Gaila loved parties, of which there were a decided lack onboard the Enterprise, and Gaila loved Uhura, who was her absolute favorite friend in the galaxy. So when Spock and Uhura announced their engagement four years into the Enterprise's first mission, Gaila immediately decided that it was time to throw a party.
Gaila felt that it was her sacred best friend duty to make sure that Uhura got the absolute best engagement party in the history of all parties, because, really, a girl's best friend only got engaged once (presumably at least), and it deserved a whole lot of craziness and celebration. She began planning immediately.
For the first few days, she kept it to herself, making mental lists of things she needed to do and brainstorming ideas on how to make this the best party ever. She discovered that it was surprisingly difficult to plan and execute a large scale party on board a starship, at least if one operates alone. So she enlisted the help of some of her crew mates, which turned out to be a more brilliant move than she could ever have anticipated.
Gaila landed herself in sick bay the next morning with some mild coolant burns. As Christine Chapel slathered her green skin with a soothing salve before running the dermal regenerator over the injury, Gaila mused that Christine was probably an excellent person to start with. She was sweet, organized, and, most importantly, she could keep a secret, so, with a surreptitious glance around to ensure they were alone, Gaila told Christine about the party.
"I would love to help!" gushed Christine, who eagerly agreed to keep the secret and spread the word quietly among the medical staff.
"Also, if you're looking for music, I'm actually lead singer in a new techno rock band. Three guys from Security and I started it about six months ago—we're not half bad, actually. We'd be more than happy to play at the party, if you wanted," Christine offered cheerfully. Gaila happily checked music off of her list.
She had planned on simply replicating some of Uhura's favorite foods for the party until she talked to Janice Rand. Janice mentioned that she used to work for her parents' catering business and had actually completed culinary school before joining Starfleet. She was just offering to whip up a nice selection of hors d'oeuvre, when Kirk plopped down onto the rec room sofa between them.
"Sounds delicious! What are we having, and what's the occasion?" he asked, giving them the patented James T. Kirk grin. Gaila smiled indulgently, still able to appreciate his wonderful figure and gorgeous blue eyes even if she was quite fully over him, and told him about the party.
"Awesome! I'm definitely in." Turning to Janice, he asked, "Do you need any help with the food?"
Gaila initially credited Janice's immediate agreement to Kirk's winning smile and Janice's weakness for those baby blues, but then Janice proceeded to explain that Kirk used to work in a specialty ("erotic, actually," interjected Kirk) bakery back in Iowa, and he happened to be an absolutely amazing cake decorator. Reassessing her previous assumption in light of new information, Gaila recalculated that Janice's enthused response was approximately 68% due to pretty blue eyes and 32% based on the idea of real, honest-to-goodness, non-replicated dessert.
Kirk and Janice immediately began discussing increasingly wild plans for an eight-tiered cake in the shape of the Enterprise with Vulcan ears on it. Gaila clapped in glee, although she had no idea how (or why, to be honest) they were going to add ears to a starship, and checked off food and cake as well.
Chekov was the one who decided that they needed a better system for delivering invitations. He quickly drew up a complicated looking chart that would ensure that they reached the greatest number of Uhura's friends in the smallest amount of time with the least amount of backtracking. Gaila's initial plan had been word of mouth, but Chekov's enthusiasm was contagious and she giggled endlessly as they dashed through the corridors.
Chekov was a bit overenthusiastic ("Surprise parties were invented in Russia!") but his not-even-kind-of-subtle sneaking around made her laugh. He started humming some kind of secret agent theme music as they ducked around the corners, which just incited them to be even more over-the-top stealthy, peering out and making dramatic arm-waving gestures when the coast was clear. They delivered the invitations with an air of grave importance, Chekov solemnly noted the RSVP chart, and they sneaked back out, giggling in maniacal whispers once they were out of earshot. It was some of the most fun that Gaila had had on the Enterprise, and she was sure she'd find herself humming Chekov's made-up theme song for months.
When Kirk hinted that there were some rather garish but serviceable draperies in one of the storage rooms, Chekov immediately volunteered himself and Sulu to help move them over to the little-used Rec Room 8, which Gaila had staked out as her staging area for the party.
The blue and purple swaths of fabric (used for a recent dinner with some rather persnickety dignitaries) were not only just as garish as Kirk had said, but also heavy and terribly awkward to transport. With no small amount of cursing, Gaila, Chekov, and Sulu managed to lug them through four corridors. The physical effort distracted Chekov from his previous diligence, and, as they heaved the stack of curtains around another corner, Gaila collided with Uhura.
Uhura eyed them suspiciously, as Gaila assumed her most innocent-looking "Who me?" expression and attempted a casual-sounding whistle (which ended up sounding more like a sputter). Sulu stood ram-rod straight and stared at the wall, not making eye contact with Uhura, who seemed more annoyed by the second. Judging by his suddenly expressionless face, Gaila got the impression that if Uhura tried to ask him anything that all she'd be getting in response would be Sulu's name, rank, and serial number.
Just when Gaila was sure that Uhura was going to pull rank on Chekov and demand that the Ensign explain what on earth they were doing with what appeared to be contraband, Chekov grabbed one of the heavy swaths of fabric and held it up in front of him.
"You see, Lieutenant," he said solemnly, looking at Uhura with huge, earnest eyes that made him look as truthful as an Andorian monk, "Sulu has these very … elaborate fantasies for us in the bedroom. He likes when I dress up, you know, for the sex. But we were having a disagreement over this color. What do you think? Sulu likes this." Chekov gestured to the heavy fabric draped across his torso and blinked innocently at Uhura, whose eyebrows were at her hairline.
"But I am not so sure. What do you think, Lieutenant? And please be very honest with me, because I think that I tend to look washed out when I wear jewel tones."
After an unnervingly long, silent stare, during which Sulu managed to look even more expressionless than before, Chekov grinned winningly, and Gaila attempted to whistle again with continued failure, Uhura told Chekov that purple looked surprisingly good on him, turned on her boot heel, and walked away.
Gaila decided she needed to reevaluate her previous notion that Chekov was a blundering failure at all types of subterfuge.
After that altercation, she decided that drastic measures would need to be taken if Uhura were to be properly surprised. Her best friend was too observant and savvy for her own good—although that was probably for the ship's good—and it was common knowledge that Gaila was not the best at keeping secrets. They were simply too scintillating and she wanted nothing more than to share her excitement and joy with everyone she saw.
So she pulled Scotty aside to ask for a favor, which, in the interest of secrecy, involved jumping him in the hall, clapping a hand over his mouth, and yanking him into a storage closet.
"Scotty," she said seriously, "I need your help. I need you to conjure up one of those brainy miracles that you're so good at and distract Uhura while we're getting her party ready!" Gaila's gravity dissolved into giddy, gleeful giggles by the end of her request.
Scotty laughed at her wording, but gamely agreed to give it a go. In order to get everyone properly situated in Rec Room 8, Uhura would have to be so focused on something else that she wouldn't notice the stream of crew members tiptoeing into the party room, which was located just down the hall from the main communications lab.
When it finally happened, it didn't go exactly as planned. (Although, really, nothing ever did on the Enterprise, so no one was surprised).
Scotty scrambled the screens in the comm lab, as promised, and Uhura's precious monitors went all blue and wibbly and fuzzy an hour prior to the party. However, the frantic Ensigns on Gamma Shift panicked a tad more than anticipated. Instead of calling Uhura, their supervisor, they called Kirk, who ambled down and yelled at the screens a bit melodramatically.
Scotty came running when he heard the captain's summons over the comm, and everyone thought he was even more of a miracle worker when he fixed the situation with a literal wave of his hand.
Uhura heard the captain's summons as well and charged into the comm lab in time to glare at Kirk and Scotty, who were laughing during a purported communications emergency. After she checked everything for herself, she accepted their assurances that the supposed crisis had been averted.
"A glitch in our communications capabilities is no laughing matter, sir," Uhura sniffed, drawing out the sir sarcastically as she tended to do whenever Kirk seemed even more insufferable than usual. Fixing Kirk with an assessing stare, she added, "Sir? Why do you have frosting in your hair?"
Kirk just grinned maddeningly and said, "Who says it's frosting?" Then he cited crucial captain-y duties and headed back to the kitchens, where Janice was trying to replicate a decent ganache with only a modicum of success.
The Enterprise grape vine was at top form, and both Chekov and Gaila came running over determinedly when they heard the plan had changed (again).
Chekov was already concocting a wild diversion, and the crafty glint in his eyes awed Gaila. She would never judge a boy on his cherubic looks and scientific genius alone ever again. He was wonderfully devious and the perfect partner in secret-party-planning crime.
He tried to con Sulu into helping with the diversion, but Sulu couldn't act to save his life, so Chekov dismissed his too-honorable boyfriend with a long-suffering wave and immediately climbed over a railing in the next corridor. Hanging on for dear life (which wasn't as dire as it sounded, because Chekov was actually freakishly strong, despite his waif-like appearance), he started wailing loudly.
Already in protective mode, Uhura came running at full tilt, just as Chekov had predicted. She helped him up and began grilling him. "Chekov, how on earth did you manage to fall over a chest-high guard rail? Did you climb over it? What were you doing?"
Chekov began rambling. "Well, there was this slippery spot on the floor over there. I was running to help, because I heard about this problem in the communications lab, and you know that I am always here to help, and I slipped on this spot and went …" At that point Chekov started making a lot of swooshing arm gestures and sliding, screeching sound effects in an effort to show how he'd slammed into the wall and bounced off, and how the angle of his rebound trajectory had flung him up and over the wall. None of it made any real sense, but apparently not even Uhura was completely immune to those wide, innocent-looking green eyes. The situation was ridiculous and Uhura could clearly sense something amiss, but she was sufficiently distracted that she didn't notice the dozens of people creeping into Rec Room 8 behind her.
Gaila arrived, saving Chekov from Uhura's continued interrogation and admonishments to be more careful in the future. With a pleading smile, she begged for Uhura's help on some vague project. Uhura followed readily, obviously ready to get away from the craziness of the last few minutes.
And when she walked into the room, boots clicking in a firm, no-nonsense staccato and head held high as always, Uhura actually squeaked in surprise.
Gaila jumped up and down with uncontrollable glee that she had actually managed to surprise the supposedly unsurprisable Uhura. Uhura smiled all night, beaming at her stoic but supportive fiancé and hugging Gaila every few minutes.
While Uhura was raving over the nine-tiered masterpiece that Janice and Kirk had created and trying to read the congratulatory message that was written in an obscure Vulcan dialect in smeared black icing, Spock came over and addressed Gaila. His tone was as emotionless as ever, but she thought he looked happy, for a Vulcan at least.
"Though surprise parties are illogical and unnecessary, Nyota appears to approve strongly of this gathering. I am pleased with that result." Gaila thought that that was pretty much a standing ovation of excited praise coming from him. Then, with a blank nod of farewell, he excused himself.
Gaila headed over to where a red-faced Sulu stood, laughing as she ducked past a conga line that Scotty had started. Sulu smiled at her and, nodding at the slightly inebriated Chekov who was clinging to him and giggling, said,
"He's got the constitution of a horse when it comes to vodka, but he's a total lightweight with everything else. By the way, putting Riley in charge of the punch was probably not the smartest move—I think that engine room moonshine he makes is strong enough to power the ship."
Gaila waved off the issue of warp-power-strong punch and nodded at Uhura, who was on the other side of the room having a smiling conversation with Dr. McCoy. McCoy had lost a bet with Chapel and had been forced to wear a colorful shirt over his medical blue that had the name of Christine's band emblazoned on it.
"That wreath of flowers that you made for her is beautiful, Sulu," Gaila gushed. Atop Uhura's dark hair perched a wreath of intricately woven white blossoms and red ribbon, with red and white ribbons that hung down her back and swayed when she walked. Uhura, who always looked regal, looked even more like a princess that evening, with her crown of flowers and her beautiful face alight with joy.
Sulu just shrugged and smiled. "I thought she might like it—it is her night, after all. Plus, the flowers are blooming like crazy in the botany lab right now, so …"
Gaila hugged him tightly until Chekov started frowning and poking her in the ribs. They both laughed at Chekov's drunken jealousy, and Gaila dropped a sloppy kiss on Chekov's cheek, which seemed to soothe his ire.
A short while later Uhura wandered back to stand next to Gaila, her ribbons swishing slowly behind her as she moved. She didn't say anything for a few minutes, just smiled warmly at Gaila, and they watched the party-goers enjoying the evening.
In the middle of the designated dance floor, Janice Rand was head banging, her intricately braided beehive coming undone. Next to her, Kirk was flailing around in an attempt to learn a complicated-looking alien dance from Madeline, a science officer who worked the beta shift on the bridge. He kept choking on Janice's flying mess of hair, which just made Janice laugh and dance more wildly. Christine sang an upbeat song that Gaila had never heard before, her voice surprisingly pleasant. Dr. McCoy watched the stage, arms crossed grumpily across his bright, cheery shirt, and glowered at the performance, but Gaila thought he looked like he was having a good time, despite his grouchy glaring.
"Thank you, Gaila. I can't believe you organized this whole thing and actually managed to keep it a secret! It's the best surprise party I've ever had." Uhura hugged her tightly and Gaila's proud smile lit up her entire face. Grabbing her best friend's hand, Gaila dragged Uhura onto the dance floor, both of them grinning like over-excited little girls, and they joined their friends.
Spock stood along a wall, watching his elated fiancée with carefully controlled eyes and a hint of satisfaction in his not-quite smile, and Uhura danced without a care in the world, singing along with Christine's band's catchy new song. Gaila decided that her sacred best friend duty had been properly fulfilled and grinned in heady relief. She let Scotty pick her up and spin her in a dizzy circle around the floor, laughing as he lurched in an awkward, spinning two-step. She'd done it! She'd pulled it off, and it would be a night to remember forever.