Disclaimer: All hail ParaBorg, cause they own them and I don’t. I do, however, own the creative content of this story. Thanks to my betas Islaofhope, PernFancy, and T'Thelaih. For sharp eyes, and sharp minds, I am in your debt. For the background of Yeoman Janice Rand, I have, ahem, appropriated Vonda McIntyre’s Enterprise: The First Adventure…without permission, though hopefully without offense.
This story was prompted by a sighting of Extremely!Sexist!Spock in “The Enemy Within,” where he implies that Yeoman Rand had asked for/encouraged her attempted rape. Those who own a copy of the episode may wish to refer to it.
Summary: From “The Enemy Within.” Spock learns the power of words, among other things. Told from Uhura’s viewpoint in the first and last sections, and Spock's in the second section.
Rating: PG, TOS
Intermission 5: Sticks and Stones
“The impostor did have several…interesting characteristics, wouldn’t you agree, Yeoman?”
The words fall like stones in my cabin. Janice is setting on the bed, recounting her ordeal at the hands of the impostor. It doesn’t help that she, like many other women on board, has a crush on Jim Kirk. Nor does it help that his alter ego, the wolf Kirk, tried to rape her. But the final blow came with Spock’s words, and now she sits, sobbing on my bed.
Janice is little more than a child herself. After surviving a series of disasters, a fortunate miscalculation of her actual age allowed her to enter Starfleet. Though by all rights she should be in her early twenties, she’s actually only eighteen. She’s too young for what happened, too young to blow off Spock’s words as anything more than an insensitive error on his part. And she’s far too young to realize that nothing she did caused the attempted rape.
Finally, her sobs quiet. “I…I kept wondering if I’d encouraged him. I mean, he is the captain after all…” Her words trail off, and I hear what she doesn’t say. She’s in love with Jim, the first man who ever treated her as an equal, and the way he came to her must surely be the cruelest blow of all.
“Janice,” I say. “It wasn’t your fault. None of this was your fault.” It’s hard to say the words, to speak of the captain as if he were an animal. But that is the face the wolf-Kirk showed Janice, and although Jim offered to stand for court-martial, I don’t know if the image of the wolf-Kirk, leering and savage, will ever completely leave her mind.
The lights have dimmed slightly, in deference to the lateness of the hour. “Do you want me to stay with you?”
Janice shakes her head, looking much younger than her actual age. “I’ll be fine, Nyota.” She smiles at me slightly through her tears. “And thank you.”
I nod, respecting her choice. As I walk down the hallway, I know that I have to talk to Spock about this. I have to make him see the effects of his words.
The next chance I have to talk to him comes during our weekly harp lesson. He has been teaching me to play the ka’athera for some time now. Tonight, we are supposed to work our way through the end of a suite, and a phrase in the first movement stops me repeatedly. It’s not the notes that are difficult, but the meter, and I watch as Spock puts his own harp down to show me how to play the notes in the correct rhythm by using an alternate technique which can make the rhythm smoother.
I often wonder just how strong a telepath he is. He stops four inches away from my hands to look at me curiously. “Is something bothering you, Nyota?”
Yes, I want to say. I want to ask him how someone who is half-human can ask the question he asked Janice, implying that she had encouraged the rape attempt. I know that neither the captain nor the doctor know what he said to her; Janice decided not to include it in her report of the incident. And I seriously doubt she mentioned it in her mandatory counseling after the incident. So in all likelihood, unless I talk to him about this, the probability is that no one will.
I look at him, Vulcan-serious and not, for all his logical demeanor, completely insensitive. I place the ka’athera back on its stand. “I need to speak with you about something that happened when Captain Kirk’s alter ego…escaped.”
He tilts his head a little in a gesture that always reminds me of an alert bird. “Specify.”
Ah, there it is, the tone of Vulcan logic and impassivity. I need to get past that, I need to find some way to make him understand how he made her feel. “Janice Rand’s attempted assault.”
One eyebrow lifts. “I understand that she has declined to file charges against the captain.”
I shake my head. “That’s not what I’m talking about. I’m referring to a comment you made to Yeoman Rand.”
“I do not understand. To what are you referring?” He raises one eyebrow at me, and I am suddenly at a loss for words. But though words have failed me, the necessity of action has not. In the twentieth century, they called this "sensitivity training," but all I can think now is, gods, I hope he'll forgive me for this.
Her hand brushes my collar. For an instant, I cannot fathom what she is doing. Nyota is one of the few people besides Jim to touch me casually, but the way she is touching me is not like those other times. This touch is strangely intimate, not at all like the brushing of her hands against mine when we repair cracked circuit boards, or the touch of her hands under mine during one of our harp lessons.
I fight the urge to flinch away from that strangely invasive touch. One cool human hand rests against the back of my neck. "What's the matter?" she asks softly, and the tone is one I have never heard her use. It is rough with an emotion that none has used to me, but I have heard it often enough from the mouths of human couples during my years at the Academy. Desire, and lust, barely restrained.
I tighten my shields against the insistency of her touch, even as my mind argues for the very implausibility of this situation. Nyota Uhura, one of my first human friends, behaving in such a fashion? I try to regain some control over the situation. "Lieutenant, perhaps we should continue this lesson at another time." The sense of dull panic rises sharp in my throat.
"Oh, come on. You know you want me to."
I pull back and stare at her. "I know no such thing."
One of her hands brushes lightly against one of the meld points on my face in a manner that is far more suggestive than she perhaps realizes. It falls under the category of things protected under Privacy, but this touch is the beginning of foreplay among Vulcans. How she knows of it, I have no idea, but I do not desire such contact with her. But I do not know if I can stop her without causing some serious physical damage. I try once again to reason with her. "Nyota, I do not desire this contact.”
She laughs lightly, a sound that is nothing like her usual laugh. The sound of a hunter, capturing the prey. "That’s not how it’ll look. I'm in *your* cabin, at *your* request. And you outrank me." The threat is clear as if she had spoken it aloud. The regulations against fraternization between individuals in the same chain of command are clear and enforced.
Nyota steps behind me and begins massaging my shoulders. "You're so tense, you can't wait, can you?" I close my eyes against a renewed feeling of panic; I do not want to experience her emotions, but it will soon become impossible to block them. When one of her hands moves to unseal the fastening of my shirt, I bolt straight up and grab her hands in a grip I know must be bruising her. The anger makes my vision green, and I am appalled to realize that I no longer care whether I hurt her or not. "Stop. I do not want you like this."
She sits down heavily in the chair I have vacated. "Now, do you see?"
As I watch, his coloring fades from its usual pale green color. He looks as though he were about to be ill. Small wonder. Spock, my friend, who I have just assaulted. I rub my wrists; I will have some nasty bruising there come morning, but it's nothing the uniform sleeves won't hide.
"That's how you made Janice feel. Like she was being assaulted all over again." Right now I want nothing more than to run away to my cabin and wash the residue of what I have done to him off my hands, but I have to make sure he understands.
The eyes opposite mine are dark with emotion, emotions he is profoundly ill-equipped to deal with. "One suspects it might have been just as effective if you had just said so."
I shake my head. "Would you have understood, if I had? Some things, you have to experience to understand why you need to empathize."
Spock makes a valiant attempt to return his voice to its normal impassivity. "I see. I was insensitive.”
I nod. "You are second-in-command of a ship where the majority of personnel are human. From a human perspective, then, you did not handle the situation in a manner which was appropriate. She had narrowly escaped being raped by a man she trusted, and you implied that she had actively encouraged the assault."
"I was in error," he says simply. "I am unused to dealing with such incidents, and I was not thinking clearly.”
I can tell he’s embarrassed by this admission, but I know it must have been difficult for him to deal with the fact that Jim’s alter ego had attempted to rape someone. Our captain is many things to Spock, but first of all, Jim is his friend. And I know enough of Spock’s life before Jim Kirk to realize how much that means to him.
He walks over to the cabin door, the Vulcan mask firmly in place. "I will apologize to Yeoman Rand immediately, of course. " The face is blank, but the message in his eyes is clear: he understands, and does not blame me for the understanding. I leave with him, and the silence between us is once again that of friends.
The next day, Janice comes into my cabin for our weekly poker game. She's still pretty shaken up, but there's a new lightness in her eyes. "Spock came and apologized to me today."
I continue shuffling the cards. "Oh, really? What did he have to say?"
Janice smiles a little, a girl barely on the edge of adulthood. "Just that he now understands how much his words must have hurt me, and that he did not mean to imply anything." Her face grows serious. "I wonder why he apologized. From what I've heard of Mr Spock, he never apologizes for anything."
I begin dealing the cards. "Maybe he apologized because it was the logical thing to do. Aces high, deuces wild…"