DISCLAIMER: The Star Trek characters are the property of Paramount Studios, Inc. The story contents are the creation and property of Mimi L. Curry and is copyright (c) 2004 by Mimi L. Curry. Rated G.
Uhura's Holiday Wish
Mimi L. Curry
Uhura wished she knew how the rumor mill began. As she was in Christine's confidence, she tried to keep everything quiet. Perhaps her relief Lt. Nazacki happened across a message Nyota failed to erase. Or maybe Nurse Ames overheard Nyota and Christine speaking privately. The woman was quick to make assumptions. So far only Nyota and Christine knew the truth of the matter but with Christmas rapidly approaching gossip flew about the ship at warp speed. The annual shipboard Christmas party was scheduled in three days. Instead of wondering about music and decorations, the majority of the crew wanted to know what was Nurse Chapel giving Mr. Spock for Christmas. Uhura cringed when she heard some of the speculation. It ranged from an Orion slave girl to silk pajamas to more love crystals from Harry Mudd. She had to give her friend credit. The nurse held her head high throughout the ordeal and ignored the snickers and laughter that followed her.
Nyota felt the stares over dinner as junior crew members reduced themselves to the level of teenagers. Nyota lacked experienced with that type of behavior until Starfleet Academy. Ensign Gregg from engineering passed by with Yeoman McIntyre, laughing behind their hands and whispering. Christine ignored them and dug into her dinner with gusto.
"Are you okay with all of this, Chris?" Uhura asked her friend, brown eyes flickering over the next set of crewmen paused to laugh.
"Sure, Ny, this isn't the first time." She took a drink of dashan berry juice.
"My stars, it's gotten ridiculous this time!" the communications officer stated, throwing a dirty look at a pair from security.
"Chalk it up to holiday madness."
Uhura remembered times when Christine had not been so blasé about being the subject of derision. Somewhere she had either developed a thicker skin or realized that the only opinions that counted were those of the ones who cared about her.
Additional laughter trickled back to the table. Christine continued eating Denebian noodles. Nyota growled, "Isn't this supposed to be the season of good will to men ... love and kindness? Compassion?" Her voice elevated on the last phrase and Christine shushed her giggling herself.
"Since Christmas became a secular holiday in the 20th century, most people have forgotten all of those things, Ny. It doesn't matter. Let them laugh as long as they like. I could care less."
"Are you certain he is going to be happy with this?"
"Well at first I was nervous, but I guess I've been persuaded -- I think everything should go quite smoothly."
Uhura sighed. She hoped so for Christine's sake. She winced, wondering how she had let the atmosphere contaminate her. Christine was a very capable nurse and scientist. Since when had being in love with someone become a cause for ridicule? Certainly Christine had her moments, but outside of that arena she maintained her professionalism. The staff requested her care when ill. Too bad they couldn't remember who patched them up and gave them meds before the doctors got to them. Nyota hoped that the furor surrounding the holiday would not spoil the event for Spock or Christine. It was the one occasion the senior crew had been able to get the Vulcan to participate in festivities, even if most years it consisted of attending dinner or playing the lyre. Christine's holiday either suffered from the loss of Roger Korby and family or from past embarrassment with Spock. If the communications officer could have one wish for the holiday, it would be that her best friend and the object of her affection could enjoy each other's company without discomfort or mishap. She sighed; only time would tell.
* * *
The next day Christine discovered Uhura was not the only person concerned for her. McCoy called her into his office just before her shift ended. As she was about to go for a workout in the gym when she hear the doctor call her.
"Oh, Nurse Chapel..." Christine rolled her eyes hearing the saccharine tone. She knew McCoy was up to something. She poked her head around the door, hoping it was something work related. "Christine, please come in. Have a seat," he said, standing and smiling his best Southern boy charm smile. The nurse sighed. She knew what was coming. "Happy Holidays, Christine. Like a mint?" he said, rattling a small candy jar at her.
She only took one to keep from chewing him out. She hated when McCoy was condescending. She would rather him be brusque and surly than patronizing. "Well, Nurse, what are your holiday plans?''
She gave him a steely look and said, "Why, Leonard surely you know that I'll be attending the Senior Crew Party just like you."
He hmmed thoughtfully and then smiled with a look of boyish innocence. "Any special gifts you have in mind?"
Christine shifted, wishing she could just get on with her gym session. "Fishing, Leonard?" she asked, bemused.
"Now you know I'm happy with any gift you give me, Christine, but, well maybe..."
She stood cutting him off. "Leonard, don't worry about it." McCoy sputtered and Christine stretched out her lithe form, the unitard hugging every curve. She yawned and leaned over the desk. "Frankly, Len, I'll take your tactless honesty over the southern swarm any day. You're concerned I'm going to make an ass out of myself behaving inappropriately or give something unwanted to Spock -- don't worry about it. Now if there is nothing else pressing I have an hour of cardio to do so that you don't put me on a diet after the holidays."
McCoy eyed his head nurse and said, "Oh, I don't think that is going to be a problem." She left wordlessly, McCoy watching her depart. He knew an ass alright. He shook his head ... several times in fact. Why was it the only thing people, including himself ever associated with Christine was her affection towards Spock? It wasn't as comic as it seemed. He had be on the one way path of love himself a couple of times ... the last time. He grimaced, his failed marriage still a burnt aftertaste in his mouth. Yep, he thought as he turned to the computer and charts requiring documentation ... definitely some asses out there -- one green, pointy eared one came to mind.
* * *
Captain Kirk picked his time to he approach Christine. She and the Captain seldom came into contact outside of the debriefing room or sickbay so when he ran into her before she began her "graveyard" shift, she knew what was coming. She had stopped to get a liquid replacement meal and some water. She had about 5 hours sleep in between shifts but it was worth the time off after the holiday party. If there was anyone who did not have to be up at 0300, it was James Kirk. So he just happened to be enjoying a bowl of cereal at 3:00 ship's morning.
"Nurse, join me please," he said indicating a chair. Oh this was going to be good, she thought. "Well, Nurse, are you ready for the celebration?"
Christine smiled, her sapphire eyes dancing in amusement. "Certainly, Captain, what about you?"
Kirk appeared startled by the question but composed himself with a smile, "Oh, I'm always ready to see the crew in high spirits. Any special surprises planned?" he said, giving her the full blast of his hazel gaze.
Christine smiled to herself, that gaze and boyish grin had charmed ladies of all stations from one quadrant of the galaxy to the other. Christine tossed her hair which she had not pinned yet, having time before duty. She leaned in over her supplement and gave Kirk a blue eyed reply to his "hypnotic charm" gaze. "What type of surprises? Are you looking forward to being surprised?" she asked, lingering on the last word.
James Kirk simply stared at her for a moment, dull shock slowly encompassing his face. It was followed by a red flush as Christine crossed her legs and took a sip of her drink. "N-no, Nurse Chapel, I'm not expecting anything out of the usual," he said, standing suddenly. He grabbed his tray and turned backing towards the recycler. "Didn't notice the time, hope you have a quiet shift."
Christine's soft laugh followed him out of the commissary. It was like honey gliding. Kirk took a deep gulping breath -- he knew he had been the victim of turnabout. He wondered if McCoy had ever discovered that Christine minored in psychology in her undergraduate studies. Jim Kirk could only imagine what she might have been like if it had been her major. Definitely time for a nice rowdy R-n-R if that was all it took to get his hormones going. Maybe it was time he stopped mourning Miramanee. As he headed for his cabin he paused for a moment. Damn, he wondered Did she ever do that to Spock? Did it have the same effect? When his mind came up with one scenario too many, the Captain knew it was time for a cold shower and long sleep.
* * *
The day before the party found Christine short on sleep, heavy on caffeine and looking forward to time off she had accrued by working off shifts. She had partial day on duty as she was involved in the dinner preparation. Today she assisted the others decorating. She looked forward to sleeping, completing a couple of hours duty, coordinating the meal and then getting dressed for the party and the surprise that still had the crew buzzing. They were due to orbit Star base 134 for a quick refit.
When Spock found her, she was perched on a ladder handing holly with Yeoman Rand in the dining room entrance way. She noticed he did not seem skittish about entering -- they no longer put up mistletoe. Chapel had no idea the picture she made seated on top of a ladder legs draping over the side, hair escaping its pins.
Spock had a hard time getting her notice above music and conversation. By the time he bellowed, "Christine," silence had taken over the room so it sounded that much louder. For once clumsiness escaped Chapel and she didn't fall off the ladder. That would have been a prize moment. Had she fallen it would not have been a graceful landing in Spock's waiting arms; she would have landed on top of him with her skirt up and would have broken something. Christine said a small prayer of thanks to her guardian angel when her feet touched the deck. That would have been one hell of a scene.
"Mr. Spock," she said, aware they were the center of attention.
"If I might speak with you a moment." Christine led him to a small side room, knowing there was an entire dining hall of people wanting to be flies on the wall.
The room was not well lit and cast in shadows but afforded them privacy. Christine looked at Spock expectantly. Wowee, the shipboard grapevine must have had one hell of a spin to bring Spock to her.
"Ms. Chapel, it has come to my attention..." he began.
"Mr. Spock, please forgive the interruption... We have served together on the Enterprise for sometime now and, while my behavior has not always been professional, my intentions were never malicious. I am aware as a Vulcan embarrassment is not an issue, however, I have no thought of making the holiday celebration uncomfortable for you. You have my deepest respect." Spock raised an eyebrow, and Christine thought in the half light she saw his eyes dancing.
"As I was saying, Miss Chapel, I have been reviewing the menu and discovered you included a number of Vulcan dishes one of which is Klitanta s'mun t'forati". The way the First Officer said the dish sent a shiver up Christine's spine. "You have substituted a Terran spice for the absence of a Vulcan one. It has been discovered that Keritang chilies produce a most disturbing chemical interaction. Kang-se chilies, which I believe you have available, will result in the desired effect."
Christine was too numb to think about what had been said. She tried to think of everything except her secret and then tried to forget the effect various chilies had on people. Oh, stars, she had made a fool of herself again.
As Spock left the room, she heard drift back to her just loud enough for her to catch, "I have never doubted the depth of your respect for me ... or..."
Rand entered the room from the opposite direction with such a clatter that Christine lost the last of what Spock said, "Christine, are you okay?" The nurse smiled at Rand with a vacant look. "He wasn't upset, was he?" Janice said a bit baffled by Christine's airy behavior. The Yeoman had expected tears or anger, not a state of distraction.
Christine smiled again, "You know Mr. Spock seldom displays anger."
"Then what was it?" Rand said, canny enough to think Christine might absent mindedly spill some beans.
"Just a problem with chilies," she said leaving to complete the decorations.
"Chilies?" Rand said in disbelief. "I bet it was something hot and spicy," she said, taking in Chapel's dreamy look.
* * *
Christine had a handful of chilies late that night when Mr. Scott showed up during her food prep. She had hoped to run into the chief engineer and was glad that he had sought her out. She was alone in the replication center when he took a look at her and sighed. "T'is a kind heart ye' have been graced with lass."
She smiled warmly at the Scot. "Thank you, Monty, you're sweet."
"Bit too kind, lass, if you ask me, some don't know how to appreciate it." Her eyes twinkled with amusement. After all was said and done she would try to find out all of the different rumors spread about the ship.
"Monty, how would you like to be in on a secret?"
Scotty inhaled. "Depend's upon the repercussions, lass..."
"What if I told you that there would be no repercussions or regrets."
"I think I require more details."
"Have a seat," she said.
* * *
The Annual Holiday Party was a complete success. McCoy pulled out a red and white hat and was taking requests for Santa from female crewmembers. The party was not formal, the last thing Kirk wanted was a reason to wear his starchy dress uniform. It was nice to see everyone in their "normals". Uhura looked stunning in a gold and green sari. Spock wore Vulcan robes of midnight blue and silver. Kirk wore a forest green set that appeared to be made from suede. It was actually synthetic but it was hard to tell. Mr. Scott had pulled out a kilt. Rand wore a red dress with a slit that made Chekov boggle. The Russian wore a traditional Cossack outfit with bell sleeves in ivory and brown. Sulu was a dashing figure in black turtle neck and tailored pants. Chapel wore a sapphire dress that matched her eyes. It was modestly cut but managed to fit nicely in all of the right places. Everyone's eyes had been upon her the entire afternoon but the most fuss she had made was when her Vulcan dishes began to disappear at a rapid pace.
When the gift exchange began, she disappeared quietly. Kirk noted that Scotty also slipped away. He was distracted when a busty doctor who had been on the Enterprise for a short time and was about to ship out to a planet side assignment placed a bottle of Saurian Brandy and herself in the Captain's arms. Selena's green eyes glowed with more fire than a glass of brandy supplied.
He noticed the hush that fell over the room upon Chapel's return. She made a bee line for Spock, ignoring the audience. He was looking over lyre strings Uhura had given him. "Nurse Chapel.," he said with a steady gaze.
She returned it. "Mr. Spock, the Christmas holiday has been traditionally a time spent with family and friends..." Kirk heard one Jr. Lieutenant silence an Ensign who had slipped in as a date. "As I believe you consider your shipmates friends, I thought..."
"What did she say...?" came from the back of the room. The collective shush filled the air as well as a few others.
She said without looking away, "...you might welcome the company of family as well..."
As Kirk tried to digest the implications, Sarek and Amanda glided in. A quick look at Spock told Jim that the pair were a welcome sight. So that was what Christine had been up to. In the time it took for the Vulcan to greet his family, Christine slipped away unnoticed. Kirk was glad to see the Ambassador and his wife. He wondered, however, why they had made their arrangements with Christine.
As they spoke to McCoy and Spock, Kirk could not resist asking, "Forgive my curiosity, Ambassador, but of all of the senior crew, why did you choose Nurse Chapel as your confidant?"
Amanda smiled at him but it was Sarek who answered. "She was the logical choice."
Spock was not the only one whose eyebrows raised. McCoy laughed, stating, "Nurse Chapel is definitely efficient."
"She is, however, that was not the primary factor in my choice."
McCoy took a sip of his julep and Kirk decided it was time to find Doctor Kyle. What a night.
Spock realized as other curious crew members began to talk with his parents that he had not actually thanked Chapel. Upon scanning the room, he realized she was absent. He excused himself and went to seek her out. It was her scent that guided him. Christine Chapel wore a particular perfume from Rigel but it was made individual by her own body chemistry. He found her not far away in the observation alcove where anyone could see the stars at warp or slowed speed She stood gazing at the particular part of the galaxy.
"Nurse Chapel." She turned in the dim light to look at Spock. "I never had the opportunity to thank you."
Smiling she answered. "It was my pleasure, Mr. Spock. Your parents do not have the chance to see you often, I certainly could not refuse."
Spock had stepped very close to her and the seats behind her kept Christine from stepping back for air.
"Christine, it was the most thoughtful gift I have received. My parents are growing older and have been ill." He placed a very warm hand on her shoulder. Christine looked down, too overwhelmed to speak. When Spock folded her into a hug, she was startled and would have stepped away quickly to avoid misunderstandings. The Vulcan was strong and Chapel realized he was not in a hurry to end the embrace, as her heart stopped.
With a large sigh, she allowed her head to drop to his chest. There was no thought, only the moment in Spock's arms.
* * *
Uhura, missing her friend, knew the nurse could be found at the observation alcove. It was her place of solace and sanctuary when she wanted to get away from the ship and think. The petite woman had a very light step and thought for a moment the darkened room was empty. Her eyes made out the silhouette of the couple so lost in an embrace that Spock's Vulcan hearing did not hear her approach or the door open.
Uhura stepped back quickly pressing the privacy lock with a code. As she made her way back to the party, she felt a moment of numb incredulity. By the time a very merry Captain turned to her and asked, a bit tipsily, over Selena's dark head, "And what about you Ny? Did you get what you want for the holiday?", Uhura's heart sang with joy for her friend. The smile she gave Kirk was brighter than any Christmas light and outshone a couple of stars.
McCoy turned to look at the beaming communications officer. "Yes," she replied. "Yes, yes, yes!" and executed a pretty pirouette before she made her way to the buffet table.