Avenger: Chapter 5

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CHAPTER FIVE

"Our people are divided into thirty major clans. Each is headed by a Speaker, a member of the nobility, tested and trained extensively and chosen by the Elders. This position is between that of a king and a president and is for life. The second power in a clan is the Scholar, responsible for recording all knowledge, preserving records and traditions, and overseeing the education of our people. This position is hereditary, passed from parent to the most fit offspring." Marakil paused, allowing a smile to crack the Vulcan-like mask she assumed when lecturing. "My father is Speaker and my mother, Scholar, for our clan, which makes our family doubly powerful. We are preeminent among the clans because we are descended from K'thonlack. This should make it easier to persuade the others to consider joining the Federation."

She sat back in her chair and took a deep breath, as anyone would after lecturing four hours straight on an overview of Canrisian history and culture. Marakil had a talent for clarity and finding parallels in Federation society to illu­strate what she taught, and there were few questions. Kirk hoped this perceptiveness and clear thinking she displayed was native to all the people of Canris. It would make the job that much easier.

"I think that's enough for today. If you have any questions, take them to Mr. Spock, or Sojar, before going to Marakil. If that is all right with you," Kirk added, turning to her.

"Thank you." She nodded and held out her cast to Dr. McCoy. "Doctor, I believe you have claim to my attentions next."

"I'm surprised you didn't wake me early, so I would remove it for the meeting." McCoy's grumbling fooled no one.

"I'm impatient, but not insensitive," she shot back, laughing. Most of the group had left by now, as she got to her feet.

Sojar and Spock stayed seated, studying a diagram of the diplomatic compound. Though his words did not cease, something in Sojar's manner alerted Spock and he looked up. Sojar watched McCoy and Marakil walk out, arm in arm, laughing. Only another Vulcan would have noticed the miniscule tightening of muscles in Sojar's jaw and hands. Spock filed this data away for later and turned his attention back to Sojar's words.

*****

"How's that" McCoy watched Marakil flex muscles in her freed arm and wiggle fingers that had barely moved for too long.

"Wonderful!" She tightened her fist until her knuckles whitened.

"Remember your promise, young lady."

"In two days, the ballad of H'nat the Healer, specially translated from Canrisian just for you, accompanied by lytherrette."

"That's not what I meant, though I would like to finally hear you play that contraption. I mean your other promise, to take it easy with that arm. Let it get a little more solid before you put it through stress, hear me?"

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