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Title: Abmarkan’es – VII
Fandom: ST TOS
Characters: Spock, Starek, Selov, Tunor, Merendith, Stavret, D’nila
Warnings: Oo-mox, Orions, questionable taste
Notes: Filming the press release, and dropping the bomb… Also, D’nila has a big mouth and loves embarrassing her superiors.
Stavret sets up the cameras, angling for footage that displays the sensible environment, and makes his witslight little brother look a bit less short.
"You don’t want to do this in those clothes, Starek-saj. It looks like you slept in them, and knowing you…" Stavret trails off, raising one eyebrow.
He looks at Spock, a long moment. "I would say I don’t know what you see in my brother, but I do. Thank you."
Starek rolls his eyes at Stavret. "No, really, you don’t."
"Fvadt ataen. Don’t tell me. I don’t want to know." Stavret shakes his head.
It takes some time to get the pair of them dressed appropriately — Spock in the robes of his people, Starek in brown leather and brass buttons — but finally, the filming begins.
"Ladies, Gentlemen, and others of the Alpha Quadrant: I am here, today, because of some truly unfortunate rumours circulating about the relationship between myself and Spock. In particular, I have heard the phrase ‘Romulan love-slave’ bandied about, indiscriminately, and I’ll have you know, I object, on multiple counts.
"Let us begin with the accusation of my origins. Yes, I came from ch’Rihan. I will tell you no more of that, for I have no desire to endanger my parents, who still reside there. This is also why parts of my face have been blocked from this recording. I know the ways of my people, and I will not betray my shikaen.
"This brings me to offers from the Federation of asylum. Let me say that I did not request any such thing. I have not defected from the Romulan Empire. I will not dishonour my home, my family, or my people. I have not changed sides, I have chosen one, and that side is mine. I have no intentions of asserting political affiliations now, or in the future. I have no intention of trafficking in the secrets of the Romulan Empire, the Klingon Empire, or the Federation. These are your concerns, not mine."
Starek pauses, to let that sink in.
"Now, to face the issue at hand, I have known of Spock for far longer than I have known him, but I have found that he is as intelligent and pleasantly unpredictable as he has been made out to be, if not moreso. I trust this man — this Thaessu — with my life, because in the last week, he has been given many opportunities and damned fine reasons to betray such a trust, and he has not taken them. Hear me, when I say this — and let me even make it easy for you: ashau heh rok-tor nash-veh Spock. Jol u’ilhra arhem Spock. I love and trust Spock. Let me not be misunderstood, here."
Again he waits, certain that this is the point at which the panic will begin.
"And I know there are those of you who speak of a union between two men as illogical and unproductive, but the same can be said of an arranged union in which the partners hardly know each other, by more than name. Certainly more than can be said for an arranged union in which the children could not be guaranteed to belong to the bonded male."
Starek’s eyebrow arches disdainfully.
"I have chosen my mate, and I am more than satisfied. How many of you can say the same?"
He looks to Spock and holds out his hand, shifting focus to the man who has yet to speak.
"To the citizens of all federated planets, in particular those of my homeworld, I have this to say regarding the subject of my union with Commander Starek of the Renunciation:
"Numerous motives have been erroneously ascribed to my actions, the most pervasive, perhaps, being that my initial encounter and subsequent bonding with Commander Starek were not guided by conscious decision. To the individuals promulgating these fallacies, allow me to be explicit. At all times, in this as in any other endeavor, my actions are deliberate choices resulting from the consideration of all data available.
"As to my selection of mate, it is important to consider that an individual is not a society. Commander Starek’s planet of origin is not the sum total of his character any more than my homeworld completely defines who I am. Furthermore, despite what has been circulating in the media and public forums, both his integrity and his logic, as seen in the context of his unique situation, are highly developed.
"My actions are not intended to provoke any political or social response. Naturally, as my family and I are often subject to public scrutiny, many things I do will have larger repercussions than those of the average citizen. However, it is vital that my voluntary selection be viewed, first and foremeost, as personal.
"Yet although I have set out to prove nothing, the results of my actions this week have engendered a great deal of opinion and, yes, even sentiment in many areas of the Federation. My view of this is that it is less an obstacle than an opportunity for considered discussion. The societal effects of isolating those members of the population who have been traditionally seen as biologically nonviable are coming to light. It is time that we address them."
Spock holds out the two fingers of his right hand for the finger-embrace and Starek meets them with his left.
"Just as you, ashayam, and I are now more than we were, let us all move forward with careful consideration, towards a future uniting logic and compassion."
"Let me clarify that last bit for the non Vulcan-speaking members of the audience," Starek offers, a slim smile crossing his lips, before he grabs the front of Spock’s robe, and pulls him into a very human kiss.
Stavret kills the recording, seconds later. "All right, imirrhlhhse, knock it off."
"Sorry," Starek grins, lips damp and slightly swollen. "It was necessary. Make sure you edit my name out of that, before it goes live. I won’t have my parents tortured to death because I married a Vulcan."
"I don’t think they’ve figured out who you are, yet. My parents have been pretty firm that we’re dead, as far as I can tell." Stavret consoles him.
"I’m not taking chances with them. Would you, with your own?" Starek asks.
"I know. I also know that if it’s too late, there’s nothing we can do for them, and my family goes if yours does." Stavret looks entirely unamused. "I remember the death announcements, when we were still in the Neutral Zone. I hope like ourai that still stands, after this, you fvadt feanna."
"I’m sorry I dragged your family into this. I didn’t have all the information. I didn’t know there was a kosu involved. It looked good. I jumped. From here, it still looks pretty good." Starek spreads his empty hands, and Stavret grabs him in a frustrated hug.
"You’re going to get us killed, one of these days." Stavret looks at Spock over his best friend’s shoulder. "He is, too. It’s just not going to be this time, if I can help it."
Starek grins like a fool, stepping back with one arm still hooked around Stavret’s ribs, and holds the other out to Spock. They really do look like brothers, this close together, one comedic and the other tolerantly exasperated.
All this smiling and touching, Spock reflects, stepping into the circle of arms, is becoming addictive. Despite his exasperation Stavret’s embrace and his pat on the back feel as comfortable as a bowl of plomik soup on a winter morning.
Just then there is a little cheer from back down the hall, D’nila and Selov’s voices, mixed.
"I believe we shall need to investigate." he murmurs, honest curiosity mixing with trepidation as to what could have caused the fuss.
Back in the living room there are twice as many holoscreens spread out as before. Some contain graphs, showing trends as a function of time. Others contain the faces of various contacts, almost all looking away, at their own clusters of screens. News feeds are live on several more, including repeated footage of a well-to-do Vulcan woman dashing most ungracefully for the relative security of a hovercar.
"She challenged us to ‘do our worst’," Selov shrugs. "Aaand the story just broke. Observe, you can see the number of subscribers overtaking those following your marriage."
Starek’s nose twitches in amusement, as he eyes Selov and D’nila. "I owe you both. This is brilliant. I’m afraid my usual methods of gratitude may be undergoing an overhaul, so you’ll have to negotiate with Spock, on that front."
D’nila fairly sparkles with delight. "Oh, but Spock-daeh! Our riov is so talented with his gratitude! Of course, you know that, by now. Is it true if we take advantage of him, we’ll be taking advantage of you, too?"
Stavret steps forward and wraps an arm around the Orion, looking as exasperated and put-upon as always, as he rubs his knuckles on the top of her head. "What do we tell you about taking advantage of the Vulcans, D’nila? It’s not nearly as polite as it is to do it to other races. They’re at least as uptight about that sort of thing as I am."
Starek’s ears turn a bit green, and he leans his head against Spock’s shoulder. "Can we please not talk about the percentage of the crew I’ve slept with?"
"Eighty-seven and a half percent," Stavret offers. "Sorry. Ish. I’m done."
"On the contrary, yeht-veh, I find the subject most absorbing." Spock succeeds in keeping a straight face. "Tell me, is Merendith the sole exception in your crew of eight?"
Selov is looking at Starek with new respect. The old lust is also back and his hands jerk into fists. Five Orion girls. At least. And the notion of anything being carried across their new bond —
"Excuse me, but I shall need to find — ah."
His leavetaking is forestalled by the appearance of Tunor with a stack of plates and cutlery. Merendith is behind him carrying an enormous piece of flatbread covered with cheese and some sort of red sauce, among other things.
"Is this not intriguing, Selov? A new delicacy for us to try."
Selov looks frustrated by the inability to corner his mate somewhere private. "Fascinating," he grates out.
"Is it that obvious? Heh. I’d never even try. I’d be stepping on Stavret’s toes, I think." Starek glances at Tunor and the doctor, in a moment of subject-changing panic. "Ah, D’nila, go help the good doctor with that, would you?"
D’nila turns to look, mouth opening for another comment on the previous subject when she notices that Merendith has entered the room. "Yes, Riov."
She winks and pats Starek on the cheek, earning the commander a dirty look from the doctor, who is certain he’s covering up for something, again. Starek fails to look entirely innocent, which is particularly damning.
Stavret cocks his head at Spock, and shrugs, as the table is arranged for lunch, behind him. "It was in the Neutral Zone. We were fairly certain we were going to die. It seemed like an appropriate response to the situation."
The comment is nearly a peace offering — the kind of thing one says when it comes out at the wedding that one has slept with the bride. In fact, Stavret thinks he’s heard Starek use similar excuses during at least one such situation, in which that was an even more correct assessment than it was, here.
Spock is noncommittal "What is past is past. Until, of course, the science of temporal mechanics advances sufficiently."
Tunor puts everything down on the coffee table and directs D’nila to do the same. Then he tosses a cushion onto the floor and sinks composedly down onto it. Spock and Stavret do the same, sitting near one another in order to begin their technical discussion.
Selov pats the sofa beside him and speaks to the Orion, "Come here pi’lara and tell me more of your deep space adventures."
The Vulcan engineer begins to slice up the circular bread into segments, speaking to Merendith as he does. "So this pi’za as you call it, will have to have a separate Vulcan name. The phonetic translation has . . . some rather unfortunate connotations."
Starek nearly chokes on his tongue as the translation being hinted at darts through the back of his mind.
"Thuhk-kap?" he suggests weakly, trying very hard not to laugh. He sinks to his knees on Spock’s other side, arranging himself gracefully.
D’nila sits a little too close to Selov, smiling temptingly at Tunor, as she does so. "Did I tell you about the time our riov learned to oo-mox? Come sit with us, Tunor-daeh! I want to talk with you, as well — but about mechanical things."
Starek shakes his head, amused, and picks up a slice of pizza. He knows the Orion can carry on two conversations at once, on completely different topics, even if he wished she’d leave the Ferengi out of this one… It was yet another of those compelling skills that Orions learned — and the reason he’d never take a human into his crew. Nothing would get done.
Stavret is very polite, choosing to eat with a fork, in quiet rebuke of his commander’s manners. "So, tell me, Ek’tal-lan, how do you see your work affecting preconceptions of destiny and the Pogo Paradox? I mean, the very course that directs a man into the past likely cannot be altered, once he is there, otherwise, he would never have gone, and therefore did not arrive. A time-loop caught between did and did not would be complicated and disastrous, I would think."
"Adequate," Tunor says, taking his plate and utensils over to where D’nila has indicated, "but perhaps lacking in detail. One would not wish to eclipse the contributions of the sauce and other vegetables. Also, the good doctor has mentioned that there exists a dessert version, containing chocolate. Perhaps shihvek-kap. "
"This is only a problem when the model of temporal space is limited to a single dimension. In T’Gell’s conception of planar-temporal realities," and Spock gestures at the remaining wedges on the platter, "such difficulties are, of course, resolved by extension into alternate multiverses."
Starek slips one of his hands into Spock’s, hoping to at least get an impression of what he and Stavret are discussing. No matter how small Stavret breaks it down, Starek gets lost by the third sentence, or so. He’s not sure how the bond works, but maybe it’ll let him at least pretend he gets it, for a little while.
Across the table, D’nila is still explaining the finer points of oo-mox to Selov, who appears to be fascinated, and Tunor, who appears to be calculating his chances of being able to walk tomorrow. Starek does wish he hadn’t gotten into negotiations with that Ferengi, especially after it mistook the innate Romulan gender ambiguity for a sign that he was female. Of course, that had ended in some absolute hilarity, that no doubt D’nila would get around to sharing, shortly.
Merendith has positioned herself as far from anyone else as she can be, and still be at the table. From time to time, she looks up, between bites, and says something about botany, to Tunor. Mostly, she silently watches the two Romulans enjoying Spock, as if attempting to determine the nature of his appeal. Only once does she commit something that might pass as violence, throwing a slice of mushroom at D’nila.
"Dee, don’t talk about that. Nobody really wants to be reminded of that Ferengi’s impressions of the s’thora‘s crotch," she groans, treating D’nila with far more tolerance than she does Starek.
Stavret is pretending he cannot hear any of this, and continues to run his mouth about causality and forking timelines.
During the next pause in his conversation with Stavret, Spock leans towards his bondmate. "So I take it your encounter with the Ferengi was not the instance in which you successfully negotiated a treaty during coitus?"
Starek just looks critically between Spock and D’nila, suspecting collusion.
"Incidentally," Selov wonders, "I assume your statements are prepared? Perhaps we had best release them now since — Tunor, what time is it in the capital?"
He pauses for a half second, comparing the rotation rates of the two planets in his head. "It is evening there now. One hour after sunset."
"Prime time in Shi’Kahr." Selov muses. "Shall we?"
Starek glances at Stavret. "Is it clear, sa-kai?"
"Dh’cupae hwi, ssuy!" Stavret responds, almost as blank-faced as a Vulcan.
Lifting his glass in a toast, Starek nods solemnly, nose twitching in amusement. "Bombs away, gentlemen."