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Vulcans Do Not Have…Maple Trees, by Linda

Vulcans Do Not Have…Maple Trees

by Linda

Disclaimer: Paramount may own the character but I own how I conceive of him. No one makes money off this story, including Paramount.

Rating: G

Genre: Childhood, coming of age, Vulcan culture

Date: 07/17/06

Acknowledgements: I used Selek’s dictionary and the Vulcan Language Institute site for the Vulcan words and phrases in this story. The formal family name of one person was strung together from various words. If it was not put together as people think it should be, my apologies to you. But to mis-paraphrase a Vulcan saying: no offence should be taken where none was implied.

I got the idea for this story after responding to Gary Graham’s essay, on his web site, about mosquitoes. He had emailed back to me that my idea had made him laugh. The idea was that mosquitoes had stowed away on the ark because Noah had not invited them on board. So I started thinking more about stowaways and put some in my story here, but you don’t find out about them until the end.

Summary: Vulcans are not born logical or well behaved or emotionally controlled – they have to learn to be that way. Soval as a young boy is learning about life: the traditions of his family, the culture of his home world, and gleanings of a universe among the stars beyond. He discovers that working with authority and tradition is better than defying it…most of the time, anyway.


The boy lay on his back staring up at the sky. This park with its alien trees filtered dappled light down to the ground where the boy lay, hands under his head. It was like a deep meditation, mesmerizing, as the shadows shifted over the hour or two he usually spent here. A late afternoon breeze washed through the trees as Eridani slid toward setting into the west where desert met sky – far outside of the park. The breeze-disturbed tree limbs parted, briefly, and the boy’s inner eyelids slid down, giving the world a whole different perspective as the harsh Vulcan environment momentarily penetrated the protective canopy of green maple leaves.

A leaf detached itself and floated down, tacking this way and that. The boy’s eyes followed it until it veered one last time and settled over his cheek and nose. He picked it off his face and sat up to inspect it. Its veins and jagged pointed tips fascinated him. He gently put it in a pocket, stood up, and said aloud: “I want to visit the world these trees come from.” He looked around. No one had heard him state his wistful desire out loud. It was time to go home. He would never be so rude as to be late for the dinner his mother was preparing which was served to the family at 6:14 every evening. And tonight she would be preparing his favorite dish.

He was an obedient Vulcan boy…mostly, except for a few transgressions such as scaling the fence that was supposed to separate the Vulcan population from this zoo of foreign and domestic flora and fauna. He walked to the place in the fence near the shed that held pruning equipment and hand over hand climbed to the top, then dropped lightly to the roof of the shed. On the side of the shed away from the public paths, he grasped the rope attached to the roof and descended; walking his feet down the side of the shed. He then gave his rope a yank to one side, making it pop off the hook that he had, months ago, driven into the roof. The rope whipped off and down, smartly slapping something behind him. Uh oh! He turned to see a park employee standing close by, hands on hips, eyebrows raised.

“Young man, is it logical to assume you read the rules before entering the park?”

The boy stretched to his full height which brought his eyes level with the zoo employee’s belt and putting his hands on his own hips demanded: “Is this fence supposed to protect Vulcans from the trees or the trees from us Vulcans?”

“It is impertinent for a child to answer an adult’s question with another question. What is your clan and the names of your parents? Give me your home contact code.”

The boy sighed and complied.


“Shavokh maat, kau-teh orfik-kel gazh, leh-keh skan kelek, sa-fu Sonak eh T’Rea, Soval-kan! (hunting bird clan, five hundredth ancestor generation, fourteenth family house, son of Sonak and T’Rea, child Soval!): you have disgraced us with your behavior today. Explain yourself before punishment is administered.”

Soval hated it when his full formal name was spoken, even in this abbreviated form. His parents had only used it twice before: at his bonding and the time he had ignored their dire warnings not to touch the intriguing fur coat of the wild sehlat caught by a neighbor in a heavy net. This sehlat had been huge and had killed three pet sehlats right in their own family gardens for their bowls of food. The fur under the net had felt rough and hot on the surface, soft and cool next to the animal’s body. But he paid dearly for that touch when the sehlat opened his huge fetid mouth baring sharp blood-covered fangs and punctured his arm down to the bone. But that was a long time ago in the slow passage of time as a child sees it. Today it was trees, not sehlats which were his down fall; Soval would have to answer about that. He addressed his father with what he hoped was his most sincere looking expression. “I was studying the trees for a paper I was writing at school.”

Sonak was not buying his son’s excuse. He knew the boy too well. Smoothing and folding his meditation robe with slow deliberate care as if it were a flag of state, he let the boy squirm a little before he responded. “And how many times must you study the trees for this paper? The park curator has told us the hook appeared on the shed roof five months ago and foot prints on the shed wall had to be washed off at least 19 times. The curator could not fix an exact time for each invasion of the park, because they were cleverly random.”

“Thank you for acknowledging my cleverness Father.”

“Do not be impertinent boy. I was not commending you.”

Soval’s face became blank, then contrite. “Yes Father. I know that you were not. But it was worth an attempt to salvage something that at least sounded logical from this situation.”

Sonak turned away from his son as if to look at the alternate dinner being prepared by the boy’s mother. Soval was to be deprived of the more palatable meal the rest of the family would enjoy, which was now cooling on the table. Soval thought his father was attempting to control his anger, when in reality his father was trying to repress a bubble of humor that threatened to explode into a smile and a laugh. Why did this sort of scene occur in generation after generation of their family? There were stories. One day, as an adult, Soval would hear them and of the closely guarded parody on the name for their clan: clan of the laughing trickster hawks.

T’Rea placed Soval’s dinner on the table and the family sat down to their evening meal. Soval made an exaggerated face to attract his baby sister’s attention as she was trying to focus her eyes on him from her mother’s arms. The baby smiled, gurgled, and patted her mother’s breast with a tiny possessive hand. Her hand then crept up, exploring her mother’s neck, curled over her mother’s chin, and settled along her cheek bone, fingers spreading, reaching for something. Found it. Smiling again, the baby closed her eyes.

Soval’s father was still in child-disciplining mode. “T’Rea, I thought you were weaning her. My daughter should be drinking from a cup now and she should not be initiating telepathic contact. She soon will be of an age where we will be expected to take her out in public.”

T’Rea handed the baby to her son and picked up her fork before responding. “My husband, I am in the process of weaning her. It is not yet complete.”

Soval winked at the baby, then passed calming energy to her by lacing his fingers with hers. He took the maple leaf from his pocket and twirled it by its stem to distract her. She pulled her hand free of his and grabbed the leaf, sparse eyebrows elevated and eyes wide in wonder. Deciding that he could risk more impertinence since he was unlikely to be punished further this evening, he turned to his father. “Why must she be weaned at all? Touching mother’s face only calms her so we can eat our meal in peace. Or otherwise, why not repress these gestures from the day of birth so a baby by Vara’s age would not even know she ever wanted to do that?”

Sonak held up a thumb to his mouth, moved it forward, then touched his mouth again in the wait a minute sign. He then took a helping of the baked sweet root and passed the serving dish to T’Rea. “My son, later in your training within our clan, you will be learning why. For now, and this must stay within the family, I will inform you that there is a part of the mind which can only be developed by this kind of touching during the critical months of early life. You were conditioned in this manner also. Now put this knowledge away until your fourteenth year, five years from now, when you will receive further training. That is, if you show discipline at that age, and are not persisting in the testing of the bounds of your parents’ teachings.”

Soval knew these bounds included no more visits to the maple forest…among various other transgressions as yet undiscovered by his parents. The boy sighed and returned to scraping up the last of his lettuce and wheat germ salad.


The next evening when Soval had finished his homework, his father took him to their weekly Session on the Contemplation of Surak. They lived on the edge of the desert, so a monastery was within walking distance. Monasteries were usually located outside populated areas, in caves, wherever possible. This was a reminder of the primitive conditions their species had ascended from. Many boys accompanied their fathers to sessions at the monasteries. Having meditated beforehand so he would not fidget or make faces with the other boys, Soval always started out trying to pay close attention, but boredom and boyish restlessness would take its toll. To counter the effects of the intrusive adult world, the boys had invented their own language of gestures and lip reading to communicate with each other.

At the mouth of a cavern recessed into the hillside just beyond the edge of the suburbs, Sorik, an elderly monk, was patiently waiting for the flock of students of Surak. He stood motionless and dour in his heavy dark robe which did not ruffle even in a strong evening breeze. The men filed in giving significant looks to their offspring: silent warnings to keep quiet and behave.

Sorik was leading the session tonight. The monks rotated this duty as a public relations effort. Spreading his robe in a regal manner, he sat down on his chair elevated above the other chairs, peering predator-eyed at the boys as if expecting to spot misbehavior. He had huge ears, even for a Vulcan, and a beak of a nose, narrow and bowed – the Vulcan version of Ichabod Crane from the Terran Legend of Sleepy Hollow. Sorik would not make that comparison himself, as only an ethnographer scanning the Terran databases from space or monitoring the Terran media transmissions, would have even a passing acquaintance with this literary classic.

In a conscious effort to appear studious, Sorik steepled his hands and closed his eyes, then folded his hands over his bony legs as a signal he was ready to begin a lecture on the difference between wild and domestic sehlats. Everyone knew this was an allegory for primitive and civilized Vulcans. This topic was timely as this was bah-ker kastik yokultik (garden plant feeding) time of year, when wild sehlats who had peaked in their seven-year cycle, grew bold in the search for food for their young and encroached on the outer limits of civilized Vulcan. Soval knew what tonight’s topic would be. Eyeing the serious posture of the monk as he followed his father, he tried to discipline his mind with an image of a shaggy wild sehlat standing still on a hilltop looking down on his neighborhood as the level of the street lights increased their glow. The faint scar on Soval’s arm tickled, but he resisted scratching it.

After they were settled, the fathers sitting on folding chairs and the boys sitting cross-legged on the rough cave floor, one boy steepled his hands in the accepted request-to-speak gesture from a child to an adult. Sorik as moderator extended his hand palm up toward the boy. Tolark acknowledged with a brief head nod and his thin voice wavered: “How long did it take with selective breeding to evolve a pet sehlat from a wild sehlat?”

A secondary school biology teacher raised a hand at a right angle to his wrist indicating he would accept an invitation to answer. Sorik nodded and the teacher addressed the boy: “Since domestication was done so long ago, we cannot be precisely sure. We estimate 134.5 generations.”

“Many more generations than it took to evolve a wild Vulcan into a domesticated one?” asked Soval, forgetting to steeple his hands. He immediately lowered his eyes to the floor when he realized he had spoken out of turn. There was a slight murmur of mirth among the men, which ceased when Sorik scanned the chamber to silence it. The men realized what a difficult process it was to mold a well behaved adult Vulcan out of a precocious and eager child in such a deeply emotional species as theirs. They were not so very far from their primitive forebears after all, as every Vulcan parent was forced to admit.

Sorik’s aged voice rasped out, echoing unevenly off the natural walls of the cave. “With sentient Vulcans, capable of learning in a logical fashion, of course it took one-tenth of the generations to domesticate the entire population of people. But we are all wild sehlats at heart. Constant vigilance over our emotions is necessary to maintain domestication, civilization. As Surak has taught us, logic is the key. And that means curbing our sexual appetites to the mandatory seven year cycle and repressing the telepathic instinct from birth on.”

Sonak felt the tap of Vimik’s foot against his. Both men, being friends since boyhood, held few secrets from each other. Sonak knew the tap was a humorous joke on this monk who was unmated and only visited a priestess once every seven years, therefore could not know the joys of physical release practiced regularly by bonded couples between the seven year peaks.

Vimik and Sonak’s friendship involved other secrets. Being from the same clan, they shared in the yearly hunting season rites that included something forbidden to most of Vulcan society. In hunting clans, telepathy had once been an important tool in coordinating the hunts and the hunting strategy thought-words still pulsed from mind to mind as secret clan recognition-greeting signs. The eating of a small bit of sehlat meat was still part of the manhood rite in Sonak’s clan. The clan had to maintain tight cohesion to hide what greater Vulcan society would consider shameful and even criminal. Soval and all the other clan offspring would be brought up with tight discipline and secret male bonding rites unknown even to those arbiters of logic and ethics: the monks who made a lifetime study of Surak.

Under the guidance of Sorik the study group’s conversation was steered from sehlats to philosophical minutia. The adults began to focus on points like what Surak meant when he put a comma after the word ‘definitive’ and before ‘logical sequence’ as opposed to moving it after ‘sequence’ in his notes. These particular notes were on behavior in public buildings when minor children were allowed to accompany their parents to public events.

Now Surak was considered to take a very general view in his philosophy treatises, one of the men pointed out. Another brought up the point that a contemporary of Surak’s said these notes were really only part of an unfinished letter from Surak to his mate after the birth of their second child, during the years before he even conceived of logic as the saving of the planet. These notes were discovered being used as a page marker in a dusty old dictionary under a bed in a back room of a guest house where Surak had slept. Vulcans relish conversations like this. At least, adults do. But it is only logical under these circumstances for young boys’ minds to wander. The boys started to roll their eyes, nudge stones with their toes, and trace their fingers over the channels and uplifts in the cave floor. Here and there, one boy would even poke at another boy.

With his father distracted, and all the men’s eyes focused above the boys’ eye level, Soval decided it would be a good time to retaliate for an unkind comment delivered to him earlier in the day by a bully of a schoolmate who was sitting across from him in the circle of students scattered around the monk. Soval pretended to scratch his crotch, then pointed at the bully’s father, then pointed at the statue of venerable and bent old prune of a priestess. He then raised his right eyebrow five times in rapid succession.

Simsek, the bully, glared at Soval, pointed at the didactic monk in the center of the room and silently mouthed “and your mother”. Soval’s friend, Tolark, then pointed at the monk and mouthed “and your sister with her disproportional nose”. Angst fully charged, Soval and Simsek were measuring the steps it would take to cross the room and deliver a physical message before an adult administered a neck pinch. Before that could happen, the monk cleared his throat and asked them all to rise for a final chant to the memory of Surak.

Soval broke out of the body-warmed cave into the night’s coolness. There was a hint of damp from a recent rain that sent a series of shivers through the boy as he waited until Simsek darted ahead and disappeared into the night. The coolness of the evening was like lying under the maple trees. He ran ahead of his father to keep warm. Sonak was in animated conversation with Vimik, so Soval disappeared down the gravel path, running and stopping abruptly to slide a foot or two. He repeated his running and sliding until the ground leveled off beneath his feet and a suburban walkway started to wind off to the left. Soval skipped some way along the walk before turning back looking for his father. He walked ahead a little, turned again. A hand reached out from a garage that butted up to the walk and ripped him off his feet. He fell into the garage and the door slammed down. There was no light to adjust his eyes to. It was quiet. Too quiet.

“Hey, what is this all about?” Soval’s voice echoed in the empty garage. A soft sehlat call came from outside the garage and was answered by an ascending call that ended sharply in an annoyed grunt. A wild sehlat call. From inside the garage. The scar from the bite of two years ago sent a neuron flash to Soval’s brain and he started to panic. Feeling along the edge of the door, he found the control that opened it, but held his finger poised over it. If a wild sehlat was loose in here, when the door opened it would escape into the neighborhood where many people were still out walking. There might even be two-year-olds like his sister innocently playing near their homes and easy targets for a hungry wild sehlat.

Soval dropped his hand from the control and centered his body, straining his hearing for the slightest sound, for he did not know how a hunting sehlat might approach him. The calls on the other side of the door continued, stirring a low growling response that was sounding more irritated by the second. But the growling was not getting any closer. Soft padding noises seemed to be crossing back and forth, back and forth, at the back of the garage. Then Soval’s eyes detected vague movement, a darker shadow in the dark garage - behind what appeared to be a metal mesh screen. No, a cage! His rapidly dark-adapting eyesight searched for and found that the cage door was clamped shut.

So that was the game.

Get him to shout out in fear and be humiliated when people came to rescue him from a caged sehlat.

Soval decided to reverse the game.

He started talking out loud as if to calm himself. “Now it will be okay. I will just go over to check that the cage is in truth locked. There, there, pretty sehlat, I am not going to hurt you.” And Soval snapped the cage clasp so it made a loud noise. It remained secure.

“Oh no, No NO!” He shouted in what he hoped sounded like abject fear. “The door will not close again!” Then the sehlat howled and Soval screamed but cut the scream short.

Outside a boy’s feet ran over the flagstones and into the house attached to the garage, his voice ranging out “Father! Mother! Help, help! That Sehlat you caught has killed a boy!”

Soval ran to the door, hit the control, let the door rise a couple of feet, rolled under it and hit the outside control to reverse its direction, closing it. He sprinted on around the curving road and an eighth of a mile beyond, to a public transport shelter where he could wait until his father caught up to him. He smiled. That was a close one. He had been ready to panic for a moment there.

It was a good half hour before his father walked by. Sonak explained that he had been delayed while helping a family look for a boy who their distraught son thought had been eaten by a wild sehlat that had all the time been well caged up. Soval would not happen to know anything about this, would he?

Of course not.


One afternoon Soval’s father was sitting in his hovercraft outside Soval’s school as it was letting out. Sonak reached across the passenger seat and swung open the door. “Let us go get that paper finished, son.”

Soval dropped his padd bag between the seats and slid in next to his father. “I have researched all the databases on may’pel trees and I have observation notes from my visits to the forest. That is sufficient for the paper, Father. You do not have to waste your valuable time on it. We could instead, attend a lecture on the teachings of Surak.”

Until this moment, Sonak had not realized just how much Soval was avoiding this assignment. He rested his hands on the steering column and looked pointedly at his son. “And did you consult the park employee who tends the trees?”

“Father, that is not a logical question. You know that my visits were clandestine.”

“If your visits had been above board, the park employees would have been the best source on these alien trees.”

Soval could not argue with that logic. He remained silent for the duration of the trip to the park.

Father and son stood together in a park office, the father doing the talking. “Dr. Romak, now that my son has been properly introduced to you, I will leave him in your custody. I will explore your park…on the proper side of the fence, of course.”

Dr. Romak inclined his head slightly and Soval’s father strolled off toward the wild sehlat environmental area. Dr. Romak turned to Soval. “Let us begin with your own, ah hem, observations. What have you observed about our may’pel trees over the last few months?”

Soval clasped his hands in front of him and took a stance with his feet slightly spread. “Dr. Romak, I now realize that it is more logical to interview you for my paper than to base it on observations alone. My observations, however, did show that the trees produce winged seeds which mostly fall to the ground, but some are lifted by the wind and carried out of the park. I speculate that the winged seeds may be an efficient means to populate their original home world with may’pel trees. I did wonder why you do not maintain a barrier to keep the seeds from spreading on our world.”

“You are correct in your speculation. But to answer your question, the seeds die in the desert, so there is no need to contain them to keep them from having an invasive impact on our native flora.” Dr. Romak looked straight at Soval to see that he understood this. “Along with all the other flora and fauna of their native world, we have little to fear from the trees taking hold where we do not want them. Our native environment is superior to that of other worlds, only tough native species can survive here.”

Soval mulled this over. “Are we sure about that? And do you infer that the sentient life forms on that world are also inferior to us?

“I am not an anthropologist. If you wish to write a paper on the sentient life forms of that planet, you must speak to an expert in that field who has studied the planet from an orbiting spacecraft. However, I see from the research on this padd that your father has given me, that you do not know one extremely interesting fact. And you would have known it if you had read the signs along the walkways approaching the may’pel forest instead of climbing over the fence.”

Soval inclined his head briefly. “Will you enlighten me now, Dr. Romak?”

“Of course. How old do you think this forest is?”

Soval repressed the urge to tap his foot and tried to give a logical answer. From his research, he knew it would take a mature tree at least thirty years to reach the height of the trees in this forest. But first contact with the sentient life forms on earth was thought to be one-hundred to two-hundred years off – the year 2143 in their counting or later. So some expedition must have retrieved samples, but he had not heard of any landing on that world. “I do not have enough data to give you a logical answer.”

Dr. Romak crossed his arms and looked down at the boy. “This forest was first seeded eighty-six years ago from seeds found in the pocket of a Vulcan woman who was part of an observation team that crashed on the planet and was stranded there for several months. She turned the seeds over to the Vulcan Science Academy Biology Department when she discovered that they must have found their way into her clothing as it was drying outside on lines after washing them in the primitive native cleaning machines. She was turning this native clothing over to the Anthropology Department when she found the bonus stowaways. Such is the unplanned way of scientific discovery at times. We sprouted the seeds in a green house, and mixed chemicals to simulate the soil of that world. But it was not until another observation ship made a clandestine landing on the planet to get some native soil, that we planted the young trees outdoors. With extreme care, they grew to their natural height.”

The boy was impressed, but this was a bit disconcerting. “It is dangerous, not knowing what you are bringing into our environment from another world, is it not?”

Dr. Romak’s face took on what passed for a smile on Vulcan. “Yes it is. But this was not the first time we have grown alien flora on Vulcan. Like all things alien, it is contained, controlled. We have strict rules and procedures. I think you can now understand the reasons for rules and procedures. You were fortunate there were no unwanted consequences to yourself or the trees when you climbed over that fence. What if it had been the Andorian ice cat exhibit that you had climbed into? Where would you be now? Rules and procedures are for the protection of ourselves and aliens and they are developed from well thought out processes based on logic. Our people have a superior culture based on logic and a superior intellect. Do not forget this young Soval, if you ever have a work assignment off world.

Soval swallowed. “Yes sir.” And the boy was glad that he saw his father returning. This was indeed a day in which he had learned much. But he was eager to get away from Dr. Romak and go home to write that paper and leave the climbing of fences in the past along with the other transgressions of his childhood.

Soval and his father bid Dr. Romak good day and returned to their car. Sonak looked pensively at his son. “My son, you must learn the rules, learn all there is to know about something, before you can make a logical decision to change the rules, or ignore them. Most of the time you will discover there is sound logic to the way things are done.”

“Understood Father,” and this time, the boy really meant it.

Sonak, satisfied his plan had worked, got into the hovercraft and got it airborne. Soval strained against his seat harness to see the forest as the hovercraft flew over it and turned in the direction of their family home. The trees became a receding patch of alien green, darker than blood. The tentative foothold the forest had on his planet, for the first time seemed out of place against the background of civilized Vulcan. It receded from his view and from his mind.

Soval glanced at his father. Affectionate feelings for him welled up, threatening to burst through the calm laid down by Soval’s last meditation. How wise his father was, how gentle his discipline. How intelligent were the teachers on his world - much superior to those who lived chaotic lives on other worlds and held primitive stores of incomplete knowledge. From now on he would appreciate the superiority of his world and vowed to never forget that Vulcan was what all worlds should emulate. But one day, yes, one day he would visit the home world of these trees and see how he could help those poor people become more like Vulcans.

As the hovercraft moved away, the late afternoon breeze blew underneath the light force field that sheltered the maple forest from Eridani, but let enough of the star’s energy through to nourish the trees. Maple seedlings responded to the breeze, which lifted them on their tiny wings and blew them out into the desert. Most of the escaped seedlings withered under Eridani’s harsh radiation, but a few, during brief rainstorms, tried to take root. These lived for a few days, sending down rootlets into the sand and tiny green shoots reaching toward Vulcan’s star; but soon, they too withered and died.

Yet, at the edge of the maple forest, something was happening to the trees that received more of the local environment than those at the center. Imperceptively at first, their leaves and bark were thickening, the sharp leaf points rounding off, and whole leaves were becoming smaller, protecting themselves through adaptation. The chemical balance inside the maple leaves was altering to pick up more of what Eridani’s radiation was offering. Maple roots were creeping deeper into the Terran soil mixed with Vulcan sand, anchoring themselves against the brutal desert winds. The roots were growing more hairs to contend with the abrasion of the sand. But most curious of all, each crop of new seedlings was receiving the increasing store of knowledge the trees were learning through their adaptive changes. This knowledge was being tucked away into the genetic code. And season after season, like tiny colonizing ships, the seedlings were blowing out into the desert.

A whole mess of folks have made comments

Well done! I like that Soval was inquisitive, but then persuaded by the Vulcan logic of his day to disregard humans. Yet he retained that interest in the "may’pel." T'Mir bringing back the seeds in her pocket, which then were planted on Vulcan was a wonderful analogy to the seeds of interest in humans she planted in T'Pol with her stories. The ending was perfect - the may'pel adapting to Vulcan, and digging in roots. That is what Vulcans may not understand about humans and Earth - the ability to adapt, despite the odds.

Thanks, I enjoyed this.

I hope you write a follow up to this a sequal. I say it should be a forest by the time Kirk and company arives lol. It be amusing to have and aged T'Pol or T'au explain about maples.

Well done, Linda. I like this boy, he has some of the haughtiness that he shows in later years. As a fellow vulcan admirer I'm always pleased to see a glimpse of ordinary vulcan life.

I had a picture of Sorik when I read that was so vivid.

Andorian ice cat - love to see one of those, do you think they're blue too?

Thanks Julie! And thanks for being the beta for this story. If it were not for your prompting, Sorik would never have been given a physical description. He would just have remained a vague outline.

Blue ice cat? Sounds like he should be blue! Blue in summer, but shedding his blue coat for a white one in winter - to hide against the snow. And of course he must have antenna, right?

FireStar, I just now have a story started about the forest in Kirk's time! Thanks for the idea!

So far, I've only read a few pages and really like what I'm reading. I have one suggestion, though and it's about punctuation. I don't mean to be picky, but any editor for SNW would probably stop reading. You need a comma before a proper noun. Let me give you an example: "Do not be impertinent boy." should be "Do not be impertinent, boy." And "Thank you for acknowledging my cleverness Father." should be "Thank you for acknowledging my cleverness, Father." See? I know you want to do well for the SNW competition and I hope this helps. If you want me to edit this story, please contact me at selek @ shaw.ca (no spaces). I will, however, be away from a computer until Sept 3, but I have a hard copy of this story.

Thanks, Selek. (see I am already learning - comma before your name, LOL) Yes please look this over for me to bring it up to SNW standards. I didn't think of sending this one to the SNW competition -do you think I should?

I haven't read all of it, but I'll let you know once I finish editing it. I'll send it back to you as a Word document with the Tracking Changes feature engaged, okay?

Sounds ok to Selek.

Sorry, Linda. Not much of a beta, am I? Puctuation is my blind spot, but I'm trying to get it together too!

You did fine Julie. You caught many things I needed to correct and you will get better. I think being a beta helps one improve their own writing too - so keep on being a beta! Selek is Super Editor and is very picky. And he is looking beyond fan fic standards to the very competitive world of commercial publishing. The idea that this story created for fans would have any chance in the cold hard commercial publishing world never crossed my mind - until Selek paid it the compliment of ripping it apart (not too badly though, LOL). He LIKES the story.

I wouldn't mind his opinion on mine. Or maybe he's just being ... diplomatic! Caught up with my feedback yesterday. Thanks for your comments, I've answered your questions.

I finally got to Soval's annex! Wow, I'm so impressed! It's all so vivid and immaginative. It has themes! Funny, I was also thinking "Strange New Worlds" as I read this. I think it's SNW-worthy. I'm new to Soval's annex and the Vulcan backstory, so it kind of blows me away! Maybe you all write like this over here. I'd love to know which parts of Vulcan culture are original to you, Linda, and which are part of fanfic canon. The part about the baby searching his mother's face--for psychic bonding! Beautiful! And the May'pel seeds adapting to Vulcan. ?!! See, I don't have the literary skills to properyly praise yours. RAVE REVIEW!

Thanks justTrip'n! With Selek's editing, and some revisions, and extreme temerity, I am planning on submitting it to SNW. I have added more description of the monk's cave in my revision and a few other touches already. If it does not get accepted at SNW, I will put the revision out here. Everytime I reread something of mine, I find something gammarwise or otherwise thing to change.

Much of the Vulcan culture, I try to imagine. If it sounds a little Native American, I am drawing on some things I am familiar with. I probably have assumed some things from canon and from non-canon sources but it all runs together in my background image of what Vulcans are. I am trying to reread and make notes on all the novels in my collection which feature Vulcans, so I can build a kind of cultural database as a resource for my writing. Then I can cite the sources of any culture traits in my stories. I wish there was an 'ethnography' of Vulcan culture like there is the Vulcan Language Institute and Vulcan Language Dictionary. If anyone knows of such a work, please tell me!

JustTrip'n, if you would like to review my revision of this story and give me some constructive criticism on it before I submit it to SNW, I could send it to you via PM. It would help me greatly to have another opinion!

I like young Soval just as much as the older one. ^^ I find it rather cute in a naive way how he thinks "he'll help those poor savages become more vulcan". Such an idealist in his younger years. Though I <3 him just as much when he's all bitter and jaded.