DISCLAIMER: The Star Trek characters are the property of Paramount Studios, Inc. The story contents are the creation and property of Mistress V and is copyright (c) 2008 by Mistress V. Rated PG13.


A Letter from Qo'noS

by Mistress V


            The weeks rolled by after the sportscamp until it was no more than a pleasant memory for all participants. One day, about a month after the camp concluded, the interstellar post was particularly busy.


            "I wonder what my parcel might be?" T'Mara said to her hallmate, T'Ann as they made their way to the porter's desk at the Shikahr School for the Arts. She'd been at the institute for two weeks now and was beginning to settle in. T'Ann, who interviewed her during the sports camp, was helping her adjust. So far, things had been quite normal, though there were not many ballet students at the school. It appeared that among those who pursued artistic endeavors, old scandals were of little import. The students had accepted T'Mara for what she was, another pupil just like them.


            "Perhaps your mother has sent something. I am presuming my parents sent the parcel awaiting me," T'Ann replied pleasantly. S'omm and T'Annu were now working on a history of the study of astronomy through the quadrant (and so, ultimately, of space travel) which was currently shooting in the Caspian Sea region on Terra.


            The young women collected their packages and were just about to look at the return labels when a familiar voice interrupted them.


            "And what might my sister have received this day? Some Terran sweets? Would you not be willing to share this with your brother?" T'Ann's brother Strumm stood there with a few of his fellow music classmates.


            "No," T'Ann said primly, "I am not. Come along, T'Mara." Strumm had been sent his own parcel.


            T'Mara cast a shy glance in the older boy's direction as they hurried away. Now *he* was dishy, she thought.


* * *


"Hello, my sister T'Mara," the vid began as it opened on a shot of Kanou and her mother standing in a snowy wonderland with the Daragans. "Today we visited the town of Neuschwanstein, to see two very beautiful castles built by an ancient Terran king named Ludwig. They were most impressive." T'Mara agreed, the castles were most finely designed, and might be a good backdrop for a romantic fairytale ballet, perhaps Cinderella.


            "My mother leaves tomorrow for Qo'noS and I do not know when she will visit again. She sends her best wishes to you and hopes that you are successful in your ballet studies. I know you shall be, and look forward to seeing you when you come to London. She has found Terra to be fascinating, as you might say." A shot of Kanou and her mother eating a large, bread-like object which they called a pretzel. Then one of them making a snow-targ.


            "The training facility is quite large and the ice is excellent. I am, naturally, the only Klin, but the other skaters are very curious and friendly. The coaches say I learn quickly and I enjoy my workouts. My studies are also important and my teachers on Qo'noS make certain lesson arrive in good time for me to complete. I hope your classes are proceeding well. Do please give regards to T'Ann when you see her, I still recall how she interviewed us for her parent's film. Now, open the parcel."


            T'Mara drew out a delicate porcelain cup and saucer, hand painted with beautiful swans, and a small cloth bag of some spicy smelling biscuits.


            "The name of this town includes the word swan in the native tongue. My mother and I found this cup at a small shop near the castles. I hope you shall think of me when you drink your tea from it. The biscuits are called gingerbread and are locally produced. We enjoyed them and I think you might, too.


            "I shall say farewell for now, T'Mara, but know we are close in our hearts. The time shall pass and soon we will see each other once more.


            "Your sister, Kanou."


            T'Mara was just making a pot of tea before she began her evening's homework when a tap came at the door. A moment later, T'Ann entered. "I trust I am not disturbing you, T'Mara, but my parents sent a goodly supply of the Terran nut called pistachio and I thought you might like to try them."


            "And Kanou sent some German sweets called gingerbread. Perhaps we shall have some tea and enjoy these?"


            The older girl sat down on a chair and opened the tin. "That would be most kind. Thank you. I trust Kanou is well?"


            "Very well, and she sends greetings. And how is your Terran friend Suzanne?" T'Ann also had a best friend far from Vulcan who she'd met during one of her visits to her parents. The girl resided in San Francisco.


            "She hopes to visit this summer with her parents," T'Ann replied. "It is hard to be parted from those we cherish, you know, but eventually, one gets used to it. The time seems to pass quickly after awhile." She paused. "My brother asked about you this afternoon."


            T'Mara's eyes grew wide. "He did?"


* * *


            "Chula? Is that you?"


            "Yes, mother," the Romulan girl replied as she took off her outer wraps. It was a cold day at the seashore, which made sandboarding seem all the more like snowboarding.


            "Daughter, could you join us, please?" Her father. Chula frowned. Was she in trouble? Did her parents disapprove of the music she listened to lately, a bootleg recording of Romo's newest release? She crept timidly into the kitchen.


            Her parents were sitting and having a cup of tea. On the floor next to them was a large packing crate, covered in an unusual writing which looked like Ferengi.


            "Come sit, my daughter." Her mother spoke with a smile. "For it is quite a momentous day for you."


            "Indeed, your bravery has been more than amply rewarded. This shipment was delivered today by a trusted associate. It crossed through many star systems to get here, Chula. It is for you." Now her father smiled.


            "For me?" Chula's heart began to pound. No, it could not possibly be...


            "And this arrived last week," Chula's father continued as he handed his daughter a familiar looking PADD. "It was kept separate from the cargo for safety's sake. There is a very important message for you on it. Would you share it with us?"


            Chula could not speak for a moment. Her mother embraced her warmly. "Do not fear, child. Even here on Romulus, the government does not know everything. There is already an official explanation for this cargo, that it part of a larger prize won in a tongo game at the nearby border station which was unwanted by the victor. Naturally, as a supervisory officer, your father merely thought it might be put to good use by the local children. No one objected, the matter is already forgotten."


            "Go on and open the container," Chula's father urged. "Then we shall listen to the message."


            With trembling hands, the girl unsnapped the lid of the large box. She gasped. Inside were colorful, wonderful, items that Romulan children only dreamed of. Snowboards, sandboards, sunglasses, hats, t-shirts and warm outer jackets. More than enough for all of Chula's friends. Tears began coursing down her face, for Romulans expressed emotions freely, all kinds of emotions. Chula hugged both her parents happily and composed herself, then hit the play button on her PADD.


            A familiar figure, accompanied by a young Vulcan woman, appeared. Both wore hooded sweatshirts, but the male would be known anywhere in the galaxy.


            "Greetings from Shikahr, Chula," Stark said pleasantly in the Romulan language.


* * *


Jim Kirk read some messages with his coffee. He was up early in anticipation of the away team's return that afternoon from New Kavalla. Many good things had been accomplished, so it was another feather in the Enterprise crew's cap. He smiled. Good thing it was Friday and he could give them all the weekend off, or else his first officer might have done the unprecedented thing and called in sick for a few days. Kirk could appreciate the Vulcan's philosophy after the time he'd recently spent with Elaan. Oh, my.


            There was a vidmail from his unofficial godson, the Teer of Capella IV. Leonard James Akaar, who they'd seen a few months back during a planet visit. The young man was growing quickly and aspired to attend the Academy some day, which Kirk encouraged. Under Federation assistance, his home planet was no longer the primitive fiefdom it once was, though its culture was still very much intact. Now, however, its people enjoyed more of a modern existence.


            "Greetings to you, Captain Kirk," the vid began. Leonard was seated with his mother Eleen at a heavy, traditionally carved table in their home. No more tents, except when the tribes went on summer hunting excursions, but the decor was the same as Kirk remembered from his first visit.


            "My mother and I are well and trust you and your people are also prospering. On the planet here all is peaceful. My schooling progresses, so I hope you are pleased. I participate in the games and win often.


            "I still plan to apply to the Academy when I am older. But until then, how best may I learn of other cultures, especially yours? I have studied the things you gave me. Yet my mother and I feel there might be more I can experience, that it is important I know of other worlds to prepare me for the day I must rule my own. Our planet is so far from Terra, though." The boy looked almost wistful.


            Kirk thought for a moment. Leonard was not unlike another young royal he'd come to know recently. Perhaps a trip to Germany for the next sportscamp might not be such a bad idea. Surely Stark could arrange for the boy to at least apply to the next camp. Yes, that was it. Kirk would contact the champion once he received Eleen's consent. And maybe she could visit with the boy as well. After all, the Enterprise would be in spacedock for the holidays, so he'd be able to personally welcome the young teer if necessary. Starfleet certainly would like that.


            "Computer, begin reply," Kirk said. "Greetings to you and your mother Eleen, Leonard James. I was pleased to receive your message. Yes, I believe there is an excellent way you can learn of other cultures, provided your mother approves, of course..."


* * *


            At lunchtime, Christine Chapel gave a stretch and checked her mail. Spock would be arriving back on board later that afternoon and she was counting the minutes until then. He'd been gone three weeks to the monastery colony at New Kavalla. Three long, interminable weeks, the longest separation they'd ever had as a couple.


            Oh, there was plenty to keep her busy. Her desk had been piled high with all the work put on hold in her absence, and she put in long hours to clear the backlog. The monthly gynecological clinic came and went without incident. Yoga class, swimming and the gym provided lots of physical activity. Everyone wanted details about the sportscamp. The ship dropped off and picked up supplies at several ports of call, necessitating an inventory. There was an overnight at a remote, extremely boring starbase, but nothing too exciting happened. She and Spock spoke by vidmessage every night at an appointed time and she slept the contented sleep of one who'd put in a full day, safe in the comfort of their bond.


            But tonight ... tonight she had a surprise for him.


            There was a message from Kala, priority, all the way from the Klingon homeworld. Her father really must be connected, Christine realized. She called up to Nyota. "Kala sent us a vid, how about bringing your lunch to my office so we can watch it?" She and Nyota missed their third musketeer and looked forward to her wedding in New York the following December.


            "I'm on my way. Can't wait to hear the news!"


            The vid began with Kala and her father standing in front of a large, stately looking dwelling on the capital city's outskirts, followed by various scenes from her visit.


            "Hi girls,


            "This vid will probably reach you after I've arrived home in New York but I wanted to give you a snapshot of my journey. Getting here is something else! You stop at a border space station and take a neutral ferry ship to the first Klingon outpost. Then it's usually a Ferengi cruiser (a tub of rusty bolts, if you ask me) to Qo'noS. Lucky for me, I have a Celeban passport in addition to my Terran one, and Daddy's so well known as a merchant, it wasn't a problem.


            "The house is our clan's, it's been in the family for centuries. Once we got settled, it was quite a new experience for me. I'd never met my grandmother. She's very regal and interesting to talk to. Daddy interpreted, even though she teased him that his accent was odd. We looked at old holos of my grandfather and three uncles. All of them died well in battle. Daddy's the one son left to oversee the business.


            "The family business is thriving here under my cousin Kol. He and his wife, Luawa, have quite the entrepreneur's touch, must come from all those dealings with the Ferengi and other, less savory traders (don't ask). Don't think there's no interest in offworld things. Far from it. The bootleg market is alive and well, and the biggest seller is the Klingonese-Standard holodictionary. Can you believe it? I must have made a dozen copies for family members alone. My cousins and their friends practice their Standard on me all the time. So do my aunts.


            "Most of the people I encountered viewed me with curiosity. Some citizens would just come up to me and ask, "Terra?" and when I said yes, they'd continue, "But are you not also Klin?" It always led to interesting discussions. Quite a few of them knew more about Terran films and entertainment than I did, and they spoke excellent Standard to boot! Sport is a huge topic of conversation, especially hockey. The team are treated like gods. Oh, and my clothes designs had women's head turning, and quite a few men's too. The family and I spent time at the Great Historical Museum in the capital city and I got some wonderful ideas for my oath taking gown.


            "Worf, K'a'tya and the kids are great and say hello. In fact, Mogh and Kanou made the trip back with us, along with the Daragans. Mogh's pizza is still in demand and we had it a couple of times, Klingon style. That guy can cook -- for a nine year old, no less! K'a'tya taught me to make some traditional Klingon dishes and we had a symbolic heart of targ feast one night, since Greg couldn't provide that when he announced his intentions. It's ... an interesting dish, that's all I'll say. We joked about how Greg's mom would test me before our oath taking, and grandmother offered to find a friend of hers who might be willing to do that before I left. She was kidding, I hope.


            "It was really interesting to spend time with other Klingon women, especially all my aunts and cousins. Family is just as important as honor, if not more so. And the love between mates is celebrated in opera, poetry and epics. Parents love and cherish their children just like most all parents, and the kids misbehave like kids everywhere, especially my cousins. Not quite what you'd expect, huh, Klingon family values? But then I always thought Worf and K'a'tya were such a neat couple. Their daughter's cute, looks exactly like K'a'tya, she's just learning to crawl. I taught her to say 'bye-bye.' Mogh's grown a couple of inches even in these few weeks, I swear. He's busy at school and plans to snowboard competitively within the Empire, once the new facility is done here in the capital city. Snowboarding, well, sandboarding for now, is getting very, very popular. Everyone knows who Stark is. And all the kids say 'Cosmic!' just like he does.


            "Kanou and her mom left for Terra with the Daragans the week after we arrived, for her training. We spent alot of time talking about her assimilating into a new culture. That girl learns Standard so quickly it's astonishing. She's going to go very far, I think. I drew up some simple costume designs for competition, and when the time comes I can make them for her. She listened to all my music holos too, for ideas. Her mom is very nice, given the fact the poor woman runs an unofficial hangout for the hockey team. They're at the house all the time, and she complains that she sees more of them than their own mothers do.


            "Grandfather Kluth is a scream. When he and coach Daragan started telling stories we were all rolling on the floor. Kando's OK, I guess. Kanou's description of him was very accurate: a walking food consumption machine. His hockey friends, on the other hand, were something else. Four of them asked my father's permission to court me. He declined graciously, but sheesh. They're persistent. I was presented with books of poetry (real books, no holos for this), local flowers (unusually pretty, I'm incorporating them into my next designs) and all kinds of fresh game, which my aunts appreciated. I had no idea Klingon men had a romantic side, one even wrote a poem to me about his intentions. Poor Greg, make sure he knows my heart's still his, OK? Spock was right about my being pursued by the Klingon male species.


            "The extra clothes I brought were a huge hit. K'a'tya and my aunts went absolutely wild for them and want more. Maybe someday I'll open a boutique here-ha! The women really are like women anywhere, they gossip, they love pretty clothes and nice jewelry, and everyone wanted to know where I had my hair styled. They complain about their husbands and tell off color jokes too. I'd sit and talk with them for hours over raktajino, which is delicious, I'm bringing some back with me. It's a very strong espresso that everyone drinks. If it dissolves the spoon, it's just right.


            "Grandmother gave me my jinaq, so now I am officially of courting status. I'm sure there'll be another dozen potential mates arriving tomorrow morning, with targs and d'k thags at the ready. And she said she heard I was being pursued by a fine young warrior my father approved of, so she could not stand in the way of par'mach -- that's the word for love -- even if he wasn't a Klin. I have a feeling the trade tie in is another factor, must be all those Ferengi merchants coming and going at all hours to discuss profitable ventures. Grandmother is very pleased we're doing the traditional oath taking and gave me lots of advice as to how the ceremony should be.


            "Greg and Captain Kirk coordinated the dates of the Enterprise's midmission overhaul. It happens in December, all right. Three weeks at the San Francisco yards. We know a week in total is taken up with official stuff, once you arrive and before you depart, but there's two weeks leave for everyone. Since the Klingon hockey team is due to play in the New York New Year's Invitational, we figured a ceremony around December 28th would be best. After Christmas, before New Year's. We'll have the oath taking at the Klub in the evening, and a civil ceremony that morning. You know Greg insists we all take a carriage ride after that through New Central Park, don't you? We've watched the old film 'Barefoot in the Park' too often, I think. By the way, Spock's being Greg's tawi'yan is certainly a first that anyone knows of, but my dad thinks it's great. Worf's promised to instruct Spock in the finer points of a Klingon wedding and his duties as the sort of best man. There are plenty of other male bonding types of activities for the guys before and during the ceremony, it will be...interesting.


            "Well, I'd better close this so Daddy can get it started through subspace. He knows all the right people, you should have it sometime before our first child starts school, I hope. Say hi to the boys and keep an eye on Greg for me so he doesn't mope around too much. He's probably driving Spock crazy by now. Five more months and he'll be at the New York fleet yards, just keep telling him that.


            "Lots of love, Kala."


            Christine and Nyota contemplated what they'd just seen. The images were very atypical, and that was an understatement. Laughing Klingon women---K'a'tya, Kala's relatives, and their friends -- modeling her Klin inspired clothing with obvious delight. Kala dressed up in traditional Klingon female attire, standing with her family for a portrait and looking pretty regal herself. Mogh and his friends sandboarding just as easily as if they'd been on snow. Worf and K'a'tya holding up their daughter and encouraging her to wave at the camera and say, "bye bye". Wonderful historical buildings, amazing artwork, everyday citizens doing everyday things. The zoo, with its unusual collection of animals that Kanou knew by name. Kanou skating at the small little rink, showing promise of incredible talent yet to be realized, and her mother and grandfather embracing her happily when she finished her workout. Kando and his hockey teammates strutting proudly for the camera, as though it was some kind of male mate choosing contest. Kala's father laughing raucously with his family over some tall tale. Kala not sure quite how to prepare a dish, to the amusement of her female relatives. An energetic game of Frisbee, Klingon style. And all throughout there was tradition, warmth, affection and humor. A far cry from what most people thought of when you said the word Klingon.


            "Well, that sure was an eye-opener," Nyota remarked after a minute or two.


            "Uh huh. I remember something coach Daragan told me at the sportscamp, how a few centuries ago the Russians and Americans were growing up thinking the other race had two heads and razor blades for teeth. Then when his great great great grandfather first met an American, they both realized how similar they really were. I guess we can say the same about Klingons. They're really just like we all are, when you come down to it."


            "Enemies are made, not born, didn't you say that once?" her friend asked philosophically. "Ade and I are from different tribes that warred with each other a thousand years ago. Yet here we are, both citizens of the United African States, and with each other. No one in either of our families said a thing when we told them we were dating." She paused to give Christine a suggestive smirk. "So, speaking of romance, lover boy's back tonight. Got any special plans?"


            "Yes, Greg and Scotty helped me re-do a holodeck program. We'll be there for awhile."


            "But won't other people want to use it?" The last thing Nyota wanted was for her friend's romantic tete-a-tete to be interrupted by someone wanting to run a kayaking program.


            Christine smiled evilly. "That deck's been out of commission since this morning for routine maintenance. Till tomorrow. No one will be bothering us, and besides, there are two others they can use. And how about you? Ade's been gone as well."


            "I'm making dinner," Nyota began.


            "Oh doctor, if you're done with your luncheon, we have patients out here," Leonard McCoy interrupted. "The sooner we see them, the sooner you can leave, you know."


            "Yes, Len," Christine sighed.


            It was good to be back, she decided.


* * *


            The shuttle docked at the appointed time and the away team disembarked for a debriefing with Kirk and the rest of the senior staff. Christine sensed Spock's presence as soon as he set foot onboard. She was in the middle of patching up a chemical burn on a ensign from the science division when she could have sworn her husband was standing right behind her, doing very un-Vulcan like things to her rear view.


            *I have returned.*


            *So I gather.*


            Leonard was busy at the briefing so Christine finished seeing the last few patients and then handed over the shift to nurse practitioner Corazon Jodriguez, who encouraged her to leave although it was early. She accepted the offer happily.


            To Spock, the meeting seemed to go on forever. Details, details, details. The team had assisted the colonists with the construction of a dam that would help generate power, a drought tolerant variety of grapes had been developed which might grow elsewhere in the quadrant with great success, and new trade agreements for the colony's excellent agricultural products were stacked up for signature. All in all, a productive, profitable three weeks, Kirk declared as he dismissed the away team for the weekend.


            Spock hurried to his quarters and opened the door. He did not sense his wife's presence, though he knew she was more than ready to greet him. A soft lamp glowed, but that was all. His eyesight adjusted to the semi darkness and he noticed the note on the bed.


            "Meet me at Thunder Road. Holodeck two. Don't forget your key. XXXOOO."


            His eyebrow raised as his hand unconsciously felt for the chain around his neck under his uniform. Thunder Road? As in Majoricia? Memories began washing over him faster than he could control and he hurtled himself into the shower. A cold one for now. He had to get from their cabin to the holodeck without attracting too much attention as it was, and the last thing he needed was...well...that.


            The corridor outside holodeck two was deserted, probably due to the large sign hanging there proclaiming it was undergoing routine maintenance until noon the following day. Spock keyed in the entry code Christine had left for him and entered. The doors locked themselves as they closed.


            It was Thunder Road. Right down to the dock, the crystal seas beyond, and the patio with its rock pool and daybed. Warm breezes caressed his face just as they had on the island and moonlight danced across the waters. A trail of candles led towards the cabana's interior. Spock knew his wife was waiting for him there, but for a moment his feet refused to budge, as though he could not believe what was being presented to him. Just like that night on the bridge.


            A figure moved seductively to stand in the doorway, framed only by candlelight and the moon. She was clad in the outfit she'd surprised him with on the last night they'd spent there. Her hair was damp and tousled, her arms loosely folded across her breasts. The look on her face could have melted the entire planet of Arctica.


            "Hey, handsome," she purred. "You gonna stand there all night and just gawk? Guess I'll have to do something about that." She moved languidly down the steps and glided to where he was. One hand slid up around his neck. The other caressed the erection that was straining against his jeans, seeking to free it from its confines. Her mouth found her husband's ear and whispered a phrase they both knew well.


            Spock seized her hungrily.


* * *


            "I'm impressed, Commander. You got me out of my briefs without using your key. Or your hands!" Christine propped herself up on an elbow and traced the line of hair on her husband's abdomen. They were happily tangled up in each other at an odd angle to the bed. The holodeck program was still running perfectly, and there was plenty more night left to frolic in.


            "I enjoy a puzzle, Doctor. The side buckles are an alternate way of divesting you from the garment. The fact I used...other means brought me a great deal of enjoyment."


            Other means. She'd have to remember that one. The man's mouth was so talented it needed and NC-17 rating of its own. "I brought us some sustenance," she said as she reached across him for a small basket. "We've built up an appetite, wouldn't you say?"


            "You spoil me, my wife," he growled as he grasped her naked backside possessively. "What have you prepared?"


            "I just missed my man," Christine sighed. "I made some fruit bread from the last of what T'Glad gave us. And..." She opened a stasis pitcher and began to pour out two glasses of a dark liquid. "Chocolate malts."


            "Chocolate malts? Real malts?" Spock asked incredulously. "How?"


            "You mom gave me her recipe, and let's say Cookie and Sulu coughed up the needed ingredients when I asked nicely." She handed him a glass and watched as he started drinking it eagerly. "Is it palatable?"


            "Most assuredly." An eyebrow raised. "But what possessed you to make this, of all things? I am not complaining, mind you."


            "I knew you liked them." She smiled as Spock continued to slug the treat happily. "And...I always wondered what might have happened if your mother didn't interrupt us that morning."


            It was movie-scene classic. Her husband stopped suddenly, gulping hard. Christine was certain he was trying not to choke. A sexually playful look crossed his face as he set the glass down beside the bed.


            "Oh do you, Doctor? Then let us...postulate."


* * *


            "Madame Amanda?"


            Amanda turned from the balcony where she'd been watching twilight descend over Kwil'nor. A wonderful few days. Her son was right, it was a most logical place for relaxation. But then she and Sarek had already known that for years.


            Sarek was standing there, a special look she knew very well on his handsome features. A small key on a chain dangled from one hand. "Shall we play, my lady?" he asked mischievously. His other hand then appeared, holding out a pair of silvery handcuffs.


            "Yes, my devoted one." Amanda gave him a wicked smile. "Let us play."