Waywardness of a Vulcan Heart

Chapter 2 - Intellectual Debate

At the beginning of classes the following semester, she found herself seated in the front row of Commander Spock's Advanced Phonology class, surrounded by upperclassmen. She knew very well Spock preferred assigned seating, and wondered why he wanted her in front. He always went alphabetically. She smiled at him, knowing he could not return the smile, or even if the half-human in him and suppressed Vulcan wanted to smile at her, he would not let himself. She half-hoped that she was in the front row for him for more personal reasons than academic, but dismissed the thought. That was just not possible with him.

However, the cheerful smile did reach across the species differences and did in fact have an effect on him, much to his great surprise. He had admitted to himself that this human woman was exceptionally gifted in language and other science skills and that reached intellectually to both his Vulcan and human halves. The appealing look of this female over others complicated his interest in her, and that part of Cadet Uhura reached baser instincts in him. His unpredictable human half was always surfacing at inopportune moments, and always had to keep his guard up. He couldn't quite explain the fact that he had assigned her to the front row. The better view of her legs by placing her there seemed an unusual choice by him, but for unexplainable reasons seemed important to him, and hoped the reverse alphabetical seating order of the cadets would not be noticed.

Spock reminded himself that such a desire for another female, especially a Cadet, was wrong, since he must still honor his now-empty promise to T'Pring. Besides, even in the world of modern Star Fleet, there were still guidelines discouraging – but not prohibiting - fraternization with junior officers under one's command. Those rules were there for a purpose, and he would not violate them. But the human side of his heart increasingly ignored what the Vulcan side was telling him about following the rules.

His human interest in Cadet Uhura continued to climb, however, until one day it finally overcame his Vulcan restraint.

Spock lectured on a premise about Vulcan/Romulan/Reman language roots and the differences that flourished once the Romulans went off-planet in the post-Vulcan Civil War reactions to the teachings of Surak.

Uhura rose and challenged him, "Commander Spock, I wish to comment on that assertion."

The Vulcan's lips tightened. Spock presented the lesson as an axiom, not an assertion. Spock clarified his points. It was not sufficient to satisfy Uhura.

Uhura stood her ground, "In the 2225 treatise 'The Vulcan/Romulan Exodus', Chapter 7 specifically states 'those who remained and accepted the Surakian philosophy subsumed their regional languages to the dialect of Surak which the Romulans –mostly southern hemisphere Vulcans – rejected. The language differences between Vulcans and Romulans all emanate from that regionalism, and that was never fully reconciled even in centuries of pan-Vulcan unity after the Civil Wars.' I believe, Commander, that supersedes what you have presented to us."

She pulled up the manuscript on her PADD, and linked the reference the holo-display to show the quote above the entire classroom. It was plain as day that Spock was wrong.

The class was silent, and a dozen people around her instantly wished they were on the other side of the classroom from Uhura, as Spock focused a very serious gaze on the young woman. They were anticipating the verbal assault that was surely coming from the Adjunct Professor, who had just been proven incorrect. Everyone knew Vulcans displayed no emotions. They also knew they were subject to them, but normally controlled them. Angry responses were often expressed through bitingly strong lectures, especially when their logic and facts were challenged.

Spock mulled the extent of his rebuttal and counter logic he wished to apply to Cadet Uhura's corrections to his presentation. But her findings were irrefutable. So instead, Spock was inwardly pleased that Cadet Uhura had done such thorough research, and even more, had dared to challenge him.

It made him think of his mother Amanda, who always stood up to his father Sarek when he was wrong. And nearly always won. She was the only other human female he had known who responded by logic as impeccable as Uhura had just displayed. He could not explain why that thought suddenly came into his mind.

People were holding their breath until Spock responded, "Cadet Uhura is correct, with the following implications…"

Spock proceeded to prove the truth of Uhura's points.

The class was in shock, and Uhura could not believe her ears. She fully expected a lengthy counter argument. But instead, Spock agreed with her, and expanded her premise. She was very pleased.

Something changed in her at that moment that went from respect to something else that she dared not speak of or admit. The moment emboldened her to ask what she wanted to ask for a while. The class was over, and everyone was greatly relieved that there was not a blow up between Spock and Uhura, but the cadets hurriedly exited. She lingered.

Spock could not deny that he was pleased that she stayed, as he desired a more casual conversation between them. He kept the tone professional.

"Yes, Cadet Uhura. May I assist you?"

Uhura said, "Commander Spock, I found our discussion today engaging. Thank you for accepting my premises on the subject."

"No thanks are needed. You presented your evidence from a highly respected source. Your logic was flawless, Cadet."

She did not want to let the opportunity to be lost for just the two of them to chat, and suggested a harmless meeting, "I am honored. Commander, I was wondering if we could extend this historical discussion over a cup of Vulcan Spice Tea?"

His human side was excited at the possibility of a casual conversation, so his Vulcan half allowed him to accept calmly, "That would be refreshing, Cadet. I am free now if you wish."

They chose a café that was just off campus, and began to discuss the lesson, but quickly changed to more casual subjects regarding hobbies and other interests. She kept a textbook PADD open and on the table, to give the impression they were talking about coursework. Spock noticed this tactic, and his human half approved. It was only two hours before they had to go on to other classes.

"That was most stimulating, Commander. Thank you for your valuable time," she said appreciatively.

"I too, found the discussion enlightening," he responded, with the slightest bit of a pleased tone in his voice knowing only she would pick up on it.

"Another day, then?" she suggested with an inviting lilt.

"Affirmative," he answered, understanding that she had heard exactly what he meant.

That was not the last time they met after class.

'The Spice Tea discussions', as they called them, increased in number and duration. They took another more personal turn when Uhura started conversing with him in fluent Vulcan. This took him by completely by surprise, and it appealed to his emotional half that he was 'home' again. He tried to stop a smile but she saw it, and smiled back, pleased that she made him happy. He caught it.

After weeks of these very public meetings, he let his human emotions and desires edge into the conversations, and suggested cleverly in Vulcan, "Do you wish to expand your in-depth study of Vulcan culture?"

She almost snorted at this Vulcan equivalent of the ancient human male 'come-on' ploy of asking a girl, 'Would you like to see my comic book collection?'

So she teased him, "There are no dedicated classes in your culture at the Academy, Commander, and the Vulcan Embassy Gallery is across town."

The Vulcan swallowed hard, and further suggested, "I have considered becoming your tutor. I have many artifacts in my dwelling."

She admired his determination, but to make sure that every aspect of student/officer relationship protocol was followed so that it was consensual, she asked, "Is that appropriate for us to do so, Commander?"

The Vulcan was truly impressed with her intriguingly formalized flirting, and was taking every precaution to allow their continued interaction to proceed in accordance with Star Fleet regulations. It was clear she wanted to make this expanded interaction work between them, and so he encouraged her further.

He answered, "As there is no nearby display of authentic Vulcan culture to show you except in my apartment, it is appropriate behavior, Cadet. Furthermore, I would like for you to consider a practical lab in Vulcan cuisine with me as well."

She nearly laughed out loud with his smooth invitation to a dinner date. She was very amused at his suggestion. Perhaps there was more of the 'human boy' inside controlling this Vulcan than it appeared.

"Logical, Commander. Cuisine so defines a culture. I accept your invitation. It would be an honor," she accepted.

They set the day and time, and she anticipated every moment. And to his surprise, so did he.

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