Uhura and Gaila make up about a week later, which is cool because Jim doesn’t need anything distracting him from beating the Kobayashi Maru. And, okay, sure, it’s supposed to be an unbeatable test, but Jim is a certifiable genius so it’s not like hacking the damned thing is impossible.
He owes Dominic from Software Engineering a huge favor, but it’s sooooo worth it to see the look on Uhura and McCoy’s faces when the lights went out and everyone gave a collective gasp. It’s at that point that neither one of his friends wanted anything to do with the Kobayashi Maru nor Jim, knowing all too well that the blond had done the unthinkable. After managing to deflect the many questions his fellow cadets had on how he beat the simulation, Jim is cornered out in the hallway by Uhura, who looks fit to explode, no thanks to him.
Bones’ there too, his face drawn up with judgement. But other than stern looks, he lets Uhura do the talking.
“You can’t just rewrite the whole script because it doesn’t agree with you,” Uhura disputes with a stomp of her foot.
Jim shrugs his shoulders, brushing her off as he plays with his half-eaten apple, “it’s a no-win scenario. What’s the point of making us do it, if we lose?”
“Maybe it’s like that to teach us humility?” Bones cuts in, earning himself a sharp look from Jim. “What? I’m not the one who hacked into Starfleet’s simulation because I didn’t want my fake crew to get fake killed.”
Jim sighs long-sufferingly, “Ahhh, you two have no sense of ingenuity!”
“Your ingenuity is going to get you expelled,” Bones threatens.
Uhura nods, crossing her arms, “why do you have to be such a God damned mess, Jim?”
Predictably, Jim’s accused of cheating by the simulation’s creator. There’s a hearing and everything planned. Honestly, Jim has never seen Uhura so pissed off and worried at the same time. On the way to the hearing, he’s intercepted by the brunette, Uhura catching him by the crook of his arm and pulling him off to the side, “just go in and apologize. Promise to take the test again. Don’t make this into a big deal, Jim.”
He’s taken aback by the fact that she looks like she hasn’t been sleeping very well. The blossom of guilt in his stomach is almost enough to make him acquiesce. Squaring his shoulders, Jim doubles down instead. “I’m going to make that bastard eat his words, actually,” he says fearlessly.
Uhura’s hand tightens its grip around his elbow, “don’t be a jerk, Jim. Let it go, just this once.”
“Let it go and what? Let this asshole and his unbeatable test continue to terrorize cadets for generations to come? I think not,” Jim pointedly looks away from the pleading look in Uhura’s eyes, “I’m not just doing this for me, Nyota. I’m doing this for future-me and future-you—and think about poor future-Bones? That guy would never stand a chance.”
Uhura shakes his arm to get him to focus back on her eyes. She fixes him with a well-meaning look instead of her customary-“stop being a little shit, Jim”-glare, “standing a chance is not the point, Jim. Dragging this out only proves that you aren’t ready for that kind of responsibility,” Uhura explains, softer this time, hoping that comparison would get her results where reprimand hadn’t. “And, on top of that, how do you think the person who made the simulation feels? He was probably specifically chosen by Starfleet to make an unbeatable program and here you go breaking it. Are you at all surprised that he wants you to pay for making a fool out of him because you refuse to lose?”
Jim scoffs, “I’d almost think you knew the guy, the way you’re sticking up for him.”
“Oh, come on, Jim,” Uhura sighs, loses her patience, “for once, don’t think just about yourself—”
“I’m not,” Jim interrupts, surprising both Uhura and himself with how forceful that came out. Clearing his throat, he quickly apologizes, “I’m sorry… I didn’t mean… look, this isn’t just about me. It’s about you. It’s about Bones too. I can’t stop thinking ‘what if?’ What if the Kobayashi Maru were real? If we were really in that kind of scenario? I can’t lose you guys. But I can’t let anyone just die if I had a say-so.”
Uhura softens tremendously, going so far as to hug him. It’s a rare gesture between the two of them, so he soaks it up the best he can. “I don’t know how you did it, Jim, but you’ve somehow made your arrogance endearing,” squeezing him a little tighter than necessary, she cautions Jim softly, “go then. Dispute your right to cheat. Just don’t get expelled, okay?”
“Cross my heart and hope to die.”