Waking up

Imagine being on the Voyager after escaping the aliens who abducted you. You set course to earth together with Captain Janeway, Chakotay, Tuvok, Harry and Seven. Icheb gets a crush on you. Neelix teaches you how to cook. The doctor sees you as his personal psychologist. Tom and B’Ellanna are having a furious marriage.
But your abductors come back to claim you as their property.
(_Stardate 54400 – 54470; Season 7, episode 10 – 13)

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11. Calming the mind

Stardate 54418.7, June 2nd, 2377, evening.
The ship was repaired and we had left our hiding place. Currently, Captain Janeway had decided to keep moving and stay ahead of our followers, but they were coming closer and I could sense them.
So could Kody. Sometimes he just started screeching and wouldn’t stop until I calmed him down. So most of the nights I kept him company, as usual. I didn’t sleep well in my cabin anyway. Terrible nightmares were taunting me. The doctor had subscribed me a sleeping medicine. It helped a little.
The shields were now equipped with a reflector. The bio-electronical slugs would bounce off by first contact. They had already tried three times to invade the ship. Every time the track dogs had pulled back without useful information. From all over this region distress messages were send: transparent creatures invaded the ship and started sucking up crewmembers. Afterwards they were sick for days.
Captain Janeway answered most of the calls, exchanged a cure, tried to get more information about our enemy and continued the flight. She had everything under control. The technology on this ship was way more advanced than theirs and we were always a step ahead. But for how long could Janeway keep this going? She was stubborn, but rational. A confrontation was inevitable.
Most of the time I helped Neelix in the kitchen and followed lessons with Naomi. They grew really fond of me and always invited me to social events: holodeck games, chess nights, movie times, café outings. I was involved in the lives of the crewmembers and I made new friends. But one of these friends was quite surprising. Tuvok.
I had just finished a shift in the mess with Neelix and wished him goodnight. Just when I was about to leave I bumped into Naomi. She enthusiastically hugged me and wanted to play games. I told her that maybe she should ask Seven of Nine. Also, it was late and almost bedtime for her. So I promised her to drop by tomorrow and help her with her project for arts. She had chosen a painting of Van Gogh, so I would be able to help her with the project. And so I did. She wanted to recreate a specific series: the sunflowers and was therefore growing her own sunflowers. I was helping her out and the plants had already sprouted. It was really educating for her. I dropped her off by Seven and walked to Tuvoks quarters. He didn’t look surprised when he found me at this door.
“Lin, come in.”
I entered and saw he had already lighted up the candles. First I admired his orchids. He very much appreciated my interest in his hobby.
“These orchids have knobs,” I stated happy.
“Correct, well observed.”
I sat down in front of him on the carpet and he joined me. Without saying any more he started meditating and I watched him for a while the same way I had watched his orchids. He sighed and opened his eyes: “Lin, you’re not paying attention to your breathing. How do you want me to perform the mind when you’re not relaxed.”
“I am!”
“You are not.”
“No, I’m not…”
“I know you are struggling with guilt, but there’s no need to. Everyone who signs up with Starfleet is fully aware of the dangers in space. Your guilt is unjustified.”
“But it’s me, I’m the danger here. They are looking for me, not for you of for Naomi.”
“Yes, but they have no right to claim you and we are preparing for the confrontation, peacefully if possible. Your description of the species has helped a lot. We have obtained some useful information from a ship today and now have their language in our database.”
Good. A beginning.
I looked Tuvok in the eyes. He calmed me down only by looking back. The muscles in my face relaxed and I counted my breathing.
We synchronized, but I was still nervous. His fingers touched my face and for a brief moment his palms rested on my cheek, as if that would support me more. The warmth of his hands reassured me I wasn’t alone. He said the words: “My mind to your mind. Your thoughts to my thoughts…”

The smell of charcoal, a loud banging noise of metal on metal and the constant humming of electricity. My limbs were attached to a table, the chains cut my skin and when I tried to look up I noticed that my head was also restrained. Strange looking tools surrounded me, needles pinched my veins and nerves on a lot of places. The tubes attached to the needles were transparent. Glowing substances entered my body. The pain was pounding and my head hurt. I was thirsty, feeling sick and vulnerable. I wanted to scream, but there was no sound.
“Alright, Lin. Concentrate on the room. What do you see?”
Not much. The room was dark and there was one spotlight directed to me. I was blinded, or was I already blind anyway? Did my DNA change? I couldn’t tell. Panic.
“Do you have any notion of time?”
Not long after my abduction. The year must still be 2017. These experiments were already in a later stage. I could feel the burning of incisions, where they had cut me open and taken parts of my organs. Now they were trying to turn me into a hybrid. Why?
“Can you communicate? Do you have any sort of contact with the individuals holding you captive?”
I couldn’t understand their language, but the message always came across. Eat your food, follow, calm down, drink…
I was scared of them, so I followed their orders. They never hurt me in a sadistic way, but the experiments were proceeded cold heartedly. They got tired of my screams and had found a way to shut me up. I would never scream again.

Next thing happening I was crawling away from Tuvok, heavy breathing, wanting to scream, but no sound. I almost knocked down the candles and tore up a curtain. Tuvok calmed me down.
“Lin, it’s over. You’re safe now. It’s okay, Lin. Look at me.”
He still sat there, as serene as ever. The imaginary pain disappeared. I stopped screaming. Now my brains realized I was in Tuvoks quarters, safe. I started sobbing. My vision blurred in my tears and I tried to hide them behind my hands. Why?
“Lin…”
The freckling of fabric. Tuvok came closer. Never before had I cried during a session, nor did I ever panic this bad. I was losing control. The traumas were catching up with me. The monsters were coming closer.
“Lin,” Tuvok whispered as he laid his hand on my shoulder.
“Why? Tuvok, why?”
“Why they did this to you? We’ll find out. And then we will search for a solution.”
I looked up, dried my tears. Tuvok did not smile. He never did. Smiling was for humans. But suddenly he pulled me in a hug. He, too, had experienced the pain in the mind meld and he wanted it to go away. His regular heartbeat made my breathing slow down. His strong grip made me feel safe. Only after a few minutes he let go.
“Sometimes I get carried away by emotions after a mind meld. I’m sorry.”
“No excuses. I needed that.”
“Yes, you did. Shall I accompany you to Kody? You need to rest.”
He knew I couldn’t sleep in my quarters? He had known all along.
“Yeah, sure.”
I would not sleep that night.

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