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Lt. Juanita Sanchez - "Clarity"

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A great sim by @Alora DeVeau, one of thr many by her.


((Science Lab 11, Deck 7, USS Juneau))
Juanita had gaps in her memory. She realised that. And she hated it. She couldn’t understand why those gaps existed, the events that had brought them to where they were, why they wound up in a completely different system, and wha, exactly, had happened. What were those worm creatures? Tomas wanted answers. Harford wanted answers. Hell, she wanted answers! When Harford offered to give something that could spur her memory, Juanita hesitated, but ultimately knew what she needed to do. It wasn’t time to hesitate, it was time to act, and when the doctor baulked a little at doing so, Sanchez made her position clear.  
Sanchez: We’re kind of running out of time here, and I’m about as eager to get out of this as you are. 
Even though Nita gave permission, the medical officer glanced at the XO. Perhaps it was because she didn’t rust Juanita to be in her right mind. She couldn’t blame the woman - she would probably have refused had she been the doctor. But she wasn’t, and this was her choice.  
Falt: You heard the Lieutenant, Ensign. You know what to do.
Harford: Alright. Try to relax. This will probably make your headache a little more severe.
Once again, Nita tilted her head and closed her eyes. The hiss of the hypospray followed the press of cool metal against her skin as Harford injected her with whatever compound would force her mind to assemble the information it refused to organise. For a fleeting moment, there was nothing; just the persistent, annoying throb of the headache that had been her constant companion as she traversed the decks with Falt and Harford.  
Suddenly, the pounding worsened, intensifying, and then without warning, it exploded into a sharp, searing pain that sliced through her like a hot blade. Her hands clutched at her temple, nails dug into her scalp as if she could claw the agonising sensation out of her head. Doubling over, her body tensed, her muscles tightening more and more, springs wound to their limit.  
Her breath quickened and came in desperate gasps as the relentless agony expanded and intensified, a brutal force that hacked and sawed at her consciousness. It was as if a thousand needles were driving into her skull, each one twisting deeper, sending shockwaves of torment through her. 
Her vision blurred, the dimness of the lab peppered with flashes of light blinded her, the pain deafened her, the entire sensation threatened to consume her in its torturous hold. A scream escaped, a grating, primal sound, then cut off just as she crumpled to the floor in a heap.  
Harford: Lieutenant? Can you hear me?
She could hear Harford, could feel the firm, but gentle hold upon her wrist as she sought for a pulse. She could hear, but she could not move, and the voice sounded distant, like an echo from across a vast cavern.  
Falt: What can I do, Doctor?
That was Falt. Tomas. That was the XO. He was still there, but like Harford, he was far, far away, his echoing voice ringing through her head. Something stirred within her, a tendril of a sensation that she could not quantify.  
Harford: Help me get her on an empty table so I can figure out what went wrong and how to help her.
She struggled to speak and move, but her efforts were as clouded as her thoughts. Although she could feel her physical body, it too was distant, her mind a wispy cloud that hovered nearby, as if she was connected to her physical form only by a thin string.  
Falt: I think we have to assume she’s still exposed to some alien influence to have reacted like that.
Harford:: nodding:: Occam's Razor. The simplest explanation is often correct.
Falt: We’re not far from sickbay, perhaps there’s something there that’s functioning. ::to Harford:: Do you think it’s safe to move her?
Was it safe? Was she safe? No. She wasn’t. They weren’t. They were in danger! They were dying! They were suffering!
Harford: No, Sir, and even if we did, theres nothing there that will help her without power. 
She could not see, but she could feel him, the movement of the commander as he rose, then went still again. She could sense his trepidation, but there was something more. Warmth filled her, a knowledge that all was not lost. Hope, desire, fear mingled in that warmth as it rushed forward, drawing nearer.  
Falt: Harford. Change of plan… We need to go. Now!
Harford::forcefully:: Sir, we cannot move her and I will not leave her.
No. No! Don’t go! Please don’t go! She tried to call out, but her body failed her. The thing string snapped taught, as if fighting her will. Struggling, she fought back, reaching for herself, reaching for her own being, reaching for that ground that would bring her back to reality.  
Falt: Response.
Harford: Sir, respectfully we don't have time. Help me move her to the side over there, out of the way of the...
The warmth intensified, spread, but so did the other emotions associated with it. Desperation coloured it all as well. She could feel them moving, calling to her, begging, pleading, and yet pushing forward.  
Falt : Response.
Harford::quietly:: Sir... Sir! What if. What if the creatures following you at cargo were trying ti get to the crate. What if they're all trying to get to the crates??
Yes! Yes! She understood, at least to some extent, but it was not enough. She could feel them stream past her, seeking out sanctuary, as they had done upon their arrival. They had not known, had not realised, and once they had, it was too late. But now, there was hope!  
Fighting back against the disconnect, Nita pulled herself along that string and forced her mind to crawl forward. She sought out her body, her physical realm. Reaching out, she clutched at herself, but could not take hold. Instead, she drifted further, the string snapping and stretched to its limit.  
No. No! She would not allow it. They hadn’t meant for this to happen, and she would not go quietly in the night. Grinding forward, she heaved herself onward, unwilling to allow fate to decide the outcome. Straining, grasping, she fought against the confines of her limited consciousness and sought out the physical, the place where she existed in more than just thoughts, the vessel that would complete her being. Pain lanced through her, but she resisted and fought and pushed, unwilling to give way to the beast that assaulted her. Trembling, she caught on to the tangible and plunged into the essence that was herself.  
Nita’s eyes flew open, her hand snapped up and fingers reached out for the the man beside her as she managed to get to her elbow and prop herself up, her voice rippling with urgency. 
Sanchez: They’re in danger! They’re dying! They need help!
Falt/Harford: Response.
Once more complete, Nita found herself possessing far more clarity than ever. Struggling to her feet, she turned to the crate, determination setting into her features. The crate glowed even brighter, the joy of being understood palpable to her.  
Sanchez: They don’t want to hurt us, they never intended for all this to happen. 
Juanita’s hand arched outward, indicating the entirety of the ship, and all that surrounded them.  
Falt/Harford: Response.
The cold and dark crept in further, her breath clouding with every word, but she ignored the discomfort. Straightening further as her strength returned, she levelled her gaze at Harford and Falt. Motioning to the crate, the creatures reacted by glowing even more brightly, as if to corroborate her words. 
Sanchez: The star is the answer. They need the others, their other people, but they need to feed. We need to get them closer to the star.  
Falt/Harford: Response


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