Black Diamond Dogs and the Army of Light
"You are an artist, my Dear." Sybok smiled as he took Joanna's hand and gave it a gentlemanly kiss. "Thank you."
"Cosmetic surgery is not my specialty." Joanna admitted as she flushed.
"You are too modest."
Sybok gave his newly reconstructed ears and brow line another quick inspection in the mirror. Although several decades older than Spock in human terms he only appeared a few years older than his half brother. With the surgery it was much easier to see family resemblance between the two. Salen knew it was illogical, but for some reason he found himself trusting the Vulcan more now that he looked like one again. He hadn't even felt the usual flash of jealousy that he tended to get when anyone touched Joanna.
Salen knit his white brow together as he noticed that he felt himself developing the same blind in faith for this stranger that he had in Spock. He'd experienced a similar phenomenon after his mind meld with Spock for Admiral Pike. At the time it had made sense, Spock's loyalty had transferred to him until he came to love the Admiral on his own. However there was no reason for him to suddenly have these feelings for Sybok and the fact that he was having them was unsettling. When Salen went to resist the emotion he automatically took a physical step away from Sybok. Sybok instantly noticed Salen's uneasiness and turned his attention to him.
"Something wrong, Salen?" Sybok asked with genuine sounding concern.
"No." Salen lied.
"Fascinating, a Vulcan that can convincingly lie." Sybok smiled sadly. "If I wasn't emotionally connected to you I would even believe it, but I feel your discomfort."
"Salen?" Joanna asked concerned. "Are you feeling alright?"
"He's feeling too well." Sybok answered for Salen. "He has never known the peace of having help with his emotions from another Vulcan and it is frightening."
"I have experienced peace in my life." Salen said firmly. "What is frightening is the idea of being controlled."
"I am not controlling you, Salen." Sybok replied calmly. "I don't have the power to make you do anything you don't want to do. I am simply giving you some of my mental strength to help you shield your emotions from effecting those around you. If Spock had any sense in his head he would have made this connection with you long ago and taught you control."
"It was not Spock's fault. I would not allow him, I had no interest in such contact or training from any Vulcan. I wished only to be human."
"You can't be human, Salen." Sybok said gently.
"I know that now."
"Wait," Joanna interrupted "Spock never told you that this might happen to you? He never warned you about the danger of not learning to control your emotions?"
"He warned me. I would not listen."
"Don't be so hard on yourself, Salen." Sybok reached out to put his hand on Salen's shoulder but he stopped when Salen tensed. "Spock never told you that you'd have this much power because there was no way for him to know what you'd grow into. You should not be able to pose such a threat to those around you."
"Then how can I?"
"Because you're different, you're special."
"You believe that." Salen said as he felt the wash of Sybok's faith in him. "You believe to your very core that I am some sort of key, something to be treasured. Why are you so ready to embrace me when the rest of the Vulcans, Spock included, hold some deep seeded fear of me?"
"Because unlike other Vulcans I do not fear the unexplainable, the illogical."
"I suppose now is as good as anytime to tell you the truth. Your birth was one that concerned and confused the Vulcan medical and scientific community for years."
"I was not on Vulcan when you were born, and yet news of what happened still got to me. I always had plans to seek you out when you grew older, but until recently I foolishly believed you'd perished along with Vulcan. Had that been true it would have been your second death."
"Second death?" Salen asked surprised. "I don't understand."
"You were still born, Salen. You entered this world from the realm of the dead. The doctors did what they could to resuscitate you, but it was in vain. After you were pronounced dead you were to be taken away for funeral rights, however your mother insisted on being able to hold you."
"It is illogical to hold a dead child." Salen whispered to himself.
"Your mother didn't care. In the delivery room she screamed and begged to have the chance to hold you. Despite protests your father brought you to her. As she broke down in grief with you in her arms you suddenly gasped and cried out with your first breath."
"That's amazing." Joanna said in awe as she took a hold of Salen's hand. "How long was he considered dead?"
"Seven minutes. They ran every test they could and never found a reason for your survival. You said you were not raised on Vulcan?"
"Did your parents ever tell you why?"
"No. All I know is that my father did not wish to return."
"I believe your father took you and your mother away because even as a child he could see you were different. Unlike on Earth being different is shameful, I'm proof of that. I was cast out for seeking 'forbidden' knowledge, but why should any knowledge be forbidden unless the Vulcans have something to hide."
"Of course they do, Salen." Sybok hissed. "They are hiding the fact that they know the illogical truth about life in this Universe. What happened to you was proof."
"What did happen?"
"A miracle." Sybok beamed.
"Miracles do not exist." Salen said firmly. "Just because science can not explain something does not make it a miracle."
"Oh I can explain it, I just can't use science to explain it. I use faith instead. Which is what eventually lead to my exile from Vulcan. When I learned of your survival of the destruction of Vulcan my faith became stronger than ever before."
"Belief in what?"
"In Sha Ka Ree."
"Sha Ka Ree is a myth." Salen said firmly.
"No, it is very real. You are living proof."
"Salen, what is Sha Ka Ree?" Joanna asked.
"It is the Cradle of Life." Sybok answered. "It is Eden, it is the realm where all life, all souls originate."
"Even if Sha Ka Ree exists, what does it have to do with me?" Salen asked.
"You are a direct link. Your soul heard the mournful cries of your mother and you clawed your way into our world. You are a living citizen of Sha Ka Ree, it is your home and all living things in the galaxy instinctively know their way home."
"Wait...you think I can find Sha Ka Ree?"
"I don't think you can, I know you can."