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Feed Your Head (Part II)

Posted on Tuesday, 30 March 2021 - 7:47pm by Captain Barret Stillwater & Lieutenant T'Lanna Vali

Mission: Operation: Trail of Tears


T’Lanna offered her CO and friend a relaxed smile. “I won’t pretend I understand the significance of a two headed wolf right now, but I am grateful for the fact that I don’t have voices screaming at me here. All I hear and feel is you.”

"And a dead two headed wolf," replied Stillwater. "You aren't the only one who doesn't understand the significance of this. On the plus side, my guide is not a wolf two headed or one."

“So, your guide is what?” She looked at Barret curiously. “I wouldn’t know if I even had a spirit guide, I’ve never tried anything like this before.” She turned back to the wolf still trying to figure out what its significance might be.

"A very large bird," he replied looking up at the circling birds of prey. "Not any of those though. If my guide was around, it would be evident. Must not be in a talking mood right now, but there could be symbolism in all of this."

T’Lanna nodded. “Perhaps, there’s the whole ‘being in two minds’ about something, perhaps this symbolises that.” She looked up at the circling birds. “The birds maybe symbolise the whole good vs evil, the evil waiting to dive in on their innocent victims. We’ve seen enough of that lately.”

"We have," Stillwater nodded. "I think there are a plethora of ways we could look at this whether it be greek and roman from Earth mythology or something entirely else. Though those birds of there are birds of prey" noted Stillwater.

"Both the Klingons and Romulans have used vessels with such a title. The birds circling above us could symbolize one of the species...or maybe not" he added with a shrug. "Either way, I say we keep moving and let them enjoy their uh meal."

T’Lanna nodded. “Indeed” Walking alongside Stillwater she looked at him curiously. “So how do you know if you have a spirit guide? I’ve never tried finding out if I have one.”

Stillwater noticed something different in the sky above, further out it looked darker in the clouds as though a storm front was moving in. He looked at T'Lanna. "My people would argue that everyone has a guide, but few are as connected to the land and the stars, that they fail to recognize their guide or lack the ability to make contact."

He smiled. "I don't know if everyone has a guide. For the longest time, I didn't think that I did, but while I lie nearly dead and severely dehydrated in the Vulcan forge, it came to me and gave me the counselling I needed to choose to live and fight my way through the forge." He mused over her question once more. "It's hard to say when you know, but when you simply do."

T’Lanna nodded. “It sounds fascinating. I could have done with a guide when I had my shared nightmare with Raith, I don’t understand it and I’m not sure I want to understand it. All I know is that is brought us together.”

"Perhaps after we are away from all of this and your mind has healed and the voices are gone, I could help you try to connect with your guide," offered Stillwater. A thunderous crackle nearly shook the ground.

T’Lanna nodded before looking at Stillwater. “Was that thunder?” She was finding this whole experience very strange yet curious.

"Yes," Stillwater nodded. "And a good indication that my guide is aware we are here." Stillwater observed the wind was picking up. "If this is anything like actual Prairie, we are going to want to seek shelter. There should be a cabin over this way" he motioned.

T’Lanna nodded. “To be honest even though I’m inside your head I still feel tired.” She stifled a yawn. “You can’t escape how your body feels when you’re in a mind meld.” She offered a smile. “Finding somewhere to rest and relax would be good.”

He reached out and offered his hand. "Take my hand. I'll lead us to the cabin." Stillwater looked at the darkening skies "You know where to find us. She's a friend, I trust her."

T’Lanna took Barret’s hand and walked along with him. “I wish I could be of more use to you” She sighed. “I feel like I’m more of a ... liability than a help.”

"You aren't a liability. You are keeping me grounded, and I wouldn't be able to get here without you," noted Stillwater. No sooner had they begin to reach the cabin did another large rolling rumble occur.

A large dark bird with a massive wingspan screeched, soaring above over Stillwater and Vali. The bird's shadow eclipsed them and its eyes flashed. Another crackle of thunder and the sky illuminated in a flash of light.

T’Lanna gazed up in amazement. “Is that ... you’re spirit guide?!” The bird was huge.

"One of the forms it takes, this one is a consistent one." Stillwater and Vali had reached the cabin. "Don't let the massive wingspan and shrieking startle you. My guide is a bit intimidating, but mostly just protective."

T’Lanna nodded. “Do I need to somehow convince your guide that I’m not a threat?” If I do, how?”

Barret Stillwater helped T'Lanna into the cabin. It was cozy, but not pristine. "You'll be alright, just be yourself and don't try to attack it. I've heard stories of people trying to attack their guides...doesn't bode well."

With the door to the cabin closed, a tiny knocking or rather pecking sound began. "Sounds like it decided to take a less aggressive form."

T’Lanna nodded as she took a seat and looked curiously towards the door, “I can’t wait to see” she offered a warm smile.

Captain Barret Stillwater stepped towards the door, turning the handle and pulling the door open. A small dark bird with black iridescent feathers, almost a deep violet in certain angles hobbled in and seemingly bowed its head at Stillwater.

Then, it proceeded over towards Lieutenant Vali. A caw from the bird would have been expected, but when its beak parted, words came instead. It looked at T'Lanna. "They are not dead who live in the hearts they leave behind."

T’Lanna looked at the bird curiously, “That’s true, thank you.” She guessed the reference was to Jayce’s Father Jason and to her mother, she nodded respectfully.

The bird took short flight up onto T'Lanna's lap and gave a small bow, turning about to face Stillwater. "You seek answers?"

Captain Stillwater nodded. "We do," he replied. "My crew and I received a message...amongst the stars. A few of my best left to find the source, but we do not know where they are."

"The echoes of the condemned," cawed the crow. "Your warriors will return. When they are ready, but their journey to the other side is not yet complete. Patience, Stillwater."

Barrett did not like the sound of 'other side,' and he shot a glance at Lieutenant Vali.

“The other side?” T’Lanna looked at the bird curiously.

The guide in the form of the crow tilted its head upward. "Your mind sees farther than others, your heart deeper than others." There was something in the crow's tone that indicates an intrigue. "You heal the minds of others yet their pain wares your own."

T’Lanna nodded in understanding of the words. “Is there something else I’m supposed to do?”

Stillwater eased his way in, seeking clarity. "My crew. The other side, are they..?"

The Crow cawed and its feathers flickered a bit. "Your warriors are unharmed, it is not their time."

T’Lanna looked at the bird. “I’m supposed to help find them, the voices ... they aren’t just echoes are they? There’s more to it than that.”

The guide in its crow form looked at her and shook its head. "Do you chase the wind when there is a breeze?" The crow hopped up to a nearby writing desk. "They are not dead who live in the hearts they leave behind. Your mind hears, your heart listens.”

T’Lanna wasn’t sure she totally understood the meaning of what was being said, but then she was tired from all the voices she’d been hearing, plus the mind meld was draining her energy reserves as well.

The Crow flew towards a windowsill, perching on it for a moment. "All will be as it should. Listen to the calm in the storm," added the crow. The wind picked up in a strong gust, blowing it open. The crow flew out and changed shape, reverting to its large form and soared away.

Stillwater looked at T'Lanna. "Wise and precise," Stillwater said sarcastically. "Unfortunately, I think that's about as much as we are going to get from here."

“But you didn’t get much in the way of answers, if anything you have more questions.” She stood up , paused and suddenly stumbled holding out a hand to grasp hold of Barret.

"Yeah, guides have a tendency to do that...annoying isn't it," he replied reaching out and stabilizing her balance. "Let's not keep you in my head any longer than you need to be. I've heard horror stories about mindmelds."

“It’s ... fine” T’Lanna offered a smile. “I’m just tired. When I leave here I have to go back to ... the voices.” She sighed. “It’s going to be deafening compared to being here with you. Thank you for the rest.”

"I'm hoping that my mind will linger with for a while and provide you with a brief relief." Stillwater too her hand and lead her to the door. "It is time, T'Lanna."

When the two severed, and Stillwater was brought back to the here and now, Lieutenant Vali looked very faint. She practically collapsed in his arms and instinctively he checked her pulse. Old fashion Prairie ways indicated she was alive, just exhausted. He carried her to a sofa and spent the next few hours monitoring her condition.

He knew Talarn would not approve of the vision quest. Stillwater thought about how he was going to make it up to his husband.



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