Posted by Lieutenant Markus Woods (Chief Science Officer) in Another New Ship
Mark listened intently as he finished off the last of what he’d plated up for himself. “He might be a glorified farmer,” he said with a small, wry smile, “but overall that sounds pretty great. Reminds me of home somewhat.” It was true, they had a plot they made produce with, and traded with others in their little township on Deneva for stuff they didn’t have. Replicators could fill in whatever. And Deneva, after many decades was well-established with it’s own metropolitan cities. But it still had plenty of small towns, and even wild, untamed places. At times it felt almost like being on the frontier. Almost. Even with it being well within Federation territory. Agriculture was still alive and well on the planet. Barter. Trade. The handshake deal.
Betazed was a lot like that. They had cities…or they did. A lot of the metropolitan areas were destroyed during the Dominion occupation. It was the rural and untamed places that saved their people. Sharah had never seen her world as it was, she had been born that year in the middle of it all. Her father had done a lot to save their agricultural systems and save other areas from starving.
“Maybe one day I’ll get to meet your folks. If you wish, and we’re still in touch down the road.” Starfleet was not a safe bet, and either of them could be transferred before, during, or after any cruise or posting. Not that he wanted to leave the Viking. Huh, when did that happen? Before this last cruise, he’d considered transferring to a different post. But after talking with Korczak… and now meeting Sharah. And Captain Rende… he wondered if maybe he wasn’t exactly where he needed to be. For now.
“My parents will be easy, it’s my brother that will be the issue. He’s the COS on OP 52.” It was a measure of her comfort level with Mark and her confidence in herself around him, that she responded directly to his thoughts. “We can only be exactly where we are. Wishing to be elsewhere makes you miss what you have.” [Things change in a flash so it was important to hold on to what you had while you had it.]
“Your brother, huh? I’m guessing he’s the over-protective one,” he asked. Concern came through with his tone, but at the same time, a little bit of mirth. He would be ready for her brother, one way or another. Finally getting to the bottom of his glass, he stood, picking it up along with his plate. Refilling his water, he got a little more o the lasagna and returned. “Need a reload?”
Sharah nodded, “Please.” It was good and the company was better, refreshing. But she laughed, “Andrew is, but not in the way you are thinking. He tends to…hover. when we were little Andrew didn’t understand what it was like to hear thoughts and emotions. Not until his turned on at 13. And then…he felt really bad about how he’d acted before. He became my self proclaimed guardian. He…he got really skilled at being able to anticipate when and where I would have problems. It was like he actually understood without being me.” It was hard to describe. Andrew was often the only one who could reach her through the storms - simply because he had the strength of will and through no specific skill or talent. “What your thinking of would probably be my mother. She has no telepathic skill to speak of except with my father, and that’s because…well it’s him. There were…problems…before, and she doesn’t want it to happen again.”
Taking a few moments, he refilled her drink, and another round of food, though smaller this time. It turned out pretty good, which that alone made him happy. But she was enjoying it as well, which made it all the better. Another person, would have been fine alone. But Sharah’s approval mattered more.
Settling back down he took another bite, chewing thoughtfully. “So, you mentioned getting back to medical. What brought you to it? i know you like fixing things, people things better. I assume that’s got a big part to play.” He tilted his head as he regarded her, a small smile flickering along the edges of his expression.
Sharah picked up her glass and sipped slowly. “When you can feel others’ pain, how they are hurting, how they are sick, and you can’t stop from feeling it, it’s unbearable. It was for me anyway. The only way to make it stop was to help. When I was little that meant telling, but when I was 5 and in the hospital it was a nightmare. So many people hurting and sick in the same place. Once I could leave my room I started wandering. Anyway I was able to hear what the doctors were thinking, about what was wrong and how they could fix it. So I started asking questions and listening and…” She smiled a small laugh escaping, “One time I ‘spoke’ to the doctor and told him what to do. Startled him into dropping his tricorder. Because I could feel what was wrong I knew what he missed, and was able to help. After that…I don’t know, I guess, even that young it felt good to help instead of being shunned. I spent so much time in and out of their offices they started teaching me stuff, giving me old cases to look at. This thing in my head, I’m treated like I’m I’ll or dangerous, and maybe I am, but if I can use it to help people, even a little…maybe my life isn’t pointless.”
Mark nodded, filing those bits away. “That’s about what I expected,” he mused. “And that also explains how you got through med school so fast.” He flashed her a bright smile. “Girl wonder, been doing it since you were five.” Sunny warmth still radiated from him, wrapped around her gently, almost like a soft but warm blanket fresh from a dryer. “I can’t imagine doing anything less, with your abilities. And your life is far from pointless. I see purpose and drive. I see someone who’s extraordinary. I don’t see illness, or even danger.”
Sharah turned red flattered and a little self conscious, “Hardly a girl wonder. I spent very little time in an actual school, so I studied what I wanted. I upset the other kids and they upset me. And it was all very overwhelming. The doctors suggested I study from home, and reading was a safe activity, so I got to read and study anything I wanted.” She shrugged a little, she loved learning and she was able to focus on science and medicine and she loved it. “I am ill, according to the standards for Betazoid health. The extreme levels of input cause pain, disorientation, over load my neural functions which in turn cause problems with other body systems, and can at times become so extreme my brain could literally burn itself out.” There was a sensation like she was settling into that warm blanket and she closed her eyes briefly focusing totally on that experience, wrapping the blanket tighter around herself.
He paused for a moment. “Most people are insecure about so much. Worried about what others will think, or how they will react to a given action. Thought? What they wear. And so much more. And it’s all just noise. Everyone wants love, acceptance, safety, approval. And they spend so much time being afraid of getting it. And it keeps them from really connecting. They worry that the negative and dark things that go through their head… will drive others off.” He shrugged. “We all have them. It’s when we act on them that there’s a problem.” He shrugged again. “I think they’re afraid of having a light shined on those things. Or security concerns. They fear the unknown. And being at a disadvantage. But sometimes, you just have to accept the facts, and move forward from those facts. Move with hope and courage. Not fear.” Reaching out he laid a hand on her forearm just above the wrist, giving a gentle squeeze just for a moment. “I suppose it’s a leap of faith into the void. But most aren’t telepaths. Or able to read someone like a book. So of course, they’ll think you’re dangerous. Could you be? Oh hell yes, you could. But anybody that really listens telepath or not would know otherwise.”
Sharah just stared at him for a long time, stunned. She came from a world where everyone was a telepath, everyone was empathic, and they were blunt and shockingly so.
But even they were afraid of what Sharah could hear, what she could do, what her potential was. She was very much aware that she was afraid to be seen through the lens of other’s concerns and fears. That she new the darkness in them all but she wasn’t afraid of it, but they were afraid that she wasn’t. She was afraid of what she was, what could happen if she didn’t maintain strict control over it, and the control she had was considered non-existent. [How did Mark see her so clearly when her own people didn’t? Who was with him when his talents were suddenly thrust upon him?] She might be abnormal for a Betazoid but she had the entire medical field and her family, who had helped him rather than made him a lab rat?
Her other hand slid over his on her arm, holding the contact. It almost scared her how the contact didn’t overwhelm her but instead seemed to be calming. “Most people like me don’t live to adulthood. In recent history there have only been three of us. Tam Elbrum became the most sought after diplomatic first contact specialist until he disappeared, Hent Tevren who used his ‘abilities’ to kill and became a serial killer, and me. People fear I could be like him. I don’t want to be.”
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