USS VINDEX - NCC-2474-A
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With Strange Aeons

Posted on Mon Mar 27th, 2017 @ 6:06am by Lieutenant Kazyah Linn

Mission: S1E5 - Unknown Territory
Location: DS9 Morgue
Timeline: MD 74; 01:15

The night nurse did her best to stay busy despite the slow third shift. Sickbay had a few patients to assist, but down here in the freezer there just wasn't much for a desk jockey to do. She resigned herself to her turn in the rotation and settled in for a long night. Then a Vulcan woman walked in, garbed in antiquated attire.

"Ah, yes, hello, how may I help you?" the nurse asked, pleased to see another soul at this hour.

"I have come to claim my son," the Vulcan woman replied through her wrinkled frown. "That is, his remains."

The nurse knew that Vulcan longevity was greater than that of humans, so for this woman to be showing gray, her age must be advanced indeed. Odd that she would be out at this hour.

"I see," the nurse replied. "I'm sorry for your loss."

The Vulcan sniffed.

"Let me see..." The nurse pulled up her database. "What was the name?"

"Saalkan Za'ul Kaiyen."

Surprise nearly overcame the nurse. "Oh."

"Is there a problem?" The Vulcan raised an eyebrow that was thoroughly unamused.

The nurse quickly backpedaled. "No problem, ma'am. I, just, that is one of our special cases. The... remains... were scheduled for cremation until a last minute order came in to delay it. Then the transfer order only came in this morning." She checked the chronometer. "Yesterday morning, technically."

"I have traveled all the way from the Vulcan Science Academy to claim my son." The Vulcan's voice did not change pitch or volume, yet somehow conveyed yelling nonetheless. "I am required back there within the week, so I intend to depart immediately--with my son."

"Yes, of course, Miss...?"

"My transfer orders are here," the Vulcan shot back with a PADD on hand. "No doubt they match your own. Your scanners confirmed my identity the moment I came aboard the station, so I would appreciate due consideration for my time and situation."

"Quite right, I'm sorry," the nurse said, becoming more frazzled by the minute. "Just let me pull up the case number."

The Vulcan sniffed again. "While you do that, I'll show myself inside."

Before the nurse could protest, the Vulcan woman pressed beyond the desk into the morgue proper. She shivered at the sudden drop in temperature, which was by a good 10°C.

"Right this way, ma'am." The nurse rushed past her and began to pull out a stasis pod from the row along the wall. When she pulled back the white covering, it revealed the ashen face of a Vulcan male who had suffered multiple facial contusions and broken bones. His split lip had turned a bloated blue.

"It's him." The Vulcan grimaced, her taciturn face suggesting anger as much as grief.

"Do you require anything else?" The nurse stepped back with her hands pressed against her hips, unsure of what to do to please the disquieted mother.

"Are his effects present?" The Vulcan did not look away from the corpse.

"Ah, yes," the nurse snapped into motion, happy to have a diversion from the tragic sight. She retrieved a case from the opposite wall, double-checked its markers, and left it on the table behind the Vulcan.

"Do you require anything else?" the nurse gingerly asked. "Perhaps someone from Ops to move--"

"No, thank you," the Vulcan said. "Arrangements have already been made."

"Wonderful," the nurse said, then immediately backtracked. "I mean, that is, I will leave you be."

"Very good." The Vulcan wafted a dismissed hand without looking away. In fact, she did not move a muscle until she sensed another presence enter the room.
"You're late," she said.

"I came immediately here," Kaz said as he walked into the frigid room, though the cold seemed to have no effect on him.

"I wasn't talking to you," the Vulcan said as she turned to the table behind her. "Let us look to the future."

The case resisted opening by her frail hands, but she persisted until it snapped open in compliance. A number of personal articles jostled about. One of them was a holo-image of herself, though much younger.

The Vulcan smashed the emitter against the table, banishing her ethereal likeness while the pieces scattered to either edge. She sorted through the fragments until she had collected the desired components. Bearing them in hand, appearing as mere mites, she turned back to the corpse and placed them at various positions around his head and torso.

"A cleaver hiding spot," Kaz said as he touched one of the unused pieces of the device. "What is it?"

"He always was brilliant," the Vulcan said absently as she worked. "Through the advancement of another project, he discovered the key to reversing cellular necrotic autolysis. These molecular motors have been reprogrammed with software from a dermal regenerator to reconstruct complex carbon chains--flesh--from their own dead tissue." She paused to catch her breath despite the minimal amount of work.
"All that remains is to add the final element." The Vulcan woman look at Kaz--truly at him--for the first time. "I will take him back now."

"You can have him," Kaz said, almost with disdain. It hadn't been long since he realized what had happened with the Rod of Kel and he was glad when he felt the urge to come to this room only half an hour ago. The last thing he wanted was to be tied this closely with Saalkan anymore.

"You may want to lie down for this," she said with raised eyebrows. After carefully closing the case of personal belongings, she set it as carefully as possible upon the floor and cleared the rest of the debris from the table with her arm.

With Kazyah on the table and Saalkan in the stasis pod sticking out of the wall, she set herself between them and laid her hands on either forehead. Concentration withered her already crinkled face.

"Come to me, my ashalik," she whispered.

Turgid telepathic energies churned within her as she reached within Kaz's body, around his relaxed consciousness for the dormant one lingering below it, and linked with an unforgettable synaptic energy. At the same time, she prepared the nest in the corpse next to her which grew warmer by the minute.

She seized for a moment once contact was made, and it nearly seemed she might break the link. Through sheer will, she stilled her quivering jaw and pressed onward.

In a brief eternity between life and death, the wizened Vulcan woman opened her eyes and withdrew her trembling hands. Her weary smile was triumphant.
"It is done," she said.

"About time," Kaz said, his voice sounding quiet but relieved.

The Vulcan woman ignored Kaz, sparing none of her attention or focus from the now breathing man in the morgue pod.

"Awake, ashalik," she said pleadingly. "It is I, Thesan."

Saalkan's eyelids twitched. One peeked open before the other, then both spread wide. "Where am I?" He sat up with a lurch and gasped deeply.

"You are well," Thesan said, clutching him close. "And I am here now."

In the space of a few breaths, Saalkan slowed his pulse and flexed his muscles. Peace came to him as it always did. Then he looked upon Thesan.

"My t'hy'la," he whispered. "It is you. You truly came."

Thesan permitted herself to shed tears of joy. "I will always come for you," she said, then leaned into a passionate kiss which Saalkan returned with groaning vigor.

"Taluhk nash-veh k’dular," Thesan whispered between kisses.

"As do I," Saalkan said, rubbing his nose against hers before descending into another wet smattering of emboldened passion.

Kaz stood in the corner, his face contorted in disgust as he turned his head away from the two. Throes of passion didn't usually bother him but he would have preferred to not be in the room while they happened.

"Taluhk," Thesan moaned as Saalkan moved to her neck. Then she noticed Kazyah. "Ashalik, we are not alone. Your ally is here."

Saalkan removed himself from Thesan's neck and turned his eye upon Kazyah. His expression turned from bright passion to icy appraisal.
"I see you remembered you my gift after all... my son." He regarded Kazyah for a moment, then dipped his head. "Thank you. I shall not forget it."

"Saalkan, I want to speak to you alone," Kaz said, not moving from his place in the corner.

"No." Thesan glowered at Kazyah.

"She is correct," Saalkan said. "Whatever you have to say to me can be said in front of my wife."

Kaz stood there for a moment, "Alright," he said. He sighed, just looking at the two of them. While it was very irrational, he still felt a slight pang of hurt upon learning that this woman was his wife. "I want to make it clear, I didn't do this voluntarily. You forced yourself into my brain. I had no choice but to let you out. And the only reason I'm going to let you walk out of here is because I owe you for giving me my sight back. But that's it, Saalkan. I want you to leave and never come back. Because if you do, we won't be on the same side."

"Such is life for V'tosh ka'tur such as us." Thesan stood quite shorter than Kazyah yet somehow managed to look down on him anyway.

"You are in the wrong position to be giving me orders, my son," Saalkan said. At first he made to leave, but a second glance on Kazyah stayed his feet.
"I was like you, in another life--a loyal Starfleet officer willing to lay down my life for the greater good, a formidable combatant with a canny mind and minimal conscience, ready and willing to execute whichever order and enemy was given me."
The mad Vulcan stared into the distance, overcome by recollections of long ago.
"I was known as Za'ul in those days. But that man died in battle. My beloved wife managed to save my katra. Under the cover of night, she had placed it into this imperfect cloned vessel in which I have masqueraded ever since under the false identity of the son I never had."

Saalkan peered into Kazyah's eyes as if looking for something.

"I pursue the only thing that matters. Athanasia. And I will achieve it. When you grow weary of fighting other men's wars, then you may walk my path again. Or you can fall forever, your life meaning nothing as your katra pours out like water on dry ground."

The door opened to the outer ward area.

"It looks like--" The night nurse was staring at her PADD when she walked in before looking up to see Kazyah, Thesan, and Saalkan standing in a circle.
In the span of a heartbeat, Saalkan was upon her with one hand on her shoulder and the other on her forehead. His pointer and pinky fingers were dug into her temples. A feral look gleamed in his eye.
"Give me your mind!" Spittle flung from the corner of his mouth. "And delete the transfer order."

"I will delete the transfer order," the night nurse repeated in monotone.

"You will document that Saalkan Za'ul Kaiyen was cremated."

"Saalkan Za'ul Kaiyen was cremated," she repeated.

"Then you will intoxicate yourself," Saalkan said, "and forget our faces."

"I think I need a drink..."

When Saalkan released her, the nurse rubbed her forehead in pain and wandered back the way she had come.

Turning to Kaz, Saalkan raised his hand--the one that had been severed--with fingers spread in salute. "If athanasia leads me to you again, I will be as worried then as I am now. Farewell, my son."

Thesan raised her two fingers for Saalkan to join with his.

"Wait," Kaz said, holding his hand out to stop the couple from leaving. "If..." He suddenly felt completely foolish for even thinking what he was about to ask. His hand rubbed the back of his neck as he looked towards the floor. "How can I get ahold of you if..." Kaz looked up, locking eyes with Saalkan. "If I need you."

"Meditate on the artifact," Saalkan said. "If it does not kill you first."

The two Vulcans left the morgue to parts unknown with their first two fingers pressed together.

Kaz stood there as the the two disappeared into nothing. He pressed his back against the bulkhead and sunk to the floor, tears streaming down his cheeks. His mind told him the truth, that Saalkan was using him the entire time. But his heart was so conflicted over the situation. Inexplicably, Kazyah Linn hated Saalkan for the pain he'd caused and yet he loved Saalkan in a way that he'd never loved another being before.

 

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