Baby Book - Phase Three
Chapter One Hundred - A Calculated Risk
Nyota looked at Spock. "Are you certain this is a good idea? Don't you think you may be giving the twins ideas that they don't need?"
"It is a calculated risk, I will admit. However, Grayson and Amanda have repeatedly expressed a desire for more stories. I have chosen one which I feel will not provide too much stimulus to the twins."
"If you think it's safe. I know how much Grayson and Amanda have enjoyed the stories. Do we have everything we need?"
"Yes, I have checked the box, and everything you will need is there." And he handed the white box to her, and proceeded into the playroom, with his wife following behind him, still not certain that this was a wise idea.
They sat down on the floor, with their backs against the wall, and Amanda and Grayson spotted them almost immediately. When they saw the white box, they came running, and settled down beside their father in great expectation. The twins followed, to see what was going on, and Spock gathered them into his lap, with an arm around each, cautioning them that they must be quiet and sit still.
Nyota removed the lid from the white box, and laid it on the floor on her other side, and waited for Spock to begin, only taking out the red cloth and spreading it out on the floor in front of him. Semik and Sobek watched curiously, wondering what was going on.
"Once, a long time ago, a small boy lived on the planet known as Vulcan. It was a desert planet, and covered with sand and rocks."
Nyota reached into the box and found several small rocks, which she scattered about on the red cloth. And then she brought out the figure of the small boy in the off-white tunic and pants, and set him in the middle of the cloth. The two small boys gasped in wonder when they saw that, and pointed their fingers at the figure, but they were quiet, sensing that something very interesting was happening.
"The boy had a friend, named I-Chaya, who was a sehlat. Together they roamed over the desert, investigating whatever they could find."
Nyota took the figure of the sehlat out of the box, and set it beside the figure of the boy, leaning towards the boy. Semik made a small sound, and Sobek leaned over and put his fingers on his brother's lips, to caution him. Their mother grinned at this.
"It was the custom, at that time, and in that place, that children prove themselves in the desert when they reached the age of seven years, by going out alone, without any provisions, to survive or die as might happen."
Amanda gasped, and Grayson clutched her hands, and the twins looked up at their father with startled eyes.
"When the small boy set out, without his parents' knowledge, his friend would not stay behind, but followed along, grumbling and complaining. The small boy cautioned him several times to go back, but he would not."
Nyota moved the figure of the boy across the red cloth, with the sehlat moving along behind him, stopping now and then to throw up his head, as though making a complaining noise. All of the children were very quiet.
"For several days, the boy wandered in the desert, with the sehlat trailing along behind him. The boy kept reminding the sehlat that he was supposed to endure this trial alone, without help, but the sehlat would not leave him."
Again Nyota moved the figure of the boy about, with the sehlat always behind.
"And then, as the boy was on the return voyage, disaster struck. One of the large predators of that area, called a le-matya, attacked the small boy."
Nyota lifted the figure of a large cat-like animal from the box and rushed toward the boy with it. Amanda gasped again, and the twins leaned back against their father, clutching his arms. Grayson stared with his eyes wide.
"I-Chaya rushed to defend the small boy, and fought against the le-matya, but he was old, and the poison from the bites he suffered caused him to fall upon the ground in great pain. The small boy was afraid then, thinking that he would die."
Nyota made the figure of the le-matya rush upon the sehlat many times, tossing the sehlat away, where it laid on the red cloth, on its side. Then she turned the le-matya towards the boy, and the children all trembled.
"Suddenly, there was a man there, a Vulcan male, who came in time to finish what the sehlat had not been able to, dispatching the le-matya before it could harm the boy."
Nyota removed another figure from the box, a tall male Vulcan, not the same figure as used before for the boy's father, and it raised a weapon toward the le-matya, which fell down and died.
"The small boy went to where his friend laid, and wrapped his arms about him, and cried, but I-Chaya was old, and could not recover from the poison. The man who had saved him showed him how to end his friend's suffering, and the small boy sat and held his friend's head as he died."
Nyota sat the figure of the boy at the head of the sehlat, and put the figure of the man nearby. Amanda was crying now, and Grayson looked as though he might join her. The twins trembled and held onto their father tightly.
"The man who had rescued the boy accompanied him back to his home, and the boy's father went and retrieved the body of the sehlat, and they buried I-Chaya in the garden behind the house."
Nyota moved the figure of the boy and the sehlat closer to Spock, and found the figure of the boy's father and stood it beside the boy. And she took a small piece of the red cloth, and covered the sehlat with it.
Spock sat there quietly then, and did not speak again. Amanda raised tearful eyes to him. "Baba, Baba, why did I-Chaya have to die?"
"Because he was old, and could not withstand the poison."
"But what did the boy do without his friend, Baba?" Grayson pulled at his father's arm, demanding to know.
"He was much lonelier after that, for he did not have anyone to roam the desert with him. But he had also learned that he must be much more careful, for he had no defender now. He was solely responsible for his own safety."
Semik turned to his father, and patted him on the cheek. "Baba, Baba, make the sehlat live again."
"I cannot do that Semik. When something is dead, it is beyond my ability to repair."
Sobek screwed up his little face and wailed. "I don't want the sehlat to die. Bad le-matya!"
"Indeed the le-matya was bad. But the sehlat did indeed die. This is what happens when we do things without thinking, and do not plan ahead. Sometimes our friends suffer. And sometimes we feel the pain for a very long time afterwards."
All the children clung to Spock, and he soothed them with soft strokes of his hands. This was a hard lesson for his children to learn, and one that he had debated with himself over telling them. But he had felt that it was a necessary lesson, and one that it was time for them to hear.
Nyota gathered up all the figures, and the red cloth, and put them back in the box. She was putting the lid on the box when she heard Grayson ask one more question. "Baba, who was the man who rescued the boy?"
"It was your kinsman, Selek."
Nyota turned to Spock, a look of wonder on her face. She had not known this. Later she would have to get the whole story from Spock, for there was surely more to it than what he had just said.
Author's note: This is the last chapter of this story. The next story is Grayson's story - "Destined from the Start". It will begin tomorrow.