You ask me and I will deliver (if I can) – I’ve had a few requests to put chapters of my Star Trek fanfic on my blog. I’m going to catch up over the next couple of days and starting on Monday, I will post the latest chapter of my fanfic on my blog as it goes up on FanFiction.Net.
“I am S’oren Marcus.” S’oren stopped speaking with a gasp of held breath as her finger pad popped against a kill switch on the computer in front of her. The screen which had held her image a moment earlier went dark leaving a reflection of herself in the black surface and off to the corner the reflection of her mother’s husband. “I don’t know what to say,” she said keeping her voice calm.
“Speak the truth,” Spock replied that tone of voice which was annoyingly comforting.
S’oren captured her bottom lip in her teeth and thought for a moment. Her abused lip was released with a sigh. “This is idiotic,” she said. Logic wasn’t her strong suit, but that didn’t mean she was without it.
“As are many things we must do in life S’oren,” Spock replied with only the smallest flick of his fingers held aloft like the steeple of a church. He sat off to the side of her in the small quarters which had been assigned to her when she’d reported to the USS Maori for her first assignment as a Starfleet Intelligence officer. Spock was to accompany her to the edge of the Neutral Zone. Then she was on her own. “What you find to be idiotic, I find to be necessary. Your words spoken by you. Consider it a…” he paused and looked at her through the reflected surface. “A favor.”
“So you can unscramble me if you need to?”
“Precisely.” He nodded ever so slightly.
S’oren turned her attention back to the screen as it came to life once again with a touch of her finger. The mirror image of her face stared back in silent wonder. She was Alice about to go down a whole new sort of rabbit hole. Her first – and only boyfriend – Ajay Singh had told her she was beautiful. She suspected he had been more motivated by his desire to bed her than by any real belief that her hair was as glorious as a sunrise or that her eyes were as blue as a spring sky.
The infamously immovable Saavik had informed her that she lacked discretion and that her ability to judge the worthiness of companions was suspect. Ajay was dismissed unceremoniously from her life via a firmly worded missive from the desk of Captain Saavik informing him in no uncertain terms she was not available to him with the underlying implication that she knew people and he would never be missed.
The post script was firm and final and informed the young human that S’oren already had a husband. It had taken more effort than it was probably worth to convince Ajay that her “husband” had made a practice of pushing off the ceremony that would bind them together something of a habit. It was a wonder she had any friends at all when she factored in her mother’s frequent and unwelcome interjections. Fortunately for her, S’oren had learned that what her mother didn’t know didn’t hurt her.
Ajay wasn’t the first person that entered her life only to find themselves being ejected by Captain Saavik. He had reluctantly come around eventually, but she wasn’t entirely sure she wanted him back when she had him again.
In fact, after a month of being a couple again, post her mother’s unnecessary interference, S’oren wanted out. Breaking up was harder than she imagined and took more courage than she could summon. Being offered a mission that risked life and limb to get out of a relationship seemed like a reasonable trade-off. This was the sort of coward she was.
She’d kept up her relationship with Ajay until she’d taken the easy way out a week earlier. She sent him a Dear John message blaming the end of their relationship on her mother, her “husband” Surak, her love of Starfleet and her determination to make a name for herself as an Intelligence field agent.
All lies and subterfuge.
A succinct description of her life.
Which was why it was so very hard to make that recording of herself. She had absolutely no idea who she was beyond the wants and desires others had pressed upon her.
“I am S’oren Marcus. I was born on Vulcan on stardate 8398.9. I am a Starfleet Intelligence officer with the rank of ensign. I speak eighteen languages. I am the current defending Starfleet champion in fencing. I have been bonded to Surak of Vulcan since the age of seven. It is my desire to join the diplomatic corps and one day become an ambassador. As a person of mixed human, Romulan and Vulcan ancestry, I am confident…”
“S’oren,” Spock interrupted her. “You already have the job. There is no need to practice for your interview.”
“What am I supposed to say?” She looked at Spock who stared back at her.
“Who are you S’oren Marcus?” Spock asked.
“I…” She paused, turned and looked at herself and the shadow of her mother’s husband out of the corner of her eye. “I… I have nothing else to say. I am S’oren Marcus. Listen to Spock. He’s never lied to you.” With a flash of her finger, the screen went dead. “Okay?” she asked Spock’s reflection.
“Thank you,” he said simply. “I have never lied to you. I have told you truths you may not have wanted to hear, but I have never lied to you. Nor will I ever.” He unfolded his long body from the chair then took two steps in the direction of the door. “I believe what you need is privacy. When you are finished, I will be on the bridge.”
The door swished open then closed, leaving her alone with only the white noise of the ship traveling at high warp humming in the background.
“I hate you,” she said without malice or even any enthusiasm at the door Spock had exited through. She didn’t hate him. She didn’t always particularly like him, but he had never lied to her. He had never been unkind, or malicious, or mean. He had also never been warm, loving or a replacement father. He was more than a neutral presence in her life, but less than an active one.
She turned back to the screen and brought it to life again. “I am S’oren Marcus. I was born on Vulcan on stardate 8398.9. My mother is Saavik.” She watched her eyes flicker and narrow slightly as her lips pursed at the sound of her mother’s name. “Saavik means “little cat” in Romulan and it’s a name that suits her perfectly as mother is like a cat. Emotionally distant and completely self-serving. I am a profound disappointment to my mother.” S’oren paused. “Just as she is to me.”
It was as if a mirror had cracked or a veil had been lifted. S’oren felt released from constraint and let her words fumble out. “My father was Dr. David Marcus. He died on the Genesis planet at the hand of the Klingon Kruge. I never knew him…” she looked at her reflection. “But I have his eyes. Or so my mother tells me. I also have his recklessness, his impetuosity and his emotion. I disappoint my mother on many levels. Not the least of which is my humanness.”
S’oren bit her bottom lip again and watched herself being recorded. “I think she thought I would be like Spock in my humanness,” she said. “But I’m not. He was raised as a Vulcan by a human mother that found her place among the Vulcans. I might as well have been raised by wolves.” She rolled her eyes in a brief shock of shame. “That’s not exactly true. I love my grandmother Carol very much and she has always taken very good care of me. She wanted me. She loves me. She thinks I’m going to serve on a communications outpost somewhere out on the edge of Cardassian space. The perfect cover for a person that needs to be gone for a long period of time. Spock may not lie, but clearly I do. I’m not going to man a communications outpost. I’m going to go and do something far more reckless and far more dangerous. That’s the Kirk in me. This innate ability to pull the most asinine, bold, brave and courageous stunts, because quite simply, no one else is either dumb enough to not be afraid or stupid enough to say yes. That I get from my father who got it from his father. You’d think it would have been breed out of us long before, but we Kirks tend to reproduce before fate comes along and demands we cash in our chips. I’m taking a great deal of comfort in the fact I have yet to have any children which improves the probability I will probably survive this maelstrom of idiocy I’ve been talked into.”
She paused and looked at herself as her fingers absently pushed her hair which was in fact the color of a sunset off of her smooth forehead. The familiar gesture ended with her hair being pushed behind her pointy ears. “My ears don’t bother me,” she said. “I rather like them and they are mine. Not my mother’s or my father’s. Mine alone. I never knew my father, but no one will ever let me forget who he was. He wanted to go down in history, but I seriously doubt any scientist ever wants to go down in infamy for being the example of what not to do. My father, a man I never met but who gave me his all too human fallibility, was a failure himself. Mind, not just any kind of failure, but the kind that they teach entire seminars at Starfleet Academy about. Arrogance and Hubris, an Understanding of the Methods and Mistakes of Dr. David Marcus.” S’oren thumped her fist against her chest. “That hits right here. If anyone wants to know why I never went into the sciences, there you go. Think about it.” She thought for a moment. “Actually no, I don’t want to think about it.
“So my father was a man that I never met, but that my mother clearly had liked enough to engage in coitus with. Not that she’ll ever admit that. That she liked him. Not the coitus part. You’d think I was the result of something other than consensual sex by the way she despises the humanness in me. It’s like an affliction to her. I asked her once why, when she knew I was David Marcus’s child and not Spock’s, why she didn’t terminate her pregnancy. Her answer: my question was illogical.” S’oren both felt and heard a small growl rise out of her throat as she glared at the screen for a moment before moving on.
“Spock…” She rolled her eyes again. “It’s always Spock, the peacemaker, the negotiator, that smooth’s these things over. He told me that my mother had a great affection for David Marcus. I find that singularly hard to believe, but then again, Spock has never lied to me. Whatever the reason, here I am. A half human, a quarter Vulcan and a quarter Romulan. I’m not my mother’s dark secret so much as I am that person that she is forever linked to.
“I’ll never forget when I went to Starfleet Academy for my admittance interview. Admiral Pike knew who I was, he was a great friend of my grandfather and I’ve known him since I was a child, but the other members of the board that I faced were more than a little stunned when they put it together who I was. I will never forget that Andorian captain with her icy white hair and her blue skin staring at me. ‘You’re Captain Saavik’s child? Why I had no idea Captain Saavik had a child.’ I wanted to punch her in her blue mouth.
“There was a lot of throat clearing and paper shuffling after that. I think the reason my interview was so brief, was simply because they all wanted to get me out of the room. I don’t know if it’s because I make people uncomfortable, or because my mother makes people uncomfortable, or the fact my mother has actually procreated at one point in her miserable, cold, empty existence makes people uncomfortable, but regardless, people are uncomfortable with something where my mother and I are concerned. Very few people know Saavik is my mother, but everyone knows I’m David Marcus’s child. I considered changing my name to Kirk, but I was already notorious enough as it was when I arrived at Starfleet. Not that that stopped anyone from figuring out who my grandfather was.
“Being the only grandchild of James T. Kirk carries its own interesting burdens and blessings. I have inherited his former crew as my protectors. Whether I want them to be or not,” she said between clenched teeth. “It is extremely difficult to get into mischief when you have so many people with so much combined authority looking over your shoulder. Not that I’m complaining, but still. Imagine what it’s like going out with the few friends you have and then when you’re late for your curfew, instead of getting an angry call from your grandmother, you’re beamed up to the ready room of the Saratoga where Captain Sulu gives you a twenty minute lecture on the need to be mindful of deadlines. It’s unreal sometimes.
“Anyhow I digress. This is supposed to be a little video reminder of who I am just in case Spock can’t mentally reboot me when I’m done proving to everyone how useful a mongrel can be. So the facts are: I am S’oren Marcus. S’oren is Romulan for pain. Lovely. Pain. Who names their child pain?” She shook her head a little. “I asked my mother once why she gave me such an awful name. She told me that it was her choice. Then I got the stare. The subject was not to be broached again.
“Almost immediately after my birth I was given to Amanda Grayson who cared for me until my paternal grandmother Dr. Carol Marcus came for me then returned to Earth to raise me. I’ve tried to understand this, but I cannot. I do not understand why my mother turned me over to a human woman to raise, then finds my humanness so distasteful. My mother…” S’oren paused. “I have no idea what my mother was doing at that time.” She shrugged a little. “Not raising me. I don’t know. My grandmother raised me until the time I was five. I spent a great deal of time with my grandfather James T. Kirk. I have never felt anything so profoundly in my life as the loss of my grandfather when I was eight years old. I loved my grandfather very much. Just as he loved me. Computer pause.” S’oren felt her eyes fill with hot, wet tears which she didn’t wipe away. She let them run down her face and fall to the table in front of her. She dabbed at one of her tears with the tip of her finger then smeared it on the smooth top. With a deep sigh, she pulled herself together.
“Computer resume. When I was five my mother informed me that I would be going to Vulcan to be schooled. It was hell. I never fit in. I truly did try, but I just never managed to succeed. They say Vulcan’s are a logical emotionless bunch, but personally I like to think they’re a bunch of sociopaths. Healthy people are not as joyless as the Vulcan’s. They’re not. This is the moment of my first failure in my mother’s eyes. I failed to be Vulcan. I wanted to please her so much and I did try. I stayed at the Vulcan school until the death of my grandfather after which I was inconsolable. The Vulcan’s didn’t know what to do with me, so she returned me to my grandmother on Earth then left me.
“I always wonder why she’s surprised at how human I am considering I was raised by humans. Boggles the mind. Maybe if she’d left me with Vulcans I’d be more Vulcan. I am happy she didn’t leave me with Vulcans. I am very happy she returned me to my grandmother. I don’t know if it was intentional or not on Saavik’s part, but that one time she truly did the right thing for me. Spock tells me that logic can be learned, but that humanity is a gift.” She paused for a moment. “Whatever.” She took a deep breath and let out a long sigh.
“What else?” She clacked her fingernails against the console in front of her. “I have no friends except for my friend Melinda who has a boyfriend she spends all of her time with, Syran who is my Romulan tutor and confident. The lovely Nyota Uhura who is just so fabulous. I want to be like her. Have it all together. For a very long time Saavik, Spock and Nyota chose to believe I was unaware of the…” S’oren paused for a moment looking for the right word, “let’s just say arrangement, the three of them have worked out over the years, but I’m neither blind nor naïve. I am now also older and wiser and know better than to ask three adults about their private lives. I get that this works for them. Fine. Saavik in typical her fashion, started a relationship with my martial arts teacher.” S’oren stared at herself as if her reflection might have an insight in to the mind of her mother that she lacked. “Honestly, what could she have been thinking? You don’t date your child’s coach then find it unfathomable that said child finds it icky.” Another snort of disgust slipped out. “Anyhow… they’re happy and they have their own thing going on while Nyota and Spock have their own thing going on, and the truth is I really don’t want to know what goes on behind closed doors.
“I just don’t get what Nyota, who is the most beautiful, talented wonderful woman in the world next to my grandmother of course, sees in Spock. I just don’t get it. I made the mistake once of asking Nyota about this… thing of theirs. She laughed and told me that one day when I was married to Surak I’d understand what it was about Vulcan men that made them so appealing. You know I’m just going to stop thinking about this.
“Moving on. I’m nearly always immediately labeled a bit odd, by anyone that meets me. I’m too Vulcan to be a human and too human to be a Vulcan. I don’t relate to females and men…” she shrugged. “I’m already betrothed to Surak. This is incredibly convenient when I need it to be.
“When I was seven I was betrothed according to Vulcan customs at a ceremony attended by my family and Surak’s relatives. He’s half Vulcan and half Betazoid. I think the reason we were matched up was because we’re both a couple of square pegs in a galaxy of round holes. I imagine I am still betrothed to him, as no one has told me any differently. That’s Vulcans for you. Assume nothing has changed unless you are told differently.”
The visual memory S’oren had of Surak came to her mind as vividly as if the moment of her betrothal had just passed. He was a child in her memory. A child that desired to devote his life to playing the Vulcan lyre. She knew he’d grown up. There had been a moment a few years back at the start of her time at the academy when she’d felt the need to be rescued from her life and wished Surak had been there. It was against the rules of their betrothal, but she’d spent more time than she should have researching him on the computer. He’d become the lyre player he’d aspired to being and had made a career out of his music. He had grown up and out of her reach.
“As a byproduct of the mind-meld with Surak, I developed the ability to play music. My grandmother took me for lessons and I learned to read music. If I try to play music by reading it from a score the sound is something akin to scratching on a chalkboard. But if I listen to music and then just replay it from memory…” she shrugged. “It’s like magic. Not my magic. His magic. He just gave me a drop of it. Sometimes I wonder what it’s like to have that kind of talent. I wonder if I gave him anything.” She paused for a moment and considered what she had that was equal to what he’d given her. The answer was nothing.
“I have no interest in marrying Surak.” That was a lie and she knew it, but sometimes lies became truths. “I haven’t physically laid eyes on him in fifteen years and wouldn’t know him if he walked into this room.” Another lie. She knew she’d know him anywhere. “Will I marry him? The sad thing is I probably would if his family had expressed any desire for me to marry him, but they haven’t and I won’t. In fact the two times that I’m aware of the issue being raised, a postponement was arranged for. The very sad thing is, regardless of his obvious desire to not move forward with the arrangement is that I would. I’d do that and more to please my mother.”
S’oren paused the recording. “Computer. Show me anything you have on Surak.” It was an exercise she hadn’t performed in several years, but she knew what to look for.
“Surak,” the clear familiar female voice of the computer responded. “Nomenclature. Vulcan male.”
“Computer.” She interrupted. Her computer in her tiny apartment in San Francisco would have responded directly, already knowing what it was she was looking for. This one needed more prompting. “Surak the Vulcan lyre player. He’d be about twenty-seven human years old. His parents are T’Pol a Vulcan sculpture and Tam the Betazoid poet laureate.”
“Surak,” the computer responded. On the screen before her was the image of a Vulcan male as he sat playing the lyre. It was him. He was in a concert hall filled with stern faced silent Vulcans. Pale skinned with dark hair, S’oren thought he was actually very handsome and that his black Betazoid eyes were mesmerizing. Looking at him again stirred the same feelings of want, regret and rejection that she always felt when she looked at him. “Why didn’t he want me?” she asked the air. The air had no answer.
“Notable accomplishments…” S’oren cut off the computers voice with a flick of her finger. Instead she listened to his music and wondered if Surak had any appreciation for the beauty of the sound he created, or if to his ears all he could hear was the perfection of the tone and the mathematical harmony of the notes. She didn’t want to marry a Vulcan. She wanted to be happy. She was certain she’d make Surak miserable if that were possible. “If he is capable of feeling misery, I would make him miserable,” she said. “Things are better this way. Computer. Find Gad-keshtan.”
“Gad-keshtan,” the computer replied in perfect Vulcan. “Vulcan language. Meaning – dawn.”
“No,” she sighed. “Find Surak playing Gad-keshtan. Most recent performance.”
An image of Surak appeared immediately on the screen. The information in a box on the bottom of the screen told her he was performing on Risa at a venue on the Suraya Bay. The night was clear and beautiful and the moon was full overhead. He had not yet begun playing as he turned to the crowd. “Gad-keshtan,” he said. “Written by me for my wife S’oren.” There were a large number of shouts and calls from mostly women in the audience offering to take her place as S’oren felt her jaw drop. He hadn’t forgotten her. “This piece was first performed at our betrothal.” She listened to the performance a half-dozen times before the shock she was feeling started to dissipate. He hadn’t forgotten her. So what was the holdup? She checked the time stamp on the recording. It had been made weeks earlier. He hadn’t forgotten her. “How extraordinary,” she whispered.
The comm bleeped intrusively on her revelation that Surak thought of her. “What?” she snipped.
“We are coming up on our target location,” Captain Chekov informed her. “Are you fine?”
“I’m fine,” she replied. “I’m almost finished.” She cut the comm without waiting for a response. As a Starfleet ensign, it went against her training to treat a starship captain with such little regard. As S’oren Marcus who had called Pavel Chekov rather than her mother to get her out of a situation on Risa when she was supposed to be doing terrain training on Mars, she felt she could take a liberty or two.
“Computer continue recording.”
“I joined Starfleet Academy at the usual age and have progressed through my final year a wholly unremarkable student. My most notable accomplishment is my ability as a fencer. I began receiving instruction from Hikaru Sulu at the age of four. My ability as a fencer was the only skill I brought to Vulcan that was considered noteworthy. For the record, Vulcans make terrible fencers. They’re too technical. They have a hard time grasping the fact that most species are unpredictable and will not make the most logical or appropriate move.” She allowed herself a small smile.
“For my first assignment as a newly minted ensign, I will be infiltrating a Romulan slave trading outpost and with any luck making the first of what those in Starfleet Intelligence hope will be a series of connections which will eventually lead to my being assimilated into Romulan society. I will be posing as a member of the servant class with no familial associations. Because of my age, my lack of pure Romulan blood and my sex, it will not be perceived as unusual or noteworthy that I am without an extensive history. It is my understanding that a well-placed member of the V’Shar has already created the necessary administrative footprint of my unremarkable life. No one notices a poor girl with no family and no one wonders why she would seek employment in the home of a member of the ruling class.
“In essence, I am embarking on a mission that will, as those in Starfleet Intelligence predict if I am successful, take up the sum and total of the next fifty years of my life. I am in essence to develop the persona of a sleeper agent that can be put into play when the need arises. If I’m any good, I may just become a double agent. My mission will be implanted deep into my conscience that I will believe my cover story as if it is my own. I will never doubt the veracity of my words. Neither probe nor torture will break through the mental barrier that Spock will raise.
“It is my intention to go to the Romulan home planet of Romulus. There I will make contact with a highly placed member of the Romulan senate by any means necessary. I am to deliver a message. The message is: ‘Be not afraid of greatness: some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.’ I don’t understand the message, but that is not the point. The point is that I am a messenger and only a messenger. He may or may not give me a response to return with. At that time I am to contact my handler who will arrange for my extraction. I have been told that if I’m lucky, I’ll be back in Federation space in a year. Possibly longer if my contact chooses to use me as a resource. That is his option. As Nyota said when we discussed my mission, I am a pawn in a game of kings.”
S’oren stared at herself for a long moment wondering who it was that stared back at her. “I think sometimes that I would like to be a person that lives a quiet life. A mother. Maybe somebody’s wife. Somebody that I choose for myself that is capable of loving me. In a house near the sea with a garden filled with roses and a view of the ocean. But that’s not who I am. Who am I really? The truth is I don’t know who I am. I’ve spent my entire live up to this point trying to please so many people that I’ve forgotten myself in the equation. I know what I do and I don’t like, but I don’t know where I begin and the influence of others drops off. One moment I’m brave and the next I’m a coward. I try to please everyone by being everything they could want and am never true to myself. I make my decisions with the thought always first of what it is my mother would want or what would make my grandfather the most proud of me. I’m so terrified of continuing my father’s legacy that I never take risks that haven’t been sanctioned by others. Like this mission. I always wait for permission and never act on impulse. I’m so afraid of failing that it makes me fear taking a risk.”
Again she paused the recording. There was no need to playback what she’d recorded. The simple truth was there was a very real possibility she might not return and the last thing she wanted to leave for her family to remember her by was a collection of gripes and a lot of petulant whinging about her lousy childhood. That wasn’t who she wanted the universe to see her as. “Computer erase the recording. New recording.”
She sat up straight, pulled her shoulders back and flicked her hair behind her ears. Her face assumed the blank, neutral expression that her grandmother Carol frequently let her know made her look just like her mother. She cleared her throat then began.
“Computer mark the date and time of this recording and authenticate my identity.” She paused and waited.
“Recording marked and dated,” the computer responded.
“I am S’oren Markus. I am a Starfleet Intelligence officer. I will willingly undergo a mind-meld with Admiral Spock during which he will create a barrier in my mind behind which my true identity will be shielded. The persona of S’oren Hfai, a member of the servant class with no formal name, is a fictitious creation. This is not who I truly am. I am S’oren Marcus. I am a spy.”