Posted by Lieutenant Junior Grade Sharah Fayth (Medical) in side-sim True North
Posted by Lieutenant Markus Woods (Chief Science Officer) in side-sim True North
Posted by Lieutenant Junior Grade Sharah Fayth (Medical) in side-sim True North
At first, Sharah was numb. She couldn’t quite process the implications. She kept telling herself it was just a possibility, but she honestly didn’t believe that. She reported for her duty shift, performed outstandingly, then left to who knows where and then was seen again back in sickbay. At first it was a relief to go into sickbay and do her job. Do what she was trained to do. To help people, get rid of their pain, make them feel better. Years before Sharah ever joined Star Fleet, she’d discovered she had a natural ability to calm her patients. When other children got hurt or were sick she had been able to soothe them and help them be calm. This has continued into her career. It didn’t work unless the person wanted to feel better. Sharah never forced anyone to feel a certain way (though she had always suspected. Someone told her once that they smelled their grandmother’s cookies. She thought that had sounded very comforting at the time.
But now she just didn’t want to be around people. The thing was Sharah liked people she just couldn’t function without a lot of time to herself. This wasn’t that though, she needed to think to process to come to terms with how her world had shifted.
Then, Sharah was angry. If what Markus said held even a grain of truth, and the stories certainly could be interpreted that way, then her people knew how to help others like her. If not with absolutes, at least with knowledge. And yet they allowed people like her to suffer needlessly. They called them prodigies, super sensitives, all kinds of polite terms. But behind closed doors the doctors and psychologists thought much different things calling them sick, damaged, monsters, anomalies, a developmental aberration. She went over the stories again, pouring over them, starting with a blank PaDD and starting over, making the connections between the old stories and she found there was a gap. Some time several hundred years ago the stories stopped. And then suddenly there were records of people like her, the references much more in line with what they were told now. Born with their gifts turned on and unable to cope, pain, overwhelm, psychological and physiological damage.
Trying to be the researcher she was, she created an uplink. “Computer access Betazed library database. Cross reference with the national ecology institute and the Betazed school of Psychology and the planetary medical database.” Moments later =/\=UPLINK CONNECTED.=/\= “Computer cross reference the patient files of Kicid Une and Jeerrihi Ma from the 1900s Terran calendar. Are there any widespread illnesses or natural disasters or unexplained scientific phenomena?” The computer worked quietly for several minutes. =/\=NEGATIVE=/\= “Are there any references to alien visitors in the records?” That question left the computer to mull for several minutes. =/\=THERE ARE NO OFFICIAL RECORDS OF SUCH EVENTS IN THE PUBLIC BETAZOID LIBRARY.=/\= Sharah looked up, “But what about private libraries?” =/\=PLEASE MAKE A FORMAL REQUEST.=/\= “Oh shut up. Disconnect library link up.”
The computer beeped and Sharah paced angrily across her quarters angrily throwing pillows and anything else she could get her hands on. It was a long night for Sharah. Unwilling to go out and run into others, she alternately paced, sat, cried, and raged against - life. And the confusion was only made worse by the noise of hundreds of other minds.
In the long hours between shifts, when Sharah could find stillness, if not quiet, she found her mind inexorably searching the noise for Markus. Like a reflex, like the needle of a compass always pointing north. After she had roused from her faint the only reason she could find for it was a sudden drop in her blood pressure. She could only conclude that she was over tired, over stimulated, and the sudden revelation had shocked her significantly. They had finished the meal Markus had made, talked for quite a bit longer, but eventually they both knew she needed sleep. Now, Sharah wished he had stayed, that she could talk to him. That out of everyone and anyone, he understood. And she simply…she smiled for the first time in days…she liked him, a lot.
Sharah passing out had sent Markus into a big of a panic. Feeling her mind whirling, and then suddenly she was out? He’d grabbed a tricorder from the desk. While it wasn’t rated for the much more detailed scans of a medical tricorder, it could still easily monitor vitals and give basic assessments. Blood pressure had gone out of whack. But it seemed to start coming back within moments. When she’d roused he’d been all sorts of relieved, but still worried. She gave herself a good once over, and seemed okay. It didn’t stop him from worrying like a mother hen. It eased some though when she seemed to not be concerned. Then more when they turned to food. Truth be told he didn’t taste it much.
And as much as he would have liked to build an impenetrable thought-fortress, it wouldn’t help. She was a radio telescope that was lsitening on every band. And he was close and a pretty pure signal. Instead, he tried to put the conversation out of his mind. He succeeded only for a little while. By then, he hoped there was enough noise to drown him out, that he could hide in the static field. That alone made him feel even more guilty. He didn’t really want to hide from her, but he didn’t want to make her feel worse either with his own guilt.
It was a damn stupid thing to do, to just run his head like that. Information hazards were a real problem, and he’d dropped one on her without thinking. And it kind of broke her world view. He was a miserable, rotten friend, and damn irresponsible as a scientist. People had a right to the truth, and it as his job to find it. But that only stretched so far as their ability to handle those truths, or potential truths. Some people, when exposed to some information hazards, like The Basalisk… couldn’t handle it, and reacted negatively. Some even took their own life. He doubted it was that level of dangerous to Shar. But still, he knew he’d hurt her, damaged her, in ways he couldn’t even begin to guess at.
Miserable didn’t really cover how he felt.
He didn’t show up for Alpha shift. Or Beta shift. Nobody had seen him out and about. Just a notice in the system that his projects were on hold, he was taking a personal day. Sheridan could handle things in the meantime.
The next day he did show up. But he didn’t. Unkempt and rumpled, dark circles around his eyes. It seemed he hadn’t slept. Or if he did, there was no rest. He did the job though. And for a while he was able to forget, and seemed to liven up a little. When asked if he was alright, he waved it away. It was nothing. He didn’t want to talk about it. There was work to do. So on and so forth.
Then back to his quarters. Eat. Crap. Sleep. Work. Eat. Crap. Sleep. Rinse repeat.
He didn’t make anything, neither tinkering or cooking. For a while he messed with some games on his computer system, but quickly tired of them. Then turned to his guitar which he half-heartedly plucked at and toyed with. He did launch into a few songs here and there, but after a while grew quite still and resigned. Eventually … going to bed.
Rinse. Repeat. Going through the motions of the day. Putting on a fake smile when he needed to. But he wasn’t there. Not really. Still stuck in that moment. wishing like hell he hadn’t said anything. And missing her like he had a hole ripped in him.
During a particularly long treatment for a patient Sharah found herself using her incredible empathy to help the young officer calm. The plasma burns hurt even while they worked at healing them. And in a listless moment she was horrified. How could that talent, that predilection to help others, be turned into something dark and twisted. In the last few days Sharah had run the roller coaster of emotions. She was worn out, lost, and sad, and there was that anger again. It wasn’t like her to be angry, but she was. And it happened to be that night that her brother called her. He called every week just to check on her. And she suddenly felt rather stupid. Wasn’t Andrew doing exactly what Markus had told her to do? You have choices, and can be who you want. You’re a person, actual and whole, and someone I care about a lot. Don’t limit yourself to that concept, you are so much more. Andrew had entered Star Fleet and gone straight into Security. And he used his telepathy in his job, but he chose how he did so and when.
That night, sitting on the floor of her quarters, sketch PaDD in front of her, she picked up a pencil. She was alone and there was a hole where she was missing Markus. At first she’d avoided people because she needed to think, and then because she needed to decide what to do with what she now knew, and now she was stuck back in that horrible habit of isolation that had been taught to her. Told her whole life it was the only thing that would make her sickness manageable. Lies, it was all lies. Instead of drawing, she began to write…
My name is Sharah Fayth, and this is my story. I am what, on Betazed, we call a super-sensitive telepath. And our people and our government have lied to us for so many years. They have called us sick, abnormal, pitiful, and allowed us to die in pain and unaware of where we came from and where we fit in the evolutionary chain. For those like me, who will come after, long after I am gone, I want to tell you something and for you to believe it: We serve a purpose, we have a reason, and we are not a mistake…
And it was cathartic and focusing. You have choices, and can be who you want. And even then, IF you had to fight, could you stand by while good and innocent people died while you could have done something real about it? You’ve got options. You’re not a monster. You’re a person, actual and whole, and someone I care about a lot. Don’t limit yourself to that concept, you are so much more. And it brought clarity. If she was meant to be this way then she wasn’t sick, she wasn’t ill or abnormal or something to be pitied. But then what to do with it.
Through it all her mind searched out Markus. The first time there had been his incredible focus, he was working. She didn’t want to disturb him. She didn’t want to ask if he still felt like she was someone he cared about. It was a viscous cycle that had been trained into her since she was little. But she missed him, she barely knew him, but she missed him. It hurt. Then late in the night when she couldn’t sleep instead of the calm deep serene pool that was his essence it was a storm-tossed sea. Sharah didn’t know why and she didn’t pry, it wasn’t her place was it? And she wasn’t supposed to be listening in the first place; she’d been told that her entire life. But eventually, in the loneliness and sadness she sought him out again. She was sitting in a small extra office in sickbay, away from everyone, lonely but never alone, eating lunch. More like picking at it. And she realized this was the first time since she’d had dinner with Markus that she was actually aware of what she was eating. She closed her eyes and allowed her mind to drift and seek. And over the next moments she felt him change…thoughts of what to eat and where to sit filled his consciousness and then…she felt his mind drifting to her…he was missing her, wondering if she’s okay but keeping his distance, and hating what happened, hurting because of it, he was beating himself up. It wasn’t even words, just heartbreaking listlessness and depression. And she felt the tug of a matching hole in him that matched hers.
In the middle of the night Sharah sat up gasping and tears on her face. She pulled her knees to her chest and hugged them. A nightmare? Maybe. It was always so hard to tell what was hers and what was thoughts of others she picked up in her sleep. Whatever it had been it left her feeling scared and uncertain and lonely. She looked around her room seeing the scattered mess she’d made in the last week. Her eyes landed on Hope her bonsai and it reminded her of another bonsai just a few decks away and suddenly she smiled. She wasn’t alone was she, there was someone who, at least had wanted to be around her. She was afraid and uncertain of where to go forward, but she was tired of it tempering her decisions and choices. Sharah stood up and pulled a robe on.
Minutes later she pressed the chime on Markus’ door. She had no idea if he would let her in or not, but she did know she couldn’t let him continue to think he’d done something wrong. And that she cared too much to have a life without him in it. And that was terrifying how strongly she felt that, but she was certain of it.
He jolted awake with a start, sitting upright. A paper was stuck to his face with drool. It fell off, landing on the desk, narrowly missing the small puddle on it. Bleary-eyed he wiped his face off and looked around. Nothing was amiss. Nothing that he saw. Mentally he cast about, just within the nearest dozen meters or so. Nothing both other crew who were either sleeping or enjoying some personal time. The Viking never truly slept.
Still groggy, he stretched with a groan, arching and then twisting. He should really go to bed. Especially if he passed out in the middle of reading… He picked up the paper. Consciousness & Unified Field Theory. It was a study about intelligent consciousness able to exist as a field, rather than being tied to something like the brain. It involved a lot of quantum proofs as well as psionic theory. Something that had originated in the early twenty-first century but had never been in a position to do more than run the math. But now? An intrepid researcher might be able to test it out… some day.
Shaking his head he stood and reached out for his mug on the desk. It shattered. The expletive that went through his mind was equally explosive. But thankfully the mug had been empty. Grumbling he took a steadying breath, then stretched out his hand. The shards on the desk and floor began to float and gather up neatly, hovering over his palm. The door chime’s silvery tone shivered through the air. It was after midnight. Now what? Glancing toward it, he reached out to see if he knew was on the other side. With a thousand souls aboard, he only knew a couple hundred in any meaningful way. Most were just vaguely familiar faces.
He almost dropped the glass again.
Carefully he sat them on the desk. Padding to the door, Mark cycled the lock. He was dressed in a ratty pair of gray sweat pants and a black shirt. his hair was a little unkempt and it looked like he had a three day beard. He wasn’t really taking care of himself.
At first he said nothing, though he knew he didn’t need to. Concern. Was she okay? Did something happen? Why was she here? Couldn’t sleep? it looked like she’d tried. A faint spark of happiness followed, that she was there. Along with a brighter spark of hope. Worry again. Was this an end, or a beginning? Whatever she needed..?
Reaching out, he drew her in, puling her out of the corridor. His stormy gray eyes searched her face, and as much as he really wanted to reach out and bridge the gap, he held back, letting her come to him otherwise. “What is it,” he asked. His voice threatened to break, and it was so quiet, as if he feared it might break the spell and he would wake up, alone again.
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