Star Trek: Defiant

Pilot Episode 3C

Written by T'Mal

T'Mal allowed herself to be led out of 8-Forward to a room nearby where the rest of the wedding party was already assembled. She walked as though she were in a dream. She began to wonder if it was a dream. Vulcans rarely dreamed, but maybe this was nothing more than that. It did not occur to her to wonder how everyone had assembled so quickly or even where she was any longer. She was slipping off into a comfortable haze, surrendering to it, hardly thinking any longer at all. "It -must- be the plak-tow." she decided as her confusion mounted and her logical mind tried to make sense of the situation. "Is this what it's like? To lose your reason? Nothing makes sense to me. But, I'm not supposed to feel I? No, this isn't right. Maybe I should ask Tuvok...and Steven. Where is my mother? I need to go home to Vulcan. I... I should ask..."

There was no more time for T'Mal to complete the bit of thought. Steven led her to kneel on a platform of some sort and Tuvok stood before them. Captain Bridges stood to Steven's side, next to a large ceremonial gong. Lt. j.g. Ry Emeras was on the other side of the platform, nearer T'Mal.

"We may begin." said Tuvok in Vulcan. He struck a large gong with a mallet designed for that purpose. The gong sounded one long solemn note and then was silent.

Steven put his hands to T'Mal's face in a clumsy attempt to find the connection points of her katra. She corrected the placement of his fingers and reached her own hands to his face.

At the moment of contact, T'Mal felt a shock run through her entire body. It was the sudden contact of another mind, touching her own. It was a familiar mind, one she had known for years and one she had looked forward to exploring in more depth. And yet, in these first moments, she sensed something different about him, something that hadn't been visible to her eye. She almost pulled back from him, wanting to break the connection. She suppressed her doubts, of course he could not have lived these last few months and remained exactly as she had known him before. It would be illogical to expect anything else. He was still -her- Steven. The sleepy, dreamy feeling she had been experiencing was gone now. In it's place was a sharpness like electricity, the power of coiled springs held in check. There was one single breathless moment of expectation, where gravity ceased to exist and all things were possible.

Tuvok's words rang in T'Mal's head. He had altered the ceremony to allow for the fact that Steven was not Vulcan. "We are drawn to this place at this time to witness the joining of T'Mal and Steven. As it was at the beginning, so it is now... Two minds joined into one."

T'Mal said the words that every Vulcan knew. Unnecessary words... "My mind to your mind..." The meld began. Steven began to say the words with her in unison, as their brain waves synchronized. "My thoughts to your thoughts..." Images flooded T'Mal's head, places she had never seen and things she had never done. These images would become a part of her now. She accepted them, let herself drift in the rush of them, and probed even deeper with her mind, sifting through the layers of consciousness that made Steven who he was. In return, he recieved her knowledge and her thoughts. Now she understood things she had previously never knew existed.

She...She was caught up in the meld, unable and unwilling to do anything to stop it. Although T'Mal had made the initial contact, it was now Steven's mind to control as much as it ever was hers. His will was much stronger than she had anticipated, and by the time she realized her mistake, there was nothing she could do to stop him. He had changed more than she ever could have imagined.

There, in the deepest layers of his psyche, was the -wrongness- she had sensed earlier and refused to acknowledge. With what tiny bit of her mind remained to her to reason with, she saw the darkness. She saw how she had been decieved, understood with bright clarity his intent to own all that she was. She saw that her own logic had been used as a trap, and that the idea of love itself could, in the hands of a desparate man, be used as a tool to control another. She had joined her mind for all time and eternity to a man who who was by any definition insane. She learned in an instant to experience the full range of emotions that Steven himself had been experiencing his entire life, those same emotions that had driven him , finally, to this point. She knew desperation, and she knew fear. She knew a great roaring rush of things she never imagined before, the twisted thought processes of a being whose life was composed of deception heaped on top of more deception, who would not hesitate to destroy that which he thought he loved.

She found herself wishing for the silence of peace, for an end to that which she could not bear to live with. She would rather have her katra lost to the winds than to have to live with these images she could not guard against, slowly stealing her own sanity. Through the cacaphony of thoughts came a voice, small and distant, growing until it filled her head and drove out all the other wild images. It was her mother's voice, repeating the same words over and over again. "I grieve with thee..."

A bright flash of light broke through the darkness. T'Mal found herself curled up on a bed in a starkly white room. Her mind was her own again, except for the new voice. "Join the others." An ancient Vulcan dialect, she noted.

T'Mal uncurled her rigid body and looked around, her shock giving way to the return of her composure. A part of the wall opened , becoming a doorway. She went through the doorway, her motor control sluggish, wary of what she would find on the other side of it. Where was Steven?

"Captain Bridges? Commander Hardin? I am experiencing some disorientation. "

T'Mal studied her senior officer's faces, looked to them for answers they didn't have. "-That's- putting it mildly!" Hardin said.

"For some reason, some -entity- is playing a game with us, testing us, and my entire crew is at risk. I have to stop this!" Captain Bridges was plainly enraged. He began to pace. It reminded T'Mal of the old 20th century zoos of Earth where the animals were held in cages to be viewed by others for entertainment. "I have missed something here, how could I have allowed this to happen?"

"Sir, I see no way that you can be held at fault for this. I do not understand it, but I can tell you that whatever beings are responsible for this have extremely advanced psi powers. I for one thought...well, it was very real to me. Their ability to read our memories and make use of them in such a way is quite admirable."

"Admirable! Yes, a Vulcan would say that. I don't want to admire them! I want to get my crew out of here." The Captain looked at Hardin and T'Mal. "Any ideas?"

Before either of them had a chance to answer, the door opened again.

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