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The Tides of Space, by Linda

The Tides of Space

by Linda

Disclaimer: Although Paramount owns these characters, they burned their certificates of indentured servitude and warped off on their own voyage of discovery.

Genre: Adventure, romance, humor, angst, and did I mention romance?

Rating: PG-13, with some sections more towards R in Chapter 3 and later chapters

Date: 07/04/05

Sources: The Vulcan Language Institute site was consulted for use of Vulcan phrases and for its Vulcan physiology section. I used Selek’s Ambassador Soval site, which has a Vulcan physiology page. Also I must acknowledge my husband Jim who I would interrupt while he had his nose in a Star Trek technical manual to ask questions like “could they build a macadam road on that planet?” Half an hour later, I would have to cut him off by saying “I didn’t want a Vulcan-like discourse. Give it to me in twenty-five words or less!” And I am sure there are fan fiction inventions on Trip/T’Poler’s and Soval’s Annex that I have unconsciously absorbed and have come out as assumptions in my writing.

Chronology: The story involves characters from the first year of Star Trek: Enterprise episode Fusion but begins at the time of the second year Star Trek: Enterprise episode The Expanse. A prequel to it is A Florida Childhood (on the T&T site). Related stories on Soval’s Annex are Koss Again and part of the ending of Conceptions and Preconceptions.

Summary: The Vahklas has visited Earth, partly out of curiosity after meeting Humans while docked with Enterprise, but also for the next in the seemingly endless repair needs of an old and ailing ship. During shore leave, Tavin’s people have made some friends and invited them for a cruise to explore each other’s cultures. They also are ferrying some Human colonists and their equipment to their new home. The Vahklas sometimes acts as a ‘tramp steamer’ transporting people and goods to fund their continuing mission to explore…themselves. This voyage was to be for three weeks featuring such onboard activities as workshops in meditation techniques, poetry readings in both Vulcan and English, anger management seminars (suggested by Tolaris), and the concept of humor in cross-cultural perspective. If you remember the old TV series Gilligan’s Island, this cruise becomes a ‘three hour tour’. Poor old Vahklas, but lucky, lucky Kov…

Chapter 1: The Departure
Chapter 2: Life Onboard
Chapter 3: The Bonding
Chapter 4: The Wreck of the Vahklas
Chapter 5: Becoming One Community
Chapter 6: Down the Years
Chapter 7: The Heart is the Only Nation


The Tides of Space
By Linda

The tides of space carry ships where they will. They do not respect shipping lanes laid out by space faring beings. Anomalies, intermittent wormholes, cosmic winds: these phenomena will grasp a ship and fling it beyond its charted reality. Those who get caught in these ‘tides’ move away from established routes in culture as well as in space. They disappear for a time, and sometimes disappear forever. --- Anonymous P’Jem monk

Chapter 1: The Departure

Diary entry April 24, 2153:

I stood at the view port today watching my world recede into the blackness of space. Since the view port was not large and many people were crowded around it, Kov’s arm brushed against mine. He picked up the feeling of overwhelming panic that shivered through me as my home world dwindled to a pinpoint. Being Vulcan, he felt my unease and took my hand, projecting a silent thought that washed over my panic and dampened it. The thought was: it is always difficult leaving your home world for the first time, but never again is the feeling so poignant.

Then people began to disperse in various directions down the companionways into the depths of the ship. Kov and I remained. I am not sure why, except that thin bright light crossing Florida north to south was not the usual path for a hurricane. It had moved in a straight line and much too quickly. But I caught sight of it only for a second as the Vahklas accelerated, so perhaps it was only a distorted perception of my eye, which had never seen Earth from this perspective before. A hurricane was expected to come in from the Atlantic, though. I was fortunate to be getting away for awhile at the beginning of hurricane season. But I had an uneasy feeling about this strange hurricane and was glad I had escaped it.

And the traffic in space! The inter-ship COM system was open for us to hear the wonders of interplanetary traffic control. I recognized the sound of Vulcan though I did not understand what was being said. Kov said it was freighter traffic. Earth has a brisk trade with Vulcan and its colonies. But Kov was puzzled by one ship’s messages in a language he did not know, which he heard just before that light crossed Florida. Zin? Indy? The ship seemed to be broadcasting identification. Then there were short staccato bursts like demands to move aside or something. The signals faded. We were too far out and moving at a tangent to the traffic lanes. Roads in space!

“Like your traffic lanes on the sea”, explained Kov, amused at my discovery. He had been awed by Earth’s seas as much as I now was by the vastness of space. I gasped as the stars became trails of light. So this was warp speed now. Warp one.

I forced myself to break away from what was left of the view. My home world’s sun had faded to one pinpoint among many now, lost among a panoply of stars of much greater magnitude. I felt no sense of motion. So this is what my brother had been experiencing these past two years! I had never before felt an urge to be out here, though I was fascinated by all the reports of what it was like. I was here because I trusted Kov and did not want to let him go out of my life. His visit to Florida had begin only three short weeks ago, but from the moment I opened the door of my childhood home and found him standing there, we had become inseparable.

Kov left me at my cabin, promising me a complete tour later. He wanted to talk to his assistant about the rate of acceleration away from Earth. I have learned to read his emotions a little, so I was glad I did not have to accompany him and listen to the dressing down of that assistant. He showed me how to open the sliding door by pressing a panel. It is one of the small technological wonders the Vulcans do not considered classified. We Humans just scarf these up whenever they allow it. I can’t help seeing several different building designs in my head on which the door knobs disappear and these panels take their place. Kov thought the door handles on my parent’s house rather quaint. He would stand there opening and closing the door for a couple of minutes until he caught my bemused look. It reminded me of how I first met him…

That hot afternoon I saw someone standing there silently on the porch behind the screen door. He had been looking around for the bell, I think. He did not seem to understand the concept of knocking. “Hello?” I said and opened the squeaky screen door to the strangest man I had seen in a long time. I had seen Vulcans before of course, on the media and a few times on the street in cities.

“Is this the home of the parents of Charles Tucker?” asked the Vulcan carefully in strangely accented English.

The photo Trip had sent me! “Why hello Kov. Please come in.” I stepped back. The screen door gave its metallic groan as I opened it wider. His face registered surprise and then he smiled as he took a couple of deliberate steps until he was inside.

“And you would be his sister, Miss Elizabeth Tucker? I thank you for letting me enter your home.” He put down a carryall and awkwardly offered his hand. I took it in both of mine for a second. It was very warm and dry.

“Why yes, but please call me Liz. You don’t have to be so formal. Come and sit with me in the living room. Just step over these tarps. I am painting the walls, getting the house ready to sell. Would you like something to drink?”

“Yes please.”

He sat gingerly where I indicated, still very stiff and formal. I poured him a paper cup of water and one of lemonade from two thermos bottles set on a table draped with a tarp. It had been thirsty work cleaning and painting. He tasted both and then settled on the lemonade. “What is this drink?”

“Lemonade. It is made from a fruit.”

“Ah,” he said. “I like it.”

“Can you stay long?” I didn’t know how to talk to a Vulcan. But he was Trip’s friend, so I knew it would be ok here alone with him. He seemed unsure of something and drew out a small device.

“A translator, Miss, I mean Liz. Please repeat what you just said?”

The conversation became easier then. He relaxed, I relaxed, and we talked of his time with Trip. I learned that he could stay as long as I let him, a couple of weeks maybe. And he wanted me to meet some of his friends. Was it all right for him to stay in the house with me? Without my parents? I explained that it was and that I had much work to do. He offered to help, which I accepted. Such an expressive face for a Vulcan, emotions I could read. Were these expressions natural for Vulcans or had he picked them up from Humans? I came to realize that most were universal humanoid expressions. What a strange and marvelous universe we live in…

I pressed the panel and the door slid open revealing my cabin on the Vahklas. Like the companionways, it had the colonists’ equipment stuffed into every corner. The sheep had been herded into a storage room off the shuttle bay and a force field erected mainly to contain the smell. The Human colonists brought all these goods because they would not often have a chance for replenishment, though Tavin had promised to work out a schedule and contact other freight carriers who had modest rates.

“Hey Liz, glad we are roommates, you, me, and T’Via.” Bev Sherman was shoving her duffle under a bunk, squeezing it between two of the colonists’ boxes. She and I had quite a talk while we were waiting in line at the Florida Shuttle-to-Space-Dock Ground Station. We had been friends in college and she also knew my brother. Bev was joining her husband who had gone ahead to build the first town on the colony world. “Was that Kov just leaving? You and he are pretty thick. I think he likes you. Quite a lot.”

I blushed. “Well Bev, he did stay at my parent’s home for three weeks helping to fix the old place up. He was fascinated by the primitive plumbing and electricity. When he figured it out, he brought it up to the code required for the sale of older houses. And he moved around heavy stuff like it was Styrofoam. I’ll take a Vulcan handyman any day. It was almost as good as having Trip there.”

“Did you introduce him to your parents?”

“No. They were off in Hawaii for two months, mostly at a nature reserve without communication. They wanted it that way so Dad in his ‘retirement’ did not get calls from the firm he started consulting for when he got bored with shuffleboard. Their retirement home in Tallahassee is so maintenance free I didn’t even have to go there to check up on things. But this old rambling house in south Florida that we grew up in …well I am just glad Kov was there to help. Trip owes him one.”

“How is that handsome brother of yours?”

“Kov has seen him more recently than I have, a little over a year ago. Kov says Trip is just fine. He made quite an impression on Kov. In fact when I told Kov that I helped pick out films for movie night on the Enterprise because my brother was the archetype of the illiterate engineer, he got all pouty. I had to tell him I was just using friendly sibling banter. Apparently Vulcan family life is more formal. Kov does not like any aspersions on Trip or the usual misconceptions that Vulcans hold about Humans. To Kov, Trip IS humanity. Quite a unique attitude for a Vulcan, don’t you think?”

Bev’s eyes went out of focus and a girlish grin appeared on her face. “Not for this group. That Tolaris is every woman’s dream.”

I scowled. “He doesn’t do much for me. I had what I thought was my dream man in Jack. Turned out to be a nightmare. Tolaris reminds me of Jack.”

“So you go the opposite way? The short, chubby, odd characters?” Bev seemed to be evaluating my taste in men.

“Let’s say I try to see beyond the physical now,” I said as I sat on my bunk next to the two suitcases Kov had brought there earlier.

Bev was still adamant about her requirements in males. “Well more power to you, but I’d rather have both handsome AND smart. So let’s go find the dining hall, shall we?”

“You mean the mess deck. I’m hungry too,” I admitted.

So that was my introduction to the Vahklas. I will write more later on my roommates.


The mess deck was crowded as all the guests had found their way to it. Vulcans who were not occupied with crew duties had assembled there to meet the Humans. As in Human gatherings, there were many small groups developing and some people wandering between them. Half were standing and the other half sitting and sampling the Vahklas’s cuisine. This milling around seemed a little chaotic to the Vulcans, but they entered into the spirit of it. Tavin had stocked as many Human foods as the small ship would allow, so the galley looked like the cabins and companionways: a very un-Vulcan-like disorder of boxes and bags stuffed into every nook and cranny. Two Humans had been assigned to help the usual Vulcan cooks. They appeared from time to time to replenish the long table loaded with a variety of delights. The Vulcan cooks were learning a new way to serve food. It was all laid out in disorder on the long table instead of one dish being prepared and served one at a time. This new term ‘buffet’ was unsettling for the cooks, though not entirely disliked as a means of dispensing food. It had an intriguing complexity for them.

Kov and T’Via joined Bev and Liz. They all had ‘test plates’ containing a bit of several different foods. Their attention was drawn to Tavin’s table where the colonist leader Betty Miller had Tavin tasting several seasonings with the tip of his finger: salt, sugar, pepper, and a variety of sauces and herbs.

“Betty, this is quite a logically arranged experiment. I have tasted many Human dishes over the past weeks, but to isolate the ingredients, this is quite a good way to analyze the Vulcan taste receptors. I shall have to reciprocate.”

Betty smiled and handed Tavin another dish. “Well Tavin, since you said you could not distinguish between marinara sauce and the spicier spaghetti sauce I served you in San Francisco, I had been thinking about the best way to test your palate. It should help in your further exploration of Human foods and even other foods like that of Andoria.”

Tavin raised his glass of orange juice in a salute to Betty. He set it down to lightly touch her hand that was resting on the table. “Because of the political climate, we have not had much chance to sample the Andorian cuisine. It is ironic that the first Andorian dish I tried was on Earth. I think it was made from one of the recipes the Enterprise sent home.”

Liz perked up at the mention of Enterprise. “Captain, did you meet my brother on Enterprise?”

Kov opened his mouth to tell Liz it was impolite to hail a person at another table in a loud voice, but stopped himself as he had seen it done once on Earth. He had the impression there were Human social situations where it was acceptable, even if it rarely was among Vulcans. And he repressed an urge to touch her arm in public to make her desist.

Tavin leaned forward slightly and peered across the room. “Elizabeth Tucker, isn’t it? Kov’s young friend. Yes I had the pleasure of meeting your brother. If it were not for him, the Vahklas would be drifting near the Arachnid Nebula still trying to hail a ship to come to our aid. Welcome aboard. And if there is anything you need, you just come to me. How are you finding our Vulcan dishes? I see you have filled your plate with them exclusively.”

“Thank you for inviting me on board and I am glad my brother was so helpful. He only writes sporadically so it is good to hear that he is behaving himself out here in space.” Liz smiled at Tavin and then at Kov.

“He does not normally behave himself?” asked Tavin raising an eyebrow in a way that Liz was now able to detect as humor.

“Oh, siblings tend to tease each other, even when the object of their teasing is not present. In a way, it represents fondness for the absent sibling. I do miss him and teasing about him is better than showing sadness, better than dampening a public gathering by expressing longing for him.” Liz sighed and her smile tried to take in all the people listening, which was most of those present since they were speaking across tables.

Tavin raised his glass to Liz “To absent friends. I learned that salute on your world. There is no Vulcan expression that is quite the equivalent. And everyone, to a successful voyage of discovery and safe conveyance of our colonists to their new world. Ben vahl navum.”

“That means ‘grant us success,’ Kov told Liz.

“To a safe and happy voyage,” the Humans responded with the Vulcan’s echoing the sentiment in quieter voices. Glasses clinked all round the mess hall.


Over the next few days, life on the Vahklas fell into a pleasant routine. Liz got her tour from Kov and they found the late hours after the last meal of the day to be their quiet time together. Liz felt at home in Kov’s cramped little engineer’s office. It reminded her of her brother’s housekeeping. She had made a nest for herself in a corner on top of two boxes which contained spare parts topped with a sack of soft caulking material. On that sack she had placed her mother’s old quilt, one of the few possessions she had brought aboard. The sack molded itself to her most comfortable sitting position after she squirmed around on it so she could rest her back against the office wall.

Quiet as a mouse she would enter, whether Kov was there or not, and settle into her nest with a book or a drawing pad or her fiddle. She was becoming part of the décor of his office, if you could say it had a décor. Engineers do not decorate their workspaces. They store parts and manuals, and perhaps hide a few snacks. Liz had discovered Kov’s stash, but she always waited until he arrived before asking to try a new Vulcan treat. She would have tea ready for him now that he had shown her how to make it in his finicky heater, which Tavin let him have because no one else was able to make it work.

The engineering office had a door to Kov’s quarters, which were not large either. As with all Vulcans, his quarters were spare. The crew bed was bunk style, as would be found on ships of all humanoid cultures. There was a meditation candle and a copy of Surak’s writings on top of a chest. Liz noted this but it wasn’t until later in their relationship that she learned the secrets of his room…

In the chest and under the bunk, Kov had stashed his clothing. A photo of his parents, Kuvak and T’Kan, with a young T’Kora and new-born Kov lay buried at the bottom of the chest. And tucked safely away in a pair of rarely used old engineering overalls were letters from his mother, the last note his sister ever wrote to him, and his sister’s IDIC. T’Kora had often clutched her IDIC in a closed fist as a sort of talisman in her young girlhood.

After T’Kora’s death, Kov’s parents had searched her room and all the possible hiding nooks in the house and garden for that IDIC. They never discovered that Kov had snatched it up and hidden it in his room. Kov had never forgiven his parents for his sister’s suicide. So he lied and kept the IDIC to punish them. He often would hold it tight in the silence of his dark room and let the secret tears flow. Holding it, he had planned his escape to the Vahklas, reacting against his parents’ tight supervision as they followed the advice of the healer who said Kov was at risk of following the path his sister had taken.

The final push came when his father had set a wedding date for Kov and his bond mate. Kov had just visited her to break off their relationship. He did not want to father a child who would have the condition as severely as his nephew Komik. Four-year-old Komik had suffered pain every second of his short life, dying in Uncle Kov’s arms while the rest of the family was consulting with the healer about desperate treatments. Kov had just about finished his training as an apprentice first level healer, so was often left to tend his nephew. Kuvak’s instant reaction to Komik’s death was to blame Kov for not saving the child. Kov’s sister had comforted him, saying it was best this way as the healers were only prolonging her dear baby’s suffering. Her child was at peace now.

Emotionally, Kov could not continue in his chosen profession. He could not face the death of another person in his care. So he switched his studies to engineering; the death of sick machines could not touch his emotions. Besides, the hum and vibration deep in enclosed engine rooms was soothing. The solitude of machine spaces where there were only a few people, as opposed to the bustle of a hospital corridor, appealed to him. His parents let him switch careers because they knew he needed a change to put his nephew’s death behind him. This was his mother’s perception and she tried to forestall her husband each time he wanted to admonish Kov as a quitter of the profession to which he was best suited. But Kov, ever sensitive to the feelings of others, was well aware of his father’s disappointment in him.

After her son was cremated, T’Kora had left her husband and fled to a monastery. She seemed to find some peace after two years of meditation and study. The family was expecting her to return home to her husband soon, but instead she initiated the dissolution of her marriage. Before the divorce became final, the Pon farr had gripped her husband. T’Kora’s father and her husband’s family then forcibly extracted her from the monastery and returned her to her husband’s house, where she conceived another child.

When the healer told T’Kora the fetus had the condition just as strongly as her dead child, T’Kora had asked Kov to take her to her next healer’s appointment. The family was allowing her these trips to the healer instead of home visits, thinking a new child would revive her interest in her marriage. A block from her house, she asked Kov to change course and take her to a well-known meditation spot on a high rock outcropping in the desert. Thinking T’Kora must need a deep meditation, Kov complied.

T’Kora stepped out of the skimmer, calm and serene. She walked to the edge of the cliff and gazed out over the panoramic view of the sands, then turned to face her brother. “I cannot let this child suffer too. Do not grieve for my children or me, my brother. And don’t let our parents force you to continue the futile efforts to continue our family. It is not worth the suffering. Good-bye my dear little brother.” Then she took two steps backward and dropped off the cliff. Kov ran to the edge, barely stopping himself from falling over after her. His sister lay below unmoving. It took him an hour to descend from the meditation place and circle around the boulder strewn base of the cliff to where his sister’s body lay twisted and broken. Dried green blood spattered the rocks all around. Kov lifted her head into his lap and sat stoically until the security people found them the next morning. They took Kov to the hospital to treat him for exposure to the daytime sun and the cold of the desert night. He did not speak for a week.

The family then kept Kov nearly under house arrest. They hired a tutor to help him resume his engineering studies. This companion was actually a psychologist to keep their ‘at risk’ son from emulating his sister. Kov realized this and secretly searched for a way to escape. His impending wedding forced him into contacting Tavin’s group. He signed on as engineer and Tavin accepted this student engineer because no qualified engineer was desperate enough to touch the badly outmoded ship. That was now nine years ago. Although Kov had learned to live with deep sorrow and resentment, it was an uneasy peace with life.

Despite the resentment which permeated his personality, Kov was a gentle person and Liz was becoming deeply fond of him. So Liz would settle into her nest and made drawings or read something like a copy of Vulcan legends in translation so she could discuss them with Kov when he arrived. She would also stare at his empty desk chair and think about him and the other Vulcans. Liz thought Kov moved very fast for a heavy guy. Liz spoke softly to the empty chair. “Well, he is Vulcan and he carries himself with a certain energetic ease. He looks so different than my brother, yet he is the same in the way he concentrates on his work.”

Liz thought of that day when she had first accompanied Kov on his morning rounds on the Vahklas. He had squatted and applied a tool to something, so like her brother. Theirs was an easy companionship, like years ago when she helped Trip fix the lawn mower in the garage, and then followed him into the house to unstop a drain. That was in the days that Trip thought she was going to be the engineer and he the architect, though he never took her career ambitions very seriously. Funny how reversals in life are so common: now Trip was the engineer and she the architect. These moments alone before Kov arrived to have tea with her offered time to reflect on her family like she never had back on Earth.


A week out, the old ship was showing signs of trouble again. The Humans had done their best in their dry dock, but there were not any spare parts still available for this model of ship. Repairs were made with ill fitting and cobbled together materials. Kov had contended with this for years and Tavin had marveled at how creative these Human engineers were. Tavin admitted to the foreman of the repair team that the Vahklas would have been condemned for scrap had he not made an offer to buy the old ship at a price slightly higher than the scrap value. But even in its antiquated state, it was Vulcan technology that the Human engineers rarely got their hands on. So they were happy to do this work for Tavin in exchange for minimal compensation in cash and some Vulcan goods that Tavin keep onboard for barter. But now the repairs from the Earth dry-dock were starting to fail. Kov told Tavin that they would probably arrive a week late at the Human colony, and may have to do some repairs there, delaying returning the student’s to Earth. The three week voyage may have to become six weeks.


The days passed and the onboard workshops were going well. Vulcans and Humans were discovering that the different ways that each other’s cultures did things were creative and logical approaches to the mutual problems of life. They settled into a frank openness that had not often occurred in the hundred years of interspecies contact. Tavin was pleased. He decided to plan more of these cruises.

Liz was finding that Vulcan meditation techniques were starting to smooth out the rough spots in her memories of a recent abusive relationship. She settled herself on her quilt-nest in Kov’s office after turning on the teapot. It had been a great day, a breakthrough in understanding one cultural mannerism that had eluded her since she boarded the Vahklas. Why had the Vulcan women been avoiding her, disappearing around corners when she entered a room in which they had been? Was it dislike of Humans? It turned out they were respecting her privacy and as a guest they were deferring to her use of the room. When that was explained, they all had a laugh. Yes, Vulcans do laugh, at least the women do among themselves. She was so glad she was learning that Vulcans were, well, were PEOPLE. And she had almost not come on this voyage. It was Kov who had persuaded her. She wrote about that in her diary.

Diary entry May 1, 2153:

“Why are you so quiet today? You seem a little depressed,” Kov had remarked.

I put down the lettuce I was shredding for our salad. “I am going to miss you when you leave in a couple of days. It will be lonely here, painting the house all by myself again.” I touched the gold chain around my neck, feeling along it for the ‘emerald’ cut in Vulcan style. It looked expensive to me, and green as Vulcan blood. I wasn’t sure if Kov had given it to me because I was Trip’s sister or because I was myself. A gift from his home world. Something to remember him by.

Kov shifted on the kitchen chair and pushed his book aside. “Liz, come with us. You know we are taking some college students along with the colonists that asked Tavin to ferry them and their equipment to their new M class world. We have to bring these students back in three weeks. You and I would have three more weeks together.”

I sighed. “I have been thinking about that. You may think this is silly, but space scares me. I fly all over this planet, but to leave the Earth? I have been telling myself that I have to stay in case the firm needs me. So I called them to confirm that excuse.” I laughed quietly. “They said ‘Go ahead. A ride on a space ship, how marvelous! See you in three weeks.’ Then I told them that I decided not to go. I guess my apprehension overwhelmed me right then.”

“My first time off Vulcan, I was apprehensive too,” Kov replied. “I meditated in the shuttle waiting area on the outskirts of the city, and then meditated in the orbital station in the restroom. My hands were shaking when I boarded that ship. But it was a transcending experience, like being born, seeing your home world from a distance for the first time. You never quite have the same feeling again. I have visited many worlds since and they all were fascinating, but never like the first time leaving my home world. Please. I will be with you and will even hold your hand to pass calming energy.”

I stood tall to punctuate my words and stiffen my resolve. “Ok then. I will go. Three weeks? What should I bring? I mean, you keep your ship warmer than this don’t you?” I asked, sweeping my arm out to encompass the kitchen.

“Oh Liz, you will be glad of the experience. Yes it is a bit warmer but Tavin has agreed to adjust the temperature to Earth normal in the quarters assigned to Humans. You won’t regret this. As someone once told me, regret is a difficult emotion.” And Kov picked up a knife to cut tomatoes for the salad. He had grown fond of tomatoes…

Note: I must ask the cooks to prepare tomato soup for Kov to try. Bev says she has a great recipe passed down from her grandmother.


Liz stood up in Kov’s office and poured herself another cup of tea. She remembered that last day at home before she and Kov caught a ride to the Florida Shuttle-to-Space-Dock departure station from Sandra Hopkins, an acquaintance from college who was visiting a friend in town. Liz had packed in a hurry. She had paid the utility bills, and composed email to various friends, relatives, and her architectural firm informing them of her once again change of plans. As a last gesture, she dated the email to go three days after she would be off in space. Spur of the moment decisions like this were unlike her and she did not want a call from her parents to make her vacillate and perhaps change her mind.

Liz was confident that strange hurricane seen from space had not damaged her computer. The family home had weathered numerous hurricanes over the years. If the electricity went out, the home generator kicked in. Even if the food in the refrigerator became spoiled, computer messaging would restart. There had never been an act of nature that the old house was not able to handle.

Kov’s foot falls echoed on the metal grillwork of the deck outside his office. Liz got up again and poured his tea. “Hello there. You are usually here by 22:00. Trouble again?”

Kov looked weary but he gave her a warm smile. “I am afraid so. The repairs we have to make in space dock seem to last less long each time. Was that said well?” Kov took out his translator. That he was not expressing himself well in English tonight was a sign to Liz that he really was worried. She said in Vulcan ‘kohl-tor, yen-tor ar’kada (meditate, forget work).

Continue to Chapter 2