Nazeh burst into Goren's office, grinning from ear to ear. "One-thirty on my DLPT. One-thirty!" she gushed as she dropped to a seat on his desk. "And I didn't cheat or anything!"
Goren stood to crush her in a hug. "I had every confidence. Congratulations. What happens now?"
"Well, for most languages, that exam score's all I'd need to apply to any interpreter job I could possibly want." She pulled a face. "There's not a lot of demand for Romulan in Starfleet, though. Not outside of SI- ugh. Cryptolinguistics is last thing I'd want to do." She shrugged, continuing in an airy tone. "I don't know. Demand for... friendlier stuff will have to pick up in the future. Oh! Something I wanted to ask you, baba-jahn," she changed subjects while scrolling through Alef's interface, obviously galvanized by both success and whatever stimulant she might have used while studying. "I mean, I keep calling you that. I got to thinking lately, maybe we ought to make it official?"
Goren frowned slightly. "How much more official could it be?"
"Legal adoption," Nazeh explained. "People tend to think of kids when adoption comes up, but really, it's possible to adopt whomever. All you'd need to do is sign a few forms, and we could get the ball rolling. Mayat's family knows some crazy-good lawyers. Once everything's said and done, you'd be a Federation citizen and a member of House Fenn- which means, once this mission is over, no one would dare fuck with you."
Goren sighed silently. "I'm deeply honored, my child, but I think it's for the best if you abandon that line of thought. I don't see how this wouldn't lead to problems for you or your extended family. Not to mention my blood family on Romulus?"
Nazeh's expression fell. The doctor lifted her chin up with a smile. "We've been through this. Whatever happens to me, I've earned it. I'd rather enjoy what time we have, and not spend it mired in legal proceedings that may or may not hold up against the combined wroth of Federation and Romulan paper-pushers. Come now, we should celebrate your new certification. How best might we do that?"
"Well, you did promise Korduc and me an adventure," Nazeh said.
"Ah! So I did. Are we off the clock? Close enough- wonderful. Go on and clear the holodeck for us while I abduct Mr. Korduc."
Nazeh caught up with Feraan, who had been keeping to herself of late, but she greeted Nazeh with a nod and a smile.
"I've had a lot of time on my hands- and I'm hoping the upper crust forgot all about it," Nazeh said under her breath as they walked the corridors. "Anyway, I've been doing a lot of thinking, and I realized I'm pretty much a one-trick pony. All it takes is for a network to go down, or to visit people on a different technology curve-" she pointed downward, as though gesturing to the planet they were orbiting- "and I'm useless. So I've been thinking of ways to diversify. Not by trying to study up on science, though. Evah. I've tried that a million times, and I'm just too dense for it to take. I figured I should stick with what I know I'm good at, like languages. I just got myself certified in Romulan, for instance. I can't do anything with it right now that wouldn't land me in Spookville, but I have it, and if or when relations with the Empire improve, I'd totally want to bank on it.
"Right now, I'm also pretty useless when there isn't a sufficiently advanced civ around," Nazeh continued. "You're not. If you had to, you could make do totally unplugged, couldn't you? That's awesome. I was wondering- I mean, you don't have to, but if you want- could I maybe learn some stuff from you? Nothing combat-oriented, I'm a wuss and I know it," she said with a self-deprecating laugh, "but, maybe stuff like sewing, building a fire, cooking? I could teach you something back if you want, but, the whole point of this is that I don't know anything useful."
"You have courage and ingenuity," Feraan said. "Those can't be taught, and they're the basis for most worthwhile things. Besides, your computer knowledge is nothing to downplay." She shrugged a shoulder. "I accept, and I wouldn't mind trying to learn a little from you in return. Nothing too involved. If you can help me to understand the gist of even one of the captain's rambling streams of consciousness, I'd be grateful."
"Hey!" Nazeh pinged Korduc via communicator. "Our bio-neural sandbox is all set up. I'm about to flip the switch and see what happens. Don't hold your breath or anything, but I thought you'd want to know."
During his off-hours, Dr. Webb received an unusual communicator page- Feraan. "Sir?"
"This planet is the polar opposite of relaxation- or fun," she said matter-of-factly. "I hate to resort to the holodeck, but I don't have much choice. Care to join?"
He tried to ignore how high his heart leaped. "What'd you have in mind?"
"Something more like that jungle we explored on Kleptes. We should be able to simulate it directly. Game?"
"Dunno. How many bones you plan on fracturing this time?" Webb asked.
"As many as I can," she replied. Over the communicator, it was impossible to tell whether she was joking or not.