Lieutenant JG Vorin - As Water is to Stone

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Jo Marshall

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Jun 25, 2022, 3:21:38 PMJun 25
to UFOP: StarBase 118: USS Gorkon

((Inside Vorin's Mind))

 

Up on the rise of a small sand dune, Vorin sat on the onyx stone. Around them, the desert sands moved in dervishes, twirling through the belly of the Forge. Heat clung to the air around them, the stones radiating their spoils from the midday sun, even as the star descended toward the horizon. Indigo took over the sky; deep and beset with the jewelled diamonds of the nearby stars, planets, and solar systems, present in a familiar vista.

 

Vorin: This is not where I expected to be. ::His dark eyebrows frowned as he stood from the stone.:: Do you know why we are here?

 

Alieth: This is a nexus, a familiar place from where we can explore through the paths of the mind.

 

It was familiar; as familiar as an old friend coming home from a long voyage far away. Looking down into the valley below, he could see the rocks and pathways he had trekked during his kahs-wan, the challenge faced by the Vulcan children in their journey to maturity. He had explained the need for it not so long ago to Loxley and found the memories doing so had sparked not ones he wished to carry. 

 

As he contemplated this, a hovercar drew up a few kilometres distant, and two female figures, one adult and one child dismounted from the vehicle and began to walk away from them. Alieth's expression softened into a frown.

 

Alieth: It is also a personal memoir for me, and a cautionary tale about the imperative of remaining in control.

 

Vorin: Elaborate.

 

The small Vulcan sighed softly.

 

Alieth: It would be better if show you.

 

She took a step, and with the fluidity of dreams and minds, when her feet, shod in high soft boots, rested on the ground, it wasn't on the sands of the dunes, but on granite and stone worn by thousands of years of wind and footprints. Vorin flexed his feet, the white boots of their desert uniform pressing against his shins. 

 

Vorin: Where is this? 

 

Alieth took her time answering his query, looking about at the semicircular walls of the canyon as it sloped down, sculpted for years by the activities of flowing water long gone from this area of the planet's surface. Names, sagas, epics, and genealogies were carved into the walls, and he could trace his hands across them and feel the cut of the rock, the history in their jagged contours.

 

She looked around before answering the question, at how the semicircular walls of the canyon sloped inwards, all of them engraved with stories and names, genealogies cut from the roots and a few that stretched back to the present. Her gaze moved from the identifiable silhouettes of Vai-Sehlat's to the Exodus, then to the columns in the canyon's centre, worn by wind and conflict to the point where they were nearly indistinguishable from natural rock. Those who marched under the wings of the raptor had much to answer for.

 

Finally, she ascended the weathered steps and bent down, retrieving an item from beneath the ground rocks: a sharp, curved knife of ancient and harsh design, but nevertheless beautiful in its dreadful utility. 

 

Alieth: ::murmuring:: We will remember, we will avenge; we will walk the desert free. ::She barely murmured the words, but they seemed to resonate a thousand times down the canyon before she turned to speak to Vorin.:: This is one of the places of my ancestors, one of the few still standing. They... did not follow the Teachings, but some of their philosophies are still applicable. For example, they believed that all life was a path of challenges, which one should overcome to strengthen oneself, in body and spirit. As we need to do, after the Taniwha.

 

Challenges were to the katra as the water was to stone. Ever flowing and ever weathering, but nonetheless would stand the test of time. The surrounding stones in the canyon proved the concept beyond doubt, however, Vorin did not believe Alieth spoke of challenges themselves. 

 

Vorin: You speak of the Te-Vikram.

 

Alieth: All other aspects of their philosophy... we can say that it gives us a clear measure of what we shall not be.

 

She shook her head, as though words were not forthcoming to explain the association and affiliation with a brotherhood of menacing reputation. The curved dagger in her hand bore witness to the atrocities carried out by the Te-Vikram; an ancient symbol of their warrior culture, long dead. Long forgotten. Long given over to the sands beneath their feet.

 

Alieth: I saw a glimpse of it on me in the Sasu Gol, after the Taniwha attack. What I was capable of, how I am closer to my ancestors than I should be, as I was warned so many times. It... troubles me.

 

The dagger flew from her hand, tearing through the canvas of their shared mind, revealing a stone no larger than a housecat. It thrummeed with energy; green and imposing, throwing light onto the ground nearby as it stood in the darkness. Fragments remained of it behind; those buried in the Tyrellian Commander's body that Alieth had retrieved, those on the floor of the Sasu Gol picked up by the Vulcan before departing. 

 

The low hum of the stone sang, permeating the air around them with a thickness, a density, Vorin could not fathom. It vibrated through his body, through his soul, his very being, into the heart of his bones and katra. 

 

Her hand waved and the images disappeared, leaving the two of them standing on the edge of the canyon, on the ascending steps, staring down into the hot valley below. The dagger returned to her hand by the nature of dreams, she offered it to Vorin by the handle. 

 

He took it in his hand, the weight of it in his palm, his fingers flensing around it. Both weighing nothing and yet heavy. Voices, deep and sonorous, echoed around them; the first one, repeating the mantra of the Te-Vikram, and then another in harmonic resonance with the first. Ancient song and ancient pronunciation in a way Vorin had not heard before.

 

Vorin: Many elements of ourselves are denied in order to become what it means to be Vulcan, what it means to represent the Teachings of Surak. We can only start where we are. ::Wisdom that was not his, but that of another.:: Your situation is understandable. Despite belief, we are not as far removed from our forefathers as we would like to believe.

 

Turning the blade over in his hand, the polished steel glinted under the harsh sunlight, reflecting the red of the desert sands as though blood spilt from the blade and down onto his wrist. Following the curve of the tip, he looked down into the canyon, down to where a man strode tall through the sands leaving large footprints behind. The slope of his shoulders, the cut of his robes, the heaviness in his gait… all entirely too familiar to the Vulcan staring, as though a ghost had appeared. 

 

Vorin began his chase, the stones underfoot tumbling down the ridge as he picked up speed downhill, aiming for the interloper in his dreams forging a path through the dunes. The delicate soft sole of his boot caught on a sharpened rock edge and he tumbled, falling down to his knees in the dirt as the lone walker continued their trudging pace under the heat of the sun bearing down oppressively from the sky. 

 

Only then, he was far from where Vorin could reach, fissures in the earth beneath their feet cracking through the dunes, ending sand spraying into the open mouths of newly formed caverns. 

 

Alieth: Response

 

Vorin: A friend. 

 

Sharply said, though the emotion bleeding through his voice and his composure fissuring at the same rate as the ground gave away more than he intended. His heart gripped, his skin flushed, and all the while his blood raged in his pointed ears. 

 

Vorin: This is not what I came here to seek!

 

Alieth: Response

 

Anger and desperation forged his next move, throwing the curved dagger into the sky, into the midst of the canyon. It performed the same ritual, tearing through the fabric of their dream-like reality, carving a hole between worlds and universes and dimensions until it showed them the image of the physics laboratory on Deck Eight of the USS Gorkon. 

 

Fires raged on all sides, the heat carrying through from the sun in the Forge to the laboratory aflame. Gas canisters teetered on the edge of an explosion nearby and Vorin raised his arm to shield his eyes from the light glaring from the shining equipment. 

 

Vorin: We were here, terminating the power to the laboratory equipment. Over… there…

 

His voice trailed off as he pointed to the collider he had seen Valesha tending to when he had drawn his phaser, only to see this time the Romulan was not there. In her place was the hunched shoulders of the man striding through the desert, hair missing, skin pallid and gaunt against his bones. 

 

Alieth: Response

 

 

1 kahs-wan: a Vulcan maturity test, was a traditional survival test of adulthood for adolescent Vulcans. The basis for the kahs-wan was to survive ten days without food, water, or weapons in Vulcan's Forge.

 

--

Lieutenant JG Vorin

Biologist

 

simmed by

 

Commander Jo Marshall

First Officer

USS Gorkon, NCC-82293

G239304JM0

 

 

 


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