Testament: Part 2
Tareel Temple was filled to capacity with a crowd that overflowed into the surrounding parkland. Perhaps some, like Sparn, were only there out of curiosity, but he was disturbed by the hungering look in many of the Vulcan eyes.
Sparn sat with Yanash’s little retinue at the base of the speaker’s platform. An expectant hush fell over the assembly as Yanash walked to the lectern.
“Dear children,” Yanash began, lifting his long arms in an inclusive gesture.
Sparn felt insulted by the peculiar form of address. Many in the audience were far older than Yanash. Why did no one object to being called a child? What was this strange power Yanash held over people? Where did it come from? Sparn could find no explanation in the few facts he knew about the man’s background. It was said that his mother was already pregnant when she bonded with an elderly Vulcan beyond the age of pon farr. Yanash’s education was unremarkable, even lacking, by the highest Vulcan standards. He had worked as a simple computer technician until he came out of the Devil’s Anvil and began teaching—without credentials of any kind. And most extraordinary of all, people listened!
Taking stock of his surroundings, Sparn realized that he was no different from the rest of this crowd. He, too, found himself fascinated by Yanash and his unorthodox teachings, even when they distressed him.
“Surak taught meditation as a path to enlightenment,” Yanash was saying. “You have reduced it to an exercise for soothing your restless minds. Always, in all things, the Vulcan mind is made paramount. I tell you, your minds are full but your souls are empty…because you have forgotten your God and made idols of your own intellect.”
A murmuring rose from the audience. Sparn was too stunned by Yanash’s declaration to react, but the temple priest stepped forward. “You speak of souls. Show me a soul. You speak of a god as if you know him. ” Icily he said, “Surak saved Vulcan through his doctrine of logic. There is no other path for a son of Vulcan. Or do you advocate a return to religious myths and savagery?”
Yanash lifted a hand, finger pointing upward, far beyond the temple’s high ceiling. “What I advocate is a return to the God whom you call The Source.” The finger came down and targeted the emotionless priest. “Or would you deny that your logic has a Source?”
The priest was silent.
“I have not come to cast aside logic,” Yanash said in a gentler tone. “I have not come to abolish the discipline of Surak, but to bring it to perfection.”
“So you claim,” the priest said loudly, so that all could hear, “yet you break Surak’s disciplines. You sit and dine with those of the renegade Golheni sect. You even share their meat.”
Yanash shook his head sadly. “Because you abstain from eating animal flesh, you consider yourselves pure. But there is no food that can defile you; uncleanness arises from a heart that withholds itself, and from a mind made blind by pride and arrogance. You priests are fond of quoting Surak in support of laws and customs he neither devised nor would approve. Out of the coldness of your hearts you divorce your bondmates, but I am telling you that those who have been mind-linked must not be divided. In your arrogance you devised the shul-var to divorce yourselves from your own children, and the heartless outcasting of ktorr-skan. Hear me: to be logical, one need not be cold and cruel.” And shockingly he added, “The Source of all logic is also the Source of love.”
Someone in the audience began to clap like a human. Startled, Sparn heard another join in, openly applauding Yanash.
With narrowed eyes, the priest turned and consulted with his companions. There was a movement in the crowd. A man and woman pressed forward, the man bearing a limp child in his arms. Sparn shrank from the sight of the girl’s unfocussed gaze and the thin line of saliva that oozed from her gaping mouth.
The woman extended her hands to Yanash and called out, “Yanash, son of Surak, look upon our daughter and make her well!”
Sparn rose to his feet and held his breath as Yanash came down from the lectern. He had heard reports of healings and had attributed them to the natural explanations put forth by the media. Now, perhaps he would see a so-called “wonder” for himself.
Yanash looked upon the child with compassion. “How long has she been like this?”
“Two years, seven months,” the father answered. “She fell from a balcony and the subsequent injury to her brain resists all treatment.”
“I beg of you,” the woman pleaded.
“You have much love for her,” Yanash said far too warmly for a Vulcan. Reaching out, he touched the girl’s smooth dark hair—not to establish mental contact, but in a brief caress.
Immediately the child moved. The arms and legs that had hung lifeless began to struggle, and her father set her on her feet. Sparn gasped as the child stood erect and turned intelligent eyes to her mother.
“Mekina,” the child spoke clearly. Mother.
A great stir arose from the spectators. Others came forward with mental and physical maladies, and Yanash sent them away in apparent health.
The priest raised his voice again. “No Vulcan can heal in this manner, with a simple touch of the hand. By what method do you perform these acts?”
Yanash faced his accuser with calm authority. “You have said rightly; there is no Vulcan power that heals in this manner. But why do you question me? Have I caused pain or injury? Or have I relieved it? All that is good originates from the same Source, who is God.”
“What do you know of The Source!” scoffed the priest. “By what authority do you dare to teach? Show us your qualifications!”
“The Source is not some vast indifferent power, as you assert,” replied Yanash. “It is said that Vulcans embrace technicality, but here is a simplicity that some minds will find shocking: you have an immortal soul and a God who loves you. That which I teach comes from Him.”
A shout arose from the back of the temple. “Renegade!”
Other voices took up the cry. “Renegade! Arrest him!”
Sparn nervously glanced around and saw several strong, determined Vulcans heading their way. With a stirring of fear he turned back to the speaker’s platform. Yanash was gone.
“He has escaped!” the priest shouted. “Find him!”
Sorel appeared at Sparn’s side and tugged on his arm. “This way—hurry.”
Sparn accompanied the young man without argument
The weeklong session of the Sy-Don Council passed without incident and ended on a note of compromise that Spock found encouraging. For the first time in centuries, the two planets were co-existing in peace. As he made his way out of the government building, he thought back on the small roles he and T’Beth had played in originally securing the historic peace. Then, he had been proud of her accomplishments and it had seemed as if they had finally reached a point of mutual trust. But now he wondered if he had ever really known her.
Not once during the conference had T’Beth approached him. Though they occupied the same seating section, she had avoided his eyes and kept strictly to herself after-hours. Their estrangement pained him, but it was her years of dishonesty that pained him most of all.
Walking along, he entered a breezeway where mist from nearby fountains cooled and moistened the desert air. He quickened his pace, wanting only to collect his belongings from the diplomat’s residence and depart at once for Earth.
Without missing a stride he consulted his wrist phone and opened a line. “Ensign Murphy?”
The response was satisfactorily prompt. “Aye, sir.”
As Spock drew a breath, his eyes lit on a solitary figure in Starfleet uniform standing near a fountain. With a bitter sting of recognition, he stopped in his tracks. T’Beth started to move toward him.
“Stand by,” he told Murphy and closed the line.
Slowly but steadily, T’Beth approached until they were within speaking distance. Eyes brimming, she said, “You’re leaving, aren’t you? Going home.”
“Yes,” he replied.
“You were supposed to come to Sydok—it was all arranged.”
“I have been there.” A tightening in Spock’s throat made the words sound harsh. “I saw no indication from you that I am welcome back.”
Tears overflowed her eyes and splashed onto her uniform. Moving closer, she grabbed him by the sleeve and he let himself be drawn into a secluded corner. Still clutching him, she spoke softly, quickly. “I’m glad you found out. I’m glad it’s finally over. Her name is Bethany. She’s two years old and I want her to know you.”
“You have a peculiar way of showing it,” Spock observed.
“I’ve wanted to tell you—from even before she was born—a hundred thousand times…”
“You did not trust me.”
“I was ashamed,” she confessed. “I didn’t want you to think that I’d…”
Spock broke her grip on his sleeve. “You lied.”
“No, I didn’t,” she argued. “I didn’t tell you about her, but I never lied to you—not even once.”
On more than one occasion Spock had shaved the truth in just such a manner. From this new painful perspective, it no longer seemed like truth at all.
Releasing a deep breath, he asked, “Where is the child now?”
T’Beth’s face lit with hope. Wiping at her tears, she said, “At home…waiting to meet her grandfather.”
Spock briefly considered before putting the call through. “Ensign Murphy, prepare the courier for two passengers. Reset course…for Donari.”
By M.C. Pehrson