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Cathy German


They will be quite angry with me. Of that much I am certain.

Moments like this -- when I have made a decision without their intercession or have significant information that I have withheld -- have always been difficult for them to accept. I do not calculate these moments. I do not fabricate these things to deliberately disquiet them. They just seem to occur. With some frequency.

The doctor will be especially irritated. It cannot be helped; and in truth, I have never particularly minded irritating the doctor.

As I make this decision, as I digest the information on the computer, as I consider the assessments of David Marcus and realize what must be done, I reflect upon the kept secrets.

Betrothal, not mentioned. Ambassador father, estranged, unknown to them. Pon farr, unrevealed until absolutely necessary. My unannounced disappearance into the disciplines of Kolinahr. Sybok and T’Liba, untold truths still. Is it the Vulcan part of me that leaves these things unsaid, unshared, unexplained? I sometimes believe that it is not. Are there not Humans with the same proclivities, the same tendencies to heed their own counsel, to behave in an emotionally protective manner? The doctor and the captain have had their secrets and have worn their armor when they have felt that they must, and I have never begrudged them those secrets or those moments of self-protection.

Saavik. Saavik-kam. I find it fascinating, as connected as we are, that she has not turned to look at me as I make this decision. I would have assumed that she would know, instantly, in spite of my efforts. I allow myself some grim satisfaction in the knowledge that my mental shielding is intact and effective enough in this moment of stress to protect her from the truth.

I look at Jim’s face as I turn. It is flushed, and he is thumbing the communications button, speaking earnestly and urgently to Mister Scott, his body a taut prayer for survival, a tensed question mark in the command seat, his free fist pounding on the other armrest.

How many times have I been witness to this? I am surprised to feel a purely Human thrill as I view it, as I release the seat restraint and begin to rise. We have been in this situation before -- perched at the abyss -- and have survived. We have visited this cold place many times, and we have pulled away into warp at the last possible moment, have stared down the enemy as they have blinked, have slipped through the cosmos a step ahead of disaster, and there is an unreasoned rightness to that, a richness to it that quickens my pulse and makes my heart pound in my side.

As I begin to move, my eyes catch the line of Uhura’s straight back and of her elegant neck as her hands work the communications board. These are desperate moments, but her movements are fluid and filled with grace and peace. I have always held her in high regard. Of that I believe she is aware.

As I come closer to the command chair, I resist the urge to reach out and touch Jim on the shoulder. I wish to allay his concerns and put wings to his fears. At this moment, he believes that all is lost, and that the only thing that stands between disaster and the souls in his charge is his own resolve and wit and strength. But he has, for the moment, forgotten about me.

I think briefly of the doctor again, and wish that he were here so that I would be able to see him once more as I leave this place. But he will remember me, I know. After some time has passed, he will find this ruefully humorous. But now -- soon -- he will be embittered. He will drink ethanol to excess and will swear profusely. He has long accused me of having a martyr/savior complex the size of the entire quadrant. This act will most likely not change his mind in that regard.

I wonder myself as I move towards the door why I do these things, but I know the answer even as I form the question.

Because I can.

Because I am stronger. Because I am Vulcan. Because I can take poisonous spores full in the chest and survive. Because I can ease pain with a meld. Because whoever designed the universe -- for whatever reason -- made me swifter, stronger, faster than the Humans with whom I have spent my life.

Because I can.

Humans are fragile beings, physically. I am not. I volunteered for the most dangerous tasks, the most impossible missions.

Because I could.

Humans could enter the main reactor room. They could walk through the door and perhaps go as far as five paces before collapsing. They would not have the strength to lift the damping rods or to continue moving after the first few seconds.

But I do.

It has always been somewhat difficult for me to express the deep love I feel for these beings around me, although it has become easier with the passing years. This -- this act -- is the best possible gift that I could give them: their own survival.

I gather up their voices to take with me as I turn my back on them and step to the door. They have not seen me leave my post. They have long accused me of creeping like a cat, of gliding through the Enterprise like a ghost, appearing and disappearing at will, without a sound. Years ago, I realized that my unconsciously stealthy movements were things of shipboard myth. I have made sure since then not to disappoint them.

Yes. They will likely be quite angry with me. But they will also be quite alive.

And that is my gift.

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