901: Down Cold

by Vol Tryst and Zanh Liis
Following The Sound of Absence

-=USS Zenith=-

Vol was asked to escort the newcomer aboard the Zenith to Sickbay.

Ensign Natalie Grey had fallen back into a state of resigned fatigue, and was little more than a limp rag doll at the moment. Vol supported her with his arm and shoulder as the door to Sickbay hissed open.

She wasn't seriously injured, physically, at least. If Nicholas Lassiter had died and it happened the way she had described it, maybe Nick really had saved her life.

It was now Vol's duty to make sure that sacrifice was not in vain.

Since his last interaction with Domox, Vol had been going over every word in his mind. Analyzing the conversation again and again as if under a microscope, searching for something that might provide a hint as to the construction of their vessels; provide any exploitable weakness to give the Federation ships a fighting chance.

He soon found himself in Sickbay, still next to Natalie, trying to gently reassure her as she resumed mumbling incoherently.

Her mind, for the moment, was just as muddled as her speech, layered with too many images, thoughts and emotions all colliding at once for Vol to get a true fix on the state of her mental health.

Dr. Hartcort was still doing his best to prolong Wren Elton's life aboard the Serendipity, and the decision was made that it would be best for Grey to interact with an unknown medic as opposed to having the very first question asked of her by the Zenith's EMH be his demand to know what had happened to the rest of the crew.

The medic came forward, softly introducing himself to her by name and reassuring her that everything was going to be all right.

It quickly became apparent that not only didn't Grey believe him, but that she still had some fight left in her.

The moment she realized the medic was trying to touch her, she screamed and tried to resist. She was out of her mind with panic, and after a brief physical struggle to restrain her, the decision was made that the best option they had was to sedate her for the time being, and wait until they could get her to the Sera to try to treat her fully.

Vol, weary from the struggle, slumped down into the nearest chair and sighed. He rested his chin on his closed fists and wondered how in the worlds she fit into all of this.

It was about then that he felt what could best be described as a sensation of hearing the frantic footsteps of a child running around, looking for their mother.

The Domox had returned and were clawing about telepathically, trying to find him.

The Counselor had sealed his mind to detection, but he saw no risk of harm in another discussion with them at this juncture. More over, he saw only potential gain from it considering that he couldn't make sense of the information he already had.

Vol closed his eyes as he let those who sought him, find him. The Domox, the same as before, pounced upon his mind like someone who'd just found the last person in a game of Hide and Seek.

*You are a difficult telepath to locate.* The Domox in his mind sneered.

*I would have it no other way.* Vol was coy, and knew that it would incite the rage that followed.

"Haccch!* The Domox hissed like a snake out of frustration and anger. *You will tell us how you can hide yourself from us.*

Vol remained silent. After a moment, he felt that his conversation-partner was experiencing pain in one of his limbs. Probably a hand from hitting something hard. Vol couldn't help but smirk.

*You enjoy my anguish?* The Domox responded angrily.

*You are the one who is throttling our ships by the throat, so forgive me if I take some--*

*NO!* The Domox raged once more. *You violent telepaths are all the same, you ask for forgiveness after you mock and injure others. This justifies your extermination, and I will personally volunteer to terminate your life myself!*

Vol wanted to retort with 'And who's your executioner, seeing as 'all telepaths must die?' but Vol bit his telepathic tongue.

Something in the Domox's last communication housed more than just a feeling of justified vengeance; Vol got a glimpse of a history of some kind. Something that had happened a very long time ago.

*No more words, Betazoid?* It snarled again, *The Domox have shed our old oppressors in the past like a dead skin, and you will be no different.*

Vol slipped out of this discourse faster than a pilot could've done by activating the ejection seat. Immediately the Counselor was on his feet and walking with purpose and determination quickly toward the bridge.


"Commander!" Vol said once the turbo-lift doors opened.

"Counsel'r." O'Sullivan stopped reading the PADD in his hand and gave Vol his attention.

"This species. The Domox. They're cold-blooded."

The interim Captain of the Zenith raised an eyebrow. The Counselor seemed out of breath, and eager to share this information. Still, Keiran couldn't help but feel that..."This is no' new inf'rmation, Counsel'r."

Now it was Vol's turn to look perplexed.

"No, you misunderstand me Captain. I mean this literally." The Counselor marched his way to Keiran's side, clearly in the throes of some kind of epiphany. "They are reptilian, they are cold-blooded as opposed to warm-blooded."

Keiran now thought that Vol and he were on the same train, but that still didn't explain why this track had been laid in the first place.

"Ya've been talkin' to said reptiles again, then?"

Vol's eyes said all that the Betazoid wanted to: 'Oiy'.

"Commander O'Sullivan, please, don't you understand what this means?"

Clearly the Irishman did not.

Vol swung around to look at Lt. Tubman.

"I want Reece, now!"

Tubman's eyes shifted quickly to Keiran, and O'Sullivan nodded to allow the order to be executed.

Vol stared intently at the view-screen in desperate anticipation. He was careening down a mental fast-track with his foot to the floor, and so needed someone who could, metaphorically speaking, drive as fast as he could to keep up.

If Vol could make Reece understand, and if the Trill agreed with him, then the both of them would be able to explain to the others.

[You rang?] Zanh joked wearily, in a confused tone as the view-screen blinked onto the bridge.

"Don'ta 'sk meh." Keiran gestured to Vol as the Betazoid approached the viewer.

"Reece." Vol demanded.

[Good to see you too, Tryst...] Liis muttered under her breath, as Reece's head snapped upward and he greeted Vol.


"So you're sitting in a bar and in walks Godzilla."

Reece blinked once, then a second time. [Are you sure it wasn't Mothra? What about Gamera? I hear he's really neat, and that he's filled with turtle meat...]

Vol continued on, undaunted. "You're sitting in a bar, and in walks Godzilla. He's pissed off and looking for trouble. Soon, a fight breaks out."

[What am I drinking?]

Vol just ran with it.

"It doesn't matter, it's tossed from your hand."

Dabin's eyes widened.

[What was I drinking?]

"A Shirley Temple."

[I love those! With extra cherries? I always ask for-]

[REECE!] Zanh bellowed sharply, and Vol watched everyone on both bridges flinch at the sound of her voice. Everyone, that was, with the exception of Salvek, TC Blane and Keiran O'Sullivan, all who were clearly immune to the effect by this point. [Focus!]

"Yes it had extra cherries. Now it's on the floor." Vol continued patiently, as if speaking to a very small child.

[No way! Godzilla spilled it? I'll kill that overgrown, scaly son of a...]

Zanh was still completely lost, and additionally her headache was returning. [Gentlemen, any time you feel you're ready to enlighten--]

The Captain was promptly ignored by Vol but Reece seemed to come back to the moment. [Yeah, Vol, wind it up, will ya? We don't have all day!]

Vol simply carried on. "Exactly! You want to hurt the big guy, but how?"

Dabin didn't ponder too long. [I guess kicking and punching would do no good.]

Vol shook his head.

[Yeah...okay...I didn't think so. Well, it's a lizard, so I'd beam that sucker to the Antarctic and point and laugh as it--]

"Dabin!" Vol interrupted. "The Domox."

[What about them?] Dabin asked curiously, his face shining brightly with innocent ignorance as to what they had to do with Godzilla and his lost Shirley Temple with extra cherries.

It was at this point that Zanh dropped her head into her hands and just sighed.

"Godzilla," Vol concluded, "...meets a shrink ray."

It took a moment, and only a moment, for Dabin to take a sharp intake of air and for Vol's lips to crack a very wide smile.

[Captain! They're cold-blooded.] Dabin shouted.

[And this helps us how?] Zanh demanded.

Instantly, TC Blane leaped up from his chair and over to Briggs at Tactical. Briggs, already on to the idea here, had brought up the schematics that the computer had been able to create of the Domox vessel from information gathered during the battle.

Aboard the Zenith, Keiran was already conferring with Tubman, seeking out the same information that Blane was on the Sera.

"It helps us in that if we can find and target some weakness in life support or the environmental controls of the Domox ship," Blane explained, "we might slow them down enough to stand a chance against them when they come back."


Lt. Vol Tryst Ship's Counselor
USS Serendipity NCC-2012
(currently aboard the Zenith)


-=/\=- Zanh Liis O'Sullivan
Commanding Officer
USS Serendipity NCC-2012

NRPG: If you didn't get my obscure Gamera reference...I highly recommend this link My favorite part starts at about two minutes, fifty seconds in.

And...Happy Birthday, Counselor. We love you. ~ZL