DISCLAIMER: The Star Trek characters are the property of Paramount Studios, Inc. The story contents are the creation and property of T'Kuht and is copyright (c) 2002 by T'Kuht. Rated PG.
At First Glance
This science officer that her sister had spoken so fondly of looked rather gawky and awkward to Christine. But, Leigh always did have odd tastes in men. He stood watching the rain pour down off the roof in sheets obstructing the view of his skimmer. He had been there only a few moments when it started. Christine set the teapot down on the end table. "You might as well sit and have tea," she offered.
The Vulcan turned and considered a moment before accepting. He did not particularly relish going out in the rain until it had slowed down a little.
"Thank you," he replied formally and accepted the mug of hot tea. Sipping it slowly, he appreciated that she left out the sugar most humans drowned their food in. It tasted good. He didn't allow his face to show it. He had been practicing the mask of Vulcan calm for three months now. Christine Chapel had been notified immediately when Leigh Chapel had died, but Leigh had requested that her personal effects be hand delivered to her younger sister. Spock had been assigned to the task. The packet sat unopened on the end table.
The blonde, nearly identical version of Commander Leigh Chapel, seemed undisturbed by his presence. Spock was used to humans being a little nervous around him. She was not. She smiled slightly over the steaming mug. Looking up into his dark brown eyes, she cocked her head slightly, "You knew Leigh well, didn't you?"
Spock considered the statement, "I regarded her as a mentor, a teacher, a role model. If that qualifies as knowing her well, I must answer yes."
"It sounds as if you held her in high regard," the blonde said. Leaning over to pick up the packet, she opened it. Inside were medals, commendations, certificates, and a few odd trinkets. An envelope with the name Christine and her address fell out. The woman regarded it a moment before setting it aside for later. "I didn't know my sister very well," she explained a tinge of sadness in her voice.
Spock had discovered that humans frequently wanted to talk without any replies. He sipped the tea while she continued, "She was nearly eleven years older than I and by the time I got old enough to enjoy having her around, she was gone. You probably knew her much better than I ever would have."
Spock felt a twinge of regret for her. Number One was the first woman that he had been close to, even closer than his mother. It was not a physical relationship but one of kindred intellects and interests.
Allowing his eyes to roam over the cottage interior, he fastened his eyes on what she had been doing when he arrived. She'd been on a makeshift scaffolding painting on the ceiling. The swirls and puffs of clouds were being given added touches of gold and copper to make it look like light from the sun was filtering through. Vines filled with roses and morning glories climbed the walls to the clouds and along the floor were border flowers and a picket fence. She was quite good at trompe l'oeil. The living room and dining room melded into one common area with a large fireplace and floor to ceiling windows looking out onto a stone patio. An entrance porch gave way to the foyer with a staircase that wound up lazily to the second floor.
"Something wrong?" she asked assuming he disapproved of her abode.
"No, merely appreciating your talents as a painter. Is this your vocation?"
She laughed a tinkling bell laugh that he imagined was much like Leigh's, but she had rarely laughed. She had been so controlled and professional that laughter was something she didn't allow. "Thank you for the compliment, but no. I am a doctoral student at Dalhousie. I thought maybe ... well, never mind. My vocation and profession is bioresearch and biochemistry."
Spock was impressed inwardly. Both sisters were intellectuals.
"You are not in Star Fleet?"
"Not everyone in the universe is in Star Fleet. No, dear sister did that tour of duty. I work for Korby Research Associates, the research lab that is currently working on translating the rest of the Orion databases. In fact, Roger should be home momentarily," she said almost absently.
"Roger?" Spock asked a little lost.
"Roger Korby, president of the corporation. He is my fiancé. With this rain, though, he probably can't get out of the city. That's the problem with living in the country," the charming blonde answered. She was almost glowingly happy, he thought. He had no such feelings when he thought of his own betrothed. In fact he became more and more dismal at the prospect.
"Then this is his home, not yours?" Spock asked not realizing he was prying.
"No, we both live here," she waited to see the reaction to the arrangement. There was none.
"It is a lovely cottage."
Christine nodded enthusiastically, "I just had to have it. It came on the market, oh, last year at this time, and Roger said we could either get married and chance not getting the cottage or get the cottage and live in sin for a while. I chose the latter. But you just can't find this type of architecture anymore, and it's not the same if it's reproduction. There's something about knowing you have original Arts and Crafts millwork."
Spock sat silently. This sister was a woman of passion and desire just as his former superior officer. She was simply more emotional than Leigh. He found that he admired her as well.
"I don't think the rain isn't letting up anytime soon. Would you care to stay for dinner? It's nothing fancy, but you are welcome to stay. I'm sure Roger would like to speak to you. He's getting ready to head out for deep space himself. Have you ever been to Exo III?" she asked and offered more tea that he declined.
"No, I have studied the area of space it is in, however, but we have not been assigned there. I must also decline the dinner invitation. I have a previous engagement. In fact, I should be leaving if I am to meet it, irregardless of the rain. I thank you for your hospitality and offer condolences over the loss of your sister," he answered and rose to leave.
"I'm sorry your mentor is gone, as well," the blonde answered and walked him to the door. She knew better than to press a Vulcan about an invitation. She'd met a few since joining Korby Research Associates. They had all been polite but not as openly curious as this one.
A slight smile flashed across his face at her acknowledgment. Yes, it was difficult without Number One. But lives were saved at her expense, and he must go on as well. Spock nodded and turned before leaving, "If you were to ever require assistance, do not hesitate to contact me. For the time being I can be reached on the Enterprise."
Christine's smile lit the gloomy afternoon, "Thank you for the offer. I hope you do well in your career. I think Leigh would be proud of you."
With that, Spock hurried through the downpour to the skimmer and drove off without a second glance to his meeting with his father and mother which would prove to be less than amicable. He wished he could have stayed for dinner with Christine. She seemed like a woman he could be friends with.