Transitions Take Two

With the Eclipse now firmly in tow by the Immelt, Moira sat cross-legged on the floor, trying to decide if she really cared about any of the things scattered around her. So many things had been destroyed by the Beast. And with him watching, always watching, it was so hard to remember from one minute to the next just what she was doing. It was so hard... so very, very hard to care. She was fairly certain she cared about her harp. But she just couldn’t stand up to fetch it. Ah, she thought, struggling even in that, that’ll be meanin’... What did it mean? ‘Tis important!

When her comm badge chirped, she sighed impatiently. Always somebody wanting something; it never seemed to end.

“Captain O’Shaughnessy. You are directed to return to the Immelt for debriefing immediately.”

She recognized the voice of the Immelt’s Vulcan First Officer. The man was acerbic and emotionless even for a Vulcan.

Ah, another of yer tricks will it be, then? Forcing the thought through her mind made her tired... so very tired. She didn’t want to stand up and play any more games. Captain. Ye’re playin’ that one again, are ye? Think ‘twill go better this time?

The fact that the Immelt was actually towing the Eclipse to the station seemed real enough, however. But ye’ve got some sort o’ twist te this one.

She struggled to her feet. She wore plain black slacks, with a long-sleeved black turtleneck shirt tucked into them. She checked to make sure she was wearing shoes. Lucara was likely the only Vulcan who had any sort of a sense of humor, so it probably wouldn’t do to show up barefoot. Indeed, black athletic shoes covered her feet. She idly wondered what would happen if she did show up barefoot... but she was too tired to take the shoes off. Her mid-thigh-length red hair was hanging loosely around her face and shoulders, but she didn’t bother to do more than sweep stray tendrils from her face and tuck them behind her ears.

She tapped the comm badge attached to the waistband of her slacks.

“I’m comin’... I’m comin’.”

She glanced again at the lap harp resting against the bed. That’ll be important. That’ll help me win this bloody game. Then she turned to head out the door, trying to remember which transporters actually worked. She was pretty sure Number Three was working, so that’s the direction she headed.

She was met at the transporter pad on Immelt by the Vulcan, Commander Sarkon. “I have been assigned to perform an inquest into your behavior in recent events.” His voice almost said naturally they would choose a Vulcan to do this.

As she stepped off the transporter pad, Moira considered the Vulcan. She never got very good readings from Vulcans. Except Lucara... now wasn’t that strange? Or was it? She wasn’t actually sure about anything at the moment. Still, this Vulcan was there, she could sense his presence with her mind, but nothing else. That was actually for the best, really. It meant fewer distractions. It wasn’t like she didn’t already have enough problems.

“O’ course,” she said calmly. “Shall we be proceedin’?”

“Indeed,” he said, and was then silent until they entered the room.

She followed him to the interview room, walking silently behind him with her hands clasped loosely behind her back.

The Commander sat behind a desk with a monitor on it, and motioned for her to be seated in the chair across from him.

“State your name and rank for the record.”

She sighed inaudibly. “Commander Moira Maeve O’Shaughnessy.” Nae Captain, ye bloody bastard. Ye think playin’ th’ same game twice’ll give ye a different way te torture me?

Stony faced, he continued. “We are here to inquire into your part in the events occurring on Stardates 44195.63 through 44298.23. Before we begin these proceedings, do you have anything that you wish to state for the records?”

She considered it for a moment. What could she say? That the Vulcan was a wee bit daft, or had the wrong file; that as far as she knew she was a Commander and not a bloody Captain, except in her nightmares? And even if she did try to say any of those things, what would the Vulcan actually hear? Nay, I’ll nae fight ye on this one, ye foul bloody bastard. But, by th’ Goddess, ye’ll be knowin’ I’ll ne’er be givin’ up.

So much had happened in the past two months. But for a single exception, everything she knew about the whole miserable mission was more than likely in the logs.

Moira merely appeared to be carefully considering the Commander’s questions. After a moment, she looked him in the eyes and said calmly, “No, sir. I’ve naught te say. Ye may proceed with yer questions.”

“On 44195.63, Captain O’Shaughnessy, there was an attack on the Eclipse. Captain McKenzie was killed, and most of the Engineering staff, as well; your Counselor was kidnapped; and the ship sustained massive damage. Commander Mulvihill decided to leave the ship in a runabout to chase after the attacker, in plain dereliction of his first duty to the ship. Is this, in fact, the case?”

His face was impassive, save for an occasional look at the monitor. Moira’s eyebrows knit together in concentration. Did that really happen? That would have been... before Lucara arrived? Yes. Lucara didn’t arrive until after Chapel took command, and they didn’t encounter...

Her face cleared and she nodded. “Aye, I believe that’ll hae been about th’ time th’ Chief’ll hae left.”

She ignored the comment about dereliction of duty, not really because of her loyalty to Mulvihill – though loyal she was. No, it had more to do with... well, maybe the fact that right now, she felt as though she was – as Lieutenant Lucas might have said – the greater sinner.

“On Stardate 44209.87, Captain Lucara had taken command while Commander Mulvihill was still absent from duty. The Eclipse was attacked again, at which point Commander Mulvihill finally reappeared only to be taken captive by the attacking vessel, and thereby still depriving the vessel of vital command staff. Is this correct?”

Moira’s eyebrow rose in a suspiciously Vulcan-like manner, and one corner of her mouth twitched upwards ever so slightly.

“Commander... ye’ll be makin’ it sound as if ye’re blamin’ th’ Chief himself fer bein’ taken captive.” Her voice was light, and probably no one but another Irishman would hear the subtle mocking humor. But then she was quite clearly serious in the next moment. “‘Twould nae be a fair tellin’ te say ‘Mulvihill finally reappeared’. ‘Twould be a more accurate tellin’ te say we located his ship on our long-range sensors.” She shook her head, almost... well, almost disappointed with the Vulcan. “Oh, aye, we’ll be talkin’ about semantics now, sure enough. Ye’ll be correct, howe’er, on th’ point that th’ Chief’ll still nae hae been on th’ Eclipse.”

Moira’s thoughts, despite her calm and serious exterior, were in turmoil. What in th’ name o’ all that’s good an’ holy are ye doin’, ye bastard? Oh, aye! Ye’re neither good nor holy, are ye? And then, following toe upon heel of that thought, came another...

Surely, surely goodness and kindness will follow me all the days of my life...

The engineer’s mind instantly quieted. My Lady...?

“Your interpretation of events has been noted for the records.” He nods. “To continue... on Stardate 44214.52, your Captain allowed your security officer, Lieutenant Kavanaugh, to be killed by being transported directly into space, and then allowed the enemy vessel to escape without interference through the wormhole. Then your Captain finally did something that was logical, ordering a saucer separation. You elected, against orders, to stay on board...”

He reads, apparently, a moment.

“ your Captain attempted a somewhat creative solution to reopening the wormhole in question via applied usage of photon torpedoes, but then rather illogically reattached the saucer section before proceeding back into danger. Is this correct?”

He seemed to be twisting everything... almost maliciously... although notably only minimally against her.

This time, Moira raised both eyebrows and actually grinned. She could feel... his... confusion, allowing her more freedom to be her own self, if only for a short while.

“Why, ye’re playin’ word games with me, Commander Sarkon! ‘Tis certainly nae what I’ll hae been expectin’ from a Vulcan.” She looked genuinely delighted, as word games were something she and her brood of siblings enjoyed immensely. “Oh, me third class teacher – Mrs Duncan – would hae been e’er so fond of ye. I’m thinkin’ ye mayhap would hae liked her, as well.”

She moved forward on the chair... sitting right at the edge... leaning closer to him. “What other fanciful questions will ye be havin’ fer me?”

It didn’t matter to Moira what absurd, twisted game the Vulcan was playing. It had accomplished something she had not been able to do. Inside her mind, everything was very, very quiet. True, she still couldn’t quite reach Em or Paddy... but that horrible, terrible, loathsome presence had finally shut up.

He seemed ready to ask another question, but then looked at the monitor and nodded. Without another word, he turned the monitor toward her, got up, and walked out of the room. On the screen was an older man with snow white hair, wearing an Admiral’s uniform.

“High damn time, lass! Still have fire in the heart and fire in the head. Quit yer moping.”

Moira glanced at the monitor, then watched Sarkon leave the room, before turning back to the monitor, very clearly confused.


He was even more confused than Moira, but also becoming... angry. Oh, shite, Moira thought, this’ll nae be good at all, at all.

“I will not have one without fire commanding the Clarke, and it’s quite good to see that it’s still there, underneath it all.”

Moira’s face immediately went blank, totally emotionless. If it was not obvious she was every bit an Irish lass, one might have thought she was Vulcan... or Deltan. His anger instantly morphed into glee.

Inside her own mind, she screamed. NO! No, sir, please... NO!

And yet, all she said was, "The Clarke, sir?"

A brief moment later, she felt a hand on her shoulder, and then there was only blackness. That’s when the nightmares began.

Time was rolled back and she found herself once again on the Eclipse... weeks ago, before any decisions had been made regarding their options surrounding Matina. Moira remembered that staff meeting. Lucara had been so reluctant to follow Admiral Paige’s orders and go back to destroy a planet and all its inhabitants, and her reluctance had pleased Legion. He had even allowed Moira, for a moment, to voice her own opinion about the value of following orders... playing the devil’s advocate and enjoying it. It had been the meeting at which Lucara decided the Eclipse was too damaged to proceed with a mission of such magnitude.

Everything seemed so surreal. Moira knew this was a dream, but there were moments when the realism was far too believable. Events proceeded exactly as they had in the actual meeting... until Lieutenant Blakslee, Emerald’s assistant... no, Emerald had already resigned...

But... but Emerald had never resigned! What was this madness?

It was Lieutenant Commander Jabbar’s assistant... came in with an urgent message for Captain Lucara. No one seemed to find that at all unusual, even when Lucara hurried out of the room. Everyone acted as if there was nothing amiss. Not even Duffy raised an eyebrow.

When Hitachi hurried out of the room, presumably to follow Lucara, after seeing the message Blakslee brought the Captain, those remaining simply continued their conversation. Moira watched with alarm as Lieutenant Commander Jabbar’s features seemed to melt and take on a new form. After a moment, Jabbar was gone and another science officer... Vona?... took his place. No one noticed, and addressed Vona as if he had been there all the time. It was as if Jabbar had never existed.

Moira felt a deep sense of foreboding. None of these people existed.

Impossible things began happening. Doctor Denovian – there was never anyone on the ship by that name! – carried in her pocket the vial of alcohol-based liquid that could be used to grown another disk reader. So ye’re tryin’ te drive me daft with nonsense that’ll ne’er hae happened? It was suddenly transported from her pocket to a point outside the ship on the docks. When Kahallan tried transporting it back onto the ship, they discovered that all command functions had been locked under Lucara’s command code.

And it was Lucara who was on the dock with the vial.

And the private message she had received was a Tal Shiar coded message.

Are ye fookin’ kiddin’ me, ye thrice cursed demon? E’en I’ll nae believe THAT!

While Kahallan, Denovian, Johlann and several security officers attempted to recover the vial from Lucara using two of the shuttles, Moira and Chief Mulvihill worked on unlocking the computer.

Moira began wondering where the Executive Officer was in all of this. Surely there was something he could do.

“Computer, what'll be th' location o’ Commander Hitachi?”

Rather than an immediate response, the computer seemed to hesitate for several seconds. Did the computer really hesitate, or was it just Moira’s imagination? “The Executive Officer is in his quarters.”

When several calls to Hitachi went unanswered, a hard knot of fear erupted in Moira’s stomach. The Chief was busy with the computer, growling angrily at the panel in front of him. She swallowed hard... it wasn’t her place to be making decisions like this. But she had little choice. She tapped her comm badge with trepidation.

“Medical an’ security teams te th’ XO’s quarters... this is an emergency.”

The news that came back was devastating... Hitachi was unconscious, gravely ill, poisoned by Lucara, or so it seemed. Thanks to Doctor Sadler’s quick thinking the area was quarantined, however the medical and security teams were both exposed to the airborne virus... as were three civilians who happened to be in the vicinity at the time: Johlann T’Selar, Johlann Rilla and their babysitter.

Time seemed to crawl as problem after problem cropped up.

Meanwhile, out on the Shadrach docks, Kahallan was closing in on Lucara... and infuriating Shadrach Station authorities in the process. Running a shuttle down the docks without permission... transporting persons, including two civilians, from the docks to the shuttle in violation of Shadrach rules... transporting persons, this time Lucara, Denovian, the injured civilians and security officers, from the shuttle back to the Eclipse in violation of Shadrach rules... Shadrach wanted Kahallan’s hide and they were determined to get it.

Shadrach? There’ll nae be such a station in all o’ Federation space, ye amadán!

Though Denovian was able to isolate an antidote and administer it to the infected persons, she held little hope that Hitachi would ever recover.

Legion wanted Moira to know how alone she was. One by one, he was going to take every member of the crew away from her. First Lucara, then Jabbar, now Hitachi. Who would be next? If she had had the time, Moira would have screamed in frustration and wept. She didn’t even know who some of these people where, and Legion was casually disposing of them.

Shadrach finally allowed Kahallan to return to the ship, extracting a hefty sum in “reparations” and threatening further retaliation if Eclipse made the slightest infraction of station regulations.

Doctor Denovian, as the highest-ranking medical officer on board was appointed acting Chief Medical Officer due to Doctor Sadler’s incapacitation. She declared Commander Hitachi unfit for duty. The ship’s senior staff removed Lucara from the captaincy.

Lucara... the woman in whom Moira placed her trust, the woman with whom Moira had trusted her life... sat in the brig, apparently a Romulan spy.

Liar! Liar!

The Eclipse was without a Captain and without an Executive Officer. Commander Mulvihill, the senior-most officer on the ship refused to act as Captain. And so Moira’s fellow officers appointed her acting Captain.

NO! Nae this one agin!! Bastard!

The engineer could only wonder what tortures Legion had in store for her next.

She didn’t have long to wait.

Commander Naji Imad had been working undercover on Shadrach for several years, watching the Cardassians and Romulans. When the disk reader substance came into his possession, the Cardassians became suspicious of his activities and had just figured out he was actually a Starfleet operative. He came to the Eclipse requesting transport off Shadrach, and when he learned of the situation on the ship, offered his services as Moira’s Executive Officer.

Ah, this disk readin’ bit must be somethin’ important to ye, aye? Sure an’ I hope ye ne’er find it!

Moira had no reason to trust Imad, however she sensed no duplicity from him... in fact the strongest emotions she picked up were dedication to duty and a sincere desire to be of assistance. Still, she wondered if her own senses were still accurate under Legion’s influence and inside this nightmare. Despite her relief of having an experienced Starfleet officer at her side, an overwhelming feeling of dread suffused her mind. Legion had something planned, but she was at a loss to determine what it was.

She didn’t wait long to find out, and even her most vivid imaginings paled beside Legion’s cruelty.

Fights were breaking out all over the ship. None of them were serious; however, the Security department was kept busy trying to keep them from becoming so. One of the shuttle pilots had to be subdued and taken to the brig after he attacked the repair crew working on his shuttle... he was ranting about conspiracies.

The Klingon exchange officer’s quarters – What bloody Klingon exchange officer? – had been ransacked and nearly destroyed... and some personal items had been stolen, only to have them turn up later in Chief Mulvihill’s desk drawer. Who onboard a Galaxy class starship would do something like that, and what possible reasons could they have for implicating the Chief in a theft?

In this dreamscape, Duffy seemed more his normal self, and so Moira dared to spend a quiet evening with him... he cooked dinner and they chatted about insignificant things. Moira was actually starting to relax. And that was a mistake.

Lieutenant Jainos, the Trill counselor who had stepped in when Lieutenant Lucas had been injured in one of the pirate attacks, discovered there were personnel files missing from the ship’s database. In fact, quite a number of files appeared to have been altered.

Such a magnitude of data corruption was virtually impossible with all the redundant backup systems a starship carried. And yet, it seemed to have happened anyway.

Moira struggled to escape the nightmare, to wake up. Perhaps being conscious and trapped with Legion’s cruelty was better than being trapped with him in her unconscious. She tried to scream. It was no use. All she could do was follow whatever script Legion had written for her.

Moira tried to explain how the tampering might have occurred to Kahallan and Jainos, and speculate on who might have both the knowledge and computer access to perform the tampering.

The computer, a helpful and dispassionate entity, informed them that the only person who had both the technical skills and security rating to modify personnel records was Captain Moira O’Shaughnessy.

Ye stupid git! E’en I kinnae tamper with records! Sure an’ e’en if I’ll hae been Starfleet Intel, no single person kin do that! Bloody moron. Ye’re reachin’ far now, are ye nae, laddie? Oh, ye’ll be about te be dippin’ yerself in hot water. I’ll nae mind if ye’ll be takin’ me with ye... ‘tis better te die than help ye!

Moira’s thoughts had only just reached the point where she was concluding she would be the next occupant of a maximum-security cell in the brig when Commander Kern called Kahallan to Sickbay... less than twenty four hours after stepping aboard the Eclipse, Naji Imad was found murdered in his quarters.

Circumstances did not improve after that, of course.

After Kahallan left, Moira called upon all the patience she had ever learned while teaching at the Academy to explain the workings of the computer to the Counselor and was relieved several minutes later when Kahallan interrupted her with a request to enter the CMO’s locked office. Moira’s mind raced to the most obvious conclusion... that Denovian was the latest victim of disaster.

“Aye, Commander... I’ll nae want te see Doctor Denovian come te harm." She paused, biting her lower lip as she stared at the readout on the screen in front of her. Denovian could already be dead... or incapacitated... or perhaps Legion had something even more sinister planned. "I’ll be on me way down there.”

Although she ran down the corridor to the turbolift... deciding against using the engineering conduits between floors despite the fact that her quarters were only a single deck below Sickbay... Moira felt as though she was moving underwater... or, more accurately, moving through a dream. She gritted her teeth in frustration while waiting for the turbolift, barely aware that Lieutenant Jainos was at her heels.

When she finally arrived in Sickbay, her relief at seeing Denovian alive and relatively well brought her up short for a second, as her heart thumped wildly in her chest. Her glance then took in the odd tableau before her... Denovian sitting in the darkness of her office, Kahallan standing in the doorway and Kern apparently ready to push past the Security Chief. Fear gripped her momentarily, thinking that Kern was there to harm the doctor, until she picked up the Klingon’s emotions. Protection... possessive protection. Unless, of course, Legion was letting her recognize only what he wanted her to perceive.

Kern moved minutely forward, and Moira watched as Kahallan fluidly swung his foot out to catch the Klingon on the back of his legs, dropping the larger man to the floor, and pulling out his phaser at the same time... though keeping it out of sight at his side. She could hear Kahallan’s quiet, even voice sounding sharper than usual. “Mister Kern, I ordered hold.” In the space of time it took for Kahallan to fire off a series of questions to the doctor, Kern was up on his feet again... facing down his commanding officer.

“If you were not my commander, I would kill you where you stand.” The Klingon had a look in his eye that frightened Moira – No! Not Duffy! Not again. “But... you do or try that again and even your rank won’t protect you from me.”

What madness was this? An officer threatening his commander?!

“Mister Kern...”

Her eyes narrowed, and her tightly fisted hands moved to her hips. She was frightened of this volatile situation, all the more so because Legion was so unpredictable... and thrived on strong emotions. The demon would find it most amusing to allow Kern to kill Kahallan.

“Stand down.”

Denovian’s comments were even more disturbing... threats and accusations against Kahallan. It was obvious to Moira even from her vantage point in the hall that Denovian’s health was deteriorating. There was no way she could contain this situation, Legion just wasn’t going to let her. That would be too easy.

But her Celtic stubbornness made her try anyway.

“By the Goddess, what’ll it be th’ three o’ ye think ye’ll be doin’ here?”

Words... they washed over her without registering. Kahallan’s words, Denovian’s words... the empath, the engineer – I am nae the Captain, damn ye, Legion! – paid more attention to the emotions behind them. Were these the true emotions she might feel from these people in this situation if she was not trapped in this nightmare... or was Legion trying to trick her yet again?

Some of Denovian’s words remained at the edge of her mind. "Aye. Yer friend’ll be dead an’ ye donnae feel safe. Well, me Executive Officer’ll be dead, an’ I donnae feel safe either. But if we’ll be lockin’ ourselves in our offices, whoe’er is behind this will win. Legion will win." Moira heard a burst of the demon’s laughter... he believed he was going to win anyway.

The doctor spoke up, her voice weary. “The crew of this ship has been compromised, Captain. Your predecessor is a Romulan spy who might still have allies on board and who certainly has informed her people of just what we’re carrying. The Cardassians know it, too, and are trailing us, and the Romulans might also be out there. Legion could take over you or Miss Drake again and we would have no way of detecting it. And there is a murderer on board capable of killing the Executive Officer in the supposed safety of his own quarters.

“There is no one on the Eclipse who can be entrusted with this disk reader, sir, and Commander Imad’s death has proven that I can’t keep it safe. Maybe a bodyguard would make the difference, but then again, it might not. The Commander was hardly unable to look after himself, and that didn’t help him.”

The doctor’s voice cracked with emotion. “Naji... Naji nearly died keeping it from the Cardassians. It’s my duty as a Starfleet officer to ensure that it doesn’t end up in the wrong hands. Isn’t it?"

Moira stared at the young doctor, wondering why she was even trying to play out this farce. How was she going to win against Legion when he had her trapped in her own mind? How could anything she did here matter when Legion controlled the thoughts and emotions and actions of all the players in the play? Creating new characters, too, and tossing in bizarre elements to keep her off balance. She barely knew what was going on around her anymore. He was simply toying with her, watching to see what she did. She could give up here... and he would find something even worse with which to torture her. Or she could play out this charade of his.

And was this dream version of Denovian possessed by the demon, as her counterpart in reality had been?

There never was a real Denovian!

And for that matter, what of Kahallan? A look of panic flashed across her features before being carefully hidden away again. She had to play the game. She had no choice.

“Commander Kahallan, what I’ll be thinkin’ is we’ll be needin’ te treat this situation with far more concern than a normal situation. An’ so what I’m goin’ te do is hold ye, Commander, personally responsible fer Doctor Denovian’s safety.” If they were both possessed by the demon here in her dream, perhaps that would spoil one or two of his plans. “How ye decide te allocate th’ resources o’ th’ Security department te carry out this assignment is yer area o’ expertise, an’ I’ll leave that allocation up te ye. But if I hear o’ th’ doctor sufferin’ so much as a scratch because one o’ yer team members was nae doin’ his or her job... ye’ll be th’ one who’ll be feelin’ me anger.” She paused, taking a breath to push down another tendril of fear. "Th’ doctor’s safety is o’ paramount importance... her safety is more important than mine.” Because Moira would not have minded at this point if being released from the nightmare meant her death. “Do ye understand that, Commander?”

There was the barest hint of hesitation before the Security Chief spoke, as if perhaps this was a completely unexpected order. Deep in her mind, far from the actors around her, Moira smiled and sent a thought in Legion’s direction. Is that a point fer me, ye bastard?

“Aye, aye... like kith and kin, Captain, sir. By your word, I’ll watch over her.”

Moira only nodded; she was still disconcerted by being called Captain. She turned her attention to the Klingon who had eagerly volunteered his services as personal bodyguard to Doctor Denovian. Could he be trusted?

“Commander Kern, while yer enthusiasm an’ dedication’ll be admirable, I need te be pointin’ out that in Starfleet we donnae bypass our commandin’ officers with our requests fer assignments. An’ nae only is Commander Kahallan yer commandin’ officer, but I’ll hae made him personally responsible fer Doctor Denovian’s safety.”’ She glanced at the Klingon’s bare feet, which she had been trying to ignore, before continuing. “Now... I’ll be appreciatin’ it if ye’d dress yerself appropriately an’ meet me in th’ Captain’s ready room, where we kin clear up any other misconceptions ye might have o’ Starfleet procedures. An’ ye kin clear up any misconceptions I might be developin’ o’ Klingons," she added as her gaze once again fell to Kern’s bare feet. “After which time, ye may make yer request te Commander Kahallan. Commander Kahallan, based on his knowledge an’ experience, will be makin’ a determination about where yer skills kin best be used.

“Will ye be understandin’ this, Commander Kern?”

“Yes, sir.” The Klingon’s eyes flickered to the doctor before he turned and left the room.

What’ll be this game yer playin’ with me, Legion? She was about to leave the room herself when Denovian spoke again.

“S...” The young woman had to pause to clear her throat. “Sir, request permission to be present when you meet with Commander Kern. I feel I am at least in part responsible for his... reactions.”

Moira raised an eyebrow. What kind o’ answer is that, ye lousy wart?

“Doctor, I’m nae interested in... reprimandin’ Commander Kern. But ’twould seem he’ll hae nae been adequately briefed on protocols... an’ what is expected o’ him as an officer in th’ Exchange Program. Captain Yeade should hae spoken with him... or Captain Lucara. Since there’s no record o’ either o’ them doin’ so... I’m goin’ te take th’ opportunity now."

There’ll be no record o’ him at all, ‘twill be th’ bet I’ll be makin’.

Her eyes flickered to Kahallan and back to Denovian. “Before it’ll be creatin’ more conflict.”

“Thank you, Captain.” The doctor nodded, and there was a quaver in her now husky voice. “I had begun speaking with Commander Kern on the subject earlier, but I’m afraid we didn’t have the opportunity to pursue it further.” She hesitated for a moment. “Sir, if it isn’t too much trouble, I would like to meet with you as soon as you’re done speaking with Commander Kern.”

Aye? And ye think I’ll let ye alone with me, do ye? Moira discovered she had begun thinking of everyone else on the ship as Legion. A twinge of loneliness stabbed her heart, but she pushed her feelings aside. Ye know I want te kill ye, ye bastard? Donnae ye?

Moira nodded. “I’ll call ye when I’m finished with Commander Kern.”

“Thank you, Captain.”

As Moira made her way to the Captain’s ready room, she continued to look for a way out... some kind of ammunition she could use to escape her prison. For no particular reason, she began humming... it was an old, old song her grandmother had taught her. Odd. Why would she be humming at a time like this? She stood quietly in the turbolift as it carried her to the bridge... barely breathing, with a song running through her mind. That was when the felt the familiar, though still feather-light, touch of her Lady. No words... just the faintest touch.

Commander O’Shaughnessy, assistant Chief Engineer of the USS Eclipse, smiled. Maybe she just found her weapon against Legion.

She hadn’t much time to herself before Commander Kern was due to arrive in the ready room... but she absently hummed while waiting for the Klingon. And she smiled. And she could sense Legion’s puzzlement at her apparent newfound serenity.

The meeting with Kern last only about twenty minutes... interesting information about Klingons if any of it was true. But perhaps Legion knew as much about Klingons as he did about humans... enough to be dangerous, that was certain... but accurate nonetheless.

During the meeting, she kept a song going in her mind... far in the back where it wouldn’t interfere with her concentration... and in deference to the Klingon, it was rather martial in nature – John Philips Souza.

After Kern left Lucara’s ready room – Moira still refused to accept it as her own – she stood and paced to the far side of the room to look out the view port. She watched the warp effect of the stars for a moment before tapping her comm badge.

“Doctor Denovian, if ye’d care te come up te th’ ready room, I’ve some time te speak with ye.”

There was something both relaxing and frustrating about the stars flowing by at Warp 5. She could only watch them for a few minutes... knowing that they were just a manifestation of Legion’s humor... before turning and picking up a small figurine from the ledge near the view port. Another bit of humor... it was a small alabaster cat that she’d seen on the corresponding ledge in the real Eclipse on her first day... no, that would have been her second day on the Eclipse. The tiny cat belonged to Dannon Yeade.

She set the cat back in its accustomed place and returned to the desk. She was going to find a way out of this nightmare. She ran her fingers over the computer console as she sat down. For now, however, all she could do was wait for Doctor Denovian to arrive. She tapped a few keys on the console and wondered of Legion had ever heard of a game called Solitaire.

Moira didn’t have a chance to find out, however. “Captain to the bridge. Cardassian vessels are closing to firing range and are hailing us.”

Are they now? What kind o’ game are ye playin’ here? Are ye tryin’ te tell me ye’ve been advancin’ in Cardassian space as well, mayhap?

But game or no game... Moira was a Starfleet officer. She stood and, with a final glance at the alabaster cat, she strode out onto the bridge.

“Call Commander Kahallan te th’ bridge,” she said to the tactical officer and then turned to the operations officer. “Status report.”

“Shields at full, weapons on standby. Tactical reports that the Cardassians are holding at optimal firing range for their offensive systems with shields up, but have not actually powered up their weapons. They are hailing us and requesting to speak to the Captain.”

Moira nodded. “Let ‘em wait a moment. We’ll wait fer Commander Kahallan.”

As if on cue, Doctor Denovian’s voice was heard over the intercom. “Denovian to bridge... I’m sorry, Captain, but I’m afraid you’ll have to do without Commander Kahallan’s assistance on the bridge.” She paused. “As of now, he’s relieved of duty for medical reasons.”

Moira simply raised an eyebrow. Ah, so that’ll be the way ye want te play it? Sure an’ that’ll be fine.

“’Tis nae acceptable te me, Doctor,” she said calmly in response to Denovian’s pronouncement. “When last I’ll hae seen Commander Kahallan, he’ll hae been in fine health an’ fit fer duty. Believe me when I say I would be aware o’ anythin’ that would incapacitate him.” At least outside this bloody nightmare that would be true. She tapped her own comm badge. “Commander Kahallan... yer duty station is on th’ bridge, an’ I expect ye te report here.


Moira allowed herself a brief smile as she hummed one of her mother’s favorite songs... by an old 20th century singer by the name of Bobby McFerrin. After humming a verse, she began softly singing the third verse. “E’en though I walk through a dark an’ dreary land, there is nothin’ that kin shake me... She has said She’ll nae forsake me, I’m in Her hand.”

As she stared at the forward view screen, Moira broke into a broad grin. There in the middle of the thousands of visible stars was one star that shone more brightly than all the others... a small green star.

I win!

When her eyes opened, she could see the white ceiling of a medical bay. She could tell she was restrained in a biobed, cortical monitors attached to her, monitoring her brainwaves. She could see a concerned looking short reptilian face looking over her.

As soon as Moira’s eyes opened, and she realized she was restrained, her brainwaves simply went crazy. Her medical records showed she was a high-level psi, but these readings were even more complex, more disordered and just plain more bizarre than a psi’s.

She tried so hard... so very, very hard... to say something, anything to the face looking down at her, but absolutely no sound escaped. She merely stared up as a tear, and then two trickled down the side of her face.

Inside, she was screaming... over and over and over and over... Please! Help me! Oh, please... don’t let him take me. Please...

A hand reached down, and a second set of brainwaves joins hers, pushing back – fairly strongly – against the madness.

The creature above her spoke. “We know what is in you, and it will not win.” Then he hissed. “And you that occupies the lady’s brain, try me, and you will find no host.”

He roared in a defiant rage.

“I AM LEGION,” it shouted, using Moira’s voice, and yet sounding nothing like Moira. “YOU CANNOT STOP ME!”

The pain, oh the pain Legion was causing was so great! How could she escape? She was lying on the ground, small as a child, and her father was kicking her... and kicking her again... and again... surely he would break something. Stop it, Daidí! Please stop! I love you, Daidí, please don’t hurt me anymore!

Shhhh. Mo, that wasn’t you. Our father never hurt YOU, Moira. It was always me. Remember? You were always sticking up for ME.

Pa... Padraig? Ye kin hear me agin?

Sure, now that Lizard Face has Legion occupied for the moment. That fuggin’ demon will notice me soon enough, but... Sis, hang on. You can do this. You know how.

No, Paddy, I don’t... I don’t!

Yes. You DO. Remember what you were thinking when you left your quarters... oops, gotta go!

And as swiftly as her twin had come, he disappeared again. Legion was still using her body to struggle violently against the restraints, and screaming... tearing her throat raw.

The reptilian one leaned over her.

“Oh, this is where you are mistaken, whatever you may be. You already have been stopped, one way or the other, until this young female kicks you out and you become as nothing.”

{Now the battle begins, my daughter.}

Her Lady’s voice was stronger now, as though She had finally found the opening in Legion’s defenses that would allow Her access to Her priestess’ soul... and allow Her to free Moira from his custody.

{Hold tight to thy faith, O Priestess… and continue thy prayers. I and these gathered ‘round you will free thee.}

The pure love that washed over Moira was as familiar and as comforting to her as her mother’s warm embrace, her grandmother’s strong hands, and her brother’s strong, loving hug. For all his obsession with emotion, this was something Legion could never imitate.

As bolt after bolt of excruciating pain lanced through her body and mind while Legion continued to fight, Moira was grateful her Lady had given her some warning. Fire raced through her nerves, explosions engulfed her head... time after time, she tried to scream, only to find her lungs filled with acid and her throat already torn raw. There were moments when the physical, emotional and psychic agony was magnitudes worse than anything Legion had inflicted on her over the course of her captivity. Sound battered at her from all directions... loud and cacophonous. She felt as if her very soul was being shredded and could barely hold her own thoughts from second to second, trusting only in the reality of a Goddess and the words her brother had left with her.

Time ceased to have meaning, and her world consisted only of pain and despair... and that tiny spark of hope. Moira continued to stare up at the reptilian face. The world Legion had created in her mind, all those nightmares, faded and flickered, but would not disappear completely.

What was it Padraig had said again?

The unknown benefactor was still there, looking down at her.

“We are Kerl Tarvik. And we are not leaving you.”

The reptilian started making a somewhat melodic droning noise, something vaguely reminiscent of a lullaby one would sing to a child with a nightmare.

That was it! She was thinking about her harp! But... that sound... yes, there was something she could do to free herself. Padraig was right!

She closed her eyes, listening to the discordance... seeing the tangled webs of light and dark... she began reaching out to them with her mind... focusing on a single thread at a time, pulling it out of the knot. Legion had no idea what she was doing; it made no sense to him.

After a time, instead of discordance, there was a semblance of harmony... with an overtone that sounded like Gregorian chant... and then chords flowed from one to the next, rhythmically and soothingly. Legion was no longer raging against the physical bonds that held her body to the bed. He turned his rage instead toward Moira.

But it was too late. Each thread she pulled from the tangle decreased the number of chords, until finally she was left with a single thread... and the pure sound of A above middle C, filling her mind and reweaving itself into the chants.

And at the completion of the tapestry, everything Legion had created vanished. Legion himself... was no more.

After what had been an eternity of suffering, the sudden cessation of pain and sound was almost as much of a shock as the pain itself had been. Moira lay quietly within her own mind, gently testing the boundaries of her mental shields... surprised to find them not only intact, but as strong as they had ever been – perhaps even stronger. The Lady’s warmth and love suffused her soul and intertwined among the foundations of those shields. Emerald gently brushed against them... and a little farther off, she could sense Padraig’s presence. Padraig, her twin, the other half of her soul.

For the first time in what seemed like years, Moira felt at home within her own mind.

Moira opened her eyes, and instead of the clouded pain that had been there since Legion first possessed her, they were bright and clear, glittering like emeralds.

She tried to speak, but found her throat much too raw, much too painful. Instead, she simply looked up at the reptilian medic, and whispered oh so softly, “Thank you.”

It grins toothily.

“What for, lady? We believe you did the hard lifting.”

She wished she could explain, but just as her Chief had always been, the medic was psi-null. So she just smiled and shook her head ever so slightly, then closed her eyes again.

Sleep, real sleep that was not tortured and tormented with the nightmares – she knew that, for the first time since Captain Yeade was injured, she would actually sleep.

And you can tell Lizard Face about the chanting when you can talk again.


She could hear her brother chuckling as she drifted off.

© Kelly Naylor and Ryan Murphy