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. Rated PG.

Interludes: Separate Lives


Commander Spock flipped the reader off and breathed in deeply the scent of the firepot. He was having a sudden rush of what he could only describe as nervous sensations. The feeling was so strong that it had stopped him in his research and completely destroyed his concentration. Since the incident with Henoch, he'd been aware of several vague and sometimes even very strong sensations. He had meditated several times on the matter to conclude that it was a left over from the chaos of being imprisoned in a vessel while another entity had taken over his body. The other instances had been annoying at the most, but this one. This one was more than a simple nuisance. The intensity of this feeling had him up out of his desk chair and pacing within moments. Suddenly, he could no longer remain in his cabin. He had to get out of the room before the claustrophobia started to take over. Deciding that a tour of the ship was a logical recourse, he left not knowing which direction to go but heading that way anyway.

As he walked, the feelings lessened but did not completely go away. Deck 6 gave way to Deck 5 and the main officer's lounge. Just as he began passing the room, the sensations began growing in intensity and practically drove him into the lounge. It was deep into the ship's night and there should not have been anyone there, but there was a single occupant sitting in one of the corner booths. Spock could not simply ignore her. It would be rude. Approaching, he had to clear his throat to get her attention. "Miss Chapel?"

Startled out of her daydreaming, the nurse gasped and colored slightly. "Uh, Mr. Spock. I'm sorry. Were you speaking to me?"

"I had not asked you anything, no," he replied. For a few awkward moments he stood at the entrance to the booth and then without permission slid across the seat to face her. She looked a little surprised. He noticed it. "May I sit here?"

"Oh, of course. I'm sorry. I seem to be saying that a lot. What brings you out this late in the evening?" Christine decided and changed the track of conversation.

"I found that I wished to ... stretch my legs. And you? If the duty roster has not changed, you are due on duty in another two hours," he noted as well as the fact that she was not eating breakfast and did not have her duty uniform on.

"Oh, just restless. I get so claustrophobic in that cabin. I guess I was spoiled as a kid. I had a bigger bedroom than the entire stateroom. If there was a window..." She sighed. There was no use wishing for something she wouldn't get, and Spock was noted for his lack of imagination in such matters.

"It has been suggested for the betterment of the officers to have some type of window included in their staterooms. You would not be the first to complain of claustrophobia," he added, not wishing to discuss his own feelings just before he arrived in the lounge. It was strange, he noted somewhere in the back of his mind, but since he sat down with Nurse Chapel the feeling had disappeared.

"Really. I suppose there should be a research study done on it or has it already been done?" she asked, keeping the conversation on a strictly professional level.

"There have been notable studies done on it in smaller vessels but never in one as large as a Constitution Starship. Perhaps it would be something you would wish to pursue," he suggested finding the easy way he spoke to her unusual. With their recent history, he would have considered it difficult to find anything to say to her. Still, something else echoed in his head. It was her voice. "It was beautiful." She had said it in full hearing of everyone on the bridge just after Sargon and Thalassa had shared a brief moment together. He had assumed at the time that she had directed the maudlin statement towards that act of Captain Kirk and Dr. Mulhall sharing a public kiss; now he wondered. Something prompted him to ask about it. There might never be another time to do so. "Miss Chapel, I have something I wish to discuss with you," he began.

Christine's eyes met his, a little curious as to what he would wish to talk to her about. "Well, no time like the present as my mother says. Ask away."

Spock swallowed, found that he really didn't know how to ask this, cleared his throat. Christine watched him expectantly. Finally he began, "When Henoch controlled my body..."

The look of dismay in her eyes was evident immediately. For a moment he thought she was going to start crying, but she held her composure. "Yes," she prompted.

"You held my consciousness for a time. Do you remember that?" he asked thinking that she might not remember details anymore. It had been a month since the incident.

"Yes, I do. If it's about the comment I made on the bridge, I'm sorry. I was so overwhelmed," she tried.

Spock's questioning look stopped her. Something in him wanted to ask further. Instead, he turned the question into a statement so that he wouldn't implicate himself. "Yes, the comment, no doubt it was a reaction to Sargon and Thalassa's kiss they shared."

"No, well, in part, yes. But I referred to what we shared. It was the most ... I don't know how to describe it. It was such an intangible moment, and yet it was as if I were suddenly more aware of everything. I'm not making sense," she decided and stopped babbling.

Spock agreed with her. "No, you are making perfect sense. I felt the same thing, as though I were two people even though I was not even really one any longer. I have never felt that either."

"So, were you horrified at the chaos you found in there?" she asked with a wry smile and tapped a long fingernail against her temple.

Spock had not thought much about his actual experience within her mind. He supposed that it was simply a holding place while he was waiting to be redeposited into his own body. Now he tried to remember what it was like. He did not have any adverse reactions. He was certain that if he'd had a traumatic time that he would still remember it. He focused on what he could recall. There was warmth and security and something that he could not pinpoint. He assumed that was what humans referred to as compassion. It could not be as ugly an emotion as love. He had always assumed that love meant being tied down and bound to something that strangled and sucked the very life out of an individual. What her mind had held had not done that at all. It had allowed him life and gave him up easily when the time came. It had to be compassion. But, she loved him. She told him she loved him once. Then where was that love in the sequence of emotions that he experienced while in her consciousness? Henoch must have dampened them with his mind control. That was it, he decided. It had taken a while to answer her question. "No, on the contrary, your mind was a safe haven, and I never have thanked you for it."

Taking a page from the recent visit of his parents, Christine's smile grew serious. "One does not thank logic."

"No, one does not," he acknowledged. "But it was not a logical situation that we found ourselves in, therefore I do need to thank you. Henoch's mind control was very powerful. Have you felt any adverse effects since?"

"I don't know. I have a strange sense of loss sometimes. Like I had something deep inside and now I don't. But, Henoch was so ... cold and evil. That's the only way I can describe what he was. Why would I miss that?" she asked, questioning what she could possibly yearn for in someone such as him.

"I cannot answer your question. Perhaps it is simply a void or a vacuum that will fill in time. I sometimes find that I have a somewhat similar experience when I have melded with another and then am separated. It takes a few days before I am completely healed. Your human psyche is not accustomed to such interruptions in the process. Undoubtedly, now that I think of your question, that must be the reason."

"Oh, well, that's good. I'm not having as many problems as I had been having, so you must be right. I was beginning to think that I was so desperate or needy that I would actually miss the evil that he represented," she sighed happily. She smiled honestly for the first time in quite a while. She felt much better already. The lounge doors parted and a few of the early morning crew started to amble in talking about their upcoming shifts and what they would be doing or had just done. "Looks like the breakfast crowd. Well, as you said earlier, I have duty in a little while, and I'm not dressed or ready. Thank you for the talk. It was helpful," she said while she scooted out of the booth. She'd been sitting in it so long that she ached a little when she got up.

"I found it helpful as well," he agreed and watched her leave. He might as well order breakfast and then go back to his reading. The feeling of claustrophobia had gone now, but he was hungry. He would look into the research for putting windows into staterooms when he finished.