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JAN/FEB Song and Silence


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The glare from the sun was almost unbearable as it shone through the window in room 219 of Arroyo Grande High School. Especially at 14:33 hours when it beat down onto the desk of Traven Stark. His eyes watered because he caught a glimpse right into it, like so many times before this Senior year. He rubbed his fingers over them and wiped the tears on his pant leg. He turned slightly at his work cubical which always made the bright glare a little better. It also provided the opportunity for the young man to have a look at Rebecca Bratain. Lovely golden hair spilled down her shoulder which was just as golden. Her dainty ears drifted gracefully up to a fine point at the top. The girl obviously had some Vulcan blood in her. Which was great for Traven. If she continued to be this beautiful she could be part Grazerite for all he cared. She quickly shot a glance his way that caused him to flinch his head away from her and right back into the glare from the window. He grimaced as his eyes began to flow with tears again. He didn't dare look back, but he was sure Rebecca was grinning if not out right laughing at him.

He was grateful when the familiar computer voice chirped in “Sixth period time elapsed. You are excused”. Ah, the end of the school day had come. He darted from his seat to avoid making any contact with the Vulcan, exiting the room as he finished wiping tears. Now he could go back to Professor Malcolm Yuirdriss' lab to continue his research. Traven had met the good professor two years ago during his required bio/chemistry course. Professor “Yuiry”, Traven's nickname for him, was the first teacher Traven had ever known that could really challenge and interest him. It was through research that the doctor did it too. A teacher for over fifty years, Malcolm knew how to spot a talented mind. Traven's he found, was untapped and sadly, unfocused. So he invited the young boy of fifteen to stay after school one day to get some tutoring on a project assignment. When Traven met up with his teacher that day, something happened. The professor simply proposed a question to Traven. From that time forward Traven and Doctor Yuiry grew a fantastic bond.

The door opened easily and Traven glided into the office of a scholar. The walls were lined in wooden bookcases that were overfilled with tomes. However after a slight dogleg in the shelving the heartbeat of the science department was found. Standing proudly with an opened book in his hands was Professor Malcolm Yuirdriss. A tall and gaunt man of aged years, Doctor Yuidriss looked up and smiled. He snapped the book closed and placed it on his ornate cherry wood desk.

“Schools out already eh?” The professor frequently lost track of time. Unless an experiment was involved.

“Yeah. Let's get started.” As he spoke Traven grabbed his lab coat from it's normal peg on the wall that lead to the back entrance of the departments laboratory facilities.

“Just a minute Mr Stark.” The index finger of the teacher shot up. “I have something to discuss with you. Sit down.” Yuiry sat down himself and drank from a cup that was on the desk. The displeasure for his now cold coffee shot across his face. Just as fast he was back up and walking into a closet space that held, among many things, a replicator.

“Computer coffee blend Yuirdriss forty-seven. Would you care for something Traven?”

The professors voice startled Traven a bit. His thoughts were already trying to figure out what his teacher needed to talk to him about. Everything seemed to be going okay and his grades were excellent as always.

“Yes please, some iced Darian tea.” Traven was tense. Which was usual. He hated things he was unfamiliar with. Especially people and places. Teacher discussions would also qualify. But Traven trusted Professor Yuiry. That however, did not keep him from being anxious.

“What do you need to talk to me about professor?” Traven sat up in the chair he had unconsciously sat down in.

“Well” Yuiry paused. “I have an opportunity that could prove to be a milestone in my career. You know of Thelsus Two?”

“Yes, home of the Plasma Falls of Hulranous.” Traven had read extensively on these plasma falls. Plasma research was what he was most passionate about. It fascinated him and he spent much of his time learning about it. “The Plasma Falls of Hulranous are underground channels that pure plasma energy flows through. The only naturally occurring plasma flow known to The Federation. Most interesting is the walls of these channels have a form of protection from the plasma that baffles the best scientists.

“Correct.” The old man's head bowed, somewhat sad. “Well, I am leaving in three weeks for an extended sabbatical to do research there.

Panic began to well up inside Traven's stomach. His palms started to sweat. As he began to blurt out his many objections, the head of his teacher sprang back up with a sly grin.

“And I have arranged for you to go with me! I have even spoken to your parents already.

Traven stood up from his chair smiling wide.” What?!?! Are you serious?” The teachers head just smiled and nodded. Traven began to pace. “I can't believe it. Three weeks that's too long we have to go now.”

“Hold on, hold on. First things first. Slow down. Sit back down and listen.” The boy complied and the professor continued. “In order for you to go a few things must happen. First you have to pass an early exit exam in order to graduate early. And I must warn you. You will miss your class's graduation ceremony. Thelsus Two is not just around the corner.

Certainly not. Traven's guess was two weeks by shuttle craft. What a trip that would be! He mused. Two weeks with his best teacher and mentor on the way to do research on plasma. It was more than anything Traven could imagine.

“Lastly you will have to get clearance from Starfleet. They are funding this endeavor.” The professor stopped to let Traven respond. But at the moment no words were coming to him. The doctor stood up. Tell ya what. Go home, talk to your parents and I will have everything detailed when you come in tomorrow. Okay?

“That sounds good.” was all Traven could get out. It was probably a good idea anyway. His mind was frantic with all manner of thoughts about what was just told to him. As Traven left the office the teacher knew the boy would become a great research scientist.

The pod ride home took too long. Brain waves were racing inside Traven's skull at record speeds. He had already made a mental checklist of all the loose ends he would need to tie up. The worst of which, he thought, was quitting his musical group. After a five year hiatus he had only just began to play his guitar again. The four other group members were good friends and they would be disappointed if Traven left. But this was an opportunity of a life time. There was much to do.

Surprise events always make time go by too fast. Suddenly Traven was frantically trying to finish packing. He had easily accomplished each item on his checklist. The guys were thankfully understanding about Traven's departure. In fact the demo recording they made was playing on the computer as he finished loading his pack. Most of his belongings were picked up and transported to The Vargas, a cargo ship Professor Yuirdriss had secured for their journey. Better than a shuttle. The trip should be no more than a week. The quicker the better to be sure in Traven's mind. He glanced one more time around his room and hesitated. He would get home sick. Of that there was no doubt. Most of what he really cared about was going with him. There wasn't very much. He grabbed the data module he was listening to and with a sigh he walked out of his room.

The Vargas was functional but that's where it ended. Very plain with few comforts. The pair was surprised to even find a replicator in the quarters they were assigned. But they could do worse. Operations seemed to run smoothly on board. The vessel was capable and felt sturdy. Professor Yuiry was going over the details of the research operation they would be involved in on Thelsus Two. The doctor had everything organized and let Traven in on all the information he had.

“Do you have any questions Traven?” Asked Yuiry.

“I would like...” His voice was interrupted by the ship's computers.

“Attention all passengers. Entering The Rathgar Cluster in ten minutes. Power levels will be set to minimum to decrease the chance of detection. please refrain from excessive power usage for thirty minutes.” The tone of the computer was cold and rather plain.

Traven looked at his teacher. The older man asked the computer. “Computer what would be detecting us in The Rathgar Cluster?

The computer chirped in “Recent intelligence indicates possible pirate activity in the Ion fields of The Rathgar Cluster.”

Yuiry made his way to the comm panel “Professor Yuirdriss to Steward.” No answer came. The comm line was silent. Probably offline while the transport snuck its was through the cluster.

“Traven I assure you there was no mention of this when I signed on...” But before he could continue the ship rocked violently and the companions were thrown off their feet. The lights went out and there was another load impact. Traven could here the explosions as they hit. Something flew by and hit him in the head. It was hard and metal. The contact cut him and blood began to leak from the wound. He got down flat on the floor. Two more rapid hits were felt on the ship and an alarm began to sound.

“Professor? Professor Yuirdriss!” Traven yelled out.

After a pause, “I am here.” Came weakly from the darkness.

“Are you okay?” Traven hopefully asked.

“I think so, help me up.”

Feeling his way in the dark Traven got to Yuiry. The young man reached for something to lean on. A chair was in range and Traven used it to stand. His knees buckled as his head got dizzy and light. Gripping the chair, he remained on his feet. He help his friend up and helped him get his hand on the same chair as Traven. Fruitless as another volley of hits banged on the ship. This time Traven was airborne. He flattened out and prepared for injury. He has moving fast and hard. When his body met the outer wall of the room his mind went black. He only hoped that the professor fared better than he.

His eyes tried to open. But glare from the sun only made them water. He glanced to his left. Sort of hoping to see Rebecca Bratain. But what he actually saw was astonishing. Wreckage and debris lay all around him. Pressing on him in fact. He could not move his arms or legs and felt like he was in a slightly reclined position. He turned his head the other way and realized that was all he could move. Like some cocoon, the ship wreck had encased him. He could see a hand and part of an arm near him. It was the professors! He screamed, “PROFESSOR”. The limb seemed dead and kind of pink with blood on it. At the elbow it sank into wreckage beyond what Traven could see. But it was attached and through some of the metal scarps and wires he thought he could see the professors head.

Traven grunted and frowned as he tried to struggle against the metal all around him. He could move his right fingers and hand. He kept working it and managed to pull it up and then free. He chuckled at his victory. He closed his eyes. The grim conditions brought a feeling of doom. He was going to die here. Wherever here was. Dust was everywhere and his breathing was becoming a labor. Really he could barely feel anything on his body. With his now free hand he grabbed the his mentor's wrist. He was shocked to see his own hand was slashed in numerous places and bleeding. But he could feel Yuiry's pulse, ever so faint.

“Professor...Professor Yuirdriss!”. The young man cried to him.

(cough, cough)(Hacking cough)”Help” the old man whispered.

“Don't worry professor help is on the way.” He lied having no idea what was going on.

“Professor can you hear me?”

“Yes Traven I can.” His voice was very weak. “What happened?”

“I don't know sir. We are so screwed.” He began to panic and tears started running down his cheeks. “ We must have crashed somewhere. Can you move sir?”

“My arm is pinned in something and I can't feel my legs. I see blood.

“Can you feel my fingers?” Traven tightened his grip on the wrist he was still holding and tapped as well.

“Yes,” he grunted, “I can. Ah that is good. Are you okay boy?”

“I am okay. Just trapped here as well.” He lied again but thought it more important to make sure the older man did not worry about him.

“Listen Traven I am severely wounded and I can feel myself getting weaker. I don't have much time.”

“NO!” Screamed the student. “No! Help will get here.”

“SHOOSH!” Reprimanded the teacher. “You must listen Traven. I don't have time to...” He coughed violently and his hand and wrist went stiff scaring Traven. “...reason. There is one detail I have left out about our current project. I have unlocked the secrets to the shield coatings of the plasma flows. I have told no one of this for there are those that would steal my secrets. In my pocket is a data module containing everything I have done on this research. My years of other research are on there as well. You must take it and you must use it. I know you will be a much better scientist than I.”

Traven wanted to speak desperately. But there was an air about that caused him to stay silent. Maybe an unconscious reverence for the professor and what he had to say. Perhaps his fears and own mortality were freezing him. The professor continued.

“There is more I want to tell you. The longer I speak the longer I will live. So listen closely, I have much to share.”

In his mind Traven was back on Earth in the labs at school. He was delirious and had trouble concentrating. But he could hear his teachers voice and he was lecturing. Yuiry set out sharing any knowledge that was popping into his head. He spoke of all manner of science and research. His voice hummed with sweetness to Traven. Most of the time the boys eyes were closed listening to the professors voice. At one point however Traven began to cry, the reality creeping into his mind. But the professor defused him quickly. Snapping his attention back to class. Continuing he unloaded on the boy as much of his legacy as his young mind could handle. It took hours.

“Give me a minute to rest.” Traven finally blurted out.

“Very well.” Yuiry had to admit speaking was hard and his throat was rough and scratchy.

Traven took a few deep breaths. “You know when they rescue us you are gonna wish you had never told me this stuff.

“I don't think so.” The frail man said.

Traven laughed, “I can get some lab privileges in trade for keeping your secrets. Ms. Kolry will get a kick out of some of this stuff. I think secretly she likes you” He referred to Yuiry's secretary. “You know, LIKES you. I could find out for you, you know. She's tight with me and I'm the only one she let's go in the labs when you aren't here. Don't tell her I told you.” He said in a matter of fact voice. He was afraid he was rambling. “Sorry professor. Let's continue. I think you left off with helium.” Suddenly it was quiet. Like all sound was nonexistent.

With a shudder, “No, professor.” desperation spoke, “PROFESSOR!”. He let out a cry and tears stung on the way down. His breath was held and there was a cramp in his heart muscle. His chest was tight and his teeth were clinched. Finally air forced its way out and with a loud woosh and Traven began to weep. He knew his teacher was dead. Traven's hand still held his wrist. He had never let it go. Only shifted the grip here and there this whole time. He touched the hand of his master to his cheek and cried. He wanted to speak, wanted to be able to tell Professor Malcolm Yuirdriss how much he cared for him. But the silence was too overwhelming so he just continued to cry and finally blacked out.

Bright light caused his eye to tear as he tried to open it. He looked to his left for any signs of his Vulcan class mate. But everything was blurry.

“Easy Traven. Don't try to move.” There was a soft female voice nearby. You are on Earth at the Pismo Beach Medical Facility. Can you hear me?” But the silence was too overwhelming and all Traven could do was cry.

Edited by realmsgamer
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