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[sb118-apollo] Ensign Nathaniel Wilmer - "Dark Shard..."


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((Flashback - USS Knightsbridge; 22 years ago))


::Nate was only fifteen when his father was assigned to the Knightsbridge as second officer. It was a great assignment, as is the ship was one of the few Galaxy class ships in service. His father had earned the position and as such, Nate was able to get his first real feeling of deep space travel. He would apply for the academy the following year, but for now, he was a free agent, getting his feel of whether he liked deep space travel or not.::


::Nate was in the bowling alley, when he encountered his first Betazoid. She was a young ensign, about ten years older than he. As with most Betazoid women, she was incredibly attractive, with brown hair, and deep black eyes, that could drink on ones soul in a glance. She was in her off hours and been practicing in his neighboring lane. Occasionally she would give him a glance, or if he would happen to manage a gutter ball, might he get a s[...] out of her.::


::Nate was incredibly tall for his age, though he looked like a young man, his lanky mid-teenage frame betrayed his attempts to be adult and suave. He believed he could flirt with the best of them, and it never seemed to occur to him that adult women might be interested in men their own age.::


::After he had watched the cute young woman complete her frame, he took a moment and approached her.::


::Nate walked with a swagger that did not match his callow appearance. When he attempted to be charming and experienced he almost always came off as goofy and comical.::


Wilmer: You know, if you keep your elbow locked and aligned with your hips, you'll get better aim when you let the ball go.


::The empathic woman did everything she could to not laugh out loud. Her senses had alerted her that a hormone rabid teenager had been interested in her, long before he had decided to make a fool out of himself.::


Ensign Petra: Is that so? ::She answered in a sweet, but bemused tone.::


:;What Nate could not realize was that Ensign Dani Petra was a full Betazoid who had been born with her empathic powers completely switched on. Unlike others who could not deal with the flood of constant thoughts and emotions, Petra had received help early and could emotionally cope with the invasive thoughts and feelings of others.::


:The fact that this forced her to deal with the sometimes pornographic thoughts of teenage boys proved to be no less amusing to her. She intended to cut him off of course, but she was polite enough to let him finish his pitch.::


::Nate was rattling on about how he could 'help her perfect her technique' when something in her mind began to bother her. There was something in the young man's mind that was blocking her, and that was an unusual sensation. It intrigued her, and frightened her all at the same time.::


Wilmer: ...and so if you grip it like this, it works better.


::Petra wasn't listening to his voice now, she was listening to the brick wall, buried underneath his hormones.::


::She stopped and looked at him, uncertain now if he was trying to deceive her, to use flirtation as pretense for something darker, or more sinister.::


Petra: What? I mean... what are you...?


::Nate stopped talking and looked at her, feeling a strange kind of pain in his forehead. He'd felt it around other telepathic species and it made him feel funny, as if his mind were being ripped at from beneath its surface.::


Wilmer: What...are you...doing?


::The stabbing sensation became irritating now, and it was beginning to anger him. Petra, to her sweet credit, felt too polite to dig deeper into his mind. But like a scab a child might pick at, the deception of subconscious buried thought was intriguing and begged to be read like an open book.::


::Petra took a peek into the buried blocked thought and was not rewarded for the effort.::


::Her mind was filled with the echoed screams of children, disconnected imagery, the olfactory memory of the smell of fire and smoke, and a second presence. A strong and disciplined mind had left its imprint here. Telepathic powers had touched his mind before, changed it...tampered with it. And there was a name...a very strong name...a hidden name.::


::And the name was Alex.::


::Petra's telepathic snooping left a telepathic tickling sensation in Nate's mind and though he did not know what he was feeling exactly, he knew he didn't like it.::


::He panicked and fell backward over the lane divider.::


Wilmer: Stop it!


::His disturbance made such a scene that everyone who was playing in the alley stopped and looked at him. And the telepathic intrusion startled Petra as well, who suddenly took a step back from his outburst.::


::Nate did not wait for explanations, or apologies, or even a hand up. Scrambling to his feet, he bolted head first for the door. He never wanted to see this woman again. He hated telepaths, mental intruders. He'd dealt with them before, always poking into his mind. How dare aliens read his mind? What gave them the right?::


::The darkness shut his mind down again, buried it beneath the wall. Erased the incident, erased the anger at the poking sensation. The memory was hidden with the dark thing underneath. He wouldn't talk about this again. He never wanted to run into a telepath again.::


::[...]ed telepaths. How dare they? The darkness echoed inward, until it smothered itself and replaced the anger with fun, false memories.::


::He'd embarrassed himself in front a girl he liked?::


::No he didn't, the darkness said. The girl had laughed at all his jokes.::


::Someone had tried to read his mind?::


::No they hadn't. He got a strike in his score.::


::He'd scared the Betazoid woman?::


::No he hadn't. The darkness said she'd thought he was cute.::


::By the time he'd gotten back to his quarters, he couldn't remember anything other than the fantastic day he'd had with his awesome new friends.::


::[...]ed telepaths.::


TBC


____________________

Ensign Nathaniel Wilmer

HCO

USS Apollo-A

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