"Only on paper, Donovan. The important people know what's going on."
"I know, but still..."
"The truth, Kid," Beckett sighed "is that Captain Pike wants you on his brand new Starship when she takes flight next year. He's seen your record at the Academy and he's understandably impressed. He won't rest until he has you on his crew, and I'm sure the Enterprise is going to be a very nice ship, but I already have plans for you."
"I understand." Sam nodded. "I still have one more month until graduation..."
"Not any more. I've already informed the Academy that you cheated on several of this year's major exams."
"The trial starts in ten minutes. If we're lucky we can have you kicked out of the Academy by lunch and have you on the Diamond for dinner."
"I...I'm not ready for a trial."
"Think of it more as a hearing." Beckett assured. "All you have to do is admit to all charges being raised against you."
"Is this 'hearing' public?"
"More than public, it's mandatory for your whole graduating class. Starfleet does not take cheating lightly."
Sam stared at Beckett in horror.
"I...I can't." Sam stuttered. "I have friends..."
"Would you rather have me tell them you're a murderer?"
"No, Sir." Sam replied meekly.
"I'm sorry, Donovan, but this has to happen." Beckett smiled sadly. "Don't worry the humiliation will be temporary, but afterward you'll have a home aboard the Black Diamond forever."
Razor jerked awake from his nightmares of the past in a cold sweat. It was dark and he was disoriented. Panting for breath he noticed that the air had a different feel to it. The air in the compound on the planet had a chemical smell from the toxin scrubbing it went through. The air now was cold and sterile, and yet it gave him a warm feeling.
"Home." Razor muttered.
Razor turned his head to the side and found Salen standing next to the biobed that he was laying on. Salen had changed back into his casual uniform. He took a hesitant step closer, and then backed up again and held his hands behind his back.
"You crazy, Vulcan." Razor chuckled. "How the hell did you find me?"
"It was not easy."
Razor chuckled again and tried to sit up. Still weak from his brush with death he struggled with getting his body to do what he was asking of it. Before Salen could make the decision to help his friend Razor managed to sit up and swing his legs over the side of the bed. He knew already that if he tried to stand he was going to hit the floor so he just stayed sitting on the bed.
"Where is she?" Razor asked.
"She is in the brig. I did not know what you wished to do with her."
"I know she shot you, but she saved my life."
"She cost Ice his."
"Ice was killed by one of the men with her. Cobalt was injured as well, however he has recovered."
"What about you?"
"It is still uncomfortable to breath, but that will pass." Salen said.
"I'm sorry, Salen."
"It was not your fault."
"Of course it was. The mission was over and I stayed behind to get some tail..."
"North was looking for us both, and from what I have learned he had the resources to find us. If it had not been this woman it would have been someone else in his network. We were the target of a manhunt that we did not even know we were participating in. I have yet to discover wh..."
"The Diamond." Razor growled darkly. "North wanted the Black Diamond. Although I don't know why he wanted you dead."
"I believe I know someone who knows the answer to that question."
"Sy...I remember, it's coming back to me now. Who is he? You'd think that Starfleet would know about a man with that kind of reach."
"He is not a 'man', he is a Vulcan."
"He has disguised himself as human." Salen clarified. "He is Spock's exiled half brother."
"Shit." Razor muttered. "Where is he now? You didn't kill him, did you?"
"I did not. He peacefully allowed himself to be held in the brig as well."
"He killed North. I still don't really know why."
"I am not fully aware of all the circumstances either. All I know is that he says he wants to help me."
"Help you?" Razor repeated confused. "Do you need help?"
"Yes." Salen admitted.
"Why?" Razor asked concerned. "What's wrong?"
"My emotional effect on others is getting worse. I am currently taking a powerful drug to keep it under control, however the drug is slowly killing me."
"What do we do?"
"I can think of only two logical courses of action. You can take me to an uninhabited planet where I can not influence others."
"I'm not marooning you on some desolate rock. What is the other option?"
"We trust Sybok and I accept his offer to train me to control it."
"Well he killed North, saved my life, and I'm guessing he looked into my mind so if he wanted this ship he could have taken it by now. So why not trust him?"
"He's an exile."
"So are you, basically. So am I. So are most of the crew."
"I am unsure it is worth the risk..."
"Salen, you are worth the risk." Razor said firmly. "You know sometimes I just want to punch you in the face."
"I did not know that. I though we were friends."
"We are friends you green blooded freak, but I just get so frustrated with your self esteem issues that boarder on suicidal tendencies."
"I am not suicidal."
"No, but you don't always fight to protect your own life."
"One of the side effects of the Vuladin is extreme logical thinking. Logically my life is not valuable when compared to the well being of the galaxy."
"The galaxy needs you Salen."
"Vulcans are in sort supply."
"That's not what I...never mind, you are impossible. If Sy can train you then we'll take him up on the offer. If we find out later that he has ulterior motives we'll deal with them then. Agreed?"
Salen was about to say something more when the doors to Sick Bay slid open and Joanna stormed through them. Her beautiful blue eyes were reddened with tears. She stalked up to Salen. Razor expected her to throw her arms around him in relief, however she lashed out at him and slapped him across the face hard enough to leave a bright green palm mark across his cheek.
Razor reached up and rubbed his own cheek, swearing he had felt the blow as well. Salen accepted the sudden violence without protest. Joanna turned on Razor and smiled apologetically. Tears streaked down her face as she struggled to pull herself together.
"I'm happy you're safe, Razor." Joanna said cordially.
Before anything more could be said Joanna turned on her heels and marched back out of Sick Bay. Salen stared at the door as it closed behind her and sighed. Razor waited for him to say something, but he remained silent.
"Things a little sour between you and the Misses?" Razor asked.
"I locked her in my room for three days, and I failed to mention to her that I did not expect to return from the planet's surface alive."
"I think she figured it out."
"I had left her a message apologizing for not returning."
"Let me guess: you forgot to erase it."
"It would appear that she has indeed watched the message."
"The only logical thing to do at this point is to go apologize." Razor suggested.
"This will take more than a simple apology."
"At least it will be a start."
"The Vuladin has been robbing me of my ability to treat her right." Salen admitted.
"Have you explained that to her?"
"Go let her know, she'll forgive you."
"It is good to have you back, Razor."
"It's good to be back. Now go kiss and make up with Joanna. We'll figure out excatly how to handle Sy later."
Salen hesitated for a moment before nodding and leaving. Razor spent a moment just sitting in the quiet medical bay. He was trying to push Gina out of his mind, but it wasn't working. Razor slowly lowered himself off the bed and onto his feet. He was hit with a wave of nausea at first. After a few deep breaths he felt steady on his feet once more.
Razor made his way down to the brig. He stepped in front of the cell where Gina was being held. The forcefield that held her captive was like a one way mirror so she didn't know he was watching. She was sitting in the back corner with her knees hugged to her chest. She wasn't crying, she was just staring blankly at the floor. Razor's heart felt heavy watching her broken and alone. He went to turn the screen so that she could see him, but he stopped himself.
Razor turned sharply and walked over to Sybok's cell. The Vulcan with the human features was sitting on the bed. He had his hands on his lap, and with his eyes closed he looked like he was meditating. Razor tapped on the control panel that made it so that Sybok could see and hear through the forcefield. He looked calmly up at Razor and smiled brightly. He got up and walked up to the barrier.
"Samuel, it is good to see you up and about. I trust you are feeling well."
"What did you do to me?" Razor snarled.
"I do not know what you mean."
"You mucked around in my head and you made me love her."
"Ah, yes, I did see that in there."
"You put it there!"
"I don't have that kind of power. I assure you that if you love her that is your fault and not mine."
"I don't know what you are up to, but just know that she means nothing to me." Razor hissed. "I will tell you what does mean something to: this ship, this crew, and my First Officer."
"I only want to help Salen."
"If I even begin to suspect otherwise I will personally see to pushing your species closer to the brink of extinction."
"I believe you, but believe me when I say that I would give my own life to spare Salen's."
"Because Salen is the key to salvation."
"For the Vulcans?"
"For us all."