Of Shards and Visions part II
by Lt Tyrlai Zade, Lt. (JG) Amata Zan, ENS Sera Williams, Security Crewman Gregory (played by Eilis Ross)
MD 6, just before 10:00
...the latticework filling the room erupted with light. A soundless brightness enfolded them leaving each alone surrounded by sharp glowing white, so intense it washed out the cave and the others around them...
Sera's vision was filled with light, it was bright. The light began to dissipate, leaving Sera a bit disoriented. She rubbed her eyes a bit to get her bearings. She was still in her Starfleet Uniform, but her surroundings had changed.
The light faded and was replaced by a very familiar setting. She was in the hospital room in San Francisco, one of the Starfleet Medical buildings to be precise, yet the color was a bit foggy. The last time she was in this room was when...
"Sera, we are now the same," her mother's weak voice said from behind her. Sera spun around to see her mother in the hospital bed. At that point , Sera had been a first year cadet at the Academy and her mother was just about to lose her battle with early onset Irumatic Syndrome. Sera's eyes welled up with tears as she looked at her mother and the fresh tulips her father had picked, yet thus was not her mother.
"I was bound to the cage as you were to your home. Now we are both free." Her mother's voice continued. Another flash of light, and Sera was aboard the ISS Portland, facing her mirror Tamara. The woman was wild-eyed and wielding a phaser rifle, and frightened the he'll out of Sera. Sera heard the more aggressive and primal version of her own voice say, "Do we free ourselves? Do we take vengeance, as your species call it? You are still stuck in these moments. They still claw at you and hurt." The Prophet dropped the rifle, as another wave of light swallowed the scene.
The scene was replaced with that of a hanger filled with fighter-class ship's. Before her stood an Andorian woman who Sera recognized as Shusas. The woman eyed Sera before she said, "You still have fear. You are afraid if what has happened, and you are afraid of what is to come."
Sera's eyes became a bit watery, "Yes, I am. I have overcome, yet it still grips me." The Prophet took a step closer and put its hands on Sera's shoulders. "Do not be caged by your fear. Become truly free."
The light returned. Sera was standing back in San Francisco, but this time next to a shuttle before she departed to Deep Space 9 en route to the Portland. Her sister stood before her. "Remember, you are not to be caged. Please promise you'll remember." Before Sera could respond, the flash returned.
This time she was aboard Deep Space 9 with her hand in a bowl of sand peas.
...A soundless brightness enfolded them leaving each alone surrounded by sharp glowing white....
The flash of light filled Amata’s vison and, in a way he would never be able to explain, everything else, till all he was aware of was a feeling of warmth in his core, comforting to the point of suffocation. When his senses returned, after a moment or an eternity, the Security officer was no longer in the caverns, but in the open air of the mining camp that had been his childhood, grey ground, grey walls, grey sky. His disruptor was gone, “We are the same.”
Hearing the voice, Amata spun around, scanning in every direction with his eyes until he had come full circle, finding a young Bajoran girl with the same nose as him now stood atop a pile of discarded stone. Amata fell to his knees, “Amn…”
“We did not wish to be where we were,” the voice spoke again and Amata’s sister vanished without effect, replaced by a hand on his shoulder and a presence towering behind him. Ready to violently defend himself if needed, Amata quickly spun around and stood to meet the new figure, coming face to face with a Cardassian guard, one he had known as a child, or perhaps everyone he had ever known. He flinched, backing away with such haste that he tripped and landed on his ass in the dirt, kicking up the stone dust as slip across the ground, memories of fists and boots trampling through his thoughts.
Within seconds, though it could have been days, Amata’s back met with solid resistance. Looking upwards, his gaze met that of Commander Alenis, the Portland’s captain, a woman he had never met, whose image he only knew from Federation newsnets, her expression blankly alien, “We are now free to be where we wish to, but you remain here.” Collecting himself, the lieutenant stood to face the odd figure, grey stone was now replaced by the vastness of space, “You choose to remain in the most painful parts of your limited, linear existence.”
As the voice finished, a hand had instantly been placed on his left ear, his pagh, and the camp was replaced by the verdant green of an M-class world he had never seen, yet knew was New Bajor. “Fear, aggression, shame,” Alenis was gone, and the being in front of him was now in the form of a Jem’Hadar solider, “Hate.” Amata looked the horned creature in the eye, having to tilt his upward, the Jem’Hadar being a head taller than him, just like he remembered.
“Yes, hate,” admitted the Bajoran, finally comprehending what was happening, “I hated all of them, I still do. I… they slaughtered my sister, my friends, their colony. I had so little, and they took it away because they were ordered, without a second of hesitation. ”
“Strength,” like a light changing colour, the Prophet became Amata, almost twenty years younger and dressed in surface operations black, a crewman’s pip on its false collar. It offered its older double a type 3 phaser rifle but Amata made no move to accept it.
“No, I was weak. I had my chance to fight them, to kill them, but when I finally had one down my sights I couldn’t do it.”
The Prophet dropped the weapon, which vanished before it touched the green grass beneath them, it grabbed Amata’s hand and balled into a fist, “Compassion. Strength, compassion, duty, the Kosst Amojan does not possess these traits.”
Before Amata could begin to respond to what the Prophet had said, or its use of the forbidden name, it vanished along with the green, replaced by the familiar black of space. Searching the expanse, Amata found he now stood high above New Bajor. The Prophet remained in front of him, silhouetted by the planet, but had once again taken the form of Alenis Meru, her eyes now glowing red, “The exiled one must not be allowed to go where it wishes, the traveler must be saved.”
Below, New Bajor began to burn.
...so intense it washed out the cave and the others around them...
As a blinding light flashed across Gregory's eyes, he suddenly found himself back on earth.
"Hold your arms straight and focus Cadet! I said FOCUS!"
Gregory's arms shook with the pressure as fear flooded his body. He had to do this...he couldn't let them down.
"Stop Gregory...stop and listen...." As the world around him faded, the big burly instructors lips could be seen moving but there was no volume. "Listen to all that's around you..."
As Gregory's arms continued to shake, he begun to hear other voices; one in particular stood out.
"Catch me if you can!" She turned her head to look over her shoulder, he eyes glittering with amusement as she ran faster. "I was always able to out run and out gun you bucko."
As the security officers arms continued to tremble, he softly breathed out the single word no.
Again the imagines around him shifted and changed. This time he stood in a hospital corridor, watching the Doctors run and talk over themselves. "She's starting to flat line!"
He remembered the words and the feeling of hopelessness. They couldn't let her die...it wasn't allowed to happen.
"You couldn't protect her then because you didn't know how..."
Gregory recognized the voice before the person walked into his vision. Instructor McGrath...feared among all Starfleet Cadets as he wasn't afraid to belittle and terrorize those who fell under him in their weapons training.
"Why did you bring me back here...isn't it enough that I spend every day of my life remembering....I wasn't good enough then, I'll never be good enough."
As the instructor moved to his side, he placed one hand on the officers shoulder. "You only believe your not good enough...you know better then that. The medals you long ago scrapped...the broken academy records....It's buried inside of you, you just need to let it be unlocked."
As Gregory watched on as the Doctors leaned over the transporter bed, he watched as they attached pads to the young woman's chest before someone in the background activated the electric shock to try restart her heart. "It's not working we are going to loose her!"
Feeling the tears dampen his cheeks, still the officer refused to look away, "None of it matters, none of it was enough to save her."
As the hand on his shoulder tightened, Gregory heard the familiar voice again, "You know deep inside that nothing would have changed what happened. Her life was destined to end that day...no matter what course of action you took."
Gregory watched as the Doctors fell silent, looking at each other in a wordless communication as the urgency of the situation slowly slipped away. "She didn't have to die....I promised her I wouldn't let it happen...."
As the scean shifted and faded once more, a second voice echoed inside of his mind, faceless but indisputable who it was, "You know that I wouldn't ever blame you....You know Gregory that you meant more to me than that..."
...a blinding flash seemed to wash away the room, in a moment and then lifted as if floating up and away...
Tyrlai stood blinking as the cave returned. She knew it had been there around them the whole time but for that moment it had seemed to vanish. They stood face to face with each other like sides of a box, each one blinking as if having trouble focusing on the cave floor again. Tyrlai's thoughts spun, tactics were something she had always been pretty good at and she developed her plan quickly and set it in motion before the others could start to compare notes. She snapped out of the blinking and set her eyes to a combination of mischief and accusation. "You all had visions, didn't you! Why don't I ever get a vision? Bloody prophet favouritism! Grab the transport buffers," Tyrlai turned and looked to the northwest and about thirty degrees up, "we're late to help the others."
Sera nodded her agreement to Tyrlai. She was still a bit emotional from her vision experience, which left her in no condition to argue the finer points of a proper mission plan. On instinct, Sera grabbed as many transport buffers as she could carry, then ran after Tyrlai. Sera considered herself in good condition, a daily exercise regimen and a days spent crawling through Jeffrey's Tubes and climbing ladders did their work to keep her in shape. However, the buffers in her arms kept her from completely catching up to Tyrlai, though she kept herself close enough to yell. Somewhere in the back of her mind, Sera thought about how ridiculous she must look running with those transport buffers.
The fog of his vision clearing, Amata shook his head and watched the lieutenant and ensign run ahead, sighing as he realized what was happening. He turned to Gregory and adjusted his disruptor so that the stock was snugly against his bicep, "Watch your head, last time Zade ran ahead, I got shot." He caught up to the group in seconds.
Blinking away the tears that still distorted his vision, Gregory refused to let his boss see him tremble. Gripping his phaser harder, he grabbed what he could with his free hand and arm and moved to follow their engineer.
Tyrlai led the short string of fleeters through a quick series of turns, two short climbs and one more turn, into a cave with burning lights a lava pool and the CO of the Portland, cackling at her crewmen with fiery eyes. Tyrlai raised her right fist and motioned to the others to circled the edge and set up the buffers. She paused for a moment and darted forward.