"Clear As Mud"
[previous post was "Grateful" by the cherished Susan]

Setting: PI ALPHA III, Underground cave system
Stardate: 30148.1350

It was hard to believe that they had been on the same world. The fiery chaos on the surface had been replaced, by no choice of their own, by the cool stillness of the underground.  Every now and then a small tremor would be felt as a reminder of their location, leaving the ILO to wonder in silence if they would all end up buried alive.

Occasionally a pebble or two would be knocked loose giving Shar'El something to amuse herself as best she could.  With the repeated warning about the bio-electrical energy that the bars were imbued with, no one dared to come close to front of their rocky prison.  Some had chosen to pace the short length of their cell while the others, like the ILO, had retreated to the safety of the back wall.

Every so often Captain Morningstar, Commander Maya or Doctor Doyanne would call out to the rest of he crew, checking to make sure that everyone had been alright.  With a very limited visual access to the rest of the senior staff, this had been the only way to insure that all was well.

Due to a mixture of fatigue and boredom, Shar'El allowed her eyes to close for a moment, letting her mind drift to nowhere in particular.  Memories of her own Academy training days began to flash in her mind followed by her time spent on STARBASE 118.  The ILO actually enjoyed this journey through her own memories until she realized on frightening similarity. Someone beyond her ability to see had been there in her memories, seeing what she saw, and feeling what she felt.

Shar'El's eyes sprang open as she drew in a large breath.  The ILO instantly felt violated and angered from the experience, letting her know how others likely felt when she dug into their memories as someone had done to hers.

"Captain, I am not sure how or why, but someone was scanning my memories," the black haired woman said as she moved as close to the front bars of her cell as she dared to.

"Was it a telepathic scan?" the CO asked, not that he would have been able to do or even offer a way for any of them to counter such a mental invasion.

"I am sorry, I cannot say if it was that or some other means, but I can tell you for sure that I felt someone lurking about in my memories."  Shar'El paused for a moment as she wondered how the rest of the crew would react to what she had said.  The few who knew of her unique power to see other's memories would like understand where the ILO's realization had originated from.  For everyone else though, the question as to how the apparently non-telepath officer had been able to sense this intrusion into her mind.

"Until we have more on this, I want everyone to focus on a single created thought," Morningstar ordered from his cell, giving the crew the simplest means to block mental scans.  "Focus on an image and explore every detail you can, make it as real as possible to you, adding colors, sounds and textures.  The most important though is that this thought, this memory be created.  You can take something that is real, but add in details that should not be there.  Imagine Starfleet Academy on VULCAN or RISA. See your quarters on some run down freighter."

"The deeper you force yourself into that memory, the more details you add, the better the barrier will be," Shar'El added.  At the very least she would be able to explain that as the ANUBIS' ILO, she had been trained in ways to block simple telepathic scans.  "Look at a field of flowers and imagine yourself picking one up, enjoying the feel of it in your hand, the way the sun light dances on the petals.  There are no wrong way to do this, so use whatever is easiest to you."

Silence once more claimed the underground corridor that stretched between the cells as each and every officer did their best to comply with their Captain's order.  Why had their captors been searching into their minds? What means had they been using to do so? Most important though had been what would they, whoever or whatever they were, do with the information that would be gathered in this manner?

If Shar'El had not felt like a lab rat before this, the ILO certainly felt the most uncomfortable that she had ever experienced in her life thus far.

Tiffany Reeve

Ensign Shar'El
Intel Liaison Officer