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Part of USS Jaxartes: Mesakh wuh kim-shah krup

Part 5: Krus kaukuh

Caverns - Planet Eza
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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.