2283-1- Spock was dead.
Sarek was stunned. A lump rose in this throat, choking him. My son, dead? He glanced at the official stargram he held in his hand, then crumpled it viciously. Amandas sobbing could be heard in the living room, and he moved over to comfort his wife. Her tears wet his robe, and Sarek could feel the now-familiar lump in his throat threatening to burst free. His sight blurred, but he forced the wetness from his eyes. Vulcans do not cry, or so he had been taught. But he so wanted to at least let one drop fall. I am a Vulcan, he firmly reminded himself. It is not our way.
He had never felt grief as profoundly as this, not even when his father, Skon, died ten years ago. He shook his head and concentrated on soothing his distraught wife, rubbing her back and whispering into her ear.
A strident beeping jarred Sarek from the oasis of calm he was trying to create around himself and Amanda. The unit beeped again, and still he ignored it. Amanda was all that mattered to him right now. And Spock. Sarek felt the lump rise in his throat once more. Where was his control when he needed it? Spock...
When the unit sounded a third time, he felt Amanda stir in his arms, but he pulled her even closer and burrowed his face deeper into her hair to comfort her. There was no one he wished to speak with. Except for Spock, and that simply was not possible. Not now. He had waited too long.
On the fourth ring, Amanda slowly, deliberately pulled away from him. "Go ahead. Answer it, before it drives me crazy," she told him with a wan smile, her eyes red and puffy. When he looked at her uncertainly, she told him "Im fine for now. Really."
Sarek reluctantly let go of his wife and went to answer it, then motioned Amanda to join him. It was Admiral Kirk, his eyes red. "Ambassador Sarek, Amanda, I...regret to inform you that your son, Spock, died in the line of duty." He stopped and looked away briefly, composing himself. Sarek could tell he was greatly affected by Spocks death. His voice was rough as he continued. "He died while saving the ship. He...saved us all from certain death. You would have been proud of him..." He broke off as a tear fell onto his cheek. "Please excuse me, Ambassador."
"There is nothing to excuse, Admiral," Sarek told him softly.
Amanda leaned toward the screen. "How did it happen, Jim?"
"Im so sorry, Amanda, but I cant go into any details. But I do want to tell you that he died most bravely. If it werent for his actions, the entire ship and crew would have been lost. Im sorry to have to tell you this news..." Again, he stopped as his voice cracked, unable to continue.
"Please be assured, Admiral, that we appreciate you telling us yourself," Sarek said. "When can we expect to receive our sons body?"
Kirk looked uncomfortable. "Uh...according to Spocks wishes, he was buried in space." Kirk knew his words sounded harsh, and he tried to soften them as best as he could.
Sareks features hardened slightly at this news. Buried in space? Then where is his katra? Who is the Keeper? And when are they coming to Vulcan? "Then when can we expect you on Vulcan, Admiral?"
"Vulcan, sir? I have to report to Starfleet Headquarters immediately. I dont know if Ill be able to get to Vulcan."
The confusion on Kirks face was plain to Sarek. Is it possible he does not know what I am asking? He wanted to ask Kirk about the identity of the Keeper, but now was not the time. "That is unfortunate," was all he said.
Amandas eyes filled with tears again, knowing she would never see her son again. "Thank you for calling us, Admiral. Please send Spocks effects to us as soon as you can."
"Of course, Amanda." Kirks fingers formed the familiar hand salute. "Live long and prosper, Ambassador, Amanda."
Sarek returned the salute and closed the connection. His mind was whirling. Spocks katra. Where is it? Did he even have time to entrust it to a Keeper? Clearly Kirk had no inkling of what Sarek was alluding to during the conversation. If Spock had not transferred his katra, then all that he was was surely lost and gone forever. Sarek's throat tightened at the thought.
The day had been an exhausting one for both Sarek and Amanda. Sarek had to keep reestablishing his controls so often, he had a rare headache by the time they went to bed.
Their bedroom was an airy place, decorated in the blues and greens of Amandas watery world. The full-length windows along the south wall afforded them an excellent view of her garden. Also, they could lie in bed and see Vulcans class-J sister world, TKuht, rising into the sky, her bloated sphere covering almost twenty percent of it.
His normal routine fell into place as he got ready for bed, allowing him to move automatically, rather than thinking about every action he must take. After a day of strict controlling, he welcomed the break.
After they climbed into bed, Sareks love for his wife flowed through him, almost making his body tingle. He gathered Amanda in his arms as he usually did before falling asleep, wanting to protect her from her overwhelming grief that he felt washing over their bond. He also wanted to show her how much he loved her. He knew he would never say the words, but he could tell her with his body. He started stroking her with his hands, feeling her softness.
For the first time in his memory, Amanda stiffened in his arms and pulled away from his touch. Never had she done this. If she did not want to be held, she would tell him it was too hot, or that he was too hot. Sarek was confused. Surely, she would want to be held, especially after today, he thought.
His emotions threatened to overcome his controls. First, he lost his son, and now, it seemed, he was losing his wife as well. He could not stand to have that happen. He could not survive both losses. Yes, you can. You are a Vulcan. Emotions have no place for us, he thought sternly. If Spock thought the way you are now, you would have admonished him! Sareks eyes misted briefly at the thought of his son.
As Amanda slept he rested a hand on her hip, wanting to maintain contact with her. He continued to feel her staggering grief come across the bond in waves. He knew his grief was just as profound, and he was fearful that she could not handle his as well as her own. Reluctantly, he blocked their bond, not allowing her to feel the intensity of his emotions until he could no longer feel her grief and she his. He knew his emotions were in turmoil, and he knew he had to deconstruct them before he would reopen the bond fully again, but meditation was proving difficult.
Sarek rose at his usual time and got dressed, noticing that Amanda hadnt stirred the entire time. She had fallen into a fitful sleep late last night after much tossing and turning, and he didnt want to disturb her. He opened the bond between them and her grief was staggering, even in slumber. With a pang in his heart, he closed it down again, leaving her thoughts in private.
He went into the kitchen to make his breakfast. It was a bright room with the sun streaming in the tall windows overlooking the desert. The counters were large and the center island was functional as well as a perfect place for her baking. Amanda had insisted there be plenty of cupboards, and the center island was crammed with drawers and shelves for her numerous pots and pans.
Amanda spent a great deal of time here, preparing food for the family. Sarek would sometimes watch her, or hug her from behind as she was stirring pots full of fragrant spices and vegetables.
He did not feel like cooking, so he went to the kitchen and prepared a pot of Vulcan tea. He sat at the table after removing the steaming cup and pulled up the latest news from the BellComm unit beside him. Sipping his tea, he reviewed the main news stories, paying no real attention to any of them. There was no mention of his sons death. Starfleet, it appeared, was keeping it quiet for whatever reason. His chest tightened at the thought of Spock. Sarek had been unable to meditate the previous night, and his emotions were still in turmoil. I must meditate today, he thought. This turmoil cannot continue.
Finishing his tea, he placed the cup in the sink and ran some water in it. Sarek had a class to teach at the Vulcan Science Academy. He had been approached by TMara, the Director of the Academy to teach the Set Dynamics of Negotiations to a first year Diplomatic Sciences class. He was pleased that he had been chosen to shape these young minds, and he was the only instructor for the course. He was not looking forward to leaving Amanda today, but he reasoned that she would want her privacy to mourn their son. She was hesitant to express strong emotions when he was around, so he felt that if he left for class, she would give her grief free rein. It would be good for her, he thought.
With a barely repressed sigh, he picked up his attaché case and started toward the living room and the front door. Amandas voice stopped him. "Where are you going?" she demanded.
"I am going to teach my class at the Science Academy."
Her eyes flashed at him. "How can you go to work as if nothing has happened? Our son is dead, and you act as if nothing has changed! How could you!?"
Sarek blinked at her vehemence. "The class has to be taught, Amanda, and I am the instructor. I do not wish to leave you, but it is my duty."
"Duty?! Dont give me duty! You and Spock and your damned duty! Duty killed our son! How dare you go to work! If you walk out that door, dont come back, do you understand?"
"Amanda." Sarek put his briefcase down and approached her. "I grieve for our son as well, please believe me, but I cannot disregard my duties because of his death. It is not our way," he said softly.
"Well, your way is not my way! I mean it, Sarek. If you leave here now, dont bother coming back." Her eyes snapped in anger.
Sarek knew it was her grief talking, but he was not about to anger her further. "Very well. I will stay home today." He walked over to the comm unit and placed a call to TMara informing her of his intended absence. He crossed the room to hold Amanda, but her hands on his chest stopped him. Confused, he looked at her. "What is wrong, my wife?"
"Just leave me alone, Sarek. Go meditate or something." She turned and stalked into the kitchen.
He followed her and leaned against the counter where she was making herself a cup of tea. "Amanda, have I done something to offend?"
Slowly letting out her breath, she put down her cup and turned to face him, her eyes softening. "No, Sarek, no. Its me. I dont know what to feel, and I feel everything. My emotions are out of control right now. Just give me some time and space, all right?" she asked of him, reaching up to gently stroke his cheek with the back of her hand. But the sadness suddenly returned to her eyes, and her hand dropped away as if it were too heavy.
He was about to point out that she would have adequate time and space had he gone ahead and taught his class as he had planned, but he had been married long enough to know better. "As you wish, my wife. I will be in the living room if you need me."
Sarek sat down in a soft armchair facing the desert and steepled his hands. Amandas swinging emotions perplexed him. One minute, she was ready to lock him out of the house if he left her to go teach his class, and the next minute, she did not want him around her at all.
Perhaps he should take her advice and meditate. He closed his eyes and concentrated on his breathing, centering his thoughts. His thoughts of Spock thwarted his attempts at arriving at his peaceful center. He remembered Spock as an infant, crying during the night. Sarek would rise from his bed and gather the warm bundle in his arms, bringing him to Amanda to feed. The love he felt for his family would wash over the bond, causing Amanda to smile at him, her eyes shining with joy. He would watch as Spock suckled and wonder about the man he would one day become. Then he would take his precious child into the living room to rock his son to sleep as he walked around the room talking to him. It was the only time he had alone with Spock, and he cherished their late night meetings.
He remembered the anxiety they both felt when Spock ran away at the age of seven to practice his kahs-wan a month before the actual test. It was fortunate that Cousin Selek was there, but it should have been Sarek. He should have seen it coming, knowing how fiercely proud Spock was. If he hadnt pushed him as hard as he had, it never would have happened. Why could he not let Spock grow up as Spock, instead of "Sareks perfect son"? Was he so afraid that Spock would be ostracized? As it turned out, that was exactly what had happened, and Sarek listed this among his other regrets he had about his parenting skills.
Soon, all his thoughts tumbled together, and he didnt try to redirect them. He was fiercely proud of the stoic little boy who silently endured the taunts of his classmates for not being "a true Vulcan." He was equally proud of the Starfleet officer who refused to put aside his responsibilities to his ship and crewmembers in order to give his father a lifesaving blood transfusion. Oddly enough, only Sarek himself had fully understood Spocks reasons.
He took some solace in the fact that Spock died saving his ship. He died a hero, as Amanda would say. But it was small comfort for him; his son was gone and quite likely his katra as well.
And his wife. He wanted to console her, but his own grief was interfering. He wanted to take her into his arms and will her grief away, but her emotions pushed him away as often as they wanted him close. Amanda herself was doing the same thing. Since receiving the news of Spocks death, she would not let him touch her or to hold her. Sarek admitted to himself, that he, too, wanted the physical contact as well as give it. Where is my discipline? he thought.
He turned to the flame pot and tried again to concentrate on his meditation...
Sarek noticed that Amanda was more emotional than usual throughout the day. She would stare out at the desert, crying softly. Sarek approached her, not knowing if she would allow his touch. Sometimes she did, and others she would push him away and wrap her arms around herself. At times, her grief was so deep that she seemed to hate him. He lowered his shields once to sense her thoughts. To his shock, he sensed that she was angry at him because he still had a son who lived, even though he was exiled from Vulcan. He raised his shields again, shutting her pain out.
Once, Amanda turned to him, eyes flashing, and said, "Sarek, how can you stand there, so calm? Dont you feel anything for our son? Did you hate Spock so much you wont even shed a tear for him? What kind of monster are you?" she screamed, clenching her fists in front of her chest.
Sarek actually took a step backward, her naked emotion battering at his strained shields. "Amanda, you have lived on Vulcan for most of your adult life. You know it is not our way to express emotion in the same manner as you." Sarek saw her eyes harden, and the icy blue gaze bore into his dark eyes.
Suddenly, he felt the sting of a slap on his cheek. "You bastard!" she said, her voice low and menacing. He raised his hand to his face as he watched Amanda turn away from him and storm into their bedroom.
Amanda had struck him! This had never happened in their long marriage, and he was shocked. He was confused, but his emotions were close to the surface and anger rose to the top. He, too, had lost a son. But it was he that was "walking on eggshells," not her. His grief was just as profound as hers, but was it his fault it was manifested differently? That it was to be resolved through meditation? He understood that hers was external, to be resolved through tears, but he was also entitled to grieve in his own way. He thought it best to just be here for her until she finished her mourning. If she came to him, he would be there. If not, he was unsure exactly what to do. He went into his study to attempt to meditate again.
He knelt again on the thosan stone before the flame pot. Staring into the fire, all of his regrets, the mistakes made raising his son, the eighteen-year silence came back to haunt him. The lump in his throat threatened to loosen again, as his vision blurred once more. Even meditation had deserted him lately. Oh, Spock, he thought, forgive me my mistakes...
That evening, Amanda was more composed. "Sarek, I want to apologize for my slapping you this afternoon. It was inexcusable. Please forgive me."
"I do." Sarek looked into her red-rimmed eyes and saw warmth there.
"My grief was so great, I couldnt even feel the bond between us all day." She chuckled softly. "Imagine that. I didnt know anything could stop the feeling of your presence in my mind, but I guess I found one."
Sarek kept his eyes downcast, looking at his dinner plate. Should I tell her that I closed the bond? As a diplomat, he knew that disclosure of all the facts was essential to establishing trust, so he looked up and said, "Amanda, I closed the link to spare you my grief."
Slowly, she turned to look at him. "You did what?" she asked softly, with an icy undercurrent to her voice.
"I only did this to spare you my intense grief. I have not been wholly successful in containing it through meditation. Your own grief was overwhelming you, and I did not wish to add mine as well."
"We have shared many things in our marriage, Sarek. How could you deny me your feelings about our own sons death? How fragile do you think I am? After all these years, dont you know me yet? Im not the porcelain object you think I am. Humans are a lot tougher than you have ever given us credit for. Your arrogance is overwhelming!" She got up from the table, left her unfinished dinner and stormed into the garden, leaving Sarek looking after her.
Will I ever stop making mistakes? he wondered. He stood up slowly and cleared the table. As he did, he opened the bond fully and let her emotions filter through. He felt her anger at what she perceived as his arrogance. He had only wanted to spare her, not hurt her. His intentions were logical, but somehow, she could or would not see his logic.
Sarek also felt her sadness, her profound sense of loss. He dropped his shields completely now so she could feel his emotions and understand what he was going through as well. Amanda, he said through the bond. I do grieve for my son. I miss him as you do. You must believe me. I do not wish to lose you as well.
He got up and went into the garden, determined to make amends to her. He looked for her in her favorite spot and found her crying on the stone bench. He sat beside her and put his arm around her shoulders, again not knowing if his touch would be accepted.
She turned slightly and leaned against his chest, her sobbing becoming harder as she did. "Oh, Sarek, my baby is gone," she sobbed. She clung to him desperately, as if his solid presence was the only thing anchoring her to this world.
Sarek let her cry, holding her close and whispering into her ear as he did the first time they heard of Spocks death. He knew, as did she, that her crying was for both of them. When she finally stopped, she looked at him and kissed him on the lips softly. He returned the kiss, then led her into the house.
That night, she allowed him to gather her into his strong arms as they both lay naked in bed. She turned to face him and absently stroked his muscular chest. "Sarek, I said some terrible things to you. I just wanted to tell you that I didnt mean them. It was the grief talking. I thought I was losing my mind when I couldnt feel your presence, and I so wanted to feel you in my mind."
"I regret causing you discomfort. Logic drew me to the conclusion that it was necessary as my own grief was almost overwhelming my controls. It would not have been fair to subject you as well, my wife. Can you forgive me?"
"Of course. What a pair we are." She continued to stroke his chest and belly with her fingertips. "But, we still have each other and I would hate to lose that as well."
"As would I," Sarek said, rubbing her back.
Amanda settled against him and fell asleep, her mind somewhat at peace.
The next morning, they ate breakfast together. Sarek was uncertain as to Amandas mood so he asked, "Is it acceptable for me to teach my class today, Amanda, or do you wish me to stay home again? It is only a half day today, so I would be home for mid-meal."
"No, Sarek. Go to class. Ill be fine today. It just was too soon yesterday. I wasnt ready to be left alone."
Sarek got up from the table, kissed his wife, then left for the Science Academy. Amanda watched him leave, then changed into her gardening clothes and prepared to do battle with some persistent weeds. This will keep my mind occupied until he gets back, she thought.
Sarek returned home to find Amanda working furiously in the garden, her face smudged with dirt and the knees of her pants covered in soil. "What are you doing? You know you should not be outside in the midday sun, Amanda."
"Quit being such a worry wart, Sarek. Im fine. What time is it?"
"It is sixteen point two minutes past midday."
"Oh my! I completely lost track of time. Here, help me up."
Sarek reached down and took her hand, pulling her to her feet. "Do you wish me to prepare the mid-meal while you get cleaned up, Amanda?"
"Yes, please. Ill only be a minute."
They returned to the house. Sarek went into the kitchen and starting making Terran tomato sandwiches. Amanda came into the kitchen minutes later, clean and fresh-looking. Sarek had just finished the final sandwich and handed it to her on a plate. Just then, the BellComm unit sounded. Sarek crossed into the living room to answer it and was gone for a few minutes.
When he came back to the kitchen, Amanda asked, "Who was that, Sarek?"
"It was Starfleet. They informed me that Spocks personal effects have arrived on Vulcan and are ready for delivery to the house." He watched as Amandas eyes filled with tears again, feeling her sorrow over the link they shared. "I told them to bring them in one hour," he said softly.
Amanda just nodded her head in agreement.
That afternoon was spent moving Spock's personal effects to his old room. Amanda handled each one with the love only a mother can give. Sarek waited patiently for her to hand him the article, then put it away, either in drawers or crates for storage.
Sarek watched her as tears spilled from her eyes and ran down her cheeks. He sat beside her on Spocks bed and held her, letting her grief wash over them both. Sarek swallowed hard as a memory stabbed at his consciousness
It was the final day of Spock's kahs-wan. Sarek peered into the distance, willing his son to appear over the shimmering horizon. Finally, he thought he spotted him walking strongly, his canteen swinging at his hip and knife bumping against the other hip.
"I believe I see him, Amanda." Sarek pointed out to the horizon and his wife's gaze followed his finger. A thrill of pride surged throughout the elder Vulcan when he saw him, a feeling he allowed to cross the bond to his anxious wife.
Spock was dusty, dirty and tired from his ordeal in the desert. Sarek wanted to gather his son in his arms and hug him, but he knew Amanda would do that for him in the privacy of their home.
Sarek and Amanda strode to the finish line to take their place with the other waiting families. Spock walked across the finish line, his head held high, searching the crowd for his parents. They excused themselves to the front of the crowd and stood before the tired child.
Sarek approached Spock and said, "My son, you have honored yourself and your clan this day. I am pleased to pronounce you an adult."
Spock looked up at his father, a faint smile tugging at the corners of his mouth. He spoke the ritual words in a clear voice. "Your words honor me."
"Let us go home now," Sarek said as he led the boy to the flitter.
"Yes, and you can take a water shower to get all the dirt off you," Amanda quipped. "Sonics will not to the trick this time."
They arrived home and Amanda told Spock to shower before he touched anything. Sarek could see the amusement dancing in her eyes as she fussed over Spock. Spock allowed it, too tired to protest.
As Spock was in the shower, Sarek went into his study and brought out a large package. Amanda looked up and smiled openly. "Are you not going to wait until after dinner to give him that?" she asked.
"Perhaps I should. He must be very hungry now. I know I was when I finished my kahs-wan." He put the package beside his armchair, hiding it from obvious view.
Spock entered the great room, wearing the clothes Sarek had purchased for him and laid out on his bed; clothes of an adult.
"My, don't you look good, Spock," Amanda said as she stood up to admire him. "Those colors look good on you. Welcome home, Spock." Her eyes glittered in the light as she crossed her hands at the wrists, palms up, in the Vulcan embrace. Spock matched her gesture.
Sarek stood also when Spock entered the room. He stood beside his wife, his hands also in the "embrace" position. Spock's eyes widened slightly at the sight, and matched Sarek's gesture as well.
"This may be an illogical question, Spock, but are you hungry?" Amanda asked.
"Yes, Mother. Very."
Sarek led the way to the table saying, "Then let us eat."
The dinner was comprised of all of Spock's favorite dishes, some of which had no business being served at the same time. During the meal, Spock regaled his rapt parents with his experiences during his ordeal. Sarek's pride in his son shone in his eyes. He knew it and allowed it.
After the meal, Sarek asked Spock to join him in the living room. Sarek bent down and pulled out the package he had brought in earlier. He presented it to Spock, saying, "I have noticed how good your playing of the ka'athyra has been of late and I wish to present you with your own instrument. This has been in our family for centuries, Spock, and I would be pleased if you would accept it." He handed the package to him.
Spock sat in Sarek's chair as he opened his gift. He pulled out a beautiful ka'athyra, the backboard a dark, almost black color.
"It is made of sha'for wood, from T'Lingshar," Sarek said, his eyes noticing the fleeting look of delight that crossed Spock's features as he reverently stroked the polished wood.
"Thank you, Father," Spock breathed, unable to keep the awe out of his voice. Spock plucked the strings softly, his musical ear noticing that the instrument was in tune. He began to playNow there would be no sons or daughters to inherit Spocks musical talent along with the family kaathyra. The enormity of the loss settled heavily at the core of Sareks being.
It was late when they finished packing up Spocks things. They were both tired, mentally and emotionally. The end-meal was a simple affair and was eaten in silence. Both of them were deep in their thoughts.
When they finally went to bed, Sarek gathered Amanda in his arms, spooning against her. She nestled against his warmth. "I want to feel your touch, Sarek," she said.
He started to slowly make love to her as his love for her suffused across the bond they shared. In a flash, there was a terrible sense of guilt that flared across the bond from Amanda. Its intensity staggered Sarek as he saw Amanda turn away from him abruptly, pushing his hands away fiercely.
"Amanda? What is wrong?" Sarek asked, still very aroused.
"This is wrong! Cant you see that? How can we do this when our son is dead? How could you let me?"
"Amanda, do you mean to tell me that we will never be intimate because Spock is dead? I cannot accept that." Sareks heart was on fire for his wife, and now she was rebuffing him?
"Well youd better, Sarek. Cant you see that it is wrong? How can we have pleasure when our son has only been dead two days?"
"I do not believe that Spock would want us to deny ourselves pleasure because of his death, Amanda. That is not logical."
"To hell with your logic, Sarek. And to hell with you!" She threw back the covers, put on her robe and left the bedroom.
Sarek flopped back down on his back and willed his erection away. Where have I gone wrong this time? he asked himself silently. He debated going after Amanda, then his famed anger flared again. No! She must come to me this time. He rose from the bed, put on his meditation robe and went into his study. He hoped that this time, his meditations would be productive.
The sun shone into the study, its rays bathing the meditating figure kneeling in the middle of the floor. Sarek opened his eyes and slowly stretched. He stood up and padded into the living room. There, he found Amanda sleeping on the couch. He softly stroked her cheek and went into the bedroom to brush his teeth and comb his hair. He did not have a lecture today, so he did not hurry his ablutions.
When he returned to the living room, Amanda had awakened. He carried on into the kitchen. He was tired of treading on eggshells, as the Humans would say, around his wife. He would wait until she came to him this time.
He prepared his breakfast and sat at the table to eat it alone. He could hear Amanda shower as he ate. After he finished, he went into the little greenhouse he had made for his wife and tended the plants in there until midday. When he returned to the house, Amanda was in the living room, reading a book. When he entered, she didnt even look up. Sighing inwardly, Sarek went into the study and closed the door.
Late at night, Amanda burst into the study, interrupting his meditation. When Sarek became aware of his surroundings, he looked at his wife. Her eyes were almost wild looking. He stood up quickly and went to her, sure something terrible had happened. "What is it my wife? Are you unwell?" he asked earnestly.
"I have been studying the computer banks for information regarding Vulcan memorial rituals. Why have you kept the information regarding Spocks katra from me? Why would you not tell me that there was a part of him that may not have died? How could you keep something that important from me? You and your dammed Vulcan silence! How much more do you plan on keeping from me? Spocks katra," she demanded. "Where is Spocks katra? If he found someone to give it to, then hes not really dead; his living spirit could still be found!"
Sarek had thought long and hard about this ever since the communication with Kirk. And, had he been expected to make his wife suffer further by telling her about the possibility of Spocks katra? "Amanda, I am sure you realize that in an emergency situation, Spock would not have the time to entrust his katra to anyone. If he had, surely we would have been made aware of the identity of the Keeper by now."
"Not necessarily. Remember, were dealing with humans who arent even aware of katras. Listen to me, Sarek. From what that stargram said and what Admiral Kirk told us, Spock knew his actions would kill him, so he would have entrusted his katra to someone before he died. Spock is a good telepath, Sarek; he could have done it quickly!"
"Kirk made no mention "
"Kirk is Human, Sarek! He may not even know that hes the Keeper! It seems to be the Vulcan way to keep secrets; even from those you are supposed to care about." Her eyes snapped as she added her latest dig at him. "It doesnt take a full meld, and Spocks melded with Kirk many times over the years. He could have made Kirk the Keeper in a mere instant! Oh, Sarek, if theres even a chance !"Amanda had fueled a spark of hope within Sarek. Although illogical, he knew where he had to go and whom he had to see. He looked at the amazing woman standing before him. "Very well, I shall go to Earth and meet with Kirk, my beloved."
The next day found Sarek sitting in his quarters aboard the Vulcan science-survey ship, Tplana-Hath. He chose this rather small vessel as it was taking a direct route to Earth at a great speed. It saddened him that Amanda did not want to accompany him, but he had to hurry and find Spocks katra and return it to the Hall of Ancient Thought. Sarek tried to convince her to come to Earth, even if to visit her family, but she was adamant. She wanted to be alone to keep her own private vigil for Spock and assured him that she would be fine. He promised to contact her daily and let her know how the search was progressing.
He knelt on the floor, meditating. He thought about his marriage and the relationship with his wife, especially in light of recent events. Amanda had allowed him to hug her only occasionally since that night when their lovemaking was interrupted by her grief. She had been polite to him, but distant. He missed her smile and the sound of her laughter, and he especially missed the warmth of her personality. Am I losing my wife as well as my son? he thought. I am not sure I could bear that.
Sarek used the three days of travel time to meditate on all that had gone before, as well as plan a strategy he would take upon his arrival on Earth. His first stop was at the Vulcan Embassy in San Francisco where he used the power of his office to obtain Kirks Genesis report, cashing in all of the favors he had garnered over the years. Even then, he couldnt locate the information he sought.
Sarek commanded his aide, Stavel, to obtain all contact information for Admiral Kirk. The lack of retrievable information was most enlightening. This was a man that obviously valued his privacy and was most successful in limiting the amount of public knowledge released about him. Stavel was able to obtain a private comm contact code. The methods that his aide used to acquire this protected information, Sarek did not question. Kirk held the answers, and Sarek was determined to speak with him. His first call was to the published code that went into Kirks office at Starfleet Headquarters.
The ensign that answered the comm unit visibly straightened in her chair when she saw who was calling. "Am-Am-Ambassador Sarek. How may I help you?"
"It is important that I speak with Admiral Kirk. Is he there?"
"Im sorry, Ambassador. He left several hours ago."
Sareks jaw muscles tightened slightly. "I see. If he contacts you, please let him know that I am on Earth, and that I must speak with him as soon as possible."
"Certainly, Ambassador." She took down his contact information and assured him that she would give it to Kirk as soon as she was able to locate him
Deciding to give Kirks assistant sufficient time to pass the message along, he called Amanda to advise her of his arrival. Once he had finished his call to his wife, he decided to put his energies to good use and tackled the mountain of reports on his desk.
His time sense told him that four hours had passed since he called Kirks office. Finding himself uncharacteristically anxious, he pulled the information on Kirks private comm from his case and directed the computer to connect him. His frustration increased when he received a pre-recorded image of Kirk advising anyone that contacted him to leave a holovid, and he would return his or her or its call later.
He did not attempt to hide his irritation when he left his message. "I wish to speak with you, Admiral, at your earliest convenience." Then he left his location at the Embassy quarters for Kirk to call him.
He retired to his quarters and stripped off his clothes. He reached into the closet and pulled out his meditation robe. As he put it on, he realized that he did not want to meditate this evening. He was tired of meditating. He felt that same nervous energy that he experienced in his office build within him. It felt as if he were on the edge of a breakthrough but could not reach the one person that held the answers. Retrieving Spocks katra had become a driving force within him. He knew his feelings were hovering on the irrational, but that did not seem to matter right now. He paced the suite of rooms; often looking at the comm unit that was irritatingly quiet.
Sarek noticed that it had become dark outside. He called Kirks number once more and still, there was no answer. Sarek then contacted Stavel, who was alert and always at the ready where Sarek was concerned. "Stavel, I ask you to do the near impossible. I want to know Kirks address and directions on accessing the residence."
Stavel nodded his understanding. "I will contact you as soon as I acquire the information."
Waiting for Stavel to perform this latest task, Sarek attempted to contain his frustration. Since Spocks death, his emotions had been perilously close to the surface and he knew he had to control them better than he was. It was proving difficult as he was still not able to meditate as deeply as he wanted to.
In a short time, the comm sounded. It was Stavel with the address. "It was difficult to obtain this, but to the best of my knowledge, this is where Admiral Kirk lives. Do you wish to go there now, Ambassador?" Stavel had been his aide for more than twenty years and knew Sareks moods well.
He decided to take matters into his own hands and seek Kirk out. "Yes, I desire to visit him this evening."
"I shall arrange for an air-car and driver. Do you wish that I accompany you?"
"No, Stavel. It is not far. I shall walk. This I must do alone." Stavel nodded his understanding, and Sarek closed the call. He put on his heaviest clothing to ward off the chill of the night air and walked to where the admiral lived. As he walked, his anger surfaced again. Sarek firmly pushed it back, determined not to be overwhelmed by it, or let it determine his actions.
When he arrived at the apartment building where Kirk lived, he hesitated. Do I have the right to intrude into this mans private home? he thought. Then with steely resolution, he decided that for him, his sons katra was far more important than anyones privacy, regardless of what he had been taught. And if Kirk had responded to any one of his numerous messages, he would not be forced into this action. He knew he was rationalizing, but he didnt care.
Just as he was coming to the front door, a couple, walking arm in arm, was leaving. The man held the door open for Sarek who nodded and strode in. He went to the turbolift and punched in the number to Kirks floor.
Standing outside the door to Kirks apartment, he could hear other voices inside. With determination, he pushed the chime. Kirk opened the door and stared at him. Sarek realized he was apparently interrupting what seemed to be a party, but did not care. His mission was of paramount importance.
Kirk stood by the door as it whooshed open. When Sarek saw him after a full day of trying to contact him, his anger flared. He stepped inside without being invited and lowered his hood. "Sarek!" Kirk said.
He stood there, glaring at Kirk, trying to reestablish his controls. Then he noticed Uhura, Sulu and Chekov, all standing, staring at him. His eyes flicked back to Kirk
It seemed that Kirk had secluded himself in his apartment since arriving back on Earth, unable to face the constant stream of reporters that wanted to know each retching detail. He stepped back so Sarek could enter. "Ambassador, I had no idea you were here," he said. He motioned to his crewmembers. "I believe you know my crew."
"I will speak with you alone, Kirk." He pushed past him, removing his cloak. He stood by the fireplace as Kirks crew set their glasses down and filed out of the apartment, leaving them alone. He felt Kirk approach him.
"Ambassador, I wouldve come to Vulcan to express my deepest sympathies "
Sareks anger flared again. "Spare me your Human platitudes! I have been to your government; I have seen the Genesis information and your own report."
"Then you know how bravely your son met his death."
How could Kirk be so obtuse when he was carrying Spocks katra? Surely he must know that he has to come to Vulcan to fulfill his duties! And why did he not bring Spocks body back to them? "Why did you leave him on Genesis? Spock trusted you, and you denied him his future."
"I saw no future..."
At his words, Sarek saw Kirk looking totally confused. Had he made a mistake? Was Kirk the Keeper? He had to determine the small details before he continued. Only then, would he know if Kirk held his sons katra. "Only his body was in death, Kirk, and you were the last one to be with him."
"Yes, I was."
That settled it for Sarek. Kirk was the Keeper. Then what stopped him from coming to Vulcan? "Then you must know that you should have come with him to Vulcan."
Kirk was still confused by this entire conversation. He decided a direct question would be the best course of action. "But why?"
Sarek wondered if Kirk was really this dense. "Because he asked you to! He entrusted you with his very essence, with everything that was not of the body. He asked you to bring him to us, and to bring that which he gave you, his katra, his living spirit."
Kirk answered Sarek not as the ambassador of Vulcan, but as he would a grieving father who seemed to be grasping at any straw he could find. "Sir. Your son meant more to me than you can know. Id have given my life if it would have saved his. Believe me when I tell you he made no request of me."
"He would not have spoken of it openly."
Kirk spread his hands and regarded Sarek with sympathy. "Then how was ?"
"Kirk. I must have your thoughts. May I join your mind?" Sarek knew that he needed a direct meld to find, and possibly retrieve, Spocks katra. Only then could he either conclude his search, or move on to where Kirks thoughts would lead him.
They moved to the sofa, and Sarek prepared himself. The only Human he had melded with was Amanda, and he braced himself for Kirks mind. His fingers found the contact points.
Images swirled into Sareks mind; Spock smiling broadly in Sickbay, Spock hugging Kirk hard in what looked to be an ancient Terran city, a scene from Earths "wild west," Spock at his station on the bridge. There were so many! He could feel the love that Kirk had for his son. A love that almost was a strong but different than his love for Amanda.
But Sarek was there for a specific purpose. He let Kirks thoughts and memories flow past him as he tried to sense Spocks presence. He probed into Kirks more recent thoughts and found his memories of his sons death. Together, they relived Spocks last moments.
"No!" Kirk whispered softly.
Sarek broke off the meld and sagged. His sense of loss and despair almost overwhelmed him. "Forgive me," he said softly. "It is not here. I had assumed he mind-melded with you. It is the Vulcan way when the bodys end is near."
"We were separated. He couldnt touch me." Kirk looked exhausted.
"I see. Then everything that he was, everything he knew is lost." Sarek felt all of his 117 years when he stood up to leave. He had failed. His son was truly gone and there was nothing he could do to change that. He picked up his cloak and started for the door, his heart heavy.
"Please wait," Kirk said softly.
Sarek turned to face him.
"He would have found a way," the admiral said as if saying it to himself. "If there were that much at stake, Spock would have found a way," Kirk said, his voice growing stronger with every word.
A small flicker of hope seated itself inside Sarek. "Yes. But how?"
Kirk stood. "What if he joined with someone else?"
Sarek slowly raised an eyebrow at Kirks words. Is it possible?
Sarek watched with a glimmer of amazement as Kirk bypassed normal channels and obtained permission for both of them to view the engineering visual logs.
They arrived at Starfleet Headquarters and went to a private viewing area. Finally, Kirk brought the logs up on the computer. When Sarek saw his sons burnt face for the first time, it struck him like a blow, and his heart ached in his side. Oh, how he must have suffered! He was glad that Amanda was not here to see this, and he erected impermeable mental blocks around the image so she never would see it in his mind. He steeled himself to watch them as Kirk viewed and re-wound the tape. They both leaned forward slightly when they saw Spock nerve-pinch and meld with the doctor.
"McCoy!" Kirk exclaimed.
"One alive, one not. Yet both in pain."
"What must I do?" Kirk asked, turning to face Sarek.
"You must bring them to Mount Seleya, on Vulcan. Only there, can both find peace."
"What you ask is difficult," Kirk said, turning back to the visual log viewer where the image of Spock and McCoy was frozen onscreen.
"You will find a way, Kirk. If you honor them both, you must." Sarek hoped his voice conveyed the gravity of the situation.
"I will. I swear," Kirk said softly, staring at the image of Spock melding with McCoy.
Sarek told him that if he needed any assistance with anything, to let him know. He gave Kirk his private comm number and told him to call him any time, night or day. "Please keep me informed as to what you are doing. Perhaps I can what is the expression? run interference for you."
"I appreciate it, Sarek. I may need that assistance before this is over." Kirk looked at him ruefully.
Sarek looked at him, certain that a plan was already in the works. He left for the Embassy and his bed. The meld tired him more than he wanted to accept. He was not sure that Kirk, even with his reputation, could do what he asked, but if anyone could, it was the admiral and his crew.
Two days later, Sarek was sitting at his desk having just finished talking to Amanda. His private comm unit sounded, and he answered it immediately. "Sarek here."
It was James Kirk. "Ambassador, Im glad youre in. I have a favor to ask of you. This evening, Commander Uhura will be asking for asylum at the Vulcan Embassy. Can I assume she will have it?"
"Of course. When can I expect her?"
Kirk told him of the plan to steal the Enterprise and that Uhura would be beaming over to the Embassy at 1900 hours or shortly thereafter.
"We will be ready. These are the coordinates she can use. Once she arrives safely, we will both return to Vulcan to wait for you." Sarek relayed the coordinates, then signed off. He called Stavel in to brief him on what was going to happen, then called Amanda again to tell her to prepare for their arrival.
A stunned Sarek stood at the comm unit in his study at DHriset, his familys estate. Kirk had just told him that his son was alive! Spock is alive! While Sareks face remained impassive, he sent incredible joy through the bond to the woman he loved. Amandas confusion came back to him, and told him where she was.
Sarek quickly went to their bedroom, and Amanda met him at the door. "What is it, Sarek? Have you heard any news from Jim?"
"He just contacted me and told me that Spocks body was found alive on the Genesis planet. His mind is a void, but his body lives, Amanda." The corners of his mouth curved in a slight smile, and his eyes sparkled as he told her the news. "Amanda, with his katra safely ensconced in McCoys mind and his body again whole, we can ask TLar for fal-tor-pan, a re-fusion of katra and body."
"Oh, Sarek! Our son is alive!" She threw her arms around him and hugged him hard.
Sareks arms wrapped around his diminutive wife and hugged her back. Her scent wafted to his nostrils as he buried his face in her hair. He stroked her back, pulling her closer to him, her joy washing over them both.
Amanda looked up at him, grabbed his face, and pulled it down so she could capture his mouth in a passionate kiss.
Sarek responded to her kiss, their tongues intertwining and exploring each others mouths. It has been too long, Sarek thought. He picked her up and laid her down on the bed, kissing her neck and throat. He could feel himself becoming aroused. He lay down beside his wife, pressing himself against her leg. He hoped that this time, Amanda would accept his desires.
Amandas eyes flew open and regarded him lovingly. "Oh, Sarek, this has been such an awful time for me, for us. I have treated you so horribly lately. Can you accept my apology?"
"Of course, my wife. Can you accept my desires without guilt?"
"Yes," she said firmly. Amandas eyes grew dark with passion.
"We had better inform Commander Uhura of Kirks message, my wife." Sarek started to sit up, but Amanda pulled him back down.
"Not yet. A few more minutes wont make any difference, will it?" Amanda pulled his head down for another kiss and Sarek succumbed to her wishes.
Later, he and Amanda went to look for Uhura. Since she had requested and received asylum from the Vulcan government, she had lived with Sarek and Amanda. That had been three long days ago.
Amanda led Sarek out to their garden. "Shes usually out here at this time. This will certainly put a smile on her face," Amanda said.
They found Uhura reading under one of the few shade trees. Ever since her arrival on Vulcan three days ago, Uhura had been living at DHriset. Her request for asylum immediately granted, she and Sarek had been immediately beamed up to a high-speed diplomatic courier ship, the Surak, and warped to Vulcan at high speed. She had been working on researching legal precedents to justify the actions of her shipmates, but concluded yesterday that there were none. The crew had committed a series of crimes, and warrants had been issued for everyone involved, except for Sarek, who had diplomatic immunity. The crew could spend the rest of their lives on Vulcan, or they would have to go back to Earth to stand trial for their actions.
Amanda softly cleared her throat to get her attention. "We received a message from Admiral Kirk."
Uhura looked up from her book and searched both of their faces. "Have you received word? Were they successful?"
Amanda said, "Even more than we had dared to dream." She looked to Sarek, and he nodded slightly. Amanda turned back Uhura and said, "He has Spock and is bringing him back to us. His torpedo tube soft-landed on Genesis, and the wave regenerated him. Oh, Nyota, hes alive!" Amandas eyes glistened with unshed tears. "Theyre bringing him home, and hes alive!"
Uhura stood up abruptly, the book on her lap falling to the sandy ground. "I cant believe it!" she whooped. She flung her arms around Amanda and hugged her hard. "Thats wonderful news! When will they be here? When can we see him? Oh, I have a million questions!"
Sarek stepped forward. "We do not have the answers to those questions, Commander, however, we are to proceed to Gol. That is where the ship will be landing. Do you wish to accompany me?" Sarek knew what the answer would be.
Uhura composed herself and said, "You have to ask, Ambassador? Of course Im coming."
"Your presence would undoubtedly be appreciated."
Uhura left to pack her meager belongings and clothes Amanda lent her.
Sarek walked with Amanda further into the garden for privacy. He had to ask Amanda something and he was sure that she would not like what he had to say. "Amanda," he started, "I have asked TLar to attempt the fal-tor-pan on our son." He saw her questioning look and continued. "It is the refusion of mind and body. McCoy is the Holder of Spocks katra and I have asked her to put Spocks katra back into his body. It is an ancient rite, and she may still refuse to do this. She is the last to have studied under Sumial, so she has the knowledge, but she is old."
Amanda looked at him, a flicker of hope crossed her features. "Then we should depart immediately, Sarek."
"No, my wife." Sarek felt a stab of pain in his chest as he saw the look on Amandas face. After all she had been through, he was to deal her a very heavy blow, one that could cause her to hate him. He chose his words very carefully as he said, "Amanda, the fal-tor-pan is a rite that brooks no distraction, no distortion of focus. There must be as few emotions there as possible "
"Kirk and his crew will be there," she interrupted. "Do you think their emotions will be controlled? They wont be and you know it. How can you deny me the chance to see my own son?"
"Amanda, I ask only for Spocks sake. I do not want to add your emotions as well. As you say, the crew will not be controlling their feelings." Sarek saw Amandas shoulders sag slightly and knew she would stay home. He touched his fingers to Amandas and sensed her frustration at not going to Gol with him. "It is for the best, Amanda. Please believe me. I would not have asked if I did not believe this to be true." He gathered her into his arms and hugged her to his chest. He sensed she was feeling a variety of overpowering emotions ranging from euphoria to fear.
"My husband, I know that whatever happens today, I will never again doubt you."
Sarek could feel her incredible joy, but he also felt a shiver of fear as it ran silently through her mind across the bond. "What frightens you so, my wife?" he inquired.
"I know the fal-tor-pan is very ancient, but will it work? Will Spock be whole again? Will he remember us? I have so many questions, Sarek, and no one has the answers."
Sarek took her hand and kissed the back of it. "I do not know either, Amanda. But will it really matter? I will be content to have Spock any way I can. You keep reminding me that together we can cope with anything, correct?"
"Yes, Sarek. Youre right; together we can cope with anything. Very well, Ill stay at DHriset. I wouldnt want to do anything to jeopardize the refusion. If this is not successful, I dont know if I could bear it, and I would not want Jim and his friends to see my disappointment. He has given up so much to bring Spock back." She brightened slightly. "And besides, I can lay down and have a nap if it takes a long time, or do some gardening."
Sarek looked at this woman, this very Human woman, in his arms. Her words made him realize that so many have given up so much in this quest. She, even through her concern for the life of her son, felt compassion for Kirk.
He looked at her closely. He noticed that she seemed to wilt in the heat. Her complexion was paler than normal, and he could tell the events of the past weeks had been most trying for her. She was not as young as she used to be, and that point was driven home to him as he gazed at her face. His heart ached in his side, as he saw her for the first time as the elder person she really was. He knew he would outlive her, but never really contemplated it. Not that he would. At times, his logic failed him, and he was secretly glad in this case. He preferred to see Amanda as the beautiful woman he married those many years ago.
His eyes softened as he said, "For the both of us, I will express our gratitude to Kirk for all he has done. Besides, regardless of the outcome, Kirk and his friends will have need of us when this is all over. I intend to extend to them an offer of our dwelling."
"Thats an excellent idea."
"I must leave now, Amanda. Please try to rest while I am away. Will you promise me?" Sareks concern for his bondmate shone in his eyes.
"Yes, I will. I promise." She reached up and stroked his face with her fingertips. Sarek bent down and kissed her gently on the lips, then escorted her into the house.
He found Commander Uhura in the living room, ready to go. He crossed his hands at the wrists and laid his palms against Amandas matching ones in the Vulcan embrace. His eyes held the love and admiration he had for his wife as he bid her goodbye. Commander Uhura looked away briefly, allowing them privacy.
Sarek turned suddenly and led the way to the aircar, Uhura following in his wake.
They went to Gol to await the arrival of the I.K.S. Kranya, the captured Klingon scoutship. Uhura was shown to the landing pad lounge while Sarek was shown to a private room to wait.
Sarek cleared his mind in preparation for meditation. He knew that his meditation must be successful if he was to properly center himself in preparation for the ceremony. He wanted his mind to be as clear and orderly as possible. He had to convince a Kolinahr Master to perform an ancient task and his logic must be perfect.
After an hour, he heard a soft scrapping sound at the door. Sarek went to the door and opened it. An acolyte stood there in a white, sheer robe, her long hair falling straight down her back to her waist. She said, "The ship is arriving shortly. Commander Uhura requests your presence, Ambassador."
Sarek went to the communications room and noticed two acolytes were following him. He ignored them as he met Uhura on the landing pad.
"Ambassador, they are on approach. Theyre requesting permission to land, sir," Uhura said, holding her communicator at her side.
"Permission granted. Tell them tell Kirk well be ready." Sarek stared out across the desert, willing the ship to appear.
Finally, he saw a small speck on the horizon. It grew larger until finally he could see the Klingon Bird-of-Prey Kranya streaking toward him. The sand and dust kicked up, obscuring his view until the ship landed. As he watched, the hatch lowered, and he saw Kirk and his brave crew exiting the vessel carrying a stretcher. Sarek hadnt noticed when Uhura left his side, but he saw her greet her friends and move to help carry the stretcher. Sarek left and starting climbing the steps to the place where TLar waited.
Sarek waited in the corridor as the acolytes passed him, their hands on top of Spocks body, levitating the litter with their powerful minds. He quickly looked down at his sons face as he passed by. He was startled and even a little shocked at Spocks appearance. He had deep lines in his slack face, his eyes were closed, and he was terribly pale.
He fell into the procession behind the acolytes, hands tightly clenched at waist level. As he walked, he looked at Spocks face more closely. Sarek had heard through diplomatic channels that the planet was unstable and aging quickly, but he was unprepared for how much Spock had aged. His aging process must have been linked to the planet, he thought. It was fortuitous that they removed him when they did. Otherwise, he may have died of old age.
He also noticed how pale and slack his face was, and he could only hope that the fal-tor-pan would work. But Spock was alive. That was what mattered now. He could be re-taught if necessary, and Sarek would be pleased to do the teaching. He would not make the same mistakes he made when Spock was a child. He would be more patient; less demanding. He would be gentle with his son. He would not quash his humanity. He just wanted a chance.
Spock was now placed on the stone pallet and brought to TLar, who examined his mind. She raised an eyebrow at the fact that Spock was alive still. "Sarek, child of Skon, child of Solkar, the body of your son breathes still. What is your wish?"
Sarek summoned his courage in the face of this High Master. "I ask for fal-tor-pan, the Refusion."
"What you seek has not been done since ages past, and then only in legend. Your request is not logical."
Her accusation stung him like a slap. He tried to explain to her. "Forgive me, TLar. My logic is uncertain where my son is concerned." He looked deeply into her eyes, hoping she would at least try the procedure. If she wasnt willing to try, then all was lost. They would have to retrain Spock without the benefit of his memories, and that would take many years, if it could be done at all.
Finally, she looked into the crowd of people. "Who is the Keeper of the Katra?"
Doctor McCoy stepped forward. "I am. McCoy, Leonard H., son of David." His voice was strong, even though he looked exhausted.
Sarek stood very still as TLar explained what he had requested to McCoy. When the doctor accepted the danger of the ceremony, he almost sagged with relief, and admiration. Here stood another brave man willing to give his life for his son. Sarek finally realized that Spock must be very exceptional to command this type of loyalty from his companions. He motioned for McCoy to step up to the altar, then started to meditate and wait.
Sarek briefly wished that Amanda was beside him, but he realized his decision to leave her at home was the correct one. She could not give him comfort while he waited. They both had to hold on to their inner strength to get them through this.
Interminable hours passed before TLar stirred and declared the ceremony over. Sarek went up to TLar and thanked her. Fatigued, she sat on her chair and was carried out by four strong Vulcans. Sarek looked over at Spock who was standing, being fussed over by several adepts. Then he went to escort McCoy down the steps only to be stopped by Kirk.
After Kirk was certain McCoy was fine, he asked Sarek, "What about Spock?"
"Only time will answer," the ambassador returned. "Kirk, I thank you. What youve done is"
"What I have done, I had to do," Kirk interrupted.
His irritation at Vulcan non-answers was plain to Sarek, but the Vulcan chose to ignore it. His gaze softened. "But at what cost? Your ship, your son "
"If I hadnt tried, the cost would have been my soul," he answered. He looked at Sarek, then, as if he could not meet the eyes that reminded him of his friend any longer, distracted himself by looking at Spock being fussed over.
Sarek, realizing Kirks pain, stepped past him and followed the acolytes out of the arena.
Spock followed closely behind him. Sarek could sense his presence, tenuous though it was. When Spock stopped on the stairs, Sarek became concerned. He turned to see Spock approach Kirk and his shipmates. His concern turned to relief when he heard Spock say Kirks name. He had regained his katra after all! He shared his relief with Amanda through the link. Spock is back! Now the retraining can begin.
Sarek entered the darkened Council chamber just in time to see a massive explosion on a viewscreen. The intensity was so bright, his nictitating membranes snapped down over his eyes, protecting them, but blurring his vision. His hearing was bombarded by the sound of Kamarags booming voice, condemning Kirk, calling him a devil.
When the Klingon Ambassador started talking about Klingon justice, Sarek thought it was time he stepped into the fray. "Klingon justice is a unique point of view, Mister President!"
Sarek heard his name whispered throughout the room as he advanced toward the Presidents dais.
The Vulcan ambassador strolled down the center aisle currently held by the Klingon ambassador. "Genesis was perfectly named. The creation of life, not death. The Klingons shed the first blood while attempting to possess its secrets."
"Vulcans are well known as the intellectual puppets of this Federation," sneered Kamarag.
Sarek let the insult roll off of him. He could feel the hatred Kamarag had for Kirk battering at his mental shields. He knew the only way to deal with Klingons was to use the direct approach. "Your vessel did destroy U.S.S. Grissom. Your men did kill Kirks son. Do you deny these events?" asked Sarek.
"We deny nothing. We have the right to preserve our race," argued the Klingon.
At that statement, Sareks temper flared. He saw the same reports as the other Council members, and saw how the Klingon commander brutally killed Kirks son in cold blood. "You have the right to commit murder?" he said, his voice as cold as space itself.
There was an outcry of anger from the Council members.
"Silence! Silence! There will be no further outbursts from the floor," warned the President.
Sarek deliberately turned his back on the Klingon Ambassador and faced the President, hoping that Kamarag would realize the insult. Sarek addressed Harold Miller. "Mister President, I have come to speak on behalf of the accused."
"Personal bias! His son was saved by Kirk!" countered Kamarag, who waved his arm and almost struck Sarek. Sarek backed up a step to avoid any further close calls.
"Mister Ambassador, with all respect, the Councils deliberations are over," stated the President.
"Then Kirk goes unpunished?" The Klingon was incredulous. Sarek watched the exchange with interest.
President Miller responded evenly, "Admiral Kirk has been charged with nine violations of Starfleet regulations."
"Starfleet regulations? Thats outrageous!" He raised a finger in warning. "Remember this well. There will be no peace so long as Kirk lives."
As Kamarag swept out of the room, the Xartheb delegate shouted, "You pompous ass!" Sarek turned to watch the Klingon and his entourage storm from the Council chamber. He turned back to face President Miller when he heard his name called.
"Ambassador Sarek, you have not been called before the Council," stated the President once order was restored.
"Mister President, as stated, I have come to speak on behalf of the accused."
The president looked at him, and his gaze hardened. "Ambassador Sarek, you will turn over Admiral Kirk and his senior officers to Starfleet Security immediately," he said sternly. "The Starfleet/Federation Arbitration Board has formalized charges against them, as you well know. Its time you turn them in, sir."
"I regret that I will not do that, Mister President. My governments instructions are quite clear on this subject. Admiral Kirk and his senior officers are held in highest esteem on my planet, and we will not allow Starfleet to remove them from our planet. However, they are preparing to come here to stand and face this Councils judgment three days hence."
"Ambassador, these six fugitives committed assault on Starfleet personnel, stole a starship, critically sabotaged another starship and entered restricted space. This, after Admiral Kirk disobeyed a direct order!"
"You made those steps necessary by disregarding Vulcan laws. Had this Council not been so Terro-centric, this would not be an issue. I asked Kirk to bring Spocks body and the Holder of his katra back to Vulcan for a post-mortem procedure that is vital to the Vulcan people. As you are aware, Starfleet and this Council has a history of disregarding our needs or the needs of any other telepathic race. You chose to ignore my official request, which left me no other alternative. Admiral Kirk acceded to my request that my son be returned to Vulcan, and he turned to your Commander-Starfleet and relayed my request as well as his own. Admiral Morrow rebuked Admiral Kirk and made disparaging remarks about what he ignorantly termed Vulcan mysticism. The fact that you also ignored these requests is not my concern. Nor should it be Admiral Kirks."
"I could cite you with Contempt of Council," warned Miller.
Sareks voice was steel and his gaze cold. "That would result in Vulcans withdrawal from the Federation, Mister President." He softened his tone slightly as he said, "Is three days so long a delay for justice?"
Miller sighed. "I guess not, Ambassador. And I guess we have no choice."
"Neither did Kirk," Sarek snapped.
With that Sarek returned to the small office he maintained at the Federation Council Chamber building to await the arrival of the captured Bird of Prey, now dubbed The Bounty.
Three days later, Sarek methodically paced around the perimeter of his small office, trying to find the inner peace he needed to meditate. To the casual observer, the turmoil that stirred beneath the calm facade would not have been evident. However, just beneath the surface boiled layers of anger. Anger toward the Klingon government for their interference in this matter. And, anger toward the Federation for their casual dismissal of the needs of a Vulcan. How many times had they ignored the needs of his son? How many times had he? Slowly, he fought down the emotions that threatened to undo him. Now was not the time for blatant emotionalism. Calm and logic was what he needed to see this through. With a deep breath, he was ready. He knelt on the mat.
It became increasingly cold, and the rain pelting against the window never stopped. He could hear a strange noise, like a wailing sound, but more musical than that. His curiosity aroused, he stepped out into the corridor to see support services personnel frantically working. He went to his small desk and pulled up the latest information. An alien probe was presently assaulting Earths oceans with a sonic beam which was vaporizing them causing the atmospheric disruption. It didnt seem to be an attack as much as it was a communications attempt.
Sarek headed straight for Starfleet Headquarters Command and Control center. His senses were assaulted by the controlled chaos he stepped into when he entered the massive chamber. He was met by the Federation President. "Ambassador Sarek. Im afraid youre trapped here with us." Miller walked with Sarek to the window. "There seems to be no way we can answer this probe."
Sarek turned his back to the window and faced the President. "It is difficult to answer when one does not understand the question."
Miller looked thoughtfully at Sarek. Sarek paused, evaluating the best way to say what he knew had to be said. "Mister President, perhaps you should transmit a planetary distress signal while we still have time." He could see in the other mans face that he was thinking the same thought.
Sarek was very cold. The wind was whipping the rain against the window of the communications room. He moved toward the center of the room where Admiral Cartwright and others were standing, hoping it would be warmer. He heard Kirks plan and silently sent a message of hope to Amanda across the bond. Again his eyes were drawn to the window, mesmerized by the pelting rain.
Suddenly, the window exploded under the pressure of the wind, and Sarek shielded his face against the debris. He was almost certain that he had seen some movement. Then he heard the roar that sounded like a ships engine. He saw something flash by and fervently hoped it was a Klingon Bird of Prey.
The next afternoon, in the brightly-lit council chambers, Sarek saw Spock walk towards him accompanied by a human female. Spock raised his hand in the hand salute. "Greetings, Father. May I present Doctor Gillian Taylor? She was instrumental in the success of our mission. Doctor Taylor, this is Ambassador Sarek of Vulcan."
"Greetings, Doctor Taylor, Spock." Sarek inclined his head slightly to both of them.
Gillian shot her hand out to shake Sareks. "Pleased to meet you, Ambassador."
Spock looked uncomfortable and started to speak to her, when Sarek took her hand in his and shook it firmly. "It would please me to have you sit with our delegation during the proceedings. Would that be acceptable to you?" There was something about this blond-haired female that reminded him of his wife in her youth. His heart accelerated at the thought of returning to his mate. He would see her again, and soon. This was a reality that had been in doubt just a day before.
"Ambassador, I would be honored."
Sarek turned to Spock. "Will you join us as well, Spock?"
"I will until the accused are led in. Then I plan to stand with my shipmates."
Sareks eyes searched his sons face for an explanation.
"It is my choice." Spock looked at his father, his features were serene but there was a hint of something that Spock had rarely seen in his fathers eyes.
Sarek was inwardly proud of his son and his demeanor during this crisis, and now, his pride swelled at the loyalty demonstrated by Spock. "As you wish. Doctor Taylor, Spock, will you please come this way." Sarek turned to go to his seat.
"Bring in the accused," said Miller.
Sareks heart swelled with pride as he saw Spock leave his seat and stand beside Kirk.
"Captain Spock, you do not stand accused."
"Mister President, I stand with my shipmates," Spock said simply.
"As you wish." He addressed the Enterprise officers. "The charges and specifications are: conspiracy; assault on Federation officers; theft of Federation property, namely the starship Enterprise; sabotage of the U.S.S. Excelsior; willful destruction of Federation property, specifically the aforementioned starship Enterprise; and finally, disobeying direct orders of the Starfleet Commander. Admiral Kirk, how do you plead?"
"On behalf of all of us, Mister President, Im authorized to plead guilty."
Sarek became slightly concerned. He had never heard the official charges against that brave crew before this, and he realized the seriousness of them. He wondered what would become of them, and if he could help them. He mentally started preparing his defense as he waited with the rest of Council for the verdict.
"So entered. Because of certain mitigating circumstances, all charges but one are summarily dismissed. The remaining charge (disobeying orders of a superior officer) is directed solely at Admiral Kirk. Im sure the admiral will recognize the necessity of keeping discipline in any chain of command?"
"I do, sir."
"James T. Kirk, it is the judgment of this Council that you be reduced in rank to Captain. And that as a consequence of your new rank, you be given the duties for which you have repeatedly demonstrated unswerving ability: the command of a starship."
Sarek relaxed in his seat slightly. It had seemed as though the weight of the entire quadrant was off his shoulders and he could finally relax for the first time in weeks. He looked at the crew, seeing their smiles.
"Silence. Captain Kirk, you and your crew have saved this planet from its own shortsightedness, and we are forever in your debt."
Sarek heard the applause as he, with the rest of Council, stood in recognition of Kirks efforts in saving the planet from certain destruction again. His emotions were threatening his controls once more, but these were emotions of joy, and satisfaction. He looked at Doctor Taylor, who was applauding enthusiastically and smiling widely, letting her happiness wash over him briefly.
Sarek had already made arrangements to return to Vulcan, but he wanted to take his leave of Spock first. They talked under the watchful eye of Kirk, who was leaning against the desks of the first row of seats. Sarek made sure he steered Spock far enough away so Kirk could not hear what was being said. "I am returning to Vulcan within the hour. I would like to take my leave of you," Sarek said.
"It was most kind of you to make this effort," Spock replied.
"It was no effort. You are my son. Besides, I am most impressed with your performance in this crisis."
"Most kind," Spock said softly.
Sarek looked at his son, and hesitated before speaking again. "As I recall, I opposed your enlistment in Starfleet. It is possible that judgment was incorrect." Spocks eyebrow rose at this admission. Sarek continued, "Your associates are people of good character."
"They are my friends," Spock said simply.
"Yes, of course." Sarek was surprised to hear Spock use the term friends, but his features never registered his surprise. Thinking of Amanda, he said, "Do you have a message for your mother?"
"Yes. Tell her, I feel fine." Sareks eyebrow rose to his hairline at Spocks cryptic answer, his eyes softening. It seems Spock has a sense of humor after all, he mused.
Spock raised his hand in the hand salute. "Live long and prosper, Father."
Sarek raised his hand and split his fingers in response. "Live long and prosper, my son."
With that, he turned and strode out of the council chambers to return to his wife. It had been a long time.
On board the transport, he accessed a comlink and contacted Amanda, telling her when he was arriving.
Her face beamed at him from the screen. "Oh, Im so glad youre coming home, Sarek. You look tired. Did you not sleep well, my husband?" Her eyes twinkled as she teased him.
"On the contrary, Amanda. I slept very well," Sarek teased back. "However, I have been quite busy defending my son and his companions. I anticipate reaching Vulcan in two point six days. I would be arriving home in time for end-meal."
Amanda smiled over the link and said, "Do you want me to pick you up at the spaceport?"
"No, beloved. I plan to transport home. I will see you then, Amanda. Peace and long life." Sarek closed the link and settled in to his cabin.
Amanda was sitting in the soft armchair, reading, when she heard the familiar whine of the transporter by the front door. She looked up to see Sarek and his luggage materialize. She got up and approached her husband, her palms up and crossed at the wrist in the Vulcan embrace. Sarek stepped from the transporter pad and returned the gesture. Amanda then hugged him hard. "Its good to have you back. I missed you," she said, burying her face into his chest.
"It is good to be back, my wife." He hugged her back, burying his face in her sweet-smelling hair.
Amanda straightened up and looked at her mate. Her hand caressed his cheek as she memorized the lines and angles of his face. "Youve grayed some, Sarek. It seems that litigation does not sit well with you. Never mind, I still find you handsome." Her eyes sparkled as she teased him. "I made your favorite dishes for end-meal, Sarek. Why dont you take your luggage into the bedroom and get changed before we eat?"
"I would appreciate that." Sarek looked over to the dining room table and saw it had been set with Amandas lace tablecloth that was made by her aunt, the late Roberta Grayson. The china reserved for state dinners was also being used as was the fine glassware. "What is the occasion, my wife?"
"Why, your return to Vulcan, of course." Her eyes sparkled in amusement.
"I see. Then I shall wear something that would be appropriate in such a fine setting." With that, he picked up his bags and headed for their bedroom.
Amanda returned to the kitchen to make sure the dinner was perfect. As she was putting the food on the table, Sarek emerged from the bedroom dressed in one of his finest robes.
"My, Sarek. You look positively wonderful in that robe. Its my favorite as well. It brings out the color of your eyes." She came to him and hugged him again, her affection wafting across the bond to him. "Come, sit down and tell me all about what happened."
Sarek filled her in on his arguments with President Miller and Kamarag, the charges being dropped against Kirk and his crew, and finished with his pride at Spocks behavior. "You would think the fal-tor-pan had never happened. It is as if he had never died, Amanda. You would have been most pleased with him." Sareks eyes glowed when he mentioned his sons name. "Spock asked me to tell you that he feels fine. I am not certain what he meant by that but "
Amandas laughter filled the room. It had been a long time. She filled Sarek in on her conversation with Spock during his retraining. She was also so happy they were finally getting along after the 18-year silence between them. They still were not friends, but at least they were comfortable with each other.
They ate their meal and discussed many things for several more hours. Once they had cleared the table, Sarek suggested they go outside into the garden. Outside in the relative cool of the evening, Amanda came to him and wrapped her arm around his waist as they walked together. Sarek put his arm around her shoulders, then he turned her to face him, bent his head and kissed her softly on the lips. His tongue traced the outline of her mouth before capturing it and claiming it as his own. Her arms tightened around his waist as she returned his kiss.
"Perhaps we should go to the bedroom, my wife," Sarek murmured.
"Yes," she whispered back.
They walked back into the house, arm in arm. Once in the bedroom, Amanda closed the door and lit a candle. She then turned off the lights and opened the curtains so they had a view of the desert.
They made love slowly, reveling in the sensations and love that flowed over them. Their touches were felt by both, their burning was shared. When Sarek touched her soft skin, he could feel him touching her and her receiving his touch. The dual sensations were arousing and he did not want it to stop. Finally, sated, they lay in each others arms.
"That was beautiful, Sarek. Welcome home, beloved," Amanda murmured. "I hope the next time you go to Earth, you will be able to avoid the contempt of the Council. Sleeping with a rabble rouser is something that I only want to do once," she teased.
"It is good to be home, my wife," he said, still stroking her belly and chest. Sarek pulled her close and whispered, "However, I can not make promises that I may be unable to keep."
After a few minutes, they pulled up the covers. Sarek wrapped his arms around Amanda as she cuddled against his side. His last though was that of contentment; that his family was whole again. Spock was alive!
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