Avenger: Chapter 6

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Shortly after entering orbit around Canris, Sarek, Amanda, Sojar, and Marakil beamed over to the Defiance to meet with the team of diplomats. Uhura and McCoy joined them, as they were to be Marakil's guests. For three hours, they went over details of the culture and lifestyles of the Canrisians. Those going down among them had to be careful of proper addresses for the various levels of society, to avoid speaking too respectfully, or not respect­fully enough. There were taboos to watch out for, such as touching someone before being formally introduced, which could be misconstrued as an attack. Those who would dress as natives and move about the towns and markets had to know the language as they could not carry translators. And on and on. After the basic meeting had concluded, the anthropologists and sociologists from the Enterprise went to sick bay for inoculations and lectures on what food to avoid to prevent allergic reactions or toxic combinations, depending on their blood chemistry. Dr. McCoy stayed for a short meeting with those who would stay at Speaker Kaynan's house, though he would head to sick bay for his own briefing later with CMO Gaylen Meng.

Marakil displayed a map of the household so they could find their way without help from servants who did not speak Federation Standard. Her family spoke the language and would personally oversee the needs of the visitors. She described her family, what each brother and sister-in-law specialized in. McCoy listened, but the details went right past him.

"One last thing. My people have a highly specialized form of xeno­phobia." Marakil's gaze went to a young woman, perhaps six years older than herself, a science officer on the Defiance. The two exchanged a look of wry understanding. "They have no problem buying and selling with aliens, whether physically different or not, but for that alien to offer attention to someone of the opposite gender usually generates a deadly response. This is mostly in the lower classes, who do not avail themselves of the educational opportunities of our world, and the dissident clans, who want no aliens on our world at all. In the educated, upper classes, marriage is permitted. But we fear ... mutations. Purity of ... M'kar?" She gestured to the Defiance officer, whom McCoy assumed was M'kar.

"What Marakil means is," M'kar went on, "marriage is permitted, even welcomed for the sake of peace, but offspring are to not welcome. As on other worlds, pure blood is more important than peace, understanding, or the exchange of learning and beauty."

"Thank you." Marakil nodded.

McCoy saw she avoided Sojar's gaze. Was this the problem she had to work out before marrying him?

"There will be no problem with the nobility over the marriage between Ambassador Sarek and Lady Amanda. Vulcan is highly regarded by all. But it would be wise not to mention that Cmdr. Spock is their son. Not for shame, but to avoid harm to both sides."

"I concur with these precautions," Sarek said before anyone could react. "We knew of this problem, and if she had not assured us this would not harm the mission, I would have requested another represent Vulcan."


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