Not All Business
Posted on August 21st, 2006 by T'Kirr
“Not All Business”
The corridor was hushed in both activity and ambience, the door in front of her unmoving. She asked herself why she was hesitating, and her mind responded with the weak excuse that she didn’t want to appear too interested in his visit. It was an illogical path of thought. She was very much interested in knowing more about his sudden appearance at just the right time, and the significance he meant to imply by it.
T’Kirr had approached very quietly, aware that if he were awake, he could very possibly hear her outside his door. Knowing she wouldn’t rest well if she turned around, she decided to get on with her only other option and activated the bell to Dugahn’s guest quarters.
The room was sparse but pleasant, ready to receive its guest’s travel belongings if needed, and basic enough to cater to most species likely to stay for a time within its walls. Along with the rest of the room, the bed was also so far untouched. Dugahn stood next to the window, having no doubt been watching the stars zip by while Atlantis glided through warp towards the Kepler expanse. He now watched T’Kirr as the doors swished closed behind her, not even a hint of surprise on his face at her presence. In fact, Dugahn portrayed no emotion at all. She had to check herself, at first. His expressionless appearance from most other people on board would mean something, and she found herself trying to interpret it. His, however, implied nothing. It was a refreshing change from life on Atlantis–one she had begun to again become accustomed to during shore leave on Vulcan. It calmed her, like sweet, fresh air after a long, challenging held breath.
“Are your quarters satisfactory?”
Dugahn bowed his head. “They are.”
He waited patiently for her to explain the purpose of her late night call. T’Kirr decided instead to sidestep. “I expected you to be asleep. Are you having trouble resting?”
By the tiny spark in his eyes, T’Kirr could tell he had noticed her evasion. “Actually, I was waiting for you.” He paused, watching her as she took in that bit of information, then continued, “You seemed uneasy tonight, and I know it wasn’t all due to…” a long, slanted eyebrow perked upwards, “the surprise party.”
“Your appearance was quite unexpected.” She thought a moment. “I had last seen you at my mother’s funeral. I thought perhaps your presence was somehow indication that a related issue had arisen.”
“No. We had spoken about the irony of her death being so near your birthday. I simply wanted to be with you during this time.” Dugahn took a step towards her. “It was unfortunate you had to leave so soon after the ceremony.”
T’Kirr’s eyes fluttered as she dropped her gaze. “Yes, I only had time to stay a day on Vulcan due to travel time.”
Dugahn took another step, then stopped. “You seem as uneasy now as you were earlier.”
She looked up, meeting his eyes. “On the contrary. I am glad you are here.” T’Kirr turned her head, indicating the room around them, perhaps even the entire ship. “I am often alone, even with others all around me.”
Dugahn’s looked down with an understanding nod of his head. “It is a difficult path you travel. However, despite having to deal with their emotional nature, it must be rewarding to have the senior crew members care so much for you.”
“It is,” she responded quietly. T’Kirr turned and walked over to the bed, sitting down on the edge. She had been on her feet all day. Dugahn followed and sat down beside her.
“They don’t seem to care too much for me, though,” he mused, almost as if to himself. “For being very welcoming with their words, it was quite obvious what they really thought of me.”
T’Kirr looked over at him. His elbows rested on his knees, and he was staring hard at the floor, as if lost in thought. She studied the attractive angles of his face. “I’m sure they were merely confused due to the nature of your arrival, as was I.” Dugahn looked back at her, his brown eyes searching, and T’Kirr realized she must have sounded rather cold. “Whereas I know you and was only concerned about the reason for your arrival, they had never met you, and did not have proper introduction from me before you came aboard. Perhaps if you had–”
“I understand. And, you’re right. I should have told you sooner. It was a last-minute decision aboard the Starbase.”
They shared a minute of peaceful silence, T’Kirr thinking about how strange it was to have him aboard. Finally, she spoke up. “How long did you plan to stay?”
Dugahn took a deep breath, scooting his elbows on his knees until the fingertips on both hands could meet in a splayed manner. “I had originally planned to only stay for the eve of your birthday. I wasn’t expecting you to… well, your crew had other plans for you.” His eyes sparked again. “I could stay through tomorrow, if you have time after your shift, and leave the next morning. I don’t want to go too far towards…” he blinked. “Where is it you’re headed now?”
“Kepler expanse,” T’Kirr muttered absently as she stared off, thinking about how she only had one more evening with him. She supposed it was better than having no time at all other than the day of the funeral. Dugahn reminded her of home and the calm, logical security she had left behind. The difference between her life on Vulcan and that aboard this vessel full of emotional species was like the difference between a calm, still pond and the raging torrent of the ocean.
“The Kepler expanse?”
The amazement in his voice as he articulated her response back to her brought T’Kirr out of her thoughts. She looked over to him to find his eyebrows up in a curious expression. “Yes, why?”
“Why are you going there?”
T’Kirr’s sense of duty took over. “It’s not for me to discuss.”
Dugahn nodded. “You’re heading out to the colonies. I’m guessing right to the heart.”
T’Kirr stared at him, not understanding how he could possibly know. His pointed ear twitched–a quirk of his she had not seen in over a year. He must have found her expression amusing. “What do you know of the colonies?”
“Intelligence has been watching them over the years. In the past, they’ve assisted with monitoring comm chatter in the region on the border side. I was assigned there for a period.” Dugahn sat up straight and watched T’Kirr as she took in this information. Because she knew the Vulcan Science Academy had offered to help map resource locations several decades ago and been declined, she was surprised to know the Vulcan Intelligence Agency was involved even now. Dugahn cocked his head in an attempt to regain her attention, and continued. “I’ve met the man that more and more are calling their leader. I also know, unless they’ve changed significantly, some of the patrol and cargo routes.” Dugahn’s eyebrows lowered in a frown. “I find it interesting that Starfleet hasn’t asked the assistance of Vulcan Intelligence in this mission.”
He seemed to know so much about Atlantis’ goal. T’Kirr hadn’t said anything other than their destination to the Kepler expanse. The source of dissent within the expanse was apparently more widely known than she had first assumed, and Vulcan Intelligence appeared to be of the better informed. She gave Dugahn her best emotionless expression. “Are you offering your assistance?”
Dugahn returned the look. “I suppose I am.” Their eyes remained locked for a moment, and his voice inherited a slightly lower pitch. “Not only could I be of help, but it would be a welcome reason to extend my stay.”
“Then I will suggest it to Admiral Blackthorne in the morning.” T’Kirr stood, his gaze following her. “Until then, rest well.”