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[2007: MAY-JUN] *WINNER* Kelly's Wish


Guest kaldore1
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Guest kaldore1

“Tell me.”

She said nothing. She stood next to the window, arms crossed, staring out at the stars. It wasn’t easy to see her that way. There was something wrong; I knew it as her counselor, as her superior officer, and as her sister.

“Kelly. Tell me.”

“I can’t.”

She didn’t turn around; she barely acknowledged me. Her voice was different, too; deeper and higher at the same time, though I know that doesn’t make sense.

She wasn’t going to talk. I reviewed what I’d already gleaned from her monosyllabic answers and various nods and other body language: She’d been uncomfortable around the captain. It had begun to affect her performance, and she was afraid of….

Of what? Getting put on report? Kicked off the ship? I didn’t know.

And then, a thought.

So what if she wasn’t going to talk? That was immaterial. She didn’t need to talk for me to hear her. We’d been together for more than twenty years, after all. Our psychic bond was very, very strong, rivaling the power of imzadis, even.

“Kelly,” I said. She didn’t say anything, not that I was really surprised. “Kelly, I’m want to try something.”

She shifted slightly, putting her weight on her left foot, and leaned against the window. I stood up and walked over to her….

Kelly was literally pressed up against the wall, but it didn’t fog or smear. Even when she began to cry, her tears didn’t leave trails on the-

Crying.

She was crying.

I put my arm around my sister. There was more here than simple discomfort, or job anxiety. This…this was something more, something darker….

“I can help,” I whispered.

She looked at me, her face blotchy and tear-streaked. “I can’t,” she said. “I can’t, I can’t, I can’t, I can’t…”

“I can,” I said.

She looked at me, hopefully, but refusing to meet my eye at the same time, as though she was afraid to let herself hope.

“Do it,” I said, feeling out for her mind, willing myself to grab it, to focus it, to expand it….

She closed her eyes and we felt as one. I was inside her head and she was inside mine, and I knew all she knew and she I and we were one together, forever, and I…

I?

There was no I.

There was only us. We. Together. Together forever…

Unless…

No!

We feel it now. A break. We had thought our powers equal, or at least able to support one another, but one is failing. One is failing! We must pull out! We must surrender! We must-

No! I can carry on!

But there is no I, there is only we, the we that will go on and on and on and-

No. There is an I, there is me, and I can carry the full weight.

She sagged against me, but I was still in her head, carrying her on, and suddenly attached to more. I was her, but we were not alone. There were three more voices, speaking as one. They were saying the same thing, calling for the same thing. What? What were they asking for?

And then….

It was all gone.

The window was gone, and even though I hadn’t really been seeing, I saw something different:

A face.

A face I recognized.

The captain!

He was bending over me, his face coming towards mine, but it wasn’t.…

He was speaking:

“It’ll be okay, it won’t hurt, I swear, swear it won’t hurt, you won’t even feel any different, I swear it, Kelly….”

Oh, god!

Was he going to…?

But then I felt it. It wasn’t anything physical, oh no. No, it was worse; he was inside my head, thrusting into me with abandon, not even realizing that yes, it hurt, yes, I felt it, yes, yes, oh god, please stop it….

It changed.

It was no longer him. He was still there, inside me, but it was different, too. It started to feel…not bad. Like there was some happy thought in there, something I was happy about, except it wasn’t me. I wasn’t happy, I was afraid, afraid of him, afraid of the happy thought, afraid of….

I heard them.

Inside my head, I heard them.

It wasn’t a cacophony. No, it was only the three voices. The three voices, again. But the three voices were enough.

They called out for the captain. Oh, they didn’t call him ‘Captain,’ of course. They called out his real name, over and over, and they called him other, fouler words. They didn’t know me, didn’t even acknowledge me, except that I was part of the captain, a way to him.

They wanted to hurt him, as he had hurt them. They wanted to kill him.

They wanted the captain.

“I swear it, Kelly, only for a little longer.” His voice was in my ear again, in my head … both, at the same time. It would always be a part of me now.

The captain was leaving now, pulling away from me, but I could feel the power he left, the voices that clamored inside me for him. It was all I could do to control them, and even that was becoming difficult. If he did it again….

But he had. Again, and again, and again….

It was a knife inside me, twisting, hot and cold at the same time, with a pain that I could block, but only just. I didn’t want it anymore, but how could I make it go away? I couldn’t, I couldn’t, couldn’t couldn’t, there was no way, only he could teach me how to control it. He was my friend, my teacher, my captain….

It was time to report for my duty shift on the bridge.

My bridge shifts were more frequent now. Before, he’d only assigned me up there once every week, but now it was once every two days, and he was hinting that it might be daily soon. He superceded the first officer, going against the duty schedule, bumping down lieutenants so a lowly ensign could get off of her shift at the same time as he did….

I didn’t have a problem with that. He was helping me, teaching me how to control the pain.

He said it had come when my powers developed. That the small power I’d had before had blossomed when I’d matured, and that the pain was a part of that. He said that it was hard to understand unless you had experienced it for several decades, so my sister wouldn’t even be able to help. But he, he could help me.

I didn’t like the pain. I wanted to get rid of it.

He promised he would teach me. That within a year’s time, I wouldn’t even feel it anymore, and my power would be greater than ever.

I couldn’t wait. The pain, the pain…now, it was taking a large part of me just to block it in day-to-day life. I hadn’t been stabbed, obviously, but if I had been, I’d imagine it would feel like this. But this was different, too; it was hot, then cold, and sometimes it was a stabbing pain, sometimes throbbing, sometimes just a dull ache, and sometimes…

Sometimes…

I felt it fading away, gradually. I was Catherine, only Catherine; Kelly was gone, no longer a part of me. I had pulled free.

But I remembered.

Oh, yes, I remembered everything.

“No.”

I pulled her away from the window, and took her face in my hands. It was slick with tears, and my hands threatened to slip away, but I held onto her with a force that was more than just physical.

“He lied,” I said, and again, “He lied!”

Another tear slipped down her cheek.

“He caused the pain. He wasn’t going to stop,” I said. “He wanted you, Kelly. He wanted to use you. He’s a pathetic, cowardly fool, and I… I….”

She didn’t respond. I was beginning to realize that she’d never respond again, not like she had before.

How could this have happened? How could I have overlooked this?!

My anger was growing, expanding, threatening to burst through the boring old physical walls of my body. Too late, I realized that it wasn’t just my anger, but the anger of Kelly, as well. Somehow, when I’d looked inside her mind, the anger she’d repressed had migrated over to me, where it could burst forth fully.

Amazing.

And yet….

There was more. I heard voices, whispers in my head, the same ones I’d heard in Kelly’s, the ones that breathed the captain’s voice on the wind ….

I felt….

I felt….

I….

She will take us. He will not expect it, not from her, the one he trusts implicitly. He is truly a fool.

We will go, now. Her own mind tells us it is late, too late for him to be anywhere but his bed. Good. He will die in the very position in which he destroyed us.

We ring the chime. He answers slowly, sleepily. We enter. It is dark; he is half-asleep. He does not see the phaser until it is too late.

He cries out in fear. We relish the cry, and we shout our triumph to the stars in a voice that blends laughter and tears. He begs not to do it. He asks why. He implores us to remember our sense of duty. Finally, he calls out with the final cry, the cry of family.

“My daughter!” he says to her. We are appalled. He would do to his children what he did to us?

We press the trigger.

In the end, he dies quickly, in a burst of light. We wish that it could have been slower, that we could have taken him piece by piece, as he took us.

We feel….

Feel….

We are finished.

We let go of the girl.

Thank you….

“Charges are dismissed.”

I must have looked surprised, because I sure felt it. I was free to go? After weeks of being questioned, cross-examined, my mind feeling like it had been taken out and beaten, day after day. After night upon night of returning to confinement, being locked away from Kelly, while they tore her mind apart as well. And now….

“I have reviewed all your evidence,” the JAG said, speaking like a Vulcan, emotionlessly. “Three independent Betazoid investigators have examined your mind, as well as your sister’s-“

Well, I certainly remembered that. They had taken everything from me, made me relive those horrible moments: My father, cowering, as my finger pushed the button. The phaser beam had traveled at the speed of light, but it had seemed a lot slower to me.

“-and they’ve found mental traces of the presences that you described, and detailed them extensively. Using those, as well as your ex-captain’s personal logs, we have been able to identify them as belonging to three officers who were reported missing in action at various times.”

‘Your ex-captain.’ As if that was all he was to me, a captain that I’d once served under.

But then the full magnitude of what the JAG had said hit me. “Who?”

“Lieutenant Kae Failee; disappeared in 2374 at the age of 28. Ensign Sarah Irana; disappeared in 2379 at the age of 23. Chief Zoestra Welland; disappeared in 2383 at the age of 25. All were young Betazoid women serving under Captain Thomas at the time of their disappearance. All disappearances were never fully explained, and the reports surrounding those disappearances were too vague; too much was left out.

“It appears that the remnants of the minds … the souls, for lack of a better term … of those three women were carried inside Captain Thomas for some time. He was, after all, an extremely gifted psychic, easily within the top 1% of the Betazoid species in terms of ability. In any event, these souls migrated from him to Ensign Kelly Thomas, as we surmise they had done each time before. But when you entered her mind, they migrated to you, and used you to carry out their revenge.

“As such, we have ruled that Captain Thomas’s murder was committed by Lieutenant Failee, Ensign Irana, and Chief Welland, using you as a tool. You are free to go, Lieutenant Thomas.” The JAG smiled, ever so slightly. “You are no more guilty than the phaser they used.” His smile faded somewhat. “But I am sorry for your loss. Is your sister-“

I was up and walking before he’d finished speaking. I was free now, so I was free to go.

Kelly needed me.

I found her outside, looking out at the stars through one of the starbase’s windows. She had been invited inside, but I hadn’t seen more than a glimpse of her. She preferred to stand outside and look out the window, gods know why.

I wanted to say something to her, but I couldn’t think of anything that would help her. I thought about telling her … showing her, even … the images that were still in my mind from the night our father had died.

No.

She needed something else now. Revenge was a twisted emotion, sickening; revenge had caused the spirits of those three dead women to come back and kill my father. They’d accomplished nothing other than another death.

There was more to life than that.

I opened my mind to my sister, focusing on one thing: life. I pictured the field behind our house on Betazed; the warm beach I’d visited last month on Risa; the waterfall I’d stood beside on Earth. And, finally, a picture of the hydroponics bay on our old ship. There was a flower there, a special breed from Gamma Ophiuchi III, a wish flower. I showed Kelly my memory of that flower, blooming, its blue and indigo petals opening up to reveal a rainbow of colors and, inside that, a tiny spot of brightest, purest white.

Kelly looked up at me.

And she smiled.

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