“Madam Ambassador,” Captain James T. Kirk greeted the small, blonde haired woman who had joined him and his first officer on the observation deck. “Did you enjoy your tour of the engine room?”
“I did indeed, Captain!” she replied enthusiastically. “Mr. Scott was an excellent and informative guide. My compliments; the Enterprise is a beautiful vessel. You must be very proud.”
The Captain’s smile widened at the compliment. “Thank you, Ambassador York. You’re obviously a woman of taste and discernment. Not to mention one of the loveliest ambassadors it’s been my pleasure to meet.”
“And you, Captain Kirk, are too flattering by half.” Triona smiled up at the Enterprise’s very handsome captain, deciding he more than lived up to his reputation.
Triona, or rather ‘Cate York’, was representing the Imladrin Planetary Union at the Babel Conference that would decide on admittance of the Coridan System to the Federation. While her presence on the Enterprise was business, she had a personal agenda as well. But that agenda had done his best to avoid her since she’d boarded the ship. It was time for a more direct approach.
She turned her attention to the Enterprise’s Vulcan First Officer. “Mr. Spock, I was wondering if you could spare a moment? We haven’t had the opportunity to speak since you joined the Enterprise.”
“You know each other?” Jim Kirk’s interest was piqued. He looked to his first officer for confirmation.
“The ambassador’s family and my own have been acquainted for some time,” Spock admitted, though, it seemed, somewhat reluctantly.
“And I’d hoped, Spock’s duties permitting, I might impose upon you to allow him the time to visit with me?” Triona looked at the Captain enquiringly. She knew she wasn’t being fair, that Spock would probably rather not have his relationship with her made public, but rank, not to mention age, had its privileges. And Triona intended to use all of those privileges this trip.
“Of course, Ambassador!” Kirk agreed readily. “Spock, consider yourself at Ambassador York’s disposal.”
“But, sir, the reception for the delegates…”
“Nonsense, Spock!” Kirk replied heartily. “Nothing we can’t handle without you. Please, escort Ambassador York back to her quarters. That’s an order,” he added, when it appeared he might have some other objection.
“Aye, Captain.” Spock nodded slightly, seemingly resigned to his fate.
Triona smothered a grin, his expression reminding her of when he was five and hadn’t wanted to go to bed till she’d told him another story. “My thanks, Captain.” She turned her attention to the Vulcan. “Shall we?”
They walked down the busy corridor in silence. Finally, Triona said, “If I didn’t know better, I’d say you’d been avoiding me.”
Spock looked sidelong at the slight woman who walked next to him. “Then it is fortunate you do indeed know better,” he said coolly.
“Isn’t it though?” This time, Triona didn’t try to hide her smile.
They reached the door to her quarters, and the door opened with a quiet ‘whoosh’. “After you, madam.” Spock extended an arm.
“Are you okay?” Methos asked in concern, as they entered, from where he was sprawled in a chair, a datapad in one hand.
“Why?” Triona asked, perplexed.
“You were only in the engine room two hours – more than a little frightening!” His eyes danced in amusement.
“Oh, very funny!” Walking over to where he sat, she leaned down to kiss him. “And you have no reason to tease,” she murmured into his ear, her fingers skimming across his chest. “I found the warp nacelle design very stimulating.”
“Well thank the gods for warp nacelle design,” he breathed, his hand coming up to caress the back of her neck.
Drawing back, she smiled, brushing her lips across his one last time before standing and turning back to the Enterprise first officer. “Spock has graciously agreed to humour an old woman and visit with me.”
“Spock,” Methos stood, greeting the Vulcan. “You’re well?”
“I am, Doctor.” He held himself stiffly, hands clasped behind his back looking more like he was awaiting a disciplinary hearing than a conversation with his Pry'lyn.
His demeanor didn’t go unnoticed by the Immortal. “Graciously agreed, hmm?” Methos asked his wife. He took her hands, leaning in to say softly, “You’re a cruel woman, love.”
“Part of my charm,” she replied airily.
“Uh huh.” He turned his attention back to Spock. “I’ll leave you two to your chat then, shall I? I’ve arranged a game of qui’li with the Andorian ambassador, so I’ll catch you later, wife.”
“Try not and get into too much trouble, husband,” Triona replied. His only response was a smile as he headed out the door.
Triona went to the replicator. “Trelan tea, two.” The machine whirred compliantly, depositing two cups of the steaming Vulcan brew onto the dispenser pad. Picking up the cups, she turned, handing one to Spock.
There was a whole body of tradition and ritual involved with Trelan tea. She didn’t intend on going there, but just her handing him the tea was an indication of the seriousness of her intent at this ‘chat’. An intent Spock seemed to acknowledge as he accepted the cup gravely between his two hands, his long fingers delicately clasping the small drinking vessel, with a slight bow.
When he spoke, it was in Vulcan, using the more formal mode of the language, suitable for speaking to an elder and family member. “Seveh, Tela'at T’rona.”
“K'war'ma'khon Spock, tesmur,” she replied as formally. Indicating with a wave of a hand that he should sit, she gracefully sank into one of the chairs in the small seating area of the guest quarters.
They both maintained silence, sipping tea as they gathered their thoughts. Finally, after the appropriate interval, Spock spoke into the quiet. “Your presence here on the Enterprise was unexpected.”
The Imladrin Planetary Union kept a relatively low profile in the quadrant, some might even say secretive. It was rare for such a public high level delegation to attend a Federation conference. Most diplomatic business was conducted privately, through back channels and upper echelon contacts.
“Your father’s doing,” Triona replied.
“While Imladris is not a member of the Federation, we do have a great deal of influence to bring to bear. Influence I intend to use to expedite the entrance of the Coridan system into the Federation.” She sipped at her tea. “In return, Vulcan will press my government’s concern at the growing influence of the Orions with the Federation Council. A mutually beneficial arrangement, as we see it.”
She laughed. “I’m pleased you think so!” After regarding him for a moment, she added, “But I have other concerns that brought me here, Spock. I think you realize that.”
“I had arrived at that conclusion.” His voice was tight and controlled.
Sighing at his tone, she glanced at him before looking down at the teacup she held in her hand. “You and Sarek.” With a sharp motion of her hand, she forestalled him. “No, Spock, you will let me finish.” This was said in a tone that brooked no argument. Triona was determined that he would at least hear her out. The young Vulcan swallowed his words, and she continued, “I will not try and mediate between you and your father. That is not my intention. God knows you and Sarek are as stubborn as anyone I’ve ever met.” She gave him a piercing look, daring him to say that stubbornness was a human emotion. Wisely, he kept his peace.
Setting the cup on the adjacent side table, she clasped her hands in her lap. “But what about your mother, Spock? She’s human, with a human life span. Is it logical to waste so much precious time with her? Believe me when I tell you that regret is one emotion you will be unable to avoid if you continue to keep Amanda from your life because of the discord between you and Sarek.”
His jaw clenched ever so slightly. “It was never my intention.”
“And yet, that has been the result,” she replied sadly. “Amanda gave up so much when she married your father. She even gave you up in the end, gave you up to be your father’s son, to be a Vulcan. Please, Spock, just for a little while, can’t you be her son too?”
“Sarek, I believe, would disagree that I am a proper Vulcan son.”
“Sarek is a fool,” she snapped. Spock raised one brow at her sharp outburst. “Oh, Spock, your father is one of my dearest friends, but I am not blind to his shortcomings. And while I can not directly broach the subject with him, you are a different matter. Vulcan custom gives me that right.”
Triona had known Spock’s grandfather, a member of the First Contact compliment to Earth in 2063. And then she and Sarek had become friends some five years before Spock’s birth. When Spock was a child, Triona had lived in Sarek’s household for two years. In the course of that time there, she had been made the boy’s Pry'lyn. The closest human equivalent was Godmother, though it was somewhat more involved than that – as many Vulcan customs tended to be.
“I do not regret my choice to attend Starfleet Academy or to serve on a human ship. To do so would be illogical,” he said stiffly.
“And you think I disagree with that, Spock? If I’d thought that you were making the wrong choice, I would have told you then. You know very well that I’m not averse to giving you my opinion.” She flashed a small crooked smile that was answered by a sparkle in her companion’s eyes that amounted to outright laughter in a Vulcan. Yes, he knew that quite well indeed. “I am very proud of you, of what you’ve accomplished.”
“It has been my good fortune to serve on this ship, under this captain. The path I have chosen suits me well.”
“I wish you’d known your grandfather, Skon. You remind me so much of him.”
“And yet, he did as was expected, he attended the Vulcan Science Academy and then entered diplomatic service.”
“He did,” Triona agreed. “But there was no Federation, no Starfleet Academy when he was young. I firmly believe that if there had been, he would have chosen as you did. Your grandfather was insatiably curious. As delighted with having me explain what my name meant as he was in Earth history, or the matter, anti-matter mix in a warp engine.”
Gently, she placed two fingers across Spock’s wrist, an embrace for a Vulcan. “If ever you wish me to share those memories of Skon with you, you only need ask.” They had been mentally bonded during the ceremony that had made her his Pry'lyn. It sealed her responsibility for him and his well being for as long as they both lived. It was a responsibility Triona took very seriously. While neither had ever utilized the bond they shared, it was ever present at the edges of their awareness, bringing a closeness that was belied by their outward formality.
“You do me honour, T’sai T’rona,” he said quietly.
“No, Spock, I just love you,” she replied as quietly. A memory of him at three, sitting with her in the garden in the Vulcan twilight, flitted across her mind’s eye. Blinking a little at the tears that threatened to well up, she marshaled her emotions. She always tried her best not to embarrass her Vulcan ‘family’ with overt displays of human emotion; sometimes, it was harder than others.
The Vulcan remained silent, seeming to know she needed a moment to gather herself. Taking a deep breath, she stood, smoothing the fabric of the floor length skirt she wore. Then she said briskly, in English this time, “Your parent’s shuttle will be arriving soon.”
“‘Forty-seven minutes,” he agreed, standing as well.
“Then I’ve taken enough of your time, Spock. I know you have duties to attend to.”
Bowing slightly, he accepted the end to their meeting. “I promise you, I shall think on what we have spoken of here.”
Nodding, she smiled. “I’m glad.” Walking to the door, she waved a hand across the sensor, causing it to open with a quiet whoosh. “And now, Commander, duty awaits us both.”
“Ambassador York,” he took his leave before exiting the open door.
“Aren’t you supposed to be at the delegate reception?” Methos asked some time later, sitting on the bed next to her.
“Mmm, I suppose,” she replied, not terribly enthusiastically.
“Slacker,” he accused, poking her gently in the ribs.
“Pot, kettle, black,” was her succinct reply, along with a slap to the offending hand.
“Ow!” Laughing, he tucked a stray piece of hair back behind her ear. “How did your chat with Spock go?”
She scooted over so Methos could lie next to her. “Pretty well, I think. At least I tried, right? I just needed him to consider how his mother was being affected – both for her sake and his. I think I succeeded.” She shrugged slightly. “And how about you? Did you and the Andorian ambassador bond?” Triona smiled at her husband fondly. “I’m assuming the only reason you’re back so soon is that he had to go to the reception.”
Methos had jumped at the chance to come on this mission with her. While he loathed the boring diplomatic details, he loved meeting new races, learning their languages, customs, and most importantly, or so she secretly thought, drinking their alcohol. She rather thought that when Zephram Cochrane talked about ‘new life and new civilizations’, he would have approved of Methos’ own personal exploration method.
“You are correct,” he said amiably. “That, and I thought you might be missing me.”
“Missing you, huh? Don’t know about that,” she said, grinning.
“Liar,” he accused, cutting off her reply with a kiss.
He tasted like roses and something that reminded her of eucalyptus, and in a lazy corner of her mind she wondered just what Andorians made their alcohol from. Sighing into his kiss, she pulled him closer. When their lips parted, she kept her eyes closed, savouring his closeness. Then she murmured, “Okay, maybe a little.” Then she giggled, knowing that if she opened her eyes, he’d look very smug and self-satisfied. “So tell me about your afternoon.”
Propping himself up against the headboard, Methos took her hand, gently kneading the palm. “It was very entertaining, not to mention informative. Do you know, they have the most amazing liquor?” he said with all the enthusiasm of a twelve-year-old boy with a new bike.
“Do they?” Triona managed to stifle the giggles that threatened to erupt at his question.
He looked at her a little suspiciously, but continued with his story. “It’s almost like a shard of ice, and when you put it your mouth, it reacts to the saliva and dissolves into a vapour that’s absorbed through the skin! Bloody amazing!”
That was too much, and this time, she couldn’t not laugh. Sitting up, she threw her arms around him, laughing so hard her ribs hurt.
“It could have all sorts of medical applications!” he protested.
“Of course it could, darling,” she agreed, catching her breath.
“It could,” he repeated, pouting a little.
Running her fingers along his chin, she kissed him gently on the corner of his mouth. “I love you.”
“That’s something, I suppose,” he replied, “considering how popular you are.” At her questioning look, he added, “Captain Kirk is quite taken with you. And you being married didn’t seem to curb his enthusiasm. Should I be worried?”
“Not at all, my love; Starship captains hold no attraction for me. Now, the ship’s engineer, on the other hand…” Sitting back on her calves, her eyes sparkling with laughter, she said, “I have to be honest with you, darling. If Mr. Scott gives me even the slightest encouragement, I’m his!”
“Is that right?” A smile tugged at Methos’ lips.
“I’m afraid so,” she replied solemnly.
“Well then…” Before she could react, he grabbed her elbows, pulling her down on top of him, before rolling them both over. “Now, you were saying?”
“There’s nothing you can do to change my mind,” she protested in between gasps of laughter.
“Is that what you think?” He held her wrists in one hand above her head, his other hand sliding down her hip.
“Mmmm… well, okay, I don’t suppose there’s any harm in you trying,” she admitted, sighing softly as his lips caressed her throat, the sigh becoming a little moan of pleasure as teeth replaced lips, gently biting at the sensitive skin.
“I didn’t think there would be,” he whispered against her ear, his voice a mix of amusement and desire.
Letting go of her wrists, his hands slid into her hair, his thumbs brushing across her cheekbones. He looked down at her, their faces bare inches apart. His eyes were dark, like a storm tossed ocean, and just as deep. And in that moment, Triona wanted to look into those eyes forever. Her hands mirroring his, she stroked the sharp planes of his face, her fingers skimming down his throat, before her palms came to rest against his heart. “You are so beautiful.” Her voice caught, and she thought she might weep at the intensity of her love for him.
“I think that’s supposed to be my line,” he told her softly.
“You’ll have to share.”
He just nodded, leaning in to kiss her, his hands sliding down her body. She felt the low rumble of his laugh before she heard it. Breaking the kiss, he drew away, looking down at her with concern. “I think we have a slight engineering problem.”
“Mmm-hmm. You have far too many clothes on,” he explained.
“Oh, that!” She laughed. “I have every confidence that this is one engineering problem you can solve yourself.”
In short order, he proved just how right she was.