Part of USS Aquarius: New Beginnings

Cold Thoughts

Starbase K-8
August 29th, 2400
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Imaru glared at the two humanoids that were detained in the cell block of the Promenade section of Starbase K-8. One was a portly Bolian man who was about middle age with a belly that protruded like a torpedo and biceps that looked like they could punch through bulkheads. His name was Tyko Jwern. He was here because of one too many bar fights. His most recent scuffle just happened to be with the sector’s weightlifting champion: a hulking mass of Klingon named Do’Rak. There was no doubt in Imaru’s mind that Jwern regretted his choice of words towards the Klingon. The Bolian was still out-cold from the blow he took to the jaw. Imaru shook her head in disgust.

 

The second detainee was a human woman identified as Yari Ploon. She had attempted to break into one of the closed stores in the shopping district of the station. The store in question was a metal-working establishment owned by a Tellarite family. Said establishment was known for acquiring rare minerals and metal for harvesting or melding into more valuable and functional forms of merchandise. Ploon was caught half-way out the door with a container full of an assortment of minerals; probably to resell on the black market for a profit. Ploon was resting and her back was to Imaru. The Andorian watched as Ploon’s back rose and fell as she slumbered. Theft was theft. She shook her head again, still disgusted.

 

Then she took a seat behind one of the brig control consoles and folded her limbs. She keyed up the security feed to each cell to keep a technical eye on their guests. Imaru then produced a mini-PaDD from her pocket and accessed the boarding status of her new assignment. The status was red 7.75 hours ago; and it was still red. She volunteered for delta shift brig duty when she first learned about her boarding status. K-8’s security team accepted her with open arms as they were short staffed. She imagined that once the resupply to the Starfleet vessel Aquarius was further along that she’d receive the green light to board. 

 

Starfleet vessel.

 

Ten years of Imperial Guard training and a ten year career as an Imperial Guard tactical officer; it made sense why these two words were an obstacle to accept. Not as much as once before, but her acclimation continues into the present.. To make matters even more complex, Aquarius was docked at a K-Class Federation space station. Imaru had never been to one before and she hoped she never returned to one again. It was absolutely “zid” as her people would say; over 150 years old. Starfleet couldn’t hold a position in space with this floating antique. The fact that such a class was still in operation bothered her. Tactically, the K-Class was a major disadvantage. She didn’t join Starfleet to handle equipment older than Imperial Guard vessels. Imaru’s antennae lashed about in a visual display of frustration as the same frustration boiled internally. Her vision slowly faded away as she entered a meditative state, attempting to steady her spiraling thoughts with memories of frigid sub-zero air.

 

[Jinn Clan Residence]

[Kal’Ten, Andoria – 2398]

 

The freezing Andorian air rolled freely in a misty haze on the surface above the city of Kal’Ten. Instants later the wind began to funnel with cyclone speeds and a feral roar to match. It was indeed a metaphor for how unpredictable the people of this planet could be.

 

Kal’Ten was an underground city and the gathering was taking place in the common room on the first floor of the Jinn Residence, a two story home. The walls were painted a crisp and relaxing light purple with several local artists’ paintings literally on the walls. Famous battles were depicted but more importantly, the family history over the years: the birth of the twins, their childhood, their rise through the Imperial Guard, a marriage and the passing of one. Currently, one of said local artists was finishing up the painting of Imaru. It was customary and therefore natural. The natural was also the loud conversation that was occurring between several pairs of antennae.

“I cannot believe she actually went through with this,” one of the voices grumbled.

 

“What did you expect? She’s always been the opportunist one,” another chimed in. 

“Opportunist is a compliment,” the third voice quipped. “More like selfish.”

 

The three Andorians were gathered around a small table, used for katheka, the Andorian equivalent to Terran coffee. Their antennae twitched about in a disgruntled manner as they discussed the topic at hand.

 

“You do know that I’m right here in the room.” 

Avathaimaru Uyaga sh’Jinn unfolded herself from the crouched position she was in while she watched the painter work wonders with a brush.

 

“And opportunist is the exact word you should use,” Imaru added. “The Imperial Guard chose me, not the other way around.”

 

“Imaru, how long have we been married?” asked Akeen, the chan of the family. 

She scoffed at the question as though the answer would matter. In Andorian culture, bondmates were chosen at a young age. Each was a different gender that was required to make a child. Akeen and Roleb were the chan and thaan and Neruu and Imaru were the zhen and shen.

 

“Eleven years last week,” Imaru submitted.

 

“So you would turn your back on your bondmates, ignore your marriage and your child for this… this adventure?”

 

“Akeen, you are mistaken. I would never-”

 

“Joining Starfleet is not going to bring Amaru back!”

 

There was an eerie silence that blanketed the room like a heavy snow in the wilderness. Due to the sensitivity that antennae allow, each one could hear the heartbeats of the others and Imaru’s was beating the fastest. Whilst she had taken ample time to come to terms with her twin sister’s death, it was still a very sensitive subject for her.

 

The painter peered over his shoulder to the quiet behind him and could see Imaru and Akeen standing square across from each other with the small table between them. Roleb and Neruu came to Imaru’s side in an attempt to sooth and calm her. But it was no use. Imaru was fast. She leaped forward, vaulted over the table, and wrapped her left hand around Akeen’s neck. She forced him against the wall and raised her right hand. Imaru only paused as Neruu and Roleb coaxed her down.

 

“Imaru, please!” Neruu begged.

 

Her heartbeats flooded her hearing like war drums. She wanted nothing more than to tear Akeen limb from limb for his insensitive comment. Luckily, Neruu’s plea slashed through the rage in Imaru’s heart. Reluctantly, she released Akeen and walked back to the table.

 

“You are correct, Akeen.” She took a drink of her katheka. “Joining Starfleet will not bring Amaru back. However, I am doing this for her, for my family and my people.”

 

“Please explain, Imaru,” Neruu asked politely. 

Imaru nodded and stepped towards her female bondmate.

 

“My sister and I had many discussions, some more productive than others. What I learned from her though and what I am realizing more as of late is that there is a better way to defend our world. There is a better way to protect our family. The Imperial Guard, whilst still very formidable in tactics and application, is limited by its technology, resources and operational capacity. If the Guard was on par with Starfleet then the assassination attempt on the President would never have happened. The Guard would have been able to weed out such intruders before they could get into Andorian space.” 

Imaru’s gaze went crystal for a moment, trying not to recall too many details of the assassination attempt.

 

“By joining Starfleet, you think the chances are higher to be preemptive with Andoria’s defense?” Roleb asked.

 

“Indirectly, yes,” Imaru replied. “Starfleet works differently than the Andorian government in the sense that there is vast difference in space to patrol and protect. But the mission is always to defend Federation planets and interests.”

 

“And Andoria is a founding member of the Federation,” Neruu added.

 

“Exactly. Amaru believed that this is the best way to protect our people. And I intend on doing exactly that. Many Andorians have joined Starfleet in the past. I will be one of many.”

 

Contemplation filled the air.

 

“Thank you for explaining that, Imaru,” Akeen finally spoke. “But I still do not support your decision. You are a very talented officer of the Guard. Why not stay and gain a command of your own? Or form a stronger internal defense force? I feel as though sending away one of our brightest is a buy-in to the Federation’s too-large agenda.”

 

“And what of the shelthreth?” Neruu added. “Surely, you would not leave us before we try again?”

 

The Andorian mating ceremony required the participation of all four bondmates. Without one, it will not work. They had been successful in birthing a child when they were 19. Now that they were all thirty,, the success rate of conceiving had plummeted exponentially. But that didn’t keep them from trying.

 

Imaru searched Roleb’s face as he was in agreement with what Imaru wanted to do to protect Andoria and the family. Roleb was always the cool-headed, diplomatic one. Her antennae curved towards him, pleading to help resolve this problem. 

Roleb’s antennae responded in kind and he knew exactly what she wanted from him. He considered his words carefully and stepped forward.

 

“To my knowledge, you have not yet been given an assignment. Therefore, to your point, Neruu, there is time to begin the shelthreth. And to yours, Akeen, you are a sailor. Imaru’s wishes are not too different than your own save for the distance factor.” Each Andorian exchanged a look with another. “This is a time for celebration. Let us take full advantage of the moment.” 

With those words, Neruu took Imaru and Akeen by the hands and led them into the sleeping chamber. The painter had finished and let himself out. Roleb smiled at the image that had been created: four andorians and the Starfleet insignia hovering overhead with the Andorian word: khool, which meant enigma. Roleb secured the room and followed the others into the sleeping chamber.

 

[Starbase K-8]

[Present] 

Imaru ended her reverie and her vision returned. She checked the status board again. It was finally green. Her antennae stretched for the ceiling in excitement. Personally, this was an opportunity that brought her closer to honoring and avenging her sister. Professionally, it would be the truest test of her abilities yet. She checked her wrist-mounted chrono for the time. Delta-shift was over. She keyed up all her research on the Excelsior II-class heavy cruiser on her mini PaDD and dashed for the brig exit. 

Aquarius awaited.