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D.G. Littleford



The Lady Amanda stood silently in the doorway watching her son. Her tall, thin offspring wore basic gray travel clothing, not unlike Sarek when he journeyed out of system. She pursed her lips as he was packing what appeared to her to be an entirely too small of a bag for someone preparing to leave home. A slight swivel of his dark head with pointed ear indicated that he knew she was there. She knew he would not turn to her as yet. Though he was leaving home only today, Amanda knew she had lost him years ago. As a young mother, cradling the newborn in her arms, she had known the Vulcan training would eventually take him emotionally away from her. She knew even Human males withdrew somewhat from their mothers in adolescence, identifying more with their fathers in healthy psychological development. Being Human, Amanda had always hoped things might not be quite so, that he might not drift too far away from her, especially after all the trouble of bringing him into the world.

She didn’t need telepathy to know that many in Sarek’s prestigious family circle privately had hoped that their union of Vulcan and Human would remain childless. In spite of the genetic incompatibilities, Amanda never had given up hope. Then came the afternoon at a family function, one of Sarek’s aunts took her aside and discreetly recommended a midwife known for her success with at risk pregnancies. T’Lyphe’s methods were often considered unorthodox, but being nearly two hundred years old, she no longer cared what was whispered, and her success made her too powerful to oppose openly. T’Lyphe’s successes soon included helping to bring the first Vulcan-Human hybrid to term.

Amanda had lost him nonetheless. Not long after his infancy, Spock had gravitated toward his father, trying desperately to walk in the senior Vulcan’s footsteps. When as an adolescent, her son had realized that he would never be accepted by his full-blooded peers, he had withdrawn into his studies, and sometimes disappeared for days on excursions into the desert and mountains near their home.

Although Amanda was emotionally shut out of the kind of relationship she had desired with her son, she never abandoned her maternal role, tirelessly taking his part behind the scenes. She empathized with Spock’s conflicts far better than did Sarek. His father maintained that if he would only live according to the ways of their people, he would be accepted. It was only logical. Sarek believed his wife was making too much of the situation. She was being too emotional. After all, Spock himself offered few complaints.

It had come as much of a surprise to Amanda as to Sarek when Spock announced his acceptance at Starfleet Academy. As usual, she found herself in the middle. She could sympathize with her husband’s disapproval. As Sarek’s bondmate, she understood how painful it was for her husband that Spock was disregarding his counsel and his wishes for him to continue at the Vulcan Science Academy. She knew Sarek was experiencing the same emotional distancing of his son that she had gone through years before. She also knew that beneath much of Sarek’s recitation of Vulcan philosophy was his concern for the safety of his child, soon to be subjected to the myriad dangers of space, as well as life among irrational species. Of course, Sarek himself would never admit to any of his distresses or fears openly.

As for Amanda, once the initial shock of the announcement had worn off, she was quietly proud that Spock had made such a decision. Her own maternal grandfather had often expressed gratitude for the opportunities that Earth’s maritime service had given him to broaden himself, and improve his lot in life. And hadn’t she herself weathered criticism in leaving family and homeworld to marry and raise a son on Vulcan? She liked to think Spock must have inherited at least some of his courage and fortitude from herself. Perhaps…just perhaps in time, the course of his life experiences might give him a maturity, an ability to accept, even appreciate, that part of himself that was from her, and in a round about way, bring him back to her. She could always hope.

And so Amanda’s feelings were quite an untidy jumble as she stood and watched her only child packing to leave home. She trusted that Starfleet was the right choice for Spock, and his leaving would soon bring a lessening of the recent tension in their household. But oh, how she was going to miss him!

Spock paused in his task, having filled his bag with the items he had gathered. On a sudden impulse, Amanda crossed to her son. He turned now, hearing her soft tread on the cool stone. Drawing up beside him, Amanda reached up and pulled him to her and gave him a kiss on the cheek. She clung to him for a long moment before finally releasing him, then left without a word.


Spock stood looking after his mother, fighting back the maelstrom of emotions she had unwittingly stirred. He hated it when she did that. Why did she have to be so emotional? He berated himself for his own passivity. Why didn’t he pull away or protest her display of affection, as he usually did?

He told himself it was out of respect for she who had given him life. Or… was it out of guilt? Guilt at feeling ashamed of having a Human mother. It was illogical to feel so, he knew. She was what she was. Most of the time she comported herself properly as the wife of a Vulcan, and had always supported his father in the teachings of their people. Hadn’t she offered numerous examples over the years from both Vulcan and Earth history as to why the teachings of Surak constituted a better way? Nevertheless, even his father had to endure patiently her occasional lapses.

Worst of all, perhaps, was that part of him appreciated this farewell embrace. Deep down inside he did love his mother. He admired how she made her way confidently and graciously among the Vulcan people, never apologizing for who or what she was. He had to allow that she could hold her own, if not always through intellect, by keen wit and insight. There were times when he imagined it must be difficult for her. Sometimes he wished her to know… But no, he had always abided by the conventional expressions of honor and respect for a parent. He had never told her he loved her, and doubted he would know how, even if he wanted to do so.

He sought to silence the familiar and useless argument. It was illogical. It would have been disrespectful to have stopped her embrace on this occasion, he concluded. And…perhaps it was her due. He would be gone shortly and he didn’t know when he would be back. Previously, his mother had tried to extract a promise that he would come to see them on his first leave, but he would say only that he would come when he could.

He turned back to the travel bag. He considered whether he had forgotten anything he would need. First years were not allowed many personal belongings, in any case. Living space would be limited with four to a dormitory. Most necessities would be provided or were obtainable on campus. He looked one last time around the room in which he had been raised, gazing at the many keepsakes of his adolescence: the skull of a le-matya, found on one of his excursions into the Sas-a-shar desert; a holograph of himself as a child with his sehlat. He had included a copy of this along with a few other family images on a record tape in his bag. His eyes came to rest upon the ka’athyra, his Vulcan lyrette. It had been a good friend in lonely times. On a sudden impulse, he grabbed the musical instrument and stuffed it into its padded carrying case. If necessary, he would put it in storage until the time when such personal items were permitted.

Spock took his lightly packed travel bag and lyre out in front of their dwelling and set them down alongside the front road access. The air was relatively cool in the darkness of this early morning hour, though the lightening of the horizon signaled the imminent appearance of Vulcan’s brilliant suns, 40 Eridani. The shuttle he had arranged to take him to the spaceport would be coming soon. Even so, he dreaded the one last good-bye.

Sometime in his youth, Spock had begun to analyze his options for a career. Relations with most of his peers and instructors, unfortunately, did not bode well for a fulfilling life on Vulcan. Behaviors that were overlooked in others were often scrutinized and admonished in him because of his Human blood. In one of his lower, angrier moments while escaping to the mountain wastes, he imagined becoming an interstellar vagabond, consorting with Orion smugglers and other unsavory riffraff of the galaxy, where few questions were asked, and fewer answers were given. It was to such an end where many had intimated his Human blood would lead him. Such prognostications did not coincide with who he wanted to be, however.

Eventually, he focused on Starfleet service as an alternative which would be respectable and allow him to pursue his interest in science. He had not anticipated his father’s reaction when he revealed to him his plan.

Absolutely not.

Spock listened carefully to Sarek’s detailed explanation of why Starfleet was not a suitable career choice for a member of the House of Surak and why he should continue his studies at the Vulcan Science Academy. His father’s major objection seemed to be with Starfleet’s use of force as an option in its activities. On his own, Spock began researching Vulcan philosophy from the era of Surak on the matter of force for the purposes of self-defense. He sought all he could find on Federation and Starfleet attitudes and practices. He continued to re-examine his own possibilities within Vulcan society, consistently returning to the conclusion that Starfleet would be the most acceptable and desirable career choice for him. When he attempted to introduce his findings to his father, however, he was oppressively cut off. Spock would follow Sarek’s counsel. There would be no more discussion.

Except the matter was not ended in Spock’s mind. The debates ceased but not the plans. Once he came of admissible age, Spock privately sought sponsorship to Starfleet Academy. When the news of his acceptance arrived, he announced his date of departure to a shocked and barely restrained Sarek and his mother. In the beginning, his father sought to re-open their earlier debates, but now it was Spock for whom the time of discussion had ended. Now it was Sarek who was shut out.

In the time remaining, Sarek fell into a brooding silence while Amanda tried to give last minute advice on everything from getting along with Humans, Andorians, and Tellarites to keeping warm in cooler, non-Vulcan environments. Spock listened politely if impatiently, and assured her that he would take proper care of his clothing and eat right and do all those sundry things that mothers worry about when their offspring leave the nest.


Spock located his father seated at the periphery of their garden, where transplanted Vulcan and Earth greenery met the hardy succulents of the native desert. Sarek’s head was bowed in meditation, as was his custom just prior to sunrise. Spock hesitated to intrude upon such a private moment. He stood silently, studying this individual who was his sire. He remembered better days, how much he had learned from this man, the great admiration he felt for him, and how much he wished… Spontaneously, Spock reached out a hand towards his father’s brow, seeking for...what, exactly, he wasn’t sure. His arm retracted before making contact. He chastised himself for the illogical impulse, and turned to go.

"You will not find refuge among the Humans, Spock. They can be a blunt and belligerent people," Sarek spoke, emerging from his reverie. "Eyes will be upon you. Perhaps more so than had you stayed here."

The diplomat had served many years in the Vulcan embassy on Earth. He no doubt had much experience with the varied facets of Human nature. The observation would not dissuade him, however. Sorrowfully, Spock realized how little his father understood him. He turned back. "I do not go to the Humans for refuge. I go to serve."

Sarek raised his eyes to Spock’s, and for a moment there seemed to be in them… Could it be?…surprise?…or even…pride…? Ah, but the moment passed. The dark eyes looked sadly towards the shadowed cliffs of the nearby foothills. No, he must have been mistaken.

The whine of a decelerating engine alerted father and son to the arrival of the shuttle. Spock raised his hand in the V-shaped ta’al, traditionally used for greetings and farewell. "It is time. I must take my leave of you. Live long and prosper, Father."

His words were met with an uncomfortable moment of silence. Sarek responded, but still looking off towards the rocky defiles. "It would be illogical for me to wish for you what I do not believe your path can bring."

The new Starfleet midshipman lowered his hand. Without another word, he left home.


Spock trotted swiftly to the front of the house where the shuttle awaited. He grabbed his bags and climbed into the fully automated vehicle, passing his authorization to deduct the fare from his account. There was only one other passenger that morning, what looked to be a trader from the House of Stovill, no doubt on a business trip. The elder Vulcan eyed Spock’s signet from the House of Surak over his upper left breast with a look of bland curiosity before turning back to his palm computer.

Glancing back at the house, as he slipped into a forward seat, Spock could see his mother standing in the doorway as the shuttle pulled away. He raised his hand in farewell, his fingers instinctively forming the ta’al against the window pane, wondering if his mother could make it out in the dim early light.

They were soon speeding through the more populous centers of ShiKahr and towards the spaceport on the far side of the city. In the quietude of the journey, with desert reds a blur on either side of the coach, his father’s last words echoed in the young half-Vulcan’s thoughts. With it came a sensation of his rushing headlong towards a very uncertain future. His steadying anchor, however, was the knowledge that this was a thoroughly and rationally arrived at decision.

Up ahead, the expanse of the Vulcan Intergalactic Spaceport came into sight. He felt first the vibration, and then heard the roar, as a spacecraft was lifting off into the orange-red glory of Vulcan’s dawning light, heading for a distant star system. It wasn’t the first time Spock had witnessed a lift-off, but this one gave him a wholly unfamiliar, yet curiously pleasant stirring inside. The future seemed suddenly full of possibilities. Whether long or short, prosperous or ignominious, from this day forward, his life would be of his own making.


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This story can be found in printed form in Antares 16.
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