Location: USS Standing Bear | Holodeck 1
Timeline: 2393 - Just after Dinner Party
With the dinner party over T’Lanna had waited for the majority of guests to depart before turning to Soral. “Soral ... Raith and I were hoping you wouldn’t mind answering some concerns we have with regards ...” She looked at Raith then back at Soral. “Bonding.”
"Of course. Let us retire to the sitting room." He lead them back to the original room they'd entered. He brought a tray of drinks and picked a seat on a red and black sofa. He was glad Alex was here as well. He'd answer any questions she had. He'd seen her reading the book she'd borrowed from Eyelaya but a book could only tell so much.
T’Lanna looked at Raith relieved that Soral was willing to talk to them about such a sensitive subject. “I appreciate this Soral, I’ve never bonded before ... hell I’ve never been in a serious relationship before, so it’s all new to me. I know Raith has concerns of his own so any advice or help you can give us would be wonderful.”
Entering the sitting room, Alex heard the topic of discussion and almost about turned. Unsure if anyone actually intended or wanted her to be there for such a personal conversation.
Soral held out his hand to her.
T’Lanna offered a smile. “Please stay Alex, you’ve been through bonding with Soral. This may benefit you and it’ll help us to talk to you as well.” She sighed. “I gave Raith a shock last night, I was kind of ... point blank about the fact that my time is almost up and that if we bonded he’d more or less, be my husband if he chose to bond with me.” She offered Raith an apologetic look. “I have a lot to learn in a very short space of time.”
While she would have preferred for it stay a private discussion between them, Alex nevertheless took the hand Soral offered to her. She did not release it even as she sat at his side. She offered Raith a sympathetic smile. She could understand the shock. At least, she stopped herself from pointing out it is a bigger shock coming after the fact.
“You were telling me before that there are different levels of bonding.” T’Lanna looked at Soral then at Raith, then back at Soral. “I’d like just to learn to blend my mind with Raith, to show him how I feel for him, but I’m afraid of hurting him.” She gently took hold of Raith’s hand giving it a gentle squeeze.
Soral stayed silent for a moment. He was grateful for Alex and her holding his hand. He was comfortable discussing this with Alex but being a typical Vulcan there were some things one didn't discuss in this manner. He did, however, understand Vali wanting to know.
"Indeed. The first level of bonding is usually done early in life. The mind of one touches the other so that when the time for the mating cycle comes both would be called to either strengthen their union and marry or select the challenge akin to a divorce where the male is forced to fight to the death for the female." He paused. "The bond between husband and wife is more intimate. It is where the mind of one weaves into the mind of the other. A permanent link wherewith which you can speak telepathically sense one another's thoughts and feelings, and usually it is done in the first stages of plak'tow, the blood fever." He cleared his throat. "When the male is in the third stage of Plak'tow it is too late to bond the mind as it is the final mating stage whereas they must mate or die." He paused. "For females, they are spared the plak'tow stage but are still at risk for death. That all being said the kind of bonding that you refer to, to show one's feelings, can be done via simple mind-meld. If you wish the bond of marriage then it can be complicated if untrained, which is why your father suggested the aid of a priestess. It also comes with requirements for both parties. Alex and I are bonded but it was done while I was not in Pon'farr. When it is my time it shall be her choice if she wises to reaffirm our bond for seven years or challenge whereas I will be required to fight a challenger of her choosing."
He omitted the accidental nature of it, Alex noted with a small smile. Although her one question she did not ask aloud. Exactly how long they had until she had to make such a choice. She could not imagine opting for a challenger. Although just a few weeks before she had not known just how much her life would have changed. But she knew it was a life which very much needed Soral in it.
Soral had heard her unspoken question through the link. His hand tightened on her. ~Just under two years my wife.~
T’Lanna looked at Raith, she knew he’d have questions of his own having learned all this. “I have done a mind meld before but I’m understandingly nervous about making any mistakes. As for my time, it would be in a matter of five months or so but I’m hoping that being pregnant will delay that until after I’ve given birth and my body is ready. So that gives me longer to think all this through.”
"Indeed. Pregnancy does delay it." Soral confirmed.
Alex frowned slightly as she glanced at Raith. She offered an encouraging smile, “you must have questions.”
Raith shifted uncomfortably in his seat and could see Alex smile. "I do," he admitted as he took T'Lanna's hand in his. He could see that both Soral and Alex were very close and having spent some time with Alex on the away mission recently, he felt a little more comfortable. "I just wanted to let T'Lanna ask questions first as I know shes been anxious and curious about this."
He took a breath before continuing. "I think what scares me about this is not the idea of being married to T'Lanna, I think the world of her and I can't imagine ever being without her in my life," he started.
"I think what scares me is the idea of Bonding and what it can do to myself as well as T'Lanna. The idea of possibly giving my life for hers...is not something I'm scared of...but its also knowing what it's like for the partner," he said as he looked at Alex. "I apologise if I'm prying and I don't mean to be but I want to know what will happen and what I'm getting into."
Raith sat forward a little as he finalised his thoughts. "Recently...I stumbled and was scared when T'Lanna talked about this and I feel that I let her down by not reacting correctly. I felt scared because I didn't know about the details and how it works and that's what I'd like to find out," he said, looking at T'Lanna and smiling before looking over at both Soral and Alex. He could see that this was important to them as much as it was important to he and T'Lanna.
"There is a lot to it to take in." He paused. "I shall let Alex tell you of what is and has been like for her so far and I shall provide you with all the information."
“I’m not sure I can explain it properly,” Alex frowned. “It wasn’t painful, for either of us. I’m still learning a lot of it myself... I promise it did not hurt. At all. I could feel what Soral felt, and the same for him. It was surreal, powerful, intimate. And now, it is like he is always with me in a way.”
She recalled how it had felt in the lab, to feel as if he were physically there with her, giving her strength and calm. Her grip on his hand tightened. Knowing what she knew now, she realised it could have ended badly not just for her.
“I’m not sure what else I can tell you,” she admitted, “other than it is honest, and powerful. I worry. I worry what will happen if either of us is badly hurt. Or worse. Soral can explain that side better...”
Soral gave a nod. "Indeed." He paused allowing himself to order his thoughts.
"It may be slightly different for the two of you. T'Lanna is Betazoid in part thus has strong telepathic abilities that fit with her Vulcan ones. The bond would be, as Alex said, intimate and strong. It will allow you to draw on each other like a power cell. When one is tired or afraid the other will be able to lend strength and vice versa. But with that comes...a danger. If one of you is injured the other will feel it. It will be like an electric shock and you will know the extent of the injury right away."
He held onto Alex's hand knowing she wanted to hear the full of it. "When two Vulcans bond. If one dies of old age the bond is severed, felt, grieved and one moves on. If, however, the one dies in a traumatic way or from illness the other could die as well if a Vulcan healer does not enter into a healing meld with the survivor. It is preferable to have a family member enter the meld as well to call the Katra back but not necessary. However, that being said. Because T'Lanna is only half Vulcan and you are not Vulcan both should survive but there will be a deep trauma with the severing of the bond." He paused. "It is like that with Alex and I. If something were to happen to me she would survive if something were to happen to her I would not without a healing meld." He paused again. "We do have a healer on this ship though. When there is a Vulcan married couple there is a healer assigned it is in Vulcan regulations. The Chief Engineer and Ops are married. Our healer is T'pala she is in the Linguistic section. She is the eldest Vulcan healer with high ESP and has been trained in the art of meld healing."
“I didn’t realise that” T’Lanna looked at Soral. “It’s good to know. Thank you for explaining things to us, as I already told Raith and yourself, my father has offered to have us bonded by a priestess so that there is less danger of anything going wrong, but I don’t want to rush Raith into something he’s not ready for.” She looked at Raith. “I’m hoping in the time I have whilst pregnant, that we can develop our relationship and see where it leads us.”
"It is something to think on. For the first year, the bond will be fluid. The longer the couple is bonded the more difficult it is to break and thusly can only be broken by the challenge and the aid of an Elder Master of Gol."
“Master of Gol?” Alex repeated, becoming used to all the references meaning little to her.
"Someone who has undergone the Kholinar a purge of emotions."
“Oh...” thinking about it, she couldn’t imagine it. No emotions. How sad. Ironically so.
Soral tightened his hold on Alex's hand. "Indeed. They have studied for years. They are dispassionate and can break the bond with no detriment to themselves. They are also able to strengthen those they mind-meld with."
It was still sad, Alex decided. After all, while some emotions could break your heart others made it soar. She glanced at their guests, “Any more questions? More drinks?”
T’Lanna shook her head. “I don’t think I’ve any more questions for now, and no thank you Alex.” She offered a smile. “I appreciate your honesty Soral, I know this is normally a private matter for Vulcans that’s rarely discussed openly.”
"Indeed but it was necessary."
Raith nodded as he took on board what both Soral and Alex had explained and felt a little better about this situation. He looked at T'Lanna as she seemed to be a lot happier about the potential of a bond between then and how it would work and that helped real Raith about this too. He grasped her hand and held it tight.
"Thank you both, for listening to us and also talking about a very sensitive and private subject," he said. "We appreciate the time you have taken to go through this in a high level of detail and it helped me to realize that I acted somewhat irrationally earlier."
Raith sat back as the conversation moved on. He and T'Lanna took up Alex on her offer for drinks as the conversation between the four of them continued. Firm friendships were made during the evening as they continued to talk.