Jessa looked back at Rinker and nervously cracked her knuckles pondering what to do with the latitude being shown her. Taking the blade, Jessa looked at Megan and whispered sorry before plunging it into the woman’s leg. Blood spurted out like a geyser instantly covering the woman’s groin and spraying the front of Rinker’s shirt turning the familiar blue into a dark purple. The psychiatrist no longer focused on Jessa as he now turned all his attention on stopping the hemorrhaging coming from the woman’s femoral artery. Rinker barked out commands and rough hands shoved Jessa aside as Ian began to place pressure on the wound, as Heathcliff began impromptu surgery on the now screaming woman.
With Ian and Rinker pulling everyone’s attention to the table, Jessa had a clear path to the door. Running towards it she saw O’Neill and Reed moving with speed that was fast enough to stop her from leaving. Reaching out with her hand she flicked her finger crumpling the bones in both men’s knees. Sickbay erupted in the chaos of screams as the newly injured cried out and the doctors barked orders trying to help them. Reaching the pneumatic doors, they slid open granting Jessa access to the corridor. Instead of stepping out however Jessa stopped and surveyed the pain and suffering in her wake. Yes this course of action got her exactly what she wanted but at what cost. If she let this fantasy become reality, the cost would be loss of all the tenuous trust Jessa had worked o hard to build. It was time however to make an actual choice in how she was going to proceed. Closing her eyes she took a deep breath and heard a voice in her head. What are you going to do.
“Jessa, what are you going to do,” the voice said again only this time it did not sound tinny or far away. Opening her eyes she realized it was not Pellan but Ian speaking to her. It was time to take the only choice available to her.
Reaching out she took the blade from Rinker. Over dinner, Jessa decided that submitting to the crew might get her more than fighting them. Maybe if she showed them what she was capable of it would let them change their minds about the Elders. “I promised you I would not hurt you,” she said looking up at Rinker. Opening her other hand she dragged the edge of the blade across her own palm causing a deep red gash with one swift motion. Blood instantly began to bubble over the sides of her hand before starting to drip into a puddle on the floor. Jessa made a small hissing sound feeling the pain but clenching her teeth tightly as she extended the blade back to Rinker with her other hand.
“What the trife,” Ian belted out moving from behind Jessa to the bed next to him. Ripping off the pillow case he yelled for someone to bring him a bandage. Right now Ian was not focusing on the experiment of this exercise but more how to stop it. Jessa was in perfectly good hands with Rinker, so all he could focus on was getting something to wrap around Jessa’s hand.
Rinker took a moment to watch to see if magic sparks or flames were going to burst from her open wound as he took the scalpel back.
There was no mystical poof but for someone as trained as Rinker in surgery, it would seem that the bleeding seemed to maybebe slowing down. It would be hard to know for a fact but his gut might tell him that it was as if something internal in Jessa was stopping the blood from flowing as fast. The fact Jessa wasn’t panicking also might lead him to know she did this expecting a specific result.
Rinker squinted, she didn’t cut anything important, but she sure as hell cut pretty deep.
“Back in your room,” she spoke without moving her jaw trying to act as if her wound did not hurt. “I said I wouldn’t hurt you so I need you to cut yourself and give me your hand for I have the power to heal you. Just please hurry,” Jessa added losing some of the euphoric expression in her eyes as she gripped the wrist of the wounded hand to steady it. “That was sharper than I thought but I have to show you I am Divine. I have to show you how Elders can help people instead of hurt them.”
He looked at her, well he did say she could practice on him first. He looked at his hands, a scar on his hand wouldn’t help his surgery skills. Not that he was that great at surgery to begin with. “Is this a blood to blood thing?” Rinker was familiar with a number of races with healing factors transmittable via blood, other even via telepathy. Unlike her, Rinker took quick shot of a pain killer and rolled up his sleeve and took a cut along his forearm. Somehow it still hurt, he didn’t actually think the pain receptors were firing… they medically couldn’t it was his mind telling his body pain was happening because he knew it should be.
“Yes. When you are touched by the blood of one that is Divine it fixes injuries and flaws,” she replied trying to appear relaxed.
“Handy talent.” Rinker said non-noncommittally. Rare, but certainly within the possibility of a species biology, “You say only the divine have this ability in your species?”
“Well its not really a species thing. Like you we have thousands of races in the Galactic Union,” Jessa said trying to not look at her hand as she talked. It felt like it was on fire but this had to be done to explain why the woman was hurt. If they understood that there was a possibility, no matter how small, the Rogan was trying to show them something maybe it would make up for hurting the woman. “Now only a few people in each race are Divine. There are some races that never have anyone that is Divine but it has been discovered there is some physical defect in them that stops Divination.” Jessa hoped she explained it well enough. It was a hard concept for her to understand why some were born with the gift and others did not.
“How could a physical defect affect your worthiness to be divine, that seems rather unfair. You can be as pious as anyone, but just racially you aren’t allowed.”
“Being Divine isn’t fair either,” she gave him a dirty look. “We have about as much choice in it as one does requesting blue eyes and blonde hair.” These people knew nothing and it was starting to iritate Jessa more and more. Once they finally accepted the word of the Divine it would make more sense to them. It was getting to that point that was giving Jessa a lesson on patience.
He walked/bled over to her. “Look if I get some requests, I always wanted to be over six feet tall. I know it’s petty and superficial, but the heart wants what the heart wants and my metabolism never was quite as high as i would have liked.”
“Are you serious,” Ian said with a dumbfound expression. Part of his comment was directed to the easy and lackadaisical nature to which Rinker was approaching the situation. The other part was that Rinker wasn’t immediately panicking at the amount of blood purposefully being spilled.
He looked at Ian, “Don’t Judge Me. It could be like a three wishes sort of thing. You don’t know how it works. She could cure cancer with this move.” He didn’t recognize the rationale behind his fear. There were 10 or so pints of blood in the human body maybe 6 or 7 in her because of her small size, of which a person could lose nearly half before losing consciousness and going into hemorrhagic shock. It would also lead to death, but that was if a person wasn’t in a state-of-the-art medical facility, which they were. There she couldn’t have even bled a couple of ounces, much less the 3 pints
“Yeah but I thought we were not encouraging the self injury thing,” Ian felt the frustration building in him. He had tried to take a hands off neutral approach but it was becoming far more apparent to Ian that this approach would not work. He had no idea who this kid was or how she magically was related to him yet she was here. Ian had been treating the situation like Jessa was some lost puppy that only needed a home until its owner showed up. Something had to change.
“Well that yeah, but the self-injury we are trying to avoid is for the purpose of getting something. Not to give something.” There were many criteria that one had to assess for things like self injury.
Yes, Rinker confirmed subconsciously, no increase in respiration, heart rate, or a spike in anxiety or confusion. She was fine.... well perhaps a little crazy for cutting herself with no meds, but that was a cultural/religious decision. He had patients do far crazier for less of a reason.
“Leave him alone,” Jessa snapped at Ian. “At least he listens to me and wants to figure out how to have Galactic Union and the Federation find a way to merge peacefully.” Directing her attention back to Rinker she continued the conversation ignoring Ian.
“I can’t change your appearance. I can only heal you but we need to hurry. If I stop bleeding it doesn’t work,” Jessa said slightly impatiently.
“What about the spilled blood… does that work as long as it’s still moist?”
“I…I don’t know,” she looked at Rinker as if this thought had never occurred to her. “I mean I have heard stories…lies,” she quickly replied back, “about people inadvertently healed that were standing in an pool of Elder blood but we,” she stopped talking to bend her legs a bit and groan. She should have listened when he said it was sharp or just made a tiny cut. Her need to show them how powerful she was had gotten the better of her. “Only Elders can heal people,” she snapped with more anger than she ever intended.
“Understandable why that is… because if it were the blood without the incantation and the intent of the divine, then it wouldn’t be a spiritual effect it would be just biological.” Rinker had a way of disagreeing with a person without disagreeing with them.
“Because that is stupid,” Jessa rolled her eyes in a very child like manner. At times she cleared showed her age instead of the false grown-up persona she tried to wear as a shield. “People bleed all the time and only those touched by the Divine can heal people. If it were just in blood you could have just cut your hand and smeared it all over that woman.” The expression on Jessa’s face made it obvious she had no idea Rinker was talking about reality and not spiritual explanations. This was not some act she was trying to sell. Jessa had never questioned why this was and just accepted it with as much fact as the tricorders could treat people. “People don’t do that because they know it is not going to work.”
“I was talking about divine blood. Is the incantation actually important or is it just something you do?”
Jessa looked at Rinker like he had lost his mind. “It’s not an incantation. I am not stirring a pot and throwing in a few leaves and twigs dancing naked under the twin suns. I am not a sorceress. I am Divine. It is a prayer,” she said it slowly like Rinker was suddenly feeble minded. “You say it to be thankful for the gifts bestowed on you from above. It is called being triffing polite.” Jessa was clearly becoming more agitated. “Trife,” she yelled gripping her wrist tighter. It was not like they didn’t feel pain back in the Union but for some reason the length of pain Jessa felt here was longer and more intense. It started with her Ritual of Cleansing. Normally the pain was fast, sharp and more like a swift smack on the rump when you were a misbehaving child. It was there and then gone. Her arm hurt a lot more and if it hadn’t been for Evrilla, Jessa would have broken down into tears. This stunt was the same way. Her hand felt like it was on fire.
Rinker nodded slowly. The difference between an incantation and a prayer wasn’t quite a great as she implied.
He pressed a pain killer into her wrist, “This will take care of the pain, I could have given it to you before, by the way. Sometimes sacrifice doesn’t have to include physical pain.”
“Yes it does,” she wrinkled her nose frustrated with him. “No struggle is worth taking unless you feel the pain of your sacrifice. Is anything earned without sacrifice really earned? Show those weak the cleansing power of sacrifice. Be the force that helps them see enlightenment.” She had said this before to him.
Pressing her hand onto his arm, Jessa closed her eyes and began to chant in a soft low voice. “You have been chosen by the Divine to continue your journey along the path. I will heal you for I have the power of the Divine. Do not fear my touch. For it was given to me to help those like you. Rejoice and embrace the path.” Opening her eyes, she removed her hand and looked at Rinker’s arm wound. She did not try to hide the fact that she seemed to be stunned and shocked at what she saw. While Rinker’s injury was not as deep as Jessa’s, one could see through Jessa’s own bloody handprint the result was not what she had expected.
Rinker nodded, “Well that’s something.” He was more impressed than she was.
For a second she looked almost scared as her eyes met Rinker’s. Not saying a word, she grabbed the towel Ian was holding and gently began to wipe away the blood on Rinker’s arm to get a good look at his wound. It was only half fixed with the right side of the skin repaired but the left side still bleeding. Grabbing his arm again Jessa squeezed tighter this time applying a lot more pressure than before. “It is your stupid medicine,” she snapped clearly upset at what was not happening. “You are supposed to trust the Divine and their ability to heal.” Closing her eyes she began to speak. This time her voice was louder and had a strained quality to it as if Jessa was desperate for the action she desired to occur. “You have been chosen by the Divine,” she began to repeat the mantra. This time she did not immediately remove her hand with the flourish of a magician as she had previously. Opening her eyes, she held the pressure there as if scared to remove her hand.
Back at school, they practiced this act all the time when they reached a certain age. Before that age healers would give the students daily supplements to help build thier blood and protect them. Once a healer deemed a Guardian or an Elder had been bestowed the gift of healing, you only needed the supplements every few months or after an extreme injury. The first lesson was about pricking one’s finger and treating themselves for small injuries. As they aged and were granted clearance by the healers that served the Elders, injuries became more severe for them to treat. A healer was always present with an injection if the student was not able to heal someone. Jessa had witnessed hundreds of times how Elders had the power to lay their hands-on people in the general populace and treat them. Why she wasn’t able to treat something this minor was agitating her. As if wanting not to be wrong, she restated her mantra looking Rinker in the eyes. As she finished the third rendition, she slowly peeled back her fingers revealing only a thin barely pink scratch where the cut once was.
Jessa smiled seeing her promise to Rinker had been kept. It wasn’t exactly perfect but it was healed by most people’s standards and under the guise of just a touch. Using the towel to wipe away the blood on Rinker’s arm, Jessa looked relieved. “See. It makes no sense that we would hurt someone because we can hea,” she said before choking on her own words. While Rinker’s hand was no longer bleeding, Jessa’s hand still was. It was considerably less than before now reminding a doctor of an cut on a piece of glass. Relatively minor but more than a scratch. Pride and stubbornness made Jessa clench her jaw tighter as she balled up the bloody rag in her hand. She hoped it would hide the fact that Jessa was still not healed.
Jessa Novar and Ian Bordeaux
Rinker stared at it for a long moment. “It looks pretty good.” He lifted a scanner to see how well it was healed underneath the skin. He wondered what the process was… the scanner would tell him more.
In all the times they had scanned Jessa’s blood and the samples from the alien’s no one had thought to run it looking for foreign bodies. Medical scanners looked at biological tests that covered everything from DNA sequences to viruses, to bacteria. Changing the scanner to science mode, however, would show there was something mechanical at the molecular level. Further scanning by the tricorder would reveal that the number of signatures was dropping fast as if they were switching off near the injury site. It would also reveal that mechanical signatures were acting almost like white blood cells moving towards the site of the injury. The screen would correctly hypothesize this was some sort of molecular nanotechnology and much like the Federations nanotechnology, once the signature turned off it could not be turned back on.
Rinker raised an eyebrow… it made sense that it was nanites. Thank God she wasn’t Borg.
“Lets see your hand, you cut that thing far deeper than you probably needed to. You just need blood flow… not a life-threatening laceration.”
“No.” Looking away from Rinker, Jessa dropped her gaze so she did not have to look at Ian or Rinker in the eyes. She had no idea why it was not healing like Jessa had seen in the past. If Rinker and Ian saw that she was not perfect, they would have doubts as to her power. With the pain meds, it wasn’t like she couldn’t just wait it out and let the power of the Divine heal her. “Please just give me a second. One second,” she said rapidly moving away from the bed and trying to get to the small bathroom area before Ian caught her around the bicep. Her eyes flashed to Ian’s meeting his with a furious expression that slowly was changing into a desperate one.
“Please don’t do this Bordeaux,” Jessa started to beg him. “Just leave me alone.” The pain meds were stopping her from having any idea if she could proudly display her fixed hand or not. If she wasn’t healed, she would look like a liar and she lied enough to them already. Jessa had to give them some truth even if it was selective truths.
“Honey you are not in trouble but we can’t just let you run around like that,” Ian tried to reason with her. “You have seen a lot of people use the tricorders. Why are you freaking out?”
Rinker frowned. He picked up a collector and a sample container and drew the wet blood off the floor and put it in the cylindrical container. He popped it into a stasis field. He would take this moment to get his sample.
“Because I don’t need you help in this. I am able to take care of this by myself,” she pleaded. Part of her panic was with how slow the healing was happening. She didn’t know why and it was starting to scare her.
“I will be right back. Blood is sticky and hard to get off. I am fine. I just need to wash my hands,” she began to ramble and plead while planting her feet and leaning back as if this would force Ian to let her go. “Sometimes it takes a second. Maybe it is because I got hurt a few days ago. Maybe I need a supplement for it to be faster. That happens sometimes. Every three months we all see a healer. It is a rule but I did heal you. I did. Don’t tell me that I didn’t.” Jessa started to become more and more agitated as her hand turned white pressing the rag into the wound. For the first time however her anger wasn’t with the crew. It was with herself. She had been showing doubt. This ritual was maybe another lesson like when she couldn’t breath in Rinker’s office. Maybe God saw her weakness and doubt and refusing to help her.
“We never said you didn’t,” Ian was becoming irritated. “Just let Rinker fix your hand and then you can sulk off to your room or,” he stopped talking looking at Rinker. It was hard to be a parent when he was only half a$$ing the job. He had to start taking a larger role past babysitter or chaperone if she was going to listen to him in any manner. “Give me your hand,” Ian said but simply took it without giving Jessa a choice. He was religious but did not buy the whole lay hands on people to heal them bit. Rinker appeared to be on something so the best thing Ian could do was try to distract and treat Jessa.
Jessa looked at Rinker and firmly repeated again. “I healed you.” It was clear Jessa was becoming flustered as with any time Rinker tried to confront her with a truth she hadn’t expected. She was controlling her outbursts though and didn’t pull away as Ian ran a tricorder over his hand.
“Yes you did,” he answered honestly. He held up his scanner now and waved it at her. The fallacy was that the person had to see the injury. The scanner had the ability to go through skin and bone, a little fist and about six feet wasn’t going to effect the scan all that much. “Although, I’m not sure that would have healed the compound fracture as much as it healed my cut. Does it normally heal something as significant as that?” Maybe it would cure cancer. “How about diseases, or life long issues like blindness, paralysis. Other self inflicted thing, drug addiction, being drunk…” He ran through a whole bunch of things he’d love to get healed.
“It heals everything. I didn’t need Evrilla’s help with my arm.” Jessa was starting to not care if she lied or not to Rinker. They were not in his office so this didn’t really count. The questions Rinker was asking made Jessa uncomfortable. How was she supposed to have answers about faith. You just accepted them. Doubting only made things more confusing like now.
Rinker made a face that conveyed he didn’t necessarily agree with her interpretation of the event. “I kind of looked like it did.” Although to be fair he wasn’t present nor had he read the medical reports so he wasn’t certain of that. “I don’t believe Evrilla is known for doing unnecessary medical procedures… its dangerous and unethical.”
Jessa didn’t know what to say except to take the classic oppositional approach embraced by all youth when the true facts did not support thier claim. “It,” she started and then lowered her voice noticeably finishing her sentence, “was just a little broken.” As much as she didn’t want to owe anyone on this ship anything, she did owe Evrilla and Lauren for taking care of her.
“A little broken,” Ian felt his temper starting to rise. “Without Evrilla’s help that compound fracture would have taken you two months to get your arm back. Rinker is just a lot more polite than I am feeling right now.”
“If God wants us to heal someone he allows it to happen,” Jessa’s voice started to take on a pleading, whining quality. She knew this scanner would not hurt her so she did not try to avoid it and stood rather still not caring about it. “Why can’t you believe me? Why can’t you just blindly believe that the Divine can heal the sick, make people walk, or bring them back if they died. Look at me,” she said snapping her attention back and forth to Ian and Rinker. She had to make sure they were listening to her.
“If that was so true, why do you need blood in the first place.” Remembering when Kirk asked the creature at the center of the galaxy who claimed to be God, why he needed a star-ship to get to places.
“I…I don’t know,” Jessa said looking at Ian as if she wanted him to supply the answer. Back home when things became complex or hard, Pellan was always there to help her through times like this. If she had one wish right now it would be to feel Pellan’s hands on her shoulders. When she didn’t have an answer Pellan did. The problem now though was Pellan was not here to take on the debate on Jessa’s behalf. All she had was Ian looking back at her with almost the same questioning look as Rinker.
“Because I am Divine,” she blurted out the answer that always was accepted back home. Her answer felt weak and hollow even in her own ears but it was all she had. Rinker’s questions were coming too fast. Jessa did not have time to think and the truth was she shouldn’t have to think about such things because Rinker should not question such things.
“I am not Divine and I heal the sick, make people walk… and in some cases bring back the dead. Some of these guys are even better at it than I am at it.” He gestured to no one in particular as there weren’t many medical officers presents for him to use as an example.
“No they are not. You aren’t,” she snapped immediately feeling her temper flaring. Rinker was starting to make her head hurt like he did in his office at times. “I mean yes but it is not the same. Ugh. Why do you make things so complicated and confusing?” Jessa began to pace and crack her knuckles as she tried to even think of how answer the question Rinker did not ask. Heathcliff never said anything that needed an answer. It was just a statement but Jessa felt like she had to set him straight.
“Yes you are a healer but it is not the same. You…you heal with technology but I,” she put her hands to her chest, “I heal with faith. It is because I believe. The reason why this hurts to much,” she held up her perfectly fixed hand from the scanner, “is because I haven’t had time to pray and reflect. It’s because of you,” she pointed at Rinker, “that…that…” Her words drifted off because she could not finish the thought. Saying she had doubts would not help anything right now. They were the ones making her doubt and when she returned home everything would make sense again. Jessa would ask every question these people had and Pellan or the Rectoress would explain to her how they were wrong. Right now she focused all her energy on what she knew and understood.
“You all were so upset that Zala Tsu hurt me but I wasn’t in any real danger. You overreacted. I wasn’t in any danger because the Divine sent me here to follow the path. Zala Tsu told me always to trust her and I did and look,” she pulled back her healed hand from Ian’s medical scanner and waved at her body as she tilted her neck where Lauren had performed surgery. “I wasn’t in any danger. I am part of their quad. They would not have hurt me. They knew I have divine blood just like them. Nothing can hurt me as long as I get my supplements.” There was a wild look in her eye but it wasn’t the aggressive or hostile one she often displayed when angry. It was more of a panicked one. She needed Rinker to just believe and accept this because it was a good thing.
“By that theory no Divine as ever died on a mission. I don’t know a darn thing about your missions… I’m pretty sure being divine and on a mission doesn’t mean you can’t die.”
“We die all the time in service of the Divine. If I die here in this backwater cesspool serving the great good then it is my duty and I accept it. It is why Peh,” she started and abruptly stopped. There was pure conviction in her rhetoric but Jessa did not look at Rinker or Ian as she spoke. Instead she looked anywhere but at them. Jessa had had enough on her mind to even ponder what Pellan was going through or what he would do to her when he saw her again.
“Then by your own words and your own facts you were in danger. Does that even matter, we thought you were and we acted to save you.”
“Save me,” her voice squeaked. “You have no idea what danger you have stuck me in or any idea what will happen to me when I get back on that shuttle and return home,” Jessa looked at him wide eyed. “I am going to have to go before the Rectoress and and,” Jessa began to stutter as she became flustered, “the Chancellor…General Adar,” she rattled off names feeling her stress mounting. “I am going to have to beg them to ignore you. You locking up the Elders is going to be varping hard to explain but I will even if I have to participate in fifty Ritual Cleansings so no,” she had a thick sarcasm to her voice, “I wasn’t ever in any danger until all of you got involved. That is why you have to let me make it better for the Elders.” Jessa pleaded with Rinker hoping he understood what she was giving up for this crew and ship.
“We aren’t asking for that Jessa. Do Not put yourself in any danger trying to help us. We’ll decide out own fates.”
“Really,” Rinker turned back from the sample desk. “Can you tell me about these supplements?”
As she spoke, the tricorder screen began to give back information Rinker could make some safe assumptions based on his own medical experience with nanotech found in the Federation. The one thing that would stand out would be the concentration of the nanites had decreased since his initial scan looking for them just minutes before. In a very basic way the nanites appeared to be acting like artificial while blood cells. Internally they seemed to be throughout her circulatory system and evenly spacing themselves out from the highly concentrated area around where she had cut her hand. The other thing that seemed to be of interest was that they were not self-replicating. With only two scans this could not be confirmed but it was reasonable to think that with Jessa’s two severe injuries since arriving, they either needed more time to replenish or once they performed their duty they became ineffective.
“Ugh, I don’t want to talk about the supplements. Tell me you believe me that I am special!” Her tone had turned into screaming.
She was desperate for someone to tell her something she understood. Her eyes burned as they began to fill. The stress of these people constantly not accepting the truth was breaking her down. She had no idea how to convince them of the truth without letting self doubt creep in with every conversation.
“Hey…hey kiddo…we are trying to understand,” Ian knelt down to her eye level. He was in fact a bit shorter so she had to look down to see his eyes. Most people felt in control with they felt bigger than their opponent. Tricks like this were employed all the time around the diplomatic table. If it worked there it had as good a shot as any to work here. “Help us,” Ian said in a soft tone. “What are these supplements?”
Jessa’s eyes darted back and forth between Ian’s. His hands-on her arms helped her physically match the calmer rate he was breathing settling her slightly. Nodding she did not pull away but looked at Rinker. “I don’t know what is in them but it is just like what you have given me and said it will make you feel better.” There was a thick sarcasm in her voice as if daring Ian, Rinker, or any doctor to admit they were not just giving her antibiotics to stop infection. “They give them to us every three months. They say it is to keep up healthy. Only special doctors can give them to us. They inject us in the arm. It doesn’t hurt at all. When you take me home I can show you. I can show you all kinds of things. I can even have them inject you. Some people that aren’t Divine get them too but I have never seen the Chancellor or the Supreme Commanding General heal anyone. They just get them too because it keeps us healthy.”
“You probably don’t want to hear this, but it looks like what they inject you with are nanites that do heal you, but have a limited time of effect. That’s why they have to keep refreshing it every three months. You are probably close to the end of the three months that’s why its not working as effectively as previously.” He smiled. “I don’t imagine you think God requires a refresher every 3 months to keep being God, do you?”
His statement felt like a backhand and instantly sent Jessa into the red zone. She had learned what asking questions like this caused. Everyone on Mischwald and Halston had died for uttering such nonsense. Jessa swore she would never let that happen again. “Shut up, ” she responded instantly in response to his question.
Raising her hand, it took every ounce of control not to slam Rinker and the rest of the people up against the wall to knock some sense in them. One flick of your hand and you can make it so they can’t stop you from leaving a voice said in her head. Curling her hand into a fist she screamed out a series of profanity struggling with her choice of inaction.
Her breathing started to take on the hiccupping effect like it did in his office. “This is why mind seers are not allowed in the Union,” Jessa yelled at him grabbing the towel on the floor and hurling it at Rinker. It was clear she wanted to strike out at Rinker but she also consciously made the choice of throwing a towel instead of the laser scalpel next to it. Both were within reach and both had the same accessibility.
Rinker didn’t look insulted. “I don’t know if I want to be a member of a group that doesn’t want to have me. And what is the reason why Mind Seers aren’t welcome… too many logical questions?”
“Because you twist things up. You make things confusing,” Jessa felt a knot in her stomach and her eyes starting to burn. Even since the disaster on Halston, she had felt confused and lost. Rinker was just making it worse, feeding into her own questions with his. Nothing made sense anymore. “You make us doubt what we know in our hearts.”
“That is how lies continue. Believing it… wanting it to be true doesn’t make it a fact.”
“But you want me to believe everything you say as a fact? How does that make you different from Rogan or the Elders? Why should I ever believe you over them?” Jessa wiped her face not wanting to cry in front of Rinker. Crying made her look weak. No one would follow someone or have faith in them if all the did was cry.
“If we have questions we go to the Rectoress. She doesn’t just make things up or answer a question with a question like you do? She had answers. She tells me whats right and wrong and why. You just ask endless questions and never tell me what you think.”
“For the same reason, because I want it to be true doesn’t make it so either. You must discern fact from fiction. Truth from hopes. Reality from illusions. Telling you doesn’t give you wisdom, it steals from you the ability to think. That’s why I ask you questions, and why they tell you their lies.”
Jessa felt like her chest was going to explode. She knew if she asked for help Rinker would give it like in his office but maybe that was why she was struggling now. Maybe that was why she could not help the woman or fix something as simple as Rinker’s arm. She had to prove she did not need them.
Inhaling and exhaling deeply she tried to breath like Rinker showed her in his office. Right now she could not pray to the Divine to help her. She had to help Rinker understand and if she was passed out on the floor that would not solve any of her problems. “I just wanted to help you,” Jessa continued to try and catch her breath. “It is why I came out here. I didn’t have to.”
Jessa needed to get away from Rinker. She needed time to think.
“I am not answering anymore of your questions.” Even entertaining the idea of a response was causing her chest to tighten and making it hard to breathe. Before she had come here, Jessa lived in an Ivory Tower where things made sense and some questions were never even dreamt of let alone asked. Heathcliff, Mardusk, Ian, and Chris were challenging everything she believed and wanted to know why she believed it. Without the Elders or Pellan to re-affirm her beliefs, Jessa felt off balance. She had to get away from Rinker so she could think but there was nowhere to go. Suddenly, Jessa remembered Aimee Rian’s statement when the light beamed her out of sickbay about not having to talk to Rinker. “I am never going to talk to you again,” she blurted out in a highly child-like response feeling dizzy as she felt panic rising in her chest. This was not going to solve anything but it would give her time to think of why Rinker was wrong in his statement.
“You don’t know anything. She said I don’t have to talk to you. She said I don’t have to talk to anyone. Get out,” she pointed to the door as if she could command Rinker to be dismissed from her presence. “Get out and don’t ever come back.”
“Most religions would like to educate those who were ignorant… I guess yours doesn’t have enough strength to deal with even the most basic investigation.”
“That is all I have been trying to do,” Jessa blinked rapidly feeling her anger seep out in the form of tears, “but you won’t listen. You don’t want to understand. You want me to doubt everything that I am, that I believe, that I was taught. I answer all your questions but you never answer mine. All you want to do is make me pay for coming here but I had to.” Looking around, Jessa felt herself starting to lose control. There was no place to escape to in their sickbay. She had no doors to slam or corners to crawl into for a moment of peace or privacy. She felt like an animal at the zoo under the constant display. There was only one way out of this place.
“Why are you doing this to me,” Jessa yelled reaching out and shoving Rinker. It wasn’t hard but maybe if she pushed him, they would send her to the brig. She was so angry and felt so helpless, so alone and it was never going to change unless she forced that change. By shoving him, Jessa had broken her promise never to hurt Heathcliff but there was nothing to throw. Nothing to expel all the frustration building up inside her. “All I have ever wanted to do was show you how the Union could make your lives better. I hate the way everyone looks at me but I can’t change that. I hate that Elders have screwed everything up and left me to deal with the fallout.
“You don’t have to make things better for us.. were doing fine,” He suspected most of the world the Union helped were doing just fine without them.
Rinker took a step back from the force of it… she was stronger than her little size suggested. “Its okay. Its hard to think when you’ve spent your whole life being told not to.”
“Stop it. Stop talking,” Jessa yelled locking eyes with Heathcliff. Her body shook and it was clear Jessa had no idea what to do right now. “Shut the triff up!”
Ian stood up not sure whether to intervene or not. Rinker said this would take time. It was insane to think the only times Jessa would struggle was in the man’s office but this impromptu session was the first time, Ian had actually seen Rinker in session with Jessa. It was extremely unsettling watching her fall apart but Ian would be a fool to believe this didn’t happen behind closed doors. Crossing his arms, Ian watched waiting for a sign from Rinker to step in.
” I thought could make it better by helping that woman but I can’t fix that either,” Jessa felt herself starting to cry and unable to stop.
“Its okay. You can’t know everything, you can’t be perfect.” He stepped back to his position but went down on one knee so they were at the same level. She could really let him have it right now.
She wanted Rogan in front of her right now but they had even taken him away from her. Closing her eyes she could however imagine it was Rogan and not Rinker. “I want to go home,” she yelled thinking more about the Elders who had promised to be by her side yet she hadn’t seen them in days. Pulling back her arms she reached out to shove Rinker again. What she really wanted to do was hit something so hard to have any feeling but fear and worry as her constant companion.
Rinker didn’t flinch but he closed his eyes and she reeled back. “Go ahead. I forgive you, but it won’t make you feel better… not for long anyways.”
His change in elevation and the fact Rinker was not putting up a fight stopped Jessa cold. “Don’t say that,” she looked around as if uncomfortable with someone on their knees promising her forgiveness for her actions. It reminded her too much of the man on Mischwald.
She could not attack someone that wasn’t trying to hurt her. Everything she had learned was to defend people not inflict harm. “Get up,” she said loudly still holding her hand up. Instead of hitting him Jessa grabbed Rinker’s arm and tried to pull him erect. “Stand up,” she yelled at him.
Even though Rinker wasn’t built like he lived at the gym, he was still a grown man probably double her body weight. There was no way she could pull him to his feet if he didn’t want to move. “I…I need you to… stand up.” Jessa leaned into his arm as if trying to push him off balance from his one-kneed position. It was going to be impossible to fight him when he was not standing over her. Rogan never would be in this position so it made it harder for her to imagine anyone but Rinker right now. Jessa needed him to fight her so she could force them to throw her with her friends in the jail cells deep within the ship.
“I don’t need to stand up.” He wanted her to look him in the eyes… well his eyes were closed most of the time, because despite the fact he believed he wasn’t in danger he didn’t much like being knocked around.
“Please stand up,” she moved in front of him and dropped to her own knees pushing him again. While it was not perfect, by dropping her stance, Rinker was now taller than her again. Leaning forward Jessa pressed her shoulder into his chest and her back into his knee. She had to knock him off balance. The position however made her instantly think of someone else. Closing her eyes she could pretend if she concentrated hard enough that it was not Rinker but Pellan. The uniform was not the same, the cologne was not the same, the physical build was not the same, but only Pellan would drop to her level when Jessa needed someone comfort her. “If you don’t stand up how are you going to make them let me go back home. I want my mom,” Jessa said in a hiccuping sob. “Stand up so you can take me to my shuttle so I can go home.”
Rinker rocked back with her comparatively unimpressive blows. “Make who help you go home?”
“Tell me where your mother is. I’ll do my best to help you.” He knew he couldn’t promise anything too much. It was his hypothesis that she was a hostage somewhere too far away and too ‘safe’ for him ore the Atlantis to get to. Nor would the Federation allow the Atlantis take an excursion into a hostile empire’s territory for one unaligned woman.
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