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Star Trek Elita - Dead Men Tell No Tales by Rony Tal

Chapter 1

Stardate 55325.3, Commander Lorei's Personal log:

There are times I wish I had been born a Vulcan. My temper has not improved in the last few weeks. T'Jenn, in her infinite medical wisdom, has told and I quote "Your blood pressure is too high, if you do not relax now you will develop chronic exhaustion, you will then become dependant on artificial narcotic medication, and in twenty years you will die... Commander I can save you from a cardiac arrest, I will not pretend to know what your future doctor will be able to do" end quote, thus spake the Vulcan doctor.

I'm going insane... I need a hobby.

Commander Lorei Karin read the stat reports from the operations station, the helm, tactical station and she shuddered involuntarily, engineering. The repairs that Chief Thomas did on the ship since what has become known as the Northern Star Incident were impeccable.

She put down the info-padd and massaged her temples, she was developing a headache, so much information to process, with more coming, of course she delegated, but some of these were for her and the Captain's eyes only.

She stood up and went to the replicator, "Coffee, black", she said clearly.

A mug appeared filled with piping hot liquid; she smelled the aroma and sighed in pleasure. She was so caught up in the aroma she didn't hear her office doors slide open.

"That must be really good coffee."

Lorei jumped in surprise, nearly spilling the beverage, turned and shot a withering glare at Blake.

"Don't. Do. That!" she yelled "What are you doing here, I didn't let you in?"

"Your Yeoman said you were free" Blake said defensively.

Lorei breathed in deeply and strode out of the office; the young Yeoman looked up at her and said with a smile that faded as he noticed the look on her face "How may I help you, Commander?"

"Mr. Fox, do you know what I do in my office?"

"Work" he answered.

"That's right" she said in a sickly sweet voice, dripping with sarcasm "And what was I doing, before Commander Blake interrupted me because you told him I was free".

Blake's breath was coming in short breaths, the laughter that bubbled and threatened to overflow was almost too strong.

Poor Petty Officer Fox swallowed stiffly "Working".

"Very good, Mr. Fox. Now, you are getting another chance, why you ask, because I am a benevolent person and believe in second chances" she paused "You screw up like this again, and there will be... grave consequences" she walked back into her office. Leaving Blake and Fox outside, the doors slid open, she glared at Blake "Well, come on, you're here, I stopped what ever it was I'm doing and you don't come to my office for small talk".

Blake shrugged and sauntered in.

"You're kinda hard on that kid", said Blake.

Lorei straightened her desk and took a sip from the look warm coffee, and said "He's been stationed on an Akira class war ship, that kid should learn some responsibility".

"Commander, he's a Yeoman."

"Yeah" she snarled "What do you want?"

"Oh, right" he snapped his fingers "The captain wants you on the bridge, something's up" Blake said with a smile. Lorei heaved a heavy sigh, "And he sent you, Security and Tactical Officer, when he could have just called me through the com-link?"

Blake thought about it and said "No, he's actually asleep, you know it's 02:00 hours, you're supposed to be off duty, that kid out there was sleeping."

"02:00 hours?" Lorei asked with a shocked look on her face.

"Yeah."

"Captain Tal is asleep?"

"Yeah."

"And I'm awake going over info-padds?"

"Yeah."

"And you're awake because..."

"I'm on active duty."

"Why?"

"I like the graveyard shift" he answered lightly.

"Oh" she said in a very soft voice "I have active duty at 08:00 hours"

"I know."

"I'm still awake."

"You should do something about that."

"Yeah." she said and left the office, giving Fox a dismissal and walked to her quarters.

She shed her clothes in an automatic fashion, and climbed into bed said "Computer, dim lights", put her head on the pillow and muttered to herself "Good one Karin".

Stardate 55325.5, Commander Lorei's Personal Log:

Nothing is happening. There. I'm bored. Well that's an overstatement, I'm not actually bored. I mean there's plenty to do on the Elita, it's a magnificent ship and I'm the First Officer, I've got things to do. I've been on active duty since 08:00 hours with only four hours of sleep, since in my stupidity I had a cup of coffee at 02:00 hours and only fell asleep at 04:00 hours. It is now 13:00... I must have sustenance...I must...find...Ten-forward...Prophets, I'm happy no one is going to listen to this junk.

"So, this is the largest mapped asteroid field in the Quadrant?" asked Captain Tal, as they stared at the great expanses of rock projected holographically on the table.

"Yes, sir" said Mai with a smile. Lorei smirked; Mai was so cute when he explained these things in the ready room.

"So," Tal urged on "What does it mean for us?"

"Oh, not much since we're not a research facility ship, but tactically it means a lot of things" Mai looked at Blake, who continued that train of thought.

"Basically Captain, if there's anything is this area, it's gonna be hiding behind those rocks".

Tal looked at Lorei, who nodded, she had checked with both men before the meeting about the newly named asteroid field. The name was so human, it was almost funny; Avalanche Ocean.

"That's all Captain, there are a few planet sized rocks out there, but most are no larger than Sol's Pluto" said Lorei dismissively.

Tal looked skeptical, "Those are very big rocks."

"Yes, however, they are made of a very stable matter" said Mai.

"Meaning?" asked Tal

"Meaning," added Mai "that one blast from a photon torpedo and the rock disintegrates, and doesn't turn into smaller asteroids."

Tal nodded and dismissed the three.

Blake, Mai and Lorei stood and walked to the door.

"Mr. Blake, Ms. Lorei, wait a moment." called Tal. Blake and Lorei stopped at the door, looked at each other and waited for the Captain to begin.

"Mr. Blake, do you believe some part of a Dominion force could be hiding here?" the Captain inquired seriously

Blake answered without hesitation "Without a doubt, sir."

"However", interrupted Lorei, "it's unlikely that they'd attempt an ambush on a Federation vessel from the asteroid field".

"Why?"

"Well, for the very reason that there's no way to maneuver in that place, you'd have to plow your way by blasting torpedoes or Phasers at the rocks" explained Lorei.

"But Mai said that the rocks disintegrated." argued Blake fiddling with the strap of his Phaser rifle hanging behind his back, he didn't like where Lorei was going with this.

"True, but that doesn't mean that energy that could be directed to the engines and to the weapons at a later date wouldn't be wasted... Basically sir, if the Dominion are out there they're not ambushing us, if anything they're spying" Lorei concluded.

"And you are sure about that Commander?" asked the Captain, he looked at the holograph of the asteroid field hover over the desk of the ready room, frowning, trying to find the elusive Dominion.

"No, sir Iím not. I agree with Blake, the Dominion are defiantly in Avalanche Ocean, as to what they're actually doing there I can only hypothesize" Lorei said with a tired shrug, her eyes drooped a little bit.

Tal sighed and nodded, he didn't like being in the dark about the Dominion, especially if his senior officers asserted their idea's of ambush and spying.

"Yes, very well, dismissed, see you on the Bridge"

"Aye, sir" Blake and Lorei said together and left. Tal sat down at the head of table and kept his eyes on the spinning holograph until his eyes began to blur "Computer, holograph 23.5 off", the image flickered and disappeared.

He wished it could leave images of the Dominion for them.

 

"On Screen"

Lorei sat stiffly in her chair, to the right of the command chair, and watched the screen intently. Avalanche Ocean was still being viewed; everyone seemed to be fixated on this peculiar asteroid field, with its useless rocks and excellent position in the Neutral Zone. Lorei chewed her lower lip, a habit she acquired at the Academy, there was something out there, she was sure, her gut feelings were generally on the impulsive side, she had learned to moderate those, unfortunately the same couldn't be said for her tongue. Her big mouth had more than once swallowed both her feet, she was glad StarFleet didn't want her for diplomatic envoys, she would have failed the course in the most horrible way. She was drawn out of her fatigue induced musings by Science Officer, Dave Mai.

"Commander, I have something on the sensors" he sounded strange, his tone had something she hadn't heard before, and by the way he was acting, he wasn't used to the sensation either.

"What is it, Mr. Mai?" Lorei asked, standing and still looked intently at the screen.

"Uh, it's a pod."

"A pod?"

"An escape pod, maíam."

Lorei blinked and frowned, she felt a tingle at the back of her neck and felt every eye of the Bridge personnel. An escape pod, that meant Ė

"How many in there, Mr. Mai?" Lorei asked, her voice quavering slightly. Avalanche Ocean, a perfect place for hiding, an escape pod... Oh Prophets, Lorei thought and unconsciously touched her earring.

"One."

Lorei turned swiftly and stood next to Targo at the helm "On screen."

Targo's fingers moved swiftly over the panel, the screen flickered and a small oval shaped escape pod appeared.

"I've never seen any escape pod like that" muttered Targo. Lorei frowned and mentally agreed with him, it was grey and brown, it had burn marks all over it. It had been shot at a few times, it was probably made from a Light resistant material, or

"Whoever shot it was very reluctant" murmured Lorei, sounding her thought.

Targo looked at her confused "Maíam?"

Lorei gave herself a mental shake "Snare that thing and dock it" she ordered.

"Aye, maíam" said Targo.

She turned to Mai "What life form is on that thing?"

Mai paled and looked annoyed at himself, "I don't know."

"You don't know."

"Commander, whatever this thing is, it's one the computer has never encountered before".

Lorei chewed her lip, "Okay," she turned to Blake "send security Alpha... we don't know what's in that thing", Blake nodded and passed on the order.

Just as the security team was sent out, Captain Tal entered. Lorei walked to her chair and said in a clear voice "Captain on the Bridge."

Tal smiled and said "Thank you Commander... So what has happened?"

Mai looked at Blake, who looked at Lorei, who looked at Targo, who turned his head back to the helm, Lorei turned to Tal "Well, Captain...

Commander Lorei's Personal Log; Supplemental:

There's an earth saying I learnt; "Someone's stepped over my grave" that's what I feel like, this tingle of nerves traveling up and down my spinal cord. Many say that here isn't that big a difference between Humans and Bajorans except for the ridges... There are two big differences, our nerves and bones. I feel my nerves all the way to my bones and I know, to the core of my brain, that whatever is in that pod, is going to be one of the worst things, that I or any of this crew is ever going to see.

Also, disregard all that was said in previous entry, the situation has changed drastically, this is going to be a very long day.

When team Alpha got to the docking bay, they were surprised to find an egg shaped pod, with out a door, wherever the door had been it was now gone. They tried to phazer it open. It just scorched it, adding to the black marks on the vessel. When at maximum levels it didn't melt, they called engineering, and were told that the ever charming Chief Thomas was coming up. Thomas looked the pod up and down; he asked in an excited voice if he could touch it. Blake looked dubious, but said it was all right, as he touched it, he frowned in confusion, he felt it vibrate.

He gently knocked it and felt tiny shock waves go through the vessel, he touched it again, really feeling it, suddenly there was a loud thunk from the inside of the vessel, causing Thomas to jump back. The thunking continued and there was a muffled voice from inside, sounding like slurred speech.

Thomas blinked a few times, pressed his ear against the pod, felt a large tremor go through it and he was pushed back forcefully, the muffled voice was beginning to diminish.

"I... um..." began Thomas uncertainly "I think whoever's in there, is running out of air" he glanced at Blake with a worried look and touched his embalm "Thomas to engineering."

"Engineering here."

"Get someone up here with the Jaws, two of them, I think we're gonna need some explosives." Blake shot his eyebrows to his hair line, and told the security team to stay put, he contacted the Bridge "Blake to the Bridge, Captain, I think we have a situation."

"What kind of situation?" Tal asked, his voice extremely apprehensive, he had been apprehensive, ever since Lorei debriefed him on strange pod.

"One that involves explosives, Sir." Blake said as three engineer personnel came quickly into the docking bay.

"What?" the Captain asked in a very soft voice, uh oh.

"Sir, I think this is bad, Thomas jerked away from the pod when he touched it, as if he was electrocuted."

"It hit me." intoned Thomas as the crew set up the Jaws, very small and powerful Phaser outlets that worked as a very, very strong can-opener... the explosives were just incase.

"It what?" asked Tal, not sure he heard Thomas correctly.

"Chief Thomas says the pod hit him."

Tal breathed deeply and said "I'm on my way; I want to see this hitting escape pod... Tal out" the connection was cut, Blake heard the soft humming of the Jaws and turned to see, Thomas stared at the happenings with a contemplative look on his face, he rubbed his chin and looked to Blake.

"How long is this going to take?" Blake asked.

Thomas shrugged and said "A few minutes, a few hours, Hell we might not be-"

"Okay," interrupted Blake "Never mind."

He stood next to Thomas and sighed, this is gonna take a while.

Or so they had assumed, after a few minutes of cutting, the sounds inside the pod were getting stronger and stronger. Blake and Thomas looked at each other nervously and Thomas went over the engineering crew "C'mon, hurry up, whatever's in there is trying to get out."

Captain Tal appeared on deck and asked "You think we should?"

"Sir, the pod is sealed" began Thomas "It's as if the doors were deliberately removed, the pod hit me, not whatever's in it and I think-"

"Chief, we got it!!" cried a tech.

Tal, Blake and Thomas moved closer to the now seared hull. The hissing of air pressure came out from the pod as they removed the piece of alloy. Blake brought his rifle to his front and held it prepared to fire, the security team mimicked him. Tal peered inside, and quickly turned away as the horrible stench of decay, urine and thesis attacked his senses, he coughed and said with a gasping breath "Yuck... don't... go...in there..."

Blake, Thomas, the techs and the security team, waited patiently for the... whatever was in there to come out, making sure they didn't breathe through their noses. There was a loud groan that resonated from inside the pod and out of appeared a humanoid Thing.

Thing, was the only way to describe the filth and slime covered biped gray skinned alien. It was breathing harshly as it stood on its shaky legs, it held onto the pod wall to keep from collapsing. The smell caused everyone to recoil. It lifted its head and stared wide eyed at the assembled people. There was a collective intake of breath as they noticed the black hair, that was situated on a normal hair line and not at the top of the head. The black eyes, the scales that looked more like calloused skin than reptilian dermis and the distinctive ridges on the bridge of his nose.

He spoke in a soft raw whisper which caused Tal to touch his emblem "Tal to Lorei, come to docking bay 1 now!" he didn't even let her answer when he contacted sick bay "Tal to Dr. T'Jenn get down here!"

The...alien spoke soft words that had a tone of supplication and despair, though none of the people understood what he was saying "Timei san...t-timei san"

"Holy shit." muttered Thomas.

"I agree Chief." replied Tal.

Lorei and T'Jenn entered the large docking area and were assaulted by the smell.

"Prophets! What is that smell?!" cried Lorei and she closed her eyes to wards off the tears caused by her stinging nose. The alien's head snapped in her direction, his breathing was shallow and he began to sway. T'Jenn walked briskly to him the alien looked at her with panicked eyes and began to back away, Lorei walked to T'Jenn's side, her eyes widened in shock.

"Captain... that's a-" Lorei began.

"Sun dai, sun harmanak its Dominion" said the alien as he stared from the Captain to Lorei and T'Jenn who was observing him with curiosity. Lorei swallowed her disgust and walked to him, he took a step back, she asked "Do you understand me?"

He nodded ever so slightly, his jaw shaking; Lorei noted clinically that he wasn't wearing heat preserving clothes, mainly tattered civilian clothes, though if which civilization, she couldnít guess.

"Can you speak in this-"

"Yes!" he snapped loudly then fell to his knees in a fit of coughs. T'Jenn had had enough of this and pushed Lorei and Tal out of the way. She took out her tri-corder and began to scan the alien. She raised her brows at some of the readings but decided to give him a hypo anyway. She took out the injector, the alien noticed the device amidst his fit and scrambled back into the pod, he hissed "Don't... touch... me!"

T'Jenn stood and looked at Lorei and Captain Tal, her brow raised in question.

Lorei turned to Tal "Captain, request permission to stay here with the Hybrid, I'll attempt to coerce him out of the pod."

"I will stay as well" intoned T'Jenn "He is in obvious need of medical attention and will receive no useful assistance from Commander Lorei."

Lorei glared at her "I meant Medical assistance, it is only logical that you would not have the same expertise as I" continued T'Jenn mildly.

Lorei rolled her eyes and muttered "Logically".

"Look, ladies, I do not care much for you personal queries for the moment" Tal said in aggravation "Just get him out" he wrinkled his nose "And get him clean."

He left the docking bay, ordering Blake, Thomas the techs and the security team back to their original stations.

As Tal and Blake entered the turbo lift, Blake asked bluntly "Do you think it was safe to leave the Commander and Dr. T'Jenn alone with that thing?"

Tal smirked "For whom, them or our space visitor?"

 

"Will You?"

Lorei and T'Jenn stood in awkward silence outside the pod's opening, listening to the shallow breathes of the Hybrid. T'Jenn kept a sensitive ear open out for any changes in his breathing. Lorei wanted to know how he came to be in the physical and mental state he was in. Lorei noted that his skin was a very pale gray. The scales seemed soft, not harsh like on Ensign Targo. He had scales running down the sides of his neck and over and around his eyes, no eye brows, also no "spoon", his nose ridges were very apparent, as were his eyes, which were almost onyx and shiny, "Sickly and glazed" T'Jenn described them. And he was thin, so very thin, he was all but skin and bones. His facial features were aquiline and sharp, and over his ridges he had an almost permanent frown line. After 45 minutes of waiting, Lorei grew impatient with the Hybrid and cried out "Look, we're trying to help you, I'm Lorei... and this is Dr. T'Jenn, she'll give you medicine" she looked to the Vulcan doctor for assistance. Said Vulcan shrugged slightly, Lorei huffed in annoyance. The Hybrid was silent, his breathing became a bit harsher and shallower.

"Commander, you are frightening him" commented T'Jenn.

"Doctor-" began Lorei warningly.

"Commander" he whispered, his breath hitching and painful.

T'Jenn and Lorei glanced at each other, T'Jenn raised her eyebrows, Lorei swallowed and answered "Yes?"

"Pain" he hissed.

T'Jenn came closer to the opening and tried not to breathe the acrid air "Are you in pain?" she asked. He hissed at her, Lorei and T'Jenn saw the predatory glow of his eyes in the darkness of the pod, a Cardassian trait. T'Jenn spoke "You will have to coax him out, he seems to be a bit more trusting to you, perhaps he does not like physicians."

"Who does?" muttered Lorei and turned to the pod "Look, if you're in pain we can help you, but you have to come out of there, do you understand?" there was a pause, he blinked and he answered a hissing "Yes".

Lorei bit her lower lip "Come out."

"No." he rasped.

Lorei sighed in frustration and said in an almost patronizing tone "You'll die if you don't come out!" she was rewarded with a hysterical laugh from him and a somewhat confused look from T'Jenn.

"Hey!" Lorei cried "I'll come in there and drag you out!"

"Will you?" he rasped and crawled forwards a little bit, his matted face and hair now visible in the light of the docking bay. Lorei took her chance and stunned him, he fell onto his stomach with a light thud.

"Not elegant, but acceptable" said T'Jenn and touched her emblem "T'Jenn to sickbay, send up an anti-grav gurney".

T'Jenn looked at Lorei and jerked her head at the pod; Lorei put on her most disgusted expression but wordlessly entered the pod and immediately regretted it. The smell was overpowering, she hoped they were going to destroy this pod before the smell spread through the ship, she felt the slippery surface of the pod wall beneath her boots, and the sticky, scaly flesh of the Hybrid under her skin. She felt a tingle go up and down her spine when she touched his skin, despite the scales the skin was soft, though calloused and, she noticed with distaste and outrage, severely scarred. She slowly dragged him, and was assisted by the stronger T'Jenn and the now present med-techs with the gurney, they put his dead-weight gently on the floating surface.

Lorei smoothed the hair out of the Hybrid's face and stared at the ridged nose and scaly eye brows and surrounding socket. T'Jenn ordered the techs to get him clean and ready for treatment, to trim his hair and get rid of the rags he was wearing. Lorei absently heard T'Jenn tell her to shower before reporting to the bridge, the stench of the pod and the Hybrid clung to everyone. A question kept turning and churning in her head; how did a Bajoran-Cardassian Hybrid get to the Gamma Quadrant?

Commander Lorei's Personal Log; Supplemental:

I'm angry.

Lorei sat stiffly in her chair. According to her chronometer it was only 15:30 hours, she had two hours of sleep in 24 hours, standard day on a StarFleet ship. She was tired and the sonic shower did nothing, she mentally noted that she would have a hot water bath, on the holo-deck, before bed tonight, that is when they found out what was happening with the Bajoran-Cardassian Hybrid that was currently being treated in the sickbay. As if reading her thoughts, T'Jennís voice resonated in the bridge Com-Link.

"Dr. TíJenn to Captain Tal, our... visitor... is stable and conscious, would you and Commander Lorei come to sickbay please" despite her flat tone, it suggested that they come at this exact moment. Tal looked at Lorei who frowned slightly; she stood and walked with him to the turbo-lift. They went to sickbay in comfortable silence. Despite the fact that Lorei was the first to touch, and actually speak to the Hybrid, she couldnít tell the Captain anything useful. That is except for the fact that he was a Bajoran-Cardassian Hybrid at which the Captain commented: "Commander, you could tell by looking at his face" and that it was strange that he was in the Gamma Quadrant. Tal and Lorei entered the sickbay and stopped in their tracks when they saw the disarray in which it was. The med-techs were cowering away from the center scene of TíJenn and the Hybrid in a face off. The Hybrid in syntho-cotton medi-clothes holding a pillow, Lorei and Tal were shocked at the sight, and distantly heard TíJenn remark to the Hybrid "Please refrain from using that pillow, it is illogical to use an object designed for comfort as a weapon".

The Hybrid was frozen in spot, though Lorei and undoubtedly TíJenn could see him shift his weight slightly on the balls on his feet. His eyes shifted quickly to Tal and back to TíJenn. He spoke, his rasping voice raw and unused "Where am I?"

Tal answered that and Loreiís lips twitched at the slight tone of pride in his voice: "You are aboard the USS Elita". The Hybrid frowned darkly at Tal, "Who are you?" the Hybrid asked.

"I am Captain Christopher Tal, commanding officer of this ship" Tal answered proudly. The Hybrid dropped the useless pillow and shifted his eyes to Lorei, he cocked his head and muttered "You look familiar."

Lorei looked slightly abashed "I shot you", he didnít look perturbed but he asked "Why?"

"You wouldnít come out of the pod." she answered.

"Youíre Bajoran" he changed the subject very quickly and turned it to a completely different direction that Tal had to shake his head in order to make sure he had heard correctly. Lorei blinked once and answered a choked "Yes."

"Are we close to Bajor?"

"No." she answered softly.

"Excuse me" Tal interrupted "If you do not mind me asking... who are you?"

The Hybrid blinked a few times before answering, Lorei frowned at this as did Tal, did he not know who he was.

"Rees." he rasped.

"Well Rees, I hope you let Dr. TíJenn treat you, you look a bit under the weather".

TíJenn commented "Captain, there is no weather on the Elita, the air ventilation system is automatic, weather suggests a level of-"

"TíJenn, I was being metaphorical, never mind, just, carry on your duty" said Tal.

Rees looked at TíJenn and Tal; he turned his head to Lorei and asked "Who are you?"

"Iím commander Lorei, I told you, when you were in the-"

"Yes, I remember...vaguely."

"Mr. Rees" TíJenn said "Please return to the bed, you are still in need of treatment".

"I don't." he answered.

TíJenn raised an eyebrow and asked "Are you a Doctor Mr. Rees?"

"No"

"Then remain silent and do as I say, you are malnourished, have swollen joints down your entire right side, open lacerations on your shoulders, arms and torso and an unhealed hip wound which is the cause of the limp you seem to ignore."

Reesí expression through out her entire speech had turned from blank to fury to murderous; he hissed menacingly at her "You wonít touch me!"

"Mr. Rees." she began

"Rees."

"Very well, Rees, you are wounded and in need of-"

"Nothing!" He shouted at her, his entire body began to shake. Lorei frowned as she saw beads of sweat erupt on his upper lip and forehead. She gently touched his arm and was rewarded by a powerful backhand that knocked her down, she fell unceremoniously on her ass, she looked up just in time to see Rees collapse into a heap as TíJenn clutched his shoulder, pinching the sensitive nerve cluster.

"As you can see" TíJenn said clinically "He is quite volatile, when he is healed properly, I" she stressed "will bring him to you, until then no one will come here and interrogate him".

"Is that a medical order?" Tal asked.

"Yes." she scowled.

"Very well." Tal said backing away.

"Now leave." she gestured vaguely to the door and ordered two med-techs to move Rees to the bed.

Stardate 55331.6, Commander Loreiís Personal Log:

The Hybrid, Rees, has been unconscious for a week, everyone is curious about him, especially the Doctor who is fascinated about the fact that he is alive at all.

According to her had we not gotten him out of the pod he would have suffocated.

I want to know who he is, why heís in the Gamma Quadrant, Bajor and Cardassian are both beyond the Wormhole, all the Hybrids that were born during my time on Bajor were still born or died shortly after their birth, some died in different...circumstances.

Healthy Hybrids are very rare, and he isnít very healthy. How did he get here?

Stardate 55332.1, Commander Loreiís Personal Log:

Our visitor has awoken and has been given quarters, secure ones of course, and is currently being interviewed by Lt. Commander Blake. I use the word interview very lightly.

Rees glared at Blake under hooded eyes, the dark haired human was sympathetic, almost pitying. Rees didn't appreciate it. As of two hours, he had answered no questions when asked.

"Can you tell me anything?" asked Blake.

"Fuck off."

Blake sighed tiredly and looked at the Hybrid. Blake saw the weariness on his face, the lines next to his mouth, the frown line above the ridged nose and had it not been for the scales that surrounded the eyes, Blake could have sworn that Rees' eyes drooped. Blake decided to take a different angle.

"My parents live on Earth." Blake said lightly.

Rees smiled sardonically "My parents aren't living."

Blake raised his brow and asked, "What were they like?"

"Donít do this." whispered Rees, Blake frowned at the solemn tone.

"Don't do what?" asked Blake.

"Don't make me speak of these things..." Rees stood up and paced across the floor, he rubbed the inside of his right wrist almost compulsively, Blake noticed and noted, Rees stopped at ran his hand over his shorn head "What do you really want to know, just ask"

Blake gritted his teeth in annoyance and said stiffly "That's what I've been trying to do for the past two hours".

Rees whirled around and hissed "No, for the past two hours you've been trying to find out what I know about the Dominion and I told you from the moment that I landed on this barrel, that all I know is that they had me... For what purpose" Rees shook his head and continued "I'd like to know as well."

Blake continued that train of thought "What do you think?"

Rees snorted and shrugged "How would I know, I barely remember my time there, one moment I was being dragged out of the sewers of Rakshia and my next coherent sensation is that of a pointed eared woman injecting me with something."

"Doctor T'Jenn."

"Her name could be Fluffy, for all I care!"

Blake smothered a laugh at the thought of addressing the strict Vulcan as Fluffy, he was sure she wouldn't find the humor in it.

"You were in a pod." continued Blake.

Rees shrugged silently and tapped his wrist continuously.

"And? What exactly did you find in there except my extracts, I don't know why I was in there, or for how long... Mr. Blake, inform your Captain and First Officer that I know nothing except that I was not aware of what was done to me. The kind doctor informs me that I am to report to sickbay everyday, so that she can probe and poke me some more. That seems even better than spending more time with you" Rees walked to the door and waited by the bulkhead, he knew he couldn't leave until he was given permission. Blake rubbed his eyes and said "You're not done with the questioning; the Captain wants Commander Lorei to question you."

Rees frowned darkly "Lorei... The Bajoran." he stated. Blake kept his face passive

"Yeah, you remember her?"

"She shot me."

"She's a crack."

Rees frowned in confusion at the expression "Jeez, you're worse than T'Jenn" said Blake, he touched his badge and said in a clear voice "Blake to Lorei..."

 

A Formal Introduction

Lorei was feeling confident, according to T'Jenn Rees' mood was better, not as homicidal and Blake didn't sound too concerned when he contacted her for his questioning. She wasn't sure why she needed to question him when the Chief of Security was doing it, she walked to the quarters and walked in, recalling the Captain's words: "He will respond better to you, Lorei, you share the same heritage". Lorei rolled her eyes at the thought, so they had a ridged nose, she did not have scales.

Blake smiled at her and jerked his head to Rees. She smiled at both of them and said formally to Rees "I'm Commander Lorei, do you remember me?"

Rees nodded and said "You shot me and touched me in the sickbay."

"Yes, you went a little berserk there." she said with raised eyebrows.

Rees shrugged. Lorei touched the wall panel and began speaking in Bajoran. Blake groaned, great she switched off the Universal Translator. Blake knew nothing, no Bajoran what so ever, he stood and watched the soft conversation in gibberish.

"You can say what you like now, he doesn't know Bajoran", said Lorei.

"What does he know?" Rees asked sardonically and eyed Blake in his peripheral vision.

"How to break a neck in twelve different ways." clipped Lorei.

Rees' lips twitched a little, so, we have a dark sense of humor, she thought.

Rees crossed his arms and rubbed his wrist "What's your name?"

Lorei frowned in confusion "I told you, Lorei."

"Alain." Rees answered.

Lorei blinked "Pardon?"

"My name is Alain... Rees Alain."

Lorei smiled widely at him, he trusts me, then her smile dimmed and asked "Why are you telling me?"

"Who else would I tell?" Rees asked curiously.

"I don't know" Lorei shrugged sarcastically "Blake, T'Jenn..."

"I trust them as far as I can throw them, and since my strength is nonexistent, that isn't saying much, is it?" remarked Rees with a crooked smile.

Lorei licked her lower lip and changed the subject "Who are you?"

Unlike with Blake, whom he swore at and threw off at every turn. He mocked Lorei and gave a humorless chuckle, he said "Does it matter" he paused and continued in a self-deprecating tone, "Look at my face, how could I possibly be anybody. You are who you are told to be and I-" he broke off suddenly, he looked at Blake then turned back to Lorei, his black eyes staring unblinkingly into her pale green eyes. He resumed his monologue as if he hadn't stopped mid-sentence "I'm no one, I'm a name that may as well be dead... the question you're asking is why am I still alive?" Rees said, Lorei noticed his fingers, had been twitching nervously throughout his speech, his shoulders were broad but bony, not much flesh, she noticed the needle marks on his forearm, if he was fed, he was fed intravenously. Not just nutrients either, mused Lorei.

"Why are you still alive?" asked Lorei.

Rees' eyes seemed out of focus and out of now where he began speaking Cardassian;

"Amak srei?" Both Lorei and Blake blinked at the change, Blake recognized the change and Lorei was grateful she knew Cardassian, if a little broken.

"My name?" Lorei inquired in Bajoran and got no answer, she waited and repeated the question in Cardassian.

"Yes."

"Lorei."

Rees glared at her and lunged at her and caught her throat, he pushed her against the bulkhead, knocking her head, she held her hand up to stop Blake from attacking. He still stood in an attack stance.

"You stupid bitch!" he spat, Lorei held his hands, which held her suspended about thirty centimeters above the floor, she choked, her lips began to turn blue, she still stopped Blake from attacking, she thought back to the Northern Star Incident and almost smiled.

"Who the fuck do you think you are, I trusted you with my name, with who I am, because you're Bajoran, because"... He stopped and breathed heavily, his entire frame shaking, he let go of her abruptly and felt Blake pull him away from the wheezing Commander, who touched her com-link and called the sickbay "Lorei to T'Jenn, get to the interview room now."

"Affirmative." said the Vulcan.

Rees looked up at Lorei from his position on the floor, his thin frame being held down by the heavier Blake "I trust you." he said still in Cardassian.

Lorei took a deep breath, "I can't trust you if you don't cooperate." she answered in Bajoran.

Rees nodded, his eyed hardening, his gray skin making his face looking like stone. Lorei crouched down in front of him and said "Dr. T'Jenn is coming up here and..." she stopped when she saw his shoulders shake and Blake's fingers move along with Rees' body.

"Are you afraid of T'Jenn?"

Rees laughed with his shaking and said in a shuddering voice, now in Bajoran "She injects me, makes my wrist itch". He showed her the inside of his rubbed wrist, the skin was darker and more calloused. "It makes me sleepy." his eyes glazed over. "She doesn't really have to poke and prod me, does she?" he asked, sounding like a young boy, though it was clear he had not been a boy for a very long time.

Lorei gave a quick glance to Blake, who kept standing there in infinite patience she wasn't aware he even possessed, then looked back to Rees "I'll talk to T'Jenn."

Rees smiled slightly, his eyes watery "Will you please tell me your name, Commander."

Lorei lips twitched into a very small smile and she answered "Karin ...Lorei Karin."

Rees smiled and brought his hand to her face, he moved his index finger from her slight widow's peak down to her nose, where he lightly stroked the ridges. Both Blake and Lorei frowned in confusion. The door hissed open, and T'Jenn opened, she glanced at the computer panel and noticed the disabled Universal Translator, just as she activated it Rees spoke two words in Bajoran "Manai tan".

Lorei's eyes widened and a slight flush covered her cheeks, she quickly stood up and saw T'Jenn raised a disapproving brow at the scene and said in a clipped tone "Is there a reason Mr. Rees was stroking your nose, Commander?"

Lorei felt Rees clutch her wrist, she ignored the pressure as she spoke to the doctor "He had some kind of fit, one moment he was shouting at me and the next he shivered and fell to the floor, he's behaving fearfully". T'Jenn frowned and knelt next to Rees. Who glared at the Vulcan, "Mr. Rees, please explain which of my actions towards you, warrants the open hostility you are showing me."

"You hurt me." he answered shortly, letting go of Lorei's wrist, he attempted to stand, but was still kept down by Blake.

"Mr. Blake, if you would please remove your weight from Mr. Rees, I would appreciate it...It would be better if you and Commander Lorei left here." she said bluntly. Rees scrambled to the corner and bared his teeth in a feral snarl "You won't touch me!" he hissed, echoing his words from his first waking moments in sickbay.

Lorei looked worried, as Blake looked at Rees as if he was witnessing a rabid animal, T'Jenn raised a dubious eyebrow.

"And why is that, Mr. Rees?"

"I'll rip out your throat, just like them" he crouched on the balls of his feet.

Lorei stepped closer and knelt next to T'Jenn, who snapped out her tri-corder and began reading Rees' abnormal life signs.

"Just like who?"

Rees focused his eyes on Lorei and hissed "Them... those bastards... those..." his voice began to wane and he glared at T'Jenn "you're just like them."

T'Jenn reached not only the logical, but obvious conclusion "Did the Dominion use you as a specimen for experimentation?"

Lorei swallowed back the bile that suddenly came to her throat. Rees' jaw trembled, his perpetual shaking intensified and he fell back, sitting, no longer crouching on the floor, he squeezed his eyes with the heels on his hands, and rocked back and forth, he spoke in a grating rasp "You don't know... You can't" he removed his hands and looked at Lorei and grabbed her arms, holding her firmly, she did her best to keep a neutral face "You know... You can help me" he whispered. T'Jenn called the hesitant Blake, to help Rees stand. Rees was unresisting and let himself be pulled into standing.

T'Jenn's voice was surprisingly gentle "I believe, Mr. Rees, that you are in need of more sleep. Mr. Blake will lead you to sickbay, where you will be able to do so in comfort". Rees was oblivious, and was led silently out of the room. T'Jenn in tow, turned to Lorei "I shall run more tests, more localized, report to the Captain, I believe he needs to know the condition of our visitor."

Lorei nodded, they walked out the door, T'Jenn down to sickbay and Commander Lorei up to the bridge.

Stardate 55333.2, Commander Lorei's Personal Log:

Rees... Alain, as I have now come to call him, is an enigma... to everyone.

And a very volatile enigma at that, the incident during the interview, suggests a trauma of some kind, though that much was obvious by his physical state when he came out of the pod. T'Jenn is still running tests, and Alain seems more relaxed when I'm with him during those tests. I feel under scrutiny whenever I'm with him, his eyes are unmoving, he barely blinks when he looks at me and when he does... I had never blushed so much in my life...

On a more official note, there's going to be a meeting with the entire senior officers in the observation deck, where T'Jenn will attempt to explain to us about Alain's ailments.

Tal, Lorei, Blake, Mai and Thomas waited for T'Jenn, to enter the observation deck, they had been waiting for her for only two minutes and Lorei already began to fidget, biting her lips and picking at her nails. Tal observed her with an odd expression, he never knew his First Officer to be so affected, though he remembered that Blake had said that Rees Alain was very disturbing, both in manner and appearance.

T'Jenn entered the room, and put down the various info-padds she brought with her. Mai looked very interested and asked her "May I read them?"

"You may" she answered.

"While, Mr. Mai reads the padds, Doctor, would you care to enlighten us", Tal said and gestured to the padds Mai took and read while pacing in the room, his eyes squinting in curiosity and confusion every now and then. As T'Jenn opened her mouth to speak, he said "Are you sure about this?"

"That would depend on what 'This' is?" asked T'Jenn.

"How about you explain everything to us, and then we'll all know what 'This' is?" interrupted Lorei in a dangerous tone.

Tal nodded and looked at T'Jenn. "I ran more tests on Rees Alain, after the incident with Commander Lorei and Lt. Commander Blake", she said. "He showed signs of chronic fatigue and dehydration, it would seem, that the reason for all that is an artificial arrangement of his internal organs" she paused and encountered shocked silence, she continued unperturbed "In the initial testing I believed the unusual alignment was because of his dual heritage. However, it is due to the fact the most of his internal organs were removed then put back in... very crudely... his volatile moods are caused by that failing. His brain chemistry seemed disconnected from his body, because of a microscopic sever in his spinal cord at the back of his neck, which I repaired, but is still scarred. It remained unhealed for too long to fix in assuredly, I managed to put his internal organs back where they were supposed to be. That also resulted in scarring, which is beyond repair." she turned to Lorei "You were correct in your hypothesis, he was fed intravenously... The black batch of skin on his wrist was where they (and the only logical conclusion I came to was that it was the Dominion, as Mr. Rees claimed) would electrocute him into consciousness. He mentions a state of grogginess, he has few memories about what had happened to him, mainly impressions of pain, coldness, dampness and searing flesh, no sound, or sight".

Lorei blinked a few times and asked, "What's going to happen to him now?"

T'Jenn did a very quick calculation "Statistically he will live another 45.3 years, taking into consideration his dual heritage and age which I approximated at 52.5 years. By Aging a sample of his DNA however, he his likely to contract a number of debilitating diseases... Because of the trauma that his body endured for roughly 6.7 years, I concluded that he was given to the Dominion, by the former Cardassian Union when they joined the Dominion in the war".

"For what purpose?" Tal asked as he skimmed through the padds, Lorei was going through them quickly and thoroughly.

T'Jenn's voice sounded almost bitter, but her face was unemotional as ever "Captain, when you have specimen to work with, the ends are the means".

Blake looked green and Mai looked shocked that someone, anyone would do something of that nature to a Sentient being.

Lorei bit her lip and put down the padds, she leaned back in the chair and asked in a stiff voice "Why was he sealed in a pod... that alloy was strong enough to use the Jaws".

"Unknown, Commander... Mr. Rees, does not remember either."

"He couldn't have been in there for very long." muttered Blake.

Tal glanced at him "What do you mean?"

"His state, and the inside of the pod, his...extracts...were fresh, and" he turned to T'Jenn "the mark on his wrist, how long ago, was he last electrocuted?"

"Approximately 10.5 standard days."

"And he's been on the ship for a little over a week." intoned Lorei.

"He couldn't have been drifting for more than two, maybe three days", added Blake.

Mai's eyes widened in realization "Do you think the Dominion are still doing this?"

"It is a logical assumption" replied T'Jenn, she stood and added "Mr. Rees will be awakening soon, I will ask him questions that should shed some light on the situation."

T'Jenn left the room, the occupants feeling emotions ranging from dismay to rage.

 

"It Will Always Hurt"

"Fuck off."

"Profanity is not necessary."

"Leave me alone."

"No."

A glare was sent her way.

"You are behaving like a child. I must ask you some questions."

"I could vomit from the amount of questions you have been asking me... I don't know anything."

"I disagree."

"You may, just do it away from me!"

"Mr. Rees..."

"Rees."

"Mister Rees... I have done what I can for your health, but you will never completely heal from the trauma your mind and body went through if you do not gather the energy to remember your experience with the Dominion."

"Go away.", he whispered hoarsely. T'Jenn regarded him with narrowed eyes, despite her emotionless demeanor; she was becoming slightly annoyed with the Hybrid.

"Should I perhaps call Commander Blake to ask you questions?"

"No."

"Perhaps Commander Lorei?" T'Jenn sounded nonchalant.

Rees eyed her disdainfully "What makes you think her asking me questions will be any more productive than the last time she questioned me?"

T'Jenn's right lip corner twitched very slightly "Commander Lorei has her ways... and did you not say that she was the one who could help you?"

Rees frowned.

"Blake... Warren." called Lorei. Blake stopped just inside the turbo-lift, waited for Lorei and as she entered he said in a clear voice "Ten-forward."

"I need some assistance", Lorei said.

"What kind?" he asked suspiciously.

"I need you and Ensign Targo to help me question Rees Alain."

"Ensign Targo?" he was surprised

"Yeah, I'm no to happy about that either, but if my theory is correct, he could be the trigger I need" she answered disregarding his tone.

"A trigger for what?" Blake asked confused. The turbo-lift stopped and the two senior officers stepped into the semi-crowded Ten-forward.

"I want him to remember every excruciating detail about the Dominion and what they did to him" Lorei said stiffly, she walked to the Replicator "Black coffee, hot and Deka tea, hot". The transparent mug filled with the black aromatic liquid appeared, when she removed it, the murky pink tinted orange tea appeared, she took both mugs and walked towards, what she knew was Targo's regular seat. The young Cardassian was so surprised to see the Commander he leaped out of his seat nearly knocking Lorei over. Blake's lightning reflexes caught the two hot beverages before they fell onto the floor. Lorei steadied herself and glared at the Ensign.

"Ensign Targo, please sit down and drink your tea." her voice was authoritative, though what she said sounded bizarre in that tone of voice, to both Targo and Blake.

Targo blinked slightly and sat, he accepted the Deka tea from Blake and tried to look neutral, but succeeded in looking like an Earth guppy fish. Lorei sighed and took a sip from her coffee, she noticed Blake towering over her and she gave him a look, then glanced at another chair. He understood and sat, swiveling his rifle to the front, he forgot that he was the one on his way to Ten-forward and had yet to order anything to drink or eat.

"Ensign, I assume you are aware of our visitor." Lorei intoned and took a sip from her coffee, she had not been on the bridge when the Captain told the bridge duty crew about Rees. Targo nodded and frowned, his face questioning.

"Targo, I'll be blunt", 'what's new' thought Targo. "There is evidence to suggest that during the Dominion War, the Cardassians handed over the entire population of the living Bajoran-Cardassian Hybrids to the Dominion... However, our evidence is locked away inside our visitor's head and I would like to get it out... All of it".

"Commander, I don't know anything about-"

"I know you don't and frankly I don't particularly care... Ensign, I need you as a trigger." Lorei's eyes twinkled at him.

"Trigger?"

Lorei smiled ever so slightly at the young Cardassian.

Lorei, Blake and Targo walked towards the guest quarters. Targo did not like the plan, not at all, neither did Blake, who said, loudly "Are you insane?"

Lorei faced him off and said, "It will still work with our sanity in tact".

Blake overrode the lock on the door and they slid in, Rees was sitting on the floor, his back to the bed, he looked up, his face unreadable as he looked at Lorei and Blake, he knew they' be coming to question him now that he was no longer unpredictable. Rees turned his head and noticed the young Targo, he was young, nearly ten years younger than Lorei and Blake and nearly three decades younger than Rees. Targo came to stand next to Blake. Rees frowned darkly at him and asked "Who's he?"

"This is Ensign Erim Targo, he's the first Cardassian in Starfleet, and our best pilot." Blake said. Rees stood slowly and walked to Targo, he stood in his personal space and spoke into his face, he was at least a 10 cm taller than the Cardassian, he spoke in Cardassian "Shal miar, Erim?"

Blake sighed again and softly asked Lorei what Rees had said, she answered "He asked, 'who is your father, Erim?' "

Targo answered in Standard "It doesn't matter."

"Faw? Herim go miar?" Rees asked Why? Aren't you proud of your father?

"No, not particularly, but then, who on Cardassia is these days." Targo answered bitterly. Rees chuckled and turned to Lorei "You thought bringing him, this shii, would affect me in anyway."

Targo frowned at him and said in a clear voice that shook only slightly "I'm not a child, I'm an officer in StarFleet."

Rees slowly turned to him and said "No, you're a boy who believes himself better than the dregs of society... any society."

"I am better than you." Targo said and stood in Rees's personal space looking into his face. Rees leaned down very slightly to peer into the shorter younger man's eyes, he chuckled very lightly, humorlessly and whispered in Cardassian "Don't start anything you cannot finish, shii."

"You too... Dai Suk." Targo said and swallowed down the bile he felt rising into his throat as Rees' eyes and face shadowed over dangerously. Lorei took over "Does him calling you a filthy half-breed offend you?" Rees opened his mouth to speak, but was cut off by Targo who continued speaking "You're nothing but a stinking sewer dweller ". Rees' eyes twitched and narrowed as a guttural noise came from his chest. "I bet your mother was just begging that Cardassian Gul to take her", Lorei said flatly, Targo swallowed harshly, not expecting such things from the First Officer. The Hybrid took a step back from the double attack. The boy seemed to be reluctant to do anything, Karin appeared ruthless.

"What?"

"Doesn't he remind you of Cardassia, and the humiliation you lived through your entire life?!" Karin asked rhetorically, Rees opened his mouth to say something, but was interrupted by Karin who continued speaking regardless: "I want to know something, Rees" she sneered "Did anyone call you Alain? Or were you just Dai... Did your mother even touch you after you were born?"

Targo frowned at the Commander, he had never seen her this hostile before, and was startled to hear Rees spit and hiss at Lorei in Bajoran, Blake kept a careful vantage point in the corner of the room, making sure Rees won't do anything to harm the First Officer. Lorei and Rees' voices rose to shouting and something that sounded distinctly as curses.

Karin had had enough of shouting in Bajoran and garbled Cardassian, she resumed to standard with a shout: "Did you feel it? When your internal organs were being removed and then shoved back in?" she walked into his personal space. Rees growled low in his throat and hissed at her "What the fuck do you know about it?"

"I know the Cardassians sold you over to the Dominion, for no reason other than to torture you, and maybe develop some bio-weapons we don't know about" she pointed at Targo "Just like him, his kind sold you over... to be guinea pigs."

"You don't know the first thing about what they did to us."

"How many Hybrids were you?" she asked.

"As if you give a damn, all the Federation wants is the fucking co-ordinates", he whirled to Targo and grabbed his uniform. He shoved him unto the floor and began choking him while screaming in Cardassian, "You sold us to the Dominion for money, you sadistic bastards! You have no idea what they did to us? What they were planning to do to you when they had killed us, finished scraping off every bit of flesh that was on our bones... Were we nothing?" Targo's eyes widened in panic, he regretted accepting the Commander's offer, especially when the older man let go of him and began sobbing uncontrollably on the floor next them. Lorei looked uncomfortable with the sight and turned to Blake "Warren, take Ensign Targo to sickbay, make sure Rees didn't hurt him, I'll stay here".

Blake didn't look happy with the decision and said so.

"Don't make me pull rank." threatened Karin.

Blake nodded and helped the stunned Erim off the floor "C'mon, I'm sure T'Jenn is itching for company".

The doors to the guest quarters hissed open then closed.

"Computer, lock doors", said Karin, the computer blipped and she heard the locking mechanism activate, she turned to Rees, who was still sobbing on the floor. Karin took a deep breath and crouched down next to the distraught Hybrid, she tentatively reached out and stroked his hair, he flinched away and barked in Bajoran "Don't fucking touch me!" he looked at her, his face was dry. She wondered absently if Cardassians were even able to cry tears, she'd have to ask T'Jenn... or Targo.

"I didn't want to remember..." his voice was deep and watery, almost slurred "I was almost able to ... They had Cardassian doctors... The Vorta and their changelings only watched... wrote down progress." His jaw shook "Why couldn't you let me forget?" he whispered painfully. Karin sat down, she sat crossed legged and stroked Rees' head again, she gently pushed it down to her lap, he practically fell into the groves of her knees and promptly fell asleep.

Karin touched her Com-Link and said in a clear voice "Lorei to Captain Tal."

Captain's Log, stardate 55333.3:

The Elita has just set a course into Avalanche Ocean, we are going to find this experimental facility and find out what exactly went on there. Hopefully... it will be empty.

The reports Doctor T'Jenn gave us were disturbing to say the least and I do not believe any one of us was not moved by Rees Alain's ordeal.

However, there is another reason for this incursion... Lt. Commander Mai and Chief Thomas have finished analyzing the mysterious alloy in which Mr. Rees was enclosed.

In previous entries, Chief Thomas reported that the pod hit him. The alloy, according to Lt. Commander Mai, is made of a biosynthetic material that is normally found in artificial organs. If the Dominion developed a biosynthetic alloy that is strong enough to withstand the vacuum of space... We might face some difficult times ahead of us.

Tal switched off the Com-Link to Lorei, after giving her half a shift off. He gave the bridge to Mai and headed to sickbay. As he entered, the sight of the seething Warren surprised him. Even though they had only known each other a short time, there was never a time that Blake had turned red with rage. Then he noticed the frazzled Targo being treated by T'Jenn and guessed what Lorei omitted from her report.

"What happened?" Tal asked to the room at large.

"We have a raving lunatic abroad the ship, Captain", said Blake, his tone harsh and unforgiving.

"He is not insane, Mr. Blake. Merely suffering from acute Post Traumatic Stress Disorder." T'Jenn said clinically, not looking up from Targo's bruised neck, she shifted the instrument over his skin as she spoke.

"I don't care," he stressed slowly "He's unsafe. In the past three days alone, he attempted to kill Commander Lorei and Ensign Targo", Blake explained as patiently as he could to the Captain, who had been constantly updated about their visitor, but had not realized that Warren was so worried. "We should have never taken that pod onto the Elita".

"And let a sentient being suffocate and drift deeper into the Gamma Quadrant. Yes, StarFleet would have been most pleased with that performance". T'Jenn spoke in a monotone, but her words had an acidity in them, that reminded the Captain that the Doctor was not a robot, but was a Vulcan with an almost zealous protection to all life forms. Warren had the grace to look abashed, Tal rubbed his jaw in concentration and asked "Do you think what the Commander did was right?"

T'Jenn crossed her arms over her chest and waited half a moment before she answered. "I believe, Captain, that what she did will be beneficial in the long run, however, at this point, Mr. Rees will be vulnerable and I do not believe he will... appreciate that."

Targo frowned slightly and stepped off the bed, on which he was sitting "Vulnerable how?" he asked.

"Commander Lorei and you, Ensign, broke down very powerful defenses that were most likely built years before, when he lived on Cardassia. To break those down when he was already physically weakened and psychologically traumatized will cause, so I believe, a vulnerability that will be acted out in different ways" T'Jenn explained.

Warren and Christopher frowned simultaneously. "What ways?" Warren asked.

T'Jenn raised an eyebrow "It is impossible to say, but it will most likely depend on who is with him at he time, until his mind has found a way to deal with the trauma of what he went through".

"Commander Lorei is with him now", said Captain Tal.

The right corner of T'Jenn's mouth twitched slightly upwards and she responded, "Then I do not believe we need to be concerned about either of them."

The three men wore confused expressions on their faces.

Karin looked down at the sleeping man that used her bent legs as a pillow. She sighed, desperately wanting to stretch her legs that had fallen asleep under the weight of Alain's head. She very slowly moved the leg he wasn't right on top of. She gritted her teeth against the cramp and let out a series of joint clicks; she winced, but noticed that had Rees not been breathing he could have been dead. She frowned slightly and out of paranoia touched the pulse next to his Adam's apple. The pulse was slow and steady; there was a tiny spike in speed and strength. Karin surmised that Alain woke up. She looked down and saw Alain stare up at her, his black into her green. He closed his eyes and sat up with a grimace, his neck and back painful from the odd sleeping position. He shifted himself and sat next to Karin, who by this time had straightened both legs and sighed with relief as the blood flowed through them again. She looked at him and decided to wait for him to speak to her first. After long moments of silence Karin felt fingers thread in her hair, she turned her head to look at Alain and was startled when he crushed his mouth to hers, her eyes widened in shock for a moment before she blinked and realized how pleasant this situation actually was. She relaxed herself, and pushed herself into Alain who had begun probing her lips with his tongue. She opened her mouth and decided to take control of the situation. He groaned into her mouth and let his hands begin exploring. Her hands deftly unzipped his civilian tunic and rubbed his sides, he shivered at the warmth of her hands and she noticed that he was still bony. His hand drifted to below her waist and she smiled at him, his face seemed stony except for the fact that his already dark eyes seemed to become even dimmer, and her pale green became a deep emerald. They looked at each other and quickly stood from their sitting positions. They stood opposite each other and came to a silent agreement that getting undressed while standing was more practical. Karin pulled off her jacket and under tunic at the same time. Alain gazed at her hungrily and bent his head to kiss her again, she pulled off his open shirt and very quickly their clothes seemed to dissipate into the air. Karin traced the soft scales that went down his neck, to his shoulder blades and ended at the small of his back in sharp points, Alain discovered other ridged places on her body and all the time they kissed and nipped and caressed each other. Alain lay on his back, his breath shallow and labored as Karin, straddled him and licked her lips an uncompromising smile lighting her face. He passed his hands up and down her back as hers passed over his chest, she bent down and kissed his neck nipping the shell of his ear slightly, she sighed as his calloused fingers gently stroked her breasts, in a slow fluid moment Alain sat up. Their eyes hooded over and fluttered closed. He grimaced as if in pain and hissed as she moved slowly against him, her legs wrapped around him. She rocked in a slow rhythm, her breathing coming in fast, Alain kissed her chest as she nibbled on his ears, she squeezed him as he stroked her inner thigh. Her eyes popped open as Alain touched the apex of her legs, he grinned wolfishly and caught her lower lip between his teeth, he swallowed her long moan as she stiffened and squeezed him tightly, she closed her eyes as she felt Alain move quickly against her and groan.

They sat still, wrapped around each other their breaths coming in short pants, Karin smiled at him and caressed his cheek with her hand, he put his own on it and whispered in Bajoran;

"Manai Tan".

 

A Dumping Ground

Petty Officer Fox was nervous, extremely. He prided himself in knowing Commander Lorei fairly well.

He had earned the respect of many on the ship by being able to answer her back without feeling a remote loss of bladder control. Everyone knew that Lorei's bark was worse than her bite... Then again no one ever truly experienced her bite. Petty Officer Fox was ordered by the Captain to find Lorei, so that she could be updated about the progress they were making in the Ocean and that her short duty break was over. Petty Officer Fox, was told where she was the last time someone saw her.

He was nervous. He straightened his back, checked his uniform, made sure his hair was in place and rang the 'door bell' of the quarters where the mysterious visitor resided. The doors slid open and a tall lanky... humanoid... appeared. Fox swallowed stiffly when Rees smirked, he turned without looking and Fox was greeted by Commander Lorei. She smiled, not unpleasantly, muttered something under her breath to Rees, who nodded and she left the quarters to join Fox in the corridor.

"Good afternoon Mr. Fox, I assume you have a report, otherwise the Captain would have just gotten hold of me through the Com-Link, correct?" said Lorei crisply as she and Fox walked quickly to the turbo-lift. Fox mentally shook himself, trying not to think what had obviously happened in the quarters, though he had to admit Commander Lorei looked fresh and well rested.

"Petty Officer?"

Fox was jerked out of his reverie with a visible jump and was under the scrutiny of a frowning Bajoran, a scary sight. Oh, shit, and she was in a good mood and everything, he mentally whined.

"Um," he began "Captain Tal ordered me to report to you that their plowing through Avalanche Ocean searching for wherever the Hyb- Mr. Rees, came from".

Lorei nodded and asked as they rose towards the bridge "What's the sensor range?"

"I don't know, Commander."

They reached the bridge, the doors opened with a hiss, and Lorei dismissed Fox with a nod of her head. The doors closed and Fox leaned against the bulkhead and breathed and sigh of relief, "whew"

Commander Lorei glanced at the screen and saw the same rocks they had been observing for the past 10 days, despite being a war ship, Avalanche Ocean was a major part of this particular sector and because of obvious extenuating circumstances they remained longer than they had planned. She turned to Christopher "Captain".

Tal smiled at her and said "Good afternoon Commander, I trust you had a pleasant rest", his smile broadened automatically at the slightly pinker than usual cheeks, to give her credit, she was completely professional "Yes, sir. Thank you." she paused.

"Petty Officer Fox reported that we're searching the station Rees Alain came from, is the sensor range big enough?" Lorei asked as she sat down beside Tal.

"Commander Mai has worked something out, according to his calculations; the modifications to the sensor array should give him a smaller range, but a more accurate search pattern."

"What modifications?" Lorei asked Mai.

"I've modified the sensors to be matter specific. The sensors are scanning for the biosynthetic alloy that the esc- uh, containment pod was made of", Mai paused for a breath. "I hypothesized that there'd be a larger amount of this specific alloy wherever Rees Alain came from", he went back to his station. Lorei nodded, it made sense.

Suddenly Mai jumped up as Wellsh and Targo saw the same readings on their own instruments.

"Captain, the sensors are detecting an object", Mai said, his voice a confused tone of elation and dread.

"On screen." Tal ordered. Wellsh's fingers worked on the panel and a pod identical to the one Rees Alain was found on appeared. Lorei bit her lip nervously.

Tal gave a deep breath and ordered "Catch it with the tractor beam, have docking bay one ready, and an engineering team with Jaws there", everyone moved to carry out orders. "Oh, make sure the air sterilizing mode is on and T'Jenn present as well". He turned to Lorei, "Come with me. Commander Mai you have the bridge, Commander Blake send down Security team Beta".

"Yes, sir" all three answered.

It was an eerie sense of deja-vu seeing the engineering team cutting open an egg shaped pod yet again, thought Warren as the condensed beam coming from the Jaw device cut through the alloy. A piece was sent up to science for comparison with the original that came with Rees Alain. There was a hiss of air as pressure equalized in the pod. T'Jenn came closer with a tri-corder, her voice and face gave no indication to the severity of the situation when she said "They are dead, Captain."

"They?" Tal asked. The two top ranking officers of the ship came closer to the pod and slowly stepped inside. Tal felt sick and Lorei again felt angry.

Two Hybrids, both seemed to be younger than Rees, a man and a woman, were dead.

"What did they die of?" asked Lorei.

T'Jenn answered, "Blood and tissue poisoning, their bodies have been decomposing for 10.4 days inside this pod".

"When did we bring Mr. Rees onboard?" asked Tal.

"16.8 days ago Captain." said T'Jenn.

"And we all agreed based on evidence, that he had been drifting for at least two days beforehand." intoned Blake.

"They're using the Ocean as a dumping ground for failed experiments or useless guinea pigs", Lorei muttered, she sounded disgusted as Tal felt.

The Com-Link blipped and Mai's voice came through "Captain, Commander, I think we found what we've been looking for".

Tal walked out of the pod and responded "I'll be right there", he turned to Blake and T'Jenn, "Stay here and deal with the bodies. Ms. Lorei, accompany me to the bridge".

The three nodded, and with one more weathered look at the bodies of the dead Hybrids Lorei followed Tal to the Turbo-lift.

"What do you think we'll find?" he asked.

Lorei bit her lip and raised her eye brows "I think, Captain, that I don't want to know"

He agreed.

When Tal and Lorei entered the bridge, Mai immediately left his chair and returned to the science post, on the screen was what could only be described as a miniature DS9.

"Rees Alain said they used Cardassian doctors... must have used Cardassian engineers as well" said Commented Lorei, her eyes flickered to Targo, his neck healed nicely, though he looked a bit ill from what he knew was on the screen.

"Mr. Mai, what's on that station?" Tal asked as he sat down. Lorei sat down as well, leaning forewords slightly.

"Not much, sir. All organic life is dead", Mai sounded a bit ill himself.

"Bodies?" Lorei asked.

Mai nodded and Lorei stood up "Sir, may I recommend an away team?"

"I was just about to suggest it Commander, you will of course be head of it. Mr. Blake and Dr. T'Jenn will accompany you". she nodded and walked to the Turbo-lift as Tal relayed the orders to T'Jenn and Blake. When the turbo-lift opened on a different deck, she was surprised to see Rees Alain walk in and lean against the bulk head. His black eyes seemed dull and his face was morose where only a few hours ago, he was grinning widely at her.

"I heard about the other Hybrids you found", he said softly.

Karin swallowed a lump and nodded, then realized something was amiss "Why aren't you in your quarters?"

"The Captain wanted me to accompany the away team, Dr. T'Jenn suggested it might be good for me" he sounded doubtful. Karin felt that way, but didn't argue, she had long agreed to let the Doctor say what she liked, she had yet to be wrong about a medical diagnosis.

The doors slid open and they walked briskly to the transporter room, Alain looked at her from the corner of his eye and noticed she wasn't looking at him.

"Did I offend you?"

She smirked, "Did I look offended?"

He smiled.

They entered the transporter room, Blake and T'Jenn were already standing on the transporter pads, Rees looked a bit suspicious, as Lorei stood on the foreword right pad. Blake asked "Haven't you ever seen a transporting device?"

Rees glared at him and stood on the remaining pad. "Guess not." muttered Blake.

The transporter chief ran her fingers over the panel and said "Coordinates set it."

Lorei nodded "Energize".

The chief nodded and touched the button, the away team disappeared in a blue haze of molecules.

The away team materialized on what seemed to be a transporter room. Blake immediately began to scope around them. Lorei touched her emblem "Commander Lorei to Elita".

"Elita, Captain Tal here" said Tal's voice.

"Captain, I'm keeping the channel open so that you can follow with us."

"Affirmative, Commander" said Tal.

T'Jenn raised an eye-brow at the readings on the tri-corder "Commander, there is nothing living on this station, other than the people in this room."

"It smells", grimaced Blake.

Rees brushed his fingers across the wall, "It smells of death".

Lorei and Blake turned to him "That's a bit dramatic, don't you think?" Blake said rhetorically.

Lorei sniffed the air "No, it does smell of death. Rotting, burning..."

Blake shrugged, he looked around, "It doesn't matter, whoever was here, left in a hurry, they didn't even turn off life support and engineering". Lorei at the suggestion of his words heard the perpetual hum of the engines. T'Jenn walked to a door and it opened in a hiss. She was mildly surprised to find that it opened directly to a lab.

"Highly irregular", she said. She was pushed aside roughly by Rees who muttered under his breath.

"I remember this..."

Lorei walked in behind him "What? What do you remember?"

Rees walked over to the beds, they had bindings at strategic points on them. "Electricity", he touched his wrist. "All I... We... wanted was to sleep. They never let us, they kept our eyes open, some went blind", he drew a shuddering breath. "I wish I had". He walked to another door and frowned at it, it didn't open. He pounded it. Then he remembered, only the Cardassian doctors went in there, there was an audio code.

By now Blake entered the lab, just in time to hear Rees say in Cardassian "Jea taar".

"What does that mean?" asked Blake.

"Containment cells" Lorei answered bleakly, followed in with Alain and felt her non-existent food rising into her throat.

Blake looked green and T'Jenn looked almost angry at what she saw.

Five tanks filled with blue translucent liquid. In them floating were bodies, parts of them, they were most obviously dead and had been for a while. They all looked completely different from one another, as most Hybrids did. Lorei noticed Rees stare at one in particular, it was a woman, her eyes were open and dilated, her face in an expression of pain.

"You knew her?"

He nodded, he seemed almost lethargic, his body swaying slightly, he spoke in Bajoran to Lorei "Her name was Rees Anek" his jaw shuddered "I gave her my name, because she had nothing else, she was a sister in everything but blood".

"I'm sorry."

Karin suddenly noticed his eyes reflect the blue of the liquid as his pupils dilated; he grabbed a broken pipe which seemed to be made of the same biosynthetic alloy and swung. Karin jumped out of the way as the blue liquid gushed out of the tank. Blake looked shocked as the body floated on the floor and stopped as it reached Rees' legs.

Alain raised his eyes to Karin and strode to her. He cupped her cheeks and crushed his lips to hers. Blake looked startled; T'Jenn seemed to disregard the kissing couple as she took reports of the containment cell.

"Commander" Tal's voice broke through, Blake thought fast and took over the communication "Captain, I suggest we contact StarFleet".

Blake saw out of the corner of his eye that Lorei and Rees had broken the kiss and the Hybrid whispered "Manai Tan."

Captain's Log, stardate 55337.0:

Representatives of both StarFleet and the Federation arrived today to take over the newly dubbed station: Ocean View Station. I personally find it pretentious, but that is a minor point. I visited the station along with the representatives. They showed very little concern about the dead Bajoran-Cardassian Hybrids, though they assured Mr. Rees that the Cardassian government will pay for emotional distress. His response was quite amusing if a bit crass, I will not repeat it due to Mr. Reesí... graphic figures of speech, but basically he said he could not care less what StarFleet and the Federation did with the abandoned station. Commander Lorei has arranged for a civilian shuttle ship to take Mr. Rees to Star Base 1005 near the Wormhole. We will be rendezvousing with the shuttle "Mark Anthony" in 5 hours.

 

Epilogue

Rees Alain smiled at Lorei as they traveled in the Turbo-lift to the transporter room.

"Have I thanked you?"

"A few times." she said with twitching lips.

The Turbo-lift opened and they walked into the transporter room. The transporter chief saw the door open and began to coordinate with the 'Mark Anthony".

Lorei turned to the chief and said "You may go, I'll do it".

She looked between Commander Lorei and Rees Alain, nodded and left.

As soon as the doors slid closed, they kissed softly.

"I'll see you again?" he asked.

Karin grinned and said in a charming tone "Count on it."

"Thank you again, you saved me." Alain said.

"What about T'Jenn and Blake and..." she saw him shake his head.

"They saved my body... you saved my mind... I'm grateful." he kissed the ridges on her nose, and she his. He walked onto the transport pad.

"Mark Anthony to Elita, ready for transport."

Lorei answered "Elita here. One for transport". She ran her hands over the panel, she looked up and saw him disappear with a smile.

She sighed and said "Transport complete".

She walked out to the corridor, to the turbo-lift, to her office, Mr. Fox sat, at his desk out side her office, arranging reports for her to read. She nodded in acknowledgment and walked into her office. She sat behind her desk and the door slid open. Blake entered.

"Hello, Warren." she said amiably.

"Hey... Rees gone?"

"Yes."

"Feeling blue?"

She looked confused "No, I'm feeling fine."

"Oh, I thought, you know since the two of you had-" he stopped at her dubious look.

"That we had...what?"

"Well..."

"What gave you the idea that Alain and I had anything beyond... that."

"He called you 'Manai Tan'."

"Warren, do you know what 'Manai Tan' means?"

"Uh... No..." he said slowly.

"It means 'healing spirit', Rees saw me as a person who could heal him."

"And you did" he said with a quick nod.

"That's right."

"Okay then."

"Anything else?"

"Your shift is over."

"Out!"

He grinned and left her office. Lorei picked up the personal reports, reading it slowly, to postpone the engineering. She smiled...

 

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Last modified: 10 Apr 2012 
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