STAR TREK-The Original Series


A very big thank you to Wildcat for being my beta-reader, and to Killashandra for posting this..... without them I would be lost!

To both 'kitausu'(writers), I am honoured to be among you.

SUMMARY: Ambassador Sarek and his wife Amanda join the Enterprise for an extended mission, bringing with them an enigmatic and mysterious guest. An intricate dance of intrigue and discovery ensues ...... one that will leave Kirk and Spock's lives changed forever. (This is the first in a series.)

DISCLAIMER: It is well known that Paramount owns Star Trek and all of it's characters and I would just like to thank them for letting us play.

TOME ONE: "The Discoveries"
By Gayle Rochefort-Potts
First Draft: May 1997
Final Draft: August 1998


Terran Standard Year: 2280.5

Nevesa, as the Ancients had named it, Vulcan's sun was high in the sky and the red sand of the Forge reflected the dry heat in waves against her face. She stepped into the aircar, from the bottom steps of Mount Seleya and set the controls for the house. The cape and hood she was wearing kept the sand from collecting in her robes and hair as the aircar kicked up the clouds of sand dust. Plans had been made with the Masters of Gol that would take her off world for the first time in her life. The first time she was to travel to another residence!

She had to spend a little more time meditating to control the curiosities that had surfaced concerning this trip. It had been decided that this would be an excellent opportunity to learn of other cultures and because her destiny was to succeed T'Pau as ruler, she required all the experience necessary to prepare to rule her world. Part of her training, at T'Pau's instruction, was to be placed in residence with her most trusted relative, Ambassador Sarek and his wife, Amanda. This was the house she now traveled to. It had been her 'home' for the last ten years as had been Seleya and Gol.

Her eyes reached up to Vulcan's sister world, T'Rukh. It was dominating the sky and she knew that Ambassador Sarek would be on the balcony of his home watching... the Watcher. This was how the name T'Rukh had translated into Standard. The name was as old as Vulcan itself and the Watcher hung, as it always did, precisely 149,895.3519 kilometers from Vulcan. In the Ancient Times, it was believed that it could monitor the lives of the inhabitants of this hot world. The Watcher's moon, T'Rukhemai, translated as the Eye of the Watcher. Tonight that could be seen as well. Neither held life, neither could, but without them, Vulcan would not have been....

Or so it was believed at one time.

The aircar came to a soft landing close to the house. She stepped out then shook the sand from her cape. The accumulation was better left in the desert. She moved to the garden's gate, held her palm to the ident-panel and the gate slowly opened to admit her. She was expected as a resident of this house, otherwise, her identity would have been announced. The gate would not have opened had the company not been welcome. Vulcan etiquette dictated that one was never unwelcome but consideration must be made to those within the house. Doors were not locked but it would have been inappropriate for anyone to enter unknown or unannounced.

"I was becoming concerned..." The female voice came from the preparation area. Amanda, being Human, displayed many emotions compared to a Vulcan. "Evening meal is prepared."

"There was no cause for concern, I am on time." She hung the cape on the decorative knob near the front door. It would be placed in her room when she went there after the meal. Her head bowed to Amanda, as she entered the room then to Sarek, who sat enjoying a cup of tea. "S'haile, th'nidroy t'ved-at manlara."

He lifted his head from the report he was reading. "In Standard, T'yshen."

She repeated herself in the heavily accented way. "I trust your day was effective."

"Yes, most. I received the travel schedule. We will be leaving for Vulcan Central at the fifth hour. Our transport to the Enterprise will depend on their arrival." Sarek had spoken to T'Pau earlier that day and passed on the information of their departure and the length of stay. The time that they would remain on the Enterprise was projected to be eight months. Sarek had arranged a few meetings along the way as well as offered his service to Captain Kirk should the need arise. "Will you have sufficient time to pack?"

"More than enough." She sat down at the dining table then with the others began to enjoy the last meal that would be eaten here in some time.

Amanda had prepared a large assortment of steamed vegetables and Earth-style rice. Both Vulcans had acquired a taste for this and Amanda found it to be more palatable than the Vulcan equivalent.


T'yshen moved into the sparsely furnished room. Terran influences were seen in the four-poster bed that was brought from Earth, mixing with the somber tones and the remaining smooth lines of the Vulcan styled furnishings. She touched the control on the side table as she passed it, activating the opening of the hidden door in the large tinted window that dominated one wall.

She felt the cooling breeze and rested her hands on the railing, as she gazed out into the desert. It would be a long time before this view was experienced again.... A strange sensation to realize that within the next cycle of day she would be traveling in the stars. She looked to her hands as they curled around the railing. The breeze picked up slightly and caught a length of her hair, played with it then allowed it to settle down her back again. She smoothed back the pieces that had fallen forward. Her new 'identity' was to be Sarek's diplomatic assistant. She would serve, as she had occasionally, in the past as his aide. This was a position that she found to be challenging.

Sarek had explained how she needed to learn of other cultures and the differences in them. How Vulcans were viewed off world and how to deal with some of the negatives that other races felt towards them.

She understood why she had been hidden away from public viewing for so long, too simple a target for those that wished to influence Vulcan's destiny. She also had a genetic flaw that would have made her easy to single out; her hair was a dark blue-black with flecks of silver that added a sparkle to it.

Kaiidth! What was, was. Nothing could be done. She accepted that but her long seclusion while she was being educated gave her an understanding of how different she did appear to others. As an acolyte, she had the privacy without total seclusion and as a child she spent most of her time with T'pau, the Elders or the Masters. She had learned her lessons well and yet despite all the training and the superior results, she, herself, was not satisfied. She had felt that there was something missing in her life; something that she had yet to find.

She returned to the confines of her room, the door sealed into the window automatically. Her next task was to light the firepot and spend some time meditating before the actual trip tomorrow. She took a deep slow breath as she prepared for the meditation that would bring her the calm and the release of tensions that she needed.


Amanda had watched the young woman move gracefully up the stairs to her bedroom. She turned to Sarek. "Do you think she will be prepared in time?"

"One does not know how long she has. She will be as prepared as time will allow." Sarek had found himself wondering the same thing as his wife. A secluded life was not the best background to rule a world that was rumored to guide the universe. One needed an understanding of the others that would be reportedly influenced by Vulcan's leaders. She had been in training since she was very young. At the age of three she had been brought to the Masters because of her natural mental abilities and remained after the death of her parents.

Sarek recalled seeing T'yshen with T'Pau on numerous occasions and the young child seemed to have a wisdom that belied her age, but she had no experience at life. When Sarek pointed this out to T'Pau, she agreed and the next day sent for Sarek and Amanda to take their charge to complete her training. Sarek and Amanda were to expand her views and allow her to integrate into the family. Function as an aide or Amanda's teaching assistant until she was of age to leave Vulcan, then she was to accompany Sarek in his diplomatic missions for a short time. This past year she had served in that capacity numerous times and now there was the opportunity to take her to the off-world sessions that had been scheduled. The last part of her education was to be completed aboard the Enterprise and under Sarek's watchful eye. "She will do well."

"She always does."


Captain James Kirk looked to his first officer and wondered how he could concentrate on so many things at once normally, but at the present, could not seem to be concentrating on their chess game. Kirk reached forward to the chess piece. "Checkmate, Spock."

Spock's eyebrow raised. He pursed his lips knowing that he had to pay attention a bit more on the next game.

"You have your mind on something else..?" Kirk repositioned his pieces as Spock returned his to the beginning set-up. He sat back in the comfortable chair and relaxed. Something was keeping Spock's thoughts occupied. "Spock..?"

"I had received the message that my parents would be traveling with us for a time..."

"We will be reaching Vulcan in about a day, I had assumed that you knew."

"Neither of my parents have stated the reason for the voyage." Spock made his opening move. "There is no logical reason for them to remain on board for the length of time that was stated." His hands had slowly moved back to his customary position, his elbows resting on the arm of the chair and his fingers steepled.

"My ordered were vague as well. I was hoping you could shed some light on the curious accommodations that were requested." Kirk shifted in his chair. They had been playing chess for about four hours and as much as he enjoyed this, his body did not like sitting for this long!

He watched Spock for a reaction, as he released the following bit of information he had. "As part of the accommodations, it was requested to have a suite with two rooms, a common area and an office." From the slight lift in the Vulcan's eyebrow, Kirk knew he had piqued his curiosity. "Scotty's been moving bulkheads for two days now. On this deck."

"Most curious." Spock moved his next piece and that was the last that was said on his part. Why would his father have requested so large an area? His parents were usually satisfied with the customary V.I.P quarters which were more than sufficient. Spock studied the board, as he remained aware of Kirk's movements. Kirk returned to the table with a pot of coffee and cups, as well as, some 'finger foods' as Terrans commonly referred to them.

The room that they presently occupied had been fashioned during the last re-fit. Chief Engineer Scott had spoken to Dr. McCoy about these plans. He had required the approval of a second command grade officer to approve the plans and he had wanted it to be a surprise. The area was 'left-over' space at the end of the corridor and usually used as emergency storage or to add an additional living area for certain species that may have required larger quarters.

Mr. Scott had placed a game table, comfortable chairs, computer terminals, large desk and lounge chairs in the area. It was all the comforts of a `Home away from Home', a place other than their quarters.

McCoy referred to it as their 'hide-away' and teased Kirk and Spock about it occasionally, usually around the time of physicals and tried not to be too annoying with it. Kirk referred to it as their 'think tank' and Spock referred to it as quarters five-zero-zero, the same designation as the blueprints. Logical.

The other feature that had been added was a wall of clearsteele that could reveal the view to them if they wished. For the present, the protective shield was in place but could be dilated, at the touch of a button, to reveal the 'sea of stars' they sailed in.

Kirk drank more of his coffee then decided to ask Spock the question he had been dying to. "Spock, why would your father request a second room if he was traveling with just your mother?" He was sure the Vulcan had been doing some pondering of his own.

"I do not know."

"Do you have any guesses?"

"Vulcans do not guess, Captain. One could assume they are traveling with another." Spock had thought of a few possibilities, but none seemed to fit the scenario that was being slowly unfolded. "Dress uniform will be required when the Ambassador comes aboard." His statement held only the hint of question.

Kirk nodded as he thought about his next move. He took a deep breath then looked to the time. "The rest of the game will have to wait, Spock. We are required on the bridge." He stood and stretched then reached for his burgundy tunic. His hand went out to move his bishop through his one sleeve.

Spock raised his eyebrow then looked to Jim. "Not logical."

"I'm not Vulcan."

"M-m-m." Spock studied the board. He had thought out his pattern for the next ten moves; Jim's illogical move, caused him to rethink the plays. He stood then smoothed his tunic; he still felt the coolness to the ship's temperature despite the layers of clothing.

"If we increase our speed, we can reach Vulcan slightly ahead of schedule..." Kirk wasn't sure if he was asking or telling Spock. He sealed the front panel of the tunic.

"You are the captain..."

Could this be permission or an admission of his curiosity or the need to have it satisfied?

"Let's go mind the store, give the others some time to themselves..."

The door to the 'think tank' closed behind them. The lights would shut off automatically and Kirk's yeoman would be in later to check on the state the room had been left in. At times, rank did have some privilege.


The two command officers stepped onto the bridge in unison, after the usual three steps, Spock turned to his station and Kirk moved on to the center seat.

"Report?" Kirk spoke to Chekov as he settled back into the navigation position.

"Vulcan is now twenty hours away. Speed is at warp three. All stations report green and all reports have been recorded." Chekov quickly went over the information in the briefest possible way.

"Increase to warp six until we reach the outer edges of the system."

"Aye, sir."

Kirk turned the chair to face his communications officer. "Commander. Uhura, inform Doctor. McCoy, dress uniform required when Sarek is beamed aboard. Will notify him one hour before beam up."

"Aye, sir." She turned back to her board and passed on the information.

At this speed Vulcan would be only eight hours away and then the mystery would be solved, hopefully.


Kirk waited with Dr. McCoy in the transporter room for Spock. Kirk looked to the time then paced three steps one way then back to McCoy's side. "Spock's not usually late.."

McCoy frowned. "We were early, Jim." He looked to his friend. "Why so antsy?"

Kirk shook his head. "Just waiting to solve a mystery, Bones, nothing important." He smoothed his jacket again, adjusted the neckline against the silk shirt. "These aren't too bad, now they took the collars have been taken off." The old-style jackets had stand-up collars and they were uncomfortable.

"Speak for yourself..." McCoy tugged at his satin tunic. "These are just as uncomfortable as the others."

Kirk smiled. McCoy seemed to have every grumpy cell put into his body. Kirk was just about to say something and the doors swished open. "Finally!"

Spock raised an eyebrow; he took his place at Kirk's right side. "I am on time, Captain."

McCoy grinned then leaned towards Kirk, "Are you bugging him for any reason in particular."

Kirk shook his head. "I did not even think I was annoying him."

"Captain, Ambassador Sarek is ready." The transport officer stated.

"Proceed, Mr. Kyle."

The shimmering effect took perhaps three or four seconds to complete. Ambassador Sarek stood with his wife and another female. Sarek looked much the same as he always did, austere, dignified and very Vulcan. His head bowed to the officers. "Permission to board."

"Permission granted, Ambassador. Welcome." He raised his hand in the ta'al salute.

Sarek bowed his head, "Peace and long life, Captain." Sarek lifted his fingers, he spoke softly, "My wife, attend."

Amanda lifted her fingers and touched them to his, as she followed him down the steps. She wore her usual style of traveling outfit, this time in muted greens. She bowed her head towards Captain Kirk then to Doctor McCoy, as she addressed them. "You appear well, Spock." She met her son's eyes as his head bowed with a slight tilt.

"You are also well, I trust." His voice softened slightly.

"Captain Kirk." Sarek moved to reveal their companion. "Permit me to introduce my aide, T'sai T'yshen'cha Sholtan."

"An honor, T'sai T'yshen." Kirk bowed his head as he took in the beauty of this female.

T'yshen wore a flowing gown, resembling Amanda's, with a few variations. This was in dusty rose shading; her hair and face were covered with a fine matching veil. She bowed her head, returning the gesture.

Kirk turned slightly then introduced her to Doctor McCoy.

"A pleasure, T'sai T'yshen." McCoy smiled slightly at her.

"Commander Spock, my first officer."

Spock's bow was slightly deeper than usual. "We of Vulcan, are here to serve, T'sai T'yshen."

"Your service honors, Commander Spock." Her head bowed. Her voice remained soft and her accent very obvious.

Kirk cleared his throat softly then turned to Sarek. "The quarters that you requested have been prepared. Commander Spock will escort you there." He paused. "A dinner with the command staff has been scheduled for nineteen hundred hours. If that is a problem, please inform Yeoman Toliver. He will be assigned to help you in any way, while you are on board."

"Thank you, Captain." Sarek bowed. "The hour will be agreeable."

Spock waited as Kirk passed him on his way to the bridge. "Ambassador, if you will follow me..." Spock proceeded through the doorway and headed to the turbolift. He touched the call button then waited as his charges entered the lift. He stepped in then set the controls for the appropriate level.

"Captain Kirk has placed you on the fifth level. The quarters he assigned is off the main corridor, the traffic will not be as disturbing." Spock stated.

"Do you have duty, Spock?" Amanda inquired.

"Yes. For the next two point five hours." Spock suspected she was inquiring 'just to make conversation'. "A tour could be arranged then, if it is desired."

Amanda looked to Sarek, his eyes lowered in response to her unspoken question. "Perhaps for T'yshen. Your father and I are quite familiar with this vessel."

"I shall inquire." Spock stepped out into the corridor after the doors opened. He walked down the corridor aware that the others followed. Amanda walked slightly behind Sarek, T'yshen walked behind both. He remained curious as to her station; diplomatic aides were not normally quartered with the host ambassadors. Near-by perhaps, but not usually within the same residence, nor were they dressed in such a fashion.

Spock touched the control to open the main entrance. "I trust this will serve, Ambassador."

Sarek stepped into the room. "This will serve adequately."

Amanda moved more to the center of the room; she slipped off her cape with practiced ease and then sighed. "Most impressive, Spock." She bowed her head to her son. "Extend our compliments to the personnel responsible."

"I will, Mother. Commander Scott will be present at the dinner, if you wish to do so in person." Spock looked around the common room; he could see nothing that would require explanation to his parents. "Your luggage has been placed in the rooms. It was beamed up just after you arrived." He paused. "If there are any questions, contact Yeoman Toliver. No doubt he will be by shortly. I must return to the bridge."

Sarek had removed his travel cape as well. "Then we will see you at the dinner."

Spock bowed his head then made his way to the bridge.

T'yshen looked around the room. "Are all the quarters this large? I had envisioned a smaller space." She slipped her veil off and folded it.

"No doubt extra space was assigned to us." Amanda stated, knowing the regard that Captain Kirk held for Spock's family and knowing how attentive he was to detail. "I suspect that the sleep areas will contain a meditation area. Do not be surprised if there is a full scale firepot as well." She recalled her surprise at the details that had been assigned to their quarters the last time they traveled with the Enterprise. "Dr. McCoy will be his charming self and will attempt to discover information about Spock's childhood." She smiled slightly.

"Just remember, that Spock is not to be dishonored."

"I would not do that to my son, Sarek." She shook her head slightly. "It is a game they play. Teasing the other concerning their differing heritage and the oddities of the races."

"There are no 'oddities', as you put it, in the Vulcan race, Amanda." Sarek sounded defensive.

Amanda tilted her head slightly, her eyes lowered as she kept the smile to herself. "Of course not, Sarek." She could not hide the amusement in her voice.

T'yshen held her cape over her arm. "Is there an assigned quarters?"

Sarek indicated the door he faced. "That room holds your belongings."

Her head bowed, then she disappeared into the room to change and prepare for dinner.

Sarek moved to the computer terminal on the desk. He tapped in a few numbers then nodded to himself. "The vessel has left orbit. Yeoman Toliver is due to arrive here at eighteen forty-five to escort us to the conference room." He turned off the screen that held the proposed schedule for the visitors. "Do you wish to rest?"

"No. But I do wish to change and sort out my clothes. Being on board the ship for eight months will be different." She had never traveled for that long on a vessel. "Do you think T'yshen will adjust to this?"

"There is actually little to adjust to. Life aboard this vessel will not be difficult or restrictive. The only adjustment that can be considered is the ability to leave this structure. That is the only logical adjustment that needs to be made." He moved closer to his wife. "A walk in the garden. But even that desire can be satisfied aboard a vessel this large."

She smiled as his touch on her hand caused the sharing of thoughts. "After dinner..." She leaned forward and kissed his lips lightly.


Spock stood, watching as the stars seemingly flew past him. He knew that in reality this was not occurring. The stars were not moving, the vessel was and that they were no where close enough to experience the sensation others felt as 'reaching out and touching one'. He had chosen this activity as a brief meditative time. The dinner had progressed as it was expected to, his parents seemed to be satisfied with all of the arrangements. Sarek's aide was customarily quiet despite Captain Kirk's endeavors to `bring her out of her shell', as the Doctor referred to Kirk's attempts at holding a conversation with her.

He heard the doors open, he turned to identify the crew that would still be awake during the 'night' aboard the vessel. He was surprised, it was his father and his aide, T'yshen. He turned back to the stars and watched their reflection in the clearsteele. They were deep in conversation and did not note his presence.

Sarek moved to the food processor to obtain a beverage, while T'yshen sat at one of the low tables. Sarek placed the tall glasses on the table then sat in the chair beside her.

Spock felt a wave of embarrassment as he realized that he was actually watching his father's every movement. He had lowered his eyes for a moment as he considered returning to his quarters. As he raised them again, he caught the motion of T'yshen's fingers brushing the side of Sarek's face. Not a gestured that Spock would have taken as a typical one for an... aide. Spock's next action was not logical but he felt one that was necessary. He sat in one of the more comfortable surround-chairs, adjusting his position so he could continue to.... monitor the interaction between the two. His elbows rested on the armrests within the egg-shaped enclosure; his fingers steepled then tapped his lips.

Sarek shifted his position to face her more. He was explaining something to her; Spock recognized the expression on his face. Her eyes watched his father intently, nodding occasionally. Her eyes lowered at one point, and then she raised them as she tilted her head. She leaned forward and seemed to be whispering in his father's ear. Her hand rested on top of Sarek's and then Sarek's eyes lowered as he shook his head gently.

Spock took a deep breath then closed his eyes. A part of him wondered at the familiarity between the two. Another part of him trusted that he was reading far more into this than was logical! He had found himself drawn to watch more of their exchange. It had been a few days since their arrival and he had not had the opportunity to meet alone with his parents, yet. He knew his Mother was fast asleep by now and quite human in her need for rest.

Did she know?

She was bonded to Sarek, of course she knew!

But Spock had found that Humans could not always break the barriers that Vulcans held in place.

Could Sarek be keeping this from her?

He could not imagine his Father being this deceptive with his Mother!

The glasses of ale were finished slowly as the discussions seem to continue. T'yshen bowed her head to Sarek, her hand lay on the back of his for a moment. Sarek lifted her chin and spoke to her. She nodded, stood and then she left. Sarek sat back in the chair drank the last of his ale then stood after a time and left as well, presumably to his quarters.

Spock waited a moment then stood. He looked to the place where they were and wondered about his Father's behavior. He crossed his arms over his chest, his left hand rested in a loose fist against his chin. He considered the results of discussing the matter with..... Sarek? Mother? Perhaps T'yshen would be the place to begin.

He had found her to be extremely beautiful and her intelligence was apparent. It was discovered that she had studied along the lines of social structures and interactions, the laws of Vulcan and the arts. According to his Mother, a skilled artist, sculptress and an excellent teacher. She was usually wearing the traditional pantsuit and matching veil that was placed over her head and partially covering her face. He had not seen this manner of dress before, except in the respect of Pre-Reform courtesans. Their faces remained veiled to hide their true identities. His thumb ran slowly along his bottom lip as he considered the new information.

Spock's stance straightened, his hands clasped behind his back, as the doors opened admitting Captain Kirk.

"Spock!" Kirk walked over with a smile. "I was looking for you! You are late for our scheduled game?" He stopped in front of the Vulcan officer. He seemed preoccupied. "If this is not a good time..."

"No, Captain. Not at all." Spock cleared his throat. "I found myself occupied with a mystery and lost track of the time."

Kirk nodded. "Tell me about it, I'll help you solve it." Kirk started towards the door with Spock falling into step beside him.

"I believe I will have to solve this one on my own." Spock sighed softly as he continued with Kirk on to the 'think tank' where their game remained untouched for the past few days.


Amanda sat with the younger children. She had just finished teaching them a rhyme that Vulcan children learn. She turned to T'yshen. "Now it will be your turn to teach the dance." She stood and moved out of the way, allowing the younger Vulcan to take over. She moved to the desk and sat behind it.

She watched as T'yshen began to show the children how to do the step dance.

Commander Whitier moved to Amanda's side and placed a hot cup of tea down in front of her. "Thought you could use this." Whitier was a few years younger than Amanda was and held the position of youth educator for the children that occasionally traveled on board. Some were there for a very short time; others had been born on the Enterprise and would be living planetside as soon as their parents' were transferred. In total at the present, there were only forty-three children on board and the majority of them were older. In this class, there were eighteen children; six of them were under three, the rest varied from there to the age of six.

"Thank you, Rebecca." Amanda accepted the tea then watched as the children tried to run through the steps, some tripped and toppled into others and soon they were all laughing. Amanda and Rebecca joined in.

T'yshen held back her amusement at this then waited as the children settled back down to learn.

T'sai Amanda and T'yshen had offered their services as teachers, when time permitted. Amanda's usual station was to teach the children of the ambassadors when they resided on Vulcan. Many times T'yshen had acted as her assistant, learning the skills of teaching children of other races as well as her own, gave her an additional training as the future leader of Vulcan.

"She has patience." Whitier stated as she watched T'yshen guide the children through the steps once again. "Then I suppose they are taught patience."

"No. But they are taught that all things may be learned in time. Each in his own time." Amanda had spent most of the day here and was beginning to feel it. Being with Human children was exhausting!

"T'yshen is training to become a teacher?" Rebecca leaned against the edge of the desk.

"No. It was determined that it would be incorporated into her training."

"For what?"

Amanda looked to the Human. Funny, she would never even think of being this intrusive into one's life, yet to her fellow Human this was a natural question. "It has not been determined."

"How can you train for a position that is unknown?"

"Vulcans enhance the abilities that they have naturally. She will know and understand her place." Amanda looked to the time, the day was about to be called to a close and then she would enjoy the silence of her quarters.

The ship's bells rang the hour and the children knew it was time to return to their parents. They were all instructed by Cmdr. Whitier to thank T'sai Amanda and T'yshen for their help. It was a noisy singsong and it brought a slight smile to Amanda's lips. T'yshen bowed her head.

In no time at all it seemed the stream of parents arrived to gather up the children and head 'home'. The remainder of the toys, blankets and instruments were put away by the staff. Commander Whittier turned to Amanda. "You are both welcome at any time." She turned to the young female. "T'sai T'yshen, perhaps you could bring your flute and play."

T'yshen bowed her head. "A honor, T'Kahr. Inform me as to the convenience and I will arrange my time accordingly."


"It is an honor to serve." T'yshen bowed to Amanda. "I am scheduled to meet with Ambassador Sarek. I will take your leave."

Amanda nodded. She turned back to Rebecca. "Well, I enjoyed my day but I am glad to be heading to a quiet room."

Rebecca laughed. "I know what you mean!"


Spock matched the slower pace of his mother's steps. He had contacted her earlier and invited her to share a meal with him. During dinner they had spoken of the observation deck and he offered to show her the one he favored. When he came to the door, it opened automatically. He stepped aside allowing her to enter first. He had brought her to the officer's lounge, deserted for the moment.

This observation room was designed with a floor to ceiling, wall to wall viewing port. Positioned in front of it was an antique ship's wheel. A gift to Captain Kirk from Doctor McCoy and himself a few years ago and Mr. Scott had seen to the installation himself.

Amanda held back her expression of awe as she entered. The port was open to the stars and the sight of the wheel standing against the stars was a statement of this captaincy. She walked up to the large wheel, her hand caressed the polished wood, and her fingers ran along the intricate ropework as she took in the sight before her. She took a breath. "You must bring T'yshen here. This is her first voyage."

"If it is your wish, Mother, it will be arranged." He spoke as a dutiful son.

"It was not meant as a duty, Spock." She watched her son's face. He was debating on beginning the discussion he had halted earlier. "What is troubling you?" Her hand went to rest against his cheek, a motion she had not made towards him since he was a child.

Spock shook his head. "It is nothing."

"Nothing does not usually make you frown." She smiled slightly. "Even on Vulcan, mother's learn their child's moods. You are questioning something." She lowered her hand as her voice softened. "Have you and your Father had words again?" She raised her eyebrow as she looked up to him. Since he had turned fifteen, she had been looking up to him. She allowed a slight smile to show.

"No, Mother." Spock hid the grin that was starting on his lips. His Mother made it easy to express himself, more so than his Father did. Differently, at the very least. "Are you enjoying your trip?"

"So far." She moved to the near-by chair. She indicated that she wanted him to sit as well. "I spent time with the children today. There are so many on board this time!"

"Some are the offspring of the colonists that will be beaming down at our next destination. We will be orbiting for four point seven days and will be returning some colonists to Starbase nine four."

Amanda nodded. "How are you?"

"According to the last physical..."

"Spock!" She shook her head. "You. I want to know how you are within yourself." Her hand reached to his resting on the tabletop. "Are you contented with your duties and your life here?"

"Yes." He tilted his head slightly. "Are you content with your life, Mother?" He held a note of teasing in his voice; she picked up on it and started to laugh. He smiled.

"Yes, very contented." She tapped his hand. "Are you happy?"

"Mother.." He stated it as if she should have known better than to even ask. He sighed softly. "In the parameters that happiness is understood, yes I am." He sat back in the chair, his hand moved from hers slightly. "Father is well?"

"To my knowledge." She knew her Vulcan bond-mate would not discuss matters with her unless relevant. "He has not stated otherwise. Why do you ask?"

Spock shrugged.

Amanda sat up straighter. Spock never shrugs! She held her breath for a moment then released it calmly. She leaned forward and took her son's hand. "What is bothering you?" Her tone was insistent.

Spock pursed his lips then met his mother's eyes. He pulled his hand from hers slowly. "How did T'sai T'yshen become Father's assistant?"

Amanda frowned. "She is of our House. Her parents wished her to learn diplomatic skills." Amanda was not permitted to reveal that T'yshen was destined to succeed T'Pau. She watched her son nod a few times, then he crossed his arms over his chest. He was concerned about something! "She is quite artistic as well. She plays the flute, the lyrette and the piano. T'yshen is a celebrated painter."

"She is young to have accomplished so much." Spock had no idea how he was going to ask his Mother if there was more to Sarek's relationship with T'yshen than as mentor.

Amanda nodded. She was about to ask Spock what exactly was troubling him when the doors swished open to admit Doctor McCoy. The matter would have to wait!

"Lady Amanda!" McCoy beamed as he stepped into the room. "I have been looking for you. I had the botanist work on a variation in the mint plant that will grow in that garden of yours back home!"

"Really!" She glanced in Spock's direction for a moment. "You must show it to me some time."

"It's in the botany lab." McCoy stood. "Do you mind if I steal your mother?"

"Why would you.? No Doctor." Spock stood quickly. "I must return to the bridge."

"I'll see her home too." McCoy smiled then offered his arm to Amanda.

Amanda stood, slightly hesitant. She knew Spock's duty did not begin for over an hour. "A moment, Doctor." Amanda moved closer to Spock. "Are you sure?"

"Yes, Mother." He bowed his head slightly then left her in the doctor's care. He heard McCoy's voice began to talk about the things of Earth as he stepped into the corridor and the doors closed behind him. He made his way to his quarters to meditate.

Terran Standard Year: 2285.8

Cmdr. Spock sat in the command chair, his elbows resting on the armrest, his fingers steepled in front of him. He tapped his lips gently as he waited. The planet grew in size on the screen. "Set orbit within transporter range, Mr. Sulu." He turned his chair towards the communication station. "Miss Uhura, contact the colony. Notify them we are in orbit." He turned back to the screen. His finger touched the tie-in to the transporter room. "Chief Kyle. Prepare to transport the supplies and personal belongings down. Co-ordinates will be sent to you."

"Aye, sir." The accented voice stated calmly from the speaker on the armrest.

Spock touched the tie-in to the Captain's quarters. "Captain. We have attained orbit. We are waiting for confirmation on beam down co-ordinates. Will you be beaming down with the colonists?"

"I had planned to." He paused. "I'll head down to the transporter room in ten minutes."

"Acknowledged." Spock leaned against the cushioned back. Most of the events about to happen did not need his constant attention, but he would be informed of each event as it happened. He allowed a portion of his thoughts to drift to his Father's aide and their.... relationship. His fingers moved to the familiar pyramid and he tapped his bottom lip with the tallest fingers. It was a habit he had developed as he considered any mystery in front of him.

He thought of all the possibilities that would lead Sarek and T'yshen to interact in the manner they had. Was Sarek her t'kahr in the mind sciences? That would lead them to a close relationship for a short time, but the pairing was usually with one of the same sex to prevent any type of bonding from taking place. He could not envision his father attempting instructions in any place other than a totally private one! Sarek was, if nothing else, a very private person. Almost fanatical!

Another possibility; was his mother unable to fulfill her obligations as bond-mate for some reason? He had not received the impression that everything was not as it should be. Amanda, who was in excellent heath for a Human of her years, had claimed that it was due to living with Vulcans all those years.

Was this merely the attention of an older male towards a young female? He had always thought of his father as more.... logical than that! It was, however, a possibility.

"Mr. Spock..?" Uhura stood at his side with the report.

Spock straightened in the chair, if it was at all possible, then accepted the slate from her. He skimmed the information the signed the bottom. "Shore leave will begin within..." He recalled the conversation between himself, Kirk and McCoy earlier today. Both suggested that shore leaves should start as soon as possible. "... two hours. I require the list of the first two shifts within thirty minutes."

"Aye, sir." Uhura took the slate then tapped a pattern into the buttons at the top. She handed the board back to him. "The first six shifts, Mr. Spock." She grinned as she lowered her eyes.

Spock took the slate somewhat slowly, his eyebrow raised. He leaned over closer to her, speaking in a lowered tone. "Miss Uhura, have you, without my knowledge, begun classes in telepathy?"

She shook her head, her face very serious. "No, sir!" She leaned closer to him. "Classes at tapping my psychic abilities are going well. Fortune telling with crystal balls begin next week... tea leaves the following week." She winked at him.

Spock straightened as he nodded his head, acknowledging the humor that was shared. He signed the file then passed the slate back to her. "I trust you will do well in all classes. Carry on."

Uhura laughed lightly at the sparkle in his eyes. "Aye, sir." This Vulcan understood humor no matter what anyone else thought! She returned to her seat determined to find a gift for him during her shore leave... this planet's equivalent to tarot cards perhaps? Her fingers began to form the messages that would alert the crew as to their schedules.


Spock entered the mess hall to obtain his mid-meal. Steamed rice and vegetables had been sanctioned by Dr. McCoy and with it some Vulcan tea. He moved to an empty table that was out-of-the-way. He placed his tray down, removed the plate and cup from it and set his meal on the table. The viewer he had been carrying was placed on the table and he began to review the lists of shore leave personnel. He would compare the list to the ship's compliment to note anyone that had been excluded. Uhura was most efficient and he predicted that he would not find any discrepancies.

"Do you object to company, Commander Spock."

Spock looked up covering the surprise that he had not noted the approaching female. He bowed his head accepting the company. He turned off the viewer.

"Do not cease your work."

"I have finished." He was not quite truthful. He had finished going over the lists but had not run the comparison yet. He noted that she had chosen a similar meal.

"Amanda-kam has assured me that this is palatable."

"I find it so."

T'yshen slipped the veil from her head allowing it to rest on her shoulders. She began her meal.

Spock continued with his, it would not be logical to engage her in conversation while they ate, this was a Human's habit. He did, however, access her through carefully conducted glances. She was beautiful, even by a Human's standards. He noted the blue-black hair and the dark eyes as a `family trait' in the House of Surak; one they both belonged to. The silver markings in her hair were ones that he had only read about in the history of the Ancient Times. She must have been a very distant relative, as he had not even heard her name before. Perhaps one that was `taken in' to the House due to the dissolution of her own House. Many of the truly Ancient lineages were dying out.

He placed his empty plate on the tray and centered his attention on his tea.

T'yshen finished soon after. "You enjoy the relen tea as your Father does."

Spock nodded. "I assume that you have another preference?"

"I am accustomed to the Master's tea but it is not in the program of the processors." She sipped on her relen tea. It was not as sweet or as substantial a taste as the Master's tea.

"You remained at Seleya for a long time." He made a mental note to arrange for the programming.

"I was brought to the Masters when I was young. My parents died within months of one another. An accident at an archeological site."

Spock bowed his head. "I grieve at your loss."

"I was too young to totally comprehend what it was to have parents." She was surprised at the ease she offered the personal information. She attributed it to her relationship with his parents. "You find Starfleet duty satisfying?" She saw him react to her question. "Forgive any offense, Commander. I find the Standard language difficult. Ambassador Sarek wishes my use of the language to improve."

"I had also found it to be imprecise." He paused. "I find Starfleet duty is an honorable fulfillment of service to Vulcan." He followed her line of sight to the viewing screen. "Have you seen the observation deck?"

"Yeoman Toliver was called away and the tour was never completed."

"If you wish, I will arrange the time to complete the tour."

"That would be acceptable, Commander Spock."

"Is your time open now?"

"It is." She was not expected back to finish the final drafts of the planetary agreements until later in the day. "Ambassador Sarek had planned to spend time with T'sai Amanda."

"A walk in the garden, no doubt." Spock recalled how they would spend time in the garden at home every night. It was a time when it was comfortable for his mother to spend time outside. Sarek seemed to favor it because his activities for the day were usually finished by then.

Spock collected his dishes and placed them into the recycling unit. He waited for T'yshen to repeat the process then to lift her veil as a hood. A Vulcan tradition and if she had lived with the Masters for that long, it had become a personal habit as well. He headed into the corridor aware that she walked just behind him and to his side.


The observation deck was unusually quiet. Shore leave was in effect and that meant that, one fourth of the crew was either sleeping or on shore leave at this time of the ship's day. Leave was set for a three-day period and it was mandatory that all personnel take the leave. Captain Kirk was stubborn about accepting the time and only outdone at this by Commander Spock.

Repeatedly the argument was that Spock did not feel that exerting himself engaging in dangerous past times or indulging in excessive consumption of alcohol was `relaxing'. Kirk would laugh, half agree then reluctantly take most of the time due him. Spock would spend time in meditation and assured the Captain that this was sufficient `leave' for him.

Spock reached to the controls of the viewing port to open the shielding to it's fullest, the sight was inspiring. He turned at the slight intake of breath from T'yshen. Inside, he smiled. He understood her reaction; his had been the same when he was on his first deep space assignment.

"What is this world like?" She moved to the clearsteele, her hands touched the cold surface for a few moments then rested on the ledge. She watched as the planet changed slowly with the orbit. She was aware of all of the scientific theories and the causes of the weather patterns that were visible even from this height. She understood that all of the stars, with the exception of the systems star, were light-years away yet they were the clearest she had ever seen them! She looked to Spock.

"This world resembles Earth. Seasonal weather patterns. An oxygen-nitrogen atmosphere. Population of the colony is at present one hundred and fifty, with the possibility of added births since the last census. Acceptable vegetation for harvesting, growing many of the Terran plants has not been difficult. The freezing temperatures of the Northern Hemisphere is comparable with Earth but it covers a larger area."


"Winter." Spock moved to the near-by computer terminal. "Computer, show aspects of Earth's atmospheric conditions during the Northern Hemisphere's winter solstice."

"Working." The animated voice stated as Spock turned the screen for T'yshen's use. The scenes that were shown were of the general changes in the weather, the difficulties that were faced and the many methods of recreation that were indulged in.

"You have experienced this?" She had a delight to her voice that she controlled.

"Many times."

"Is this possible for a civilian to experience this weather condition?"

Spock took a step towards her, totally surprised at her request. "You wish to beam down?"

"Is this possible?" She could barely contain the thrill of this new experience.

"You can not do this on your own, you must have a crew member accompany you." He had not anticipated her next request.

"Your service would be satisfactory...." She tilted her head as she tried to contain the excitement she was experiencing. Sarek was right, she was far too.... passionate at times! She took a calming breath then turned the computer screen off. "Forgive my presumption, Commander. You have duties to see to."

Spock surprised himself with his answer. "A portion of my duty is to serve...."

"I will obtain permission from Ambassador Sarek." She bowed her head. "Commander Spock."

She moved with a grace that reminded him of the Masters. Unhurried, yet no time was wasted. He realized that he had been holding his breath, he let it out slowly. It slowly began to dawn on him that he had agreed to accompany her to the planet's surface, the cold surface! He shook his head slightly.



The two figures coalest into arctic-clad Vulcans. He stepped down from the platform that was inside the lodge. This had been the only place that could accommodate Vulcans. Climate controlled rooms, foods and medical care, if required. They may have been separated from the ship by seconds, but with the transporter activity that was associated with shore leave, the timing could be unpredictable. He did not want to be in need of medical care and have to wait for clearance.

They found themselves in the lobby. The desk clerk bowed her head then greeted them. "Welcome. You wish rooms for how long?"

"Two nights. Six meals and equipment for travelling in the mountain area." Spock passed over his ident-card, which also served as a credit chit. He caught the glance towards T'yshen, he understood the unasked question. "Both accommodations."

"Very well." She noted that they had arrived without luggage and in the protective clothing. "We have clothing here if the need arises. Outer wear is also available."

"I was made aware of this. This outerwear is adaptable for our needs. There will be tagged duffel bags beamed down from our ship, the Enterprise. They may be placed in either room."

"As you wish, Commander." The clerk gave him his ident-card back. "Your rooms have been registered. When do you wish them available? The atmosphere and gravity have to be altered, which takes time."

"The gravity change is not necessary. We will return in approximately three hours."

"Very well. Your mid-meal will be prepared when you arrive. Inform us if you wish to eat in the room." The clerk indicated the staff that carried the full backpacks.

Spock took one, placed it at his feet then took the other and held it as T'yshen slipped her arms through the strappings. He adjusted the fit then swung his pack onto his back. He slipped on the internal thermal hood, adjusted the facemask then pulled up the `fur' trimmed hood. He hoped that his father's reservations about this adventure were not for any other reason except questioning her ability at handling the differing climate. Spock had assured him that with sufficient clothing and supplies this would be no more dangerous than a ten-year old's Kanswan training on Vulcan.

Spock tapped her shoulder then indicated to her to activate the communication units built into the inner hood. He listened for the familiar click of the circuit and then her voice as she tested the system. "Your voice is clear."

"This is necessary, Commander?"

"Outside it will be."

T'yshen pulled the hood in tightly around her face and fastened it under her chin. She sipped on the seemingly thick mitts and then indicated to Spock that she was prepared.


Her heart was racing as they reached the top of the mountain. The view was breathtaking! Before her lay a blanket of white. She marveled at how these flakes could fall in such a fashion as to coat the entire area, with what appeared to be a totally even layer of snow. She coiled the rope expertly into her other hand. The mitts had been slipped off for the climb, leaving only the thin gloves that insulated their hands against the cold. She replaced the coil of roping onto the pack.

"We will rest here." Spock stated. Neither were winded or tired but it would have been illogical to wait for such a time. Being too tired presented problems of its own and he did not wish to be careless in the least. Backpacks were slipped off then pushed into the snow to act as back supports. They sat within a hollow in the rock formation away from the majority of the biting wind.

"This is most refreshing, Commander." She looked wide-eyed at the scenery that surrounded them. Taking in all the whiteness and the alienness of this. "In your travels, have you been exposed to many differing climates." Her face had a slight tingle to it from the cold.

"Yes. Many of them not as inviting as this." Spock pulled out the solar blankets, placing one on the ground for them to sit on, the other across their laps. Both pulled out the ration bar and drink.

T'yshen had slipped the supplied recorder from her pack. She stood with the unit, recording the view to share with Sarek and Amanda. She turned to see what Spock was doing; she had caught movement from the corner of her eye. He was holding another piece of recording equipment. "A tricorder?"

"Yes. There are lifeforms...." He turned away a few degrees then looked across the cavern to the mountaintop. "Over there, four degrees to your right." He paused then looked for recognition in her eyes.

"Yes. Sehlats?"

"Similar." He watched as she aimed her recorder in that direction. "We can ask the native name when we return. I did not request a link to the library computer."

She could adjust the lens to a telescopic function and obtain a close-up view of them. She nodded to him when he inquired if she understood how to accomplish this.

He continued to view the surroundings with his tricorder then once he felt the area was safe, he sat down to consume the necessary nutritional energy for the return trip.

T'yshen returned to him. "It must be stimulating to discover so many differing worlds!" She placed the viewer into the side pocket. Her gloves were left hanging from their connections to each sleeve, as she activated the warming unit of her beverage then opened her ration bar.

"I have found it... fascinating." He shook the beverage before he opened the hot tea. He had managed to arrange these accommodations the day before. The menus for the packs were even discussed. He had found it interesting that so many details were considered, especially when they asked if a particular color of room was desired. "Have you been off-world before?"

"No." She felt somewhat deprived because of her admission. "My parents studied the world we lived on, not other civilizations. They felt that the people who resided there should do this. Not off-worlders." The ration bar had been adequate and tasted quite good. The tea was the correct temperature and she was aware that when the bar and the tea combined, she would feel more than properly fed.


About an hour later they headed back down the mountainside to return to the lodge. The day had been an interesting one. Spock had found T'yshen to be intelligent and open to the new experiences. She spoke of her time spent with the Masters and her thoughts on solitude. He shared with her his opinions of duty and spending so much time in space.

After changing from the suits and into dry clean clothes, they went down to the dining room to have their evening meal. Spock had asked if she played chess and discovered that his father had taught her. He suggested they play a few games after dinner and it was agreed upon.

The dinning room had been noisy with the amount of activity and people, many of them fellow shipmates from the Enterprise. The smells seem to blend together and cause one to salivate rather than fight one another and confuse the palate. Privacy of activity had been observed among fellow crewmembers and except for the odd simple acknowledgement, no one infringed on the other's leave.

Spock and T'yshen moved into a large and much quieter room. After inquiring about a chess set, they found a small table in a dimly lit corner. The game was delivered to the table shortly after they sat down. A pot of tea was ordered and they proceeded to play chess.

The board was a flat playing surface. T'yshen had not played in this manner since learning chess. The figures of crystal-like carvings were heavy and highly ornate and depicted this world's ancient style of warrior with these icons. The board itself had been fashioned in a polished wood with the squares dyed to match the crystal's colors.

After a few clarifications of the manner of play, they began a night's worth of challenge.


The next day brought them to a series of caves and walkways. They entered the largest of the caves. It was warm and a distant sound of water dripping fed their curiosities. Spock pushed back his hood, removed his gloves and lifted his tricorder to check the area.

"Are you always so cautious, Commander Spock?" She had learned from the discussions the night before, that he was very much like his father.

He lifted an eyebrow then turned to face her. "If I was investigating the caves on my own, I would not be taking the readings as frequently. It is prudent to be cautious in an area that is not easily accessible."

"Is it safe..?" She indicated the narrow walkway to the inner chamber.

"It appears to be so but I do suggest a slow pace, none the less."

"You are permitted to use my name.." She removed her pack, carrying it in front of her as she approached the entrance.

Spock remained silent.

She preceded him into the dark, narrow and low walkway. She moved slowly and cautiously as she had been instructed to do. Sarek had even reminded her to heed Spock's cautious nature, also added that his son could be trusted.

The narrow passage opened up sufficiently into a large cavern. The small waterfall came from high up and dropped down into a self-made pool. The lighting came from cracks in the rock and reflected off the snow that surrounded them. Moss covered most of the far wall and a vine was creeping its way around to the walkway, only to disappear into the rock layers.

Standing in the center of the cavern, she made a slow turn. This was more than she had experienced in her lifetime so far! Containing her excitement, she moved to the pool, dipping her fingers into the pool. "It is warm."

"No doubt from the melting snow as well as the temperature being absorbed from the rock." He pulled out the tricorder for a quick scan of the interior. He turned quickly at the sound of the pressure seal being opened. "What are you doing?"

"Removing the suit. It is warm in here." She hesitated before slipping it from her shoulders. "You would rather I left it on?"

"Yes." She sealed the suit again. "Do you suppose that one could exist in these caves?"

"If it was necessary, yes." He continued to survey the area.


He turned to see her foot disappear through a seemingly solid wall of moss. He followed her.

It opened into a second large cavern, this one brighter and dryer. She moved to a rock ledge and sat down. "A perfect place for a rest."

"Do not proceed into an unknown area again, T'sai T'yshen."

She bowed her head. "I will not, Commander." She stretched out along the stone slab. "It is most interesting that this area could be found in the middle of the cold.

"Often, there are caves of this type in areas where there is a freeze/thaw situation. Fissures are opened and the melting water runs through to create the larger openings." He checked his internal clock. "We should return to the vessel."

"Very well." She rolled off the slab and headed back to the passageway. She replaced the inner hood, then her mitts and finally her hood. The pack was held in front of her as she passed through again and she waited for Spock at the other end.

Spock stood as he stepped out of the small space. His pack was slung onto his back and he reached out a hand to help T'yshen with hers. "Be careful as you step out. Your boots will be warmer than before."

"Understood, Commander." She moved out onto the snow covered bridge. Her hands wrapped securely around the railing and she made her way carefully across. The fact that this bridge moved with them did not bother either Vulcan as they made their way across the chasm. She stepped onto more solid ground then stepped out of the way to wait for Spock.

The wind whipped across the stone surface, a monument to the force of nature and time. In contrast to the persistant force, light snow began to fall causing the fierce wind to suddenly died down. Spock led the way down a pathway that wound itself around the mountain. It was much easier than using ropes and pulleys as they had on the way up.

The scenery was breathtaking. They stopped occasionally to point out interests to each other. Spock indicated a large bird of prey that circled high in the sky then swooped down between two other peaks. He walked slowly around one spot, reaching to her as they hugged the mountain to travel the narrow pathway. The pathway widened, Spock released his hold on her sleeve then walked to the opening they had found the day before.

He sat down, his pack acting as a backrest and he relaxed. He watched as T'yshen sat beside him in the same manner.

"A short rest before we continue."

She nodded then looked off to the distant place where they had seen the bear-like animals the day before. She stood as she took in the scene for the last time. Her hand was held out to catch the flakes. "It has been verified that each crystal is unique?"

"I do not know how many the Humans have tested but it seems to be the case. I have heard nothing to the contrary." He opened the tricorder and began to examine the information he had collected. He looked up, for a moment, to check on T'yshen and she was obtaining visual recordings again. He turned to return the data disc to the case and obtain a new one when he heard her call.

He turned just in time to see her dropping through the walkway!

He dove towards her, capturing her wrist as she continued to disappear!

"I have you!" He swung his other hand around to add to his hold on her. "T'yshen!" He had remained as flat as he could as he tried to see what had happened. His breathing was heavy and his heart was pounding. She had not answered him yet!

She was looking through the viewer then the surface disappeared under her feet! She fell. It seemed as if there had been a span of many minutes before it registered that Spock had reacted, but she knew it had been instantaneous!

She took a sudden breath! Falling! Was she was still falling?

"Don't move!"

She looked up. Her hand was being held; her feet were still dangling! She felt the pain in her arm as it registered that it had more than likely been pulled from its socket if not broken. She felt the tears beginning and her anxiety surfacing. She needed to remain calm and in control.

Spock took a breath then began to pull her up. He moved as close to the opening as he dared and then asked for her other arm.

She reached up to him.

He grasped her hand and felt her wash of pain! He then realized that neither had gloves on and he was feeling her pain. He stopped his first reflex to release her hand then concentrated on pulling her up. His muscles tightened against the strain.

She cried out when the pressure was released from her arm. He pulled her on top of him then rolled them away from the edge. She opened her eyes and met his.

"It is safe now."

She nodded and allowed the darkness to take her.

Spock moved from her slowly. He waited until his breathing and heartbeat had slowed, mere seconds. He flipped open the communicator from the pack's outside pocket. "Enterprise."

"Enterprise. Uhura here."

"Miss Uhura. I require an emergency beam up directly to sickbay. Inform Dr. McCoy that T'yshen had a dislocated shoulder and a broken wrist. I am unharmed. These co-ordinates."

"Right away, Mr. Spock. It should only be a moment or two."

"Acknowledged." He looked to her sleeping form and breathed a sigh of relief.

The familiar tingling began and they were taken from this place.


Spock stepped into the quarters. "You wished to see me, Father?"

Sarek stood. "Yes." He motioned for Spock to sit down then poured him some tea. "It was explained to me what had happened. I am grateful for your quick action."

He bowed his head.

"Why did you take her to such a dangerous area?" Sarek tried not to sound overly concerned but it was evident in his voice. "She could have come to serious harm."

"But she did not. Every precaution was taken. We had been along that particular path uneventfully four times. There was no evidence that this would happen."

"Perhaps you misread the ...."

Spock stood. "I would not have made an error in judgement of this nature."

"Nevertheless, it was made. An error was made. You were responsible for her safety."

"I accept the responsibility for any oversight on my part, Ambassador but this was something that no one could have foreseen." Spock did not understand his father's obvious disappointment in the care he had taken with his charge. "The ledge gave way..."

"The ledge gave way...." He sounded exasperated. "Perhaps an excuse that your Starfleet will tolerate but one that I find.... unacceptable." He continued to glare at Spock.

Spock bowed his head. "I will take leave of you, Ambassador Sarek, since my abilities at predicting the unknown do not meet your standards." Spock turned and left the quarters. He walked quickly down the corridor into the lift. "Deck fifteen." He took a deep breath then released it slowly. His father was overreacting. He knew it. His father knew it. He had seen the concern on his mother's face when he called her to sickbay and he had also seen her relief that they were both relatively unharmed. A dislocated shoulder and broken wrist were not irreparable.

He stepped out of the lift, down the corridor and into a rarely used room. It was too small for any furniture beyond a few chairs but it did have a large view port that would serve his purpose. He touched the controls to open the shielding then stared out to the stars that streaked by.

He felt his body relax. He had not known his father to act so.... illogically before. T'yshen would recover from her injuries within the week, there would be no permanent impairments and the accident was an unforeseen event.

Why then, was he so angry?


The recreation area of the ship was a busy place. She sat back in a corner watching and sketching the many faces around her. Her recovery from the shore leave was short. She had begun to use her injured arm only two days after the incident. McCoy had left the clear casting on for an extra day mumbling something about impatient Vulcans.

She had been sketching for some time, before Captain Kirk approached her. He looked over her shoulder at her impressions of his crew.

"I can see why you are a renowned artist." With a wave of his hand, he asked if the chair was available. He sat down after she nodded. He sat forward to scan the faces she already drawn. "You've captured Lieutenant Uhura, she was singing at the time?"

"Yes." She turned the sketchpad around for him to see the sketches the right way. "This crewman was indulging in a game of chess." She lifted the page that had been flipped over. "This female was teaching another the game of billiards."

Kirk nodded. "Lt. Kelmar. Our champion so far. Although, Spock hasn't played her yet." He smiled then sat back in the chair. "How is your arm?"

"It is functional and it continues to heal." She began replacing the pad of paper into her bag; Kirk's hand stopped her.

"Don't stop because I'm here. I love watching someone draw. Everything seems to appear magically from those lines." He smiled. "I was never good at any of this."

Her head bowed slightly. "If I am permitted, Captain, may I use you as my next subject?"

"As long as we can still talk. I get very self-conscious when I know someone is doing this. You never know what to do, how much you can move or how long this will take."

"It is understood, Captain." She had begun on a fresh sheet of paper and had most of the outline done by the time he finished speaking."

"How do you like traveling in space?"

"It is interesting." She looked to him for a moment then bent her head to continue capturing the Terran male. "I comprehend why one would find this life preferable."

"Are you thinking of joining Starfleet?" He teased. His hands moved together, his elbows rested on the arms of the chair and he rested his chin on his folded hands.

"I do not believe it would be an acceptable future for me." She tilted her head slightly as she studied the captain further, preferring to add this relaxed image of him. "There are some on Vulcan that would not approve of the change in career."

"What is your destiny?" He asked, wondering how someone so young could know exactly what he or she wanted. Then again, he knew exactly what he wanted by the time he was ten!

"My training has been fashioned so that I may rule Vulcan upon T'Pau's death." She spoke calmly as she brought life to the eyes on her pad. She reached for the stylus that held the correct shading and color she required. A Human skin tone was a definite challenge for her!

Kirk sat forward astonished! "You are what....!"

"I am to succeed T'Pau as the ruling matriarch of Vulcan." She looked to the Human, realizing his surprise. "It is not meant for common knowledge, Captain. There are many that are being groomed for this position. When the time has arrived, one of us will be chosen."

He took in the information, then sat back in awe of this female. "You are aboard the Enterprise for what purpose?"

"To learn of the Vulcan people through other eyes and to learn of the other species that might be dealt with in the future."

Kirk was, to say the least, surprised. He smiled slightly. "Your tenure as Sarek's assistant is a part of your training?"

"Yes." T'yshen adjusted her hold on the pad and the stylus as she continued with Captain Kirk's image. She finished a few more details in his face then put the stylus down. "What do you perceive your strengths to be, Captain Kirk?"

"The ability to see the whole picture. To see the other side of the argument and to understand the other's position, even if it is not in agreement with mine. I need to know why someone agrees as well as why someone does not agree. A skill at determining my crews abilities and how best to use them. To delegate, not to take on too much." Kirk thought about the skills he did have and the ones he wished he had. "In this position, physical strengths and agility are also an asset. I try to keep myself in good physical condition and to keep my reaction time fast."

"A warrior's skills. I have found that to be the ruler of a world is much the same as your position. Decisions are made that can change everything you have become familiar with, for the betterment of the others."

"The needs of the many...?" Kirk smiled. This was becoming an interesting conversation.

"You are familiar with the Vulcan writings?"

"Some. Spock recalls them mostly to annoy Dr. McCoy." Kirk licked his lips. "Would you like some tea, T'sai T'yshen?"

"It would be most enjoyable."

Kirk stood. "I'll get it for you." His head bowed slightly. It did not take him much time at all to obtain the tea and coffee from the servitor. "Relen tea."

"Thank you, Captain." She sipped on the refreshing tea. They talked for a time as the tea and the sketch was finished.

"T'yshen." A deep voice stated clearly.

Kirk turned. "Ambassador, please join us."

"Not at this time, Captain. T'yshen, it is time for meditation." He seemed to be annoyed that he had to remind her of the scheduling. "It is most important that your schedule be kept."

"It is understood, Ambassador." She collected her supplies then stood. Her head bowed. "A most interesting time, Captain Kirk."

He stood with her. His head bowed. "Perhaps dinner?"

"I would look forward to such a time." Her head bowed again and she left with Sarek. He picked up her teacup then noticed the sketch that had slipped under the side table. He slipped it out then turned it over. It was the sketch of the crew, with Uhura. He studied the faces, the individuals that she had totally captured on this page.

A dark face peered over his shoulder. "Makes you believe as some of the primitives do, capturing a soul in a picture." Uhura then asked if she could see the sketches.

Kirk gave up his possession of it. "Amazing that this was drawn by a Vulcan. You think of them as stoic and astere. Not having the ability to see an emotion in another's face." She sighed then grinned. "She captured McCoy perfectly!"

Kirk nodded. "She did a fantastic job on my chief communication officer as well!"

"T'yshen is the first Vulcan I have met that does not deal in the sciences." Uhura handed the paper back to Kirk. "Amanda told me that she has studied music as well. She plays the lyrette, a Vulcan guitar and Amanda taught her the piano."

"You have ignored my remark?"

"Yes, I have, Captain." She smiled sweetly. "See you on the bridge, sir."

Kirk rolled the paper loosely as he watched Uhura leave. He would return this to T'yshen then report to the bridge. It was another slow day.


Sarek turned off the computer screen as he turned to his student. "You comprehend what the purpose was in this agreement?" They had chosen to use this room due to its out-of-the-way location and the computer terminal access.

"Yes, Ambassador. It is all clear." She stood then moved to the small table that held the pitcher of water. She poured one for herself then one for Sarek. She took it to him. "Captain Kirk is a most intriguing individual. He is somewhat of a mystery in his friendship with Commander Spock."

"Why is that?"

"It is not common for a friendship to continue to such an extent between officers, or is it?" She looked to the dark eyes that had taught her so much in the last month.

"Friendships are made between two people. It is not up to others to determine the parameters of that friendship."

She placed the glass on the table then stood closer. "And our friendship, S'haile, is it for others to determine its boundaries?"

"It is our friendship. It is we that may decide our boundaries." He looked to the young eyes and remembered another from his past that was held his thoughts for a time. His first bond-mate. A priestess, as T'yshen was, but her destiny was within the walls of Seleya. T'yshen, he feared, did not have such a clear-cut destiny. He finished the water that she had poured; the glass was placed beside hers. "A game of chess?"

"I would prefer my lessons." She lowered her eyes, to suggest a change in activity was not good form.

Sarek hesitated; he took a deep breath. "Very well." He waved her to the chair, then pulled the other chair beside her but facing her. "Prepare."

"I am prepared."

"I will not move as slowly this time." He warned her. Her ability at blocking probes and another's intrusion on her thoughts was too relaxed for a future matriarch. That part of her training had been partially ignored due to the fostering of her artistic abilities. His hands pressed together for a moment, then his fingers reached to touch her face. He watched as her eyes closed and began the `intrusion' into her thoughts.

T'yshen felt the warmth that entered her. Every time, she had to find the strength to fight this power, as it threatened to take her over. A part of her being desired this, but she knew he belonged to another. She would do nothing to betray this trust. She began the blocking techniques that Sarek had been attempting to teach her.

Her skill at reading thoughts was strong, but she did not have the usual strict training that a `normal' touch telepath would have because she had been brought up around individuals that honored another's privacy above all else. No one could even train her not to allow the intrusions because all of their intrusions were to give her information. A way of teaching another more than was usually possible. Information was `crammed' into her thoughts. Now, she had to learn how not to allow the easy access of the information and to protect herself.

Her fingers slowly touched his face. They played the `game' of hide and seek within the thoughts of another. She was still slow at shielding her surface thoughts. She found herself too interested in what others thought, experienced and even felt.

Sarek removed his fingers from her face. He stood then moved from her. "You must learn to block my attempts, not welcome them!" He raised his voice slightly. He poured himself some water. "There are memories that all Vulcans possess of the time before the reform. A time when one could take another's mind and destroy it! You must protect yourself against this."

"But I know you will do not harm."

"Do you?" Sarek emptied his glass. He prepared himself for what he was about to do out of necessity. These lessons made him uncomfortable and he spoke of this with Amanda only once. She agreed at the reasoning and understood his discomfort. She had also accepted the minor intrusion into their bond that it did caused. She had understood that it was necessary.


Sarek moved to stand in front of her. "Stand."

She stood and just from the tone in his voice, felt for the first time, a fear of Sarek.

His fingers were placed on her face and he directed into her thoughts a search with such power and speed that it took her breath from her. His movements were difficult to follow but she had begun to set up her defenses as quickly as she could. Her mind fought for her sanity. This was difficult! He moved so fast within her, touching the places that he had no right to. He was searching for something?

She began to form the blocking as she had been taught! They began to form slowly at first and then she began to equal his speed. Her anticipation of his movements was still lagging behind! He was reaching into places that he should not have! She was failing at protecting her own thoughts! She cried out then lost all conscious thought.

Sarek caught her shoulders. He wrapped his arm around her then spoke her name softly. His free hand lifted her face and he called to her again.

She moaned an answer. "A: t'kahr."

Sarek moved her to sit in the chair. He crouched down beside her, her hand reached to his face.

"Your point is understood, T'Kahr. My skill will be perfected." She spoke softly.

Sarek stood. "I will leave you to rest." Sarek turned and started towards the door. His son stood in the open doorway watching. But for how long?

"Father." Spock remained in the doorway, his head bowed slightly.

"Your manners require correction." Sarek chided himself for not locking the door.

"As do yours, Father." He stepped into the small recreation room, allowing his father a way out.

"You do not understand the purpose of this."

"I can only imagine." Spock's voice took on a tone that was close to being rude.

Sarek stared at his son. His opinion of his father was evident on his face. "Your lessons in controlling your emotional displays require work."

"For what purpose, to please you?" Spock shook his head. "I do not comprehend your actions. You offer no explanation. What am I supposed to assume?"

"As a Vulcan, you assume nothing." Sarek bowed his head then left. Once out of Spock's hearing and sight, he let out a sigh and wondered if Spock would ever be able to understand that what he was doing was necessary.

Spock moved into the room. He stood close to T'yshen. "Do you require medical assistance?"

"No, Commander." She took a breath and sat up a bit straighter. Sarek's assault had taken a great deal of energy to withstand. "I require only time to rest."

Spock watched this young woman, who was, seemingly, intelligent. "Why do you permit this?"

She looked to the Vulcan male. "A personal question from one that has no privilege."

Spock clasped his hands behind his back; he drew in a long breath to control the discomfort he was experiencing concerning this questionable relationship between his father and this woman. How did his mother deal with this? Or did she know? "I ask forgiveness." He turned to leave.

"Spock." She stood as he turned back to her. "Why is your concern so great?"

"My family is involved."

"If this concerns T'sai Amanda, she understands."

"Understands what?" His voice raised slightly.

"Understands all that Sarek is required to do."

"Do for what purpose?"

"Sarek is t'kahr, I am only his student, to do with as he determines."

"There are boundaries. Even between a student and t'kahr."

T'yshen sighed as her hand moved to her temple for a moment. She lowered her hand slowly, meeting the dark eyes of this Starfleet officer and promptly.... collapsed!

Spock moved quickly and caught her before she hit the floor. He laid her gently onto the carpeted decking then tapped his comm-pin. "Medical attention required in recreation room four level seven."

"On my way, Spock." McCoy's voice came back then the circuit closed.

Spock removed the veil that had rested on her shoulders. He straightened her figure slightly then moved the furnishings from around her.

McCoy came through the door and moved quickly to T'yshen's side. "What happened?"

"She collapsed. We were talking, she brought her hand up to her temple then blacked out."

"What was she doing before?" McCoy rant he scanner along her body and wasn't sure of the readings he was getting.

"Ambassador Sarek was with her. I do not know what activities they engaged in, nor do I wish to speculate as to what their activities were."

McCoy sat back slightly, picking up the questioning tone in Spock's voice. "A problem?"

Spock paused. "I do not know."

"You don't approve of T'yshen as your father's aide?" He checked the readings again, still confusing.

"It is not for me to approve or disapprove, Doctor." He stood. "If I am no longer required, Doctor, I will take my leave."

"Spock." McCoy stood. The medical team that was to follow him was just walking in. He moved out of the way and closer to Spock. "Your mother seemed to have the feeling that something was bothering you."

"My mother would not have discussed it with you."

"No, not directly." He smiled slightly. "Even silence can speak volumes."

Spock looked to the still form of the Vulcan female. "She will recover?"

"More than likely. It seems to be a psychic shock of some type." McCoy had the distinct feeling that Spock knew more than he was letting on. "Have any educated guesses?"

"No, Doctor." Spock bowed his head. "On my way back to my quarters, I will inform my parents of her location."

McCoy nodded. He watched the Vulcan leave and could not shake the feeling that there was more going on than anyone would admit to. He turned to the team that was waiting and waved them on. He followed closely as he wondered what the problems were that Spock seemed so concerned about.


T'yshen lay perfectly still on her bed. Sleep was not coming easily. She had regained consciousness shortly after being brought to sickbay. Then in true Vulcan fashion, assured the doctor that she was functional and would prefer to return to her quarters. She was only now beginning to understand why Sarek had insisted on this trip. Other beings did not function with the logic that she had always understood. She had also learned that not all Vulcans reacted in the same manner.

Sarek's disciplines were strict; he required a great deal from his students and left no room for less than perfection. Yet, his own son appeared to be a direct opposite in his beliefs, yet Sarek, as is accepted him. She had felt that much. Could it be his dual heritage, that Sarek had not expected his son to be... perfect? She doubted it!

There was a light tapping at her door, she sat up then stood. "Kvaith."

Amanda stepped in, her head bowed slightly. "Sarek and I are going to the officer's mess for endmeal, will you be all right alone?"

"Yes, Darli'mekh."

Amanda had felt some honor in the ancient title of `Honoured Parent'; it was one not often used any longer. In the Pre-Reform time, the children that had been betrothed into another family used it. She studied T'yshen for a moment. "Sarek explained the incident. Has there been any damage?"

"None." She looked to the floor for a moment then tilted her head slightly. "Spock began questioning the methods used by Sarek. Is this common practice for a son and a father?"

Amanda sighed. "It is for them. They have not always been as sympathetic to one another as they should have. Both would offer their life for the other, yet there has always been this wall they hide behind."

She smiled slightly. "Sarek is cautious. Spock has habitually trained himself to ignore his emotions." She shook her head against the long-standing misunderstandings between these two men and her continually presence in the middle. "It is not something that will ever be solved. I have accepted that."

T'yshen nodded in understanding. She had learned a different set of body language for dealing with Terrans, many of them, to her, unnecessary. "What of Spock's friendship with Captain Kirk?"

Amanda looked surprised at the question. "You ask a question with no privilege."

Her head bowed. "I ask forgiveness."

Amanda returned the gesture. "It is granted. You must rest and I do not wish to keep Sarek waiting any longer."

"Very well."

Amanda joined her husband in the common room. "She is resting."

"It is the best activity for her at the present time." He led the way out into the corridor and towards the officer's mess hall.

T'yshen's lessons would have to wait, but all of them knew they must continue.


Captain Kirk stepped into the recreation deck; he had planned a chess game with Spock and was running late. It seemed he had been five minutes late for everything since yesterday when he had slept in. He did a quick scan of the room and did not see him. He sighed. "At least I did not keep him waiting!"

He frowned; it wasn't like Spock to be late for anything!

He decided to find a game table, set up the board and some coffee.. and maybe something sweet. He found a table off in a corner, and the chessboard was already there, so all that was missing was his coffee and snack.

He sat down with the cup of coffee and had taken one bite of the Danish when Spock appeared.

"Apologies, Captain. I was detained earlier due to a medical incident."

He swallowed the piece he had been chewing on. "That's okay. I've been running late all day today." He drank some of the coffee and used the napkin to clean his fingers. "The incident, nothing too severe?"

"No, Captain. It involved T'sai T'yshen. Doctor McCoy will have a full report. The matter is considered over with." Spock moved the first piece on the board.

Kirk's next move was new but logical. He sat back grinning. He made a mental note to make a stop in sickbay on his way to his quarters later.

Spock raised an eyebrow; obviously Kirk had discovered some new strategies and was hoping to surprise him with it. He would permit it, to a point. His countering move left no clues as to his historic understanding of this Human's tactics.

The game lasted for some time.


T'yshen entered the environmental area. She pulled the cloak around her and lifted the hood. This area was damp and cool but an area that she found to be interesting. She walked among the many gardens, bending occasionally to inhale the fragrance.

"This one, T'sai T'yshen has a strong scent." Kirk stated with his limited knowledge of botany.

His hand moved to cup a deep red rose. "This one is my personal favourite." He had been pleased that he had met her in the corridor and been able to offer her a slight tour.

She bent to inhale the fragrance. She agreed with his preference. "You come here often, Captain?" She walked along beside him at a leisurely pace.

"Not as often as I would like to." He smiled awkwardly. "What do you think of the Enterprise so far?" He indicated the bench and suggested they sit down.

"It is a great deal for one to assimilate at once." She pushed her hood back. "It seems that there is a great deal of space used for recreational activities. Is this a Terran requirement?"

"Mostly. We seem to enjoy cramming our off-duty time with activity. It relaxes the mind and sometimes the body with the change in activity." Kirk debated asking her to have dinner with him at some point in the near future. He took a breath then let it out slowly. "T'sai T'yshen, would it be permitted for you to have dinner with me?"

"It would be most interesting."

"Do I have to check with Sarek?"

"It is not necessary." She paused for a moment. "When would be the timing of this dinner?"

"I have the next three evenings available barring any attacks or emergencies."

"I will be honoured to share a meal."


"It would be acceptable. At what time?"

"Nineteen hundred."

"Manner of dress? I am not familiar with Human culture as of yet."

"Anything you feel is appropriate." Kirk stood. "I'll walk you back. My duty period begins shortly." He walked with her towards the lift, then ordered the lift to the fifth level. He stepped out with her.

"It is unnecessary to accompany me, Captain Kirk."

Kirk smiled then bowed his head. "Until later then, T'sai T'yshen."

She bowed her head then headed down the corridor.

Kirk watched her until she disappeared around the corner. He sighed then signaled for the lift again, stepped in then headed to the bridge.

Dinner had been interesting. He had arranged to have their meal served in the `think-tank' and was enjoying the privacy it gave them. He had fussed over every detail without really knowing why. He wanted to enjoy tonight's company a little more than usual.

Discussions about each other's society and dispelling the rumored misconceptions concerning both races took up most of the mealtime. Then the subjects changed to more personal matters.

"Amanda mentioned that you played some instruments?" Kirk swirled the brandy around in the glass. He had removed his uniform tunic earlier because of the added warmth in the room.

"A few Vulcan ones and Amanda has taught me to play the piano."

Kirk recalled his childhood venture into the music field. "When I was young I attempted the piano. I was too impatient. In my teenage years I believe I had a try at the guitar, but that was the same. I wanted to be able to just pick it up and play. Without the long boring time it took to learn."

"What were you so impatient about?" T'yshen's hand cradled the glass of wine.

"Growing up. The Academy and ... girls." He smiled at the comment. He was surprised at how comfortable he felt with her. "I'm not sure which I was most serious about at the time."

She looked unsure of what to say.

"Do you like to dance?" Kirk asked, as the background music playing caught his attention.

"I have not danced too often. Official functions, when required."

"Would you care to now?" He placed his empty glass on the table. "If it is acceptable."

"Physical contact would have to be at a minimum."

Kirk nodded and offered his hand. Aware that contact had to be as little as possible, he held her fingertips as she stood in front of him; his other hand went to rest at her waist. He felt the warmth of her higher body temperature, especially where her hand rested on his waist. He had chosen soft music for the evening, a blend of music from all over the known universe. They talked about music and the place it had in their mutual societies. T'yshen had been curious concerning the practice of Humans finding mates and was unsure of how to ask until the fact that dancing could be a part of it was brought up.

"Then am I to assume that you find me acceptable as a prospective mate?" She met his eyes.

Kirk held his breath then released it. Should he admit that the thought had crossed his mind? Or refuse the notion totally? He wasn't sure! He cleared his throat. "That was not the intention of this invitation." Had he answered in the most diplomatic way he could? Her face showed no hint to the thoughts that were behind the dark eyes.

He lowered his hands as he took a step away from her, reluctant to lose the contact with her.



"I have read that there are physical touches that Humans engage in as a part of this dating ritual."

"There are many." He felt a slight panic beginning to rise in him. He covered it by turning and pouring himself another brandy.

"I comprehend the physical touches for coupling."

Kirk drank half the brandy and as he experienced the burning of that going down his throat, he nodded. "I thought you might." He stated softly.

"But what of the need for a kiss. Humans do this with so many, with no obvious association with the coupling. Why is it regarded so highly? Even in your literature."

Kirk thought about it for a moment. "The meaning of a kiss changes with the relationship."

"How so?"

Kirk stared into his glass for a moment. "Are you sure this type of conversation is acceptable? We are not breaking any taboos?" He remembered how reluctant Spock was about personal matters, still was with certain subjects. He was hoping that there was a taboo in one way, then the discussion could end here. "If you do not wish to discuss this, it is understood."

"Not that exactly." He leaned against the table.

"Between family members, it's a sign of affection, caring. Between friends or acquaintances, it's a sign of friendship or just used as a greeting." He cleared his throat, not sure if he was explaining this correctly.

"If I understand you correctly, the meaning of it would be a direct correlation to the feelings one has for the other individual." Her voice was softer, but still held the firmness that all Vulcans had.

Kirk nodded. "Something like that." He finished his brandy.

"Vulcans do not kiss. They do not touch unless they are related, betrothed or bonded."

"I know."

She watched this Human for a moment; her curiosity was surfacing. "What is it to experience a kiss?"

Kirk chuckled nervously. "Hard to describe. It changes."

"Changes?" She raised an eyebrow. "What would be the deciding factors?"

Kirk placed the glass behind him then folded his arms across his chest. "This is not the conversation I envisioned us having!" He opted to ask her if she wished to dance again.

"As you wish, Captain." Her head bowed slightly.

Kirk moved to hold her again, this time a little more confidently. When T'yshen moved her hand into his more than before, he glanced at her with surprise. He moved with her to the rhythm of the soft music and without realizing it, had pulled her closer.

T'yshen felt his mood, his apprehension as well as his interest in her. She wet her lips as she considered the possible repercussion to her next question. "Captain, may I ask you a personal question?"

"Sure." He breathed in the scent of her. It reminded him of something, but couldn't name it.

"Would you wish to experience...."

He had stopped dancing and before she could continue, his lips touched hers. It was a soft touch then he moved back slightly. Her fingers curled around his hand, her hand that rested on his waist moved up and touched his lips.

"Most pleasant."

Kirk froze. He met her eyes as he whispered. "I shouldn't have done that." Her fingers had rested on his lips long enough that he could still feel the heat from her touch. He breathed once then felt her fingertips at his chin.

She pressed her mouth against his; the contact lasted a little longer this time. She felt his arm tighten around her slightly. His hand left hers and went to the back of her neck as the kiss deepened. She had not expected it to affect him in this manner! Her hand lifted to his temples and she reached in to calm his reactions.

Kirk moved slowly from her, as he drew in a slow breath. He stepped back from her again. He needed the distance! What was happening here? He usually had more control than this! He took another deep breath that turned into a softly spoken apology.

"None is required, Captain."

Kirk nodded. "Oh yes. I overstepped the bounds."

"It was my request."

Kirk looked to her. "That is what you wanted? Why?"

"Captain. I do not feel the need to control my emotions to the extent that Cmdr. Spock or Ambassador Sarek does. I am still young. My illogical curiosity is something that I must learn to control." She tilted her head slightly to one side. "It is I that must offer the requirement for forgiveness."

"It is not required." He smiled at her.

T'yshen bowed her head understanding what he meant. "Is that all there is to a couple's kiss?"

"No." He laughed lightly, realizing that this discussion could lead them into a definite problem.

"What else is there?" She asked innocently.

Kirk closed his eyes. "I can't do this. I can't just shut down these reactions to you."

"Very well. I will take leave of you." She lifted the veil over her head then turned to leave.

"T'yshen!" He whispered stopping her.

"Yes, Captain?" She felt his emotions; she shielded her thoughts further as she turned back. His hand reached to her wrist, slowly moving up her arm then to the back of her neck.

His hand was cool against her skin. He pulled her towards him as he stepped closer to her. His mouth captured her warm mouth; his arms pulled her tighter against his body. His eyes closed and he drew her into his own curiosity. He felt her body rest against his for a moment. He wanted this to be all that she wanted but his Human logic told him that this was, to her, just what she had said, a curiosity.

Her hand rested on his shoulder, then slowly moved to mirror his touch on the back of her neck. The pressure of the kiss had increased with her participation. She started at the touch of his tongue against her lips. Through the light mental contact understood what she was expected to do. Her mouth parted, amazed at the alien taste as his tongue reached into her.

He kissed her for what seemed like forever, but as he moved from her he knew it was only a moment or two. His hand held her jaw as he kissed her lightly.

"A pleasure, T'yshen... never to be repeated." He whispered against the corner of her mouth. He took another step back from her, searching for the control that he needed.

T'yshen's hand ran the length of his arm then hesitated when her fingers touched the back of his hand. She took a slow breath. "There is so much to know... to discover.. even about myself." She spoke softly yet still held the firmness that was expected of a Vulcan. Her head bowed to him. "A Human does not often become t'kahr. I have been honoured to have been your student."

Kirk drew in a deep breath then let it out slowly. "I'll see you to your quarters."

Her hand touched his chest gently. "There is no need, Captain." She bowed her head again and left him.

Kirk moved to the table and sat down heavily in the chair. He poured himself a brandy and downed it. The warmth that burned his throat made him gasp. "Oh, God, now what?" He played with the glass in his hand as he waited for his body to calm down.


Commander Spock stood outside the small briefing room. He knew his father was inside and alone. It was time to solve this mystery of his true relationship with T'sai T'yshen. He could not quite fathom his mother permitting this questionable affinity between his father and T'yshen. He reached to the door chime.

"Come." Sarek stood, as was his habit, as the visitor was revealed.

"Ambassador, may we talk?"

Sarek waved him to an empty chair as he returned to his. The screen's content was shifted to a filed position and the unit was turned off. He waited for his son to begin.

"I do not wish to offend or cause another disagreement between us." Spock noted the hooded acknowledgement in his father's eyes, other than that Sarek did not move a muscle. "Your aide appears to have privilege that is not usually awarded to an apprentice."

"Your concern?" Sarek's hands moved together; his fingers rested on his lips.

"That perhaps it is over stepping the bounds of that relationship." Spock felt the knot in his stomach tighten. This was not a simple matter, confronting his father this way. "My concern is for my mother. How she may be affected by your association."

"Have you discussed this with your mother?"

"No. I was not certain how to."

Sarek nodded his head slightly. There was no need for another argument; his relationship with Spock was shaky but improving. "Your mother and I have discussed the.. relationship and all of it is understood.

She accepts this. The training that T'yshen requires is specific. There can be no variations." He stood facing his son. "That is all I will say on the matter."

Spock stood.

"If this is insufficient for you, there is nothing more that I can say or do."

Spock nodded. "Very well." He bowed his head. "I will take leave of you, Ambassador." Spock headed out of the room but his father called to him just before he stepped out of the room. He turned back. "Yes."

"Spock. Why do you concern yourself with the matter so intently?"

"I was concerned for Mother's welfare."

"Nothing more?"

"Nothing more." Spock turned from his father and headed to the officer's mess where he was due for a game of chess with Captain Kirk. He realized that he had not been totally truthful with his father, then again, in his opinion, his father had not been totally truthful with him. Should he have admitted to his father that ever since this woman had come on board, he had been drawn to her? At times, to the point where he had considered challenging his own father! He stood in the turbo-lift, then touched the level that was required. The chess game and conversation would distract his thoughts from the Ambassador's activities for a time. It would also give him an opportunity to discover the reason for Captain Kirk's mood the last few days.

As he stepped into the mess, he noted that only a few other officers were present. He nodded towards Scotty and his protege, Lieutenant Alan Michaels. They were deep in conversation and from what little he had overheard, it was concerning adjustments to the warp engines. He tuned the conversation out and headed towards the customary table that he and Kirk usually occupied.

His eyebrow raised as he noticed the folded paper on the table's surface, tucked between the chess pieces on the top level. His name had been written on the outside. He opened, read it and frowned slightly. He tapped the folded edge on his bottom lip a few times. Odd that he would not have contacted him directly! He slipped the folded paper into his pocket then headed to the Captain's cabin.

Kirk had rid himself of his uniform quickly, took a shower and was now stretched out along the couch reading. He wore civilian clothing, loose fitting pants and a simple top, both in soft fabrics. He lifted his head when the door chime sounded and swore under his breath. He really did not want to be bothered, he had to find a way to deal with the way he was feeling about T'yshen. He sat up, closed his book and sighed.

"Identify." He spoke just loud enough for the computer pick-up to relay the request.

"Commander Spock."

Kirk closed his eyes and sighed again. "Come." He knew there was no reason not to talk to Spock, he just wanted to be left alone. He put the book down then stood to greet his friend. "Spock? Didn't you get the note?"

"Yes, Captain." Spock studied his friend for a moment, assessing his friend's mood. "I was concerned at the change in plans. There was no reason given."

Kirk sighed. "Just wanted time to myself. It seemed to hit me just after my shift. I was actually sitting there and all I wanted to do was leave." He smiled weakly. "Nothing personal, Spock."

"I had not assumed so. But I was concerned. You are not one to change plans without reason."

"There's no reason to be concerned, Spock, just a Human's emotional need for solitude."

"Very well." His head bowed slightly. "Good-night, Captain."

Kirk smiled appreciating his friend's acceptance. "Good-night Spock."

When the door closed behind Spock, Jim reached for his book and stretched out on the couch again. He opened the book, found his place then settled down to continue reading. He managed to get through two pages before the door signaled again. He debated not answering it but on the second ring, the `intruder' identified himself.

"Jim, it's Bones."

Kirk placed the book back up on the shelf; McCoy would not be as easy as Spock was to convince there was nothing wrong. He touched the release for the door and folded his arms across his chest as the doctor stepped in.

McCoy met the officer's eyes. "Spock said you were `in a mood'. Anything I can do to help?" He stepped in a little further trying to guess at the problem. Jim was now leaning against the edge of the computer unit and staring at the floor. "I am a great listener...."

Kirk debated whether or not he could talk to McCoy about this and if he should! He waved him to the couch with a casual wave of his hand. He reached to the bottle of brandy and poured out two glasses then placed everything on the low table. He sat down in the armchair opposite McCoy.

"That bad?" He assessed the captain's attitude with which he poured out the drinks and his silence.

"It's.. " Kirk thought about it for a moment. ".. a problem without a solution. And one that I have to learn to deal with as best I can." He lifted the glass closer to him and saluted McCoy. "To the mysteries of life."

McCoy frowned as he lifted his glass then drank a good portion of it down. "What mysteries inparticular?" He opened the panel on his tunic then put his glass down to remove his tunic. He tossed it up against the opposite arm of the couch. He had the impression that this was going to be a long and maybe difficult discussion. "By the way, how was dinner the other night?"

Kirk grinned, then leaned back in the chair, his hand loosely holding the glass as he rested it on the arm of the chair. "It was interesting."

"How interesting could dinner be with a Vulcan?" McCoy began the fishing expedition early. Eventually, he would find out what was bothering him. He lifted his feet up, resting them on the table's edge. He crossed his ankles, then resting his glass on his thigh.

"Comfortable?" Kirk asked sarcastically.

"Very." McCoy paused for a beat. "Dinner."

"We talked. We ate. We danced and then she left." He drained the glass then reached forward and refilled his glass; McCoy passed on his refill. "Nothing special."

"Then what's put you in this mood?"

Kirk shrugged. He picked at something on his pant leg then sipped on his drink. "How's things at your end?"

"Fine." He kept the smile to himself. "Won fifty credits from that new lab technician, Lieutenant Commander Victoria Kanins."

Kirk nodded. "Poker?"

"Yep." McCoy sounded pleased with himself. "Medical reports are going to be ready on time for a change."

Kirk nodded then sipped his drink.

"And Christine's decided to take everyone's left hand and exchange it for their right ones." McCoy sat forward as the captain nodded.

"Sounds interesting." Kirk mumbled.

"Jim!" McCoy's feet went to the floor, his glass was put on the table and he reached for Kirk's glass. "Just what is the problem?"

"I was listening..!"

McCoy laughed. "No you weren't. You just agreed that it would be interesting if Christine exchanged everyone's left hand for their right.." He stared at this very Human friend that could sometimes put up a camouflage screen that rivaled Spock's. He snapped his fingers in front of Jim's face. "Hey!"

"What?" Jim was annoyed.

McCoy rested his elbows on his knees. "Give! Something happened at that dinner. What was it?"

Kirk met the doctor's eyes already to tell him to mind his own business and what business was it of his if he was feeling a little...... what? What was he feeling? Kirk cleared his throat. "Nothing."

"Bullshit!" McCoy watched Kirk almost squirm over this! He grinned, leaned back and chuckled. "What did you do, make a pass at her?"

Kirk lifted his chin slightly, he mimicked Spock's steepled finger routine then laced his fingers. The fist tapped his mouth slightly and he looked away from the doctor.

McCoy held his breath. "You didn't?" He sounded amazed. Flabbergasted! He sat forward, at the edge of the couch. "Tell me you did not make a pass at Ambassador Sarek's aide!"

"I.. did not make a pass at Ambassador Sarek's aide." Kirk stated easily without moving.

McCoy watched him suspiciously, not certain if he was telling the truth or just not telling. "Jim?"

Kirk acquiesced with a shrug as he lowered his hands. "I was my usual charming self."

"I don't doubt it."

"We talked about our different worlds."


"Talked about Starfleet."

McCoy nodded.

"Asked her if she danced."


"We danced."

"You are going to make me drag this out of you a syllable at a time!"

"Then she asked me about Human mating habits."

"And you showed her.?" He closed his eyes as he shook his head gently, wondering if there was going to be an incident over this! "Jim, you have got to control.."

"She asked me to kiss her."

McCoy nodded then frowned. He hadn't heard right. "What?"

"I did. And she kissed back .... did she ever!" Kirk shifted in the chair. "Then she initiated a kiss and I did not want to stop!"

"Jim?" He wasn't sure he wanted to hear anymore. "You didn't.. did you?"

Jim nodded. "She left. And I am.. I don't know what I am!"

McCoy noticed Jim's body relaxing a bit. "How was it?"

Jim smiled then chuckled. "It was...," He thought about it for a second. "....worth repeating."

McCoy sat back then leaned back. "And that's where the problem lies?"

Jim nodded. "It took two days for it to register." He tapped the side of his head with his finger.

"Now what?" McCoy was curious.

"Now? Nothing." Kirk sighed. "Nothing at all. And that's the way it should be."

There was a long silence, each of them considering the facts.

McCoy reached to the bottle and filled both glasses. He passed Kirk's to him then offered his toast. "To the mysteries of life.." He grinned at Kirk then touched his glass and downed the brownish alcohol.

Kirk nodded and up-ended his glass.


T'yshen had been shown the artisans' work area on her tour. When she inquired about working with some of the materials available, Commander Lluana assured her that he could set aside a cubicle for her use while she was aboard the Enterprise. Therefore, a sevenday ago, she had chosen to paint the scene she recalled viewing from her room looking out into the desert. She had found that each cubicle held whatever medium she chose to work in. She had found a preference in a variation on acrylic paints, not too fast drying that she had to hurry, fast enough that within a week of it's completion it would be dry. She noted that it would have been too hot on Vulcan to use this type of paint.

Earlier in the voyage she had completed a Vulcan-styled tea service for Darli'ka'mekh, her Honourable Mother, Lady Amanda. She had been pleased with the gift and it became a permanent fixture in the shared quarters.

Today she ventured in to add a few details to the canvas. She was expected to meet with Sarek to complete the document that she was helping him with. She entered the small room, took down the apron then removed the stasis field that protected her work. She began with the small footprints left in the sand, by the le-matya that was suggested to be sleeping under the kela-thorn bush. Just after arriving at Sarek's home, she had discovered this as a cool sleeping place for the nocturnal predator.

Her hand went to the palette, only to discover a small wooden case, no longer than her hand and barely two fingers in width. The carved case had been fastened with a thin ribbon and left suspended by the stasis field. She removed the ribbon placing it in her pants pocket. Her fingers caressed the polished wooden surface then touched the small release. The case popped open slightly; her hand opened it fully. Her fingers touched the fine reddish sand that was contained inside. She placed it on the easel's tray and opened the slim handwritten note. The script was neat and very properly in Old Vulcan, the language of the temples.

The note read, `Here on the sands, our forebears cast out their animal passions, hence forever devoting their minds to logic.' It had been taken from the Kahr-y-Tan, the Ways of Vulcan. She frowned slightly; there was no signature. No indication of whom would have sent this. Obviously someone that is either versed in Vulcan ways or it was a Vulcan. Carefully, she closed the casing and placed it beside her palette. She knew of no one that would have sent her such a gift!

She turned her thoughts to the artwork. The painting depicted her home world, the Forge, with Mount Seleya and the Watcher. The reddish tones of the sand required more depth. The le-matya tracks were an interesting touch. The Watcher required more definition in the craters and she debated including the Eye of the Watcher, the moon that circled the dead sister world.

She stood back to analyze the scene. The setting sun was of the correct shading. The sky, however, needed to be darker. She was attempting to capture dusk on her world, when it was most colourful and most attractive to her. It had become her favourite time of day.

She chose the finer paintbrush and the colour was added. The pattern of the kela-thorn bushes was placed within the shadows of Mount Seleya, in its entire splendor! It only bloomed at night when it was cooler. She placed one bush at the end of the footprints of the le-matya. A logical place to sleep to escape the heat of the Vulcan day. For the next hour she continued giving life to the desert scene she missed each evening. The subtle shadings, highlights where the light of Nevesa reflected off T'Rukh. She decided to place its moon, T'Rukhemai, in the correct place and gave it the reddish hue it held.

T'yshen stepped back. She was satisfied for today. She cleaned the brushes; covered the paints and the canvas with the stasis field again to prevent them from drying. She hung the apron up and replaced her veil over her hair. A quick check at the area reminded her of the carved box. She reached to it and slipped it into the inside sleeve pocket then pressed the closure.

As she made her way to the shared quarters, her thoughts turned to the logical identity of the sender. The gift itself had been a clue to the identity. She knew of no one except Sarek and Amanda that would have known of her appreciation of miniatures. She stepped out of the lift, without pause, and walked directly into Captain Kirk!

Kirk's hands held her and him steady for a split second as they mumbled apologies and tried to separate as quickly as possible. He heard his own gasp at her touch. He stepped aside.

"I ask forgiveness, Captain." She had to keep the heavier shielding in place around Humans, especially this one!

"No need. No harm done." He smiled quickly then glanced at the decking before meeting her eyes again. "Forgive the curiosity but what did I touch on your arm?" He noted with secret pleasure that she wore a perfectly fitting pants suit. The tunic fit all of her curves to perfection.

She reached into her sleeve and produced the thin box. "It is a gift."

"From who?" He asked with a genuine interest.

"It is unknown for the present."

"Secret admirer?" He folded his hands in front of him.

She frowned. "I do not comprehend the meaning?"

"Someone that admires you but is perhaps reluctant to tell you in person. Maybe unsure of how you feel or is uncertain at your reactions." Kirk stepped back at the sound of the lift doors then suggested with a light touch on her shoulder, that she move as well. "Shift change is beginning and there is more traffic."

She moved to the side of the corridor with him. "But would not one want their feelings known to the other. Why would remaining....secret... be a desire?"

He folded his arms across his chest. "As I said, maybe the person is unsure of how you feel and will reveal his identity when your reaction is observed." He caught himself watching her fingers caress the wood, recalling the feel of her fingers on his lips. He cleared his throat. "We can continue this over a game of chess in the rec room after dinner if you want to." He stepped towards the lift. "I have duty."

"I did not realize that.."

"No problem. Let me know." Kirk stepped into the lift and disappeared.

T'yshen replaced the case into the sleeve pocket then returned to the path that would take her to her quarters. Sarek would be waiting for her.

Terran Standard Year 2280.9

"A two day stopover at the Starbase. Spock, what will you do with your time?" Kirk turned in the command chair to face the science officer at his station.

"I shall remain on duty, Captain." He stood and moved to Kirk's side. "McCoy mentioned that he had discussed with you the listing of the establishments that you were 'planning to check out', as he put it."

Kirk smiled. "And why would he mention this to you?"

"I believe he was attempting to interest me in the prospective adventure." Spock gave Kirk the usual lifted eyebrow at the thought.

"I gather then that you will not be joining us?" The grin broadened slightly. "Spoil sport!"

Spock folded his arms and turned his attention to the screen, but his thoughts remained on the subject of shore leave. "Why do you find it so entertaining to spend your recreational time consuming alcohol, going without sleep and otherwise partaking in less than dignified behaviours?"

Kirk listened intently wondering why Spock had not learned a less dramatic way of speaking in all these years they had been together. "Spock. It's fun to lose control of your senses and your behaviours ....for a time, and besides.... if we, meaning Human crewmembers, did not do this.. you would have nothing to comment on!" Kirk stood then turned the chair towards Spock; he offered it to him with a gesture. "And if you wanted to come with us. then there would be no one to mind the store while we were partaking."

Spock met the Human's eyes. He raised his eyebrow a little higher then without a word, slipped into the command chair. "Enjoy your shore leave, Captain."

Kirk grinned then chuckled as he bounced up the stairs. He stopped and turned around, leaning over the railing. "Spock, one day there will be a time when you do partake. Please promise me that I will be present when that happens."

"Most assuredly, Captain." Spock turned his head ever so slightly to see the captain leave the bridge. Accepting the report from the approaching yeoman, he signed it then returned it to her. He leaned back into the padding, his elbows rested on the armrests and his fingers were steepled.

Matters would move along, as they should, he had no doubts.


Commander Spock moved the knight onto the higher level. He tapped the move into the computer and waited only a moment for the answering move. He considered the possibilities, then moved a pawn to capture a pawn.

It was the middle of the nightwatch during a shore leave; few personnel were in the recreation area and most were in the entertaining center. Lieutenant Uhura was in the process of finding another song that everyone knew the words and music to. There was some laughter and teasing as the group suffered through some rough starts. Finally finding the correct key, the beat was counted out and the music began.

Spock became marginally aware that someone was approaching him, he looked up. His head bowed, "T'sai T'yshen."


Spock offered her the chair opposite him.

"Would you care for a less predictable opponent?"

Spock nodded. "Of course." He cancelled the computer's participation and returned the pieces to their starting positions. T'yshen offered to obtain tea for them and by the time she returned, the board was ready for their game.

Spock took one of each colour concealing them in closed fists. "Choose."

"The right." She finished pouring the tea. "I have not had the opportunity to extend my appreciation at the programming addition." She was referring to the Master's tea programming that Spock had seen to, shortly after their trip to the surface during the last shore leave.

"It was quite easily accomplished." He moved the first piece; she had chosen black as her fighting force. "A matter of merely finding the recordings of the tea's properties, then adding them in the correct proportions."

There was silence for a time as they concentrated on the game as well as listening to the music being produced in the adjoining area.

"The musicians aboard are most accomplished."

Both reacted to the sour note produced by one player.

"Perhaps I spoke too soon."

Spock noted the gentle amusement that was on her face. He moved another piece; her next move was made quickly. His hand reached across the board to the bishop and moved it to capture her knight. He leaned back in the chair to study the possible moves.

"Mr. Spock?" Uhura stated as she came around the corner. "Oh, sorry! I didn't know you had company."

Spock lifted his face. "You required something?"

"I was just going to ask if you wanted to join us but you have company.."

"Perhaps T'sai T'yshen would accompany as well?" He was asking as he stood.

"Our game?"

"It will remain."

T'yshen stood, her head bowed slightly then waited for Spock to precede her.

Spock walked with Uhura back into the room.

Uhura smiled. "All I had to do was ask." She seemed to be informing the unbelievers that Spock would not have joined them easily. "And T'sai T'yshen will be playing as well." Uhura handed Spock his lyrette that she had borrowed earlier. "What do you play?" Uhura looked to T'yshen.

She noted there was no one at the piano, she gestured towards it. "May I?"

"Of course!" Uhura sat on the low styled chair then looked to the Vulcans. "Play whatever you'd like to." Uhura settled into the armchair, drink in hand and watched as everyone else settled back. No one had really heard T'yshen play as of yet and the curiosity was obvious.

Spock and T'yshen conferred quietly concerning the piece they were to play. They settled on a piece by Ravel. Their performance was flawless. The blending of the two instruments had been a statement of the Vulcans' abilities. As the music drew to a close, there was silence for a heartbeat then the applause began.

Both performers bowed their heads slightly accepting the compliment.

Spock returned the lyrette to Uhura. "I am due for a check-in, Miss Uhura."

She smiled at him. "Later?"

"Perhaps." Spock turned to excuse himself to T'yshen and found her standing. "You are not remaining?"

"No." She extended her wishes to the group and with Spock headed out into the corridor. "If you are not returning to your quarters after your check-in, would the continuation of our game be possible?"


She nodded, unsure of what to suggest.

"Would you care to accompany me to the bridge?" He was at a loss at how to suggest that they find a more solitary place for the game.

"It would be most interesting." She fell into step with him but remained, as was tradition, a half step behind him. "The earlier tour of the bridge was brief."

They stepped into the lift; both felt awkward. Spock stated the destination and T'yshen lifted the veil over her hair, as was her habit.

Spock had noted earlier that the burnished copper tone of the outfit she wore suited her and the silver threads hidden in the fabric caught the light, just as her hair did. He had also been surprised at her abilities on the piano and her choice of music. Amanda's influence no doubt.

The doors snapped open and he stepped out, knowing that she would follow. He moved immediately to the science station as he waved Lt. Chekov back into the command chair. "Just checking on matters, Mr. Chekov."

"Aye, sir." He relaxed slightly as he noted Spock's companion with a nod of his head.

T'yshen returned the gesture. "A quiet shift, Lieutenant Chekov?" She inquired; she was beginning to understand how to use the Human's observance of `small talk'.

"Especially during shore leaves, T'sai T'yshen." Chekov smiled slightly. "Mr. Spock, will you be touring the bridge?"

"Briefly." Spock moved from the station, then began the explanations of the differing stations to T'yshen. His descriptions were concise and to the point and he answered all of T'yshen's questions easily.

The pair moved around the bridge, occasionally T'yshen would speak to the personnel on duty.

She was learning her skill of diplomacy quite well, Spock noted; he would make a point of informing Sarek of the matter at his earliest convenience.

Spock turned to Chekov as the tour ended. "If I am required, Mr. Chekov, I can be reached on deck five. He gestured for T'yshen to precede him into the lift.

"The think-tank?" Chekov turned the chair to face the officer.

"Yes." Spock stepped into the lift as Chekov's `understood, sir' was heard. "Deck five." The lift took them to the appropriate destination.


Commander Spock reached his hand to the black king and gently tipped it over. "You have won another game." His head bowed. "You are indeed a less predictable opponent."

"I am honoured." Her head bowed. "You retain some of Ambassador Sarek's style but have studied the moves of the Terrans. A subtle mix. Most interesting at times."

Spock sensed that it was time for a rest from the game momentarily. "An ale? I have noted that you share my father's taste for it."

"Warmed. I find that it holds little flavour until it reaches room temperature."

Spock acknowledged her preference and obtained a decanter of the ale and two glasses. He poured the very dark ale carefully as not to loose the effervescence. "How have you found the voyage to date?"

"Most educational." She sipped on the ale and paused as Spock removed his uniform tunic then sat down. The tunic had been placed on the near-by chair back. "Humans are quite a study. Many contradictions in their behaviours and yet they do not see them as such."

Spock nodded. "Just as we Vulcans do not see ourselves as unaffected by our surroundings." He noted that the ale had taken on a different flavour, definitely more palatable but his preference was still the shared brandy with Captain Kirk. "Or that we are all knowing."

T'yshen nodded. "Humans do appeared surprised when questions are asked by us."

Spock looked to the small opening in the viewing port and wondered if he should open it further. "Your ability at the piano is impressive. No doubt that you pleased my mother at your interest and skill."

She was surprised to hear him word it in such a way. "I am honoured. Your mother is an excellent teacher." Half of her ale was gone already. This was the result of the company. She was feeling anxious yet comfortable. She was unsure of what to discuss and what was off-limits. She took another mouthful nearly draining the glass then accepted Spock's offer to refill it. She picked up her glass and moved to the viewing port. "You chose to serve Starfleet against your father's wishes."

"A personal question?" He watched her move so very gracefully. "Do you wish it open?" His hand hesitated at the control then touched it at her single nod.

The shielding dilated, exposing the approaching stars. She held her breath for a moment then released it slowly. "You are comfortable here."

"Yes." He stood joining her at the `window'. "I was born of two worlds, home on neither yet belonging to both. This seems an acceptable compromise."

"Is that how you see your life, a compromise?"

"Another personal question?"

"You avoid issues as S'haile Sarek does, with questions." She stepped closer to him, yet still remained at least an arm's length from him.

"You use ancient titles."

"He is an elder, my t'kahr and someone that I wish to honour."

"Are you anything to him?" Spock's eyes lowered to his half-filled glass.

"His student and aide."

"Nothing more?" He looked to her.

"What more is there?" She looked to his eyes then began to understand some of what he had been suggesting. She felt her face warm for only a moment. "He is bonded."

"I am aware. I am the product of that union."

She drank the ale considering the implication and not wanting to state what any proper Vulcan should have. To ask him to state clearly what more he thought there was. She knew what he had been thinking.... from his eyes alone! She looked to the stars then to him again. "I do not understand your logic."

"My parents had not mentioned that anyone would be traveling with them. You share the quarters. Your time with Sarek is always private and away from my Mother. The few times I have seen you with him there have been actions that could be questioned as to their meaning." Spock could not believe that he was having this discussion in this manner. There was no turning back or taking back any of the words now. "Ambassador Sarek is a very private individual. Yet he allows you privilege that appears to be questionable."

She accepted his words. "He is t'kahr, nothing more." She drank down the remainder of the ale then placed the glass on the table. The discussion was going in a direction that she did not approve of; besides, if he disapprove of her so strongly, she did not need to remain! Her fingers lifted the veil over her hair. "I will take leave of you, Commander."

"I do not wish you to."

She turned to face him, surprised at his admission. The look on his face told her he had been surprised as well. "You disapprove!"

"I question." He placed the glass he held on the table as well, his hands had started to shake for no apparent reason. "I do not disapprove."

"But you do not approve." She took a step closer to him. Her hands were held together, she had not wanted to leave with a disagreement between them and she was uncertain as to the reason. "Who are you that you feel you may judge my actions?"

"Spock. Son of Sarek and Amanda, Ruling House of Surak. Commander and First officer of the U.S.S Enterprise." He met her eyes and found a sparkle that told him that she found this to be amusing. He tilted his head slightly, then challenged her, softly. "And you are?"

"T'yshen. Daughter of Sholtan and T'Paya, the last of the House of S'harien. Successor to T'sai T'Pau, Ruling House of Surak. Matriarch of all that is Vulcan." She stated clearly. He knew now. She lifted her eyebrow slightly waiting for his response.

Spock bowed his head, lower than was usual. "I am honoured Reldai T'yshen." He started to lift his head then tilted it slightly so he could see her face. "Is my father aware of this?"

T'yshen started to answer then stopped. He was teasing! She shook her head slightly then smiled. "Your mother warned me of you."

Spock was taken aback. "Warned you about me?" He folded his arms across his chest. "And what exactly did my mother warn you about?"

"That you have a sense of humor."

"Is that all?" He lifted one hand and ran his thumb along his bottom lip as he studied her.

T'yshen lowered her eyes then took a few steps closer to this officer. "She also informed me that many found you.. charming."

Spock lifted his eyebrow higher. His hands moved behind him, clasping them. He was uncertain as to the validity of her statements. Vulcans were not supposed to be capable of lying. He had learned the art of deception, had she also? "One should not dispute the word of one so wise." What was happening here? He watched her every movement with an intensity he had never felt before!

She moved to slowly walk around him, stopping directly behind him. "Especially when the one is one's parent." She cleared her throat softly. "We have spoken of matters that require privilege, yet neither of us have been given it."

"Are you asking?" He looked to her reflection in the clearsteele.

"Stating a fact."

"Do you wish the status to change?"

She paused then looked up to him. "Do you?"

"For what purpose?"

"To speak freely." She lifted her hand running it above his hands, just close enough to feel his warmth. She closed it into a fist then returned it to her side. "To be able to make choices."

His head turned to see her over his shoulder. "Choices? In what regard?"

"Personal choices." She took a deep breath as she realized what this might imply.

"What personal choices?" He felt her presence behind him suddenly. He turned to face her. "Of what are you thinking?"

"Possibilities." She ran her hand the length of his arm, just above his sleeve without touching him.

His fingers lifted her chin slightly; even this touch was a break in protocol. "Possibilities." His head tilted slightly as he considered her. "What possibilities?"


Spock took a deep breath. His eyes searched hers. "A proposal. Why would you wish this?"

"It is our future." She had felt the tension leave her with the words.

"Is this your decree, Reldai T'yshen?"

"It is.. a desire that requires fulfillment." She moved from his touch. "Do you not feel this?"

Spock curled his fingers into a loose fist, his hand slowly dropping to his side. He nodded slowly as he realized that what she said was truth. The Vulcan word was c'thia. He slowly began to realize that was why he had been so concerned about Sarek's actions with her. "I was not certain."

"That is why you concerned yourself with Sarek."

"It would appear to be a logical conclusion." He reached his hand to her hand; the back of his fingers caressed the back of her hand. He felt the instant connection to her! Her hand moved under his to mirror his. Two fingers extended ran along the back of his hand. Arms were next, touched slowly in turn, then he lifted her chin. "Do you know what you are offering?"

"Yes." She wet her lips.

Spock leaned forward, touched her lips with his briefly. "And if I accept."

"Then I wish to bond before I must return to Vulcan. It will not be permitted after."

His mind began to run the list of questions and from whom; most of the opposition will be from his father! "It remains between us until after the bonding."

She frowned slightly, thinking of her mentor. "Not even......"

"Especially not.." He smiled slightly. "An instant bonding." He spoke against her mouth then kissed her gently.

"There is much to said for Human behaviours." She reached to the back of his neck and pulled him into a deeper kiss. She felt his arm pull her close to him. His other hand moved hers from his neck, then pressed his palm against hers. The warmth flowed between them so easily and naturally that it seemed as if they had been sharing this since they were young.

Four double rings of the ship's bells sounded.

Spock lifted his head. "I am required on the bridge."

She drew in a deep breath as she stepped back from him. "It is understood, Commander."

Spock noticed her veil had fallen on the floor; probably when they kissed it had slipped off. He picked it up then placed it on her hair, her hands reaching to the ends and positioned them. He bowed his head. "I regret that I must take leave of thee, Reldai T'yshen."

"Duty supercedes personal preference." She bowed her head. "A time to discuss matters?"

"I will contact you." He slipped his tunic on. One minute late, his internal clock informed him. No one would notice, he countered with himself.

"As you wish, Commander." She headed for the door but stopped when he called to her.

"You are not concerned with being the consort of a legend?" He referred to the words that T'Pring had used at the ending of the battle for her possession.

She stared at this man for a moment. "Are you not concerned with being the consort of the future Matriarch of Vulcan?" She allowed the smile to appear on her lips at his reaction, his eyebrow raised.

"I had not considered this."

"Neither had I, Commander." She bowed her head and left the room.

He drew in a breath. He had actually felt her absence! Two minutes late, he reminded himself. His hands smoothed the tunic then fastened the tab. He started to move and as he did, pushed the last hour out of his thoughts for the present.


Commander Spock made one more tour of the bridge. Signed the fuel consumption report, the report that informed him all appropriate personnel had beamed aboard from the last shift and the report that stated there was only one more shift of individuals to return. Then, they would be off to the next destination. He was also made aware of the three injured crew that were in sickbay; nothing that was fatal. The last one stated that according to inventory they were missing one shuttle.

Spock lifted his eyes to the engineering yeoman. "Are all shuttles visually accounted for?"

He grinned slightly. "Yes, sir."

"Then the report should reflect this." He handed it back unsigned. "Find the error and correct it, Ensign Tucker."

"But sir, that will take....."

"Yes, time."

"Aye, sir." Ensign Tucker sighed as quietly as was possible as he moved off the bridge and back to his duty.

Spock stepped down into the well of the bridge from the main viewing screen.

Chekov cleared his throat. "They all try it, Mr. Spock."

"It is the purpose I question, Mr. Chekov." He stood at the corner of the navigation console.

"It is an initiation of sorts."

"It is not logical to falsify the records."

"Falsify records?" Kirk stated as he stepped onto the bridge. "Who's falsifying records?"

Spock sighed softly. "Engineering has misplaced a shuttle."

"Again!" Kirk laughed as he claimed his command position. He tapped on the tie-in to the engineering section. "Scotty, thought I told you to lock the shuttles down! Hide the ignition circuits. Missing one?" He was trying to sound serious.

"Aye. The usual prank, sir." Scotty hollered at someone, it wasn't clear who would get the brunt of this gag. "Just the juniors seeing if we really read these reports, Captain."

"Inform them that we do, especially Mr. Spock." Kirk held back the giggle but the grin was obvious.

"Aye, sir. Scott out."

Kirk relaxed into the chair.

"You are back early, Captain?" Spock had remained standing at the navigation console.

"And you, my dear Mr. Spock have been reported to have pulled extra duty." He leaned forward slightly. "Any particular reason?" He eyed him suspiciously.

"Due only to the shore leave, Captain." Spock shifted slightly then looked to the screen.

"Then take some time off." He indicated the lift doors. "I don't want to see those elegant ears back on this bridge for the next.... twenty-four hours." Kirk paused. "That includes the rest of your person as well."

Spock pursed his lips hiding the slight grin. "As you wish, Captain." He crossed in front of the captain, bowing his head as he did. The three steps up were taken at an acceptable rate and he moved into the lift with his usual speed. The doors slid shut and he stated his destination.

Kirk turned the chair towards the front. He rested his elbow on the arm of the chair, then held up his head with his hand. "Did he seem a little anxious to leave.?" He waited for a beat then looked to Chekov and turned to face Uhura. "Or is it my imagination?"

"A little quick." Uhura smiled.

"I have newer known him to be anxious to leave the bridge before." Chekov added his two-credit's worth.

Kirk thought about this for a short time. "Wonder what our Vulcan is up to?"


"Come." The deep voice stated.

Yeoman Toliver entered the Vulcan's quarters. He stood just inside the door, hands held at his sides.

Spock was in the process of folding paper and placing it inside an envelope. He tucked the flap into the envelope as he moved towards Toliver. "This is to be placed in T'sai T'yshen's hand only."

"Understood, sir. If she is unavailable should I return this to you?"

"If it can not be delivered within the hour. A moment." Spock returned to the desk and the collection on it.

Toliver watched as Spock picked up the small box that was as tall as his hand and just as wide. He opened it to check on the contents, all seemed well. Spock lifted the two sides that had opened, replaced the cover that would hold it in place. Then the thin strip of paper with Vulcan script was folded into a fan and placed in the tiny split in the cover.

"Include this. It is delicate, do not tip it."

"Aye sir." His turn was exact and as he stepped out of the Vulcan's quarters he was grateful for the regular temperature. He always forgot how suffocating it felt in there! He walked down the length of the section then turned right. He sighed, another Vulcan's quarters.... "I am going to need a cool drink after this." He muttered to himself.

The door slid opened, Toliver bowed his head. "From Commander Spock."

T'yshen bowed her head. "Thank you." She placed the box on the table, then opened the envelope and read the words. "Inform Commander Spock that the arrangements are sufficient."

"Very well." Toliver turned and headed back to the officer's quarters, wondering what on Earth was going on! He would have expected such logical beings as Vulcan's to have heard of the intercom. Now it was back to Spock's quarters to inform him of her answer. Then what would he be asked to do? Only the Vulcan knew for sure!


She hesitated in opening the box. Her fingers slipped the string off then opened the paper fan. She was moved by his words. `What was, was. What will be, is in your hands.' The cover was lifted off and her breath caught at the sight of the miniature kela-thorn bush. Flowers so small, that the largest one was smaller than her smallest fingernail. She inhaled the scent as the glass dome was lifted off; her fingertip touched the damp soil. He had to have planned this for weeks! The new growth was at least a week old.

She placed it on the nightstand within the box it came in. She tucked the envelope into the book then opened it to a blank page. The old-style pen was slipped out of the pocket on the binding.

"I have received a second gift, it

signifies the possibility of life,

growth and my decision to share this.

The first gift signified our belief

in Logic. It is with a great deal of

anticipation that I wait for this

meeting with Spock. I understand that

he wishes this to remain between us

but inevitably it will be known. A

newly bonded couple can not hide the


"Is his concern directed at Sarek?

Surely Sarek would not oppose the

joining? Logically, we are an adequate

match. Both of us possess adequate

intelligence. Our health is within

acceptable limits. Both Houses are

of ancient blood. From what I have

observed, his Human blood has not

`tainted' any of his abilities. There

is no logical reason for this

opposition. T'Pau and T'Lar would

have many oppositions, as they do not

believe that one can serve both

Vulcan's rule and as a bond-mate. I

do not believe this.

"The Ancients held many males to help

strengthen the Houses. Males were

chosen and discarded with a wave of

the hand. The ancient matriarchs had

learned to master the urgings of

pon farr before it became cyclic.

"Today we will spend time learning of

each other. Each other's past and

possible futures. We are to meet in

one of the observation pods that

have been reserved for meditation."

She closed the book and recapped the pen; both had been a gift from Amanda. She moved to the dresser and placed the book in its place then reached into the drawer and pulled out her meditation robe, the kivas to burn and the small vial that she would speak to him about. She slipped all of the items into the small haversack. She would leave a message for Sarek and Amanda as to her whereabouts. She would merely inform them as to her need for a deep meditation and required solitude. She would return in twelve hours.


The stars almost surrounded him. The area he had chosen was located in the curve of the ship's design and held a larger viewing port than usual. He had chosen this one for its feeling of openness. He had obtained from ship's stores, a pseudo-candle that released a sweet scent when it was lit. A thin meditation mat had been laid out in the center of the room and the candle sat burning in the stand off to one side.

His uniform had been neatly folded and placed on the low shelf that ran along one wall. He had worn his meditation robes as he faced the stars and began to prepare himself for what was to come. Federation `secrets' had to be protected from even a future bond-mate; the shielding around it had to be secure.

He turned at the sound of the chime. "Kvaith." His head bowed to her as she stepped in.

T'yshen returned the gesture then without a word, prepared herself for the coming events. She placed the kivas in the burning bowl and placed it next to the candle. She took out another small bowl and dropped the tono'pak berries into it.

Traditionally, the fruit was used to symbolize the childhood that would be lost and then to be reborn in the woman she would become. The female would eat a berry every hour as she prepared for the koon-ut-la. She could not follow that portion of the tradition to the letter; there was not the time.

She moved towards the shelf where his uniform had been placed and began removing her clothing in favour of her robe. Her back remained to him the whole time. Her robe held the markings of the Ancients and the colour that signified her as an acolyte of Gol. Her hair was in a thick braid that reached to her waist. As she changed her clothing, she prepared herself mentally for what was to come.

All of Sarek's instructions were required this time; she allowed a brief concern that she could maintain the separateness.

She turned to face him. "Spock." He had turned back to the stars, but at the sound of his name he turned and moved to the center. She moved to stand in front of him. This time was to discover if they could work within one another. There was not the time to learn of each other's abilities gradually, as one would with a betrothed, the koon-ut-la.

Spock knelt with her. He lit the candle with a touch on it's base then lifted the dried Kivas and lit the curled leaf with the candle and returned it to the bowl. The immediate area filled with the sweet spicy scent that would help with their concentration.

"Computer. Lights off." The room dimmed.

Spock made the motions first. His hands reached to her face touching the primary contacts only; a heartbeat later he felt her hands against his skin. In a voice just barely above a whisper, they began and their voices spoke together. "My thoughts to your thoughts. My mind to your mind."

And they fell!

Not calmly or gradually as was the way. They felt the pull each had on the other. Their sharing was total and without reservations, neither seemed to be in control yet there was control. Tenuous, but there. It was as if they were the last two pieces to a puzzle and each knew, without a doubt, exactly where they `fit'.

Images merged. Tastes, smells, touches and experiences were shared. Given and accepted freely.

Children taunting one they saw as krenath, a half-breed.

Time with the Old Ones, learning with a brushing of the thoughts. Painful at times for one so young.

Traveling off-word! Oceans! The damp smell to the air.

Time spent with the Ancient scrolls, the writings of Surak.

Discovering a half-brother! And his banishment.

He is known to me as well! I grieve with thee.

Sarek's stern lectures on control.

T'Pau's insistence of perfection.

Kahs-wans and the death of I-cheya, his sehlat.

Sharing the grieving.

The decision of joining Starfleet. Sarek's decision to make him an outcast.

The move to Gol and the silence there.

So many Humans around him! The smells are different. Their behaviour mostly uncontrolled.

Lessons in the Ancient Laws. Ancient practices and beliefs.

First service aboard a vessel.

Discovering the art and music of Vulcan with its masters.

First landing party detail and the injury sustained. The others' shock at the colour of his blood.

Introduction to Ambassador Sarek and his bond-mate, a Human, Amanda. The decision to remain under their care for a time. The discovery that two differing worlds could exist in harmony.

Meeting James Kirk, Captain. Very young!

Becoming accustomed to a household's activity.

A trust in another never felt before.

The moment when she was informed of her destiny.

In the battle for T'Pring.. My friend! Dead! By my hand!

The day held an odd silence in the house.

He lives! Such joy! Not a logical reaction?

Solitude. Venda prah lessons that were most difficult!

The delight of shared thoughts.

The discipline of not sharing thoughts.

The possibilities realized.

The possibilities spoken.

They spoke their own names and the meld was broken. They took a deep cleansing breath then released it slowly. The past had been dealt with. The meld had happened easily. So in tune to one another's katras that it shook them both. Their hands remained together neither wishing to break the contact too soon.

"Do you require rest?"

"No!" She felt energized, far from tired!

"This is why Ambassador Sarek was with you so frequently." He stated.

"I still have difficulty preventing a meld. I desire it too much."

Spock nodded. "I have experienced that with only one other."


He raised his eyebrow at the use of the name. He nodded.

"He is t'hy'la to you."

"He is, and always shall be." It was a question of her acceptance of the fact as well as a statement.

"It is accepted."

Spock moved to the replicator and obtained two glasses of kessa-juice. He knelt down and passed one glass to her. They drank it in silence as they dealt with the images they had found in the other.

Would this be a viable link? Spock believed it would be. His Time would be soon and he would require her. He thought of the last time and the failure of the bonding. Traveling within the gravitational pulls of other worlds, living within a manufactured gravity with no natural cycles had caused his mating drives to be unstable. Perhaps having a mate that remained on Vulcan would influence the instability. Only time would tell him whether or not this would happen.

Would this be a viable bonding? T'yshen believed so. She had read and studied all that she cared to. She wished to experience a life of her own choosing before it was necessary to return to Vulcan for the remainder of her years. She had touched on memories that were his, so many experiences to share! She felt she had only a few to exchange. She wondered what his Time had been to him, would it be so again? Would she, with all her inexperience, be a sufficient mate to him? And what would happen when it came time to rule.. she would need to improve her control and her shielding before that happened. Would T'Pau insist on T'Lar severing the bond? Perhaps not if there had been a Time that they had shared. Only time would tell whether or not her fears would come to light.


Captain Kirk poked his head into McCoy's office. "Seen Spock?"

McCoy shook his head as he looked up. "Checked his quarters?"

"Yes. He hasn't even engaged the privacy lock he usually does when he is meditating." He had checked the quarters before coming here, the door had opened automatically and he had been surprised not to find Spock. "Not too many places to hide."

"Anything inparticular?"

"No. Just a game of chess and conversation."

McCoy waved him to the chair. "How's other things?" He asked cryptically.

Kirk grinned. "We have had a few chess games and a few conversations and everything seems to be.... to steal a phrase, functional." Kirk sighed. "I wish it could be more but wrong place, wrong time, sort of thing. Won't be the first time that I want an involvement that the other person doesn't and it won't be the last." He was speaking quietly so he was sure that only McCoy would hear him. He thought of the gift that he had discovered hidden in her sleeve, the day they walked into one another. "She has a secret admirer."


Kirk chuckled. "No." He thought about it for a moment and even the possibility seemed outrageous. "It would have to be someone that knows about Vulcan philosophies, because of the gift she received." After the statement was voiced, a part of him had reconsidered the notion.

McCoy tilted his head and leaned back in the chair. "Jealous?"

"Don't think so." Kirk stood straightened his tunic and sighed. "I don't think it would do me any good if I were." He grinned at McCoy and noted that it wasn't returned. "If I can't find Spock or he is busy, do you want to get together?"

"Some poker? I can set up a game?"

"Sounds good. Let me know when." Kirk stayed long enough to register McCoy's nod then headed out of sickbay and towards...? He stood looking up and down the corridor for a second. He shrugged and headed for his quarters. He had a book that he could read for awhile. He had to find something to do!


Spock lifted his hands to place his fingers on the contact points that would form a light bonding. T'yshen mirrored his actions, feeling a little anxious. They prepared for more to be revealed about each other, deeper feelings and relationships of the past would be shared and barriers would be put to the test.

Spock reached in slowly, her shielding fell easily. [Too easily.] He reminded her.

She projected her trust in him, that there was no fear or reluctance for this.

Spock began to share more intimate details of her life. Her emotions and her desires. Both were as strong as his were and there had been some surprise at this.

T'yshen felt his surprise and spoke to him of the existence of Vulcan emotions. How theirs were even stronger than a Human's but were controlled. She found in him a delight that he was not as different as he had always imagined himself to be.

They moved deeper.

The shared thoughts of Vulcan's history and what they needed to know for a bonding. She touched on his memories of his pon farr and all that he shared with T'Pring. She was not surprised that the bond had not been stronger. In the family gatherings she had attended, she had never found T'Pring to be accepting of anything outside herself.

Spock found her curiosity at all of this. She knew the written accounts, even the Ancient ones before the Reform but her present day knowledge was supposition. He found the signature that Sarek would have left; the other Masters and a faint signature that was familiar but he could not identify. He presumed it was his mother's, over the years they would have shared some thoughts because of the 'daughter' position T'yshen had been honoured with.

T'yshen touched on the remnants of other melds. The pain and the confusion of the ones he touched. She met the barrier he did not permit her to break, she honoured it. She tasted his curiosity of all things undiscovered and it equaled hers! She smiled about this.

Her touches were gentle and caring. They reached into his thoughts with a caress and it was one that he welcomed. Her presence within his thoughts was comforting and he accepted this with pleasure!

T'yshen experienced his power and his control. To experience this for a lifetime would be most enjoyable to her. She touched on the centers that would bring him a degree of pleasure. It warmed her thoughts.

Spock reached to return the effect.

She reached deeper, to his center.

Spock welcomed her as he mirrored her touches.

Her self was no longer felt, she had moved deep within his thoughts. His experiences were becoming hers. Spock felt himself disappear within her and she within him. He felt her touch envelope him with such warmth!

[Thee will burn, Spock.]

[The cycle is not certain.]

[I sense it.] She reached to the heat that was his. [Here, it will be soon.] It was a hint that he would understand at a later time.

[It is too soon.] He wanted it to happen now! He found himself wanting to experience this with her! [It will happen in time. One must be patient.]

T'yshen moved her fingers slightly as she touched alternate points. She heard his soft moan as her thoughts brushed against his. The touch had changed. She became vaguely aware as his fingers altered their position and gave to her the pleasures she had initiated.

The path they were taking was not one they had planned on for today. The draw they experienced was as if all had been done before! So familiar and safe; finding such pleasure as they uncovered the path!

And then it happened without preparation or intent.... the bonding!

It was a brilliant heat that seemed to engulf them both then quickly cooled to mere thoughts.

T'yshen's hands moved first, surprised to find herself up on her knees and pressed close to Spock. She rested her head on his shoulder. His hands held her shoulders for a moment then they both sat back on their heels.

A deep breath! Spock let it out slowly as he adjusted himself to the realization of what had been done! He remembered trying to reach for T'Pring and finding very little warmth. This was so diametrically opposed that he welcomed it without hesitation!

A slow breath was drawn in then she held it. As she released it slowly, a realization came to her as she met his dark eyes. She knew him! Every part of him. Every emotion and thought! They had not been prepared!

"No." He whispered.

She smiled as she realized that he had `heard' her. She lifted her hand, two fingers extended then others curled. "My Husband." She spoke it with an amazement.

Spock smiled then touched her fingers with the opposite hand. "My wife."

The Human that paced the floor had been doing so for almost an hour. She looked to the door where her husband slept and wondered if she should wake him. No doubt he would be awake shortly. She discussed the matter within herself and shielding her concern from him. There was a portion of her thoughts that knew nothing could have happened to T'yshen on board the vessel. Even injured, T'yshen's life reading would be detected and reported. She was intelligent enough not to enter areas that were dangerous to unqualified personnel.

Amanda did not want to appear over-protective and she knew she was being.. Human, in her reactions.

She looked to the door to her sleep area as it opened. She smiled slightly at her husband. "I woke you didn't I?"

"Not precisely." Sarek moved to his wife then wrapped his arms around her trying to calm her distress. "Your logic is there. She has not come to any harm."

"I know."

"She is an adult."

"I know."

"She is known to the crew and they would notify the bridge if there were problems."

"I know." She fought with herself as she had earlier, no real reason to be this agitated but it would not stop her Human reactions, not totally. "It is out of character for her not to be accurate."

"There is a simple solution to this, My Wife." Sarek moved to the computer terminal. "Computer. Locate T'yshen of Vulcan."

There was a momentary pause. "T'yshen of Vulcan, recreation deck, meditation pod 4-6."

Sarek looked to his wife as she sighed. "She is well. She requires the privacy only."

Amanda nodded.

Kirk rounded the corner then moved down the short corridor to the double doors of sickbay. He rubbed the back of his neck as he looked around for Dr. McCoy.

"Well, what is now?" McCoy teased him. Kirk had left the game early, something about a headache and not enough sleep. He didn't look well rested this morning either. "Headache still?"

Kirk nodded. He rubbed his eyes then stretched his neck first to one side and then the other. "I have duty for the next ten hours. I give Spock the day off and I get the headache!"

McCoy nodded then crossed to the small cabinet on the wall above the bed. He tapped in the coding then took down a vial, snapped it onto the end of the hypospray then waved Kirk over. "This should last about twelve hours. If the headache comes back, I want to see you in here as soon as possible. That's an order, Captain!"

Kirk sighed as he nodded. "You know I felt this starting last night and this morning it woke me up. I have never had a headache wake me up before."

McCoy frowned. "Why don't you get Sulu to mind the store for a bit and get some sleep or catch up on the paperwork. It might help this work."

Kirk nodded. "I'll give it an hour." Kirk thanked him for his attentions and headed to the bridge. He stepped into the lift, waited as the doors closed then tapped the computer tie-in. "Location of Commander Spock."

"Commander Spock, recreation deck, meditation pod 4-6."

Kirk frowned as he rubbed his forehead, it wasn't like Spock to go off and meditate. He usually found his quarters quiet enough. Kirk drew in a breath, it seemed as if the medication was beginning to work. He smoothed his tunic as the lift slowed. He stepped out onto the bridge, as Sulu stepped down from the center seat. Kirk made a mental note that Sulu looked particularly comfortable there.... almost reluctant to leave! "Mr. Sulu."

"Yes, sir." He answered with almost Vulcan calm.

"I have a stack of work that has been calling me. Would you care to remain in command for the next hour or so?"

Sulu smiled slightly then nodded. "No problem, Captain."

Kirk grinned. "Carry on then, Mr. Sulu. If you need me I will be in my quarters."

"Yes, Captain."

Commander Spock slipped his uniform tunic on and without conscious thought, sealed the closure and allowed his fingers to close the tab and fasten the belt. Her hands appeared at his waist then smoothly moved around him. He felt her rise up on her toes to touch her lips to the back of his neck. He turned to face her. She now wore the heavy silk-like tunic and pants that she had when she came to him. His fingers followed the outline of her ear then he bent to kiss her.

She moved from the circle of his arms then looked to his eyes. "One month?"

Spock nodded. "That should gives us sufficient time."

"You are certain of this?"

"At the moment, I am certain of absolutely nothing." He paused as he regarded this female. His wife! Only a short time ago she was someone he barely knew. He felt her lift his hand then place the vial in his hand. He opened it and looked at this substance understanding that it would change his life forever! "One month." He lifted an eyebrow considering the fact that a full-blooded Vulcan was using Vulcan's old ways to seal a promise made in these modern times. His hand dropped it into his pants pocket as he reached for his meditation robe, neatly folded and ready for its return to his quarters.

"How will we tell Sarek and Amanda?"

"We need not utter a word. They will know. We have not had the privilege of Seclusion. Any telepath aboard the ship will be aware of our joining."

"You will tell James?"

Spock nodded a part of him uncertain as to how the news would be handled.


Ambassador Sarek had been reading through the latest of the agreements, a rewording of several key points that once completed would soothe the Makar Ambassador's temperament. They were key points but this seemed to be more as an exercise in testing the Federation's resolve then at settling disputes. He looked over to his wife, keeping his concern from her at T'yshen's unexplained lateness. It had been over three hours since T'yshen was due to return to the quarters or at least contact him.

He cleared his throat quietly then poured himself a glass of water. He smiled his private smile at Amanda when she looked up from her book. She was busy with her latest Vulcan to Standard translations, a book of poetry by T'Liug of Arlanga-ku'li. An Ancient book, that was renowned throughout history as the most passionate of the Vulcan poetry. T'Liug lived before the Reform and was said to be well into her second century when she decided to trust her words to a scribe.

He sensed someone approaching. He put the glass down and turned to the door. Amanda had caught his movements out of the corner of her eye.


The door opened, Spock and T'yshen entered. Spock stepped forward and bowed his head, first to his father and then to his mother.

Sarek lifted his chin slightly. He felt it! He met his son's eyes, uncertain if he was pleased or not at the choice. "When?"

"Five point seven hours ago."

Sarek nodded then looked to his wife as she realized what had happened.

Amanda closed the book placing it beside her then stood slowly. She saw the look in both sets of eyes and felt the overwhelming joy at the joining. She inhaled as she controlled the joyous tears that were threatening to collect. She went to her son and touched the side of his face. "You are certain of this choice?"

"There is no way to retract this, Mother." Spock noted the sparkle of the unshed tear.

"Amanda-mekh. It happened before we realized that it would." T'yshen sounded awed by it. "So simple. I had always imagined it to be.. difficult." She looked to Sarek, her face asking him if he approved.

Sarek waved them to sit. He showed neither approval nor disapproval and he was not sure which should be felt! T'yshen sat in the Earth-style armchair. Spock sat on the arm, his hand dropped to his side and she reached to hold his fingers lightly. "How did you come to this decision?"

"We discovered that we shared a mutual attraction from the beginning." Spock stated. His father's face seemed to hold an understanding.

"T'Pau must be informed." Sarek stated to his.. Daughter.

"I will contact her myself, S'haile."

Sarek nodded. "Your choice is an understandable one. I question the logic of your timing, Spock."


"T'yshen had a destiny that may or may not include the retention of this bonding."

"I was made aware, Father."

There was silence for a moment until Amanda broke it with an announcement. "We must have a celebration, Sarek!" She looked to her husband and her son and his... wife. "In four days, as is custom." Amanda stood and went to the computer terminal and began to enter all the details that had to be seen to. She contacted Ensign Toliver and then turned to Spock. "I will need to clear this with Captain Kirk?"

"I believe it would be a courtesy but not mandatory." Spock stood. He looked to T'yshen. "Remain here. No doubt my mother will require assistance and I must speak with Captain Kirk."

"As you wish." Her head bowed slightly.

"I will return for you." Spock touched his fingers against hers then took leave of his parents.

He stepped out into the corridor and headed directly to Captain Kirk's quarters. He hesitated at the door then touched the chime. He was given permission to enter. As he stepped in he caught the last of Kirk's yawn.

"Sorry Spock!" He grinned then stood and stretched. "I have been working on the last of these reports for hours and I am seriously thinking of resigning over this!" He looked to the stack of reports that he had to go through. "I have been putting this off for what seems like a long time." He stopped when he noticed the look on Spock's face. "Problem?"

"No, Captain." Spock moved to sit in the chair opposite him when it was offered. "I came to report a change in status."

Kirk watched the Vulcan, he was actually nervous! "Are you resigning? Returning to Vulcan?" He felt his breath catch. How would he manage without him! Who would he get to replace him?

"No, Captain." Spock folded his hands on the surface of the desk. He was not certain why this was so uncomfortable to do. "I will remain."

"Good news then?"

Spock nodded.

Kirk stood. "Well then, before you tell me, I'll pour us a drink."

Spock watched the Captain as he took the glasses down from the shelf and opened the bottle of Saurian brandy that he reserved for special occasions. He mumbled a thank you.

Kirk leaned forward, the glass sitting between his hands. "Well?"

Spock cleared his throat quietly. He looked to the Captain, his friend and wondered why he thought this news would hurt him. "Approximately five hours ago, T'yshen and I became bond-mates."

Kirk leaned back hard against the chair; his mouth had gone dry. "Bonded?" He watched the Vulcan nod. He took a breath; more to make sure he still could then looked to the brandy. He lifted his glass to Spock and forced the smile. "I wish only the best, Spock."

"Thank you, Jim." He lifted his glass and sipped on the brandy as Kirk emptied his glass in one swallow.

Kirk stood suddenly. "Have to tell Bones!" He reached to the tie-in to sickbay and was stopped by Spock's voice. "What?"

"Jim. You are reacting oddly." He watched him until he sat back down.

Kirk looked to the empty glass and then to his friend. "I didn't expect it." Kirk kept all of his thoughts on the matter to himself. He did not disapprove of this match, just that he hadn't expected it to happen in the least. If anything, he had been hoping for some type of relationship with T'yshen himself. He saw the look of confusion in Spock's face and forced another smile. "I really do wish you the best and I hope with all my heart that this makes you happy." He shrugged. "Not too sure how else to put it. I envy you."

Spock relaxed; this was more of the conversation he expected from Jim. "How so?"

"To find someone that you can share everything with." He grinned at Spock; his eyes held a gleam. "And I do mean everything.!" He poured himself another brandy then lifted it to Spock and they drank a toast to one another and then to Spock's future.


It had been six days since the bonding. Kirk had attended the supper to celebrate the joining and had forced himself to enjoy the evening. He had managed to leave early with the believable excuse of duty and shortened his suffering.

Jim now stood at the viewing port in the `think-tank' and gazed at the stars as they streamed by him. He wondered why this had affected him so badly. He folded his arms and looked down, right where the clearsteele and the decking met. He had the sense that if he could take that step; that he would be drifting in the stars. He was happiest there, but he was lonely and with Spock, he had found that the loneliness did not seem quite as bad.

The chime sounded and he jumped!

He took a breath to calm his body. "Come." He turned to face his visitor. He felt his breath catch. "T'yshen." He whispered then shook his head slowly. "Not now." Being alone with her was the last thing he could handle right now. But something told him that she, like Spock, wouldn't listen and would remain.

She entered the room and half watched the door close behind her. She took cautious steps towards him. "I wondered if you wished to engage in a game of chess. Spock has duty."

Kirk shrugged. "Is that how's it's going to work... when he is busy you are going to look for me?"

T'yshen lowered her eyes for a moment. "That is not a worthy remark for you."

He turned back to the stars. "Sorry." He stated flatly. He saw her reflection move closer, to stand behind him but off to one side. "I don't feel much like being diplomatic lately."

"It is c'thia I seek."

He frowned.

"Truth. As it is. Not as we perceive it to be."

"And Vulcans are good at that, aren't they?" Kirk spun around and glared at her. "Why don't you tell me what the truth is? Since you seem to hold this so highly." He held his breath as he felt his heart pounding.

T'yshen met his eyes and saw his pain. "You perceive that you have lost something. You have not."

"No? I don't see Spock sitting here having a game of chess with me!" Kirk pointed to the board that hadn't been touched in almost a week. "We used to play every night, right after our shift. We would share a meal with Bones then come here or my quarters for our game."

"And you are angry at me for this?" She was hoping to understand him.


She tilted her head slightly then frowned. "Then what is your anger at me about?"

Kirk stared at her then suddenly turned back to the stars.

"You are not angry at me?"

He shook his head.

She sighed searching for a path to take. "You are angry at Spock for bonding with me?"

He shook his head.

She took another step closer to him, wishing she could touch his thoughts so that she might understand.

"And I will never let you." Kirk whispered, surprised that he had received the perception.

Her eyes went to his in the reflection. She held her breath for a moment as she searched for the answer. She released her breath slowly. [He said it had happened only with one other person.]

"What?" Kirk could almost 'hear' her inside his head. He lifted his eyes to meet hers in the reflection. It was a safer this way not quite as hard to face her `in person'.

"You would understand it as an instant bonding."

Kirk nodded as if he understood.

"But I had not considered...." She took a step closer to him.

"I hadn't either until my headache coincided with the bond." He let his hands fall to his sides then tucked his hands into his pockets.

"I am aware that you are T'hy'la to him."

Kirk nodded. "Was. That will change."

Yes it will." She met his angry eyes this time as he turned to face her. "Now you will have another honour to uphold."

"And that is?" He stated sarcastically.

"To keep him safe. For me. For you."

Kirk nodded then looked to the decking again. "And if I can't?"

"Then you will forfeit your life for his." She stated it calmly.

Kirk tilted his head as he looked to her again. "You're serious....?"

"Most assuredly, Captain. It is called t'zaled. You answer for each other's life."

"And what do you promise me?" He asked boldly, half expecting her to back down in some manner.

"To understand. That you are and always shall be, his. That he is and always shall be yours.. First." She allowed a slight smile to appear on her face. "And that you were the first to kiss the future Matriarch of Vulcan." She raised her eyebrow at him, daring him to remain angry.

Kirk smiled, then grinned. He looked to the chess game and decided that it wasn't worth the anger. He motioned towards the game, asking her with a raised eyebrow.

T'yshen bowed her head. Mending fences. That is what Spock had stated that his mother would call this. She understood the reference. There had been a change in their friendship and it had been done without his knowledge or permission. The Human was angry because she had entered his territory and taken something that he had felt an ownership for. She gave it back and then added hers to the price.

Kirk watched this woman for a few minutes as they set up the board; abandoning the previous game and he realized that he had gained a friendship and not necessarily lost Spock's. He had been surprised and hurt that Spock had not confided his intentions to him. He had felt as if he wasn't worthy enough.

He leaned back in the comfortable chair. "You have to make me a promise."

"If it within my abilities, James."

"When I die. Be there for him."

T'yshen paused. She bowed her head, "If it within my abilities at the time, I will do this for you."

Kirk sighed then looked to the board. "Your move."


END OF TOME ONE-The Discoveries


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