They had disembarked from the ship successfully, avoiding any large crowds or noisy areas. Having left the shuttle-port, they were greeted by Starfleet personnel. A man stood with a woman at his side. Both were striking. The man, with piercing blue eyes and jet black hair, a tall, muscular build, accentuated by his tight-fitting, black professor’s uniform. The woman next to him boasted shoulder-length, shiny black hair, and pale blue eyes. He smiled, small but warm, and held out his hand. Amanda returned the smile and the handshake, introducing herself, “Hello, Sir. I am the Lady Amanda, and this is my son…” She was cut off by the man, abruptly but politely, as he turned his gaze to Spock, “Mister Spock. I am Lieutenant Christopher Pike, and this,” he gestured vaguely at the woman next to him, “is Number One.” The woman nodded courteously, but offered no further explanation. Spock’s eyes widened unperceptively to anyone but his mother and he raised his hand in the Vulcan salute, the Ta’al. His physiology was such that he had the sensitive hands of a Vulcan, and so it would have been unseemly for him to have used the Human greeting. Pike seemed to recognise this for what it was, and did not push further. Amanda’s smile widened slightly, reaching out to hold Spock protectively to her side, and returned her gaze to the man before her. Spock glanced up at her, but said nothing. Pike regarded them, seeming to come to a decision, before turning the woman introduced as ‘Number One’, “is the shuttlecar ready?” Again, her head bowed in an obvious positive, so the Lieutenant spoke to Amanda and Spock once more, “If you’d like to follow me?”
/ / / / / / / /
As the doors shut behind him, Spock was taken aback at the variety of colour visible in the view before him. Unsurprisingly, Vulcan was nothing like Earth, and Spock could understand why his mother had been so homesick. The second thing he noticed was the temperature. Spock was cold. Due to Vulcan being a much hotter planet than Earth, Vulcans have a lower body temperature. Thinking, Spock surmised that it was probably spring in San Francisco, as, by Earth standards, it was neither hot, nor cold. But there was life. Despite San Francisco being a city filled with skyscrapers, a modern-day metropolis, there was an abundance of it. There were birds of varying species, some low-flying, and some soaring amongst the roofs. There were plants; few and far-between, but where they were was beautiful. The shuttlecar necessitated that they be above ground, and so they were gifted with the ability to see Golden Gate Bridge and Golden Gate Park. The variances in the lives which could be seen there were also astonishing to Spock. There were men in suits, hurrying to their jobs or lunch-dates or families, whichever was most important. There were the women laden with shopping, some alone with expensive clothes and designer bags; and some in groups, raucous and happy, chatting and gossiping amongst themselves. The couples stood out the boldest to Spock, holding hands and looking out over the water., most standing shoulder to shoulder, the shorter with their head on the shoulder of the other, their stance depicting happiness and contentment. Spock almost let out a very unVulcan sigh. He knew his mother had noticed the same as him, and would be feeling Sarek’s loss keenly. He shuffled closer to her, not touching, but comforting all the same. He swivelled his head to look at the shuttlecar, following Lieutenant Pike, Number One and his mother into the passenger places.
As he sank into the plush seating, he inspected the Lieutenant and his accomplice again, wondering if there was anything he had missed. His mother, however, was on the offensive, saying, “So Lieutenant, you’re in Starfleet?” The man merely nodded, looking bemused. Amanda continued, “What prompted that idea?” Spock cringed inwardly at his mother’s blatant disregard for the man’s privacy. Much to his surprise, Pike answered, seemingly unperturbed, “Well Ma’am,” he began, but she interrupted, instructing him to call her Amanda. He acquiesced, carrying on, “Well, Amanda, as a boy I was always fascinated by the stars. Somehow, a big ball of gas was giving somewhere the conditions for life. I wanted to know how, why and what I could do with the knowledge. Naturally Starfleet sounded very appealing,” he concluded, his eyes glittering with badly hidden excitement. Amanda smiled, nodding. “So, what’s your focus?” If it were possible, his eyes seemed to glisten further as he stated proudly “command, but navigations second. Number One over her is my helmsman, or helmswoman I suppose, and when I’m Captain, she’ll be my First Officer.” Spock raised his eyebrow, sceptical that someone could have their life planned to such an extent. Spock did not even know what he wanted to study at school, he had so many interests. As if reading his thoughts, Pike moved his attention to him, “and Mister Spock. Do you have a focus?” Spock’s eyebrows knitted together as he carefully considered the question and how to answer it. He decided the bare truth would be the best option. “I am currently unsure as to what I shall be studying, as there are many subjects which I find to be… fascinating. Some examples include astrophysics, xenolinguistics, quantum mechanics, mathematics, philosophy and music.” Pike’s eyes widened comically at the list of ‘examples’ Spock provided him with. Number One still appeared nonplussed, seemingly a constant state of being for the regal-looking woman. “Music?” Pike queried, still bewildered. Spock merely nodded. Amanda, taking pity on the Lieutenant, added, “He plays the Vulcan equivalent of a lyre most beautifully,” with motherly pride in her voice. Spock’s face flushed a light green as he averted his gaze, while Pike looked at Amanda, gratitude in his eyes. “See, now that makes more sense! You left me floundering there!” Spock’s eyes lifted, filled with confusion, and a small amount of concern. Anticipating his next question, “no Spock,” she explained, “he wasn’t actually floundering, merely confused. It’s another illogical human idiom, I guess.” Spock’s face cleared. Mirth glinted in Amanda’s eyes, matching those of the Lieutenant and causing the corners of Spock’s mouth to twitch. Number One remained statue-like, a feat that would have impressed even a Vulcan.
Small talk made the rest of the journey pass quickly, with Pike and Amanda the only active participants in the conversation, Spock chiming in occasionally, and Number One remaining tacit. Soon enough Starfleet headquarters could be seen up ahead. The conversation dwindled as both Amanda and Spock focused their attentions on the impressive building coming into view. The glass glistened in the sunlight, making the building seem ethereal. The shuttle began to slow as they got closer to the shuttleport housed in the structure before them.