Disclaimer: Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Star Trek: The Next Generation belong to their respective creators, Joss Whedon and Gene Roddenberry.
The disruptor burn was almost imperceptible, a tract of shiny pink skin that glistened with antiseptic gel. The engineer, Marag, had washed the human's hair and replaced the oversized wep
with a different shirt and yowaH
that nearly fit. She had also found the human a pair of DaS
that had been stuffed with rags, and convinced her to sit on the biobed.
But the difference was in her eyes. She was watching them as they talked, alert and inquisitive. When someone spoke, she would look at them, at the mouth, and sometimes there would be movement along her jaw, muscles ticking under the skin as if she would reproduce the sounds she heard but had not quite grasped how. There was none of the mute incomprehension of earlier.
When she saw Haragga, her eyes would widen and her lips would part, showing teeth.
“She has begun to eat, Captain,” said Marag. “She cannot chew meat yet, but Sogh
Goroth says that her teeth will be strong enough in a few more hours. I have been giving her hot baqghol
Barely twenty-four hours since the incident, and the human looked tenfold healthier. “Has she slept?”
“She closes her eyes,” replied Marag, “and the Sogh
says she sleeps. But she wakes if anyone comes too close.”
Haragga looked at Marag. She was a young tlhIngan
, on her first cruise. He recalled that she'd been in several fights in the mess, and Kahmar had noted that she was hot-tempered. He'd assigned her the human for convenience and because she seemed capable of defending herself, not because he'd expected her to take to nursing. “You have no complaints?”
!” Marag glared at him.
He glanced at the human. She followed them with her eyes, lips still moving. Her looks had improved with her health, though she was still too short and too skinny. “Dismissed.”
Marag left. Haragga stood beside the biocomputer, giving his head a single shake to show that Goroth should stay as he was rather than stand. “She is recovering?”
.” Goroth looked away from the report he was finalizing. “The last scan showed an eighty percent improvement in neurocognitive functions. The muscular and skeletal damage have almost disappeared. Her body temperature is also beginning to stabilize.”
The human pulled her lips back, showing Haragga her teeth. He wondered what was happening in that bruised ter'ngan
brain. “Will she be whole by the time we reach Qo'noS?”
“I cannot say. Her rate of recovery is already beyond anything I have previously seen or studied. According to the data we have on humans, she should not be alive at all.”
Humans had always been a frail species, at least in Haragga's experience, which made these developments even more inexplicable. He could not blame the medical officer for having no answers. “Where is the bekk
Xol?” Goroth grunted. “She became impatient when the human spilled her baqghol
. When the qoH
went to hit her, the human closed her hand on Xol's and broke it.”
“Twenty-three bones. I ordered her on light duty for two days.”
Haragga lowered his head, brows furrowed. “The human did this with her bare hand.”
“Yes.” Goroth looked unperturbed.
“And you do not suspect her to be an Augment?” To break a full-grown Klingon woman's hand only by tightening her grip?
The ship's physician met Haragga's glare squarely. “The tests do not lie, HoD
. She has undergone no genetic manipulation.”
“And Xol's hand?”
“—could be anything.” Goroth was scowling. “There are Klingons who are stronger than the norm, and Klingons who are weaker.”
“Then her recovery rate!”
“I cannot explain it.” The physician pulled his shoulders back, as if he was preparing to fight. “I studied Klingon medicine at the Enclave, not human. But it does not take a Starfleet-trained toDSaH
to see that the tests show no genetic modification. I will make no diagnosis without further testing!”
Useless to argue, Haragga knew. Goroth had made up his mind, and would not unmake it unless the proof slapped him in the face. “Marag saw it happen?”
At least that explained the unexpected shift in Marag's disposition. Haragga shook his head. “My ghojmoHwl
used to say that pain is the teacher that cannot be questioned, the first and last for every warrior.”
The doctor opened his mouth to reply and another voice said “Suuuv.”
It was more growling than speech, a guttural murmur that reminded Haragga of a child imitating the adults around her. The pronunciation was awkward, the tone slightly shrill, a mouthful of unfamiliar angles, but he knew the word, just as he'd known what his nursling sister had been trying to say when she had looked up at him, the indignant pubescent standing over her, and growled loDn
. loDn. “Suuuv.”
Those eyes darkened with effort, and a line formed between the brows. “Suuuvweee.”
She put her hand to her mouth, the fingertips at her lips. “SuvwI',”
someone said. He, Haragga, he was saying it. He had turned toward her, was baring his teeth to show how the sound should be made. “SuvwI'!”
The human did not recoil at the loud exclamation, or away from him. She was upright and poised on the biobed, eyes bold and intent. “SuvwI'!”
Haragga made a fist and struck his chest with it. “be'Hom! SuvwI'!”
The human's eyes dilated. “SuvwI',”
she said, and bared her white, blunt teeth back at him.
She was making the same face that he was making, Haragga realized, imitating him with words and teeth.
She was watching him now, waiting for his reaction. “HoD,”
someone else said—Goroth, behind him, still at his station. “You should see your face!” The older tlhIngan
rumbled in his throat, laughing without laughing. “You look like every father before you since Kortar!”GlossaryyowaH
| insult; weakling, indicates a need for rescueghojmoHwl
| mispronunciation of loDnI'