Continuing Tales

Conversational Vulcan

A Star Trek Story
by Blue Moon3

Part 6 of 16

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Conversational Vulcan

"It's the good advice that you just didn't take

And who would have thought, it figures?"

The soft gurgle and steady drip of filtering coffee was the only sound in Spock's room. Precisely as it should be. The hour between his regular classes – or study periods, depending on the day of the Terran week – and Nyota's evening visits was too short to meditate, as Spock would normally spend his evenings. Instead, Spock always contemplated the darkening sky. Whatever the time of year and the length of daylight, that was one guaranteed constant: the sky beyond Spock's east-facing window would be growing darker. Sometimes shifting from the bright daylight to the orange and green-tinged twilight of the summer, or deepening from deepest darkest blue to pure velvety black, as it did that evening. Spock liked constants. They were few enough and far between on Earth. Somehow the definite things in life reminded him of home.

"Receiving transmission," the cool, female computer voice said into the tranquillity of his room.

Spock turned his head, though there was no physical being for him to address. "Origin?" he inquired.

"Planet Vulcan, coordinates latitude 53.17 north, longitude 3.5 west," the voice informed him.

Moving with an easy fluidity, Spock stood and turned away from the window towards the flat-screen panel that dominated the opposite wall. "On screen," he said. The computer took barely a fraction of a second to comply, screen flickering then forming the image of a human woman in Vulcan dress. Spock's mother. Dark hair flecked with grey was tucked carefully beneath a headscarf; her face was more lined but no less animated than when he had last seen it. Small stabs of palest green pressed against Spock's emotional glass box. Sadness at the sight of his mother aging and at the fact that, even after a week, his Vulcan senses of observation forced him to acknowledge these subtle changes in her. "Mother," he said, betraying no hint of his quickly repressed feelings. "I had not expected any communication this evening."

Amanda smiled, used by this time to having to explain her 'illogical' actions to both of the men in her life. The expression accentuated the creases around her eyes and mouth. This made her, Spock noted, no less beautiful. "Your father is meditating. I thought it would be a good time to talk. You seemed ... I don't know ... distracted last week. Is everything all right?"

Such human terms of phrase often caused Spock consternation. There were too many interpretations of the Lingua Franca phrase 'all right' – which his mother, in her own inimitable fashion, melded into the more familiar Vulcan dialect they had spoken as a family when he was a child. Since he could remember, she had always coloured Vulcan's language with her own, making her own homely, native tongue. It would be an interesting subject to raise with Nyota one night, possibly. Still, his mother's assimilation of bland and unspecific lexis made it difficult for Spock to process and accurate response. On this occasion, as on so many others, Spock evenly replied, "I am functioning adequately." Before Amanda could draw breath to argue or probe further, he quickly continued, "but this is not a convenient moment for conversation. I am expecting a student."

His mother's eyebrows rose in surprised, her eyes widening and then narrowing in suspicion. "It's very late for you to be teaching."

Spock's single blink was the only suggestion that he was, in his own way, uncomfortable. After years of studying the subtle nuances of her son's non-verbal communication, it was as good as a blush and a stutter. "The student is not mine. Not as such. Nyota Uhura is an expert in Xeno-linguistics, and I am helping her develop her communication in Vulcan and Romulan dialects."

Eyes creasing once more, Amanda's smile this time was wry, perhaps even mischievous. "That's very generous of you, Spock."

Before Spock could respond, or Amanda could wheedle any more information from her stoic son, the door chimed. "Enter," Spock said clearly, turning to look over his shoulder as Nyota stepped through the doorway. It swished shut behind her, but she stayed close to the portal, looking around the room for Spock. "There is coffee in the pot, Nyota. I am in receipt of an unexpected communication from my mother. I will terminate it momentarily."

She shifted from foot to foot. "I can give you ten minutes, if you want-"

"That won't be necessary," Amanda spoke up from the screen. Her smile was still mischievous, but quite genuine. "I'll contact you tomorrow instead, Spock."

Spock nodded once, his human eyes unable to hide the soft sunshine yellow gratitude that pressed at the sides of his emotions' glassy casing. "Thank you, Mother. We will speak tomorrow."

Ignoring her son, Amanda craned slightly to see the pretty girl lingering behind Spock, fussing in cupboards for the single coffee cup she knew Spock stashed there somewhere. "It was very nice to meet you, Miss Uhura."

Smiling over her shoulder, Nyota replied, "It was very nice to speak to you, Mrs-" she glanced at Spock, eyes wide, and gaped for barely a moment before recovering, "Ma'am."

"Good night, Mother," Spock said somewhat pointedly, pressing his thumb to the section of the screen marked 'end trans'. Amanda's smiling face blinked out of existence, fading to black, just as quickly and efficiently as it had appeared. "Mrs Grayson," he said, head turning to the side to look at Nyota over his shoulder.

"Excuse me?" she replied.

"My mother is named Amanda Grayson. According to human tradition, you may call her Mrs Grayson, if that terminology makes you more comfortable. I am sure she would have no objections to the familiarity." His gaze returned to the floor as he took a step towards Nyota. "And I must offer my apologies, Nyota. My mother has developed a strange habit of initiating contact at most inopportune moments."

"Almost as though she knows, right? Mothers do that. It's a special power they have."

Spock raised an eyebrow. "Southern-Hemisphere Romulan? A highly uncommon dialect, Nyota."

"Might as well practice it at some point, and now is as good a time as any. You don't agree?" she said a little too casually, turning around with a cup of coffee in her hand.

Spock took a breath that was slightly deeper than normal. He waited for Nyota to sit, eyebrows forming a very small frown. "I would prefer to speak in my native dialect this evening, if you have no objections. There is a pressing matter which needs to be discussed, and do not wish any miscommunication to occur between us."

Her eyes lowered to her cup. She held it, but did not drink. "You want to talk about New Years."

"Specifically, I wish to discuss your visit to me that evening and the kiss we shared."

Spock had always believed that being direct was the most logical course of action. The fact that it was directness that had left him in this difficult situation was neither here nor there. Thirty years' worth of beneficial logic could not be swept away by one display of inappropriate affection. However, when Nyota visibly blushed and swallowed, Spock very nearly felt regret at his words.

"You regret it," Nyota stated.

"My opinions on the action are irrelevant. The material fact is that a relationship between us is expressly forbidden by several Starfleet regulations. To continue on such a course would be highly illogical, given all the diligence we both have exerted to excel within the Academy."

She said nothing, but he could hear her breathing. Soft rush of air, in and out. In and out. Then a rush of in, before words spilled out, "Then you do not regret it?"

"As I said," Spock repeated, "My opinions are irrelevant."

"To you perhaps," she said softly. Spock could think of nothing further to say. He had stated the facts, and there could be no deviation from the single course of action they laid out. Eventually, Nyota spoke again. "We could carry on like we were before. Like nothing happened."

Spock tilted his head to the side, the feelings within him twining together the dark cherry-red of relief and an electric blue that Spock very seldom experienced. "That would be favourable to me."

Nyota drank a large gulp of her coffee, swallowing loudly. "I can do that," she said, her voice muffled by the cup. She lowered it, smiling up at him. The smile was tight. It showed her teeth, but did not make her eyes shine like when she was amused. "No problem."

A part of Spock wanted very much to tell Nyota that, were the circumstances different, were they both qualified officers, were he perhaps just a little more reckless, then none of it would matter. Because he would be kissing her again. However, the probability of Nyota reacting in an emotional manner to such a statement was exceptionally high, and Spock could not guarantee his ability to efficiently manage such a scenario.

Instead, he forced his lips to quirk into, what he imagined, was an accurate representation of his own form of 'forced smile'. "Then all is agreeable." Nyota only nodded. Spock sat, leaning forward as he often did these days, bringing his body that little bit closer in proximity to Nyota's. "Thank you, Nyota, for being reasonable."

A flash of something in her eyes suggested that it had been the wrong thing to say. But it was quickly gone, replaced by that same frigid smile. "I brought some cards. I wanted to teach you a game."

Eyebrow arching, Spock shifted the low table closer, placing it between them. "If it was your desire," his unintentional use of the word that had developed so many connotations between them, made him pause and swallow. He continued, rephrasing quickly, "If I had known you wished to play games while we talked, I have a very adequate chess set."

If Nyota had noticed his stumble, she made no outward sign of it. "I suspect you're a bit too good at chess," she said, her smile turning genuine. It was oddly like his mother's, wry and knowing. "I will teach you to play Snap."

"'Snap'?" Spock repeated. "An earth card game, in which the deck is split equally between opponents and cards are laid in turn until a matching pair are revealed. At this point, the first person to say, 'Snap', accumulates the cards that have been played. This is the game you wish to play?"

Nodding, Nyota replied, "Yes. You already know it?"

"I have observed the game in play." He took a breath, frowning, ducking his head slightly. He had a difficult point to raise. More to the point, he had a difficult point to phrase, without offending his companion. "But this is a game of pure chance. There is nothing a player can do to further their chances of winning the game, except for developing their reaction times or perception or focus. As a competition of wits, it is highly illogical."

That smile again, as small, nimble fingers shuffled the worn deck. "Precisely. I wanted to play a game with you that I thought I might have a chance of winning. If I talk to you enough to distract you."

Reaching out a hand, Spock took the deck from Nyota. His thumb ran over the smooth vellum surface. They were old, clearly, and much loved, as a human would say. "I believe humans have an aphorism: 'it is not the winning, but the taking part that counts.'"

"Mmm," Nyota responded, dark eyes dancing as she leaned back in her seat and regarded him from beneath long lashes. Purple curled about the blue and red, and Spock took a moderately deeper than normal breath. "We have another saying. 'Nobody likes a smarty pants'."

Curious. She appeared to be teasing him. Thinking back to their discussion of the so-called mating rituals of one James Kirk, Spock began to understand a little more clearly. Between two close acquaintances who knew each other well and had an understanding of mutual affection which had a possibility exceeding 40% of being purely platonic, it was acceptable – even moderately pleasurable – to exchange well-meaning taunts. Given recent events, Spock had calculated that his relationship with Nyota was only 35% platonic (if that), and as the deepening royal purple within him would testify, he did indeed find her tease enjoyable.

Slowly dealing the cards, Spock was surprised to hear his voice deepen a semitone, "I see no relevance to the formality of my attire."

"No, I'm sure you don't," Nyota replied in Lingua Franca, laughter roughening her words, brightening them.

"In Vulcan, Nyota," he cautioned, though his tone took on the teasing lightness that hers had displayed earlier.

"Stop stalling and deal the cards, Spock," she said, a lop-sided grin on her face.

Conversational Vulcan

A Star Trek Story
by Blue Moon3

Part 6 of 16

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