New: Lost in Translation Series: A Dutiful Father
Sa, Sp, Skon
Summary: Sarek's perspective of his reaction to Spock's decision to join Starfleet.
Disclaimer: not mine…no money made on this.
A/N: Many thanks to Selek for beta reading!
Sarek strode through the academic offices at the Vulcan Science Academy. Moving through the complex of buildings and laboratories, he thought about how generations of his forefathers and foremothers walked these very halls. It was a certainty of life that brought comfort to him.
The light of Nevasa filtered in through windows, every corner alight with life and conversation, and its warmth shining on him. Stability and consistency, two elements of a logical life… a life that was now in question for him.
He continued through hallways farther from the public eye until he arrived at the door. He stood and looked at it for an instant, waiting for the precise moment he was scheduled. At 1400 hours, he entered the room and shut the door, standing in front of a large stone desk. Skon sat behind it, writing and, without looking up from his work, gestured to the chair opposite him. "Sit, my son," his deep voice rumbled softly.
Sarek obliged him, waiting for his father to complete his work.
"It is agreeable to see you, Sarek'am."
"You as well. Osamekh, I require your wisdom," Sarek said softly.
"What concerns you, Safu?"
Skon looked at Sarek carefully; his son's face impassive and control set tightly in place. Even so, he could sense Sarek's internal struggle. "All dutiful fathers are concerned regarding their sons."
"Yes, and understandably so, Father. Spock is considering a disastrous life-course. He will jeopardize all that the Vulcan way of life represents," he said, his voice even. He was thankful it did not betray him.
"Spock will or may, my son?" Skon asked gently.
"I do not understand."
"Is this life-path he considers so volatile that he will undermine all that we are? That is exaggeration, Sarek'am; for not even The Sundered could strip our culture of that which we believe."
"Father, he would reject admission to the Academy to join Starfleet and actively participate in the use of force and violence."
"As a scientist, Sarek? Has Spock not exceeded every expectation of performance set upon all Vulcans? His accomplishments are remarkable, and enhanced by his dualistic heritage."
"As a member of the crew," Sarek replied.
Skon evaluated Sarek, and decided to broach a topic that he wished to avoid. "Sarek, how much greater would his life-path evolve the perception of our culture by those around us than your choice to bond with Amanda?" he asked gently.
"Indeed?" Skon paused, fascinated by Sarek not realizing the connection. "Your decision to bond with a Human female forced many around you to suffer the consequences of your actions, son."
"Father…" Sarek interjected, not wishing Amanda to be brought into the conversation in such a way.
Skon quickly corrected him. "You will hear me, my son," Skon answered with quick, confident authority. He sat quietly observing Sarek.
"I ask forgiveness, sir."
"Do not misunderstand me – Amanda is an honorable wife. Your mother and I cherish her. She is the wife-of-our-son. She has proven herself to be a dutiful and trustworthy mate, deserving of all protection and provision from you.
"But did you ever consider how your decision would affect others? Perhaps your logic rationalized your behavior. While your choice of bond-mate was highly self-serving, it has proven to have positive consequences. Is it possible that Spock's decision, while also self-serving, has the same potential?"
Sarek sat quietly, looking at his father, having no further response to what was a most logical question. "Father, I must meditate upon your insight. With your permission, I will take my leave of you."
"Of course. Live long and prosper, sa-fu," Skon replied.
As Sarek departed the office and journeyed home, he carefully considered what his father said. Sarek began to question his reasoning for defying Spock's choice of career. He was so accustomed to knowing what to do, what to say, to being in command in a confrontational situation…it was disconcerting to be in a position where the rules no longer applied. Upon returning home, he found a message waiting for him from Skon on the comm-unit.
"Sarek'am, I have meditated upon our conversation. I will share with you words of wisdom my father shared with me before you were born. He said 'until you have a son, you will never know the satisfaction that resonates in the katra of a father as he looks upon his son… you will never know the honor and duty that drives a father to accomplish more than he thought himself capable and pass that to his son…and you will never know the shattered katras of men who were haunted by the sirshos'im, the eater of souls – that kept them from being the kind of men they wanted their sons to become'.
"Sarek, Sa-fu t'nash-veh - my son, there must always be a struggle between the father and the son: one seeks control and the other independence, and the identity of each is often obscured, and frequently interchanged. Dutiful fathers make dutiful sons. He who is a dutiful son will become a dutiful father. Every father should remember that one day his son will follow his example as well as his advice. A father's desire for his son is to duplicate himself in order that such a remarkable pattern is not lost to the universe.
"You will make your own decision regarding Spock, but do not forget that he is compelled by an inner turmoil. He directly suffers the consequences of your choices. I do not condemn you for them… perhaps you will remember that before you condemn him for them.
Live long, and prosper, Sarek'am."
End-meal that evening had been particularly unsatisfying in that his own son would rather have imploded like a dying star than stay one iota longer than etiquette demanded. His wife was not eating, and had left him sitting there in silence. He decided that a visit to the gardens after cleaning the kitchen would help. Perhaps he would have a few moments to talk with Amanda and learn why she was apparently angry with him.
He found himself in the wet plant conservatory looking at her ferns. They were fascinating plants to him – delicate, soft, and so very green. He observed that her rose was not as healthy as it had been, and as he walked past the recycling unit he noticed a shard of pottery was jammed in the hinge, preventing the door form shutting properly. He pulled it out and discovered the destroyed plant. He realized that it was intentionally damaged… this was not due to being dropped or accidentally knocked off the workbench. It had been decimated. Noting it was past 2100 hours and Amanda had not joined him in the gardens as usual, he went inside and closed the house for the evening.
As he entered their room, he heard her breathing in the darkness. He reached out over their bond to sense her emotional state, but she was shielding her thoughts and feelings from him. Most unusual. He undressed, pulled the blanket back and climbed into bed with his wife thinking perhaps she would prefer some of her favorite 'cuddling', but when he tried to bring his body up to hers, she pushed him away. That only happened when she was very angry with him.
Sarek felt confused.
He woke at 0500 hours to meditate and prepare for the day when he encountered Spock in the family room holding a holopic of their family in his hands. Sarek watched Spock put the picture into his satchel and set the bag on the table.
"Good morning, Sa’mekh," Spock said quietly, not really making eye contact with his father.
"Good morning, Spock."
"I would speak with you, sir," Spock said formally. “Perhaps the veranda?"
They walked outside. Spock did not wish his mother to be awakened by the ensuing conversation. He felt a strong indication that it would not be a pleasant one. They stood in silence for a long moment, and then he took a deep breath, turned to his father and spoke. "Sir, I have made my decision."
"Excellent. I will inform the minister of your acceptance--" Sarek was interrupted midsentence.
"No sir, you misunderstand me. I will be accepting my posting to Starfleet Academy this morning."
Sarek was stunned. Rather than allow his son to see an outward reflection of what he felt inside, he presented Spock with a most stoic and impenetrable face.
Spock had never seen his father as such. It was… unsettling to him. He stood quietly and waited for the onslaught, but it did not come. Something much worse did.
"Spock, do you realize the severity of what you are choosing?"
He nodded quietly.
"You will be ordered to commit acts of violence without question…you will be forced to choose a morally-lacking lifestyle. Moral excellence only comes about as a result of habit, Spock."
"Father, I seek discipline and structure. These things encourage moral excellence--" Spock was the one interrupted now.
"We have become just by committing just acts; temperate by committing our minds to temperate contemplation; logical by thinking logically. To live a life of service – the life goal of every Vulcan – is to glimpse the nature and essence of a prosperous life. You dishonor that, Spock."
Spock did not give a response to his father's assault.
"Spock, the true satisfaction of life is to reach wider horizons of thought – to be at peace within ourselves so that we are at peace with those around us… this is the satisfaction of life. You would cast this aside for your own desires?" Sarek asked.
"Father," Spock responded softly, "I have seen what I can be. Now it is only logical that I do what I must to realize the truth that exists in spending my life making mistakes. I will accomplish more by doing that alone than by doing nothing at all."
"The life of scientific study is not a nullified existence. It is a life of creative exploration, and benefits intellectual growth," Sarek answered coldly.
"Yes sir, and creativity comes from pure trust. I trust my instincts," Spock answered.
"You would kill for creativity? Your efforts for good would be plundered, Spock. You will be harmed by those you will serve."
"Father, I will be neither a victim, nor perpetrator – and most certainly I will not be a bystander. It is wise to choose for myself; but it is foolish to allow another to choose for me. There is no self-respect in that."
"Spock, your pride is the crux of your error. It is the mask of your faults, and the unsolicited admission of your weakness." Sarek's gaze penetrated the young Vulcan ferociously.
"I regret that you disagree with my decision, my father. Nevertheless, it stands as made."
"Spock, if you choose to disregard all that you are, to ignore your culture, to ill consider the voices of the millions of Vulcans who have come before you, you will not exist to me," Sarek said quietly.
Spock only nodded. "Mene sakkat ur-seveh, Osamekh." He turned gently and walked back into the house and a few moments later he entered his mother's garden house, and then returned to the patio.
"Father, perhaps after a time, you will think better of me. I am grateful for everything you and mother have given me. Peace and long life to you." He stood quietly for a moment and then a transporter beam dissolved him into thin air.
Sarek turned to the desert beyond the walls of their garden and contemplated the Sas-a-Shar. A few moments later Amanda emerged from the quiet house. Sarek greeted her and excused himself to meditate.
As he knelt in front of the brazier and placed incense inside, he thought about the events of the previous twenty-four hours. Two hours later, he emerged from his meditation only to find that Amanda, too, had left.
Sarek found himself again traversing the long network of hallways to visit his father. However the sounds of life and curiosity around him were harsh in his ears. The sunlight seemed to burn into him, bringing only discord and incongruity. He stood in front of the door and just as he was about to open it, Skon opened it for him.
"Good morning, Safu," Skon said quietly.
"Good morning, Father."
They sat at the small conference table in Skon's office and shared tea together in a protracted silence.
"Sarek, have you heard from her?" Skon asked, finally ending the quiet.
"Yes. She still does not wish to speak with me regarding the matter of Spock. She does send her greetings to you and mother, and wishes you both longevity and peace."
"You will extend our greetings to her at your next conversation, my son. We wish her prosperity and long life. Has she responded to any of your requests for reconciliation, son?"
"She has not as of yet." Sarek looked away from his father's ever-gentle observation.
Skon watched his son and realized just how wounded he was by her absence. "Safu, what have you gleaned from these experiences?" Skon asked, sipping his tea.
Sarek looked away from him for a few moments and then responded. “Father, I remember Amanda describing her experience giving birth to Spock as one of the most difficult and painful of her life. She also said it was a turning point in her life wherein she realized and accepted the pain as a tempering flame, growing stronger from passing through it.
"She did not have the benefit of pain management meditation, and bore the suffering in its fullness. I witnessed her acceptance of it and with each contraction, she came closer to granting Spock the opportunity to live or to die, for his life to unfold as it would, knowing that she had done everything in her power to prepare him for it.
"My aduna has greater strength than I do, Father. When it came time for me to allow Spock the opportunity to pass into the next phase of his life, to be reborn into the academic caste, I could not allow him to do so on his terms. I failed to learn from her experience." Sarek sat quietly, teacup in hand.
Skon looked at him and then responded. "Sarek'am, every father harbors innate needs that are only satisfied when he meets specific objectives, such as providing shelter, food, and protection to his mate. But he also must demonstrate how to live.
"In many ways a father must satisfy multiple roles for his mate and children. As a Provider, he ensures their basic needs are met – they’re educated and nurtured. As a Supporter, he enables his children to develop to a healthy standard. His determination to fulfill expectations with precision and accuracy provides a template with which his children develop those skills for themselves. They in turn will reveal the same skills to their children. It is the natural course of things," Skon finished quietly.
"And in that regard, I have failed my son and damaged my wife's trust," Sarek said quietly.
"No, Sa-fu. Failure would be an inability or unwillingness to recognize these problems. Failure would be pride disallowing amending them in as much as possible for you to do so. Failure would constitute your refusal to communicate these thoughts to your wife. Your first commitment is to her."
Sarek looked at his father searchingly, knowing that he must share these thoughts with her. It would be the first step toward repairing their damaged relationship. “I understand, Father," Sarek said, rising to depart. "Live long and prosper, Osamekh."
His father returned the gesture and expression. Just before Sarek was out of earshot, he spoke once more. "Sarek'am, how long has she been gone?"
"Fifty-two weeks, four days, three hours, twenty-six minutes, nineteen seconds – and counting," he replied, turning and heading straight for his home. Once in his office, Sarek sat in front of the comm-unit and composed a message to Amanda.
I bring greetings from my mother and father. They wish you prosperity and long life, and thank you for your thoughts of them. Amanda… I have arrived at an understanding of myself that I did not have before you departed. I will share this with you now, and ask you to consider these thoughts as you decide whether or not you will reconcile with me, and return to Vulcan.
I found myself challenged by the very nature of Spock's rite of passage. Do you remember when you described giving birth to Spock? You called it a time of tempering, and found yourself stronger afterward. I realized you were able to allow our safu to have the opportunity to live or die, but solely based upon his efforts. When the time came for me to release him to his own efforts as he sought his vocation, I was not prepared to relinquish him to his own judgment, and I failed him; and in failing him, I caused the destruction of the trust you placed in me as your husband.
I am not prepared to reconsider my decision regarding Spock. I would however ask you to consider my request: return to me, allow me to begin to repair the harm I have caused you. When we were bonded, we made a claim to be parted from one another, but never parted; we exchanged vows in your Terran ceremony to be parted by nothing but death.
T'hy'la, I ask you to consider returning to me, and provide me with the opportunity to restore our relationship. I find it decidedly unsatisfying that you are not here with me.
Mene sakkat ur-seveh, Aduna.
Sarek sent the message with all possible speed. He sat back in her chair at her desk and waited for the delivery confirmation. At 1,256 credits, it was the most expensive message he had ever sent. He contemplated a poem that had given him profound counsel in the past weeks, and waited for her response to him.
Time Shall Tell by Sukasah Syahdan
Time shall tell where the real warfare begins: every soul.
Var-tor wak dungi wilat palikau yeht ahkhan - - kanok katra.
Time shall tell who succeeds in self-pity: no one.
Var-tor wak dungi navan vi b'elak paar - - rai veh.
Time shall tell foes apart from friends: no difference.
Var-tor wak dungi nemut k'wuhli fasei t'hylara - -rai natyan.
Time shall tell who possesses ultimate truth: no one.
Var-tor wak dungi ma vi da-nek yeht'es - - rai veh.