DISCLAIMER: The Star Trek characters are the property of Paramount Studios, Inc. The story contents are the creation and property of Catherine Kay and is copyright (c) 2000 by Catherine Kay. This story is rated PG.

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Catherine Kay

"Christine! I just had to deliver this as soon as I could!" Uhura said, breathing hard from trotting all the way from cargo bay five.

"What is it?" Christine asked curious. She hadn't been expecting anything.

"It's a LETTER!" Uhura said with wonder. "A real letter, made out of paper and a seal and a postage date stamped on it and everything! I have never seen one before! Well, except in a museum."

Christine frowned as she took the letter from Uhura's hand. "Just great." she muttered tightly.

"Wow! Who would send a letter now a days? It's ridiculously expensive and slow!" said Uhura practically bouncing up and down with excitement.

"My mother! That's who." Christine snapped in irritation. "Now what?" she wondered to herself.

"Your mother?" Uhura squeaked a little surprised. Her eyes narrowed, "Hey Chris, you don't seem to be excited about this."

Christine rolled her eyes and groaned. "I'm not!" she said petulantly as she threw herself onto her bed. "When my mother writes a letter, it's kind of like a formal declaration of war."

"Mmmm" said Uhura noncommittally. "Well, why don't you open it and see if there are any terms for truce?" Uhura teased.

Christine shrugged and carefully opened the envelope. She removed a fancy card with silvery scroll printing on it. "You Are Invited" was all it said on the outside.

"Oohhh, brother!" Christine moaned and flopped face down on the bed.

Uhura, who couldn't stand it another minute, scooped up the pretty thing and opened it up. "You're moaning over a dinner invitation?" she said with raised eyebrows.

"You don't know the dinners mother can throw. Think Spanish Inquisition with hors d'oeuvres!" Shaking her head at her best friend's foolishness she read aloud, "Mr. Winters and Mrs. Chapel request the honor of Spock cha'Sarek and Christine Chapel's presence at our annual Spring Dinner. May 21st, 2275 at the home of Mr. Winters and Mrs. Chapel. 1002 Kenwood Drive, Boston, Mass. Earth. Cocktails are served at 6:00 p.m. followed by a formal toast and blessing at 7:00 p.m. Dinner will commence at 7:30 p.m. Please R.S.V.P. by April 20th, 2275."

Uhura sighed. "That sounds lovely, Chris. It can't be that bad."

"Hmmph," came the muffled reply from the pillow.

* * *

"I assume formal attire will be required," Spock said in a matter of fact tone.

"How can you sit there and talk about dress! Don't you understand? We have been summoned!" Christine was practically ranting.

"Yes, I understand perfectly." Spock said unperturbed. "Actually I find it pleasing that our families are so similar. It has a comfortable familiarity to it."

"You're kidding," Christine said floored.

"No. Vulcans do not 'kid'. T'Pau is infamous for her formal parties," Spock said slightly amused by Christine's reaction. "She frequently served up terror along with the second course to many of her dinner guests." He couldn't quite keep all of the sparkle out of his eyes.

"Oooooo, pooh!" said Christine as she hit him with her pillow. "You are playing with me now!"

Spock allowed himself a smile and then grew serious, "Actually I am telling the truth. I have been expecting a 'Summons' as you put it since we declared our Intent. The surprise for me was that it came from you side of the family first."

Christine sighed, "That's mama for you. Never wants to be second in anything."

A wry expression touched Spock's mouth, "Then I suggest that when we are in the grips of the worst of the meal we take comfort at the thought of what they will do to each other during our wedding."

Christine stopped in her tracks and her jaw dropped open. A wild whoop of laughter came out of her at the thought of those two woman trying to preside over the same event. "Oh, Spock, now I know why I am marrying you," she said as she flopped onto his bed in a paroxysm of giggles.

He flopped down next to her. With one eyebrow raised he said, "I hope it is for more than my ability to logically reduce stress."

She looked up at him propped up on one arm next to her and said, "You bet! It is also for you ability to reduce stress illogically too." And with that she pulled him down on top of her for a kiss.

He gave a contented sigh after the long kiss and murmured, "I resemble that remark."

Christine giggled and kissed him again. Soon there was no more giggling from either of them.

* * *

Christine tried not to fidget in the back seat of the Limo-skimmer as she sat next to Spock. Spock had raised an eyebrow when the Limo had pulled up for them in front of their hotel. He had raised it even higher when Christine had called the driver by name and he had tipped his hat to her and addressed her as Miss Chapel. He had stared at her realizing that maybe, just maybe there could be another woman alive who could give T'Pau a run for her money. Christine had really never told him about her family. At his intense gaze from across the back seat of the Limo, she shrugged at him and dropped her gaze. She hadn't been able to bring herself to tell him that Mother came from a long line of very wealthy French vintners and politicians and her father was a wealthy CMO for a large pharmaceutical company. The jewelry her mother owned alone was worth millions.

As Spock watched the view from his side of the car, he was starting to get that idea. Each house and grounds they passed was larger than the last. Finally there wasn't a house for about 1/3 of a mile and then there was a huge mansion with columns in the front. A line of other black limos were pulling up to a red carpet that flowed up the steps through the open, polished, oaken doors of the house. A man in a tux opened the door on each car.

When it came their turn, the man said, "It's a pleasure to see you again, Miss Christine."

"It's good to see you, Brice," Christine said with a genuinely warm smile.

"She's waiting for you, ma'am," Brice said not without sympathy.

To Spock he just turned a pair of green penetrating eyes. Spock was very aware of the appraising stare but simply nodded his head in acknowledgment of the man and said nothing. He came up beside Christine on the red carpet and looked at her. She looked at him. She was frightened he realized. He let his face soften and extended an arm for her to take. Then, feeling strong for her and remembering everything he had ever been taught as the next in line for the position for Ambassador to Earth, he walked them both through large doors into a chandeliered foyer.

There a butler received them and said, "It is a pleasure to see you looking so well, Miss Christine. Your mother is receiving in the green room."

"Thank you, Bertrum," Christine said and then led Spock through an arch into a beautiful green and cherrywood room. It had three large, floor to ceiling windows with window seats and was decorated with Vietnamese art and porcelain and French Provincial furniture. A striking older woman with electric violet eyes, dripping in diamonds and dressed in dazzling white was holding court.

When Christine and Spock entered the room she said, "Christine, darling, I am glad you could make it."

"Hello Ma-ma," Christine said quickly kissing her mother on both cheeks.

"Ah, Spock. Finally we meet." Those eyes were like looking into a plasma field. Spock was sure that they didn't miss a thing.

"Live long and Prosper," he said to her raising his hand in the traditional formal salute of his people.

"Peace and long life," she responded in turn also holding her hand up in the Vulcan salute.

He almost gave himself away by raising an eyebrow in surprise but managed to maintain total stoicism at the last minute. She put an arm around Christine and with a commanding "You will attend" look in his direction, said to her daughter, "Christine, have you met Mr. Plegis. He is charge of..."

Spock followed a few steps behind discreetly, knowing that this woman missed nothing that he did even though her back was turned. A Le-matya indeed.

* * *

The next 75 minutes was a nightmare. Christine was careful to drink nothing but teas and colas. She needed a clear head. Definitely her mother was in rare form. She could tell she was angry. For what slight, real or imagined, she couldn't begin to guess. She knew Spock felt the heat too. Every once in a while she would catch Spock giving her a questioning glance whenever her mother made an offhand remark about him or his people. Really she didn't have a clue to what had her mother so hot. Dinner was finally served. There was a wide variety of food so that each guest could meet their needs well. Even Spock had no difficulty choosing a pleasing vegan meal from the entrees.

It wasn't until the coffee that Mrs. Chapel finally got to what it was that was bothering her. "Daniel, you work for Shikaret Genetics now, don't you?" Mrs. Chapel said silkily.

"Yes, ma'am, I do." Daniel Vareen replied.

"Isn't that the firm that your parents worked with, Spock?" she said sweetly.

Spock froze. She was referring to his genetic engineering. He was sure of it. Not in a long time had anyone made a reference to the fact that he was engineered from the DNA of Amanda and Sarek, not conceived in a natural way.

He narrowed his eyes at her but said in a tone without inflection, "Yes. I believe it was."

"Is that the firm you and Christine are planning to use?" she asked him seemingly nonchalantly in between sips of coffee.

Spock gave her a long hard look. "Madam. You are probably not aware of all the nuances of Vulcan society. While I appreciate your concern, Vulcans don't discuss this particular topic over coffee."

She carefully set her cup down. "Yes. I am sure they don't. Forgive me, I just don't get a chance to see my daughter very often. Imagine my surprise to discover that she is engaged! And to the only heir of the house of Surak no less. Not that she isn't well bred for the marriage mind you."

"Mother, PLEASE!" Christine broke in.

"Your family is the ruling house, is it not?" Mrs. Chapel continued as if Christine had said nothing, her eyes commanding her daughter to be silent.

Christine instantly became still. What was happening here? Her mother's tension filled the room and for the first time she saw an answering tension in Spock. "Yes. My family is the ruling house," Spock answered quietly.

Ruling house? Christine's mind swirled in shock. She knew Spock's family was important, but his father was an ambassador, right?

"As heir, you will of course be expected to fulfill your familial duties," she said quietly. Spock remained silent. The whole room was silent. "I was led to understand that the house of Surak requires its heirs to be at least 50 percent Vulcan."

Christine gasped in shock and looked at Spock.

Spock's eyes never left the woman's face. His face was glacial. "That is correct," he said in a voice that was soft but with angry menace to it.

"How do you plan to do that trick with my daughter as your wife?" Mrs. Chapel leaned forward. "In this family, we don't tolerate dalliances. Women from this house, Mr. Spock, can make or break a man. I would keep that in mind, if I were you."

She looked around at the other shocked dinner guests and said briskly with a smile as if the exchange between herself and Spock had never happened, "Let's take our after dinner drinks in the East Garden. I have a marvelous new floribunda rose I am just dying to show all of you."

The sixteen guests rose and followed their hosts out to the garden. Christine stayed frozen in place at the table. Spock stood next to her.

Slowly she raised her eyes to him. "What does that mean for us?" she whispered accusingly.

"It means we have a lot to talk about," Spock said.

"Mother is right, you know. I have been raised that way," Christine said her own eyes taking on an electric blue quality not unlike her mother's.

Spock observed it and smiled a sad little smile. "I know she is," he said. "What it would mean is that our children will have some of your DNA and some of mine but their genetic strands would be augmented so that the genetic balance was 50/50."

"And what would happen if we conceived a child that wasn't 50/50, the natural way?" Christine said sickly, already knowing the answer.

Spock swallowed. "That child would in all probability not be allowed to be born."

Christine stared at him. "I think this engagement has suddenly gotten too hot to handle," she said. She rose and walked out of the room.

He bowed his head and followed her out. She being his only way home.