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OOC: The follow up to the White Void!  Excellent writing from Yael, as usual.


((Yael’s Studio Quarters - Starbase 118 Ops))




They had been tossed unceremoniously into the back of the prison transport, only for the walls to blanch out.  It had been dark initially, then gone a pale white.  The walls… well, there were barely walls, despite their being trapped within them.


Yael ~ What is going on?! ~


Harper:  ~You’re tensing.  ~


His inner image pressed uselessly against the walls, getting caught up in the systemic mental jarring and chaos.  This wasn’t his field.  This wasn’t his expertise.  He had *thought* he knew his own mind well enough to navigate it… not like a telepath could, but as well as any non-telepath should be able to.  But the disjointed array of half truths and things that seemed to be memory but might not be combined with the sharp realism of the memories that were valid… it was almost overwhelming.


Yael:  ~ This *isn’t* how it’s supposed to go! ~ 


He felt it emerging within him… a foreign source of stability.  He didn’t turn, more, he *felt* the force of Kherys calm presence.  Her voice radiated through him like heat in the cold.


Harper:  ~Breathe.  Breathe deep.  If you lose control, I can not help you.  You have to relax.~


Turning to press his back against the wall that had trapped them in, he watched the entire visual… if it was a visual, there in his mind… shimmer before stabilizing.  If he focused on her voice… and *not* on the chaos and fragments… it seemed more real.  The colors seemed less greyscale.


He didn’t *say* it, but he still projected the doubt-filled thought loud and clear.


Yael: ~ I’m not sure I can… ~


She engaged in her own advice and breathed, trapped in the white space with him.  Despite the array of contrasting, unsteady emotions around her, she still managed to radiate the calm of a practiced mind, steadying everything around her with her breath.


Harper: ~Perhaps it’s too soon, Ashley.  You need more time.~


Yael: ~ Don’t give up on it yet… let me try again. ~


There in his mind, he breathed… and his body in his quarters matched the mental representation of breath.  He took it in deep, held it a few seconds, and then slowly let it out.  Then again. He tried to latch onto her stable presence. Emulate it.


Relax.  Breathing.  Relax.


He had asked for this.  He wanted this.  This could still work, if he relaxed and stopped trying to force the process.  Let it happen.


He closed his minds eyes to any visuals.  Let them fade away and stopped focusing on coalescing them into what he wanted.  The white room remained, but everything outside of it melted away with his expectations.  He stopped trying to [...] the water, stopped trying to force it to run where he thought it ought to, and let it flow.  The haphazard emotions eased, slowly, but surely.


Breathing.  And Kherys matched his breathing.


Harper: ~Let’s start again. The mission.  Earlier.  Begin just after you decided on the plan.  What happened after you left that apartment?  Take it slow.~


Yael: ~ Okay.  The mission.  The apartment… ~


He tried to focus without tensing up, and voices filled the white void.  They were nondescript at first, more a jumble of several voices, none of which were dominant.  They flowed in the river, bubbling up and then melding back into the soft white of noise.  Kherys’ voice first, her bidding him to relax.  Then his mothers, telling him not to be scared… the elephants didn’t appear again, but the sentiment of strength filtered through the words.  Then it was Alora’s voice, putting the plan in place, surrounded by the ragtag team of rebels on Miranda, who they’d met in the apartment.


Okay.  That’s where he wanted to be.


He thought for a moment he had it, but the next voice to clear the combined murmur was Wyn, the Andorians sharp New England accent sliding easily into prominence.  He was ranting angrily about something medical… but there was a warm familiarity lacing the anger, like it was a safe space to vent in. Ash then found himself unintentionally focusing on a voice he’d not heard in some time… Anthony Meeks, issuing orders while they were having a training session… one where Ash had spent most of his time being thrown. The mental image was suddenly bright, the training room swirling as his body was thrown.




He was suddenly facing up at the ceiling of the gym, the breath knocked out of him as he panted lightly, a strong Human hand reaching down to help him up.  The Marine smiled down at him. He was clearly amused at either how easy Ash was to throw, or his tenacity to keep getting up again.


This wasn’t right.


This was *nice,* but it wasn’t right.  Ashley almost laughed in his mind… what the Hell was he thinking about *this* for?


It was a *good* memory, no doubt about that.  Despite the physical action it was calm.  The gym smelled a bit musty, but it was comfortable.  The sweat lacing his skin was well earned, and a warm, loving feeling swept through him as he reached up to take that strong hand.


He felt *safe* here.


Only for Alora’s voice to cut through the warmth like a hot knife.


DeVeau:  ~ Ashley, you mentioned you’ve been training. ~


The entire world seemed to take a sharp turn, throwing them to the side.  There was a vibration and a pull, as if they and their surroundings were in motion. All evidence of safety shattered.  And the white room encased them again.


Half as large as it had been before.


And it hadn’t exactly been *large* before.


There was another motion… how there could be motion in his mind, he wasn’t sure… but it felt as if they were being thrown about in a vehicle, despite the room being stationary.  He hit the wall with a sound that matched hitting the training mat.  Amethyst eyes… fully functional, non-injured eyes in his mind, turned to look to Kherys again… and he breathed deep.


Don’t get caught up.  Don’t get distracted.


Yael:  ~ Back here again… ~


He was frustrated, but getting used to the almost frenetic changes.  He could almost hold himself outside the alterations, watch them happen without investing emotionally.  Almost.


Harper:  ~ ?


Yael:  ~ It’s okay.  I’m starting to get used to it.  I can get us back. ~


The apartment filtered back in where the walls were.  Alora and Sheila and the strangers and the hybrid they’d followed, all organizing.  Most of the people were faceless forms… they weren’t important.  What mattered was what was happening.


He breathed again, calm.  Letting it come.  Just let it come.


The plan was hatched.  They would either pretend to join Terra Prime… that didn’t seem feasible… the other option was to get captured on purpose.


Yael:  ~ It was a good plan, considering the options.  It made sense.  We needed to get closer to Malefic.  Figure out what made him work.  Gather intel. ~


He felt he knew all that in his bones, and the memory seemed crystalline in its purity.  There was acceptance and acknowledgement, and a sense of dedication to the mission.  Confidence in his team.  But beneath it ran a steady current of doubt.


The very natural doubt of a Human hybrid walking into a hybrid hating death trap.


The scene shifted away from the apartment.  They were in the streets of Miranda, being led to the soldiers by their hybrid ally.  Or was she an enemy?  Who really knew.  The important thing was that the ruse was afoot.  Soldiers hands searched, groping with a bit too much fervor in places he’d rather remain ungroped, and even though he knew it was just a recollection he still flinched.  The people and faces and place fizzled with a scrapingly harsh fluctuation born of embarrassment… he didn’t want to see or feel that, or for Kherys to see or feel it, so the memory lurched before continuing.


They were thrown into the prison transport, the light shutting out again… before they found themselves in the White Room again, smaller than ever.  Alora and Sheila had been thrown in too, but disappeared as the diffuse light grew again.  Ash pushed up from the floor onto his knees to lean on the wall, stopping as his mental visage threatened to bump into Kherys… there was barely enough space to move.


Yael: ::with restrained frustration::   ~ I’m noticing a trend here. ~


Harper:  ?


Yael:  ~ Something happened here.  It wasn’t Malefic.  It was *before* Malefic. ~


More bone-certain knowledge.  He didn’t know what it was, but he knew it.  All the rest had been horrific, but he wasn’t hiding from the assault.  From the gauntlet shattering his bones.  From the taste of hybrid meat.  Even from the certainty he’d walked into his own death.  It was all gritty and real, and he could face the assortment of conflicting emotions resulting from it all.


He had good friends.  Loving family.  A strong support structure.  The time to heal, and good doctors to enable it.  He was still processing it all, but he was *safe* now.


It was going to be okay.




The distorted voice cut through him at a volume that would have burst his eardrums if he’d actually heard it in the physical world, and naturally his braced hands clapped up to cover his ears, flinching at the intensity.


Harper:  ~ ?


His friends voices which had been a calm sea before began to echo the words at an impossible volume in a cacophony of overlapping clamor, with words they’d not ever said themselves.




Then in one screaming unison, the voices merged.




The White Room shrank and crushed them, mental bodies powerfully smashed to one side and together… and the Denobulan hybrid, despite restraining it mentally, heard his own scream resonate behind the cavernous echoing mash of voices.


It was all he could do, bodies crushing and hands clutching his not-real ridged ears, to recognize the sound not as one of fear, but of pure distraught.  It was an animal sound free of sentience and soaked red in remorse.


Harper:  ~ ?




The crunchy sound echoed last in his ears as his good eye snapped open.


He was staring… with his one functional eye, panting for air and shocked at the mental displacement… up at the ceiling.  His actual ceiling.  All the screaming sounds were replaced with the deafening silence in his quarters.  It was punctuated only by his heart strobing in his ears along with his labored breathing.  There was a sharp, cold sweat on his skin.


They hadn't gotten it.


Harper:  ?



Lieutenant JG Ashley Yael


Starbase 118 Ops


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