Imzadi

By JadziaKathryn

Rating: G

Genres: romance

Keywords: first contact marriage

This story has been read by 423 people.
This story has been read 547 times.


Disclaimer: Not mine, not for profit.

A/N: 1) I named a ship in construction Vostok. If you’re wondering why, it’s the name of a Soviet spacecraft program; Yuri Gagarin became the first human in space in Vostok 1 . 2) Thanks to Lady Rainbow for her beta work; any remaining errors are my fault alone.

 

 


Monday

As soon as he walked into his office and saw the pile of padds on his desk, Andrew Gardner regretted his promise to his wife that he’d cut back on his coffee. He resolved to ask that very evening for an extra cup on Mondays.

After stashing his umbrella in its corner, he sat down and picked up the top padd. Since that was the construction update on Starbase One, it went to the right of his desk for the ‘considerably important’ pile. Following that was a request to update the procedure in the event of a ship being boarded. Gardner checked the origin: Enterprise. That would undoubtedly be Reed. He put it to the left, beginning the ‘skim and approve’ pile. The construction update for the Vostok went on top of the Starbase One report and notes concerning the Andorian negotiations began an ‘important but not urgent’ stack. Hernandez’s report on her talks with the Illyrians went to the far right, as it was extremely important.

He had just picked up the next padd when Lieutenant Perouse paged him. “I have Captain Archer on a secure channel for you, sir.”

“Put him through.” Jonathan Archer’s face appeared on the screen while Gardner replaced the padd. Archer looked nervous, which wasn’t promising. “Hello, Captain.”

“Admiral, we have a situation here.”

Not promising at all. The last time Gardner heard the phrase ‘we have a situation’ from Archer, the man was reporting that his stupid beagle had the Amani on the brink of declaring war. Why Starfleet had allowed a dog on its first Warp 5 ship remained a mystery to Gardner.

Archer swallowed hard before beginning. “We made first contact with the Betazoids. It was all going fine until Commanders Tucker and T’Pol walked across a bridge. Turns out this wasn’t just any bridge. It was the Sacred Imzadi Bridge of Kanali Gorge.” He took a deep breath and concluded, “The Betazoids absolutely insist that Commanders Tucker and T’Pol get married within one Betazoid day. That’s twenty-two hours from now.”

Suddenly, the room seemed much warmer. “Married?”

“Yes, sir. Married. And if the commanders don’t, or they divorce within two Betazoid years, it will be a grave insult. The Matriarch of Betazed tells me that we would have ruined any possibility for cooperation between Earth and Betazed for the next ten generations.”

Gardner balled his fists beneath the table. A phrase from the Vulcan species roster came to mind. ‘Emotional and indulgent’ had been used to describe Betazoids. They were still ferreting out those Terra Prime bastards, the Vulcans would have an entire herd of cows, married couples weren’t supposed to serve together on ships… the reasons ran through Gardner’s mind one after another. “That’s impossible. They can’t get married.”

“They can’t not get married, sir, unless we’re willing to forego cooperation with Betazoids for ten generations. With the recent Romulan activity, writing off Betazed seems like a bad idea.”

Archer was right about that. “Didn’t this bridge have some kind of warning? There has to be a loophole.” Despite his words, Gardner had a feeling Archer wouldn’t have contacted him if there was an obvious loophole. He felt a headache coming on.

“It’s a stone bridge, and when they crossed it together, it started making a noise. According to Betazed beliefs, this only happens when the two people who cross it together are Imzadi. Ensign Sato translated Imzadi as ‘beloved’ but it’s apparently more complicated than that. The Matriarch told me that people can be happily married all their lives and not be Imzadi, so it’s special. Soul mates. Because of that, if two people have this ‘proof’ that they are Imzadi, it’s unthinkable for them not to get married. The Matriarch is convinced that Commanders Tucker and T’Pol will live happily ever after.”

At ten past eight in the morning, it was already turning out to be one of those days that Gardner regretted his career choice. “Can’t they walk over the bridge again to see if it makes a noise the second time?”

Archer looked uncomfortable with that. “They did, sir – twice. Both times it made the same noise.”

“Is it something about a human and a Vulcan going over together?”

“Not that we can tell, sir. We got permission to test it, and when Commander T’Pol walked over with Lieutenant Reed nothing happened. Same with Commander Tucker and Corporal McKenzie. The Betazoids are convinced that proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that Tucker and T’Pol are Imzadi. The Matriarch was only willing to make one compromise.”

That was the first ray of hope in the entire conversation, and Gardner grabbed at it desperately. “What?”

“She’s agreed that I can perform a human civil ceremony, provided you forward your assurances that it will be legally recognized on Earth and she is there as a witness.”

His hopes deflated and Gardner fought the urge to use uncomplimentary adjectives to describe the Matriarch of Betazed. As tempting as the prospect was, it wouldn’t help the situation a bit. “That’s it?”

Archer grimaced. “Clothing isn’t allowed at Betazoid weddings, Admiral. Not on anyone.”

All right, that was a slightly bigger concession than he’d first assumed, but in the big picture it didn’t help very much. Gardner found himself fervently wishing T’Pol were still married. “Dare I ask what Tucker and T’Pol think about this?”

“They’re good friends now, Admiral, and are willing to get married in order to gain a potential ally, especially since there’s no other alternative. However, they insist on an exemption so they can both remain on Enterprise.”

That was honestly the least of Gardner’s worries. “If it comes to that, yes. Keep looking for a way out of this, Captain. I’ll contact you after I contact Ambassador Soval.”


Looking at the newest member of his staff, Ambassador Soval concluded that some curriculum changes were required at the Vulcan Diplomacy School. Perhaps he would compose a message to Director V’Rok before his evening meditation.

“If you are going to succeed in diplomacy, Suvik, you must learn to understand the intent behind events. While this ‘First Contact Day party’ will likely be a somewhat trying experience, you have failed to understand its significance. Humans believe that the anniversary of their first contact with Vulcans is worth celebrating.”

The young diplomat considered that. “That is a promising sign for cooperation.”

Soval had thought it self-evident, but apparently the point needed explanation. Therefore, he enumerated on another seemingly obvious point. “As I’m sure you’re aware, Vulcan is currently vulnerable. Cooperation is particularly important at present.”

Suvik nodded. “The humans have also been useful at reducing tensions with Andoria.”

“Indeed.” One human in particular, although Soval did not add that. “For years we have treated humans as children. It is now time, as T’Pau’s administration acknowledges, to deal with them on a more equitable basis.”

Suvik looked at a padd in his hands, presumably the one which carried a briefing on the upcoming party. “I have no previous experience with human parties. Have you any advice?”

Experience was the best teacher. This truism, however, had not offered much aid to Soval when he was a young diplomat, and he refrained from dispensing it in place of practical advice. “I do not recommend drinking ‘punch,’ as it is almost entirely sugar. Take care to converse with several different people. Your conversations need not center on issues of any relevance.”

The young staffer’s eyebrow rose in confusion. “May I ask what topics might be discussed?”

“The most common question I have been asked is regarding the environmental and geographical considerations of my home on Vulcan. You would do well to realize that humans often reveal more than they appear to be aware when talking of apparently trivial matters.”

Suvik’s reply was preempted by the chiming of his communications line. “Ambassador, Admiral Gardner wishes to speak with you. He has requested a secure transmission.”

Suvik nodded and took his leave.

“Secure the transmission.”

In six-point-eight seconds, Admiral Gardner’s face appeared on Soval’s screen. “Good morning, Ambassador.” Even for a human, Gardner had an exceptionally emotive face and it was obvious that he was nervous.

“Admiral. This transmission is secure.”

“Good. If Terra Prime hears about this…” he trailed off without finishing the sentence, a trait which continued to perplex Soval after three decades among humans. “Have you heard of the Betazoid concept of Imzadi?”

“No.”

“Apparently, it’s something like a soul mate. I mean, it’s – well-”

To save the Admiral from attempting an explanation he was evidently uncertain how to phrase, Soval interrupted during a pause. “I am familiar with the general meaning of a soul mate, Admiral.”

Gardner gave a small, relieved smile. “Well, Imzadi is a kind of soul mate, or so Archer tells me. The Betazoids are convinced that Commanders Tucker and T’Pol are Imzadi, and are demanding that they get married within twenty-two hours or Betazed will have no contact with Earth for ten generations. And if they divorce within two years, we’re back to no contact for ten generations.”

As emotional and irrational as humans were capable of being, Soval considered Betazoids even more so. In the one hundred and twelve years since he had interacted with Betazoids, he had not encountered any other species as trying. “How did the Betazoids determine that the commanders are Imzadi?”

“They walked over the Sacred Imzadi Bridge of Kanali Gorge. It’s a sacred stone bridge which only makes a noise when two people who are Imzadi walk over it together.”

Curious. “I assume that a noise was generated as Commanders T’Pol and Tucker walked over this bridge.”

“Yes, Ambassador. But not when T’Pol and Lieutenant Reed walked over it, or Tucker and a female MACO.”

Most curious indeed. Betazoids were a highly telepathic race. If Betazoid lore was to be believed, perhaps the bridge was somehow capable of detecting a mental bond. Soval did not know how that would occur, but he was not a scientist. That, however, would imply that T’Pol and Tucker had formed a mating bond.

As that was not information to be shared with Admiral Gardner, Soval simply said, “That is curious. I am unaware of any similar occurrences.”

“I’ll be honest, Ambassador. With the Romulans stirring up trouble, we can’t afford to write off Betazed. The commanders are willing. Unless they can find a way out, I’ll have no choice but to authorize Captain Archer to perform a legal ceremony. Of course, we’ll keep it under wraps, but I need to know that this isn’t going to ruin our relationship with Vulcan.”

Privately, Soval thought that the commanders’ willingness to marry was a larger factor than Gardner was aware of. For T’Pol to willingly marry a human, even in the line of duty, was somewhat surprising. Perhaps they had in fact formed a bond.

“You will be pleased to know that this marriage, should it occur, will not harm Earth’s relationship with Vulcan.”

Gardner smiled but looked astonished. “I was expecting much worse.”

“Commander T’Pol has chosen a career in Starfleet, Admiral. In doing so, she accepting any unknown consequences of serving in a human organization. As Vulcan is currently undergoing significant social and political change, a marriage in the line of duty between T’Pol and Commander Tucker is of little concern. However, I agree that all efforts should be made to conceal its existence. As you alluded earlier in our conversation, it would be unwise to allow the remnants of Terra Prime to learn of this marriage.” There was also a small percentage of Vulcans from whom the information was best kept, but Soval thought it prudent not to speak of that. It would only cause Admiral Gardner worry over circumstances he could not control.

“Thank you. I’ll contact you tomorrow and tell you what happened.”

“That is agreeable.”

“Until tomorrow, then. Gardner out.” The screen reverted to showing the emblem of the Vulcan Diplomatic Corps., leaving Soval to wonder how such a thing might have occurred.


Feeling better with that pointy-eared monkey off his shoulders, Gardner slapped his palm on the pager button. “I need Enterprise on a secure channel.”

While Perouse made the connection, Gardner pondered Soval’s reaction. He had to admit that the new Vulcan government made life a lot easier. While Soval was clearly not thrilled with the idea of T’Pol and Tucker marrying, he understood the reality of the situation. It made Gardner wonder if all the years he complained about Soval, the real problem had been the High Command.

“Hello, Admiral,” came Archer’s voice, interrupting the reflection.

“Good news. Soval understood the situation and if they have to get married, he’s not packing up and going home.”

Archer’s face relaxed. “That’s a relief. We can’t afford it.”

“Apparently, the Vulcans have enough on their plate reforming their society and government. So if T’Pol’s decision to join Starfleet means she has to marry a human as part of her duties – well, that’s her problem. Mind you, a way out is still best.”

“Commanders T’Pol and Tucker are working with Ensign Sato on that.” There was a small part of Gardner that would’ve enjoyed being a fly on that wall, but he didn’t have time for it.

“Have you asked the Matriarch again?”

“She won’t talk to me until the wedding invitation arrives,” scowled Archer. “Neither will her aides. I did just finish talking to the head of the Betazoid Historical University, and she’s reluctantly agreed to do a brief check for a precedent.”

“Brief?”

Archer’s jaw muscles tightened. Gardner didn’t envy the man this task. “That was like pulling teeth, Admiral.”

This was not an auspicious start for an alliance with Betazed. If they were this obstinate and stuck on traditions, would cooperation even be possible? On the other hand, obstinate allies would be good if they were stubborn enough to stick around.

Trying to ignore his desire for coffee, Gardner flexed his fingers outside Archer’s view. “I know you’ll all do the best job possible. Besides, it could be worse. Soval was understanding. It’s a lot to ask of Tucker and T’Pol, though.”

“I think they’ll be alright, if it comes to that.”

It occurred to Gardner that they were lucky this happened after the commanders developed a friendship (or so Archer claimed; personally it was hard for him to fathom). If this had happened when Enterprise first launched… actually, he’d prefer not to think about that.

“Contact me as soon as you have news.”

Archer nodded. “Tomorrow at the latest.”

“I hope to hear from you sooner, then. Gardner out.” He closed the transmission and looked at the picture of his wife and sons that he kept on his desk. Marriage, to him, was not something to be trifled with. This seemed so callous, a marriage of duty. He was aware, of course, that not all cultures would agree. Deep in his heart, Andrew Gardner cherished a romantic view of marriage that grew out of his love for his wife and sons. It made the entire business distasteful.

Tuesday

Soval sat down at his desk precisely as the human clock turned to 0800. He opened his message box to learn that he had seven messages requiring his urgent personal attention as well as the monthly Diplomatic Corps. update and an invitation to the Earth president’s second inauguration. One letter was from Minister T’Pau, which he selected. As was her custom, she was exceedingly succinct.

Ambassador Soval,

You have handled the situation logically. I will add a warning about the Sacred Imzadi Bridge of Kanali Gorge to the database.

Minister T’Pau

He had not mentioned his theory that T’Pol and Tucker shared a mating bond. It was a hypothesis based entirely on his observation aboard Enterprise, which was unproven, and it would be highly improper to speak of the matter.

The communications line chimed. “Ambassador, Admiral Gardner wishes to speak with you on a secure channel.” “Secure the transmission.” Soval had anticipated Admiral Gardner’s call, and was curious to know how the situation had been resolved.

“Good morning, Ambassador.” For the second morning in a row, Gardner was not drinking coffee. Previously, the admiral was nearly always seen with a cup of coffee in his hand. Perhaps he had finally taken his health into consideration; it was a well-known fact that excessive caffeine had deleterious effects on human health, but some individuals persisted in their habit.

“Admiral. I presume you have news from Enterprise.”

He nodded. “As of 0510 this morning, Commander Tucker and Commander T’Pol are legally married. There was no way out of it that wouldn’t estrange the Betazoids.”

Soval suppressed an illogical desire to have witnessed the first human-Vulcan marriage for himself and deduce whether they truly shared a bond. “I see.”

“I’ll forward you the marriage certificate.”

“That will not be necessary.”

Gardner shook his head and leaned in towards the screen, likely transmitting the document. “With all due respect, Ambassador, it is. I want to leave a paper trail on the off chance some Vulcans try to accuse us of hiding this.”

That was unlikely in the new circumstances on Vulcan, but Gardner’s apprehension was based on decades of the High Command. It was not unreasonable. “A logical precaution.”

“I thought so. Do you have it?”

The document appeared on the lower half of Soval’s screen, a marriage certificate for a ceremony conducted by Jonathan Archer and witnessed by Malcolm Reed and Hoshi Sato. T’Pol had signed her name in formal High Vulcan.

“Yes.”

“Good. Archer tells me that T’Pol and Tucker were remarkably calm. Well, mostly Tucker, but T’Pol…” Gardner once again trailed off.

“I believe I understand, Admiral. The prospect of marriage to a human could be unsettling.” Privately, Soval considered that more circumstantial evidence in favor of his theory.

“Exactly. Anyway, they were alright, and they’re on their honeymoon now.”

“I do not see the need for a ‘honeymoon’ in celebration of a marriage in this case.” Unless, of course, Archer was aware of a relationship between the two. Officially Archer could not approve, but in Soval’s experience humans of rank were unofficially aware of more than they would admit to knowing.

Gardner shrugged, an unusual expression for him. “Archer thought they could use a few days to work things out and get used to their new situation, and it sounded reasonable to me.” It was, indeed, reasonable for emotional creatures, provided that was Archer’s true motivation. Humans were capable of surprising logic within their emotional approach to life.

“I see. And the Betazoids are placated by this arrangement?”

“The Matriarch was delighted, and offered them her personal family retreat for their honeymoon. She’s convinced they’re going to live happily ever after. Meanwhile, Archer and Sato are continuing the first contact that was interrupted. Between you and me, Ambassador, I don’t think you’d get along very well with Betazoids.”

Soval raised his eyebrow and replied in an even tone, “There is currently no Vulcan Embassy on Betazed.”

A small frown briefly appeared on Gardner’s face. “They might be trying, but we can use all the friends we can get right now. I’m just glad we didn’t have to choose between Vulcan and Betazed.” After a pause, he added, “Off the record, now that this is done, we wouldn’t have let Tucker and T’Pol get married if it would cause an impossible breach with Vulcan.”

That did not surprise Soval, but he understood the human’s intent. “Vulcan appreciates your sentiment, Admiral. While the current government is not in as strong a position as the High Command, we will not abandon Earth should the Romulan threat worsen. My staff is currently compiling a list of known Romulan encounters. Our information is minimal, but there is a possibility it may be of use to you.”

Emotive as usual, Gardner was clearly pleased. “Thank you, Ambassador. That’s good to know. Anything we can learn about the Romulans would be useful. The way things are, lack of information is one of our biggest weaknesses.”

“A common problem against Romulans. They are an extraordinarily secretive race.”

Gardner chuckled. “Excuse me, Ambassador, but I never thought I’d hear a Vulcan call another race ‘secretive.’ We all thought you were pretty secretive.”

Soval failed to see how that was humorous. Perhaps it was irony, a concept entirely foreign to the Vulcan mindset. “There is a difference between privacy and secrecy. The High Command corrupted Vulcan values over several generations.”

“We know that now.”

“Indeed. And we also know of Starfleet’s role in the revelation.” He examined the clock and changed the subject abruptly. “If you will excuse me, Admiral, I have a meeting with a representative of the Interspecies Medical Exchange.”

Gardner had learned quickly that abrupt changes of subject were common when dealing with Vulcans and was no longer offended. “Of course. Will I see you at the First Contact Day party?”

“Yes.”

“Have a good day, Ambassador. Gardner out.”

Gardner’s image on the top half of Soval’s screen vanished and the marriage certificate expanded to fill the entire screen. Soval glanced at it again, wondering if a human and Vulcan could truly be content in marriage.

Then his communications line chimed again, which would be to announce the arrival of the Interspecies Medical Exchange representative. Soval closed the image and pushed the marriage of Commanders Tucker and T’Pol to the back of his mind. And yet, whether he thought of it or not, the two were married, and apparently without discomfort.

It was most curious.


Comments:

Nemo

I really like this story. Betazoids and Vulcans, both powerful telepaths with implacably opposed points of view make for a rich vein of material to mine for a story. I'd love to see more on this, from different points of view.

 

michelle
something tells me the Batazoids made that whole bridge thing up because they can see and sense what we do.
d_r
Looks mighty fine from where I'm sitting. But I'll have to re-read later, cos my brains is too tired to fill in the blanks. That said, I do feel that the wedding would make a great scene for the comedy fans, so perhaps someone could do it as a missing scene! (please!)
Dinah
What a unique way to get Trip and T'Pol together! Too bad that Enterprise didn't go to Betazed sooner. I really like the idea of a magical bridge which can identify the people who are soul mates. Lovely story!
framework4
Delightful tale. Of course Archer is clueless. > Interspecies Medical > Exchange Let me guess the topic, a Vulcan Human hybrid!
blacknblue
I really like the off camera approach you used. It's great. There are all kinds of full color scenes that are playing out in my head now. :D I have got to steal this idea sometime.
JadziaKathryn
Shoot. I attached the wrong version - the one prior to the name change for the very reason [b]Linda[/b] noted. Glad people like this anyway! *scampers off to email the final version*
Linda
Nice exchange between Gardner and Soval! Also good to see Betazed again. Use of the name Stonn kinda threw me though. Wasn\'t that the name of T\'Pring\'s paramour that she preferred to Spock? Is there a tie in here that I missed?
krn
as with everyone else, I enjoyed the 'distant perspective' you used. I does make us wonder what the *real* story is - which only highlights how well written this is! Poor Gardner - the only one out of the loop.
Alelou
This is utterly charming. We learn about our heroes from two rather distants points of view ... and we get to fill in the blanks ourselves. And we can wonder whether Archer is doing one of his acting jobs here and setting up the whole thing. Even if he isn't, it's a great story. I have to admit I'm a little leery of wedding stories -- how can they NOT get goopy -- and Troi is not a favorite character of mine either -- but this is excellent use of both a wedding and Betazoids. Very cool!
dialee
Especially in re: to T'Pol's nervousness before the ceremony. Sometimes less is truly more.
dialee
I so totally agree with Distracted and Asso re: this story.
Asso
Apart from my obvious pleasure in seeing Trip and T'Pol get together and happily married, there's a lot of suggestions in this story. A sort of a nether delicious humour, which enlightens the whole unwinding of the narration. And it's a great intuition (and very well done) the fact that Trip and T'Pol's events are shown - clearly - from afar, by means of the words and the dialogues of "third persons", even if they have absolutely the scene's core. And Soval is great.:p
Distracted
This is a TERRIFIC idea. I love it. What I'd love even more is a companion piece which tells the story from the POV of Enterprise and the Betazoids.

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