The Memories of My Kin
Posted on Sun Feb 13th, 2022 @ 1:09am by Lieutenant Commander Emni t'Nai & Lieutenant Serana Zhaan & Lieutenant Kennedy Ryan Walsh & Ensign Noah Balsam & Ghani & Ensign Sheldon Parsons
Edited on on Sun Feb 13th, 2022 @ 1:20am
Sojourners of Time
Location: Ema'harai Chamber 2
Timeline: Mission Day 8 at 1900
[Ema'harai Chamber 2]
[The City of Megrethon]
[MD 8: 1900 Hours]
The Ema'harai Chamber was small. Intimate, Emni thought to herself as she took a seat between Serana Zhaan and Sharrina Blackstone. The empath had left her emotional senses largely unguarded, both curious about their Talbeethian guide as well as interested to get a feel for how those in this group reacted to the experience.
Emni had been particularly excited to learn that Serana had been invited to participate in the ritual with their guide. The Romulan woman found the Ops Chief's particular ability to draw on generational memory to be fascinating. As someone who had only her own memories of her home to call on, the idea of being able to reach back in the history of Romulus was an alluring fantasy. She knew the reality of this ability was likely far different for Serana, but she couldn't help a bit of envy that crept into her thoughts.
"Ready for this?" she asked the other woman as she settled.
Sharrina frowned as she watched the people enter and move about. Too many people for the space. Too many ways this could go terribly wrong security-wise. Emni's question, quietly spoken, made her look over at the other woman. "As ready as I can be," she answered, replacing her frown with a small smile.
Az swished across the room, her indigo robes gave the illusion that she floated. She gave a small bow to the ladies who had arrived, "Tea," she offered them a pink liquid which smelled similar to Earthen lilacs. "Please, drink."
The security officer in Sharrina wanted to scan the beverage first to be sure that there was nothing harmful in it, and she thought of the perfect excuse. "May I scan the beverage first?" she asked very politely. "Klingon physiology is very different from others," she added by way of explanation, hoping that she would not give offense.
"You do not trust very easy?" Az asked, but offered, "If it would make you feel safe to scan the tea, you may do so."
Serana, already seated near the first officer, waited. Racial memory, all that they had of their past since the exodus, was something she had lived with for most of her life. There wasn't, in her experience, any way to prepare and so, she waited to see what would happen and where it would take her.
Emni accepted the tea with a smile and a nod of gratitude. "Thank you," she said, emotional responses tracking as she began to get a feel for their Talbeethian guide. Meeting a new species was always a unique emotional experience as her brain worked to make sense of the output coming from someone entirely foreign. For now she could simply sense that their host was emoting, but what exactly was still being parsed.
Sharrina relinquished the point now that the XO had drunk the beverage. Taking the tea, she bowed her head slightly in respect, eyes holding on Az. "Yes, thank you," she offered respectfully.
Az nodded, "You are most welcome."
Noah Balsam sidled behind those of superior rank, juxtaposing his curiosity about his first alien encounter in the Delta Quadrant, with telltale shyness, caution- and a healthy respect for the fact that he was vastly outranked by everyone present. His eyes gauged the walls of the chamber. He mouthed the word in silence, trying to remember how it was presenting. Ena… no ema? Emba’harai? Ena- no. Ema, it was definitely an Ema… something. Well, the word was Talbeethian.
He was surprised at how small the space was. He had very little space to actually mill in. What did the symbols on the walls mean?
Doctor Kennedy Ryan Walsh was anxious while he walked down the unfamiliar corridor alone. He was intrigued by the ceremony that they were about to witness. He gasped slightly while he looked up to see that Midshipman Balsam had walked ahead quite far and had arrived at the chamber beforehand. His hands felt clammy when he put them together. He looked around to ensure that no one was watching him and quickly rubbed his hands on his pants which helped slightly. He didn't know why exactly he was nervous.
The Talbeethians seemed to be hospitable and welcoming compared to their run-ins with the Uninvited Orions on Ch'othil to the mining drone killers of Anker. In that moment, he realized his sessions with Doctor Bracco had been helpful as any uneasiness had eased by the time he had reached the doors nor were the memories of the recent past overwhelming. He couldn't let them. He wouldn't let them. He walked into the chamber and looked around.
"Come, sit, drink," Az welcomed Walsh to the room, handing him a cup of pink tea. She looked around to all assembled, "Do we expect anyone else?"
Doctor Ryan Walsh took the cup of tea from Az and looked at it. He lifted it up to his nose to smell the pink tea. Then raised it to his lips taking a slight sip. It smelled like lilacs, it was his Auntie Jane's favourite flower. Her perfume smelt like it. He cherished the smell of the tea as it had been a long time since he had seen her. He sipped it tasted slightly of cinnamon with a bit of a fruity overtone uncertain where to place it before he found himself a seat.
"Let us start," Az said, her indigo eyes scanned the assembly of strangers in front of her. "Whose past will we be exploring?"
Noah Balsam softly cleared his throat, looking about those that vastly outranked him. He smiled his too-wide smile, and rocked back on his heels. "Um, well-well we drew lots to see who'd go. And um, Lieutenant Zhaan won." He nodded at the Rumari Ops Manager. Noah rubbed his nose. "Um." He glanced around. "Right everybody?"
Sharrina frowned... deeply. They drew lots?! What the hell? This was Starfleet, not a schoolyard adventure among teenagers! Something this potentially dangerous, and they drew lots!?
Remember where you are, Shar, she mentally counseled and chastised herself. Quickly, she restrained her initial reaction, walling off what she felt, or trying to. Instead, she focused on the objective itself, and her duty as the Security officer in the group.
She'd be lying, though, if she didn't admit, at least to herself, that the idea intrigued her and even excited her a bit. She wanted to protest the choice given the potential dangers. After all, it was her job, as the security officer, to protect all of them. And what if it all went wrong? She wouldn't be able to protect the woman. Her eyes flicked over to the XO. In them was a question that was foremost in her mind now as well. 'Is this wise?'
Serana's gaze shifted, head angled slightly, as the left corner of her mouth rose slightly. "Yes," she said, "that's right." She was an unknown among these people but visiting the past was not a new or different thing. She considered for a moment, sifting through memories, faces and names, until she found one that might be interesting. Omri. She brought the memory up to the front of her mind and nodded to herself. Yes. His had been an interesting journey.
Short, with too-long hair that he was always shoving back out of the way, and slender. The mothers on the home ship were always trying to feed him. Patched clothes and a smile that could light up a room. Curious and honest. He spoke his mind, asked his questions. Had trouble reading people.
Az tapped instructions into the band around her wrist, then asked, "When will we be exploring?"
"One hundred years ago," Serana said. "In the spring of that year. A young Rumari named Omri on his first journey away from the people."
Nodding slowly, Az referred to her wrist band momentarily. She considered the woman before her and set aside any preconceived notions. "Come, stand with me," she beckoned. "You may feel a tingling sensation as we travel, it is natural and should not alarm you. Please remember, we will always be safe. We will be immersed in your past but we cannot interact with it or change it in any way." Az activated her wrist strap, then, with palms spread wide, focused her attention on the negative space between her fingers. "One hundred years ago... Breathe in and close your eyes. I want you to concentrate on the exact event in your mind. Breathe out and let your shoulders relax. Remember your surroundings from that day. Breathe in and feel the weight of your arms as it melts away and you slide into the past..."
Az paused and waited for a moment. Slowly, she felt the transport activating as the tech grabbed the memories. "Breathe out and when you are ready, open your eyes."
Before Serana even opened her eyes, she felt the warm sting of a sand-laden breeze on her face. Already so different than the memories that came to her in dreams where the damage was more emotional than physical. She opened her eyes to a vast, flat space. The plants were all small, close to the ground, and when she knelt beside one, she saw that the leaves shaped tiny natural cups as a way of catching early morning condensate. Not far from where she stood, a young man walked. A trail of footsteps behind him, slowly being scoured away by the wind, and in the distance, a ring of tents. That had been his first mistake but you learned that in memories. You observed. You didn't interact. You couldn't whisper -- don't go. Not there. And so, she watched as Omri made his way, trudging under the weight of heat and gravity, toward a unwelcoming campsite.
She moved forward, her steps, short at first, became longer and quicker until she was walking just behind him. The clothes were different, she remembered that from her own dream, he'd already been robbed twice. Lean, almost to the point of emaciation, and weighed down by the gravity of this world, Omri kept moving forward. Attention focused on the ground, putting one foot in front of the other, determined to reach the tents. I could offer him water and he'd not notice, she thought. His world has necked down to that last tight focus. The one that spoke of limits reached and a body that couldn't go much farther.
Noah looked on at the strange images being portrayed in front of them. He wondered if the plants had been manufactured- biologically engineered- to trap moisture the way they did. The environment was alien to him- bleak in a way that was different than his own bleak world. "Wha-what are we looking at?" He asked.
At the sound of Noah's voice, Az's eyes widened in surprise and she furiously began working on her wrist band. Something had gone seriously wrong, though she avoided alarming anyone by staying silent for the moment.
Serana dropped back to answer Noah's question. "Omri, that's the guy we're following, got dropped here. Didn't realize he'd been robbed and couldn't pay what the transport crew was asking so, they dumped him here. Its called Dusan, I think. The locals are not welcoming to strangers but he doesn't know that yet. Poor dear."
'You-you don't look one hundred," Noah commented with quiet sobriety. "Who's Omri?"
"I'm not," Serana said, chuckling softly as she brushed a few strands of hair out of her eyes, "I'm Rumari. There are those among my people who have racial memory." She shrugged slightly. "Omri is one of the people and through that memory, I've visited his life once or twice."
"Oh." Noah's mouth rounded at the sound- but if he was honest he didn't understand.
He looked to his former roommate and then back to Lieutenant Zhaan, He was about to speak before he took a small sip of the tea before speaking, "Interesting...So your species not only pass along genetic code from generation to generation but memories too."
"H-how?" Noah asked. He was out of his knowledge base... by a lot. He glanced between the Lieutenant and the Doctor. "How does someone um, imprint memories? Like a bio-neural gelpack?"
Her lips quirked upward slightly at the idea even as she was shaking her head. "It's a natural process. I was born this way." She broke off and turned, watching a small group leaving the encampment, dressed in black and running full out. "They're coming," she said softly. "I wish I could tell him. To be careful. To be less ... himself ...? Something?"
Four individuals, dressed in loose fitting black pants and long-sleeved black shirts. Even from this distance, Serana could see the veils covering the lower part of their face. Azhadi. Warriors who followed a strict and unrelenting code. She knew, from Omri's memories, that they were called 'the outward-turned face', the only members of their tribe permitted to speak to outworlders.
"He's in danger?" Az finally asked. This ritual was normally observation only and so for her to ask a question to the participant so early was rare. However, nothing was working the way it should and instead of taking only herself and Serana back, the entire group had come. "We should probably run."
Something hadn't been right from early in the projection and even as Az spoke the air around them filled with sound. The sound wasn't native to the space they were in, but instead resembled the whine of overloading circuits. For just a moment everything around them skewed, like watching memory twist physically, pulling at edges that should be smooth but weren't. The holographic generator grid lines seemed to brighten into sight for a moment as if the group were being returned to the amphitheater, but as quick as they began to appear they winked out leaving behind only a smell of burnt technical systems.
For a moment everything seemed stable and then darkness descended on them and the space again filled with sound, this time a thrumming hum that built like a physical presence around them.
Emni's hands went to her ears as she bent forward, the thrumming feeling like it was in her head even as each person in the room's emotional fingerprint seemed to amplify and then wink out like strobing lights. Finally, a brilliant flash of light lit those around them and just as the thrum seemed like it couldn't get louder it broke over them and the sensation of being taken apart, molecule by molecule filled the XO. It wasn't entirely like the transporter and yet there was no other way to describe it.
After a moment the rebuild feeling kicked in and the light of the scene they had been experiencing returned. Four dark figures still approached and the group was still standing where they had been. Emni breathed a sigh as she mentally checked for all of the emotional signatures she expected and then, immediately, whirled, scanning the group.
Serana, Az, Noah, Kennedy… no Sharrina. She was surprised to also sense Sheldon Parsons, who must have quietly slipped in after the ritual had begun.
"What just happened?" She demanded of the Talbeethian.
Az held her hands to either side of her head as she scanned the landscape, "I don't know," Az answered, then brought down her hands to look at the control band again. The device had completely fritzed and a sharp, jabbing pain felt like a knife was working its way into the bones at her wrist. "The scene is meant to be immersive, but not like this," there was fear in her voice that she was trying to cover up.
She winced as she moved the band. There was a command reset, she would try that.
Emni watched Az with trepidation. The fear that the woman was trying to cover felt like yelling to her. She'd known from some of the negotiations that the Talbeethians didn't seem to regularly shield their emotions, but it was particularly evident now and she winced slightly as she began erected the mental barriers that had been knocked over like blocks.
"Lieutenant Blackstone is not with us," she commented to the group. "And I don't sense her emotional fingerprint." She wanted to say more. To suggest a course of action or a next step -- to lead in some way that was comforting, but the words wouldn't come.
Noah Balsam, who looked green about his jawline, was fighting back a wave of anxious nausea as his system tried to make sense of what had just happened to them. His rapt attention to the strange cultural display broken for the moment, he was clenching and unclenching his jaw in a swallow of bile. His world was spinny and hazy- he felt out of himself. Noah landed on his butt, bracing and biting into the earth with his elbows- where he rolled over enough to turn his head and unleashed his Lunch into the warm sand. He coughed, sputtered and wiped on his sleeve.
Kennedy blinked twice as he slightly felt nauseous while he dry heaved. He overheard from Doctor t'Nai that Lieutenant Blackstone wasn't with them. He pivoted around three-hundred-sixty-five degree angle searching hoping that their Security Officer would reappear from thin air but his hopefulness eased. He did see Noah bring up his lunch, he ran to his side, kneeling down beside him resting his hand on Noah's back, "How are you feeling Noah?"
"Sick," the spindly one said with a thick voice. His eyes were squinted and he coughed and coughed again at the foul biliousness in his mouth. "My h-heads spinning...."
Kennedy wished he had brought his field kit with him. He felt incomplete as the chief medical officer. He frowned to himself as he brought out his medical tricorder and began to scan him. Before putting it away, "Unfortunately there's not much I can do but within a few hours you'll feel back to normal." He rose to his feet and offered Noah his hand to pick him up off the ground. He turned to Doctor t'Nai, Zhaan and Az, "How's everyone else feeling?"
Noah's hand was cold and clammy: he braced himself to stand and with a mute groan, he covered his eyes as a new wave of nausea crested over him. He nodded understanding- and he hoped Kennedy was right. He hoped this was temporary.
Serana dropped to her knee, her right hand flat against the warm sand, while the other rested on her thigh. She closed her eyes against the assault on her senses, focused on her breathing instead. Rode through the worst of it and then slowly, cautiously, opened her eyes. Omri was still walking and the Azhadis were still heading straight for him. "What's changed," she asked.
"Well for one thing," came a prissy voice that'd yet to speak up, "this isn't just watching holograms anymore, is it?" The question had been directed to Az, who seemed out of his depth all of a sudden. Sheldon Parsons stood with hands on his hips, looking around the bleak landscape they'd all been zapped into. He'd quietly slipped into the amphitheater just as the ritual began -- running a little late -- but it didn't take an advanced degree in temporal mechanics to realize what had happened. "We've all been sent back, haven't we?"
Crouching, Sheldon moved his hand to cup some of the sand at his feet but held off for the moment. "If we're phased, I suspect we can see, hear, and smell...but touching? I should think not," he shook his head, now lowering his hand into the sand. Instead of the appendage digging into the grains, however, the hand simply blurred as it dipped in phased fashion beneath the surface. "Yep, thought so," Parsons nodded as he stood again. "How your technology keeps us on our feet instead of phasing through the world, I don't know," he offered to Az, "but it would seem we're safe from physical harm here at least.
Serana nodded toward the figures not so very far away. "Can they see us," she asked. "Because that would not be good."
To Be Continued...
=/\= A Mission Post By =/\=
Lieutenant Commander Emni t'Nai
Lieutenant Serana Zhaan
Chief Operations Officer
Lieutenant Kennedy Ryan Walsh
Chief Medical Officer
Lieutenant Sharrina Blackstone
Chief Security Officer
Ensign Sheldon Parsons
Midshipman Noah Balsam
Az the Talebeethian Guide (NPC'd by Hebe)