THE ACADEMY YEARS
THE ROSE GARDEN
A beautiful lawn in a walled garden enclosure, all along the edge were flower beds and in the middle were 2 large circular flower beds with an oval shaped rockery between them, and in the centre of the rockery stood a statuette of a Fawn with parcels under one arm and an umbrella in the other hand. The dew was fresh upon the flowers and grass, as the last of the stars had given way to the early morning light only a few moments ago. Cadet Saavik liked to walk in this ornamental garden at this time as no-one else was up yet, and if they were they preferred to head for the mess-hall and the stimulating drinks it had to offer.
Except this particular day she saw some-one else in the garden busy snipping many heads of roses with tiny sequitors and placing them into a small tub. Saavik was curious and so went over to investigate.
“ Good morning” she greeted the fellow cadet.
“Oh!, Good morning…” replied the surprised cadet , who continued “…I never see anyone this early in the morning here. My name’s Heidi, by the way. I only started a month ago”.
Saavik introduced herself and presumed Heidi meant she was referring to when she started at the academy, but to clarify the matter, she asked –
“ Do you mean you started at the academy – or that you started cutting roses a month ago?”
Saavik noticed Heidi’s accent sounded English, but had a heavy pronunciation on the ’R’s and soft vowels often drawled
“I have observed that there are roses disappearing over the last four days and was curious as to why. I was unaware that the denuding of the rose bushes was permissible”
Heidi looked a little sheepish. “ I figured that if I don’t ask if I can, then that makes it okay”
“That is a highly illogical way to think” observed Saavik.
“Not really, if you look at it this way – if I ask and they say no, then I’ll not be able to do this anymore, or have a struggle resisting temptation. If I don’t ask and they stop me, I can claim ignorance. And so I’m not disobeying any order at the moment”
Saavik found human thought-patterns so illogical but also interesting.
“Is this avoidance an attempt to ease a conscience that is already trying to tell you something ?” asked Saavik.
Heidi didn’t answer immediately. She gazed longingly at the row of rose bushes that were obviously bereft of their flowers, absent-mindedly she pulled off the petals of a rose and proceeded to eat them.
“I was unaware that humans can eat roses” said Saavik.
“Well, they are, but not many people know that or bother to, but they are very tasty. These…” Heidi indicated to the tub “…are going to be steeped in water to make rosewater – it’s good as a perfume, and also drinkable.
Very tasty, especially when chilled”.
“I see” replied Saavik.
“I guess – no. I know you’re right. I’m just trying to get my way with something that’s probably not approved of “
“How do you know as a fact that it’s not approved of when you haven’t yet enquired?” challenged Saavik.
“Then perhaps it is worth asking. The answer might surprise you. And if it is no then may I suggest it will be good character- training to ‘resist temptation’”.
Heidi sighed. “Yeah, I’ll do that. You got a good way of looking at things”
“logically.” Replied Saavik, not in a superior way.
“Do you come here to meditate ?” asked Heidi
“Yes. It is an aesthetically pleasing arrangement of flowers and herbs”
“I’m sorry I’ve taken from that enjoyment”
Saavik raised an eyebrow at the use of an emotional term. Heidi realised and tried to find a different word to use…
“Oh! I’m sorry! I shouldn’t have used that word ‘enjoyment’. Vulcans don’t ‘enjoy’ anything –
NO!, sorry, what I meant was,er… I mean that…”
But Saavik interrupted the flustered cadet to save her further embarrassment
“I am not offended. I understand what you intended to convey”.
Heidi sighed heavily with relief, then initially offered the remaining rose petals to be tried.
“Thank you, but I must decline for now, I will need to check that they are suitable for Vulcan consumption”
“Of course,” agreed Heidi. “ the last thing I want to do is poison you!. ‘Cos it’s been nice making your acquaintance.”
“The sentiment is mutual. Perhaps we can meet again this week to study the properties of flowers and assess what I may eat ? “
It was Saavik’s opening to make a new friend and learn something new in the area of botany. They talked a little more and then Heidi left and Saavik walked in meditation.
Later the next day, in Delta 2 dormitory …
Heidi came back from her last combat training session exhausted. At the foot of her bunk, she found a little potted rose bush. It would fit well on top of her locker. A small note was attached. It read…
I have checked that you can keep this in your dormitory. May it bring you much enjoyment,
Your friend, Saavik.
A short story by Heidi Mobius