::Calls from home were a regular thing for Tristam Daneil Core. His father, Gamighan Core, was great at being awfully over-considerate and had the understandably frustrating need to stay in constant contact with his son of only 31 years of age, who happened to be on the other side of the quadrant, especially when that son happened to be prone to bad luck (e.g. considerable lack of Federation social etiquette and somehow manages to always get caught in bad accidents putting his health to an all-mighty low for the next year at least - not to mention having not been home in over 10 years). The attention was always on Tristam, on his "adventures" - though he'd managed to switch the attention around when he'd caught his father coughing off screen, Gamighan brushing it away almost immediately.
Gamighan: It's just a cold.
Core: In Qunira?
Gamighan: I blame Yanata. She keeps the thermostat low.
::The conversation promptly went back to the gory parts of what happened on the Orion vessel and how Tristam had again been injured. As soon as Tristam had finished explaining what exactly had happened to him this time - electrocution through a feedback pulse was never fun and as soon as he'd told his father, he'd had to go over all aspects of how his health was back to normal - Gamighan had handed the sub-space equipped PADD Starfleet had graciously sent his family to his twin brother. And the whole process started all over again.
::This time, it was not his actual physical health Taywor was interested in - or, it was, but Tristam didn't truly categorize it in that way. After last year's speech debacle, Taywor was highly interested in the processes Tristam was going through in regaining strength within his telepathic lobe. Taywor was a budding psychologist, keen on understanding the Rodulan brain, and at the moment, Tristam was a very interesting case study for him. Of course, the brotherly love was still there among all the intriguing questions Tristam could barely understand let alone begin to answer. Tristam and Taywor were both technical minds, but when it came to their areas of interests, it was like they spoke two different languages.
::And then Yanata appeared over Taywor's shoulder, getting ready for work.::
Yanata: Where's this 'Roshanara' of yours? I want to speak with her.
Core: She's busy.
Yanata: That's what you said last time - are you lying to me? Is she even real?
Core: She's real.
::It's not the first time he's had this conversation with his sister-in-basotile, and while her vote of confidence in Tristam's romantic capabilities was always comforting, it was nice to know that she was at least concerned for his wellbeing. Even if that meant the occasional insult.
::Now that he thought about it, Yanata and Roshanara would probably get along swimmingly.::
::And then the PADD got handed over to young Samual, Tristam's nephew.::
Samual: Hey, Uncle Tam.
::Tristam's eyes narrowed immediately. Samual was an amazing kid, musically inclined and capable with the technology to go with it. And he was really enjoying his school, now having started Keltrip.
::But Tristam knew when something was up with the boy.::
Core: Hey yourself. Everything okay?
::Samual only shrugged. Tristam could only frown, his head tilting.::
Core: This isn't going to be much of a conversation unless you give me some details.
Samual: I'm fine.
Core: You're parents are around the corner, aren't they.
Samual: Why wouldn't they be?
Core: Take me to your room - I wanna see your viremow.
::The boy rolled his eyes, but complied, the background behind his head moving as he passed Taywor and Yanata deep in discussion and ended up in the youngen's room. Promptly, the small bell-like instrument was on display - having been personally built by Samual himself through painstakingly long and complicated instructions Tristam had had to spell out and explain. The result was the little man's happiness.
::Though he certainly wasn't happy now.::
Core: Okay, what's going on?
Samual: Nothing - why does everybody think something's going on?
Core: That's code for "something is definitely wrong but I'm too embarrassed to tell anyone". ::He crossed his arms.:: I'm not your parents.
Samual: How do I know you're not going to tell them anyway?
::Tristam's mouth dropped open in shock. Where had *this* attitude come from? Never before had he been faced with a moody Samual.::
Core: In your *entire life*, have I *ever* told your parents anything you've told me in confidence?
Samual: . . . no.
Core: So where on Rodul did that come from? You're freaking me out, Mual, what's going on? What don't you want your parents to know?
::Samual shifted uncomfortably, brushing dark hair out of his face and composing himself with a sigh.::
Samual: There's this boy, that I like, and I just . . . nevermind. Don't worry about it.
::Oh, here we go. Tristam was half expecting to hear Samual go off on an elder-taught rant about how he was far too young to be considering "mature attraction" to others. What a load of dast. Tristam had lived through three different Rodulan ages thus far, and the level of maturity he himself experienced against a "scientific representation" of what "should be" regular pubescent experiences were two incredibly different things. Either every family line associated with the Cores were broken in some way where they reached puberty ridiculously early, or the Elders of Rodulan society were trying to uphold ideals and beliefs formed over three thousand years ago that Rodulans had long since evolved past.
::Taywor and Yanata were not an entirely good example of this new age thinking, however. Taywor, yes. Yanata, not so much. Yanata fit 'proper' standards. Being over forty years older than Tristam and Taywor themselves, she at least (barely) fit the idea of a so-called "ideal Rodulan". Even Tristam and Roshanara were a bad example - the Kriosian lifespan was a hundred years *less* than a Rodulans. By that end, Roshanara would probably be considered at least seventy years more capable than Tristam, despite them both equal when faced with a technical challenge.
::No, a good example of the stupidity of an Elder Rodulan's idea of biological development was through that of Ngeyan-Vale Caeloi. Ngeyan was of Krzexxi origin, having moved into the Western Gate with his parents, and was a good friend of Tristam. In fact, one of his only friends - the two still kept in contact, frequency between letters varying due to time constraints for them both (Tristam was in Starfleet facing unknown danger at least once a fortnight, Ngeyan was suffering through yet another Unigrades course - plus the different "time zones" were painful when trying to communicate between a Federation starship and the Western Gate. As it was, Tristam was up at 3 in the morning to have this conversation with Samual). Ngeyan was a good example of the broken ideal system simply because of his capability in his field *and* his relationship with partner Mayol. He and Medledore would argue at all hours of night and day about the production of integrated technologies, work placement, and sudden lock outs of information simply because he wasn't old enough to "face that challenge". Tristam wasn't nearly as vocal, but shared Ngeyan's distaste for the system. In hindsight, he should have put up more of a fight, to at least aid Ngeyan.::
Core: No, keep going. Come on, you barely scratched the surface. If you don't want to tell your dad, then at least tell me. And not as if I can embarrass you when I'm too-many-lightyears away.
Samual: It's not important.
Core: Your problems *are* important, don't ever forget that. Though for the record, the only one of your problems that isn't important is your ludicrous battle to keep pencils in school.
::Because Rodulans still used *pencils and paper*. It made him want to bang his head against a wall. Repeatedly. They were so far behind the rest of the galactic community, it was no longer funny.::
Samual: You have no idea how stupidly hard it is when working with viremow music composition using *touchscreens*.
Core: You have a hundred and fifty years to learn and adapt, I'm not worried. Now tell me about this boy that you like.
Samual: He's just another guy in my BR class.
Core: Is he cute?
Samual: Yes he's- why is that even a thing?!
Core: It's not worth it if he's not cute.
Samual:::cringing:: For Artist's sakes . . .
Core: Oh don't play that to me. There's only one age between us my young apprentice - and we've both passed the "I'm so adorably innocent" one. You can't tell me you haven't considered this.
Samual: I *shouldn't* be considering it. I still haven't hit telepathy yet.
Core: That's . . . not a thing. Your father just wants to sleep peacefully thinking you won't pull half the crap he did at your age. ::He paused.:: Wait, is that what this is about? Your differences in *telepathy*?
Samual: . . . no.
::Tristam rolled his eyes. If there was one thing he appreciated about his homeland, it was that the fact that every Rodulan was different was constantly beaten into the brains of every man, woman and child from birth. Telepathy was not an immediate thing. Activity within a telepathic lobe could be detected almost immediate, yes, but a proper ability to use it, communicate with others through it, varied Rodulan to Rodulan. It was very possibly Samual wouldn't be capable of using his telepathy for basotile for another decade at least.::
Samual:::with a sigh:: I haven't reached maturity, and I'm not even in Zehrro's league. He can already communicate with basotile, and I can't even make a connection.
::The newly formed adult part of him was wondering why on Rodul age duo's were flaunting their private basotile technique to others. The rest of him was wondering why the hell Samual was even *concerned* about the ability.::
Core: You're worrying too much. Basotile should have literally nothing to do with this. I mean, yeah, if this progresses within the next ten, twenty, fifty, sixty years, sure. Basotile might end up being a thing you have to consider. But I'm telling you, you're taking this too seriously. Oh, and *by the way*, you *have* telepathy. You're Rodulan, your gradda had you tested, and just because you can't communicate with basotile doesn't mean you're broken. It just means you need more time. And I'm living proof that basotile means *nothing* in a real relationship anyway.
::And Samual wasn't really close to even considering being in a real relationship - though this was not an opinion Tristam was about to voice for his troubled nephew. Though the basotile thing for Tristam was true - his accident had all but ended any use of basotile for basically all of his relationship with Roshanara until recently. It's use meant extraordinarily little to her unless Tristam pushed the issue, she wasn't capable of molding it herself, and while they'd discussed it once or twice, it'd never been in a personal nature - more of a mild curiosity that many seemed to have. Fretting about basotile definitely brought back memories from his time as an adorable young teen, though.::
Samual: So how do I approach this?
::And now it was obvious Samual spent too much time listening to his mother talk to other unimportant executives.::
Core: Uh, like any *other* regular kid your age? Go out? I don't know, what do age duo youngens do these days? You said he was in BR classes - you both like music then, I'm assuming?
Samual: Yeah. Track overlay's becoming a thing now, I guess. With the new holotechnology, vocalists are actually doing this live overlay thing where it's just that one artist over and over with pre-recorded motion programs. It's bulky equipment and they should probably wait until the tech developes more, but it's actually pretty-
Core: Okay! So go do that! Invite him to go to . . . that . . . whatever that's called.
Samual: And if he says no?
Core: Lie your behind off and claim it was just a suggestion to further your studies.
Samual: That actually works?
Core: Remind me to tell you about the time I was interested in Medledore.
Samual: That probably got shut down pretty quick.
Core: Yes. Yes it did. So for future reference, don't try taking Huzana out. If she's anything like Medledore, she'll give you this look that just tears you to pieces.
Samual: Can't be any worse than outright lying to mum.
::That was like a kick to the gut.::
Core: Low blow, child. Low blow. And for the record, your father isn't as squeaky clean as he portrays himself to be.
Samual: I'll be sure to remember that.
Core: Yes. Be sure.
::And then the inevitable yawn from Tristam's mouth interrupted the slowly dying conversation.::
Core: Alright, child. It's late. I need sleep. We'll talk about this next time. I want details!
Samual: I'll let you know. ::pause:: Night, Uncle Tam.
Tbc . . .
LtCmdr Tristam Core