Continuing Tales

Conversational Vulcan

A Star Trek Story
by Blue Moon3

Part 4 of 16

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Conversational Vulcan

"It only takes one tree to make a thousand matches

It only takes one match to burn a thousand trees."

Standing on the doorstep with a gift held in his hand, Spock felt oddly self-conscious. It was not an emotion in the strictest sense – though he could not deny the sickly green threads of awkwardness that laced through his glassy emotional centre. It was more an awareness that he was not in his normal environment. Though Spock had been teaching at the Academy for five years, and a student for four years before that, it had always been a rare occasion that found him lingering in the hallways of the cadets' Halls of Residence. Spock was a purposeful being, and seldom lingered anywhere. Particularly at so frantic a time of year.

When the door finally slid open, a full twenty-seven seconds after he had pressed the chime, it was a smiling green face that greeted him. On recognising the officer, however, Gaila's smile quickly faltered. "Oh. Good morning, Commander."

"Good morning, Cadet," he replied. "I had hoped to see Cadet Uhura before her departure."

Gaila looked oddly relieved. Spock had noticed an increased stiffness to the Orion's body language since their altercation in class two months previous. He wondered, fleetingly, if she suspected him of bearing what humans termed a 'grudge'. Leaning back slightly, she turned her head to the side and re-focussed her gaze to something obscured within the room. "Uhura? You have a visitor," she called out in Orion.

Spock had only a moment to process the fact – that should have already occurred to him – that he was not Nyota's only practicing partner.

Nyota's smiling face appeared around the door frame, and Spock took a moment to scan her attire. It was unusual to see cadets in anything other than the red or blue Starfleet uniforms. On this occasion, clearly ready for her journey home, Nyota had changed into a thin black sweater and jeans which fit her slender figure snugly. Her feet were bare, toe nails painted silver. An unnecessary decoration, but intriguing none the less. "Hello, Commander," she said in her bright tone.

Lips quirking, Spock took a half-step closer to the door. "The Terra-date is December twenty-fourth, Nyota," he informed her.

She tilted her head to one side, smiling and looking him directly in the eye. "I am aware of that, Spock." He felt a burst of shimmering purple. In the periphery of his vision he caught Gaila rolling her eyes.

"Well, since we're all being so informal," Gaila said, shifting to stand in the hallway beside Spock, "you should look up, Commander." Spock raised his line of sight to the door lintel. Someone – and no kudos for guessing who – had tacked a plant to the wall above. Two stems of a creeper with thin, rounded leaves and milky white berries. "Mistletoe," Gaila supplied, as though she were not talking to an expert in class M natural environments and species biology. "You Vulcans are big on tradition. You should know what that means."

Unwilling to admit that he did not, Spock returned his gaze to Uhura – who looked distinctly awkward. "At Christmas, couples kiss under the mistletoe." She scowled at Gaila. "It's stupid and antiquated, and no one is paying attention."

"But it's tradition," Gaila insisted, her laughing eyes flicking between Spock and Nyota.

Despite his half-human heritage, Spock was very proud of his logic. It was quick and decisive and never flawed because logic was one of very few absolutes in the universe. Applied to the current situation, the most logical course of action was clear to him. Spock wanted to be alone with Nyota. He was, if not in, then just outside of a space that was as much Gaila's as it was Nyota's. He would, therefore, need her to consensually leave the immediate vicinity. Gaila had made it clear that she would not leave until Spock fulfilled the 'tradition' to which the Orion seemed strangely attached. The Starfleet academic term having officially terminated a oh-eight-hundred hours that morning, there were no regulations barring such an action.

He took his second step towards Nyota, bent slightly and pressed his lips to hers.

Spock had seen kisses before, on the old digital Terra movies his mother had loved to watch when he was a boy, and sometimes between couples on campus who believed they were being discreet. One person pressed their lips against another's for a seemingly indeterminate period of time – normally a few seconds – and then parted again. He had seen his mother kiss his father on numerous occasions. As forms of affection went, it did not seem especially stimulating from a third party perspective.

For precisely the twenty-third time in Spock's life, he was wrong.

His first thought was that her skin was quite cool. Purely in physical terms, the action was pleasant. Her lips had the texture of silk, and he could feel the flutter of her lashes against his cheek as her eyes widened in surprise, then closed.

These were all sensations he might have predicted, had he given the action enough thought. What took him utterly by surprise was Nyota's reaction after one-point-eight seconds of oral contact. Her lips, which had been slightly parted in surprise, closed gently causing a slight suction against his lower lip. Behind his eyes, which had inexplicably closed of their own volition, he saw nothing but purple starbursts. A puff of cool breath – Nyota's – tickled over his cheek. Distantly, he felt her hand at his wrist, holding onto his sleeve as she leaned into him.

His body's physiological reaction, had he been in any state to analyse it, would have astounded him. The subtle sensations triggering a cocktail of human hormones to be released into his Vulcan bloodstream: endorphins, adrenaline, pheromones.

All of which brought Spock to a single conclusion. He had been wrong, for the twenty-fourth time. There was a very good reason this had been a highly illogical course of action. Fraternisation with subordinate officers was strictly forbidden by several Starfleet regulations. And though Starfleet's academic term had officially terminated, relieving both Spock and Nyota of their official duties, that would only be the case for the next one hundred and sixty-six hours. Spock did not know how he would keep from bringing about this exhilarating set of sensations when they no longer had the luxury of informality.

Spock pulled away, blinked, and allowed himself a fraction of a second to observe Nyota's flushed face.

Then, turning to a surprisingly un-surprised Gaila, he asked, "Does that satisfy your sense of tradition?"

"I'm going to say goodbye to Jim," Gaila told her room mate, her smile as wide as ever. Leaning closer, she muttered in Orion, "You're welcome." If the young cadet was unaware of her commander's ability to understand Orion, Spock did not feel this was the logical moment to disabuse her.

When Gaila had turned to leave, Nyota shifted in the doorway to allow him to pass. "Come in," she said in perfectly neutral Lingua Franca. Spock wished he had it within him to look reassuring, but did not know which facial distortions would be suitable for such an expression. Instead, he glanced at Nyota, blinked, and walked past her into the room.

During Spock's time as a cadet, he and his human room mate had split the space very clearly down the middle. Spock's half held no personal effects, except the reference PADDs required for various courses and private reading. Similarly, Spock found he could accurately judge which 'side' of the room was Nyota's. There were fourteen small photographs on the wall, twelve of which included her smiling face. On the bed was a PADD with headphones and a closed suitcase. There were no clothes on the floor around this bed – unlike the other. The bedside table held a lamp, a stylus, another PADD, and a potato with plastic facial features pressed into its brown skin. This item was the only mystery.

"Sorry about the mess," Nyota apologised, her voice loud after the silence of the closed room. She deftly kicked a pair of (presumably) Cadet Gaila's underwear under her room mate's bed. "And about Gaila. This whole Christmas thing's got her kind of crazy; I don't know what she was thinking. Plus we're both going away for Christmas. Everything's just ... a bit nuts."

"I do not wish to keep you," Spock said quickly, realising that, however unintentionally, he had already delayed her departure. "It was merely my intention..." he trailed off, at a loss for the adequate words. Instead, he held out the thin, flat present, carefully wrapped in green cellophane. "I believe it is a tradition among your people to give gifts at this time of year."

Nyota was forming the smile where six of her top set of brilliant white teeth showed, and her cheeks glowed from blood rushing close to the surface. Her eyes shone, and were wide in spite of the musculature of her face, which would normally make them crease. "Thank you!" she said, in a voice three semitones higher than normal. Nyota took the gift, held it tenderly. "You really shouldn't have. I don't have anything to give you. And the tradition is to exchange gifts."

"It is not my tradition. Besides which, there is no guarantee you will like it. It is a series of recorded transmissions from my planet, documenting daily and weekly planetary and regionalised events of significance."

She paused for a moment, digesting his words. "You gave me the Vulcan news? How many recordings?"

"Five star date years, approximately nine thousand one hundred and twenty-four hours." He watched as her mouth dropped open. Tilting his head and arching an eyebrow in something approaching amusement, he added, "I can easily acquire more if that is insufficient."

"No," she said quickly, laughter in her eyes, "that's perfect. It's perfect." He had suspected it might be. At their first meeting, Nyota had seemed frustrated at the inadequacy of overly-accurate computer recordings. The broadcasts sent around Vulcan were, while correct in their own way, tinged with the regional accents and idiosyncrasies that play upon any language. "I wish so much I had something to give you," she added.

The reserved Vulcan did not know how to tell Nyota that she had already given him a very special, and entirely unexpected gift. Thinking this, however, caused the very tips of his pointed ears to burn faintly green.

Without showing any sign of having noticed Spock's surprisingly unruly physical reactions, Nyota smiled at him with a teasing glint in her eye. "I suppose you'll be wanting them all translated by the time I come home?"

He tilted his head, eyebrow arched. "An illogical question. Your leave of absence from the Academy can last no longer than one hundred and sixty-six hours from now, and yet you propose listening to over nine-thousand hours' of recordings?" He shook his head, ever so slightly. "Even you, Nyota, could not generate an academic fervour strong enough to bend the laws of time."

It was, he noted, her turn to blush. "No, I don't suppose I could."

Conversational Vulcan

A Star Trek Story
by Blue Moon3

Part 4 of 16

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