Leaning against the tree, Sazra took a moment to breathe heavily. Where she was, was unknown to her. There was no scientific answer to it. Besides, she had no tools to debunk any theories in her head or what she had learned in the academy. The gravity was different, but after a while, she got used to it. Perception of time was another factor that she had difficulty grasping. How much time had passed already? She had no clear answer to it.
The tree was, by its magnificent view, quite visibly sick. The branches would break off due to rotting, and the leaves were changing colors. Sazra didn’t know if purple or red was the wrong color. She could only assume that red was a link to the blood dilithium. She managed to make her way up the path and clear the pus that was in her way with her weapon.
But her body was also taking a toll. She knew that something would come at a cost while in this realm. Sazra felt her life force slip away, if that was the right word for it, as the climb became more difficult. The girl who had welcomed her at the start was not part of her memories. She didn’t recognize her. It had been a while since the last time she appeared until Sazra felt a wind and looked at her side, seeing the girl there.
The girl looked wounded. Clothing ripped and out of breath. “What is taking you so long? Work faster. The vessel is taking a beating at us” She coughed up some purple blood into her hands and looked up as another branch fell. “You need to hurry. We are losing control”
Sazra wanted to question her, but the condition of the being in front of her was far from healthy. Taking a deep breath and then walked to her, placing the girl’s arm around her neck and lifting her back on her feet to start walking again. “Hold on”
“What are you doing? We don’t need help from a lower species as yours to walk around in our of space mind” The girl had a difficult to resist the support that Sazra was providing.
“Stop this nonsense, you asked for my help, and here I am” Sazra felt the pain surge in her head as she continued up the path. A large and thick pus vein looking was blocking their way. “You are not alone, not anymore” She raised her weapon and fired at it. The pus was resisting the strength of the phaser. But Sazra kept pressing it and focused on her task while holding the girl up. “We might not be as evolved as you are. We might not be able to think as you can. But the Federation and Starfleet are on a peaceful exploration to help where we can. To seek knowledge and get closer to understanding the universe” The pus finally gave in, and it colored gray as it turned into ash, breaking slowly down.
The tree slowly recovered itself as a few cuts of the girl disappeared. “You are different. Many people that came to his space ran away. Feared us as we destroyed everything on our path. But we were not in control. But you had many chances to run, yet you chose to turn your crew away, stay until no longer possible, and even follow our advice to come here with all risk involved.” The girl looked at Sazra, who was still supporting her “Why?”
It was a curious question. The suggestions that the girl spoke of were valid. She considered every option, even sacrificing the Damascus to blow up right in the mouth of this being. Letting go of a deep breath as she pushed on the steep path upwards, “Many things could have been done, yes” Sazra confirmed. “But you have looked into my mind. You know exactly why we are here.” Sazra felt the gravity become heavier and sweat roll down her neck “I came here to understand, to find answers as to why the blood dilithium came. How did it flourish? What are these anomalous? Are other creatures, beings, or species being affected by it? There are many questions that I, as a scientist, want to get these answers.”
The girl’s eyes were locked on Sazra, who pushed them both up. “But what if the answers you are looking for were never found? You only found death and destruction? Why did you not run from it? What purpose has it to help out when you or your ship cannot do anything?”
A smile appeared on her face as Sazra’s red eyes looked at the girl. “That is where you are wrong. We might be small. We might not have the most advanced weapons in the galaxy. But we are smart, we are creative, and we are helpful” She looked back up the road. “Sure, we have moral and ethical problems, but I know my crew, even if some are new to it. I know they will find an answer. They will manage without me while I am obligated to help a person in need of help. ”
Looking in the same direction of the path, the girl looked puzzled, trying to understand what she was told “It ….it doesn’t make much sense. You don’t know us. Your people are afraid of us. Your people tried to destroy us.”
Giving a slight nod, “To be afraid is not to know what you are facing. Humanoids, or basically any kind, will react in fear to the unknown. But as a Captain and scientist, I am challenged to explore the unknown, understand it, and embrace the potential darkness. Our first reaction is to protect what is valuable to us, as what you protect is valuable to you” Sazra finally reached the top and placed the girl at the side, kneeling next to her. “But as a good friend of mine once said. Do you provide aid if a person is your enemy in a war and is mortally injured? The answer is yes because, for a doctor, the person on the table requires your aid, and all ethics, culture, history, or thoughts do not belong don’t that table.”
“Am I your enemy?” The girl leaned against the branch and looked at Sazra’s red eyes.
She narrowed her eyes as Sazra looked over her shoulder, seeing an enormous manifested pus with veins crossed through the edges. “At this moment, you are the patient, don’t that table, you require aid, and I am here to provide it. Your enemy is my enemy. We shall stop the meddling of the Devore, whatever they are doing to you or anyone” She stood up and took a deep breath cracking her neck.
The tree shook again as Sazra did her best to keep her stand and lifted her weapon at the manifested pus. “One step at a time” She looked at the girl and smiled. “Who knows, we might be friends in the future.” Sazra looked back at it and fired her weapon, slowly walking to it. The tree started to shake heavily, the pus was resisting it, and Sazra could hear the girl behind her scream out of agony and pain. But Sazra knew that this was part of the healing process. This had to be done. The closer she got to the source, the more it resisted. She saw the blood dilithium forming over the veins and slowly to the large pus. “Not today”
USS Damascus – Bridge
“The Devore ship sends a message that the time is up. They will intervene….” Silina shrugged at the announcement and looked at Sazra, who was still not back to them. On the screen, the entity started to move again to them as its giant crystalline tentacles reached forward to the hull of Damascus. Silina looked at the screen and took a deep breath knowing that this would go sound very quickly. “If we activate the shields now, everything will be for nothing….”
“It doesn’t matter if we wait any longer than we don’t have a Captain at all” Kossaal looked with concern in his eyes at Silina. “She has less than a few more minutes, and I am already reading damage on her brain. We need to stop this, I don’t think we want to have a Captain as a vegetable” He looked back at Sazra and checked her pulse as the ship shook violently with the tentacles. “I can’t wait any longer” He grabbed his injector and adjusted the measurement of the doses, and pressed it on Sazra’s neck.
Silina walked quickly to her side. “It might have been too early. She might not have fixed the issue!” Another violent jolt goes through the ship as the upper hull cracks slowly by the large crystalline entity force. It was slowly eating away the metals. Silina looked at Sazra. “Come back to us, Captain.”
Ignoring the comment about being too early, Kossaal knew that if he waited even longer, there would be no brain left. He looked over his shoulder, seeing the blood dilithium faster growing onto their hull as he blinked and stood up, looking at the screen. “What is going on with the entity?” He comments as the large blood crystalline entity color started to change in various locations, the solid red color was fading away.
Still firing her weapon and getting closer as the crystals began to show cracks “We are not going to give up. We always find an answer. We are Starfleet, and I shall not give up ON YOU” The surrounding started to become brighter as the red pus slowly turned gray and broke down. Sazra lowered her weapon when there was no refusal possible. She looked behind at the girl who was still wounded on the ground and gave a smile. “We help each other”
The girl was still breathing heavily and looked back at her. “Give us a target. The blood dilithium still makes us blind. But vibration is the solution to pinpoint them” She looked helplessly at Sazra.
Sazra only smiled and nodded briefly as she disappeared from the space-mind realm.
USS Damascus – Bridge
Kossaal and Silina were looking at the screen when they suddenly heard, “Fire a torpedo at the Devore ship….” Both of them looked back at Sazra, seeing her point her finger at the screen to the Devore
“Captain” Kossaal immediately returned to her side and checked her vitals. “Stay still. You have experienced a long-term telepathic bond with an unknown creature” He grabbed his tricorder, did everything that was needed, and noticed that she was still aiming. “You better shoot that torpedo, Commander”.
Rushing to the tactical console, Silina activated the weapons system and got a lock. “Firing now!” The hull was covered by the giant crystalline tentacles wrapping around Damascus. Two blue lights push out of the Damascus just before it gets covered by the crystalline.
Devore vessel – Bridge
The bridge crew celebrated as Marvok raised his hand, which got everyone’s attention. “Today, we have proven again that this creature is under our control. It does our bidding, and it shall be our solution to rid us of the evil telepathic beings that are a disease to our galaxy. Now with this Starfleet vessel gone! We can take this battle to their front door. Markonian Outpost is our next stop!”
“Captain, the Starfleet vessel has fired two torpedoes at our location” An officer spoke, looking back at Marvok.
Marvok smiled and even laughed. “Let them hit us. Their puny torpedoes are no match for our shields!” He looked around. “Our shields are the warmth of the Imperium!” Everyone cheered with him. Meanwhile, the torpedoes flew through the debris, past the spacial anomalous, and arrived at their destination, hitting the shields and exploding loudly. But no damage was seen.
“See, I told you that their actions are meaningless. They are but a …” Marvok then got interrupted,
“Captain, the creature, it is moving?” The officer looked at the screen as the tentacles of the blood crystalline entity withdrew from the hull of the Damascus, showing the damage on its hull but still operational. It quickly started to move in the direction of Devore’s vessel.
The Captain narrowed his eyes “Fire all torpedoes. Show this creature who its master is!” He said in frustration as the red torpedoes got fired but easily dodged by the entity. With a forward leap, the crystalline entity wrapped its tentacles around the Devore ship “But …everything was so well calculated! Everything was supposed to be going by our side!” Marvok yelled in disbelief.
Slowly the cracks were heard throughout the ship as the tentacles boosted its strength and the hull started to collapse. The entity started to eat the vessel deck by deck until an explosion was seen, marking the end.
USS Damascus – Bridge
The three officers looked at the screen, relieved, worn out, and wounded. Sazra lowers her hand and lets her head rest on the chair. “I am so tired” She managed to get out as she let her head hang forward with Silina going to her side.
“She needs medical assistance right now” Kossaal spoke, but more words were fading away for Sazra.