I woke up gasping for air and soaking wet. Four of the cadets in my class that I considered my closest friends were laughing like hyenas and either rolling on the floor or trying to brace themselves on furniture. They had poured ice water on me to wake me and while they think I won’t retaliate; they are very wrong.
“The Captain said we should see how well you would do with a rough wake up call.” A human male said as he laughed and spoke breathlessly. His name is Talon and I’d consider him my true love but I doubt he’d feel the same.
I dried my hair and finished packing for our final survival mission before graduation from the academy. They had us do these pretty simple missions every year and they weren’t really challenging but more team building. We were the last group to be shipped off and we got really nice planet randomly chosen for us by one of the admirals.
The four of us got our briefing and strapped in and headed for the planet. We laughed and talked about ships we wanted to work on and ones we didn’t and I was listening attentively. I received a message from Vulcan High Command about my Kolinahr but I hadn’t decided because I enjoy the emotions and feelings I have with my friends and colleagues so I ignore it like before. We have our dinner rations and Anastasia our only Andorian class mate goes to bed, and Rufus our telepathic Betazoid follows behind her giving us the helm of the roundabout so they can get some rest.
Talon and I get comfy in our seats as we plan to finish out the ride to the planet, but I feel a slight burning in my ears and look in the corner of my eyes to see him fidgeting.
“Is something wrong? I’ve never seen you so shaky.” I said as I fully turned to him and could tell he was freaking out a little more than I first thought. This wasn’t our first mission so I knew it wasn’t that.
“I, um I think I have feelings for you, Gladiator. I can’t stop thinking about you and I already talked to the assignment officer about putting us together because I don’t want to lose you.” Talon said as he tried to relax.
“I have really strong feelings for you, Talon and I have for a long time but-“ I couldn’t finish because as soon as I turned he kissed me deeply and I could feel every emotion especially pleasure. I tried my hardest to calm myself but apart of me didn’t want to stop until we came out of warp at the planet and the door to the living quarters opened. Rufus came through the door with a smile of someone knew exactly what they were walking into and Anastasia was behind him with all of our stuff in her hands.
“Are you two gonna land us or do we need to do it for you?” Anastasia said snarky like and sat at one of the consoles. I regained my composure and took us down in clearing of an unknown forest and opened the door. Anastasia was the first one out the door with her tricorder scanning everything possible. Rufus came out with his taking scans of plants more than anything as he wanted to discover something brand new.
Talon has all his engineering gear along with replicator so I wouldn’t have to eat field rations. I came out with two of our rifles and some simple tactical gear when Anastasia yelled for us so we ran quickly wondering what it was. The 3 of us ran up on her and she was standing in the mouth of a massive cave.
“The tricorder goes crazy if I point it here so I think we should take a look.” Anastasia says as she points it deep into the cave and it beeps.
“I don’t see why we shouldn’t take a look; maybe it will make good shelter.” I say as I come up to the front beside her and we start making our way through with flashlights. Our tricorders were reading all kinds things. The walls were different colors and textures; we knew we had stumbled onto something new but we weren’t sure what it was because the tricorders told us very little.
After walking for what felt like forever, we finally saw a light at the end of the cave. We finally got to the end of the cave where the light came from and once we walked through we were inside a massive forest with beautiful grass, tall trees, and a waterfall into a river. Rufus turned on his medical tricorder to try to find any life sign that couldn’t be picked up with a normal tricorder, but it didn’t go off until he pointed it at the wall and then it stopped as if it was just a glitch.
“No signs of life of any kind.” Said Rufus as he yawned and put his stuff down.
I looked at my watch seeing it was late and suddenly felt the exhaustion run over means I said to them. “We should probably rest, we can explore later.”
They all agreed and we formed a circle with our tents and set sentries around us just for precaution.
We had lights for our camp site so we could see where we walked. As I started to falls asleep; the sound of footsteps startled me awake as if I was falling. My tent unlatched and Talon came in quietly with his flashlight shining where he was going. I turned on my lamp to see what he was doing and as soon as I did he was sitting right beside me. My heart started to race and my ears got hot. I’ve been able to keep composure since I was baby; but after our moment in the shuttle a complete shock as went through my system and I can’t help but give in to the emotions I can feel.
He was in his night clothes and he seemed to have a question on the tip of his tongue.
“I was wondering if you would like to finish what we started in the shuttle? If you don’t want to-“ He tried to finish but I pounced on him before he could and I start to finally give into my feelings for him.
“I’d love to but only if we both get to be bottom.” I said as I rubbed his chest and I start to kiss him deeply. I started taking his clothes off slowly and sensually.
“Of course, it’s only fair.” He said between kisses and we fell into a deeply passionate love making spree that would have woken everyone up if not for the noise dampeners. We finally fell asleep after having satisfying each other until complete exhaustion.
Talon and I were awaken by a knock on our tent and inside it we could tell sun was shining in the cave we settled in. When we got out of the tent everything in the cave had changed like the trees and plants. Yesterday it was a basic forest environment but now it seems it’s copying the Mycelial Network. Everyone seemed stunned by its beauty; but I couldn’t help but to feel something was wrong.
“I want this whole place scanned and explored. I want to find out what’s going on.” I said as I got my rifle, tricorder, and comm badge.
Anastasia and I went into the Mycelial like path while Rufus and Talon headed the forest way that started to reappear. Anastasia seemed worried as we walked and just as I was about to say something two giant Tardigrades that seemed to be rabid and angry. We started to run for our lives as they charged for us. We tried to scan them the best we could but they just came up as Tardigrades. I quickly dove behind a boulder and shot a charged bolt at one of them and just as I did Anastasia fell and the other was about to get her but turned in time to stun the Tardigrade and get it to chase me. I ran away as fast as I could and charged it as fast as I could. I got some distance and turned around landing on my stomach and shot a charged bolt killing it dead.
I ran back to Anastasia as she was bandaging some scrapes and cuts.
“You alright?” I ask as I help pick some of the stuff she dropped.
“I’ll be fine, nothings broken.” She said getting up slowly.
I checked her rifle as we walked over to a pond of some glowing substance but before Anastasia could get a sample Rufus came over the comm badge.
“We need help quick.” Rufus said frantically.
“We’re on our way.” I said and we walk towards them as fast as we could even being slightly hurt
We finally got to Rufus but he only one we could see and it wasn’t until we got around a huge multi colored boulder did we see Talon who was trapped under almost completely.
Anastasia asked Rufus nervously. “W-what happened?”
“We were scanning this area and as we were about to move on this rock or whatever it is flew at us with crazy speed and I barely missed it.” He said shaken and scared.
“I-I wasn’t very lucky.” Talon said breathlessly as he tried to move unsuccessfully
“Can we get it off or something?” I asked
Anastasia started scanning it on every level.
“I’m not sure, it barely registers it’s there.” She said.
“You can’t touch it either or it’ll shock you enough to put you on the floor.” Rufus said as he showed his slightly burnt hands from trying to move it.
I made the suggestion to use our rifles to destroy it, so we aimed at and had them charged as high as possible and on my command we blasted it. Talon screamed the most blood curdling scream that would frighten anybody.
“S-STOP oh god please stop!!!” He yelled and pleaded with us.
We stopped and I could feel my emotions swell up and for the first time be on the verge of tears.
Anastasia scanned Talon and the boulder and saw that all the energy from the rifles made the boulder heavier and was making him bleed internally. I came up an idea to try and beam him out, so I sent them to get the roundabout while I laid down beside Talon to comfort him. I turned on my comm badge so they could track us easier.
“I-I guess I should’ve t-told you how I felt before yesterday. I w-was just never sure about how you would feel.” Talon said trying to keep conscious and tears were starting to run down his face. I could tell that the boulder was draining him but was also some how fusing him into it.
“I should have been the one to say it first but I figured you wouldn’t want to stay with a Vulcan or that you were even gay.” I said choking up a little.
“Maybe we say it was both our faults.” He giggled a bit and he looked up and watched as the shuttle floated above.
We started try beaming him out of it and then the boulder and even moving the boulder itself but it wouldn’t budge. We tried everything we knew we could and even tried new stuff until Talon called us down to him.
“I-it’s time to l-let me go. Leave this place and leave me behind, and tell Starfleet to never come here again. I love you all especially you Gladiator.” Talon said and he disappeared into the boulder.
We all got back into the roundabout and I plotted course back to Earth Spacedock while Rufus and Anastasia cried in the bunks while I tried to mediate. I’ve never really felt sadness this great and even though everything I’ve been taught should help, but it doesn’t and I just can’t get past it. Anastasia relieves me from the helm so I can get some rest but I decide to stay in my seat and sleep there until we get there and for the first time I feel the wet streak of a tears run down my face.
We finally got to Spacedock and we were interviewed by almost every Admiral and instructor in the sector. Once we were finally done we wrote our reports and were assigned counselors to help us through our friends’ death but it never really felt like it helped. Starfleet put a restriction on the planet we went to and they send survey teams to figure out exactly what is going on. The three of us drifted away pretty fast due to the trauma we suffered but we still congratulated each other when we graduated.
We had a week off before final exams so I finally decided to complete the Kolinahr to which I finished and purged myself of all emotion. I was no longer hurting or sad but I could still feel the love I had for what I consider my mate that I left behind. When I got back from P’jem I was able to concentrate a lot more and not be distracted by my emotions that had effected me after what happened. I also met some other classmates; one of which was Elisa Flores who was about the only person who didn’t want to talk about it all the time so I appreciated her presence. I passed all my exams with flying colors but didn’t get to do my ground training but I can do that after graduation. Other Cadets said Captain Taggart is wanting some cadets on his bridge but we won’t know until later on during graduation day.
That day my decision to purge my emotions was made. My friendship with Rufus and Anastasia was left behind that day, and the love of my life was left behind on the day. I will do my absolute best to make sure nobody in my command will be left behind again.