Disclaimer: Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Star Trek: The Next Generation belong to their respective creators, Joss Whedon and Gene Roddenberry.
Magh looked much worse than Haragga had expected. Goroth's report stated that Magh had sustained multiple fractures in his cranial exoskeleton. The top half of his face and most of his head was black and swollen, Magh's left eye puckered shut by bloated flesh.
“The fractures are grouped closely, here.” Kahmar pointed. “If it had been even slightly more to the center, the blow would have destroyed his tricipital lobe and killed him.”
Magh's right eye opened and glared bloodshot at Kahmar. The physician had used a brace to immobilize Magh's head, and Magh could not move his jaw to speak.
The location Kahmar indicated was a rounded blemish just to the left of Magh's central ridges. More than anything, it looked like a dent.
“Magh struck the wall on his back,” said Haragga. “I saw that with my own eyes.”
“As did I,” said Kahmar. “But I did not see what caused it. Sogh
D'romok also saw nothing.”
Magh lifted a shaking fist into the air and clenched it.
Haragga and Kahmar watched him. Magh's face grew dark with effort, fighting the sedatives Goroth had given him.
Sluggishly, in disjointed, jerking movements, he brought up his other hand and, with a guttural snarl, slammed his fist into his open palm.
Then he sank back onto the rack, eye rolling under the weight of medication.
Kahmar looked at Haragga.
Haragga exhaled through his teeth. “Have you carried out my orders, la'
. All data regarding the human ship has been purged from the H'Grot
's systems and restricted to a classified file. I have debriefed the crew, and confined Goroth to the infirmary.”
“He has been confined to quarters.”
Then there was nothing left to wait for. “la'
, your service in this has been exemplary. Sa'
Martok will know of it.”
Haragga turned to leave and Kahmar said, “HoD!”
The captain stopped and looked back.
Kahmar's face was stubborn. “HoD
, it should be me.”
That took Haragga aback. “You?”
“You are the last of your House. If you should die, or receive discommendation—”
Haragga shook his head. “I am captain. The H'Grot
is my ship. And I have already claimed responsibility. What is one House, even of the blood, against the Empire?”
“Enough! I will hear no more!” Haragga shoved Kahmar for emphasis. “You will
do your duty, la'
Without waiting for Kahmar's response, Haragga turned on his heel and left the security chief's quarters.
The corridors to the infirmary were unoccupied—all personnel had been called to battle stations, though the lack of a general alarm had resulted in some disgruntled grumbling. There would be no more casualties than there had to be, if the worst should occur.
Goroth was sitting at his station, waiting for Haragga to arrive. His expression was atypically foreboding. “HoD.”
From his belt, Haragga removed a single plasma grenade, and handed it to Goroth, who attached it to his own belt.
“You know your duty.”
“I do, HoD
.” Goroth looked resolute enough, for a doctor.
They both turned to the human.
She was still sitting how Haragga had left her, back to the bulkhead and her legs folded beneath. A bowl of baqghol
had been placed in front of her, but looked untasted. The smell of the cleaning agent was not as bad as before.
When Haragga drew his meqleH
, the girl opened her eyes.
Before, those eyes had been infantile and mindless, almost imbecilic. What flashes of lucidity that she had seemed to be limited to self-preservation, and even those were only in immediate and violent reactions to physical threats. There had seemed to be a distinct possibility of there being nothing left but instinctive self-defense and muscle memory.
Now, many tricorder readings later, those eyes were not so much imbecilic as they were childlike, aware but depthless.
What would those eyes look like, Haragga couldn't help but think, by the time they reached Qo'noS?
Calmly, he placed the meqleH
on the biobed beside him, the blade toward the wall. Beside it he put his disruptor, turned toward him and within easy grasp. Behind him, Goroth waited, a detronal scanner in one hand and a tricorder in the other. “be'Hom,”
said Haragga, “we must know if you are an Augment.”Glossarybaqghol
| warm tea