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Fic: Observations, Ch 61
Star Trek

“Spock! Over here,” Jim motioned.

Nyota joined us. “Can I sit, or is this an all boy’s club?”

“No, go come on and sit down.”

“How was the doctor’s condition today, captain?”

“He’s okay. M’Benga says he’s making steady recovery. The shattered bone in his leg—the femur?—it’ll take a little while and some mild physical therapy to get him back to 100%, but everything else’ll be good.”

“He is certain that there are no aftereffects from the spinal injury?”

“Yeah. It was just a bit of shrapnel. Tricorder readings and deep image scans came up negative on everything. You did everything perfectly, Spock, as usual. Bones’ll be back and yelling at us before you know it,” Jim smiled, then enthusiastically began eating.

What are you eating?” Nyota pointed at Jim’s plate.

He chewed, then swallowed with some effort. “You remember that gift we got from the NFarina Ambassador?”

“I remember it looked slimy and inedible.”

“It’s not so bad. I tried some, just for the heck of it. Kinda tastes like venison, only gooier. If that makes any sense.”

I was slightly alarmed.

“Jim, are you certain that your meal is compatible with your digestive system?”

“Yeah, I had some two days ago. I’m still alive,” he shrugged, then took another bite as if to prove a point. His eyes wandered to my plate as he chewed. “Okay, this’s been bugging me for a while—you don’t eat much.”

“When did you start keeping track of his meals?” Nyota asked.

“I don’t keep track, I just said that I noticed it.”

Nyota raised her eyebrows.

“Anyway, you don’t eat much, but your body temperature is higher than normal human blood temperature. And you’re vegetarian, or vegan or whatever it is.”

“The term ‘vegan’ best describes the Vulcan practice.”

“Right. What do you do, extract extra energy from the air or something? Or maybe Vulcans have green blood because it’s like plants with chlorophyll?”

“Jim, you are not making sense. I request that you rephrase your question.”

“He’s asking how you’re able to eat so little and still function, given that your body temperature is elevated. That energy has to come from some chemical source, but your caloric intake isn’t sufficient to maintain that kind of state. You have a higher metabolic rate too, don’t you?”

“What she said,” Jim pointed his utensil at Nyota.

I nodded. “Vulcan digestive systems are somewhat similar to those of Terrans, but in addition to processing those nutrients necessary for humans, we are able to digest cellulose, as we naturally produce the enzyme cellulase. It has been hypothesized that we developed this ability in the course of our evolution. As a desert species, it was necessary to utilize everything consumed and convert it to energy.”

“So basically when you can extract a ton more energy from eating lettuce and celery than I can.”

“That is essentially correct, Jim.”

Nyota frowned. “Don’t cows digest cellulose?”

“The domestic Terran bovines do digest cellulose.” Before the captain could make some inane comment, I said, “However, as you have had opportunity to witness on several occasions, Vulcans do not ‘chew cud.’”

Jim snorted into his drink. He began coughing.

Nyota muttered a phrase concerning “strange mental images.”

When he recovered, Jim glanced at Nyota’s meal. “You’re vegetarian too? For Spock?”

“It was her own decision, captain.”

“I was vegetarian before I met Spock, Jim.”


“Habit, mostly. Some of my friends back home were practicing Muslims, so I grew up in that culture. But there are some other reasons why I decided not to eat meat or fish. Despite all our great technology most of the meat comes from animals raised in factory farms, and those facilities are absolute nightmares for any living creature, let alone a pig or chicken. Besides, Earth’s grain should be allocated to better things than feeding tons of cows every year. We still haven’t eliminated world hunger.”

“But you’re just one person. It’s not really gonna matter whether you eat meat or not—they’re not gonna change the industry and everything for you.”

“True. That’s not really the point, though.”

“Then what is?”

“Jim, the choice to abstain from eating animal products is rather complex. Terrans may be motivated by several reasons. For example, some choose to do so because it is a political or economic cause. Nyota’s choice was of a personal nature.”

“What difference does it make if the food is all replicated anyway? There was never an animal killed, just a bunch of atoms slapped together to make a decent chicken sandwich.”

“Replicators are the mainstay for sustenance aboard this ship, Jim.”

“They’ve never been that popular, at least outside Starfleet. They’re expensive to buy, develop, program, and even in the best models—like the ones we have where the molecules are actually put together accurately—the food always tastes bland.”

“But, on our diplomatic missions, I’ve seen you eat meat. Or a killed animal, at least.”

“I never partake in the offerings, Jim. You, as the captain of this ship and formal representative of the Federation, are obligated to participate, but as your subordinate, I am under no such contract.”

“I’m not a strict vegetarian like Spock. If I have to eat meat on a diplomatic mission to keep the people happy and our dealings smooth, then I’ll do it,” Nyota shrugged. “You’d do the same, captain. You’re not the only one who’ll do anything to keep this ship flying.”

Jim was about to interject, but Nyota continued. “There’s a saying—la kuvunda halina rubani. A vessel running aground has no captain. So really, keeping the Enterprise in space is largely a matter of ensuring you’re her captain. Captain,” Nyota teased.

“Hey, does this mean I can call you Nyota now?”

“Only if you want me to set four more security guys on you.

“Great! Nyota it is.”


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Woo, vegetarians! *dances*

I really love it when writers touch on Spock's vegetarianism. It may sound corny, but it kind of makes my heart jump a little every time I see it mentioned. I live in the deep south of Texas, so my vegetarianism isn't exactly respected by all people. Sometimes when I'm angry or hurt by someone's negative comments about my choice, I remember Spock and somehow feel a bit better :) So thank you for this chapter.

Agreed -- I especially love when they touch on the fact that, in all likelihood, the Vulcan diet would be considered vegan. And yeah, Spock, and Mr. Nimoy, are definitely two of my favorite examples of famous vegetarians to bust out ... randomly XD

Catching up with the reading though curiously Some of my friends back home were practicing Muslims, so I grew up in that culture

what does practicing Muslims have to do with vegetarianism since Muslims are not. Hindus and Buddhist are.

I know halal =/= vegetarian, but that's what I was getting at.

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