Lieutenant Uhura had been looking forward to seeing their nearly-sixteen-year-old captain, for lack of a better phrase, make his debut during the shipwide party she had been planning for a few weeks now with the sanction of the acting captain. While the crew were all aware of their captain's unique situation, they did not all come into frequent contact with him now that he was no longer a small child, and Kirk's presence below decks had been sorely missed.
From his first week after assuming captaincy, James Kirk had upended regulation and tradition with a blithe disregard for decades-instilled custom that equal parts horrified and fascinated his eager crew. He had strolled alone into a rec room his third night aboard, and after the initial panic over the unheard-of presence of a commanding officer below decks had died down had been invited to participate in a game of chess against one of the more foolish young hopefuls.
After three hours of soundly trouncing everyone who made the attempt to 'play winner', he left amid a sea of smiling faces and hesitant invitations to return - which he did, a week later, and this time accompanied by an extremely reluctant but obedient Lieutenant-Commander Spock. Two weeks later, Kirk made his first shipwalk at ship's gamma shift; he walked the entirety of his ship to meet the crewmen who were normally sound asleep during the first two shifts of the day. And one more week later, he in exasperation asked Commander Spock if he would for heaven's sake tell everyone to stop saluting when he passed in the corridors, because it was interfering with efficiency and just flat driving him crazy.
Spock's eyebrows had clearly said he regarded that to have already happened, but he had relayed the request to a skeptical crew.
These maneuvers had begun a new perception of the command chain within the ranks, and it had been a wise tactical move for a very young starship captain. Kirk made up for in charisma what he lacked in diplomacy, and plying that and a genuine love for his people upon his starry-eyed young crew bound them together within weeks into a cohesive, fiercely loyal group.
So now that Kirk, the adult Kirk, had been absent for nearly three months, his crew were growing a bit restless. And while the interim had been good for Commander Spock and his relations with their crew, he was still not the captain (by his own admission, and pleased to not be so) and the crew had missed Kirk's presence of late. Crew efficiency and morale were down by six percent, which dropped into a range that demanded medical and departmental attention, and so she had received permission to hold a shipwide party one evening during the last leg of their star-mapping mission, the purpose of which was to raise morale and celebrate the end of their stint of boring stellar cartography.
Apparently the prospect was enough to break their young captain out of his studious shell, because she walked into Acting Captain Spock's cabin to find the young man trying his dead-level best to convince his temporary guardian that he was close enough to galactic legal drinking age to be permitted to indulge at the party. (1)
"Spoooooock! C'mon! I'm like, what, only a few weeks away from sixteen?" the young man wheedled, accompanied by a set of guileless puppy eyes.
Spock looked highly unamused. "Even were you of age, Jim, I would not permit the ingestion of alcohol which is manufactured illegally in the Engineering section. Quite," he added, seeing the teenager's wide-eyed look of dismay. "I am fully aware of Mr. Scott's recreational proclivities. I choose to, as you say, turn a blind eye unless said proclivities are detrimental to crew morale or the workings of this ship."
Jim grinned. "You're not as uptight as you look, you know," he offered cheerfully.
"Thank you, sir," was the dry reply, delivered over the top of a computer monitor.
"Sooooo…if I promise to stay away from Scotty's hooch can I at least -"
"Desist this line of inquiry, Jim."
"Argh!" The young man huffed, hands fisted on his slim hips as he glared over the top of the monitor. "You're driving me nuts, Spock!"
Spock relented enough to give him a raised eyebrow, speaking as if entirely innocent of any motive besides pure logic. Uhura smiled at her data-padd; he wasn't fooling anyone. "It is hardly my fault if that journey is such a short distance, pi-khartlan."
Jim's ears reddened at the childhood term, and he scuffed one boot-toe across the floor with a loud squeak. "I'm not a child," he grumbled, but with very little true resentment.
"I entirely agree. And my refusal to permit you indulgence in alcoholic beverages at the ship's social gathering is entirely unrelated to your age."
"It is," the Vulcan agreed placidly. "As in another week or two the point will be completely moot, and your human foolishness is of no consequence to me, I should be tempted to allow it, and to thereby teach you a valuable lesson regarding the quality of temperance. However," he continued, raising a warning eyebrow when Jim was about to interject, "you will be interacting with your crew, many of them for the first time in nearly three months. I vowed upon your assumption of captaincy to see, to the best of my ability, that you never performed an action before your crew which could be seriously damaging to your image. Therefore, you will not indulge, as you will desire to behave properly before your crew."
The teenager blinked, processing this. "Oh," he finally offered lamely.
"Right. Yeah, that's probably a good idea."
"Those engendered by myself usually are," Spock responded serenely. "Lieutenant, do you require me or Mr. Kirk?"
Uhura smiled at the young man's squeak of surprise, not having realized she had entered (Spock's quarters recognized her by now, after their frequent communications regarding music and other shared topics of interest through the years). "You, Mr. Spock. I just need signatures for these requisitions; they need to be turned over to SS&R before you come on shift, so I thought I'd bring them by myself."
"Let me see, Lieutenant." Spock took the stack of data-padds and began scrolling through the requisitions with the practiced efficiency of one who has done far too much paperwork in the last few months.
"How are you this morning, Jim?" she asked kindly, to fill the silence.
The young man cleared his throat and smiled. "Fine, thanks. And you, Lieutenant?"
"Busy," she replied ruefully, indicating the reports Spock was signing. "But it is certainly more interesting than sitting on the Bridge correlating department reports on stellar cartography. Can I put you down for part of the musical program for the party, Mr. Spock?" she then added suddenly, strategically timing it so that he was partly distracted by a signature.
"If you must, Lieutenant," was the weary response, and both she and their underage captain grinned.
"You've gotta teach me how to play that thing, Spock," the young man said, winking conspiratorially at the Communications Chief. "Tall, mysterious guy in a uniform, playing a sexy harp-thing - total chick magnet. Isn't that right, Lieutenant?"
"Of course," she replied with perfect innocence. Spock paused, glancing up with a look of consternation, and she smiled mischievously. "It's every girl's dream, sir, to be serenaded with a…sexy harp-thing."
Jim sniggered as Spock fairly shoved the data-padds back into her waiting hands.
"You're going to sing, too, aren't you Lieutenant Uhura?" Jim asked as she turned to leave.
"Might I suggest an honorary rendition of Captain Sunshine," Spock drawled wickedly from behind them.
Jim's face reddened, and she stifled a laugh as the door opened to allow her exit.
"I am certain Security Chief Giotto could be persuaded to put together a visual tribute to accompany your vocal talent, Lieutenant."
Revenge, as any crewman aboard could tell you, was best served Vulcan.