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“Fighting a Losing Battle”
T'Kara left the view of the fountain and continued toward the administration office. She had to report the the Dean and obtain her official assignment at the Academy.
Her experience with the Buk Lau Vaik still weighed heavily on her mind. They had permanently changed her; she had been violated and genetically altered against her will. Despite her hatred of Surlac and his cult, her father--or rather the essence of her father within her mind--had convinced her to work with the cult; gain their trust in order to ultimately destroy them.
Over the next year and a half the cult gave her access to their research and had her work to perfect their genetic alteration techniques. They taught her how to use her new found abilities and how to control the energy and emotional surge that came with it. As time went on she began to form a friendship or at the very least an appreciation for those with whom she worked the closest. She did not blame Surlac's followers for the things they did--they had all been brainwashed by Surlac's twisted logic.
She still hated Surlac...but the longer she was exposed to the Buk Lau Vaik's way of thinking, the longer she had to deal with the emotional backlash of her genetic alteration, and the closer she became to those she worked with...the harder it was to maintain her true logic mind. Everything was pulling the pieces within her mind apart in different directions, and there was a great war raging within her. To the others she had to show she was committed to the Buk Lau Vaik, but within herself she tried desperately to cling to the vulcan she was before she had been kidnapped. Her meditations became less and less self preserving as her logical mind continued to break apart.
T'Kara opened her eyes. She was seated in the meditation pose on top of a dark mountain. Looking across the way was a mucky brown waterfall roaring over a cliff into a dirty river below. On either side of the waterfall and river held a once luscious green forestry that had been subjected to a permanent red-orange fire.
She stood up and walked to the edge of the mountain; looking down at the valley below. What use to be a gorgeous terrain of rocks and plant life, where her favorite challenging yet satisfying trail up the mountain was located, now was a broken up dry terrain with sprinkled streams of lava and ash which continually destroyed anything that came in their path.
It had been a year and a half since she had been captured by Surlac and his followers--the Buk Lau Vaik, or “Infinite Destiny”, as they called themselves. A year and a half since they had changed something inside her. They had manipulated her DNA and coerced her into helping them find a way to create super vulcans that would be able to “accomplish the full potential of the vulcan race”.
Surlac had called it a gift. And he had bestowed that …€Â˜gift' to many others. However that …€Â˜gift' came with a price. It was a 2 year death sentence at best--and a tumultuous two years at that. The DNA manipulation gave the vulcan great strength and power both in mind and body, but it also wore out the DNA quickly. As more and more demand was required of the body, the faster its cells would degrade. The vulcan essentially aged on the molecular level at an exponential rate. On top of that, the strain the extra “abilities” created on the vulcan's mind and body was extreme. Worst of all the new abilities were much more tied into the non-logical side of the brain. It made it nearly impossible to control one's emotions, in fact, emotions fueled the strength of the new abilities. Eventually, the mind and the body of the altered vulcan would lose all control under the constant, extreme strain and the vulcan would die; often after great torment.
T'Kara had agreed to work with Surlac's people; to help fix the degrading DNA problem, but had secretly hoped to destroy their work and ultimately stop them. However, over the past year and a half--the things she had been forced to do to gain the trust of Surlac and his people had been nearly unbearable to her. She had been inducted into their belief system, and taught in their twisted way of thinking.
She had conducted experiments on other vulcans, and allowed herself to be experimented on as they searched for the answer to the DNA degradation problem. All the while she had been forced to deal with the war that was being fought within her due to the “gift” she had been given. She had to train her mind and body and learn how to control her new abilities--stronger telepathy and telekinesis, greater physical strength, speed, and agility. The DNA manipulation brought with it a form of dark energy that filled her and needed to be released periodically in the form of focused training sessions where she had to use her special abilities or it would cause her great pain and emotional distress. She felt less and less vulcan as the process continued and less and less like her self.
T'Kara hated how the change had made her feel. She hated the war that she constantly fought within herself. She hated the great fatigue it caused. Not only was she constantly in a great amount of pain physically, she was suffering excruciating mental, emotional, and spiritual pain. She knew she would ultimately die if she was unsuccessful in finding a cure. And for a vulcan--this sort of dark, emotional, degrading process was the worst death one could experience.
T'Kara took a deep breath and let it out slowly. There were so many thoughts and emotions flowing around inside her; threatening to overpower her. One of the people she had been closely working with for the past year and a half was her husband--the man she once thought was dead. A part of her felt as though the man she loved was dead; that the man she worked with could never be the one she married ever again. Yet another part of her could see glimpses of the man she had once loved. Every once and a while she saw a mannerism, a glimpse of care in his eyes, an ounce of something in his voice when he talked--could there still be some of her Satog hidden underneath that hard outer shell of his? Could she allow him back into her heart again? A part of her yearned for it; demanded it. But another part begged the question--what would you be giving up if you give in to him?
A part of her still despised Surlac for taking everything from her: ripping her husband away from her all those years ago, stealing her away from her life in Starfleet and from her family, and changing the very essence of who she was. That part of her could not stand the idea of ever truly being a part of his messed up cult. But, the longer she was exposed to their rituals, and words, and thought processes--the more the words began to sink in and start to make sense. This scared T'Kara the most.
A thousand wars waged on inside her daily and the only solace she had was her meditations and her time spent in her innerworld. But her innerworld had slowly changed as she sensed her inner strength slowly disappear. T'Kara had not even seen her father in months. Perhaps a part of her was ashamed and could not face him. She looked down at what she was wearing--it was still her starfleet uniform. Her inner self--the T'Kara she was before she was captured--still clung to that uniform as a symbol of her true values and beliefs. Though that part of her seemed to be slowly suffocating. How much longer could she hold on?
“You know what you must do.”
T'Kara swung around to look at who had interrupted her thoughts. Standing in front of her was a personification of herself--the part of her that had begun to buy into the Buk Lau Vaik. The look in her doppleganger's eyes was dark, and she was wearing the same greenish brown tunic as Surlac's followers. The doppleganger's facial expression looked confident and self assured. It was a stark difference to the fear, and emotional agony that T'Kara wore on her own face.
She shook her head. “No. I cannot do it.”
“You do not have the strength to fight me. It will be much simpler, and all together more logical to just give in. If you sacrifice yourself, you will stop being conflicted. You will stop hurting. You can have the life you always wanted with Satog. You can finally be complete and one with him again. You can be responsible for saving the vulcan race as a whole.” The other T'Kara raised an eyebrow. “Or, you can keep fighting me and ultimately destroy yourself. You will lose Satog again, and he will lose you. And you will have condemned the vulcan race to ultimate destruction. Logic dictates the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. The sacrifice you make will be for the greater good.”
“Your logic is flawed”. T'Kara stated, tears in her eyes. “If I sacrifice myself to be with Satog, then I will not truly have him as I will no longer exist. If I am not myself, then all has been lost.”
“You will be yourself. But reborn. Embrace our mission. Internalize our beliefs. All your fears will be washed away. You will be stronger, and you will be complete. Together with Satog you will be unstoppable. Deny it, and you will destroy not only yourself but Satog as well.”
“He was fine without me before.”
“You know that is not true. He brought you here because he needed you. And you need him. Now, do what you know you must!”
T'Kara turned around and looked out at the fire and lava again. Tears running down her cheeks. A part of her wanted to give in, yet another part was still hanging on for dear life. “I CANNOT!”
“Then you will die.”
...And with that the scene went black. T'Kara opened her eyes and found herself in her assigned quarters at the Buk Lau Vaik lair. It was nearly pitch dark; her candles had nearly all burnt out. She touched her forehead and wiped the sweat that had formed on it away. Then, she internally collected herself, blew out the last of the candles and crawled into bed. She knew she was losing herself to the war within, but she had yet to discover how to stop it.
....TO BE CONTINUED...