This is part of a collaborative effort to produce a piece of Star Trek fiction that looks forward, rather than backward. Future installments will follow as they are written.
Nav was early to the transporter room, and yet the Vulcan delegation seemed to have been there for some time, to nobody’s surprise. There were still a few minutes before they would beam down, so she put her travel bag down and leant against a bulkhead, trying to look casual.
She would have taken a PADD out to read, but her mind was racing and, in any case, she doubted she’d be able to keep her hand from shaking. So she just kept quiet and surveyed the Vulcans, in their pristine robes and immaculate haircuts and perfect postures. A few of them were engaged in quiet debate; two of them were sat legs-crossed on the floor in meditation; another, an older monk, approached Nav directly, and she found her anxiety rocketing.
“Greetings,” he said, in those typical even tones, “I presume you are heading down to the Academy campus?”
“Correct,” she answered. “You’re next door, aren’t you?”
He paused while he parsed what she’d said. “If you mean the Vulcan enclave, then yes, it is situated adjacent to the main campus facility.”
The Vulcan’s pervasive serenity had already calmed her nerves a little. Forgetting for a moment her imminent worries, her curiosity got the better of her. “Is it true – uh, is it accurate, that you’re on a mission? I mean, that you’re missionaries?”
He tilted his head in acquiescence. “It is not accurate, nor entirely true. We are indeed here to attend the well being of the Vulcans in the Gamma Quadrant, but ours is a cultural mission, not a religious one.”
“But they’re still logical, aren’t they? They still follow Surak’s teachings?”
“After a fashion. They adhere to logic where it suits them, but many have… deviated, from cultural norms. We are here to both observe these,” he paused again, “deviations, and to convince them by example of the benefits of a more logical path.”
More questions bubbled up in Nav’s mind, but she was prevented from giving them voice by the arrival of her parents, who rushed into the transporter room and embraced her tightly.
“Nawisah!” her mother cried, “why weren’t you at home?”
“I thought we were meeting here,” Nav lied, and qualified unnecessarily “I wanted to be prompt.”
Her mother, a Lieutenant Commander of stellar cartography, embraced her tighter still, whilst her father put his arms around both of them. He was a Lieutenant in the astrogeology department. The chance to catalogue the rocks of the far reaches of the Gamma Quadrant and map the planets on which they were found was a dream opportunity for both of them. They hadn’t hesitated to accept the offer.
“You’ll be careful down there, won’t you?” her father instructed.
“Dad, we’ll be meeting up in, like, ninety minutes.”
“Still though, just watch out once you get there.”
“Dad! It’s a Federation colony, it will be fine!”
Her mother put both hands on Nav’s face and looked her in the eyes. “Listen to your dad, Nawisah, you don’t want to get lost or end up late for registration.”
“Lieutenant, Lieutenant Commander,” the Vulcan monk offered. “If it would reassure you, my peers and I would have no objection to seeing your daughter safely to her destination. It would be no inconvenience to us.”
Her father took the monk’s hand and shook it, saying “would you? That’d great, thank you so much, she-“. He didn’t realise his error until he saw the shocked expression on the Vulcan’s face, at which point he let go and lowered his head bashfully.
“It would be our honour,” the Vulcan confirmed. Nav noted him wiping his hand on his robe, as subtly as he could manage.
Nav loosened her hold on her mother, hoping the favour would be returned, but she only held on more tightly to her daughter. “Mum, it will be fine,” she said. “Ninety minutes, then I’ll see you at the main concourse.” The embrace tightened again.
“Okay, ninety minutes. If anything happens, tell us straight away.”
“Nothing. Will happen.”
The transporter chief called out thirty seconds until energising. Nav’s mother finally released her, and stood to one side, whilst her dad handed her the bulky travel bag. As she took it, he pulled her close and kissed her on the forehead, and her mother hugged her again. She retreated to the transporter pad and stood to the side of the Vulcans. She faced her parents, and they were waving frantically at her – despite being no more than three metres away.
She wanted to mutter something like “Here we go,” or “this is it,” or some other cliche, but Vulcan hearing was acute so she kept her mouth shut. In her head, there were no words, just a tangle of images, of what she imagined her first view of the planet would be; of the transporter chief activating the main energiser; of her mother on the comm screen, telling her that they wanted her to come with them through the wormhole; of the sun shining through the Golden Gate Bridge, just like the mission patch she’d proudly sewn onto her uniform; of her parents, waving and smiling and smiling at her from three metres away, glad to be one step closer to their perfect assignment; and of Aisha, wrapping her arms around Nav’s waist and burying her face in her stomach.
The transporter room faded to white, and the next thing she felt was cool stone beneath her feet.