Out of Retirement

Ruwon sat forward in his chair, flipping through the intelligence report. Across from him, sitting in the primary seat of the desk, was a Romulan dressed in formal military attire and covered with dozens of medals.

They were in the primary stateroom of the mansion near the top. The new urban sprawl and city lights could be seen in the distance, but the major cities had yet to expand around the grounds of the executive mansion. The room itself was quite dark, the only source of light coming from the balcony and from between the blinds.

He took his time reading through it, only stopping once he reached the appendix. He flipped the report to the front, turning his gaze to the Romulan on the other side of the desk.

“So? What do you think?” she asked. She had been exceptionally patient with him. For someone of her position and duties, she had watched him read through the file in pure silence.

He inhaled deeply. He had been enjoying his time at his villa, away from Romulan politics - away from the last few years. He was somewhat unique in his position, as none of his close associates were around anymore. There was something to be said about an old man in a profession where people die young. Oh, how he would love to just sip wine in his villa and consign his worries to watching his weight and moving around enough. He frowned, placing the report down onto the desk and looking up to her.

“I’m retired, Avilh.” he replied in the same weary tone.

Short, sweet, and straight to the point. Perhaps others would prefer to be more formal and simply refer to her as Praetor-Galae’Enriov, but she will always just be Avilh to him. He didn’t much care for titles anymore either.

“I know.” she nodded. “But-”

He interrupted her. He knew what she was going to say.

“But you need someone whom you can trust.”

Avilh stiffened slightly, nodding her head.

“It’s important.”

Ruwon could see the signs, as much as he would prefer not to. The sharp display of attentiveness, the heavy reliance upon the desk, and how she would occasionally relax to in an effort to satiate the weariness. She had become very different. That spark of energy and ambition was gone and she looked as though she hadn’t slept in ten years. Gone were the days of the sublieutenant with aspirations whom he thought he could mentor.

“I’ll do it.” he replied, easing himself into a comfortable position. “It’s a position I’m used to filling anyway. Just…”

He leaned forward, groaning in pain. Age was far less than a graceful transition.

“Whatever game you are playing, be careful. Even if you do come out on top, who the ruler of Cyrat is will be an open question if you drop dead from stress or exhaustion.”

The vast majority of his career had either been outside the Star Empire or in the periphery. Rarely did he get to see his home. So much has changed in Cyrat since he had first gone off to serve the empire. There was more people, more politics, and entirely new cities. Yet, it was his home. If he intended to retire to his villa to drink his favorite bottle of Kali-Fal - the one he had stashed behind a secret compartment inside his wine cellar - then it would be best if the planet was still here for him to enjoy that.

Still, there was something to be said about being reactivated. When was the last person in his position to retire? And then be asked to return, by an entirely new government nonetheless? The trust Avilh placed in him was unique and he wasn’t about to discard it.

“When do I leave?” he asked, tapping a finger against the cover of the report.

His interlocutor looked down at it, then back at him.

“I have a shuttle ready for you now.”

He nodded to this. It was expedient. All he needed to do now was stop by the villa and-

“Ah, and as a parting gift-”

Ruwon raised his eyebrow at this as he saw her reach into a desk drawer.

“Here you are.” she offered him a bottle of Kali-Fal. He recognized it immediately - it was the one he had hidden in his…

That sneaky little… He didn’t tell anyone where he hid his best vintage. It was a rarity for him to be caught surprised but perhaps not too unexpected, given whom he was dealing with.

“I-” he clutched the vintage in his hands, raising his brow higher. “-suppose I can stay for a few more hours. Provided you have glasses.”

Avilh reached back into the desk drawer, producing exactly that. “To be completely honest with you, that was the plan.”

It wasn’t particularly funny to him, but he laughed at this. It was a luxury he never afforded himself before he retired. Even more unexpected was Avilh joining in. It wasn’t the most jubilant laughter, or even the most joyous. But it was extraordinary, in that the weariness in it was all too present, and being exhumed. It was the little moments like these that made
even the darkest moments of Romulan politics all the more bearable, to know that there was somebody else out there to call a friend.

It was a luxury to be found in retirement. He hoped that it would still be there when he returned. All-too-often had he been greeted with the opposite in the past.