Part of USS Centaur: Mission 3: Soldar

Chapter Five

Tal'Shiar Space Station Omicron
November 29th, 2399
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It was dark, no matter where you looked, you could not see anything. Just pure blackness. Vakai knew that his eyes were open, at least he could feel the muscles that he were using to open and close his eyelids, so he knew that his eyelids were open. He couldn’t feel any pain, so that also told him that this reality has been reset, again. How many times has that been? Has it been two days? Three? He couldn’t tell, he completely lost track of time, as this virtual reality was wreaking havoc on his mind. But he used every bit of training that he learned from the virtual reality nodes his parents left him, used every training simulation he had available to him, and trained himself to strengthen his mind. Hell he even meditated like a Vulcan, not that there was anything wrong with it, but it was the point of it. He prepared himself for this and yet, what this man has done to him has done significant damage to his defenses.

He absolutely does not know how much longer he can take this.

Suddenly the whole area illuminated under a big bright light, forcing him to shut his eyes and turn his head away to try and shield himself from it, but he could feel that his wrists were tied together behind something…. A chair, it has to be. What else could he be sitting in?

“So. Here we are again.” Came a familiar voice, Soldar. The man walked into the light with a stool in his hands. He placed it down in front of Vakai and then took his seat. Soldar took a deep breath and exhaled slowly but loudly to express how frustrated he had been becoming. “You are the most stubborn Romulan I have ever met. Truly remarkable work, in preparing yourself for something like this, which only further solidifies that you have had Tal’Shiar training, and the only way you had that kind of training is because of your parents.”

Vakai leaned back as comfortably as he can be in his chair before opening his eyes, having finally adjusted to the light shining so bright above them, staring hard into Soldar’s eyes. “I’m not telling you who they are.”

Soldar took in a deep breath and exhaled slowly, and loudly once again. “I do not completely understand your resistance, Vakai. They may be your biological parents, but they abandoned you while you were merely an infant. Your real parents are the ones who raised you, fed you, clothed you…” He smacked his lips and sighed. “Let me make something perfectly clear to you, but first I have to let you know that this is the sixth time we have revived you in this virtual reality. That is the sixth time your brain has suffered damage from this reality, not significant damage yet from what our instruments tell us, which is quite remarkable. I’ve seen excellent Tal’Shiar agents start to have severe brain damage by this point, so you have done remarkably well in your training.”

“Vulcan Meditation does help. You should try it.” Vakai told him.

Soldar smiled, “I know. I’ve been doing a lot longer than you have, boy. Now.” He smacked his lips again, “Point is, we know for a fact that no one, and I mean no one, continues to go on like this without any severe brain damage after the sixth time. So I kill you here, one more time, and we revive you, you’re going to start having problems. You could have issues with speech, possibly walk funny, unable to see very clearly or perceive words as you hear them, the possibilities are endless of what kind of damage your brain could suffer. What I am trying to say is, you need to start telling me what I need to know, or I will keep this up until you are nothing but a vegetable, returned to Starfleet as nothing but a meat bag with no conscience. You do understand what that means, correct?”

Vakai nodded his head, “I do. But-”

Soldar raised his hand. “I’m not finished.” He took another deep breath and let out a long heavy sigh before smacking his lips once more. “The other reason that I do not understand your resistance to my question, is because I don’t even care that your parents got together to conceive you. The Tal’Shiar does not care. True, we would have liked that they kept you here, with the Tal’Shiar so we could have molded you into a perfect Soldier or the perfect covert agent, or maybe the greatest Tal’Shiar Admiral we’ve ever had.”

“You mean brainwash.” Vakai interrupted.

Soldar squinted at him and held up a finger. “Do not interrupt me again, boy.” He cleared his throat as he put his hand down. “The point is, we do not care about the fact that your parents orphaned you on Earth, giving up their responsibilities of taking care of you to some other couple. That is just completely irresponsible. No. What we care about is the fact that they not only gave away Tal’Shiar technology to you, which I have no doubt that Starfleet got their dirty little fingers on, but it is also the fact that they have been giving out classified information to our enemy! They’re traitors! And traitors must be found and eliminated!!!”

“Just say it like it is, scumbag! You mean executed!”

Soldar leapt up from his stool. “Of course I mean executed you filth! Now tell me their names so I can have these traitors found and shot for treason!”

“Never.”

Soldar scoffed and backed away, rubbing the bridge of his nose as he began to think. “I cannot believe how incredibly frustrating you are. I have snipped your digits off. Even cut off your limbs. I dropped acid on your most sensitive extremities, even given your eyeballs eye surgery with it. I’ve had flesh eating maggots go rampant on your body. I’ve slit your stomach open while you were hanging from the ceiling face down, watching your intestines and organs spill out. I’ve branded all over your body. I skinned you alive. And just for fun, I slowly lowered you centimeter by centimeter into a pool of lava!” Soldar shouted at the end while twisting around to look at Vakai. “What will it take to make you talk?!”

‘Not much longer…’ Vakai thought. “I guess you will just have to kill me again.” He smiled, ‘That’s it. Just accept death. At least my parents will live on.’ He lowered his head.

Soldar tilted his head to the side a bit and grinned. “Aahhhh… You are getting tired.”

‘Shit.’ He lifted his head back up and looked at him. “You haven’t been letting me sleep at all, so of course I’m tired!”

Soldar shook his head. “No, no, noooo. You’re tired because you want this to end as much as I do. It’s really quite simple, Vakai. Tell me who the traitors are, and I will have you returned to your ship, fed and well rested.”

“I will not…”

Soldar sighed once more and shook his head. “Let me put it in another way. I have complete and utter control of this reality. Just the snap of my fingers,” which he did and the whole room changed. They were now in space. He snapped again and they were in the town square of some place Vakai couldn’t quite figure out. Another snap and they were high in the atmosphere, falling. Another snap and they were in some active volcano surrounded by lava, the heat was intense too. Final snap and they were in some room, filled with instruments in Romulan language. “See, I literally can do anything. I can even do this.” He snapped his fingers and Vakai’s wrists were no longer bound to each other. In fact, his hands were now resting on the arm rests of the chair but he was still strapped down with straps around his upper and mid chest, his stomach and several straps around each leg but his arms were free. Vakai didn’t like where this was going.

Soldar walked up to him and took Vakai’s hand in his. “I can even be god.” And with just a simple squeeze, he was suddenly crushing Vakai’s hand, hearing the bones snapping and popping. Vakai couldn’t stop himself from crying out, as no matter how much pain he had to endure from this man’s countless torture, coming back to a fresh new body in this reality was like wiping everything, a clean slate. Or perhaps the machine they had him hooked up to was intensifying the pain, making his brain believe that whatever pain he endured was three times more than it would have really been. Not that Vakai would know. Soldar let go of Vakai’s hand, took a couple steps back and snapped his fingers. Suddenly the pain was gone, just gone and when Vakai looked down at his hand, it looked perfectly fine. He could ball it up into a fist, clench and unclench over and over and he wouldn’t feel anything out of place.

“Why do I need to keep proving to you that I can do absolutely anything in this reality that you can’t possibly imagine?” Soldar asked. “I can even do-” The second he stopped speaking was the second he completely vanished before Vakai’s eyes. This made Vakai frown and wonder what could have made him disappear.

Soldar’s eyes opened up and widened with fury as he reached up and pulled the devices off of his temples before rising up quickly from his seat and turning sharply at his Centurions. “Who brought me out?!” He shouted. The two Centurions looked at each other and then looked at the third who stood there, out of place.

Soldar looked at him before quickly traversing right up to his face. “I specifically ordered not to be disturbed while I am interrogating the prisoner!” He shouted right at the Centurion. Soldar then reached behind him and grabbed hold of his disruptor pistol before yanking it out of its holster, taking a step over and away at the Centurion’s side and pressed the tip of the disruptor right up against the Centurion’s temple. “You have five seconds to explain yourself!”

The Centuron quickly held up a padd. “You wanted to be notified about the Starfleet ship, Commander!”

Soldar looked at the padd and growled, “What of it?! Three seconds!!

The Centurion gulped and began to stutter. “I-i-it’s n-no l-l-longer t-there, C-C-Commander!”

“What?!” Soldar grabbed and yanked the padd out of the Centurion’s hand with his own free hand and looked over at the data, to which his eyes widened as far as they could go and he looked right at the Centurion. “This. Is. Over. Twelve Hours OLD!!! His finger pushed down on the trigger and the Centurion was vaporized in a second. “I am working with incompetent idiots!” He shouted before looking at the padd once more. “Blast. They could be here any minute. You!” He pointed his disruptor at one of the two remaining Centurions. “Get to the Operations Center and put the station on high alert. You have five seconds to leave this room and do as I command. Five…four…”

The Centurion jumped out of her seat and ran for the door. “Three-two-one.” He pulled the trigger and the beam hit the door frame. He scoffed and brought his disruptor close. “Blast it. I told them to fix the bloody emitter.” He grunted in frustration before reaching behind and shoving the disruptor back into its holster, to which made the remaining Centurion sigh in relief. “You there. What is his status?” He pointed to Vakai who laid there on the table with similar devices attached to his temples, but connected directly to the terminal.

“His vitals remain the same as before. He has not moved since you were pulled out of the reality, Commander.”

Soldar dropped the padd on top of the terminal, “Good.” He said before he went back to his seat and grabbed the two virtual reality nodes and placed them on his temple. “Put me back in, I need to finish this interrogation immediately.” He then closed his eyes and felt his mind being tapped into, so that when he opened his eyes again, it was in the reality that he had left Vakai in. But for some odd reason, Vakai was no longer in the chair. Soldar walked up to it, clenching his fists, “That is not possible.” Soldar also realized they were not in the room that he had left Vakai in, they were back in the dark empty room with nothing but a bright light above him.

Out of nowhere, a fist came out from the shadows and connected to Soldar’s left cheek, with a force strong enough to knock him right down onto the floor. “Oh it is possible.”

Soldar put his hand to his cheek, his eyes wide with fury but also with confusion. “How?! How can this be?!”

Vakai stepped out of the shadow, smiling. “Simple really. While you were busy torturing me, I was busy testing your system’s security. I probed it and I probed it until I found the weakness I was looking for and when I got through, I carefully played around with some of the settings. I wanted to see what I could manipulate without alerting your Centurions.”

Soldar quickly got up to his feet and immediately threw a punch at Vakai, but to no avail. As Vakai caught Soldar’s right fist in his right hand, Vakai began to squeeze and they both could hear the bones starting to snap, throwing Soldar down to his knees, crying out in pain. “This isn’t possible!! There is no weakness to my security system!!”

“You’re wrong! There’s always a weakness, always a loophole, always a gap somewhere. Every time you try to close it up, it just opens up a new one. It’s inevitable. Of course, you have to be trained to find it. So yes, my parents did prepare me for this, they did give me everything I needed to train myself to find these loopholes. Of course, I must pay my compliments to you, yours was difficult to find but once I found it, that was the end of it. I changed your settings and now, I am in control. In this reality, I am god.” Vakai let go of his fist, to which Soldar brought it to his chest and held it with his left hand.

“Terminate! Terminate!!” Soldar shouted.

Vakai laughed, “I also found your kill code too. Come on dude, you left it out right in the open for anyone to find. And you’re supposed to be some master interrogator? Pathetic.”

“How dare you insult me! How dare you soil my name!!” Soldar shouted at him.

Vakai knelt down before him and sighed, “After this, you won’t have much of a name left. Before I leave, I got something special for you.” Vakai stood up and snapped his fingers, where they are now in low, sub-orbit of a planet. “Welcome to Earth. Sorry, but it is a long way down. Hope you don’t mind burning up in the atmosphere. Oh and, every time you die…I have the system set to reset right back to this very point, bringing you back to life and making you experience this over and over and over again. So…I hope you like having your mind turning into jello, because after today, you and I will never meet again.”

“No. No, no, no! Nonononononoooo!!!” Soldar shouted, “This is impossible! Get me out! Now!”

Vakai chuckled. “They can’t hear you. To be fair, you deserve a lot worse than this.” Vakai then reached up to his temples to where the nodes are and pulled. Suddenly he completely vanished before Soldar’s eyes.

“Nooo!!!”

Vakai’s eyes then opened and he could see that there was a completely different scenery around him, nothing at all like where he had left Soldar. ‘Is this it? Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?’ He moved his eyes in their socket towards the left, not wanting to alert anyone, if there was anyone, that he was awake. He could see a single Centurion operating a terminal and he had no clue. Perfect. Vakai had left a fake trail of his vitals in the system to make it appear that he was still in the virtual reality, and it has completely fooled them. Although, it may not be long until the Centurion realizes that something is very wrong with Soldar. And it was not long at all.

The terminal began beeping at him, some sort of warning, and then the Centurion got up and started to walk over to Soldar to check to see if the nodes were malfunctioning. His back was turned to him, this is his only chance. Hell, he wasn’t even strapped down to the table! They absolutely had not expected him to break into their system and get out. Vakai quickly rolled off the table and onto his feet before coming up right behind the Centurion with his right arm around his neck, grabbing the wrist of his right arm with his left hand and applying all the pressure he could muster to knock the Centurion unconscious. The moment the Romulan went limp in his arm, was when he just released him and allowed him to tumble to the floor.

Vakai reached down and grabbed the disruptor from the Centurion’s holster and then felt the deck start to shake. Suddenly the alert klaxon was going off and he felt the deck under his feet have another gentle like shake. Vakai smiled, “You guys timed it perfectly. Now to see if they left the command functions open on this thing.” He went over to the terminal and started entering commands, changing menus, looking for the very thing he needed. His smile grew wider and he started to chuckle. “Oh man…your superiors are going to love you, Soldar. Let’s see, should I turn off the base’s weapons…or should I just overload them? How about…”

  • Vakai

    Executive Officer