Are we there yet...
Location: Shuttle Crucial
Timeline: MD 01 1600 hours
Kether was going a bit stir crazy. She has spent more time in a shuttle in the last two weeks than she had on a starship. She couldn't wait to get out. The one plus side was getting to spend some time with Thorrin. They had such a whiplash relationship, if you wanted to call it a relationship, that sometime it was hard to get her bearings. Not that she needed bearings, when it came to the El-Aurian she had no idea what she needed, wanted, or thought.
Tossing her book on the bed she had been reclining on and dropped her feet to the floor. She rotated her shoulder wincing slightly as the muscles were still complaining from its recent dislocation. She figured that once she was on the Wolff she may have someone look at it, but after what happened at The Freezer she couldn't help but believe she deserved it. With a sigh she rose to her feet and moved into the main cabin where Thorrin was.
"Early bird gets the worm..." Thorrin said as he saw her head pop up from the back of the shuttle. "How did you sleep? I have been taking the time going over the data that you got me. Interesting stuff..." He said as he raised his eyebrows... Truth was it was interesting, and he relished the time to go over it. He relished the time with Kether more, she was a conundrum to him. He thought she was full of herself, but there was something there something underneath that made her vulnerable. That and the fact that she didn't bother to tell him her life story made her quite refreshing.
"I didn't..." Kether said as she moved up front. She wasn't much of a sleeper to begin with but between the pain in her shoulder and the weird dreams she was having she was getting even less than normal. Without much warning she tipped Thorrin's head back and placed a kiss on his lips. She didn't care what he thought of it or them she just needed that human contact. She laughed to herself as she sank down into the chair with a resigned sigh. "Not even human..." she said under her breath with a laugh. "I am glad to hear that the risking of my life wasn't for nothing..."
He returned the kiss with fervor even pressing her head deeper into his. He smiled, "Sorry you didn't sleep well... I can set the autopilot and massage that shoulder if you wish." His emotions were torn, on the one hand he felt a connection and a draw to her, on the other he wanted nothing to do with her except work. For now Thorrin thought that he would roll with the punches as the saying went.
"I may take you up on that." Kether replied as she rolled her shoulder slightly. "I can take over if you want to get some sleep." She offered as she looked over the displays in front of her. She had manned a similar shuttle one her own just recently. "You have been driving for a while now..."
"Very well my dear... You have the bridge..." He said with a broad smile. Thorrin took his leave of the cockpit and went in the back of the shuttle. He opened one of the consoles and in a low tone spoke to the computer. "Computer open a secure channel to the Vulcan Science Academy the office of Erika of Vulcan." In a few seconds the image of his daughter appeared. "Greetings daughter..." "Father..." Came the short response from the computer.
Kether rolled her eyes at the El-Aurian. Like him she felt a pull towards him she couldn't explain. Just because she felt it didn't mean she wanted it to be there but fighting it was too much work at the moment. she tapped a few controls to correct their drift within the warp field. She knew that she shouldn't listen in, but she couldn't help it. Privacy was a bit of a commodity on the shuttle.
"So, tell me all my dear Rikka..." He used the nickname that he had used since she was born. "How is Vulcan treating you, more specifically how are the Vulcan's treating you?" Thorrin was every bit the doting father as he began his conversation.
It took the young woman a moment to clear herself of the unfeeling tone that she used in conversation with her Vulcan colleagues. "Well, fath... er Daddy all is well here. You should be getting a message from one Svrock of Vulcan. It seems that he seeks my hand in marriage for his son. He believes that since I am of El Auria and equally as long lived as a Vulcan if not more so the match is logical. As for the people here they treat me as well as can be expected. It took me a moment to begin to speak the lingo... Logic follows function and the such..." She was genuinely enthused to be speaking with her father and he in turn had an ear to ear grin on his face as he leaned back and listened to all she had to say.
"So tell me this Vulcan, do you love him? I know their view on emotions, but what of your emotions..." Thorrin replied smirking at his daughter.
Kether couldn't help but smirk at the obvious affection Thorrin had for his daughters. She had to admit that she was a bit surprised by this. With the exception of brief moments between them, Thorrin was more thorny than warm. For whatever reason that worked with Kether's current state of being. There was something about him that she was drawn too.
"As much as any woman with feelings can be in love with someone with a total lack of emotion can. However, to answer your question yes, yes I am, Selthor is a great man. Not many people realize that Vulcan's while emotionless are quite sentimental. He gave me this." She held up a necklace with a sparkling blue stone that hung from it. The stone resembled turquoise, "Dad, this is Vulcaya a very precious and rare stone here on Vucan. Selthor gave it to me as a token of his esteem and respect. He said it belonged to his dead mother." Erika spoke through the comm channel.
Thorrin sat there he looked like the cat that ate the canary he was so proud of his daughter. "Well my girl it seems you have done well there. If you wish to marry this man, then of course I will give his father my blessing." Thorrin was learning as parents oft do from his daughter. He had not spent much time with Vulcans outside of Starfleet or the Department of Temporal Investigations. He was indeed learning a lot about them. "That is a beautiful necklace and this Selthor I am sure will make a fine husband, I should like to meet him." Thorrin added with a laugh.
"Of course, you will meet him as soon as time allows. Dad, I would very much like this marriage. As you have spent most of your life on Earth and with Humans, I wish to do the same here on Vulcan and with Vulcans. I am sure you will not agree without a sufficient fight." Erika laughed she knew her father all too well. "So father, tell me do I have a step mom in my future?" She said as the laughter died down.
Underneath his laughter Thorrin thought of the question that she just asked. He came to a decision on what he would tell her. "No one of consequence at the moment..." He responded using his best mock Vulcan voice. "In all seriousness Erika there is no one worthy of your knowledge at the moment. So tell me about your studies... Discover anything new?" He added.
Kether wasn't surprised by Thorrin's response to the question. What did surprise her was how much hearing him say the words out loud to someone else bothered her. She hadn't been expecting that. As if a cruel cosmic joke was being played on her the alarm on her watch rang out announcing it was time for her medication. With a sigh she put the shuttle on auto pilot and moved though the cabin to her bag. Without looking at Thorrin, or even acknowledging him, she retrieved her pills and popped two.
As Erika had finished telling him about the newest anomaly on Vulcan space, Kether entered the rear of the shuttle. Thorrin figured that she would want to know who he was talking to and when Kether did not ask he knew something was up. "Erika I will contact you when I arrive at my new assignment..." he said. "Right Dad I look forward to it, you stay safe while protecting the galaxy. Hey who is he pretty woman behind..." Thorrin cut his daughter short with a curt "Thorrin out..." and closed the channel.
"Something wrong?" he asked Kether as he turned his chair around to face her.
"Nothing of consequence..." Kether replied with a clip to her tone that wasn't typically there. She gave him a snarky grin before taking a draw off the bottle of water she held in her hand. It shouldn't have bothered her and she knew that, but it did. With a scoff attempted to move past him and resume her post at the helm.
He went to the front of the shuttle and hopped into the jump seat to talk to her better. "What is that supposed to mean? are you my girlfriend now is that it?" His voice was a little louder in tone that it should have been. But she had angered him, how dare she eavesdrop on his conversations.
"Nope, not the last time I checked." Kether said with a cocky tilt of her head. "And it doesn't mean anything, other than I am an idiot and you don't speak as softly as you think you do. Or maybe you do and you were being loud for my benefit." She returned her attention to the display in front of her. She didn't want to talk to him, she didn't want to even look at him. Not because of anything he had done specifically, simply that she had allowed herself to feel something. She didn't deserve to feel human again after what had happened with Gerald.
"What are you talking about? Why are you an idiot?" He was utterly confused, he had no idea what she wanted from him or what he was supposed to say or do. "What is it you want? Now is not the time to play things close to the vest or keep information to yourself." He was getting riled...
At the insinuation that she was keeping secrets Kether's exterior became deathly cool. Turning in her chair to face him her posture rising along with her anger. When she did finally speak her tone was stern and even, "From day one, I have done everything to prove to you that I can be trusted, that what I say is real. Since day one you have thrown it back in my face because you are too stupid to realize that my job doesn't have any affect on who I am, it is simply what I do. You can either like me or love me or whatever there will be between us or you don't. My job has no affect on this." She motioned between them before. "Leave it to me to find the listener in the galaxy that doesn't actually listen when I speak." The way she said 'listener' was with an emotion akin to disgust. "I am an idiot for ever thinking you could trust me or there could be something between us."
"What the hell does trust have to do with anything..." He looked at her like she was insane, he truly had no idea what her issue was. "I do listen when you speak the issue is that you are not making any sense. Is telling you my biggest secret not trust enough. What else do you want from me? You want me to tell my children that we are together that does not make sense. Our relationship is just getting off the ground, it is not worth involving them yet." Thorrin's voice had risen to one step below a shout by the end of his speech.
"God, you stupid man." Kether almost cried out in frustration. "It isn't about whether or not you tell your kids. It is you." She shook her head as she gripped the arm of her chair. "You can never and will never understand what it is like. You only told me your great secret so that I would help you. You constantly claim that I am manipulating you because of my job, but you manipulate me for your own gain. Which of those is worse?" All of this was due to being called 'not of consequence'. She wanted to be of consequence, at least to him.
"Well listen here princess that is what life is, highness... It is Manipulations... You manipulate me and I manipulate you and we move on with our lives. In fact that is what everyone does, do you not think that the Captain manipulates you every time he has a mission for you. What is the issue here? You are calling me stupid I am a hell of a lot more observant that you give me credit for. An old Terran author said "Methinks she doth protest too much..." You keep saying that you are not hiding anything and the more you deny the more that is hidden. WHAT... WHAT... WHAT DO I NOT KNOW WHAT IT'S LIKE?" He set the auto pilot and turned to face her, he saw her tears and something melted inside him. Something small, but it melted all the same and he wiped a couple of tears from her face.
The kindness in his touch was her undoing and the words just came tumbling out. "You don't know what it is like to have a life that is not your own. My entire life has been spent being told what to do and where to be." She turned her face away wincing as the pain that shot though her arm. "I tried to get out. I did." She paused. "I tried to leave this life behind me and then for some stupid reason I fell you and for your line about what you wanted from your life and I just wanted to help you so in exchange for that information that you wanted so badly I have sold my soul to Admiral Lange and became the exact person you hate for you It was all for your and now I am on my way to a posting knowing, just knowing that I am going to be asked to do something I don't want to do...for you." She spoke so fast that the entire story became one long run on sentence almost as if she didn't get it out she would explode from holding it in.
He didn't know what to say so he took the moment to sigh and then he thought. He softened his voice for the moment, "I know what it is like to have a life that is not my own I have had many lives over all of these years, constantly having to rebirth myself, constantly having to hide the real me to the point that I may have forgotten who I am. Well I forgot until..." His voice trailed off unsure if he should tell her, perhaps it was time he thought. "Until I met you. You want a glimpse of the real me, well here goes." He knew in that instant who she was, and what he wanted from her. He never told her that he had an eidetic memory, and that would wait for a later time. But for now he took the isolinear chip that contained the information that she had gotten for him. He placed it in the replicator and ordered the machine to reclaim the matter. "Listen I do not want you to become that, I want no one to become that. The evidence is now destroyed and now we will show Lange what she can do with her orders." He sat back down in his seat and reached for her hands.
You're too late... Kether thought to herself as she watched the chip disappear into the reclimator. The gesture alone meant more to her then he would ever know. She looked up at him. "Right..." She said pushing up from her chair and wiping an escaped tear on her sleeve. "Enough of that. We will be arriving at the station soon." Just like that the old Kether, or rather the Kether that she was most often around Thorrin returned.
"Indeed you are correct on both accounts. But we have enough time..." He smirked at her "I think the human convention is to make up." He kissed her deeply.
LTJg Kether McCloud