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Psychic Toxicity

Posted on 03 Oct 2023 @ 9:10pm by Commander Elleese Elloyia

730 words; about a 4 minute read

Mission: Miranda

The ship's chief counselor, barely on the job but a few weeks, has called out sick for the day's shift.

Elleese Elloyia was not, however, sick with what everyone else had.

Her life was one where she walked on a tightrope, all day, everyday. To be able to do what she did and live the way she lived, with the neurological makeup that she had, required caution with every step of her life. That self-control had been rigidly taught to her through all the informative years of her childhood, and she clung to that training at all times. Some days were easier than others, of course, but it was like that for all sentient beings. Her hard days, however, were not like everyone else's. It wasn't that she ever thought her life was more difficult than others; she just knew that the nature of her difficulties were uncommon.

It was called a "rare genetic aberration" for a reason, after all.

When members of the crew had first started falling ill, it had caused an underlying tension to form on the ship. It wasn't something non-empaths would pick up, but naturally, she felt it. The numbers of infected persons spiked so fast that the tension was not so "underlying" anymore and intensified fast. It was uncomfortable but not debilitating for her. Her appointments dropped in drastic fashion, of course, as most of the crew under her care were now either in sickbay or being quarantined in their own quarters. It caused her a headache, this feeling around her, but it was not from the illness. She recognized that much.

She had offered to come down and try to help, but she was told that it was...not ideal for every member of the senior staff to take on a high risk of infection. Someone still needed to oversee the ship, and there was as yet no telling how this had all started or how it was spreading. Reluctantly, she followed the doctor's wisdom.

That put her on her own, however. She tried to continue reading up on the ship and the crew, since there was a lot of reading that she had to fit in between meeting people, but that quickly became too difficult. It was at that point she realized there was a turn in the illness aboard. A sudden majority of the crew were now feeling mental effects. She could not be sure exactly what form these were taking, but she recognized the general feeling of the crew. She'd been around patients who were delirious and hallucinating before, but this was on a scale that she had never experienced.

And, now...

Elleese felt like a beach, with a surging tide washing up on shore and then receding. It came and went, but unlike the gentle waves described in romance stories and vacation advertisements, this was more like a riptide of sickly water. The delirium so many were experiencing felt like a toxic slick sitting on the surface that washed in and out with the tide. And she could not stop it. Her shields, so carefully crafted and maintained, did withstand the worst of it. It kept her from dissolving into a historical statistic like others of her particular brand of aberration, but it did not keep her from feeling it at all.

That toxic slick sensation left her with the psychosomatic feeling of being unclean, and she had already showered three times today. She knew the psychological effects for exactly what they were, but knowing and preventing were too different things. The best she could do was take small steps to ease herself, like the showering, while keeping the rational explanations at the front of her mind.

It was still overwhelming, however, having to work so much harder than usual to stay on that tightrope. She had decided that going on duty today didn't have much point. Her appointments for the day were all cancelled, the counseling office yeoman was sick, and she was battling the psychic sludge... It was just easier to stay in her quarters where she could meditate (or shower) whenever she needed to. In her meditations, she could work on strengthening her psychic resistance. In doing that, she would be more available to help the ship and crew in whatever capacity she could.

Like everyone else, she was doing the best she could.


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