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Meg Wright

"Theeron! Theeron!"

That was his mother's voice. Slightly shrill, impatient. That was the trouble with mothers - they never had time, always rush, rush, rush. Got to get the meal, got to finish the ironing, got to pickle the eggs, make the beds, dust the unused parlour, wash your still-clean clothes - work, work, work. If only she would stop just for ten minutes and really listen for once so that he could get through to her, but he knew she never would. He thought back longingly to those days on the colony ship - she'd had time then; time to play with him, to laugh and be happy, to fuss over him and his father... Now they were here on this promised land and Theela had been born with all the attendant panic that had caused - and his mother wore that permanently harassed look and the grey in her dark hair was changing her appearance, altering her. Not that it wasn't still pretty, he thought loyally, but it wasn't Mom any more, not his Mom, anyway, but Theela's, poor sickly Theela.

The thought of his frail sister brought a trembling smile to his dogged face, banishing the sullen look that was beginning to etch itself there. By Jiminy, look at those suns through the low doorway... it was getting late. No wonder Mom was calling. Theela would be waiting for her evening meal, his meal, his turn. He came upright in the soft, mossy bundle of dried cattle-feed, brushing its clinging fronds from his shirt before he clambered down to the equally moss strewn floor of the barn. He paused briefly to pull his customary, horrific face at the tethered animals that took up so much of his valuable free time, then dashed for the ugly, prefabricated farm building.

His stomach gave a guilty twinge of acknowledgement as Theela's low, keening crying met his ears and he flashed his mother an apologetic smile as he slid onto the chair by the day-bed. Theela stopped wailing and gave him a brilliant smile.

"Naughty girl," he scolded her gently. "You knew I'd be coming in just as soon as I'd finished my chores. There's no need to upset Mom while she's busy."

Her lower lip trembled. "Naughty Theela?"

He gave her a swift hug. "No, nice Theela, but naughty noise. Supper isn't quite ready yet, what shall I tell you about today?"

She thought for a moment and then said, "'Bout the Rigellian hypnoid Jose found."

Theeron grinned. It was one of his favourite stories too, and always made the pair of them laugh, bringing a little colour to his sister's over-pale face. His mother brought Theela's supper before the story was half done, and he fed it to her, spoonful by spoonful, as he finished the tale. When both were done, he wiped and dried her face and hands carefully and went to hang the towels back in their place by the primitive bucket-sink. Picking up a drying-cloth he helped his mother with the dishes, noticing her anxious glances out of the window.

"Dad's late" he said uncomfortably.

"Lucky for you that he is," his mother snapped back. She threw a worried look over her shoulder, but Theela's attention was not on them but on the shadows thrown on the low ceiling by the dancing flames of the open fire.

"You know your father doesn't like you filling her head with such fairy tales," she went on.

"They're not fairy-tales," he protested. "Jose told them to me - they're all true."

"Spacemen! " she sniffed. "They'll tell you anything."

"Captain Tyler used to be in Starfleet," he said defiantly. "People like that don't tell made-up stories, they don't need to. There's so much out there, Mom, you could tell stories about it forever and not get tired."

She frowned at him. "You're not still going on about Starfleet are you, Theeron? I thought your father had made you drop all that nonsense."

He looked down at the dish he was drying. No, it was no use to try and talk to Mom, she wouldn't understand, wouldn't help. Well, if no one ever knew what he'd done it wouldn't matter, and if they did find out... Well, there was little point in punishing him anyway, it wasn't so very likely he'd done well, not a kid from a backwoods school on a backwoods planet. Mr. Morgan had meant well but he was sure he expected him to fail. Still, if he had, it would settle his mind maybe. He'd know for certain he wasn't suitable material if he couldn't even pass the Academy entrance exam.

His mother's tired voice interrupted his thoughts. "There's your father now, get your suppers from the hob."

Theeron was ladling the thick stew from the pan when his father came in, pulling off his boots against the stone step and putting them away in the small cupboard by the door. He came across the floor in his stockinged feet, a big man but moving softly for all that, and thrust the warming moccasins on wordlessly. Used to his father's taciturnity, Theeron set the plates on the table quietly and sat down. He waited with bowed head for his father to say the blessing and then attacked the huge plateful with all the healthy gusto of a fifteen year old appetite. He usually paid little heed to the desultory grown-up chat that passed for conversation, but this evening his head came up, face quivering with excitement, at the news his father brought.

The big man looked across at his wife and said, "Now, Lissa, I don't want you going getting over excited, there's no call for it, but Mr. Morgan tells me there's a starship on its way here for routine medical checks."

Lissa Tangye's s worn face stared at her husband across the scrubbed table-top, a dawning hope in her faded eyes. "A starship?" She barely whispered the words.

"Aye. They should be here in two or three days, according to what Morgan says. They'll be calling at Barkerstown first of course, since they're the ones with the subspace radio, but they'll be out to us within a day or two." He looked across at Theeron. "Mr. Morgan says he's delaying the start of school so they can use the school house as a medical centre. Daresay you won't mind that though." He grinned at his son.

Theeron smiled back politely. It was fiction he found increasingly hard to maintain, that he disliked school as much as his father had in his youth. If the truth were known, it was only within the challenging stimulus of the school environment that he felt really alive, and the homestead chores his father relished were deadly, boring routine to him, to be endured and done as quickly as possible. He did them well always, knowing they would have to be done again if he shirked them, but he took no pride in his father's boasts to his neighbours of his son's responsible and adult attitude to the farm that would one day be his.

He looked over at his mother, her eyes bright with unshed tears. They had had no Starship out this far since their third year on the planet, before Theela had been born, and the little girl had endured five years of fragile life, unable to run and play, gasping for breath at the least exertion, her white skin delicately undertoned with unhealthy blue. Perhaps there was a chance now that help was on its way, the miraculous medical help that a sophisticated starship could give.

Hardly daring to ask he said casually, "What ship is it, Dad?"

His father frowned. "Can't say I recall what Morgan said. One of the big ones anyway, Excalibur or Enterprise maybe. I don't remember."

"The Enterprise!" Theeron could not hold back that one cry. His father looked surprised.

"Why the excitement, son? You won't see her, you know, she'll be in orbit. They'll just beam down the medics they need to, that's all."

"Oh, it's nothing, Dad." Theeron's face was red with suppressed excitement. "It's just that the Enterprise was Captain Tyler's old ship when he was in Starfleet."

Peter Tangye frowned heavily. "Son, you were only seven when Joe Tyler filled you full of all those rubbishy stories of his. You're old enough now not to think of these people as any more than ordinary men and women, not some sort of heroes. Just you keep out of their way while they're here and don't go getting under-foot. They'll have work to do and don't you forget it."

Theeron's face was scarlet with suppressed rage, scorn and misery, but he said nothing, merely nodded. He didn't suppose they'd have much to do with him anyway, he was so disgustingly healthy it was unlikely he'd see anyone more important than a junior medic; but someone would have to come out here to see Theela, maybe it would even be Dr. Boyce himself if he was as still on board, and maybe if he was really out-of-this-half-baked-world lucky he'd get to see Captain Pike, even if only from a distance. He gave a tiny sigh of anticipation which his mother caught.

"Tired, son?" she asked sympathetically. It was such a chronic condition with her that she tended to put all the world's ills down to it.

He nodded, ashamed of the tacit lie, but he wanted to get his hopeful, excited face out of his parents' way before they guessed there was more to his pleasure than the simple prospect of a cure for Theela. The local man had always done his best for her, but the truth was she would never get well without a new heart and such an operation was beyond the skill of their doctor, even in the unlikely event of such an organ becoming available from a young enough donor. Colonists, by definition, were a healthy breed, you didn't get to be a colonist if you weren't, unless you were like Theela and unfortunate enough to be born defective. He was glad his sister would be better, he was. It would be wonderful for her not to spend all her days lying weakly in bed, marvellous for his busy mother not to have the drudgery of a handicapped child to add to her other burdens, most glorious of all to see those legendary figures walking about on the surface of his planet, breathing his air. The excitement would surely choke him soon if he didn't get away out of the stifling atmosphere of the tiny kitchen. He looked hopefully at his mother. She nodded.

"Go to bed, son. You've had a long day."

* * * * * * * *

He spent the next few nights hanging for hours out of his bedroom window, knowing it was futile to do so while the great ship moved towards them at warp speed, and that it would only be when she arrived in orbit that he could catch a glimpse of her. It was a consolation to know that over such a primitive planet they were unlikely to select a synchronous orbit since there was no major city for them to visit, and that the great ship's sensors would be circling him, gathering data for her hungry library tapes... he grinned self-consciously. Sometimes Dad was right, he did over romanticise starships, but he would still like the opportunity to serve in one. His shoulders slumped.

"Go to bed, Theeron Tangye," he told himself, and began to draw away from the window then he stopped abruptly. There, rising over the trees in the west, was a bright, unfamiliar star... not a star for it was moving the wrong direction. It was them, it had to be them. The starship had arrived. He swallowed down the lump in his throat and stayed at his window, watching her majestic progress across the sky, wondering fervently which one it was. It had to be the Enterprise, it just had to be her.

* * * * * * * *

Christine Chapel rumpled the boy's hair and ignored his heavy frown. Maybe he was a little old for such a gesture, but he didn't have to look so sullen about it.

"You're healthy," she said cheerfully.

"I know." He didn't sound particularly pleased.

"Most people find that cheerful news," she informed him tartly.

He grinned at that. "I'm sorry," he mumbled "I did rather hope I might get to see Dr. Boyce."

"Boyce?" She looked surprised. "You're a little out of date, sonny. Dr. Boyce left the Enterprise... oh, four years ago, before Captain Pike did."

"Captain Pike has gone?" The boy was horrified. He'd dreamed so often of that legendary figure.

"Yes," she said cheerily. "He was promoted to Fleet Captain. Captain Kirk has had the Enterprise for just over a year now."

"Oh, I see." Theeron was unenthusiastic at first, but as he strolled back across the fields to the homestead he perked up a little. There was no reason why this Captain Kirk shouldn't be at least as good a Captain as Pike was. Well, perhaps not quite in that class, but you didn't get to be the Captain of a Constellation class Starship unless there was something special about you. Daydreaming fondly, he stepped into the yard and stopped in surprise. The place seemed to be full of people. Blinking, he sorted it out. No, there were only five people, his parents and three strangers all clad in the bright Starship uniforms he'd seen over in the village. Two blue science section shirts and one yellow command one with a Captain's stripes. He took a deep, excited breath and drank the vision in... a feeling of disappointment creeping slowly through him as he absorbed what he saw. The man was stocky, barely taller than he was himself; both the blue-shirted men beside him topped him by quite a bit. Disillusionment seeped into his very bones. This was the Captain of the Enterprise? This was Pike's successor? He could only suppose that someone, somewhere, had made some awful mistake. He let out the breath he had been holding in a long, whistling sigh of disappointment. One of the blue-shirted men looked round at the tiny sound, and Theeron's eyes turned towards him.

He knew his mouth was hanging open, knew he was staring rudely and unforgivably, but he couldn't help it. He'd never seen a Vulcan before except in pictures but this was unmistakably one. Was it possible that there was still a member of Pike's old crew aboard after all? Could this be Lt. Spock? His eyes fell to the blue sleeve.

No, not a lieutenant, a Lieutenant Commander, but surely it must be Spock all the same. He took a couple of steps forward and the other two men turned to look at him also. The man in the gold shirt was smiling; Theeron turned politely to him and was trapped. What had he been thinking of to be so disappointed? Those eyes seemed to burn into him, seeing his every thought, every petty meanness, every sniggered-at joke. He gulped, pulling at his shirt.

"You must be Theela's brother," Kirk said gently. "Dr. McCoy here has come to have a look at her."

The doctor smiled briefly. "I don't think we'll all go in, Jim," he said pointedly. "Probably frighten the child. Mrs. Tangye and I'll go in alone."

"Of course, Bones." Kirk grinned. "We only walked out here for the exercise anyway." He studied the farmer's face as his wife led the doctor inside, seeing the big man was scared and worried but hiding it well. "He's the best doctor in Starfleet," he said softly. "If he can't cure her, no one can."

Peter Tangye grunted. After a moment he said gruffly, "I've got stock to feed."

Kirk nodded. "Of course, go ahead. We'll take a stroll around if you've no objection."

"None." Tangye jerked his head at Theeron. "Get into the barn, boy. There's work to do."

Kirk saw the bitter disappointment on the young face and said casually, "May the boy come with us, Mr. Tangye? There may be quite a lot of questions my Science Officer here would like to ask about your planet."

Theeron held his breath while his father pondered the question momentarily and then nodded, disappearing wordlessly into the barn. Kirk grinned companionably at the relieved boy and gave him a conspiratorial wink and a quick jerk of the head.

"Let's go see the place. You can tell Mr. Spock here how it's run."

"You are Spock then?" Theeron felt himself go vivid red with embarrassment and excitement.

One dark eyebrow lifted just a little. "I am Spock, yes."

Theeron stammered a little. "We have a... a friend in common, Captain Tyler of the Merchant Star. We came out here in her eight years ago, just after he had left Starfleet. He told me a lot about the Enterprise."

"Why then, you're almost old friends," Kirk grinned cheerfully. "Come and tell us all about your farm here. What's your main crop?"

Kirk was clearly knowledgeable about farming, surprisingly so for a Starfleet Captain, and eventually Theeron could not help blurting out his astonishment.

Kirk smiled nostalgically. "Oh, my background is very like this. I was raised on a small farm in Iowa, back on Earth."

"You were?" Not all the good manners there were could stop that disbelieving cry.

"Oh yes." Kirk made the staggering affirmation as casually as if he were confirming the time of day.

"But Dad says someone like me doesn't have a chance," Theeron stammered. "That you have to have a military background, fathers and uncles who were in Starfleet."

"I promise you, you don't," Kirk laughed, eyeing the eager face with interest. "Are you keen on Starfleet?"

"Keen? I've dreamed of it since I was seven," Theeron said breathlessly. "Jose used to tell me all about the Enterprise and what it was like on board, and all the places he'd been to and the things he'd seen. It was like listening to a story book coming alive."

"Lt. Tyler was always a very voluble young man," Spock said drily. "I dare say his transferral to the Merchant service did not alter him."

"He didn't tell lies!" Theeron said fiercely.

The flaring brows rose at that. "I did not intend to imply that he did," Spock said calmly.

Theeron gulped, aware that he had once again been unforgivably rude. "I'm sorry," he muttered, "but Dad and Mom are always telling me they were a lot of fairy tales and I know they weren't. I've looked up most of the things he talked about on the school library tapes, and they're just like he said."

Kirk smiled inwardly. So the boy had been a little suspicious himself, had he? Well, no one would think the worse of him for checking - it was what he would have done under similar circumstances. He looked the boy up and down appraisingly, liking what he saw. He was sturdy, healthy, bright-looking; he'd answered their questions readily and intelligently, showing a wide knowledge of his new home and its problems. He'd seemed to be an ideal farmer's son; after all, a lot of boys dreamed of Starfleet but it never came to anything.

As they strolled back into the yard he asked, "Have you thought of taking the Academy entrance exam?"

Theeron looked guilty, proud and panic-stricken all at once, opened his mouth to speak and swung round hurriedly at the sound of his father's voice.

"I'll thank you not to go filling the boy's head with damn-fool ideas, Captain," Tangye said loudly. "He has enough of them without being encouraged by anyone. The boy's place is here on the farm and that's all there is to it. "

Kirk shot a swift look at the boy. He was looking at the floor, quiet, but seemingly not unduly downcast. Undoubtedly he'd heard the strictures before. He smiled charmingly at the irate farmer. "And an excellently well-run place it is too," he said approvingly, and drew Tangye into a technical discussion of farming methods.

Seizing his opportunity, Theeron turned to the quiet Vulcan.

"Mr. Spock, can you tell me more about the landing party on Rigel VII? Captain Tyler said you saw more of it than anyone."

They walked aside, Theeron eagerly plying Spock with questions while his father's attention was engaged by Captain Kirk. At last held up a warning finger. "Dr. McCoy has finished his examination I believe. He has just come into the yard with your mother."

Theeron swung on his heels. His mother's face was puckered, streaked with tears. His heart missed a beat, felt like lead within him. They couldn't do anything then. He went to her, putting his arms around her in a clumsy attempt to comfort.

"Isn't it marvellous?" Lissa Tangye said shakily. "Dr. McCoy can operate and Theela will be quite well, quite normal."

Peter Tangye stared at his wife, almost unable to take in the words. He shifted his gaze to the beaming ship's surgeon.

"I've done the tissue matching," McCoy assured him, "and we have a heart that's ideally suited for Theela. We can operate straight away, not have to keep you waiting; we'll have to keep her in strict isolation aboard the Enterprise for a week, but after that she'll be back and ready to begin life properly."

"I can come aboard with her?" Lissa asked anxiously.

"Of course," McCoy reassured her "Your presence is essential." He beamed at Kirk. "I dare say the crew won't mind the chance of a little fresh air and green grass."

"I dare say not," Kirk agreed drily. "Very well, Doctor, the Enterprise will remain in orbit until your patient is well enough to return home."

* * * * * * * *

It seemed to Theeron that his father became more taciturn and difficult than ever while his wife and daughter were away, but he was perceptive enough to realise that his father was worried about Theela, and uncomfortable without his wife. Theeron did his best around the house in addition to his usual term-time chores. School had re-opened but he wasn't going along until he'd been to see Theela. Dr. McCoy had explained to him that although every precaution was taken against possible infection, it was wiser for him not to mix with other people before going to see her, and he didn't want to take any chances that he might not get to go on board. But it was hard, knowing that school was back, working at the round of dreary household tasks wondering if the exam results were out; hardest of all hearing in his mother's daily bulletin from the Enterprise on the communicator they'd been lent, that Spock was to lecture to the upper school. He was just about green with envy, and though he knew the lecture was to be taped, it was not the same, and he wouldn't be able to ask questions. He gave a deep sigh of frustration and possessed himself in patience until the day when he would get to visit Theela and see something of the Enterprise, even if it was to be little more than the transporter room and sickbay.

He was astonished to be met by Spock himself and followed him to the sickbay chattering volubly. The Vulcan answered his eager questions readily enough, ignoring the curious and amused glances they were given by passing crewmen. At the door to sickbay he said, "When you have completed your visit, wait for me and I will take you around the Enterprise if you would care to see her."

"Care to...!" Theeron's head was spinning with excitement. "I should like to very much," he managed to say politely, trying to wipe the exuberant and very unVulcan grin off his face without success. Spock nodded and walked away.

Theeron peeped through the door and saw his mother. His heart still pounding with excitement, he crept into the room. She looked up, laughing.

"There's no need to be creeping around like a mouse, son," she said happily. "Come and see your sister." He accompanied his mother to the tiny isolation ward, stood outside the sterile field that surrounded it while her body learned to accept the new heart, and gazed in absolute disbelief at the tiny creature who bounced off the bed and came running to the window.

"Theeron, Theeron," she said, bobbing excitedly up and down, "I've seen your friend Jose's friend Mr. Spock. He's really here."

"Uh, yes I know." He couldn't take his eyes off the rosy healthy pink of her skin. "Theela, you look smashing!"

She grinned cheekily at him. "I'll be going to school with you soon."

"Yes. Yes you will."

He chatted away, or rather listened to her excited chattering for a little longer, and then his mother shooed him away. He kissed her awkwardly; he'd got to that strange in-between stage when kissing her no longer seemed cissy but didn't yet feel quite right, and left the sickbay, looking up and down the corridor wondering if Mr. Spock had remembered his promise. Yes, he could see the tall, lean figure walking towards him.

He walked around the ship in a daze of excitement, questioning eagerly, demanding to see everything he could. Spock patiently led him through every department, down to the vast engineering levels, the huge hangar deck, the auxiliary control room where he showed him how to work the navigation computer and allowed him to set a course change with its help, nodding approval over the boy's quick grasp of its intricacies. Last of all, he led him to the observation deck, with its huge windows out onto the vastness of space. Theeron's home was rolling serenely below them away down to the left. The boy gave it a swift look, but was soon absorbed in the stars. At last he fell silent and thoughtful.

Spock was waiting for the question he knew must inevitably come. Eventually the boy turned to him, looking at him steadily.

"Why have you gone to all this bother, Mr. Spock?"

"Please sit down," Spock indicated two chairs, close by one of the large room's beautiful climbing plants. When they were both seated he said slowly, "I had some conversation with your school teacher Mr. Morgan about you when I was there two days ago."

The boy frowned worriedly. "Have the exam results come through?"

Spock nodded. "You have done exceptionally well, you came thirty-sixth. "

"Thirty-sixth?" Theeron's brain was reeling. "But there were thousands of candidates."

"Precisely. Mr. Morgan expressed some concern to me on the subject of your being allowed to enter the Academy. He feels you have a natural aptitude for it which you do not show for farming."

"I HATE farming," Theeron said fiercely.

"But you know a great deal about it," Spock pointed out.

Theeron shifted uncomfortably. "Yes, well, I don't like to hurt Dad's feelings, and it really isn't all that difficult you know, not when you live with it all the time. But there's no challenge to it, no intellectual stimulation."

Spock inclined his head. "I can appreciate that someone with your ability would find your environment unchallenging. I suggest you look closely at the position in which you find yourself. Mr. Morgan would do all he could to help you get to the Academy, I believe." He paused, searching for the right words to say. "Sometimes it is necessary to... rebel against family authority. One's parents do not always know what is best for one, and in your case I do not believe your father has yet understood what a sacrifice he is asking of you. Allow Mr. Morgan to explain the whole situation to him."

Theeron gaped at the calm face incredulously. Very carefully, picking his words with extreme accuracy he said, "Are you telling me I should ignore what Dad wants and go to the Academy?"

"Yes," Spock said placidly, "I am saying precisely that. You have only one life to live, you should live it as it is right for you, not as it suits another."

"But..." Theeron had to stop again. Adults didn't do this, they ganged up against you, telling you your father knew best. "But if I go there'll be no one to help Dad."

"Your sister is no longer sick," Spock reminded him. "Consequently your mother will not be so tired as she has been, and in a little while perhaps your father can hire another young man to help him. Some of the colonists must have large families and be only too grateful to anyone who will give work to a younger son."

"You're right of course." Theeron's face was blazing with excitement. "Someone has to be there to help Dad, but it doesn't have to be me, does it? Sammy Taite is always moaning that he gets all the rotten chores on the Taite's place."

Spock got to his feet. "I am sure you will be able to find a logical solution to your problem if you give the matter sufficient thought. But if you have to defy your father... " He paused, then added softly, "Others have had to do it before you, and their fathers have survived the indignity."

Theeron shot him an inquisitive stare, but tactfully forbore to question him. They walked back to the transporter room in silence, but just before the boy took his place on the pad he looked up at the Vulcan gratefully.

"Thank you, Mr. Spock." He made a clumsy attempt at the Vulcan salute. "Is that right? I've never seen it done."

Spock spread his hand in reply. "Nearly right. Live Long and Prosper, Theeron Tangye."

He watched the sparkle die and then walked thoughtfully back to his quarters. He was convinced he had done the right thing in speaking to the boy, after his talk with his school teacher.

"An I.Q. of 200 plus," Morgan had said helplessly, "and stuck on this planet forever, working on that farm all his days, unless I can somehow persuade him to let his father know his capabilities. But the boy has always hidden that side of himself at home. He very quickly realised, even as a tiny child, that his parents didn't like any obvious show of intelligence from him. It wasn't good manners to show you knew more than adults. The Captain of the ship that brought them here mentioned him to me; apparently he regularly beat all the ship's crew at chess and learned quite a bit of basic computer work just by watching anyone who'd let him tag along. A remarkable child in every way. He's long gone past what I can teach him. He's been working on his own research with the computer for two seasons now. His parents don't know, of course."

Spock had not felt competent to attempt any discussions with the boy's father, knowing how poor his own record was in that area. He had seen a great deal of Sarek's inflexibility in Peter Tangye, and considerably less intelligence. An encouraging suggestion that the boy was not the first rebel and would not be the last had seemed in order. From the hopeful gleam in the boy's eye it seemed that events could now be left in Theeron's own capable hands. Whether or not he would finish up in Starfleet did not matter. The important thing was to get him somewhere like the Academy where his aptitudes and abilities could be thoroughly tested; but his responsible and mature outlook was one that could be usefully put to work in Starfleet should he decide to stay.

Spock was about to enter his cabin when he heard his name called. He turned. "Yes, Doctor?"

"Spock..." McCoy came close. "I was on the Observation deck just now. I'm sorry, I couldn't help overhearing. Are you sure you did the right thing, encouraging that lad to defy his father's wishes?"

Spock's expression did not alter. "I am quite sure, Doctor. If you see a rose sprouting in the desert where it will die from lack of water, does it not make sense to transplant it to a more favourable climate?"

McCoy looked taken aback. "That's a bit poetical coming from you isn't it?"

"Perhaps." Spock did not seem bothered. "It is an accurate analogy, however, Doctor. That boy has an I.Q. higher than my own. It will wither and fade in such a primitively equipped colony. He must be encouraged to get away from it; his father is wrong to insist on his staying there and the boy is already fully aware of it. I merely assured him that he is not the first to be placed in such a position."

He entered his cabin and McCoy watched the closing door with interest. If there wasn't a personal story behind Spock's somewhat enigmatic remarks he'd eat his Sunday shirt... but he didn't suppose he'd ever get to know it.


Copyright Meg Wright