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Episode Epilogue: Journey to Babel

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Season 2, Episode 15 — "Journey to Babel"

 

Kirk smiled charmingly at Amanda Grayson. "And we conclude our tour of the Enterprise with the quarters for visiting guests; you and Sarek are in this cabin here." The door to Amanda and Sarek's cabin swished open, and the two paused in the doorway.

Amanda put a hand on Kirk's arm. "Thank you, Captain. You have a lovely ship, and I'm doubly glad to see it, since it's been Spock's home for such a long time."

KIrk bowed slightly. "I'm always glad for a chance to show off my ship, and I can think of no guest I'd rather escort than Mr. Spock's mother." He took a step into the guest quarters, drawing Amanda along with him, then turned to her as the door closed behind them. "And now that we're in private, there are some things I'd like to tell you."

Amanda smiled. "Don't tell me, let me guess. You think Sarek is a fool for not properly appreciating Spock."

Kirk smiled back. "Although there is some truth to that, it's not what I wanted to tell you."

Amanda seated herself in one of the guest cabin's chairs and waved Kirk to the other. "Ah. Well, then, I'm intrigued. What did you want to tell me?"

Kirk sat down across from her. "I know your husband is an ambassador, that he's represented Vulcan at many meetings, on many worlds. What you and he may not realize is that Spock is an ambassador, too, and I'm not just talking about the Enterprise's missions to other worlds. Spock has been the Vulcan ambassador to Starfleet for the past eighteen years, and he's taught us more than you could possibly guess."

Amanda leaned forward. "What kinds of things has he taught you?"

Kirk shook his head. "I couldn't begin to count them all. He takes every chance to explain the Vulcan worldview, to extol the importance of logic, to represent the scientific point of view." He grinned. "Spock faced some skepticism when he first joined up, but every captain in the Fleet wants a Vulcan science officer now! And it's not just because Spock knows damned near everything. We've had so many successes together — and he and Chris Pike had so many successes together before me — that now it's pretty much an open secret in Starfleet that Vulcans and Humans make the best teams, that each of us complements the strengths and weaknesses of the other."

Amanda smiled. "That's nice to hear, though I'm not sure that would count for much with Sarek."

Kirk leaned back in his chair. "Oh, but I'm just getting started! He's taught nearly a fifth of the crew to meditate, he's taught my communications officer to play the Vulcan lute, and half of the Sciences Division of the ship has begun to think twice before expressing an emotion." Kirk chuckled. "Not that he's been trying to get the scientists to do that, but they all pretty much worship his scientific mind, so they've begun to emulate him."

Amanda chuckled. "I have this mental image of Spock with a line of blue-shirted ducklings waddling along behind him."

Kirk laughed. "It's a lot like that, actually. If he were trying to influence them in that way, I'd be concerned, but he's just being himself, and I'm not sure the junior scientists even realize they're doing it."

He sobered and leaned forward. "But the thing that matters most to Sarek is probably the issue of violence, and Spock has been a voice for the non-violent solution in nearly every encounter we've ever had." He held up a hand. "Not that the rest of us are violent maniacs, ready to go off half-cocked."

Amanda chuckled. "No, I didn't suppose you were. I am human, myself, after all."

Kirk nodded. "But even with the distance that humans have come since the bad old days when violence was one of our first responses, it's still higher up in our repertoire than Spock is comfortable with, and so he reminds us, constantly, to look for another way."

Amanda smiled. "If you aren't busy, Captain, I'd like to hear the details of some of those occasions."

Kirk smiled back at her. "I am busy — very busy — but this is important." He thought for a moment. "Last year, we were called to the mining colony on Janus VI. Fifty miners had been killed in the previous three months, by a creature — they called it a 'monster' — who had dissolved the men in acid."

Amanda gasped. "Dissolved in acid! What a horrible way to die."

Kirk nodded. "It was horrible, and fear was rampant, because no one had ever seen the creature who was doing it. Everyone assumed the creature was malevolent, and I ordered my security team to kill the monster on sight." He smiled slightly. "Spock countermanded my orders and told the men to capture it."

Amanda blinked. "He countermanded your orders? I'm not in Starfleet, but I thought you all maintained military discipline here."

Kirk smiled grimly. "We do. And Spock had been in Starfleet for seventeen years at that point; he understands chain of command in his sleep." He shook his head. "But this was important to him, important enough to show me an alternate path in the most pointed possible way." He sighed. "I was angry at first, angry at being countermanded, angry that someone I thought I could depend on had proved to be unreliable." Kirk shook his head at himself. "It turned out to be my compassion that was unreliable. Once I'd cooled down, I saw that."

Amanda cocked her head to one side. "What eventually happened with the creature?"

Kirk's eyes were reflective, remembering. "The creature and I stumbled across one another, and Spock came racing in to protect me from it. But the creature wasn't hostile. Spock mind-melded with it and discovered that the miners had unknowingly been destroying the creature's eggs. Once the situation was explained to everyone involved, the miners stopped destroying her eggs, and the creature — she called herself a horta — stopped attacking the miners. By the time we left, the horta and the miners were working together."

Amanda smiled. "That's a lovely story. And it sounds as if you would definitely have destroyed the horta without Spock."

Kirk nodded. "I shudder to think about it, because as it turned out, that horta was the last of her race. If we had killed her, we would have destroyed the last representative of a sentient species."

Amanda put a hand to her throat. "Oh, my."

Kirk continued, "She didn't LOOK like a sentient species to human eyes — she looked like a particularly lumpy rock — and we could never have communicated with her without Spock. But this isn't just about his telepathic abilities. The biggest reason why we could never have communicated with her without Spock is because without his influence, she'd be dead. I'd have phasered her the minute I saw her, without even knowing what I was doing." He shook his head. "And yet ... she'd killed fifty miners — not one, or two, but FIFTY. I don't think I'm an unusually violent man; I think any human would have shot first and asked questions later."

Amanda nodded. "Fifty is a huge number of deaths in a small community; I'm not surprised that you accepted the prevailing view that the creature was a monster."

Kirk shook his head. "And yet, from the creature's point of view, WE were the monsters, the nest-destroying, egg-smashing monsters." Kirk grimaced. "And that's not the only time I've had to learn that particular lesson."

"Tell me about it?" Amanda asked.

Kirk sighed. "We got a message asking us to go to Cestus III, and when we got there, we discovered that the entire outpost had been destroyed — the buildings in rubble, the people dead. An alien ship attacked the Enterprise while we were on the planet, and when we got back to the ship, I ordered my crew to destroy the alien vessel."

Amanda nodded. "That seems reasonable, under the circumstances."

Kirk nodded. "To you and me, it seems reasonable. But not to Spock. Spock suggested that there were several possible explanations for the aliens' behavior. He suggested that we have a regard for sentient life." Kirk shook his head. "I didn't want to listen. Humans had been killed, a colony destroyed, and I was afraid it was the prelude to invasion. I wanted to destroy the aliens before they could return to their home base and report that there were easy pickings in Alpha Quadrant."

Amanda grimaced. "They did attack both the colony and your ship."

Kirk sighed. "Yes, but we didn't know why. I thought I knew why, but I didn't stop to talk to the aliens. I was angry and frightened, a combination that usually leads to violence, and that's where it led me. But Spock either doesn't feel anger and fear — which is probably what he'd claim, though I have my doubts — or he doesn't let them control him. He saw possibilities where I saw only an invasion force."

Amanda leaned forward in her chair. "What happened?"

"Another race of aliens — an extremely advanced race — intervened. They took me and the captain of the other ship, a being from race of humanoid lizards called Gorns, and put both of us on an empty planet, where they said we would fight to the death. During the somewhat lengthy fight, I found out that the Gorns had claimed the area of space where Cestus III was; they thought WE were the invasion force that was threatening THEM.  During the fight, the Gorn captain and I each injured the other before I prevailed. Once I had the Gorn captain disabled, I refused to kill him, and the advanced race let us both go.

Amanda's face took on a look of soft pride. "So Spock was right again."

Kirk nodded. "Spock was right that we needed to TALK to the Gorns, not simply destroy them before we knew why they'd attacked Cestus III. I think I've learned my lesson now, and I hope that I'll talk instead of attack in the future." He smiled. "But if I don't, Spock will remind me, and if he does, I hope I'll listen the next time."

Amanda smiled at Kirk. "Thank you so much for telling me, Captain; I'm grateful to know that Spock isn't just a great Starfleet officer, he's also an ambassador for the Vulcan way."

Kirk smiled back. "He is that. Maybe you could tell Sarek that Spock is upholding Vulcan principles while in Starfleet, and his being here has spread Vulcan philosophy far more than isolation could ever have done." He stood up. "And pleasant as it is to talk about Spock with the woman who bestowed him on a grateful galaxy, I really do have things I must attend to."

Amanda rose and escorted him to the door, then went to the bedroom area of the cabin, where Sarek was resting on the bed, invisible from the main room. She seated herself on the edge of the bed and looked at her husband. "I know you heard all of that."

Sarek sat up. "I did. I confess I did not realize that Spock would bring Vulcan ways to Starfleet in addition to absorbing Starfleet ways into himself. I will need to think about this information; perhaps I have been hasty in judging his choice."

Amanda smiled happily. Sarek said he'd need to think about it, but she already knew what he would conclude. Maybe Sarek would never be happy that Spock was in Starfleet, but she was sure that he would at least stop pretending that Spock didn't exist. Given any interaction at all, she was sure that she could get the two people she loved most in the world to reconcile. She could hardly wait!