DISCLAIMER: The Star Trek characters are the property of Paramount Studios, Inc. The story contents are the creation and property of Cheryl Rice and is copyright (c) 1980 by Cheryl Rice. Rated G. Originally published in Alpha Continuum #4.



Sunflower

Cheryl Rice



PERSONAL LOG. What am I doing here? Why did I allow the Captain to talk me into this? "Come home with me. See where I grew up ... think of it as a scientific experiment. Iowa in August is like nothing you've ever seen. Meet my family and my old friends. They would like to meet you." No one can ever accuse the man of not being an optimist.

The Federation should be very happy the man did not decide on a life of crime. He would probably own half of the galaxy by now. How does he manage things like talking Starfleet Command into a three day visit to his parents' house when he is supposed to be on Earth lecturing and recruiting for the Academy? I am probably better off not knowing. He has entirely too much charm for his own good when he decides to use it. Perhaps for anyone's good.

But I digress. I am giving my impressions of this town. How did that man come from this place? Very quiet. The people here are very independent yet they all seem interested in each other's personal lives. In that way not unlike the atmosphere on the Enterprise. But these people have no ... what is the precise word that I want? No wish for adventure. They are quite content to stay where they are and do whatever it is that they do. To be honest, they are not unintelligent. They ask the right questions. But I doubt if they have ever been farther than Earth's moon or seen a Vulcan before. Or wanted to do so.

I had thought that perhaps he could be explained by heredity. But at last night's family gathering ... a picnic was the term used to describe it ... there was no blood relation who shares his intelligence or force of personality. Perhaps his father had some of those qualities.

His mother ... so proud of her status as the widow of a successful bureaucrat that she seems to be making a profession of it ... had seemed a woman of quiet dignity and grace. Not all that usual in human females of her age and station in life. I had thought her to be commendable for that. But at dinner our hands touched accidentally while passing plates and the thin edge of her thoughts and feelings that I could not help but catch was enough to make one physically ill. I must have allowed some expression of distress to show in my face for he asked me if something were wrong. I said 'no' of course. The small social lie is often necessary when dealing with humans, I have learned. Some day I may understand why it is that I am most Vulcan when around humans and most human when around Vulcans. There is a reason there that eludes logic.

But his mother ... she hates me. No, that is not the precise word to describe her feelings. Hate is most unpleasant, but at least it can often be dealt with. It is a warm emotion. She loathes me like she would some insect she found after turning over a piece of rotting wood. But this feeling is not personal against me. She has this hidden, almost-sickness, against all aliens. Perhaps he went to the stars to escape her prejudices. That is very understandable and logical. But then why return when it is not necessary? She also blames him for his brother's death. It would be interesting to know if he were aware of this.

(LATER) He knows. Today, for reasons known only to himself, we journeyed several miles to visit his grandmother's farm. The main fields are full of wheat and corn and are serviced by robomechanisms. But behind the old house is a plot of sunflowers. Their value is in their seeds. But it could be their beauty if one were able to appreciate such a thing on more than a logical basis. They move to follow the sun as it moves during the day. I think, though, that I am allergic to them. But I cannot think clearly in this humid heat. I am smothering from the excess oxygen. I am not in the slightest at home here. Everything's different. Everything's wrong.

But Jim seems happy enough to be here. We have been talking about homecomings. There are birds that eat these seeds, I understand, after they are dried. The seeds that is, not the birds. He said that he sometimes misses Iowa when he is on the Enterprise. His hair is bleaching lighter from the sun. Almost gold. In his uniform he seems made of gold. But he isn't happy here inside. He wants to go back to the ship as soon as possible. He had an argument with his mother. I heard some of it. She told him to leave if he wanted and not bother on her account to come back. Why would anyone send him away? Humans put entirely too much importance on being happy. I want him to be happy. This medication seems to be affecting me strangely. I shall have to erase this portion of my log. Or is this only in my mind? I am allergic it seems to the sunflowers. The doctor Jim called has obviously never treated a Vulcan before. He is saying I am also suffering from heat stroke. A Vulcan is not designed for heat stroke. It is only the dust and the humidity. I must try to tell Jim not to worry about me. Sick bay on the Enterprise might not be such a bad place to be, though. I would have more faith in the ministrations of Doctor McCoy right now, though I would not want to admit it. But he is not here, not even on Earth. Jim asked him once why he didn't visit Georgia and he said it was because "you can't go home". I shall have to tell him he was mistaken. You can go home but you will wonder why you bothered.

Jim looks better now. Relieved. The doctor has given me something to make me sleep and he says that if I do not exert myself I should be all right by tomorrow. So I shall have to take his pills and rest if we are to leave on schedule. But before we leave it would have been pleasant to go out in the field end watch the sun flower in Jim's hair.

THE END

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