.

“Oh,” she mumbled instead, “you would’ve figured it out anyway. You’re really smart, Hikaru. I know people tend to focus on your rule-breaking side, but the truth is, the stuff you pull off takes serious genius, and I don’t think people understand that.”

“The stuff I pull off?” he asked.

“Your name comes up in the school misdemeanor logs forty-two times,” she giggled. “And that’s just since August.”

Hikaru blushed. “Well, you know me,” he lowered his eyes. “I try.”

“The stint with the shuttle was brilliant,” Vira admitted, her eyes bright with glee. “You hijacked a school shuttle and evaded capture for six whole hours. That’s like…poetry.”

“Well,” Hikaru drawled. “I jammed all ship sensors within a three hundred mile radius. Scotty taught me that.”

“And the stunt with holodeck 16?” Vira laughed.

“Hey, now,” Hikaru blinked innocently, “porn in 3-D is the only way to fly.”

“What about Hodges Hall and the airborne aphrodisiac?” Vira feigned an accusatory tone. “The staff had to pry apart twenty half-naked students because you nearly caused an orgy.”

Hikaru scratched the back of his head. “Lenny called Spock a ‘green-blooded hobgoblin.’” Shrug. “I couldn’t just let that slide.”

Vira laughed loudly, genuinely. She’d never had a conversation like this with Hikaru before and she was enjoying it immensely. Perhaps Nyota was right; maybe something could happen here.

“Vira,” he said suddenly, “Thanks so much. Since you solved my mystery in like, three seconds flat, I can now prep for the headmistress’s assignment.”

The Trill frowned slightly. “The headmistress gave you an assignment?”

He nodded. “Stellar Valley is getting a new student tomorrow. Some kid named N’Tal is being assigned to Hodges House and I have to do the whole tour bit. I have to learn all their classes, the location of their dorm, talk their teachers, blah blah blah….”

“Oh,” Vira said, her disappointment showing. “I was hoping we could do dinner later.”

“We still could,” he assured her. “I’ve been craving onion rings, and Spock can’t stand the smell of them. And something tells me I don’t want to go back to my dorm too early, if you catch my drift. Mess hall at 1800?”

The Trill glowed. “See you there.”


“I fail to understand why we are both here, considering what happened the last time I attempted to…,” Spock trailed off, unsure of how to finish. He sat on his bed stiffly, staring ahead at Hikaru’s empty side of the room, unwilling to look at Nyota. He didn't want to be alone with her right now, not if at the end of the evening he was going to have to hear the word "no".

His girlfriend smiled lightly at him, saying, “I get that we can’t do all the things we want to right now, but there are other ways to experience pleasure.”

The Vulcan was skeptical. “Will we achieve the plateau phase of the sexual response cycle?” he inquired stubbornly.

Nyota allowed a small laugh. “Sweetie, yes. There is more than one way to do that. For example, you’ve been…self-soothing often, right?”

He nodded. “Whenever I have a moment to myself.” He turned to meet her gaze. “I think of you so much, Nyota. Sometimes self-soothing takes hours.”

Ain’t nothin’ wrong with that!

“Good, good,” Nyota nodded, her breathing and heart rate increasing at once. “Hours are always good. Spock, do you ever wish that instead of having to use your hand to…self-soothe…you could use mine?”

The Vulcan’s eyes widened in wonder. He had, in fact, thought about this often. “You mean…you’re suggesting….”

She trailed a finger slowly from his knee up his thigh, to the buttons of the slacks.

“Tell me when,” she murmured.

Spock shifted, trying to control his breathing, his eyes become heavy lidded before he rasped thickly,


She unbuttoned and unzipped him, and plunged her hand inside without thinking. Now was not a time to think; if she thought, she would hesitate, and if she hesitated, she would panic.

And now was definitely not the time to panic.

She found flesh, smooth, impressively built, searing flesh. Her cool fingers against his burning skin ripped a gasp from him. His hands braced against the bed as his head and eyes rolled back. Nyota began to move her hand, slowly at first, wanting to make sure her fingers didn’t miss anything.

Don’t think, don’t think, don’t think.

“Nyota….” He didn’t say her name; he breathed it. Of its own will her hand picked up speed. His flingers clutched the bedspread, and he bit his bottom lip in an attempt to bite back the noise.
Elation filled Nyota; she was the one doing this for him. She was the one he thought of when he did this for himself.

God…I could do this forever!

As it turned out, “forever” apparently lasted about ten seconds shy of two minutes.

Spock exploded with a deep growl; and scalding hot fluid squirted out over her fingers.

As he lay back on his bed in blissful relief, Nyota blinked for a moment. It was as though she’d been watching a movie, and then missed a crucial element.

I’m sorry, a mocking voice in her head piped up. Did I miss something?

“Nyota,” he murmured dreamily, “you are amazing.”

And you are…quick.

“That was wondrous.”

That was quick.

“We must do that again.”

Will it be quick?

"But I am not sure we have time. Hikaru should be returning soon.”

Then we better make it quick.

“I see,” Nyota finally brought herself to say. She reached for some Kleenex on a nearby stand and hastily rubbed her fingers clean. The sardonic voice in her head would not go quietly. Um, explain to me how he does this for hours again?

“And uh,” she asked, eager to think about anything but sex right now, “does his early return have to do with that N’Tal kid who starts here tomorrow?”

Spock sat up abruptly, the haze and gleam gone from his eyes. “What did you just say?”

“Hikaru,” she attempted to clarify, “is escorting the new kid around school early tomorrow, isn’t he?  He has to get up early and show them around, right?”

“N’Tal,” Spock repeated, eyes clear and voice very, very strong, forceful even. “Did you say the student’s name was N’Tal?”

“Yes,” Nyota frowned, despite her mild amusement. “What’s the big deal? Do you know who’s starting here tomorrow? Is it another Vulcan student?”

“No,” Spock replied tersely. “N’Tal is a Romulan name.”

Next ~ Bitten