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"I do not believe so. You have fooled us for the last time."
The blindfolded captive heard the grind of steel against steel. The "shing" tapered off with an echo in the hollow room where she was held.
"Pray the Elements carry you... TO A SWIFT END!"
"GAH!" The captive let out a short, quiet sound as her torso was pierced with the steel blade.
"Yyaio kllhe'mnhe... Remember that Fire is always the most powerful of the Elements... and the most vengeful." After removing his blade, he turned to walk away, and said one word, "Okhala."
In an instant, the ground beneath the prisoner combusted into a column of fire, reaching the ceiling. There was no sound from inside the flames. The body inside was instantly burned, then charred, and became a pile of ash within a matter of moments.
One day earlier...
The 40 Eridani star began to set beneath the horizon, in view from the Vulcan city of Xen'Tal. A door chime sounded. It was quickly responded to with, "Coming. One moment."
T'Luminareth waited patiently outside. Once the door opened, she spoke first, "Greetings. I apologize for disturbing you at this late hour. An associate of mine informed me to find you."
The Vulcan man who answered the chime looked at her curiously. "And this associate is..."
"Director Lonak, of the Genetics Research Laboratories." She placed a hand over her chest, "And my name is Liasaii."
The man raised a brow, "Lonak... That is a name I have not heard in quite a long time." He took a minute, thinking, wondering if he could trust this woman, but since she was someone of interest to Lonak... "I am Valk. My wife, Sepel, and I live here. You are welcome, Liasaii, friend of Lonak."
The guest nodded politely, slung her sack over her shoulder and headed inside the home. Looking around, she couldn't help but notice everything was virtually the same as it had been, all those years ago when she was fleeing from the Science Ministry's security forces. "How quaint," she turned back towards Valk, who approached her. "Is it only you and your wife here?"
"Right now, yes," he replied, "Our daughter left over a year ago to join Starfleet." Valk made his curiosity immediately clear, "What is it exactly that Lonak to you to find us for?"
"I am on a journey of self-exploration, and I learned the most logical way to do that is to journey the entire planet, in person. After all, there is little discovery in reading data displays." T'Luminareth's lies came out sincerely and convincing. "Lonak told me you lived here, and now I am here to request shelter to rest on my journey."
Footsteps were heard coming down the staircase, "Valk?"
He turned toward the foot of the stairs as his wife sauntered to the bottom step. "Sepel, this is Liasaii. She is a friend of Lonak's, from the Science Ministry in ShiKahr."
T'Luminareth turned to Sepel, "I'm pleased to meet you."
"You know Lonak?"
Their guest nodded in response, "Yes, he and I have been colleagues for many years."
Sepel moved closer. "And how is he?"
"Well. He's extremely preoccupied with work, so he asked me to convey his salutations."
"Allow me to take your bag." Valk approached T'Luminareth and slipped her bag off of her shoulder. "We'll prepare the guest room for you. Help yourself to the replicator if you like."
Their guest nodded in appreciation and acknowledgment.
While T'Luminareth remained on the first floor, the couple walked upstairs and into their daughter's former bedroom, keeping up a premise that they would be housing this woman.
"She must be one of the..."
"There is no other explanation."
"You know he must be informed. He will come after us if he learns we did not tell him."
"Lonak was a frien..."
"HE WAS A SPY!" After several deep breaths, their tone lowered, "Friends do not spy on friends."
A sigh, "You are correct. I will make the call immediately."
A series of footsteps filled the void of silence after their conversation.
Several hours later, in the middle of the night...
A sudden disturbance in the silent night jarred the guest from her slumber. "... right down the hall, sir." The voice sounded muffled through the closed doors to the guest bedroom, followed by footsteps. There was no time to gather her belongings easily enough to travel, nor time to leave without being caught. A myriad of thoughts raced through her mind. Who is this 'sir'? What do Sepel and Valk know? Could they have seen through my ruse? All she could do was pretend to still be asleep, and a moment later, the bedroom doors whirred open. Her heart pounded in her chest from anticipation, and fear.
A voice, dark and lingering in her ears, "Oh, how long I've waited for this..."
The last thing T'Luminareth heard was a hypospray hissing, as it pressed against her neck, rendering her unconscious.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
As she stirred awake slowly, T'Luminareth, dragged her head up from hanging over her chest. This did not escape his attention, watching from beyond the shadows of her confinement. His gaze traversed her slender form, from foot to head, bound to a chair beneath a spotlight. He murmured to himself, "Such beauty, but these yyaio throw that away with their logic..." Walking closer to her, he kept himself in the shadows. "Doctor," he began menacingly, "Do you know who I am?"
"You are e'shua, come to punish me for my sins," she stated definitively, as if she were ready to meet her fate.
He raised a brow, "Now tell me, if I were the devil, for what purpose would I keep you alive to interrogate you? Why shouldn't I just take your filthy yyaio soul?" He began to pace slowly around her, staying beyond the reach of the spotlight, "Heh... That's right. You people don't HAVE souls! Just your beloved katra!"
"The katra is the soul," she stated quietly.
"And your katra didn't tell you to aid your brothers and sisters from the blast which destroyed our ENTIRE LIFE?!"
His voiced smoothed, flowing like a gentle stream, "Yes, Doctor. Does that help you in determining who I am?"
"My husband told me, before his death, that I would be visited by a Rihansu Colonel. He told me this man was e'shua."
"Close." Now behind T'Luminareth, "I actually worked closely with Maenek Dahnrir..." He stepped forth into the light and laid his face intimately beside hers, retaining his fluidic voice, "Rather, he worked for me. Now tell me, what do you know about your husband's work before he betrayed his home... his family... his life."
She closed her eyes slowly and inhaled deeply, "Nothing. He told me nothing about his life before coming to Vulcan."
He turned away, walking back to the shadows. "And you call yourselves wedded?! There is no greater bond than family to Rihannsu!"
"I AM VULCAN!"
"Yes, yes you are."
Continuing to walk around her, he made his way to her forward view without speaking. He finally stepped beneath the spotlight where she could see him. He'd aged extensively since his dealings with Keivalt tr'Dahnrir so many years ago; the sheen of his graying hair reflecting in T'Luminareth's eyes. "I am Khrein Kaleh tr'Llaiir. Your husband was detrimental to our Psionic Warfare Subdivision, with the rare gift for science and being a Psion. He eluded our security for some time, but we were able to find him and... 'recruit' him."
T'Luminareth opened her eyes once again. "I can only theorize how you managed to recruit him, through brute force, intimidation and death threats to his Rihannsu family?"
"His TRUE family."
Her eyes flared widely, "My son and I ARE his family!"
"Careful, my dear. We wouldn't want your emotions to run wild."
She began to breathe heavily. "Do not patronize me. Why are you telling me this anyway? What do you gain?"
"I tell you this, because you will not live long enough to tell anyone."
Llaiir looked up, beyond his captive, pointed and signaled for an officer to come forth. An Erein, he would of course do whatever Khrein Llaiir ordered him. In this case, he had prearranged instructions to blindfold the Vulcan upon being summoned. "I am sorry," he whispered as he tied the fabric around her head.
She cried out, "Let me go! You can not hold me here!"
"I do not believe so. You have fooled us for the last time." Llaiir reached for his waist, the hilt of his blade outside its sheath. The "shing" of his katana's release tapered off with an echo in the hollow room where he kept the woman captive. "Pray the Elements carry you... TO A SWIFT END!" He swiftly thrust his blade through her heart, piercing the ribcage with great ease.
Her cry of pain satisfied the General's lust for revenge. "Yyaio kllhe'mnhe... Remember that Fire is always the most powerful of the Elements... and the most vengeful." After removing his blade, he turned to walk away, and said one word, "Okhala." He felt the searing heat from the pyre, only a few meters behind him, finding comfort in its warmth. "Okhala provides life, and takes it away just as easily."
Once the flames settled, he looked once again to the Erein with a guilty conscious. "Dispose of that yyaio filth. Jettison it into space," gesturing to the pile of ash where a Vulcan sat, only a moment ago. Llaiir entered the turbolift, and set his destination as the bridge. They have a son... A Rihannsu/yyaio abomination... His mind was made up. As the turbolift arrived at the bridge of his warbird, he stepped out and announced, "We have new orders from the Senate. Set a course for the far edge of Rihannsu territory. There is a Lloann'mhrahel station we are to investigate."
=/\= TO BE CONTINUED =/\=
yyaio - derogatory term for Vulcan; Romulan
kllhe'mnhe - worm food; Romulan
Okhala - Fire, the element; Romulan
e'shua - Devil; Vulcan
Rihansu - Romulan; Vulcan (Rihannsu; Romulan equivalent)
Khrein - General; Romulan
Erein - ante-Centurion, equivalent to Ensign; Romulan
Lloann'mhrahel - Federation; Romulan