“Prisons of the Mind”

(Continued from “Chaos All Around”)

“Men are not prisoners of fate, but prisoners of their own minds.”

-Franklin D. Roosevelt


Setting: Moon of PI ALPHA III, Underground cave system

Stardate: 30148.1740

The crew had fallen back to doing their own thing while they waited for the return of their Captain.  Surrounded and outnumbered as they were by the Akitashiinu, this had been the safest course of action.  Seska had been tending to Wydran, Sonja had decided to walk off her frustrations and Eve had simply been keeping an eye on Shar'El, who appeared fascinated by one specific member of the silicon-based feral race.

A sizeable chunk of the Counsellor’s brain power had been spent studying their… cohabitants of the caves. Lieutenant JG Dalziel struggled to find a more fitting word but her efforts fell short. It was not fair to call them captors, nor were they entirely friendly to them. The more time they spent with the animalistic beings, the more Eve believed they thought of the ANUBIS’ crew as an inconvenience to be dealt with. This conclusion, right or not, left her with a twinge of sadness. There could be so much information to share. Perhaps an ally to be made. Another species to meld to the rich tapestry that was the Federation.

The Akitashiinu seemed to have motives well beyond the thoughts of goodwill and cooperation that floated around in Eve’s head. She wanted to share these opinions with the others, but it did not feel safe to do so. Even though the stranded officers were not being treated as a threat at the moment, the Cardassian born woman felt it would not take much to tip the scales in that direction.

She glanced to Shar’El, who at first appeared to be resting, but her posture held a certain tension as she focused on the group of aliens. Even though the ambient temperature underground was not unpleasant, beads of perspiration had formed on the Intel officer’s smooth forehead. She seemed unaware of the Cns’ observation of her, which was unlikely. This made the tall woman take notice… she quietly observed, careful to not disturb whatever was happening.

It had taken longer than usual for the ILO to reach her target's memories, digging through primal images that barely made sense to the Starfleet Officer.  To look into someone else's memories had always been a risky business, as the initial images could never be controlled or expected.  It usually required a few seconds for Shar'El to get her bearings once she entered someone's mind.  With the Akitashiinu though, this had taken several lengthy minutes and even then the black haired woman had not been completely successful.

Emotions and feelings were always encountered when dealing with someone's memories, the more alien the mind though, the stranger some of these could be.  In the case of the Akitashiinu, the emotions that followed the as raw as could be, and seemed to be mixed one into the other.

Without any warning, the ILO suddenly collapsed forward onto her knees and held her head.  Although this had been noticed by most, only the Ship's Counselor moved in to see what had happened and if she could help.

“Shar’El?” Eve questioned softly, touching her arm. The petite woman was shaking, her hands unmoving from her head. The Ensign seemed trapped in a private battle. Slowly, she lifted her head and opened her eyes, with a pained expression. Eve could only guess at what was playing behind the ILO’s eyes. But outwardly, she looked confused and unsure, two things she had never seen before in the often reclusive officer. And, as much as she didn’t always appreciate the secretive tactics of the diminutive woman, it felt important to protect her.

Seska had given the Ullian something to help her nerves earlier, but it seemed to have worn off a lot quicker than the aCMO had been hoping. And the mental health of the crew was *her* responsibility, not the Doctor's. However, the cave was not exactly a conducive location from which to prevent psychosis. Eve needed a plan.

"My mind is clear," Eve said aloud, but quietly. "Shar'El?"

Obsidian eyes bored into gray ones. "What?" Shar'El heard herself ask.

"Enter my mind... my thoughts."

Shar'El paused.

“I'm certain." Eve positioned herself with crossed legs and arms upturned, hands open, and gestured for Shar’El to assume the same posture.

Eve remembered when they had been imprisoned, Morningstar had asked them all to craft a memory, something strong and as real to them as possible. It was this imprint that Eve went back to, a lazy sunrise on Jorus Island on RISA. The sky was layered with brilliant colors of fire coral, goldenrod and azure; the flora and fauna were every shade of green imaginable, punctuated with flashes of colorful birds and rushing water from a nearby stream. She’d been lucky enough to visit this idyllic place on several occasions, and it was highly suitable now as a place of respite. And even though Eve was not telepathic, psionic, or even an empath, she tried to force the weak thoughts of her average mind to Shar’El, hoping she would seek the memory she wanted her to seek. And to find solace within it...


Setting: Moon of PI ALPHA III, Underground cave system

Stardate: 30148.1815

With a cookie in her hand, Shar'El looked at the redheaded Engineer, still trying to bring order back to her own thoughts.  The news that Maya, Lillie and Jayson had somehow found their way back  onto the ANUBIS had been a great news, but it had been far from answering all of  the questions the rest of them still faced.

“How did the others find their way back to the ANUBIS?” the Counsellor asked softly, taking a bite of the message cookie. She hadn’t realized how hungry she was, and how tired. She still felt drained by whatever it was she and Shar’El had shared. But Shar’El looked and acted much more like herself again, so it was well worth the effort.

“Technology of some kind would have to be involved. They would not have made it back without transport, shuttle, or some other type of device. The environmental factors outside would preclude any other methods of escape.”

“I wish Maya were here- I know she could make sense of it,” Eve commented wistfully.

“I’m glad her erudite efforts can be used to free us,” Shar’El said thoughtfully.

“Point well taken,” the Counsellor agreed.

After the friendly exchange, Shar'El smiled at the Counselor and silently thanked her for what she had done: being a friend as well as an understanding fellow shipmate.  The smile on the ILO's lips was short lived though as her eyes fell onto another  Akitashiinu, this one walking through the room with some level of urgency.

"Seska?" Shar'El whispered, the image in the alien's mind having been beyond clear.

"What about Seska?" Eve asked, looking at the ILO with a measure of confusion and concern.

"Where is she?"


Susan Ledbetter

Lieutenant JG Eve Dalziel