T'Pol of Vulcan

By panyasan

Rating: PG-13

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Chapter Three: Home

A/N: This chapter is from T’Pol’s POV and shows the events before and after her father went on his mission to meet Menos. It  follows directly after Chapter Two.

Vulcan words

Tal-kam – dear, a beloved person; term of endearment

Gad-Shi’oren – school event, literally Day of School

Sa-Mekh – father

Ko’Mekh – mother

El'ru'esta – hand embrace, crossing hands at the wrist and touch palms; used as an embrace for beloved or family

Ta’al – Hand salute

Fa’tvi-shal – small house placed before the entrance of the main house, a place for pilgrims and travelers.

Del'haiu – title of respect for elderly people

 

XXX

The sun was rising, coloring the sky soft orange. The range of mountains at the horizon came to life.  From her spot on the veranda at their house on a hill T’Pol could clearly see the mountains. Closer by, the two spear-shaped mountains in the valley were bathed in the orange-red morning light. A soft wind blew dust in the air and created a cloud of sand, obscuring the outlines of the small valley-town of Tilekheyakuli beneath her.

T’Pol inhaled the spicy fresh morning air while her eyes wandered to the right. There, at the far end of the H’tekri province where they lived, was the L-Longon Mountain to be found, bordering the Sas-a-skar desert.  She breathed slowly in and out, in a pattern her mother had taught her so many times, and looked to the left towards the Xial province, the next state, home of the pilgrim place Mount Seleya.  It was time for her meditation. 

Every morning T’Pol would be here, at her special place on the veranda of her home. And every morning she shared her moment of meditation with her father. When she walked from her bedroom to the veranda, she would already see her father at his favorite spot on the veranda, sitting on his pillow, eyes closed in concentration, rays of sunlight sending sparks over his red morning robe. 

This morning T’Pol sat down as usual. She closed her eyes in search for the white space where she ordered her thoughts and found her peace.  When she opened her eyes again, she was refreshed and content. It was time to leave and start breakfast.

All those mornings T’Pol and her father spent on the veranda, meditating, they never spoke. They simply enjoyed being in each other's presence. However, this morning Father opened his eyes. “T’Pol, come sit next to me,” he asked her in his rich voice.

T'Pol did, surprised by this breach of tradition. Maybe he wanted to teach her about a subject that had struck him this morning, like he did during the day. T’Pol always wanted to learn more from him. She knew his lessons would protect and guide her on the path of logic.

 She sat down and looked at him, silently waiting for him to speak.  He turned to her and said shortly “Tal-kam, I have been ordered to leave today. I will not be back for at least a month.”

His words shocked her. Every year the school held a special day, called Gad-Shi’oren. Parents were invited to attend lectures given by the head teacher and to be observers at some of the courses the school had to offer.  Each student also had to prepare a project that they would present that day. T’Pol had worked hard on hers.  “Gad-Shi’oren is in two weeks,” she protested, deeply disappointed.  “You’re always present at the Day of School, Sa-Mekh.”

As soon as the words slipped out of her mouth she knew her father disapproved.  He didn’t give her a speech about keeping her emotions in check, like mother always did, but his eyes narrowed slightly and he said “There are more important things than Gad-Shi’oren, T’Pol. I have been asked to undertake an important mission.”

He paused and stared at the beautiful panorama in front of him. T’Pol thought their conversation was over and she waited patiently for her father to dismiss her.  Instead his voice broke the silence “What is it to be truly Vulcan, T’Pol?” he asked.  

“To follow the path of Surak, Sa-Mekh.”

Her father turned to her, his eyes full of approval.  “That’s the most important thing. Study Surak’s true teaching with all of your heart.  You will find what your heart truly wants. You will find your path in life. That will make you content in every situation. But there is more.”

Father paused for a moment. “Surak tells us that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. It is for the needs of those others that I must go. I have seen men act out of selfish desires, not using logic, but following their own traitorous longings. Their emotions will, in the end, destroy not only themselves, but others in their path. Even the ones for which they have affection. Never follow your own selfish desires, T’Pol. Look out for the needs of the many.”

He stood up and rearranged his robe.  “After breakfast, we say goodbye.”

“Yes, Sa-Mekh,” T’Pol answered, trying very hard to understand what Father had said.

Mother joined them at breakfast, after which father changed his clothing. T’Pol had hardly ever seen her father dressed in anything  but a robe. She was surprised to see him come back dressed in a military uniform.

First he bid her mother farewell. His fingers stroke her cheek as he whispered something to Mother that T’Pol couldn’t hear. T’Pol had always admired her mother’s control of emotions, and was astonished that she could see traces of sadness on Ko’Mekh’s face, saying goodbye to her father.  Mother also moved her fingers across Father’s cheek before she withdrew her hand and gave Father the ta’al.

Mother stepped aside and Father turned to her. Their hands touched in the el'ru'esta. For one moment she felt his embrace, and her mind was filled with his affection for her.  She was moved beyond words.

“C-c-an I show you my science project when you come back?” she stuttered. 

“That would be agreeable,” Father answered in a warm voice.

T’Pol placed her fingers into the ta’al.

“Live long and prosper, Sa-Mekh.”

“Live long and prosper, T’Pol, daughter of mine.”

XXX

The house was empty without Father. T’Pol missed his greeting when she came home from a long day of school. It was hard to be without his silent presence during morning meditation, without his company at dinner time. The house was still there, with all the comforts that it had given her during her life; her mother was there as well, but the house seemed too big for the two of them.  

She thought about this as she climbed the staircase after her day of school, ascending the hill on which their house was built. The house was constructed from beige brick walls and brown tap-tukh wood beams. Several gardens, including a garden with statues and other ancient art forms and two vegetable gardens, were placed around the house.  

Coming to the top, the first building was the fa’tvi-shal, a small house the size of a chamber. The fa-tvi-shal was set before the courtyard and the entrance of the main house. Traditionally these chambers were places where pilgrims or travelers from the desert could rest.  Mother always made sure there was fresh water, bread and a local drink available, and blankets and futons in the closet, to be used for travelers and pilgrims.

Passing through the fa’tvi-shal, one came into the circular courtyard with a round shaped fountain. When T’Pol was little she liked placing her hands in the water of the fountain and letting the water stream through her hands. It was fun to do, until her mother told her she shouldn’t waste water.

From the courtyard one entered the hall way and came into the main house, decorated in beige, brown and orange colors, with beautiful artwork on the walls.  Now that her father was gone on the mission and his presence was missed, she found she liked to spend most of her time in his study.  

Father’s study was part of the library, a lengthy room with books on both sides which ended in a broader section near the window. In late evening, on his days off, T’Pol’s father used to be in his study and T’Pol in the corner, tucked away on one of the red colored pillows on the ground. When Kirak was struck by something he read he would call T’Pol, and his rich, gentle voice would read to her from the poems of H’Len, Toka and other famous Vulcan writers. He would also tell her stories about Vulcan’s past. Once he had taken out one of the books and given it to her. It was an ancient book, called The Teachings of Surak.  “We all need the wisdom of Surak,” he had said, and they had studied the book together.

In the past Father had been a captain of a spaceship in the military. Mother once told her that being a captain meant you were the leader of a small community living in space, depending on your skills to survive in a hostile environment.  Father liked to tell stories from his time as captain. Sometimes, at night, Father would take her to the second level of the house. There was only one room there, built as an observatory. They would look at the stars and Father would tell her about the planets he had visited. Father used to say that Vulcan needed other planets for the good of Vulcan. That’s why he worked so hard on building coalitions with the aliens. Forming coalitions would make Vulcan stronger and would prevent war.  

T’Pol knew from the comments of her classmates that Father’s view wasn’t commonly shared. There had been many wars between aliens and Vulcans in the past. Father had fought in many of them, and while he hardly mentioned it, he had been decorated for his part. Yet he was building coalitions with the aliens now.

For T’Pol, her father had been the best captain of Vulcan, and while she didn’t understand all of his visions, she knew that given his experiences with war and as a captain his logic was the best.

And she missed him. She went to school, she did her studies, she practiced the art of neuropressure with her mother and she meditated more than ever. But never did she feel content as before, and she had a hard time finding clarity in her white space.

T’Pol knew her mother missed Father too.  Mother had doubled her own amount of time in meditation.  Ko-mekh’s face would be as serene as always, but there was something in her voice, a slight breeze of emotion that made T’Pol very uncomfortable.  That’s why T’Pol feared to burden her mother with her own problems and didn’t ask for her help.  Neuropressure did help her to some extent to fall asleep more easily, but there would be nights when she stared at the brown ceiling above her for hours, unable to sleep.

One night, she dreamt.  She was looking at the ceiling, when suddenly the color of the upper surface changed into a white tint. White clouds surrounded her. They became gray and her world became dark.  Then she heard a loud sound, followed by sparks of light. She was surrounded by an inferno of red-yellow flames. She saw her father on the bridge of his ship. He wore the same uniform as on that day as he had left. It was smudged and torn.  Another blast made the ship tremble like a Henete-tree in a fire storm. Another blaze and the bridge was all fire. She heard her father say “To the shuttle pods!”, but before her eyes T’Pol saw the ship explode into a thousand pieces.

There was darkness. There was nothing. Then she saw her father standing. He was held by two men who looked Vulcan, but were not. There was a knife.  Another man walked to her father with a knife. He took the tip of her father’s right ear and cut it off. Green blood flooded down her father’s cheek, down to his neck. He cried out in agony.  Then the screaming stopped. Father looked at her, standing there, frozen to the ground, unable to moveHis eyes were as firm as ever. His voice was warm and loving. “T’Pol,” he said.

She screamed and woke up in her own bedroom, her cheeks wet with tears.

Shame flushed over her. Quickly, she wiped away her tears. What did mother always say? Control your emotions.  She breathed in and out, slowly. She was in control. Nothing was wrong. Her father was alive and would return. 

XXX

Three days after the dream, when she finally had managed to put it completely behind her, she was walking around on the veranda after her morning meditation.  When she came to the side overlooking the stairs she saw someone climbing up the hill. The figure became clearer with every passing step. It was Del'haiu Soval.  Her future father-in-law was the last person she expected to come to the house. 

Forgetting all Mother’s lessons about how a young lady should never run and always be in control, she fled toward the courtyard and waited for him. In her experience Soval was a strong quiet man. Now she was struck by the tired look in his amber eyes. His expression was stern as always, but his whole demeanor was one of sadness.  He was wearing a dark green robe. The embroidery on his robe was arranged in a pattern that T’Pol had seen when her fore-father had died. It was the sign of someone grieving over the death of a close family member.

 “Linan?” she whispered the name of her betrothed. 

“Let us go inside, daughter,” Soval said.

Mother joined them in the living room, and Soval told them the simple story.  Linan and his class had been on a field trip on a space station in the Dosa system. An unknown number of alien ships had attacked the station.  Fifteen students had been critically injured. Ten students, including Linan, were dead on impact.

T’Pol sat down on one of the low chairs. Her eyes didn’t see anything, her ears didn’t hear. Linan was dead. Her betrothed was gone. It couldn’t be. This had to be a mistake. It wasn’t logical.  Only four weeks ago she had received his monthly letter. His letters were filled with inquisitive observations and full of interest for her life. His writing always made her feel content.  She had thought that marrying Linan would be most agreeable. Her parents had shown true logic in choosing him.  And she’d thought that he would be there forever, now in her days of learning, later as her husband. He couldn’t be dead. He was supposed to grow up and marry her.

In the fog she felt her mother’s touch on her arm. A feeling of sympathy and love washed over her. Her mother was there, trying to comfort her. T’Pol looked up and stared into her face.  Mother nodded ever so slightly in the direction of Soval. T’Pol understood. She stood up and walked towards Soval.  “I grieve with thee Del'haiu Soval” she told him.

Lost for words, she was silent for a moment, but then she found them. “It was a logical choice from you, your wife and my parents to make Linan my betrothed. He would have been a good husband for me. “

Her mother took the lead. “Soval, my family grieves with yours. If we can be of any support to you and your family in this time of grief, please say so,” she told him.

Soval responded in kind. He accepted her condolences and explained to her and her mother the details of the memorial service.

“Please join us in meditation,” mother suggested, offering Soval support in a more personal way. “But first you must have something to drink and to eat. It has been a long journey,” she continued. “T’Pol, go to the kitchen and make Del'haiu Soval some tea, prepare a meal, and bring them to the dining room.”

T’Pol did as she was told. In the kitchen she tried hard to control her sadness and confusion and concentrated on her task. She opened the kitchen cabinet and saw the different kinds of tea:  nes-kur, pla-savas, mu’yar’kur.  She thought Soval liked the last kind, but she wasn’t sure. The best way was to ask Soval himself. T’Pol walked back to the living room and, standing in front of the door, she heard her mother’s voice. She sounded disturbed.

“When are you going to tell me that Kirak’s ship was attacked as well?” Mother asked Soval.  

The mentioned of her father’s name got T’Pol’s attention. She stopped and listened.

“Your presence would suggest so,” Mother continued.  “A father who lost his son would be grieving with his wife and trying to support his children. Only after days of being with his family would he visit the child’s betrothed.  You came straight to us.”

Soval’s voice was calm. “I didn’t want to tell you in front of the child, but you are correct.  Kirak’s vessel has been attacked. Our teams are now investigating the attack. Rumors are that they have found only debris from the ship. They also found a shuttle pod from the ship with one person present. It was Menos.“

“That’s the person Kirak had to meet!” Mother’s voice became louder. “How did he end up in a shuttle pod from Kirak’s ship? Did he say where Kirak is? Did he say anything about the attackers?”

“None of this is known,” Soval answered. He paused. “Senator V’Las has made a statement that the attack was made by Andorians.”

“The war between Andoria and Vulcan has led to many wounds,” mother answered. “But we made peace with them. The Andorians know Kirak was the driving force behind several peace treaties. They are a warlike people, but they wouldn’t be so foolish as to attack him.”

“I don’t know, T’Les,” Soval answered. “The attacks could be the work of the Andorians. But I must point out to you that the attack on the star base could have been a diversion. This last year, Kirak’s views have met with hostility. He has made a number of enemies, mostly among our own people.”  

“This can’t be the work of Vulcans who opposed him,” mother answered. “You said so, it was unknown aliens who led the attack on the space station. Vulcans fight with logic and words, not with violence.” T’Pol heard her mother taking a deep breath. “But whatever happened, I must protect T’Pol. You understand that it is only logical for me to arrange a new betrothal as soon as possible.”

“This is not the time for rash decisions, T’Les,” Soval warned Mother.

“T’Pol is my child, my daughter. I must keep her safe and act logically for her sake,”  Mother answered. Her voice was firm.

T’Pol stood still on the other side of the door, overwhelmed by what she just heard.  She shouldn’t have listened. This wasn’t intended for her ears. She turned away, went back to the kitchen,  and prepared the tea and the meal.

T’Pol softly started to breathe in the meditation breathing pattern.  She suppressed her feeling of unrest and pushed the thought of an attack on her father’s ship to the back of her mind. She had to go back to the living room with mother and Soval. She would present the tea and the meal, eat with them and join them in meditation, like nothing had happened.

Because it wasn’t true. Soval and mother were wrong. Father always had been a great captain; he had been attacked before and escaped. This time he also would have found a way, like that Menos had. Father would come home.  

XXX

After the meal and the meditation, T’Pol went to bed.  After a couple of hours of trying to fall sleep, she finally did. The next morning, when she opened her eyes, she saw her mother standing over her. “T’Pol,” mother whispered.  Her voice was soft and gentle and her eyes were fixed on her, looking at her intently.  “You have to get up and prepare a breakfast for Del'haiu Soval with me,” mother said. “First we are going to pick some fresh vegetables for plomeek soup .”

T’Pol followed her mother to one of the vegetable gardens. She inhaled the fresh morning air. It was so good to be here, in this peaceful hour, alone with her mother. 

After they had collected some plomeek, they walked back to the kitchen. T’Pol was busy scrubbing the vegetables with a small kitchen brush while her mother prepared morning tea when they heard the chime at the front door.  Mother stopped with her work and so did she. Together they went to the front door.  

Mother opened the door. T’Pol saw two men. One man was short and dressed in the same kind of uniform as father had been wearing. The other was older and taller and dressed in the light-blue uniform of the Ha’pla-kur regiment.  People called them the Bluebirds, messengers of bad news.  The short man introduced himself as V’Tok, the other as Kimek.

Mother gave them permission to enter the house. She gripped T’Pol’s upper arm as she stepped back to make space. The touch of her mother’s hand on her arm caused a cascade of emotions to roll over T'Pol: fear, despair, loneliness and an overwhelming need to protect her, Mother’s child. Then Mother broke off the contact and showed the men to the living room.

V’Tok told them why they had come. Father’s ship had been attacked.  Another ship had been in close range of Father’s ship, unable to help them, but had reported the attack. The surveillance recording of that ship showed the attack.  Kimek had a copy of that recording and showed it to them. T’Pol saw a ship in a storm of fire. Explosions were everywhere. Blast by blast the ship was torn apart, until a final stroke blew the ship in a thousand pieces. The images burned in her mind.  It was her dream, now a recording of a real event.

T’Pol turned to her mother. She wanted to say something. But the words froze on her lips. Her mother stood there, unable to move.

“Were they any survivors?” T’Pol asked.  Her father would have found a way to elude his enemies.

“No,” Kimek answered. “We only found the remains of a couple of people. The coroner has identified them as members of your father’s crew.”

“Not one man was found alive?” Mother’s voice, raw, hoarse, suddenly sounded.

Kimek moved slightly in discomfort and for a second V’Tok glanced down in shame. “We found one person in the vicinity of the debris. A man called Menos. We brought him in for questioning,” V’Tok told them.

“And what did he have to say?” Mother demanded to know.

“We have no idea how this could happen.  We grieve with thee and your family, Lady T’Les,” V’Tok answered. “Captain Kirak, Senator Kirak was a great man. But no man could survive that kind of attack.”

“But this Menos did. Where is he now? What did he tell you?” Mother asked again.

Kimek took over. “We don’t know, Lady T’Les. Menos must have had help from outside. He escaped and disappeared. We searched everywhere, but he is nowhere to be found. “

“He escaped?” Anger dripped from Mother’s voice. For the first time in her life, T’Pol noticed that Mother had a hard time controlling her emotions.

“We believe that Menos wasn’t on the ship, so he probably wouldn’t be able to tell much, Lady T’Les,” Kimek answered.  “We deeply regret that Menos was able to get away.  This is such a sorrowful event, with all the lives lost and Senator Kirak dead.”

T’Pol felt her mother freeze next to her at hearing those words. T’Pol turned to her, but Mother didn’t look at her. The lines of Mother’s face hardened, her expression became as cold as stone. It was like a cold wind of distance came between them.  A wave of despair and pain crashed over T’Pol. Her life had fallen apart. The ground beneath her feet was gone.  T’Pol could hardly breathe.

She needed her mother, but T’Pol couldn’t reach her. Mother couldn’t offer her support.  T’Pol was all alone.  Her house, her home she had shared with her father and mother had become empty and cold.

Because her father was gone. He would never return home.


Comments:

StarTrekPikachu


Wow i'm reading this in 2013. I had no idea there were sites like these :D i just finnished watching all of Enterprise and i'm a huge fan of it! along with all the other seires. thanks for the insite into T'pol and the Vulcan world. Keep writing ;)  

panyasan

Thanks for reading Alelou. I am glad you put away your fear for Vulcan words :D and read the story. Menos and T'Pol's father will play an important part of things to come. 

Alelou

I'd forgotten to read this before (the first time I tried, I was tired and the list of Vulcan words scared me off).  It's an interesting development having Soval be a would-be father-in-law.  I'd probably have to start from the beginning to really remember all that is going on here, but I really like T'Pol's meditation with her father.  It's also interesting how you bring Menos in.  Her extreme reaction to him in the series makes more sense this way.

panyasan

Thank you Asso for your review. T'Pol is very young in this chapter. I tried to picture her as a young Vulcan, struggling to control her emotions, especially in this very emotional time for her.  I am very glad you liked it. 

Asso

A beautiful, wonderful and "human" T'Pol. The one for me.
And, you know, this chapter reminds me of something of mine. I feel you near, Panyasan, my friend.
And that makes me happy.:D

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