933: That Which is Lost

by Rada Dengar
After Numbers and Figures

-=Sickbay; USS Serendipity=-

With the passing of the moments, the drugs which had kept him from a waking state were quickly being broken down in Rada’s blood. The door was thrown open releasing his body from its obligatory slumber but he’d neither the power nor the desire to walk out that door and face the world again just yet.

The machines around him beeped and whirred their gentle songs, ever watchful and ever mindful for any change within him that they could report. He offered them no new information however as he stayed still enough to be almost taken for a statue were it not for his chest rising and falling with an ever changing clockwork like the tides as he breathed easier than he had for quite some time. For a long while he would lie there far too tired to as much as move a single non-vital muscle.

People came and went from all around him, rapidly passing him by. Their footfalls came to form a tune all of its own with a constant beat but never a chorus. Life didn’t stop without him even as all he felt towards it did. Regardless and as ever the world went on, progressing but gaining little ground as the hours fell like grains of sand onto the beach that was eternity. His time was being absorbed but to him it’d never be missed.

He didn’t care about time right now, he could have known he was growing older and soon to die here but still never desired escape from his thoughts. They were happier thoughts than he could remember having in far too long.

So many words could have been used to describe what he saw but never could dull be among them. Strange, unfamiliar images and sounds were circling through his mind. The mess together was discordant, almost violent, yet he somehow knew he should never have seen them apart. It was like looking at parts of a puzzle and knowing there’s a piece missing but never knowing what.

He had stood on beaches watching the Sun’s descent from greatness to a fading ember fallen beneath his feet.

Yet somehow too he was in a field in the middle of nowhere just looking at the stars so unfamiliar like it was the first time he’d really taken the chance to look.

Then simultaneously with its fading away he saw the Sun rising again to call forth a new day, this time it was through a dust filled window and he realized the Sun held little interest for him.

He was looking into the emptiness and would have been content to stare there for hours for it wasn’t really emptiness at all. There was something there, something wonderful, and he saw with it a certain glow and felt a warmth the likes of which felt utterly alien to his cold bones.

He knew it so well and yet longed forever that he could just know more. He heard the sound of birds and of water and the wind as it battled the trees. Yet what he heard more than anything else was a voice that was missing and he felt a shadow standing over him as he considered the chance he’d never know it again.

The images were repeated before him a hundred times, never more or less familiar, for as long as his body would allow. Then finally, absent sound became drowned out by true silence as he found himself returning to what was reality to everyone else.

Slowly his eyes began to open revealing a world far from the paradise that he’d just seen. It was painful here and his muscles ached but no more than his eyes which stung like fire as he saw dark lights which were far too bright where the sky once should have been. It was such a blur this reality, lacking any of the vibrancy or definition of the place in his dreams.

The shadows quickly began to take on shapes, forming a face and soon a familiar set of ears.

“Commander Salvek…” Rada said groggily, before adding quickly “or should I say Captain?” as he noticed one extra pip.

Salvek simply nodded that this was now the correct term of address.

“What are you doing in my…” the scenery attained some greater degree of clarity and he knew these weren’t his quarters, adding in fear and a touch of embarrassed bewilderment “I…I can’t quite remember how I came to be here.”

“That is understandable.” Salvek acknowledged. “Perhaps it would be best Commander if you told me what you do remember.”

“What I remember?” Rada asked slowly, his bearings returning to enough of a degree for him to realize he was lying down. He propped a pillow up behind him so he could drag himself up to be sitting and show Salvek at least small amount of respect.

“Well, the last thing I remember doing is…” he started calmly when he was done, “I…” he stopped, suddenly pained as he realized that he didn’t know.

“Do not try too hard yet to remember the particular moment.” Salved advised him as he watched Rada struggle in fear to find what had escaped him. “I suggest you start with something simple. Are you able to tell me who you are?”

“Dengar.” Rada insisted slowly, taking some calm from this knowledge even if he knew nothing else. “I am Lt. Commander Rada Dengar. I’m a Starfleet officer and I was born on Angosia III.”

Though it would be improper for a Vulcan to show it Salvek felt a great relief at hearing Rada say this. There was always a risk to the resequencing procedure that too much would be forgotten and with the doctors’ relative unfamiliarity with Angosian brain chemistry and these particular circumstances being so unusual there’d been a chance he’d have completely lost who he was.

“Do you know where you are?” Salvek asked, taking a single step down towards the end of the bed in hopes that Rada would feel more comforted if it didn’t seem like he was being towered over as much.

“I’m in sickbay…” Rada answered, feeling more confident and breathing easier as he realized he’d not lost too much “on the USS Serendipity.”

“And what is your position on this ship?”

“I am the Chief Engineer.”

Salvek just nodded that this was correct, then paused before asking one crucial question. “What are the duties of a Chief Engineer?”

As Salvek understood it part of the procedure was to involve targeting associated memories with the ones to be gotten rid of and there was a chance Rada’s engineering knowledge had been classified as that.

Rada paused and had Salvek concerned, but really he was just taking a moment to hope he’d get this list right. Quickly Rada began reporting as if he was still a student trying to answer a question for full marks.

“It’s my job to oversee repairs and maintenance on the ship and associated vessels as well as advising the Captain and other relevant personnel on operating conditions. Should the circumstances warrant doing so then I will be tasked with performing these same duties off ship. More specific aspects of these duties will involve running system diagnostics and ensuring the efficient operational capacity of both Warp and Impulse engines using multiple techniques…”

Now Rada really paused and he sighed, still trying to work his way out of this fog.

“I don’t understand Commander…I mean Captain Salvek. When did you get promoted and where’s Captain Zanh? Why are you asking me all these questions?

Salvek decided that it would be best at this moment for him not explain about his promotion just yet. Even the most superficial of details could potentially open doors to places it would be best that he made sure not to go.

“We believe it is possible that you may have experienced some memory loss.” Salvek answered carefully, avoiding both the lies and the truth. “Are you able to recall the current Stardate?”

“Stardate 90416.” Rada answered without even a thought.

Salvek showed no sign of how he felt about that answer but he silently noted the fact that it was before the Domox mission. Almost imperceptibly softly Salvek sighed before began to explain, his eyes largely without concern but doing his best to show Rada that he offered his understanding.

“I know this may be hard for you to accept but the actual Stardate is 90811.”

Hearing that date Rada went quiet for a moment, his eyes falling down to his hands. Were it anyone else then perhaps Rada would have thought they were joking with him but Rada had never known Salvek to be anything but honest. There was a sinking feeling in his stomach as he realized just how much he must have forgotten. He started to consider that there was quite a lot he might have lost.

“I don’t understand.” Rada said quietly as he finally looked up. “Are you telling me, sir, that I’ve just forgotten the time in between?”

“I believe it would be best if we wait until after you’re more fully rested to delve into the specific details of what has happened.” Salvek answered which gave Rada little satisfaction. He’d decided it was best to hold back on even offering the official cover story until after he understood more of just what the Angosian remembered.

Though feeling sick with concern Rada was too tired and too confused to offer any argumentative response, not that he normally would have.

“Aye, sir.” He replied and Salvek accepted this.

Many of Salvek’s questions were still unanswered and Rada would still need to undergo a full examination. For now though, Salvek was satisfied at least that he remembered sufficient details of his life and that he did not presently possess the same dangerous instability he’d experienced following his breakdown.

Clearly, this was going to be difficult for Rada but Salvek hoped the news he had would be of some sort of comfort.

“Doctor Hartcort has agreed to allow you to have some visitors if you feel well enough.”

“I do, sir.” Rada answered softly, though really he just didn’t feel strong enough to face the thoughts about what he’d forgotten which would surely come when he was alone.

“Good.” Salvek acknowledged without quite a smile but with some degree of warmth as he opened the curtain that surrounded them and gestured for the entrance of three people familiar to Rada.

Salvek stepped outside to give them their peace, but first glanced once more over to Rada to impress upon him that he wouldn’t be far if he required assistance and then stopping just momentarily to exchange a look with his wife which would perhaps not have meant much to anyone but the two of them.

One of the women stayed back with the child as the other began to silently approach, each of them studying him in their own way. At first he looked up to the Bajoran’s strong eyes.

“Kellyn.” He said with a little surprise, clearly telling from her relief that she’d wondered if he wouldn’t remember her.

“How are you feeling?” she asked a question with a hundred potential meanings.

He shook his head wondering the answer to that question himself. He decided to keep the mood light. “Not too bad. I seem to have forgotten a little, but I still remember that I won the bet.”

“You did not.” She mouthed back quietly, extremely glad as she’d genuinely doubted she’d ever see this Rada again.

He smiled back at Kellyn then his eyes turned to the Betazoid, studying her and recognizing her immediately.

He was happy to see her, considered it nice of her to visit. Yet confusion enveloped him as before his eyes he watched her heart seem to break in two. He didn’t understand what was wrong.

“Kellyn, please take Tam out of here and allow me a moment alone with Rada.” She said, her voice breaking and her eyes jumping open and flooding with fear.

Everything about Wren’s tone told Kellyn she was completely serious. She took Tam by the hand and led the very confused child out of there immediately, glancing once back to Wren to try to understand. Even without seeing them Tam could feel his mother’s forming tears.

Wren quickly approached the bed, almost afraid to get too close as she took Rada’s hand in hers. Her words struggled to form as he looked curiously upon her. She was silently praying that for once her Betazoid senses were completely wrong, before she suddenly blurted out “You don’t remember me, do you?”

“Of course, I do.” Rada protested, afraid himself now as he felt her shaking skin. “I’m not much with names but I remember you work in the cafĂ©. We’ve met a couple of times.”

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