auswitcheroo151: AU Sato and Mayweather (Default)
[personal profile] auswitcheroo151
Disclaimer: Don't own, don't sue.

The E Crew has shore leave on Risa. Certain members of the crew run into mishap and mayhem.

Rating T

April 30, 2151

Hoshi Sato smiled as she entered the Risan Marketplace. The colors, the sounds, the smells all enthralled and delighted her. It was so different from any place she'd been so far in her travels. The pure bliss lifted her spirits. For once, she could leave her captain persona behind on Enterprise and just be her, Hoshi Sato, linguist and cultural enthusiast.

It had been a long time. She remembered her one year in the Starfleet Officer Exchange on Cabara Three. The Cabarans were just like the Risans, friendly and generous, with a penchant for sensory pleasure. Although she'd prepared herself for the experience, books and holovids didn't give the Cabara homeworld justice. The almost blatant sensuality had almost shocked her.

She learned quickly how to adapt. Her family followed strict Japanese traditions, and the Cabarans were the complete opposite. At the end of the year, her outlook on such subjects had changed forever. So the skimpy swimsuits and overt displays of affection hardly fazed her. The whistles of appreciation gave her a secret feeling of pride, even if she had no sparkling body powder on her skin or expensive perfume.

“A pretty flower for a pretty woman,” called a vendor at the first stall. With a flourish, he reached over and produced a multi-hued Risan rose from behind Hoshi's ear. “May I?”

“Of course,” she said with a laugh. The vendor wove into in a pleasing arrangement over her right ear, anchoring it with long strands of Hoshi's own hair. The man's touch was feather-light and as gentle as the ocean breeze.

“You are aware that if a rose is over a lady's ear, it signifies that she is available,” the vendor said. “If it is above the left, she has a lover, and the suitors must leave her alone.”

Hoshi blushed at the words and joined in the witty repartee. “You make an assumption, sir, that I have no one like that in my life at the moment.”

He regarded her for a long moment, then smiled, “And if you do not? True love always shines through, my lady, and I can tell when its touch is present. Perhaps you may find reason to wear a different rose in a different way.”

The words made her pause for a long moment. It was uncanny how the Risans seemed to look into her heart and soul. Granted, they saw all kinds of people visit their planet, but still...she bowed her head and replied, “Perhaps. Thank you for the rose. I appreciate it.”

“You're quite welcome, and enjoy your sojourn on Risa.”

Hoshi smiled and waved as she made her way further into the market. Once she was out of sight of the flower vendor, she touched the rose above her right ear. For all intents and purposes, she should have moved it, but decided to leave it be. Columbia was in the Hera system, at the opposite end of the sector.

As for other options...she firmly took her mind off that track. You need this time for yourself, without dealing with Matt, Malcolm or anyone else.

The tinkling of bells caught her attention and she looked up to see a pastry stand. Hoshi's stomach rumbled at the thought of food, and she made her way there. The stall owner pressed his hands together and bowed slightly to her. “Please, feel free to look over our grand selection. I hope you find a treat to fill your greatest desires.”

Hoshi laughed at the hyperbole. Every vendor in the Market flirted up a storm, but that was part of their charm. They prided themselves on pleasing the palate. That made Risa a prime vacation and honeymoon spot, and the ideal place for shore leave.

“Risan chocolate? I've heard about it, but I've never tried it.”

The vendor grinned widely and cut a piece of soft fudge from the huge block on the stand. “Then we must correct that! Each recipe is a unique blend of spices that reflect a specific taste. Cinnamon, jasmine, rose, d'jek...the possibilities are endless.”

She accepted the piece of chocolate and placed it in her mouth. It exploded with a burst of citrus, with just a hint of almond sweetness. Her eyes widened in pleasure as she savored the taste. Her own chocolate stash on Enterprise was a pale comparison to this!

“Risan Sunrise,” the vendor answered her unspoken question. “It closely mimics the alcoholic beverage of the same name...without the worry of becoming intoxicated.”

“Delicious,” she breathed. She glanced over the splendid array of cookies, cakes, fudge and liquid drinks. “I'm sure you do good business here.”

“If there is one constant in the universe, madam, it is chocolate, in some way, shape or form. Even the Klingon Empire has their version of it, construed to their own palate, of course.”

Hoshi filed that away in her memory. It would be helpful if Enterprise ever ran into the Klingons. “That's good to know. So, what would you suggest for a gift box?”

The vendor brightened at her question and clapped his hands. “I believe I can assist you with that, madam, with all due pleasure.”

Twenty minutes later, Hoshi arrived at the seaside resort with a medium-sized gift box of Risan chocolates, a wide array of tropical fruit, a new pair of low-heeled sandals, a two-piece bathing suit, and a pair of tickets to the Risan Fabric and Jewelry Show. A exultant bark greeted her from the walking path to the beach and she was all but floored by an enthusiastic, four-footed torpedo.

“Porthos!” She barely managed to keep a hold of all her purchases in the wake of the beagle's greeting.

Jon Archer raced up the path and grabbed the basket of fruit before it hit the stone pavement. “Sorry about that, Hoshi. We saw you come up from the market and Porthos decided to make a beeline for your food.”

She stifled a chuckle at the tropical shirt, shorts and sandals. His brown hair was matted down and smelled of ocean spray. “Went swimming, Jon?”

“Not on purpose. We were tossing a tennis ball on the shore when Porthos got too curious about a purple starfish. It plastered itself on the top of his head and scared him. It took some doing, but the starfish was sent back to where it came from.” Jon shrugged and added, “The Marstral Coral Reef, just off the coast.”

“You swam all that way to return a starfish to the reef?”

“Better it be there than on a dinner plate, Hoshi.”

“True.” She smiled and inclined her head toward the hotel lobby. “I'm in 1522 West.”

“2410 East. We're on opposite ends of the building.” He lifted the fruit basket well out of Porthos's reach. “That's all right. I don't mind walking with you.”

They climbed the winding staircase to the 1500 West area of the hotel. Porthos bounded behind them, yipping happily. Hoshi's suite included a sitting room, bedroom, bathroom and kitchenette. A small balcony overlooked the ocean. Jon whistled a tune as he set the fruit basket on the table. Hoshi bustled about, putting away the rest of her purchases.

“Good Lord, you've got a great view. Mine looks over the entertainment patio. Thank goodness for sound dampeners.”

Hoshi laughed and shook her head. “I asked for a modestly-sized place, but the management insisted on this one.”

“Rank hath its privileges,” Jon agreed as he pulled Porthos out of the couch cushions.

“I guess.” She sat down and the dog immediately settled on her lap. “Any plans for tonight?”

“Someone suggested I try the Pier Restaurant-you take a boat out to it and have seafood by moonlight.”

“Are you meeting that 'someone' at the restaurant?”

“Um...yeah.” Jon shrugged goodnaturedly. “She's Iarian, Hoshi.”

“The 'fairy wanderers'?” She leaned back into the pillows and stroked Porthos's fur. “Is it true they've actually got wings?”

Jon rolled his eyes and sighed. “They're sensory membranes that grow out of their shoulder blades, Hoshi. They change colors with the temperature, so it looks like they have wings. Their eyes are slanted like a cat's-they have excellent night vision-and their ears are more pointed than T'Pol's.”

“Like I said, fairies.”

“Don't let their delicate features fool you. Ask Trip about the time he busted a Nausicaan smuggling ring on Iaria Prime. They damn nearly ripped the Nausicaans' arms out of their sockets and fed them to the fish.” Jon scratched Porthos behind the ears. “I don't think I have to worry about being mugged or anything like that.”

“I wasn't too worried about that. Just remember we only have two days of leave.” Her smile became wicked. “Don't overexhaust yourself.”

Jon made a face and Hoshi swore he blushed a little. “I won't. Trust me.”

After a few more minutes, Jon left with Porthos in tow. Hoshi sighed and went out to the balcony. She refused to be envious of Jon's possible romantic liaison. Her romantic life was already becoming more complicated than she wanted it to be. She briefly wondered what Malcolm was up to on Risa, then shook her head.

The azure water reminded her of Tokyo Bay and she felt a sense of homesickness. There's more than half the day left. It's time to hit the beach and catch some sun. She went back into the suite to change into her new swimsuit, then filled her basket with necessities (like the chocolate, fruit and suntan lotion) and headed to the beach.

She found the perfect spot in the shade of a palm tree, just meters from the water. The warm breeze from the ocean brightened her spirits considerably. Yes, she thrived in the company of people, but sometimes, a little peace and quiet was what she needed.

Hoshi spent the next few hours swimming in the ocean, laying on the sand and enjoying the sunshine. A group of children played in the surf, and their happy laughter lulled Hoshi into a doze. She was nearly asleep when a ball landed mere centimeters from her face. Startled, she jerked upright just in time to see the Risan children heading towards her.

“May we please have our ball back?” a boy asked in Risan.

“Of course,” she replied in the same dialect. She picked up the ball with both hands and tossed it to him. He smiled shyly, then headed back to his playmates.

“Forgive them, madam. They tend to play as hard as they study,” said a warm voice. It belonged to a gray-haired older woman in a light blue summer dress.

Hoshi shook her head and answered, “That's all right. They're children, and I don't mind at all.”

The woman's lips curved into a smile. “My name is Tera. You speak Risan very well. Have you been here before?”

“I'm Hoshi, and no, it's my first time here. Your world is lovely.”

Tera chuckled and agreed, “That it is. You must have been studying our language for a while, then. You hardly have an accent.”

“Ah-” Hoshi decided to be honest. “I've been studying it for two weeks.”

Both of Tera's eyebrows shot up and her mouth dropped open in surprise. When she finally found her voice again, she stammered, “Two weeks? You must be a quick learner.”

“Languages and culture are part of my job. I'm on vacation.”

Tera's smile broadened in respect. “I see. Are you a translator?"

"Of a sort. I enjoy meeting all kinds of people."

"Risa welcomes those with an open mind and a discerning heart. I'm sure you'll meet many interesting people here." She glanced over her shoulder at the playing children, then looked back at Hoshi. "I hope you enjoy the rest of your holiday, Hoshi.”

“Thank you, Tera.”

She bowed her head, then made her way back to her family. Hoshi watched her go; it was wonderful being able to use the local dialect. The best way to learn a language was to actually use it.

“Pardon me, but I overheard that you deal with languages? You speak Risan very well for one who's only studied it for two weeks.”

Hoshi looked over her shoulder and saw a young man sitting cross-legged under a nearby tree. His wide dark eyes and chocolate-colored hair only accented his triangular-shaped face. The blue shirt enhanced the paleness of his skin, while the pants only revealed how muscular his legs were. She didn't recognize his style of clothing, but his smile was both curious and apologetic.

“Yes.” She returned the smile and added, “I'm Hoshi.”

“My name is Ravis. May I approach? I assure you I have no ill will.”

The old-fashioned courtesy warmed Hoshi's heart. It reminded her of...she stopped that thought before it finished. Aloud, she said, “Of course, please.”

He sat next to her, his long legs tucked under him. “I 'm also a linguist; I specialize in business translation. It gladdens my heart to find one so like-minded.”

“Mine as well.” Hoshi extended a hand to him; he took it between both of his own, then drew it to his forehead in a gesture of respect. “Is that--?”

“It is a formal salutation among my people, from one acquaintance to another,” Ravis replied. “We place great emphasis on courtesy.”

She nodded. “It's important among in my culture as well. I'd like to hear more about yours.”

Ravis's smile was gentle. “I would be happy to oblige, Hoshi.”

T'Pol sat in the shade of a spider tree with her back against the warm wood. A thick volume bound in red leather lay in her lap, her place marked with a golden bookmark. The Teachings of Surak, A Comparison of Old and Modern Vulcan. The intricate words on the page usually enthralled T'Pol, but this time, her gaze fell on a single thalassi blossom on a nearby bush.

She recalled Surak's words: “Life is precious, just like a desert flower in full bloom, and it lasts its appointed time before withering away.” Her life was nothing like she'd imagined as a girl, and she'd put aside any childish fancies a long time ago. The scent of the Risan Botanical Garden brought back memories, both good and bad.

She had found out the hard way, that denying one's past led to dire consequences later. Nevertheless, T'Pol tried not to dwell on regrets long buried. Sometimes she was successful, other times not.

This was one of those times.

“The desire to change the past is illogical,” she murmured to herself. Nearly fourteen years ago, the Vulcan Security Ministry had assigned Sub-Lieutenant T'Pol an important task: to apprehend a psychopathic Vulcan man named Tolaris. Tolaris, son of Skorak and T'Reni, devotee of the priesthood of Mount Seleya, and a prime candidate to replace Master S'tarsk when the time came.

Tolaris threw that promising future to the winds. He used his considerable mental talents to assault five Vulcans. Five Vulcans, including his childhood friend, T'Pol. She still felt his fingers on the psi points of her face, sliding deeply within her private thoughts, taking what he wanted and twisting the rest...

The Vulcan Security Ministry thought it fitting that T'Pol be the hand of justice for Tolaris. At the time, she agreed with them.

Thalassi blossoms on the surface of a lake, a shadow waiting by the trees, the sun filtering through the branches, that shadow stepping out in plain view, its arms spread in a gesture of surrender, a whisper on the wind... Vulcans do not murder...

Vulcans do not murder, but they are capable of killing should the situation warrants it. Only when there is no other way to resolve a situation.

Had there been another way, one that had eluded her at the time?

Rom-halan. Farewell...

T'Pol felt the sad sigh of the wind. She emptied herself of all emotion: pain, anger, revenge, regret. Suddenly, the air rang with the crack of a weapon, and the shadow fell...

Rom-halan, T'Pol. Nam-tor kahkwa, Tu eh nash-veh... Farewell, T'Pol. We're alike, you and I.

A squirrel cracked a hard nut within its powerful jaws and the sound jarred T'Pol from her meditative state. Her heart hammered in her chest and her breathing sped up. After a few moments, she realized she was alone. No one was there.

There are no such thing as ghosts, despite what Commander Mayweather claims. Even as the thought went through her mind, she corrected herself, but the katra of those lost may still be with us.

T'Pol closed the book and got to her feet. The faint rush of water echoed through the garden. She soundlessly made her way through the greenery and flower plots. Of course, new genus of trees and bushes replaced the ones long dead. Her mind catalogued the various leaves and grasses, their properties and potential hazards. The path split off into several branches and she chose the dirt path.

Finally, she emerged at the edge of a rectangular pool surrounded by tall kiras trees. The white marble shone brilliant in the sunlight, highlighting the water lilies and lotus blossoms on the pool's surface.

Nothing had changed in nearly fourteen years. It was just as she remembered.

She narrowed her eyes and judged the distance between her position and the canopy of trees. Her initial impression was correct; nothing had changed at all. Slowly, she walked around the perimeter of the pool. Three submerged steps led into the depths of the pool, a deceptively steep slope ending in a muddy bottom. She knew first-hand just how deep it ran, and how dangerous it actually was.

And the many secrets it held.

T'Pol stopped in front of a certain kiras tree. The wind blew over the pool and its ripples spread over its surface, marring her pristine reflection.

Rom-halan, T'Pol. Nam-tor kahkwa. Tu eh nash-veh.

Good bye, T'Pol. We're so alike, you and I.

She bent and laid a delicate Risan rose in front of the tree. Its yellow hue shimmered in the light. Of course, the Vulcan climate would never support such a fragile flower. T'Pol had bought it at the Garden Greenhouse earlier in the day. According to Risan-and Terran-tradition, the color yellow signified an ending, a farewell.

T'Pol took a step back and murmured a blessing she'd learned from the priestesses at Mount Seleya. It seemed appropriate for this point in time, as illogical as it seemed. Afterward, she bowed her head and whispered, “Rom-halan, Tolaris. May you find the peace in death, which eluded you in life.”

She turned and made her way back through the trees, but her mind still drifted to the past.

Commander Travis Mayweather checked his harness and belay line. The last thing he wanted was to fall several hundred meters straight down the sheer cliff face. The Singing Mountain wasn't the highest mountain on Risa by any stretch, but it vibrated in time to the air currents, sending a symphony all around him. If Travis looked carefully into the rocks, he could see a faint reflection of his own eager face.

He gave the Risan Climbing Master a thumbs up. The Climbing Master nodded and called, “Whenever you're ready, we can climb the last stretch to the Crystal Temple.”

“Okay, let's do it!” Travis shouted back. With practiced movements, he rappelled down the sheer face, gently bouncing the slope. His feet reached the ledge, and he automatically checked his lines before disconnecting himself from them. The Climbing Master landed next to Travis and did the same thing.

“I take it you've done this before?” The Climbing Master spoke with a distinct Draylaxian accent with flattened vowels. He and Travis were almost the same height, but his frame was less muscular. His long brown hair was tamed into a semi-neat ponytail.

“I've done it a few times, Shurtas,” Travis said with a smile. “My parents were on Draylax for three months when I was a teenager and I climbed Mount Yurikana with a bunch of my friends.”

“Boomer? Explains some things, but I've never met one who enjoys mountain climbing as much as you do.”

“Yeah, well...I spend so much time in space that I don't get a chance to go dirtside very often. When I do, I try to enjoy every minute.”

Shurtas grinned and said, “I like your attitude, Commander.”

“Call me Travis. I'm on shore leave right now.” Travis wiped the sweat from his forehead and indicated the entrance to the cavern. “So...this Crystal Temple's a popular tourist spot?”

“Depends on the season. The best time to visit it is at high summer, like now. It's not as crowded as the beaches.” Shurtas finished disconnecting his lines, then gestured for Travis to follow him. “Come, while it's not as busy.”

The cavern glowed with an ethereal light from the florescent algae on the rocks. All the walls sparkled like liquid ice and gave off a low hum similar to the mountain rocks outside. Travis and Shurtus carefully made their way through the connecting passages. They twisted and intersected with other so often that Travis lost track of where they were. He was glad Shurtas was with him; otherwise, he'd never find his way back out.

They rounded a corner and emerged into a rock-hewn cavern with high, sloping walls. Travis's eyes widened as he saw a stacked temple at the center of the cathedral-sized space. It reminded him of Aztec temples in Mexico on Earth or the step pyramids on Tyrol Five. It glowed ice blue in the low lights and sparkled like cut diamond. A long courtyard surrounded the temple and extended into a long walkway leading to the entrance. From Travis's point of view, it looked cut out of blocks of apple-green jade and lined with tracks of gold.

“Wow,” he breathed.

“Lovely, isn't it. I never tire of seeing it.” Shurtus inclined his head at the grounds around the Crystal Temple. This cavern used to be filled with water, Travis, and the only the upper levels of the Temple were visible. Legend says the Winter Princess froze the water into ice, cut it into massive blocks and used those blocks to build her Temple.”

“I can where the legend comes from.”

Shurtus clapped him on the shoulder. “We can go into the lower levels. Come, let us us see the wonders within.”

The courtyard appeared slicker than a hockey rink, but to Travis's surprise, he made his way across as easily as he did Enterprise's bridge. On closer inspection, the jade-colored blocks were fitted tightly to each other, with a network of gold ribbons underneath like a spider's web. The effect was spectacular.

The entrance portal was just as elaborate as the rest of the temple, with intricately carved lintels. Travis gaped at the intricate scroll-like writing on the walls, gold and silver against the blue. A cool mist hovered in the air and made him shiver slightly. Shurtus gestured him around a corner and pointed at the wall.

“My God,” Travis breathed. “How-”

Humanoid figures were encased within the ice wall, frozen forever within it. Travis raised a hand, stopping just short of touching it. He felt a faint hum, just above his threshold of hearing.
"Are they-?"
"These are life-like representations of the original builders of this place,” Shurtus whispered in a reverent tone, “the original Risans from whom we are descended. When we found this, we thought this was a crypt or a set of catacombs at first. The sight of them scared the wits out of the original explorers!"
"Yeah, I nearly jumped out of my skin too. Why are these here?"
Shurtus shook his head. "We don't know who they were, or where they originally came from. They built temples like this, then disappeared from history. When we found this, we wanted to preserve it for future generations. Those who are interested find their way here.”

Travis stared at the figures, suspended in space and time. “You were part of the original expedition here, weren't you?”

“My father was; I was just a young boy when he found this.” He nodded at Travis. “Only a certain type of person appreciates the value of history, and when I heard your name...I knew you were one of them.”

“Thank you for giving me the chance to see this, Shurtus. I really appreciate it.”

Shurtus smiled and clapped a hand on his shoulder. “Come, Travis, let me show you the other wonders of this temple.”
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