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Title: Abmarkan’es – VIII
Fandom: ST TOS
Characters: Spock, Starek, Selov, Tunor, Merendith, Stavret, D’nila
Warnings: Expletives, Orions
Notes: Watching the fallout on the Vulcan subspace channels…
Stavret picks up his PADD and his communicator. First he passes the edited video to Selov, then he calls the ship.
"Ree, set the main viewer to Vulcan Subspace Gamma. You may also want to make popcorn."
"Erei’riov? What are you two up to?" Riena answers, and Stavret can hear her tuning the viewer.
"You’ll see. We are, as Starek’s so fond of saying, about to blow the knobs off Shi’Kahr." As he closes the communicator, he can hear her laughing and jabbering in Orion to the girls in the engine room.
Starek wipes off his hands, takes a drink, and pushes his glass away from the edge of the table. Within the hour, feedback should build to measurable levels. By tomorrow, the Romulan response will be in.
Selov picks up the interface plate and holds it above the one containing his dinner, fingers dancing on the top.
"Okazhuksu," he calls, and a number of heads on the smaller holoscreens look their way. "A most fascinating sub-gamma program is about to begin. Set your recorders."
"Wait — just a —" and there is rapid activity from many areas.
"Are you ready?" He asks, savoring the moment.
"We are prepared."
He moves the interface plate over towards D’nila. "The blue circle next to my thumb is the appropriate key."
Grinning widely, D’nila extends a stiff index finger and presses home.
Starek does not realise he has stopped breathing until Spock looks over at him in alarm. This is different. This is not his game. He is excellent, in person, disrupting the calm around him, and taking advantage of the blind spots in consensual reality, but this? He’s never been on screen, before — not like this.
If this goes well, it’s going to start social chaos on Vulcan. If it goes wrong, it’s going to start a war with the Empire. If it goes extremely wrong, it will do both, and get his entire family executed.
He wants to turn back time — not to turn down T’Nis’s offer, but to make Spock understand, earlier, to get out sooner. Starek wants what he has gained, but he sincerely wishes the price was not quite so high.
Merendith watches Stavret, who is still running sequences on his PADD, eyeing him with a respect she will never admit to. After a year on the Neutral Zone border, she had never seen fit to call Romulans an honourable people, but after her time on the Renunciation, she cannot doubt it any longer. For a Romulan, it isn’t about chivalric necessity, it’s about family — and this was a moment that she could admit to being proud of the one that had adopted her. Not that she would. Ever.
On the screen, the earlier recording plays back, and other panels open alongside it, as more feeds pick it up, each adding commentary. D’nila points to one, and Selov centres it. The Vulcan on the screen is talking about how the video is likely a fake, and the entire affair has been manufactured to make a fool of Ambassador Sarek. Luckily, he’s not the only Vulcan with an opinion.
Tunor leans over D’Nila and dismisses the screen with a disdainful flick of his hand. "Tevik, you select evidence with a skill that shames every member of our race. How you have even remained a news reporter is a mystery."
Selov is, for once, equally sober. "T’kanlar, you are both very well spoken in this recording. Those without an agenda will see the truth of it."
Spock is not so sure. For the first time in his life he wonders if he might have been more expressive. Do his measured words alone convey his certainty that he has, for good or ill, made the correct choice? Also, it is the right choice. Somehow he has transcended merely looking at all the available data and calculating the probabilities. Despite the many unknowns he is somehow assured that there is a deeper truth to this. .
A call warbles in on a priority channel and Selov freezes. Spock and Starek take the cue, looking from him to Tunor and back again.
"She recognized the study, no doubt," Tunor says folding his hands together and rising. "I will take the call there, Selov, inform her."
"I apologize for this interruption everyone," their host murmurs, looking deflated. "However, this is best attended to immediately."
"Daddy, I -" the caller begins, stiffening visibly when she sees who else is present. "So. They arethere."
"Your father will explain all, lale, I am simply transferring the call."
"Krikh –" luckily, the signal is cut off before any more can be heard.
Merendith cracks her knuckles, and Stavret looks up from his PADD, eyeing her intently. An entire wordless conversation takes place between her antennae and his eyebrows. With a slight nod, he opens his communicator and hails the ship, again.
"Ree-saj, have Odile stand by in the transporter room. I don’t know, but let’s not take chances."
"As you like it, sir." Riena sounds unconvinced, but if the sub-commander thinks they’re going to have to run, she’s not going to be the one to hold up the exit.
Starek feels slightly ill, and moves closer to Spock, stopping just shy of climbing into the Vulcan’s lap. "It isn’t going to be that bad, Stavret."
"You’ve just started the closest thing Vulcan’s seen to rioting in the streets of Shi’Kahr, since the Syrrannites. And T’Nis knows where we are, which may lead to … retaliation." Stavret is ultimately sensible. "However, I believe you are correct in your assumption. I just think it’s best to be prepared, in case you are wrong."
"I’m not arguing your precautions. I’m just … reassuring myself," Starek manages a sickly smile.
"Riov, cheer up! You’re married to a sexy Vulcan! If they don’t kill you, which we’re not going to allow, you get to have endless, incredible sex for the rest of your life!" D’nila’s unflagging optimism is back. "You worry too much, Starek-daeh."
"Endless?" Spock inquires, lifting an eyebrow at the Orion. He contemplates it for the first time himself, with a kind of rising excitement.
Selov is as steely as any of the guests have seen him thus far. "Our daughter is formidable, and the moon in my sky, but she knows that I — we, would never forgive her for instigating further actions against you. Also, be at ease," and he assumes a more sardonic expression. "Open confrontation was never her style.
"Now," he says, reassuming his habitually lighthearted air. "Merendith. As a kindness to your host, and more importantly, while my mate is out of the room, may we repair to the kitchen so that you may show me the how to prepare the chocolate version of this delightful shihvek-kap? D’nila, you have the conn."
D’nila lights up, fiddling with the controls on the interface plate. "Aww! You’re so good to me, Selov-daeh! We don’t have such nice things on the ship!"
Stavret throws a napkin at her. "And whose fault is that, oh, dyht paectum?"
They banter between themselves, as Merendith leaves with Selov, making snide comments on the maturity of her crewmates. It is Starek, rather than D’nila who notices Spock’s interested eyebrow, at last. He leans closer, still, resting his chin on Spock’s shoulder as he whispers, "Endless. It only stops when either you tell me to stop, or I pass out from exhaustion."
He doesn’t whisper quite quietly enough, though, and Stavret’s ears turn green, as he stops in the middle of another volley, and gives Starek a horrified look.
"What’s wrong Stavret, you turning Orion, over there?" D’nila calls, joking about his blush. "Are they talking dirty without me? They are, aren’t they?"
She takes the interface plate with her, still tuning through the channels, and listening with one ear, as she pushes dishes out of the way, clearing off the end of the table, to take a seat directly in front of Spock. Her hands are swift on the controls, raising and lowering the volume of various commentators, as her interest in them rises and fades, but she gazes teasingly into Spock’s dazzled eyes.
Starek can’t even find it in himself to protest. She’s Orion. She’s just like that. Still, he grins predatorily at D’nila and nips at Spock’s earlobe.
Stavret excuses himself, and fairly runs from the room. "Kitchen. I have to go there. There’s … someone … chocolate. Excuse me."
For all his new sexual understanding, Spock can’t quite stand up to D’nila’s gaze, especially now that she is sitting so close, with her well-rounded thighs and posterior a few handspans away. It is all he can do to just swallow, look at the screens, and try to mentally control his vasodilator levels so that he doesn’t blush and further embarrass himself. Starek, hovering close to his ear, is not helping.
However, something on screen still manages to catch his attention. "Stop there, please."
A female Vulcan who is coiffed and robed differently than any Vulcans Starek has ever seen is seated behind a desk. "We return to you now, with our special edition of Tu-Jarok Tonight, the program that reaches with compassionate hands to V’tosh ka’tur and the citizens of all worlds. I would like to repeat that we have moved from our usual evening two days hence in order to provide timely discussions of the news even now being spread to all corners of T’Khasi. With me are Saavin and T’Nari, residents of T’Paal, who have this to say on the subject of Schn T’gai Spohkh‘s bonding with a Romulan expatriate."
The younger woman to the host’s right speaks up. "Spock, Spock’s bondmate, although our elders disagree, we young people of T’Paal are with you. Your logic was sound, as is ours in stating our support. We are not followers of Tu-Jarok, however it is obvious that the danger in suppressing innate biological drives is greater than our leaders suppose."
Saavin, second young guest enters her opinion. "Indeed, the danger is both for the individual and society. Does a Human try to live as Tellarite? No — they live according to their nature. Therefore all Vulcans should be allowed to live according to their own natures, to bond with whomever they deem fit."
"And have you completed the ceremony of Kan-Telan?" The host asks of them.
"I have," answers Saavin, "But for myself it is a logical choice. My future husband is well-suited to myself and we shall have a productive union. Furthermore, he has never drawn outside of our circle." She adds, using the metaphor common among her age group.
"My family is not as concerned with the Kan-Telan." T’Nari continues. "Which is fortunate, since I may decide on a career offworld."
"Fascinating," breathes Spock as the interviews continue.
"I’m staying here, where it’s safe," Stavret calls back. "I know what you and D’nila are like when things go better than expected."
The commander gets up and scoops D’nila into his arms, lifting her straight from the table, so her knees rest over his hips, and spins around, in delight. "You are a genius, again. As usual. Anything you want, all you have to do is ask … Spock." He grins like a fool, kissing her, warmly, before he sets her back down, and kneels, again.
"I can only hope the Romulan reception is as strong and as favourable. One whole town, even if it’s my home, would be an astounding record on ch’Rihan." He strokes Spock’s cheek affectionately. "You. Just for you, I have become political fodder. For you, I am a revolutionary, instead of just an iconoclast."
A slim smile twists his face. "I hope that’s worth another hickey."
"It is -" Spock begins, but is interrupted by Selov, whisking in with trembling hands.
"What did I miss?"
Once Spock has summarized the interview, Selov nearly levitates with excitement. "Oh, to think that Tunor and I have lived to experience this."
He flutters out again. "Merendith! More cocoa in the sauce!"
Starek looks amused, but entirely serious. "For the record, I would like to state that, regardless of the current circumstances, I am not at all permitted near whatever is currently being made in the kitchen. I am still hung over from this morning, and last night, and probably the day before that."
Spock nods. "A sensible course of action. We shall abstain together yeht-veh."
"More for me!" D’nila chirps, flicking through a few more panes, as she winks at Spock. "You know, Riov, in all your drunken rambling, I don’t think you ever told me how exactly you managed to talk Spock-daeh out of his pants in the first place…"
"Talent," Starek quips, watching the dizzying display shifts, but tracking them almost as well as D’nila. He wonders if he will ever be as talented at multi-threaded processing as an Orion girl — all the ones he knows seem to have had it trained in from an early age.
"Oh, sure, get short and sweet with me." She pushes Starek with her foot, and bats her eyes at Spock. "I haven’t heard any of this from your side, yet. Do I have to get you drunk, or will you just tell me? It’s all so romantic!"