Previous Next

Hearing the other side

Posted on 21 Oct 2023 @ 4:45pm by Lieutenant Commander Cintia Sha'mer & Captain Easton Lawe

1,334 words; about a 7 minute read

Mission: Miranda

After talking to Taliborn, there really was a clear next step: talk to Commander Sha'mer. He knew from a report that was somewhere in the mess on his desk that she was in her quarters to recover from her injury, since sickbay was full of sick crew. He opened a channel to her.

"Sha'mer here." The answer came promptly, almost eagerly. Not that she was eager to speak with the captain in particular, she knew that this was something which had to be done, but she wasn't really looking forward to it. But the forced isolation in her quarters, coupled with the damaged leg which forced her into inactivity, had been hard to her. She had polished and perfected her paperwork, she had cleaned out her closet and repacked it (not that there had been much to clean or to repack, she had always travelled lightly and had few personal possessions with her). She still wasn't ill – in short, she was completely fed up and done with it all.

And now that she had been released from isolation and saddled with a hefty task, the captain called. His timing couldn't have been better if he tried.

"Commander," Easton greeted with a nod as the visual came up. He didn't intend to stay long on formalities, but he did start there. "How is your recuperation coming along?"

"As well as can be expected," Sha'mer replied neutrally. As could be expected for one on which the standard Federation-type regenerators didn't work. "I'm not sick, so as soon as the quarantine is lifted I'm good to go. As long as people don't expect me to do jumping jacks any time soon."

"Have they before?" He asked with a wry smile, but the expression faded fast. "I'm sure you can guess why I'm calling. I just spoke to Mr. Taliborn."

Well, that saved her from answering his half-joking question. "Aye?" she waited what more would come. What exactly had Harva told him? And what hadn't he?

There was a small, darkly amused corner of Easton's mind that thought it was a coy response. "I wanted to hear your side about what happened between you and Taliborn." He may not have come up through investigations, but he had been in command long enough to know that it didn't serve anyone to influence an answer beforehand. He wanted to hear what she had to say without telling her what he'd been told. As unbiased as possible.

"Of course." Sha'mer paused briefly to sort through the facts and line them up as impartially as possible. "I got an alert that someone was messing around with the weapon systems. Since the attack of those tentacle constructs I've been somewhat overly cautious, perhaps, so I used the Jeffries' tubes to approach the area for a closer look. Unfortunately, it turned out that commander Taliborn was hiding in them after taking the phaser banks offline. He was ill, struck down with the same sickness which is swamping sickbay at the moment, and thought he was on a mission, something from his past. I managed to stun him, but not before he could attack me. The stun didn't knock him out, but did bring him to his senses. He called sickbay and we were beamed out."

So far, at least, the stories were matching. "May I ask, was there any particular way you are able to be sure he has been struck with the same disease or is it simply matching...timing and actions?"

"Well, he looked pretty sick. Feverish. In pain. Nauseous. Lack of sleep. I'm not a doctor, so I cannot be sure, but it certainly matches with what's going around. Hallucinations and delirium seems to be a frequent part of it, so that matches as well. And he certainly seemed to be hallucinating," Sha'mer reported factually.

"Indeed," Easton agreed thoughtfully. "He did also mention that you offered to help him...protect himself from telepaths potentially seeing these memories. Can you tell me more about what that would involve?"

Again that thoughtful pause, this time not to consider what she was going to say but how she was going to say it. Describing in mere words a telepathic process – or not even true telepathy, to put a fine point to it, it was a form of mind-control – was always hard. "I think the best description is that I can put a wall around those memories. Block them off. A casual telepath won't even notice the block is there. A good one might pick up that there is a… an empty spot in his memories, covering a certain time, or that not all memories of that time period can be accessed. That's already a pretty invasive procedure, actually, but not all telepathic races stick to the ethics of 'not reading someone's thought without permission'. And if someone is really going to be invasive and wants to try to access those memories, break through that block… well, not many would be able to. The ones who can, or who would use instruments for it – I'm talking mental probes here and such – are likely going to destroy the mind before they can access anything of value. But if such a situation should ever come to pass, the commander would be in deep trouble to begin with."

That was a lot to take in. Easton nodded slowly. He had worked with empaths and telepaths often enough, of course, but since he was not one himself, it took some thought to fully process it. "Is there any risk to you in this process, Commander?"

Fortunately, this was an easier question to answer. "It'll be inevitable that I'll see the memories which need to be walled off. Other than that, not particularly, no." She would have to be careful, though, but that was always a given when entering other minds. And she would have to do some preparations of her own first. The absolute last thing she wanted was for Harva to see things in her mind she didn't want anyone to see. Her own people, the Vo'Sh'un, cared little for mental ethics. And before she could sufficiently entangle herself to come to the Alpha Quadrant without risking to be hauled back, she'd had to do some things which were unpleasant even for the average Vo'Sh'un standards. The best she could say about those experiences was that they had left her extremely capable in various aspects of mind control.

Easton knew, of course, that there was a lot more to all of this than he was being told...but he also knew that there would always be things he wasn't told. He had some meditation on everything to determine what he needed to know as the captain versus what he just wanted to know as a person. "Thank you for your responses," he said after several long, thoughtful moments. "Whether you and Commander Taliborn choose to pursue this will be ultimately up to the two of you." If it didn't run unreasonable risk to them or the ship, it was a personal choice on both their parts. "But obviously not until this current crisis is over." He paused. "Has the doctor determined when you'll be recovered enough to return to duty--or at least leave your quarters?"

"Just now, Captain. I was about to attend to a request from the doctor when you called me. The illness hasn't gotten to me, at least, not thus far."

"And hopefully that will remain so," Easton said, though he was getting worried that there wouldn't be anyone left unaffected before long... "I'll leave you to it, then. Thank you for your time, Commander."

"And you, Captain," Sha'mer answered. When the connection closed she stretched and reached for the next PADD. Time to see if there was anyone left in Security who could guard the morgue. It might not be necessary right now, but if the doctor was right - and she feared he was - it could well be necessary soon.


Previous Next

RSS Feed RSS Feed