((USS Invicta, Sickbay/Dreamscape))
::As Raissa slipped into the link between her and her friend, darkness soon clouded everything. When it cleared, she was no longer there, but somewhere else. Around her, trees were in abundance, some standing upon the ground, and many others somehow managing to grow upon cliffs that towered above her. Before her stood a temple, it’s red walls, tilted angles and tipped edges indicative of Chinese or Japanese artistry. To the right and just behind the temple, a gentle waterfall cascaded down the cliff, offset by the trees and other flora that flanked either side. A high and wide staircase led up to the first level of the temple and it was there Alora stood, decked in a purple k imono wit h cranes flying all over the fabric, hair done up and pinned with chopsticks, eyes turned upward to the spiral of the temple.::
::Raissa quickly looked down at herself. She wasn’t dressed as her friend, which meant that she was fully in control of herself. Though for some reason she wasn’t quite sure of, she was wearing her shaman leathers. She turned her attention back to Alora and began walking up the steps.::
::She turned, her face painted snow white, lips as red as roses and eyes highlighted with pink. A brief moment passed, then she bowed.::
DeVeau: Konnichiwa. Nachi no Taki e youkoso.
Moonsong: ::coming up the steps. Alora was definitely embracing her Japanese heritage.:: ~Alora… what are you doing here? ~
DeVeau: Visiting, of course. Have you been to Nachi falls before? ::The transfer from Japanese to English was smooth, the foreign inflection that had marked the first language gone from her native one.::
DeVeau: It’s beautiful, isn’t it? We should come back in the Autumn when all the trees are painted.
Moonsong: ::first to establish a few important points.:: ~Alora, do you know who I am? ~
DeVeau: What’ a silly question, of course I do.
::One hand swept toward the structure.::
DeVeau; Do you want to start with a tour of the pagoda or head to the base of the falls first?
Moonsong: ::Holds out her hand.:: ~Neither. Alora, it is time to come home. ~
DeVeau: It’s too early.
::Alora shook her head and motioned for Raissa to follow, then turned and headed toward the inside the Pagoda.::
Moonsong: ::Raissa hurried after her.:: ~ Alora, stop! ~
::Alora paused in the threshold and half turned back toward her friend.::
Moonsong: ~This is not real. You are dreaming. ~
::The young scientist straightened, then continued to fully enter the pagoda.::
DeVeau: ~There isn’t much time. Come inside.~
Moonsong: ::Mentally she sighed. The deeper she went, the more difficult it would be to get out. But she had no choice but follow her.:: ~ Alora….~
::Inside, the Pagoda darkness surrounded them. For a moment, even Alora’s form was masked by it. Then, above Raissa, on the ceiling, a single lantern, red with black kanji script upon it and what appeared a black cap on the bottom lit up with a golden glow. Then others began to light up, one here, one there, then rows and rows, stretching across an unseen ceiling and shining light upon only enough to illuminate the kimono clad figure of Alora.::
::Raissa went silent. All she could do now was observe and hoped she figured out what was going on in her friend’s sleeping mind. Because at present, she didn’t see anything that was holding her in this state::
::For a moment, Alora’s head was bowed, the light glinting off the chopsticks in her darkened hair. Then she lifted her chin, eyes opening to fall upon Raissa.::
DeVeau: You aren’t supposed to be here.
Moonsong: ~ Neither are you. ~
DeVeau: I’m here. But I’m not here.
Moonsong: ~ Let me help you. ~
Moonsong: ::Holds out her hand again.:: ~ Take my hand. You have been asleep too long Alora. Let me help you wake up. ~
DeVeau: I’m caught.
Moonsong: ~ Please… I need you… ~
DeVeau: This isn’t right.
Moonsong: ~What is not right? ~
DeVeau: You’re not supposed to be here. I’m not supposed to be here. I keep traveling…
Moonsong: ~ Take my hand… We can leave together. ~
DeVeau: But what if I only pull you in? What if you’re caught too?
Moonsong: ~ There is nothing the two of us cannot do, Lor. Please… come with me… ~
::Alora hesitated, then extended a hand toward her friend.::
::Raissa braced herself and reached out to her friend. Now their hands were joined physically and telepathically. She had opened herself up to what Alora was going through… opening wide the metaphorical rabbit hole.::
::Down the hole she went. The lights flickered out and they were plunged in darkness. Suddenly, the fell, as if they had, indeed, followed the white rabbit, then stopped, landing but not landing, still standing, their feet never quite knocked out from under them. In the darkness, another light appeared, this time upon the floor, a spiral of blue luminescence that twirled about them before trailing off. Slowly, it faded to reveal a path through a copse of trees in full bloom of autumn. Reds, oranges, and yellows surrounded, leaves trailing from branches to the ground every so often, stirred by the gentle breeze. Where Alora was bedecked in purple, Raissa found herself in a sim ilar kimo no, but in silver.::
::Raissa half expected the change in her attire. They were after all in Alora’s mind. She wrapped her will tightly around herself, changing her clothes back. She had to be careful, this deep in Alora’s unconscious mind. She would have to keep firm control of her self if she was to find a way out.::
Moonsong: ~ Alora… where are we? ~
::The change in wardrobe lasted only briefly before it was suddenly back to that same, silver kimono that had adorned her a moment before. At first, Alora didn’t respond but kept walking until they came to a split, and it went in three different directions, one to the right, one to the left, and straight ahead.::
DeVeau: A choice has to be made. But which one?
::Raissa focused again. She had spent the last year learning to separate herself from the hundreds of minds that surrounded her constantly. Entering so deeply into another’s mind meant it was doubly important that she maintain full control of herself and not allow the edges of herself to merge too deeply. Who she was and how she percieved herself was important. And it could be possible to use that to anchor and draw Alora back. Her clothing changed again. This time into the leather tunic and pants, heavily decorated, that she had worn when she had finished her shamanistic training.::
Moonsong: ~Which will take us to the real world, Alora? Do you know?~
DeVeau: What is real?
::Alora turned to face each of the paths in turn before she faced her friend.::
DeVeau: We can feel this. See this. This is real.
::Overhead, the sky began to darken, the leaves almost glowing with a shine of their own as the light dimmed.::
Moonsong: ~ No, Alora… this is not real… this is a dream…~
DeVeau: You don’t understand.
Moonsong: ~ Alora… Do you remember Adova? What happened there? ~
::They approached a bridge which stretched over a small creek. When they came to the middle, Alora stopped and faced her friend.::
DeVeau: ~I remember. Except this is real too. Real enough to be trapped.~
Moonsong: ::shakes her head.:: ~ No… you are only trapped if you believe you are trapped. This… ::she gestured around them:: Has been created by you and your mind. ~
::Something crunched, a loud crack that pierced through an otherwise serene scene. A line appeared across a tree, angling down the trunk, splitting it into two.::
Lt. Commander Raissa Moonsong
Chief of Counseling / Attache IEC
USS Invicta=/\==/\=G239107RM0 =/\==/\=