The Academy letters

By

Pat Foley

Stardate 2250.7.22 -- Shikahr, Vulcan

Dear Reny

Congrats on your paper being accepted to the Federation pan-ethology conference. Hawaii is certainly a beautiful spot for it. I almost wish I were going myself, but you know how it is. Someone's beating their war drums somewhere in the Federation – who is classified – and I may have to pull up stakes and play Ruth. Even if nothing should come of it, I'm really not keen on leaving Vulcan – and Sarek -- right now anyway. So much has happened.

But look, you're only going to be a short shuttle hop from California. And you know I have a kid there at Starfleet Academy. Spock's been looking a little green to me in his weekly messages, even for a Vulcan, and I'm worried he has a cold, or the Vulcan equivalent. True, San Francisco is not exactly the arctic, but it is damp, and the fog there being what it is, he's likely to dissolve in the humidity. And I can't get him to tell me anything about whether he is warm enough. Do me a favor, go to Bloomies before you leave Boston and take two pairs of long johns to him. Send me the bill, of course. And let me know how he looks. Maybe it's just the video on my computer, but Sarek checked it with his usual Vulcan thoroughness and says it is all right. If I don't hear something soon, I may dispatch a Vulcan healer to Terra.

As for the conference, give them hell. Give Thad a kiss for me, tell him I want to send him a belated thank you for his wedding present. It came in unbelievably handy at an unexpected time. And if Jake tries to rope you into any seminars, or gives you any guff, tell him from me that I know where the bodies are buried and I won't hesitate to dig them up.

Give my son a kiss for me, if he'll let you. Don't worry, he won't.

Come to think of it, give him one for me anyway!

Love,

Amanda

xxx

Cambridge, Massachusetts -- July 24, 2250

Mandy

You're probably the only mother of a teenager in Federation history with a kid away at school who actually messages you every week. How'd you blackmail him into that, is what I want to know. Forgive me for being blunt, but he was never exactly the clinging to your skirt type, growing up. You should count your lucky stars in that respect, you probably have more contact with him, even if by subspace with him lightyears away, than most Terran parents of teenagers have with their kids in the house.

Of course, I'll take him the long johns, though try to remember it's summer everywhere in the northern hemisphere. Bloomies isn't going to have winter bloomies. But I'll find them somewhere. You do realize he's going to get horribly teased and embarrassed if I show up and give him these? It will probably scar him for life. Anything else you want me to bring him? His old teddy bear, maybe? Or is I-Chiya too fat and spoiled to follow him to this school?

How's Sarek? Learned to smile yet? Give him my regards – ha, even a Vulcan won't believe that. And tell him he better be treating you right, or I'll send him some mid twentieth century literature my office mate (a human sociology professor, can you believe it, how provincial!) discovered on a syndrome they called Male Chauvinist Pigs. He could be a classic case. Are we sure Vulcans weren't discovered in the 20th century? They would have fit right in.

Kisses

Reny

xxx

Stardate 2250.7.24 -- Shikahr, Vulcan

Reny

You've got your species mixed, dear. Tellurites are the ones that look like pigs. Vulcans are the sharp eared, sharp browed ones that look a bit like the devil. Certainly my husband has a bit of the devil in him, but I like him that way.

Seriously, thanks so much for the favor, and I'll be happy to send you anything you want from Vulcan. Sarek sends his regards. I told him about your pigs and he said he was sure the research must be flawed. In his experience it was impossible to keep an Earthwoman down, that all in the way of Vulcan methods had been tried and that he doubted humans of any century had anything that would be remotely efficacious in that regard. But he suggested sending the material along, and he'd try it. Purely for research purposes, of course. What have you started?

You don't want to know what I told him in reply. Well, probably you do, but I'm not saying!

Mandy

xxx

San Francisco, California -- July 27, 2250

Mandy

Your kid is a little green because he's tan. It is summer, and they believe in good healthy outdoor exercise at Starfleet Academy, not sitting in front of a computer screen, anemic and pale studying all day long as he does - or did – on Vulcan. Apparently they have them out on the drilling field as often as in the classroom. Spock has really grown, much taller, and, I think, less weedy. Looks like they put a little muscle on him, for a Vulcan that is.

And apropos to that, your kid has an arm!

You may not know it, but my visit corresponded with the Academy All-Stars baseball series, where the current cadets play the returning "old boys", a group of officers returning to teach or for training. Normally, this is a closely pitched battle, at least according to the crowd in the bleachers, because while the current crop of cadets are young and in shape, the officers are seasoned and bloodthirsty. When I arrived, they were playing a double header, and in towards the end of the first game, the regular pitcher had tired and Spock was put in as a relief. Wow is all I can say. Maybe it's a thing any Vulcan can do, that kind of eye-hand coordination, but he was amazing. In the second game, he pitched a no hit shut out. Toward the end of the fifth inning, the crowd was murmuring and counting every strike. I confess I also lost it and got so excited that I was yelling for him to put it in the batter's ear. Except that I don't think Spock even heard the crowd or had a clue that he was doing anything unusual. He just stood on that mound, eyes narrowed in speculation and pitched those balls like they were delivered by laser cannon. I think he would have been surprised if he'd let a pitch connect. One unfortunate gentleman behind me made a rude comment to the effect that he didn't think they ought to let aliens in the league, or Starfleet for that matter. I confess I told him I knew that pitcher's mother and she was as human as either of us. Darn near came to blows. Fortunately I don't think Spock heard that either. At least, it didn't affect his game. He can also hit. You forget how strong Vulcans are until you see him swing that bat. I don't think they ever recovered the ball he whacked out of the park. Maybe if they dredge San Francisco Bay for it. Or you might find it in orbit around Eridani in a few lightyears. Perhaps he was sending it to you, airmail.

BTW, your kid was awarded the game ball. I took a few pictures and rescued that dubious trophy for you. Your clueless son was going to put it back with the rest of the equipment after the ceremony. You need to teach him that for a teenager, that's as great an honor as one of his mother's Zi Magnis.

Didn't think you were going to get to be a Little League Mom, did you, Mandy?

Though judging the way the defeated officers were looking at him as if they wanted his green blood, I'm not sure they appreciated his abilities. Probably not the most politic thing for him to do. Tell me, how did a kid from two such savvy political parents grow up so completely clueless? You see, you should have dragged him around with you to diplomatic events, and not kept putting him in one school after another when you had to travel. Tell Sarek he overdid the Vulcan education – Spock can calculate to umpteen decimals but he doesn't have a clue how to deal with people. Do council him, Mandy dear, in letting humans keep some of their pride, if you want to keep this Federation intact. Pitching skills aside, I shudder to imagine a Starfleet with him in it.

I did deliver the long johns as you requested. While he was perfectly polite, his manner suggested I was asking him to wear pink ribbons to baseball practice. I don't think they're going to see use. But if he gets cold, he can always wear that silly baseball uniform – it looks like it would double as thermal underwear. See enclosed pics!

On to Hawaii!

Love,

Reny

xxx

Stardate 2250.7.27 22:05 hours -- Starfleet Academy

Mother

I am messaging to acknowledge the clothing you sent in care of Doctor Thorn. I fail to understand why these were sent. As a Starfleet cadet you know I am required to wear a uniform. And it doesn't include civilian "long johns". However, they do appear to be warm. I suppose I can wear them during the term breaks. I am reasonably acclimated to Terran temperatures, but the humidity is somewhat distressing. To put it bluntly, Mother, it rains so much here, I wonder that in their evolution Terrans didn't develop gills.

Your friend appeared at an unpropitious time, as I was required to participate in a particular team activity and thus could not give her any attention. She did however join the crowd to watch. I myself don't understand the human predilection for participating in or watching these games of sport involving balls and sticks. They appear to assign a disproportionate importance to them at this school. By the way, while I don't mean to seem disrespectful, I don't believe your friend should attempt to attend further such events. She became overly excited and kept urging me to do violence against the opposing players in strict opposition to the rules of the game. Not that it would have been necessary. These games seem nothing but an elementary exercise in coordination at which any Vulcan preschooler could easily excel. Violence was hardly called for in obtaining victory.

One thing, your friend indicated you would desire the "game" ball that was given to me at the end of the activity. I am not sure why it was called that, because there was a whole rack of balls that we used in the course of playing these games, and only one was presented. Nor was I aware, Mother, that you cared to play baseball, or that you regrettably lack the equipment for the endeavor. It is unfortunate, because last week I was given another such, and since I had no use for it, I surreptitiously returned it to the equipment shed after the presentation. However, there are several more games in this "series" as they call it, and all use such balls, so I have future opportunities to obtain additional equipment on your behalf. Since I have no use or desire for them, I can forward them to you. The team members often scribble on the ball during the awarding ceremony, but it doesn't appear this would affect its functioning. I suppose I can find the one previously awarded based on these markings, if I search, and if I come across it, I will also forward it to you. Please advise how many you require.

Aren't they readily available in commerce?

I trust you and Sarek are well. BTW, Dr. Thorn tried to give me a kiss from you. Really, Mother, you surely did not indicate that I ever engage in such unVulcan practices. Did you? I offered her the Vulcan salute instead.

Your son,

Spock

xxx

Stardate 2250.7.29 -- Shikahr, Vulcan

Dear Spock,

Sorry about the long johns. But it seems to me as a Vulcan you should get some sort of dispensation for your uniform. Can't you ask? I worry about you. And don't prate to me about Vulcan controls. I'm with your father when we go to Earth-like planets, and conferences with Earth-normal conditions, and even he turns a little green with cold.

Re the fog, have you thought about getting a dehumidifier for your room?

Naturally I would never tell Dr. Thorn anything that would embarrass you. What do you take me for? I am your mother.

Regarding games of sport, consider them excellent socialization. You're supposed to be learning something of humans too, you know. As for the "game balls", I would like you to send them to me. I can find some use for them. Perhaps I'll teach your father to play – and see if he plays as well as his son.

Love (and kisses)

Mother

xxx

Stardate 2250.7.30 -- Shikahr, Vulcan

Reny

Oh, my god, I just got your pictures. You're right, he's adorable in that uniform. And it is a tan! I envy you so much being there on Earth. I never thought my oh so proper Vulcan son would ever play baseball. Do try to get there during one of the games and record the whole thing for me. But please, don't get so excited, or at least be careful what you're yelling. I don't want him to think humans are such barbarians! Remember, he's a Vulcan and used to doing what he's told by elders. When you scream, "Kill the batter! Or "Stick it in his ear!" he takes it literally. I don't need you inciting my kid to riot and mayhem. You know he's got Vulcan strength -- and you're right, he is getting some muscles! And while his father would be delighted if he got kicked out of Starfleet, I'm not keen on my kid being a jailbird.

Grateful thanks otherwise,

Mandy

To be continued