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LtCmdr Varaan- A Flash of Life

Randal Shayne

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((Planet PR-652, Pouiyeog Region, over a gorge))

Varaan: Help!?
::While Varaan attempted to hold on to the wet bark of the branch, he could hear wet popping sounds from inside the rotting tree trunk, as his weight was beginning to dislocate the branch from the rest of the tree. Within moments, the branch would separate entirely, and he would fall to his inevitable death in the raging river hundreds of meters below. His hands began to slip on the soft, disintegrating bark. It was only a matter of seconds, now.::
::The odd thing was, Varaan was not panicked. Everyone says that Vulcans are emotionless creatures. Vulcans, as a rule, do not correct people when they think this. It's not true, but it certainly adds to the Vulcan mystique. And one things Vulcans are, as a people, is egotistical. The more superior people think they are, the better the Vulcans like it. But the rest...it's all a mask, a charade. Vulcans as a people are VERY emotional. Before Surak taught the Vulcans how to control their emotions, it was Emotion that drove the Vulcan beast, not logic. Thousands of years of bloody carnage attested to that fact. It was amazing that the Vulcans managed to survive multiple attempts at self-inflicted mass genocide, pre-Surak. But the Vulcan "Father of Logical Thought" pulled his species up from the depths, and saved them.::
::Varaan, like most other Vulcan children, began his education at the local monastery. His first teacher was Silar, a monk. Emotional control before literacy. The precepts of logic before mathematics. He remembered one day...::
((Flashback, Rah'Tel Monastery, Vulcan, 2337))
Varaan: ::whining:: But I don't wanna.
::The young Vulcan boy was seated on a rough stone block in a semi-circle with 8 other children on similar blocks. The white of the stone was in stark contrast to the reddish hue of the sandstone building beside them. They were on a veranda, with an overhang above them protecting them from the harsh Vulcan suns. Behind them, a few other monks tending the garden stopped in their efforts and turned slowly to observe Varaan's outburst.::
Silar: And yet, you will.
::The elderly monk in the white robe with the fancy gold embossing slowly rose from his own white stone block at the center of the semi-circle. He was entirely calm. He was always calm, and that sometimes upset Varaan. No matter what he did, the boy could not get a reaction out of the old man. It was like a challenge, and Varaan had been losing for the better part of a year. Right now, the monk was staring down the boy, not with anger, not with resentment, but with the knowledge of the inevitability of Varaan's action. But before that was going to happen, Varaan was going to push back a little more.::
Varaan: ::defiantly:: Why?
::Still, no reaction from the old man. The other children were silent, but staring with curiosity. This was an almost daily occurrence, and Varaan knew they were keeping score. Was today the day that the boy would defeat the man? If it was up to Varaan, it would be. Either he'd break the monk, or be sent home trying. And it wouldn't be the first time that had happened, either. But then Silar did something Varaan wasn't expecting.::
Silar: ::pensively:: Varaan, what would you like to do?
::Before he had a chance to think this divergent strategy through, he had blurted out an honest answer.::
Varaan: I want to play!
Silar: Then why aren't you?
Varaan: Because my parents say I have to come to this stupid school!
::The "s" word elicited some intakes of breath from the primary crowd. But Varaan ignored it. He had said worse, and in front of a much older audience. His mother, after all, worked for the Embassy and often had important guests to entertain.::
Silar: Why do they send you here?
Varaan: I don't know. Because they know I hate it, and they're trying to punish me.
Silar: Really?
Varaan: Sure. Why not?
Silar: Are there other children at school?
Varaan: ::looking around:: Yes.
Silar: Do you think their parents hate them too?
Varaan: Probably. ::pause:: Maybe. ::another pause:: I don't know. Maybe not.
Silar: Then why are they here?
Varaan: To learn stuff.
::By now Varaan's quest was losing momentum. He was less defiant, and had fallen victim to Silar's now-famous "Q&A Reflection" technique. It helped to focus logical thought, which Varaan was doing despite not wanting to. The questions the monk continued to ask eventually took Varaan back to the original purpose of today's class - why emotional control is so important. Silar had won - again. But Varaan was too confused trying to figure out how he lost to dwell on the fact that he did. So he gave in and continued the lesson. But...he hated losing!::
((Flash forward, Varaan's family home, 2346))
Solath: Varaan, this is T'lani.
::Varaan stood there, in the living area of his home, staring at the young Vulcan girl who likewise stood before him, staring. He didn't agree with all this talk of arranged marriages, but there was no way he was going to wed this three year old! Forget it! Of course, his father did not expect him to wed her now. But the engagement was begun now. Once she was old enough, then they would be wed. But, he didn't even know her. He looked over to his father.::
Varaan: I don't like her.
Solath: It is not a matter that is up for discussion, my son. The arrangements have been agreed upon. The two of you are betrothed.
::Varaan stared back at the girl, who now stuck out her tongue at him. He had to get out of this somehow.::
((Flash forward, Rah'Tel Monastery, Vulcan, 2363))
Vulcan Priest: What ye are about to witness comes down from the time of the beginning without change. This is the Vulcan heart. This is the Vulcan soul. This is our way.
::Both Varaan and T'lani were kneeling, facing each other, in front of the priest. One each of their hands were stretched out towards the other, fingertips touching in a manner similar to the pon farr calming ritual. Indeed, the two were related. But here, the years of engagement were coming to an end for the Vulcan couple, and many more years of marriage were laid out before them.::
::Throughout the ritual, the priest continued to speak, and occasionally either Varaan or T'lani were required to repeat something he had said, or say something of their own. Varaan had practiced...not wanting to embarrass his beloved on their wedding day. Because of this, he really wasn't paying close attention to the ceremony itself or the two families, his and hers, surrounding them. His attention was solely on T'lani, his eyes lost in hers. He truly did love her. He loved everything about her. He couldn't remember a time when he didn't love her. And he wanted to spend the rest of his life showing her just how much he loved her. He would never leave her.::
((Flash Forward, Starfleet Academy, 2374))
::It was his first day on campus, and though he had some anxiety, it wasn't because he was nervous about starting a new chapter in his life. Many of the cadets at the Academy were young, just entering their twenties. Varaan was 44 years old, and had already completed 20 years of service in the V'Shar, the Vulcan Intelligence agency. He did not get nervous in situations like these. No, he was anxious because he was already 5 minutes late for a class, and was still wandering campus trying to find the lecture hall. No one seemed to know where it was.::
::He did not know anyone here. He had no friends here, no family here. Truthfully, he had no friends anywhere. Varaan was by nature a solitary creature. He preferred it that way. Friends...he thought he could do without. Family, well that was a different story. His wife and mother were back on Vulcan, sending their support via subspace communiques. His father was also back on Vulcan. Solath was a member of the Vulcan Science Academy's governing council. And for some reason he had never confided in T'mol, his wife, or Varaan, he vehemently disapproved of Starfleet. Varaan's application and acceptance to Starfleet Academy had caused a rift between the two of them.::
::And it wasn't that Varaan didn't care. The approval of his father meant a great deal to Varaan. It always had. And Varaan was sure that once Solath could see how much more productive and successful his son would be in this new career, he would come around. He couldn't avoid speaking to Varaan forever.::
((Flash forward, Varaan's home, Vulcan, 2382))
::Varaan walked through the door of his home and set his bags down. Being a Starfleet officer, he had rarely been here. He had rarely seen his wife. He spent his life living on a starship. This was more accurately the home of his wife and child.::
::Child. Daughter! Little T'iana would be 14 months old now, and Varaan had never met her. She had been born while he was XO of the USS Paladin. Immediately after that he had been given command of the USS Atlantis. But now that Atlantis had been reassigned, so had he. He was on his way to Earth to begin the fall semester teaching at Starfleet Academy. But he had to make this stop first. He had communicated that he was coming, yet...no one was here to greet him.::
::And then, from around a wall, waddled a little figure no higher than Varaan's knee. Her hair was straight and brown, and came down to her shoulders. Her dress had been off-white at some time, but was currently covered in the front with food stains. Her arms were stretched out to either side to help keep her balance. And she stopped when she saw Varaan standing in the doorway.::
::If it hadn't been for his Kolinahr training, which he had never completed due to the onset of a pon farr, there would have been tears of joy in his eyes. They were moistening as it was. Then T'lani came out from the other room and stopped when she saw Varaan, as well.::
T'lani: My husband!
::Varaan could hear the elation in her voice. Thankfully there was no one else around to hear it. Yet...he felt the same elation upon seeing her. And that was separate yet equal to the elation he felt at seeing the toddler before him. Love seemed to be an unquantifiable "thing." It could continue to grow and expand, yet it had no boundaries or limits. Varaan closed the door before there was an emotional outburst that the neighbours could witness.::
Varaan: My beloved wife.
::At that moment, T'iana's arms reached up for Varaan, someone who was to her a complete stranger. But somehow, she knew. She could sense it. She knew who her father was. And then Varaan was proved right again as the love and elation he felt inside at least tripled.::

((the present))

Cook: ::over his shoulder:: Guys!! ::to Varaan:: Take my hand!! Someone grab onto me so he can climb up as I pull him.....
::Cook had scrambled back out along the tree and onto his stomach and crawled as he reached out to grab Varaan.::
Varaan: oO Should this rescue attempt work, I must remember to spend as much time with T'lani and T'iana as possible. And I need to again try to contact my father. Twenty years of not talking to each other has been far too long. Oo

Lt. Cmdr. Varaan
Chief Engineering Officer
USS Darwin-A, NCC-99312-A
Serial: V237810V10
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