Disclaimer: I own nothing even remotely associated with Star Trek Voyager!
A/N: This is a short oneshot that goes along with 'Only Shadows'. It takes place during that story and from Tal Celes' POV. You might want to read 'Only Shadows' before you read this otherwise it might not make much sense.
Why did it have to be so cold? She'd never liked the cold. In fact the only time she thought it was even remotely comfortable was when she could curl up in a nice warm blanket and not worry about getting up for awhile. But she couldn't just go to her quarters and burry herself in the blankets on her bed because she had a duty shift to finish first.
At this rate she wasn't going to make it through the next few hours of her shift though. The cold, that bone freezing cold, was eating away at her, making her knuckles turn even paler then they normally were and her toes go numb.
Standing in the turbo lift Tal Celes crossed her arms and stomped her feet a bit to get a little blood flowing. Not that it did any good, but at least she could say she tried. Finally the turbo lift doors opened and she quickly stepped out onto the bridge. She spotted Lt. Parris at the helm and immediately made her way over so she could deliver the PADD Seven had asked her to give the helmsman. Something about an updated map of this sector or something of that nature. Seven never actually explained what it was for, just to go do it.
Once at the helmsman's station she held the report out to him, but he didn't seem to notice. So she tapped his shoulder to get his attention and nearly took a step back when he quickly spun around towards her with wide, anxious eyes. Giving him an a small, understanding smile she held the PADD out again and watched as he reached for it. She waited as he read it over in case he wanted her to send a message back.
It seemed to take him a bit longer to read over the report then it normally would, but eventually he started typing something on the PADD. While he focused on the small PADD she let her attention drift to the rest of the bridge.
Ensign Kim was fidgeting at Operations while Commander Tuvok seemed completely calm at his station near the turbo lift, though the Vulcan's eyes did seem a bit…darker then usual. Commander Chakotay appeared to be working on a report of some sort as he sat in the First Officer's chair, but she noticed how his eyes would periodically flash to the right as if checking to make sure the Captain was still there.
The Captain, for her part, was almost as stoic as Commander Tuvok. She sat straight backed, eyes leveled at the monitor across from her, and barely moving an inch. Her eyes were distant though, as if she was contemplating a mystery and not fully aware of her surroundings. Celes knew that wasn't the truth though. Captain Janeway always knew what was going on around her. In fact it was a running joke among the crew that their Captain had eyes and ears in the walls.
Captain Janeway certainly didn't seem to be in the best of moods though. Not that anyone could blame her or that it was a surprise since there was something wrong with her ship. In fact, it was almost reassuring to know she was obviously so concerned about the crews' well being. She…
It was one of those cold winds. It was suddenly swirling around her, cutting into her uniform and down to her bones. She wrapped her arms around her torso, hoping to ward off the sharp chill, and glanced down at Lt. Paris who was still typing away at that PADD. Why wasn't the wind stopping? It usually went away after a couple of seconds, but this time it was still blowing fiercely though her.
And then the second part hit with a force like a Klingon jumping on her chest, taking her breath away with a sharp intake of air. Fear. Pure terror washed over her as her heart began to race, her pulse thumping against her veins while her eyes widened and all the blood seemed to drain from her body. Like the wind it didn't stop, it just kept eating away at her.
That's when she felt it. A presence. No, a lot of presences as if she were being surrounded by an enemy. They were closing in on her, taking her breath away in the process and throwing a blanket of fear over her. They were all around her. She could feel it.
Celes closed her eyes, trying to take a deep breath and work through the emotions running rapid through her mind. It didn't do any good. Instead she felt something blow across her ear, making her eyes snap opened again. Looking around there was no one there though. Only the crew working away as if nothing was wrong. Didn't they see? Didn't they understand that something was trying to kill them?
Her eyes fell on the Captain even as panic began to sink in. The Captain would know what to do. She always had the answers. So, wrapping her arms tighter around herself, Celes forced her feet to move. She wasn't even sure how, but within a few steps she was standing by the Captain's chair.
"C-cap-ptain?" She stuttered softly, trying to get the older woman's attention even though her throat felt as if it were an ice cube.
The Captain tensed, her head shooting up in Celes' direction. "Yes, Celes?" She asked after a few brief seconds as the Captain scanned her with an almost hidden spark of concern in her eyes.
"Why is it so cold?" She began, moving her feet a bit to fight the wind still blowing around her. "Whey wont they just leave us alone!" She continued, eyes darting back and forth as she looked for the source of her discomfort. She knew they were here somewhere. Somewhere close and getting closer by the second.
"They who, Ensign?" The Captain asked curiously, her eyebrows furrowed in confusion.
Tal tried to look Captain Janeway in the eyes, but it was hard. Her breathing was racing, her heart pounding in her ears as the presence seemed to grow heavier and heavier. "They're everywhere!" She told the Captain. "They…it's so cold."
It was getting even harder to breath, her chest was shuddering with each forced breathe now and her feet seemed to want to run, but were too frozen to move even an inch. "Celes…" The sudden word, combined with the unexpected hands suddenly on her shoulders caused her to jump slightly and flinch away from the attack she sure was coming. Her eyes snapped up and locked with the Captain's.
"It's going to be alright." The warm, but firmly spoken words seemed to help bring her back to reality, but only for an instant.
"Ca-Captain." She whispered softly while trying to catch her breath.
Then suddenly images flashed before her eyes in quick procession so fast she couldn't tell what each one was, but each one left her with more foreboding the last. Pain, fear, destruction….
She didn't know tears had begun leaking out of her eyes, or that she was shaking uncontrollably. All she was aware of was a sharp, overbearing pain evading her body and spreading through her limbs. She vaguely heard someone screaming, felt the air leaving her lungs even as fear and pain blinded her to everything else.
As soon as it started it was over and her world suddenly dissolved into blackness, taking the pain and terror with it, and at that last moment she realized that she knew what death felt like.
"Are you going to wake up this century or not." The gruff statement seemed far away, distant to her ears as she slowly began to pry open her eyelids.
The light blinded her at first, making her eyes snap closed again to block the offending brightness. "To wake up you actually have to open your eyes." The voice seemed a bit closer this time and much more familiar, but she still couldn't quite place it.
She forced her eyelids open, squinting for a moment as the light filtered in, but then began smiling softly as her vision started to clear and she saw the person standing over her. "Gerron." Celes whispered hoarsely upon seeing the dark eyes and nearly impassionate expression.
"How very observant of you." The dark haired Bajoran stated dryly, a small smirk forming on his face.
"I'm alive?" Tal Celes asked, a bit surprised considering the last thing she remembered was being attacked by…something.
Gerron nodded and, for a brief second, she thought she might have seen a hint of relief in his eyes, but it was gone the next second and replaced with his usual uncaring stare. She watched him while she pushed herself up into a sitting position. The two of them had started talking more recently, though technically she was the one doing most of the talking, but she was still a bit hesitant where he was concerned. There was just something about his eyes, they seemed to be able to see right into her one moment and see right passed her in the next. It was a bit unsettling.
"What are you doing here?" She asked after glancing around sickbay and noticing the three other crew members laying in a biobed against the wall.
Gerron shrugged, looking at something just above her shoulder and avoiding eye contact. "I'm a patient too."
"Oh." She said simply as she continued watching him. "But what are you doing here, as in standing over my bed while I'm unconscious." She added, gesturing to where he was standing.
He shrugged again, crossing his arms and briefly meeting her eyes. "Your hand started twitching." When she just continued to stare at him he continued with an annoyed sigh. "I figured you were waking up, but you seemed to be resisting. I came over to make sure you actually did wake up because if I didn't we'd all be getting a lecture from the Doctor about 'watching out for your fellow crewmen'." He added, rolling his eyes at the last part and making her chuckle softly.
"Well, um, thank you…I think." She said, muttering the last part while fidgeting on the bed. "Is everything okay now?" She asked, glancing at the three other unconscious crewmen and whoever was laying on the surgical bed in the small alcove.
"As okay as it can be for a starship thousands of light years away from the Alpha Quadrant." Gerron answered nonchalantly. "Most of us have woken up now. Apparently the Captain had a run in with some of them though." He added, nodding towards the surgical biobed on the other side of the room.
It was then Celes noticed what appeared to be the First Officer sitting next to the biobed with a PADD in hand. Before she could ask if the Captain was alright the Doctor spotted her from his office. "Ah, Celes, good to see you decided to join land of the living." He said while making his way over.
"See you later." Gerron muttered with a small nod in her direction before moving away from the bed before she could respond.
"Didn't I release you this morning?" The Doctor asked curiously just as Gerron walked passed him, but the Bajoran ignored the question and kept walking towards the doors.
Tal Celes smiled tiredly, watching as he left sickbay without looking back. She would have to remember to give him a hug later. He probably wouldn't like it, but she didn't really care at the moment. After all, it wasn't everyday you got to cheat death.
A/N: Thanks for reading! Hope you liked it!