Star Trek: Defiant
Pilot Episode 7C
Written by Barak ir-Chaziz tr'Saar
The pure heat energy dissipated, but the color remained. Barak examined the room around him. It was all white, even the bed he was lying on. He tried to slide himself off the cot, but to his surprise found he could move nothing below his waist.
A voice rang out. "You have betrayed one people to join another. Why?"
The source of the voice was not apparent; Barak wondered if it merely emanated from a concealed speaker, or if it was telepathic. After all, it did seem not only to speak Rihannsu, but with the accent of his region on ch'Rihan.
"I chose to defect to the Federation to prevent its being conquered by my people. I support a reconciliation between my people and their ancestors, the Vulcans, not war. Surely you know this if you can read my thoughts well enough to put me through this nightmare. On the 11 occasions upon which I've dreamed in the past 8 years, 9 have been nightmares in which the event you've put me through occurred, complete with your false ending in which I die, and the Federation is left open to invasion."
The voice did not respond. An idea began to form in Barak's mind. Spock had taught him much of the Vulcan mental disciplines. While he had never previously had either the time or inclination to go beyond the very basics in anything but preventing himself from losing control of his emotions, Barak -did- have a rather high psi rating. And there -was- that story Spock had told him, of how he had telepathicly influenced a native woman to help his Captain against a crazed Robert Tracey on the planet Omega... without the need for physical contact. //I must try// thought Barak //Perhaps the aliens will be more responsive if contacted in their own manner.// Barak began to concentrate, not on words, but on a single thought, more universal than language, more direct than any verbal query. Its closest verbal equivalent was an alloy of "Who are you?" "Where am I?" "What have you done to my crewmates?" and "Let me the hell out of here!"
"A civilized being!" came the voice, in Barak's home dialect. "We will answer you. We are the B'naikorach, and we are holding yourself and other beings for testing."
//I'd never be able to do this were these aliens not so highly telepathic themselves!// realized Barak. He began to concentrate on another thought, this time more capable of being expressed verbally.
"What do you mean, civilized?"
"You are the only being from your vessel to communicate with us in this manner so far. One other seemed to have the potential, but she did not use it. Two others we have not yet tested appear to have potential as well..."
"So you view telepathy as a mark of civilization?"
"What other gauge is there? Its presence shows that the being that posses it has taken time to think, to learn of itself. That is the true mark of worthiness. Now, you must join the others."
"But-- I have so much to ask!"
"All in good time. If we deem you to be capable of understanding more, you will learn more later. Now, join them."
A portal opened in one side of the chamber, replacing the stark white bulkhead. Barak could hear voices on the other side. Unsurprisingly, his legs were now free. Entering the portal, he could make out another room down a hallway. Jogging the short distance, he quickly percieved many chairs scattered around the rooms periphery. Six were occupied by as many of his crewmates; Captain Bridges, Commander Hardin, Dr. Laine, Lieutenants T'mal and Ry, and Ensign Mak were intently discussing their plight. Jeffery noticed Barak, and began to question him on his experience.
"Captain. I was made to relive a nightmare I've had since my defection." At 'nightmare' T'mal raised an eyebrow, but kept silent. "When I defected, it was to bring the Federation plans for a new cloak I had designed for the Unification Movement. Unfortunately, it had fallen into the hands of the Government. With this cloak, Invasion of the Federation was only a matter of time. To prevent this, I helped the Federation to exploit flaws in the cloak to build a detection device. Suffice it to say that my escape was a harrowing experience. We were in a Type VI Federation Shuttle, though it had been somewhat... modified, and under attack by a D'deridex-class Warbird. In the nightmare, we were destroyed, leaving the Federation open to invasion."
"How did you really survive?"
"My traveling companion, a Captain Scott, had apparently 'procured' some quantum torpedoes from the shipyard at which the prototype Defiant was built. At the time, they were employed only aboard the prototype, and my people had never run into anything quite so powerful before. We disabled the Warbird, and ran like hell... Anyway, there are more important matters I must tell of. I was able to telepathically establish contact with the aliens."
This time, T'mal did say something. "How?"
"I am Vulcanoid, and Ambassador Spock gave me some training. These aliens also were highly telepathic, which very much eased the contact. They seem to think that the only way someone can be considered civilized is to communicate telepathicly. They are testing us to determine if we are 'civilized'. Oh-- they call themselves the B'naikorach, as well."
Commander Hardin turned to look at T'mal. "T'mal, can you contact the B'naikorach as Barak did?"
"I can, but I should not. If they observed our conversation, they may believe that my 'civilization' is artificial, somehow induced by Barak. I suggest we wait, and hope either Dr. Reese or Lieutenant Wolfrom attempts telepathic communication before speaking with us. Otherwise, we will all be on equal footing, possibly having the status of 'influenced'. "
The Captain nodded at that. "Then all we can do is wait, and hope. The more of us considered 'civilized' the better our chances for convincing the B'naikorach to let us go."
They melancholy group settled back into their chairs, waiting. Barak considered these aliens. //Why are they testing us? Have they merely taken us for testing, or for a more sinister purpose? If only to test for 'civilization', then why the nightmares? To inform the crew of the B'naikorach's own telepathic abilities? As a perverted spectator sport? For some reason beyond Barak's understanding?// He hoped to find out soon...
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