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Erich Jaenke

Unhinged Part 2

Unhinged, Part 2


Erich sat at the side of the bed and faced Keb as she attempted to quiet her mind. He focused on her and only her. This proved difficult. Even with the medication he had the same ability as a normal Betazoid. Other voices from the ship and her own emotions made concentration hard. "Not clear enough," his voice resonated in her mind, though in reality he needed to purge his own doubts. He grabbed her hand; the physical contact amplified her thoughts, while the others dimmed a little.


She had to see this.




Keb found herself on the Manticore bridge, but it was not quite the same Manticore. She could see herself sitting at helm. She was dreaming through his eyes. The Captain of the Utah appeared on screen, speaking, but she could not understand his words. The image changed, then a lifeless body appeared where the captain's face once was. As the camera zoomed in Erich's face showed clearly. A knot formed in her stomach. Another flash, another change.


She was on the bridge--watching herself enter and take the helm. That "helmguy" greeted her: “Like the ribbon today. Kenickie will hate it!” Then she glanced back at herself with a worried smile and another flash.




Erich was on the move. He nearly slammed down the coffee cup as he and the rest of the crew dashed to their respective departments. She and Erich would meet up again. Wait. No. He turned right, flung himself onto the turbolift. He yelled "Engineering!"


The lift moved. The deck rumbled. The entire Manticore shook violently. The lift doors opened just across from main engineering. A jolting shift of view placed her in the middle of chaos. Engineers worked feverously at their stations. The core struggled to maintain it's heartbeat pulses of energy for the warp drive. The column above and below the core housing went dark. Warp field collapse.


She, no, he yelled to the engineers something indistinguishable. The voice felt of panic, desperation and hopelessness. Two engineers appeared as multiple versions of themselves as they dashed across his view. A bright light from an exploding console whited out the room. Why so bright? Keb tried to close her eyes, but these were not her eyes. Not her memories.


"Sir, a local gravity well has us caught and we can't break free! Trying to reinitiate the warp field," a junior engineer spouted, one of many times he did so. The voices overlapped one another, the inner voices did the same. It was all maddening. Every thought and voice was distinct, but laid out in a room of chaos. Panic swelled within as the memory of Erich's experience became her own.




She was running down the corridor to the transporter room. She saw herself ahead, running, looking back to see herself. Her hair looked frazzled, whipped to one side. The ribbon was gone. A yearning to reach out to herself was strong. Sadness as their world was falling apart before them only abated by the need to get off this ship.




"I will beam down after, Keb; I need to make sure your transport is right. Now GO!" Before she could protest the confinement beam took hold to begin the dematerialization process. In a shimmer of atoms losing their cohesion, she watched herself vanish, feeling an emptiness inside.


"Sovak, I am the only one that can operate this.. Get on that damned pad now you Vulcan... argh.." Keb was speaking in Erich’s voice. She pointed her finger indicating resistance would be futile. Sovak backed up onto the pad and nodded


Then, knowing she couldn’t be at her own controls, she made the best half-second guess she could and ran to the pad. The confinement beam took hold of his--her--body and started to dematerialize each and...




A bright white light shined through all of Keb's senses. She could taste it at the back of her throat, feel it up her spine, and hear it echo in her ears. Days worth of time reversed itself in a matter of seconds. She was right back on the bridge, the way it was three days ago when the Utah first called them. She could feel it was starting all over again, and she, Erich, was the only one who knew--the only one who could stop it--it would all happen again--


"AHH!" cried Keb as she shot straight up out of Erich's bed, her eyes wide as the dream collapsed from brilliant white to the dark of his room. She panted as she pulled her trembling hand from his, staring at him. “All that...happened?” She couldn’t remember any of it happening, save for the incident with the Utah. He placed his hand on her shoulder.


"You woke up from my attempt to show you my memories. I'm so sorry. It's my nightmare." Erich buried his head in her side. He knew the experience was jumbled and intense. Nothing like a proper mind meld from a Vulcan, or like what he could have explained easily to another Betazoid.


“But--is it a dream, or--or did it actually happen?” Keb said, still feeling stunned as her breathing calmed.


"It will happen and has happened, Keb. I am losing count of how many times. It's real, but only for me." He continued to hide himself against her. "The only one holding me together is you."

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