The Nature of Children

by Satin Ragdoll

Spock wasn't sure what he would find when he went to visit Christine Chapel at her new post on Tarkus 5. He certainly didn't expect to find her being shepherdess to a bunch of children.

She spoke to him easily while keeping an eagle's eye on the playground, "Doctors here are encouraged to watch the children from time to time. It's supposed to be balancing, and I've found it's actually been so."

Spock watched as one thin little girl gingerly climbed to the top of the playground climbing structure. She situated herself, pulled out her e-padd, and began to read.

A couple of the other girls started to cat-call up at her, "Hey, egg-head! Why don't you come down here and play like the rest of us, huh, egg-head? Egg-head! Egg-head! Think you're better than the rest of us, egg-head? Hey, egg-head!"

Christine's voice cracked out like a whip, "Hey!" The girls who had been doing the taunting stopped short, "What is the rule about name calling?"

One of them blushed, "'No nasty names'." The other was indignant, "She's an egg-head! She never comes and plays with us. All she does is sit up there and read!"

Chapel regarded the girl atop the structure, "Lillian? Do you care to address your class-mates?"

The thin, blonde child regarded her seriously for a moment, then carefully descended.

In a manner that Spock could only describe as regal, she faced the other girls, "I have asthma. If I run around like you, it feels like I have a zartoth sitting on my chest. I can't breathe. Besides, I like to read. I've always liked to read. More adventures than you find around here, that's the truth. I honestly don't understand why everyone else doesn't love books as much as I do!"

The other two bit their lips. Then the one who had blushed lit up, "I know, let's play Enterprise! You can be Captain Kirk."

The blonde girl gave a lopsided smile and glanced at him for a second, "I'd rather be Spock."

oOo

Spock sat in the warm sun, quiet and pensive. Christine joined him, and observed him watching the children play, "Bad memories?"

Spock tilted his head, "When I was younger, the pure-blooded Vulcan children teased me for my hybrid nature. More than once it actually progressed to the point of violence. I had assumed that I was alone. It was much later when I discovered this was not the case."

Chapel shook her head, "All over the galaxy the different are ostracized, teased and taunted. It's not the nature of the species, Spock, it's the nature of children. Whether it be because of a hybrid nature, asthma," her lips thinned, "or severe scoliosis."

He regarded her, "Your own bad memories?" Christine nodded. "It takes concientous adults to nip it in the bud, and prevent childhood instinct from turning into adult bigotry."

Spock watched the children again, lost in his own memories. Very quietly he remarked, "There are some on Vulcan who would have done well to have your wisdom, Christine."

She smiled and blushed.

oOo

Spock was able to watch the children at play in peace after that. At least until he heard the jump-rope song they were singing: "Mis-ter Spock! Mis-ter Spock! Runs his life like a well-oiled clock! Logic, logic, show no emo-tion. Give the Enterprise all your devo-tion. Vulcans everywhere raise a brow. How many lives did Spock save now? One, two, three, four..."

Christine shook her head at his reaction, "There's something else about children."

She almost laughed as he raised a brow, "And what is that?"

"They can be very, very precocious and they will surprise you at every turn!"

Fin.