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The Last Word

Posted on 14 Dec 2017 @ 9:45am by Lieutenant Sterek & Lieutenant T'Pai

Mission: Crossing Over
Location: Flight Deck, Cargo Loading Area
Timeline: MD 7 || 0900h

Sterek was, as usual, right on time to meet the latest shipment of non-replicable supplies to the Blackhawk. Each crate intended for sickbay was promptly scanned, checked and neatly stacked - a slightly larger pile than usual, given that this could be the last supply run before they entered the Convergence Zone.

"Lieutenant Sterek," T'Pai said with a nod, as she arrived to inspect the supplies intended for her department. Normally, it was the type of task she would delegate to a subordinate. However, in light of their current mission, T'Pai was indulging in a tendency to micromanage all activities related to Engineering.

"Good morning, Lieutenant." Sterek glanced up from his PADD at the other Vulcan. "If you require assistance with unloading, I can-"

"Sorry to interrupt, Lieutenant." The pilot smiled awkwardly as she approached, holding a box in her arms that was smaller than the others, albeit still bulky. "Just need you to tap there to register pickup."

Sterek looked mildly confused. "I was not expecting anything else."

The pilot shrugged as she handed it over. "It's addressed directly to you. Sorry," she said again to T'Pai, before heading off. Sterek tapped the display, and the crate emanated a small chime. Sterek's expression flattened slightly; obviously this was one of those priority deliveries which beeped incessantly until you opened it, a profoundly irritating concept, even to a Vulcan.

"I do not believe I will require your assistance, Lieutenant, " T'Pai answered Sterek's earlier offer. "The combination of our species' physiology, in tangent with an anti-grav sled, should be sufficient." T'Pai turned her attention of loading her supplies to the aforementioned sled.

He glanced up at T'Pai again. "Would you assist me by holding this briefly?" he asked, offering the case.

T'Pai paused, arching an eyebrow at the other Vulcan's request. Were it her, she would take the box in question to her quarters and examine it when she was off duty. However,, in light of what she perceived as her illogical reaction to the death of Chief Petty Officer Farrar, it was not her place to be critical of another's actions.

"Of course, Lieutenant," T'Pai answered, taking the proffered case.

"I need to ensure this has not been misdirected, since it is not on the requisitions list," Sterek murmured, by way of explanation, and placed his hand on the identification pad.

"Lieutenant Sterek," intoned the electronic voice after a moment. Then: "Do you accept the last will and testament of Doctor S'chn N'Ereon Tevek?"

Sterek blinked and drew his hand away, but his face registered no other reaction; he reached out to take the case from T'Pai again. "How long until the shuttle is scheduled to leave?" he asked her calmly.

Again, T'Pai arched an eyebrow, but her only reply was to tap her commbadge and inquire, "Computer, advise supply shuttle's departure time."

"Shuttle 'as-Sulḥafāh' is scheduled to depart in twenty-one minutes," came the curt reply, earning two raised eyebrows from Sterek. He looked at the case in his hands, then at the doors to the shuttle bay, as if making some complex kind of propriety-versus-time-versus-logic calculation in his head. While his expression remained calm, the superfluous question and his extended pause suggested something had flustered him, and when he spoke next, his tone was almost annoyed.

"That seems highly insufficient," he said, then turned round and placed the case on top of the rest of the medical crates and placed his hand over the panel. The electronic voice intoned again; Sterek gave a curt "I accept", and the case popped open.

"Would you prefer to open this in solitude, Lieutenant?" T'Pai asked, the tone of her voice void of any inflection. Consider the Vulcan healer's reaction, she felt he might prefer not to have his actions observed. However, given that Sterek had not taken the package to his quarters, one might assume that privacy was not required. With her counterparts, T'Pai was used to receiving what was known as 'conflicting signals,' and thus required a more complicated decision making model. Normally, when dealing with other Vulcans, the only requirement was gathering sufficient data to make a logical conclusion. Hopefully, the same would hold true with Sterek.

"Your consideration is acknowledged, but this is not a matter significant enough to warrant privacy," replied Sterek, as he lifted the cloth-wrapped object from its case and carefully unfolded the material. Whether he was trying to convince himself of this as well as T'Pai was impossible to derive from his tone, which remained calm. "Do you have any interest in pre-Awakening history, Lieutenant?"

"I have had the prerequisite education on the subject received by any student of our planet's education system," T'Pai responded. "In addition, my maternal grandmother was a secondary member of the archaeological team that discovered and excavated the obelisks located in the Elendos Plains, a subject on which my mother is considered a leading authority on, at the Vulcan Science Academy. This has made me more informed on certain aspects of Vulcan history prior to the Awakening than is the norm." T'Pai paused before adding, "I presume the object in your hand has something to do with your query?"

Sterek turned to show her. The knife in his hand was far older than the fabric wrapping, to the tune of at least a few centuries before Surak. The copper-hued blade was rusted and obviously no longer usable, but despite this, the artifact seemed to be in remarkable condition for its age; an exemplar of craftsmanship from Vulcan's distant and violent past. Sterek was careful not to touch the weapon itself, keeping it held inside the cloth. "An early precursor to the Romulan dathe'anofv-sen. I anticipate that the Shi'Kahr Museum of Antiquities will appreciate my donating it."

"Indeed," T'Pai answered simply, waiting to see if Sterek wish to expound upon the subject.

"These were traditionally passed from parent to eldest child when the latter came of age. Perhaps you are already aware of the history, given your educational background." Sterek wrapped it up again and carefully placed it back into the case, then tapped a few commands into the touch-panel. "I would be interested to hear about your mother's studies, but I will not detain you further with discussion when we are both on duty."

"I believe such a discussion would be enlightening," T'Pai answered. "Once we are off duty." T'Pai paused, not knowing if she should say anything else. Vulcan propriety would normally call for ending the discussion here, particularly if the the other individual seemed to be exhibiting signs of distress. After a few seconds hesitation, T'Pai finally answered, "Perhaps we might continue this discussion in the Officer's Mess, at 1800."

Whatever annoyance the delivery had caused was no longer perceptible in Sterek's face. He dipped his head as he hefted the case back into his arms. "That would be acceptable. I will be there at 1800." He headed off in the direction of the shuttle, presumably to try and have the package routed back to Vulcan before it left again.

 

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