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Exorcising Demons

Posted on Fri Apr 21st, 2023 @ 10:39am by Major Cornelius Tremble & Lieutenant JG Mira Jayna
Edited on on Sat Apr 22nd, 2023 @ 5:41am

1,861 words; about a 9 minute read

Mission: Episode 14 - The Poseidon Adventure
Location: Holodeck 2 - Deck 5 - USS Pioneer
Timeline: MD002 1720 hrs

Jayna's emotions were in turmoil as she made her way to the holodeck. She hadn't put as much stock in meditation as her sister, and now she almost regretted it. Just this once. Even so, she wasn't as demonstrative as many. As an infiltration specialist, it was often safer to keep her feelings well-hidden. But that had proven more difficult of late. And the events on the planet made her feel raw and exposed in a way she hadn't felt in a very long time.

A small smile danced across her lips as she approached the door. She was going to work through this. Hopefully with the aid of a good workout, a good meal, and good company.

Neil stood viewing a wall panel as information scrolled while he idly stretched his shoulders. He'd changed into workout clothing and turned as Jayna entered. Neil wasn't quite sure where her mind was at but he guessed she was wound fairly tight after the last away mission. He just wasn't sure what she needed yet.

She paused for a moment to watch him. She'd never been this emotional after an assignment before and it bothered her. "Hi. What's on the docket for today?"

"Depends on what you're feeling," Neil said without preamble. " He touched the control screen he was leaning against and lights came up in a new section of the gym and revealed a new addition. A seven-meter table with various grow pots and five small potted trees growing in deep, rich soil beneath grow lights.

With the initiation of the program, the air filled with the smell of soil and vegetation. Along the wall, displays flickered to life with nature scenes. It was all cut off from the main gym where the faint sound of a speed bag and scratchy music could be heard.

A figure blurred into being dressed in simple working clothing, wearing magnifying glasses as he studied one of the trees with critical eye and a pair of trimmers in hand.

Winking at Jayna, he called out, "What do you think, Miyagi-san. Any ideas for the Jayna-chan?"

Not moving, the wizened little man glanced up at both of them, then he leaned back and peered through the glasses before saying, "When you feel life out of focus, Always return to the basic of life."

Neil touched a control again, freezing the program and said, "My buddy expanded the program to include meditative bits," he explained. "I've read the basics but it incorporates more mental exercises than Mick's Gym. One aspect is learning to care for the trees. In the holo program, my non-green thumb can't kill them."

The basics of life. Her life was pretty basic, if you focused on work and exercise. But there were other things that mattered. Things she thought she'd never have. However, her life had changed since joining the Pioneer...hopefully for the better. She smiled as she stopped beside Neil. She definitely hoped for the better. "I've heard gardening can be good for mental health. Like you, though, any plants I try to grow in my quarters die." She took a closer look at the gardener and gave Neil a saucy grin, which didn't quite hide the tension she was feeling. "I think getting down and dirty could be a good thing."

Seriously, though, this might be what she needed, and Neil was astute enough to notice. The expression in her eyes softened and she again turned to look at the gardener.

Neil sorted a few files on his contact, then projected the material into a holo screen floating at eye level for the two of them. "From what I understand...and I'm just starting to read and understand this, they're hardy trees and you're supposed to kinda meditate. Contemplate the tree, try and decide how it really wants to grow and help it along to a more or less mutual agreement."

"You can bend it to your own vision," he continued tentatively, trying to verbalize his understandings. "Of course, you water and ply nutrients. But then you prune and even use wire forcing it conform to that vision. Which is part of the exercise. Your vision should be an orderly, pleasant one that brings peace and calm."

Then he half smirked. "I guess. From what I can tell its calming to think about the tree. Meditate before doing anything to it that will change it."

"Theory," he finally finished. "But I was thinking it might be something we both could do. I have a couple of trees in stasis if you've a mind."

She raised an eyebrow while she considered what he said. "Yes. I think it could be interesting. I've heard of trimming a bonsai tree as a form of meditation, but this is...bigger." Her mind right now was not orderly or pleasant. The Creature--she decided she shouldn't give him a name--had caused her enough chaos and she could definitely use some help regaining control.

She again looked at the trees, then back to Neil. "Maybe it'll help me rebury nightmares."

That was the opening Neil had been waiting for. If he had a failing, it was how to broach things and his typical tactic was to wait for an opening.

He just wasn't very good at waiting.

"Want to talk about it," he asked, sliding a hip up onto the work bench and meeting her eyes.

She looked at him for a long moment. She should. He'd understand better than a counselor--she'd seen enough of them when she first joined Starfleet. But part of her wanted to try and force Pandora's box closed again. The Terran metaphor made her smile. "Okay," she finally said.

It still took her a couple of minutes to organize her thoughts. "I don't know how much you've read of my past. I grew up on Bajor during the Occupation. My parents were part of a resistance cell. We were taught at home. When we were deemed old enough, we’d do odd jobs to get familiar with the area around us. We were also taught to gather information. We would pick pockets of Cardassian sympathizers, break in to different places to hack computers or steal information. We got pretty good. Being twins made it easier. One of us would get the information while the other twin would be across the city in a public place. That way, we always had an alibi. It worked for a while, until someone found out where our cell was living at the time. Jayde and I came back from a job and found that our home was ransacked and our parents killed. We were eleven. Until then, the cell tried to shield us from the worst of the Cardassian atrocities.
We stayed with the cell until we were old enough to join the Maquis.”

She ran a hand through her hair. "The creature in that facility--he calls himself Kavicus--tortured and killed those who were there before us--although he's still got them in some sort of animated condition so he can keep feeding off their fear. He found us. First it was some kind of illusion in a mirror, then he just sort of oozed into Corporal Shy and took him over. Then he tried to get Shultz and me." She was trying to explain as clearly as she could, but she wasn't sure she was making any sense. "Schultz and I tried to get back to the shuttle with the corporal, hoping someone could figure out how to get the thing out of him, but we always ended up going in another direction. We finally knocked Shy out and the suit let Schultz take control of it and we were able to get back to the shuttle. But he said something to me about Vulcans and suddenly he'd ripped through all my mental shields and pulled out the worst memories from Bajor. It's like they all happened yesterday." She took a long, slow breath. “And, because my physiology is Vulcan, I’m a touch telepath. So, when he essentially touched my mind, I got a flash of…him.”

"Flashbacks are hard," Neil said. He reached out and put a hand on her shoulder and said, "You do this work long enough and you get them. They come back at the worst times. For the record, you all Charlie Miked and fought through. That's a well done in any play book. The thing about memories. Especially for us at the tip of the spear: you have to own them and wear them like armor."

He smiled slightly as she looked at him. "Easy to say. Harder to do. But once you do, no one can use it against you, if that makes sense."

"It does. I'm used to being the one who slips in the side door and hacks your files. That creature was definitely...a new experience." She shook her head and smiled wryly. "I dealt with my childhood years ago. Having everything all come out at once, magnified, has me feeling raw. But after watching the Marines down there...I have even more respect for what you do. " The worst part was that flash of gluttonous lust that made her feel emotionally violated, but she would work through it. She ran two fingers down the side of his cheek in a Vulcan caress. "Thank you." There were so many things she was thankful fore and words alone didn't seem adequate.

Neil leaned into her touch slightly and smiled at her, "No thanks needed. But you're welcome." He placed one hand on her hip and said, "Biggest secret about Marines? We're mostly like everyone else but the big difference is the units are smaller. So like a lot of smaller Fleet ships, we build family. Fighting for the Federation is Important. Upholding the standards of the Fleet and Corp is a fine fine thing. But people fight hardest for family."

He took one of her hands in his free hand then and kissed her palm lightly. "So, aboard the Pioneer, we're a close crew and within the Cure we're even tighter."

Then he grinned. "Now, depending on the workout you're looking for. We can hit a climbing wall. Go for a run. Or....get closer."

She pretended to contemplate her options. "Well...I do like a good workout." There was a devilish twinkle in her eye as she took a step closer to Neil. "And I definitely like runs and climbing walls..." She took another step and paused a breath away. "But getting closer to you is irresistible." And then she kissed him.

Neil returned her kiss, wrapping his arms around her and pulling her against him. After a time he broke the kiss but kept his forehead against hers. "Now, tell me about wanting to get dirty?"

A Joint Post By

Lieutenant Junior Grade Mira Jayna
Assistant Chief Intelligence Officer, USS Pioneer
Intelligence Liaison, The Cure

Major Cornelius Tremble
Executive Officer, USS Pioneer
Commanding Officer, The Cure


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