Testament: Part 5

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     Sparn felt woefully inadequate for the task—hardly unusual for him, but while previously such feelings had served to stiffen his defensive mask, now he sat at Spock’s table with a sense of humility. Dinner was a near-silent, awkward affair. Keenly aware that he was unwelcome, Sparn found it difficult to eat. He privately wondered what had become of Spock’s wife and two sons, but did not think it appropriate to ask.

     It was a relief when Spock left to answer the phone. Sparn nudged his plate aside and looked at Spock’s beautiful, golden-haired daughter. He found her head bowed, her little mouth trembling. Tears began to stream down her cheeks.

     The sight was so strangely moving that Sparn asked, “Child, what is the matter?”

     She sobbed, “Jamie’s awful sick again. I’m afraid he’s gonna die.”

     Jamie. James Skon? The boy who bore the name of Sparn’s father?

     Sparn said, “This Jamie is your twin, is he not?”

     Teresa nodded. “He’s at the hospital with Mommy.”

    Sparn experienced a fresh stirring of emotion—partly compassion, partly fear. His mission was such a delicate one. He had already delayed telling Spock about his mother. Now how could he tell him when his young son was so ill?

***

     Out in the phone alcove, Spock sat before the blanked screen, his thoughts reeling, his head lowered into his hand. A tightness in his chest made it difficult to breathe, but somehow he must. Somehow he must move beyond Lauren’s wrenching words. “Nothing more can be done. Another week, another month. All we can do is make him comfortable.”

     So soon? How could it be? Most Vash-Lester children would live another seven years…or even more. How could it be?

     The phone gave a sudden, specific chime that signaled an incoming subspace message. Spock lowered his hand, straightened, and did what he could to collect himself. Numbly he called up the message, and an image of his father appeared.

     Sarek seemed tense. “Spock, I am calling in regard to your uncle, Sparn. Records indicate that he is traveling to Earth. I caution you, he has been behaving…erratically. If you should come into contact with him, let me know at once. Sarek out.”

     Spock stared, uncomprehending, at the screen. Sparn behaving erratically? Yes, Sparn was certainly acting out of character, but Sarek had left too much unsaid, and just now Spock had neither the energy nor the desire to concern himself with his uncle. He wanted only to be alone and have a moment to recover.

     He was half out of the chair when the phone chimed yet again. Sinking down, he waited while it cycled to the message mode.

     “Hello, this is Frank Ivers of the Statler Foundation. I was calling to see if your son Simon has returned home yet.” A hesitation. “I need to speak with you regarding an…an incident…at today’s competition.”

     With a sense of impending crisis, Spock opened the channel. The human who appeared on the screen looked relieved but distinctly uncomfortable.

     “Yes, Mr. Ivers,” Spock acknowledged. “Simon is expected home at any moment. How can I help you?”

     Ivers shifted position. “Sir, one of the entrant’s violins was vandalized at Statler Hall before the competition. Although the girl did go onstage using a borrowed instrument, she was badly shaken.” Once more he hesitated. “I’m sorry to say that your son has been implicated.”

     The band around Spock’s chest cinched tighter. “Implicated?”

     After detailing the evidence, Ivers finished, “There will be an investigation. If Simon is found guilty, he will of course forfeit his award.”  

     The screen faded. As if from a great distance, Spock heard the sound of the front door opening.

***

     The terrible shout brought Sparn to his feet. It was an adolescent’s voice, decidedly male, and thick with fury. “No! I won fair and square, but you don’t even care! You don’t give a damn about me!”

     Contrary to customs of Vulcan privacy, Sparn went to the doorway and looked in upon the emotional scene. Spock stood face to face with a handsome, dark-haired youth. Although the boy’s ears were as round as a human’s, the set of his blue eyes left no doubt that he was Spock’s son and Sparn’s own grandnephew Simon.

     “Liar,” Spock spoke so scathingly that Sparn flinched. “Why do you continue to deny the facts? When will you understand? An award won through cheating has no value. It is meaningless. Worst of all, you deliberately harmed another person. The girl’s performance was compromised. It may be that her family cannot afford to buy her a violin as fine as the one you destroyed. Does that mean nothing to you?”

     Simon’s eyes lowered. Stiff with resentment, he said, “Nothing I say would make any difference.”

     “It would mean the difference between the truth and a lie. Or do you no longer know that difference?”

     The boy struggled with himself. Then defiantly he said, “Alright—I did it! Now are you satisfied?”

     Spock stood in stony silence and it was almost as if Sparn could see his nephew’s thoughts, and they were dark indeed. At last Spock said, “You have been blessed with good health and great talent, but I would rather see you lose both than see you damage your character by such thoughtless, self-serving behavior.”

     Simon’s eyes narrowed. “You wish I was sick like James! Sometimes I think he does it just to get attention!”

     Sparn held his breath, wondering how his nephew would react.

     “Is that what you want?” Spock demanded. “Attention? Well, you have drawn more than just my attention this time. You will be stripped of your award, you will apologize to the girl and her parents, and you will give her your finest violin. You will not have another one like it until you have earned the money yourself.”

     Simon’s defiance gave way to pleading. “No, not my good violin! I could never make that much money!”

     Without another word, Spock turned from him and went upstairs.

     Sparn had been too absorbed by the scene to notice Teresa standing white-faced beside him. Now Simon swung around to confront his sister, discovered Sparn, and froze. The boy’s eyes widened as he took in the strong resemblance between Sparn and his father. Then he, too, headed for the stairs.

     After a brief interlude, Spock briefly reappeared and took his daughter to the upper floor. Then, either forgotten or deliberately ignored, Sparn found himself alone in the living room. He sat for a considerable period of time before wandering into the kitchen where he removed the dinner dishes from the table. Returning to the living room, he studied each piece of artwork that was displayed. The tour ended beneath an exquisite portrait of Spock’s wife. It was signed by an artist named Cordova, who had used soft tones that lent a mystical air to the human’s beauty. Would Spock’s wife spend all night at the hospital? Sparn sensed his nephew’s need for her, but knew there was One whom Spock was needing even more. If only Yanash were here. He would know what to do. He would tell Sparn plainly, “Stay, leave, be silent, speak.”

     Sparn remembered the Teacher’s parting words. “Go to him. Go at once.”

     Sparn’s eye rose to the ceiling and he thought of the stars glimmering in the night sky, of distant Vulcan, of Yanash. “Now?” he said aloud. “At once?”

     Silence answered.

     “Not now,” Sparn argued. “It is too soon. And the day has not gone well for him.”

     Not well at all, spoke an inner voice.

     “But he will think I am insane.”

     You are not, came the calm response.

     In a frightening flash of insight, Sparn clearly saw for the first time what was being asked of him. There was only one way to prove his sanity, one way to let Spock see the truth of Yanash for himself. And in that mind-linked seeing, all of Sparn would lay exposed—both the clean and the dirty, and there was so much that had been dirty.

     No man is clean, came the thought. As you would be helped, so help others. What I have done for you, do now also for him.

By M.C. Pehrson

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