Chapter Notes: by...Ln X
Spock and Craddock watched from afar as they saw a battle rage between the Enterprise and the War Song on one side, and the Romulan warbird on the other. They had both decided that waiting here was the best, and only, thing to do to keep the figurine safe.
Sometimes Craddock stole a glance at Spock and it seemed Spock looked composed. But then he saw the subtle clenching of Spock’s jaw, and this small physical reaction made Craddock realize that Spock was deeply concerned for the Enterprise.
Before Craddock could think anymore about Spock’s pain, he felt a breeze coming from behind.
“Turn around slowly,” said a cold voice.
Obeying the person, Craddock turned around and saw Vormarl pointing a disruptor at both himself and Spock.
Out of the corner of Craddock’s eye he saw Spock press a control on the helm, and the shuttle instantly lurched sideways. Vormarl stumbled, and seeing their opportunity, both Craddock and Spock rushed at Vormarl knocking him down on the ground.
Craddock grabbed the disruptor out of Vormarl’s hand, while he saw Spock being throttled by Vormarl’s other hand.
So Craddock aimed the disruptor at Vormarl’s chest and was about to fire, when both he and Spock were thrown backwards. They flew through the air, before smashing against the cockpit consoles.
Coming around Craddock saw Vormarl approach, and when Vormarl extended out his right hand, Craddock felt himself pinned to the floor unable to get up. He was lying there flat on his back, and his entire body felt like it under ten g of gravity. There was nothing he could do except wait for Vormarl to kill him.
“Craddock the figurine!” rasped Spock, who was also being forced against the floor.
Looking to his left, Craddock saw the open container, which held the figurine, and there just in front of the container, lying on the floor, was the figurine. Craddock reached out with his left arm, and finding it’s motion unimpeded, he grabbed the figurine.
The moment he did so he felt some of the force, pressing down on his body, lift. He used this to his advantage, and swung his left arm around and upwards so that the figurine was directly facing Vormarl, while he used his right hand to maintain a firmer grip on the figurine.
The result was almost immediate, Vormarl began convulsing and horrible, deafening screams erupted from his mouth. And then his mouth began to glow red, and a coil of spirits was gradually pulled out of Vormarl.
Craddock felt the figurine shake a little and he also heard a faint hissing sound coming from it, as it steadily sucked the coil of spirits out of Vormarl.
Finally the red clump of energy was detached completely from Vormarl, and it was sucked into the figurine. It suddenly glowed red hot and Craddock dropped the figurine onto the floor.
The figurine’s eyes and mouth were both glowing orange, and both Craddock and Spock backed away from it. Craddock continued to walk backwards when his feet came into contact with Vormarl’s boots. Turning around Craddock saw an unconscious Vormarl, and the amulet upon his chest.
“The amulet...” said Craddock quietly. “You know the moment one of us touches it the coil of spirits will leave the figurine and possess one of us!”
“Are you sure it is the only way to confront these coil of spirits?” asked Spock.
“I'm positive,” replied Craddock confidently. “There hast to be a person who can wear the amulet without being tempted to use it for anything other than being a vessel to the coil of spirits.” And he had to do it, so he lowered himself and his right hand slowly reached down for the amulet. “I'll do it-”
“No,” said Spock firmly, holding onto Craddock’s arm. “It should be me as I am the logical choice of person, the Vulcan mind is disciplined and can resist temptation far more easily than humans.”
Craddock stood up and looked into Spock’s determined eyes. “Are you sure about this?”
“It is the best option I can think of,” said Spock.
So Spock crouched down, and with one hand carefully lifted Vormarl’s head, and with the other gently pulled the chain, around Vormarl’s neck, holding the amulet. Now Spock had removed the amulet off Vormarl, and was holding the chain with his left hand. Spock gazed at it for a long time, and Craddock could tell that Spock was psyching himself up, if Vulcan’s did such a thing of course.
Finally Spock pulled the chain over his head, and lowered it until it rested against his neck. For one brief second nothing happened, and then with a great whoosh the coil of spirits flew out of the figurine and straight into the amulet. An expression of surprise came upon Spock’s face, and his eyes were wide.
Craddock realized Spock was afraid, and this really disturbed him. “Spock can you hear me?”
Spock nodded in a stiff manner. “The being inside is trying to converse with me,” responded Spock in a hoarse and strained voice, “but I can ignore him for the time being.”
“I don't get it,” said Craddock, as he felt his consternation grow, “I did everything I was supposed to do and yet nothing is happening!”
“The figurine...” said Spock weakly, and he pointed a shaking finger in the general direction of the figurine. “We need to... to return to the realm where we met your wife.”
Without delay Craddock strode over and scooped up the figurine before returning to Spock. “But how?” he asked Spock.
“I don't know...” said Spock, who sounded at the end of his tether. “But hurry! I cannot resist this being for much longer!”
Craddock looked at the figurine, before instinctively placing the figurine against the amulet. The moment he did so, the shuttle disappeared from view…
When Craddock arrived back to the pyschonic realm he thought he had returned to the wrong place. There were fires everywhere, and against the flames and smoke, he could discern a massive vortex which had consumed most of the sky. The coil of spirits were flying around everywhere and seemed deeply excited by what was going on.
Squinting heavily Craddock could just make out the faint images of people, and then to his horror he realized they were the people of Mehjah'Loh, and their very essence had almost been sucked into the vortex.
Taking a few steps forward he could make out another figure, and his heart plummeted to the very lowest depths of despair. “Elizabeth! No!” he shouted, running over to her, and he tried to touch her but his hand went straight through her almost transparent body.
“There is nothing we can do for her,” said Spock calmly, as he walked over to Craddock.
The fact that Spock sounded more like himself meant nothing to Craddock, once again he was watching his wife die, except this time it felt even worse. He then looked away from Elizabeth when he heard the weird rushing sounds made by the coil of spirits descend upon him.
The coil of spirits were approaching, in a great mass of red energy, which could just be distinguished from the flames. Craddock expected to die and for the coil of spirits to rush at him and Spock, but they didn’t.
Instead they cautiously approached the two men.
“I can hear their voices...” said Spock softly.
“What are they saying?” asked Craddock, while he eyed one of them with some fear.
“They're afraid,” said Spock, “as the amulet is summoning the entities from beyond the vortex.”
Suddenly from the vortex came blue masses of energy, they literally flew out of it descending from the sky.
Craddock felt his fear increase, he was now stuck in the middle of some war, and he expected a horrific battle to break out at any second. But the blue energy beings continued to descend down at a steady pace, finally one of them approached Spock and hovered above the ground. It then transformed into the image of Kirk.
“The coil of spirits wishes to speak with you,” said Spock addressing the Kirk alien.
“Go ahead,” said the Kirk alien.
Spock then closed his eyes, but when he opened them his entire expression and composure changed. Pure hatred lined the Vulcan’s face, and his tall upright posture was replaced with a more slouching and hunched one. “We do not want to talk with you!” hissed the possessed Spock. “This figurine and amulet is simply a mechanism to entrap us!”
The Kirk alien though shook his head vigorously. “They are for us talking and for attempting to resolve the long-standing vendetta between our peoples!”
“Lies!” shouted Spock. “You imprisoned us and you will do so again because we represent everything you despise!”
“We did not despise you!” protested the alien Kirk. “Differences sprung up because you had a different ideology about the destiny of our race! You Hatastoferic have always been head strong and forceful in pushing the boundaries of our race's powers!”
“Powers which are rightfully ours to use!” replied Spock defiantly. “And if a few bipedal creatures are snuffed out along the way that is too bad! We are the master race, and superior to all other humanoid life forms!”
“Though we are superior that does not give us the right to murder the lower life forms!” argued Kirk.
A horrible leer twisted Spock’s mouth, and his gaze was daggers upon Kirk. “They are like lowly ants to an humanoid, they do not even remotely compare to us!”
Cold anger built up on Kirk’s face, and his nostrils were flared. “If that is your view, then there is no further point discussing matters, and we will fight it out once more as we did all those eons ago! Is that what you want to do, to kill more members of our race?”
“I don't want to Zofadetterian,” said Spock bitterly. “But I have no choice if you impede my followers research in the space-time continuum!”
“Research?” snarled Zofadetterian. “It was a barbaric use of our once recently evolved powers!”
“It was exploration of the universe,” said Spock, his eyes wide with rage. “Exploration on a scale never dreamed before and you impeded that! You held back the evolution of our race!”
This accusation seemed to really hurt Zofadetterian, he looked back at Spock with a slightly open mouth and wounded eyes. “Let us not forget that we were once humanoids, we once called ourselves Torahvay, and that the process of evolution takes time. We had these new found powers and we wanted more, everyone did at first!”
“Well that is one thing we can both agree on,” said Spock grudgingly.
“But with such power there hast to be limits,” said Zofadetterian, “morale limits, limits which you breached and because of that you plunged our people into civil war!”
Spock took a few steps closer to Zofadetterian, and it looked like Spock wanted to do nothing better than to punch Zofadetterian straight in the face. “That was because you cast my followers as misfits,” he roared, “your side openly discriminated and disapproved of my side! You were afraid, afraid that we would lose control of our powers, you have always been too cautious against change!”
“I was trying to keep our people together,” said Zofadetterian desperately, “I begged of you to maintain a united front but you betrayed me.” The lines on Zofadetterian’s face hardened. “Instead of trying to foster peace, you spread lies, deceit and venom! You promised your followers the gift of evolution, by the development of their powers, but all you did was to get them to carry out pogroms of humanoid races! You fed the illusion that we were the superior race, morally, culturally and in just about every other way. When really you were following the basest of all humanoid feelings; revenge!”
At this Spock laughed in a horrible and mirthless manner, it was laughter that was soulless and seemed to reverberate throughout the entire pyschonic realm. “Don't pretend to me you weren't against exterminating the Gorasians once we developed our powers!” Amusement was still etched on his face. “For centuries we were persecuted as a people, our planet occupied, the Gorasians tried to exterminate our race when we were evolving! But we paid them back in kind!”
Zofadetterian bowed his head slightly in shame. “And that was a decision that many of us deeply regretted. Even now to this day, amongst many of my people there is a long-standing shame and remorse for our actions. Most of our race vowed never to repeat the same mistakes of old again!” He looked at Spock rather somberly. “You though were intent on repeating them! Why do you still want to exterminate the humanoid races?”
“Because I have never forgiven what the Gorasians did to us!” spat out Spock. “I have never forgiven you from stopping from me teaching the humanoids a little lesson in humility.”
“And will your war end Hatastoferic?” asked Zofadetterian in cold, high tones. “What will you do when you finally wipe out all of the humanoid races? You don't have to do this, I can give you so much more then you give yourselves!”
“What do you mean?” said Spock, and this seemed to have caught him by surprise, as a lot of his anger receded.
“After the war my people resumed the exploration of the universe,” explained Zofadetterian, “and we carefully developed our powers. We discovered places and realms that even you couldn't comprehend, and even now we are still exploring as this universe is infinite in size!”
“But the humanoids...” murmured Spock.
A sad and pitiful expression came upon Zofadetterian’s face. “Does it really give you pleasure butchering beings that are completely helpless against our race's powers?”
“It had to be done,” said Spock a little distractedly, “I felt obliged to butcher them!”
“You haven't answered my question!” said Zofadetterian angrily. “Did you enjoy it?”
Now Spock looked really troubled, and it seemed that he was fighting against something in his head, his own personal war. “No,” he finally answered, before gazing at Zofadetterian with cold and sharp eyes. “But I had to do it! I had plans for our race, and I had to give my followers some sort of plan, something to accomplish! And then the civil war came, and to me the humanoids became irrelevant, I thought my side could win, I thought that by winning the war I could carry out the plans I had for our race!” He paused as a very sour expression twisted his face. “But you defeated us,” he said bitterly.
“And do you think that you can beat my side?” asked Zofadetterian.
“I don't want to admit defeat,” said Spock forcibly, his voice sounding slightly muffled through his gritted teeth. “I spent eons telling my followers that we were on the right path, even during imprisonment!”
Zofadetterian looked thoroughly depressed to hear this. “Listen if you fight now, you will accomplish nothing, except cause more misery and suffering upon our race. There is a different path you can take, but you have to actually walk upon it and stop avoiding it!”
For a moment Spock paused and it looked like he was going to defiantly refuse Zofadetterian offer. “Fine!” he burst out. “It was jealousy! I was supposed to lead our people but you manoeuvred against me! So you got elected leader by a slim majority, and for that I have always despised you for it! And now here you are still the leader of your people!”
“Leader?” said Zofadetterian looking disbelieving. “My people abandoned the concept of leadership many eons ago after the war, there is no one-person rules it all sort of leadership anymore! It's now collective leadership, a committee of people who help to guide our race. I am simply their representative and I'm here to try to end our race’s civil war.
Spock’s mouth fell open in stunned disbelieve. “You are not leader?” he breathed, saying the words as if they weren’t real. Some of his anger eventually returned as did his composure. “Why didn't you tell this to me before when I was imprisoned! Why press for peace now?”
A very pained look came upon Zofadetterian’s face, and he seemed to force himself to keep looking into Spock’s eyes. “Because my side was afraid of letting your side out, we didn't want another war and we picked the easy option of continuing to imprison you and your followers. We tried to convince ourselves that it was for the protection of the humanoid races, but really it was to put off the time when we would have to do considerable soul-searching about our part in this divide!”
While Zofadetterian lowered his head in shame, Spock looked at him with a strangely curious expression. It seemed Spock hadn’t expected to see his rival display such humility and openness. “So can you promise me that if my side surrenders, my followers will not be persecuted or looked down upon in any way?”
Kirk lifted his head and gave Spock a very serious stare. “I can only guarantee this if you promise me that you will end your pogroms of the humanoid races, and that you will cease your efforts to force your way back into our domain. If you hold true to that, then your side can return to the realm you once came from.”
All the fight seemed to have been drained out of Spock’s face, he was simply standing there, breathing deeply. The silence continued to lengthen and in those eyes of Spock’s there was a serious fight being raged. “There is no promise that I can trust you to keep,” he said while he walked slowly towards Zofadetterian. “However I am prepared to give a peace a chance, if both sides hold true to their agreements.”
“Then close the vortex and restore the pyschonic realm!” urged Zofadetterian.
Spock sighed, and then the coil of spirits possessing Spock left him. The Hatastoferic energy being flew over to his followers, and there in weird, screeching tones did he converse with them.
Suddenly the flames were sucked back up into the vortex, and the vortex began collapsing. As it did so the people who were once powering the vortex began to gradually solidify. The vortex grew smaller and smaller, collapsing in upon itself until it absorbed all the flames and vanished.
The sky suddenly reverted to it’s usual blue, and all the people in the Mehjah'Loh construct suddenly broke their collective trance. By that time both the coil of spirits and the blue energy beings had vanished.
Craddock though had eyes for only one person and that was Elizabeth. When he saw her solidify he dashed over to Elizabeth, and when she suddenly reanimated, without even thinking Craddock hugged her. “Oh Elizabeth, I thought you were dead!” he lamented. “I'm so glad you're still alive again.”
Elizabeth seemed a little surprised by Craddock’s sudden hug, but she wrapped her arms around his back none the less. “Well technically I am dead, but I know what you mean.”
It felt like a moment of reunion for Craddock, and for one tiny moment he could convince himself that Elizabeth had never really died. But the illusion came and went with the blink of an eye, and he broke off his hug when he saw Zofadetterian walking towards him and Elizabeth.
Zofadetterian stopped a metre away from the couple and simply smiled at them.
“You were the one who appeared as my wife during my first vision,” said Craddock, the words came tumbling out of his mouth.
“I was,” said Zofadetterian with a nod. “It is thanks to you and Mr Spock that the negotiations finally took place, and peace was finally attained. For that you have my race's deepest gratitude.”
Craddock briefly glanced at Spock who looked alright, and was staring around at the whole scene. Knowing that Spock was hale and hearty relieved Craddock a little bit, but still he felt anxious, he had one simple request to make of Zofadetterian. “Before I leave can I talk to Elizabeth for a few more hours, say six of them? I just want to say a final goodbye.”
“Of course you can...” said Zofadetterian.
And without further ado he suddenly vanished from sight.
“I'm going to miss you,” whispered Elizabeth softly, her head bowed against Craddock’s forehead. “When you finally leave this realm.”
“Not as much as I'm going to miss you,” said Craddock.
Both he and Elizabeth broke off when Spock arrived to meet them. “Mr Craddock seeing as we have accomplished our task of completing negotiations between these beings, may I suggest we leave this place?”
“Not yet,” replied Craddock, his eyes were constantly on Elizabeth. “I want to say goodbye to Elizabeth first, we’re going to be in each other’s company for six hours.”
“Take your time,” said Spock tactfully, “I see no reason to hasten our departure.”
Spock then walked away from the two, and some moments later headed to one of the dwellers of Mehjah'Loh, and almost instantly struck up a conversation.
Craddock and Elizabeth stood holding each other in their arms. “I know we only have six hours left,” said Elizabeth, “but do you want to return home?”
“I would like that,” said Craddock gently.