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Sheila Clark

Life is not particularly exciting for a girl on Vulcan.

All we can expect is a youth spent in learning and in obeying commands; a womanhood of continuing obedience to our husbands. Only when we are the matriarchs of our families can we anticipate a position of power - particularly if our families are important - and especially if we are widowed. Consider T'Pau, if you doubt my words.

When I was seven, my mother told me I was to be marriage-bound.

I was not really interested. I had known it must happen; that I had no choice in the matter. It was simply another of many obediences. I would have many years to get to know my mate before the final ceremony - if I found him impossible, I could always choose to be fought for - if I could find a champion. And yet, I had more choice than he. He could not refuse.

I know my mother was pleased that Sarek should consider our family suitable to provide a mate for his son. I think my father had doubts. He remembered Spock's Human heritage. Yet Amanda almost always behaved like a true Vulcan.

And Spock - if you did not know about his mother, you would never have guessed that his heritage was... doubtful. Part alien. I only really knew that the other boys did not seem to like him. I didn't fully understand why. I still don't.

As I entered my teens, I began to realise that life did not have to be composed of blind obedience. Guile could accomplish much, if a wife were clever enough - though I never saw my mother try to influence my father. What little I saw of Spock, I liked; but it seemed to me, even then, that he would be difficult to influence.

Then he left Vulcan - to join Starfleet Command.

I could not forget him; there was an echo of his thoughts forever in my mind. But for many years he was as a shadow, that need not be considered. Although I was constantly being reminded - you must do this... be that... Spock will expect...

* * * * * * * *

My body began to mature; I knew the pon farr was approaching. I was forced to consider, again, the man my father had accepted for me.

By now he was well-known on Vulcan; almost a legend. First Officer on the Enterprise, highly thought of, highly trusted by his Captain and fellow officers. The boys who had once scorned him for his Human blood now boasted that they had known him. I knew myself to be - yes, envied - by other girls.

But I was not happy.

I considered what my life would be as Spock's wife.

He was a highly-placed officer in Starfleet. Eventually, no doubt, he would be promoted. I would be well-regarded as his wife. But I could not accompany him. Starfleet regulations made it impossible. I had no skills, no training, to fit me for a place on a starship.

So. I would see him for a few days every seven years. Then he would be gone again. I would bear his children, who would be six before their father ever saw them. He would be a stranger to them. Certainly I would have more power to command my sons than a Vulcan mother normally has. Would that compensate for the subtle insult of a husband who could have a great career on his own planet, but who chose to absent himself? Envied, yes; but I would be scorned too, and by women whose husbands had no importance. Oh, they would hide it well, but I would know.

Nor would Spock be easy to influence. I had realised that long before; now, it seemed to me that it would be almost impossible. For guile to work, time is needed; and time was what I would never have in my dealings with Spock. Not for at least a century. And I was becoming ambitious. There would be no power for me without his presence. I had to work through a man.

I began to look about me for an alternative.

Compared to what I have heard about Earth, Vulcan youth has few recreations. The only place I could find my alternative was at one of the discussion groups I attended. Yet almost at once, I found him.

I had noticed him before, critically. He was excellent at supporting someone else's point of view in a discussion, but he had never put forward any original argument. Now, I realised that he was perfect for my purpose. I could influence him, and through him, Vulcan. I could make of him what he would never be by himself.

And he was free. He had been marriage-bound, but she had died in an accident shortly before, and his family had as yet found him no alternative mate. He was of a family important enough for mine to accept; I knew that, whatever happened, I should not be permitted to marry a nobody.

I waited for Stonn one night. Told him how much l respected his strength in discussion. He knew his weakness - I convinced him that all he needed was a little more experience in supporting others' views and he would find himself producing original arguments. Then I set myself to putting suggestions into his mind. He began to depend on me - although he never realised it.

One night he asked me if I was mated. I admitted it, and explained my doubts. He immediately offered to champion me.

* * * * * * * *

The time came.

I welcomed Spock - I could do no other. I went to my wedding - I could not refuse. I had some compunction for what I felt I must do; but Spock would not be shamed, for if he was defeated, he would die. I think that T'Pau suspected what I intended when Stonn joined us, though she said nothing.

I had doubts, however, as soon as I saw Spock. I had not remembered him as being quite so tall. He looked more powerful than Stonn. Much more powerful. He was accompanied by two friends. Earthmen! If he chose them for friends, his Human heritage must be stronger than I had supposed. Only later did I realise that, of necessity, he must befriend Earthmen or else be totally alone in the life he had selected.

I began to look for another alternative.

Stonn could not defeat Spock; of that I was sure. I saw myself as Spock's wife, willing or no; or rejected. Yes; he would reject me, if I challenged. His pride would not accept an unwilling wife. His long absence made it clear that he regarded his marriage as a duty, nothing more. He had no real desire to finalise our union - I felt sure he had no real desire to marry at all, only to satisfy the biological craving of his body. And for a moment I wondered what he would do in seven years' time.

Yet there was no other man but Stonn... no, wait. Spock's friends. One of them looked strong. If he should win, he would not want me. T'Pau would not insist. Nor could she - she was Spock's matriarch, not mine. So I would get Stonn. If Spock won, he would reject me, for the combat would clean his blood. But if by chance he did not reject me, and insisted on marrying me - well, he would be gone again, and I would still have Stonn - provided I was discreet - and through Stonn, the power I craved. Stonn would not like being passed over, but I knew I could placate him relatively easily.

And I was right. Spock won, and gave me to Stonn.

We heard later that Spock's other friend, a doctor, managed to revive my champion. I was pleased. He served my purpose well.

I married Stonn shortly after. I am content.

Yet sometimes I lie awake in bed and wonder... did I make the right choice?


Copyright Sheila Clark