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Beth Hallam

The two children stood and stared at each other; for both it was a first time. Neither had met a representative of the other's race before. Slowly the hand of the dark-eyed Vulcan child rose in salute.

"Vulcan is honoured by your presence," he said carefully, in experimental English.

The Human child was unsure of his reply, then decided on the most neutral he could think of. "Hi!" A long silence followed while each considered the strange appearance of the other, and weighed what further communication infantile etiquette demanded of him. Finally young Charlie Grayson decided to initiate a conversation.

"I'm Charlie. Who're you?"

"I am Sarek." Another pause ensued. Then that most persistent of Vulcan vices overcame all Sarek's inhibitions. "Why is your hair like that?"

"Like what?" demanded Charlie belligerently.

"All crinkly and... yellow?" Sarek's English was bearing up well, considering the strain. His teacher would be proud of it, if not his manners.

"I dunno." Charlie put his hand to his mass of golden curls. He had never been aware of his hair before. Certainly the smooth, satin blackness of the Vulcan's head was entirely different. He reached out a hand to stroke the ordered silk. Instinctively Sarek pulled away; he was acquiring the reserve about touching which typified the Vulcan adult. "Aw, go on," urged Charlie. "Let me - here, you can feel mine."

He lowered his head and thrust the luxuriant curls towards Sarek, who backed away, appalled and yet fascinated by the gleaming, tumbled mass. Finally overcome by the desire to know what it would feel like to push his palm against the resilient, golden hair, Sarek reached forward with both hands and gently touched Charlie's head. It was wonderful! Like catching hold of the high, scudding clouds of Vulcan's storms; or capturing solidified the foam of her shallow, turbulent streams. He was aware of Charlie's thoughts and fears, of their differences and similarities, and of the exciting, colourful chaos that is a Human child's brain.

For Charlie the sensation was different yet equally pleasant. He felt, for the first time, an awareness of someone else within him. Sarek was just reaching the point of true telepathic awareness; as yet he was untrained, his ability immature, untested. To Charlie, unexpectedly aware of his measured, ordered brain patterns, it was like entering a maze; a formal hedged garden where all was harmony and peace. Each felt joy in seeing what the other was.

Slowly Charlie's hand came up to caress the dark head bowed close to his. And for a brief moment, two cultures, two worlds, two minds, met, mingled and took delight in each other, with perfect harmony and mutual satisfaction.

Then they drew apart and went their separate ways. No need for them to talk again, no need to keep in touch, for this brief closeness was to join them and theirs inseparably until the end of Sarek's long life. It was to affect both their lives inescapably, to make Charles Greyson the most racially tolerant Human of his age. It was to ruin Sarek's bonding and yet to bond two entirely disparate peoples together for the greater good of the whole galaxy.

It was many years before they were to meet again, not far from the end of Charlie's life. Yet, when they did met, each recognised and knew the other. Each knew they had come back full circle, and each felt joy at joining, permanently, their hearts, minds, bodies and families - together for all eternity.


Copyright Beth Hallam