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Lt. Cmdr. Alieth - Sweet Dreams Are Made Of This

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I'm not crying, you are @Alieth. What a beautiful sim!


((Caves in the Forests, Rogue World))


An ally revealed as an enemy, Ark'Va unmasked as a Changelling and yet one oriented in the same direction as them: to prevent the planet's collision with the Tyrellian system. For the affection that creature felt for the planet they were on at that moment, for the people who had lived, and still lived, on it.


A strange behaviour, atypical for what the young Vulcan knew of their species, and yet consistent with the Ark'Va they had known until then. Someone in deep love with the place, someone who loved deeply the man who had occupied the hollow of the tree, and whose remains lay scattered, like glittering stardust, on the floor of the cavern. Not as a daughter loved her father, but as one adult loves another.


A dubious truce had settled into place as the Changelling, Ark'Va or whatever their real name was, answered the Starfleeters' questions.


Though the tree creaked quietly in mid-conversation, a plaintive groaning of a wounded and dying being, which subsided when Kelley laid a hand on the giant plant.


Once again, a twinge of guilt knotted at the bottom of the scientist's ribcage, where her heart nestled. Logic dictated that the substance that had stained Bear's fingers and that she had touched had played a part in it, a drive to replace a completed part with a dying tree. She knew that at worst her actions had only hastened the inebitable end of a life already consumed, the only possible outcome after the price Verne had had to pay for being part of all that. And yet... yet the guilt was still there, heavy and dense, echoing a thousand times against the two oaths Alieth had sworn and to which she had devoted her life.


Do no harm.


Kup-fun-tor ha'kiv na'ish du stau? Dom nam-tor vohris nem-tor ha'kiv.1


The knot thickened and she squinted a little. Still, when she spoke, she did not do so about the guilt that was gripping her. It was neither the time nor the place for illogical emotions with something greater than herself at stake. 


Other people, other lives. 


Not to mention a more important aspect of the mission they have come to accomplish.


Alieth: Just something. The colony, those who came here and those who were born here. They should have the opportunity to return to their former homes if they wish to do so.


Decades of training made her voice sound properly composed, politely emotionless, concealing the storm that lurked underneath.


Kelley: I'm afraid that will be your responsibility, Lieutenant. Not mine. I wish them a good life and, as you would say, prosperity.


The scientist nodded calmly, for there was logic in the woman's words, and then repeated the same gesture when she felt the counsellor's eyes fall on her, reassuring the Betazoid woman that this was the logical course of action to take.


Yet there remained something important that they had not dealt with, and something else, a sense of finality, of farewell. A something that the usually cheerful counsellor also seemed to perceive.


Fortune: …you sound as if you are…going to do something dangerous.


Josett: Response


Barely a moment later, Kelley took on that fluid quality, that blurred quality like a glitch in reality that Alieth had only witnessed in the tree's flashback.


It was more unsettling to observe it happening for real.


 When the transformation was over, the one looking at them by the tree was no longer Ark'Va mas, but a middle-aged Klingon woman. There were, however, certain shared traits. A certain something in the blue of her eyes. The way she held herself. The strong delicacy of the curve of the nose. Familiar and shared traits, passed down from one generation to the next. Or would have done had circumstances been different.


And again, Alieth's heart toll with guilt.

Meanwhile, standing against the tree, the Klingon laid a hand on the bark, gently, as her eyes descended into its empty trunk.


Kelley: Verne fought against the tree, against the planet, to bring it to a Federation world, to get the help he needed. With your memories, ::she glanced briefly to Alieth, then back to the tree,:: I shall be able to move us onward again. Somewhere else. Somewhere safer.


 Alieth: Do not…


Josett: Response


The petite Vulcan held out a hand in front of her.


To stop the changeling, to stop her from… from what?


She herself didn't know. Whatever it was, it was to no avail, for Kelley, or whoever was the name of the person that had Kelley's face, stepped into the tree and took the place that Verne had occupied a few moments before.


Before either could do anything, the vines gleefully received her, and wrapped her in a loving cocoon. Like a friend who had been waiting for her for too long. Like Cheesecake did when she came in from a long, late shift and greeted her in the bed she had been warming up for them both.


 Almost immediately, the rustling, the creaks, subsided. The pulse of the roots returned, steadier, brighter, more regular, more rhythmic.



Kelley: You need to go. I will do what I can to hold the planet back and reverse what has already been done.


And with that, she closed her eyes, embraced by the tree that had held the man she had loved, a sacrifice for what she or he or both had cherished, for what was and for what could never be. An ultimate selfless act. A chance for those left behind, for the officers in front of the tree, for those stranded there, and for the planet itself.


And so, there was silence. The respectful silence of a mortuary, of a monument to the fallen, of a cemetery.


A burial ground of mossy bones, of twisted roots and powdered crystals. A last light in the underground penumbra.


Alieth had rarely in her life felt what humans would call" to feel her heart break". Previously it had been sorrow that had caused it. Guilt had done it on that occasion.

She turned around, looking for something.


Alieth: Wait, I have to…


She did not finish the sentence and, if she did, it was too quiet for the ears of those present to pick it up.


Josett/O. Marshall: Response


Fortune: She’s made her choice…and…it may be our only way out of this place, unfortunately.


She knew the counsellor's words were true, logical. She never ceased her efforts, however. A tricorder here, a science kit there, little by little she gathered the equipment that had been scattered around the area.


Not frenetically, not slowly either. Purposefully, efficiently.


Alieth: Just a moment, I only need a few minutes.


Josett/O. Marshall: Response


Fortune: We don’t have a lot of time until the planet moves again, do we? We’re working against two different time limits: whether the planet crashes or whether it transports away.


She was right, of course, but she had nevertheless cut up much of the medkit they had brought with them. She set several items aside and began to gut the others, checking both the standard tricorder and the medical one from time to time. Finally, she raised her eyes to the two intel officers.


Alieth: What could you do with this to increase the power reserve of a cortical stimulator? As much as possible.


Josett/O. Marshall: Response


Alieth: It will have to suffice.


Without giving much further explanation, she moved towards the heart of the tree and placed the stimulator she had mentioned on the ridged temple of the one who had been Ark'Va Kelley. She did it gently, respectfully. Careful not to touch the Changelling's skin or the roots that surrounded her, nor the sap that lined the inside of the trunk.


She directed the medical tricorder towards the device, syncing the two devices, then turned back to the others, slanted eyebrows furrowed with that dangerous determination she has not sparked since she began that mission.


Alieth: I will need you to recall your fondest memory. :: turning to Bear:: Your moment of greatest joy. :: Looking at Corliss:: The moment in your childhood that you treasure the most. :: Turning to Lena:: The moment you felt you were most loved.

Josett/Fortune/O. Marshall: Response


She moved among them, scanning them, while the tricorder screen superimposed the mental patterns of each of them.


There were commonalities. Beats, patterns, repetitions that the Vulcan's keen mind was used to searching for and figuring out. A blueprint of happiness.


Alieth: When Verne was in the tree, and we scanned him, the emissions had a pattern, that of a person dreaming. :: Long fingers slid across the tricorder screen, calibrating a synchronized pulse in the cortical stimulator.:: I cannot do anything for Ark... For the Changeling now, except make sure she has sweet dreams. Perhaps that will help us.


Perhaps that would assuage some of the guilt of her katra. Perhaps it would give the Changeling a dignified, happy end when the tree fially consumed her, if it did, her nature radically different from Verne's or any of them.

Josett/Fortune/O. Marshall: Response


One last time, Alieth scanned the Changelling, the tree, and the strange pulse it emitted.


Alieth: The radiation pattern is more coherent and synchronized than when we arrived and seems to be stabilizing. I presume we are good to go.


And true to her own words, she began to make her way towards the exit, turning her back on her companions.


Perhaps, with a slight moisture in the corners of her almond-shaped eyes.

Josett/Fortune/O. Marshall: Response




1 Kup-fun-tor ha'kiv na'ish du stau? Dom nam-tor vohris nem-tor ha'kiv: Teachings of Surak, Book 1, beginning of the eighth hymn:
As far as you are able, do not kill.

Can you return life to what you kill?

Then be slow to take life.

Lieutenant Commander Alieth
Chief Science Officer
USS Gorkon NCC-82293
Image Collective Facilitator /Art Director


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