Uhura looked genuinely distressed, and Chekov, at least, had the heart to feel remorse.
“It was just a…suggestion,” he said in his precise, too careful Standard. Ever since his run in with the bridge voice recognition system he’d been practicing his enunciation. She could tell.
Sulu’s eyes, though, twinkled with merriment. “I don’t understand the problem,” he said. “I heard you partied with Captain Kirk.”
She tossed her head. “Yeah, if you mean my entire class was there the night Pike recruited him—and that ended in a bar fight that cleaned out the place!”
Chekov’s brows shot upward. “The captain was in a bar fight?”
“Security beat the…anti-matter…out of him, the way I heard it,” Sulu said, adding absently, “but before he joined the service. I just think it would be good if we all could have some fun together. And the captain probably knows all the best places here. You and Spock could come, too.”
Uhura shot him a baleful glance. “Commander Spock has no time for such things, as you should know.”
Sulu got up from the mess hall table, taking his tray with him. “Everybody needs to have fun once in a while. That’s all I’m saying.”
* * * * *
Chekov stood in the back of the lift the next morning as they rode up to the bridge, saw Captain Kirk turn his head to look quizzically at Sulu. There was a tense pause, during which he became aware that
Uhura, standing beside him, was holding her breath. Then the captain reached out and clapped the helmsman on the shoulder.
“There, you see? Now we’re getting to know each other. That’s a fine idea, lieutenant. Let me give it some thought and we’ll discuss it later.”
“Yessir,” Sulu smiled, flushed with happy approval. As Kirk and Spock stepped out of the lift ahead of them, he shot a mocking glance back at the communications officer, who rolled her eyes, her lips tight.
Chekov was just relieved she was taking in oxygen again.
Stepping out of the lift last, he muttered, “Ai ai ai…” and walked to his station.
* * * * *
As it happened, it didn’t take the captain long at all to direct them to his favorite pub in the local star system. He’d talked Scotty and Keenser into coming with them, too Now, as Uhura walked along the darkened street with her arm looped through Spock’s, she was glad to be surrounded by all these men. There were far too many people thronging the streets, even at such a late hour. Well, some of them were people. Others were beings she’d never seen before and might not care to again. They entered the bar itself, and were immediately greeted by a burst of loud dance music being played on some string instruments she’d never seen.
Spock glanced down at her, more in curiosity than anything else at the sudden tension in her body, and saw Uhura’s eyes were lit from within, as she smiled with excitement and wonder.
“Let’s dance!” she whispered, and before he could stop her, tugged him out onto the floor.
“Angels and ministers of grace defend us,” McCoy muttered, observing this. “I need a drink.”
“Some fun, huh?” Kirk grinned, slipping a comradely arm around the other man’s shoulders. “I didn’t know you liked Shakespeare…”
Chekov and Sulu were next through the door, the helmsman smirking and the young Russian’s eyes wide with surprise at the noise level. Scotty and Keenser were right behind them.
“See those two girls over there?” Sulu said.
“Aye, let’s go see!” Scott agreed readily.
Chekov watched them go, wondering what to do next when he felt a tug on his sleeve and looked down to see Keenser. “C’mon, let’s get a table. Ve can at least talk to each other—right?” Then he stopped and looked down again. “You do talk…don’t you?”
Keenser just shrugged.
Chekov sighed. It was going to be a long night.
* * * * *
Out on the dance floor, Uhura was growing impatient. “Ow.”
“My apologies,” Spock said for the third time. “I am not skilled at this.”
She pursed her lips. “You’re not fooling anyone, you know. Vulcan schoolchildren learn to dance.”
The Enterprise exec glanced around to see if anyone was watching them, then pulled her further into his arms and replied, “That was some time ago. And even then, I was not very skilled.”
“Look, just let your body relax, ok? Just…go with the music.”
“It is difficult, as the music keeps changing…”
But then the song changed again, and suddenly Uhura found her hips pressed against his and swaying. She waited for Spock to step on her foot again…but he didn’t.
“Wow,” she whispered after a moment. “What just happened?”
“I do not know,” he said slowly. “Except…something about the rhythm…”
He looked down into her eyes long enough that she blushed and buried her face in his chest as they danced. And, ever so slightly, Spock smiled.
* * * * *
“Vell, it vas wery simple at one time,” Chekov was explaining an hour after that, to a pretty blonde girl at the bar. “The first telescopes were housed in domes that worked on a pulley system. They vould use something like…er…cannon balls as ball bearings to rotate the dome. And the telescopes themselves operated on a primitive lever and governor system.” He demonstrated the angle by tilting his glass and letting her look through the bottom as if it was a telescope lens.
Watching them from across the bar, McCoy complained, “How’s he doing that?”
“I dunno,” Kirk replied blearily, eyes narrowed. “But I wish he’d stop using such big words. It hurts my head.”
“He hasn’t had anything to drink except ginger ale,” Sulu contributed waspishly. “That just isn’t right.”
“I do not believe,” Spock argued, one brow raised, “that one is required to become inebriated in such an establishment.”
Scott just glared at him, while Uhura patted his shoulder and lifted her own glass. “No. You’re right as always, Commander.”
Kirk suddenly straightened and pulled his shirt down, throwing a challenging look at McCoy. “Not everyone needs big words. Watch this.” And he staggered away toward a woman at the opposite end of the bar from Chekov.
“Jim,” the doctor hissed after him in alarm, but Scott got a hold of him before he could follow. “Not a good idea,” he added. And together they watched as the big man sitting next to the woman rounded on the captain and pulled his fist back…
“Oh, no,” Uhura moaned, “this is just the way it happened last time.”
Things moved quickly after that, and a cacophony of loud music, flying fists, broken glass and groans overcame them.
Uhura found Spock swinging her just out of harm’s way as a chair came sailing past her ear, and looked up just in time to see someone bring a bottle down on the captain’s head. Scott tackled the man that had hit him, Keenser cowered under their table, and Sulu fought his way past, katana drawn. Nyota was shocked, until she saw the man fighting with him had an even larger blade! McCoy at first shouted for everyone to stop, but at some point put his drink down in disgust and started swinging away with the others. Besides Spock, only Chekov maintained his presence of mind, simply shaking his head at the chaos and leading the girl with him around the perimeter of the fight and outside. When the man that had hit the captain tried to run past, though, the Russian put a foot out and sent him sprawling in the street.
They were a sorry mess by the time they trudged back to the transport coordinates together: Spock still had his arm protectively around Uhura as they came out into the street to see Chekov steering his female friend around the man he’d knocked down and wishing her a sheepish goodnight. McCoy had sponged away what he could of the blood on the captain’s face and sprayed something on Scotty’s swollen fists. But there wasn’t much he could do about Sulu’s black eye until they got back to the ship--and Keenser decidedly had the shakes.
“Well, that was…” Uhura broke off, biting back her original scathing statement of the evening when she caught Spock’s eye and remembered their earlier dance. She pulled him closer in the dark and finished, “…kind of nice, actually.”
“Nice?” the doctor snorted. “It was insane, is what it was!” He looked sidelong at the captain, whose grin shone right through the bruises.
“It was…fun…wasn’t it, Bones? Come on, admit it.”
Scott and Sulu clapped each other on the back and laughed then, too.
Keenser and Chekov exchanged glances as they followed along behind them.
“Yah mai yo!” the young Russian shook his head. “If this is fun, vhat’s next?”
Uhura chuckled quietly to herself.