Disclaimer: Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Star Trek: The Next Generation belong to their respective creators, Joss Whedon and Gene Roddenberry.
The tube of blood looked innocuous enough. It was red, the same angry chroma of tlhIngan
blood, and it smelled
like Klingon blood, ferric and hard.
“There is no sign of genetic engineering,” said Goroth. “I have run every test available on the H'Grot
, and I cannot find any indicators of DNA resequencing or any artificial manipulation. Hers is an untouched genome.”
“Then she is human,” said Kahmar, “not an Augment.”
“Technically, Augments are still human,” Goroth corrected, “just genetically enhanced.” If Goroth saw the glare Kahmar was giving him, he did not seem very worried about it. “However, it must be said that the H'Grot
's medical facilities are not...extensive.” He frowned at the tube of blood on the console. “There are several more sophisticated tests that I am unable to apply.”
“Does this mean you still suspect her of being an Augment?” asked Kahmar.
“I do not,” said Goroth, without a trace of hesitation. “But I have observed that you do, la'
Kahmar looked at Haragga.
Haragga looked at the tube of blood. He was a warrior, of a line of warriors—he would always be the first to admit that he knew little of science and nothing of medicine. His expertise lay in battle and in his ship. His concept of medicine was either something killed you or it didn't, and decent people would leave a man alone to either live or die as he would. His House had never been known for progressivism.
And all his years in battle, all his brutally earned prowess as a warrior, told him that what he'd seen on that human ship was impossible.
“You are dismissed, Sogh
,” growled Haragga.
Goroth left without complaint. Years of service in the fleet had left him with a very unambiguous understanding of his position as ship's physician. Too, after so many years, he was more attuned to Haragga's thought process than some others.
She'd been unexpectedly tame when he'd taken her arm. He'd stayed in her line of sight, poised and ready for any reaction as the doctor took his scans and his sample. He hadn't been entirely certain what he'd been expecting. If she was an Augment, then surely she would understand the danger she was in, and would have reacted defensively. Or it could be that the impairment to her neurocognitive functions had degraded her ability to tell an open threat from a more subtle one. If this was the case, then she was growing more and more dangerous with every minute that passed.
Or perhaps she was not an Augment, the healing of her injuries was continuing apace, and she had recovered enough of herself to be able to understand that they had meant her no harm. She'd submitted to the tests mildly enough, her expression one of unconcerned alertness. A whelp that did not know enough to fear.
Goroth and his tests did not think she was an Augment. Goroth and his tests had not been on the away team.
If she was an Augment, she could not be allowed into Federation custody. She could not even be allowed off of the ship. Haragga looked at Kahmar. “Have you carried out my orders?”
.” Kahmar shifted in his seat. “Transport has been instructed to deny her requests, and any outside attempts to transport the human will be met with interference.”
“I have input the instructions regarding shipboard life signs. Should the ship register no tlhIngan
signatures aboard, the H'Grot
will auto-destruct. I have also reduced the delay between the final authorization and the self-destruct sequence.”
“Even if she kills us all, the H'Grot
will avenge us.” It was fitting. As a captain served, so would his ship.
Kahmar said nothing. But he was a young Klingon, and poor, and had nowhere to go but up. Dying at the hands of some expired Augment or in a not-particularly-glorious explosion in the Mempa sector probably did not sit well with him, even if it was in the service of the Empire.
“Dismissed.” Haragga stood. They were thirty-six hours out from Qo'noS, and Haragga had had no sleep for two days. Perhaps when he woke, the human would have relearned speech. Or killed a few of the noisier bekk
Kahmar stood as well, but did not move to go. “HoD.”
The captain stopped. “What?”
“If she is not an Augment...” Kahmar frowned.
Haragga did not need to hear the unspoken question, because he had been asking it himself since the moment he had first suspected it. The deaths of the Romulans repeated again and again in his mind, an anamnesis of violence and grace, more execution than battle. Augment
was the name his brain had tried to put to it, the first and only concept that it could use to explain what he had seen. But if she was no Augment...
By the distant concentration in Kahmar's eyes, Haragga knew what he was remembering. That inscription, the metal scarred and pitted by time and space.
The slayer. Pre-Federation human artifacts. Romulans. And the killing, back again and again to the killing.
He'd never been much at cryptograms.
“Then I am vavneS
,” said Haragga.