Epilogue: Inverse Soul May 04, 2017, 11:30:10 AM EPILOGUE: INVERSE SOULMedical 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 ][Show/Hide]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.