Summary: Gaila does not have enough time to deal with this nonsense…She knows that Jensen is trying to insult her, but Gaila was raised to be a Knife of the Syndicate.
Characters: Gaila, Nyota Uhura
Original story: Whore by igrockspock
Notes: (1) Language: There's a few words in 'Orion' in this story; the definitions have been supplied with a <abbr> tag. Screenreaders may turn on their support for reading aloud title attributes. Firefox and IE users may hover the mouse over text like this. The 'Orion' is English words which have been rot13 encrypted.
(2) Although this is a remix of Whore, igrockspock's The Proper Treatment of Sexorexia and rheanna27's Lunch and Other Obscenities also influenced this work.
(3) Memory Alpha (canon wiki) and Memory Beta (non-canonical licensed materials wiki) are, in fact, the best resources a Star Trek fanwriter has ever tumbled onto. Reading over the Memory Alpha article on Orion slave girls (I am taking the Enterprise episode Bound as canon) and the Memory Beta article on Andorian genders will clear up a few otherwise confusing bits of this story.
(4) The working title for this was (Pimping Aint Easy Mix). The title I nearly went with is (DJ DJ's 'DUjour Means Oppression' Mix) but the DUjour reference is a bit obscure.
Whore (Standard's Not My Native Tongue Megamix)
Gaila wakes and sits up. The lights are on and the door is closed, which must mean Uhura is here. She's not at her desk, so she's probably in the bathroom. Gaila stands and takes off her sleep suit. She's still tired, but she's got class in an hour and she wants to wash and get something to eat. She's just placed the neatly folded orange shirt and pants on her pillow when she hears Uhura step into the room.
Gaila turns around and walks over to her, brushes a hand down her arm. She sighs when Uhura pulls back.
"Not when we're naked," says Uhura in a deliberately calm voice. She walks away to her wardrobe.
"But you're wearing a towel?" Gaila and Uhura have been negotiating the touching since the moment Gaila walked in the room and engulfed Uhura in a giant hug. It took Uhura about a month to accept that, if she didn't want to get pheremone headaches, she was going to have to let Gaila touch her enough to feel like family, to keep Gaila's body from viewing her as competition. It's three standard months later, and Gaila is still finding Uhura's limits on touching.
"If I don't have pants on, I'm naked, even if I have something covering my body." Uhura pulls on a bra and a pair of the aforementioned pants. Then her head whips around and she looks at Gaila. "Er, that's me."
Gaila turns her face away before she rolls her eyes. Uhura knows something like seven human languages and four non-terrestrial ones, but her use of Standard leaves a lot to be desired. Every time she tells Gaila something about sex or the body or taboos, it turns out it's an idiolectic use. Gaila holds her breath and does not say that having sex once a week would be easier, does not say that Uhura touching Gaila would put Uhura in complete control of how and where she was touched, does not suggest they put the beds together and share linens; all of those solutions have been shot down in favor of making Gaila act like a qvpxfuevaxre. Instead, she goes with, "I'm going to the cafeteria before CCDF. Do you want to join me?"
"No, I've got a report to finish."
Gaila doesn't say anything, silently washing and dressing and gathering her mini-PADD. (She has yet to figure out where the other cadets keep their full-size PADDs, but the mini-PADD rolls up small enough to fit in her bra, and that's the only reason she's discovered to wear a double layer of clothing so far.)
"It's sunny today, with no cloud cover," says Uhura, as Gaila walks out the door. Gaila checks herself, turns left instead of right so she can take the tunnels instead of walking outside. Uhura always does that, tells Gaila the weather as Gaila departs, and it's that small kindness that has prevented Gaila from requesting a roommate reassignment.
The tunnels are mostly empty this time of day. She walks by a couple of Tellarites she doesn't know and an Andorian, Thal sh'Kan, she had Warp Mechanics with last term. She jogs a little to catch up when the human Hasani Nguyen enters the tunnels from the Near Space Stellar Observatory. He keeps breaking the curve in her Vulcan history class. "Hey! Nguyen," she says, "when are you going to invite me to your study group?"
He stops and turns back to look at her. "I told you before, it's a game, not a study group."
"So, ask me to your game. I'm trying to tease out a Satisfactory Completion from Founders Three." She smiles at him, then passes him, letting him get a look at her ass. He's interested in having sex with her, she can thfgngbel it. If he asked, she'd say yes, but she doesn't like him enough to do the song and dance of figuring out whether or not she'd be breaking a cultural taboo by asking him herself.
"I'm messing up the curve that bad?" he says, eyebrows rising up to meet his kinky black hair.
She shrugs. "You're messing it up that bad for me." A Satisfactory Completion means she'll have to complete a capstone project on the whole Founders sequence, but at least she won't have to repeat the Vulcan section. She can't really afford that. Rumor has it that if you repeat a core cultural knowledge course in the Academy, they'll assign you to a permanent station on your home world or a species-supermajority colony. There are no Orion colonies in the Federation; she's afraid they'd just quietly release her from her commission.
"Look," he says, "it really is a game, not a study group. I can give you the resource docs outright—they're a lot better written than the class overview—but the Gamemaster has to approve you entering the game. Can you go to the caf now? I'll introduce you to Chell."
"Okay, so I put Wednesday on my calendar, your calendar, and the room reserve calendar. Thank you so much, Chell," says Gaila, and she rubs the Saurian hard under his jaw a couple of times; he whistles agreeably back at her. "And you, Nguyen, are a lifesaver," and she hugs him and kisses him, a fast buss to each cheek. "Thank you so much." She has about two minutes to get to her class in a building that's five minutes away, so she grabs her half-eaten meatroll and turns to leave.
She's stopped by a human female with hair nearly the color of her own. They had an urban combat course together last year, but Gaila cannot come up with her name. Some habits are hard to break, and if a person doesn't have power and doesn't want sex, Gaila can't be bothered with them.
The human stands in front of Gaila, trapping her between the chair she just exited and Nguyen's place, and says, "I know you escaped your glamorous life of crime to get here, but don't you know enough to not touch what isn't yours?"
Gaila does not have enough time to deal with this nonsense, but it turns out the human—her name is Jensen, it suddenly occurs to Gaila—has brought a lackey, and Gaila just doesn't have the leverage to move the chair out from under the pale blue hands of the zhen glaring at her. "I don't know what you're talking about, Jensen. I've got to get to dance class." She can afford to be a little late, actually, Cross Cultural Dance Forms is the one easy class she allowed herself this term. Instructor Dalnutta has already asked if she'd like to do a teaching assistantship in the Physical Exertion Department. But she wants to get there before they start the lecture on insectoid primary communication.
"Stay away from my boyfriend, you whore," hisses Jensen.
Gaila does not know what to say. She knows that Jensen is trying to insult her, but Gaila was raised to be a Knife of the Syndicate: controlling males via sex is the reason she was brought into this existence. When in doubt, be respectful, they said in her Cross-species Contact Intro course, so Gaila responds as if she were at home. "If your slave is out of control, his pbagebytynaq is too small. My bed's full, sister."
Jensen's face gets blotchily pink and she works her mouth open and shut a few times. The zhen pipes up to say, "Well, if Hasani's getting you to come to his—," but she breaks off when Jensen glares at her.
Jensen redirects her glare to Gaila and pokes a finger at her, just short of actually touching. "Look, you goddamned whore, you may have fucked your way into asylum, but you can't get through the Academy on your back, and—."
"Cadet Jensen." Gaila had been staring at Jensen's finger, hoping for contact, hoping to file assault charges. She looks up past the human's shoulder and sees Commander Spock looming over the both of them.
Jensen puts her hand down and stands up straighter. "Commander." She hasn't left herself enough space to turn around and salute; the omission is, technically, a violation of Academy regulations.
"Cadet Jensen, what is the basis for your allegations against Cadet Nobyvgvba?"
Jensen is still facing Gaila; she's got her eyes closed and her bottom lip between her teeth. She looks like she did when she sprained her ankle on an overturned chair. "I saw her physical intimacy with Cadet Nguyen and came to investigate."
"You saw Cadets Nobyvgvba and Nguyen having sex in the cafeteria?" Spock sounds disappointed, but Gaila can't tell at whom the disappointment is directed.
Jensen pulls herself even more tightly to attention and her eyes blink rapidly. "She hugged him and kissed his cheeks, sir. My accusation has no rational basis."
"Cadet Nobyvgvba." Commander Spock looks directly at her.
Gaila brings one arm up in a salute that's too sloppy, since she's avoiding whacking Jensen in the face. "Commander Spock, sir."
"On what basis did you accuse Cadet Jensen of enslaving Cadet Nguyen?" He doesn't look disappointed now, he looks…curious.
Gaila goes still when she realizes what she said earlier. "Sexual fidelity is a sign of enslavement on my homeworld. I reacted to Cadet Jensen as I would have an Orion woman who made a similar accusation towards me, sir."
"I see," he says and there is, bizarrely, no hint of accusation or disgust. He merely steps aside and says, "Cadet Nobyvgvba, I believe you said you were late for class. Please go there. Cadets Jensen and zh'Thane, accompany me to the Provost's office." Gaila is looking at the commander, but she can also see that Jensen is shaking in her peripheral vision.
She doesn't get back to her room until after dinner, which wasn't how she'd originally scheduled herself. (The edged weapons practice rooms and the dance practice rooms empty into the same tunnel, and she'd run into Hikaru on her way out of class. She had still felt edgy after the incident in the lunch room, so she'd cocked a hip at the pretty human and they ran off to his dorm together and didn't leave until 1900.) She messages Jim to beg off this evening's pubcrawl, takes off her uniform, and pulls out a full-sized PADD to start reviewing phaser schematics.
When Uhura comes back to the room, it's pretty obvious that she's been out drinking with someone, although probably not the same pub crawl as Kirk's cadet crew. She whips off her shirt, a thin, black camisole that shines in spots, before the door to their room slides completely shut. "Hey, Gaila." She walks, heavily and deliberately, around her own bed and shimmies out of her skirt, then kicks off the sandals she had on. "I heard you poached Hasani today."
Gaila blinks a little, has to re-run the words. She's been doing higher order mathematics for the past hour, and all her thoughts are in Ynathntr. Then she tries it again, because it sounded like Uhura was accusing her of cooking someone. "Is that an idiomatic expression?"
Uhura kneels down on Gaila's bed, one leg to either side of Gaila's lap. "You know, I think poaching only means stealing in English, not Standard." She sits all the way down, but she's swaying a little bit, so Gaila puts her PADD to one side, her hands on Uhura's shoulders.
"Uhura?" Gaila doesn't know what to make of this, the change in behavior is so great. Jim told her once not to have sex with any humans who couldn't stand up straight or slurred their speech, said it indicated that they were too drugged to make decisions about sex. She doesn't know if touching like this falls under the same taboo or not. "Uhura, what are you doing?"
She smiles, a bigger smile than Gaila has ever seen on Uhura before. "I just want to congratulate you on sticking it to that bitch Jensen."
Gaila relaxes and that's when Uhura grabs her shoulders and kisses her hard, biting at Gaila's lips and knocking their noses together. Gaila pushes Uhura off of her. She either shoves too hard or Uhura's more precariously perched than she'd realized. Gaila silently watches Uhura climb up from the floor onto her own bed.
"Why did you do that?" asks Uhura, and her voice is small and higher pitched than normal. Her mouth is screwed up tight and she's sending out injury pheremones.
Gaila considers the truth (your mouth tastes disgusting and I'm afraid you'd bring me up on rape charges in the morning), a different truth (you don't see me as a person, and I don't sleep with people like that anymore), and a lie (I don't think you're hot.) She settles on, "You said not to touch you when you're naked."
"Am I naked?" asks Uhura. She runs a hand down her side, until her fingers catch on non-uniform lace. "I've got pants on," she says, sounding just as soft, but more confused.
Gaila rolls her eyes and stands up. It's that indeterminate time when she can probably use the dorm lounge to study: late enough for the diurnal students to have cleared out, but too early for the few nocturnal ones to have been released from the night's classes. "I've got a project to finish." She doesn't, but she can get started reading The Way of Kolinahr that Nguyen messaged her. She just has to pull on a shirt.