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Title: Abmarkan’es – VI
Fandom: ST TOS
Characters: Spock, Starek, Selov, Tunor, Merendith, Stavret, D’nila
Warnings: Violence, expletives, Orions
Notes: Cry havoc and let loose the dogs of war! Starek calls in the cavalry for a full frontal assault — pop-star style.
"Scheisse! Rhienn u’mnih, dh’aehyy lloann kehreh. Fuck, shit, damn, buggering assblights. Lau aru-yokul valit bezhun t’au – heh yi shitau vesht pash-tor svi’snazh-vipohshayek t’au." A green tint sits high on Starek’s cheeks, and his ears have flattened against his head. It is, in this moment, quite easy to see that he shares a distant ancestor with a le’matya. "Imirrhlhhse shikaen hwai u’anhelae nnea eloher aeim! Bath’pa bezhun t’au! Twice!"
He is vibrating, slightly, hands clenching and unclenching, face smoothed to a perfect blank. "Forgive me. Words failed me spectacularly, for a moment."
Folding his hands together, he rests the first two fingertips against his nose. "May I summon my chief engineer and my pilot? I feel the need to begin damage control as quickly as possible, and they are the best I have. I would not wish to impose, but I assure you, we always arrive prepared for a visit — unless I arrive as I did this morning, for which I do apologise, again. May we bring you Andorian pastry? Romulan ale? Orion — well, never mind what the Orions have to offer, but I can assure you they are generally better-behaved than I am.
His hands are moving, now, as if snapping together parts of a puzzle, eyes still on the floor, as he speaks, staring intently into something only he can see.
"Summon whomever you like," Selov offers, his expressive hands wide. "We so rarely have guests of any sort and I am in a celebratory mood."
"Celebratory?" Spock looks aghast. "I may never be able to set foot on Vulcan again. And as for Starfleet-"
Tunor uncharacteristically interrupts him. The equivalent of his close approach, in human terms, might have been a fraternal hand on the shoulder. "There is an ancient parable in many cultures with which I believe you are already familiar. That of the horse that ran away."
Spock nods, collecting himself. Regaining his customary sang-froid, now that he is bonded to Starek, appears as though it will take significant effort.
"Would you like something to drink?" Tunor adds.
"Thank you, yes."
"Sparkling water," urges Selov from where he has once again parked himself in front of the holos. "Tunor thinks the bubbles are frivolous," he says, as an aside to Starek. "But I enjoy them a great deal."
"Selov, my dear man, that’s because you are frivolous. But I find this more than acceptable. Refreshing, even."
Starek rocks back on his heels, a moment, unsure if the flood of pain and terror washing over him is his own. Might as well be, if it isn’t. Selov reminds him of home — the parts of it he liked — and the fact that he enjoyed things about ch’Rihan is not an idea he’s prepared to face, right now.
He pulls the communicator out of his pocket, stepping toward the broadest open space he can find. "Starek to bridge. I need my chiefs down here for damage control. Riena has the conn, until we return."
It is Stavret who answers, sounding concerned. "What do you need us to bring?"
Starek can hear his pilot stand, hitting brass buttons, in the background. "Tell Mer to get me something for allergies. Have D’nila bring the list. From you, I need … I need you. Bring a PADD. Leave it logged in to the onboard systems. You’re going to do some bad things, and I need you down here to do them."
"Kllhwnia." Stavret sighs. "How do you even get into these things — no, don’t answer that. In fact, don’t even try to tell me what this is about until we get there."
"My mark, three feet east," Starek says, snapping the communicator closed. "And now I get to stand here for a few minutes, while they grab things. This will be taken care of."
He looks at Spock, as though there is something else he can say, but the words won’t come. He is frightened, but calm, and that is what matters, as he lets the coldness settle through him.
"Is there anything we may provide?" Selov inquires. His hands are dancing over an interface plate in his lap, causing holo screens to shrink and grow, approach and recede, brighten and fade.
Spock eases himself closer to Starek, finding a perverse sense of security in his nearness to this living maelstrom of events and emotion. That he is now bonded with, he reminds himself, with the fact being beamed across the galaxy, faster than light.
"I have no idea. Seriously. I’m a poet. Sometimes I paint. I don’t know subspace networking from a wet sehlat’s ass." Starek laughs, faintly, wrapping an arm around Spock’s waist.
"Regrets, k’diwa?" he asks, rubbing his nose against Spock’s ear.
Then the shimmer starts, and three pirates appear, dressed more or less the part — another Romulan man, all in brown leather, an Andorian woman in a frock coat and latex knee-breeches, and an Orion woman, in a coat and pants that match her Commander’s. The Andorian is the swiftest of them, stepping forward with a handful of hyposprays, that she stuffs in Starek’s coat pocket. The Orion is next, throwing herself gleefully at Spock, but Starek catches her hip on his foot.
"D’nila, what did I tell you about touching Vulcans?"
"But, Riov! He came back for you! It’s so sweet!" she squeals, earning a dirty look from the doctor.
The other Romulan stays back, watching the rush, in amused disgust.
"Stavret, come here. I need you to hold onto Merendith. She only gets to punch me once, when I break the news."
Stavret looks entirely unamused as he steps closer.
"Well, it’s like this. You see, I came here because I’m —"
"An idiot," Merendith finishes the sentence.
"—in love, you blue-blooded ice-cube." Starek scowls, then continues. "Well, you see… I kind of eloped. I mean, I’m… Hey, did anyone see the news, this morning?"
"You married a Vulcan, and it’s all over the news," Stavret interprets.
"Are you out of your goddamn mind, S’thora?" Merendith lunges forward, and Stavret catches her easily.
"Look, I’ll lean into it. Make it good." Starek leans forward, and Merendith hits him hard enough in the eye, that he stumbles into Spock.
"Okay, now that that’s over with, can you people please act like sentients? Behind you, there, with the holo screens is Selov. You’ll like him — he’s just as charming as I am. And, of course, to my side, here, is my … ah … deyhhan. No, that’s not an accurate statement. My telsu, Spock."
Stavret gives Starek a significant look, that may or may not be entirely too amused. "Ek’tal-lan." He bows to the Vulcan. "When I have finished bailing my saj’dinam out of trouble, would you have time to discuss your thoughts on temporal mechanics? I read your paper from last year’s conference on Alpha Eridani II, and it brought up some interesting points on the nature of the perception of paradox."
Starek covers his face, and drapes an arm across D’nila’s shoulders, leading her toward where Selov sits. "Selov, this is my chief engineer, D’nila. D’nila, this is Selov, our last employer’s father. I’m going to go try to rescue Spock from Stavret, now. Don’t talk about my ass too much, while I’m gone."
Tunor, back with refreshments, moves unobtrusively around, hearing introductions and making sure everyone is well-served.
"So you’re saying they beamed aboard naked?" says Selov to D’Nila. "No, I had not heard this, mathra, please continue."
Spock has a protective arm around Starek. "Far be it from me to criticize the dynamics of your crew, tal-kam, but did your medical officer not just violate her Hippocratic oath?"
He is warmer to Stavret. "And, yes, temporal mechanics would be a pleasantly uncomplicated topic of conversation at a future time."
"Well, our riov, he’s not afraid to be seen without clothes, but that sweet thing, Spock, was just peering over his shoulder, like the —" D’nila stops, mid-sentence glancing up to see Tunor. "Oh! Riov! There are two of them! And the next one’s just as cute as the first! You do love me!"
"She’s Orion! She can’t help it!" Starek calls over, shaking his head. "They’re also together, D’nila. I don’t know that you’ll have any luck, there, but as much of a gossip as Selov may be, Tunor is just as much the engineer, I’m told."
D’nila looked back and forth between the two Vulcans, as though she’d gotten an early Christmas present.
Starek grins lopsidedly at Spock, carefully moving the swollen side of his face as little as possible. "Andorian chiurgeons are unique creatures, I’ve learned. Very skilled at cleaning up their own indiscretions, and not at all afraid to let you know they can both do and undo a solid beating."
Merendith frowns. "On most individuals, pain in a rather effective method of preventing trouble. The memory of pain generally prevents people from doing stupid things, unless, apparently, one is a drunken whore of a Romulan, like our goddamn lunatic commander, here." The doctor grins and pops Stavret under the chin, with her knuckles, in a somewhat friendly manner. "All Romulans aren’t crazed, just this one."
Stavret nods, a very Romulan hint of a smile playing at the corners of his mouth, as the arm around Merendith tightens, although in a non-aggressive fashion. He is less demonstrative than Starek, but he still isn’t too hard to read.
"I look forward to the discussion, lhhai," Stavret says, trying to completely ignore Merendith’s words, as he turns to lead her toward where D’nila is probably embarrassing the daylights out of their hosts.
"Gossip," Selov waves his hand at Starek fondly but dismissively, "As if he isn’t flattered by all the attention. So go on, petakovsu. What happened when Spock had to beam back? And stop leaning over her Tunor, you’ll frighten the poor thing. You can have her for technical discussions after I am finished."
Spock turns towards Starek, "I would advise that you tell your doctor to refrain from touching you in my presence, particularly with her fists."
Starek winks at Selov and returns his attention to Spock. "What? Why would I tell her to stop punching me? I’m an ass. She’s entitled. It’s not like she won’t fix it later."
Yet Spock remains dubious. "I will be fascinated to see the outcome of your plan, ashayam."
D’nila keeps running her mouth, squealing with giddy excitement, at appropriate intervals. "Oh, well he was wearing clothes, when he left. And I don’t speak nearly enough Vulcan, but I’m pretty sure he proposed while I was beaming him back. My poor riov cried — Don’t you say you didn’t, Starek! I was there."
Starek smiles at everyone. "In other news, I don’t have a plan. There are really a couple of ways we can do this — it’s kind of up to you, since it’s your society we’re offending. Mine doesn’t do things like this. Mine just shoots people in their sleep." He shrugs. "We can boldface it — which I’m partial to. Just stand up and say, yeah, we did that, and we’re not sorry. We can attempt to smear the messenger, which might be harder. I don’t know the girl. Or, if we can get enough backing, we can start a riot — I mean a socio-political movement. Of course, that’s kind of an extension of the first one. Then there’s the last option — we grab what we can and run like we’ve got Klingons on our nacelles."
Spock raises his eyebrow fractionally. "You mean to say that despite your desire to ‘get things under control’ you do not have an actual plan."
Selov is, as-ever, monitoring every conversation in the room. "If you are taking recommendations, I would advise a combination of options one, two, and three." A motion on the interface plate pushes all the holos back and dims them. "Although I admit that my views on this matter may be less than completely objective, my contacts in K’lan-ne and elsewhere have kept me informed of some critical sociological and demographic trends taking place on T’Khasi within the last several years.
"Our data confirm that the population density of Vulcan seems to have passed a critical point. The combination of this with the fact that our race is extremely urbanized, seems to be the cause of a dramatic increase in the incidents of broken pair-bonds in maturing adults and the consequential abandonment of traditional roles for, shall we say, less conventional living arrangements. Thus, it seems that if you were to choose option three, you would have more support than perhaps at any other time in the past."
He turns towards the newlyweds, his eyes on Spock. "Furthermore, I believe most of the federated worlds, would see a cheerful admission of your circumstances in a positive light. Andorians value honesty, Terrans, freedom of choice, and Tellarites, pride. Spock, if you wish to return to active duty, a courageous declaration of your choice will no doubt work in your favor with Starfleet as well.’
"And as for T’Pring," here the tall, brightly-robed Vulcan allows himself a sniff, "that ko-krinti may be rationally persuaded into silence once the amount of information I have on her reputation becomes known. Tell me, Spock, have you also felt . . . improper levels of, shall we say, warmth at random times within the past two years?"
"I had thought it was merely . . . ." and he trails off looking stunned.
Selov gives him the eyebrow. "I thought so. I have it on excellent authority that several Vulcans have been working to disguise the liaison between T’Pring and your cousin, Stonn."
"Riot it is, then, ladies and gentlemen!" Starek throws his arms wide, as if to embrace the plan. "D’nila, I want you and Selov to get the gossip moving. If she’s with his cousin, and we can prove it, I want it on subspace by the Vulcan evening broadcasts. Front page news, sseikea."
His eyes sparkle with excited fury — well, one of them does. The other sort of glints dimly behind the greenish swelling on that side of his face.
"Stavret, I need you to work with me and Spock. We need to cut some intentional footage here, that makes this decision seem a little less like a warp core implosion than it actually is. Merendith, dear… I need you to repair the damage to my face, before I get on screen, ’cause this isn’t going to work if I look like I got punched into it."
"Spock…" Starek finally slows down. "You and I both know we’re kae-amp. Just a little. I’ve known you for … a week? And we do something like this? I have no regrets, but it has to sound better than that on screen. All I can say is don’t lie to them. Leave things out, emphasize the wrong parts, lead them to strange conclusions, but do not lie."
He continues as Merendith comes over to repair his face. She’s quite efficient, and the swelling decreases swiftly, the green tone fading as she works.
"I shouldn’t have to say that, but after what I’ve seen, I’m quite sure the old axiom about Vulcans and truth is … less than entirely accurate."
Spock is still unable to control his flashes of amusement and this one manifests itself as a smile. "Thank you for considering my opinions in this, tal-kam." He squeezes Starek’s hand teasingly. "Rest assured, I will be wholly honest."
Tunor’s eyes glitter with a more restrained although no less heartfelt reaction. "Allow me to offer Selov’s study for the new footage. The numerous books and artifacts will provide an appropriately solemn backdrop. And Merendith, if you would care to accompany me to the hydroponics bay, we have a few species that you may find professionally interesting."
Selov calls after them merrily. "Work on your script, pudor-tor vehlar. We can either film and release or I can get you a live interview."