joi, 2 iunie 2011

Chapter I

Good Things Come In Small Packages

"While we try to teach our children all about life,

Our children teach us what life is all about"

Angela Schwindt

- Sorry to interrupt, I brought some lemonades and cookies if you boys get thirsty or hungry from all your story telling. Saied the blonde miss.

Thomas stretches his arm to take a cookie from the plate.

- Aaaaaa! It seems I burn my fingers.

- I forgot to tell you, there fresh out of the oven.Saied the blonde miss.

- It’s all right. No harm done. Saied Thomas

While he is turning his head from Thom to his daughter with a smile on his face John asked her.

- Is my nephew doing his homework?

- He just started; you can check when he's finished. Answered the young miss.

- Before you leave, did you replicate those materials that I need for my new painting?

- Yes there exactly the ones you wanted. I am going to leave now, you boys play nice now.

A sudden mist enveloped the garden as the miss is leaving, so many shades of gray and blue surrounding them like a magical spell. They took a few seconds to watch the mist while it envelopes the garden.

- Father, I brought you a blanket.

- Thank you, can you bring us some hot coco or tea, it seems the weather doesn’t want us to drink lemonade.

- Ok. Thom, what would you like to drink?

- Some tea will be just fine.

- I will bring you some nice natural chamomile tea. Does that sound good?

- Trust me, I have been drinking it from when I was little. It’s very good. Said John.

- It sounds perfect.

- Ok then 2 chamomile tea cups in a few minutes.

- Thom where did we remain? Asked John

- Well we didn’t have a proper chance to start. I think you wanted to start with your childhood.

- My childhood, I was born in 2345 on the 13 of June in a little town between the Carpathian Mountain and the Black sea on the bank of the Danube River. I spent a little part of my childhood there, at my grandparents becausemy parents where most of the time away.

- What was the name of the town? Asked Thomas

- Galati. It was a lovely little town.

- The name is kind of weird. Said Thomas

- Come to think of it, it does sound funny. Said John

- And the fact that they were away didn’t affect your decision to become a Starfleet Officer? Asked Thomas

- No why should it? It was there carrier, I am not angry that they were most of the time away, in fact I thank them. Because I had my chance to decide what to do in live and experience it firsthand. In fact the presence of my grandfather helped me a lot; he was the one to push me forward with my dream of becoming a Starfleet captain.

- But you were still guided, just by other people. Said Thom

- By other people, towards my goals. Said John

- Now back to your childhood, how did you spend your childhood?

Asked Thom

- Ride a bike, swim, spend time reading old adventure books. You name it, I probably did it. My grandfather always gave me whatever I wanted. My grandmother always argued with my grandfather, she was always saying he was spoiling my. He always remembered her that I was his only nephew.

I had a few friends in that town when I was little.One day we didn’t know what to do. He came to us with this white ball with blue stripes and taught us soccer. Imagine 4 year olds playing soccer.

- I can’t I don’t know what it is.

- I’m not surprised that sport was dead until I started playing it on my ship, but that is a story I will tell you later. A few days after I turned 5 my grandmother had a little talk with my mother. It seemed that my grandparents where getting old and I couldn’t stay with them anymore. My grandfather promised my mother that he would take care that I will be placed into a good school. After a long argued with my her,grandfather seen he couldn’t convince her to put me into a normal school, she wanted to send me to a monastery somewhere in Tibet so I could get in touch with my spiritual side.

He realized to get the part about Tibet out of her mind but the monastery part still remained. In a moment of genius he realized that just a few days ago he spoke with an old colleague, hecomplained that his son’s wife send his daughter to a Vulcan monastery. He decided I was going to spend my next few years at T’shang monastery on the planet B’tan.

- So it wasn’t accidental your meeting with...

- No, I will learn of this arrangement years later, but that is for later.

- In my research I did read a little about B’tan but I don’t realy know that much about it. Saied Tom.

- I am not surprised of that either, it’s a little blue planet near Vulcan not important at all. It’s got only a few monasteries and a couple of cities. That was the first time I went into space, we left Earth on this nice Excelsior class ship that was retrofitted in San Francisco dry-docks. My grandfather talked with a few of his old friends and made us guests of honor, they even arranged for the test flight to be from Earth to Vulcan.The captain was an old friend of me grandfathers. He took me personally to show me every nook and cranny, from the bridge going throw sickbay to the nacelles. The last place he took me was the Captains office.

- What would you like to drink? Asked the captain

- Chamomile tea please.

- Immediately if I get this replicator thing to work properly. Said the captain

It malfunctioned, the tea was replicated a second before the tea cup.

- Just a second I need to speak with the chef. A few moments later…

- I spoke with him and the tea will be ready in a several minutes.

He said to me one thing when we were in his office, which I think changed something in me.

“If you ever become a starship captain do everything like you want, if you can change the ship do it, if you can change the crew that you didn’t pick and don’t work well with do it. Hell if you gen the change to build your one ship and pick your crew you would be a mad man not to take it.”

- Did you see him again? Asked Thom.

- No, he gave his life to protect a station from pirates. There ship disabled his weapons and did much damage to the ship including the computer. He ordered the crew to abandon ship and after that ran into the pirate one.

- He died a hero’s death, defending the innocent, a noble act.

Saied Thom.

- When we reached Vulcan a shuttle docked with the ship to take us to B’tan. It was one of those little red long ones, with a ringed warp engine in the back. We reached the monastery in a few hours.Besides the planet we were heading for, the system had 1 gas giant and 2 small planets very near the sun. Like the Earth solar system B’than was the 3th planet from the sun. Late in the day we passed throw the mountains long side a river and reached a big Vulcan monastery. On the bank of the river stood a large several large buildings, some of them carved from the wall of a mountain. The landing platform was right on the top of the river. On the round platform we were greeted by the abbot and several monks. My grandfather left with the abbot and one of the monks showed me around. It was nice, from the land zone we entered the middle part of the monasteries. Two large building on each side with a fountain in the center surrounded by several trees, at the end of the court carved in the mountain there was a stairway that took you from to the lower and upper part. Also from the upper part to a farm. After they showed me to my room, I took a trip to the abbot. In the upper part of the monastery there was a large house where the monks lived, near it was a large tower were the abbot had his office. I entered the room and had a long and boring discussion about what I was going to study, how I should behave and other dull things.

My grandfather left early because the shuttle couldn’t stay more, they were on a tight schedule. I was all alone, for like 10 seconds until I reached the fountain and a cute Vulcan girl approached me. She had lovely red hair and a startling French accent.

- Hey there it seems I am not the only one with feelings around here.

- But you are Vulcan?

- Maybe I have the pointed ears but I’ve got the French fire in my heart. My father is human from the region of France my mother is Vulcan.

- I’m happy I mustn’t spend my time here alone with these soulless vulcan’s, no offence. Non taken, let’s go somewhere I spend my time. It’s a nice place from where you can see the whole region.

I followed her up the stairs we reached the farms, there was a large field filled with trees and vegetables. She took me through a dense trees line right on an old stairway, after a few minutes we reached the top. There was a large green tree that was filled with yellow fruits.

She climbed the tree and came back with two of those mysterious fruits. We seat on an old stone bench. As we watched the sun set I took a bight from the fruit, it was sugary sweet a few moments and after that it turned muggy pungent.

I was just watching the sun set with my eyes wide open, tears war falling from them. She laughed and said:

- That happened to me to firs time I took a bight from these odd things. Here have some water it will pas. But you must admit they are good.

- They can give me a ton of gold for each bite and I’ll still won’t eat any ore of this thing.

She laughed loudly – You will grow fond of them after you eat a couple.

- Maybe. I said.

The next day:

- Rise and shine, sleeping beauty. Said Michelle.

- Let me sleep a few more minutes please. Said John.

- No, I want to show you something right now. Said Michelle

- It’s still dark, what hours is it? Asked John.

- 5:30 why? Asked Michelle.

- 5:30 what is so important that it can’t wait a few more hours.Said John.

- As I told you I have to show you something, come on let’s take a little walk.Said Michelle.

- Ok, let me dress up firs I will see you at the fountain in ten minutes.Said John.

- No, the bench in five.Said Michelle.

- All right, all ready.Said John.

After I got dressed I ran up the stairs and reached the bench.

- It took you six minutes but no harm done I forget you for now. Said Michelle.

- I am late one minute. Said John.

- Yes one minute could have been too late. Said Michelle.

- OK, now what was so important that it couldn’t wait? Asked John.

- You will see, now look.

Though the mountains a large orange sun risen, the whole valley was illuminated. It was like the light embracing the valley brought everything to life. A few moments after that a smaller blue sun rose and took it’s place beside the other one.

- Yesterday I think that the blue bulb wasn’t on the sky. Said John.

- Yes, it moves very slowly around the sun and appears only a couple of days, and only for a short period of time. Said Michelle.

- Ok now that we have seen the suns rise it’s early, let’s go fishing. Said John.

- No. She suddenly screamed at John.

With a shy and somehow scared face he asked. -Why?

- Well it’s wrong to kill animals. And another thing I am a vegetarian. Said Michelle.

- We catch them and after that we release them. Said John.

- No it’s cruel, promise me you won’t do this again. Said Michelle.

- But I have been fishing since my first steps, with my grandfather. Said John.

- Your five like me you haven’t done this fro like 20 years. Said Michelle.

- Ok I won’t argue with you. But what will we do all day? Asked John.

- We will see. Said Michelle.

A few years later…

13 of June 2358

- Hey you, good morning. Said Michelle.

- Are you going to show me that blue round thing again, I seen it like two hundred and forty thousand times. Please let me sleep. Said John.

- No. Come on get dressed I have something to show you. Said Michelle.

- I hope it’s worth it. Said John.

- You will like it, I’m sure. Said Michelle.

I got dressed and left the building in a hurry. I reached the fountain and …

- Hey there, shouted Michelle, she was up near the tree sitting on the bench. Come up here. She said.

- OK. I ran up the stairs, my heart was beating wildly.

- Finally, I was worrying you fell asleep. Said Michelle.

- You know I don’t have Vulcan genes. Said John.

- That is your loss. Know sit down I have something for you. But first blow this candles close your eyes and put a wish. Said Michelle.

- Ok I closed my eyes, am putting a wish I think… while I was dreaming of something that would sound convincing, because I knew she will ask me. From nowhere he woke up been kissed and didn’t know what to do, so he just let himself led.

- Why did you do kiss me, not that I didn’t like it.

- Well it’s your birthday, you little silly boy. Now let’s have a piece of cake.Said Michelle.

- Ok I will take I bite know don’t you try anything I wouldn’t like. Said John

- You wouldn’t mind. Said Michelle

- Vanilla, nice you’re favorite. Said John.

- You don’t have any, so I decided for you. Said Michelle.

- I have one just that I didn’t find it yet.

- Yeah right let’s eat until you decide we’ll grow old. Said Michelle.

- mmmm, nice cake did you make it?

- Come on do you think any of these monks would bake something as good as this?

- Me and my stupid questions, sorry Michelle. Said John.

- No harm done, it’s that illogical mind of yours. Said Michelle.

- I am not going to argue with you Michelle and you know it. Said John.

She grabbed his nose and said - I know it and that is why I every time get away with it.

- Off what am I going to do with you? Asked John.

- Love my just the way I am. Said Michelle

- You know I am such a fool for you, you I am going to do just that. Said John

Later, we were in the mess hall.

-Hey for what is that ball that you have in your room, I wanted to ask about it for a long time? Asked Michelle

-Oooo that old thing, well back on Earth, a few months before I came here my grandfather showed me and my friends an old sport called football. Said John

- So we kick it, with our feet. Said Michelle.

- Yes, we use our feet, just the goalkeeper users his hands to catch it, preventing it from entering the net. Said John.

- How many people play this game? Asked Michelle

- Well, there should be eleven, 10 field players and one that protects the goalpost, in one team. Said John

- I guess two teams play one game, how much does a game last? Asked Michelle

- Well it should last 90 minutes. Said John

- That is not long, well not for me. Said Michelle

- Not for you Michelle your metabolism is twice as good as mine. Said John

- Then you have to try twice as hard to keep up with me. Said Michelle

- Well I will get the ball and show you, but are we going to play? Asked John

- What about in the dorm’s interior court? Asked Michelle

- Yeah its square we could use it. Said John

- But the nets you spoke of where are we going to put them? Asked Michelle

- We will just draw the goalposts. Said John

- And try to convince the other kids to play with us. Said Michelle

We started to play ourselves, first stealing each other’s ball, running one after another. After a while a couple of kids entered our little game. In a few months we formed two teams, we were playing every day. The word spread and in other monasteries teams sprang up over night. In a year fully functional league was formed with 12 candidates for a cup that one of the monks carved out of wood.

About a year later…

I woke up early, so Michelle wouldn’t have to wake me up this time. I got dressed up and went out. I walked by the fountain, the sun didn’t rise yet, so most of the stars where still on the sky. The mess hall was closed, so I started walking up the stairs to the bench.

- I am such a fool why didn’t I come here in the first place. Said John for himself

- Finally, I could see you from up here. Said Michelle

- So why didn’t you yell? Asked John

- You could use the exercise. Said Michelle

- For the past year I have been running all around the courts from all the monasteries. And might I remind you that I was so tired after each match that I feel asleep the moment I got in my bead, o and you didn’t even break a sweat. Said John

- Not my fault you’re human. Said Michelle

- So what are we going to do today? Asked John

- Well we have a few days before the semi final mach so I was thinking we should just stay and talk. Said Michelle

- All day, here? Asked John

- I won’t even answer that. Said Michelle

- The sun is rising, we should eat something, let’s go to the mess hall. Said John

- Ok, first get a couple of fruits. Said Michelle

- How many, two, tree? Asked John

- A few, I took a basket, here fill it. Said Michelle

- Hey there you old man, are you filing that man’s head with nonsense. Said Michelle

- Michelle, have you finished your course so early? Asked John

- You know how are these kids, we where once like them. Said Michelle

- They skipped class, I remember when we were in Paris, but that is for another time. Michelle this is Thomas Hemingway. He is the writer that will write a book about my life. Said John

- I wonder how you didn’t fell asleep. Said Michelle

- No, it’s quite interesting. Said John

- John help Helen with the tea I will continue from where you left. Said Michelle

- Ok, I was telling him about… Said John

- Just go, John will tell me. Said Michelle

- Ok dear. Said John

After John left the garden and entered the house Michelle said.

- He tries to be so nice, for almost 80 years I have been trying to change him and failing.

- I can’t see what is the harm in being nice? Asked Thomas

- For him it’s a big flaw some times, he is always Mr. Nice Guy. Let’s carry on from where John left you. Said Michelle

- We where about a year after his thirteen birthday, it was morning and you and John where gathering some strange fruits. Said Thomas

- I think, I remember the day. It was morning and after looking for me every where he finally realized I was sitting up on the bench. Said Michelle

- Yes, a few days before the semi final match. Said Thomas

- I left him to collect some lentz fruit…

- O lentz that is the name of the fruit, sorry John didn’t remember the name. Said Thomas

- You will be surprised the things that he forgets or remembers. That day we were in the mess hall, we started eating, he always had the same thing French fries with a salad and for desert pancakes with chocolate. When he told me:

- This is his last year at the monastery Michelle, next year in September he is leaving for San Francisco.

- I am leaving to, just that I am leaving for Paris. Said Michelle

- I don’t what to loss you Michelle. Said John

- You won’t, you will have to visit me every weekend and on holidays. Said Michelle

- You will come and visit me to, won’t you? Asked John

After two weeks…

- We have won the semi final match at a pass, with 3-1. Said Michelle

- Yes, but I am so tired. I can’t wait to get home and eat some pancakes. Said John

- Let’s try this time, pancakes with lentz, Said Michelle

- No whey, I rather jump off a bridge then try to eat pancakes with lentz. Said John

- O come on, let’s try something new. Said Michelle

- We will see. Said John

Later in the mass hall…

- Come on John try some pancakes with lentz. Said Michelle.

- No whey, I rather eat rocks. Said John

- Take a little bite, or I am going to tie you up to tree and force you to eat a dozen. Said Michelle

- Ok already, I can’t argue with you Michelle. Said John

He took a bite and ran straight for the water bottle that was near the table, two liter of water weren’t enough, and he drank another two. I didn’t want to speak with me for week.

- From what I understood, the fruits are sweet at first, and after that they turn hot. Said Thomas

- Yes, John doesn’t like them, but he eats them to not argue with me. Said Michelle

- He is a nice man. Said Thomas

- To nice for his own good sometimes, you will see. Said Michelle

- Hey there you, here is your tea Michelle.

- Thank you John

- Here is your tea Thomas.

- Thank you very much Helen

- I have to help little Scott with his homework. Said Helen

- Ok dear, if you need thing your father will help. Said Michelle

- Like I have a choice. Said John

- Sit down and don’t be so grumpy old man. Said Michelle

- Where? You took my chair, in your lap like a dog? Asked John

- Just bring yourself a chair and lighten up.

- Off, take my chair, eat strange fruit, go every weekend to France…

- He is just a little angry, once he sits down it will pass faster then light. Said Michelle

John came with a chair and once he sat down and took a look at Michelle his face lit up like a Christmas tree and he smiled.

- What? Asked Michelle

- Nothing. Said John

- His been doing that from the day I meet him. Said Michelle

- What? Asked John

- You look at me, with a smile, and if I ask you, the answer is always “nothing”. Said Michelle

- I won’t even start this discussion again. Said John

- Where were we? Asked Michelle

- In the mass hall you were eating pancakes with lentz. Said Thomas

- That was a week before the final match. We played with the V’tope monastery. It was a backbreaking match, I was a right midfield players, she was a centre forward. So all the balls I had to steal or get I was obligated to center to her. Said John

- It wasn’t that hard, we beat them with 2-0. Said Michelle

- It’s easy for you to say, all you had to do is push them in the net, I had to do all the running. Said John

- That is not true, and you know it. Said Michelle

- My memories are good; I remember it like it was yesterday. I ran 90 minutes; all you had to do was push the ball two times in the nets. Said John

- Now don’t argue with me, I played my part to. Said Michelle

- I won’t even go there. Said John

- Those where a couple of weird days, on the 12 we played and won the final match, next day was his birthday. And on the 14 he got a call from his mother that his grandfather died. That was the first funeral we had attended. His grandfather was buried in central cemetery from Galati. Said Michelle

- This is our final summer here. Said John

- Yes, I will miss this place, I got attached to it. Said Michelle

- I will be in San Francisco, you in Paris. Said John with a sad face while he was looking at Michelle

She looked back at him, smiles and said. It doesn’t matter how far apart we are, I know you will call me every day and visit me every time you can; silly little you.

- Watching this sunset here with you, a song passes through my mind. Said John

- I know your singing is horrible. So just recite it. Said Michelle

- Just lovely, it suits perfectly with this day. Do you know “What A wonderful World”? Said Michelle

- Naturally, what is it? Asked John

- Could we sing it? One verse me one you? Asked Michelle

- I see trees of green, red roses too
- I see them bloom for me and you
- And I think to myself what a wonderful world.

- I see skies of blue and clouds of white
- The bright blessed day, the dark sacred night
- And I think to myself what a wonderful world.

- The colors of the rainbow so pretty in the sky
- Are also on the faces of people going by
- I see friends shaking hands saying how do you do
- They're really saying I love you.

And they had a final summer kiss.
- That was how we spent our last day at the monastery. I am going inside help Helen make some cake.

- Why don’t you use the replicator? Asked Thomas

- It’s my nephew’s birthday; I won’t let him eat that replicated thing. Said Michelle

- Let’s go inside, in the library. Said John

We started walking towards the house, we entered the large corridor and…

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