DISCLAIMER: The Star Trek characters are the property of Paramount Studios, Inc. This story was written for the enjoyment of the author and no infringement of any existing copyright is intended nor is any profit realized or expected. The story contents are the creation and property of Carol Hart and copyright © 1982 by Carol Hart.
A Lesson in Logic
Sarek, seated behind the wide expense of his low desk, was an impressive and daunting figure at the best of times -- but now -- rightfully annoyed at yet another childish prank from the fertile soil of his young son's imagination, he appeared doubly so.
Spock, inwardly quaking with something approaching terror, but outwardly calm and assured, met him eye to eye, his small back ramrod straight, hands clasped tightly behind him, his chin thrust out in a picture of youthful respect.
"This will not do, Spock," Sarek intoned heavily, his dark eyes shadowed and incalculable with the effort of keeping his considerable wrath in check. "You are my son, and therefore, must show all Vulcan that you are a responsible member of the community. This behavior must end -- and now!"
"Yes, Father." The answer was subdued, and if a quaver shook the small voice it was hardly noticeable. Sarek leaned forward, his hands clasped before him on the lacquered surface of the desk top, his face a mask that successfully hid the disappointment, naturally tinged with embarrassment, that he felt on behalf of his child. One eyebrow arched upwards, a facial expression that had always fascinated Spock, and one that he constantly tried to emulate -- without success!
"You are aware," Sarek continued wearily, still using the more formal 'you' instead of the familiar 'thee' in an effort to convince the boy how serious he really was, "that as my son you must bear a burden that is necessarily greater even than that of your contemporaries. Many eyes watch you -- and judge you from your actions. I appreciate that it is difficult for you but if you are truly Vulcan then I am confident that you can -- and will -- prevail...."
For a moment the boy's dark eyes flickered, dropped to the rich carpet at his feet, before jumping back to their former position on his father's face. "I regret my behavior, Father. It was thoughtless of me not to consider the logical outcome of my actions and, therefore, cause distress both to Mother and thyself."
"Indeed!" Sarek agreed as he rose gracefully from the taboret stool and paced over to the large window that opened out onto the wild, luxuriant growth of the garden, his hands clasped loosely in the small of his back. Contemplating the peaceful scene, he let the sight calm him and remained there a further minute, knowing full well that his son waited most anxiously for the outcome of the foolishness that had summoned him there in the first place. At last he turned to observe his son and almost hesitated as the dark gaze met his own. The child was so young, little more than an infant, so much like himself at that age -- and yet so different. Not wholly Vulcan nor fully Terran either, but a blending of both. A burden indeed! And yet, if he was soft with the child now, it might well ruin any future life he might have on this planet of his birth. Vulcan was a hard world, not a patient teacher for the rash or foolhardy, where any imprudent action could mean death. Any false kindness on his part at this stage would only serve to increase the angers later. There had to be discipline. Duty, obedience and tradition was the bedrock upon which Vulcan society had been built -- indeed upon which his own life had been modeled. Should he then falter in all three when it came to his own son?
"Spock-neha..." His voice softened as he used the uncharacteristic endearment. "Child, you understand, do you not, the gravity of this thing you have done? To call out a healer without a cause for a ... practical joke, a game ... it cannot go unpunished."
"I understand. Father. It will not happen again, I promise."
"Until the next time?" Sarek questioned brutally. "No, it will not do, Spock!"
For a moment the hurt was plain to see on the child's face -- then all emotion vanished beneath the stoic look of expressionless calm. The boy learned his lessons well! "Yes, Father."
Sarek resisted the urge to sigh. However much he respected and admired his human wife Amanda, he sometimes wondered what had possessed him that night long ago out in the desert when he had taken her to be his bondmate. Would it not have been infinitely more logical to have complied with his mother's wishes and taken a consort from his own people? Simpler perhaps, he argued silently, but considerably less interesting! He dismissed the idle speculation as illogical. Kaiidth. What was, was. There was no changing the past -- and he for one was content to let the future take care of itself. Deep within himself he knew that his son could never be replaced in his heart however much embarrassment and grief the child would ultimately cause him. Spock was his son, and there was no changing that fact. But he had to be punished -- and in such a way that it would stay in his memory for a long, long time! An idea struck him suddenly. "Tomorrow is Ienh'ssel ... the Feast of Children, is it not?"
"Yes, sir." Spock's small ears had pricked almost visibly at the words, and Sarek could well imagine the sudden sinking feeling that was taking place in his son's abdomen. However, the boy's tone, though doubtful, was also curious.
"...and you were to accompany your mother and myself to Neva, our sister-planet, for the celebration there..." Sarek continued inexorably, his voice low, pleasantly modulated ... dangerous!
"Yes, Father...." The small voice was less curious and a little more uneasy now, Sarek noted with satisfaction. He changed course in mid-stride, assured that the correct seed had been planted.
"Come here, child." He motioned to the taboret on his side of the desk and waited patiently until Spock reluctantly complied and lowered himself to the seat offered him, tucking his feet sedately beneath him. The boy's back was still perfectly straight, his face set in an enigmatic mask and Sarek was hard put to keep his amusement hidden as he walked round to where his son had stood only moments earlier. "Now, Spock, I wish you to use that famous imagination that you have seemingly inherited from your mother. Do you think you can do that?"
"Yes, I believe so, Father!" Spock murmured dutifully, while he pondered on Sarek's curious strategy. Had his father lost his senses? Was he playing some kind of game that Spock had never come across? But his father never played games...
"Very well..." Sarek went on quietly, "imagine that you are now Sarek and I am your son. What punishment would you think suited today's behavior?"
Ah. there it was! And he had fallen for it hook, line and sinker. Knowing that he was trapped, the boy shrugged, his eyes dropping to the burnished surface of the desk. Well pleased, Sarek waited as Spock idly began to trace his own reflection with a sticky finger, unable to meet his father's searching gaze. At last he blurted, "I believe..." There was a long pause, followed by a spate of words. "I believe ... I would curtail some valued privilege, Father."
"Such as...?" Sarek prompted quietly, knowing there was only one answer that he would accept. The dark eyes flicked up to his face and returned swiftly to the desk top as Spock ran through a brief list of things he valued most, leaving the most important unverbalized -- even in his head! Perhaps if he suggested that his lessons from his father about computers be dropped -- for a time only, of course! Or that he give up the hour before his bedtime when he was allowed to play freely with Ee-chiya in the wild garden ... or have all his books removed so that he could not use them...! But he knew deep within himself that all those together would not appease Sarek this time. He swallowed hard, unwilling to pay the price his father asked.
"Father, I..." He faltered awkwardly, his heart beginning to beat a rapid tattoo. The trip to Neva was more than he could bear to give up, yet he knew that he had no choice. Still he hesitated, hoping for a change of heart from Sarek. "If I were to give back the Festival Gift of the new sandkart...?"
"Father, I am truly repentant...!" Spock squirmed on the low stool, held by Sarek's calm glance that relinquished nothing. His father's left eyebrow rose a quarter of an inch. "Indeed?" The dark gaze was mocking, cool and without mercy.
"...also..." A last despairing glance upwards, followed by a deep sigh of total regret. "I would ... cancel the trip to Neva, Father."
"I believe that is sufficient, Spock!" Sarek cut him short, the corners of his hard mouth curving slightly. He beckoned again to his son and Spock came from behind the desk, his face openly crestfallen now that he had been made to pronounce his own sentence. Gently, Sarek reached out and lifted the boy's head with one, slim finger beneath his chin. "I am satisfied, child. But I think you are too harsh upon yourself ... no. Spock, there will be no Nevan trip for you this time! However, it would be a pity to waste that excellent sandkart. Tomorrow you may have it as promised -- and in the future perhaps you will remember your lessons in logic and think before you act, neh?"
"Indeed, Father," the boy acquiesced reluctantly.
"I believe you have an apology to make to healer Sumek!"
"Yes, Father." Dejectedly the boy crossed slowly to the door...
"And Spock ..."
"I am proud of you!"