This is what we were taught as children. Now we know that Tsubar is a planet, one of many in the Andorian System. Fesoan, or Andor as the offworlders call it, is but a satellite of this planet. The sword is in reality a planetary ring or belt of icy particles that glow in the night but the image of the sword still lingers in my mind. Only one with an iron will could survive with a sword piercing one’s stomach. That is life on Fesoan. That is my father, proud and bold, always protecting us from the unwanted elements that were a part of our lives.
For half of the year Tsubar is a huge pail blue disk slowly migrating across the day. But as he rises later and later he becomes increasingly more powerful. His blue hue fades to a bright white and soon he lights our nights. The torrid storm clouds that that whip through his atmosphere perform a dance familiar to me every evening. As is the cycle of life, soon the sun catches up with him and we know that its days are now numbered. Day by day the sun approaches. When our sun completely disappears behind the great planet our skies are darkened.
These are the nine days of Tsubar. They are the Andorian New Year. This period of time, this cycle between eclipses, is just over three standard years and for nine days during the eclipse Fesoan becomes cold and stormy. The average temperature plummets 40 degrees across the planet. Many Andorians and Aenar become depressed during this time but I think of it as a time of renewal and rebirth. Every Con Tsubar, which is what we call it and roughly translates to Tsubar’s Rule, I follow an ancient tradition of cleansing and spend the days at a beach in the warmth of the waters there. I prefer the Sea of Hoshi probably because it was where I grew up. As an adult, however, I have spend many Con Tsubars in the glamorous island cities of Deonis with my family. The islands are usually warmer during these days because they are surrounded by the ocean and the ocean has retained its warmth from the long summer suns.
By human standards, even the blistering heat of a summer on Andor is frigid and cold to that race. I am Aenar and we prefer the warmer more stable climes. My family, however, were not as affluent as I would have preferred and so I led a sheltered life in the City-caves of North Umbregal where we get heat from the internal warmth of the planet. We are by nature an extremely reclusive race and so life in caves is really not a far stretch for us. Also, many of us do not have vision; our eyes are much too sensitive to the wavelengths one assumes to be standard. It is not that we cannot see rather that we see too much. It is actually painful for us and over the many passed milleniums we have learned to block it out entirely for fear of insanity.
I, Kyron Dansit, am a rarity among my people and proud of it. Perhaps it is due to a strong will or just a freak of nature but I can control and maintain my visual perceptions much the same as the Andorian or other human life forms. It makes me some what of an outcast with my people but it isn’t as if I had asked to be this way. My immediate family understands however I am not welcome in extended family gatherings and have spent much of my learning years alone with my link-pad exploring other worlds, imaginary or not so imaginary. This was my only comfort, to learn of other cultures and races, to know that being different was not dangerous or even unpleasant. It is simply, different.
It was once thought that I was a product of interracial breeding. This has been practiced since I can remember although most Aenar find it repulsive. It has be found that the majority of offspring between the Aenar and Andor have a greenish flesh. Some have unique birth markings of Andorian blue or Aenarian white. Green, however, is usually their dominate skin tone. Mine is most definitely pearly white, even pink in places. There is not one hint of green or Andorian blue anywhere on my body. I’ve checked… Not out of vanity, but assurance of my sanity. I have looked at every inch of me be certain. My hair is reddish brown and my eyes are like ekrl gems, green within green which also differs from my bretheren. However, there is no trace of Andorian blood within me and the elders could find no trace of residual Andorian memories either. Of course, they could not (or would not) see that my flesh was as white as theirs. Alas, I was different and due to that fact I have been considered other-than-aenar.
And so as Con Tsubar approaches I find myself travelling again but this time it is for real. Two weeks ago I had contacted an offworlder named Susan Blake and she had some very interesting things to say. I am going to meet her in the Fesoan City of Poldar on the island of Deonis. I have been there before. It is probably the largest city on Andor and definitely one with frequent offworlder visitors. I believe that there is even a terran embassy somewhere although I have never had a need to seek it out.
Perhaps this is to be my destiny, a life in Star Fleet, aboard a great starship traveling the galaxy. I have read quite a bit about this organization and the United Federation of Planets. It is common knowledge as we had been a member for nearly two centuries, but I have done extended research as well. The Aenar in general, however, tend to shy away from direct contact with the offworlders. We gathered most of our information from the minds of the Andorian. It was an alien culture; they were all aliens with many customs that are just… er… different from our own. Many of our elders are agast by some of these behaviors and we preferred to remain recluse. Alas, I am different but I rarely speak my mind aloud or otherwise. I have had fantasies as a young woman though, dancing with dark strangers on distant worlds. I often dreamed about what it would be like to travel the heavens and visit other cultures first hand. I never imagined that it would really happen to me. We could hardly afford the k-prime education required much less the housing costs while I learned. Susan, however, knew of a short-cut, had offered a fast track that I could take. This is what had peaked my interest in our sub-space conversation.
The Federation had always been curious about our race and very few of us have ever remained outside of the collection for very long. Their fates were varied and most simply returned to Fesoan and retreated into the hive-culture. They did not even shared their experiences for fear of rejection. That part of their minds was slowly erased and buried, repopulated with traditional soup.
What Susan was offering was a chance to join Star Fleet as a civilian, travel with them and help them to understand and negotiate agreements with other cultures. Unlike the Betazed, our mental capacities could reach out beyond a local environment and across light-years of empty void. They are also different, so am have learned than the Betazed and other races akin to them. Without a frame of reference its difficult to describe our senses but I guess they are similar by comparison to vision that speaks. This is why Star Fleet has been interested in our race. Our telepathy can go beyond words and cultural barriers and visit the very essense of souls.
Well I guess I have to cut this log short because we are nearing the harbour were I will catch the next vessel traveling to Deonis. It is quite a long journey traveling alone. The last time I came I was with my brother. He provided a buffer between the realm of the Aenar collection and the vast populous in the Andorian metropolis. But I have been focusing my thoughts as he had taught me and I got to say that it’s not all that bad. I could get used to walking among the multitude of mental traffic and refraining from direct interaction. It was actually relaxing to be able to sit back and watch the show for a change.
Well, I hope this is a good enough introduction, Susan. I hope it was what you had requested. Honestly, I am not used to vocallizing my mood like this. It is just not something that we do, or have to do, wile within the Aenar collection. I know that you don’t completely understand, but suffice it to say, what you have proposed is very intriguing to me and I look forward to meeting you in person soon.
Sal finally had some time to catch his breath as well as catch up on his life. He was beyond tired and moving with pure adrenaline. The smell of fresh brewed coffee danced in the back of his mind. He wondered if Pher had any on hand; if she’d mind if he made some. He looked around the room that she had which was sparse in refinement. She was occupied with Nickles and he wasn’t about to go nosing around in her cabinets.
The last thing that he wanted to do was to pore over legal documents but it had to be done if the sale of Haxnar Industries was going to go smoothly. With his PADD linked through the hotel network, Sal plopped himself on the chair by the desk and put his feet up. He paused for a long moment and sighed as he tried to get his mind refocused. With a couple of quick taps he was staring the first of three documents that Harry had sent.
Sal didn’t trust lawyers but he trusted Bill. After 5 annuls he had proven his worth many times over. Sal knew that Bill was duly compensated but felt that there was also a closer bond. Being a native K’Normian which simply meant that he was born there but he lived and breathed the cultural subtleties. Sal had brought him in on Haxnar late in the game after the previous firm had caused them to lose a very lucrative account with Galdwen Supplements on Betazed. With Bill’s help, Sal was able to recover quickly and purchase the K’Mondu properties for 20% under market value. It was a sweet deal. Of course, Bill stood to gain a chunk of latinum for its sale as well.
After he finished reading the documents, Sal dictated a message to follow up his business with the sale. For Sal, in was concise and brief. He was not known for being either. But he was true to form with his bottom line requirements. Regardless of his current situation, Sal still felt a strong obligation to his family and to their welfare. They had always come first.
To: Bill Swanson
Via: SHJ-Rosetto Personal Network
I’ve read over the documents on the purchase by Douglas & Dawson that Harry sent. I concur with the sale of the main properties in Roseland and Southgate. Six million credits is a fair price and I’m certain that we can come to an equally fair agreement with Rosenbloom and Wiess. As long as they are retaining the controlling interest in the Roseland facility they will be satisfied. I am more concerned with the buyers’ credentials. I know that you have assured us they are clean but you know that I have never found trust in offworlders. Can you forward me more information on them?
As for the sale of the properties on K’Mondu to Danberry Industries I have a few objections. As you well know, there are five self-sustaining geothermic power cells on the Thiberian coast and three more at the secondary site in the Valkrit plains. The sites were fully funded by the UFP and remittance had been received two standard years ago. On the Federation Market their net worth is 3 million credits, alone. Further, each site house 15 families and term contracts were signed with these families. The sites have been fully manned, productive and operating black for close to six years now. The families have been guaranteed 35% split of the net and so I cannot agree to anything less than five for our controlling interest there.
Are these buyers going to maintain the pension accounts? We are legally bound to those funds and I don’t know what you have drawn up to release us from that obligation. Some of those families are friends of ours and personally, I want to do right by them.
Now this deal with the cash flow needs some work. I’m not running on fumes here, but currently there is no positive income either. Things have been a little dicey out here and until I have secured employment, I will have to have full access to the funds in the October account. If there are issues with this then please let me know as soon as you can. You have my signature on the release of the vineyards. Control has been transferred to Harry as we had agreed. She is provided for with their margin and the Blac Deice trust fund should cover Joia’s schooling and college expenses.
Next on Sal’s list was Joia’s letter. He looked up and the room was quiet. A quick glance around confirmed that all were busy with their own tasks at hand and after a couple more taps Joia’s letter was on the small display. He read quietly to himself and its content was much the same as the others that he had received. He did note one thing in her message.
It would seem that things were not as calm and settled as what Harry had presented. According to Joia, Harry had hired a new manager who was frequently welcomed to dinner. Sal could sense a bit of jealousy in her words and he really didn’t know how to respond. This was not some kind of business trip where he’d be back at home in a couple of weeks. It had been settled for five mons between Sal and Harry. They knew that this was going to be a permanent arrangement and had set Joia down to try to explain. It seemed to Sal now, that their little chat wasn’t as successful as they had hoped. He audibly sighed.
Although he had not given much thought of exploring new relationships he could not fault Harry for seeking companionship. In fact, he was a little pleased by the news. The divorce would not be finalized for several mons, as is required by K’Normian law, however it was also not considered unfaithful for one or both to seek outside companionship during this waiting period. Actually this method had saved more marriages than one might think. At any point during this six-mon wait if both parties agreed then the divorce process was reversed. It was dissimilar to other cultures only in that it was an absolute waiting period. There was also a legal requirement for periodic counseling. They had attended several sessions together prior to Sal’s departure and completed their obligated hours of face-to-face. They were both still required to submit a report every mon to their counselor but it was more formality at this point.
The one thing that they definitely agreed upon was that they did not want to subject Joia to the worlds of the cluster. It was that the daily details of these worlds were not widely known that made them seem untamed and unsafe. It was obvious to Sal from his brief conversations with locals that there were families out here however it was definitely not like the calm suburban life they had in Southgate. If Harry knew that he’d risked his life not once but twice in the same day she’d have a cow. Tranquility City, at least, was not a place for an adolescent child. Sal seriously doubted if any of the other worlds were more settled.
Her arms were wrapped around his waist and fear ripped through her mind but she couldn’t close her eyes. Her hair was whipping in all directions and she could feel the sun beating down on her scantily covered body. She didn’t care. Not even the adventure to Harrington Sky Bridge could match the adrenaline surging through her veins. Chen Hai Dozo was 8 annuls, very handsome, golden yellow skinned and broad shouldered. Joia could feel his heart pounding with hers as they sped through the busy park.
“You like this?”
“Kidding, right? This is fabulous! I’ve never gone this….Whoa!” Chen leaned into the jetcycle and they were both pulled violently but the bike safely avoided a small group of people having a picnic. Joia panicked and Chen felt her tense up. He chuckled and accelerated down an empty foot path.
“Chen, be careful!”
“NO! er, yeah, a little bit.”
“I know exactly what I’m doing, babe.”
Joia looked at him for a moment and seemed to be in agreement. She’s really impressed by how Chen had been handling the jetcycle. Sure, she was scared but no more than she’d been at amusement parks. Joia felt all twisted inside and squeezed her legs tighter as he banked the jetcycle hard to the left and they headed off into the farm lands of inner Southgate.
There were fields of wheat and barley as far as the eye could see in every direction and the hills rose and fell like motionless ocean waves as the two daring adolescents skimmed the crests of wheat. Several times they’d dipped low enough for the stalks to brush their grains against her bare legs but it was only for a moment and then Chen would pull back on his mechanized thunderbolt and it would rise up making the grasses out of their reach again.
After a while as the town disappeared beneath the rolling hills there appeared a small grove of trees. Chen pointed the bike in that general direction. The cycle was moving so fast that they were on top of the trees in a matter of decons and Chen brought the cycle to a stop right under a nice tree.
“Sweet”, commented Joia as she climbed off the bike. She was actually a little relieved to be back on the ground and her legs were quivering. She watched as Chen powered down the jetcycle and set its auto-stabilizer. He then opened up the saddle pack and pulled out some Gorken Ale. When he turned around he had a big smile on his face and Joia was a little surprised but also excited. Her father had given her sips of Romulan Ale before and although it was bitter, she liked the bubbles.
Gorken Ale was based on barley malt mixed with a hops brew. It was a unique flavor for ale giving it an extra tang on the palette and Joia seemed to like it very well. They both sat down against the tree and swigged their brews.
“Nothing like a nice cold brew after a hard run, ay little one?”
“I’m not so little anymore there, mister”, Joia replied with a smirk. “Besides, if my dad were here he’d tan your hide for this.”
Joia laughed and Chen, knowing her dad very well, paused in thought and then joined her in laughter.
“How’s your dad doing?”
“He’s been really busy, I guess. I write him every day but his work keeps him pretty occupied. I have no idea what he’s doing. He keeps telling me that it’s just boring star plotting but I know my dad. If he’s bored then he finds something interesting to do!”
“Do you think he’s…?”
“Nah, I don’t think he’s that interested in other women.”
“Joia, I think you’re kidding yourself. Wake up.”
Joia looked at him with a concerned frown but didn’t want to fight with him. They had been having too much. She looked over at the bike and widened her eyes.
“So how fast have you had that thing going?”
“7.5, but a buddy of mine had one up to 9.3. Of course that was on an open beach area and he was alone and…”
Joia felt a buzz from her pocket and she pulled out her PADD as he continued to explain why his friend could go faster. She didn’t want to interrupt him but this was an urgent call from her mother. It was a recorded message that would instantly contact her mother after Joia had listened to it.
“Chen… Please excuse me; I have to take this, okay?”
He nodded politely.
“Joia D’Cel Rosetto? I am tired of being ignored. We gave you that PADD for a reason and again you’ve shut off your locator function. Young lady, I am not pleased with your performance.”
The device immediately contacted Harriet and she knew who it was but simply answered, “Yes.”
“Mah…um… I’m not ignoring you. You gotta learn to trust me, okay? I’m not that little girl of 3 annul any more. Besides, I got your message and responded right away…”
“It’s not that I don’t trust you, Joia. It’s all those other offworlders who fly in and sweep you away with their unbridled charms! You never know WHAT those wackos are thinking.”
“Chen’s not a wacko. He’s a nice boy…”
“You’re with Chen right now? You are barely six and he’s eight going on twelve! I want you to…”
“Mom, He’s not like that… Geez…”
“Well, you know the rule. If your father was here, he’d be pretty upset. A message would have been nice to calm your mother though.”
“Yes Ma’am. I’m sorry. I forgot…”
“Well, I want you home by 15 dami; no excuses. That gives you 30 daki to say goodnight. Oh, by the way, just WHERE are you two? And it better be a public place.”
Joia cringed and didn’t know what to tell her. She looked at Chen who had been unintentionally listening and he was shrugging his shoulders. She’d get little help from him.
“We’re in the park. We have his jetcycle and will be home in 15 daki?” Joia looked for confirmation from Chen and he nodded.
“Jetcycle! Errrrggggg…. Girl, you frustrate me. You tell him to be careful and to keep it under 3.5 with you on the back! I’ll see you in 30.”
The two men sat opposite each other at a small table. The restaurant was quite busy and severs were in constant motion between their station, the kitchen and the floor. Both men clad business suits of the day, grey and grey-blue, and held menus in front of them. They weren’t reading them. It was all part of the façade on this ordinary late morning just passed light moon. Dishes were clanging and orders were called out as each man paused, looked up and around, at each other in silence and returned to their contemplations.
“He’ll believe anything that I tell him.”
“Are you sure?”
“Of course. I’ve worked with their family for years. He trusts my judgment. Besides, contract law was never his strong subject. That’s why I’m in his employ.”
Their eyes met and both smiled. K’Normians were shrewd businessmen, highly conservative and ever conscious of the bottom line. Aside from the Westen, there were no natives on K’Normia. The Terrans had been the dominating species for nearly 150 years. Native simply meant born on the planet. Their culture was primarily of Federation tradition, however, over the years they had developed their own unique customs and adapted some of the Westen ritual and pomp. Business meetings over a mid-morning meal were one such adaptation.
“But how are you going to convince him not to sell? The offer is highly reasonable and it is obvious that his interest in the business has waned.”
“Just leave that all up to me, Barclay. I know how to cast lures.”
A young server approached the table with a bubbly charm,
“Are you two gentlemen— Mr. Swanson! How are you today?”
He looked up from his menu and was staring into Joia’s bright blue eyes.
“Good Morning, Joia. When did you start working here?”
“Today’s actually my first day”, she claimed in an almost apologetic manner as she clutched her PADD close to her chest. “Mom thought I needed to get out of the house this year during first break. I am 6 annuls now, Mr. Swanson.”
There were three major breaks in the school year, one in late Koon that usually ended after the first week of Lapi, the second was post-Kie during mon of Sela and the third was the Neannul break which straddled Sune and Anna.
“Indeed you are, Joia.” He looked at her with a kind eye. Although he had no offspring he felt parental pride for a moment. “Please forgive my rudeness; this is Mr. Barclay, a business consultant. And this,” he paused with a quaint hand gesture, “is Mr. Rosetto’s daughter, Joia.”
They nodded to each other as Swanson quickly glanced at the menu again.
“I think I’ll just have coffee and a cheese Danish, Mr. Barclay?”
“The same, I should think. With lemon.”
Joia jotted down their order and walked away with a huge smile.
Sal wasn’t paying much attention. He was still concerned about Manning and his attitude. Trust was understandable however in Sal’s eyes he had now risked his own life twice in the same night and was still no closer to getting a job than he was 16 hours ago. Manning was hiding something. There was some other reason why he was intentionally being vague about signing Shane and him on. He also didn’t know who this Parson character was that had seemingly dropped out of the sky. Was he a member of the crew as well? Sal did not remember seeing him earlier at the Maze. He seemed willing enough to help, seemed to know Nickles as well as Pher. Sal could only assume that he was indeed a crew member.
There was a buzz in his pocket and Sal knew who it was. He had half expected it to occur at a less reasonable time. Reaching in with his free hand, he pulled out his PADD and looked. It was a message from Joia. Her button-nosed face had filled the display and it brought a smile to his face. It was accompanied by a frown because right now he really wanted Harry’s results. Two full days had passed on K’Normia since he had sent his message. As they see each other on a daily basis, Sal knew that she had had plenty of time to ask her father about Manning. He put in back in his pocket knowing what ever it was it would have to wait until they got settled somewhere.