Title: Putan-tor Ha’kiv
Fandom: ST XI
Characters: Spock, Spock!Prime (as Ambassador Selek), McCoy
Warnings: Major character death, weird Vulcan mental kung-fu
Notes: For Jackie, who requested a story in which Spock died and Spock!Prime transferred his katra into the body. This is part one, at 2101 words. As usual, mouse over Vulcan text for float-text translations.
The redshirts were dead. To be fair, most of the blueshirts were also dead. Only Spock and Doctor McCoy stood between Ambassador Selek and the last of the Romulan extremists.
It was supposed to have been a simple mission — just a ceremonial escort from the first settlement on Uzh-gratan to the new temple. While the Vulcans had largely abandoned the religions and philosophies of the days before Surak, there was always a deep need for the comfort and certainty of tradition, regardless of its potential illogic. Ceremony settled the mind — and the stomach — and the new colony’s founders needed settling, after fleeing the destruction of their homeworld.
What they hadn’t expected was the level of resistance to their offer of peace and assistance to the Romulans. The senate had regarded the idea of getting assistance before their sun exploded as an excellent idea, but a few die-hard pockets of anti-Vulcan fanaticism remained. Sweeping change rarely occurred overnight, and when it did, its wake was anything but smooth. In this case, thirty Romulans had arrived on Uzh-gratan, ostensibly to offer support for the dedication of the new world. Instead, the Romulans had ambushed Ambassador Selek’s party, as they travelled toward the temple, in the traditional way.
Ambassador Selek’s age and wisdom were sufficient to have made him something of a godfather to the new world, and thus a target for those who wished to further weaken the crippled Vulcan race. Unfortunately for his escort, all but one of them were wholly human, and all but two were barely more than children — fresh out of the academy, and put on what should have been a cakewalk political mission. All had been armed with only lirpa, as they were merely ceremonial guards, never meant to see combat. Melee weapons, in general, fare poorly against disruptors.
But, the Romulans hadn’t counted on both Spock and the Ambassador having been well trained with the lirpa. They’d expected an easy massacre, and while they’d slaughtered most of the people in their way, the two Vulcans had taken advantage of their sloppy tactics and stole disruptors off the first two distracted Romulans they’d killed. In the end, it had come down to four Romulans and three defenders, and the doctor couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn, but he laid down decent cover fire. Selek picked off two of them, as they rushed the rocks that he and the doctor lay atop. Spock had crept down the side of the embankment, hoping to get behind the others, as they traded fire with Selek and the doctor.
He shot one of the Romulans from about two feet away, and the disruptor lived up to its name, the body blowing outward in a cloud of separated particles. As he settled the disruptor against the back of the last Romulan’s head, intending to take him prisoner, the man laughed and shifted his shoulder.
"Think you’d have learned, by now, Vulcan," the Romulan laughed as he slammed his elbow backward, triggering the release on the barbed blade that had been concealed under the sleeve of his robe. Spock fired, as the blade slid under the curve of his ribs, piercing his low heart.
Selek and the doctor were the only survivors of the incident, and they ran down from the embankment, the Ambassador in a panic and McCoy cursing up a storm. Spock was dying quickly, but he stared up at Selek, trying to remember words, as the world faded out.
"You should have been my legacy," Selek insisted, as he knelt.
"Live," Spock breathed, as McCoy crammed dermal regenerators into the ragged wound, trying to do the best he could, with all the wrong tools. "Live for me."
"Fix the body, Doctor," Selek demanded.
"He’s dead, Ambassador. Even if I can repair the tissue, he’s gone, and he ain’t comin’ back." McCoy’s hands shook, covered in green blood, as he kept trying to close the wound.
"You heard his words, Leonard." Selek’s voice sounded hollow, almost inaudible over the desert winds. "I am an old man, but I know how we lived. How he would have lived. I will do what he asks, but I must ask you to do as I say. It is what is right."
"He’s dead! Dammit, Selek, he’s really dead!" The doctor looked ill, as his hands continued to try to fix the problem.
"I can change that, but it will cost me my life. Can you accept that?"
"No one can raise the dead! Not even a Vulcan!" McCoy sounded offended.
"I cannot make him other than dead, but I can trade my life for his. I can live in him and for him, but I must finish my duty to this world, first. You must take him back to the ship, now. Do not allow anyone to see him. Just stabilise his body and repair the damage. I must see to my people, and then I will return to you. We will say he was injured, but you saved him. We will say I died peacefully, in my sleep. There are so few Vulcans left who are old enough to suspect what will have happened, but they are not particularly close to either of us. No one will know, and you and he will live on as the brave men who protected me and this colony. I will die with the knowledge that I gave it and our young friend new life." Selek rested his hand on the doctor’s shoulder. "Do as I say, Doctor. Go back to the ship. I will make things right."
"How are you going to get to the temple, by yourself? What if there’s another ambush?" McCoy changed the subject, trying not to look at the body cooling under his hands.
"There is no other ambush. Romulans are prideful, if generally logical, adversaries. They would not have expected that assault to fail." Selek stood. "Get back to the ship, Doctor. If the body is lifeless too long, even I will not be able to add life to it."
"You’re sure about this? It sounds crazy." McCoy pulled out his communicator.
"As sure as I can be about anything. It is a particularly Vulcan craziness." Selek turned to go. "Do not let anyone perceive that he is dead."
As the doctor ordered Scotty to beam him and Spock’s body to sickbay, Selek began the walk that would take him three more miles to the temple.
When Selek arrived at the temple, sans-escort, the elders, such as they were, became immediately alarmed — moreso by this, than by his lateness. He explained briefly about the ambush, adding that Doctor McCoy had taken a severely-injured Spock back to the ship. After declining all offers of time to recover, Selek strode out onto the balcony of the temple, to face the ten thousand Vulcans, gathered before it.
"T’nar pak sorat y’rani," he greeted the crowd, raising his hand in the ta’al. "‘Pulau na’vathular k’nuhk -‘ vesht tar-tor Surak – ‘Nufau au sochya – yi dungi ma tu sochya.’ Yauluhk kup-vokau nash i – fai’ei vesht nashiv-tor nash-veh – be’Rihansu – du’lashan. Aitlu puk-tor ein t’dular – hi kastorau tular tehnau. Aitlu sochya eik-te’kru t’Rihansu. Istau dash na’etek goh zamu t’au. Nam-tor danik velik eh pashik t’katravek — bolau Rihansu etek – eh bolau etek au. Nerau panular t’etek fi’nash terkadaya. Vesht nam-tor etek sa-kai t’au – heh kuv rompotau nash-sochya – dungi nam-tor etek va’ashiv."
He went on to give the speech he had intended, thanking the last of the Vulcan race for returning from ships and worlds spread out across the quadrant, to help settle this new world. He mentioned the dead, though none by name, and reminded his race that the Romulans that had killed them were from another place and time — a universe in which the signs of trouble had come too late to save them, much as here, the signs had come too late for Vulcan. It was, all in all, a rather emotional speech, for a Vulcan. Selek raised both his voice and his eyebrow a few more times than was strictly kosher, but this was not a logical event — it was an event for the heart of the Vulcan race. It was an event at which to remember the time before Surak, and to embrace the Reformation, anew, on a new world, in new and terrifying times.
"Dif-tor heh smusna," he ended, raising his hand, again.
"Sochya heh dif," ten thousand voices replied, and Selek allowed the corners of his mouth to relax, in what passed for a smile, among Vulcans.
After making his apologies to the elders, Selek took his leave of the celebration, leaving before the feast began. It wouldn’t do to eat before what he meant to do.
Doctor McCoy was checking the readout above the bio-bed upon which Spock lay, in stasis, when the sound of the doors swishing open caught his attention. "You can’t be in here, right now. This patient is in critical — Oh. It’s you."
"Yes, doctor. I suppose this is both ‘hello’ and ‘goodbye’. It has been a pleasure knowing you, again." Selek sat beside the bed, watching the readings for a long moment. It appeared the doctor had repaired the damage to Spock’s heart, using nanites, and the brain had been kept active with replays of old neuro-scans. It was an ingenious method of preserving the usability of the cells.
"This will be brief. I should need only twenty-seven minutes." Selek reached out toward Spock’s face. "Disable the stasis field, and stand by. He will not be well, when he awakens."
"He’s been dead. How well is a man going to be, when he comes back from the dead?" McCoy touched the console above the bed, and the field faded. "Are you sure about this? I don’t want to lose two Vulcans in one day."
"No, Doctor, I am not sure." With that, Selek pressed his hands to Spock’s head. "Tuluk tu vokau. Ketilau k’war’ma’khon etek kah-if-farr."
For twenty-seven minutes the two Vulcans remained still, and the doctor continued his scans. There was definitely an electromagnetic field that surrounded both of them, and Spock’s synapses popped, occasionally, as if thoughts were beginning and ending unfinished. At the end of the appointed time, the ambassador sagged, and Spock’s body tensed and twisted, mouth snapping open to release a seemingly unending scream. For long minutes, McCoy wondered if he’d been too long in his repairs — if the damage to the brain was irreparable. Then, as suddenly as it started, the screaming stopped, and Spock began to shake, one hand scrabbling at the bio-bed as his head turned, again and again, as if in a stutter. Parts of mangled Vulcan words poured out of his mouth.
McCoy grabbed hypospray after hypospray — muscle relaxant? No, Selek would have said something. Stimulant? Might bring him up too fast and kill him again.
Suddenly, Spock’s hand shot out and gripped McCoy’s wrist. His eyes snapped open and locked with the doctor’s, pupils blown wide, as the body struggled to re-acclimate to life.
"Nam-tor k’du – hassu," Spock slurred, before dropping into a healing trance.
Ambassador Selek, however, was unquestionably deceased. He had died with a look of contentment on his face, as though in those final moments, he had achieved some final comfort. McCoy lifted the body and laid it on the next bed over. He would see to the arrangements, but for now, he would tell the captain that Spock was out of critical condition. Not well, but certainly no longer … critical.
Selek’s funeral took place before Spock was allowed out of sickbay. The Vulcans were, of course, concerned for the Ambassador’s katra, having lost those of so many of their ancestors, with the death of their world. Since Selek had not been close to many people, since he had no family, Sarek, McCoy, and Kirk led the kr’alieu.
"Korsau nash-sasu sa-fu t’nash-veh," Sarek began, in his recitation of the deeds of the dead.
"This man saved my homeworld," Kirk opened, when his turn came.
"This man was the most selfless example of god-given charity I’ve ever seen," McCoy started.
Each recounted their stories of Selek, passing the jar that should have held his katra among them, from the first light of day over the Suk’kunel Esh-fam, until well after the stars possessed the sky. Not one of them mentioned the missing katra. Not one of them mentioned Selek had been dead before. Not one of them mentioned how he died, this time.