Skip to main content
Topic: Epilogue: Inverse Soul (Read 10019 times) previous topic - next topic
0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Epilogue: Inverse Soul


Medical Log, stardate 57505.34. The ship is heading towards the Azure Nebula, to go into hiding and repair for the next move, whatever it might be. It has been fifteen minutes since Heather McMillan and I tried to stop Sonja Acreth from bringing something across a new temporal breach. Whatever it might have been, I do not know. What I do know is that Ensign Acreth vanished into the vortex, and Junior Lieutenant Morali claimed that she would have brought something with her.

The winds know what truly happened, but whatever Acreth's intentions truly were, and what Morali might say, the ship seems unaffected from the breach, and I have a patient to attend to. I might have exerted myself in trying to stop Acreth, the fatigue from channelling through my zi'naaq heavy, but given the import of this surgery I am about to preform, I have taken medication that will keep me awake and alert. The symbiont transfer will commence in five minutes... and as I ready myself, I cannot help thinking about Doctor Maya, and what made her betray the crew. While she was found - alive - in the Brig, and put in custody, she was found next to the corpse of Devon Striker. His body looked like the rest found in Sonja Acreth's path, and I ask myself if she is like Acreth too, or if something else made her free the prisoner? Perhaps it was an influence from T'Rena, dormant in her mind? One cannot help but wonder if there are more like her... waiting.

However grave the implications... I am due for surgery. Thea, end log.

- Doctor Lucan cin Nicander, Chief Medical Officer, USS Theurgy

[ Dr. Nicander | Main Sickbay | CMO Office | Deck 11 | USS Theurgy ]
After he made the entry, he realised he was perpetuating the lies already told about himself.

Still, he couldn't fathom the reaction if he told anyone what resided within. His persona, his relationship to the crew, it was all a construct. A means to a dead end, only made worse when he had been joined. He saw it now, in the light that the Radiant had shone upon his motives, that they were a twisted nest of latent hate, and while the years had passed, the parasite had fuelled the darkness of his soul. Now, with so many years having passed since Kisane was executed, and with the bonds - however superficial in original motive - with the crew he served having grown stronger, he found himself facing the decision that would ultimately define him. Was he going to continue lying, and was he prepared to kill to preserve his name and reputation - free or not?

In surgical scrubs, he was in the privacy of his office - screened by the one-way mirror wall. Beyond the wall, his surgical team was preparing the two patients for the transfer, but he did not look at them - eyes staring at the reflection of himself on the wall.

Would he let the Rez symbiont die in the transfer, so that the former hosts would not live on, them knowing how he enabled Jona to change the Simulcast? He - and the darkness - had merely thought Jona would corrupt the file, but instead, the cunning and callous Intelligence veteran had to paint a target on the ship, and erase all the personal logs meant for the crew's friends and next of kin. If the crew learned about his involvement, from the lips of the new host, Nicander wondered if he'd even get a trial before someone shoved him out an airlock - his death sanctioned or not.

Yet at the same time, the only way to redeem himself was if he stopped listening to the insidious voice and will of the demon inside. For if he spared the Rez hosts, would not his mercy illustrate his good intentions? Wouldn't they understand, and hear him out, when they learned he'd saved them? Moreover, would not the new host of the symbiont understand and share Jona Rez' sentiment? Would she not understand his motive like Jona did, questioning the sanity of inciting civil war in the Federation in attempt to cast the enemy into light? So far, he had merely heard rumours about what had happened on the bridge, but it seemed evident Jona Rez had made others believe, more and more wanting to spare their loved ones from a war where the enemy could be anyone - even your fellow officers.

So Lucan stared into the eyes of his own reflection - the dilemma keenly felt - knowing he had to decide.

The abyss whispered to him, the faintest of sounds after what McMillan had done. Kill it... Otherwise they will learn... They will know you betrayed the crew... It would be simple too, with Edena Rez being so grievously injured. In fact, he believed a lot of the crew would thank him for preventing Jona Rez from getting a new body, despite the need to learn who Jona Rez informed about the parasites and Starfleet Command. All it took was a slight oversight, a plain mistake during surgery, and the truth of his actions - however much not his own - would remain buried. Perhaps he could just say that the new host wasn't compatible with the symbiont? Perhaps the faulty joining to Edena Lal would have compr-

"Stop it..." he whispered to the mirror image, jaws clenched - pale grey eyes narrowed. "It has to stop."

Yet the reflection of himself just smiled, eyes and mouth shining as if he had opened his zi'naaq, even though he hadn't. The representation of the abyss was clearly amused by his determination. "You cannot continue living a lie... and not protect it at the same time."

Lucan gritted his teeth at the demon in the mirror. Turned his head away. It was, oh, so easy to listen.

"So you let the symbiont live, then what?" The shining eyes of Lucan's reflection were unblinking. "Even if she won't betray you, whatever you hope to achieve is irrelevant; the same way a single flesh-puppet is irrelevant in comparison what lies beyond this universe."

"I do not believe that," Lucan rasped through his teeth.

"What do you believe?" asked the image immediately, and its chuckle crawled under Lucan's skin. "You know the fabric of your existence. You are naught more than energy trapped in an image, like coagulated blood on top of the festering wound of something more pure. You know it is time that your plane of existence meet its fate, merging with the abyss."

Leave me be... thought Lucan, not wanting to meet that shining stare. The memories of what it had made him do were graphic, cast in garish light by the Radiant. The shame of his weakness and the regret of actions were wounds he just could not treat.

"You are naught more than an infection," it said to him, the light shining through its teeth, "thinking you have the right to grow. Nothing you do matters, your existence meaning nothing."

Lucan turned back to the image of himself, his own eyes burning with hate towards what resided inside, where it had taken him. He took a step forward, tattooed fists closed by his sides - cracking. "Whichever way you look at it," he said, "life is irrelevant. If eternity exists, my time in the universe is just a brief flicker of existence, insignificant. Indeed, it is likely that the fundamental truth of all existence and non-existence is without cause - thus without reason."

"So listen, and be something more than you ar-" said the image in the glass wall.

"At its core, existence has no meaning..." Lucan continued, overriding the beast's words. He walked over to the reflection and placed his hands on either side of it - staring deeply into the demon's shining eyes. "So I think of my life like a blank canvas; we can draw, paint, sketch whatever we like. We can make our life mean whatever we want it to mean. This... can be the great benefit and also the great detriment of life."

The face in the reflection paused. It was not smiling anymore.

"If... this... is it," Lucan said, "and nothing can be done for the sake of contingency, nothing I do will ever matter in the long run - just like you say. Yet this life I have is mine, and you may not take it. Ultimately, after what you've made me do, I cannot aid this crew or this mission if I am dead, or in the brig. Therefore, I will continue serving this ship as I have before... but I will do it for the right reasons. I may have to hide my past, and if I can't rid myself from you, I will have to hide my nature for the time being. I may lie, I may deceive, yet make no mistake... I will do what I believe is best for this crew."

In the mirror, the face staring back at him was his own. The demon undone.

With a shuddering breath, Lucan pushed away and left his office. He stepped out into the primary surgical suite. Present lay Edena Rez, vital signs poor but stable only due to the stasis field over her, and on the centre biobed lay the new Trill host.

Amelya Duv, soon to be Amelya Rez...

...unless the thing inside made his hand slip.

"Are you ready, Doctor?" he asked, pushing the gravity of what may come between them from his mind.

OOC: Some info:
  • Next poster in this thread that is set in Sickbay is Nolan.
  • Since Maya is in the Brig, and Hylota is (or was) in labour, Dr. Nicander would have asked Nurse Jovela if she could attend to the surgery, in case she felt strong enough to leave the Recovery Ward. So, Esyel can post here too. With so many injured, Sickbay is understaffed already.
  • Zenozine may post once more with both Ovri characters in Cost of Truth, in the Decontamination Chamber and Isolation Ward respectively. After that, any Sickbay scenes can be continued here too, set 15 minutes after the end of Cost of Truth.

    Another Epilogue thread will be posted as soon as possible, set outside Sickbay.

Re: Epilogue: Inverse Soul

Reply #1
[ Dr. Amelya Duv/Edena Rez | Main Sickbay | CMO Office | Deck 11 | USS Theurgy ]

While Nicander prepared himself for the  surgery himself, Amelya was standing over Edena Rez as she checked her vitals. It hurted Amelya to see Edena in the state she was in. One of her own kind being so hurt and on the verge of dying, it made her tears water as she was still standing in her medical uniform. One of the nurses came to her as she placed her hand on her shoulder "Doctor, it's time to get you changed." she offered softly as Amelya let her hand rest on the biobed. "Alright..." she brought out in a whisper before she walked over to her own bio bed.

"Make sure the patients that I flagged get their vitals checked every hour." she instructed the nurse who already had the surgical gown ready for her. Her hands making quick work of the buttons as she undressed herself in the primary suite "We will doctor... Just try and focus on what you're about to do." she said kindly and Amelya nodded "I will..." she whispered. It didn't take long before Duv had removed all her clothes and stood bare in the surgical suite. Her body showed little sign of he cooler air. A bit of goosebumps formed on her skin as her spots distracted some of the male staff before they quickly looked back at their PADDs. The nurse slid the gown on and Amelya made her way onto the bed before she looked straight up.

All she had to do now was wait for Nicander to perform the surgery. She had told him what little she knew about Trill physiology and anatomy, the basics she had learned just as him, with a few markers here and there to what he had to look out for. She started to breathe a little faster before Nicander finally emerged.

"As ready as I can ever be I suppose." she answered as she looked up at the man "Just don't screw up right?" she tried to break the severity of the situation with a small smile before she closed her eyes and nodded "Whenever you feel like." she nodded to one of the anesthetic staff, wanting to go under now before she'd change her mind or freak out due to the joining.

Re: Epilogue: Inverse Soul

Reply #2
[ Lieutenant Junior Jovela | Main Sickbay| CMO Office | Deck 11 | USS Theurgy| Attention: Auctor Lucan, Nolan, and Zenozine

The same forty-eight hours Jovela had been anxious and curious to see the results of had finally arrived. Yet, despite what Dr. Nicander told her, it didn't seem at all like the journey had come to an end. If anything, a new cycle, a new era, seemed to form and begin. But ... did that mean he'd chosen a bad analogy to use or relay to her? Maybe ... hopefully.

Jovela didn't really have it in her nature to ever truly hate anyone. Even her own father, who betrayed her family, wasn't a man she hated. His actions, definitely, but the man himself?

Ah the irony; you're a traitor too now, you know?

Only by association, but for many people, that would be more than enough to label her as such a harsh thing. Her teeth latched onto her lower lip as she stared at herself in the mirror. Sure enough, the guess about her recovering well enough within two days had been accurate. Now, Jovela stood in her private chambers, dressed once again in her teal-colored outfit that acknowledged her as a member of the medical team. She should feel content, proud even. But ... the longer she gazed at herself, the more ... empty she felt?

What's wrong with you?! Get a grip!

Her fists clenched, causing Jovela's knuckles to rapidly turn white as the nails dug slightly into her palms. The pain helped her return to the here and now as she winced, cursing lowly under her breath. "You're a nurse," she muttered under her breath, "This is what you've been waiting for. Why you've been so eager to heal up; so you can go and help out other people, right?"

So what was holding her back?

Not her own insecurities. Not this time, anyway. Part of Jovela felt as if it'd been linked to some of the reactions upon seeing her up and awake. Most who knew her originally acted as if they saw a ghost. A few had let it slip that they thought she was dead. Knowing their thoughts weren't too far off, given the report Dr. Licander gave her a few days ago, had probably played a part in the negative emotions she was feeling.

But when push came to shove, what did Jovela want more? To dwell on what had recently happened, or what was about to happen?

After eliciting a deep breath and straightening her outfit one more time, Jovela exited her quarters, deciding to focus on the here and now. Nicander had given her a chance, an opportunity to prove - more to herself than anyone else - she was a capable woman and doctor. A very needed and vital surgery was going to be performed on Amelya Duv, and Nicander had asked Jovela to help him out.

... It would be very foolish of her not to use this event and turn it around in her favor, as well as in Miss Duv's and - to some extent - Dr. Nicander's. It would be a way to show herself and everyone else the Jovela anyone remembered was back and better than before.

As she walked through the doors and entered the room, she found both Dr. Nicander and what she could only assume to be Miss Duv.

"I hope I haven't taken too long, Dr. Nicander," Jovela greeted, bowing her head politely as she suddenly felt slightly lost. She should ask what exactly they were doing.

But ... there were other ways to begin to figure that out. Plus, she assumed - hoped, anyway - Nicander would fill her in with the appropriate details.

Turning her head, she began hastily reading the nearby PADD. Meanwhile, she slipped her hand down, grasping her medical tricorder from the pocket of her pants pocket, and hovered it over the female laying down on the bed.

"You would be Miss Duv, correct? I'm Jovela, and I'll be assisting Dr. Licander. You'll get through this. I will help make certain about that."

Her voice quickly changed, returning to the way it used to be when she was on duty; calm, collected, soothing. Uttering such words in an anxious or panicked state wouldn't do anyone good, especially the patient.

"Very well. I'm ready also."

"As much as I can definitely be."

Swallowing softly, Jovela waited for her medical tricorder to finish relaying the various conditions plaguing Miss Duv before putting it down. Her gaze shifted to Nicander as she silently waited for him to give instructions, a hint, something to indicate on what he needed her to do for and/or with him.

Re: Epilogue: Inverse Soul

Reply #3
[ Dr. Nicander | Main Sickbay | CMO Office | Deck 11 | USS Theurgy ]
When Doctor Duv asked him to not screw up, Lucan wanted to tell her just how much of a risk there was he might...

...but instead he just smiled reassuringly and said "I won't." Then he began to make a quick inventory of all the required medical instruments for the symbiont transfer. As he did, his former Head Nurse had entered, and she quickly and efficiently got up to speed with what the surgery was about. He inclined his head to her with a small shake of his head in response to whether she was late or not. Then he let her read up on the information on hand, and greet their patient. Incidentally, she was also Jovela's superior officer. Once Jovela was ready, and the anaesthetic staff stepped forth, Lucan began.

"Thea, begin Surgical Log 7473," he said, then took a deep breath. "Stardate 57505.34. 1617 hrs. The patients are Edena Rez and Doctor Amelya Duv. Rez is currently in stasis but once the stasis field is deactivated, we have a window of five minutes to remove the Rez symbiont from the host's abdominal cavity before the host dies. While the symbiont may live for a couple of more minutes, it will not be able to sustain life longer than that. Without any oxygen supply, the transfer from the previous host to the new - which is Doctor Duv - must be as expedient as possible. With reference to patient Edena Rez' medical journal, it should be noted that the current joining to the host Edena Lal is faulty, and there is no guarantee that the new joining to Amelya Duv will be successful. There are three possible outcomes. Either the new host experience the same symptoms as the previous host, or the joining is successful in the way Trill are usually joined. The third alternative is, unfortunately, that the symbiont won't survive another joining because the last one was flawed. Regardless the outcome, I am confident we are able to preserve the life of the new host."

Glancing towards Edena Rez, he continued. "As for the former host, even if she didn't have a skull fracture and critical cerebral haemorrhaging, the Trill host always dies when the symbiont is removed, so we will ensure that her passing will be peaceful. May the winds carry her soul..."

Having said this for the journal, Lucan nodded to Jovela. "Deactivate the stasis field, then keep track of the time. Surgery begins now."

Re: Epilogue: Inverse Soul

Reply #4
[ Lieutenant Junior Jovela | Main Sickbay| CMO Office | Deck 11 | USS Theurgy| Attention: Auctor Lucan, Nolan, and Zenozine

O-oh sweet gods!!

Jovela's eyes widened as she scanned and took in all the data. This procedure was far from the more typical one. In fact, this would be by far  the most delicate one she had helped perform. This was one of those 'do or die' surgeries she had often heard about. Jovela had been fortunate to never have to partake in those. Now ... well ... she was partly responsible for someone's life. The revelation made her swallow nervously as bits of fear and dread began trying to creep into her mindset.

N-No! Don't! You're not alone!

Be that as it may, this was her first on-the-job surgery she was about to help out with. Jovela couldn't help but wonder ... was she truly the best choice? If she had to be brutally honest with herself, probably not. Still, she could only assume Nicander had inquired for her due to one of two reasons, preferably favoring the second.

The first was if she was literally the only other medical person around to assist him out for any rhyme or reason. The second was because Nicander had that much faith in her; to ask for her assistance with a very delicate surgery.

Tilting her head back, Jovela took her own moment to take a deep breath then exhale just as deeply.

Her head turned in time to see Lucan look right at her and give the first set of instructions. "Understood. Yes, sir."

Admittedly, part of her didn't want to do this. A considerable amount of Jovela was very uncertain about removing the stasis field.

... But in the end, her hand moved forward as she closed the distance. A few swift gestures later, and the stasis chamber vanished.

The odds are definitely against you. But there is some hope.

It was one of the few things keeping Jovela from bursting into tears the moment she saw how dire this could become, from panicking, or outright having her own anxiety attack; the fact that despite how many obstacles there would be, there was a chance this could end well for everyone. And no matter how small it was, Jovela would focus on that and that alone.

"Time tracking is starting as of now," Jovela confirmed as the stasis barrier disappeared, trying to maintain her more calm and collected voice as she spoke.

Yet, she couldn't help but feel scared, and only twenty seconds had ticked away.


Re: Epilogue: Inverse Soul

Reply #5
[ 3,7 Million Years Ago | Planet N9GA Majoris: "Niga" | Mahéwa System | Borderland Asteroid Belt ]

Like a newborn, Sonja Acreth had screamed when she drew her first breath on the planet. Her eyesight was equally reduced, merely able to determine light from dark. Yet she heard well enough; the sounds of the verdant undergrowth and the running water of a stream confirming her fears. She could feel the humidity of the jungle against her face. In terror, she screamed in denial of what had happened, yet she knew. She knew where she was because the vile thing inside her knew. Sonja knew because it was her fingers that had calibrated the temporal breach, and she also knew there was no way to return. Her screams of denial were soon reduced to whimpering fright, knowing she had restarted the cycle by bringing the seed through the vortex. She sat on her knees in the undergrowth by the stream, and shook as she cried, trembling in the enormity of what had befallen her.

The Radiant had not just hurt her eyes with her light. She had also subdued the thing inside Sonja, allowing her free thought and reign over her own body again. After years being a dormant soul, she was free, having been imprisoned and merely able to watch while the demon dictated her every action and her every word. She had been no more than a second year Cadet when it claimed her, and now, when she was finally herself, she was marooned in time, enabling the nameless darkness to yet another chance for a perfect purge. Their Revert-Creation was more swift with the Niga virus crumbling the construct of society, reducing the flesh puppets to their base nature. The virus would make them breed, and seed the galaxy with more plants - any natural offspring denied them all.

As she cried, Sonja's trembling hands were locked around the handle of the stasis unit - the first seed brought to its origin planet.

She did not know where the sudden idea came from. Perhaps from her sense of duty towards the future Federation, a duty she had never been able to fulfil, or perhaps it was the knowledge of what was at stake? Whatever it was that begot the idea, it made her stop crying. It made her try to muster any shred of courage still left in her after years being a prisoner in her own body. Yet as soon as the idea came, the doubt came too - the voice of the darkness still residing within her. It is already too late.

Sonja shook her head when she heard it, hating that voice. She couldn't see more than shades of light and dark in front of her, but she had her blood-coated fingers wrapped around the handle of the stasis unit. She could get it open, couldn't she? She could kill the seed child... and stop the cycles.

No, you can't, flesh-puppet, The voice in her mind again, giving her pause. How could you kill a mere infant? Do you even know what it looks like? Oh, it's certainly not the kind of monstrosity you think it is... It carries the DNA of her mother and father. It is a child like any other child.

No, she could not believe that. The seed spread the Niga flora, able to make more vectors for its 'pollen'. It could not be a sentient child. Shaking, she bit her teeth together, and fumbled with slick fingers over the small control panel of the stasis unit. She had to do it. She had no choice. She would do something right, after all the atrocities she'd committed while under control of the dark entity. Breath trembling, she blindly sought the manual release of the stasis field, refusing give in to the doubt. Then, she found it, and pushed down the release. There was a chirp, signalling that she was successful. Next, she had to get it open, twisting the handle counter-clockwise. Refusing to think about the next step, she did it, and the audible hiss of the unit depressurising was heard.

How would she do it? She couldn't see anything. With trembling fingers, she blindly searched through the undergrowth by the stream. She couldn't find any rock, and she didn't think she'd be able to do it with her bare hands. Fighting the panic, and the horror of what she was about to do, she decided she'd have to use the stasis unit itself. She would have to get the seed out first. So you would crush an innocent child? And you think we are the monsters?

"Shut up!" she cried, breathing fast as she summoned her courage and tilted the stasis unit, feeling the weight inside falling unto the ground before her. She tried to listen, to hear if it moved, but it was silent. Whatever it looked like, whatever it was, it seemed it hadn't awakened from its stasis sleep yet. There was no turning back. She had to do it quickly. No thought. Just... just get it over with. Shaking, she gripped the stasis unit harder and raised it over her head.

Do you really think this makes a difference? came the silky, oily voice anew. If you kill this infant child, you will have done it for nothing. You will always end up back here... only from another cycle, perpetuating your failure.

No, that couldn't be right... If she did it, there wouldn't be another cycle, would it? But she couldn't know for sure, could she? She was no expert in temporal mechanics, all such acumen originating from the darkness inside her... Arms trembling, she cried, willing herself to shed all doubt from her mind and just strike the seed child before it came to. Any moment lost...

A rustle in the undergrowth.

Her blinded eyes widened. Panic gave her momentum, and she screamed as she rammed the stasis unit down.

A hollow thud. Even blind, she could tell she'd struck the ground. No! Where was it? She threw the stasis unit aside, and found herself rifling through the undergrowth with her bare hands, trying to find it. It couldn't have gone far. Hyperventilating, she cast about, meaning to catch it. "No... No!"

Then she heard it. Like a stone falling into water. The stream! In blind terror, she tried to close the distance, almost fell into the stream herself as she flailed about, trying to search through the running water. She felt something... Something slick and moving between her fingertips... but it slipped through her grip. Gone in the current. "No!"

To her credit, the blinded Ensign tried to find the seed child for days, going downstream in hope to catch it... but it was too late. The cycle had begun. The fork in the time-stream had been formed anew. In 3,7 million years, the planet Niga would be found by the Theurgy, and while Sonja Acreth would be long dead, she would have been born anew by then. She would be given the stasis unit once more, and after she returned through the breach, she would either try to kill the child again... or rejoice in releasing it into that very stream.

Then again, perhaps something would be different in the next cycle... and make it all stop?


Simple Audio Video Embedder