931: Numbers and Figures

by Rada Dengar
After Thrust Upon

-=Starfleet Medical; Earth=-

There was a cold chill which had seemed to echo up and down Liis’ spine ever since she and Keiran had arrived here. Ghosts of time spent staring at these very walls as they told her she’d lost her mind were often not far from her soul, but especially not when she was in this building. Perhaps it was a natural irony that there were too many memories in the room before her. She severely hoped that this was the final memory of this building she’d ever have.

Unconsciously she found herself more tightly gripping Keiran’s hand as this place stirred up vivid memories of times when she had lost him. Keiran offered no response except to hold on just as tight. Liis had insisted that she was going to remain here as long as Rada did, as best she could tell this was the only way in and the only way out. As long as she was here she could make sure certain men, Tucker Brody especially, would not be allowed anywhere near him.

This was not an area where people were supposed to stay so there were no seats but as long as they weren’t in the way then no one could complain. Occasionally they spoke, generally they didn’t need to, as they both shared the same thoughts in silence.

-=Inside the procedure room=-

As Rada lay unconscious on the table surrounded by neural monitors and leads attached to his body, he twisted pathetically and awkwardly even under the anesthetic though he was held down too tightly to move very far. His thoughts covered experiences of a lifetime but especially repeated one most recent.

-=Flashback; USS Serendipity=-

The universe was such a small place through the eyes of a mad man. It was a delightful contradiction that there was no forever in a place where barriers stretched to eternity. There were four walls, two floors and a world outside this box so much better off for his being in it.

He felt guilty for existing here; this was too good a cage for those like him. Anyway, they’d spent far too much effort on giving comfort to a man who couldn’t feel. Every sense had been dulled and he could at least be grateful for that. His was a soul on minimum power.

It was funny how when you most deserve pain you seemed to feel it the least. Had he the strength left in his arms then he may have squeezed his head in his hands until the blood and the evil all seeped out. The idea may not have been laughably funny but he’d still chuckled at it now and then.

His eyes, forced open, pled desperately with his body for sleep. Though the dull lighting kept always around him was blinding, worse was the darkness that let him see. There were numbers, so many numbers from corner to corner. He found they gave him order to count them one by one.

There was one door and no windows.

There were eight corners and no escape.

There was one bed and no sheets to hang himself with.

There was one species he’d destroyed and nothing else that mattered.

It was quite odd really how in a universe which had changed so drastically the numbers could be so rigidly set in their ways. What may have been yesterday, such a long time ago, he could remember the feeling like numbers were just his playthings to tease and to change as he wished. It made him something like a god but his actions indicated the devil. Power may have been the greatest of corruptors but he knew the corrupted one was always there down below.

Many worlds told of a mark of evil the gods burnt into the skin of those that offended them most. Now Rada knew better as at it’d not come with pain or passion of fire. Its coverings had just washed away revealing what had always been beneath. Perhaps that was what they were staring at, he considered, of the two figures who now stood in the door.

They were one man and one woman with phasers drawn, such an insufficient weapon for what they were up against. They wore uniforms not unlike his own. The man was a large one. Her nose was creased. Automatically he began again to count these visitors to his world.

Seven pips.

Two phasers.

Four eyes absorbed by concern.

Yet they were more than just numbers to him. They were familiar and utterly unfamiliar. He’d known these visitors in another lifetime.

Whoever they were they loved each other, one of each of their eyes always held watch over the other’s concern. Love was noble but they must be fools, he considered, as they lowered their weapons down.

They were coming closer and he began to panic, jumping back and forcing himself against the wall. It was no good, there was no further back he could get away from them. He covered his eyes and curled into a tight ball on the bed. It was as if they had no idea how much he could and would harm them.

They were moving further towards him. He felt the air move with their breath; sensation he never thought he’d never feel again. The noise was so loud in the world where there’d only been silence. Then their footsteps abruptly stopped. He shook as he could feel them leaning over him.

“It’s alright, lad. We’re not gonna hurt ya.” The man softly but confidently assured him. “I promise that we’re only here to help.”

Help? Rada shook with the suggestion, sure that he was entirely beyond helping now. He struggled with why they couldn’t just leave. He tried to force himself further into a ball, praying that they’d just get out before he harmed them in any way. Yet even in the darkness after a few more seconds of precious silence it was clear that they weren’t going anywhere.

“Rada, can you hear me?” The woman asked, her voice strong but a little shakier than the man. Her tone was regretful and one of a woman not accustomed to being this uncertain. “Look…there’s something we have to do. We have to do it because it’s the only chance of making you better. I want you to know that I wish there was another way.”

He could feel her eyes even if he couldn’t see them. She was looking for something, some sort of response. He didn’t know what to give her. The seconds passed while nothing happened and finally the woman sighed sadly.

“I wonder if he even knows who we are.” He heard the woman question as he felt a sharp stabbing pain in his neck.

Of course, I do.Rada decided as he felt the strength seeping out of him. You’re the people they sent here to kill me.

-=End Flashback=-

Then that memory and the numbers were all forever gone. Moments washed away many more as time seemed to fall back to a more comfortable place. In his unconscious state he felt no pain as the guilt dissolved away and though enveloped by sadness he found he almost smiled.

-=Outside the room=-

The silence was finally broken by slow footfalls approaching from down the hall. Automatically both turned to see who it was. As the man came closer it was clear in his face and downcast demeanour that he’d understand if they skipped the formality of greetings.

“Has everything been set up as we requested?” Liis asked softly, though she trusted William Lindsay enough to know she really didn’t have to ask.

“Aye, it has. These people know what to do.” Will soberly replied to Liis, then turned to O’Sullivan. “Look, Keiran I wondered if we could talk privately for a second.”

Anyone in the building could have read Keiran’s mind as he wordlessly asked if it couldn’t wait. Liis however saw only one of them had to wait here and she reluctantly released his hand in a gesture to say that she’d be okay.

“I won’t be far, yeah?” Keiran said, stopping a second to make sure that she understood. Liis nodded that she did.

Will indicated the direction and they each took a few steps down to the end of the hall. It was only really far enough to take them just out of being clearly understood if not totally out of earshot in this quiet location.

Will turned quickly around to face Keiran and began to voice his concerns. “Now, what’s all this I’ve heard about Liis resigning from her position?”

Keiran paused as he carefully considered his response.

“It's true.” He finally acknowledged, not feeling right giving away too much. “It's not my place to tell ya her reasons, that’s down to Liis what she wants ya to know. What I can tell ya is that we’re done with the Sera and have some hard decisions ta make about what we do now.”

Will found this hard to believe and his words began to get louder than he’d intended, sure that this must have been someone else’s doing. “With yer experience I can guarantee ya a teaching position in TI if ya want it. However ya don’t have ta worry about it comin' to that. I don’t know how Gem talked Liis into offering a resignation but she had no right to do what she did. I’ll talk to her, Liis won’t lose the Sera.”

“No William.” Keiran calmly insisted, slowly shaking his head. “Liis doesn’t want that. She’s thought her decision through and she’d decided not to fight this. I know she’ll miss them, as will I, but she trusts Salvek to take care of the crew and she realises it’s not her place anymore.”

“That’s mad. Liis was built for command.” Will objected, confused about how this had happened. He almost spluttered but caught himself, seeing how serious O’Sullivan was. “What exactly will ya do with yerself now?”

“We’re goin' home.” Keiran answered simply, though he still had to work to believe that fact himself. “Liis has two hundred and forty-two days of shore leave coming and she’s gonna try to make a dent in that as she sorts some things out in her mind.

“As for me,” Keiran added, pausing before looking Will straight in the eye, deciding on what he really wanted. “aside from just being there by her side, I believe I’ll take you up on yer offer. That’s assuming ya really meant it.”

“Of course, the job’s yours if you want it.” Will replied sincerely, though still not quite happy to accept this. “Surely though, there must be somethin' more than that I can do.”

“Aye, there's one. You make sure they take good care of him, William.” Keiran replied with soft insistence, looking back to Liis with eyes that said more than words ever could. “I understand just what can be taken away from a man in that room.”

A moment of understanding passed without any words being spoken before Lindsay strongly assured him. “Ya have my word that I will.”

-=Inside the room=-

The minutes and the hours passed and the fine tuning work was finally complete. On the outside Rada was at peace, though how deep that peace ran no one could be sure. At least they’d done all they could.

“He’s going to wake up soon.” The old surgeon concluded as the final wires were removed. “Let’s get him back to his ship. When he wakes up he’ll think he’s been in a coma since before his last mission.”

-=Outside of the procedure room=-

As the old man stepped out of the door and lowered his mask, all three present turned their attention to him.

“It’s done.” He simply assured them. They all shared a small sigh of relief, still cautious because they still didn’t know who Rada would be when he awoke.

There was still so much uncertainty, a world of unknowns, yet as Keiran and Liis exchanged a long glance they knew one thing for sure. Their last ship’s duty was done. They didn’t know just what they’d do now. However they were sure that whatever they did, they’d do it together.

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