Officer Quarters, Alien Ship
Position Alpha, Andromeda Galaxy
Lying, tucked up in a tight ball in the middle of the bed, Igen Nala listened to her shaky breathing. It was still in the room that had been officially designated as her quarters, which were larger than those she’d had on the Mandela
and didn’t need to share, so she didn’t feel as though the walls were closing in on her or that it was getting harder to breath. The isolation or darkness didn’t bother her either, orphaned during the Occupation she’d grown accustomed to both. There was just something about the ship that put her on edge, that kept her looking over her shoulder, feeling like she was being watched, all of which made the tears roll down her cheeks as she lay motionless.
Part of her wanted to scream, to release all the frustration and tension building up in her scrawny body, but fourteen years spent under the boot of the Cardassians had left her knowing that being quiet meant being safe...most of the time. Her body shuddered at the flash of memory, the night that she was left truly alone and powerless. She screwed her eyes tightly shut and tried to think about anything other than the savage leer on the soldiers face above her.
“No,” she murmured, her little voice swallowed up by the silence.
There was a muted bump from somewhere in her room. Immediately she envisioned the Cardassian stumbling towards her, blocking off her only means of escape—
“Lights!” she demanded, sitting bolt upright in bed.
In a split-second the room was filled with light, showing it to be empty and still. Trembling, she hugged her knees against her chest, letting the tears flow freely for a time.
Igen wasn’t someone who handled change easily. Every time she found herself somewhere new she would spend weeks unable to sleep, the nightmares of her childhood coming back to her in the dark. It had been that way at the Academy and then again on the Mandela
, where she was fortunate to have a roommate on a different shift. Now, she would face the same night terrors again, whilst during the day she would also feel uneasy.
She knew that Starfleet offered help for those that needed it, with counsellors and therapists specially trained, but she wasn’t someone who opened up to anyone. From her first day at the Academy she had kept to herself, even during group projects or training she would do her part but once it was finished she would make excuse when anyone asked her to join them, after a while they stopped asking. She was better off on her own; she could work away by herself and do what was asked of her, letting herself find comfort amid scanners and analysers, sample containers and test-tubes.
Wiping the sweat from her forehead she knew she wouldn’t be getting any rest that night. She quickly pulled on her uniform from that day, turning away from the reflection of her own nakedness in the mirror that was on the dresser, pulling her copper hair back into a ponytail by feel alone, then went through to the small living space (silently relieved to find it empty). She sat down and pulled on her boots. The ship had several laboratories, more than enough for her to find an empty one and work on the sensors, away from interruptions and memories.
This was a whole new galaxy to be studied, but even here she couldn’t hide from the horrors of her past.