Posted by Lieutenant Casela Synthi-er (Counsellor / RTF) in Defend - From the Depths of Turpitude
(OOC: Defend by Any Means: https://www.star-fleet.com/core/stf1/leviathan/posts/140448/)
(OOC: Defend - Rho Pupis: https://www.star-fleet.com/core/stf1/leviathan/posts/139948/)
She opened her eyes, she was lying on her side in a semi-fetal position. She didn’t recognize the room. It was Federation in design, muted blues and greys, curved edges instead of corners. The orientation was wrong. She was facing the door, but in her quarters she’d be on her right side, not her left. She saw movement out of the corner of her eye, and nothing moved except her eyes, snapping to focus on it. Dr. Thomas Kidd?
“You’re finally awake. I’ve been worried. Dr. Knox expected you to be awake two days ago.” She was confused, why was Knox worried, why was he talking about himself as another person? She started to sit up but found she was dizzy. Some else was in the room, her eyes snapped to the wall directly across from her. Ryder
He crossed the room and hunkered down by the bed, near her face. “Hey, slow down, baby. Let me help.” Baby? She looked around, expecting to see…but some instinct stopped her from forming a clear thought about Gen. It was important that she NOT think about her. Instead she let Ryder help prop her up. She cleared her throat coughing a couple times. “Thirsty,” was all she was able to rasp out. Kidd left and she took stock of the room again. If this was their room where were their things? Why was it flip-flopped? Kidd came back and held the glass to her mouth. Ryder took from him, his eyes filled with hatred as he looked at Kidd/Knox. She must have been extremely sick. Did the doctor do something? Ryder didn’t dote on her like that. He always made her feel cherished, but not spoiled. It’s not that he wouldn’t but she didn’t feel like she’d been that sick. She sniffed the water, old habits, but it smelled clean. The way Ryder was acting toward Kidd/Knox made her suspicious. “You are always so paranoid, Lt. It’s clean.” Kidd said, but Ryder took a sip. She sipped at the water this time when Ryder offered it to her. “Where am I? These aren’t our quarters.”
Kidd shrugged, “The doctor thought you’d feel better not waking up in sickbay so this is a recovery room.” Dr. Knox was worried I hadn’t woken up but he put me in a recovery room where he doesn’t have eyes on me 24/7? Why is he talking about himself like that? She tried to think past the confusion. But all it brought was extreme pain that had her screaming. After a few moments it passed.
“Easy. Dr Knox said there might be some headache from being sedated for so long. Remember?” Kidd’s voice was condescending. Ryder’s arm came up in her peripheral vision towards her hair as he brushed it aside. She moved, lightning reflexes grabbing his wrist with an iron grip, she hated her hair touched like that. He knew that. He knew Mad Man used to do that to her. Now he would start at her arm, running his hand up, across her shoulder, past her neck, to her cheek, and then to her hair. She didn’t startle that way, she knew exactly where his hand was. She didn’t startle, and he didn’t end up with a broken wrist. Sedated? Her ribs, she’d had surgery on her ribs, but something went wrong. That didn’t make sense. Her voice snapped as she focused on Kidd, “If Knox was worried I’d been asleep two days longer than I should, why was he keeping me sedated?” Kidd blinked at her, dumbly, no response, no movement, no intelligence in his eyes. Then he looked at her, “You were having a bad dream, you were muttering something about Romulans. I think you had better tell me.”
Ryder tugged on her hand where she’d grabbed him, “Don’t look at him, look at me. He’s lying to you.” Casela turned to look at him, he wasn’t quite right, and then he was holding her wrist instead of the other way around. He was squeezing her wrist painfully hard and jerking at her. “Don’t you understand?” Ryder didn’t act like that. This was NOT Ryder “Who are you?!” she launched herself at him, the only weapon she had being herself, but she was sure that was more than adequate. And then the pain again, robbing her of breath and sight, and then oblivion.
“That was less than 10 minutes. What went wrong?” A female voice, like black ice, you see it but you don’t know how deadly it is until you’re on it.
“I didn’t have enough detail. There must have been too many discrepancies, and she picked up on them. But we’ve never used this device on a Betazoid before. I need to scan more of her memory to make the images more detailed.” Another female voice, younger but analytical.
“You have 24 hours and we try again. Do not disappoint me.”
Lt Synthi-er, CNS
She was sitting in the captain’s ready room again. “Lt., I will bust you down to En if you don’t tell me what’s going on!” Casela sighed, “Look Cpt.” she spat out, “I get it; you don’t like not knowing, well it’s above even your pay grade. You can bust me down or whatever you call it, but I don’t answer to you.”
“We’ve been out here patrolling for two years. You come and go as you please. I. Want. Answers. Or maybe you want more time in the brig?”
Casela shrugged and she didn’t care. Her next assignment would come in and the captain would have to let her out. He didn’t like her uncaring attitude. She’d been late to meet the ship and they’d had to wait for her. She was meeting the Opa….no don’t think the name. But it had come for the children. She’d sit in the brig for the children. The baby, a little girl, was the most concerning. She would have left Triton to sit a month to make sure she had survived. She would protect them even at her own cost.
She was sitting in a cell in the Brig. “The Romulans! What do you know?” Casela sighed, “Same thing you do captain.” She spat the word. She supposed she pushed his buttons. But he knew enough from command to know she couldn’t tell him.
“Lt Raauhl is here to see you.” She didn’t even move- Noa had come to gloat again. It bugged him no end that they couldn’t keep her there and that she acted like being in the brig was just a 5 star vacation. “Look at me.” She shrugged and dropped the arm that was over her eyes and looked over at the cell opening…but he was inside. Ryder He knelt down at her side, he was only wearing shorts. What was he doing in the brig in his shorts? He took her hand and held it. “Hey, I finally got you locked in a brig. I’m going to cook. What do you want?” She laughed, she was in the brig and he was going to cook? “You know my favorite.” He turned away and came back with a plate. It was not Bourguignon. It was…field rations? He took her hand again and leaned in close, whispering to her, professional things, intimate things, anything to keep her attention on him.
“What do you know about the Romulans?” It was the captain again, but Ryder was still there, in nothing but shorts, in the brig cell with her. He whispered, “It won’t matter what you tell him, it won’t stop.”
She looked at the captain, which was hard because Ryder kept moving, blocking her view of him. “They are patrolling the border, out here settling new colonies. They are mostly just families trying to…”
“Mostly but not all! What do you know?! They’re out there breeding, having offspring and colonizing. It’s disgusting, what do you know?” She opened her mouth to answer him.
Ryder gripped her hand hard, painfully so. “Look. At. Me.” she looked at him, he took her hand and placed it against his side. She began to run her hand absently over his spots…there was something wrong with his spots, a whole part was missing…from where he was shot? No that was the other side, his spots were fine, or supposed to be. This was NOT Ryder, “Who are you?!” she launched herself at him, the only weapon she had being herself, but she was sure that was more than adequate. And then the pain again, robbing her of breath and sight, and then oblivion.
“What happened this time?”
“The device is too much she’s seizing. I need to work slower or it will all be for nothing.”
“Fine, get her prepped to be moved to the ship. We’ll continue the work there. Her screaming is starting to attract attention.”
Lt Synthi-er S31
Casela looked up from where she was digging in the dirt, utta berry bushes. Was she back on Betazed? She looked around and on the next row over there was Ch’otok planting his vegetables like he did every year, but why was he planting utta berry bushes? They would never survive in this climate. It was too dry, utta berries needed the humid and wet environment of a tropical climate. She continued to dig, creating a bowl in the ground, adding the dark rich loam from the old fashioned wheelbarrow he’d parked next to her. Then she lifted the tiny bush, unwrapped the roots and set it into the ground. She didn’t have the skill to care for them, but if she followed Ch’otok’s instructions she did okay. Besides it would be his job to make sure they survived, not hers. She continued working, the work repetitive and simple, but it felt good to feel the soil on her hands, and the sun on her back. “Tell me again why you are planting utta berries?”
Ch’otok looked up from where he was working, and his gaze looked strange somehow. Not quite right, like she couldn’t focus on it. “Because, my bright light, I would do anything to make you happy.” Casela laughed, “Turning poet now are we, Golden Boy?” She chucked a rock at him, and though he turned aside, the rock missing, he didn’t catch it, and that was….odd. Nor did he scowl and threaten her at the use of that hideous nick name she’d given him.
”She’s fighting with the altered memory again. I don’t understand, all the data said she should be very attached to him.”
“If you mess up again…”
She woke up in her bed in Ch’otok’s hut. She sat up and looked around. It was quiet and it was night. She got up searching the house and, not finding him, she left and began to wander the woods, following the trails that he liked to walk when the memories became too much. The moon over the land cast a silver glow. She checked around the house, but found no sound indicating he was working nearby. The fields were empty, still, and the earth holding its breath, waiting for the first signs of new life. Seeds, baby plants, waiting to break from the darkness and warmth of the soil. Casela knelt at the top of an aisle and touched the dirt, she would never tell him, but she did find a certain peace in the work. A low rumble sounded behind her and she turned, quickly, ready to spring. “Ah Bengwl’, always ready to fight. It makes my blood run hot.” He bent down grabbing her by the upper arms. She was confused by his behavior, but often Ch’otok would act oddly when he was missing Rutresh and Tonjal. He leaned towards her…he was going to kiss her! Was he drunk? She dodged to the side and he laughed, she didn’t like the sound of that. She tried to ‘read’ him to figure out what had happened. But there was nothing there…almost like a hologram…and pain immense pain…and blackness
“I don’t understand, the memory ingrams show a deep attachment to this person.” the analytical voice spoke.
“And your evidence for that?” Cold deadly ice froze everything around it.
“There are many chemical markers indicating such an attachment. Her memories attach the word Bengwl’ to the image of this man. It means beloved.”
The voice went even deeper and colder, “And did you check the inflection of this word against the language database or did you hurry. Your. work!” There was a heavy deadly silence. And the word, repeated from scanned memories played over and over. “You idiot! It means brother! That is her brother!”
The blind was dark and not even their breath disturbed the air. Crickets and night animals continued to move unhindered. The mansion lay in ruins beneath them, a bottle of blood wine shared between them. “It was a good day for them to die.” Ch’otok’s voice rumbled low in the dark around them. The previous days had taken a toll on her and her health and the state of her mind. There was always pain, there had been more since Knox…no Knox was, Casela looked around this was 12 years ago, Knox was on…on another ship. She pushed the name away, her resistance created pain. “It had to be done, but I will take the guilt to my grave.” She repeated the words she’d said to him so many years ago.
“What did you learn? You must tell me. What did the Romulans say? You took their thoughts. What did you learn?”
“Ch’otok this isn’t a joke. There were no Romulans there.” She rubbed her head, no wait, there were…a large room. “They…yes I’m sorry I’m tired, confused, Ch’otok. I fear the effect the work has on me. Many on my world didn’t survive.” He grunted, “TELL ME!” She owed him that, honor demanded he know, Rutresh, Tonjal he had a right to know what they had done to his wife and child. His child, of his and Rutresh’s blood, was, is, his greatest pride. She rubbed at her head, trying to make sense of it. Then she was in a large room, crouched, hidden in the rafters, listening. Women, five Romulan woman, talking.
Casela swayed in the chair she was confined to. “F…five women, robes…like…like a holy order. sickness…
A hand on her shoulder, she turns quietly expecting Ch’otok, but it’s not. Ryder He knelt beside her, his hand starting at her arm, running his hand up, across her shoulder, past her neck, to her cheek, and then to her hair, brushing it aside. “Shhh…” He leaned in and kissed her, slowly. She shook her head no. This was dangerous, he had to stop, they weren’t careful …he died, they weren’t careful and he died. It was her fault. Tears tracked down her face. “Don’t cry,” his voice soothed her but would never take the guilt away. He brushed her face dry, “I won’t tell.” She leaned away after he kissed her again, and looked at him. “It’s not right.”
He shook his head, “No it’s not right that the woman I love is crying,” and kissed her again. She reached for his hand but he pulled away and so did she. That wasn’t right, he always held her hand and the other he would hold her tightly around the waist. She looked at him confused. His SPOTS they were WRONG. She’d stared for hours at his spots. She could draw them in her sleep, the pattern was wrong. This was NOT Ryder, “Who are you?!” she launched herself at him, the only weapon she had being herself, but she was sure that was more than adequate. And then the pain again, robbing her of breath and sight, and then oblivion.
Lt Synthi-er, S31
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