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Dr. Ari Tagren: Cold


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((Here… But not really… ))

::Even though my parents never married, I knew that they loved me and each
other. I wanted for basically nothing, only the desire to see each more, but I
understood at a very young age that a person's duty bound them to things.
Despite that, I knew that their bond with me was stronger, their duty as my
parents, and it never had to be vocally stated. It simply was.::

::I was sheltered to an extent as a child. We would spend almost every Christmas
in a cabin in the Rockies, removed from Starfleet and duty, huddled in our
winter coats, watching the snow, and sitting by an old-time fireplace singing
and exchanging gifts over hot chocolate and dishes from recipes that originated
from across the sea of stars. We enjoyed getting away from it all and spending
time as a family.::

::In one cherished memory, I remember standing, the crispy tundra underneath my
boots, catching snowflakes with my tongue as my dad lifted me to his shoulders,
his blue eyes smiling tenderly, happily. To bring me closer to the deep purples
and blues that tinted the sky, he said. I would stretch my arms and pretend that
I could touch the peaks of the mountains, that I was just as tall. My mom would
watch, her smile wide, covered in what seemed to be ten layers of shirts, pants
and an oversized parka. She never handled the cold well.::

::Cold.::

::This place was cold and I trembled.::

::So was death, the idea of it. I thought the three of us were unstoppable,
empowered by my mother's and my grandfather's tales of the El-Aurians. I thought
we could live forever. That time in this moment would simply remain the same,
constant, never changing.::

::I trembled.::

::I could still hear the beeping of machines. The vision of my paling father
resting in the hospital bed he would later pass away in. His hand holding mine
as he struggled to breath. His eyes always remained the same. Smiling, tenderly
at me with happiness, even as his body deteriorated. I was young, unaffected by
death, and then it hit me like a bullet.::

::And I trembled, crying, cold.::

::Death was cold.::

::Cold.::

((Present: Bilire IV, Reaper's Unreality))

::Just like this room…::

::Aribelle felt her mind slipping and she struggled to fight the surge of
memories that flooded her as she patted down the concrete walls, her body cold,
drenched from water and in pain.::

Tagren: Where am I? What is this place?

Dodhun: It is your worst nightmare.

Tagren: My… worst nightmare?

::It did not register. She mulled over it in her brain, which was still fuzzy,
in a haze. She shivered, teeth chattering. She thought to press her
communicator, her fingers in pain from the cold, but was greeted by nothing.
Instantly, she closed her eyes and rode out all the emotions she was feeling in
that moment. Slowly, memories started to come back to her. Of the water, rushing
into the hospital, of it overpowering her, the turbulent waters taking her
over.::

::She should have died.::

::Maybe she did.::

::Cold, she trembled.::

::Is she was dead, would she be able to feel this much pain? This much cold?
Still feel wet? Still feel fear? She could not think…::

Tagren: oO Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will
fear no evil, for you are with me… Oo

::With a sense of purpose, Tagren straightened herself up, still shaking.::

Tagren: Let me out of here!

::No answer.::

Tagren: Hello?

::No answer. The ominous presence had faded, but that did not leave Aribelle any
less terrified. There was something so wrong, unreal about this whole thing.
Breathing and coughing up more water, Aribelle twisted around and tried to walk,
to the other side of the cell, the light flickering in and out above her. Just
as she stretched her arms to touch the other wall, she lost her footing and fell
forward onto the floor, the side of her face cracking onto the concrete. As she
faded into unconsciousness, blood pooled slowly around her head, soaking into
her already wet fiery colored hair.::

TBC

Dr. Aribelle "Ari" Tagren
Ensign, Medical Officer
USS Tiger-A

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