2229 Stavel, Sarek of Vulcans aide, delivered the daily mail at precisely 1122 Pacific Earth time. It was Ambassador Sareks preference to quickly review the contents of the mail prior to the noon luncheon break.
"The mail, Mister Ambassador," Stavel stated as he lay the porta-basket filled with the embassys various mail specifically on the top left hand quadrant of the Ambassadors desk. "There is one special letter for you, sir," he added, holding out a thick, old-fashioned paper and ink package. "From your father and TPau."
Sarek looked at the proffered package a moment before accepting it, then nodded a polite dismissal to Stavel. As soon as his office door closed, he opened Skons letter. Only the slight tightening of his jaw muscles showed that Sarek of Vulcan was not receiving this latest missive from home serenely. Again, TPau and his father, Skon, were urging him to take a wife. This time they had included holographs and complete dossiers of three women whom they felt to be imminently suitable.
Slowly, Sarek released his breath using a deep breathing meditation technique. A Human would have called it a sigh of irritation. Then he stood, picking up the postal packet, and moved to the chair by the window. He flexed his fingers and tried to ease the strain from his neck and shoulders. As he seated himself, Sarek glanced out of the open window and instantly his stress vanished, an admittedly illogical reaction, which did not diminish the fact.
Directly below his office window was a courtyard of pale gray paving stones. There were also matching stone benches and tables as well as a bubbling fountain. Set around this roughly circular courtyard were smallish, deciduous trees, all in a myriad of springtime bloom. Behind these was a ring of tall and stately coniferous evergreens forming a privacy barrier between the embassy and the street beyond. A light breeze sighed through the pines, making a soothing rustling sound that blended with the splashes from the fountain. The yellow sun of Earth shone brilliantly from an azure sky and dappled the courtyard with patches of light. Spring flowers were blooming amongst the trees.
Ah, there she was. Miss Grayson, the head of the linguistics department. So young; only nineteen Federation Standard years of age and already proceeding with her doctorate. As spring approached, it had become her habit to take her lunch in the courtyard. It had become Sareks habit to join her there. Regrettably, he would have to miss meeting with her today.
His mind harkened back to the time he took Amanda out for dinner and the disastrous events that followed. The corner of his mouth tugged upward at the memory.
Again, the Ambassador clenched his teeth and looked down at the information packet. A choice had to be made, and he must make the most logical one. First on the list was TAna, eldest daughter of the House of Sivale. She was Headmistress of the TVok Sisterhood and Keeper of the Society for the Preservation of Ancient Traditions and Antiquities. Noted for her exceptional ability to maintain the most ancient of Vulcan traditions while still living comfortably in todays modern world, TAna was TPaus choice as the most suitable match for him.
No, thought Sarek, this TAna is too bound by tradition. She would not be suitable for an ambassadors wife. The one I choose must be flexible. My wife-to-be must be able to deracinate herself and my household at a moments notice to accompany me to any and all manner of alien planets. She must respect tradition and logic, yet she must support me on other worlds. She must strive for an understanding of other species and their needs. Besides, did not my marriage to TRea prove that a total devotion to logic and Vulcan tradition is incompatible with my chosen career as diplomat?
Sarek glanced again out of the window. This time the breeze brought with it the scent of flowers. Miss Grayson could well tutor this TAna on flexibility, he thought. At the youthful age of fifteen Federation Standard years of age, she had left her family in Seattle, Washington, and moved to Oxford, England, to study linguistics. Three short years later, she again moved herself back across the Atlantic to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she began work on her doctorate, a project she had nearly completed at the Vulcan embassy. A most remarkable young woman! Her Universal Translator is proving to be far more successful that anyone had thought possible.
Sarek forced his attention back to his task. Shifting TAnas information to the bottom of the stack, he read through the second dossier. This potential wife was his fathers choice. At twenty-nine years of age, TRella was much younger than he, but she had already begun to establish herself in academic circles at the Vulcan Science Academy. She had earned many awards, and her work in quantum warp field dynamics was quite a portable career. She could easily follow him in his ambassadorial duties.
Very impressive, Sarek conceded, however, it would be much more beneficial if her career were more compatible with mine. In fact, her expertise in such a highly technical field could well prove detrimental on some worlds. Here on Earth, for example, this TRella would be considered quite a boring conversationalist, no doubt. An ambassadors wife should be able to converse easily and pleasantly with any species, preferably in that entitys native tongue. Although high intelligence is a critical and required characteristic of my wife-to-be, graciousness and linguistic ability are also of equal importance.
Sarek shifted in his seat and looked again out of the window at the golden, sunlit courtyard below. A slight frown creased his brow. Miss Grayson was no longer alone at her meal. Silek, Sareks younger brother, had joined her as well as Sovel, Jorge, McKenzie, and several other Humans. Although he did not intend to eavesdrop, he could hear all of them exchanging polite conversation, and Miss Grayson, right in the midst of it all, kept most of the discussion going, easily switching from one language to another.
Such ability as hers would be a distinct asset to any embassy. I sincerely hope that she will consider the embassys offer for full-time employment. She has proven to be quite indispensable to all of us here. TEvra and Samak spoke most highly of her when she was helping them prepare for the state dinners the embassy was required to host. She not only taught each of us how to waltz, a required dance at such events, but she has also comported herself most elegantly as a escort for me at the many balls and social events I have been required to attend.
Sarek placed TRellas information at the bottom and began reading through the third and last dossier. TArile of the House of Sloveth was considered to be Vulcans greatest beauty. Sareks eyebrows climbed as he regarded her holographic image. Long, silky, midnight-black hair cascaded down her back to just above her buttocks. Round and perfectly formed hips and breasts, classically cut features, gently sloping brows, delicately canted earsall these combined to arrest any males attention.
"Extreme feminine beauty is always disturbing." The ancient proverb suddenly came to the forefront of his thoughts. Yes, she was most lovely, but something was wrong. Something was less than desirable. He did not want her.
Sarek stood, placing the communication packet in his now-vacant seat, and leaned against the windowsill to gaze again at the courtyard below.
"Extreme feminine beauty." Amanda fits that expression. She is equally as beautiful as this TArile. Both women are undoubtedly of feminine form, but Amanda is petite and delicate. And her long blonde hair is truly amazing, not just the richness of its color but also its ability to curl or lay straight as Amanda chooses. Her gently arched eyebrows and tiny curved ears give her an exotic appeal. Often as I look at her, I think of our ancient tales of the Eternal Spirits said to have inhabited the waters of certain desert oases. Most compelling of all are her eyes, sapphire blue, twinkling with mischief, sparkling with delight, or flashing with anger. Even her emotions are most fascinating. Amanda does not try to hide her emotions, like many of the Humans who encounter us. She freely expresses her feelings but does not allow them to control her. That incredible balance of hers, her ability to feel and express her emotions and yet not be overwhelmed by them is truly astounding. I wonder if we Vulcans would better emulate her control rather than seek to purge all emotions.
Suddenly, like a bolt of lightning, a thought, a possibility, an idea sprang to life in his mind. Amanda was not Vulcan, but she possessed the best attributes of all three Vulcan women his elders would have chosen for him.
Amanda would make an ideal wife for me. She is the most logical choice if all the details can be worked out.
As these thoughts formulated in his mind, Sarek noted that the courtyard was rapidly emptying. The noon lunch hour was over. Amanda was still there, the sunlight glinting off her shining hair. She dawdled over the disposing of the remains of her lunch. When everyone else had departed, she looked up wistfully at his window. A smile instantly lit up her face as she spotted Sarek, and she raised a hand in greeting. Sarek returned her wave, the barest hint of a smile tugging at the corners of his mouth.
As she entered the building, the courtyard no longer seemed to hold its luminescence, and Sarek closed the window. He bent to retrieve the dossiers from the chair and clenched them tightly in his fist.
If all the details could be worked out... No, not "if" but "when." I will see to it.
"Stavel," he called loudly.
The door opened and the young aide stepped quickly into the room. "Yes, Mister Ambassador?"
"Reschedule all of my appointments for this afternoon," he stated flatly as he moved back behind his desk, "and have Miss Grayson report to my office immediately."
"Of course, sir," Stavel replied neutrally. "Will there be anything else?"
"Yes," responded Sarek. He handed his aide the missive from TPau and Skon. "Destroy this, and send a brief communiqué to my father. Tell him that I have made my choice."
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2229-2265 THE BEGINNINGS2
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