Star Trek Hunter
Episode 13: The 15,000 Cities of Cun Ling
Scene 1: Homecoming
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13.1
Homecoming
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"It just gives me nightmares. It's like he's coming after me." There was no more romulan ale. But Dr. Tali Shae had managed to score some saurian brandy. Humans tended to go for the smooth brandy that had the texture of thin honey. But Tali Shae knew what the good stuff looked like - grainy with unprocessed cavallaro eggs.

Unlike most intoxicating drinks, saurian brandy had a strong restorative effect, speeding healing, reducing pain, providing mild euphoria and a simultaneous stimulant - like powerful coffee, scotch and morphine mixed into a brew so potent it made your teeth feel like they were on fire - but after a few sips you just wouldn't care all that much.

Justice Minerva Irons was seated in the lounge chair in her quarters. Tali was on the couch. The brandy was in a bottle on the table between them along with two tumblers. Irons took a drink of the brandy, shuddered. "Ugh. Tastes like pee smells after I've eaten asparagus… Sprinkled with tequila and licorice-flavored caviar with a hint of wasabi."

"Smells and tastes like sibob's breakfast to me. But my sibob never got up until the middle of the day," Tali responded.

"I love watching David fight," Irons said, answering Tali's initial thought. "The eyes of a scholar, the mind of a dreamer, the heart of a warrior, the soul of a poet - all wrapped up in the body of a titan. Sucks for whoever is stupid enough to challenge him. Whenever he is in my dreams, he's always a guardian."

"I guess it's because they were andorian. When he grabbed those two by their heads… They transmitted… I could feel their agony as their antennae were.. crunched… and that sound… ih.." Tali shuddered. Her shoulders hunched. Her antennae almost curled as well.

Irons grunted sympathetically. Took another pull of saurian brandy. Made a face. Shuddered. "Ugh… This stuff tastes yesterday's puke! But it feels so good… It's almost like getting a nice, warm massage from the inside…"

"How long has it been since you had a proper massage?" Tali asked.

"Last time I saw Enlai. He was so good with his hands."

"Your second husband? Didn't that marriage end more than 70 years ago?"

"Yes, but I saw him about - oh - about 35 years ago? Shortly before he died. I'm not sure I'm strong enough to withstand a massage now."

"It turns out we have a fully telepathic, Betazed-certified massage therapist on board," Tali said. "He can feel from the inside how much pressure to use…"

"Ah, our beautiful Eli. How many of the women on this boat has he dallied with?" Irons asked.

"Only the ones who want him to. Which would be most of them… Being a telepath is a serious advantage. And he has taken full advantage of it." Tali smiled.

"I couldn't ask him…" Irons started.

"I didn't have to. The moment I thought about it - not even him - just you needing massage therapy - he reached out to me and extended the offer. He is really sensitive."

Irons sighed. "Tempting. But I'll be home tomorrow. Surely there will be a therapist I can go to on Cun Ling."

"Don't lie to me, old woman," Tali said, wagging an antenna at Irons. "You may have been born on Cun Ling, but this is your home. Space. And a boat to drift through it in."

Minerva Irons smiled, lifted her glass in a silent salute, drained it, grimaced, shuddered again.

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"I'm not sure for how much longer, Tali. I'm not an old woman anymore. I used to be.. A couple of years ago…" Irons sighed again. "I'm a very old woman now."

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13.1