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Posted on Mon Jul 18th, 2016 @ 9:34pm by

Mission: Divided and Conquered
Location: NFO Headquarters :: Quarters
Timeline: December 31 2392/ January 1 2393


In her sleep, the blonde was reliving the session. The beeping of instruments and the haunting voice of the lead researcher echoed through her mind, her wrists being scratched by the rough material of the restraints. The smells, the bright lights shone into her face…

M’Gann snapped open her eyes and quickly sat up, her breathing heavy as she got her bearings. The room. She was in her quarters. Her heart was pounding in her chest, and willing herself to take deep breaths she leaned forward to rest her forehead on her knees, her body slightly shaking. It took her a moment to remind herself that it was a dream, and once she had caught her breath she sat back up, rolling her head in a circle to work out the kinks in her neck. It was then that she noticed a plate of food on the nightstand beside the bed, along with a note from Lauren. Picking up the tablet, she read:

Reading in the living room. Call if you need me. I left the food for you, so please eat something. Doctor’s orders ;) Love you, L

Setting the tablet back on the nightstand, the blonde carefully stood and, confident that she was strong enough to at least make it to the living room without falling over, grabbed the plate before exiting the bedroom, a slight limp evident in her gait. As the note said, Lauren was sitting on the couch, her feet propped up on the coffee table, her nose buried in a book. The brunette’s hair was pulled back into a ponytail, which partially draped over the back of the couch as she leaned against the arm of the furniture. “You aren’t a doctor,” M’Gann stated lightly, giving a small smile as she moved to the couch. “Unless you’re not telling me about your sudden promotion.”

Lauren looked up when she heard M’Gann’s voice, and stood when she saw M'Gann up and better. “Someday,” she countered playfully. She closed the distance, and her eyes fell on the plate of food, but she ignored it for a moment as she embraced M'Gann, being careful so as not to hurt her. "God, I missed you," she murmured into M'Gann's shoulder. She pulled back long enough to take the blonde's chin and gently press her lips to hers in a passionate kiss, savoring her love's sweet taste, before pulling back. "I'm glad you listened," she commented, looking down at the food before moving to the couch where she had been sitting. It still concerned her that the blonde was so pale; her normally rich blue skin was now almost a sky blue, and she didn’t need to know anything about her to know that that wasn’t normal. She had replicated a glass of water earlier, and offered it to her girlfriend as she sat.

When M’Gann took a seat, she positioned herself so that she was laying down with her head in Lauren’s lap, the plate resting on her stomach as her feet draped over the arm of the couch. She took a piece of fruit that was on the plate and looked at it for a moment before nibbling on it, taking small bites. When the water was offered to her, the blonde gently shook her head. “In a bit… my stomach still feels funky,” she replied.

Lauren frowned. “M’Gann, you have to stay hydrated.” She knew it would be difficult for her to do much else beyond nagging, so she set the glass down before adjusting so that she was in a more comfortable position. She began to gently stroke and play with the blonde’s hair, something she knew soothed her. “How was your rest?” she asked, tilting her head to look down at her.

The blonde tilted her head to give her girlfriend more access to her hair, and murmured, “terrible.” She paused to take another small bite before adding, “I had another nightmare. It was so detailed that I thought it was real, that it was happening again.”

It must've been a memory from the testing. Lauren opened her mouth to ask about the details, but she knew that the blonde wouldn't tell her, so thought for a moment before asking, “if I agree to tell you about what I'm reading to take your mind off the nightmare, will you tell me about it? Please, M'Gann, I want to help, but if I'm left out like this then I can only do so much.”

M'Gann gave a small sigh, toying with a grape by rolling it between her fingers. She had a point, and if they were going to make this work, then she needed to be open with Lauren. Giving a small nod, she thought before adding, “how much detail?”

Lauren gave an encouraging smile, getting the feeling that she wasn't going to like the dream. “Everything.”

“Well,” M'Gann sighed, looking at the grape between her fingers. “I was in the lab, where they are doing the testing. They did the normal routine, make me change into a pair of paper thin clothes and strapping me to the table. Then-”

“Wait,” Lauren interrupted, clearly displeased. “They restrain you??”

That was a detail she had kept from the brunette. Tensing, M'Gann replied, “I didn't want you to worry, but yes.” She glanced up, noticing Lauren's evident displeasure, and took her hand. “I know what you're thinking. Don't confront them, they could throw you in the brig, or worse.”

“What they're doing is wrong!” the brunette exclaimed, squeezing M'Gann's hand. It was her warmth and her presence that was keeping her from storming out, but it still took all she had to stay there. She couldn't lose her again. She also knew that if she left, she wouldn't be able to get M'Gann to open up afterwards. Taking a breath, Lauren added in a softer tone, “I apologize for interrupting, babe. Please, continue.”

“Are you sure?” the blonde replied, bringing the back of Lauren's hand to her cheek.

Lauren took another breath and nodded.

Turning her head to kiss Lauren's hand, M'Gann continued. “After I was strapped to the table, they took this machine, a cryostat, and placed it over my arms. Then they asked questions, and if I didn’t answer to their satisfaction they’d activate it and shave off a layer of my skin.” That session was still fresh in her mind, and she closed her eyes as the memory of the pain came back. She wrapped her arms around herself instinctively. “It hurt so much, Lauren,” she continued, her voice cracking. “But I didn’t know wh-what they wanted, s-so it continued, and-”

“Hey, hey, shhh,” Lauren consoled, leaning forward to pull M’Gann close into her in an embrace as she broke down. It was hard for the brunette to see her like this, but she did what she always did and supported her. “It’s over now, you’re safe with me.” She gently rubbed M’Gann’s shoulders for a moment before telling the computer, “computer, play music file 12-theta-b."

As the soft music began, Lauren started gently swaying, knowing that the song helped to calm the blonde. “You know I’m here for you,” she cooed, using her thumb to wipe a couple tears away. While she held the blonde, Lauren looked back at her book before adding, “have you read a book called Deception Point?” When the blonde shook her head, it made Lauren smile a little. Good, she’d be able to tell the story. “It’s about this meteorite that landed in the Arctic Circle on Earth that could contain new alien life. A group of scientists go to verify the data, but the antagonists don’t want the news to come out, so they give the good guys a hard time and try to make their return impossible. It’s also one of the biggest discoveries that the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, also called NASA, had made at the time. I think you’d enjoy it.”

M’Gann closed her eyes as she listened to Lauren describe her book, letting her words keep her distracted from the memory of Arvix’s lab and the equipment he used on her. “It sounds interesting…” she replied, looking up at Lauren. Pausing for a moment, she then asked, “can you read some of it to me?”

“Of course, I said I would,” Lauren replied with a smile. Grabbing the tablet, she returned to the page she was reading and cleared her throat before beginning:

“Outside the F-14, the daylight had started to fade. It was late winter in the Arctic–a time of
perpetual darkness. Rachel realized she was flying into a land of permanent night.

“As the minutes passed, the sun faded entirely, dropping below the horizon. They continued
north, and a brilliant three-quarter moon appeared, hanging white in the crystalline glacial air. Far
below, the ocean waves shimmered, the icebergs looking like diamonds sewn into a dark sequin

As she read, the song playing in the background slowly faded out, and M’Gann closed her eyes again, feeling safe and at peace for the first time in a long time.



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