Vulcan's Glory was the name given to an artifact dating back many thousands of years prior to the Vulcan Reformation. The Glory was a large emerald roughly the size of a cantaloupe, measuring at 22,890.4 carats, uncut but reputed to be almost flawless. It was said that the gem remained uncut because it was the heart of those who held it, and later of all Vulcan; it was felt that it held the spirit of its holders just as it was, and to cut it would have been unthinkable.
Until the Vulcan year 1433, the noble house of Kawarda held the stone until it was claimed at the Battle of Deen T'zal by Sorrd, war leader of the clan Archenida. For generations, the Archenida were the stewards of the Glory in war, and even in peace after the Reformation, when the planet was united by the teachings of Surak. The spirit of the Glory itself also changed, from being a prize of war and passion to a symbol of peace and logic. The Glory was occasionally transported to other worlds, but always remained guarded by a clansman of the Archenida, who had performed that duty for many centuries...until one day, disaster struck.
The Glory was being transported on-board the vessel He-shii during one of its ceremonial journeys when it suddenly vanished. No debris was found at its last known coordinates, and it was concluded that it had lost control in unknown space. For centuries, Vulcan astronomers had tried to pinpoint where the He-shii might have gone, but to no avail. The Archenida were forced to bear the shame for the gem's disappearance for many centuries afterwards.
The Rediscovery of the Glory
In 2253, new information arose. Two noted Vulcan scientists, T'Clar and Spens, extrapolated the course of the He-shii if it had gone out of control, and a probe detected strange metallic debris on a planet tagged GS391. To aid the search, Starfleet dispatched the USS Enterprise, under the command of Captain Christopher Pike, to investigate the findings on GS391 and determine if, in fact, the metal fragments belonged to the He-shii.
Pike's second officer, Lieutenant Spock - recently assigned to the Enterprise, and the most senior Vulcan command officer on-board - led an all-Vulcan search party to the surface, where they determined that the crashed vessel was indeed the He-shii, but there was no sign of the Glory. The team did recover the ship's message beacon, showing the recording by Stepn, captain of the He-shii, that indicated the ship's fate. The vessel was breaking up as it approached the planet, but it launched a crew of eight, including a member of the clan Archenida carrying the Glory, on-board a life shell - a shuttlecraft of sorts with a power drive that gave it the equivalent of Warp 2. Upon his return to the Enterprise and briefing Captain Pike and the senior staff on his findings, Spock deduced that the course of the life shell would take it to the planet Areta - a planet that Pike had visited before, and in fact the Enterprise had been heading to, before it was diverted to GS391. The Vulcans on-board all agreed that if that was the course they had set, they would not have diverted from it.
Making orbit around Areta, the sensors detected metallic fragments consistent with Vulcan starships and life shells, and Spock led his party to the surface. They located the case containing the Glory, held by the skeletal remains of a Vulcan who was most likely of the Archenida, bringing the centuries-long search for this lost artifact to a successful conclusion. Pike ordered the Glory placed in a security vault, which was not to be opened without authorization from himself or from the Vulcan High Council, until it could be returned to Vulcan.
A Bitter Revenge
The Enterprise chief geologist, Lieutenant Commander George Meadows, begged Captain Pike for the opportunity to thoroughly examine the Glory, as it was the mineralogical find of a lifetime. However, Pike refused, stating that the Glory belonged to Vulcan and that his duty was to ensure it returned there. Desperate for a chance to examine it thoroughly, Meadows forged Pike's signature on an authorization form. Shortly afterwards, Meadows was found dead, apparently by a Vulcan method known as lan-dovna - one-handed strangulation, a feat only those of Vulcan blood had the strength to commit. Worse, the Glory itself was missing. As such, all Vulcans on-board were considered suspect, with the exception of Spock and one of his science officers, Lieutenant T'Pris, who were in his quarters when Meadows was killed.
An investigation continued, and T'Pris was able to discover the killer's identity - far too late, as she was also killed, in the same method as Meadows. Spock, anguished by his lover T'Pris' death and seeking to bring an end to the matter, managed to come to the same conclusion as T'Pris had, and confronted the killer - a security lieutenant named Daniel Reed. Reed was one-eighth Vulcan, and had grown up under the eye of his great-grandmother T'Dess, who had been disowned by her father after being raped by a human adventurer; her mother had secured her transport to Earth, where she would eventually mate with a human and produce hybrid children some six decades before the birth of Spock himself.
T'Dess' father, as it turned out, belonged to the Archenida, the protectors of the Glory; embittered by the circumstances leading to her banishment to Earth, T'Dess grew to believe that the Archenida had deceived all of Vulcan. She believed that they still held the real Glory, and that the gem lost onboard the He-shii was a glass forgery. All of her descendants, including Reed, had been taught to believe this, and seek revenge against the Archenida for their supposed crimes. If the deception were revealed, it would be ashv'cezh - literally, revenge worse than death. The honor of the Archenida would be ruined permanently, and T'Dess and her descendants would be venerated for exposing the lie.
After attempting to kill Spock, Reed fled to Areta's surface, and Spock gave chase. After a frenzied fistfight, Spock incapacitated Reed with the aid of Areta's mutants - with whom he, alongside Captain Pike, had made an accord some days before - and brought him back aboard the Enterprise. While Spock and Reed were on the surface, Pike and the crew had also found the Glory, which had been returned to its security vault, hiding in plain sight. An analysis on the gem had been conducted as well, confirming that the Glory was indeed real, and that the only deceiver in the whole matter was T'Dess. Had Reed not been poisoned by the lies of his great-grandmother, he could have returned to Vulcan a hero, but instead would be forced to live with his disgrace.