Word Count: 1256
Summary: Seven-year-old Spock has a destiny… but what is it?
Of course he had always been different. Of course a good Vulcan was not supposed to give a moment’s thought to that. A ‘good’ Vulcan? That was worth a raised eyebrow. There was no such thing as a good Vulcan. What a simple word to explain the infinite complexities of a person’s body, mind, and actions. A good Vulcan.
No one had produced a textbook description of what a Vulcan should be, but of course everyone knew what a Vulcan should be. There were types of difference that were permitted, primarily difference in one’s academic ambitions. Diversity was always necessary for a culture to progress instead of stagnate. So one person might be a cardiac surgeon, another might be an astrophysicist, another might be a passable chef but also a veterinarian.
At school, if one child inclined towards the fascination of biology while another was deeply interested in abstract mathematics, each would be gently but firmly encouraged towards that end. Spock had been fascinated by xenobiology, xenoculture, and xeno-cultural development. He had been fascinated by quantum mechanics. Language. Atomic structure. Music. History. It was no surprise, they told him, that he was interested in what went on outside of his home planet. After all, his father had shown a certain – fascination – for such things. He had even – well. What explanation was there for marrying a human? He was an ambassador. Perhaps Amanda was an extension of his fascination with other cultures. A living study to be brought home. But if he, Spock, could just focus on one thing. What is it that you find most fascinating, Spock? You have the ability to go far in a single field. Your psychometric tests show you to be extremely intelligent. You must have a focus.
Everything, he had said, in his simple, childish way. He was interested in everything.
His teachers had glanced at one another without a hint of emotion, but when one lived with a human on the one hand and a Vulcan on the other, one learnt to read expressions with a peculiar talent. His teachers had emitted the equivalent of a human sigh. They might have rolled their eyes or shaken their heads, had they not been Vulcan.
He was different. They tried to channel him into the sciences, because it was obvious that was where his talent lay. But even there, he needed focus. It wasn’t enough to be a jack of all trades, to use his mother’s term. One couldn’t view science as a kind of table buffet, roaming from plate to plate and picking what one’s taste buds and stomach acid were favouring at that moment.
Spock, really, I understand the fascination of chemistry and I understand that at the base of all things atomic structure dictates both molecule formation in kiva bread and molecule formation in interstellar gas clouds, but you must have focus. Which are you most interested in? The effect of complex carbohydrates on the gastrointestinal system, or the formation of interstellar dust? You could excel in both areas, but you must pick one. Last semester you were more inclined towards the area of astrophysics, so I would suggest –
Different. He walked home along the dusty road, the heat rising around him and pushing down on him, and thought about difference. How his mother had blue eyes and relatively light hair. So unusual in Vulcans, but not at all unusual among humans. He knew exactly why he had inherited black hair and brown eyes, pointed ears, copper-based blood. Genetics was not a complicated subject. But the intellectual effects of having a human mother were harder to precisely understand and separate from the great weight of Vulcan genetics, Vulcan culture, Vulcan training.
Even Vulcans didn’t precisely understand the Vulcan brain, and a Vulcan brain contaminated with human genetics was unprecedented. No one had been able to study such a thing before. Not until he came along. And his mother was, in her very human way, extremely protective of her son and his brain, and extremely aggressive against attempts to draw him into studies that were being conducted not for his benefit, but for the benefit of knowledge as a whole. No one is going to take my son and – There were blazing arguments about that between his parents. At least, they were blazing on her side…
Yes, she was protective. But perhaps some of these studies would have helped Spock to understand his difference. He would have been fascinated to see the results. As it was, he was a living subject and researcher attempting to perform vivisection on his own mind. His conclusions would always be hopelessly biased. He had no distance. He had no comparisons, no previous studies. There was nothing.
What are you going to focus on, Spock? What will you make your specialisation? You are seven years old. It is time to be choosing a focus.
Sometimes at night he climbed the smooth adobe stairs and pushed open the door to the roof, and he lay down on the plaster floor that still held heat from the day, and he just stared at the night sky. He stared at the brightness of the stars. When he had seen them from Earth’s moisture-laden, oxygen-rich atmosphere he had been stunned at how unclear the stars were. How could any human stand to look at a sky so blurred? But here he could lie on the roof and look at each star in turn, stare at its steady light, perceive the differences in the colours of their fire, ponder on their magnitude and distance, think about the astronomers who had first applied names or numbers to those blazing orbs. Sometimes he fell asleep up there with the stars above him, and woke when the world started to turn to a furnace again.
When the teachers asked him where he wanted to apply his focus, he could only think, Everything. Everything was up there, in the stars. All of life was there. All of science was there. Up there men and women were travelling in perfect vacuum-safe ships, and every day they saw something new. Every day they applied their knowledge, their reasoning, their critical skills, to something that no one had seen before. Sometimes, lying on that roof, he lifted a hand to the sky and tried to catch the stars. Illogical. So, so human. To lie there extending an arm of such short reach towards a massive nuclear furnace that would devour his entire body if he got close enough. So very illogical.
But that was where his future lay. It was something that he hardly dared express to his teachers. His mother, he thought, would be amenable, but he could not conceive of expressing it to his father. His father was convinced he was going to attend the Science Academy, even if Spock wasn’t yet sure what his focus would be. He would find a focus, and he would stick to it. He would become an expert in his field, a credit to Vulcan civilisation and a credit to his parents.
But Spock lay staring up into the void, staring at the flashing lights of orbiting ships and space stations, staring at the stars so far, far beyond, and that was what he wanted to strive towards. All of knowledge was there. All of science was there. And how could he say that to his father?
Starfleet, Sarek. That is where I want my future to be.