Part of USS Horizon: Episode 3 – The Unexpected Stranger

Chapter 2

San Francisco, Earth, Alpha Quadrant
September, 2399
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Sumiko wasted no time leaving the hall after the panel had concluded. If she was going to find this Vulcan, Ruvok, she was going to have to get out before anyone else had the chance.

Arriving in the main foyer, she looked around trying to see if she could spot him. He probably hasn’t come out yet, she said to herself. She continued to scan the area and had nearly given up, until she noticed a woman with a lanyard around her neck holding an identification card for the conference. If there was anyone that could help her in her search, it would be this woman.

She approached the woman and politely interrupted her conversation with another colleague. “Excuse me miss.”

The woman turned her attention to Sumiko with a mild visible sense of irritation and waited for Sumiko to continue. “I’m looking for a gentleman who is a panelist at this convention. Where might I be able to find him after the conclusion of one of the talks?”

The woman’s expression changed from one of irritation to one of absolute cluelessness. After a brief few seconds of thought, she answered, “I’m not exactly sure. I was brought on for access control for the event, but there’s a door back from where you came on the left. I’ve seen people going in and out of there all day. I think it leads backstage. If I had to guess, I’d say that your friend will come out of there at some point.”

Sumiko thanked the woman for her help, as vague as it was and proceeded to the area in front of the door that had been pointed out to her to wait and hope this man would show up.

Ruvok was inundated with people coming to him after the panel wanting to ask him questions at the edge of the stage. He had tried to answer as many questions as he could. The whole panel had taken up the remaining amount of time for the conference that day.

Ruvok finally concluded the last question and left the stage grabbing his stuff as he left. He made his way through the backstage area and was thinking of the girl, as he left the backstage area and entered the hall. He wasn’t paying attention, but heard his name called and snapped back to reality.

He recognized the voice and it was her. He stopped immediately and looked ahead. There she was standing in front of him. Beautiful and charming just as he remembered her. He didn’t know what to do. He froze for a moment and tried to figure out what he should do. He finally realized he probably looked like an idiot and snapped out of it.

He quickly walked up to her and smiled, “A pleasure to see you again especially since I didn’t plow into you this time.” He said with a bit of embarrassment still present.

Sumiko blushed, embarrassed that he remembered the run in from earlier. “Lieutenant…” she paused for a second desperately wanting to remember his name, but in the heat of the moment it was the one thing that was escaping her, “Lieutenant Revok, correct? I want to thank you for answering my questions. We’ve had a couple of situations where those situations came up and our chief engineer and I felt we had come up with solutions, but the results were only marginally improved.”

He smiled “It’s actually Ruvok, but that’s ok. I’m glad I could answer your questions. It was my pleasure! Those situations are not easy and overcoming them can be very difficult.”

He stopped and thought for a second. “I was actually planning to go on my evening run. Would you like to join me? Of course, I need to go back to my room and change, but I’d really like it if you’d join me?”

She looked at him and smiled, “I would love to.”

It didn’t matter what Ruvok had asked her to join him in doing, as long as she had the chance to spend some time with him, it was all that mattered at present.

The two exchanged pleasantries on the way back to their temporary lodgings to gather their workout clothing. Sumiko surmised that Ruvok came prepared with his attire, but given that she had not expected to be doing any physical activity during this trip, she packed light. It was alright. She could easily replicate something appropriate.

As Ruvok proceeded to his unit to prepare, Sumiko entered hers. “Computer, any messages while I was away?” she said, closing the condo door behind her.

“There are two messages.” The computer replied.

“Who are they from?”

“There is one from Captain Treylana Hess, and one from Hashira Tamura.”

She hadn’t heard from her sister in months. How would she have known she was on Earth? She thought. “Computer, display message from Hashira.”

Sumiko had expected a written message, but no sooner had she asked for the message to be displayed, she heard the energetic voice of her younger sister, “Sumiko! Why didn’t you tell me you were in orbit? Bob in Molecular Sciences told Stacy Atlantia was docked. You should stop by the house. Mom would love to see you. Contact me as soon as you can. Bye.”

“Of course Bob and Stacy would have talked to each other, and Stacy and Hasira work for the same company.” She muttered to herself. She had already planned on visiting her mother, but after hearing the message from her sister, she had all the more reason. She then requested the message to be shown from her captain.

She was surprised at the message. Atlantia was being put in for refit and effective immediately all personnel were hereby transferred to the USS Horizon. Departure to take place at zero-nine-hundred hours in seven days time. “Well…that’s gonna cut vacation short.”

She quickly went and changed her clothes and then headed back out to look for Ruvok, who undoubtedly was already waiting for her.

Ruvok had enjoyed the small amount of talk on the way back to their lodgings, which excited him for more time with Sumiko. He had noticed a message in his PADD when he arrived at his room. The odds of getting a message that would be priority was rare and he knew the contents must have been important.

He quickly pulled it up glancing at the message. It was from Captain Ryder. The message was short but informed him that the crew of the Tesla were being reassigned. He stopped for a second fearing the worst. Then he realized they were being upgraded to a Vesta class. His eyes got wide at the shocking revelation and realized he needed to get changed. He laid the PADD down making a note of the new announcement.

He quickly changed into his athletic outfit and headed to the entrance of the building. He had beat Sumiko and began a few warm up stretches as he did his mind wandered to what he and Sumiko would be doing over the next few days, which he was sure would be more exciting than he had anticipated. This was the one unexpected surprise he was happy about. He didn’t usually have good surprises so this was a nice change and after the stressful event of the Tesla’s last mission he needed something to calm him down. His thoughts were interrupted when he heard Sumiko’s smooth and beautiful voice calling out.

“I’m sorry if I’ve kept you waiting long. I received a couple of messages while I was at the conference that I wanted to check before our run.” she said as she reached behind to grab her foot to begin her warm up.

“It seems my arrival back at Earth didn’t go unnoticed. My sister sent a message and suggested I come home to visit mom while I’m here.” she continued.

Ruvok nodded as he understood what Sumiko meant, though his parents hadn’t messaged him this time around. He knew how busy they were and didn’t hold it against them, but in Vulcan culture it was a bit different, however with a human parent the amount of compromise sometimes was exhausting.

He raised an eyebrow “You said a couple that sounded like one message to me.”

“Oh that? That one was just a message from my captain. It seems the entire crew is being transferred to a new ship. Nothing critical, but glad I found out before going back to a ship that’s completely empty.”

Ruvok shook his head “It must be something in the air. I was informed by my Captain we are transferring to a new ship as well. Probably not what any of us were expecting, but it’s a nice upgrade nonetheless.”

“I have to agree. While I’ll miss the Atlantia, I’m sure the new ship will feel like home in no time. Not to mention, the challenges that await on a newer class vessel.”

Finishing her warmup, and seeing that Ruvok was ready to begin, the two set off down the street. Sumiko had suggested a path that would take them through the Presidio and finish along the beaches near the Golden Gate bridge. Long enough to make the run worthwhile but also it would have the two arrive near dusk and the lights would be illuminating making for a pleasant view of the bay. Probably inconsequential to a Vulcan, she thought.

Ruvok agreed to the route, but he didn’t care if they went down a boring route; he just felt happy and it was something he didn’t understand. He struggled with emotions in some cases. He knew he liked Sumiko, but happiness wasn’t something he felt often and he didn’t know how to react. He just pushed the doubt out of his head.

In an attempt to strike up a conversation during the run, Sumiko remembered that Ruvok had been in uniform during the conference; gold if she could recall correctly. He also mentioned the Tesla. Was he engineering? Tactical? Operations? “What line of work do you do on the Tesla?”

The question from Sumiko made Ruvok chuckle, “Well, gold does leave a lot to the imagination. I am the Tesla’s Chief Operations Officer. It can be quite the job sometimes, but Captain Ryder is a good CO and even in the few missions the Tesla has partaken in while I have been aboard it has taught me the Captain cares more about his crew and would do anything to keep us safe.”

He looked over at Sumiko for a moment as they passed an area where the light illuminated perfectly. “Look to your left, quite a view don’t you think?”

Unsure of what Ruvok was wanting her to look at, she turned to look in the direction indicated and could see a stunning view of San Francisco Bay. One which she had not remembered since her Academy days. Based on her ignorance of Vulcan culture, it seemed odd for him to emphasize beauty, even illogical and so she mentioned it to him.

He nodded “Well, contrary to what some think people don’t realize I’m half Vulcan. I do struggle with some parts of juggling the two cultures, but I have continued to work on refining who I want to be as a person.”

Aside from what she knew about Spock from history books, she was not immediately familiar with any other hybrid Vulcans. “That’s admirable. I had no idea that Vulcans would struggle as such. I always assumed you would be in complete control of your thoughts and emotions.” she replied, unintentionally allowing her ignorance to show.

Ruvok shook his head “In most cases you would be right, but you could call me an exception. I behold beauty, but to admit beauty can be hard…like how beautiful you look at this moment.” he said as his eyes locked onto Sumiko’s eyes showing the honest truth behind his words.

Sumiko blushed. She didn’t know what to say. The fact that he was opening up to her in a way that she had not expected for a Vulcan excited her. She wanted to express her true feelings toward him; that she felt an attraction to him but she didn’t want to be too forward. She’d only recently met this man. She didn’t even know if he was available. Could she make such an assumption based on his actions? She thought to herself.

“I’m flattered.” She replied, “I find you quite attractive as well, but if I’m to be honest, I almost didn’t say anything out of fear of how you’d react.”

Ruvok looked over at her and smirked “If I am being honest I thought you might punch me, but I thought the best thing I could do was to tell you the truth. I have learned it is best to be honest and see what happens than to never say anything and miss out on an opportunity of a lifetime.”

Sumiko smiled, almost to the point of giggling thinking that he believed that anyone could strike a Vulcan successfully. However, now she knew the truth about how he felt, and she felt the same toward him. With this newfound knowledge, she took the remainder of their run, which had now turned into a casual stroll and the rest of the evening for the two of them to get acquainted in greater detail.