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 G.
Here She Goes With the Soup Again...
Soup de Jour
French Onion Soup
The warmth of Spock's quarters welcomed him as he stepped inside for the first time since he'd regained his sight. He had begun to believe that he would not see it again. The sight of his flame pot caused some of the anxiety he'd had begin to fade. He would require a great deal of meditative time to work through the chaos of emotions that he felt while his sight had been gone. It was still a most distasteful thing to him. The blindness had brought to the surface a lot of things that he had always assumed were without question. He had found himself afraid. He had felt fear before as a boy, even as a man, but he had always clamped down on the fear before it took control. The darkness had created a new fear that hadn't passed easily. In fact, the fear increased to the point that he had nearly had an emotional outburst when he knocked over the stack of data tapes Nurse Chapel had on the edge of her desk. She'd rushed forward, picked them up, told him it was not a problem, that she shouldn't have had them there anyway. Still, he felt himself standing, staring down, or at least he thought he was staring. He did not attempt to help her because he could not see to help. He was helpless in this state. The moment that his eyesight cleared had been the most joyful one he'd ever experienced. That brief taste of blindness had been enough to tell him he did not wish to be blind ever again.
Changing from duty clothes to the off duty wear he preferred, he slid the long black meditation robe on and put his computer on standby. If it were an emergency he would be disturbed but nothing else would come through till he ordered the computer to do so. Preparing to spend time in deep meditation, he inhaled the incense, allowed it to clear his mind and drive out all the extraneous thoughts. He lay on the meditation bench in the traditional position, drifted out of the conscious arena, began exploring the events of the last three days. He remained that way for 5.4 hours going meticulously through all the rigors of questioning and clarification and self-exploration. As he began the ascent to consciousness again, his door chime sounded. He made his way to the outer world with more haste.
The door did not chime again. Activating the lock, the door slid aside to reveal no one. Apparently he had taken so long that whoever it was had decided he was not there. Then he looked down. A tray sat in front of his door. Slightly surprised, he retrieved the standard issue tray before it became a safety hazard. Setting it on his desk, he lifted the lid. Someone had sent him food. There was no note, no way for him to tell who had done it. He could have the security tape played back, but he did not consider it worth the trouble. He was hungry and it smelled delicious. The ship's version of French onion soup was rather bland, but this one had been prepared by hand or from a very savory packet. There was grilled bread and tapioca pudding as well. Whoever it was knew that he liked tapioca. He considered who might know his eating preferences regarding human food. There was any number of people who might be involved. Dipping into the soup, he forgot to be fascinated as he devoured the contents.
Spock tried not to shake. He was finding it impossible to do so. The fever was beginning to rack every part of his body. Sitting at his desk, he closed his eyes, tried to latch hold of anything that might bring relief. He was just about there when the door chime sounded. Visibly annoyed, he allowed the door to open and usher in Nurse Chapel carrying a tray. She smiled shyly and started forward. "Mr. Spock. I brought this. I thought you might enjoy it. I got the recipe from a new cookbook, and you are the only one who can try it out. Since you've not been eating lately, I thought perhaps you might like something from Vulcan."
Her expression was nervous but completely innocent. Spock stared at the tray with the steaming thick purple stew. Bile was rising up from deep within. Christine stayed as she was for a moment then moved forward to unfold the napkin. She had intended to just leave it and go but the presence of Kirk and McCoy had made that impossible. Her smile didn't change. "I tried it, and it was ... well, different."
Spock nodded stood up, picked up the bowl from the tray, stared at it a moment. Chapel picked up the spoon, handed it to him. His eyes bore through her like a phaser. She dared come to him as he was now. She dared. With an angry glare he started advancing on her. She stepped back quickly. The door was only three steps away. "What is this?" he roared and let the soup fly. Chapel twirled around to open the door and allow the soup bowl to go crashing across the hallway. She got out of the way easily enough but was certain that if Captain Kirk and Dr. McCoy had not been there to diffuse his anger, she would have been dead within seconds. The soup ran down the wall in grotesque rivulets of eggplant and magenta.
Spock waited. The news he had just received had calmed him somewhat, but in another aspect he was more distraught than before. Now that it was certain that he would be able to meet with T'Pring, he dreaded it. He had met her a grand total of three times in his life. The first was when he was being 'reviewed' by her family as a possible selection for her. The second was the day they were bonded. The third was when he first entered Starfleet and had been commanded to appear before her to explain his choice of career. Now he was to meet her for a fourth time and be forever linked to her. He did not feel anything for her. He felt only contempt for his Vulcan heritage for doing this to him. He had hoped that he would be spared the ravages of pon farr since his human half tended to interfere in so many of the other aspects of his daily life. He was mistaken. Now, he waited for his confinement to quarters to end.
He also waited for soup. Why did he request soup from her? She would only be confused as to his intentions. He was confused as to his intentions. He had come within a hair's breadth of asking her to help him relieve his torture. Now that he knew T'Pring was within his grasp, he could not, should not have anything else to do with her. So, why did he ask her for soup, to be kind to her? The kindest thing he could do was to throw it at her again, push her as far away from him as he could. The door chime sounded. After a moment's hesitation, he ordered it open, and once again Chapel came into his cabin. This time she was not the smiling visage she was earlier in the day. She knew he was ill and that his moods were swinging faster than a loose gate in a tornado. Cautiously she stood just inside the doors so that they could whoosh shut behind her. Spock indicated the desktop. Christine began to set the tray down and noticed the beaten monitor. She was visibly astonished and froze in that position for a moment. Swallowing she put the tray down, stepped away from the desk. "I hope you like it. I don't know if it tastes right or not," she apologized.
Spock kept his hands out of view. They were shaking again. "I am certain it is better than the ship's fare."
Christine chewed on her lower lip, wasn't sure whether she should stay or go. Spock finally asked her to stay. She could remove the tray when she left so that he would not have it to possibly hurl against the wall. He calmed his hands enough to dip into the soup and bring it to his lips. It was as good as any from a Vulcan kitchen. For a moment he was normal again. The fever subsided and allowed him to see out of non-hazy eyes.
She felt self-conscious standing while he ate, like a waitress wanting him to vacate the table. Sliding easily over to the extra chair he had next to the desk, she smoothed her skirt down before sitting and remained half perched at the edge of the seat. She wanted to make certain she had a clear path to the door. Spock noted this particular behavior. He placed the spoon back into the bowl. "I regret my actions earlier."
"That's okay, I was out of line," she answered softly, not meeting his eyes.
"That is of no consequence. It was not acceptable for me to throw the bowl at you. Perhaps if I had known how good the soup was, I would not have done so," he tried. It brought a small smile to her lips. She was pleased he liked it.
The soup disappeared quickly. Christine remained stiffly sitting, waiting for him to excuse her, threaten her, or kill her. He pushed the tray forward slightly. "Thank you," he said with as much dignity as he could muster. His hands began shaking again and she couldn't help but see. She held her tongue. She took the tray, began to leave with it. He stopped her again. "Nurse... Christine, is there any more of the soup?"
"Yes, I made quite a large batch," she lied. She'd make twenty gallons if he wished it.
"It is three days to Vulcan. I will require nourishment till then. The soup should not go to waste," he decided logically.
"I'll bring you as much soup as you wish," she assured.
"That would be agreeable. Again, thank you," he said and watched as she left.
She sat watching as she had the last two times she'd brought soup. If he wanted something other than plomeek, she would gladly fix it. Spock seemed to eat more slowly this time, more deliberately. She normally waited in silence as he ate. There were things she wanted to ask but could never bring herself to do so. His room was so ... ornately decorated considering he was a man of few words or habits as it were. If she had never been here and asked to describe what his quarters looked like, she would have said no décor, just standard issue. She found her eyes wandering to the collection of arms he had above his bed, odd that a Vulcan who was supposedly dedicated to peace would be a collector of weaponry. "What is that one, the one with the curved blade?" she asked.
Spock looked up through hooded eyes to the nurse. His fever was progressing and his ability to remain civil was quickly leaving him.
"Var-ta-koon," was all he said.
She nodded as she repeated it, "Var-ta-koon. Looks impressive. So what was it used for?"
"Mayhem, bloodshed. Why?"
"Just curious. I thought it might be a farming implement. We had an antique scythe that looked a lot like that. We used ours to hack down corn stalks," she said calmly trying to instill some reason into the conversation. Spock shoved the tray forward, kept a steady watch on her. His desire began to wash over her.
She could feel a hot, almost bubbly sensation begin to creep over her. She shifted in her seat. Spock remained behind the desk, but even from the distance, she could hear his breathing increase. She stood, began to remove the tray. "I will bring more in five hours."
"No," he shook his head and allowed his hand to rest on hers that gripped the tray. It was as much contact as he dared have with her.
"But there is still a day and a half," she tried but could feel that sensation becoming almost unbearable for her.
"Do not come back here. I cannot tolerate the presence any longer. I wish to thank you. You have been ... kind to me. Many would not." His breath was coming in shorter bursts. He had to get her away before he could no longer stay away from her. She could not know how she affected him. Her very presence was like a narcotic. The more he breathed in her essence, the more he had to have. But he was meant for another, Christine could not be the woman he sought.
Christine was staring at him now. "I would not have called it kindness. Kindness precludes pity and I do not pity you."
With that she took the tray and walked out the door leaving Spock to deal with his pain for the next two days.
Commander Spock sat alone in his quarters. He was supposed to be 'resting' as per doctor's orders. But, he often did not do as the good physician requested or simply changed the rules to suit himself. Now was one of those times. When he promised the doctor that he would rest, he meant that he would sit in a reclining position and not expend any extraneous energy. His mind however required very little actual energy to calculate and configure so he remained steadily doing that. His meditations created enough of a physical rest to remain alert without sleep. The scene of the obelisk gleaming on the screen kept him constantly on task. He had to find a way to get inside to find the captain. It would mean all their lives if he could not. His door chime sounded and after a moment's hesitation, he granted access, but no one walked through the door. Again, he said, "Come in."
Still the doors remained completely shut. After a moment, he walked over and the doors slid obediently open. There was no one there, but there was a tray sitting on the floor in the corridor directly in front of his room. It had to be for him. He knew instantly whose handiwork it was. Only Christine Chapel had ever brought him soup prepared by hand and not by a replicator. With a sigh he regarded the thick pea green liquid. He did like pea soup. Logic dictated that he eat it even if he was not particularly hungry. It would be illogical to waste food in such a manner especially since it was no doubt delicious. Over the years he had eaten many dishes not specifically prepared for him by the nurse. He suspected that when he did have to remain confined in Sickbay that she prepared the simple dishes he ate and had greatly appreciated. He had also sampled her cooking at ship wide parties and events. Removing the cutlery and napkin, he stopped his calculations long enough to eat. Under the napkin was a small note. He opened it. In the nurse's recognizable script it read:
"Mr. Spock, You need to eat to be able to calculate.
With a slight smile, he folded the paper note up and placed it aside. It was a simple request. He would do as she requested. If it had been Leonard McCoy who had sent the soup, he would also have sent himself to personally make certain Spock crammed all the food down whether he wanted to or not. Secretly Spock preferred Nurse Chapel's methods of persuasion. She did not demand that he eat it, nor did she demand that he rest. She simply assumed that he knew what he was doing. The soup was good. He was actually hungry. He had been trained to deny himself food or water for great lengths of time to be able to survive his Kahs-wan, and it had kicked in during this crisis he found himself embroiled in. As he placed the spoon inside the now empty bowl, he half wished she would arrive with another serving but that was illogical. Placing the tray in the servo-unit in the cabin, he returned to his viewer to again try to decipher the symbols. The slight break had given him enough rest and energy to keep going without meditation.
Hearty Tomato and Basil
Spock brought himself up from his meditations. He had taken the time off that the Captain had given him to try to meditate and recuperate from this latest crisis in his life. It had been a fascinating experience having his brain removed and placed in a containment field. He had felt himself breathing only to find that what he was actually doing was recirculating air for an underground colony. His brain was completely back in his head; his mind was now simply trying to put things in perspective. He had been in a meditative stance for 28.7 hours. Now that he was out of the trance he felt the need to resume his normal duties. There were still lingering problems, but none that he needed to focus all his energies on at that time. A shower did appeal to him, however. Removing the white meditation robe, he laid it across the bed and headed for the bathroom. Showers for him were usually short and sonic, but today he felt the need for a water one. It was a selfish motivation on his part, but he had the luxury allocated and was free to use it when he pleased.
The hot water stung and tingled all the nerve endings it hit. For a moment he allowed himself to be submerged by the liquid before picking up the specially scented soap he used. Human soap was far too drying for his skin and he required extra moisturizing soaps. The lather bubbled and streamed along with the water down the drain. The scent was faintly of sandalwood, or he'd been told that is what it smelled like. The soap doubled as a shampoo and deftly he rubbed the lotion into his scalp. It was illogical, but he kept wondering why he did not feel tender considering that his brain had just been replaced. He should make a note of that for medical purposes later on. Finally, he was finished, lingered for just a little longer under the hot water before shutting the stream off. His bathroom was filled with steam, but the cooler air that hit him caused goosebumps to appear on his skin. He rarely had goosebumps. The hair was quickly slicked down to its normal Vulcan style, the towel absorbing all the excess water so that he could dry almost instantly. Dropping the towel down the chute so it could be laundered and returned, he stepped out into his cabin.
A tray sat on his desk. Quickly he thought of stepping back into his bathroom considering he was nude. But, there was no one else in his cabin. Retrieving the alternate robe he wore during his off hours, he slid it over his shoulders and considered the tray. He had not heard anyone enter his cabin, but he knew whom the tray was from. Raising the lid he was greeted with a thick aromatic red soup and toasted bread. He had a weakness for tomato soup, and she'd made it the way his mother had when he was a boy. He would have to ask her about that at some time. A note was again under the silverware. It read,
Please forgive the intrusion. I thought perhaps you would like this recipe. Your mother gave it to me.
Well, that mystery was solved. He ate the soup with zeal.
"Zarabeth," he said aloud. He could not seem to delete her from his mind. She had affected him unlike any other woman. He had found himself completely changed while in her time and willing to kill for her. He had eaten meat and found it pleasurable. For some reason that did not disturb him as much as he thought it would have. The meat issue was completely extraneous. What he felt about Zarabeth knowing that she was dead and had been for 5,000 years was not. He felt great loss. He had not melded with her, felt no mental pain from the actual separation, but there was a pain in the deepest recesses of his body. Picking the lyre up from the stand, he settled in his chair and began to pick at it quietly. Music hath charms. The door buzzed. With almost a snort of annoyance, he requested the door open. He could have laid wagers that the tray would be there. Standing with hands on hips, he regarded it a moment before taking it inside. Nurse Chapel really should be spoken to about this constant idea that he needed soup somehow. Why did she send the soup? He never had asked specifically.
Removing the lid, an almost overwhelming smell came through the rest of the room. It was extremely pungent and thick. A note was tucked under the napkin. He removed it.
This is something different. I hope you like it.
The spoon dipped into the bowl, met his mouth and his taste buds practically exploded. The soup was spicy, but it was good. There were beans and onions and a lot of whatever spice she had used. While he would not have ordered such a soup from the replicators, he did think he would consider doing so in the future. However, he didn't know what kind it was. Finishing the last of it, he toggled the computer switch. "Computer, location of Nurse Chapel?"
"Nurse Chapel is scheduled on duty at this time."
Taking the tray with the remains of the meal, he intended on returning them to her. He would have to have a talk with her.
Sickbay was quiet, dead actually. There hadn't been any reason to even come into work for two days. Christine always used this down time to try to get caught up on the mounds of paperwork that she always seemed to have. Leonard McCoy was not the best at keeping abreast with the required forms.
Christine looked up right into a tray. Spock stood with a slightly less than pleased look on his face. "You didn't like it?"
"The soup was delicious, however, I do not understand why you persist in leaving these ... trays for me," he stated simply.
"Oh, well, I guess I..." She was at a loss to explain that silly need she had to try to serve him. She stammered a little, felt her face reddening. "I know that when I have gone through an .. .upset, I like to have comfort food. You eat a lot of soup, according to your dietary records."
"You have been reading my records again," he said in a discouraging tone.
"No, I noticed it a long time ago that you eat soup with nearly every meal. Am I incorrect?" she turned.
"No, I do prefer soup with my meals as per Vulcan custom."
"You want me to stop making you the soup," Christine surmised truthfully. She was actually quite surprised that he had not asked her to cease several soups ago. She had assumed the plomeek throwing episode had been the end and then he requested more.
"While I do appreciate the selections that you have sent, I do prefer that you not go to any more trouble on my behalf," Spock said as tactfully as he could. He did not wish to come right out and tell the nurse that she was prying again. On the other hand, he did like the soup. It made him feel ... special. He handed her the tray, thought of leaving, and remembered he was supposed to ask what the selection had been this time, "What was this particular soup called?"
"Vegetarian chili." Her eyes were downcast, a little disappointed. Spock felt a twinge of regret that he had told her to stop her attempts to please him. "If I request it from the ship, will it taste the same?"
"No, I use a lot of cumin in mine. The ship's is extremely bland," she explained.
Spock nodded, thought of a compromise that might satisfy them both. "Perhaps, if I were to wish to eat this soup again, if I requested some?"
"Well, I can't be certain I'll have the right ingredients. I don't always keep some of this stuff in stock," Chapel decided. She wasn't going to be told not to make him soup and then be begged for it at his pleasure. "If it would be all right, when I make it again, I'll let you know and if you want some I can save it for you to have whenever you wish."
Spock considered a second. "That would be agreeable."
Christine watched him turn on his heel and leave. The tray and empty bowl sat on the desk. Leonard McCoy walked in with another batch of tapes, saw the tray. "What's that for?"
Not wanting to be teased about the incident, the nurse answered quickly, "Oh, some people just don't like soul food." Gathering the items up, she fed them to the disposal chute and went back to her business.