Here to Learn
They are all Paramount's, not mine.
Notes: As Spock is on the bridge, listening to Pike being a mentor, he reflects some himself. A parallel tale to the Arc of the Wolf story, Tactics.
The quiet of the bridge was soothing. Even with the presence at the helm and navigation console of the Captain and Lieutenant Scott, it was still a good deal quieter than it normally was while the Enterprise
was underway, and Spock took advantage of that quiet in order to run some simulations of his own at the science station. Currently, he was analyzing recent changes in nearby nebulae under his own theory that increased warp travel around them had caused some surprising fluctuations in their base densities and compositions.
Most of his attention was dedicated to that endeavor; he looked forward to studying this possible phenomenon to its conclusions. Science was a discipline of logic, and Spock found it consistently challenging; if he were so inclined, he would even consider it to be enjoyable. The search for the truth, regardless of what that truth ended up being. He held no anger and didn't feel offended when one of his theories was disproved; he considered any quest that ended with new knowledge to be entirely worthwhile.
Some small part of his attention followed the Captain's and Scott's conversation; Captain Pike was acting as a mentor in this case. Spock had found him to be quite adept in that particular role. Within only months of joining this crew, Spock had come to appreciate the calmness that Pike carried himself with, as much as he appreciated the logical nature of Number One. Both were excellent commanding officers without many contrasts that could potentially lead to a conflict in the chain of command. Whether acting as Captain, mentor or explorer, Pike held true to his own value set -- he was able to tailor his approach to individuals of his crew without ever giving into false or duplicitous behavior patterns. In as such, he was able to make his crew feel as secure as possible.
His approach to Spock was a genuinely respectful one, always with courtesy and devoid of any unnecessary emotionalism. Pike listened when Spock had a theory, and encouraged his officers to be able to act and think for themselves within their specialties. In part because of this, the Enterprise
ran like a very well-disciplined machine.
It was not often Spock allowed himself strong moments of uncertainty and doubt, but he had them. Moments where he misspoke to a human crewmember, sometimes angering them, sometimes even seeming to hurt them with his words. It was never intentional, but those moments left him feeling shaken and wondering what he had done wrong. After a few such conversations, he had brought it up to Pike. The Captain's words were patient and soothing without being edged with pity or derision.
"Sometimes, Spock, humans get emotionally invested in ideas, even just theoretical ones. And when those ideas don't pan out as expected, they can become frustrated and feel that they've failed."
Pike had nodded, then. "Perhaps you should show them another perspective -- instead of them dwelling on what they haven't found, show them what they have."
The advice had been simple, succinct and invaluable. While some of the older scientists in his division were set in their ways, many of the younger scientists, some on their first tour, responded well. Spock remembered more than one instance where a theory worked on was disproved, and he was able to divert the attention to what had been learned by this, instead of it merely being a failure. While they had all gone through training and should have known that, Pike had been right; the emotional investment in the sciences could prove a boon, as it often encouraged harder work, but could also be a detriment. By reminding those young scientists that they had indeed found something valuable by proving what a theory was not, he was not only able to keep them on track, but also ease the interactions between himself and them.
He listened to Pike mentoring Scott now, even as he still worked himself; a different approach, more firm but also more gentle at the same time, and Pike had the same words for the engineer that he once gave to Spock.
"...you're here to learn."
"Indeed we are,"
Spock thought, and felt the peace of the nearly empty bridge.
And the same peace within himself.