The coldness in my mind is bone-deep. Like the arctic tundra on Earth. Like a desert night at the poles of Vulcan, where the thin atmosphere allows one to snap-freeze without the protection of metre-thick sandstone walls.
I kneel now on sandstone, cool but hard on my bare knees. I have knelt thus for many hours. My robes are tattered, but have been for weeks. It does not matter.
Sandstone here is created not by water erosion, but by the erosion of wind. The oceans on Vulcan are oceans of windblown sand, not water. The sand settles in the lowest valleys and is buried, eventually being crushed by the weight of the sand settling on top of it and being compressed to form red sandstone. It is the building material of choice on my home planet, of course. Ridiculously abundant, thus treasured by few. Humans love it. It allows them to escape the heat. You laughed when you saw my home, and called us cavemen.
This morning the masters have told me I must crush my emotions so that my mind becomes hard like buried sandstone. I am meditating upon it now.
I have escaped the heat of my Vulcan drives, finding unlikely control in my human half, whereas the Vulcan part of my nature would not suffice. Humans. They are like the water of their home world; their feelings flow and swirl and toss them around, yet beneath the tumbling surface they are surprisingly adaptable and resilient, just like water. And powerful, in the same mindless way that their oceans are powerful; they flow around everything, eat through anything, given time.
I left, before you ate through me.
Before your humanity dissolved me, turned me into a loose sediment, a cloud at the base of your depths.
I know danger when it finds me, and you were certainly that. The soft, focused eyes of a predator, honing in on my weaknesses, hypnotising me, your limbs trembling, body coiling, ready to go in for the kill.
You called it lust. I called it blood lust.
You said it was natural and right. So the lematya thinks. The predator does not try to justify that it must eat flesh to survive; it simply devours. The flesh that you were trying to eat just happened to be mine. Was it so strange that I took umbrage at that?
The emotions that I seek to purge here at Gol are powerful; hate, greed, lust, desire, regret. All are powerful, but each taken individually, I find I can control.
But now there is a soft noise at my cell door, a huff of air which is not the wind, and I gradually come out of my meditation and look up, into glittering hazel eyes. And there I see hate, greed, lust, desire and regret, all rolled into one. I realise that taken together, and rolled into your eyes, these emotions are overwhelming me already. I feel control slipping rapidly from my grasp, but if I cannot control what is within, I can still control what emotions I allow my face to show. I stare at you impassively, wondering what you are doing here but refusing to ask.
Your eyes burn into mine for what seems like hours. But then you turn away, and say quietly to the wall, ‘Come back.’
It is as you turn away and I glimpse the one emotion that you try to hide, flicker through your eyes, that I come undone.
I stand here, in my uniform now, on this shuttle on the way back to the ISS Enterprise, because of that one glimpse of something else behind the steel in your eyes. I hate my own weakness, yet I find that I cannot scrape up the energy to hate you.
We do not speak. We never have. So it surprises me when you open your mouth.
You turn to me and say softly, ‘So how pissed off exactly are you, with me?’
I glare at you, and you give that rueful, crooked grin. That grin that I love and hate. But then you hang your head, and sigh briefly, and breathe one word, ‘Spock.’ We stand there in silence and you allow your hand to drift over to brush against mine.
I look up into your eyes, and I see it then… this is the greatest danger of all. There is something within us that does not fit with our world, and it threatens us both. It is frightening, intoxicating and thrilling. I see you recognise it, and I feel the tingle of heady excitement through your hand.
One word, breathed so softly, and the touch of a hand, should not stop me from breathing. That is when I decide that I really need to ask the masters at Gol for my money back.