<USS Banshee> "In the Meaning of Dreams" Chp. 4

  • From: "Brad Ruder" <GroundZero@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: ussbanshee@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Wed, 25 Dec 2002 16:24:43 -0800

?In the Meaning of Dreams?
by Lieutenant Joshua Asper

Chapter Four ?
?Midnight Revelation?

Quiet had finally come out from hiding. It had revealed itself after he had searched for it for hours on end. High and low he had look; internally and externally he had sought to find that peace that would allude into comfort. Tranquillity was his goal and, at last, he had found the Holy Grail.

Settling into his security of his bed he was finally at peace. The cloth was cool to his skin as he shifted easily into a comfortable position to fall into a peaceful slumber. The room was quiet and it hung in the air as a reassurance that it had been attained. Nothing moved, for perpetual stillness had descended from above to create a momentary lapse of time.

His head rolled over the pillow. His hands rested easily on his bare chest as his legs stretched out as far as they could go into the confines of his bed. The sound of his own breathing began to lead him; lead him into a place of calm and reflection. It led him into his dreams, and this time he wasn?t afraid of what lay ahead of him...

***** ***** ***** ***** *****

His eyes fluttered opened.

They searched the ceiling in all directions, straining for that extra inch before doubling back over territory that had already been explored. His head remained unmoving, for he had heard something ? but it had ceased before he had fully awakened.

A faint red glow kept flashing into his field of vision. He blinked a couple more times to completely flush out all signs of his tiredness. Josh leaned up on his elbows, as his eyes caressed the room like his eyes had done the ceiling just moments before.

Priority One Message from Kessik IV.

The screen on his console flashed vibrantly. A message was incoming for him and it was from his home planet ? which meant that it was his family. He rubbed his eyes as he shifted out of bed. His feet hit the floor and he stood, scratching his chest and blinking furiously again. He trudged over and sat down into the chair; he lurched a bit as his bare chest came into contact with the cold surface.

He wondered, briefly, who would be calling him at such an hour. Josh?s mind walked abroad at the possible reasons, but none centered on the dream or it?s meaning in any way. More over, he finally realized that he had been sleeping soundly for the first time in three days.

What struck him as odd, more than the urgent message from what he perceived to be his family, was that sleep had come so easily since he had spoken with Sara. She was terrifyingly soothing, and her touch was almost intoxicating to him. The presence of her soft-as-silk skin to his knee during their last encounter was enough to send him whirling into an abyss of romance and awe.
Snapping back to his thoughts and reality, Josh came to terms that it was just the sedative that Sara had administered and that everything else that he had come in contact with was just coincidence and dormant emotions that had begun to flare once again.

His fingertips danced gingerly over the console as he inputted his access codes and his identification clearance to accept the message. The connection subroutines kicked in as a flurry of numbers and symbols drenched the screen into total chaos. Josh rubbed his eyes again; interrupting sleep that came so easily and so deeply was hard to adapt to.

Direct Connection Initiated.

Activating the screen, Josh came into eye contact with his younger brother. Jerrad stared at him, a tear dropping silently from his left eye. They were red, bloodshot, and bags had formed under the visual organ. Lack of sleep was apparent, but something was the matter. Something had happened that was deeper than just plain inspection could detect, and something that was warranted by something other than sleep deprivation.

?Jerrad, what is it?? Josh was awake now, focused on this goal of finding out what had plagued his brother. The memories of the dream flooded back to him as he winced at the images that popped into his thoughts. Panic overran his senses as he instinctively assumed the worst about every situation ? which were all playing out in his mind.

?It?s?It?s?? Jerrad stammered with total lack of control over his emotions. Tears ran freely now, dripping down his face in a steady stream. ?She?she?she?s??

?Mom.? The one word shattered the silence in his quarters; the silence that he had earned from enduring sleeplessness and the morbid recreation of his mother?s demise. His head went into his hands as he struggled to keep his own composure, for his little brother needed it more than he did.

?She?s gone?? Words came sparsely and were often inaudible to Josh, but he knew that they were words of regret, mourning, and tidbits of information that Josh would have to have retold to him. ?I tried, Joshua, I tried so hard??

Josh realized, in that very instant where that sentence was going, and Josh had traveled that road many times with his father?s death. Blaming himself, he had caused himself to go practically insane with undeniable guilt that ate away at his soul. His little brother, so innocent and protected from the harshness of the rest of the universe, still had a chance to realize that it wasn?t his fault. ?Jerrad, listen to me, I want you to listen to me very carefully.?

?She?s gone Josh! I?ve been told by all of our Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, everyone that it is the way life goes! I don?t need another lecture from you!? The words echoed lifelessly, for they were words of sorrow and unrelenting anger towards anything that tried to stop him from getting to his mother. ?I want her back, Josh, more than anything in this word.?

A tear escaped his eye and a crying sob escaped Josh?s lips. ?Jerrad, I know it?s hard. You were too little to understand when dad died.?

?I knew damn well when dad died. I lost a bit of myself then Josh, we all did. This is personal. It?s been mom and I for years, and we depend on each other. She depended on me, and I let her down.?

There it was.

The _expression_ Josh was waiting patiently to hear. He didn?t want to hear it, but if finally came. The indirect blaming of himself had finally broken free of from his conscience and joined the world as free knowledge. Josh shook his violently as he raised his voice to be heard over the incessant sobbing and remorse that his brother was openly exhibiting. A sob, thought silent and brief, stopped Josh from speaking a word.

?She?s dead.?

?Jerrad, it wasn?t your fault.?

?It was! She was sick for so long, long enough to where it became routine to give her medication, water, food, everything! I became the man of the house and had to do everything. I didn?t do it good enough; if I had she?d still be here and we wouldn?t be sharing this conversation.? Jerrad?s eyes were twinkling from the water that glazed over them reflected the lamplight from the house.

?No, it wasn?t. Tell me, what did she have?? Josh tried frantically to sort his own thoughts; and, at the same time, draw Jerrad?s attention away from his admission of guilt to something more informative and helpful to him. ?Start at the beginning.?

?It was the Poxian Measles, Josh. It?s communicable through blood and other bodily fluids. It lays dormant until it?s triggered by something. The doctors here don?t know what causes the trigger, but knows that when it does that you only have a month or two to live.? Jerrad wiped away the last of his tears and flung them harmlessly aside. It appeared, for the most part, that he was regaining his composure lost at his outburst and expressions of guilt.

Josh?s head turned to the side, gazing out the window into space. His father, so long ago, had resisted for years and had succumbed to the disease only after Josh had been sent away to the detention facility in northern Dakota Territory. The tears that had left Jerrad were appearing again as Josh returned to the screen. ?Don?t worry, Jerrad, no one blames you but yourself. Once you get over that you?ll be fine.?

?I caused mom to die, you caused dad to die. It?s a hex upon our family, Josh.? His words cut like a knife. His soul, already wounded from the loss of his mother, bled openly at the harsh statement from his brother. Never in the time since his father had passed had he been accused of being the cause of his father?s death ? beside his own conviction.

?I?ve come to terms that it wasn?t me Jerrad. It wasn?t you either.? Tears began to roll slowly off his checks and litter the desk?s surface. ?You?ve got to believe me that it?ll get easier. I promise you.?

?You?ve got to come back, Josh, I need you here.?

?I can?t, I?m assigned to the Banshee and we?re in orbit of Cardassia.?

?You can?t, or you don?t want to?? Jerrad was getting angry, Josh could feel it in his words and he could see the rising of it in his eyes. His lips tightened, almost into a snarl, and his brow furrowed in an intense, passionate anger. ?You left and you never had any intention of coming back, did you??

Josh struggled feverishly to maintain his own composure and keep his own anger under raps. Josh knew, and admitted, that he had an anger problem. He thought that he had it under control; and, most of the time, he did keep close checks on it. Although, in this time of dire need and emotional distress, he was losing ground rapidly to the onset of animosity and there wasn't anything he could do about it.

?I can?t, it?s against Starfleet Procedures.? Josh spoke slowly, his words enforced with each syllable. ?I want to, but I have to wait until this mission is over. I will come back, there won?t be anything stopping me from taking leave when we are back safely into Federation territory.?

Jerrad nodded, his impression of pure innocence returning in the blink of an eye. ?I?m sorry, Josh, it?s been hard these couple of days. She?s been dead three days. I?ll see you when you get back.?



?It?s going to be OK, it always ends up like that.? Josh forced a smile to cross his lips. He chuckled a bit for the sole purpose to make his younger brother smile and laugh himself. It was his job as an older brother, even in the events of extreme distress and hardship, that he be there for all younger siblings.

The screen went blank.

His hands stroked through his hair and he picked himself up. He was shaken, emotionally and physically, but it didn?t come as a surprise to him. Josh didn?t know, and he hadn?t been told, but something inside of him had informed him before Jerrad first opened his mouth.

He sat on the bed and slid back under the covers. His eyes gazed at the ceiling a bit as he nestled back into a calm position. His eyelids danced as he felt sleep retake him, his eyes slowly lowered and blackness enshrouded him.

They opened abruptly.

He sat up on his elbows again as the images, sounds, and emotions of the nightmare flooded firmly into his consciousness. He tried hard to swallow, his throat felt as if it was being choked. The air escaped his lungs as he realized what the meaning of his dream was.

Josh turned quickly over the floor and threw up.

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