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Turning in a Circle [FLASHBACK]

Posted on Fri Jan 8th, 2021 @ 7:32pm by Lieutenant JG Tybek

Mission: Interlude 4
Location: USS Firebird, other

"If I had to define man it would be: a biped, ungrateful." - Dostoyevsky, Notes from Underground


Some time in 2393, at the Academy...

First he thought it was the bad dreams getting worse - more vivid, visceral to the senses, shocking him awake every hour or so in the last week. The dreams always took him from home to home; Mars, Khitomer, then finally to San Francisco and the like. Then Professor Tybek woke up thinking he'd burned alive on Mars. Even awake, he felt the burning of his subconscious. There was a song the kids used to sing when they goaded him; its tune echoed in the back of his head as he checked himself thoroughly for real burns.

Tybek made himself a red-eye just to mix it up from his usual raktajino. When the young, half-Vulcan walked over to the espresso machine his mother had replicated for him after his entrance into the Academy, Tybek spent several minutes furiously focused as he made the drink by hand. As the crema slowed to a drip and he stared into the shining double shot, the world slowed, then spun, and Tybek found himself reeling backwards - except instead of onto the floor he found himself on his feet, almost a decade younger on Khitomer.

"Tybek, are you feeling unwell?" the sound of his mother's voice rang through his ears, sending a chill down his spine. The Klingon teen turned around to see her walking over to him with a full plate.

"Yes, mother-" he knew he wasn't supposed to be there - again - but he could feel it all, how real it was, "yes mother, I'm okay."

"Would you like to have your breakfast?" before he could answer, she slid the plate onto the table.

As she set it gently down, Tybek could feel the weight of his body pulling him down, face first into the food and through the table until everything spun in reverse once more. He sat upright in bed and looked around, able to pick out the details that made it his Academy dorm. His breathing calmed as he set eyes on his poster of the '67 World Series, the Hegel and Wittgenstein on his bookshelf, the espresso machine taking up too much space near his desk.

"Is everything okay, Ty?" looking besides himself, Tybek saw Sharae, the bright Andorian who'd helped him take an interest in Terran philosophy to begin with. She seemed to have woken up, but was calm, ready to talk him down from his panic like she did most of their freshman year together. Tybek placed a hand on her shoulder, continuing to breathe deep and slow as he did so.

"I'm well, Rae, it's okay." he said, quietly.

She let a soft smile loose in his direction, and Tybek felt a pang of regret; it'd been well over five years since he'd heard from her. "If you're really okay," she began to say, moving herself closer against him on the small bed, "you'll-"

Then he could feel it happening again; Sharae's words swirled into the spinning world and sent him shooting up into and through the ceiling of his old dorm. As it happened a third time, Professor Tybek felt himself in this purgatorical space for a split second.

And all of a sudden there was Mars, as it had been. And he could feel the impact of the fist against his cheek, his body against the unforgiving metal floor - the sound of laughter was there, as it always seemed to be. Tybek rolled over onto his back and could see them circled around him. For eighteen years they persisted; coming into his Klingon body or Vulcan strength only emboldened them. The less that Tybek determined to fight back, the more willing they became to do whatever it took to set him off.

"Ty-bek, ty-bek, tied his hands behind his back," they chanted and chanted until the fervor died down.

Staying on the ground seemed to wring out all fervor from their cruel, teenage bones. Tybek waited for them to disperse before he started get up, slowly, listening to the chatter of everyone around him. Books to read, papers to write - not much different from the Academy, just on a different level. Somehow, the cold metal that made up the school floors were comforting; he'd been knocked down on them so many times it felt more protective than defeated. If only he could curl up on it until the kids got bored.

When he got to his feet the world cycled around again, sucking him out the transparisteel between school and space, and Tybek felt himself in the unfeeling void for a mix between eternity and instantaneousness until the void itself twirled about and dropped him down onto the floor of his home, again near the espresso machine, the World Series poster. He could tell he wasn't alone.

"Professor Tybek, can you hear me?" the Academy doctor, Alinas, shook him with a fury. Once she had his attention, she began testing him with a medical tri-corder.

"I can." he replied, grunting.

"What happened?"

"Uhm-" he remembered everything but didn't feel confident in articulating.

"You missed your 0900 class this morning, and during an experiment, Professor Renton detected a sub-space anomaly in your home, Professor, we came to check on you and found you like this."

"A...sub-space anomaly?"

"Almost too small to notice, but it opened wider suddenly, several times, in the last three hours."

"Three hours?" Tybek whipped his head around, trying to get a gauge on the sun, or see the time on a clock-face somewhere, "What time is it?"

"It's 1100 hours right now. What do you remember?"

"I woke up from a dream around 0430, I drank some coffee, read a little bit. But around 0800 I was getting ready to teach a class and-" Tybek paused, letting out a nervous cough, "-and I felt myself get sucked through time and space, experiencing events of my past. It was...disturbingly real to me."

Closing the medical tricorder, Dr. Alinas let out a soft harrumph and a sigh, "The sub-space anomaly seems to have scrambled the wiring in your brain some. It could have been much worse, but there's no guarantee that everything will return to normal, or even when. How long have you been living here?"

"Since I graduated and took a position teaching so, four years?"

"It's possible the anomaly was so minor it simply went unnoticed for that long - the size it's at now, if it opened like that, someone would have noticed-"

"I would have noticed!" Tybek shot back, infuriated. How could he let something like this happen? And it could have been so much worse, had it had time to spread.

Dr. Alinas put a hand on his chest and shook her head firmly, "You couldn't have known. Let's just hope we got to you in time. I'm not sure if there might be adverse effects, but we'll have to keep an eye on you for some time, make sure nothing permanent has been removed or re-arranged. She helped him to his feet, and Professor Tybek put a rough hand against the ridges along his forehead, grumbling as he felt a headache coursing through like lightning striking the high ground.

"Whatever it was, I never want to do that again..." he said, less to the Dr. than just in general, as they moved slow out the front door of his house to the Academy hospital.



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Comments (1)

By Captain Malcom Llwyedd on Fri Jan 8th, 2021 @ 8:07pm

Really well written. Great descriptions and good character development. Also, scary! :)