The Universe Around Me: A Star Trek Fan-Fiction Story
Universo ao Meu Redor
Tarde, já de manhã cedinho
Quando a nevoa toma conta da cidade
Quem pega no violão
Sou eu, sou eu
Pra cantar a novidade
Quantas lágrimas de orvalho na roseira
Todo mundo tem um canto de tristeza
Graças a Deus, um passarinho
Vem me acompanhar
Cantando b me sinto só
Tão só, tão só
Com o universo ao meu redor
Universe around me
Late, already early morning
When the mist falls over the city
Who plays the guitar
It’s me, it’s me
To sing the news
How many dew tears on the rosebush
Everybody has a song of sadness
Thanks God, a little bird
It joins me
Singing in a low tune
And I already don’t feel so lonely
so lonely, so lonely
With the universe around me
Sarek had not lifted his lyre from its stand for five weeks. When he lifted it now, his fingers left impressions in dust. Everyone knew that his son was a virtuoso on the lyre, but few knew that it was from Sarek that he had inherited his talent With Sarek that he had spent long, rigorous hours learning the precise technicalities of the instrument.
Sarek took a cloth and very carefully and precisely wiped the dust from the surfaces, wondering how much of the dust was composed of cells from his wife’s then-living body. Very little, he knew. Dust was made up of particles of sand, soil, of scattered motes of the house one lived in. But this dust was also, in the smallest amounts, his biological matter and Amanda’s biological matter, mingled and scattered evenly over every surface in the house, silent and resolute in its takeover.
The piano stood in the same room, just as neglected as the lyre – except for the fact that Sarek had never learnt to play that particular instrument. Now he had no one who could teach him.
Untrue. Illogical, in fact. Spock had learnt piano at his mother’s side just as he had learnt the lyre at his father’s side. Spock had progressed to be almost as proficient at the instrument of his mother’s people as he had at the instrument of his father’s. But, illogical as it may be, Sarek could not reconcile himself to the idea of learning from his own son something that he had never learnt from his wife in the decades of opportunity he had been given.
On an impulse unexplained by logic, Sarek took the lyre out into his wife’s rose garden. It was dawn, or to be precise, it was the time just before dawn, when the sky was beginning to tint itself crimson. Low swathes of mist hung over the desert, imparting vital water to the plants before the blazing sun could burn all traces of moisture away.
Amanda’s rose garden was protected by forcefields, but here too the plants were favoured with dew. Sarek had programmed the computers himself, over sixty years ago, and the schedule of dew, rainfall, filtered light, light breezes and nutritional release in the soil had proven so perfect that it had never had to be changed. The roses would continue to thrive, as long as the computer that cared for them continued to thrive. But now there was no one to prune them, Sarek realised with a pang. He had never taken particular notice of how one pruned roses. There was no one to gather bouquets and set them in vases about the house. Computers could keep plants alive, but they could not care for them.
Sarek sat. If he began to ponder on the miracle of a computer keeping a plant alive, he was would start to analyse why a computer, and the skill of Vulcan’s best doctors, could not keep a single human alive. He had discovered in the past five weeks that it was best not to think at all.
He inhaled the damp air into his lungs. Dampness was not good for a Vulcan’s lungs, especially for a Vulcan of his age, but he was giving very little thought to his own longevity at the moment, other than seeing it as a curse. The damp would perhaps not be beneficial to the lyre, either. That seemed to matter more to him than his own health, but provided he took care with the instrument afterwards, a short exposure would not harm it. Inanimate objects were more resilient than living bodies.
Sarek placed the instrument carefully on his knee and began to play. As the strings resonated, he caught sight of rounded, shining droplets of dew shivering together on the rose petals and leaves, coalescing into greater drops that slipped like tears to the floor. They did not even splash on the damp soil, but were immediately absorbed as if they had never been. The tune was an ancient one – the lament of a man who had lost his wife. Amanda had always loved it. Sarek had never imagined that he would play the piece as more than a simple interpreter of the notes.
Above the shimmering forcefield, a t’h’yla bird began to circle, calling for its mate, using the thermal upcurrent from the house to aid its flight. Sarek let his gaze move upward as he played, until he was transfixed by the silhouette of the bird gliding in circles against the translucent sky. There was a redness like flame spreading across the heavens, but he could also see stars glittering far beyond in constellations that had not changed for millennia. Between the bright arms of A’thlya and the cradle of Lan’y’ya he knew that a starship moved, totally invisible to the eye from here. Meaningless in the face of the universe around it but not meaningless to Sarek. He tracked the Enterprise’s progress daily now. It held the only living remnant of his wife, and he would not let it slip from his sight again.
The stars were bright and steady from the thick, transparent window of the Enterprise’s observation lounge. To a soul used to seeing stars through the distortion of atmosphere the sight would be a startling, dazzling one – millions of incandescent beacons blazing silently in the surrounding void. To Spock, who had spent time in space from the year of his eighteenth birthday, the sight was nothing new. But surprisingly, as a man of sixty-one, it still held awe for him.
From here he could see galaxies set in frozen cartwheels amid the blackness of space. He could see dust clouds refracting light from the stars that they obscured and pulsars giving out their steady heartbeats to time the universe. From here he could see both Sol, who shone gently on the planet of his mother’s birth, and Eridani 40 who had blazed over most of her life. From both of those stars his blood was mingled, and now the one firm tie he had to Earth was gone, decaying back into nothing but the elements that had come from that world. Nothing at all. Humans had no katra.
He shook his head. Humans perhaps had no condensed memory bank to pass on or preserve, but they did linger in memories. There must be thousands of people with memories of his mother, not least himself, although his memories of her were – odd, at best. He could not call them fragmentary, as such, but all of his memories from before his time of death and rebirth were faded and indistinct, requiring great concentration if he wish to see them with any clarity. His mother had helped to bring him back from that time. Over the past eight years, she had not ceased to help reconstruct his previous self. He had spent more time with his parents since his rebirth than he had in all the intervening time since he had left home at eighteen. But he would have paid a large amount of money now to be able to see the memories of his previous life with clarity and certainty. He would have given anything to be able to capture the memories that his father held.
Sarek who had touched his mother’s mind, who had loved her with a bone deep, soul deep passion despite Vulcan logic and Vulcan control. Sarek, who had stood by her through all of her human inconsistencies and who had been anchored by her. Her mind would linger in his. It would linger in the books that ranged the walls of the study in their shared home, in the burnished walnut piano that sat in the middle of the room, and in the diaries and letters and scribbled notes that she had left behind. It would linger in the scent of her in her clothes, in the organisation of the kitchen cupboards, in the individual impressions of human toes left in the soles of her shoes. His mother was everywhere, and yet nowhere, visible only by the cut out shape left by the lack of her presence.
And now there was only Sarek. Was the loss of his mother an invitation to become more Vulcan, or to become more human? Again, he shook his head. Illogical to attach motivations to an unavoidable natural occurrence. It was an invitation to nothing. Now, more than ever, he had to choose his own path. Now, more than ever, his destiny was his own to steer as he would. There would be no more gentle guiding hand from behind him, or soft words of logic cloaked in a mother’s emotion.
Spock exhaled and saw his breath form as vapour on the cold window before him. The limits of life stopped at that window. Everything before him was fascination, intrigue ,and deadly, inhospitable science – but the ship at his back held life and warmth. It held the friends who had seen him through almost forty years of his life and who would continue to support him for as long as their paths mingled. It held his home and his family. All except…
His eyes drifted back to the blazing pinpoint of Eridani 40 and the invisible planet that basked in its heat. In his mind he could see Sarek, somewhere in that empty house, looking older than Spock had ever seen him look. His father was a Vulcan, but he was also an old man, and he was more utterly alone that he had been in seventy years. Spock had left him there not long after his mother’s death. He had been duty bound to return to the ship. But soon, he thought. Soon he would gather together some of his accumulated leave, and he would return to his home. He would spend time with his father. He was sure that they would still feel that cut-out emptiness that his mother had left behind. They would still imagine her in another room, or just gone out for a walk. But perhaps, slowly, they could begin to fill that void between them with a relationship of their own.
By Aconitum Napellus
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