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post #3 of (permalink) Old 12-08-13, 06:28 AM Thread Starter
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Ch 3.

Deanna Troi was cautiously excited about meeting the Giant as she weaved her way through the mass of people. She felt twinges of frustration and the hints of gossip in their minds as they passed her, unable to avoid physical contact in the narrow passage. Their irritation was understandable, crewmen had to reserve personal use of a holodeck weeks or even months in advance.

She had to bite her lip to stifle a giggle at the absurd swashbuckling get-up the Andorian crewman sashayed by her in, a near blinding mess of pinks and green. He was a pleasant enough man for an Andorian, but actually laughing at him would antagonize him more than was necessary. He was clearly. very disappointed that he would not be able to play Ensign Davner's pirate game. She felt the vague impression of the Andorian laboring over their holodeck programs for weeks, making sure everything was perfectly in place for whatever adventure they had in mind.

It was a shame really, but Worf had insisted that the holodecks area be crewed only by those who were absolutely necessary their goal of communicating with the Giant. His heart was in the right place even if his methods were a bit excessive. The Klingon officer didn't want to risk exposing the crew to unnecessary danger, and putting an additional deck's worth of forcefields and bulkheads between the crew and a perceived threat was precisely what he felt was necessary.

The Captain had agreed to Worf's suggestion, re-iterating that there was no need to over-stimulate the Giant with unfamiliar species and possible agitating factors. A sentiment Deanna agreed with wholeheartedly. She could only imagine how terrifying and lonely it would be to wake in some museum billions of years away from anything you knew, surrounded by strange beings. But they would reach him through patience and understanding, she knew it.

Walking past the security checkpoint at the outskirts of Worf's containment area, Troi tapped her communicator, "I'm through Worf. You can start whenever you're ready."

The shimmering containment field snapped in place be hinder her, a flash of sheer white dissipating into clarity as though there were no barrier at all. Klingons, Worf may have been less paranoid than his kinsmen but she suspected that he'd be most at hope with ship's security resembling some sort of police state. It was an uncharitable thought, racist even, but she owned it.

The Betazoid of Betazed were not like other species who had the luxury of concealing their darkest thoughts. They were Telepaths. Though Deanna was only half Betazoid she had been aware of the darkest and least pleasant thoughts of her fellow sentients since her own telepathic gifts at a young age. She felt their anger, their rage, their pettiness, their lust, and any number of feelings that thinking beings wasted most of their lives rejecting and concealing, and she learned from them.

The population of Betazed knew each other's secrets, each other's dark thoughts. One had no "secret" urges in a society of telepaths. People saw their weaknesses, displayed them, owned them and learned from them so that they might better themselves. Outsiders saw the Betazed as impulsive or capricious but the truth was that the Betazed simply had no interest in whatever shames most other species cared to hide behind.

It was part of what made her a good councilor, she'd already seen and felt the crewmen's problems as though they were her own.

Brushing the front of her more formal dress down she pressed the glowing consul next to holosuite five, tapping the button twice before saying, "Data, are you in there?"

The doors opened with a sight schwoop of mag-leve pistons, exposing a replica of the subterranean laboratory of the Vulcan Archive. Deanna yelped in surprise as she came face to face with a set of piercing blue eyes seated in a prominent brow. Her heart thundered for a moment before the man's face flickered, only a hologram.

"Come on Councilor," Data greeted her cheerily from around the holographic giant's oversized pauldrons. "I was just finishing my initial observations."

Deanna skirted around the holographic Giant, examining his yellow armor as she passed. It was an imperfect replica of the Giant, a hazy collection of sensor readings taken through kilometers of ferrous stone, but she could see that ornate sculpture and golden filagree had been worked into the obsidian ornamentation along the bright yellow ceramic plates of the Giant's powered armor. She reached out with her fingers, caressing the mans heraldic ornamentation, feeling the scorched and riveted surface of it's obsidian icon.

"He's beautiful," Deanna observed. "Vicious, but beautiful. Someone put real love into this armor, they had to have spent years making it."

"Centuries I suspect," Data nodded. "The materials of his armor seem to vary greatly in age. I hypothesize that this armor is antique, repaired and improved between generations."

The Giant paced the sheer walls of the holosuite, searching the surface with his fingers. He rubbed at the rounded walls from top to bottom, leaving nothing untouched. He was searching for something, "What is he looking for?"

"Probably a way out." Data replied, pointing to a section of wall near the teleporter alcove. It sparked and lit where the Giant had smashed through it with his blade. "I suspect he did not anticipate that he was trapping himself in the room when he tried to keep everyone else out."

"Has he been at it long?" Deanna examined the man's intent expression, a chiseled and icy look of contempt in every feature.

"Two days so far," Data crossed his arms, not quite managing to mimmic human relaxation. "He starts at the pad, touches every inch of the room then starts over."

"Any luck with his language?" Deanna asked.

"Not yet," Data admitted. "He's been repeating words non-stop, but I have no context within which to place them."

"Are we still going to teleport him into holosuite four?" Deanna asked.

"It seems like our only viable option," Data nodded. "Our holographic doubles will be able to interact with the Giant, giving us the freedom to get some sort of a baseline for communication with him. Your empathic abilities should provide emotional context to the tonal combinations."

"I look forward to meeting him," Deanna chuckled, flashing her teeth as she checked to make sure she was presentable. She'd chosen to wear something less official than she would normally wear for Star Fleet business, a formal dress that bridged the balance between her role as councilor and peace-maker. She was here to make a friend, non-threatening was the word of the day.

Data tapped his badge, "Data to Riker. We're prepared for our visitor. Permission to begin?"

"Riker to Data," The first officer replied, his tone colored with mirth. "Try not to climb too far up the beanstalk. It's a long way down."

"Beanstalk sir?" Data queried as Deanna snorted.

"It's a children's story Data," Riker replied. "I'll explain later. Just be careful, I want you and Deanna coming out of this in one piece."

"The danger is minimal sir," Data replied. "Our failsafes are more than adequate."

"Why does that not overburden me with confidence," Jibed Riker in response, "Permission granted."

"Very well sir," Data tapped the activator on his Padd. "Initiating the procedure."

The holographic projection of the man shifted, becoming less transparent as he materialized in the parallel holodeck. He blinked in surprise at the sudden appearance of their holographic duplicates, bellowing in fury. "Für der Imperatore! Morietur xenos!"

She flinched as the holographic giant swung at her face with his gauntleted fist, more out of instinct than any real danger. The holographic fist touched her, a warm pressure against her skin blocked from doing any harm by the safety protocols programmed by Data. The Giant blinked, nonplussed as it punched again, bellowing in it's alien tongue, "Vas set tento malefactum! Čarodějnice!"

She spoke in soothing tones to the Giant, holding her hands out, palm up, in a gesture of submission, "We are not your enemy."

"Ich té töten dormientes! Ich verde digitus jako spoilum!" The Giant leapt across the room, grabbing his blade from the wreckage of the teleporter before propelling himself into the air. Spinning in a glittering ark of the energized blade's power he stabbed downward, aiming for Data's heart. The Android, faster than any mortal man alive, sidestepped the blow, grabbing the man at the wrist and disarming him with a lazy haymaker.

The Astonished Giant upturned over Data's shoulder, landing hard upon the ground as Data teleported the blade away, turning to Deanna apologetically. "I really should not have teleported the weapon as well, but it was difficult to differentiate between the armor and the weapon at this distance. I didn't want to risk accidentally materializing him without an arm."

"I understand," Deanna replied, watching as the man flipped back to his knees, propelling himself towards Data's hologram with a scream of, "Ich will convivium super dien Grab wie ich dico fabulas svéno gloriosa victoria."

Data grabbed the man's arm, twisting up and tossing him across the room. Deanna blinked in surprise, "How are you doing that?"

"I modified one of Worf's combat programs, he had designed it to allow the gravity and basic physics of the simulation to work against him as he trained. I replicated those effects so that the Giant is unable to do any sort of harm to our duplicates." Data ducked, pivoting in an impossible fashion on his heel as the Giant grabbed for him. "The harder he tries to do us harm, the more impossible it becomes."

"Data stop," Deanna sighed. "This is not helping."

"If you insist Councilor," Data froze mid grapple, his body pausing in a seemingly impossible shape, pinning the Giant in an uncomfortable position with his holodeck-ehanced strength. The artificial man's passive expression was in stark contrast to the Giant's apoplectic fury. Spittle flew from his mouth as he screamed what could only be obscenities, the cracked and scarred skin of his face struggling to keep up with the frenzied shouts threatening the pair of them.

There had to be a way that she could show him that she meant him no harm, that she meant no ill-will towards he and his. She reached out with her hand and touched his breast plate, running her fingers over the winged fist at it's center, lingering on the hammer as she looked up into his piercing blue eyes, willing her mind towards the adjacent holosuite. She was, of course, only looking at a holographic duplicate but he did not know that. Eye contact would cement a connection in his mind between Deanna and the feelings she was projecting.

She bundled up all the positive feelings she could think of, family meals, happy children, the fresh scent of her morning coffee, and sent them to the Giant. She could not properly articulate her thoughts and feelings in the way that a full blooded Betazoid would have been able to, but she was more than capable of forming an empathic link. The man froze as the feelings hit him, her calming sense of camaraderie touching his mind. He was a being of sharp angles and chiseled logic, she could feel the driven purpose in his every movement as she touched the outskirts of his mind, probing forward with a sense of peace.

Deanna did not enter, tempting though it might have been, it would have been a violation of the man's privacy. She just stroked at his outer thoughts with her own, willing him to feel her own desire to befriend him. It was the slightest of caress, a simple greeting for most telepathic species.

She was entirely unprepared for what followed.

The man stared through her with the icy blue pits of his eyes, those frozen portals to hell, pulling back the barriers of his mind and dragging her into a deep chasm of thought. It was not telepathy. No, it was something altogether different. The man could shape the patterns of his own mind, guiding and shaping his own thoughts like an artist with clay.

She found herself transported elsewhere, to a place far, far away. It was a battlefield, a nightmare. Thick soot clogged the air with ashen debris, pollution born from the burning corpse pits below. The valley had once been beautiful in the days before the battle, before the enemy had come. She watched a legion of men in yellow armor striding over the charred corpses of a race of sentient beings, slaughtering men, women and children without remorse.

She watched hands, the Giant's hands, as though they were her own. The massive gauntlets grabbed tiny girl, no larger than an infant, and chuck the still screaming babe atop a funeral pire. She felt his satisfaction for having purged the galaxy of another impure one, another alien, another xenos. The faces of the sentients warped, shifting to her own face, her own eyes, her own hair. The men in yellow armor slaughtered her replicas, purging the "Deanna" with fire and blades.

There was no forgiveness, no peace, and no compromise. These creatures posed no threat to the men other than the insult they presented to simply for existing in the wrong place at the wrong time. She felt the piercing eyes boring deeper into her mind as the overwhelming alien presence thundered within her, "Xenos."

She was repelled from the man's thoughts, falling to her knees and sobbing. So much hatred, so much cruelty. The Giant had loved it, he had needed it. How could one being be so molded by contempt?

She looked up at the beings eyes once more, "I forgive you."

The man spat in her face, "Gehen aud Infernum, xenos malificar."

"End program condition beta," Data interjected, letting go of the vanishing Giant and walking over to Deanna. "Are you alright councilor? Do you require medical assistance? "

"I'm fine Data," Deanna shivered, hugging the Android's chest hard. "At least, I - I think I will be."

"What happened?"

Deanna tried to articulate what she'd seen into words, struggling to shape the thoughts as she wanted them. Any time she tried to focus on the memory it was a battle not to simply break down into tears. "There is too much pain in the universe Data. There is sometimes just too much pain."

"I do not know Councilor," Data interjected disappointedly. "I've never felt it."

"There are times when you are the lucky one," Deanna sniffed, rubbing at her eye with her sleeve. Her head throbbed from the failed psychic exchange, "I think I will head Dr. Crusher after all."

"Very well Councilor," Data nodded, tapping his pads and re-activating the translucent spy-hologram of the Giant. "I will continue to observe our guest in the meanwhile."

Deanna walked out of the holosuite. Shivering as she could feel the "not-giant's" crystal blue eyes following her out of the room, she tried to suppress the overwhelming emotions being projected by the man who wished to eviscerate her corpse and dance upon her burning grave.
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