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) 2001 by T'Kuht. The poem was mine, the people are theirs....
Box of Shattered Dreams
Commander Spock walked briskly down the starbase promenade. He rarely took shore leave, but on this stop he wished to purchase something for his mother's birthday. Since the mission to Babel earlier that year, he was able to communicate more freely with her as well as his father and did not wish to neglect getting her a gift. A particular dealer of curiosities occupied a shop at the end of the trade area. He did not want the usual knick knacks, perfume, or clothes. His mother was special and required a more appropriate present. The Orion dealer was reputed to be honest and had unusual goods to barter for. The science officer blue uniform stood out among the civilian population in the shop. The dealer bustled over. "You Starfleet, you wish to barter or touch?"
"I wish to barter, if I find the right item," Spock replied formally. Apparently this dealer had trouble with people who came to just look at the merchandise and not buy. He was left to go through the crowded shop. It was a mix of antiques and junk, but there were some interesting items. One caught his eye. A large mahogany chest stood under a table rather obscured by a pile of rugs and cheap material. Spock bent to look at it. There was no price tag. The Orion quickly returned. "You not like. It has no key. I not sell."
"Why does it have no key?" Spock asked instantly curious and wary.
With a sign of earnestness, the Orion answered, "I purchased it at an auction of unclaimed freight. It did not come with key. I keep it for display purposes. It is pretty, no?"
"It has a quality about it," Spock muttered and removed the rugs. It had a rounded top, rosettes and vines etched throughout and the words "Forever and Always" carved in it. He instantly wanted it. He did not care what the price was.
"I will purchase it. It does not matter that there is no key, provided you can show a proof of authenticity and a receipt," he added slyly. He knew that one hint of illegal goods and the Orion would be in trouble with the base law.
The Orion shuffled anxiously. "I have receipt. Come, I show."
He led to a large filing cabinet and pulled out a manila envelope full of papers and payment tags. He produced one that matched the description of the trunk as well as a photo for authenticity. "I ask ... 500 dinarettes."
Spock nodded in agreement and paid the Orion the money. It was a simply process to open the trunk and have a new set of locks put on it. Now to get it aboard....
* * *
The trunk was waiting for him in his room when he arrived back from his day at Starbase 2. Spock had spent the rest of the day sitting in a conference with the Captain and Commodore of the base. Pulling out a set of small hand tools used for delicate work, he had the lock picked in a matter of seconds and the lid tilted back. He had not bargained for a full trunk. It was packed in white tissure paper and smelled of cedar. Removing the top layer of paper, he began sorting through the contents one by one.
A large quilted coverlet, made of ecru muslin and handstitched, was covered with butterflies and flowers. Spock laid it aside carefully. It was intricately and lovingly made, even his untrained eye could see that. Sheets and matching pillow cases were packed with it. Table linens, pewter candlesticks, a tea service, and champagne glasses were nestled in the second layer. A box containing a bridal veil and slippers, as well as a wedding gown were carefully rewrapped and put beside the trunk. He had obviously bought someone's wedding trousseau and hope chest. This was rather interesting. It appeared to be Terran in origin which also explained the words on the top. At the bottom of the trunk lay a small lace gown made for a baby as well as a blanket and accessories. Spock wondered if they had ever been used. Odds and ends lined the bottom: a box with two rings, plain but sturdy, a set of houseplans, and some papers. Opening the large envelope, he poured out a pile of photographs and newspaper clippings of some sort. Choosing one of the photos, he nearly dropped it before regaining his composure. Those eyes were staring right at him. He looked at the items laid about him. He had her hope chest....
* * *
Christine Chapel finished the last of the reports she had to give to Mr. Spock on the results of the damaging radiation they had just gone through at Gamma Hydra IV. Stretching in her chair, she didn't really want to go give it to Spock in his quarters, but she had promised it by that evening. "Leonard, I'm going now okay," she called.
"Bout time, have fun," he answered from the other room knowing where she had to go.
* * *
Spock was still trying to gather his thoughts when the door buzzed. Without thought he answered, "Come."
Christine Chapel entered speaking as she did. "I brought the report... Where did you get this?"
The look on her face was not accusatory, but it was filled with pain and confusion. Her things lay strewn about his floor and the Vulcan was sitting cross legged amidst the pile. "Miss Chapel, I assure you that I am not prying into your things."
She knelt to touch the hem of the gown she would have worn on the happiest day of her life. "But they were lost when Roger... They were listed as lost when the ship's manifest was checked."
Spock was trying to come up with some way to explain how he happened to be in possession of her things. The truth was always best. "On Starbase 2, I purchased this chest from an Orion trader. He showed me the bill of sale and authenticity photos. He said it was sold at an unclaimed freight auction."
She nodded weakly. Every item in the chest had been packed with care and love. Spock had taken just as much care to remove them. She allowed her hand to flutter over the baby ensemble. Tears began to sting her eyes. It was all gone now, gone and destroyed forever. "Probably stolen before it was ever put on the ship."
"I surmise as much. I had just discovered whose it was when you arrived," he explained holding out the pictures. There were engagement photos, general snapshots, and some of her in the wedding dress. Obviously she had them taken before the wedding was to take place. She had been radiant in the long gown and veil. He watched her carefully. She was getting tired of crouching and sat like he did among the things. Picking each piece up as if they were made of fragile glass, she allowed her fingers to barely touch the material. They smelled of cedar and the fragrance she'd put on them to keep them fresh. She didn't meet Spock's eyes or even really comprehend he was there. A piece of paper caught her eye, and she picked it up to read it.
"Andrew and Anne Chapel wist to announce the forthcoming marriage of their daughter Dr. Christine Elizabeth Chapel and Dr. Roger Allan Korby of Boston. The couple plan to marry on Starbase 5 after Dr. Korby establishes a base on the research world Exo III. They will reside..."
She couldn't continue. The clipping fell out of her open hands and fluttered to the floor. With head bent in grief, she sniffed back the tears. Spock could feel the pain she radiated. It was so deep and strong. He had to catch himself before he became caught in the whirlwind of the moment. Softly he spoke to her, "You may have them back, of course."
She looked at him for the first time since entering the room. "What?"
"They are your things, you may have them."
"I don't want them," she replied. It was painful to even be near them. They were just things after all. Opening the box with the rings, she closed it back tightly. "You bought them, they are yours."
"I have no need for such things. I purchased the trunk for my mother," he explained. What could he possibly do with a wedding dress and a quilt let alone a baby gown.
"Then give them to Amanda and tell her she can do what she pleases with them. Surely there is someone she knows somewhere on Vulcan who could use some of it," she pleaded. She was getting light headed and wanted to leave.
Spock didn't reply for a moment. "I hesitate to send these things. They are cherished..."
Christine slammed a palm down on the floor, tears poured down her cheeks. She fairly screamed at him, "They are NOTHING! Don't you understand? Destroy them, sell them, do whatever you want with them. Just don't let me see them again!"
With that she stood on shaky legs and ran from the room leaving the Vulcan sitting surrounded by her things she had dreamt of, hoped for, and lost. He didn't know what to do. Replacing each item one by one as he found them, with the exception of the wedding portrait, he shut the trunk and slid it in the corner of the room and draped a ceremonial robe over it. Perhaps his mother would just like some perfume....