Uhura grimaces as she sits down on her bed. She doesn't know what she's done, but her back has been aching all shift. With a sigh, she stands and heads into the bathroom to get some painkillers. Hopefully it'll wear off soon.
Unfortunately, the pain doesn't wear off. In fact, it gets worse, spreading from her back to her stomach. She takes some more painkillers and goes to bed early with a heating pad, hoping to sleep it off. What she'd really like is a hot bath, but there aren't any baths on a starship.
She curls into a ball under the covers and eventually falls into a light sleep.
She wakes up some time later in agony. The pain in her stomach is almost unbearable and it takes several minutes of concentrating intensely on some meditative techniques that Spock taught her before she can even move enough to call for help.
She stumbles over to the computer, falling to her knees next to the desk. She realises her nightshirt is wet, but it's the least of her problems at the moment. Another wave of pain surges through her and she doubles over and tries to breathe. Finally it lets up and she reaches up to slap the intercom. "Uhura to sickbay. I need a doctor to my quarters. Right now."
She hears someone asking questions, but she can't focus on anything but the pain surging through her. She's never felt anything like it.
She doesn't know how long she kneels there, curled around her aching stomach, but then there are people surrounding her, helping her up and onto a stretcher.
"My stomach," she mumbles. "It feels like its ripping open."
Something presses against her arm and a soothing voice – Chapel's, she thinks – says that it should help. Uhura concentrates on her breathing, and by the time they reach sickbay the pain has lowered enough for her to uncurl a little and focus on the questions from the medical staff.
Has she eaten anything out of the ordinary? No, not that she can remember.
Has she vomited, or had diarrhoea? No.
Has she come into contact with anything unusual recently? It's a fair question, given their line of work, but they haven't stopped anywhere in over a week and she hasn't been off the ship in longer than that.
Finally they get her onto a diagnostic bed and begin taking readings. Chapel takes a scan of her abdomen, then blinks and takes another.
"What?" Uhura demands. "What is it?"
Chapel turns to her with a look of shock. "You're in labour."
"What?!" Uhura stares at her. "That's impossible. I'm not pregnant. I have an implant." She pulls up her sleeve to show the line on her arm.
"They're not always 100 percent effective," Chapel tells her. "And you are definitely pregnant."
She shows Uhura the readings, and she blinks at them in disbelief. "Oh my God."
She slumps back against the pillows in shock, then immediately curls in on herself as another wave of pain surges through her – a contraction, she thinks with a tinge of panic.
Chapel checks her tricorder, then injects Uhura with some more pain relief. "You're almost fully dilated, so it shouldn't be long."
Dilated. Pregnant. Labour. She's going to have a baby. She wanted kids, sure, but years from now when she had time and money and a partner. Not right now. And certainly not without nine months of warning beforehand.
The only bright spot is that the pain relief is kicking in, and she's no longer in agony. But that just gives her more time to focus on the emotional impact of the situation.
"Do you know who the father is?" Chapel asks.
Uhura barks a laugh. "Yes." And that's the other messed up part of the situation. She's had a few lovers over the past few months, but counting back nine months leaves only one option.
They only had sex a handful of times during their relationship, all at her suggestion. Spock was willing enough, but it always felt a little off, like he didn't want it the way she did. At the time she assumed it was a Vulcan thing, but when he came to her one night not long after they first started sleeping together and confessed that he thought he was gay (though not in those words), it didn't come as a complete surprise.
And yet, somehow, one of those few awkward sessions has led to this. Uhura grits her teeth as another contraction rushes through her.
"Is he on the ship?" Chapel continues. "Do you want me to get him?"
"Yes. No," Uhura replies shortly. The last thing she wants is for Spock to see her like this. "It's not…We're not together. I'll tell him afterwards."
Chapel nods and consults the readings once more. "Well, that'll likely be soon. You're fully dilated." She meets Uhura's eyes firmly. "On your next contraction I want you to push, okay?"
Uhura nods. She can already feel her body readying, urging her to push the baby out.
The word 'baby' travels through her mind, bringing back a little of the panic. She is completely not ready to be a mother, but it doesn't look like she has much of a choice.
The next contraction hits and she clenches her fists and pushes with all her might.
The moments blur together into pain and pushing and relaxing briefly only to push again.
"I can see the head," Chapel tells her. "Keep pushing!"
Uhura does so, blanking her mind and focusing on nothing more than making her muscles work. She feels a sudden release of pressure just as Chapel announces, "The head's out! Just one more big push now!"
Uhura grits her teeth and pushes with all her might. Another release of pressure and it's over. She flops back on the bed as a baby's cry breaks out.
"It's a boy!" Chapel announces. "Congratulations."
Uhura isn't sure that's the word she would have used. A nurse takes the baby away to be cleaned and weighed while Chapel delivers the afterbirth, giving Uhura a little time to adjust to the situation. Not enough time, though, since she still can't quite believe this is really happening.
"Is he okay?" she asks, craning her neck to try and catch a glimpse of her son. "I didn't do any of the things you're supposed to do while pregnant."
Nurse Hu comes back with a blanket wrapped bundle. "He's fine," she says, smiling. "Two point nine kilograms and completely healthy."
She sets the bundle carefully in Uhura's arms, and Uhura looks down, taking in her first sight of her son.
The first thing she notices is the ears. Even if she weren't already aware of the father's identity, the tiny points at the tips are a complete giveaway.
She smiles faintly, running a finger over one of them, before moving on, her keen eyes sweeping over the child's face, cataloguing his features. The dark brown eyes and black hair could have come from either of them, but the nose is her mother's and the skin is only a few shades paler than her own.
She can feel her eyes misting up, whether from emotion or exhaustion she isn't sure.
"You really didn't have any idea?" Chapel asks, watching her.
Uhura shakes her head. "I don't get any periods on the implant, so the lack of them wasn't a warning sign." She furrows her brow, thinking. "I did have some sickness a while back, but it was right when we had that epidemic of stomach flu so I didn't think anything of it. And I admit I've gained weight recently, but nothing like you'd expect. I just figured I should exercise more." She shakes her head. "I feel so silly."
She feels Chapel lay a hand on her shoulder. "Don't," she says. "It's rare, but some women don't show any symptoms at all. And with the implant you had no reason to think you were pregnant."
Uhura nods slowly, as Chapel smiles down at the baby in her arms. "He's beautiful," she says.
"Yes, he is," Uhura murmurs, stroking a finger down his face. She takes a steadying breath and glances up at Chapel. "Spock should be here," she says. "Can you call him?"
Chapel smiles. "Of course."
"Wait!" Uhura blurts, as Chapel turns to leave. "Don't tell him why I'm here. I want to tell him myself."
Chapel nods, and leaves to go make the call.
It doesn't take long for Spock to arrive. He sweeps into sickbay, closely followed by the captain. Despite her shock and exhaustion, Uhura manages to summon up a spark of exasperation at the sight.
"I only asked for Spock," she points out.
"I'm the captain," Kirk replies. "If there's something going on on my ship, I want to know about it." His gaze sweeps over her, and he stops dead in the middle of sickbay. "That's a baby," he says. "Why do you have a baby?"
Uhura gives him a frustrated look, but she supposes it is the middle of the night. Fortunately Spock is quicker on the uptake.
"Yours?" he asks.
"Ours," she corrects, and watches his expression change. In a human she might call it shock.
"Don't worry," she says, "It was a surprise to me too."
Beside him, Kirk's eyes have grown to the size of saucers. "You had a baby?" he asks. "How? When? I just saw you yesterday."
"Just now," she says. "I went into labour late last night. Didn't even know I was pregnant."
Spock is staring at the child in her arms. "It is mine?" he asks softly.
She nods, tracing a tiny ear. "You couldn't tell? Chapel thinks my implant must have failed." She looks up at him. "Do you want to hold him?"
For a moment he stares at her, uncomprehending, then the question seems to register. "Yes," he says, clearing his throat awkwardly. "I believe I would."
It takes a bit of manoeuvring, but she manages to get the child safely from her arms and into his.
Spock looks a little uncomfortable as he straightens up, as if he's afraid he's going to break him. But when nothing terrible happens he seems to relax, shifting the child in his arms so that he can run a hand over his cheek.
"Little telepathic ability," he pronounces, "which would explain why you were not aware of him. But it is possible that will come with time."
His expression softens as he gazes down at the child, and Uhura feels a rush of affection. He'll be a good father, she thinks, even if it isn't something either of them planned.
"I can't believe you were pregnant," Kirk says, still staring at her in shock. "When my sister-in-law was pregnant she was out here." He holds a hand out in front of his stomach to demonstrate.
"Vulcan foetuses are usually smaller than human ones," Spock tells him, his gaze not leaving the baby's.
"Yes, but look at him," Kirk argues. "He's not that small."
Uhura can't help but agree with that statement. He certainly didn't feel small when he was coming out of her.
"He is cute, though," Kirk adds, and claps a hand on Spock's shoulder. "Congratulations, I guess."
"Indeed," Spock murmurs, not bothering to pull away from the touch. He looks up suddenly, his gaze meeting Uhura's. "We were not prepared for this," he says, the faintest hint of fear entering his eyes. "We do not have any of the items he requires. Where will he sleep? What will he wear?"
"Breathe, Spock," Kirk murmurs, looking amused. "My mom gave birth to me on a shuttle in the middle of nowhere while the ship exploded around us and I turned out okay. Trust me, he'll be fine."
Pulling his hand from Spock's shoulder, he adds, "I'll have Scotty rig up some kind of crib, and we can get most of the rest of the stuff he'll need from the replicators."
He grins at Uhura, and she can't help but smile back. "Thank you," she says, before something occurs to her. "I have to call my parents! This is their first grandson and they have no idea."
"And I shall have to inform my father," Spock adds.
"Oh, can I be there when you do it?" Kirk asks. "Please? I want to see his face."
Spock gives him a 'if I wasn't holding a baby I would nerve pinch you' look. "No."
Despite her exhaustion, Uhura has to smile at their antics. This might not be what she'd planned, but at least she isn't going through it alone.
She reaches out to Spock, and he carefully hands the child back to her. "I've thought of a name, if you don't object," she says, when their son is settled in her arms once more.
Both men look at her expectantly, and she strokes her son's palm, smiling as he wraps his fist around her finger. "Kipawa," she says quietly. "It means gift."
Kipawa blinks up at her, kicking his tiny feet, and she knows that everything is going to be just fine.