The next morning during breakfast, Sarek and Amanda were sipping tea and eating the last of their breakfast. Spock's marriage had not only brought contentment to Amanda, it had rekindled her emotional and physical attraction to Sarek. It has been too long for both of them; the process of mending their family continued. Sarek and Amanda shared intimate thoughts through their bond; a mischievous smile came across her face and was answered by a twitch from Sarek. The interchange brought back fond memories of their courtship and their bonding ceremony long ago. Amanda reminisced about how men had been attracted to her and how Sarek-without ever losing his Vulcan composure-had efficiently run off his competition. Sarek's brow arched as he turned his smoldering eyes on his wife while they shared their thoughts at the table.
Amanda gave a deep sigh of contentment:
"Thank you, Sarek, for making the arrangements for the reception."
"They are still in the preliminary stages; I will present my suggestions to T'Pau and continue from there."
"I wonder if she received the holo-vids of Spock's wedding?"
"I sent the vids yesterday per your request; I am meeting with T'Pau today to discuss the reception."
Amanda reached over and touched Sarek's hand, enjoying the feel of his warmth. She smiled at him again.
"I hope she is pleased that her grandson is bonded now and out of danger."
"Spock was not in danger, Amanda. He has 4.879 years before his Time."
Amanda rolled her eyes and said, "I meant that he wouldn't be challenged for his bride."
"Ah, yes. It is preferable that he avoid combat; however, if he were ever forced to take part in a challenge against a Vulcan, I expect he would be successful due to his many years of training in Suus Mahna, as well as his Starfleet combat training."
"Sarek, do you think Starfleet will release Spock and Nyota from their duties to attend their reception?"
"I will make their superiors understand that their presence is required on Vulcan."
Sarek stood up to start his day. He extended two fingers toward Amanda, who reciprocated the gesture with a smile. Sarek's private little paradise was to see Amanda smile only for him. Sarek left to petition for his son's reception. First, he must present it to his mother, the matriarch of the S'chn T'gai clan. T'Pau's support would be critical in securing the Vulcan society's acceptance of Spock and Nyota's bonding.
The Honor of T'Pau
Meanwhile, T'Pau was sitting in front of her com-link viewing a Terran wedding vid. She saw her grandson performing the ozh'esta with a Terran female while they were surrounded by other Starfleet officers. She saw her grandson wearing the formal robe of the S'chn T'gai clan, along with his IDIC medallion. Her sharp eyes picked out the subtle IDIC pattern in the woman's dress. T'Pau's brow rose as she viewed the images. But when she saw the female playing the Vulcan Ka'athyra, even the indomitable T'Pau was impressed: Indeed! Terrans are so unpredictable. This one is fascinating!
T'Pau remembered when Sarek had presented Amanda at their wedding ceremony. It was unorthodox at the time. There had been speculation that the DNA of humans was not compatible with Vulcan blood (copper-based vs. iron-based), so it was thought that there would be no children. And Vulcan prejudice led many clan members to believe that Amanda would be a bundle of sloppy emotions, an embarrassment to the extended family. These notions did not sit well with many of the clan. But the main concern was whether the woman would survive Sarek's Time. Human physiology was vastly different from that of Vulcans. The much denser body structure and overwhelming strength were concerns. T'Pau had been astonished that not only had the woman Amanda survived Sarek's Time, but she also performed commendably during the ceremony amidst Sarek's clan members.
Sarek had never replied to the question of why he had chosen Amanda Grayson, a Terran female. There was no logical reason. T'Pau's brow lifted. Clearly a physical attraction must have developed; the female was different from Vulcan females. From a Vulcan perspective, Amanda's eyes, hair color, and skin color were exotic. Perhaps that was the reason Sarek had been attracted to her and pursued her, as T'Pau sat and thought to herself her rationization; Terrans are obnoxious creatures, but they are unique in some ways:
First, Terrans are multicolored; there is a wide range of colors and tones to human skin. Vulcans are monotone, with slight variations depending on which region of the planet they are from.
Second, Terrans have multiple hair lengths, textures, and colors, from bald to hair short enough to stand straight up, to waist-length; from curly or wavy to straight; and from white to yellow-blonde, red-orange tinted, black, and brown some other colors thatTerrans achieve by artificial means. The combinations seem endless. Vulcans generally have straight black or gray hair, and many males wear a simple bowl cut to honor the great Surak. Sarek is the only one in the S'chn T'gai clan with a slight curl to his hair, and he stands out.
Third, Terrans have various eye colors: brown, dark brown, golden brown, green, and blue, whereas Vulcan eyes are dark brown to brown. The blue eyes are the most intriguing; they reflect the sea or seem to provide a window into the person's inner thoughts.
T'Pau had slowly gained respect for Terrans; she had not had much respect for them in the beginning, during the development of the Federation. She had observed that greed and ambition were the primary drives of Terrans; this observation caused her to distance herself from involvement in the formation of the Federation of Planets. They needed her support; she grudgingly gave only as much as was required. She did not want Vulcans to mingle with Terrans, yet her son did the very thing she was concerned about. She accepted it: Kaiidth. Yes, Amanda Grayson had impressed and intrigued her when she endured Sarek's Time and produced an heir. She had also endured many Vulcans' coolness toward her, advocated (illogically, of course) for Spock before his Kal-i-farr, with the ires of T'Pring's indiscretions. The female Amanda had been a steadfast mate to Sarek and a supportive and patient mother to Spock for all these years; for that, T'Pau had reassessed Sarek's choice of bondmate.
T'Pau had become interested in Terran behaviors, finding them more tolerable than in the past. She glanced at the wedding photo containing Kirk and McCoy, Spock's Starfleet friends, and her brow went up. Interesting, was her thought. Kirk and McCoy had supported Spock admirably during his Kal-i-fee. The doctor had saved both her grandson and his captain from death during the traditional marriage ceremony. T'Pau found the knowledge that Spock's friend had survived the Kal-i-fee to be fascinating. She admired the means the healer had used to break the blood fever and save Kirk. When she had first discovered that Kirk was still alive, she had thought the doctor's interference in the matter to be unorthodox for a healer. But that was not the only time the doctor had saved her grandson, not to mention that he had also saved Sarek when he fell ill during the Babel conference. Now, she realized that, if anything, she owed the healer respect.
T'Pau looked at the vid again to examine the female who had become bonded to Spock. She did not look like a typical human female. She appeared to have strong, yet gentle, features. Perhaps her Starfleet training had given her character. T'Pau would soon see whether this female had tenacity equal to Amanda's. If so, she too would be an acceptable addition to the S'chn T'gai clan. More so than the female T'Pring, who had brought dishonor to the clan, publicly entertaining other suitors and showing them affection. This was unorthodox and unethical. T'Pring's behavior had been unacceptable; that she had dared to force a Terran to take part in the challenge was her folly. It was unheard of and could have resulted in ripping open the veil of secrecy over Vulcan mating customs if the Terran had won or had actually died. Regardless, if T'Pring had viewed Spock as less than Vulcan, than she was as much a fool as Stonn, the male she had chosen to replace Spock. It had pleased her to divorce Spock from the unworthy female. It had been only the second time in her life that T'Pau had openly showed displeasure in someone's conduct. T'Pring was at the top of a very short list.
T'Pau again examined the female, wondering if she was prepared to endure Spock's Time. The woman did not appear timid, and her body appeared to be strong enough to bear a Vulcan child. T'Pau would examine the bond as well as the physical condition of the woman. T'Pau was pleased that her grandson had found someone to bond with, and she would conduct the necessary procedures to determine whether the woman was worthy of her grandson. Even though her grandson was not fully Vulcan, T'Pau neither despised nor rejected the boy. Spock had expressed many emotions as a young child, unable to rein in his explosive emotions as other children his age did. His course through life was made much more difficult by the rejection of his people. His training in the Way of Surak was his salvation. Although he got started a little more slowly than most Vulcan children, by the time he reached secondary school, Spock had outperformed all his Vulcan peers and was challenging his instructors. Many who had preconceived notions of the limits of his Terran heritage were astonished by his scholarly performance. They had believed that a Vulcan-Terran hybrid would be physically and mentally inferior. But Spock's mind was magnificent. He not only scored in the 98th percentile on his intelligence assessments; his psi score ranked nearly as high. Somehow, his combination of Vulcan and Terran genes had produced enhanced telepathic powers. T'Pau had touched his consciousness during his betrothal ceremony at age seven, and somehow he had managed to control his thoughts. The healers were astonished to learn of his mental development and the strength of his telepathy; they wanted to study him in more detail and to subject him to invasive testing. Sarek and Amanda had politely (although Amanda had been livid) declined their invitation, for which T'Pau was grateful. She would have had to step in otherwise. Her grandson needed acceptance and teaching, not poking and prodding.
Spock became his own Vulcan, his own person. He broke with tradition by not following his forefathers to study at the Vulcan Science Academy; instead, he left Vulcan to attend Starfleet Academy among emotional Terrans and went on to become a Starfleet officer. Unorthodox. Even Sarek-he had married a Terran female against Vulcan traditions (unorthodox again). There was something about the two Vulcan men in this clan; they were direct descendants of Surak, but T'Pau had no logical reason for their rebelliousness. Both of them had paid a price for their failure to observe tradition, and this was the time to bring all their power and that of their allies to bear in order to secure their positions in the S'chn T'gai clan and Vulcan society.
Some time later, Sarek came to T'Pau's estate to discuss the reception.
Sarek stepped into T'Pau's office, where she was leaning on her cane, searching her library for one of the ancient books. Sarek helped her retrieve the book from the shelf and placed it on her desk. She bowed her head in thanks and sat, looking up at Sarek expectantly.
"Dif-tor heh smusma, Sa-fu" [Live long and prosper, Son].
"Sochya eh dif, Ko-mekh" [Peace and long life, Mother].
"Have you received the wedding pictures of Spock and his bride?"
"I have viewed them."
"Spock has communicated that he and his bride have performed the bonding ceremony, as well as the Terran wedding ritual, to ensure that their marriage is legally documented in both the Vulcan and the Terran records, in case anything should befall them before their return to Vulcan to authenticate the bond.
"Indeed, he put his position in Starfleet at risk by him placing such an action, but he as insured his bondmate her place in the clan. Spock's actions to protect his bride are commendable."
"Tell me of the female bonded to my grandson, Sarek."
"From our com-link conversation, the female appears to be acceptable. Her aptitude for mathematics and science is impressive, but her greatest talent lies in linguistics. She has mastered at least two dialects of Vulcansu, which is remarkable for a Terran."
"What is the name of the child?"
"It is from a Terran language called Swahili; her name is Nyota Uhura, and she was raised in the United States of Africa."
T'Pau had noted the female's skin tones, another Terran marvel. Her skin was smooth and dark, with a glow to it. Spock must find it aesthetically pleasing, she thought. He used to immerse himself in nature as a child, and his wife's skin tones evoke the dark hills of the country surrounding the family estate.
"Nyota has also mastered other xeno-languages and served in the diplomatic corps when she was still at the Academy. Her assistance with intergalactic translations was vital during the Babel Conference."
"The child also plays the Ka'athyra." T'Pau clicked on the monitor to show the image of Spock and his wife holding their instruments.
"Correct. She is an avid musician. She stated that she acquired the instrument as a teenager."
"Fascinating. Is the child aware that Spock will undergo the pon farr?"
"Yes, Ko-mekh. Spock explained to her what the pon farr entails, and she has bonded with him in full knowledge of what is to come."
T'Pau raised an eyebrow in approval.
"What is thy concern, Sa-fu?"
"Spock has indicated that the bond is developing a strength that he had not experienced during his betrothal to T'Pring. Spock opened the familial bond and I was able to observe that it is strong."
"With your permission, I will touch thy mind, Sarek, to ascertain this."
Sarek knelt before his mother to present his face for the meld; she touched his psi points and entered his thoughts. She released Sarek after a minute;
"Spock's ability has grown since he was a child. Thee are correct to reveal this to me; it is imperative that Spock return to Vulcan to have the bond authenticated, and a Healer for his wife so no danger in the marriage bond, would not affect her physically."
"My aduna recommends a reception to receive Spock and his wife and to celebrate all his accomplishments for our people."
T'Pau looked at her son, thinking, Spock has endured more than any Vulcan since the time of Surak.
"I agree with thy wife. Such formal recognition by the pillars of Vulcan society will eradicate the insult our clan suffered during Spock's Kal-i-farr. Spock has been shunned for far too long. I will make it so before the Vulcan High Council."
"Will they honor such a request?"
"Sarek, they WILL honor our clan. It is our right!" T'Pau replied, thumping her cane hard on the floor. She was determined that Spock and the S'chn T'gai clan would get the respect they deserve.
"Spock is an heir of Surak. His name will be respected and thine as well. It is DONE!"
"Dif-tor heh smusma, Ko-mekh" [Live long and prosper, Mother]
"Sochya eh dif, Sa-fu" [Peace and long life, Son].
Sarek left to go to his office to write the proposal for a reception in honor of Spock and his bride. His plan included all the delegates that he had worked with and forged relationships with throughout the decades. Sarek had connections with many allies who would support the reception proposal; the Vulcan High Council couldn't refuse. Once the proposal was complete, his mother would present it. T'Pau had taken part in Council matters on many occasions with significant outcomes. She would make her case for why the counsel should put expenditure toward the reception.
After Sarek left, T'Pau called for her assistant T'Lara, an intern lawyer, to help her prepare her argument before the council. T'Lara was a ward of the clan whose studies of the ancient laws before and after Surak made her a valuable asset.
"Your services are needed to research our clan; retrieve the ancient books of the lawgivers."
"Yes, Mistress. Can you specify?"
"I will give you clarity; our clan needs to prepare for the Prince of Vulcan, the heir to our people, Vulcan will receive and respect who we are child, go now."
T'Lara bowed her head in respect, picks up a Padd and left to carry out her mission at Shi'Kahr's historical library.
T'Pau had a lot to do, but not much time. She would flex her political muscle for the well-being of her clan and her grandson. She would prepare her arguments for the Vulcan High Council's formal recognition of Spock's accomplishments and his marriage-as well as her accusations against the S'oleh-nau clan's T'Pring, for her choice of challenger. T'Pau had not forgotten T'Pring's insolence at the Kal-i-farr or kal-i-fee. T'Pau had waited patiently, biding her time, for just the right moment. And this was it. The matriarch of the other clan would pay a price for T'Pring's exposure of Vulcan mating customs to outworlders and her indifference to Spock's fate. The S'chn T'gai clan would not be undermined again.