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A Typical Vulcan

Posted on Saturday October 10th, 2020 @ 6:27am by Wraet tr'Melanth

Mission: Marauder's Map
Location: Shuttle to Rangalor
Timeline: Prologue
1380 words - 2.8 OF Standard Post Measure

Wraet settled into a seat on the shuttle, the fourth in a series of indirect passages to his destination. When travelling in Dominion held space it paid to take the long way, and include long layovers between changing identities. Today he was in the neat but practical robes of a business traveler, his lightly frosted hair brushed down and shaped into a stereotypical Vulcan bowl cut. It wasn't flattering, but it was familiar - a style not far removed from what he had worn everyday in the Galae.

He took a discreet glance around the shuttle as it filled, something even a Vulcan might do when travelling to one of the less savory parts of the galaxy. But despite the apparent brevity of that look, he could discern a lot: the Trill everyone avoided was an addict but unjoined (though making a good show of it); a group of humans was trying to look dangerous but were little more than punks hoping to score K on the black market; two Bajorans had the look of gamblers, hugging the money belts watchfully, but the hint of callous from an earring made Wraet suspect the gamble they were taking was much more dangerous than Dabo; a male Orion flanked by two females looked like someone with influence, but as they took their seats it was apparent that he and the woman on the outside were bodyguards for the second woman; the Tellarite with the characteristic gruff frown was posing as businessman, but in the market for weapons (and may the Elements grant him success). Wraet was minorly concerned about the one actual Vulcan on the shuttle, but her gaze was focused elsewhere so if she suspected he wasn't what he seemed she was avoiding any second look that might confirm or deny.

Satisfied, he let his eyes half-lid. Any casual, or even not so casual, observer would assume he was practicing Vulcan meditation. And they wouldn't be wrong, though it was only a light state and at the level of a child or young teen rather than a man of 85, but then Wraet had only begun to learn it in his later years. He had begun working with the Vulcan Academy in Exile shortly after the Borg had finally been driven off, the knowledge that his people could not long stand against the Dominion compounded by the loss of his son and oldest daughter. Indeed, in the first days after they were killed in action against the Borg he had been staggered by the loss, sometimes overwhelmed by the waves of grief that washed through him. There was no shame in it; Romulans were a passionate people. No one looked askance at such bereavement at the loss of a child, let alone of two. But no true Romulan would not set aside any grief or pain for Duty, and so he had hung their memorial banners (and prayed they were truly dead; Dhael's body had not been recovered and the idea of his daughter assimilated did not bear imagining) and buried his feelings behind his unreadable professional 'mask', appearing nearly as emotionless as the Vulcans he was sent to.

Still, there were times that despite his best efforts at cool control, there where times when some small thing, a bit of emotional debris, struck him like shrapnel from a diamond-glass grenade burrowing for his heart. Then he would hurry to find the privacy to hide away, curling in against the pain until he could master himself again. The Vulcans did not seem to notice, or they deemed it the polite thing to show no sign if they did. Except for one - Tevik was not a scientist, but a priest, so perhaps his calling demanded a different response. Or perhaps a man who had lost both his family and his world understood grief, even if he had supposedly purged all emotion through Kolinahr. Either way, he had discreetly made an offer of help. Wraet almost broke character with the slim hint of a smile as he recalled the old Vulcan's surprise when he accepted.

The door finally closed and Wraet began to let himself slip toward the next level, a light trance-like state that would substitute for sleep, when he realized something wasn't right. The engines hadn't started. That was never a good a sign.

Sure enough, a moment later the doors opened again, admitting a trio of DPI agents.

"Inspection," the lead agent snapped. "IDs and travel permits. Now." Remaining in the doorway, he dropped his hand to a sidearm as the other two moved forward to work each side of the aisle.

The reactions from the shuttle occupants were predictable: from anxious glances to rigidly not looking to barely compliant belligerence. After an initial glance back when the doors opened, Wraet simply slipped the record card from his jacket and sat with the mildly inconvenienced attitude of a Vulcan whose transport might run late.


The word was harsh, clipped, uttered so it came out almost a threat. Which, Wraet thought, it was in a sense - if any detail was found wanting, the bearer would be dragged off for interrogation. Nevertheless he handed his over with the bored calm of a traveler handing his ticket to a conductor.

"Sevik of Vulcan, Accountant," the Andorian read from his scanner. "What is your business in the Rangalor system?"

"I have been contracted to conduct an in-person independent audit, as my travel permit states," he replied, one eyebrow tipping up in a way that suggested he was thinking 'You can read, can't you?' It wasn't without risk, but so much in character for a Vulcan in his early 100s that not showing some degree of condescension toward the Andorian would be more suspicious.

Antennae twitched irritably. "And that's all?"

Wraet's brows lifted in the classic look of a Vulcan who has been asked an illogical question. "I cannot imagine another reason to visit this..." he allowed just a touch of distaste to come through, "...region."

The agent glowered at him.

Wraet looked back blankly, a vaguely puzzled 'will that be all?' in his expression.

The Andorian narrowed his eyes. If it were up to him every Vulcan would be arrested - or shot on sight - just for being so insufferably aloof. "I'm watching you, Vulcan."

"As your eyes are directed toward me, that is clearly the case," Wraet replied in his most insufferably unperturbed Vulcan tone. "However, I fail to see the logic in stating the obvious."

He could see the muscles tighten along the edge of the agent's jaw. There was an even chance the man would strike him, but if he did would be passed off as only to 'make a point' and then the whole team would move on more quickly. DPI were feared, and they relied on that because they were also a relatively small group and hated. Given his own affiliations Wraet knew the balance they had to strike extremely well - you could disappear people in the middle of the night, but be too blatantly violent and arbitrary in public and the compliance that fear bought you would erode. Because what was the point of compliance if it didn't buy some degree of safety?

"KaRhen!" the leader called. "Is there a problem?"

KaRhen over and realized his counterpart was four rows ahead. The Vulcan had gotten under his skin - for supposedly emotionless people, he swore they enjoyed doing that - and he was behind. That was no good. The rule was ruthless but efficient. After holding a menacing gaze on Wraet a moment longer, he shook his head tightly. "No. Just a typical Vulcan," he spat, shoving the record card back and moving on.

Wraet took his card and inclined his head slightly, as though receiving a compliment - it was how a Vulcan would take being called typical of the breed after all. Then he sat back and concentrated on not smiling. Real Vulcans might or might not enjoy irritating people with their attitude, but there was an undeniable satisfaction to it. One of the few good things in this timeline was that Romulans and Vulcans had come to understand and appreciate each other so much more.


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