DISCLAIMER: The Star Trek characters are the property of Paramount Studios, Inc. The story contents are the creation and property of L. P. Santos and is copyright (c) 1987 by L. P. Santos. Rated PG. Originally printed in More Missions, More Myths #6.
L. P. Santos
The Golden Gate Bridge swung ominously over the bay. All around the city, repair crews worked on cleaning up the fallen debris of buildings. Below the bridge a crew was dismantling the fallen bird of prey.
Standing alone, he watched the progression of their work. Half submerged, it seemed like an impossible task. A task which he did not envy.
He felt a cold chill from the crisp Pacific wind. Despite the end of the sirens call, the temperatures remained low. Cold rains and freezing winds were not unusual for the city, but this wind was different. It was a cold, biting wind that was only found in the mountains. It reminded him of the yearly skiing trips he and his mother took every winter.
Shivering, he pulled his winter jacket closer against his body and began to cross the bridge. A few national guardsmen cast him a wary glance but soon turned back to their own task. According to all Starfleet bulletins, martial law would be in effect until civilian order could be restored. With most of the major buildings destroyed, it probably would not end for some time.
As the sound of air cranes was heard he made his way through the city streets. Fallen debris and scattered buildings littered the pavements. During this ordeal few lives had been lost. If he had felt any relief in this he did not show it. He simply continued his solitary walk through the dismantled city.
Soon he would be leaving the planet. Although it would be his first time off planet, he felt little joy. It was not that he hated the arrangements that his mother made, in fact, he was the one who brought the idea to her attention. With his mother constantly busy with the clean up and school closed until a new building could be found, he was left with much time on his hands; leaving was the sensible thing to do. Thankfully his grandfather had thought of the same thing and made the offer -- an offer which his mother readily accepted.
What was bothering Adam was something which began long ago. Like a cancerous infection it slowly grew until he could no longer control it. What threatened to consume him were his feelings of anger, hatred and yes, regret. Until recently he had managed to keep them safely hidden. But with so much free time in which to dwell on matters, he found himself constantly thinking over his situation.
It was not fair. His life was just beginning to be normal. He had formed a life with a semblance of normality, why then did he have to return? Why did his father suddenly have to show up as if nothing had happened, he wondered -- not for the first time.
No longer concerned about ethics, he began to cross the vast courtyard in front of Starfleet headquarters. Since the news of his father's whereabouts, he had not tried to contact the man. Why should he wish to speak to a man who cared little for him, his mind reasoned. He would not give the stranger the satisfaction.
He entered with little ease through the sliding glass doors. A few security personnel tried to stop him but once he showed his I.D., they waived him through. If it were not for his mother's rank and high position in Starfleet, he would never have been able to pass the security check posts.
The low hum of conversations hung above the air. All around the complex uniformed personnel worked on repairs of the headquarters building. At this portion of the building few took little heed of him. They simply glanced or nodded a courteous acknowledgment. He was silently thankful that his mother was nowhere to be seen. He did not think that he could take her questioning eyes.
In silence he entered command central unnoticed. Like the outer halls the room bustled with activity, while repair crews fixed the damaged areas, scientists monitored the departure of the caller. He watched the screen momentarily as the caller left their galaxy. Then with a quick glance he spotted the man he was looking for.
Tall and elegant in his Starfleet uniform, his father stood near the Science area. With clip board in hand, the officer made quick notations as he occasionally glanced at the screen. No longer concerned with those around, he walked across the room and stood directly behind the tall man.
He could hear quiet whispers of his name as he fought for control. Unconsciously he clenched his fist at his side as a slight pang began to grow in his stomach. He was not certain which would be the first to give out on him, his queasy stomach or wobbly legs. Hopefully, he would manage to keep both under control until he had accomplished his task.
Apparently feeling his nearness, the tall officer turned and glanced down at him. With the clinical eye of a military tactician the tall science officer looked him over. Even if Adam had never seen this man before, he would have recognized him anywhere. This tall, uniformed stranger held all the qualities he had longed for his father to have. Why then could he feel no love for the man? Why did he feel angry at the very thought of his name?
He began to feel his hands clench and unclench at his side. Steadying himself, he inhaled deeply, then spoke in an almost hushed tone.
"How long...." he began to ask, but stopped when he felt a tight knot lodged in his throat. Steadying himself, he continued, "How long did you know?"
The low hum of voices suddenly grew silent. He half noticed the people near them. Each tried to appear suddenly busy with inane tasks.
His father kept a steady glance, then cleared his throat.
"Eight point three two years," was his even, clinical reply.
What little compassion that did exist for the man suddenly disappeared. Since the age of four his father had known about him but did nothing to see or meet with him. All those years he had spent his life thinking his father was dead, and in fact he was alive.
From behind him he felt his mother enter the room. Suddenly aware of his presence, she began to walk toward him. It was as if she felt the very tension which now existed in the room. Before she could get near enough to stop his next words, he spoke the words which had only recently been burning in his mind.
"Your death was the best thing that ever happened to me," his harsh words cut through the silence.
"Adam," he heard his mother call as she crossed the room. Despite her nearness he allowed his anger to take control.
"At least with you dead I had a normal life. I had an excuse, a reason why my dad wasn't around like the other dads," his harsh words were both accusing and declarative. "Why couldn't you have stayed dead, why did you have to come back?" he asked but did not really expect an answer.
He felt a vise-like grip on his shoulders. Whirling him around, his mother held him firmly by the shoulders.
"Adam Chapel, be silent!" she ordered as she slightly shook him.
At the feel of her suffocating grip his only thought was to escape, to flee the hostility which now surrounded him. With no thought to the consequences he used all the strength he had and kicked her knee as hard as he could. She gave a slight yelp, then released her grip.
Freed from her, he turned and dashed from the room. As he left, he caught sight of his grandfather with the president, then he heard his deep voice.
"No, Sarek, I'll take care of it," his mother replied. But before she could catch up to him he planned to be long gone. Being twelve and half-Vulcan he was in better physical condition than most Humans, especially his mother or aged grandfather. Despite this confidence, he picked up his pace.
He passed through the bustling halls to the outer courtyard. Crossing over the pavement he ran in the only direction his feet would take him. Occasionally he would run into a worker. They would simply yell as he ran quickly past them.
On tired legs he made his way over the debris. The pounding of his heart drowned away any sounds of pursuit. In the distance he spotted the familiar sandy beach. It was a place filled with both fond and bad memories. The fondness far outweighed the bad.
As a child his grandparents often brought him here. Together, clad in swimwear, they would swim in the ocean waves of the bay. It was on the beach where his grandfather taught him the finer art of making sandcastles. At only three he began to recognize Aquatic Park as a place filled with fun -- for both himself and his grandparents.
Although he did not know their relationship, he knew that they were friends of his mother. He remembered them as the couple who gave him gifts and took him places. Every year, at Christmas and on his birthday, he would receive a package from a planet halfway across the galaxy. He never thought to question their reasons or motives, he simply accepted them and the love they showed to him when they would visit Terra.
When he reached a certain age, he did ask his mother why they acted so different around him. The Vulcan man seemed to go out of his way to help him, and his Human wife doted over Adam.
His mother's answer had remained with him to this day.
"They are your grandparents from your father's side." She had stated this in a tone which belayed any further questions.
Within his child's mind he assumed that his father was dead. There could be no other reason for the long absence. If his grandparents kept contact with him, this meant that his father would have too, if he were able to.
He could remember the startled looks of his grandparents when he greeted them, for the first time, as his grandparents. Although they acted as if it were a commonplace incident, he could feel their pleasure from his words. Finally, after nearly seven years, they began to acknowledge each other as kin.
All of his preconceived notions ended just a few months ago. Adam could remember to this day his grandfather's arrival. Alone and without his Human wife, his grandfather entered their home late in the night. Through the slight haze of sleep he thought he heard a woman crying. Since he had never witnessed tears from his mother, his mind never connected the two. Not until the quiet walk along the beach did he understand. It was here, on the beach of the Aquatic Park, where his grandfather shattered his contented life.
"Adam," the voice of his grandfather sounded sad. "My only son has died," the older Vulcan said as they walked along the wet, sandy beach.
He walked only a few paces before the words became clear.
//Only son. Sarek's only son. My father!//
"My father..." he remembered saying. "My father is dead. He was alive this whole time?"
"I thought you were aware," was the reply.
Looking out over the bay he felt the tears slowly streak down his cheek. He could feel the light touch of his grandfather's hand on his shoulder. Then in an unexpected move, his grandfather pulled him near and embraced him closely. Although he remained stoic and in control, Adam felt the great empathic feelings of grief wash through him. Clinging to the man, he shed the silent tears that his grandfather would not allow himself to shed.
Adam cried that day. He mourned for the loss of Sarek's son but more importantly he mourned for the man he would never know. A man who had never wanted to know him in life.
Heaving, he felt the cold ocean air burn his lungs. He stumbled over the sand and fell to his knees near the splashing waves. Nearby seagulls screeched and scattered over the wet brown sand. With cries of protest they soared away and over the ocean waves.
"Adam," his mother's raspy voice sounded hoarse. He felt her move nearby but paid little attention. With hands placed firmly on her hips she towered over him.
"I...." she panted and fought for control of her breath, "have never been so embarrassed in my life! How could you have said those things? How can you be so cold and inhuman as to wish such a thing? How could you even think such things?"
Unable to answer, he simply shook his head as he drew his knees to his chest. How could he explain the great pain which existed in him? How could he hope to make her understand what it was like to never know the man who was responsible for his existence? How could he explain his feelings of betrayal?
As he fought to control his confusing emotions, he looked out over the bay. He watched as the seagulls dived and dipped their slender beaks under the water. Submerged for only a second they resurfaced with small, wiggling fish. Off in the distance he heard the harmonious sound of the whale's song. Alien to his ears he listened to their sad, melodic tune. It was as if they sang it just for him.
Despite this sentiment he knew that it was not true. The song the creatures sang was for all those who heard it. It was a song which had saved the lives of the entire planet. They were safe because of the song. He, his mother and grandfather were alive because of the sweet sounds from the ocean depths -- because of the heroic acts of his father and friends. He knew that what his father did was far greater than what anyone could have done. Why then could he not feel the emotions which all of Terra felt? Why couldn't he see the man as a hero? Why couldn't he love him as a father?
"Adam," his mother's voice softened as she sat in front of him. "Adam, it's not what you think. It's not the way it seems," she began to explain. "Your father did come as soon as he found out but I sent him away," she tried to explain through her own tears. "I couldn't see him, not after what Henoch did...." she began to say, but quickly stopped her words.
"Please try to understand. Your father is not at fault. He did come. He wanted to help, he wanted to be a part of your life but I didn't let him. I could not stand to have him look at me. I wanted him to accept me for the right reasons and not out of pity. I'm sorry...I'm so sorry that I brought this on you," she said as she softly stroked his cheek. "Please try to understand, Adam," she pleaded.
Her own tears matched his. As the haze of the sun glistened off her dark hair, he felt her need. Her pain had been a numbing ache all these years and had not disappeared. Instead it simply lessened with the passing of years. So consumed with her own hurt, she was not even aware of what her actions would do to him.
He could feel her emotions through their closeness. She lowered her shields in order to allow him access into her plan. Although she kept a firm block on part of her memories she held up the portion which she deemed necessary for him to see.
She regretted her actions. She knew that Spock was correct. The child would need a father but for one reason or another she asked him to leave. He respected her wish and left with the understanding that she would call him when she felt the boy needed him. In time, when her son was older, she would have allowed him to be with his father. But only when he was older would she allow him to join the man she had once loved. Until that time she was content to have Sarek serve as a role model.
Her plan never came into effect. Before Adam had even reached his teens, Spock had died. The night Sarek delivered the news, she wept. She wept for the needless loss of a life, she wept for a man who was willing to marry her even if he did not love her, but more importantly she wept for both her son and Spock. Her son would never know the fine man that his father was and Spock would never know the great tenderness that existed in his son. Because of her own fears, she had deprived both her son and Spock of each other's company.
All of this Adam learned in just the passing of seconds. Even though he did not fully understand her incoherent thoughts, her pain was visibly clear. Like the early darkness it surrounded and threatened to consume him. As if it were simply a rain cloud that could be pushed away by their touch, he reached for her and clung to her.
Together they fought to control each other's turbulent emotions. Together they were able to push the dark cloud from their lives.
Dawn brought about a new freshness. Off in the harbor the whales sang and danced below the gazing spectators. Within all buildings the viewers played the images of the aquatic beings. Turning from the screens, Adam reentered the crowded court room.
The city, although not totally whole, had cleared out the lower labyrinth of the judicial halls. He understood what was taking place, his mother had explained it clearly. Even though his father was not charged, the Vulcan chose to stand with his friends. Whatever fate Starfleet had in store for the Admiral would be shared by his father.
Since his outburst in command central he had not spoken to his father. Neither made an attempt to contact the other. His grandfather had stated that this was perhaps for the best. At least this way they would each have the opportunity to reorient their thoughts and feelings toward each other. Adam bowed to the wisdom of his grandfather.
From above the balcony he felt his mother's gaze. Smiling down at her he sent his reassurance. Even though he did not understand all that was taking place, he wanted to be here. He felt no fear in the unfamiliar surroundings.
Turning his attention to the now assembled group, he watched with rapt attention the proceeding trial. He did not understand most of what was being said. All he really understood was that only the Admiral was being punished. His father and all his friends would be allowed to continue their duties. Then it was over.
Too young to be allowed entrance into the main meeting hall, he waited impatiently by the double doors. His mother was among the first to exit through the doors. After only a brief hug she pulled away.
"Are you ready for your flight?" she asked as she messed with his hair. In a feeble attempt to keep his brown, unruly hair in place, she took a comb to the wavy cowlick.
"Could I stay here for awhile?" he asked, then quickly added. "I just want to talk to him, to apologize."
As if understanding his words she smiled as she patted his hair in place.
"I think your grandfather is right, a haircut will tame this unruly hair of yours," she smiled as she looked down on him. "Maybe I'll ask him to cut it before you arrive on Vulcan, after all, we don't want T'Pau, your great-grandmother, to think you're a mess, do we?" she asked with light humor. With a shake of his head he suppressed a laugh.
"Be sure that you're not late for the shuttle. There aren't too many shuttles leaving for Vulcan," she said as she lightly kissed his forehead, then turned to leave.
Sometime later his grandfather exited with a small group of dignitaries. The older Vulcan merely nodded as he continued his conversation with an Andorian. It wasn't until later when his father entered the hall. Draped by his friends, he walked briskly past him.
Adam felt his heart suddenly race at the sight of his father. He felt both apprehensive and disappointed when the tall Vulcan walked away. Apparently his father was unwilling to forgive him for his original outburst and Adam did not blame him. So in silence he watched as his father walked away.
Suddenly the tall Vulcan turned and glanced at him. Adam moved with a slowness he did not believe he possessed. It was as if he feared this confrontation. Like the fears of his mother, he was now consumed with the thoughts of rejection. This man could very easily refuse his attempts to apologize.
With features held in a tight mask, the Vulcan remained silent beside his friends. He felt himself nervously gulp as he moved to stand in front of his father. Once he was in front of the man he felt at a sudden loss for words. Only a moment ago he knew what it was he would say, now though, he could think of nothing to say to this stranger.
"I just wanted to say that I did not mean it," he explained as he looked down at the floor tiles. He could feel the piercing brown eyes bore into the top of his head. "I just..." he shrugged in defeat, "I was just mad, but I didn't mean it. I don't wish for your death. I don't really want you to still be gone. I just...I just want you to be my father again." he half-whispered.
Silence filled the entire room. For a while he thought the man had rejected him. Because of his stupid words he would once again lose the father he had never know. The man would never find it in his heart to forgive him.
As he dwelled on his pain he felt a stirring near him. Then his father lightly patted the hair which refused to lie flat. At his touch Adam sensed the warmth suddenly radiate around him.
In an even, pleasantly deep voice his father's baritone rang out. "And how do you feel?" his father asked, then lightly pulled his chin up.
Pleased by the touch but confused by the question, he glanced upward at his father. He did not understand what was required of him but he felt that his response was important. Searching for an answer, he remained silent. When no response could be found, he decided to answer as honestly as possible.
"I feel better now that I apologized, but I'd feel even better if you wouldn't hate me."
With a slight smile his father laid a palm on his shoulder as he nodded.
"I too feel better and I do not 'hate' you," his father softly replied.
Despite the Vulcan's strict control, Adam felt the silent wonder within the man. He felt the warm essence of his father surround him. Like the embraces of his mother, his father's emotions embraced him closely. Realizing this, he sighed with relief and moved closer to his father's side.
Still keeping his hand on his shoulder, his father walked by his side. Despite the presence of the others, Adam felt totally at ease. He could feel the empathic waves of his father's emotions wash over him. Comforting yet not intruding, the older man's essence covered him in a protective cocoon.
At peace, Adam smiled up at his father.
"Father, what was it like?" he asked.
Suddenly a barrier was closed over him. As his father stiffened his grip suddenly tightened on his shoulder. Not quite understanding this reaction, he continued his question.
"What was it like to go back in time?"
Visibly, his father relaxed and lowered his barriers.
"It was," he began to say, then thought over his words, "a fascinating experience."
"We're studying that time period in school. Is it true that they were as barbaric as our text tapes portray?"
"They were at a different level of development. Many Terrans from that time period were highly paranoid individuals - not trusting outsiders or each other. Truly a highly emotional and unpredictable race."
As they entered the turbo lift, he thought over his father's words. He felt the presence of others nearby and marginally heard their individual conversations. When his curiosity could no longer be contained, he looked up at his father.
"Father, how did the human race ever survive with so many psychotic people around?"
He noticed the wide smiles of the humans nearby. While the Bantu woman hid her smile behind her palm, the Asian man grinned broadly. Both the Admiral and older doctor looked at his father with amused expressions.
Adam could not understand their reaction. To him it was a perfectly legitimate question about Earth's history. Why then did they find it so amusing?
His father simply raised a brow as he case an indulgent look toward the grinning doctor.
"That, my son, is a question I have often pondered. I suspect it has much to do with a euphemism called a 'miracle'," was his even reply.
His father's friends suddenly broke out in laughter. Confused, he felt his own brow arch as he glanced up at them. Sometimes he felt that he might never understand his own race.