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Lt. Alieth - Wait in this place where the shadows run from themselves...


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@Alieth may have been able to suppress her shudder, but as a reader I openly embraced the chills this fantastic piece brought me. Very well done in a scene of very well done pieces.

 

((Sickbay, Deck 2, Sasu Gol)) 

 
The body of the dead doctor on the bloodied biobed, lights that flickered, a dance of sinister shadows. Even more ominous words, a dark account of what was, of how the madness had percolated through the starship as it entered the Rift, vague strokes of how to detect the perturbations, how to profile the advent of that which induced the madness.


Something in the nurse's statement prompted Alieth to suspect that they had found a cure, the old-eyed young man's reply to her enquiry on the subject, as uncanny as their surroundings.


And then, the shadow came, taking the light with it.


Doors burst open, pouring night from the corridor, pitch blackness, all limbs and fangs and eyeballs and things scarcely identifiable beneath the tide of gloom, just sketches of the horrors it heralded.


Motion, Starfleeters diving for cover and a young man alone, peering into the gloom. A hand surging forward, seeking to defend a man who looked on, undaunted at his fate.


A voice, flat and toneless, that barely concealed the despair of the moment. 

  

Alieth: Diinr! Now! 

  

Two voices, emotion entwined with their vocal cords, a bequest of their species.


Stoyer: He’s going to get hurt.


The clarion call of a golden voice, anxiety and distress. Next, a gilded howl, with his feet firmly on the ground, festooned with fierceness. 

  

O. Marshall: Get down, you mad [...]! 

  

An eternal second, lengthened by the roaring of shadows and the hysterical beeping of Alieth's tricorder... and the petite Vulcan was on the move. A quick sprint to cover the short gap between her and the young man, a hand outstretched to his shoulder. The shadow striking. A sudden flight powered by some indescribable force, intangible and impossible, until the very solid duranium of the wall halted her flight.


A crack, a thud.


A new slam against the floor, pearls of green blood garnishing the ice-cold metal, right next to the stain they had been examining back to what seemed like a lifetime ago but had in fact occurred only minutes before.


Stoyer: Alieth!


A voice, familiar, distant, so remote amidst the blanketing obscurity and the cottony unreality that pervaded her brain. And then another voice. Brand new, distinct and terrible, reverberating echoes in and out of her head, words clearly pronounced to add gravitas to each and every syllable. 

  

Diinr: Don't you see, Lieutenant? Don't you see this is our fate?! 

  

He laughed and in the desperate, contused somberness of her mind, Alieth could only watch .... and shiver. Because there was nothing that could stop the madness that had ripped all logic and sense from what was happening in the Sasu Gol.


And then, like a mantle, a shroud draped in nightmares and hopelessness, the shade wrapped itself around the nurse, an immense and terrible second skin that crept across his flesh and into his veins and  deep in his eyes until the two were one, black on pale skin in stark contrast, a grin like a gaping wound in the middle of a face that wept darkness.


 A terrible creature, shadowy wings and Vulcan arms, as an otherworldly shriek shook the very structure of the sickbay.


Diinr: It demands sacrifice. ::His voice boomed with the slip of shadow, amplified by the swirling madness around them.:: You will become the next. 


And, at that moment, at that very moment, Alieth knew that their mission was doomed to failure, that they could do nothing against it, too big for them, mere mortals.


And then there was a light, bright crimson, shimmering, silhouetting a figure of an oversized Bear Marshall. A scarlet hero in the face of the dark. All around them, eyes and faces festered and leaned out of the shadows, before them all retreat with a deep hiss. That sibilance, then,  a retreat, a flicker of lights, a split second of nothing.


And then, all of a sudden, when eyelids once again fluttered wide open, it was gone, and everything was done.


The lights had returned to their former selves, dim and diffuse, barely a fraction of what they should have been, flickering a thousand times in the ice crystals that covered everything, in the polished surfaces of dented metal, in the frozen blood, in the unfired weapons, in the silent tricorders and the mute combadges.


Stillness.


Diinr and the shadow had gone.


A human man collapsed on one side of the room, a Vulcan woman crumpled on the other. Somehow the third man, still standing, frozen in the midst of time, swear words slurred in two languages through fluttering limbs and quivering lips.


Alieth could not blame him, if she could have allowed herself to do so, she would have done the same.


Finally, the prostrated man broke the silence. 

  

Stoyer: Diinr? 

  

O. Marshall: He's gone.  

  

He was gone, just like that. Just as he had appeared along with the dead doctor, still on the biobed. Alieth tried to shake her head, in the face of such an accumulation of senselessness. She regretted it instantly.


When the Sasu Gol ceased to spin around her, the less endearing Marshall was at her side, tricorder in hand.


O. Marshall: Alieth, you still with us? Logic once for yes, twice for no. 

  

Alieth: ::grumbling:: Ponfo mirann1 …::In more audible tone:: If that will convince you that my physical and psychological state is adequate .... logic.


The words were spoken with the soft, emotionless cadence that was her trademark, but in a way it was implied that, were it not utterly unworthy of her, she would be strangling the man right now. Or tossing a Padd to the man's forehead.


She started to disentangle herself from the debris and away from the Vulcan-shaped hole she had left in the wall. If nothing else, she had to give the human credit that he'd managed to make her forget the despair that had overwhelmed her. Turning it out of sheer exasperation, but that was an issue she could deal with at a later time.


When she had managed to climb back to her feet and before she or the Bear Mountain Jo called brother could say a word, Stoyer spoke again, also standing upright once more, and as disoriented if not more so than Alieth had been. Or more. 

  

Stoyer: You guys ok? What was that? 

  

O. Marshall: That was one goddamn crazy Vulcan. Is that what happens when your lot loses their minds?


The gaze of the petite science chief shifted to the empty space that Diir had left next to the biobed. This time, she was able to suppress the shiver that ran through her from head to toe.


Alieth: To some extent. :: The woman's eyebrows drooped a notch more::: Of course, without the darkness… ::waving her hand towards where Diir had been::: ...or all that. Some death perhaps, but no need for a sacrifice. That... that made no sense.


All eyes focused on where the nurse had been, as if they could somehow make sense of what had happened, or of the Vulcan's words...of the man himself...of that thing he was. 

  

O. Marshall: He said sacrifices. More than one.  

  

Alieth: Only the doctor is dead.... or has been sacrificed, if that is what Diir intended.


Despite her words, the Vulcan's eyebrows furrowed a little more as the ramifications of her own words began to reach her foggy brain.


 Stoyer: Response 

  

O. Marshall: Human blood on the doorway. The Vulcan Doctor committing suicide. ::He pointed to the biobed.:: That. You tell me the logical path from there. The equations don't fit.  

  

Alieth: That is a lot of casualties, but perhaps not enough. :: Looking at the others:: We are probably the next objective... if there are no other crew members left on board who have managed to evade him so far.


Somehow, at that moment, Alieth had the impression that the air was even colder than it had been since they had transported to the freighter, as illogical as that seemed.


 Stoyer: Response 

  

O. Marshall: Just… a thought. Maybe he lured whatever it is here. Maybe it became… part of him. Or it became part of him. I don't know. ::His heart had started to come down from the rafters, blood no longer singing in his ears.:: Whatever it is, I want out of this room and off this damn ship. Where does the umbilical connect?


The thought that something, that darkness, that blackness was a living, distinct creature, using the madness of the nurse and the ship, all the deaths they were aware of or sensed was extremely disturbing and, at the same time, profoundly logical. Alieth did not like it one bit. 

  

Alieth: The logic of that thought is sound, as far-fetched as it may seem, whatever it is, it certainly does not want us here, nor does it want crew of the Sasu Gol... or the Triumphant's here.


The petite Vulcan let out a tiny sigh, fingers pinching the bridge of her nose.


Alieth: As for the umbilical... if I remember correctly it joined the two central decks of both ships, :: turning towards Stoyer:: near engineering, right?


  Stoyer: Response


Alieth:  While the possibility of fleeing the ship seems reasonable, given the impossibility of returning to the Gorkon via transporters, heading for the umbilical coupling seems reasonable. :: Before either of the others spoke, she held up a finger:: HOWEVER, we have not yet accomplished the mission we were tasked with: we neither know for certain what has happened nor have we found any survivors :: she paused, her eyes settling on the deceased doctor :: Not any we have been able to save. 

  

O. Marshall/ Stoyer: Response


She was waiting for those answers, and while her instincts, even in spite of her still clouded mind, screamed that she should get out of there as soon as possible, the more rational part of her, more awake with each passing minute, still had grounds to remain there.


Alieth: I remind you gentlemen that we came here not only on the way to the bridge, but because we detected evidence of a human passage relatively recently. Not to mention that the presence of the Triumphant shuttle on the shuttlebay suggests that there are still officers from that ship on board.


O. Marshall/ Stoyer: Response


Alieth: That is a good point. :: She was silent for a moment:: This is what we will do, we will make sure we undock the umbilical to make sure the Triumphant is clear, and we will make our way to the shuttlebay. If we find any survivors along the way... we will take them with us.


It was a compromise solution, something that satisfied neither side, and yet it covered part of what each wanted... partially.


O. Marshall/ Stoyer: Response


With that, the small group left the sickbay, not by the door they had come through, but by the opposite one. As well as through the opposite door to the one through which that which had enveloped and, at the same time, was part of Diir had appeared. They might have no choice but to encounter it again later, but the Vulcan was certainly not about to run for it, at least not so soon.


Despite that thought, the petite woman couldn't help but glance back before leaving the room to see if it was following them. Her eyes fell on no ghoulish grin, no shadowy figure, but her sensitive ears caught the echoes of maddened laughter just at the edge of her hearing before she trotted behind the two humans, who had moved swiftly forward using their long legs, down the aisle.

  

OOC: 1Ponfo mirann → Vulcan, an expetive that cannot be translated; maybe a swear word


=================================
Lt. Alieth
Chief Science Officer 

USS Gorkon NCC-82293
E239702A10  
Image Collective Facilitator /Art Director
=================================
 

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