Into the Valley ~ Settling Dust #Uhura

Previously ~ Tantrums

“So…let me get this straight,” Nyota rubbed her temples wearily. “You wanted to impress Hikaru and get closer to him by becoming insanely, impossibly, intolerably high?”

The Trill raised her throbbing head from her pillow and glared at her roommate. Nyota had been right to fear Vira’s falling into a coma; after her outburst in the mess hall she’d come back to their room and passed out for several hours.

“For the millionth time: yes, Ny.”

Vira was lying on her stomach in her rumpled uniform on her purple bed, looking like a plague-ridden zombie. Her golden-brown skin bore a sickly yellow tint, and her dark eyes seemed to have trouble focusing. Her long, twisting purple hair clearly needed to be redone.

She’s a total wreck!

Nyota’s lips twitched, threatening to smirk. It was always the unexpected things about the Trill which were so endearing. “And while you were playing a round of Puff the Magic Dragon with the boys, it never occurred to that brilliant little mind of yours that Andorian dream leaf just maybe, possibly, could have adverse affects on Trill physiology?”

“This isn’t about Trill physiology!” Vira snapped, and then winced. Lowering her voice to keep her head from shattering, she mumbled, “At my old school, lots of kids smoked the stuff.” She added miserably, “I just never realized I was allergic.”

Nyota was torn between laughing at her roommate and chastising her. It was just too hard to imagine the school’s smartest girl doing the world’s dumbest thing.

But then again, this was about a boy.

Vira rolled over onto her back and pressed her pillow to her face. The gesture reminded Nyota briefly of her late morning with Spock, and her whole body immediately flushed with heat. She had to look away, focusing on the purple rug between their beds as she forced herself to shelve the memory.

There would be plenty of time to think of that later.

In the meantime, she had a sickly Trill to nurse. Sighing as she rose to her feet, “Can I get you anything? Glass of water? Something to eat?” Nyota snickered. “Maybe a phase pistol to blow your brains out all over that wall so you don’t have to face Hikaru tomorrow?”

“Aspirin and a tub of chocolate, please,” Vira sobbed. Miserably she looked at the ceiling. “I can’t believe I slapped him. I don’t even remember doing it!”

An involuntary giggle choked out of Nyota. “Well, you certainly got his attention.”

“But I didn’t want it like that! I should’ve never listened to Jim!” Vira sighed. “Maybe this was just never meant to be. Maybe this was fate.”

Nyota snorted as she walked out the door, “I don’t believe in fate.”


Jim Kirk was a huge fan of fate. To him, fate was a really funny thing. It was unknowable and unpredictable, but if a person knew how to play their cards right, it was a damn beautiful thing.

After all, Hikaru Sulu wasn’t the only boy who’d noticed N’Tal.

A guy would have to be blind not to notice that girl. For starters, she had a rack to write home about. If Jim’s dad had still been alive, he would’ve told the old man about those high, firm C-cups tightly wrapped in the uniform blouse.

Hallelujah, amen, amen!

Even the damn Vulcan had to have noticed her. Why else did she so easily piss him off? Had Spock even stopped to wonder why a girl he’d just met could anger him so easily? The guy hadn’t even tried to be his usual, stoic impassive self this afternoon. And since rumor had it N’Tal wasn’t the only one dripping blood this morning, one had to wonder….

It didn’t matter. The toughest competition had been eliminated. Spock, with his dark hybrid looks and princely refinement, had a luscious girlfriend all warm and willing whenever he wanted. When you had a girl like Nyota waiting for you in her dorm, you needed no one else, not even N’Tal. Hikaru, who was ridiculously gorgeous and insufferably charming, had been slapped into another quadrant by a Trill who, despite her numerous eccentricities and occasional bouts of crazy, was actually very sexy.  At least, just to look at.

And N’Tal, the toughest competition of all, was weakened and humbled, no doubt licking her wounds somewhere like the untamed wolf she was.

Jim quivered delightfully at the thought of talking to her now. All that swagger shed, all that indignant chatter silenced—she’d be much, much easier to deal with now.

“Computer: locate student N’Tal.”

“Student N’Tal is located on the North Balcony of Laidley House.”

Jim grinned. He ran his hand through his unruly hair, pulled on a plain gray thermal shirt over his black jeans, and slipped on his black and white Chucks. He checked his breath once and dabbed on some of his roommate’s cologne before heading to Laidley House.

As fall deepened and the air increasingly chilled, students were staying more indoors. No one but N’Tal was on the balcony this evening, looking up at Earth’s moon as evening faded into night. She was still in her uniform with her hair flowing down her back, wavy and wild.

Jim sighed.

“A bit cold out here for a Romulan, don’t you think?”

“It doesn’t bother me,” she replied at once, and Jim raised an eyebrow. He’d half expected an insult to follow. “But I can see how a spineless kllhe would shrink from the weather.”

Ah, that’s more like it.

Jim nodded, stepping forward as he lit a cigarette. The movement caught those sharp green eyes of hers; she watched him inhale and exhale with deep curiosity.

“Your people still…maintain this vice?” she asked softly.

Jim Kirk grinned, offering her one. She clumsily put it between her lips and let him light it for her. She coughed heavily after her first draw.

Jim laughed, “Don’t worry. It grows on you.”

She succumbed to his encouragement, inhaling and exhaling until the coughing finally stopped.  Seamlessly, smoothly, the two smoked together under the moonlight in comfortable silence.  When their cigarettes finished, Jim offered her another.

N’Tal shook her head. “While I enjoy this vice, I think Romulan ale is a better one.”

Jim sighed wistfully. “Never tried it. It’s illegal to obtain it in the Federation.”

N’Tal cocked her head to the side. “Illegal, perhaps,” she smirked, “but not impossible.” Pause. “At least not one when you tell a lazy customs agent that it’s just several bottles of perfume.”

Jim’s jaw promptly hit the floor.


While Spock found the experience of stolen thunder to be fascinating, he couldn’t help but notice that unsatisfied rage was quite...well, unsatisfying. He felt as though he were carrying a ticking bomb in around in his side, and that if he didn’t express his feelings of wrath, he was going to explode.

Fortunately for him, Hikaru was there in their dorm room with a ready ear, and for the first time, Spock learned to perform some human ritual called a “rant.”

It was a most…gratifying experience. It was as though his thoughts were a river, dammed and restrained, and this “rant” allowed the dam to burst and let his thoughts flow freely. And “pacing”…pacing was the proverbial icing on the cake.

“…utterly unacceptable,” the Vulcan was saying, moving about his room in slow, carefully measured footsteps. His tone was low, dignified, but sufficiently miffed by Vulcan standards. “Calling her father to manipulate my father—all so she can satisfy an adolescent fascination?”

“Maybe it’s not about that,” Hikaru cut in suddenly. His voice was calm and his face serious. “Maybe you’re looking at things the wrong way.”

“My friend, would you like me to summon the Trill to slap you again?” Spock blinked. “Or perhaps you’re simply not listening. You’re not hearing my words because they interfere with your human tendencies towards ‘denial.’ I will not lie, friend; you are a comely individual with an agreeable personality, but Hikaru, N’Tal is not attracted to you.”

“Flattery and insult both noted; flattery accepted—of course—insult rejected,” Hikaru nodded. “And I’m not the one in denial here. Spock, you can calculate pi to 122 places—”

“123,” Spock stiffly corrected him. “My memory failed me that day, remember?”

“—and yet you still can’t add two plus two,” his roommate finished. “The Romulan Ambassador is branded a traitor. Mioral flees to Vulcan, which is an understandable and perfectly logical choice.”

Hikaru rose to his feet, coming to stand near his friend as he continued his deduction, “But out of all the politicians he knows, he has to go and shack up with your father, who is an Ambassador to Earth, not Romulus, and who’s married to a human. He could’ve stayed at Starfleet Headquarters if he really wanted to gain the Federation’s trust. Or he could have stayed at the Interplanetary Embassy on Vulcan—but he chose Sarek. Why? Have you asked yourself that?”

Spock stood dumbfounded, as though his roommate had proffered an impossible riddle.

“Maybe,” Hikaru continued impatiently, “he chose your father because Sarek  is one of the wealthiest, most influential Ambassadors in all the Federation.”

Spock shook his head. “Your logic is flawed, my friend. As a politician in exile and honored guest of the Federation, Mioral does not need to concern himself with financial worries.”

“Not for now,” Hikaru agreed. “For now he’s comfortable to stay in your parents’ charming guest bedroom or at various five-star hotels, and he’s satisfied to have his daughter attend a school where he won’t have to worry about tuition for the next year. But what about when the Federation’s gotten all the information they can from him? What happens when Mioral stops making the headlines and Romulus forgets all about their favorite celebrity traitor? What about then?”

 The Vulcan felt his blood freeze, horrified he hadn’t thought of this sooner.

“He will need an income,” Spock falteringly speculated. “But as an educated and experienced individual, I am certain he can acquire an agreeable position… somewhere,” he finished lamely.

“And where’s that?” Hikaru raised an eyebrow, his lips smirking. “In the military? Why entrust secrets to a defector—they don’t have the best track record; it wouldn’t be ‘logical.’ Maybe a job in government, perhaps? What Federation world do you know will allow a Romulan to create and implement public policy? How many of our peoples did the Romulans kill again?”

“He could be a consultant,” Spock replied stiffly, “or an adviser or some sort.” He didn’t like where this was going; it was making him sick. His mind and stomach recalled that horrible day when he first tried Ktarian chocolate.

Hikaru laughed at his words, but there was no mirth, no warmth in his voice. Spock suddenly realized how much he missed his roommate’s usual jovial self. This harsh cynic who stood before him was depressing, frightening even.

“Spock, while I was hanging around N’Tal I got to hear a lot about her old life. Mioral had money, okay? He owned a small moon in the Bolaris System. His family vacationed there. And when they were on Romulus they didn’t live in a mansion or a compound; they had a palace. They owned lakes, forests, transports, servants—you named it. N’Tal never had to go without. You think people like that will be happy to settle down on a consultant’s salary? They’d barely even be able to buy a decent ship.”

Hikaru took another step closer. “I will not lie; friend,” he mocked, “you are a comely individual with an agreeable personality, but Spock, N’Tal is not attracted to you. Like every other gold-digging whore in the galaxy, she’s not interested in what you’ve got in your pants, just the pockets.”

Spock suddenly realized he knew how Hikaru must have felt getting slapped today in front of all those students. For the first time, he knew how Jim Kirk felt every time a girl told him, “Hell, no.”
Rejection, true gut-wrenching, face-slapping, ball-busting rejection from a female was such a profound and unexpected experience Spock could only sum it up it one word.


Next ~ Girls on Top