EMAIL: mail@sandsofvulcan.com


CHAR CODES: Sp/Saa, Mc, Ruanek, Uhura


SYNOPSIS: A challenge piece. Why is Spock in a healing trance? What is wrong with him? Will Saavik and Ruanek discover the cause in time?

DISCLAIMER: Star Trek and its characters are the property of Paramount/Viacom. Ruanek is a character first seen in Vulcan’ Forge by Susan Shwartz and Josepha Sherman. I make no money from this.

ARCHIVE: Ask first.

“Tell me again how he got lasso’ed into this mission,” said Leonard McCoy.

Saavik shook her head slowly.

“He did not reveal it to me; he only said that the science division had requested his assistance. Since being notified that he was discovered in Shantip, I have tried to ascertain what Spock was working on, but Starfleet has not been cooperative. I explained that giving us that knowledge might enable us to help him, but they claimed no knowledge of it.”

“Shantip?” asked Leonard.

“The Healing Trance in which his mind is now locked. He will enter a lighter trance soon when he detects that his body needs sustenance. He took a great risk entering the Shantip without knowing whether there would be anyone to help him. When he perceives that help is near, he may try to regain consciousness. Perhaps he can tell us his mission then.”

In an uncharacteristically revealing movement, Saavik rubbed her eyes. Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy sympathized. Though she would not admit to fatigue, he knew that she had not left Spock’s side since arriving here from Vulcan. Saavik had contacted him a week ago when she was unable to reach Spock at the quarters she maintained on Earth.

“They told me, that they just found him there on the floor, but I can’t find a damn thing wrong with him,” sighed McCoy.

Saavik added in response, “Ruanek is searching the apartment as we speak, but he has already informed me that it was ‘cleaned’ before I arrived.”


“Yes,” said Saavik. “Whatever happened, Starfleet does not want us to gain knowledge of it. Because my husband is lying in Shantip and I am myself a high ranking officer, they did not say that I had ‘no need to know’ to my face, but I am sure that they intend to reveal nothing. If we are to find out anything, it will be on our own.”

Saavik returned her gaze to her husband. Lying serenely in a private cubical at Starfleet Medical, there was no outward sign of his physical distress. Whatever reason he had had to enter the healing trance must have been sudden and desperate. Her firm belief that he was under threat could not be confirmed unless Ruanek could uncover some scrap of evidence missed in Starfleet’s cleaning, or Spock himself awoke and explained.

Spock turned his back against the biting wind and sand of the storm, and made his way across the Forge; Vulcan’s heat dulled by the wailing sands. He knew that he must force his way ahead. If he turned to face the wind, his very skin would shred. Already the sand bit through his robes, but he pushed onward towards Shi’ram the ancient fortress that he knew was the only place that could provide him shelter.

Hunger gnawed at him and he felt himself growing weaker, but he pressed on; to remain in the open during a storm on the Forge was to die.

“Saavik.” McCoy demanded her attention. “His levels are rising. I think he needs nutrition. You sure you don’t want me to run a bioline?”

“No,” she answered firmly. “We must force him from the trance, even if it is only long enough for him to realize that we are here.”

“Alright, I’ll respect that to a point, but if he doesn’t come around on his own, I’ll have to run the line anyway.” McCoy noted the way she nodded less resolutely than usual. She needed rest. “I’ll stay here,” he offered. “Why don’t you go and see if Ruanek has discovered anything. I’ll have you beamed back at the first sign of a change.”

When Saavik agreed without argument, McCoy worried that she was even more tired than he had guessed.

Saavik walked the distance from Starfleet Medical to the Officer’s billets at Starfleet Academy. The cool fog of the evening refreshed her like no meditation could have. She noted that windows to her apartment in the building ahead were glowing with light even at this late hour. She quickened her pace, perhaps Ruanek had some news.

In her apartment she found Ruanek engrossed in the contents of Spock’s personal padd. He looked up at her as she entered and shook his head. His somewhat too long black hair tossled, “Wiped. Just like everything else in here,” he complained. He brought the padd to her and pointed silently. Saavik saw that he was deep in the memory of the padd looking for residual file signatures. There were none. That was itself enough evidence to support his claim that the padd had been intentionally ‘cleaned’. Normally, there would be the usual ‘data trash’ evident.

“We were lucky in one way,” he hinted. “Whoever did this was incompetent. They assumed that since whatever Spock was working on was secret, he would only use a secure padd. His research topics are openly available at the VSA apparently. They didn’t even check this history.

He led her to her terminal on the desk. The screen listed of several net destinations. Most of them linked tounclassified articles on the Vulcan Science Academy’s library computers, but one was a personal address for a Starfleet Academy Researcher.

“Do you know him?” asked Ruanek.

The name given was l.porter. Saavik moved to her terminal and brought up the Academy’s faculty contact page. “I do not, but there is a Dr. Liam Porter, PhD. given as a researcher in the department of exopsychology.”

“Computer, cross reference the name Liam Porter with the articles recently accessed at the VSA,” commanded Saavik.

One answer to her query displayed on screen.

“Pre-reformation symbology and the Vulcan psyche.” Dr. Liam Porter, Journal of Alien Psychology Vol.7 no. 3

“Computer, display this article.”

Saavik eased herself into the seat and Ruanek took up a spot over her shoulder. Together they poured over the article until morning, each reading silently.

Saavik pushed herself away from the computer and turned to face Ruanek. He was a Vulcan Science Academy Researcher himself. He shook his head.

“I differ with him on several points, with regards to definitions, but he could be correct in his conclusion,” he offered.

“That’s not the point,” said Saavik. “This is.” She pointed to an obscure section of the paper.

“I found that section to be incongruous with the point of his paper, and moot at that. None of these devices has ever been found,” said Ruanek.

“And if one had?” questioned Saavik. “It would make an excellent tool for sensitive communications, especially if Dr. Porter’s theories about its data encoding technology are correct.”

“And you think this is why they needed Spock? To help them with the encoding.”

“It would be, as humans say, ‘right up his alley’.”

Ruanek straightened, moving back and stretched silently in his morning routine. Saavik watched as the exercises flowed through him. She knew him well enough to know that he was contemplating their next move. Unlike a Vulcan who would have chosen to sit silently, perhaps with his fingers steepled to concentrate his thoughts, Ruanek always needed to move. It was his Romulan heritage. Even as he moved, he sought balance between his past and all the control his twenty years in exile on Vulcan had taught him.

He stilled himself and met Saavik’s eyes. “You or I?” he asked.

“I don’t understand,” said Saavik.

“Who is having first meal with Dr. Liam Porter this morning?” he said.

“No change,” reported McCoy when Saavik returned to Spock’s bedside. “I’m going to get some breakfast. Did you two find out anything?”

Saavik took the chair next to the bed that McCoy vacated. “Ruanek is pursuing the only lead so far. I did not think that I should be far from Spock.” McCoy nodded in understanding before he left her alone.

Saavik examined the monitors. They still showed the higher acid levels of earlier, but before her Spock lay absolutely still, his entire metabolism slowed by the Shantip, he appeared as one dead.

“There is no pain.” The mantra chanted in Spock’s mind as he pushed ahead. Briefly through the sand he glimpsed the stone walls that would provide refuge if he were allowed entrance. Surely he could not be turned away with the peril at his back. He ached with hunger and physical exertion, but he plodded ahead, each step toward the sanctuary of Shi’ram more difficult than the last. He puzzled at why the wind at his back did not aid him by propelling him forward, even as he fell against the heavy petrified wood door. Too tired to beat even feebly against it, only a soft plea escaped his lips. He needed them to open the door, “Sanctuary,” he pleaded.

Saavik stirred, roused by Spock’s call, so weak, she had not been able to make out his words, she leaned forward, “Please,” he begged.

Saavik pulled away and drawing back her open hand slapped him with all her strength.

“Please,” he begged. Again she struck him, and again until she feared she would leave him badly bruised.

Finally his eyes opened. “Open the doors,” he cried softly. “Let me in.”

Saavik glanced for a sight of McCoy, but he had still not returned. Something was wrong. Spock should recognize that he was in a higher level of consciousness.

“Spock, adun, it is Saavik, I am here. You may awaken if you wish. I will help you.”

“Open the door, please,” he begged. “Open the door to Shi’ram.”

Puzzled at his reference to the Temple of Ghi’ras, Saavik reached for the nutritional supplement on the bedside table and pressed it to his lips. “I am here, adun. Awaken!”

Without drinking any of the offered nourishment, Spock faded away, back into the Shantip.

“No,” called Saavik. “No! Spock!” She slapped him again. “You must eat. Awaken!” But he was gone, back into his dream.

Ruanek ran up to the old man on the walk in front of him.

“Don’t do that, son!” complained McCoy. “You’ll scare out what little life I have in me.”

Had McCoy not been in his 130’s, Ruanek would have interpreted the comment as a joke.

“I ask forgiveness, elder. How is Spock?” asked Ruanek, slowing his pace to McCoy’s as they re-entered the Medical center.

“He was the same when I left. What did you find out? Saavik said you may have found a lead.”

“It was what you would call a ‘dead end’.”

Saavik’s screams from down the hall sent them both at a run.

They found her on the bed kneeling above Spock, preparing to slap him again. A quick glance at the monitors showed McCoy what he needed to know. He motioned with his head for Ruanek to stop her. Ruanek grabbed her around the waist and pulled her bodily off the bed. Grasping her head between his hands, he demanded her attention.

“Saavik! Saavik!”

Saavik eyes focused slowly on him. “I couldn’t wake him. I tried. I wasn’t strong enough.”

Her eyes slowly refocused on McCoy, as he ran various scans on his patient. “I’m going to have to run that line now, Saavik. I’m sorry. Maybe when he is stronger, he’ll be able to come out of it.” McCoy called for the nurse and began the procedure to add Spock’s bioline, as Ruanek eased Saavik gently into the hall.

“What happened?” he asked.

The words stumbled out of her as she regained control. “He wasn’t making sense. He didn’t know I was here nor did he respond to the pain stimulus and regain consciousness.”

Saavik took a deep breath of control and pulled back from Ruanek, straightening. “What did you learn from Porter?”

“Nothing,” said Ruanek. “He’s dead. At least that’s what his neighbor said. His apartment had been cordoned of by Starfleet. They’re not going to tell me anything. I think you need to make some inquiries.”

“Yes, of course,” she said, her eyes looking to the side and through the doorway. She watched as the nurse smoothed the blankets around her husband’s still form.

“Stay with him,” she asked.

Saavik waited in the outer office of her friend Captain Nyota Uhura. Nyota had served with Spock for years, and now was the Starfleet Security Chief. Saavik had visited her earlier this week demanding to know why her apartment had been ‘cleaned’. Nyota had claimed that she knew nothing of it, and Saavik knew implicitly that Nyota would not lie. She did know that Spock had been contacted, but only because he had come to visit a day after arriving. Whatever Porter was working on, had not made it to the visibility of the upper echelons of Security. Nyota had promised to look into it.

Almost an hour later, Nyota made it in, balancing tapes in one hand and a very tall hot coffee in the other. Her eyebrows rose at Saavik’s presence.

“Who let you in?” smiled Nyota.

Saavik took the tapes from her before the dangerously tilted coffee spilled to the floor.

“How’s our boy?” asked Nyota.

Saavik shook her head. “His situation has worsened. He is not able to emerge from the trance. Have you discovered anything?”

“Yes, come on in,” said Nyota as she keyed in her code and the door to her office opened. Saavik deposited the tapes and took a seat in front of her desk. Nyota seated herself and looked up at her friend.

“You know that Spock never brought up the reason he was here, or I would have told you earlier?”

Saavik nodded.

“Well,” continued Nyota, “I found out through monitored communiqué that he was requested by the Advanced Technologies Division, something about an artifact. His contact was Dr. Liam Porter. What’s disturbing and I’m not supposed to tell you this…” Nyota paused.

“Is that Porter is dead,” completed Saavik. Saavik noted Uhura’s chagrined look and added in explanation. “Ruanek found a reference to him in my terminal and went to pay him a visit this morning. I did not believe that Starfleet would reveal anything to Ruanek, so I am here.”

“Well, hon, I can’t tell you much more. Porter killed himself. Medical tells me that he died the same night that Spock was found in your apartment. I sent some investigators around, but no one can place Porter at your apartment. Still, that doesn’t mean that he wasn’t there.”

“We did find this,” said Nyota, pulling an ornate wooden box from her desk. “From my investigation of the Advanced Technology Division, this is the artifact. They believed it was some kind of ancient Vulcan communication device. That’s why they called Spock. I had it analyzed, and Spock’s DNA signature was on it. He handled this thing.”

“Have you read Porter’s work?” asked Saavik as she leaned in closer for a look and gently folded back the lid of the box.

“No,” said Uhura.

“He described the symbols on the box in one of his papers, but in his papers, the box was empty.” Saavik looked at the wrought metal orb contained inside.

When Nyota ran her finger across it. Saavik eyes widened. Noticing, Nyota quickly withdrew her hand.

“What?” she asked.

“You do not know?” asked Saavik. “You did not sense it.”

“Sense what? It feels like metal, and kind of cold.”

“But you did not sense…thought.” Nyota shook her head.

Saavik stood and pulled the box closer. Her eyes narrowed in deliberation, she reached hesitantly and touched the orb. When nothing happened, she picked up the box and tilted the orb out into her hand.

“This is a Ska-plak; a memory globe,” explained Saavik. “They were developed on Vulcan thousands of years ago as a way to share knowledge and experience with out the use of the meld. Through concentration one’s thoughts can be deposited in the device or accessed from it. I sense nothing. Whatever the information that was here, it has been retrieved. These devices are legendary, but I know of no others that have been found.”

“You think that Spock was the one that accessed the message in the device?”

“It is the most likely scenario. It still requires psi ability to perform. The human researchers were probably unable to get it to work. That’s why they needed a Vulcan with a high enough security clearance.”

“According to Porter, the markings on the box tell of the thought that must be transmitted to access the message.”

“Like a password?” asked Uhura.

“Yes,” answered Saavik. “If you would allow it, I would like Ruanek to examine these symbols. Perhaps he can tell us more.” Nyota handed her the box.

“It’s all yours. I hope you find something that can help,” offered Nyota.

“It seems that this is our only hope,” replied Saavik.

The wind and orange sands beat down brutally upon him. He felt the door give way, his own body blocking its ability to open.

“Awaken!” shouted a voice from within. Spock stirred and tried his best to move out of the way. The heavy door blocked the wind. Shielded from its fury, he turned his gaze upward.

The priestess stood above him, her gauzy robes strangely silent in the wind. “Why are you here?”

“Sanctuary,” he begged, his voice drier than the desert itself.

She observed him for a long while until he dropped his head to the ground, no longer able to withstand her gaze. Finally she spoke.

“You may enter… for now.”

With a supernatural strength, Spock felt himself pulled to his feet, though he was untouched. Was it the storm that had dried his eyes so? Why could he not see clearly? She was diaphanous and dark, as she lead him to a secluded alcove carved into the rock walls of the sanctuary. Amazed that he should find himself here, he sunk onto the carved couch. Outside the wind hummed, but he was safe, and cooled.

He allowed his eyes to close and felt something pressed to his lips. “Drink,” she insisted. His eyes still closed his body responded to the nourishment by reaching the deep restful state that only true exhaustion brings.

Ruanek puzzled over his latest obsession. Had the circumstances not been so serious, and the stakes Spock’s very life, he would have enjoyed this puzzle more than any in his academic career. He had before him an artifact lost in history. Not only that, but it had revealed more to him than any scholar before had believed.

Ancient pre-reformation Vulcan symbols on the wooden box, defied what lay inside. As predicted by Porter, what appeared as random symbols on the exterior, could, applying his theories, be pieced together into the symbol that represented the key. It had not been simple. Many symbols recognizable to those in the box’s time were lost to antiquity on Vulcan, but many Ruanek was able to identify. He doubted than any other academician on Vulcan would have been successful. Some of the pictographs he recognized immediately from his childhood in the Empire. Stories for which he had found no equivalent on Vulcan had been saved and passed down as children’s tales on Romulus, home of the Vulcan’s long lost brothers.

When he looked up, the sun was rising over the bay. He left the box open so that he could gaze upon it as he performed his morning mantra. Chanting and moving rhythmically, he gazed at it; two times he passed through the beginning of the mantra, three, and then he stopped.

Closing the box quickly, he grabbed it and ran for the Medical building.

“He’s better,” said McCoy.

His comment woke the sleeping Saavik, she stirred slowly, realizing that she had fallen asleep with her head on the bed beside her husband’s still hand.

“I’ll bet that did you some good too,” McCoy smiled.

Saavik stretched and examined the monitors. All Spock’s readings were again within normal range.

“He needed that bioline,” said McCoy. “The nutrients have improved his condition. You think he’ll be able to come around if we leave it in?”

Saavik stood, and stretched again slowly. “I cannot say. He should have been able to before. Leonard, I am beginning to doubt that he is really in Shantip. Perhaps it is time to transfer him to Vulcan. Perhaps a Vulcan healer…”

Ruanek entered the room a little too quickly, and Saavik detected a slight pause on his part, that gave her hope.

“I have found something,” Ruanek said.

Saavik and McCoy exchanged glances.

“This ska-plak has been altered. The symbols don’t match up in the correct way to conduct the psionic energy. I do not believe this was meant to function as a memory orb at all nor do I believe that the user was meant to notice. It is a very subtle change. The ball itself does not match the box.”

Ruanek handed Saavik the box and removed its contents. “See, it is here.” Ruanek traced the fine dark wood of the box with his finger, coursing through several different symbols.

“That is the representation of the pre-reformation goddess, Gi’hras,” said Ruanek. For Leonard’s sake he added, “The goddess of enlightenment, she breathed fire because she could not tolerate darkness.”

“Now look at the ball.” He traced the ball’s finely etched surface. “The symbol is cut short. Porter said that the key on the box and that of the orb would match. It was difficult, but I cannot believe that Spock would not also have discovered this.”

Saavik raised an eyebrow. “You are saying that the key image on the box does not match that of the ball. Does that imply that the key image would not unlock the memory within the ball?”

“Yes,” he confirmed. “Were that the only change, there would be no way to access the contents, but…” Ruanek turned the ball. This time his finger followed another path that Saavik recognized.

“This is not a ska-plak at all,” Saavik said in revelation.

“No,” agreed Ruanek. “That is the symbol of the Katra. This ball has been altered to permit not just the transfer of a memory, but a soul.”

“Dammit! You mean someone’s trying to take over Spock’s mind! But you said he would have noticed the changes.”

Saavik nodded in agreement with the conclusion Ruanek must have made. “Perhaps he did not, and Spock entered Shantip to save himself. He is fighting for his soul.”

Silence reigned momentarily. Saavik and Ruanek both letting the realization set in. “I can’t leave him,” said Saavik softly.

“I’ll contact Vulcan immediately. Perhaps the priestesses of Seleya can help him if we can get him there soon,” offered Ruanek as he left to make use of an interstellar commlink.

“I’ll make arrangements to have him moved. You just stay here with him. It’s gonna be alright.” added McCoy.

The room vacated by a lingering McCoy, Saavik again took up her place by her husband. Taking his hand, she reached for her mental bond with him, pleading silently, “Awaken.”

“Awaken,” commanded the priestess who hovered over him. Spock stirred, feeling recovered from his exhaustion.

“You may not stay here longer. The sanctuary you seek is not here,” she said.

Outside the wailing wind still blew against the walls of Shi’ram. Spock could hear its hum. “I cannot be turned out. The storm still rages.”

As if from nowhere the room was filled with the adepts of Shi’ram. At their fore, the priestess who wore the coronet and necklace of Gi’hras spoke. “The storm will rage as long as you stay here. Help and Sanctuary awaits you on the Forge.”

They moved toward him as one. Spock shook his head slowly. “No, you must not do this.” They reached for him and he felt himself propelled forward as before. Pushed out the door, he landed again in the wailing maelstrom.

Saavik turned the ball slowly in one hand; her finger retraced the path that Ruanek had defined. What evil had lurked here, waiting for someone to release it from its prison? Briefly, she lifted the ball above her head, more than anything she wanted to smash it to the ground, destroying it as it was trying to destroy Spock. Then she caught sight of the box, and was reminded of the key it gave. Gi’hras, the goddess of enlightenment glared back at her and she knew what she must do.

Placing the ball in Spock’s left hand, and positioning his fingers in a way that enhanced a Vulcan’s psionic powers, she took his right hand and accessing her bond with him, began.

“There is no help here,” yelled Spock at the immovable closed door.

In resignation he turned away and came face to face with his tormentor. Before him, the wind swirled, becoming, a dust devil, whirling with power, it coalesced into something more hideous. It took the form of Dra’hras the god of darkness. Spock backed away.

“Do not fear me. I am here to help,” the god offered. “Were you not told that help awaited you on the Forge?”

Spock shook his head, his lips pursed, before speaking. “In none of the stories I have ever heard have you been the source of help, but of trickery and deceit. Nor do I believe that this is your true form. Show yourself, if you are exist at all.”

The figure of Dra’hras swirled rising up in red dust to reform again, this time in the form of a pre-reform chieftain that Spock recognized at once.

“You are Ve’theros,” stated Spock.

“And I feared that my memory would not live on,” laughed Ve’theros derisively.

“It has,” confirmed Spock. “All Vulcan children are taught the tale of Ve’theros, murderer of thousands, that they may know what Vulcan was like before the rule of c’thia reigned.”

“I wonder what they will think when I return. Will they think c’thia itself has died, when you of all Vulcans, are mine?”

“I will not allow it,” refused Spock.

“You will have no choice. You only wished for help to come, and I allowed you a moment because I wish you to live, that I may live again.” Ve’theros, again in the form of the dust devil, rushed at Spock, and as if the forces of nature lived, Spock was pulled toward him.

Spock flung himself to the ground, kicking against the sand, pushing away. In the only choice he felt he had left, he desperately attempted the death of his own mind, ready to perish himself rather than unleash the evil that was Ve’theros, but Spock found that without full control his efforts were blocked.

In an effort of will alone, Spock forced the memory of all he cared for upon Ve’theros as if to make him see Gi’hras for the first time. The first memory that came was of all his missions on behalf of Starfleet, of shipmates, and all the lives they had saved….no, all the lives lost, all the death and cruelty they had observed.

“No,” screamed Spock. He focused again, this time on his parents; the love he had known from them, and then rejection and separation he had experienced. “No,” screamed Spock again as he forced the certainty of their love upon Ve’theros. Spock felt the force lessen then, as even Ve’theros could not deny him.

With the last of his strength, Spock focused upon her, upon her beauty and her loyalty, her courage and strength. Fleetingly he wanted to touch her one last time, but he closed the bond off, preparing to break it to save her from himself.

He felt Ve’theros exerting force to stop him. “She will be mine,” he promised.

“No,” screamed Spock. “You will not have her. Saavik!”

Without willing it, Spock felt his eye drawn down to the sand and the object that now rested inexplicably his hand. Still kicking desperately away from the image of his tormentor, Spock ceased his resistance, knowing that if he were not successful, at least, she would know.

As Ve’theros came at him, Spock began the mantra, “I am Spock. I am Spock.”

In his bed, Spock began to shake violently, and Saavik was afraid. Then she felt him, pulling towards her and the bond they shared, finally, his screams began.

“I am Spock! I am Spock!”

With her free hand, Saavik slapped him with all her strength. “Awaken! I am here,” she guided.

“You are Ve’theros!” screamed Spock again. For one of the few times in her life total blinding fear assailed her at the name of Spock’s assailant and what Spock was fighting against.

“No!” she screamed. She reached deeper pulling at him; pulling at the bond, and chanting with him, “You are Spock! Spock!”

With what could only be described as electric shock, she fell away from him. Their hands finally separated, as the ska’plak was flung away. She stared at him, now awake, questioning who he was, and wondering how she could believe his answer.


Unwilling to approach the only man she had ever wanted in her life, she asked illogically, “Who are you?” knowing that she could not believe what he said.

“Spock. I am… myself.” He appeared shaken. She knew that he wanted her to approach and yet she feared him. She became aware of Ruanek and McCoy at her back, ready to go to his side.

“Do not!” she commanded.

“But I am Spock… Saavik, please,” he begged. It would not have been enough, had that half of him not still been there; that half that let a tear fall from his eyes.

She went to him without hesitation then. “I must know your thoughts,” she said gently. Spock’s countenance relaxed as he prepared himself for her touch.

“You will know,” she said to Ruanek, who nodded reluctantly, ready to risk both of them for the answer that they must have.

Willingly, Spock opened his mind to her, giving her every piece of himself, obediently allowing her every private thing that he was in exchange for her trust in him. She witnessed Porter’s crime through Spock’s eyes, and heard Spock’s arguments about the danger of touching the ska’plak and the proper disposition of a Vulcan Katra. She remembered with him as he stared down atthe phaser set to kill in Porter’s hand. She observed Porter, a man so desperate to prove his own theories that he was willing to risk all to do so. In the end, completely assured that he was correct, he forced Spock to remove the altered ball, which needed no password image, but only another Vulcan to be drawn into its snare. Saavik shared the news of Porter’s suicide and her theory that, thinking that he had killed Spock, Porter had taken his own life. She was surprised by Spock’s agreement with Porter’s decision. In the end, when nothing was left to uncover, they parted.

“Adun,” she said, pushing his wet hair from his brow.

“I am tired,” was all he could muster, what needed to be said had already been shared between them. He slept.

Leaving Ruanek and McCoy at the Hall of Ancients, Spock traveled down the mountain and stood again on the Forge. This time in the still cool of the evening, Saavik at his side. Subjected to examination by the adepts of Seleya, he was again whole in body, and mind, though his spirit was troubled.

“He did not deserve what they did to him,” he said.

“Surely you cannot believe that his katra should be allowed to live?” asked Saavik softly.

“No, never,” he said without hesitation. “It is the reverence I object to; that the Selayans should have observed the rights of the vre’katra destruction at all.”

Saavik nodded.

“I should have let you destroy it there as you wished, Saavik, not have brought it here.”

“You could not. That is not who you are,” she said reassuringly.

He turned her towards him, enjoying her eyes, as they gazed into his.

“Who am I?” he asked though he knew that she believed him, and that Ve’theros was no more, illogically he need to hear her say it to him in this place, on the Forge.

She reached up, running her fingers without hesitation along the psi points of his face, inviting him to intimacy. “You are Spock…my husband,” she affirmed.

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