This is my rough draft for the Star Trek short story contest. Michael, I know you are the trek master here. Can you see if I violated anything big? It’s short, but I was worried about the word count.
“All That Jazz”
by Jason Andrew
The entire design of the street grids of San Francisco was completely illogical Spock decided. It was unusual to hold meetings off campus so late in the evening, but Spock suspected that this was a test from his currently unknown mentor. Starfleet entrance exams were becoming famous across the Federation for their difficulty and thoroughness. It was a Starfleet tradition that the academy assigned a mentor to each cadet to assist in adjusting to the academy. As there were few Vulcans that joined Starfleet and many of them were assigned to deep space missions, Spock suspected that he might have been assigned a Terran.
Spock was truly surprised that many Vulcans did not consider attending an honor. The Terrans and the Vulcans had a complex relationship that Spock didn’t pretend to fully understand despite his mixed heritage. Vulcans were the first extra terrestrial species to make first contact and were their first guides to space. Terrans helped the Vulcans rediscover the Kir’Shara and assisted their culture to returning to the roots of the teachings of Surak. It was a perfect example of cultural symbiosis.
The disagreement between himself and his father had caught Spock off guard. Sarek had hoped that Spock would attend the Vulcan Science Academy and research at home. The Vulcan Science Academy was no longer as interested in exploring the galaxy and Starfleet offered many fascinating opportunities to see galactic phenomenon up close. Sarek was a Vulcan that kept his word and if he said he did not wish to speak to a son that disobeyed him, he meant it. Sarek’s treatment of Sybok, Spock’s elder brother, spoke volumes on that matter.
According to the directions, he was at the meeting site, but was indeed puzzled. According to the sign, it was a sushi restaurant called All That Jazz. He doubled checked the location and confirmed he was in Jack London’s Square. It was an old building. Judging from the brick and wood, he would have guessed it was at least a couple hundred years old. Curious, he entered the restaurant and was stopped by the hostess. “May I help you?” She asked.
“I am Spock. I am here for a meeting,” He stated.
The hostess examined her clipboard and said, “Oh yes, your party has already arrived. Shall I take you?”
The hostess escorted Spock past the restaurant and into a dark lounge. There was a band playing on stage, but the music was unfamiliar to Spock. He had been exposed to some of the classic music of Mozart and Chopin, which were popular Terran export. This music was less logical, more random. It was almost as though the musicians were improvising on the stage in front of an audience.
The hostess stopped a table in the far corner of the lounge. There sat an old woman in Vulcan evening robes. Her hair was untraditionally long and slightly grayish. Spock thought it might be a Terran with an enthusiasm for Vulcan culture until he saw her shapely, pointed ears.
“Your guest has arrived, Ambassador,” the hostess informed the old woman.
“Thank you. Spock please sit,” the old woman replied.
Puzzled, but determined to contain it, Spock did as requested. “Madam, I’m afraid you have the advantage. I was unaware that there was a new ambassador assigned to Earth.”
If Spock didn’t know better, he would have thought the old woman looked amused. “The hostess was being polite and referring to myself by my former title. I’ve been retired for several years now. I am T’Pol.”
It took all of Spock’s training to avoid betraying his surprise. “Ambassador T’Pol, I’m honored you would meet with me.”
“I’ve been reviewing your application to Starfleet Academy and it is indeed impressive. But I am curious as to know why you wish to attend,” T’Pol explained.
“While the Vulcan Science Academy is a fine institution, I wanted first hand experience exploring astrological phenomenon. According to my research, a great portion of the duties of Starfleet involve Exploration,” Spock explained.
“I see. What about the concern that Starfleet is also a military organization? There are some on Vulcan that believe being involved in such an organization can lead to a dissembling of logic and a return to more barbaric times,” T’Pol replied.
“Since the Reformation, in which you personally participated, many Vulcans have felt an urge to return to more traditional values. I value peace and believe that it is certainly more logical to seek it rather than conflict. I also think that it is illogical to assume that conflicts will not come uninvited or uninitiated. My father and many of his generation believe that it is better to avoid temptation all together,” Spock answered.
“I see. So you believe that you can succeed where others have failed?” T’Pol asked.
“I believe I can learn from the mistakes of those that went before me. Do you believe my attending the Academy is a mistake?” Spock asked, earnestly.
“I believe that not speaking with your father is a mistake,” T’Pol informed the young Vulcan.
It took a moment for Spock to let the anger flow through him and to eliminate it. “I see. Did he attempt to sabotage my application?” Spock asked.
“Not at all. He spoke very highly of you in fact when I interviewed him about you. He did mention that the two of you were not speaking,” T’Pol explained.
“Sarek disapproved of my joining Starfleet and informed me that he no longer wished to speak to me if I forwarded my application to the Academy. While I might disagree with him, it is his right as my father,” Spock replied evenly.
“My mother disapproved of my joining the Vulcan High Command. We did not speak for several years. We reconciled only a few weeks before her death. I have regretted not taking action previously to mend our relationship,” T’Pol revealed.
“It would be illogical for me to attempt to change Sarek’s mind at this point without withdrawing from Starfleet, which I do not intend to do,” Spock said.
“Perhaps over time you will come to understand each other,” T’Pol suggested.
“Perhaps,” Spock said, mostly to be agreeable. “If I might ask, why did you wish to meet here?”
“I have learned to appreciate this music. It’s called Jazz. It’s based off improvisation of standard notes. It’s a quality I’ve learned to appreciate in humans. There much our cultures have to offer each other. You are a living example of this, even though I understand that you have chosen to live solely as a Vulcan,” T’Pol informed him.
“My blood may be part human, but I believe my heart is Vulcan. I have chosen to follow the teachings of Surak since my kahs-wan. And while it might be more difficult to control the human part of my blood, it is a choice I have made,” Spock stated.
“I am not aware that appreciating humanity is exclusive to following the teachings of Surak,” T’Pol countered.
“I’m fully aware of the concept of Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combination, Ambassador,” Spock replied.
“When I was a young girl, many Vulcans said the same thing, but they did not fully embrace the concept. It’s very difficult to embrace other cultures when you consider you own to be vastly superior. It is something that we have made great strides to grow out of. Without the Terrans, the Federation would not have been possible. Terrans build communities wherever they go. The Vulcans, Andorians, and the Tellarites were practically enemies when I was your age. It was the Terrans that brought us together as a community,” T’Pol explained. “They did it the same way these musicians are playing. They took the best of what they knew and improvised.”
“Is that why we’re meeting here at this hour?” Spock asked.
“Perhaps,” T’Pol admitted. “Or it may be that I appreciate jazz.”
* * * *
Four years later, Spock had grown to appreciate much of Terran culture, although he never grew to enjoy jazz. Graduation from the Academy was imminent and cadets were reviewing possible assignments to Starfleet posts. The wide array of choices for someone with high honors was vast, but one ship caught his eye: USS Enterprise, NCC-1701. There were several other interesting possibilities, but T’Pol had severed on the first Enterprise. The NCC-1701 was a Constitution Class Starship. While it did have impressive science stations, it was also an effective battle-cruiser and would like be sent on some military missions. Starfleet was an exploratory service, but space was dangerous. To pretend otherwise was illogical.
T’Pol’s steady advice through out the years had assisted Spock in surviving the close quarters of the Academy. It was customary for graduating cadets to honor their mentors. Spock had been hard pressed figure out an appropriate method for a Vulcan of such a high station. Somehow dinner did not seem to enough. Spock applied for the NCC-1701 position. He forwarded the application to T’Pol with out a note. Spock expected that T’Pol would understand.