Chapter 10: The Gift
Disclaimer: I own nothing here, and little anywhere else.
"What do you mean, he isn't coming?" Kirk says.
McCoy steps down from the transporter and shrugs.
"Just what I said. We met at the beam-up point and he said he had found a way up to Cassie's ship that wouldn't involve you."
"Damn!" Kirk says.
Still sitting behind the control console, Spock tries to sort out the confusing information—and his conflicting emotions.
Whether or not the Ambassador's chance of success has been improved or damaged is difficult to calculate. Too many variables make the algorithm unreliable.
Yet Spock cannot deny that he feels relief, too—and in equal measure, guilt about feeling relief.
"We can beam to her ship from here!" Kirk says.
"We do not have the coordinates," Spock says, and McCoy shakes his head.
"They're already gone. Give it up, Jim. He made his decision—and he decided this wasn't for you."
McCoy stops and adds, making eye contact with Spock, "Or you. So go home. Both of you."
X X X X X X X X X
Uhura moves away from the door and the Ambassador walks into Spock's apartment. He waits for her to close the door and then follows her to the sofa.
"I thought you were with Spock!" she says. She is obviously alarmed, and he hurries to reassure her that nothing is wrong.
"It seems that I will not need his assistance after all," the Ambassador says, and he sees her sink back into the sofa. Relief? And happiness, yes—she lets out a deep breath and smiles at him.
"I'm so glad," she says, and then, as quickly as she smiles, her brow wrinkles. How amusing her expressions are! How….pleasing.
"But," she says, "you are okay?"
"I am indeed," the Ambassador says. "I will be leaving soon—"
He hears her make a tiny gasp.
"Spock has told you of my plans?" he asks, and she slowly nods.
At that he stands up, moving toward the holovids on the bookshelf. He senses Uhura watching, and sure enough, when he turns towards her, she is looking at him intently.
"Spock's mother," he says, picking up the picture of Amanda and Spock standing side by side. "Did you know her?"
Uhura purses her lips and shakes her head—sadly? A slight frown flickers over her brow.
"We spoke once in passing," she says, and this time the Ambassador can hear the sadness in her voice.
"And Vulcan?" he says, picking up a landscape of red and purple rocks. "Did you ever visit?"
Again the sad tone as she tells him no.
"A pity," he says softly, replacing the holovids. "I am glad that you are here tonight," he adds, moving back towards the sofa and sitting down. "I was not certain that you would be."
He sees Uhura blink twice—his words have surprised her.
"Spock should be here soon," she offers.
"I will be gone before he returns," he says. He debates telling her that to his certain knowledge, the captain and his first officer are on a wild goose chase—one he put in motion, keeping them out of the way while he manages his departure. But she might take offense—or worse, find his actions illogical.
Instead, he says, "With your permission, I would like to leave something for him. You can give it to him when he returns."
"Of course," she says, her eyes widening.
"I have resisted sharing too much of my own history with Spock. He should be free to find his own path. My decisions, after all, were based on an equation that may not be true in this universe. Our lives bear certain similarities, but they are not the same."
He sees Uhura nodding. A remarkable young woman—he feels a wave of delight that she and Spock have each other.
"But I would like to share one memory that has no danger for him," he says. "The young woman died many years ago, and I feel I owe her a….tribute….of some sort. If I do not return—"
And here he pauses, weighing his words carefully.
"I would find great comfort in knowing that this memory is kept alive. May I?"
He reaches out his hand, waiting for her almost imperceptible nod.
As he always does when he mind melds with humans, the Ambassador feels first an emotion that he thinks of as coming home—a tardy acknowledgment of his mother's steady presence in his being. The human part of him rejoices in the chaotic tumbling thoughts his Vulcan half strives so hard to corral.
Like a curtain that he has to push aside, he moves further into Uhura's mind—and is struck immediately at how musical she is—how lilting even her inner voice sounds. He considers showing her a quick image of his own Uhura playing his lyre in the recreation room onboard the Enterprise, but like Spock, she may find the knowledge of her counterpart burdensome.
After all, human literature is full of characters who discovered their fate and then ruined themselves trying to bring it to pass—Oedipus, Macbeth. Better not to know—to believe that the future is wide open.
Here, he tells her, showing her Leila Kalomi as she was when he first met her—studious and quiet, almost shy.
She's lovely, Uhura thinks, and the Ambassador feels her curiosity blossom. Like a film editor, he selects scenes from their life together—planning a lecture as professor and assistant, a trip to a botanical garden in the desert near Phoenix, a meal cooked and shared at his house—he unrolls these scenes with care, sensing Uhura's responses before moving to the next.
Relentlessly he shows her Leila's growing disappointment in their relationship—nor does he hide his own part in what happens.
A wave of sorrow and regret—his own, or Uhura's empathic response?
He moves to the memory he most wants to preserve—the day when the Enterprise arrived and found the colonists of Omicron Ceti III hale and hearty.
For so long he has kept that day buried in his memory—mostly out of the shame of his lack of control—that resurrecting it again in fine detail is physically painful. He feels Uhura wince and he starts to pull back his hand—but her voice seeks him out.
Show me, she says, and Leila walks again in his mind, pointing out the seed pods that freed him to say I love you.
He shows her an afternoon that had been a kaleidoscope of color and sound—tree climbing and cloud watching, the unexpected pleasure of sex in a meadow, the quietude of a cup of tea shared with people who understood him, who accepted him.
He hesitates briefly—should he end the memory here?—but Uhura nudges him on and he shows her his last conversation with Leila before they parted again—this time for good.
She knew you loved her, Uhura says, her voice a soothing balm. Knowing was enough.
Pulling back his hand, the Ambassador breaks their link.
"I must go," he says, standing and making his way to the door.
"Live long and prosper, Lieutenant," he says, his dark eyes on hers.
And then he adds, "Ms. Uhura…..Nyota."
With that, he opens the door and lets himself out.
X X X X X X X X
Later that evening, Spock is quieter than usual but not morose or upset that Nyota can sense. He seems thoughtful, pondering.
Without discussing their plans, they fall together into an easy rhythm in the kitchen, chopping vegetables for a quick stir fry. As they often do, they carry their plates to the living area and sit beside each other on the sofa, Nyota leaning into Spock's arm and flicking her hand on his occasionally, just to feel the electric connection.
When they are finished and she thinks she can speak calmly, Nyota says, "He was here today."
Spock does not ask her who as most people would. Nyota grins at herself for predicting—correctly—that his intuition would jump start their conversation.
"Aren't you curious about why?" she says, tipping her head to the side so that she can catch his eye.
"You will tell me regardless of my emotional investment," Spock says drily, and Nyota laughs.
"He brought you a gift," she says slyly, knowing that Spock will look about the apartment for some artifact. This could be fun—watching him try to play Sherlock Holmes with so little data.
She pivots on the sofa to see him better. Spock, however, doesn't move.
"Well?" she asks. "Aren't you going to try to figure it out?"
"I do not need to," Spock says, and Nyota huffs at him in mock indignation. "I already know what it is."
"You couldn't!" she exclaims. Is he teasing her? He looks serious, though sometimes he can hide his amusement from her when she is not looking carefully.
And then an idea occurs to her.
"He told you!"
"He communicated nothing of the sort," Spock says.
"Then how—wait!" she says. "You haven't told me yet what you think it is. You might be wrong."
"Unlikely," Spock says, shifting on the sofa so that his arm is draped around Nyota's shoulder.
"So," she says, tugging his arm closer, "spill the beans."
"No stalling! What's the gift, if you think you are so smart?"
Spock looks around the room and Nyota grins. Busted!
She starts to gloat and then Spock says, "First, I will tell you what the gift is not."
"It is not an actual object. If it were, it would be in view, or you would have given away its position by looking toward it when you mentioned it—but you did not. Furthermore, the Ambassador lost all of his material possessions when he became trapped in this continuum—so it is not an article with sentimental or personal value."
"Oh," Nyota says, slightly deflated. "Well, you still haven't said what it is."
"It is not electronic data, or the Ambassador would have transmitted it via the network rather than in person. So, it is not in the computer or in a holovid."
"No," Nyota says, and Spock tilts his head.
"The likelihood that it is information per se is low, since the Ambassador has not lived in this time continuum long enough to have acquired much knowledge that I do not also possess."
By now Nyota is frowning at him, though he doesn't seem to notice.
"Therefore, I believe that the Ambassador has shared a memory of some sort with you, possibly verbally, but the odds are that he chose to show you in a mind meld, something that he seems to favor with humans."
Nyota lets out a breath.
"You really are no fun," she says.
"As my mother often complained."
"Do you want to see it? It is quite lovely—but sad, too."
She tucks her feet up on the sofa and watches Spock as the tiniest shifts in his expression flutter across his face.
"Later," he says at last. "When we have finished making some of our own memories."
"Is that what we are about to do?" she says playfully but is surprised to see a somber expression cross his features.
"Nyota," he says, reaching and taking her hands in his own, "when I thought that I might have to leave—"
"I was angry," she finishes, and he nods.
"But I understood why you needed to," she says, and he nods again.
He leans forward and kisses her then, lightly, and through their touch she knows what he cannot say with words, that he loves her, even as the Ambassador had loved Leila, and knowing it is enough.
A/N: Thus ends this little story. Some reviewers have taken me to task for Nyota's willingness to sacrifice her own self-interest when she realizes that Spock may leave with the Ambassador for Romulus. In my estimation, she's upset and angry, but she's strong enough to face a future without him if she has to...likewise, if you were looking for a mushy conversation about love between our couple, you may have found the end of this story unsatisfying...but I can't picture Spock suddenly able to be that expressive...and I think Nyota is perceptive enough...and mature enough...to accept him for who he is.
Also, if you wanted to find out the Ambassador's ultimate fate, this ending may be disappointing...I've sent him off into serious danger. Perhaps I will drop in on him in the future to see what he's up to...
Thank you to all my readers who have been patient as I've moved in and out of chronological order around my little corner of the Star Trek universe. I'm about to jump backwards to an event that gave Nyota and Spock some difficulty during their Academy days...soon after they became lovers and before anyone found them out...it will follow "The Word You Mean" in the timeline.
Thanks to StarTrekFanWriter for all her suggestions! Her newest story about Spock and T'Pring, "The Girl's Alright," is terrific!