Fandom: Star Trek XI (2009)
Character(s): Spock, Sarek
Prompt: Since Spock feels he must be involved in the reconstruction of
a Vulcan homeworld, and is -- by default -- now a Vulcan Elder, how
does he get along with Sarek? After all, he has a completely different
point of view regarding his father than the younger Spock.
Word Count: 1925
Author's Notes: Thanks to Heather, and to Becca for cheerleading.
Summary: It is not logical, and yet it is true.
San Francisco, Earth
"Ambassador Sarek," a quiet voice says. Speaking in Vulcan, Sarek registers even as he turns, with the rustiness of age but no weakness or quavering.
The other's face has the same peculiar familiarity as his voice; Sarek cannot think of the last time he experienced such a feeling of immediate recognition without identification. "Live long and prosper," he replies courteously, lifting his hand in salute, and the other returns the greeting.
Sarek waits for the other to state his business; it is logical, and customary, that the one initiating a conversation indicate its direction. But the stranger only studies him for a long moment, with eyes dark and hooded in a lined face. A human would find that expression utterly unreadable; to Sarek, it is thoughtful, and full of a peculiar control different from the quiet strain that shadows every Vulcan these days. He is too Vulcan to be unsettled by that gaze, but he thinks that if he were human, he would be. An idle thought, and an instant later he's sorry for it; every thought reminds him of Amanda now, and logic is difficult on that subject.
"Forgive me," the other says, at last. "It is good to see you again, Father."
Sarek often chooses to forgo speech; it has been a very long time since he was lost for words entirely.
The other man's brows lift fractionally, an astonishingly open expression of wryness. "I would say that it is strange, but I have the advantage of preparation. Accurate as the statement may be, I must be far stranger to you."
Sarek -- who has just seen Spock walking towards the library, and who is decades younger than this man calling him father -- can only agree. "Whatever tale you bring," he says, with ambassadorial neutrality, hands folded, "it seems logical to judge your assessment correct."
"Indeed," the elder claiming to be his son murmurs, with a voice like Sarek's father Skon used to have, and like Spock's might become. "I have come to you," he says, "because I will dedicate whatever resources I can to Vulcan and her people. And because I am Spock, son of Sarek."
San Francisco, Earth
Sarek had logically concluded that the remaining members of the Vulcan High Council would perform the most central role in determining the location of what had already begun to be called New Vulcan. Vulcan's ancient libraries, with all their treasures of knowledge, were gone forever; still, the collective knowledge of the remaining Vulcans was a formidable archive of its own. Other planets had libraries, as well; Starfleet, in a gesture both logical and deeply appreciated, had elected to open usually classified archives to the Vulcan Council for the purpose, with the understanding that the secrecy of certain materials would remain inviolate. Others, of course, would suggest possible sites, and exhaustively research their suitability; the High Council, nevertheless, would make the final decision for their race.
His predictions, in that sense, have been borne out.
What he had not predicted -- could not have predicted -- is a new addition to the Council. Spock never claims a place, nor any rights not already given to him. He merely is there, offering suggestions and questions with the utmost courtesy, and offering something more: his own experience. Sarek has never believed that the rigor and scope of scientific study in Starfleet could compare with that supported within the Vulcan Science Academy, but he finds he is beginning to question that conclusion. The Vulcan Science Academy is on hiatus indefinitely, with the vast majority of its members dead and the planet of their katras destroyed, and Spock's debriefings on unknown quadrants are flawlessly detailed and scrupulously factual. He knows his way through Starfleet's records and command structure in a way no other Vulcan does, even the ones who have only in this crisis resigned their Starfleet commissions. Spock's place among them is decided, tacitly, the first time T'Pau addresses him with the familiar-to-peer pronoun.
There are wide gaps in his accounting of his own history; there are many things he says only in the weight of words left unspoken.
No Vulcan could contest that. Theirs has ever been a society which respects privacy, and silence. That will not change in exile.
Aboard the V. t'Khel. Passing 61 Cygni, en route to Piscis IV
Starships are not poor places to live, but they require significant adjustments from those accustomed to the less restricted life of the planet-dwelling. This is, Sarek believes, especially true for Vulcans accustomed to the wide clear skies and rusty panoramas of Vulcan. There is little enclosure for a desert people, raised under Vulcan's hot green-gold sun, for whom half an hour's flight would have brought one from even the heart of the great city of Shi'kahr to the burning slopes of Varinheya. But on a spaceship, there is no sky. There are no rock-fountains; the same small chamber must serve as sleeping quarters and meditation room and research study; there is no room to walk except down corridors, all of them walled and roofed and carpeted.
Sarek expected the passengers of this convoy to have difficulty with this. He is, after all, accustomed to such privations as an Ambassador, and in fact finds shpboard life a stimulating exercise in minimalism. But most of the population of Vulcan has never been off-planet; they are a singularly rooted species. Sarek had prepared a number of logical reassurances for those troubled by various aspects of this new experience.
He realizes now that he had forgotten a critical fact: only those Vulcans who ventured off-planet are now alive.
Aboard the V. t'Khel. Near Hikkha'ri asteroid belt, en route to Piscis IV
When he was very young, Spock loved to watch the stars. He would rest one hand on his pet sehlat's head, and stare at the sky until he was reminded to prepare for sleep. Sarek explained the stars' composition to him, sitting cross-legged on the dusty red hillside to be nearer his son's level. He gave Spock age-appropriate lessons in astronomical calculations and stellar geography. When Spock was six point three two years old, Sarek began asking him to calculate how far away a particular star was; as Spock aged, he added in more celestial bodies and other variables. He thought of it as a lesson, and a mutually enjoyable habit. Amanda called it a game.
Amanda pointed at the stars and told Spock stories.
Sarek watches Spock now, this elder who is his son, as Spock stands on the t'Khel's observation deck with his hands clasped behind his back and his lined face turned up to the rippling view of warpspace. He thinks of stories, and a Starfleet career, and astrocartography; he remembers that profile, smaller and younger, turned up at just the same angle.
Aboard the V. t'Khel. Outskirts of Jenghib space, en route to Piscis IV
He receives a communication from his son. This is not unprecedented, but it is rare; he and Spock have not been in the habit of unnecessary communication in some years. However, it is logical that certain rifts should be bridged now.
Father, the letter begins, which is another rarity. He has been Ambassador to his son for years now, as Spock has been Commander to him. Only Amanda rolled her eyes -- such a human gesture -- and refused to accept the distant formality that grew from their different choices.
I trust that you are in good health, and that our people's journey has been as uneventful as is reasonably possible.
I am engaged currently in the ongoing recalibration of the Enterprise's systems following the damage recently sustained. The ship has been cleared for duty, and we are embarked upon our mission, but I believe that further fine-tuning would result in more optimal performance. The Niels-Jorin circuits present a particular challenge, since their integration with Hakkett systems is a delicate matter, as you have observed. Mr. Scott's engineering crew is a competent one, however unorthodox his approach may be upon occasion, and I am confident we will have the difficulty solved in short order.
Long life and prosperity to you.
Sarek reads the letter three times. His trained eidetic memory makes rereading needless; illogically, he does it now anyway.
"Computer," he says at last. "Acknowledge receipt of message." He touches two buttons, and begins his reply.
Aboard the V. t'Khel. Departing Jenghib space, en route to Piscis IV
"There is a tremendous illogic in loss," this elder Spock says, into the silence of the corridor. "In grief. No matter how prepared one's mind might be for an eventuality, the impact remains." It's late in the ship's night.
"You were not prepared," Sarek says, ten point eight seconds later, when their steps have carried them six meters further towards hydroponics.
"No. I was not."
Grief is an emotion. Sarek will not admit to it aloud. But Spock is Amanda's son too; in this moment, Sarek sees that in every line of that mobile face.
He says nothing more.
Piscis IV, Heshiv Base
It is not logical that Sarek should have difficulty quieting his mind in meditation.
He is an adult Vulcan, 93 years old, and well trained in the mental disciplines. His logic has never been seriously compromised. Yes, his wife is dead; yes, his planet has been destroyed; yes, nearly all the rest of his House is dead as well; yes, he finds a thousand things to do every day, and many of them impossible under New Vulcan's current conditions. Yes, he still must set aside occasional moments, within the privacy of his own quarters and his strongest mental shields, to succumb to the childish, emotional self-absorption of grief. But that is a matter for its own time. Logic is most crucial in times of difficulty, and meditation is most crucial to the troubled mind. Sarek is a Vulcan, and not since his youngest childhood has he had difficulty achieving the contemplative state.
It is neither logical nor acceptable that he experience such difficulty now.
It is neither logical nor acceptable, and yet it is true.
Piscis IV, Heshiv Base
"If it would aid in clarifying matters, Father, I would offer to meld our minds."
Sarek finds his left brow rising. He moves his hands behind his back, clasping right fist in left hand: a precise and restrained gesture, and a habitual one. Spock continues to regard him calmly.
"Did you meld with my counterpart?"
"Never." Only a Vulcan could hear the emotion in the exquisite control of that word; it's a strange moment for Sarek to feel proud of his son, even as he controls that emotional response. And others: never. "There came a time, however, when I found I regretted that."
Sarek breathes in, and breathes out. "Regret is an emotion, my son."
Spock inclines his head fractionally, his eyes hooded with gentle irony. "Indeed."
"I would prefer," Sarek says, after one point zero six minutes, "to consider the facts as I currently understand them at greater length before attempting such a clarification. We are under no immediate time pressure. Analysis is frequently most fruitful when conducted in a measured fashion."
"At another time, I would be honored to accept," says Sarek, who is far too Vulcan to tell polite half-truths, to an elder of his dwindled species, and to his son.