((DeVeau’s Quarters, USS Garuda))
::Upon its birth, the digital age had seen a slow decline in paper books - a decline that rapidly increased as more and more things were available via electronic devices. Despite that, certain stubborn peoples had refused to give up hard copies of their precious novels and, while born far, far after this era, Alora could only place herself among those who had a fondness for them. There was just something about holding a book rather than a PADD or similar device. They did rustle when a page was turned or smell of wood and whatever other scents they might have picked up along the way. As years passed, they told a story in their own right about the owners who possessed them. Each wrinkled page, each torn corner gave insight into the owner.
Alora read her books, but she did so with care. When she allowed someone else to read them, it was rare and for specific reasons. Aron - the elder one - had been the first person she’d offered any of her novels to for quite some time. As afternoon turned into evening, she settled upon her couch and with one of her favourites, Jane Eyre. The chime of the door, however, interrupted her thoughts, but company was always pleasant so she called for the computer to allow the visitor in.::
::The figure behind the door was rather diminutive than might initially have been expected, and was eclipsed somewhat by the box that he was carrying. It was a small environmental regulator unit with a plas case atop it. Inside the case sat four green plants in bulbous pots, all flowering happily. The unit should have been too heavy for an eight year old to carry, but the little Vulcan managed it with apparent ease.::
Saavok: Sochya, Lt. DeVeau.
::Immediately, Alora’s face lit up and she placed the book mark in her spot and set the object aside so she could focus on the miniature Vulcan. When she realised that he was carrying, she stood, but on the heels of that realisation was the one that he didn’t seem to struggle with the heavy box.::
DeVeau: Sochya, Saavok. Call me Alora, silly. What’s all this?
::The little Vulcan approached Alora with the box.::
Saavok: Father observed that your plant collection had been substantially damaged during the last mission. We thought that you might find it agreeable to have these specimens returned.
::Having been in transit during the recent plant invasion, they had not been subject to the protomatter’s effects and looked as innocuous as ever.::
::It would be like Saveron to think of her in that way. He knew how much she enjoyed her plants and the Kindred couldn’t take that from her. As the box was offered, she shook her head.::
DeVeau: I couldn’t do that, those are gifts I gave to you.
::His father had warned him that there might be some tangled cultural implications, that even the older Vulcan did not understand.::
Saavok: Is it then inappropriate to offer them as a gift in turn? ::He asked.::
DeVeau: In my culture, it would be taken as offense, though I promise you, I know your intent behind it and take no offense.
::So it was complicated. But that didn’t change the fact that they had plants and Alora didn’t.::
Saavok: No offence was intended. You did say that they are easy to propagate. ::He remembered the original conversation and gifting perfectly.::
DeVeau: I know, and like I said, I’m not offended, I’m just passing along information about my culture. ::She paused a moment and eyed the plants.:: You’re right. They are easy to propagate, and I know I wasn’t able to extract living cells from at least two of these. I’d love to have some leaves, if I may.
Saavok: Affirmative. You may keep the plants if you would prefer. ::Except that giving things back was apparently offensive.:: I mean, until you have them successfully propagated. ::He added.::
::Alora shook her head then beckoned the child to follow her so he could place the box on a small table in the corner.::
DeVeau: No need, it’s pretty easy. Do you want to see how it’s done?
::He was always interested in new things. The box was set carefully on the small table, entirely unnecessary in Alora’s more temperate quarters, but vital for the plants’ survival in the Vulcan Standard conditions that father and son liked to live in. Clearly the two Vulcans had taken their stewardship of the plants seriously.::
::Underneath the table was a tub which Alora tugged out and then opened. Inside were a variety of supplies, including a smaller tub of something or another, some cups, a sharp pair of scissors, a sharp knife, empty pots, string, and a few other containers, the contents of which also remained a mystery for the moment. The first thing Alora took out was the smaller tub, one of the pots which was tall but small in diameter, then placed them on the table. That done, she carefully slipped her fingers through the scissors.::
DeVeau: The first thing you want to do is cut a leaf where there’s a decent amount of stem and do so at an angle.
::Saavok watched the preparations in quiet fascination.::
Saavok: What length is a ‘decent amount’? ::He enquired, not comfortable with approximations.::
DeVeau: You want there to be enough stem left so that you can trim some more off.
::Alora inserted the scissors into the foliage, careful only to select one stem from the others - one that was neither in the top layer nor the bottom, but settled in the middle. As she worked, Saavok watched her carefully.::
DeVeau: You can also just pinch it off with your fingers, but I generally use scissors.
::With a hushed snip, one leaf gave way and Alora plucked it from amongst the others.::
Saavok: May I?
::Taking the leaf carefully he examined it, committing it to memory as the archetypal ideal leaf for this activity before handing it back.::
::The scissors were set aside and the knife taken up.::
DeVeau: Now you make a clean cut at an angle. That exposes more cells which increases your probability of a successful propagation and also you’ll be more likely to have more babies.
::With a quick swipe, the cut was done and she set aside the bit of stem she’d cut away.::
DeVeau: It’s usually good to do two leaves from the same specimen to also increase your chances. Do you want to do the next one?
::She grasped the scissors then offered them to Saavok.::
Saavok: I would like to try.
::He accepted the delicate scissors and slid them onto his fingers, trying the action, which he found awkward. Swapping them to the other hand he found the action easier, but his movements were slower. Like his father he was left-handed.::
::The equipment negotiated he regarded the plant, turning it so as to select a leaf from the opposite side. Allowed a 10% margin of variance, he selected a leaf part-way up the plant which was almost the same size as the one that Alora had chosen, and carefully cut it’s stem.::
Saavok: Is that satisfactory? ::He asked, showing it to Alora.::
DeVeau: Very satisfactory.
::Nodding, the child set down the scissors and picked up the knife. Much more deft, he carefully cut the end of the stem at an angle approximating that which had been demonstrated.::
Saavok: What do we do with them?
DeVeau: Now, we’re going to plant them.
::Alora plucked a couple of the containers up, one labeled Clonex, the other MF. She set them before her and the child, then picked out two pots - one a deep purple and the other lavender and yellow. After the containers were unscrewed, Alora procured a small stick from among the supplies, one end flattened.::
DeVeau: Clonex just helps encourage cell reproduction so the plantlets grow a little faster and sometimes you get a little more.
::She dabbed a tiny speck on the end of her leaf, then offered the stick to Saavok.::
::The child accepted the stick with all the seriousness of someone entrusted with some rare relic, and carefully copied Alora’s work, treating his own leaf in the same manner.::.
Lt. Alora DeVeau
Chief of ScienceUSS Garuda