Disclaimer: Star Trek is the property of Paramount/Viacom. This story is the property of and is copyright (c) 1981 by Beth Carlson. Originally published in R&R #16, Johanna Cantor editor. Rated R.
"I did it again. When you and Yeoman Colt were beamed and we were not, the shock of it went through me like a knife. Suddenly I was out of control." His voice drifted in thought and frustration. "And I do not know why."
Number One brought him the tea and sat down across from the young Vulcan. "I have not had the problem until here," he continued. "All of the time I was at the Academy I was in control. I have been fully controlled from childhood."
She stirred her coffee and put the spoon down. "How long have we been working together?"
He looked at the Nuryen woman.
"Two weeks, three days, including today, from our first session."
"And has it come to you what the difference is?"
Spock was silent. "I was with humans before, I am with humans now. The only changes in me are that I am several months older and I am under more responsibility. Neither should account for the present situation," he said at last. He set an accusing eye on her. "You said to discern the difference between now and then and I would find a way to cope with it."
Number One looked at him and then down into her cup as she sipped the coffee. "The difference, Spock, is not in you."
He raised an eyebrow and she stopped. "But it is me," he answered "my reaction--"
"Then let me put it to you in another way. Your reaction is changing because of the change in the reaction of the humans to you."
Spock leaned back in his chair and looked at her. She was a very intelligent woman, far wiser than he in the psychology of humans, and right now, just about everything Spock wanted to be: wise, respected, an excellent commanding officer when she needed to be, one of the best in her chosen work field, sociologically settled ...
He let the theory go for a moment. "It is strange for you to speak of 'the humans' as if you were not one," he commented.
She looked at him and a slow smile touched her lips and then receded. "Mr. Spock, you may very well be more human than I. You have a parent only once removed from Earth. I am a twelfth generation Nuryen. Most of us do not consider ourselves human. There have been two hundred and sixty years of 'dominant gene' telepaths bred on Nuryen. Even our brain structures have developed differently than the humans on Earth. It is only the Federation that considers us human and our planet a human colony world. If they changed our classification from 'human' to 'humanoid' they would also have to reclassify our financial status along the minority race scale, and subsidize us. An effective deterrent."
Spock raised an eyebrow to denote that he'd heard and that she had a point. He was also wondering something else. "Why did you not come to Captain Pike's assistance in the cage? I saw the reports. Could you not have helped shield him from the Talosians' thoughts with your mind? Your mind is very strong. Did you not see through their images?"
She looked at him, surprised, but with restrained response. "I take it you wish the answers one at a time, not like the questions." He smirked slightly. "No. I could not shield Chris with my mind, nor did I see anything but what the others saw. I sensed their thoughts and I shielded myself from them to an extent, but I also shielded them from mine, and effectively short-circuited my own abilities in the process to appear as human and pliable to them as the humans. Had they read my telepathic abilities, it would have been infinitely harder on everyone involved. They did not need another tool against us."
Spock nodded. It had been a wise decision. She was fortunate not to have injured herself badly. "You said that my reactions had changed because their reactions had changed," he said returning to the original thought.
Number One swallowed the last of the coffee and put the cup down. "On Vulcan you were surrounded by Vulcans with the exception of your mother, correct?"
"Yes." He was still puzzled.
"At the Academy you roomed with a Vulcan, came to classes at the appointed times, left quickly when they were over, associated mainly with other Vulcans and avoided all extracurricular activity not associated with your studies. Correct?"
His brow furrowed for a moment. He had not told her those things.
"No, Spock, I haven't read you," she sighed wearily. "You're as suspicious as the humans are. It's just deductive reasoning. Now, the difference."
"At the Academy, you were one Vulcan among--?"
"Eight, among sixteen hundred students. The Vulcans in general were considered 'off limits' by their own behavior and attitudes. You were a part of that sheltered group. You remained aloof, intellectual and unreachable. You were among many far more exotic and reachable specimens of alien life. You blended and you could avoid .. Here, you are one of four hundred and thirty two. You are one of only five aliens, myself included, and you are Suddenly a person to them, with ins and outs and thoughts and likes and dislikes. You live with them day in and day out and you have to relate to them and they to you. Here you also come against two factors. One, that you are half-human. Two, that you are only half Vulcan. The humans are parasitic creatures by nature. They give and they expect to receive in return. They are digging to find the common denominator between they and you. They also are extremely curious. They wish to see what is really beneath what they see, unable to believe that all beings are not, at the heart, like themselves."
He was studying the hollow between steepled fingers, and she continued. "I would suggest that you learn to strike a happy medium between your two heritages if you intend to remain among the humans. It will save you a great deal of trouble and hardship."
"I am Vulcan. I can be nothing else." He spoke as if it were a tired argueement, and she realized that to this half-way entity, is was. He raised an eyebrow in an expression she had come to know as irritability and continued. "You expect me to be less than what I am? To be more like them? Open, looser -- as you are?" Sarcasm, controlled and pointed. "Do they not call you 'the tritanium battleship'?"
She looked at him, annoyed. Always, they grated on one another. "Even for a Vulcan, you have very poor manners," she said coldly and went on before he could speak. "I would be the first to admit, Lieutenant, that my own outward demeanor is severe. More so than the average Nuryen woman, though we shy naturally from blatant emotionism as so much wasted energy. It is a stance acquired from fourteen years in Starfleet services. I am a woman competing with men, in a man's world, for something they do not wish to share. There are few of them that do not feel highly threatened by me. It is easier this way. I will command."
He felt a chill come over him from her aura, at the determination. She continued with a slight smile. "My situation is quite different from yours, but if you insist on this line of behavior..." She focused her thoughts back on her teaching. "You are barraged here, with the humans either trying to understand you, trying to force you into their role for you, hating you for your difference, or sizing you up romanntically. Sexually." He reacted and she smiled slightly. "This is a closed society, Mr. Spock, therefore a competitive society."
"Did they not 'size you up'?"
"Oh yes," she smiled. "Luckily the human male ego is a fragile thing. I took care of that seven years ago when I signed on with the Enterprise. Women are quite a different story. It may take you some time to be able to do your own choosing." He looked puzzled and she took his hands. "Let's get on with the present problem."
He nodded and opened his mind to her.
//Well, that's part of the problem. Sexual tension. How did you--? Never mind. It doesn't matter.//
//I don't know,// he answered anyway. //It just is there.//
Their eyes met, hers contemplating. His watchful. //Okay. Look. We can't do anything until e get that taken care of. It's just too primitive to work around.// She did not notice him cringe at the term primitive. //Come. Lie down.// She began to rise, still holding his hands.
//Not!// He sat firm.
//Spock. Obey. I can't help you if you don't cooperate. Undress and lie down.//
He frowned openly at her and broke the touch, then rose and began to undress.
Shedding her own clothing, she only glanced at him from her side vision. He had no body self-consciousness which was just as well. She had little herself. She turned to him and reached to take his hand, but he lay down on the bed instead, looking up at her with only lightly veiled disgust. She crossed her arms and stood looking down at him.
"If you'd use some of that energy towards solving the problem, it might help you to avoid having to go through uncomfortable situations. Also, it is illogical for you to be angry at me for something that is going to help you."
He closed his eyes and put a hand across them, touching the bones at his temples with his thumb and fingers.
"Yes," he said with the sound of admission, then lowered his hand from his eyes and reached for her hand. The frown remained.
//I'm sorry this is uncomfortable for you. Just close your eyes and relax. Let me handle the rest.//
//Yes.// --the feeling of a man going to his own execution.
It took her only a few moments to arouse him sufficiently and mount him gently. His face tensed and his ribcage reflexed forward slightly as she did, and she prepared herself not to inadvertently read his thoughts while he was vulnerable.
Wisely, she took time to work the tension from his neck and shoulders with firm cool hands. When he was as relaxed as she felt it was possible for him to be under the circumstances, the newness not so sharp and blatant, she began to move against him steadily, studying his face below her. It occurred to her how very young he was, not only in years, but in sexual maturity for his species. Only a boy, really, and yet the human elements in his body were only too willing to be active. Hormones were hormones. His respiration increased.
He began to move beneath her, thrusting involuntarily. She felt him fight it and lose. His eyes flew open, finding hers for a moment, and then closing again. Embarrassed and confused by his own physical reactions, yet he was too caught up to refuse her against him.
She found herself smiling at his naivete and surprise. His breathing was ragged now and his hands came to rest on her hips pulling her to his thrusts. She felt herself aroused at the feeling of his urgency within, her. She ran her hands up his ribcage wondering if Vulcans had any erogenous zones beyond the genitals.
His thrusting became strong now and she lay against him to offset the strength behind the thrusting. He came with a groan and a deep thrust that in spite of her caution caused her some pain.
She sat up, and again his ribcage reflexed at her movement. Unshielding lightly she let him feel her mental presence and waited for him to be ready to re-establish mental contact. It took several moments.
He was relaxed and nearly giddy, but controlled when he opened to her. //That---was most disconcerting.//
She laughed out loud. //Yes. I imagine it was.// She began to move from him but he stopped her.
//You are -- uncomfortable.// He was not happy with the word, but he knew no other way to describe what he could feel within her.
//You just worry about you. I'll be fine.// She dealt with her own embarrassment over being aroused by this inexperienced boy who was not even firmly in control of his emotions yet. It was physical of course, but--
//I will not leave you like this.// He looked into her eyes with a sureness that disarmed her, made her too aware of the heat of his hands against her hips. Below the fringe of mussed hair and the pale aureate of his face were the dark velvet eyes, lit with a selfconfidence born of letting one's defenses down and having nothing further to fear. And that, too, drew her. No. She would not fall for that age old call, that need to touch with what was new, and fresh, and--how long had it been? And could she refuse that call too? No. She would not yield.
//I'm fine,// she smiled, settled with her decision and now amused with his galllantry. She began to lift again.
//No.// His hands pressed firmly against her hips to emphasize his seriousness and he closed his eyes for almost a full minute, shutting her from his mental processes much as she had shut him from her decision making.
She was not aware of what he was doing until he moved against her. Her eyes narrowed and she gave him a wry smile.
//Damn you Vulcans and your body control,// she radiated with fake irritation and unshielded envy of an ability she lacked.
//Perhaps I could teach you ... some ... Nuryen.// The last words were a purposeful jab at her ethnic background and a reminder that she might be telepathically superior, but he was superior in many other ways. There was great humor behind the jab.
//And proud to be,// she retorted. challenging.
He let it pass. He could afford to. With Number One, he could afford a lot. There was friendly fire there; but there were also respect and equality in many ways despite their ranks, and a freedom to be himself with her, whomever that self was.
He thrust, pulling her to him. //Guide me,// he told her and the wry amusement came again from her.
She would never cease to be amazed at Spock's sense of self. Oh, it faltered from time to time, but under the surface, he had a nearly insufferable streak of ... ego? Vanity? Pride? Self-Esteem? In a Vulcan, none of the words was right, but it was there and it made him different, and irritating at times like these when he was so darn sure of himself.
She raised her hand with a grin to slap at the side of his buttock, but he caught her wrist in a hot hand gently, but not too gently. Holding her wrist with one hand he reached the other to touch her breast and she was reminded that he was a very intelligent and well read young man, if not experienced. Damn him!
He smiled, feeling her frustration and pulled her into a position against him, moving; her firmly and deliberately, looking into her eyes.
//Guide me, Nuryren!// he commanded and at her thoughts braced his thighs against hers and turned her beneath him.
After their long therapy sessions he read her easily. Number One had a beautiifully disciplined and logical mind, and he found it refreshing and revitalizing to be in touch with her. She sent sharp and clear intellectual patterns cleanly separated from the emotional patterns; perfect symmetry against a background of perfect hue.
He read her, sensing the touches and movements that would free her from her self imposed prison of abstinence. She felt herself relax, drinking in the touch of his hands and mouth and body against her.
It had been so long! So much pressure had built in her, pressure that she had not allowed herself to dwell on. It was a price that she had paid for something of infinitely more value, and yet as she felt him in her arms, she wondered if the price was not exorbitantly high. She would live to regret this reminder of what she could not have, what did not go with her choice of command. But not now. Not now ....
She locked the deeper parts of her mind from him, knowing that the strength of her mind would draw him to read her. Courtesy to him: the nobility of those to whom the mind is sacred, who share that kinship.
There was silence in their minds as she guided him not with words but images of his touch -- images that became immediate reality.
It was as if she were the composer and he the master conductor, conducting the elements of her body as parts of a great symphonic orchestra.
The overture of her release built, each individual instrument providing its required tone in perfect harmony with the others. The harmony rose and fell, the individual instruments responding to the need to dominate for a time against the deep throb of the entire orchestration, only to be caught up again by the conductor into the upward surge to the next forte, and the next, and the next, on to the goal of the final crescendo.
He was touching her as if he had done this all of his life -- no hesitancy, the single-mindedness of an artist absorbed in his craft. Yes, she thought, he is a conductor by nature, an interpreter of what is, like all scientists. And yet there was a sensitivity in him that was a quality of him as a man, a person, an individual. It was something he would not see in himself nor care to admit if he did ...
Sensing the wispy edges of spent thought, he drew her firmly back into his own reality, convincing her that there was no place in his intentions for her mind and no alternative to releasing to him completely.
She fund herself thrusting against him, meeting him, hungry for him. The sensation of his touch had created a tunnel in her mind and it became all encompassing, all pervading. Everything that existed was there. There was nothing else. He was hot against her, filling that hunger in her.
The end of the overture was nearing now, and she lost the ability to guide him. He took charge easily. He was a musician, a poet, a philosopher--and now composer and conductor of this, her flight into the surging d:epths of the satisfaction of womanhood. At this moment he knew her body, played it well, easing and urging her ever upwards from crescendo to crescendo, until all of the instruments, all of the senses and nerves of her being leapt the final chasm between the journey and arrival, between the rising the the forte finale.
He held her there, controlling her with his mind, his body, his aura, sharing vicariously the now familiar pleasure-pain endurance until she could bear it no longer and he allowed her the relief of falling through the pillows of sweet satisfaction, down into dark, trembling rest.
His mouth traveled her throat and jaw and found her mouth tenderly, then her cheek and hair as she caught her breath and regrasped her thoughts.
A tremor ran through her and he moved against her again. //Had enough?// he sent in the light conversational touch. He was pleased with himself, a small self-satisfied smile playing about his mouth.
She smiled and let her hand travel from the small of his back across the swell of his rump and then grabbed a handful of the spare buttock hard.
//Watch how you talk to a superior officer,// she flashed and let go, rubbing the area firmly, still drowsy with satisfaction.
//And Who is the 'superior' officer in this position?// An eyebrow raised above dark merriment in his eyes.
//Touche, Spock.// There was a beat before the comeback. //You show great proomise in the physical arts, Mr. Spock. It would be a shame to see you choose your 'every seven years' regime as a way of life.//
It had started as a joke, but his darkened face and sudden shielding told her that she had stumbled into a social ungrace. He lifted from her, but his hand remained on her, not disturbing the link in anger or reproach--another courtesy. He lay on his back and substituted the gentle touch of his thigh against hers for his hand.
//I beg pardon, Spock. I meant no offense.//
He folded his hands across his diaphragm and looked at the ceiling. //You have heard much on Nuryen of Vulcan, but perhaps not all, I anticipate the possibility that as a hybrid, I will not be susceptible to the mating cycle.//
//Then you wish not to take a mate at all?//
//I have a bondmate.//
//You mean I've just had sex with a married man?// she quipped in mock horror. It was a little late to worry about that now.
//You might choose to use that terminology. It is not exactly correct but close. It was theraputic, was it not? There rests no infringement on my bonding.//
She could sense coming an informative lecture on the morality and logic of intent, circumstance and necessity. //Spare me.//
//As you wish it.//
//There will be no heir?//
//As a hybrid, there is little chance that I am fertile. Any children my bond mate would have would very likely be from a donor.//
//And the sexual needs of your bondmate?// There was open curiosity in her, and he seemed not to object heavily to answering.
//A Vulcan woman has no sexual needs.//
//How unfortunate.// She could not dismiss the value of something just because it was a source of difficulty for her personally.
//Hardly,// the thought came, bittersweet, wry, ironical.
She looked over at him and smiled. //We're so very different, you and I. It is refreshing, and it is nice to have someone to talk to.//
//Is that what we were doing?// The mood was past.
She laughed and then grew serious, reaching over to stroke his jaw, she raised herself on one elbow. //Seriously, Spock. It was very nice. It's been a long time.// Unspoken but in the thought was the fact that unlike Vulcan women, Nuryen women did have sexual needs, even ones who had sold the right to those needs by their choices. She smiled and got up to use the bathroom.
When she returned, he was pulling his tunic over his head and she began to dress.
"You have had intercourse with other men of telepathic ability?" he asked, watching her for a moment as she dressed.
Fastening the waistband of her uniform pants, Number One looked up, surprised. "Yes," she answered, "of course." She wrinkled her brow and began to pull her tunic over her head.
He was fastening a boot. "You would not achieve the same degree of instantaneous gratification with the Captain."
She was glad that her face was in her tunic, and she took an extra moment to pull it down over her head. "And you are impertinent, mister," she said firmly without expression.
He looked up, an expression of surprise on his face. "An observation, Commander. My apologies. "
Smart Ass, she thought.
She broke into a smile. He was trying to warn her, in his own irritating way, against becoming too involved over Chris Pike. "Not likely I'll run into the opportunity, Lieutenant. I would more likely be asked to go drinking with Chris than to bed." She grinned. "But I'll keep your 'observation' in mind." She put her boots on and zipped them then turned to him. "Shall we get on to business? We'll get you squared away and you can get back to your sedate, controlled, logical self."
It was a tease and he smiled a little and grasped her hands.
She grinned back. //Now, Spock, in the first place, it is your aura that draws more attention to you than almost anything else. That and your eyes. You might as well begin there, they are easier to work with. You have to learn not to let them be such windows to your soul... //