The lights in the towers of the office buildings in Shi’Kahr were barely visible as Spock squinted into the distance. A tremor rippled through his body as he looked at the blood stains still visible on his hands. He had survived his kahs-wan, but at the cost of his pet sehlat. I-Chaya had died from the poisonous scratches it had received defending him against a le-matya attack. He had been unable to stem the flow of blood. He had stayed with her until the end.
He now sat on a rock contemplating what had driven him to take the test prematurely without his parents’ consent. Three months earlier, he had been in his biology class.
Master Stevik pointed at the image of the respiratory system of a new born baby. “New born babies are struck firmly on their backs to clear the air passage to the lungs. If the baby lets out a cry, it is a sign the passage is clear. If not other methods are used to clear any obstruction.”
Spock had raised his hand, anxious to get clarity. Master Stevik had nodded in his direction. “Is it customary for the baby to cry out? Is it not viewed as a lack of control?”
“I bet you screamed like a valit caught for dinner,” Spock heard Selon whisper behind him.
“A cry is expected. If there is no sound, there may be an obstruction, as I just indicated. We will learn later in this unit, at what age the mind is capable of initiating control over physical sensations.”
Spock felt a firm jab in his back, “You will never reach that age.”
The taunt from Selon barely registered, as in that moment Spock was elsewhere. His first memory was of the pain of being struck, the cry he emitted, and the feeling that had permeated his being from the attending Healer which he had since come to understand was disgust. He had always assumed the Healer’s disgust had been because he had cried out. Now, he realized the Healer’s reaction must have been to Spock’s very existence as a half-breed, the only one ever born on Vulcan.
He was certain Selon would hear his accelerated heart rate and breathing as the disturbing revelation clarified in his mind. All the looks and whispers he had endured since beginning his education eighteen months ago began to make sense. He had spent many fruitless hours in meditation trying to determine what he had done to cause his peers to taunt him or worse, ignore him completely. The lesson had made him realize, it had been no action on his part. They had judged him inferior merely because of his bloodline.
Spock shifted on the rock restlessly, his muscles tightening in his back, as he remembered the disturbing epiphany and his determination to prove them all wrong as he walked home that day. He had vowed to himself that he would spend the next three months preparing to take his kahs-wan as soon as possible after his seventh birthday. Such an achievement would prove conclusively to those that deemed him inferior because of his mixed heritage that he was equal to his Vulcan peers, if not superior by taking the test as soon as it was permitted.
Now as he sat contemplating his choices, he realized the price had been high, too high. I-Chaya, his only friend, was dead. He pushed the lump in his throat down, willing himself not to break down again, as he had done in the night, his tears and muffled cries absorbed into I-Chaya’s fur.
Spock clasped his hands together and allowed himself a sigh of frustration. What had been the point? Since his birth, he had been subjected to 137 tests, tests which compared him with Vulcan norms in areas such as strength, vision, hearing, telepathy and intelligence. The cumulative tests results to date had not concluded him to be sufficiently Vulcan; why had he thought passing the kahs-wan would be any different? Even this accomplishment would not satisfy those who saw him as deficient.
Spock inwardly castigated himself: he had failed his test of maturity in his own mind. He had behaved illogically and emotionally by rashly undertaking the test without his parents’ knowledge and approval.
He pushed himself off the rock with resolve. He would ask forgiveness of his parents for acting with such disrespect. As he walked back to Shi’Kahr, the dawning sun’s rays warm on his back, he wondered fleetingly whether they would be proud of his accomplishment—but pushed the thought aside: pride was an emotion.
kahs-wan – test of maturity
le-matya – omnivorous cat-like animal, has poisonous claws, green-white diamond pattern in its fur
sehlat – large bear-like animal with fangs, domesticated as a pet
valit – small rodent