"An Aenar’s Tears"
If Mother had not been the chosen Speaker, I wonder if she would have allowed me to go with them. When I allowed her my thoughts, her fear for me bled through. The grief she’d long since buried after the loss of my brother a year ago was fresh and sharp again in her mind as well… brought forth from its slumber by the human Archer’s conviction that Gareb still lived. As our mother, she longed to see him again. She wanted me to search for him… but she was afraid for me, and would never have allowed me to leave if she had not been Speaker. Our laws are clear. I became adult according to the laws of our people on my sixteenth birthday. I may choose my way. It is my right now. As Speaker, it is her responsibility to uphold the law… and so she allowed me my escape.
This ship is warmer than I have ever imagined any place could possibly be. There is no ice… no snow. When I arrived, I was brought immediately to an area of the ship called Sickbay, where the device I was to use to find my brother had been constructed. I met my second human there… another male called Tucker. He was polite, but seemed preoccupied. He showed me how to fit myself into the cuffs, and demonstrated how the face shield would fit over my face. A “telepresence unit”, he called it. I didn’t understand how it worked, even though he tried to explain so carefully. I’ve used it now, and I still don’t understand… but it let me say goodbye to my brother… allowed me to witness his redemption… and that’s all I needed to know about it.
Tucker seemed upset that I couldn’t understand. I touched him in reassurance… just once… and realized that he’d been linked with a telepath before. He wasn’t simply open to me… he projected his distress. It very nearly brought tears to my eyes.
I turned away from him to grant him privacy. Among my people, only children and the sick project with such lack of control. He was most emphatically not a child. I could tell that immediately by the feel of his muscular bicep beneath my hand, and by the frustrated sexual desire that radiated from him like the heat from an entire swarm of ice borers. For a moment, I could no longer sense his pain, and then she entered the room.
I had never met a Vulcan before. She was not what I expected. Being blind, my people do not sense others as the sighted do. Although reading thoughts without another’s permission is forbidden, the background emotional emanations of living beings are what allow us to “see” them. From what I’d read about Vulcans, I would have expected one to be nearly invisible to my senses. Instead, this “emotionless” Vulcan positively glowed with grief and repressed emotion… with nearly the intensity of the human named Tucker. When she asked him a quite ordinary question about his progress with the telepresence unit, his distress and desire peaked to such intensity that I could sense them from across the room. To my surprise, her emotional radiance seemed to respond, almost as if the two of them were somehow connected. They both seemed to be unaware of the connection… or perhaps they were simply deliberately ignoring it. After the Vulcan left the room and Tucker turned to me to lower the face shield over my eyes, I sensed his resignation. There was sorrow there for a moment, and then it was if a shutter fell, and his attention returned to his duty.
My task is done here. Gareb is dead. The evil beings who took him will no longer use him to kill. I can go home now to grieve. I wish now that I had had the courage to speak to the human Tucker of his pain… and the pain of the Vulcan woman called T’Pol… but there is too much grief here. It’s all I can do to deal with my own. They will have to find their own way to healing, if healing is possible. I would cry for them… and for my brother… in the human fashion if I could, but Aenar do not cry liquid tears. Tears become ice on Andoria, and fall to the ground in sparkling crystals.
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