SIM:T'Lea - Zadok's Death

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JP Tash Zubowskivich (mind controlled by Armeni) & Zadok (simmed by T'Lea) – The Death of Zadok

((Omarum II – Excavation Site))

Omarum II was a wasteland planet in a solar system void of life. Zadok, T’Lea’s Uncle, had spent the past year and a half on the surface of the planet, excavating and studying the extinction of an ancient civilization calling themselves, the Omarum.

Dry, dusty, and subject to frequent sand storms, the living conditions on Omarum II were extremely harsh. The distant sun gave little light and little warmth -- about two hours of both during high noon, to be exact. Lack of food and water meant that provisions had to be brought in from across the galaxy on a regular basis, and more than once everybody working on the project had been forced to ration their supplies when unexpected delays in delivery had occurred.

This was one of those times for both food shortage and sand storms.

Weathering the storm in his tent, Zadok pondered the ancient civilization that had once populated this barren world. Their numbers were small, thirty thousand, or less, he’d estimated by the ceremonial burial site they’d uncovered early on. The Omarum were a highly superstitious and religious people, worshipping and sacrificing to one god, Oma, who was an unpredictable and angry fire god that demanded ritual sacrifices to appease his wrath – at least, that is what the petroglyphs in a stash of stone tablets they’d recently discovered described.

Zadok was studying one of those stone slabs now.

Zadok: Interesting.

Oma, himself, was depicted as the only Volcano on the planet’s surface, and its eruptions were frequent and violent during the height of the Omarum civilization. Sacrifices had grown from once a year, to daily in an attempt to calm their violent god. The “favored ones”, as the victims were called, were celebrated, adorned from head to toe in body paint, given an orgy, and then sent into an old lava tube where, awaiting death, they would beg and pray for mercy on behalf of the people.

According to the tablets, if Oma found the sacrifice favorable his anger would silence for a time. If not, well, that’s usually when an eruption would occur and claim more than one life.

Zadok: Hmm… very curious.

With a soft bristled brush he dusted off the ashen remains that were embedded in the stone. The symbol he uncover had him inhaling with astonishment, and lifting the fragile plate up toward a lantern for closer examination.

Zadok: This cannot be.  ::beat:: Iconian.

Behind him the tent flap whipped loose, and a gust of wind and sand poured in. Clasping the valuable tablet in his hand, he clutched it to his chest, and turned toward the open flap, lifting an arm to cover his eyes. He could hardly see the figure stood there in the doorway. His long cloak protected him from the deluge, but also concealed his identity for the moment.

Zadok: Enter and seal the shelter, quickly.

The figure turned to do just that, sealing out the harsh environment from the studious scientist, then turned back to confirm his identity.

Tash: Zadok?

Lowering his arm from his eyes, Zadok dusted himself off, and checked the tablet he still held close to his chest – it was fine. Eyes moving from his precious artifact, Zadok’s sturdy, slender, old Vulcan frame adjusted to see his hire enter.

No, *not* his hire.

Zadok: Who are you? You do not work for me.

Tash: I am here on assignment, sir. Lt. Cmdr. Tash Zubowskivich, Chief of Security, USS Constitution.

Stated officially and with purpose, Tash stepped forward toward Zadok, coming to a stop a polite number of feet away. His hands came up to pull back the hood, revealing his Terran face and bright green eyes.

For a moment Zadok stared at the man, pondering his words, and those intriguing eyes with careful consideration. Just before the silence became awkward, or revealed too much of what the old Vulcan may have been thinking, he lifted a weathered eyebrow, and spoke plainly.

Zadok: Ah, yes, the Constitution I know. You, I do not.  ::beat:: Forgive me, you have caught me unprepared for your arrival. Sub-space communications are unreliable this far out, you understand. Transmissions are either indiscernible, late, or do not arrive at all.

Trusting the Terran with his back, Zadok turned and sat himself at his table of well organized, and neatly labeled artifacts, busying himself as usual.

Zadok: Enlighten me, Lieutenant Commander, what business would Starfleet Security have in this uninhabited sector of space? Perhaps you have come to resupply us?

Tash: I serve with your niece, sir. Starfleet intends to see you protected. We've good information that leads to your assassination. Someone with a grudge against T'Lea thinks it a rather good plan to take out what little family she has.

Uninterested in the dangers presented to him, the old Vulcan gave a single, solitary nod that he had, indeed, heard every word offered to him, and then he continued to methodically clean the petroglyphs on his priceless stone tablet.

Eyes straining for detail through a magnifying glass, Zadok dusted, and delicately picked at all the cracks and crevasses, finding a strange kind of peace as he went along.

Zadok: And you are here to see to that?

Tash: I'm under orders to relocate you, for your own safety.

Zadok: Yes. Security. Would it go against your orders to give me more time, before you relocate me?  ::he blew the dust off the stone, and looked up at Tash:: At least enough to properly clean this piece. I do not like to leave projects unfinished, and this one is a most significant find.

Tash: Continue as you see fit, sir.  ::he motioned with an arm to the busy table::

Ignoring the movement from his guest, Zadok dropped his head back to the magnifying glass, and continued to tend to his work with the same meticulous hands he always had.

Zadok: Tell me, Lieutenant Commander, will you be providing security for my niece, as well?

Tash: She has the entire Constitution's security at her call. You shouldn't worry about her.

Pushing the magnifying glass aside before it revealed the faint quiver in his hand; Zadok reached for a soft bristled brush, and carefully swept the remaining flecks of debris from the tablet. Satisfied that he had done his job properly, he positioned a desk lamp over the artifact, for better lighting, and gave it one final look under the magnifying glass.

Zadok: Try not to damage it, will you?

Tash: Oh, I won't, sir. I wouldn't dream of harming such an ancient artifact.

There was a near imperceptible pause as Tash slipped his hand into his cloak, grasping the handle to the weapon easily hidden by his flowing cloak.

It was brutally quick that Tash closed the distance between him and Zadok, sitting in his chair. The long knife was shunted forward directly through Zadok's back and through the front of his chest. Tash's body came near from behind with the force of the thrust, and as the act registered within the old man... his hands shaking in his aged reaction... Tash set a delicate hand on his shoulder to hold him steady in his seat.

His calm green eyes caught Zadok's glance from the side. Before those dying eyes he reached ahead toward the desk, lifting the artifact into his view, then holding it to the Vulcan's chest like a beloved item. He leaned down to smile at and speak to the dying man one last time.

Tash: Now, your niece... she might be another matter entirely.

Standing straight again, waiting on Zadok's final gasping breath to escape the shuddering body, Tash left him propped up in his chair and glanced down at the artifact in his hand. It was smeared now with Zadok's blood... fresh, warm and green, sliding down his fingers. A twang of something deep in his mind told him he knew what the artifact *looked* like, but the programming in his mind glazed over it as unnecessary and irrelevant.

Tash:  ::to himself, out loud in the tent:: How boring... wouldn't even play along.

He ripped a piece of Zadok's sand-protective cloak from the dead man's body, wrapped the artifact with the rent fabric, and set it into a pocket hidden among his cloak. He made a quick sweep of the tent for anything valuable that Armeni might find useful or particularly nice to have, collected a few small items from the dig and Zadok's few possessions. Returning to Zadok's body, the long knife was almost noiselessly extracted and wiped on the man's ripped clothing. Assignment completed, Tash exited the tent.

He left the flap open wide, wind and sand scattering carelessly throughout the silent tent.