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There were advantages and disadvantages in being the only Vulcan in an otherwise all-human crew. Spock's Vulcanity was never in question amongst humans as it had been on Vulcan, but he often had to make concessions and compromises in order to survive in a human-centric environment.

He tolerated the cool temperature and the cacophony of human chatter; he shielded himself from the ceaseless emotions and reminded himself to heed Surak’s tenet of tolerance.

His quarters served as a Vulcan outpost of sorts, a simulation of home: higher temperature, higher gravity, lower humidity… a haven where Spock's comfort took precedence. He seldom had visitors, except for the captain.

He was therefore surprised when Chekov and Scott came to his door one evening. Chekov was carrying a steaming mug.

"Sir, the lad" -- Scott nodded at Chekov -- "and I have created something with the food synthesisers we'd like ye to see."

Chekov handed the mug to Spock. The aroma was unmistakable.

"This is t'cheva tea."

"Aye," said Scott, bouncing on his toes. "Wait 'til ye try it!"

"Go on, Mr Spock," said Chekov, making a drinking motion.

Spock experimentally took a sip. The beverage was hot and fragrant, a sufficiently accurate replication of flavour too. Spock said so.

"It was Mr Scott's--"

"Chekov thought--"

"Gentlemen," Spock cut over them both, "thank you."

As they went to leave, the door opened and McCoy and Sulu appeared, McCoy's finger hovering over the door buzzer.

Spock raised an eyebrow and waved his second set of visitors inside.

Sulu held a tray of what Spock could see were Vulcan herb plants.

"Mr Spock," said Sulu, "Doctor McCoy and I have been working on a project in the arboretum and, well--"

"What Sulu's trying to say," said McCoy, "is that he worked a little botanical magic, I worked a little biological magic, and the result is these herbs, full of Vulcan goodness. Include them in your diet and I won't have to see you in my sickbay so often."

Spock almost smiled.

His buzzer rang again. Extraordinary.

"Spock," said Kirk, ushering Uhura ahead of him, "we have something for you."

"Something of Vulcan origin, I assume?"

"Well, yes," said Uhura, handing Spock a box.

He opened it and found a selection of Vulcan spices; the procurement of such, given their current location, would have been difficult. "How--"

Kirk grinned. "Uhura has connections, I have my charm."

"Captain, I find it difficult to believe that three sets of visitors bearing gifts is a coincidence." His eyes narrowed. "The six of you are colluding," he challenged.

Kirk smiled. "You're tolerant of our human customs and the ways we choose to celebrate them, but we do nothing to celebrate yours. I know your culture doesn't much go for celebrations, but the library computer divulged one. I believe it involves a tea ceremony?"

"Indeed. To honour Surak." He looked around at these humans who… cared. "Gentlemen, Miss Uhura, I would be honoured if you would join me."

 



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