Parallels and Divergences

By

Pat Foley

Rene and Georgette Magritte with their dog after the war

Returned to their hotel suite and they unlocked the door.

Easily losing their evening clothes, they danced by the light of the moon,

To the Penguins, the Moonglows, the Orioles, The Five Satins

The deep forbidden music they'd been longing for…

Rene and Georgette Magritte with their dog after the war

- Paul Simon

The Enterprise had returned triumphant from dealing with John Harrison, and her crew were back at Starfleet HQ waiting through the refit and repairs for their next assignment.

"Hey, handsome," Nyota Uhura called as a certain tall, dark Vulcan crossed the mezzanine.

Spock turned and raising a brow, came over to where she was sitting at one of the many little tables scattered through the atrium.

She laughed in delight. "Caught you! You do think you are handsome. Of all the men around, you're the one who turned."

"I did recognize your voice," Spock noted dryly.

Uhura gestured to the chair opposite. "Do you have time for a coffee break? Or are you scheduled somewhere?"

"I do have quite a few important tasks," Spock said. Tilting his head judiciously, he accepted the invitation, joining her at the table. The atrium in the Starfleet HQ in San Francisco served also as an Officer's Mess. Above Terra, the new Enterprise circled in orbit, being outfitted for its next mission. "But I also have some interesting - and quite pertinent – news to impart."

"A five year mission," Uhura said, eyes shining, when he explained what he'd just been told. "Jim was right!"

"Belatedly," Spock said in reluctant concession.

"It just galls you when he's right, doesn't it?" she teased.

"Hardly," Spock said pulling in a betraying curve in his mouth. "Or I would never agree to serve under him, particularly on a long term mission when we may often be largely out of contact with any alternate authority."

"Well, you're a better man than I, because sometimes he galls me," Uhura admitted.

"Nyota, I have it on the best authority, in fact from quite intimate knowledge, that you are not of that gender at all."

"It's a good think I like your quirky sense of humor," she said, wincing at his lame joke, "because it looks like I'm in for five unrelieved years of it."

"Speaking of his galling you, you had best be prepared for five years of that, or consider a transfer."

"Oh, I'm getting sort of used to him," Nyota allowed. "And wither thou goest…." she added, reaching to slide her fingers over Spock's.

"That is a factor in accepting this mission which we have yet to address," Spock said gravely, looking down at their hands together. "Given the duration of this tour of duty, I believe it is time we finalized our situation."

"Finalized it," Uhura said, making a disparaging face at this phrasing. She slid her hand abruptly away. "Not the words I would have chosen for this moment. Spock, you sound like you're talking more about a business relationship, a contract than a romance."

He raised a brow in innocent defense. "On the contrary, given humans approach these arrangements with a degree of sentiment, I'm attempting-"

"Sentiment?" She sat up, glaring at him. "You call that sentiment?"

Spock sat back. "Perhaps you should have Doctor McCoy check your hearing. You've recently developed a distressing tendency to echo my statements."

"There's nothing wrong with my hearing," she flared. "If I echo them, it's because I can't believe you are saying them. Surely even Vulcans don't approach marriage with no degree of sentiment?"

"While I can't speak for all Vulcans," he said, regarding her with narrowed brows. "I don't believe they regard the practice as humans do."

"And what about you?" Nyota asked, her brows narrowed in frustration. "Where's your sentiment in this?"

Spock looked up as a cadet, recognizing him and striving to be useful, delivered his usual cup of tea. "Anything else, sir?" she asked eagerly.

Spock shook his head, not meeting her hero-worshiping eyes. Uhura set her mouth until the girl moved away.

"What is it about Vulcans that can cause so many human women to fall at their feet?"

"The phenomenon mystifies me as well," Spock answered. He was so clearly uninterested in the pretty cadet that she was partially mollified.

"And to answer your question, I can hardly say I feel what a human might upon such an occasion," Spock added, his words measured. "Perhaps finalizing is the wrong term," He continued. "But I am pleased at the prospect, as well as aware that formalizing our personal relationship is-"

Nyota leaned forward. "But I don't want to formalize our personal relationship."

Spock eyes did widen at that. "You had said yes," he reminded her. 1 He frowned. "Nyota? Has something caused you to change your mind?"

"Formal," Nyota continued, "is what we have between us in a professional relationship. That's fine on the bridge. Off duty, I don't care to be formal with you. Commander."

Spock pulled in the corners of his mouth and relaxed a bit. "I stand corrected."

"Tell me this again, Spock," Nyota said. "In different terms that will make me want to spend the rest of my life with you. Because right now, you make me wonder if I want to spend another five minutes with you, much less five years. Or all eternity."

Spock met her eyes, serious and intent in spite of her threat. He put his hand over hers. "It will be a five year mission. And given humans do approach these occasions with a degree of sentiment, as well as ceremony, I wish you to have the opportunity, before we leave, to gather before your family and friends, in your own country, and with all the trappings of human culture, and have the wedding you would wish." A curve edged the corner of his mouth. "White dresses and goats optional."2

Uhura looked down at his hand over hers and half-smiled. "I haven't made up my mind about the white dress. But I am pretty sure I'll pass on the goat."

"What a shame," Spock murmured. "I was quite looking forward to meeting that goat at last."

"Don't tempt me," she warned him, failing this time to hide her smile.

"We should see your Grandmother and your country before the Enterprise leaves," Spock said, serious again. "We have no idea if she will return to Earth before her mission is completed. It may thus be five years before you can see your relatives again." He delicately didn't mention it might be her last chance to see – and be married – with her aged grandmother present.

"I don't really want to think about that."

"It is something inherent in such a mission. And it would be remiss in both of us not to pay our respects to your family and particularly your grandmother before the Enterprise departs. For any Fleet officer, time spent with family is both rare and not to be easily discarded." He said it with heavy consciousness, as if aware that he had forever lost the chance to have his mother present.

"You're right," she looked at him. "You're always right. I do want to see Gran, and home. And we should gather before our friends and family and do this before we go."

"Quite. Do you wish to have the ceremony here in San Francisco or there? Or perhaps in both places?"

"You're moving at warp speed," Nyota said, a little overwhelmed. "They keep trying to co-opt you to the Bradley. And I wonder if I'll ever even see you again. And then the next minute -"

"It's been considerably longer than a moment between those events."

"I know," Nyota said, "but give a girl a chance to think."

"Generally your thought processes are exceptionally rapid."

"This isn't a Klingon attack," Uhura argued. "When it comes to a wedding, even a simple one, a girl needs time to plan. When I said family, I wasn't thinking of only mine but our joint family. What about your father? Can he get here?"

Spock tilted his head. "I will invite him, naturally. I would believe he would prefer to visit us in your own country. At our last meeting, he expressed a lack of fondness for the foggy damps of San Francisco. Still, he has been quite occupied with the establishment of New Vulcan and collating the census of the remaining Vulcan populace and rebuilding our civilization. He may not be free to travel."

"Well, but still, his only son's weddi-" On second thought, Nyota sidestepped the dangerous practice of a new bride criticizing her fiancé's father. And it might be painful for Sarek to visit Earth, a reminder of his wife. "Of course, I hope to see him if he can make it. And I think you are right. We should have the wedding at my Gran's home. In San Francisco, we can just have a reception for our Starfleet friends."

"The crew will be given two week's leave, beginning in three days," Spock said. "I suggest you make your plans with your family within that schedule.

"Will they give you the same leave as the rest of the crew? Or being First Officer, are you going to be tied up getting Enterprise ready?"

"A marriage is generally a singular occasion for a Vulcan," Spock said. "So, I will accede to whatever events at this time are proper for your culture. Any number of qualified officers can handle the preparations while the Enterprise is in dock."

Nyota smiled. "So we will both be taking a real leave together. It will be good, to go back home, see my Gran again. She'll be happy to see you."

"And I to see her."

"And we can squeeze in a honeymoon, after," she added.

"A honeymoon?"

She tilted her head warningly. "You know what a honeymoon is."

"I know what one is supposed to be," Spock countered. "But still, I can't quite imagine any interval with you, even sanctioned," he added, "bringing more joy than what you have already given me." He met her gaze, his expression steady and unemotional.

It took her a minute to get hold of her own emotions. "All right. I take back the remark about a business merger. And I am definitely going to pay you back for that later. In a way you are going to appreciate."

Spock's brows rose at that. "Indeed?"

"Clueless." She marveled, shaking her head ruefully. "You are as clueless when you say the right thing as when you say the wrong one. Sometimes."

He flicked a brow at that. "Well, our present plans mean that you will have ample time in future to impart both to me."

She smiled, "Okay. I officially love you."

Spock shook his head slowly. "It's not official yet."

"Still, we have to decide, Spock," she said. "On a honeymoon? We have the leave. Do you have any preference as to where to go?"

He frowned at that. "Wouldn't you rather stay home, with your family, for the few days that we will have to spend with them?"

"You want to spend your honeymoon with my family?" her eyes went wide.

He looked at her warily. "Shouldn't I? Anyway, they will be my family too at that point."

She gave in and kissed him at that.

"The honeymoon hasn't started yet," he warned her.

She choked out a laugh. "Just you wait."

"I am afraid I must. I have a meeting," Spock said.

"And I have to get back to work, too," Nyota said, glancing at the clock. "So, I'll let my Gran know, and make the travel arrangements. We'll have the wedding and honeymoon there for just family, and a reception here for our Fleet friends when we get back. And you'll contact your father?"

Spock nodded, leaning over to kiss her lightly as he rose. "Don't forget to invite that goat," he murmured.

"I'll goat you – get you," she warned him.

"You already have me," he assured her.

"So I do," she said. "So I do."

To be continued…

1 See The Last Unicorn

2 see Guess Who is Coming to Dinner