I | II | III | IV | V | VI | VII | VIII | IX
Title: Abmarkan’es – IX
Fandom: ST TOS
Characters: Starek, Selov, Tunor, Spock
Warnings: Orions, dessert food, uninvited revelations
Notes: 20 questions over dessert. Stavret wishes he was back on the ship. Spock and Starek take their dessert elsewhere.
Spock shifts his gaze to D’nila and her furious blinking. "It is with some amusement that you will no doubt hear that I am about as reserved when intoxicated as when not. I refer you to your commander for evidence. However in the interests of, fostering warm relations with Starek’s adopted family, I can do nothing but submit myself to your questions."
For reassurance, he grips Starek’s hand.
Starek snorts at the unexpected second answer. "He really is rather pigheadedly rational under the influence. Like Stavret, but worse."
He squeezes Spock’s hand, and winks at D’nila. "I’m afraid your questions may have to be a little more cautious, than they are with me."
"What did you like about him, and when did you know you wanted to do something about it?" It sounded blunt, but for D’nila, it was a rather reserved turn of phrase. "I mean, I knew I wanted some of that as soon as I saw him — young, handsome, commander of his very own starship. What’s not to like? But that’s me. Tell me about you."
"I bought. Myself. An engineer." Starek grits out, ears greening, again, as D’nila laughs.
Spock inclines his head, ruminating. "We were sharing thoughts through a touching of hands. When I saw into his mind, not only the beauty there, but how he felt towards me . . . I realized that I harbored a similar attraction which had gone unacknowledged until that moment. It was an Orion word, incidentally: chuuln," he shapes his tongue around it carefully. "Of course, I realize now that it was only what he allowed me to see at the time. He was concerned about overstepping Vulcan emotional boundaries, I think."
"Ch —chuuln!" She howls with glee. "I taught him that word! And it’s averyspecific one…"
"Oh, that’s brilliant," she pants, wiping her eyes. "Such a naughty creature, Riov."
"This is exactly why I didn’t tell you," Starek grumbles.
Spock gives Starek’s hand a sly rub. "Also his facility the Vulcan language, at our initial meeting was quite remarkable. Was it long before you acted upon your feelings, D’nila?" He pins his mate with a look. "Or was it you who moved first?"
"I’m sure it sounds funny, but I had to really try to get Starek-daeh to play with me. He had all these superstitions about Orion mind control. Not that they aren’t true, just that they aren’t true for him — or for you. Something about the mental layout of vulcanoids just doesn’t react like the other humanoid species do." She shrugs. "It’s one of those warnings we get in training. I was surprised to see a Vulcan in the market for us, at all, until I realised that one, he wasn’t a Vulcan, and two, he needed a crew, not a brothel. Still didn’t stop us from breaking into his room and sleeping at the foot of his bed, just to see the look on his face, when he woke up."
"Actually, you might not be immune to us, Spock-daeh… That’s something you might want to test, before you have to rely on it." D’nila looks serious and contemplative for a moment, diverting her attention, briefly, to pull up one of the screens, upon which a particularly disgusted-looking Vulcan was talking about how this ‘lapse in judgement’ was all the fault of Spock’s human side, and by extension, his mother. She makes an obscene gesture at the image, and returns to the subject at hand.
"So, he let you into his head? I mean, before he got your clothes off? That’s…" Her eyes widen, and she gives Starek quite a look. "So, this was all a logical endeavour for you? Perfectly rational, despite you being bonded and virginal? I’m really not sold, here."
"Yes, a test of the sort you mentioned will prove important." Spock replies and draws a breath. "As to the other. . . ."
Spock waits for some time before he continues. "I had always felt a cool sort of neutrality towards my formerly-intended. But that brief foray into Starek’s mind was . . . it was what I felt should have occurred when I first saw into T’Pring’s. Of course we were children then, so naturally there was no sense of desire. But there was also distinct lack of acceptance. Of belonging. And these things, as well as desire, were apparent in Starek’s thoughts from the very first."
"You make me sound easy," Starek complains, burying his face in Spock’s shoulder. "I mean, I am easy, but not…"
D’nila laughs again, reaching out to rumple Starek’s hair. "I know you better than that. You don’t do relationships. You get bored too fast. Except with this one. You haven’t shut up about how one day you were going to catch the great Spock, and have your way with him, and paint sunsets on his chest, and then get shunned, in the morning."
She shoves Starek with her foot. "Didn’t work out that way, did it?"
"Oh, imirrhlhhse. Please tell me you didn’t just say that out loud." Starek pulls away from Spock, resting his head on his hands, on the edge of the table. "It was supposed to end when you knew me for what I was, Spock. I always thought you’d be the end of my career. One final moment of glory, and then an execution. I really thought you’d hate me for what I would do. Then I did it. Here we are…"
Spock finds Starek’s latest admission profoundly unsettling. He makes a mental note to ask him about it later, when they are alone.
"Hey, wait, you did paint sunsets on him, and I didn’t get photos? You promised me pictures!"
"There have been far too many photographs already," Spock reminds her gently. Starek just groans into his hands and shakes his head. Selov, Merendith, and Stavret also return — the latter looking out for any untoward activities before committing himself to an entrance.
D’nila pushes Spock, with her foot, this time. "Sure there are stills, but they don’t do you justice. And you’re not painted up like a sunset in any of them."
Stavret makes a small choked sound of dismay, and Starek finally raises his head from the table. "D’nila, stop offending my second. It’s bad for morale."
"Yes, but chocolate is good for morale, S’thora." Merendith sets the dessert on the table, behind D’nila. "Except for the part where you’re not allowed to have any."
Anyone who has ever said that Andorians appear generally non-threatening, and that their blue skin is lovely and calming, has obviously never met one, Starek thinks, raising both hands. "Hey, hey… I don’t want any."
"Selov-daeh, general opinion has three main parts, those who support our happy love-birds, those who think they’re a violation of the natural order, and those who think the video is a fake, released to discredit Sarek-kiitha." D’nila turns, sliding off the table at Selov’s feet, lowering her head and raising her arms, offering the interface plate to him.
"I told you," Starek hisses to Spock, pointing at D’nila, as he recognises the gesture as proof of point, regarding the cultural context of his own reflexive use of the pose, the night they met.
At this point Tunor shuffles in, looking much the worse for wear. Selov is instantly solicitous, patting the sofa, assuming a sympathetic expression, and fixing a plate with the first slice of dessert-bread.
"Was it bad, telsu?"
The more soberly-garbed Vulcan shakes his head. "Why I of all suvel nahan po’Surak ever suggested we have a child -"
"Now, now. Have some of this lovely dessert." Tunor gives the shihvek-kap a look that suggests he’d like to bury his face in it before composedly retrieving his eating utensils.
Starek raises an eyebrow at Spock. "No kids. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in the last ten days, it’s that they are more trouble than I feel the need to deal with. Myself included."
He also looks up at D’nila, who is still frozen in place, waiting. With a sigh, he grabs the interface panel, tosses it onto the arm of the couch, and spins her off the table, and onto his lap. "Stop being a slave and be sociable."
She stretches back, nuzzling Starek’s ear and reaching up around the back of his head, just for appearances. Given another moment, she might issue a horrifically offensive statement on Starek’s proclivities, but Merendith cuts her off by throwing spoon down the front of her shirt.
D’nila squeals and leaps up, trying to shake out the spoon, while Stavret snickers quietly and Merendith pretends nothing at all has occurred. Starek looks up from where he is now sprawled across Spock, with a faint and apologetic smile.
"Sorry, I didn’t mean to screw up the interactions of three people’s families. I swear I was only in it for a chance at Spock." Starek has no idea what to say, at this point — he is in the awkward position of not partaking of dessert, being responsible for disrupting the social norms of Vulcan, and getting trampled by an Orion with a cold spoon in her clothing.
"I think it best if we discuss our reproductive choices in private, tal-kam." Spock is too amused to be as severe as the situation warrants. "Furthermore, it is far too soon to be discussing anything of that nature."
And this is all he has time to say before his communicator goes off. His Starfleet communicator.
Spock does not so much stiffen as perform every subsequent action very slowly. He moves Starek off his lap, reaches into the pocket of his overtunic, and carefully withdraws the comm. Everyone else in the room goes silent as they see the familiar device.
"Spock here," he says rising, preparing to continue the call in the hallway. "Yes Sir. Yes I am near one now, but it is not-," and he turns back around. "Very well. Which channel? Yes, of course, Captain. Spock out."
He snaps the communicator shut.
"Stavret, tie that call down." Starek’s eyes are wide and unfocused, and his hands play with the air, as he scoots back out of range of the main screen. "If the man doesn’t care about the incoming transmission, then neither do we, but you make sure that everything leaving this room is encrypted."
Stavret doesn’t respond, except to hold out his hand for the interface plate, which D’nila hands to him, as he cocks his head at Merendith, and moves to where Starek waits, offscreen. Merendith follows, and the crew waits, together, to see if they will need to flee.
After a few moments, Stavret hands his PADD to D’nila, who nods. "We’re locked down, Spock-daeh," she announces. "Your comments are secure."
With a nod, he relays the code for the frequency and she dials it in.
The largest holo dissolves into static and then clears to reveal Christopher Pike, his square-jawed visage carefully neutral. "Junior Science Officer Spock."
"Captain." Spock is as rigid as Starek has ever seen.
"I have some good news for you, son," and his light eyes dance with feeling. "The Federation Council has determined that you are not a danger to Starfleet security. You are therefore reinstated, effectively immediately."
"Captain," Spock is as dubiously logical as ever, "This is indeed agreeable news. However, I fail to understand how the Council could have come to such a rapid decision. The news of my bonding is still spreading across federated space."
"Recording pause," says Pike hiking his chair forward and leaning over his desk. "Off-record, Mr. Spock, I can tell you that it the Council probably didn’t get a chance to vote. Instead the . . . suggestion seems to have originated with Starfleet Command and the higher-ups will just push it through afterwards.
"Looks like finally smartened up," Pike continues, "You’re too valuable to lose, and the way Starfleet treated you after the initial incident was a damn shame. You can rest assured that I was pounding on some doors when it got to me. Vulcans can say whatever they like — and likely they’ll be saying it for awhile yet — but I can tell you now that I’m sorry that interrogation and suspension ever happened. Also, congratulations on getting married. I wish you every success."
"Thank you, Captain." Spock looks faintly surprised, indicating he must actually be very surprised indeed.
"Resume recording. I’m sorry, Mr. Spock, I can’t go into detail about that. By the way, congratulations on your wedding. It’s a pleasure to see my officers settled down. Now, how soon can you make it back to us?"
"How soon!?" Starek was on his feet, before Stavret could stop him, stepping into the pane, one hand on Spock’s shoulder. "No sooner than a week from tomorrow. He fvadt-esiu got married, this afternoon. To me. And I will not stand for anything less. Even my people would give a man a little time to himself, under the circumstances. At a time like this, family must come before —"
Merendith lays Starek out with one shot to the head, and catches him on the way down. "Beg your pardon, Captain. I agree with his sentiments completely, but my s’thora tends to talk too much for anyone’s health."
Stavret looks horrified as Merendith drops back out of view, cradling a semi-conscious Starek. He gives her quite the eye, before he starts tending to Starek to the best of his ability, while the doctor continues to watch the conversation. He won’t wake Starek, yet — he knows that this is not the time for the things that will come out of his mouth.
Unable to suitably reprimand Merendith, while his CO is onscreen, or Starek, while he is unconscious, Spock nonetheless gives the pair of them a withering look.
Assuming a tone of utmost resignation, Spock addresses the screen. "Captain, my new family extends greetings in in its own . . . unique manner."
Pike looks suitably taken aback. "You know what, Spock, I think you do need that week. Enjoy your honeymoon, son. Pike out."
Merendith spins a hypo in her fingers, before handing it to Stavret. He wraps an arm around Starek’s chest, holds him down, and applies the stimulant to the commander’s neck. Starek strains up, cursing in Romulan, for a few seconds, before his sense returns to him, and he collapses against Stavret, panting.
"You were getting long-winded and political, S’thora. Don’t do that in front of other people’s commanding officers." Merendith pats Starek roughly on the shoulder.
"Thanks, I think," Starek replies, rubbing his head. "No real damage?"
"She caught you. No damage to the furniture, nothing but a shot to the head, for you," Stavret offers, with a shrug. "You’ve got to get that under control, Starek-saj. One of these days, she’s going to give you a concussion if you don’t shut up."
Starek laughs and stands, wrapping his arms around Spock. "Three bruises, today, k’diwa. Want to go make it four, while these lovely folks finish dessert?"
Merendith looks up. "I only hit you twice."
"I know." Starek grins down, obscenely, and Stavret covers his face in self-defense and reaches for a slice of the dessert bread. He wonders how he has stayed relatively sober while living with Starek.
Spock eyes Starek hungrily, but can’t bring himself to shun respectable behavior so flagrantly. "At the appropriate time, tal-kam."
Selov lifts a brow at the pair of them. "Don’t be absurd, taluhk ek’zerlar t’nash-veh. We’re having our dessert. Now go have yours."
A slight bow is what Selov gets as an answer. That, and the delicious sight of watching Spock give his mate a resounding crack on the ass, propelling Starek a few steps towards the exit.
"I believe you heard our host, yeht-veh." His voice is light but his expression is quite predatory. "Now get going."
Starek squeaks, rather inappropriately for a man of his age and reputation, and with a look that is half offense and half desire, he intertwines his fingers with Spock’s and pulls him out of the room.
"Thank you," Stavret says to Selov, his voice thick with relief. "I don’t know how much more of that I could have taken, and still kept my dinner down."
D’nila laughs, bending over Stavret to get some dessert, and resting her breasts rather intentionally atop his head. "You never have any fun, do you, Stavret?"
Merendith covers her mouth and chokes back a laugh, as Stavret nearly matches the Orion in skin-tone.
"I have plenty of fun, D’nila! Just not … are you seriously … Mere-daeh!" Stavret’s face is frozen in shock and horror. It’s not that D’nila isn’t appealing, it’s just that she’s Orion. And they’re in public.
"D’nila-kai! Not in front of the Vulcans!" Merendith reproves, from behind her hand, looking far too amused at the situation.
"Certainly not, my dear. As I said, we so rarely have guests."
"And I," says Tunor, "with the help of this extraordinary dessert, may forget this evening entirely. Let us raise a toast," and hazy-eyed, he looks dubiously at his fork "a . . . bread. To Spock and Starek!"
Stavret raises a slice of his own. "To soundproofing the commander’s quarters!"
"To finally getting someone on that ship with some damned sense!" Merendith gripes, knocking her wrist against Stavret’s, dessert held aloft.
"To new toys!" D’nila cheers, dripping chocolate on Stavret.
A surprisingly clear "Blighted ass-barge! Spock, are you seriously — I thought — Wait!" can be heard, echoing through the halls, in Starek’s voice, followed by a few clumsy thumps and the sound of a closing door.