[Shi'Kahr, Artisan Quarter]
19th Day in the month of Tasmeen, YS 9022
Night over the capitol.
Countless races have attempted to describe a night on Vulcan, from the flowery to the prosaic. In the end, there are no words. How do you describe an entire city exhaling as the day's oppressive heat lifts and the evening winds rise from the East, carrying with it the clean, sharp scents of the desert and the sweetness of the hills beyond. How do you put into words the silent hum of telepaths who never smile and still do, turning their faces to the sky where tiny specks of light beckon and a massive, bloated giant pushes her bulk across the horizon.
Not a moon, for Vulcan has no moon. No silvery disc bathing her companion in mystic blue, romance and dreams. A planet, pockmarked, harsh, with active volcanoes spewing their eternal flames. Filling a third of the horizon and claiming more of it as she leaned over the desert.
Vulcan has no moon. But as a human once stated, it has a nightmare.
Night over Shi'Kahr.
Or a pleasantly late evening, as far as the locals were concerned.
Foreign visitors often commented how a city of such size could not be aglow, bright, shining into the night like a beacon, proclaiming its presence. As the aforementioned human said "Where do you think you are, Vegas?"
Candles, lanterns, warm, golden glow on red stone and honey-colored marble, hardy vines and a myriad of fountains. Just north of the Suta Temple's spires the high towers of official buildings gleamed in T'Khut's ruddy light, and always there were some windows still lit, announcing Vulcans too absorbed in their work to notice such an inconvenience as time.
It was cool, though not unusually so for the season. Only a native or one with sharp eyes and knowledge of textiles would have noticed the robes and tunics were somewhat thicker and the boots and shoes treading the clean, warmly lit streets tended to protect from the chill.
Not many resorted to an actual cloak of dark, soft Sha'amii wool. Still, the old Vulcan wandering quietly down the gentle slope of Tal'Sha'el saw a few more like him, and rather wryly noted that 99.877 percent of this particular wool was obviously sold to Vulcans above the age of 200.
For the third time tonight, a voice surfaced in his mind. Even rough with age, this human's southern drawl had been unmistakable. As had been his astute observation skills and astonishingly fine humor.
Yes, McCoy would have appreciated the joke. And then made several more, if only to see whether he could get one eyebrow to move.
"Better lasagna than they make at the Vatican."
The place was still there, and the food still excellent, even by the unyielding standards of a race that has been known to appreciate a bowl of Plomeek as a work of art in its own right. But the proprietor had changed, and so had the menu.
"Your usual table?"
If anyone doubted the young male with the handsome features was not exactly of this world, the way he practically beamed at his esteemed guest would have been a dead giveaway. Though in fairness, to a human he barely twitched his lips.
"I recommend the aypihl casserole today. Thue has outdone herself."
The Vulcan simply nodded and made for the quiet little table, barely illuminated by a small lantern half-hidden by some vines.
He was not worried the raucous young crowd of Starfleet and other outworlders might recognize the old, weathered face of what was so nonchalantly called 'a Legend'. Apart from the fact that Vulcans do not worry, he simply had too many other matters to consider.
The dark hood fell onto his shoulders and Spock looked over steepled fingers at a table next to the cheerfully gurgling spring.
'For such a dry place you people have a lot of fountains.'
'We conserve our water very carefully. But there are places and times in which conservation comes close to meanness of soul. The spirit must be refreshed, as well as the body.'
'There was a time when I would have been astonished to hear you say something like that, Spock.'
'It would have been a time when you did not know me as well as you do now, Doctor.'
Ruanek was a happy restaurant owner, albeit a slightly harried one. Apart from the Starfleet relief personnel who did not care that 'Romulans' had just damn near destroyed the planet as long as the food was fine and wholesome and the rylhrhh flowed in abundance, he had his regular guests and the never ending stream of tourists. He could swear there were more of those than ever.
He hurried towards the gates to put up the little sign to signal potential guests that this restaurant was currently at capacity, directing his staff with little gestures along the way. They moved like a troupe of dancers, smooth and seemingly effortless, though Ruanek knew it was everything but easy to provide this type of unrivaled service. If he'd have the time, he might just stand here and beam with pride.
And here came the next one ah, Starfleet.
"My apologies, we are " Ruanek froze. "Fvah dha'nia Kholairlh-a nahi?"
Very odd. But it would be a bit rude to turn the lady away since she obviously had come all this way for some real food. Damn. He straightened his shoulders, hoped she would overlook his surprised outburst, and gave a crisp bow.
"Riov?" The title was almost foreign to her now, so much so that Shiarrael nearly failed to recognize that she was being addressed. However, when that realization surged through her synapses she glanced at the man, her olive shaped eyes narrowing till only a hint of the violet that stained her irises showed. She finally smiled and relaxed her expression "Jolan'tru, another expatriate? How odd." Indeed it was odd, yet somewhat refreshing, to find needle thin patches of her own kind scattered through this massive, heterogeneous Federation. Such a diverse collection of people- even on world's such as Vulcan.
"Not so much an expatriate as born outside the Empire's boundaries, Riov." The young man smiled amicably and motioned for the lady to follow. There was a little space yet under the pergola and if Serel could bring out another of the small tables, yes, he was curious what a Rihanha was doing in a Starfleet uniform. But really, she was here to eat and not to be bombarded with silly questions.
Bad enough just about every outworlder here was staring by now. Must be the lady was a person of some import. Not that Ruanek cared overmuch, but perhaps she would appreciate a somewhat secluded
A voice like gravel and velvet interrupted the young man's thoughts.
"There is no need to distract your staff from their tasks, Ruanek. This table is meant for two guests. Logic dictates that under the circumstances it be used as such, if the Captain does not object of course."
The old Vulcan rose with fluid grace, betraying his age merely in the slow, near solemn gravity of his motions, and offered a courteously inclined head. "Will you join me, Madam t'Rehu?"
"Unfortunate, I hope you were not raised amongst this bunch?" Shiarrael nodded her head at the collection of drab Vulcan's slipping their way between the tables wearing their sand-colored robes. She let out a half sigh at having mistaken the young man as a native. "Disappointing..." she muttered quietly letting the sounds of the bustling restaurant obscure her half-insult. What a place, she thought.
Her thoughts stopped suddenly when the baritone voice grinded through the crowd noise- she turned and faced the aged Vulcan; even in the dimness she could see the collection of wrinkles that lined his face like the ridges of a craggy asteroid. "You seem to know me." She said plainly while trying to discern his full form in through the dim shadow that obscured that corner of the table "but I don't seem to recall you? Who are you old man?"
"So I do." The elder stated levelly, sparing a brief glance for Ruanek who seemed to be bristling at some little rudeness but settled his ruffled feathers under the old, tranquil gaze. Enduring the scrutiny of violet eyes with as much patience as a rock and roughly as much expression, the Vulcan waited until Ruanek had given another crisp bow and bustled off, presumably to lend a hand to his staff, before his aged voice floated into the balmy air again.
"Not personally of course. However, your reputation precedes you, Riov."
[To be continued ...] Captain Shiarrael t'Rehu & Spock
[To be continued ...]
Captain Shiarrael t'Rehu