(( Room 06-0501, Deck 6, USS Thor))
Alieth checked, for the fifth time in the last few minutes, the way she looked in the small bathroom mirror.The uniform looked flawless, the two pips on her collar gleamed carefully polished. Her hair was tied back in a tight ponytail that just had a couple of loose locks that framed her face and emphasized her pointed ears. A picture-perfect, pristine appearance that he had been nurturing for the past hour.
She strolled into the common room, sat stiffly on one of the armchairs, and took the vulcan padd that laid on the coffee table. At the upper part of the screen, message notifications from the very same sender had been piling up since her arrival at the Embassy.
At that point, alongside the dreaded name, rather than the number of unanswered calls, there were simply two small typographic symbols:
The time had come to deal with that conversation.
Alieth: Computer, state the local time in Chi-ree, Vulcan
Computer: (beep) Local time in Chi-ree, Xial, Vulcan is 0743
Alieth nodded to herself. Early, but after the hour of morning ablutions and the First Meal. She waited two minutes until the clock in her remote birth town ticked quarter to eight.
Alieth: Computer, establish a subspace comlink with t'sai T’Mihn of Chi-ree
Properly efficient, Alieth hardly waited 0.35 minutes before getting a reply. The familiar figure of the old Vulcan woman materialized in an armchair in front of her, her traditional robes spilling over impeccably around her small form thus rendering her more regal and commanding.
Despite the studied theatricality of her appearance, Alieth detected new grey hair in her solemn head, some more wrinkles around her dark eyes. She looked older. More tired.
Both raised their hands in the ta'al and exchanged the proper words before an uneasy silence grew between them. A thick stillness that Alieth was not meant to disturb, and that the old woman persisted in prolonging until the young woman bowed her head and averted her gaze.
T’Mihn: (sternly) You have been negligent in responding to my call, child
Alieth: (without lifting her eyes) Indeed I am, pid-kom. My duties have prevented me from doing so.
One of the grizzled eyebrows rose lightly on the old woman's forehead before she inquired
T’Mihn: How long?
The doctor chewed on the inside of her lower lip shortly before she spoke again.
Alieth: one thousand one hundred and eighty-three days and six hours since your first request, pid-kom.
The old woman refused to reply and merely accommodated herself better on her distant throne. Alieth kept her head bowed and tried to shrink down even further in her armchair.
T’Mihn: You have been promoted
Alieth: Indeed, pid-kom.
She remained silent, embracing the old woman's verdict. After all, it was true.
The matriarch folded her hands serenely in her lap and leaned slightly forward before she spoke once more.
T’Mihn: Are you going to return what you stole from my Clan, child?
Alieth held her breath. She has known for long that this moment would come. However, the answer was the same one she had provided so long ago, in the blood-stained sands of the Temple.
Alieth: That is not my choice, pid-kom. I am only the custodian of what was…
The entire room shook.
The image of the old matriarch flickered before she vanished along with the rest of the lights.
The floor tilted 60 degrees and Alieth was thrown from her seat to tumble on the carpet until she hit the opposite wall.
And everything went black.
There was a voice in the dark.
A voice that pulled her out of the pained torpor in which she had plunged.
A recognizable voice.
MacKenzie: =/\= MacKenzie to Alieth and Quen – we need help down here! Report to Sickbay on the double! =/\=
She rolled onto her back and then opened her eyes. One of the ceiling panels had gone and from her position against the wall she could see a myriad of colorful pipes that ran through the guts of the ship.
Alieth: (Coughing) I will do so, pid-kom.
She stood up, unsteady. She leaned against the wall for a brief second as she suppressed the rush of pain that pierced her body. Then, she headed to the door, the route to the nearest turbolift clear in her mind.
The only thing clear in her mind.
And she ran.
Behind her, in the room, where her head had hit the wall on the first impact, a solitary green bloodstain remained.
(( Main Sickbay, Deck 10, USS Thor ))
Addison disconnected from the commline and turned around to once again face the carnage. At that moment, Alieth made her way into Sickbay. The normally cool and collected Vulcan also looked shaken.
o0 pid-kom...no...names… which name? 0o
Something in her mind clicked really slowly
Alieth: Lieutenant Commander MacKenzie, ma’am…. (Long pause) I Am here to serve….
MacKenzie: Take some nurses and head up to the Marine quarterdeck. We’re going to use it for a triage area. Treat who you can, send the worst cases down here and make sure you properly tag which ones are critical.
Alieth: Yes,... acknowledged, ma’am
The young Vulcan observed the bustling ward until she found a group of nurses who were somewhat less busy than the others.
And, again, names.
She knew that she knew them, as well as recognized their faces and ranks. But she was incapable of connecting one with each other.
At the end, she snapped her fingers to get their attention and, when she got it, she waved toward the exit.
No further communication was necessary to get the three nurses to grab four medkits and join her at the door.
However, the Vulcan did not get through the lintel before she was stopped one more time.
MacKenzie called after her.
MacKenzie: And ask for help if you need it!
She paused and, for an instant, she was tempted to bring her hand to her temple.
It was not the right moment.
There was too much to do.
And she had orders.
Orders that conflicted with each other, so she only had priorities left.
Alieth: I will do so when the time comes, ma'am.
She did not stay there to find out if the CMO would answer anything to her vague statement and left the Sickbay promptly.
t'sai → Lady, female-specific honourific title
ta’al → hand salute, the Vulcan hand-greeting
pid-kom → matriarch; a woman who rules a family, clan, or tribe; a woman who dominates a group or an activity; a highly respected woman who is a mother
Lt. JG Alieth
USS Thor NCC-82607Fleet Captain A. Kells, Commanding
Author ID number: E239702A10