Disclaimer: None of this is mine! Star Trek belongs to Roddenberry, Abrams, et. al., and "Lot's Wife" belongs to Akhmatova.


Lot's Wife

Who mourns one woman in a holocaust?
Surely her death has no significance?
Yet in my heart she will never be lost
She who gave up her life to steal one glance.

- Anna Akhmatova, "Lot's Wife," translated by D. M. Thomas



Amanda has lived more than half her life on this planet of red dust and stone, and she's long ago ceased to think of it as alien. On most days, she doesn't even think of it as "Vulcan." It is simply "home."

She knows the crumbling, ancient stones intimately. In her mind, private even from Sarek, she compares them to the memories of old friends or lovers that only grow stronger over time. There is a familiarity in the memory that brings comfort, but also an edge of loss; the memory is old, the friend or lover long since gone. It is a sweet and melancholy familiarity, one that smells like dust, old books, and the abandoned places of childhood. Vulcan has always felt this way to Amanda, even when it was new to her, even in the first startlingly unknown days of her nascent marriage.

It is a strange thing to think on as the world crumbles around her. But fitting, perhaps.

She thinks of the katras that her husband and the other Elders now bear, those they were able to rescue. She imagines the shape and feel of them, the strangeness of sharing a mind and a consciousness with someone from another age, another world. A growing, changing, ever-developing presence, perhaps, but ultimately still a ghost.

And yet she can understand it, in a way. Her eyes follow the ash-fall of dust and rock through air and she considers, viscerally, the stories her grandmother told her about the women of her own people: the judges, the survivors, the prophets, the women who bore out in silence, and those who looked back.

Human blood contains 0.9 percent sodium chloride. A small percentage, really, the equivalent (approximately) of seven tablespoons of table salt. The designation is both ironic and appropriate; salt is not a table condiment on Vulcan.

She remembers, as a child, asking her grandmother why Lot's wife looked back, and if she had a name, and why, of all things, she should have turned to salt.

But now, as she registers the crash of a pillar in the tunnel behind them, the warm press of her son's arm against hers, and the desperate, instinctive drive toward the light ahead, she does not wonder.

They burst in a scatter plot across the open ledge, spilling out into sunlight and the stark end of the world. Amanda's gaze flies about her, caught between horror and the inescapable need to know.

The steady, ageless stones she has always known, the ancient rock and dust like a fondly remembered lover, are new and strange now, unsteady. She sees the well-known slopes and jagged edges of Seleya turned liquid and tumbling away, sees the redness of rock turned inside out. Her mind travels further than her eyes, recalling the gentle curve of the rail on her balcony, the dusty pale maroon of the floor in the glass house where she grew her roses, the brown-red crumbles of rock and sand that clung, like history, to the bottoms of their shoes.

The earth beneath her, that once-solid, unbreachable foundation, a visible metaphor for eternality, buckles and twists, and she finds herself standing several inches away from Spock, their arms no longer clasped. The voice from his communicator sounds, telling them not to move, and she stands as she is, alone, pillar-like.

But memory draws her with the bittersweet sense of an old friend, and she turns and looks out over the edge of a world gone to ash and emptiness. In the far distance, the place where their home once stood is less even than a cloud of dust.

What she sees, then, as she turns back again, is Spock's face, and behind him Sarek, her bondmate, a study in carefully controlled desperation. They are still points in a moving world, solid, but, she thinks, less steady than they appear. She faces them, feet rooted to the shifting earth, and feels the tremors beneath her feet.

There is no time for anything else. Only one glance.

The world falls away beneath her, dissolving, and Amanda Grayson falls with it, solid, upright, pillar-like.