This was supposed to be part 3, but i figured part 2 didn't have enough of Sarek involvement so i skipped it. While this one is also a bit lacking on his side, it focuses more on vulcan and human tradition and what their family is like which is the goal of this little series, to watch this intriguing family!
I don't know how soon I'm going to update this series again so put it on alerts if you want more and don't hold your breath or anything :)
The One With The Sehlat
" I have been quite frequently reminded to include in this correspondence that the approximate sixth anniversary -in accordance to the terrain measure of one year- of Amanda's birth approaches. She has been insistent that you be made aware of this fact although I have explained on numerous occasions that the passage and measure of time changes between planets and that while celebrations of ones birth are common place among humans, Vulcans do not mark age as numerical and therefore do not recognize the event of being born." Spock spoke just as evenly as usual but he seemed fatigued, not physically per say but as if the mere topic of the conversation weighed physically down on him.
Sarek had never been around a small mostly human child for any length of time leading up to their birthday however, for if he had he would have understood such the exasperation Spock had for the event.
"Therefore I ask in your reply to this message that you do not indulge her in a celebratory fashion, but merely acknowledge you are aware of her maturing. If you so wish to, a separate message or greeting for her to watch on this marked day would also suffice, and greatly please her." Sarek knew this was true, Amanda was very pleased whenever he corresponded with her and her alone.
After their leave, in which Amanda began contacting Sarek while she was still on Earth with her human grandparents the two of them had kept up a steady stream of short but informative and meaningful transmissions. Mandy informed her grandfather of her daily activities, progress with her learning curve and worked on her Vulcan. In return Sarek encouraged her and indulged her in her questioning of his and his son's pasts.
One thing she had been rather taken with in all his tales had been I-Chaya the sehlat that he had owned as a boy and subsequently gave to Spock. When Mandy had visited Earth she was immediately enamored with the animals that inhabited the place. She had never been around many animals, living most of her life onboard the Enterprise. She was so exhilarated around those she did encounter she was unable to describe them with many proper words in her excitement. Instead the sounds and shapes her face had made explained how she felt in a somewhat indirect way. It had been a particularly amusing transmission Sarek still had saved on his terminal's hard drive.
The real accumulation of her obsession however had centered around Amanda's human cousin's ownership of a pet dog. She adored the creature to great lengths but when she expressed her desires for a pet as well her parents had logically been weary; dwelling on a ship did not make favorable living conditions for animals.
They had returned without a pet, although as Mandy had informed him, Captain Kirk was all right with her having an animal in their quarters so long as it was no bigger than 15 kilograms. In all the discussion about pets Sarek had informed her of I-Chaya's existence and all about the sehlats that used to roam Vulcan's surface.
Spock had responded to that particular transmission dryly informing him that Amanda was now using the fact he had had a pet when he was her age as a counter argument to his and Nyota's refusal of her request. He had then asked curtly that Sarek stop encouraging Amanda's obsession with animals especially the large bear-like creatures that were now extinct.
Sarek had obeyed his son's request…but knew for a very good fact that sehlats were not in fact as gone as they appeared to be.
Perhaps this anniversary of Amanda's sixth year was the most suitable time to present her with a gift neither frivolous nor meaningless but most rewarding and educational. He began composing his reply immediately.
"Transporter room to Captain Kirk,"
" How's the cargo transfer going?" Kirk shifted in his chair restlessly. They were grounded for the moment in space dock stocking up on necessities, making repairs, doing trades and picking up any extra deliveries they could make.
" Fine sir, but there is one…matter that needs your attention," the officer's voice through the speaker sounded unsure and slightly skeptical. Kirk gladly punched the reply button on his chair
" I'll be down in a minute," he then bounded out of his chair leaving command of the stagnant bridge to a card playing Chekov. He couldn't wait for whatever was going to go down, no matter how many weary trying and deadly experiences he had, he always wanted more.
The transporter room seemed the regular chaos it always was during a stop over when Kirk entered. There were large crates being beamed in and loaded onto hover dollies and others materializing and dematerializing immediately to the cargo bays.
" Here, Captain," The young red shirt stood by a slotted metal crate looking rather uncomfortable about it. Kirk approached cautiously.
" What's the situation?" he asked bending to try and get a look at what was inside. Whatever it was moved, and growled.
" It was delivered with the personal crew effects," he said his brow furrowed, " But the delivery PADD won't respond to any authorization other than yours, sir," he said handing over the slim device.
Kirk took the blank slate and announced his code clearly, " Captain's authorization code James T Kirk 3 6 alpha victor." The PADD sprang to life listing a complete and extensive delivery route and a personal message. The officer seeing that Kirk was now dealing with the growling crate had returned to his duties directing the flow of other personal deliveries.
Kirk opened the file and watched with furrowed brow and then a gleeful grin.
Spock would never understand why any of the crew felt it necessary to press the notification panel more than the one time sufficient of alerting him to their presence outside his door. He was not surprised to find the Captain to be the culprit leaning on the buzzer this time, a large metal crate hovering on a cargo trolley beside him.
" Special delivery," Kirk leered at him. Spock did not respond, merely inspected the 'delivery'.
" What is it?" he asked stepping back as Kirk pushed the box inside.
" I don't know, you tell me," he handed over the PADD that came with the crate as the doors automatically closed behind him. " Where's the family?" he asked casually leaning an elbow on the box despite in making a rather menacing noise back at him.
" Nyota has taken Amanda to the mess for a snack, they should be returning shortly," he said before activating the message and listening to his Father's cryptic brief words.
" Did you get any of that? I only understood that it's meant for you and you'd be piiiiissssed when you got it." He stated with a grin patting the corner of the box happily.
" If I am not mistaken my father has delivered Amanda a…" he paused considering his words " Birthday present," he set the PADD down and deactivated the hover protocol of the dolly.
" I thought you guys didn't celebrate birthdays," Kirk crouched beside Spock where he was inspecting the latch that held the container closed.
" We do not." he pressed his lips together listening to the rustling of whatever was within, " it is most confusing," he murmured reaching out to the latch, but before he could touch it however the door opened again and Mandy burst inside.
She stopped short immediately freezing upon seeing the delivery.
" What's that?" she asked curiously moving slowly to stand between her father and the captain. The thing within rustled again and Amanda's eyes widened.
" Spock?" Nyota frowned at the PADD left behind on the table picking it up and inspecting it, " May I speak with you a moment?" she asked already moving into the next room. Spock stood and swiftly followed her leaving Kirk and Mandy staring at the box.
Kirk flopped back to sit on the floor before it. Mandy joined him.
" What is it?" she asked him openly, a tad excited a tad frightened.
" I donno kid, but I think it's yours," he said with a twinkle in his eye. Mandy's face brightened into pure excitement.
" Why is there an animal crate in my living room?" Nyota rounded on Spock once they were sealed off from the main room and the wandering ears of their Captain and daughter.
" As I understand it my father has shipped something for Amanda's birthday," he gestured to the PADD she still held.
" That doesn't explain anything. Your father doesn't celebrate birthdays." She covered her face for a moment, " Okay, okay say he did send her a present – a pet – what is it?" she asked peeking through her fingers at him. Spock furrowed his brow.
" That is the most puzzling question of these circumstances. My father is aware of the limited capacity for animals on board, I do not believe he would attempt to disregard regulation… however it is illogical to encourage the celebration of ones birth. The only logical conclusion would be his gift is one of coincidence to coincide with Amanda's birthday while in fact being the traditional childhood presentation of …" Spock paused brows furrowed.
" Of what?" Nyota crossed her arms frowning up at him.
" Of a child's own sehlat,"
Kirk was holding Mandy back from pushing her small fingers through the gaps in the metal, there was no telling what that thing would do and he was not going to be responsible for the disfigurement of the child of two of his most valuable bridge officers.
" A WHAT?!" Kirk winced, he'd never heard Uhura shriek like that before. Mandy frowned at the closed door concealing her parents as well.
" They don't want me to have a pet," She said glumly sitting back down beside Kirk with a heavy sigh, " You should take it back, I don't want to get in trouble," she muttered setting her chin in her hands, resting her elbows on her knees.
" I'm sure that you won't get in trouble, Mandy," Kirk thought back a bit guiltily to his childhood, how come he was never worried about getting in trouble? The girl sighed pursing her lips, " Really, it's a present. If anyone is going to get in trouble it's probably your grandfather," he said earnestly but she turned to him interested.
" Grandfather sent this?" she was on her feet again heading for the main computer terminal in their quarters. Kirk followed her with interest watching as she opened the transmission program and quickly found the one message addressed to her. When she tried to open it however it remained firmly locked. She frowned and tried again, Kirk looking over her shoulder.
" Wait a sec, it's time stamped, you can't open it until your birthday," he tapped the screen to show her and she frowned mightily down at it.
" Let's just forget about the fact that this is a completely nonsensical illogical action on your father's part and focus on what we're going to do, okay?" Nyota was pacing now had been ever since Spock's speculation upon what was in the crate, " We have to open it, because it's a living thing and it's probably hungry and going stir crazy in that little box." She said crossing her arms.
" If we allow Amanda to see the creature she will inevitably bond with it." Spock reminded her needlessly. She nodded turning to complete another lap of the small a read she trod. " We cannot simply return the gift either. Now that Amanda has been made aware of its existence she will dwell on it incessantly if it simply disappears."
" Okay," Nyota finally stopped walking, " So what are we going to do?" she looked up at Spock frustration and worry clear on her face.
" We will open the crate. If the animal is dangerous we will explain to Amanda why it must be removed. Likewise if it is an adolescent sehlat, it will be removed before it can reach maturity and violate protocol." Nyota nodded.
" And if it's something harmless and small…a rabbit? A dog?" she sighed.
" I suggest we prepare to have an animal lodging with us for the rest of its lifespan."
When Spock and Nyota re-entered the main living area it was to find Kirk and Mandy both sitting on the floor before the crate, staring at it with skeptical eyes.
" It makes funny noises," Mandy said to them getting to her feet with the Captain, " Sort of squeally sometimes. Maybe it's a pig," she said with little conviction.
" That is highly unlikely," Spock said as he moved to their personal replicator, punching buttons instead of speaking, " and 'squeally' is not a viable word,"
Mandy made a face of impatience but whether it was directed at the correction of her language or how Nyota was ushering her away from the crate was debatable.
" What are you doing?" she asked, pushing at her mother's incessant hands but stumbling a few paces away from where she started anyway.
" I am attempting to replicate a viable food source for this animal, it will be hungry." Spock pulled a newly materialized bowl out of the machine and brought it over to sit before the crate.
" What is that?" Kirk asked this time; his expression half disgusted half interested at the contents that proved to be brown and nugget-like in shape.
" It is a dietary supplement that is animal, vegetable and suitable for ingestion by a number of fauna." Spock gestured for Kirk to step back and then reached for the latch of the crate. Taking a moment to make sure everyone was ready for the animal he pulled the pin and let the door swing widely outward.
Within, the creature stilled in the newly afforded light, a shadow at the back of its tiny home. The adults were just as hesitant to move or make any noises, too many away missions under their belts not to be cautious around any unidentified life-forms; but Mandy squirmed her breathing audible with excitement.
Slowly it shifted, a black nose and furry brown snout inching into the brighter light to sniff the air experimentally. Then one foot and then the rest of it darting outward to pounce on the food in front of it with relishing shrieks of delight.
" What….is it?" Kirk frowned at the small furry creature. It looked like a tiny lion, or maybe a bear, with long canine teeth that over hung its short snout and a thick mane-like pelt around its shoulders and head.
Mandy's eyes were wide with delighted upon seeing it.
"Fascinating." Spock knelt a distance away from where the animal was feeding, " It is a sehlat." He stated staring at the creature.
" Aren't they supposed to be huge?" Kirk asked, " Or is this a baby or something," he took a step closer.
" I am uncertain. It appears to have all the features of an adult yet it is approximately an eighth of the size." The sehlat slowed in its eating, taking a moment to run its green tongue over its chops.
" Can I keep it then? If it's little?" Mandy came forward then, cautiously stopping beside her father, gazing unblinkingly at the creature.
" Potentially, if your mother and the Captain agree," Spock and Mandy turned to the two humans expectantly. Kirk shrugged.
" If it doesn't get any bigger than this, knock your socks off, kid," he said casually, turning to face the last deliberating member of their party. Nyota did not look enchanted by the creature.
" I'm not sure Mandy. It doesn't look like it would be a very good pet…those teeth…" she folded her arms around her body and frowned.
" Sehlats make exceptional pets. They are loyal, and intelligent, with few needs aside from being fed and watered promptly twice a day." Spock informed her as the animal finished its meal and began to take stock of the people around it, " Its front teeth are an evolutionary necessity used only for identification and mating purposes. While pointed they are quite cylindrical and dull,"
Mandy was squatting and holding her hand out to the sehlat now, letting it come closer to snuff at her while she giggled. Nyota sighed looking at them.
" Alright. We'll try it, but if it causes problems, or you can't take care of it we're sending it straight back to Sarek." The last of her warning was drowned out by Mandy's excited cheer, causing the sehlat to jump and then cry out with her.
"Cool," Kirk grinned garnering a glare from Nyota and an eyebrow from Spock.
One New Transmission: Coordinates Origin - 5003245.824.82 Colony Alpha, Tih-Vulcan. Play Transmission?
Many accepted eagerly in the early hours of her seventh year when the transmission finally finally unlocked and allowed her to open the message from her grandfather.
" Amanda, this transmission should reach you on the approximate stardate of the sixth anniversary of your birth. You are very young in the eyes of the universe, and have much to learn yet. By now you have undoubtedly received my gift to you, and I hope you are pleased with it." Sarek began somberly delivering his carefully picked words with intensity. Mandy grinned and patted her sehlat on the head as it lay beside her on the large chair, it whined appreciatively.
" The sehlat is a sacred animal. Its importance in Vulcan society dates to before the time of Surak, when it was companion, protector, and a valuable resource. The tradition of bestowing a modern Vulcan child with their own sehlat to care for, respect, and honor is one that has proved invaluable in our family for generations." Mandy bit her lip digging her fingers into the thick fur mane of the animal as she listened; it was something she could tell was very important to her grandfather, and possibly her father as well.
" I was reluctant to see this tradition end despite the lack of readily available sehlats for ownership and your particular circumstance that lends itself unfavorably to such an animal. This is why the animal you are now in possession of is inordinately special. Your sehlat is one from a small herd found on Terra. This particular herd had been left as a gesture of good will between Humans and Vulcans just after first contact was made." Mandy looked on in surprise, that certainly sounded important.
"As at the time a herd of full sized sehlats could not be transported from planet to planet with ease, a miniature breed was created for the event." Sarek noted and Mandy grinned widely, so her new friend was a miniature! There was no need to worry about it being taken away because of it growing anymore. Mandy relaxed a bit further into her seat and the sehlat burrowed its nose into her leg.
" As the miniatures were not needed on Vulcan they were never recreated; they instead have been kept as a symbol of friendship and cooperation between our two peoples. Accounting for this information it seemed an appropriate gift for you a child of these two worlds as well as suiting your ship's policies upon domestic animals." Mandy hadn't thought of that, if the mini-sehlats had not been delivered and Vulcan and Earth not on such friendly terms would she even exist at all? Sarek continued then, pushing the question from her mind for the moment.
" From this sehlat you will learn responsibility, and patience as every Vulcan child does. I believe that you however will also benefit from the constant companionship of the animal and although it cannot play your human games it will most definitely listen to your thoughts and never stray from your side." Mandy looked down at her friend and pet it softly, cherishing in the moment for all it was and promised to be. She decided then it was the best gift she'd ever gotten.
Nyota brought a small, decorated cake in the door with her when she was finished her shift, intending to surprise her daughter with a treat for the day brought straight from the mess hall where the real food was kept. It was late but she was sure Mandy would still be bouncing around high off of the excitement from the day when she entered.
The lights were dim and the main living area empty, so she set the plate that held the cake down and went looking for her family. It was in the little offshoot study area that she found them, Spock slouched and shoved just a tad off center in the large desk chair, Mandy curled in the extra space under his arm her feet in his lap, and the sehlat dozing equally on both of them.
She seemed to have just caught the tail end of their recording to Sarek, Mandy's words of goodbye and thanks were slow, and heavy with fatigue. When Spock reached out and cut off the recording Nyota entered the room.
" Did the rest of the day go smoothly?" she asked causing them both to look at her.
" Yes," Spock replied picking the sehlat up and placing it on the ground before doing the same with Mandy, " But I believe it is long past your usual time of retirement," he said to their daughter as she swayed where she stood.
" Yah Ya is a miniature sehlat, Mama. She's not going to get any bigger so I can keep her," she mumbled picking up her animal and carting it to the doorway where Nyota stood.
" It's a girl? You named her Yah Ya?" she asked interested as Spock stood, subtly stretching and striding over to join them.
" Uh huh, I don't care what Pavel says, it's a good name," she buried her nose in the fur at the animal's neck, and it gave a rumble of contentment, or exasperation, or something. She then trotted out the door leaving Nyota somewhat out of the loop and looking to Spock for explanation.
" Doctor McCoy stopped by briefly and determined the sehlat was indeed female. He also informed me singularly that he was already dealing with two 'god damned hybrids' and he did not need to add veterinarian to his résumé," Nyota smiled at his words and leaned against the wall as he continued.
" Amanda spent much of her time with her guests asking for potential names for her pet. At one point a lengthy debate between herself and Ensign Chekov on the merits of traditional Russian names ended in her favor resulting in his immediate departure." Nyota laughed this time, imagining the amount of frustration Mandy must have caused Chekov to actually have him storm off.
" So how did she finally settle on Yah Ya?" she asked curiously, " It isn't a very common name,"
" I believe it came about in honor of my childhood sehlat I-Chaya," he stated looking across their quarters at the entrance to Amanda's bedroom, " Although I doubt there is much logic behind her thought process in the decision,"
" I don't know about that," Nyota smiled at him, pulling him out of the room with one arm threaded around his waist, " She certainly loves you, and Sarek. Isn't that reason enough?" she turned her head against his shoulder to look up at him.
He bowed his head in consideration and then smiled gently at her, "Affirmative,"