Testament: Chapter 20

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.

image1 (6)
Image Credit: Paramount Pictures

Chapter 20

Sparn feared for his nephew’s life. By now Spock’s arrest on a theft charge was a matter of public record. Perhaps one by one the authorities would find reason to arrest and kill them all.

A day passed, then two. Sparn tried to find reassurance in the words of the mysterious visitor. Like his nephew, Sparn was not a priest, but there was still plenty of work to keep him busy. Spock’s absence had left 150 students without a teacher, so he took on those pupils along with his own class on the ancient texts. Even so, the hours passed slowly.

That night he rose from bed, dressed, and went out into the starlit courtyard. Even at this late hour he could hear voices on the breeze. The sounds came again, and he realized that these people were much closer than the fountain.

A man and woman emerged from the nearby stair path. Even in the shadows Sparn could see that the man was Spock. With a thrill of relief he started forward to embrace his nephew. Halfway there some inner tug made him hesitate and glance at the woman.

Sparn froze. He felt as if his heart was pounding out of his body.

For a moment T’Prinka returned his attention, then her gaze dropped. In the periphery of his mind Sparn felt Spock’s hand briefly settle on his shoulder and was aware of his nephew discreetly withdrawing from the scene. Then he was alone with his bondmate.

Very softly he said, “Nasha…” Precious one.

Her eyes rose, wide with amazement, wary with disbelief. Not even in the days of their betrothal had he spoken with such tenderness.

Stepping nearer, he offered his fingertips in the Vulcan gesture of marital intimacy. T’Prinka stared at his hand.

“Do not be afraid,” he said. “You will never again have anything to fear from me.”

Encouraged by his gentle manner, she cautiously raised her hand and met his touch. The bond between them tremored and began to ease open. Sparn gazed into her eyes and drew his fingertips over the psi-sensitive areas of her hand. Their surface thoughts brushed and retreated and met again.

Sparn touched trembling fingers to her face. Under cover of darkness he bent down and ever-so-gently kissed her lips.

Drawing a startled breath, she said, “I saved Spock because he is what I always wanted you to be. Now have you truly become like him?”

“You saved Spock?” The warmth in Sparn’s heart deepened toward her. “Then I offer you my gratitude.”

“He is the one we must thank,” she said. “I came only because he persuaded me.”

“Then tomorrow we will thank both Spock and Yanash,” Sparn said. “For now, I have much to share with you.” There was no need to ask if she would come with him. “This way,” he whispered, and led her to the privacy of his room.

***

Spock paused on the compound’s porch and glanced back at the two shapes merging in the darkness. Even as he smiled, he experienced a sharp pang of loneliness. Seeing his aunt and uncle reunited made him yearn more than ever for the companionship of his own wife.

Leaving, he went into the compound and awakened Sorel. After discussing the details of his abduction and recent happenings at Seleya, he took a turn through a fresher and went to bed.

In the hour before daylight he had a dream. That in itself was not unusual, for he was half human. But the intensity of this experience gave it an eerie reality unlike any dream Spock remembered. A Vulcan wearing a light colored robe had appeared beside his bed and told him, “Spock, the immediate danger has passed, and the heart of your son cries out for you. Why is Simon not at your side?”

Spock had awakened before he could formulate a response. He lay thinking about the man in his dream and the mysterious messenger Sorel and Sparn encountered beside the Shiav’s tomb. Then it was time to get up, but that was not the end of it. All day the dream haunted him, and the night that followed gave him little rest. Shortly before dawn he dropped off to sleep and the dream repeated in every detail.

It was still dark when Spock went to Seleya’s com center and prepared a transmission. “Lauren,” he began, “you may have heard disquieting reports, but be assured that I am well and still hold you in great affection. Though some bondmates are beginning to join us on Mount Seleya, you will be unable to visit until the High Council lifts its restrictions on aliens. Meanwhile, I continue to ask for your patience…and your trust. Over the years you have shown great tolerance toward my irreligious attitude. Now that I have received the gift of faith, I feel called to help our fledgling Yanashite Community grow.”

Pausing, he leaned toward the camera, as if that might somehow bring her nearer. “Lauren…aisha. There is something more. The Shiav restored James to life, but I am proof that Yanash can heal more than bodies. We have another son in need of healing. I want you to send Simon here. Don’t worry about his education; I will tutor him. For now the lessons he can learn among the Yanashites will be far more valuable than any other schooling.”

To his eldest son, he said, “Simon, I know your first visit to Vulcan did not go particularly well. This experience will be very different from what you remember. I look forward to having you with me on Mount Seleya.”

Spock reviewed the messages. Satisfied, he entered his credit code and transmitted. He had done all that he could, but he doubted if Lauren would take their son out of school and send him traveling the galaxy alone to live on a mountain that had been struck by a deadly earthquake.

A few days later he received a subspace reply that greatly surprised him. Simon had been “helped aboard a starliner by Mr. Kirk of Idaho” and was en route to Vulcan. Cleary exasperated with the boy, she added, “Good luck, dear. I hope you and the mountain can survive him.”

Spock transported alone to retrieve Simon from the medical examiner. The boy had turned thirteen since Spock last saw him, and grown nearly three inches, but his face was more sullen than ever.

“I didn’t want to come,” Simon complained in a voice that was still boyish. “Mom and Jim made me.”

“Well, I am glad they did,” Spock said mildly.

He picked up his son’s valise and carried it to the transporter. Toting a scuffed violin case, Simon reluctantly followed. A moment later the conversation continued at Mount Seleya.

Making way through the crowded visitor’s center, Spock said, “You will not be bored here. There is much work to be done, and you’ll share in it.”

Simon stopped in his tracks to scowl. “Work? No one said anything about working.”

“Everyone here works,” Spock told him.

“For pay?”

“For the Shiav,” Spock replied, “and for the privilege of living in the Yanashite Community.”

Simon’s face set. “This wasn’t my idea. I’m not slaving away for your Shiav or anyone else.”

Spock said nothing and resumed walking. When they reached the seclusion of the priests’ stair path, he turned once again to his son. “Simon, it is simple to understand. If you behave in a respectful manner and your work is satisfactory, you will enjoy the benefits of Community life. If you choose to rebel, you will not eat…and it may be that you will find hunger a convincing teacher.”

Simon appraised him through narrowed eyes. “What? No sturpas here?”

It had been six years since Simon saw one such instrument of discipline on Vulcan, and the boy had never forgotten it.

“I have no sturpa in my possession,” Spock said, hoping that Simon would not choose to test him.

***

With the emergence of the fountain, water was no longer scarce on Mount Seleya. T’Prinka began to place great tubs of blooming plants in both the public and private courtyards. Soon every breeze carried with it the scent of flowers.

Simon’s first work assignment was to help his aunt. With something less than enthusiasm, he took part in morning gardening chores and followed along whenever the healer T’Annel needed T’Prinka’s assistance. His afternoons were spent in the cooler education center using a study program Spock designed for him.

Throughout each day Spock checked on the boy as often as his own duties permitted. When   evening came, Simon sat at his side in the great dining hall and ate in silence. As soon as he was excused, the boy would bolt off to enjoy a free period and return only at his bedtime.

Tonight, after Simon left the dining hall in his usual brisk manner, T’Prinka came over and took the empty seat beside Spock.

“He has found himself in a strange world,” she said kindly. “Any child might have difficulty adjusting.”

Spock sighed. “If only it were a simple matter of adjustment. Even on Earth, Simon’s behavior was sometimes challenging.”

Reaching out, T’Prinka touched his arm in a reassuring manner. “He is yet very young. Give him time; he will learn.”

Later than same evening T’Naisa approached Spock in the courtyard and said, “Your son is so handsome! He has his mother’s blue eyes and wavy hair, but his hair is dark like yours. Is it true that he’s a musical prodigy?”

“Yes,” Spock replied. “Simon is everything you say, and though he appears quite human, he also has some telepathic ability. But you of all people know what havoc can result when beauty and abilities are not regulated by moral character.” Too late he realized that his words were hurtful. Seeing T’Naisa’s pained expression, he said, “I did not mean that as a reprimand. I thought only that you might understand Simon better than any of us…and pray for him.”

“I will,” she promised.

Simon appeared in Spock’s room precisely at his bedtime. Spock set aside his writing and looked at him. The boy was dripping wet from the fountain, where he often went to “cool off”. Since Spock was proceeding slowly in minor disciplinary matters, he had not yet forbidden it. But he was troubled by the casual way his son treated the sacred site, and it reflected poorly on Spock as Seleya’s administrator.

Simon stepped out of his sandals, stripped off his outer clothing, and stretched out on his cot. Putting his hands under his head, he stared at the stone ceiling.

Spock said, “Tomorrow your aunt is entering the morning inquiry class and will be working in the heat of the afternoon. Therefore I have arranged a new work assignment for you.”

Only the boy’s eyes moved. They darted coldly toward Spock, then refocused overhead.

Spock continued. “In the morning you will first play your violin for the children of our students, then clean the fountain annex until lunch.” This seemed a good time to discuss Simon’s proclivity for dowsing himself.  “As for the fountain, you have been seen…’frolicking’ there. I do not mind if you visit the site and benefit from its water, but from now on, you must act with appropriate decorum.”

When Simon still gave no response, Spock said, “Did you hear me?”

“Yes.” Simon rolled into a sitting position and frowning at him, asked, “Are you some sort of a priest?”

Spock drew in a slow breath. “No, Simon. I only manage Seleya’s physical operation and instruct some seekers in the Way.”

Simon’s frown deepened. “Uncle Larry’s a Catholic priest and he spent years in a seminary. These Yanashite priests have only been around for a few months.”

“Their situation is very different from that of Laurence Fielding,” Spock explained. “The Catholic Church has been established for more than 2000 years. Its system of religious training is solidly in place. The work here on Vulcan is only beginning. All of our priests were commissioned directly by the Shiav.”

Simon thought a moment and then said, “Are you and Mom getting a divorce?”

The question took Spock aback. Had Simon overheard some remark from his mother? It was a moment before he could bring himself to say, “Of course not. Why would you ask such a thing?”

The boy shrugged and said, “You’re never together anymore.”    

Turning off the light, Spock went out to the temple and sat alone in a dim, secluded corner. Simon’s words weighed heavily on his mind. Was it wrong of him to stay on Vulcan, robbing Lauren of her husband and the twins of their father? Should he take Simon and return to Earth? But leaving here would deprive Seleya of his services at a time when he was greatly needed, and he dreaded the thought of being cut off from the Community’s rich social and sacramental life.

It was indeed a troubling problem for which there seemed no immediate solution. He could only hope that, in time, some unseen way would open to him and Lauren. Meanwhile, their future was in the hands of Yanash, but it occurred to Spock that there was another personal relationship in need of immediate repair. He had scarcely spoken to his daughter T’Beth since discovering his secret grandchild. Now, as he examined the many missteps in his own life, he wondered how he could ever have treated her so coldly. Tonight he would send T’Beth a kind, encouraging message that would include a sincere apology.

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