Farewell, Part Two

Posted on 12 Jan 2017 @ 2:38pm by Commander Volus tr'Keirheol & Subcommander Dhael t'Anaka & Sublieutenant Varuh tr'Krell & Valkis tr'Tellus

Mission: The Choices We Make
Location: Estate of House Tellus, Rator III
Timeline: Evening, 4th d. of 2nd m. of Air, y. 1940 AS

While eating the starters, Valkis already had a good talk with his friends, especially Varuh. Now, as the dishes were removed to get the space for the main meal, Valkis had turned to Volus.

"Commander, if I may ask, are you retiring now or will you continue to serve? Please do not take this as an offence, I am just wondering what I would do when I am in your age. You have seen a lot, probably more than most Rihannsu, and perhaps you should share your experience. On the other hand I think that you are quite an asset to Galae, someone who should sit in the command chair of a ship. If there is anything I can do for you, feel free to ask."

It was a question that he'd given much thought since the destruction of the Imperiax. In a way, Volus didn't really have an answer. "I go where I am needed," he chose to answer with. "Although at the moment my destination is nowhere and I am still contemplating my future. Command has kindly reminded me that they are still in need of experienced commanders with everything that is going on especially where it concerns the Cardassians, but with no ship to give me I am left to wait. I may pay a visit to a couple of old friends in the Science Directorate. Sit down for a while and just expand the mind intellectually once more." And bhudt did he miss being involved in scientific pursuits.

"I guess this is a good way to keep your mind flexible," Valkis stated, "You know, I miss the good times I had as an archaeologist. Digging some old ruins and find fascinating artifacts was great. Although, I have to admit, most artifacts you find are rubbish. The waste of centuries, buried for a millennia. And actually it is this which tells you alot more about the life of the people than any chronicles."

"Study the past if you would define the future," Volus commented with a smile. "Confucius said that an age ago. I expect that there is no real need for me to remind any of you of the importance of looking back at our history, dare I say even as far back as our Vulcan heritage, from time to time. Our past triumphs and failures accompany us on our journey through life and they can guide us into making the best decisions possible. Even a lowly rock has a story behind it and as you suggested, its story can be important in some way. I expect that given your interest in our distant past, perhaps you should revisit those 'good times' again. Knoweldge, after all, is power."

"Hear, hear," Valkis said with a smile and raised his glass. "To knowledge!"

Volus did the same took a sip from his. As a scientist, knowledge had always been an integral part of his life. It gave him understanding and helped him grow as a person. Sometimes he felt that not enough people dedicated themselves to intellectual pursuits.

Varuh nodded. Archaeology and Exoarchaeology could provide one with valuable lessons about other species. He liked this topic at the academy and admired the collection his father had founded and he now inherited. He felt unworthy of owning it since he lacked the proper knowledge. He decided to put some time into studies for leisure. Not only reverse engineering alien technology was quite the fun but there was even beauty in broken shards, rusty blades or long forgotten pieces of art.

The main meal was served. Vol-au-vent filled with hlai'vnau with vegetables as side dish. "Ah, here we go. I suggest kali-fal as beverage, with purple wine as alternative. Please serve both," he informed the servants.

Varuh looked at the crisp pastry in front of him and carefully opened it using fork and knive to 'behead' it. The released aromatic fragrance of venison combined with herbal notes was pleasing to the nose and the pastry was golden and crispy outside, yet fluffy inside. The riches of the forest lay down on a platter. The vegetables were picked well. All seasonal food. Purple and brown forest mushrooms were accompanied by Y'lwern shallots and wild garlic together with steamed h'rud'ni spuds. A gravy made from purple wine added to the aromas.

"I will have the purple, please. Did you hunt the hlai yourself, Valkis?" Varuh inquired.

Valkis grinned. "A duke needs some leisure activities worthy of a duke. Pretty difficult, by the way. These animals can fly actually, so it is a little like space battle, but with me being more or less stationary. And these hunting disruptors are not good for the taste, so I hunted with a bow. My original plan was to serve much more, but it the end it was barely enough for pastries!" He laughed heartily.

"It will suffice, friend." Varuh chuckled. "This is something you won't get every day for sure. Hlai'vnau so fresh, the senator, a full-fledged Vulcan duke hunted it personally for you - with a bow. No need for apologies - no sane man would expect THIS. Even if it were only one single bird - this is more than even a king could demand or money could ever buy. Let's cherish in that. The Y'lwern are very nice. We do not have them often on Umbrios - won't grow well there. Father used to have wild 'anyan 'oQqar grown instead. Somehow he had a thing for Kilngons. I guess I inherited the thirst for Rak'tajino from him. They are a secret ingredient for Rokeg Blood Pie as I am told. Not that I would like to eat some blood pie that is, but those Klingon onions are nice as well - they have a peppery touch and are sharper in taste. You should try them some time. He made me learn Klingon language as well as he said an enemy today can be a friend in the future - it is never bad to know other languages. What languages do you three speak, if I may ask the question?"

"Primarily Romulan," Volus said in between bites of his meal. "However, having been around for as long as I have you learn words and phrases here and there from other cultures. As you might imagine, the Vulcan Science Directorate is of particular interest to our people when it comes to that domain. I would never claim that I am a fluent speaker though. The art of translation isn't quite what it used to be." Of course, everything nowadays was translated via a universal translator so the need to know other languages was not as important anymore.

"Romulan, of course," Valkis said and continued, "Besides that, fluent in Vulcan, Ancient Vulcan and Federation Standard. I thought of learning Cardassian, but never had the time yet. What about you, Dhael?" he asked as she had been quiet, before he had another bite of his meal.

"Just Romulan and Vulcan." Dhael replied, "I never was one for languages I'm afraid." she admitted reluctantly, "Another reason that I was such a disappointment to my parents." she added as she took a sip of ale.

"A view, which I would definitively not share." Varuh answered, frowning. He wiped his mouth with a table cloth. "I wonder, why parents would demand so much from their children. Serving D'era must come from within and not be forced upon one. You are not a disappointment at all."

"Their loss was my gain, for a time," Volus said. He was pleased to have gotten the chance to work with Dhael even if it was only for a very short span. While she still had a ways to go, she would make a fine Commander of her own one day. "As a father myself, you always want what is best for your children. As they grow you discover that they very much have a mind of their own and may not always want to follow in your footsteps. How a person reacts to that is variable. Everyone is different. Our actions and reactions are usually governed by our experiences and surroundings."

Valkis nodded thoughtfully. "Truly spoken, Volus. Yet, I grew up with the weight of millennia of leadership resting on my shoulders. 'A Tellus must shine. Always.' were my father's words. And yet I doubt that despite the great importance of tradition in my House my father would ever have dreamed, or even supported, me following the old ways of our ancestors before they left Vulcan. And yet I am sure this will be my light, and it will shine bright. And you, Dhael," he looked at her with a gentle smile, "What you did achieve is no disappointment at all. Indeed, you increased your House's mnhei'sahe a lot."

"That's one way of looking at it I suppose." Dhael replied, the irony that she was her house was not lost on her, "I like to think that the very fact that I didn't turn out like them was my greatest victory." she smiled, wondering what it must be like to have a loving family as Volus so obviously had and whilst diminished, still did.

"You serve the Empire with honor," the Commander pointed out. "There's no question that one's heritage is an important facet of the gravitas we endure as Rihannsu. What you've accomplished as an individual, however, should not be casually dismissed. You've forged your own path. It's not a simple task to walk out of the shadows cast upon by one's parents."

"Although you cannot cast away clan politics completely. It is our way of living. I learned that lesson just recently. You should hear old Durik telling me about grooming an heir and getting married. He served my father, my grand-father and his brother. I wonder, whether he is my servant or an ancient sent from the afterlife by our dead to see whether we clan-chiefs live up to the expectations." Varuh added and took a sip of the purple wine.

Valkis thought about the time when he became hru'hfihr himself. His parents were killed by Shinzon's forces and he had to start struggling for the very survival of both, his House and clan. It had been his masterpiece of politics to assure Shinzon of his support and stay out of open opposition. Sometimes a tactical withdraw served well. Later he had been able to rally his troops and fight Shinzon and his supporters. He really did and led his personal guards and all Houses of Clan Tellus into battle.

"It is good to have someone left to serve you with advice," Valkis said calmly, "But maybe I can give you some advice as well. When there is the time for battle, you should never hold back. Not even if it could destroy your entire clan. It may be the ultimate sacrifice, but it also yields the ultimate mnhei'sahe. There is no meaning in the survival of a clan if you destroy mnhei'sahe to achieve this." He paused for amoment before he added "Unfortunately, the most difficult part is to determine if it is the time for battle, or if you should still maneuver to improve your battleground."

"There might be a thing even higher than that and I would like your opinion on that. My father and grandfather spoke of forsaking your own and your clan's mnhei'sahe to save the mnhei'sahe of another worthy. Consider this: the brighter a light shines, the stronger the shadows will be as well as there is always shadow where there is light. The difficult part is to decide who is a light worthy of shining and telling the difference between shadows and plain darkness. While s'Tellus shines as a beacon, s'Krell wanders the shadows." Varuh replied. "I guess this is one reason why my family often served within the Tal Shiar Court. This makes me kind of a black sheep, doesn't it?"

Dhael nodded as she took in the words of her companions. "It does." she answered Varuh honestly, "Though Tal Shiar aside, I am glad that I have known this one particular black sheep." she raised her glass to toast him.

"Hear, hear!" Valkis raised his glass. "You can even shine in the shadows, only that very few recognize it. But we recognize, and we will remember."

As they were talking, the dishes had been removed and dessert had been served. It seemed to be nothing special, but it was Vulcan semolina pudding, something extremely rare off Vulcan.

"A taste from our past, my friends," Valkis explained, "May it remember us of our destiny. D'era."

"I can drink to that, friend. But, pray tell us something more about this particular course? First glance it looks...common, but I know it is not. What makes it special?" Varuh inquired.

"It is made of Vulcan grain," Valkis replied, "And a traditional dessert on Vulcan. Typically, fruits are added, but here we have the version our ancestors had at wartime. Simple, yet sufficiently tasty and sweet to rise the spirit."

"It reminds me a bit of simple things, a soldier can prepare for himself in warcamp using a pot, fire, water and some staple ingredients like grains for nourishment. Acquiring genuine Vulcan grain, however, is quite difficult nowadays. I am deeply impressed, Valkis." Varuh answered.

"Considering our borders have been closed for just over a year now, I have to agree with Varuh," Volus said. "It must not have been easy for you to acquire the ingredients necessary to make this dish."

"I would guess through the Raeyan transit corridor. Most likely by Vulcan merchants. Or you might have visited Vulcan itself on 'diplomatic mission'." Varuh mused. "There are ways."

"There are many ways, but all I can tell you is that senatorial immunity has its advantages." Valkis grinned.

"I strongly believe this, friend." Varuh answered. "I might surprise - and supply all of you - as well with 'anyan 'oQqar and Rak'tajino as well as Klingon blood ale and Romulan Ale. We all have our ways, I think. However, I wish to express my thanks for this dinner. It's symbolical meaning and taste were extraordinary.

"Yes, the food was pleasant," Volus agreed, despite that it was Vulcan in origin.

"Agreed." Dhael nodded, "It's been a while since I ate this well."

"Thank you, my friends. My personnel will be informed of your compliments," Valkis replied, "And I hope we can repeat this one day. You are always welcome to my home, regardless which of my estates." Yet, deep inside, he knew that it would get much more difficult to schedule another dinner like this one. The better he filled his role as senator, the less time he found for anything else. Probably this was the price for senatorial power. One would spend time with political friends instead of real friends. Maybe even with political enemies, just to make them feel safe. But an evening like this would become a rare event.

"I expect that given my rank I may find myself in the area more often than not. We shall see," Volus said. Rator III was the heart of the Empire now. With no command or position within the Star Navy at the moment, he anticipated that he'd be here quite often for endless meetings regarding his future.

"I might drop by to discuss politics or more interesting matters while I am on L.O.A. - I have a house to run as well. Mayhaps we might meet on Umbrios next time and I will be honored to show you the Krell estates in turn." Varuh added. "I really enjoyed your hospitality."

"I am beginning to feel very out of place around you noble folk," Volus said in jest. Although realistically he felt very fortunate to know individuals from such powerful family lines. He knew that having such connections could prove to be very useful in the future.

"Nobility, true nobility," Valkis said, "is in action, not in name or birth. To me, you are no less a nobleman than me. None of you is. We are peers, and we will stay peers. Let us swear this, here and now, and forever." He rose to his feet and held his right hand over the table and in reach of his friends. "Peers forever."

"Danno" Varuh replied and touched Valiks' hand with his own. "Let there be only friendship not rank or status."

"Peers forever." Dhael raised her glass and nodded towards Valkis, yet deep down, she wondered if the time and distance would change that.

Volus reluctantly put his hand forward with the rest. He found the gesture a bit odd, if only because he felt as if his friendship to them did not need to be stated. Volus imagined that he, like the others, had had many friends over the course of their lives. How was this any different? Volus couldn't help but feel that this declaration was putting him in a difficult position should Dhael or Varuh ever be placed under his command again.

hlai'vnau - wild hlai
kali-fal - like Romulan Ale, but with a more powerful aroma
Y'lwern shallots - kind of leek-like vegetable, dark green with red dots and of onion-like aroma yet earthier (non-canonic)
h'rud'ni - a kind of starch containing root with black peels and orange flesh (non-canonic)
'anyan 'oQqar - Kilngon onion, sharper taste with a peppery touch
mnhei'sahe - Romulan concept of honor
Danno - Equality