by Mistress Sarah

The two of us had moved to another motel, as we were quickly becoming known as strange tenants.

They think we have a germ fetish, Matthew thought in amusement. The two of us were still sharing a king sized bed, as I found Matthew’s mental nearness to be a soothing balm after a recurring string of nightmares. There were moments when Matthew was sleeping that I moved closer to him, so I could feel his warmth next to me.  There had been one night, when a sleeping Matthew had move closer to me for warmth, and his arm had rested around me. I didn’t have my usual nightmare that night, as though my shattered subconscious knew that even in his sleep, my Captain was there to protect and shield me.

John? Your shields are still kaput aren’t they?


I think you need to talk about what happened between the two of you. You can’t build barriers to keep people out when your insides are crumbling down.

Were you a mason at one time, too?

“If you don’t like what I’m suggesting, you don’t need to get insulting.”  Matt rolled over, and his back was squarely in my face.

Matt?  I called to him mentally, but he appeared to have learned how to block me. I’m didn’t mean to be rude. I really… really… didn’t.

I was at a tourist trap, looking at the most unbelievably ugly thing I had ever seen, when suddenly I saw her. She had sea-green eyes, and golden hair like the sun, and she reached over to touch me on the arm. Her subconscious was a tornado of paranoia, psychosis and neuroses. Mentally, I screamed for help, but she overpowered me, destroying my mental equilibrium with her sickness.

You’re such a pretty boy it’ll be a shame to kill you, pretty boy, but that’s why you’re here they sent you to kill me, but you’re such a weak little pretty toy pretty boy, pretty toy let’s play a game shall we you will do everything I want you to do because you’re such a weak pretty toy that you can’t resist me…

Dizziness, nausea, my world was turning, and I suddenly felt her mind again over power mine.   Sick, twisted, fetid, foul, dirty, contaminated, lust, carnality, eroticism, darkness, despair…

Pretty boy pretty toy do you find me attractive you must as I can feel your body responding such a sweet little boy toy my little present all nicely wrapped Christmas Birthday present all wrapped in one sweet toy

My body was responding, and I fought against it. No. NO.

Pretty boy my pretty toy you’ll be mine forever never letting you go oh my little toy my precious darling one skin so sweet desire so hot love to hear your mind scream silly little one mind pain hate despair tired of the voices screaming in their mind again and again they scream you scream lust pain darling little one never letting you go you were here to kill me my little fly boy starship lover sex toy love slave screaming sweet like candy smooth like cream crying out in passion crying in fear love taste your tears…

I hated the mental barrage I was experiencing, her fragmented thoughts, her split personalities and the mood swings. My shields had collapsed under the constant gunfire of her madness and her physical closeness, and I tried to hide from her in the depths of my mind.

Finding me hiding, she had laughed in delight and subjected me to her lust filled thoughts.  What happened next was brutal and raw, for my body responded willingly to her urges and impulses while my psyche screamed in terror. Was it really nonconsensual, when I finally made the conscious decision to go along with it willingly, because only then did her screaming, shrieking vortex of madness calm into one angry hateful voice?

Or was it just a blatant attempt at appeasing the demon?

She had sea-green eyes, and golden hair like the sun. Finding me alone, lying in the bed, her mind touched mine, and she undressed. Her body was that of a young goddess, and I found my body responding to her perfection and her overwhelming mental desires, while inwardly my soul screamed for I suddenly realized that I wasn’t alone anymore. Matthew was experiencing this with me, and I frantically tried to sever the bond between us………

It was savage, what was happening, two bodies wildly writhing on a bed. He hated her, hated her, hate, hate, hate filled his veins, while it battled with the ungodly lust that she was projecting into him.  Ferociously, tooth and nail, like two wild animals, they fucked mindlessly… while his soul wept and wailed.

They bit, they scratched and they inflicted cruelty upon cruelty on one another, until at last they both were sated.

For a moment, there had been uncontrollable flaming hate, but … now… there was exhaustion. Too exhausted to mind the voices that were screaming in their heads, the mind-crushing multitudes that each day compressed their sanity still further.

I will be mad, soon, and I beg that it will be quick for then I will no longer care how far I have fallen.

The despair in his mind frightened me, and I found myself losing my way in his endless misery.

Pretty boy, lover boy, starship boy let us have more fun love me love me just like daddy did I was his bright precious star stop it daddy that hurts wrong to touch me there mommy… mommy… mommy loves her little sunshine girlie girl Baby she’ll love me like you love me, we can be a family love me take that nasty implant out so I can be a mommy and you’ll love me more and more and more as our child grows in me Daddy loved me so much and you’ll love me wildly and we’ll be together forever FOREVER

She had sea-green eyes, and golden hair like the sun and she had been abused as a child, horribly so. When she had hit puberty, she had come full power into her telepathic ability.  He had come to her one night, and she had snapped, when the morass of her father’s thoughts had become fully obvious to her.

So young, so much ability wasted, and I found that some part of John sorrowed for the loss that her life had been.

Matthew… goodbye, my dear friend.  My strength is fading, and I can’t fight much longer. Thank you

Who is he you’re mine he doesn’t love you like I do he’ll hurt you like you should be hurt reject me

Her personality splintered again, and she dug into John’s mind, trying to find out who I was.

So sweet your captain friend think he’ll help you find you save you no he doesn’t care he’ll hurt you

The assault began again, but different this time, using John’s memories of me to inflict her mindless rage on him. What I had witnessed earlier had been brutal, but what was occurring now was a psychotic mind-bender of lust, terror and hate and she was using ‘me’ to hurt him.

Kill you kill you betrayed me hurt me just like he did but when your captain lover looking for you I’ll kill him too after I hurt him like I hurt you then I kill him kill him blood so sweet my little starship boy kill you after implant gone I have my baby to love and I won’t let anyone hurt my baby love her love her he’ll cry like you weak like you pathetic dirty filthy bitch hurt him bad cause you love him more than me

A rage filled John’s soul, combined with the terror that I might be hurt like he had been, and suddenly he snapped. It was an unbelievably ugly moment of pure madness,  and when his mind finally cleared , she lay dead beneath him.

Then he started to run….for he knew that he was dammed.

It was savage, what was happening, two bodies wildly writhing on a bed. He hated her, hated her, hate, hate, hate filled his veins, while it battled with the ungodly lust that she was projecting into him.  Ferociously, tooth and nail, like two wild animals, they fucked mindlessly… while his soul wept and wailed.

They bit, they scratched and they inflicted cruelty upon cruelty on one another, until at last they both were sated…

It was savage, what was happening, two bodies wildly writhing on a bed. He hated her, hated her, hate, hate, hate filled his veins, while it battled with the ungodly lust that she was projecting into him.  Ferociously, tooth and nail, like two wild animals, they fucked mindlessly… while his soul wept and wailed.

They bit, they scratched and they inflicted cruelty upon cruelty on one another, until at last they both were sated…

STOP IT STOP IT FOR THE LOVE OF GOD STOP IT JOHN PLEASE STOP STOP STOP.  Shedding tears, I realized that I was weeping for the girl who was dead and for the man who had killed her. Oh dear god, John, stop, stop. STOP.

  ….. no one…. Will…. Ever… want… to …. Share… my…. Thoughts…. As….I’m … dammed…. Didn’t… want… you.  To know…. About…. What… finally …. Happened….  How… she … died. I didn’t want to kill her….  I just wanted…  to escape…. I didn’t mean to kill her. I  swear it. I swear…

John wept uncontrollably, the floodgates of his soul open, as he finally allowed himself to acknowledge what had happened between the two of them

Let it out, John. Let it out.

I continued weeping on Matt’s shoulder, until I had no tears left, leaving me with ice in my bones and ice water in my veins.  He was murmuring softly in my ear, how the two of us would work together on this, and how I shouldn’t be afraid.

So cold, and you are always  so warm. Tired of being cold… Hold me, hold me tightly, and get rid of the ice-cold taint that’s in my soul. Let me stay like this forever.

Somewhere, I wondered what the hell the neighbors were going to say about me freaking out again at 2 in the morning, but I was too content to be held by Matt to worry about that.


Yes… Warming up…

Good.  I was worried.

There was a feeling that was spreading through my body, and I just continued holding onto Matt.  Something was bubbling up from inside of me, a question that I had not wanted  toask because I was afraid of what the answer might be.

Come on, you can say whatever you want, John.

…if…if.   Small voice… like an injured child… fearful of revealing how much pain it was in. .

 What? I can’t hear you… repeat it, John.

If…. If…. Someone….

If someone what, John?

If…if… someone… allows  something….  That they don’t…. want…to … happen…  because they’re… afraid…  then…. It really… isn’t….  consensual…. Is…it?

No. NO! Not at all. If the body reacts, and the mind and the soul doesn’t want to do it, then no… it’s not consensual.  Come on, repeat it! REPEAT IT.

John repeated it slowly, and I continued to make him say it, until his body suddenly relaxed.

Was that what was bothering you? That your body responded to what she did to you?

Yes…  then…I decided to let her do whatever she wanted to me… because I was afraid of what she’d do to me… if I tried… to resist. She… delighted in the fact… that I didn’t… fight… that when…. My body… would be willing… to…  She’d just send…hunger and longing… and… I’d let my body … respond….

And what about your soul?


John… what about your soul, your psyche, that spark that’s you. What was it doing during this? Where was it? Did she hurt that?

Covered it with … ice….  Felt… nothing….worked….briefly…  she … hurt me… body… soul… mind… scared… me…. Wilder… Crazier… Afraid… fought…  Angry …. Damaged… me…  snapped….. killed… her….  had… to… flee… had… to… run….from… you... Afraid… of… you….

And John wept, wracking sobs that shook his body, and I held him tightly, mentally sending reassurances to the wounded inner child.

Never… be… able to… let anyone… touch my … soul… without… thinking of her….

John? Is this your problem? You feel her touch on your soul still? You think that no one will ever be able to touch you because of what happened?

Matt… No one will ever… want to touch me… or get close to me… because… I’m tainted.

Am I suppose to help you with this, too? Like the grounding, and the centering?  You’ll never get your shielding up without resolving your problems with intimacy, as that issue touches on your self-esteem and self-respect. If you don’t value and respect yourself, then why bother shielding the real you from the world? Your self-hate has been eating  away at your shields. A house divided can not stand, John.  This is when I reassure you that some people won’t denigrate or ridicule you for what you’ve gone through, and that some of us, have an ungodly amount of respect for how you’ve tried to handle this. You need to believe it, in your heart, your soul and your mind.

No. How could you be proud of me?

 It took a lot of faith in me for you to link with me, and I’m going to prove to you that you picked the right space Captain for the job!

John was exhausted, and I put him into the bed, covering him carefully, so that he was warm

Nice & Toasty?

 Oh… yes…

Go to sleep. I’m going to be here.

John was so deeply asleep that I didn’t think that he would waken for anything. It gave me a chance to think deeply, and I remembered those damn swans that had been swimming in the duck pond. Ducks mated for life, and so did swans, and I had noticed that one of the swans had been wounded, with its mate quietly cosseting it.

Dear God, blindly and recklessly I had jumped in to save John, thinking that I knew better than the trained professionals.   I had poured my heart and soul into trying to help him, and somewhere along the line, I think I had lost all perspective and fallen in love with him. I think I had wanted to be the one with whom John learned to love and trust again because I knew that I wouldn’t hurt him  Grabbing those thoughts firmly, I placed them behind double locked mental doors which loudly proclaimed “MATTHEW GIDEON’S - DO NOT TOUCH – STAY AWAY” in large letters. John just didn’t  need the stress of knowing that I was… in  love with him.

If I failed him, then I’d have only myself to blame, and I knew… that it would be the one thing that I could never forgive myself.

“John. The desk clerk wants us out. He gave us a few hours to pack. The neighbors complained…”

Speaking to me, instead of mentally communicating, it was obvious that Matthew was regretting linking with me. Weak, disgusting, pathetic, fool. Hate myself for being weak..

Don’t say that! DON’T!!!!   I … was worried that what I’m going to say to you, might upset you. I wanted to give you the privacy to really think about it.

There are no real secrets between us, Matthew. Say what you must.

I’ve only got a few more days left on this family leave. I tried to extend it, but I can’t. The two of us have got to return to the Excalibur, sooner or later,  but… you’re not ready for that yet.  You’ve technically been on vacation longer than I’ve been on leave, and I don’t think I can extend it any further nor should I.  What happened to you, happened to you, John, and I really think it’s long past time that you talked with Detective Vasta.

My gut froze and I heard Matthew mentally sigh.

I don’t know if I did the right thing here.  You need more help than I can give you, but I think that talking to Vasta is a step in the right direction. But there’s something else, something that’s buried deep in your psyche that you’re trying your hardest to suppress. It’s not healthy, John. Talk to me, ‘path to me, do whatever you need to, but do it, John.

The sooner, the better.

We had been evicted again, thanks to my screaming from my endless nightmares. Once again, it was time to move and go back out into the world.  Matthew forced me out for daily constitutionals in which he impelled me to buy clothes, or order lunch.  Deal with the world, he was silently telling me, stop retreating into the safety of your cocoon.

This hotel was originally Centauri, and the clerk promised me that the beds were large, the bathrooms enormous and the walls soundproof.  It was also rather expensive, and I tried to figure out how many credits Matthew had paid out in the last three weeks. Clothing, food, medications, shoes, hotel costs and numerous bars of soap. Scrimping on nothing for me, Matthew had even bought me a heavy blanket to wrap myself in due to my constant complaints of being cold, and had lavishly spent on assorted exotic food to try and convince me to eat.

I’ll pay you back one of these days, what you’ve spent, how you’ve helped me. I swear it.  Matthew, I do.

Don’t you worry, the cards have been lucky, and the die has been blistering. Haven’t been this lucky in years, and who else do I have to spend it on?


YOU. There’s a card game going on in the corner. I’m going to deal myself in, and you get set upstairs. You need me, you yell for me. Be up there in a flash, unless the cards are REALLY hot, when… then you’ll have to wait until the next hand.  There was amusement in his voice, mixed with concern and compassion.

Typical gambler.  The buildings on fire, and you’re still sitting at the poker table, waiting for the dealer to cut the cards.

Get some sleep, John.  You look tired.

Nodding my head, I went upstairs to settle in and unpack.  We still had one bed, though this one was almost obscenely large.  For a moment, I debated exactly how many people could fit into a bed this large for a bacchanalian orgy, but I didn’t really care after I had still had room for more people than the Excalibur senior staff.

I looked at myself in the mirror, and rubbed my cheeks.  Matt had shaved me earlier that morning, before we had left the other hotel. It had become a morning ritual for us, in which Matthew carefully lathered my face, and expertly shaved me. My hands shook a little too much for him to be comfortable with me using his straight edge, so Matthew continued keeping me ship shape and presentable.

Thankfully, my personal barber didn’t put a smidgen of shaving cream on my nose every single morning, but he did it often enough that it became a game for the two of us.  I had been secretly delighted earlier this week to actually smear some on his nose before he had gotten mine and Matthew had laughed too.

I had warned John that we didn’t have much time left to straighten things out, and he had brooded on that thought for a bit. Therefore I wasn’t really surprised when the first thing John did when I entered our new hotel room was to start talking about what he needed to do.

Matt.  We can’t stay here much longer, can we?  You’re almost out of time, and the Excalibur is coming back soon to pick you up.


I really need… to speak to this… Vasta, don’t I?

Yes. I have the medical scans I did when I found you, and I think we should get Sarah there also.


His mind voice was full of terrified shame at the thought of Sarah getting involved.

Yes, SARAH. She’s the one that did the autopsy.

…she saw what I did….Oh God…. She knows…

Calm down. She knows it was self-defense.

…she won’t be able to look in my eyes anymore…she’ll know what I am capable of doing… she’ll…

John. JOHN. Like it or not, we all have a side of us that we don’t like to acknowledge. It’s there, hidden under the surface, sometimes deeply, sometimes not, and sometimes… it appears.

“OK. Get Sarah there… but nobody else, please.”

As we traveled to where we were going to meet Sarah, John got quieter and quieter, and I kept pushing him harder to prevent him from retreating into his mental shell.

“Order the room. I’m going gambling.” I’d tell him, and I’d walk away to find a card game to pay for another night’s stay. “Make sure we have something decent for dinner.”


“Matthew!” We were still playing our game, with the fading connection and Poor Old Uncle Chester.

“Chester needs to talk to some people. Bring his medical records with you, plus the other stuff, and meet me. He’s a little jittery about meeting you, since he’s heard how beautiful you are.”

“I think he’s a flatterer just like his nephew.” She told me. “Or at least he’s Irish.”

“Careful he might ask you to kiss his Blarney Stone.” I teased.

“Wonderful, a ninety year old version of Matthew Gideon. Just  every girl’s fantasy come true.”

This experience with John was exhausting me physically and mentally.  It wasn’t just the nightmares, the sessions in the showers, and the sharing of his emotional trauma. It was getting harder and harder for me to keep my Captain’s perspective whenever John was feeling depressed. While I longed to comfort and hold him when he was awake and upset, I kept my growing feelings for John in one of the areas I had firmly mentally marked as, “DO NOT ENTER- ESPECIALLY IF YOU ARE JOHN MATHESON”.  When John got very scared and very depressed, he tried to withdraw back into his warm, safe mental cocoon.  He didn’t get Matthew the man who loved him consoling him, instead he got Captain Matthew “Hard-ass” Gideon, ordering him to face the world again.

The Captain had no compassion, and no tolerance for failure, but Lord, I hated the Captain, especially with some of the things he was making John do, such as speaking with Vasta.  I had nearly choked when the Captain had decided that Sarah needed to be utilized as a witness also, but… damn it, he was right. It was also sometimes easier to slip intothe Captain mode, as I could squelch how uncertain I was about how well John was doing. The Captain didn’t lay awake at night, full of self-doubts, berating himself for what had happened between him and  his XO.

The truth was simple. I hated being the Captain, but emotionally it was easier being him.

John couldn’t go through his life, having ignored his responsibility in what happened. Yes, it was self-defense, but the truth needed to be known, the proper authorities appraised of what exactly happened between the two of them. Yes… that meant that sooner or later, Jones would have to be informed.

So far John Matheson had respected my strong desire for privacy, but…  I feared it would slip, especially during the nights when I pushed his nightmares toward happier dreams.  I didn’t prevent John from having nightmares completely, but instead I’d push the worse of them toward other extremes such as happy moments among the crew of the Excalibur

Quick, Matthew! There’s another one starting right now, the one where John’s restrained in a dark emptiness. That one terrifies him the most because at the end, John realizes that he had been placed on sleepers by the courts, and placed in an insane asylum.

“Detective Vasta speaking.” Her voice sounded tired and there were dark circles under her eyes.

“Hello Vasta, Matthew Gideon here. More crime?”

“More problems with the street ghosts. There was once a time when I thought I  could make a difference here, as nobody cared about our ghosts. I thought I’d be different…but the names and faces blur into one after a while. Enough musings on what a bad career move I made, how can I help you.”

“I need to talk.  You remember the ghost case you were working on when we met?”


“That one.  I might have solved it for you, but…  I’m looking at an acquittal by self-defense. What’s needed for that on this planet?”

“We don’t really have the same judicial system you do, so… you’re the space lawyer in this?”

“Might be.”

“I’ll bring one of the lawgivers to my office. Tomorrow?  After lunch.”

“See you then, Vasta.”

John was wearing one of the outfits I had gotten him a while ago. It was neat, presentable even, but I didn’t like it.

John. You’re not wearing that.  You’re going to be meeting Sarah in a bit, then the others, so I want you to wear something more… official. 3rd drawer on the left.

More presents?  You got me another outfit?

No. I brought it with me from the ship. Incase… I needed it. But you need it more than I would ever, and thankfully, it’s for a much better reason.

John carefully opened the 3rd drawer on the left, and he suddenly froze. There was a light touch on my mind, and I whispered for him not to press the issue.  For behind that door lurked too many what could haves, what might have beens, and the dangerous emotions that went with them.

My uniform? You… brought my uniform with you? You brought it with you because…you thought I might be dead and you wanted me buried in it?

John. Don’t go there, please?

I can’t wear this.

Yes, you can. And you will, because I’m going to be wearing mine. Sarah’s never going to recognize the two of us  if we’re not dressed as normal.

I saw the two of them, standing next to the place I promised to meet them.  Both were wearing their uniforms, and John looked like hell.  His uniform didn’t fit properly as he had lost weight, but he smiled at me. A little tentatively, but still a smile. I returned it warmly, hoping that John knew how much I had missed him these past months.

“I’m glad you wore the uniforms. I don’t know if I’d have recognized you without them.”

That earned an amused smile from Matthew, and for some reason John looked shame-faced.

“You were right, Matthew.”

“Of course, I am. I’m the Captain.”

That was Captain Gideon, supremely self-confident, and a far cry from the Matthew who had been calling me for help with his shattered XO.

“Captains are always right,” John confided softly to me.

“Except when they’re wrong.” I quickly replied.

John smiled again, but this time it was a real smile that reached his eyes.

“Come on up to our hotel room, we need to talk.” Matthew spoke firmly, in the voice I recognized as being “Captain Gideon’s”.

“I can’t believe the clerk is going to charge you more money if I stay more than an hour,” Sarah giggled. “I guess my mother would be horrified to realize that the clerk thinks I’m whoring with two EF officers.”

Sarah laughed, and then she quickly stopped when she realized that John was withdrawing into himself.

Walking over to him, I put my hands firmly on his shoulders, and mentally told him to relax. Her eyes widened at the sight of physical contact between us, but she wisely didn’t say anything.

“John. Talk to Sarah.” My voice was Captain Gideon again, but I think Sarah noticed that my eyes showed a very exhausted Matthew Gideon. “I’ll be in the next room. If you need me, holler.” I couldn’t believe it. I had been jealous when Sarah had gotten John to smile!!

Matthew and John’s relationship had taken an odd turn somewhere during this episode, and I decided the best thing I could do was just notice the signals and add them up later. But the single king sized bed that Matthew was sitting on was adding a rather titillating slant to things. Enough of that, John needed my help.

“John.  Matthew’s talked to me about what happened. I’m completely convinced that it’s self-defense. There was no doubt in my mind, ever.”

“Thank you. It’s reassuring to hear it from someone besides Matthew.”

The three of us walked into the police department, and the sight of our uniforms appeared to surprise a few people.

“Vasta? She’s way back in the back, 3rd door past whenever” were the very unhelpful directions I received from the clerk.

“Thank you.”

“Detective Vasta?” I knocked  on the door, and I heard her muffled voice assuring me it was all right to enter.

She was sitting on her desk, having moved a pile of paperwork, to the floor it looked like, and there was a thin, tall gentleman next to her. Her eyes widened at the sight of John Matheson in uniform and then they fastened themselves to the Psi badge on his arm.

“Cole?” Vasta asked. “I thought his name was… COLE… He’s that ghost who showed up right after she died, isn’t he? Screaming about voices and all that stuff. So, our little ghost wasn’t a burnout, least … not from drugs. ”

“Yes.” I answered simply.

“Very well.  The gentleman in the corner is the law-giver. For now, he has no other name.  We present our case to him, physical evidence and question the witness. If he decides it’s self-defense, then, we let him go. If he decides we need a trial, you’ll have to turn Matheson over to me.”

John suddenly flinched, and I quickly sent him a mental reassurance.  It’s NOT going to happen. This is just standard procedure here.

“How plead you in the death of Genevieve Armand-Sabin?” The law-giver’s deep voice sent chills down my spine, especially when I realized what the others did not. His mental signature could not be faked, and already I felt him examining my mind.

He was a high level ‘Path and he was giving Gideon a rather penetrating look.

“I do not contest the charge, though I plead that it was self-defense.”

“Begin questioning, Vasta.”

John began reciting what happened to him in a dry, clinical voice, talking about it in the third person.  I had felt his emotions begin affecting me when suddenly they were gone.  He had blocked me. John had healed to the point where he could block me, and I wasn’t sure if I was happy or disappointed by that revelation.

Vasta questioned him thoroughly about minute details, and I felt that she was trying to give John the benefit of the doubt. Then it was my turn to question him, and Captain Gideon did it relentlessly, trying to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that John Matheson had killed in self-defense.

Then  Sarah was called to the stand, while John tried to compose himself in the corner. She began reciting wound specifications, sizing on both parties involved, when the law-giver interrupted.

“Enough. Vasta. I’m content that it was self-defense.  Mark it as such, and end this.  I will have to talk to the Captain in private. You may leave now.”

Vasta was amused that she and the rest of the group were being dismissed out of her office, but she led the way.

“Amazing, Captain. You managed to put all the little pieces back together again.  Matheson’s nowhere near completely sane, but… at least he’s not howling at the moon.”

I didn’t like that comment, and the law-giver smiled.

“Protective of your little Telepath, are you Captain? You did a good job with him, but his people will  try to break the link between the two of you.  I don’t think they’ll be able to, because in your ignorance, you went too far and too deep with it, but that might have saved him in the long run. Unintentionally, you’ve just made a long-term commitment to that shattered man hiding in the shadows in his mind. The trauma will be with him forever, so don’t you forget that. You need to remember that when years down the road, he suddenly is overwhelmed by terror at the sight of a girl with green eyes and blonde hair.”

“Now…good day, Sir. I have this sudden urge to take a long shower, after walking through that mental cesspool.”

He nodded his head and he left the room.  I could hear his voice as he spoke with Vasta, and then I suddenly sighed.

Local Police down, EF and Metasensory Committee to go.

“What now?” Sarah asked.

“We return to the ship, inform EF what happened here, and then, we follow the regulations. Possibly a court of inquiry, possibly not.” Captain Gideon was back again, ignoring the fact that John needed a little TLC right now.  My poor ‘Path looked like he been through the mental ringer, and I had to keep firmly reminding myself not to comfort him.

Too much compassion, and they’d find out about certain things…  so I was glad that he was still blocking me.

“Ok. I’ll be down in my room if you need anything.” The doctor quickly left our room, and I suddenly realized that I felt extremely exhausted.  If a Pak’Ma’Ra showed up, he’d inhale me, and then spit me out on the street as being inedible.  The bed was calling me softly, luring me with its siren call, and I realized that I was really, really exhausted if the bed was actually talking to me.

Matthew? Matthew… come on it’s time to lie down on me.

For just a moment, I stared at the bed in horror, thinking that I was losing my mind, when I suddenly realized that the bed’s voice had sounded… a bit like…. John Matheson trying to impersonate a mattress. Shooting him a dirty look, I was mentally delighted to see that John was giving me a slight smile.

I just…. Couldn’t resist…

For just a moment, John had sounded like the old John Matheson, but when I looked at him, I noticed that his shiny veneer was peeling and cracked. He was trying so damn hard, and I hoped that it would be enough.

John woke me up when he crawled into bed with me, and I felt his gentle touch on my mind.

Want to talk, John?

Yes,  I think… today… really upset me. And I think it’s because… I didn’t realize she had a name.

Of course, she did, John.

 I depersonalized her so completely, turning her into a nameless object, that hearing the law-giver call her Genevieve just shattered that pretense. She had a horrible life, and…  I still find myself… hating her. Does that make me a bad person?

No, not at all. You need to forgive her.

No, I can’t. Can’t. Can’t. Can’t.

John was beginning to obsess on how he could never forgive the young girl who had hurt him, and I sighed softly. I had never gotten over that sharp razor edged hate that had filled me when the Cerebus had been destroyed, and the cold rage and the mindless hate had affected and distorted my life.  Loner, and outcast, I trusted so rarely… and I hated to think that John would end up being as guarded and reserved as I was.

It’s OK, John, go to sleep.

Somehow I doubted that I’d be getting very much sleep tonight, as John’s mental turmoil was going to lead to a broken sleep full of night terrors.

I was right. John was having horrific nightmares, judging from the way he restlessly tossed in the bed, and how he struggled and fought against his unseen assailant. Thrashing and moaning wildly, he struck at me repeatedly and I finally had to restrain him by holding onto his hands tightly.

When John finally snapped out of it, I could tell that he was embarrassed by what had happened.  Deciding that for now Captain Gideon could go scratch, Matthew Gideon found himself gently holding his friend.

“Nervous about returning to the ship?”


“Sarah and I will be there for you.  When we get back, I’ll have to file those reports, and then…  soon it will be over.”

“It will never be over, Matt.  It’ll be on my records, and …”  John grew quiet, and he rolled onto his side.  Thank you. For everything.

Go to sleep, John. Go to sleep. No more bad dreams tonight, I promise you.

That would… be nice.  Matt…I still can’t shield my mind from you…  I think I can shield myself from everyone, as I’ve been working on that, but it’s exhausting me. I can’t do it as easily as I did before, so something’s still not right. I can’t block your presence from my mind….


We were curled together like two spoons, and John’s mental presence in my mind slowly faded as he fell asleep.

Matt was still sleeping when I woke up, and I was grateful for the chance to enjoy the closeness of lying in his arms,  and the warmth of his body.  When the law-giver had scanned me during my ‘trial’ he had lightly brushed on the fact that I was perhaps a little too emotionally dependent on Matthew.  It had been necessary to deafen the link between Matt and me so that he could scan me.

Emotionally dependent, was just an euphemism, a double-speak for what had somehow occurred, and I just hoped that Matt didn’t realize that I had fallen head over heels for him during this entire mess. It might have been when he first helped me shower and free myself from her taint, or during one of those long mental conversations we had held together, but… I loved him deeply.

Or perhaps because when I had flashbacked to what had happened, and I had begun looping it over and over again, Matthew had been in mind. Matthew had shared the experience with me, repeatedly, while I had tried desperately to break free from the loop. By the time I had succeeded, Matthew had seen the final encounter through my eyes almost a dozen times.

It had been horrifying for me, to realize that I had shown everything to Matthew, because I hadn’t dare tell him everything that had occurred, that at the end, she had used my memories of Matthew to hurt me.  My Matthew seemed to be deeply affected by what she had done to me, and he had been even more careful with me.

Matt stirred, and he noticed that I was awake. Get some sleep. We’ve got a couple of long days ahead of us, and you’ll need your rest.

You’re right.

That’s why I’m the Captain.

I thought it was because of your ego.

Matt ignored me, and I felt his mind grow fuzzy as he slipped back into sleep.  I couldn’t get to sleep, just yet, so I curled closer to him and enjoyed the warmth of his body.

Returning to the Excalibur was a nightmare.  I stepped off the shuttle, and I suddenly was struck by the sheer quiet. Normally, I heard a type of background noise, even in spite of my shields. It was a comforting  white noise, always on the peripherals of my mind, and I had grown use to ignoring it.

Now, it was gone. The fact that I couldn’t hear it startled me, and I mis-stepped leaving the shuttle.

“You all right?” Sarah asked quickly.

“Just… really quiet. It’s odd. Not hearing the usual noise.”

Too quiet.  Forgotten what it was like to live in a mundane world full of silence.

I’d prefer it rather than hearing that constant noise you must live in. Speaking of noise. Here’s The Mouth that Roared – Mr. Eilerson!

“Did you two have a nice vacation?” The linguist didn’t wait for a response, as it was obvious something had happened during our sabbatical that had ruffled the archeologist. “While you were gone enjoying the sun and the breeze…”

Do I really need to be here for this? Matt…I don’t think I can deal with him right now.

Liar. You just want to leave me with him, while you escape. Go ahead.

Sarah had walked me back to my quarters, and I had been grateful for the support.  Numerous crew members commented on my extended vacation, and wanted to know if I had a good time.

“Unbelievable.” I had assured them repeatedly, and I had been quite glad to reach the safety of my quarters.

I didn’t sleep well my first night back, and I wondered if it was because I was emotionally overwhelmed with being back ‘Home’ or because Gideon’s comfortable mental presence wasn’t nearby.  Whatever the reason, my first official day back on the bridge found me nervous and tense. Gideon took one look at me, and ordered me into his office.

“Are you sure you’re up to this?” Matthew questioned me. “If you’re not, then I’ll yank you off the roster.  As it is, I’m only going to let you do half-shifts for a bit until I think you’re ready to return to duty.”

Protesting wouldn’t do a damn thing except make my pride feel a little better, so I argued vainly with Matthew.

“You’re on light duty. Sarah’s decided, and I’ve already agreed. No away teams, no full shifts, or anything we deem too strenuous.”

“I don’t need any preferential treatment. What I need to do, is get back to work.” Going back to work would make everything all right again.  I could focus on my work, instead of dwelling on what had happened to me. “Have you reported what occurred?”

I had practiced saying that until my voice was rock steady, and I was proud that my voice didn’t reveal that I felt like Daniel walking into Lion’s den.  Matthew nodded, and I tried to remain stolid.  After they were gone, everything would be back to normal. It was now past time that I put that head set back on, and started being the best XO I could for Matthew, heart and soul.

Ruthlessly, Captain Gideon ignored the fact that his XO was extremely uncomfortable about returning to duty, and Captain ‘Bligh’ Gideon ordered Mr. Christian on the deck, after making sure that there wasn’t any breadfruit nearby.

Oh well, I guess I watch too many old vids. It was time for me to anxiously watch the clock, hoping that  John’s four hour shift would remain quiet and uneventful. It almost me caused physical pain staying in my Captain’s chair, instead of walking over to my XO to make sure he was doing OK.

It was a rather boring section of space, and the four hours dragged by for me. John’s back was so rigidly straight, that I could feel my back  tightening up in sympathy. My XO operated flawlessly, appearing to anyone who hadn’t known him as long as I had, that everything was fine.  No. Even if I hadn’t known exactly what happened to him, I would have noticed that something was wrong with John. He was far too thin, and he had a haunted look in his eyes.

By the end of my shift, I was unbelievably high-strung from trying to be the perfect XO. Four lousy hours of doing absolutely nothing  except trying to be utterly flawless, and walking from station to station, had me in such a state of high adrenaline that I was grateful when my shift was over.  I walked quickly to my quarters, hoping that I could work off my excess energy, but it didn’t work.  Instead, I found myself pacing back and forth, feeling like a tiger trapped in a cage.

I decided to go work out in the gym, and I was grateful that it was a particularly quiet time.  Nodding a few acknowledgements in answer to people’s questions about my supposed vacation, I decided to go a few rounds with the punching bag.  I suited up quickly, making sure that my gloves were secure as was my mouth guard. Didn’t want to loose my perfect smile, now did I? Not after all I had been through.


It was a rather satisfying left hook that the bag received stoically, and I followed it up with a quick right jab.


The bag took my blows quietly, and I found myself enjoying the chance to physically express my anger in an acceptable manner. I began a rapid fire series of punches, in an attempt to clear my head. Probably a speed bag would have worked just as well, but for now, I wanted to hit something hard. Focusing on placing each punch deliberately, I found myself enjoying the chance to actively work out my anger and frustration.


After making sure I was warmed up completely, I took my practice up a notch. Carefully, I kickboxed for several minutes, enjoying the feel of impact.  Then I began throwing a few more punches, a little harder than I had first done, and suddenly I felt someone grab the punching bag, moving it out of my way.

For a moment, I was furious that someone had interrupted my exercise, then I saw it was Matthew holding the bag in his hands.

“If you want to spar, use your own punching bag. There’s a few…… not in use… over there.” It took me a little while to catch my breath, and I guessed that I had lost track of time. Blinking my eyes hard, I tried to prevent my sweat from entering my eyes.

“John,” Matthew spoke quietly not wanting the suddenly all too quiet gym to overhear, “Dureena called me down here as she said you were acting odd.”

“She didn’t need to get you involved.” I snapped. “I was exercising right now. People do that at times.”

“John.  I was screaming at you just now, telling you to stop. Did you hear me?”

Suddenly, I felt exhausted, with my legs trembling as though I was a yearling who had spent all his energy in a mad dash to the finish line.  My head hurt, and my right hand was throbbing in time with it.

I even tried ‘pathing to you to stop, but you didn’t hear me. John, you’ve been beating at this bag for a while now.  Come on, get changed, go back to your quarters. I want to take a look at your right hand.

How do you know that….

Matt gave me a look of dry amusement.

Oh. Stupid question.

That’s all right. You’re allowed one a day.

Dureena had been down at the gym when John had suddenly gotten a little over enthusiastic with the punching bag. She had quietly called me, and had suggested that I get down to the work out area.   While I had tried not to race down there I had still found myself striding. My attempts at mentally contacting John had failed, and I was feeling… anxious.

Entering the gym, it had been deserted which had surprised me.

“I suggested that … obviously John had a few issues he was trying to work on and that they’d better leave him with it.” Dureena had looked at John who had been attacking the punching bag wildly. “What’s his problem? That vacation of his wasn’t one, was it?”

“Can’t say.”

She had nodded. “You better get him to stop before he injures himself.”

“Good idea.”

I carefully took the glove off his hand, and I growled my disapproval at John’s bruised and swollen hand.  “Your hand is not a sledge hammer. You need Sarah to look at this.”


Now.   I thought that firmly at him. Can you move your fingers?

John wiggled his fingers quite well, and I pronounced it probably not broken but I wanted a second opinion.

Tomorrow. I’ve already had three exams with her today. No more today, please?

Hmm… First thing tomorrow, before you come on duty.

I promise… and Thanks.


I know. I need to get some sleep….

I was getting better at hearing the nuances of John’s thoughts, and I realized that he wanted me to stay the night in his quarters so that he wouldn’t be alone while he slept.

We can’t make a habit of this, but yes, for tonight, I will.


John was in the vibe shower for a bit, and I changed for bed, carefully hanging my uniform up for tomorrow.  I crawled into his bed, and I was soon in a half doze, almost about to fall sleep, when I realized that John was about to sleep on the floor. He was quietly shaking out the heavy blanket I had gotten him during our recent escapade and he dropped at the top of it.

John? What the hell are you doing sleeping on the floor?

I caught a trace of something that sounded like embarrassment at being caught, so I ordered him to get into bed.

Better? There’s enough room for the two of us, even though it’s not a king-sized bed.

Yes. I sleep better when you’re… nearby.

So do I.

I was dreaming, and I was walking in a marketplace where vendors spread their gaudy trinkets out in the hot blazing sun to attract the unwary tourist.  I felt someone grab my arm, and inwardly, I began to shake, as I had repeated this dream often enough to know how it would proceed.  Not wanting to look, but still compelled, I tried not to look at the person who had grabbed my arm.

She would have sea-green eyes, and golden hair like the sun.  Her body would be full and ripe, hiding the darkness and poison of her damaged soul.

The hand on my arm squeezed harder, as though telling me to LOOK, and so I did….

He had sorrowing eyes of hazel, and dark hair, and he smiled at me.   Handing me my leather jacket, he motioned for me to wear it, as he knew I felt cold.

“God awful ugly stuff isn’t it?” Matt commented on the junk in front of us.


“I hope you’re not buying me anything.”

“I thought the lamp would be a nice touch in your office. When you turn it on, the dancer’s hips start to shake.”

Matthew laughed, and he placed his arm around me.  “Come on, we’ve got to go to our hotel room.  I’ve got a nice spot.”

“The bed is large, the bathroom the size of a starship, and the walls are promised to be soundproof?” I questioned.

“I certainly hope the walls are soundproof, as you and I are going to be making enough noise in that bed to wake the dead.”

Matt flashed me a grin, and I found myself smiling in return. His hand brushed my hair, and I suddenly realized that I sensed him in my mind.  He was sending me reassurances about how much he cared for me, and then… his tone took on a slightly sexual resonance. Deliberately, he was sending me thoughts of how much he wanted to be intimate with me, and how he’d hope that I’d want it.

How could you? After what you know about me? I’ve been touched by darkness, and I have murdered…

Placing his fingers against my silent lips, he smiled gently.

Because, I did, and I still do.

My dream Matthew and I sat together on the public transportation, and I rested my head on his shoulder while his hand slowly stroked my hair.  Physically that’s all he did to me, while mentally, I felt him touch and caress my body. He delighted when he felt me respond to his mental touches, and he laughed when I tried to hide it with my hands.

There was a feeling of warmth spreading throughout my body chasing away the seemingly permanent permafrost of my body, the feel of his mouth underneath my hands, kissing, licking and sucking me,  and I grew steadily more and more aroused. Matt began mentally teasing me about how he knew that my jeans were confining, how the fabric rubbed against me and how I yearned to stop his sweet torment.

Unzip your pants, your shirt is long enough to hide it.

Instead of going to our hotel room, Matt made me go to lunch, where I had to publicly display for any that might look that my hunger was not for food, but for something else.  Carefully, he placed my napkin on my lap, smoothing it out with his hands while he gently touched me.

I couldn’t eat, and Matthew took pity on me.  Wrapping our lunch for later, we quickly made our escape to our hotel.  It was the Centauri built hotel, and I wasn’t surprised when in my dream Matthew led me to the room we had shared in real life.

We kissed in the hallway for a bit, and I was grateful that since this was a dream, I wasn’t afraid. No, I was even enjoying his slow and patient pursuit, enjoying the feeling of being wanted by someone I trusted, and someone who still desired me in spite of the darkness in my soul.

Don’t ever be afraid of me, he whispered while his hazel eyes filled with distress.  I will never hurt you, and I would die before I did. Believe me, please.

Matt wanted to shave me, which didn’t surprise me, for in real life, he seemed to take a perverse delight out of it. But that was only after we fought with the shaving cream that seemed to be in ready reach.  It was a battle of epic proportions, which ended up with me asking for mercy after I had gotten it in his hair, and over his leather jacket.

I love that jacket! Matthew raged in mock terror. Oh… now you’re going to have to pay for that, Mr. Matheson.

I had to laugh, as Matthew Gideon covered with shaving cream is a sight to behold.  My laughter seemed to annoy him even more, and I found  the two of us rolling on the floor, trying to smear the shaving cream  on each other.

OK. You win, I admitted, breathlessly, while Gideon decided what my punishment would be.

I always win, as I’m the Captain. Matthew assured me, and then we started kissing again.  We sat on the floor, our legs wrapped around one anothers and Matthew shaved me. The slow, considering way he lathered my face, sent delightful shivers down my back.

I was glad that this was a dream, for I wasn’t afraid. If this had been real I would have been terrified by the thought of being intimate with anyone.

He led me to the bed, where he would seduce me, and I felt his anticipation.  Our lips met, again, as though for the very first time, and carefully he placed me on my back, on the bed.

My body seemed to be on fire, with each kiss and caress bringing me to a new level of desire.  For a moment, I had found myself deeply afraid, and Matthew had stopped. His hazel eyes had shown how much my fear affected him and I found myself assuring him that we could continue.

Matt gently began kissing me, scattering kisses on my eyes, lips, nose and ears while his hands remained motionless. Nibbling down my neck, Matthew appeared to be unable to get enough of the taste of my skin, and soon his hands were back in motion, stroking my chest, and my arms.

I tried to touch my dream lover when his mouth latched onto my nipple, but he gently held my hands, refusing to let me do anything but relax and enjoy.  His lips swirled over my nipple, and then he sucked it, causing my back to arch.

Unhurriedly, my dream lover continued his way south, until his hot tongue was teasing and tickling my belly button.  Then he stopped, as though wanting to make sure I really wanted this. I nodded my head, not wanting to beg, but I knew that he had heard my silent pleas.

He spread my legs apart, and positioned himself between then.  I could feel his breath on my knee, and then he began kissing his way north. Unhurriedly, deliberately, patiently inch by inch he kissed his way up my leg.

Upon reaching my hip, Matthew carefully began touching my erection while I whimpered softly.  Using the most gentle of touches, he examined me, tracing patterns on my burning skin.  He shifted position again, and I felt his tongue gently flick on the side of my erection, and I suddenly gasped in delight.

Please. Please. Don’t stop. Need to be helped, reminded  that this can be a wonderful experience between two people. Matthew, I wish this was really you. Please, please don’t stop don’t stop so close so close …. Oh god… please…. Please… Matthew…. Please.

John’s dream had caught my mind, and I had found myself sharing his dream.  I have to admit that I shaped it slightly, trying to make it an enjoyable experience for my emotionally battered friend by keeping the seduction pace slow and leisurely. I should NOT be doing this, but part of me was secretly hoping that John really wanted what was happening.. After all, I wasn’t the one that was dreaming about having his Captain seduce him!

He had been silently pleading me not to stop his seduction when suddenly John had woken from his dream.  He appeared confused for a moment, and I could suddenly sense his disappointment that it had only been a dream.

Gently, I began stroking his hair and his face with one hand.  In my softest mental voice, I began questioning him, What is the matter, Johnnie?

Having the most delightful dream… Didn’t want to wake.

Really? What was it about?

Can’t say…

Are you mortified that you were having a happy dream? Do you think that you don’t deserve a happy dream once in a while? Even Captain Gideon gets a happy dream once in a while, in fact, he was having the nicest dream just now.

Really? What was it?

Our faces were getting closer and closer, and I found myself answering him with a hesitant kiss.  I touched my lips against his, and for a moment, our breaths mingled, as we continued kissing. The two of us suddenly stopped, and we looked at anything except the person we were just kissing. The silence spread uncomfortably until I finally had to say something….

It was a really nice dream, Johnnie.  Did you have a shaving cream fight in it?


You got it all over my jacket, I seem to remember. That wasn’t very nice of you.

In spite of our awkwardness, or maybe because of it, the two of us very slowly found our way back into the same position that we had been just in.  This time John was the bolder one of us, hesitantly placing his lips on mine. It was incredible, as I could feel his desire and his absolute trust in me, combined with his nervousness.

Nervous, Johnnie?


Why? I’d never hurt you. You know I wouldn’t.

Matthew had kissed me, and I had kissed him back. I felt as giddy as a child, and I was delighted to realize that Matthew had a silly smile on his face.

You do smile. I was worried you had forgotten how, John.

Trying hard to find something witty to say, I wasn’t surprised to find the two of us were kissing again. This time, it was a little less tentative, and one of us was even being rather assertive.  What surprised me was the fact that I was the one being the extremely aggressive.

John. JOHN!


Slow down, SLOW DOWN! Actually, forget slowing down. We better stop this right now!

I stopped immediately, and I suddenly got nervous. I just fucking kissed MATT! Bad enough I’m dreaming about …. I wish my shields were back. I wish….

John was rather upset at himself, and I found myself wanting to console him, but I was trying very carefully  not to cripple my ‘path by making him emotionally dependant on me.  Carefully I began stroking his hair again. My fingers really liked the feel of his buzz cut…and John was really upset about the fact that he had broadcast  his emotional confusion to me. My terrified ‘path wanted to run like hell, but berating himself to be brave, John was forcing himself to face the consequences of what had just happened.

“John.  Don’t apologize.” Wanting to tease him for a bit, I pretended to pout. “Unless you didn’t like my style. So, you didn’t like it? What would you suggest that I do differently? Do you think practice might help?”

My earnest concern about John’s lack of enthusiasm for the way I kissed seemed to fluster him.

Never got a complaint before, but … then again I’ve never kissed a Teep before.



I’m sorry. I really, really am.

Why?  You seemed to be enjoying it.  Remember, you can’t really lie to me… as I can hear your thoughts, John. You’re not ready for this, John. That’s why I wanted to stop. Not because I wasn’t interested.


You know I care about you, and I do.  Somewhere along the line here, I think…

It was odd, realizing that even while John and I were sharing thoughts, that I was still tongue-tied about what I wanted him to know. Instead, I just concentrated on sending him thoughts of how much I cared for him.  John seemed surprised, and… for a moment, delighted, that I reciprocated his feelings.  That quickly fled, and I caught a feeling of unease, as though he thought himself… unworthy.

No… don’t think that, John.  I’ve told you before, and I’d wish you’d believe me, that we all have things that lurk in our past, that we’re glad no one can share.  We are all filled with self-hate at one time or another.

“No. You could never hate yourself, as much as I do.”

Mentally, I reached out and grabbed him by his hand, pulling him toward the set of psychic gateways that were covered with dust and cobwebs.  You had to peer at the dark wood that made up the doors to see that scratched on them was a personal warning to myself,  ‘DO NOT EVER OPEN- MATTHEW!”

Briefly, I debated about what I was going to share with John, and he sensed my unease, as he was trying to pull away from the door. Instead, I held onto him tighter, as we’d have to face this together, much like the boulder….

Welcome to the deepest darkest part of Matthew Gideon’s psyche.

Space is cold.  Especially when you are floating by yourself after watching all of your crew members die from an attack by a ship that was a mixture of nightmares and darkness. If Lucifer designed a starship, it would look like that monstrosity.

What the hell was that?  I’m going to die, and I can’t. I need to avenge them. Need to fight. Destroy it. Destroy it.

Silence.  You can hear your blood race through your body in the utter stillness of space.  I bit back an urge to scream, just to make some noise so that I knew I was alive.

Concentrate. Fight. Live. REVENGE.  How much Oxygen left? Don’t look, Matt.  It ain’t good, and you’ve looked at it enough in the last five minutes to know… Shit! You had to look, didn’t you Matt? You’re going to die in almost thirty minutes because you’re going to be out of oxygen. You’ve cut your oxygen level down to bare minimum, trying to stretch it out, but… it ain’t gonna work.

Time to fold the cards, Matthew and cash in your chips. Be sure to thank the dealer, it’s been quite a hand.

I don’t want to die. I need to avenge them.

What the hell is that? I must be hallucinating … they’re fucking SHIPS!


They’re not stopping. They’re running away, leaving me behind.  Whatever that thing was, I think they’re running from it also.


Keep screaming it, Matthew, on every band you can think to use.  It’s your only hope. No, they’re still leaving.

“NO! DON’T GO!!!!

I was sitting in a chair, and the two officers were questioning me again.  Blearily, I answered their rapid-fire questions over and over again.  They never changed the questions, instead they kept repeating them, as though thinking I would slip up and reveal  some new tidbit to them.

“Ensign Gideon. How did you end up on Omega 7?” That was the blonde, who I hated.

“I think… someone found me in space, and dropped me off there.”

“Do you have any idea who it might have been?”

“No! They didn’t leave a note on me, asking that I be given to a good home and promising to return for me one day.”

“There’s no need to get sarcastic, Ensign.”

“You people aren’t listening to me. Something BIG, something ugly and something that looked like it just escaped from hell destroyed the Cerebus.”

“The Cerebus was lost when her jump engines malfunctioned, Ensign.”

Slamming my hand on the table, I managed to startle the dark haired one. She was usually the good cop to the other idiot’s bad cop.  Each of them circling me, trying to pull me down.


“YES. You were quite ill when they found you, raving about that alleged ship of yours. There was no ship. You’ve heard what the others have said, and viewed the reports. No ship. The only ship in the area was the Cerebus, which was lost when the jump engines failed.”

“If there wasn’t any other ship in the area, then how did I end up on Omega 7?”   Triumphantly, I pointed out the major flaw in their logic.

“That’s what we’d like to know, Ensign. It’s a shame that you can’t remember.”

I was discharged from the hospital, and given a promotion to Lieutenant. Throw the dog a bone, I thought darkly as I set foot on my new assignment.   By now I knew to keep my mouth shut about that alleged ship, as ‘Jinx’ Gideon was gaining a reputation for being odd.

As the only surviving member of a lost starship, I found myself being shunned and avoided by the rest of my new crew. EF is normally not a superstitious group but still everyone couldn’t help but think of how many people had died, while only I had survived.  I had probably used up all my luck by somehow avoiding the Grim Reaper, so nobody wanted to stand too close to me.

Nothing personal, Mattie, but…

 The Captain even avoided me after a while, as I was categorized as a loner on my evaluations.

‘Works hard, almost compulsively, but he doesn’t seem comfortable with situations that require him to deal one on one with other team members. Gideon is obsessive about safety and accounting for his team which appears to be a direct result of his experience with the Cerebus. He’s guarded and wary of trusting anyone.”

They were shunning me, out of fear, or because the crew believed that I wanted to be left alone. Inside I was screaming that I didn’t want to be alone as I couldn’t face returning to my quarters where the unsleeping Dead would haunt me night after night, asking me why the hell I hadn’t avenged them yet.

Nobody believes me! I’m still fighting to avenge you, please, don’t be in my dreams tonight. Please, stop haunting me with your screams of how you died. I’m trying so hard, but nobody believes me. I’m begging you, just for one night, let me sleep, stop HAUNTING ME! STOP IT! I don’t know why I’m alive, and why you died, but I wish I hadn’t survived. Why did I survive?

The nightmares came, like they always did, finding me no matter where I hid, no matter how hard I tried to avoid them. Faces of my dead, silently asking me ‘Why did we die?’  The crew surrounded me, the senior officers encircling me, pointing at me, demanding to know why I wasn’t trying harder to avenge them.

Why don’t you understand that nobody believes me? They don’t believe me when I tell them about the ship and how you died. Leave me alone! LEAVE ME ALONE! STOP BOTHERING ME!

I was lying in John Matheson’s bed, and I knew that I was weeping.  For so long, I had kept that door locked tightly, barracking those emotions of self-hate, despair, guilt and anger behind it, that I had been surprised by their ferocity when I finally allowed myself to look at them. John was whispering something softly at me, telling me to stop being so tightly controlled for once.

Let it out. You keep telling me to let it out, and yet you barricade your own emotions. Time to rip down that brick wall, Matthew. Let it out, Matt. Let yourself grieve.

Those damn ghosts still haunt me, John. No matter how hard I try, they still come back, and ask me ‘why?’ and I’m never able to answer or appease them.

For tonight, Matthew. Go to sleep. I’ll make sure you don’t have any bad dreams tonight. Shhh…

… thanks…

Matthew woke up a few minutes after I did.

“Sleep well?” His soft voice was full of concern.

“Yes? And you?” Carefully I reached over to Matthew, and I smoothed the hair out of his eyes.

“First decent night’s sleep I’ve had in a while.”

“Matthew… I’m sorry…” For forcing you to share those memories with me. I knew that it troubled you, but I didn’t realize that it bothered you that much.

It always will, as the experience has turned me into who I am now.  I never really had anyone to talk to about it, so I internalized it. Never had anyone I trusted enough to let them know how badly it still affects me, until now…

Matthew?  What are we going to do now? EF. Jones. Everything else? Especially… this….link… between… us.

We’re going to work on it together, Jones be damned. She used me to hurt you, so I need to be part of your healing process. Unless you don’t want me involved. You’re bit demanding, I’ve noticed. You don’t like the way I kiss, so you might not want me involved with your convalescence.

Bluntly, I assured Matthew that I didn’t have a problem with the way he kissed, and that I wanted him involved with my physical and emotional rehabilitation.  But before we kissed, I wanted to get presentable. Brush my teeth, and shave.

Today. Let me shave you, Matthew. Do you trust me with a straight edge?

How about you do yours first, and then mine?  I really like my nose.

Matthew really likes his nose, except when I got the dollop of shaving cream on it. He thinks a Starship Captain with a dollop of shaving cream on his nose lacks dignity. In my honest opinion, I  think Matthew looks pretty funny with a  glob of shaving cream on his nose.

Matthew’s also pretty ticklish, which I never knew before now.

A few days later:

I’m nervous, Matt.  I sent that carefully to my Captain who was gently stroking my hair, while I lay in his arms. EF, Jones… They’re not going to approve of how close we’ve gotten.

Shhhh… We’ll handle it together, the two of us.

What if they decide I’m not fit for duty? What if….

John, we’ve gone over this a hundred million times already, but no matter what happens, the two of us will work on together.  Now… go to sleep.

{Voices page 1}

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{Mistress Sarah}

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