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[2005: AUG-SEP] Sanctuary


Ajescent
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Sanctuary

With his heart pounding immeasurably, the desperate Trill ran aimlessly through the thorn filled bushes. The encroaching thorns snatching, cutting, ripping the skin and clothing of the young Trill, if only he could make it into the daylight and out of the overwhelming darkness then everything would be fine.

Deep in the depths of his mind, the faces of those he’d left behind ran through his mind, was it the wrong decision he made? Leaving the helpless with THEM, his mind trying hard to forget the things that they did to him and made him do-

None of that mattered now, as though working on autopilot, the Trill ran through the rough pathways cutting through the thorny bushes with sharp bits of stone piercing his bare feet.

All around him whispers could be heard, their origins unknown. Had they found him so quickly? He’d only managed to escape from the cave less than ten minutes ago and already they were closing in on him, he could all but imagine the hands of his one-time captors reaching out to him from the darkness, grabbing at his muddied and blood-drenched uniform with the sole intention to take him back to the place he’d just left behind, the place where he left the others…was that the right thing to do? He could not- he did not want to answer that question now…all he wanted was to make it into the daylight and out of the overwhelming darkness.

He had now been running for a while, his legs drained of what little strength they had left, his lungs unable to keep up with the heavy demand for air, he could hear his one time captors edging closer to him and no matter how hard he tried he could not get away he could not go any further, but he knew he had to keep on trying, if not for his sake then for the sake of those still held captive…

Maybe the daylight he so desperately seeked was at the end of the encroaching thorns…if only he could just make it…the end was in sight and all he had to do was continue, his captors were closing in, closing in from the perfect darkness but he had to keep on trying when suddenly-

A sharp light penetrated the trees, the thorns and the darkness, hitting the young Trill right between his eyes, for the first time in over 7 days he could see light and though it was painful to his eyes but it was a welcomed sight…it meant freedom was close at hand, filled with a new lease of life, energy and hope, the Trill ran recklessly towards the light, with every advancing step, the light grew brighter and brighter, making it impossible for him to see.

As he emerged into the clearing, the Trill stopped completely blinded by the light he raised his arms to shield his eyes unable to look forward. But he was curious, desperate to see the source of the light…sneaking a peek, the Trill looked forward and saw six advancing silhouettes…what were they? Were they what the human captives referred to, as “angels” was he dead?

‘Identify yourself!!!’ Shouted one of the angels.

‘Put your hands up!!’ Shouted the other.

The Trill squinted his eyes once again and peered into the light as it soon became apparent what they were…they were Starfleet officers…and the blinding light was a searchlight searching for them, for him…he was safe.

‘I am Ensign Dachas Rowan, I am a Starfleet officer and I am unarmed…’ The Ensign said in a trebling voice, tired and emotional unable to believe what was happening.

As the Ensign edged closer to the advancing officers, every single one of his over worked and worn-out system began to shutdown, his legs slowly buckling underneath him, his entire body at verge of a nervous breakdown, all of his basic skills had been discontinued with the exception of his ability to speak and all he could say over and over again was-

“I am Ensign Dachas Rowan, I am a Starfleet officer and I am unarmed.’

‘I know…’ Said the leading officer with a smile so warm and welcoming, it finally convinced the Ensign he was once again safe.

‘Lieutenant Shield?’ Dachas said feebly, his voice barely raising past a whisper of disbelief.

‘Let me take a look at you.’ Said another one, taking a tricorder to the Ensign and scanning him.

‘I’m afraid that won’t be possible, the Captain has specifically requested to see him the moment we find him, you can treat him later.’

‘But-‘

‘Captain’s orders I’m afraid.’ Said another, Dachas unable to distinguish between the faces, as all he could do was focus his attention on the smiling officer who welcomed him.

The following moments all seemed to mesh into one, but from what he could gather it had been less than a minute before he found himself standing in what looked like a Transporter room…

‘Welcome to the USS Haven Ensign Rowan...’ Said the woman behind the console, causing the Ensign to jump nearly out of his skin. ‘You are safe now…’ She said with a friendly smile notably lacking any traces of hostility towards the young Ensign.

The bright lighting of the room, accompanied by the welcoming warmth of the place brought home to the Ensign, the possibility that maybe there was nothing else to worry about…

‘Captain Knight is in his office.’ She said, her perfect friendly smile showing no sign of wavering. ‘You… remember where it is? She asked politely, leaning over her console whilst patiently waiting for the Ensign’s reply.

Dachas did not answer straight away, his left hand protectively cupping his right broken wrist, his grey eyes darting all over the room trying to reacclimatize with the ship he thought he would never see again. After what seemed like an eternity, the Ensign nodded and gingerly stepped out of the Transporter room.

Outside the room, the same warm, peaceful and heavenly lighting that was in the Transporter room greeted the Ensign; the same welcoming warmth from the Transporter room caressed the Ensign’s face. As he gingerly made his way down the corridors that led to the Captain’s officer, the Ensign could feel his bare and badly bruised feet rubbing against the floor of the corridor…but he did not mind…the feeling was a welcome change to what he had been exposed to during his time with his captors, the flooring of the ship was far softer and far kinder to his feet than anything he had ever felt, the closest that he could get to describing it was walking in the clouds…but the feeling of sanctuary didn’t always last too long.

Occasionally the odd crewmember would walk past the suspicious Ensign who would bury his back into the walls in an attempt to escape from them, because in his mind’s eye after being lulled into a false sense of security, THEY would leap out and capture him and return him to the darkness…but rather than judge him or attempt to harm him, instead the crewmembers would offer a smile of warmth and friendship and continue on their way.

It soon became apparent to the Ensign that maybe, just maybe…on this ship…he was safe, on this ship the darkness that haunted him for the last few days had been left behind…the Ensign was keen to let that fear go but for now the odd doubt still laid in the back of his mind. Standing tall by the Captain’s office door, the Ensign chimed the bell and was signalled in.

As the doors opened to the Captain’s office, it occurred to the Ensign that this was the first time he had indeed been in Captain Knight’s office, in fact this was the first time he’d formally met the Captain. Still weary of his situation, the Ensign’s suspicious eyes darted around the room trying to absorb as much information and detail as he could, from the oil painting of dancing Angels hanging behind the Captain to the perfect white of the walls, the décor and mood of the room reflected the name of the ship and to further ease the Ensign’s worries, the warm air from the Transporter room promoting peace and tranquillity in him had seemingly followed the Ensign all the way into the Captain’s office

‘Please…’ He said, indicating to the seat at the other side of his desk. ‘Sit down Ensign…’ He added, his smooth voice soothing the young Ensign who obeyed him

With his fingertips barely touching their counterparts, the Captain sat back on his chair resting his elbows on the armrest, elevating his hands close to his mouth whilst placing with his left knee over his right, his eyes using what little he could remember from his short lived time as a trainee Intelligence officer to analyse the mood of the young Ensign.

Ensign Rowan on the other hand did not notice any of this, his mind busy, swarming with far too many thoughts to notice anything.

‘I realise the past few days must have been difficult for you Ensign.’ The Captain said softly, drawing the Ensign’s attention to himself as he noticed the level of sympathy in the Captain’s voice.

Ensign Rowan did not reply, he was distracted by the glare of the light causing Captain Knight’s uniform to shine as the Captain stood from his seat to position himself beside the desk, closer to the Ensign.

‘I dare not imagine what you’ve had to go through these past few days…’ The Captain added, smiling sympathetically as he waited for the Ensign to reply but got no response. ‘A team of Independent Investigators from Starfleet are on their way to interview you Ensign about your experiences in that cave-‘

Without warning, the unresponsive Ensign turned his head towards the Captain, unwittingly darting him a cold glare must to the displeasure of the Captain.

‘You look exactly as I imagined you to do sir.’ The Ensign said randomly.

‘Huh?’ The Captain replied, unsure what to make of the comment as the Ensign shook his head, prompting him to continue his speech.

‘They believe that not everything concerning this matter is as it seems Ensign…they feel that your abduction maybe…connected… to other abductions that are similar to yours…they say they are unsure who might be conducting these abductions…but I’m curious Ensign…’ The Captain said smiling that same sympathetic smile. ‘is there anything that you might…remember that may be of any use?’ The Captain asked.

‘No sir.’ Ensign Rowan replied, shaking his head.

‘Are you sure Ensign?’ The Captain asked again, his voice growing a little sterner. ‘Anything at all Ensign?’

‘No sir, nothing.’

‘Anyone any of your captors looking familiar?’ He asked, tripping over his words slightly.

‘They wore masks at all times sir.’

‘Anything?-‘

‘I said no sir!’ The Ensign shouted, snapping angrily at the Captain.

The Captain did not appreciate the Ensign yelling at him but appreciated the fact that the Ensign had just been through a very traumatic experience so was excusable for his reaction.

‘Forgive me sir…I’m having difficulty making heads or tails from this at the moment Captain…it’s all a complete blur…I mean they forced me to murder Commander Drake in cold blood.’ The Ensign said in disbelief.

‘I know Ensign.’ The Captain replied, not hearing the last part of the Ensign’s words. ‘It must be difficult for you, I mean being Mind raped by Betazoids must have been a terrible ordeal for you…’ The Captain smiled, not noticing his exact words.

The Ensign wrinkled his eyebrows and glared suspiciously at the Captain-

‘I’ve made no mentions of Betazoids sir.’

‘Sorry?’ The Captain replied anxiously as he played back in his mind his own words. ‘Oh a lucky guess-‘

‘Nor did I make any mention of mind rape “sir”…’ The Ensign glared suspiciously at his captain.

Captain Knight swallowed hard, he realised he had been cornered both he and the Ensign knew that he could not use the “lucky guess” argument again he had to think fast.

‘I know for fact I said I was FORCED to do certain things…but I never specified how...’ The Ensign said quickly cutting off any escape routes that the Captain could use.

‘Well if there are Betazoids concerned Ensign, what other methods could they use?’ The Captain asked, his smile changing to a nervous one as he began to lose his composure.

‘I dunno sir, I find placing a phaser to one’s head works just as well.’ The Ensign replied sarcastically, he was beginning to distrust the Captain.

‘Well…whatever you say Ensign-‘ The Captain replied trying to dismiss the comment as he nervously returned to his seat.

‘I get the feeling that there is something you are not quite telling me…is there something I should know…sir? The Ensign asked adding the “Sir” for effect.

‘My dear Ensign you are clearly.-

‘Is there something I should know sir?’ The Ensign repeated, not raising his voice.

‘This is ludicrous-’ The Captain replied; now sweating profusely.

‘Is there something I should know sir? The Ensign repeated again, carefully so as not to raise his voice pass his audible whisper.

‘Surely you can’t be suggesting that-‘

‘Is there something I should know…sir (?) The Ensign repeated yet again, this time showing some of his frustration.

‘I AM YOUR CAPTAIN-‘

He was going to finish off by saying “and I won’t be spoken to like that.” But before he could finish, the Ensign interjected by saying.

‘You won’t be a captain much longer if you are found to have taken part in the kidnapping and mass murder of over 50 people…’ The Ensign replied calmly, bringing silence to the room…so I ask you again…is there something I should know sir?’

The Captain sighed and glared at the Ensign, he did not like the Ensign but he had to give him credit, for a man who had been through hell and back he still had his wits about him and could still know when something was wrong…but for the sake of the exercise he had to keep the facade going for as long as he could.

‘You’ve lost it Ensign…you’ve really lost it…’ The Captain replied nervously.

It was clear to the Ensign that something was wrong but so far he had not been able to isolate what it was when it suddenly occurred to him what was wrong…

‘You are not Captain Knight.’ He said, unsure where the words came from.

‘What?’ The Captain replied taken aback by the random words.

‘Captain Knight is incapable of sight and has to wear a visor, you don’t, I dare say it must have been one heck of a miracle to fix your eyes “sir”.’

‘eep-‘ The impostor said.

‘And this is not the USS Haven! On the real ship, The Transporter rooms are not on the same deck as the Captain’s officer, I wished it was because it would make making my way to the Captain’s office much easier every time I arrived on board-‘

‘I-‘

‘SHUT UP!!!’ The Ensign yelled at the top of his voice as he stood up fixing his glared at the impostor. ‘I may not have met Captain Knight before but I did my research on him looking at his history as an officer and I saw his picture…he looks nothing like you…now its clear to see that you copied his image from my imagination…I want to know how…I want to know what the HELL is going on here!!!’

The Ensign had adopted a look not too dissimilar to a trapped rabid Fengi Tiger, needless to say it brought major discomfort to the Impostor who made a desperate bolt for the doors but was caught by a mean left hook to his jaw automatically flat-lining the impostor allowing the injured and deranged Ensign to jump on him.

‘TELL ME WHAT IS GOING ON NOW!!! I WANT TO KNOW NOW!!!’ The Ensign shouted angrily in the man’s face, grabbing his collar with his one good hand. ‘TELL ME!!!’

Relax…

A random voice said, appearing out of nowhere washing over the Ensign like a wave of warm water rendering him numb and devoid of any movement or need to.

At ease…

It said, completely depleting any fight the Ensign may have had in him.

Stand up

Not even daring to argue, the Ensign rushed to his feet, forgetting any injury he might have sustained.

‘What took you so long?!’ Shouted the impostor into the seemingly empty room. ‘He could have killed me!!’ He added, standing up to catch his breath and fix his uniform.

‘Relax…’ Said a woman seemingly appearing out of nowhere with a grin on her face. ‘I had you covered the whole time…’

‘Yeah right…’ The Impostor shuffled, failing to hide his inability to believe his partner.

‘This one’s mind is strong…he keeps fighting my attempts to install ideas into his mind ’ She said with a proud smile on her face.

‘Yes…he is a difficult one.’

‘We can barely force him to believe anything, he seems to have the upper hand by being able to create false thoughts for us to read...’

‘You managed to convince him that his escape was real...that’s more progress than we could have imagined.’ The Impostor said with a shrug.

‘Yes…’ She replied disappointedly. ‘But he caught on to the situation much quicker than the others…’

‘Its amazing that you’ve actually been able to penetrate his mind…you can install false images in him and convince him of certain things…you even forced him to kill his Commander and be convinced that more than one person was in front of him…’

‘I did, didn’t I?’ She replied smiling once again as she stared at her favourite subject. ‘Though I dare say the murder was a bit of a fluke…’

‘We are making a lot more progress with this one than we originally thought…’ He said reassuringly. ‘If you like…we can always try again tomorrow?’

‘Yes...yes…we should…’

The End

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