I don't own Star Trek, any of the canon characters, nor do I make any profit from my writings. Our blanket of white has melted away for the time being. Things are much more colorful now, with green grass showing, not to mention the camellia bushes with their red and pink blossoms.


Spock had just completed his two-year assignment as a junior science officer aboard USS Discovery under the command of Captain Christopher Pike. Now he was ready to begin a new chapter in his life as an instructor at Starfleet Academy, one of the youngest persons ever to be assigned such a post.

Now a full lieutenant, Spock had been assigned quarters on the Academy grounds. These consisted of a two-bedroom apartment complete with an underground parking space for a vehicle. Spock looked forward to living on his own, to coming and going as he pleased and to environmental controls set for his own comfort. His Human roommates had been educational, colorful, and often amusing, but their presence had not really been conducive to meditation.

Spock unpacked his gear as much as possible, hanging his uniforms and clothes in the closet. There was not much time, however. His parents were expecting him for dinner.

He changed to casual civilian attire, not wanting to offend Sarek by wearing his uniform. Spock checked himself in the full length mirror and was satisfied with the image. He left his quarters and walked to the public ground transport line. He got off at Union Square and transferred to the Hyde Street line, getting off a few blocks from his parent's weekend house. He could already smell Amanda's macaroni and cheese.

Amanda smiled to herself as she finished slicing the tomatoes for the spinach salad. The kitchen of her weekend home was small but efficient. She loved spending time there and doing things for herself and her family. She also appreciated the privacy the little house afforded them.

On this day, she had another reason to smile. Spock was expected for dinner. Always prompt, he should be walking through the front door at any moment.

A buzzer softly sounded, followed by a verbal notice from the household security system.

"Hand print and retinal scan confirmed. S'chn T'gai Spock admitted to dwelling."

Amanda waited until Spock got through the front door before hugging him. Even though he pretended to not enjoy it, she stood on tiptoes and kissed his cheek anyway.

"Mother, really! Must you?"

"Oh, yes, sweetie! I really must. Besides, if you get any taller I won't be able to kiss you without a step ladder. Go wash your hands and set the table."

This was too much! At twenty-three, Spock did not need to be told to wash his hands. He gave his mother the "eyebrow."

"Don't raise that thing at me, young man! You're not too big to spank, you know!"

"You have never done so in the past, Mother. I fear it is a bit late to start now."

Amanda had just pulled dinner out of the oven and was still wearing oven mitts. As Spock bent over the sink to wash his hands, she smacked him on the butt.

"It's never too late to discipline a smarty pants."

Sarek stood in the kitchen doorway with just a ghost of a smile on his face. Their boy was home and sparring with his mother. Sarek had missed those amusing "battles" more than he had realized.

Sarek gave his son the "eyebrow" as he watched the boy put away his third helping of macaroni and cheese. Moderation was key to the Vulcan way of life and excesses of any kind were looked upon with disapproval. Sarek sometimes had to fight to remember that his son was half Human. He needed more food and more rest than one who was fully Vulcan. Spock was certainly not overweight!

Amanda shot Sarek a dirty look as she cut into the cherry pie and gave Spock the biggest piece. Through their bond, she gave Sarek a piece of her mind.

I saw that eyebrow! Don't you start on his eating habits! This is probably the first non-replicated meal he's had in months. I made all his favorites and it makes me happy to watch him eat.

As you wish, my wife.

"So, my son, you have reached the rank of Lieutenant. That is a great accomplishment. What do you plan to do next?"

(Sarek already knew of his Spock's plans through conversations with Amanda and reports from Admiral Komack and Captain Pike. He merely wished confirmation from his son's own lips, hoping that perhaps he had changed his mind.)

"I have accepted a position as an instructor at Starfleet Academy. I will be teaching three courses the first term. Conversational Vulcan, Basic Romulan, and Introduction to Phonology. I have also been asked to help develop a programmed simulation which tests an officer's fitness for command."

"Those sound like challenging pursuits, especially the latter. However, I had hoped that you might join me in the diplomatic service. I was quite impressed with the manner in which you dealt with the Kholourians. Your skills would be quite an asset to our people..."

Sarek continued on, pointing out that Shrelb, a childhood friend of Spock and son of the Andorian Ambassador Shras, had recently joined his father in his work. Sarek also pointed out the many dangers of Starfleet service.

Spock listened but reminded his father that diplomatic service also had its hazards. Sarek had been injured several times and even kidnapped once. Sarek silently conceded his point and allowed the matter to drop for the time being.

Rachel was late leaving the clinic for the day. Several cadets had come down with Bajoran measles, which covered them from head to toe in colorful spots of red, pink, purple, and orange. The results were particularly striking on the blue Andorian and green Orion cadets.

When she finally arrived home, she was greeted by a most adorable sight. Sirin was seated on the floor with Jason on his lap. They were playing with the chroma ball that Spock had given the little one.

Sirin spoke to the toy. "Red!"

The chroma ball turned a brilliant red.

"Yon-kur!" exclaimed Jason happily, giving the name of the color in Common Vulcan.

"That is correct. Very good, my son. Green!"

The ball obediently turned green.



Rachel hurried to grab the video camera. Perhaps Aunt Amanda would enjoy seeing this. She might even be able to pass it on to Sirin's mother T'Lonna.

Amanda could hardly wait to see her son's new apartment. She knew her boy well, the way to his heart was still through his stomach! As he helped her clean up the dinner dishes, she made a suggestion.

"I bet the stasis unit in your new place is completely empty. How about I bring you some savory noodle kugel over tomorrow?"

"It is not necessary for you to trouble yourself so, Mother. I am fully capable of shopping for myself and of using the replicator."

"I know that, dear. However, you wouldn't want to deprive your poor old mother of the opportunity to spoil her only child, would you?"

Spock raised an eyebrow at her.

"Nor of the opportunity to snoop around in my new quarters."

"S'chn T'gai Spock, did you just accuse me of being nosy?"

"I believe the expression I am looking for here is "If the shoe fits, wear it." Is the usage correct, Mother?"

"Oh, it's correct alright. Well, well, well! It seems you have learned a few things in your time among Humans. However, I won't be dissuaded."

"Very well, Mother. I have an appointment at the Academy tailor shop tomorrow morning. Perhaps you could meet me for lunch. I should be finished by 11:30. My address is 317 Hoshi Sato Hall."

"I'll be there with lunch!"

As Spock had a morning appointment, Amanda contacted Rachel to see if she could get away for a break. The two women agreed to meet at the coffee kiosk near the Academy Clinic, which was a very few steps from Sato Hall.

Rachel was running a few minutes late, standard operating procedure for a busy doctor. Amanda found a seat on a bench under a shady tree. Rachel spotted her easily and purchased them each a mocha latte.

"Ooh, real coffee. I miss that on Vulcan. Thank you."

"You're welcome. Thank you again for bringing the gifts from T'Lonna. It's nice to know that she misses her son. I feel sorry for her. It's such a sad situation. Sirin's father sounds like a real jerk."

"He's very rigid in his thinking, with more than just a touch of that aggravating Vulcan superiority."

"Ugh, Amanda, how do you stand it? You're constantly surrounded by Vulcans who look down on you."

Amanda laughed.

"They're not all that way, Rachel. A lot of the Vulcans' attitude about Terrans is our own fault. You do know that they studied us for centuries before making first contact. That included monitoring our radio, television, and internet broadcasts. The Vulcans had similar types of communications themselves, but used them to espouse their highest achievements in literature and art. They didn't know what to make of our comedy, especially slapstick such as the Three Stooges. If they thought we revered that as art, it's no wonder they stepped in when we discovered warp drive. It must have seemed like they were taking a sharp knife away from an infant."

"I see your point. We haven't improved much either, especially in the literature department. The Vulcans are probably scandalized by the way we depict them in popular fiction. I recently read a real classic, The Warrior Prince Of The Forge."

Amanda nearly choked on her latte.

"You've read that thing?"

"Oh yeah. It's chocked full of misinformation."

"Rachel, are you familiar with the concept of disinformation?"

"Of course. That's when an institution or organization deliberately allows incorrect information to go out, often from authoritative or approved sources. Sometimes it also comes out as supposed leaks. Other times it appears in the popular media."

"Bingo. I have a little story to tell you, one I've never shared with another living soul."

Amanda took a big gulp of her coffee and then began.

"About ten years ago I was giving Federation Standard lessons in our home on Vulcan. Most of my students were female, the spouses of diplomats and politicians. Sometimes I would get a student bound for a Terran university. I would also teach them various aspects of Terran culture. Imagine my surprise when an older minor civil servant showed up at the house wanting lessons."

"His Standard was nearly flawless and I told him so. I really didn't know what more I could teach him. However, he persisted. "I wish to understand the colorful idioms and expressions used in popular Terran literature" he said. Then he pulled out a PADD loaded with Regency romances and "bodice rippers." I just about had a stroke trying not to laugh. "You old pervert," I thought to myself. However, I was never one to turn away a person in the pursuit of knowledge. How he intended to use it was his own business."

"We had about two dozen lessons together. The old gent was a quick study. On one particular occasion he shared a book with me where the lady's private parts were referred to as "her secret garden." It was a very unusual phrase, so it stuck out in my memory."

"About a month after his last lesson, I received a package, a PADD loaded with a novel entitled "The Enchantress of T'Khut, " written in Standard, of course. There was a passage where Princess T'Kala lures Sofel into her bedchamber and entices him into her "secret garden." That book is the sequel to The Warrior Prince Of The Forge. I believe that one government ministry or another was paying my student to write those little gems. They wanted to keep nosy Humans from learning about certain aspects of Vulcan sexuality."

"Oh my goodness, Amanda! That's hysterical. Oh, I have to get back to work. I'll call you later."

Rachel finished her latte and ran back to the clinic. Amanda sat on the bench, glad to have shared her little secret with Rachel, while never revealing old Tauthil's identity. A few moments later Spock appeared on the walkway, his arms laden with packages from the uniform shop and the commissary.

"I hope you have not been waiting long, Mother. My errands took somewhat longer than expected."

"No dear, not long at all. Rachel had coffee with me. Let's go see that new place of yours."

Amanda gathered up the tote containing their lunch and followed her son to his apartment.

"Mother, what is your opinion of my new quarters?"

Amanda looked all around the place. The walls were a plain off-white. The floors were covered in gray carpeting, except for the kitchen and bath, which had gray tiles. The furniture was upholstered in a charcoal gray velour. The tables were all matte black. The windows had built-in off-white blinds.

"Well, it's definitely spacious enough for one. It's just not very colorful. I think it could use some throw pillows, area rugs, and a couple of plants. I know you're going to be busy with your lesson plans and computer programs. Why don't you let me decorate the place for you?"

"Mother, I would not want you to go to any trouble."

"It wouldn't be any trouble, just a proud mother helping out her only child."

Spock sighed. His mother always knew which buttons to push.

"Very well, Mother. However I would ask that you remember these are military quarters and exercise some restraint."

"Of course, dear. I won't embarrass you with fluffy pink pillows. Now, go try on your new uniform for me."

"As you wish."

A few moments later Spock emerged from his bedroom attired in his charcoal gray instructor's uniform. It was also not very colorful, but it had been expertly tailored. Amanda had to admit that her cute little boy had become quite the handsome young man.

"Oh Spock, you look absolutely gorgeous! Unfortunately you also blend in with the sofa!"