"Evelyn! I was a fool to let you go!" Galan took her into his arms and kissed her passionately. "Can you ever forgive me?"
Tears of joy began to pour down Evelyn's face. "Of course I can!" she said, nearly breathless. "How could I not? I've wanted you for so long! I never thought you'd return my feelings!"
Galan wiped her tears away. "Please don't cry, my beautiful, brave Miss Evelyn. Only, say you will be my wife," he pleaded.
"Yes, yes!" she cried in ecstasy. It was the most perfect moment of her life.
But from out of nowhere, a shrill sound rang all around them. Everything grew brighter, and the man she loved began to fade away into the evaporating mist. He wasn't real—he was a specter from that same dream she had dreamed countless nights since she left Benzar.
She desperately reached out to him. "Please don't leave me again!" But he was already gone.
Her eyes opened. The lights in her quarters were gradually growing brighter, and her alarm was going off. Her face was wet. A pang of sorrow welled in her chest. It had all seemed so real—she had been certain it was really happening this time! But the only part that was genuine was her tears.
Evelyn rolled over and sobbed bitterly into her pillow. Why couldn't she just forget him? She had hardly known him. For all she knew, he had been married with a family the entire time they spent together. And yet, he hadn't acted like he was married.
Lokal's ring lay on the nightstand. Perhaps she was wrong to refuse him. He would have been good to her, that much was certain. True, he was a bit of a clumsy oaf, but he would have learned to do better. A part of her couldn't help but wonder if he would have been able to heal her broken heart. She didn't doubt that he would have done everything in his power in order to accomplish that end, if she had but given him the chance. It wasn't too late. All she needed to do was activate the device, and he would come.
No, she reiterated to herself. He was a good man, and deserved better. She wasn't quite sure if what he had said about Romulans and their constancy was entirely true. Yes, he would get over her eventually. And she...she would forget Galan one day.
But today was not that day.
She got out of bed and dragged herself to the shared bathroom. For the moment at least, the vivid dream was vanishing as her consciousness fully returned. No sooner had she turned on the shower than Amber started banging on the door.
"Evelyn! Will you hurry up already?"she whined. That early in the morning, her nasal Minnesota accent was grating on Evelyn's nerves.
"Just...give me a minute—please,"she answered wearily. She leaned against the wall and groaned. Already, this was shaping up to be an awful day.
But there was an upside. The war with the Dominion was finally over. The treaty had been signed, and Evelyn and Amber were back on their way to another dig. Unfortunately, there was nothing left on Benzar to dig as a result of the skirmishes during the war. And Benito had informed her that Galan had been re-assigned anyway.
Instead, they were en route to the site of another ancient city on a planet near the former Romulan Neutral Zone. Naturally.
"Are we lucky duckies or what?"Amber had sarcastically remarked when they were offered the job, "You betcha!"
As soon as they arrived, Evelyn and Amber wasted no time in getting to work—and there was a great deal to be done.
The city was thought to have been built by an ancient Vulcanoid civilization. Evelyn had long held the theory that the ancient Vulcans had used highly-advanced weapons in days past. In fact she had written an extensive paper on the subject. There was evidence, she had argued, that they possessed weapons that could control time itself. Or at least, that was what the early space-faring Vulcans claimed.
While the Vulcan Science Academy acknowledged that their forbearers were inclined toward violence, they did not believe their ancestors were capable of constructing such tools. The upshot was that her research received the Vulcan equivalent of being laughed to scorn. Her "illogical" research was ignored without even being examined.
But she would show them. She would find hard, physical evidence that would wipe those smug looks off their faces.
Evelyn busied herself with the digging, cataloging, and other various tasks, to the point where she sometimes forgot to eat. Each night, she went to bed in her tent too exhausted to feel sad over her unrequited love.
Evelyn's team had just unearthed a sizeable chamber a few hours ago. Now that they had finished recording the room as they'd found it, they began to examine the various artifacts and ancient objects that were strewn about in piles of rubble.
"Ow! Oh shoot! That hurts!" cried Amber. She toppled over onto the stone floor and wailed in pain.
Evelyn rushed to her side to help. "What happened?"
"My foot got stuck in that rut and I tripped. Oh darn it! I think I've broken my ankle!" she cried.
Evelyn gently lifted her foot out of the hole and looked at Amber's ankle. It may have gotten scratched and twisted, but it was not broken. As usual Amber exaggerated everything.
"It'll be alright," sighed Evelyn patiently. "Just sit here for a minute while I get the first aid kit."
Amber looked at the ugly scratches. "I'm going to get an infection and die, like that dude who discovered King Tut!" she sobbed.
"Carter didn't die of infection, his funder did," Evelyn corrected. She sanitized her hands then put some antibiotic ointment on the scratches.
"But almost everyone else who went in that tomb died mysterious deaths! And the locals were saying it was because of the Pharaoh's curse! How do we know this place isn't cursed?" Amber rarely made sense when she was calm, and never made sense at all when she was upset.
"Amber, this clearly isn't a tomb, and Vulcanoids don't mummify their dead," said Evelyn, rolling her eyes. She finished bandaging her ankle and went back to what she was doing before.
"I guess you're right." No one would care if I died anyway, she thought. Except maybe that pointy-eared freak, Constantine, who ruined her life. He would surely get a laugh out of it.
Amber looked back at the pothole in annoyance, then something shiny caught her eye. She took a better look at the stone, and it appeared to be kind of thin, like a tile or something. So she lifted it up, and underneath was an ornate metal box decorated with several jewels.
"Ev, take a look at this!"
Evelyn wasn't fond of being called "Ev," but she was intrigued by the artifact. "What have you got there?"
They lifted it out of the hole. "Look at these markings, it's not Vulcan, it's Debrune."
"That's ancient Romulan, right?"
"Right. The Debrune had a sizeable colony here two centuries ago."
"Then what happened to them? This is a class M planet, so there was plenty of food and stuff."
"Any number of things could have gone wrong. It could have been a disease of some sort, or if they were anything like the Romulans around today, they probably fought among themselves. I already knew about the Debrune, but I was hoping to find evidence of much earlier Vulcan settlements."
"I guess we'll have to dig deeper then," said Amber.
Evelyn gathered up a few other artifacts and put them into a backpack. "Let's bring that box and these other items back to the camp. Then we'll get some lunch and some pain killers for your ankle. After that we can catalog them and maybe try our hand at some translations."
"Sounds good to me," said Amber. She tried to get up. "Ow! A little help, please?"
And she whined all the way back to the camp.