The Attack
by Suz

Kashyk is having disturbing dreams...

Disclaimer - yeah yeah.


There is a dream that I have, sometimes. Not often, but every term or so I'll wake up a little disoriented, perhaps a little disturbed.

The fact that I remember the entirety of the dream is strange in itself. I dream rarely, and when I do all I can remember is fragments; distorted, blurry outlines, more like afterimages. But this particular dream for some particular reason...I remember all of it.

It is a dream of a memory, perfect in every detail. It always starts at the same instant; I am part way through inspecting a plasma-refining vessel that's suspected of harbouring telepaths. They may have achieved space flight, but they are not a sophisticated race. Their years of leaving their planet behind to explore the galaxy have only just begun to pass, and they are still naive enough to believe they are doing the telepaths a favour by hiding them. They don't even realise the danger of those they protect.

We give the owners of the vessel a warning - a detailed investigation into their ship's records and an assessment of their progress as a civilisation led to the conclusion that it was not their intent to harm anyone.

Ignorance is hardly an excuse of course, so we remove one member of their crew as punishment. In this particular case it's a middle-aged female. She is intelligent for a member of her race, and she will prove most useful in assisting us at the relocation centres. I watch her as she says goodbye to her...friends? agreeing to board our vessel.

Before we leave, the investigation must be completed. Two telepaths have been found and removed already. One is female, the other male; apparently mates. Bioscans of the female show that she had given birth within the last five years. Close scrutiny of their behaviour gives indications of specifically who to look for next. They appear to be close individuals who would prefer to keep their familial group together. The child would not be far, and she is perhaps more dangerous than the parents. She is young and will be far less disciplined in the use of her abilities. Most Devore are now able to block against unwarranted telepathic scans, but the risk cannot be taken.

I find her eventually myself, hiding inside an extraction tank. She is filthy, frightened, and barely able to breathe. I can tell just by looking at her that she had been inside there for days, hiding. I'm suddenly disgusted at her parents that they could do that to her, that they would rather let her hide in filth then let her stay clean and well fed in a relocation centre.

Lifting her out of the tank I set her down on the deck and then she looks at me, meeting my gaze with her own. She's still frightened, still terrified...but she thanks me.

She thanks me.

And for one moment I consider something. Something that displays a flagrant lack of respect for the rules of our society. Yet...Prax is not with me, he's gone to inspect another extraction tank. I could quite easily...

It passes.

My instant of rebellion and madness passes and I know I'm about to do the right thing.


The child is startled at my sudden yell but she remains still as Prax appears from behind another extraction tank.

When he sees that I have found her, something that could almost qualify as satisfaction passes over his face. It is still the happiest I have ever seen him.

"Very good, Inspector," he tells me and I know he's ridiculously proud of me which is ridiculous because I'm his superior.

Still, that thought doesn't seem to cross his mind. Reaching the child he extends his hand and grabs her arm. "You will come with me. You will not struggle."

She complies. I have yet to see anyone actually argue with Prax, although a few have come close.

They leave the room and I am left in the extraction facility by myself.

This is where the dream differs from reality.

I am just about to leave when I hear a thumping noise coming from the extraction tank I had rescued the child from. Frowning, I turn back only to hear the thump again. There was no one else in there...I am certain of it...

Climbing carefully inside the tank through the hatch, I try to see through the murkiness. It can't possibly be healthy for me to be in here, but I continue and breathe as shallowly as possible.

It's then that I see it. Just a vague outline because of the poor lighting, but there's definitely a body on the far side.

Then I see the hair. And suddenly I instantly know the colour and whose it is.

But this couldn't be happening. I didn't meet her until three months later...

Yet she is there. It has never been said that a mind requires logic to dream.

What do I do with her? Had everything gone as planned during our encounter with Voyager, I would have kept her in my quarters and - hopefully - even eventually persuade her to try and understand why I had to do what I do.

And in the dream, memories of sex that never happened flood into my mind.

My personal favourite is on the bridge of Voyager, her crew watching.

I had thought her unconscious but she seems to sense my weakness because suddenly she's up and coming towards me. I barely see the attack coming before it hits.

Something moving.

A hot pain across my neck.

Blood. Blood.

Kathryn standing over me, looking down with the knife in her hand. She is not smiling.

It surprises me everytime I dream it, but she says nothing. She simply watches me for a while as I lay, dying. Eventually - as I'm about to die - she walks towards the hatch and steps out. Looking back she throws the knife in before slamming the hatch closed. It is the last thing I see.

The sound of the hatch closing echoing terrifyingly loud through the tank, manages to make me wince, even as I die.

The last sound I hear is the sound of my own hand moving through my own blood.

That is when I wake.

That is when I sit up, reach for my uniform and start my day.

That is when I face another day with Prax's constant frowns.

That is another day.


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