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. Rated PG-13.
Shaken Not Stirred
Her instructions had been explicit. "Do not wear your uniform. Wear a simple black close-fitting dress that covers fully. Do not show cleavage or leg. Wear minimal jewelry. Allow your hair to remain as natural as possible. Lightly scented lilac or rose perfume would be preferred." Christine regarded herself in the full length mirror. She had followed his letter explicitly. She'd been trying to breathe for two days since she'd first received his message on her comm board. It had taken her fifteen minutes of rereading it before she fully comprehended what it said.
"Miss Christine Chapel,
"I wish you to accompany me to the concert on Starbase 3 this Friday at 2000. I have arranged your schedule to allow you the time for this. Please do not reveal this to anyone else at this time. Will send further instructions in subsequent posts.
Since she couldn't tell Uhura or Leonard, she'd nearly burst with the mere ideas of what was going to occur in her head. She'd had to do something that she'd not done in years: resort to a journal to release some of the thoughts. She thought she'd give away the whole thing when she dropped a set of test tubes that McCoy had been babying in the lab right in front of him. She just smiled and gushed about being all butterfingers. After he'd calmed down enough to see other than purple spots around his head, he'd helped her clean up. The ship had docked at Starbase 3 at 1500, and she had gotten off duty at 1800. Now, she was breathlessly waiting for his signal to meet him at the base. He had wanted complete secrecy. Spock was an unusual man and far be it for her to question his unorthodox methods of asking a girl for a date. Without warning the beeper went off and she jumped at least three inches off the ground she was so wound up. Smoothing the skirt of the elegantly tailored dress, she hurried down the hall trying to remember what she was to say to people if they asked where she was going. Luckily, she ran into no one who questioned her and the transporter chief was too concerned with his date for the evening that was visiting him, that he paid her no attention.
Starbase 3 was an older base, one of the first ones built and had a rustic charm about it. It was not outdated or outmoded, just well broken in. The atmosphere rather reminded her of a well established suburb in say New York or San Francisco, not the newly developed houses with their perfectly manicured lawns. She easily found her way to Newman Hall and presented her ticket to the concert. She would meet Spock once she was inside the door. In this way, no passing crewman would recognize them. Spock had done some background checking. The musical style being performed was of little interest to anyone else on board and so he had purchased the only tickets. The usher looked at it. "This way, madam."
Several people noticed her as she swept past them. She struck a most beautiful pose even in a non-revealing dress. In fact, the way it hugged her curves and assets, it was even more enticing than something with little material and a lot of cleavage. In the dim light of the seating area, she couldn't really see where she was being led. Eventually, the usher turned. "Here, madam."
She smiled. "Thank you."
Spock's eyes met hers for a moment and he quickly took in the dress and other requirements. "You have done well. I commend your taste."
"Well, you did tell me what to wear," she said and sat beside him in the darkened chamber. She longed to ask him at least 20 questions, but he seemed unwilling to talk. He just appeared rather uneasy. She would let him navigate the evening.
The room filled with people, it was a nice turn out but not to full capacity. The house lights began to go down and Christine concentrated on the concert. A Vulcan quartet was performing ancient Vulcan pieces on period instruments. It was a little grating to Christine's ears at first, a little like Oriental music. The sounds were sometimes harsh, sometimes even happy, but all very alien. Spock appeared to appreciate the works, but he said nothing, mentioned nothing about the pieces to help her understand what was going on. Vulcans had an unusual idea about dates, she was thinking. Intermission arrived and she wanted to stretch her legs. She started to get up. "Do not leave," Spock instructed and his look shook the idea completely out of her head.
"All right. I've never heard this type of music. Tell me, are they good?" she asked. She wouldn't have known if they were even out of tune it was so different to everything she'd ever heard.
"Yes," he replied but added nothing. He kept watch on the stage, or at least the area around the stage and paid no attention to her. She began to feel a little hurt. Just as she worked up the courage to ask him something else, the house lights went down and the music began again. They sat in silence. Christine was becoming increasingly uncomfortable. This was not what she had expected. She was certain that Vulcan customs weren't this different. Spock did not seem particularly to be enjoying his evening as well. His jaw was set in a stiff, almost angry line. Once again, the music ended and Christine intended to get some answers before they spent another moment together. She waited for the others in her row to file out. Spock did not appear too eager to leave. "Spock, do you mind telling me what is going on?"
He turned to her, his eyes dark and not at all friendly. "Do not ask questions. Simply stay here."
He moved past her out into the aisle and down to the stage. Once there he spoke formally with one of the musicians as he put his instrument away. A Vulcan female approached and Christine thought she was vaguely familiar. But, she couldn't place where she'd seen her. Spock returned after a few moments and came for her. "Go along with whatever I say."
She narrowed her eyes a little and started to say something but clamped her mouth shut. Going with him, she tried to appear as formidable as she didn't feel. It helped her confidence. With an easy grace she smiled at the two who stood waiting. Spock introduced her. "May I present Dr. Christine Chapel."
If Spock had said she was the Queen of Sheba, she wouldn't have been more surprised. She was technically a doctor, but she never used the title. She didn't allow his statement to change any of her features. Spock turned to Christine and with a rather affectionate look in his countenance, said, "Christine, this is Stonn and Lady T'Pring."
A lead weight dropped into her gut. The names were familiar all right. She suddenly realized why she had been brought. Or at least she thought she knew why. She gave it her best polite shot. She'd not screw up his chance to get even. "I found your concert quite enjoyable."
T'Pring looked her over coolly, turned to Stonn and said something in Vulcan. He nodded and answered Christine, "It is appropriate." She tried not to analyze that and just let it slide. Spock was holding his breath, or at least not breathing the way he normally did. She mentally forced the blood to stop from rushing to her face. Spock nodded once and after formal greetings, they parted. Christine floated easily up the aisle to the lobby. Once they were out in the regular starbase promenade again, she asked, "Well?"
"I beg forgiveness for my behavior," Spock said coming to a stop and allowing her to walk ahead of him.
"What behavior? You wanted to show your .. .uhm ... ex that you're doing fine. Is that so awful?" she said calmly. On one level she was angry with him.
Spock could not meet her eyes. He signaled toward the base's natural park area. He needed to explain his actions, if he could even begin to understand them himself. "Shall we walk here?"
Once again, she followed him. After they passed several base personnel, he stopped at a secluded area kept away from the rest of the footpath. "I must try to explain my actions. It is not as you said, a show for my ex. In fact, I wished to insult her."
Christine was trying to let him get through the whole explanation before making any judgments. Right at that time, she was not pleased. He continued, "I chose to present myself with a human female knowing that she would consider that the greatest insult of all. I do not know how much you know about the events that took place on Vulcan."
She nodded, "I knew that things didn't work out well. I knew that the woman you introduced as your wife was no longer in the picture. She had challenged your right to marry her or something."
"Or something. Yes, she chose Jim as her victor instead of Stonn. When I beat Jim, I owned her as chattel at that moment. I gave her to Stonn. I wanted nothing to do with her or her ... lover. I received a message from my mother that the touring company of musicians would be appearing here and that if I happened to be at this base that I might like to know that T'Pring would be here as well."
He stopped a moment and swallowed, "I devised a plan. I needed someone that I knew could be trusted to do as I told them and when I said without objection. You were the only one I could think of. Everything that I gave you instructions on, was meant as an insult. I presented you as my new betrothed. In this manner, she could see that I had thrown away a full Vulcan woman and chosen a full human instead. It had the appropriate effect. I only regret that I could not tell you before hand what your role was."
Christine let it all sink in. He'd used her, tricked her, deceived her. She felt strangely calm though. He'd thought of her, she'd been the one he'd turned to for help. But, to purposely lie to a woman. She had not thought him capable. For a long moment she said nothing, began pacing a little. Spock watched for her reactions. He fully expected to be given tongue lashings or even slapped. She did none of those things. She finally spoke. "So, why all the secrecy? You could have told me, I would have been able to respond better."
"You might have said no. And, this is not something I wish to be proud of. I did this as a purely spiteful act. I find it completely distasteful. I cannot ask you to understand," he kept his voice short clipped, distressed.
Christine stopped pacing and stood looking at him. "Oh, I think I understand at least part of it. Like you said, I was the only person you could think of to insult your ex-wife with. You needed someone dumb enough to just do what you said without question. Well, you sure as hell found one..."
Her voice was kept at an even pace as if she were just reciting research readings instead of about to explode. Spock could feel the anger that boiled under her demeanor. He cringed a little at the heat. He had hoped that she would understand. Almost banked on the fact that she would not be angry when he had given her the paltry excuse he had. She had always been the constant source of support to him. He tried to quell her anger. "I did not say dumb."
"But you meant it. Didn't you?" she questioned with an insistent tone. Her eyes blazed, her stomach churned, and she feared she might collapse from her quivering knees.
Spock met her eyes, met those pain filled, aching eyes. He shook his head and whispered, "No, I did not."
Defeated, spent, the woman that stood before Spock shrugged, "I don't know ... I have done nothing to you except be stupid enough to let you know how I feel. I thought perhaps ... but I shouldn't have thought. I should never have thought. The more I think, the worse I feel."
Spock felt worse than he had at any other time in his life. He had not meant to hurt her, he had meant to hurt T'Pring. He didn't even think killing Jim Kirk had caused such anguish in his mind. With Jim, he merely defeated him in combat, he returned, and they had become even closer friends. With this woman, he had not physically harmed her but had destroyed whatever love she'd had for him, obliterated it until it was hatred. "I cannot express my regret for your distress. I..."
"Thank you for your apology, it has been filed and noted," she interrupted and with one last grief stricken look barely kept back a sob as she ran out of the park. Spock leaned forward, closed his eyes, and kept repeating to himself, "Why ... why...?"
* * *
Jim Kirk was in the middle of a nice dream when his door chime woke him. Looking at his clock he wondered why anyone would want him at 3 in the morning when they were in spacedock. With a growl, he allowed the door to open and admit his first officer. Spock appeared in distress, out of uniform, and impatient, "I regret troubling you, Captain, but I have no one else to turn to."
Kirk was shielding the light from his eyes, waved him over to a chair. "Okay Spock, what's the matter? You look pretty ... upset."
Spock nodded with shame. He had spent hours trying to figure out why he had done what he had. He had made certain that Christine had gotten aboard and was safe. In that he was calm and without worry. "I have made an error so grievous that I do not see a hope for restitution."
Kirk was still trying to wake up but that statement brought him fully awake. "Surely it's not that bad. You've just blown it out of proportion, that's all."
Spock stopped him. "I find that my conscience cannot be salved. Perhaps I have no conscience. I have abused Miss Chapel's trust in me."
That brought Kirk to his feet. "Spock, you've raped her...?"
"No, I would not physically hurt her. And, if I had, I believe it would be easier for me to handle. I shall give you the details." Without overuse of adjectives, he described how he received the news of T'Pring's presence, invited Christine, and subsequently destroyed her.
Kirk whistled. "Yeah, I think you're right. Spock, you had no right to do what you did to either of them. You purposely lied to T'Pring, telling her you were betrothed. I don't even know if Christine would have gone through with it if you'd asked her. She's not dumb, you know."
At that Spock nearly, nearly had Kirk against the wall. His voice boomed through the cabin, "I KNOW THAT! I KNOW THAT!"
"Okay, Spock, you've just underestimated the situation, you've made a mistake. It is not the end of the world," he tried to calm the Vulcan down.
"Isn't it? Is it not the end to her world? I took a sentient being's life and dallied with it as I would a toy. Is this what living amongst humans have done to me?" Spock asked the pain in his voice so deep that Kirk had to gulp before answering.
"Spock, just apologize to her. If you explain to her the way you have done with me..."
"I have, she now believes that I think she is stupid. She now believes that I think she is worth no more than a piece of junk." He could not keep his eyes open. They were tightly squeezed shut to keep out the pain.
For a time there was only breathing. Kirk allowed the thoughts to rattle around in his head. "Spock, why did you choose Christine? Why not just anyone who could fill the outfit?"
Spock focused on why. It gave him something to center on. "I chose her because in all the times I have known her she has never doubted me, never questioned me, never mistrusted me. Now, she can never be the same."
"Don't focus on that. Why else? That can't be the only thing," he probed deeper. Spock was about as good at self-analysis as he was, which meant lousy, but together they might be able to figure out someway to resolve the situation to an amicable level.
"She is what humans consider perfectly shaped, her measurements, her hair, her eyes, are all highly human. She smiles sincerely, does not judge too quickly. She is intelligent, and she thinks I believe her dumb..." He trailed off once again at the depths of despair.
Kirk started to smile. Spock loved her. He was in agony because now he'd blown whatever chance he might have had. And, Kirk had to admit, he had really blown it. "Spock, if you will calm down long enough to listen to me, I think I might be able to help. Well, with Christine's end, I don't know. But I believe I can give you some insight into why you chose her."
"I have told you why I chose her."
"No, you gave me the criteria. Here is why -- you love her. You love her so much that you can't even think of telling her or believing it. You presented her to T'Pring as your betrothed because you want her to be so. However, because you can't or won't or didn't tell Christine about why you really chose her, you may never be able to tell her. She's probably not going to speak to you for a long while. And, when McCoy gets wind of it, and he will, you're going to be up the proverbial shit creek without a paddle, my friend."
Spock nodded. He plopped unceremoniously into Kirk's desk chair and Kirk sat on the desk watching him. Spock did not give him the Vulcan's don't love speech, didn't even protest. He must be trying to accept it as fact as they waited. "What do I do?"
"Time might help. You give her space and let her just get through it herself. Or, knowing McCoy, you're gonna have to work fast before he really gets her so worked up you'll wish you were dead instead," Kirk pointed out. Spock was receiving no help whatsoever. Spock decided to do the one thing he knew that might work. Standing erect, he straightened the informal attire he'd donned after returning from the concert and quickly strode out of the cabin leaving a mussed captain in mid-sentence, "Spock what are you..."
* * *
Christine Chapel's cabin was dimly lit. She really, really didn't want to see anyone including herself. The bottle of gin was half empty. The bottle of tonic water was nearly full. She preferred hers pure. With a slight hiccup, she wiped her mouth sloppily and stared at the picture of Spock she had posted on her comm desktop. It was her screen saver. If it weren't for the fact that she would have to pay for the damaged screen out of her regular pay, she'd have demolished the thing hours ago. Looking at the picture, she hoisted a glass towards it. "Thank you, Mr. Spock ... for the best thing you've ever done for me."
Her door buzzed, but she was so buzzed she thought it was her ears. "Yeah ... that's right, baby. Best thing..." The door had recognized the yeah as an affirmative and slid the locked doors open. Spock could listen to her as she rambled on. "...you've ever done, old Spockie boy. Couldn't have asked for a better cure."
Spock stood for a moment thinking she was addressing him and then realized she was talking to a picture on her view screen. With a hasty breath, he allowed the door to slide shut and stood in the shadows so she wouldn't see him until he was more prepared to deal with her.
She drank straight from the bottle this time, her tears mixing with the alcohol and making her that much more angry. She threw the glass and it hit just to the right of Spock's still form. He jumped without thinking, upsetting a set of glass trinkets she had sitting on her wardrobe. They tumbled to the floor and shattered. She swung around to see what had caused the noise and saw the feet. Following the pants up to the shirt and eventually to the face that was lit in the dim spotlight. Her face screwed up in anger at his countenance. "What the hell are you doing here?"
Spock did what he came to do. Taking a giant step forward, he grabbed her, crushed her in his grip, pulled her head back gently, and kissed her so passionately he thought she might asphyxiate from the lack of air. Her hands pushed ineffectually against his taut biceps, she struggled to be free of his hands. Finally, he had to release her, he needed air. With an angry shove, she careened away from him to teeter next to the desk before tripping and falling to hit her head on the side of the cabinet. With a cry, she checked to see if there was any blood. There wasn't but it didn't make it hurt any less. Spock crouched beside her. "Christine."
"DON'T CALL ME THAT! I don't want to hear you say my name ever again." She was shaking all over and still clutching the back of her head. He reached out tentatively and it was firmly slapped away.
"Please, let me check to see if you're hurt," he pleaded. The gin was starting to take more hold and she swerved forward as she tried to get into a kneeling position to get away from him. Spock caught her, held her arms down at her side, "I cannot take back what I did or said."
"You meant it or you wouldn't have done it. Ever read Freud, Spock?" she spat.
"Human psychiatric analysis is not applicable here. I have been informed that the reasons I gave you were not correct. I seem to concur," he said, trying to explain while he could contain her.
She was beginning to get woozy and couldn't struggle much. "I don't understand."
"I am in love with you," he replied hoping not to choke on the words. "I have been in love with you for a great deal of time. The Captain helped me realize that the reason I presented you to T'Pring as my betrothed is because I want you to be so. Now, I have hurt you so badly you will not consider me."
She tried to stay focused on him. He was so close that she was seeing double. "Spock, you just don't treat someone the way you did me or her. That's no excuse."
Frustrated, he once again kissed her. She didn't push so hard to get away from him. In fact, he could feel her begin to relax under his kiss. He touched her mind with his, testing to see how much he was effecting her. Confused, muddled, chaotic thoughts met his. Underneath there was great pain and under that there was the abiding love that she had for him and would never be able to shake. The anger was purely shallow, the love ran deep. He caught that emotion in his mind, nurtured it, allowed it to rest in his own. She loved him. Never had he felt that type of devotion. He had melded with T'Pring, her mind was so sterile and cold and calculated. The love that Leila had for him, he thought had been real. Now, he realized that hers was shallow and a thin trickle compared to this woman's. He was flooded with the glow of her emotions. Even in her slightly intoxicated state, he could make her understand what he needed to. She yielded to his touch, gasped for air, fresh tears poured down her face. "Spock...?"
"Don't ask, don't think. Just feel. Feel what I have to give to you. I've been so foolish to not see what has been here." He allowed his hands to trace her cheek. "You are so beautiful. And, you are the most intelligent woman I have ever met."
She smiled at that. "Really?"
"You were smart enough to see the truth before I did."
Spock's strong Vulcan arms were gentle and soothing as he caressed her shoulders. "How is your head?"
"It's still attached if that's what you mean," she answered with a little slur. She didn't feel well. Her stomach was definitely not a happy camper. "Spock..."
"Yes," he whispered and allowed his nose to travel over her collar bone and up her neck.
"I'm gonna be sick..." she said and tried to get to her feet.
He quickly picked her up to set her on her feet and steered her to the bathroom. The contents of her stomach, basically gin, came up without much protest.
"Do you need to go to sickbay?"
She shook her head. "No. Just ... can you get me a wash cloth?"
He did as she requested and helped wipe her face off. She was an unusually paler shade of white than she normally was. In the bathroom, she could see her reflection in the mirror. A cat wouldn't have drug her in, it would have dug her under. "Spock..."
"I think I need to go lie down," she decided and needed help to get back out to the bed.
The bunk felt strangely stiff when she hit it and she realized with a start that she had fallen out of bed and hit the floor between the bunk and wall with a thud. Clearing her head, she untangled her legs from the covers and struggled to get out of the tight space. She'd had one of her goofy dreams again. She hated them. She always felt like a fool and couldn't look at Spock in the eyes for weeks. Going over to get ready for another glowing day in Sickbay, she checked to see if any messages had come through for her while she was asleep. There was one.
"I wish you to accompany me to the concert on Starbase 3..." began the message.
Before it got completely done, she toggled the reply button. "Mr. Spock, as much as I hate to turn down a lovely offer of a concert with you, I find that I have much too much to do to go. Thank you anyway, Christine Chapel." With that she went into her bathroom and started putting on her morning face. This was one dream that she didn't want to come true.