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Koss Again, by Linda
Disclaimer: Paramount owns these charaters, yet they come and speak to me. I am not crazy, but I am not quite sure about them!
I have used some background from the novel The Expanse by J.M. Dillard and a story on Myst’s site for the starting point of my story. I cannot find that story again. It was about Trip’s mother who lived in north Florida and her feelings about loosing her daughter. Her name was Caroline. My apologies to the author for not finding it again. My own sister lives in Tallahassee, so that is a familiar setting to put the Tucker family into.
Did any of you ever see the 1940’s film called “Laura’ with Gene Tierney and Dana Andrews where a detective falls in love with a murder victim after reading her diary? I tried to put a similar feeling into my story. Koss is such an agitator to get his story out…again!
This ship has more amenities than I thought. They will bring you meals in the privacy of your cabin. That suits me well. I have been going over the materials sent me by the corporation president including their mission and vision statements, and their specifications for a new headquarters building. I will make short work of this commission, as my reason for taking it is not noble: it is revenge. I wish to finish it and get on with the commission for that art gallery on Betazed.
These off world commissions. I have resisted them for years. But they are a convenient excuse to avoid the overtures of my family to discuss a new bonding. They have found someone but I do not wish to consider that yet, or to make amends with them that quickly. On rethinking my actions over the transport codes, I find no fault within myself. The new government is much better than the old, so my part in bringing down the High Command was fortuitous. And I will make a quick job of this commission whose original architect was killed. It was HIS sister, this Elizabeth Tucker.
I will begin by convincing the board of directors that her preliminary drawings were not what they needed. How dare they choose me because my work is so like hers! I will tell them they need no soft rounded façade, but a strong angular one. And no duck pond. I will fill in with sand the swampy area they wish to convert to a pond to keep the area’s wild life. Instead they will have a desert garden. They need to have an interplanetary focus and feel to their headquarters if they plan to do business beyond their home world.
The day my building is dedicated, I will go back to my hotel room and burn the last of her sketches. In the packet of materials was a letter from HIM to the corporation president saying he would be honored to attend the dedication of this building as a last tribute to his sister. He would like to meet the architect whose work was so like hers that he had been chosen to complete it. I will take him aside and tell him how I eradicated her work just as that Xindi weapon vaporized her body. I want to see his Human expression when I tell him.
I paid a visit to her parents in north Florida, the city of Tallahassee. The moss covered trees had an alien beauty that intrigued me. Mrs. Tucker who insisted on my calling her Caroline, was a gracious hostess and said she would comply with my wish not to have my name revealed to her son before the day of the building’s dedication. I have notified the board of directors of my wishes in this matter also.
I can be deceptively charmingly when I have a strong purpose. I feel no guilt in this, but I did warm to her graciousness. Her husband said that his wife was much like their daughter in personality and looks. They showed me a scrapbook of her work. I must admit I was impressed. So much so, that I had to repress the sympathetic feelings that were rising within me. Then they gave me the key to a mountain cabin where they said she had been working on the commission. She had been there as the end-of-the-summer heat in south Florida was oppressive just before the start of hurricane season.
This cabin in North Carolina in the Appalachian Mountains will be suitable as a work place for me as it is isolated from large numbers of Humans. I accepted the basket of food that Mrs. Tucker, Caroline, had assembled for me based on her research of Vulcan nutritional needs. How thoughtful. And they have contacted a grocer who lives near the cabin, to see to my needs. How Vulcan their manners are. It is a shame they are HIS parents because I like them. It makes sticking to my purpose that much harder.
The cabin is adequate in a primitive Human style. It is cold in these mountains but the Tuckers have provided blankets and wood for fires. The fires in this open stone chimney remind me of the Vulcan myths from our ancient violent days. Appropriate, for I am here to do violence to the memory of a woman who I am growing to respect. But HE destroyed my well planned life and I will make him hurt as he has hurt me.
When I first opened the door to the cabin, it had a musty smell. The Tuckers have not returned to the cabin since Elizabeth last used it. They said it was too difficult for them as yet; it would bring back memories. I can see why it would. Her presence was strong, with that lace shawl thrown carelessly over the couch as if she had just discarded it to make a cup of coffee. And this instrument, her fiddle. It was in a box leaning against the couch. I have seen such instruments on my world; they are called violins though, and are used by musicians who experiment with off world musical forms. Caroline told me to retrieve this fiddle for her if I found it, as she herself plays in an Irish band in a local pub. She wishes not to let a good instrument get badly out of tune and she wishes to feel closer to her daughter by playing it.
I found Elizabeth’s diary of the last five years of her life. I sat reading it on the over stuffed couch in front of the fire. Such a happy childhood she had. Memories of it were interspersed with her comments on architectural styles in places she had visited all over the planet. Like me, she never had wished to leave her home world. Her determination to design buildings that complimented the natural beauty of her world is commendable, and certainly I have done the same in working with the natural colors of rock and sand on my world. But now there is this scar marring her planet, from the alien weapon that killed her. I guess no one was able to retrieve Elizabeth’s katra, or any of those seven million. Having the katras of one’s family members to talk to is a great comfort to my people. I have been sensitive to these spirits since I was a child. If one of them were trying to reach the family, I always knew it. I wish that I could talk to Elizabeth’s katra; it would make my work easier.
There is a small creature which hops down onto the porch of the cabin when it sees me come out. It lives in a nearby tree. There is a can resting on the window sill which contains a substance that the grocer who delivers my food calls ‘peanuts’. He said ‘Liz’ used to feed these to the ‘squirrel’. So I have started to do the same. It is haunting, the remnants of her presence here, I almost feel like she is guiding me.
There are some books on Frank Lloyd Wright on a shelf in the main room. I have been glancing through them between reading chapters of Liz’s diary. He was her favorite architect and his work was what inspired her to choose her profession. How like T’Les’s house is the concept of Wright’s Unisonian house. Liz likes Mies Van Der Rohe too, his concept of ‘less is more’ is so Vulcan in spirit. I can see why the board of directors chose me. Liz’s esthetics and mine are actually very close. This is not helping me stick to my purpose as I am developing a fondness for this woman. Why did she have to be HIS sister!
It was interesting to read that Lizzie often had arguments with Trip, though he was her favorite brother,. He perceived his role to be her mentor and protector. He taught her how to tie her shoes when she was very young, and how to swim and scuba dive when she was older. But she rebelled against his efforts to intimidate prospective suitors. Why were her parents so negligent in this matter? Didn’t they see that such an attractive girl would need bonding very early? Oh yes, I recall that Humans do not practice bonding of their children. How unfortunate. It might have saved Lizzie the terrible experience with this Jack person. It makes me wish to track him down and punish him for hurting her. How could Trip have thought Jack a suitable mate for her after scaring off all the others? Well, maybe I can see why, as Jack’s family was well placed politically and had great wealth. The Tucker family, while good citizens and not without talents, is of modest origin.
Today I sat at Lizzie’s drawing table and played with finishing a drawing of her annex for viewing the duck pond. It was just an idle exercise, but I am pleased with the results. We might have worked well together, unlike this Jack who tried to repress her talent. It seems he only wanted someone who would understand the terms he was using when he described his day’s work to a submissive wife who dutifully put his dinner on the table. Although I brought my computer with me so I could work with my CAD program, I find hand drawing as relaxing as she said it was for her. Her computer must have gone with her back to her home in south Florida.
This evening, I tried a recipe that was in Lizzie’s handwriting in a drawer in the kitchen. I am now proficient in lighting the pilot on this gas stove. Almost asphyxiated myself the first time I tried to light it, and there was a slight explosion. Wouldn’t it be interesting for the corporation to have to hire a third architect because the second one blew himself up in the home of the first? Maybe her drawings, which I have made additions too, would be used by the third architect while he completed the job.
It was quite an adequate meal I made for myself from her recipe. It is too bad we could not have cooked this meal together. There was this haunting feeling that she was sitting at the table with me while I ate, smiling and telling me what a fine person I was. I feel so guilty now about wanting to hurt her brother. I could never cause her any pain no matter how much I want to ‘kick Trip’s butt’ as she, in her own words, wanted to do to this Jack.
Perhaps finding those recordings of family events was the final thing that bound Lizzie to me so that I can never be free of her. Seeing her being carried home two days after her birth, the fiddle recitals, the birthday parties, the graduations, and the media interview about her work, are now my own memories. I hear her voice, as she yells out “side sevens” while holding hands with a line of dancers who move to the right in a cross over step. I see her body move in tune to the reel she is playing on her fiddle, encouraging the dancers to a faster pace. Then I dreamed that night of the ceilidh: that dance. It was so real that I felt her link arms with me as we twirled briefly together before moving on to the next partner in our dance set.
I don’t use her bedroom in the cabin. I use what must be her parent’s room. Yet I was feeling lonely, and since I had finished reading her diary, I wandered into her room. On her dresser was a hairbrush containing some long blond hairs. It smelled of a flower called lilac. That must have been from the liquid she used to wash her hair. I have used that liquid myself as there was a half empty bottle of it in the bathroom. I thought it was bath soap but it bubbled up and over the tub when I made myself a hot bath against the cold mountain night. My skin smelled of lilac for days.
This hairbrush may contain all that is left of her physically. I extracted some hairs, wound them around my fingers, and then braided them so I could keep them. I put her hairbrush back carefully in its place on the dresser. But then I picked it up again and threw it into my travel bag. I wanted it. Then I went over to the bed. Her bed. This is where she must have had those dreams about finding a mate who would treat her better than Jack did. I lay down on her bed and the thought of her loss overwhelmed me. The loss of a woman I never met but who has become so real to me. Vulcan tears are rare as diamonds and just as hard. I had not cried since I lost my pet sehlat as a child, but I turned my face into her pillow and wept like the world had come to an end. For me, perhaps it has.
Human rituals can be as tedious as some of the Vulcan ones. My formal tunic chaffed my neck and I wished to be away from there. Then a duck walked across my foot as we led guests around the pond and it set us all in good humor. But when I saw them, Trip and T’Pol standing there, I froze internally. Caroline who was with them, waved to me. She beckoned me over, so I came. I was surprised that seeing T’Pol in a smart outfit that suited her form, did not move me. Perhaps that is for the best. I think Trip almost fell over when he was formally introduced to the architect that completed his sister’s final project. He remained speechless while I greeted Caroline and her husband like the friends they have become. I ignored T’Pol and Trip, not because I wanted to snub them, but because I did not know what to say.
The new corporate headquarters shone in Earth’s mellow sunlight. The speeches and the ribbon cutting went quite well despite their length. Trip made a short and heartrending speech about how his sister would never be forgotten because of this beautiful building that captured her spirit. He glanced briefly in my direction and said this was another example of how well Vulcans and Humans could work together. I made no speech myself. I let my work speak for me.
During the reception, Trip was eyeing me several times and I saw T’Pol push him in my direction. I sighed and braced myself for the inevitable. It wasn’t that bad. All he could say was “Thank you. You have been nicer to me in your actions and probably in your thoughts than I ever was to you.”
“You can hardly know my thoughts in this matter, but you are welcome,” was all I could manage. And I turned away then because I did not want to say something like “You think you know your sister, but I know her much better than you do.” That would have opened old wounds and was not really true. We each knew aspects of Elizabeth that the other did not. So I walked away because the shuttle that would take me to the ship that would take me to Betazed, was waiting. He could not hear me, but I whispered “Peace brother, peace and long life, between us and both our worlds.
A hand of people have made comments
Wow! Those were both excellent. And Laura is one of my favorite movies ever!
I really liked Koss, and I wasn't happy that so many wanted to punish him for loving T'Pol. How is that a fault that needs to be punished? I really, really liked the way you brought out the architects in both these characters, and brought the Vulcan/human worlds together through their professions. Well done!
oooww The anger.Nice turning well done
i liked this very much. thanks for sharing it :)
More tears. You did it again, you... you.... amazing writer, you!
Thank you so much Distracted! I don't know why Lizzy got to me the way she did. Must be Connor's acting which just cried out to give Lizzy a life, no matter how brief. And Koss was such a help. He just sat in my favorte chair again and poured out his great deep Vulcan heart about his lost soulmate Lizzy.