Spock's Pilgrimage Continues here
"Later I will stand before the full Council of Daughters. If necessary, I will stand before T’Pau herself. For now I act." He touched some of the nodules in quick succession, and where his fingers moved, flames rose in their wake. Each had a distinctive color, and each grew taller with every passing second. Spock’s fingers moved through the intricate combination of the lock between the space of one breath and the next. Yet, he nearly collapsed from the weakness that seized him as his mind sought to attune itself to these external forces.
Sarek’s hands on his shoulders steadied him, keeping him from falling into the flames that he commanded. Father raised son to his feet and still the column of colored flames grew, twining into a pillar of flame that stretched up and up until it licked at the chosen panel of the geodesic dome. Half the light was reflected back down into the wheerr from that panel. It shafted straight and true, illuminating the lone chair of the wheerr in a white light that waxed gradually brighter until neither Vulcan could bear to look at it save in a squint.
The jewel-like crystals that decorated that chair sparkled with deep fires, seeming to draw energy from the beam of light that was a mixture of just the right wavelengths applied at just the right angle. When it seemed that the intense light must certainly melt the chair to slag, the beam vanished, snuffed out by an automatic feedback mechanism. Simultaneously, they heard a click.
Spock slumped back on the floor beside the Flame Keys, too exhausted to move. But this time the weakness passed quickly. There was no external drain upon him. Sarek recovered the Keys. "Where is this Hidden Door?" He helped Spock struggle to his feet.
"Under the chair. Where else?" He circled the top of the crystal, putting out a hand to the rope barrier that protected it. The chair was as it had always been, solidly affixed to the dais that raised it high enough for the chair’s occupant to see down into the crystal. Spock walked up the first two steps, Seized the arms of the chair and pushed. The chair and the next step slid backward revealing stairs leading down.
As he walked down those steps, light came on below, a soft reddish light. Sarek followed. How often he’d sat in that chair, and never suspected what lay just beneath! Here was a series of interconnecting chambers . . . a veritable laboratory . . . filled with the stuff of legends. Weapons said to have made Top of World great at the expense of creating The Living Dead; mirrors to peer into future or past; Do-Pass gates for testing the truths told by those accused of crimes; Memory Eggs lofted on pedestals said to comprise the earliest computers; Power Taps and focusing devices; communicating devices, and at least a hundred items unrecognizable even to Sarek’s inherited memory.
Spock went familiarly about the room, not betraying by a single pause the memories evoked by every piece of equipment left askew or out of place on that last day of Suvil’s life. This room had not been visited since then. None would dare. There was nothing that could be done by these things that could not be done cheaper by the purely mechanical sciences.
He found the cabinet where Suvil had stored the Blender he had made for Sarek and Spock. It was still there, ready and waiting. Spock took the slab of transparent, orange substance and placed it on a pedestal at eye level.
"Long ago, before Top of World rose to unite us, do you remember, Father?"
"I visited a world like that during my last tour of duty. They were Vulcanoid, and their world was far richer in the Crystals of Thought than is our own. They never discovered, or forgot, the physical sciences we now use. They used the dze-ut’, and they practiced . . . __xholzurd__." The word he used was pre-Reform but not forgotten. It was an atrocity so unknown in modern times that the term had become an obscenity. Mind control, or the control of other people’s minds.
"My reactions to that world were . . . illogical, and quite severe. I say this to prepare you for some of what you may find in me. Later, after it was over, I found my peace with those people. The important thing to remember, while among them, is that we too have elected to pay a price to accomplish certain things."
"The kraith sciences are an integral part of the Forgotten Sciences. We did not in fact choose a wholly different road after all. We brought with us from that darkness certain items which we believed we could not live without. The kraith itself, for example. The Idlomputt, the Flame Sphere, the guesting flame—the whole host of related devices, and the utsulan itself. But in each case we crippled ourselves by passing down only that part of the underlying theory that would be necessary to operate the devices for __one__ __purpose__ __only__."
"And you are going to operate the utsulan for another purpose."
"Because I now believe I have the whole theory behind its functioning."
"Do you understand what you are doing?"
"The results will be my judge."
"We cannot afford to lose Beom—or you either, for that matter."
"I can guarantee that the utsulan will not be damaged, depleted perhaps, but not irretrievably damaged. And you will take that part of me which is all the legacy I have to give, and you will be far away from here when I bring up the energies stored here."
Sarek was silent. Spock knew he was remembering Suvil’s twisted and blackened corpse lying beside what was left of T’Olne.
"Come, Father. If we are to join the Traditions we carry, let us begin. Then you will understand what I am doing and why. You will have to mesh very carefully with me before trying the meld. Grandfather did not allow for me being on Pilgrimage at this time."
"Tell me if I hurt you . . ." He opened his mind, trying to pick up the essential rhythm of Spock’s brain emissions. There were very very few of the kataytikhe who were good enough to mesh with a Pilgrim in this particular way. After the first few seconds, Spock signalled a halt. "I felt that. It will be quicker to use a diffraction screen. Over here."
Spock picked up one of the large carboys from under the work bench and examined the clear fluid contents. It still looked good to his trained eye, so he up-ended the huge bottle over a tap-spout and drew some of the clear, colorless fluid into a flat pan. Then he took a loop of wire from a peg over the bench and dipped it in the fluid. On the second try, it came away bearing a thin film of rainbows. He held the loop between him and his father. "You know how to use one of these?"
"Of course. Hold it still."
The first three times he tried the mesh, Sarek broke the film, but the fourth time the rainbows shimmered to colorlessness without parting the film. "A simple device, but effective."
"Now," said Spock, "we will meld through the Blender. At first you will consciously perceive my most recent memories, then the Blending will penetrate to the unconscious level. You will receive all that Suvil gave me, but you will have to provide the call-lock keys yourself. Ready?"
Sarek positioned himself opposite Spock, looking through the clear orange slab of the Blender. As he reached for that meld, hairline cracks appeared in the blending screen. Their fingertips met, separated only by centimeters of orange. The cracks radiated from those contact points, but the screen held. Suvil had wrought well.
Spock felt Sarek’s initial touch with a little thrill of alarm that had become a conditioned reflex during his Pilgrimage. But this time, the touch was not accompanied by that unbearable draining away of vitality. The meld built itself on the solid base of meshed patterns. In effect, Sarek joined Spock’s Pilgrimage, deftly avoiding the sorely wounded areas of his brain. The skills of his father opened before Spock vistas of learning, skills and knowledge developed by the fathers and passed only to the grandsons who did not study the Forgotten Sciences.
But their purpose was not to pass Sarek’s memory to Spock, rather to imprint Spock’s memory on Sarek’s brain. The vistas closed under Spock’s feet, and Sarek delved deeper into his son’s memories.
Spock felt his father stiffen under the impact of the dze-ut’ memories despite being forewarned. The older man bore the shock unflinchingly for the few seconds it took to pass through the experience.
What proved to be their undoing came from an unexpected quarter. As they neared the end of the dze-ut’ sequence and the glowstones discharged their energy on the __Enterprise__’s transporter pads, it was T’Aniyeh’s face that captured Spock’s attention. The immediacy of Kirk’s danger, which had roused Spock from the depths of incipient plak tow, now receded to nothing under the rip-currents of that last, final Severance. Kirk’s injury from the affair had been minor, T’Aniyeh’s had been fatal.
Momentarily, Spock fought down the rising anguish of those last few hours. He had thought to skip that episode and spare his father the strain of what would be to him an alien experience. There were elements, he had to admit to himself, in his relationship with T’Aniyeh that were not strictly Vulcan. It had taken a half-human Lythian woman to show him that, and he was forever grateful to Amy for it. But that oddly mixed Vulcan and human pain was too much for the Pilgrim.
The thin membrane of the improperly executed Severance ripped open, plunging father and son alike into a seething cauldron of white-hot emotions. Half of him cringed, shrinking away from that scalding morass while the other half faced it squarely. The odd thing was that it was a mixed half that found the fortitude to confront that Severance, a half composed partly of Spock and partly of Sarek, as was the half that retreated.
Some far, detached portion of Spock’s mind knew a wild gratification—Sarek too knew both fear and courage within one body. Father and son retreated together, lending each other strength, and stood shoulder to shoulder facing the illogical terror of the un-monitored Severance.
At the moment when each thought their death had commenced, the Severance broke, plunging
them both into darkness. Their linkage remained, like hands clasped across an abyss, and they stumbled together through uncharted paths of the mind. The Blender intervened then, joining the depths of their minds while raising their consciousnesses above the bottomless sea.
Slowly, sight and hearing returned. Then, gradually, the Blender disintegrated between their fingers, leaving nothing but a ridge of fine, abrasive dust on the pedestal. Their fingers met briefly before they pulled apart, once more separate consciousnesses.
Spock dusted his hands off over the pedestal. "My apologies. That was unintentional."
"Nevertheless, it is well. I understand now why T’Uriamne could not help you with this."
"You have helped . . . somewhat."
"Not enough . . ."
"There is no time now. You have what you came for. I suggest you leave while I complete the arrangements."
About to question what arrangements Spock intended to complete here, Sarek realized he __knew__ the answer . . . and he wasn’t at all content with that knowledge. "Spock . . ."
"My Captain is in danger. Whatever other reasons I may have for acting thus, that alone would be sufficient."
Before Sarek could frame a protest, he __knew__ how futile such an attempt to dissuade his son would be. If he did not act thusly, he could not face himself as a Vulcan . . . or, indeed, as a human, ever again. At this point, Spock had nothing else to live __for__.
Sarek turned and climbed the narrow stair leading up to the wheerr. Spock watched him go, then turned toward an archway leading deeper into the maze of the repository. This wasn’t the only repository in the Beom utsulan, but it was the largest. The others contained the records which other families wished to safeguard against accidental loss by death of those carrying the Living Memory. Sinzu had the master-index computer capable of retrieving that data, but the only index to the Forgotten Sciences rested here, within this almost forgotten room.
Spock strode the length of a long, down-trending corridor and entered the room at the end of it. It was like stepping from a thousand years in the past to a thousand years in the future. Wherever the walls weren’t covered with viewscreens, they were banked with controls. It was a room as modern and functional as the __Enterprise__ bridge. He seated himself at the control board and activated the readout screens. In moments, he was scanning tapes at his maximum reading speed, entering search problems into the mechanism, and concentrating the searchlight intensity of his mind upon the problem of rescuing Kirk.
It would require projecting his body into the other universe, retrieving Kirk, and then returning the both of them to this continuum. He had the power. Now he required the focusing mechanism. It was the lack of such a focusing mechanism that had always caused the living beings in the circuit to be killed, and he was not going to construct a dze-ut’ until he knew he could make it safe to operate. The transporters had, upon occasion, been known to tap into other universes. He’d had occasion to write papers on space-stresses and inter-phase phenomena. Now he would use all of that theory plus the full, comprehensive theory of the Forgotten Sciences to control level-transport with the same degree of pinpoint focus the ordinary transporters delivered.
Undoubtedly, it was possible. Commodore Spock had done it. Commander Spock would do as well. The really difficult part would be in convincing the Beom Attendants to enter the wheerr and construct the dze-ut’. Spock knew that he alone couldn’t do the job in time. At the very least it would be another twenty hours until he was ready to do.
There would be no time to waste explaining. He would have to use rexath repeatedly, despite his own distaste for it.
NORTH END MONUMENT
Spock materialized on the parched valley floor. The sun was just rising behind the distant hills. It lent an odd effect to the already eerie landscape—enough light to see clearly yet stars piercing the sky above.
He looked down at his feet and was oddly unsurprised to see that he’d mis-calculated. His clothing had not come with him, nor had a shift in his co-ordinates provided him with native clothing. He realized he hadn’t given the matter sufficient consideration. He’d been primarily concerned with the transport of the Idlomputt.
The skull-and-crossbones-guarded device lay between his bare feet flickering steadily. His mind was lightly touching the field, and he could feel its pulsing rhythm change ever so slightly. Kirk was nearby.
That thought, more than the idea of being exposed to the merciless desert sun, galvanized him to action. He picked up the firepot and began walking. He had come in not far from Kirk, no more than a kilometer. The Idlomputt would lead him the rest of the way. But, Spock realized, he needed no such guide. He’d come to the North End Park, just above the lapping waters of Dakainya lake. Before him lay the twisted wind sculptures of North End, and beyond them, the ruins of Dakainya’s utsulan.
As he approached that edifice, Spock realized it was indeed a ruin. There was nothing left of the uprights that should rise perpendicular from each surface of the pyramid. There was no trace of the lines that should be strung fro, those uprights to support the resounders. And of the resounders, Spock found only traces of powder at the base of the pyramid. The glass-slag coating of the utsulan was cracked and powdered away in many places. The Wheerr was englobed only by a twisted framework of girders which might once have been a geodesic dome. At the corner where the door should have been Spock found a gaping maw open to the wind, rain, and any stray animal that passed by. There was no trace of the intricate, air-lock type mechanism.
As the sun rose higher into the slowly reddening sky, Spock looked around for a crevice in which to secrete the Idlomputt. He found what he was looking for on the side of a wind sculpture away from the utsulan. The sun was just probing into a long, narrow hole between tumbled rocks. It was big enough to accommodate the Idlomputt.
He bent to insert the device in its hiding place. It was then that he saw it. A tiny blue stalk just struggling to lift its head above the ground, a few crumbs of dirt clinging to the arch of its stem. As the sun hit it, it seemed to shrink back into the ground again, dormant until nightfall.
Carefully, Spock placed the Idlomputt into the crevice and pulled a loose piece of wind-weed over the opening to conceal the flame’s light—not that it was very bright, but it would be noticeable. He didn’t have to worry about it’s being visible after dark. He’d be out of here by nightfall, or he’d be dead. He hadn’t expected such a time-limit either.
He turned from the innocent plant and moved into the cool darkness of the utsulan. Some archeologist had strung eternal lamps along the ceiling. They were dim compared to the rising sun, but they would suffice.
Spock ghosted along the familiar corridor layout, bare foot feeling carefully along the cold stone. Every few steps he paused to take a bearing on the low-voiced conversation he heard in some distant chamber. The acoustics of the utsulan structure had been drastically changed by its gutting. He couldn’t quite tell where the speakers were, but there was no doubt in his mind as to who they were. He concentrated on following that thread of sound up and up through the maze of corridors stripped bare. The lighting was playing out now. Apparently the archeologists who had strung the lights had never ventured into these ways. He was moving blind with nothing but his sense of direction to guide him. He knew he was on one of the access-portal stairs. But somehow the voices mysteriously grew louder, though by the echo-quality, they were obviously not in the access gallery that must be at the top of the stair.
He was puzzled by this until be came out at the top and drew aside the drape that masked the crystal-access portal. __The__ __crystal__ __was__ __gone__.
At the core of the utsulan where the gigantic main crystal was housed, there was a gaping hole, an enormous empty shaft. The voices he’d been following boomed out from below, from the bottom of that shaft. Spock let the drape fall back into place and then carefully lifted one corner of the material.
The people below had some regulation field lanterns shedding a blue-white light on the scene. He could make out the dark holes of other access portals around the empty shaft, some of which still had drapes, some not.
At the bottom of the shaft a rude structure of boards closed off the anti-wheer’s portal where the main crystal had protruded into that lower chamber. Twisting his head, Spock could just make out a similar plug closing the top of the shaft. The hypothetical archeologists must have deemed those mysterious holes safety hazards.
Spock turned his attention to the two beings below him. One was obviously Commodore Spock, and the other, just as obviously was Jim Kirk. But was it his own Jim Kirk? Spock concentrated on what they were saying, trying to penetrate the booming echo.
"You’ve kept me here almost two days. Just what are you planning to do?"
"I do not understand why you are so insistent upon returning to that untenable situation. There is nothing there for you. Here you can take your rightful place in the family. I offer you full Name Rights among the sons of Aivahnya. We are few at Top of World, and our wealth is great. What more could you desire?"
"I thought I explained that I __have__ full Name Rights . . ."
"But in a lesser family as you admitted. I do not fully understand all the differences between that universe and this, but it is plain that the sons of Thtis, Lyad and Fainz splintered the heritage again and again until there is little left of the glory you command here."
"As I understand it, and realize I’ve only just begun to study these matters, in my home
universe, the rule of Top of World was one of the bloodiest reigns of terror ever instigated on any world. The early rulers dabbled in psi-weaponry of awesome power, sacrificing the lives of those who operated the weapons as well as those at whom the weapons were aimed. Later, they outlawed that line of research, but it didn’t change anything essential—they started a technological arms race that nearly ended in extinction for them all."
"We safely passed that point hundreds of years ago. Top of World is secure and a bastion of peace over All-Vulcan."
"By virtue of the iron fist!"
"No. By virtue of the parted hand." Spock held up his right hand in the Vulcan salute. "Wherever Top of World holds sway, the parted hand symbolizes the peace of mutual respect."
"And who taught that peace here?"
"A man named Surak. He taught that strength of one kind must respect the strength of a different kind without trying to destroy it."
"Is that all he taught?"
"No. He was a great philosopher, a builder who despised destruction as waste. His books are many as are his buildings. Yet I was given to understand that your Surak was somewhat different."
"His greatest joy lay in the combination of differences. It is sometimes said that he was responsible for the ending of Top of World, though that is disputed."
"Here he is credited with saving Top of World, with rebuilding it, in fact. There is no killing here. It is a good place to live and work."
"I can’t stay. I haven’t completed my training."
"There are those here who can teach you to guard yourself. The sons of Aivahnya may not be kataytikhe here, but they are not all psi-null."
"But you __are__ psi-null. You are not __my__ Spock. There are differences."
"To combine to create Joy, not so?"
"The differences between one Spock and another cannot combine unless they meet."
High up in the gallery, Spock raised one appreciative brow. That was __his__ Kirk refusing to be distracted.
"I must admit that I would like to meet him. I would like to learn all about him."
"He’s not all that different from you. His loyalties are to different things, but apparently just as strong. He’s had to fight all his life for those things most people take for granted. He’s won most of those battles."
"Does he play chess?"
"But you beat him, usually?"
"Not usually, occasionally. He’s convinced chess is a game of logic."
"No. Strategy. And that’s logical only against logical opponents with known motives."
"Ah. I see. And you know his motives?"
"Not hardly. I used to think so, but . . ."
". . . he’s unpredictable?"
"No. Not really. If you have all the facts he does, you can usually see what he’s going to do. It’s just that he generally has more facts than anybody else, plus an incredible number of side-conditions he has to satisfy."
"Well . . . take the matter of my adoption. I thought, at first, that it was supposed to be a symbolic sort of thing. Oh, we were friends, good friends, and I’d become, well, a piece of the furniture around D’R’hiset. But Sarek had the idea that a full, formal adoption would demonstrate to Vulcans that humans aren’t so bad and to Earth-humans that Vulcans aren’t really so cold. The political ramifications were incredible! And I have to admit the idea appealed to me for many reasons."
"But . . . ?"
"Well, now I’m pretty sure the whole thing was Spock’s idea and the reason was that he expected that latent telepathic bump to develop. Only his schemes are always too intricately layered, I’m never sure I’ve gotten to the main reason for anything he does."
"Can’t trust him . . . ?"
"Oh, I trust him absolutely. Whatever he does, it generally comes out well enough. But I’m never sure if the visible results are the ones he considered __important__, if you follow me?"
"Sounds like you’re describing my sister."
Kirk sat up a bit straighter, gathering his knees closer. "Sister? You have a sister?"
"You know her well?"
"Of course. She’s my staunchest ally. If it hadn’t been for her intervention, Shariel, my grandfather, might have had me killed at birth for being defective."
Kirk gave a low whistle that roared through the empty shaft.
"I take it the situation is different on your side?"
"T’Uriamne distrusts Spock’s motives and judgment."
"And she doesn’t welcome you?"
"No, she doesn’t."
"You might find that you like my sister very much. She liked our Kirk well enough to consider his proposal of marriage with great favor."
"Unfortunately, they never reached koon-ut-kali-fee. Do they practice that rite on your side?"
"Y-yes. But not the Daughters?!"
"Unclear. Not women?"
"No. Women of course, but not the Daughters of the Tradition. The females of the kataytikh families, of the descendants of Dokamral’nor, are sterile."
"Huuu!" The indrawn breath wasn’t quite a gasp. It was comprehension. "Do you by any chance know the genetic code patterns of the kataytikhe?"
"No, I don’t. Why?"
"It could explain a lot . . . about me. But that is irrelevant. T’Uriamne is marriageable. Shariel has wanted her to marry into a distant and powerful mountain clan. But with a Jim Kirk once more available, I’m sure he could be persuaded to alter that plan. You have a home waiting for you. Come with me."
"I’m not leaving this spot."
Spock had started to rise. He sat down again, plainly exasperated. His Kirk had always been interested in women even at risk of his life. "You are being illogical. There is no food or water here. There is no temperature control, no humidity control—at home there are all the amenities of civilization. __All__ the amenities. Why stay here?"
"I’m not going to stay for long. I __am__ going home."
At that point, in the upper gallery where he eavesdropped, Spock realized that Kirk had known all along that he was listening. He’d felt the Idlomputt and figured it must mean rescue was at hand. Only as yet, Spock had no plan save physically overpowering the other Spock and taking Kirk home. His alter-self would, no doubt, be evenly matched with him and would also be disinclined to fight.
Below, Spock said, "Look, Captain, I don’t want to rush your decision. Nor do I wish to abduct you by force . . ."
"You’ve already done that."
"A rescue is not an abduction."
"It is if you don’t want to be rescued."
A faint smile played at the corners of Spock’s mouth. "You __are__ Jim Kirk. In some ways,
even better than the original. I don’t have to describe to you what pon farr can be like."
Kirk frowned measuringly at Spock "You’re not . . ."
"No. But tomorrow there will be many who will be. It is not a good time to travel, nor is it polite to arrive for guesting too late in the day."
Realization stole over Kirk incredibly. "A __world__-__wide__ Blooming?"
"Not quite world-wide. But the whole northern continent at the very least. It would be best to be home before then."
Kirk’s face fell into grave lines. He passed a hand over his face, considering. This Spock wouldn’t lie about a Blooming. Or would he? "I suppose then you are pretty anxious to get home."
Spock rose and walked away from their small impromptu camp. He aimed a tricorder this way and that, scanning the walls. When he returned to the rock he’d been sitting on, he propped one foot on it and leaned his elbow on his knee, letting the tricorder dangle. "There is no place for subterfuge between us. I could claim that I was quite desperate to get home in time. You would come, wouldn’t you?"
"Because you wouldn’t leave without me?"
"You know I wouldn’t."
"Well, I wouldn’t care to stay here under those conditions!"
"But those are not the conditions that prevail. Even the Blooming does not affect me. I wish to get home to avoid the effect it has on others, as well as to be courteous, but no other reason motivates me."
Kirk sat, stunned. "The Daughters . . ."
"Yes. A fascinating aberration. Fascinating. There will be time to study it later. Will you come now?"
"Spock . . . I . . . I . . . no, I can’t stay with you. Do you know what the kraith of adoption is?"
"Kraith? No never heard the term . . . unless . . . perhaps you mean the kreth, a kind of cup used in certain ancient rituals."
"The kraith is a kind of cup, but its use is no empty ritual. It’s a device which can be used to create a kind of mindmeld among large groups of people. It can be used as a sort of semantic-bridge where ordinary language would fail utterly to convey nuances of meaning."
"Impossible. No living mind could endure meld with more than one other mind at a time."
"Oh, it’s dangerous all right, and it’s never used lightly. Spock, I made a commitment under the influence of the kraith of adoption. My Vulcan’s culture, tsaichrani, is slowly but inevitably being destroyed by the Federation’s cultures. Almost everybody sees it happening, but they can’t agree on what to __do__ about it. My adoption was part of a plan concocted by Sarek and Spock which would keep the destruction of tsaichrani from becoming the extinction of the Vulcan species. I made a personal commitment to the success of that plan because I don’t want to see my __friends__’ family ripped apart by the collapse of tsaichrani."
"From what you’ve told me, it’s not a culture that deserves to survive . . ."
"But the __people__ deserve the best lives they can build. And, quite frankly, the Federation needs Vulcan very much. After taking the kraith of adoption, I could see both sides of this struggle. There’s both right and wrong on each side. My job is to bring the __rights__ on each side together in mutual respect. It seems to be a job uniquely suited to my talents. I fit into that niche, and I’m . . . well, not exactly comfortable, but at least content. It’s useful work, __my__ work, and I intend to do it well. My commitment is to the kataytikh Spock, to the First Realm tradition of my family, to tsaichrani, and to myself as an integral part of all that."
"I do not see the logic in that. What can you do for them?"
"There are things that must be done which a kataytikh and a Guardian cannot do, but they must be done in the name of our family. I hold Name Rights, but I’m no Guardian. Nor am I of the Daughters. It is a peculiar position, but one of great potential power. Twenty years from now, the reputation that I am to build may be all that stands between Vulcan and destruction. If I must . . . __hurt__ you to build that reputation, then prepare yourself for great pain. __I__ __cannot__ stay here."
Behind the shield of drapery, Spock allowed himself a grim smile compounded of pride, irony, and a peculiar wry humor. It was Kirk at his impassioned greatest. The speech put him in mind of the exhortations the Captain had rained down upon the heads of the Yangs and Coms. Jim Kirk blended the most formidable human traits with the most admirable Vulcan ones and somehow remained so totally __human__ that he commanded respect for his entire species even from a Vulcan. Spock’s own reaction was closer to awe than anything he’d ever experienced.
For the first time since the theft of the Kraith2, Spock felt a loosening of the hard tension that had been the only strength he’d found with which to meet the sudden responsibilities thrust upon him. It had been a responsibility far too great for him, and now Jim Kirk had reached up a hand to bear some of that load. Spock was grateful beyond words. It flooded through him, propelling an involuntary __reaching__ for contact with Kirk’s mind. __Thank__ __you__, __Jim__. __Just__ __stall__ __a__ __little__ __longer__, __and__ __I’ll__ __get__ __you__ __out__ __of__ __this__.
The weakness that closed in then was a thousand times greater than he’d ever experienced before. The human’s mind was so far out of tune with his basic pattern that virtually all his vital energy flowed outward leaving him gasping for breath on the cold stone floor.
Below, Kirk stiffened. The nightmare was starting again, only this time he was well in control of himself. By some miracle, his own Spock had arrived, bringing the Idlomputt with him. Kirk did not question that good fortune, but he was deeply shocked that his disappearance had induced a Pilgrim to divert from his Pilgrimage. With all the firm skill that Soled had taught him, Kirk grasped the Idlomputt field, wrapping it about himself as a sort of mental deflector-shield. That should have sliced off that deadly contact as if it had never been.
Only Kirk didn’t realize that Spock had used his kataytikh training to key himself into Kirk’s Idlomputt-pattern. With the device effectively welding them into that unwanted rapport, Spock grew weaker and weaker.
In desperation, Kirk struck out at the tenuous bond between Spock and the Idlomputt . . . a karate chop of a blow, savage and precise. __This__ __Idlomputt__ __is__ __mine__. __Desist__!
To his immense surprise, it worked. Spock dropped away, and the field closed over the wound where he had been. Kirk found himself truly isolated for the first time since he’d felt the Idlomputt field which heralded Spock’s arrival. It was a panic-inducing sensation, yet he dared not crack that barrier to see if Spock had survived. Another such contact would surely kill his brother.
Commodore Spock put aside his tricorder. "Is something wrong?"
"Oh! No, no, just thought I was going . . . going to sneeze." To prove his point, Kirk produced a disaster of a sneeze. Then he apologized, "Must be the dust."
"The air at Top of World is crisp and clear. Let us go home."
Kirk rose, circled the box he’d been sitting on, and turned back to this Spock as if seriously considering accepting. "Tell me, how did you come to acquire Commodore’s rank?"
"No, tell me. My Spock would find the administrative tedium a waste of his time."
"Oh, it is that. But it was necessary to the prosecution of my plan that I become the highest ranking officer at Vulcan Starbase."
"Commodore? We station a full Admiral at Vulcan."
"Here, perhaps, Vulcan’s political importance to the Federation may be somewhat less."
"It’s still a prime target of the Romulans . . . an infiltration point that must be heavily garrisoned."
"Romulans? Why should they infiltrate Vulcan?"
"Hmmm. Maybe the situation here is different. But what plan is it you’re engaged in?"
"Why, rescuing you, of course."
"You mean you gave up your position as a Science Officer to rescue me?"
"Oh. Negative. I was a Captain at the time I learned of your plight. It wasn’t very long after . . . after my Jim Kirk had been killed."
"Just how are you going to explain me? I mean, people don’t come back from the dead very often, do they?"
"Do not the humans of your universe have the phenomenon of twins?"
They continued talking, Kirk stalling for time, while above, Commander Spock slowly recovered. He raised himself on shaking arms, stood, and marshaled his strength. He made no further attempt to touch the Idlomputt field, but after assuring himself that Kirk was still below, he retreated along the tunnel.
At ground level, he picked up the wheerr tunnel and climbed once more to the top of the pyramid. The tunnel opened out onto the unprotected top of the pyramid. The polished tile floor was chipped and weather-marred. The center of the wheerr floor was boarded over with slabs of siding such as archeologists would use to construct temporary buildings. On this planking sat a small, civilian aircar, vents open to prevent pressure build-up under the desert sun.
Spock threw only one glance skyward where the twisted, rotten girders of the geodesic dome rose around the wheerr like some grotesque calix. It appeared that the wheerr had been destroyed by an explosion of some sort, but he wasted no effort imagining what had caused the explosion. He went straight to the aircar.
His swift eye gleaned much information about this Vulcan from that cursory inspection. The doors __and__ the ignition were Key operated, though the machine was of Vulcan manufacture. The upholstery was overly soft, promoting bad posture. The controls were laid out with labels as if the driver was not expected to be able to remember his left hand from his right. The computer was much too elaborate for such a craft. And the motor was far more powerful than any aircar could ever need.
However, the doors were unlocked, and he wasted no time systematically rifling the contents of the storage compartments. There was a belted over-tunic and cloak in the colors of Lyad. They were garments such as might have been suitable for holding court at Top of World. He slipped them on. __A__ __bit__ __short__. __Probably__ __brought__ __for__ __Jim__.
In the end, he came away with two prizes, a weapon and a vital piece of the aircar’s generator. The generator’s field-slicer he hid among some rubble . . . not too deep to be found, yet not likely to be dug out too quickly either. The weapon was also of Vulcan manufacture, according to its blazon. That fact gave Spock considerable pause until he remembered the impending __continent__-__wide__ Blooming. These people didn’t live on the edge of extinction.
Still barefooted, he padded down the long corridor to ground level, and then wondered how they had gotten __into__ the crystal chamber at ground level. A ladder from the lowest gallery? No, they must have used the control-rod’s access portal. Normally, that too was filled solid, but this installation had completely crumbled, and it was probably wide open.
He followed the outer corridor lit by the eternal lights strung throughout these lower ways, mindful of the occasional animal droppings. The corner chamber where usually the floor and ceiling would be filled with cone-shaped energizers held nothing but a few piles of pulverized colored glass. On the far side of that chamber, he found the low tunnel which had held the connecting links with the main crystal. It was empty now, and its far end gleamed with blue light.
Carefully, Spock made his way through that tunnel, weapon at the ready. He knew that what he carried was a one-setting piece of civilian ordnance and that it was set to kill. A clumsy tool at the very best. He couldn’t imagine what his counterpart was doing with it. He didn’t want to imagine.
He came out on the scene at the bottom of the crystal’s shaft. It was much as he’d left it. The Spock was seated while Kirk paced, saying, "So your people recognize the importance of happiness? Do you realize that I couldn’t possibly be happy here?"
"If that is so, then obviously you couldn’t be happy there, either. But it is not so. All the ingredients of a productive and enjoyable life have been assembled for you. You will see."
"How did you know I haven’t got a girl over there?"
"If so, then her counterpart lives here as well."
"Not true! You’ve admitted that T’Aniyeh and T’Rruel are alive here. They’re dead there. Your Kirk is dead, but I live."
The Spock was silent to that for a long time. Then he said, "I can see in you the results of that other Vulcan’s training. It is beautiful."
"Stick to the subject. What if I had a girl?"
"You don’t stick to the subject; why should I?"
"You usually do, to the subject of going home, anyway."
"Then let’s go home."
"How do you know I don’t want to go back to my girl?"
Commodore Spock leaned forward, elbows on knees, hands dangling between legs. "Because, Jim, the only woman who will ever satisfy you lives here. The more I learn of you, the more I can see of how much you’ll please her, and she you. Won’t you come home and meet her? If, after a time, you still want so much to go back, I will send you back."
"You mean that?"
"It won’t take you long to realize this is your real home."
Kirk whirled on him. "And what will it take to make you realize I don’t __want__ this to be my real home!"
"With a human, ‘want’ is an ephemeral thing at best. There, your Name Rights will bring you only a heavy responsibility, and possibly a great deal of loneliness and grief. The Rights I offer you will bring fullness to your life. Nobody lives to make __our__ existence difficult."
"You want to adopt me into your family, and __then__ you want me to marry your sister?"
"Naturally. Is there any other way?"
"Isn’t that rather . . . incestuous?"
"With us, full Name Rights adoption always precedes marriage."
"Oh. Well, that explains it."
Spock surveyed the ground between him and his rival. Evidently, like much of the rest of the utsulan’s instrumentation, the main crystal had not been removed . . . it had disintegrated. Spock allowed himself a moment to imagine what could have caused a main-crystal to disintegrate. His mind shuddered away from the very idea. But his eye could not fail to see the result. The flooring between him and the Commodore was littered with sharp fragments of broken crystal—thousands of tiny knives.
The two occupants of the cavity that had housed the crystal were wearing boots. But Spock was still barefoot. It would be necessary to cross that space . . . noiselessly . . . and disable his opponent. He didn’t want to threaten to use the civilian phaser he held. That Spock might call his bluff, and he might have to use it. He knew he would if he had to, but he wanted to avoid that situation.
The Spock was seated with his back to the entrance. Kirk faced him, and thus also faced the shadows where Spock lurked. If Kirk could keep him occupied long enough, Spock thought he could cross the ten yards of intervening crushed crystal and get a good pinch-grip on his opponent.
To this end, he took one step out into the open, just far enough so Kirk could see him. He held up the phaser, motioned that it had no adjustments, then signed that he would attempt a pinch if Kirk could keep the other occupied long enough.
Without appearing to notice anything going on behind the other’s back, Kirk took up his cue. "Tell me, if I should, by some improbable happenstance, fall in love with T’Uriamne, would I have to stand for koon-ut-kali-fi?"
"There is no other form of marriage."
"But if she should challenge . . ."
"Then you would fight for her. But why should she challenge? If she agreed one day, why would she change her mind on another?"
"Well, human women do that."
"Vulcans don’t. Not here."
Kirk increased his pacing, scuffing his boots loudly to mask any chance sound Spock might make. "Well, I’m glad to know that."
"Then you’ll come home now? The sun is lowering in the sky already."
"How can you tell? It’s so dark in here."
"Time passes none the less.
"Yes. Time. Lots of time must have passed since anyone came here. What is this place, anyway?"
"Have they not such ruins on your Vulcan? I was certain they did."
"Perhaps, but what is it a ruin of?"
"That is what many scholars would like to know. The library computer at Top of World can certainly supply all the data on the subject. Perhaps you can add some bits of knowledge to the guesses. Wouldn’t you like that?"
"No. I would like to go home to my own place."
"And I always thought my Kirk was a stubborn man. I . . ." At that moment, Spock reached out his right hand toward the Commodore’s left shoulder while Kirk pretended to sight a bird flying from gallery to gallery. "Spock! What’s that?"
He ought to have known better. Ignoring Kirk’s distraction, the Commodore twisted from under the descending hand and spun around to face his attacker . . . and stopped frozen. The robes, native to his eyes, fooled him for a brief instant. But then he said, "So, finally."
The two Spocks confronted each other, one armed, the other not. The Commander said, "He will come with me. You will remain here until we’ve gone. Then you may go home."
"I doubt that. You’ve disabled the flyer."
"It shouldn’t take you long to correct the slight fault. You can be home before nightfall. Jim! Come."
"No!" cried Spock. "He stays!" And he threw himself toward the armed man.
At that moment, Kirk, who had been circling bearer, leapt between the two Spocks, catching the Commodore’s shoulders to hold him away from Spock’s phaser. Spock, whose hand had already been tightening on the weapon, deflected the beam skyward, ripping a hole in the distant ceiling-planks. A shower of debris dusted downward, coating all three men with fine powder.
"STOP IT, YOU TWO!" Kirk’s voice boomed through the chamber. "I won’t have it, do you hear me?"
Simultaneously, the two Spocks muttered, "How could we avoid it?" They looked at one another over Kirk’s shoulder. He turned and placed one hand on each chest, pressing them apart. "If either one of you injures the other, I will go with the injured one!"
They thought this over, but it was the Commodore who answered, "And if we injure each other simultaneously?"
"Then I won’t speak to either of you ever again!"
Kirk glared his stubbornest glare. Each Spock recognized that look. Kirk meant what he said.
Kirk saw Spock’s hand loosen on the phaser. The Commander said, "There must be a logical solution to this dilemma."
"There is no dilemma. He is staying."
"Have you calculated the results on the continua?"
"Most assiduously. He is staying."
"He does not desire to stay."
"He does not know what he desires."
"But you do?"
"I know this world, and I know this man. They fit together."
"He is leaving with me. Now."
"No." Thoughts chased themselves across the Commodore’s face as he seized on a new aspect of the situation. "Why did you steal those garments?"
"I did not steal, by the ethics of my own culture. You cannot begrudge me the use of them, and I shall return them before I leave. I am as entitled to these colors as you are . . . ah! I see. I will not allow you to detain us here until sundown."
"You will not leave here alive with Jim Kirk."
"Gentlemen!" cried Kirk in despair. They desisted, but neither moved. Kirk raked his own Spock with a penetrating glance he wouldn’t have known how to throw just a few months before. Reassured, he said, "The question will be resolved well before sundown. But it will not involve injury to either of you. Is that clear?"
Eye-to-eye, the two Spocks chorused, "Affirmative, Captain."
"Now, perhaps we can work out a little compromise. Suppose you each have a seat while we talk this over, eh?"
It took a little doing, but Kirk managed to get them both seated, and felt reasonably safe as long as he was in the middle. "The elements of a compromise," he began, "exist here in abundance."
"I don’t see that," said the Commodore.
"That’s because you lack certain facts. Spock, have you seen any evidence of the Blooming that is supposed to commence this evening?"
"Yes, the plant I saw seemed large and quite vigorous."
"There, you see? This Vulcan has something tsaichrani wants, and tsaichrani has something this Vulcan wants. Is that not the basic situation of a bargain?"
The Commodore said, "I don’t follow that."
"Captain, what do you have in mind?"
"If I stay here for a few weeks and prepare a shipment of bulbs for transfer home,
tsaichrani would profit, and the Commodore would have basically what he wants, a chance to convince me to stay."
"But what if he does convince you?"
"Well, what if he does? Would you begrudge me a chance at some hypothetical happiness even greater than what I’ve got already?"
Spock’s face hardened. "If that were what you really wanted, wanted enough to violate every oath . . ."
"I admit it’s not likely, Spock, but I’m human. Perhaps if I don’t have a look-see for myself, I’ll always wonder if maybe there might be something here I really wanted."
"But even if," said the Commodore, "you decide to go back, we are to pay with bulbs of the Blooms?"
Spock nodded. "It does sound like an unreasonably high price. And there is no way to tell if it would be of any value to us. These Blooms may be immune to the plague, but more likely they’ve just never encountered it. The latest theory was that it was from offworld."
"Plague? Ah, I see now."
"Further, we have no way to guarantee your delivery of both the Blooms and the Captain."
"You can stay with him and oversee the whole procedure."
"I cannot stay here."
"You can have T’Pring. I have no need of her."
Spock did not dignify that with a reply.
"She would be glad to have you. There is no other for her, here."
Spock ignored that so thoroughly it was as if the other had not spoken at all. Kirk said, "Ahem! The local Emily Post seems to be as different as the local Surak. I can see you two are not in a bargaining mood."
That earned Kirk two icy stares. He hastened to add, "Not that Vulcans have moods, you understand, just a figure of speech." Kirk’s eye fell on Spock’s bare feet. "You’re bleeding!"
"Not seriously. There’s a good doctor at Beom."
"Beom!" Commodore Spock seized on that. "So, that was where I saw you! __You__ know all about these things." His hand swept out in an arc that included the entire ruined edifice around them.
"Negative," answered Spock. "My world has retained a few fragmented records which my family has studied for several generations. Some thousands of years ago, all trace of the underlying theory of the operation of the utsulan was eradicated."
"Utsulan. Yes, that was what you called it. I saw it. It was functional."
Spock remembered that moment of vertigo as he approached Beom. Certain things began to make sense to him now, but . . . "You could not use the knowledge we’ve pieced together. Even those who had a complete theory of these sciences found them too dangerous to use. There are, in general, better ways to accomplish most purposes."
"But," put in Kirk, "there certainly must be some knowledge that one of you has which could be traded to make an equitable bargain."
"We have not the time to explore the entire range of knowledge stored in Memory Beta," said Spock.
Kirk felt sweat begin to gather on his upper lip. He was sure he could bring the two Spocks into some sort of agreement if he had enough time . . . but time was just what he lacked. "Let’s review the situation," he said, pacing a short arc between the two seated men.
"An admirable suggestion," said the Commodore.
The Commander donned a patient expression.
"Name Rights," said Kirk swinging around to face the Commodore. It felt strange to deal with a Spock who out-ranked him, and even stranger because the Commodore treated him as if __he__ were an Admiral on vacation. "Name Rights," he repeated. "Just what does that imply?"
"Here," said the Commodore, "one attains Name Rights in the family holdings upon proof of having achieved a mature level of judgment."
"And how does one prove that?"
"The heads of the family determine what tests to apply and when to grant full franchise."
"So how did I pass tests I’ve never taken?"
"Our Kirk passed every test, and your behavior matches his in every important regard. I have here the records of my observations of you over the last several years. You have but to present them to receive your credentials."
"How can you guarantee the decisions of other people?" asked Kirk.
"I know Shariel and T’Uriamne very well."
"All right. Let’s assume that I’ve been granted Name Rights here. That gives me the power to make commitments on behalf of the family, right?"
"True. And the family on your behalf."
"And, presumably," said Kirk, "you hold Name Rights as well."
"This power," Kirk continued thoughtfully, "is granted only by mutually consenting adults. I suppose it does happen that a child refuses to grant such rights over himself to his natural parents."
"Of course. It is a grave responsibility. One must trust that it will not be abused."
"There is no recourse if it is abused?"
"Little effective recourse, true. Withdrawing the Name after it’s been violated is useful only in avoiding further violations." He hastened to add, "This is mere legal technicality. It has never happened in our family."
"Do all families here grant Name Rights?" asked Kirk.
"Yes, naturally. How else would one choose those necessary to act in one’s behalf?"
"You mean in all matters, legal, financial, and moral?" Kirk wasn’t sure what he was pursuing, but he was hot on the scent of something.
The Commodore nodded. "It takes a full-time expert to administer a large estate to the greatest possible profit. It takes a lifetime of dedicated training to amass skill at determining the most just course of action. It takes professional application to keep up with the latest developments in scientific fields in order to choose the proper expert from whom to solicit opinions. No one person could possibly acquire all the skills necessary to make all the required decisions. You cannot trust someone who is merely hired, and you cannot make these decisions yourself. You must have Name Rights exchange, you must have family."
"Now that may be one big difference between here and home," said Kirk, turning to Commander Spock. "Here the kataytikhe never became the focal point of cultural stability. Surak didn’t lay down the foundations of the Legions. So the families have taken over some of the functions normally performed by Legionary sub-units. ‘Name Rights’ means something quite different here."
Spock nodded comprehension, intrigued despite the rapidly dwindling time left to them. He spoke to his counterpart directly. "With us, Name Rights are largely intangibles. Acknowledging a connection in name indicates that one shares a closer set of values. Strangers, ideally, should be able to judge one’s character by one’s choice of Name. In practice, though, the trend is toward maintaining hereditary ties as a matter of course and offering one’s Legion-status as character credential."
"The Legions," explained Kirk, "are vast organizations of individuals who share many traits in common. They aren’t just trade-unions of guilds of people who work at the same jobs. And they aren’t exactly armies, either. There are Legions which draw their membership from many other Legions, crossing lines to gather people who think and believe alike. Their sub-orders have this reciprocal responsibility you attach to Name Rights in a family. So you see, you’ve made a big mistake. You weren’t rescuing me from any sort of abuse. ‘Name Rights’ doesn’t mean the same thing here as there. ‘Family’ doesn’t mean the same thing. I’m not being denied anything. I’m being offered everything I can earn, and that’s the way I want it."
Commodore Spock pondered carefully before answering. "But here you can have wealth, power, and even love at a much lesser cost."
"He who seeks power for its own sake deserves what he gets," said Kirk, unknowingly giving his own Spock a surge of pride.
"Apparently," said Commander Spock, "wealth is regarded differently here. I think you should realize that for us, material wealth is a liability. The only worthwhile asset is knowledge."
"Is it so among humans as well?"
"Oh, no," said Kirk, "quite the opposite in fact. I’m not at all sure that I grasp the real essence of Surak’s position on the nature of assets and liabilities. But I must admit I’ve always found myself at a loss to understand people whose sole ambition was to get rich—to amass more money than they could possibly need, and to do nothing with it except force other people to cater to their whims."
"Then," said Commander Spock, "you are well on your way to understanding the precepts of liabilities. Material wealth, expressed in the abstract tokenism of money, is worthless unless employed to create further wealth. However, money is a very complex tool. Yet to fail to administer what one owns is the same as failing to properly cage a wild and dangerous beast one keeps as pet. Among us, a gift of money is considered an insult, just as you would not give a cruelly barbed slave’s collar to a friend."
"Or," said Kirk, thoughtfully, "like giving a Regulan Blood Worm to a Schillian, an animal so dangerous it would be bound to kill him sooner or later?"
"Exactly," said Commander Spock. "So you see, Commodore, you have not chosen your Kirk wisely."
"No," said the Commodore. "I do not see that. We, too, acknowledge the responsibility toward one’s possessions, but . . ."
At that point, he was interrupted by a rending screech and a shower of pulverized board and splinters. They ducked out of the descending cloud and squinted upwards at the planking that closed off the wheerr’s floor.
A shaft of sunlight came through the enlarged hole to dazzle them, but they could all make out the corner of the aircar’s chassis enlarging the hole Spock’s wild phaser bolt had made.
"What started that . . ." said the Commodore.
"I heard another car landing just as . . ." said the Commander.
"T’Uriamne!" yelled the Commodore over his shoulder as he raced headlong for the tunnel.
"Come on!" said Kirk and followed, for the moment forgetting Spock’s bare feet.
For that moment, Spock, too, forgot his feet. "To the left, S’chames!" he called as he loped after the Captain. But as Kirk emerged from the tunnel into the cone room, he followed the Commodore’s echoing footsteps to the right and upwards. "She may be in trouble!" he threw back over his shoulder.
Pausing a moment to brush shards of crystal from his soles, Spock looked after Kirk unaware of the forlorn consternation that limned his face under the eternal lights, and totally unaware of the convulsive swallow that bobbed his prominent Adam’s apple up and down as he (once again) watched Kirk sprint pell mell into danger . . . instead of sensibly __away__ from it.
Hoping the open cuts on his feet wouldn’t pick up any exotic parasites, he ran to catch up with Kirk. But Kirk’s Vulcan conditioning let him keep the lead until they both emerged onto the wheerr floor.
A second and smaller aircar had indeed landed beside the first. Only a corner of it rested on the slatting covering the hole. But that much extra weight, coupled with the weakening Spock’s phaser bolt had accomplished, served to buckle the planking. It had been the corner of that aircar they had seen from below. The vehicle was tilted at a dangerous angle, and it appeared to be slipping gradually deeper into the hole as the planking cracked under it. The other car too was now sliding down into the lowest part of the sagging floor.
The occupant of the second car had unlatched the door—which consisted in this ultra-compact model of simply raising the entire front of the vehicle—but couldn’t crawl out without tilting the car deeper into the hole, and herself stepping on the part of the planking that was cracking.
The Commodore called, "T’Uriamne, that won’t work. Use the emergency exit!"
She released another lever, moving her hand with exaggerated caution and freezing at each renewed snapping of the platform. Atop the car, another hatch appeared, but in flipping open, it set the car to sliding again.
Commander Spock called, "Adjust center of gravity!"
She threw her body into the rear seat, and that stopped the sudden slide—but now she couldn’t move to raise herself through the trap door without sending the tiny aircar through the growing hole beneath it.
Kirk said, "Can’t she start the engine and raise the car?"
"Won’t start at that angle. Safety feature," said the Commodore.
"Domestic manufacture?" asked the Commander curiously.
"Yes. Not supposed to be driven off the controlled lanes."
"Your T’Uriamne is not so different from mine, it appears," answered the Commander, though silently he was quite certain his half-sister would never __have__ such a dangerous car, let alone get herself into such a fix. But courage of a sorts they shared.
"Will you help me save her from herself?" asked the Commodore. "Truce for the moment?"
Spock eyed the angle of the sun. "She is . . . sister to you?"
"I would not deprive you of both Kirk and sister. Let us go."
With one accord, the two Spocks turned and ducked down the stairs into the gloom once again. The Commander walked behind, filled with memories of a moment when he had stood in Guardian Council, the victor in Argument, looking up into T’Uriamne’s face as she prepared to descend and exchange places with him. He had wanted to offer the hand of kinship, but before he could move to do so, she had rejected him and all he stood for, with nothing more strenuous than a flick of the eyelids. How he had wanted that filial acknowledgement from her!
The Commodore had that, apparently, and more. It was well that he should keep it. Perhaps, one day, when he’d won his Argument with his own T’Uriamne, she would call him brother as well.
While the two Spocks descended, Kirk stood agape watching their backs recede. His mind had been so busy with the problem of how to save the woman that he hadn’t heard what they’d said, except to note that they hadn’t advanced any plan of action.
It seemed to him that they had both abandoned her to her own devices, and though that didn’t make sense to him, he didn’t have time to think about it. The air car was slipping again as renewed cracking echoed off the walls far below.
Grabbing up a few heavy pieces of debris from the pile under which Spock had hidden the slicer from the Commodore’s vehicle, Kirk rushed around to the rear of the midget car. The rear wheels of the undercarriage were already tilted too far off the stones to be chocked by his junk. He climbed up on the rear of the car, adding his own weight to T’Uriamne’s.
It helped to balance the vehicle away from the hole, but the wheels still weren’t on the ground. The chassis was seated on the edge of the hole like the pivot point of a seesaw, but there was more weight forward of that point—__probably__, thought Kirk, __the__ __power__ __plant__.
It would be good, thought Kirk, if he could somehow add the weight of the debris to the back end of the car, but there was nowhere to lay or attach it. __The__ __back__ __seat__!
Carefully, Kirk extended himself and shinnied up the sloping back of the car until he was nearing the roof hatch. If the car went down now, he’d surely go with it!
The planking groaned as if preparing to do just that. "T’Uriamne! Catch this stuff, and I’ll bring more. It will load down the rear of the car and help balance it as you climb out."
"It won’t work, Jim. Unless you’re already a ghost, you’d better get off of there!"
"I’m no ghost, damnit, but catch this!" After some difficulty he managed to get the piece of heavy detritus into the car, and having no choice, she caught it and placed it as far back as she could get it. But their motions had precipitated another slide. Now the car was tilted so dangerously Kirk was afraid his climbing off to get more weights would send it sliding down into that hole.
Just then, clattering and calling directions to one another, the two Spocks re-emerged onto the wheerr floor. They were maneuvering two huge pieces of planking they’d ripped up from the lower floor’s hole. Kirk never did learn exactly how they’d gotten the large pieces of board around some of those narrow corners—but years later, Spock unbent enough to mention that he’d learned a number of interesting Vulcanir profanities during that climb, the languages being similar.
In the moment of seeing Kirk clinging to the back of the midget car, though, both Spocks dropped the boards and yelled, "Captain, no!" in perfect unison.
The Commodore said, "The risk to one of you is enough."
The Commander said, "Jim, get off . . ."
The Commodore said, "As your superior officer, I order you to get off of there!"
"No. The whole thing will go down! You’ll have no aircar to get home with! Get over here and help me. Bring some of that ballast junk over here. I’ll climb up and help her out."
Torn between running to tear Kirk off the precarious perch, and staying to help ram the boards under the front of the still slipping car, the Commander yelled, "We need your weight to help balance the boards and lift the car—it’s heavier on the front end than you think, Captain. Look at the way those boards sag!"
"If I get off, it’s going to go down!"
Spock took another careful squint at the situation. "Negative. You can just make it, but you must move NOW!"
"I’m going up, Spock. Get over here!"
The Commodore found his voice. "T’Uriamne, say something. Convince him. Jim, don’t do it. The co-efficient of friction on this material is . . ."
"That won’t work," said the Commander. And simultaneously, Kirk started to climb reaching his hand for T’Uriamne’s. "T’Uriamne, jump for it. We can both get clear before it falls through. Take my hand."
"Jim, I don’t want my life at the cost of yours. Get off!"
"No! We can do it. Together!"
"You’re not a ghost! You’re you."
"Yes, just as mortal as ever. Get moving!"
The Commander could see the lovely features of the woman’s face tighten over the decision. As she was about to move, he yelled, "Stop! I invoke the Warder-Liege Compact under the Kraith of Adoption. On my responsibility as your Liege, I order you to slide down off the back of that aircar, __now__, and get over here to help us before it’s too late. __Now__, __move__!"
For one horrible moment, the Commander thought his brother was going to ignore the most invincible oath ever taken. But then, with a wild, anguished snarl, Kirk did back down off that car, and then he sprinted for all he was worth to put his full back into ramming those boards under the front of the car and levering it back into place. And it did take the full weight of all three of them to do it.
As soon as the car was near enough level, T’Uriamne scrambled into the front seat, and without even closing the front canopy, took off. The sudden shift in the balanced forces broke one more piece of planking—and with a hollow bouncing crash, the Commodore’s car went down into the utsulan chamber, smashing most of his delicate translevelling equipment.
As that was happening, T’Uriamne landed her midget squarely on the stone flooring with precise, delicate movements, earning a nod of genuine appreciation from the Commander while the Commodore looked down after his car.
She climbed out to stand beside her vehicle, as cool and poised in her knife-pleated, ankle length robes as if holding court at Top of World. "I must thank all three of you." Her eye traveled from her brother to the barefoot copy of her brother, to Kirk, and rested there, penetratingly.
The Vulcans, by common consent, took the space of five deep, slow breaths to compose themselves. Her gaze continued to analyze Kirk as the two Spocks watched her. And, at length, she said, "Mortal, yes, but not my Captain Kirk. Still, there is much that ought now to pass between us. You will accompany me, for the holiday, to D’R’hiset."
"It is not meet," said the Commander, "to initiate our relationship on a negative, T’Uriamne, but it seems unavoidable. Neither of us can stay for the holiday."
She shifted that slow, solemn, but infinitely observant gaze to the Commander. "Ah. And you cannot return, either."
Kirk, unable to take his eyes from the hauntingly __different__ T’Uriamne he had but glimpsed before—in furs, no less!—said, "We had decided to leave, but couldn’t abandon you to such a fall. I . . . I’m glad you weren’t hurt."
Again, with the exaggerated poise that betrayed the shock still stirring within her, she turned her gaze once more on Kirk. "I know. You are. You . . . always . . . are. And so am I."
Kirk was caught by her eyes, but with part of his mind he was still trying to visualize her in furs. Something about looking at her felt comfortable to him. He’d never seen a woman quite like her before. Never.
Behind him, the Commander said, "So perhaps now you see what I meant, your not having chosen your Kirk wisely. He is well on his way to understanding the precepts of liabilities, but he is much, much too . . . um, the English word is ‘modest’ . . . you grasp my meaning? He undervalues his own life, and as a result still tends to take enormous risks, foolhardy risks, when other avenues are available. All of his other virtues tend only to magnify this flaw—as you just observed, he does evaluate, decide, and act with total reliance on his own judgment, even when he’s wrong, as long as the only risks are run by himself alone, or at least in the vanguard."
"My Kirk was possessed of the same characteristic."
"And," added T’Uriamne, "it cost him his life."
"Indeed. I could not stop him short of humiliating him."
"But you will note, my brother, that his own Spock did stop him." She turned to Kirk. "I do not understand what he said that so decided your action, but I perceive only the highest honor in it. You were not humiliated?"
"Exasperated, perhaps. But in a situation like that, it is necessary to co-operate. Somebody has to give in. It all turned out well enough. You can use the midget’s radio to call for another car. You’ll be home before sundown, and so will we."
Eying the way Kirk and T’Uriamne studied each other, the Commodore said, "Don’t you want to get to know her a little better?"
"No," said T’Uriamne, "he doesn’t. That would only make it harder, later. He does not belong here. With us."
"I __knew__ your appearance today would upset my plan."
"It is entirely conceivable," said the Commander, "that there is a Kirk who really __does__ need rescue from a Spock who does not understand his peculiar requirements."
"Then it’s good bye," said Kirk, still feeding his eyes on T’Uriamne’s features.
"I hope," said the Commodore, "that in your universe, random factors favor your success in a long and fruitful association. Take care of him well, Spock. You won’t know true loneliness until he’s gone from you."
Then, as if unwilling to watch them depart the Commodore turned his sister toward the midget aircar. "This is the last time you are going to drive one of these!"
"I choose my own cars, Spock, and I drive them when and where I choose."
Kirk and Spock backed out of the family argument and ducked down the stairs. On one of the dark landings, Kirk said, "Well, I guess you’re glad they don’t always agree."
"Contrary, S’chames. I wish Spock the full gladness of life. If, for him, that means always agreeing with T’Uriamne, then let it be so."
For the remainder of the descent, Kirk let silence envelope them. But once more under the open sky, Kirk took a deep breath of the ultra-dry desert air. "And I thought Dakainya was a desert! This place is depressing. Let’s go home, Spock."
"I left the Idlomputt over here," said Spock, leading the way. Half way to the rock formation, Spock turned to favor Kirk with a measuring look. "Are you quite sure you are ready to go home?"
"Yes. Nice place to visit . . . I just hope he finds the right person, someone who’d be happy here."
"You said you wanted to see for yourself . . ."
"I know what I said. I meant it . . . then. How do we get home?" Kirk paced off along the direction Spock had been leading while Spock hung back, thinking. Examining the outcropping of rock, Kirk found the crevice and knelt to extract the Idlomputt, hands reaching for it as if recovering the family’s crown jewels—not that Vulcan had any crowns, thought Kirk.
As he reached into the recess, Kirk saw the arched stems just appearing through the sands. There was a big one, and five little ones near it, their budding heads still buried in the sand. The afternoon sun had moved to cast shadow on them, and they were pushing upwards through the soil already bursting with life. "Spock, I’m taking these Blooms home with us."
"Captain, you can’t. I used a different system than his to get here. I arrived with nothing but the Idlomputt. That came with me because I was attuned to it. We can’t take anything back with us.
"That hasn’t been proven experimentally, has it?"
"And the Blooms are living things. Clothes aren’t living. The Idlomputt might be a sort of quasi-life, right?"
"Well, what harm in trying to take the Blooms back? I think I owe Soled something, and a gift to Siyr would seem appropriate. These six ought to suffice, don’t you think?"
"One doesn’t touch the Blooms. They are not possessions."
Kirk twisted around to squint up at Spock, a stark silhouette limned by the setting sun against the angry red sky. "Is that an order? Are you still on Pilgrimage?"
"I . . ." In mid-sentence, Spock seemed to discover new data un-noticed until now.
"Are you still holding the Warder-Liege Compact between us?"
"No. I’m not sure . . ." There was fatigue now in Spock’s voice. "Right now I just want to go home."
"I’m going to try to take the Blooms. If it doesn’t work, what harm can be done? Out here in the desert, what good can they do? This world has rich and frequent Bloomings. That may account for many of their differences."
"I am in rexath."
"Too complicated to explain now, Captain. It means that I am responsible for your decision, regardless of other prevailing circumstances."
"You were willing to consider a trade of the Blooms."
"No. Of the dormant bulbs, not the Blooms."
Kirk squatted on his heels, hands hanging down between his knees, and looked at the rising buds. "Which is worse, touching a Bloom, or failing to avert the Linger Death?"
"Perhaps we can avoid both. What must be done in order to return to Beom might . . . accidentally. . . transport the bulbs and Blooms as well, provided your hypothesis of living things is correct."
"All right. How do we do it?"
"The Idlomputt is the key, Captain. That’s why I had to bring it. It’s twin resides in the wheerr at Beom, at the nexus of power of a dze-ut’."
Kirk sprang to his feet and faced his friend, mouth hanging open in a most un-Captainly expression. As the implications of that statement sank in, he brought one hand up to knead his jaw back into place. "Then the dze-ut’ is not supposed to be modulated around human operators?"
"Correct. The living brain is a poor substitute for the proper component of the circuit, but even so, the entire procedure is far too costly. The Commodore has a better approach, and I shall write a complete report on it when we’ve completed our business at Beom. Shall we go?"
"By all means."
"It will be necessary for you to drop into phase with the Idlomputt on the deepest levels you’ve been able to tap. This one was constructed for you without much attention to Binding Functions, but it still has capacity far beyond your ability to reach . . . yet. I am going to show you how to form a link between the two devices . . . they are not identical, you know."
"No, they’re mirror images, right?"
"Crudely put, but essentially accurate. You will use this one to activate the other. When activated simultaneously, they will be attracted to one another. Since the other is firmly grounded to the Beom utsulan, this one and all in phase with it will be pulled back to Beom."
"You and I, we can’t mindmeld. It almost killed you a few hours ago."
"I’m not sure exactly what will happen when I attempt to meld with you to show you how to operate the Idlomputt. But it’s the only way to get home, so we must do it."
"If you’re willing, I’m willing. What do I do?"
"Leave the Idlomputt where it is. That will include the Blooms in the field, provided they can be affected by the field. Then simply proceed to activate the device."
Kirk squatted down in front of the crevice again. The fading light made the throbbing Idlomputt flame seem brighter. It cast a reddish glow that included the Blooms. It wasn’t until many months later that Kirk learned just how dangerous those buds were to Spock at that moment, for as Kirk reached out for the Idlomputt field, Spock joined him, kneeling in the sand beside the Bloom’s buds and positioning his fingers around Kirk’s skull in the teaching meld configuration Kirk had learned to accept.
Under Spock’s direction, Kirk reached down into levels of the Idlomputt he’d never known were there. He did complicated things he could never describe or repeat, then or ever. But he felt the twin device coming alive in that distant place, felt himself falling toward that place, pulled back by an elastic cord stretched to its limit and recoiling now to its normal dimensions.
At the last moment Kirk remembered the Blooms, forced his eyes open to look for them, and __willed__ them to come with them. The falling sensation increased until they were whirling through torrents of gray-white fog that seemed smeared on the insides of their eyeballs.
__It’s__ __only__ __sensory__ __overload__, he told himself calmly. __Hold__ __on__ __a__ __few__ __moments__ __and__ __it__ __will__
__be__ __over__. __Only__, __he__ __says__! thought Kirk back at himself ruefully. Freefall training hadn’t prepared him for anything like this! His whole body insisted on tensing up for the impact, the racing fog convincing his irrational unconscious that it was sure to be a lulu.
Something warm and strong enveloped him, and he reached out for it. Arms encircled him. His own arms went around a torso every bit as rock-tense as his own. They clung together like children tossed by frothing rapids, and spewed forth to tumble forever down grey cliffs toward unseen, spray-enveloped rocks far far below.
The fog took on an orange tinge, gradually growing lighter, as if a dim, giant sun were slowly rising. A bright orange star appeared on the invisible horizon. It had six dim satellites. The orange fog wrapped them in a downy blanket of silence. The light grew brighter and brighter, turning from ruddy to clear, brilliant, true orange.
Kirk remembered that color. Mind-grenades exploding like orange gelatin. He hadn’t been able to face a bowl of orange gelatin since then. He felt that old fear growing and fought it down, forgetting to breathe.
When they landed, it was like hitting a space-net, the kind Kirk had used during his Cadet days for capturing the servicing the tiny relay satellites around Academy Base. The gossamer webbing touched their backs, scarcely impeding their fall at first. It moved easily with them, until ever so slowly, it began to resist, absorbing some of their momentum. They went down and down into the folds of the net until it became hard under them. They rebounded then, bouncing against the net again and again until they came to rest at last.
When Kirk opened his eyes, he was surprised to find himself seated on a solid platform with no net in sight. The orange fog was gone. So was his heart-stopping fear. Self-consciously, he un-wrapped his arms from Spock’s naked torso. His own clothes were gone. But the six Blooms and their bulbs lay beside the twin Idlomputt devices. "Spock, look! We did it!"
"I see. We’ve . . . done . . . many . . . things."
"Spock!" Kirk abandoned the flowers and came toward his friend, his brother. He had no interest in the arched, faceted dome, or the hastily thrown-together platform on which he sat over the center of the massive Beom crystal. He had no thought for the fact that no other human had ever been inside a wheerr.
The green-robed Attendant who had, with much reluctance, accepted the necessity for his own entry into that one room of the utsulan where the very existence of the utsulan was vulnerable, found Kirk bent over Spock’s unconscious body.
1. Ssarsun’s Argument, KRAITH IF, in __Kraith__ __Collected__, Volume 2.
2. Spock’s Affirmation, KRAITH I, in __Kraith__ __Collected__, Volume 1.
Continued From Page 120
(RBW Note. The following portion of the page is in two columns)
But from the halls of D’R’hiset
Slowly, through the centuries
Great leaders spread mind’s floating net
Joining kataytikhe in all countries.
Yet rivers still ran green with blood
Spilled in passion on the sands
At one time it seemed to flood
Even from kataytikhe hands.
Since the days when Aivahnya came
To quench green flame of Domahay
And give to him undying fame
On the bare rocks of H’lvin’grey.
Never had there been such wars
Fought with help of new science.
Closed were all the mind’s wide doors,
And locked in firm defiance.
But there arose in line of Fainz
A scholar, man of peace
Who searched to loose kataytikh chains
And make the warfare cease.
(RBW Note. column break)
He travelled then to H’lvin’grey
And said what must be done
To fulfill Aivahnya’s prophecy
And save the Realms as one.
Then the halls of D’R’hiset ran green
With passion spilled upon the stone
Despite the waiting Peace unseen,
Leaving Surak all alone.
He stood beneath dark H’lvin’grey
And called back Lyad’s sons, and Fainz;
Then in language of Hyboleye Fay
Convened First Realm, to start again.
Once more from D’R’hiset went out
A new order in the world of men
And those that carried it did shout
Of the Peace they’d found within.
Unto this day that Peace remains
Within proud D’R’hiset’s walls.
Through sons of Lyad and of Fainz
To all the world, it calls.
(RBW Note. column break, begin single column)
THE BALLAD OF
A traditional Vulcan Folk-Ballad
Translated from the Vulcanir by Beverly Clark
According to Harakn
(RBW Note. Begin two columns)
In Top of World the great lords ruled,
With power of life, with power of death:
The banner-bearing cities grew, under rocks and thunder fell,
D’R’hiset rested in valley of Hyboleye Fay
(Ancients of days, most revered people,)
The power of peace: tradition and retreat.
Here upon a time Domahay burned green;
Here Aivahnya came to quench his flame;
Here they kindled fire to change the world.
Through all the day the birds danced on the heights,
Till dying sun had painted them all red,
And bathed with crimson dun H’lvin’grey.
But night contained no rest for Domahay.
Aivahnya saw a deceptive gently flower:
It was the night of Blooming, night of fire.
They passed the night in watch upon the tower.
The blooms glowed white upon the midnight sands,
And through the night the fire burned deeper green.
Until at dawn desire would wait no more,
And bearing with them fruit, the nuptial couple
Climbed to windswept summit of bare H’lvin’grey.
They met the light upon the rocky flat
(Always but now avoided by their folk,)
And there the burning burning eased, a child took life.
Now cool and calm, they ate the morning fruit,
And so the barren land might share her Joy,
Aivahnya planted in the ground the living seed.
She prophesied that while its fruit should flourish
The fruit of Blooming too should not know end:
Dokamral’nor her son should hold D’R’hiset.
In Top of World Dokamral’nor was lord:
Lightning peace, sword-brought prosperity,
And lord, by right of name, of ancient lore.
Lord too was he of D’R’hiset:
Of single tower, lonely wall, of solitary court;
Fitting: a lone domain for a single host.
At time of burning, in the ancient way,
Dokamral’nor wed Thtis, but ancient way was broken—
He was not cooled, and wed again: Lyad.
Fainz came next while two wives were with child,
Third wife, of knowledge equal to his own,
To ease the burning of unnatural fire.
Beneath D’R’hiset she led Dokamral’nor
To pool of soothing water, blue and clear.
Water quenches fire, but still he was aflame.
(RBW Note. column break)
Beneath the earth they followed twisting paths,
Dark and cool as Dokamral’nor was not,
To heart of Peace where calm and refuge dwelt.
In awed and most strange Heart of Peace they met,
Two became one, and for a time he cooled,
And Fainz took unto her a daughter’s life.
Nine consorts joined the wives already wed,
And seed came forth: twenty sons and thirty Daughters,
Created, from their sire, with unknown, untried minds.
The sons, with wives born of Hyboleye Fay,
Dwelt by Dokamral’nor in ancient home;
The Daughters too, by no man ever won, stayed at D’R’hiset.
In Top of World Dokamral’nor was honored,
And changed the shape of things, though not quite sane,
And famous for his twisted mind as for his skill.
Mighty men lead shortened lives, perhaps:
Dokamral’nor was killed, by twelve men frightened of the power
Not solely of the sire, but of the seed.
Leaping fire, funeral pyre burning in the night
Silhouetted: one hundred two kin of Dokamral’nor,
Their forms outlined against the starry sky.
Not outlined: sharp as highest noon they stood
As stars burst into flame and rained white death
Upon the dreaded family of Dokamral’nor.
One funeral fire for all, but none to honor;
Screaming folk ran to half-razed D’R’hiset
Fleeing death; or dead, lay quiet on the ground.
At dawn upon the heights of H’lvin’grey
Those left living gathered, diminished by a third
From what they were, and bleak as barren rock.
One spoke, Yehaena of Hyboleye Fay,
Hard words, advising: "Go, while time is with us:
Separate and flee: And remember the ancient people."
They fled, to unknown distant refuge, seeking safety
Far from revered valley and high honored hill,
Save three, who shunned the Towers of Seclusion.
Two set out (son of Lyad, son of Fainz)
Along the customary route of seasons’ change,
To found a new life in a distant land.
Hyboleye Fay lived now in thought alone:
The ancients all departed, gone to none knows where;
Save for D’R’hiset the valley lay deserted.
The son of Thtis remained at ancient home:
Spock, first bearer of the name reserved for son
Of she who brought together most disunited ways.
(RBW Note. column break, begin single column)
(RBW Note. Begin two columns)
Spock, called Founder of Dynasties and Dreams,
Took proudly as his task the care of H’lvin’grey,
And once each season climbed the wind-washed hill.
He danced upon the summit till the dawn,
Clad in colors bright against the stars,
And it was said: the hill holds meaning yet.
Nine sons of him gave life to twenty more,
And tend the heights; (the line of Lyad numbered days,
The secret ways were kept by sons of Fainz.)
Top of World is empty, shorn of power,
A shade of what it was, defeated, grim,
Its once-great lords turned in upon themselves.
D’R’hiset in its valley waxes great,
Its power of peace (born of its roots) undimmed,
Filled with foretold seed of domahay.
Aivahnya’s tree upon the hill was kept
By sons of Thtis, and cherished as the prophecy
And emblem of their power descended from Dokamral’nor.
The generations-further sons of Spock
Considered of a way to use their different minds
To call the people of the valley home again.
After hesitation long they called
(A task too arduous), and failed; and with them failed their minds,
Their fortune, and the good name of the line of Thtis.
Disaster struck and followed sons of Spock,
And fearful Rumor: the final death of all Hyboleye Fay;
A magic lirpa, deadly though its form could not be seen.
Night fell upon the offspring of Dokamral’nor
(Or different blood perhaps?), and evil tales were told,
But still some stayed to guard D’R’hiset.
The keepers of the hallowed home were there to greet
The travelers from afar, who came to dwell therein,
And lift the shadow from the honored name.
Descendants of Dokamral’nor, aslanted too,
But whole: speakers of the secret tongue,
Partakers in the lore, true off spring of the ancient seed.
At proper time they climbed H’lvin’grey
To pledge their lives to care of D’R’hiset,
Their minds to memory of Aivahnya’s tree.
Their children, T’Evmur and S’ntay, and their sons,
Preserved the name of great Hyboleye Fay,
And kept alive the ways of fold departed.
Tradition was their strength, and long they lived
In peace, unchallenged masters of the hall,
Bearers of memory come down from Domahay.
(RBW Note. column break)
Top of World lay crumbled, long deserted.
D’R’hiset stood firm beneath its hill,
Arisen once again, its offspring leaders as before.
Like sons of Spock they brought the fold together,
But sure in knowledge now, and with time and patience
Wove a net of mind to span the world.
In time kataytikh minds could join as one,
But could not spread the peace of D’R’hiset:
The sands outside flowed green with unstopped passion.
The hands of peace at times themselves brought war.
The world stood in grave danger of its life,
As had not happened since the days of Domahay.
A single figure came to D’R’hiset,
A scholar of the line of sons of Fainz,
Dweller in the Rains, a man of peace.
He sought an answer, and there, alone,
Amid the peace of old familial home,
Found a oath to peace for all the world.
Under silent spell the Council met,
Called by Surak to the revered place
To hear as he explained the Way of Change.
In ancient honored tongue he spoke,
Setting out the way to unify the Realms,
And to fulfill Aivahnya’s old foretelling.
The potent peace hung heavy in the hall;
Stronger still, green violence erupted,
And when it ended, Surak stood alone.
A call went out from Surak in the hall;
To all the sons and Daughters of Dokamral’nor,
That they might aid him in his quest for peace.
Upon bare H’lvin’grey First Realm convened,
The children of Dokamral’nor come home,
And there they pledged to take forth Surak’s way.
Top of World is dust, and unremembered
Save by poets; the martial arts are turned to peaceful ends,
And lords of war replaced by lords of other power.
The Peace of D’R’hiset guides the world,
With greatest strength beneath H’lvin’grey, in ancient home,
Where sons of Lyad and of Fainz yet dwell.
(RBW Note. column break, begin single column)
This version translated from the Vulcanir
by Darlene Fouquet
According to S’A’adshi
(RBW Note. Begin two columns)
Aivahnya came to D’R’hiset
To quench green flame of Domahay
And birds danced till the sun had set
On the bare rocks of H’lvin’grey.
D’R’hiset. Retreat from Top-of-World
Where mighty rulers held their seats
Mid lightning flame and boulders hurled,
Counting enemies’ defeats.
When winter had closed in to stay
The stalwart fled to D’R’hiset
In the valley of Hyboleye Fay
Their name unknown to those they met.
Ancient, revered, Hyboleye Fay
With powers feared by all,
Dwelt in the shade of H’lvin’grey
From time none can recall.
Era and eon marched along,
Sons and daughters of that great tribe
Earned place in ballad and in song
And never knew their price or bribe.
Greater and greater rose top-of-world
Flinging borders far and wide
Over conquered cities, like birds, unfurled
Proud banner sewn of xsthri hide.
But that day was not long to last.
After the Blooming Aivahnya took
Domahay and made him fast
Forevermore unto her look.
Domahay would seek his bed
As sun declined along the sands
And D’R’hiset was bathed in red
But Aivahnya saw the Blooming bands.
The ramparts high of D’R’hiset
They climbed to watch the glowing flower
Then at dawn with fruit in net
They toiled the slope above the tower.
Flat is the top of H’lvin’grey
Scoured harsh by wind and water
Abandoned by Hyboleye Fay
Shunned, despised by son and daughter.
Together in seclusion grand
They greeted day’s first glow
Trembling hand met trembling hand
And she took his son’s shadow.
There in the spot where he began
Aivahnya named Dokamral’nor
Assured that none should ever ban
Him from ancestral lore.
When Aivahnya Domahay had freed
She ate of the largest fruit in hand
And gave to him the glistening seed
To bury on that sterile land.
Then did she dare to prophesy
That longer than sweet fruits shall grow
Dokamral’nor would not die
But live, through seed that he would sow.
In those days so long ago
When Top-of-world thought itself great
D’R’hiset was but a pale shadow
Of that which was to be its fate.
One tower only could it boast
One wall, one court, one hall
Wherein there stood a single host
To greet those who come to call.
(RBW Note. column break)
But Dokamral’nor when full-grown
Stunned the valley up and down
By burning when his seed was sown
And wife Thtis had filled her gown.
Lyad took he to him then
And even she did not quench
His green flame, and he burned again
But Thtis from suckle could not wrench.
Fainz took him then to drink
From the water, blue and clean
That springs from rock in cavern sink
Far below high tower’s gleam.
Then they traveled hidden ways
Straight into the Heart of Peace
That mighty D’R’hiset pervades
Right to the living crystal face.
And under that strange influence
She took his daughter’s shadow
And gave it shape forever hence.
There is no place more hallow.
Top-of-world would know the touch
Of him who these three wives had taken
Dokamral’nor did journey much
Yet D’R’hiset was ne’er forsaken.
He built a calm and peaceful reign
With might of lightning, chain and sword
Though it was said he was not sane
He was a great and noble Lord.
Twenty sons had he begot
With wives and nine consorts
Before swift death became his lot
At hands of twelve cohorts.
Dokamral’nor had lived long
And none had been more prosperous
Thirty Daughters sing his song
And at his shrine burned phosphorus.
Yet not the number of his children
Gives Dokamral’nor fame
And brings the curious pilgrim
But the way that they were lame.
For each was born with mind askew
In strange and unknown manner.
Throughout the valley whispers grew
‘Round great D’R’hiset’s banner.
The one thing that was soon to see
Was that each Daughter shunned
Expectant suitor’s company
And never would be won.
But each of the young men did bring
A woman of Hyboleye Fay
Into his Father’s house to sing
Within its walls to stay.
Each wife sang to her husband’s lyre--
Her song rose to his Father.
And as at first, the sons’ green fire
Drove each to seek another.
At Dokamral’nor’s funeral pyre
Were eighty women, twenty men
To mourn and honor mighty sire
But not beyond their rivals’ ken.
The funeral pyre caught and flared
Its flames grew ever brighter.
Lost in their grief, none was prepared
To meet more tragic fire.
(RBW Note. column break, begin single column)
(RBW Note. Begin two columns)
High in the moonless sky there bloomed
A white and dripping death
A fire that engulfed the doomed
Who drew their last life’s breath.
Half of D’R’hiset was lost
That night of Dokamral’nor
And of the sons’ and daughters’ host
A third did rise no more.
With dawn, high onto H’lvin’grey
The seed of Domahay did climb.
Yehaena of Hyboleye Fay
Spoke, and lost no time:
Go you must to dwell apart
Scatter from here and depart
Before the fire strikes your heart
Destroying us before we start.
Then they to distant borders fled
Far from sight of H’lvin’grey.
Even now cannot be said
Where they came to stay.
Yet son of Thtis, of Lyad, of Fainz
Chose not the Towers of Seclusion.
Each of these three lines remains,
Their power untouched and no illusion.
From D’R’hiset two more set out.
But the one that did remain,
Seeking not a new life’s route
Is the one of widespread fame.
Son of Thtis, Spock by name
Yearly climbs up H’lvin’grey
Head held high, and without shame
Tends the shrine of Hyboleye Fay.
Son of Thtis tends the heights
Son of Fainz, the secret ways
Each of three maintains his rights
Though son of Lyad numbers days.
In the Years of Waste when Top-of-World
Defeated, shrunken, robbed of might
Lay like an unborn fetus curled
D’R’hiset shared not this plight.
For here amid pervading peace
The line of Thtis kept its hold
On the memory that was not to cease
Though Aivahnya’s prophecy grew cold.
It seemed thus neither strange nor odd
To ancient tribe Hyboleye Fay
That sons of Spock would gently nod
When nine of them would come to stay.
And from the nine came twenty more
To fill the halls of D’R’hiset
With twenty daughters brought to door
And each of them well met.
And so waxed great the sons of Thtis,
But Hyboleye Fay did wither
Until the valley did not miss
That tribe when it went hither.
From D’R’hiset they travelled on,
Ancient, revered, Hyboleye Fay
Mother clan of rulers gone
To what new place? None can say.
Memory stretches ages back
But not enough to penetrate
The foggy night of legend black
When sons of Thtis did hesitate
(RBW Note. column break)
To use the power born in them
Through shadow of Dokamral’nor
To call their people back again
And hold them ever more.
‘Tis said that all Hyboleye Fay
Met death. Now were they missed,
For with them went the sanity
Of the sons of Thtis.
Now they walked amid affliction
Sorrows too great to be listed.
Did they realize prediction?
Aivahnya’s son too had mind twisted.
But generations passed unnamed
Between the sons of Spock
And the deranged ones who defamed
D’R’hiset’s hallowed rock.
It is unknown, at least unsure,
If they were the same.
Had Dokamral’nor’s blood run pure
Or taken a new name?
So when black legend overcame
The mighty house of D’R’hiset
And cast its pall upon the name
Of Spock, and Thtis, and yet
In distant places yet remained
Several untouched dynasties
Each in own way rightly famed,
Unplagued by dark calamities.
They knew the secret language well
Of ancient tribe Hyboleye Fay
Those of the valley could soon tell
They belonged at foot of H’lvin’grey.
Then saw the halls of D’R’hiset
New feet climb rugged H’lvin’grey
And new minds pledge to not forget
The prophecy of Aivahnya’s day.
There they dwelt for untold time
Naming their children T’Evmur and S’ntay
By tradition strong and clear of crime
Upholding remembered Hyboleye Fay.
So many years did they remain
Within the walls of D’R’hiset
That not one rival ever came
Their reign to challenge or upset.
For they, too, were get of Spock
With memory live to Domahay,
Who on black legend placed a lock.
They were First Realm, but half shut away.
Spock, the secret names that means
(In language of Hyboleye Fay)
Founders of Dynasties and Dreams
Or so outsiders say
Was given to no other
Then or now or ever,
But set apart for mother
Who greatest bonds did sever.
For Thtis came from far away
Over mountain, plain and sea
To dwell among Hyboleye Fay
And had to pay the fee
Eons-long neglect left crumbled
Mighty ruins at Top-of-World
Kataytikhe minds could only fumble
They had no lightning bolts to hurl.
(RBW Note. column break, return to single column)
Continued On Page 116
(blank page, used as back cover)
End of Kraith Collected Volume 4
All rights reserved to the authors and artists. Not intended to infringe on copyrights held by Gene Roddenberry or Paramount Corp.
Get Kraith and Jean Lorrah's NTM fanzines on paper: