Disclaimer: Star Trek is the property of Paramount/Viacom. This story is the property of Mistress V and is copyright (c) 2006 by Mistress V. Rated PG.
"Hey, Chris, those look amazing!"
Christine looked up from her task and smiled at Nyota. "It would be only right to share our bounty with everyone, Ny," she said as she continued grating fresh white coconut meat over the individual cream pie tartlets. "And where better than the senior management meeting?"
"Aww, I still think you should have invited you-know-who over for dessert in your quarters..."
Christine's face turned scarlet. "NY!" she sighed, exasperated. "Will you give it up? There is nothing between us. We're just work colleagues, exactly like you said we'd be. And that's fine with me!"
Liar, she said to herself. You know you wish it was more than that.
"Yeah, sure," her friend replied impishly. "Honey, he was watching you eat the other day. Men don't do that if they aren't at least a little interested."
"He was not watching me eat! He was asking me about my lunch, he'd never seen hummus before and I guess since he knows I'm vegetarian too, he was thinking about trying it. Nothing more than that."
"If you say so," Ny rolled her eyes. "But I recall, a long time ago, your telling me he said it would be illogical to protest against your natures. C'mon, you're both grownups, and you're obviously attracted to each other ... what are you waiting for? Or do you really want to buy me that week's worth of Thracian chocolate mousse?"
"Ny," Christine dropped her voice, suddenly dead serious, "I know we were kidding around the other day, saying he'd be in my bed and all, but ... I've realized how much I have come to admire and respect him, way too much to pursue him like he's some kind of trophy. I'll admit I'm still very attracted to him, but I don't want to upset the ... coconut cart. Let's just leave things the way they are. At least we're civil to each other. It's ... enough."
Nyota swiped a finger into the empty bowl and helped herself to the last remnants of the coconut cream pie filling. "OK, OK, you win." Then she indicated a smaller container that held four of the tarts. "Who's that for?"
"Pauulu. I figure it's the least I can do after I scared the crap out of him the other day!"
They laughed at the memory of the terrified yeoman in the coconut palm tree.
"So, what are you singing tomorrow?"
"Ny, I never said I'd actually perform, you volunteered me, remember?"
Nyota put on her best contrived martyr's face. "I thought you were my friend! And after all I've done for you lately!"
"Like making sure Spock was in the arboretum last Saturday morning? How more obvious could you get?" Christine's eyes narrowed. "Please don't tell me you arranged that little coconut disaster?"
"Look, I'm good, but not THAT good," Nyota deafened herself. "And stop changing the subject. What are you singing? How about the Pina Colada song?"
Christine briefly considered murder. "No, that's much more your speed, Ny."
"Hrmph. Well, what if he shows up, all excited to see you perform and you're not there? He'll be disappointed."
She put the last of the tarts into the container and snapped the lid shut. "How many times do I have to say it? He's Vulcan, he does not get excited or disappointed. Those are..." She stopped and sighed, unexpected sadness tugging at her. "…illogical human emotions. But to get you and Riley off my back, I have decided to do 'Independence Day' as a tribute to all of us leaving the past and moving forward into new adventures."
* * *
"Hey, what are those?" Sulu asked as he sat down in the briefing room. He helped himself to one of the tarts.
"Yeah, where'd they come from?" Chekov said as he scarfed down another one. "They're delicious!"
"Thanks to the experimental horticultural department, we are able to enjoy these coconut tarts. I made them. I thought I'd share the treat with everyone." Christine looked around at her colleagues. "Help yourself, please."
Kirk took a bite and swallowed, smiling his approval. "Spock, what else are you growing out there? I could get used to this, Doctor!"
"Yeah, Chris, how bout some of your banana bread?" Sulu managed to say without choking on his third tartlet.
"For good banana bread, the bananas need to be black-hole black rotten, preferably oozing fermented liquid. I don't think I'll find those in the arboretum," Christine replied with a laugh. "How about some of those cacao pods you grew instead? I could make some mudpie."
"No dice," Sulu said. "That cocoa's off-limits."
"But the replicator chocolate is disgusting!"
"Okay, ladies and gentlemen, if we can dispense with the pocket culinary critiques," Kirk interrupted, "we have a briefing to get through. Spock, your analysis?"
The entire group turned to listen to the First Officer's findings from yesterday's planet visit. Only the Vulcan had a mouth full of one of the tarts and was obviously enjoying the experience. This was quite a departure from the norm. No one had ever seen Spock eat a casual between-meal snack.
Unfazed, he simply swallowed, cleared his throat and began giving his report as though nothing unusual had happened.
Christine was stunned. Maybe Ny was right -- he had mellowed with time!
* * *
"Mr. Spock?" Christine called after the First Officer as he prepared to leave the briefing room.
She handed him the small container of tarts. "I felt so badly about how I spoke to Mr. Pauulu that I wanted him to have these. After all, if it was not for his efforts, we wouldn't have had them at all. Could you see that he gets them please?" She winced inwardly, expecting a rebuke or, at the very least, an invitation for her to deliver the parcel herself.
"Certainly, Doctor. I am sure he will appreciate them." He took the offering, then hesitated a second before he continued. "May I compliment your cooking talents. The tarts were indeed a most delicious treat."
"T-thank you," she replied, wondering why she was beginning to stutter in his presence.
He just raised an eyebrow in his now-familiar way and headed out the door.
* * *
Later that afternoon, she was surprised to see a message from the First Officer in her mailbox. Her eyes widened as she read the text.
"Doctor, you mentioned this morning that you would appreciate obtaining some extremely overripe bananas. It so transpires that Mr. Pauulu has reported one of the plants has some fruit that is ripening over-quickly. Perhaps you could meet me in the arboretum tomorrow before your usual sports activities and we could inspect the plant to determine if the fruits are to your liking?"
She exhaled. He had remembered what she said in the meeting? And he obviously knew that her skating date with Ny was more than a casual occurrence. Could it be even remotely possible that...?
"Naah," she told herself. Then she sent a confirmation, agreeing to meet him the following morning.
Spock read the reply and felt that unfamiliar flip flop in his stomach. He had been reading that human courting practices involved the giving of food as gifts of intent. Decent chocolate, something he surmised she enjoyed eating, was obviously in short supply. Perhaps bananas would suffice.
* * *
"Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to our very first Karaoke night. It's gonna be a great time! To start things off, here's our own 'Tex' Dillon doing 'Long Tall Texan!'" Riley started the applause as the cocky engineer leaped on stage, dressed in Texas-style accessories.
Spock eyed his computer monitor as he watched the goings on in the rec room. He had decided not to go as he was not certain any of the other male senior officers would do so. But he knew Christine had been talked into performing so he decided to watch from the safety of his quarters. If the event looked promising, perhaps he could mention to Jim that attending a future performance would be an interesting experience for both of them. After all, he could better observe and learn about human interaction, a perfectly logical reason to go. And the captain's presence could be seen as supporting crew morale.
He looked at the young lieutenant moving about on the stage. "I am a long tall Texan," he sang, "I ride a big white horse.." and the audience was applauding his efforts.
Suddenly Spock looked more closely. It couldn't be! He was singing ... to Christine? To her table, he quickly surmised, where she sat with Commander Uhura. They were laughing and clapping along, obviously enjoying themselves.
"I am a long tall Texan, I wear a ten gallon hat!" Dillon continued, as, to Spock's horror, he took the large western hat off his head and threw it into the audience. He closed his eyes as he saw who caught the headgear.
The unfamiliar sensation of jealousy, something he had never known before, took hold of him and he felt his pulse quicken, wanting instinctively to defend Christine from this ... oafish lout. Then Spock watched further as Commander Uhura took the hat from Christine and threw it back at the performer, who re-caught it with a flourish. He let his breath out in a long slow whoosh. Others were interested in Christine -- something he had not even considered. Perhaps she was likewise intrigued with the prospect of other crewmen. He would have to make a move soon, even though he still had only the vaguest idea of what to do.
Spock managed to calm himself as other performers went through their songs. He vaguely heard Commander Uhura sing a tale about spending an evening at a desert shelter, half-heard Lt. Riley announce that there would be another musical night the following Friday, seeing as it had such a good turnout. Then his attention was brought back into focus. Christine walked on stage.
She was simply dressed in denim jeans and a soft-looking striped sweater, rather like something a mariner might have worn back on Terra many centuries ago. Her hair shone in the spotlight. He wanted to touch it.
"In honor of all of us starting a new life together, here's 'Independence Day'!" she said with a smile.
Spock listened to the unfamiliar words without even hearing them. His eyes were riveted to her face, watching the emotion play across her beauty. He had never seen her eyes quite so blue and almost felt like she was looking into his most innermost thoughts, which was illogical as they had no bond connection. Her voice was insistent and strong, but melodious.
"Let freedom ring, let the white dove sail,
Let the whole world know that today is the day of reckoning...
Let the weak be strong, let the right be wrong,
Throw the stone away, let the guilty pay,
It's Independence day!"
Emotion continued to wash over him even as the song came to a close and she left the stage. The evening was over, though he heard Lt. Riley invite everyone to an after party in the ship's bar. He closed his eyes, almost feeling sick at the thought of Lt. Dillon interacting with Christine there. For a split second he actually thought about going to the bar as well. Then logic kicked in.
He switched off the monitor and prepared to meditate. Such illogical emotional reactions made him feel very confused, possibly even frightened, and he had to decide if this really was a logical course of action. He was beginning to realize that the prospect of courting this woman was terrifying him. And he flashed back to that day, so long ago, on Vulcan, when he had told T'Pring that having something was not always as great as wanting it. Was this also so for him? He realized had wished to experience his human side after Gol, but right now, it was decidedly not to his liking.
* * *
He saw her. The chronometer told him that it was still 20 minutes to their appointed meeting time, but she had settled down on one of the lawns and was doing what appeared to be stretching exercises. Of course. Sporting disciplines required the body to be warmed up properly, so it was only logical that she did this. He thought of his own Kohlinar routines, then wondered if he might ever be able to master this rollerblading, as he now knew it to be called, to accompany her one afternoon.
Yeoman Pauulu called to him then about the bromeliads and he made his way over to see what the issue was.
It had not been a good night for him. His meditation had been punctuated with interruptions, mostly thoughts of Christine being pursued by Lt. Dillon, and the thought of losing her again. After several hours of frustration, he had almost decided to abandon the ridiculously illogical notion of courting a human female -- even though it was Christine. And then he had remembered speaking with his father upon his return from Gol, outlining his plans for re-joining Starfleet and following his desires. Sarek, who had grudgingly begun to accept that his son's life was taking a different path from the one he had hoped him to follow, had told him to follow his choices to their logical end, otherwise he would never know if they were what he in fact wished to achieve.
So he knew he could not give up on Christine yet.
He looked over and saw her approaching the tropical plant sector. She wore the soft knit legging trousers again, but the t-shirt was different. It bore an inscription in French, Musee d' Monet, Giverney and had a pleasing design of one of the artist's paintings. A pair of skates was slung across her shoulders.
"Good morning, Doctor," he said.
"Hello Mr. Spock, Mr. Pauulu," she replied with a smile. "I hear you might have some bananas I'd like?"
They walked through the foliage, and Spock was pleased that she seemed to know many of the varieties. He heard her exclaim over the mango trees and made a mental note to check the progress of the bright orange fruits. Eventually, they reached the plant in question.
"Yes, exactly," she breathed as she examined the dark brown, soft bananas. "All that's missing is the fruit flies."
Spock was taken aback. Perhaps she did consume insects? Some Terran cultures had been known to do so, but he still found this hard to picture of her. "I beg your pardon?" he asked.
"Oh, sorry, Mr. Spock, I know there are no insects here, and they're yucky anyway -- but back home, the sign of a really rotten banana is the presence of fruit flies. These are perfect. If you don't need them, I'd be happy to take them off your hands!"
"Excellent. I can have Mr. Pauulu deliver them to the medical lab this afternoon."
"Great! I guess we'll be having banana bread at the staff meeting next week after all!"
Her smile was so incandescent that he felt himself wanting to kiss her. But not yet, he told himself. It was too soon.
He walked with her back towards the skating path. "I am keeping you from your rollerblading appointment with the Commander, I fear," he said.
"No, she's going to be a little late. Apparently she stayed a little too late at the after karaoke party last night with Riley and Dillon, dancing. I'm really glad I didn't go with her -- it's just not my thing."
Relief literally washed over him. She had not gone with Lt. Riley to the bar. There was still a hope for him.
"Well, I shall look forward to trying your banana bread next week, then, Doctor. I hope you enjoy your skating. I must attend to the vegetable sector with Mr. Pauulu now. Have a good morning."
"Thanks Mr. Spock. I'm sure I'll see you this week somewhere."
He watched her walk back over to where she was going to meet her friend, and for the first time in a long time, he actually was feeling happy.
Logic be damned.