Chapter 6 <cont'd>
It had taken surprisingly little time for Sandhurst to summon the Amon to the shuttle’s position in the otherwise deserted star system.
Sandhurst had simply lain back in his flight chair, entering a subtle state of delta-sleep during which his higher brain functions shifted into overdrive, despite his outward appearance of being asleep. After few moments, his eyes still shut, he spoke aloud. “Who were you before?”
“I was me,” Verrik answered cryptically, maintaining his attention on the sensors for any signs of approaching vessels.
“And who was that?” Sandhurst pressed, his voice conveying genuine curiosity. “I’m wondering what kind of person allows his intellect to be separated from his body and sent off who-knows-where on missions of national security?”
“Her intellect, actually,” Verrik corrected. “Beyond that, I choose not to say any more.”
Sandhurst cracked an eyelid at that, moving his head fractionally to focus on Verrik though the narrow gap. “It’s important that I know who I’m allied with, and what makes that person tick. Information is power, and while you’ve undoubtedly got terabytes of data on me, I know nothing about you.”
“Pity,” Verrik deadpanned.
“The Amon will be here in short order,” Sandhurst continued. “Although it’s far from certain, I suspect that with their talents it might be possible to dig you out from wherever you’ve latched on to the inside of Verrik’s skull. Then, they can turn you inside out and study you from all angles.”
Verrik paused, glancing over and down at Sandhurst. “I don’t think I’m overly fond of that idea.”
“Nor should you be,” Sandhurst replied. “And after you’ve been poked and prodded to our satisfaction, I have no trouble at all imagining what might become of a non-corporeal entity in the clutches of a species that feeds on life energy.” Sandhurst opened both eyes and gave Verrik a saccharine-sweet smile that bordered on rictus.
Verrik’s expression was tinged with disdain. “For someone who’s called Lar’ragos on the carpet as often as you have, you’ve certainly taken on a number of his less appealing character traits.”
“Says the stone-cold murderer,” Sandhurst parried.
The Vulcan cleared his throat. “Very well, then. What would you like to know?”
“Who, why, and where?”
“I was A’lasha of Vulcan, a soldier mortally wounded in the final battle between the followers of Surak and S’task. My katra
was harvested shortly before my death and stored in the last of Vulcan’s pre-Surak katric
arks. There it remained for more than two millennia before being unearthed by operatives of our group. I was resurrected without the benefit of a physical body, and implanted in a series of people over the span of decades. In that time I’ve carried out my duties to the best of my abilities.”
Sandhurst nodded in his reclined position. “A fascinating pedigree.”
“I’m so pleased that you approve,” Verrik noted icily.
There was a sudden flash outside the forward viewports and Verrik looked out the windows to see a mammoth Borg sphere hovering a mere five-hundred meters away, dwarfing their shuttle. The Vulcan’s mouth dropped open as the Operative struggled to overcome her reflexive terror.
“Our ride’s here,” Sandhurst said as he sat up in his seat. He came to his feet and patted Verrik on the shoulder. “Time to say ‘hello’ to the Amon.”