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An Exchange of Thoughts

Posted on 02 Oct 2023 @ 5:49pm by Lieutenant Commander Cintia Sha'mer & Crewman Apprentice Unknown 'Weirdo'

1,136 words; about a 6 minute read

Mission: Miranda

Back in her quarters, and tied down for the moment. Though the orderly had been considerable enough to bring what was left of the brace along, it had become clear to her very soon that her idea of improvising ways to repair it wasn't going to work. Not while she was holed up here, quarantined. Holed up with nothing to do. Alone with her thoughts, which was not the best company at the best of times.

She had finally managed to find someone in her department who hadn't succumbed to the illness and sent him down to the weapons bay, with orders to bring the phasers back online and run a full diagnostic on all the weapon systems. Watching the results of those diagnostics roll in had entertained her for about an hour. All was clear, to her relief.

Then back to the company of her thoughts it was. Of course she kept thinking back about that earlier situation, that odd fight in the Jeffries' tubes, Harva's behaviour. The glimpses of his memories she caught during her brief sojourn into his mind. The flashes she had caught from other minds while she was in sickbay. Delerious minds. In some it brought back confused memories of the past. In Harva's case, an old mission.

What if it had been her?

What if it would happen to her?

Now that was a scary thought. Before Starfleet, before coming to what people here called the Alpha Quadrant, she had lived somewhere else. Far away. And the things she had done there, by orders of the emperor La'Garn (of which she happened to be an illegitimate daughter, which was more a curse than a blessing), were not things she would ever care to do again.

But what if something like that would happen to her? A fever slinging her back into the past, making her think that she was on one of those missions, on this ship full of aliens? She remembered the ease with which she had entered Harva's mind and shivered. On this ship there were maybe two people with mental talents strong enough to stop her – if they were lucky and she wasn't.

And she hadn't even properly met either. The man she had seen a few times in passing, after their first memorable encounter where he had been sitting on the beams in one of the observation lounges during a senior staff meeting. The other person, a very strong Betazed telepath, she hadn't met yet and would like to keep it that way for as long as possible. A quick glance on the duty roster had told her that she was a counselor and Sha'mer avoided even non-telepathic counselors like the plague.

No pun intended.

She sighed. The choice was easily made – after all, she had noticed him in sickbay, moving around to help out, ease people there. Which means that if he was still strong enough to move about, he either wasn't very ill himself or not ill at all.

Which meant that he would be able to safely come to her quarters.

A quick look on the ship's personnel list showed that he was officially regisered there under the name 'Tychon', so she tapped her comm badge and asked him to come.

He showed up a few minutes later. Wearing, of all things, a strange outfit with a black mask which looked like the beak of a bird and a wide black cloak. Sha'mer blinked, wondering if she had fallen ill after all and the hallucinations were starting.

Then the man removed the mask and grinned. "I was doing some research in plagues and illnesses of the past. Apparently this was meant to ward off sickness for the doctors and others who cared for them. Though you don't appear to be sick. What can I do for you, Commander?"

"Hope that I don't get sick to start with," Sha'mer replied, still staring at the mask and the man who held it in his hand with fascination. "But if I do…" She lowered her mental shields a fraction.

This time it was the man's turn to look startled. He blinked, and something in his stance shifted, his eyes grew darker, storm-like, before clearing again. "You… have a very interesting mind."

"As have you," Sha'mer retorted. "But you can see why I don't want to run the risk of that happening here."

The man nodded solemnly, his face grave. "I think we can agree on that."

"So my question to you is, should this happen, at any given time… can you stop me?"

A longer silence. Sha'mer felt the tendrils of his mind reaching out, the alien touch of his mind against her shields, not probing deeper despite her invitation. His own mind was blank, a mirror, hiding the depths underneath – and not just for her. She felt absolutely no urge to break through that mirror and probe its depths herself.

"My honest answer is that I don't know," he said at last. "But I have the feeling that I might. At least long enough to take you out by more conventional means. Should anything like this happen."

Images flickered through his mind as he spoke, too swift to catch, but part of her mind caught the echo and more information was exchanged on a deeper level than mere words could reach. In that moment they understood each other perfectly, alien versus unknown alien, and a mutual understanding was reached.

Sha'mer nodded as she raised her defences again, strangely relieved. The man nodded back, his own mind drawing back. "Is there anything else I can do for you while I'm here?"

"Not unless you can pull a new brace from that mask. No, never mind that. Thank you."

The man grinned and turned the mask upside down. Nothing came out. "Traditionally a hat would be better, I believe, but I didn't bring mine with me this time. Fairly certain I can't get one out of there either. Sorry 'bout that."

Sha'mer shrugged. "That's alright. I'm not going anywhere for the time being, anyway. And in here I can manage."

"Then if you'll excuse me…" The man bowed and put the mask back on. In a muffled voice he continued: "I'll go and see what the situation is like in sickbay. I would advise you to some rest, Commander." The smile was clear even through the mask.

He was gone before Sha'mer could open her mouth to ask "Dressed like that?"

But one thought came floating back, nonetheless. Sure. Why not?

Sha'mer shook her head. Why not, indeed. She felt tired, all of the sudden. It had been a long day, all in all, and she had lost more blood than she'd care to admit. Maybe getting some rest was a good idea.


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