While trapped on Excalbia as part of a battle of Black-and-White Morality, Spock has the chance to meet "the Father of All That Vulcan Became". However, he finds his encounter with the planetary hero to be much different than expected.
This fanfic includes the following tropes:
- A Father to His Men: Spock regrets that Surak will never see the side of Kirk that becomes upset whenever a crewman dies.
- Anger Born of Worry: Downplayed; Spock scolds Kirk about staying away so long because he was concerned.
- Bash Brothers / Heterosexual Life-Partners: Surak describes Kirk and Spock's relationship as being like "warrior bond-brothers" of his own day.
- Continuity Nod:
- Spock remembers the time in "The Corbomite Manuever" when he asked Kirk why he asked his opinion on subjects about which he had already decided.
- At the end, the Guardian of Forever is mentioned when Kirk comments that they'll never know how true their pictures of Lincoln and Surak were except via Time Travel.
- Dramatic Drop: Kirk drops his armload of branches to run after Spock when Spock disappears to regain control.
- Famous Ancestor: Spock briefly contemplates telling Surak that he is his descendant, but decides it "would sound too much like what humans called 'bragging.'"
- Hidden Depths: Spock regrets that Surak will not get a chance to see Kirk's gentle side and is frustrated with his continual insistence that Kirk is nothing more than a warrior.
- Mind Link Mates: A platonic version; a "mental bond" between Spock and Kirk is mentioned towards the end of the story.
- Pet the Dog: In-Universe; observing Kirk's gentleness with Spock makes Surak hopeful that he's "a warrior by profession, not at heart."
- The Knights Who Say "Squee!": Kirk comments on having felt awed and honored to have "met" Lincoln. Spock expects to feel this way but instead experiences doubts as to whether the real Surak is as disappointing as the facsimile made from his mind.
- The Real Heroes: Spock admits (mentally) in the aftermath that Kirk is his hero even more than Surak, because Kirk's friendship and respect help him on a daily basis.For now—and for a long time to come, he hoped—the lingering, uncomfortable memories of Surak in his mind had been driven out by the reality of his Human friend and Captain. And by his remembrance and acknowledgement of who the real hero of his life had been for the last several years; friend, brother, mentor, protector—all were Jim Kirk.
- Touch Telepathy: Kirk is able to sense Spock's thoughts when they touch.
- Toxic Friend Influence: Surak believes that some of Kirk's warrior tendencies have rubbed off on Spock.
- Warts and All / Broken Pedestal: One of the themes of the story is the disconnect between who "the image" of the hero is and what the reality is. It's a Broken Aesop because Spock notes that the disillusioning aspects of Surak could have come from his perceptions of Vulcans in general.
- "Well Done, Son" Guy: Kirk supposes that part of Spock's reason for wanting approval from Surak is that he could never get it from his father.
- With Due Respect: Spock to Surak.Surak: I deem it accurate to say I have seen more warriors in my time than you in yours; I recognize the thought patterns.Spock: With respect, Surak...I know my Captain's 'thought patterns' better than you could ever hope to.