Chapter 1
The Beginning. The End.
Predator that is Fate
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:: Private Ward, Sickbay, USS Isannah

The hour of the predator... it came differently for different people. The hour before dawn, the time when they lay their head to the pillow to shut out life's cruelties, it had many times. But whatever time it occurred, it was the point in which all evil seemed to be released, and the worse always happened then. It came in many forms, and sometimes the predator was but a cub, come and gone with little notice, but fate ever came, striking as it pleased with no thought to the thin threads of love that tied people together... Jesa's hour of fate, of the predator that was to call upon her, was almost there growing nearer every precious moment.

Jesa lay right where she last remembered, laying gently on Buck's chest. The poor woman was still fast asleep, but not peacefully, as was evident of the twisted nature of her clothing and the tear-streaks down her face. But she lay there just the same, unwilling to leave his side in this time; as if the sheer will of her presence could hold onto him. For a moment, it seemed that it could. A hand lifted from the bedside and moved to the rather messy mop of red hair laying upon his chest. Gently he stroked her hair, instinctively trying to comfort her somehow. Jesa's eyes flickered open, blinking twice and then focusing on him.

Her face lit up in that instant and she jumped up and kissed him, being careful to be gentle in her exuberance. The slight tired smile on his lips was all the reward she needed for this action; all she wanted from him was to see that. She just sat next to him, almost ready to launch into saying a million things, but all seemed inappropriate at this time. Her heart leapt at the impossibility of a miraculous healing, grabbing onto it like it was reality. Finally, one phrase settled in her mind and seemed to fit. "I love you." She whispered softly, looking into his once brilliant green eyes, which seemed to have dulled to a dark lusterless green.

Buck's lips parted, about to speak the words he had told her so often, but that she could never hear too much. But then something went terribly wrong as his eyes rolled back in sudden pain, and alarms began blaring loudly. Jesa heard someone yelling, only to realize it was her. She cradled his head in her hand and yelled at him. "NO! Don't leave me! You hear me!? Stay with me! Don't leave!" she said, over again, as if somehow it was his choice. Amidst his pain, and the medical personnel flowing in, he fixed his eyes on her and struggled to say something. Time seemed to slow.

"I... will ever... love you... Jesa." She shouldn't have been able to hear it, for it was merely a whisper. But somehow, everything seemed removed, and his words echoed through clearly and loudly. With his task completed, his body went completely limp. Someone's hands grabbed her arms and moved her back into the corner. She didn't even notice, completely caught up in staring at his face. Trying, in some instinctual and completely illogical way, to infuse her will to live, and her life, into him---to force him to hang on.

But it didn't work.

Jesa could hear her own heartbeat, as the movements of those trying to save him grew more urgent. Finally, Doctor Dixon stepped back, and shook his head at the nurse. "Computer, record time of death as 03:23 hundred hours." Silence surrounded her save for a familiar sound of a heart monitor, to flatline. Her eyes broke from Buck's to Dixon's, willing him to do more; to do something! He said quietly, then looked at Jesa. "I'm sorry."

She hadn't realized it, but her more logical mind was working on a way to revive him, and she rushed forward. "Stasis. We could put him in stasis, it would give us time to set up a neoplasmatic unit and perhaps that would trigger his cell---" she began, but never got to finish as Daniel crossed the room and took her firmly by the shoulders. "Jesa, he's gone... there is nothing more we can do." His voice was extremely gentle, but it hit Jesa like a physical blow.

Her face was haunted, wild, primal, completely irrational. She ripped away from his grasp and dropped herself next to Buck, she shook him gently, determined that it wasn't so. He was just sleeping! But even Jesa had to trust her eyes this time. She began to shake violently and looked at him, her face hanging slack and emotionless in shock. Then the truth hit her, and she threw herself next to his bedside. "NO!!!! If there is any God or heaven, or right in this universe, NO!!!!!!!" she just kept repeating it, yelling "no", over and over again, her voice more of a primal scream than words. Finally, the tears choked her out, and she couldn't speak again. She just lay there against his chest, sobbing, holding his hand lifeless hand tightly in hers.

Somewhere in the back of her mind, a distant memory played...

Jesa walked in to the docking bay at Starbase 120, the picture of order and youth. Her eyes held a fire of newness, of eagerness. She stood near the observation window and crossed her arms, her red command style uniform shown cleanly, and a single gold pip adorned her collar.

She stole a slight sideward glance at another officer, whom she quickly identified mentally from the crew manifest she had been looking over earlier. A doctor, Becknar Gear, if she wasn't mistaken. But his eyes were very distinctive, so she was confident she had made no mistake. Within a few seconds, he had spotted Jesa, and ran his fingers through his hair, trying to put it back into some sort of order. By his very manner, Jesa cast a guess that his next words would be some sort of come on... she wasn't to be disappointed.

"Hi! And what's a pretty girl like you doing in a viral paradise like this?" he said cheerfully, with his lopsided grin she would come to know as his signature expression.

'Well I was right on that count.' She thought to herself silently. Jesa turned to him, politely paying attention, but raised her eyebrow a fraction of an inch.

"I'm here to greet Captain Gabriel." She said coolly

Gear, again, smoothed his hair back. Jesa managed to keep an inner laugh hidden. 'I hope he doesn't actually thing such a gesture is actually attractive' then she thought more analytically 'Either he always acts this way around female arrivals, or he doesn't know that I am assigned to the Isannah.'

"Oh. well, I'm here to solve a little deadly virus problem they've been having over there. The name's Becknar, but YOU can call me Buck..."

His emphasis on "you" caused Jesa's eyebrow to rise a little more.

"I am Jesa Callen, nice to meet you." She replied politely, not exactly unfriendly, but with a fair amount of ice.

"After I'm done saving the life of the Isannah's entire crew, would you care to join me for a meal? There's a nice restaurant I know on deck 22." He said with a rather overconfident manner.

'Cough, cough. Gag. I think I sense an ego in need of deflation here.' Jesa thought silently, then narrowed her eyes slightly as she caught the distinct impression he was trying to scan her. 'Perhaps that's just my paranoia kicking in again' she thought, trying to calm her fears. Meanwhile, she had to formulate a... correct response to the Doctor's kind offer.

"Ah... I'd love to, believe me..." Jesa began in a calm voice, that held a hint of amusement. It was time to test her theory, and see if her assumption was correct.

"But I really need to meet Captain Gabriel, he most assuredly has much work for me to do. I have just been assigned to the Isannah as deck officer, and you, if I am not mistaken, are the CMO. But thank you for the offer anyway." She stated, seemingly oblivious to the shock registering on his face.

'Bullseye!' she thought, keeping the triumphant look off her face. Judging by the look on his face now, he didn't realize who she was when he sauntered up. A rather hasty retreat, and the sudden deflation of his ego was soon at hand.

"Oh, well... I... I'll... Seeyoulaterthen."

But by the time he got to "see" he was already backing away, and by the time he ended the hasty sentence, his back was disappearing through the door. He almost ran. Jesa only smirked to herself, her arms still crossed.

'Men. They do not change much, do they?' she thought, and shook her head in affirmation of that statement, and plain amusement about this silly Betazoid man.

But that memory faded to dust around her. It felt as though something savage was tearing her heart to ribbons. Nothing else existed.

In that memory... Jesa wept.


Death cares not for things such as love
Impartial, arbitrary it strikes from above
Still a question is asked in a heart so torn
Why couldn't have it been another one?

Loaded: 03.10.2004

¤ Reload Frames ¤

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