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That Which Hides Under the Bed, by Linda - Chapter 2

That Which Hides Under the Bed

by Linda

Rating: PG-13
Genre: Mystery


Chapter 2

While Soval was meditating, Amanda was making notes on Andorian culture. She noticed it had taken longer tonight for Soval to settle into meditation. He had made it clear what was bothering him because he was more open with her now. He could hardly hide it now anyway, since they were bonded. Baiting adults with a barbed tongue was no problem, but to have had such a drastic effect on a child, without saying a word, stabbed deeply into his conscience. Amanda wondered what kind of father he would be. Probably as gentle with children as he was tough with adults. As he told her, Vulcans would not use fear as a tool to control children.

She considered that the origin of the fear of telepaths was simply based on Andorian physiology, which allowed only partial adoption to sleeping in snow. To protect children against doing so, they made up the telepath tale to use fear to deter behavior. Or DID they make up telepaths? It was an ancient myth, created long before contact with Vulcans. Were there telepaths native to Andoria? And if so, did these telepaths ever harm other Andorians? Amanda resolved to ask Ambassador Motan. She would research vampires more so she would have something to trade. The thought that vampire tales might be based on some truth gave her the shivers. She did not want to go there, so maybe Andorians would have a difficult time delving into their own myths too. But that was part of interspecies contact: getting to know your own culture better. Exploration was internal as well as external. One must look under the bed, reaching back to understand the inner child.

Soval looked more relaxed. Amanda liked his gracefully walk and demeanor after he meditated. She could read his moods better now. Funny how humans did not notice how expressive Vulcan facial and body language really were. It was right there, they did not hide it. But when she looked at Human body language now, it seemed so exaggerated, almost comic. That must be how Vulcans saw Humans – people who over reacted to everything. Human communication had elements that were unnecessary and wasteful, tiring to watch, and probably tiring to perform; from a Vulcan perspective. It was an illogical waste of energy, when communication could happen with more conservative expressions, gestures, and less emphatic vocalizations. No wonder Humans needed to sleep more often. Perhaps they would live longer too, if they conserved their energy. Hey, I am starting to think like a Vulcan.

Soval sat next to Amanda on the bed and glanced at her notes. “You seem to be on to something here. May I help?”

“Of course. Do you think all myths are based on reality?” asked Amanda, trying to keep her mind off the subject of the beautifully tapered ears that she meant to attend to shortly.

Soval too was aware of Amanda’s focus on his ears, but repressed a response so he could answer her question. “Mythology IS cultural reality on many levels. There is deep meaning to the myths of all peoples. Like language, it is the heart of one’s culture.”

Amanda acknowledged this by replying: “I think, then, that the child’s reaction to you was only based on something ancient in his culture and nothing to do with any Vulcan. It is tragic that Vulcans resemble their mythical demons. They may intellectually know that Vulcans have nothing to do with their fears, but those fears are so deep, it is hard not to project them onto Vulcans.”

“I have come to the same conclusion. It is similar to Humans learning pointed ears are not a sign that a Vulcan is the devil incarnate. And you are trying to make me feel better aren’t you?” Soval’s dark eyes seemed to smile at her.

She was loosing herself in those eyes. “Yes, I feel your pain and want to dispel it.”

“It is working,” said Soval as he laid aside her notes and took her cooler hand in his. “Now what were you saying earlier today about my ears?”

“Well…” Amanda lightly traced a finger of her free hand along the edge of his ear. “I know your ears are as sensitive as mine, maybe more so.”

Soval closed his eyes and let Amanda push him down on the bed. Her gentle breath on the tip of his ear was warmer than her hand. He enjoyed both sensations: the cool and the warm. It took only a second for him to relax into a place which was as deep, and perhaps more enjoyable, than the meditation he had surrendered to earlier.


The Andorian Ambassador Motan pushed back his chair and placed his hands on the table. “Amanda, it was so good of you to research your history to regale me with more information on these people. Why are you afraid of them? They probably would add much to your society if they were not forced to live in hiding, in this shadow world of the night.

“But ambassador, they are not real. They are fears made incarnate only in stories to entertain.” Amanda so wanted to make him see it her way.

The ambassador was not totally convinced. “Well, just because you have never seen them does not mean they do not exist.”

Amanda sighed. “Like you believe the cave telepath is real.”

“Of course it is not real, but I believe your vampires are. I admit, Vulcans are not our mythical telepaths. As you say, the myth is too old for that and our telepaths are not green, they are blue like us. I must apologize to your mate about the incident with the child who ran away from his nurse. We thought bringing him and his mother to Vulcan would widen his perspective. I am mentoring his father, who has the potential to be a good ambassador. Perhaps it would be better to send him to Earth. I don’t think the child would have a problem with Humans.”

“There are Vulcans on Earth too ambassador.”

“Quite so. But not so many of them as on Vulcan, yes? Lets talk about something else. You were attacked here on Vulcan, were you not? For a peaceful people, Vulcans seem to have many incidents of violence. And like your mate, I wonder why take your identity papers? Money, yes, anyone can use. But no Vulcan could pass for a Human, I think.”

Amanda sighed and smiled at Ambassador Motan. “It may not be that hard for a Vulcan to pass as a Human. Just cover your ears, shave your eyebrows and use fake ones. You may not even have to apply makeup to cover skin color. Under the bright light on Vulcan, yes, the color difference is obvious, but not in the softer sunlight on Earth or some other worlds.”

“So, maybe our Vulcan wants to go to Earth? Or, Andoria, perhaps?”

“Or,” Amanda speculated, “our thief is not a Vulcan.”

“Possibly, possibly,” Ambassador Motan nodded his head. “But now I must leave you for the negotiations, which, due to the skill of your mate, are going quite well. I did wonder, at first, why such an attractive and intelligent Human would tie her life to a Vulcan. There must be something wrong with her, I thought. Now I see that there is something worthwhile in Ambassador Soval.”

“Good day ambassador. I am pleased that your opinion of both Soval and myself has changed for the better. Hopefully all of the negotiators will grow to feel this way. And I look forward to visiting your world someday. Please visit us on Earth. Soval and I will be spending as much time there as on Vulcan in the foreseeable future.”


V’Lar waited while Amanda hefted her bag and exited the transport. She was pleased that Amanda was making Soval a robe. It showed interest in his culture. Since Hoshi and the Enterprise were away on a mission, and after that would be picking up the Tellarites for the conference on Andoria, Amanda had asked V’Lar to translate the pattern. Always the peacemaker, V’Lar had asked her sister T’Sena if Amanda could use her sewing machine to finish the robe. She found Amanda charming and knew her sister would like her too.

Half an hour later, finishing a seam which she had run under the needle slowly to keep the stitches absolutely straight, V’Lar’s thoughts drifted to her old schoolmate. “Amanda, how long are Soval’s evening meditations?”

Amanda looked up from pinning a sleeve to an armhole for V’Lar to machine stitch next. “Usually 25 to 45 minutes. It is hard for him to get started if his day has been stressful, like last night. He met an Andorian child in a corridor of the conference center. The child was terrified of him, called him a monster. This was deeply upsetting to Soval. According to Ambassador Motan, Andorian children are taught to fear telepaths.

“Soval is fond of children so I can see why this incident would upset him. I was unaware of this fear of telepaths in Andorian children. It seems you are good at making friends with the Andorians. Would you consider accompanying me to Andoria for this conference? I think I can talk Soval into it. The Andorian ambassador’s aide suggested you come with me.”

“I would like to do that although I would miss Soval. But I am curious about Andorian mythology and have been trading Earth myths for Andorian myths with Ambassador Motan. He seems fascinated by vampire tales. It is a good thing no Human or Andorian children were present when we talked. The children of both species would be having nightmares after we got through.”

V’Lar reached for the pieces Amanda had finished pinning and said: “Fascinating. Vulcan children are not susceptible to dreaming.”

Amanda had suspected that when Soval admitted that he did not dream. “How fortunate. Then Vulcan parents don’t have to comfort a crying child in the middle of the night, or check under the bed before they will go to sleep.”

T’Sena perked up. “No wonder Humans sleep so much, if they have to comfort their children all the time at night. That partly explains why they need more sleep than Vulcans.”

“It is not all the time, just maybe once every couple of months that children disturb their parents’ sleep with their nightmares. So I don’t think that explains the difference. Vulcans just are very hardy people, there is no denying that.” Amanda was developing a sense of how to flatter Vulcans. But she knew better than to lie to achieve that effect. Actually, there was much she really envied about Vulcans, yet was proud of her own people. Her sincerity had the effect she wanted on T’Sena. As with the Andorian ambassador, Amanda was making another conquest.

“Human children might benefit from meditation,” suggested T’Sena.

Amanda picked up some pins that had dropped into the carpet, so no one would later pick them up in a bare foot. She noticed T’Sena had discarded her shoes, so she had done so herself, and dug her toes into the rich softness of the deep pile. Vulcans enjoyed sensuality as much as Humans, it seemed. Then she responded to T’Sena’s suggestion about meditation. “Yes they would. And some do already. There are many meditation techniques, which have been developed in various Earth cultures. And of course Vulcan meditation is popular with many people.”

T’Sena straightened up from the Vulcan symbols she was hand sewing to the front of the robe. “Really? I was not aware of that. It seems your people are a bit more civilized than I thought.”

V’Lar frowned at her sister, but Amanda had not taken offense. She smiled at T’Sena and said: “Well, like your people, we have a violent past. But we have been evolving peaceful means of conflict resolution over the centuries. And since contact with your people, we certainly have an example that such efforts can succeed.”

“My, no wonder Soval feels his efforts over the past thirty years have been well placed. But you chose a violent profession,” T’Sena pointed out.

“A profession whose goal is to keep the peace.” Amanda was ever ready to defend her profession. “I noticed there are Vulcans in the same profession. I have trained with some of them. We have traded some techniques.”

“Yes,” said T’Sena tying a thread, “Soval was involved in that area I believe.”

Amanda looked straight at T’Sena. “That is one of the many reasons we get along so well.”

“I can see now why you have been good for him. He does seem happier than I ever remember him being,” mused T’Sena as she refilled Amanda’s teacup, satisfied that her old schoolmate was being well looked after.


When V’Lar announced that Amanda was going with her to Andoria, there was one person at the conference center who slipped away to report this to a co-conspirator. This definitely would fit in better with their assassination plan, because both Amanda and the woman using her ID could be killed in the same place. No one would even suspect the woman who blew up with an Andorian leader was not Amanda.

Across the room from the door the assassination conspirator had slipped out, Soval approached Ambassador Motan while pulling a role of paper out of his sleeve. The paper was the security report on Amanda’s assault. The Vulcans had been reluctant to give it to Motan until Soval, impressed by the ambassador’s concern, had given permission. It seemed to Soval that sharing the report would show Vulcans could be cooperative. What harm would it do to let the Andorian look at it? It was not as if a high-ranking ambassador would wander off on his own to investigate. “Maybe,” said Soval in front of the group of negotiators, who were showing some interest as he handed the report to Motan, “a different way of looking at this incident will help. V’Lar and I have not been able to see any point to this attack on my wife. I am touched by your interest in her welfare and I am pleased that you have become friends.”

Soval’s reasoning was correct. Motan seemed pleased that the Vulcans were willing to share what appeared to be an internal matter with him. “Quite so. I have a theory. But it may be just a useless speculation. I will look this over and get back to you.”


Motan spent an hour thinking it over. He had recognized one of the suspects whose photo was in the report. Then armed with his translation device and a hidden weapon, he donned a hooded robe and went alone into the streets of Vulcan’s largest city. Motan began sweating profusely under his robe. The hood itched his antenna. But at last he found the address of the Vulcan pickpocket from the report. It was in an older part of the city, whose close-set buildings, though clean, exuded a sense of a subsistence lifestyle with few amenities.

After watching the residence from across the narrow street for a few minutes, the door started to open. Motan stepped swiftly to the door and forced his way in as a woman was coming out. Surprised, she took a step backward, which allowed him to push her inside and close the door. She stood with her face set and unreadable as he displayed his phase weapon. “What is it you want now?” came through his translator, as he pulled the hood off, no longer needing to hide from passers by.

“Ah, I see you are as accustomed to alien investigators as you are to the Vulcan authorities. You are the wife of Romik?”


“Where is he?”

“I do not know.”

“Really? I see you are going shopping. I wonder if your shopping trip has been funded by your mate’s most recent victim.”

Motan got no answer because the woman’s husband stepped close behind him to apply a nerve pinch which rendered Motan unconscious.



Continue to Chapter 3

Return to Chapter 1