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Fic: Observations, Ch 131
Star Trek
anon_j_anon

Inequality.  The inability to be oneself, the inability to present one’s true identity, the inability to express one’s thoughts without the risk of scorn, wrath, or humiliation.  The opposition one faces when one dares to reach for the purest and highest in life.  The indifferent and repetitive message that one’s logic is inferior, that one’s emotions are deficient, that I have no place in this universe.

I have known many kinds of inequality.

Leonard spoke of his struggle with his own prejudices and the role his family played institutionalizing discrimination in society at large.  He spoke of inequality in terms of history, politics, power.  It is understandable that he considers the question in that context, given his past.  I, however, have always thought of the problem from another perspective.  I cannot speak of the general struggle for equality among different groups, but I can speak of another struggle.  I am not referring to legalities.  As a citizen of the Federation, I have all the rights and responsibilities of every other individual.  In that respect, I am an equal.

I am speaking of another type of equality, one that is intangible and in my experience, rare.  For I am both human and Vulcan, and my mixed heritage has always preceded me.  Others have always defined me in those terms, imposing their own constructions on me and never stopping to see who I am as an individual, rather than an alien.

For I have always been an alien.  I have always been counted as different, an anomaly, like an impossible equation whose two sides can never be resolved.  That assumption was so forcibly impressed on me that I became alien to myself, the Terran half at odds with the Vulcan half, the two sides never reconciled to form a whole.

I no longer fault Vulcans or Terrans for this divide in myself, this intrinsic inequality.  The worlds of Terra and Vulcan have both held freedom and equality as inalienable rights of individuals.  Vulcans have always deeply respected the diversity of the universe and its living species.  It goes against all principles of logic to prefer one life form over another, and Vulcans have always been fascinated by the multiplicity that life produces.  Terrans discovered those inalienable rights in a wholly different, somewhat convoluted manner.  Throughout their history, they fought against a long tradition of instinctive bigotry and hatred, striving to extend the right to freedom and equality to all creatures.

I understand now that the hostility I faced in both societies was not due to an active program to repress me.  There was no specific agenda planned in which each species decided I did not fit any of their paradigms.  Neither has there ever been any suggestion that I should be removed, killed, separated, or that I have no right to exist.  Terrans and Vulcans accept that I exist, that I am sentient, and that I am entitled to all the rights accorded to a sentient being.

That does not mean there was ever a place for me in society.  Legal equality was not what I sought.   I yearned for another type of equality, one that perhaps all individuals in the universe seek.

Equality.  The ability to define oneself according to one’s own truth, live it, and have others recognize the intrinsic value of that claim.  To have society accept it fully, without exceptions and stipulations upon one’s person.  To define one’s own mathematics, and have others see the beauty there.

I did not find this equality on Vulcan, nor did I find it on Terra.  In retrospect, I wonder if the equality I sought has always been there in some form on both planets, but that I could not see it.  I did not realize that one cannot find the equality one seeks when one is fundamentally divided against onself.  I would never perceive others as accepting me when I could not accept my two halves.

That is not to say, however, that my perception of this inequality is unfounded.  Simply resolving the Vulcan and Terrans parts would not have been a sufficient solution.  My difficulties stem from the treatment I received in society.  My internal imbalance exacerbated the issue.

It is difficult to build one’s unique sense of self when others are constantly impressing their judgment upon one.  That judgment may not be explicit.  It often takes the form of a nebulous feeling, a din of voices that somehow whisper and shout at the same time.  One’s own voice is lost in the sea of contradictory expectations, perceptions, opinions.  One feels as though others are trying to categorize one according to their own whims and convenience, and in the process confine, restrict, constrict the individual.

As a child, that environment is like a crushing weight.  One struggles and fights against it, even as one accepts that burden.  Yet I hoped that somehow, whether by gaining entrance into the Vulcan Science Academy or going through the ritual of Kolinahr, I would be fully accepted into my father’s society.  I thought that in gaining their acceptance, I would no longer be seen—that I would no longer see myself—in terms of fragments.

As an adult, that environment dulls the will to continue fighting and searching.  One becomes accustomed to the isolation and even prefers it.  One expects and comes to accept that this is reality and that it is unchangeable.  I was respected on Terra among all the cadets and professors.  But where Vulcans considered me inferior due to the influence of my emotions, Terrans distanced me by my intellect.  There were few with whom I could converse, few who shared in the sheer range of my interests.  Respect was mixed with fear—Nyota has told me that many were intimidated by the ruthlessness of my logic.  Other Terrans simply could not relate to an existence based on rationality.  Vulcan and Terran attitudes to emotion was another fundamental divide.

Nyota was the first person willing to see past her own insecurities, spend time to deconstruct my exterior, look at me, and like what she saw there.  She accepted me as I was.  I believe that she recognized the solution to my internal struggle long before I was able to conceive of it, and that she tried to push me along that path.  Nyota took me to Stravinsky concerts, introduced me to the Nederlands Dans Theater, had me stand before Rothko paintings, accompanied me to Verdi operas, all under the pretense that these were purely intellectual outings.  In many respects, that was true.  I analyzed the psychological effect of color fields on Terran psychology, I explicated the significance of time and measures in the context of Stravinsky’s oeuvre, I considered the technique and physical requirements of Terran vocal chords in singing bel canto, I discussed with her the contrast between diagonal, vertical, and horizontal lines in movement, conceptualizing dance in terms of rising and falling, inhaling and exhaling.

Yet even as my mind worked, my emotions responded.  They stirred, deep inside.  I believe that was the first instance when I consciously recognized that emotions might enhance one’s understanding of a subject matter, rather than obscure one’s logic.  It was certainly the first time I considered that emotions might be necessary to comprehend myself and the world around me.

Still, Nyota wanted more than I could provide.  When we initiated our romantic relationship, the terms were always unequal.  She always invested more emotionally than I was able, while I gave more intellectually than she could return.  Nyota is a genius, but her brilliance is similar to mine.  We are more likely to agree with each other than disagree, more likely to interpret data and our observations in the same manner than challenge each other’s perceptions.  She needed, and tried to produce, more emotions from me, while I found our conversations interesting, but not exhilarating.  It was only a matter of time before our romantic relationship ended.

Then the Narada destroyed Vulcan.

That mission split me open emotionally like nothing else ever had.  My rage, sorrow, hatred, longing, were pushed to the forefront and forcibly released, put on full display.  The aftermath drew me closer to Nyota, who shared my grief and supported me when I felt totally isolated from the world.  Nero’s actions brought me in contact with James T. Kirk, a man whose intelligence is so different from mine that even now, after serving under him for one and a half Terran years, I cannot claim to know him.  I met an alternate self who held out the hope for something I longed for yet long suppressed.  And for the first time, guided by nothing but a feeling, I chose to accept the position of First Officer under Captain James T. Kirk and serve aboard the Enterprise.

On this ship, I have found equality.  I have found a place where those around me accept me wholly, who value me as an individual and respect me as an officer.  Through the process of time and circumstance, working together in close quarters, we have had the opportunity to observe each other and understand one another as we are, not as we are thought to be.  I have found the courage to accept my Terran half and face it without fear.  I will never consider myself a Terran—the inequality still exists within me.  However, in accepting the divide, I have balanced the equation, so that there is no contradiction in declaring that I am half Terran, half Vulcan, but count myself a Vulcan serving in Starfleet.

Not only that, but on this ship, I have found an equal.  Jim challenges me as much as I challenge him.  He offers a completely different and new perspective to questions I thought I had already answered.  We push against each other, we pull in opposite directions and in the process I find that somehow, I have changed.  He has never demanded me to conduct myself a certain way, he has never expected me to be more or less Vulcan or Terran.  We react to the presence of the other, inducing transformations that neither could anticipate.  Like chemical reagents seeking equilibrium, he and I respond to external pressures by Le Chatelier’s principle, constantly adjusting and compensating wherever necessary.  At once a unit yet distinct in our components, Jim and I create another equation.

I have known many kinds of inequality.  The more I see of others and the more I see past my own insecurities, I believe that every sentient being living in the context of society knows the inherent inequalities that exist between people.  We are bound by our appearances, we want that others would see through the exterior and unflinchingly accept the beauty and ugliness that characterize us.  More than that, we long for others to value what they see.

I am learning of the many types of equality.  It is something both found and created, gifted and forged.  It is a place in the universe, it is an exchange between two people, it is a definition built on a divide, a basis that spans both spaces.

Yet something stirs deep inside, telling me that I have only touched the surface.  That underneath, another divide—a contradiction—waits.  A fire whispers of an equality beyond thought and emotion, a bond between two equally matched katras, another event that will split me open and redefine everything.  It fills me with terror.  I have only recently found a balance in myself.  This threatens to overturn every assumption I have, rewrite all my axioms before I have finished exploring my mathematics.

I will not let it consume me.  I have lived too long without a true sense of self to give it up to a fire.  Jim looks at me with his blue eyes, igniting every corner of my mind and body.  I will not let him burn me away, I will not allow him to compromise me once more.

Even as I moan into his kiss.



Annotations


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i literally squealed when i got the message that you updated. :D

um... how? By all means, read, but my update isn't done. I wanted to take a break from writing to today, but I have 2-4 more chapters to write before I'll let everyone know of my massive update.

i used the "track journal" function on LiveJournal to follow fanfiction authors.

Cool. Hope you enjoy.

Just to be clear, could you not tell others? I have ~20 more chapters to post before I consider this update to be "finished."

Thanks

that's fine, i actually thought everyone did this. ^_^;;

I saw the updates yesterday but only managed to come by today. For you, I wanted to spend real time. I enjoy savoring your phrases, re-reading, and thinking through your equations and balance. I need real time for this. Your work is brilliant.

I love this chapter.

I'm glad you said you didn't want people to know because I was about to fire off some email...

I enjoy a quick read and a laugh as much as anyone. I love my porn as much as anyone. But this? This stuff is why I read books. This stuff is why I fucking think at all and it's why I write.

thank you


ps. it's also probably why i'm insane, but that's another topic.
pps. that your mind turns to this environment, star trek, and these lovers, elevates the entire imagining and all the universes they inhabit. i mean this quite seriously, because anyone can see -- this is star trek fan fiction; this is Kirk and Spock, and know it is literature.

.

Hear hear to your pps. This is what makes it worthwhile in the deepest, most effectual sense. There is something worth exploring here, and this fic does it at the highest level.

Lovely start to this update, my friend.

I enjoyed Spock's exploration of equalities and equations, the mathematics of being divided and whole. This:

I am learning of the many types of equality. It is something both found and created, gifted and forged. It is a place in the universe, it is an exchange between two people, it is a definition built on a divide, a basis that spans both spaces.

is thought-provoking, heartbreaking and uplifting all at once.

And then you turn to the emotional wallop of this chapter:

fire whispers of an equality beyond thought and emotion, a bond between two equally matched katras, another event that will split me open and redefine everything. It fills me with terror. I have only recently found a balance in myself. This threatens to overturn every assumption I have, rewrite all my axioms before I have finished exploring my mathematics.... Even as I moan into his kiss.

I am in awe of what you're achieving here...

You've definitely got your groove on, girl. :-)

I've got a meeting in seven minutes, so can't read more now. I look forward to reading and savoring the rest of your update though.

In sum, lovely work. Thank you for sharing it.



Hi! So I've been following this story ever since you were on chapter 90-some, and I'm absolutely thrilled that there are 30 new chapters to read since the last time I checked on this. This chapter is very interesting and thought-provoking, and I love that Spock is concerned for his sense of self. However, there's one thing that's bugging me a little bit:

Equality. The ability to define oneself according to one’s own truth, live it, and have others recognize the intrinsic value of that claim. To have society accept it fully, without exceptions and stipulations upon one’s person. To define one’s own mathematics, and have others see the beauty there.

This is true and deftly put - you can't be equal if you can't say who and what you are. However, would Spock really think in terms of personal truths and personal mathematics?

I thought he would. There have been several other chapters, including this one, where he discusses how "truths" were imposed on him. I'm not done putting Spock through a learning curve. He'll have to learn how to balance the truths that society presents with his own. I have tried to set up a general exploration of individual vs. society, and this is a component of it.

A lovely look at Spock's take on the evolution of his relationship, not just with Jim, but with all of the Enterprise crew as an entirety.

Those last lines make me sad for Spock, however, and of course a tad frustrated. I want him to see that Jim would never undo what Spock has found--that Jim is part of his revelation and as such is not a danger to this balanced identity he has carved out between his Vulcan and his Human sides. But as you've proven over the course of this epic, Spock does not always grasp these things quickly, despite his great intellect. Emotions are still a new thing in many ways.

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