The Essence of Blue

By Lt. Zoe Jebkanto

Rating: G

Genres: drama

Keywords: Andorians Shran

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Disclaimer:  It ain’t mine.

Summary: Jhamel had never seen blue or given the word for it much thought.  Until recently.

A/N:  What?  Another story with “blue” in the title?  This one has absolutely nothing to do with the previous “Blue on Blue”, except that a certain Enterprise NX01 sails through it.  And no, blue is not my favorite color… I just haven’t come up with one yet for green and purple!  Grin.


Autumn, 2154

Enterprise NX01

 

Jhamel had never seen blue, or given the word for it much thought.  Not until recently.

Why, she asked herself as she packed the few belongings she’d carried with her to the Earth-ship, Enterprise, would she, growing up, have wished to mull over a cold, abstract concept when there were so many other words, far richer with substance and subtlety?

At least twelve in her language described qualities of smoothness: smooth when it was hard, when soft, flat, rounded or spreading across gentle angles…  Not to mention those for the cool smoothnesses of differing kinds of ice.  Words that came alive beneath her hands or set her eager antennae quivering with curiosity.  Not to mention all those for the

Varied qualities of ice-song, like the delicate, dripping notes of tiny tunnels being thawed by ice-bore herds or the long, bass rumblings as great glacial plates beyond the city grew and expanded in winter and retreated in summer.

Of course, she knew the word from school.  Blue was an illusory property, described in strange, mystic terms in long-ago writings from far across the world.  It occurred as star-warmth passed through the gaseous, above-ground atmosphere on its way to her ice bound world.  So, it must be the cold residue left as the heat was filtered away.

It was also a skin quality of people said to live in other underground cities further south, descendants of those who’d written of it as if it could be directly perceived.  Supposedly her people and theirs were the same species once, but now the far distant blue-skinned Andorians were as much legend as reality.  They were fierce, warlike and almost mind-blind.  Perhaps blue was what remained when violence and battle filtered away the peace, gentleness and telepathy valued by Aenari.  It certainly seemed to hold the unfortunate residue left when warmer, finer things had gone.  What part of that cold, empty abstract notion would she have wanted or needed in her life?

Of course, those were a child’s reasonings.  Perhaps they should have made her smile now, in fond remembrance.  Instead, they were disturbing.  What else had she dismissed as unpleasant, uninteresting or irrelevant without question?

In these last few days, on Enterprise, finding the essence of blue had almost become a quest.  Maybe it symbolized discovering more about herself: it was certainly a reminder of how small, isolated and insular her life had been.

Had been!  Now, she was someone who had left her underground home and walked on the world’s surface as the star’s warmth pushed its way through the atmosphere to touch her face and antennae. She had met Shran, an actual Andorian and found while fierceness thrummed, alert and vibrant within him, so did compassion and gentle kindness.

Maybe it was those two events coming so close together that started her thinking about blue.  Or Shran’s perplexing question when he asked how she could know about his skin color when she was blind.  It may have begun as a mental respite from the aching sorrow over the death of her beloved brother, Gareb.

For whatever reason, on this starship, where the human crew seemed to share Shran’s direct perception of blue’s meaning, she’d been listening for the word, to find a new concept of it for herself, an association or sensation to make the essence of blue something all her own.

She would not have entered anybody’s mind without invitation, but she couldn’t help picking up gently wafting thought trails throughout the ship.  In the corridor, a male called Malcolm and a female named Hoshi had finished an early morning exercise regime and were on their way to catch showers before putting on their Starfleet blues and heading for duty on the bridge.  For them, blue meant the uniforms they wore, pride in work well done and a long shift ahead when they were still tired from their encounter with the Romulans.  In Engineering, where she had worked to contact Gareb, using a telepresence device to enhance her innate telepathy, the air was dense with Commander Tucker’s struggles with the ache of what he thought of as pointless lovesick blues.  And in the Mess, she heard Ensign Cutler tell kind Doctor Phlox she had permission to put a coat of blue paint on the walls of her living quarters, and described it as a nice, cool tone.

Many differing ideas: proud, happy, sad or… What exactly was a coat of blue paint?

None of them gave her a clue about why the idea of blue kept tugging at her until her antennae all but quivered with a combination of intrigue and frustration.

There were dozens of other unknowns to examine here that could have been directly experienced, savored and understood.  Foods that slid smooth over her tongue, like Ensign Mayweather’s strawberry ice-cream, exploded in her mouth like Commander Tucker’s Cholula sauce, or Malcolm Reed’s pineapple juice which was a bit like both!

Or sensations like the thrum, thrum, thrum of the engine going on and on beneath every step she took, every chair she sat on and even the bed she slept in!

And there were so many mind-stretching ideas here!  Some had that same mental tug that blue did, a wish to understand something altogether new.  What seemed especially perplexing was the concept that people could avoid conflict through showing that they were able to fight if they must, even when they really didn’t want to.  How was that possible?  She had been taught all her life the very implication of violence was abhorrent and must be avoided at all cost, even to defend oneself or one’s family.

Of course, Captain Archer had explained over supper last night, there was no one sure answer to that.  It was a day-by-day experiment, learning how to understand not only one’s own thoughts and beliefs, but those of the beings one encountered and finding the common ground between the two.  It was one of the kinds of exploration that had brought

Enterprise all the way from Earth.

Small, isolated, insular!

No more! There was so much she wanted to learn about that might not be satisfied back home.  Things taking months or years of study to understand.  Especially herself and how these new experiences were changing her.

That brought her back to the idea of blue which she’d avoided for so long as cold and unsettling.  But now…?  Wasn’t there a moment, even before the flood of Enterprise experiences poured over her, when she’d sensed how much more it could… maybe even should… hold for the person she was becoming?

Jhamel closed the case on the bed beside her and at last, smiled.  The small sound of the lock clicking shut seemed to have secured her resolve in place as well.  She would think of blue not as residue from what was lost, but the beginning of something different, to be investigated, not dismissed, a symbol of who she could chose to become.

Which didn’t mean sitting here, lost in reveries.  There was much to plan for after this painful, exotic interval on Enterprise.  The last of her family was dead.  She had defied custom by leaving home and joining the company of outsiders engaged in a conflict that went against pacifist Aenari beliefs, so there might be no returner’s welcome.  The days ahead were as full of unknowns as were the stars this ship sailed through.

As she rose, the door chime sounded. “Come in.”

Before he called her name she knew it was Shran.  His blunt honesty and gruff gentleness vibrated strong, unique and strangely sweet against her antennae.

“Are you ready to leave?  Captain Archer and Commander T’Pol are waiting.”  As she nodded, his quick footfalls came to meet her.  “I can carry that case for you.”

“It’s not necessary.”  She picked it up.  “It hardly weighs anything at all.”

“It’s a wise traveler who journeys light,” he said, a smile in his voice.  As his hand dropped, surrendering the case to her, his fingers brushed her wrist.  It was that strong, caring touch that brought the elusive moment surging through her.

Footfalls ran toward her and the telepresence device was lifted from her head.  The pain and grief of her brother’s death battered at her mind, numbing her antennae to any sense of Shran’s location.  For an instant, she was surrounded by the strange, mind-blind aloneness of it, before her hands lifted, trusting he was there, just beyond her touch.  Then he gathered her close, rocking her in strong arms as his fingers smoothed her hair.  Fierceness thrummed in him, but honed to a directed gentleness which somehow trusted, though he lacked her innate telepathy, that she would allow him to soothe her breaking heart and aching mind.  Moreover that she would understand his confusion over an unclear future as a captain with no ship and his own grief over the loss of his beloved mate, Tallas.  Wordless, they clung together, strangers who knew both the deep strengths and sorrows of the other, each comforted and comforting.

“You’re smiling,” he said as they stepped into the long, curving corridor.  Curiosity gave a lilt to his tone.  “I haven’t noticed much of that in these past few days.”  His unspoken question… “So, why now?” …vibrated all around him.

“I’ve been trying to figure something out that has been perplexing me.”

“And have you?” he asked.  “Figured it out?”

“Yes.”  She paused to face him.  “I have.”

She had never seen blue, or given the word for it much thought.  Until recently.  Now she knew what… or who… kept bringing the questions about it into her mind…  Or into someplace deeper where trust had already forged a connection between the two of them.

She took his hand with the one not carrying the case and held it firmly in her own, recognizing the strength resting quiet and patient beneath her circling fingers.  His strong, patient, blue-skinned hand.

What she had been trying to solve wasn’t the mystery of blue, but the mystery of Shran.  Blue named an obvious difference between the people their lives had made them up until now.  But the future waited, strange, new and unexpected for both of them to share and explore.  As confidants, as friends and maybe, someday, when they both had had a measure of time for healing, as something more.

It was as his fingers circled hers in return that she knew she would never again think of blue as a cold and empty concept.  From now on the essence of blue would, for her, always be strong.  And warm.


Comments:

Cap'n Frances

You've added so much richness to Jhamel's character and a whole new dimnsion to Shran.:D

Reanok

I reallly like this look into Shran and Jhamels relationship.It's well written and I enjoy reading all of your different stories.:D

Weeble

enjoyed your musings, just not sure why... maybe because it is a happy story with marvelous imagery. i'll have to re-read a few times.

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