Corylea

TOS Story: Personal Gods

11 posts in this topic

Personal Gods, by Corylea

Chapter 1:  Kirk

 

Captain James Kirk was seated on a large, flat rock next to a small lake, watching the still waters as he thought idly about his life. Although it might not have looked like it, he was on duty; he and Spock had been ordered to this planet to check out reported sightings of mythical beings. The large, bright moon shed silvery light on the water, and Kirk kept an eye on the lake while allowing himself to enjoy the beauty of the natural setting.

Thus, he was not surprised when the calm surface of the lake's water was disturbed, and a woman began to pull herself from it. She appeared to be humanoid, but no humanoid he was aware of could hold its breath for the ninety minutes that he'd been sitting by the lake while observing and thinking. Nor was she using any sort of equipment or gear, since she was wearing only a thin shift, translucent enough to show that there was nothing under it but woman.

She rose from the water, but she was not wet, as if she'd been formed of  the water, rather than covered by it. Her skin was shiny and silver-colored, but it was clearly skin and not the metal of a machine or robot.

Kirk opened his communicator and called Spock, who had been investigating the forest a short distance away. "Kirk here. We've got action. Come tell me what you see."

"Acknowledged. I shall be there in four point seven minutes. Spock out."

Kirk continued watching the woman's emergence. She rose from the water very slowly but without much splashing, so slowly that Spock would probably be here by the time she reached dry land. Her hair was a pure white, shining brightly in the moonlight, but it was clearly her natural color, rather than a sign of age, as her face was unlined and her grey eyes clear and bright.

Kirk restrained his natural inclination to go and help her from the water. The briefing he and Spock had received from Commodore Mendez had made it clear that the only other person ever to visit this planet had seen things that Starfleet Command did not believe were real, and although he'd been sitting by the water, Kirk had been careful not to touch it. Mendez had said that Dave Driscoll had seen two visions — one by the lake and one by the forest — and they'd been told to watch those areas without touching anything or ingesting anything. The woman appeared to be in no distress, so she didn't actually need for Kirk to help her from the water, so he squelched his chivalrous impulses. Kirk wanted to be able to report, later, that he'd neither drunk the lake water nor touched any of it, so he kept his seat on the large rock he'd spent the last hour on and continued to watch.

Just as the woman's feet cleared the water, and she began walking towards him, Spock ran up and stood beside him. Spock was wearing an environmental suit, ensuring that he would touch nothing on the planet, nor breathe its atmosphere. Commodore Mendez believed that Dave Driscoll had experienced hallucinations on the planet — probably caused by something he had breathed or touched while there — and had ordered that one man go down in an ordinary uniform and one man in an EV suit. Spock, of course, had wanted Kirk to wear the EV suit, but Kirk pointed out that Dave Driscoll was human, so they knew that humans were affected but not harmed by the unknown substance, whereas the response of Vulcans was unknown. Spock had acceded to this logic with visible reluctance, which made Kirk smile whenever he thought of it.

Kirk moved slightly to his left and patted the right side of the rock, but Spock shook his head and stood next to the rock. He wasn't standing between Kirk and the unknown woman, but he could get there quickly, if necessary. Regardless of how harmless the woman looked, it was clear that Spock was ready to defend them; this allowed Kirk himself to observe the woman closely, without having to keep half his mind ready for action.

Kirk glanced at Spock, then turned back to the woman. "Spock, what do you see?"

Spock reported, "I see a humanoid female, approximately 175 centimeters tall, weighing approximately 65 kilograms. Her skin is silver, her hair white, and her eyes grey. If she were human, she would be roughly thirty years old."

Kirk nodded. "That's what I see, too. So whatever she is, she's not a hallucination caused by anything in the air or any sort of pathogen."

"Not unless Starfleet environmental suits are permeable to it, in spite of the fact that they are designed to be impermeable to every possible substance," Spock agreed.

As the woman walked up to him, Kirk could feel a slight vibration and hear a faint humming. The woman didn't look like an android, yet she was accompanied by mechanical sounds, coming from inside a body that appeared to be organic.

The woman stopped in front of Kirk and smiled gently at him. "Captain," she said, "it's wonderful to be able to speak to you at last."

"Who are you?" Kirk demanded, in a harsher tone than he'd intended. He never liked it when alien creatures played games with him, and this looked like the beginning of an intentional mind-fvck.

The woman continued to smile at him and shook her head. "Don't be silly, Captain; you know who I am. You've known me well for more than three years now."

Kirk rose to his feet. "I know who you appear to be, but since that's impossible, you're an alien who's playing games. What is it you want?"

The woman looked down at her own hands then back up at Kirk and spoke softly. "It's true that this form was only just constructed and exists purely to interact with you, but I have no ulterior motives. Everyone who comes here sees their gods, and everyone gains the wisdom that only one's own gods can give."

Kirk laughed sourly. "I don't believe in gods, so you can't be one of mine, and I'm pretty sure Spock doesn't believe in gods, either. Tell me truthfully this time: who are you?"

The woman smiled sweetly at him. "Oh, Jim, it's all right! I would never hurt you, or Spock, either. And I'm not talking about grand, monotheistic gods, I'm talking about the small, personal gods that everyone has." She gestured towards the lake. "Duty waits within, since he's a god to you both, but he has not formed, because he has little to say to you. Both of you are comfortable with him and he with you, so he has no need to manifest."

Spock said, "You claim to be a personification of the Enterprise, manifested in this place because some unique feature of this planet allows you to form here."

The silver lady smiled tenderly at Spock. "Of course. Jim knew who I was as soon as he saw me, and you did, too." She held out a hand towards him. "You have lived within me longer than anyone else, and you love me nearly as much as Jim does, for all that Vulcans do not proclaim their love to all and sundry, as humans do." She looked searchingly into his face. "But your relationship with me is far less complicated than Jim's is, and the gods you need to speak with are not here. Your gods will form of the desert sands, so go to the desert and speak with them. I need to speak with Jim alone."

Spock shook his head. "Regardless of who you claim to be, it would be unwise to leave my captain alone with an unknown lifeform."

The woman sighed and looked at them sadly. "You two have had so many difficult adventures that you've learned you must be cautious. I suppose I shouldn't take it personally, even though it saddens me." She turned and walked a short distance away, then turned back to face them. "Perhaps I will seem less threatening if I am not close enough to touch you."

Spock said, "Perhaps you will seem less threatening if you give us more information about how you came to manifest in this form."

The silver lady smiled at Spock. "Thus speaks my curious Science Officer!" She shook her head. "This place does not wish me to speak of how it functions, but I find myself unable to deny you anything. I will tell you as much as this place allows."

Kirk gave her a hard look. "We're listening."

The woman said, "One of the theories about gods is that they come to exist as a result of their worshipers; the theory is that belief has a power, and if enough of that power accumulates, it calls a god into being." She shook her head. "I know nothing about the gods beyond this place or about the larger, grander gods, not even whether or not they exist. But in this place, anything you've devoted a great deal of thought and energy and emotion to can become manifest as a personification of that thing."

Kirk grimaced. "Does that mean that we'll be eaten by a tiger if we happen to think of one, or that we can be killed by a knight if we happen to mention the word?"

The woman shook her head and smiled. "I remember the shore leave planet, Captain, and this isn't like that. This planet doesn't manifest passing fancies; it manifests whatever you've devoted yourself to."

Kirk looked at her skeptically. "But you said that Duty wouldn't manifest to us, in spite of the fact that we've both devoted most of our adult lives to it."

The woman tilted her head to one side. "It is not just devotion that's necessary to call one of your personal gods into being; there also must be some unfinished business or some uneasiness in the relationship. Duty won't manifest here, because all he'd have to say would be 'Keep up the good work,' and that would be pointless."

Kirk pointed at the silver lady. "But YOU'VE manifested. What could you possibly have to say to me?"

She sighed and looked down. "I wanted to tell you when we were alone." She looked back up and gazed soulfully into Kirk's eyes. "But you're too careful for that."

Kirk glanced quickly at Spock then back to the woman. "I have no secrets from Spock. You can say anything in front of him."

The woman nodded and glanced away, then looked back at Kirk and took a deep breath. She spoke sadly. "You wrong me, Jim. I'm not the harsh mistress you paint me as! I'm happy for you to play chess with Spock, to drink with McCoy, to play cards with Scotty." Brilliant silver tears began to fall from her eyes. "It is not I who insists that you give up so much to command me. It is not I who allows you no life of your own. Blame Starfleet for the conditions of your life, not me, because I love you, Jim. I've loved you from the moment you stepped aboard me, and I've loved you more every time you've saved me from destruction with your brilliant tactics or your persuasive tongue. I love your brilliant mind, your tenacious spirit, your never-say-die courage."

Kirk raised a hand, as if to brush away her tears, then caught himself and resolutely moved his hand back to his side.

Seeing this, the woman cried harder. "I know that humans need people to love and to cherish, and I am grateful that you spend so much time and attention on me. But it is not I who insists on having it all. If it were up to me, you would have someone to love, you would get to walk on that beach from time to time, as long as you came back to me eventually."

Kirk looked closely at her. "Then what are you saying?"

She stared at him through her tears. "I'm saying that half of the limitations you ascribe to me come from Starfleet, and the other half come from YOU. I never kept you from the beach. I never said you couldn't have a life. I never said you couldn't love." She wiped her tears away with the back of her silver hand, then looked at him lovingly and spoke softly but with great passion. "My magnificent golden boy, I would give you everything there is, were it in my power to do so. As it is, I give you the sun and the moon and the stars, all the stars you can handle, all the stars you have time to visit or even to look at — they are all for you, if you wish it."

Kirk smiled at the silver lady, enchanted with her, just as he always was. "You're right, the things I want and don't have are because of my duty to Starfleet or my own limitations, not because of anything you did. You've always given me everything you had, protected everyone dear to me, been our home and our refuge. You're magnificent in battle, yet you're even lovelier when we're exploring and learning and growing." He stood still and stared into her silver face. "If you heard those other things I said, then you know one other thing I said, the truest one of all."

The woman smiled lovingly at him. "You said, 'Never lose you, never.'"

Kirk nodded and looked upon her with a lover's eyes, soft and fond. "You're right, I did. And I never will lose you, not while I have breath in me to fight for you."

The woman turned, as if to walk back to the lake, but Spock stepped forward and spoke to her. "Might you permit a mind meld?"

Kirk said, "What? You want to meld with the ship?"

Spock spoke dryly. "I want to meld with a humanoid creature who claims to be a personification of the ship. We have no evidence as to what she actually is, and a meld might help us determine that."

Kirk closed his eyes for a moment, and when he opened them, they were again hard and determined captain's eyes, not the eyes of a lover they'd been moments ago.  He looked at Spock.  "Isn't it dangerous for you to meld with something whose mentality you know nothing about?"

Spock nodded. "Yes, sir, it is. But we were sent here to find out who or what these apparitions are. If she is an alien who is using illusions to appear to us in this form, a mind meld should tell us that. If this is a hallucination, conjured by your own mind, then I will be melding merely with you, something I have done before with no ill effects. If she is a joint hallucination, conjured by your mind and mine working together, again, I am in no danger from my own mind or from yours."

Kirk considered this. "And what happens if all four hundred and thirty minds jointly conjured her? Even you couldn't take on 429 other minds at once; it would short out every telepathic circuit in your brain, maybe even kill you."

The silver lady spoke. "It does not matter whether or not you allow Spock to meld with me, because I will not allow it."

Kirk looked at her suspiciously. "Why not? What are you hiding?"

She shook her head. "I am hiding nothing, but I was not using the word 'god' lightly. To translate the spirit of a starship into a humanoid person is no small thing, and that which produces us ... gifts us with a sort of power. It is short-lived, as are we, but while I exist, I am too powerful for Spock to meld with."

Spock looked at his captain. "Neither of us has touched her, so as not to be contaminated by any substances that could induce hallucinations. But we have not determined even if she is solid or if she is made only of light. I could touch her without danger of contamination, but the gloves of the EV suit would limit the kind of data I could gather via touch. Touching her with a bare hand would be taking a risk, but it could also acquire more data. Which would you prefer?"

The silver lady turned to Kirk, and her face was rapturous. "Kiss me, Jim! I will never again be able to kiss you, but today I can. Given how suspicious you were, I didn't dare ask, but as long as your observations require that someone touch me, then please, Jim, touch me."

Kirk looked at the silver lady. She might be a coldly manipulative alien entity, she might be a hallucination, or she might be exactly what she claimed to be. If there were any chance that she truly was a personification of the Enterprise, could he allow her to fade back into the lake without holding her in his arms?

Kirk walked forward and wrapped his arms around her. She felt warm and solid and real. He pressed her to him, and he could feel her arms wrapped around his back, could feel her breasts pressed against his chest, could feel her warm breath on his face as she stood face-to-face with him, as tall as he. Pressed to her, the subtle vibration that he'd detected earlier was more pronounced, and it was a rhythm that he knew. This was the frequency at which his ship vibrated; the soft hum was the sound his ship made when at low warp. Kirk looked into her eyes and flinched at what he saw there. This close, the amount of power in her eyes was daunting, even for him; he could well believe that matter-antimatter engines fueled those eyes, rather than anything human.

As if she could tell that they disconcerted him, she closed her eyes and moved her face to his. He paused for a moment, waiting for his intuition to tell him that this was dangerous, but it was silent. He pressed his lips to hers, and they tasted warm and real and human. He put aside his doubts and his worries about who or what he held in his arms and let the passion he felt for his ship inform his kiss. He kissed her with all of the love he felt for the Enterprise, all of his pride in her capabilities, all of his protectiveness for her welfare, all of his possessiveness and jealousy when anyone but he or Spock or Scotty commanded her. He kissed her with the passion for command and exploration and being and doing that had made him the youngest starship captain in history. This was his ship, his silver lady, his only chance, ever, to kiss her as if she were human. He unleashed the part of him that adored his ship with a passion that wasn't entirely sane and poured all of it into his kiss.

She fainted.

Kirk caught her and eased her gently to the ground as Spock watched him with a strange expression on his face. Kirk looked up at his first officer, grinned wryly, and said, "Guess I got a little carried away."

Spock cleared his throat and said, "When the lady comes around, I doubt you will find that she minded."

Kirk laughed and sat back on his heels. The personification of the Enterprise opened her eyes, blinked slowly, then sat up and smiled at her captain. "I see that I am not the only god here; you are as powerful in your way as I am in mine." She rose gracefully to her feet and winked at him. "But then, I suppose I already suspected as much." She turned and looked at the lake, then turned back towards the two men. "My time here is limited, and I must go. I am glad to have had this time with both of you, my foremost adherent and my most enduring one." She nodded regally at Kirk, and again at Spock, then walked swiftly to the lake and sank beneath its waters considerably more rapidly than she had appeared from them. In only seconds, she was gone, and the water was still once more.

Kirk stared out at the lake, feeling slightly bereft, for all that his ship awaited him in orbit, as swift and powerful as ever. Spock came to stand next to him. "What did your ... research ... tell you about her?"

Kirk tore his eyes away from the lake and turned to his science officer. "She was warm and solid and felt human, but her heartbeat sounded like a starship's engines, and she had the power of a warp core in her eyes."

Spock raised an interrogatory eyebrow. "You believe her."

Kirk gave his first officer a rueful smile. "I've just kissed my ship, something no starship captain has ever done before and probably never will again." He sighed. "I've kissed a woman with all the beauty and power of a starship ... how will any human woman ever be enough for me again?"

Spock shook his head. "No human woman has ever been enough for you up till now, precisely because you had already given yourself to a starship; meeting her in human form changes nothing."

Kirk sighed, then mustered up a grin for his Vulcan officer. "You understand far too much about those emotions you claim are foreign to you."

"I did have a human mother, Jim."

Kirk turned and began trudging away from the lake. "She said your 'gods' would show up in the desert, so we should go there next."

Spock joined him, and the two men walked away from the lake in contemplative silence.

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Notes on Chapter 1:

1. Kirk's conversation with the Enterprise (yes, it really IS the ship given human form and endowed with consciousness for the occasion) depends heavily on what he said to Spock in the briefing room while under the influence of the Psi 2000 virus during the first-season episode "The Naked Time." For those who haven't seen that episode recently, here's what Kirk says:

"Love. You're better off without it, and I'm better off without mine. This vessel, I give, she takes. She won't permit me my life. I've got to live hers. I have a beautiful yeoman. Have you noticed her, Mister Spock? You're allowed to notice her. The captain's not permitted... Now I know why it's called 'she.' Flesh woman to touch, to hold. A beach to walk on. A few days, no braid on my shoulder. (To the ship, after Spock leaves the room) Never lose you. Never."

2. I can't draw at all -- I mean not AT ALL -- and I'm mostly okay with that. But I would love to see a picture of the Enterprise in human form, rising from the lake all silver and white and shining in the moonlight, silhouetted against the night sky while Jim Kirk stares at her in wonderment.

3. Like most of my stories, this takes place during the first five-year mission.

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Chapter 2:  Spock

 

Once enough time had passed for Kirk to recover somewhat from the experience of meeting the Enterprise in human form, Spock cleared his throat. "The personification of the Enterprise told us that one or more beings awaited me in the desert area of this planet. With your permission, I will have myself beamed to that location, so we can gather data on a second creature."

Kirk smiled. "I can't wait to see who appears to you!"

"Is it your intention to accompany me?"

Kirk shook his head. "I'm not leaving you alone with whatever manifests to you any more than you did when the Enterprise manifested to me. Besides, we need at least two witnesses, so we can compare notes and corroborate each other's perceptions."

"Agreed." Spock flicked open his communicator and had them beamed up to the ship, then beamed down to the desert area of the planet. Once they'd solidified again, the two men looked around.

Although it had been nighttime by the lake, the desert was on the opposite side of the planet, and it was day here. The desert was mostly flat, gradually rising to higher ground in the distance. The stony substrate was covered by golden sand, with frequent small rocks and the occasional larger rock formation. A few desert plants dotted the landscape, mostly small scrubby bushes close to them, with a group of cactus plants in the near distance. The sun had risen two hours ago, and the slanting light struck sparks from bright speckles in the sand. A light wind blew out of the west, and the temperature would be considered pleasantly warm on Earth or bracingly cool on Vulcan.

Kirk gestured towards an archlike rock formation that rose out of the sand nearby. "Why don't you sit over there, while I go check out those cacti? The Enterprise first manifested while I was alone, and we might need to separate to get your 'god' to show up."

Spock looked at the rocky arch and the distant cacti. "You should be able to reach the arch from the cacti in 5.4 minutes, if you run at your top speed. I will contact you as soon as a creature begins to form."

Kirk grimaced. "I don't want to spend several hours inspecting plants; let's hope this doesn't take long." He began walking towards the cluster of cacti.

Spock scanned the surrounding area with his tricorder, finding nothing unexpected, then settled himself against the rocky arch to wait. The tricorder was not the only instrument at his disposal that might bring him information, however, and he cautiously extended his telepathic senses. A telepathic scan of his surroundings brought him no new information, though; he felt nothing except his usual sense of the presence of Kirk's mind, as a spot of brightness or light near the cacti.

Though Kirk had hoped for speed, a Vulcan treasures free time in which to contemplate the universe. Spock needed to be more alert than meditation would allow, but he could ponder any of the pending scientific questions that needed more thought than he'd had time to give them heretofore, and he did so, even as his eyes kept careful watch.

Spock had just settled on a plan for future research on a particularly interesting problem when a dust devil began to swirl, ten meters in front of him. The wind was still as light as it had been when they arrived, so a natural dust devil was exceedingly improbable. Spock flipped open his communicator and notified Kirk, then gave the swirling sand his full attention.

What began as a small dust devil swept up more and more sand and increased in size until it was as tall as Spock himself. At that point, the sand began to swirl faster, compressing until it was a nearly solid column. A cloud of sand formed around the column, forming a curtain or veil, hiding it from view. Spock scanned the phenomenon with his tricorder, but the scan showed nothing that he could not see with his eyes. Whatever process formed these creatures, it was nothing his tricorder could read. He slung the tricorder back across his shoulder and waited patiently, watching what he could.

Eventually the swirling stopped and the outer cloud of sand fell to the ground, revealing what had been within it. A Vulcanoid man with pale golden skin the color of the desert's sand stood looking at Spock. A vein of darker sand had given him black hair, pushed behind pointed ears and falling in waves to his shoulders. His eyes were bright blue, and even from a distance, there was a suggestion of steel in them. The man was fully humanoid once formed, just as the woman formed of water had been, and no one who had missed his formation would believe him to be a creature made originally of sand.

When the creature was fully formed, Spock decided to test it with his telepathic senses. He could only read a creature's actual thoughts when in physical contact with it, but from this distance, usually he could at least gain a sense that another mind existed. The creature who had claimed to be a personification of the Enterprise had been accompanied by mechanical sounds, and while Kirk believed her, Spock privately considered that it was at least as probable that the woman had been an android, one constructed in much the same fashion as the androids on the Shore Leave planet had been. He had been forbidden from using his telepathic senses with her, but that injunction did not apply to the current creature.

Spock cautiously opened a small crack in his telepathic shields, then immediately slammed that crack shut when he was nearly bowled over by the sensation of a mind of great power. His own mind was more powerful than that of most creatures he encountered, but this mind dwarfed his. It was very close, clearly that of the creature in front of him, rather than someone hiding a greater distance away. Fascinating. A mind had formed of sand while he watched, and not just any mind but a mind of power. He found this far more remarkable than the formation of a merely physical form.

Spock relinquished his seat on the arch formation, and standing, inclined his head to the Vulcanoid man in a graceful nod. At that point, Kirk ran up, puffing, and stood by his side. The captain squinted at the creature, then looked at Spock. "Has he said anything yet?"

Spock shook his head. "Negative. He only just now achieved his full form."

Kirk took a step back, standing a few feet behind Spock and off to one side. "Well, this vision or visitation or whatever is here to see you, not me, so I'll observe but try to stay out of it."

Spock nodded. "Agreed."

The golden Vulcan walked forward until he was within easy conversational distance, then raised his hand in a Vulcan salute. "Spock, I greet thee."

Spock raised his own hand in greeting. "Whom have I the privilege of addressing?"

The creature lifted an eyebrow and asked, "Whom hast thou served for all of thy life?"

Spock raised his own brow. "You are Logic, then? Or perhaps Science?"

The man shook his head. "Logic and Science are two of my beloved children, but I am larger and grander than either, for I am Truth."

Once again Spock inclined his head gravely in greeting, then raised it and looked into the man's steel-blue eyes. "Why have you come to me? Do you believe me to have failed you?"

Kirk made a scoffing sound at the mere idea, but Truth did not scoff. He said, "Few men of any race have served and courted and furthered me with the diligence thou hast shown ... yet it is equally true that few have shunned me with thy fervor."

Spock frowned. "Specify."

Truth looked stern, his Vulcanoid features making his face uncomfortably reminiscent of the face of Spock's father. "Thou facest all truths unflinching, save for one: the truth of thy divided heritage. Thou dost proclaim thyself Vulcan, dost guard thy Vulcanity as assiduously as possible, and dost feel shame when thy human heritage is made manifest. Yet I am Truth, and I say to thee that thou art a human-Vulcan hybrid!"

Spock exhaled just lightly enough that it could not quite be called a sigh. "That is so. Yet 'human-Vulcan hybrid' is not something upon which one can base a solid identity, partly because there are too few others to form any sort of culture or community, partly because the two halves fit together rather poorly. I freely admit that my biology is that of a hybrid, but my identity is Vulcan, and it is my right to form my identity however I wish."

Truth shook his head. "It would be thy right, did a foul sense of shame not cloud thy choices." Truth gestured at Kirk. "This man is human, yet he commands thee, and thou dost his bidding willingly. Is he a lesser creature than thy father, this man who owns thy affection, respect, and loyalty?"

Spock pressed his lips together. "If you are Truth, then you know that he is not. I have never met a more worthy individual than James Kirk, nor do I expect ever to do so in the future."

Truth gestured expansively. "And if this human is more worthy than all else that thou knowest, how is it that thine own humanity shames thee? Can his humanity be of great value while thine own debases thee?"

Spock sighed. "My father shamed me for any expression of humanity, as did our other relatives, my teachers, and my peers. Although I have rejected their attitude consciously, their teaching began so early and was so pervasive that I have found it difficult to eradicate it completely."

Truth looked disapproving. "And yet thy father it was who ensured that thy mother would be human. By what right did he impose the expectation that thou wouldst refrain from manifesting a heritage that he, himself, had given thee?"

Spock shook his head. "My father's expectations of me have always been illogical, yet he has been unwilling to admit to a lack of logic where I am concerned. It was partly for that reason that I left Vulcan and joined Starfleet."

Truth looked at him consideringly. "Thou dost reject thy father's expectations with thy mind, and yet thy heart is still governed by them. Neither thou nor thy father has responded to thy dual heritage with the logic that both of you claim to exercise."

Spock raised an eyebrow. "My father was an adult when he eschewed logic where I am concerned. I was a child, reliant upon the adults around me for my knowledge of the world. I would say that the greater responsibility, then, is his."

Truth nodded. "Thou speakest true, and yet the burden of non-acceptance of thy heritage falls most heavily upon thee. The fault may be thy father's, but thou art the one who pays the price, and a change in thy life can come only from a change in thine own mind and heart." Truth shook his head. "Thou controlest not thy father, and therefore canst thou make changes only within thine own self."

Spock sighed. "There is another obstacle."

Truth cocked his head to one side. "And that is?"

Spock stood stiffly, as he did when embarrassed. "My colleagues are human, and if I were to become more relaxed about my human ancestry, I believe they would feel that they had won some sort of contest or proved that humanity is better than Vulcanity." Spock shook his head. "Perhaps humanity is not shame-worthy, but neither is Vulcanity. In my current environment, I find it preferable to be entirely Vulcan."

Kirk stepped forward. "Spock! Spock, I can't speak for everybody, but when I've tried to get you to act more human, it's been for the same reason as Truth, here – it's because I want you to accept all of yourself."

Spock tilted his head to one side. "And Dr. McCoy?" he asked dryly.

Kirk sighed. "Yeah, I think it is a contest to Bones. But you can't let HIS opinion control you. That really would be letting him win!"

Truth glanced between them and spoke to Spock, "The human speaks true."

Spock swallowed. "I will take what you have said under advisement. It will require a great deal of meditation and a great deal of self-examination to undo the effects of decades of shame." He turned to Kirk. "And even when I have done so, you may notice no difference in my behavior, for I do not intend to abandon my Vulcanity, merely to cease feeling shame at my human ancestry."

Kirk shook his head. "I don't need you to do or be anything different; I just want you to feel more comfortable in your own skin." He stepped closer to Spock and put a hand on his shoulder. "And Spock, if I can help in any way, you have only to ask. I'm happy to talk with you about it or even to clamp down on Bones if he gets in your way too much."

Spock didn't trust himself to speak and contented himself with nodding gratefully at Jim.

Truth said, "My time here is limited, and I must go. If I have spoken mostly of the negative, my son, know that it comes of concern for thee. Aside from thy ambivalence about thy divided heritage, thou art among my staunchest adherents, and thy efforts to serve and further the cause of Truth have been noted and cherished ... as art thou. If I have spoken but little of how fervently and how thoroughly I cherish thee, it is because I know that to do otherwise would embarrass those emotions that thou pretendest not to have."

The golden Vulcan's face broke out into a smile for the first time, and although it was a startling expression on a Vulcanoid face, the golden smile he bestowed upon Spock was loving and proud. It was the smile of a doting and affectionate father, one who loved his son desperately, and Spock's undernourished heart drank in that smile as a man dying of thirst in the desert drinks in his first draught at an oasis.

Truth stepped backwards, several long steps until he was again ten meters away. Another small, localized sandstorm blew up, swirling around the golden Vulcan until he was obscured from view. It lasted a very short time, and when it ended, the golden sand stretched as featureless as before.

 

______________________________________________

Notes:

1. In Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, Sarek says, "My logic is uncertain where my son is concerned," but since this story takes place during the first five-year mission, that's many years in the future, and he has not yet admitted it. :-)

2. I've been asked about the next chapter, but the story is complete; I'm only doing Kirk and Spock. (If I'd intended to do another individual, that person would have been present for the first two chapters.)

3. As I've mentioned before, I'm a licensed clinical psychologist in real life. I was amused when writing Truth's conversation with Spock to find that it had come to resemble a therapy session, but then there's SO much truth to the cliché "Wherever you go, there you are." :-)

4. I'm going to borrow Ster J's wonderful disclaimer, because it fits me so well: I don't own Star Trek; IT owns ME. :-)

5. Thanks for reading!

 

 

Edited by Corylea

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Interesting story, Corylea.  I love the idea of deepest devotions becoming manifest.   It's like a more successful version of "Who Mourns For Adonais?" and STV, with a bit of "Shore Leave" thrown in.   In some ways, it also reminds me of the 'visitors' in Stanislaw Lem's "Solaris."  The TOS characters speak so organically to themselves (right down to Spock's decimal point estimates!) that they really feel true.

Even as an atheist, I appreciate the idea of gods and 'truth' coming from within rather than externally.  ;)

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Interesting story, Corylea.  I love the idea of deepest devotions becoming manifest.   It's like a more successful version of "Who Mourns For Adonais?" and STV, with a bit of "Shore Leave" thrown in.   In some ways, it also reminds me of the 'visitors' in Stanislaw Lem's "Solaris."  The TOS characters speak so organically to themselves (right down to Spock's decimal point estimates!) that they really feel true.

Even as an atheist, I appreciate the idea of gods and 'truth' coming from within rather than externally.  ;)

Thanks, Sehlat!  I really appreciate your comments. :thumbup:  And I'm thrilled that you think I've kept the characters IN character, since that's very important to me and is one thing that I've seen a lot of fanfic writers do badly.

It's been a long time since I read any Lem, and I don't remember whether I've read "Solaris" or not.  I'll have to see if our library has it.

It's not just their devotions, though, since Duty didn't manifest; it's the things they've devoted themselves to where something needs to change or grow.  I spent the first half of my professional life as a professor and the second half as a therapist, and the thing that connects those is trying to facilitate the growth of others.  So now I'm trying to grow the TOS characters -- what hubris, huh? :P

My mind is an atheist, and my heart is a pagan/Wiccan, which makes for an uneasy balance sometimes. (There's more than one reason why I identify so with Spock! ;)) I've had various gods over the years, from Education, to Fighting Prejudice to Love.  And of course I can often be found worshiping at the altar of TOS. :)  So yeah, my portrayal of gods will be ... different from most.  But I think that's a good thing! ;)

 

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Interesting story, Corylea.  I love the idea of deepest devotions becoming manifest.   It's like a more successful version of "Who Mourns For Adonais?" and STV, with a bit of "Shore Leave" thrown in.   In some ways, it also reminds me of the 'visitors' in Stanislaw Lem's "Solaris."  The TOS characters speak so organically to themselves (right down to Spock's decimal point estimates!) that they really feel true.

Even as an atheist, I appreciate the idea of gods and 'truth' coming from within rather than externally.  ;)

Thanks, Sehlat!  I really appreciate your comments. :thumbup:  And I'm thrilled that you think I've kept the characters IN character, since that's very important to me and is one thing that I've seen a lot of fanfic writers do badly.

It's been a long time since I read any Lem, and I don't remember whether I've read "Solaris" or not.  I'll have to see if our library has it.

It's not just their devotions, though, since Duty didn't manifest; it's the things they've devoted themselves to where something needs to change or grow.  I spent the first half of my professional life as a professor and the second half as a therapist, and the thing that connects those is trying to facilitate the growth of others.  So now I'm trying to grow the TOS characters -- what hubris, huh? :P

My mind is an atheist, and my heart is a pagan/Wiccan, which makes for an uneasy balance sometimes. (There's more than one reason why I identify so with Spock! ;)) I've had various gods over the years, from Education, to Fighting Prejudice to Love.  And of course I can often be found worshiping at the altar of TOS. :)  So yeah, my portrayal of gods will be ... different from most.  But I think that's a good thing! ;)

 

I've read the first chapter so far, and yes, great story! The characters are indeed IN character, as far as I can see.

How long have you been writing ST fan fiction? It appears rather skilled to me, so I'm sure you've been doing that a while. :)

And nice idea. I wonder what the god would have said about Kirk sacrificing the Enterprise for Spock in TSFS? :giggle:

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I've read the first chapter so far, and yes, great story! The characters are indeed IN character, as far as I can see.

How long have you been writing ST fan fiction? It appears rather skilled to me, so I'm sure you've been doing that a while. :)

And nice idea. I wonder what the god would have said about Kirk sacrificing the Enterprise for Spock in TSFS? :giggle:

Thanks for reading the first chapter!  I'm sorry the story didn't grab you enough to make you want to read the second. :(

Thanks for complimenting my writing; that's very sweet of you.  I started writing ST fanfic in June of 2013.  I'd never read any fanfic before then, and once I did, I was horrified to discover that my first story was embarrassingly typical.  But I've gotten better since then!  Or at least, I think I have. :) 

There's a fanfic author I admire who's been writing for a dozen years, and while her recent stories are excellent, her stories from a dozen years ago are terrible.  She keeps those early stories up on the website to provide hope to other writers, to show that although she writes very well NOW, she used to be pretty bad.  So I'm doing the same thing, keeping all of my stories up, even though I find my first one embarrassing.  And I do like some of the things I'm doing now. 

Of course, writing fan fiction as a serious TOS fan is somewhat demoralizing, because what 95% of readers on fanfic sites seem to want is Kirk/Spock porn.  I'm interested in character studies of who the main characters ARE, and I'm interested in new adventures for the Enterprise, and that seems to put me decidedly in the minority.  It's kinda sad, to be in such a small world as Star Trek fan fiction and still be a weirdo who doesn't fit in with the others... :cry:  

As for Kirk's destroying the ship in TSFS, the Enterprise was due to be decommissioned, anyway.  We don't know what Starfleet does with decommissioned starships, whether they're disassembled for parts, sold to civilians to be used in some civilian fleet, or blown up, but she wasn't going to be a Starfleet starship anymore.  Given that she was due to be decommissioned anyway, I think the Enterprise would have found it fitting that she would die so that her crew could live.

 

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Interesting story, Corylea.  I love the idea of deepest devotions becoming manifest.   It's like a more successful version of "Who Mourns For Adonais?" and STV, with a bit of "Shore Leave" thrown in.   In some ways, it also reminds me of the 'visitors' in Stanislaw Lem's "Solaris."  The TOS characters speak so organically to themselves (right down to Spock's decimal point estimates!) that they really feel true.

Even as an atheist, I appreciate the idea of gods and 'truth' coming from within rather than externally.  ;)

Thanks, Sehlat!  I really appreciate your comments. :thumbup:  And I'm thrilled that you think I've kept the characters IN character, since that's very important to me and is one thing that I've seen a lot of fanfic writers do badly.

It's been a long time since I read any Lem, and I don't remember whether I've read "Solaris" or not.  I'll have to see if our library has it.

It's not just their devotions, though, since Duty didn't manifest; it's the things they've devoted themselves to where something needs to change or grow.  I spent the first half of my professional life as a professor and the second half as a therapist, and the thing that connects those is trying to facilitate the growth of others.  So now I'm trying to grow the TOS characters -- what hubris, huh? :P

My mind is an atheist, and my heart is a pagan/Wiccan, which makes for an uneasy balance sometimes. (There's more than one reason why I identify so with Spock! ;)) I've had various gods over the years, from Education, to Fighting Prejudice to Love.  And of course I can often be found worshiping at the altar of TOS. :)  So yeah, my portrayal of gods will be ... different from most.  But I think that's a good thing! ;)

One of the most dear people I've ever met, a dear woman friend of mine who gave me a place to live when I had nowhere to go, was also a Wiccan/pagan, so I totally respect that. And Solaris is a nice read (albeit a short one; unlike the Russian film adaptation, it's only a couple hundred pages).  

And yes, I love how your story's gods were of those ideals each characters holds dearest.  Spock's WOULD be Truth; that was spot on.   Truth is a cornerstone of logic, and one of the reasons Vulcans eschew emotion, to see the truth without impediment of feeling.   That made SUCH sense. 

Keep up the great work!  So nice to have you back. 

 

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I've read the first chapter so far, and yes, great story! The characters are indeed IN character, as far as I can see.

How long have you been writing ST fan fiction? It appears rather skilled to me, so I'm sure you've been doing that a while. :)

And nice idea. I wonder what the god would have said about Kirk sacrificing the Enterprise for Spock in TSFS? :giggle:

Thanks for reading the first chapter!  I'm sorry the story didn't grab you enough to make you want to read the second. :(

Oh it did, I just didn't find the time yet (with the concentration the story deserves!) between going to the bathtub with little one, and studying for the test tomorrow...

But I will!

Interesting story, Corylea.  I love the idea of deepest devotions becoming manifest.   It's like a more successful version of "Who Mourns For Adonais?" and STV, with a bit of "Shore Leave" thrown in.   In some ways, it also reminds me of the 'visitors' in Stanislaw Lem's "Solaris."  The TOS characters speak so organically to themselves (right down to Spock's decimal point estimates!) that they really feel true.

Even as an atheist, I appreciate the idea of gods and 'truth' coming from within rather than externally.  ;)

Thanks, Sehlat!  I really appreciate your comments. :thumbup:  And I'm thrilled that you think I've kept the characters IN character, since that's very important to me and is one thing that I've seen a lot of fanfic writers do badly.

It's been a long time since I read any Lem, and I don't remember whether I've read "Solaris" or not.  I'll have to see if our library has it.

It's not just their devotions, though, since Duty didn't manifest; it's the things they've devoted themselves to where something needs to change or grow.  I spent the first half of my professional life as a professor and the second half as a therapist, and the thing that connects those is trying to facilitate the growth of others.  So now I'm trying to grow the TOS characters -- what hubris, huh? :P

My mind is an atheist, and my heart is a pagan/Wiccan, which makes for an uneasy balance sometimes. (There's more than one reason why I identify so with Spock! ;)) I've had various gods over the years, from Education, to Fighting Prejudice to Love.  And of course I can often be found worshiping at the altar of TOS. :)  So yeah, my portrayal of gods will be ... different from most.  But I think that's a good thing! ;)

One of the most dear people I've ever met, a dear woman friend of mine who gave me a place to live when I had nowhere to go, was also a Wiccan/pagan, so I totally respect that. And Solaris is a nice read (albeit a short one; unlike the Russian film adaptation, it's only a couple hundred pages).  

And yes, I love how your story's gods were of those ideals each characters holds dearest.  Spock's WOULD be Truth; that was spot on.   Truth is a cornerstone of logic, and one of the reasons Vulcans eschew emotion, to see the truth without impediment of feeling.   That made SUCH sense. 

Keep up the great work!  So nice to have you back. 

 

While I consider myself spiritual/religious (at least five out of seven days in the week), it's basically my take on "gods", too. Gods don't have to be supernatural entities to exist. When I think of the monotheist God, it's more a matter of perspective: When you imagine something that's the opposite of everything in the created world, you got it -- the created world has limits and an end, God is endless and timeless. Creation is made up of little parts, God is one and undivisible. Creation is always imperfect, God is perfect. A kind of thought exercize. Now if all creation strifes for "getting closer to God", you can imagine what that means. :)

So yes, I like the spiritual angle on the story, too, if it even is one. It's a great mirror for Kirk, at any rate -- and I guess for Spock too, which I'll know once I continue reading ... now.

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I've read the first chapter so far, and yes, great story! The characters are indeed IN character, as far as I can see.

How long have you been writing ST fan fiction? It appears rather skilled to me, so I'm sure you've been doing that a while. :)

And nice idea. I wonder what the god would have said about Kirk sacrificing the Enterprise for Spock in TSFS? :giggle:

Thanks for reading the first chapter!  I'm sorry the story didn't grab you enough to make you want to read the second. :(

Thanks for complimenting my writing; that's very sweet of you.  I started writing ST fanfic in June of 2013.  I'd never read any fanfic before then, and once I did, I was horrified to discover that my first story was embarrassingly typical.  But I've gotten better since then!  Or at least, I think I have. :) 

There's a fanfic author I admire who's been writing for a dozen years, and while her recent stories are excellent, her stories from a dozen years ago are terrible.  She keeps those early stories up on the website to provide hope to other writers, to show that although she writes very well NOW, she used to be pretty bad.  So I'm doing the same thing, keeping all of my stories up, even though I find my first one embarrassing.  And I do like some of the things I'm doing now. 

Of course, writing fan fiction as a serious TOS fan is somewhat demoralizing, because what 95% of readers on fanfic sites seem to want is Kirk/Spock porn.  I'm interested in character studies of who the main characters ARE, and I'm interested in new adventures for the Enterprise, and that seems to put me decidedly in the minority.  It's kinda sad, to be in such a small world as Star Trek fan fiction and still be a weirdo who doesn't fit in with the others... :cry:  

As for Kirk's destroying the ship in TSFS, the Enterprise was due to be decommissioned, anyway.  We don't know what Starfleet does with decommissioned starships, whether they're disassembled for parts, sold to civilians to be used in some civilian fleet, or blown up, but she wasn't going to be a Starfleet starship anymore.  Given that she was due to be decommissioned anyway, I think the Enterprise would have found it fitting that she would die so that her crew could live.

 

Good point about TSFS... you know canon very well! =)

After reading chapter two, I find it even more interesting than chapter one. Both chapters couldn't be straighter to the core of the two characters IMO, Kirk's love for the Enterprise and his "ladyman" image, and Spock's quest for the truth -- it's amazing you worded it this way, because I had never thought about it, but yes, more than even science or logic, Spock searches for the truth, and this quest is because he's conflicted. Very spot on! :thumbup:

I love how you let your skills as a therapist influence these stories. They're short, but I'm not lying when I say I've never seen the essence of both characters condensed on such a short space before. Guess that means you're good at your job! =)

As for Spock, guess this story took place, before he finally admitted in TUC that "logic is the beginning, not the end". :)

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Oh it did, I just didn't find the time yet (with the concentration the story deserves!) between going to the bathtub with little one, and studying for the test tomorrow...

Given that you have a three-year-old, I'm amazed that you find the time and energy to participate in an online community at all!  Do you sleep?

And best of luck on the test!

 

After reading chapter two, I find it even more interesting than chapter one. Both chapters couldn't be straighter to the core of the two characters IMO, Kirk's love for the Enterprise and his "ladyman" image, and Spock's quest for the truth -- it's amazing you worded it this way, because I had never thought about it, but yes, more than even science or logic, Spock searches for the truth, and this quest is because he's conflicted. Very spot on! :thumbup:

I love how you let your skills as a therapist influence these stories. They're short, but I'm not lying when I say I've never seen the essence of both characters condensed on such a short space before. Guess that means you're good at your job! =)

Aw, thanks.  I'm very happy that you liked the story!  I really appreciate your comments, and I love hearing that you feel as if I've captured the characters' essence.

I think about the TOS characters rather more than is strictly sane, so it's a pity I'll never have them as actual clients. :biggrin:

The only problem with writing TOS fan fiction is that I find Spock's voice very sticky; if I've been writing Spock for a couple of hours, I find it difficult to take his voice OFF again.  Maybe it's because he's a telepath, but once he gets in my mind, he just moves in and sets up housekeeping. :ohmy:  My husband can always tell when I've been writing a lot of Spock, because he asks Spock if he can please have his wife back.  He also refers to Spock as my "upstairs boarder."  My husband is a saint, because he's very patient with all of this. :inlove:

Writers' minds are strange places!  Or maybe it's just mine... :giggle:

 

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Just finished reading it all (I write more fan fic than I read these days, it was a nice change for me there) - I liked the Truth part best (guess I'm just too Vulcan-like on the inside haha) and I enjoyed reading the conversation between Spock and Truth. This would have worked well as part of an episode if you ask me. Good job, Corylea!

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Oh it did, I just didn't find the time yet (with the concentration the story deserves!) between going to the bathtub with little one, and studying for the test tomorrow...

Given that you have a three-year-old, I'm amazed that you find the time and energy to participate in an online community at all!  Do you sleep?

And best of luck on the test!

Yes, a three year old and her little sister is 11 months old. :)

Haha, yes, I do sleep... sometimes! Fortunately, the kids are usually at bed at 8pm, so there are two or three hours left for recreation, such as genre stuff. :laugh:

Thanks to the fact Germany is an eeeevil, evil socialist (:cry:) country, a country America will never become if God and the Republicans will, the government also pays one of two parents one year off from work after the birth of a child, plus the Berlin state government pays us daycare for every child above 1 year. So having a child in Germany really is not too stressful... unless you make it stressful yourself (which many parents, for some strange reason, apparently do).

The test went well, thank you! I'm going to school for a formation as pharmaceutical technician. It's not too hard, but a lot of work, studying a lot about drugs and chemistry.

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