Into the Valley ~ People with Agendas #Uhura

Previously ~ No Good Deed....

“Whoa,” Lenny raised his hands in protest, “whoa, Spock; what you’re suggesting is seriously dangerous. There’s a reason why your ancestors called it the ‘talon tree.’ Granted, I’m a stoner, not a scientist, but if I recall correctly, the cilliodioxin present in the root of the talon tree has been known to kill humanoids. It tends to react negatively with our myriad circulatory systems, congealing the blood in some of us, and fatally thinning it in others.”

Once more, he got the “look” from the other boys. Sometimes Lenny McCoy got the impression they thought he was the village idiot or something. It was as though they kept forgetting the fact that even though he did get held back last year…he was still here. Like, did it ever occur to them there was an actual reason for that?

“Anyhoo, let’s not forget that a rak’charan isn’t a mere flower or primarily subterranean plant like a potato or a beet—it’s a tree,” Hikaru returned to the conversation. “I think the horticultural staff will notice a big friggin’ tree growing in one of the botanical bays.”

“Can’t you initiate genetic re-sequencing to breed a smaller, less toxic version?” the Vulcan suggested.

“Yes, but that would require the careful experimentation of a scientific genius, Spock!” Hikaru cried.

All the boys looked at one another at the same time before yelling in unison,


Hikaru nodded rapidly, rising to his feet and pacing the room as a strategy formed in his mind. “She would know how to manipulate the genetic structure as well as how to create optimum growing conditions for the final genetically altered result.”

“But then you’d have to find something she wants, and hand it over without question,” Lenny pointed out.

“Unlikely,” Spock shook his head. “For Vira, simply being involving in a scientific challenge is reward enough.” Pause. “An admirable trait, now that I think about it.”

“But what if it isn’t enough?” Lenny insisted. “Last I checked none of us is rolling in credits, exactly.”

“Or better yet, Hikaru,” Jim snickered derisively, “what if she wants more of whatever it was you gave her this afternoon?”

Hikaru merely shrugged. “Then I’ll take one for the team.”

There were eyebrows raised all around. Even Spock gawked at him in disbelief before he haltingly asked, “You’d…be willing to…date Vira Zwan?”

“If necessary,” Hikaru shrugged again. When all he got in return for his generous offer was baffled silence, he exclaimed, “Guys! You’re not seeing the big picture here! The replicators won’t produce contraceptives and no one—not even Scotty—has been able to convince them to do otherwise. You can’t smuggle them in; their molecular structure is tagged by every sensor imaginable. You can’t transport them in because Stellar Valley is fortified as hell; an unauthorized transport would result in an emergency lockdown and, when the person responsible is found, expulsion—no exceptions.

“But a tincture from the rak’charan...,” Hikaru’s eyes glazed over, and not from the Andorian dream leaf. “A homegrown contraceptive completely unmonitored by the staff...dudes, that’s like, leverage. At least half the boys and girls in this school would sell their souls just to get some.”

Even the Vulcan was almost grinning.

“See this,” Jim shook his finger at Hikaru and Spock, “this is precisely why the two of you aren’t allowed to break up. Listen to you—it’s sheer brilliance. And I’m not surprised it specifically took you two to figure it out. You share a common ancestry, after all.”

Hikaru and Spock were confused. “Common ancestry?” Hikaru blinked.

Jim shrugged. “Spock’s a Vulcan, you’re a Romulan.”

“Romulan?!” Hikaru shouted, appalled.

“Hey!” Jim yelled back. “Not only did you manipulate both Spock and me to get what you wanted, but you played us at the same time, while we were sitting in the same damn room—don’t think I didn’t notice that.”

Spock was in agreement. “Your tactics did bear an uncanny similarity.”

Hikaru flushed under the shrewd gazes of his friends. He finally decided to take their statements as compliments and begrudgingly replied, “Whatever. We’ve got work to do.”


“So, basically,” Vira mused, while the girls lay back on their beds enjoying grapeseed masks before bed, “buried underneath all that rational, analytical, sophisticated thought is yet another hot-blooded adolescent.” The Trill snickered. “Why am I not surprised?”

“See, that’s just it, Vira,” Nyota shook her head. “Even after I asked him to stop, Spock remained very logical about everything. I mean, I won’t lie—it was hot.”

Vira snorted. “Please. Vulcan logic and teen hormones don’t go hand in hand, Nyota. He would’ve said anything to keep going.”

Her roommate’s face heated. “I’m not going to get a wink of sleep tonight.”

“Neither is he,” Vira laughed.

“I’m in hell, Vira,” Nyota sighed. “I want him. Like, really want him. I did some research; Vulcans and humans have to use genetic engineering to create a child. But Spock’s physiology is a little unpredictable, and I am so not trying to get knocked up right now.”

“True,” Vira nodded, “but what I don’t understand is why you two can’t do, you know, other stuff.”

“Oh I plan to, but it won’t help,” her roommate shook her head. “I felt him on me…his body pressed against mine. That didn’t make the ache go away, you know? It just made me want more. Spock and I can make out and ‘do stuff’ until the sonic distortions come home, but in the end, we’ll both be aching and longing for that one thing—”

“When Hikaru and I made out, it wasn’t so hot,” Vira said suddenly, a quizzical look on her face. She cocked her head to the side, as though trying to figure it out.

Nyota’s head snapped towards her roommate. “You did what?”

“Made out with Hikaru,” Vira repeated simply, as through reciting a mathematical equation. “It was strictly an errand of mercy which lasted approximately fifty-eight minutes, but after the fourth minute or so, everything was feeling so redundant.”

“That sounds awful.”

“Not awful,” Vira shook her head, “just boring. Hikaru didn’t say anything, but the difference in body temperature was a bit of a shock to him too. He probably had to imagine himself in the middle of a blistering desert just to get through.”

“Vira, isn’t there something you can do about your whole ‘freezing body’ issue?”

Vira sighed. “’Tis a peculiarity of the Trill.” She shrugged. “It’s who we are.”

“What a shame,” Nyota blinked. “He’s, like, really hot.” How could she have not enjoyed kissing Hikaru?

“True,” the Trill nodded. “But I guess it just wasn’t in the stars.”

A padd beeped and Vira checked it.

“It’s Hikaru,” she sighed, even as she typed her reply. “He wants me to help him tomorrow night in Botany Bay 6. Something about needing help breeding a plant.”

Nyota sat up at once.

“Maybe that’s not all he wants. Maybe….”

Vira looked at her. “I don’t think he wants anything else, Ny. This afternoon was pretty…awkward.”

“Was it more awkward than blubbering like an idiot child during a Vulcan opera?” came the pointed reply.

Vira chuckled. “I see your point.”

“Just remember, V,” Nyota began very carefully, “when you’re working with on him this project, you might not want to…show off.”

The Trill merely raised an eyebrow, causing Nyota to shudder at what she had to say next.

“Vira, you’re brilliant. You know that, every teacher and student at this school knows that, but…,” she struggled, wincing, “Hikaru doesn’t need to be reminded repeatedly, if you catch my drift.”

“You want me to ‘dumb myself down’?”

“No, no!” Nyota shook her head. “It’s just that…human males are really sensitive, and not just when they’re teenagers—that goes on until death. They don’t like it when a girl can do what they like to do better than they can.” It had occurred to her the day before that perhaps Vira and Spock hadn’t worked out for this particular reason. Spock’s Vulcan half may have appreciated a more highly developed intellect than his own, but his human half could not abide it.

“You analyze Vulcan Literature better than Spock and yet he remains drawn to you.”

“Yes, but Spock is a scientist, not a literary expert. My excelling at something he doesn’t care about is no biggie to him. But Hikaru is a scientist, just as you are, and plants are kind of his specialty.”

“Ah,” Vira’s head rose and fell. “So tomorrow, when I go to meet with him….”

“Don’t laugh when he messes up, give suggestions only when you’re asked for them, don’t nitpick his work, and remember that every so often it is perfectly okay to honestly answer a question with ‘I don’t know’ rather than ‘Betcha I can find out before you do.’ Work with him, Vira, not against him.”

“Check,” the Trill replied, mulling over these suggestions. “But what if I do all that and he still doesn’t want to make out with me?”

“If I know Hikaru,” Nyota chuckled, “then overnight you’ll find you went from being the dreaded know-it-all to that really cool girl who nicely helped him out.”

Next ~ N'Tal