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.
The weeks following the Shiav’s departure were very productive. Since that day when Yanash joined them at table, no priest questioned Spock’s loyalty or rebuked him for the past, but began to respect him for his administrative abilities. Using his experience as a Starfleet officer, he organized an efficient system for meeting the physical and spiritual needs of the Vulcan pilgrims at Seleya. Another effort centered on researching the ancient texts, and the discoveries that came forth were electrifying. Scriptures once taught as myth were found to contain abundant prophecies regarding the Shiav, and in turn, the teachings of Yanash served to illuminate many a venerable passage. Perhaps even more important, Spock asked all those who knew Yanash to set down an orderly account similar to that which he had already begun. Out of these first drafts came the earliest statements of creed and doctrine, as well as the basis for their liturgy. Compared to the others, Spock’s words sometimes flowed like the poetry that his mother had so wanted him to appreciate during his re-education.
The ever-increasing stream of visitors brought with them a huge influx of donations. Buildings destroyed by the earthquake were quickly restored for use as classrooms where the Mind of Yanash was now taught in progressive levels. Those instructed on the lowest level were both seekers and skeptics who had not yet submitted to a ceremonial washing at the fountain. At the highest level, the Yanashites (so they had begun to think of themselves) would prepare for the Communion of Living Water that had become a daily ritual at the temple.
Spock worked with those in the middle—the newly washed believers on their way to a deeper participation in the young faith. It was his duty to ready them for the Forgiving Touch. Tonight his first hundred candidates would come forward and be released from their sins in a formal ceremony at the temple—the first ceremony of its kind in Vulcan history.
Eridani sank below the horizon and as darkness fell, the air began to cool. Banks of candles glowed in the temple where Spock waited with his students. A gong sounded, and the priests entered wearing hooded robes that had been designed for ritual use—blood green with white hems. Priests commissioned not by any worldly authority, but by the Shiav himself.
Sorel invoked the blessing of God and spoke passages of scripture before inviting the candidates to come forward. Just as Spock had rehearsed them, the Vulcans formed into even lines before the priests. One by one his students dropped to their knees. Spock watched a young man who had taken leave from the Vulcan Academy of Science to come here and pursue the inner truths. Garon knelt before a priest and raised his head. The priest extended his right hand and touched his fingertips to Garon’s forehead. Pain stirred the priest’s features as he bore the weight of brokenness and remorse, invoking the healing that was only possible with God’s forgiveness. One after another they came to the priests, opening themselves with complete trust, offering up their darkest sins.
At last the ceremony came to an end and the candidates dispersed. Leaving the temple, Spock wandered back across the land bridge. A faint sound of voices rose from the eastern cliff. Day and night they kept coming. One hundred fifty new faces would pass through his classroom tomorrow. Then two hundred, three hundred thirsting souls. They would need more well-trained teachers to free the priests, and ultimately they would need more priests.
Spock did not see how he could possibly return to Earth this year. He wondered how long Lauren would be patient with him. He had been having a difficult time trying to explain the changes in himself. How much better it would be if he could take her into his arms and simply let her share his thoughts. At least then she would have no doubt that he still loved her.
Passing through the priests’ compound, he came to his room. He entered the small, Spartan chamber and found T’Naisa Brandt perched on his stone meditation bench. She, too, had some instructional duties, and lived in the women’s section of the complex. But until now she had never dared invade Spock’s privacy in this manner.
Rising, she said, “Will you please shut the door?”
Quietly she came over and settled onto her knees before him. In a soft voice she said, “I will confess.”
Spock’s heart gave a sickening lurch. “I am not a priest, as you well know. Get up. Leave at once.”
She made no move. Tears brimmed in her downcast eyes, spilled over, and ran unchecked down her face. “What I have to say, I will say aloud.”
So he could not rid himself of the young woman. Spock did what he could to collect his thoughts and open himself to something beyond his own lingering resentment toward her.
“There was a time,” she said in Standard, “when I thought you were perfect. But knowing that you can admit to errors has only increased my respect for you. If I could, I would change the past. We both know the ways that I harmed you and your family on Earth. Spock, I’m so sorry. Won’t you ever forgive me?”
Spock struggled with himself while she waited. Because Yanash had forgiven him, he should have been able to pardon her—yet something inside him would not allow it. Then, all at once, he saw his error. How strange that he, trained as a Vulcan, had come to rely so heavily upon a mere feeling.
Words formed in his mind and on his tongue. “I can see that you are sincere,” he said, intending to add in all honesty, I truly do wish to forgive you… But before the thought was half formed, an unexpected thing happened. A shaft of grace entered his heart, warming away the resentment, and he merely said to her, “You are forgiven.”
Breaking into a smile, she rose up and slipped her arms around him like an affectionate human child. Spock not only accepted the embrace, but returned it, remembering the first time he saw her from behind the commandant’s desk at Starfleet Academy—the troublesome halfling cadet so resistant to any kind of discipline. In those early encounters she had inspired fatherly feelings, and now those same feelings returned to him.
She stepped back, her eyes aglow. “I’m glad you kicked me out of the academy. This is better. It’s what I’ve been looking for all my life.”
“We were all looking,” he said.
T’Naisa bid him goodnight and slipped out, closing the door behind her.
After a moment of reflection, Spock sat on the meditation bench, palms open to the heavens. His mind cleared easily and soon he was surrendering himself in the deep form of prayer taught by Yanash.
He did not notice the door cracking open again. But then there came a sound from his past—a sudden bolt of phased energy releasing.
Darkness struck him with the force of pain.
Sparn had been searching for his nephew for over an hour when he went back to Spock’s room and noticed a spot on the floor. Bending down near the meditation bench, he ran his fingers over the area. They came up slightly sticky and green.
Sparn went cold. He threw open the door and called out to the other priests. Soon the tiny room was crowded. The healer T’Annel analyzed the stain and confirmed that it was T-negative combined with some human elements.
T’Naisa Brandt stared at the bloodstain with all the emotion of her human half. “I don’t understand. What could have happened? I was here after the ceremony and he was fine then.”
All eyes turned toward her, and Sparn voiced the question uppermost in every mind. “You were here? In Spock’s room? Is that not unusual?”
T’Naisa nodded tearfully. “I came to him seeking forgiveness…”
Sparn did not dare venture any further into such a private matter.
Sorel spoke. “It would appear that violence has been done here. Search the mountain in pairs, and if we do not find Spock, we must report him missing.” He turned to Sparn. “You and I will investigate the tunnels.”
Slowly, painfully, Spock worked his way toward consciousness. His head throbbed fiercely and his stomach churned. Lying prone, he cracked open his eyes. The room in which he found himself looked like a modern security cell. His body was clothed in Vulcan pajamas and his feet were bare.
Thoroughly confused, he attempted to sit up, but the change of position nearly brought on a heave. Giving in to his weakness, he dropped back on the bed.
What was the matter with him? Where was he?
He became aware of a stinging sensation on his scalp. With concentrated effort he raised a hand to the left side of his head. His fingers found a shaved area and touched a fresh, tender line of scarring.
All at once the memories came flooding back. The temple ceremony, T’Naisa’s visit, the sound of energy releasing…
Heavy phaser stun.
He must have fallen from the bench and hit his head on the floor. But who had wielded the phaser? And what of the others at the compound? Were they also taken? Had all of Seleya been overrun? Troubling thoughts, yet even in the midst of them Spock experienced moments of deep peace, for he was not alone. He must remember that he belonged to Yanash now. No lock or security field could separate him from the Shiav’s care.
For an hour he rested. His symptoms were becoming manageable when the door’s security field disengaged and two male Vulcans entered.
Dalek came and stood over him. At the new High Priest’s side was Rokar, a Master of Gol. Their faces were cold and distant.
Dalek raised his hand in the customary Vulcan salute. “Live long and prosper, Spock.” When he saw that Spock would not return the greeting, he said, “On the eve of Surak’s feast you stole a skimmer, and on the following day abandoned it near Kreb. You were seen with the skimmer at Mount Seleya. Your fingerprints and those of your companion Sparn further incriminate you.”
From the bed Spock asked, “Where is my uncle?”
“He is not my concern,” Dalek responded. “The arrest warrant was issued in your name, but of course we realize that you are not truly responsible for taking the skimmer. It is our intention to help you recover your mental stability.”
Spock carefully raised himself to a sitting position and swung his legs over the side of the bed. The room swayed, then grew still. “If it must be,” he said, “I will stand trial for using the skimmer…but there is nothing wrong with my mind.”
Dalek’s eyebrow climbed. “On Surak’s feast I myself witnessed you screaming in the priests’ courtyard on Seleya.”
“I raised my voice,” Spock said, “in order to be clearly heard.”
“You demanded to enter an area forbidden to the public. When the guards barred your way, you shoved them.”
That, Spock could not deny.
Dalek continued. “That same day you were seen in public, weeping.”
Annoyed, Spock asked, “Dalek, have you never grieved?”
Rokar responded, “Grieving can be accomplished without shedding tears.”
Spock remembered the desolate tug of those dark hours, and the intense guilt. “Perhaps it can, but I am half human and I experienced deep sorrow over the murder of Yanash.”
“Sorrow for a renegade?” said Dalek. “What was that man to you?”
Easily, as if the words were given to him, Spock replied, “Yanash is the author of logic, of intellect, of life.”
“The author of logic, of intellect, of life?” Rokar’s voice was dry with scorn. “All those existed long before the birth of Yanash. What precisely are you saying?”
“I am saying that Yanash is The Source of everything. He has existed always.”
“Illogical! By your own words, you proclaimed Yanash dead.”
“I said,” Spock corrected, “that Yanash was murdered. His body died, yet now he lives…as he has lived for all eternity.”
Dalek said, “You are a scientist. Explain that to me in scientific terms.”
“I cannot,” Spock admitted, “for it is beyond our limited scientific knowledge. It belongs to a realm of understanding far above that of this world.”
“Be reasonable,” Dalek said. “One cannot have died as Yanash did, and now live. Nor can one live eternally. All things end. Do you not see the error in your logic?”
“If nothing else, I know what I have seen,” Spock answered.
Rokar asked, “And what have you seen?”
Although Spock knew his words would seal the charge of madness, he replied, “I have seen the Shiav Yanash risen from the dead.”