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The Resistance - The Etheria Part 2

Posted on Wednesday 28 October 2020 @ 15:37 by Captain Melody Jones & Civilian Sansa Draxx-Jones & Commander Save'ena (Sav) Tillatix & Commander Caroline Miller & Lieutenant Commander Hayley Godding & Lieutenant Kyhl Ch'rehron & 1st Lieutenant David Scarlet

Mission: A Whale of a problem (We're going to need a bigger boat)
Location: The Etheria
Timeline: After The Etheria Part 1
4397 words - 8.8 OF Standard Post Measure


Sansa's eyes flickered open and she found herself lying on a cot, covered a warm blanket in what looked like an underground chamber.

A young man with blue skin sat nearby, watching her with a soft smile. "You're awake. I'm sorry about the method of how we brought you here, but it was the only way we could do it without the Council's knowledge." My name is Tann. Know you are among friends. We want to help you free your people and your ship."

Sansa sat up slowly and looked at him. "Where are we?"

He gestured with his hand "This is the Etheria. It is where our consciousness resides. This is a representation that falls within your level of understanding. I have much to tell you."

Sav was furious inside. Why should Melody experience what she had, so long ago? Wasn't it for her to take for the crew, to keep them from knowing the pain, the suffering, the psychological damage of gutting and skinning would do to them? Also, wasn't she the realm of mindscape? Able to meld with ship and guide to a safe course? Yet.. Yet.. it was her purpose to protect, to help, to find the kitlings and guide them back to their parents... Sansa was out there... Sansa was out there...

Sav blinked... from where she was, to where she should be, no longer tracked by the majority, her tail's protectiveness hiding her from the Etheria, to join within the folds of Etheria, to find Sansa. She appeared next to Sansa, looking around in fright/anger/protectiveness, and said, "You cannot have her.. She is my bestest friends Kitling.. you cannot have her..."

Sansa got up "Sav.... It's ok. They're friends. This is Tann/ He was just going to explain what was happeneing."

Tan looked at Sav with a curious expression. "You are... something different. Your ability to travel through the Etheria is most impressive, Even the council have not been able to find this place." He opened his arms in a gesture of trust. "Welcome. We mean no harm to you or Sansa here. Tell me, where is Melody?"

Sansa's eyes widened "Mom's here, where is she?"

'Where is Melody/Mom's here' elicited a fright with anger expression. Melody was going to feel even more than what she had went through. It wasn't right.

Tann regarded Sav a moment. "From your expression, I take it the council have her?"

Sav nodded, "Yes, she isa with t'em... she took command privilege toun take punishment fer crew... give us a chance toun find friends.. yer t'e friends? Oh.. ana.. umm, Ah'm not human, Ah'm Mephetian.. witha birth defect.."

Tann regarded Sav closely, then took a step back. He smiled at her then frowned slightly "I can see no defects. My apologies. Bi-pedal lifeforms are so fascinating. You are something new. As I said, this is only how you are perceiving the Etheria. Our physical forms are very.... different to yours. This place is where our..." He struggled slightly, trying to put it into term he hoped she would understand "Higher consciousness interact. More of the mind than of the body. Then the first human.... humanoids came, we represented them in the Etheria how their minds see the best version of themselves. I would guess that each of you is perceiving this place slightly differently."

As Tann took that step back, his presence pressing against her and Sansa was felt lessening by Sav. Her one minded protectiveness over her best friends daughter lowered as well. She was able to start thinking more clearly. She listened intently, then nodded. She replied, "Ayuh, Ahsa understand. Lahke a gestalt mind vista, or a Journey when bonding with another. Yah have a racial mindscape, up to us how to interpret it." She curtsied gently, "Thank you." She felt much more at ease with him even as she sensed out his 'flow and connections' within the mindscape.

"I'm afraid for your mother, Sansa. We must try and help her. Can you bring your colleges here?" He asked turning back to Sav.

Sav's body jerked to attention. "The others. Shoot, umm, I am not sure how I got here, to be honest. Only that I don't want Melody to face what I experienced at the hands of another, and an overwhelming desire to find and protect Sansa." Sav's face showed a revelation of a sorts, "That's it.. one second..." She closed her eyes, sensing out, feeling for Caroline. She once more let go of 'her physically here' and sensed through the mindscape for the person who was Caroline. There.. hard to find as none of the other 'Etherians' were paying attention.

"Tann, Ah found Caroline, and thus, the others. Ah don't sense them under scrutiny. Okay, I have Sansa's core mind anchoring me here... let me see if I can..." Sav was suddenly gone, but yet, a presence of Sav could be felt as she was anchored to Sansa.

Within the mindscape, at the 'area' of where the away team was mentally locking themselves to as they were 'physically' there, Sav had suddenly disappeared after Melody was taken and the other caretakers had left. No warning, no explanation. Then after a couple of minutes, she reappeared beside Caroline.

Sav looked at Caroline with joy upon her face and said, "Ah found you... Ana Ah 'found' you. Travel tis time easier."

"I have no idea whats going on Sav," Caroline said. "But don't disappear again. Everyone disappeared."

Sav closed her eyes and felt about her, then opened them. "No Etherians watchin, so Ah can say. Ah needed tah find Sansa, protect her, and Ah did, along with resistance. Ah can get us there, but Caroline.. Dr. Miller, has tah be here fer mah anchor."

"What does that mean?" the blond asked. "How can I be your anchor?"

Sav smiled to Caroline and replied, "You are my counselor, and friend, so I used your presence to locate where you are in the Etheria. I am still tracking Sansa as she is my anchor to get us to where she and the resistance is. I can take 1 person at a time between here where you are and there where she is, so you will have to be the last one. As far as getting back here, after several trips, I will get an imprint of the place."

Sav stepped over to Hayley first. She held out her hands and said, "You first. Sansa needs her friend."

Hayley looked over the rest of the away team. It went against her training to abandon them as chief of security, but it wasn't like she could do a whole lot to protect them in this realm. If anything, Sav was the one who was nominally in-charge at this point being the only one who knew how to navigate this mental world. She'd already failed spectacularly to protect the Captain and no doubt there would be a reckoning upon her for that, but she could at the very least follow the Captain's last order and to protect Sansa - something she'd willingly do regardless.

"Alright." Hayley said, looking at Sav skeptically but accepting that she of everyone here knew what the heck was going on.

As soon as Hayley was secure in her grasp, Sav closed her eyes, and they were gone. She reappeared in two seconds. She smiled to the group, calling out, "Next.."

Hayley had appeared beside Sansa before she'd known what'd really happened beyond the experience beyond comparison of 'moving', not that she could describe the feeling whatsoever. Once she became aware of her position, she spotted Sansa. "Sansa!" She called out and moved to embrace her. "You're okay? You're not harmed?"

Sansa smiled as she saw Hayley and wrapped her arms around her. " Yes, I'm fine.

Sav appeared with Caroline as her last transport. She was somewhat exhausted from moving the two away team groups to where Tann was, so she moved to sit down while saying, "All here, Tann."

Once they were all there Tann addressed them all. "Welcome. I'm sorry that we have to meet under these circumstances and that your for what your Captain is going to be subjected to. I'll try to explain in terms that fall within your level of understanding. Please know that most of our race are willing to have peaceful relations with you." He struggled slightly for words. "The concept that you call time.... operates differently here and your perception of how much time has passed maybe not what you expected."

"That would explain why the Darwin crew hadn't realized quite how much time has passed on the other side." Hayley said, coming to terms with the situation quickly. "What is the relative time-shift between the Etheria and normal space-time? It could give us some idea of the passage of time."

Tann looked at her blankly for a moment. "We do not quantify time as you do, so it would be hard to....." His voice trailed off. he then took a breath and changed track.

When the first group of humans arrived, this was our first experience with your type of lifeform and it took a great deal of preparation to create this" he gestured with his hand to everything "So we could communicate with them. Their physical bodies were... encased, protected so that no harm would come to them."

He blushed slightly as he glanced at Sav "I apologize. From my conversation with this one, I realise that you are not all human." Our physical bodies are much, much different from yours. We dwell deep down in the planet and our minds communicate with each other through this place. We also had communication with other beings on different worlds whose..... minds operated similarly to ours. On the planet with the humans, our communications became increasingly distressing. Filled with images of death until they stopped altogether. An attempt was made to contact these beings through an alternate method."

"You mean the whales, specifically the humpbacks." Hayley said, looking at Sansa carefully before returning her gaze to Tann. "Alas, our historical ancestors by and large viewed any creature that they considered 'beneath them' as a mere resource, even long after the necessity for doing so had been replaced by technological improvements. The hunting of whales became a cultural heritige for some or a source of revenue. Some cultures believed they held medicinal value when that had clearly been overtaken by progress. It took a very long time for our species to realise the harm we were doing, but strong willed individuals tried to stop it and many were saved - but not before a lot of them were hunted to extinction. After the ecological disaster had been finally realised by world governments, hunting of all kinds was prohibited, but the damage had been done. If it wasn't for the actions of Admiral Kirk, as he was, and his crew by going back in time and bringing two humpback whales into our timeline, your original probe would've killed off our planet."

Tann looked genuinely grief-stricken. "We did not know that would happen. The probe was not as much constructed as grown... We have no technology as you do. We can control the elements in the ocean, the sky, in orbit with the power of our minds. We created the place where the other humans are kept safe only after their ship had arrived. When we made the probe, we instructed it to communicate with the whales, as you call them, in any way possible. But, it was limited in how it could do this. It was only after the probe returned and became one with the ocean again that we learned what it had done and how it had affected your planet and technology. It was not our intent to harm you or the planet."

Hayley nodded carefully. "That position does seem to be at considerable odds to what your council is doing to the crew of the Darwin and our Captain." She said, with considerable temperament. "I understand that humanity has done some truly questionable things during its evolutionary development, but surely as enlightened and advanced a culture as yourselves should understand that primitive societies rely on raw materials to thrive. But even if humanity deserves what punishment your council has elected to meat out, which I sorely doubt makes any point to people who long ago abandoned the actions they're now being punished for, you have had the crew of the Darwin here for a century and not all of them are human. Even among our people, we're not all human. Commander Save'ena here as an example. Your council would seek to punish people not even remotely involved in humanities mistakes in their blind rage for third party vengeance on behalf of the whales? Because this isn't 'justice' as your leader claimed, this is pure and unadulterated revenge and malice."

He nodded. "A fair and accurate assessment. This is why you are here and why we are here. I am the leader of a group who... let us say do not fully agree with the council's recent decisions and which to bring change, to restore things to how they were. As I said it took a great deal of preparation initially to make the Eheria understandable by the first groups of humanoids and when they first experienced it they explained to us what happened on Earth and why they were here. This information agreed with what we had learnt from the probe. Recently, however, one member of the council started voicing concerns and that the humans should be punished for their crimes. He quickly gains great influence over the council and over Owan. Their name is Harn"

His expression softened "Owan is a good kind leader. We are... close. He is." He frowned for a moment trying to find the right words "Like Sansa is to Melody. That is what Owan is to me. It caused a rift between us when I question the decisions of the council. The council refused to punish the humans so Harn convinced them to.... " He became increasingly uncomfortable as he spoke "Alter the memories of the humans so they believed that they had been punished. This did not satisfy Harn and now he apparently wants to make an example of Melody."

He gestured to the other Megapteraians who were now all listening to Tann's story. "We here think the council has been corrupted by Harn but we have been unable to do anything about it but with your help... We need to make the council see. Make Owan see what has happened."

Sansa got up and moved closer to Tann. "The council altered the memories of the crew of the Darwin? They have that power?"

Sav had been listening in where she had been resting. However, she seemed to still, be frozen in place as the 'altered the memories' was spoken about. It was as had been tried to have been done to her, not good, not good at all.

Tann nodded. "They do. In this place memories can be created, removed and we can also sense your thoughts and feeling if we so wished to. We call it The Bridging. It is a very.... intimate experience. The council decreed that this would be only permitted by express consent of the humanoid. The fact that Harn convinced the council and Owan to alter the memories of the other humanoids without their consent shows how much power he has over them. It was this act that finally convinced us that we must take a stand for what we know is right."

Sav managed to speak up, her momentary shock broken, and whispered out, "Nota right, nota right, invasive malicious evil tampering with memories lika t'at.. Ah know.. nota right... weun have tah do somet'ing..."

Caroline had been standing back, letting the scientists talk the science and taking it all in. “Okay first up and please be sensible and not make me, make this an order but no one at this point give any kind of consent without mine or the Captains if when she returns explicit orders. Mr Tann, I would like to speak privately with the rest of my crew please, Sansa you too,” the blond stated firmly.

Tann nodded and toom several steps back.

Moving them away from the aliens she stopped at what seemed to be a clearing of sorts. “So we are stick plugged into a pod like the Darwin crew, our minds now trapped here. This Harn doesn’t sound your typical alien ... maga .... ok I’m not even going to attempt it as it taken me around 2 years to master pronouncing your race Save’ena. He’s got an agenda if he’s pushed them to do something they have never done before. And something feels off. Why would his agenda be seemingly against us?"

Sav shuddered gently. She replied, "Somet'ing else.. the Megapteraians hereun with resistance seem open, questin', wantin' tah discover... someone witha way to tie into Etheria? nudge minds asa within this environment, minds can be nudged and memories implanted?"

"We should be weary, with this level of connection, any trauma that occurs here can most certainly translate to physical trauma. There are reports of much shallower connections doing severe damage and causing lasting injuries." Kyhl said quietly. "The mind isn't my specialty, but I've seen the reports on what can happen to the body."

"If it messes up those connections they could suffer brain damage. Permanent like you say," Caroline agreed. "Also there's a the mental health side of things to be concerned about. Its a completely new experience to a human. We have no idea what this link could do but it seems we have no choice."

“We need to get a warning to the XO as they said they can control things in orbit with there minds. In fact we could even be too late as if there speaking the truth about time passing differently what if they already tried to get to us. Who knows how long we have been here,” she sighed. “So I’m open to ideas although I think I know how it might have to go down.”

Sav's eyes grew into slits as she thought. She could only sense out local Etheria, she wasn't tied into this planetary/galactic network the Megapteraians were talking about, and wasn't really sure her mind could process it anyways, not with how Tann was speaking. She wondered though, "Dr. Miller, maybe.. ifin any of the landing party knows intimately the workings of a communicator, maybe they could think together the circuits to make a call tah Merlin? The goo around our physical bodies isah thought intah being.. so, maybe worth a try?" Sav didn't know if it would work or not, but right now, Caroline needed any ideas that might help spur other ideas to find one that may work.

"We don't know what we are physically trapped in or whether it has any ability to do anything other than what the aliens designed it for or what they can do with it. And in terms of mainifesting something from thought science to date has not proven that's possible. Its a hypothesis .. maybe some of the more advanced aliens we have encountered like the Q or the traveller might be doing something like that but we have no level of understanding of it. What we need to do is get someone out of here so they can get to the runabout and contact the ship," Caroline said firmly.

Sav readily nodded, "Yeah, yer right. We cannot do what Megapteraians can do. Twas an idea, tis all, maybe spark somet'in from crew." Sav stepped back to let another get close to voice their opinion.

Caroline stepped away from the group and headed back in Tann's direction. "Can you get one of our party out of here? And if not is there someone who can."

Tann thought for a moment. "Yes, it may be possible to let one of you out of the Etheria without the council's knowledge, but I would have to link with their mind to plant the suggestion. The pod surrounding them would disintegrate and they would wake up, here they would simply vanish. They might be disorientated when they first come around but it should pass. I would have to leave a temporary link in there mind so I could remain in contact. Also, so they could contact me and re-enter the Etheria. I'm unsure how long we could keep this from the council and we might have to bring them back if their absence is noticed, so as not to arouse suspicions."

Sav's expression became one of astonishment. Why hadn't they mentioned that before? Then again, nobody asked them, so, it probably didn't cross Tann's mind as he 'lived' in the Etheria.

Hayley spoke up this time; "Just prior to my being cocooned and appearing here, I noted the presence of an unusual energy signal coming from further down in the cave we were exploring. It was a technological signal that was not of Federation or Starfleet origin, meaning that it didn't come from the Darwin or from us. At the time, we didn't know anything about the Megapteraians prior to joining the Etheria so I believed it was from them, but given what we've been told, I have reason to believe it might be something else."

"Thats disconcerting," Caroline commented. "So we potentially have a 3rd party in play. Try get more intel Lieutenant."

"With that in mind, as well as the substantial risks involved here, I volunteer to be the one to be sent outside the Etheria. I'm the only one here with the experience and knowledge needed to do what needs to be done with the additional caveat that I'm the most expendable. Commander Save'ena's experience with mental realms is unreplacable, the counselor is needed here in the absence of the Captain and the doctor is going to be needed if something bad happens." Hayley said. "Once I'm out, I'll attempt to contact Merlin and then figure out what that signal is and if its related to this Harn's control over the council."

Sav snorted in humor at Hayley's misguided notion about her experience in the mental realms. Only two places she could go is here and the clearing. She knew the Etheria was there, but not was was about, not without either 'physically exploring', being guided, or having a beacon to home in on. She didn't have mindscape training, only that she once linked with an L'Tandrey Living Crystalline ship to be assessed, and it was a wonderful experience, being guided along outdoor areas, being exposed to 'dangers', and trying various techs till it was found what she could and could not do. However, she was guided.. Still, if anyone needed to get back to the clearing if any 'caretakers' came looking for them, she was the gal. She quietly spoke to herself, "ayuh, Ah'm t'e taxi."

Hayley looked at Caroline with resolve; "It's the only logical choice, ma'am."

The blond nodded slowly. She didn't like it but she agreed with her. "Just be careful. This mind bridging thing concerns me. We have no idea how it could affect you," she sighed.

Hayley smiled thinly. "Can I have a moment with Sansa?"

Caroline nodded again, "Of course. Good luck Lieutenant."

Leading Sansa off to one side for the illusion of privacy, she took hold of Sansa's hands in her own and looked into her eyes. "I could feel your objections burning into the back of my skull, but deep down, you know it has to be this way. I know you're worried about your mother and then having me do this can't be easy on you either - but it's our best chance. So, please, don't get upset or overly concerned. We both knew the risks involved in dating."

Sansa sighed and squeezed her hand, trying to put on a brave face. "Promis me you'll come back to me?"

Hayley smiled softly, leaned in and kissed Sansa tenderly. "I love you, Sansa, never forget that."

"I won't. Believe me. I love you too." Sansa replied.

Hayley nodded, keeping back the tears she was feeling as she walked back towards Tann. "Alright, let's do this. But I warn you, if you fry my brain, Sansa has free reign to beat you up."

Having watched Hayley and Sansa's interaction, he replied simply "I believe you." Tann then came up to her and reached out slowly, putting his fingertips on her forehead. "I would advise you to take slow deep breaths as this will be rather...... intense." He closed his eyes and concentrated.

Hayley took several deep breaths and closed her eyes as she felt Tann enter her mind, a whirlwind of sensations overwhelming her as the two forged a connection far deeper than any she had ever felt before. Flashes of intense memory, some she recognised and some she did not, crashed through her mind as the link was established.

Tanns eyes went side as the connection was made, but he remained more composed than Hayley.

"On the count of 5 you will awake.... 1..... 2...... 3...... 4...... 5!"

Hayley vanished.

He took a deep breath and turned to Caroline. " I still have a connection with her. She is awake. "

"Thats good to know, thank you," the blond replied back.

Tann looked at Sansa now with a different expression, almost tender. " She really does love you."

Sansa simply replied, "I know."

An odd horn noise was suddenly heard. Tann looked about anxious "That is the call to meeting. Apparently the Council have come to a decision. Come, we must all go so as not to arouse suspension. I will get Hayley back and follow as soon as I can. He turned to Caroline. "Please! You must."

Caroline was nervous. She didn't like it. She didn't like the timing. "Im holding you personally responsible for Lieutenant Godding," she looked round to the rest of the away team. "Come on lets see what else is happening."

That was Sav's que. She needed to get everybody back to the main clearing. She held out her arms while concentrating on her speech patterns to be better understood. "Common, we have to be quick. The taxi is ready, who's first?"



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