[Author's Note 06/11/09: Set after Spock's meeting with the administrators at the Vulcan Science Academy. I wonder what happened between the time Spock walked out and his departure to Earth. I anticipate three chapters. Here's the first. Let me know what you think (and whether I should continue) ... Thanks for reading!]


DEPARTURE


He set a new life path with his "Live long and prosper."

The administrators of the Vulcan Science Academy sat in stony silence. No one in the institution's half-millennium history had ever declined an offer of admission. But the brilliant son of one of the planet's most prominent citizens just did—rejected it, actually—turning his back on the board as he pointedly exited the great hall and walked out to the alcove at the Academy's entrance.

There he stopped and waited. He knew his father, Sarek, would follow.

As expected, Sarek appeared, arriving more quickly than Spock anticipated. Without a word the two turned toward home, walking silently. It was late morning, and Vulcan's mercilessly hot sun was beginning to break through the day's abnormal haze. Spock's long gait and breathing maintained a consistent rhythm, his eyes remained locked ahead. If others passed him on the walkway, he did not see them. His body had straightened, and his every movement focused on reaching home.

As they walked, Sarek replayed the previous scene in his mind. He analyzed Spock's vocal inflections as he took his leave of the administrators. Few Vulcans were attuned to sarcasm, but Sarek, as a diplomat, had learned to listen for it in human speech along with the layers of meaning within. Spock had concealed several messages within the socially acceptable responses and phrases. Was it an illogical measure for Spock's self-satisfaction, a youthful transgression? Confirmation one way or the other was not coming from his tight-lipped son, who, for this moment, remained impassive and unreadable.

Sarek declined to reprimand Spock. The administrator's logic had clearly failed him in his choice of words.

Without breaking pace, Spock approached his family's doorway. He touched the latch with more force than customary for him, barely waiting for the door to open before he strode in.

There was Amanda, at her desk in the front room, waiting for the news. The instant her two men walked in—Could Spock already be a man? she marveled—she knew that something had happened. It was not Spock's habit to burst through doors. His dark eyes were hard, his jaw set. He had retreated into himself. And Sarek, somehow, appeared agitated. Something was not right. Normally she would have to pry it out of them. But Spock, without hesitation, walked up to her instead.

"I have declined the offer of admission," he stated firmly, evenly.

During her many years on Vulcan, Amanda had learned to keep her expressions muted, but now her control disappeared into shock, then confusion. She glanced at Sarek, who nodded in affirmation. Amanda's brow narrowed, her eyes demanded explanation, but Spock turned and decisively walked to his room, summarily closing the door behind him.

Her emotions blocked any sense she could make of this. Only this morning Spock has been concerned about being granted a VSA appointment. "Declined? Sarek, what happened?"

Sarek stood still. Words seldom failed him, and he fixed his eyes on a painting on the wall behind Amanda instead.

Despite living among Vulcans, Amanda had never lost her human intuition. She paused, her confusion transforming into sadness. "It has to do with me, doesn't it?" she asked softly.

Illogical as it was, meeting her eyes was difficult. There was nothing Sarek could tell her that she had not already deduced herself. Years of diplomacy and discipline had taught him to keep his own counsel when an inflammatory comment sat ready on his tongue. And now, with his distaste for the administrator's unnecessary words, he needed to heed the wisdom harvested from that experience.

Inside, Amanda's heart could not help but well up with more love for her son, and she wanted nothing more to comfort him from yet another hurt. She now worried about his future. The repercussions from refusing a VSA appointment surely carried a stigma that could last a lifetime, and Vulcan lifespans were long. "I'm not sure I want to ask what happens now. Did he say anything to you?"

"No."

Of course not. Spock would face this as he had faced these situations throughout his life. Again.

* * *

To be continued ...