Chapter 98


"T'Kehr, are you well?"

Amanda realised one of her students was speaking to her. The young female. Amanda found her mind to be fond of drifting recently…

"What is it?" she asked, sounding more irritable than she meant to.

"It has been past the time to end the examination," the student informed her.

Amanda looked at the PADD in her lap and it was true. The timer she had been using to watch the time was now sat at zero. How had she missed that?

Amanda shook her head.

"Students, finish your typing. Your time is up."

It turned out that she didn't have to tell them that as they seemed to have already stopped. Trying not to appear flustered, Amanda walked past their desks and collected their PADDs. She would review their answers later. She placed the dusky sheets in a small satchel she had become accustomed to carrying. As she reorganised the contents in her bag the female student asked her another question.

"T'Kehr, what were you doing just now?" she asked curiously. "Your PADD was alerting you yet you did not notice."

Amanda held back the natural instinct to apologise.

"I was daydreaming," she explained.

The students looked amongst themselves for a moment before the female looked back at her once more.

"Explain this phenomenon," she demanded.

Amanda tried unsuccessfully to stifle the surprise she felt. This was the first time that her students had shown any true interest in human behaviour. It was unfortunate as the topic of imagination was supposed to be taught in a week's time but if it held their interest she didn't mind shuffling things around.

The only issue was that she didn't have her pre-prepared notes with her…

"It is a human activity where the mind is disassociated from the present into moments of reverie or imagination."

She noticed her students typing down the information on their desk screens.

"Define imagination, please," said the quiet analytical mind sat on her left.

Amanda noted his politeness. She was glad her lesson in social etiquette had been useful.

"It is the use of the mind to create new ideas, concepts or visions without the limitations of the current moment."

More typing... Amanda always wondered why they wrote things down given that they had eidetic memories. Perhaps the knowledge was easier to transfer that way than through the intimacy of a mental connection.

"And why were you daydreaming?" asked the female.

Amanda smirked mentally. Why, indeed?

"It was not a conscious choice. A human can daydream by choice but there are times when there are tasks which require little concentration that the mind will, as some say, "switch off" to process information."

Before they began to ask too many questions about her distracted state of mind, Amanda pulled up a video which she had pre-prepared earlier. She had wanted to perform this exercise outside of the classroom but Vulcan didn't have clouds in the sky very often.

Her students watched as the patch of blue in front of them had clouds moving in and out of view. They seemed suitably distracted.

"Let's test your imagination. From looking at these clouds I want you to imagine that they represent objects. What can you see?"

In what felt like no time at all it was the evening and Amanda was preparing to go to T'Pen's recital. She had her statement blue robe with a few adornments that T'Pen had helped her select. T'Pen was already ready, dressed in an amber coloured dress with her hair specially decorated. She must be looking forward to this to have allowed someone to style her hair so, Amanda thought.

Amanda would have invited Sarek to come with them but he had become scarce recently. The renegotiation of trade agreements with other planets seemed to take up much of his time and he wasn't inclined to involve her.

Amanda pulled up her hood.

"Let's go T'Pen."

The small girl nodded at her in agreement before they made their way to the exit.

As Amanda drew the door open, T'Sang appeared, slightly out of breath.

"My lady, you are not dressed! We must be quick, the Ambassador is expecting you."

She bustled past, dropped her portfolio on the low lying sofa and dashed into the bedroom.

Amanda raised her eyebrow in question to T'Pen but she did not respond. Amanda made her way cautiously to the bedroom, peering around the door as T'Sang delved into her closet to pull out an ornate and heavy robe.

"We cannot delay!" she said gesturing to her. "T'Pen you must help me with the headdress."

It took T'Sang a few moments to realise that neither of them had moved.

"T'Sang, I am attending T'Pen's dance recital tonight. I agreed to it only weeks ago," Amanda informed her.

T'Sang straightened stiffly, bewilderment etched on her features.

"But my lady, you agreed to attend the diplomatic corps dinner this evening. The Ambassador says you must attend for your formal introduction as his wife."

Oh blast. Amanda put her hand to her head in embarrassment. Oh blast oh blast oh blast! She remembered that she had agreed to it now but she had no idea that they were both happening at the same time. Oh she should have been more careful!

T'Sang, taking Amanda's silence as acquiescence, moved forward to begin to remove Amanda's robe but Amanda held her hands up to stop her.

"T'Sang, I… I can't go."

Amanda looked at the small girl standing next to her. No emotion was exposed on her face but Amanda knew she couldn't abandon her. Not until the child was ready to let her go.

"What? But you agreed…"

"Yes, I know I agreed," Amanda interrupted. "But I agreed to T'Pen's request first and…" she stopped herself short from saying that T'Pen needed her the most. "The Ambassador is fully capable of handling the event in my absence. There will be other events and I will be introduced then. He will understand."

Amanda knew that there would be hell to pay but she couldn't let T'Pen down. Not after all that had happened to her. Sarek just needed to inform them that she was required elsewhere and there would be no harm done.

T'Sang seemed to go pale.

"My lady you have to understand. The Ambassador says that you must attend. If you do not go you will embarrass him," she explained.

Amanda felt her frustration flare at the girl. It wasn't the first time that she had appeared to instruct her on the proper conduct of an Ambassador's wife.

"T'Sang this need not concern you."

Amanda took a deep breath. She tried to talk the girl down calmly, gently.

"You care too much on this topic. All will be well. If you are able to, please send a message to Se'tek. He will know what to do."

T'Sang stood there, still clutching the hem of the robe she wished Amanda to wear. Her eyes darted about furiously before settling on her once more. It was almost like she was communicating with someone. Amanda gritted her teeth at the idea that T'Sang could speak with her husband whilst she could not.

"But your husband…"

Amanda felt her anger flare uncontrollably.

"Yes T'Sang, my husband. I am his wife and I decide what I shall or shall not do."

T'Sang flinched, dropping the gown before hurrying out of the room.

Amanda realised this was the first display of emotion she had ever shown her attendants. She felt greatly ashamed. Why of all the emotions did it have to be anger? She cast her eyes wonderingly to her side where T'Pen still stood.

"T'Pen… I… If you do not wish for me to attend after my misconduct then I understand. I should not have shouted," Amanda apologised.

The girl looked at her with a measured gaze.

"T'Sang must respect your relationship," she said quietly.

Amanda raised her eyebrows in surprise. What did she mean by that? Before she could ask, T'Pen spoke again.

"We must leave now or we will be late."

Amanda nodded before following her briskly out of the door and into the compound.

It was some hours later when Amanda returned to their quarters. The night was still and silent. It didn't bode well. There was an electrical storm building. Amanda could feel it in her skin.

Closing the door behind her, Amanda leaned against it and sighed heavily. The recital had been a joy to watch. T'Pen had been in her element as she had performed and she danced so beautifully; so graceful and elegant in her movement for such a young age.

Amanda had been able to notice the other appreciative gazes about the room. Even T'Nerrin seemed proud of the girl's accomplishment and Amanda had previously held worries that she would not be treated well. Those worries were clearly unfounded.

Amanda reached up to remove her headscarf whilst she moved into the living area. The rooms were dark signalling that Sarek hadn't returned from the diplomatic dinner. Something she wasn't looking forward to in the slightest.

Turning on some lights, she threw the headscarf onto the sofa and realised that T'Sang's portfolio was still there. Amanda knelt down onto the thin cushions and held her weary head in her hands. She was going to have to make it up to T'Sang for her outburst. She knew that T'Sang was only trying to do her best in her attendant role. Perhaps Amanda would need to consider letting her go for another more affluent position.

As Amanda pondered the thought she pulled the portfolio towards her and began to pour over T'Sang's drawings. Many of these she had seen T'Sang complete in their evenings in the great hall; sketching other clan members' profiles as they sat and conversed.

The first flash of the electrical storm flooded the room briefly as it bled in through the window slits and ventilation shaft. Amanda continued to turn the pages unperturbed.

Amanda marvelled at the renderings of so many clan members in T'Sang's collection. There was also the occasional animal drawn with the odd landscape but portraits definitely seemed to be T'Sang's specialism.

Amanda smiled as she found a small section of drawings of her and T'Pen, seemingly of their actions in day to day activity. Amanda found the small sketch of her frowning in concentration as she marked her students' papers to be particularly apt.

These sketches soon gave way to drawings of Sarek and the different attire he wore as Ambassador and Vulcan husband. She had a real flair to grasp his angular jaw, sweeping brow and the cool look of calculating assessment he gave most people. Amanda considered formally commissioning her for a sketch of him.

Another flash as Amanda continued to browse.

As Amanda continued through the pages of the portfolio she began to notice something rather strange. Page after page seemed to focus on her study of Sarek…

Another flash bleached the room. This time with a whisper of a crackling sound slowly behind.

Amanda's anxiety grew as she thumbed through more pages and still couldn't find another subject. There were facial, full body portraits. Sketches in a myriad different situations. She had no idea he could be sketched in so many different ways.

Perhaps he is just the focus of a special project that she is working on, Amanda said reasonably to herself. As Amanda came closer to fresh pages that held no mark Amanda perused the more recent drawings. Of which, one was of Sarek staring back at her bare chested. Of course! From when he stepped out of the shower… She thought T'Sang had seemed distracted at the time.

Amanda dubiously continued as she viewed sketches of different angles of him. Then turning the page she saw that for what T'Sang hadn't already seen, she had applied a healthy dose of imagination to…

An even bigger flash of light bleached the room and Amanda slammed the portfolio shut in front of her breathing quickly. The crackling sound grew louder in her ears as the front door suddenly swung open and Amanda locked eyes on her husband.