Someone left the cake out in the rain
I don't think that I can take it
Cause it took so long to bake it
And I'll never have that recipe again…
from McArthur Park, By Jimmy Webb, 1968
By the time Janice had followed her into the office, the official announcement was being received at workstations throughout Starfleet headquarters.
"I'm so sorry, Christine. I wanted to give you more warning. I know that you had…feelings for him."
It would not be until the Enterprise returned to space dock that she was able to properly thank Janice for her kindness. She had done that and then left before any of the crew disembarked, returning to her office, returning to work as usual.
When you are first told that the person you love most in the universe, the other half of your soul and essence, the person that you cherish as much as life itself has died, a numbness sets in and automatic function assumes command. Our minds cannot, unprepared, process the unimaginable, the unthinkable. You tidy drawers, make dinner, organize the pantry – anything routine – anything to stay the tide of reality that will surely carry you, like a rip current, beyond your limit of endurance.
Scotty had lost his nephew. Peter and Spock would not be the last of their losses. Before it was over, Jim would reclaim a friend but lose his son in the process. Whatever grief she suffered paled by comparison. Spock was different, but alive.
These were the thoughts that consumed her as she lay in the chaise at the end of the pier. He would never know her answer because she still did not know what it would have been.
And Spock had been wrong about their connection requiring proximity. Apparently it did not. The more she thought about their harmony, which Spock had referred to as synergy, the more she understood it. Odd how the void that comes with loss can provide clarity – a sorting of the wheat from the chaff.
Having survived nine years of separation, it simply could not survive an extended time, as delicate as it was, in McCoy's charge. It had just withered away and the memories of what they were, together, had withered with it. Not Leonard's fault. He had no idea what he was carrying. No one could have. Perhaps Spock, in those micro seconds he had to decide, thought that transferring his memories of their time together to the doctor would have violated his pledge to her.
It would be typical of him to be that calculating and precise in even the most dire, and urgent, of circumstances. She would likely never know.
The revived Spock's unexpected appearance in the corridor outside the operating theatre in the wee hours of the morning had nearly wrested every ounce of strength from her and raised her hopes. He had saved some sliver of memory of her but, in the end, she knew it was never going to be enough. A few fractured memories may have survived, but the context was gone.
The others had all given him their memories for context and, yet, he was still struggling. She was not going to wait around for him to ask for hers. She could not settle for half, or a reconstruction, from only her perspective.
More importantly, he had a destiny to fulfill. She would only get in the way. She was, once again, taking herself out of the equation.
While the crew of the Enterprise-A were getting the first look at their new ship, Christine Chapel was boarding a transport that would take her to Starbase 12 and the Ruby G. Bradley.