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[2005: AUG-SEP] Lost in a Dreamland


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((Deep in the Recesses of Pietro's Mind))

::Piet groaned. He shivered. He sighed. Couldn't remember. What happened? He sat up - winced and held his head. Opened his eyes... everything was black and white for some reason. Had he gone color blind? What was going on? He leaned back and took a few breaths, then tried to get up. Caused a little more pain in his side than he liked, but he was still able to stand. Licking his lips, he slowly turned to get a good look at the surrounding area.

He didn't know how it was possible, unless the Avenger was in orbit and cloaked, but he was on the bridge of his father's ship... Scratch that, pirate ship. The Defiant Class monstrosity that had once been a true Starfleet warship was now more of a mixture of technologies than Piet had imagined possible. He could identify at least a dozen different races by technology, and there were at least a dozen more he couldn't. But... the last time he had seen this bridge, it was still very much Federation and Starfleet technology... there was no need to have others mixed in.

True, it had been over a year... hell, almost two years since Piet had had any contact with his father. The closest he had come was the rumor of his father's capture just before Piet returned to Earth. But he also knew that couldn't possibly last too long - his father was a former Starfleet Captain, and worse, a member of the Orion Pirates. Erik Magnus Maximoff was not one to be anyone's captive for too long. Perhaps he had returned to find Pietro and punish him for their last encounter - though that was so long ago... it was amazing to believe his father could hold a grudge for that long, especially against his own son. But the galaxy was a big place - and there were some people famous for holding grudges.

Holding his side, Pietro started to walk along the curve of the bridge, which appeared to be abandoned. All of the consoles were on and working, the Captain's Chair half-rotated towards the starboard side. There also appeared to be some battle damage... from what, he couldn't tell. He sat down at the Engineering console, but the controls wouldn't respond - just the dull sound of buttons not working. He tried to read the screen anyway... but he couldn't make out the language... or could he? It just seemed blurry, too hard to read. He checked every console - the same problem. Everything blurry. What the hell was going on?

Deciding not much could be found out here, he made his way towards the door that would lead to the rear of the ship - more importantly, Engineering. The place he would know better than anything else. The door opened... and cross legged on the ground before him, a slight and rather eerie grin on her face, Cura Stone sat in his path. And although everything else was black and white, certain features seemed to him to be in color - which caused a rather eerie look to things. He could see the brightness of her eyes, her hair, and her lips... but everything else was black and white. He blinked. Blinked again.::

Pietro: Cura? What's going on?

::She just sat there, still grinning, though now looking up at him, brows raising. He sighed and, when it seemed she wouldn't answer, he started to head past her. She blocked the way with an arm.::

Cura: Things are not as simple as they seem. You may feel you're trapped in a dream.

Pietro: Cura? Why are you rhyming like that?

Cura: The exit you will find, where too soon to tell. The crew is ready, go ring the bell, and then you'll find a path from hell.

Pietro: Cura? What the hell are you talking about? What crew? Bell? Path? I don't know what the hell you mean!

Cura: The exit you will find, where too soon to tell. The crew is ready, go ring the bell, and then you'll find a path from hell.

::Pietro scowled. She had repeated the same phrase, which held no meaning for him. He tried to pass again - and she stopped him again.::

Cura: But before the bell be rung, you must face a former foe. Do not let yourself be hung, or you will find yourself in woe.

Pietro: Cura? What does that mean? Is that a warning?

::Nothing. He sighed. He glanced down the corridor, then looked back down to her... but she had disappeared. A combadge remained - and he only now noticed that his own was missing. He picked it up and attached it to his uniform, then started down the corridor.::

Pietro: oO The crew is ready... go ring the bell... what? Wait a second...Oo Mess hall!

::He darted down the corridor toward the Mess Hall and stepped through the doors... only to find the crew laying around scattered tables, throats slashed, phaser burns everywhere. He collapsed to his knees and covered his mouth for fear of vomiting... it was the Constitution crew. Every last one of them... even the ones that weren't serving aboard her anymore. And... Cura! She was one of the last ones he noticed... it was so odd. There was a flash of light... and the bodies, tables, everything was gone. There was a lone bell resting in the galley, waiting. He sighed and stood, getting ahold of himself, wondering if it was just a hullicination. He started for the bell... and just as suddenly found himself flat on his back, grunting at the impact, stars blinding his eyes. He shook them clear from his head, then crouched up in a defensive posture, trying to see who had attacked him... the former Doctor Gabriel! He blinked... and didn't really understand. Yes, they sort of had been foes for a short time, but... what was going on?

He dodged out of the way as Gabe attacked again, launching himself towards Pietro. Pietro brought his shoulder up into Gabe's stomach and knocked him backward and through a table. Gabe was up rather quickly, and a fist fight broke out. Gabe got in a good right hook, but wasn't able to evade before Pietro hit him with an uppercut. He stumbled backward and fell over a chair, oofing as he hit the floor. He growled and stood, coming at Pietro, but Pietro had already gotten the bell in his hand and swing it around, smacking him across the face with it... and causing it to ring. His attacker disappeared in another flash of light... as well as the bell. And he was no longer in the Mess Hall... he was in the Medical Bay. He frowned. What could possible be happening? Was there a Q entity involved? Or was he somehow being spoken to by the wormhole aliens from DS9? If so, for what reason? Or was it something else altogether, that he'd never encountered before?

He couldn’t explain it, but he had to continue on to find out. He licked his lips, looking around at the Medical Bay. He walked to a console… and the same fuzzy gibberish was on the screen. Frowning, Piet turned around and again studied the room. He crossed his arms, chewing on his lower lip, expecting to see someone appear from nowhere and tell him what to do… and nothing. Tossing his arms up, he sighed and headed through the Medical Bay doors. He turned the corner and again started for Engineering. As he rounded the corner… he ran into a rather large object and fell over onto his butt. Mumbling and rubbing his rear as he stood, he looked up… and into the face of his captain, Xan Hebron.::

Pietro: Are you going to speak to me in riddles and rhymes too?

Xan: I’m here to tell it like it is. You’re going to die in here if you don’t find your way out soon.

Pietro: How? Where?

Xan: I don’t know. ::glancing side to side:: HE is after you.

Pietro: Who is he?

Xan: I can’t tell you… because he’ll kill me… but I can warn you. Stay away from Engineering. He’s waiting for you there… and you won’t make it home!

::At first Piet believed he was just imagining things, but as Hebron continued to speak, he was literally growing smaller by the second. Pietro’s mouth fell open, and he couldn’t do or say anything – and just as suddenly, Hebron winked out of existence, as if he was too small to even exist. How… odd? Was that even the right word? He shook his head and gingerly stepped around where he had last seen Hebron, just in case the Brikar had not altogether disappeared – perhaps he could be returned to his natural size.

Piet continued to Engineering despite his captain’s warnings, and soon he came to the corridor leading to the Engineering entrance. He walked forward, glancing up and down the corridor before stopping at the door. He wet his lower lip… then jogged down to one of the armory closets and grabbed a phaser. He adjusted the setting for stun, then went back to the Engineering door. He stepped through slowly, phaser at the ready, eyes scanning the room. The warp core hummed to him, giving off that comforting blue color he was used to. He suddenly felt very safe… at home. Like this is where he belonged. The weight of the phaser in his hand was gone… he had dropped it to the floor. He found himself drawn to the core – an attraction he couldn’t fight. Didn’t want to fight. He walked up the step and leaned against the railing, looking down into the core. He wanted to jump in, lose himself in the plasma stream, to the immense pleasure of matter/antimatter reactions happening because of him…

He shook his head, pushing himself backward from the railing, then slipped and tumbled down to the floor, wincing as he fell on his side – the one that hurt before. He grasped it lightly, searching for the phaser with his other hand… and felt the sudden, jarring pain of broken fingers as a boot came down upon that hand. He looked up… into the dark, black eyes of his father. And not just the pupil – both of the eyes were pitch black, blacker than darkness, blacker than a black hole – and Piet knew that he was about to face pure evil at its worst. He pulled his hand back as the boot released it, cradling it against his side as his other arm held the side that hurt. He was disabled, which was a problem if a fight was about to happen. His father said nothing. He simply seethed, lips curled into a snarl, his teeth suddenly very pointy… and the snarl turned into an insane grimace/smile.

Pietro saw the Devil in the Dark.

And then, he could feel the heat of the warp core as his body was crushed against the side of it, a whimper escaping his lips. Strands of silver hair fell over his blue eyes, which were tearing over in pain. He hadn’t even done anything: He was still just standing there, His face bearing a wicked grin. Piet had the sudden feeling that this wasn’t exactly his father he was looking at – more like something that had taken his father’s form – something that scared him, something he hated.

And then the pain was gone. He was back on the deck of the bridge, still clutching his broken fingers, but his side didn’t hurt anymore. There was no phaser. There was a flash, and all of his crewmates were there, wrapped in a circle around him, cheering and jeering, looking like they were making bets. Another flash… and He was there as well, bearing a Klingon bat’telh. But He was different now. His father’s features were still there, but now He was a mixture of his father and Klingon – the skin was much darker, the hair still very silver, like his own, but with Klingon ridges on the forehead. His father’s eyes were there, but still blacker than a black hole. Piet could tell this was his father, but at the same time a Klingon – truth be told, Pietro had a hidden, quiet fear of Klingons all his life. It only made sense that, for whatever reason, He had taken that form to make Piet wary.

At first Pietro had no weapon. And then he also had a bat’telh. And the battle began. Pietro was awkward and clumsy with the sword, because he hadn’t ever truly sparred with one, but his skill still could have impressed a Klingon. But, at the same time, He was taking it easy on Piet, never attacking, always defending. And then it came. The attack. Pietro at first had trouble deflecting all of the attacks, and got quite a few knicks, even losing bits of flesh in some areas… but eventually he got into a natural rhythm. For some reason, because he believed he was better with a bat’telh than his opponent, he became better… skills that even a master Klingon swordsman could not master, Piet could suddenly do with little thought. The next thing he realized… his bat’telh was buried in His chest. And the fight was over. The crowd disappeared. His father remained… in his true form, so to speak. The sword fell out… and his father shrunk into the form of a baby, which began to cry. The evil that was the Devil in the Dark had suddenly become something anyone could take care of. Pietro lifted the baby to his chest and looked into his eyes… the darkness was gone. He smiled a little, tweaking the baby’s nose… and then this dream was over, and there was only blackness.::

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