The Vulcan, Episode 2: ‘The Needs of the Few.’

Episode 2: ‘The Needs of the Few.’

S’Talla is getting her log up to date while the Vulcan is leaving her dock at Halla Station and maneuvering into departure position for a new heading.

“Captain’s Log, stardate: Three seven seven nine point six. We have spent twenty-two standard days in the Neutral Zone at the privately owned port called Halla Station, a sanctuary for smugglers and outlaws. We picked up Mr. Naxx, a Coridanite exchange agent to ‘Operations’, Coming off a long term field assignment. He has been selected to fill out our crew.

“The ship now looks less like a VDM stealth ship and more like a private commercial freighter, with new numbers and the name ‘Vulcan’ painted on the hull. The large additional view ports and brighter color scheme fit the new roll and should disguise the ship’s origins well. The crew has been advised to dress as civilians instead of their Vulcan or Federation Science Corps uniforms or officer uniforms.

“Another passenger has also come aboard. Human Billy Gruff has commissioned us with our first contract in our new enterprise as a private shipping company. We are heading towards a rendezvous on the Federation side of the Neutral Zone to pick up a shipment of Andorian Ale and Black Market medical supplies to deliver to the Romulan side of the Zone.”

“Last, I believe some of the personnel are feeling trapped aboard. We were not able to arrange a trustworthy passage for the six people who wished to return to Vulcan. I am concerned that their frustration may have an adverse effect on the rest of the new volunteers.”


T’Pree and T’Pia are in engineering looking over a cylindrical device attached by six triplets of thick lighted clear conduits. The conduits curve out in six directions. Each set flows with a light in the primary color scheme, one conduit in red, one conduit in green and one conduit in blue. The two Vulcans are looking over the component with a tricorder and a mobile diagnostics station.

“A fascinating device.” T’Pree states, then asks, “How is it that the head systems engineer did not know about this before?”

T’Pia responds thoughtfully. “I was told it was the power booster for the transporter system and that you were responsible for it. Your reports never indicated any issues with this device so, there was nothing to attract my concern.”

T’Pree explains, “I was told it was the responsibility of the power systems group.”

Just then, Damian walked up with Charlie in tow.

T’Pia asks of Damian, “Mr. Apollonius, you were part of the power systems group, did you have occasion to look at this device?”

Damian looked the odd cylinder up and down for a second, his eyes traced the conduits to where they disappeared into the floor, walls and ceiling. He let’s his eyes rest upon a greenish glowing chamber with a tiny crystal inside held between metal posts, to one side.

“This is the mysterious cloaking device, I take it? It does have its own dilithium power source. I, in fact, did inspect the crystal and chamber to make sure there were no cracks or other defects. It was putting out no radiation that might endanger the ship, so I wouldn’t have been overly concerned with the device itself, since I had understood it to be part of the ship’s central sensor array.”

“That would be T’Perl’s area.” announces T’Pia. She taps her com badge, “T’Pia to T’Perl.”

The disembodied voice of T’Perl answers back, “T’Perl here.”

T’Pia continues, “I am in Engineering inspecting the cloaking device. It is a cylindrical piece of equipment connected to the ship’s systems by six sets of optical conduits with its own small crystal power supply. Are you familiar with this device?”

T’Perl answers, “I have seen the device you are describing, but I believed it was part of the warp drive, so I paid it little attention. My assigned job has been the ship’s sensors.”

Charley laughs when he hears T’Perl mention the warp drives. “That was my assignment, working under you, T’Pia. I was told it was the power booster for the transporter system.” he explains.

T’Pree shakes her head in the negative while T’Pia talks to T’Perl.

“Thank you, T’Perl. That helps clarify some things.” T’Pia closes the communication.

T’Pia, as Charlie’s supervisor, confirms, “It seems whoever was responsible for this device was a master at cloaking more than just ships. One must admire the elegance of their deception.

T’Pree steps toward the turbo lift and tells the group, “I have to get to the bridge. Apparently, we are meeting a ship outside the Neutral Zone to pick up some sort of contraband. Our new careers don’t seem to be starting out as we were led to believe.”

T’Pree pauses in the open lift doorway. “Captain S’Talla is telling the truth about the nature of this ship. I’m not so sure she is telling the truth about the nature of her mission. She is acting like an ordinary criminal.

“It may be best to simply go back to Vulcan; only, I am not so sure she is telling the truth about that possibility either.” T’Pree steps fully into the turbo lift. The double doors sweep closed with a standardized whisk-like whistling to alert bystanders of the action.

Charley says to the rest of the group. “I hate to say it, but what T’Pree says is logical.”

T’Pia looks thoughtful, while Damian nods.

“Such questions will answer themselves, if we are patient.” T’Pia finally says.


S’Talla, Sam, Commander Skyvik, the Coridanite OSS agent Mr. Naxx, and Billy Gruff, the character who has set up the deal for delivery of the supplies, are in the planning room just off the bridge. Billy Gruff is a rakish looking Human dressed in a black skullcap reminiscent of a bandana encircled by a metal ring attached at the knot in the back and floats a couple of centimeters from his temples. He wears a very worn black and brown overcoat, made from some supple material that looks like a soft animal hide. His scuffed black boots have six buckles from mid-calf down to the ankles. He is trying to argue with S’Talla by appealing to Sam for support.

“Ms. Kelly, you own this fine ship. You don’t want to risk being… eh hem… delayed or possibly worse. Getting detained by either the Federation or the Royal Space Navy could have unwanted results. Tell you’re lovely captain she can’t just pickup the cargo and run it across the Neutral Zone without being a little more… well… circumspect about it. You need a plan and I have some associates who can help. They keep the patrol schedule and have maps of the satellites and drones that guard the Zone.”

Billy Gruff turns around to Mr. Naxx, “Naxx, tell them. You know the N.Z. as well as anyone.”

“Mr. Gruff,” S’Talla interjects, stopping Naxx from answering. “You setup this pickup, with the rendezvous time and the location determined by the supply ship captain. I can only conclude the captain is confident that the choice of location and time are optimal and that we can expect to conduct our business unmolested by either of the two mentioned authorities. I care not why you wish to avoid an encounter. I do not expect to miss our appointment and I expect no delay from any meeting with either Romulan or Federation ships. I do not wish to involve more people in this transaction nor open up a possible avenue for further delay. Rest assured, we can make it to Federation Space without problems.”

“Ms. Kelly, Sam, can’t you get your captain to see her folly?” Billy stresses, “We can’t go straight for our rendezvous, we must take a specific route with a specific schedule to avoid problems that could force us to miss our meeting.”

Sam finally speaks, “Mr. Gruff, if my captain tells me we will not have any problems, I know we will not have any problems. You said there was a set commission for this job and I don’t wish to share it with any more… associates. Your share is generous enough.”

“I’m sure captain S’Talla is capable, but you have said you are new to this business. I am taking a chance on you just to give you an opportunity to get your foot in the door, so to speak, because I like you. Don’t make the mistake of thinking things in the Neutral Zone are straight forward, and they are never easy.”

Naxx adds, “That is usually true.”

S’Talla offers, “If you are concerned for your own safety, we are only three hours out. It will not be a problem to return you to Halla Station. We just need you to message your pickup that you won’t be aboard to receive the cargo.”

Billy Gruff raises his hands, “Okay okay, there is one other stop we need to make though. They won’t trade the ale to me if I don’t pick up a crew member for them first. It’s all arranged. We just meet a ship inside the Neutral Zone, take on a couple of passengers and we head to the rendezvous.

“It’s not that big a deal, but this has to be done with complete discretion. What we are doing is, well… frowned upon by some world’s. Not by Earth or Vulcan,” Billy hurries to point out. “I assure you. Other than being in the Neutral Zone, we are not really breaking any Federation Laws.” Billy Gruff has trouble keeping his eyes from wandering down to the two women’s chests as he talks.

Sam rolls her eyes and looks at S’Talla. “You still think he’s legitimate? He’s lying to us and trying to manipulate us. We can find another commission. We don’t need this one.”

Billy looks up and adds quickly, “you’ll get your commission. Any additional expenses, I’ll pay out of my own share.”

Both Sam and Billy turn to hear what S’Talla has to say. Billy’s gaze, again focuses on S’Talla’s chest.

S’Talla’s attitude remains calm, “I have touched his mind. He has a true generosity and kindness in him that I believe is real. He is overly emotional, even for a Human, and he is clearly lying to us, I have not read his thoughts, but I do not believe he means to harm us or cheat us. He is hiding something, but I would point out that we all have things we prefer remain hidden.”

Sam looks to Skyvik, he nods the barest of nods to reassure Sam.

“Okay S’Talla, I will take your advice and go with your gut feeling about Mr. Gruff, if that’s his real name.

“If you are good with this second rendezvous and you don’t think it’s pirates trying to take our ship. I’ll go along.”

S’Talla taps a panel on the tabletop, “Captain to the bridge.”

“Ne here.”

“Tell Ya we have a new heading.” S’Talla informs Ne. Mr. Gruff will provide it.”

S’Talla turns back to Sam, “You know Vulcans don’t have “gut feelings”. I know what I can observe and have calculated the probabilities based upon my experience with you, your parents and what I have researched about Earthlings. Vulcan monks are highly practiced at rudimentary mental communications, allowing me to sense the personalities that define individuals, and I have factored in our circumstances to conclude that Mr. Gruff offers us something we are in need of at low risk.

“Vulcan Enterprises is unconcerned with Mr. Gruff’s private desires, he is welcome to keep them a secret until it becomes a problem. I also know that he has not given us his real name, but again, his name does not matter either.”

S’Talla turns to Mr. Gruff. “We will pickup your passengers, as long as there are no complications. Ms. Kelly will talk to you about additional compensation. If you continue to deceive us, you may find yourself and your cargo floating out in space. You understand?”

Billy Gruff’s whole demeanor changes from one of tense panic to relaxed confidence. He smiles and takes S’Talla’s measure with his eyes.

S’Talla has chosen a more secular costume based on her version of what the various independent captains, she had observed on Halla Station, were wearing. She has adapted her distinctive Vulcan minimalism to a three quarter-sleave tunic that hangs long in the back and overlaps in front. The loose comfortable garment is held by a simple belt with a low profile pouch hanging on her right hip. The vee formed by the lapels coming together exposes a modest amount of skin at the top of her sternum. Below, she has covered her legs in non-restrictive, utilitarian leggings and high supple boots.

“I only held back a few details because I wasn’t sure I could count on you to not cheat me, but I have come to know you two better. You both seem honest, as well as beautiful. Please, allow me to buy you a drink in the ship’s cantina and we can discuss our growing relationship more.” He looks up from his appreciative glance down S’Talla’s body.

S’Talla pays the man’s looks no attention, she is untouched by his forward behavior.

“Drinks are issued at no charge in the ship’s mess cabin.

“Ms. Kelly and I have some details to discuss, in particular, the additional fees. So, if you don’t mind, I’m sure there are others with whom you can find company for a drink, Mr. Gruff.”

“The name’s Santiana, Arthur Santiana, but please, call me Art. And let me say, it is a real pleasure to make your acquaintance.” Art gives a flourishing bow and takes, first Sam’s hand, and kissed the backs of her fingers, then moves to take S’Talla’s hand. She simply stands looking at him, her own hands remain held together low and relaxed against her body in their typical placement of fingers laced together thumbs pressing pad to pad.

“Yes well, I shall be in your cantina while you ladies confer. Thank you, you have proved yourselves honorable and reasonable, as well as beautiful.” Art Santiana compliments Sam and S’Talla.

S’Talla raises one eyebrow at his use of the word ‘reasonable’.

Art leaves the planning room.

Sam turns to S’Talla, “That was a change. I kind of like the new ‘Arthur Santiana’. He’s a real charmer. Do you think that is his real name?”

S’Talla reflects, “It is the name given for him in the database. He has a minor criminal past, but he has never been involved directly in anything violent or any major theft. He is primarily involved in smuggling low level contraband; mostly medical supplies.

“I am curious.” S’Talla asks her friend seriously. “You are one of the few Humans I have known, is it common for Human males to lower their eyes when talking to a female? I have noticed Charlie and Damian also do it on occasion, though not as much as Mr. Santiana. In my research, I had not learned that Earth is a matriarchal society, so I find that behavior curious.”

Sam laughs. “Have you not noticed Vulcan men doing the same thing? You are a generously built woman. There’s a biological attraction men have for a woman’s breasts.”

S’Talla responds thoughtfully, “It makes sense, I suppose, breasts are a feature of motherhood. The males of a species are often interested in good mothers for their offspring.”

S’Talla turns to Skyvik, “Do a woman’s breasts hold such an interest for you and other male Vulcans?”

Mr. Naxx looks on with amused interest from his seat across the table. “I’m curious about that, as well.” He says with a smile.

Skyvik replies honestly without changing his stance near the door leading to the bridge. “Yes.”

S’Talla persists, “I have never noticed you looking at my breasts. Do they appear to be adequate for motherhood?”

Skyvik doesn’t change his stance nor glance down to check. “Yes.”

S’Talla turns back to Sam. “Do Vulcan men stare at your breasts when they talk to you?”

Again, Sam laughs, a little self-consciously, this time. “Perhaps Vulcan men exercise more control around monks and officials, but I have noticed it on occasion.”

S’Talla glances back at Skyvik and presses the question to Sam, “Does Skyvik do it?”

This time Sam’s laugh is loud and full.

She finally recovers enough to answer, “I haven’t known Skyvik long, but I suspect he’s one Vulcan that couldn’t lose control of himself even if he wanted to.”

Mr. Naxx’s laugh catches them off guard and he slaps the tabletop as he rocks forward. “Oh, I like you.” Naxx comments, pointing to Sam.

S’Talla continues, “Good. Let us move on. Mr. Santiana can look anywhere he wishes, as long as he doesn’t interfere with our mission and he pays attention to what he is told.

“Sam, there is unlikely to be additional compensation for this new element to our commission. My investigation into our employer suggests he has no material wealth of any significance. However, Mr. Santiana has knowledge that may be helpful in locating one of our objectives. He helped Mr. Naxx recover the coordinates to a covert Romulan research station where they may be studying the artifact we are looking for. I believe he is also in possession of a decryption key that could help decipher at least part of the Ozhit-pa-Tepul-t’Stukhtra.”

Mr. Naxx leaned in, “I have come to know Billy, now ‘Art’ apparently, in the last two years while working under cover. He is a scoundrel and a cheat, but also a humanitarian, to use a Human term. He doesn’t have any wealth because he is in the habit of taking jobs to smuggle supplies to poorer colonies who either can’t pay or cheat him out of his fees.”

S’Talla asks, “How does he continue to operate in a business as unforgiving and mercenary as this one?”

Mr. Naxx answers, “Gambling. Like I said, he’s a scoundrel and an expert cheat. He even managed to cheat me at Brazzus, the first time I met him.” He laughs, “I lost that cap he wears. It is Coridanite technology. He doesn’t know half of what that tool can do, but he is understandably attached to it.”

T’Pree and Randool Harrix are having a cup of tea with two male Vulcan’s, Spalloz and Spirro, when Art Santiana asks to join them. He has a glass of foamy dark beer in hand.

“You look like a fun group, would it be okay with you if I join you? I’m buying.”

Randool smiles at the joke. T’Pree says, “Drinks, as well as food, are issued for free. There is no need for you to buy.”

“Of course. Your captain told me the same thing. I was only making a small joke. So, how is it, a group of Vulcans and a Tibaronian who look like they are more at home in a laboratory than a tramp star freighter, got into the smuggling business?”

Randool Harrix answers, “It all started with a little altercation between the Vulcan Coalition for Peace Reform, the Vulcan authorities, and a few Romulans. Really, it was just a matter of being caught in the wrong place at the wrong time and before any of us knew it, we were sort of forced away from our lives on Vulcan.”

Art takes a thoughtful sip of his beer, then asks, “You must have a great deal of confidence in your employer and her captain to follow them into such a career. I’m a little concerned that they don’t understand what they are getting all of you into.”

Spalloz speaks up, “The Captain has proven herself to be exceptionally adept. However, not all of us are here by choice.”

Art raises his beer. “May you find your way to freedom, as it is all our right to be.”

On the bridge, S’Talla is seated in her command chair. She presses the communication button on her chair arm and calls Art Santiana, “Captain to Mr. Santiana.”

The comm replies in Art’s voice, “Ah, Captain S’Talla, I am still in the cantina if you are looking to join me.”

S’Talla continues, “We are thirty minutes from the rendezvous…”

“Captain,” Skyvik interrupts. “Long range sensors are picking up a ship on a heading to the rendezvous point, if it is the ship we are looking for, they are well behind schedule and moving at only warp two point one four.”

“Thank you Mr. Skyvik. Can you confirm they are who we are expecting?” S’Talla asks.

“It is probable.”

“Good. Scan for other ships. ‘Late’ we can deal with, an ambush will be a little more work.” S’Talla comments.

Skyvik lifts his head from the tactical viewer and announces, “The ship appears to be damaged. They are dropping out of warp and are taking fire from a following vessel.”

“Identify those ships, Mr. Skyvik. Ya, alter course to intercept.”

“Course…” responds Ya.

“… set.” Ne concludes.

Skyvik returns to the tactical viewer and reads out his findings, “Both ships are Orion in configuration.”

“Captain,” Spadek announces. “We are receiving a distress call from the first ship. Putting it on the screen.”

The image of a bridge deck with dimmed ambient lights and emergency red and yellow flashers illuminates a woman with deep green skin and white hair. Her outfit is brief, in the style of an Orion pleasure slave, and torn and dirty. She is calling into the comm screen in front of her. “…slaves seeking political asylum.”

The woman recognizes the connected channel with relief in her eyes and pauses to let S’Talla talk. Her ship is rocked with a blast from her pursuers.

S’Talla orders, “Ya, warp eight point four.”

The background hum raises in pitch, but actually grows a little quite.

“Warp eight…” responds Ya.

“… point four.” Ne picks up to finish the reply.

“Time to interception?” asks S’Talla.

Skyvik answers, “twenty-nine minutes, thirty-one point two seconds.”

She looks to the screen, “This is captain S’Talla of the private freighter Vulcan. We are twenty-eight minutes from your position. We will give what assistance we can.”

Over the communication channel from the other ship, can be heard demands for surrender. “This is Orion slave hunter Co’Enaggo, You are in violation of Orion Slavery Administration Regulations, code: nine, one, seven, one, dash six, seven. Cease your activities, surrender, drop your shields, and prepare to beam aboard.”

S’Talla asks the woman on the screen, “What is your name and your ship’s name?”

The green woman answers with a pained look in her eyes, “My name is Cialoa. Our ship is called Tellarroe five. What difference does our name make. We are being pursued by violent slave hunters intent on harming us. We have escaped cruel persecution and we need asylum.”

S’Talla turns away from the panicked image on the screen and directs orders at Spadek, “Mr. Spadek, send a message to the nearest Federation outpost that the Vulcan has stopped to aid applicants for immigration and will be arriving with them soon.”

Spadek taps his control panel and adjusts a sliding dial. “Message sent.”

“Open a channel to the Co’Enaggo.” S’Talla orders.

“Channel open captain.” Spadek answers.

“Hailing the slave hunter Co’Enaggo, this is Captain S’Talla of the commercial freighter Vulcan.”

“This is Captain Chavvo Gah of the slave hunter Co’Enaggo. You are interfering in an active capture of runaway slaves for the Orion Syndicate. Stay clear until our mission is completed.”

S’Talla persists, “The people aboard the Tellarroe Five have requested asylum from persecution. Federation regulations require that any vessel, in the absence of an official Federation representative, is required to offer safe haven and transportation of asylum seekers to a Federation outpost or office of alien affairs.

“Once an official Federation immigration officer has had a chance to investigate the case, no doubt your property will be returned and you will be free to go.”

Gah shakes his head in the negative, “Your presence is not welcome here. You best go about your business.”

“We have an obligation to assist upon request and we have received a request. I am informing you of the situation as a courtesy. We have already relayed our actions to the nearest Federation immigration office. They typically respond quickly to such issues.”

The captain of the other ship is looking more and more annoyed. Captain Gah raises his voice, “This is the business of the Orion Syndicate. The Federation has no jurisdiction here. Orion is a neutral planet, we do not recognize Federation law. We are not in Federation Space and our actions are legal and sanctioned by the Syndicate.”

“S’Talla answers calmly. “I understand. Your business is not my concern. I can interpret the law with some leeway, outside of Federation Space. However, we are not in Orion space and there is a crew member aboard the Tellarroe Five belonging to a client who has hired us to retrieve and return him to his ship.”

Just then, Art Santiana enters the bridge. He is calm and smiling until he sees the captain of the Co’Enaggo on the screen. Then he rushes up to S’Talla.

“You can’t listen to him. You must not let that man have Cia or any of the other people on the Tellarroe. He is a sadistic bastard. Half the slaves he captures don’t make it back alive.”

The Co’Enaggo’s captain responds, “Escaped slaves are to be returned to the Syndicate for bounty. There is a lesser bounty for returning dead slaves. Mr. Gruff is listening to rumor and propaganda designed to discourage dissent and rebellion.”

S’Talla replies, “As I said, I am not concerned with your business. You are welcome to do with your captured slaves as you will. However, I too have a duty to fulfill.”

Art starts to interfere, “You can’t let him have…”

Skyvik steps in to move the new passenger away from the captain.

“My obligation is to Federation law and my client’s contract.” S’Talla continues, “Allow us to extract our passenger, before he is injured or worse, and you may continue with your operation until a Federation ship arrives. My hope is that we will be gone before then, and, if it is as you say, once the Federation representatives arrive and assess the situation for themselves, you will be able to continue unmolested.”

“I will not allow your further interference. Stop your vessel right now or you will not have a freighter to take another contract with.” The upset captain threatens vehemently.

S’Talla remains calm. “Do you understand a recording of your actions are being relayed to the Federation as part of the review material for Cialoa’s and her companions’ application for asylum? The Federation does not respond kindly to anyone threatening its members in the process of complying with a Federation regulation. You are not actually threatening to destroy a ship of a private citizen of the Federation, are you? Orion relations with the Federation are strained enough as it is.”

The captain squints his eyes at S’Talla. “If you think your Federation cares about Orion slaves, you are wrong.” He suddenly calms in a sudden change of attitude, “However, as long as you remove no escaped slaves from the Tellarroe Five, I will allow you to beam your crewman aboard and leave. Captain Gah out.” And the Orion slave hunter cuts off communications.

S’Talla turns her attention to the two Bynars manning navigation and weapons.

“Ne, as soon as we are within range of their weapons, raise shields and jump to warp speed for point zero one seconds, then bring us around immediately at full impulse speed to the far side of the Tellarroe Five.”

On the screen, the two Orion ships face each other. The Tellarroe Five appears to be drifting without control.

“Spadek, connect me to Cieloa.”

Cieloa appears on the screen.

“Tellarroe Five, we are still eight minutes away. Do you have working shields?” S’Talla asks.

“We have partial shields, but they will not hold for more than one or two blast from the hunter’s phasers.”

“That should be enough. Gather your personnel onto the bridge and we shall beam you aboard from there. How many people should we expect?” S’Talla asks for the first time.

“Nine.” Answers Art over Skyvik’s broad shoulder. “Including the crew and captain.”

Cialoa looks distressed. “I’m afraid Taige is dead, Art. He was down in engineering trying to coax more speed out of the engine when the first blast from the Co’Enaggo caused a control panel to explode.”

Art sagged with a hand to cover his eyes.

“Ya, Ne,” S’Talla speaks calmly, “change of orders. Shields up, pass behind the Tellarroe Five at one quarter impulse speed and maneuver around into a covering position in front.”

Ya and Ne both chorus, “Aye aye captain.”

T’Pree points out, “We can not use the teleporter while shields are up. The Co’Enaggo is obviously just trying to get us to drop our shields before attacking us.”

S’Talla doesn’t respond to T’Pree’s information. “Mr. Skyvik, take shuttle one and launch when we are behind the Tellarroe Five, in the Co’Enaggo’s blind spot. Ms. Kelly, are you as good with a shuttle as you are piloting a starship?”

“I’ve had a little practice. The ship’s AI extends to her shuttles, as well. The Vulcan can manage on her own, but I’ll go along.” Sam answers.

“Good, take shuttle two. I will send the pickup arrangements to your panels.” S’Talla turns her attention to the screen, “Open a channel to the Tellarroe Five.”

Sam follows Skyvik and Art Santiana off the bridge at a run.

“Channel open, Captain.” answers Spadek.

“Vulcan to Tellarroe Five, move your people to the port side shuttle docks and prepare to receive two shuttles for transport.”

Cialoa leans towards the viewer, “You are taking a big chance. The Co’Enaggo is no private pleasure yacht. Chavvo Gah will not hesitate to destroy your shuttlecraft.”

S’Talla answers, “I will take your estimation of Captain Gah seriously.”

“Coming into the shadow of the Tellarroe Five…” announces Ya.

“…in twenty seconds.” finishes Na.


On board shuttle two, Sam orders the Vulcan’s computer to launch before she is even in her seat. “Computer, launch shuttle two as soon as the Vulcan enters the Tellarroe Five’s shadow of the Co’Enaggo’s sensors.”

The computer responds immediately, in an emotionless voice, “Attention, prepare for immediate launch. Launching now.”

Sam’s restraints click into place an instant before she feels the mild thrust of separation.

Shuttles one and two are located at the end of each forward sensor arm. They look almost like stylized hands thrust out in front of the Vulcan. Their own small warp girdles look to Sam like the cuffs to a pair of gloves.

When the two shuttles separate, the Vulcan continues past the Tellarroe Five, leaving the shuttles, hidden by the larger ship, to carry out their duty.

Sam orders, “Computer, stay in the Co’Enaggo’s blind spot and dock with the Tellarroe Five. Maximum safe impulse speed.”

Skyvik is making similar preparations by hand, with Art Santiana sitting with him in the co-pilot’s seat. “Computer, prepare moorings for aft portal docking.”

The computer responds, “Aft portal moorings are ready.

“Warning!” The computer interrupts. “The Co’Enaggo is firing weapons.”

Skyvik looks unmoved.

Art Santiana becomes anxious. “Your captain is making a mistake. As soon as Gah destroys your ship and captain, he will destroy the Tellarroe Five and everyone aboard, just for resisting.”

Skyvik makes no answer.

“Docking.” The computer announces. The slight tremor from attachment settles down. “Moorings are secure.” announces the Vulcan’s A.I.

Art takes a tense breath, “How are two shuttle caft suppose to escape an Orion slave hunter?”

Skyvik unbuckles and makes for the aft hatch. He hits the release and the portal slides open. Sam is just stepping out at the same time.

There is a small crowd of eight Orions in various styles of dress. Cieloa steps forward in her tattered pleasure slave costume.

Sam orders at the same time as Skyvik. “Get on the shuttle!”

Skyvik simply calls out, “Board!” In his deep voice.”


On the bridge of the Vulcan, S’Talla, sitting with her fingertips together in thoughtful repose, asks T’Pree, “Shield status, Ms. T’Pree.”

“Right shields at eighty-one percent.” The transporter technician has taken Skyvik’s station at Tactical.

“Come about Ya. Show him a fresh shield. Let him think he has injured our starboard flank more than he has.”

Another blast from phasers rocks the Vulcan lightly before Ya can execute S’Talla’s order. T’Pree reports, “Direct hit, center of right flank.”

“We have come about,” responds Ya.

“Captain.” Na adds.

T’Pree finishes her report, “Right shields now at seventy-three percent.”

S’Talla corrects T’Pree, “To save confusion between a ship’s right or left and a person’s right or left, a ship’s right side is always referred to as starboard and a ship’s left side is always referred to as port. Please use these…” Another blast hits the Vulcan.

S’Talla waits it out and continues, “… terms only when referring to a direction relative to the ship. Left and right, is used when talking of people.”

T’Pree nods in understanding. “That seems…”

Another blast interrupts the conversation. T’Pree bends down to the tactical viewer. “Port flank shields are holding, but down to seventy-one percent.”

T’Pree looks up again, “… logical. I can see where the distinction would save confusion and time at the helm.”

S’Talla turns to Spadek, “Send a hale to the Co’Enaggo. Tell them we have extracted our cargo and they are free to collect what is left.

“Ya, set course one two one point six mark minus zero six nine point three. Warp six for twenty-five minutes, then turn to the coordinates I have sent to you panel.”

An enormous blast rocks the Vulcan violently. Several crew are knocked from their seats. T’Pree pulls herself back into the tactical chair. “Starboard shields at seventeen percent. Port shields holding at fifty-nine percent. Forward, aft, dorsal and ventral shields are down to sixty-seven percent.

“The Co’Enaggo has targeted and blown up the Tellarroe Five.” T’Pree reports. “There are no survivor’s in the vicinity.”

“Good. Ya, let us go.” S’Talla responds.


T’Pia and Spalloz are attending a control board covering the starboard wall in the main engineering room. The room hums rhythmically from the engines, but there is also a single moderate quake that fades out.

Damian announces, from across the cabin where the large primary dilithium power chamber is located. “Power is dropping, but still within acceptable parameters. One of the systems is draining power at a high rate.”

T’Perl answers, “It is the ship’s shields. Their power cache is trying to replenish itself. We are taking some big hits.”

“What’s the captain doing?” asks Randool. He comes into the main engine room from the turbo lift. “I was just with Charley in the AI processor cabin and he says the power systems and defense system’s logic boards are lighting up like Chrisman trees, whatever that means.”

Damian answers, “It means it’s very very active.”

A heavy crash shakes the entire ship. Everyone is knocked to the floor.

T’Pia pulled herself up to a display panel and starts tapping buttons. “Status, everyone. Anyone hurt? Any damage?”

Damian bends over a console, “I’m fine.”

T’Perl and Spalloz both answer, “T’Perl, fine.”, “Spalloz unharmed.”

Damian reports, “Power output is stressed. Shields are down to twenty six percent power draw. They won’t last much longer. I’m amazed we haven’t lost any system’s already. This is a very tough ship.”

T’Pia taps her com badge, “All engineering personnel, report. Confirm personnel safety and systems status.”

The communicator voice responds with a short chorus of voices, “Everything fine.”, “Status good.”, “Spirro reporting, main utility systems and life support, undamaged.”

After a quiet moment, T’Pia taps her com badge again, “Charlie, report.”

T’Pia hardly waits more than a moment before heading for the turbo lift.

Randool runs in behind T’Pia as she enters the lift. T’Pia says to the room, “I’m checking on Charlie and the others. I’ll want a full report when I get back.”

Damian moves to another panel, “Spalloz, see if you can open the power bus up and get more power to the shields.” He moves again to another panel. T’Perl, have we run our phaser banks down?”

T’Perl answers from another console, “Phaser banks are at full power. We do not appear to even have them online.”

Spalloz states, “I am unable to understand Captain S’Talla’s logic. We are not heading back to Vulcan, or any other world to drop off those who wish to leave and now we are being attacked and she is not even defending the ship nor its passengers.”

The sporadic phaser attacks have paused.

T’Perl responds, “I also find her actions wholly illogical. If we survive this encounter, we need to review our options and confront our captain about her motives.”

The turbo lift sweeps open and Charlie steps out backwards, explaining to T’Pia. “I was too busy trying to reprioritize the shield power shunting subroutines with the ship’s inertial dampeners. That last blast nearly knocked everything out by overloading the power draw to the left shields.”

Randool and T’Perl follow Charlie out of the lift. Randool says, “We needed to know you were not hurt.”

Charlie sighs, “Thanks, I’m sorry.”

T’Pia sweeps the engineering group with her gaze and a last quake of phaser fire shakes the room. “It is time to do something. I have access to a weapons locker, but it is on the Bridge.”


Spadek calls out, “The Co’Enaggo is calling for our surrender, Captain. Putting him on the screen.”

“Ya, hold.”

Captain Gah appears on the screen with a twisted smile on his face. “You have forced me to sacrifice my bounty of live captures for the lesser one of dead slaves. You will surrender yourselves so that I might recoup some of what you have cost me. You will be sold into slavery to the Syndicate or I will finish destroying your ship and you.”

“Captain Gah, need I remind you of the treaty with Orion that prevents you from taking non-Orions into slavery? Your actions are in direct conflict with the peaceful truce established between Orion and the Federation and amount to piracy. How will you explain yourself when the Federation ship arrives?

“You have acted treacherously and without consideration for the lives of others. You appear to take pleasure in causing pain, just as Mr. Gruff has described. The fact that you knew him by name told me that he knew you and was telling the truth.”

Gah taunts his victims, “I’m sure your Federation will find a few of your ship’s pieces, but I will be safely back on Orion collecting whatever measly sum I can auction you and your crew off for.”

Gah yells his anger, “You owe me for seven dead slaves and two crew aboard the Tellarroe Five. I will get my bounty.”

“Your escaped slaves, are not dead, they have left the Tellarroe Five aboard two of our shuttle craft, warping out to safety in the blind spot covered by their ship.”

The captain of the Co’Enaggo grows angrier. He practically spit his words at S’Talla, “I will catch them regardless, and I will kill you before I do. That “Crikkoh” Gruff doesn’t know the half of it. I will torture those runaways for their impudence and be twice as cruel in pursuit of all future escaped slaves.” The Orion male raged at the screen. “I will never stop pursuing them. I will make them regret running from me. Their suffering will be your fault, and that “Crikka” Cialoa.”

S’Talla answers calmly, “I believe you. I have just finished reading your profile and it confirms what I have already read in your actions. You will never be appeased short of the destruction of this ship and its crew. That is why I have concluded, I can not afford to let you go.”

She turns to Spadek, “Close communication.”

“Communications closed.”

S’Talla pauses while the ship is rocked hard in another blast.

“Port shields down to thirty-one percent.” T’Pree reports.

“Drop port shields, T’Pree, and beam Captain Gah aboard. Set him right here on the bridge.”

The captain appears before S’Talla. He is astonished, completely baffled.

“Shields.” S’Talla reorders.

“Too bad you can not teleport slaves with your shields up.” S’Talla points out to the new arrival. She stands to face him and he draws a phaser. S’Talla deftly disarms him and twists his arm in a straight arm lock.

“AUWGHHH!” the Orion captain cries out.

The Vulcan is rocked again by phaser fire from the Co’Enaggo. S’Talla does not let her captive go.

“Twenty two percent, Captain.” T’Pree keeps the bridge informed.

“Ne, can you target their phaser banks and disable their warp drive?”

Ya and Ne answer together, “Yes.”

The captain of the Co’Enaggo smirks, You will find the Co’Enaggo a little harder to defeat than a common freighter.”

“Direct hit.” Ya and Ne announce.

T’Pree, looking into the tacticle viewer tells S’Talla, “Phasers have been disabled. However, their warp drive has only suffered partial damage.

The captain of the Co’Enaggo chuckles. “You know I always keep a pair of photon torpedoes on board, just in case.”

S’Talla points out, “But we have you on board.”

The captain’s face falls.

“Captain.” T’Pree calls to S’Talla, “The Co’Enaggo is firing up its warp engines.”

Captain Gah shouts, “What?”

“They may leave. We have a rendezvous to keep. Ya, let us go.”


The shuttles have been recovered and the eight new passengers are assembled in the mess cabin.

Cialoa breaks from her group of eight Orions to address Captain S’Talla and Sam. “I can’t thank you enough for your help. We have to find a sanctuary quickly or Gah will find us. He doesn’t give up when a runaway escapes him.”

Sam looks to her friend and captain.

S’Talla reassures the exhausted Orion woman. “We have Captain Gah in our custody, Ms. Cialoa. His crew seemed more than eager to escape without him. The recording of his threats to abuse slaves and non-Orion citizens should be enough to keep him incarcerated, while the Syndicate and the Federation work through the diplomatic damage he may have caused. I speculate that he won’t be chasing any more slaves for a while.”

Cialoa is astounded, “Please, call me Cia. And, tell me. How did you manage that?”

S’Talla tells Cia, “The Co’Enaggo is a slave hunter. To collect slaves from a damaged ship, Gah would rather use the Co’Enaggo’s teleporter. That led me to conclude that the Co’Enaggo rarely uses its shields. By keeping our weapons offline, the Vulcan did not appear to be a threat. Gah felt safe and so left his shields down. T’Pree simply dropped our shields and teleported the captain to the Vulcan’s bridge.”

Cia is impressed. “A very unusual tactic. I wish I’d seen the look on his face when he found himself on the bridge of the Vulcan instead of destroying her.

Sam speaks up, “S’Talla and I abhor slavery. I know Orion society relies on it, but there are times when individual rights are more important than the group’s.

Thank you, from all of us, for your sacrifice. Not many others would have done as much for a group of slaves. Art is the only other being I’ve known who would help.”

S’Talla notes, “You know Mr. Santiana’s real name. He must trust you.”

Sam adds, “I can’t imagine the suffering a pleasure slave goes through just to make a few rich people feel superior.”

Art Santiana steps up as Sam is talking. “Cia is not a pleasure slave. She has a master’s degree in Mathematics and a bachelor’s in Astro-robotics with a minor in satellite mechanics. Cia was used as a pleasure slave because Chavvo Gah had a client that liked the looks of her and bought her from the company that owned her. Gah made the purchase and decided to enjoy her for himself before he delivered her to her new owner.”

“That’s when I escaped.” explains Cia, “I hit him over the head with his own slaver’s baton. I ran into Art as I was racing around a corner of the satellite resort where Gah brought me to transfer my contract. Art hid me and organized the escape of six other slaves from Gah’s ship. The Tellarroe Five was docked right next to the Co’Enaggo and Art knew the captain, Captain Taige.”

“Why wasn’t Art with you on the Tellarroe?” asks Sam.

Art responds, “The Tellarroe Five could never outrun the Co’Enaggo. I needed to throw Gah off the scent and arrange for a change of ship’s. Once Gah reported the escape aboard the Tellarroe, There wouldn’t be any port in this quadrant they could land in. That’s why I was on Halla Station. I stole a wealthy pleasure ship to lead Gah to follow me. I was also arranging the rendezvous with another ship. Gah started to follow me to Halla Station, but he somehow discovered his mistake and found the Tellarroe before he arrived at the station.”

Charlie and Damian walk up to the group at that moment.

“Captain, can we have a word in private please.” Asks Damian. “We are very sorry to disturb you now, this is a great thing you have done here, but there are a few crew members who need to talk to you in the bridge planning room.”

Sam and S’Talla are confused.

Charlie adds, “This has nothing to do with the Orions. Just, come please.”

They enter the bridge, but no one is there.

S’Talla breaks away and checks the Nav station. She turns to Sam, “We are on course.”

S’Talla and Sam precede Charlie and Damian into the planning room. Seated at the table are Skyvik, Ya and Ne, Spadek and Naxx.

T’Pree and T’Pia along with three other Vulcan techs who have been working in engineering, are standing around the perimeter of the room. T’Perl holds a phaser, the other two, Spalloz and Spirro, have phasers attached to their belts.

T’Pia says, as S’Talla, Sam, Charlie and Damian enter the room, “There is still a question of intent that has yet to be satisfied, I’m sorry to say. Several of our colleagues have expressed the desire to return to Vulcan, but it seems as though that desire is taking a backseat to your new venture of mercenary bootlegging and, perhaps now, slaving? I have difficulty believing it, but the question of your sincerity needs to be settled before you embroil us in another space battle that may endanger more lives.”

Skyvik rises before T’Pia can react and has T’Perl’s phaser in his hand in an instant. T’Pree steps back and the second tech draws his weapon, but Skyvik rushes him with T’Perl as a shield, preventing the second and the third technician from discharging their weapons. Before he finishes his charge, he hurls T’Perl into the farthest Vulcan tech, while capturin Spalloz, the male Vulcan tech nearest him and taking his phaser as he staggers left and right to find an opening shot.

Skyvik moves efficiently and quickly. The first phaser is thrust home into his belt, the second one follows as he trips up Spirro by entangling him in the flailing arms of the Vulcan he just disarmed. The phaser from Spirro is now aimed at T’Pree and T’Pia and Spalloz, as they help each other up. This brings the group towards the four near the door and S’Talla steps out and disarms T’Pree as she brings out her own weapon. Charlie acts. He kicks the phaser from S’Talla’s hand, falls backwards and rolls towards Skyvik where he sweeps Skyvik’s braced left leg out. Skyvik falls, allowing Charley to twist the phaser from his hand, tossing it back to T’Pree.

Skyvik rolls up and faces Charley, towering over him. He leaps and Charley goes down, leading Skyvik into a crouch that Charley turns into a throw. The giant Vulcan is tossed upside down against a sideboard.

Charley leaps to his feet.

“Okay. Enough. We yield.” calls S’Talla.

Charley looks to S’Talla, reluctantly taking his eyes off of the big Vulcan who has reached his feet. S’Talla holds up the weapon Charlie had tossed to T’Pree. She had taken it again. She hands it to T’Pree. Skyvik’s face becomes expressionless.

S’Talla reaches out and slips the two phasers out of Skyvik’s belt and hands one to the nearest male tech and tosses the other to the farther tech.

Naxx holds up the fourth phaser to Charlie, “Here is the fourth one. I believe that is all the weapons.”

Charley, breathing heavily, holds his hands out away from his body. “I don’t want it. I hate phasers.”

Naxx smiles a big smile. “And I can see you don’t need one either.” Naxx clicks off the power and tosses it to T’Pia.

S’Talla surveys the room and makes eye contact with Skyvik who looks grim. S’Talla shakes her head ‘no’ and he settles back in his chair.

“Of course. An update is in order.

“I promised you I would arrange passage for you from Halla Station, but that was not possible. No one with a ship willing to go to Vulcan could be relied upon. I determined their intentions were to either rob and abandon you or kidnap and sell you into slavery. Our best option, at this point, is to rely upon the resources of our contractor, Mr. Santiana.”

T’Pia asks, putting her phaser in the middle of the table, “Who is Mr. Santiana?”

T’Pree answers, as she does likewise with her phaser, “Arthur Santiana. He went by the name ‘Billy Gruff’ when he first came aboard.”

All four phasers clutter the center of the large conference table after Spalloz and Spirro drop their phasers in the wake of T’Pia and T’Pree.

Charlie interjects, “The man you decide to trust came aboard under a false name? What about Naxx. Charlie approaches the Coridanite. He has joined our crew and we know nothing about him.”

Naxx watches with a small smile. “I am a member of the same organization as S’Talla and Mr. Skyvik are. My presence was pre-arranged. I know you can’t appreciate it, but I can vouch for Mr. Santiana’s morals. He’s in the habit of using deceit, but his intentions are good. You would describe them as, humanitarian.”

“You are right. I can’t appreciate your words.” Charlie says. “… but I do appreciate your actions. I am sorry Mr. Skyvik, if I hurt you. I saw my friends being threatened.”

“I am not hurt; only surprised.”

“Maybe a little embarrassed.” Mr. Naxx chuckled.

“Vulcans don’t get embarrassed.” Skyvik told Naxx.

“Of course not. But, I would have been. I’m just projecting; and impressed. That was impressive, Charley.” Naxx is smiling with amusement.

S’Talla goes on, “We are suppose to be meeting a ship to pickup cargo as part of our cover activities. My plan was to ask that they deliver whomever requests it, to the nearest port where reliable transport back to Vulcan can be reached. Our commission for the delivery was going to be used to pay for it. I believe now, that is more possible than before. They can find asylum once in Vulcan space. That should be where they are going anyhow.”

“How do we know they can be trusted any more than the captain’s at Halla Station?” asks Spirro.

“I trust Mr. Santiana. He set up the meeting. He is trying to rescue escaped slaves. I have felt his mind and he is neither violent nor avaricious. I have reason enough to believe his interest in rescuing the slaves is from a deep sense of moral righteousness and a little romanticism. If we find the captain of the rendezvous ship is not of similar moral constitution, we will come up with a plan to deliver you back to Vulcan ourselves.”

Everyone pauses to think about S’Talla’s words.

T’Pia finally says, “How do you justify interfering with a people whose whole economy is based in their practice of slavery. The Vulcan way is non-interference. It has been our policy since we ventured out into space. You are a monk, trained in the temples of Logic and Reason. You know the story of Splinny the Father and Splinny the Son and the Lesson by the River.”

S’Talla nods, her hands steepled together in her usual pose. “Yes.”

Damian asks, with great interest, “What is the ‘Lesson by the River’ and how does it relate to rescuing Orion slaves?”

T’Pree answers, “It is a parable about letting the Universe move along its natural course undisturbed. Every Vulcan school child learns this story.”

Naxx leans in with a smile. Perhaps you could enlighten us. It appears we have the time.”

Damian nods in agreement.

T’Pree sits, “Splinny the Father was known as a very wise man whose support of the Awakening assured its continued success. He was teaching his son, who would later exceed his father in his reputation for logic and wisdom. The student and master sat by a shallow river to enjoy the natural world while they studied.

Splinny the Father was dressed in a robe of neutral tones and modest construction. He had white hair and He used his tall, natural bough walking stick to lower himself to sit on a rock next to the river. His son, Splinny the Son, in a modest white robe of a student, joined him.

Splinny the Father was in the middle of a lesson and he continued once he’d settled onto his seat. “The wise Vulcan does not leave a trail when he passes through the World. It is best to let the Universe do as the Universe does, without disturbance. We stroll the garden without knocking off a single peddle. His feet do not disturb the soil upon which he walks. Logic and control.”

Just then, a family of qwal toddled over the rocky bank and into the river to cross to the other side.

Qwal are a native Vulcan mammal with duck-like attributes. They have four webbed feet, long necks and short tails. Their bills are for sifting through the mud on the river banks looking for fluu’ja and such.

The mother qwal led five little qwaling across the moving river.

Splinny the Son watched and noticed one little qwaling had gotten turned around and was trying to get over a large rock that it could not negotiate. It cried out in a tiny beep beep beep while the mother Qwal and her other qwalings patrolled the far side of the river, where the mud was the shallowest.

Splinny the Son jumped to his feet and rushed to scoop up the little qwaling. He then carried it to the opposite shore, startling the family of qwal into a panic. Splinny the Son placed the baby qwal onto the mud bank and retreated to let the family of qwal find each other again.

When he returned, he was met with a sound rap on the head by Splinny the Fathers walking stick. “What have I just been saying about strolling the garden without knocking off a single peddle. You must let qwal do what qwal do. So not interfere with nature.

“I beg your forgiveness, father.” and Splinny the Son rushed to recapture the lost qwalling and returned it to where he found it by the rock on the opposite side of the river.

Feeling relieved that he had averted his father’s disfavor, he returned to his seat next to Splinny the Father only to be met with another rap on the head and his father’s astonished accusation, “You did it again!”

All the Vulcan’s in the room nod in recognition of the story, except Skyvik and S’Talla, Skyvik simply because he had no reason to respond physically.

S’Talla adds, “That is the story every Vulcan school child learns, but there is more to the story.”

Splinny the Father continued his lesson.
“Nature has balance. The Universe does what the Universe does without our interference. It is not our place to disrupt that balance.”

Splinny the Son was distracted by the distressed qwalling. The Qwal family were back together foraging on the opposite bank when the little qwalling managed to get past the large rock and enter the stream. It was about to set off and join its mother and siblings when it gave a great leap, propelled by an upheaval of water as a ghee’noc struck at the tiny qwalling. The ghee’noc missed and the little qwalling retreated to the bank again, once more losing its connection with its family safely on the other side of the stream.

“Father,” asked young Splinny. “Does not the ghee’noc interfere with the life of the qwal when it preys on them? Is it not preventing the qwalling from doing what qwallings do?”

Splinny the Father answered, “The ghee’noc is part of the natural order. Qwal do what qwal do and ghee’nocs do what ghee’nocs do.”

At once, Splinny the Son jumped up and ran to scoop up the last qwalling. He splashed across the stream and returned the creature to its family. When he got back to the rock upon which his father sat staring in astonishment at his impudent son, the son held his hands outward, palms up and shrugged, “Splinny is just doing what Splinny does.”

At that, Spinny the Father stands and smiles at his son. He puts his hands on his son’s shoulder and announces, “Excellent, today’s lesson is over.”

S’Talla holds her hands out and says, “helping those in need is part of what we do. I will make sure those who need to find their way back to Vulcan or wherever their home is,” She turns to look directly at Charley, “will get there.”

The ship’s computer announces, “Captain S’Talla, there is a vessel within sensor range. We are on an intercept course and will be within Hailing range in one hour. We will be within visual range in four point one six nine hours.”

S’Talla asks the computer, “Computer, let me know when we are within Hailing distance.” She turns to the rest of the room. Unless there is more, we should get back to our stations.

They all agree and Skyvik moves to secure the phasers in a cabinet.
In S’Talla’s quarters, Sam and S’Talla are visiting over tea. S’Talla hands one of two steaming cups to Sam. S’Talla takes an appreciative sip from the cup she is holding as she sits and sets the cup carefully in a cup holder in the arm of her chair. The Ozhit-Pa-Tepul-T’Stukhtra is laying open between them on the table they are sitting at.

“Please Sam, be careful with your tea. We can not let anything happen to the Ozhit-Pa-Tepul-T’Stukhtra. It is thousands of years old.”

Sam replies, “Of course, I will be very careful.” She then sets her own cup into the cup holder built into her chair, as well. “How did you happen to get your hands on it?” Sam asks.

S’Talla answered without inflection, “It was given to me by Councilor T’Rai. She is the one who recruited me to Operations when I brought it to her attention that the Vulcan was being built as a spy ship. She helped me steal the V5 to stop the threat of war with Romulus. She has been working with some sympathetic Romulans to preserve the peace and facilitate our reunification and has charged me with the task of uncovering evidence of corruption on the Counsel and also finding the ‘Vaikar-Kau-Bureki’.

“I see. So your mission is sanctioned at the highest level.” Sam observed. “Do you have any idea how to decipher the scroll?”

S’Talla studies the document for a few seconds. “No.”

She then adds, after another scan of the scroll, “It will require some study and a great deal of research, but I’m hoping there are a number of minds aboard who can help. It needs creative thinkers, not just educated ones.”

“There are certainly a few of those on board.” Sam assures her friend.

They both look at the scroll for a few more moments when Sam asks, “Tell me. That story of the Lesson by the River; why do Vulcan school children only learn the first part of the story? Why is the full lesson reserved for monks only?”

S’Talla steeples her fingers and looks up at her friend. Young Vulcans come to train in the discipline of Logic, in part, to control their emotions. The purpose is to teach them how to live in the Universe as Vulcans. They then go out and do what Vulcans do, understanding the basic tenets of living a logical and ordered life. If Vulcans are taught, at an early age, the whole of Spliny’s lesson, there is the danger of misunderstanding the reason behind their training. Vulcans cannot believe that acting upon their unrestrained nature is acceptable. Monks, however, study, not just the tenets of Logic and Reason. We are also interested in understanding the nature of the Universe and our place in it. Wisdom is only wisdom when one has the discipline to see it.”

Sam looks thoughtful and a little skeptical. Soon, Sam smiles in understanding.


Post a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.