DISCLAIMER: The Star Trek characters are the property of Paramount Studios, Inc. The story contents are the creation and property of Ster Julie and is copyright (c) 2004 by Ster Julie. Rated PG.
I sat at the terminal, racking my brains for a new story. Ideas rolled around I my brain like so many marbles in a jar, but none were deemed worthy.
That won't do.
Not another Mary Sue story!
One by one I shot them down, until my head was quiet enough to sense a presence in my room.
"Pardon the intrusion," I heard. A soft male voice, exquisitely low and nearly purring. I had heard that voice for over thirty years, but surely he could not be here!
"Pardon the intrusion," he repeated. "I came to lodge a ... complaint." I turned around to face someone I knew could not be there.
By the look of him, this was the Spock of "Unification," or perhaps a few years later. His grey robes complimented the silver in his hair. His eyes were more hooded, his face more lined. The years of rough-scrabble living on Romulus had not been kind, but nothing could change the warm timbre of his voice.
"Spock!" I breathed. He deliciously cocked that oh-so-familiar eyebrow that conveyed his response to me calling him by name, as if to say We haven't been formally introduced.
"Since you seem to know who I am," he continued, "perhaps you could tell me where I may take my complaint." I shook myself to keep from staring dumbfounded, and motioned him to take a seat. (That is, of course, after I had removed the food wrappers and questionable laundry piled upon it.) I quickly wiped down the chair with an old T-shirt and he seated himself.
"What is the nature of the complaint?" I managed to say after a few false starts. He folded his arms tightly and took a deep breath before answering. Either he was not used to lodging complaints, or this involved a highly personal issue.
"I have stumbled upon a multitude of fictitious accounts of the lives of my shipmates, my family, and especially myself. I want it to stop."
I was stunned. "Fictitious accounts"? "A multitude of fictitious accounts"?? Was Spock referring to the many websites devoted to Trek fiction?
I flung myself back in my chair. You are dreaming, kiddo! I thought. You are concentrating so hard on writing a new story that the whole process has entered your dreams. YOU are real. HE is not. I looked up to see Spock studying me.
"Are you able to help me with my request?" he asked, "or can refer me to someone who is?" I studied him for a moment. I was dying of curiosity, but would it be an invasion of his privacy? I sat back up. Privacy be damned! Writers can make characters sprout horns if they wanted. I was going to have Spock unload his gripes to me. There may be a ton of story ideas here!
"I would like to try, Mister Ambassador," I began.
"You have already called me by name, so you may continue. However, I am at a disadvantage here." I started at his mild reproof.
"Erato." Spock tipped his head to me as if he hadn't heard (which was a preposterous thought!) I cleared my throat. "You may call me Erato." He blinked. "As in the Muse." His stare was beginning to get on my nerves. "It's an old family name," I defended. He relaxed a bit.
"Forgive. I thought perhaps you did not trust me with your real name." I lowered my head, but snapped it up at his next utterance. "My name, too, is an old family name."
"But I thought you were named Spock because it meant bridge-builder!" I blurted. Spock looked at me as if I had sprouted a third eye.
"Nooo. I was named after my great-great-grandfather." I was confused. "I also had a human relative with that same name." Now WAIT a MINUTE! I thought.
"In the incident leading up to the Khittomer Accords, you inferred that you were related to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle!" I exclaimed. Now Spock looked confused.
"I was quoting my ancestor -- Sherlock Holmes. Another distant relative of Mother's was the famous pediatrician, Doctor Benjamin Spock." Spock drew himself up in his chair and hugged his arms closer as if to shield himself. "This is what I am talking about. There are many fallacies in these fictitious accounts. I want `to set the record straight,' as my human friends once said." I rummaged through a desk drawer and pulled out a yellow pad and a fat grip pen. I wanted to take notes!
"If you would give me a list of said fallacies," I said, trying to sound nonchalant, but coming across as over-eager, "I could post them for the benefit of the other writers. We could put a stop to promoting these lies." Spock nodded, the overhead lights picking up the silver in his hair.
"Very well." He loosened the death grip he had around himself and rested his hands in his lap.
"Number one -- I had a very close, intimate friendship with James Kirk, one that did not require physical intimacy to maintain the depth of the relationship." I stopped writing.
"So you are not ... gay?" I asked quietly, as if someone else could be in my studio apartment without my knowledge. Spock leaned forward in his chair and looked me straight (no pun intended) in the eye.
"Ask T'Pring. Ask Leila Kolomi. Ask Christine. Ask ... Ask Zarabeth." His voice lowered to a whisper on that last name. I sat back and studied him. There was a quiet sadness about him as he spoke the woman's name.
"Did you ever go back for her? For Zarabeth?" I asked quietly. Spock lowered his eyes and shook his head.
"It would have been unethical to do so." Spock was quiet many moments more. He shook himself. "Which brings me to the next point.
"Number two -- I am a hybrid, therefore sterile. Why do these stories have me fathering so many children? Logically..." Spock noticed a distressed look on my face. "Does this disturb you?" I nodded.
"It's kind of sad, you know?" I sniffed. "We fans like to think that you would have given your own child much more that your father ever gave you." Spock's mouth dropped open.
"That is so illogical!" he breathed. "My father provided me with food and lodging. He taught me all he knew about computers, preparing me well for my Starfleet career. He made certain that I learned the Vulcan disciplines and the Way of Life so that I could function in an unforgiving reality, while at the same time allowing my mother to teach me about Terran culture - literature, music, art, etc." I sat forward.
"But then he so vehemently opposed your enlisting in Starfleet that he gave you the silent treatment for eighteen years," I countered, "and had further animosity towards you near the end of his life!" Spock shook his head.
"After Sarek died, and Captain Picard shared his memories of their mind meld, I was able to understand my father better." Spock sighed at the reminiscence. "Father only wanted to keep me safe. He felt he could not protect me if I were away in space. That is what separated us. If he already declared me dead by disowning me, then he wouldn't be hurt when I died." My eyebrows shot up. It was my turn to say it.
"That is so illogical!" Spock nodded. "At Mount Seleya, Sarek said, `My logic is uncertain where my son is concerned.'" I saw Spock's eyes mist over and his lips pull into a tight line. "That," he rasped, "was a public declaration of his affection for me." He briefly covered his eyes with his hand. "I can only appreciate it now that he is gone." I let him stay silent for about a minute.
"What is point four?" I asked quietly. He looked up at me.
"I believe that we are on point three," he corrected. He sat up again. "Number three -- What are all the beatings about?" I nodded. I knew exactly what he meant. "During my Starfleet career, I had many injuries of various degrees, but these accounts have me being flogged, whipped, branded, beaten, raped, and tortured over and over. A psychologist would have a field day, as the saying goes, with these stories." Memories of his physical injuries seemed to haunt him, so he quickly moved to the next topic.
"Number four -- I am not promiscuous." I lower my head to hide my blush. I had written a few of these tales. "These stories have me `sleeping around,' as Mother would have called it, with women, men, aliens." He crossed his arms once more. "And I must draw the line when it comes to Leonard McCoy. There was professional respect between us and friendship, but the thought of the good doctor and myself as `partners' would have abhorred him. He fancied himself `a ladies' man and a Southern gentleman.'" He paused. "Enough said on that point."
"Number five -- I do not get drunk." This one seemed to strike a sore point; he seemed most indignant! "Alcohol does not affect me the same as it would affect a human. Nor do I find the taste appealing. If, in a social occasion I can avoid it, I will abstain." I tried -- unsuccessfully -- hide my smile. Some of those "drunken Vulcan" stories were funny!
"Number six -- I have not had every exotic disease in the book." He seemed to want to say more but thought better of it. I looked up.
"What were you going to say, Spock?" I asked.
"Please," I interrupted. "What were you going to say?" Spock squirmed in his seat. "This is part of Number Three. I see the whippings and the illnesses as a means to an end." He didn't say more.
"You mean, hurt/comfort?" I prompted. Spock nodded.
"It seems to be a plot point that shows me as weak and vulnerable," he replied, "as if that is the only way I will allow someone to touch me." I felt a wicked grin threaten to spread across my face.
"Is it?" I asked. I saw a warm twinkle in his eye.
"Ask my wife." No need to hide my smile that time. I saw it reflected in Spock's eyes.
"Number seven--" he continued. "Vulcans have emotions. Vulcans have very STRONG emotions. That is why we have to gain mastery over them to prevent us from returning to savage times. I have to keep a constant guard on my emotions, even in private. Is it tiring? Indeed, yes. Do I want to travel a different path? Absolutely not." Spock grew very quiet again. "I tried, once, near the beginning of my Starfleet career, to try that other path." He sighed. "It was a long, hard struggle back." I thought about this.
"You seemed different after your return from the dead," I mused. "During the Khittomer Accords, you seemed more relaxed..."
"And more emotional," he interrupted. "That did not serve me well, especially after Valeris' treachery. It took me a long while to...recover." Spock sat silently for a long time. I quietly filled in my notes as I waited, keeping one eye on him. Spock stirred. He put his hands on the armrests as if to leave. "So you see why I do not appreciate those stories that show me wanting things to be different." He started to stand. I put out a hand.
"Please wait!" I asked. I scanned the list. "Is this all you wanted to say?" Spock didn't reply. "There's more, isn't there," I stated. Spock leaned back.
"There is much more," he said, "but if you could affect these changes, I will be satisfied." I tapped my pen on this pad as I thought.
"You know," I began slowly, "If you could write your story, it would dispel all of these ... errors."
"A biography?" He replied. I nodded. Spock shook his head. "Preposterous. Who would buy it? It would be boring compared to what I have already read." I was shocked.
"Boring?" I repeat. "Spock, how could it be boring? Look at all you have seen, everywhere -- and everywhen -- you have been! It couldn't possibly be boring!" He considered this.
"I am too involved with my work on Romulus to write a biography." He said the word with such distaste that it made me smile.
"I could ghostwrite it for you!" I suggest. Spock considered this for a brief moment.
"Fine. I will dictate it to you." He looked at my pen and pad on my lap, as if to say, Get ready. I turned to a fresh sheep of paper. "I was born on Vulcan. I lived my life. I worked for peace." He stopped.
"That's it?" I asked, dismayed. Spock shook his head.
"Anything else would be an invasion of privacy," he countered. I glared at him, and he stared at me.
"Fine." I tore the sheets of notes from the pad and held it before his face and ripped them in two. That drew a reaction from the Vulcan.
"I thought you were going to help me dispel all these fallacies..." I didn't let him finish.
"I changed my mind." (My, that sounded harsh to me!) "Spock, if you want these stories to change, then you will have to give us a good reason to do it." He stood finally.
"Very well, then, Ms. Erato," he said coldly. "I'll just have to find another storyteller who is a little more agreeable. Good day." He turned heel and left.
WHAT DID I JUST DO??!!!
I bent down and picked up the torn sheets of paper. Rummaging about for the tape, I started to put the pages back together.