*Rights,* Wrongs, and Choices

By WarpGirl

Rating: PG

Genres:

Keywords:

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REVISED Edition (March 2011)

*Rights*, Wrongs, and Choices (REVISED!)

Revised version of original tale by the same name.  Submitted Mar 2011.  =)

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Rating: PG

Genre: 1st person POV, angst, family

Disclaimer: I own nothing but the OC's. If you recognize a name, I don't own them.                                

AN: This is a revision of an original tale that has now morphed itself into a mini-series. I got some things wrong the first time with this, but I think I fixed the major gaffes. Some people requested more information and a fight scene, those will be coming in subsequent POV chapters of the characters involved. I need to thank: Transwarp, Distracted, Linda, Brandyjane (for support, and brainstorming) Honeybee, Aquarius, (for inspiration), and Misplaced for the wonderful Musings of the MU  series, that gave me this format. Finally, all the people that commented on the first version of this chapter. Whether the comments were harsh, or encouraging, they helped shape this into something more than I had ever intended. And taught me in ways that I am sincerely, and humbly grateful for.

And thank you to my dear friend and precious betas Yashida, and Squirt without whom I should have never had the gall to post the first version of this. I have learned my lesson.

 *Rights,* Wrongs, and Choices (V'Lar)

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The harsh heat of Vulcan is unbearable to those who are not born here. The heat is usually a comfort to me. My diplomatic duties keep me away from home for long periods, and I cherish the short time I have in warmth. On a day such as this, however, the heat is an oppressive reminder of the torment lying beneath the surface of cool peace in every Vulcan. Today I can honestly say the heat is unbearable. I am standing in the middle of my family's sacred grounds, the same grounds where my husband made me his wife. I am watching my youngest grandson, Sev, hit the ceremonial gong to summon the woman he would make his wife. It is his time of Pon Farr, his time of mating. A time every Vulcan dreads, but it is particularly trying the first time one experiences it.

Our family priestess comes to greet me before Sev arrives...

"Live long and prosper, V'Lar"

"Peace and long life, Priestess T'Vel."

I see Sev walk in with his elder brothers; the ceremony is about to begin.

Humans would call Sev my favorite grandchild. This is not strictly the truth, for it would be most illogical to favor one child over another. My affection for all of them is equal but different. I will admit that out of my eight grandchildren, I am closest to Sev. There is no shame in that. He is the only one of them who has an appreciation for my sense of humor. He looks just like my late husband. He is certainly the most daring of all my children and grandchildren. His parents frequently tell me that he inherited my recklessness. It is perfectly natural that we are close. As I look at his face, I can see the fear in his eyes while the Plak Tau steadily eats at his control.

He does not want the burning fever that flows through his veins, but then, no Vulcan does. For  thousands of years, our greatest doctors and priests have searched for a way to stop Pon Farr and Plak Tau. We are capable of procreation without it. The search began long before Surak, but thus far has been nearly fruitless. There are meditation techniques that are said to be able to help one overcome it. Only a tiny minority have used them successfully. My own great-uncle attempted it. He was one of the greatest Kolinahr masters at the temples of Gol. He died. Even Surak did not think it was logical for him to try. So, for the masses of Vulcans, we have three options: mate, fight, or die.

People, particularly humans, wonder why we are secretive about it. Well, I would ask them if they wanted it to be common knowledge every time they had to relieve themselves. They cannot control that anymore than we can control the Pon Farr.

All of a sudden, my heart begins to race as I hear a word that strikes dread into me:

"Kali'fee!"

T'Sar, the mother of T'Lan, approaches me with a grim expression contrasting with the delicate colors and silks of her robes.

"V'Lar, I had no idea of T'Lan's plans. She is without logic; I have never seen her champion before today."

I have to suppress a sigh. T'Sar has kept T'Lan very close to her as much as possible. I can understand her dismay, but I do not agree with her disapproval, even if it is my grandson at risk. 

"It is her right, T'Sar. I have no doubt that T'Lan has a logical reason for this."

I watch as T'Lan chooses her champion. He is a tall, dark man whom I have never seen. I can tell that Sev does not know this man either. His eyes are so filled with confusion and fear. The Plak Tau becomes more intense as the burning need to mate becomes a stronger, more basic need: the need to survive.

Few Vulcans will ever experience this. Even in the most savage days before Surak, Kali'fee was rare. After the "Awakening," decades would pass between challenges. The vast majority of Vulcans have no idea how to comprehend what my Sev is going through. I am different. I know exactly what he is going through. I have gone through this. Now my mind is flooded with memories. They are so powerful, so overwhelming, that I cannot even focus on my grandson fighting for his life.  Memories I have put away for just over a century come back clear and fresh in my mind as if it were the very day...

(Circa 2070)

I was standing on the ceremonial grounds of my betrothed, waiting for him to hit the gong to summon me. I was tingling in anticipation, and in fear: our betrothal bond was always strong, and I could feel the burning fever in his veins nipping at me, calling out to me. 'Soon', I told myself, 'it will be over soon. He is here, you are not alone.'

I heard the gong and almost wept in relief. Emotions are nearly impossible to control at such a time, and I did not even bother to attempt to control mine. There is no shame in this. My patience for decorum was gone as I quickly walked to meet my husband. It was disconcerting to see him look almost completely in control. If it was not for our bond, and the sweat covering his face, I would never have known he was in Plak Tau. How strange, since  everyone always told me my control was stronger than his. My control is part of the reason I am a diplomat, and his control is the reason he is not.

Still, I had no concentration to dwell on such things. I had only one need, and that was *him*; I was eagerly waiting for him to hit the gong the final time. But he did not!

"I do not wish to wed the woman V'Lar, priestess T'Lek."

Suddenly, all there is, is pain and my mind is screaming, 'NO! No, no, this cannot be! He is in Pon Farr, I have the Plak Tau, we are bonded! He must mate with me or we will die. This is impossible!'

 

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Looking back now, I know the priestess was more shocked than I was. Not only was it nearly unheard of for a man to refuse to go with the ceremony, but for a man to refuse when in Pon Farr was beyond anyone's comprehension. Not only that, I already had the symptoms! He was condemning us both! To this day, I cannot understand his logic. At least T'Lan did not have the symptoms; she was sane. Not a comfort to my Sev, but it was a strange comfort to me. I believe some wounds never fade completely. My wounds prevent me from watching Sev in combat. The memories of long ago have replaced the sight before my eyes.

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I was nearly past all sense as the priestess spoke, But somehow I managed to understand her words.

"Are you prepared to fight for your life?"

But apparently, my betrothed was not finished breaking every law of nature we have.

"No, priestess T'Lek. I did not choose V'Lar as my mate. I also choose not to kill. It is my right."

The pain in my mind, body and soul intensified to a point where I was certain these were my last moments alive. Not only did my betrothed refuse me, but he took away all possibility of me surviving this. There were only three options: mate, fight, or die. He was choosing death for both of us. I could not meditate this away, surely he knew this.

"You condemn yourself to death, Sonn. There is no logic in this." the priestess tried to reason.

I would not be silent. "We are bonded. I have the Plak Tau. You are my mate!"

Never in my life had I ever raised my voice in such a way. But nothing mattered. Nothing mattered except the fact that he was killing us both. But to my horror and rapidly building rage, he ignored me.

"Priestess T'Lek, I ask to resolve my Pon Farr with a priestess at Gol."

At those words I let out a terrible wail of rage, pain and despair. He did not even have another chosen mate. Nobody to fight for him, to claim him as her own. I realized that the  Plak Tau was stronger in me than it was in him. He could have a priestess help him, but no such option was available to me. I was too far gone; my body demanded him.

The priestess' words grew harder but I could barely hear them at this point:

"You condemn V'Lar to death. She is past the point of accepting another mate."

"The priests at Gol would prevent it." His reply was arrogantly smug, but the fever was taking its toll, because his voice finally cracked under the strain.

Since he did not have another woman to threaten my life with, he was the threat. My body may have needed him and only him, but now I had to try to survive this. I would make him fight. I did not think I could win, but I refused to lie in the sand and die because he did not choose to do his duty to me. If I had to die, I would die fighting for my life.

Speaking calmly was impossible. I did not care if all of Vulcan heard my words. "I will have no priest, Sonn! You are my mate! our bond gave me the fever, only you can stop it."

"I do not wish to do so. That is my right."

His reply was so cold it took a long time for me to not feel a chill remembering it.

"Then fight! Give me the chance to live!" I was raging, and I was begging. How could he possibly deny me even a chance of surviving?

But, to my astonishment, he merely repeated himself:

"I do not wish to do so. That is my right."

'I will not lie down and die for you'  was the only thought my mind could process now. Every instinct told me I could not resolve the Plak Tau with another man. But a deeper more primal need took over that. I had to survive. I had to try.

Before I knew what I was doing I had a Lirpa in my hands. Ironically the weapons had been brought in case I decided to invoke Kali'fee. It was a risk Vulcan men had to deal with, but not like this. Suddenly I turned and I struck him down. I swung the ax-head with  a strength I had no idea I possessed. The priestess must have thought I would never be able to use it in my condition, she gasped when he fell to the ground.

Immediately the fever and the rage that had been destroying me died, but my emotions were still in upheaval. It would take me some time to recover. I was unable to believe that from the time I went to be joined to Sonn to now was less than fifteen standard minutes. I stood calmly where Sonn had fallen. He was dead. The bond I had lived with since childhood was gone. Everything I had ever believed about myself, and my life was shattered beyond recognition. A part of me was destroyed.

I turned to the priestess, "I deserved a chance to live. That is my right."

To my amazement, she put her arms around me. "Go in peace daughter. It is unlikely you will experience the Plak Tau again until you find another mate."

"What makes you think I will find a mate priestess?"

"If the situation had been reversed, I doubt any man would have waited so long before he killed you. There is no shame in this. Many men would count themselves fortunate to have one such as you."

"I have devoted my life to peace. To save lives, and to live in accordance to the teachings of Surak. Yet now, it is as if I have betrayed them all."

"You had no choice."

"Why did he cut off every opportunity of my survival? Where is the logic in this?"

"There is no logic in Pon Farr daughter. Nobody knows for certain when it will come for the first time. Nobody can know the strength it will have over them or their bonded ones. That is why our rituals exist. The only certainty in Pon Farr is death if it is not resolved. As you know we have only three ways with which to resolve it. Did you know that not every Kali'fee is a fight to the death?"

My eyes widened in astonishment.

"It is true daughter. In some men the fever dies after the challenger, or they themselves are merely incapacitated. This is especially true when a woman acts as her own champion."

"Sonn would not try! I may have killed him for nothing."

"Not for nothing daughter, for your life. Once he knew you were past the point of accepting another mate, he had a duty to give you a chance to live by whatever means you had at your disposal."

Was not my right to live just as important as Sonn's rights? If it had been me to call Kali'fee would I not owe Sonn every chance to survive if he had been past taking another mate? Of course I would! It would not be his fault if the Plak Tau overtook him anymore than it had been my fault it had taken over me.

"I thank you priestess T'Lek."

"Peace and long life, daughter."

"Live long and prosper."

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Sev has just defeated T'Lan's challenger. He quickly releases T'Lan from her bonds to him as he would never keep her tied to him unwillingly. I am rapidly approaching my second century and I have never known of a man to not release his wife after Kali'fee. Once the Pon Farr is resolved logic returns. Keeping a wife (or husband in my own case) after they reject you is highly illogical.

Now my grandson is kneeling beside the man he killed, just staring. I know it will take time for him to recover just as it had with me. I notice his hands are trembling so, I kneel down next to him, and take him into my arms as I had done when he was a child.

"I have never killed a man before grandmother," he whispered.

"What is his name?"

"Tavol. He was a colleague of T'Lan's."

"Her lover?"

"Not exactly."

"But she was willing to marry him if he won."

"She told me he lost his wife suddenly last year, and his next Pon Farr would be coming early next year. He wanted T'Lan for a mate. He knew her attachment to me was not one to a mate-- but more like one to a brother. She decided she could not be my mate under the circumstances, and agreed to marry him. But she wanted to tell me in person. She thought I would have time before the Plak Tau took over. She could not have known that it would progress so fast. She had thought there would be time for a priestess to help me."

I must admit that it was one of the more reasonable explanations for rejecting a betrothed I have known of. I could not fault T'Lan for her choice. I know that if there had been time she would have never called a challenge. But right now Sev needed my help to deal with Tavol's death. Not T'Lan's reasons for rejecting him. 

"I cannot say you will never have to kill again if you continue to work in space Sev. But I can promise it will never be in this way again."

"How?"

"You will find a mate who cherishes you, and she will be with you to face the next time the blood fever comes."

"Mother and father will arrange another betrothal for me."

"Perhaps you would consider finding your own mate."

"No."

"Explain."

"Suppose I cannot find someone in time? Then what will I do? Go to a priestess? Why should I be forced to share with a woman who would not bond with me or bare my children? It is still dangerous for me to be around any woman un-bonded when the fever comes again. On Columbia the doctor gave me drugs to control the worst symptoms, and I kept isolated from the female crew members... But the only thing that kept me in control was my bond to T'Lan.

"You do have seven years to find a suitable woman Sev. It is not logical to be concerned over a situation that does not exist."

"Is it logical to take such a risk? Is that not the reason I was betrothed to T'Lan to begin with?"

I could not deny the truth of his words. It was dangerous for an un-bonded male in Pon Farr to be around women. Still there was some room from compromise...

"Why not look for five years. If you have not found a suitable mate by then, I will arrange a betrothal for you myself."

Sev never made a decision without careful thought. His parents might believe he was reckless like myself, but they never believed I gave my actions much consideration.

"That is logical."

Sev turned his attention back to Tavol. "The spear in the other's heart is the spear in your own. Surak was right."

I knew that literally. "Indeed."

"There is no logic in this."

"No there is not."

"Help me understand."

I took his face in my hands as I had done often when he was a child. "Remember, T'Lan had a right to challenge your marriage. Tavol had a right to fight as her champion. But you have the right to live. Maybe someday the priests will find meditation techniques, or the doctors will find a combination of drugs, a surgery, or something else to stop the Pon Farr. Until then we have three options: mate, fight, or die."

For the first time in years he rested his head in my neck.

"Thank you."

"Come Sev it is time to go home."

I know that in seven years my grandson will face this again, as does every Vulcan male and their bonded mate. But I am certain that the next time he will have a woman who will face the chaos and fear with him. After all I did. Like the priestess had told me so many years ago the Plak Tau did not return until I had a mate who believed me worthy. And just as I had held on to my mate as the fever took hold that first time, Sev will hold on to the woman who his fever. I do not know if she will be the woman of his own choosing or not. But I do know she will be a woman who respects his right to live. 


Comments:

Pennjazz

Nice Story.  I really enjoyed it.  It gives a nice insight in Vulcan culture...

Cogito

When I read the original version, I didn't think it needed improving. It's an interesting insight into Vulcan culture and customs, and the reasons behind them. Re-reading it in its new form the changes are very subtle but do make it read more smoothly. I wasn't expecting it, but you've made a good story even better.

Distracted

This reads much more smoothly.  The story isn't so abrupt.  It's still brutal, but it's a brutal subject. All in all, a significant improvement.

You need to review comma usage, though, particuliarly the offsetting of proper names and modes of address in dialogue.  I found that the lack of commas in those instances brought me out of the story, but I may be the only one bothered by it.  Can you say OCD? ;)

eK

Really well done!  You did great work improving a story that was already great.  yay fanfiction!  It's why were here!  It's what's for dinner!  :lol:

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