Feb 9, 2015, 5:20:03 PM2/9/15
(Captain’s Ready Room)
::For all intents and purposes, Alora was on rest for a while, except
for one thing - her report. It was a matter of priority, after all, and
considering she was not only the Chief of Science but an officer who had
a major role in what had occurred, Alora couldn’t just _not_ do it.
While reports were generally sent digitally, each department head was
also required to report to the captain in person, even if the computer
made the actual delivery. Alora sighed softly, then stepped through to
Captain Egan Manno’s ready room.::
DeVeau: Lieutenant Alora DeVeau reporting for duty, Captain.
::Which meant that her report was sitting and waiting to be read.
Generally, Alora wasn’t as formal as some of her fellow officers, but
she took up a more militaristic ‘at ease’ stance than she might have
normally - as if that made up for what had happened.
:: Cassie, for her part, glanced once at the PADD held in Alora’s hand.
She was both fascinated to see what it would hold and appalled --
because, after all that had happened, how could it be anything good? ::
Egan Manno: At ease. And have a seat. ::beat:: I could read this report,
Alora, and I will -- many times, I’m certain -- but if you’ll indulge
me, I’d rather talk about what it contains. What am I about to find out?
:: An interesting technique, Cassie thought, but one that had been
mentioned to her in passing. Would Alora feel up to talking through the
experiences? They were rendered, in her official report, in the clinical
language that must address such things -- but would she go beyond that?
Could she? ::
::Alora was not a Vulcan, but even she was capable of schooling her
features at times. While she had given in to her emotions with her
close friends, it was far easier to close herself off to those she
wasn’t as familiar with. At the same time, that didn’t mean she
necessarily wanted to dwell over what had happened, but she wasn’t about
to disobey her captain.::
DeVeau: What sort of questions do you have, ma’am?
Egan Manno: Well, maybe the most basic one -- and I know it won’t be in
the language of the report, but: Why you, Alora?
::Why her? Raissa had answered that question and despite herself, Alora
let her gaze drop while the Captain continued.::
Egan Manno: I’ve seen the reports from Sickbay. We had any number of
injuries, and ::beat:: a few deaths. But instead of hurting you, these
organisms ::beat:: absorbed you. Became part of you, or you of them.
DeVeau: I know.
::Death, the vines had squeezed the life out of people and while her
body hadn’t physically done the act, the vines had been an extension and
it had _felt_ like it was her hands around their necks, their pulse
fluttering in a panic before fading away.::
Egan Manno: And perhaps just as important, but more difficult to answer:
What happened to you?
:Alora’s jaw tightened and her gaze flicked up and down a few times
before she finally managed to keep them on the Captain. Where was she?::
DeVeau: I was there the whole time. Present. Awake. Lucid. Whatever
she did, I experienced. Whatever the vines she controlled touched, I
touched. I was there, but ‘locked’ in a cage, so to speak, experiencing
but without any way to stop her. She had dominion over my body.
:: Cassie kept her face neutral, but it was a near thing: She was
completely appalled. What Alora was describing paled in comparison to
anything she’d ever heard of with a single exception: Assimilation by
the Borg. Even in that case, the self was somehow diminished, spread
out, deadened by the multitude of other voices. Here, would that have
been the case? ::
Egan Manno: ::quietly:: Alora, I’m very sorry.
DeVeau: Why me? Well, Raissa answered that for me. I’m what she termed
Egan Manno: A ::beat:: ‘sensitive’? You have no reader tendencies, do you?
DeVeau: I’m not telepath...I’m...more a...receptor, I guess. I don’t
actively hear anything, but I guess telepaths have a really easy time
connecting with me. Which means the Mother was attracted to me for that
reason as far as we know.
:: Very strange, Cassie thought, and she wondered, too, if this class of
‘sensitives’ was something that the telepathically-inclined races of the
Federation knew about. Evidently, if Raissa had told Alora that she was
one; but what did that mean, in terms of how she might recover from the
Egan Manno: And it’s something you may never have known -- except for
::At that question, Alora paused. In a way, she had known, but she’d
not given much thought to it before, had never delved deeper.::
DeVeau: My friend Kestra once mentioned that she had an easier time
connect with me once, but I didn’t put much weight on it. We’d clicked
from the first day we met so I thought maybe it was just because of that.
::Or maybe that was _why_. She and Kestra were so different in so many
ways, they made an unlikely pair of friends.::
Egan Manno: Alora, I respect that your path to recovery may be long. I
suspect it will be. If any of this is too difficult to discuss, please
::It was difficult, but while Alora might have been inclined to retreat,
to hold it all in, she also knew very well how unhealthy that would be
for her. No, far better to talk about it, even if it was painful.
Later it would be less so - she hoped.::
:: Cassie nodded, the motion slow and thoughtful. What did she really
want to know? ::
Egan Manno: Who were they? The -- Mother, these Kindred?
::That, at least, was a question that didn’t require an explanation of
her specific experiences.::
DeVeau: They were a communal non corporeal entity with strong telepathic
abilities. From what I could glean, they were similar to the Community
except parasitic in nature. That protomatter cloud I guess helped them
survive for some time, but they were dying until we came along - and
they found compatible beings aboard.
::Namely the empty vessels in the plants and herself.::
Egan Manno: I would have preferred not to harm them.
:: Her voice lowered to a whisper, something almost conspiratorial. She
was, she knew, now asking for herself as much -- more -- than she was
asking for Alora’s sake. ::
Egan Manno: Was that possible? Could we have negotiated? Would they have
let us go?
DeVeau: I would have preferred that as well.
::Alora’s gaze locked upon the Captains and then broke as she shook her
DeVeau: I tried. That was the first thing I tried. They were
::She paused then, a flicker of sadness crossing over her features.::
::Then there was that doubt again. Would they have negotiated had she
been the captain? What if Egan Manno had tried to speak to them
earlier? Their reaction to her communication to them didn’t indicate
they were willing, nor were the emotions she sensed while sharing her
body with the Mother, but there was always that niggling doubt. What if
things had been a little different? Would they have been more receptive?::
:: It was almost an absolution, Cassie thought. Almost. ::
Egan Manno: I know you did everything you could.
:: It was a pat reply, but not a dishonest one. Cassie knew that Alora
would have been fighting the thing -- of course she would have -- but
what could she actually have done? There was no way Cassie would ever
know, beyond what Alora could say. And while that was certainly enough
to appease all the Starfleet authorities and most of Cassie, the part of
her closest to her empty phaser holster wondered if, had the situation
tipped slightly this way or that way, events might have unfolded a
But, of course, that was impossible to know. ::
Egan Manno: And I’m sure they were. I understand that desire, on the one
hand. They’d been trapped -- if that’s the right word -- in that cloud
for who knows how long. I know I’d want to get out.
:: But why had they wanted to leave? To explore? To colonize? To live?
Cassie shook her head slightly: they couldn’t know. Wouldn’t know.
Except, well…. Alora knew that look. There was something on the
Egan Manno: Did they tell you-- did you find out why they wanted to leave?
Captain Cassandra Egan Manno
Lt. Alora DeVeau
Chief of Science