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.
It was an exciting time for Simon. He easily passed the intermediate class taught by his father, where he was instructed more deeply in the faith and prepared for the Forgiving Touch that had always made him so nervous. On the day of his first confession he told the halfling T’Naisa that he was no longer so angry about the past. Then he chose for his confessor a priest he did not know very well. The young Vulcan welcomed him with such kindness and understanding that Simon experienced very little embarrassment. After that, he moved on to the advanced class and was soon receiving the Living Water. Now that he had been fully admitted to the sacraments, he looked forward to assisting at Kuru in other ways besides playing music.
But for today, his thoughts were elsewhere. Father was taking him on a trip with Sparn and T’Prinka. After breakfast they transported to a settlement called Baruk and rented a groundcar. Flying inches above the road, Father drove them to a neglected orchard on the outskirts of town. The property had been left to him by his grandfather Skon.
Leaving the car, they walked out under the old, gnarled trees. Father and Uncle Sparn discussed plans for a temple and school that the Yanashites hoped to build there someday, if the permits could be secured. For now, the government was barely tolerating their presence at Seleya and was sure to oppose any expansion.
After a while they split up and went looking for survey markers. Sparn and T’Prinka headed north, and Simon accompanied his father in the opposite direction.
When they were alone, Simon said, “Does Mom know you’re giving away the property?”
Father stopped and looked at him. “When I was in prison, I told her to sell this land and use the money to pay our bills. She didn’t do it because she knew it had been a gift from a man I revered. She would be pleased that I’m donating this land to the Community in Skon’s name.”
“Oh,” Simon said. In other words, she didn’t know. He asked, “Wasn’t Skon the father of Sparn and Sarek? How come he gave the land to you, instead of his own sons?”
Father’s expression grew distant, and at last he said, “Skon’s life was cut short by disease. He was a wise, kindly man. Perhaps he left the property to me as a remembrance.”
Eridani beat down as they continued walking. Simon wondered when they would start back to town. His father had promised they would shop for gifts to take home with them at Christmas. He was training two assistants to replace him, and their flight was scheduled in two weeks.
“I really do like it on Seleya,” Simon said, “but I’m looking forward to going home, too—as long as it’s just a visit.” That was the only thing he was worried about. “Father…you won’t make me stay on Earth, will you?”
Spock had found an old survey marker and after kicking it clean with the toe of his sand boot, turned to Simon. “I’ve already said that I am agreeable to your staying, but we must also consider your mother’s feelings.”
Simon’s heart sank. “I know. But I want to be with you.” He expected his father to lecture him about sensitivity toward others. Instead, his father’s eyes warmed and he smiled a little.
Then approximating the angle of the property line, Spock set off in a new direction.
Simon said, “If the school gets built, you and Uncle Sparn will be in charge of it, won’t you?”
“That is Sorel’s wish,” came the reply. “We could all live here together. Perhaps by then the law will allow the rest of the family to join us.”
Simon did not see how that was possible. “But Mom is a doctor in Starfleet. How could she live here?” Father was so silent that at last Simon said, “I miss her.”
After a moment Father confided, “As do I.”
They were passing another grove of trees. Simon heard a faint noise behind him, like a pebble struck by a shoe. He began to turn and noticed that his father was turning, too.
There was a darting motion at the edge of his vision. One—no, two people, and they were coming fast. The figures leapt toward Simon and his father, and fingers sank hard into Simon’s neck. Then he felt his body collapsing and the world went dark around him.
Spock saw his son start to drop. Instantly he deflected the fingers that were settling on his own neck and drove the heel of his hand into the startled face of his attacker. The Vulcan male grunted with pain, staggered back, and barely recovered his balance. Blood flowed from his mouth.
Poised to fight, Spock moved in front of his unconscious son. The injured man and his companion kept their distance.
“Who are you?” Spock demanded to know.
“Irrelevant,” said the second attacker. He coolly produced a hand phaser and targeted Spock’s chest. “Pick up your son.”
Spock did not move. “If you want me, I will go with you. But he is only a boy—leave him.”
“Do as you were told. Pick him up. Now!” His finger pressured the phaser’s trigger meaningfully.
Spock turned and lifted his son into his arms. Simon’s head lolled back lifelessly, mouth open and mute.
The Vulcan with the weapon spoke an order into his wrist phone. Spock heard a familiar ringing and felt a transporter beam enclosing him. The orchard faded from view. Cooler air rushed over his skin. A sense of utter blackness disoriented him, and he lost his balance, sprawling with Simon onto a rock-solid surface.
Nearby, someone moaned in the darkness.
Spock disentangled himself from Simon and sitting up, asked, “Who is there?”
“Spock?” came his uncle’s voice.
Overhead, intense lights switched on, blinding Spock with their brilliance. He heard movement. Shielding his eyes with a hand, he blinked and squinted until his vision could adjust. He found himself in a room hollowed out of black stone. Two robed Vulcans were carrying Simon and T’Prinka out the only door. As they entered a passageway, a security field spread across the opening and the lights dimmed to a more comfortable level.
Spock quickly rose and approaching the barrier, reached toward it. Raw energy electrified the hairs on his arm, and his skin tingled so painfully that he backed a step…and bumped into his uncle, who was also standing now.
“What manner of place is this?” Sparn whispered. “It feels so…”
Spock’s heart pounded. The air itself seemed leaden from the mass of sterile minds pressing in on him. Oh, he knew this place well. For over two years he had lived in an adjacent cloister as a student of kolinahr, attempting to uproot every vestige of emotion; at other times he had visited here, as to a holy place, never seeing it for what it was—a wretched shrine to Vulcan intellect.
Drawing a deep, steadying breath, he said, “We are in the Hall of Ancient Thought.”
Distant footsteps echoed from the adjoining tunnel. As the sounds came nearer Spock waited, motionless, for their captors to appear.
Two hooded figures arrived outside the barrier. Rokar, the Master of Gol, gazed upon him with dark, dispassionate eyes. At his side stood the High Priest, Dalek.
Sparn immediately confronted them. “What have you done with T’Prinka and Simon?”
Rokar and Dalek looked at him as if he were some curious form of insect.
“Your family members are unharmed,” Rokar said, “and will remain so if you cooperate.”
“What you describe is blackmail,” Spock pointed out.
Dalek’s eyebrow lifted. “’Blackmail’ is a human term. We speak only of cooperation. The Master will explain what you must do.”
Rokar spoke. “Do you not call yourselves ‘priests of Yanash’?”
“No,” Spock denied.
“You are Yanashites and teachers of the ‘Way’. Surely you know how to produce your so-called ‘Living Water’.”
“A priest effects a change to Living Water through the words and the power of Yanash. But we are not priests.”
Rokar posed another question. “Do you attest that those who partake of your ‘Living Water’ are spared the full rigor of pon farr?”
“Those who receive the Living Water in faith,” Sparn answered. “Why question us on this matter? You have the testimony of your spies, Nath and Dekin. Do you know that on Mount Seleya they swore vows of fidelity to Yanash?”
“The words held no meaning for them,” Rokar said.
“Then in speaking the words, they lied,” Sparn accused.
Rokar chose to ignore the remark. He broadened his attention to include Spock, as well. “In the back of your cell you will find a container of water. Go—pronounce your Yanashite words over it. Produce for us the ‘Living Water’ and your family will be returned to you.”
With deepening apprehension, Spock glanced at his uncle.
Sparn was staring at Rokar, his eyes narrowed with anger. “What you propose runs contrary to our teachings. For one thing, we are not priests. Secondly, the Living Water is forbidden to unbelievers. Your very touch would desecrate it.”
“Come now,” Rokar said condescendingly, “we are speaking only of water. It is nothing compared to blood—the blood bond of your family members.”
Spock explained, “The Living Water is our blood bond with our God.”
“Your God?” remarked Dalek. “You teach that there is but one God. Therefore is he not our God, as well?”
“He is indeed,” Spock said, “but you do not know Him.”
“Then,” Dalek interjected smoothly, “we will come to know him through your ‘Living Water’.”
There was a moment of palpable silence.
The evil that was being proposed made Spock sick to his stomach. “I tell you we cannot,” he answered for himself and for his uncle. “I tell you now, it does not matter what you do to us. We will not cooperate.”
Rokar’s eyebrow rose infinitesimally. “Do to you? Be assured, you devotees of Yanash will receive the best of care.” He signaled Dalek and they started to walk away.
“What of my wife?” Sparn loudly demanded. “And Spock’s son?”
Rokar paused and looked back. With icy detachment he said, “You have chosen your blood bond. Is not your God enough? These others who mean nothing to you will be released.”
Spock felt a cautious stirring of relief. “Released? When?”
“At once,” replied Rokar. “We have no use here for an old woman and a mongrel child. We will release them to the Devil’s Anvil and see who claims them—their Yanashite God or Vulcan’s devil. The Eater of Souls.”