Biology

By

Pat Foley

At twelve, Spock hadn't yet started the preadolescent growth spurt that the healers and geneticist had predicted would cause him to sprout up taller than his father. He was still on the small side for a Vulcan boy his age, and lean as a whippet. No one would guess by looking at him that he found emotional control harder than his peers, for in addition to his unprepossessing physical stature, he was also carefully restrained in physical expression and body language, by main force of will. He even kept his very knowing bright black eyes partially camouflaged by shining black bangs. But other than these minor deviations, he was indistinguishable in a pack from other Vulcan boys his age, nothing obvious to indicate he was the son of the legendary Sarek of Vulcan, heir to a long line of Vulcan warriors and statesmen. Far less obvious was that he was also the child of Sarek's human wife Amanda, or the pride of both his parents, and the love of his human mother's life – after her husband. To the casual eye, he was merely another Vulcan boy, as alike as seeds in a plomeek.

He was, however, fiercely intelligent, more so even than his parents realized. Perhaps the teachers at his prestigious school, the most exclusive on Vulcan, whose uniform he so casually wore, had a better understanding of that. And behind his thick bangs, his bright black eyes had all the sharp observance of the budding scientist he was to become. Because he was so often quiet and unobtrusive, even his parents too often underestimated how much he observed and understood.

Entering the kitchen, he paused by the windowed wall to search for any changes in the many plants his mother kept there. He was interested to see that even though several flowers had faded and been pinched off of a violet primrose, a mass of new budheads were now pushing up through the loamy soil in which they were rooted. And a mossy basket of crocuses had sprouted spiky leaves. Perhaps by tomorrow the flowers would be out. Though he'd been predestined since before his birth to follow his father's footsteps to eventual clan rule and Federation politics, Spock's educational interests were being firmly directed into the hard sciences that were traditional in his family line – astrophysics, computers, mathematics. But Spock found biology interesting. Even more so the oddity of Terran things growing and thriving on Vulcan. His mother's plants. His mother. And by default, himself of course, half Terran, even though it was barely acknowledged by most.

"My goodness, is it that late already?" his mother asked as he dropped his carrybag by the kitchen door. She was sitting at the table, a compad before her, no doubt working on one of her academic papers. Spock never understood her odd choices for working environments, because she had an office. Two offices, in fact. Though she was human, his mother taught at the Vulcan Science Academy and had an office there, as well as one in his parent's suite.

"Aren't you back rather early? I thought you were visiting your grandmother today?" she asked absently, her eyes still on her work.

"That's tomorrow, mother," Spock said. Had he been a Terran pre-teenager, he would have rolled his eyes. As it was, his voice mirrored the exact tone of excessive patience his father used when his mother was being 'human'. He wondered how Terrans could accomplish anything when they were forever unaware of such basic essentials as the hour of the day and the day of the week.

"Hmmm. Just a minute, honey," Amanda frowned at her compad, chewing the tail of her long braid, something for which Spock knew, were his father here, he would certainly mention to her. Then her brow cleared, and she tossed the braid over her shoulder and entering a last notation, breathed a sigh of relief. "That's done. It may not dazzle the Legion of Science, but," she tapped off the compad decisively, "it's good enough for government work." She turned toward him.

Spock raised a brow. "Shouldn't all work be done with equal competence? Or if there is any discrepancy, that for the government done excellently?"

"That depends on the government," his mother said, that dry note in her voice that he knew meant she was teasing.

"Which government was this for?" he asked curiously.

"Never mind. And forget we had this conversation. Your father would say I was corrupting you with my decadent human values."

"I can't forget it, Mother. I have eidetic-"

"Yes, I know. You're your father's son in that respect. And right now you're being a royal pest in your mother's. Shoo."

"Father is Vulcan royalty, if one ascribes Terran titles to Vulcan roles, but I wasn't aware that you, Mother, were anything but--"

"Anything but!" Amanda interrupted him. "Indeed. You had better stop right there."

"I was merely trying to establish a point of fact as to your heritage."

"In point of fact, as you say, there isn't much royalty left on Terra these days. The Eugenics wars destroyed the last remnants of the old houses. And what there is, Vulcan wouldn't recognize as such. Terrans have no houses tracing their linage back thousands of years."

"How can one forget one's ancestors?" Spock asked, truly puzzled.

"They had other concerns. Wars, famines… Think of Vulcan, before it had been at peace for 5000 years."

"Even then we honored our ancestors." Spock flicked a brow. "It's very careless of humanity."

"Perhaps so," Amanda said, amused. "But it's not polite to say it."

"Facts –

"Facts aside, people don't like to have their noses rubbed in disagreeable ones. Vulcans can be a bit sententious in that regard. And without much justification. Before that five thousand years, you know, Vulcans were every bit as warlike, if not more so, than Terrans."

"More so." Vulcans are better at everything than Terrans," Spock said, with the smugness of both his race and his age . "At war, and at peace."

"Good for you. Have you jousted with humility today, my son?"

Spock eyed her suspiciously, well aware that it was probably both a quote and a trap. "I have schoolwork," he said loftily, declining the challenge.

"Very strategic of you," Amanda said, amused. "And I have dinner to prepare. But before you start your homework, take your excellent royal self out to the garden and get me some carrots, a few peppers, and a couple of lemons." She pointed to a basket by the kitchen door.

"I'd rather eat Vulcan food."

"I haven't got time to cook Vulcan today; it takes too long to rehydrate everything. You'll eat what you get, and like it. Anyway, your father never complains about what I give him."

"He doesn't have to pick it."

"Since when do you object to picking food?"

"It's cold out there in the Terran gardens. And wet. The mist injectors will be on now."

"Well, turn them off, silly."

"The Head Gardener doesn't like it. The last time I did it, he told me I disrupted his growth charting and ruined a whole quarter's statistics."

"Hang his statistics. Just tell Sjaron that it's my garden, and I told you to."

"I'll still get wet. All those green leaves drip."

"Trust me, you won't melt. Why, on Earth it rains all the time. Your father's been rained on, sleeted and even snowed on. He's still large as life and twice as natural."

"That doesn't make – " Spock backed off, recognizing another quote. "Anyway, this is Vulcan."

"You can pick some rosebuds for a snack afterwards."

"How many is some and what is a few?" Spock said, still hanging back reluctantly.

"As many as we're likely to eat. Go on, get moving."

"Mother, that's not precise enough," Spock protested.

"Scoot!" she said, propelling him by the simple measure of a hand flat on a certain portion of his anatomy. Giving her a dark look and his bottom a surreptitious rub, Spock snatched up a basket and went.

To be continued...