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Chapter Notes:

With thanks to kes7 for reassurances and reading this over and a previous kick up the arse.


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‘The Seed of Discord'

 

Officers' Quarters, Deck 6

Ronak chuckled as the doors closed after the fleeing Noah Cutler. He crossed his arms, smug and triumphant. T'Vel ensured the doors were closed before looking back at Ronak. At her son. Dipping her head slightly, she lost some of her haughty and aloof presence as she stepped closer to him and into the room. However, at a glance it was clear she would not deign to sit on the simple furniture.

T'Vel remained standing rigid commanding the centre of the room while Ronak propped himself up against the far bulkhead, she bearing a stoic expression, he assuming a nonchalant preening grin. The dichotomy of the situation was not lost on either of them.

A long moment passed with neither one saying a word. Their eyes met as each scrutinised the intent of the other in a silent stand off. T'Vel relented, however, with a small sigh. Ronak arched a mocking eyebrow in amusement at her obvious exasperation. "Quite the faux pas, letting your resolve slip so. You became quite emotional in front of my new little friend. And sighing so now. Tut, tut, have you no control?"

"I tire of this Ronak."

"Tire? Surely your discipline of mind and body means you shouldn't show fatigue, especially so early in the morning. Didn't get much rest last night? Or are you still over exerted from your little stay on Aubrellis?"

"You were also on Aubrellis. Yet you did not seek me out." Her look bore down on him but Ronak was unmoved. Instead, he swaggered over to the sofa, passing within an inch of her face before he sat down. T'Vel had to restrain herself from his brushing her arm as he passed. The sudden overwhelming of her emotions this induced an involuntary gasp and a step backwards.

"As much as I enjoy the more open, more experimental and fun you, I do find ‘Cassie' a little over bearing. A guy doesn't like to be out-partied by his mom, after all. Besides, I don't like to advertise my Mom the schizoid."

"That is not an accurate..."

"NO?" He stood suddenly, making T'Vel back pedal quickly. His emotional state would only impair her own too greatly. His hot and angry emotions washed off him, emanating strongly even for a touch telepath such as T'Vel. "Tell me then what would be an accurate, or more acceptable to you, term. I mean here and now you're the very standard of a Starfleet officer. Only you're not! You're not good enough to step aboard a proper Starfleet ship. No scientific explorations for you. No, no, they leave you to fester and rot with this lot. Criminals, lackeys, misfits and malcontents. Oh ... not to mention mentally deranged Vulcans with bastard children."

He started to pace the small confines of the room, stalking it fiercely. "Tell me mother why do you remain here? Why not live out your life with the abandon of your emotions and be Cassie? Why cling to this false facade?"

T'Vel narrowed her eyes and considered him closely. "Do you wish that it were so?"

"No! I only ask, why do you live this lie?"

"My life is not a lie."

Ronak snarled angrily, pitching a mug against the bulkhead, narrowly missing T'Vel. The shattering porcelain sliced her cheek as cold tea splattered the wall. T'Vel did not flinch.

"Every Vulcan lives a life that is a lie," Ronak hissed angrily, "pretending to have no emotions when emotions broil within our souls, hatreds and passions and angers so deep they would scare most Federation species witless. Fires that burn so darkly as to almost scour your very soul. You know it to be true. But you all swan around pretending. With your lofty, haughty moral standards; delivering derision and scorn upon all others for their weaknesses and petty emotional outbursts. Believing yourselves to be so far removed and above it all. Superior and elite, looking down upon the lesser species scrabbling and fighting. Yet secretly you yearn to revel in your emotions. Wish fervently to rage against the world. Curse it and smite the eyes of those who offend. But you cannot accept that. Could not possibly debase yourselves to embrace emotions."

Coolly she retorted, "You forget that you too are a Vulcan."

"I don't live the lie."

"You presume that since you are unable to control your emotions, discipline your mind, that all Vulcans are alike. It is not so. You are mistaken. Vulcans do not pretend to have no emotions. We learn to control our emotions."

"We? Ha! There is no ‘we'. Do not include yourself among their number mother, for you are no Vulcan. You cannot control your emotions unless you count the medical injections you take from Dr. Monroe."

"Your argument is inconsistent. With supposition you claim me to share the lie all Vulcans live, in the next you argue that I am not a Vulcan based on the medicines I use to aid my discipline."

"If you were a proper Vulcan you would have no need for drugs! You are the biggest liar of the lot. You are a failure, Mother. A washed up hack of a Vulcan. A piss poor imitation. And a lousy mother to boot."

"Of that last charge, that much is certainly true." She took a careful step forward. T'Vel wanted to open up to Ronak, and had always wanted to do so, but her mind and heart tended to rebel against her minimal maternal instinct. "I have however, always tried to be a mother to you."

"No you haven't. Guilt makes you keep me around and shame makes you want to drive me away." He stabbed one last damming, vindictive charge against her. "Emotional responses all."

"My difficulties as a mother are not borne of emotion."

"On that we can agree on one salient point. You certainly never bore me any love."

Taking a step forward in protest, T'Vel attempted to argue. "That is not true."

"Aha ... aha ... remember Vulcans never lie. Of course, we have already established that is not true. We know that is not true, don't we?" He circled her like an accused standing trial. "Or do you pretend that Admiralty are aware of your full condition and that if so they are happy and content to allow you to be a step away from command of vessel when you cannot even command your own facilities."

"Captain McGregor knows all too well the extent of my condition."

"Yes but you know that he aids you in keeping your dirty little secret. You're as good as the old mad woman in the attic. Only the captain doesn't have the good sense to keep you locked up in it."

Her hands clasped behind her back wrung each other tight as she fought to contain her growing anger. Presenting a very model image, T'Vel remained stoic in the face of Ronak's charges. "It is unfortunate that you view matters in that way."

"You mean it is unfortunate that I'm pissed at you. Screw you Mom! And if you care so damned much then why don't you keep that bulldog McGregor off me? You secretly like that he uses me as a punching bag." He gestured to the bruises on his face. His eyes filled with bilious anger. For a fraction of a second, T'Vel felt her heart beat faster and her eyes narrow, as she took in her son's hurt.

"That is not true. It is unprofessional of the captain to accost you. However, Ronak, your condition only provokes the Captain in addition to your repeated attempts to rile him. You deliberately seek to make the captain angry."

He shrugged. "It's a hobby."

"Ronak."

"As for my condition mother, I think it is a little rich for you to comment so. It is a genetic fault." He glared at her. "The bi-product of your sweaty foul tussle."

Ronak went sideways as the forceful slap of T'Vel's hand smacked hard into his cheek. So forceful was her slap he knocked his head against the wall and fell to the floor. T'Vel stepped back, her heart racing and breathing ragged. Her nostrils flared as she tried to temper her anger and breathing. She looked down at the offending hand accusatorily, as if she had had no compunction or control over its actions.

From the floor, Ronak peered upwards sneering. He started to chortle at her. "Somebody better warn the captain, the mad woman in the attic is ready to come out to play. Cutting too close to the truth, was I?"

"You know the pertinent details of your conception Ronak. It was foul, it was sweaty, it was not a tussle and it was no instigation of my part." She felt an overwhelming urge to kick the insolent child in his gut but refrained from surrendering to her anger again. Shakily she stepped forward with an outstretched hand. "I am ... sorry ... I slapped you. It is merely that that moment of my life is a very difficult memory."

From the floor, he sneered up at her. "And emotional I bet. Oops, I said the ‘E' word again. Sorry, yeah right. Somehow, I doubt it. As for my conception Mother, I know you tell everyone you played hard to get but go on admit it to me, you really actually did want it."

T'Vel ran forwards inflamed again and grabbed Ronak by the throat, hauling him off his feet and smacking him into the bulkhead. Hissing she seethed through clenched teeth, "How. Dare. You?"

Even though he struggled for breath and his feet flayed uselessly midair, Ronak bore her a grim and macabre smile. His eyes went glassy as he started to asphyxiate and pass out, as T'Vel relentlessly strangled his windpipe. She squeezed the life out of life. She had given him life and now she would take it away from him. His frantic kicks started to ebb as his oxygen depleted. His ashen complexion became a sickly cast of green. T'Vel found herself almost foaming at the mouth relishing in the abandon of control and letting her anger have full reign. She saw not just Ronak's face gasping for breath in front of her but that of his father's. It's heinous visage as he bore down on her, pressing his flesh onto her, his mind violating hers .... T'Vel would not permit it, she would kill him! She would choke the life out of her attacker.

At the last second, just as Ronak's eyes clouded over and closed, T'Vel regained herself. T'Vel saw not her attacker but her son! Appalled and shocked to her core at what she had contemplated, what she had come so close to committing, she released Ronak, dropping him hard to the ground. She stepped back shuddering and collapsed to the ground as her knees buckled. Almost sobbing, she fought for her own breath even as Ronak gulped for air again.

After a time, T'Vel crawled forwards towards Ronak, not trusting to stand on her own two feet. Ronak slowly sat up and edged away from his approaching mother. He rubbed his throat. His voice rasped as he warned, "Stay back, witch."

With her eyes rather than her voice, T'Vel pleaded hoarsely, "Ronak."

He used the doorframe to hoist himself up. "I think our breakfast is finished."

Staggering he walked to the door and slapped the enunciator to open the door and leave it open as he fell out of the room and careened off the bulkheads as he hurriedly raced away from the scene.

T'Vel looked at his retreating form forlornly and then pummelled the floor with her fists. Then she screamed aloud -- a long wailing howl, venting her hurt and frustration. She only stopped when exhaustion made her flop to the floor, panting. She lay there, face down, for a long moment -- eyes open, staring deeply into the carpet.

She absorbed the weave of the fabric, her eyes penetrating ever deeper. She looked at the loop of the weave and discerned the pattern and the loss of pattern at such close proximity. In the pattern and in the colours she sought some order and sought to discover logic.

Logic was her saviour. Logic had saved her from her darkest hours. Logic had brought her back to life. Logic had rescued her from the very depths of a broken and destroyed soul. Logic restored a broken mind. Logic helped her to bear the bastard seed in her womb. Logic helped her to return to Starfleet and don the uniform once more. Logic gave her  a purpose again. Logic was desperately failing her now.

Her emotions were raw and coursed through her soul. Even with Ronak now gone from the room, T'Vel felt her control wavering and waning. She wanted to fall into the pit into which her raging emotions beckoned -- into which the voice called, alluring, reassuring, coaxing and chilling. It was not her voice. It was not the voice of logic. It was not the voice of her altered personality, Cassie, even. No, it was ‘her' voice. ‘She' sensed how vulnerable T'Vel was. ‘She' saw the cracks in the emotional veneer that could allow ‘her' control.

Squeezing her eyes shut T'Vel drew up an image. Her talisman. Her guiding beacon back to logic and to her balance. Tracing an image of Seleya with the Vulcan sun rising behind it. The image that adorned the Vulcan IDIC symbol. The image that T'Vel now called to mind and focused on. It gave her strength. It gave her hope. It called on her to use logic. And that she now tried to demand of herself, to fight and regain her control before T'Vel found herself consumed by the power and mind of ‘that' woman.

T'Vel losing her control, her emotional base shot, fought for logic, and in grasping for logic opted to use her emotions to fight back. She might lose her emotional control but she would not lose control of herself to that ‘woman'. So she embraced her anger and roared in defiance. Eyes wide and glaring T'Vel hollered defiantly, "You. Will. Not. Break. Me!"

T'Vel stood erect and roared into the empty room, "You will not break me!" She turned and faced the empty space behind her. More assured and confident she asserted, "You will not break me!" Approaching the highly polished surface of the lounge coffee table she looked down at her own reflection. For a fraction of a second, she could almost swear she saw the reflection sneer back at her. But T'Vel remained defiant. And once more she asserted as she shook her head, "You will not break me. I am in control. I am. Do you hear me?"

The room fell silent after her shouts -- a pregnant quiet that at any moment, one could expect to be broken a voice from beyond. However, no voice came forth and the voice calling within T'Vel's mind was quelled. For now. T'Vel's heavy breathing became a method of therapy as she expelled her anger and sought her centre again.

After long moments, it started to return. She pulled on her uniform and straightened herself. She was an officer. A scientist. A Border Patrol officer. And not just any Border Patrol officer but second officer of the Starship Kestrel. And more than this, even though it pained her, she was a Mother.

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