There is much to consider, to calculate, to master—he has not, however, achieved that inner calm for which he has been seeking through Vulcan discipline alone. His grief is yet too strong. It is only logical, then, that he should avail himself of another method of control.
"Spock, son of Sarek, son of Skon, son of Solkar . . . ."
Son of Amanda, Spock thinks, disturbed by the interruption of his thoughts as the speaker's words echo in the corridor.
They are strong even though she is elderly, and he takes what comfort that he can from this fact. Meditation has not been quite enough to help him maintain his composure in the face of the loss of his mother and his world, but to know that this woman is well is gratifying.
He turns to face T'Lel of the Vulcan High Council and calculates the probability that she will broach the topic of Nyota with him without ever mentioning her by name, which of course, she must know: Nyota was a frequent topic in his letters to his mother and father, and they often hosted members of the Council in their home. Vulcans take as much interest in family as do humans, their own and others'. They always had; they always would, now, more than ever.
"I grieve with thee," T'Lel tells him.
Spock acknowledges her with a slight nod. "As I grieve with thee."
"In this time of shared grief, to consider the future of . . . the Vulcan people is not illogical."
Spock recalculates the probability of T'Lel's interlocutory intentions based on her careful choice of words and finds it higher; this is not unexpected. "I concur."
"Let us walk, Spock, son of Sar—"
Son of Amanda.
"—ek, son of Skon, son of Solkar," T'Lel says, moving past him as if in complete expectation that he will follow her, which he does.
Ninety-nine point seven two percent probability.
"You will not join the colony."
T'Lel's statement requires no response, so Spock makes none.
"You will remain in Starfleet, amongst humans."
Spock detects disapproval in her tone and thinks, Ninety-nine point nine nine percent probability. "Yes," he replies, with more emphasis upon his affirmation than he intends.
No, meditation is not quite enough to prevent his emotional displays, and in response to this one, T'Lel stops walking and turns to regard him. Almost imperceptibly, distaste registers on her face, but it quickly smooths into impassivity.
"Assumption based on insufficient data," she tells him, "is not logical."
Nyota. Her name rolls through his mind in a soothing wave, cooling his heated thoughts about others' notions of his duty as a Vulcan, for T'Lel can be speaking of nothing else; in spite of everything that has occurred, his ability to calculate remains sound.
True, the probability that he would be having this conversation with T'Lel had been low when first he had calculated the probability of having the conversation at all; he had assumed—based on sufficient data—that it would be his father with whom he would be having it. That it is T'Lel and not his father who has sought him out to discuss "the future of the Vulcan people" tells Spock that she has already spoken of it with Sarek. Only a member of the Council would take it upon herself to remind a Vulcan of his duty as a Vulcan, and the thought that anyone could have broached such a subject with Sarek so soon after his wife's—Mother's—death, offends Spock. It is a struggle not to betray this emotion more strongly than he already has, but something within him will not permit him to apologize for it.
"Please continue, T'Lel of Vulcan."
"You, too, are of Vulcan, though you be a child of two worlds. Although you will not go to the colony, although you will live amongst humans and serve in Starfleet, you need not be alone."
One hundred percent probability. "I am never alone."
"I do not speak of that," T'Lel says, and Spock knows that she is referring to a'Tha, which is the sense that every Vulcan shares, as a certainty, of what humans would call God's presence.
Nyota has long been intrigued by both the term and the concept, and it had been a surprise to discover her knowledge of them; Surak's Silences teach that such matters are private ones. But then, Nyota's tenacious xenolinguistic scholarship and ability to . . . ingratiate herself to scholars has always been as fascinating to Spock as her research, itself—as Nyota, herself.
A fact that is no concern of T'Lel's, he reminds himself, no matter that our species has become endangered.
His mother would have said that such a thought was "stubborn." He will admit, to himself, that it is precisely that.
"You have spoken of my lineage and the idea that I need not be alone amongst humans. It is logical to assume that you wish to speak to me of my unbonded state."
"A choice made with regard to your mother."
"That is a logical assumption, as well, but only Sarek can answer that question now." Spock swallows, hard.
"There are many who would accept a bonding with you."
This topic is not one of which they have spoken in the fourteen months, two weeks, four days, and five standard hours since they declared their mutual regard for one another, but Spock understands that T'Lel is speaking of Vulcan women. He does not wish to speak of any woman other than Nyota, and with T'Lel, he does not wish to speak of Nyota at all.
"The ethics of bonding with someone with whom I could not . . . reside preclude my consideration of such an arrangement."
There. He has said the words. He has made his refusal. He has been clear. And there is another Vulcan matter inherent in his statement upon which even T'Lel would not dare comment. The probability of her tasking him with the dangers of experiencing pon farr on a ship crewed predominately by humans is infinitesimally small by his calculation.
T'Lel considers him for some time before saying, "Our grief is new. Perhaps in time, you will reconsider your position."
As T'Lel leaves him, Spock calls to mind Nyota's self-possessed, yet vehement insistence upon her assignment to the Enterprise, and some of his ill-mastered emotional tension diminishes. He does not calculate his reconsideration of taking a Vulcan wife; it would be an illogical exercise.
Which is why Father has not broached this subject with me.
His parents married for love; his mother's every glance at his father illustrated that fact, and Sarek has made a point of telling him so. That his father has spoken of the matter, that his parents elected not to bond him with another when he was a child, that he is Spock, son of Sarek and Amanda, provides Spock with all the data he needs to know that they wished the choice of wife to be his alone.
Spock meditates upon her name as he continues toward her quarters. Grief shared is grief eased; this is a lesson that his mother attempted to teach him, and one that he did not fully comprehend until Nyota taught it to him again in her own way.
In a time of grief, to require reinforcement of a lesson that will enable me to master mine is more than logical. It is a necessity.
The turbolift seems to be functioning at less than peak efficiency as Spock takes it to the deck upon which he will find his teacher. Leaving it, the fifty-seven steps to her cabin take no time at all. Her eyes light up at the sight of him, and she offers him her hands in greeting. He takes them without reservation.