Chapter 3 - Word on desert winds

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USS Letayo – Deck 3 – 2 days before reassignment

By the time she got back to her quarters, T’Shan had done so much overtime that her next shift began in six hours. Still, somehow, they were not significantly closer to resolving the power alignment issues.

She took some satisfaction in the fact that she had been able to secure the quarters of her first preference upon arrival at her new assignment. A direct central view of the foreward section of the ship, just like the view from the bridge.

She would be leaving for the Hou Yi in less than forty-eight hours, and she intended to have the power systems ship-shape by the time she left, as a matter of professional pride. She let her uniform jacket fall off her as soon as she crossed the threshold, and allowed herself to fall face-first into her bed.

She rolled around in the covers, wrapping herself in them, though the room was already sitting at 31 degrees Celsius. She had begun to doze off only momentarily when her terminal began to chirp. She quickly unrolled herself from the makeshift cocoon she’d formed.

The terminal told her it was her brother, a half-sibling from her father’s first marriage. She accepted the call.

“T’Shan-kam. Live long and prosper.” Shurlok said, making the Vulcan salute.

Other than his unaffected Vulcan way of speaking, one would not immediately know he was Vulcan, his wavy hair stretched past his ears and a thin but still complete moustache and beard grew in a deliberately styled fashion. While their father was as committed to kolinahr as any Vulcan could be, he had never found much use in the trappings and aesthetic tradition of robes and bowl haircuts. Shurlok had inherited an intensified version of this resistance, largely attributable to being raised by his mother, a draconian traditionalist.

“Peace and long life, Shurlok-kam. How are Olbë and the children?” T’Shan returned the salute and the greeting. Her brother lived with his Bajoran wife on an idyllic colony world. The room he was in was disorganised in a way not uncommon to parents of multiple children under five.

“They are well, thank you. Anib has just started walking. I have called because I have received a message from father.” Shurlok said with equal tone in each sentence, causing T’Shan’s antennae to spring up at the last one.

“What has he said?” She asked. “Is he healthy?”

“It was only a text message, relayed via the communications museum on Tellar. In truth he said very little. The entirety of the communication was ‘My idols are dead and my enemies are in power.’ I do not understand the significance.” Shurlok told his sister.

“A quotation or proverb perhaps?” T’Shan suggested, it was not an expression she could recall hearing. “If nothing else, it would appear to suggest he has not changed his convictions.”

“Did he share any of his thoughts or motivations with you before he went into exile in the forge?” Shurlok asked.

“No. We spoke before the tribunal was assembled, he left immediately afterwards, and from what I understand, resigned his commission mid-flight to Vulcan. I would assert that he understood the gravity of what he was saying but was confident his accusations would be borne out by the evidence.”

“I had a similar conversation. I have also spoken with Foremother and father’s siblings. None have had any communications with him before or since.”

“Thank you for letting me know. If you have the opportunity, I would appreciate if you could send me all the available data relating to his message.”

“I shall do so. Farewell.” Shurlok turned around as a crying blonde toddler entered the room. He lifted her up to wave goodbye. T’Shan also waved to the young child and, an excessively cute two-year-old with pointed ears and nose ridges. T’Shan smiled convincingly but without emotion for the child’s sake. The crying stopped, and she seemed fascinated by the sight of her colourful aunt on the screen.

The call ended, and T’Shan was left in silence. A moment later the data her brother had sent arrived. She added it to her list of things to do tomorrow. In truth, the only thing that she continued to think about it as she returned to bed was the fact that their father had contacted her brother, but not her, and why that may be so.