Personal Log, stardate 45230.7, Shuttlecraft Scobee enroute to U.S.S. Prometheus for my trip to Vulcan. The Galaxy is expected to join me on Vulcan for Ambassador Sareks funeral. Ive been informed that I am to deliver his katra to the Hall Of Ancient Thought. Also, it will be good to see my wife and children again.
Captain Sershek logged off his recorder and went to the shuttles replicator Thalian chocolate, hot, as the warm, brown beverage came to his lips. Computer, estimated time till rendeavoux with the Prometheus?
Two hours, seven minutes, twenty-eight point four five three seconds. Sershek nodded in approval. He had reprogrammed the computer to be precise to Vulcan standards.
Computer, engage auto-pilot, Sershek said, and he continued to read the book on Federation history that he had started four days ago, when he had first heard of his uncle's impending death of Bendii Syndrome. Ordinarily, his first-cousin-twice-removed Spock would have been accorded the task of fa-ka-lee, the Transferal, but for some reason this was not the case.
Two hours later: U.S.S. Prometheus, this is Captain Sershek on board the shuttlecraft Scobee, I request permission to land in your shuttle bay.
Permission granted and welcome aboard, Captain. said Captain Madak, the Bolian C.O. of the ship. Captain, if you wish, I can have you transported aboard and we can land your shuttle?
Excellent suggestion, I await transport. Sershek felt the Prometheus transporter beam whisk him to the large starship and there standing when he materialized was the transporter chief, the captain and his wife, Lieutenant Commander TPzata, the science officer on board this ship. Permission to come aboard, Captain? Sershek said in his usual formal Vulcan tones.
Permission granted, Captain, and welcome. Its not everyday we have a captain of a Galaxy-class starship here.
Thank you. Sershek looked at his wife. My wife, I trust you have been well since we last spoke?
Yes, husband she said with renowned Vulcan formality.
Captain Madak, with your permission, I wish to speak to my wife in private; may she show me to my quarters?
Of course, Captain, I understand; will I see you on the bridge a little later? I would love to give you a tour of my humble vessel. Madak said with a jovial grin.
It would be an honor, sir. Sershek said as he departed with his wife to her quarters where she lived with their their son and daughter.
Sershek, both the children are in school right now, but, if you wish, we can see them there. TPzata said.
I will wait until dinner to see them; I am sure that my presence might distract them from their lessons. Sershek said, By the way, how are they doing in school?
Very well; they honor us. Deck 9. as the turbolift rushed the Vulcan couple to their quarters. Sershek approved of the decor, brought from their home on Vulcan, even the ancient ka'athyra that Sershek's great-grandfather used to play. Like his quarters on the Galaxy, the temperature was set several degrees higher than the humanoid average. As the couple continued to catch up, they re-explored their minds and became one for a while, not in the mere sense of human physical intimacy which Vulcans required with far less frequency, but within the core of their very being. They continued to converse (within the mindlink) about various things on board their respective ships, the nature of Sershek's mission to Vulcan, the current status of the extended Vulcan families, and so on. TPzata had had the foresight to schedule her offshift to coincide with Serschek's for just this occasion.
After a few hours of chatting, the children walked in with school PADDs, T'Pwaen carrying a three-dimensional model of a four-dimensional tesseract. Father, they both exclaimed, in tones that would from a human child smack of disinterest but from Vulcan children betrayed great affection. He held out his hands and touched both their minds, re-familiarizing himself with them. The family, usually scattered across interstellar distances, was together and would be for some time, albeit under less than desirable circumstances. Sershek and TPzata had accumulated shore leave time and the children were excused from school for the duration of the ceremonies. Now Sershek has to prepare for an honored if unpleasant task - Sarek's katra.
During the four days it took the Prometheus to get to Vulcan, Sershek relaxed, meditated, prepared and accepted several invitations to chess and music. Captain Madak didnt mind the Vulcans presence on his bridge; he even invited his guest to sit in the counselors chair and observe a different crew in action. The Prometheus' captain was an efficient if slightly casual commander; Sershek prefered a much tauter ship. Protocol, however, kept him from mentioning this to Madak.
Sershek kept himself very busy, even tried their holodeck programs that his wife had programmed in, such as the simulation of the Gardens of the Thaha Dynasty on Andor. All the while Sershek fought to master the apprehension that Sarek would die, his katra lost, before Sershek could get there. There was nothing more to be done; while Sarek was an important figure to the Federation, no justification could be made to push the Prometheus past warp seven.
Sershek finished packing all the things they needed in the shuttle for the trip to Vulcans surface. T'Pzata supervised the children's entrance and seating in the shuttle, sternly reminding both of them not to reprogram any system while the shuttle was in flight.
As Captain Madak saw the Vulcan family off, he wished them well and grieved in his hearts for the man who was one of the Federations greatest ambassadors.
Sershek landed the shuttle on their property in Shi Kahr, the capitol city on Vulcan. The household staff, some of whose families had served Sershek's family for generations, met the shuttle at the homestead's private shuttlepad. The elder manager, Tesok, gave Sershek the salute, a touching gesture as usually the younger of two Vulcan would salute first. Clearly, the manager and the staff were troubled by Sarek's illness.
As the staff unpacked the shuttle, Sershek tapped his communicator to see if any of his other family had arrived Sershek to Soshek, come in Admiral.
Soshek here; where are you, my son? The dry, flat voice of his father nonetheless betrayed a slight anticipation of their reunion. After a brief exchange of pleasantries, Soshek requested that his son meet him at Sarek's home. Sershek told his wife where he was going and that he was not sure when he would return.
He took a tram over to the central district of ShiKahr, to the older homestead where Sarek's branch of the family had dwelled for a millenium. He was greeted not only by his father, the Inspector General, but his grandfather, Ambassador Serek, a legendary Starfleet captain of a century ago, during the so-called "Age of Heroes." Sershek was a virtual doppelganger of his grandfather at that age, both in striking appearance and unstoppable drive (actually, several humans who had known Serek of old said that Sershek was much more of a "people person." This statement caused Sershek to wonder if there was such a thing as an "unpeople person.")
Standing slightly behind his father and grandfather was Sarek's second wife, Perrin. Sershek had never met Amanda, Sarek's first wife, who had died before he was born, so he could not compare this woman to any memory of her predecessor. He was about to ask about Sarek when he noted the human expression of concern and anxiety on Perrin's face; to be that apparent, after years of living among Vulcans and adopting their ways, Perrin must almost be frantic, and not merely about her husband's imminent passing.
Its Spock," Admiral Soshek said, in response to his son's unasked question. Starfleet Intelligence has reported that he may have defected to Romulus and has sent the Enterprise to investigate. Where is the Galaxy now?
Betraying no outward surprise from this shocking news, Sershek immediately replied, Sir, the U.S.S. Galaxy is completing a survey over at the Latplotic Cluster but can be here in two days if necessary. I am told that Starfleet was to send a delegation. Sershek said.
Soshek nodded solemnly. Sarek's lifesigns are stable, but they will not remain that way for long; the Bendii Syndrome has deteriorated him to the point where lucid conversation can take place for only about five minutes at a time.
Ambassador Serek, who had been uncharacteristically silent throughout this exchange, spoke. Are you prepared for his katra?
Yes, Grandfather. It was true that he had meditated to prepare his mind for the joining with Sarek's katra. No preparation, however, could deal with the invasion of a Vulcan mind, the most sacred private places within a Vulcan's soul.
Excellent. I will keep you informed as to Sarek's condition so you may know when it is time. Continue your meditation for the preparation for when the moment comes.
Aye, sir. Father, may I take my leave of you?
Of course, my son. I expect to arrive at your house in one point three hours. I must contact Starfleet Command to apprise them of current situations. Until then. Soshek Saluted his father and walked towards the office in the homestead.
Serek waited until he was out of earshot, then approached his grandson. Grandson, I would speak with thee," he said in the formal tongue of elders addressing their juniors.
Sire, Sershek answered, equally formal.
You have been chosen for a task both enviable and distasteful, though we do not usually admit to either emotion. Nonetheless, the burden is heavy on you. I must know your thoughts on this matter.
Soshek considered carefully; his grandfather had spent many years among humans, and had picked up their somewhat dubious facility for setting traps with words. He himself, however, was not unskilled in such ways either, for though deception was not the Vulcan way, neither was the sundering of one's personal psyche. The task must be done, or Sarek is lost to us forever. I am qualified for this task, and I am available. Whatever other considerations there may be, I must deal with myself, so that perhaps in the fullness of time I will be able to assist the one who must do this service for me when the time comes. It is logical, therefore, that envy and distaste be cast out along with fear, so that the inner peace necessary for the ritual may be achieved here, and in the future when I surrender my katra.
Kaiidth, Serek intoned in the old tongue. It is done.
Personal Log, stardate 45235.4, Im in final preparations for the fa-ka-lee, the joining of my mind to Sareks. Ive been told that they will be several of Vulcans highest ranking officials at this event. Interesting; if I were human, I would be nervous about this event, but none matter; the time is approaching fast. Sershek turned off his recorder and continued dressing for the ceremony.
He was to go to Sarek's home, where the others were awaiting for the transfer, then the traditional pilgrimage to the Hall of Ancient Thought, to join all that was truly Sarek to the vast storehouse of minds that resided there. He walked solemnly, his wife and children a discreet distance behind him.
The High Council as well as the rest of the family was there at the homestead, but no greeting was made; nothing could be said that would break Sershek's concentration. In a specially-prepared chamber, Sarek lay on a ceremonial slab, in a robe decorated with ancient sigils, eyes open, seemingly in a healing trance, though from this repose he would never fully wake.
Sershek touched his hand to Sareks face, and after a moment Sarek did the same to Sershek, lock in an intense gaze, the two Vulcans were one after a minute of contact.
So strange, the Voice said, at first unsure if it was Sarek or Sershek, to have control again, to be young again, to feel memories that are not mine. Has it been so long? So many images, a lifetime, so many experiences. Fascinating...
Sershek began to talk towards the Great Hall, where he continued in silence, all those attended followed him for the seven-hour silent walk.
His first marriage, to T'Sheya, a daughter of one of the oldest families on Vulcan. Their son, Sybok, was heir to a history that pre-dated Surak himself. While he himself did not subscribe to something as ill-defined as predestination, Sarek felt that Sybok was in store for a great many experiences and honors.
But it was not to be.
"Why, Father?" his son asked, his voice betraying annoyance and even a tinge of petulance. Sarek fought to keep his control as his son disdained his own. "Why is forbidden to seek out the mysteries that lie beyond this existence?"
"As there is no way to seek such mysteries, without surrendering one's life to the Great Unknown, spending inordinate amounts of time comtemplating the unattainable is illogical."
"Illogical!" Sybok fairly exploded, eschewing all emotional discipline. "Our ancestors would not have ceased trying to solve the questions of existence merely because they were illogical. They would..."
"Our ancestors chose to follow the path of logic," Sarek cut in, his tone indicating that he wished this conversation over. "They chose to embrace an ideal that has served us for millenia. Any sacrifices to that ideal, they made willingly."
Sybok looked his father in the eye, and very slowly, he...smiled. Like an outworlder. Sarek took greats pains to repress his revulsion.
"Then they were wrong."
"I am very pleased to meet you, Miss Grayson." The young human woman was seated across from Sarek in his office at the embassy. As a cultural attaché, it was his job to meet the various people who would be working in the embassy on the Universal Translator project. Although she had very little actual experience in computers (at least compared to Sarek himself) her background in linguistics was impressive. Indeed, much of their conversation was in Vulcan, giving her a chance to show off her extensive vocabulary. Secretly , he felt a scintilla of amusement at her Lesser-sea accent; it made her sound something of a "country bumpkin" (a Terran phrase that had no real Vulcan equivalent.)
She was delighted at the various social functions of the embassy, and inquired as to his attendance (or, as it turned out, the lack thereof). "Certainly you can't wish to be an ambassador someday and not be conversant in social graces," she said, a certain teasing lilt in her voice. Has Sarek been more adept at intergender relationships, he would have realized earlier that she was flirting with him.
"I am...uncomfortable attending such functions alone," he found himself blurting out.
"Your wife doesn't...ah...."
"My wife died some years ago," he interjected, as much to cut through the embarrassing silence as to inform her of that fact. Strangely, though she offered condolensces immediately, he detected a surge of excitement in her.
"Well, what you need is an escort. I volunteer my services, sir. We'll be the talk of the dance floor." She laughed lightly, a musical sound that Sarek inexplicably found very pleasing. "Do you dance?"
Sarek thought hard for a second, trying to answer in a way that would seem charming (simulataneously, he could hardly believe he was making the effort). "Perhaps you can teach me." She smiled at that, and he raised his eyebrows in answer.
"Father, I wish to attend Starfleet Academy." Spock clasped his hands behind his back in the traditional manner; for all of his half-human heritage, he could be as stiffly formal as any Vulcan. Sarek took note of that, and was pleased, but he would not let that deter him.
"Spock, you have an obligation to the Vulcan Science Academy. I was taught there, your grandfather was taught there, and on before him. You have great skills and a great intellect. To waste them serving with humans, who load their ships to the overheads with weapons of war."
"Father, you cannot believe that all humans are bloodthirsty, destructive children."
"You are right," Sarek replied. "I am merely saying that they seem to be more in touch with the dark sides of their natures; indeed, at times they seem to revel in it. You would be the sole Vulcan among so many humans and other aliens. You would be..."
"That is precisely my point, Father. In Starfleet, I would be treated as a Vulcan, as...myself. Here, the best I can expect is to treated as 'Sarek's son;' more likely, I would be treated as 'Sarek's son, the half-breed.'"
Sarek was stung by his son's words, so much because they contained an element of truth. Sarek's eyes hardened, remembering another conversation with another son, so long ago. "Very well. Do as you must. We will speak no more of this again."
As it turned out, they did not speak at all.
All of Vulcan was upon Sershek, he glared intently toward his goal. The walk had garnered followers and soon, over 2,000 Vulcans had walked to the Hall. Inside the ancient stone artifice, he saw the vessel meant for Sarek, next to the one meant for Spock when he had died some 90 years ago before the fal-tor-pan had took place. On the other side was the vessel of T'Pau's katra, that even now a century after her death resonated with her prickly, almost fierce, aura.
More images came now, down the long pathway of years...
"Logic, logic, logic! I am sick to death of logic!" Amanda, relieved beyond words that both of the men she loved had survived the operation, now released some of her pent-up anger at their exasperating attitude.
"Emotional, isn't she?" Spock said to his father.
Equally casual, even somewhat joyous that this ridiculous feud between him and his son was at least temporarily negated, Sarek replied, "She has always been that way."
"Indeed. Why did you marry her?"
Sarek sensed that his son was not really seeking the true answer, but giving him an "opening line." He was not sure that he approved of such behavior, but he could not resist the opportunity to tease Amanda. "At the time, it seemed the logical thing to do."
Her expression was all the payoff he needed. No, not logical, but extremely gratifying.
"What you ask has not been attempting since ages past, and then only in legend. Your request is not logical."
There was a time when Sarek would have almost visibly bristled at T'Lar's words. Now, the truth would suffice for an answer. "Forgive me, T'Lar, but my logic is uncertain...where my son is concerned."
"As I recall, I opposed your enlistment in Starfleet. It appears that I may have been in error." Sarek was surprised that Spock actually raised an eyebrow at that statement; surely he had heard his father admit to an error before!
"Your associates are people of good character," he continued.
"They are my friends," Spock replied.
With the air of a man who finds his child prodigy plays around with street urchins, Sarek acquiesed. He then inquired his son about any message he might have for his mother. Spock appeared to think about this for a moment, then said, "Tell her...I feel fine."
Sarek did not then understand what that meant, but later, he appreciated the sentiment.
Sershek approached the receptable, experiencing an overwhelming feeling of finality...and a twinge of fear. This new part of his mind felt exhilarating, with its store of thoughts and memories suddenly coming alive, and he did not wish to part with it so soon....
With iron control he reasserted himself. This was feeling was not unusual in fa-ka-lee, but it was dangerous, both to the Keeper and the katra. He placed his hands on the receptacle, and felt the sundering of the link as the katra (was transferred? transferred itself? Who could say...) out of Sershek's being.
A last resonance resounded in his mind. Live long and prosper, Sershek. If you should see Spock again, tell him his father loves him.
I will, Sarek. Good-bye, he expressed as pure thought, for the Keeper would always retain traces of the katra he carried for the rest of his days.
As Sershek made his way to the funeral, leading the silent procession of onlookers, he comtemplated his unity with Sarek, that would now be forever a duality. Sarek, who had no future, yet now was eternal. Sershek, mortal with uncounted tomorrows before him. An interesting dichotomy, one he might ponder for many days. However, duty, both here on Vulcan and in Starfleet, beckoned him back, forcing him to put aside such introspection until later.
Time passes, and keeps passing.