To finally touch the pure logic he had been searching for, the complete lack of emotions, did not save him. In his meld with V-Ger, Spock saw many things. He saw V-Ger's planet, a place where machines were beings capable of conscious thought. Galaxies and star systems spiraled past. He saw new worlds and stars whirl by in brilliant patterns of colors and shapes. As he came towards the center of V-Ger, he saw the Sun and the Earth and the moon locked in beautiful embrace. He had witnessed the view time and time again, yet somehow the sight of the Earth's graceful orbit around the heavenly body still managed to leave him in awe. But V-Ger didn't see what he saw. It saw only the physics and mathematics at work, and it was insistent on asking many questions of him … questions, upon questions, multiplying at an accelerating rate — to very few of which he had what V-Ger considered an acceptable answer. They were all cold and clinical. Through the barrage, one in particular caught his mind's attention.
"Spock Unit," Suddenly, he was filled with a calm warmth … a churning in his heart … a longing gone unfulfilled. The last was all V-Ger seemed to recognize. "You, too, have a Creator?"
"No. That is Jim." The response had been automatic. It shocked him. In all his meditation, all his chanting, all his suppression, he had not allowed himself the luxury of that response — even if it was just in his own mind. Now he shared it with a conscious computer.
"In the carbon unit V-Ger assimilated it is Decker. Why is Spock Unit's Jim?"
"Decker does not make me feel that way." Another admission he normally denied himself. One sentence held so much weight.
He felt that way only for Jim.
"V-Ger does not know this … feel. What is this feel?"
"It is…" He stopped, "It is something a human carbon unit should explain."
"V-Ger must find the creator. Without the creator, V-Ger is… incomplete. Why is V-Ger incomplete?"
"I do not know."
"Because I am not V-Ger. Only V-Ger can know why."
"Where can V-Ger learn why?"
"From the creator, I suppose."
"What is 'suppose'?"
"Suppose means to imagine as possible."
"What is 'imagine'?"
Jim, this machine is trying my patience. It was much like a human child playing what Jim referred to as Twenty Questions.
"There is Jim again. Why does V-Ger not understand this Jim? What is Jim? Why is Jim of such importance?"
V-Ger did not seem to like thoughts of Jim, or perhaps the emotions that were attached. It did not understand, but it wanted to. The Vulcan simply could not explain them. V-Ger delved deeper in his memories, and suddenly Spock was consumed by an obsessive need. V-Ger was transferring some of its thought processes to him: a need for something … something more than just what it was. A purpose beyond its programming to find answers. Beyond logic…
The need was then his own. If he didn't know better, he would have called it emotional transference. But no, it was inside him too … a need that V-Ger recognized and amplified in his quest for those answers. He sought the answer in his mind. What was beyond logic? What more was there?
He'd asked himself on more than one occasion his own questions. He'd never had answers. V-Ger found those questions, and added them to the infinite questions pouring through him, through them.
"What is sacred?"
"What is worth living for?"
"What is worth dying for?"
"What is more, if there is such a thing in this universe?"
The answer to each was the same and involuntary. But his inability to control the answer made it no less true.
"I need to find … Jim."
"V-Ger needs to find the creator."
Spock regained consciousness in sick bay. Jim of course was there. He chuckled.
"Spock?" The concern hidden just under Jim's fragile 'captain' mask was there in his voice.
"Jim, I should've known." A wave of acceptance washed over him. There was nothing he could do. All the fight in him was gone.
"Were you right about V-Ger?"
He nodded, just able to contain a sigh. That was one thing he was right about. "A life from of its own. A conscious living entity."
"A living machine... It considers the Enterprise another such machine — that is why the probe refers to the ship as an entity."
"I saw V-Ger's planet," Spock continued. "A planet populated by living machines. Unbelievable technology. V-Ger has knowledge that spans this universe. Yet - with all its pure logic - V-Ger is barren … cold. No mystery. No beauty." He chuckled. "I should've …"
His brain briefly lapsed again as it recovered from the trauma. Had he only a few days ago really been willing to cut out such an essential part of who he was? He was a fool. How could he toss aside all the things that made his life meaningful? Joy, wonder, happiness, soft laughter, beautiful golden eyes ….
"Known … known what? Spock!" Jim grasped his shoulders.
McCoy did not like that. "Captain!"
"Bones…" he warned, then turned his attention back to Spock. He needed Spock to finish, so he would.
"Spock. What should you have known?" Jim asked him, letting go of his shoulder. Those deep golden eyes met Spock's. There was uncertainty in them Spock had never seen before. He clasped the retreating hand in a very human attempt at reassurance, and Jim's face softened. Through just that contact, he recognized the years of worry, and anger, and hurt that had taken their toll on Jim. Spock wished he could take it all back. He had not meant to hurt Jim, but rather to save him — to save him from what Spock knew he would one day ask of him. It was only a few years off. But he couldn't. He'd failed. This was a bullet he could not take for his captain. Those old emotions were gone from the surface of Jim's mind now. He felt only a loving relief and utter forgiveness. It was beautiful.
"Jim …" The word carried so much weight for him. V-Ger could not grasp it. "This … simple feeling is beyond V-Ger's comprehension." It was almost laughable: what he had intended to purge from himself, was the one thing V-Ger lacked, and sought with the same obsessive abandon as he sought relief. Kirk moved his other hand to hold Spock's. Jim couldn't know what this gesture meant to Vulcans, yet somehow the look in his eyes …
Vulcans did not need reassurance of their value in the eyes of one individual. They saw their value on a universal level. In the universe he was another 'brick in the wall', as McCoy had once told him. But here in Jim's eyes, he was the universe himself. Nothing else mattered in the moment that Jim held his hand so tenderly. How could he have failed him so? "No meaning… No hope… Jim, no answers. It's asking questions."
"Is this … all that I am? Is there nothing more?" The questions were logical. There was of course much more to the universe. Yet here in sickbay, how could he ever want for more than his captain at his side? The world melted away. Do you know how much I love you?He didn't resist it. For that span of time that he held his captain's gaze, Spock let himself love him. It was almost laughable how easy it was, once he just let it go.
The intercom whistled, breaking the spell, and Jim left his side, yet didn't. He knew Jim's thoughts were still on what he had and hadn't said. He should have known …
Jim was the answer to all the important questions.
When Jim turned back, his voice had that commanding presence that made him such an amazing captain. "I need Spock on the bridge."
But all Spock heard was, "I need Spock."