The Peace of Gol

Spock stood on the precipice, staring out at the sands stretching beyond the confines of Gol. The dry wind lifted the hair from his forehead, longer now than it had been when he first came to this hallowed place. His skin was desiccated, his face worn from deprivation. He glanced down at his hands, long fingers curling into claws, his knuckles cracked, his nails broken and jagged.

His body was wasted from dehydration and nutrition intended only for survival. His physique had been set aside, his physical needs virtually ignored in favor of his mind. His mind had become all.

Spock's incredible intellect had been starved as well. There was no place here for scientific curiosity. His unique talents were untouched, his skills set aside in favor of a logical paradigm.

His emotions drifted away, in time, unmourned. His memories became more remote and harder to access. The Masters had pushed and pulled them until he couldn't fight the slow descent into cool logic. He couldn't remember why they were important, intrinsic, just a short while ago. The Masters had deemed them immaterial and so they were dismissed.

Spock stepped closer to the edge of the cliff, staring out to the horizon. He remembered when he had come to Gol, but it was irrelevant. He remembered his life before but it was shuttered behind logical structures that had become impenetrable. He remembered why he must stay but his mind stopped then, switching uneasily to the forms the Masters set him.

Within hours of arriving, they had ripped into his mind, laying out his memories and the emotions attached to them. Each one was held up and eviscerated, over and over, analyzed, categorized, dismissed. Laid bare, Spock endured their probing, first with anger and later with resignation. His emotional pain, his humiliation, was noted, magnified and controlled to the point he hardly noticed his tears.

He supposed that the Masters tortured him. His physical pain was great throughout his sojourn. Spock's pride in enduring the lashings, the thirst and hunger was quickly extinguished by the press of their minds. There was no solace, no rest, no escape from them.

He knew the exact point when he broke and submitted. He endured it all to have the greater pain taken away. His life, his mind, his body were no longer his own. Spock bowed to the strength of their resolve and thought he was finally free.

The night before his final test, before he would be joined with the web of logic that was full mastery, he felt a mounting tension. He hid it from the Masters, taking himself away to the mountains, a final prevarication, a final good-bye to what he once was.

He touched his remaining memories almost tenderly as he stared out at the desert. His childhood, his studies, his friendships, all would be gone by morning, blown by dry wind whipping through the mountains, driven up to the red sky.

The sky had been his home. Living between the stars, he'd lived and loved as a human. It was that love he found the hardest to set aside. He pictured his friends and cherished them one more time.

He kept Jim's memory for the last. That quicksilver mind, that mobile face, his scent, his voice, his very physicality would have to be burned from his mind. The human part of Spock cried then, remembering the man who had made him part of his life, who had made him feel worthy, and in the end, who had driven him away.

Spock took one step closer to the cliff. He looked away from the sky and down to the rocks below. It would be easy to step over and into oblivion. Logic prevailed then, and he stepped back, its icy walls closing around the edges of his mind. He was not a coward. He would not waste a life that had value in service to the Masters.

He felt the pressure of their will and turned, beginning the long walk back to the monastery. A few hours later, Spock failed, his humanity, his ties to those he loved, overcoming the discipline they had tried to force upon him.

Many years later, he recalled the red sands of Gol almost fondly. Jim scoffed that Spock had tried to find himself there. Spock, however, knew all along it had been a worthy goal to try to excise the part of him that was human, and in failing, join the myriad parts of him together, to find peace.