DISCLAIMER: The Star Trek characters are the property of Paramount Studios, Inc. The story contents are the creation and property of Ster Julie and is copyright (c) 2004 by Ster Julie. Rated PG.



MY SON

Ster Julie



Stardate: 3850.5

Cha'i,

I am sitting in a particularly boring and fruitless session. No one here will listen to reason or logic on the Coridan issue, so I am choosing to use my time more productively by writing to you.

Your mother still insists that I thank you for what you did to save my life. I reminded her- again -- that one does not thank logic, but, to be honest, she is right, Cha'i. (My logic has always been uncertain where you and your mother are concerned.)

I know that it was an arduous time for you, that there were many extra responsibilities for you on this mission, and that my illness compounded that difficulty. I understand that, while at first you volunteered to give me the blood needed for the transfusion, the attack on your captain precluded you from doing so. I knew that meant my death. Kaiidth!

While I slept, I dreamed that you had come down to tell me goodbye. You seemed very distressed that you could not take the time to save my life. I tried to console you, but I was too weak. You walked away weary and disconsolate. I woke up gasping, "The good of the many!"

"The good of the many outweighs the good of the few, or the one" - me. You chose "the good of the many," and rightly so. IT WAS THE LOGICAL CHOICE AND THE ONLY ONE I WOULD RESPECT!

Fortunately for me, Cha'i, you are very gullible! I listened as your friends prepared their ruse to get you off the Bridge and bring you to my side for the surgery. Deciding to remain on the Bridge could not have been a decision without anguish!

I know your mother's thoughts, and I know that she struck you. Please do not hold that against her. She was fighting for the life of her bondsmate. It reminds me of a similar incident when you were a toddler, when you came running to me, crying because your mother had "paddled" you for endangering yourself at the firepot. I held you then, Cha'i, and my "uncertain logic" wishes that I could have held you again today. This incident, too, must have been incredibly difficult to bear.

* * *

I have returned after yet another pointless discussion (read: argument). There is still no vote.

* * *

When I awoke and saw you at my side, I was taken aback that you were even there. (I know that was an illogical response since the surgery would not have occurred without you!) You were so pale and drained (no humor intended), and I wanted to pull you into my arms to comfort and warm you through the bouts of nausea. But they whisked me away to the other room, to where your mother awaited me with the proverbial "open arms." As she fussed over me, I listened for you. When they finally brought you out, you were curled so tightly in on yourself, either asleep or drugged. I know not which.

I sent comforting thoughts your way. Did you feel them? You slept so fitfully that it was a wonder that you got any rest at all. At one point, you called my name, and, when the medical personnel weren't looking, I crept to your side and whispered to you, my hand on your head. You looked into my eyes and gasped, "Oh, God!" and fell into a more peaceful sleep.

I am certain that you remember the rest, Cha'i. And I am also certain that you detect my emotions in this letter. My brush with death has unsettled me, and this conference precludes me from meditating at length to correct the condition of my katra. Please forgive my poor example.

I do not rightly know why I have relayed all these things to you. Perhaps what I mean to say is this: You are a very good son, while I have been so poor a father. I once gave you life, and you have given life back to me.

The silence between us has been too long, and I put an end to it now. Your shadow is once again welcome -- and longed for! -- at our door. At your first convenience, please come home. I wish to be your father once again.

Thankfully, Sarek

===============================================

Stardate 3855.4

A'nirih,

Peace and prosperity, my father, as well as long life.

I must confess some alarm when Doctor McCoy handed me the embassy pouch. I thought that something had happened to you or to M'aih. I realize now that you only wanted to protect your message to me from what Mother would call "prying eyes."

It is advantageous that you are allowing Dr. McCoy to follow your healing process. It is beneficial to your own health, as well as mine. Otherwise, I would bear the brunt of his concerns and complaints regarding you!

A'nirih, correct me if I am wrong, but I believe that this is our first written communication to each other. I know that you sent letters to M'aih whenever you were away on missions, and I did the same after I left home. And while we included messages for each other in our letters to her, I do not believe that we have ever sent such a message to each other before. Kaiidth. With this new rapport between us, I will endeavor to make this only the first of many such correspondences.

I am grateful, A'nirih, for your candor in your letter. You are correct in saying that my decision to stay on the Bridge when Captain Kirk was wounded was most difficult. Given the same set of circumstances (or, as M'aih would say, "All things being equal"), I would make the same decision. But, you know, A'nirih, the maxim, "The good of the many" brings no comfort when precious lives are threatened, or lost. That is not to say that I disagree with the wisdom of Surak's words. It is just that this sacrifice was the most difficult I have ever made, because it was at your expense.

I should have realized that you would have known about Mother's slap to my face. I was your only hope, yet I refused to help. I broke M'aih's heart, and she had every right to strike me. I, too, remembered the incident you mentioned when I was 1.35 years old. I illogically wanted to seek you out this time, too, for consolation, but there was no opportunity. I sent you my thoughts and my apology. It seems that I inadvertently affected your dreams! I had to struggle through the mind rules on my way to the Bridge just so I would be able to function. Thank you for my training, for insisting that I learn the Disciplines. They have served me well throughout difficult times, as these days have certainly been.

You mentioned holding me when I was a toddler. I remember other times when you indulged me with such intimacy, most especially whenever I was ill. As I continue my stay in Sickbay, I think back to those times. I can so clearly remember being held by you with
such gentleness and warmth that just the memory of it lulls me to sleep.

So, A'nirih, you say that I am gullible? I suppose that you are right. I seem to be easily duped by my friends. Their duplicitousness always catches me unawares. One would think that I would be "on to them" by now! (They say that they are duplicitous for my own benefit, Koon-ut Kali-fee being their case in point. Such odd logic!)

I vaguely remember the incident you related when I woke up briefly to see your face above me. The drugs that Dr. McCoy gave me for your surgery have played havoc with my mind, which explains my invocation of the Deity.

A'nirih, you have given me such a rich life, full of opportunities. You instilled me with values, knowledge and disciplines. You gave me the tools I needed to cope with my duality. When I left home, you did not drag me back, but allowed me to discover and develop my self, my identity. Please do not say that you have been a poor father. If I were able to select my father, I still would choose you, without hesitation.

Please notify me when you and M'aih return home. I will check our schedule and arrange some leave time. I wish to celebrate your new health and to reaffirm our family.

Mene sakkhet ur-sevah, A'nirih. With your heart repaired, this should be easier to do!

Greetings to Mother.

Your son, Spock

P.S. If M'aih insists that you should say "Thank you" to me, then I am certain that she would also insist that I respond in kind. So, A'nirih, you are welcome!

===============================================

Stardate 3856.2

Cha'i,

Mene sakkhet ur-sevah, Spock.

It is fortuitous that your ship is still in orbit here at the Babel Conference, and that Dr. McCoy is still being so solicitous regarding my health. I am only permitting his visits because it is the only way I can check on you at this time.

Why are you still in Sickbay? Are you still in difficulty from the drugs? Have you been permanently injured by them? If so, then perhaps taking them was not such a good idea after all. I do not want you to trade your life for mine -- EVER. Is that understood? You are the last of the line, and that makes your life more valuable.

Perhaps now you are gaining insight as to why I opposed your entry into Starfleet. The galaxy is large and fraught with dangers. At least at home, I can offer you my protection. Do not remind me of the illogic of this statement. No one knows that better than I. (And I know that there are many things at home that could take your life, but Vulcan does not have the vacuum of space, hostile enemies and other space-faring dangers!)

Forgive my outburst. You may be an adult, but you will always be my son. I will always be your father, and fathers -- no matter the species, no matter the logic -- sometimes worry (and if that statement is false for all creatures, it hold true for this father!)

The conference is coming to a close. The vote finally passed this morning, as you have already heard. Following the requisite merry- making (your mother's term) after the fact, we will disperse. We have been assigned other transportation, Cha'i, so I will probably not see you at this time. That is unfortunate. Kaiidth. I will just have to wait until you come home. I will send you my schedule upon my return home.

It is also unfortunate that our personal courier service will soon cease as well. Your mother says that we should leave the good doctor a sizeable tip for his services. I believe the doctor would be insulted if I were to offer him money. What would you suggest? Your mother suggests that he would probably not appreciate "something to dust," and I am against giving alcohol, unless...

What do you think of this suggestion? We could offer Doctor McCoy, and a companion of his choice, a meal at our home, and present him with a bottle of the estate wine? Would that suffice? Perhaps we could also arrange a tour of the Academy Medical Center, if he would so desire. I am open to your suggestion.

Be well, my son. It is my fervent wish that this message does NOT find you still in Sickbay. I will contact you soon.

M'aih sends her love.

Your father, Sarek

===============================================



Stardate 3856.9

A'nirih,

Peace and prosperity, Father!

Of necessity, this will be a short message. We have been assigned to ferry a portion of the delegates home from the conference, and I have much work to do in preparation.

I was released from Sickbay shortly after I sent the last letter. My blood chemistry is now at acceptable levels, and my blood production is back to normal.

I wish to discuss your last letter at depth, but this will have to wait until I can take leave. You are right about this, A'nirih: I have a better understanding as to why you were so adamantly against me joining Starfleet. Perhaps when I come home, I will be able to share with you some of my accomplishments, things I would never been able to achieve at the Vulcan Science Academy. Perhaps then you will be able to see my point of view.

The courier is awaiting the return of this pouch, so I will close now.

I will await your call.

Mene sakkhet ur-sevah, A'nirih.

Greetings to Mother.

Your son,

Spock

===============================================

Stardate 5910.8

A'nirih,

Peace and long life!

Please forgive my long silence. I know that it has been a year since my last letter to you. Something has happened that I wish to share with you. I met Surak.

The Enterprise was sent to investigate a planet. Preliminary scans showed it to be a lava waste with no inhabitants. Then our ship and crew were scanned by something on the planet, after which we -- Captain Kirk and I -- received an invitation to beam down to meet some of the greatest figures in history. This invitation was given by Abraham Lincoln as he sat outside our sip as it hung in orbit.

Now, Father, I assure you that I am both sane and sober. We found that there are life forms on the planet we investigated (The beings call their planet Excalbia.) They were intrigued by us and set up an experiment to test this theory: <In a battle of survival, who will prevail? Good or evil?> The Excalbians scanned more that just our ship. They scanned our minds as well. They pulled from us six historical figures to participate in this experiment.

Yarnek, the leader of the Excalbians, assembled Colonel Green, Ghengis Kahn, Kahless, and Zora for the evil side. The good side was composed of Captain Kirk and myself, along with Abraham Lincoln and Surak. We were told to battle each other until one side was victorious.

It was disquieting to see Surak, A'nirih. He looked as I have always seen him in my meditations, exactly the same. He would not participate in the battle. He tried to convince me to join him in more peaceful pursuits as I made weapons. I had to decline, because I had to follow my captain's orders.

I had to follow my captain's orders. In the end, Lincoln and Surak were killed, the evil side ran away when they saw that we were defeating them, and the combat was called off because the Excalbians could not see any difference in the way the two sides battled.

Father, Surak was killed proposing peace to the evil side as I made weapons for the battle. I have spent several hours in deep meditation over these events. I considered all the times that I was ordered to act in a way contrary to my beliefs. I recognized in myself a need to reconnect with all that is Vulcan. I finally admitted to myself that I am ... feeling ... lost.

This five-year mission is coming to an end. The ship will go into the yards for a major refit that will take at least two years. It is time for me to reenlist ... or not. I am considering whether or not I should resign my commission. I am considering whether some time at Gol might be in order. I am tired. I am without an anchor at present. My refusal to help Surak in his quest for peace tells me that I have given up many of my beliefs, my morals, my self, in this career.

It is time to come home.

Would you be so kind to make arrangements for my stay at Gol? The Enterprise still has several months left in this tour of duty. I will let you know the exact time to expect me as soon as I know myself.

Peace and long life, A'nirih. Greetings to Mother.

Your son,

Spock

===============================================

Sarek sat stunned. He replayed the latest message from Spock once, twice. This was indeed disquieting.

I met Surak.

Spock did not say, "I have met someone who believes that he is Surak."

They scanned our minds as well. They pulled from us six historical figures to participate in this experiment.

Obviously, this "Surak" was pulled from Spock's own mind, or could it actually be the essence of the ancestor's katra that each of Surak's descendants carry within themselves?

No matter. What truly disturbed Sarek was that Spock was once again going to the extreme to solve his problems. Constant rejections from his fellow Vulcans chased Spock to Earth and Starfleet. Now, "contamination" from humans has chased him back home, and to Gol, of all places!
Sarek groaned inwardly. While he would ... feel ... more secure with having his son in a safer environment than the perils of space and military service, Sarek knew that Spock would be more cut off from his parents in the monastery at Gol than he ever was in Starfleet.

And how will Amanda take this? Will she see this as yet a further rejection from Spock? Sarek remembered her tears when Spock announced that he would follow the Vulcan way after his private attempt at kahs-wan, when that strange cousin Selek followed him and the sehlat Ee-chiah into the desert night. When Spock almost died. Sarek then recognized the folly of his previous thought that planet bound life was safe.

Sarek read the letter again, this time paying more attention to the tone of the message, rather than just the meaning of the words.

I considered all the times that I was ordered to act in a way contrary to my beliefs. I recognize in myself a need to reconnect with all that is Vulcan. I finally can admit to myself that I am ... feeling ... lost.

Lost. Sarek stared at that word, letting it sink down into his soul. Lost. Sarek's mind flashed back to when Spock was lost to them, when the kidnappers had taken the young boy from his bed. He was lost and cut off from his family for three long days. It was agony for them all. Lost. Yes, Sarek understood all too well.

My refusal to help Surak in his quest for peace tells me that I *have* given up many of my beliefs, my morals, my *self*, in this career.

Sarek recognized the bitterness of these words. Spock had compromised his personal convictions. A small part of Sarek was secretly pleased that he had been successful in instilling in his son such strong convictions that these actions to the contrary disturbed Spock. An even smaller part disapproved that he didn't always stand by these convictions. But most of all, Sarek just ached for his boy, his son.

It is time to come home.

Sarek ran a finger over these words. Home. Yes, home, but with his parents. Safe in his own room, a place where he could restore his health. Oh, Sarek would contact the monastery at Gol all right, but only after Spock had sufficient transition time. And even then, Sarek vowed that he would only make arrangements for a temporary stay.

Sarek turned to his console to compose his reply.

===============================================

5925.3

Cherished son,

Peace and long life! I received your message and was compelled to reply immediately.

Don't come home in pain, C'hai. Come home satisfied will all of your great accomplishments. Don't go running from one source of suffering into a new source of anguish! Gol will require you to renounce your human self. How can you live as half a being? Have you considered Amanda's reaction to your decision?

Come home to your mother and me first. Let us comfort you and allow you to heal. If after this time you still wish to go to Gol, I will take you there myself.

Be at peace, C'hai. I await your return.

Your father,

Sarek

P.S. I will not show your message to your mother. Let her anticipate your homecoming with joy.

===============================================

Spock stopped inside the front entrance to his family home. He hadn't announced his arrival, hadn't even told his parents when to expect him. He dropped his gaze and let his carryall fall to the floor, his harp resting on top haphazardly. The rest of his things were being shipped on a slower transport and were not expected to arrive for a week. Spock lifted his eyes to gaze at the shrine of the ancestors set near the door. One never left nor entered the home without putting a grain of incense on the embers. Spock always put two -- one for his father's fathers and another for his mother's mothers. Today, he added a third for Captain Pike, who, although not dead per se, was lost to him due to the situation of Talos IV. Spock added a fourth and fifth for Lieutenants Gaetano and Latimer who were lost while exploring the Murasaki 312 quasar. Another was added for Zarabeth. He added more as he remembered other crewmembers that died under his command, more for those aliens who died at his hand, and still more for the image of Surak that died on Excalpia because he followed orders rather than with Surak to negotiate for peace.

Great clouds of smoke billowed from the shrine, burning Spock's eyes. His watery eyes soon spilled as true tears as his soul broke open. Soon, his sobs resounded in the entry.

* * *

Amanda sat up in bed. "Spock?" she whispered. Her movements awakened Sarek who sniffed the air.

"Fire!" he breathed.

Amanda leapt from the bed, grabbing and donning her robe as she padded barefoot down the hallway. Sarek followed behind, also adjusting his robe along the way.

Amanda stopped at the wall of white, fragrant smoke that obscured their home's entry. Sarek moved to the shrine and, using the sleeves of his robes to protect his skin, picked up the bowl of embers and carried it out the door and into the courtyard. When he entered, he espied Amanda bending over their son. Amanda put gentle hands under Spock's arms and eased him to his feet. Sarek guided them to a less smoky part of the house.

"So many," Spock moaned. "So many!"

"So many, what, cha'i?" Sarek asked. Spock took a great, shuddering breath.

"So many dead," Spock sobbed. After a while, he turned miserable eyes to his father. "I've lost myself." He paused to gulp a breath. "You were right, a'nirih, you were right. Starfleet was not the place for me."

"Oh, Spock," Amanda breathed, "how can you say that? Look at all the good you did."

"Look at all the lives I took," Spock retorted. "Look at all the compromises I had to make to follow orders!" Spock shook his head. "It took the death of Surak to awaken me." He turned back to Sarek. "Please, take me to Gol, Papa. I need to find myself. I need to find myself. I need to learn again what it means to be a Vulcan." Sarek wiped the tears gently from his son's cheeks.

"Ten days, my son," he murmured. "Give me, give us ten days. You've only now come back to us. Give us the chance to help you to heal. You may use the time to rest, to meditate, to exercise, to play your harp, to let your mother indulge you, whatever you wish. Just, please stay. I only ask for ten days. If, at the end of that time, you still want to go to Gol, I will take you there myself."

Spock eventually, reluctantly nodded.

Sarek did not see his son for the rest of the day. Spock had holed himself up in his room and did not come out for any meal. When Sarek finally entered Spock's room, the ambassador found his son sleeping, curled tightly on his side. Sarek eased the door shut and left quietly.

On the second day since Spock's return, Sarek espied his son in a shaded garden enclosure. Spock's face was not blank from meditation, but instead it held a deep frown as if Spock was concentrating fiercely.

Again, he ate nothing.

On the third day, Sarek brought a mug of a thick, smooth soup to Spock's room. Before he even opened the door, Sarek heard muffled sounds that pulled at his heart.

Again, Sarek eased the door open and saw Spock on his bed. But this time Sarek found Spock sitting on his heels, his head pressed tightly into a pillow as great sobs shook his frame. Sarek set the mug down and rushed to his son's side. He gathered Spock into his arms and rocked him gently.

"All right, cha'i, all right," Sarek murmured into Spock's hair. "We will go to Gol now, as you wish."

Spock turned into Sarek's arms and buried his face on his father's shoulder. Spock relaxed gradually and soon stopped crying. He turned green-rimmed, swollen eyes to Sarek.

"Y-you wanted me to wait ten days," he gulped. Sarek smoothed Spock's hair and shook his head.

"If it makes you this miserable, it is not logical to make you wait. We will leave as soon as you are ready." Spock closed his eyes in relief.

"Thank you, A'nirih," he whispered.

A wet, cool cloth appeared before Spock. He looked up to see Amanda pressing it into his hands. He could see that she was crying, too.

"M'aih?" he breathed. Amanda's lip quivered, but she didn't respond. "Mama?"

"Oh, Spock," she cried. "I know that you need to find peace, but for us it will be the same as when you were in Starfleet. You will be away from us, cut off even more than before." Amanda raised a hand to her trembling chin. "I'm sorry," she whispered as she turned to go. Spock stopped her with a touch.

"I have to do this. I have to try." Amanda shook her head.

"You used that argument twenty years ago." Spock shook his head.

"It's not the same." Amanda leaped forward.

"You're right," she exclaimed vehemently. "This time it is worse. On Gol you will be forced to reject the part of you that comes from me. You'll be rejecting me."

Spock's mouth dropped open. He took in his mother's angry stance and flashing eyes. At his continued shocked silence, Amanda sighed in frustration and left the room. Spock turned to his father.

"You must understand, cha'i," Sarek said. "Your mother feels that you are rejecting her when you reject your human side."

"But, there is no middle ground for me, " Spock replied. "That has only caused pain. I am Vulcan by birth, Vulcan by blood, and Vulcan by choice. I need to re-establish myself as a Vulcan. I have to exorcize these violent tendencies. I have to atone for these deaths."

Sarek took the wet cloth from Spock's hand and wiped his face gently.

"I will not presume to dictate to you how to live your life, cha'i," Sarek said quietly. That only brought twenty years of animosity and silence between us, he thought. "I only want you to consider the consequences of your actions. You may not agree with your mother's reaction, but she has a right to her feelings." Spock squirmed.

"When are my ... feelings ... valid? My needs?" he added sullenly. Sarek set the cloth aside.

"I am not trying to talk you out of your decision, cha'i."

"Aren't you?" Sarek shook his head.

"I just want you to see the full scope of your actions." Spock fell silent as Sarek continued to study him for several minutes.

"Why Gol?"

Spock was startled by the sudden question. He raised his eyebrow in response.

"Why Gol?" Sarek repeated. "The monks will want to know. What will you tell them?" Spock shrugged.

"What I have told you, I suppose," he responded.

"You `suppose'? Is it not because you are angry at your commanding officer?"

"What?" Spock breathed.

"You said that your captain required things of you that went contrary to your Vulcan beliefs and training. `Look at all the compromises I had to make to follow orders,' you said." Sarek watched as Spock's cheeks darkened.

"James Kirk has no control over me here."

"Ah," Sarek replied, "so you go to Gol to escape Kirk?" Spock's head snapped up.

"I am escaping nothing," he retorted. "I am going to Gol to re-center myself. I have dallied at the end of my nerve endings for too long. Emotions have become my undoing. Logic is my only salvation." Spock drew himself away from Sarek. "If you will not take me to Gol, I will make the journey myself."

Sarek rose up and stood before his son.

"No need, cha'i," he murmured gently. "I said that I would take you to Gol, and I shall." Sarek dropped his gaze briefly. "Please permit one last question." He returned his gaze to Spock, who waited warily. "Must you go forever? Could you not study with the monks as an extern?" Spock shook his head slowly.

"No, a'nirih," he whispered stiffly. "I know myself. No half measures. It can only be all or nothing for me." Sarek lowered his gaze once more, this time to hide the loss he already felt. Spock was an adult, and Sarek had to trust that his son knew what he was doing.

But he didn't have to like it.

===============================================



Epilogue 1

Stardate 5959.0

Cherished son,

Peace and long life, cha'i! I hope that the monks have permitted you to keep this last note, or at least to read it once.

I have considered your reasons for going to Gol. I have come to the conclusion that you are old enough to decide your own life's path. It is my sincere desire that you will find what you need there. I only want what is best for you. That is what I have always wanted for you. I wish you success in your endeavors. However, if you ever decide to leave Gol, there will be fresh water at our open gate for you.

Be at peace.

Mene sakkhet ur-sevah, cha'i.

Your father,

Sarek

P.S. M'aih wishes to add a note.

I will always love you, Spock, and hold you in my heart forever!

Your mother,

Amanda

===============================================

Epilogue 2

Stardate 7415.8

A'Nirih'i, M'aih'i,

I have decided to remain with Starfleet.

No doubt you have heard about the recent events regarding V'Ger. I had an epiphany during this crisis, one that I am still trying to fully understand. I know now that I must forge my own path. (I can hear you even now, Mother, saying, "I told you so!")

I know that serving as science officer on the Enterprise is my best destiny, at least for now.

I wish to discuss this with the two of you as soon as our schedules permit.

Take care. Be well. Be at peace. Know that I am at peace.

Your son,

Spock

THE END

1