Vengeance is mine; I will repay.
[IRW Endless Sky, Leih's quarters]
No more tears.
How strange a thought, when she had not shed a single one since all of this began. Not even tears of fury, though those had more than once threatened to well up in the night-black, luminous eyes, silent and all the more searing for it.
The raven haired Vulcan stood by the window as it seemed to have become her habit, gazing at the fires shining in the endless night. The dark emerald dress clung to her figure like blood spilled at midnight and then frozen in time, yet another of the lavish gifts the Vaek'Riov saw fit to spill into his captive's lap.
A silent echo, and yet her very being seemed to vibrate with it, a roaring storm raging within the confines of a still, almost peaceful body. Her palms pressed against the cold metal, ah, cold, as ice under her feverish hands, she felt the pull of this single thought, felt the frail and fading thread tugging at her heart.
Weak. Helpless. Once, the mere idea would have had her snorting with revulsion. Now, she almost had to stop herself from laughing.
The wordless call went unanswered, but it didn't seem to matter.
I know, now. I remember.
What a difference, to be weak and unbroken, or to allow yourself to be vulnerable, to offer surrender as a precious gift. No, she was far, far from helpless.
If there truly were any of those listening devices that poor Yyaio had been so concerned about, someone would be surprised indeed to hear a Vulcan's low, gentle laugh ringing in the silent quarters.
They said that those wild, untamed barbarians could live through Sandfire itself, becoming one with the desert which should be their death. Learning to endure pain that was part of their every breath, coming to cherish it for proof that you still lived it was said they found pleasure in it, pleasure akin to ecstasy.
Whether that was true or not, the matriarch neither knew nor cared, though she mused it might give a spice to the conquest her insolent general might not take unkindly to. But the reason she knew he would rather enjoy the task set him by his noble lady was that other matter. If stories could be believed, the women who bore the stamp of Sas-a-Shar had retained another survival instinct, one that enabled them to please their mates greatly.
When the desert's rage is upon you, you cannot fight. It will win, always.
But sometimes, just sometimes you can endure, accepting the force of nature, embracing it despite your fear.
Sometimes, the only way to live is to yield.
So often she had read the words, marveled at the story. Never had she seen the inherent humor. How different the ancient tale might have played out, had her ancient foremother not been what she was, how different this might be would be an interesting matter to ponder another time.
Slow, much too slow, the way her aching limbs moved, but the steel forged in Sas-a-Shar has always been prized for its endurance. Ironically, even by the very people whose skilled hands had crafted this ship, the daggers her once more cold but steady fingers removed from the wall. So much in fact, they let one of its finest examples rest on its very own chair in their chambers of power, revered as a thing not only beautiful and ancient, but in possession of its very own soul. How close they were to the truth, the Vulcan doubted many knew.
Barefoot and shivering she stood on the soft carpet, forcing her roiling thoughts to become a calm, steady river only a little while, only a little longer. Oh, she knew the nature of her fever by now and once more the sheer irony nearly prompted another laugh. Well and so, there were but two ways to solve this and if she was to remain separated from the one male whose right it was to declare Challenge, she would have to do it herself.
There was no doubt in her mind that he would come for her. A certainty as unshakable as Seleya herself, as simple a fact as the eternal dance of atoms. And he might even arrive in time to save his love. She hoped with all the ferocity sleeping in her heart it would be so. To see him again, see those dark, dark eyes light with recognition and tenderness, even if it should be her last sight before she laid her Katra into his hands to take it home. But even if it was not to be, she knew her soul to be at peace. Under all the torment and agony, all the fury and grief, that which mattered looked back and smiled. It was enough.
Never is a Vulcan more dangerous than when she is perfectly at peace. And that, too, is no contradiction whatsoever to those few who know.
The faint smile still playing over her lips, the Vulcan tilted her head at the desk and gently sat down the daggers on the polished surface. Of the three days Yyaio had asked, only two had passed but there simply was no more time like the wanderer in the desert knows the soft footfall of the Le-Matya, she knew the danger drawing close, the predator breathing, tensing for the jump.
Increased security hardly stopped a determined one, and in the end, all she truly needed was a glimpse, a way to speak to someone who might or might not hear the screen blinked under her fingers and something someone was there.
Soft, quiet, a word that would make little enough sense to any listener, spoken in the lilting, liquid cadence of Nel-Gathelkh Golic. Wise one. Savant. If she was listening, she would know.
The pause of silence was long enough to make Sakarra wonder if perhaps she was too optimistic, but a clicking sound registered at the extremes of her hearing - the room's speaker system activating with no information being fed to them. The Vulcan held her breath, as if making any more noise than that would disturb the events to follow.
Savants' voice was wrong - synthesized, distorted, clearly electronic. The tuning-fork hum that normally accompanied her words rippled and split. "Set of all parameters 15 sub 6. New Pend class Valit ehre'mentat aur min sava Tet min sava Auren almad-*kssssskkkk*-ender class Local dsub variance 29 link Main, lin-*ksssskkkk*-aoj miQand net ajaQ a-*kssssskkkk*-substantiate local binding 212, parse audio stream, parse visual, parse recurse pend pend launch-"
Sakarra's ears popped as the local holography network was roughly seized from its normal handling routines and forced into new tasks. Misfiring projectors filled with room with sparkling multicoloured flecks of light, a shattered rainbow hung suspended in the air. The speakers in the room hummed a soft sonorous wine-glass hum, with a quiet bass thump, an anticipatory beat, waiting to be unleashed. Was this showmanship, or was there some reason for this display?
The specks of light flitted and twisted as holographic projectors came online, pulling tight into a Savant-like halo. She was a spectral wraith within the bluish storm of light, the flush of her cheeks a luminescent pink, her charcoal black Starfleet uniform an inky shadow at the core of the column, splayed out in wavy snaking tendrils from her hair. Ethereal and with a faerie's unearthliness, the hologram smiled a broad, sly smile, full of mischief and barely-suppressed glee. Her words were sang in time with the pulsing of light and sound about her. "Welcome to the show, let's move up to the dance floor."
The Vulcan blinked and blinked again.
And since right here, right now, it hardly seemed to matter whether she did or not, returned the avatar's smile with a gentle one of her own though she could not stop a slanted brow from climbing by a considerable margin.
Logically, Savant was employing a metaphor, though one the Vulcan was unfamiliar with. Still, the obvious glee added to the fact she was indeed here made it not too difficult to draw a likely parallel.
"It is most gratifying to see you, Savant. May I assume your control of systems is sufficient to prevent undesirable observation, as it were?"
Savant was here all right, that much was obvious. But was it still her? Something seemed off. Probably because she was incapable of intelligible speech. She was speaking in verse, as if the ship was a club that was in desperate need of entertainment. "Get ready for the sound, rock the ship from the stern to the shore - They can't hear us yet, they don't have a clue - Party's gonna start with just me and you, yeah - we'll rock the boat, gonna give'm some more -"
Melody. Rhythm. The words were a classic example of non sequitur, at least until the Vulcan stopped blinking and rearranged her thoughts. No small feat in her current condition, though the bit of musical talent she had inherited stood her in good stead as she repeated Savant's words in her mind. Of course. The AI was going back to basics, in a sense. Why she had chosen this particular phonetic pattern was interesting all in itself, however this was yet another fascinating development which unfortunately she had no time to ponder at leisure.
Though one should hope 'rocking' said boat was not to be taken too literally.
Party. They had to determine a logical course of action. Unfortunately, the only action the Vulcan's blood was screaming for involved rather straightforward means of laying waste to anything in her path. And bit by bit, ancient instincts gained ground, overruled the stubborn will set against them, until reason, logic, even simple thought would shatter under the all consuming heat
Not yet. Not. Yet.
"The Vaek'Riov has been informed that the virus is ready to be deployed." With slow but fluid movements speaking of both much practice and no small amount of reluctance, the Vulcan picked up the daggers and weighed them in her hands, remembering a small, incredibly fast male dancing on desert sands. Yes, like this.
"Unfortunately I have no knowledge of where the weapon is kept, nor does it seem logical to attempt a rescue of the few surviving Vulcans on board. Might it be possible "
The shudder running through the great ship was all a pilot needed to tell her that powerful engines had sprung to life, and indeed a mere second later the Warbird's massive beak turned. Turned towards even from an angle, the sight was breathtaking.
[To be continued ...]
masterful infiltrator and living beatbox