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CH02: S [D02|2315] Why do the heathen rage

[ Lt. Foster | Officer's Quarters | Deck 08 | Vector 01 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Swift
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The past days on Theurgy had been like England in the middle ages, for Stellan. A conflict torn, painful, disillusioned wasteland ravaged by relentless Norsemen, lighting fires and seeding pain everywhere. The ship, on an emotional level, was a countryside dipped into night, with flares of torment and suffering flickering up across the land like burning villages and rampant hordes. Soaring above it all, privy to each and every silent cry, the young man didn’t find himself in as isolated a situation as it would’ve seemed. He constantly had to struggle to stay above it all, retched wings, holes the size of golf balls, vigorously flapping, so he wouldn’t crash down into the battle fog of it. To spiral into the pit of suffering and torture, going under in the quicksand of everyone’s emotional baggage. It was one thing, to soar above pleasant pastures, with people skipping through meadows of dandelions, bathing in crystal lakes of mutual joy. And while that was rarely the case, in any scenario, even the usual mundane grey and blue sentiments, that painted the spiritual landscape of everyone’s minds, was a preferable one to the face of death, lurking above it all like a dark moon.

It was hard to keep his spirits high, in light of this, and as another day at the office drew to a close, Stellan felt entirely spent. Like an empty vessel that was constantly overflowing with the tides of people’s trials and tribulations. He couldn’t stop it, could not shut himself off from the outside stimuli, and as he had experienced, not even stasis could keep him from being a part of every little thought and opinion, coming to fruition among the crew of the ship. In his past, they had felt like dreams, and it hadn’t really been until he was faced with actual facts, relating to these dreams, in the wake of his unthawing, that he had realized that he was never alone, not really … even when he felt like it, most of the time, on a different level. No current scientific study on hand, he could only speculate that it had something to do with his genetic alterations in vitro, as his father had tried to enhance the unborn boy’s skills, even with his only partial Betazoid heritage. He also didn’t know if it was something that could be learned or taught. But given that his senses had already developed into an astute skill that rivaled the most apt Betazoids, he was left with the worry that the tradeoff was the inability to control it. And a lifelong of hearing and witnessing the most inane details his mind randomly settled on, when he wasn’t focused.

When he shuffled through the door into his dark quarters, he did not even care to turn on the light. The void was comforting, and it somehow subdued his telepathic impressions too, that was until the world would fall completely silent around him, magnifying the reality in his head once more, by sheer comparison. Peeling out of piece after piece of uniform, the man slipped a pair of his favorite dark-grey sweater-pants replicate onto his bottom half, before flopping onto his bed like a log, face down. Taking in a few days’ worth of his nighttime odor, ingrained in the smooth fabric, the man closed his eyes against the dark pleads. No sound around him but the gentle hum of the ship’s system, as the voices and emotions in his head grew in dominance. He wondered what mundane dealings he’d have to randomly suffer through this night. Some pair of officer’s falling in love over the timespan from dusk till dawn, under the stress and loneliness of their current situation, delving into mawkish notions of affection towards the morning hours. Silent longings for emotional reciprocation over polyamorous proclivities on another mind, or the awkward, stirring ping of one or the other random sexual encounter, that weren’t as far and wide in between as one might’ve thought. Safe to say, he was going to be in for a rare treat once more, once the veil of the night properly descended over him.

But it was not that time yet.

Turning his head, laying the side of his pate flat against the soft sheets, Stellan pried one eye into a squinted glare, towards the wall beyond his adjacent bathroom. He could readily discern a distinct hum of music, reverberating through the joints and bulkheads. The thuds of bass a mere herald of a tune hard to identify in pace and percussion alone. “You got to be …” the man mumbled to himself. Coming to terms with his daily dealings of shutting up the thoughts and emotions he soaked up like a weary sponge was one thing, having to deal with annoyances in the material world on top of that was just too much. And in the end, he at least knew how to deal with these intrusions … somewhat. Pressing his hands against the mattress, as if to attempt a push-up, the man propelled himself into the vertical with all the might his muscles still possessed, where his mind was the one part utterly deprived of energy. Turning on his heel he marched out the door and one further down the corridor. He had not yet met his ‘neighbor’ but they were already off to a good start. And if he had any mental control left, he’d tried to inflict some sort of distress in the person’s mind, or at the very least figure out who he was dealing with, before the doors would open to his rude banging. A notion that should’ve already relayed a sense of urgency that a simple doorbell just couldn’t.

“Would you mind to …” he started out, rolling his head around the precipice of his spine, as if to give his words some added momentum while the shot out of his mouth, before dark eyes fully fathomed who it was that appeared in the doorway before him, a few inches short. “… fuck me!” he concluded, his voice trailing into a barely audible cough. Brows furrowing over obsidian orbs he glared down at his sister, of all people. “Is this some sort of sick joke?” he hissed, leaning his torso forward and slightly past her, to peek into the abode as uninivited as he normally would her mind. “Who did you knock out to play this little trick?” he surmised, finding the utter reality of them having adjacent quarters, if only for their differing ranks, too hard to fathom. This had to be some sick joke. But played by who, was the question. “And what is this … I even dare not call it ‘music’. Do you have a life cat on the stove?” Dark eyes came to fall back on to her tangerines, intent on spinning yet another situation so it was more an annoyance of hers, not his, as he assumed this whole ploy had originally been intended to.

Re: CH02: S [D02|2315] Why do the heathen rage

Reply #1
[ Lt. JG Kate Foster | Personal Quarters | Deck 08 | Vector 01 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @stardust @Griffinsummoner
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It had taken a day or so for Kate to truly get over and move on from the painful tempest of memories that had flooded her consciousness in the wake of having thawed Stellan from his icy prison. She had expected their reunion to elicit a mixture of emotions but had never considered the possibility that he would undo her so readily in such a short frame of time. Granted, she also understood that her own litany of insecurities had more than contributed to the panicked retreat that she had felt so compelled to make. And after sobbing uncontrollably while the memories of all the mistakes of her life replayed in vivid detail, she had only found peace after succumbing to the comforting embrace of an exhausted sleep. Hours later, she’d awaken in the early part of the morning to an agonizing headache, and the annoying realization that her brother had reaffirmed his position of power in their contentious sibling dynamic. She hated him for that. Just as she had hated him after every other similar exchange from their past, each of which almost always seemed to end with him as the victor, and her as the perpetual loser.

Still, she had felt some small semblance of victory in that her skills and talents as a surgeon had quite literally wrested him from the brink of death. Even if he couldn’t or wouldn’t make such am omission, she still knew it to be true, and his medical record would reflect as much.

Since then, Kate had managed to settle into something of a familiar routine in which she found herself surprisingly capable of once more living without him existing as any part of her daily life. At least, beyond the ever-looming threat which he represented to her already tenuous reputation. It had been a very real prospect that she was deeply concerned over. Would his advanced knowledge of the plethora of mistakes and bad choices she had made in life start to circulate through the crew, drip fed to them in form of gossip? Would he poison her standing among new friends and colleagues out of spite, or as part of his ongoing experiment to tear her down to the point of absolute emotional paralysis? Kate was haunted by these questions with each passing exchange that she had shared with others; fearful that at any turn, someone might call her out on them, and once more cement her place as an outcast, and social pariah. Surprisingly though, the call out never came. No one seemed to care, or take note of who Kate had been, or the many things she had done. Which meant that either her judgment of Stellan had been unfair, or that the crew simply didn’t lend any credence to his gossip.

Days went on, and the emotional walls that protected her, which had been so expertly battered into the ground by Stellan, were rebuilt.

Those walls had somehow reached a new peak today, in spite of cataclysmal events that had passed in recency, due in no small part to a pair of enjoyable interactions with a member of the crew. Schubert, or Scruffy as she discovered he had preferred, initially had been just another name on a long list of patients in need of attentive medical care following the ‘Spearhead Lounge’ bombing. Yet just thirteen or so hours later, he had potentially become something more. A new friend? She felt comfortable ascribing that to the man. More than that? It was silly to think in such terms so early on, but she couldn’t deny the possibility, or even maybe a personal desire of it. Having left his quarters on Deck 22 just twenty-minutes earlier, Kate’s mind was awash with consideration, and recollection of the dinner they had shared together. Naturally, she was exhausted from a long shift in sickbay, but she couldn’t yet sleep while the memories of him lingered so freshly on in her consciousness. So, rather than try and force the issue, she decided to relax and let her thoughts be consumed by the effect he had had on her.

With some old-earth music blaring throughout her modest quarters, she had peeled off her uniform without much care for where it wound up, having lett it fall among the other haphazard piles of discarded clothing that were strewn about as she’d entered her shower stall. A minute or so later, and after toweling off she’d slipped into a warm and comfortably familiar beige oversize lounging sweater that she had replicated a few days prior.

There had been a thought to seek out the added comfort of a mug of Cardassian red-leaf tea, but before she could even cross the messy room for her replicator, there came a barely audible chime at her door. Padding across the carpeted decking with exposed slender legs from thighs down and on bared feet, she wondered who would have possibly tracked her down at this late an hour, a small part of her hopeful that maybe it was Scruffy come to extend their interaction unto the dawning of a new day. As the door opened though, rather than the person at the top of the list of people she most wanted to see at the end of this night, there stood the very last person on that list. “Stellan? What the!?!?! What... what do you want? Computer! Drop music volume by ninety-percent! Why are you here?” she glared at him with utter and complete annoyance as the loud melody dropped to a mere backdrop. Instantly she began feeling as though her pleasant day had come to a rather unpleasant ending with his company rekindling the considerable apprehensions that usually burned within her mind. Spinning away from where he stood at the precipice of her quarters, she strode away from him with an audible scowl as she desperately needed to increase their relative proximity.

“...and what do you mean? What little trick? What’re you on about?” she ignored his barbed insult about the music she had been listening to, crossing her arms over her chest as she impatiently tapped a toe against the floor waiting for an explanation. Sadly, the last shred of pleasant memories of her evening faded quickly, only to be replaced by the oh-so-familiar feelings of dread that always accompanied her brother’s presence.

Such a lovely evening, ruined.



OOC: Tagged Griffinsummoner due to the reference of his character.
OOC: Song playing in Kate's room at the time of Stellan barging in:[Show/Hide]

Re: CH02: S [D02|2315] Why do the heathen rage

Reply #2
[ Lt. Foster | Officer's Quarters | Deck 08 | Vector 01 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Swift
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The gentle, conditioned air in the hallway, like a slow-moving conga-line of air, pushed through the cavernous entrails of Theurgy, enveloping Stellan’s partially fabric-clad body like a soothing hug. The gentle chill of a badly insulated window, back home in Alaska, when he was a kid, making the curtains move ever so slightly – evoking one or the other ghost story to scare his little sister. His skin accustomed to the cold, like genetic memory, tried by the frostbite of infantile tests and displays of courage, in the sub-arctic wilderness. Of all the worlds in all the quadrants, he’d enjoy the muffled, nippy cold of the north best, and the white that covered everything in a pristine blanket of innocence. A notion of absolution, every time a fresh flurry covered the marred landscape anew, almost poetically. Like good therapy could place a blanket of acceptance over the tormented soul. A lot of the metaphors in his life eventually pertained to psychology, in one way or another, only proving how closely related metaphors and people really were. The whole sector just a nutjob ill-decision away from dissolving into a pack-fight of starving wolves.

And once you abstracted behavior into such basic notions, there wasn’t really much in the realm of action, that could surprise anymore. As humans, in that regard, were like machines … computers, really, fed with decades of input and stimuli, forming connections, synapses, that dictated particular reactions to certain events. And his goal, as a professional, had always been – his theoretical ambition at least  – to dissect one’s past and present in such minute detail, that their entire rationale could be simulated, predicted, and subsequently, adjusted in minute detail, down to the very microscopic connections that dictated behavior. A ludicrous aspiration, for sure. Not the first judgment Stellan would’ve gotten on that part. And while he’d dealt with many fractured minds in his career, and mended most, there was none he had such intricate understanding and insight into, as his sister’s. Whom had been his Guinea pig, for the lack of a better metaphor, for the better part of their lives together. Having had the opportunity to map out every discernible corner of her psyche, but not quite able to ever catch up with the ever-changing cesspool of self-loathing, guilt and naivety … roaring like a violent cyclone on the petite woman’s head.

Suggesting one or the other mind autopsy on occasion, had garnered him a similarly incredulous look, as he was presented with now. That twitching pate, unable to decide between anger and perplexity, stuck in an animation loop of alternating between the two, merely held back by the inertia of muscle fibers and skin. Following her command as if it was a fluttering bird, set free into the dim depth of her apartment, to land in a nest made of circuits and cables, as it reached the AI’s receptors, black eyes soon snapped back to the tangerine pits of fire, directed at him. The music subduing to a musical whisper, now fighting for dominance with the floral thicket of discarded clothes, as they infused the air in her quarters with their respective vigor. Her inept defiance, paired with a moment of surprise and confusion, that soon passed, blessed Stellan’s heart with a kiss of excitement and superiority. He never had to do more than just appear, to warrant the loathing and antagonism of decades to unleash. Like a pesky weed, cropping up in her pristine backyard, time and time again. Stretching and reveling in the warm sunlight, like no care in the world.

“First of all … thanks.” he mused sardonically, brows nodding towards the lowered tunes. Lips furled into a smug grin, that reverberated in a similarly tiny whisper on his features, as the music did on the molecules of air around them. “Second of all, who did you hook up with that lives here?” Obviously, his theory of her having knocked someone higher up out, to occupy their quarters, had yielded no assurance or denial. Merely falling victim to the rule of probability, in the end. But there had still been a mirage of carnal joy in her mind, that had fuelled his subconscious deduction. “These are senior officer’s quarters … aren’t they?” Pushing past her in a swift move, hot skin leaving a trail of warm air, like a tropical current into arctic seas, the man scanned left and right, finding mere mementos of her own free-spirited nature. He wasn’t exactly aware of the division line between the larger and smaller quarters on this level. However, he could find no unconscious officer, no half naked body, judging his intrusion in abject judgment. Well, not aside Kate. Taking in her skinny legs, sticking from an oversized sweater, he narrowed his obsidian flares, probing into her mind for the evidence he could not gleam from the realm of reality. What he could discern, however, was the comparable size of the space.

“Missing a separate bedroom, aren’t you?!” the man subsequently retorted, opting not to cop to his lapse of judgment. So, she didn’t get preferential treatment in quarter selection. Good. Not what the size of it was concerned anyways. But he could only assume what strings – or what things – she pulled to be put into a position where she could become a constant nuisance to his much-needed respite. Taking the moment to check the bathroom for hidden paramours, he used the bustle to mask his lack of credibility. Turning around to step back into the main area opposite Kate, the tall man bit the inside of his cheek in contemplation. “So, who did you grease up to get a place right next to mine? Was it Williams? You surely didn’t need a lot of oil for that one.” he quipped incidentally, making a flicking notion from his wrist with his fingers forming a tunnel, casually to his side, as if polishing his nails against the protrusion of his muscular shoulder. Her mind too perplexed and in turmoil right now, to deduce any kind of sensible information from it. Also, he was way too tired to pry deeper, beneath the perpetual fog, left by years and years of substance abuse.

Re: CH02: S [D02|2315] Why do the heathen rage

Reply #3
[ Lt. JG Kate Foster | Personal Quarters | Deck 08 | Vector 01 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @stardust
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Consciously Kate decided it was high time to straighten up the considerable disarray of her personal quarters as her brother seemed more than ready to invade her relative privacy. All her childhood she had dealt with his criticisms and unwanted evaluations. It was one of the few things that he and her mother had routinely seen eye-to-eye on, and that had united them together in opposition of the young girl. Even after he had departed her life at the behest of their father, leaving Kate and her mother to live in the squalor of what amounted to an old shack in the midst of the back woods of Alaska, Kate had remembered the way he had plundered into her subconscious with his voice, ordering her to clean up after herself. One of the many counselors she had interacted with during her three stints in rehabilitation had even theorized that her continued penchant for living in disjointed fashion was a way of her subconsciously rebelling against him. She remembered absolutely hating and rejecting the concept that she had been so completely affected by Stellan, that she had developed an unhealthy living standard out of some desperate need to oppose him. But deep down, she knew that it was not only entirely possible, but in fact very likely.

It was that idea that had so suddenly caused her to begin gathering up a week’s worth of discarded clothing for recycling in the replicator system.

In the back of her mind, she also found herself feeling somewhat relieved that it hadn’t been Scruffy who had come to see her this late in the evening, as he would have been exposed to the mess that she was living in. Not exactly the kind of flattering situation she wanted to espouse for the handsome man that had made something of a lasting impact in the forefront of her thoughts.

Angrily she snatched up a dark navy sports bra from where she had let it lay across the armrest of her couch, all the while glaring back at her brother as he went on to not so subtly accuse her of pulling favors with sleaze. Clenching her jaw out of incredulous annoyance, she could feel the tendons in her fists likewise tighten as a surge of adrenaline-fueled rage began to build within her slender body. “No. They’re not Senior Officer’s quarters.” She stated plainly as she plucked up a pair of black duty slacks from the carpeted deck plating, while also picking up the overtly gloating tone contained within his voice as he questioned her as to the modest size of her accommodations. She hadn’t even seen his, yet she could tell by how he was acting that he had naturally been privy to a size above hers with regard to living spaces. Though she would never admit it, and despite the fact prior to this interaction she had held no qualms or reservations over the quarters she had been assigned, the fact that he was hinting at having better digs than hers was surprisingly frustrating. Biting her lip, she shuffled past him as he stood in what amounted to the central most point of her quarters, forcing her to move around him as she went to shove the pile of clothing into her replicator so that it could be dematerialized.

“No... I’m not missing a separate bedroom. I’m not a Senior Officer. Besides, I don’t really need that kind of space anyway.” She was lying, as a part of her could have definitely appreciated not only a separate bedroom, but a generally more spacious bed to sleep on.

Exhaling to as to steady the volcanic like eruption in her chest, she was hoping that maybe she had avoided the worst of his barbed insults and criticisms for this evening. That maybe he would saunter off and leave her be again. But as was often the situation, he wasn’t about to relent until he had driven her to the brink of some kind of a breakdown, and then beyond it. What was truly amazing was how quickly and deftly he could formulate just the right combination of mean things to say which would elicit the emotional response he was going for, and in this case his second such accusation of what essentially amounted to ‘slutting it up’ for favors was exactly right. Spinning about on her heel she glared up at him with her tangerine hued eyes and let her mouth go agape in absolute disgust at his meaning. She had in fact completely missed the point made about their respective quarters being literally adjacent to each other, only focusing on how the absolutely reprehensible and vile comment he had lobbed past her. Grabbing for the first thing within her reach, she hurled a half-full cup of water at Stellan in a fit of explosive rage. Soaring past him over his left shoulder, the cup smashed loudly against the transparent aluminum window above Kate’s bed, showering it with water and shards of glass.

“Fuck you, Stellan!” She hollered at him, grabbing at another item, this one a PADD which she wildly frisbee’d at his midsection with a little more accuracy in her throw this time. “I’m not some fucking whore! Why do you have to be such a magnanimous piece of shit?! Why do you have to constantly taunt, and ridicule me and every part of my life?! Why can’t you just leave me the fuck alone?!” It was obvious that a lot of the anger which was fueling her tirade had been built up over the course of the last week and half and wasn’t necessarily the result of this lone particular interaction.

Wiping a way some anger induced tears from her cheeks, she momentarily stifled the burning desire to reach for more objects which she could throw at her brother.

Re: CH02: S [D02|2315] Why do the heathen rage

Reply #4
[ Lt. Foster | Officer's Quarters | Deck 08 | Vector 01 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Swift
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Stellan could feel the heat rising, like an old star inflating to a supernova, slowly burning everything around it to cinder. Kate’s angry and resentful thoughts were like a burst of solar radiation and particles, raining relentlessly against the magnetic field of his telepathic mind, the skill and talent of shielding himself from ill-feelings that had been honed and trained for decades. But still, he couldn’t help but make himself grow more and more defensive in the process of an outburst he himself had fueled, prodded with a log, actually. Like a dying campfire, that was rekindled in a flurry of embers, once some nagging little shit thrusted their pointy stick into it. His mind as if a wool knit sweater, so susceptible to the tiniest of spark, so much surface area to attack, so it could go up in flames like silk paper. But that was not going to happen, not by the design of his sister, at the very least, nor in her immediate vicinity. He could tell the microsecond that she’d refuted needing more space than she had, that it was a lie, which made the whole furious comment and played up indignation an entirely annoying sham. Even if he couldn’t read minds, he knew his sister, he knew women, and both could never have enough space to clutter up with pointless tokens of vanity. As was rather evident in the surroundings that she was hastily starting to come to terms with. Bigger quarters would’ve simply resulted in an even bigger mess.

“Twenty-nine years and you still haven’t realized that there is no point in lying to me.” he retorted, somewhat brushed with irritation by the fact. “We call that pathological, in clinical terms.” The counselor added, knowing fairly well that it would only deprive her internal fusion process of even more hydrogen to burn through. Thus, accelerating her core depletion and inflation. Even those comments that had been intended as disguised humor, little comedic jabs to lighten the mood, only further added fuel to that smoldering mess. The man had long come to terms with the fact that whatever he said or did, it would be painted something awful and sadistic in his sibling’s eyes. So, he had since stopped trying. He wasn’t her shrink, after all. Not since that one ill-fated time that his professional appraisal too had led to her resenting him for his brotherly protectiveness – as veiled as that intent had been. He’d once upon a time actually been trying to help her, born from caring feelings he held still, somewhere … but it had been thrown to the wind so violently, so harshly, that he was still recuperating from the lasting effects the subsequent isolation had played on him. Not that he would ever admit to it. There was too much of his father in his genes to ever even consider such weakness. No matter how much he tried to be different.

In that sense they were both stuck in their respective hamster-wheels of predestined perception.

Stellan was almost positive that, if someone else had made that very exact joke, it would’ve elicited an eye-roll. A bashful smirk and a coy wave. Yet just because it was him, the bane of her existence, it warranted this unsolicited anger parade. Granted, that was not the entire truth, as there were years and years of history, decades even, leading up to this chemistry between them. But it was then, when he dug deeper into her views on other people that weren’t him, that he discovered some rather well-hidden lump of glowing amber, like a drop of liquid gold, sparkling beneath the thicket of volatile deceit. And within this rock a reflection, of some curly haired hoodlum. And the feelings that sparked forth, upon mentally touching upon that gem, flushed the man with a heat of indignation and utter shock. He felt remotely embarrassed for what he found there, as well as thoroughly disgraced by the dreamy details of it. But it wasn’t like he was allowed to dwell on something for too long, not with his sister present and within weapons’ range.

As the proximity alert in his mind went off, from a rather innate and evolutionary corner of his psyche, the commander dodged instinctively an inch or two to the side, to avoid his shoulder to be on the receiving end of the shards and water, that now peppered her bed. Having followed the inadvertent projectile with his charcoal eyes and handsome pate, the man irked a brow at the mess it had caused. “Well, that’ll certainly make Williams a little more uncomfortable.” he muttered off-handedly, turning his attention back just in time to connect a flying PADD with the sharp pain in his bare belly. Instantly arching his back and constricting his rippling abdominal muscles, the notion was not of conscious design but rather instinctual as well. Holding the side of his sixpack where soon a black and blue spot was going to grow, his face turned at her with a sort of malice that was not often sparking on the chiseled mug. “Are you out of your mind?” he hissed, rather rhetorically. A statement that neither needed her verbal confirmation nor his telepathic reassurance. And to think she actually got mad at him – was still mad at him – for admitting her to be certifiable those years back. Ironic, really.

“Well, I don’t know, maybe when you stop moony-eyeing over some curly-haired oaf and deal with your fucking issues.” He spat back at her, slowly losing his cool – which he hated with a passion. It was his father’s way … not his. Which ironically only fueled the notion. Ironic … huh … it was the headline of their relationship, really. “Scruffy, no less, is that his name or just some cutesy moniker you use when you daydream about ‘em?!” He shook his head. An almost chuckled grunt leaving his nostrils. “Just getting your career back on track and you’re already hard at work tearing everything down over some sentimental attachments and ancient grief. I am impressed … didn’t usually take you this long.”

Re: CH02: S [D02|2315] Why do the heathen rage

Reply #5
[ Lt. JG Kate Foster | Personal Quarters | Deck 08 | Vector 01 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @stardust
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Kate was keenly aware of just how compromised her emotions were when in the presence of her brother. She knew better than anyone, well, almost anyone, that any semblance of rational response or retort went right out whenever he was around. It hadn’t always been that way, but it had been ever since she was a child, and he had begun to invade her thoughts without permission or warrant with what she considered to be malicious intent. She could in fact remember a time when he would peer into her thoughts without such an ulterior motive, but that was before their sibling dynamic had irreversibly shifted to one born of near absolute resentment. To her, that was such a long time ago that it may have been part of a previous life experience. Worse still, even if she could have understood the manner in which his particular extra-sensory capabilities had differed from what was generally considered normal, or how she had played a role in how he had grown to make use of them, she knew she could never truly forgive him for all of the wrongs he had done unto her. She had tried, in fact, but no matter how hard she attempted to convince herself that she had forgiven him, she had never been able to wipe clean those lingering thoughts of hatred for him that were so deeply sewn into the fabric of her subconscious. A place that was far from free of his ability to pry into.

How she had hated him, and yet still somehow loved him at the same time should have likely landed her in an institution at some point. It was that duality which had haunted her for the nearly three years that had elapsed from the time of her court-martial to his revival at her behest. A haunting which she had desperately and naively hoped would be alleviated upon bringing him back to life.

It hadn’t.

“Twenty-nine years and you still can’t stay the fuck out of my head!” she likewise fired back at him, feeling the adrenaline rush of aggression continuing to mount upon itself within her bloodstream. Her heart pounded, her muscles and back tensed, and her hands were starting to shake as she fumbled with them, unsure of what else she could do to make this all stop, or how she could escape this moment. In the past, whenever she’d ventured into the frayed parts of her psyche, she’d latched onto whatever forms of distraction she could. It was why she had fallen down the path that she did, winding up permanently addicted to an illicit substance, and which had eventually led to the accidental death of their sister. Simply put, Kate had never learned how to healthily deal with the substantial demons which plagued her mind, because during her formative years there had simply been no one around to teach her how to. Instead, she learned a myriad of unhealthy ways, taught to her by the plethora of unsavory people that were around. It was a recipe for the fractiousness of her subconscious, and the ultimate disaster that had been much of her life, caused by drug abuse and other bad decisions.

Smirking with satisfaction as the PADD she’d thrown at him had struck his abdomen, she found herself truly hoping that maybe she’d fractured one of his ribs. A realization of the knowledge that she had rendered unto him some sense of a relative discomfort had caused a release of endorphins which only further fueled her desire to attack him. After all, if he could harm her with words and with his mental probing, then she could at least return that harm physically.

Though in comparison, he was decidedly more imposing than she was.

That didn’t matter she hastily decided as Stellan soon resumed his unwanted critical analysis of her life by relaying information that he had pillaged from her mind. As he spat out a mocking disproval of Scruffy, Kate was surprised by how her rage suddenly re-flared within her. The combination of recognizing how Stellan had been in her head even now, and the strange necessity to defend a man whom she had only just started to know was mixing in the form of a most unstable cocktail ready to explode. Again, anyone else and the reaction might not have been so violent, but this wasn’t anyone else. This was the only person in the whole of existence that could elicit such an intense response, save maybe one other. Worse still, even after the flames of the bonfire of her considerable rage had already reached new heights, Stellan just couldn’t let enough be enough, and had to push on. At the mention of her career, Kate once more grabbed the nearest item, which coincidentally happened to be her combadge, and the threw it at her brother, though once more missed the mark well wide of where he had been standing. “My career?! You mean the career that you fucking tried to destroy?! Is that the career you’re referring to!?” Remembering how she had so vehemently rebuked him after the court-martial verdict had been made, Kate struggled not to make a similar one in this moment.

“Or do you really just feel the need to dictate who I do, and who I don’t spend my time with?!” Throwing her arms out wide for a moment, she waited to hear what it was that had driven her brother to once more tread upon her emotions without care. “Is that it? Are you so determined to finish off the very last shreds of whatever professional, and personal life I have left?! Because to be honest there’s not much of either remaining, and I doubt you’ll feel as utterly satisfied as you have in the past!” Her hyper-acute attention shifting for just an instant, Kate aggressively snatched up an old plate of food from where it had been resting on the coffee table, incidentally, causing its contents to slip free and fall onto the carpeted flooring. With an exasperated groan, the slender blonde fought the intense desire to just throw the plate, and instead dropped down onto her bare knees so that she could shovel the old-spilled pasta back onto the dish. Tears continued to occasionally stream down her cheeks as she was nearly overwhelmed with how everything had seemingly turned against her in what was essentially the blink of an eye.

“Damnit!” she exclaimed out of frustration, her continued aggressive movements only exacerbating the situation with the mess on the floor as with each handful of pasta that she hastily deposited onto the plate, some of it would bounce and tumble off of the edge due those pesky laws of physics and the conservation of motion at play against her.

Sniffling, she wanted to just give up on it and in fact everything as she absorbed more of the harsh judgements being made of her, however fair or unfair they might well have been.

Re: CH02: S [D02|2315] Why do the heathen rage

Reply #6
[ Lt. Foster | Officer's Quarters | Deck 08 | Vector 01 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Swift
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The truth of the matter, on either end of their beginnings, was that both Kate and Stellan had been kids, back then. Broken and abandoned kids, left to their own devices. They both had to find ways to deal with their respective demons, on their own. And while for Kate that was coming to terms with her own dark shadows, for him that was dealing with the hundreds of voices in his head that weren’t his. How to find his own little glimmer of individuality among the plethora of thoughts and emotions – during the long nights of the Alaskan tundra, many of them not the most positive – and how to retain a little sense of sanity for himself. As a result of that he had, potentially wrongfully so, used her mind as a safe haven of positive thoughts. A meadow of flowering naivety, un-intruded upon by anyone else, as a safe haven for his own psyche. In the beginning. The only difference being that, while other boys pulled their little sister’s hair and snuck spiders into their shoes, he started pulling at her emotional strings and snuck dark thoughts into her mind, simply because he could. No more ill-intent to the extraordinary sibling-teasing than that. Again, in the beginning.

Ever since then, everything had gradually and almost unnoticeably spiraled out of control. Until one day they woke up in this contrived mess, that seemed to have no escape. Slipping over the event-horizon unnoticed, now helplessly circling down into the dark gravity well. His big-brother protectiveness turning into a sense of control, pillaging her mind like an ancient monastery. But not for its treasures and absolution anymore, but rather the control over its principality and flock. He had become as blind to her objections as she seemingly had to his intentions. And even though he had this ability to instill whatever sensation he wished, in her mind, he had not found a way to bring himself to absolve this issue. So, it remained between them like a cloud of acid.

Her words hit him like just another PADD, though this time he was prepared for the impact. Besides, her outward expressions were that of a playful kitten, compared to what he could pick up through her inner dealings. Something more painful and more devious than words could ever express. And he couldn’t even shut it off if he wanted to. Years and years of this had numbed him to telepathic impressions, and he felt like that had been a loss too. It wasn’t like telling someone to stop looking at you. When he averted his gaze, he could still feel her being there. The bile and anger in her mind, towards him, that never subsided, even when she stopped yelling. He titled his head to the side with a deadpan expression, chewing on the inside of his cheek, as she seriously used his ability to unearth her lies against him. Which was 5-year old Kate all over again. Leaving him too irritated to even comment on something that hadn’t changed in 29 years as well. Not when he could just as well convey that sense of irritation and annoyance telepathically.

Etching away more and more at the brimstone of her countenance, spark after spark flying into the glimmering ambers of her core, Stellan did not falter. He had been standing at the precipice of this abyss far too many times to derive any sense of emotion from it. Positive or negative alike. It had never stopped him either, to the point where he didn’t even know what needed to happen for them to just find a common ground. What needed to happen for both of them to just shut up and let this night be over. Not even considering any kind of mutual reciprocation and understanding. That was a dream not even a good night of sleep would afford.

“Oh right …” he laughed sarcastically, meaning every baritone nuance of it, as it reverberated past his vocal cords, causing his abdomen to tense with moderate pain, as his back arched into the opposite direction ever so slightly. “… because it was me who called for the court-martial … I was the one operating under influence - I fucking tried to save your career, your sanity, by getting you the treatment you needed … the time away you needed. Are you seriously standing there in this mess of a bedroom, this mess of a mind, believing that I was wrong to do so?” And just as he said it all, he bit his own lips for even going there, again, wasting a breath on trying to make her see reason, through that red veil of anger, she always harbored for him, no matter what he did. And through that, he also noticed how his voice had reached a register his father had always been such a master of. How it seemed to make the inner membranes of the hull vibrate with every word, maliciously lined with intent.

As she carried on, however, he couldn’t help but chuckle more, at the irony of it all. Chief among everything that she said and thought on the matter. It was truly ironic that she blamed him for her life as it presented itself now. Ironic that he was the main villain in the epos of her existence. In absence of a father at least, who should’ve more appropriately carried the majority of the blame. “I do understand the need for self-delusion, as a tool to ward of responsibility for one’s own actions.” He reiterated textbook psychosis, dark eyes falling to the ground where she started picking up her dinner. Crossing his arms defiantly over his broad chest, he placed a non-verbal statement on her actions, that even Kate could understand, in lieu of telepathic abilities. “You do realize you only have a frame of reality for what your life turned out in DEFIANCE of what I been doing and telling you, right? Now, imagine where you could be if you had listened.” He concluded with a superior nod, adding judgment to the rather descriptive notion of her scrambling at the bottom of a mess, she herself created. In a futile effort of trying to gather everything together. How symbolic.

Re: CH02: S [D02|2315] Why do the heathen rage

Reply #7
[ Lt. JG Kate Foster | Personal Quarters | Deck 08 | Vector 01 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @stardust
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There had been a veritable slew of moments in their shared past wherein Kate had found herself at the very precipice of a complete and total breakdown, brought on by the deftness of skill with which Stellan could utterly and completely disassemble her jumbled torrent of thoughts and emotions, only to reassemble them into just the right mixture of criticisms and barbed remarks that would dictate the reaction he wanted. And just like any old and finished pugilist who couldn’t quite understand their waning ability to muster any kind of a worthwhile defense, Kate had continued to resist and return his attacks in absolute futility, unable to quite fathom the innate capacity with which he could control her. Everything that he said now, she had heard from him at least a dozen times before, and yet out of sheer defiance of him and what he represented to her, she had rejected all of it regardless of whatever the intent hidden behind it had been. He could have just as easily told her something as simplistically true as water being essential to life, and she would have resoundingly adopted the opposite and entirely ludicrous assertion out of an act of stubborn rejection. In a way, it had been that abject refusal of him and his advice which had somehow always inevitably led to her being perceived as the wrong party to their struggle against one another; it was why almost all of her past attempts at trying to convince anyone to take up her side had been made in vain.

Her biggest weakness was one that he knew how to play on with masterful precision, and in fact had.

Kate wasn’t naïve enough to honestly believe that anyone else was to blame for her failures in life, specifically her most relapse into habitual drug abuse and how it had nearly ruined her career with finality. She wasn’t so absolutely blind to her own fault and the ultimate role she had played in the myriad of wrong and outright dangerous decisions she had made. But whenever the subject had come up between herself and Stellan, she had found herself instinctively adopting a stance in which she absolutely blamed a sizeable portion of her failures on him, and his failures as an elder sibling. To any outside observers or mediators, the anger and blame with which she had placed upon Stellan had painted her as someone who simply was in denial, and who would pass off responsibility for her actions onto anyone and everyone else. Even now, as they approached the subject once more, she found herself falling into the same inevitable traps that she had fallen into time, and time again. It was a trap which would in the end box her into an all too familiar corner and elicit the same painful feelings of self-loathing and regret which had haunted her for decades, and ultimately tear down what little of her self-esteem had been rebuilt.

“You testified against me!” she spat back at him while angrily grabbing for the last few pieces of penne which had tumbled over the edge of her plate. “How is that trying to save my career?” Snapping her attention back at him, her face full of incredulousness at the claim he was making. “I mean, you literally testified...” Kate pointed at him with an accusatory jab before turning that finger back to stab at the center of her own chest as emphasis. “...that I was unfit for Starfleet!” Rising from where she had been knelt, she aggressively stomped toward the replicator with the plate of old food, the motion of her movements causing several bits of it to yet again fall to the carpeted flooring. Giving into the frustration of it all, she finally tossed the plate and it’s contents into the replicator cubby, causing the plate to shatter audibly. Bringing a hand to her forehead as she tried to keep from entirely losing what little bit of self-control she had, Kate slapped the console to dematerialize and recycle the mess she’d just made before turning back to her brother. “If that verdict comes out differently! If both charges are upheld, I’m dishonorably discharged! My license as a surgeon revoked! Permanently! How is you trying to make that happen, saving my career? Explain that! Please!” She threw her arms out wide again, scoffing loudly.

“No wait, don’t. I don’t want to hear more of your bull shit! I’ve heard enough of it already!”

But that didn’t seem to stop him, as he was predictably set to use the modest state of disarray within her quarters, and the tumultuous tempest of emotions which he himself had elicited as some kind of confirmation that she was still struggling in life. It came in accompaniment with more textbook counseling psychobabble that he adored to impart upon her, as though she would have any frame of reference to understand it. Instead, she saw it for what it was; another smug attempt to demonstrate how better of a person he was than her. How he had a wealth of knowledge which she lacked, and why she should just accept what he was saying at face value and stop arguing with him. That was simply an impossibility. Kate wouldn’t, nor couldn’t ever just accept the idea that his advice may have been founded upon tried and tested methods, simply because it was him who was giving it. Her disdain and contempt for who he was, was so absolute within her psyche that it just didn’t matter.

“I know exactly where the fuck I would be if it were up to you! I would be back in Alaska, without a career and without any friends! I would be living out the rest of my pointless life in that shitty little shack, right?!” She didn’t wait for an answer, nor gave him any kind of a window in which he could make one. “Instead, I’m fucking here, on this ridiculous starship, facing an absolutely ridiculous effort to save civilization or some shit, and listening to you lecture me all over again!” The irony of how she had finally been free of him and his thoughts, only to have quite literally sought him out, and brought him back into her life wasn’t lost on Kate. In fact, the pang of regret was eating at her immensely, compounded by an ultimate shameful guilt over it. Yet try as she might to convince herself that if faced with the choice again, that she wouldn’t venture out here to try and rekindle things with Stellan, she truly knew it to be a false premise. It was another tenuous place for her to exist within, reminding her of how she was damned if she did, and damned if she didn’t.

Breathing deeply, she tried to remember why he had even barged in on her in the first place.

Re: CH02: S [D02|2315] Why do the heathen rage

Reply #8
[ Lt. Foster | Officer's Quarters | Deck 08 | Vector 01 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Swift
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Taking the entire history of their sibling dynamic into account, the tricks, the jokes, the animosity, the rivalry, the abuse … one positive thing that one could potentially derive from this whole mess – and at this point there weren’t many – was that they always had someone to blame. And while analytically that should’ve been their father, for sending them on these volatile trajectories, they themselves had chosen to continue on that course, and thus had picked one another. At least Stellan felt as if he’d always been the one that got blamed, by his younger sister, for everything that seemed to have happened to her. For her it might’ve looked as if he had always tried to put her down, when to his understanding he’d merely reinforced the mess she’d put herself in. Sure, a different brother might’ve uplifted her, kissed her booboo alright, and skipped into the sunset with her. But that was neither who he was, nor who she would’ve ever needed him to be. The basic premise of pathological addiction was the reinforcement from the outside … it would’ve neither been brotherly nor humane to give her that. She needed to be confronted with her shortcomings, as long as they were revered like battle-scars. It was beyond the point that he only got the slightest of delight out of it.

After all, there was a little bit more of his father in him than biologically should’ve been. Certain traits had even been engineered into his DNA, that were so innate that they couldn’t be distinguished from whom the man would’ve been otherwise. Yet, there was also so much of her mother in Kate, that it was no surprise they didn’t get along swimmingly, as obviously their parents hadn’t either. The sudden ping of migraine that Stellan felt coming on at her ludicrousness, didn’t quite register as either induced by her rampant emotions, or her defiance to the truth. Pinching the bridge of his nose, the man sucked in a hissed breath of air, chilling against the back of his throat with added velocity. Painful on so many levels. “You WERE unfit for Starfleet … you operated under influence … there was no indication of you not doing it again. You hadn’t shown any inclination to submit yourself to treatment voluntarily. My testament was to relief you of duty so you could devote your time to getting better under professional care!” And while he could’ve gone on about his motivations to get her the time she needed, away from the stress and expectations of duty, he decided not to. If he was already falling on deaf ears at least he didn’t have to put his entire soul into it. His breath had been wasted many a times on this one.

In the end the court had ruled for a sort of consensus that she should be demoted, but also get treatment on Vulcan. And yes, he hadn’t appreciated the deal, because it didn’t take away the pressure she was under, but instead increased it. If he knew one thing, from years and years of growing up alongside Kate, it was that with pressure came the cracks. “Well, the show is not over until the fat lady stops singing … just because you’re still wearing the uniform is no proof that you’ll not fall back.” And that was the crux of it, really, was it not? That he had no faith in her permanent recovery unless she got proper help. Unless he got to get in there and fix everything, probably. Was that it? That he needed to fix her, or he wouldn’t believe it could be done? Was there so much guilt pent up somewhere, that he would need such twisted satisfaction in order to believe? To have faith? Oh, what insidious demons, haunting his very existence. The ghost in the machine, hidden between the amino acids of his DNA. His face blank, he just stared at her, a feeling of complete void filling the room. Not like she wanted to hear anymore anyways.

Black eyes flickering back up at her, a wave of frustration washing over him, though it wasn’t his, he didn’t quite understand her argument. Not until he probed deeper into the meaning of her words and the emotions attached to it. How any normal being could’ve been able to separate the blah-blah-blub from the actual facts of spoken language, was beyond him. He wouldn’t be able to function without the added telepathic translation. “Wait, are you blaming me for both now? Back home in Alaska, in peace and mental health wouldn’t have been good but being here on duty saving lives isn't either? What really are you trying to tell me?” he prodded, not initially discerning the feeling of regret as being related to saving him rather than her coming here. As closely intertwined as the two were in her screwed up perception.

“Great then … and do you also know where you would be if I hadn’t been there?!” he barked back at her, rage fueled from the spark of her ungrateful thoughts. Brows furrowing together with two deep pleads, above the bridge of his nose, nostrils flaring, the telepath projected the image of death into her mind. The cold, barren void of nothing, and all the pain and anger he associated with it. With the thought of losing her, the fact that she couldn't see it. To her it would seem like just another dump of negative emotions and images to drive her crazy, not understanding that the torment and regret was his, rather than something he wanted her to experience. Something that came from so deep, from so hidden, it felt even foreign to the man himself. All the while the image of a deep hole in dark soil pushed down upon her like the weight of an ocean, trapping her at the deep dark bottom. “DO - YOU - SEE?!” he yelled, obsidian orbs fiery with the torments of hell, his breath making her bangs move like a ghost touching upon her pate, as he could see the image of a grave in the trembling tendrils of tangerine irises. HER grave.

Re: CH02: S [D02|2315] Why do the heathen rage

Reply #9
[ Lt. JG Kate Foster & Lt. Stellan Foster | Personal Quarters | Deck 08 | Vector 01 ] Attn: @stardust

Kate wasn’t so naïve as to truly believe that her relationship with Stellan could ever truly reach that of the kind which only existed in fairytales, but she had always hoped that someday they might have at least been able to stomach being in each other’s presence. That maybe they could find an ounce of mutual peace and understanding with regard to one another. And considering her general inability to completely cut her brother out of her life, she’d absolutely needed to cling onto that feeling of hope, otherwise this whole thing was nothing more than self-harm. Though, maybe that was what Stellan was trying to impress upon her and had been their entire lives together. Yet, as he’d begun to so vehemently explain his analysis of her: who she was then, and to an extent who she still was, Kate had again felt her considerable anger and resentment for him clouding her mind. It was so incredibly difficult for her to just listen to him, because as much as she loathed the idea of agreeing with anything he said, she simply couldn’t deny the logic and reason hidden within his bitter words. And just because they were bitter, didn’t mean they weren’t in fact true, which was the worst part of it all, because it really did concern her, and cause her to question whether or not her grasp of sobriety and this ‘normal’ life was as tenuous as he was asserting it to be.

The thought was very worrying, and it wound up resulting with her making the accusation that he’d wanted her to languish, rather than flourish. An accusation which was met with brutal rebuke, and a clarification of the terms as he had seen them. It caused her to literally jump a little when his tone of voice seemed to spike, and the brows on his forehead seemed to furrow with rage. She’d expected that maybe he would in kind throw something at her so as to emphasize his point, but physical attacks weren’t his style. No, she should have seen what was coming, but hadn’t as he threw what turned out to be an exceedingly visceral manifestation of death into her consciousness, wiping clean any thoughts or considerations which might have been there. The image was so intense, and the manner in which he had so forcefully projected it into the forefront of her mind caused her perception of reality to shift. Gone in an instant were her quarters. The starship. Her surroundings, even Stellan was gone. She’d suddenly found herself standing amidst some place entirely surreal and yet real at the same time.

Terrified beyond all belief, Kate peered about her surroundings as a sense of enveloping confusion and panic consumed her. ‘Hadn’t she just been aboard a starship? Where was she now? Was this really real?’ Like the most convincing of dreams, she had already lost her ability to discern the truth of her situation. Yet as she took a step, her bare foot crunching into the snow beneath it, sending an appropriate feeling of cold that ran up the length of her legs. She was standing on a hillside. A familiar hillside which overlooked a nearby stream, and it was dotted by grave markers for as far as she could see. Some were old. Older than she could even imagine, and others were far newer. Spinning about in this induced hallucination, she began to try and gain a notion of where she was, and in fact soon recognized it as home. Anchorage. It was the bluff cemetery that overlooked a small crick, and where her sister and mother were both buried. Walking in a hurry along a row of graves, she stopped as a biting cold wind blew against her, a trio of harsh baritone words hidden among it. Above her, she could see hovering in the black starless sky, an orange swirling cloud; like a great galaxy that filled the void, and which reminded her of something she had so desperately tried to forget.

-

In the snow before her were tracks of three or four people, small feet, loosing themselves somewhere in between the brushwork of gravestones ahead. Steps spread far apart, as if they had been in a hurry, dispersing among the shadows and stone blocks. Then, in the wind, the sound of boys snickering, echoing as if down a long hall. Coming from her left, then her right, then behind, shifting around her like a swarm of bees. Sometimes quiet, hidden, sometimes loud, to almost make her jump. And deep among the dense rows of markers, flickering shadows, rushing from one cover to another, faster than any human could. Things made entirely out of black smoke. "Look at her, she's scared." a boyish voice giggled wickedly. One that seemed familiar, despite its demonic contortion. Then another, different one, but with the same intimate ring of memories attached to it: "Stupid girl!" it mocked, circling around her side. Driving her further into the graveyard, to a place that was dug up crudely. A barely square space, six feet deep, her mother's and sister's gravestone toppled over at its head. "She's gonna cry ..." a dirty laugh followed. "... cry like a baby."

-

The snow stinging with bitter frigid cold beneath her feet, Kate followed after the tracks ahead of her as they led on through the graveyard. There was a sense of desperation in her to find someone, anyone, so that maybe she could understand where she was, and what was going on. Any previous recollection of where she had been just an instant earlier, had now faded into the recesses of her memory, leaving her with the idea that this was reality. Soon as the winds began to shift, new other voices hidden among each gust, panic began to intensify, and the slender legged blonde recoiled away from them in turn. They were driving her off in a particular direction now, goading her on with childish taunts that were somehow familiar, and yet weren’t at the same time. “Stop it! Leave me alone!” She pleaded as tears began streaming down her cheeks. She spun herself around, trying to face each of the disconnected voices as they continued to shout at her, though she found no faces; no body from which they had emanated. Nothingness.

Frightened and confused, Kate soon lost her bearings in a blind panicked frenzy as she ran from the voices. It was only by sheer luck, that she had just barely managed to stop herself at the edge of a deep dark void dug right into the cold hard earth. Heels skidding out beneath her as they couldn’t find traction in the snow, Kate landed hard on her ass just at the periphery of the hole. It was a grave. Horrified, she rolled over onto her stomach and clutched at anything to try and pull her away from it, her legs dangling over the edge as she clawed in desperation. Recognizing the two plots on either side of her as those which belonged to her mother and sister, their gravestones cruelly knocked over, it began to dawn on Kate that this was to be ‘her’ grave. “No! Unnngh! Help! Please! Someone! Stellan!” Her hands dug into the snow, her fingernails scrapping and cracking away from each of their digits as no matter how hard she struggled, she couldn’t seem to stop herself from gradually sliding further over the edge into the darkness beneath her.

-

As Kate's eyes looked up, away from the struggle and the desperate clawing off her hands against the snow and the underlying dirt, there were four pairs of feet, planted firmly in the snow. Lined up in a half circle around her, shadowy figures, mere shapes of little kids in all black, as if they were cut out of reality itself. One of them, second from the right, a bit taller than the rest, as they stared down at her with white circles for eyes, as if wearing highly reflective glasses. And for a moment, they just stood there, mute to her pleas, hands close to their thighs, as if shoved into deep pockets. "She'll tell on us." one childlike voice, yet raspy like a match through the desert, finally said. The larger shadow ultimately stepped forward, his voice sounding oddly familiar, though far younger. "No she won't." And with a flash, there was Stellan's face, real close. Morphed somewhere between his 10-year-old self and his current handsome mug. Shadows carving deep lines into his chiseled features. A shock that came so suddenly that Kate lost her grip, slipping back over the crumbling edge.

-

When Kate had called for help, hoping, and praying that anyone might come to her rescue, hoping that maybe Stellan would save her; it had been a hope born of a time when she could actually remember being able to rely on him. That was a memory- a distant sentiment from her childhood that she’d been unable to forget despite all of the other bad ones which had far outnumbered it, and it was why she had never been fully able to rid herself of a need for him to exist as part of her life. And as naïve as it may have been, when her brother had emerged from among those shadowy figured that had been taunting her, she had genuinely believed that he had come to save her from a terrifying fate. Glaring up into his dark irises, nearly hidden behind reflective panes, Kate was shocked alright, but the source of her shock had come not from his being there, rather it had come from his apparent disinterest in interfering with her fall. “Stel--” her voice cracked and cut out as her grip of the snow packed dead grass surrounding her grave gave way, and she fell over the edge.

Time once more seemed to slow as she descended the six-feet down to the bottom of the dark pit, only to resume with an all-too-real feeling collapse unto the rock-solid soil which awaited her. Crumpling with a sickening thud that echoed out from the rectangularly dug hole, reaching on into the far recesses of the ethereal orange glowing night sky above, Kate groaned as her whole body ached worse than it should have from such a short fall. No, this pain she felt was caused by a sensation of withdraw that she’d not experienced in years, and which was all consuming of her slender form. Coiling herself into a fetal position on her side as she was assailed by immense anguish, Kate was stirred from the momentary escape by the sensation of a fine dust falling from the sharp cut edges of her grave. It cascaded over her at great speed, threatening to bury her in it as she scrambled to her feet in a panic, trying to understand what was happening. The dust wasn’t simply soil being brushed over, as it had an orange hue to it, and a familiar scent which she caught as it had been kicked up into a cloud. “No! No, no, no!” recognizing it for what was, Kate peered up to the opening above her as the powder continued to rain down upon her, having piled up to her mid-calf already.

“Please! Get me out of here! Stellan! Please!?” she could see him, his reflecting glasses blotting out her ability to see his eyes.

-

But just as nightmares went, as they established the most tormenting scenarios you could think up, like a devious novelist sitting in your head, writing out chapters catering to exactly what it was you feared most, Stellan didn't even have to dig deep to unearth the true horrors of Kate's existence. The pitfalls of her confidence, the tripwires of her duty, the quicksand of her persistence ... taking down her spirit virtually turning into a simple matter of watching it dismantling itself. Which had always been the essence of his mistreatment towards her, hadn’t it? Refusing to help her, to just embrace her and tell her it was going to be okay, but rather to prod her, to push her, to help herself. Which was how Stellan felt he had been groomed into a moderately self-sufficient and strong character. And even though he understood that clinically everyone was different and needed different reassurances, he somehow couldn’t bring himself to treat his sister a different way than he had been treated by their father. A rite of passage, in a sick and twisted way.

Just as everything in their family had been.

So he simply watched, as the tangerine sand was not the last torment, she’d impose upon herself, at the telepathic conjuring of her own demons. An unholy rumbling coming from both sides, as if something burrowed through the permafrost, louder and louder, drowning out the almost ethereal whisper of falling dust. Until suddenly, from the deep dark earth, broke a set of half decomposed arms on either side, instantly grabbing a strong hold of Kate, dragging her down deeper into the abyss of her nightmarish mind.

-

Struggling against the weight of the fine orange hued dust as it continued to cascade down upon her from the sharp edges of the grave, Kate tried to pull her feet from where they had been planted in the soil, but they wouldn’t budge. Panic assailed her senses as the rising tide of her drug of choice had soon reached the level of her slender waist. “Please!? Stellan!” she cried out, the tangerine tint of her eyes flaring unnaturally in the cosmic light which swirled in the skies high above this tortured and hellish landscape. Like no dream she had even been through, or rather nightmare, this had the sort of visceral feel which would stain her the depths of her consciousness forever. Her heart, beating with the staccato of a hastened march was nearly matched by wispy breaths which had grown ever more ragged, while frantic hands began to dig at the fine grain dust that was burying her in an act of futile resistance against an inevitability.

“Please!?” she cried out in desperation for anyone, tears streaming down her face as she was further consumed by the most intense fear she’d ever experienced.

Yet no relent came, instead the demented horror that was being forced unto her mind grew even worse, as rotten fleshy arms held tightly onto her own, making any kind of an escape an impossibility. Glancing at the disfigured limbs that held her at bay, she could see that one had belonged to a child, and the other to a woman. And as if finishing the thought which pervaded her mind, the faces from whom the arms had originated slowly emerged from either side of the grave, flesh dried and shrunk down clinging at gray bones, yet regardless of how deformed their visages were, Kate recognized them immediately. Her sister, Sierra, and her mother, wrenching at her with an obvious angst and hatred contorted in their faces as they pushed and pulled the terrified blonde down into the ever-rising mound of orange dust. “This is your fate! You cannot struggle against it! You did this to us, and now you do it to yourself!” the almost ethereal words that rang out from her mother’s decomposed vocal-chord echoed on for just an instant, before with finality Kate was pulled down into what was to be her grave, and the world entire went black.

“STELLAN!” she yelped, as once more in reality she violently flailed her arms, inadvertently striking him in middle of his face.

For her, a blood curdling internal scream pierced the void of consciousness as whatever detailed memory of what she had just experienced faded into the recesses of her mind. The whole ordeal had lasted only a mere moment of time, yet the psychological effects would last on far beyond. Kate could feel her heart thumping away in her chest, and a genuine tremor of panicked terror running throughout her body as she stood before her brother. Her body was disconcertingly stiff, as though she were a reanimated corpse, and there was no full understanding of what had just happened present in her thoughts, she only knew that Stellan had done something to her with his telepathy. That realization, combined with the memory of their argument from before this psychologically induced torment stirred something greater than anger or rage within Kate.

“You... you need to leave.” She said simply, her throat stinging from a scream she wasn’t sure she’d even made.

Re: CH02: S [D02|2315] Why do the heathen rage

Reply #10
[ Lt. Foster | Officer's Quarters | Deck 08 | Vector 01 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Swift 
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In the grander scheme of morality, surely, the negligence to help was deemed a crime equal to actively harming someone. But for someone who felt himself outside of the societal limitations of a telepathically handicapped crew, Stellan didn’t think in the same terms. Per his own judgment – the only one that counted – his sister was merely struggling in the midst of her own ill-decisions and errors, even those that she attributed her male sibling with. Not a nightmare he deliberately concocted to scare her. These were her fears and her insecurities. In all their frightening detail. So, he felt no guilt over letting her be confronted by them, as she usually so aptly pushed them away with whatever diversion at hand. Be it drugs, duty or dick. There was no such reprieve here. Not in the stranglehold of his telepathic bounding box, within which he poured all her negative thoughts and nightmares.

He could very well feel Kate struggle, pushing back against the boundaries of her mental cage. A cage she ironically was in every day of her adult life, only content with the limitations in the cold light of day. Her defiance felt very real, to the telepath, so he was only genuinely surprised when he found himself in the physical confines of her quarters, once more, after being pushed from the dark haze. His nose pinging with a very real pain, hot lava stinging his top lip, seeping into his mouth with the taste of mortal copper ambrosia. She had hit him in the face! His nose was numb and after gentle physical inspection, not exactly in the right shape either.

Squinted eyes from a distorted pate glared at the woman, as she told him to leave, with a tone to her voice he could not place. But despite her own wishes or please, he was not going to stick around ripping blood onto her carpet. Running the back of his hand hastily against the bottom of his nose, Stellan brushed past her without a word. Not due to guilt or some sort of revelation, but because of the lack of resolve, despite his best efforts. He could sense she still thought him to be the culprit, the creator of all her troubles, even though she had just literally drowned in a grave of her own making.

So, the only thing remaining was the lingering sentiment of ignorance and defeat, within the tall man, as he vanished through the sliding doors. How he willed himself not to care that he could not ‘change’ her. Where the only road to his own salvation was blocked by the mountain of her incapability to accept responsibility.

Where he needed her to absolve him by accepting the tools to her own fate.

Re: CH02: S [D02|2315] Why do the heathen rage

Reply #11
[ Lt. JG Kate Foster | Personal Quarters | Deck 08 | Vector 01 ] Attn: @stardust

Once more left to herself, and more importantly to her own thoughts, Kate stood motionless in the midst of a literal and proverbial mess. Her quarters had been the very definition of disarray prior to Stellan’s intrusion but were somehow even worse now; her scrambling efforts to straighten up when he’d so surreptitiously barged in having done little when contrasted by the havoc which she had unleashed in a bout of rage that he had provoked. Her memories were a tangled web in which she felt utterly and completely entangled, and no matter how hard she tried, she couldn’t recall the details of whatever it was that she had just experienced. Like awaking in the middle of a dream, she simply had no ability to piece together the stray and vague images which were ghosted into the periphery of her conscious mind. The only thing she could reliably understand, were the bleak emotions which seemed to prevail, and in this instant, she had felt barren, and more alone than she had ever been before.

Stellan had shown her something, and as much as she wanted to think that whatever the harrowing visage had been, that he had been responsible for its manifestation, she couldn’t escape the overwhelming thought that she had been its creator.

Peering at her bed, she felt exhausted enough to sleep a week, yet held no desire to allow herself to succumb. Pushing aside the fact that the shattered fragments of a glass of water were scattered across the bedding and the mattress, Kate was more fearful of the potential to relive the disturbing imagery that Stellan had roused from the depths of her subconscious. It hadn’t been the first time that he had so viciously violated the sanctity of her mind, and she could distinctly remember how her dreams had manifested into terrifying recurring nightmares for days after previous attacks. All of it had left her frozen in place, unable to decide how she should proceed, and with an overwhelming desire to hide from the world. Even the sometimes-comforting hum of the ship’s engines wouldn’t assuage her uneasiness, and Kate felt compelled to casually settle down unto the floor, hugging her knees tightly to her chest as she tried to think of anything pleasant which might diminish her dread.

Minutes would give way to hours, and no peace would find Kate as she lost any sense of control of her emotional state, a fit of uncontrollable sobbing soon overtaking her until she’d passed out, curled up discomfortingly on the floor of her quarters.

‘Look at her, she’s scared.’ a boyish voice giggled wickedly. One that seemed familiar, despite its demonic contortion.

Stellan’s haunting of Kate’s nightmares had only just begun.

~FIN

 
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