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Posted on 17 Feb 2017 @ 3:15pm by Lieutenant Commander Temerant Bast & Captain Harvey Geisler

Mission: Endgame
Location: Sickbay
Timeline: MD 12 || 1030 hours

Today was not the first day Harvey felt conflicted. As a Captain, he was not only entitled to answers, he required them in order to make proper decisions when it came to the operation of his vessel and the state of the overall crew. He was not just responsible for the five hundred plus souls aboard the Black Hawk, but now also the hundred or so aboard the Starship Cochrane.

But his medical training told him that this wasn't the time. He'd kept a close eye on Commander Bast's status. His body had suffered massive trauma, extreme blood loss, and that was just at the top of the list. The only thing not yet assessed was his emotional and mental status, which he was certain Doctor Stuart would look into that very, very soon.

As he entered sickbay just a little over twenty four hours after Bast's transport aboard the Black Hawk, Harvey knew he was risking a lot just to have a few minutes with Bast. The next few days would be critical to his recovery, but they were all at a breaking point. They would all have a chance to rest soon. Harvey would personally see to that.

- - - - - - -

Bast pushed away the half-eaten tray of Sickbay food. his mind still felt a little numb from the pain meds they were giving him. His left arm was strapped tightly against his chest, to prevent the shoulder from moving at all. A deep-tissue regenerator unit was attached to the articulation, blinking LEDs showing that it was working, stimulating the cells in his body to repair the damage. Nurse T'Lura had informed him that he'd been out of surgery for over four hours, they had injected him with four units of synthetic blood, and now he needed to rest, and eat - a special diet pimped up with nutrients designed to accelerate the healing process, and to stimulate production of blood cells.

He looked at the food tray. Cold avocado and cucumber soup, some sort of vegetable purée, mashed carrots, and a crème de caramel for dessert. Nothing crunchy, nothing he could bite into, everything bland and unseasoned. Hospital food still lived up to its reputation, even in the 24th Century.

He heard hushed voices coming from the nurses' station, and could see T'Lura speaking to someone who was hidden from view by the bulkhead. He thought he recognized the Captain's voice, but given the haze induced by the medication, he couldn't be sure.

"Ten minutes, no more," finished T'Lura, finally waving her hand in his direction, and stepping aside to let the visitor pass.

Harvey would maximize those ten minutes, and he'd find a way to squeeze a few more seconds if he had to. Without delay, he approached the bed to find Bast lying in his biobed. He appeared to be comfortable, well, as comfortable as someone who had experienced massive trauma could be.

"You know," Harvey remarked, choosing to uncharacteristically break the ice with a smirk, "two trips to sickbay in two months looks a little suspicious on a service record." He was of course referencing Temerant's first round in sickbay after being shot aboard the convoy ship. Back then, he was acting as a brainwashed Consortium agent. The man before him now had not only proved to Harvey that Temerant was not only an impeccable Starfleet officer, but a man of integrity as well. "We do need to stop meeting each other like this though."

"Funny," replied Bast, his voice still a bit hoarse. "Counselor Stuart said the exact same thing."

Harvey grunted. "Great minds think alike then," he said, approaching the left side of the bed where an empty chair called to him. "It's good to see you, Temerant. I'm sorry it took so long to track you all down."

"Thank you, Sir," replied the Trill. "Tracking us down can't have been an easy task."

"You have no idea," Harvey remarked, sitting in the chair. "That's a story for another day, when I have more than ten minutes. I heard you all had quite the experience of your own."

"Indeed we did, Sir. I'm sorry to say not everyone made it back."

"Not everyone made it to find you either," the Captain solemnly said. "I had to actually pull from your department to shore up Engineering. I have a feeling not everyone will make it the rest of the journey either." It wasn't a premonition. It was the law of space-faring and war.

"I'm pretty much used to being short-staffed anyway," replied Bast, with a slight lopsided smile. He winced as he tried to push himself to a more upright position.

Harvey instantly rose to help the man up. He did not do so out of kindness, but of reflex to be sure that Temerant would not rip open freshly closed wounds. "Easy there," he said. "That all's going to end soon. Before you know it, we'll be back in our own universe ready to give the Consortium more hell."

"And I intend to be in the front row when that happens," said Temerant. He sighed as he settled into a new position and the strain on his shoulder eased. "One thing I did not expect in this... whatever this is, was going up against another Selamat."

"Selamat?" Harvey echoed. It was an alternate universe, one devoid of the Dominion and Jem'Hadar, so he shouldn't have been that surprised that the Selamat were around.

"There were Selamat on that base," explained Bast. "They were interrogating us, trying to get information on the ship, on its weapons. Telepathically..." His voice trailed off, unable to verbalize the assault he'd almost suffered again at the hands of those demons.

"Yet you overcame," Harvey pointed out, remembering reading in the medical report that there was Selamat blood on Bast's knuckles. "They can't be that powerful if that's the case."

"I overcame," replied Temerant, reusing the Captain's words, "because in this universe, they seemed completely unprepared to encounter a joined species. The Selamat who was interrogating me didn't anticipate having to control two minds, so that allowed me to break his concentration and overpower him."

He looked down at his hands, and imagined them covered in blood again, bashing the Interrogator's skull against the bare rock of the asteroid.

"Overpower him..." he repeated. "I broke his skull on the rocks."

Harvey frowned. Much about the Selamat was unknown, but if this trip to this universe was worth anything, it would be about how the Selamat operate, especially since several Selamat were suspected to be aligned with the Consortium. "What else did you learn about the Selamat?" Harvey asked.

"Their blood is browner than ours," said Bast. "And their skulls are thicker than you'd imagine, but they crack like an egg."

The Captain grunted as that was not what he expected. "I guess I can appreciate you have a sense of humor after all you've been through."

Bast was silent for a few seconds as he tried to collect his thoughts and answer the Captain's question. "The only thing I can think of is that it takes a second or two for them to really get a firm grip on someone's mind," he said. "Until that happens there's a slight chance that the victim might be able to repel the psychic attack, but once they have a hold on you, there's very little that can break it."

"Are there any warning signs that they're in there?" Harvey asked. "In one's mind that is?" The possibility that a Selamat could sneak up on someone was great, especially since they could snatch one's mind rather quickly.

Temerant searched his memory, trying to remember things that his mind had desperately tried to block. The symbiont inside him tried to soothe him, bringing up calming memories of the Caves of Mak'ala, the Hoobishan Baths, hiking through the Mob'alan Woods. Intimate memories of his wife - of Wilem's wife, rather. Fond memories of evenings spent with his children, and grandchildren. Of happier times.

"There's nothing I can think of," he said finally.

Harvey nodded. "Aside from the mental invasion, how well were you all treated? And good work on recovering the Cochrane. You all certainly made it easy to rescue you."

"Well, I don't know what price they charged for the five-star hotel suite, but I'll make sure to file a complaint with the concierge," replied Temerant. "Lieutenant Bennett died when the guards came to take us to the interrogation cells. We lost others when they first boarded the Cochrane. And more during the escape. The rescue might have been easy on your part, but I can't say the same about ours. If I hadn't been able to get the upper hand on that Selamat, we'd still be there."

"And who knows how many others would have died," Harvey added. "Too many have died because of the Consortium. And too many died in this universe, nor should they have been robbed of the opportunity to die in their homeland."

"Then let's make sure it ends here," declared Temerant. "When we get back, we need to put an end to the Consortium, once and for all."

"That I can agree with," Harvey said, rising to his feet. "You can count on that, Commander. For now, I think it's time you got some rest. I have a feeling we're going to need everything we've got and a bit more to make it through this."

"Yes, Sir," replied Temerant.

As if on cue, T'Lura made her presence known. The nurse stepped into the curtain area and made a point of stepping closer to check on his vital signs, and gave the Captain a meaningful glare, a clear indication that his ten minutes were up.

Harvey nearly grunted, seeing the Vulcan join them. He could not fault her, for Harvey recalled the days when he ushered many away from a recovering patient. He'd already said his pleasantries with the Trill, so Harvey nodded his head and departed Sickbay.

T'Lura silently picked up the half-eaten tray of Sickbay food, dimmed the lights, and left Temerant to rest.


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