512: Imitation of Life: Two

by Rada Dengar
...continued from part one

-=Arboretum, USS Serendipity=-

Rada looked up to the roof and allowed the gentle drops to wash over his face as he considered how he could explain this

“I have…” he sighed knowing that there weren’t many people in the galaxy he’d confide this to.

“I have never been a very confident person. This made socializing difficult for me growing up. This wasn’t really a problem during my primary education, as the other kids usually kept each other busy and I was able to spend my time alone.”

Kellyn put a hand on his shoulder and turned her head sympathetically, Rada saw this out or the corner of his eye and turned his head round to face her.

“Don’t feel bad for me, that was just how my life was and you don’t really feel lonely when you’re that accustomed to be alone.” Seeing her eyes Rada knew that Kellyn couldn’t believe that, still he decided to continue.

“Things changed when we became teenagers. Imagine the kid who was always just walking around alone and then when he got tired just sitting in the library. No one to stand with him or fight for him; I was the perfect target.”

Kellyn knew she didn’t have to say anything to this as she could tell that Rada wasn’t fishing for sympathy but she did wonder what exactly this had to do with what happened on Betazed.

“There was nothing I could do to stop them; violence was out of my nature no matter how much I pleaded with myself just to fight. I wasn’t fast enough to flee. I couldn’t tell my teachers because it was a very 'us and them' culture and I would have been giving up my status as just one other kid to kick around and trading down to the title of collaborator and that’s when they start following you off of the school grounds. I couldn’t even try a witty retort because of a stutter I had at the time.”

Kellyn allowed him a moment to collect his thoughts, she could tell from his voice that even now looking back Rada wasn’t sure what he was supposed to have done back then, what he should have done to just be left alone.

Rada turned his gaze forward and began speaking as if to no one in particular, whilst the water rolling down his face made it difficult to see the lone tear that escaped his eye. She could hear it in his voice.

“I’d always just told myself that kids were crueler than adults and that if I could just last long enough that I became one that I could be happy. But then, I met one man who taught me that was far from true.

"I was part of a group of students who were getting some experience with engineering basics just to get a feel for it and he was in charge of supplying materials. I’m sure you know the type. Fat, arrogant and judges everyone he meets by the firmness of their hand shake and whether they look him in the eye when they talk to him.

"I was always so shy that I kept looking at the floor when I talked to him and he thought that I was sneaky because of it, he blamed me for anything and everything that went wrong. It made me think that there was never going to be a place for someone like me to be accepted in this galaxy and so I decided to change who I was.”

He turned back to face Kellyn and to judge her reaction. Her eyes looked so sad.

“I began to study every text I could find for behavioural modification; eventually settling on a mixture of repressing the emotions I had and expressing the emotions I didn’t, every movement and every thought I taught myself to carefully control until eventually people stopped noticing me. I built a shell around my mind which I’ve strengthened over time to the point where it even allow me to block my thoughts from telepaths.”

Kellyn still didn’t say anything, she knew that Rada just needed to get this out and besides there was really nothing she could say.

“On Betazed a man tried to break this shell.” Rada thought it best for now to avoid mentioning who that man was.

“He wanted to use my abilities to help him beat the Betazoid authorities but first he needed to know what it took to break me. So, I was beaten. I was beaten a lot and I was drugged and I was subjected to every mental attack he could think of and he came close. He came so close to breaking me. I honestly don’t know what I would have done if he’d succeeded. What I could have done if he’d succeeded. I mean every….every bit of strength I have goes into this control and if that was gone, I, I would have been powerless to resist.”

Lt. SG Rada Dengar
Chief Engineering Officer
USS Serendipity NCC-2012