Testament: Part 3
Weary and unwashed, Sparn sat alone in his living room. The dim light of a single lamp scarcely held back the darkness of the night. There had been little time for him to assimilate all the disturbing things he had seen and heard this afternoon. He did not understand why he had risked censure by bringing Yanash and his disciples here into his home; why he had fed them and offered his own bedrooms so they could sleep undisturbed.
Only Yanash was not sleeping. The mesmerizing Vulcan had gone off by himself into the back garden, and now Sparn felt a desire to join him. With all his will Sparn resisted the urge, but years of self-centered behavior had weakened his discipline. He felt frightened and bewildered by the strange emptiness inside him that seemed to hunger for Yanash’s presence.
I am a man of many years, he thought, a gray-haired elder of the clan Talek-sen-deen. What words can one so young possibly speak to me?
Yet Sparn’s heart so longed for the words of Yanash that he rose and went out into the yard. T’Khut’s red-amber glow illuminated the neglected garden. As if for the first time, Sparn noticed the dying plants—T’Prinka’s beloved flowers—and was saddened. He found Yanash seated upon a bench with his eyes closed.
“Am I disturbing you?” Sparn quietly asked.
Yanash glanced up and seemed pleased to see him. “Sparn,” he said in a warm tone. “Come sit by me. You are troubled.”
Sparn did not deny it, did not question how it was that Yanash knew. Without a word he sat down in the sand by his feet. There were no words to describe the turmoil in his mind, in his heart.
Yanash began to speak. “If one looks honestly at history, it becomes clear that Vulcans are, by nature, a highly emotional people. Surak taught you to control your emotions; he gave you the Mind Rules; he gave you a system of self-discipline to help regulate your behavior. But Sparn, none of that has really solved the underlying problem.”
“Emotion,” Sparn said confidently. It was an answer known to every Vulcan schoolchild.
Shockingly Yanash said, “No. It is the abuse of emotion and intellect by a misdirected will. It is sin.”
“Sin!” Sparn all but choked on the archaic term. Modern Vulcans spoke of errors, failures, insufficiencies.
Yanash continued. “Vulcans will readily admit that they are ‘ruled by logic’, but are they not actually enslaved by it? The constraints of logic and discipline do not solve the deeper problem of your fallen nature, and in trying to repress the negative, sinful side yourselves, you have stifled the free expression of that which is most precious—joy, compassion, love. Vulcans hide behind prideful masks, often believing themselves to be a superior race, when in fact they are like lost sehlats wandering in the desert of their intellects.”
Sparn was horrified. “Before Surak, we were savages. All we have is the force of our wills. If we set aside the discipline, we are lost!”
“I have come to save what is lost,” Yanash said with unshakable authority.
“How?” Sparn’s voice trembled with emotion. He could not seem to control it or the desperate rush of words that spilled from him. “How can such a people be saved? Beneath the veneer of civilization we are still savages. Every seventh year our true nature breaks through all restraints.”
“The pon farr.” Yanash’s handsome face grew somber. “I tell you, it was not always so. The trouble began when Vulcans gave themselves over to the debaucheries of the Savage Era. In the time of Surak’s Reformation it was soon discovered that no discipline could completely eliminate the debasing urges that would come upon them, for their hormones had become attuned to excesses and drove them like beasts.”
Sparn had to disagree. “Young sir, I have been a teacher of Vulcan history. I have studied the ancient texts with their myths of a Time-Before-Time, when sexual excess was unknown. There is no scientific evidence to support them.”
“If you truly know the ancient texts,” Yanash said, “then you must know that they also speak of me.”
Sparn cast about for some possible reference. “There are those scholars who believe that the Shiav Texts predicted Surak’s rise, but as for you, sir…” His voice trailed away.
Yanash said, “Is it not written by Mokavar that one chosen by God would escape the curse of the Vulcan male? Yet Surak was not exempt from the pon farr. How do you explain that?”
Sparn experienced such acute embarrassment that he actually stammered. “I…I cannot give any explanation, but…begging your pardon, I…I have heard it reported that you…that you…”
“Have escaped the pon farr?” Yanash finished for him. “You have heard correctly.”
Wonderingly, Sparn asked, “But how could it be? Even my brother’s son, who is half human, could not escape it entirely.”
Yanash said, “Since sin entered the world, your souls are born weakened and find it difficult to resist the body’s demands. Only one who is without sin can fully reorder the passions.”
A warm breeze stirred through the garden. Sparn’s vision blurred. Reaching out with both hands, he gripped Yanash by the arm. “In all my years—all my miserable, wasted years I have never heard words such as you speak! What is this power that you hold? My heart is burning inside me!”
Yanash looked upon him with kindness and gently brushed a tear from Sparn’s face. For that fleeting instant of contact, Sparn seemed to glimpse Yanash’s heart, and he shivered at the ecstatic feeling of unconditional love.
“Believe in me,” Yanash said.
“I will,” Sparn vowed. “I do.”
Spock was home a full day before he brought out the photo T’Beth had given him and set it in plain view on his desk. In the next room, twelve-year-old Simon had begun practicing a violin composition in preparation for next week’s Statler competition. While the music was playing, he called Lauren into his study and closed the door.
Standing there, she eyed him with her usual wifely intuition and said, “Okay, what’s happened? Say it quick or I’ll start imagining all kinds of disasters.”
With no further delay he pointed to the picture of T’Beth and child. “Behold my two-year-old granddaughter.”
“What?” Lauren turned and stared at the toddler smiling on T’Beth’s lap. Going over, she picked up the photo and studied the child’s face intently. The golden eyes and hair left little doubt as to her Sy parentage. Softly Lauren said, “So the rumors were true…”
“Yes, at least in some measure. She did not mention a princeling, but the father is Sydok. The child’s name is Bethany. Bethany S’chn T’gai.”
Lauren looked appropriately surprised. “Your surname! Then…the father….”
“T’Beth is unmarried. She has denied the father any part in his child’s life, just as I was once denied access to T’Beth. Ironic, how history repeats itself.”
He told Lauren how he discovered the child and later spent some time with her on Sydok. “Bethany is bright and well-mannered. She had been carefully coached to call me…” he forced out the word “…Grandfather.”
Still holding the picture, Lauren frowned at him. “You seem angry.”
“I am,” he conceded. The thought of T’Beth’s lengthy deception continued to rankle. His visit to Sydok had been brief and awkward. “I plainly informed my daughter that I do not approve of how she has handled the situation. I asked her what she expects me to tell her young sister and brothers. A half-truth? An outright lie?”
Lauren sighed. “What did she say?”
Midway through dinner that evening, Lauren brought the photo to the table. Spock watched his children react to the smiling little stranger seated with T’Beth.
Simon was first to speak. “Who’s that? T’Beth doesn’t have any children.”
James, looking tired from an afternoon at kindergarten, scarcely seemed to care. He asked to be excused and went upstairs, leaving the remainder of his dinner.
His blonde twin Teresa caught hold of the picture and studied it delightedly. “Oh Mommy, Daddy, isn’t she sweet? I want her to be my sister.”
Spock met Lauren’s eyes over the table.
Carefully Lauren said, “Her name is Bethany…and she can’t be your sister, because she’s your niece.”
Simon frowned. “An actual blood niece?”
“Yes,” Spock said.
“What’s a niece?” Teresa asked in confusion.
Simon snapped at her, “It means, stupid, that T’Beth’s had a baby!” Swinging around in his seat, he glared accusingly at Spock. “How come you didn’t tell us?”
Spock stiffened. It would seem that his work on the Klingon Peace Accord and subsequent diplomatic activities had kept him too often away from home. Once again, the boy’s attitude was deteriorating. Very firmly he said, “Young man, do not take that tone with me—or your sister. You were not informed about Bethany because none of us knew.”
“T’Beth kept her a secret,” Lauren added in her gentlest peacemaker voice.
“Why?” Simon persisted. “Is she a bastard or something?”
Spock’s gaze locked with his, and the boy’s eyes narrowed in the first serious challenge to Spock’s authority in years.
“Teresa, go upstairs,” Spock ordered.
Teresa put down the picture and obeyed without further argument. As soon as she was out of earshot, Spock abruptly pushed back his chair and stood. All at once Simon’s bravado failed. Looking decidedly alarmed, the gangly boy lunged away from the table, became entangled in his chair, and fell.
“Get up,” Spock commanded.
“I didn’t mean it, I didn’t mean it,” Simon hastily cried out from the floor.
“I do not believe you,” Spock declared. Reaching down, he caught hold of Simon’s arm and pulled him up.
As Spock maintained his grip, the boy squirmed and said, “Ow! That hurts!”
“Spock,” pleaded Lauren.
Spock knew he was inflicting no injury; nevertheless, he eased his hold. It would not do to bruise the arm of their young violinist before an important competition. He was about to lecture Simon on the appropriate use of language when Teresa rushed back into the kitchen, breathless with urgency.
“Mommy, Daddy, something’s wrong with Jamie!”
Spock glanced at Lauren and saw a reflection of his own fear. Then they were both rushing out the door.
By M.C. Pehrson