Author's Note: Hello all! Thanks for stopping by. Some of you may recognize snippets here and there as part of one of my other fics, Frammenti. After consideration, I've decided to expand Frammenti from its original purpose as a drabble collection into a full-length fic. However, the pieces I had written for Frammenti will appear here.
Now that that's clear as mud. A couple of things, just so they don't get lost in translation (har-har):
The title means "A Shared Perspective" in Vulcan. Or as close to it as I could get from the online Vulcan Dictionary.
The italicized words underneath the chapter numbers will either mean "From Spock's Perspective" or "From Nyota's Perspective". (The one with "Spokh" in it is Spock's, and the one with "Nyota" in it is Nyota, for those who are common-sense challenged.) As of right now, they are all from Spock's perspective, as I'm considering doing a sequel entirely from Nyota's. But, she may decide she wants some lines in here as well, so for the sake of uniformity, I threw in the distinction.
Vulcan/Swahili words will appear either in italics (if the rest of the passage is in normal font) or normal font (if the rest of the passage is in italics). It should be easy enough to follow along. I will do my best to remember to provide translations at the bottom of each chapter, though you should be able to glean the meaning from context clues. All non-English words used will either be from Google translate, or the VLD, so feel free to look any up that I miss, or let me know in a review, and I'll put the definitions in. Any full on conversations in any language will appear in English, with the language referenced (i.e., Spock slipped easily into his native tongue, responding, "_".)
Italicized passages represent either flashbacks or Spock's inner turmoil; the tense will give you a clue. The focus of this fic, for me, is to explore the inner conflict of the character, and resolve it in a way that shows character growth and development. Zachary Quinto's Spock is much more troubled than Leonard Nimoy's. Some kind of revolution took place in there somewhere. Passage of time and/or change of scenery is signaled by a bolded line.
As JJ Abrams rather reinvented the entire ST universe, that leaves me, as an author, lots of room to play. I'll try to stay pretty close to established cannon, and sometimes even established fannon, but I've taken several creative liberties as well.
I'm an erratic poster. I tend to go months and months without updating. Just an FYI. Though, the fact that I have the first five chapters already written and in the process of being revised, along with having the first ten outlined in detail, is promising. I don't have a set "update schedule"; it just happens when it does. I'm a college student. I also work and have a social life. I write in my free time, for pleasure. I also don't have a beta; so any mistake you see is mine, and feel free to point it out. That said, I appreciate each and every one of my readers, and I read and take into serious consideration, each and every review. Don't be afraid to leave criticism; it's how I grow as a writer.
And last but not least, none of this stuff belongs to me, except the majority of the actual typed words. Kudos to Gene Roddenberry and JJ Abrams for giving me such a nice little sandbox to play in. Any quote that appears will be appropriately cited; along the same lines, I ask that you not replicate or reuse any of my work without my permission, as it is my original work.
Phew. Now that I've scared off the majority of you, on to what you really came for: the story.
"It's like seeing someone for the first time,
and you look at each other for a few seconds.
Next moment, the person's gone, and it's too late to do anything about it..."
He remembers with perfect clarity the first time he saw her.
It was a Sunday morning, and he was perusing a local farmers' market, as was his usual Sunday morning routine. He was gingerly picking through a display of mangoes, when he was jostled by a group of small children pushing past. Caught off guard, he stumbled, his leg knocking against the leg of the display tables. Mangoes began showering down around him and instinctively, he threw an arm out in an attempt to stem the avalanche. He was contemplating his situation, and how to most effectively remove himself and the danger of falling fruit, when he heard a voice behind him.
"Oh! Oh my goodness—here, let me help you!"
The voice was distinctly feminine, but due to his awkward positioning, he couldn't see the woman to whom it belonged. He caught bits and pieces of her in his periphery—a swatch of white fabric here, a flash of dark hair there—as she reached around him and began to deftly reassemble the display. Her hands were slender, and cool when they brushed against the sensitive skin on the underside of his wrist. He felt the unintentional nudge of her mind against his, a fog of swirling, snippeted, incoherent thought and feeling, and resisted the urge to shift away. The contact was unsettling, but mercifully brief; in seven seconds, she had moved on to another area of the pile. As she leant farther over him, he noticed that her nails were neatly trimmed, and painted a deep charcoal.
In less than two minutes, she had relieved him of his uncomfortable position. He maneuvered as gracefully as possible from under her and straightened up, brushing a smudge of dirt from his sleeve. She arranged the remaining fruits into a visually pleasing arrangement.
"There," she declared triumphantly, turning to face him. "All fixed."
The natural upturn of of her mouth stopped abruptly short of a smile as she came to fully face him. He watched her eyes widen as her gaze bounced from the severe arch of his brow up to the delicate taper of his ear and down across the blunt lines of his hair.
He watched her carefully for her reaction, automatically cataloging her own appearance: approximately one hundred and seventy centimeters tall, an estimated fifty-two kilograms. Her bone structure spoke distinctly of African descent, though her skin tone was a lighter caramel in comparison to the deep ebony with which he was familiar. He found her face an odd paradox of protuberant and delicate, what with her high forehead, and clearly defined cheekbones. Her jaw, however, tapered in towards her mouth at an aesthetically pleasing angle. Her eyes seemed strangely sunken—though he realized upon further observation that it was only her strategic application of cosmetics that made them seem unusually, though not unattractively large and shadowed. Long dark hair fell well past her shoulder blades, the color mimicking that of her irises and again repeated in the faint lines of a Terran tattoo peeking from under the wrist of her right sleeve. In a bold contrast, a minute golden stud embedded in her right nostril caught the sunlight and glittered.
He decided that her physical appearance was altogether pleasant, though she was not particularly striking.
Not from a purely observational perspective, anyway.
His brain carefully filed all this information in less than three seconds. She still seemed somewhat at a loss for words. It was a predicament he had grown quite accustomed to over his tenure on Earth. As he had in many other occasions, he broke the silence first, and, it seemed, simultaneously, her own observation.
"Your assistance is appreciated."
Her mouth favored up again, two point seven degrees. "Of course. Any time. Although," a mischievous glint filled her eyes, "I doubt I'd be quite as much help with the pumpkins."
He followed her gaze to the left, where there was a large crate of the orange squashes. "It is fortunate, then, that my craving for mango momentarily overruled my appetite for pumpkin pie."
The dry witicism seemed to catch her off guard; a brief, startled laugh burst from her. "Indeed it is."
He inclined his head in a universal gesture of farewell. "Have a pleasant afternoon."
"You as well." She raised a hand in a brief wave, and then continued west, towards where a young Orion woman stood outside a cafe, one hand perched impatiently on her hip. She barely made it ten paces, however, before she turned suddenly and called, "Try to give the pumpkins a wide berth, yeah?"
Before he could respond, she was smiling, really smiling this time, a flash of white teeth that was literally blinding. The light reflected up to her eyes, which twinkled, the delicate skin around their edges crinkling with the force of her expression. And then, in the very next moment, the edge of the still-rising sun peeked around the edge of the building and illuminated her skin, the white of her dress, and she was glowing, caught up in an impossible halo of light, and he was breathless.
His heart beat out a rapid staccato against his ribs for one point seven seconds before he reclaimed metabolic control, and by that time, she was gone, weaving through the crowd to rejoin her companion, a faint hint of jasmine trailing along behind her.
He could not help but find her fascinating.
Spock stared up at the screen of his hand-held scanner and read off line after line of increasingly dismaying data to the ensign crouched next to his feet.
"Scanner 4.2S, three point four seven percent operational. Scanner 4.3S two point nine zero percent operational." He paused for a moment before reading the next figure. "Scanner 4.4S, zero point six five percent operational."
"Point six five?" the ensign repeated, glancing down at him for clarification. The ensign's—his name was Bradley—eyebrows were up in the vicinity of his hairline, which was saying something, as he chose to keep his hair in a tight buzz.
"Affirmative," Spock said, voice grim to his own ears.
Letting out a low whistle, Bradley typed the information into his PADD. "Looks like we're gonna have some work to do, Lieutenant Commander."
"Indeed, Ensign," Spock agreed wholeheartedly. "Scanner 4.5S, zero point two three percent operational."
Spock and Ensign Bradley continued their analysis of the USS Providence's considerable damage with little more conversation. Spock found this satisfactory; he rather enjoyed working with Ensign Bradley, who, as a human, seemed to have an unusual respect for his Vulcan habits. Their task, as well, seemed to be sufficiently distracting. In ironic contrast to it's name, the ship had been inflicted with numerous impairments, the extent of which they were still relatively uncertain. Though, considering the Providence's recent altercation involving no less than four Klingon War Birds, Spock supposed the old DY-500 class vessel was in a rather commendable state.
Spock and Ensign Bradley had just completed their examination of the scanner systems when Captain Christopher Pike's voice rang out across Engineering, "Mr. Spock! Ensign Bradley! Olly olly oxen free!"
Ensign Bradley sniggered below him, and then began descending the short ladder that led out of the central computer's hub. Spock frowned, and followed him.
"I'm afraid I am unfamiliar with your terminology, Captain," he addressed Pike once they were face to face. "'Olly olly oxen free'." He repeated the strange sounding words,enunciating carefully.
Pike grinned. "It's an old Terran phrase, Spock. Used in children's games, like Hide and Seek. It means the game is over."
Spock was familiar with the Terran game—one which his human cousins had always wanted to play—and decided it was an appropriate, if not illogical, response to his and Ensign Bradley's previous location inside the server. "Does this mean that Ensign Bradley and I 'win', Sir?" Spock asked dryly.
Pike and Bradley both laughed, and the Captain clapped a hand down on Spock's shoulder, a gesture to which he was slowly growing accustomed. "Sure, Spock. How's lunch sound as a prize?"
At the mention of food, Spock felt his stomach twist in anticipation. It had been nine point three hours since he'd last ingested sustenance.
"Sounds good to me, Sir," Bradley piped up.
"That would be satisfactory, Captain," Spock agreed.
He and Ensign Bradley packed up their equipment, and followed Captain Pike out to the shuttle bay. It was only a few minutes' ride from Space Station One, where the Providence was docked for repairs, back to the San Francisco shipyards. From there, the three men walked to a nearby diner, which was surprisingly full for nearly fifteen hundred hours in the afternoon. Thankfully, the hostess seated them back in a corner, away from the bulk of the ruckus. Ensign Bradley excused himself to the restroom shortly after submitting his order, leaving Spock and Captain Pike to their small talk.
"The ship is in need of major repairs, Captain," Spock replied in response to Pike's inquiry after the 'diagnosis' of the Providence. "The computer systems alone require extensive reparation. The War Birds' phaser fire quite literally fried nearly eighty three percent of the on-board hard drives. Transferring the information will be a laborious task."
"Do you have a time estimate?" Pike asked intently, taking a swig from his Budweiser.
Spock ran a few rough calculations mentally. "It could take anywhere from three to six weeks to repair the computer systems, Sir, depending on the amount of help available and the speed of which the necessary parts can be acquired. I am certain it will take just as long to return the physical elements to their original state as well."
"Damn," the captain swore under his breath. "I was afraid of that." The older man ran a hand over his face in a manner that Spock interpreted as exasperated. Suddenly, he sat forward, leaning across the table towards Spock.
"Were you aware that Captain Becker is currently on a medical leave of absence?"
Spock lifted an eyebrow at the abrupt change of subject. "Negative, Captain." He remembered Captain Becker from his days as a student, but he had not had any contact with the instructor in the five years since his commencement.
"Well, now you are." The Captain paused for a moment, and then added, almost distractedly, "Andorian Shingles."
Spock inclined his head respectfully, as it seemed Pike was well acquainted with Captain Becker. "I am sorry, Sir."
"Yeah," Captain Pike agreed, "so am I. They say he's stabilizing, though."
"A relief, I am sure," Spock commented.
Pike was quiet for a moment, tracing a finger around the lip of his drink and staring off absently over Spock's left shoulder. Spock felt his confusion mounting; the Captain's behavior was becoming exceedingly difficult to follow, not to mention less and less logical.
"Captain?" he prompted, almost hesitantly.
Pike seemed to snap out of his daze. He exhaled heavily, and took another drink. "Rear Admiral Cole has been unable to find what he deems an 'acceptable' replacement."
Spock's intuition suddenly clicked, his mind bringing him up to speed on the captain's trajectory. "I am a sciences officer, Captain, not a linguist," he informed Pike, rather needlessly.
"You have undeniable communication skills, Spock," Pike countered.
Spock let the irony of the captain's statement hang in the air for a moment before his eyebrow inched up again. "Possessing knowledge of and fluency in multiple federation languages makes me no more suited to instructing intergalactic communication as does having four legs makes a giraffe an acceptable racehorse."
Pike stared at him for a moment before snorting in apparent laughter. "Touche," he muttered.
There was a beat of silence before Spock, curiosity besting him, inquired, "In which courses is an instructor required?"
Captain Pike glanced up at him, eyebrows raised, with a rather smug smile beginning to spread across his features. "Advanced Phonology."
He remembered clearly his own advanced phonology course. The subject content had had less to do with actual communication than it did the creation of sound and the measurement of waves—both subjects in which he judged himself versed enough to instruct. In addition, if his calculations were correct—and he was ninety nine point eight percent sure they were—the semester would be finished before the Providence and her crew were once again fit for duty. His schedule was conveniently unoccupied.
Captain Pike's smile was approaching a full-fledged grin.
"I would like to see the lesson plans for the course, the subject matter currently being reviewed, and the academic performance of the students enrolled before I make any final commitments."
Ensign Bradley returned to his seat just as Spock was finishing his sentence. "There was a line ten kilometers long," he said in clear hyperbole, rolling his eyes. "What are we committing to?"
Spock fixed the captain with a pointed stare. "Nothing."
The heat from his flickering asenoi cast a warm glow over his face, reminiscent of Vulcan's heat. He breathed in deeply, smelling the sage of the wild bushes that lined the edges of his family's property. Slowly, he drifted back to consciousness, his internal clock informing him that he had spent much longer than was customary in meditation. He had accounted for this, however—he had risen earlier than his usual six hundred hours to afford himself an extra hour. It was to be a stressful day; he would need the extra control.
He blinked, coming to, and was cognizant once more of the fact that the scent he was so deeply inhaling was merely incense. He would not, as he halfway expected whenever coming out of his meditative trance, turn around to see the impressive lines of his family's house, or hear the pleasant sound of his mother's tinkling laughter floating on the wind. As usual, he felt the normal pang of homesickness before he pulled his tvi-sochya close around him like a blanket.
Extinguishing the flame of his fire pot, he rose, and padded silently into his quarters' small kitchenette. A cup of tea and a bowl of plomeek soup, both still steaming, were waiting for him on the tray of the replicator. He ate, finding the silence of the morning hour pleasant. There were very few instances in which he considered himself fully at ease, and these short moments of peace he awarded himself daily were one of them. Rather unconsciously, he leant his hip against the counter as he raised the spoon to his lips—a habit he had picked up from his mother as a small child—and absently considered the morning sunshine streaming in through his westward-facing windows. It was already promising to be an unseasonably warm day; Spock made a mental note to dress accordingly.
Placing his now empty bowl next to the sink, he turned to the various PADDs spread across the counter top, which held class rosters, lesson plans, and other miscellaneous information, respectively. It wasn't necessary to review the information—he, like all Vulcans, possessed an eidetic memory—but he found the replaying of information in his mind comforting. Three hundred and thirty two students, spread unevenly between six discussion groups, composed of a politically correct and almost perfectly diverse mixture: eleven Orions, thirteen Andorians, and seventeen Betazoids; of the three hundred and twenty nine native Terrans, one hundred and sixty three were of Caucasian descent, seventy Hispanic, thirty five African and twenty three Asian. He had researched their academic and disciplinary records to find them all upstanding individuals—an agreeable discovery, if not the slightest surprising.
At seven fifteen, he drained what was left of his tea, and made his way to the small en suite bathroom. After showering and carefully shaving, he dressed in the unfamiliar gray instructor's uniform and collected his PADDs into a modest black briefcase. By seven fifty, he was punching in the access code to Captain Becker's personal office, which was, indeed, disconcertingly personal. Spock tried his best to ignore the impressive collection of holographs adorning the walls, and placed his briefcase on the desk, withdrawing the pertinent materials for his first class. At seven fifty-five, he keyed in the code to unlock the adjoining classroom, and entered.
It was unchanged from his time as a cadet. The same five columns of desks stretched back five rows from the same instructor's podium placed beside the same computer console. Pulling in a deep breath, he stepped up behind the podium. It was an intriguing sensation; being situated on the opposite side of a small metal structure shouldn't have been able to affect the perception of the overall room in such a way.
He was not too proud to admit to anxiety. He would even go so far as to deem the emotion a logical response. His patterns of interaction with humans, though much improved from his arrival in San Francisco nearly seven years ago, were still lacking. It was a weakness unbecoming of an instructor—a weakness he had been actively working to improve in the short ten days since accepting the temporary position.
He allowed himself another deep inhalation and a moment to ensure he was firmly centered before opening the doors.
The fifty seven students trickled in in groups of twos and threes, and by the time eight hundred hours struck, all of them were sitting impressively quiet and still in their seats. Their manifest respect for authority was very satisfactory, indeed, he thought, as he stepped forward to introduce himself.
"Good morning." He inclined his head in his usual gesture of greeting, and his hands found their customary place nestled in the small of his back. "I am Lieutenant Commander Spock. I will be temporarily relieving Captain Becker of his duties as instructor." Judging by the expressions on some of their faces, he surmised that they were aware of the captain's ailment.
Releasing one hand to pull up the class roster on his PADD, he continued. "I would like to begin this morning's session by calling roll. When I call your name, please respond in keeping with correct Starfleet Academy protocol. I will apologize in advance for any mispronunciations that should occur. Abbott, Samuel."
A young man in the fourth row stood and snapped to attention. "Cadet Abbott present, sir."
Spock released him with a short nod. "As you were, Cadet. Carson, Kelley."
He continued down the list until he reached the last name. "Uhura, Nyota." The syllables were thick on his tongue, awkward around his teeth and the movement of his jaw—Ooh-hoo-rah, Nie-oh-tah. Frowning, he read over the name once more. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw a figure in red stand.
"Nee-oh-tah, Sir. Cadet Nyota Uhura present."
Something about her voice piqued his interest—oh! Oh my goodness, let me help you!-and he looked up, knowing before he did so who the person in front of him would be.
Her red cadet's uniform was a far cry from the white tunic he'd last seen her in, and the bronze of her legs was concealed under dark tights and regulation boots. Her hair, instead of flowing free down her back, was pulled into a knot high on her head, accentuating the graceful slope of her neck and the delicate whorl of her ears. He noticed that the gold stud was conspicuously absent.
Cadet Uhura blinked at him, dark eyes dancing and knowing and warm. She smiled the briefest of smiles—so far from the blinding flash of teeth against lips against skin, but still achieving very nearly the same effect—and straightened in her salute. It occurred to him, suddenly, that she had known his identity that day in the market.
"Nyota Uhura." The consonants were much smoother when spoken slower, more clearly; they tumbled off his lips, mellifluous. She nodded once, an affirmation, her smile growing almost imperceptibly wider.
"At ease, Cadet."
He was aware that this introduction had taken six point seven seconds longer than the previous fifty six.
He also noted that his voice was rougher, lower than its usual pitch.
He cleared his throat and continued.
"...And you always remember it, because it was there
and you let it go.
And you think to yourself, what if I'd stopped?
What if I'd said something?
"Out of Sight" (1998), Scott Frank and Elmore Leonard
asenoi—a firepot used in meditation
plomeek—traditional Vulcan cuisine; a soup, commonly eaten for breakfast.
tvi-sochya—mental control, logic, emotional control.