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Inhuman Perspective
Posted on January 15th, 2008 by T'Kirr and Ian Blackthorne

Ian Blackthorne and T’Kirr

The Ready Room bell chimed. Ian had been half expecting someone to follow him in here and complain, so he didn’t even hesitate before snapping, “Come!”

The doors swished open revealing T’Kirr, who was looking back over her shoulder at Shelev, sitting in the center seat, before entering. As she turned to look at Blackthorne, he could see her expression was grim. That wasn’t saying much for Vulcans in general, but he liked to think he had known T’Kirr long enough to tell when she had something to say. As soon as the doors shut, she was all business.

“What happened?”

Ian wondered for a moment if he had a scarlet A embroidered on the front of his uniform, then paused to consider exactly what it was she was asking. How could she know about the interrogation so soon? “Commander Marcus was taken prisoner on evidence of sabotage.”

There was a pause, in which T’Kirr was obviously thinking, but didn’t move a muscle. Her tone, however, became much more wary. “What did you do?”

“I interrogated him to find out who he was working for.” He thought it best to not volunteer information until she indicated she already knew it.

At risk of sounding like a questionnaire, T’Kirr folded her arms and gave him a rather intense look. “Ian, how did you do it?”

“I asked nicely.”

Her response was to arch an eyebrow.

“He volunteered that information freely.”

Seeming to accept this, T’Kirr unfolded her arms and walked to the desk, peering down at him, her expression softening. “You did something to him. Something you hated doing.”

Okay, so she knew something, but how? Vulcans were touch telepaths, so he thought, looking at her for a long moment as the silence settled from her last words. He decided that he had to trust her, that they had been through too much together for her to betray him. “Yes. I already knew who he was working for, but I needed to know why. That information he wouldn’t volunteer, so I took it.” Ian let her figure out what he meant by that.

And figure it out she did. Understanding clear on her face, she clasped her hands behind her. “Am I to assume you took… initiative on your own to extract this information?”

He nodded his reply.

There was that level gaze again. She was judging him. “You found it very difficult, morally questionable. I… felt it from you, and was concerned.”

Well at least she hadn’t come to crucify him. He still wondered how she had sensed anything at all, but decided now wasn’t the time to ask. “Yes, thank you for your concern. I did find it distasteful, but necessary to protect this ship and crew from a larger danger.”

T’Kirr nodded, letting out a breath and closing her eyes briefly. Uncharacteristically, as if the mood had just gone from professional to casual by no apparent pretense, she sat on the desk. “May I ask why you had to resort to such measures?”

Ian leaned back in his chair, hoping that she would understand. “It just didn’t make sense, T’Kirr, ever since the beginning. No legitimate assignment would be made with such an obvious conflict of interest between Commander Marcus and Lieutenant Busard. It was to distract us from something, which was his sabotage. But the motive of just being out to discredit Lieutenant Busard was just too petty to believe. With the evidence Captain Shelev gathered combined with the sensor logs of his travels through the ship, I already have an airtight case against Marcus, so I didn’t need him to confess anything. What I did need to know was why he was here, the real reason, which is something that would never have been revealed through conventional legal channels.”

T’Kirr frowned slightly. “You believe he had information that poses an immediate threat to Atlantis?

Steepling his fingers, Ian continued, “Yes, and I was right. It would seem that there was a faction of the Admiralty that wanted that war with the Machen Bren. Stopping the war, and my ensuing popularity, have made me a few enemies, notably one Admiral Harris.”

T’Kirr’s eyes widened. “Admiral Harris? Is he trying to attack us?”

He shook his head. “I don’t know what their future plans are. But I know that I, and Atlantis, have enemies within Starfleet Command. To me, that knowledge is worth one man’s discomfort.”

T’Kirr again nodded, looking thoughtful as she took this in. “I’ll keep watch for anything suspicious.” T’Kirr lowered her eyes to the shiny surface of his desk. “I apologize if I seemed… too forward. As I said, I was just concerned by what I felt from you.”

“Your concern is appreciated. So far, all I’ve gotten is scorn.”

“There are problems, then? From who?”

“Major McKnight and Lieutenant Busard witnessed the act and reacted typically for non-telepaths. Busard just hurriedly left the room, but I could sense her outrage. McKnight gave me the normal righteous indignation that humans are known for, never even considering that telepathic interrogation is far more reliable, quicker, and more… ‘humane’ than the barbaric methods Starfleet normally uses. Hell, if the police on Betazed had to rely on simply hoping their prisoners kindly told the truth, nothing would ever get done, but of course to the Federation that’s immoral and illegal. I suspect they won’t do anything about it, but they might try, I don’t know. If they do, even if they can’t prove anything, it’ll play right into Admiral Harris’s hands.” Ian looked up, seeking her eyes and intentionally refraining from empathically sensing anything from her, partially from mental exhaustion, but mostly out of respect. “And what about you? How do you judge my actions?”

Her eyes met his. “You did what you always do – what was necessary to protect this ship and its crew. You wouldn’t be the first to take such measures. The use of telepathy has not been fully defined in Federation law, even after all these years, and perhaps it never will be. I’m assuming you did no permanent harm?”

“Of course not.” Ian lowered his eyes and sighed in relief. “Thank you, T’Kirr, your support means a lot to me. It’s easy as a ship’s captain to tell yourself that it isn’t your job to be liked, as long as the people you command stay as safe as you can make them. But in truth, there are opinions I value. Tell me though… how did you know? I didn’t think your telepathic abilities extended beyond touch.” He looked back up at her, curious. She appeared suddenly uncomfortable.

“I… we…” She started again. “It’s from… a sort of bond.”

Ian’s eyes widened and his eyebrows shot up. He hadn’t noticed it yet, perhaps because he was used to the ebb and flow of foreign thoughts and emotions, but Ian imagined it would be quite apparent to T’Kirr, since Vulcans generally only had to deal with the thoughts of others during a mind meld and not as a constant presence. It didn’t seem so farfetched to him that her Vulcan mind might have instinctively accelerated a bonding process that took months to develop in Betazoid couples. While sudden, he found this development to be welcome; it had been a long time since he’d last become close enough to another telepath to form a bond. Elizabeth had actively discouraged any sort of telepathic contact between them, never receptive to his mental touch, perhaps out of envy that her human mind could not reciprocate, he guessed. His look of surprise melted into happiness. “T’Kirr, this… this is wonderful news.”

His words, if anything, seemed to make her more uncomfortable as she pulled her shoulders back and dipped her chin. “It’s… not a full bond. As in, between mates. That is–we wouldn’t have such a bond yet, of course, because we haven’t, you know… I mean–” She flushed somewhat with color. “I’ve… my connection to you has been formed biologically, triggered by intense emotion. I just sensed your strongest of projections, because you must’ve been very emotional at the time, and I’m just more likely to pick up on such things now–” She took a breath, realizing she was babbling in a very illogical way. “It just sort of happened. I’m sorry.”

He stood and placed his hands on her shoulders with a grin, finding her tendency to ramble when flustered amusing. “It’s alright, really. You’re apologizing for something I called wonderful. Among Betazoids, this is regarded as a significant point in a relationship, when the two minds begin to subconsciously seek out the other. I didn’t know if a Vulcan could experience it, but I’m really happy that we can share this.”

T’Kirr held his gaze for a moment, absorbing his assurance before her eyes rested on his smile seemingly of their own accord. Ian saw a flicker of desire those dark pools, and she suddenly snapped out of it, leaning back an inch and clearing her throat softly. “We’ll be at the next planet soon.”

Smirking, he replied, “Of course. When this bond strengthens, I’ll be able to anticipate those sudden changes in mood of yours and brace myself for the impact. In the meantime, take your station and try not to anger any more planets.”

T’Kirr nodded curtly, and as she turned to exit the Ready Room, he added, “Join me for dinner tonight at nineteen hundred?”

She turned to face him, her eyes remaining somewhere to the left as she thought. “Nineteen hundred,” she agreed, and the doors shifted her out of view.

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