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Ens. Daro Conti: Dark Dreams


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((Somewhere in the past))

::Daro could feel the boat rocking beneath him. The smooth boards which made up the deck beneath him were worn beneath his fingertips. The salt smell, the canvas, the wax and polish…it was all so familiar by now that it felt more like home than home did. Zev’s boat…which meant Zev wasn’t far.

He didn’t remember falling asleep up here, but he obviously had. He smiled and stretched as he came awake, knowing the other man was watching over him, watching over them both. Zev had grown up on one of the tropical islands in Earth’s largest sea. Hawai’i. That’s what Zev had said it was called. He was very precise about that because he said that people generally called the whole chain of islands that, but it was the actual name of his island, though many just called it “Big Island.” Anyway, the man had grown up in the oceans. When they’d met in university he’d already arranged for access to a boat in one of the small inland seas here on Anbus.

Daro rolled over and looked aft. There was Zev now. He was coming up on deck from below.::

ZEV: Hello there, sleepyhead. I hope your nap made you hungry. I’ve got lunch set up below. Come on down, then we’ll figure out a more athletic way to spend the afternoon.

::The smile Zev gave Daro was wicked. He still wasn’t sure why Zev, the most outgoing person he knew, had ended up dating the most socially awkward guy on the planet, but he wasn’t about to start pointing that out to Zev now. If the man hadn’t already noticed, Daro would just keep hoping he never did.

He smiled back at Zev…then noticed something odd. The man, a human he was sure, had Trill spots. It was fairly obvious considering he was only wearing the board shorts he’d been swimming in this morning. That couldn’t be right…could it? And when he turned to go below decks, Daro saw his ears came to a very distinguished looking point.

Shaking his head, Daro stood up and followed the man he was falling in love with into the dark doorway leading below decks…

And found himself seated at their favorite table in their favorite restaurant. Daro remembered this night clearly, too [...]ed clearly. Zev was wearing the sweater Daro had gotten him for his last birthday. He loved the way it made the man’s green eyes blaze like some kind of gem stone…only Zev’s eyes weren’t green; they were blue. Solid blue. The exact same shade as his cousin Nara’s friend Gimil. Daro had met him the second summer his parents had sent him back to their home world to spend some time with his grandparents. Gimil had been his first crush, the first boy he had ever kissed. He had loved Gimil with the fiery passion only a teenager experiencing a summer crush could. He hadn’t thought of Gimil in several years, but those were definitely his eyes.

Daro could see this because Zev was staring at him across the table with a look of awkward discomfort and confusion. His antennae were twitching violently, too. Wait…since when did Zev have Andoran antennae…and snowy white hair? Daro tried to keep focussing on the contradictions around him, but couldn’t. In the way of dreams when you don’t realize they are dreams, he knew what was coming. He knew, and he desperately didn’t want to be here, to hear this, to live through it all again. He had just asked Zev what he thought they should do once they graduated, if he wanted to apply to the comparative linguistics academy the Daystrom Institute was running. He knew that was what he’d just asked because that was the exact look Zev had gotten on his face, in that exact outfit, at this exact table, just exactly as the waiter had brought them this exact dessert.::

ZEV: Daro, I…I’ve already taken a position back on Earth. I figured you’d want to head back to your real life, too. I mean, we’ve got to get serious about things from here on out. We can’t just keep goofing off and playing around.

::Daro couldn’t taste their dessert. He was surprised he had kept the meal down, in fact. He’d been an idiot, and he didn’t have anyone but himself to blame. He knew how horrible he was at reading other people, understanding their motivations and reasoning, but he’d just blindly assumed that Zev was feeling the things he had been feeling. Then his heart plummeted as he thought back to the surprise he had waiting in his apartment. He’d arranged for a basotile to be delivered to him from Basul Rodul. He’d been shaping it for several months now and had intended to give it to Zev tonight as what the other man would consider a proposal of marriage. Now he only hoped he could keep Zev from coming up with him, which after what the man had said probably wouldn’t be that hard, and that he could bring himself to destroy it. Even now, nauseated and light-headed, he thought it was beautiful. But The Artist knew that art based on falsehood was just a lovely fruit with rot at its core.

Daro looked down at his plate, but it wasn’t the china they used, and he wasn’t wearing the clothes he’d been wearing that night. He was in a Starfleet uniform, the blue of science and medical, and eating off something which looked far more mass produced than the china he remembered. This…this was where he had to go, had to do. He had to get away from here. Had to get away from this place, this time. He had to get away!::


((Conti Quarters, USS Atlantis, present))

::Daro sat bolt upright in bed shouting. He felt the dream fading, but he also felt the tingling after effect of a psychic discharge. He was usually extremely well controlled, but he knew he’d let some of what he was experiencing escape. He just hoped no one had been around to receive it. It wasn’t pleasant for those who touched a Rodulan mind.

He was in his quarters. That much he knew. He could see the fragment he’d taken of his parents’ shattered basotile he’d taken as a memento across the room on a stand right next to the shard he’d kept from the one he’d just been dreaming about. There were noises all around him as well. Soft beeps and chirps as well as one more shrill alarm.::

CONTI: Computer, stop all these noises, please. ::Nothing changed.::

COMPUTER: Medical personnel have been alerted. Stand by.

::Daro groaned and fell back onto his bed. This was exactly what he didn’t need right now. He’d always had a slight irrational phobia about doctors; now they had apparently been alerted about him and were on their way…perfect. He didn’t even remember how he’d gotten here. If the [...]ed noises would just stop long enough for him to think for a moment, he knew he could reason this all out. He had a slight headache, sounds were too loud, lights were too bright, but he didn’t feel too bad. If only the doctors would hurry up, they could make all the racket stop allowing him to go back to sleep. Only he wasn’t sure he wanted to risk dreaming again any time soon. There was a noise from toward his living area, but he couldn’t summon the strength to investigate it.::

TYRIDEN: Mr Conti!! Are you all right??

::Daro jumped at the sound of the other man’s voice. He blinked a couple of times to clear his vision.::

CONTI: Commander? ::Daro sat up again, propping himself on his elbows. That it took a moment for him to recognize the man wasn’t exactly a good sign in his own mind. Of course, the man looked to be in distress himself, so that might have had something to do with it.:: Are you alright?

TYRIDEN: I am not. ::scanning the room swiftly as best as he could:: Are you alone? You experienced a.. psychic outburst.

CONTI: ::Daro’s eyes closed and he sighed in embarrassment.:: I’m sorry, Commander. I think that was my fault. I’m not…I was having a dream, one that turned fairly unpleasant, and…I’m afraid I may have lashed out.

TYRIDEN: ::approaching cautiously, hand with the phaser dropping to his side:: This happens to you often?

CONTI: That doesn’t usually happen to me, sir. I’m generally very controlled, responsible.


CONTI: ::He looked around his room as all the foreign equipment.:: Something happened, didn’t it, sir? I remember going on an away mission…a ship…deserted, but not…we were fired on, then…then I was here. What happened, sir? Is everyone else alright?

Ensign Daro Conti

Science Officer

USS Atlantis


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