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Chapter Notes:

Readers be warned that this chapter includes scenes which some may find disturbing.


 

Into the Dark

 

T'Vel put her hand on the bulkhead to steady herself. The deck seemed to loom up towards her, the bulkheads close in and surround her. Her focus slipped in and out. She took a steadying breath and stepped onwards, her feet almost tripping her up. T'Vel shook her head in a vain effort to clear it.

It had hit her as soon as the hypo spray had injected its contents into her bloodstream. A sudden panic had gripped T'Vel. She knew what could happen. She needed to flee. She needed to run. She needed Monroe. She needed McGregor to recognise the danger but she could not bring herself to admit it aloud. Given leave, she tried to walk calmly away. Walk, when she wanted to run. The mere pretence might be enough to stall her flux in her emotions. She had to keep balance. She had to control the emotions. She was Vulcan. She could not permit the emotions.

She recalled her grandmother and those stern words that held paradoxically so much love and so much to excuse herself. As a child, she had been driven to show mental control over her body and her emotions. ‘A Vulcan feels emotions child, do not fear emotions but learn instead to control them. You control your emotions; your emotions do not control you.'

As a disciple of Vulcan discipline, she had been trained and taught well, and even her grandmother with her exacting standards and punishing expectations approved of her worth and discipline. All before it had been snatched away. All before her world and her mind had been smashed open, violated, desecrated, taken from her. All before ...

* * *

Before ...

 

USS Seleeh, Science vessel,

Oberth class

Location: Region of space known as ‘The Wash'

 

The cant of the deck wavered and pitched, the relentless forces on the ship causing it to yaw in the onslaught of the maelstrom. T'Vel knew that her disorientation, immense confusion and the overwhelming of her bodily systems equally attributed to the sensation. Regardless, T'Vel pitched forwards into a bulkhead, slapping into it hard.

T'Vel wiped blood from a gash to her temple. She stood in shock staring down at the green of her hand. The blood on her brow smeared with the sweat beaded on her brow. She felt warm, closeted and constricted. She unhitched the collar of her uniform, yanking clumsily on the zip of the uniform jacket to try to give room to breathe. She needed to breathe desperately, to have air, to have space; she was trapped and losing control. She wanted to run.

She stumbled forward, tripping over her feet; they did not want to respond to how she willed them to walk. As a need, she had to use her hands and grope along the corridor. She pitched from one side to another, careening along the corridor. The way ahead was draped in dark, save for the strobing emergency lights that blurred and blinded her vision. She tried to blink away the sweat, the blood and the confusion. But it was all in vain. Her disorientation grew steadily worse.

Her heart was racing wildly, galloping madly like a wild stallion. It would not slow down, but rushed faster and faster, the beat unbearably fast building towards a fatal crescendo.

Her breathing was ragged and hard won. The stifling air that should have been so reminiscent of Vulcan was instead deadening and bore down upon her, choking her lungs.

Her mind was ... wandering ... it could not maintain focus ... it drifted ... like her vision it was blurred and blinded ... like her breath it struggled for air, struggled to work ... like her heartbeat, was raging and uncontrollable ... wild and racing to all abandon ...  losing focus ... She was losing focus ... losing control ... losing herself ... a tsunami of emotions threatening to overwhelm, engulf, drown and obliterate her control, her mind, her being ...

She fell to the deck, her knees cut and bloody, the palms of her hand torn and puckered. She struggled to get back to her feet. By lurching and groping along the bulkhead for support, she hauled herself along. Again, she tried to wipe the sweat off her brow with the back of her hand. Her hair matted to clammy skin. The sweat was a second skin smothering her flesh, caging her in her own filth and dirt. Her breathing was growing even more laboured and haggard. Each breath felt as though she were drowning, as if she were trying to breathe thousands of leagues under water, with no air to gulp and sate burning lungs on, and felt like an unbearable mighty weight and pressure pressing down upon her.

A noise! A sudden crash of something hard and metallic striking the ground resounds in the darkened empty corridor. She spun around. Staggering backwards, she ended up slumped against the bulkhead. Propped against it with her head, she turned and pressed her cheek against the cool of the cutting metal of the piped lined corridor.

She looked about wide-eyed and fearful. Disorientated. She was lost. This was not the Kestrel. She did not know these corridors. The surroundings were new and unfamiliar.

She tried to recollect her thoughts. The Seleeh was an Oberth class. She tried to recall the number of decks, the number of cabins, its warp capabilities, the sensor suite it had available for her studies into the effects of ‘The Wash'. These facts she tried to recall in order to latch onto something concrete. To try and find firm footing within her mind. She needed firmness in order to decipher what had happened. But her mind was broken. Her memories muddled and fractured.

She knew only that she awoke in her sealed lab in a state of disarray, some malady having befallen the ship and crew. Of what, she could not discern. She knew only that she too had been affected in some way. And it horrified her to think to what it extent it might reach. She had passed signs of violence in the corridors, smashed computer screens and trails of blood. She feared the same violence would erupt within her with the loss of her precarious control.

But the truly frightening was the unfamiliar. When she awoke, she thought she was still on the Kestrel, the border vessel she had served with for a time as a means of studying the anomaly known as ‘The Wash'. She had a lingering vision of seeing the coarse, uncouth non-com she worked with during her time on the Kestrel, returned as if he had never aged a day. She shook her head. She didn't know what to trust. The man known as McGregor disappeared within the Wash over twenty years ago. Yet something about the vision seemed real, a wisp of truth ...

Her mind seemed so fragile. It frightened her further. The loss of the known and the loss of her control shaking T'Vel's precarious stability that continued to slip from her fingertips. Mere tendrils ... wisps of control ... she could sense it wane ... her discipline, her control, while a torrent of emotions surged over her defences.

The unknown brought fear and a debilitating crush to mental discipline and focus. It threatened to shatter it.

She groped at her open neck, pulling out a silver chain, on it a pendant, her IDIC pin. The image of Mount Seleya crowned in the morning sunrise of Vulcan's sun, Nevasa. The image a visual aid upon which to focus, so T'Vel grasped the pin and grasped upon the image as a talisman seeking a focus, to find her centre, her clam, her control, her being. She grasped it and held fast to it in the raging storm of emotions and loss of control.

I have to keep control. I need to keep moving. I have to get to sickbay. I have to remain focused. Remain in control ... control my emotions ... keep my mind centred on a goal ... force focus into the tempest of my warring mind. Keep control. Get to sickbay.

She clutched the IDIC pin on its chain tightly in her hand. She gripped it fervently as if it were a lifeline, a totem. It is something physical to hold onto as her mind struggled to grasp something firm and immovable, unyielding, steadfast, to find focus, a centre.

‘A Vulcan feels emotions child, do not fear emotions but learn instead to control them. You control your emotions; your emotions do not control you.' These words beckoned like a mantra. She tried to hold tight to them and to the fleeting grip on the situation. To waver would only permit herself to lose control.

‘A Vulcan feels emotions child, do not fear emotions but learn instead to control them. You control your emotions; your emotions do not control you.' She repeated the words as a mantra. These words T'Vel's grandmother recited often, schooling and scolding the younger T'Vel. Sometimes they were in rebuke, sometimes they were voiced with an understanding compassion. Always intoned seriously, with gravitas, and always for her betterment. Always teaching T'Vel the importance of recognising emotions do run in her heart. That she was Vulcan; but as a Vulcan, she did feel. "Learn to school your emotions as all Vulcans must."

Sickbay. Get to sickbay. She starts repeating it. She sensed the loss of focus and needed the mantra to keep on track. She had to reach sickbay to find a means to help herself. Get to sickbay. You control your emotions; your emotions do not control you.

She staggered forwards on shaky legs. Sickbay lay only a few more doors down the corridor. She needed to reach it.

The doors parted only some.

Feeling almost defeated she hammered lamely on the doors as if in pathetic pity they might open for her. You control your emotions; your emotions do not control you. She clenched the IDIC tighter until it almost drew blood. She called on some reserve hidden and deep. She stuck her fingers into the gap between the doors to gain a purchase and pulled. She pulled with what a human might call a herculean effort to prize the doors apart. But she is Vulcan. Her physical strength is more than many humanoid species. As a Vulcan, she could detach the physical strain from any mental pain. She could push herself to do more than she ought able to do. At any other time. At any other time, with her Vulcan strength it would have cost little to do so. But without the control to ignore the strain upon her body, she struggled mightily with the task, and sagged. But the doors started to hesitantly part, jerking along their runs as she forced them aside.

With her hands on the doorframe, she leaned forward and allowed herself a scream of triumph and defiance. She lurched forwards into the darkened sickbay. Tripping on something solid and fleshy, she toppled forwards. She hits the deck hard. Involuntarily, she allows a small scream and cry of pain to escape her lips.

There was a sudden movement within the dark confines of the sickbay. Her heart leapt. A sudden uncontrollable rush of adrenaline coursed through her body. She recognised the emotion seconds later as fear. She retreated on scarred hands and scraped knees, into a small ball.

She no sooner did than she heard her internal voice chiding, ‘You control your emotions; your emotions do not control you.'

Trembling and afraid, T'Vel fumbled along the body she tripped over pulled out a hand phaser at the side. Plucking it up and pointing it in the direction of the noise she demanded with a wavering, scared voice, "Wh ... wh... who is there?" Again, internally T'Vel chided herself for displaying such vulnerability and such emotional distress. She needed to exert greater control over her failing mental discipline.

"It is me, Dr. Hulx." The Denobulan approached from the dark warily. He held a lowered phaser at his side but his finger remained fixed over the trigger. He looked bewildered and afraid. She could relate. He did not seem however to be affected by whatever had befallen the crew. "How are you ... all the others ...?"

"I do not know." She looks up at him wide eyed with fear. "However, my control is ... slipping. I fear ... I fear that I do not have much longer. I came here ... I need to stop it ... to regain control." She looked at him pleadingly. He approached cagily; his indecision mirrored his wavering trigger finger. "Please, what is happening?

He mades his decision to trust her, slipping his phaser into his medical coat. "I cannot ascertain for sure. But it is clear that the Vulcanoid crew members have been affected by a compound aboard the ship."

"Vulcans account for eighty-nine percent of the crew." She relished in the fact. Grasping at numbers and something definite and measurable was a soothing calm to the gamut of confusion and emotions.

"I know. I fear the situation is lost!"

"Can ... you do anything?" She called out imploring, "Anything?"

He took her arm and lifted her to her feet. "I was trying to work on an antidote. That was before ..." He nodded in the direction of the prone lifeless figure over which she had tripped.

"Dr. Mepek!" The alarm at seeing the chief medical officer dead struck fear into the core of T'Vel. "She is dead."

"Yes. I had to ... I had to defend myself."

They locked eyes with one another, her eyes holding a questioning fear. Will he kill her next? Is he mad in a different guise? He in turn saw how she flinched and retreated in fear from his touch. He wondered at how perilously she held onto her control.

To the Vulcan his touch was discomfiting. At any time for a touch telepathic Vulcan, the touch of another was unbearable but now when her emotional control was in such tumult it was especially so. With the onslaught of so many other emotional distresses to her mind and body, however, she found she could cut it out, ignore the base emotions of the Denobulan, paling as they did to the stronger screaming emotions within her. However, through the touch she was overcome by his fear and the fact that he told the truth.

The doctor shook his head sadly. "I have been unable to come up with an antidote. I think that I have something that can help to counter the effects. It will prove effective to a small degree. It could help give you some semblance of control. But I do not know the side effects it could have or how much protection it can offer."

"We must try. I must ... I need it."

He withdrew his proffered hand with the hypo, uncertain. "It could be as damaging to you."

"Nothing can be as damaging as what I am enduring." Her voice was thick and hoarse as she implored of him, "Give it to me!"

Reluctantly he depressed the hypo to her neck. She gulped upon the medication as if it were a narcotic drug. She still felt the rage within. It was now more like a fire suddenly extinguished. Embers burned still and threatened to reignite if she were not careful. She closed her eyes and savoured the momentary control. It seemed like an eternity since she had quiet within her soul. She basked in the quiet, solitude of thoughts that now seemed more orderly. Yet she knew that it was a lie and a pretence to herself that the peace was but a passing reprieve and a dull pale imitation of her normal reserve of control and mental discipline. Yet she lapped up even this poor peace of mind. It was better than naught and better than the crippling loss of her emotional control.

She opened her eyes, finding herself on her knees in the relief and the delirium of the drug's effect. Grasping the Denobulan's arm gratefully she held it tightly and greedily. "We need to replicate the drug and introduce it to the environmental systems."

"It will not work like that. Our only hope is to escape this region of space and the maladies affecting upon the crew."

As if responding to his words, the ship suddenly pitched sideways, yawing round uncontrollably as outside forces battered its hull. Instruments and equipment clattered to the ground as T'Vel and Hulx careened into one another toppling into the corner as the room's contents crashed and rained down upon them.

"We have little time remaining. I must get to the bridge. I will need your assistance."

His fear and nervousness was plain to see but he steeled himself for the ordeal outside the doors. He looked around for his weapon and T'Vel nodded approvingly, a phaser already in hand. "These are extra supplies of the medication. We may need to top up your system along the way."

She looked at him intently, summoning her mental acuity and logical thinking prowess to the situation. "We can also use it upon any others we meet."

Hulx looked down at the floor sadly. "I fear they may be too far gone for it to be effective." She nodded resignedly. But they had to try.

* * *

 

The corridors were largely empty. They came across several dead figures. Necks broken. Throats slashed. Bodies stabbed. Heads bludgeoned. The violence was brutal. Indiscriminate. Rage filled. The dead victims that were Vulcan showed signs of being in the grip of violent madness. The contorted faces of rage were frozen in macabre rictus mortus. And as they progressed nearer to the bridge the violence and number of dead bodies increased.

The ship continued to pull and skew within the tempest of the outside conditions. Several more times they found themselves thrown to the deck or harshly against the bulkheads. The length of the ship groaned and creaked under the relentless storm.

The sensations were familiar to her. She had spent the last number of decades charting and examining the Wash with little success of understanding it. Her research had ended fruitless; she had been unable to convince either Starfleet or the Vulcan Science Academy to continue pursuing it. Until! Until ... until ...? Her mind could not grasp at the memory. The image of the man called McGregor summoned to her mind again. Him and a Kzinti. And another ...

T'Vel struggled as she tried to make sense of her jumbled memories. But as the ship flailed within the ion storm she knew the sensation at least from memory. "We are sinking deeper within the Wash." She stopped and massaged her temple. She took a small moment before beginning to pick her way through the dead in the corridor, the emptied contents of lockers and the debris of ruined computer panels and exposed panels. Her tricorder warbled as she held it ahead of their path. She swept the way ahead, seeking for any movement or life sign, in her other hand T'Vel propped the phaser under the tricorder.

"Do you need another injection?"

"Not ... not yet. We have to conserve our supplies. The ship's systems appear badly damaged. It may take some time to repair them. I will have need for the medication then. We must keep moving." She took a deep breath to steel herself before walking on.

They came at last to the bridge. The doors were stuck midway open but they managed to squeeze through the opening. Inside the lights flickered and the consoles ebbed with fluctuating power. The viewscreen mirrored the state of many smashed computer stations. T'Vel quickly identified the station for environmental controls. She steered Hulx towards it but it was destroyed.

"Take me to the Ops station." She hoarsely commanded, pointing the way.

Hulx carefully guided her towards it. They both were trying to conserve her strength and the medication. However, he saw how quickly she was failing. "Not before I give you this." Injecting the hypospray against her protests, he brokered no argument. T'Vel belied her protests, sighing in satisfaction with the release of the drug. "Quickly!" He had to shout in order to bring the Vulcan to from her short found delirium. "I do not know much about starship controls but I understand that our systems are close to failure."

"I will ... attempt to rectify the situation. Try ... calling for emergency help on the comm. system." It took long labouring moments but she established the shields again protecting the ship better from the storms outside. She began to work on the navigational controls. It tasked her to do so. Her concentration was growing poorer.

Hulx started, his face puffing up defensively as a noise in the corridor outside alarmed him. Her reactions were slower and dulled, she noted abstractly. The drugs, or what had affected the crew at large, had made her very vulnerable when she needed to be alert. She pointed her phaser in the direction of the door and armed it, ready to fire. Her tricorder fell to the floor. She needed to lean on the computer console for support and could not get out of the seat. Her mind screamed at her to run.

The doctor looked to her for direction, this even though he knew her to be compromised. He did not have the experience she had. But her experience failed her now as did her aim as her phaser wavered in the air. Her body betrayed her.

The noise continued to get closer. Something was moving towards the open door. In all probability, it was most likely one of the Vulcan crewmembers driven mad and violent. T'Vel knew that she ought to act to stop them entering the bridge but fear and indecision incapacitate her.

"I think I can hear more than one." Hulx said, in a distressed whisper.

There was a voice. It called out from the gloom from the outside corridor. It was clearly deranged. It clearly was seeking them out. As were the others with it. "All will die!" The Vulcan voice called out again. It sent a chill up her spine. Her outstretched hand trembled. The shuffling figures made their way closer to the door. Closer. Closer. "All will die!" Closer.

They pounced! Charging through the door like a rabid pack. T'Vel and Hulx both discharged their weapons. They fell one, then two figures. However, their shots were wild and poorly aimed. The weapon fire created a maelstrom of violence around the door. Sparks. Smoke. Burning detritus blooming outward as the demented figures raced through it and descended upon them.

Hulx went down quickly. His neck snapped as his face was scratched and pulled on. The two remaining Vulcans turned their attention on T'Vel who kicked and snapped the neck of her first attacker. Her phaser lay on the deck smashed.

She launched herself from the chair and towards the door. They grabbed her and hauled her down to the deck. She kicked and screamed defiantly. Her heel crushed the eye socket of one attacker. She pressed the advantage home and continued to pulverise his face. He slumped to the deck unconscious. Likely dead. The other figure grappled along the deck, hauling himself over the body of the other to grab at her. She squirmed away furiously. He snatched at her ankle! She kicked him in the face and he released his hold. He hissed, "All will die! By the words of T'Kas, all will die!"

"T'Kas?!" Why was he speaking about the Vulcan High Priestess in such terms?

Despite her fear and puzzlement, T'Vel battered the would-be snatcher with a broken shard of metal, battering him until he lay still. She scrambled away to the corner near to the door.  Her fear was overwhelming. She could not find her medication and she was too afraid to stumble back over the attackers' bodies. But she knew she could not remain here. Her fear however, rooted her to the spot, paralysing her as she tried to fight the fear and fight for control.

She squeezed her eyes shut tight. Her grandmother's lecture sounded in her head.

"Fear. It is one of the most powerful emotions." The grey haired woman stands over T'Vel imperiously.

"I struggle with it but I will do better."

A thin eyebrow arches at the answer. "Why do you struggle to overcome your emotions?"

"There is no logic in emotions."

"Is fear not logical? Does it not rightly urge us to flee when we face danger? Does it not compel us to seek protection and safety? Fear is logical my child. But to be held hostage by fear is not logical, only debilitating. However, to feel fear is to know when to use caution and when to flee. Your emotions do not control you. You control your emotions."

T'Vel knew that her discipline was shattered. She could recall the lessons of her grandmother but she could not regain her control. But she could feel. Could feel fear. Could feel fear and knew that she ought to escape. Ought to flee to safety. Ought to run. She drew in the fear.

The last attacker stirred. He was not dead and was now slowly coming to. T'Vel stared at him but did not move. Did not run. She knew that at any moment he would suddenly throw himself at her and attack. But the fear she fought coiled in her gut and clamped the joints in her limbs.

She had to remember her lessons. Your emotions do not control you. You control your emotions. But she could not maintain the control But she could try to summon strength from the emotional onslaught. She could use the logic of fear to defend herself. She embraced the cold, quivering, unsettling, disturbing emotion. She saw the logic in its call.

She got to her feet shakily. She stared at the awakening attacker the entire time. He was coming to more and more. Her window of escape was getting shorter. She had to flee now! Run! Now! Now! She screamed to herself. She started to run. She ran in fear. She ran to safety. She ran.

* * *

"Why do you run?" The voice seems imperious and aloof, but T'Vel sensed her Grandmother's testing was also curious.

"Physical activity is important. A healthy body helps to ensure a healthy mind."

"But why do you run?"

"Running improves cardiovascular and respiratory health as well as reducing ..."

"I understand the benefits of running. Why do you choose to run?"

"It benefits the whole body."

Her grandmother stands over her, from the gallery to her study, and studies her granddaughter in turn. "Why do you run? There are any number of physical exercises that have similar benefits. You choose to run."

"I find it meditative."

"Indeed. Why is that? You run in the desert. You test your physical stamina and your mental prowess. Why do you push yourself so?"

T'Vel clasped her hands behind her back and stood straight as she looked up at her grandmother. "I seek to push myself so that I might improve my discipline of mind and body."

"So you run from your emotions."

* * *

 

She tripped through the corridors, the sounds of scuffling feet following her. Her senses, compromised by the overwhelming emotions and loss of discipline and fear, pushed her relentlessly onward so she doesn't stop to gather her bearings. T'Vel gasped as she came to the crawl way between the Oberth's saucer section and engineering hull. The step on transporter pad was damaged, which meant this was a dead end. Unless ... to escape her pursuers she had no other option but to squeeze into the crawl way and descend below through the thin precarious struts that joined the two.

Gripping the sides of the slanting stairwell T'Vel peered down into the dark abysses. Sounds from behind made her flinch and look backwards fearfully. She had no other option. She must face the dark pit. She took a steadying breath and stopped the tears that spilled down her face.

T'Vel took one rung at a time, slowly descending. The crawl space was narrow, the lights broken and the air choked with smoke. Still she continued on, slipping on the rungs, her hands slick with sweat and her smeared blood. She grew more and more woozy with the blood loss and it became another ordeal to try to overcome.

She suddenly slipped. She dropped in the stairwell, screaming out as she fell. Her leg caught in a rung and twisted up behind her as she continued to fall. There was a sickening crunch as it broke and T'Vel became snared and trapped in the well. She screamed out wildly. Her tears fell with abandon as she called out in pain.

Other cries answered hers. From above movement and sounds came. They followed her screams down into this pit. Whoever it was was coming after her. She had to fight against the pain. She had to twist her leg, sickeningly wrenching the broken bone so that she can free herself. It cost her dearly to do so. She screamed again.

She fell out of the stairwell. Her broken leg meant she could not stand so T'Vel crawled away from the stairs. She sensed the others looming closer. She crawled on frantically. Her fear being the only thing calling on her, keeping her mind alert. It was now a matter of survival and escape. But her ankles were suddenly snatched!

She turned round horrified and the maddened eyes of the Vulcan attacker from the bridge met hers. His face was smashed and bloodied and twisted in fury. He hauled on her ankles, pulling T'Vel to him across the floor. Her fingers clawed for a purchase to resist. His strength overpowered hers, wrenching her into his grasp.

Once again, T'Vel kicked out, smashing her boot into his face repeatedly. He laughed at her. His hands crawled up her legs, her broken leg screamed in agony. T'Vel gritted her teeth and jutted her knee into his chin. He reared up letting her go.

She scrambled away frantically. He roared. He pursued calling out, "ALL WILL DIE!"

He tramped down on her ankles, smashing the bone. She screamed out in agony. He dropped to his knees, falling atop of her. His knees crashed into her stomach and lungs, winding her and stabbing her body with pain. He leered down, his hand reaching down for her. T'Vel screamed, vainly batting him off but her strength has failed her as this Vulcan picked her up and tossed her against the bulkhead. Her body slammed into the wall and collapsed to the floor.

The Vulcan came up to her. His hands reached out again. T'Vel tried to raise herself and try to run away, but her arms were too weak and buckled under her. His hands reached out forming the meld position. He threw T'Vel onto her back and leered down upon her body.

He hissed, "Her katra needs a vessel. T'Kas will live on ... in you. All others must die!"

She shrank back, trying to escape his clutches but his hands descended. He grabbed her by the throat, his other hand loomed round, inching closer to her temple. The fingers splayed out. She shook her head frantically but the hand at her throat caught her tighter and tightened its grip on her chin making resistance futile. "No! I won't let you do this! No!"

"You cannot stop it. T'Kas resides in me. But she soon her katra will reside with thee. She will be reborn."

"NOOO!"

She felt his power; his strength and his mind overwhelm hers.  She screamed. He bore down upon her. His heinous face loomed over her, his vile breath on her face, heavy and rank. Trampling over her protests, forcing himself on her and into her mind.

His splayed fingers attached to the side of her face in a vice like grip. But their contact was nothing to the contact of his mind breaking through her barriers to make with her. "Yessssssss! My mind to your mind ..."

"Why?" she implored painfully, her body and soul exposed, torn asunder.

He pulled her down, even as he pushed deeper into her mind, "I told you." She kicked with her legs, she bit with her teeth, she clawed with her nails. But he bore down like a rabid dog. Into her ear he hissed, "ALL MUST DIE"

"My mind to your mind, your mind to mind, my mind to your mind."

T'Vel fought the violation of mind and body but he pushed through her defences brutally. She could not fight him off. She could not even run away...

On his collar, she caught the glint of light on a metal pin. He wore an IDIC pin. She transfixed her eyes and soul upon it. He assaulted her and with no course to escape, she tried to escape into her mind, fixating upon the symbol of Mount Seleya.

The voice of his mind in her mind was chilling, galling, and an aberration and then ... there is another presence, another voice!

Her voice. The voice of T'Kas! The mind of T'Kas. And T'Kas laughed within T'Vel's skull. She laughed with wild ecstasy and abandon. T'Kas had found a vessel worthy of her mind. T'Vel whimpered at the assault, it was no violation of the mind. T'Kas intended to steal hers.

T'Vel screamed in horror and T'Kas laughed ... "You cannot run from me!"

* * *



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