T’Ria and the Rain Man, Part I

T’Ria and the Rain Man
by Saavant

Summary: A new arrival to the Enterprise discovers that she and Spock
have a lot in common.

PG13

Author’s Note: This is a story not just about Spock but, in a way, about
fans of Spock; it addresses the connections that I suspect bring many
of us to identify with him. It is also about one of the human species’
most illogical characteristics: unwillingness to accept those who are
different from them.

Disclaimer: I disclaim Star Trek characters. I disclaim having invented
them. I disclaim to be profiting monetarily from writing about them. I
am not Gene Roddenberry. I am not Paramount. I am Saavant. So There.

If you have comments, email me at hammersc@augsburg.edu

2274

“It’s your turn,” said T’Ria for the fifth time.
Spock struggled to focus on the next move, but the chess board was
reduced in his vision to a collection of shapes and outlines devoid of
meaning. He leaned his head back for a moment, as though hoping that
simple motion would restore his calm. The outlines moved and changed
slightly with the shift in the location of his eyes, and it startled
him.
*There are three dimensions,* he reminded himself.
But there were more than three. There were at least four… and the
fourth was to him the most dangerous.
*Time.*
*Time is about to kill me.*
“Your turn,” repeated T’Ria.
And the voice swept him back to the past.

* * *

To the past, to where time was no longer–or not yet–dangerous. To the
day when the transporter beam had brought up the confused and bedraggled
source of the distress call, moments before the last nuclear blast had
sent the violent remnants of Symmetrian
civilization to the only peace they had ever known.
The planet had been an experiment in a new form of government. “Why
should we celebrate diversity?” said Martha Colette, the leader of the
Symmetry movement, in her founding speech for the colony in 2263.
“What we need to celebrate is those qualities that make us the same.
That is the only way we can live together in peace.”
And it was almost exactly ten years later that, for no reason known to
the Federation, the colony of humans whose society was based on this
seemingly logical insight went up in a blaze of sundered atoms,driven by
their own hatred, that destroyed all the armies of haters and hated
while simultaneously quenching every other sign of life on New Symmetria
and sinking it deep into a nuclear winter that would render
it unlivable for many years to come.
The only survivor was a brown-haired, Caucasian-looking woman, by Earth
years in her early twenties, who materialized on the transporter pad
clutching a small red suitcase and the makeshift electronic device she
had used to send the single distress call that was all the Enterprise
knew of the planet’s sudden and unexpected death. The little beacon
looked a hundred years old, judging by its technological advancement,
and seemed to have been built in a hurry out of whatever could be found.
The suitcase had been monogrammed with a green marker, in large,
artistically drawn letters: “Maria Susanne Schmidt.”
In some cases, the captain would have demanded in a harsh voice for the
guest to identify itself, but a woman just beamed out of a nuclear war
instants before her planet was destroyed was in little need of being
further frightened. *Besides,* thought Spock critically from the science
station across the bridge, *she is female, and he is James T. Kirk.*
“Welcome…” Kirk spoke gently, and then, glancing at the suitcase and
hoping the name was hers, “…Maria Susanne?”
Yes, he could see that she was female, despite her muddy, torn clothes,
her dirt-streaked face, the matted and oily masses of her dark brown
hair. Not particularly attractive, but female.
“Bonehead,” she answered, her eyes firmly focused on a small stain in
the carpet.
“I beg your pardon?”
“I thought there might be someone in the galaxy who’d pronounce it
right,” she muttered. “But I suppose I must’ve been a little too
hopeful. That’s the curse in having a German name. You finally get a
language with a clear set of phonetics, and terminology that sticks to
it, and no, they go and base your stupid Standard on the one language
in the galaxy where words sound the least like the way they’re spelled.
Possibly excepting French. Let’s start with `Susanne.’ The first S is
said something between an S and a Z. The final E is *not* silent, you
say it the way you say the upside-down E in the phonetic alphabet. And
the A is pronounced `aah’, not `eahh’.” She retched the last syllable
in a grotesque caricature of the American pronunciation. “Plus, you roll
the R in `Maria.’ Not Spanish rolling with the tongue in the front of
your mouth. Rolling a German R is like this.” Maria opened her mouth
wide and made a noise remarkably similar to gargling.
“Ah, I see,” said the captain uncomfortably, looking at her with a
certain curiosity. “May I simply call you Miss Schmidt?”
“As long as you pronounce the M. I’ve had people not pronounce that M,
and it gets on my nerves. Name like mine, you really get to like the
letter M.”
There was some laughter on the bridge, but it was nervous. Except for
the minimal motion of her lips for speaking, and an occasional twitch of
her arms or neck, the new arrival had not moved at all since she had
been beamed aboard. Even her eyes remained stuck to that one stain on
the carpet.

* * *

Days later, in the mess hall, every table was filled except for one in
the corner. That table’s only occupant was a young human female, almost
unrecognizable as the dirt-encrusted, tangle-haired being on the
transporter pad a week ago. As soon as she had received guest quarters
she had begun a schedule of regular bathing (apparently not a frequent
opportunity on her previous war-torn world) which revealed the delicate,
almost greenish tints of her skin and the flecks of gold in her brown
hair.
All her attractive points contrasted sharply with her dress and
demeanor, however. The red suitcase had apparently contained the only
clothing she was willing to wear–today it was a close-fitting lacy
red-orange tank top, obviously several sizes too small for her, with
nothing underneath, and a pair of thick pink sweatpants stopping five
centimeters over white tennis shoes fastened with something like
Velcro. Her face had not touched makeup in all the time she’d been on
the Enterprise, and her hair had alternated from tight braided pigtails
to the thick frizzy waves that resulted when they were undone. Today it
was in braids, and she was bent over her pasta, consuming it at a rapid
rate and not seeming to care that she made conspicuous noises and that
her face and shirt and the tips of her pigtails were gathering smears of
Alfredo sauce rather quickly.
“Miss Schmidt,” Spock said as he approached her table.
She looked up, not seeming embarrassed that she’d been caught eating
like a wild animal. “Hi,” she said brightly, then returned her attention
to her pasta.
“May I seat myself here?” he asked mildly.
“Sure,” said Maria Susanne, pausing with a noodle halfway in her mouth.
Spock sat down in the chair directly across from her.
“The captain has asked me to speak with you.”
Maria swallowed the last bite of her food and looked up at the Vulcan.
Her eyes examined his bangs, the top of his head, and his eyebrows, then
came to rest on his left ear, from which they did not move for several
minutes. “Am I in trouble?”
“Not that we are aware of. It has merely been noticed that you seem to
avoid interaction with the crew, and I was selected to… `bring you out
of your shell,’ as the captain put it.”
The girl smiled slightly and picked up her fork, to which she
transferred her gaze from the pointed ear she had been observing. “No
offense, Spock,” she said, in an expressionless voice that should have
contained a tone of humor, “but… why you?”
“Others have attempted. I am the last resort.”
Maria narrowed her eyes in thought. “People have asked me questions,”
she murmured, as though thinking aloud. “I answered them. But nobody
mentioned my being in a `shell,’ as your captain put it.”
Spock looked at her curiously. She seemed, on the surface, nonchalant,
uninterested… as if someone else were being discussed… but whether
from his long study of human beings or through some unknown channel of
telepathy, Spock detected an element of deep concern and bewilderment
beneath her calm veneer. She cared, she just didn’t know how to express
it. “I would not expect them to have directly referred to your state of
introvertedness,” he said gently. “The traditional method of `bringing
someone out of her shell’ involves discussing numerous subjects
unrelated to the person’s condition itself, in an attempt to bring her
into a routine of casual conversation. The questions you were asked were
probably not intended to gain information but to engage you in
discussion as a form of entertainment. It is known among humans, I
believe, as `small talk.'”
“Wow,” said Maria, toying with her fork. “You know a lot more about
human behavior than I do.” The brown eyes once more appraised his ear,
the closest she had come to looking him in the eye. “Language was
designed to get across information,” she sighed, thinking aloud again.
“Why is there only one person on this whole ship who uses it for that
purpose? And the person, no less, that the captain considers a `last
resort.'” She ran the end of the fork down the back of her hand. “Small
talk…”
“You were not previously aware of this phenomenon? Are you not a
human?”
The girl sighed again. “You know, sometimes I think I’m not.”

* * *

They had spent nearly an hour talking.
“Out of my shell,” Maria mused. “*I’d* just been wondering what kind of
a shell *they* were in. I’ve been ignored here almost as much as at
home.”
“Did you not say that several people approached to ask you questions?”
“Yes… but when I answered them, they went away.”
“I believe one is expected to respond with questions of one’s own.”
“But there was nothing I wanted to find out…” Maria’s look of
confusion gradually turned to one of comprehension. “Oh, yeah. Small
talk.” She had begun to break the tines off her plastic fork and stick
them like little towers in the foam of her plate. “I’ll have to remember
that. It’s really not that I don’t want to be friends with people,
Spock. It’s just that they speak a language I don’t understand. Small
talk… Humor, too. It wasn’t too long ago I found out about humor. We
were expecting a bomb and I had to cramp myself into the shelter with
three sisters, a brother and eight cousins…”
“That does not sound humorous.”
“It wasn’t, but it happened so often, people had to come up with funny
things to do when we were there. Especially my brother Matt. And
Lily–she’s a cousin. This time I was talking about, Lily sneaked some
of Matt’s rations and Matt pointed his fork at her and said, `I’m gonna
kill you for that.’ I noticed I’d seen people saying things like that a
lot and it occurred to me that this was another of those secrets of
human interaction that nobody’d bothered to tell me about. But when *I*
tried it the next week, I got in trouble.”
“Possibly you did not correctly select the body language, voice tone
and context?”
“Probably not. I said it while jumping out from around a corner at Matt
as he walked by. I yelled it pretty loud, and I used a steak knife
instead of a fork.”
“I see the source of the difficulty,” said Spock. He watched her
dismember her fork in silence for a few moments more. “By any chance,
were you attempting humor when you instructed the captain on the
pronunciation of your name?”
“Yeah,” said Maria, blushing slightly. “I mean, I didn’t say anything
that wasn’t true, but I expected people to laugh.”
“And I believe they had similar expectations from you. One usually
smiles while one is making a joke. And…” he noticed that she was
looking at him again, but this time shifting her focus between his hair
and his right eyebrow. “…one makes much more eye contact, as a rule,
than I have observed you doing.”
Maria looked him straight in the eyes then, and the surprise of it…
it must have been the surprise… sent a sudden shiver through him.
“Fascinating,” said Maria Susanne.
Spock was sure she had never yet heard him use that word. And if she
had, would she have been able to grasp the humorous implications of
imitating him? It seemed quite likely that it was merely a favorite word
of her own.
“Fascinating. For someone who’s not a human, you sure know about them,
Spock. How do you do it?”
“I have had years of practice,” he answered her. “I am forty-one years
old. By the biology of my species, I am approximately the same age you
appear to be. But much of my life was spent among Vulcans whose behavior
did not at all resemble that of humans. When I first came to the
Enterprise, I found them as difficult to comprehend as you do. I still
encounter numerous difficulties.”
“But you’ve learned?”
“I have found them an interesting subject of study.”
“Thank you, Spock.” She was not smiling– perhaps she feared being
interpreted as trying to make a joke– but the genial warmth was
palpable. “You inspiration.”

* * *

Spock had gone from there to Kirk’s quarters, on hearing himself
summoned to discuss a matter of importance.
“What is the problem, captain?” he asked, when the door had been opened
to receive him.
“Not so much a problem,” said Jim, leading his first officer to the
computer terminal, “as a discovery. I’d been wondering about that girl
we beamed up–she seemed somehow–different. Almost sneaky. Because if
you’ve noticed, she never looks at your eyes. And she’s always alone,
avoids people–”
“I had noticed, Captain.”
“But there seemed to be something… familiar about her. I’ve seen lots
of sneaky people in my career, but her sneakiness has a uniqueness about
it. I can’t put my finger on it…”
“You would not be expected to. It is an abstract concept, and
impossible to come into physical contact with.”
“You know what I mean, dammit! I couldn’t quite identify what it *was*
about her, but I was sure this wasn’t like anyone else I’d known. Except
one. I was sure I’d seen *someone* who acted like her, sometime, that I
remembered just vaguely. And I searched the data banks, and look what I
came up with.”
Spock bent over the computer. “Maria Susanne Schmidt, youngest cadet
ever to serve on the Enterprise. Took an internship in 2267 from
stardate 3372.0 through 3372.8, when she was fourteen years of age. She
spent most of that time with Nyota Uhura, learning the basics of
running the communications console, as she was a language major and
interested in a job in that field; her parents, being wealthy and
influential, made sure she studied with the most highly acclaimed
professionals…”
“So you see,” said Kirk excitedly, “that we’ve got to figure out how
she got from being a student of language at the Academy and aspiring
communications officer to being twenty light-years away on a planet that
was for some reason destroying itself with atomic war… *and* being the
only one who sent us a distress call.”
“There is no more information on her in the data banks?”
“None. It stops there. There’s a brief mention of her under
`translators,’ down here–seems she was a child prodigy with a gift for
languages, and one of her parents was involved in building Federation
ships’ interpreting devices, and she was instrumental in some way at a
very young age…eight through thirteen, I think. She apparently helped
design some of the specific language translators that paved the way for
the Universal ones. But nothing about her after she ended her cadet
duties with us.”
“Strange,” remarked Spock. “I do not remember her as a cadet.”
“You wouldn’t,” said Kirk, smiling.
Spock raised an eyebrow. “What brings you to that conclusion, captain?”

“Never mind.”
They both paced the room for a moment more. “Spock, do you have *any*
insights on this young lady?” murmured Kirk impatiently. “Have you
learned *anything* about her?”
His first officer looked up abruptly. “I did have the discussion with
her that you had suggested to me.”
“Ah. Yes. Yes, Spock. What did she say?”
“I learned a great deal about her character. She is, like me, a
singularly logical person…”
“Like you, of course.” Kirk grinned.
“…but unlike me, she has had either a deficiency of opportunities
for, or a disinterest in, learning the patterns in human illogic.”
“You haven’t had a disinterest in that, Spock?”
“I have not had a deficiency of opportunities for it, captain.”
“All right, Spock.” Kirk sat down at the computer. “But Miss Schmidt is
the subject of conversation. While you were talking to her, did you
notice any irregularities in her behavior that I’ve missed?”
“No irregularities, captain. Her behavior appears to follow clear
patterns of its own… perhaps more efficient patterns than those of
most humans. I observed abnormalities… she failed to make eye
contact, exhibited unusual table manners, and called me `Spock’ instead
of `Mr. Spock’ or `Sir’… abnormalities, as you would call them, but I
suspect that they are normalities for *her* .”
“Thank you, Spock.” Kirk turned off his computer terminal. “You may
go.”
As Spock headed toward the door, a call from his captain made him turn
around.
“Spock, you seem to be on her side.”
“I was not aware that our interactions with Miss Schmidt were a
competition, captain.”
“You know what I mean.”
“I do not.”
“I said she looked sneaky.”
“And I heard you.”
“And you didn’t seem to be of the same opinion. In fact, you seemed
distinctly fascinated by her, if not…fond of her.”
“Your perception is acute, captain.”
“You don’t agree with me that she looks like she ought to have an eye
kept on her?”
“If she does, it is for her own safety, and no one else’s.”
“What do you mean by that, Spock?”
But Spock was already gone.

* * *

From the bewildering chess board in the dangerous present, Spock looked
back to the slightly less dangerous past.

* * *

They had had dinner together after that conversation with Jim. Maria
made him promise to be quiet until they had finished eating.
“Or at least don’t ask me questions,” she had said. “I don’t do dinner
conversation. It doesn’t make the least bit of sense. Two activities
that involve the same orifice in your body ought to take place at
different times. Illogical otherwise.”
Spock raised a silent, admiring eyebrow. Apparently they had another
favorite word in common.
When their eating/communication orifices were no longer occupied by
the former, they turned to the latter.
“Tell me, Miss Schmidt,” said Spock as he saw her wash down the last of
her macaroni and cheese with a deep drink of milk, “about your planet.”

Maria Susanne lowered her brows at him. “Is this small talk?”
“Negative. I am genuinely interested. The entire crew is interested. We
know nothing about the cause of the Symmetrian nuclear wars, nothing
about your past and that of your people. Your apparent antisocial
tendencies are being perceived as a barrier to the acquisition of this
important knowledge.”
“Antisocial? I *told* you, Spock…”
“I know. But humans find it difficult to understand that one of their
species would not automatically be equipped with instinctive
understanding of their code of body language and social skills, and it
is assumed that one who does not observe these customs does not wish
to.”
“Spock.” Maria Susanne reached into the pocket of her sweatpants and
pulled out a thick cylindrical bottle that looked as though it had been
through as many years of hardship and violence as her clothes, her
suitcase and her. “Do you know what this is?”
“It appears to be a medicine container of archaic design.”
“And look what’s inside it.” She poured out into her palm a seemingly
endless series of small tablets and capsules, reciting their names as
she did so. “Mellaril. Paxil. Tegretol. Prozac. Clonidine. Klonipin.
Haldol. Rispradol. Dexedrine. Et cetera. Et cetera. Ad infinitum. Day
after day. Six of them in the morning. Eight in the evening. Do you
know how much this costs? Do you know how many neurons it takes to
remember how many I take, and when? Do you know how hard it is to
*swallow* all of these?” She poured half the heap of pills in her mouth
and downed them with another gulp of milk. “Do you think I’d still be
carrying around this archaic medicine container full of archaic medicine
if I didn’t *desperately* hope someday to be able to get along with my
species?”
Spock looked on in fascination. “What purpose do these medications
serve?”
“What I have,” said Maria Susanne, pouring the pills out onto the
table, “among several other things, is Asperger’s Syndrome–mild autism,
you know. We’re not like most autistics, we’re more verbal, we pass for
normal more easily, but we lack social skills almost completely. There’s
no medication for Asperger’s per se; they have to treat my symptoms
individually. As well as those of my other disorders.” She began to
divide her medicine into small piles. “These are for Tourette tics.
These are for depression. These are for hyperactivity. These are for
ADD…”
“Who prescribes these for you? Who buys them?”
“My psychiatrist and my aunt. Respectively. As part of their
Symmetrian celebration of the qualities that make us the same. Sure they
help–the pills, I mean–but they’re not really for my sake. An abnormal
child is a shame on the family. Of course, now that the planet’s been
blown up, I’ll have to buy them myself.” She continued categorizing
tablets. “These are for obsessive compulsions. These are for other
compulsions. Which you don’t want to know about.”
“Which I do not want to know about?”
Maria Susanne sighed. “I am the only person on New Symmetria who acts
as if she’s on drugs only when she is *not* .” She paused, then revised.
“I mean, I *was* . Now, of course, New Symmetria is gone, and I can be
the only such person on the Enterprise.”
Again, the nonchalant disinterestedness. Spock could sense little
hidden concern this time. “You seem surprisingly calm about the
destruction of your planet, Miss Schmidt.”
“It isn’t my planet. It’s a planet I was forced to move to, in a
conspiracy to make me normal.”
Spock raised an eyebrow.
“I was never normal. I never understood normal people. So what do my
parents do? They say, `Let’s move to a planet where people who aren’t
normal get ATOMIC BOMBS DROPPED ON THEM!'”
There was a stunned silence. Spock realized he was on the verge of
discovering New Symmetria’s violent fate, and he knew now that there
were discoveries it was more comfortable not to make. “I thought that
the Symmetrian society was dedicated to the proposition that the
universal similarities in human beings were to be celebrated.”
“Exactly. And that’s where they messed up. Because they didn’t reckon
with one thing.” Maria Susanne toyed with a Dexedrine capsule, pausing
for effect. “*There are no universal similarities in human beings* .”
The Vulcan eyebrows rose once more.
“Oh, of course there are some. The most basic physical structure and
such. But it doesn’t sound inspirational to say, `Let’s celebrate the
fact that each human is composed of cells containing nucleic acids with
the blueprints for his whole body!’ Oh, no, you have to say, `Let’s
celebrate the fact that everyone has a heart to feel love and
friendship!'”
“And that is not true of all humans?”
“Not all. Not of me.” Maria Susanne tried arranging some pills on the
table in a smiley face, then scattered them angrily. “I have never, for
example, felt love. Either familial love or sexual love. I am not
heterosexual, you know.”
Spock barely concealed his surprise at such a personal statement being
made so casually. He *hadn’t* known… and what was this unpleasant
response surfacing in him? If he were illogical, he would have
identified it as disappointment.
For which there was no reason. He was a Vulcan.
“But I’m not homosexual either. I’m sort of… asexual. I have simply
never experienced that kind of attraction. Nor any other kind. I never
loved my family. Probably because they never loved me. I was a kind of
trophy to them… a six-year-old who wrote sonnets, an eight-year-old
who drew like an artist, an eleven-year-old who’d taught herself to
speak five languages fluently and invented two more. They showed me
off. I was a trophy. A tool as well. Dad’s got the credit for five
translating machines that *I* invented.”
“You are mentioned in the data banks.”
“Excellent. I’d like to look through those sometime and see how far
they managed to get from the truth.” Maria Susanne began, slowly,
methodically, to sort her pills once more, this time by color. “But
being a prodigy wasn’t enough. I had to be normal as well. Finishing my
last year at the Academy, this close to graduation, and I do something
or say something that it turned out wasn’t the thing I was expected to
do or say or whatever, and they say, `Let’s go to New Symmetria. They’ll
teach you to be normal there.'”
“And it did not meet with your expectations?”
“Can’t say it didn’t. I expected it to be horrible and it was.”
“Horrible in what way?”
Maria Susanne paused, coming closer to showing emotion than Spock had
ever seen her. “They treated me beastly on Earth, of course. Absolutely
beastly. But this was beastly to the eighteenth power. Do you know what
`celebrate the things that make all humans the same’ really means? It
means, set up a planet where only humans are allowed–because even the
most idiotic of normal people can figure out there’s no way to come up
with anything all sentient beings have in common, or even to *define* a
sentient being, for that matter–and treat all those humans with equal
love and respect… *except* the humans who happen *not* to have
anything in common with anyone else. We become the outcasts. It was high
school, on a government level. Martha Colette’s founding speech became
their Bible. `Everyone knows what it is like to feel love and
friendship’–I’ve never liked anyone and no one’s ever liked me.
`Everyone grieves when a family member is lost’–my parents died in the
first bombing and I didn’t care. `A smile means friendship to
everyone’–I was sixteen years old before I’d figured out body language
that far. So I was ruled, by unspoken social decree, not to be human.”
“You mentioned a bombing?”
“There were several before war was finally declared.”
The war. He was finally getting to the bottom of this. “Yes?” Spock
encouraged.
“I think it took that long because the Symmetrians refused at first to
take the enemy seriously. By all the laws of our great society, they
didn’t even exist. Oh, in a few years they got taken seriously, all
right. But first it was them bombing us, and us bombing them, and
expecting the problem to go away, and then they bomb us again, and vice
versa, and so on. I think each side had dropped half a dozen bombs
before there was an official war.”
“Who was the enemy?”
Maria Susanne began building a little tower of Clonidine. It was eight
tablets high before she spoke again.
“They called themselves the New Lazarus society. Something about
`lazar’ being an early word for `leper.’ We called them the Nerds. They
called us the Jocks. *I* called them…” Maria showed no reaction as
her Clonidine tower toppled with the sixteenth pill. “…*I* called
them the people who had only one thing in common: that they had nothing
in common with us.”
“You do not identify yourself with them?” Spock mentally rebuked
himself for the question. When had the personal opinions of this young
outcast become a more important subject to him than the Symmetrian war?
The reaction was illogical, but he was not as surprised at the final
revelation of the identities of the warring parties as he was at Maria
Susanne’s use of the words “they” and “we.”
“I couldn’t. My family guarded me with an iron fist. I wasn’t allowed
to speak to them. They weren’t allowed to speak to me. My sister Billie
managed to run away and join them when I was about nineteen. I remember
her saying that it was the last straw…”
“What was?”
“Being drafted. There was never much of a supply of people who liked
dealing with electronics. Before the war, they were all forced to go
into the most vital computer engineering fields–regulating the water
supply, the energy, the transportation. When the war became more
important than that, they had to design missiles. Billie refused. Before
she ran away, she built me a beacon. I didn’t tell you this, but
contacting anyone off-planet was illegal, and the plans for hailing
devices had all been destroyed. She had to come up with the design on
her own. Invent it all over again. I remember the last thing she said to
me. Almost verbatim.”
The veneer of nonchalance was as thin as Spock had seen it. “What did
she say?”
“She said, `Look, Maria, I know we’ve never been close. You’re a
language nerd and I’m a computer nerd. But we both belong with people
like New Lazarus, and if you’ve got any right to that 143-point IQ of
yours, you’ll run away first chance you get. I’m staying here to fight
to the finish, but the best place for you is off-planet. When this thing
tells you a Federation ship is coming by, you call them, and best of
luck to you.”
“So it was your sister who was responsible for your distress call.”
“Yes. In effect, she saved my life.” The emotional shield was up
again–not a shield like Spock’s, put in place to hide feelings, but a
mere absence of the knowledge of emotional expression, through which
the emotions could be felt only by their sheer intensity within. It was
up–meaning the emotions were no longer strong enough to show through as
clearly–but her next words, if they had been spoken with the voice tone
that they clearly deserved, would have been as expressive as any tears.
“I wish she’d let me know earlier that she was the closest thing to a
friend I ever had.”

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