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.
As their journey neared its end, Spock sat beside his son in the starliner’s observation lounge. It was good to leave the trouble at Gol behind him for a time. Rokar and Dalek remained under arrest. The police investigation had turned up no sign of Yanashite sabotage, but had led to additional indictments against Nath and Dekin, as well four other kolinahru involved in the Baruk abduction. So it seemed there would be some justice for Yanashites, after all.
The closer Spock came to Earth, the more he found himself yearning for his wife and family. Lauren was certainly right in one regard; he had been away much too long.
The starliner approached the Solar System and dropped out of warp. Planets glided past the steelglass windows. When Earth came into view, Simon grinned, teeth white and straight against his deeply tanned skin. Spock was glad the “sunburn” had healed without leaving any mark. Lauren’s initial sight of her son would give her no cause for worry.
“Let’s go,” Simon said with an eagerness that was infectious.
They picked up their luggage and were among the first to board the shuttles. The sun was setting as they disembarked at San Francisco Spaceport. Walking into the concourse, Spock caught sight of his family waiting. The twins saw him and rushed over with Lauren on their heels. James and Teresa latched onto him with a force that nearly knocked him off-balance. Lauren spread her arms wide and included Spock and Simon in one giant embrace.
Smiling broadly, she drew back, her attention dancing from one to the other as she said, “You both look great!”
Spock put his hand to her face and looked into her eyes. Her smile wavered as even her surface thoughts closed to him. Troubled, he let his hand drop.
Lauren drove the groundcar home, for the twins were clamoring for his attention. James, who had finally grown as tall as his sister, glowed with perfect health. Teresa chattered without ceasing, and before long they settled onto the driveway.
The house shone with countless blue lights strung around the eaves and windows.
“Christmas lights!” Simon exclaimed. “We’ve never had those before.”
Lauren shut down the motor and turned to Spock with a hopeful expression. “Do you like them?”
“Everything is fine,” he assured her. “You have done very well in my absence.”
She smiled nervously and averted her eyes in a way that brought back the disquieting words of her subspace message. There are things that I haven’t told you, either. For the sake of our marriage, we have to get this straightened out.
It was hours before the twins were asleep. Then Simon went off to his bedroom with another embrace from his mother.
Lauren’s gaze followed their eldest son as he left the living room and walked upstairs. Softly she said, “I can’t get over the change in that boy. He’s gotten so much more mature.” She looked over to the sofa where Spock was seated. “You’ve done a wonderful job with him.”
“It is Yanash who changed him,” Spock said.
A shadow crossed her face. All evening they had not spoken about anything of real importance. Now that they were finally alone, she seemed more remote than ever.
“Come in the lab,” she said abruptly. “You won’t believe some of the progress I’ve made in that new project of mine.”
Spock rose and followed her down the hall, into her laboratory, controlling his impatience while she sat before her biocomp and brought him up to date. It seemed there would be no end to her nervous talking.
At last he turned and closed the door. Gently confronting her, he said, “Enough about research.”
She fell silent and her eyes widened with apprehension.
Spock moved nearer, as if mere physical proximity might close the emotional distance between them. And he said, “Lauren, I will not be put off any longer. What is the trouble?”
Tears welled in her eyes; she shook her head. “You’re so different.”
The words cut a swath of fear in Spock’s heart. She had loved him the way he was—empty like so many others, searching for something to fill and satisfy him. Now that he had found the answer, he seemed strange to her. What would become of their marriage?
Cautiously he said, “Am I so very different? In time you will grow accustomed to the change in me.”
Keeping to her seat, Lauren let out a deep sigh. “How, when we’re not even living together? What kind of life is this?”
“It is the life to which Yanash has called me.”
“Yanash!” she cried. “I’m getting sick of the very name!” Her face crumpled. Hiding behind a hand, she struggled for control.
Spock held his tongue rather than say how offensive he found her attitude. One wrong remark from him and they would be quarreling.
At last she lowered her hand. Staring at the floor, she spoke in a thick, halting voice. “I’m sorry. I had no right to say that—not after what he did for Jamie. But I’m so scared. Scared of what all this will mean for us. You’ve changed…and I’ve changed, too.”
Spock struggled for words of his own. “It…pains me that you have grown so distant. In your messages you mentioned…’things’ that you have not told me. Well, I am here now. I am listening.”
Lauren sat in silence for a long moment. Another sigh escaped her. “You won’t like it.”
“Lauren,” he urged.
Her eyes rose and met his, full of unspoken anguish. “So much has happened. You can’t possibly understand.”
“I will try,” he promised.
Once more her gaze dropped. Softly she said, “It all began with Tony…”
At the masculine sounding name, Spock’s thin thread of hope snapped. In his absence, had she found another? There was fresh anger…and bitter loss.
“Tony…” The name rasped in his throat.
“Jim’s wife,” Lauren clarified, to Spock’s considerable relief.
Emotional involvement had made him forego logic and jump to an unsavory conclusion. Not Tony then, but Toni—Antonia Cordova Kirk, who had become fast friends with his wife and even painted the lovely portrait of Lauren that hung on the living room wall.
But Lauren was still far from calm as she said, “You know I had some Catholic training when I was a child…but it didn’t amount to much. I’ve always been kind of surprised that my brother Larry turned out so religious. I’ve told you that I believe in God…but it wasn’t a very active faith.”
Spock asked, “What has all this to do with Antonia?”
“I’m getting around to that.” But then she paused yet again before saying, “Remember how surprised you were when I went along with your plan for taking James to Vulcan? Well, I’d been praying hard all night. I would have tried anything to save him…and when Yanash touched Jamie and brought him back to life…well, something happened inside me, too.”
Spock held himself very still.
Wiping a tear from her face, Lauren continued. “Yanash said not to tell anyone, but when I came back to Earth I confided in Toni. She began talking to me about her Catholic beliefs, and introduced me to a wonderful old priest. The more time I spent with them, the more I admired their kind of faith…and before long, I began to share it. For the first time in my life, Jesus Christ became real to me. I wasn’t just talking about him, I was learning to talk with him. I finally got up the courage to go to church, and it felt as if I was coming home.”
“Coming home to the Truth?” Spock questioned.
Looking desolate, she bit her lip. “I’m glad you believe in God now. But you’re a Yanashite, with strong beliefs of your own…so you’re going to tell me there’s only one truth.”
“Yes,” he replied, “and not only as a Yanashite, but as a scientist.”
Tears welled again. “Of course. I knew it. Well, here goes. Like it or not, I’m Catholic now. The twins and I have been attending Mass over at St. Bridget’s, and they’re also enrolled in religious classes. I need your cooperation to get them baptized…and unless our marriage is validated, I won’t be able to receive Communion.” Her eyes sparked with anger. “You think I’m wrong, but if you really love me, you won’t stand in my way.”
For a moment Spock just stood there, reviewing each and every nuance of her revelation. So this was her carefully guarded secret? Stepping closer, he drew her from her seat. With his hands on her arms, he searched her defiant face and said, “Lauren…aisha…you speak as if we are in opposition to one another—as if even the Gods we reverence are somehow in conflict, when in fact they are one in the same.”
Her brows puckered in a frown. “One and the same? How, Spock?”
“If there is but one Truth, it must by definition be universal. Do you not agree?”
Lauren’s frown deepened. “Of course I agree. The word ‘Catholic’ means ‘universal’. But what are you telling me? You don’t care if the children become Catholics instead of Yanashites? You don’t mind consulting a Catholic priest about our marriage?”
Spock felt his mouth curve into a smile, and did nothing to prevent it. “Once, when Simon was much younger, he came to me asking about the Christian Savior. I would not speak to him of such ‘mythical’ matters, but told him to consult you. Well, on the voyage here, Simon repeated the question. This time I tested his Latin and told him ‘Jesu Christi Domine Deus’.”
She was clearly shocked. “You…told him that?”
He explained, “I am not entirely alone in that opinion. Would not a loving Creator send His Son to any one of His worlds in need of redemption? And there are indeed many with evidence of a savior’s visit.” Taking her by the hand, he said, “Now come with me. There is something I want to show you.”
Upstairs in their bedroom, he opened his valise, drew out a folded document from an inner compartment, and handed it to her. Lauren carefully opened the high-grade paper. As she read its flowery script, her eyes widened with astonishment.
She said, “You have an audience with the pope?”
“I am not specifically named,” he pointed out. “As you can see, the invitation is for a ‘duly authorized representative of Vulcan’s Yanashite Community’. Since I was coming to Earth, since I am half human and have experience as an envoy, Sorel chose me. I have an appointment at the Vatican after the first of the year.”
Lauren glanced up from the document in amazement. Taking the paper from her hands, Spock set it aside. Then he touched her cheek and gently wiped a lingering tear as he said, “I was educated in the sciences, and your training is in the medical field. It is in our natures to want—to demand—an answer for every question. But one cannot demand answers from God. In time, everything will come clear. For now all we can do is trust in Him and in one another.”
Lauren looked at him with an expression approaching wonder. Her trembling fingers rose up and as they enclosed his hand, he could sense a longing that matched his own. Spock drew her into a kiss and she received him with her heart open wide.