Healing Touch Chapter 2 K/U [NC-17]
Image: Courtesy of Paramount and Trekcore.
Disclaimer: Paramount owns Star Trek. I only own my fantasies.
Summary: A sequel to "My Faith in You," addressing Uhura's recovery from a brutal attack and the depths of Kirk's commitment to keep her in his world.
An hour later found a refreshed captain and first officer in briefing room two, awaiting the transmission from Starfleet.
"Go ahead, Uhura, we're here." Kirk told the viewscreen mic.
"Yes, sir." He heard as the screen resolved itself into an intense figure wearing a Federation Diplomatic insignia.
"Captain Kirk." The figure spoke.
"I'm Trask Vitok, Diplomatic Attaché to Federation membership. You are now aware that your presence has been specifically requested by the Dowager of Potakai during the Ascendancy Ceremonies of her grandson to the throne of their newly united system, as well as their concurrent formal acceptance of Federation membership."
"For this mission, your official rank will be Ambassador and Mister Spock will be Captain of Enterprise. The rationale will become clear as we continue this briefing." Trask continued as Kirk glanced over at Spock skeptically. Taking command away from him for any reason did not sit well.
"The Potakai entry into the Federation opens a vast quadrant of space, both under Potakai dominion and further beyond. Since they have been embroiled in a civil war for over three hundred years, we have kept our presence to a minimum. However, their strategic position near the Kzin territory is also a strong factor in making this work.
"Our anthropological and diplomatic teams describe the Potakai people as a humanoid race with intrinsic mental pair bonding relationships. They are extremely susceptible to social imprinting. As such, they have developed a highly intricate caste society, consisting of an Aristocracy, Citizen, Warrior and Ménage class structure. Only the Aristocracy and Citizen castes are considered completely vested adults, with full decision and pair bonding privileges.
"It is because of this caste mentality that you, Captain, will be ranked as our ambassador for this mission. A starship commander would be considered a member of the Warriors’ caste and not a full citizen; they often use the term 'adult' in this context. However, to be more easily considered a full-fledged Federation representative by the Potakai, we felt it prudent to make allowances for these cultural differences.
"It will also be required for you to have a consort. Again, even though the Potakai know the full scope and diversity of the Federation worlds, it was thought it would allow the Potakai Aristocracy to more readily accept you as an equal. All Aristocracy caste members of significant rank are pair bonded. They are not considered stable without a mate. I'm sure a member of your crew can assist you there. Grace under pressure and quick thinking skills are a must, as the Potakai can be somewhat easy to take offense.
"You will be the only Humans on planet. Since peace had yet to be declared, all Federation negotiations were conducted off-planet. We have yet to establish an Embassy dirt-side; the Dowager preferred we wait until all ceremonies were completed.
"Now, all this foundation leads me to explain why you were chosen. The Dowager Anata'ka has requested you specifically. During the negotiations she requested dossiers on all active fleet commanders. As a good faith gesture, we complied with public and professional bio histories. Once the Federation and Potakai Councils agreed upon membership, the Dowager requested you as the best example of the Federation's quest for exploration.
"Captain, Anata'ka is an extremely important entity in that sector and one we desperately want to cultivate. She is an anomaly within her species. The death of her spouse triggered the civil war she has finally ended. Normally, Potakai mates weaken and die within days of each other. However, the Dowager grew exponentially stronger, both physically and mentally, upon the death of hers. Her lifespan has lengthened many times over a normal Potakai lifespan and her mental powers are said to be exceptional.
"Potakai pairbonds are so embedded; to talk with one mate is to talk to the other. This telepathy is normally exclusive to the couple alone; however, the Dowager's powers are said to have been turned outward, quite capable of being felt from a vast distance. The Potakai people see her as omnipotent and are careful not to draw her attention in a negative way.
"What the political ramifications will be when power is transferred to her grandson, Ramsha'ka, is unknown and the second prime goal of your mission. We know next to nothing about him. Anata'ka has kept him under tight security since naming him heir to the throne. Your contact will be the first Federation interaction with the new ruler.
"Enterprise should be four days away at maximum warp. The week of ceremonies and celebrations leading up to the transference of power to Ramsha'ka begins in five days. That's cutting it close, and the reason you could not wait for the USS Sandshark to relieve you on patrol, but I'm sure Enterprise is up to the challenge.
"Several data packets addressing Potakai customs, protocols, history, politics, physiology and social structure will be speed-burst to Enterprise following acknowledgment of this transmission. A complete schedule of events and ceremonies for the week will be attached as well. I suggest you transfer command over to your Exec immediately so you can begin preparations. Good luck. Vitok out."
Kirk sat back and tried to digest what he had just been ordered to do. Why did she request him? Example of Starfleet's quest for exploration, what did the Potakai want to explore? Kirk didn't relish the role of ambassador, but felt he could perform adequately when necessary. Most diplomats gave him a headache, talking in circles and playing endless word games. He could only hope the Potakai were tired of couched phrases and ready for a more direct approach.
"All right, Mister Spock, we know what the mission is; now I need a consort. Please compile a list of three or four candidates with the appropriate background for this type of thing and let's review it together tonight." Kirk said resignedly.
"Very well, Captain, I shall bring it to your quarters. I find the attaché's comments regarding the dowager fascinating. I shall be most interested to review the incoming data."
"I have no doubt, Mister Spock. Let’s go mind the store until it gets here."
Poor Chekov, the young Russian had no idea what the next week would have in store for him. Uhura was beginning to feel sorry for the ensign, although she wasn't primarily to blame for his moment in the spotlight. When they had started the game of truth or dare, he hadn't been the focal point, but as the game wound down, Chekov's name just kept surfacing with nearly every dare. Unfortunately for him, not too many of the women attending the bull session in the comm officer's quarters felt in a confiding mood.
The sympathy for Pavel was the strongest emotion Uhura had felt all evening. It had been her idea to have the party. She had smiled and even laughed with the others, but somehow she felt isolated from them. It was if she were watching everyone from a remote location instead of being in the middle of her best friends.
Why was it she could do so well during the day and yet bottom out so deeply in the evenings? Was it because her days held purpose and her nights did not? Was it because without her duty she had nothing and, more importantly, no one?
"Unnhh, it's late and I've got to go in early." Charlene Masters complained and brought Uhura out of her reverie.
"Oh, I think I drank too much." Liz Palmer whined as she tried to stand up.
"Drink two glasses of water before you go to bed and come see me in Sickbay if you have a hangover." Christine counseled the other tall blonde-haired woman in the room.
"Yeah, right, I think I'm going to shove off too, Ny. See you tomorrow. Thanks for having the party." The swing-shift comm officer intoned as she delicately made her way to the door.
"Come on, Princess, I'll walk you to your quarters on the way to mine." Charlene clucked sympathetically, last time it had been she who had drank too much.
A few of the others had left earlier, and now with the departure of Masters and Palmer, only Chris and Uhura were left.
"I'll help you clear the trash before I go." Chris offered as she scanned the condition of the room.
"Thanks, I don't know how six women can create such a mess in just a couple of hours." Uhura said as she too surveyed the array of glasses and snack bowls littered across her quarters.
"No problem. It's a small price to pay for a night out with good friends." Chris said brightly. Unlike the others, she had stayed away from the alcohol. When Uhura didn't respond right away, a frown crossed Christine's face.
"Ny, what's wrong? You hardly were the life of the party and I don't think you even had a turn in truth or dare – you love that game."
"Christine, I'm fine, just a little tired is all. I guess I just didn't have the heart to set up poor Chekov in some silly dare. He seemed to take the brunt of tonight's game." Uhura tried to be casual in her reply.
"You didn't have to pick a dare, a truth is always an option." Chris reminded her gently.
She knew Uhura was still struggling emotionally as an aftermath of her attack. Only Chris, McCoy, Mister Spock and Captain Kirk knew exactly what had happened to her on the station. The last three months had been a difficult time for Christine’s best friend, a time for her to try to put the pieces of her shattered emotions back into some semblance of order.
Tonight was the first time Uhura had invited her closest girlfriends over for one of her previously regular bull sessions. An opportunity to laugh and cry over whatever any of them happened to be experiencing at that moment in their life. Yet, tonight Nyota hadn't mentioned anything about her life. Instead, she had pretended to be absorbed in the stories of the other women. They had tried to draw her out and get her involved in the conversations, but she had remained mostly on the periphery.
"What kind of truth do you want to hear?" Uhura asked tiredly. She didn't know what had possessed her to say that; introspection wasn't high on her list at the moment.
Christine seemed a bit shocked as well, but was encouraged her friend attempted to reach out to someone. This Uhura was much more reserved and distant from her friends. The head nurse desperately wanted her old fun-loving and carefree friend back again.
"Oh, I dunno. How about explaining why the Captain sometimes calls you Penda, instead of Nyota, like the rest of us do?"
Chris knew she was taking a risk in broaching something that touched upon Bengali, but she felt Uhura was ready to talk to someone about a little of it. Uhura had to realize that the only time Christine could have heard him use that name was during the night he brought her back from the station. When he was acting as her emotional anchor while she was suffering through the terror attacks the Orions had conditioned her to feel.
Uhura froze in the act of tossing a collection of glasses in the recycler. She seemed to take a deep breath before continuing with the chore.
"Because he has a good memory." Uhura finally replied.
"That's hardly an answer." Chris pushed.
Uhura looked hard at her friend, then shrugged her shoulders and sat down on the sofa.
"Okay, here's the whole of it. Remember when you first came aboard and you had your own one-on-one interview with the Captain?" Uhura asked, waiting until Chris nodded before continuing.
"Good. Well, during my interview with him, he asked what brought me out into space and I told him how my Bibi, my grandmother, had advised me to follow the song I heard --"
At Christine's confused look, Uhura explained.
"When I was a little girl, I spent much of my summers with my Bibi on whatever site she happened to be excavating – she was an archeologist. Anyway, one night I was sitting outside, humming a song and Bibi asked me what I was singing. I told her it was what the stars were singing to me. Well, you'd think she would have laughed at such a story coming from a five-year-old, but instead she said ‘Penda, always listen to the stars, they know your future.' I was named after my Bibi, but only she called me Penda. It always made me feel special to hear her call me that name, something she and I alone shared.
When I got older, I understood she meant I should follow my dreams. Something she had not done. She always wanted to go off-world and explore other ruins and civilizations, but an early marriage and several children always took precedence over her dream.
She died in a cave-in at a site in Egypt when I was seventeen. From that point forward, I decided I would go into space and live my dream, not just think about it. When the Captain called me Penda, he did so to make me feel special and to remind me of my dream. I told him that story over three years ago and he still remembered – so that is the answer to the big mystery." Uhura sighed and shook her head slightly.
"Granted, the Captain has a good memory, but don't dismiss the sentiment he was trying to share with you. He was trying to make you feel special and remind you of why you came into space, but maybe he was also offering himself as a sort of replacement for your Bibi. Someone you could count on and share secrets with, someone who would look out for you." Christine offered to her friend, trying to crack the wall of indifference she sensed.
"Nyota, I saw and heard him with you that night he brought you back from the station. It's not any of my business, but he didn't act like just 'a captain'. He acted like a man who was scared he was going to lose someone he cared about very much. If that's the case, don't toss it away –" She stopped as Uhura laughed, a rueful and unpleasant sound.
"I'm not tossing anything away. He won't let me near him. I know he cares, but that's as far as he will take it. I can be near him, but I can’t have him. Isn't that ironic? Right now, I have absolutely no interest in any man except the one who won't touch me. Isn't that pathetic?"
She stopped at the look that came over Christine's face, a look of shame and embarrassment.
"Oh God, Chris, I'm sorry! I didn't mean that like it came out."
Uhura wanted to throw herself out the shuttlebay doors for indulging in that moment of self-pity. Now, she had promptly called her friend pathetic for carrying a torch for their first officer.
"No, Ny, you're right. It is pathetic to crave someone who does not return the desire. At least you know the Captain has feelings toward you and might respond if regulations didn't forbid it. I don't even have that, yet still I moon over Mister Spock. I would change it if I could." She glanced around the room to ensure everything was tidy before turning to the door.
"Goodnight, Nyota, thanks for the night out – "
"Chris! I'm sorry. Please don't leave like this. You know I would never say anything to hurt you. You're my best friend!" Uhura rushed on, desperate to repair the injury she had caused.
"I'm not angry, Ny." Chris said softly as she caressed Uhura's cheek. "Whether you meant to or not, the point is true in my case. Just don't let it become your fate as well. Admire the Captain, but find someone who is available to love. He will always take care of you, but he will never give himself to you so long as he is your commanding officer."
The nurse gave her a sad smile and left, the swoosh of the door the only sound marking her exit.
"Damn," Uhura hissed as she tossed herself down on her bunk.
Kirk had just finished recording his log entry when the door chime alerted him of a visitor.
"Come." He beckoned and was heartened to see the first officer was prompt as usual. "Good evening, Spock." He smiled and motioned the Vulcan to take the seat across from him.
"Good evening, Captain, I have prepared a list of consort candidates." Spock intoned solemnly as he handed his padd over to the captain. He had not chosen to sit.
Kirk smiled as he took the padd and began to scan Spock's recommendations. The smile disappeared quickly though, to be replaced by a series of emotions -- confusion, anger and finally, betrayal. Only one name was on the padd -- Uhura's.
"Is this your *logical* recommendation, First Officer?" Kirk asked in a cold voice, looking up with a hard stare.
"No, Captain, but still a valid one." The Vulcan replied calmly.
"So, McCoy has gotten you on his side." Kirk began heatedly, only to be cut off by the Vulcan.
"The doctor has discussed the fitness of the crew with me, as a part of our professional duties, Captain. The fact that Lieutenant Uhura's emotional status is in question was naturally discussed--"
"And, of course, you discussed his solution to her dilemma I'm sure." Kirk bit back angrily over Spock's explanation.
"He did tell me of your conversation last evening and your negative reaction to his suggested treatment plan." The Vulcan continued delicately.
Spock was not in the habit of agreeing with the CMO, and broaching this subject with the captain was extremely uncomfortable. Only the knowledge of what he had felt between the two of them in the meld gave Spock the resolve to consider McCoy's idea as worthy of exploration. And one thing more, Spock was beginning to suspect that Kirk and Uhura might have suffered lasting effects from the meld they had shared. Jim had been restless and agitated since that day. Spock knew Kirk hated patrol duty, but he was normally quite capable of keeping those feelings in check. However, now Kirk was having great difficulty maintaining any semblance of control.
When McCoy told him of Uhura’s near fixation upon Kirk, Spock began to consider it might be more than coincidence. He had researched for any known incidences of similar reactions, but the scant data was inconclusive. What he had found mentioned that sometimes a passive mental link, much like a bond, could be initiated between meld members if strict partitioning was not maintained between personalities. Those members could fixate upon each other. Spock now felt he should not have allowed Kirk to remain in Uhura’s mind without direct supervision. In allowing them a moment of privacy, he might have inadvertently allowed such a link to form between them.
Treatment for the fixation usually required another meld. However, sometimes allowing the fixated partners to act upon their fixation seemed to correct the mental aberration. Spock did not believe McCoy would allow him to conduct another meld and he did not think the Captain would request a medical diversion to Vulcan. Therefore, he had to agree with McCoy that perhaps, if the Captain and Lieutenant Uhura could act upon their attraction to one another, they would correct the issue themselves.
"And you consider my seduction of a crew member to be a valid solution to her issues with intimacy?" Kirk asked incredulously. Saying it aloud made it all the more profane to him.
"Seduction would not be appropriate in this case. However, allowing your mutual attraction to resolve itself naturally would be beneficial." Spock stood straight; his hands clasped behind his back, and attempted to focus on the wall just above Kirk's head.
"Resolve itself naturally? No matter how you phrase it Spock, you're still suggesting I have sexual intercourse with a member of *my* crew." Kirk sputtered as he stood and got in Spock's face.
"Do you hear yourself? Can you understand the ramifications if I were to act upon this recommendation?" Kirk asked hotly as he paced away from Spock.
He could hardly believe Spock was having this conversation with him. The Vulcan, who would rather die than admit he was suffering from his own mating drive a little more than a year ago.
"Jim, do you understand the consequences if you do not?" Spock bluntly asked. "You will lose a member of your Bridge crew. A person you have tried to help recover from a brutal attack on her mind and person. An officer you value a great deal. A woman for whom I know you have strong feelings."
Kirk whirled and marched back to stand squarely in front of Spock.
"A woman you also care about very much, Spock. Why can't you be the one to help broach this fear of intimacy?" Kirk challenged callously.
Spock turned away from Kirk, ready to end this discussion, but Kirk stalked around and faced him again, waiting for an answer.
"Very well, Captain, I will give you an answer. Vulcan's do not engage in unbonded casual sex. A relationship with me would be a life long commitment. As heir to the House of Surak, I am expected to sire the next matriarch of our clan, a Vulcan matriarch, not a Human one." Spock finished stiffly. It was very painful to discuss something so private with a non-Vulcan, even Jim, especially in the midst of such charged emotions from the Human.
Kirk started to say something hateful about 'bad blood' but swallowed it as unworthy. Even through his anger, he realized what the Vulcan's confession had cost him. Instead, he stepped back and drew a deep, calming breath.
"All right, Spock, I can respect that, but it doesn't change the situation for me." Kirk sighed and dropped down into his chair, all anger suddenly gone.
"Jim, what exactly are your issues with acting upon your feelings for Lieutenant Uhura?" Spock asked in a curious tone.
Kirk's head snapped up to look at his first officer. That question coming from anyone other than Spock would warrant a hard right cross to the jaw.
"Fine, Spock, I will give *you* an answer." Kirk repeated the Vulcan's own words.
"Number one, it's against regulations. Two, it's against my own code of conduct. Three, it might cause more harm to Uhura, rather than help her. And four, I might not be able to let her go afterwards…." The last was said in nearly a whisper. He sat for a long moment, quiet and staring at nothing before finally looking up at Spock.
"Captain -- Jim, I do understand your concerns, but I do not see them as insurmountable -- please hear me out." The Vulcan requested from the dumbfounded Human.
"Fraternization is only against regulations when the involvement is between direct chain-of-command personnel. May I submit that, while you and Lieutenant Uhura are on Potakai Prime, you will be the official Federation Ambassador and she will be functioning as your consort? Neither title is considered a military rank, therefore, not involved in a chain-of-command regulation.
"Further, I have always had the utmost respect for your personal code of conduct, but in this instance, do you not run the risk of causing injury rather than not? Would not the Lieutenant suffer greater harm by being forced from her friends and coworkers aboard Enterprise? Jim, I shared the meld with you both. Although I removed myself from your interaction, I was the bridge by which you connected. I know she cares for you a great deal and would not be harmed by your actions.
"Additionally, approaching the Lieutenant as a way of helping and healing can only be viewed with high regard. Offering yourself as a way of allowing her to reconnect with the emotions all Humans esteem can only be seen as honorable.
"As to letting her go once you both return to Enterprise, I have seen you give everything for duty. I do not wish to see you hurt so again, but I believe you can let her go if she can still remain by your side on the Bridge."
Spock watched Kirk's face, trying to read whether his arguments had won any anchor in the captain's protests. He knew the Human felt extremely lonely and was vulnerable to the lieutenant's affection. He could not endure watching Kirk be hurt by the loss of someone he cared about. Jim lost Edith because he was not allowed to act. Now, he might lose Uhura if he didn't. When Jim failed to respond immediately, Spock decided to push his case.
"Jim, at least consider Lieutenant Uhura as consort. She is fully qualified for the role and would be an asset to the mission. Regardless of whether you reconsider your involvement in resolving her emotional issue, the general experience will serve to make her stronger."
Kirk continued to hold Spock's gaze, no longer angry but not really convinced either.
"Spock, in all your arguments you have never considered Uhura's decision in any of this. You and McCoy have been so busy trying to convince me that I can help her that neither of you thought to ask her what she wants. Hell, she doesn't even know how close to losing her berth she really is. Now I'm supposed to come in, drop that bombshell, and offer myself as her only hope? You both do her a great disservice. I bear a lot of responsibility in this situation getting so out of hand, but I won't be a party in deceiving her. Uhura needs to know the truth of her situation and be involved in solving it.
"If she understands and wants to be my consort, I have no problem with that. Anything else is still unresolved. I make no offer to pursue any relationship on Potakai Prime and that is a week she will be unavailable to deal with her issues in any way, or with anyone else." Kirk replied in a tone of finality.
Spock arched a brow at Kirk's rebuttal. He *had* considered Uhura's choice in the matter. He remembered her passion from the meld and knew what her decision would be. However, he also knew that for Kirk to accept it, Uhura would need to vocalize her own agreement.
"Very well. At the beginning of alpha shift, the doctor will clarify Lieutenant Uhura's condition to her. Then, I will offer her the option as the consort for the mission or remaining onboard Enterprise. I will make it very clear the choice is hers and not an order. Neither Doctor McCoy nor I will discuss any specific involvement as a means in resolving her remaining emotional conflicts. However, I am sure the doctor will suggest that she consider a physical relationship with someone as a means to an end. With that conversation in mind, if she accepts the assignment, logic dictates her choice would be you." The Vulcan finished his speech with calm resolution, as if he had just finished a lecture rather than map out a campaign of intimate involvement between his captain and the lieutenant.
Kirk just sat back and rubbed his temples. He could not believe this was happening to him. How did Spock make it seem so simple when he knew it was anything but? He would make McCoy pay for involving the Vulcan in this. Spock allowing himself to be involved was shocking in and of itself. The first officer normally kept human emotions, especially passionate ones, at an extreme distance. When he noticed Spock remained in front of him, he replied tiredly.
"Whatever Spock, that remains to be seen. You and McCoy do your part and I expect a list of alternative candidates if she declines. Dismissed."
The Vulcan nodded and left the Captain to his own thoughts.