Characters: Katia Santiago
Katia moved through Engineering, doing her best to focus on the task at hand, and that was to try to keep the ship together. She wanted to try to reroute the main systems through the lesser systems in the lower hull structure. But, she was racing against time itself. She had gotten Miina working on that almost immediately after getting back from her conversation with the Captain. A conversation that still had her reeling. It was unthinkable that one of her own people could have betrayed her like this. Betrayed the ship like this. She could almost sense the ship through her telepathic senses, and she didn’t want to think about the implications of what might happen anytime now.
Just as she and her people had figured out a way to make it possible to reroute everything so that the minimal of systems would be affected by the blasts, should they come, the deck reeled and buckled underneath her. The wrenching grinding metal groaned under her as it was forced into moving in ways it wasn’t meant to. Katia had stepped into her office when it happened, and the door had closed behind her. She flew forward, almost doing a flip over her desk, as she came down on her shoulder, screaming out in pain as she felt all the voices intermingled in her mind doing the same. And, yet, there seemed to be something more ominous screaming out in her mind as well. The ship, it had seemed to call out, and gotten no answer.
Katia slowly forced herself to stand, and looked down at her useless arm. The shoulder had probably been popped out of the socket, and the pain was excruciating, but she had to continue through the pain. The people on the other side of the door were her responsibility. She moved like an old lady, slowly, and methodically, trying to keep her muscles moving despite the protests that screamed out at her. As the door opened and she moved through, Engineering flashed before her eyes and then just as suddenly….
Entered a room. Engineering was gone, and she glanced around and her heart sunk. Sitting before her, in all their splendor and pomp, were three Psi Cops. A short, dark-haired individual sat in the center of them. Katia had just left home a few months before and had only been here at school for three months. Her Uncle had tried to talk her out of going, knowing that her chances of being found to be a latent telepath were much greater away from home then they were with him. Not that Earthdome was the safest of places for someone with her abilities to hide out, either, but at least there, he had some control over the situation. Here, over a thousand miles away from him, he had no way of keeping her safe. It was just now that she realized how vulnerable she really was.
The shorter Psi Cop stood up, extending his hand to her as Katia glanced this way and that, trying her best to find a way out, knowing there was none at this point. She was caught, and had no choice but to accept her new life. He smiled at her, a bone-chilling smile that left her feeling quite alone in a world where only recently had she felt safe. “I am Alfred Bester with Psi Corps. I have wonderful news for you, Katia!”
Only 17-year-old, Katia had come to be weary of anyone in the Corps. She glanced at him warily and answered, “Oh? And, what is that, Mr. Bester?”
“You have been found to have some telepathic abilities, Katia. You are going to be taken in by the Corps and trained as a Telepath. You will have nothing to worry about for the rest of your life! Isn’t that wonderful news, Ms. Santiago?” Again, he smiled that smile that said he was not to be trusted.
The girl shook her head, “No, Mr. Bester. It isn’t. I won’t go with you!” She started backing away from him toward the door. The fear and anxiety coursing through her as she tried her best to try to escape them.
His smile froze on his face as he said menacingly, “You don’t seem to understand, Katia. Somebody has been lying to you about the Corps. We are a place of protection from the mundanes on the outside. Can’t you see that?” he asked, honestly not seeing why she was so fearful of the glory of the Corps. Then he said firmly, “You see, you aren’t being given a choice in this matter. Not even a choice of sleepers. A person of your stature, so close to the President would be a great boost to the Corps. We need you, Ms. Santiago, and we won’t take no for an answer.”
Her mind reeled with the implications. She couldn’t be living this over again, not again, the nightmare come to life once more. The people in front of her blurred as her eyes teared as they had back then, and she wished it were all some sort of dream, but it wasn’t…she was here. Where was the Phoenix, the Rangers, the bombs….She shook her head, trying to shake herself out of the dream made reality and Bester and the other two Psi Cops closed in on her, not giving her a chance to run. But run she did, as she turned and tried to outpace them. Suddenly…
She tripped over her chair, catching herself on the edge of her desk, back on the Phoenix once again. Her desk the only thing holding her up and her right arm hanging limply next to her side once again. The explosions. She had to find out how her crew was doing. Kordieh was going to pay for this, she vowed silently to herself. If it was the last thing she managed to accomplish in her life, she would make him regret ever trying to cross her and betray her and the ship like this.
Copyright (c) 1998 Tamara Friese. All rights reserved.