|Title: Kill or Cure
Disclaimer: Paramount’s, not mine.
Kill or Cure
Resting his hand lightly on his sister’s shoulder, Fenarew gazed down at the three newcomers who were lying together on the dusty floor. It was very obvious that a deep bond existed between them all, but seeing the degree of concern and anxiety which the blond-haired man exhibited for the darker one, it seemed to him that there was an especially strong bond between the two males. He was almost certain that they were lovers, and this thought reminded him again of his own painful loss.
Vubrehn, his one and only love, had been a sweet and lively man; a gentle, hard-working individual who had bewitched him with his ever-smiling face and sparkling green eyes. Always full of life, and with never an unkind word to say about anyone, Vubrehn had taken complete possession of his heart and soul.
They had met several years before their capture, during the festival of Eshreval - a noisy, joyful event that was held every ten years on their home world, and which celebrated their people’s emergence into the light, millennia before. It was only the second festival that either of them had attended - both having been children of around nine years old on their first occasions. They had danced and sung together all that day and late into that night; the spark of attraction that had crackled between them from the moment they’d set eyes on each other, bursting into life to become a flame that would burn brightly all the time that they were together, but that would ultimately be extinguished unexpectedly, by the hand of a murderous traitor.
Many, many days had passed since Vubrehn’s death (around one hundred according to the tally that they had been keeping - although, they had no way of gauging whether the artificial days and nights that they were subjected to were of a consistent length; for all they knew, the aliens could be shortening or lengthening the time between the bright yellow ‘daytime’ light and high temperatures, and the dim orange light and bitter cold, which marked their ‘night’ It was impossible to tell.) Still, no matter how long it had been, the memory of that fateful day was as vivid as ever to Fenarew.
It had been Neereta who had broken the devastating news to him. One of his sister’s closest friends - Marashney, a woman of about the same age as her, and of the same race - had informed her of Vubrehn’s murder, and she had then taken him aside, passing on the heartbreaking details as gently as she could. Vubrehn, his kind and perpetually happy, sweet-natured lover, had been stabbed to death by a recent arrival, who had claimed he was a friend.
It had happened in a room that was usually locked, and that was situated just away from the main work area - beyond the grey metal door in the rock wall, through which Mherkal had left earlier. The incident had been unintentionally witnessed by Marashney, who had been passing by on her way to her station. The door to the room had been slightly ajar, and the glint of the knife, as it was brought down to plunge into the back of Vubrehn’s neck and send him sprawling in a lifeless heap to the floor, had caught her eye. Wisely, she had controlled her urge to scream, and had kept quiet about what she had seen until she had returned to the dwelling places.
Fenarew closed his eyes, trying to prevent the tears that always formed whenever he thought about Vubrehn. It was painful to remember the way that they had been parted, and he knew it would remain so until the day he, too, left the mortal world; comfort would only come once their spirits were reunited in the next existence. If the ways of his people had permitted it, he would have taken his own life by now, but as that was forbidden, he instead prayed every day that death would come soon to him, in whatever form.
“Brother? Perhaps you should rest,” Neereta said softly. She knew, without asking, what was troubling Fenarew; his grief was clearly etched on his face. “This brings back too many memories for you, my brother. Go now, and sleep,” she suggested. “It will free your mind, for a short time at least.”
Fenarew nodded. Perhaps sleep *would* help. Although, it would be better yet if it were a permanent sleep. With one last look at the newcomers, he wandered across to the far side of the room and laid down.
Harry Kim groaned. The light in the room was so bright that it hurt his eyes if he kept them open for more than a second at a time. But even so, each time he did open them he made sure to turn his head slightly, thus gaining fleeting glimpses of the room he was being held in.
From what he could make out, he was alone in what appeared to be a small laboratory of some kind. Various items of unknown use adorned the walls, and to his left, a nearby table held several more. Harry assumed, considering he was strapped to a metal table in the centre of the otherwise empty room, that he was the test subject, although for the life of him he had no idea how he had come to be in such a position.
Scrunching his eyes tightly closed, he tried to think. He’d been on a planet; it had been raining, and he’d trudged for miles across water-logged ground. Someone had been with him, he remembered, and they’d been searching for someone else…. But who? Who had his companion been, and who was the missing person?
Harry shook his head in frustration; it felt as though his brain had been turned to cotton wool, and he was certain that trying to force out the information just wasn’t going to work. Sighing, he gave up the struggle to recall what had happened, deciding to concentrate instead on his current predicament: where was he now, and how was he going to get out of there?
“B’Elanna? Is that you? And Paris? What happened? What’s wrong with Chakotay?”
“Greg, you’re awake. How are you feeling?” B’Elanna asked, tucking the blanket tightly around Chakotay as she sat up and looked at the figure standing in front of her. Greg was wobbling slightly. “Sit down,” she instructed gently, “and I’ll tell you what little I know.”
Greg nodded and complied, sinking down to the dusty ground as B’Elanna began to relate the few details she’d managed to garner.
BACK Part Six