Chapter Notes: Beyond the Veil...by Ln X
Beyond the Veil
By Ln X
Aboard the Draco....
Craddock thought he heard a noise, something far different from the sound of the flames. This was something alien, like a prolonged ethereal hissing sound. Maybe he was imagining things this close to death or maybe this was real... He got up onto his feet as he realized there was one last piece of unfinished business with his ship, this one final mystery...
He left the bridge, and noted that the hissing sound grew louder. Perplexed he found a still working console down in the corridor and tapped in a few commands. In a matter of moments the computer had determined the source of the sound; it was coming from the ship's cargo hold.
His curiosity increased, and this time he ran through the corridors to get to the cargo hold. He knew there was little time left before either the ship disintegrated or the warp core containment breached. He ran through damaged corridors, debris were everywhere, and the closer he got to the cargo hold the louder the noise became.
Finally he came to the doors leading to the cargo hold and paused for a moment. Whatever was happening in there could kill him, perhaps horribly... He then shrugged his shoulders and went inside, he was going to die on this ship one way or another, and he'd rather die getting to the bottom of this mysterious noise than sit around on the commander's chair waiting for death.
Now the noise had become almost deafening, and he saw a weird orange glow come from somewhere just behind a stack of containers. The glow appeared to be gradually intensifying and as he moved forward, his eyes were both eager and terrified at what they would behold the moment he walked past the containers.
And there it was the source of the light and the noise; it was that ancient figurine, the figurine he thought was just a piece of historical junk. With a trembling hand, he moved it forwards curious to know what it would be like to touch the figurine. This was some strange impulse on his part, and he could not explain where it had come from.
As his hand came closer, he felt no warmth emanating from the figurine, which was most strange indeed. The moment the very tip of his middle finger contacted the figurine, everything went white. His consciousness left his body and he traveled onwards…
Now he was simply thought, formless and yet with form. He could see white when he had nothing to see with... Time and space had no meaning in this realm...
All of a sudden he was in his quarters, and back on a undamaged Draco. However miraculous and wondrous this seemed, it was nothing compared to seeing his wife Elizabeth smile at him from their bed. She looked as beautiful as ever, and she was wearing a rather floaty looking white dress.
Craddock had forgotten her beauty, her beautiful petite figure, the brown hair, those perfectly shaped hips and breasts... But it was the face that really caught his attention, and for a moment simply looking at her was the most wondrous thing in the entire universe.
“Elizabeth?” he breathed, and he simply stared at her wondering if this was real.
“Yes…” she said, rather vaguely, “she once existed.”
“You mean she is dead?” asked Craddock, and he was beginning to wonder who this woman really was.
“Death comes to us all and nothing can change that,” said Elizabeth, a subtle firmness in her voice.
All of Craddock’s hope died down; this wasn’t his wife, and he felt his grief return to him. “Then what is the meaning of this masquerade? What are you?”
The smile faded from Elizabeth’s face, and she removed herself from the bed, and came a few steps closer to Craddock. “I’m afraid my kind live in a realm that sentient beings like your self could never imagine or conceive of. We thought it would be easier on you if we appeared as someone familiar to you.”
“Well you had me fooled…” murmured Craddock, and for some reason he found it difficult looking at this stranger. “But what do you want of me?”
Elizabeth cast a rather penetrating stare at Craddock, and it seemed his very soul was being examined. “You picked up a figurine, one that you thought was worthless, but what you don’t know is the true importance of this figurine.”
“What does it do?” asked Craddock, and he felt a tiny bit of interest spark inside him as he wondered what was going on here.
“On the world of Mehjah'Loh, the people talk of something which they call ‘coil of spirits’. They see these spirits as evil beings and quite rightly so. These evil beings were once our brethren, but they abused their powers and used it to try and subvert the realm my race lives in. There was a long and brutal war, which even spilled over into your universe. Finally we managed to prevail against the spirits and trapped them in the caves of Mehjah'Loh, with fire and other barriers.”
“But we needed a mechanism to disable the barrier and converse with the spirits should they have dropped their hostilities. So we used the people's blood to bring the spirits out of their prison, the figurine to control the spirits, and finally the amulet to bound the spirits to a humanoid being.”
“This is all very interesting,” replied Craddock, his impatience flaring up, “but what has it got to do with me?”
Elizabeth now looked at Craddock with intensely serious eyes. “We need you to keep the figurine safe until the time comes when the coil of spirits must go through the figurine and into the amulet.”
“How am I going to do that?” demanded Craddock, he couldn’t believe the audacity of this women, who sounded like a queen giving commands to her subjects. “When this vision, or whatever it is, ends then I go back to the Draco which is about to explode into a million pieces!”
“We will move you over to somewhere which is reasonably safe.”
“I'm not doing it,” said Craddock flatly. “I'm not leaving the Draco!”
“Is this because of your wife?” asked Elizabeth rather shrewdly.
That was one topic that this woman was not going to pry into, and Craddock sought to evade the question at all costs. “A captain never leaves his ship, that is-”
Elizabeth walked over to Craddock, and the cold disappointment in her eyes made him lose his will to speak.
She came to Craddock a few inches away from his right side, and her eyes bore into the side of Craddock’s face. “There's no point lying to me because you are only lying to yourself... Why do you cling onto something which has already been lost?”
Craddock stood their resolutely, though he couldn’t stop his hands from trembling in anger. “I'm not answering any more of your questions! Send me back to the Draco, now!”
A rather pitiful look came upon Elizabeth’s face, and she extended her hand, palm outwards, until it was almost touching Craddock’s chest. “Take my hand...” she said softly.
“Why?” said Craddock, looking briefly at the hand.
“Take it and everything will be made clear to you.”
Turning around a little, Craddock came to face the women, he felt simultaneously curious and frightened. “What will happen if I do take your hand?” he asked rather slowly and cautiously.
Elizabeth simply smiled. “I know more about you than you know yourself, the answer to your grief and suffering resides inside you, yet you cannot see it...”
Slowly Craddock extended his right hand, it was inches from Elizabeth’s and he wondered if he should do this. Finally he summoned his courage and grasped her hand in full. The moment he did so, a flood of emotion overwhelmed him, his grief flared up, so much he let out a soft moan of pain. It felt so raw, and it was so painful he wished he could rip his heart out to stop feeling.
But through the surge of pain he discovered something else; guilt, mind-numbing amounts of guilt. The guilt was even worse, it made his eyes burn with tears, and his breathing became shallow and erratic. He felt like he was grieving more in these few seconds than he had in the last three years.
“All this time I've been suppressing my guilt...” he lamented. “Telling myself that it was bad luck; that she happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. The truth is I made an error of judgement, and got the Draco into a situation which could have been avoided! If I hadn't been so cocky and so arrogant, the attack would never have happened and Elizabeth... She would still... still be...”
He gulped as he fought to say the word, more painful than any others. “Alive!”
“Do you see now?” said Elizabeth, looking at him with some tenderness and understanding. “The answer to all of your grief was to accept your guilt and not hide away from it.”
Craddock continued to breathe out deeply and though his breaths were still erratic, he could see the light at the end of the tunnel. Some form of acceptance after all the years of grief and pain. “Thank you,” he said softly, and he gave a Elizabeth a weak smile. “I've never found closure after her death, never... until now.”
He composed himself and brought his feelings under control, as he felt his grief subside. For the first time in three years he felt free, no longer shackled by grief or suppressed guilt.
“Do you still want to return to the Draco?” asked Elizabeth.
“No,” said Craddock, shaking his head. “It's time I moved on from the past and looked towards the future... What must I do?”
“You must keep the figurine safe at all costs. While the coil of spirits cannot come into close proximity to it without being entrapped inside, they will try to destroy it through other means...”
Though Craddock felt safe, he couldn’t help but feel a little nervous as he thought about what he was getting himself involved in. “How do I protect this figurine against such powerful entities?”
“The coil of spirits have weakened after they broke free from Mehjah'Loh, they will need to return to our realm to fully replenish their power. Know this that each time they use their powers, their energy weakens, because of this they will devise a plan of attack to minimize the use of their powers.”
“So how we do stop them?”
“They will need to come through the figurine and be transferred to the holder of the amulet.”
“And the amulet is in whose possession?” asked Craddock cautiously.
“A Romulan called Vormarl,” answered Elizabeth, and there some anger in her voice. “He is playing with forces he does not understand. The amulet must be removed from his possession immediately; otherwise the coil of spirits will possess him and use him to destroy the amulet.”
“And what happens if the figurine is destroyed?”
At this Elizabeth looked at Craddock very somberly. “Then the final barrier preventing the coil of spirits from returning to our realm will have been destroyed, and a new war will begin. The coil of spirits must go through the figurine, and into the amulet. The person possessing the amulet must be an individual who cannot be tempted by the coil of spirits to use the amulet for any other purpose except for the trapping of the spirits.”
“But who wouldn't be tempted by the opportunity to wield such power?”
Elizabeth paused for a few seconds, and she seemed a little unsure of how to answer Craddock’s question. “Very few humanoids could resist the temptation,” she replied thoughtfully. “But I'm sure you will find one who can.”
Craddock took a little confidence in this, and giving the powers the being standing in front of him possessed, perhaps she was right… “Just one more thing what does the amulet look like?”
Elizabeth raised her hands before they rested on both sides of Craddock's head.
He felt memories, and literally knowledge and information flow into his brain.
“Can you now see it?” she asked.
“I do...” said Craddock, the image of the amulet was now crystal clear in his mind. “Thank you for everything, and for changing my life...”
Elizabeth though simply smiled, and the whiteness started to return.
For some moments Craddock eye’s greedily feasted on his wife, this would be the last time he ever saw her, but in some ways he was glad it was like this. It was the least painful way of letting go of his wife. His wife seemed to shine, and the white dress glowed with increased intensity as the whiteness steadily consumed her.
Finally the whiteness became so bright it dazzled Craddock, and instinctively he closed his eyes. Some moments later his feet made contact with the ground. There was the sound of people talking, but suddenly there was a hush and everything went deathly quiet, save the beeping of what seemed to be consoles running.
Opening his eyes Craddock realized he was on the bridge of a Starfleet vessel, and not just any Starfleet vessel. His eyes came to the man rising out of the command chair, it was Kirk and for a moment Craddock felt considerably shocked.
Everyone’s eyes were upon him, at this point he realized he was still clutching onto the figurine. Craddock wasn’t even sure where to begin, or how to explain himself.
“Captain Craddock,” said Kirk, finally breaking the silence. “Do you mind explaining to me just how exactly you arrived in the middle of my bridge?”