Disclaimer: Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Star Trek: The Next Generation belong to their respective creators, Joss Whedon and Gene Roddenberry.“A
ter'ngan ship?” Sa'
Martok's face was disbelieving, to say the least. “Carrying a child preserved in stasis? Destroyed by an unmarked
romuluSngan vessel in
Haragga held Martok's eyes and said nothing.
Any other Klingon might have accused Haragga of drinking, or of lying. Martok did neither. “You are certain they were Romulans?”
“They bled like Romulans.”
Martok's brows lowered. “You've alerted the fleet?”
. However, we have kept back the details of the alien vessel, and the human. I thought it would be better to inform you first.” “Hn.”
The general shook his head. “What would the Romulans want with a human child?”
Haragga also shook his head. “I could not say, Sa'
.” “The Federation's ambassador is in Qo'noS. I see that you've already set a course. What does your physician have to say?”
“The human is weak, disoriented, and starving. Preliminary scans show significant brain damage, but Goroth claims that it is responding to treatment and that a procedure on Qo'noS should reverse it entirely. He has administered sedatives. She also sustained minor disruptor burns, but these have been treated.”
General Martok was looking at something off screen. “I will organize the investigation in the Mempa sector. Refrain from contacting the ambassador until you have reached Qo'noS. With any luck, we will have the results in hand before we turn the human over to the Federation. If she is important enough for the Romulans to commit an act of war, then we must know why.”
The dismissal was clear. At any moment, the transmission would end. “Sa'
. I must inform you of something else.”
Martok looked back at him, brows lowering. “What now, son of Hij'Qa?”
Haragga stiffened his spine. “I am declaring myself vavneS
of the girl.”
If Haragga had told the general that he was defecting to the Ferengi, he might have elicited a similar expression. “WHAT?”
“There is a debt.” Haragga did not look away. “Were it not for her bold actions aboard that ship, it would be la'
Kahmar here now, reporting my death to you, if not Sogh
Martok clenched and unclenched the fist that was in view. “This...is ill-advised,
“It is right, Sa'
.” The general's tone did not bode well, but Haragga was no wet-thumbed brat. “The child is injured and alone, separated from her house and her blood, and I owe her my life. I am declaring myself vavneS
until her own claims her.” Sa'
Martok opened his mouth, and then closed it. He glared at Haragga for a long, precarious moment, scowling savagely.
Abruptly, the general thumped the surface in front of him with his fist. “You will take full responsibility for the human!” “HIja'!” “Her care will be at the expense of your house, not the state!” “HIja'!” “Bah!”
Martok glowered at him, his terrible eyes inscrutable. “Haragga, son of Hij'Qa, you are either stupider than I thought you...or much, much shrewder. I am waiting to see which!”
The transmission ended.
Haragga stood up, allowing the tension to ease from his shoulders.
The corridor outside the infirmary was, again, full of bekk
s, who all seemed to suddenly have found things to do around the physician's quarter. Haragga did not really mind it—they moved out of the way attentively enough, and Kahmar had reported that shipboard bloodshed had diminished to unprecedented levels.
When Haragga entered the infirmary, the girl was sitting with her back against the bulkhead, head back and eyes closed.
Two females, Marag and a bekk
named Xol, had been charged with minding the human. One of them had obviously managed to clean her up, as she now stank of some astringent cleansing agent rather than romuluSngan
fluids. Her hair had been pulled roughly back and the bloodstained yIvbeH
had been taken from her, replaced with a wep
that went to her knees and covered her hands. Presumably no one had been able to find shoes to fit such small feet.
None of it had done much to improve her. “HoD."
Goroth inclined his head from where he stood at the biocomputer.
Haragga went over to him. “Has she allowed you to examine her?”
“No, Captain.” Goroth looked disgruntled. “I have been limited to scanning her from a distance. She allowed the females to touch her, after a while, but she has let no male near her but you.”
The physician paused. “It is...improving.”
Haragga turned to look at him.
“I have been comparing tricorder scans in hourly increments.” Goroth gestured to the screen in front of him. “The first scan is from immediately after she came aboard.”
“And...Captain, I have no explanation for this.” Goroth looked like he was struggling. “I have checked the equipment and the readings several times. I had thought perhaps it was a mechanical failure.”
“It is not?”
Goroth frowned. “When I first scanned her, she had significant damage to her brain, consistent with ischemic injury. I observed advanced cell degeneration throughout her body. But, now...”
Haragga was losing patience, but the physician's expression was so frustrated and perplexed that he made an effort at not losing his temper. “Speak!”
“The damage is...diminishing. Each scan shows less and less. Over time, her brain is...repairing itself.” Goroth grit his teeth. “I have observed the same effect...everywhere.”
“You have not been treating her?”
“We are not equipped to deal with such injuries in humans, HoD
Haragga turned and looked at her.
The human's eyes were closed. She looked as if she were sleeping, her knees folded beneath her and her head against the wall. Her neck was not even the width of his wrist, and she looked like an infant, a nurseling that had fallen asleep sitting up.
When Haragga closed his eyes, he saw her again, standing over the dead Romulans, gory and trembling, the edges of the warrior's knife slavering blood and hair.
“Delete these scans,” said Haragga, opening his eyes, “and find her something to eat.”GlossarytlhIngan
| [non-canon] honor fatherHIja'
| warrior; lowest rank on a shipwep
| sleeved shirt