"Cadet Temis, you may come with me. Everyone else is dismissed!"
Solok ignored his father's chiding glance as he shouldered his pack and briskly walked away toward the Forge. Temis struggled to keep up with his harried pace, but Sovar fell in step with his son after catching up with him.
"Ambassador," Sovar hissed, and Solok finally turned to him at the formal address, "what was the purpose of that?"
"This is the Forge, father," he replied impatiently, his pace unyielding. "None of the other cadets would have been useful here. They would most likely die in the heat."
"They are here for survival training-"
"And I am here to find my daughter!"
Solok stopped and regained his composure, then continued on down the path.
They had been searching for four days straight, and Sovar watched his son's control deteriorate with each passing day. He was frantic now, and the elder ambassador doubted he was getting any sleep.
They had taken refuge in a cave, and Solok stood at the entrance and watched the sky, as if his daughter's location was somehow written there. Sovar approached him.
"How could she have just...disappeared? Typical emotional creatures, giving in to imprecision," Solok muttered under his breath. "If they had been paying attention-"
His son turned and glared at him, but Sovar did not back down. "Leave me, father," Solok said firmly. "I want to be alone."
"You want to find your daughter, my son," he said gently. "I believe we should return to the Gateway. You are emotionally compromised, and you need to return home and meditate. I can assemble a team to search for her."
"No," Solok growled.
"My son, I do not wish to bring this to your attention, but if we have not found her by now, I doubt we ever will. It's been four days."
"Captain Archer survived for longer than four days in the Forge, and he was only human, and carrying a katra at that. If a human captain can brave the Forge, so can my daughter."
"The fact still remains that our answers probably still lie at the Gateway. Let us return there and run scans. We may find her yet."
Solok bowed his head. "If her mother were alive...she'd never forgive me if I abandoned her out here."
Sovar shook his head. "As you have stated, she is half-Vulcan. I believe she will be fine, wherever she is. Our answers lie at the Gateway. We make for it when night falls."
His son nodded. "Very well."
"Ambassadors, there are two lifeforms over there, in the sandstorm."
As quickly as it had formed, the lightning storm dissipated like smoke on the wind, as if it had been summoned and banished by some otherworldly force.
Solok began to run, not daring to hope, not daring to let his control slip another inch if it was her...
But he saw her face, smudged with dirt and sweat, and he couldn't stop himself from crying out. "T'Lyn!" There was a shorter man next to her, his face lined with wisdom and his hair graying from age. The Vulcan looked slightly familiar...
"T'Lyn!" he cried again.
"Here, father!" Her voice was strong, and he breathed in a sigh of relief as he came to a stop next to her kneeling form. His eyes raked her body, and he frowned at her strange attire. She looked as if she had walked straight out of a history text, her hair braided in the style of the ancient priestesses, her clothing ancient and ornate, like the princesses of long ago...
His eyes fell on the man beside her, and he was sure he had seen him somewhere before. "Who is this?"
Sovar and Temis caught up with them, and the younger Vulcan raised an eyebrow at the stranger.
"Why are you...dressed like this?" Solok continued, his gaze once again finding her seemingly ancient outfit. T'Lyn looked down at herself and cursed under her breath, then looked to the man beside her. "Father, grandfather...this is Soval...there is much to explain, and...none of it is..."
Solok reached out to touch the three IDICs hanging around her neck, and T'Lyn watched his gesture with confusion. The symbols looked ancient as well, and he was bemused as to why she was wearing three.
"Not much of it is logical..." his daughter finished, somewhat anti-climatically. Judging by the fact that she couldn't seem to construct a coherent sentence and that she was dressed in such bizarre attire, he could only assume she had been through some ordeal.
His eyes found the tiny bump in her midsection, well-concealed by the abundant layers of clothing she had on, but still large enough to be noticeable, if one looked hard enough. The last time he had seen her, she certainly was not pregnant...
"You are with child, T'Lyn?" he asked, and then his eyes found her companion, the one she had named Soval (Sovar had helped the man up off the ground while he was absorbed with looking at T'Lyn's stomach). "And I suppose you are the father?"
The newcomer raised an eyebrow. "Of course not. I no more worthy to be your daughter's bond-mate then a worm is worthy to mate with a sehlat. The likes of Reldai T'Lyn are far beyond my reach-"
"Reldai?" Solok rounded on his daughter, who stood tall before him. She would not be daunted, and he was briefly reminded of a night nearly forty years previous, of a small human with auburn hair...
He extinguished the memory and waited for his daughter to explain herself. "At what time did you become a high priestess, T'Lyn? And why are you wearing those clothes?"
"She wears the garb of a priestess and carries the title because she is a high priestess, sir," Soval said testily.
"A full explanation will be put into my report, father," T'Lyn said, apparently regaining some sort of composure. "As I was saying, this is Ambassador Soval. Ambassador, this is my father, Ambassador Solok, and his father, Ambassador Sovar. And Cadet Temis."
Solok turned to his father, but Sovar's eyes were on Soval. "You honor us with your presence, Osu," the eldest ambassador said, his voice tinged with awe. "The databases list you as having died in late 2154, but it appears they were wrong. However, as to how you arrived here..."
Solok rounded back on his daughter, but she held up a hand. "Read the report, father, I need to go and rest. And I must meditate. Can we please leave now?"
She said nothing more, and he could think of no reply, so he nodded and led the small party back to his shuttlecraft. His daughter had spoken with authority and grace that he had not seen since...
He stomped out the thought and watched the burning sands of the Forge disappear into the distance.
I want to thank Sensara for providing the epilogue to this story. She capped it off with a natural grace of writing one could deeply envy (if it were logical to envy) Here she is check her out u/2322785/Sensara