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Bedtime Stories

Posted on Mon Aug 20th, 2012 @ 4:23am by Civilian Haqtaj Matlh & Lieutenant Commander Soraya Delrisa & Petty Officer 1st Class Vartog

Mission: Purgatory's Shadow. Season 2 Episode 7
Location: Sickbay and Haqtaj's quarters

Vartog took in the scene before him, just outside Sickbay, in an instant. “The Cat in the Hat?” he asked.

Haqtaj glanced down at the topmost of the two books she was carrying. They were the old style, made from fibrous plant pulp, dyed in ink, and bound with glue. She straightened as much as she could while still holding Anna's hand.

"I am doing research into Earth customs and tactics. Did you know they have encountered and fought species that we have never heard of."

She switched to Klingon so as not to disturb the young girl. One of the things Soroya had been adamant about when Haqtaj had first begun to mind Anna was that there were to be no war stories.

"Tweetle ghewpu' SuveghDI' may'e' Daq mo' lo' paddles 'ej mo'e' Daq poodle 'ej poodle Sop noodles, lupong DuD puddle Tweetle poodle ghew noodle mo' paddle may'!" [When tweetle beetles fight these battles in a bottle with their paddles and the bottle's on a poodle and the poodle is eating noodles, they call this a muddle puddle Tweetle poodle beetle noodle bottle paddle battle]

“I think it loses something in the translation,” Vartog commented dryly. “I think you will find that that is what they call ‘fiction’. The battle never really occurred. The point is the sound and rhythm of the sentence.”

Haqtaj looked disappointed, "Oh... I had suspected it was some sort of code for combat. I was looking forward to trying to break it. How is it that you have heard of it?"

“My family is not what you’d call the usual Klingon. We specialise in holotechnology. We had a lucrative sideline in children’s programs from Earth. Doctor Seuss is the person you were trying to recollect, Madame. Then there was Roald Dahl. I liked him; he wasn’t all sweetness and light like so many of their children’s authors. He always had a nasty twist in the tail of his stories.”

Haqtaj couldn't help it. Her love for books took over, "Dahl? Wasn't he the one who wrote about chopping heads off to find a princess? Or was he the one who drew melting clocks?"

Vartog, however, was not distracted by her ploy.

“Madame Ambassadress, you are officially confined to Sickbay until you have recovered. I thought, however, that you would not take kindly to such constraints. Therefore, I undertake to assist you to return to your own quarters under my cognisance.”

He looked down at the human child. “Anna, I will need your assistance.”

The little girl bounced up and down, holding her free hand up to Officer Vartog.

"I can help!" she said excitedly.

Haqtaj looked shocked, "How did you know..."

She stopped herself. Vartog had an ability to gather data that rivalled some Cardassians. "I was very specific about wanting any medical stay treated with strictest of confidence. If I find this has been leaked publicly there will be a physician needing to heal himself within the hour. How many people know?"

“Madame, to the best of my knowledge, no-one knows.” In fact, Vartog had not known. What he did know was the way Madame operated and the likelihood that she would be injured right now. He also knew she would not want any injuries made public. “Madame, I do not propose to physically assist you to return to your quarters. To all intents and purposes I am here in my capacity as your aide. However, in the unlikely event that the necessity arise, I am here for you.”

Haqtaj glanced down at Anna and joked, "Never try and play hide and seek with this one. Very well, since I am out numbered and out manoeuvred, Admiral Haqtaj yields and agrees to the terms of your surrender demand. Lead on, Captors."

Vartog did not offer Haqtaj any support in walking; nor did she ask for it. She was a proud woman and would have been deeply offended if he had even hinted that she might struggle. However, they did walk slowly back to her quarters, pausing occasionally as if to look out a window, or examine some object or other. Anna was particularly good at sensing when Haqtaj was tiring and finding some excuse for a rest.

At length however they arrived at Haqtaj's private quarters. Haqtaj paused at the door and shook her head at Vartog, "Hurry up and pair up with that women you talk about so you will leave me alone."

Vartog gave no sign one way or the other of how his private life was progressing. "I think the one who painted melting clocks was Salvador Dali," was all he offered by way of farewell.

"Will you read stories with us?" Annabella asked. The stern-faced Klingon had played with her before, behind the closed doors of the Embassy. He had once found the girl asleep in his quarters with the family's dog.

“I will go one better. If I may be allowed to return to my quarters, I will fetch my portable holo generator. I will play for you a holoprogram which I myself made.

The girl answered with a huge grin, and she briefly let go the Ambassador's hand to hug Vartog's leg.

“With your permission, Mademoiselle; Madame?"

"Auntie?" Annabella said softly, letting go of Vartog to take Haqtaj's hand again. She felt the woman's weariness, after all she had been conscious for less than an hour.

Haqtaj's mouth was a firm line, "I do not believe a Holo-program would be 'better' than the original book. A book can give you something your novel never can."

She put her hand out to steady herself as a wave of nausea washed over her mid-tirade, "However, in this case, perhaps a trip to the holodeck might be in order while I wait for you here. I will get the replicator to make more of that cold white and brown stuff you like so much for when you return."


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