Welcome to the next installment of Captain’s Journey. In case you have missed the previous parts, here they are in order.
- Bad Dreams
- Call the Question
- Dreams Remembered
- Desperate Measures
- Picking up the Pieces
- First Contact
- Danger Close
- Down Below Station
- Spider’s Web
- You can’t go home again
- Scarlet Empress
The disparate sensory information from sharing memories is overwhelming. I am an alien inside my own body. I have all these extra parts but no functional knowledge of how to operate anything. The other memories are so real yet so distant from my experience that my nervous system quails at their processing.
I try not to do this with someone that has recently tried to kill me as it leaves me very vulnerable. I sit there in front of her and struggle to pull everything back together because I know that the things that I have let her see can be taken in so many ways that don’t end up good for me.
The mistress of the Scarlet Empress is, in addition to being a trained assassin, one of the preeminent telepaths in human space. I watch as she quickly regains her composure and a myriad of emotions course across her face as what she has learned sinks in.
“I know you are in there struggling to get control of your body after the transfer. You were always a very poor telepath and your ship was wise to provide you with a neural transmitter to allow it to communicate with it regardless of distance.”
She reaches out and caresses my face.
“You weren’t lying to me when you told me that you loved my brother. This is a good thing. To tell the truth, this is the main reason you aren’t bleeding out on my floor at this moment.”
She pauses and looks upon my face with both anguish and disdain.
“Know this. You may have loved him but you killed him as well. I know the hand-wringing you’ve done in regards to this and the lies that you’ve been told about how it isn’t your fault.”
She traces my jaw-line with one of her well manicured nails.
“It is though. If you had put time and effort into honing your control and learning more about your own capabilities, this would not have happened.”
She places her left hand on my cheek and slaps my face with her right. The pain is sharp as she is not holding back. I want to jump up and flee but my body is still trying to sort out what is me and what is memory.
“You have me all twisted up inside. I want to kill you for what you’ve done to my brother but I could kiss you for the information about Spider and the Kossun. I don’t think you entirely understand the value of those two pieces of information.”
She leans forward, much like Hakar had done the day before and touches her forehead to mine. She runs her hands down the sides of my face and then pulls them away from from my body.
“I so want to end you right now. The pain that you have given me is so great. I am giving you a chance to redeem yourself because I think he would have wanted me to do that. You may speak to Hakar and see if he will become one of your crew. From your encounter earlier, this is a foregone conclusion. He will be able to help you recover even faster than what you can now.”
It takes some effort but I’m able to croak out, “Recover?”
In the blink of an eye, she produces a thin stiletto and puts three deep holes into my chest. Each wound strategically placed to cause the most pain with the least worry of killing me. I try to scream and can only manage a ululating gurgle. She pushes me back and I fall unceremoniously onto her antique rug. I see the ceiling above me flashing red in a manner similar to how the display in my room had worked after my nightmare. The light forms a statement in an alien tongue but I am able to understand it. Retrofit: required/ Biome: Compromised.
I have no clue what it means but it certainly seems ominous and really damn inconvenient. Now is not the best time to tell me something.
I feel my consciousness fraying at the edge as the pain is eating away at it. My vision is sparkling as my body goes into shock. A Large canine head hoves into view and I hear a low basso rumble come from that frightening yet peaceful face.
“All will be well, Jaxx. I have seen worse wounds than this inflicted by the mistress of the house. She has given me leave to take care of you, and for this I am grateful.”
I attempt to tell him I am not grateful for being stabbed. Not one bit. It comes out a burble of syllables that makes no sense. The look on Hakar’s face indicates he understood the sentiment of my gibberish if not the actually meaning. Hooray for my rescuer being an empath.
Hakar places his large clawed paw on my chest. I feel the individual digits splay across my chest and shoulder. He begins a low rolling chant that vibrates my chest with it’s harmonics. I can feel his Talent easing across my skin and dipping into the wound. He picks up the damaged threads of my being and begins reweaving them.
Underneath this peaceful rhythm, a cold malice seeps in carrying Thesaly’s voice.
“Never speak to me again Jaxx. I can not stand the sight of you. If I ever can again, I will tell you.”
She cuts off the mental touch and the warm energy of Hakar once more envelopes me. His cadence is only broken for a moment to make a quick statement.
“You will sleep as one of us and recover. Then we shall discuss the future.”
He takes up the melody again and I feel his power and the will of the V’sharn. Sleep follows hard upon the heels of the song and I am pulled down into its warm embrace.
I wake with no sense of how much time has passed. The room is dimly lit and carries the scent of cinnamon and other scents that are pleasing but difficult to identify. It takes a moment to register upon my somnambulant mind that I am not home. What has gone before quickly comes crashing in and I realize that I am lying, naked, with Hakar and a large number V’sharn in the Scarlet Empress. I reach up and touch where Thesaly had stabbed me and feel smooth, unscarred skin.
“Totally worth it.”