DISCLAIMER: The Star Trek characters are the property of Paramount Studios, Inc. The poem is the creation and property of Ruby Houldson and is copyright (c) 2003 by Ruby Houldson.

Love Without Boundaries

Ruby Houldson

I'm here at last. I lift my face toward the sky. 40 Eridani's light reflects off T'Khut and overshadows the planet. T'Khut looms large in the sky tonight. All around me is its soft red-orange glow. There are no stars in sight for from the surface of this planet one will never see them.

I glance to my right and see the sands gleam like the silver shavings across a jewelers mat. The atmosphere is arid but there is a warm, steady breeze. I know it will get cooler as the night progresses, but that is nature's design for the desert and mountainous regions. I shiver as I feel a sudden eerie chill in the air.

The gentle breeze returns and brushes over my body and fans at my clothing. It swirls my long, loose fitting, black gown around me. T'Khut casts its spell upon me … lending its power to the already strained atmosphere. Its ancient energy caresses me and reaches into my soul.

I take in a breath. I smell an undercurrent of sulfur but the breeze quickly sweeps it away. It is so beautiful here. Words can't do justice for what I look upon at this moment.

I turn around and as far as the eye can see, the sand creates a sea of orange and silver water and I feel like a small boat lost in the vastness of a great ocean.

My eyes turn upward, I see Mount Seleya towering above, and my heart leaps with joy upon seeing it. Salvation lies just ahead, my heart cries out. Twin pillars extend toward the sky and I know that encompassed next to them are two altars made of stone.

It is time, I hear a voice announce. I step in line with those who make their way toward the Temple that looms above on Mount Seleya.

I begin my ascent of the ancient steps and as I traverse with those around me, my mind wanders back to the few days past.

Spock is dead. I still hear that grave echo in my mind. I thought I had come to terms with that fact … but I find I have not.

I dreamed of you. I felt you were near. I have heard your whisper on the wind every night since your passing. Would forever after be filled with this emptiness? Only the Great One knows my true pain and even He hangs His head in sadness … for my grief is so great.

How long must I endure this madness? No one else could ever take the place of you. Every moment in my life, rain falls, night falls. Memories flood the expanse of time. Those memories play over and over again in my mind and just when I think I'm free, they return the next night to haunt me.

I am empty. Only you can fill the void inside my heart. I'm so lost without you. I want you to come back and save me from this loneliness.

But that's why we're here …right?

The old feelings take control of me and tears blur my vision as I continue to advance up the mountain. I stumble and fall. My fingers sink into the Vulcan soil and I claw at it as I wrestle with my emotions. My tears mingle with the earth.

Did anyone feel that?

The planet trembled.

Did it absorb a portion of the power and strength of my silent, anguished cries? Did it respond to that plea for mercy?

A hand catches my elbow and supports me until I regain my equilibrium and we continue the last trek up the steps that now take us to the Hall.

In the Hall of Ancient Thoughts torches align the path that makes its way through the center of the structure. Shadows crawl across the walls and I blink in order to erase them from my sight.

The torch fire just ahead acts like a mirror and I see the reflection of my pain in the flames. I try to settle my heart, then once again you open the door and I hear your quiet whisper in the night. Or is that the ghostly echoes of the Hall?

I'm weary of being haunted by your shadow. I laid you to rest on the Genesis planet but you never truly left me for I still see your face all around me. It is in the whisper on the wings of the wind. It is in every beautiful, living thing. It is in the laughter of young children.

You placed a spell on me and every waking and sleeping hour, I think of you. You're a habit I don't ever want to break. My heart lost all control that day you became known to me.

Over the past few days, darkness has encompassed me, seizing me in its cold embrace, pulling me down into the undertow of icy depths.

I clear my mind of all thoughts and turn my attention once again to the Hall. Here I feel peace. Here I feel tranquility. I am surrounded by massive sculptures of Vulcan faces. Engravings and ancient Vulcan prayers are engraved into the pillars on either side of me. Just where does the katra dwell in this place? I look up and on the ceiling I see intricate carvings of old Vulcan symbols, and words adorn its surface. The shadows made by the torch light dance across the ceiling and bring the symbols to life, they move, they speak silently to me. The floor beneath my feet is made from ancient stone and is hard as granite. The heels of my shoes strike the floor, echo softly off the walls, and return to me. I am an intruder within this very sacred monastery.

We journey on as my heart begins to beat louder. Spock! We are coming. The pace quickens and we exit the Hall and begin the next step in our journey toward the Temple.

With the Hall behind I looked upon the Vulcan sky once again. I am careful of my steps as I put one foot in front of the other and cross the overpass that connects the Hall to the Temple.

The auditorium of the Temple is vaster than I ever imagined it to be. One large circle balanced atop a precipice …that was what this was. Our small band moves to the right as we await the procession. I look upon the stone altars across the way. What will happen there? Many women stand quietly and solemnly behind the altars and an elderly female Vulcan has taken position between the two slabs of stone. Torches and the light from T'Khut encompass this place.

Vulcans dressed in various styles and colors of robes stand with their hands clasped before them. The atmosphere is subtle and expectant. In the distance mountains jut from the ground, rise, and peek at the crowd gathering here.

Will this really work? This ritual I have heard so much about? Oh, Spock. Even now, in the wake of a promising new life for you, I still see your death and your funeral. Damn that Kahn. I now see that the decision you made was logical yet I damned logic and the decision you had to make. Your life was forfeit for all. You never faltered in your decision or your actions even though you were well aware they carried you closer to death's door.

How many times since your death have I wished upon every kahs'khiori I saw in the Earth's night sky? Each time, I wished for you to be alive again. My love has never dwindled and my loyalty remains with you. For many days now I have lived with heartbreak, grief and despair. Now, there is a ray of hope. Your friends searched through the ends of time to bring you back here to us. Even now, they carry your body to this great place.

I hear the gong. It announces your arrival. How will you look? Will you still be the same man I have known and loved since forever? My heart skips beats and I feel a fluttering in my chest. You approach. Can I live through another disappointment if this doesn't work tonight? Can I stand quietly by and watch them carry you away again? Carry you away from me? You must fight tonight, dear, Spock. You must fight like you never have in all your life. Fight for the right to live, to be whole again.

I see them. I move closer to the center isle in order to catch a glimpse of your face. My knees are shaking. I want to cry. But why? The anticipation is great. I'm so tired. The days since your passing has dragged me down and I am weak from sorrow. Dear heaven, why did this have to happen to you? You did nothing wrong to deserve such a nightmare in your life. Did the gods wish to see how much heartache your friends and I could take?

My breath catches in my throat and my heart stands still for a moment. You are here. It's really you. I want to run over and take a closer look. But I remain in my place. Your eyes are closed. You are so still. Your face is relaxed. I see the light green undertones of your skin. Your hair shiny black rests across your forehead and falls over your majestically pointed ears. Your body, so lean and strong, does not move. The vibrant, quick-footed man is now still. I want to reach out to you, but I dare not.

Please, God. Tell me that this will work. I need release from this torment. I watch them take you to the altars, to T'Lar. She speaks words that echo across the Temple. The ceremony now commences. All around me …voices dwindle to mere whispers and then silence. A few heads lower in silent concentration and meditation while others turn their faces toward T'Khut, and with their eyes closed they search for the power within that magical entity, to draw upon it as the ceremony continues. T'Lar closes her eyes and lowers her head in concentration.

My heart grows heavy. I have fought hard to confine my feelings to the depths of my soul and now they need to be released so that I may lend my power to the ceremony. For love, I say. For love without doubt, my heart whispers. I center myself and seek out concentration and control. Just let go, my soul pleads. Love with every beat of your heart, it cries.

I feel my heart and soul merge and mingle with the force of those around me. Spock. I'm going to love you forever …until eternity ends. This, your rebirth, is the answer to my prayers. You must live … you must. I want to hear you tell me that you're back and that it's all over now, that I can emerge from my world of despair and darkness.

I feel the strength and power of hundreds upon hundreds of Vulcans press in upon me. What is this? Emotion? I thought they didn't… They fight the sadness they have experienced since Spock's demise. They have cried out in their hearts for the one who proved many times over to be a true son of Vulcan.

Together we are all caught up in a circle and it encompasses everyone. We are strong together as we share a common thread. Boundaries are crossed and our souls merge into one light … yet there is a beacon of light that outshines all others, for it is the purity of love.

My essence joins with theirs. I reach out to the one who I love. I whisper gentle, soothing words to him as I sense his katra caught between here and nowhere. He is confused. I hear him ask what is happening. He is unsure of his destiny.

There's nothing to fear, Spock. We are here. I am here. Cross over to that which you left behind, it awaits you. Listen to me. Trust me. Share this with me and I will help lead you from your solitude, from your pain. I will guide you to your freedom. Please … trust me.

Hold on my heart for we strike out to do something we have never attempted before. We must be the guide for one who is lost. Hold on my heart for we will bridge the gap between this realm and Spock's. My heard jerks up. It is Spock. His cries ring out across the Temple … he is in pain. I hear his cry for release.

Shhh, I say in soothing tones as I bring a finger to my lips. Shhh, it will all work out, I promise you. Hush, dear one, and listen to me. You must cross the threshold and return to the world of the living. You have broken all rules as it pertains to humans and Vulcans. You must fight against the bonds of death and despair. Remember? Hear the voices of those around you? See the road they have set before you? Follow it, for it leads to freedom. I will shelter you in the light of my love until you reach your abode.

I open my eyes and I see his body stir slightly. He struggles to regain his identity … this I feel through our link. He needs an anchor, a light to guide him home. Only I have the answer. It doesn't lie in the thoughts these here project to him, for they don't know him like I do. Their way is not the right way. They only confuse him with their thoughts of logic, their emotionless outlook on life, and their disregard for taking chances. I have to direct him across the boundary for these Vulcans cannot.

Once more I close my eyes and contribute to the collective of thoughts only this time I project memories across the barrier of time and space, life and death. Spock, I cry … REMEMBER!

Remember Kirk, Jim, as you stood by his side and how on many occasions you narrowly escaped danger? Remember McCoy and how you both had a habit of engaging in friendly disagreements yet deep down you trusted and respected each other?

Remember assuming your first command on Taurus II where you discovered that logic could fail you, and how you demonstrated an act of desperation in order to send a distress signal to the Enterprise?

Remember your mother as she came to you and begged for your help in saving your father's life, of how you refused and she struck you, saying she would hate you if Sarek died?

Remember how your ingenuity assisted the Enterprise out of many a dangerous situation?

Remember how you carried out many illogical acts logically?

Remember the time McCoy said you were the best first officer in the fleet?

Remember all the lives you saved and how you looked out for those around you who were weaker then yourself?

Remember the Tholian Web?

Remember how many times Kirk and McCoy put their lives on the line for you?

Remember the loyalty and trust that exists between the dynamic trio aboard the Enterprise?

Remember the Klingons, the Romulans … and heaven forgive me for saying this … Kahn?

Remember all the perils you have been through over the last few years and how these have taken on the Vulcan version of the Kobayashi Maru? Remember?

You have passed that test over and over and now here is your final exam. So snap to it, Spock and step forward to receive your reward.

I feel his katra stir. He contemplates all I've said. I hear a question. Ship. Out of danger?

My heart flutters but I must answer. You need to ask Jim about that. Come, Spock. Take my hand and let's leave this place together.

As he crosses the plane of existence and rejoins with his body once again, I find peace for my troubled soul. He is still somewhat disoriented, but he lives. They return. I feel those tears fall down my face once again but this time they are tears of joy.

I watch as he is assisted up from the altar and draped in a white ceremonial robe with light silver Vulcan inscriptions down the front. I watch as he passes Kirk and the others then stops. I watch as he turns back to greet his old and dearest friend, Kirk.

Most of those who were here to offer assistance during this ceremony have gone. It was the logical thing to do, after all, their services were no longer needed and so they went on about their business. A few remain, as do I. I stand back and watch the miracle take place.

The rumor was not a myth. It was truth. There is truth in rumor.

I look on as Spock and Kirk exchange words. A sob escapes from my throat and tears flow down my face as I see Spock's eyebrow rise. Oh, be still my heart … for Spock is back. He is real. He is not a dream. He has defied all odds by returning from the land of the dead after such a long period of time away from the living. I see his shipmates gather around him and touch him. Do they feel the warmth of his skin? Do they feel the strength of his gentle touch?

I stand by and watch patiently as old acquaintances are renewed. I feel the eyes of thousands leave the area and now there are only fifteen of us here in this great Temple. I stand in the shadows as memories of the many adventures of that great group of travelers, sears across my mind. So many trials and triumphs, and I have seen them all. They are together again. They are whole.

I turn to leave and I hear a soft, familiar voice behind me. I stop and listen. You have been my friend, my anchor. I felt your presence above all others. I sensed in you a power like no other I have ever come across in all my travels. You relinquished your life force to me in order for it to guide me back. You assisted me through this, my greatest feat. Why would you do this?

I turn and find myself gazing into the clearest brown eyes I have ever seen. I glance over him and create a mental picture of the one who stands before me. I see the upsweep of his brows, his pointed ears, his hair black as space, and his hand clasped together in front of him. He stands straight and tall, his robe sways gently in the breeze. His head is tilted slightly to the right as he waits for my answer. Dear heaven, but he's so handsome. I love him … I always have … and I always will.

I take a breath and I answer his question. I did it because love is endless. It is without doubt, without boundaries, without fear. I did it out of love.

His eyebrow rose and he spoke. That is illogical.

I smile as tears flow down my face. His voice, so sweet and alive, I hear before me. He sounds like the Spock I've known and loved for years. One of his hands moves from him and toward me. I close my eyes as I feel his fingers brush away my tears. His touch sends shockwaves through my body and my heart skips a beat as my soul sings with joy. I feel him. He is real. He is alive.

Illogical? Perhaps, but it is a fact. I open my eyes and gaze lovingly into his. I raise a hand and brush the backside of it across his face. You have been a guiding light to me for many years. You have touched my heart without your even realizing it. Love is a human emotion, yes, but it is the most powerful force in the universe. It is the driving force behind all that is good and all that is wonderful. It could save you from the cold hand of death for you see… Love conquers all. It was within my power to help you and so I did.

I dropped my hand back to my side. He studied my face then graced me with the most perfect gift I could ever have asked for or dreamed of receiving. He leaned forward, gazed into my eyes, and then bushed his lips across my cheek ever so lightly. His mouth drew up next my ear and he whispered to me.

Indeed. It was the logical thing to do, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I must study this emotion more closely in the future, for I believe buried within it are many answers I have sought to discover throughout my trek through space.

As he took his place in front of me once again I smiled at him and nodded my head. Pure, unselfish love knows no boundaries, Spock. You must prepare yourself for you'll be making those discoveries for a very long time to come. Love is a reunification of the mind, body, and soul. It is what brings two estranged worlds together, what brings warring brothers together. Remember this for you will utilize that knowledge one day in your near future.

His eyebrow rose as he looked at me with admiration in his eyes. Reunification? Fascinating. I will remember your words.

He turned to leave and I quickly spoke. Please, just one more thing.

He turned back to face me. Yes?

I held out a hand toward his face. May I?

He stepped forward and nodded his head. Proceed.

I stepped up close to him and brushed my fingers across the soft, black hair that rested just above his ears and then I traced the outline of one ear ever so gently. I held his gaze as I did so and in that moment I passed on to him all the knowledge of his life as I had come to know it and of the truth behind the power of love without doubt, of endless love, endless respect. I saw his eyes widen as he came to know the truths I shared with him and I could have sworn I saw a sea of stars mirrored in his eyes.

I lowered my hand and stepped back. Live Long and Prosper, Spock of Vulcan.

He nodded his head and raised his hand in the Vulcan salute. Live Long and Prosper, you whose name is known only to me. I thank you for your gift of love and truth.

It was my pleasure and a great privilege, Spock. Perhaps some day we shall meet again, once upon a night. I turned and retraced my steps from the Temple and through The Hall of Ancient Thoughts.

I paused and looked around the Hall. You shall not have him at this time, for his work is not yet finished. He has a whole world to share his knowledge and wisdom with. Be patient a while longer. There's plenty of time. Love brought him back across and love will see him through to the end, which is a long time from now.

I smile and exit The Hall of Ancient Thoughts. I am free. The burden of pain and despair has been vanquished. My heart is light for Spock, the greatest of all Vulcans, lives again.