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Didrik Stennes – Contrition Vol. 1

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(( USS Columbia, Deck 1, Main Bridge ))

::The blood drained from Didrik’s face and hands. He felt sick. He broke a sweat. The bridge full of officers looked at him with a mix of surprise and confusion. A carousel of emotions fought for prominence in that moment before the silence was broken: sadness, shame, embarrassment, depression, annoyance, guilt. For Didrik, he was in that moment, in two places, on the bridge of Columbia, and also a thousand light years away.::

(( Flashback ))

(( Path Encampment, Summer 2390 ))

::The hashes on the wall had stopped at twenty-seven. Didrik’s diligence in marking the passage of time held out for almost four weeks before exhaustion and hallucination made him lose track. He’d stopped caring, anyway. If his time as a prisoner, and living science experiment, of The Path had taught him anything, it was that caring, finding value, was a weakness to be exploited.::

::The door in the ceiling of the oubliette he’d called home for at least a month swung open, and a ladder was lowered down to his level.::

Tagriec: Come out.

::The voice from above belonged to one of his Lethean handlers. Didrik slowly moved from his seated position in the corner. Too slowly, evidently, for Tagriec’s patience, because the guard launched a full-on telepathic attack on him. Instantly, he was incapacitated by the most vile, abominable mental images, involving his family, his friends, his planet, anything and anyone that ever mattered to him. Didrik clung to the ladder, broken by the thoughts and memories thrust into his mind. As he climbed the rungs, the usual disorientation cleared somewhat, and his psyche began sorting through the new information.::

(( Dispensary ))

::Never far from Tagriec and his Lethean friends, Didrik sat restrained in an examination chair. Sollos, a middle-aged Napean who called himself a doctor, was clumsily feeling around Didrik’s midsection.

Sollos: Your ribs are nearly healed, Didrik.

Stennes: How lucky for me.

::Sollos grinned.::

Sollos: We grow closer to understanding your condition every day. Closer to isolating the cause. We’ve had some very encouraging results from examining your protein cofactors. Soon our operatives will all be immune to the effects of physical torture. And it will all be thanks to you.

Stennes: I'd jump for joy. If you hadn't broken both my legs.

::Didrik said nothing. He sat motionless as the ‘doctor’ manipulated his broken ribs.::

Sollos: I thought you would be pleased. Once we have what we need, you’ll be able to get on with your life. Get back to your friends on the Drake, take a visit to Tromsø. Maybe even look-up an old flame. I wonder what Aron Kells is up to right now.

::Didrik closed his eyes. He could handle the physical abuse, the medical experiments, even the telepathic assaults on his memories faded with time. But with the loss of his privacy, the solitude of his thoughts, came the loss of self. It was that from which Didrik could never recover.::

Sollos: I’ll need to collect some additional blood samples. Why not tell me a story while you wait? ::beat:: Never mind, I’ll pick one. How about your first day back at Starfleet Academy after returning from Bajor? I’ve always liked that one.

::As another presence entered his mind, cold telepathic fingers sifting through his memories and forcing the replay of this particular one for entertainment, Didrik felt well and truly in hell.::

(( End of Flashback ))

(( USS Columbia, Deck 1, Main Bridge ))

:: And here he was again. And despite what had happened to him, there was no excuse for what he’d just done on the bridge of Columbia.::

Stennes: That is, with all due respect… ::nodding in turn:: Captain, Doctor, Counselor, Ambassador.

::Ensign Flynn arrived just then, missing Stennes' sermon by a few seconds. He went to his seat, and turned to Brek.::

Flynn: Sir...?

Brek: I need to ask you for another moment Ensign. Point taken, Mister Stennes. We do need to take action. However it is equally important to try and understand the island's lifeforms from every possible angle. There are also better ways to express your opinion. So, I'd advise you to take an appointment with our Counselor, for you seem to struggle with Bridge protocol.

::The captain’s cool, even response magnified how inappropriate Didrik had acted, and magnified Didrik’s contrition. Part of him wished he’d have been relieved, sent packing as soon as Columbia could get rid of him. But he wasn’t. After all, he still had work to do.::

Stennes: Aye.

Didrik Stennes

Strategic Operations Specialist

USS Columbia NCC-85279

D238804DS0

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