Incomplete 5 Year Missions As A Habit
The Bulikaya Particle
Location: USS Hera, Deck 8, Commader Paris & Mr. Sonak's Quarters
It had been an eventful few years aboard the USS Hera, and the recent turn of events had the statuesque Starfleet siren considering her present, and more importantly, her future. Which she was free to plot as she saw fit- long ago, her far smarter and more logical mate had placed his trust in her to plot their course, and he would support her choices and decisions as she directed the pair through life. It had brought them to a relationship together that was unlikely in it's own day, although far more commonplace in the modern universe. It had brought them both to a far-flung future, where she had been marooned by an accident, a gamble he had played with the universe to save her life.
Yet she had managed to get a message back to him, and that had been all it took. He had come to her, in his own way and his own time, and made good on the promise he had extended to her when they had initially joined as a couple. Time and space were no obstacle to the determined Kolinahr, for which his human bride remained eternally grateful.
In point of fact, she had seen how her life had turned out without him, in more than one locale and circumstance. Presented with such evidence had only served to make her that much more grateful for his presence in her life.
This evening, she was bustling about the kitchenette in their quarters, cutting the vegetables to craft a Ratatouille. Vulcans eschewed meat in their dining choices, which was no great sacrifice to Rita. She enjoyed the challenge of finding Earth dishes she could share with her vegetarian mate, and he enjoyed the ritual. Rita cooked something, he came home to set the table and fill the glasses. They ate, discussed news of the day or upcoming events, then they engaged in logic puzzles or movie nights. It was time they set aside to spend with one another, and in ritual, both found comfort.
At this point in time Rita had a change in mind. Which meant that it was time to discuss it with the Master of Gol, the Logician. Impulse and Intuition preferred to run her plans by Logic and Reason before enacting, when possible. Besides, this was a course change she planned to propose, which was something that required discussion. Trust her he did, and completely, but still she preferred for him to be a vital part of such decisions.
When arrived at their quarters, Sonak could immediately sense that there was a change in Rita's thought pattern.
Of course, he was not using his growing telepathy to read her thoughts. That would have been more than merely unethical; it would have been disrespectful to the one being in two universes whom had opened up a wider spectrum of consciousness and existence to him. One that he would have otherwise totally missed without her. Even more, the simple act of discovering her, the being she was and that she could be and would become, slowly and gradually through their shared life and at her alien human pace, that was something to savor and reflect upon, to his endless fascination.
It was something he had chosen to experience, and it had brought him to a plenitude of being he could never have achieved without her. His efforts went into make this as significant and fulfilling for her as it was for him. Not an easy task considering his total lack of emotion- but then, he possessed an encyclopedic knowledge of them, due to their long association. Still, the benefit was in the effort, the striving for understanding.
Nevertheless, their matrimonial bonding was enough for him to sense a change in her. He was looking forward to discovering what it was. The best way to observe and experience such a novelty, was to contrast it first with a neutral setting; their domestic routine. And so, he changed into his indoor tunic, then set the table, and prepared their drinks as he always did.
Thus the unexpected he would not miss; although truth be told, his logical mind was already formulating a hypothesis. Based on their recent away mission on Andoria, he calculated that there was a fifty-three point four-seven probability that the usual equal sign in her mind when thinking about them may now being replaced with a plus sign.
Of course, there was still a forty-two point five-three percent probability he was wrong.
Setting the steaming casserole dish on the table, as the oven had cooked the meal in seconds, Rita served the dish onto plates at the table, as she usually did- more of the ritual that their lives had embraced, which brought comfort and tranquility to them both. Which was ironic, given the unpredictable and unstable nature of their professional lives. Or perhaps the rituals comforted them, because in them they found structure amidst the chaos.
With the meal served, she seated herself, then looked across the table at her husband, the Vulcan hero. Once the last Kolinahr in a universe bent by external interference, he had borne it stoically, seeking out humans amongst the stars to learn to live with them. So many times she had been lost, and he had found her. Slipped, and he caught her, Stumbled, yet he had steadied her. He was the solid axis of her life, the sun around which she orbited, and just seeing him there, his face impassive and calm as he unfolded his napkin and observed her watching him, he was the center of her universe, and with him she felt safe and secure. Perhaps one of the only men in the universe about whom she could make such a claim.
Picking up her fork, she paused, then launched into the thought that had been dominating her mind for some time now.
"Sonak? I think it's time to go back to Earth," she stated plainly. "I love the Hera, and the crew and the excitement, but... I want to go home, now. San Francisco. I'd like to attend the Academy and catch up on everything I've missed in the past thirteen decades. I was thinking you could teach, or join a research group- wherever you want to go they'll welcome you with open arms, of course. But... I feel it's time to start our family. To do that I want to go back and start over, in a way, I suppose. But I want to put down roots and stay a while... maybe even start teaching at the Academy after I graduate. I've been so appalled at what comes out of there, I feel as though that may be the right place for me... for us."
Reaching across the table with her left hand, she placed it over his. "It is selfish of me, I know, because the Vulcan Science Academy would welcome you as well, and Vulcan is your home. But the tug of Earth is pretty strong for me, and... I want our kids born on Earth. I want them to know San Francisco, and to grow up around Starfleet, to know the legacy they have been born into, which hopefully they will embrace."
"Those are my thoughts. Share yours with me, please? It is a considerable course change, and... I know I planned for another year in space, but.." at that she trailed off, her conflicting emotions tangling up what she wanted to say, and her anxiety over bringing the idea to the table still there as well to complicate matters. But this was Sonak. He was her One, her t'thy'la. With him she held no secrets, nor did she have any fears.
Because whatever his reply, it would be logical.
As usual, Sonak was as fascinated as ever with the way his human wife, as driven by feelings and emotions as she was, nevertheless almost always arrived at the most logical conclusion. This was an endless sense of wonder he experienced with her, and her alone; a fascinating reflection of how logic could be found, even without itself. And from this, he could not conceive a more fulfilling union than the one he shared with the exceptional Human woman. Thanks to her, her uniqueness, their union was the living example of IDIC; the benefit of Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations.
But union meant sharing, not only thoughts and projects, but life and logic as well.
''I suspected as much, '' he confessed. ''And I agree with your choice. I have only been on the Earth of this universe for the one year of intense study at the Academy prior to joining you here. There is as much for me to discover there, as there has been one hundred thirty point forty-seven years ago when I first acted as an Academy instructor at Starfleet in our universe. I would welcome this opportunity again.''
He looked at the alien dish she had chosen to enrich his palate and knowledge tonight.
''Denying you your emotional need would be a dereliction of my duty as a husband. As would you speak of selfishness, truth be told, the Vulcan of this universe is basically the same as the one I left behind. It is a fact that Vulcan society is quite... static, especially compared to Human society. There is not much growth for me to find there... nor to provide for our family.''
His steel-grey eyes sought her own pale blue as fixed her with his gaze.
''As usual, you made the best logical decision for the both of us, my wife.''
Truth be told, although he generally agreed with her course plotting, it was always exciting for the Human woman to hear that she'd made a logical choice- particularly from her Vulcan husband, the living epitome of logical thought. But in this case she had considered the angles and vectors, and as always, she guided their course with her heart and his mind, together in tandem, as it had always been between them. Smiling widely, she added some shredded parmigiana cheese to the dish for flavor, and pressed on.
"So, I will admit my own plans are a little unformed at this point, but I think I can get in my first year at the Academy," Rita posited, clearly thinking aloud. "Then they'll likely furlough me while I am pregnant, and I'll come back and start over two years later, when the kids are old enough to be without us for the day. Oh, I am so excited! So, do you think you'd like to teach at the Academy? Assuming that's the case, as you always enjoy educating, what course of study do you think you might choose to teach?"
''That is an excellent question to ponder, '' he admitted. ''After our service onboard the Hera, there is a considerable amount of material to share; from studies of other realities and meta lifeforms, to field combat and starship duty experience. And there is always the cultural Vulcan angle. It would ultimately depends on the actual needs of the Academy at the given time.''
He tasted the dish and took his time to appreciate the flavor and texture before asking Rita:
''And you, what would be your first choice? You do have a quite extensive repertoire of unique knowledge and experience to share.''
"Well, I still have to attend and catch up on everything I missed, which is quite a bit. And unlike you, I don't believe I will be capable of an accelerated course. So I'll be considering as I am attending, but..." In truth, she was disseminating and they both knew it. "Starfleet Ethics. If there's one thing I have seen too little of in the recruits coming out of the Academy, it's a strong moral center from which to make intelligent decisions that will benefit all, rather than selfish self-centered ones. Possibly history, as, well, I AM history, so I suppose I am something of a natural to teach it."
"Well, once I learn everything I've missed, at least," she added with a chuckle, then redirected as she forked up some of the tomato-infused vegetables. "I would think the sciences would call to you, given that you are one of the foremost experts on time and relative dimension in space in regard to navigation and travel?"
He stopped munching and nodded.
''A most logical assumption. And your own choice is eminently appropriate. This time period has seen a considerable amount of significant conflict in a very short time as this century closes. This always leave scars, even on non-emotional people; and too often shakes the moral compass of more than a few. Your contribution in this regard will be as unique as it will be well-timed. I will attend myself should the opportunity present itself.''
"Thank you, he who is my husband," Rita preened a bit at the compliment. After all, the source was a particularly well-informed one. "I appreciate your perspective on this, as I intuited much the same instinctively, but... I remember those dark uniforms- the reflection of dark times. A new century brings new hope, new expectations... so we need to be positioned where we can best serve to shape the Starfleet that will meet that new, brighter future."
"You still didn't answer my question, though," the feisty first officer tacked in the conversation, course adjusting back into her previous line of query. "I mean, realistically, you could subject hop year to year, and the Academy would let you do it just to hold onto you. But isn't there some particular scientific field of study you would care to impart to the next generation, Sonak? A logical outgrowth of our careers and experience? Human psychology if nothing else..." Rita trailed off with a grin. "Sorry. I am just intensely curious to know what wisdom you might choose to share with the cadets, is all."
"And there is another thing I should mention, but I'm willing to wait to hear this answer first," Rita qualified. The next subject was a more delicate one, but as ever, she had absolute faith in her Vulcan hero.
''Could it be done, I would share all of what little knowledge and understanding I have. But short of mind-melding with the rest of the universe, this is an illogical expectation. That being said, there is one unique experience I have that could benefit others; my bonding with you.''
He paused to let her take it all in before explaining.
''It is a fact that mutual understanding between sentient species is not always achieved; and rarely easily. History on all known worlds is replete with needless suffering due to a lack of acceptance of one another; even on Vulcan. Even without prejudice, the actual will to connect with others is not universal, despite being a need as vital as breathing. I know; as a Kolinahr master,
i was raised to be thoroughly self-sufficient and I do mean thoroughly. In my case, it was also a necessity to protect others from my untamed above-average psionic abilities."
"Since then, serving in Starfleet has exposed me to the richness of sentient life; coming to this universe, with diminished psionic power, and obsolete knowledge, altered my perspective closer to that of others. Most of all, meeting you, and sharing this life with you, has built the deepest understanding of what Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations truly means. That is something I think I can share like very few others in this galaxy can... and thus, in a small way, help universal mutual understanding.''
He looked at her squarely.
''Does that answer your question properly, Rita my wife?''
"It does indeed, Sonak my husband," Rita replied with a delighted smile that had grown as he spoke. "I'm not sure what the course of study may be called, but interspecies communication goes much deeper than mere words, and you are quite the studied expert in the field. I would love to see you teaching such a thing... quite the advocate of bridging cultures and awareness, and given some of the things I have heard out of the mouths of this generation, clearly a course of study to direct them to learn."
"Sooooo there is one more thing, and this is... significant. It will take considerable maneuvering on my part and a lot of appeasement, but you are the first, and honestly, the only important hurdle to this one. I..." Rita paused to take a deep breath, as if preparing to plunge into icy waters. "I would like for Hera to come with us. To San Francisco. To our home."
"I know, I know, she was a tyrant and she committed atrocities and she is a war criminal. I know all of that but... that's not who she is, it's who she was. Because of Log'yarm///, she's trapped here, and she's alone. None of her Olympian kith and kin are still about and... we're the only family she has. If we abandon her to the Asgardians, she'll just wither and rot in a cell. But she cares about us, and... she made me a promise." Rita got a bit choked up as she spoke, try as she might not to. Emotional arguments did not sway masters of logic, nor did tears.
"She promised to be the kind of goddess I could tell my children about. She has made good on that vow, to become that and more. I want to bring her back to Earth with us, and I want her to live with us. If we abandon her it does her a disservice, and... she's family, Sonak. I know there are dozens of reasons why not, but... it's the right thing to do. Share your thoughts, He Who Is My One?" She did not reach for his hand, nor did she plead with him. Instead, it was a request, presented with her logic, flimsy though it may have been, to her husband, the other half of their partnership. They were equal in all decisions- it would be illogical to be otherwise. But in this instance, she lead with her heart and she knew it.
Sonak pondered for a moment before answering.
''Were I to deny this, then everything I just said would be nonsense. The day we as a culture realize that all sentient life in this universe is family, is the day this universe will have achieved it's highest purpose.''
He paused again then lifted his right eyebrow slightly.
''However, the fate of Hera is not in my hands. Starfleet and the Federation Council may raise objections to such a powerful entity allowed freely among a species as fragile, in all sense of the world, as Humans, and on their homeworld. A world where thousands of years ago she had an impact, and not solely a positive one. We both might not be deemed... sufficient to prevent problems were she to revert to... vengeful goddess-mode once more.''
"This is true, and I accept this," Rita replied, nodding. "But all of that is moot beside your decision. It is OUR home. They will be OUR children, OUR neighbors, OUR family. So long as you are in acquiescence with expanding our family to include her, I'll fight the rest of the battle, only calling you in when I am insufficient, as always. But there is no sense in beginning it if you don't agree. So... I would like to invite her, with no guarantees, and no assurances that we can pull it off. But if you agree... that is my most vital and important consultation. I know what you said, but directly, in regard to Hera... are you willing to take this chance with me? With us?"
He looked her straight in the eye.
A broad smile spread across her face, and she sighed contentedly. "You are far and away the bravest man I have ever known, Sonak of Vulcan. Thank you for taking a chance on me... on US. In any universe you weren't in my life, it was... dark. Not that I needed to see it, but... I am grateful every day for you in my life. You give me the strength to do everything else I do, if that makes sense."
''It makes sense because it is a shared perception of reality,'' he answered with obvious certainty. ''There is no bravery involved nor chance taken. Everything about you, Rita Paris of Earth, is the incarnation of what is best in humanity; as well as in a mate. I simply do what is logically adequate to be a worthy companion on this journey we call life.''
"My hero," she grinned, blushing. Even after all these years, she still blushed like a schoolgirl when he complimented her, because it was genuine. He spoke the truth as he saw it, merely the facts- but to her they were poetry, the purest of praise which made her heart sing. For such a man to see her as so exceptional still thrilled her, as it had from the very start. Their katras were aligned, as he had observed decades ago and dimensions away. Which was unusual for a Human and a Vulcan, but not unheard of- especially not in the modern age, hundreds of years after the intermingling of their respective cultures.
Rising from her chair with a somewhat beatific smile, Rita offered her hand. "I think you deserve a hero's reward..."
He raised his right eyebrow.
''I already have it; you accepted to be my wife.''