Other Marks of Respect

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by templemarker

Notes: For catalysticat. Title from US Naval Regulations, Chapter 12, Section 3.


Uhura had gone into Starfleet knowing that the best way to develop the research she was most interested in would be to work in the forefront of the field. Xenolinguistics, developed the moment Vulcans had made first contact in the twenty-first century, had centuries of data to sift through. But with the universe opened up to the people on the third planet from Sol, there were so many more languages to learn, research, and analyze. Uhuru wasn’t satisfied with what was known; she wanted more. More phonology to comprehend, more syntax to break down, more data for her dissertation and the contributions she was making to the field.

She joined Starfleet to accomplish this goal, and was presented with another: upholding the honour of those who came before.

Like so many others from Terra, she sought out Starfleet as shorthand to the knowledge and education and experience necessary to an increasingly space-faring population. Like so many others, she learned the meaning of crewmanship; of duty; and of command.

Standing outside the medical bay as Enterprise limped her way back to Starbase One, she watched the silent flashing light over Captain Pike’s bed beat in time with his heart. The events that transpired over the last several weeks were still a shock. As reality settled in that over half her cadet class were dead, that she would never walk side-by-side with Spock on the desert rock of Vulcan, she sought out the captain of this vessel–the commissioned captain, not the sobered Acting Captain Kirk.

Honor, and duty, were things every Starfleet cadet learned in their first class at the Academy. Some two percent dropped out after that initial lecture about the meaning of the uniform they wore, but entry numbers were so high and increasing every year that it more than compensated for those who left before they began. Honor, and duty, and respect for the commanding officer, for the hierarchy of rules and regulations that governed the growing force that was the Federation’s armada.

There, lying on a bed with the ruins of his legs hidden beneath a standard issue blanket, was a man who had walked headfirst into clear danger to give his crew, his untried crew, time. She had watched his face as the decision was made, and never saw one flicker of doubt.

Uhura didn’t enter the room, but only watched for a few minutes more, and resolved that she would be like him: duty in the face of crisis, honour in the face of fear, respect given in service of what must necessarily be done. Pike didn’t stir, and neither did she.

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