The tall, dark haired stranger pointed the weapon at Hayley. The young cadet stared at the barrel of the distruptor with fear and gulped. Sweat poured down her brow. Swallowing her fear, she bravely responded, “Please. Let me go and I will leave.”
The stranger grinned with coldness and shook his head, “No. You don’t get out of this. Poor little girl. Fresh out of the academy, huh? Such a shame.”
Without a second, he fired. The hot beam of the disruptor caught her flank thrusting her backwards. The back of her skull hit the metal post of the lamp. Clutching to her side, Hayley fell to the ground. Fighting the overwhelming darkness, she listened to him bark orders.
“Men, take her body out and dump her with the others at the end of the colony. You know where it is. Do it. No one will know the truth of all this.”
With her tongue stuck inside her throat, Hayley gasped with pain as darkness overcame her senses. Her life slowly ebbed away as his men carried her away.
A voice spoke in the back of her head. Hayley stood with her hands on the railing. She watched the shuttle fly from the port in a town in Ireland. She smiled watching and waiting. Already seventeen and full of promise, she waited for the shuttle to take her to the academy to begin her first studies in San Francisco. It was her life-long dream.
“Huh?” Hayley wondered. Turning around, she listened again and recognized the tone of her father. She smiled leaving her place against the railing to meet him. A barking sound followed him as she exclaimed seeing her favorite Irish Settler, “Mackie!”
Her three-year-old puppy ran up to greet her as she opened her arms and exclaimed hugging her, “Father! You brought Mackie! I thought you left him to be cared for.”
Mackie barked and slobbered all over her. Stroking her fur, Hayley stood and hugged her father. They embraced as he spoke, “I couldn’t let her alone without letting her say goodbye.”
As Mackie sat awaiting her next command, she watched her two favorite humans watch each other. Hayley kept her smile and spoke, “Father. Thank you.”
He stood there grasping her hands. He smiled and inquired, “Are you ready?”
Hayley closed her eyes. Thinking to herself and feeling an overpowering feeling of emotion, she opened her eyes and nodded. As her green eyes stared at her father, she felt his happiness. Being only half Betazoid as she got half her abilities from her mother, the half Human shook her head, “I don’t know, father. I studied a lot. I learned many things. I thought I would be ready and yet.”
“What?” her father inquired, “What is it,”
Hayley gulped. Feeling pain on her side, she swallowed harshly and responded in a low, raspy voice, “I still feel this darkness inside me. An emptiness. A void left behind my mother. She,”
Struggling to prevent her tears from falling, she turned away. Her father touched her face and responded bringing her to face him,” I know. Things were never the same for both you and your brother since your mother disappeared thirteen years ago. She left without warning and her disappearance made no sense.”
Mackie watched them both and whimpered turning her head sideways. Hayley closed her eyes and nodded. Stroking Mackie on her head, she exhaled. Her puppy licked her hand. Her father placed his hand on her head and inquired, “It is part of why you joined Starfleet, isn’t it? To find your mother?”
Hayley opened her eyes and nodded, “Yeah.”
He sighed, “And I can’t persuade you to let go?”
The young girl shook her head and swallowed her response, “No. I have to do this, father.”
He nodded assuring her with a kiss on the forehead, “Okay. Be careful. Know that I love you, wherever you are.”
That brought back a confident smile to her as Hayley replied, “Thanks. Love you too.”
She hugged him and knelt before Mackie to kiss her. Her dog barked as Hayley turned away. The shuttle she waited for had come. Walking toward the plank, she turned to give her father a wave. Following several people, she boarded the shuttle. Halfway across the plank and entering the waiting shuttle, she heard that voice on the back of her mind again.
“What?” Hayley turned around. Searching for the voice, it sounded familiar. It came again via a sudden ringing in her head.
Hayley groaned. Grabbing her head, she fought the ringing pain. Stumbling against the passengers of the boarded shuttle, she banged the wall with her hand. The occupants ignored her apparently unaware of her sudden pain as the voice echoed but louder
Another groan escaped her throat as a sudden pain arched across her side. Clutching her flank, she felt something wet. Withdrawing her hand, she gasped seeing blood dripping from her hand and wound. Falling to her knees, she groaned closing her eyes as the painful voice lashed at her head like an electric whip.
Opening her eyes, Hayley gasped feeling around her. She was on her back with someone else atop her. Feeling herself whisked away from a familiar setting, she found herself on her back with a bunch of bodies around her. A man knelt over her and held her down as he tended to her wound, “Dev, stay with me.”
“Huh,” Hayley groggily attempted to speak. Feeling her system filled with drugs to keep her pain in bay, a nagging ringing in her head just won’t quit as she groaned, “Captain?”
The man holding her down appeared dark and clouded. Hayley’s eyes played tricks on her. Feeling her mind taken down, she muttered, “No. It can’t be. The captain is dead.”
“Devon. Hey! Dev,” the man tended to her wound spoke. Soon his voice became familiar as she inquired, “Seth?”
Her brother was here? That couldn’t be. He was halfway across the quadrant. No way he was here. She groaned, “Seth. What?”
“Hey,” Seth spoke as she tried to get up. Keeping her down, “Dev, I’m not here. But, as your brother, I have to tell you. Don’t give up now. Devon!”
“What,” Hayley groaned. Fighting to keep her eyes open, she flailed on the ground. Feeling the corpses of the dead near her, she went into a panic and screamed.
Her brother yelled, “AWAKE!”
Hayley stood up and gasped. Feeling a sudden rush of the smell of the dead crossing her nose, she gagged. No longer sensing her brother, she cried, “Seth!” It was all in her head as the medication was giving her hallucinations.
Setting herself back against the only wall nearby, Hayley hissed with pain and groaned. Touching the bandages covering her side, she felt hot, sticky blood on her hand. Feeling nothing but silence in her mind, the half Betazoid cried softly. Realizing that she felt very much alone, Hayley gasped softly, “No.”
Sitting alone among the dead colonists for a bit, Hayley felt herself drifting off. Shaking her head, she gasped, “No. Must stay awake.”
Her professors had warned her that she must not sleep when she’s hurt bad. Hayley felt the darkness. It gnawed at her. It drew her in. It wanted her sweet embrace. Closing her eyes again, Hayley cried out in pain when another nerve struck her side. “Please, Dev. Stay awake.”
She whimpered softly as her eyes slowly closed. The young twenty-three-year-old muttered, “Must. Stay. Awa-“
Sleep tugged at her as darkness embraced the young cadet.
[End – To be continued…]
Cadet Hayley Devon Caden, “Dev”
In training (HCO)