“Foxes & Hounds – Part 4”
Against his better judgment, Pilot Leon Athalla helped the injured Romulan mercenary, Aev Keirianh down a dark street having obtained transportation halfway across Vulcan and far from recent events which had left a Vulcan establishment and his shuttlecraft in total ruin. Refusing to be treated in a Vulcan medical facility in addition to returning to the Charon, Leon had been forced to drag the stubborn Romulan across the planet to a large Vulcan city Leon couldn’t pronounce. With the Charon’s transporters under maintenance the journey had not been especially quick or easy.
“Take a right down here. It should be the building at the end of the street”, Aev muttered hiding his pain in voice and expression from the Starfleet pilot.
Leon nodded and the pair traversed the distance to a large building with high walls. The structure looked ancient its wall composed of stone and rock. It was a distinct anachronism in the midst of a sprawling, modern city. “What now”, Leon asked adjusting his grip on the mercenary.
“Knock. Ask for Valaran. I’m fine. Just go and be quick about it.”
Leon nodded and soon found himself at a large, castle-like, arch barred by heavy doors. The structure was as imposing as it was impressive. Nearby the giant doors was another smaller entry which he presumed was the structure’s main entrance. He approached and knocked. Within a few moments a figure in flowing white robes appeared. The young Vulcan had an inquisitive expression as he took stock of the Starfleet officer.
“I am looking for Valaran”, Leon asked with a slight bow. “Is he here?”
The Vulcan seemed oddly confused for a moment. There was an awkward pause before Leon deduced a possible cause for the Vulcan’s expression. “Sorry. Just a moment.” He grabbed his communicator from his jacket pocket and reaffixed it to his chest. Obviously this unusually dressed Vulcan did not seem to understand Federation standard. He would need the universal translator embedded in his communicator to help bridge the communications barrier.
“I am looking for Valaran”, Leon repeated. “Do you know if he is here?”
The Vulcan’s expression quickly cleared. “Indeed. Forgive me, I am not yet fluent in Federation standard. I will fetch Valaran. Please wait here.”
Leon nodded and waited shooting a glance at Keirianh who looked on from nearby.
After a few moments a much older Vulcan male appeared at the doorway. “I am Valaran. May I assist you?”
Leon nodded and motioned in the direction of Keirianh. Valaran left the doorway and looked out only to place a hand on his chest. He held it there for several moments before breaking his gaze with the mercenary. “Bring him inside, quickly.” The Vulcan disappeared through the doorway leaving Leon alone to help Keirianh.
The pair stepped through the entrance only to have the door quickly closed behind them. They were instructed to follow the Vulcan who led them across a cobblestone paved courtyard adorned with various statues and figures Leon could not identify. They entered another structure and were led through several hallways and down a rock staircase which had been cut into the building’s foundation. The narrow staircase was dark, but eventually opened into a vast underground room lined with paintings, statues, and other imagery which seemed religious or spiritual in nature. The Vulcan male moved behind them and closed the door to the staircase securing it with a lock before turning his attention back to his guests.
“Aev Keirianh. Is it really you? Are you still alive after so many years?”
Aev smiled revealing a thin, white line of teeth. “Alive yes. And you old man? Still playing at being a Vulcan monk I see. It would appear you remained true to your words despite the passage of time.”
“You two know each other”, Leon asked feeling somewhat confused and in the dark.
“And who is this Aev”, the Vulcan asked as his eyes scanned the Starfleet pilot.
“A trusted friend”, he replied not bothering to return Leon’s surprised expression. “Valaran, I am afraid I did not come here to catch up. I need your assistance.”
“You never were one to nurture relationships. I suppose I should have expected as much when I laid eyes upon you above in the street. Very well Aev. What is it you require?”
“A medical kit and anything you have for pain. And before you ask it was not of my choosing or doing. They came after me.”
“I’ll be back in a moment. Do not leave the room. The other monks here are harmless, but might ask too many questions if you do.” Valaran left the pair in silence.
Leon scratched his head. “You wouldn’t want to tell me who that is?”
“His name is Valaran. We served together as soldiers in the Star Empire.”
“Romulan, not Vulcan. Yes. It is a long story, but I saved his life and he owes me a few favors. We eventually went our separate ways. He left the military and found a new life embracing the teachings of the Vulcan people.”
“How do you go from a soldier to a monk in another culture?”
Aev shrugged tending to the wound on his leg. “I do not know. Perhaps you should ask him if you are curious pilot.”
The monk quickly returned with a medical kit which he placed next to Aev. “I must say I never expected to see you again Aev. I believed you had all but forgotten.”
“Perhaps in another life things could have been different. Even so Valaran, I never forgot your friendship even through the darkest days of my courtmartial and sentencing. However seeing you was not possible. My life ended the day they sent me to prison. It was better for everyone to forget my name and face for their benefit and longevity.”
“A compelling argument, but there are some who would have accepted the risk to see you after your miraculous escape.”
The mercenary said nothing as he healed and cleaned his wound.
“Silent as always. You haven’t changed. So what brings you here Aev? What trouble has found you?”
“I am uncertain. Someone is going to great lengths to kill me.” Aev pulled himself up and took several cautious steps testing his own medical work. Satisfied, he closed the medical kit and returned it to Valaran’s care. “I do not have time to explain. I am in need of supplies.”
The monk flashed a thin smile. “I am a monk now Aev. I have forsaken the path of violence and embraced logic. Gone are the mistakes of my youth.”
“Save it! You’re a Romulan behind that cloak. No matter how devoted you are to your new found life I know you too well. You cannot cut the ties to your past. It makes you who you are. Now, can you help me or should we be going?”
“The elements can be fickle, unpredictable things”, Valaran softly answered. “How well you know me friend.” With a sigh, the monk turned. “Follow me.”
[ To Be Continued ]
Lt. Leon Athalla
Vulcan Monk ??