The second installment of the Captain’s Journey.

***

I pull my knees up to my chest and wrap my arms around them. To release some of the emotion, I gently rock back and forth. In rhythm to the rocking, I work through a complicated series of slipspace coordinates to further calm my tempestuous emotions. It takes me a several minutes to staunch the flow of tears and end the sobs that are quietly racking my body.

“What the fuck kind of question is that? I’ve just woken up screaming from something that is obviously traumatic and you want to do Therapy? Fuck you HAL!”

“I am sorry Jaxx. I could have phrased that better. You are physically recovered enough to deal with the rest of the memory. The emotional impact will still be somewhat difficult.”

“Wait…you are saying that I haven’t been physically capable of dealing with this memory? What do you mean by that and why do I remember some of what happened but not everything?”

“These are excellent questions! Evidence that you are ready to deal with the memory. Simply put, your body had underwent so much trauma during the event that the emotions stirred up by this memory would have stopped your heart. There were many options available. They ranged from wholesale excision of the offending memory to just allowing you to proceed as normal and allowing events to play out. It was decided that you deserved a better chance than either of those two options would allow. Instead, you have been kept here in me. I am Med-Bay Alpha whom you have decided to call HAL. I was curious as to the origin of the name but it was not core to your recovery so I did not review that engram.”

“Wait, wait. So you are saying that you are a machine but are a Talent as well? I don’t remember machines being able to replicate Talent at all. Have I been in stasis or something?”

“No. You have not been in stasis. You have been here with me for six months. It has been an arduous healing process to get your body back to some semblance of normality. When you pull back the screen that hides this memory you will understand what I am saying. I can not say more until you answer my initial query. The answer to your last question is yes. As I stated, I am Med-Bay Alpha and I am Talented. You are correct, terran machines are incapable of replicating Talent. I am a kossun design and much more advanced than any terran machine.”

I’ve been able to get my emotions under control while talking to HAL. It is nice to stop the mental gymnastics and sprawl across the bed as I take in that last bit of information. With a deep breath, I dive back into the conversation.

“Ok, You are saying that I’ve been here for six months. I will admit that my memory of this time is fairly sketchy. I remember going in and out of darkness for quite sometime. Those times that I can remember are pretty much just filled with pain and terror. The time before that is pretty much blank. I know that I’m a Captain and I had my own ship. It is fairly apparent from this nightmare that ‘had’ is the operative term in this statement. Now that I say this, it feels like I am missing another fairly important piece of information in regards to the ship. How am I doing so far HAL?”

“For all that you have been through, your recollections are accurate. Those periods that you say were filled with  pain and terror are when I had to force consciousness onto you to make sure that higher brain functions were intact. I regret that it was necessary to do this. with other humans it isn’t necessary to bring them back to consciousness to ensure proper neural functioning. As a Talent, this is something that I can usually monitor even in a deep coma. You, on the other hand, showed absolutely no activity while out. When awake all the metrics were off the chart. Your Talent was still over taxing your system and I had to keep you comatose for a longer period of time than anticipated. Your observation in regards to missing something in regards to your ship is tied to the memory that is suppressed. Tell me Jaxx, can you remember the name of your ship?”

“I called her the Void Skipper. I called her that because I really couldn’t put down roots as I was trying to keep one step ahead of ‘something’. If I stopped for to long, my tail wold catch up to me and everything would change.”

Just saying that out loud cause my stomach to lurch with emotion. I feel the muscles in my chest tightened and my breathing become labored. I see silver sparkles flash before my eyes as I am overcome by a great sense of vertigo as well. Intellectually, I know this is a some sort of panic attack but all my emotions will let me do is croak out “Help!” I feel a warm aura envelope me and fill my mind with soothing energy. My control is so low that it could easily take control and do whatever it wanted. Instead, it just slowly props up my internal defenses and guides my thoughts into a that same mantra I used after the nightmare. After I pick up the cadence and begin to slow my breathing, I feel the presence leave me.

“Are you OK now Jaxx? Your capabilities have improved as I mentioned earlier. The last time an attack of this magnitude occurred I had to sedate you.”

It takes a minute for me to gather my wits to form a response. “Yeah, I think so. Thank you for that. It has been a long time since I’ve need another to help reinforce my mental faculties. Whatever I’m not remembering has tore me up pretty bad. My answer to your initial question is yes. I need to know what did this to me.”

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