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[2007: MAR-APR] Transparent

David Cody

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Evening descended throughout the Promenade, a glory of colors among species venturing forth as couples, individuals, older men and women who wore years by a touch of gray, a wrinkle here and there, or the arcane wisdom of eyes.

Delia finished her drink at the bar, cradling the glass to find her muddy reflection. Pointed ears, and short, black hair many said was plastered to the scalp, and alone. But not many shared a drink with a Romulan. She sat on the stool and used the glass to watch bar patrons as wisps of ghosts fading in and out.

Trapped by the words of a lie…

A man joined her, a Terran man who looked death warmed over in a Starfleet uniform and ordered a drink. She gave him a casual glance, but within a heartbeat, she knew he pegged her. ‘And I thought we were sharp.’ She returned to her glass. “So you caught me.”

The man sitting next to her waited for his drink and lingered over a small taste, moistening his lips. Sharp, piercing blue eyes flickered at her. “Is that a line?”

A ghost of a smile grazed Delia’s lips as she motioned the bartender to fill her glass. “No. Admittance.”

The man looked like he mulled on that. “Interesting. Usually people aren’t that straightforward.”

“I’m Romulan,” Delia replied. “Aren’t you afraid of being singled out for drinking with a Romulan?”

“Nope.” And he drained the nearly full glass and set on the table, indicating a refill. The bartender swung by with bottles.

Delia measured the man, who tilted his head back momentarily closing his eyes, as if somehow there was a hidden pain within the maneuver. “Why?”

“You are blunt, aren’t you?” He swung the stool toward her, taking his refill for a sip. She joined him and toasted. “A very good friend of mine happens to be Romulan.”

…the life she lived a chorus of broken angels.

Delia nodded to the bar. The man tilted his head to survey the crowd. “They’re transparent. It’s on their faces, in their stance, how they walk, how they twitch those small rounded ears of theirs. They slow down, or miss an inch of step… that revulsion plastered like a mask. I can see it.”

The nameless man nodded and signaled the bartender for another round. Delia accepted the drink without word, simply staring until she could make out a distorted reflection of herself.

The man crooked a corner of his mouth and scooted his stool closer to her. He motioned her close. Delia paused to gage the reaction of the bar before hesitantly moving her ear to his.

“What to talk about it?”

She recoiled, as if slapped hard across the face and shivered on his direct focused eyes on her. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” she whispered.

“Yes, you do,” he replied, soothing. “The man who broke your heart.”

Delia felt the burn of her tears again as everything collapsed, trying desperately to choke off the sobs returning to her scarred throat. She bowed her head, not willing to let this nameless officer see her.

“Why…” she finally choked. “Why did he lie to me?”

The man slid a comforting hand on her shoulder, blinking off a tear of his own. “That, I’m afraid,” he whispered, “we’ll probably never know.’

She turned her tear-ruined eyes on him. “I hate him… I hate him so much,” came her stammered whisper.

He smiled. “You know what I hate?”

Delia shook her head.

His smile deepened. “I hate holodecks with a mind of their own and lying trapped in Sickbay unable to move. But most of all, I hate to see a drop dead gorgeous woman drinking alone.”

She nearly laughed, but choked it back with another drink getting her emotions under control. Why couldn’t she have been Vulcan! Wiping her tears, she gave the man a heartfelt smile. “Thank you, but I know I’m not that attractive.”

The man straightened in his stool and took his own drink. “Don’t sell yourself short. Attraction isn’t just physical, and you wouldn’t be wearing that Starfleet uniform if you believed what you just said.”

Delia finally noticed the two pips on his collar. How did she miss that? Swallowing, she brushed her nose. “Are you always this arrogant with strangers?”

He laughed. “Touché.” He offered a hand. “Name’s David Cody.”

Delia shook his. “Delia.”

Cody nodded and drained the rest of the glass. He looked ghastly and sick, as if somehow his skin had wrinkled, shrank, and had been transplanted back on. He smacked his lips. “I needed this.” Glancing back at her, “Just got out of Sickbay from swimming in space without a flight suit. How do I look?”

Delia choked her laugh. That’s what she missed the most, laughing with Derek. “Like an angel.”

Cody’s infamous crooked grin flashed. “Liar.”

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