DISCLAIMER: The Star Trek characters are the property of Paramount Studios, Inc. The story contents are the creation and property of SterJulie and is copyright (c) 2004 by SterJulie. Rated PG.



Angels of the Epidemic - The Aftermath

SterJulie



Uhura found a blinking light on her console as she returned from lunch with Christine. Her hackles rose as she saw the address on the message -- the Castor/Pollux Interplanetary Recreational Center.

"Damn swim bar," she muttered as she hit the switch.

TO: Nyota Uhura, USS Enterprise

MEMO: Illness?

Dearest Nyota,

Hello, Sugar! I was happy to meet your sweet self at the C/P swim bar last month. I hope you and your many friends enjoyed themselves and will come back soon.

I just got over a nasty bug. Did you get it, too? Seems that my bar was targeted by these new folk who have been trying to buy out my business. Creepiest guys you ever saw, Vuhrangee of Furingy or something like them. Never heard of them, and they better hope to the gods that I never catch up with them, or I'll rip their huge ears off and shove them between their fangs! (I told you they were ugly.) Seems their MO is to slip something into the water, then try to sell you the cure for a king's ransom, meaning they wanted to trade me the bar for the cure. I didn't buy it, and the police didn't catch these oily suckers before they slipped away. They DID get one vial of the cure, though. I had it and the disease analyzed and I have attached the analyses to this message. If you or any of your friends come down with it, have your medics synthesize a batch right away. This bug isn't deadly, but annoying as hell.

No charge for the cure except this (wink): Next time you and your ship are in the area, please look me up. Wouldn't want to lose such good customers!

And, Sugar, your first two drinks are on me.

Kissy, kissy!

Awleri

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Uhura didn't know whether to cry or to throw something. She paced in a tight circle, muttering to herself the whole time.

"Vuhrangee... selling the cure... little weasels... two drinks... I'll take those two drinks and throw them in that barkeep's face! not deadly? Ask Scotty, or Spock..."

Uhura stopped short. Neither Spock nor Scotty had returned to duty yet. She moved quickly to her desk, slipped a disk into the slot, and downloaded the message and analysis. Once finished, she bolted out the door and ran to Sickbay. Someone there may still need the cure.

* * *

"Oof!" McCoy grunted as Uhura barreled into him on her mad rush to Sickbay. "Hey, where's the fire?" he groused.

"Here's the analysis of the disease and the cure," Uhura breathed, pressing the disk into the doctor's hand. He looked up at her in surprise.

"Where'd you get this?" Uhura pushed the doctor over to the nearest desk, grabbed the disk and put it into the slot for him. Skipping past the letter, she pulled up the two reports.

"Remember the bartender?" Uhura knew that she didn't have to elaborate.

"The purple scaly guy with the long tail?" he replied as he began to read. Uhura nodded. "The one with the crush on you?"

"Yeah, that guy," Uhura replied in disgust as she remembered him. He had "accidentally" brushed her with his tail at every opportunity as he served her party's drinks. "Seems that someone tried to force him out of business by contaminating his hot tub. Then they tried to exchange the cure for the bar!"

"Hmm," McCoy replied, scratching absentmindedly at the few remaining scabs behind his ear. Uhura knew she had lost the doctor's attention, so she quietly slipped away to let him read in peace.

Moving to the ward, Uhura looked around to see if anyone was still sick. She spotted Chief Engineer Scott donning his uniform shirt.

"Scotty!" she cried. "You're finally better!" Scott looked up and gave her a weak smile.

"Aye," he breathed, "I'm much better noo." Uhura wrapped her arms around him gently. "Especially since you're here."

Uhura pulled back and looked Scotty in the eye. He was still so pale and weak.

"Scotty," she whispered as angry tears filled her eyes, "someone infected us deliberately."

"What's that ye say?" She nodded, wiping her eyes.

"They targeted the bar because the owner wouldn't sell," she said in a voice full of contempt. "Then they tried to trade the cure for the bar."

"Could you repeat that Lieutenant?" Both Uhura and Scott turned at the sound of their captain's voice.

The sight was nearly comical. In walked Captain Kirk, still wearing his dark glasses, followed by a pale Spock and a scratchy McCoy. Uhura looked back at Scott, wrenched back from death's door, and took a deep breath to calm herself.

She gave the officer's a summary of the message she had received and reported her decisions to give a copy of the reports to Dr. McCoy. At the end of Uhura's report, Kirk nodded.

"Better late than never, it seems," he remarked.

"Captain," Spock interjected in a still-weak voice, "these beings need to be brought up on charges. Biological warfare, assault on Starfleet officers, attempted murder..."

"Murder?" the others replied.

"We nearly lost Mr. Scott," Spock countered.

"There will be a murder if I ever find those people who tainted the tub," McCoy fumed. "What were they called, Uhura?"

"The bartender wasn't sure," she replied. "He called them 'Vurangee' or 'Furingy.'" Kirk looked to Spock.

"Have you ever heard of these..." Kirk started. Spock shook his head.

"No, sir," he replied quietly. "I will search the computer for any references at my earliest opportunity." Spock eased himself up from the chair in which he had been seated. "I need to retire for the day." McCoy took the Vulcan's elbow and steered him to a bed.

"You'll be my guest for the night," the doctor stated firmly. "You overdid it, as per usual," he muttered as he led Spock through the ward.

"No arguments here, Doctor," Spock replied as he allowed McCoy to help him into the far bed. Not even bothering to remove his boots, Spock crawled into the bed, turned onto his side and shut out the universe. He fell asleep instantly.

Kirk looked at his weak first officer, his looking-like-death-warmed-over engineer, and his itchy chief medical officer through his tinted lenses and saw red.

"Victims," he breathed. "We were innocent victims. We were pawns for these creatures." Kirk began to pace as his anger built. "Someone's going to pay."

Guilt made Uhura's eyes grew huge.

"I'm going to turn this over to the Judge Advocate General's office to handle," Kirk continued to fume, "because if I handle it myself, I may murder someone!"

Kirk stopped his pacing as Uhura audibly gulped.

"Lieutenant?" he questioned. Uhura snapped to attention.

"I take full responsibility," she began. Kirk stopped her with a wave of her hand.

"It wasn't your fault," he dismissed. "You were an innocent bystander." Uhura's gaze fell.

"Not so innocent," she whispered, miserable. Kirk took Uhura's shoulders and shook her gently.

"Innocent," he insisted. "Stop wallowing in guilt. It's it's unbecoming." The captain turned on his famous Kirk grin, highest setting.

Uhura peeked up at him through her dark lashes and smiled shyly.

"Aye, sir," she replied as his absolution washed over her.

"Now, as you were," Kirk said as he released her.

"Aye, sir," Uhura repeated. She turned and started out the door.

"Oh, and Lieutenant," Kirk began. Uhura turned back.

"Sir?"

"Let's stick to less exotic bars on the next shore leave, alright?" he teasingly ordered. Uhura gave Kirk her most vixen gaze.

"Perhaps you could show me some, sir," she replied with a wink.

FIN

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