He would never forget the emotion.
When he was young, he’d had such a limited understanding of emotions. His mother’s laughter. His tears as he fell and hurt himself. The love they both felt for his father.
He didn’t understand why his father wanted him to control them. To repress them.
The hurt was minimal. And, the love was strong.
Then she came.
Brimming with so much emotion it was hard to understand how she could contain it.
Slight as she was. Thin and gangly.
Yet, her whole small body was taut. Her lips pursed tightly. Her face pale.
She was silent.
Utterly silent for weeks on end.
But, the emotion never went away. It lived with her at every moment, pulsing beneath her skin.
He never wanted to feel like that.
To be like that.
So, he began learning to tuck it all away.
Chose to meditate with his father rather than cuddle with his mother.
And, carefully suppressed the guilt that welled up at her small hurt expressions in the same way he was beginning to suppress everything else.
With time, the girl began to join them in their meditations.
Still, brimming with emotion.
But, slowly it began to sink deeper beneath the surface.
He didn’t think she lost it.
He never thought she lost it.
But, she learned to hide it.
And, slowly began to talk again.
She carried herself tall and powerful.
He trailed slightly after her. Copying her posture as best he could.
He could mimic the stillness. The calm. But, he never quite captured the power.
She was taller than he was now.
And, he chalked it down to that. But, he knew it was something more.
She was smart. “Genius” his parents said. In quiet undertones that they thought he couldn’t hear.
He knew that she heard it too. But, she never held it over him.
Just kept working hard.
She needed to do that too. Brilliant as she was. She was Human.
They were different.
He was an oddity. No one quite knew what to make of him.
So, they pretended he was just Vulcan. Because it made it easier.
Or they pretended he was just Human. Because, that could make it easier too.
And, nothing ever felt easy to him.
In Michael he had a companion, however. Or at least a comrade.
She was torn between two worlds.
He’d been older. When she first arrived.
But, now she was nearly grown. And, he was still a child.
Humans grew faster that Vulcans.
Nobody knew how quickly he’d grow.
It was hard to remember that she was Human.
She did her best to hide it. Did her best to forget.
Spock wondered if he should do that too.
Michael was nearly grown.
She applied to the Vulcan Expeditionary Group.
He never imagined that she wouldn’t get in.
None of them did.
She was a genius. Brilliant. She deserved it.
She didn’t get in.
Their mother cried. Their father said nothing.
Spock and Michael said nothing either.
Their father took Michael.
Took her to a starship. Said she could realize her potential there.
Said it would be good for her to be among her own kind.
It felt slow to him.
But, his mother said that it was too fast.
Tears in her eyes and a soft smile on her face when she looked at him.
He was taller than she was now.
He couldn’t remember the last time he cried.
He applied to the Vulcan Expeditionary Group.
Of course he did. It was expected.
He got in.
His mother cried. His father said nothing.
Spock said nothing either.
He didn’t deserve it.
Not if they didn’t take Michael. She was smarter than him. She always had been. Even if neither of them acknowledged it.
He knew that they had refused Michael because she was Human.
That was never in question.
He expected they would refuse him too.
Apparently, they’d decided to pretend he wasn’t Human.
Spock refused them.
Left for a starship.
Said it would be good for him to be among his own kind.
Humans were not his kind. No more than Vulcans were.
They saw him as foreign. Strange.
There were no Vulcans in Star Fleet.
Strange. His sister had served for ten years now.
They didn’t think of her as a Vulcan.
Before Spock had always seen them as the same. Both different.
Now he realized that wasn’t quite true.
On Vulcan, he’d always felt half-Human. The exception. But, to those who didn’t know him, he passed.
That was why the Expeditionary Group accepted him. It had to be.
Here, among humans, he stood out.
And, Michael passed.
They were both still different. Both exceptions.
But, only one of them was ever read to be.
He rose through the ranks.
As quickly as Michael had.
Their differences had always been obvious on Vulcan.
Michael was smarter. Cleverer. Always surpassing him.
Among humans the differences shrunk. They were both exceptional. Both stronger in every area prized by Vulcans than anyone else on their respective ships.
The differences didn’t matter. The Humans couldn’t even see them.
They both struggled too.
Spock hadn’t realized that.
Hadn’t realized he had weaknesses he didn’t know about.
Hadn’t realized Michael had weaknesses at all.
Humans were so different. They valued different things.
They wanted them to be sociable, outgoing, to make small talk, to “read” people.
Still, that didn’t matter to Star Fleet.
He rose through the ranks.
Just as Michael had.
Friendships were hard. But, their jobs were easy.
They both excelled.
There’d been a mutiny.
Spock’s first thought was Michael. Was she okay?
He’d learned to control so many emotions. To suppress them to the point he didn’t even know they were there.
But, not worry. Not worry for his family.
That never fully went away.
Michael was okay.
She was arrested.
She was a mutineer.
He didn’t know how to feel. Didn’t know if he could feel anymore. Not the way he needed to.
It was Michael.
He visited her in prison.
They wouldn’t let him in.
He said that he was family. They asked for proof. He had none.
He went away.
They were at war now.
Spock hadn’t signed up for this. Hadn’t ever expected it. And, yet, he stayed.
His father disapproved. His mother cried.
War was not the Vulcan way.
He was not only Vulcan.
And, his sister could not fight.
Spock thought of her often. He wondered if she ever thought of him. He did not feel her mind.
She never had seemed to think as much about him.
It was Spock who’d looked up to her. Spock who’d seen them as connected. Spock who followed.
He didn’t learn that Michael had fought until the war was over.
She could have messaged. Surely she could have messaged.
He hadn’t seen her in almost ten years.
Hardly any time for a Vulcan. A significant period for a Human.
What were they?
He’d missed her. He could feel that, even if he wouldn’t admit it.
She had changed.
The emotions she’d buried so long ago were at the surface once more. She’d released them. Or they’d escaped.
The years hadn’t seemed to quell them. They pulsed as strongly as before.
But, it was different now.
Before they controlled her. Caught her tongue and made her body tense and taut.
Now she controlled them. Used them.
They weren’t suppressed. Yet, they were still kept in check. They were powerful.
Spock wondered how she’d learned.
He doubted she’d teach him.
She was Human. He was Vulcan. Sometimes that gap felt too wide to cross.
Once they’d been the same. That felt so long ago.
It’s strange how things shift.
Michael never explained.
Never said why she did it.
He supposed it didn’t matter. What’s done is done. The emotion hardly impacts it. It doesn’t matter how anyone feels.
And, yet, he wondered.
He was Human yet.
So, he sought out information.
Slowly. Carefully. Gleaning a fact here a story there.
And, he attached them to the girl he had known. Hoped there was enough of her left in a woman he didn’t always understand, for this to make sense.
He wondered if he would have made the same choice.
He didn’t know.
He didn’t know if he was that brave.
Bravery was an emotion.
Had Michael been brave. Or simply logical.
Was it the logical choice?
Mutiny was defined as a refusal to obey the orders of a person in authority.
Michael had refused.
And, yet, Spock questioned.
He questioned the straightforward definition. And, the binary answer.
He wished he could talk to Michael. He wished for their relationship to be something it never was.
He wished to know what she thought.
He had always looked up to her.
He didn’t reach out.
He never had. He had mimicked. Had followed. Had joined Star Fleet. But, he had never simply asked to talk.
He didn’t do so now.
But, he thought. Through long hours of meditations. Wrestled with ideas that seemed incompatible.
His sister. Mutiny.
There was more he decided.
Mutiny couldn’t be as simply as that. It couldn’t be a binary.
Not every commander was fit. Not every decision was sound. He’d seen that.
It was the job of a ship’s officers to hold their commander accountable. To ensure they acted in the best interest of Star Fleet. And, of the Federation.
They could never argue that they were simply following orders. That didn’t justify doing the wrong thing.
His mother. His mother had taught him that.
He could have reached out to her. Could have asked her his questions. He hadn’t thought of it.
She’d been an outsider on Vulcan too. Different. An exception.
And, yet, once Michael arrived. He’d distanced himself from her.
The choice seemed illogical. He couldn’t make it seem sad. Couldn’t manage to feel regret. Or shame.
He’d pushed his emotions too far away. Buried them.
He hadn’t expected the question. Not like this at least.
The war was so recent. Most of them had served through it.
But, Chekov was young. He forgot that.
Some of his shipmates were so young.
“Has there ever been a mutiny on a starship before?”
A simple question. Was it not?
A simple question. Yet, with a complex answer.
“Absolutely no record of such an occurrence, ensign.”
He spoke decisively. And, nobody questioned him. Nobody said anything else.
Vulcans did not lie.
Spock wasn’t only Vulcan.
But, he hadn’t lied.
Michael had made her choices. But, she wasn’t a mutineer.
He knew that to be the truth.
He felt it.