USS VINDEX - NCC-2474-A
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When You Stare Into the Abyss...

Posted on Thu Oct 5th, 2017 @ 4:18am by Major Storr Garlake & Lieutenant JG Jaya Maera Garlake

Mission: S2E1 - Secrets
Location: USS Vindex - Deck 25 (MCO/Counselor Quarters)
Timeline: Mission Day 104: 2145

So this is where you are. Rock bottom.

I say YOU because you are the one who set my world on fire… while watching all those I love burn. But that didn’t matter, did it? You found your love at the bottom of that see-through iodized hypospray refill canister you now call wife. Oh, and don’t forget about your 750-milliliter mistress who is always game for a late night booty call. The world was burning, but you didn’t give a flyin’ frack because you had both arms occupied with a dirty secret love affair.

Now those two dominate your every thought, your innermost being. You know the lust and desire have turned into a PERNICIOUS LOVE. They are the first thing you think of when you wake up and the last thing you think about as you pretend to fall into some lost circadian rhythm.

You shut your eyes and feel those demons creeping in and wonder if you have what it takes to battle yet another prehistoric poppy field of rage. You’re not sure if you can handle it, so you keep your wife and mistress on speed dial. Wait…better we just get naked and frack before the dragon spits its fire into your soul. The ceiling corrodes while the durasteel slowly falls on your face like a feather in the breeze…

It’s okay though…

….it’s all going to be okay because you wake up from your nightmare amidst the makeshift couch pillow you involuntarily built at some point in your deranged sleepless night. Not sure if they are serving as a barrier for sleep or as a barrier to life.

For better or worse, the once familiar stranger who calls herself your wife will resume her normal life as she steps over you, or maybe around you, on her way out the door to counsel others that need far less work than you.

It’s okay though...

Besides, those late night booty calls have morphed into something organically and tangibly real. You know this because you haven’t seen breakfast over coffee in weeks (or has it been months?) Love blinds time. What does it matter? Looking at the chronometer that grips your wrist was a waste of time anyway. You know that no matter what, your two secret lovers will always be there. Maybe they should meet…

Your first three-way date is in the holodeck. You don’t know where you’re going, but as long as the three of you are together, everything will be fine. Going fast in the randomly generated water speedster arouses carnal desires, making all three of you cry out and moan in lust. Eventually, you realize the primal screams almost drown out the computer's call for communication links. You ignore it, you’ve got things to do. Like exploring that river with the towering security shield pole at the end…. you know the one… the river where full throttle can reach max speed…. you know the one…

At least you get to see your former family every morning, right?? Your once favorite photo of your alleged wife remains in that now-broken frame next to your filing cabinet on your office floor. You haven’t picked it up because the glass cuts you at each attempt and you think the blood looks kinda nice anyway. Sometimes, especially after a visit from your secret lovers, the only thing that distracts you from that haunting and ever-present frame is the beautiful matte silver finish of your ever trusty, metallic best friend. Never leave home without him. He’s always got your back. He even promised that if you can’t handle your ionized wife and milliliter mistress, he can protect you. You know he’s your closest confidant because you cried hard together without judgment when you first fractured that picture frame. Even when he is staring down the back of your throat, he never judges you. Last morning (or was it evening? doesn’t matter), he asked if he could hang out with you and your women. He promised not to be “that guy,” he just wanted to sit and watch. He promised he would only come out if anyone started screaming. You know you love him because he never lies to you. Your best friend will always keep a secret; your best friend will never break a promise.

At some point in the afternoon (or was it morning?), you scroll through your old photos on the LCARS and try to remember the man, the hitter of hitters, in the pictures. Talk about a man crush. Would you look at the size of that guy? He must’ve been at least 220 pounds naked....larger than you! You vaguely remember stories of him tossing around bad guys like Ferrengi throwing a dabo. But then you remember hearing that he lost his mind some time ago. He couldn’t handle his kids putting his socks on for him… he couldn’t handle his mother washing his hair for him…. he couldn’t handle his beautiful wife wiping his rear. Frack was she beautiful…so you remember.

The days no longer exist. What does a day matter if the world is on fire anyway? You know life still aimlessly rotates because your two women and best friend ensure the world will never stop spinning. Unless you ask them to make it stop….

You beg for the empty feeling in your chest to stop. You beg for the pain in your bones to just go away. You try to cry, but you haven’t felt tears since it was cold outside. And when was the last time you felt that? Every now again you hear a chirp from the comm panel, but you eventually beg for that to stop too.

Who wants to talk? They don’t know you. They think that your squad doesn’t have your best interest at heart. But you know better. Those green lit messages mean nothing because they can’t keep a promise like your best friend….your best friend never breaks a promise.

One night, (or was it morning? doesn’t matter), the world still spins just for you. You finally concede to your metallic best friend and invite him to join your ritual threesome. He hesitantly agrees. You laugh with a positive affirmation of love. The screams start earlier than usual, but that’s okay. Sometimes you can swallow them whole. Your four-sided office becomes a triangle of palpable faces, and you’re not sure if you’re laying on the floor or standing on the ceiling. Seeing how fracked up you are, your bro asks if you’re alright. He’s here for you. Soon, you violently expel both of your women from inside of you via the round-file cabinet – they always leave behind the feeling of unconditional love without the small talk.

Now, it’s bro time; metal on metal sliding, giving way to the electronic humm gives you the feels. "This is it!," you assure him, no more hesitation. He makes you promise. You force a smile as you raise your right your hand. You decide to count down together.

Here we go.
Finally.
Let’s do this.

Four
(the world stops its spin on the axis of which you pretend to exist… you know love only as a distant memory… any meaning of continuation stops for one remaining glimpse… the stimulus is a radical rush of life’s encore…)

Three
(that blerrie comm chirp turns into a disgusting, distracting amplified noise of second thoughts …Frack the standing ovation!)

Two
(it’s so bright, your bro starts shaking under your uncontrollable nightmare, you made a promise though… see it through, fracker…)

One
(here. we. go. But, wait …you press the silent button, so the light doesn’t destroy your darkness, but then you see it…. only for a microsecond, but you see it…the shattered picture frame with that vaguely familiar face in blood-covered glass….)

Zero
YOU SCREAM AND CLENCH YOUR TEETH SO HARD THEY BREAK AGAINST THE METAL, so you SCREAM LOUDER, BITE HARDER….

DOOOOOO IT MOTHERFRACKER… END THIS SHIIIIIIII!!!!!! (vowing to keep your promise but you can’t stop looking at those strangers at your feet)

silence……….



…………exhale

You crumble into the small-pile carpet and do what you promised your best friend you’d never do — you let him go.

You ache for his attention, but he is silent. Doesn’t even appear to care. But it doesn’t matter. That persistent picture frame has somehow moved itself next your unrecognizable face. You can make out a reflection in the fragmented glass, but barely. You’re not sure who he is, but he stares back at you…only deeper. You ask him what he’s doing here…

…he speaks without saying a word…

You hurt. But you know. Fear is good. Pain is better.

So this is where WE are. Rock Bottom. But I am alive…and that’s a start.

*****

Storr stood before the door to the room, his burly hand covering the sensor to keep the chime from activating or it from opening. His breath was still ragged from the pandamonium in the office and his forehead and arms from the muscle shirt's neckline down were glistening with sweat while he held the slightly leaning position against the bulkhead. He needed a shower, a drink, and a woman (not necessarily in that order) but something kept him in the hall.

He closed his eyes and imagined-no, knew-that his conjugal young bride was awaiting him, even preparing for his arrival. Her transition from independent, single careerist to a budding housewife (with counseling on the side, naturally) was as startling as it was foreign to Deltan culture...much like a fish to a bicycle. Yet, here she was in their room with dinner ready on the table, a smile on her face, a come-hither look in her eyes, a skirt with stockings...blerrie, he loved stockings.

As Garlake's mind began rapidly descending into the carnal, he attempted to move into the door but his body refused to go. It took nearly the remainder of his strength to slide his hand away from the frame, the door instantly opening and depositing him (stumbling more than walking) into their quarters.

"Hello, soldier," Jaya said with sultry seduction. "What's your pleasure?"

The MCO's gaze met hers, his mind awash with a strange brew of desire, panic, love, repulsion, envy, adoration, rejection, and a smattering of others. He blinked once. Twice. Then the distinct feeling of falling.

*THUD*

"Storr!" Jaya rushed forward and slid to his side on her knees. "My love, are you well?" She checked his vitals. Though her medical knowledge was rather limited, he seemed fine to her. "Storr!" she cried out, slapping her hands against his chest.

The MCO's eyes suddenly snapped open at the contact, the room spinning and swimming in a tighter and tighter circle until it locked into place with e a jolt. His dilated pupils coming into focus, he looked Jaya up and down before speaking.

"I...you..." he began before a soft groan escaped his lips as he pressed his eyes shut tightly to try and squeeze away the nausea of emotions that roiled within his being. They snapped open again, this time lucid and with a tinge of fire behind his blue eyes.

"My pleasure is you, Deltan...to have you and be had by you." He nearly growled, sitting up and wrapping her in his arms, his lips searching hungrily for hers.

Jaya giggled at his advances, but something felt... off. "Storr, you just fainted. Are you sure you're all right?"

Storr rotated about his hip over her's and pinned Jaya to the ground, his hands holding her wrists to the floor as his knees tucked in against hers, virtually negating any possibility of escape. "Never better...Come here, you little minx." As he leaned forward and nuzzled her neck, the waft of her floral perfume caused his world to begin spinning again, though another smell caused it to stop suddenly, throwing him mentally from the just-accelerating merry-go-round and land face-first in the proverbial mud.

"You met with him, didn't you," he said, slowly rising back to his crawling position over her. Garlake's voice took on a steeled tone, one that he had yet to ever use with his new bride (and in normal times, never wished to).

"Met with whom?" Jaya struggled against his hands a bit. "Storr, I meet with many people..."

"No No NO! Him! That confounded sociopath doctor! He..." the MCO began before grunting with his eyes closed and opening them again to pierce Jaya's brown gaze.

"What?" Jaya gasped with surprise. "How... what do you know of him? Has he done something?"

Storr shook his head. "Him? No. Who knows? He has no soul. But you...you meet with him. With Akiva. With other men which makes me...me..." his face turned beet red at first from shame but then in anger as his hands flew up to his eyes and covered them, his body quaking. "Think of other women. Why do you vex me so?" The last sentence was nearly yelled as an accusing statement rather than a question.

The raging jealousy threatened to pin Jaya to the ground by raw emotive force alone... which said nothing of his profound mass looming over her. It was a side to her husband that Jaya had always sensed in hiding but never witnessed before.

"Storr... please, you're hurting me," Jaya said. Fear tugged at the corners of her mind, but she pushed it away like an ocean wave. "What has gotten into you?"

Then it dawned on her. This is what the elders had warned against. Storr was under duress from frequent and prolonged contact with a consciousness greater than his own.

"You are losing yourself, my love," Jaya whispered. "I am so sorry... but I won't let you go so easily."

Jaya wiggled her arms free and set her hands against her husband's cheeks. "Look into my eyes," she commanded. "Listen to my voice. Feel me."

"Listen to you? FEEL you? That's all you are! A dominating force in..." his words stopped abruptly as his body shuddered like a leaf struggling to remain attached to its branch. Then, just as the quaking aspen lets loose a singular leaf, Storr's body became still and stumbled to the ground like so many sacks of potatoes.

And she was in. Jaya loosened her grip on Storr's face, for she had hold of him by other means. His mind opened to her look a maelstrom at high sea, swirling with passions and confusion. In this place, Jaya loomed over Storr in the way he towered over her physically.

~Let go of the vengeance. Let go of the dead weight~ Jaya impressed upon him. ~I will change what is in remiss~

The fracture lines were obvious now. Jaya chided herself for not seeing them before. As a mirror is shattered into numerous shards, so Storr was fragmented into so many pieces. Each time their minds had joined in union with their bodies, his psyche had been perforated by her own. That he had not broken before now was a testament to his resilience. In fact, his own love for her bound him to her, serving to reshape him in her image.

~Storr, remember who you are!~

Light pulsed from a central point at a seemingly infinite distance, colors and patterns mixing and gyrating together to a maddening cacophony of sound and brilliance. The din and colors beat to an unknown drum, faster and faster until they stopped as quickly as they had started, the MCO deposited unceremoniously onto an elevated platform. surrounded by darkness.

He could see nothing but knew that he was not alone.

"Hello?" the Afrikaner called out, his voice deadened by a nearly corporeal blackness surrounding him. As soon as the words had escaped his lips, he felt like a fool. Who else would be here with him other than her? Her. The one who dominated him in the one way he had no control over. Who towered over him like the elephant to the mouse. One moment. Two. More.

The darkness parted, though it was replaced by another darkness, this time with massive shape and form. A giant hand extended from it, attempting to grasp Storr but he refused its grip, jumping over the side as a tunnel of blackness formed with a white light at the bottom. The bottom rushed closer and closer until he landed on a smooth, white surface. The light was blinding as he shielded his eyes, the clean, piercing rays still illuminating his vision despite his best attempts to protect avert his gaze.

"You are Storr Garlake," Jaya said both with her mouth and her soul. "Do not forget who you are."

Then it became clear. The hazardous risk of a Deltan subsuming a Terran mind laid solely within the universal union of sexual oneness with other Deltans. It ran antithetical to the intimate bond of Terran monogamy. Jaya knew what she had to do.

"My love," Jaya said with every fiber of her being, "I am yours and yours alone."

And then she released him.

The voice, the presence then...nothing. Cold, hard reality slammed back into his skull, his body suddenly soaked with sweat as if completely and suddenly wrapped in a sopping towel. His fully dilated pupils began constricting and bringing resolution to his world while his rapid breathing slowed to a more manageable pace. Storr blinked away liquid from his eyes and rubbed them with large, exaggerated movements.

"What..." he began, shaking his head before immediately regretting the action. Steadying his head with both hands, he waited a moment before continuing.

"I can't compare to you." was the simple revelation that escaped his lips. They were painful words, yet true to the core. The Marine Commanding Officer, commander of the 2/5, pride of his family, envy of his men was...inadequate. It was a feeling that he had had twice now in as many months and the humility was starting to crack his mental foundation.

"In some ways, no," Jaya conceded, "just as I cannot compare to you in others. I finally understand Terran monogamy now. You achieve oneness with an individual rather than all people. It is the oneness which matters, and we have that." She reached her hand up to stroke her hurting husband's face. "There will never be any other than you, my love, so I can let you go and know full well you will still be with me. Release me from your fear of rejection, and you will know the same peace."

And he did.

 

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