McCoy approached Scotty after the memorial service. Larken,Watslow, Koren, and several others were huddled in groups around the table with the three holophotographs on the table. Larken appeared guilty as hell looking upon the photo. Watslow wore a sad expression on his face. Green had his arms locked with Evans keeping him steadying him. Tacrak and Perik wore equally as sad expressions on their faces.
"Scotty," McCoy said. "We need a favor."
"Non-synthol?" Scotty asked, with a raised eyebrow.
"No," McCoy said. "Your contacts. The ones who . . ." Nurse Young went past them toward Uhura and he fell silent. As soon as Young passed them, "Maybe yes, it has to do with your contacts who give you those bottles."
Scotty appeared to be curious but most of all concerned.
"What kind of emergency is it?" Scotty asked.
"Vulcan family emergency," McCoy said. "It is the kind where half of you can die kind."
"When do ye need it?" Scotty asked.
"After dinner."McCoy said. "Typical arrangements wouldn't let us get there on time. We need to get to the Enterprise E."
Scotty nodded with a small smile.
"I know which of my contacts will be out there tonight," Scotty said. "Ye are just in luck."
"You are a good friend, Scotty." McCoy said, patting the shoulder of the scottsman.
McCoy joined a small group of familiar younger but still old gentlemen. The older men were blowing their nose into kleanexes. Sulu came over toward Green appearing to be concerned. Evan's face was turning green. Pavel came over to Nurse Bell and motioned over toward Evans. Nurse Bell had a alarmed expression. Scotty did have to look for that item his contact gave him long ago. He hadn't contacted this person in a decade maybe more? Scotty barely talked to the young lad and his most well known contact who gave him non-sythenol was a Romulan by the name S'chess. It had been S'chess who had made the suggestion to the lonely Scottsman. S'chess had been genetically altered and was seeking a cure for an ailment he had. S'chess had deduced that by planting himself on the Enterprise D would lead to finding the cure earlier which came out true in the end. S'chess had been a engineer, an ensign, walking down the hallway when he first encountered the older man with sad eyes. Everyone who Scotty knew had died years ago. S'chess took pity upon the scottsman, you see, they had accidentally bumped into each other in the hallway on the Enterprise D.
"Sorry." Scotty apologized.
S'chess kneeled down picking up his padds.
"No," S'chess said. "I should be the one apologizing--" He looked up to see the one who had established Transwarp drive. The one who defied logic and physics. Came back with a assortment of unusual beings and a small family of what could be apparently defined as Vulcan species relatives that had leopard spots all over. They were Vulcans but their skin and society was much different from what they had learned. "Mr Scott?"
"Aye." Scotty said, helping the young man pick up the pads. He raised an eyebrow. "Ah, so more Vulcan's are in Star Fleet?"
Scotty sounded rather delighted by his own acknowledgement.
If asked, time was relatively different. To everyone under different conditions. If you asked someone within ten years of how long it has been since they been here they would reply, "Fifteen" or "Eleven." At the time, Aura, a well known planet, was found to have a unusual affect on the perception of time for humans in general. Aura made time feel like it were passing faster than it should be. It is a lot like living in a cave for a month then believing a year has passed. Scotty learned that part when in hiding from a unusual race of aliens with the Vulcan leopards.
"Affirmative," S'chess got up. "You. . you . . oh Surak."
"What?" Scotty said, confused.
"You are Mister Scott." S'chess said, as though it had a bigger meaning behind it.
"The one and only." Scotty said.
"I have read of your adventures growing up in a period of unrest and paranoia with uncertainty of there ever being contentment and peace," S'chess said. S'chess blinked, realizing what he was letting out. "The tales of your heroics on the starship Tripp Tucker are legendary. I studied the makeshift engine you created with your allies when I was a young Romul--" He stopped himself abruptly. "Vulcan."
"Ah,Romulan defector?" Scotty said. "Ye dae nae have tae lie about ye heritage tae me." S'chess tilted head, raising his eyebrow, surprised. "Or tae Star Fleet, shouldn't we all be acceptin' of each other by now?"
"You come from a time where defectors are not as easily accepted." S'chess said. "Theoretically, which I am not."
He noticed the scottsman was holding a bottle of non-synthehol, green in nature, but very capable of giving a old fashioned kick to the average human. It was intriguing how humans adored Romulan Ale. Prune Juice, S'chess once had seen, was a favorite of the Lieutenant Commander in Ten Forward. It was a special kind of non-synthehol. He recognized it as something Gunian would give to the senior staff when they paid a visit to the bar. Scotty had a frown appearing on his face then it turned into sheer realization.
"Yer afraid, are ye nae?" Scotty asked.
"I do not follow." S'chess pretended not to understand as Scotty handed him the padds.
"It's okay tae be afraid," Scotty said, kindly. He handed S'chess the last pad. "But it could ruin yer career if ye keep it back. Star Fleet likes honesty." Scotty paused, looking back, his eyes looking off into the distance. He looked back at the Romulan half in a unsure expression and doubt. "At least it did back in my day." The two stood up on their two feet. "I hope that has nae changed."
"So the rumor is true?" S'chess asked. "You were stuck in the transporter?"
"Of course, lad," Scotty said. "But not my companion. . . His pattern didn't make it."
"I grieve with thee." S'chess said.
Scotty sadly smiled.
"It is quite all right," Scotty said. "We barely knew each other." The smile faded. "Say. . . Do you know a place where someone like me go?"
"I am not the one to say," S'chess said. "It should be your choice and your decision alone."
"Most places I know are years away," Scotty said. "It would take tae long tae get there."
"Warp speed has increased since your time." S'chess reminded Scotty. "And it is stable."
"I know this standard warp speed cuts down weeks tae days but it would still take years tae get there," Scotty said. "After all, I and a few Vulcans worked on the makeshift engine that nearly went through the threshold of warp thirty tae warp forty." S'chess's eyes widened,baffled, startled, at the claim. S'chess never heard of that story. "It was changin' reality around us so we had tae reduce it tae warp six. It was a difficult decision for all of us and it set us back by two months. Warp Six was the safest, but fastest speed we could go without puttin' our lives on the line."
"Fascinating." S'chess said. "That was not mentioned in the survivor accounts."
Scotty appeared to be surprised.
"Really?" Scotty asked. "They never mentioned it?"
"No, sir." S'chess said. "But it made sense of the missing star dates."
"It happened over seventy-two hours." Scotty said.
"That is the exact hours in the stardates that are missing from the stories." S'chess said. "Are you heading to your quarters?"
"Aye," Scotty said. "Been told there is a transport headin' my way . . . I can't believe I have jumped that fast, in terms of rank, lad," Scottty shook his head. "I never expected to jump to Admiral upon gettin' home. I used to be a youn' bright eyed Lieutenant Commander . . ." Scotty grew solemn. "I never thought I live to see the day I can nae tell the speed of the starship by its plating. I never expected to see myself as admiral. It's like a title. And nothin' to do with it."
Scotty went past S'chess.
S'chess looked over his shoulder watching the older man walk away.
One day, he would feel exactly the same way. Outdated, and like a relic of a time long gone. But the feeling was worse for Scotty. In hundred thirty years this could be what S'chess might be like. But a little more on the edge of delusions and paranoria otherwise, able to operate on his own. Paranoria was what kept the Romulan Empire operating and a float. It is what primarily made them make Romulan certified colonies in the case of planet catastophy. It had been only established last year. By the time S'chess is a relic of a time long gone Scotty is likely to have passed before him. It was what some Romulans envied about Humans. Short life spans, they didn't have to see what would become of their civilizations. A thought entered the Romulan's head.
Deanna Troi and Beverly went past S'chess deep in conversation. S'chess had heard of the planet Aura. A planet that had established Federation oppossition and Federation retired officers relaxing in a retirement home. Fearlessly allowing its enemies to stay without worrying about what they could do at their age. The stories S'chess and some Romulans friends heard about the destination had provoked jealousy. Stories of the place had reached Romulan ears because at one point a Romulan smuggled herself into the building as a Vulcan Nurse and observed what really went down inside. Nothing really sneaky happened there. Except for that old man sitting at the doors to the patio at the back end of the lobby. Some of the old people there reading a pad. And everyone was happy there, perfectly at harmony. The Romulan sighed briefly closing his eyes turning his head away.
S'chess will regret this, one day.
"Hey, Ensign S'chess," Came Ensign Richardson. "Are you going to attend to Blair's party?"
S'chess opened his eyes.
"Affirmative," S'chess turned toward the man. "But first I must take care of a task."
Richardson grinned, slapping the man's shoulder.
"See you there in thirty-three minutes, buddy!" Richardson said, heading past the man.
S'chess flinched, still unused to the feeling of a human slapping his shoulder then casually walking away. Romulans never did that to each other. It was intriguing how humans and other species aboard the Enterprise tended to do that, except for Mister Data. He did no such thing except when he was experimenting with his sub routine programs. He would normally be found in Ten Forward, Holodeck, Engineering, his quarters, the bridge, and anywhere Geordi La Forge was then Data could be found. The starship was the magnet for weird happenings. It was episodic like, really, and everyone below senior level made a betting pool regarding who caused what when S'chess came aboard.
S'chess coughed into his hand where a spat of green blood landed on his palm. It was what he shared with his ancestral relatives, the Vulcans, asides to the eyebrows and the pointy ears, Minus the paranoia. Minus the super strength. The heart was still located where the liver should be. S'chess closed his right hand holding the pads in the other hand then headed the direction he was going, although, he was going to change his course and make the suggestion to the man. Scotty, for all he knew, would be sitting back in a chair going through the files his former crewmates made during his absence. Including the family portrait they had taken after arriving into Federation Space.