uhura: fierce

Ficlet: The Trial (Uhura, gen)

Title: The Trial
Author: igrockspock
Characters: Uhura
Rating: PG
Summary: Sometimes it's better to be human than to be right. No matter what it costs.
Notes: for the latest drabble challenge at where_no_woman

The morning of the trial, Nyota awakens at 6 a.m., sliding out of bed and silencing the alarm clock after a single beep. She does not turn on her music or make coffee or play back the transmissions received the night before. Those routines are meaningless now.

Her closet door slides open, louder than usual in the silence of her quarters. Every sound is amplified: the clink of hangers against the metal rod, the creak of the ironing board's legs springing open, the whisper of the iron sliding over the already-stiff fabric of her dress uniform. When that is done, she starts on the boots, letting the smell of the polish fill her quarters the way the scent of coffee and toast should. She polishes them until her arm aches and she can literally see her face in their pointed black toes. Then she allows herself a small smile of satisfaction: one last task done properly. She can't remember the last time she had shined her shoes so carefully. A cadet review, probably, back when she'd been too naive to know -- or even imagine -- the kind of choices Starfleet would force her to make.

She lays the uniform out carefully on the bed, checking that no pieces are missing. One at a time, she arranges her decorations on the chest. There are six of them. The first was for the Klingon transmission she'd picked up back before the Battle of Vulcan. Jim had made sure she got it as soon as he was made captain. The second came from a relief mission gone wrong. She could've beamed out and trusted the universal translator to guide the six families to safety, but she knew it wasn't good enough, so she'd stayed behind to translate for them instead. The scar on her ribs and the three days hovering between life and death in sickbay were worth the 23 lives she'd saved before getting shot. The third was from the New Vulcan High Command, a diplomatic honor awarded because the cease-fire with the Klingons could never have been negotiated without the precision of her translation skills. She deposits the final three medals on her desk with a dull thud before putting on her uniform. After the trial is over and the verdict announced, she will have time to count her accomplishments and mourn how casually Starfleet tossed them away. But she will do that in private; no judge or reporter will detect a single trace of a dried tear on her cheek.

They will say she did it for her husband, of course, and she did. But she also did it for McCoy and Chekov, because they are her friends and because they have saved her life more times than she can count. And because, no matter how well she understands her duty, in her heart of hearts, she would not wish to be left alone to die, and she will not ask of others what she does not ask of herself. They couldn't risk the whole ship and all the lives on it, of course, but she and Jim could risk themselves and one shuttle. They'd succeeded, but this time they will pay for breaking the rules. Violating treaties and disregarding orders to save billions, millions, thousands, or even hundreds of lives was okay. Laudable, even, and quite frequently worth public awards ceremonies and triumphant press conferences. Risking their fragile peace with the Klingon Empire and provoking a dangerous confrontation with the Romulans in order to save three lives was different. The pay-off wasn't big enough for the Starfleet brass or the Federation Council. It was merely proof that she and the Captain had failed to understand their responsibilities as Starfleet officers. Their responsibility to let colleagues, friends, and loved ones die in the name of the greater good.

She doesn't buy it. She didn't earn any of the six medals dangling from her chest for being a good Starfleet officer; she earned them by being human. Saving Spock and McCoy and Chekov was not the logical decision. On reasoned examination, it was perhaps not even the morally correct one. But it was the human one. That's why she'd refused to let Jim take all the blame, even when he had ordered her to. ("You're not the Captain anymore, Captain.") The decision was hers, and she will face the consequences. She will make them see that they can take her medals, her service record, her commission, everything she's worked for since the age of 13, and the three lives she saved will still be worth it. They will see her and know that sometimes being human is better than being right.
I loved this. It was very in character and very stark. Bookmarking now. And, on a selfish note, I would love to see more about the clusterfuck that led to the trial. Thank you for sharing this! And I love the prompts.
I really liked this line: That's why she'd refused to let Jim take all the blame, even when he had ordered her to. ("You're not the Captain anymore, Captain.")

I can so hear her saying that. Which prompt was this written for?
It was for "she wanted to look good for the trial." I guess I should have put that in the notes. Thank you for commenting :)
I ♥ Uhura's characterisation in this.

Would echo previous commenters, though, who asked about the lead-up to the trial. ;-)
I am curious about the lead-up to the trial as well! I think you saw my post about trying to figure out a prequel. I hope that I am equal to the task!
Oh mommy. I can almost pick out the bit of sorta-cannon this might have been based off of, but not quite.
There's sorta canon this might be based on? Please, tell me where! I desperately want to write a prequel, but I really struggle with plot, and if there's canon I can rip off, I'd *really* want to know where it is!
OMG NYOTA! *cries*

They totally have to find her not guilty. HAVE. TO.

She is a great lady, a fantastic human being, and an exemplary officer. This is an excellent portrait of her. Thank you!
Thank you so much for the excellent comment!

(PS - I didn't forget about the latest kink bingo story you sent me. I was just out of town for the weekend)
This is great. Uhura's strength and quiet determination are wonderful. This was awesome.
Thank you! Strength and determination were exactly what I wanted to show, so I'm glad it came through.
She's so awesome and honorable and great. I don't want her to be on trial D:

Great fic and insight!
I am thinking about a prequel. Long, plot-driven fics are really a challenge for me, but I'll only get better if I try to write them!
This is wonderful. I adore your fics, and have been waiting for an update, and wow. I just love this. So...true. I love the heart you've given Uhura. She's a wonderful creation of yours. And the casually mentioned but just so clearly defined relationship with Spock is gorgeous! <3 Thank you!
Thank you - those are such gratifying comments! And I'm glad it was clear that Spock was the husband to whom she referred. I wanted to leave it with no explication, and I assumed people would pick up on it, but I'm really glad someone actually commented to say that they did.
The scar on her ribs and the three days hovering between life and death in sickbay were worth the 23 lives she'd saved before getting shot.

Uhura is so hardcore.

This piece is like a furious, righteous fist in the air. Fight the powers that be, Uhura.
Thank you! I'll admit that in my head, she's found guilty, but I don't think I'd ever be able to make myself write a story that heartbreaking.