She is forgotten.
History flows from the lips of those who survive. It is a story spun in the confusion of victory, carefully crafted of half-truths and not-entire lies, and, although she knows not what hers says, Valeris can imagine.
The days after she is taken into custody are so much mystery. Mystery even to Valeris herself. The forced meld leaves her shaken, confused, and so very betrayed. Guilt underlies it all, but she is unclear as to whom it belongs. The memories she holds of before, the ones she knows are her own, speak of certainty and a clarity from which no confusion and resulting guilt could be drawn.
She reasons, then, that the guilt is his. A leftover and legacy from Spock's intrusion. She is a Vulcan, more so than he, and she does not - dare not - believe herself capable of such emotions. She has eliminated them. Controlled them. She is mistress of her emotions and would never permit them dominance over her.
It is through this mastery that she determined her course, allowing herself to accept Cartwright's reasoning, and see the proposed alliance with the Klingons to be a grievous mistake.
The guilt is Spock's and he is welcome to it. She spends her trial attempting to expunge it from her mind, a worthy exercise where the trial is not.
When Vulcan proposes a verification, a ritual not needed on their world since before the time of Surak, she rejects it as is her right.
She will undergo no such telepathic examination as she does not require it.
Verification is reserved for they who cannot face themselves. Who deceive themselves into criminal action. Valeris deceived herself of nothing.
She accepted the truth of her actions, seeing them as criminal by law, but necessary by c'thia. There is nothing to face, nothing to change, she is as she should be. Let them tell their stories and whisper of her weakness, she knows the truth and faces her exile without regret.
Decades pass. She learns to accept life among the Klingons. Rura Penthe is harsh, forbidding, and claims Cartwright quickly. It will not claim her. She is a Vulcan. She is young. Strong. She survives.
She can imagine if a story of her involvement is told, and she doubts that it will, she will be painted as hating the Klingons. Cast in such a role by her own comments, true, but a fallacy nonetheless. There are certain aspects of Klingon culture she can respect, admire, and even find parallel to her own.
There remain, even after the Khitomer Accords are signed, sympathizers within the Empire. It is not so long until she is free of her prison and living in their embrace. She accepts the overtures of one, becoming his mate, and lives quietly. His family views her with distrust for some time, expecting her to flee toward the Federation and the 'freedom' of Vulcan.
Were she anyone but a Vulcan, she might laugh at such a belief. She is as much exile to her world as her Romulan cousins. In time, they come to see the truth of their mistake.
Of course, their persuasion is found in the light of her daughter's eyes. It is ironic, then, that so quickly after her acceptance into their ranks, the alliance she'd fought against truly forged itself with blood.
She nurses her daughter, reading the subspace reports while fury raged in the streets outside. The news-net filling with talk of war. Not with the Federation, but Romulus. The families of the dead screaming vengeance.
She grieves the loss of the Enterprise-C more than she would have expected. She'd thought herself years beyond such empathy, but she cannot deny the experience. Cannot deny it then anymore than she can the sensation of shock that rocks through her at the sight of familiar features in the courtyard below.
She was sentenced. Condemned. She was forgotten.
Until she is not.
Years have passed since her sentence, years more since the Narenda III incident, and she emerges from obscurity with a story rewritten by her own hand.
The woman before her is a Starfleet officer and a Vulcan. Behind her stands a Klingon, also in Starfleet uniform, watching her with distrust in his eyes. It has been many years since a Klingon looked at her in such fashion.
It has, however, been much longer since she heard a Vulcan accent speak her name. She wears no rank beyond that which marks her as a lieutenant commander, but she is highborn. Her long hair is up-swept, her bearing regal, and there is a familiarity about her eyes.
Of course. If not him, then, yes. Valeris is oddly gratified by the choice. Not so much as to agree, however. With her daughter behind her, she steps forward with a single question.
The Vulcan tips her head, respectful in her deference when she should not be, "Why not?"
Valeris steps back. "I will not."
"I am not asking," is the reply. "You have free passage at any time."
Valeris absorbs the implications of that and ponders all that might be different. She looks at her daughter and then at the woman before her.
With an inclination of her head, she steps forward.