some portions of the flashback sequence by Deborah Bailey
The large, burning Vulcan sun beat down upon the crusty surface of the planet with ferocious intensity. Red jagged rocks forced haphazardly together formed the tall, barren mountains that nearly covered the surface of the world. A whispering breeze kicked up handfuls of the dry, thin dust, which obediently formed orange swirls above the ground.
From the base of Dh'reth, a mountain temple, Uhura stood surveying the landscape that surrounded her. She couldn't see the wrecked Klingon ship, or the crews busily attending to its refit. She was on the far side of the mountain, the side which day by day drew the majority of torture from the intensity of the sun.
Uhura raised a dark arm to wipe the beads of sweat from her steaming brow. The heat of this planet, and the strain of recent events had taken a terrible toll on the woman....on all of them. Worst of all had been the worrying about Spock. They had risked their lives and their careers to bring him back to Vulcan in hopes of restoring him to life. Their futures still hung in uneasy balance here on Vulcan. Spock's well-being was also in such a delicate state.
Uhura approached the snarled face of the mountain. The sunlight reflecting off the red and orange surface looked like flames licking outward. The climb promised to be a very hot one, but nothing was going to stop the woman from her journey. Uhura had to see for herself how Spock was doing.
It had been weeks since the fal-tor-pan, yet all that she had seen of Spock since then were brief glimpses of a shadowy figure atop the mountain. The Vulcan healers were allowing him no Human visitors with the single exception of Doctor McCoy. There was also yesterday's brief discussion between Kirk, Spock, and Scotty that Uhura had been told about at last night's evening meal. How she wished that she had been there to see Spock for herself. A rage began to boil inside of the woman that rivaled the heat thrown daily from the sizzling Vulcan sky. How could those blasted Vulcan healers expect Spock to become himself again while being sheltered from life and love?
Kirk, McCoy, Sarek and Amanda had done the best that they could to assure Uhura that Spock was recovering as well as could be expected. However, through each speech of forced cheer, Uhura could see the unspoken words that told of worry and fear. She could tell that even as proclamations were being made that Spock was healing, poorly hidden doubts surfaced through the otherwise decorated words of her friends. Uhura had simply had enough of the second-hand information and cheer-induced reports. She could no longer be kept from her friend because her mind was bursting with questions that needed answers. Her heart was filled with things that needed to be told to her dear friend. The Bantu woman seemed certain that if only she could see Spock, she could help him in the journey of his rebirth. The latest word from the Admiral was that their departure for Earth would be in two weeks at the latest. Once they left Vulcan, who knew when they would ever see Spock again. Uhura knew that now was the time for her quest.
Vulcan healers be damned! She was going to see her friend.
Nyota Uhura adjusted the small backpack that rested against her shoulders. She reached an arm back to pat the precious cargo, and then braced herself to start the climb. The rocks weren't quite as hot as they looked, but they were sharp, so Uhura quickly put on a pair of thick gloves.
She had picked her way to some pre-chosen halfway point before allowing herself a rest. Uhura took a small canteen of water from around her neck and filled her mouth with the warm, but quenching liquid. She looked at her wrist chronometer and allowed herself a small smile of pride. She was ahead of schedule. Uhura looked around, and found a reasonably flat area that would serve as a momentary bench on which to sit. How she longed for a cool breeze or a refreshing shadow to shade her from the heat. She could have taken the cut-out steps on the mountain's other side and benefitted from the shadow of the mountain, but then she would have been in full view of the entire city below. She would have been seen climbing up to the sacred place of healing, and someone would have asked her what she was doing there. Vulcans, of all people, wouldn't understand why she had to do what she was doing. They would scold her for displaying such useless Human emotions, and would tell her that what Spock needed most now was solitude, not friendship. They would tell her that visitors would upset his retraining, that contact with others would be painful and harmful now. They would tell her these things and send her away. Uhura could not let that happen, and that is why she chose the rougher, yet more private way up the mountain. She needed to go to Spock just as he had gone to her those many years ago.
Sickbay was bathed in the dim light of simulated night. Only one nurse was on duty, filing reports into the computer and testing medical samples.
Uhura glanced at the chronometer on the far wall and saw that it had been over an hour since Doctor McCoy had left Sickbay for the evening. He had wanted to give her a hypo to help her sleep, but she convinced him that it was unnecessary. In reality, sleep was the farthest thing from her mind, but she wanted a few quiet hours alone to think.
She glanced around the room. She saw the same shadows that had been there last week when she had first come to Sickbay. They had frightened her, and Nurse Chapel had stayed late to hold and comfort the woman plagued with the fears of childhood. Now, however, she knew that the shadows were just patterns made by the faint light shining on objects. At least I'm making some progress, she chided herself sarcastically. At least shadows don't send me running for help anymore.
Uhura glanced over at the meter-high piles of computer tapes that were stacked around the terminal to her right. In them were volumes of information. Information that was meant to replace that which had been sucked out of her mind by that awful creature, Nomad.
The door buzzer sounded. Startled, she paused before calling out, "Come."
She heard the door open and then the lean figure of Commander Spock appeared at the entrance to the sleeping area. She noticed that he seemed to be carrying something.
"Lieutenant, I am disturbing you. I will return tomorrow."
"No! Please, don't leave. I was just reading. Come in." She gestured to a chair by the bed.
Spock walked over and stiffly sat down on the edge of the chair. He propped his Vulcan harp onto his lap.
"Mister Spock, why did you bring that?"
"Do you remember the song I first taught you how to play?"
Do you remember? Uhura shook her head to dispel the insistent inner voice. "I'm trying to." She frowned, then put the book down beside her. "Play something for me."
"As you wish."
He began to gently strum the harp, producing a sound that seemed more powerful than she would've expected out of the fragile-looking instrument. The soft chords were so soothing. She sat back against the pillows and closed her eyes so that she could absorb the delicious sounds without using any other senses. Unfolding before her like a night-blooming desert flower, opening itself after the heat of the day, an image appeared. It was Spock. He was sitting in the recreation lounge, still playing the harp and glancing in her direction. She got up and went over to him. She was singing something --what was it? Oh yes, a song to tease the normally stoic Vulcan into the hint of a smile. He played along with her as they continued their musical flirtation to the amusement of the other occupants of the room.
Abruptly, another song flowed from deep within her. A love song. This one was not risqué or teasing, but slow and sensual. Taking a deep breath, she allowed the precious oxygen to fill her lungs and bring the song to her lips. Spock's harp continued to strum gently, his strings weaving themselves between her words and her voice. She yielded to his entreaty and took flight with the lilting melody. From far away, she heard her own voice float up over the euphony of the harp. She felt herself being overwhelmed by the beauty of the music and the peace that settled over her. Afraid that it had been lost forever, now she couldn't contain it. It had to be expressed. The song was hers, and it could never be lost. She gave voice to it and released her fears.
As Spock's fingers stilled the vibrating strings, Uhura wrapped her arms around her chest, exhaling as the coda faded into silence.
"That was beautiful, Uhura," the Vulcan commented, a faint expression of approval on his countenance.
She sighed softly, a smile on her lips. "I thought I'd lost my music. I was afraid that I'd never find enjoyment in it again."
"Nomad scanned you because it heard you singing. It could not understand what music was. It could never understand your gift, Lieutenant, or the joy you find in it."
"Yes, Spock. There is joy in it. I needed to feel that again. I've been so afraid."
"It requires courage to face your fears. Only then will you be able to overcome them. It is illogical to pretend that you are not afraid. Whom does it serve?"
Uhura was touched by his candid reply. "I'm beginning to realize that now, Spock."
In a hushed whisper, he said, "This is an ancient Vulcan lullaby that my mother used to sing to me. It is one of my favorites, and one of yours."
And one of yours. The words echoed hauntingly in Uhura's mind. She gulped back sobs as he began to play and sing. The song was unfamiliar to her.
She lay there for a few moments wallowing in a world of self-pity once again, until somehow, the music seemed to follow her and rescue her from the darkness of her mood. She felt it physically pulling her back into the present, and she felt it beg her to listen to its wonderful composition.
She glanced over at Spock. His eyes were closed as he sang the rich words of the tune, and tenderly strummed the instrument's strings. In her mind, Uhura began to sing the words just after him. The song was so lovely, and she savored the gentle sounds of the notes. Then her silent singing jumped into synch with his...they sang the words together. Finally, without even being aware of it, Uhura began to sing the words before Spock's voice released them. She remembered the song! Tears fell from her eyes once again, but this time they were tears of happiness as the words and notes of the remembered lullaby filled the shadows of Sickbay.
Spock ended his song and allowed himself a faint smile as he saw the joy that radiated from the face of his friend. Without a word he stood, tucked the harp under his arm, and left the room.
After he had gone, Uhura sang the song to herself several more times, and as she did, a joyful realization filled her. If she could remember a song, then perhaps she could remember other things, too. Perhaps there's hope after all.
Moments later, sleep finally came to the young woman, and her dreams were filled with wonderful sights and sounds of her past.
A loud gong jolted Uhura from her thoughts, and she was surprised to see that she was nearly at her destination. She scrambled to the barely flat surface of the mountain top, and surveyed the temple-like surroundings. She looked around cautiously, even though she knew that everyone would be inside during the warmest part of the day. Still, her Starfleet training told her that it never hurt to be too careful.
She dashed to the opening in the mountain where she had seen Spock walk through time and time again during the past few days.
As she entered the mountain, she couldn't help but sigh as the shade rescued her body from the pelting beams of sun. She looked around her and gasped as she saw the multitude of hallways and chambers. How will I ever find Spock in this maze? Vaguely, she remembered what McCoy had recounted about his one and only visit to the building on Dh'reth. The gate that led to the garden was what she should look for, and so she continued her quest.
The quiet hallways gave no clue as to their contents so Uhura began, quite logically, with the first corridor to her right. She passed chambers of Vulcan priests meditating and chanting, and found herself worried that they might sense her presence. She quickened her pace and followed the hallway as it bent sharply to the left. Just then her eyes spied a dark gate at the end of the long hall, and she began to walk toward it. Excitement filled her heart as she approached the intricate patterns of the metallic gate. This must be the way to the beautiful garden that Doctor McCoy mentioned. Before she could take another step, however, a noise from a small opening to her left commanded her attention, and she decided to investigate. Suddenly her heart leapt with joy at what she saw. The slender, silhouette of Spock lay sleeping on a bed at the back of the small, sparse room.
A steady candle burning on an otherwise bare table helped to guide Uhura as she entered the room. She knelt down quietly near the foot of the bed. Without a sound, she removed the backpack from her shoulders. Tenderly, she unwrapped her precious cargo, and watched the candle's flickering reflection dance upon the Vulcan harp's polished surface.
Uhura swung her legs through the soft dust of the floor, and positioned them comfortably underneath her body. She rested the harp upon one shoulder and gently began to pluck its feather-soft strings.
Uhura filled her lungs with warm air, and began ever so softly to sing the words of the ancient Vulcan lullaby. Tears fell from her eyes as the room filled with the tender, soothing song. The walls of the dark chamber echoed with the rich combination of the woman's voice and the instrument's music. Uhura sang more beautifully than ever before, and as she did, she felt a wonderful healing power fill the chamber.
When she finished her song, she sat where she was for a few moments before getting up. She watched her friend lying on the bed, and hoped with all of her heart that he would soon recover.
Uhura stood, and placed the harp on the floor near the head of the bed.
"You'll need this," she whispered, and then added, "I love you, dear friend."
With that Uhura turned and left the room. Just as she started down the hallway she heard two whispered words echoing against the dark rocks behind her.
Uhura stood perfectly still as the full emotional impact of those words swept through her. A glorious mixture of joy and relief filled Uhura's heart. Spock was healing!
When the thick, rocky walls had released the last vibrations of those triumphant words Uhura turned to leave. She felt happier than she had in a very long time.
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