Previous Next

A Romulan and a Vulcan walk into a bar. [Personal log, Stardate 40885.03]

Posted on 23 Jul 2020 @ 9:14pm by Lieutenant T'Char Le'el
Edited on 24 May 2021 @ 9:26pm

T’Char stumbles into her room, slapping at the panel on the wall to bring up the lights and close the door behind her. Her face is drained of color, but there’s no tension anywhere in her body.

“Computer, begin personal log, Stardate 40885.03.”

The Vulcan takes off the upper jacket to her uniform and throws it on the bed, rolling up the sleeves of the turtlenecked undershirt. She finds a seat at her desk, slouching into the cushions as her hands come to her face to rub her eyes.

“I have potentially succeeded in sending the news of my mother’s passing to the Romulan side of the family.”

She spins her chair around to face the window. It’s the same view as always, infinite starlight. Her reflection still stares at her like always.

“My talk with the Rihannasu, Commander Lejlak, was an.. educational experience. However, whether or not I am the better for our talk I cannot say.”

She sees the Romulan swishing the whiskey in his glass around as he smirks at her across the table in the Common. "You are correct; You aren't the most Vulcan individual I've seen or met thus far-"

“He asked if I desired to join my extended family on Romulus. In fact, the ‘suggestion’ was rather adamant, in a coy manner. I am.. having difficulty interpreting his motives as genuine or as a means to convert my allegiances.”

Her arms are folded as she grits her teeth.
“As I told him, it would be untruthful to say that I did not consider the idea. But I am unwilling to abandon..”

T’Char’s voice trails off weakly on her exhale. “Computer, pause log.”


“You what??”
H’esti raises her voice through the subspace comms, her face a picture of incredulity. T’Char pleads with her sister in a softer tone.

“It was the only reliable way to tell lo'uk ko'mekh-il that A’ulu is dead,” T’Char grimaces rather expressively for her normally reserved self, trying to appeal to the more openly emotional H’esti.
“I had an opportunity and I took it.”

H’esti rolls her eyes as she leans back in her chair, waving a hand dismissively.
“Do you honestly think K'aola gives bath’pa what happens to her lo’uk kanu? That she would write you a letter to make up for all the hate A’ulu gave you?”

T’Char bites her lip, crossing her arms tightly. She walks away from the screen toward her desk to avoid the barrage of things she doesn’t want to hear. H’esti chooses to ignore the body language her sister translates and continues, unfazed.
“That somehow she might even consider you her kin? We might share her DNA and perhaps, the Romulan disposition for being emotional, but we don’t share anyth-”

“I don’t know!” T’Char slams her fist on the desk, without thinking. It shakes the chair, and H’esti.
“I don’t know! I don’t know! The only thing that’s certain to me is that I’m not a Vulcan no matter how hard I try to pretend I am! Our mother practically said as much, and she was less Vulcan than me!”

Out of breath, the younger sister collapses into her chair. She looks at H’esti through the monitor, as the corner of her eyes begin to water. H’esti is not recoiling as T’Char assumed she’d be, she’s leaning forwards into the monitor as if to hug her younger sister. She wears a pained expression.

“Tish..t'nash-veh ko-kai..”

“I am sorry.” T’Char cannot stop the tears now, they are like a waterfall on her cheeks. Her breath is short, irregular. She bows forwards to hide her face. “ni'droi'ik nar-tor-”

“Tish, there is nothing to forgive. I’m sorry for- Tish. Please...”

T’Char tries to stifle her outbreak to no avail. Much of what she has suppressed over a great deal of time resurfaces in a wave that pulls the Vulcan out into the tide. She is without a raft, and did not learn to swim, so she sinks.

“You were only three at the time Tish, I don't know if you'd remember. Mom called me back to Vulcan, saying it was urgent, but not why exactly. I came back to K’lati because I thought there was something wrong regarding you, at first. I was worried maybe you were sick, maybe you were hurt- when I arrived A’ulu hardly spoke to me at all. You know as well as I do how close we were, the fact that she couldn’t tell me what was wrong scared me. Like, a lot.”

H’esti looks up at the Vulcan landscape outside, just as the sun dips below the horizon. The desert is washed in hues of orange and red for miles, an ocean of sand and stone.

“You know Mom was.. harsh. Harsher than I gave her credit for. I always took it without complaint because I could. I knew she hated who she was, deep inside. I didn’t know why until then- or maybe I did and just. Couldn't ignore it anymore. Not after that.”

T’Char finds her balance and swims to the surface of her emotional typhoon. The salty taste in her mouth reminds her of the beach air on Trill, and it calms her. She wipes her face with a sleeve she pulls down, sniffing as she tries to regain some semblance of posture.
“She was never harsh to you. You placated her while I fought everything she did.”

“Yeah, yeah I’ll give you that.” H’esti chuckles despite herself. “You’re a lot like her y’know.”

T’Char exhales a mirthless laugh, unable to stop herself. “Don’t ever say that to me.”

Her sister is almost more concerned than she was a few moments ago when the younger Vulcan started crying.

“T’Char.. maybe you should go to sickbay-”

“-No. I’m.. I am just.. having a lapse of control…” T’Char shakes her head, with a frustrated vocalization. She tries to find her sense of logic, of balance. She reaches the eye of her storm, at least.
“Tell me about K'aola. Please.”

H’esti opens her mouth to insist that her sister see to her wellbeing. Their eyes meet for a second, and she understands nothing she says in protest will even register. Her jaw clicks shut as she bites her lip, glancing out her balcony.

The desert around her exudes the aura of something hostile, baring stone spires like teeth, as if it were alive to gnaw through the eons of bones under miles of dirt. Not an environment many could call comforting.

“When I got to the house, she was at the table. I remember because she was wearing a bright green sash and her uniform reflected the light. I could see her from the path up the hill on the porch. I practically ran up the steps and slammed the door down to grab you off the floor. Do you remember your Pleenok?”

“I remember hating it.”
H’esti smiles, looking back at her sister through the screen. “You really did. You were too young for it I think, but you were determined to get it right.”


H’esti clutches her baby sibling in her arms as A’ulu begins to argue with the older Romulan. The Subcommander seems to plead with her as A’ulu grows more and more agitated, eventually resulting in the Vulcan storming out of the dining room and up the stairs in the antechamber. The Romulan seems disappointed, but she looks at H’esti with kind eyes when she addresses her.

“Jolan tru, H’esti. I’m your great-grandmother. I am called K'aola. You have many que-”

H’esti bites with her words, holding T’Char tightly with both arms as she steps into the doorway.

“You are a liar. A Romulan liar.”

K'aola recoils, clearly hurt by the declaration. H’esti is taken aback by the display, but she stands her ground. The Romulan smiles through her pain before speaking again.

“I can’t say you’re quite wrong about that, unfortunately. I have spread many lies in my time. But I make it a point never to lie to my family.”

Standing up, she makes her way towards H’esti, causing the Vulcan to retreat into the antechamber. K'aola chooses to ignore the hostility and continues past her while speaking.

“I heard about little T’Char and I wanted to see her. I figured after all these years the tension here might’ve eased down a bit but ah..” The Romulan adjusts her belt, laden with knives and the empty holster for a class 7 disruptor. “To be blunt, I guess it hasn’t.”

“You had my foremother killed for having my mother, why would you be welcome here?”

The Romulan snarls at H’esti, pointing her finger. “That was not my decision! I had no way to stop it! The state made a choice and I am a legionnaire of the state!

The Vulcan stumbles back, surprised by the ferocity from her elder. The jolt causes T’Char to lean up and look around over her sister's shoulder. K'aola is unable to hold her anger at the sight of her great granddaughters face. She can’t help but smile and reach out to put a gloved hand on the child's head, ruffling her hair. T’Char smiles innocently, and provokes a small laugh from the Romulan.

“I am not a saint H’esti. I have been a dog of the military for many years. My soul is bound for some unspeakable torment by the elements when I die, and I’ve made my peace with that. But my love for you both is not a lie.”

H’esti can’t find the words to use, and her voice is caught in her throat as the Romulan turns around to leave. T’Char reaches out to grab the bright green sash as it flits by, brushing her fingers.

“Wait!- wait..” H’esti recaptures her voice and moves quickly to the dining room to put T’Char into a chair with her Pleenok, moving back to the antechamber where K'aola waits awkwardly. She decides to be blunt, taking advantage of her apparent authority over her elder.

“Why are you here?” Her voice wavers slightly, but remains confident. “What do you want? You must want something.”

K'aola bites her lip the same way H’esti does when she’s thinking about something, and any doubts of their relation to each other vanishes.

The Romulan woman exhales before she speaks, shaking her head.

“A foolish notion, that’s all. The truth is I wanted to take you all back to Romulus-”

H’esti rolls her eyes, waving her away with a hand as she turns away.
“Of course you do.”

K'aola gets agitated, raising her voice slightly. “hnaev! Is that so wrong? To want my clan by my side?”

“So we are only your legacy that you wish to protect?”

The Romulan snorts as she puts her hands on her hips, snidely addressing H’esti.

“And that’s so wrong is it? To ensure my bloodline survives? To give power to the Le’al fami-”

“We are Le’el!” H’esti snaps at her great grandmother. “We are hardly even your kin, you and your bath’pa clans are free to wither and die like the rest of your world.”

“I am offering you a life of power, of-of-”

H’esti folds her arms and tilts her head at K'aola.
“No, you’re here for your own benefit, not for ours. If you cared for us, for T’Char? You would stay on Vulcan.”

K'aola expresses her disgust with a forced exhale and a grunt.
“This planet is barren, dry, pathetic. I can’t stay on this rock-”

“This rock is our home. Surely you didn’t come all this way just for this? Just to confirm that we aren’t going to be the family you wanted?” H’esti stares at her elder with a raised eyebrow.

K'aola can tell when she’s lost a fight, like any good Romulan. Her hands are raised in defeat as she sighs.
“Eh, maybe I just enjoy making myself suffer. Look, I’m sorry I bothered you. Being able to see you two made the trip worth it, at least. A’ulu is going to hate me no matter what I do, I at least wanted to give my love to-”

“Love is an emotion. It’s illogical.” H’esti scolds the Romulan. “You know this.”

K'aola is amused, rubbing the back of her neck. “Right. Free advice, child. Trying to force yourself not to feel is a losing battle, and you’ve got my genes. Don't even try.”


“My point is, Tish, she’s not interested in what’s good for us.”

T’Char is standing now, facing her sister on the comm while she chews on her lower lip.

“I understand H’esti. Believe me when I say I understand.”

“Good then! Good. That’s good.” H’esti leans back into her chair, out of breath.

“But you still followed her advice?”

“Yeah Tish. I did. Because it’s the only thing she had to offer that was worth anything.”

The younger sister pinches her eyes shut and rubs the bridge of her nose with two fingers.

“I am not sure where that leaves us H’esti. She deserves to know mother is dead. I want to know who she is for myself. It’s been a long time since-”

H’esti lifts a hand to stop her sister, nodding reluctantly. “You’re right, it has. And she does. I just.. I don’t want you to feel alone. I’m your family too.”

T’Char puts a hand to the screen.

“I know H’esti.”

“You’re not alone okay? You never will be. You don’t have to be a Vulcan or a Romulan or even a smelly Human to be my sister.”

The younger Vulcan chuckles softly, wiping her face with a sleeve again. “They don’t smell that bad.”

“I beg to differ. But it doesn’t matter alright? You hear what I’m saying?”

T’Char nods. “I hear you.”

“Are you gonna be okay?”

T’Char glances at her reflection in the window. “Not for a while. But eventually, yes.”


“Resume personal log.”

The Vulcan sits at her desk, wearing a soft orange robe from home. Her hair is damp, and it curls as it dries.

“While the concept of being closer to my Romulan kin is agreeable, it is not realistic. I will, of course, hold out for the possibility that K'aola reaches out to me and my sister to heal the damage done, but I will not expect a resounding family reunion.”

T’Char slides her finger across the screen on her desk to check something, before addressing the camera directly.

“I have decided to embrace my somewhat, awkward heritage. It is illogical to avoid the reality of the situation in hand; my unique genetic structure has left me with an emotional handicap. True kholinar is not possible in my case. That does not mean, however, that I must abandon the practice entirely.”

Lejlak speaks to her from across the table. ”We do not leave ourselves entirely at the whims of fate, T'Char. We are taught to flow with the wind in our times of uncertainty, and push against it in our resolve, but never to assume it doesn't exist.”

T’Char inhales slowly, carefully maintaining her posture. Her voice carries an unusual confidence.
“I will continue to claim my culture as a Vulcan because.. I am a Vulcan. That is the fate I have chosen. End of log.”


Previous Next