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[Round 14] LtCmdr Townson & LtJG Shryker: Inner Demons At Play

Sedrin Belasi

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((USS Independence-A - Operations Office - Day After Conference - Morning))

::Tracey took her seat behind her desk, slowly. She felt like she had been hit by a bus. The events of the previous day had caught up with her and she took the time to rest and sleep. Upon awakening, changing and showering, Tracey decided to come straight to her office and take care of a few issues before seeking out Doctor Sampi regarding Nurse Essie.::

::But Tracey had nightmares the previous night, and it did not dawn on her until early this morning, as to what they might be about. She remembered waking up at 4AM with sweat covering her body. The dream was already gone from her conscious mind, but the meaning remained. The events concerning the Reaper left an effect on Tracey. An effect that left her shaken. It was not the shattering of her physical body, but that of her emotional control, that left her shaken.::

::Tracey thought back to her attack on the Reaper in sickbay, and heard the phaser of Shryker drop to the floor mere inches from the Reaper. The Reaper had grabbed the Security Officer's leg. It was unfathomable for a Security Officer to lose her grip on her phaser, Tracey thought, even with a vice-like grip on said officer's leg. Tracey recalled the event with vivid clarity and could not recall even looking at Shryker as Tracey dove for the phaser. Yes, she saw her struggle out of the corner of her eye, but peripheral vision was not sharp and she could not focus on Shryker to see her state and if she had somehow been influenced by the Reaper. It would be the only explanation, Tracey thought, or else there would have been a major dereliction of duty to report. But if there was an unknown force at play that caused her to drop her phaser, that might also explain Tracey's own loss of control.::

::Tracey knew this was not her domain. She had no control over the actions of Security personnel. Under normal circumstances, Tracey would just write up her report and submit it to Lieutenant W'tine for follow-up if necessary. But Tracey felt she had to know. She had to know if the feelings she had while causing pain to the Reaper were really hers, or were pulled out from the deepest reaches of her...what was the word used by W'tine?...soul?::

::Without hesitation, Tracey tapped her com-badge as she stacked her PADDs over the side of the desk.::

Townson: =/\= Townson to Shryker. If you have time, please report to my office. I need to speak with you. =/\=

Shryker: =/\= Aye Sir, I’ll be there in about thirty minutes if that is ok? =/\=

Townson: =/\= Very good, Lieutenant. I'll see you then. Townson out. =/\=


::Jade made her way from her quarters. She straightened her jacket and brushed the hair out of her eyes. She wasn’t sure why the Operations Chief had summoned her, but she guessed it was probably to do with the Reaper situation in sickbay. She reached the door to the Ops Chief’s office, and pressed the summon button::

Townson: Come.

::The doors opened and Lieutenant Shryker was on the other side. Tracey looked up from the PADD she was reading, smiled and tried to stand without cringing. Jade saw the other woman, and could clearly see that she was in pain.::

Shryker: Hello Sir. Are you okay?

Townson: Yes, Lieutenant. Please, please. Come in. Have a seat. Would you like something? ::as she headed to the replicator.::

Shryker: Yes please Sir, latte with caramel would be nice. A hug in a mug!

Townson: Well then, I don't wish to take you from your duties for too long. ::as she sat back down behind her desk:: I'll get straight to the point. ::looking deadpan at the security officer:: I need to know what caused you to drop your phaser when you were grabbed by the Reaper yesterday morning. Did it happen when the Reaper grabbed you, or was it before or after?

::Jade shifted uncomfortably from side to side. She knew she had made a mistake in dropping the phaser, although at the time she had little or no control over her actions.::

Shryker: It was___ before, Sir. The Reaper was able to use its

influence over the situation to force the phaser from my hand. It could all be tied up with my capture aboard their ship. I will make a full statement in my report very soon.

Townson: Yes, Lieutenant. I'm well aware it will be in your report, but this is more for...personal reasons.

::Tracey looked down at the desk in front of her, then back up at the human Security Officer on the other side of her desk.::

Townson: I don't know how to put this any other way, but I think the Reaper, staring in its eyes, brought something...dark...out of me. Something I have always known I was capable of being, but would never cross that line. Even in the most heated battles and skirmishes of war.

::Jade immediately got an image in her mind of those terrible yellow eyes. It made her shiver. The dance of death, that mortal embrace with the Reaper that had scratched her heart and made it bleed in fear and sorrow. It still bled and showed no sign of healing anytime soon.::

Shryker: It’s eyes are___ it’s worse weapon. It affects people.

Townson: I need to know if the Reaper had somehow controlled you. Maybe even encouraged you to drop your weapon. This may seem harsh ::taking her cues from how crew are treated in this universe, from her experience. If this was her universe of origin, she would just come out with the statement:: but I find it difficult to believe that you would just absentmindedly drop your phaser so close to the enemy. So I need to know, Lieutenant, what the hell happened to you in sickbay yesterday morning? ::pausing and smiling slightly:: If it makes you feel any better, this could remain off the record. Just a conversation between you and I, Lieuten..Jade.

Shryker: Ever since my capture, I can’t shake the image of the Reaper’s eyes from my mind. Seeing them again, for real, in sickbay, drove the strength from me and I was unable to control my actions fully. I held on to myself mostly, but I let the phaser slip from my grasp. I am so sorry Sir for putting everyone in danger, but I had only just got back aboard the Independence, and was only minutes earlier still in captivity. ::Jade paused to compose herself again.:: It was horrible. We were put through a series of more and more painful and terrifying ordeals. I guess they brought out our deepest fears, and the Reapers fed on them? I really don’t want to remember what happened to me, but I think you need to know. After being separated from the Captain and Doctor Sampi, I was flayed alive from outside and inside my body by a crystal dust, feeling everything that was happening to me but not being allowed the release of death. I then, to keep the Reaper away from the Captain, had to dance with it, but not a real dance. A crushing vortex locked in his embrace, before he ::Jade hesitated:: kissed me. I had no power to resist.

::Jade stopped as she could feel tears welling up again.::

::Tracey listened intently as the Lieutenent told her story. It fascinated Tracey how the Reapers could hold so much control. When the Security Officer came to the end, Tracey nodded and decided she too should tell her why she felt this to be so important.::

Townson: If it makes you feel any better, I understand you. ::looking down at her desk:: Yesterday morning, after diving for the phaser, I remember looking up into the yellow eyes of the Reaper and the darkness came out. ::looking back up at the young woman:: I felt a blood lust. For some reason, a hell bent need for revenge. At first I thought it had something to do with the fact it could change its appearance, I've had run ins with a species like that in my career, but it wasn't the same. There was no need. I wasn't so personally affected by the Reapers that I should take out such a forceful vengence on one whom I have never met. Defend those around me against it, yes. But...but, I became blood-thirsty. ::shaking her head:: No, no...I wanted to cause that Reaper pain. The rush of adrenaline. The pains in my body washed away during those few moments. But most of all, I enjoyed it immensely. The cracking of bones, the feel of a warm liquid flowing through my fingers. I heard you ask me to kill it, but I wanted it to live. To feel pain. To suffer. And then, when the Reaper's life was gone, I felt an overwhealming feeling of sadness for a fleeting second or two. Not because of the loss of life, but because I could no longer cause the creature pain. The thrill, the joy I felt for that brief time , died when the Reaper died.

::Jade listened to LtCmdr Townson. It seemed a similar yet opposite reaction Jade had experienced. Where Jade had felt weak before its eyes, Townson had grown strong and even evil – becoming like a Reaper herself. What beast had the Reaper tapped inside the otherwise controlled and brave Commander?::

Shryker: I couldn’t answer how or why it had such an effect, Sir, but the it is very likely from my experience that the Reaper’s can affect our behavior.

Townson: But the Reaper laughed it off. Like it knew what it was doing. Like it planned this on me. It brought out that blood thirst for vengence on itself, and forced me to live in a part of my psyche I feared might one day emerge. Somehow, someway, the Reaper drew into the darkest part of who I am, I believe. At least I hope.

Shryker: They crave nothing more than feeding off our fears and emotions, more than even their own well-being. It could certainly account for your own reaction? oO I hope, or if it is something lurking inside her, I wouldn’t want to make her angry.Oo

Townson: I realize this is all philosophical, and I've never been keen on philosophy, but if the Reaper didn't have any part in how I behaved yesterday, then I am truly a monster. ::with a tinge of sadness to her voice::. I woke up last night shivering as to the type of person I have become. I asked you here because of your actions yesterday. I had to know if there may have been a possibility that my actions were somehow influenced. ::smiling lightly:: I remember thinking yesterday before the altercation, what it would feel like to lose ones soul and to regain it when Lieutenant W'tine apparently lost his. Apparently, one doesn't feel a thing, that is if I did in fact, for a little while there lying on the sickbay floor, lose my soul to that Reaper. And what was left....

Shryker: I don’t know about souls, Sir, but it sucks your mind dry and puts its own nightmares in there.

::Tracey stood and winced at the pain.::

Townson: Thank you, Lieutenant. Our talk has been invaluable to me. I need to meet with Doctor Sampi regarding a seperate matter, however I enjoyed our talk. I'm sorry that you had to deal with what you dealt with. ::slightly smiling:: You are a strong woman, Jade. I know we don't have a counselor, but if you ever feel the need to talk...well you know where my office is now.

Shryker: Thank you Sir, that is very kind. I humbly offer the same to you. I hope you don’t think I’m being too direct, but if you feel you also need to talk about what happened in Sickbay, you know where I am.

Townson: ::nodding politely and smiled:: You are dismissed, Lieutenant.

::As Tracey watched the young woman leave her office, she couldn't help but to see a mirror of someone much like herself, at a more innocent time in her own lfe. Tracey was sure that the events that took place over the last few days would make the woman into a stronger, more efficient officer over time. She would overcome the demons that she confronted during this event and grow and become stronger for it. But Tracey worried for herself. Did the Reaper pull out a piece of her, and made her confront her own personal demon of who she might become someday? Shaking her head, knowing that she'd probably never know, Tracey sifted through her PADDs and then picked up the one she needed and went to visit Doctor Sampi concerning another young woman whose life, hopefully, would not also be turned upside down as well.::

::Jade smiled and left. Alone again in the dark passageway, she could almost feel the icy fingers once again gripping at her, sharp nails burrowing their way into her body, scratching out all hope and happiness, leaving only fear and darkness. Jade hurried to find someone, anyone, to be near.::


Lieutenant JG Jade Shryker

Security Officer

USS Independence-A


(At this time still) Lt. Commander Tracey Townson

Chief of Operations

USS Independence-A

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