Karissa awoke with a start and a bit of a headache. Her room was dark and she was alone. Well, not entirely alone, she thought, as she felt her babies start to move in her abdomen. She slowly sat up.
"Computer, what time is it?" she asked sleepily.
<It is 02:02 hours> came the reply.
She sighed, rubbed the bridge of her nose and ran a hand through her dark hair. She had only been asleep for about two hours. She rolled her head from side to side as she tried to make sense of the imagery from her dream. There were so many elements they seemed to be at least three different dreams running at the same time. One was of the Ronin and the people on it. Another seemed to be random images of places, people and things. But the third was the strongest and it was the one that troubled her the most . . . She had smelled smoke, felt and saw fire . . . And dead . . . she saw many dead officers all around her on a starship. . . It was seeing the Kelvan on the view screen that had awoken her. But it wasn't fear she had felt. It was anger . . . It was pure hatred . . . A need to get even, or better yet, exact vengeance . . . She'd never had a dream like that before, and it bothered her. The emotions in it were so intense . . .
But then, as she sat on her bed in the darkness of her room, she realized the images were still happening. They just weren't as strong as they had been in her sleep. It was then that she realized these were not images from her mind . . . They belonged to someone else and she was pretty sure who. Though it should have been impossible, she thought. Without dressing, she threw on a robe over her pajamas, left her bedroom and headed out the door of her quarters.
Benton's memories had begun to stir again, which had disturbed what sleep he might have had a chance of getting. Nightmares were a common occurrence for him. He'd just gotten out of bed to grab some reading materials to distract his mind when the chime to his door sounded. With a puzzled look on his face, he went to the door and authorized it to open. As it slid open he came face to face with Lt. Commander Karissa Bentara. She smiled softly.
"Karissa!" he replied and then immediately recovering from the shock, said, "Commander."
"I'm sorry for coming here so late. It's just that I . . ." she stopped and looked at him. "Maybe I come in and talk to you for a moment?" Instantly, she was sensing that he knew her, or rather the alternate her.
"It's quite late," he said, a darkness in his eyes.
"Please, I just want to talk for a moment . . ." she said.
There was something about her that made him relent and allow her in. Maybe it was his memory of the alternate Karissa. That Karissa had been able to fight! Only, she had been killed too . . . He had watched her die, just as he had watched most of the people on the Virgo die . . . The memories began boiling up to the surface and the anger swiftly followed.
Karissa found a place on the couch and could actually feel the intensity of his emotions and see the memories unfolding in his mind. She could feel the mild headache she still had, grow a little more intense. As she looked at him, she smiled.
"I really am sorry to be bothering you this late, since we both need our sleep," she began," Only my sleep was disturbed . . . and I believe it was disturbed by you . . . By . . . " She paused for a moment, knowing she was sailing over troubled water. "By your memories . . ." She saw and emotionally felt him flinch.
"That's impossible," he replied.
His anger was so close to the surface. She could feel it.
"I know it's suppose to be impossible," she said. "I've done a lot of reading about Kelvans as of late . . . Your minds are suppose to be too complex for humanoid telepaths to link with . . . But . . . It's happened. It's the only thing that makes sense . . ." She knew he was skeptical, and frankly, she didn't understand it either. "Somehow, I'm able to pick things up from you."
He looked at her for a moment and then turned away, shaking his head slightly. "I don't believe it."
"Okay . . ." she replied, "I had a nightmare tonight. Actually, I sensed three separate dreams, only one took the forefront . . . It was on another starship. There was the smell of smoke and there was fire . . . Dead everywhere . . . And on the view screen was a Kelvan . . ." she explained. "And I felt anger and vengeance in me . . . "
Realizing what she had just explained, he turned back to her with surprise in his eyes. She looked down toward the deck.
"Now, I know those were memories, and they weren't mine . . . And that level of vengeance has never been within me . . ." She stated. "The only explanation was that they were coming from you . . ." She then lifted her dark eyes to meet his stare.
"How can this be?" he asked, as memories of the Karissa he knew came to mind. She had never been able to read his mind. But had she ever tried, he wondered? Or maybe, she had been able to and had never said anything at all, he thought.
"So were you and the Karissa you knew good friends?" she ventured softly.
Again, surprise overtook him. She could not have guessed who he had been thinking about if she had not been able to read his thoughts.
"She was a friend, yes," he replied.
"And . . . and she's not alive anymore . . ."
"No, she is not," he replied shortly.
She took a breath in and let it out, as she shook her head. "Benton, I am so sorry . . . I know sorry isn't going to change anything. But I am sorry. I'm sorry you were forced here against your will. I'm sorry for the destruction in your own dimension . . . I'm sorry that those you cared about have been killed by the Kelvans . . ." she added quietly. "I don't really know why I came tonight . . . Maybe to tell you that there is someone here who understands what you're feeling. That I understand it through you . . . There is so much pain in you . . ." She paused for a moment. "I should go . . . Again, I'm sorry . . . "
She could feel him start to lose control of his anger. This was a very sore spot for him. She tried to get up from the couch, but her center of gravity had shifted with the growth of the babies and she ended up falling back to the couch. The one thing she missed was her grace . . . It would be awhile before she had it back . . . If she got it back . . . Gently, she caressed her abdomen and thought of her children. Tears misted her eyes. Immediately, she sensed a change in Benton as he took a seat on the couch beside her. His anger, for the moment had subsided.
"Are you all right? Should I call for a medic?" he asked.
"No, I'm fine," she replied. "But for the first time in my life, I'm truly worried about the future . . . About my children . . . I shouldn't be burdening you with this . . . I'm suppose to be here to help you!" she sadly laughed.
"Perhaps in this dimension things will be different," he said.
"I hope so . . . For both of us . . ." Karissa replied. "Anyway, I should let you get some sleep. I hope your dreams will be much more pleasant than they were before . . ."
He nodded as he helped her to her feet. "I hope they will be too," he said.
She smiled softly. "Goodnight, Benton."
With that, she left his quarters.