She is strong, she knows this. Blood and bone, muscle and sinew, she was bred to be strong, to be powerful. She is the daughter and granddaughter of tough men and women, descendant of warriors and thinkers, proud, beautiful, smart. Her family is composed of survivors—those who've endured the worst that life can throw at them and still find the time to laugh and love and sing and dance. . .
She was raised to believe that if she worked hard enough, was intelligent enough, she could do anything.
And she believed in that, believed in herself. She could do anything. Anything except win against fate, and that was the hardest, most painful lesson she ever had to learn.
As a child, Nyota knew what she wanted. She was greedy and she wanted the stars. She knew the journey would be difficult, but she didn't care. She studied hard, chose her classes carefully, sought out extra tuition in fields she struggled with. She planned meticulously; picking out the secondary school which would get her into the best university and from there, allow her to transfer to Starfleet Academy.
She had a timeline, carefully printed out on several sheets of plastipaper, with edits carefully noted in the margins. It hung on the wall behind her desk, so she could see it every time she looked up. It kept her focused.
Sometimes she couldn't turn off her brain, the thoughts whirling chaotically through her mind, unorganized and distracting. Nyota would put on her sneakers and run, fast like the wind, until she was panting and the stitch in her side felt like being stabbed by fire. And she would still push herself, until the thud of her feet hitting the ground was the only thing that existed in the universe.
She excelled. Of course she did.
Starfleet Academy was just another challenge, a tougher one, and it made her blood thrum through her veins. She loved it.
She was introduced to Instructor Spock, and for the first time in her life, met someone who was her equal. Over the years she'd had casual encounters, other young men and women, some human, some not. Nothing serious, or long-lasting; she was too busy chasing after the stars. But now, she’d met someone who made her feel dizzy and giddy and think of forever.
Spock was tough nut to crack, but she did it with a combination of determination and her fierce intelligence. She loved the way he demanded that she do her best with every assignment, every task. In return, he gave her everything.
Nyota couldn't have been happier.
Jim Kirk was a surprise, and she couldn't have foreseen what happened.
She dismissed him as a minor nuisance, a big-man-on-campus wanna-be, more brawn than brains. But somehow he didn't fit into the role she'd cast him in, flashes of intelligence and insight and charm shining through.
Over time, Nyota watched with a sense of dread as Kirk drew people to him, capturing them in his erratic orbit with his open honesty and the unshakable belief that nothing was impossible. She saw Spock's dislike slowly turn to respect, and the first time she heard him address Kirk as 'Jim,' the moment crystallized and froze her blood.
It was only a matter of time and she knew it.
She fought, because she was a fighter. She didn't know how to do anything else. But Fate is always a bitch and she pounded her fists against that wall until they bled, exhausting herself.
Nyota went home, to the Ngong Hills of her childhood, showing up on her parents' porch with nothing more than the clothes on her back and a heart that felt like it was breaking. She was petted and coddled like an exotic pet by the women of her family, and she drew strength from them even as the tears streaked her cheeks.
She sat on the porch, shivering in the cool dawn air, watching as the sun slowly lit the landscape and touched Mount Kilimanjaro's snowy peaks. She drank coffee and centered herself, until she managed to find the confidence to meet her own eyes in the mirror again.
She would not let this keep her down. She was Nyota Uhura, a daughter of her people, and nothing could stop her.