Disclaimer: Paramount/ViaBorg owns them. I own this story, and a whopping student loan debt.
Rating: PG, TOS
Author's note: This is the third story in the Intermission series. As you may have noticed, it takes place out of broadcast order. All I can say is, blame the folks who manufactured the DVD versions of these episodes, since that's what I'm going off of.
Summary: the Rec Room scene from "Charlie X," where Uhura is singing and Spock is playing his harp. Told from Uhura's viewpoint.
Intermission 3: Girls in Space Be Wary
This is how my day usually ends, especially when it's been a long day. I end up in the Rec Room, sometimes to have dinner with Christine or Janice, to play cards, or to simply socialize. And sometimes, I sing.
Everyone comes here, at one time or another. Even Spock. Lord, I was so surprised the first time I saw him here, back when Chris Pike commanded this ship. He was so shy, uncertain. At the time, he reminded me of my teenaged brother, wanting to fit in but so uncertain about how to do it. Then Jim Kirk and his chessboard came along, and all that changed. Now Spock comes here whether or not Jim is here. The chess he plays with Jim, or the doctor. And sometimes, he comes here to play his harp.
I tease him about it sometimes, about how it can't possibly be logical for him to be in the Rec Room. But I underestimate him, a mistake I think has probably been made before. He has a reason for everything. "Nyota"---Spock began calling me that when we began our harp lessons a few weeks ago---"it would not be logical for me to ignore the emotional well-being of this crew, even if I have no emotions myself."
I have heard him play his harp, heard the humor in his voice in his banter with the doctor or Jim. And I know that if this is not a lie, it's at least a strong misdirection. But I let it go.
Spock's tuning his harp now, that instrument which he told me has been in his family for generations. I know that there are famous mathematicians in his family, and an equal number of musicians. Hearing his skill, I am not surprised.
But tonight, his harp isn't cooperating. They can be devilishly difficult to tune, and he's having problems with it. I hum a few bars to indicate where the pitch should be, and he stops.
"Oh, I'm sorry, I'm doing it again," I say. Spock gives me his patented "I'm not really smiling at you, but I am" look, and tries again. This time the notes come more in pitch. Janice darts a glance at me over her cards. The notes he's pulling out of thin air are from a pub song I brought back from Starbase 15 several weeks ago. I've changed the words since then; that's what sailors and singers do.
His eyebrow rises. I know that look; he's daring me to begin. Daring me…who would have thought our calm, logical Vulcan had it in him? I glance at him over my drink; the notes from the harp are starting to take on the more familiar rhythms of the song I brought back. Only, he doesn't know how I've changed the words.
I never would have thought of teasing a Vulcan before this, but this is one I can't pass up. I lift my voice and begin to sing.
On the starship Enterprise
There's someone who's in Satan's guise
Whose devil ears and devil eyes
Could rip your heart from you.
There's laughter in the Rec Room, and maybe in some hidden corner of Spock's soul, there's laughter as well. He rolls his eyes, the look that usually has "illogical" spoken right after it. Except that he's still playing.
At first his look could hypnotize
And then his touch would pulverize
His alien love could victimize
And rip your heart from you.
Bless him, Spock's being a good sport about all of this. I've known for quite some time that he has a wry sense of humor, as Bones has found out on more than one occasion. It's nice to know he can take it as well as he gives it.
Girls in space be wary, be wary, be wary
Girls in space be wary
You know not what he'll do.
As I finish the song, Janice's shadow, Charlie, walks in. Nothing spreads faster than gossip aboard a starship, and everyone knows that he has a terrible crush on her. Janice tried to set him up with another yeoman who was closer to his age, but he only has eyes for Janice.
Ah, I remember seventeen. Being fixated on one person and thinking you would die if you didn't get to date them, and then finding out that it wasn't really worth the effort after all. Poor boy, he's so serious all the time. Spock smiles more than that child does. And there's something else odd about him; his non-verbal communication is all wrong. I'm a communication officer, and I know he's hiding something.
But no place is more receptive to people with secrets than Starfleet. We all have them: Spock, who will not speak of his family, Jim, who survived the massacre on Tarsus IV, and will not speak of what happened there, and Bones, who does not speak of his ex-wife but talks about his daughter all the time. So if Charlie has a secret, it's not so unusual. But it sure would be nice to see that boy smile once in a while.
Spock's still pulling the notes out of the air with his usual skill. So I sing again, hoping to get a smile out of that lonely child.
And from a planet out in space
Comes a lad not commonplace
Seeking out his first embrace
He's saving it for you…
My eyes meet Janice's. I'm teasing her too in a way, but I know she doesn't mind. Charlie can't seem to decide what his reaction is; he's trying to get Janice's attention with the cards he's holding while keeping one ear on my song.
Oh, Charlie's our new darling
Our darling, our darling
Charlie's our new darling
We know not what he'll do.
Charlie's looking at me with that steely blue gaze, and my throat closes up. I can still breathe, but I can't draw enough air to sing. Spock's harp has fallen silent; though he touches the strings, no sound comes out.
I know all at once that Charlie's hiding something much more than a secret, if he can do this. Dear God, what have we brought aboard this ship?