Disclaimer: Star Trek is the property of Paramount/Viacom. This story is the property of SterJulie and is copyright © 2005 by SterJulie. Rated G.
TREASURED MEMORIES: The Lesson of the Box
Sarek was having difficulty mastering his frustration. It was his place, as Spock's father, to be the one to introduce the boy to the Vulcan Disciplines. As much as Sarek cherished his wife, he was beginning to wonder if Amanda was a bad influence on their son. Removing her from Spock's life would be detrimental to them all. Sarek must find a why around that.
He had tried the customary ways of introducing the ancient studies, but Spock would have none of it. He could not wrap his young mind around the concepts. His constant challenges, the numerous "Whys?" were wearing Sarek down faster than a stream of water on sandstone.
It was time to try a different approach.
"Spockam," Sarek called. "Come. It is time for your lessons."
"Noo," Spock wailed from the floor of his room. "I busy."
Sarek surveyed the clutter around his son. Spock had upended a container of items he had collected from the various places they had visited. As Sarek studied the items, he noticed that Spock had set them up in a grid. The boy had sorted them by color across the top and by texture down the sides.
"Spockam," Sarek chided gently. "You arranged these items in a logical manner, but when your elder calls, you must obey."
Spock bowed his head. "Yes, Father."
Sarek held out the basket and Spock replaced his treasures inside.
One item had not been on the floor with the others. It was the whelk shell Spock had collected on their vacation at the Earth beach. The boy tentatively held the shell out to Sarek.
"Ocean roar," Spock announced.
Sarek was puzzled. "No, son. It is a seashell."
Spock shook his head and held the shell up to Sarek's ear. "Ocean roar," Spock repeated, "inside." Sarek listened a moment and heard the sound waves bouncing off one another. "Why?" Spock asked.
"Why do we hear sounds in the shell?" Sarek clarified. Spock nodded vigorously, eager to soak up every bit of information.
/If only he would be so eager to learn the Disciplines,/ Sarek thought. A sudden insight came to him.
"Spockam, it is time for your lessons," Sarek repeated. "Bring your shell. When we are finished, I will tell you why you hear the ocean inside."
Spock rose, carefully picked up his shell and followed Sarek into his study. Spock went and sat near Sarek's meditation brazier and waited.
Sarek entered the small storage closet near his desk, rummaged around a bit, then exited with three cartons in his hands. Spock watched him curiously but said nothing.
Sarek placed the cartons in front of Spock.
"Select a box, Spockam," Sarek ordered.
Spock inspected the boxes carefully. He pushed aside the carton that had two flaps on top. He then looked at the box with the interlocking closures. It was intriguing, but Spock found it too difficult to close.
The last box was a simple box with a separate lid. The texture of the linen finish intrigued Spock. He made his selection and pushed the box toward Sarek.
"This one," Spock announced.
"Open it," Sarek said.
Spock complied, then frowned when he peered inside.
"Empty!" he groaned.
/Someday, my son, you will learn how not to let the whole universe know what you are feeling./
"Spockam," Sarek began, "remember our earlier lessons about how the Vulcan people were ruled by their emotions?"
"Uh-huh," Spock replied. At his father's raised brow, he amended his reply to, "Yes, Father. The killed each other. Vulcans have to master their e-mo-shuns so we don't kill nobody like they did."
Sarek blinked. How could one so young grasp a concept so difficult?
"And what does mastery mean, my son?"
Spock screwed up his little face in thought.
"I dunno, Father."
Sarek placed the carton that Spock had selected earlier and placed it in front of his small son.
"Mastery is much like this box," Sarek began. "Just as the box can contain things, mastery will contain – control -- emotion. This box will represent your mastery."
Sarek picked up the shell. Spock looked at his father with wary eyes. The shell was his favorite treasure, and Sarek had promised to explain how it made that sound.
"I want you to place into your box anything that represents your emotions," Sarek continued.
"Like what?" Spock asked fearfully. Would he ever see his things again?
"Like this shell," Sarek said.
"But you were gonna teach me about the shell!" Spock wailed.
Sarek blinked at Spock's reaction. "I promised to teach you about it after this lesson, Spockam," he soothed, as he held both the shell and the box out in expectation.
Spock took his shell and clutched it to his chest. He remembered the happy time he shared with his mother that first early morning on the beach. They had had such fun together running after the birds and listening to the ocean roar both at the shoreline and in his shell. He remembered how silly Amanda looked as she held two shells up to her ears and pretended to be Vulcan.
"You can see your shell any time you want, Spockam," Sarek said calmly as he continued to hold out the box.
Spock sniffled as he reluctantly put the beloved shell in the box.
Sarek put the lid on the carton and said, "Can you see the shell, my son?"
Spock pouted, crossed his arms and said, "No."
"But does the shell still exist even though we do not see it?"
Spock had to think a while. "Uh-huh," he finally answered.
Sarek placed the box in his son's hands.
"Mastery is like the box," Sarek continued. "We know that the emotions exist in us, but if we allow them full rein, then we will return to being savages."
"Like in the time before Surak," Spock interjected.
Sarek nodded. "Like in the time before Surak," he repeated, caressing his precocious child's head. "We remove the emotions from our actions and save them to be examined and mastered during meditation. We do not deny their existence, but we cannot allow them to control us. Do you understand?"
"Uh-huh," Spock replied absently as he studied the carton. "C'n I have the box?"
"It is your box, Spockam," Sarek replied. "You may place anything inside that you wish." He fished into his pocket. "I have something you may wish to place there."
Spock's eyes grew large as he gazed at the shiny object in his father's hand.
"That's your special rock," Spock said as he recognized one of Sarek's clan jewels.
"That rock has been replaced," Sarek explained. "I wish you to have this one."
Spock took the rock and examined it. It looked strangely familiar.
"You teethed on this rock," Sarek explained.
"When I was a baby?" Spock asked.
"Yes," Sarek replied. "Do you see the scratches?"
Spock peered at the rock. There were indeed several parallel gouges in the rock. He lifted the lid of his box, placed the object inside, and closed the lid.
"I sorry," he whispered.
Sarek was confused.
"For what, my son?"
"I messed up your special rock," Spock wailed.
Sarek placed gentle hands on his son's shoulders.
"It doesn't matter, Spockam," Sarek soothed. "The stone served its purpose and has been replaced. Let us speak no more of it."
Spock wiped his nose on his sleeve and nodded. "'kay"
Sarek lowered his hands to his knees and said, "So, then, Spockam. Do you still wish to learn about the sound in your seashell?"
Spock immediately brightened. "Yes, Father!"
"Bring your shell to the computer and we will learn together," Sarek ordered.
Spock popped the top off his box, withdrew the shell, replaced the lid and hurried to his father's side.
Sarek lifted Spock onto his lap as he called up information on sound and on seashells.
"You see, my son," Sarek began, "sound is made of waves."
"The ocean gots waves," Spock announced.
"How'd the ocean get waves?"
"There are many factors: the planet's rotation, tides, wind." Sarek saw a cup of tea on his desk. He held it out to Spock. "You can make waves in this cup by blowing on the surface." Spock puckered up to do just that, then he paused and looked at Sarek in confusion.
"But, Father, who blowed on the ocean?"
Sarek sighed silently. It was going to be a long afternoon.
End story three.
Next story: The Ear