TESTAMENT: A STAR TREK FAN-FICTION SAGA – CHAPTER 9
By M. C. Pehrson
Word Count: 58,880 (total)
Rating: PG-13 for disturbing imagery reminiscent of Jesus’ Crucifixion
Summary: When a Christ-like Savior comes to the planet Vulcan, Spock and his uncle Sparn must decide how to react, and how these unfolding events might affect Spock’s complex and often troubled family life.
Holding his valise, Spock stood on the outskirts of Yanash’s current encampment. He thought of the Liberty speeding away from Vulcan, and wondered if he had made the correct decision. He had spent the last two years of his life collecting a Starfleet pension, occasionally working as a scientific consultant, and taking on diplomatic assignments for the Federation when it suited him. Some might call it a selfish life, but it had actually involved a great deal of sacrifice for him to forego Space exploration in favor of his growing family. Now he would be worlds away from his wife and children and did not know when he might rejoin them. Meanwhile their only contact would consist of subspace messages routed through his wrist phone.
But he was acting for the good of Vulcan, and with Sarek’s full support. After he had spoken to his father, fully airing his concerns, Sarek agreed that it would be very useful to have an observer in Yanash’s inner circle. Spock would enter the camp of Yanash as an agent of truth.
Yanash seldom visited cities anymore. As he travelled, his followers erected orderly villages of temperature-regulating tents within the safebelts. It was midday in this time zone. The ferocity of Belaar’s heat had driven all but a few children indoors. Spock asked one of them for directions to the Teacher’s tent. A girl looked curiously at the sand abrasions on his face before pointing toward one of the larger shelters.
Spock went inside. The interior was refreshingly cool. The pale surfaces of the tent cast a pleasant glow over the men and women dining at a large portable table.
Sparn noticed him immediately and began to rise, but Yanash waved Sparn back into his seat and came personally to greet Spock.
Yanash spread his fingers in the customary Vulcan salute and spoke a greeting of Surak that had fallen out of popular usage. “I welcome you in peace, my friend.”
Raising his hand, Spock answered, “May your peace return to you.” With an effort he added, “You returned my son to me, and I said nothing. I thank you now.”
Yanash gave him a warm look. His hand settled over Spock’s forearm, and the strangely electrifying touch seemed to seek out the empty places inside Spock. Though the sensation made him uncomfortable, he merely took note of it and did not pull away.
Quietly Yanash said, “Vulcans find it difficult to express gratitude. Always we strive to be self-sufficient and correct in every detail, so as to spare the pride. But valuable lessons can be learned from failure. The taste of humility can be very sweet—can it not? Come, join us at the table.”
Yanash seated him conspicuously at his side. A Vulcan poured water and set a platter of sliced fruit within Spock’s reach. But he was not interested in food. He could not seem to take his eyes off this young, powerful man who had brought James back from the dead.
“This is my nephew,” he heard Sparn say, “S’chn T’gai Spock.”
Spock made himself look at the others. There were nods of acknowledgement. Most would have heard of him—Ambassador Sarek’s son, the captain in Starfleet, the half-human. He waited as the men and women told him their names, then turned back to Yanash.
Sparn spoke again. “Spock has sent his family home and will be staying here with us.”
Addressing Yanash, Spock added, “With your permission, sir…”
Yanash’s blue eyes twinkled with an amusement not ordinarily seen in Vulcans. “The scientist wishes to observe. Spock, you are most welcome—but what is it that you seek to learn?”
“The truth, sir,” Spock replied. “Nothing more and nothing less.”
Yanash nodded as if in approval. His steady gaze shifted to the instrument hanging by a strap from Spock’s shoulder. “I see you have brought a tricorder. Go ahead, do as you wish. Analyze me.”
Spock hesitated. He had brought his tricorder in the hope of examining Yanash, but not in so bold a manner. Yet Yanash did not seem at all disturbed.
“Very well,” Spock said. Acutely aware of the others watching him, he aimed his tricorder at Yanash and viewed the readings that appeared on its screen. His eyebrow climbed. Switching off the instrument, he squarely met the unVulcan humor in those haunting blue eyes. “It would seem that you are truly Vulcan.”
“Seem?” prompted Yanash with a disconcerting smile.
For several weeks Spock travelled in the company of Yanash, closely observing the charismatic leader while sending a steady outflow of reports to his father. One day they encamped near Vulcan’s Lesser Sea. It was a densely populated region. The size of the crowds became so great that Yanash climbed atop a volcanic formation in order to be seen and heard by everyone as he taught. When darkness fell, many of the people went away to their homes. After the evening meal Yanash withdrew for a time, as was his custom. Spock inconspicuously shadowed the Teacher as Yanash walked along the seashore, stopped in a secluded area, and assumed a posture of meditation on the sand.
Spock was about to contact Sarek when he heard footsteps coming his way. Seeing it was Sparn, he nodded toward Yanash and quietly said, “I should like to question him regarding his meditation technique.”
“He is talking to his father,” Sparn said.
Spock swung around and stared at his uncle. “I beg your pardon?”
“You have heard him say that our God is a God of love.”
“Yes,” Spock replied. Hearing it repeated by Sparn made him particularly uncomfortable.
Sparn continued. “Yanash also tells us that this same loving God is our Father. Therefore, logic dictates that such a Father would desire a close relationship with his children.”
Spock thought of his difficult relationship with Sarek; of how deeply he desired something better between him and his own children; of the pain he experienced each time that desire was thwarted. “If God truly existed, we would be his creatures, not his children, and far too numerous to merit any of his attention.”
“Yanash would say that you are placing our Vulcan limitations upon a limitless God.”
“Show me this God,” Spock said with some impatience.
As always these days, Sparn had an answer ready. “Spock, as a scientist you have seen Him reflected in the awesome complexity of His creation. He also revealed Himself through inspired writings such as the works of Mokavar and Spock the Uniter, for whom you were named. It was under God’s guidance that Surak formulated the rules of discipline and logic. And now, in Yanash…”
“A more direct revelation?” Spock made no attempt to hold back the sarcasm. “Ah, yes…Yanash as messiah. The Shiav.”
Sparn gazed at him in silence for a long moment. When at last he spoke, his voice held an unmistakable note of sympathy. “Spock, I did not come here to speak of Yanash. There has been a report. Your mother has died.”
Spock experienced an upwelling of grief so intense that it swayed him. He had dismissed Yanash’s grim prophecy because, each day, Sarek said she was growing stronger. What could have happened? Why had Sarek not informed him of her passing? He must be deeply shaken.
Later, when Spock felt sure of his own composure, he called his father. Amanda had suffered a cerebral hemorrhage; death was almost instantaneous. There would be a traditional dawn ceremony at Mount Seleya, but Sarek thought it best that Spock—as an apparent devotee of Yanash—not associate with other members of the family. They argued over the form of burial Sarek had chosen. Amanda was human, and Spock felt she should be interred as one. But in the end, he had no say in the matter.
Sparn did not like the look of Spock. As they arrived before dawn at Seleya, he stayed close to his nephew, but Spock was not his only concern. Yanash and three others had come with them. They stood together in the torchlight, waiting in silence for Amanda’s ashes to be brought forward by the priests.
During his first month of teaching, Yanash had been cast out of this very temple. Now, as mourners gathered, Sparn noticed a subtle repositioning of temple guards. Clearly Yanash was being kept under close surveillance.
The stars were fading when Sarek arrived. Sparn was discomfited to see his estranged wife T’Prinka, as well as his daughters and their families accompanying the ambassador. Across the compound, T’Prinka briefly met Sparn’s eyes, and he felt a stirring of tenderness toward her.
Sarek did not spare even a glance for his son.
The eastern sky burned red with the approach of dawn. A sudden, chilling wind set the torches flickering. White-robed attendants chanted and shook their bell-racks until Eridani’s rim touched the horizon. Then, silence.
A solitary priestess came out of the temple bearing a small titanium chest. Sparn heard Spock sigh. He wondered if his nephew would go forward, as was his right, and scatter the ashes with his father. But Spock remained at Sparn’s side as Sarek received the chest. Together they watched Sarek walk to the edge of the cliff and remove the lid. The wind caught Amanda’s ashes and sent them streaming to the desert far below.
Sarek returned the chest and left with his retinue at once.
Sparn followed Spock over to the cliff. The wind there was stronger, colder.
Quietly Spock said, “There is nothing left. He should have taken her body home to Earth. He should have given her a grave…with grass and flowers. She loved roses, but could never grow them in this climate.”
Thinking to console him, Sparn said, “Her body is gone, but your mother lives on.”
Spock turned aside and retreated a few steps, where he stood alone among the pillars.
Daylight arrived. Sparn looked for Yanash and found him in another part of the compound, with a pair of kolinahru.
Yanash was berating them. “You modern kolinahru enshrine the katra and neglect the soul. I tell you that the katra is a storehouse of memories, nothing more—yet you sit and meditate before the globes at Gol, you pursue the discipline so you can commune with vrekatras as if they were gods. I tell you, it would be better if every globe in the Hall of Ancient Thought were lost, than for you to lose your immortal souls worshipping them.”
One of men spoke icily. “Yanash, legal son of Norek, how do you come by your great knowledge? Are you not a computer technician? Did you acquire this marvelous new understanding from one of your associates? A Golheni? A failure? A confused half-human?”
Sparn inwardly bristled at the insults, but Yanash remained calm as he replied, “My Father instructs me, and I know what He tells me is true.”
“You know,” the kolinahr master scoffed. “You know. What is this power that you hold over people? By what method do you control their minds?”
Sparn found his nephew standing beside him, observing the scene with curiosity.
“I will answer your question,” said Yanash, “if you first answer mine. You say you have rid yourselves of every trace of emotion. Yet you fear me. How can that be?”
They could not admit to fear, yet to deny their fears would have been untruthful. Trapped, the kolinahrus silently turned away.
All week Spock mourned the passing of his mother, eating and sleeping very little. He could not seem to escape the memory of her ashes on the wind—the human warmth he had once found so embarrassing, reduced to dust. In the end, he had voiced his love for her. It had taken the threat of death to drag it from him—those simple words she had longed all her life to hear.
He had always excused himself from any responsibility for her emotional needs. After all, she had chosen to wed a Vulcan, and Spock was a Vulcan son. But now it seemed to him that he had been a very poor son.
On the eighth day, Yanash passed through the northern settlement of Pashir, where Spock and his mother had spent many summers during his boyhood. As evening approached, they moved on, encamping high in the mountains of PaGol. While the others sat dining, Spock entered Yanash’s tent and sat cross-legged near the door, listening.
Sparn noticed him and called out, “Nephew, come eat with us.”
Spock declined. Suddenly a hooded figure entered the tent and briefly hesitated near him. A scent of perfume lingered as the figure continued on toward Yanash. There, before the Teacher, she threw back her hood, revealing a fiery cascade of hair that jogged Spock’s memory.
There was no doubt as to her identity as she dropped to her knees and spoke in a tearful voice. “Lord Yanash, I want to follow you! I want to make a new life!”
Spock rose at once and hurried over. Fear flared in the young woman’s eyes as she recognized him.
Standing over her, Spock said, “I know this person. She is a half-human named T’Naisa Brandt, and she is dangerous. She should be searched for weapons.”
Still at table, Yanash looked up at him. “Spock, you are very quick to point out her faults.”
“Among other things, her deceptions sent me to prison for a crime I did not commit.”
“I don’t deny it,” T’Naisa cried in Standard. Although like Spock she appeared Vulcan, she had been raised to express her emotions freely. “I wish I’d never done it. I’m trying to change.”
Yanash reached out and touched her tear-dampened cheek. Gazing into her eyes, he said, “T’Naisa, your sins are forgiven and you are welcome here.”
The words roused Spock to anger. He coldly watched T’Naisa collapse against Yanash’s knees and sob pathetically.
Yanash turned to Spock. His steady eyes seemed to find the deepest recesses of Spock’s heart and see him for who he was—an unbeliever set on exposing Yanash and ending his hold on the planet. Yet his tone was as gentle as ever. “It is true that she has sinned against you.” And he glanced around the table. “But who among you has not brought pain to someone else? Do not be so quick to condemn. Be quick to forgive, and you will be true sons and daughter of your Father-God.”
Spock turned and strode out of the tent. Consumed by dark thoughts, he wandered alone under the stars. He had heard Yanash teaching that Vulcan hearts had become as hard as stone. His own heart felt unbearably heavy. He did not need to be reminded of the pain he had brought to others. His hand still felt the pressure of his mother’s fingers when he told her that he loved her. A human’s son for sixty-seven years, and he had given her but one moment of joy.
Off in the distance a LeMatya screamed with all the anguish of a tormented soul. Spock stopped and listened. It came again, the same chilling cry of summer that had sent a little halfling boy running from his bed, into the comfort of his mother’s arms.
There was never a time of need when his mother had not welcomed him. Why had he left her? Had Yanash not warned that she was about to die? And the bitter thought came to him: Why had Yanash, with all his strange power, allowed her to slip away? Because I am a skeptic?