“It's our homeworld,” the alien stated tentatively. Earth? Shran had never heard of it, never seen these pale mammalian creatures before. It was little surprise they were allied with Vulcans, Andorians never managed to encounter species before their lying, duplicitous neighbors brought them into the fold. It appeared these Earthlings were to be yet another pawn in the never ending battle to keep his people powerless.
“Why did you come here?” Shran pressed the intruder. He suspected much about P'Jem and had found nothing so far, but perhaps this foolish man would bring him what he wanted where the Vulcans would not. “Answer me, pink-skin!”
The alien gave him an unsatisfying excuse about visiting the sanctuary, and after a quick back and forth and an incredibly irritating inquiry into the Andorians' presence, Shran took great pleasure in hitting him with his rifle.
He was just returning to the atrium when a console began beeping. “What is it?”
Keval shook his head slightly, confused. “Some kind of... energy fluctuation.”
It was in the room with the hostages. Shran took off running.
He stormed in and looked around furiously. The pink-skin Captain, Archer he thinks the man on the communicator had called him, was sitting against a wall. No threat there. He threw his gaze around, looking for the cause of the anomaly while angry and defensive reactions battled for his attention. “We detected an energy surge. It came from this chamber.”
“Perhaps you have faulty equipment,” the Vulcan woman from the Earth ship condescended to him.
“Or perhaps you have equipment we don't know about.” Shran struggled to keep the paranoid fear out of his voice. He knew it was a common trait in his people, but he had always felt that he suffered more from it than some of his soldiers. Thoughts haunted him longer than they should, felt stronger than they should. Then again, maybe that was why he'd been so successful. Thorough, one might say.
He wasn’t sure what inspired him to turn back to the Captain. For a split second, his rage dissipated. He expected to see hate on the face of Archer, see the anger he felt reflected back at him because of what he'd done to the human, but he couldn’t quite describe what he saw instead. It was a curiosity, almost. It threw him off his guard, and panic shot him dead in the heart. He fled, fueled by pure instinctive terror.
“Hold your fire,” the Captain shouted. “You might want to take a look at this.” Shran furrowed his brow, expecting a trick. Archer spent so long denying the existence of the listening post that to discover it when Shran had him cornered is suspicious at best. Still, the promise of vindication was sweet. He lowered his gun and followed him to the door.
Oh, and was his vindication sweet. He looked around disgusted by the confirmation that the Vulcans had no regard for the privacy and rights of his people under their treaty. While he was still processing, the human took action, turning to speak to the Vulcan from his ship.
“Does that thing have imaging sensors?”
“Take all the pictures you can,” he replied. Shran frowned in confusion when the Vulcan moved to comply. Neither of them had any reason to help him, which he couldn’t reconcile with the (perhaps a little irrational) thought that they were out to destroy him and all of Andoria. Before that train of thought could get any further, the monk that had followed them down here had his gun to Archer's head.
“Place your weapons on the ground.” Shran's gut screamed at him to shoot the bastard, but he had several other unexpected physical reactions, a cold grip applying firm pressure to his heart, and he froze up, overwhelmed. “I will kill him, if necessary. Give that to me.” He got no further, because Archer turned and cracked him across the face.
The Captain bantered with his officers for a moment. Shran didn’t take in a word of it, still in a struggle with his fear. Anger was also edging in, anger at himself for giving in to this emotional handicap he thought he'd long ago conquered and the danger it put them in. He came back to himself when the Vulcan woman offered him the imaging scanner.
“You got what you came here for, now get out of here,” Archer said. The look in his eyes was once again unreadable, and the tone of his voice wasn’t particularly clear either. Shran wanted to think this was an act of friendship, but he certainly didn’t seem friendly.
“How do we know you won't attack our vessel?” He managed at last.
“The Vulcans violated your treaty, your people ought to know about it,” Archer replied, forcefully. “Do you have a problem with that?” He asked the woman. She took the communicator from the other officer and cleared the Andorian ship to leave orbit. Undoubtedly there were some issues of trust on the Earth ship, which pleased Shran. The humans had some common sense after all, just bad taste in allies. That could be fixed.
He moved to walk away, but felt a need to express his gratitude to the pink-skin in some way. He stopped, turned back to Archer, and looked up at him to meet his gaze. “We're in your debt,” he said, simply. Archer seemed unsure as they held eye contact a moment longer, but that’s fair, given he was the reason for the injuries currently gracing the man's face.
He wanted to say more, but he didn’t know what. Besides, he had a job to do.