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.
Financing had become a serious problem for some of the disciples, but those with available credits used their resources to secure transportation for everyone. To avoid arousing undue suspicion, they traveled to Seleya singly or in pairs. Despite some evidence of government surveillance, Spock and his uncle arrived safely in an air cab.
Even so, Spock was not particularly reassured. Relations with Sparn were still somewhat strained, and there was no telling how the others would receive “the betrayer” when everyone regrouped on the mountain.
They debarked from the cab into a throng unlike any that they had ever seen at Mount Seleya, and joined the long, hot line slowly wending toward the stair path.
“Chatai,” Spock said to the young man ahead of them. “Excuse me, do you know why there are so many people here today?”
The man seemed startled by the question. “Could it be that you have not heard? Of the earthquake? Of the great fountain of water?”
Spock admitted that he had not, and added, “There was no mention of this on the news net.”
The line inched forward. Once again the young man turned toward him. His eyes narrowed as he studied Spock. “Sir, you seem familiar. Are you in the government?”
“Indeed not,” Spock replied.
The young man leaned near. Very quietly he said, “Then I will tell you more. The government has suppressed the news, but it cannot prevent us from speaking to one another. Yesterday the High Priestess T’Lar died in the earthquake here. The stone on which the Shiav was executed cracked wide open and released a fountain of water. It is said that he is alive again, that he has actually been seen by some of his Chosen Ones.”
Spock’s eyebrow rose. Meeting his uncle’s eyes he recited from memory, “’Out of my body will spring a fountain of living water’.”
“So,” Sparn murmured with a touch of sarcasm, “it would seem that at times you occasionally did listen.”
“Yes, I listened,” Spock responded. “I listened closely, even if I did not always understand. And now I have begun chronicling the events I witnessed.”
In the crush of pilgrims Sparn said low, “And how will your chronicle read when it comes to Ar-Bekani? Will you tell the truth or will you spare yourself?”
It was a disturbing question for which Spock had no answer.
After more than three hours they arrived at the Visitors’ Center. From there new lines formed, all intent on reaching the mysterious fountain. Spock and his uncle gave up their places and worked their way to the rendezvous point agreed upon at Sparn’s home. Here, too, the area was crowded well beyond its capacity, but it was apparent that these people had already taken a turn at the fountain. Their clothes were drenched, their eyes wistful as they milled about, as though reluctant to leave. But there was no sign of Sorel or any of the others.
Spock was considering what to do next when he heard his name and Sparn’s spoken over an intercom, summoning them to the priests’ compound.
“I do not like the sound of that,” Sparn declared.
“Nor I,” Spock agreed. His abdomen still bore a painful bruise from the temple guard’s lirpa.
Anticipating another unpleasant confrontation, he ascended the priests’ stairway with Sparn following close behind. They emerged into a curiously empty courtyard. The southern face of the priests’ compound was a ruin of broken chambers and construction bracing. Since T’Lar had been a member of Spock and Sparn’s clan, they could actually sense that she had died here.
Turning from the ruin, Spock walked over to the east wall. The stones glistened with moisture carried by the breeze. Sparn joined him and together they looked down the mountainside at a most unlikely sight. It was not only the broken ledge or the great plume of water spraying from the fissure. It was the Vulcans clustered around it—many dropping to their knees, arms outstretched and faces raised to receive the precious shower. And here and there, a smile.
“See how they thirst,” a man spoke directly behind them.
They turned around and saw him. Although the Vulcan was very simply dressed, Spock immediately recognized Marek from his sojourn among the kolinahru at Gol. He looked at his former superior in confusion, for Marek’s intellect was said to have been destroyed.
“Grand Master Marek…”
“Just plain Marek.” Breaking the taut discipline of kolinahr, he reached out, grasped Spock by the shoulders, and looked him in the eye—warmly. “Spock, you were wiser than any of us knew. It was well that you left Gol.” Withdrawing his hands, he turned slightly. “Sparn, son of Skon, I welcome you in peace.”
Spock continued to stare. Clearly this was no longer the cold taskmaster he remembered. “Marek,” he began again, “the High Council said your mind was ruined…”
“Not ruined, but renewed,” Marek said almost casually. “I was told that all of you would arrive soon. Come, see the rooms I have prepared for you and your companions.”
Spock held back. “But sir, this area is reserved for the priests and their attendants.”
Marek explained, “The priests of Seleya have left for Gol, and they will not be permitted to return. Come.”
Once more Spock’s eyebrow climbed. He glanced toward Sparn, but his uncle was already following Marek into the compound.
By evening everyone had arrived safely. Attendants faithful to Marek prepared dinner, and the Vulcans gathered at a long, polished table in the priests’ dining room, together with the healer T’Annel and the mother of Yanash, who had been given into a disciple’s care.
Two of the attendants serving them were invited by Marek to give their own testimony. They had been among those who stood guard at the site of the execution and had seen how Yanash suffered. The Shiav had spoken so kindly to them as he lay dying that their hearts were moved to believe in him.
During the meal, Marek and T’Annel also related their own experiences with the risen Yanash. Shamefaced, T’Annel confessed to her part in the Master’s death. “Even as I injected him, he forgave me,” she said softly, “but I do not expect any of you to do the same.”
As Spock’s own guilt intensified, his sympathies went out to her. Standing, he said, “I cannot condemn you, T’Annel, for I am not without fault of my own.” And for a second time he admitted to his activities as an informer.
Others went to their feet, eyes hard on him.
Young Relan said, “From the beginning you were an outsider. Perhaps you have changed, but what is to stop you from reverting back to your old ways? We are safer without you in our midst.”
“No!” From her seat T’Naisa Brandt spoke up loudly so that all could hear. “Spock has seen his error and is no worse than any of us. Think of the Shiav’s words. He called Spock ‘my son’.”
Despite his dislike for the halfling, Spock felt a stirring of gratitude.
Meanwhile, more objections were raised until Sparn finally stood and said, “Do you think our Shiav was not aware of Spock’s role when he called him away from Earth? Events unfolded as they were meant to, from the very beginning of time! My nephew did not betray Yanash for any personal gain; he thought he was acting for the welfare of Vulcan…and when he heard of the illegal death sentence, he did everything in his power to prevent it! I was there. I saw—.”
An aftershock ended the impassioned speech. Spock glanced nervously at the tons of rock over their heads. When the quaking subsided he lowered his eyes and with a thrill of recognition found Yanash seated at the table. His own voice was lost in the general outcry that filled the chamber.
“Be in peace,” Yanash said in greeting. He asked for some food and talked to them like a friend while he ate. When finished, he turned to Sorel and asked for a fresh cup of water.
At once Sorel filled a goblet of red Vulcan glass from a pitcher on the table, then set it before the Shiav. After Sorel returned to his seat, Yanash took the cup into his hands. Raising it, he repeated the same blessing that he had spoken before his arrest. Then he rose, came to Spock’s place, and personally offered him the consecrated water. Slowly and with great reverence Spock received the Living Water for the first time. Yanash then passed the goblet on to T’Annel. The meaning was clear. By serving them first, Yanash was setting yet another example of forgiveness for the others to follow.
When everyone had shared in the Sacred Communion, the Shiav turned his attention to his Chosen Ones and said, “Let there be no further talk of reprisals. Do you not see that my children are thirsty? You, my priests of the New Order, must give them the Water that never fails. Go forth as one and teach fearlessly by word and example.”
“Stay with us always,” exclaimed Sparn.
Yanash smiled. “Soon you will no longer see me, but I will not leave you alone. My Spirit will dwell within you, giving you strength and leading you ever closer to the truth.” At that, his body took on an unworldly glow and slowly disappeared from their sight.
At ShanaiKahr, Vulcan’s High Council of Elders was convened for the purpose of hearing testimony from Dalek on behalf of his Seleyan priesthood. While Dalek was finishing his appeal, the main door opened. Ambassador Sarek quietly entered the chamber and took a seat in the rear.
Dalek concluded, “By his actions, Marek has denied us the opportunity to mourn T’Lar in the customary manner. He has installed associates of Yanash in the priests’ compound of Vulcan’s most venerable temple. Curiosity seekers swarm over the mountain at all hours of the day and night. It has become a center for promoting the heretical doctrines for which T’rel N’hor Yanash was executed.”
The ancient T’Gora gazed down upon him from her honored place on the dais. “You say that T’rel N’hor Yanash was executed, yet now some are reporting that he is alive.”
“A Yanashite lie,” Dalek responded. “This corrupting heresy strikes at the very heart of all that is Vulcan. It must be completely uprooted before further damage is done. Mount Seleya must be returned to its rightful custodians.”
“Marek is the Grand Master of Kolinahr,” T’Gora noted. “He has submitted to a mind test at the request of this council. His mind proved sound and free of external control. What would you have us do?”
“He must be silenced,” Dalek asserted. “Marek and his fellow Yanashites must be removed from Mount Seleya.”
In the back of the chamber, Ambassador Sarek rose from his seat and said, “If I may speak…”
T’Gora’s sharp eyes settled on him. “Proceed, Ambassador. Have you heard from your agent?”
Gravely Sarek replied, “There is no longer any contact between us. He…disapproved of recent decisions made in this chamber, and I fear that he may have turned to the Yanashite way. As for Mount Seleya, I agree. A place of such historic value must not remain in the hands of heretics.”
T’Gora quietly consulted with the other members of the council. Then facing forward, she said, “Ambassador Sarek, High Priest Dalek, you both call these people ‘heretics’. By your very use of the term, you categorize this as a religious matter. The High Council is a political body. We do not interfere in the affairs of priests.”
Sarek sat down in silence.
Dalek stood rigidly before the dais. “You will not? Yet it was at the urging of the priesthood that you sentenced Yanash to death.”
“And what did it accomplish?” T’Gora questioned. “Has the execution of Yanash diminished his following? No, I tell you that it has only diminished us. This council attempted to circumvent modern law, but it will not happen again. Find evidence of political insurrection or other criminal activity; then we will be able to act.” She paused, one hand rising to signal the session’s end. “If there are no further comments…”
Once more Sarek stood. “I have such evidence in my possession. It involves a stolen vehicle…”