Rura Penthe is a dark place.
It's not only the frozen mineshafts where we're prodded, painfully, to hack dilithium from nearly spent veins. There's a pervasive bleakness of spirit – it's a life sentence for those toiling here, and a short life at that.
I deny them victory by waking each day and living through it, reminding Kolos that he needs to do the same. It's my fault he's here; I'll be damned if he dies on my watch. He doubts a rescue, but I know better.
When Malcolm pushes back his hood, his smile lights the cavern.
And his eyes.
Archer thought Rura Penthe was dark – he's never spent time on a Klingon ship. Humans, with their fondness for bright light and optimism... I told him those things have little place in the Empire. And even less place here, in this last stop before whatever afterlife awaits the dishonored.
But he made me question all of that.
His hopes kept him alive here, and even this cynical old man could read more than relief and gratitude in the glow of the smiles they shared in greeting.
I told them to leave without me. But the light lingers... and the hope.