Disclaimer: Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Star Trek: The Next Generation belong to their respective creators, Joss Whedon and Gene Roddenberry.
When they materialized aboard the human ship, it was to stand in a darkness lit only by the lights of their atmospheric suits and the fading energy of their transport beams.
Magh glanced at the sensor in his hand. “Breathable, Captain.”
Haragga needed nothing else. He pressed the control that pulled back his faceguard, and his nostrils filled with the cool, recycled air of a three hundred years.
The away team stood in a semi-circular compartment, with barely room enough to sufficiently accommodate four full-grown males. There was no debris, only clear, empty space and a bare floor. There was nothing in it, not a single panel or console that Haragga could see. Behind them, a closed hatch set into the wall that looked to be the airlock. Opposite them, in the wall the away team faced, was a high, wide door, closed and without any obvious means of opening it.
“No energy signatures,” said D'romok. “The ship is nearly dead, Captain. The only system still operating is life support, and even this will fail within a few days.”
Haragga strode to the closed door, but nothing happened at his approach. He thought to try a voice command, but as he opened his mouth, it occurred to him that a ter'ngan
ship three hundred years old was not likely to be programmed with a universal translator. “D'romok?”
The chief engineer came forward with his tricorder. “The circuitry has long since ceased to work. I could not repair it in these conditions.”
Magh bared his teeth. “Then we do it the traditional way.”
The door opened only grudgingly, even with Magh and Kahmar pulling and Haragga and D'romok pushing. When it finally groaned ajar, with a hiss of chill, shallow air, the area beyond turned into a corridor, wide and spacious, but completely destitute of anything but the sweep of enforced steel. The temperature here progressively lowered as they went, and at the end of the corridor Haragga could see another doorway, this one open, and filled with a watery light.
“No weapons,” Kahmar was muttering, “no insignias, nothing.”
“Very civilized,” added Magh, shining his light over the walls.
Haragga had been thinking the same. He had always heard that humans tended to go in for a lot of weeping and wailing, and had been expecting something vulgar.
“Perhaps they had nothing else to give,” said D'romok abruptly. “It could not have been many years after the Third World War. I have been told that it was a time of many troubles for them. The construction of this ship could have been no mean undertaking.”
“But why build this ship at all?” asked Kahmar. “Especially just after the war? I have never heard of humans disposing of their dead in this way except on starships.”
Magh grunted into his beard. “Who knows why humans do anything?”
They had reached the doorway, and it was Haragga who stepped first into the light.
This room was thrice the size the first room had been, and bitingly cold. It was semicircular in shape, and to either side of the door there was nothing, only bare walls and empty floor, but in the opposite wall— “ghuy'cha',”
Haragga's eyes were wide. He heard D'romok's harsh breath, Kahmar's curse, but did not give them any heed. Slowly, almost reverently, he went forward, arm outstretched, and laid his fingers against the surface of the glass.
The cylinder stood from floor to ceiling, and was nearly as wide as the wall it stretched against. The light emanated from the center, silent and cold. The front of the thing was entirely glass, giving them a view directly into its contents, and the sight was one that he did not doubt he would remember for the rest of his life.
The ice was sheer and white, flawless in its clean composition, its pellucid mass. The whole of the cylinder was filled with that ice, from top to bottom, and the cold that emitted from it was enough to sear and numb his hand, even through reinforced glass as thick as his thumb.
In the center, her hair a streak of golden fire against the white, was a girl.Glossaryter'ngan
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