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Mesakh wuh kim-shah krup

Beyond the final frontier, and the boundary of known space, chaos awaits.

Part 1: Krus wuhkuh

Y'Tech V, Sea Quest Sub -
14th March 2401 23:54

Commander Salan of the USS Jaxartes, heard the shout of his young half Orion Helms-Officer as she told everyone to ‘hold tight’.  The submarine Sea Quest which she was currently piloting; lurched upwards as compressed air forced water out of the ballast takes, making the vessel rapidly lighter and sending it up towards the surface of the ocean.

The small craft which had been pursuing them in the depths struck the outcrop of rock which the submarine had just risen over.  With the hostile craft destroyed, the Starfleet officers and civilian rescue team that made up the crew of six on board the Sea Quest, final felt they had a chance to relax and take stoke of the situation.  With the ballast takes fully empty the sub wouldn’t cease it relentless climb until it reached and broke the surface. The depth gauge was going wild, its numbers changing more swiftly than anyone could read them.  Somewhere between 500 and 400 meter’s the control area was bathed in a brilliant blue and white light, the air crackled and hummed.  Salan felt the telltale sign of a transport beam locking on to him.  One moment he was on the sub, the next; after the brilliant blue and white light had faded the Vulcan found himself in an almost pitch black room.

Instinct moved his hand towards his comm-badge, but it wasn’t there.  A careful fingertip search of the floor surrounding him, led the Commander to conclude that the communication device had not been transported with him.  An indication that his captor’s possibly knew of its use. 

There was a mustiness in the air; like the room hadn’t been used for quite some time and the filtration system wasn’t operating all that efficiently.  After a short while the Vulcan eyes became more accustomed to the lack of light.  Things within the room started to become more familiar.  A chair and table were just behind him, bunkbeds along the opposite wall and a red door.  These were crew quarters on a Federation vessel of that he was almost positive, the lack of any view port, put him somewhere internal rather than along the outer hull.  It was an old ship judging from the style and looks of things, but Federation never the less.  The transport clearly hadn’t been; so this vessel had either been repaired or refitted with some equipment belonging to another race.  Salan tried the door, and as he suspected would be the case; it didn’t open.  He did however locate a set of manual controls to adjust the light level, though for now he chose to leave them low.  Alone, he had no indication regarding the whereabouts or condition of any of the other five members in the sub.  There wasn’t much the Vulcan felt he could do, given the current situation, so he sat on the lower bunk and contemplated for a while.

            **********

Much time had passed when the now sleeping Vulcan was awoken by the ‘swish’ of the door opening and a influx of light from the corridor outside.  A figure stood at the door on the threshold.  A male, he appearing humanoid in form, of average high; and with a muscular build.  The individual wore a light brown robe tied with a simple black cord around the waist; his head and face were covered in a headdress of a much darker brown.  Everything about him pointed towards an individual from somewhere hot and arid; certainly not on a starship like this one.  The Commander wondered briefly about what could have happened to her previous crew; who if his calculations were right, would have died from old age by now, even if nothing else had befallen them.

Salan swung his legs round, getting into a seated position on the bunk.  The stranger spoke, but without his badge to translate, the Vulcan had no real understanding of what was being said; though had an idea it was in connection to the tray of food this man was carrying in both hand.  Thoughts of overpowering him and making a run for it were quickly quelled by two addition figures dressed in the same manner as the first; standing in the corridor.  Though the commander couldn’t make out any weapons from his position, they would most likely both be armed.  So Salan simple accepted the tray and thanked the man, who backed away, the door closing once more.

On the tray was a bowl of Gespar and a beaker of water.  The Vulcan took a tentative taste of the fruit, using his fingers to pick up a small portion, as no utensils had been provided.  It was palatable but far from fresh, the water, tepid with a slight metallic tinge to it.  Both indications of having been stored somewhere and not recently replicated.  The tray, bowl and beaker were all constructed of a pliable rub like substance; presumably to render them ineffective as weapons.  His captors, whoever they were, clearly did not like to take chances.  Having at least provided him with a breakfast, he had to conclude that they wished to keep him alive, at least for the time being.

The commander tried his best to judge the passage of time; but without visual cues or knowing how long he had slept, it was hard for the Vulcan to gauge length he’d been aboard.  He did know they’d been moving at Warp; anything other than that would be mere speculation, and it wasn’t in a Vulcan’s nature to guess.  It was though easier to sense an hour between the arrival of breakfast and the return of the same individual to collect the tray.  The man returned after only a few minutes, gesturing to Salan that he should step out of the room; his two armed companions there to make it clear the Vulcan had no real choice in the matter.  There weapons, or at least the one he got the best look at; consisted of three barrels in an inverted triangle, with what looked to be a gas cylinder mounted underneath.  Both of which indicated this gun fired solid projectiles force from the barrel by compressed air or gas.  It was primitive but still highly effective at killing and maiming, especially at close range.

The corridor outside the commanders’ temporary accommodation had the same general look as the quarters; as in that it had not been adequately cleaned several years.  The floor was marked with the footfall of countless boots that had walked this way over the passage of time, the walls to bore scuffs and stains on their surface.  Salan was escorted along the corridor which curved to the left.  That meant whichever ship this was, he was in the saucer section.  A ship of this apparent age wouldn’t have main decks in this section; between 6 and 15, depending on the class.  They passed several door on both sides, but none carried the usual code numbers and letters which would have added the Vulcan in establishing more details. 

At a junction, he was motioned to take the left turn rather than carry straight ahead, passing a turbo-lift door as he did.  Then just a short distance on, the second door to the right was opened.  As Salan entered, it was clear that this was the ships gym, one of them at least.  The equipment was old, but on closer examination appeared functional.   ‘So his captors wanted to keep him both feed and fit, interesting’.  Within the gym, there sat two running machines, a pair of static bikes, and a rowing machine to one side, with a punch bag, pommel horse and exercise mats on the other.  It was interesting to note that any weights or equipment that used them; had been removed.   Yet another case of any potential weapons being denied to him. 

For the next hour Salan availed himself the use of the various apparatus in the gym.  At only 51 years of age, as a Vulcan, Salan was still in the prime of life and prided himself on the levels of fitness he had maintained over the years.  He had no intention of letting those standards drop, despite not know what the future had instore for him.   A watercooler had also been provided, along with a half dozen towels, all of which smelled of having spent a considerable amount of time kept in storage; piled up on the corner of a small table, bolted to the floor, just in case anyone had ideas about throwing it.  Unfolding one of the towels to wipe the sweat from his forehead as he’d already done a few times during his exercise; he received his first breakthrough.  This towel was monogrammed, as was the general practice of most starships to put its name on many of the items used by its crew.  If that was indeed the case, the Commander was currently aboard the USS Kinshasa.   Taking a sip of water the Vulcan tried to recall that name; he’d definitely heard it at some point in his career.  But for now that knowledge eluded him. 

It was at this point the guards made it abundantly clear, exercise was over and he should return with them to the quarters were he was being kept. 

The routine would hardly fluctuate over the next six day.  Breakfast, exercise, an afternoon meal, and followed by another meal in the late evening.  They generally consisted of something from Vulcan or Earth, usually accompanied by water or fruit juice.  During that time he tried to pick up on the language these people used, which was proving rather tricky without any base of reference.

Part 2: Krus dahkuh

USS Kinshasa - Harpers Rift and beyond
21st March 2401 (Estimated)

A week had passed with very little change to the routine the Vulcan Commander had settled into; wherever this ship was taking him, it was certainly a long journey.  On the fifth day the vessel had shock violently for close to three hours; it hadn’t been an attack; that he was sure of.  It was more likely a cosmic storm or anomaly which they’d been unable to avoid.   To Salan the near solitude and occasional interactions with the guards, did not affect him.  He could take or leave the company of others; it was something he did not crave, though he did have to admit to himself, it was missed to a degree.

The Vulcan was slowly managing to grasp a few words of his captures language, and was interested in the reaction of his captors when he’d attempted to use them.  He was no linguistic expect, but it didn’t fit in with any known language or dialect that he was familiar with.  ‘Mufanza’ was breakfast ‘Mufenza’ referred to the afternoon meal, and it was ‘Mufolza’ late evening.  ‘Testijy’ possible meant good or tasty, at least in relationship to the meals he was providing with.  ‘Talap’ was stand ‘Roro’ was something like follow, ‘Ena’ was stop, halt, and end.  The guards referred to him as ‘Ugfaza’ and themselves a ‘Pelcaza’; but the exact context of the two words still eluded him. 

So far he’d counted eight of the Pelcaza; they all wore the same basic outfit consisting of the robe and headscarf, which to the casual observer made them all appear near identical and indistinguishable from one another, but during his week of confinement Salan had studied them and picked up minor details and mannerisms unique to certain individuals.   It was also clear that these Pelcaza where just servants, the real controlling force behind all this; still remained hidden.

The Pelcaza with the half missing middle finger on his right hand brought the Vulcan his Mufanza as normal.  Salan had studied the injury without drawing attention to the fact. It was something that may have happened years ago, it certainly wasn’t recent, judging from the look of it.  But whenever this had taken place, this looked to have been inflicted as a punishment.  The blade that had severed the finger had clearly gone straight through the bone; slicing rather than breaking, it was also seemed too low down to have been an accident, having left no marks on the fingers either side.  Had this individual, possibly in his late 30’s at some point committed a crime or offended his leaders.  May be that was why he usual brought the first two meals in the day and never carried a weapon; was he considered to be of lower standing.  Other Pelcaza rarely spoke to him, and when they did it sounded terser and abrupt in nature. 

Salan had tried asking this individual question, far from easy with the two differing languages; but this man seemed to have an understanding which suggested contact with others speaking English, which is what the Vulcan had stuck with from day one.  However interactions like this were brief, the guards did not like the two of them conversing for any length of time, and would usually shout at him, if he took too long.

Mufanza was followed by ‘Waro clalla’ which had something to do with the gym or exercise in general;  Salan had developed a routine, using what equipment the Pelcaza had made available to him; usually around 10 or 15 minutes on each.  He would leave the meditation for the privacy of his quarters at the end of each day.  When the Commander went to grab one of the towels just after sweating away on the treadmill, a small fleck of white caught his attention;  tucked carefully between the folds in one of the towels was a piece of paper.  He looked to see if any of the guards were watching his actions; only the one with the missing finger appeared to be taking any notice.  He clearly knew the paper was there, may have even be responsible for it being where it was.  With a gesture of the hand he quickly emphasised that Salan should stuff the paper in his pants pocket and read it later.  The Commanders uniform was starting to look a little worse for wear, certainly well below the immaculately presented attire the Vulcan was more used to.  A weeks’ worth of beard growth was also a novel experience for him.

Back in the solitude of his own quarters Salan retrieved the now partly crumpled piece of paper from his pocket; once unfolded he read what was written on it.

[Glad you’re alive Com Salan, L B]

Those two initials would point towards Laira Bolka; his Bajoran First Office aboard the Jaxartes.  She hadn’t been with him on the sub during his own capture.  Did that mean the whole of the crew had been taken or just selected members?  It was yet another item to add to the list of unknowns.  Salan had to commend his First Office on her resourcefulness in this difficult situation.

            **********

Lieutenant Laira Bolka had been fairly close to Hoydock the Benzite engineer of the MRT Atragon when it happened; she was sure the two of them had been snatched by transporter simultaneously, but had found herself alone in what appeared to be crew living quarters on board a rather old Federation starship.   The Bajoran officer had banged her fists hard on the door for a good ten minutes; demanding answers and to be let out.  Frustrated and with sore hands she’d eventual laid down to sleep.  Not that sleep seemed to come easy for her.  The pain and her mind on edge kept Bolka awake for most of the night.  At least she assumed it was night; like her Captain the room she was in had no windows or devices to measure the passage of time. 

Breakfast came curtesy of the same individual who was bringing food to the Vulcan.  It consisted of Groatcakes, but sadly without the syrup of squill.  They weren’t the best Bolka had ever tasted, nor the worst.  The water, just like Salan’s was lukewarm.  The Lieutenant had thought about jumping on this guy and beating some answers out of him, regardless of the guards outside.  But figured that cause of action would yield nothing as she wouldn’t be able to understand a word he spoke.  Her comm-badge had either been left behind or removed mid-transport.

What followed over the next four days was a sort of guesting game involving the two of them communicating mainly through the use of gestures.  In that time the Lieutenant established that there was someone with spots on their neck; Lei Rahs the Trill no doubt.  Two men with cold faces, one of which had things coming out of the top of his head; so that possibly meant Hoydock the Benzite and an Andorian.  The Runabout they’d gone searching for; had an Andorian aboard.  There was also someone with pointed ears, which she hoped and later confirmed was the Jaxartes’s Vulcan Commander.  Bolka had to assume if anyone else was alive and been held, they had someone else bringing them there meals. 

The piece of paper and a pen to write on it with had taken a bit of persuading.  This individual was clearly worried about the consequences, even showing her his missing finger to emphasise the danger.  He still pulled through though; she only hoped Salan would be the one who found it.

The question she wanted to know; and was sure would be on everyone else’s mind, was.  Who had taken them prisoner, why and where were they being taken?  Ok, technically that was three questions, but they were all linked. 

            **********

Had any of those captured by the Pelcaza been able to see outside of the USS Kinshasa, they would have realised the ship had firstly entered Harpers Rift and then passed through it; but not simply to another part of the sector which it occupied, for the rift was more than just a mass of cloud and gases; this was a gateway to another universe.

Here space was far from empty; a gaseous mist tinged with purple and crimson seemed to fill the void between stars and their accompanying planets, casting an eerie veil across everything it touched.  Even the brightest stars in this universe had difficultly penetrating it; and there were less than a thousand in total.  Only the closest of planets could ever hope to sustain any kind of life; the rest were mere cold barren wastelands.  This was a seemingly inhospitable unliveable place, but it was where the Pelcaza called home, and it was all they’d ever know until their Lord and Master had shown them what lay beyond.

His powers had brought them this vessel and her crew; it was like nothing the Pelcaza had ever imagined and way beyond their simple abilities to construct.  Yet through his guidance and the help of those crew who had accepted him as their divine ruler, the Pelcaza had learned to not only how to fly and operate the ship, but also modify and enhance it with technology they had acquired on their many journeys through the rift.  The original single warp nacelle of the Saladin class ship and been replaced by those of a K’t’inga-class cruiser found damaged and drifting, the aft third of mighty Klingon warship now having been grafted on to the rear of the Kinshasa’s saucer section; creating a bizarre highbred.  Parts and equipment had been stolen or salvage from other races including the ‘Chameleonic Cloaking Device’ with created the illusion the ship was something else.  It had been a storm cloud over Y’Tech V and a comet heading for the rift, amongst other thing; in an effort to stay hidden.  Her weapons systems were outmoded and antiquated at best, so engaging in combat was to be availed at all cost.

No one would ever call this vessel a thing of beauty, but it did the job it had been tasked with, and that job was collected individuals from the various races that inhabited the main universe.  The Pelcaza did not know the reason for this; all they knew was, that it was the will of their master, and his will would be done.

Part 3 Krus rehkuh

Caverns - Planet Eza
Unknown

It was hard for Commander Salan to exactly establish what date or time it was, or whether it was even possible to attribute any of the standard concepts to this universe.  By now he’d ditched his uniform and wore robs very similar to those of the Pelcaza; though his were a deep blue.  He sported a fairly full beard, and had hair the now brushed against his shoulders when he removed the head scarf.

The Vulcan sat alone recalling his arrival on the planet his captors called ‘Eza’ home.  It was the first time he’d got to see anyone else who’d been taken by the Pelcaza, and the first time he’d witness their Master.  There had been 18 of them, each individual from a different race; an impressive achievement if nothing else.  None stood out for being the best their people had to offer, they’d simply been grabbed because they were convenient. 

Salan recognised those from the USS Jaxartes and MRT Atragon; noting as much the absences as those that were present.  There was also the Andorian and Tellarite from the USS Alberga; Norr the Ferengi shuttle pilot he’d encountered earlier in the year.  A rather angry look Klingon and a Borg drone were two of the surprise editions to the group.  These Pelcaza had certainly been busy collecting individuals, the Vulcan had thought to himself at the time. 

When the Pelcaza’s Master made its appearance, it was like a chilling hand had touched the Vulcans heart, squeezing it ever so slightly; the temperature within cavern were they’d all been assembled significantly dropped.  Swirling green smoke and mist coalesced into the head of an old man with a thick mane of white hair and a very bushy beard.  “Welcome.” The voice reverberated throughout the cavern and through the Commanders very bones.  “I am Helgeshran and you have been brought here to do my bidding.”  Here within the cavern, all words could finally be understood regardless of the language being used; as if the walls or very air was translating it.  No doubt the work of Helgeshran.

There was a mix of shock, anger and slight defiance from those present; but only the Klingon dared make any sort of move.  He barged forward pushing his way past those in front of him. “I am Ko’trem of the House Qogh.” He yelled back. “And I yield to no one.” The Klingon got about half way across the gap, roughly 7 metres; before the mist reformed itself into the face of Kahless and an invisible force seemed to stop Ko’trem in his tracks, dropping the warrior to his knees.

“SoH ghe’or lob.” Commanded the Entity. “Willingly or not, but you will obey.”  The more the Klingon fought the clearer it became that the power being used against him was increasing; driving his body closer to the rocky cavern floor.  It was the Andorian Lieutenant from the Runabout that made the first move towards the stricken warrior, but he too was stopped; like an invisible wall had sprung up between him and the Klingon.

That had happened three days ago, or what may have passed for days on a world that never seemed to get dark.  Three had offered themselves willingly that day.  The Borg drone, Norr the Ferengi and despite the pleas of his fellow crewmembers Hoydock the Benzite engineer.  Salan noted that Hoydock no longer wore his breathing equipment, but didn’t seem to be in any stress or discomfort.  Hachiro Jinguji the Japanese Captain seemed to take it the worst; he and the Benzite had formed a close friendship; which may have been the reason behind him excepting his fate the following day.

            **********

The Klingon sat down heavily of the bed opposite Salan, the usually angry scowl etched on his face. “Give me a weapon and I will rip every snivelling retch of these Pelcaza limb from limb!” He shouted it loud enough for any of them nearby to hear.  A couple of them turned to look, but they were starting to get used to his ranting. “Yes you.” He stared directly into the one man’s eyes, who quickly looked away and hurried off.  The warrior laughed.

“They are as much prisoners here as we are.” Salan spoke with his usual level tone. “Antagonising them won’t change anything.”

Ko’trem grumbled. “Well you’re not helping!” He retorted a few moments later. “I thought you Vulcan’s were smart?”

The Commander looked up this time. “I’m watching, listening and evaluated the situation.”

“I can evaluate this situation perfectly fine.” The warrior replied. “We’re being held against our will by some entity and his P’takh.”

“And what do we know of this entity other than the name it has chosen?” Salan Questioned Ko’trem. “Does any of this seem familiar to you?”

The Klingon sat back leaning against the wall, and marshalled his thoughts.  It called itself Helgeshran and possessed great power, but that power didn’t seem unlimited; otherwise why would he need others to do his bidding.  It had the ability to recreate the form of Gods and revered figures in the history of various races, including Kahless.  That was an insult that made the warriors blood boil. He spent the next few minutes in silence, until a distant memory suddenly clicked.

“You’re kidding me?” Was Ko’trem’s answer.

“Vulcan’s do not Kid.” Salan Replied. “We deal in logic and fact. 

“How many of these creatures are out there?” The Klingon warrior uttered.

“Unknown.  But this one is trapped here and may have been for centuries.”  Salan looked across and noticed Ko’trem had dropped off to sleep.  Come to think of it, he’d been feeling tired at odd times himself; like all his energy would sudden drain away and staying awake was a struggle. He could feel it creeping up on himself right now, like a veil was being dropped across his thoughts and mind.  Everything became mute and distant, images blurred and distorted the blacks, browns and reds of the cavern turned to a pale misty grey as the Vulcan finally succumbed to the need for sleep. 

            **********

Tired eyes struggled and fought to open, it was only by sheer force of will from a focused and well-ordered mind, that they even opened just the merest fraction.  It was like the Vulcan was in conflict with himself; a fight between, look, see and understand; or sleep and forget.

The eyes were greeted by the vision of stark white, almost blinding surroundings.  It was hard for the Commander to define any shape or depth to what he was trying to look at; like his mind only partly comprehended the situation.  His body felt numb and unconnected; but there was the sense of lying naked on a hard flat surface.  No not just lying, fastened, restrained, held fast against his will.  There were voices to; faint and incoherent, like listening to them underwater, was the best way to describe it.  One was a male talking the other female.  Salan tried focusing on those voices in the hope of at least catching part of what they said; whoever it was, stood somewhere out of his eye line; movement of his head being restricted by straps and padding.

The hypospray touched the Vulcan’s next before he’d had any sense of movement and the unknown female leaning towards him.  Darkness and oblivion followed shortly.

            ********

The Vulcan blinked twice, looking across at the Klingon in the room with him.  There was a momentary lapse in concentration as he tried to remember what the two of them had just been chatting about.  Still, it couldn’t have been that important, otherwise it wouldn’t have slipped from his mind.   Probably just Ko’trem complaining about everything that was going on, again.  Klingon’s could be so angry at times.  Ok, yes they were being held prisoner, but they were being treated well, so what was the problem.   The Pelcaza were fairly civilised people, far less advanced than races within the Federation, but never the less well-mannered and even polite.   No, this was not a time to stir up trouble. 

The Vulcan Commander closed his eyes to meditate, at least with the Klingon warrior asleep for a moment, he’d have some peace and time to reflect.

Part 4 Krus kehkuh

Caverns - Planet Eza
Unknown

They had roamed another Dimension since our Universe was created; and there were those who believed even before that.  Some of them had the power to manipulate the minds of individuals or whole races, bending them to their will.  Wars had been started and unspeakable horrors inflicted; all in their name.  Others of their kind had altered time and the fabric of space.  Plagues, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions; every type of disaster imaginable had been created by them at some point.  

They appeared as Gods, spirits or mortals depending on their desires and whim.  But they all had the same overwhelming desire; to rule, to rule over the chaos and mayhem they had helped create, to be masters of all they surveyed.  Everything that wasn’t ‘of their kind’ only existed to serve, worship and obey them, or die if they dared act in defiance.  They were near immortal what did the life of one individual mean to them, a thousand, a million, billions, the numbers were immaterial. Only total domination mattered.

This one went by the name of Helgeshran; to the Pelcaza it meant ‘Eternal Gatekeeper’ and to the Vashran ‘He of the Light’.  To both races, he was a divine Ruler and God; worshipped, revered and feared in equal measure. 

But even God’s have their limitations; the dimension over which they possessed total dominion was collapsing, or at least had been when Helgeshran made his escape.  But that had been so long ago, and it had taken so much of his energy to break free of it; that even now he was not yet fully recovered.  The more people that worshiped him the greater his power would become.  Every heart and mind opened to him, would give him strength and once strong enough he would leave this place of hiding and refuge.

He felt a presence near the entrance to the cave were he resided.  It was distinct and unlike any other he’d ever come across, which was why he knew it so well.  Body within body, two minds acting with one purpose and memories stretching back over three hundred years.

Lei Rahs approached; though to be more exact the symbiont Rahs commanded the body of its current host to move forward.  Most if not all Trill/Symbiont joining’s were in synthesis, the two life forms existing in mutual harmony and co-operation.  In the past that would have been true of Rahs and the hosts he had been with.  That was until Ensign Jezarra Rahs of the USS Kinshasa had crossed paths with Helgeshran and become his loyal servant.  That had been 136 years ago, a third of Rahs life span and the lives of three hosts.  At the time only a small number of Trill had joined the ranks of Starfleet, the joining was still a well-guarded secret, as the Trill felt other races would not fully understand the bond they had with their Symbiont.   She’d been a member of the crew almost four years, but only ‘joined’ during the last seven months after extended leave back on her home world.  None of her fellow crewmembers had any idea about the real reason she’d taken time away, or that she now carried another lifeform within her.  When the Saladin class destroyer USS Kinshasa went missing near Harpers Rift in October of 2265, Ensign Jezarra Rahs disappeared with it.  But that was far from the end of her journey.

“How does your work progress?” Helgeshran’s voice seemed to boom and echo around the cave, despite being a mere whisper. 

Rahs was far from intimidated though, having long grown used to his masters’ ways. “All is going as your divine plan dictates.”  The Symbiont knew all the right words and phrases to appease the ruler of this Universe. “Soon like my host, they will do your biding without even realising it.”  The face of Lei gave a sinister smile, one she’d never know she’d given; in fact she’d remain blissfully unaware of this entire conversation and would wake up a few hours from now, believing she’d spent all that time in her bed.  She had unwittingly helped in the capture of people who were her friends and colleagues, without even knowing it.   Rahs outlined some of the progress being made in what he called their ‘rehabilitation’. 

After Lei Rahs had left his presence, the mind of Helgeshran reached out to another individual within the network of tunnels. ‘When Rahs work is complete, kill him.’ 

The Borg Drone bowed slightly and acknowledged in both thoughts and words. “I exist to obey.  Your will, will be done.” 

Part 5: Krus kaukuh

Caverns - Planet Eza
Unknown

Salan was sleeping soundly in his bed, when he felt a gentle yet firm shake of his right shoulder.  “Lieutenant Bolka.” The Vulcan murmured before half opening his eyes. “Is something the matter?”  He rolled on to his back, looking into the Bajoran’s eyes.  She appeared upset and had clearly been crying; the Vulcan could see the redness were she’d been rubbing them. He pushed himself up and took one of the shaking hands in both of his own.  Salan had known this woman for close to six years, most of that time working together at the Academy on Mellstoxx III.  In that time he’d witnessed many sides to her personality, but never as distraught as she appeared right now. 

Bolka pulled her hand away stood and turned away from the bed, babbling something, before more clearly saying. “I’m sorry Commander, this is stupid of me.”

Salan slipped out of bed, and came up behind her, placing his right hand on her upper arm and the left by her hip on the other side. “What is it Laira?”  It was still very rare for him to use her first name, but the Vulcan had found himself doing it a little more often since their capture. 

“I’m a Starfleet Officer; I shouldn’t be falling apart like this!”  Her voice sounding angry, but waivered with emotion as she spoke.  She spun round unexpectedly; catching the Vulcan a little off guard, as she flung her arms around him, burying her head into his chest.  “I’ve never been so scared and confused in all my life.”  She started crying again.  He wrapped his own arms the distressed woman and held her tight.

They stood there for several minutes, holding each other; the Bajoran sobbing gently.  Dozens of thoughts raced through the Commanders mind; some of them rational, others not so.  He’d been too naïve and relaxed about this whole situation, like all his senses had slowly be dulled.  Like his own free will and all logic had been drained away.  He’d watched most of the others in there group fall under the spell of Helgeshran; turning into obedient servants, ready to do all he commanded.  Never realising for one moment, that he was being controlled in that exacted same way. 

Whatever was happening appeared to be having less of an effect on his First Officer; she seemed more alert and aware of thing not being exactly as everyone else believed them to be.  Despite her emotional outburst; she was a strong willed and determined individual.  Salan admired her for that; she may have only been a mere baby when the occupation of her word was ended, but she had grown up in its aftermath.  The scares and devastation the Cardassian’s left behind had been all too clear, even to the youngest of eyes.  She’d told him that was the reason she’d joined Starfleet; to make a difference and see that no other planet suffered the same fate as her own.  They were lofty goals but admirable ones never the less.

Salan lifted Laira’s chin up gently, and looked into her sparkling brown eyes; a mix of hope and determination, yet a sense of confusion and despair.  “If there is a way out of this place, we will find it, understood?” She simply nodded her understanding of what the Vulcan had said.  “You must be my beacon of logic and reason, as I fear mine is already compromised.”

Bolka knew what that meant, the man before her, who she respected and admired, was for now at least unsure if he could trust himself.  He was putting his own fate and possibly that of every other person being held captive, in her hands.  She took a small step back, wiped away a stray tear from her cheek, and pulled straight the ankle length black cloak she now wore; having like her commander, given up on wearing her smelly and damaged uniform.  “What do you need me to do?” 

            ********** 

It was tough going and slow progress; the two of them would gather information carefully and discreetly.  They felt that they couldn’t completely trust any of their fellow captives, but it was interested to note that not all the Pelcaza were as loyal unquestioning servants as their master would believe.  The fact that these few individuals existed at all, was proof Helgeshran’s power was not yet absolute.

Bolka had been provided with some paper; it was pale green in colour and had been produced by the Pelcaza themselves. On it using the pen she’d acquired aboard the Kinshasa, the Bajoran would make notes of various things they’d seen and heard.  Often though; Salan would have no recollection of vital information which they’d gathered.  Sometimes it had been a few days; others the following morning, once even after only a couple of hours!  Only the fact the Lieutenant had written it down and his belief in her abilities; made him trust these events had even taken place.  It was no wonder he’d felt disorientated from the start, whole chunks of his memory were being removed and thoughts of service and obedience being implanted in their place.  It wasn’t surprising that by now, many of the others had totally succumbed; even his well trained and disciplined Vulcan mind failed him more often than Salan would have liked to admit.

The white room was not a dream, it was real.  All of them had been in it though only Bolka recalled anything more than the vaguest of details.  Maintaining the appearance of a trance like state, whilst being aware of things going on around you or happening to your body, was far from easy.  Injection, blood samples, skin biopsies.  It took all the strength of will she had, not to leap up screaming. 

Then there was the voice of Helgeshran; it twisted your mind, ate into your soul and gnarled into your guts.  Made you question your sanity, your place in the universe and reason for living.  Then the voice told you, that only by serving him, would your life ever have purpose.  Without the divine will of Helgeshran, you were nothing.  At times she almost believed it, but only almost. 

On a couple of occasions the Lieutenant had broken down in her Commanders arms; words tumbling from her mouth as she recounted the horrors in the white room and everything that had happened.  Each time though the Vulcan would eventually forget; but she could not, dared not forget.  Because only by remembering, could she ever hope to find a way out of this nightmare. 

Eventually they formulated some sort of a plan.  There were risks, how couldn’t there be.  The whole thing could fall apart from the very start.  One of the Pelcaza who’d agreed to help them, could change their minds and betray the two Starfleet officers at any point.  Even now, their entire escape plan might be known to the Helgeshran.  Would he let them get so far, only to stop them, seconds before freedom?  Watch their last ounce of resolve crumble.  Whatever the case was, they were going to try; it was just a matter of picking the right moment.

 

Part 6: Krus shehkuh

Caverns - Planet Eza
Unknown

Every day was basically the same; wake up, wash, eat, exercise.  A regimented routine of total monotony, designed to were them down and slowly sap their mental strength, coupled with all of the mysterious goings on in the white room.  Four times now, Lieutenant Bolka had been in that room, four times tests had been conducted on her body, and four times she’d barely made it out of there.  She could only assume the others had spent a roughly equal amount of time in there; but the rest would forget, had forgotten. They would have no doubt felt the pain and experiences she had, but their memories were successfully being wiped, hers were all too vivid.

So this was it; the day they would make their escape. There was a huge network of tunnels leading off from the main cavern.  Most were naturally formed, at some point an underground river had run through here, carving its meandering path.  Other tunnels had clearly been constructed with the use of hand tools; the walls bore the marks of hammer and rod.

Half way down the tunnel that lead to the exercise area, another much smaller tunnel branched off to the left.  By the tunnel stood one of their Pelcaza guards, as was always the case.  This time though, things were slightly different.  The two Federation officers made sure they were at the back of the group, everyone exercised together under the watchful gaze of a half dozen guards; two of which were always positioned on a higher ledge inaccessible to those below them.

The Pelcaza nodded at them as they approached; he held two lit torches in his right hand, and passed one to the Vulcan. “I wish you speed and safe passage.” He whispered to them both.

“Thank you my friend.” Replied Salan. “You take a great risk in helping us.” 

“I fear for the future and what might happen when the Helgeshran becomes all powerful.” The man informed them.  “He is no God, regardless of what many believe.”

The Bajoran tapped him lightly on the shoulder. “We will bring help.”

            **********

The tunnel was narrow, barely wider than their shoulders, and on occasions they both had to turn sideways to get through the gap; at other times the height meant they had to stoop.  In one tricky section, they had to almost crawl on hands and knees to progress.  Once beyond that, the tunnel opened out again; to a point were only with outstretched arms, could both sides be touched at once.   A flat protrusion offered the two of them a place to sit and catch their breath.  Slipping a hand inside one of the pockets of his robe, Salan pulled out a small flask.  It was made from the skin of an unknown animal and had a wooden tube attached with a stopped in the top; he removed it and past the flask to Laira.  She took a sip of the water inside then passed it back to him.

“How far?” She enquired.

“I estimate we’ve come about half way.” The Vulcan answered.  He pointed in the direction of the next section of the tunnel. “We should meet up with the river shortly.”

Benefitting from the short rest and the drink of water, the pair of them continued their journey.  The next section of tunnel was fairly easy to navigate and they made faster progress along it.  The noise of running water gradually grew louder as it reverberated off the rock walls.  When they came to it, the underground river ran directly across their path.  It was roughly twelve metres below them and ran through a gorge spanning three metres. On the far side of the gap, level with the tunnel they’d just walked along; ran a walk way. It followed the route of the river far beyond what the torch could illuminate.

This was by far the trickiest and most dangerous part of the whole escape plan.  The walk way sections of which were carved into the rock face and other, wooden planks bolted in place; was clearly a route the Pelcaza used from time to time.  They’d been told it should be deserted when they arrived, but not to wait around too long, just in case.  The second issue was they’d have to jump across the gap.  If either of them slipped and fell; dead or alive the river would sweep them away in seconds. 

Salan handed the torch to Bolka and walked back along the tunnel a few paces.  He turned, took several deep breathes and focused him mind; then ran.  Both feet landed on the ledge fairly safely, but forward momentum took the Vulcan into the hard unforgiving rock wall.  The Commanders instinct had been to put his arms up; in order to stop himself and grab hold.  The pain just below his left wrist from the impact was sharp and sudden; only the discipline and focus of a Vulcan mind prevented him from acknowledging the pain verbally.  The arm wasn’t broken, Salan was reasonably sure of that; he had though, and judging from the location of the pain probably cracked his Ulna.

After taking a few short breathes and careful turning round so his back was pressed against the rock wall, he instructed Bolka to throw him the torch, which he caught with his right hand.  He then encouraged the Lieutenant to make the same leap he had.   The Vulcan heard rather than saw her running, until she came racing out of the tunnel.  Bolka, whoever had misjudged her landing, one foot landed on the ledge, but the other caught the edge.  She slipped arms flailing; the look of sheer panic on her face, captured by the light of the touch.  Instinctively and with lightening reflexes the Vulcan’s arm shot out and grabbed Bolka’s right hand.  For the two of them it seemed like an eternity as he held the Bajoran; supporting the majority of her wait with his injured arm.  Fire erupted through the bone, and across every nerve ending.  But despite the agony, there was no way he was ever letting go.  There was only one logical course of action and only seconds to do it in.  Salan dropped the torch, giving him both hands free to pull Bolka to relative safety on the ledge.

They held each other in the now total darkness; the torch extinguished and floating off down the river below.  The Lieutenants breathe laboured and heavy, gasping for air between the sobs. “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry.” She repeated over and over.

“Shhh, its ok.” Salan said softly. “I’ve got you.”

They stayed like that for several minutes as the Vulcan comforted and calmed the Bajoran.  Without any light to help guide them, this part of the journey would be much more challenging; but keeping pressed against the rock face and moving cautiously, the Commander believed they could still make it out of there.

            **********

In the cave of the Helgeshran, Rahs approached.  “They have reached the river.” His booming voice informed the Trill.  “Are the guards in position and ready to act?” 

Rahs bowed. “Yes my Lord, the have instructions to capture the Bajoran, but allow the Vulcan to escape.”

“And what of those who betrayed me, by adding in this escape?” The entity enquired.

Lei’s fingers clicked, and a Pelcaza was dragged into view with the help of two others, who unceremoniously dropped him to the group in from of their master.  They left swiftly, not wishing to witness what would come next.  “Their ring leader.”

“Look at me.” Helgeshran commanded.  The man looked a defiant look in his eyes, yet with a creeping hint of fear and trepidation.  “Do you really think you could defy your God?”

“You’re no God!” Spat the man. “You don’t even pretend.  You’re just pure evil and nothing more.”

The laugh that followed, echoed like thunder; Helgeshran’s eyes blazed like the sun, as two thin lines of fire emanated from his pupils, lanced towards the Pelcaza before him.  Death was swift yet agonising.  Flesh and cloth consumed in fire; then bone and ash in a crumbling heap on the floor.

“Display his remains in the main chamber, as a warning to any others like him.” Helgeshran commanded.  Lei Rahs bowed once more and signalled for that the two other Pelcaza should return and remove the remains.

Everything was going as planned; that was all that mattered.

Part 7 Krus stehkuh

Caverns - Planet Eza / Harper Rift
Unknown

After edging along the rock face in total darkness; the two Starfleet Officers eventually saw a faint glimmer of light in the distance.  Salan squeezed Bolka’s hand reassuringly; they hadn’t let go of each other since the   Bajoran had nearly fallen to her death in the underground river, flowing below them.  Though he probably wouldn’t have admitted it openly; the Vulcan grew strength from having her close.  If it hadn’t been for Bolka and her determination, neither of them would have made it this far.  With his own mind partly scrambled by the goings on in the white room, and his inability to remember important information or key events, he felt like a child in a grown man’s body.  But the Commander would not allow the anger and frustration consume his thoughts.

They moved along the ledge, carefully and as silently as possible.  The area of light slowly growing bigger and a little brighter with each measured step they took.  An archway of rock opened out into a much larger area.  The walls rose a good 70 metres above their heads; but rather than the ceiling of another giant cavern the swirling reds, oranges and purples of the open sky greeted them.  It was hard for either of them to recall when they’d last seen day light; before boarding the Sea Quest mini sub, yes, but how long ago had that been; a couple of weeks, a month, longer?  Did any of their colleagues survive and have any clue as to what had happened?

The two of them ducked back into the shadows, as a pair of Pelcaza walked past, exiting via another tunnel.  Once it was established the coast was all clear, they both darted for the cover provided by a dozen or so crates and boxes stacked just to the right of their position.   From here Salan and Bolka could both get a better look at what occupied the centre section of the cavern.  Before them, sat on near vertical launch rails; that reach up to just below the lips of the cavern sat three one person space craft.

Each ship was sleek and pointed like an arrow, at the back or bottom, because of their current angle, three fins each ending in a torpedo sized pod, which the Vulcan assumed to be the main form of propulsion.  Additional engines of liquid propellant nature, sat between each ship and the launch rail it was connected to.  These rockets; no doubt providing the initial thrust for launch of the craft.

“Think we can fly those things?” The Lieutenant whispered.

“I would need a closer look, but I believe so.” Replied the Commander equally as quiet.  “Those ships like a lot of the more technical equipment we’ve come across were not built by these people.  But their origins escape me.”

They both approached the nearest of the three craft; ever wary and vigilant.  The cockpit had a clear bubble canopy that hinged to one side; much like a number of old still jet fighters of Earths mid-twentieth centre.  The controls much like those old fighters were simple and rudimentary at best.  The skill of flying one of these things would not be in learning how they operated, but dealing with their limitations.  If Salan’s thinking was right, these ships had been designed swiftly meet and engage an enemy, should any threaten the planet.  Did that mean there were others out there; not under the influence on Helgeshran, which this place needed defending from?  Could there be possible allies? 

They studied the control carefully.  Stick to control direction of flight, three levers enabling the adjustment in power to all three main engines simultaneously or individually.  Navigation and orientation screens, both currently blank, as no power was being fed into them.  It was as basic as you could get in a ship capable in making space flight; even the Phoenix would look more advanced compared to these things.  

Salan helped Bolka get into the cockpit and strapped her in, before handing her the helmet which he’d found tucked under the seat; it had a mask and tubes attached in case pressure was lost within the cockpit.  Satisfied the Bajoran was secured; he sprinted over to the second craft and jumped in. 

The Commander didn’t see were the guards suddenly sprung from; one moment the cavern was deserted the next a half dozen Pelcaza most armed with those three barrelled shotguns they carried.  The Lieutenant had one such weapon raised to her head, the canopy of her craft having been yanked back open.  Their eyes meet; his overwhelming instinct was to leap out and save her.  Stupid, pointless, totally un Vulcan; yes to all three, but still the thought was there.  One word mouthed in silence from her lips, ‘Go’. 

In all his years of wearing a Starfleet uniform, he’d never once abandoned a fellow officer or crewmember, and the fact it was this particular individual he’d be leaving behind, really hit home.  One simple press of a button activated the ignition sequence of the booster engines.  The Vulcan was forced back into the padded seat from the huge G-force, as the small craft leapt skyward.  It raced towards the heavens at tremendous speed, leaving its launch area and the network of caves and tunnels far below it. 

Half way between the planet’s surface and space, the engines spluttered and shut down, a red light illuminated one of the buttons located on the console in front of Salan; he pressed it and moments later heard the distinctive clangs of a clamp unlocking.  There was a slight judder as the now superfluous engines and their empty propellant tanks dropped away.   Inertia carried the craft the rest of the way into orbit, as the rest of the ships systems slowly came to life. 

The Vulcan Commander looked around the eerie sight that confronted him.  The gaseous cloud tinged with purple and crimson that fill the void between stars and their accompanying planets made it difficult to see any great distance.  Salan had no real clue as to the direction the Kinshasa had travelled from to reach the planet he’d just departed.  How could he be so stupid as to think escape was possible; was his mind so clouded that his judgement and reasoning had completely failed him? 

He was about to slam both fists into the controls with angry frustration, when an orange flashing triangle on the main screen caught his attention.  It was the signal from a navigation beacon.  The Vulcan turned the small craft and increased speed as he headed for the beacon; as it came into view, a second triangle appeared at the extreme top left of the screen.  The Commander had his route out.

            **********

The ship had past six of these beacons; without them, navigation seemed near impossible such was the density of the cloud the stretched unendingly in all directions.  Unending that is until Salan reached a point in this Universe that made it stand out dramatically from our own.  This Universe had a physical edge; a point where everything ended and beyond which there was just an empty black nothing.  In the barrier between existence and hypothetically nonexistence there was a tear in space; like a giant knife had sliced through the barrier allowing some of the gaseous cloud to escape.  This was the other side of Harpers Rift. 

As the Vulcan brought the vessel to the edge of the tear; two white dots appeared at the very bottom of the screen.  He was being followed!  Keeping on his current course and heading, Salan increased power to the engines.  Entering the rift the craft shook violently, and the further in he took the ship, the more it seemed to shake and tremble.  Alarms sounding and warming lights flashed, but Salan didn’t know what they all meant.  He only knew that he was in grave danger if he didn’t find his way out of the rift soon. 

He estimated six hours had passed since entering the rift; there had been pockets of calm were the flying had been easy, then there had been moments were he’d been tossed around like a leaf in a hurricane.  The Commander though had started to find patterns in the movement of the cloud and indication of what lay ahead; so as the journey progressed, he’d learned to avoid the worst this phenomenon could throw at him.  The two pursuing ships had been skirting round the dangerous areas, and despite taking a much longer route, they were gaining round fast.  Ten minutes later, one of them opened fire, but missed by some distance. 

When a third dot appeared on the screen, this time red; indicating another possibly large ship stood directly in his path, Salan felt this was it.  So near, so very near!  Further shot streaked passed as this time both ships behind opened fire.  Finally though he’d reached the edge of the cloud.   

The last thing that the Vulcan would have expected to find right in front of him was the very thing that met his eyes, moments later;  a small yet very familiar Raven Class corvette, the USS Jaxartes. He soon figured out the Federation vessel had been trying to communicate, but his unfamiliarity with the equipment delayed any chance of both receiving the message and replying to it. 

Suddenly his ship lurched violently and more alarms sounded.  He’d been hit; one of the three engines had ceased to function and he could smell the distinct odour of something burning, behind him.  The Jaxartes opened fire on the two enemy craft, which eventually turned and fled back into the cloud.  Only then did the Vulcan have the chance to examine the communication device and contact his old ship.

Part 8 Krus ohkuh

USS Jaxartes at Harpers Rift
23rd August 2401 11:20

Lieutenant JG. Jason Devron and Doctor Phoebe Andrianakis stood side by side in the transporter room; their fingers touched briefly, as if reassuring the other of their presents.  But neither of them looked at each other, instead focusing on the shimmering column of light which heralded the impending arrival of Commander Salan.

Devron gave a crisp salute to the Vulcan officer, once he was fully materialised. “It’s wonderful to see you Sir.”

“Permission to come aboard?  Captain.” The Vulcan replied.

“Granted Sir, most warmly and thankfully granted.” Beamed Jason, he had so many questions on his mind, but realised than now was probably not the most appropriate time to start asking them.  “If you’d like to go with the doctor here, we can get you checked out.”

“Doctor Andrianakis, it is pleasing to see you again.” Salan responded. “I am in your capable hands.” 

The doctor had noted the way the Vulcan held his left arm fixed and pressed against his chest, that it had been injured in some way, she’d get that sorted out first before carrying on with any other scans and treatment.

            **********

It didn’t take long for Adriankis to sort out the injured arm, a quick scan with a Medical Tricorder revealed a diagonal crack half way across the Ulna, just above the wrist joint.  Salan was now dressed in a simple medical gown rather than the robes he’d arrived in; which currently lay draped over a trolley in the corner.  He’d described to her some of the details of how he and Lieutenant had attempted to make their escape and the resulting injury he’d sustained in making the jump over the river.  There was clearly a slight uncharacteristic tremble in the Vulcans voice, and on one occasion he even referred to the Bajoran by her first name. 

There was a moment though; when the Commanders demeanour seemed to change, the doctor almost missed it, but when she looked into the Vulcans eyes, they blazed with fire.  Andrianakis went to back away and raise the alarm, as she realised something was dreadfully wrong.  Salan had other ideas though; the Vulcan’s quick reflexes brought both his hands around the side of the Greek woman’s head.  The doctor felt the Commanders fingers press into her flesh, and felt his mind forcing its way into her thoughts.

            **********

The endless dusty desert highway was empty; as it usually had been, when Phoebe’s dreams had brought her here.  She was not alone though; standing before her was Commander Salan, bathed in an odd green glow.

“Who are you to dare defy me?” The words came from the Vulcan’s lips, but it was not his voice that spoke them.

“I am Doctor Phoebe Andrianakis. Medical Officer aboard the USS Jaxartes.” She replied. “But then you should know that.”

Salan glared back at her, those eyes blazing like two mini suns.  “Liar!  No mere mortal could summon up a world at will!”  The words rolled like thunder.

Andrianakis was stunned into silence for a moment.  What did he mean by ‘summon’.  This was a dream right world all in her mind, wasn’t it?  Then she remembered the last time she’d been here.  When a man by the name of Jerry Flint had tried to kill her.  As per the orders of Captain Fitzpatrick; a corrupt and dangerous Starfleet officer, who’s path she and Devron had crossed shortly after ‘Frontier Day’.  Flint had been run over by a truck right on the very highway the two of them now stood by.  None of it had ever made sense to her, she’d pushed all those thoughts to the back of her mind; dismissing the whole thing as a bizarre stress induced hallucination.   But then a hallucination could never crush a grown man to death.

Salan was slowly dancing from one foot to the other, as if sizing her up, ready to make a move.  “Who are you?” The doctor asked, hoping to engage the Vulcan or whatever had control of him in conversation, rather than a brawl.

“I am Helgeshran, He of the light, Eternal Gatekeeper and Shield bearer of Thranoth.” The voice boomed. “All will yield to me or die.”

“I don’t see a lot of yielding or dying right now.” Replied Andrianakis in an uncharacteristically bold manner.

“Then let me remedy that situation.” The voice of Helgeshran from Salan’s lips mocked.  The Commanders hand rose to just below head height and he lunged forward.  The doctor dodged to one side, with a speed that both shocked her, and caught the Vulcan out completely.  He staggered a few paces; before coming to a halt and turning to face his quarry once more.  Two more attempts were made by the Vulcan, with more or less the same result.  The fourth time though; he pivoted on his right heel at the last possible moment, and his hand closed around her wrist.

The best way to have describe it; was like being struck by lightning, but the doctor was the conductor of the electricity.  The air crackled and buzzed, sparks danced between then and flesh burned; before they were both flung apart.  Neither of them landed in the sand; instead both came crashing down on the hard deck of the Medical room some three metres apart.

            **********

When Jason came bursting into the room, before the doors had even had the chance to fully open; he was both the doctor and commander lying on the floor.  The EMH was by Andrianakis, scanning her. “What happened?” He yelled at the hologram. 

“I have no idea, sir.” Replied the EMH continuing with his work. “I wasn’t activated until after the power surge was detected.” 

Devron helped get her on to one of the Bio-beds; noticing the severe burn mark around he left wrist.  Salan hand a fairly similar burn across the palm of his right hand.  By then both Ensign C’Rren and crewman Appleby had arrived to help get the commander on the second bed, and lend any extra medical assistance. 

Andrianakis and Salan, both seemed in relatively stable condition; the wounds were deep and would require several treatments with the Dermal Regenerator to completely clear up.  For now the EMH had just made sure they wouldn’t get infected and relieve any symptoms of pain the two would feel when they awoke. 

The doctor was the first to come round; she seemed a bit disorientated, mumbling something about sand and a highway.  Jason held her hand and whispered words of comfort as the EMH busied itself with scanning and monitoring.  “Well other than the second degree burn, I’m detecting an erratic heartbeat, which I should be able to correct in a moment and some rather dramatic brain activity which as honestly got me stumped.” Announced the EMH after a few minutes. “And I’ve got rather a lot of information and data at my disposal.”  He taped the side of his head lightly, though in essence everything he knew was held within the ships main computer core. 

She looked across at the Vulcan, becoming a little more aware of her surroundings; the memory of what had happened slowly surfacing. “Is he?”

“Dead no.” Answered the EMH. “He’ll wake up feeling like he did three rounds with a rather angry Klingon, but other than that.”

Phoebe looked back at Jason; as much searching for answers in his eyes as she was in her own mind.  He seemed calmer than she would have expected, or was that just her?

            ********** 

It was another three days before their holographic nursemaid would allow them to leave sickbay.  Salan couldn’t apologies enough for his actions, even though he wasn’t in control of his own body at the time.  The Vulcan Mind Meld wasn’t something to be taken lightly, but to use it as a way of controlling or altering someone else’s mind by force.  Just actually thinking of a thing made him feel uneasy.  His last memory had been of the doctor treating his injured arm; then next he was lying on the bed apparently several hours later, having suffered an electric shock.

Those three day’s had given the rest of the crew time to study the navigational computer aboard the small craft the commander had made his escape in, and what they discovered was something way beyond expectations!

[ Carried over into the forthcoming Labyrinth Fleet Action ]