Thuray played idly with his glass as he listened to the music. He was not looking at the band, obviously amateurs, that played their instruments as loudly as they could, silencing the conversations of the locals.
He always liked to go to places like this one, away from the bases where most of his fellow Starfleet officers partied. He liked to go down to the planets, walk their streets and find pubs and cafes where he could meld with the natives. Somehow, that kept his mind occupied that he could almost forget about work. Almost. When he was around other officers that was impossible; he saw their uniforms and then his mind wandered again to his many hours spent in the company of Admiral Saavik.
And it was not that he hated his job; quite the opposite, he loved it too much. He was so willing to work… Sometimes he did not even sleep, thinking of next day, next time he would see her. He could not deny it: he was deeply in love with her. That was why he had always refused promotions; he could not get parted from her. And he knew too well that she did not, would never answer his feelings. She was even oblivious to them, and was married to another.
He wondered if he was not ill for feeling so deep emotions and not being able to rationally think, as she always did. He wondered if he did not need therapy that would free him of his insane thoughts. But that was the problem: even if it hurt him, he would never do what was best for his sanity and leave her; in silence he would remain, watching over her when her husband could not.
And there he was. In the furthest place he had found, trying to forget the unforgettable, and still, with the alien music playing, and the alien voices surrounding him, there was only one image in his head, and it was that of Saavik.
Another sip of his drink. He had asked for the same drink a rough local had ordered beside him. The bartender, pleased with his exotic presence, had given it to him for free. The drink was strong, and he did not really like it; its taste was awful, but still he drank it slowly. After all, it was not the worst he had tried. Thuray counted the odd-looking glasses where the different drinks were kept, traced the engraved patterns with his mind, and memorized their colors. The time went by.
And then she came. He did not see her enter. He still had his gaze fixed on the bar, and the door was behind him. He did not even notice her approach, his intent focused on the bottles and nothing else. She was almost touching him when he realized a new incomer slipped behind him and turned to face her.
She wore plain civilian clothes, and in the tavern’s dim light she did not look very impressive. A hood covered most of her face, but still his eyes brightened when seeing her. It was just a single moment, for her tall slim form and her slightly greenish skin could not be hidden between the small rounded bodies of the planet’s inhabitants, and their fairly bright purple faces. Even in the dark he made out her features, and realized that again his delirious mind had tricked him, because the person so near him was not his Saavik. She was not even Vulcan; he faced a Romulan.
She gave him no time to react. The moment recognition came, the woman already reached out and pushed something into his frozen hand.
“A message from my commander,” she whispered, and before he could do anything, she turned away.
As her hand retreated, Thuray instinctively grasped the unknown object. She was already disappearing between the people when he looked down at it. A Romulan padd, with a symbol on its screen. He had seen it before, even if probably he should not have. It was the odd scar Saavik had on her left shoulder. A message from a mysterious Romulan commander to his admiral.
Inwardly, Thuray shuddered.
To be continued