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Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations, by julie
Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations
Disclaimer: Star Trek situations, characters, and name are all owned by Paramount. This work is non-commercial, not for sale or profit, and may not be sold or reproduced for commercial purposes.
Summary: Prequel to Ko-telsu Kahli-fi.
The Loracs, who belonged to a neighbouring system, were also here to discuss safe trade routes through Golbar, it would enable them to reach systems much further away. Piracy was very common around the edges of Golbar and negotiations were in progress for joint policing of the region. Soval eyed Takroot, their Ambassador, the small, pale, delicacy of their figures and features concealed the toughness of a tenacious race
Then there was Zanik Roldar, Ambassador for Garra Tau. Soval took more interest in this group; it was some time since Vulcans had come across this species to his knowledge. Although no animosity existed between them that he knew of, they did not seek each other out. The Garra Tau race had been one of the first contacts that the newly fledged Vulcan Space travellers had met. They were an ancient civilization who had been exploring the stars for centuries before the Vulcans. An impressive ten thousand year history of peace had seen them reaching out into the cosmos to learn of other species and how they lived.
Telepathy had allowed them to deal with the more hostile species and forge close relationships with those of a more sociable disposition. They were mainly admired and respected through the known systems. Vulcans, however, found them intensely difficult beings. The highly emotional, fun loving Garra Taus were too much to cope with. They had to feel everything and share every emotion with others. Everything that was offensive
to a Vulcan. Defining them as Illogical Hedonists Vulcans had given them a wide birth and any attempt at closer ties had stalled many years before.
His attention was drawn to the Ambassador’s companion. The younger female seemed slightly different to the others, darker perhaps; he couldn’t quite put his finger on what it was. Her hair curling around her face was appealing and when she had smiled at Zanich, he had been taken completely by surprise at the way her face lit up. Although he had taken command of himself he had found his attention wandering in that direction several times. The Garra Tau’s were strong telepaths. Generally telepathic beings were not welcome at such negotiations as many species feared this gave them a serious advantage, this race must have gained enough respect and trust from Lorac and Golbar to be accepted. Vulcan, decided Soval, would reserve judgement.
“Don’t look now but you seem to have aroused curiosity in an unexpected quarter, my dear” Zanik turned towards his companion “The Vulcan Ambassador seems to find you of interest.”
Sylea resolutely kept her eyes averted from the Vulcan party, she had noticed them when she had entered; the Ambassador was a man to command attention. Middle aged, she judged, and still handsome, but he had the most disgruntled expression as she had ever seen on a Vulcan before.
Her Aunt Neru, Zanik’s wife, had been indisposed on this occasion and could not accompany her husband. Sylea, on a brief homecoming, had expressed an interest in meeting two new species so he had offered her the chance to go with him. Although a Cultural Attache for the Council of Elders of Garra Tau and, at times, an unofficial Ambassador herself she had little experience of inter-galactic conferences and how dull they could be. Trade or safe conduct agreements and extradition negotiations were long winded and bureaucratic and she found her attention drifting frequently.
They had dragged through 2 endless days of the conference when the attacks began. Just as she was wishing something interesting would happen to relieve the boredom, it did! The Vulcan ship was attacked. Pirate vessels from the edges of the system moved in and began a series of small assaults on the vulcans as they orbited the home world. Small sting attacks from several ships disabled the cruiser before disappearing again out of Golbaran space.
Next day a vulcan cargo ship limped into the system; attacked and robbed by pirates. This was followed by two members of the delegation being ambushed and beaten outside the Embassy. The news was bought to the Ambassador during the conference.
"What is the meaning of these attacks on my people?" he said rising from the conference table.
"I am sure that this is not specific to Vulcans," Raldavoor attempted to reassure him.
"I hear of no others being attacked; it is obvious Raldavoor that this is a specifically aimed at Vulcan shipping. This is absolute proof of the problems that we have been experiencing around this system."
"The pirates have never approached into the system before, sir" the Golbar Security Chief stepped forward "this is most unusual. As is the frequency of attacks, they are usually few and far between."
"I do not understand why the Gamari would attack only your people Ambassador. As a rule they will rob any vessel they find, regardless of race."
"We have suffered these attacks for years," the Lorac Ambassador put in. "This is nothing new."
"Have your people been attacked on Golbar or within the system?" Soval asked. The Lorac hesitated.
"No" He said "They have not".
"Who are the Gamari?" Sylea asked. Sitting quietly next to her uncle no one had taken much notice of her, she felt uncomfortable as every eye turned to her.
"They are a small band of pirates. They take small amounts – what we would consider acceptable losses. To date they have never been overly violent and they keep out other, more aggressive marauders" he turned with a meaningful glance at the Lorac Ambassador who had snorted loudly with disgust. "We have been somewhat reluctant to get rid of them completely for this very reason,” he continued in a low voice. “These attacks are out of character for them."
"You tolerate outlaws?" Takroot was disgusted
"To a degree," Raldavoor answered defensively.
"But why pick on the Vulcans?" Zannik asked.
"Perhaps someone is trying to get their attention" Sylea had spoken without even thinking and once again wished she hadn't. She had the full attention of the Vulcan Ambassador and felt self conscious under his gaze.
A security officer entered with news not only of another attack but that hostages had been taken. Another entered almost immediately. “A message is coming in to the delegation from Fetz Nakar, he wishes to talk terms.”
"This is preposterous, we will not negotiate with criminals," Soval stated, his self-restraint barely hiding the fury within. Raldavoor's anger matched the Vulcan Ambassadors; his system was on the edge of the prosperity it deserved. Why did this have to happen now?
Put the message through he ordered, glaring at the Vulcans, "Perhaps you will have some answers."
The vast screen on the wall flickered to life. The pirate leader gazed arrogantly at the gathered dignitaries.
"It would seem that I have a willing audience, finally. I am holding four Vulcan prisoners. You have my word that they will not be harmed as long as my demands are met." He paused, "they are few and simple; I do not wish negotiation."
"I am Ambassador Soval , I speak for Vulcan. What are your demands?" Soval responded, “we will hear them but we will not negotiate with criminals".
The pirate eyed the Ambassador with distaste. "Forty-eight years ago, a Vulcan ship, The K'ansar, visited a planetary system by the name of Cynvalis. A member of that crew kidnapped and repeatedly raped a young girl from the colony. The Vulcans would do nothing. They denied it and have covered it up. Any attempt to reach the Vulcan High Command has failed. I want justice. I want this man tried and punished.” He stopped abruptly, his emotion obvious, “do this and your people will be free."
There was silence in the chamber. "Your accusations are outrageous!” Soval stood up and addressed the screen, "Vulcan discipline would make this scenario impossible".
"That isn't strictly true, Ambassador," it was the Tau girl again. He turned toward her.
"It is ludicrous to even consider that a Vulcan could have committed such a crime," stated Soval.
"Under ordinary circumstances Ambassador, I would agree, but under the effects of the seven year cycle it is possible."
He was stunned; this was never discussed, even among Vulcans. He turned back to the screen.
"Can you substantiate this?" he asked the pirate; he glanced at Sylea surreptitiously, while her attention was on the screen.
Fetz Nakar nodded, "yes I can. A child was conceived. His mother was very young; she never got over the effects of the attack and died when he was very young".
"Vulcans do not mate with other species. It is inconceivable that it could result in a child!" Soval argued.
"That is not true either, Ambassador!" he turned to Sylea again, this was becoming tiresome.
"I believe the relevant word there would be 'rare' rather than never, Ambassador, and it is perfectly feasible that a child could have been conceived." She was secretly glad of his Vulcan control. Her comments were not welcome.
"A child was conceived, and he wants justice." Fetz Nakar turned his face from the screen and a gasp rippled through the watchers. There were the unmistakable Vulcanoid ears to be seen by all.
Turning to his aide Soval snapped "Make enquiries," she inclined her head and left. To anyone else they appeared calm and dispassionate, but Sylea could see the agitation and anger.
Her Uncle whispered to her as they left the conference hall.
"That certainly livened things up a bit," she nodded and turned to come face to face with the Vulcan Ambassador. Close up she could feel the strong presence of the man, his irritation was almost palpable. He inclined his head and lifted his hand in greeting.
She mirrored his greeting "May I be of service Ambassador?"
"We were not introduced" He snapped.
"I am Sylea, I am here with Zannik of Garra Tau," she felt she was being appraised - probably unfavourably!
"This man, Fetz Nakar, you believe he is speaking the truth."
"You do not?" she asked
"I believe it may be a simple black mail"
"Why do you ask me?" She had to admit to being surprised by his interest in her opinion.
"As I said before - Vulcans never ...,” he paused, “rarely, mate with other species and if they did biological compatibility is unlikely."
"You suspect he has been cosmetically altered to spin this tale and extract recompense from the High Command?"
He did not even need to speak for her to see the truth.
"I sensed no attempt to mislead. It seems a little dramatic, not to say pointless to attempt what you suggest. You would need a sample of DNA to trace his father; it would be immediately obvious if that were the case".
He looked down to the floor and then back up straight into her eyes "You believe it is possible that this man is a true hybrid?"
"Ambassador, I KNOW it is possible," she turned and left him. He paused and watched her leave - she was an engaging, if somewhat irritating female!
It came as no surprise to Sylea when she received a summons to his quarters the next day. There was a certain arrogance about him that caused a rebellious reaction in her. His chin was up and he wore an even more irritated expression. She knew that there was a development.
"We have searched our database and it has confirmed that the K'Ansar did visit the Cynvalis system as specified. However, the logs have been searched and nothing untoward was found". He stopped "It appears that the first officer of that ship resigned his commission shortly after it returned to Vulcan. We have learned that he went to the Monastery at P’Jem to undergo the memory suppression, it is unclear what happened to him after that - we are investigating further".
She nodded "Thank you for informing me," she answered politely, not sure why she had been informed. She sensed intense curiosity, "you wish to ask me something?"
He wasn't sure if this was a statement of fact or a question, but he was intrigued.
"You are well informed about my people."
"I am,” she said simply
She looked him directly in the eyes "Because, Ambassador, the most important man in my life is Vulcan,” she paused, Soval had raised a questioning eye brow. “However, I really must go. Peace and Long Life Ambassador," she raised her hand in the familiar salute and left him.
She could not help smiling to herself, his interest had been piqued; he was full of questions and she felt an absurd amusement in his surprise. She also found that she could not help liking him. His curt demeanour was off-putting, but, she felt, that he would deal fairly with this situation. He was open to possibility even if he did not yet realise it, she was sure he would be the one to bring a satisfactory end to this situation.
Fetz Nakar addressed the Vulcan Ambassador the next day, "Do you have what I require yet, Ambassador?"
While he was undoubtedly feeling very irritated with the situation, and remained slightly suspicious Soval found that he did not expect this man to be an impostor any longer. The tests would be done as necessary, but he would probably be more surprised to find it negative.
Was this what the humans called ‘gut instinct’?
"I have little information at the present time". He looked Fetz Nakar squarely in the eyes "I have ascertained the truth of what you told us. The K'Ansar was indeed where you say at that time. What I need now," he watched the other mans face carefully, "is a DNA sample to test. You may not find that acceptable. We can test a hypothesis if you will cooperate."
"I have no objection to what you ask," there was no hesitation; she could be correct.
"I also ask you to release the hostages as we are complying with your request."
"Not yet Ambassador - we are not quite there yet"
Soval exhaled sharply, his nostrils flaring as he tried to cover his frustration. "A Doctor will need to collect and test the sample; I and one other will accompany him. Would you then release the hostages, you will have us instead. You will have me."
Fetz Nakar hesitated unsure if he had heard correctly. He had not expected this from a Vulcan. Self sacrifice - never! He had hated Vulcans all his life, he had come across only a few and none of them had changed his mind. He felt more than a little suspicious.
"You offer yourself as a hostage?" he asked incredulously.
"Very well!" the screen cleared.
"This is too dangerous Ambassador!" his Aide said nervously. "He may feel that he can demand far more if he has a more important hostage. Your safety is of paramount importance. We should bring in an attack force and storm the hideout."
"You would risk our people Saren?” he asked, “are we not also obligated to find out if this story is true".
"What if it is?"
"What indeed?" He mused. He had not yet analysed what his reaction would be to this situation, or the possible implications should it be true. _______________________________________
Standing in the Ambassadorial quarters once again Sylea wondered why she had been summoned.
"Please take a seat," he strode into the room ready for the business at hand.
"I have agreed that we will perform the DNA test" he announced; she nodded. "It has also been agreed that my party will take the place of the hostages who will be freed." She nodded again a little surprised, "I will be taking Dr Koris who will be performing the tests and I would also like you to accompany us. Your telepathic abilities will ensure that we are not taken by surprise by any violent intentions. Would you agree to this?"
"Yes, of course. But should you go? This could be very dangerous!"
Soval, raised an eyebrow, "you seemed to have every confidence in Fetz Nakar. Is that not the case?"
"I do not sense anything underhand, he was speaking the truth. But ...."
"He will not come here, he would suspect a trap,” Soval continued. “If we go to him the hostages are free and we can perform the test to give him the closure that he desires. It seems like the most logical course of action" He looked down, "we owe him that".
"Do you have further news?" she asked.
He hesitated, "the captain of the K'Ansar, has confessed that his first officer was the perpetrator of this crime."
She said nothing the horror of the scenario left her numb.
"It would appear that he was unable to get over what he had done. He resigned his commission and went to P'Jem for memory suppression and to undergo the Kolinhar. Perhaps he wished to atone for his lack of control, or to find some peace. His own actions must have been anathema to him. It appears he also died young. It would seem more than one life was destroyed in this attack"
"I thank you. We leave in 3.6 hours"
He decided that meditation would be the best course of action; he steepled his fingers and prepared to mentally prepare for what was to come.
His eyes opened slowly he was surrounded by an intense white light; his limbs felt heavy and his movements seemed to be in slow motion. She was there with him wearing a meditation robe; she came towards him the silk moulding to her form as she moved nearer. He put out a hand to touch the loose hair falling around her face………
“Are you alright, Ambassador Soval?” She asked he looked a little disturbed.
“I am well, I apologise for disturbing you,” he said, “we should be there soon.”
“Yes, shortly” She muttered, her attention returning to the problem at hand. It suddenly came to her; the feeling triggered the mental picture. She saw the hunters of Gaudron Alpha. She watched as the hunters set the lines and covered their tracks carefully and then retired to the tree line to wait for their prey. The unsuspecting creature didn’t sense the danger until it was too late. But she had sensed the anticipation of the springing of the TRAP!
“It’s a trap!” she turned to him, “someone has ulterior motives”
“I don’t think so, I am sure that he is genuine. There is someone else with less than honest intentions! Perhaps we should turn back?”
“No, there is still the question of the hostages; we must go on as planned. We now have the advantage of knowing that something is awry. It may be wise to arrange a little insurance” he added and opened the communicator.
Four of you have made comments
I love this storyline. You play up the mystery of Sylea's origins, and explain the horror of Ponfarr that she expressed in your previous story extremely well. I'd recommend only a couple of things. First, you've got some structural issues... mostly comma use... that distracted me a bit from the story (But then... I'm rather distractable, LOL!). Second, although your scenes of interaction between the characters are quite good, your transitions are a bit abrupt at times. For example, instead of transitioning abruptly from the scene where Soval and Sylea meet and going directly into a synopsis of the pirate attacks on the Vulcans, I would suggest doing a couple of interim scenes, first from the point of view of a passenger or crew member aboard one of the Vulcan ships... maybe from the viewpoint of one of the kidnapped Vulcans so we come to CARE whether they live or die... and then from the view point of the pirate... or maybe from the viewpoint of the person who is going to have to tell Soval about the attacks. You know, something concrete to SHOW the problem rather than rather rapidly and dryly TELLING the problem in order to get it over with and get back to Soval/Sylea. I understand exactly why you did it the way you did it, but sometimes introducing other viewpoints and characters into a story makes it more interesting, even if the main characters are not in the scene.
I'm being picky here, and these are just suggestions. I truly enjoyed reading this story, and I'm looking forward to finding out what happens next. I'd love to chat with you via email about my comments or anything else you'd like to chat about. I'm on the member list on the HoTBulletin Board. : )
Well done! I've recently become a Soval fic fan and your story is one of my faves. Excellent job on plot and characters...I love Sylea and can't wait to find out how she and Soval become involved. I hope your resolution to this story's cliff hanger will be soon in coming!
I've nearly finished it, Sharon. Real life over Christmas has been getting in the way, but I'm nearly there. Thanks for your comment it gave me a real boost and has inspired me to get on with it!
Julie, what great news that your next story is almost done! To prove how much I love what you're written so far, the reason I saw your post was because I'd just re-read both stories again. lol! Thank you so much for continuing this lovely romance :-)