"I owe you an apology," she said.
It caught me by surprise.
"Oh!" I couldn't think of anything else to say.
"Don't make this harder for me than it already is." It was more of a plea than a reprimand.
"I don't mean to, but it's not necessary."
"I know it's not necessary. I just feel such a ... berk!"
"Yes, berk!" she snapped.
She sighed deeply, grabbed a mug of raktajino that was sitting on her desk and leaned back in her chair. She played with the mug, running her fingers around the rim. I could tell she didn't want it. She even raised it to her lips a couple of times, but her mouth curled at it as her nose caught the scent.
"My head feels like it's full of cotton wool. I can't think straight ... I'm finding it difficult to restrain my temper. I was downright rude to you—"
"You were suffering the effects of gas."
"But I'm not now!" she bellowed and then bit her tongue. "Do you see what I mean?"
I smiled reassuringly.
"And I'm still trying to write this stupid petar'riak report!"
It was not an expletive with which I was familiar but didn't ask.
"What report's that?" I enquired.
"This whole Helvetian thing. They want to know what happened. My answer? I don't know! Ask my cadets!" she said in a silly voice. "Doesn't exactly sound good," she grumbled.
"Oh, I don't know. Think of all those people you can say I told you so to."
"All those admirals and commodores that mocked you for taking on the Misfits. But you saw something in us that they didn't. This just goes to prove that you were right all along. We saved the world when they couldn't ... well, a world."
T'Roc laughed and then recoiled in pain.
"Ooh! Don't make me laugh it makes my head hurt!" she cried.
"I know what you need," and I got up and went to the replicator. "Tulaberry tea, hot with a dash of Andorian wild rosehip."
A tall glass cup materialised filled with a pale, sapphire blue liquid that steamed gently. I placed it on the desk before her, removing the raktajino at the same time. She took it and sniffed it. Her nose wrinkled in suspicion.
"Trust me. It's something I discovered at the Academy. It's very good for a hangover."
"I haven't got a hangover."
"Not as such, but you feel sick and I don't suppose you've eaten since we got back. Try it," I urged. "What can it hurt?"
She growled under her breath, studied it afresh and gingerly took a sip. Her face registered pleasant surprise, and I watched as anguish and tension fell away from her. After a few more sips, she grinned.
"We didn't have this when I was at the Academy."
"We hadn't found the Delta quadrant then though, had we?"
She threw me a friendly scowl and sank deeply into the chair. She raised her legs, wedging her heels against the edge of the desk to make herself even more comfortable and nursed the beverage in both hands.
"Go on then," she sighed happily as she rested her head against the back of her chair. "What do I need to know?"