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Story 2 in the "The Road Not Taken" series.



Chapter 1


Y'saheh'l al-Kahr T’Remberele had just emerged from her early morning coding class when the message pip arrived.  Her comm, clipped to her waist belt, sending three quick pulses into her hip, signaled the arrival of an urgent communication.  Instantly her curiosity arose as she steered her way through the crowded halls of the D'lechu Shi'oren, politely weaving around a large mass of students whose class had just let out at the same time as hers.

She had just spoken to her parents this very morning, and she had visited with her brother Donstelralth last night; a full cycle sometimes went by without a communication between them, so a message this soon after having contact with her family was very much out of the ordinary.  She detached the comm from her waist and turned on her screen to check the sender, nearly colliding with a fellow student in the process. “Sorry,” she murmured absently as she moved around him.

She laid her eyes on the sender of the message. Her heart stopped beating for just a moment, then began to pound in her side, double-time.  Starfleet Academy.  She ought to be familiar with the drill at this point.  Each of the other four notices was the same diplomatically-worded message.  We regret to inform you that we are unable to place you in our incoming class. A number of factors went into this decision….

 After the first rejection letter she’d stopped reading them after that first sentence. Each time, the subject of the message had been the maddeningly vague ‘Admissions Status’. But this subject heading was different.  ‘Notice of Admission’. No, it could not be! She exclaimed to herself. 

Abruptly she stopped, having impacted a warm and hard fleshy surface.  The force of the collision took her breath away, due to both the force and the mortification of just having run into Professor Setek.  She looked up at him, towering above her with a look of mildly expectant outrage on his face.  “Master!” She said, “My apologies!”  The professor bowed his head deeply, signaling his generous forgiveness of her transgression. He smoothly moved on.

T’Remberele moved to the side, out of the flow of traffic so she did not run the risk of colliding with another unfortunate person.  She held the comm higher and clicked on the body of the message, eyes scanning quickly, breath held.  The news was nearly hard to comprehend. She would be admitted at the second quarter due to some positions that had recently been vacated, due to, she was sure, to the academy’s notoriously high churn rate. The first year at academy was brutal.  Many had tried to pass muster and many had failed.  Now her opportunity had come.

T’Remberele felt an abrupt impulse to step outside to remove herself from this calm mass of individuals making their way to their next class.  She looked around in somewhat disbelief at the people around her.  How could they not see that the entire world had just changed? Did they not feel the axis of this very planet shift beneath their feet? She headed for the nearest door and stepped out into Eridani’s blazing intensity.  The sun’s heat reassured her as she sought refuge on a low stone bench tucked behind a partition. 

She closed her eyes and meditated for a moment, centering and calming herself, allowing her heart rate to return to a rhythm that was somewhat normal.  But as she sat with her eyes closed, her mind reeled back through the years that lead to this moment; her sacrifices, her parents’ sacrifices.  It had been difficult for a S’udishi girl, and one without well-placed connections, at that, to even apply for Starfleet’s universally famous academy.  So prestigious was it that it was actually more difficult these days to get into San Francisco than it was to get into the Vulcan Science Academy. And it was all due to one individual.

After the heroic exploits of their own Spock, the tiny stream of Vulcans who wished to follow in his footsteps became a larger stream and now was a tsunami, so much so that there was a talent exodus of Vulcan’s best and brightest youth.  Federation and Vulcan Council had had to put a cap on the number of Vulcan citizens who could be accepted into the institution.

So desperate were Vulcan citizens for the prestige of their offspring achieving this highest honor, that some had resorted to giving up their Vulcan citizenship, along with all its benefits, so that they could qualify to apply to San Francisco as citizens of another world.  The Council had been helpless to prevent this outcome of the Law of Unintended Consequences from happening.  Federation charter prohibited distinctions or restrictions of any of its citizenry based on race.  So many Vulcans happily exploited this loophole to the consternation of many of High Council.

Her own parents had qualified her by moving their primary residence to Bernay Prime, a terrible cold, dark backwater of a planet that a bit too uncharted for Mother’s comfort at times. She and Mother had lived there for five long years in her youth to qualify for Bernay citizenship while Father remained on Vulcan with Donstelralth while he continued his education.

Last year she and Mother had returned to Vulcan, finally, living on ‘work’ and ‘student’ visas, and she had settled into Year One at the D'lechu Shi'oren, her second choice of universities.  And she had continued to test for SA admission at every opportunity.  What else could she do?  She could not allow her parents’ sacrifice to have been in vain. She had to get in to Starfleet Academy.

And at last she had.  Her chosen course of study was Computer Engineering.  Because of him, the One. 

Having collected and centered herself, T’Remberele withdrew her comm again.  She reviewed the curriculum of courses that had already been selected for her; each one was a pre-requisite for her degree.  She reviewed the days and times and the instructors of each course.  And sure enough, his name was listed as one of her instructors. Her good fortune was scarcely to be believed. Dr. Sa Telsu Kirk S'chn T'gai Spock, who two years ago had married Admiral James Kirk, the galaxy’s most storied legend, was a legend in many circles, hers included.

            And now she would be his student and learn at Spock’s knee.  She chimed Mother to tell her of this news.


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