Disclaimer: All property to its rightful owners. Do you honestly think I own this amazing stuff? Les Mis ain't mine, Star Trek: Enterprise ain't mine...so no, I own nothing but the crazy idea to cross these two.
You need to go watch "Stigma" from Enterprise season 2 before reading this story. All three of the Vulcan doctors have been mentioned in my stories, or have gotten a story dedicated to them. But what about poor old Yuris? Well, *rubs hands wickedly* I came up with a story for him too.
Vulcan's Forge, August 10, 2152
One foot in front of the other, on and on along the top of the sand dune. Here in the desert, there were no hearings, no dismissals, no accusatory stares. There was nothing but the cleansing heat and the whistling wind. It was a contemplative place, and it was little wonder so many of his people sought out the Forge to meditate when things got to be too much. Here, on the path Surak himself walked when seeking enlightenment, he too would walk, and perhaps along the way he could find the answer.
There is nothing abhorrent about the way we lead our lives. He started with that sentence, turned it over in his mind, and decided it was logically sound. After all, he could not change who he was. He could not wish away this ability, or think it away, or meditate it into oblivion. He was stuck with it, and instead of having the ability manifest itself when he least expected it, he had learned from others about how to harness it, tame it, use it not to violate, but to connect on a deeper level with those who knew the truth. There was nothing abhorrent about the way he led his life. He was not abhorrent.
And yet, he could not shake the shame of his dismissal. No matter how many times he tried to convince himself that he was not abhorrent, other voices whispered in his ear that he was worthless, a mutant, a freak, a monster.
It is illogical to succumb to insecurities. And yet that statement did not dispel the insecurities inside him. Strom had been kind and made sure he had everything he needed, but what he needed was some peace of mind. And in the desert place, the hottest fire where the Vulcan soul was tested and tempered, he was determined to find it.
The blazing sun dipped down further toward the distant horizon, but even though evening would be here within the hour, a slight haze hung in the air. The sky was always lovely at evening as the sun set, turning from dusty brown to faded purple to light pink to dull red, a kaleidoscope of colors in the space of a few minutes. It put his mind as ease to watch the sun set on another day, and however illogical the sentiment was, it always gave him hope to think there was another day ahead, another day to live and breath and learn and grow.
He sighed and continued along the sand dune, and he spied a system of caves off in the distance. He headed for them, as he would need to find shelter for the night lest he become food for a wild sehlat. His life was in shambles, but he had no desire to end it. There was perhaps some task he could do in this world, in this universe. Strange, it was as if he had been called here by some unknown force, a higher power, something ancient and powerful. For the first time since he had defended his position before the High Command and had been dismissed, he felt a sense of purpose in his life. Purpose.
The wind picked up and he sniffed the air, and listened for the telltale noises of oncoming sandstorm. Everything was silent save the wind, which whistled and sighed in his ear. This was a peaceful place when it wasn't too hot, perfect for introspection.
He sniffed again and frowned slightly. The air smelled wet, musty, almost rotten, and he instinctively wrinkled his nose. He supposed some creature had died nearby and their rotting corpse was giving off the unpleasant odor, but he could not risk dehydration by breathing through his mouth. He would have to bear the smell.
That odor was likely to draw the attention of the locals, so it was best to find shelter for the night and eat a little, then sleep and continue his journey in the morning when the creature's bones had been picked clean and there was nothing left to feed off of.
Out of the corner of his eye, he spied movement, and he looked down at the bottom of the sand dune and scoured the lowland for signs of life. A fellow traveler, perhaps? Or deadly beast? The thing moved again, collapsing on the ground, and he realized the figure was humanoid.
He acted quickly, tossing aside his pack and sliding as quietly as he could down the bank, skidding to a halt as he reached the person. He knelt down beside them and rolled them onto their back, listening intently for their breathing and for footfalls of hungry predators. He looked up, scanning the vicinity, then back down at the person. He frowned.
Her face was covered in dirt and grime, and her hair was slightly matted, certainly tangled and greasy and dirty. In fact, all of her seemed to be dirty, her clothes, her skin, her hair. Whence came this poor child? How did she manage to get into the Forge? Furthermore, how had she survived this long without collapsing from heat stroke, exhaustion, dehydration or a mix of all three? How had she avoided the wildlife for so long?
He sniffed the air and realized the wet, rotten smell was no longer hanging in the air. The smell of the desert had reclaimed his nostrils, dry and crisp and slightly charged with electricity. Looking once more down at the girl, he examined her clothes with confusion. She had donned a long, ragged skirt dotted with holes and poorly-darned patches, and her shirt was much to big for her, as was her coat. Who wore a coat into the Forge? A naïve young girl who had visited Vulcan for some purpose and had run away from the capital? It mattered little how she got here, what mattered was what happened next.
He worked his arms under her and hurried back up the sand dune before the sehlats spied easy pickings, and once he was to the top, he set her down, hoisted his pack over his shoulder once more, and lifted his extra burden, quickening his pace and making for the caverns in the distance.
One foot in front of the other, on and on along the bottom of the pit. Here in the desert, in this hellhole, there was no water or cool air or wet wind tinged with the taste of rain. There was only boiling heat and serrated rocks that reflected said heat back into the ravine. Surely this is hell, she thought to herself. The sand picked up with the wind and blew around her, cutting her skin like tiny, jagged shards of glass. It felt as if she had been walking for days, but it had only been a few hours ago that she had woken up to the hellish sun and the cry of a wild beast. She had immediately awoken and begun to run, thinking this was some nightmare until she tripped over the rocks and landed flat on her face. The burning sands had scorched her skin, and she had cried out, her voice echoing eerily along the canyon walls.
Reality had since been pressing in on every sense, every nerve in her body, and yet reality was slipping away from her minute by minute. She raised a trembling hand and felt her cheeks, and they were hot and dry. She was no longer sweating enough to fill the River Seine, and her mouth felt like it was filled with the sands crunching beneath her feet. It was torture to walk on the sand barefooted, so she had sacrificed her mother's thin cotton shawl, tearing it in half on a nearby outcropping of rock and wrapping it around her scorched feet. It made walking on the burning desert floor tolerable...for a while. The sand was so hot, the heat pierced the thin cotton within a quarter of an hour, and she was once again walking in hellfire, drowning in the heat.
The sun began to dip down to the horizon, and she wondered what the night would bring. The seemingly endless stretch of land before her seemed to shimmer in the heat, and the landmarks wavered. She felt dizzy, light-headed, and she stumbled wildly out of the ravine, out into an endless expanse of sand dunes. There was shade to be found, but her senses, her impulses were slipping from her, fading into blackness. She heard a loud buzzing in her ear, and she could hardly breathe. Every breath she took in only dried out her mouth further, coating it with sand and dirt. Her skin was red as blood, blistering in the sweltering heat, and she finally collapsed at the foot of a sand dune, ready for the end.
Take me now, Lord. Her father and mother were anything but religious, only putting up a facade of morality for the benefit of their peers, but now, in the deadly heat that was quickly sapping what little energy she had left, she called out to the Lord in her mind, desperate for anything, anything to relieve her suffering. Take me now, and end this hell.
She collapsed fully on the ground, no longer caring that the sand was burning her already-scorched skin. It no longer mattered. She wanted to die, and die quickly, and if the sand burned away her flesh, set her on fire until there was nothing left of her but bones, so be it. Anything to end this torment.
Darkness crept in on the edges of her vision, and her eyelids drooped in exhaustion. She thought she heard running water, a hush like the waters of the Seine, and she closed her eyes fully, praying that the Lord had heard her plea and was taking her away from this place. Or perhaps this really was hell, and the sound of water was only temptation, a ruse to torment her further. Or perhaps it was only the wind...
The sound ceased, and she heard something thud softly to the ground. She was suddenly gripped with fear, remembering the cries of the wild beasts that she had awoken to a few hours ago. If it was some wild creature here to consume her flesh, she only hoped it would kill her quickly, bite into the flesh of her throat first and end her misery.
She was turned onto her back by gentle hands, and after several seconds of nothing, she felt herself lifted by strong, masculine arms. She sighed and let the darkness consume her vision completely, handing herself over to the exhaustion that sapped her being of life. It mattered little what happened now. Her life had been nothing but slow torment from the day her family had come to Paris, and her life was about to end in flames. Strange, most of her existence, she had been freezing cold, but her life would end in broiling heat...how ironic...
She blacked out, finally dead to her senses, dead to the world, and the torment ended in blissful release.