THE HYBRID CHILDREN OF VULCAN
An excerpt from the memoirs of Charles Tucker the Third.
= = = =
To my beautiful daughter, may you have a better life in heaven than I could give you in this world. And to the love of my life who I am writing this for, all I can say to you is that I hope you have found peace in the stars.
= = = =
The first mission from Earth to the stars didn't start out as some great idea. It wasn't one of those defining moments that people look back on and say, this right here is what changed the course of an entire species. It was just my best friend and me sitting at the bar, shooting the breeze, and he says to me, "Trip, I'm going to use my Dad's engines and I'm going to take them up there. We're going to see the stars, you and
I'll freely admit that I laughed at him for that. What were we, two punk kids from the east coast, going to do that would get humans out into the stars? The answer was simple: we weren't going to do anything, cause there was nothing for us to do. It was just my best friend saying shit while he was drunk and wishing that it would come true.
Funny how even when I was a dumb as a dirt clod teenager, drunk off my ass on cheap corn liquor and adrenalin, I was smarter than when I was a stone cold sober ship's engineer. We didn't change the world,
John-boy and me. We just took the first step, opened the door for those that would follow.
Jonny will tell you different, he'll say what we did was honorable, just, shit like that. Me, I've got no reason to keep up illusions. It was a cluster-fuck, and we almost didn't get back home again. It was Captain Ahab and his white whale all over again. People died, people lived. Allies were made and enemies too and in the end none of that mattered because we survived.
That's going to be humanity’s testament in the end. Not that we got out there and changed the course of the Galaxy, dozens of races had done that before. No, our legacy was that we survived and we're going to keep on surviving.
I don't know where the human race’s destiny lies but the one thing I can die knowing is that humans will survive and someday there will be a little girl born that doesn't need to die because medicine can't save her. A world where a child that is both human and Vulcan can survive.
That is a world worth sacrificing everything for. A world where fathers like me don't have to bury their children.
= = = =
Captain Pike met us in the space port's small conference room, usually set aside for delicate meetings involving foreign delegates. I did not ask how my mother had arranged for us to have the room to ourselves.
I had learned many years before that it was pointless to question the many favors my mother was able to call in. In my youth I had often thought that she must be a large part of my father's success as a Ambassador. As I grew older I came to understand that her ability to make friends with everyone she came into contact with was not necessarily a boon among Vulcans.
Had she married Father even a decade earlier then she had, I have little doubt that she would have been completely ostracized. As it was, virtually all of her contact with other beings involved foreign visitors to Vulcan.
Such as Captain Pike. "Amanda, it is good to see you again. And this must be the son you've told me so much about." He stood up from his seat, to greet us as soon as we entered the conference room, bestowing a one-armed hug on my mother and giving me a more formal salute, which I gladly returned.
I had not wished to hug the Captain as my mother had so easily done. The casual touch that humans indulged in made me edgy, and the fact that I was three times as strong as Captain Pike only made that feeling of discomfort sharper. It would be frighteningly easy to harm the Captain by wrapping my arms around him. "Captain Pike."
"So, what is it that you wanted to meet me about, Amanda?" He headed over to the wet bar, kept in the room for foreign dignitaries who could and would indulge in the taking of intoxicating substances, and started pouring three tumblers’ worth of what appeared to be Romulan whiskey. "Not that it isn't nice to see you again."
Mother gave him a carefully demure smile, before 'dropping the bombshell' as she liked to call it. "My son, Spock, wishes to join Star Fleet."
Pike gasped in shock, managing to inhale a sip of his whiskey. "What – did—you say--?" He managed to gasp out between coughing fits.
"I am quite sure you heard me. Spock wishes to join Star Fleet, and I want you to help him."
The coughing slowly petered off, allowing Pike to lock gazes with Mother. "Are you going to tell me what's really going on here Amanda?"
"Why don't you ask Spock directly?"
"Don't try to distract me. You're the one who requested a meeting. If he'd been the one to contact me I'd be asking him the exact same question. But since you called me here for a private get together, I've got to wonder why you want your son off of Vulcan so badly."
A somewhat logical supposition given the information he currently had. Still I felt the need to defend my mother from the implications that she was in any way pressuring me into joining Star Fleet. "I requested my mother's assistance in this matter, Captain Pike. I promise you that this is my decision."
He sighed. "It sounds like this is going to be a much more complicated discussion than I was expecting. The two of you might as well sit down." He refilled his glass with whiskey and carried all three tumblers over to the conference table.
Mother accepted her glass gratefully, slugging back a large gulp of it fast enough to make Captain Pike stare at her in open awe.
I used his distraction to place my own glass on an out of the way shelf. My human blood didn't make the injection of intoxicants any more well advised. Particularly not when I was trying to convince Captain Pike of my determination to join Star Fleet. "Now that you know this is my decision, will you help me to join Star Fleet?"
He sipped meditatively at his drink. "I'll need more explanation than you've given me. It's my reputation on the line if you wash out. I at least need to know that you have a reason for making this decision, and why you're going against your father to do it. Unless I miss my guess as to why he isn't here with the two of you."
"Your supposition is correct. He does not know or this decision, nor do I believe he would he approve of it."
"Then why go against him?"
" I am unwilling to put my heritage behind me in order to fulfill my duties to the Science Academy as he would prefer."
"So you decided to run away instead of fighting? That doesn't seem like something a Vulcan would do, nor does such cowardice befit Amanda's son."
"Christopher!" Mother reprimanded him sharply.
"No, Amanda. I'm not going to withdraw the question. I’m not asking for all your reasons, I know you well enough to know that you wouldn't have agreed to this unless you felt it was necessary. But I need to hear Spock's reasons for doing this."
She opened her mother, whether to explain my reasoning or to yell at him again I didn't know.
Pike cut her off before she could say anything. "I need to hear his reasons, from him." He stared at me, sipping slowly at his drink, giving me time to consider my answer.
I wished that I shared his ability to become intoxicated. The drink provided him with a logical reason to refrain from speech. I had no such reason, except for my own discomfort. "I have come to the decision that denying my human responses is an illogical venture. I am half-human and denying the consequences of my genetic makeup will only serve to cause me further mental upheaval."
I took a slow steadying breath, before continuing. " I am no longer able to keep up the façade of a purely Vulcan viewpoint, and feel that the only way I can respond to this breakdown of my control is to attempt to find my place among humans."
Throughout my explanation, Pike watched my mother out of the corner of his eyes. Once he was sure I had finished speaking, he turned his attention back to me. "Why Star Fleet? If all you want is to find your place among humans there are many careers that a Vulcan would excel at. Why do you feel the need to join the Federation military, rather than a civilian group?"
"Spock is still young," my mother explained. "Under normal circumstances he would still be working in an extremely structured environment, under the watchful eye of more senior Vulcans."
"I can understand the parallels between such a situation and the military but that still doesn't explain why you don't simply find a highly structured civilian group. I looked over your record and with your ability in the computer and science fields you could easily gain a position at a research facility, where structure was paramount."
"While I am an adult by human standards, I am still considered young and impressionable by most Vulcans. If I were a member of a civilian group it would be simple for other Vulcans to exert pressure on such a group in order to convince me to return to my duties on Vulcan. They would consider it their duty to guide a misguided youth."
"But thanks to the regulations created when Star Fleet was just starting up, they can't argue against your decision to fulfill your civic duty and support the Federation by working for Star Fleet."
"That is correct."
"Smart, though I'm not sure it will be as simple as you think. Have you talked to Elder T'pol about this?"
"We've been trying to keep this quiet," my mother admitted.
"Part of Spock's non-Vulcan viewpoint?"
She didn't agree outright, but the manner in which she shifted in her seat was admission enough.
"I'm not sure how much the two of you know about T'pol's career as a Star Fleet officer, but there are certain events in her past that lead me to believe she would be able to understand more human viewpoints."
He stared down into his now empty glass, slowly rolling it between his palms so that the overhead lights refracted in different manners through the diamond pattern cut into the tumbler's bottom, casting fragments of shadows and rainbows about. Finally he seemed to make a decision. "While on a mission with the crew of the Enterprise, T'pol and another Star Fleet officer, Charles Tucker, had a hybrid human-vulcan daughter. She was illegally cloned by a group of terrorists but it is clear that both of her parents loved each other and her very much."
"What happened to their daughter?" my mother whispered, almost reverent at the idea of another hybrid child.
I was equally intrigued, but the distress I could feel radiating off of Captain Pike led me to believe that I would not like the answer he gave me. I could understand why he had been so reluctant to discuss the matter with us further. It was obviously a personal matter between Elder T'pol and this Officer Tucker. Even for a human he was showing a remarkable lack of tact by discussing this matter with us.
"She died. There was a problem with the cloning process and her body broke down."
Mother gasped, pained by Pike's emotionless recitation of the facts. A tear trickled down her cheek as though she had known the child. It was an illogical response, but my heart hurt for her.
"Why did you tell us this?" I asked. It was inappropriate to reprimand my Elder but with a breach of privacy this great, it was only logical that I point out Pike's poor decision."It is inappropriate to discuss such private matter with those outside of one's house. I can understand your knowledge of the matter, given your position in Star Fleet, but I doubt that you were informed of her loss for the purpose of telling others of it."
"Actually I was told about it in order to help with my understanding of Vulcans. Something which I believe discussing this matter will assist in."
I was surprised by this; it seemed highly un-Vulcan to use personal data in order to increase understanding. An event which only affected one member of the species would not be a good baseline from which to judge all member of the species.
Pike wandered back over to the bar and poured himself another glass of whiskey. "Charles Tucker the Third died in service to Star Fleet, but before his death he wrote a set of memoirs chronicling his time abroad the Enterprise. 'In hopes,' he said, 'of creating a better understanding of the decisions required of every member of Star Fleet that serves aboard a space vessel.
Particularly decisions regarding a Star Fleet member's mission and their relationship with other members of the crew.' It is required reading for every member of a Star Fleet vessel's command staff. Myself included."
He paused to take a large gulp of his drink. "In his memoir he discusses in great detail the cost he and Elder T'pol paid for their service to the Enterprise. And believe me he pulled no punches when it came to admitting illegal deeds or emotional repercussions. No doubt one of the reasons he made sure that it wouldn't be released to the public until after the last member of the original Enterprise crew had retired."
So there was a first person account of a long term association between humans and a Vulcan. I would have to see if I could procure a copy. "What about this account makes you believe that Elder T'pol would be amenable to helping me? Even if her time among humans did result in changes to her viewpoint, she has had many years to overcome such changes and regain her emotional control."
He turned away from the bar so that he could meet my gaze fully. There was something dark, foreign in his eyes. "There are some things you can't overcome, no matter who you are or how hard you try. That’s something you’ll learn if you do join Star Fleet." He put his glass down on the bar-top with a soft clink. The noise was enough to break our staring contest and when he turned to my mother he was once again the genial man who had first met us. "I'm sorry, Amanda, but I'm not really in a position to start a diplomatic incident by sneaking the Earth Ambassador's son off the planet. But I'll tell you what. If you can get him to Earth I'll vouch for him as a good candidate for the Academy."
"I suppose that is all I can ask," Mother said diplomatically. I did not need my empathy to tell me that she was displeased by Pike's decision, even if it was a logical one.
Pike pulled her into a true hug. "I truly am sorry, Amanda, but I have to put the needs of my crew first. I'm not going to start a fight with a Vulcan ambassador in Vulcan space. It would be different if you had told Ambassador Sarek and he refused to arrange for Spock to travel to Earth. Then at least I could claim that I was simply acting as transport. If I take Spock off planet now, without warning, Sarek could very well claim that I am kidnapping him and by the time we got everything sorted out I'd be in all kinds of hot water."
She stared up at him wide-eyed. I did the same. Neither of us had considered the fact that my father might take my absence amiss. I had assumed that my mother would be able to explain everything after I was gone. But what if she couldn't convince my father that I had made this decision without being pressured by an outside force, such as Captain Pike? The consequences could be severe. "I am sorry for asking you to get involved in this manner. We had positive intentions when asking you to keep this matter secret, but had not fully considered all possible outcomes."
"I know you didn't. And I can hardly blame you for that. You're still very young." Pike’s eyes were soft when he looked up at me. "It is often the case with children that they don't think about what their parents are truly capable of. You think of him as your father. A man who loves you. I doubt he has ever shown you the true depths of his strength and determination. But there are few lengths a man, or Vulcan, won't go to in order to protect their child."
"I cannot promise you that I will explain things to my father, but I give you my word that I will make sure that all matters are sufficiently settled before I apply to Star Fleet."
He pulled away from my mother and gave me a salute and a smile. "That is all I can ask." He turned his attention back to Mother. "Amanda, if you don't mind I'd like Spock to see me to my shuttle. There are some things I would like to discuss with him in private."
"Of course. Spock would be glad to see you out." Her voice was choked and if I had been able to see her face I was sure that she would be in tears.
I didn't look, allowing her to save face as best she could. "If you would lead the way."
He nodded and headed towards the door. "I will be back soon, Mother. Just stay here with the door closed until I have returned."
I saw her nod out of the corner of my eye, before following Captain Pike out.
From the memoirs of Charles Tucker the Third.
= = = =
I've got mixed feelings about Star Fleet. I understand why they exist and why they are necessary, but I can't help thinking that the bureaucracy has made the entire endeavor less valid than it could have been.
We went out alone to stop the Xindi. Which was necessary. But we were only one ship, we had no back up and no way to send a message home if something had happened.
We could have had both if we had waited to ship out until we were fully prepared. Instead, the bureaucrats decided that they needed to show decisive action and sent us out as soon as possible, before we were fully prepared or even recovered from the grief of our losses.
I blame a lot of what happened after that on their belief that public regard was worth more than their soldiers’ lives.
Am I saying that the people reading this shouldn't join Star Fleet? Of course not. As I said before, I realize how necessary Star Fleet is. All I'm asking is that people think a moment before they follow Star Fleets rulings blindly.
They have to make choices based on what is best for everyone in Star Fleet. It's up to a ship's captain to decide if that decision applies to the situation he finds himself in. It is also his responsibility to bear the price of that decision as best he can.
I know better than anyone the lengths a captain will go to finish his mission and protect his crew. I cannot give details upon this matter, because unlike much of what happened on our desperate mission to annihilate the Xindi, this decision was truly illegal and unsanctionable.
I am the living proof that the decision was necessary, but both Jon and I will have to carry our own share of guilt for what happened out there in the Abyss. This is perhaps the most important piece of advice I can ever give to a starship captain:
Make decisions based on what is best for your mission and your crew, but never forget your morals or your empathy. They are what will keep you from making a decision you will regret for the rest of your life.
= = = =
"What is it you wished to discuss with me?" I asked once we reached the terminal Pike’s shuttle was scheduled to dock at. We were alone for now, and I could think of no better time to discuss this matter. If he did not wish to discuss it in front of my mother, than I doubted he'd feel more comfortable discussing it in the presence of his fellow Fleet members.
"I don't know why you've decided on this course of action. And you are probably right in saying that I don't want to know, but I have to ask you something. To ease my conscience, if for no other reason."
"What is it?"
"Do you know what you are getting into?"
"I'm not saying that you are sheltered per se. No son of an ambassador could be fully sheltered, but are you prepared for the price you'll pay for spending time among humans?"
"I have spent a good deal of time with my mother and my father's contacts."
"But have you spent an extended period of time among humans without another, more senior Vulcan there to buffer you?"
I had to think about it for a moment. I had never considered the fact that my father might have intentionally arranged for another Vulcan to be with me whenever I was in the presence of a large group of humans. But the evidence seemed undeniable. I had never been alone with more than five or six at any given time, and even when I was alone in a group of humans a Vulcan was always waiting a small distance away. It was impossible for that to be entirely by chance. "No, I have never had occasion to be in the presence of a purely human group."
"I didn't think so, not with the way you were picking up on my emotions. While I can't blame your father for taking such precautions I'm sure you can see why I am concerned about your ability to handle the pressures the Academy will exert on your emotional control."
"It is a logical concern." And one I hadn't seen the need to consider. I wondered if Mother knew about Father's attempts to protect me. I doubted it given that from a purely human standpoint there was no threat against me. "I am unsure how I would go about putting your concerns to rest."
"Don't worry about it too much. That's part of why I wanted you to make your own way to Earth. It should be simple enough for you to find a ship with a human or at least mostly human crew. It will give you a fair idea of what being in a closed environment with a large group of humans will be like."
I had not considered the possibility of my journey to Earth being part of the trial process for my entrance into the Academy. The idea was simple and easy to initiate, and I could not help but feel somewhat impressed by Pikes reasoning ability. It was beyond what I had come to expect from the humans I dealt with. Even when they were my mother's friends. "And if I am unable to withstand the trip to Earth with my control intact?"
"Then I'll see about helping you to find another position on earth that will allow you to have minimal contact with humans. It's the least I can do make up for what I owe your mother." He patted me gently on the shoulder, making sure that his skin did not come into contact with mine. I appreciated his care, as well as his decision to cut our discussion short, now that another member of his crew had entered the hanger.
"Ensign Colt!" he called to the young woman, motioning for her to come join us. "This is Mr. Spock, he's the son of a dear friend."
She bowed formally. "It is a pleasure, Mr. Spock."
"And to you as well," I responded, doing my best to copy the old Earth greeting I only half remembered from when my mother had used at a party during my youth. Her exact saying was hard to remember because it had been overshadowed by my father's reaction to the insult given by his fellow diplomats when they refused to use the proper, Vulcan salute.
"Now, Ensign Colt," Pike continued before the silence could become more awkward, "Mr. Spock is making a study of Vulcan and human relations and I just know that you have to have a copy of Captain Ahab and the Enterprise on your PADD. After all, you have the largest book collection on the ship."
"I believe I do have a copy, but I'm unsure why you're interested in it, Sir. You have a copy of the book on your PADD as well."
"That's true, but—" He gave her the same charming smile he used on my mother.
"But you left your PADD on the ship again."
"Exactly." His smile grew even more brilliant.
"Very well, what is it that you need with my copy?"
"I was wondering if you could let Spock here have it, if I arrange for you to get the download again once we get back home."
"Why can't he get a copy himself?"
"I wondered that myself. It should be simple enough to gain access to a copy now that I know both the title. Earth literature was not to most Vulcan's taste, but there was still a market for it. There should not have been any reason for me to require this woman's copy of the book, when I could easily purchase my own.
"It's a banned book on Vulcan."
I joined Ensign Colt in staring at Captain Pike. I had not expected that.
Ensign Colt gained her voice first. "You want me to transfer a banned book from my PADD onto his PADD, despite the fact that owning and transferring the book is illegal when in Vulcan Space?"
"Exactly." I could not understand why his voice held so much excitement when discussing a crime that could cause all three of us to be severely punished. At the same time I found the interaction between the two humans quite fascinating.
She stared at him for a few moments longer, before turning to scan the hanger. Then she reached her hand, palm up towards me. "Give me your PADD already. I want to get this transfer taken care of before anybody else happens along and gets involved.
I nodded and dropped my PADD into the palm of her hand. She started pressing a series of buttons and I was sorely tempted to move so that I could see what she was doing. I was unused to seeing someone use technology for illegal means and it seemed interesting, but I remained where I was, keeping a wary eye on the entrance to the hanger. Ensign Colt was correct, this would only become more complicated with the addition of another member of Pike's crew.
After another thirty seconds of indeterminate beeping, she straightened up with a soft sigh, and held my PADD out to me. "There we go. It's transferred, saved under a false name, and protected by a pass code."
It would have definitely been interesting to watch her work. "My thanks."
"You're welcome as long as you don't mention it again."
I nodded my acceptance of her terms, but she had already turned back to Captain Pike. "And don't think I won't tell Yeoman Number One about this."
"I wouldn't dream of asking you to keep it from her."
She snorted but didn't seem inclined to make any further comments as she stomped off to poke at the computer console, by the hanger door. It seemed wise to remain where I was. While I would have enjoyed seeing what she could do with a full-sized computer, I did not want to know of any other illegal actions she took.
"Well now that, that's taken care of, you’d best be heading back to Amanda. She'll worry if I keep you away for too long.” He stood at attention and held his hand up in proper salute. “Live long and prosper, Spock. And do think about what we discussed."
I held my hand up in an answering salute. "I will think about it. May you live long and prosper as well, Captain."
From the Memoires of Charles Tucker the Third
= = = =
I love the family I made on the Enterprise more than anything. They love me unconditionally and no matter how much we fight or claim to hate each other I always know that they have my back.
Just like they know I have theirs. Whether it's fighting a rampaging monster or distracting a commanding officer so that they don't get reprimanded for pulling stupid stunts.
= = = =
The trip back home was more awkward than our trip to the space port. We'd been filled with hope and sure of our decisions. Strange how large a difference Captain Pike had made.
I'd thought that there were only two options open to him. Allow me to join Star Fleet or tell me it was impossible. I had not expected him to say it was both possible and unfeasible. It would take some consideration before I was ready to decide whether or not my goal to join Star Fleet was worth the risks Captain Pike had pointed out.
Perhaps it would be advisable to spend a certain amount of time on Earth, in a civilian position, before I swore myself to Star Fleet.
"What are you thinking about, dear?"
"I am considering the options Captain Pike laid out for me."
"Have you changed your mind about joining Star Fleet?"
"No, but he reminded me that things are rarely as simple as we would like them to be. I still plan to join Star Fleet but not until I am sure that I am prepared for every eventuality he laid out for me. To go into such a venture unsure of my resolve would be foolhardy."
"What of your father? While I agree that we should tell him, I still don't feel comfortable with your being present while I do so."
I concurred. Despite our mutual commitment to the teachings of Surak we were not as controlled as we should have been when in each other's presence. We were each part of the greater whole that was our relationship as father and son , which meant that it was virtually impossible for us to fully block our emotional reactions from each other.
Such reactions could build until we both felt the need to regain control, which would in turn cause us to, as mother called it, 'act like spoiled children giving each other the cold shoulder'.
“I will make arrangements to take a trip to T'pol's home and leave before Father returns the day after next. That will allow you to discuss things fully before I return.”
She patted my cheek. "That sounds like a good plan, dear."
From the Memoirs of Charles Tucker the Third
= = = =
The first time I met T'pol I thought she was the most amazing person I ever saw. The longer I knew her the more beautiful she became to me.
I can practically hear her saying that I'm being illogical, since she couldn't possibly have become more beautiful. But anyone who's ever been in love can tell you right off that the more you love someone the more beautiful they become. It's not logical, that's true enough, but it's just the way things are.
The only person I've ever known who was as beautiful from the day I first met them to the day of their death, was my baby girl, my Elizabeth. But I think that has more to do with a father's love than any particular beauty on her part.
I've seen enough babies to know that they're not pretty to anyone but their parents. Little screaming balls of red skin and rage, or I suppose in this case that would be green skin.
But I'm getting ahead of myself again, when I first met T'pol I knew that she was an amazing person, but I didn't know how I would come to love her, how we would change each other for the better and all the pain that would come with those changes. In the end the pain was too much to allow us to stay together but I would never give up those memories, not for anything.
T'pol was a superb first officer from the beginning, the very picture of both her position and her Vulcan heritage.
= = = =
The inside of T'pol's house resembled my own. There were touches of human elements mixed liberally with Vulcan. Human furniture and an austere design ascetic, with knickknacks and trinkets hidden in corners and among the books and scrolls that filled up the entire right wall of the home's central room.
Under most circumstances I would have been drawn inexorably to the books, seeking the knowledge they held, but something else caught my attention or more truthfully my emotions.
A series of small humanoid figured made of sandstone were lined up on a shelf above the fire pit. Minimal details and graceful designs prompted me to touch them and feel the emotional residue left behind by their maker and the hands that had worn them smooth.
I crossed my hands behind my back to remind myself of the control I needed to exert on such impulses. To scan an Elder, even by doing something as non-threatening as touching an item dear to them, was frowned upon. Very nearly taboo, if forbidding something did not strike most Vulcans as logical.
"You may touch them."
I jumped. Elder T'pol had managed to sneak up behind me despite her advanced age. It was disconcerting and made me more interested in her background. "I do not wish to intrude on you."
"You aren't if I invited you.” She reached around me and lifted the collection’s central figure up into her hand. She rubbed her thumb over the baby clutched in the figure's arms and squeezed the figure in her hand.
To most Vulcan's this would have meant little, but I had been raised by a human. I understood at least partially the emotional attachment that could grow between a being and the physical representations of their memories.
My mother had a series of framed pictures she would hug to her chest and run her fingers over when she thought no one else was in the house. "What does that figure represent for you?"
"If you are here I can only assume that you were informed of my daughter."
"This figure reminds me of her, and her father." She rubbed her fingers over the figure's face.
'Her father'. It was strange to hear Charles Tucker referred to in such a clinical fashion. Not that there was any reason for her to refer to him as something else, when that was the most concrete connection they shared. Did she know that he had thought of her as the love of his life? Did she even know about the book he'd written for her?
She dropped the figure into my cupped hands. Love and sorrow and the slight flicker of a joy that I couldn't describe flitted through my consciousness. My fingers ran over it as I analyzed the details and imperfections. Places where Elder T'pol had rubbed the stone smooth, and marks from where it's creator had used a chisel without sanding after.
I studied it carefully before placing it back among the other figures. "It is a beautiful collection. Your care for it shows.
She reached out and brushed her finger tips over my ocular ridge. I jolted and stumbled back away from her. "What--?"
Ignoring my discomfort, she turned her attention back to the figures. "I think it would be best if we continued this discussion tomorrow. I had not been expecting company and it is almost time for my meditation."
It was an outright dismissal but not one I could argue with. I held my hand up in salute and sketched a deferential bow. "Thank you for your time Elder T'pol, I look forward to speaking with you in greater depth tomorrow."
She nodded in return, but didn't turn to acknowledge my salutation I headed back towards the door without her.
"Who sent you here?" she asked just before I left the house.
"Captain Pike of Star Fleet. He believed that you would be able to assist me in discussing my plans with my father."
She nodded again. I took it as permission to leave.
= = = =
I spent the night in a lean-too braced against the side of my parked hover vehicle. I was grateful that the Sa who had rented the vehicle to me had insisted that I take basic camping material.
Apparently it wasn't uncommon for Elder T'pol to send her guests away for the night. That wasn't particularly unusual when a Vulcan was in seclusion, but given her choice of a secluded location it seemed ill advice.
Sand storms and Sehlat were threats for anyone foolish enough to travel so far out unaccompanied.
Despite my displeasure at being barred from Elder T'pol's compound, I spent the evening constructively, in finishing Charles Tucker's book. I could see why Captain Pike had insisted I read it.
It was honest about the foibles of Star Fleet as well as the relationship between humans and Vulcans and Charles Tucker's absolute love of T'pol.
A plan began to hatch in my subconscious. It was impulsive and foolish but illogically it felt right.
= = = =
From the Memoirs of Charles Tucker the Third
Elizabeth was dying and T'pol was losing control of her emotions. Either of these events would have been distressing. Together they left me feeling like I was drowning.
The captain did his best to help me keep my head above the proverbial water but there really wasn't much either of us could do.
Phlox had searched through every Denobulan, Vulcan, and Star Fleet medical database. All without any success. Elizabeth was dying and there was no miracle waiting in the wings to save her.
Even illegal experiments to replace her organs wouldn't have saved her. She would have just died on the operating table.
So I made a illogical human choice. I accepted her death and spent my last hours with her trying to make her as comfortable as I could, staying strong for her.
When she was gone I collapsed into myself and sank between the waves of grief.
I'd lost T'pol by the time the Captain and Malcolm had helped me get over her death. >
= = = =
My absence appeared to have had a positive effect on Elder T'pol. She had greeted me with a proper salute and seemingly unflappable calm, before serving up two cups of tea. It was as though the day before had never happened. "I spoke with Captain Pike last night and he informed me that you wish to join Star Fleet."
"That is correct." Guilt was illogical; you couldn't change what had already happened but I still felt an uncomfortable niggling of thought that said I should have warned Elder T'pol of my visit. Charles Tucker had spoken in depth of the emotional repercussions his daughter's death had had on him. But just as telling was what he hadn't said about T'pol.
I glanced over at the shelf of figures. They were all freshly polished and had been rearranged since the night before. It must have caused her a large among of disquiet, having a hybrid child show up on her doorstep. I had to wonder if I looked like Elizabeth, despite the difference in our gender.
"I am unsure if I will be able to help you with such an endeavor. I understand why he had you seek me out. As the only Vulcan to have ever been a member of Star Fleet it is logical for you to request my advice, but my contacts are minimal at best. Most have died since I retired from the Fleet.
"It is not contacts that I am interested in. My father is the current Ambassador to Earth and my mother has many contacts as well. I have been assured that if I can make it to the Academy, I will be allowed admittance."
"Then why do you wish to speak with me? Captain Pike was extremely vague."
This would most likely get uncomfortable quite quickly but I firmed my resolve. "My father has done his best to shelter me from the emotional backlash from spending extended periods of time among humans. Captain Pike is concerned that I will be emotionally compromised if I do join the Academy."
She did not respond right away, instead leaning back in her chair and running her eyes over me, studying and judging. Finally she seemed to reach a decision. "I have to agree with Captain Pike's assessment. If you choose to join Star Fleet you will be tested and you most likely will break. Unlike Captain Pike, I am not sure that this would not be a positive consequence. If you are not tested then you can never grow stronger."
I wondered which memory she was drawing from when she said that. "Do you have some suggestion of how I can keep from breaking under the pressure that will be exerted against my control?"
She stared at the shelf of figurines. "You will meet at least one person who will touch you in a manner that you never thought possible." She closed her eyes, her body held so tightly under control that it shook. "Their mind and emotions will call to you like a bright star in the dark. You need to be prepared for that and prepared for the decision that will follow—" The shaking got worse.
I gave her what privacy I could, remaining silent until she regained control and was able to open her eyes and meet my gaze."You have to know whether you will give into that connection as your mother did, or cling to your control as I have."
I understood her point, and that she wasn't trying to defame my parents relationship, but I still felt the need to correct her. "My parents didn't marry because of such a connection. They married because it was a logical way for my father to gain acceptance on Earth and my mother to gain access to study Vulcan language and culture."
Elder T'pol smiled softly, almost indulgently at me. It was a strangely out of place expression on her smooth face. "Your father may wish you to follow his path to the point where he will shelter you from humans and twist the truth to serve his purposes, but I can assure you that they would never have risked the pain of having you if they did not care for each other dearly."
"I do not understand."
"What do you know about the creation of hybrid children?"
An interesting question and strangely one I had never thought of. I tried to remember a time when I had thought about researching how I had been brought into the world. The only thing I could remember was when I was young and had first asked my mother about how babies were made.
The discussion had quickly become awkward and I had been cautious about repeating the experience. Since then I hadn't really thought about researching the subject. I knew that it took a certain amount of scientific intervention to create a hybrid child but beyond that I was at a loss. "Virtually nothing."
"I am not surprised." She stood and went over to the window so that she could stare out at the dessert. My father often did the same when he was about to broach a emotionally charged subject. "You of course know about my daughter."
"She and her siblings were not the first hybrid children to be created. But they were the most successful to be made at that time. None of the other hybrids that had been created had managed to live more than a day or two past their birth. The Science Academy told me that her creation was the breakthrough that allowed them to create successful hybrids."
The guilt I had been trying to ignore reared up to sink its claws past my logical denials of its existence. I remembered the protective way that my mother had held me when I'd been very young, and the way that my father had insisted that I refrain from physically pushing myself to keep up with the fully Vulcan children, despite his insistence that I best them mentally. Had those actions been caused by the loss of another child?
T'pol turned so that she could look at me. "Believe me, they would not have risked those odds unless they loved each other so much that the need to preserve a piece of your mother for the years to come was not of utmost importance to them."
I did not tell how much her insight into the situation meant to me. Such an emotional reaction would just serve to make both of us uncomfortable. Instead I took a sip of my tea and allowed her to keep talking.
It was as though she had simply been waiting for someone to listen, or perhaps I was enough like the daughter she lost that she was comfortable enough to speak with me. Words and stories tumbled out of her. Remarkable in how they were both the same and different from the stories Charles Tucker had told in his book.
Even with her emotional control it was still clear that her time on the Enterprise had defined her life and given her a reason to live that was greater than herself. That kind of purpose was what I had always craved.
I did not know what Captain Pike had wanted when he'd arranged for the two of us to meet. Perhaps he meant to scare me away from Star Fleet or perhaps he wanted to give T'pol a chance to explain herself to someone who could understand her pain.
Humans were confounding in their reasoning. Whatever he had intended he had succeeded in convincing me that Star Fleet was what I wanted. It would be the institution I would devote my life to.
Because no matter how much it hurt, it would be worth it for a chance to find the sense of purpose T'pol had found, or a love as great as my parents’.
= = = =
Before I left Elder T'pol's home I placed my spare PADD, loaded with Charles Tucker's book, among her collection of statuettes. It felt like something I needed to do.
A proper tribute to the hybrid child whose death had allowed me to be created, and to her parents who had sacrificed everything to make the Universe what it was.
When I set out to write this book I did it so that the truth of what we went through could be revealed, but over the course of writing it I discovered that there was another reason I wrote this book.
This is the story of my life and my love as I wish I could have told it to my daughter. This is the legacy I wish I could have left her.
But since that isn't possible, all I can do is hope that someday this book will inspire someone to make a decision. A perfectly ordinary decision that will someday change the course of our entire species.
That is the best legacy I could ever hope for.
So be inspired, change the world, and never forget the sacrifices of those that have gone before.