DISCLAIMER: The Star Trek characters are the property of Paramount Studios, Inc. The story contents are the creation and property of Jill Jackson and is copyright (c) 2002 by Jill Jackson.
A Tale of Two Humanoids
(Or: No Expectations Whatsoever)
(As told by the Muse of Charles Dickens, to his most humble servant, Jill)
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of logic and reason, it was the age of romance, it was the epoch of faith, it was the epoch of disbelief, it was the season of discipline, it was the season of Pon Farr, they had everything before them, they had nothing before them, they were going directly to Alpha Centurion III, they were going down to a desolate planet in a mechanically-failed space shuttle.
There was a male with pointed ears and upturned eyebrows, there was a female with softly rounded ears and well-plucked eyebrows. There was this same male who displayed a mask of solemnity at all times, and there was this selfsame female who, by her very display of emotions, showed that her mask was in sore need of mending.
It was the year of Our Lord five thousand nine hundred and fifty-five. Starfleet had communicated over the vast distance between its Earthly headquarters, past the billions of stars and newly discovered planets, past the barren asteroids and uninhabited moons that circled these spheres in a neverending orbital dance of the Heavens, onward until the anticipated message reached its intended listener, which was the most receptive Starship Enterprise.
The commander of this marvelously wrought spaceship, the leader of this mechanical monument to man's ability to explore the universal mysteries, the Captain of this vessel of brave and daring souls, by the name of Captain James T. Kirk, did receive this most welcome message from Starfleet Command, and began to set in motion all the events of which I am about to describe.
Rumors about the communique from Terra were to be heard (but barely audible) throughout the fine and sturdy military frigate. As passersby encountered one another in the long, strangely-lit corridors of the throbbing spaceship, they felt compelled to wonder aloud about the strange mission, and to puzzle even more about the odd pairing of the crew members who were chosen for this fateful trip.
For the much-esteemed Captain had not chosen the most dispensable red-shirted Ensigns for this dangerous task, which, as all the crew of all the Federation starships were most acutely aware, was the usual pattern for selecting members for a journey on which the safe return of all involved was questionable.
Yes, it was the very strangeness of his choices, the very unorthodox selection of the protagonists of our tale, which led the gossips to relate the news to their comrades in a never-ceasing cacophony of chatter.
The chosen pair (for there were but two souls selected) were the dour Vulcan First Officer, and the demure human Nurse Chapel. Never were two humanoids more ill-suited for each other, and never were two people more thrown together in implausible situations of uncomfortable proximity than these two poor mortal beings.
And so these two travelers of the galaxies found themselves once again on a journey towards a remote and dangerous outpost, a journey that was made twice as difficult as necessary because it occurred in the overly close quarters of a compact shuttlecraft.
Ah, but the snugness of the accommodations was only one part of the disagreeable equation; alas, this small and ancient contraption also had the misfortune of being in sad need of repair after a brutal hit it had endured in a previous endeavor. The Captain had been most diligent in areas of maintenance and engineering aboard his military abode, and by diligent, I mean for the reader to deduce that the esteemed Captain Kirk delegated these most important and necessary details to the ever-present Ensigns of the red shirts. For no discernible reason, however, there seemed to be a shortage of red-shirted personnel aboard the flying ship, and, military protocol notwithstanding, important documents were mislaid, misfiled, and, unfortunately for our main characters, missed not at all.
The consequences of this most abhorrent oversight can well be imagined, if you are wont to imagine horrifying scenes of vulnerable spacecraft breaking up in midspace within a vacuum of unbreathable atmosphere surrounded by the cold stares of unforgiving celestial gods who will not extend a helping hand, nay, not even one powerful finger, to the fallen mortals who have committed the ultimate sin of daring to be like one of them.
But, lest the reader despair and begin to make haste to leave this yarn before it has been completely spun out, let me here interject a more hopeful scenario. Let us suppose that this rat-trap of an exploration vehicle managed miraculously to survive the buffeting of the cosmic winds as it sped erratically towards its distant resting place. Yes, in spite of all seeming probability, this small craft managed to salvage itself by the wits and quick action of its two hearty and strong-willed controllers, who piloted the doomed shuttle to the shores of the nearest safe harbor, this being a barren moon locked in eternal orbit with the intended destination of Alpha Centurion III.
Upon arriving most fortuitously in one piece (though their bodies did not thank them, but instead protested mightily with even the smallest of movements), the fortunate pair descended from their now unmoving (and, by all appearances, forever unmovable) vehicle.
"We must find shelter," stated the taller member of the party, in a tone that reminded any listener (though there was but one) that this was a voice that was used to making decisions, without any unnecessary arguments or useless discussions.
The smaller of the two surveyed her grim surroundings, all the while studiously avoiding any glance towards her partner in this unforeseen adventure.
"I believe I see a cave over there," and with that encouraging remark the Nurse pointed upwards to a small cliff located a short walk ahead of them in the distance.
"We shall head in that direction," the tall Vulcan calmly replied. But his calmness seemed to leave him momentarily as he reached towards the young nurse to grasp an elbow when she began to falter on the loose rocks beneath her feet.
Hurriedly, he clasped his hands behind his back so that his companion might not see the intense trembling which had suddenly overtaken him. But her suspicions were aroused in spite of his efforts, and she expressed a natural concern for her fellow traveler's physical state.
"Spock, you are ill!" she exclaimed, as she attempted to steady the Vulcan Officer with her own feeble efforts at holding him upright.
"Do not touch me, woman!" warned the First Officer in a threatening tone, made all the more frightening by his rare use of such violent and impassioned speech.
The fair young lady was momentarily taken aback by the man's fierce words, but she attempted to regain her composure in the ensuing minutes by swallowing several times, as if, by the action of swallowing, she could eradicate the hard pounding of her heart, which threatened to overcome her with its intense rhythmic fury.
But the pounding was not emanating from a single source, but instead seemed to be echoing from yet another location, close but not identical, a fraternal beating of two hearts.
In the many worlds, both discovered and yet unknown, resides a Truth that is truer than all truths, a Truth that no man, Earthly or otherwise, can disprove or deny. It is the Truth that has no name, it is the Truth of many names, it is the Truth of hope, the Truth of despair, the Truth of procreation, the Truth of annihilation, the Truth of great beauty, the Truth of abject ugliness, the Truth of peaceful contentment, the Truth of vicious wars, the Truth of virtue, the Truth of sin, the Truth of true love, the Truth of Pon Farr.
We cannot describe the depths of these opposites but rest assured, if we are breathing at all, we have tasted from this dreadful and most enticing cup. Our two brave castaways were not immune to this Truth, as it enveloped them with omnipotent hands and brought them closer to each other by a mere clasping of it's fingers. They could no more escape from Truth's grasp than a fieldmouse could escape from the jaws of a feline.
Who is Mankind to judge the actions of a few, when we cannot even control the steady involuntary beating of our own hearts?
The Captain of the imposing Starship Enterprise pondered these thoughts to himself, as he settled into his disciplined routine aboard his beloved ship a mere fortnight after the incredible rescue of our stranded victims. The Vulcan and the Nurse recovered well from their arduous ordeal, and resumed their respective roles within the military life of which they were accustomed. Some people commented on the brief glances that these two occasionally shared, the hesitant speech with which they sometimes used in greeting one another, but by all outward appearances they had not been changed by the famous shipwreck.
So we shall take leave of our characters and allow them the luxury of deciphering their complex relationship, before we cause them undue embarrassment by our prolonged visiting and become something that is the worst of criminals in any society; an Unwelcome Guest.