Disclaimer: Paramount owns these characters…whatever. This is my shit…
Title: First Contact 1/1 (Prequel to Foolish Blood)
Archiving: Ask permission, please.
Summary: While visiting a museum, Spock becomes part of the exhibits.
Museum of Natural History--New York City, Earth: August 4, 2246
Spock found himself alone in New York with two weeks to kill before the beginning of the fall term of his first year as a cadet in the Academy. Despite much protesting from him, his mother had accompanied him to Earth to help him “settle in”. The day before, he had dropped her at the San Francisco Spaceport.
Right before boarding her shuttle, Amanda had held his face in her hands and kissed both of his cheeks several times. Up until then, she had behaved admirably.
“Call if you need anything,” she said, her eyes bright with tears.
“Mother, please. Do not make a scene.” Spock looked around uncomfortably.
“Oh, stop it Spock. I don’t fuss over you very often. And I don’t care if you are a Starfleet officer. You’re still my little boy.”
“I am not yet a Starfleet Officer, nor am I a little boy. I will be eighteen years old next week.”
“No, you haven’t been a little boy since you were two. I wish I could stay until your birthday but your father has that dreadful ceremony next week.” She looked up at him. “I know you are serious about your studies but promise me you will try to relax once in a while.”
“Mother, my meditation and martial arts practice will be sufficient to keep me ‘relaxed’”.
“Well, at least try to go see a vid or read a little fiction in between exams. Promise me, darling.” She smoothed his bangs.
“I will try.”
He allowed her one more kiss on his forehead then watched her walk through the shuttle doors. He had to admit to feeling a little lost for a moment but he quickly controlled the emotion. He waited until the shuttle lifted off before turning to leave.
As he walked through the bustle of the port he thought about what he would do between now and the start of the term. Returning to his barracks at the Presidio suddenly seemed unappealing. He considered for a moment stopping by his grandmother’s house in the City. She was a strong, intelligent woman and he quite enjoyed her company, but it was getting late in the day and it was likely that she that she would be retiring soon.
A HoloAd caught his eye. It was advertising the Tutankhamen exhibit at the New York Museum of natural History. The exhibit ended in two days, and then the artifacts would be returned to the preservation vaults in the Cairo Museum where they would reside for the next twenty years. He thought for a moment. He had no obligations for the next few days. His mother had left him with a ridiculous amount credits. Surprising himself, he decided to catch the next shuttle to New York.
He stepped out of his hotel into the heat of the bright August day a little exhilarated by the freedom he had for the first time in his seventeen years. The museum was thirty blocks away but he decided to walk, enjoying the heat and the vibrant energy of the city. He bought a lemonade made with real lemons and sugar from a street vendor. He rarely indulged his secret sweet tooth and usually avoided cold drinks but he crunched the ice between his molars with something like relish as he walked down the hot sidewalk.
He reached the museum and purchased his ticket for the King Tut exhibit. He had two hours before his tour began so he decided to explore some of the other exhibits.
After about an hour of wandering from exhibit to exhibit, he noticed out of the corner of his eye, a child of perhaps five watching him intently from a few yards away. He moved to the next exhibit and she followed. He turned to her and nodded. She returned his nod in a perfect imitation of his own then smiled brilliantly. She was a beautiful child. She had huge brown eyes and her hair was done in two thick plaits that brushed her shoulders.
Spock moved to an exhibit of Native American weapons displayed in a glass box. The girl moved to the other side of the box and stared at him through the glass. The intensity of her gaze was starting to make him uncomfortable. Was she with a group of school children? Where was her chaperone?
Spock strode across the great room and caught the escalator up to the next level. About halfway up, he looked down to see the girl step carefully onto the escalator. Once her footing was sure, she looked up at him and waved. He noticed for the first time that she had a tooth missing in the front. He tried to lose her in the crowd of people getting off the escalator but she spotted him and followed, still watching him closely. Perhaps if he viewed an exhibit that would hold no interest for a small child, she would not follow.
Ah, there. Xenobiology. Spock headed in that direction, not looking back. He stood in front of the entrance to the Institute for Comparative Genomics examining a tarnished bronze plaque that was affixed to the wall. The small girl walked up, stood next to him and squinted at the plaque.
“That says, “Ambrose Monell Molecular Systematics Laboratory,” she said, carefully pronouncing each word. “That’s what this place used to be called back in the 21st century.”
“Yes, thank you.” Spock looked down at her, nodded and moved on. The child followed, her little hands clasped behind her back. He quickened is pace but she kept up.
“They’re going to change the name again because they don’t actually keep genetic samples here anymore. Can you believe that scientists used to keep frozen tissue?” Her brown face was thoughtful for a moment. “I saw a finger in a stasis unit once. A man crushed his hand and the doctor had to grow him a new finger. That’s called regeneration. My oldest sister is a trauma nurse. I get to visit her when she’s working.”
He didn’t want to encourage further conversation with her but he could not resist looking down at her with a raised brow.
“Your parents believe it appropriate to allow a child to be exposed such things as traumatic injuries?”
“Oh, no. My mother was quite angry and my sister was very distressed. I had decided to explore the emergency room by myself.”
“Why am I not surprised.” Spock stopped and looked around. “Where are your parents now? I am sure that they are worried that you are lost.”
“I’m not lost. They just don’t know where I am right now. Father is giving a simp…symposium in Sloane Hall. He’s an anthropologist,” she said proudly. “What does your father do?”
“My father is an Ambassador. I am quite certain that your father would not like to discover that you are “exploring” the museum by yourself.”
She frowned. “I’m eight years old. I can take care of myself.”
“I apologize if I offended you. You do seem quite competent. It is however, unsafe for you to be about on your own. There is a docent in that booth over there. I will escort you to her and she can return you to Sloane Hall.”
“I guess that will be ok.”
They walked in silence for a few moments. She stopped and up looked at him.
“My name is Nyota. It means ‘Star’. What’s your name?”
“I am Spock, son of Sarek.”
She nodded as if she approved. “You are a Vulcan.”
“Father says that Vulcans are “In general, a physically attractive species of humanoid, dedicated to logic and the pursuit intellectual and artistic excellence.” He wrote that in one of his papers. I can remember almost everything I read.”
“You are a very intelligent young lady.”
“I know. I mean, thank you.” She tilted her head, closely examining his face. “Father also said that “Vulcan culture took five thousand years to evolve from chaotic barbarians to moralizing, xenophobic tightasses.” She again took time to carefully pronounce each word.
Spock could not hide the shock on his face. “Your father wrote that in a paper?”
“No. I heard him tell Mother that when he returned from his trip to Vulcan last year. What is a “tightass”? Father wouldn’t tell me.”
Spock lifted his chin and resumed walking. “I am sure I do not know.”
“I have a feeling that to be a tightass is not a good thing. Perhaps you could ask your father.” She skipped along beside him.
They reached the docent’s booth.
“Excuse me. This child needs to be escorted to Sloane Hall where her father is facilitating a symposium,” said Spock. “Please take her. Please.”
The docent came out of the booth and took the child’s hand. “Nyota, your father will be livid.”
“Yes, but only for a few minutes. I will tell him that I met Spock, son of Sarek, who is a Vulcan. I’ll tell him that Spock doesn’t know what a tightass is either but will ask his father. The Ambassador.”