Pat Zotti

          It has been a busy and diverse day. Many things to be worked out, not that I have the chance to sit down and think about them. Of course, while I am writing this, the sorting is easy, but then I look up and there is Len, and my train of thought runs right off its rails. He looks content poring over that viewer with its endless medical journals. Len lives and breathes them, but he makes sense when he says that with all that is going on in medicine, he has to keep up with it daily or get hopelessly behind. He enjoys every minute of studying, too. And his joy warms me with echoes.

          There were only two other crewmen in this rec room when I came in, a nice quiet place to work on this journal. People have been coming in in a stream since, Len among them. He apologized again for missing me at dinner and I told him again I understand. His line of work has its drawbacks, and they are not his fault.

          But now he is off duty and spending his time with me, even if he is buried in his journal and I in mine. He is with me and I am with him.

          Later, I will tell him about Tanya, after he is finished and can relax. I don't think I will be betraying any confidences, as she did not ask me to keep what she told me to myself, and surely she must know by now that I would tell him what I think he should know.

          I still cannot quite understand why she chose to tell me about herself and the details of her past life. Perhaps it was her mood, although Tanya is hardly an impulsive person. I'm glad she did tell me, though, for now I understand her better, and understanding between us can have only good results.

          It began when she asked me if it is true that my father was human. She was interested in this fact and its correlation with my psionic ability. I told her that although he had a low, even insignificant psionic ratio, it did not seem to make any difference. Apparently, my telepathic ability is a direct maternal inheritance, and one that is unimpaired by the human influence.

          She thought about this somberly before she told me of her own parentage, and I can never forget her face at that moment, so human and yet so Vulcan. Maybe Spockian would be a better description; at war with self, aware of emotional imperatives, yet staunchly convinced that sanity requires the deletion of emotion from all behavior determinants.

          But Tanya is even more human than Spock, and we were alone in a moment of real privacy. She felt a need to communicate, to give a part of herself, and I could feel that need reaching deep inside myself and finding a response. It was a definite feeling of etanini and she felt it too. Spock would call it a positive feedback, and shudder fastidiously. I call it one of the joys of living.

          We moved our chairs a little closer, enjoying this new spirit of comradeship. We were like school children discovering that someone else shared the feelings and experiences that we had thought were so private.

          She told me her parents had been both human and archaeologists. Such a coincidence! I, of course, had to tell her that my father had been a professor of archaeology.

          Her parents were the only humans in a camp of Vulcans on Feda XII. The camp is still there, still worked mostly by Vulcans. It made me wonder privately if father had known of it and if he would have been interested. Probably he would have been. From what I have been told of him, archaeology consumed him as passionately as medicine consumes Len.

          But, to get back to Tanya, the more she told me, the more involved I became. Everything she said reminded me of something and everything I said set her off on another tangent. It was an enriching experience for both of us, and behind it all there was a thread of, not rapport, but awareness, a kind of awareness that arises only between psionic beings.

          Tanya is so guarded, so dedrau. I don't think she would ever allow a tropar to grow with anyone. She must carry particularly tender scars. However, daily, I become more and more convinced that she NEEDS just exactly that kind of contact, a channel through which these backed-up emotional charges could drain harmlessly instead of exploding into destructive frustrations. Len does this for me and I suppose I do it for him. Perhaps what Tanya needs most is a love. I will have to talk with Len about this.

          People and forces which mold them into such unique entities fascinate me, and Tanya's is a most interesting story.

          Her great-grandfather was actually one of the original colonists of Dorn, which explains a lot. I knew that Dorn had been colonized by a group of human telepaths and that they'd had to disband because all the children born there inherited a telepathic sensitivity but failed to develop mind shields to protect themselves. Miranda Jones was a descendant of those same colonists, which was why she had to go to Vulcan for assistance in coping with her problem. It also explains why Vulcan was so necessary for Tanya.


          After her parents were killed in an accident at the dig, Tanya was put under the guardianship of two Vulcans, T'Vret and Sauk, who had a small daughter themselves. T'Vret had often looked after Tanya when her mother was in the field, and Tanya's father, knowing of her telepathic sensitivity, realized she would be better off with the Vulcans than with humans, so he made T'Vret and Sauk her legal guardians before he died. The Vulcans eventually took Tanya home with them, but when she was four and a half years old, an aunt and uncle came to take her back to Terra. They had apparently gotten documents from a Federation Court and brought Sauk to court for a custody trial.

          Len has switched off his viewer. I looked up to find him watching me with an appealing look to those deep blue eyes. He wants to know when I will be finished with this, because he wants me to go to his quarters with him for a brandy. I will go, even though I know the invitation is for more than a brandy. I cannot keep from worrying a little because lately I have spent more nights in his cabin than in my own. I love him so very much. And I know he loves me. He has even said it, although he didn't need to. I know. I also know that I will go on this way for as long as he wants me, even if he never does anything about us. He told me about her, the woman who was his wife, and I know how cruelly she hurt him. We are all afraid of something, it seems, Len of being hurt again, Tanya of her own emotions, and I of losing him.

          Len wants to know what I am writing about so I have invited him to read over my shoulder. It isn't often I allow him a peek at my journal.

          It isn't hard for me to understand Tanya's reaction to facing her relatives from Terra. She was too young to maintain any effective mental barrier for long and the shock threw her into a state of hysterical withdrawal. Poor child. It leads me to wonder why the Vulcans did not protect her with their own psionic shields I must remember to ask her about this.

          In any case, she was remanded to the Psychiatric Institute where she remained for two and a half years. When she was released into Sauk's custody, she was well again, sound of mind and body, and a legal citizen of Vulcan, for although her uncle and aunt put up a long and difficult battle, they had finally gone back to Terra in defeat. Tanya was raised with Sauk's daughter as a Daughter of the Tradition.

          Now I understand why Tanya is so hostile toward humans and why she clings so tenaciously to the Vulcan way.

          Len has scanned my previous pages and he looks thoughtful. I can see the questions he is formulating rising to the surface of his consciousness. Yes, it's that "let's-have-that-brandy-and-talk-about-this" expression. A good idea.

Stardate 2152.8

          I asked Tanya why the Vulcans did not protect her with their shields at the time of the trial, and she told me that Sauk had explained it to her only recently. For a Vulcan, he has a remarkable grasp of a human child's feelings. Had he told her when she was younger, she would have felt unloved to the point of being unwanted. It takes a Vulcan to see this kind of cruelty as a kindness, but he is right. I shudder to think what would have happened if he had protected her mind from her aunt and uncle during the custody hearing--only to have them take her away among humans where the impact of so many chaotic minds would certainly have killed her almost instantly. I think I might have a nightmare or two before I can rid myself of that vision. Perhaps I should talk to Spock. A dose of Vulcan detachment would do me good right now. I empathize too easily. It was a Terran who said it, "There but for the grace . . ."

Stardate 2153.9

          I find myself becoming more and more entangled in Tanya's life and I do not know if I like it. The traditional neutrality is nagging at me to leave well enough alone.

          But all is not well, and it is distressing to me because I like Tanya and I would like to see her happy, whatever that might mean for her. Tonight, I began to get an inkling of just what that might be.

          I was on my way to my cabin to wash the day's problems away before dinner, and I had just reached Tanya's cabin when I walked right into a duolicti of rather startling proportions, made even more so by its brevity. It felt like someone had dumped a bucket of needles on me, half of them white hot, the other half at absolute zero. For a moment, I could have sworn that I'd been transported into the middle of a row between undisciplined children at home, and I was puzzled. But then I realized how close I was to Tanya's quarters. She is the only other telepath aboard the ship able to put out such a display. However, any civilized telepath is taught to control. What on Earth could cause her to lose control like this?

          I waited, for what I wasn't sure, but shortly afterward, something exploded against Tanya's door from the inside, followed immediately by a wait of stifled frustration. This, too, was brief, but echoed on that same irritating wavelength.

          Curiosity and concern were eating me up alive, but on the other hand, my ancestors would be mortified if I did anything about it. So I talked myself into walking right by. And then she began to cry and that did it. I knew I would never forgive myself if I didn't at least try to help.

          I buzzed, and the sobbing broke off, only to continue lower, as if muffled by a pillow. I wanted to buzz again, and almost did, when I saw Spock coming down the hall.


          I could think of no reason for him to be visiting me, so he must be coming for Tanya, since we have the end of the hall cabins. I knew that whatever was troubling Tanya, the last person she would want to see her that way was Spock, so I met him half-way and asked him to meet me later for an explanation and blithely went into Tanya's quarters as if I had an engraved invitation. I didn't even wait to see Spock go, but I am sure he did. Spock isn't one to intrude where he is not invited.

          However, I am. And I was glad in this instance, because poor Tanya was miserable, and she seemed to be glad to see me. I sat up on her bed and made her dry her eyes and blow her nose. While she did this, I glanced around the room. I had never seen it in this kind of disarray before. It had been one of her Vulcan statuettes that had crashed into the door, a shame, because it had been lovely. She had turned the lighting down to a barest minimum, making the room glow dully red. It was almost eerie. I asked her what was wrong.

          "Men," she said. "I don't understand them."

          "And I don't understand you. A man caused all this?"

          "Not one man, many men. The whole crew of this ship."

          "In what way, Tanya?"

          She seemed to grope for the words to express herself. I had never seen her so animated. "They pester you and even when refused, they persist. They don't know the meaning of the word `no.'"

          I had to agree to that. It was beginning to fall into place for me now. Tanya had been getting "rushed." It happens to all new female crewmen, and I rather enjoyed it when it had happened to me, all those attentive men practically fighting over who would take me to dinner. Tanya seemed to be frightened by it, which is understandable, considering her background.

          "Tanya, you must understand that . . ."

          She didn't even seem to hear me. "Tonight, for instance, I let one of them walk me here to quarters. He wanted me to have dinner with him and I agreed just to get him off my back. I had some tapes to drop off here first and he came with me."

          "Who was it?" I asked.

          "Oh, Michaels, from Engineering. They're all alike, anyway. He wasn't in here two minutes when he forced himself on me!"

          "He what?" I asked. She couldn't mean that.

          "He forced himself on me," she repeated vehemently. "He put his arms around me and kissed me."

          "That's all?"

          "That's all he had the chance for."

          I sighed in relief. "Oh, good. I gather he didn't stay."

          "You bet he didn't."

          I tried to think of an explanation that she would be able to accept. It seemed strange to be explaining human behavior to a human. "Tanya, try to look at this as . . . a study in human, er, mating habits."

          "I don't want to mate with them. A Vulcan male would never think of imposing himself on a female in such a way."

          "Perhaps, but these are humans, not Vulcans. Their ways are different. If you are going to live among them, you must learn to live with them."

          "Not to that extent." She shivered faintly.

          "Well, I'm not suggesting that you, never mind. Tanya, you are human. What is so repulsive to you about kissing a man?"

          Tanya's face revealed more to me than she would have approved of. I could practically feel her wish to don a Vulcan aloofness, but she couldn't manage it.

          "It's disgusting. An invasion of privacy."

          "Don't Vulcans, uh, kiss and such?" I knew they did, of course. The trick was in getting her to talk about it. Because underneath it all, I don't think she found it so repulsive at all.

          "It's a biological function, regarded as such, nothing more."

          "Oh, I see. You're supposed to do it because you must but you're not supposed to like it."


          She gave me one of those Spockish "You'll never understand so why should I bother?" looks, but I was not ready to let her hide behind it. "You do like it, don't you, Tanya? Your real problem is wanting something you are afraid to have."

          She looked at me as if I had found something she had been looking for all these years. It encouraged me to go a step farther. "Tanya, it is not wrong to want a man's kisses, or more for that matter. Not for humans and not for Vulcans. Tanya, it can be wonderful."

          For a moment, I was afraid I had revealed too much, if not in words, then in the way they had come out. I had been thinking of Len when I had said them. Oh, if Tanya could only find that kind of joy!

          She didn't say anything about it, although she must know. Everyone knows . . .

          "Weren't you mated as a child, Tanya?" I asked, before curiosity had a chance to set in.

          "No. My foster father is Kataytikh, so it was left up to me."

          "Oh," I said, not entirely sure what she was talking about, but unwilling to get her started on long explanations that would take us away from the subject. "What are you going to do about it, then?"

          "I'll never find the kind of man I need."

          "What kind of man would he have to be?"

          "Oh . . ." She thought a minute. "Well, he wouldn't be human. How they can base a relationship on such an unstable thing as love, I'll never know."

          I knew, and I wanted to tell her about love, but I was afraid it would only confuse and hurt her more. Considering her first encounter with human love, I was not sure love was the right answer for her, anyway. "A Vulcan, then?"

          "A Vulcan would never be able to put up with me. Not for long. I try, but I am far too emotional."

          "Then, what's left?" I began to get an idea. "A Vulcan who understands human emotion enough to live with it?"

          "There is no such person."

          "How about a Vulcan/Human hybrid?"

          She took the hint. "Spock?"

          "Why not? Is there anything wrong with him?"


          "How long does a Vulcan woman have to wait to be asked? Or do you do the asking?"

          "He . . . already asked me. I refused. Temporarily."

          Now that shocked me. All this conflict with an answer so close? And it would be good for Spock, too. The more I thought about it, the more I liked it. Tanya would suit him so much better than that T'Pring person Len had told me about, and even better than T'Rruel, too. "Tanya, why?"

          She fidgeted uneasily. I don't think she understood her own reasoning. "He's so Vulcan, I would drive him crazy with my emotional outbursts, my tantrums. You just saw one yourself, Amy. How do you think Spock would react to that? Especially if we were bonded and he had no defense against it?"

          I didn't know, so I said nothing and let her continue.

          "And what about children? His children would need a Vulcan mother who would be equal to the task of raising them in the Vulcan way. He has obligations, you know."

          "If he asked you, he must feel you would be the best choice. He must have considered all this. If Spock wants you, his reasons must be logical. Don't you think he is distressed by your refusal?"

          "Distressed? In a Vulcan way, he is. But it's for his own good."

          "Don't forget that he is part human, too."

          "I know that."

          "You wouldn't want to hurt him."

          "Of course not. My foster father would never speak to me again if I allowed harm to develop because of my . . . personal problems."


          I smiled. If she could only see what was right before her eyes! She must see it for herself. I could not make her see it if she kept her own blinders on. "Well, it won't hurt to give it some more thought, will it? It's what you really want, you know."

          I left her then, hurrying because I had forgotten all about meeting Len for dinner. Now I'd have to do the apologizing.

          And I did and he understood. He said he was glad to know all this, that he might need it someday. He was thinking like a psychologist, but I was thinking like a woman. And I wondered what would happen now between my friends.

Stardate 2154.9

          Spock finally caught up with me. I knew he would. That curiosity of his would never let him rest until I explained why I shooed him away from Tanya's door. I did not, however, expect him to turn up first thing in the morning!

          He must have been waiting outside the door to my quarters about to buzz, because when I opened the door to leave for breakfast, I almost collided with him. "Oh," I said. "Good morning."

          He inclined his head a bit and then said, "I wish to discuss the events of last evening."

          "Before breakfast?"

          "There will not be another opportunity until tonight and I do not wish to wait that long."

          "All right," I sighed, wishing my breakfast a fond good-bye. "Do you want to come in?"

          "Yes," and he ushered me back into my quarters. I was glad I had been industrious enough to go over the room carefully this morning.

          He seemed to be waiting for me to begin, so I did. "You aren't going to like it," warned him.

          "It is not necessary that I like it, but it is necessary that I know it."

          "Very well. Tanya needs to marry."

          He raised one brow. "Really." It was a statement, not a question. "And that is the reason you would not let me see her?"

          "She was upset. I knew she would not want to be seen in such a condition."

          "I see."

          "No, you don't. Not really." Could I make him see? Should I even try? My poor ancestors must have disowned me by now. And how far did I dare presume upon the tie that was developing between us? "She is trapped between what she thinks she should be and what she is. She told me you asked her to Join, to marry, and she told me why she refused."

          "Indeed? Then you know more than I." His composure was thinning visibly, but I told him what Tanya had told me and he said, "That is substantially what she told me. But I don't believe it is . . . all."

          I had gone too far to back down now, and the look on his face coupled with the ripples agitating his mind almost added up to a plea for help. I had almost bitten through my lower lip, but I went on as bravely as I could. "Spock, Lythians regard privacy as do Vulcans, but we speak proudly of love."

          "Amy," he said, but could not go on until he had paced the length of my cabin and back again. He picked up my ivory dragon and examined it minutely. "I cherish our differences. They have become a source of great joy to me."

          I knew what he meant. Soon after we had met, he had shown me his Idic and explained what it meant to him personally as a hybrid. I had explained the Lythian philosophy as best I could. (I am no expert, but I have studied diligently.) And we discovered our similarities were also joys.

          I could not meet his eyes. "I think she loves you, or needs to. And I think she needs you to love her. But not in the human way. She needs masculine attention and even affection. But most of all she needs a secure relationship in which she can know that her humanity will not be a source of pain to her partner. She has enough pain already. That which she cherishes most, Tsaichrani, is destroying her."

          I could feel his intense, anguished embarrassment. With a full Lythian or a full human he would have been unable to listen. But now he dropped heavily into my desk chair and said, "Go on."

          "If she does not find someone to accept her pain and dispel it, to accept her Joys and cherish them, Spock, if you call upon her suddenly, she may have become . . . unable to respond."

          "Logical argument has failed. What can I do?" It was a toneless whisper, but I could


hear the frustration and anguish. A Vulcan does not need emotion to become thwarted or to surrender to fate. Spock had taught me much about the detachable emotional component of almost all mortal experiences, but when it came to handling his own emotions, he was still such a child.

          "You must offer her what she needs . . . without demanding any bond."

          "I cannot."

          "I know Vulcans don't form relationships outside of Tsaichrani's structure. But it is that structure that is killing her soul. As long as there is no question of . . . mating . . . there is no reason you cannot spend time with her, is there?"


          "Then do that. Share your life with her and let her share hers with you. There must always be a period of growing close before one can give one's heart; before trust comes testing." Trust. Who was I to tell him about trust when I could not inspire enough trust in my own love to allow a commitment?

          "Under the Bond, there is no such need."

          "But T'Aniyeh is not under the Bond."

          "She's seen it. She's Affirmed."

          I hadn't known that. Tanya had Affirmed the Continuity? I would have to consider this at length. For the moment, I said, "That is my evaluation. I don't think this is the time or the place to argue. We are both too emotionally involved to refrain from fighting."

          "I do not fight."

          "Well, I might. Spock, I don't mean to offend you."

          "I don't take offense needlessly."

          "Don't get too caught up in negatives. You know where to find me if you want to discuss this further. That is, if my ancestors don't gather me in for being such a debesont."

          I looked up to catch his puzzled expression and realized I had lapsed into Lythian. "Busy-body," I explained. He leaned back in the chair, steepling his fingers as if he were about to drop into a meditation.

          Despite his resistance, I knew he had absorbed what I had said. It remains to be seen what he does with it, though. I hope he can reach her, for both their sakes. I have resolved to do a little researching on pre- Reform Vulcan mating procedures. A purely academic interest, of course. The one person who could help Spock's situation is the only person I could never approach on the subject. Ssarsun. I wonder if I'll ever meet him.

          Spock got to his feet and moved toward the door. "You may as well come with me. I have some transference for you," he said, switching neatly from friend to Superior Officer. So I would become only the ship's Records Officer until he needed the friend again.

          Amused, I wondered what might be said if someone noticed the First Officer coming from my quarters with me at this hour of the morning. Unfortunately, no one saw us, so I'll have to wait for an answer to that.



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