Disclaimer: still the same. If Sevek seems slightly less Vulcan-ish than he should be, remember he's a hyrbid. Also, I'm using a character that someone else created, and that character was not super stoic. Also, having attempted to every episode that contains a Vulcan or Romulan in all three franchises (read: not Spock), many are a lot more expressive than Spock. Thanks!


Sevek stared blankly at the Lieutenant sprawled out on the couch.

"I jussssst happened to be watching the ssssssub-space monitoring ssssspectrum in engineering, and right as T'Jor beamed on the ship, the ssssignal boosted…"

This was not a counseling session. He had been quite disappointed when he opened the message on his PADD to discover the request had been made by Lt. Rah-Likn'n.

Not only had she scheduled this phony counseling session and was currently inundating him with more conspiracy theories, but she had requested one every day for a week!

"And jussssst as I rounded the corner, I sssssaw her stuff the device…"

Finally, Sevek could take no more. "Lieutenant!"

She jerked up at his sudden outburst. "Yesssss?"

"This is not the purpose of a counseling session, and your obsession with unsubstantiated theories is not healthy. I will not continue to indulge this, but I an open to assisting you in understanding where your current mentality on this is stemming from."

She rotated both eyes towards him, moving them up and down independently of each other, and then deeply scowled.

"I have no ssssssuch problem! And it's your job to lisssssten to what I have to sssssay!"

Sevek exhaled deeply. Before he could explain, she lept to her feet.

"You're already failing at your only job! Jussssst like the rest of the Vulcansssss, you'll never do what you commit to while we do all the real work!"

Sevek raised a defiant eyebrow, quickly growing tired of dealing with this woman.

"I do not know the commitment habits among the other Vulcan officers. However, I do know you failed to receive my orders, leaving the transporter unattended and me to wander the halls aimlessly."

She brought her eyes fully into their sockets and stared him down. "I did no sssssuch thing! It's not my job to receive new officers, T'Jor does that! The first officer always doesssss! And I would never leave the transporter unattended; anyone could ussssssse it!"

Sevek narrowed his eyes. While it was true many first officers did receptions, there is no requirement for it to be done that way. Also, T'Jor has specifically said she was in an emergency briefing, which would be plenty reason to assign another officer.

"Ussssse your logic, Vulcan! Assssssuming I could receive your orderssss, why would I do ssssso and then purpossssssely come talk to you? Come to thissss counssssseling thing?"

She waved her arms around as if she wasn't even sure what the purpose of it was. It dawned on Sevek she might not even know.

As he stood and considered what to say, she hissed at him and dashed out of the room.

Not for the first time, Sevek stood wondering what he had gotten himself into.

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It was not a professional approach, but these were not professional people.

His mother would call it a gimmick, but after twelve days and four hours of attempting to address the Eagle's moral, a novel approach was need. He just needed it to work.

Sevek glanced down at his oven mitts in the shape of the ta'al as the chef stumbled around behind him. He intended on stopping the man from turning on any flame, considering his drunken stupor.

He thought back to receiving the "useful gag gift" from his mother many years ago. As far as he was aware, nothing of the sort was sold; she would have had to make them herself.

"What is the purpose of these gloves?" He flexed his hands up and down in them, admiring the rich blue color so difficult to create with Vulcan organic dyes.

"They're called oven mitts. I know you've been taking culinary classes for your elective. When you're on Earth next month, you'll need those to pull pans and dishes out of the oven or you'll burn yourself."

"Why? Are the dish handles not coated with anti-heat resin?"

"No, not on Earth. They're metal and will burn you to the touch."

"Inefficient," he lightly scoffed.

"Stop acting like your father!" But her stern face broke into a smile as she laughed. With his mother, it was always a loving laugh, never the condemnation he faced from everyone else.

The chef suddenly broke into song behind him, interrupting the memories. He hadn't been able to think of a logical reason to do so at the time, but now he was glad he had brought the unique gift.

It had taken a negotiation like none other to get access to the kitchen. To do so, he had basically signed up to be the unpaid cleaning crew for the next month for the mess hall and kitchen. But Sevek was confident it would work out to his advantage.

The kitchen was mostly used to prepare foods the replicators couldn't handle for visiting dignitaries. It was also tasked to do base material prepping. But there was everything he needed for his project: pans, utensils, an oven, a sink, and prep space.

No artificial timer was needed as his Vulcan mind informed him it was time to take the latest set of baked goods from the oven. He slid them onto the rack on the counter next to his other creations, nodding his approval at the variety of cookies.

"Gehhh...smells good Selik. Sevork? Ah, whatever. Lemma have one of those…"

Sevek stepped back as the drunken chef grabbed a cookie. It broke in half as he picked it up from the still-unreleased heat.

He shoved the delicacy in his mouth and chewed. Turning towards Sevek, he loudly proclaimed, "These aren't half bad, Vulcan! Where'd you learn to make em like this," stuffing the other half in.

"I casually attended and then taught in a local culinary school for children to pay for my tuition in college. While replicators are convenient, most humans frequently proclaim the lack of comparative taste to the original version."

"Eh, you gonna eat these all yourself?"

Sevek raised one eyebrow. "Considering the quantity of the baked goods, I will certainly not be consuming them alone. Have a good day, and I will return tomorrow as agreed."

"Yeh, sure sure sure." The cook mumbled as he scooped up another two cookies before wandering off.

Sevek sighed. Did anyone function properly on this ship?

By the time his baked goods had hardened and chilled to the appropriate usable level, mid-day had set in and a large number of people had gathered for lunch. He loaded all of the sweets onto large platters and set out for the mess hall.

As Sevek walked into the room, many sets of eyes glanced up in question at his array of items. The serially obnoxious blonde Ensign leaned far back in his chair and crossed his arms, casting a surly grin in the direction of the Vulcan.

Sevek raised a defiant eyebrow in response and strutted to an unoccupied spot on the table. He set the sweets on the table and placed a PADD containing their ingredients next to them.

With no additional ceremony, he held his head high and walked past the whispers and staring eyes out the door and towards the lift.

He must wait to see if his craftiness returned the results he anticipated.

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Sevek scraped harder, wondering what someone had done to attach this food to the floor so thoroughly. Hadn't the floor been cleaned yesterday? Thinking to the inebriated state of the sole mess attendant, he thought perhaps not.

9.4 years of medical school and psychological education, 2.9 years in fellowship training, and 4.6 years in academic work, and look where it got him.

Scrubbing the mess hall of a Starship, he acknowledged this ship was something he never even really wanted to serve on. He was still unsure as to why the psychiatric practices and nonprofits he had applied to had rejected him, as he was fully qualified.

He was thankful T'Zel and his father couldn't see him at this moment on his knees, hand scrubbing the floor in the wee hours of the morning.

Sevek clamped his eyes shut and tried to focus his thoughts. He wasn't a scullery maid but this was the arrangement he made with the chef to get unrestricted access to the mostly abandoned kitchen. The unfortunate task was a side effect of his goal to reach the crew psychologically, which was his job.

The whole idea of his plot stemmed from a study he had read a few years prior that analyzed the psychological effects of sharing food in human society. Knowing similar factors would work on Vulcans, he extended it to think it might be a factor for all beings that practice either forms of hunting-gathering or agriculture, as all those on this ship did.

In the study participants interacted in various settings and with different foods. The results showed that when humans are given pleasing food by another human without asking for direct compensation, a stronger rapport is built than small talk or compliments and they were more likely to work better together.

In parallel, his grandmother had always made and brought cookies to any event she attended. She asserted it made people like her before they met her. Over time, she made friends with people she hadn't even talked to based on their knowing she brought those delicious cookies.

Sevek decided to combine the two factors of psychological food sharing and the cookie gimmick into a last ditch attempt to get through to this crew. Replicating them wouldn't work as they could all do that.

But he had overheard many complaints about the substandard food of the replicators. He calculated that getting kitchen access and making the cookies fresh would prove to be irresistible to eat, even by those who made it clear they disliked him personally.

And he was right. All of the cookies were gone when he had arrived this evening to take over the "nightly" cleaning of the mess.

Thankfully, he was alone. Perhaps the chef had found the bar a more acceptable drinking location.

The silence was interrupted as the door swished open. He remained in his position on the floor and stopped scraping. He slowed his breath as the footsteps approached and walked towards the drink dispenser. He decided to stay where he was, obstructed from their view by the table.

"Dim-orah. De fetsu kolari sentar."

Sevek had to resist rolling his eyes; of course the two crew members were Vulcans.

He made sure to breathe quieter, now really not wanting to be discovered. The hum of the replicators on their cleaning cycle would probably drown him out, if he was careful.

There was a pause, and he watched one set of feet walk towards the table used for his cookie project, but then turned towards the door, newly replicated tea in hand.

"Seria kyvon de hesu maktar."

"The hybrid made the off worlders food to be eaten with their hands. How shameful."

Now, not only were they in there, but they were talking about him.

"Ha mohal. Keptar sor-del ran de hera sevar. De Raal mes kor-"

"I agree. The hybrids disgrace all of Vulcan. When I was Raal, I saw-"

They walked through the doorway and down the hall, their voices thankfully soft so he couldn't hear whatever racist comment was about to made.

Sevek breathed in deeply through his nose and returned to his scrubbing, resolving to continue to rise above the immaturity of apparently everyone in this crew.

He paused as the door opened again and someone stepped in. Sevek froze, and the figure didn't move. "Hello? I know you're here."

Sevek recognized that voice. The blond crew member who created the waffle fiasco and continued to make loud, pointed comments: Ensign Vido.

The steps started moving quickly around the room, as if he was looking for him. Sevek sighed and gave up by rising to his feet. "Yes, Ensign?"

The human turned around quickly at the sudden voice.

"The chef told me you were going to clean tonight in exchange for using the kitchen. I hope it was worth it," eyeballing the scraping stick.

"He gave you an accurate account." Sevek answered in a clipped tone and stood silently, hoping the young man had a point in this. "May I help you?"

"No, I was just saying how I knew you would be here. I came to tell you the Vulcans haven't been saying nice things about you."

"Ah, well, neither have you."

The blond scowled. "Well, we've got a lot of problems here, and we don't need hoity toity higher-ups messing around."

"I am hardly a higher up. I carry no formal rank, not having completed academy training."

The Ensign's scowl faded. "Yeah, I didn't know that until someone mentioned it today. It doesn't matter, we still don't need you bothering us."

Sevek raised an eyebrow. "I am not here to, as you put it, bother you. I am here on assignment to asses the psychology of the crew and repair it back to sanctioned standards."

The human said nothing in reply, but the scowl returned.

"Is there something I can help you with?" Sevek asked again.

The Ensign shook his head. "No, we don't need your help. But that doesn't mean I want to see you dead, like that other guy. Watch out, T'Jor's Vulcan posse really doesn't seem to like you."

The hybrids disgrace all of Vulcan.

"I see. Then I," Sevek paused, "appreciate your concern. I assure you I have dealt with hostilities from my father's people my entire life, I can handle them here as well."

"Father's people? You're...half Vulcan?"

Sevek shook his head affirmative. "My mother is human. If that is all, I must return to my work in order to maintain my kitchen access."

The human shook his head, seemingly eyeing him anew. "Just mind your own business and we'll all have your back." He turned to leave and Sevek went back to scrubbing.

"Oh," the blond paused at the door, "and thanks for making desert."

And with that he left, leaving Sevek to attempt to meditate to the sound of his scrubbing brush.

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Sevek pressed the button to open his quarter's door, thankful to be done cleaning. His plan was to meditate, but the flashing of the light on PADD grabbed his attention, and he quickly reached over and opened the device.

MESSAGE FROM T'ZEL. Her reply was in written form, and he had to suppress his disappointment in not seeing and hearing her reply.

Greetings Sevek.

I am well. I apologise for the delay in reply as the console was having technical issues as a result of the storm I discussed in my previous communication. I was unaware it had hit the main supply line.

The meeting was unsatisfactory. The chairman will not listen to my requests in full, even though I have fulfilled all the technical requirements. If he would hear them, I believe he would agree. I cannot help but wonder where the logic lies within the government of this city.

Surely an environment such as what you described from your pre-deployment briefing will require significant adaptation.

T'Zel

Sevek suppressed a frown. The storm damaging communications was concerning. She was in a rural area and needed contact into the city. He made a mental note to enquire if she had the entire system checked when the technicians arrived.

His eyes scanned over the message again. No comment on his sign off or enquiry into his welling being. That was somewhat acceptable; she would be able to sense any true danger to him through their bond.

He wasn't particularly surprised at her distance as she had been opposed to his plans all along. He knew she did truly care for him and always had. After all, she had chosen him.

Sevek's eyes scanned the small, sparsely decorated room as he sat down on the bed, the only option available to a counselor who carried no rank. Maybe he should have stayed near by her? Tried to bring the relationship closer on a day-to-day basis?

Most older Vulcan mates had intertwined lives as a result of children and family obligations, but little emotional connection. Ironically, they had the opposite. Or at least he thought so.

Sevek lightly shook his head; these thoughts weren't productive. She was dedicated to him and he to her. The current distance was inconsequential. They would again be as close as they were as young adults.

Since the structural government shakeup a few decades back, T'Zel had become quite disenfranchised with her architectural work. Once he was back on Earth in a comfortable position, he would convince her to leave the patronizing city commissions behind and join him for a new future.

He was sure of it.

A life where both of them could be free together of the judgement and scorn of the people of Vulcan.

Sevek laid back on the bed, falling asleep with the PADD in his hand and completely foregoing meditation, but more relaxed than he had been all week.

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The woman reviewed the reports, surprised at their complexity.

Sevek had encountered many of the problems that plagued the ship, and had been surprisingly dedicated in his seeking of them, despite the crew's hostility. She had partially anticipated this; Vulcans were known for their perseverance.

What she hadn't expected was for him to be this perceptive.

It was concerning.

He had proposed no formal solution in the report. She would have to ensure he did so in the next report to assess just how much he could gather from base interactions so she could take countermeasures against them.

She didn't know what to make of the cookie stunt from earlier. It seemed very un-Vulcan.

Perhaps his hybrid status affected him more than he let on.

In any case, she resolved to monitor him closely. For tonight, she took to editing his reports to Command, careful to remove each incriminating reference and detailed encounter.

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AN / Please review as critically as possible! I'm new to fiction and really thick skinned. By the way, I've used the cookie/food trick, and it works IRL.

I made up the Vulcan sentences. I'm sorry, fanon people. I looked online and found cool dictionaries, but I don't have the time and I couldn't find Vulcan in Google Translate. ;-) I kinda based it off of listening to T'Pol and her mother argue in the episode Home in ENT.

Thanks again to all the subs and reviews, and especially Tom Foolery for your encouragement and review. Go check out their stories if you like Spock/Uhura or Sarek/Amanda, their fics are some of my favorites, and I've read a lot of both pairings over the years! All tyops mine.