trekwriter151: by <lj user="cedarrapidsgirl>" (malcolm hoshi)
[personal profile] trekwriter151
Nine

"Gassa, gassa, ne! D'hai li 'e ren'di bvai!"

The scream jolted her back to reality, but it took several seconds before the words made sense. Please, please, no! I will do anything you want! She tried to move, but her muscles refused to obey her. The voices echoed as if she was in a cavern, angry and distorted.

"Bkah'ru d'vahr?" Where are they hiding?

"Gassam nu'vai 'e!" Please, I don't know!

"Vai'di." You do know.

"Ne, ne, oranv 'e!" No, no, I swear!

The voices finally faded into silence. Hoshi's heart pounded as she went over what she had just heard. The dialect was not of the government caste, but the medical caste, which had thrown her off for a moment. The elegant, ringing tones were completely at odds with the harsh words of interrogation. No physician she knew would use such manner, which meant the inquisitor was not a medical practitioner.

Then who was it? Someone who is versed in more than one dialect. That's relatively rare, and those who can do that are highly sought after. Hoshi shivered; that was why Gavva had kidnapped her in the first place. He wanted her as his personal translator for multiple languages.

Someone was hiding from the medical caste? Who was it? Hoshi thought back to her time spent in the Trianarian camps with the Kikuron Rescue Group. The medical caste was charging exorbirant sums of money to treat the people they were obligated to do so anyway. The KRG had some sort of agreement to subsidize the payment, so patients could be treated. The anger at this injustice cleared the cobwebs from her mind. Something must have happened to negate that agreement...

She opened her eyes to find herself in a large, oval-shaped chamber. Hoshi glanced around at the various bottles in their niches and at the wooden kegs stacked along the walls. I'm in a wine cellar of some sort, she thought. The cost of the vintage drinks here could buy enough medicine to help a small village.

A soft breeze touched her face; she closed her eyes and tried to locate where it came from. The sound of rushing water echoed through the cavern; she must be very close to the river, if not directly on its shores. Hoshi wondered if there was a distillery nearby and thought, Trip and Malcolm would love to find out, if this was just a friendly visit, which it isn't.

Prefect Gavva came into Hoshi's view and she automatically shrank back from the touch of madness in his features. He chuckled and knelt until her face was mere centimeters from hers. "I should have known that the drugs wouldn't affect your Kv'ohraiy; his will is too strong to be overcome by mere...herbal concoctions. You, on the other hand, are more susceptible, more pliant. It will be a challenge to break your spirit while keeping your talents intact."

"They already know you're running, Gavva," she hissed through clenched teeth. "You won't get away with this. Malcolm will track you down and he will find you."

Gavva's eyes glittered in the dim light as he touched her at the center of her forehead, in the exact spot where the Xindi had injected the neural parasite a few years before. Phlox's ministrations had removed the scar, but not the memories. She steeled herself not to flinch at the coldness of his skin.

He glanced over his shoulder at someone just out of her visual range. Then he spoke in the dialect of the medical caste. "Make sure Doctor Ehlann adjusts the sedative before he administers it to her. I would not want anything untoward to happen."

A woman stepped out of the shadows, her eyes flashing with saw the family resemblance to Gavva and Lady Nhori and surmised that this was yet another member of his clan. A sister, perhaps? She replied to Gavva in the same dialect.

"You mean to the woman, not to her captain."

"Of course, I mean the woman. She is important to our ultimate goal, I'sha'ra. You know that."

I'sha'ra? Hoshi thought. Sister? His sister is a medic? It actually made sense, if his mother had been one as well. So that was how Gavva controlled the medical caste and its hard-hearted policies.

"And the Starfleet captain?"

Gavva made a gesture of dismissal. "He is still of use to us, Kaori. A bargaining chip, if anything else, to his weak-willed government." He glanced at Hoshi, whose eyes widened in horror. "Yes, your captain is an impetuous fool, who tried to stop me. I assure you, he will be dealt with at a later time."

Kaori glared at Hoshi, then said, "Have a care, my brother. This latest obsession of yours is dangerous. You do know that she belongs to another. The darker-haired one, her Kv'ohraiy. If you take it too far, he will kill you. I see it in his eyes."

Gavva smirked. "He will not harm me as long as I have her under my control. You see, I'sha'ra, they will not cause me any trouble."

"Your confidence is overwhelming, nai'sgho, and your pride."

"I do believe I inherited it honestly," Gavva answered mildly. "You have a care, I'sha'ra. The legacy of our family and our planet rests on what happens the next few cycles."

"Your legacy, you mean." She brought herself up to her full height, which made her even with Gavva's shoulder. "Very well, then."

He hesitated, then shrugged. "I know you will. I hope to see both of you within two nejaa."

"And her captain?"

"She will see him, as we board our vessel, to ensure her cooperation." Gavva nodded at her briskly, then retreated up the stairs and through the door. The abrupt slam sounded more like a punctuation mark than anything else.

The woman stiffened, then turned to face Hoshi. Her wide aqua eyes met Hoshi's and her hand automatically went to an ornate dagger belted around her waist. Hoshi kept herself still as the woman appraised and judged her in a matter of moments.

"I am sorry, Kv'ohraiya. He has many tools at his disposal to break his enemies. That is how he has kept his power for so long." Kaori took a deep breath, her shoulders slumped. "If I disobey, he will go after my mate and my family, and my patients. I cannot risk their safety."

Hoshi sighed and shook her head slightly. It was the only part of her body that she could move. "I'm sorry, Kaori. I've seen him at work. He is a monster."

Her eyes hardened and Hoshi was suddenly afraid that Kaori would be angry, but the medic only laughed harshly and agreed, "And as he said, he inherited that honestly. I wish there was something more I could do, Kv'ohraiya."

"I understand." Hoshi did understand, but it didn't lessen her anger and frustration at being so helpless. Another piercing cry through the cavern made her jump involuntarily; Kaori's head snapped up and she gazed behind her into the darkness. She bit her lip at the icy demand as it echoed off the walls.

"Bkah'ru d'vahr?" Where are they hiding? "Bkah'ru ta'sel d'vahr?" Where are the sick ones hiding?

"Gassa, gassa, ne!" Please, please no!

"Vai'di." You do know. "Bkah'ru ta'sel d'vahr?"

A flash of indecision passed across Kaori's face, then she set her jaw and narrowed her eyes. With one smooth movement, she stepped over to Hoshi's side and jabbed her arm with a hypospray. Hoshi couldn't have stopped her even if she'd tried. Almost instantly, feeling flowed back into her limbs and she could move again.

"Come, I will take you to your captain. Then you must flee and never return." Kaori pulled her to her feet. "I will assume the responsibility that I should have many cycles ago."

"But---"

"There is no time! Gavva will come back for you, and our people will suffer the consequences of his actions." Kaori dragged her along; dragged was the operative word, for Hoshi's feet weren't working quite well yet and it was all she could do to keep up.

*****

Malcolm sensed the guards before he heard them. By the time the Trianarians spotted the rescue team, he and Bernhard were already firing their phase rifles. Unconscious bodies hit the cavern floor. T'Pol glanced at her scanner and jerked her head to the right. Silently, they entered the right-hand tunnel.

It opened out into a large storage area, with crates piled as high as the ceiling. Malcolm ducked behind a wall of boxes and signaled for Bernhard and the others to take up positions nearby. T'Pol raised a hand as voices floated past them. Malcolm couldn't understand the dialect. Hoshi would, he thought, and forced himself to concentrate on the present.

The sounds of weeping came closer. Malcolm couldn't see anything from his vantage point, but Bernhard and Visarr did. Judging from Bernhard's stony expression and Visarr's bared teeth, the sight wasn't pleasant. Bernhard met his superior's gaze, his eyes angry and his jaw clenched.

Two Trianarian guards came into view, dragging a man dressed in a rumpled medical smock between them. Visarr jumped out, swung his massive tail and knocked the guards aside like tenpins. He snarled as he attacked the nearest one, while Bernhard tackled the second guard to the floor. T'Pol immediately went to the aid of the fallen medic.

"He has internal injuries, Lieutenant."

"They tortured him," Visarr hissed.

The medic managed to grab T'Pol sleeve. Malcolm supported him as he whispered something in a low voice; "Gavva...shi'yui de lah'ghu ta Kv'ohraiya, ta En'rhaivy..." Malcolm understood "Gavva", "Kv'ohraiya" was Hoshi, and "En'rhaivy" meant "superior officer of the military caste". Archer.

"Where are they?" Malcolm growled.

The medic understood the request, if not the words. He gestured toward T'Pol's scanner and when she gave it to him, touched a portion of the screen. "Vehi'bi."

T'Pol nodded and said, "I will contact Enterprise and ask for assistance."

Malcolm nodded, then looked at Bernhard and Visarr. "Let's get him, gentlemen."

*****

Hoshi's coordination improved as she and Kaori navigated through the caverns. The roar of the river grew louder, its rush almost overwhelming Hoshi's sensitive hearing. Then Kaori took an abrupt right turn that led them deeper into the stone formations and away from the river. The chaotic din became more tolerable and Hoshi could think again.

Another turn and Hoshi stepped into another large cavern. Several pairs of terrified eyes hit her and hands reached for whatever could be used as a weapon: hyposprays, fieldkits, and even a portable generator. A familiar face cried out, "No, stop! I know her! She's all right!"

Hoshi's eyes widened. "Doctor Oberu?"

Doctor Rydnar Oberu of the KRG got to his feet and crossed to her side in a few strides. "Ensign Sato! It is good to see you. Doctor Shen Kaori can be trusted; she's been working with the Medical Underground for decades." Oberu's mouth quirked into a grim smile. "I take it your brother still believes you loyal, Kaori?"

Kaori shook her head. "Not after this, when he finds out. Rydnar, we must move again. It will only be a matter of time before Gavva tracks me here. The Starfleet ship and the Saurians have broken up Gavva's 'trade conference' and detained the ringleaders, but Gavva remains free."

Oberu nodded and replied, "Then we must move without delay." He looked over his shoulder and began barking orders to the other doctors, nurses and orderlies who occupied the cavern. They began to quietly gather up equipment and patients and move them to anti-grav sleds. Hoshi was impressed at their swift response; they were used to this kind of migration. Then another familiar voice called out from Hoshi's right and a bright smile came over her face.

"Hoshi!" Jonathan Archer clapped a hand on an orderly shoulder and murmured some comforting words. The Trianarian didn't understand them, but he could understand the warmth and reassurance in the captain's tone. Jon slowly made his way towards Hoshi; his gait was still unsteady, and his face was pale in the dim light, but he carried himself with authority.

"Are you all right?" she asked him.

"Still recovering from the stun injection they gave me, but I'm okay." He nodded at Kaori, who nodded back at him. "Phlox managed to get some medicines and equipment down here to help Doctor Oberu. I've contacted Enterprise; there's a stone plateau not too far from here. We can beam these people out of here and get them to Sickbay. The Saurians have been also evacuating as many of Oberu's teams as possible onto their ships and the KRG's med frigates."

Hoshi blew out a relieved sigh, then asked, "What about Malcolm and the others?"

"They're pursuing Gavva. He won't get away, Hoshi." Jon pressed his lips together and added, "Some of these people are in pretty bad shape. Gavva and his minions tortured them for information about the hidden clinics. Let's get the worst of them up to the ship first."

"Just tell me what you need me to do and I'll do it, sir."

Time seemed to blur as they hurried through the twisting caverns, floating the anti-grav sleds up steep ledges, climbing up rope ladders and crossing bridges. Hoshi sternly kept her claustrophobia under control by concentrating on the ultimate goal: getting these people to safety.

Finally, they reached the mouth of the cavern and emerged into twilight. The Trianarian sun was low on the mountains as they gathered at the edge of the plateau. Jon flipped open his communicator. "Archer to Enterprise."

"Tucker here, Cap'n." Hoshi smiled at the familiar Southern drawl.

"We're at the beam-out coordinates, Trip. Have Phlox and T'Pol standing by in the transporter room."

"They're already waitin' for you, Cap'n. Have you found Hoshi?"

Jon smiled at her. "She's with us. Let's get a move on, Trip, before we're detected."

"Yes, sir. Tucker to Transporter Room Two. Fletcher, lock onto the first group and beam 'em up." Minutes later, the first group of patients disappeared in a sparkly haze. Then Trip continued, "We've cleared the platform. Cap'n. Ready for the second group. Energizin'."

Hoshi shivered as a night breeze chilled her skin. She didn't know just what had alerted her, but she turned her head at movement from the cavern behind them. Reflexes took over as she launched herself at Oberu, tackling him to the ground just as lasers seared the air above them.

"Down! Down!" Jon yelled. He yanked one of the orderlies down next to him. "Trip, we're under attack! Get us out of here!"

"Trying to get a lock on you, Cap'n! Hold on!"

Hoshi looked up in time to see a large Saurian intercept a stun beam meant for Jon. To her shock, it only seemed to annoy him instead of hurt him, and he launched himself at the shooter. The Trianarian soldier didn't have a chance before the Saurian was on him.

She pushed Oberu towards the rest of the patients and watched as he disappeared within Enterprise's transporter beam. Kaori and a handful of people remained; Hoshi wished she had a phase pistol, or even a few rocks...

"Achtung, Liebchen! Dahinter!"

Hoshi immediately dropped to the ground and Bernhard's stun shot hit the soldier directly behind her. A thin wire flew out of the man's hands and skittered across the plateau. She shuddered as she saw the weights at either end of it; it was some sort of garotte.

Finally, she felt the warm tingle of the transporter beam and a curtain of golden sparkles instead of sluggish green bands obscured her vision. She let out a sigh and thought, just before she dematerialized, Third time's the charm.

Ten

"There are others ahead of us. They are armed," Visarr hissed. "They are pursuing someone."

"Hoshi and the captain," Malcolm murmured. He looked over at Bernhard and gestured for the rescue team to follow them. "How many, Constable?"

"Eight, perhaps ten. Quite a large hunting party to recapture only two people." Visarr growled deep within his throat and put a hand on the closest rock outcropping. "Many others have went by here. Trianarians and others; I smell a sweet aroma of...flowers?"

"Hoshi. It's probably her shampoo. Gardenias."

Bernhard glanced over his shoulder with a bemused expression. "And how would you know that, Herr Kommmandant?"

Malcolm flushed crimson, suddenly glad that the Bavarian couldn't see his face in the darkness. "It's quite distinctive, Ensign, and not a smell that would trigger my allergies."

"How considerate of her." Bernhard pretended to adjust the setting of his phase rifle, but Malcolm caught the edge of his smirk.

I see cleaning phase rifles in your immediate future, Bernhard, Malcolm thought with dry humor. His humor quickly vanished as they followed the trail left by the Trianarian soldiers. Whoever they were pursuing knew exactly how to evade them. Several rope ladders scaled the cavern walls, but they had been cut to prevent pursuit. Malcolm, Bernhard and Visarr were forced to go around gaping holes in the floor, since the makeshift bridges lay in smashed pieces on the rocks below.

"They were trying to buy time," Visarr said, confirming Malcolm's thoughts. "It seems that they are experts at avoiding the Trianarian authorities."

"Good to know that not all Trianarians agree with Gavva's policies."

Bernhard nodded as he stepped over a pile of debris. "If they are helping Captain Archer and Ensign Sato, that will be reason enough for Gavva to go after them."

The floor rose abruptly at a steep angle, following the slope of the mountain itself. Out into the open air. Just as the thought crossed Malcolm's mind, he heard the echo of laser fire and the whine of a transporter beam. "Come on!" he shouted and broke out into a run.

He emerged onto a steep, rocky plateau, just in time to see the first group of Trianarian doctors and patients disappear into the transporter beam. He saw Hoshi tackle Doctor Oberu to the ground and Captain Archer protect a terrified orderly with his own body. Visarr rushed forward and blocked a stun beam aimed for Archer, literally. The beam struck his thick reptilian skin, and while it didn't seriously hurt Visarr, it had to have stung him. He roared and swung his tail, upending a pair of Trianarian guards and dumping them on the hard ground.

Bernhard yelled, "Achtung, Liebchen! Dahinter!" Hoshi immediately dropped and he fired his phase rifle at the soldier behind her. A weapon flew out of the soldier's hands and skittered out of sight. Seconds later, a transporter beam swept both Hoshi and Captain Archer away to safety.

"Thank God," Malcolm breathed. He heard the crunch of gravel behind him, spun, and blocked a knife with his phase rifle. His attacker tried to push him off balance, but he twisted out of the way, disarming the soldier as he did so. He fired a stun bolt and the man crumpled to the ground.

Visarr tore through the soldiers with claws and teeth. Malcolm had never seen someone that big move so fast, with reflexes better than himself or Bernhard. None of the Trianarians were able to counter Visarr, and soon the entire contingent lay unconscious or dying at his feet. He picked up a hapless guard and dangled him over the edge of the cliff.

"Where...is...he?" Visarr snarled. "Where is Gavva?" Malcolm noticed that Visarr hadn't bothered to address Gavva by the honorific.

"Ne, ne...a'lie del parretia!" The man thrashed wildly in terror as he screamed in blind fear.

Suddenly, a heavy weight slammed into Malcolm into the stone wall. He lost his grip on the phase rifle and it tumbled out of view. His arm shot up to block Gavva's thrust of the knife towards his heart. The two grappled, trying to gain the upper hand Gavva's harsh, raspy voice screamed curses, the accent thick, but he could understand the words in Standard English.

"You...die, Kv'ohraiy. You die, and she...mine!"

Something within Malcolm snapped at the words. "Like hell!" he snarled, as he jabbed his knee into Gavva's stomach. Gavva staggered back, one hand on his stomach, the other still firmly on the knife. He screamed something in Trianarian, then launched himself at Malcolm with surprising strength.

"Lieutenant!" Bernhard shouted. He aimed his phase rifle at the combatants, but couldn't get a clear shot without hitting his superior officer. "Constable!"

Visarr threw the terrified soldier aside; the man landed on a heap of his unconscious comrades. Then the Saurian screamed, "Gavva!" and launched himself into the fray.

Unfortunately, Gavva took advantage of Visarr's rage-filled attack. He reversed the knife and threw it at at Visarr, which hit the Saurian in his lower left side. Visarr roared in pain and anger as he fell to his knees. Malcolm didn't have time to react, for Gavva immediately clamped his hands around Malcolm's neck and began to squeeze with all the panicked strength of a desperate man.

He knows he's lost, but he doesn't care. Malcolm knew he had to end this quickly. He broke Gavva's hold on his neck and slammed the heel of his hand into the Trianaran's jaw. Gavva staggered backwards as his foot hit a patch of gravel. As he began to slide down the slope, he pushed the Armory Officer off balance, and they both tumbled towards the steep edge of the cliff.

Bernhard cursed and and tried to grab Malcolm's arm, but he nearly ended up joining them. Visarr reached over and seized him by the collar, halting his slide. Malcolm reached out desperately and caught the corner of sharp piece of rock. The jolt of pain hit him as he jerked abruptly to a stop, a mere three meters from the edge of the cliff.

Wrist's broken. He gritted his teeth and tried to pull himself up, but his muscles screamed in protest. Then something pulled at his legs and he nearly lost his hold. He glanced down to see Gavva's maniacal smile. The Trianarian's grip on Malcolm was the only thing that kept him from oblivion.

"I die...you die. None...have her."

"You bloody bastard!" Malcolm kicked out, but Gavva held fast, like a spider on its web. Malcolm could feel his grip slipping, he couldn't hold on for much longer...

And just as his strength nearly gave out, more hands grabbed him. Malcolm managed to look up to see Visarr clinging to the rock with his claws, Bernhard holding on to Visarr's massive tail with one hand, and onto Malcolm with his other hand. Gavva screamed inarticulate curses as gravity pulled him closer to open space. Finally, his hands slipped and Gavva fell hundreds of meters to the river below, his body impacting against the walls of the valley, his screams echoing long after he had died.

"I cannot hold on," Visarr cried, his body trembling with the strain of supporting the weight of two men.

"Let me go, Bernhard! Save yourself and the Constable! That's an order!"

Bernhard glared down at him. "With due respect...sir...if the fall doesn't kill me, Ensign Sato will."

"Damn it all, Bernhard---!"

A warm wind came over him and his surroundings dissolved. The next thing Malcolm knew, he was sprawled on his face on a metal floor decorated with strange hexagonal shapes. He blinked as his brain tried to catch up with what just happened. What the hell---?

Visarr hissed and snarled somewhere above him and to the right. He couldn't understand the words, but he knew the tone that translated into, about damn time you people decided to show up...

"Where are we?" Bernhard moaned. "Gott in Himmel, I feel awful."

"You are on the Saurian Security Vessel Ashiek," Visarr replied. "You are safe with my people. Although...I apologize for the discomfort. Our transporter beams aren't configured to Human norms."

Malcolm swore mentally and closed his eyes. Now he knew exactly how Hoshi felt about the transporter and couldn't blame her one bit. He could help but feel a sense of relief. It was over. She was safe on Enterprise and Gavva couldn't harm her anymore...

"We will take care of both of you, Protector, and afterward, you can contact your ship." Visarr sounded both amused and sympathetic at the same time. "I understand you have someone with whom you wish to speak, someone who is probably worried about you. I do understand."

Malcolm managed a smile. "Thank you."

*****

Communications Officer's Personal Log:

Two weeks have gone by since the death of the late (but not widely unlamented) Prefect Gavva. The Trianarian government has appointed Doctor Shen Kaori as their temporary representative, above her protests. Kaori claims she's "a doctor, not a politician", but unlike her mother and brother, Kaori's doing a splendid job in keeping things calm. She's gathered a new Council made of representatives of all levels of Trianarian society, from the medical caste to the mining caste to the transportation caste. My communications department has been asked to set up language training for as many of the Council as possible. A common language is one of the keys to a united Trianara Prime. It will take months, years, to reverse centuries of isolation and prejudice, but it's a start.

The so-called "trade conference delegates" have been released to the custody of their home planets. I doubt many of them will be prosecuted for any crimes, though. After all, they were here at the requests of their governments to "get a piece of the pie," as Trip put it. Starfleet Intelligence will be watching them more closely after this.

Enterprise will be escorting the Saurian Security vessels to their homeworld. The Saurians are interested in diplomatic relations with Earth. I think Malcolm's found a kindred spirit in Visarr; the two have been talking about defense systems and unarmed combat.

Personally, I'm feeling a lot better, though I try not to think of Gavva and his obsession. Malcolm told me that he's dead, that he can't hurt me anymore. We've talked a lot over the past couple of weeks. I've never been gladder for his steady presence, his comfort.

*****

"The native word for it is jes'jo, but 'brandy' comes close enough," Visarr said, as he poured the beverage into several glasses. "It's already become a commodity on Trianara."

"Not surprising," Malcolm commented mildly. "The Trianarians do have a sophisticated palate for alcohol."

Bernhard snorted as he accepted his glass. "I should introduce you to some of the brews from my homeland, Constable. I believe you would find them acceptable."

Visarr lifted his glass in a salute and answered, "I would be honored to try them, Ensign Mueller." He nodded at Captain Archer, who stood nearby with Trip and T'Pol as they talked to Visarr's superior officer. "May we have a long and fruitful bond between our two peoples."

Malcolm clinked glasses with him and Bernhard. "Hear, hear."

Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Hoshi talking with Travis and Doctor Kaori. Although her body language seemed normal, he could tell something was bothering her. He had an idea of what it was, though Hoshi had been reluctant to tell him about it.

"Excuse me," he said. "I'll be back."

Bernhard and Visarr watched him go and Visarr made a clicking sound. Bernhard gave him a look of askance, and although Saurians didn't actually smile, Visarr's voice did.

"No, he won't."

*****

"You must tell me more stories about your childhood, Travis," Kaori said. "Will you escort me to the dessert table and explain these 'butterfly women'?"

Travis blushed and Hoshi giggled under her hand. He shrugged, "Well...it's not exactly a tale for polite company, Doctor Kaori---"

Kaori smiled and linked her arm within his. "I am off-duty, just Kaori. Not Doctor Kaori or temporary head of the Council. You need not be 'polite' with me."

Travis's grin widened, even as Hoshi shook her head. "Go on, Travis. I'll be all right."

After the two were safely distracted by the dessert table, Hoshi decided it would be a good idea to slip out unnoticed. It had been a long day, and for once, she wanted to be herself. Hoshi---not Ni'Chara, or the eminent teacher Yrinnah or Hoshi the Kv'oraiya. She wanted to get away from multiple translations and adoring students for a while.

"May I walk with you?"

She smiled at the soft English accent at her shoulder. "Of course, Malcolm. I wouldn't mind the company." Hoshi slipped her arm within his, much like the time he'd accompanied her to the Council Chambers, and they walked out into the corridor. They'd spent as much time together as they could, given their respective duties. Of course, Trip and Travis teased her about it, but underneath the teasing was a sense of relief.

"Damn, Hoshi, I nearly gave myself a hernia trying to get you two together, but it looks like you've done pretty well on your own," Trip had told her bluntly. "I'm really glad for you and Malcolm, you know."

"Penny for your thoughts?"

She smiled as she touched the door control to the Observation Lounge. "Just thinking."

He followed her into the room and joined her on the couch. "What about?"

"The fact that it's nice to spend some time talking with you and not worrying about three different languages at the same time." She hadn't meant to sound ironic, but enough of her mood came through.

Malcolm frowned and reached over to put a hand on her shoulder. "What is it? You've been rather withdrawn the past few days."

She took a deep breath and shook her head. "Malcolm, I can't help but think...Gavva used me, used my talent, to achieve his goals. He wanted my ability, not me as a person. I could have done a lot of damage...like when I cracked the code for the Xindi."

He was silent for a moment, then put his other hand on her other shoulder. "Hoshi, look at me." She raised her eyes to meet his, and he continued in a soft voice, "You have a unique talent, love. It can bring people together or tear people apart. You are helping to bridge years of separation among the Trianarians. We'll need you to assist us with first contact with the Saurians. Words can do so much good."

She sighed. "I know, but it's these times that I'm reminded at how much they could destroy as well."

He nodded gravely at her. "True, but you give those words their purpose. They can make people realize the truth that's been there all along." Malcolm's mouth quirked upward in a shy smile. "It did for me."

Hoshi smiled and lifted a gentle hand to his cheek. "Me too. Thanks, Malcolm." Then she leaned forward and kissed him, much like when they were at the "trade conference", full of unspoken promise.

There was no need for further discussion that night.

Great story

Date: 2011-08-15 02:07 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Hi. I stumbled onto your STE stories on fanfiction.net, and I just wanted to post and say as a R/S shipper, Voices of Treachery is my favorite STE story. The characters are well written, the plot is fascinating, and it comes together really nicely. And believable! Kudos. I enjoy your Captain Sato universe fics as well - it's a really interesting concept - and hope you continue writing them. Thanks from a fan.

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May 2012

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