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“How long has it been?”

“Twenty hours.”

“How long do we have left?”

“Another eight, if we’re lucky.”

Bochra leaned back in the chair and sighed. The little craft was falling apart more and more as the hours went on. First the electrical failed completely. The backup generators kicked in, but they both knew it wouldn’t last for long.

The air was getting thinner. The scrubbers were doing their job, at least, but they couldn’t add more oxygen to the air, and the two Romulans were fairly sure the onboard oxygen tanks were just about depleted.

“Did you ever think it would end this way?” Bochra asked.

“No,” Tomalak answered honestly. “Or at least, I never figured I’d be alive to see it.”

“Mm.”

Silence for another little while.

“You know...I’m almost a little glad this happened,” Tomalak mused.

Bochra gaped at him.

“At least it neatly takes care of the mess that was the Praetorship and the Senate. No doubt they’ll set something up on another world, eventually, but nothing...nothing could ever rival the complete and utter chaos that was those last few months.”

“You were involved with that,” Bochra offered warily. “Quite heavily, as I recall.”

Tomalak laughed without any real humour. “Yes. And then Tal’Aura died, and the new one, Kamemor...she knew I was a Broken. I don’t think Tal’Aura knew, but somehow, Kamemor did. And well...you know what that means.”

“I’m sorry.”

Silence.

“I almost killed her, you know,” Tomalak said after a few minutes. He didn’t know why he was saying this, other than it didn’t seem to matter anymore. In a few more hours they’d be dead.

“Who? Kamemor?”

“No. Tal’Aura. Just after Donatra died. I had her Honour Blade, and I was going to kill Tal’Aura...I wanted to read her thoughts as she died. Every ounce of fear and despair. Make her feel what Donatra had.”

“You would have been killed by the guards.”

“That was the point.”

“Oh. Then why didn’t you?”

He paused. “I don’t know. Something just made me stop, at the last moment.”

“Fate?”

“No.”

“The Elements?”

He scoffed. “Definitely not. Who believes in that garbage anymore anyway?”

“I do.”

“Oh.” He did not apologize.

“At least you knew who to be angry at,” Bochra said. “For years...I blamed myself for Patahk’s death. I was the pilot. I was the one that made the error and crashed, and nearly got us both killed. He trusted me. I was the pilot.

“Two together, leader and led. One like the needle, the other, the thread,” he said softly, repeating the childhood rhyme. “But the thread died, and the needle broke.”

“If you are to blame, then I share some of that blame,” Tomalak said. “If I had not let Picard stand in my way...I should have destroyed him when he informed me your bondmate had died.”

“It would have done no good,” Bochra said. “Just like it would have done no good if you had killed Tal’Aura. Doesn’t bring anyone back to life. Just perpetuates the killing and hate cycle.”

“When’d you get so smart?” This was nothing like the bloodthirsty young Centurion who had once served aboard the Decius, until his mate had died, at least.

Bochra shrugged. “You have a lot of time to think, when you’re a Broken. Not like there’s a lot else you can do.”
“No, I suppose not...”

Silence again.

“Anything on the scanners?” Bochra asked at last. It was unnecessary; they would know at once if anything showed up. But it was better than the awkward silence that had descended over the little craft. Talking about personal issues always did that. It was one of the reasons he made a point of never discussing personal issues.

“No.”

“Can’t you just use your telepathy or something?” Bochra asked, frustrated.

Tomalak just gave him a look, wordless asking him if he was, in fact, that stupid.

Before Bochra could answer and at least try to defend himself, the sensor monitor went off with a shrill alarm.

“Something incoming,” Tomalak said. “Something big.”

“Something friendly?” Bochra said hopefully.

Tomalak swore as he saw just what was approaching. “Friendly?” he laughed without any humour. “No. Not at all.”


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