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The aging Danube-class runabout, Thames continued to plod downward along the Negative-Z access from the Tahnna’Whanna System at Warp 6, as it had for the previous ten days. In the aft lounge, a rather relaxed Kaveh Arzie waded determinedly through a series of papers on topics ranging from biology to hydrology to philosophy to xenology and back to archaeology.
A relaxed Arzie, until the repeated bonk-bap, bonk-bap, bonk-bap of Ishae ir-temcaire'aekhhwi t’Lheollah tossing a small sphere against the bulkhead finally caught hold of his attention and wouldn’t let go.
‘Do you have to keep doing that?’ The Catullan asked with no small irritation in his voice?
‘What else /should/ I do?’ His Romulan apprentice asked. ‘The runabout is on course. Speed is steady, and no one else is anywhere near our ship on sensors.’ She added, catching the small ball she had been bouncing and cradling it in her hand. ‘What we have here is another solid 16 days of tedium until we reach the Barrier.’
Arzie had to smile, watching her lips and cheekbones move while forming the words in Catullan. Before the Hobus Incident, the idea of a Romulan speaking the language of a yikh, an Outsider, was crazy. A lot had changed in the past 10 years.
‘Go study your rhetoric. It is in dreadful need of practice. Start with Pericles’s ‘Funeral Speech,’ and when you’re done that, move on to Tarnoc’s ‘Argument for Federation.’ Arzie responded, looking back at his PADD. ‘If you manage to finish that within your regula by the time we get there, you can help me prepare for probe deployment.’
t’Lheollah grumbled as she pocketed her ball and frumped out of the aft lounge. Arzie sighed contentedly at the peace.
The Thames had been specially outfitted for this particular mission. Arzie was always grateful for the modular design of the craft. A double-wide cabin module provided two bunks and a space for a writing desk. The dual engineering modules designed by Arzie himself to supplement the shields of the small craft at such time as they would be buffeted by the extreme conditions of the Galactic Barrier.
Only 16 days left, and he’d see if his designs and hard-work over the past several months would bare fruit. The waiting was the hardest part.
‘Sixteen more days.’ He thought again, as he scrolled through his PADD.