Nyota Uhura was living a nightmare. She would like to have been able to say that it was her worst nightmare, but even that paled compared to the reality that surrounded her.
It seemed like a lifetime ago, yet it had only been a day since she’d been part of a landing party that had beamed down to the planet Halkan. The mission had been simple enough; negotiate with the ruling council for rights to their dilithium crystals. A violent magnetic storm that was developing in the region had caused a break in the negotiations so that the Enterprise could leave orbit and wait out the ion disturbance.
The landing party had signaled for a beam up and at first all seemed as it should have been. The Communications Officer clearly remembered appearing in the transporter room for a brief moment, then a wave of disorientation passed over her as she felt herself fading out once more.
When she and the landing party again materialized, they were still in the transporter room, but not on their Enterprise. She, Captain Kirk, Mr. Scott, and Dr. McCoy had been shifted to a parallel dimension.
A Universe where there was a warlike Empire instead of a peaceful Federation. A society were cruelty was the norm and discipline was enforced through the use of torture. Advancement in rank occurred not through merit, but by the assassination of superior officers. Officers that recruited private guards to help them maintain power.
Yet even those changes were something that Uhura could’ve handled. After all, she had dealt with both the Klingon and Rihannsu Empires back in her own Universe. No, it was the sight of familiar faces horribly distorted that had completely unnerved her.
Pavel Chekov, who she loved as a brother, had attempted to assassinate the Captain. Hikaru Sulu, a friend since the day she had come aboard Enterprise and at one time a lover, had been likewise transformed into a murderous head of security. Already the scar-faced officer had made an obscene advance on her, one that was obviously not the first.
It was only the appearance of the Captain on the bridge that had prevented something from happening. Still, she would never forget the look in the helm officer’s eyes. Instead of the familiar soft, caring gaze that Uhura was used to; she had found instead something cold and menacing. A look that was practically feral in its lustful appetite.
“Spirits of my ancestors,” Uhura silently prayed as she stepped into the turbolift and headed for her quarters, “deliver us from this abomination.”
The dark skinned woman knew that Mr. Scott and Dr. McCoy were even now working on a plan to get them safely home. Captain Kirk had left the bridge earlier, but had secretly signaled to tell her of the plan and warn of the practice of assassination.
Hoping to avoid another, possibly violent, confrontation with Sulu, Uhura had left the bridge herself, saying she still felt a little dizzy from the bad transport. It was her plan to wait in her quarters until the Captain contacted her again.
“Taking a break, Lieutenant?” an unfamiliar Lieutenant Commander who had entered the turbolift on a lower deck asked her.
“Yes,” Uhura replied, thinking that ignoring him totally would be a bad move.
“Interested in a little fun?” the tall, redhead asked, reaching out and sliding his hand across her bare midriff.
One of the changes on this Enterprise was the uniform the crew wore. Ordinary crewman wore pretty much the same jumpsuits as back home. The only addition being the dagger through the Earth symbol of the Empire.
The uniforms for male officers were pretty much the same as well, but with small additions that made them more militaristic. The exceptions being those of the Captain and Mr. Spock who wore personalized uniforms, but even back home Captain Kirk sometimes wore a unique design as befitting a starship commander.
The outfit that had been designed for female officers, well the kindest thing that could be said about it was that there wasn’t much of it. It made Uhura remember how she once complained about the very short skirt that was part of her duty uniform.
The skirt she now wore in its place was even shorter, but that was nothing compared to the halter-top that left most of her mid-section bare and barely contained her breasts. A gold sash hung around her waist, to which was attached to a scabbard for the dagger that seemed to be the mark of an officer.
“What do you say, Lieutenant?” the officer continued as he moved his hand down across her ass. “The scuttlebutt is that you like two guys at once. Well I have a good friend down in life sciences. I bet he and I have just what you need.”
Enough was enough, the displaced Bridge Officer thought. Drawing on training she seldom had the occasion to use, Uhura whirled around and hit the crewman with as much force as she could put in a single blow. As he slammed against the wall of the lift, her other hand grabbed the razor sharp blade from her waist and brought it to rest against his carotid artery. The slightest of pressures drew a single drop of blood that ran down the length of his throat.
“Now I’m only going to say this once, so I want you to listen carefully,” Uhura said in an angry voice. “Do you understand?”
The stunned crewman grunted an acknowledgement with as much movement of his head as the scalpel like edge would allow. Despite his larger size, he was in no position to move as much as an inch.
“If you ever touch me again,” Uhura said in a cold, threatening voice. “Or if I even hear a story about you touching another woman like that. Well let’s just say that you won’t ever have to worry about having to look for a place to put your alleged manhood ever again. Am I making myself clear?”
A louder grunt signaled that he had indeed gotten the message. Holding her knife in place, Uhura reached back to the closest lift control and brought the car to a stop on the next level. Then, as the doors opened, she pulled the edge away from his neck. Wasting no time, her would be lover took the opportunity and ran into the corridor.
“That felt good,” Uhura said to herself as she slid her dagger back into its sheath. If only for the moment, she felt in control of the situation.
Thankfully, her quarters were in the same location as on her own Enterprise and Uhura let out a sigh of relief as she looked at the small wall plate with her name and rank on it. Stepping toward the door, Uhura was surprised when it didn’t open at her approach. Instead, a deep masculine computer voice emitted from the small control box next to it.
“State name and rank for identity scan” the dispassionate voice ordered.
“Nyota Uhura, Lieutenant,” the black haired woman said, thinking it not surprising that the crew of this Enterprise wasn’t the trusting type. Not when someone with a grudge could be waiting inside with a charged phaser.”
The control box hummed for a few seconds, then the door to her quarters slid open. The lights inside came on as she stepped in and the door closed behind her, giving off an audible click as the locks slid back into place.
On first glance, the room before her looked identical to the one she had slept in the night before. Even the decor was indistinguishable, right down to the personal effects she had brought from home. That assumption changed on closer inspection, however, as Uhura began to examine it all more closely.
The centerpiece of Uhura’s cabin back on her Enterprise was the traditional spear that had been passed down to her as the eldest child and had been used during her coming of age ceremony back in Kenya. While the dress and traditional weapons used in the ritual dated back to her great grandparents time, the modern version consisted of merely tracking down one of the great lions and getting close enough for a recording device built into a copy of a antique bracelet to register the successful completion of the hunt.
The holo-image that rested below the family heirloom told a much different tale. It showed a younger Uhura, dressed in traditional garb, much like the photo with which she was familiar. What the picture also showed was something that told her a great deal about her doppelganger, a subject she had been trying to avoid thinking about.
Lying at the teenager’s feet was the carcass of a lioness. The spear that hung on the wall buried deep within her. Glancing back up at the weapon, Uhura could see a dried dark stain on the sharp metal tip.
“Barbaric,” Uhura said under her breath with disgust.
Uhura stretched out on the bed and closed her eyes. Hopefully, the call from the Captain would be soon in coming. She drifted in and out of a light sleep, until the sound of the cabin door abruptly opening startled her awake.
Her hands on the handle of her only weapon, the misplaced officer spun off the edge of the bed and rose to her feet. Given the security procedure she had to go through to get into what was essentially her own cabin, how could someone just walk in without warning?
A few quick steps brought her to the doorway to face the unexpected arrival. Uhura had just started to pull her blade from the scabbard when she saw who her visitor was.
The uniform the woman wore was unlike any Uhura had seen since her arrival on the ISS Enterprise. If anything, it seemed to have even less material than the one the Communications Officer wore.
Made of black leather, the skimpy outfit consisted of an even shorter skirt and a high cut bustier held together by thin laces that crisscrossed her breasts. Long blond hair hung down the young woman’s back, bound by a thick black band. Around her neck was a thin equally black choker, with a silver unicorn shaped clasp on the side.
A small golden rank insignia over her left mound showed her to be a Lieutenant. A larger metallic badge above it matched one seen earlier on Sulu - the symbol of Imperial Security.
“Goddess above,” Uhura gasped as she recognized the face of the woman in leather. “Janice?”
There was little trace of the sweet, simple girl that Uhura had fell in love with back in her own dimension as the leather-clad security officer swaggered past her. Every motion of her body radiated sexuality and arrogance.
“I stopped by the bridge looking for you,” Janice Rand said as she turned around and dropped onto one end of the couch in the living area of the cabin. “Found out you had another little confrontation with Sulu and left before the end of your shift.”
“Something like that,” Uhura said, finding this alternate version of someone dear to her the most unsettling.
“I don’t understand what the big problem is, Nyota,” Janice said as she tilted her head back and enjoyed the comfort of the large chair. “Why not just fuck him and be done with it? I mean, hell Sulu might be a little on the rough side, but that’s never bothered you before. And while he’s somewhat unimaginative, as least in technique, I can tell you from personal experience that he does get the job done.”
The thought of that beast with her friend’s face laying on top of her was enough to send a cold shiver down Uhura’s back. She almost didn’t catch Rand’s next comment.
“After all, a girl has to do what she can to get ahead in this Fleet,” Janice grinned, “and you can never go wrong by making the head of security a personal friend. But I don’t have to tell you that, do I?”
“Not at all,” Uhura agreed, wondering what it was she was agreeing to.
“Now if only Kirk would get off his ass and toast those useless sheep down on the planet, we could be on our way to our scheduled rendezvous with the Lexington,” the security officer went on. “Damn Jim Kirk, if it wasn’t for the chance to spend some time with you on the way there, I wouldn’t have hitched a ride on Enterprise. The longer it takes for me to take up my new position as Security Chief, the more chance there is for parts of the crew to try and set up alliances against me.”
In her own world, Janice Rand had left the Enterprise some years before, ending the love affair she and Uhura had shared. Evidently, that was different here and their affair hadn’t ended with her transfer.
“But don’t worry baby, nothing’s going to change our plans. Once I’m there, it’ll be easy to arrange an opening for a new Communications Officer,” Janice said as she reached into the small cabinet next to the couch, producing a decanter of Saurian brandy and two small tumblers, filling each. “I’ve already looked at the file on the one they have now and there’s plenty there for me to work with. He’s had his problems with Security in the past. If not, well there are always accidents.” she added as she handed Uhura once of the glasses.