Friday, August 12, 2016

St. John Talbot Meets Sybok's Brother, Spock

“It’s been a long time,” St. John Talbot says.  He grins as he says this, for reasons his visitor can’t possibly appreciate.  In fact it’s only been a few weeks since they last saw each other.  St. John has been trying to pick up the pieces here in Paradise City, getting the replacement delegates up to speed, and himself at the same time.  Moztar, the Klingon representative, is here only for the short-term, and he’s made sure everyone knows that.  His Romulan counterpart, Tavol, hasn’t exactly been forthcoming, but in St. John’s experience, that’s perfectly typical for Romulans, and so he’s okay with that, for now.

“I admit, I am intrigued,” says Mr. Spock.  “I was curious about the nature of Nimbus III.  I had not had the opportunity to speak with my father about it before I came here.  As I understand it, he was involved in the original negotiations that made it possible.”
“Sarek has been involved in all the negotiations I have ever been a part of,” St. John says.  “Can I offer you a drink?  I’m afraid the bar hasn’t reopened yet.”
“No, thank you,” says Mr. Spock.  “My father has indeed kept himself busy over the years.  I hope his presence has not caused you discomfort.  I know it is the human predilection to receive credit for your efforts; that is, for those who have not been canonized.  I assume it may be different with you.  I offer my apologies if I have offended you.”
“Not at all,” says St. John.  “The truth is, I never got the handle of being a saint.  Until me, none had ever lived to be christened in their lifetime.  Such are the times.  I always appreciated Sarek’s presence.  You could say he was my inspiration.  What is a good Catholic but a poor Vulcan?”
“I offer no thoughts on the matter,” says Mr. Spock.  “As I indicated earlier, I do not wish to offend.”
“You couldn’t possibly, my friend,” says St. John.  “I asked you here because the matter with your late brother still troubles me.  It keeps me up at night.  Sybok had a curious way of breaching insecurities.  He claimed he was only trying to strengthen people, but his were predatory motives.  I never met a Vulcan like him.  I never even thought the like existed.  The whole thing baffles me.”
“Indeed, as it does for a great many others,” says Mr. Spock.  “Federal scholars will be fielding these events for some time to come.  I knew my brother from when we were young men, and I still fail to comprehend him.  His was always the questioning mind.  It is often a mistake among outsiders to believe all Vulcans analyze the whole world around them.  Yet with the discipline of logic comes a need for focus, and so we are taught at an early age to limit ourselves, for the benefit of the whole, so that the few will always count for something, because the many are made up of the few.  I understand that this may be confusing.  It was the very principal humans embraced when they conceived of the Federation, perhaps the first concept they found in common with us.”
“That’s the idea behind this planet as well,” says St. John.  “The unique challenge is, we try to reconcile active differences rather than passive similarities.  That’s the only way someone like Sybok could have so easily manipulated our citizens…including me.  We’re lost souls.  Damaged.  We’re here because we’re looking for answers.  Someone comes here and claims God spoke to him, we tend to listen.  Personally, I have always had an affinity for the divine, something bigger than comprehension.  It’s what made me an ideal candidate for the diplomatic corps, negotiations with Klingons when everyone thought it was a waste of time…But it also makes me vulnerable.”
“My brother merely exploited weakness,” says Mr. Spock.  “Everyone has limitations.  It’s the very flower of our yearning.  It’s not something to be ashamed of.  I, too, was swayed by him, for a time.  As a child of two cultures, I have often been torn between impulses.  So, too, was my father.  It has made him the ambassador he is today, and it has also compromised his role as a father.  It is always harder to be objective at home.”
“That may be the weakness of this concept,” says St. John.  “Perhaps we were always asking too much.”
“I would not give up on Paradise City too quickly,” says Mr. Spock.  “There is a time for everything, but not all things are appropriate for their time.  Your work here is important, no matter how difficult it may be for others to appreciate it.  Mistakes are a part of every process.”
“I appreciate your faith in me,” says St. John.
“Was that a joke?” says Mr. Spock.
“Not that I’m aware of,” says St. John.  He can’t help but grin again.  “Say hello to Jim for me.”
“That I will do,” says Mr. Spock.
“And Dr. McCoy,” says St. John.  “I always thought he and I could have some interesting conversations.”
“That is most likely a certainty,” says Mr. Spock.  “I will endeavor to prevent such calamities from occurring.”
“Now that was a joke,” says St. John.
“Was it?” says Mr. Spock, raising an eyebrow.
“Live long and prosper,” says St. John.
“You as well,” says Mr. Spock.
When his visitor departs, St. John has himself a good laugh.  It feels good.  There was a time he took himself too seriously, but he decided that he could let others worry about such things, and he could simply go about his business.  Wasn’t that what Cochrane decided, all those years ago?  He even heard Archer could get that way sometimes.  Great men, those were.  He thinks about how easily Kirk defeated Sybok’s plans, how he had been so powerless to do anything himself, and he wonders, was it a mistake, what the church elders declared him?  But what was that old saying?  It’s easy to be a saint in paradise.  Well, maybe.  Duplicitous, uncooperative, reluctant…these are the kind of people he has to work with, as always.  It could be worse.  Life can be difficult in the final frontier, but then, what would ideals be for if not to be confronted with such things?  He finds himself grinning again.

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