Words Unspoken - Part I

Title:  Words Unspoken – Part I

     Part I can be read as a stand-alone story.

Author:  Shoshana

Summary:  Variation on All Our Yesterdays, with a few lines lifted

     directly from that episode.  Back on the Enterprise following a

     sexual encounter on Sarpeidon, McCoy seeks out Spock.  Spock’s

     not thrilled about what happened.  Dialogue/interior dialogue

     (Spock POV)     6500 words

Rating:  mild R for vulgar language referring to, but not depicting,

      m/m sexual acts.  Profanity.

Disclaimer:  I do not own Star Trek.  Not a molecule, atom, quark

     or vibrating string of it.





                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      You have come to my quarters, as I knew you would, although I had

hoped it would not be so.  You cross the threshold of my room thirty-

nine point six two hours after we returned together through the time

portal on Sarpeidon.  Forty hours, five thousand years, since we

crossed a different boundary, together. 


I had expected you earlier.  Perhaps you were occupied with your

medical duties.  Or did you think I would seek you out?  I have

avoided you, assiduously, since our return to the ship.


Jim does not seem to have noticed.   


You surely have. 


And so now you stand before me, with the slouch which belies

both your natural grace and your restless energy, not to mention

your long service in a military setting; only one of your numerous



Incense fills the air, for you have interrupted my evening

meditations.  Unbidden, you take a seat in the room’s sole chair.

From past experience I know that means you do not anticipate a

brief visit.  The bed is in your direct line of sight; in the small

confines of the cabin, that is unavoidable.  I wish to avoid sitting

on the bed, as I will sometimes do during visits from Jim, or your

rarer visits, and so I remain standing.


Vulcan courtesy compels me to offer you a beverage, and you take

iced tea with honey and lemon.  Whether as a consequence of the

room’s high temperature or from nervousness, your brow is  

beaded with sweat.  I remember the taste of that sweat, warm and

salty in my mouth in the coolness of Zarabeth’s cave.  I push the

thought aside.  I consider instructing the environmental controls to

lower the ambient temperature, but surmising that the room’s heat

may discourage an extended visit, decide against doing so.  


“Spock, we need to talk about what happened on Sarpeidon.

First off, I want to thank you for staying with me when I was

freezing.  You saved my life.”


Does your Southern courtesy compel you to begin by offering this

expression of gratitude, when we both know you want to talk of

other matters?  You look wary as you say the words; do you fear

I will rebuff the gesture, the way I did in the Roman prison cell? 


“You are welcome.  Had I abandoned you, as you urged me to,

I would have been stranded in the planet’s past, unable to return

to the Enterprise and the present.”


“True,” you reply.  “Just like the two of us and three other people

would all be dead, if I had left you under that rock on Taurus II,

the way you wanted.”


Your smug expression indicates you derive an obscure satisfaction

from pointing this out, as if you have scored some persuasive point

in a debate in which I was unaware we were engaged.  Accepting

your invitation to engage in argumentation, even though I fail to

perceive your logic in postponing the actual purpose of your visit,

I counter your assertion.    


“Mr. Scott might also have taken the only logical course of action

and likewise jettisoned the fuel.”


“Scotty would never have come up with that crazy move in time.”

Abruptly, and somewhat illogically, you change the subject.  “I

haven’t logged my report on our unexpected expedition to the Ice

Age.  I gather that in yours you mentioned your loss of emotional



“That is correct.  I deemed it necessary to report, because if

Federation scientists ever fully master time travel, it will be

important for Vulcans to be aware of the behavioral regression I

underwent while in the distant past.  I did not, however, divulge

certain details of my behavior.”  In my account I had withheld the

shameful fact of my assault on you, a fellow officer and friend.  On

official record elsewhere are several embarrassing incidents in which

I have assaulted Captain Kirk while similarly under the influence of

some internal or external pychoactive agent, but the sexual nature

of what occurred on Sarpeidon makes the episode especially

reprehensible.  “I trust you will not be sharing those details in

your own report.” 


“Trust me, I won’t!  But Jim’s figured out I didn’t tear my shirt on

rocks, the way I claimed when we first got back.  In fact, he’s figured

out you must have done it.  He had noticed when we returned to the

ship I wasn’t cut up or bruised.  At least,” you add ruefully, as you

rub your neck and right arm, “not where the shirt was torn.”


I hide my alarm.  Surely you did not discuss with the Captain the

circumstances of my ripping your clothing, or what followed?  “The

Captain, as usual, is astute.”


“He said to me, and I quote, ‘That must have been one hell of an

argument, to make you and Spock come to blows.’”  You smirk as you

say, “He asked how I managed to escape more unscathed than he has

in his tussles with you.  Tussle?  Hah!  If only he knew!” 


I would much prefer that the Captain remained in ignorance of the

nature of our “tussle.”


“Your answer?”


“I told him, what, you think I can’t hold my own in a fight?  And

Jim replied, ‘Against Spock?  Not a chance.  Not unless the two

of you are engaged in a battle of words.’”


“The Captain is less astute than I believed, if he thinks you my equal

in argumentation.”


“Your equal?” you snort.  “Jim meant I’m better than you.”  

Stretching your legs and easing back in the chair, you say, laughing,

“He ventured a guess that I must have kicked you in the balls.  I had

a tough time keeping a straight face!”


You drink some tea, and when you set the cup down on the desk,

your face and voice are serious.  “Spock, I know that you’ve got to be

damned embarrassed by what happened in that cave.  Jim’s aware

we had some sort of physical confrontation, but I deflected his

questions; he said it’s obvious we don’t want to talk about it.  It

won’t go in my report, and you don’t have to worry about any

questions from him.”    


“Thank you for your discretion in this matter.”


“I’m a doctor.  I know how to be discreet.”


I incline my head in silent assent.


You shift restlessly in the chair, as if uncomfortable.  You pick up

the cup, and the ice rattles gently as you swirl the liquid.  You

stare down at the amber liquid, take a single swallow, then again

place the drink down on the desk.  “Spockwhen youlost your

inhibitions  Seldom at a loss for words, you are clearly ill at ease. 

In nervousness you lick your lips, and I think about those lips on my

body, sucking, licking, nibbling, kissing; incoherent hot imaginings in

the lonely dark no longer, but concrete details now seared into my

memory.  I should not dwell on the images, but it is difficult not to

do so, when at any moment I expect you to advert to the sexual

activity in which we engaged on Sarpeidon.  


Your next words surprise me.  


“You said you didn’t like mycommentsteasingabout you being

Vulcan, and you weren’t sure you ever had,” you say, flushing.  “I

didn’t think they bothered you.  Not to the point of anger, anyway.  

Spock, I swear I never meant to offend you.” 


“Dr. McCoy.  Put your mind at ease.  You need not be concerned

that ‘you are hurting my feelings’ when you make such comments. 

Words do me no injury; recall the ancient Terran adage.  You do not

owe me an apology.”


The diverse array of epithets with which you refer to me is at times

an irritant, but I have long understood, and now understand even

better, that your intentions are not malicious.  And for you to stop

your badinage now would raise questions among our colleagues that

I do not wish raised.  


Your expression lightens, and I do not know whether I feel relief or

remorse that I can offer you comfort in such an inconsequential

matter when I anticipate that I will hurt you deeply by the end of

this conversation.   


“I’m real glad to know that.  Main thing, though, is we need to

talk about our sexual encounter.”


I had wondered how you would refer to the physical intimacies in

which we engaged.  Prudish by neither temperament nor virtue of

your medical training, you have nonetheless chosen a carefully

neutral term.  “Engaging in mutual fellatio” would be more precise,

but presumably you wish to avoid its clinical air.  Surely you are

aware I could never be shocked by verbal obscenities; do you

mistakenly believe I might be unfamiliar with any of the vulgar

slang terms so widely, and illogically, employed by speakers of



I know for you what we did was lovemaking. 


I must not let you know that it was for me, as well.


“I had assumed that was the reason for your visit.  I apologize for

having forced myself upon you.  I took advantage, both mentally

and physically, of your debilitated condition.”


“I’ve got to admit, I don’t much like the idea of anyone tapping

the contents of my skull without permission, but it’s not like you

performed a mind meld on me.  I didn’t even realize you had read

my mind until you told me.  And you couldn’t help doing it.  You’re

a natural touch telepath, who had lost not only your inhibitions but

also your training in mental shielding.”


Your insight into my behavior surprises me.  Even more surprising

than the intellectual understanding you demonstrate, however, is

your empathetic acceptance of my use on you of my telepathic

abilities.  While your mind was open to me on Sarpeidon, I received

the shocking revelation that my other self, the Spock of the parallel

universe, forced a mind meld upon you.  I sensed the memory during

your momentary panic after I ripped your clothing.  Apparently

you have, for reasons of your own, foregone the pharmacological

therapies that can erase not objective memories, but rather

the frequently debilitating emotions commonly associated with

traumatic experiences.  After that assault, in addition to other

mental violations you have experienced, I would expect you to be

deeply upset that I had read your mind, however unobtrusively.  


“You are correct:  five thousand years ago, Vulcan culture had not

yet perfected the mental techniques which now discipline our natural

telepathic abilities.  Probably I could not have shielded myself from

your thoughts even if I had attempted to do so.”  Although I do

not tell you, I am convinced that touching you while you were

incapacitated accelerated the atavistic process I was undergoing;

certainly, my awareness of the sexual fantasy you experienced while

in delirium directly incited my assault on you.  “My action was,

nonetheless, an unwarranted invasion of your privacy, for which

I apologize.”


“Apology accepted.  As for the tussle that you reading my mind lead

to, hey, I’m not looking for any apologies there.  In case you didn’t

notice, I was a willing participant.”  You grin, and I am reminded of

the smile you gave me in the cave after you first kissed me. 


You add, “Some folks might claim I took sexual advantage of you. 

You weren’t exactly in your right mind just then.”


We have already established that fact, Doctor.  Must you keep

reminding me of it? 


“I initiated the contact, and you could not have fought me off even

if you had attempted to do so.”  As, very briefly, you did attempt. 

“The blame lies with me.”


“I prefer the word ‘responsibility’ rather than ‘blame.’  Like I said,

it was a cooperative venture.”  You smile again, and sip your tea.


“I sexually assaulted you.  I was attempting to rape you.”


“Spock,” you say gently, “point is, you didn’t rape me.  What

happened between us was consensual.  God knows you took me by

surprise, and you were plenty rough when you grabbed me.  But you

stopped as soon as I objected.  You said you didn’t want to hurt me.” 

You pause.  “You looked damned upset with yourself when you let

go of me, actually.  And I’m the one who started things back up.”


I am silent, as I recall our verbal exchange before you walked

trustingly into my arms and kissed me.  Having seen and heard and

smelled your panic, in addition to having sensed it telepathically,

when I ripped your clothing, I had released you from my predatory

grip.  I stood before you, in a turmoil of shame and confusion and

sexual frustration.  You had just deduced that I was reverting to the

behavior of my distant ancestors.


“I've lost myself.  I don’t know who I am.  It is not my intent to

force you.”


“I’d be happy for you to fuck me another time, Spock, just not right

now!  I could get hurt.”


“I would not intentionally hurt you, Leonard.  My desire is to

please you.”


“There are other ways we could have sex, that I’d be willing to do. 

Here and now, I mean.


“Show me, then, what to do.  Tell me what you want.”


“Your jealousy was misplaced,” you continue.  “Sure, Zarabeth was

attractive, and I was flirting back, I suppose.  But she wouldn’t have

stood a chance with me, not once I knew you were interested.

And I was jealous, too.  She was coming on to both of us.  Poor

girl, no wonder, as lonely as she was.  It’s a shame she couldn’t

come back with us.”  You shake your head as you say ruminatively,

“What a terrible way to have to live out one’s life.”


“Without her assistance, we would not have survived.”  I do not

voice my more immediate thought:  I am relieved that Zarabeth

was unable to return with us to the Enterprise.  She had discovered

us, unclothed and in an embrace, moments after I had offered to

bond with you.  


You say, “Of course, neither of us would be sitting here, if I had

listened to what she told us about us not being able to get back. 

And if Zarabeth was on the Enterprise, there’d be a witness to our

having been partners in crime.” 


I am startled by how your comment echoes my own thought. 


“Saints alive, am I glad she didn’t walk in on us a few minutes

earlierit was awkward enough as it was!”  You drain the last of your

tea, and say, “But both of us ought to be glad I was a cooperative

partner, and that you remained rational enough to listen to me. 

Otherwise, I might have been injured, and you facing assault

charges.  Or at least some very awkward questions.”


“Indeed.”  And why are you here, if not to harass me with your

own version of “awkward” questions?  I do not offer, as I normally

would, to refill your beverage.  “If you are not here for an apology,

Doctor, what are you here for?”


“You admitted in the cave you were physically attracted to me

before we traveled back in time.  Were you previously aware I was

attracted to you?”  The answer, I can tell, matters to you.


“No.  Always before when we have touched, I have shielded myself. 

Even when I mind melded with you, I had been careful to avoid

your extraneous personal thoughts.  I did not know that you were

physically attracted to me, or to any male.”


Does the Captain, I wonder, know or guess your sexual proclivities?

You keep your private life so guarded.  No, I had not known, although

shortly after Yeoman Barrows left the Enterprise I overheard a pair

of gossiping crew members discussing a rumor you were bisexual.  I

disregarded the allegation, for even if true it would change nothing

between us.


So many times you have examined me in the intimate yet

clinically objective way of a physician with a patient, and not

by one word or glance or touch have you given the slightest

indication that you burned for me, as I have burned for you. 

You have your own mental disciplines and shields, it seems,

to guard yourself from your emotions; yet another of your



“But on Sarpeidon you couldn’t shield yourself.  So now you

know I feel more than just a physical attraction towards you.”


I turn to the bulkhead on which my firepot sits, smoke tendrils

drifting from it into the air, and I wait.  Wait for words I long to hear,

words that will be an agony for me to hear.  Words you never uttered

aloud on Sarpeidon, but which echoed in your mind, as gentle as a

caress and as raw as a wound, as we lay together on a fur blanket

on the rocky floor of a barren cave, fifty centuries in the past.


“I love you, Spock.”


How much does it cost you, Leonard, to say those words aloud?

It costs you something, I am sure, for you do not easily share of

yourself, and you are uncertain what my response will be.  After

what the other Spock did to youafter what I tried to do to youI

marvel that you can speak them at all. 


I reach out to the wafting white vapors, clasping my fingers as if

to capture the insubstantial, ever-changing whorls and strands. 

In response to the slight movement the white trail disperses

chaotically, then settles into a new path.  Within the belly of

the creature, the incense burns, its spark silent and unseen.


“God knows how much I want you,” you say, adding, sardonic

even now, “Though God only knows why I want you.”


Again I am startled at how closely your thoughts parallel my own.


“But I do.  I’ve been in love with you for years, Spock.”


I open the firepot, and pour clean sand from my family’s property,

collected and sent to me by my mother, onto the cone of incense,

extinguishing it.


However much the uttering of those words has cost you, I dare

say it is less than the hearing of them costs me.  And surely less

than what it will cost me to give my carefully formulated reply.


Decisively I turn away from the firepot and face you, my hands

clasped behind my back.  With stiff politeness I say, “Dr. McCoy,

I cannot return your feelings in the manner you would wish.”  The

truth, but an intentionally deceptive one.  I do not say, “I do not love

you”; nor do I say, “I do not return your feelings.”  For those would

be lies.


I have felt shame when I feel friendship for Jim; how much greater

is my shame when I feel lust, and yes, love, for you?  If I allow you to

make me concede the truth, you will be stripping me of my Vulcan

dignity as surely as you stripped me of my clothing in that ancient



For love my father took a human mate, but the road my parents

have walked together has, I know, not been an easy one for either,

though I know them to be content.  I do not wish to walk that path,

nor would I make you travel it with me.  For my entire life I have

sought, and struggled, to master my emotions, to live by logic.  Not

even for you will I alter that course.


And so I say, “I cannot.”  Not as in I do not, but instead as in I must



I hope you do not perceive the subtle difference.


“On Sarpeidon you offered to bond with me.  You were jealous of

Zarabeth.”  You school your voice, but your control is of course

inferior to that of a Vulcan, and I hear the disappointment.  You

had hoped for, possibly expected, a different response.


“As you have yourself pointed out, Dr. McCoy, I was not ‘in my

right mind’ at that moment.” 


“You said just now you don’t return my feelings.  So what was

going on in that cave?  You were overcome with lust?”


“Yes.”  Again the truth, albeit a deceptively incomplete one.  

More painful than the embarrassing acknowledgment of my physical

desire is the implicit denial of my love for you.


“Sometimes sexual attraction plus friendship can grow into love.” 

Your eyes again are wary; do you fear I will deny the friendship which

is seldom openly acknowledged by either of us?  


Why must you torment us both in this manner?


“I assure you that in my case there is no possibility of that

happening any time in the future.”


It will not occur in the future because it has happened long since.


You sigh and give a wry smile.  “Well, I guess I should’ve known

better, than to expect a computer could love me back.”


You say it lightly, to hide your hurt, but I wonder:  is it me or

yourself, Leonard, whom you mean to disparage with that remark? 


Momentarily your eyes focus beyond me, undoubtedly on the empty

bed.  You seem to be struggling with a decision, then your eyes

flick back to mine.  “I have a proposition for you.  I’d like for us to

continue a sexual relationship.”


I had estimated a ninety-eight point seven two percent chance that

this was the ultimate goal of your visit, but I had hoped that the

foregoing conversation would deter you from pursuing it.


I raise a disapproving eyebrow.  “It is not possible for such a

relationship ‘to continue,’ Dr. McCoy, because one does not

currently exist.  You should view what happened on Sarpeidon as

I do, as an isolated, unintended accident, never to be repeated.”


“The relationship needn’t be exclusive.  Not unless you want it

to be.”


“Exclusivity is irrelevant.  I do not intend to enter a sexual

relationship with you.”


“You’ve admitted you’re attracted to me.  And the feeling’s



Your right hand moves in the air as you say that, and I remember

the feel of your hands, at once generous and demanding, as they

roamed my body.   


“Surely,” I say, “you do not think that a reciprocal sexual attraction

must be acted upon merely because it exists.”


“Of course not.  Sometimes there are perfectly good reasons for

people not to get involved.  I just don’t see what the problem would

be in our case.” 


“It is out of the question.  You are my physician.  I am your ranking

officer.  Either reason makes a personal relationship between us



“Those are excuses, not reasons,” you rejoin.  “M’Benga could

become your physician.  And you know as well as I do that Starfleet

quietly condones fraternization among fellow officers, even those

in chain of command, as long as it doesn’t result in favoritism. 

We’re cooped up together out here for five years, for God’s sake.

I’m sure you of all people could control your emotions enough

that a sexual relationship wouldn’t interfere with your professional

duties.  Especially since there wouldn’t be emotional ties on your

part to start with.”


I recall my unwillingness while on Sarpeidon to leave your side

(thereby risking my own fate and the Captain’s) not merely while

you were in immediate danger of dying, but even when you were

recovering, and safe in the solicitous care of Zarabeth.


I was not, of course, in full control of myself at that time.


I remember, too, my difficulty in retaining emotional control various

other times when you have been endangered, most recently when I

knew you to be dying on Yonada and Minara II.  Those experiences

were pivotal in my reaching the decision to go to Gol when this

mission is complete.   


“Do you make the same claim for yourself?” I ask.  “You do not excel

in emotional control.”


You reply, dryly, “I hid my feelings from you and everybody else on

this ship for almost three years.  I’d manage.”


And you have kept secret your mental assault, as well.


“I believe that it is widely held among responsible humans that it is

unwise to enter into a sexual relationship if the respective emotional

involvement of the prospective partners is radically disparate.”


The crooked smile reappears.  “I see what you getting at, though

I’ve never heard it put quite that way.  I’d know what I was getting

into—” you pause, and the crooked smile suddenly transforms into a

salacious grin, “—in a matter of speaking.  Human males, and plenty

of human females, for that matter, are typically quite willing to

engage in sex simply for the sake of, well, sex.  And if what

happened in that cave is any indication, so are Vulcans.” 


I envision throwing you down on the bed and taking you.  


“I must again remind you that my behavior at that time was atypical. 

Also, I assume that you would prefer what is referred to as a

‘committed relationship’ to the type of arrangement you are



You shrug.  “Sure, if that were an option.  You’ve made clear enough

it isn’t in the cards.”


“What I wish to make clear, Dr. McCoy, is that I have no intention

of accepting your ‘proposition’ under any terms.”


You are silent for three point nine seconds before saying, “Spock,

maybe I don’t have the right to ask, but are you in love with Jim?”


The question startles me; it had never occurred to me that you

might think I have a romantic attachment to another individual.  

“No.  I esteem the Captain as comrade, brother and friend.  I do

not desire him as lover.”


“I see.” 


I would expect you to be relieved, but you evince only mild surprise.


“Please do not take my rejection personally, Doctor.  I would choose

otherwise for no man, or woman, of any world.”


“Sooner or later, Spock, you’re going to have to choose.” 


Your tone is matter-of-fact, not confrontational.  You are, I can

tell, alluding to pon farr.  I appreciate that you have the delicacy

not to mention it directly.


“As you are aware, I experienced my initial cycle unusually late;

it may be many years before it reoccurs.  In any case, this incident

on Sarpeidon, as well as some other experiences of mine while on the

Enterprise, have made me reevaluate my career in Starfleet.  When

this mission is completed, I expect to return to Vulcan.  Techniques

are known there that can shut down the cycle permanently.”


You frown.  “Hormonal manipulation is dangerous and unapproved. 

I wouldn’t recommend it.”  You lean back in the chair and cross your

arms, as you think the matter through.  “Hold on, you could get your

hands on that stuff easily enough if you really wanted to, without

leaving Starfleet.” 


Your eyes widen.  “You’re talking about kolinahr!  That’s emotional



“I am impressed, Doctor.  With your insight into my thought    

processes, as well as your knowledge of Vulcan culture.  Very few

outsiders have any familiarity with kolinahr.  Vulcans, however,

prefer to refer to it as mastery of the emotions rather than by the

unseemly metaphor you have utilized.”


You reply trenchantly, “Oh, I know what your people say.  After

your koon-ut-kal-if-fee, I studied up on Vulcan culture.  Mastery?

Kolinahr’s the purging of all emotion.  That’s like taming a horse

by killing it, if you ask me.”


Which, Dr. McCoy, I did not.   


“Vulcans claim to admire kolinahr,” you say, “but they seem to take

an ambivalent attitude towards it.  Look at Sumek’s poem.”


The poem to which you are referring, “Journey Not to Gol, My Son,”

is a favorite of my mother’s.  I am surprised by your familiarity with

the piece.


“An undistinguished work by an otherwise obscure poet is hardly

evidence of what Vulcans think.  The poem is uncharacteristically

sentimental for a Vulcan literary work, and has been more popular

in translation than it ever has been among Vulcans.”


Your face is shining with perspiration.  Again I recall the tang of

that sweat, so different from my own spare perspiration in both its

profuseness and its sodium chloride-based saltiness, my desert-

adapted Vulcan physiology being much more efficient at the

osmoregulation of water and its own different, sweeter-tasting,

beryllium-based ions.  


I should like to taste once more your salty human sweat.  


You rise, and the abrupt movement pushes the chair noisily into the

desk.  “Kolinahr’s an abomination.  My God, Spock, how can you even

think about doin’ that to yourself?  The Masters of Gol will cut out

your heart and eat your soul!”


“Doctor, the metaphor you are utilizing to describe the process of

kolinahr is anachronistic in addition to being misleadingly inaccurate

and inappropriately violent.  Neither your culture nor mine currently

believes the katra resides in the heart.  Moreover


“Don’t be so damn literal, Spock!  You know what I’m getting at!”

As is your habit when you are excited, your arms are making abrupt

gesticulations.  “If you end up at Gol, I swear to God I will be sorry I

dragged the two of us off that ice cube of a planet, or that I didn’t

bond with you when I had the chance!  Hell, I’d even rather you had

left me in that blizzard to freeze.  At least you’d be safe from those

katra-killing hermits, and I wouldn’t have to watch you committing

emotional suicide.”


Though previously familiar with what I have termed your martyr

complex, I am nonetheless shaken to realize your attachment to me

could be this deep.


It is unfortunate you have guessed my meaning.  I did not anticipate

that you would know of kolinahr, but in light of the high value

you place on emotion, I am not surprised by the revulsion it inspires

in you.  Yes, I can see that it would be a bitter thing, to learn that

one you love intends to commit an act which from your human

perspective is deeply self-destructive (though which from my own

viewpoint is an act of self-realization), and to know you played,

however unwittingly, a part in your beloved’s decision.  How much

more would you be distressed, if you knew the actual extent of your

role in my resolve?


You have reacted, more calmly than I would have expected, when

I have told you there is no place for you in my bed or my heart; you

have spoken, dispassionately enough, for a human, of the possibility

I might love another, or that I might take a mate in the future.  


But at the prospect of my undergoing kolinahr you have lost your

composure, not to mention your temper.


“You would not have to ‘watch’ anything, because you would not be

present at the Plateau of Tai-la.”  Having witnessed your outburst, or

even knowing now you love me, how could I dare invite you to be

among the friends gathered in preparation for my pilgrimage to the

sands?  The tightening of your mouth reveals that you recognize, and

are stung by, the slight.  “And had I been stranded on Sarpeidon, I

would hardly be ‘safe’; I would have died five thousand years ago.”


“I should’ve figured this was the real issue, why you don’t want a

relationship or any kind of a normal life.  It isn’t about dedication

to your career, or you wanting Jim or anyone elseand I’d have

accepted that, been glad for you even, if you got together with

someone and were happy.  But God forbid you might allow yourself

a bit of common human happiness.”


I raise an eyebrow.  “Is it necessary for me to remind you that I am

not human?”


“Stop acting like ‘human’ is a dirty word,” you retort. “You’re

half-human.  Hell, I could just as easily have said common Vulcan

happiness.  Marriage is an honorable institution in your culture,

and you’ll never convince me your father doesn’t love your mother

dearly.  But this is all about you having to be your idea of the

perfect Vulcansome completely rational, totally logical, thoroughly

unemotional automaton.  Even if that means letting those

goddamned priests and priestesses suck every last bit of humanity

out of you.”


“The Masters of Gol only oversee the process.  It is the acolytes

themselves who purge themselves of emotion.  And becoming an

initiate of kolinahr hardly makes one lose free will.  Many Vulcan

philosophers posit that free will is enhanced by the individual’s

liberation from emotion.”


“So you were trying to ‘enhance’ Jim, when you wiped out his

memory of loving Rayna?”


“Doctor, we have already discussed that matter at length.”  


Perceiving my action as unethical, you had been irate with me

when, shortly following the Enterprise’s departure from Holberg

917-G, you realized what I had done.  You were chagrined, and

your anger mitigated, when I pointed out the illogic of your censure,

since you yourself had said you wished the Captain could forget the

doomed android with whom he had fallen in love;  my action was, in

fact, prompted by your comment.    


“Maybe you did do Jim a favor.  At least when he sees his best friend

liberated from emotion he won’t have to be remembering that the

woman he loved died in the process of obtaining it.”


You are beginning to try my patience, Dr. McCoy.


You say, “And Amandahow’ll she react, seeing you disown your

human heritage?  Having her son ‘enhance’ himself by becoming a

walking computer?  Will she hold her tongue, like the Vulcan mother

in that poem?”


I struggle to control my anger.  You have gone too far, bringing my

mother into your harangue in this manner.   


We lock eyes.  “Don’t do it, Spock.”  The words are not a plea. 

They are an imperative, or an ultimatum.  


“It is my choice and mine alone, if I choose to undergo kolinahr.”

The coldness in my voice is intentional.  “My parents have no say

in the matter, nor does Captain Kirk.  And most certainly you do

not, Dr. McCoy.  Do not broach this subject again.  Not with me,

or the Captain, or anyone else.”


For six point two seconds your blue eyes blaze into my icy dark ones. 

Jim has said he doesn’t know which of us is more stubborn, but this

is one battle you cannot win.  Finally you look away.  “No, I don’t

’spose I do, you mutter.  In your features I recognize the same

sullenness I have sometimes seen when the Captain has ordered

you to stand down in an argument.


I fully expect you to go storming out of my quarters; instead, your

expression smoldering, you stand facing the crimson wall hangings.

I nearly order you to leave, but it would be preferable that we not

part on such an antagonistic note.  And there remains a matter about

which I am curious.


My emotional controls summoned, the sudden fury that had flooded

me moments before drains away.  In an effort to defuse the tension,

I address you in a neutral, matter-of-fact tone:  “May I ask you a

question, Doctor?”


You eyes search my face.  You encounter there my normal impassive

mask rather than the momentary coldness, and your sulky expression

lifts.  You shrug, and in an apologetic tone say, “Sure, go ahead.  I

know I’ve been giving those pointed pinna of yours an earful.”


“As you alluded to a short time ago, you had the opportunity to

take me as permanent mate on Sarpeidon.  Yet you turned down

the opportunity.  Why?”


You gape at me.  “Choose to stay behind with you in that

godforsaken deep freeze?  Not damn likely!  There was Jim to

think about, and the Enterprise.  Our careers and our families.”


Momentarily, the sullenness returns to your face; perhaps you

are recalling your statement you would have remained behind

with me if you had known of my intention to undergo kolinahr. 

You add, caustically, “Hope your feelings aren’t hurt, Spock, that

I didn’t want you that badly.”  


“There is no reason for me to be offended. On the contrary, I

congratulate you on putting emotion aside for logic for once.”


The roll of your eyes makes clear you do not find my sincere

approbation gratifying.  “Thanks a lot,” you say sourly.


“I was, however, referring to a slightly different matter.  I offered

to bond with you, but you declined.  Why?”


“I told you when we left to find the portal.  I was worried we were

running out of time to get back to the ship.”


I do not point out the obvious:  you had taken the time to lie with



“Mostly, though, it was feeling it wouldn’t be fair to you, that I’d be

trapping you into a permanent relationship.” 


You pause again, as a shadow crosses your face.  Regret, after our

exchange about kolinahr?  Guilt, that you were tempted to take

advantage of me in that manner?  Or is the shadow simply fear,

the trace of unspoken qualms about the mental fusion involved in

bonding?  In the brief moment between my asking you to bond with

me and Zarabeth’s discovery of us in a naked embrace, I had felt a

flash of fear from you, too swift to interpret, before we hastily

uncoupled under her shocked gaze; but I can guess what lay behind

that momentary alarm.  You hide, Leonard, your own secrets.  


“You weren’t fully rational at that point, you couldn’t give true

consent,” you say.  “I wouldn’t want you, or any lover, that way. 

Not through deception.” 


“Many humans have been willing to utilize deception, even coercion,

to obtain a desired mate.”


“‘Many humans’?”  Your eyes flash with irritation.  “Spock, we

both know of at least one Vulcan who was all too willing to stoop

to subterfuge to get the mate she desired!”


“Indeed.”  I bow my head in assent.  “I can be thankful you have

more scruples than did T’Pring.” 


“Oh, you’re quite welcome.”  In the same dry drawl you add,

“Besides, entering into a permanent relationship following a

courtship consisting of nothing but a single session of mutual

blow jobs seemed a bit . . . hasty.”


“Agreed.”   I deem it prudent not to further commend your self-

restraint and logic. 


Yes, I am grateful that you declined to entrap me into a bonded



Yet a part of me wishes you had done so.                                                                      


You push the abandoned chair back under my desk.  “If you

reconsider my offer, let me know.” 


Hanging on the wall to my right is a small polished bronze mirror,

a Vulcan artifact of great antiquity.  Uncounted generations’ worth

of use has left it dented and scratched.  Out of the corner of my eye

I contemplate in its marred surface my somewhat distorted image. 

I think of my mirror universe self, and wonder, again, why you wish

to take me as lover.   


“I will not be reconsidering.”


Your jaw lifts in a defiant angle.  “I’m not sorry about what

happened in that cave.”


“It would be preferable if it had never occurred.”


“But it did happen.”


“Yes,” I say, “it happened.  But that was five thousand years ago.”


“I’ve got a long memory.  Goodnight, Spock.”




As the door hisses closed behind you, I feel a pang of regret, rather

than the relief I expected to feel.



         *       *       *       *       *       *





The Kolinahru see far and deep and clear: 

For Logic does not stand on shifting sands.               

The blasting sands of passion’s storm

Never touch the Kolinahru,  

Not a single grain

Abrades their skin,  

Not a particle

Stings their eye.


Their Wisdom penetrates the immutable reality

Lurking beneath the shimmering mirage of the senses,

And waiting on the other side of the window

Where moves the blowing curtain

That is the capricious delusion called emotion.


The Knowledge of the Masters

Is as sharp and bright and lovely

As the stars of the moonless desert night, 

As vast and remote as the curving sky that holds them,

As pure, clean, untainted

As the desert that lies below; 

Yet their Truth is as personal as the unseen air

That sustains our every breath.


On the Plateau of Tai-la

The acolyte seeks his solitary Truth and finds it,

As he casts all feeling on the sand.    

Balanced on the knife edge of Logic,

He climbs Wisdom’s highest peak,

The place where emotion’s shadow never falls.    

Illumined by a thousand million suns,

He is not blinded;  

He joins the Masters

Who see far and deep and clear.


But stars are untouchable:

Their fire incinerates all those who dare approach,

Unseen rays blast and melt the innermost self

Of he who ventures near,  

And the yawning emptiness

That lies between the suns

Suffocates and turns to ice

Those who journey there.   


Journey not to Gol, my son;

For though the stars are distant,

I fear their purifying flame.     

Sharp and bright and lovely burn those distant stars

In the chill that turns the blood to ice.

But here I stand,

Dispossessed within the ease

Of my ancestral home,

Where I was born and have hoped to die,

And which now you plan to abandon,

Never to return.   


My tongue is silenced, choked on dust,

As I watch the drifting sand encroaching;  

I sense the stirring of restive wind

That scourges skin and stings the eye.   

Do you guess the turbulence within me,

The hidden words which remain unspoken,

The shameful thoughts I am compelled to shield,

Lest I do us both dishonor?


Go not to Gol, my son,

You whose fingers tugged my hair,

Whose mouth suckled at my breast;

For Logic is eternal,

And I am merely mortal.


Go not to Gol, my child,   

You whom I dandled on my knee,

You whose hand I held and guided;

The Kolinahru perceive Truth unbounded,

Their Knowledge is the light of a thousand million suns,  

But I, ignorant and unenlightened,

Have but a single sun to provide me light.

I see neither far nor deep nor clear,

And pride, even if it were allowed,

Would bring no comfort here.  


Go not to Gol, my only-born,  

You whose growing flesh filled my belly,  

You who in the womb shared my private thoughts;

Though Wisdom fills the Masters’ minds,

Soon my hands will touch the empty air,

My thoughts will seek a vacant place,  

It will be as if my womb were barren.


Journey not to Gol, my son,

Not until my katra is made free

Of this imperfect flesh

Infected with the pale poison

Of emotion sweet and bitter,

A veil which clouds my judgment

And corrupts my thought,

Not until this frail and blemished earthen vessel

Breaks at last, and crumbles in the sand.


For if you go to Gol, my son,

Your perfected mind will be so filled

With the serene, subtle harmonies of Logic

That your ears will be forever deaf to my voice;

Your purified intellect so consumed

With the light of a thousand million suns

That your eyes will focus far beyond my face;

You will not see the hand extended,  

You will not sense the thoughts reaching out,

And I will be more bereft

Than if my womb had been forever barren.



                  Sumek  1770 – 1957

                  trans. M. Ari Nasus, 2115

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