Spock and Kirk were in Kirk’s quarters, because Kirk didn’t do cross-legged on a meditation mat very well.
Kirk DID do beer very well, and there were several ice-cold bottles sitting on his desk. He and Spock were sitting across from each other, and Kirk was hoping, praying, that he could finally get a handle on what this Vulcan-friend-business actually was.
Kirk had killed one beer already, and was working on his second. Spock was holding a barely-tasted bottle and gazed at a far corner of the room.
“As in all things Vulcan, T’hy’la is an intensely private matter.
“The earliest known references to it are shrouded within the mists of pre-Surak Vulcan mythology. Our people were warriors who had grappled with even their very genetic structure to create any advantage in making war. Primitive mind linkages became useful in guerilla tactics and sharing battle strategies. As typical with war-driven species, though, these linkages were also exploited by opponents, and incredible torture methods developed that could use the links quite viciously.
“The warrior people soon learned to bury deeply these particular traits. The capabilities were only discussed in hushed tones, and even then they were blanketed with legends to further separate them from casual usage.
“Once the Vulcan people grew weary of the bloodshed, the destruction, and the total waste of war, they were open to the teachings of Surak. His logic brought peace to Vulcan through the control of the emotions which fueled the anger and hatred borne of war.
“Vulcans today are the sum total of their history, as is everyone else in the universe. We still have the warrior components, and the emotions to feed them. Those who wish to fully embrace the teachings of Surak must understand their origins, and to seek and release the tendrils still reaching and entwining into the mists containing the stories and legends of old that came from the war-mongering past.
“The oldest, most-powerful, and least-understood bond is from this ancient era. And it is the T’hy’la.”
Kirk sensed this as an almost-holy moment, and felt the same type of awe inspired by stepping into a cathedral. Spock nodded, and continued.
“As a student of military history and strategy, you understand the buddy system that develops amongst soldiers. Casual friendships tried by blood and fire, watching out for each other, sharing meager rations and ammunition, supporting the will to survive, and finally honoring a fellow warrior by bringing him home to rest, are all part of the buddy relationship. The rituals and the ceremonies perpetuate this connection.
Spock looked at the beer in his hand, and drank. “I really do not understand the fondness for this beverage.”
Kirk drained his beer, then grabbed Spock’s bottle and finished it, too. He covered his lips with his wrist and muffled the quiet burp. “It grows on you, I guess.”
Spock raised the obligatory eyebrow, and then continued with his lesson. “When you take the tradition of the ‘battle buddy’ and combine it with the telepathic bond experienced by some of the ancient Vulcan warriors, you have what is believed to be the origin of T’hy’la.
“But it is infinitely more.
“The bond is not created. It is not requested, or given. It is not built. It simply is.”
Spock closed his eyes and bowed his head.
Kirk remembered the sometimes playful way he had referred to this T’hy’la business. Spock had never quashed his nonsense, which he could have easily done. A small bud of shame bloomed in Kirk’s chest, and he mentally bit off huge chunks of his tongue in remorse for his smart mouth.
Spock raised his head, and looked at Kirk almost tenderly. “Legend has it that the two individuals who are T’hy’la were bonded before the beginning of Time itself, and shall endure in the bond beyond Eternity. Their tie is something of no value, no mass, no substance, yet is a rare and precious treasure worth more than the entire Universe and all it holds.”
Kirk’s jaw dropped, and he was barely breathing. “That’s US?”
Spock’s voice was so gentle. “Yes, Jim, we are T’hy’la.”