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. This is a follow-up to Bonnie Guyan's "A Vulcan's Monologue." (See the 1001 Trek Tales "Memory Alpha" page for more information.) Rated PG-13.



Mixed Messages

T'Kuht



The party was in full swing. Christine set the plate of cheese puffs on the bar and brushed her fingers across Jal-ra's hand. It was her way of saying thanks for helping with the preparations. He smiled that stunning toothy smile at her and leaned in close. His pheromones were practically screaming at her to pay attention to him. She smiled back, "Not now. We have guests."

"Later then. I can see why my sister has such an attachment to Decker," he said in that soft lilting accent that had charmed her the moment she'd heard it.

"Decker is special. So is Ilia," Christine said and watched the group of people mingling, fondling, talking. Delta was so different than any other place she'd ever been. Free love was not a condition here; it was the norm. There was no bathroom humor here, nor were there off color remarks or raunchy jokes. Sexuality was not something taken lightly. It was a very serious business and never treated without respect. The Star Fleet physician had to admit she was a little put off at first with all the public displays, but she'd adapted quickly.

"There's someone at the door," Jal-ra said as he kissed the Christine's pinky finger.

"How do you know?"

"I can hear them. Deltans have better hearing."

"Okay, okay. Let go of my hand and I can answer the door."

She found her way through the crowd of bodies and opened the door with a wide grin, "Welcome to..."

Spock stood at her door. If it had been Jesus Christ himself she wouldn't have been more surprised. Christine stood with the silly grin on her face a moment and then stepped out to pull the door closed behind her. "Mr. Spock, what a surprise."

He nodded, noted the sound that came from her apartment. "I have come at an inopportune moment," he declared and started to go.

"Wait, it's just a party. It's a bit rowdy in there right now. I'd invite you in, but well ... it's a traditional Deltan party," she explained as tried to think of some way to tell him it was an orgy.

"I should have contacted you earlier," Spock repeated. He was completely ill at ease. He'd wished to speak to her privately. He could not tell her what he wanted with a room full of copulating people. He did not know that he could have told her even if it had been quiet. He had expected her to be alone, studying or reading. She had been such a soft-spoken individual on the ship. Perhaps she really wasn't.

"Would you like to take a walk?" Christine offered thinking that Jal-ra would wonder where she went.

"Yes, that would be preferable," he said quickly.

"Let me go tell someone I'm going to be gone for a while. I'll be right back."

Spock waited in the hall. He felt like he'd been sent to the headmaster's office and was now waiting to be punished. No, he felt more like he did when his father wished an audience with him. After a few minutes Chapel returned with a light jacket and a Deltan male. He beamed at Spock.

"Mr. Spock, this is Jal-ra. I have told him so much about the people I worked with on the Enterprise that he wanted to meet you."

"I am pleased," Jal-ra said formally and greeted Spock with the traditional Vulcan hand symbol.

Spock returned it. "Peace and long life. You work with Miss Chapel now?"

Jal-ra laughed like merry bells. "No, I am her ... what is your word?"

Christine filled in for him. "Ilia is my roommate and Jal-ra's brother. Jal-ra is a close friend."

By the term "close" Spock assumed she meant lovers. By the rather confused look on Jal-ra's face, it must be so, but he did not dispute her description of their relationship. "Jal, I'm going to take a walk with Spock. Will you look after things for me?"

"Of course and I will tell Ilia and Decker where you have gone when they finish."

"All right," she said and waited till Jal was in the apartment again before heading down the stairs to the lower level. Spock followed reluctantly, the words he had to say to her stuck somewhere between his throat and gullet. Still, he could not just say goodbye and leave her standing there. There was a small park that had walking paths just across the street, and they went there. "So, I guess the Enterprise has made it home in one piece," she assumed as she came to a bench and started to sit down. Spock kept walking so she straightened back up and followed him.

"Yes. We finished our tour of duty on Monday," he replied stiffly.

"Well, if I had a drink I'd say to the crew of the Enterprise, but well the drinks are upstairs. So, you are visiting Delta?" she asked confused as to his appearance.

"Yes."

"Okay, it's a lovely planet," she said.

"Yes."

The moonlight beamed off the water. Christine admired it. "It certainly is different than the ship. I didn't realize how much I missed fresh air and sunshine while I was aboard."

"It is different."

Christine sighed. She was out of small talk and Spock was clammed up tight. "Well, I hate to cut this short, but I do have a party to go back to."

"Indeed. May I ask what the celebration is for?"

"Oh, just to have one, and I passed my final doctoral exam yesterday. I am officially Dr. Chapel, Star Fleet physician, third class," she provided proudly. That was one reason she took the position on Delta, so she could qualify for the exams and do the internships at the same time.

Spock turned to her as they walked, looked deeply into her eyes. "May I congratulate you on your accomplishment. It is well deserved."

"Thank you," she said softly. There was something odd in the way he said it, but she dismissed it quickly. Spock was usually a little odd to her. She'd stopped trying to figure him out when she left the ship.

Spock could hear the party in her apartment easily. It was rather exciting. This was not going at all the way he'd imagined. He had wanted to speak to her at length, have a nice walk or a meal with her, tell her of his revelations. Now he could only think of idle chatter. "Dr. McCoy has left for the world that the Yonadans have populated. He plans to keep his promise of marriage to Natira."

"Well, he always said he planned to. I hope he finds happiness with her. He deserves it," Chapel answered.

"As do you," Spock said impulsively.

She laughed, "Thank you, I think. I must admit I am happier now than I have been in a long time. I think it's having my life head somewhere instead of just going around in circles. I know I thanked you already for that, but thank you again."

Spock nodded. She was happier than he'd seen her in a long time. They had reached the parking garage area and the lights illuminated them well. He studied her face, her eyes. Her eyes were easily readable. The look was not there anymore. They no longer said, "I love you." His tone grew formal, serious. "I do apologize for taking you away from your party. I will take my leave. Again, congratulations on your degree."

Christine shook her head, completely befuddled as to the entire conversation. "And again, thank you. Well, I'm sure that I'll be seeing you around. Goodnight, Spock."

"Goodbye, Dr. Chapel," he said and turned to go back to his car. She watched him leave and headed up the stairs to the party and Jal-ra's waiting arms.



FIN (for now)

1