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Tomorrow Will Be Kinder

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They walk every evening at dusk. Amanda, the baby, and their shadow, the guards Starfleet insists on as long as the war goes on. Amanda thinks it's silly. Vulcan is deep within Federation space and the war is far away. Her husband and little Gabby's mother are on the frontlines, they need guards.

They have guards, Starfleet tells her. They have a fleet. But the war is not going well for the Federation. Klingon attacks are brutal, unpredictable, and near constant. Thousands have died, no one is safe. And they would make excellent hostages -- or examples, depending on which of the many enemy factions found them first.

So, a contingent of trained soldiers lives in her house, and follows her on her walk every evening at dusk.

Vulcan's climate is harsh for a human. None can stand to be out at midday, and it's really only comfortable in the early morning and late afternoon or evening. And Gabrielle was born hypersensitive to light so Amanda keeps her inside until T'Kut is in the sky and Shi'khar is covered in a gentle red glow. All the lighting in their homestead is solar powered and far less harsh than that found on a starbase, starship, or government building on Earth. The ancient walls of red sandstone keep the temperature ambient with very little technological interference, too. Amanda thinks it's the perfect place to raise a photophobic infant though it's possible she's biased.

They end their circuit in the gardens, as they do every night, with sweet nectar for Amanda and the guards -- it's easier for her to handle the new reality if she treats them as guests -- and a bottle for the baby. A nanny came with the guards, too, but Amanda does most of the feedings herself. Her son is grown, estranged, and fighting a war. Her daughter is already a casualty of it. Sometimes she wants to kill all the Klingons with her own hands. She's glad Sarek is too far to read her mind, her rage, her sorrow, her shame. He doesn't need to deal with her all too human emotions. He has a war to fight. She has a baby to feed.

Amanda plucks the infant girl out of her sling. Earth has thousands of contraptions for carrying a child, for every stage of their life, but on Vulcan the sling wrap has worked for millennia and they see no reason to change.

"Tonight we meet the pirates," she tells Gabby. She's reading her old Earth storybooks, as she did to her children, starting with classics like Peter Pan. Gabby's a fighter, like Peter, like her mother. And, Amanda hopes, a dreamer, too.

"I think you've gained again, little one," she murmurs, holding the girl with experienced hands. Born premature, Gabrielle was still small for her age. But so was Spock, and look at him now. "Your mama will be so proud."

Amanda sits, baby in the crook of her arm, and reads two chapters while she drains her bottle -- a nutritious compound created to her individual needs by the Healer Sorel and his human partner Dr. Corrigan. The two had helped Amanda and Sarek conceive their son, and have remained the family doctors since. 

Sated, Gabby starts to get drowsy and Amanda moves into the nursery. There she drops into the rocking chair Sarek built when she was pregnant and calls up the recording Gabby's mother made before they left. Kat's voice fills the room, a simple message to watch the stars, she’s watching too, and then a lullaby, tentative and low, but present, in a way.

Hush-a-bye, don't you cry, go to sleepy little baby. When you wake, you shall have, all the pretty little horses.

Amanda and Gabrielle slumber.