If you are seeing this paragraph, the site is not displaying correctly. You can see the content, but your current browser does not support CSS which is necessary to view our site properly. For the best visual experience, you will need to upgrade your browser to Netscape 6.0 or higher, MSIE 5.5 or higher, or Opera 3.6 or higher. If, however, you don't wish to upgrade your browser, scroll down and read the content - everything is still visible, it just doesn't look as pretty.
Conceptions and Preconceptions, by Linda
Conceptions and Preconceptions
Disclaimer: Molly is mine. But her great-grandfather belongs to Paramount as do some of the other characters in this story.
Author’s note: I wanted to continue the story that I started in “Of Old Shipmates”, my first ever Trek story, which is on Soval’s Annex. The story below, like “A Florida Childhood”, has Trip Tucker as a boy. This story leads into my story “The Tides of Space” which I’d like to put on Soval’s Annex shortly.
This story begins when Trip Tucker is on leave and runs into an old high school acquaintance. They reminisce about Mr. Velik’s class when Trip was on a two-semester high school exchange program in California living with his aunt. This high school had better technical classes than his school in Florida Molly MacCabe’s family moved to California because of her father’s work. It was just plain bad luck for Molly to have a Vulcan biology teacher in her new high school. But it was a good experience for Trip though he was unaware of his classmate’s secret.
“Challenge your preconceptions or they will challenge you” – Trip Tucker quoting Mr. Velik, his Vulcan tenth grade biology teacher, who intimidated him.
Trip Tucker held the restaurant door open for Molly. It was such a piece of luck that an old high school classmate ran into him outside the Vulcan Embassy in San Francisco. Molly had been applying for an interplanetary passport that would allow her to visit the home world of the Trill, which was accessible only through the Vulcans at this time. Molly was excited because this would be her first trip off world. It was so good to run into Trip who was a veteran space traveler and could give her some advice. They had decided to discuss it over lunch.
Their table overlooked the bay. Molly filled Trip in on her college studies, and asked him about his engineering exploits. She wondered how one should handle space sickness, if indeed it really did exist. Molly had heard much about the Enterprise missions in the media. Knowing of the loss of his sister, she steered the conversation away from current events and back into their high school years. Both of them had spent only part of their high school days in California. They remembered one very special teacher. Molly’s mind drifted back to these days and things Trip did not know about…
The test was not easy. They had to calculate the percentage of the island population that might have blue eyes. Trip had left his calculator on his aunt’s kitchen table this morning. Finishing this test was going to be impossible without one. But the school rule was: if you forgot it, do with out it. The teachers had a conspiracy going in trying to teach the students responsibility. Didn’t any of them ever forget anything? Of course they did. Trip was practically run over by Mr. Stevens rushing back home to get his lesson plan one day. If Mr. Stevens was going to forget things, he aught to work out in the gym so he wouldn’t be out of breath when he made it back just as the bell rang.
Mr. Velik was never out of breath. And he noticed everything. Trip could never put anything over on this Vulcan. But he sure would like to today. Molly slid into her seat across the aisle and removed her pens and calculator from her bag. “What’s wrong Trip,” she whispered so pointed ears would not overhear her.”
“Forgot my dang calculator,” Trip whispered back behind his hand.
Molly palmed her calculator and passed it over to Trip. “I don’t need it, really,” she said.
“Hey, you can’t mean that,” Trip whispered back.
“It’s ok, I have an extra one,” Molly said, pretending to suppress a yawn with her hand.
Mr. Velik passed out the test papers. He had noticed the whole exchange between Trip Tucker and Molly MacCabe. As he sat back down at his desk, he wondered how this situation would play out. Both students bent their heads over their tests. Mr. Velik was expecting to see the calculator pass back and forth between them. If he did not notice any collusion on the test, he was going to let this incident slide. But he did not see the calculator leave Trip’s desk once. Well, it was Molly’s decision and she would have to deal with the consequences. Velik was not going to reduce his standards in grading the test.
That afternoon when the students went home, Velik got a cup of tea and started grading the stack of test papers. He graded them without looking at the names, though the handwriting usually gave the paper’s owner away. Molly had very bold and precise writing. He tried not to recognize her paper, but he did. Her paper was perfect. The calculations, he was sure, were even carried out beyond the decimal place that the student’s calculators were calibrated to. How strange. How completely baffling. You’d almost think the child was Vulcan.
In class the next day, Mr. Velik watched Molly. There was something very strange about this Human child. In strong sunlight, her skin took on a slight greenish tinge, not nearly as deep as his though. Her long fingers handled a pen as if they had competent Vulcan strength. And a time or two, when he had had his back to her, it seemed she had moved with Vulcan speed. Turning toward her a second later, her face would be all innocent stillness. That in itself was Vulcan-like. He must be hallucinating, he thought, “I like the profuse variety of life forms there are to study here on this world. So different from the relative lack of diversity on my home world. But I need to go home over summer break. I need to surround myself with my own people, and get away from Humans. Not that I don’t like Humans, I really do. But they grate so on Vulcan nerves sometimes. They really challenge us, challenge our preconceptions.”
Molly watched Mr. Velik. “He suspects something. I am between an eighth and a quarter, but he surely can’t see anything? Well then, he is a biologist, used to taking in the details of living things. I will have to be more careful, repress my impish tendency to use my Vulcan strength and speed behind people’s backs. And god, I have to keep these sunglasses handy to cover my eyes when the class goes outdoors. It would not do to have my inner eyelid descend and for someone, especially another Human, to notice.”
Molly thought of herself as Human. Human with a little something more. Mom and Dad were so matter-of-fact about the Vulcan heritage. Her mom had the ears, well, a little. Her ears tapered to a small rounded bit instead of a sharp point. Mom, who was a quarter, had married Dad, a second cousin, who was an eighth. That should make Molly somewhere between them, right? About three-sixteenths? But genetics were funny. Neither of her parents had the inner eyelid, though they obviously carried the gene for it. Dad’s blood was red, Mom’s was green, and hers was, well, kind of muddy colored. Molly with her very Human ears, eyebrows, freckles, and red hair, was stronger and faster than both her parents.
A shadow moved across her desk and startled Molly. “I see you have lost concentration again.” Mr. Velik had the habit of appearing from nowhere and quietly observing. Most teachers did. Even Human ones. Trip Tucker, across the aisle gave her a quick conspiratorial look and bent closer over his paper. Molly both hated and liked Mr. Velik. She would have loved to tell him about what they had in common, but that would violate the code of silence that Great-Grandfather had insisted on. A hundred years after First Contact, why did they still have to hide their mixed heritage? Why did people with one breath tell her to take pride in her Vulcan genes and with the next breath, tell her it was dangerous to admit to it?
“Mr. Velik, do any Vulcans have red hair?” Molly was trying to distract him from the fact that she had not made much progress on her description of the life cycle of the monarch butterfly.
“What has that got to do with monarch butterflies? Vulcans do not have any genetic relevance to your butterflies.” Mr. Velik was really trying to be humorous, in a Vulcan way. Molly knew. Great-Grandfather was like that.
“No, there is not any relevance. I was not thinking of butterflies as you noticed or you would not be standing over me at the moment. Still, it is a biological question, therefore logical to bring up in this class.” Molly tried for her best poker face with this utterance because there were repressed smirks from various students all around her. Tony Frazier was tapping a rung on his desk with his toe and Trip Tucker was pretending to yawn into his hands.
“Then, I think it is logical for me to answer your question so you can return your focus to the butterflies. Yes, a few Vulcans have red hair. And like in Human genetics, red hair is a recessive trait.” Mr. Velik took a step and then turned back to Molly. “As to freckles, I have not noted any on the Vulcans I have seen with red hair.”
The ample crop of freckles on Molly’s face stood out more whenever she blushed, like they did right now. She had never liked her freckles, but Mr. Velik could not know that unless he was one of the few Vulcans who were telepathic beyond touch. She wondered. Then she felt like answering back because she did not like Mr. Velik drawing attention to her freckles. “I tried to bleach them off when I was a little kid. Obviously that didn’t work. Please Mr. Velik, don’t mention these horrible spots again. I suppose that if I had Vulcan blood, I would not have to have these freckles.” The last was a daring utterance that Molly had not meant to make. She wanted so much to learn more about Vulcan heritage, but did not dare approach the subject directly.
Mr. Velik’s face softened. It was a softening perceptible to other Vulcans, which was not perceived by the Human students Only Molly noticed that he was affected by her embarrassment. “Molly, there are people that Vulcans have contacted who have spots on both sides of their face and they extend all the way down their bodies to their feet. Those spots are very becoming. Almost all the people on their world have them. These people are called the Trill. The Trill are secretive about something, which we suspect has to do with their biology, but they are not embarrassed about their spots. I will bring in some photos of these people. They are very much like Humans and Vulcans. And they are, in fact, curious about Humans. Would you mind me taking a photo of you to show when I next meet some of them at an interplanetary biology conference?”
”Sure Mr. Velik that would be ok,” Molly said.
The bell rang as Mr. Velik walked off up the aisle. It took only a minute for the students to clear the classroom. Mr. Velik was a person to be avoided as soon as possible by his Human students. Perhaps it was because he did not adopt any Human mannerisms or speech patterns. He remained very mysteriously Vulcan. The students did not realize this was on purpose. It was not that Velik did not naturally adopt Human mannerisms. He did. He found many Human mannerisms and phrases quite charming. It took great effort not to use them, for he was an apt mimic. But he wanted to remain very Vulcan, so his students would get used to Vulcans and be comfortable visiting his world someday.
Before leaving school that afternoon, Velik admitted to the health teacher in the faculty lounge: “I would like to get a blood sample from Molly. She is another of the very strange varieties that occur among Humans. Do you think that would be acceptable? Should I get her parent’s permission?”
Madeline Evens responded as she packed up her briefcase. “You must ask her first, and yes, it would be necessary to get her parents’ permission as she is a minor. What kind of research are you doing now? More genetic markers in blood groups?
“I was just curious as to what her heritage was exactly.”
“Why don’t you just ask her?”
“I did. She said ‘Probably Irish and Scottish and other generic European”. Very imprecise. I think there is something other than that and I’d like to know what part of Earth it is from.”
Madeline turned in the doorway to smile at Velik. “She looks just an ordinary American kid to me, but good luck.”
An exchange took place the next day in a school hallway.
“Molly, would you mind letting me take a sample of your blood? I need one more Caucasian blood sample for a control group while I am studying the contrasting properties in samples of Australian Aborigine blood.”
“No Mr. Velik. My family doesn’t believe in letting our blood be taken at all. It is a religious thing. I think some Celtic prohibition from ancient times.”
And later that day, another exchange took place in the faculty lounge.
“Madeline, have you ever heard of a prohibition of the Celts against having blood drawn?”
“Of course not Velik.” Then Madeline laughed. “Those people were adept at drawing blood in ancient times. You are so gullible. Don’t let these students run all over you”.
Velik sighed. “They don’t run all over me, they run away from me.”
Two months from the end of the school year, a visit to the beach was planned for the biology class. Molly’s family lived near the stretch of beach Mr. Velik had chosen. When Molly asked her mother if she could just stay home that day and meet her class at the beach, her mother told her no, but volunteered to make lunch for them.
“But Mom, isn’t that dangerous for us? You never come to school parent-teacher conferences.”
“It will not be dangerous if we are very careful. I would like to meet at least one of your teachers. This way seems safer. But you must ride the bus to school as usual. I don’t want you taking advantage of the situation. ”
The class trooped across the road and up the hill from the beach to assemble at the picnic tables set out for them near Molly’s house. Molly introduced Mr. Velik to her mother who wore a scarf over her head and ears. Her mother also wore that pink blend of make up she used when leaving the house.
“Doesn’t Molly have a have a brother and sister?” asked Mr. Velik.
“They are being home schooled,” Mrs. MacCabe replied. “And today they are off on their own field trip with some neighbor’s home schooled children.” When Mrs. MacCabe noticed the subtle look of incredulity on Velik’s face, she added “We let Molly attend public school as a kind of experiment. We just wanted to see if it might work better for her.”
Molly thought “Right Mom. Give him the usual story. That way Dylan and Sarah don’t have to wear their scarves too and make our family look like a bunch of pirates. I wonder where my dear siblings are hiding out today?”
Just then, Molly’s father came out of the garage carrying an additional picnic table for a group of children still standing around on the lawn. Velik stared at Molly’s father’s strong hands as he effortlessly set down the heavy table and smiled at the students.
“Molly has her father’s hands, I think,” said Velik.
“Yes,” Molly’s mother interjected a little too quickly. “It seems to be a trait of those Scottish weavers he is descended from. They have been weaving tartan cloth for centuries on un-powered hand looms. It is a dying craft you see, quite in demand and quite lucrative for these artisans. People of Scottish descent, especially outside of Scotland, will pay high prices to obtain a kilt in their clan tartan. People with large strong fingers like my husband can weave very fast. ”
“You lay it on thicker each time you tell it Mom. Someday somebody won’t believe you,” thought Molly.
Velik was not fooled. He knew there was something not quite right about this explanation. It had the same feel as when Molly told him about the blood taking inhibition. It was almost as if a fellow Vulcan was trying to tell a lie. Vulcans could, and occasionally did, lie. But it was not sanctioned culturally and was difficult for them. And a lie could of course be detected if the prohibited mind meld was used. It was reported to still be secretly practiced by the Vulcan security forces. Ancient lore said it was impossible to hide anything from a mind meld. He was glad his people had mostly outgrown THAT barbaric practice. But Velik now thought of the Human phrase “takes one to know one.” Vulcans would lie when they thought it was logical to do so, and when it was important enough to hide something. And if he was correct, the MacCabe family indeed had something very important to keep hidden.
The class finished their lunch and thanked their hosts after being reminded to do so by Mr. Velik. They went back to the beach to finish studying the natural border communities of sea and land. Then Mr. Velik gave them an hour of free time before they were to board the bus and return to school.
Molly hefted the stone, then looked around to see if anyone was watching. The volleyball players were intent on throwing their own projectile over the net her father had set up for them. Mr. Velik was nowhere in sight. “That Vulcan must be off chasing hermit crabs or something,” she muttered. “Good.” And Mollly’s stone flew swift and true, impacting on the back of Trip Tucker’s neck.
“What the heck?” Trip spun around to find his attacker. No one was within a half mile of him. The volleyball players were not even looking in his direction. A girl in a red dress with her back to him was walking even further away down the beach. Molly probably, as he had noticed that great form revealing red number she was wearing today. She reminded him of that girl in his Panama City elementary school who he never got up the nerve to ask to dance. So maybe this stone fell from the sky? Stranger things had fallen from the sky. An alien ship a hundred years ago for instance, which had resulted in a chain of events that gave him Mr. Velik as a teacher. Anyway, this stone had a flat side. So Trip skipped it on the top of an incoming wave and headed toward the volleyball game.
Molly grinned. “That’s for not giving me the answer to the hydra question Mr. Tucker. Hey, I lent you my calculator for that test. A trade is a trade, even if it was more of a cheat to give me the answer then to let you have the calculator. You didn’t have to be so smugly ethical.”
Molly never got caught at these occasional uses of her Vulcan abilities. No one would ever believe that a skinny and awkwardly blossoming girl could do these things. Satisfied, Molly walked to the water’s edge, right past Mr. Velik who had been squatting behind a low dune tracking the path of a sand spider. But he had briefly looked up when his Vulcan hearing had detected soft footfalls on the sand. He had observed Molly’s efficient stone casting. Unbelievable that this child was indeed Human. The evidence was accumulating to the contrary, or, thought Velik, he would have to challenge his preconceptions on the definition of the Human life form.
It was a harshly bright day in the last month of the term. Molly stood unblinking in the bright sun after coming out of the dark school hallway. Velik guessed why. His own inner eye lid had just descended. Before Molly turned back toward him, she extracted a pair of sunglasses from her back pack and covered her eyes.
Velik thought: “I know what you are doing Molly. It must be very dark behind two sun shields. Poor child, forever having to disguise her heritage as if it were something shameful. Would she ever be allowed to appreciate the heritage that he and his kind took great pride in? She was disenfranchised of the Vulcan language, of the free use of her strength and mathematical abilities. Still she was allowed her Human creativity and freedom of emotional release. At least she could openly enjoy that part of her heritage. A pity she could not give free rein to all her abilities and revel in their combined strength. This Human/Vulcan genetic intertwining was a lottery winner in the universe as he knew it. A conception which blew away preconceptions. It should be a welcome discovery for a people who cherished the thought of infinite combinations.”
Turning toward him, Molly stumbled over a crack in the pavement and smacked her face against the door. Her knees gave way and she sank to the ground trying to cover her nose. Velik squatted down beside her. “Molly, let me help you. You are dazed. Tilt your head back to stop the bleeding.
Molly pulled a Kleenex from her pocket and held it to her nose so Mr. Velik could not see the blood and said “I will be allright.”
“Let me help you up. I will walk you to the nurse’s office,” said Mr. Velik as he hesitated slightly, then touched her arm. Velek gently lifted her to her feet with his hand under her arm and slowly walked with her to the nurse’s office. The nurse made Molly sit on a bed, checked to see that Molly’s nose was not broken, and gave Molly an ice pack. Molly then insisted on going to her next class, so the nurse let her leave. The nurse asked Velik to describe what happened for the school accident report and went to put it in a file. Velik reached down and picked up the discarded kleenex. He bid good day to the nurse and hurried off to his lab because he now had his blood sample.
An hour later, Velik was still pacing the aisle nearest the lab window, not seeing the trees he was looking at, whose alien beauty had always captured his senses in the past. The spice tea he had made himself lay cold on the edge of a lab table. “Impossible,” he told himself, even though he had suspected something like this. Molly’s mixed ancestry, like time travel, were conceptions that Vulcan science considered impossible. But the blood analysis was undeniable. And the evidence was that both parents must have Vulcan blood. The composition of the blood showed that the Vulcan genetic material had entered the Human population PRE CONTACT. Before OFFICAL first contact, that is. He must learn more. And he must keep this to himself, for now. Knowledge of this would have consequences that he could not discern as yet. He needed more evidence, more time to understand what he had suspected and now confirmed. Velik raised the tube which contained the brownish blood. Its label read: Molly MacCabe: Human. Velik picked up a pen and modified the label. Molly MacCabe: Human-Vulcan hybrid.
As Velik was analyzing his sample, Molly was writing a story in English class about a half-vampire girl trying to hide her identity. She assumed the first person and said “Just for once I would like to go out in the sunlight without worrying if I brought my sunglasses. I would like to look up at the sun and then look directly into the face of my friend. Just for once I would like not to flinch at the sight of blood, especially that of my mother and my brother. Just for once I would like to run as fast as I can and not care who saw me do it.”
It was the last assembly before vacation. The school had a special treat because a famous Vulcan scientist was visiting Earth and giving talks at several universities. That he condescended to speak at a high school was practically unheard of. “Maybe it is because we managed to obtain a Vulcan biology teacher for a couple of years,” thought the delighted principal.
Dr. Somtok gave perfunctory acknowledgment to the profuse introductory speech of the school principal. He disliked fawning inferiors though he did expect great deference from them. Velik seated his class near the front of the auditorium. Somtok watched his fellow Vulcan disdainfully out of the corner of his eye. He would not demean himself by teaching a group of primitive aliens, so this poor misguided Vulcan educator was somewhat of an embarrassment to him.
Somtok explained to his audience, through his translator, how he supported Ambassador Soval’s contention that Humans should take exploration beyond their planet slowly. Humans had much to learn about their interplanetary neighbors before they would be able to participate as equals in the interplanetary community. Interrelationships were a fine art and required more intelligence than Humans had so far show. However, he believed it was possible for them to someday evolve to the point where they could join the interplanetary community. Then he told of Vulcan experiments with cross breeding plant life from different worlds, to increase the food supply on some Vulcan colony worlds. He ended his talk by asking for questions. A hideously red haired Human in the front row raised her hand.
Molly said “Dr. Somtok, if you can successfully combine plant genetic material, do you feel it will one day be possible for sentient species of different worlds to interbreed? Would it be possible for Humans and Vulcans…?”
Dr. Somtok sniffed and looked down at this impertinent Human. “No. Never. Hasn’t your teacher told you how different the blood chemistry is between our species?”
Molly became indignantly persistent. “But those plants you described, they had very different sap running in their veins. They seem more different than Humans and Vulcans. What did you do with the crossbred plants you experiemented with? Can you give one to our class to study?”
“No,” said Somtok glaring at Molly. “It was dangerous to let them live outside controlled conditions, outside a limited captivity. We destroyed them.”
Molly blanched and sank slowly to her seat.
“Any more questions?” Asked the imperious Vulcan whose expression intimidated the audience from asking even one. “No? Well good day to you.” And without acknowledging the principal who rose to address him, he strode out of the auditorium with his translator hurrying to keep up.
On the day before school was to let out for summer vacation, Mr. Velik took his class to a museum in San Francisco. He wanted them to see a diorama of the desert on his home world and a cityscape which showed the architecture of an Andorian city where the snow never completely melted. The bus had no sooner pulled up in front of the main entrance, than a harried museum employee leaped down the museum steps and breathless told the driver “we have had a chemical leak in one of our diorama assembly rooms. We just discovered the chemical is toxic to Vulcans because a group of first graders from the Vulcan compound school has just been overcome by it. They and their teachers are laying in the hallway outside the diaorama workroom. It is too early in the day to have our full staff here and we need help carrying the children to safety. Humans don’t seem to be affected more than disliking the smell. Could your high school students run inside and help us bring out these children?
Everyone on the bus stood up when Mr. Velik assented to the rescue effort. As Molly began to run up the museum steps two at a time, Mr.Velik gripped her arm. “Don’t go in.” He looked straight at her. “It is as dangerous for you as for me. More so. You will be discovered for what you are.”
Wide eyed Molly pulled away from him. “How did you know?”
Forcing her to sit on the museum steps by pulling her down with him, Velik confided “I have known for some time. I have told no one. I will explain to anyone who asks why you are not inside, that I needed one student to help me here when they start bringing the Vulcan children out. I will tell them I have instructed you what must be done to revive them.” And Velik explained it to her.
The high school students worked quickly. Thirty five small Vulcan children were soon laying on the sidewalk outside the museum. As Trip Tucker laid an unconscious Vulcan boy in Molly’s arms, he told her the child seemed to be breathing ok. Then he ran back inside to get another one. Molly laid the child down in the recovery position as Mr. Velik instructed. Curious, it was the same position she and her siblings often assumed to go to sleep. She monitored their breathing and watched the natural color return to their little faces. One very small girl sat up and cried out for her mother. Molly held her close and rocked her until she stopped crying. Molly tried hard to pacify her own emotions because the child had her hand pasted to Molly’s check with her fingers spread.
“It is ok to let her do that for a short time,” Mr. Velik told Molly. “But only until she calms down. There are others who need comforting too.”
“I know,” said Molly. And by the look in her eyes, Mr. Velik knew that she knew.
Mr. Velik’s biology class got only a short tour through the museum that day. As they ate their lunch in the museum cafeteria, Mr. Velik gave them an explanation of why this particular chemical was toxic to Vulcans. He also gave them some basics of Vulcan first aid. Trip Tucker elbowed Molly “Like we ever will have a chance to practice it again, eh?”
On the bus back to school, Molly left her seat to join Mr. VeliK who was sitting just behind the driver. She whispered so that what she said could be heard only by Vulcan ears. “We have to stay hidden.”
“I understand the necessity,” Velik lowered his voice to whisper back.
“You will really keep our secret? You too think it is unwise to reveal our…origin at this time?” Molly wanted to trust in Velik’s silence.
“Yes to both questions.” Velik solemnly stated.
“Thank you. I did not want to be the one to expose over four hundred people to danger.”
“Four hundred! That many? That is not from one ancestor alone, even after what, two hundred years?”
“How did you guess? Two hundred years and that there were others?”
Velik placed his hand over hers on the bus seat. “To be the percentage you are and from two parents, I calculated about two hundred years. I studied your blood sample. Yes I got one. Your nosebleed. The four hundred you just mentioned couldn’t all be from one ancestor, even with the rapid Human reproduction rate.”
Molly sighed. “No. You have a defection factor. What attracted my great-grandfather has attracted others. They faked their deaths here or went home and secretly returned. They have more to fear from discovery than great-grandfather who is very old now and ill, and likely to be left alone out of compassion if discovered. I will keep your secret too. The secret that you know. My people have detained others that discovered us and wanted to reveal us. There is danger for you if they know that you know.”
Velik felt a shiver go down his spine. “There is no one of my people who knows, vows silence, and is allowed to come and go between your people and mine?”
Molly shook her head slowly. “Not that I know of.”
Eight year old Lizzie ran ahead of her parents and threw her arms around Trip. Trip lifted her off her feet, and then set her back down. “You are too big for me to pick up any more. But your hair is just the same, so long and soft. How are you doing pumpkin?”
Lizzie pulled Trip’s head down so she could give him a big smacking kiss on the cheek. “I missed you so much Trip. Don’t go away again. I have so much to tell you and show you. It’s gonna take all summer to do that. Do you really have to come back here again in the fall and stay until December?”
“Fraid so. Oh, this is Mr. Velik and Mrs. Sanford, two of my teachers.”
Mr. Velik looked down at the eager young face and said “Glad to meet you, Lizzie.”
So the school year ended and Trip went back to Florida for the summer. Molly’s family went off to her home town for a visit and Mr. Velik went with them. He knew he was taking a great risk, but with the backing of the MacCabe family, perhaps things would turn out alright.
When the fall term began, Mr. Velik had a new crop of students. He met Trip and Molly in a hallway while they were discussing the difference between space flight and atmospheric flight. Trip was certain that bees had a hidden property as their bodies were not aerodynamic. There must be something else hidden in their anatomy, like an extra wing, or their wing had an extension that folded away, and no one had yet discovered it. Mr. Velik stated that bee’s did in fact fly, and did so with those tiny wings. He looked at Trip and told him to challenge his preconceptions. In fact, many times during that fall semester, Mr. Velik waxed eloquent on preconceptions.
“What happened to him over the summer?” was Trip’s question to Molly. “He seems a different person.”
All Trip got out of Molly was a sly smile and “You’re cute Trip. Need to borrow my calculator again?”
Molly remembered that two years after that time in California, her family was back east in their home town. Molly was preparing to leave for college, but decided to attend one last ceilidh. The band sat in a semi-circle facing the audience. The bodhran player nodded and all four musicians raised their hands flat palms facing the audience. No split fingers, but obviously a brief greeting gesture before they picked up their instruments.
Well, I am not a folklorist Molly, but was your great-grandfather from the East Seleya Red Sand District? There was a musical group that toured from there when I was a child. They came to the capital and my father took us to hear them; sort of an exercise in exposure to primitiv….I mean country musical forms. They made an open hand gesture like your band just did. It was to show they had no weapons. Very ancient I should think.”
Molly watched Mr. Velik sip his beer. His face showed no sign that he either liked it or disliked it. “But even though Vulcans have rejected their ancient violent ways, they get irritable now and then, don’t they? I mean, look at Ambassador Soval. He always seems so ticked off on the news media.”
Mr. Velik looked sideways at Molly. “Please don’t judge us by Ambassador Soval. To a Vulcan, his body language borders on the clownish. It may be his way of trying to mimic Human mannerisms so that Humans feel more comfortable around him. I tend to be a mimic too but repress the urge. As you probably have noticed, Vulcans have as wide a range in personality as Humans do. That is why they are so fascinated by Human behavior and like to sit back and study it, with poker faces intact of course. As for our illustrious ambassador, my ears picked up from a newscast what Human ears may not have. A Starfleet officer in the background whispered ‘He is getting more Human every day’. I don’t think he is quite as irked by Humans as he projects. Paraphrasing a line from one of your great playwrights, ‘the man protests too much’.”
“Still, I think WE should stay hidden. Ambassador Soval doesn’t know about us, does he?” Molly asked.
“If he does, he is keeping your secret, as I am. I will do what I can for your people. Any medical advice, any new research from Vulcan that could help. And any cultural information that you cannot otherwise obtain, I will pass on to your parents. Now shall we join this dance set that is forming?”
Molly raised an eyebrow herself. “You have to touch hands with your partner, and with everyone in the set when you weave in and out around in a circle. Can you do that comfortably?”
Velik took Molly’s hand and led her to the dance set. “I can dampen my telepathic touch receptors for the length of a dance. I have been learning new skills all the time since I came to your world.”
Molly smiled. It is not just Ambassador Soval who is getting more Human everyday, she thought.
Trip looked down from the restaurant window on the bay sparkling in the early afternoon sunlight. The rich ice cream was a real treat. This meal was a huge indulgence. Perhaps they could add this flavor to the stock on Enterprise. Molly spooned up the last of hers and cocked her head slightly. “So, when are you off into space for more adventures?”
“In about six weeks. I will spend most of that time with my parents. But I have to meet with the father of a friend who’s ship is way overdue on Vulcan. We want to trace the ship’s flight plan and maybe get a lead on where it might have gone. Next leave I get, Kov’s father, Kuvak, plans to charter a small search vessel for me and a Vulcan crew to search for the Vahklas.”
”Your friend is a Vulcan?” Molly was surprised. “And his father has the money to charter a space vessel?”
“Yes and Yes. But there are other relatives of the V’Tosh Ka’tur who are chipping in. I met Kov when his ship broke down in space. I helped repair it. But the ship was old and must have had more problems. We are hoping it is just stranded someplace and that the crew and passengers are ok. These are people I know and care about: Kov and Tavin. Also they took a few Humans along for a three week cruise. The relatives of the Humans were the ones who reported the ship overdue, because otherwise the Vahklas seldom stuck to time limits.”
Molly’s face brightened perceptively. “Despite this sad predicament, you don’t know how good it is to here that Humans and Vulcans are forming friendships. I have a special interest in that.”
Molly’s freckles stood out when she blushed, but she did not break eye contact with Trip. “Yes. He is a Trill. In fact, Mr. Velik introduced us.”
“Old Velik is still around? I would have thought he returned to Vulcan long ago.”
“No, he still teaches here on Earth. Actually, he teaches in my home town now. He brought his family from Vulcan shortly after we finished high school, when his daughter was quite small. Now his daughter is attending Princeton University. He does various biology research projects with the people in my home town. They have a…unique…heritage. His wife helps him over school vacations. She is a medical doctor, a real asset to our isolated community. It is too bad you did not get to know him outside of the classroom. He is a good friend of my parents now, and a good friend of mine, actually.”
“Well you don’t say!” said Trip. “But I think he would still intimidate me.”
A Vulcan woman and a man in a Starfleet uniform were scanning the room and spotted Trip. They came over to the table. “Hello T’Pol, Travis,” said Trip. “This is Molly, an old high school friend.”
“Hello Molly, good to see you again. I didn’t know you were an old friend of Trip’s too,” said T’Pol as she took a seat very close to Trip.
“After you called, Trip, T’Pol filled me in on Molly,” grinned Travis. “Who would have believed, all these years, right under the noses of Starfleet and the Vulcan Embassy”.
“Hello, T’Pol. Travis knows?” Asked Molly. “Well if you think he will keep our secret. And thank you again for your kind offer a couple of years back concerning Great-Grandfather. But he wanted it here, where his heart was. We now have an ancestor repository like back on… Does Trip know anything? I haven’t told him. So many people know now that I think it will be out in the open soon. It will happen sometime, and I hope it will be ok for us.”
Trip frowned. “Am I the only one here in the dark about something?”
T’Pol reached for the glass of water Trip had not touched. She took a sip and glanced from one to the other, finally settling her eyes on Molly. “I told him a story once about a Vulcan who was stranded on Earth two centuries ago. I was testing for a reaction. He believes it was just a made up story, don’t you Trip?”
“That yarn about Carbon Creek? Yeah, I remember. You are a great storyteller. I’ll bet you could scare the heck out of a bunch of kids around a campfire.”
Molly said “T’Pol, are you bringing him with you when you visit my home town next week? I think he can be trusted. Travis too, since it seems like you told him.” Molly looked straight at Trip. Besides renewing your acquaintance with Mr. Velik, you can meet my cousin Kevin who is engaged to Mr. Velik’s daughter. She always teases Kevin by saying “at least your ears are like mine and I can put makeup on those freckles if I ever decide to take you out in polite Vulcan society.”
Molly studied Trip for a reaction.
Trip looked as if he had just entered the twilight zone while T’Pol smiled slightly. Trip looked at T’Pol, at Molly, and back at T’Pol. “What’s going on here? Ya telling me there actually is a place on Earth where Vulcans and Humans…?”
“I think what Molly has been doing all her life is what two hundred years ago my family would have called ‘passing’,” said Travis.
“Yes,” quipped Molly, “Let me tell you about my family. I will start by telling you my home town IS Carbon Creek.”
Eight hardy souls have made comments
thsi is soo funny, will there be a sequel? sounds great
A sequel? I will have to think about this. Velik and Molly would be fun characters to develop further. Maybe after I finish with the Kov and Soval stories I am working on. And GG's acting in the episode Terra Prime has given me some thoughts about Soval in a fan fic fifth season for Enterprise.... And then I have a friend who with sparkles in her eye asked me to write her a McCoy story, you know, from the original series? Just for her private consumption. She will even outline it for me. My first commission! I am flattered and can't resist that. But McCoy? Can anyone give me tips on his personality? I will have to review some TOS episodes. But I will always return to Soval, my favorite Vulcan.
Lovely, just lovely. Thank you for this story. Loved the tie ins. Would like to read more of this charactor set.
This is such a cute fic. Woo! Go Nestral, creating a new specie. A Celí? I don't think I've ever seen a fic that's had one of those in them, it's refreshig. i alway ssneak little bits of Irish culture like that. Are you Irish or Scottish? Anyway, nice fic. Lol. Soval clownish. The imagery.
Estellio, I am a second generation Scottish-American with an Irish last name. Some Irish ancestor moved to Scotland, perhaps. My family is kind of mixed Celtic-Native American. It helps with writing about the interplay between Vulcan and Human culture. I try to be serious but the writing comes out to be humorous sometimes. But it is probably better to be humorous than serious I think. It is good to be able to laugh at yourself, life is more enjoyable that way!
What a beautiful story. I think this is my first one with Velik as a main character. I liked this one much better than the predecessor story, though I'm also very fond of Mestral.
But red haired Vulcans? I find that hard to believe...
Can't wait for the follow up (hope there will be one) and especially your Soval story.
A couple of the Star Trek novels from Pocket Books mentioned red-haired Vulcans. Thats where I got the idea that there were some. But I forgot the authors and titles of those books. I will try to dig out that information again and post it. Oh, and The Vulcan Language Institute site has a page on Vulcan physiology. I think that mentions red hair in Vulcans as a recessive trait. I guess I also was thinking about this as my nine month old granddaughter is sprouting a crop of red hair which only pops up occassionally in our family. Especially since her two siblings have dark brown almost black hair from their Native American heritage. But it is hard to picture a red-haired Vulcan isn't it? Could one of the artists that frequent this site draw one and send it to Myst123 to post? Please?
Red haired Vulcans... ok, I stand corrected!
Somehow now I imagine somebody being a mix of T'Pol and Lola (from Run Lola Run)...