Beta Reader: Jsilver2000
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
She thought about her brothers, wondering if they would like 'Karu, the man she was going to marry. The family test is the worst; it brings out all kinds of anxiety and frustration. She thought about her family dynamics: three big brothers, literally big-they ranged from 6'3" to 6'5". Somehow, height passed her over when genes were being handed out; Charlene just shaved 5'7". Just imagine being the youngest, the smallest, and the only girl in a land of giants. She had been the prime target of all their antics back in the day. But Charlene smiled to herself, thinking of how all their tough love made her tough, self-sufficient, and a total tomboy. She clung to them as a child, idolizing them. Charlene thought the world of her older brothers, despite having sometimes been treated like the runt in the family.
Wearing the Starfleet uniform was uncomfortable for Charlene, as it showed most of her legs. But because she was in the engineering modules at the Academy, she had gotten to wear pants, to her relief. It was at the Academy that she met Nyota Uhura, who helped Char to find her feminine side. Charlene didn't even know she had curves to sway with. Nyota gently showed how to administer make-up and find the right clothes to go clubbing. They became instant sisters because neither one had ever had one before.
I wish Nyota and Spock were here, mostly Spock. If my brothers start to give 'Karu too hard a time, Spock would deal with them with his famous nerve pinch. Charlene had seen Mr. Spock in action with that move: First, the man is stealthy when he approaches a target and then he swiftly attacks. It was amazing how he used that technique.
If my brothers do anything to mess this up I will personally kill them! I found the man I want-a man who wants to marry me for myself. As Charlene's thoughts kept spinning around and around, she fervently hoped her brothers would accept her 'Karu.
"This is the place!"
Three tall, handsome black men stepped out of their hovercar and glanced up toward a small house.
"This neighborhood is a classic; it's part of the Old San Francisco district," Marcus Masters said.
"Whatever, little bro. The idea that our little sister is getting married is preposterous," Curtis Masters stated unequivocally.
"No man is good enough for our little sister; we trained her well to look out for a**holes." the eldest brother (Darren Masters) asserted.
"Is this man Curlu an a**hole?" Curtis asked slyly.
"You two need to step back-Charlene is a grown woman, and his name is SULU!" Marcus snapped.
"What kind of name is THAT?!" Darren demanded to know, turning to his younger brother Marcus.
"It's Japanese," Marcus said.
"He's Japanese?" both Curtis and Darren asked at the same time, turning to look at Marcus in disbelief.
"Yeah, Charlene said he's a real nice guy."
The three of them started walking up the steps and Darren stopped them to address his concerns: "It is our responsibility as older brothers to approve or disapprove of this marriage. If we don't like him, we'll do the rope-a-dope on him until he changes his mind."
"Oh no you don't!" Marcus snapped. " You two leave me out of it; if the man makes her happy, I'm all for him!"
Curtis shoved Marcus. "Man, you dope! Charlene is our responsibility; we taught her everything!"
"Everything except how to be a woman; we practically raised her as a boy," Marcus argued.
"Yeah, but it kept her out of trouble, and she should be grateful for it," Curtis put in.
"Marcus, shut up! Curtis and I got this. If the man Culu or Fulu or Su-Su checks out, we are cool with the match."
"Look, guys, don't do this to our sister. She'll get mad or worse-beat the crap out of us. Leave it alone," Marcus pleaded.
The three six foot-plus men continued up the steps to meet their future brother-in-law, ready to put Hikaru Sulu to the test.
Darren knocked at the door and the three of them straightened their shirts to present themselves. The door swung open to a slightly shorter Asian man wearing an apron. Sulu looked up at the men and swiftly removed his apron to greet them.
"Hi! You must be Charlene's brothers. Please come in."
Sulu stepped aside to let the men in. As they went past him, the height difference between Sulu and the brothers became acutely apparent.
"I'm Hikaru Sulu, Charlene's fiancé." Sulu extended his hand.
"I'm Darren Masters; these are my brothers, Curtis and Marcus."
All three men shook Sulu's hand and then he shut the door.
"Gentlemen, I just started cooking in the kitchen. Why don't you join me?" Sulu led the men to the kitchen, where he was preparing the food.
As they were walking, they noticed the house's décor in authentic ancient Japanese furniture and art. Sulu turned to see them looking around.
"This is my aunt's place; she's letting us use it while we are on leave. Nice isn't it?"
Darren, being the oldest, took charge: "Where's Charlene?"
"Oh, she's in the bedroom getting dressed, you know how women are about wanting to look just right"?, she'll be out later."
"Come sit over here, gentlemen. I'm almost done with prepping."
"Prepping?" Marcus asked.
"Yes, I'm cooking dinner. I'm not bad, but I'll let you be the judge." Sulu walked behind the counter toward a long flat grill. Four tall chairs were in front of the counter.
The three brothers each took a seat facing the grill. A large hood hung over the flat grill. They noticed vegetables and plates and an assortment of spices spread out over the counter.
"Gentlemen, would you like something to drink? I have an assortment of beverages."
"I'll take water for now," Darren said.
"Do you have those old Budweiser ales?" Curtis asked.
"Apple juice for me," Marcus added.
The two older brothers turned toward Marcus and gave him the evil eye for asking for a kids drink.
"Marcus, have you ever tried sake? It's an old Japanese rice wine. It packs a punch!"
"OK, I'll try it," Marcus responded, giving his brothers the same evil eye.
Sulu went to warm up the sake. He pulled out four authentic Japanese ‘ochoko', poured the sake into the small cups and set them on a tray. He turned to give them each a cup. Darren and Curtis hesitated to take one, but Marcus grabbed his.
Sulu took the last one on the tray. He raised his cup, saying "Here's to the future" and then drank his in one gulp, letting out a satisfied sigh afterward. "Ahh, that was good!"
Marcus took a sip and then continued to drink his sake. His brothers did the sniff test and slowly brought their cups to their lips to taste. They were pleased with the taste and finished their cups off, giving each other the "not bad" look.
"See, I told ya; it has a little kick! Now let me start cooking."
The three brothers didn't know that the flat grill had been heating up in front of them. Sulu put his apron back on, pulled out two knives from the butcher block, and placed one to each side of the cutting board. He then pulled out a long knife sharpener and started sharpening one of the knives.
The three brothers' eyes widened as Sulu sharpened the blade up and down the file, talking the whole time:
"It's so nice to finally meet Charlene's brothers! She talks about the three of you all the time. She told me about her childhood and that you guys practically raised her."
Sulu took a peeled onion and started to dice it; then he dumped a large bowl of rice onto the corner of the heating griddle and it started to sizzle. The brothers watched Sulu's hands as he meticulously sliced the onion with precision, then flicked the knife onto the cutting board, which made a whacking sound, startling the brothers. Sulu took out two spatulas and stirred the onions into the rice, making a mountain. He continued talking as he cooked.
"You know, Charlene was worried that you guys wouldn't like me, but I said that was ridiculous. I told her, 'Your brothers raised you and looked out for you; they will give me a chance. And another thing, I'm a nice guy-your brothers would want you with a nice guy. And I'm that guy'!"
Sulu flipped and twirled the spatulas in his hands and then scooped the rice to the side of the grill as it continues to slow cook. He picked up the knife and a zucchini; he sliced it in half, threw it into the air and sliced it into julienne wedges as it landed in the middle of the grill. Then he added mushrooms, butter, and soy sauce as he continued talking. The three men, barely heard him-they were watching the fancy juggling of Sulu's knife and spatulas. The men were speechless, amazed and, truth be told, just a tad scared about how he handled the knife.
"I just want you to know that I have Charlene's best interests at heart; she is a one-of-a-kind woman; that's what I like about her."
He flicked the knife back onto the cutting board, and the three men tensed.
"Have I told you that I collect knives and swords? I'd better let you know that about me. They say I'm an expert with a knife, but I prefer a sword, I'm a swashbuckler by heart. People have mention that I could take out a person with one. I wouldn't know; I've never tried it." Sulu looked at the men. "But I have come close when my temper was up! Charlene says I have too many and should give it a rest. She's the only woman I know who likes my collection. But it's my hobby, so I should keep them. I practically have a warehouse of swords and knives from all kinds of cultures."
Sulu leaned toward the brothers, pointing with the knife: "You know? I have a sword from the 19th century Civil War in the United States! But it's a replica; you can only find the real antiques in museums."
Sulu went back to chopping-broccoli this time-tossing it onto the grill, flipping the knife onto the block, stirring the vegetables into the rice again, and flipping the sizzling concoction with spatulas. The three men started to feel a bit apprehensive about the way Sulu threw his knife around, so they sat there in silence.
"Hey, you must be hungry. Let me start you off with a ginger salad. I made it."
Sulu went to the replicator and pulled out three bowls of salad, retrieved three forks, and placed them in front of them. The brothers looked at the nicely arranged salad with cucumbers, tomatoes, and light ginger cream sauce on top. They looked at each other, wondering if it was safe to eat. They slowly picked up their forks and dipped into the salad. Sulu smiled and went back to cooking. Curiosity mounting, finally, one of the brothers braved a question after trying the salad and finding it quite tasty.
"Are-are you the cook or something on a starship?" Curtis asked.
Marcus kicked him for asking a stupid question.
Sulu chuckled: "Oh no! I'm the helmsman, a damned good one, too! I have been flying since I was in high school; they say I'm sort of a daredevil. But I have to tell you that it did take me a while to learn to maneuver a Constitution-class starship. Now that's no joke; that's a serious SHIP!"
Sulu took another knife, and Darren and Curtis leaned away from the counter, thinking that they may have insulted him. Sulu took some synthetic processed substitute meat (made out of vegetables) from the replicator and started cutting off thin slices and putting them on the grill to cook. Then he added a pile of Japanese noodles and a splash of sake for flavor.
"Sulu! This salad is great!" Marcus raved.
Thank you. My family taught me how to cook; they said it's important to know some basic cooking skills in case you ever find yourself on your own. But Char and I take turns cooking when we're on leave. I have to tell you that I now love sweet potato pie and black-eyed peas with white rice. OH WOW! I couldn't stop eating the stuff!"
Sulu took another knife from the block and sliced a lemon up so fast that the brothers barely saw the blade move; he again flicked the knife onto the block, again startling the men. They watched him squeeze lemon juice on top of the meat, add some seasoning, and use the spatulas to stir and flip the food. Sulu took two knives and used crisscross cuts to cut the meat on the grill into smaller chunks; he paused with a knife in each hand and looked up at Charlene's three brothers, taking a moment to look each one in the eye.
"I know you are Charlene's brothers and you watch out for her because she's the only girl in your family. If you accept me as your brother, I'll be watching out for her too! I'll be helping you protect her while she is in space, so you won't have to worry. I'll be an extension to your plan for looking out for her. I can do this if I'm your brother-in-law. So, what do you say?"
It didn't take much convincing; the three brothers had been watching slice-'n'-dice with the sharpest set of knives. They didn't want to challenge Sulu with those weapons in the room. The brothers turned and gave each other a knowing look; the man had demonstrated that he could look out for their sister and the conversation was so one-sided that they couldn't protest at all. And the way he talked about their little sister was endearing. They all nodded their heads toward Sulu, offering their approval.
"It seems you respect and care for Charlene, and if you want to help us look out for her, we accept you as our future brother," Darren said, humbly extending his hand. Sulu flicked both knives onto the block at the same time, making the brothers almost jump out of their skins. Sulu wiped his hand on his apron and shook Darren's hand in agreement.
"Do you know karate?"
Sulu laughed. "Yes, I've been teaching Charlene some new moves."
Charlene came in dressed in a two-piece yellow mid-thigh dress. The top came down to her midriff. She greeted her brothers with a big smile:
"Darren, Curtis, and Marcus! You made it!"
The three men turned to see their little sister and saw a shapely woman with curves. Her hair was still short but it was styled into finger-waves that framed her glowing face. The brothers' eyes widened in shock; it had been a couple of years since they had seen her and they were amazed at their sister's sexy transformation. Darren's brows drew into a deep frown.
"What is that you're wearing?" he snapped.
Charlene stopped and placed her hands on her hips: I better be wearing clothes!" She continued walking toward Sulu and pulled him into a hug.
"Says Eve Brody, my personal designer," Charlene snapped, giving Darren the evil eye.
Sulu leans down to kiss Char on the cheek.
"Honey, do you mind getting the plates and forks? Your brothers adopted me into the family!"
She turned to her brothers and smiled at them, knowing that it was a big deal for them. And they knew how much their approval meant to her.
"Thanks, guys, I love you too!"
A/N: I hope I haven't offended anybody's culture or ethnicity in this story. I did live in Japan and I worked with a Japanese family, that helped broaden my vision. If I had please forgive me, that is not my intention when writing this story.