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Heaven is Bloodless, Prologue


Blessed Elua smiled upon the arch-herald, and turned to his boon companion Cassiel, asking the loan of his dagger. Taking it, he scored the palm of his hand. Bright blood welled in his palm and fell in fat drops to the earth, and anemones bloomed. "My grandfather's Heaven is bloodless," Elua told the arch-herald, "And I am not. Let him offer a better place, where we may love and sing and grow as we are wont, where our children and our children's children may join us, and I will go." The arch-herald paused, awaiting the One God's response. "There is no such place," he replied.
-- Earth Begotten


It’s sunny out in the fields behind Pike’s country home. Nyota has gathered an abundance of wildflowers and is weaving them into garlands, while Spock plays the lyre placidly at her side.

“Spock! Nyota!” Jim feels relief bubbling up through him giddily. “I thought you were gone!”

“No one’s ever quite gone, Jim.” He turns, and there is Pike, resplendent in the dark brocade he was fond of, sword buckled at his side. He looks rakish and handsome, strong and brave and safe—much as Jim first saw him when he was a boy. “There’s always that which remains.”

“We are ever with you, my friend,” Spock says in that serious way of his, “but you dwell o’ermuch on us.”

“What do you mean?” Jim feels stung.

“You need to let us go, Jim.” Nyota’s voice is gentle but firm. She takes the garlands she has crafted, placing one on her head, then one on Spock’s, and then one on Pike’s.

“Nothing for me?” He keeps his voice light, but he feels hurt all the same.

“Not yet, Jim. Not for a long while, I hope.” She smiles, at once bright and kind and sad. “You have so much to do first. So many things to see, Jim.”


“She’s right, son,” Pike says, his expression an echo of hers.

This is when Jim remembers that they are dead, and he is not. “I’m sorry,” he says to all of them. “I’m so, so sorry.”

“Apologies are illogical,” Spock says implacably. “Nero’s attack was hardly your fault. Neither were our deaths. But you should live your own life now, Jim.”


“It’s time to go, son,” Pike says. He squeezes Jim’s shoulder firmly in farewell. “We’ll see one another again one day. Never fear, Jim.”

“Goodbye, Jim.” Nyota’s lips on his cheek, the press of Spock’s hand on his. They are receding into the distance, shadows in a bright light—


It’s Bones’s voice, he realizes muzzily. He coughs, blinking up at the sky. His eyes feel like they are crusted with something, and all around him are the cries of people in battle, the sharp reports of the Aragonian pistolas.

“Bones?” he mutters, ears ringing. “Bones?”

“I’m here, Jim.” The man looks hardly better than Jim feels, face dark with dirt and soot. Dressed in his dark brown leathers and with a bow and quiver strapped to his back, sword buckled at his belt and a tomahawk dangling at his side, he looks fierce as hell. His hand touches Jim’s cheek. “I’m here.”


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