SoCS: Terran Time in a Vulcan Life

This post is part of Linda G.Hill’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday meme.

Rules and this week’s prompt.

The idea is simple – post an unedited stream of consciousness piece that ties into the weekly prompt.

This week’s prompt is to write a post that uses time as its theme.

I’m in a bit more of a hurry than I usually am. The kids and I are off on a time-traveling adventure a bit later in the day; I’ve got just a couple hours in which to catch a nap before we set out for the

Sterling Rennaisance Festival. It’s the last weekend of the season, so we are seizing the day, and I’m even going to get to see a friend I haven’t seen since my wedding day nearly 17 years ago!

Rather than deal with real life time-shocks, I’m playing with fan fiction, this week. Disclaimer: Yes, Paramount owns them, and I play with them, for love, not money. Enjoy!

We said nothing else to one another, until we reached the courtyard of Sarek’s home. My time sense was still unreliable; but a glance at the sky showed that Eridani 40 was nearly a sunlength above the horizon, and I could feel that my skin was beginning to tighten with the exposure to even this weak sunlight.

“I will prepare the morning meal, Sarek.” I stepped aside, as a guest, and allowed him to pass and open the gate. An eyebrow lifted slightly, but he did not look at me; I had not yet given him leave to do so, I realized.

“There is no need, my son. Your mother left the servitor fully programmed; you will find your preferences well represented, and I am capable of making my own selections.” There was an assumption in his words; one I knew I must address at once, before it became the nature of this interaction.

“It is traditional for an adult guest in another’s home to prepare the morning repast, Sarek. You honor me by allowing me to fulfill that tradition while I shelter in your home.”

The silence stretched out, to the persistent meter of Mother’s floor chronometer, which had also a Terran name, ‘grandmother clock’. When I was small, I had asked Mother to translate the name, and she had given an explanation that sprang to new life in my dreams, but offered little in the way of factual knowledge. However, the stories she had told me – Earth stories, stories of humans being human upon a human world – were all bound up somehow in the omnipresent ticking of the Terran clock, the gentle measured swaying of its pendulum behind etched glass. It was a human invention, and yet it soothed something within me that I knew was Vulcan, in some way that I could not define.

“This is your home, Spock.” I was surprised almost to the point of turning to look directly at him. There had been a strong shading of emotion in the words. I resisted it with the three deep breaths, with concentration on the tick-tocking (a sound-name Mother had given; far too imprecise to describe the layers and textures I heard in the mechanical workings). I did not hasten to answer – that was the human way, and Sarek was Vulcan. But I possessed human impulses that could not be erased, and so I must do something while I was not saying the words that seemed to burn within me, demanding freedom. I set my bag upon the bench beside the inner door, and propped my lyre against it.

“It is not, Sarek.” I attempted to keep each word neutral, but, once they had voice, they emerged in a challenge. I moved to the kitchen in the ensuing silence, and passed my hands under the sanitizing sonics before going out through the sunroom to see what was ready for harvest in the small but prolific kitchen garden.

I was gone as long as I could safely be, and remain protected by the cowl of my robe. I had no desire to return to the house, but, logically, I must, both for safety and to secure the needed permission to travel.

Sarek had settled himself in the sunroom, with a small stack of datapads. He said nothing as I entered; nor did I. Mother had never understood the long silences between us; were she here, she would certainly have attempted to engage us in conversation with one another, and, when that failed, as it must, she would fill the time with her own talk, much in the way that Doctor Phlox did. But I found no logic whatever in speaking when there was nothing I wished to say. Better to absorb myself in the cleaning of vegetables and herbs, the small preparations – Mother had indeed seen well to the matter of nourishment – and to the familiar, soothing lull of the grandmother clock, measuring time as though it was still on Terra, and not on Vulcan. Mother had said that it made her happy to know that she could still know what time it was at her mother’s home, just by looking at the clock.

I prepared the meal without speaking; Sarek did not look up from his reading. He set it aside when I brought the tray laden with leaf and root vegetables, kivasberries, kevlas toast with marmalade, and tea. Clearly, he expected me to sit and share the meal; but I felt the urgent passing of time, held in the sounds of Mother’s clock, calling me home, to Earth, a place I had never been. I breathed deeply, and came to the table again, bearing a pitcher of water and two clay drinking bowls that had been made on Earth, from earth. I placed them carefully to one side, and then I sat to eat, angled so that Father needed to turn to pin me with his regard. I sipped my tea as though I didn’t know he watched, and counted the measures of the clock.

Do you enjoy stream-of consciousness writing? Anyone can play, so long as they are willing to follow a few simple rules. See you next week, for another live-streaming look into the lovely chaos in my mind! =)

Join in or read more SoCS posts here!


    • After I posted it, I got to thinking some weird thoughts. Like the fact that gravity is stronger on Vulcan than on Earth, and I wonder what effect that has on the pendulum? What measures are needed, to keep the clock telling the time in the Pacific Northwest, where Amanda is purported to be from? Was it a single adjustment, or something that needs to be tended regularly? If Amanda isn’t home to do it, does Sarek, or Spock? Does Sarek accept his wife’s illogical attachment to the device and its potentially erroneous timekeeping? Vulcan hearing is far better than human; does the clock bother Sarek as much as it soothes Spock?

      Lots of ideas to play with. I’m so glad the theme was time!

      • Oooh…yes, so many variables. I imagine that Sarek both figured out the adjustment and attends to it, because he accepted all of his wife’s illogical desires when they married. Who says Vulcans aren’t romantic?? 🙂 It was a fascinating topic, for sure.

        • Hmmn…..thought wheels spinning…

          I do think Sarek would attend to the clock, because it’s there, and, for reasons he doesn’t understand, important to his wife.

          I’ve never said Vulcans weren’t romantic. If they weren’t, I’d have a lot less to write about. =) But Vulcan romance certainly doesn’t look like the human variety…

          That said, I’m wondering now if it was Spock who adjusted the clock, as a gift to his mother that was also an “acceptable” activity from Sarek’s perspective, as it challenged his scientific and mathematical abilities.

          Because, much as Sarek accepts his human wife as-is, it takes him a LOT longer to extend the same acceptance to his half-human son…

          Which is, of course, most illogical.

          • Yes, of course Spock would adjust the clock for his mother. You’re right, it would have been an admirable task to both of his parents 🙂

          • Yes, I think Sarek would have approved of the mental exercise, and Amanda of the thoughtfulness of the act itself. And, for Spock, a rare chance to immerse himself in a way that fed both sides of his nature.

  1. I liked that little detail of calling the grandfather clock a “floor chronometer”. I’m not that familiar with the Star Trek universe, although I know a little about Vulcans, but that detail spoke volumes to me. Even without knowing the intricacies of what they are like, I immediately grasped what Spok was like as a person. For me those little details are what make fiction so rich.

    • Well, Spock is only half Vulcan. His mother is human; it’s her clock. Spock spends a lot of time earlier in his life, trying to mask the more human elements of himself, in favor of the Vulcan (something his father demands of him, even though it’s pretty illogical).

      Here, he’s a 12 year old (more like 15 or 16, in human terms) trying to assert an adult status he is legally entitled to, but which no wholly Vulcan boy would demand at this age.The water is significant; a silent request for a serious conversation. The custom (something I created) is for the water to be placed, and not referred to. If Sarek requests water, he’s signaling a willingness to discuss the topic Spock will raise. If he doesn’t, Spock is expected not to bring it up.

      Vulcans are intensely private people, and not given to discussing personal topics or emotions. I feel like they would have a ritual to focus on.

      I’m glad you appreciated the details. That’s been a weak spot in my writing for a long time, and I’m just starting to get the knack of what to include and how to describe it in my POV character’s voice.

    • Thank you for what turned out to be a perfect prompt, Linda! I was a little stuck with how to end that scene, but the time prompt and the imagery it inspired provided a natural stopping place, and a symbol I can use in future scenes.

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