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Old July 3 2010, 09:56 AM   #1
unusualsuspex
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Star Trek : Angel - Vignette No 9

LEGAL DISCLAIMER: Star Trek is trademarked and copyrighted by CBS Studios.
NO infringement is intended. All other material is copyright to Unusualsuspex 2010.




STAR TREK: ANGEL – VIGNETTE NINE

T’SELL

CONDUCT UNBECOMING






FEDERATION SCIENCE OUTPOST TEMPUS
GATEWAY
HROMI SECTOR
14th May 2347 – 0900 FST


“Lieutenant Andrews, Starfleet has returned the transcribed recordings and is currently awaiting clarification of the final batch.” Commander Ernest Munroe passed the new PADD to the young lieutenant and continued with his checklist. “Ensign G’Halith?”

When there was no response from the crowded briefing room, Munroe raised his eyes to scan the assembled science specialists with a world weary gaze.

“I assume nobody has seen Ensign G’Halith this morning?”

The round of shaking heads came as little surprise to Munroe and he handed the PADD to his deputy.

“I would appreciate it if you would ask Mr G’Halith to report to my office promptly, Mr Vine.” He raised the final PADD in his hand. “Lieutenant T’Sell, Starfleet is very excited about the progress you have made on your report.”

While Starfleet may indeed have been excited, Munroe delivered the news in a monotone that had bored Starfleet cadets for years at the Academy before his posting to Gateway so T’Sell did not take it as an affront to her work.

“You have therefore been given priority with the Guardian for this week. Please advise my office if you have any spare slots in your research period that we may allocate to others.”

He passed the PADD to T’Sell before addressing the scientists in the briefing room one last time. “That is all for today ladies and gentlemen. A schedule for Guardian access has now been posted in the administrative annexe and any further applications will be taken on an ad hoc basis. Thank you.”

Without further ado, Munroe left the pre-fabricated building to attend to the recalcitrant Ensign G’Halith and the briefing broke up with the scientists departing to their respective laboratories amid a buzz of conversation.

“Hey, nice work T’Sell! Not bad for a newbie!”

T’Sell turned to see the ebullient figure of Lieutenant (j.g.) Kendra Tennant rapidly approaching in her anti-grav chair, her customary enthusiastic grin lifting T’Sell’s mood. T’Sell had always given her Vulcan heritage prominence in her day to day life, and as far as those around her knew she was the quintessence of Vulcan stoicism. Occasionally however, she allowed her Betazoid inheritance out of its small guarded corner in the presence of those she felt comfortable sharing the truth of her heritage with, and Tennant was one of them.

Quirking an eyebrow at Tennant, T’Sell allowed the smallest of twitches at the corner of her mouth.

“Newbie?” she asked. “Oh, a slang term for those who have been on Gateway less time but achieved more than their peers I assume.”

“Your modesty is both out of character and patently false T’Sell,” grinned Kendra. “Seriously, that is some good work.”

“Thank you Kendra.” T’Sell allowed the young woman to precede her as they exited the air conditioned building into the dry and eerie atmosphere of the compound located close to the Guardian of Forever. “I apologise if this precedence takes away from your research time.”

“Oh don’t worry about that,” replied Kendra as she waited for T’Sell to draw alongside her before continuing. “I’ve got so many research notes to write up at the moment, a break in observations will do me good.”

The dim twilight ambience that was a permanent feature of the planet meant that most of the labs and habitat prefabs were continually lit within, casting pools of light out into the quadrangle they surrounded. Silhouettes flitted back and forth, their shadows dancing across the ground ahead of the two officers.

“So are you going to let me in on the secret?”

Kendra’s seemingly innocent question made T’Sell’s insides clench, but the look of guilt that might have escaped on to a human’s face never made it as far as T’Sell’s. She sensed only excitement and interest from Kendra and she reined in her Betazoid senses.

“Secret?” The pair paused at the intersection where they would part company. “I have a secret?”

“Oh c’mon! Narendra III! What have you found?”

In a closed community such as the one here on Gateway, little was kept secret as each staff member carried a hefty security grade and the natural cross-pollination of ideas and data made secrets counter-productive anyway.

“Starfleet seem to be jumping through hoops whatever it is!”

Kendra was almost bouncing out of her chair so T’Sell made a big show of looking both ways before leaning in close to Kendra’s ear.

“Temporal rift,” she whispered before placing a finger to her lips. “It is yet to be confirmed but it seems the most likely probability.”

Kendra’s eyes went wide. “Really? So what came through?”

Shaking her head, T’Sell raised an eyebrow in admonishment. “That is still the subject of investigation Kendra. I am sure you would not expect me to speculate.” Again she gave the merest hint of a smile and Kendra sighed.

“You do it on purpose don’t you? Give me just a hint then snatch it away.” She grinned at her friend before increasing the lift on her chair. “Well as long as I’m the first to know after you, my patience can hold. See you at lunch newbie!”

She watched her friend scoot out of sight behind the dorm complex before turning and heading for the monitoring booth, hands clasped behind her back.

Today was the day that T’Sell would break her first Starfleet regulation, and it was one that could well see her fledgling career ended before it had had a chance to take flight.


SEN-KH’AR SUBURBS
VULCAN
UFP SPACE
1st August 2329 – 0835 FST


“You will be late T’Sell.”

“Then I will run.”

T’Las let out a small breath that was the Vulcan equivalent of a world weary sigh. She loved her six year grand-daughter dearly and was proud of her achievements at such a young age, but there was a great deal of her father in her. It was that particular fact that was now causing concern for T’Las.

“You know that running is frowned upon T’Sell.” Putting as much steel into her voice as she could muster, T’Las pointed her grand-daughter at the door and said, “We are leaving.”

Making sure that T’Sell had her hood raised against the already fierce glare of 40 Eridani A, she guided the youngster towards the line beginning to form outside the school.

“Grandmother? Why do I dream of dark clouds and lightning?”

She looked down at the earnest face and deep black eyes of T’Sell, pausing briefly to squat down beside her.

“They are only dreams T’Sell,” she said brushing an errant strand of hair behind one finely pointed ear, just as she had done when T’Elor had been a child. But T’Sell’s mother had never had so many questions.

“I know grandmother, but I keep having the same dream again and again. It is not logical.”

“Does the dream frighten you?”

For a moment, T’Sell’s gaze was far away as she considered the question seriously. “Perhaps, but I do not know why. There is darkness and then a flash of lightning and then…” The child searched for the right words to convey her feelings. “And then, I feel alone. Not just alone like when I am in bed but…”

It was obvious to T’Las that T’Sell was struggling with an emotion that was alien to her, one that defied the young child’s ability to articulate. She wondered briefly if T’Elor would have understood what her child was trying to say better than her grandmother.

Both T’Las and her husband, Sekon, had not hesitated to take T’Sell in after the death of the child’s parents on Kyron IV, but T’Las knew that her grand-daughter’s dual heritage may well require parenting of a kind that she was not capable of.

Vulcan’s by nature were touch telepaths but T’Sell’s father had been Betazoid and a full telepath. T’Las knew that the Betazoid’s telepathic ability was not inborn but almost always came with adolescence. That was of course in a pure Betazoid child leaving her to wonder just when T’Sell would feel the first stirrings. Already the youngster had received private counselling in mental disciplines that would hopefully help her to cope with it, something that had saddened T’Las.

A child should not have to receive counselling she thought.

“Have you mentioned this to Counsellor Velath?”

T’Sell screwed her face up at the mention of the counsellor’s name.

“He does not have time to listen to me,” she replied sourly. “He is always too busy talking.”

“Then I will speak to him this evening. Now,” she said noticing that the line of young children was filing quietly into the school, “you must go to lessons. Learn well T’Sell.”

As the six year old strode off solemnly to join the diminishing queue, T’Las thought that her own daughter, if she had still been alive, would have been justifiably proud of her.


FEDERATION SCIENCE OUTPOST TEMPUS
GATEWAY
HROMI SECTOR
14th May 2347 – 0917 FST

The observation and recording booth had been set up a small distance from the Guardian of Forever with a battery of recording and sensing apparatus arrayed in a semi-circle facing towards the opening. Measurements and recordings could be taken in every known spectrum and the Guardian itself was only too willing to aid the scientists in their research though its responses to some of their questions could be more baffling than the question itself.

T’Sell accessed the databanks to load her own presets into the console before opening the communication channel. As the screens flickered to life she addressed the ancient entity.

“Guardian, I come with a request.”

It was the standard, if somewhat stilted method of communication with the artefact that all the scientists had learned.

“You wish to observe? I recognise you T’Sell of Vulcan, make your request.”

“I wish to study the events surrounding the system of Narendra once more.”

There was the briefest of pauses before the internal flicker of sentience accompanied the sonorous reply.

“The period and location you wish to study is available for you.”

The open centre of the torus shaped artefact clouded before a flickering series of images began to display. When the ancient artefact had first been discovered by the crew of the USS Enterprise under James T Kirk, it had said that it could not slow the images as it had been designed to show them that way. In the intervening period however it had acquired the ability to compensate for the slower observational methods of the Federation scientists.

As the tendrils of mist started to clear, the image of a planet appeared with four mighty Romulan Warbirds descending into a tight orbit. Activating the recording apparatus, T’Sell fixed her attention on one monitor in particular. As the scene played out of the four Romulan Warbirds laying waste to the Klingon outpost, she carefully extended the reach of the scanner to the predefined co-ordinates.

The USS Enterprise-C was now engaged in mortal combat above the planet that lay close to the Klingon/Romulan border, attempting to protect those planetside despite the tensions between their respective cultures. The Ambassador Class vessel found itself struggling against odds that it could never hope to match yet unknowingly paving the way for a renaissance in diplomatic overtures between the Federation and the Klingon Empire.

It had been T’Sell’s seemingly innocuous task to record the historic battle for Starfleet’s archives but a mystery had evolved from the observation that only now was starting to become clear.

Here it comes.

As the Enterprise-C heeled hard to port loosing a blistering volley of phaser fire on the lead Warbird, a second Romulan had nosed up from the Enterprise’s rear starboard quarter. A spread of torpedoes sped out towards the Federation flagship but its tight manoeuvre caused all but one to miss. The remainder, finding no target, exploded with a blinding flash kilometres beyond in open space.

NOW!

For a fraction of a second, the visual scene in the open centre of the alien artefact turned to fragmented colours and static as it had done each time before. When the image resumed, the Enterprise-C was sat at 90 degrees to its previous lateral orientation with its starboard nacelle venting plasma.

Wisdom dictated that while the nacelle damage could be directly attributed to the single torpedo strike, neither its misalignment nor the static filled break in the images could be explained. Each time that the Guardian had been queried about the inconsistencies it had replied, “Time has many facets, and among them there are those which we may not see. All is now as it should be.”

Alone in the booth, T’Sell allowed an uncharacteristic smile to play across her lips as she saw the readings on the scanner she had focussed on the torpedo explosions. Two milliseconds prior to the loss of image, it had recorded the beginning of an immense burst of chroniton particles which, when the image returned, was rapidly fading below the background of weapons discharge.

For the next three hours, T’Sell refined the recordings and results filing each batch before eventually sitting back in the single seat with the conviction strong in her mind that her theory had been correct. The explosion of the torpedoes had indeed caused a temporal rift to open though what had occurred in that brief unseen period might never be known.

Certainly, the Guardian was a creature born out of a need to observe temporal phenomena, so was it possible that the accidental opening of this rift had blinded it albeit for the briefest of moments? Could its close and basic attachment to the time stream have been corrupted with that single accidental blast? It would explain, for instance, why the Guardian could not answer their questions as opposed to would not. Too little was known about the enigmatic artefact to know for sure.

With the computers now crunching the data T’Sell found, for the time being, that she had a short period of inactivity and the rare smile faded from her face. She had already committed to her course of action today well before the morning brief, because with the latest data all but proving her theory, she realised that her research period with the Guardian was close to ending.

If you wish to know the truth, then ask the question. Her late grandmother’s voice was as clear in her mind as if she had been there with her.

“Guardian, I have a further request.”

For a moment, the large torus remained dark then lights flickered deep within.

“T’Sell of Vulcan, make your request.”

T’Sell took a deep breath before replying, “I wish to observe events at the Vulcan Science Mission on Kyron IV, as dated in the human calendar for the day 9th February 2323.”

The Guardian had been primed some time ago on Earth’s dating system and now used it as a constant for all scientific observation requests. The open centre of the torus once again began to cloud with tendrils of mist.

“The period and location you wish to study is available.”

Stepping out of the booth, she approached the flickering images that slowly stilled to show the courtyard of the Kyron IV Mission an hour before the attack that would destroy it. Remnant streamers of mist that trailed from the top of the portal made the image seem distant and faded, almost unreal; but if there was one thing T’Sell had discovered from working with the Guardian, all of its images were real.

She checked that the phaser was still attached to her belt and then, before she lost the will to follow through on her plan, T’Sell stepped through the portal.


SEN-KH’AR SUBURBS
VULCAN
UFP SPACE
27th March 2333 – 1927 FST

“This is excellent news T’Sell.”

The ten year old looked at her grandfather with typical Vulcan restraint but that was more a product of her mental training than her real emotional state.

“An early recommendation for the Science Academy may be unusual grandfather but it is certainly not rare.”

Sekon didn’t need to be Betazoid to read the undertone in T’Sell’s reply as she continued to clear away after the evening meal.

“You do not feel that your achievements warrant such a recommendation?”

T’Sell raised a single eyebrow at the comment. So like her mother mused Sekon, but held his silence.

“On the contrary grandfather, my academic grades place me in the upper two percentile of my peers and therefore the recommendation is logical.”

She placed the last of the bowls into the cupboard and then came to sit beside him on the open veranda. Below them in the plaza, evening vendors were doing a brisk trade to the tourists who had arrived for the torchlight festival.

“Grandfather, while my tutor may see it as logical to recommend me based on my academic qualifications, he has failed to take into account my personal wishes.”

“I see,” he replied. There was a period of silence before he continued, the smell of vutal stew wafting up from below reminding him of his own childhood and a very similar conversation. Times had changed though, in many ways.

“At the age of ten, do you feel that you now know the course your life will take?”

“Of course not grandfather, but then by definition neither does he. His recommendation is a shaping of my life beyond my control however and I am not comfortable with this.”

Sekon stood and walked out on to the balcony, the hot arid breeze from the desert momentarily overwhelming the smells of the market.

“Would you agree that a student’s inherent talents are best utilised to serve the needs of the many?”

“That is only logical, but it is a logic that extends only so far grandfather.”

He turned and raised an interrogative eyebrow as he studied his grand-daughter.

“Surely,” she continued, “if the student’s needs are satisfied without impact on the many, then all parties reap the benefit.”

It seemed that there came a lull in the sound from outside as if the whole of Sen-Kh’ar awaited the next sentence.

“In this particular case then, what would the needs of the student be?”

T’Sell drew herself up to her full diminutive height and looked him squarely in the eyes.

“I wish to join Starfleet grandfather and become a scientist like my mother.”

And as if the planet Vulcan had heard the answer it had expected, the desert mistral once again shifted the light curtains by the window and the marketplace resumed its clamour.

So like her mother.
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Old July 3 2010, 09:58 AM   #2
unusualsuspex
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Star Trek : Angel - Vignette No 9 (cont)

VULCAN SCIENCE MISSION
KYRON IV
TELLEG SECTOR
UFP/TZENKETHI BORDER REGION
9th February 2323 – 1622 FST

Noting the point at which she had entered this time period, T’Sell stepped forward on to the broad sweeping path that led towards the accommodation complex. The outpost itself was neither large nor ostentatious; it seemed it had barely had time for the ferrocrete to begin to dry in fact. Within an hour, it would be no more.

Stepping inside the accommodation complex she bypassed the main stairs to head for a small service corridor that led below the building and carefully sealed the door behind her.

All her actions to this point had been meticulously planned though the logic for them was non-existent. The burning need to see her parents as they had been before the disaster that removed them from her life forever was the only driving force behind these actions. Try as she might, she could see absolutely no justification for what she had done other than she knew she had to.

All she had worked for during her years at the Academy, her exemplary service with Starfleet; the loss of all of it was the price she was willing to pay for this moment in time and her espoused Vulcan logic could not justify it.

She took a seat at the emergency standby security post and opened her tricorder. Within moments, the security codes had been parsed and matched and a small bank of monitors sprang to life before her showing the rooms and corridors of the accommodation complex. She scrolled through the list of rooms until she came to apartment 22-A1.

There were two cameras in the apartment, both of which would normally only be activated in the event of an emergency or intruder alert and the scientists were all aware of them. The first camera covered the living area, a small open plan room containing a sitting/dining area and a kitchenette while the other camera covered the bedroom. For twenty minutes or so, there was no sign of activity until eventually her parents arrived.

They headed straight through the living area and she switched to the bedroom camera, a small twinge of voyeuristic guilt overwhelmed immediately by the clear view of her mother and father. In the background she could hear the sound of the shower starting to run but as she watched her father, she knew something was wrong.

Guiltily he stole a glance into the connecting corridor to the shower before delving under the bed to remove a small electronic PADD. He placed it atop the dark red bedcover before connecting it to a larger box and began entering data into the PADD itself for some minutes. He never saw his wife enter the room behind him until it was too late.

“Lon? What is this?”

For a startled moment, his gaze flickered between his wife and the PADD in his hands. “This…I…” He shook his head, “There is no time to explain T’Elor. We must leave here immediately.”

T’Elor stood her ground. “Leave? Why?”

“I told you,” he said standing quickly, “there isn’t time to explain. Just get dressed quickly.”

The box and PADD emitted a simultaneous beep and the computer synthesised voice proclaimed “Outpost shield override in operation. Lockout confirmed.”

T’Elor studied her husband in confusion. “What have you done?”

Londat Mennet reached behind his back and produced a small holdout phaser which he pointed at T’Elor.

“There is no turning back T’Elor, we have to leave now!”

“Lon, I will ask again. What have you done?”

Wavering between running and explaining in the hope that T’Elor would join him, Londat tried one last time.

“We knew that this planet was in Tzenkethi controlled space and yet still they sent us here T’Elor? Why? It was an open invitation for the Tzenkethi to attack us!”

T’Elor placed her hands on her hips shaking her head. “You are making no sense Londat. You know as well as I do that this planet lies at least ten A.U.s beyond Tzenkethi borders.”

“You think that matters a damn to the Cats?” Londat’s voice had raised an octave, whether in anger or panic T’Sell didn’t know. “Their borders are where they decide and if you want proof then stay here because in less than twenty minutes, this outpost will be gone!”

The light of realisation dawned on T’Elor’s face. “You have left the outpost defenceless?”

“T’Elor, they paid me enough for us to start a new life away from all this. We’ll be safe and nobody need ever know!”

T’Sell felt the blood drain from her face as she too realised what had just transpired. In a flash of motion, T’Elor lashed out with a foot sending Londat’s phaser clattering across the room as she leapt in the opposite direction towards the locker.

With a look of animal fury, Londat followed her and as her hand grasped for the Starfleet issue phaser, his clamped down over hers. A furious struggle ensued in the room as bedside tables and ornaments were scattered around in the fight for possession of the phaser, T’Sell impotent to intervene.

Her only intention for coming here had been to see her parents and now she was witness to a betrayal of the Federation! Any action she might take would disrupt the time stream and she knew that would be a step too far no matter what the eventuality. In her mind she was acutely aware that her parents were already dead, but in her heart she wanted so badly to prevent the disaster about to befall them.

Her attention refocused on the screen as the struggle continued. Londat had T’Elor pinned against the wall with his arm locked around her neck when there came the unmistakable whine of a phaser and T’Elor’s body went limp. T’Sell stifled a scream that threatened to rise in her throat, the small security room suddenly closing in around her.

She watched in morbid fascination as Londat quickly placed T’Elor’s lifeless body back into the shower before dumping the PADD and control box into the recycler. Her mind screamed at her to take action - at least the Betazoid part did - but it was overruled by the Vulcan part which clamped down with iron mental restraints.

By the time her tricorder chimed “Five minutes to return deadline”, Londat was long gone and her grand-mother’s suspicions had been proven not to be the delusions of advanced Bendii Syndrome after all.

T’Sell hurriedly disconnected the tricorder and stealthily made her way outside. Seeing that the grounds were deserted, she sprinted towards the tree line where the exit back to her own time lay and as she stepped through into reality once more, she was certain she heard the blaring sirens warning of an impending attack.


FEDERATION SCIENCE OUTPOST TEMPUS
GATEWAY
HROMI SECTOR
14th May 2347 – 0931 FST

“T’Sell of Vulcan, your journey was unauthorised.”

As the adrenaline rush left her body, she placed her hands on her knees and breathed deeply but could not erase the sounds or the sights from her mind. When she finally stood, she turned to face the Guardian.

“You are correct Guardian,” she replied in a hesitant voice. “My journey was unauthorised.” She hung her head realising that it was all over. “I have transgressed Starfleet protocol.”

“A question. Why would one whose life is ruled by logic and fundamental obedience commit such an act?”

A series of answers ran through T’Sell’s mind but only one was the absolute truth. “Because I had to.” She raised her eyes to the torus and said quite simply, “What now Guardian?”

Enough time passed that T’Sell became convinced there would be no answer from the often recalcitrant artefact and she was about to turn away when she heard the rumble of its reply.

“The laws that rule me are not those of your civilization or the Federation, T’Sell of Vulcan. They are laws committed to me before your sun burnt hot and they are intractable.” There came a pause filled with potential. “Your actions did not transgress my laws T’Sell of Vulcan. All is as it should be.”

To all intents and purposes, the Guardian had just told her that her journey to 2323 was of no interest to it!

“It is not then necessary to report my journey to Starfleet authorities?”

“Your actions did not transgress my laws T’Sell of Vulcan. All is as it should be.”

Which, it seemed, was to be all the answer should we receive. The onus of reporting her breach of Starfleet regulations now lay with her and she knew in her heart that she would do so. But not yet.


STARFLEET ACADEMY
SAN FRANCISCO, USA
EARTH
UFP SPACE
4th July 2342 – 2018 FST

The rigors of Starfleet training were designed to shape the physical and mental faculties of a cadet, preparing them for life “out there” as much as anything could. T’Sell had seen cadets fall by the wayside for varying reasons but in the end those reasons didn’t matter. It was the decision that mattered and the way such a decision was reached and ultimately handled by the individual.

One or two had been unable to meet the physical challenges of the four year course, but all had tried their utmost. Several had eventually decided that a Starfleet career was simply not the right life for them or been unable to master the theoretical skills that were obligatory to service.

She never felt that she might be one of those who attended the Commandant’s office with the intention of leaving but none the less, she now stood at parade ground attention before Admiral Cholak Tol.

“Cadet T’Sell, take a seat please.”

She wanted to remain standing if for no other reason than the fact that it would help focus her mind on not breaking down. Her Vulcan mental control had carried her this far, but her Betazoid emotions were close to the surface.

She sat stiffly in the proffered seat awaiting the question she knew the Admiral was about to ask and repeating over and over in her mind I am sorry Admiral but I must tender my resignation from Starfleet. It was as if she were afraid that she might forget what she wanted to say.

The room was quiet and heavy with history and the question that Tol quietly asked her caught her completely off guard.

“Tell me about your grandparents cadet.”

Her lips were already forming the sentence she had been chanting like a mantra in her mind when it dawned on her that the question had not been the one she had been expecting.

With the window behind him, Tol’s bifurcated Bolian face was cast in shadow and T’Sell could not see his expression but his voice had been gentle and sincere which was when her floodgates opened.

She told him of the death of her parents while she was being cared for as an infant. How her grandparents had raised and nurtured her in their absence and fully supported her application to join Starfleet. She was sure she talked of the picnics in Talur Park and the death of her friend in an earth tremor on the edge of the Forge and all the while Tol listened without comment.

Eventually she reached the part where she had received the news just three years ago that her grandmother had been diagnosed with advanced Bendii Syndrome. Her world had fallen apart around her to discover that the woman who for so long had been the guiding light of her life was terminally ill and that her passing would be preceded by the ultimate pain a Vulcan could suffer - the loss of their mental faculties.

Yet her grandmother had entreated T’Sell to continue at the Academy. The affection and pride, (she had admitted pride and felt no shame over the admission), she felt for her grand-daughter was a supporting force in her life and she would not watch as T’Sell gave up all she had worked for.

Her grand-father had taken her grand-mother on trips they had always planned but never quite gotten around to, making the very most of their time together with comms and letters arriving for T’Sell from each trip. Increasingly, some of the missives became confused or rambling and latterly most were finished by her grand-father but it didn’t matter. Her grand-mother was enjoying life to the extent that the Bendii’s would allow.

Their final trip together had been to Arcadia to see the Rainbow Falls but it was a trip that would never be completed. The official report stated that the liner had suffered a hull breach with catastrophic consequences and that no survivors had been found.

T’Sell’s narrative slowly wound down and the room returned to silence for a while. It was eventually broken by Tol who stood and turned to face the window overlooking the flower beds below.

“You came here, I assume, to tell me that you had decided to leave Starfleet?”

She nodded then realised the Admiral could not see her. “Yes Sir.”

His shoulders sagged slightly at her answer though he didn’t turn around.

“Is your decision based on logic cadet?” Before she could answer, he continued. “I don’t mean that in a derogatory way. I ask it simply because your world encompasses more than one culture and Vulcan logic, at least in your case, should be tempered by Betazoid emotion.”

It was now that he turned to face her, a determined expression on his face but his voice still gentle.

“Your grand-parents passing is a thing to be grieved T’Sell, but it should not be a thing that ends all they wanted for you. It was your decision to join Starfleet but it was ultimately their support that enabled that decision.”

Sitting at his desk once more, he folded his arms on the table. With her Vulcan mental control in tatters, she mentally heard the question before it passed his lips.

What is the best way to honour them in their absence T’Sell?

The actual question came out like a slightly delayed echo.

“I want you to take time out and attend your grand-parents funeral before you answer the question T’Sell. Your place at the Academy is secure until such time as you finally reach a decision.”

She stood then, feeling as though she existed in a universe she no longer fully understood.

“Thank you Sir,” was the most she could manage.


VINDAR TOWERS
HOLETH
BETAZED
UFP SPACE
22nd May 2347 – 1925 FST

Betazed was a beautiful planet and one that T’Sell had never visited before despite it being the birthplace of her father. She knew that he had been an orphan and that he therefore had no family she could contact here, so visiting the planet on purely emotional grounds had seemed pointless.

Yet now she had discovered beauty and tranquillity here and wished that she had made the effort long before.

T’Sell had rented a low budget apartment close to the transit station in Holeth and after two days on planet making enquiries and preparing for what lay ahead she had at last made the trip into the high class suburb where Vindar Towers was located.

The locale was both exclusive and secure, as its clientele demanded, yet she had not travelled all this way to be thwarted at the last hurdle. Sophisticated as that security was, it proved child’s play for her to breach and within twenty minutes she had accessed the apartment she needed.

Extravagantly furnished, it told her little about Ramaehr Tellmar other than he had more money than taste. She took a seat in a reproduction Risan love chair set in the furthest recess of the room and patiently waited.


STARFLEET ACADEMY
SAN FRANCISCO, USA
EARTH
UFP SPACE
1st August 2342 – 1728 FST

When the package had arrived for T’Sell she had been totally uncertain what to make of it. A small electronic card with it indicated that it was the first consignment of her grandmother’s effects recovered from the wreck of the Morning Beacon and T’Sell had been listed as her next of kin.

Removing the security seal she found several neatly wrapped packages containing clothes, jewellery, credit chips and more. Each one was carefully inventoried and she laid them aside on her bed realising that the memories she held in her heart would be of greater duration and comfort than these mere material items. It was only when she reached the bottom of the crate and discovered the carefully wrapped journal that the first cracks appeared in her emotional control.

She had attended the service on Vulcan and, in public at least, been the epitome of Vulcan reserve. She had thanked each and every attendee without the slightest hint of emotion. Dignified yet aloof, she had performed her duty to her grandparents before spending the flight back to Earth secluded in her quarters and shedding the tears she had so long held back.

Naturally she had stayed on at the Academy and was due to graduate shortly believing that the hardest part of her grieving process had already passed. Yet as she carefully removed the wrapping and saw her grandmother’s neat handwritten script, tears obscured her vision once more.

The journal itself charted the deterioration of her grandmother’s health, not in the details but in the ever more randomness of its entries. One moment she would be describing how exquisite the food aboard the liner was and in the next sentence she was referring to long dead relatives as if they were still alive.

Each neatly written word, though, brought to life vivid images of her grandmother. In the script was conveyed the warmth of her love, the dedication to her family, the private grief of her own failing mind.

T’Sell read through to the early hours of the morning and was beginning to feel sleepy, so much so that she was convinced that her eyes were playing tricks on her. Tucked into the corner of the page was a hardcopy from a news service and underneath, in her grandmother’s handwriting, was written “I saw Londat on the news again. Naturally he is dead though perhaps it is a news service for the departed? He certainly looks successful.”

The story on the clipping referred to a businessman who had turned a failing business into a quadrant success story though there was no image that went with it. Several times after that Londat’s name was mentioned though to T’Sell’s distress it seemed to be little more than the disturbing effects of the Bendii Syndrome wreaking havoc with her grandmother’s mind. The entries became increasingly anguished with her grandmother desperate to understand how this living ghost could be.

In five years time, it would be those entries that set T’Sell on her single minded mission.
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Old July 3 2010, 09:59 AM   #3
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Star Trek : Angel - Vignette No 9 (cont)

VINDAR TOWERS
HOLETH
BETAZED
UFP SPACE
22nd May 2347 – 2238 FST

It was dark by the time Ramaehr Tellmar returned to his penthouse suite reeking of drink and cheap perfume. When he entered the living area and ordered the lights to half brightness, the double take he did on seeing T’Sell’s shadowed form sitting quietly waiting for him was priceless.

Stepping back quickly, his leg caught on the low coffee table and he tumbled ungracefully back on to the sofa.

“Who the hell are you?”

T’Sell felt the clumsy attempt to probe her thoughts and blocked it with ease much to Tellmar’s obvious dismay.

“I would ask you the same question Mr Tellmar although I have the advantage of knowing the answer in advance.”

“I advise you to leave before security arrives.” His tone was more bluster than fearlessness as he brandished the security pager before her.

“I am more than willing to wait to prove my point Mr Tellmar, but I can assure you that security will not be attending.”

When moments passed and there was no sign of the Tower’s security officers, Tellmar threw the useless pager on to the table in disgust.

“So, I ask again, who are you?”

When T’Sell stood and moved into the light Tellmar gasped, his already pale pallor becoming several shades lighter. Although he bit back the name that was about to escape his lips, his broadcast mental scream was enough to assure T’Sell that she had found the man she was looking for.

“My grandmother told me that I looked very much like my mother Mr Tellmar.”

He made no reply but his eyes were wide with shock and his mind was in turmoil. T’Sell, safe behind her carefully prepared mental shields, felt his panic and confusion washing out in tsunamis.

“Did you honestly believe that this day would never come Londat Mennet?”

He flinched at the mention of his real name, final confirmation if any was needed that his true identity was known.

“How…did you find me?”

“I did not. It was my grandmother who found you though it was your own success that betrayed you. Believing there would be nobody left alive who would recognise you was foolish.”

A flash of anger emanated from him then and he began to rise.

“So what do you want from me? I would have thought blackmail was beneath a Vulcan?”

It was the closest that T’Sell had come to losing her self-control. “You think that the murder of my mother and the betrayal of the Federation can be erased by bribery?” she hissed. “Sit down!”

He quickly sat back down raising his hands in self defence. The venom in T’Sell’s voice had seriously scared him.

“It was so many years ago.” Mennet’s face crumpled in despair. “I never meant to kill your mother.”

“And selling your services to the Tzenkethi was an accident as well?”

She drew the phaser attached to her belt and Mennet sobbed.

“Wait! Please, I didn’t…that is I thought they would just take the planet and return the scientists to the Federation. You have to believe me; I didn’t think that they would destroy the outpost!”

“Stand up Mr Mennet,” ordered T’Sell as she brandished the phaser. “Turn around and kneel on the floor with your hands behind your head.”

He complied, his body shaking.

“So you have become both judge and executioner? You think that makes you any better than me?” Believing his demise to be imminent had given Mennet a small amount of backbone which disappeared instantly as T’Sell leaned in close, her whisper sending icicles of fear down his spine.

“If only it were that simple Mr Mennet. If I were to kill you now, it would be for justice not money.”

He braced himself for the whine of the phaser, but instead he heard the outside door slide open and a deep male voice spoke as several legs surrounded him.

“Thank you Lieutenant T’Sell, we’ll take it from here. Londat Mennet you are under arrest on suspicion of multiple murders on Kyron IV, treason against the Federation, illegal arms dealing in the Tzenkethi sector…”

The litany of charges continued for several minutes before the caution was completed and Mennet was lifted to his feet a broken man. As he was led to the door he turned to T’Sell with tears in his still uncomprehending eyes. “I didn’t mean to kill her.”

She spun around to face the darkness outside the window and mentally bolstered her shields so that she wouldn’t have to listen to the meaningless protestations any longer.

“Lieutenant?”

She eventually turned to find that she was alone in the room with the Federation Security Agent.

“We’ll naturally need your grandmother’s journal as material evidence but I’d like to thank you for bringing this to the authorities rather than seeking your own justice.” His expression was one of understanding. “I’ve seen what can happen when people go down that route.”

T’Sell removed the hidden microphone that had been wired into her uniform and passed it to him.

“Had I realised sooner that my grandmother’s journal could have prevented much of what Mennet has done then I would have brought it to you sooner.”

“Nevertheless, you made the right decision at the right time,” he said. “Tellmar, or rather Mennet, had been the subject of investigation for quite some time. Your evidence enabled our arrest to proceed which means we can now bring the other charges to bear as well.”

Feeling her façade beginning to crumble, T’Sell refused the offer of a lift to her apartment and advised the Security Agent that she would remain on planet until such time as her services were no longer needed.

She barely heard his words of thanks as she hurried out into the night air, the tears now flowing freely down her face.


EPILOGUE

FEDERATION SCIENCE OUTPOST TEMPUS
GATEWAY
HROMI SECTOR
1st June 2347 – 0912 FST

“Ensign G’Halith?”

“Here Commander.” Munroe passed the young ensign a stack of PADDs.

“It would seem, since your surprising return to the land of science, that Starfleet has become very interested in your research. Congratulations, they’re expecting that batch returned within 48 hours.”

He looked somewhat myopically at the final PADD.

“Lieutenant T’Sell?”

“Yes Commander.”

“It would appear that your time with us is complete. I’ve just received your transfer notice.”

He passed the PADD over Kendra’s head and actually managed a smile.

“Congratulations. Accompanying your posting to the science outpost on Setlik III is a promotion to full lieutenant.”

Kendra, caught up in the excitement of the moment, completely forgot herself and grabbed T’Sell’s hand.

“You got it T’Sell! I knew you would!”

“Thank you Kendra.” She raised her eyes back to Munroe who, uncharacteristically, had retained his smile.

“Oh, yes, right. Lieutenant Tennant? You will be accompanying Lieutenant T’Sell as a research assistant though heaven knows how she intends to curb your enthusiasm.” He shook Tennant’s hand, her face displaying a mix of shock and excitement, before turning back to T’Sell. “I’m not usually one to gush Lieutenant, but your work here has been exemplary. I wish you luck on Setlik III.”

He refrained from attempting to shake her hand, instead settling for a nod before turning and gathering Vine and exiting with his usual world weary plod.

T’Sell, meanwhile, noted that Kendra was about to launch into one of her excited moods and she raised a single eyebrow.

“Do not make me reconsider recommending you for this assignment Kendra.”

With an impish grin, she replied “Well at least it’ll be more exciting than here!”
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