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.
Early Christmas morning, Lauren sat with her family in a pew at St. Bridget Church. She had not expected Spock to accompany her; she had made it clear to him that she would understand if he and Simon chose to stay home. Yet when Mass began, both of them were present. For Spock, it was perhaps a matter of study, and Simon did not want to be left out.
As the scriptures for the day were read, she was reminded of the stories about Yanash and ancient prophetic writings that Spock had been showing her. She thought of the solemn Kuru rite of Living Water that Spock spoke of with such reverence, and as she took his hand into hers, Lauren’s love for him deepened until it seemed that her heart would burst.
Glancing up, she met his caring eyes and wished that he did not have to go back to Vulcan. Their time together was so short, but he had assured her that “it would not always be so”. She was grateful for the new spiritual understanding that bound them more tightly than ever. Returning her look, Spock raised an eyebrow and smiled slightly, with warmth, as if he were reading her thoughts and appreciated them.
After Mass, the pastor sought out Spock and greeted him. They had already met with Father Thompson during the previous week to discuss the twins’ baptism and make the necessary appeal regarding their marriage. And of course, they had talked about Yanash.
News traveled fast among the parishioners and curiosity was rampant. The sight of a Vulcan among them drew a crowd, all intent on being introduced and hearing about what was happening on Spock’s planet.
Then, without warning, a discordant note struck. Shaking Spock’s hand, a jovial-looking man jested, “So I hear that you’re Judas. Any truth to that?”
Spock froze and Lauren could only stand by, wondering how he would react to such an outrageous, distasteful remark. Coming to himself, Spock withdrew his hand and quietly said, “If by that you mean, did I betray the Shiav? The answer is yes.”
Lauren stared at him with such shock that she scarcely noticed how the parishioners responded to the news.
He continued, “My misguided concern for Vulcan’s welfare led me to act in reprehensible ways, but the Shiav is merciful.”
The crowd slowly broke up and drifted out of the church. Lauren was thankful that the children had been off talking with friends. Gathering them, she headed out to their groundcar with Spock. There she told Simon and the twins to get inside and wait.
A light drizzle was falling as she faced Spock in his overcoat and said, “Judas! You? I can’t believe that for one second.”
“Then try it for two seconds,” he grimly retorted. “I should have told you before now. On Vulcan I was in frequent contact with my father, offering information and advice that led to Yanash’s arrest. Of course I did not realize he would be killed, but that hardly excuses me.”
Lauren struggled to assimilate this new information. Spock and Sarek working together against the Vulcan Savior! “And when Yanash rose?”
“He forgave me. Even more, he overwhelmed me with a depth of loving acceptance beyond all comprehension.” And he added, “Simon knows. It is common knowledge among the Yanashites, though they do not often speak of it.”
Sighing, Lauren said, “Well you can bet that tongues will be wagging here in San Francisco. Merry Christmas. Let’s go home.”
Teresa and James hurriedly took every gift from under the Christmas tree and distributed them, but before the grand opening could begin, Teresa called for a halt.
“Wait, Daddy!” she said, her brown eyes dancing with excitement. “We can’t open anything till you get your special present.”
Lauren gave Spock a blank look and shrugged.
“Come on, Jamie,” Teresa beckoned, “let’s go!” Giggling, she ran upstairs with her brother.
“I can’t imagine,” Lauren admitted to Spock and Simon with some trepidation. The trouble was, Teresa had such an active imagination that almost anything was possible. She was about to follow them upstairs when the twins came running down, empty-handed. Grinning mischievously, they stood on each side of their father’s chair and urged him to his feet.
Looking distinctly uncomfortable, Spock complied.
There was a sound on the stairs, but Lauren’s eyes were on her husband. She saw him glance toward the sound, saw his face register both shock and pleasure. Then she turned and looked for herself.
A young, dark-haired woman was descending the stairs with a golden child in her arms.
“T’Beth!” hollered Simon.
At the base of the staircase, T’Beth set Bethany on her own small feet and walked over to her father. For a moment they just looked at one another. Then without saying a word, Spock held out his arms to her and they embraced. T’Beth murmured something, kissed his face, and backed away with tears in her eyes.
She hugged Simon, then came over to Lauren.
“Sorry I didn’t warn you,” T’Beth said apologetically. “Teresa and I cooked this up. If I’d let you in on it, Father would have found out.”
“I’m glad you could make it,” Lauren assured her, and then they, too, were embracing.
Eventually the Christmas presents were opened and the torn wrappings cleared out of the living room. All his life Jamie had hungered for his big brother’s attention, and now was overjoyed when Simon showed an interest in his new toys. Lauren watched Teresa dote on little Bethany and found it difficult to think of herself as a step-grandmother. It was easier to accept Spock in that role, for though he looked only fortyish, he was old enough to be a great-grandfather. He had always shown such patience with the children when they were small, and now he was accepting Bethany as if she were his own.
The aroma of roasting turkey began to permeate the house, and with it came thoughts of the dinner guests who would soon be arriving. Lauren hoped and prayed that it would not be too awkward having T’Beth and the Kirks at the same table. She was not sure how much Antonia knew about Jim’s relationship with Spock’s eldest daughter. She had warned T’Beth that Jim and his wife were coming, had seen pain briefly flicker in her hazel eyes before T’Beth recovered and said lightly, “That’s great. How are they doing?”
The doorbell chimed.
Dropping his toys, Jamie sped to the door, flung it open, and greeted the former starship captain whose name he bore. “Uncle Jim! Aunt Toni! Merry Christmas!”
Jim mussed the boy’s hair and delighted him by saying, “Who’s this great big Vulcan fellow? Why, you’re getting almost as tall as your dad…and twice as handsome.”
Turning, Jamie pointed across the room. “I’m an uncle, too. See? T’Beth is here and her little girl is my niece.”
Jim and T’Beth locked eyes.
Lauren quickly made the introductions, and Antonia opened a little sack of presents for the children.
In a somewhat distant but polite manner, Jim took notice of T’Beth’s daughter. “So this is Bethany,” he said to no one in particular.
T’Beth responded with equal restraint. “Yes. She’s three. Congratulations on your marriage. I hear that you’re raising horses in Idaho.”
“Appaloosas,” Jim said and left it at that.
Then, to Lauren’s relief, the conversation turned toward Spock. Everywhere and with everyone it was the same. Spock, tell us about Yanash. But Lauren no longer wondered how he managed to remain free of conceit with so many people hanging on his every word. Now she knew the painful source of that humility—but unlike Judas, Spock had risen from his despair and received the forgiveness that God offered to every sincere penitent.
Lauren went into the kitchen and before long T’Beth joined her. They were peeling potatoes when Antonia came in.
Jim’s wife walked over to T’Beth and said, “It really is so nice to meet you. Jim’s told me how you tried to help him when he was drinking. He probably wouldn’t have made it, if it wasn’t for you and your family.”
T’Beth’s eyes brimmed with tears. “I didn’t know if he even remembered…”
“He remembers,” Antonia assured her.
The tension eased perceptively, and there was a friendly atmosphere at the table when they sat down to an early dinner.
Jim looked over the traditional Christmas dishes and gently teased Spock. “What? No Vulcan cuisine?”
“I have had my fill of Vulcan food for months,” Spock replied. “Lauren’s cooking is a most pleasant change.”
Looking amused, Jim offered Spock a platter of sliced meat. “Here then, have some of Lauren’s ‘most pleasant’ turkey.”
Antonia nudged her husband in the ribs, eliciting giggles from the twins as Jim contritely set the platter down.
Spock merely raised an eyebrow. “Actually, it is permissible for a follower of Yanash to consume meat. The Shiav himself partook of it when he was among the Golheni, but I cannot bring myself to do so.” He added, “I have, however, grown more tolerant of the odor.”
“And he eats eggs,” Simon said with a smile. “Unfertilized eggs.”
“What’s that mean?” asked Teresa.
Lauren answered, “It means eggs laid by lonely chickens.”
Even Spock smiled at that one.
After dinner the twins went off to play, and they took little Bethany with them. The others were lingering at the table when Jim turned once more to Spock and said, “I was sorry to hear about your mother. How’s Sarek doing? I thought he might be here today, since he’s in town.”
“I was not aware of that,” Spock admitted. “Although I have been living on Vulcan, I haven’t spoken to my father since the day Yanash died.”
“Oh,” Jim said. “Then I gather he’s not too pleased about your involvement with the sect.”
Lauren met her husband’s eyes. Earlier, in a private moment, he had stressed that no one must ever know about Sarek’s part in the Shiav’s arrest. Even in Spock’s ongoing manuscript, his “contact” remained a nebulous figure.
Now as the silence stretched, he looked aside. Toying with his glass of non-alcoholic wine, he said, “The name of Yanash evokes a quite…vigorous response…among certain segments of Vulcan society. Neither the traditionalists nor the government support our Community. And as you well know, Sarek’s life is deeply entrenched in both governmental affairs and traditions.”
T’Beth snorted. “A ‘vigorous response’? From traditional Vulcans?”
Spock took a sip of his Zinfandel and reminded her, “It was traditional Vulcans who murdered Yanash.”