McCloud continued to examine the transparent shielding that held him prisoner. The young woman, Capria, sat on the single bed.
“It’s no use.” she said. “There is no way you can escape from here.”
“Have you ever tried?” asked McCloud.
“I have had no desire to.”
McCloud walked over to the bed and sat next to Capria.
“So where are we?” asked McCloud. “Who are our hosts?”
“All I know is that we are far below the planet’s surface, and that out hosts as you call them have great telepathic abilities.”
“You mean like the Trasphons?”
“No, much more powerful than them Trasphons can only read thoughts, these can do much more.”
A certain, sheepish look appeared on Capria’s face. McCloud could tell that she was not tell all that she knew.”
“There is more, isn’t there?”
“I only know as much as you.”
McCloud grabbed Capria.
“You’re lying! Tell me all that you know!”
Then two of the telepathic beings appeared at the window. They both stared at McCloud.
“Why do you keep staring at me like that?” McCloud shouted.
The second telepath looked at the first.
“You were correct. Definite violent tendencies. And you say the scans reveal his it not totally like the female?”
“Affirmative. His cell structure is slightly different than that of the human female.”
McCloud was now standing at the window. He looked angry.
“Why am I here? What do you want from me?”
The first telepath nodded at McCloud.
“We wish to only observe you. We wish you no harm.”
“You are harming me by keeping me in this cage!”
McCloud barged the window with his shoulder. The two telepaths flinched as if McCloud was about to smash through the window.
“The savageness is beginning to escalate. We must begin.”
Slowly the scene for McCloud began to change. McCloud was not in the cave but on the bridge of his old ship, the Lohengrin. McCloud recognised the planet they were orbiting. It was the Time of Legends. Next to him sat the first officer, Commander Willoughby. At the tactical station stood Lieutenant Muir. McCloud was somewhat confused.
“This can’t be.” he said. “The Lohengrin was destroyed by the Valkyrie!”
McCloud checked the star date on the computer. He wondered what was going on, whether or not he might be dreaming.
“Klingon Bird of Prey entering space.” reported the helmswoman.
McCloud was surprised, the woman was Capria. McCloud hesitated.
“Valhalla has been attacked!” said Willoughby.
“Arm phasers and photo torpedoes.” said McCloud. “Fire at will!”
The phaser blast ripped into the Klingon vessel.
“They have no shields.” said Muir. “Auxiliary power is failing. Life support is badly damaged.”
“Fire again.” McCloud ordered.
Another blast ripped into the Klingon vessel.
“Sensors showing eighty-seven percent damage.” said Capria. “Power is almost completely gone.”
McCloud marched over to the helm and swung Capria’s chair around.
“What are you doing here?” he shouted.
Capria looked surprised.
“I was assigned to the Lohengrin two months ago, right out of the academy.”
“This is an illusion, isn’t it?” said McCloud. “This is part of a game. You’re one of them!”
“Captain!” shouted Willoughby. “Photo torpedo coming from the Toschk!”
“This is not how it happened!” shouted McCloud.
The torpedo ripped into the Lohengrin. It was a direct hit on the bridge. As the explosions ripped through the ship the scene began to shimmer. McCloud was not back in the cave with Capria. The telepath stood at the window.
“Interesting. The subject attacked the vessel without provocation. A savage response.”
McCloud jumped to his feet and stormed over to the window.
“The Toschk was under the command of the madman Theophilus. He had just killed over three thousand innocent people. We had every right to fire!”
Then searing pain rippled through McCloud’s skull. He slumped to the ground. Capria rushed over to him. Then, the telepath gazed towards the exit.
“More subjects have arrived. They seek entrance to the compound.”
The telepath left the corridor.
The telepath had been alerted to the presence of another away team from the Valkyrie. This one consisted of Pendragon, Amarus, Tompkins, Sutek and Trospheo. Amarus, Tompkins and Sutek began setting up a device that looked like an old cannon. Pendragon and Trospheo walked over to the ledge.
“There is a presence here.” said Trospheo. “But I’m only picking up a faint sign.”
“Can you tell anything?” asked Pendragon.
“Only that they possess great power.”
Amarus then called to Pendragon.
Pendragon and Trospheo walked over to the cannon. Pendragon activated his communicator.
“Pendragon to engineering. Is everything ready Commander Lom?”
“Everything izz complete. We await your order.”
“Power up the cannon, Mr. Sutek.”
Sutek switched on the cannon, and a connection was made with the Valkyrie which allowed the ship to give more power to the cannon. The phaser beam was aimed at the entrance to the cave. Rocks and rubble began to fly. The beam fired for two minutes. When Pendragon ordered for the phaser to be turned off he was amazed to find that the phaser cannon had seemingly caused no damage at all. Sutek rushed up to the ledge and scanned the entrance with his tri-corder.
“I cannot explain it. There should be at least minimal damage. It is most odd.”
“Impossible, Commander.” reported Amarus. “The Valkyrie can no longer provide enough power.”
“Then we’ll have to get the power from somewhere.”
McCloud paced around his cave. Capria sat on the bed. McCloud continuously pounded his fist into his hand.
“Why don’t you just relax?” asked Capria. “We can’t go anywhere or do anything.”
“You’re still not telling me anything.” said McCloud. “Why are we here?”
“If I tell you they will only hurt me in the same way they hurt you earlier.”
The scene began to shimmer again. The cave was replaced this time by the scene of Loch Ness in Scotland in the year 1999. McCloud’s Starfleet uniform was gone, replaced by clothes more suitable to that era. In his hand was a sword, a sword given to him by his old friend Ramirez. In front of him was a small fire that he had seemingly built earlier. He looked up into the sky and he could see a huge black aircraft approaching the Loch. It was just as it had been in 1999. The aircraft carried Captain Shield and Saruman the White. As if by instinct McCloud ran down the hills until he came to the shore of the loch. By the time he reached the water’s edge the black aircraft was hovering above the water. The side hatchway of the aircraft opened. In the hatchway stood Saruman the White. It was just as it had happened some four hundred years ago. Again, by instinct, McCloud ran back up the hill. He now stood on a hill higher than the aircraft. He looked below and he could see Saruman using his powers to search for the Loch Ness Monster. Then, the evil wizard found something. McCloud then began to run, gradually getting faster and faster. Then he launched himself into the air with a mighty leap toward the black aircraft. Within seconds McCloud landed on the aircraft. The aircraft shuddered with the impact. He then swing down into the aircraft and kicked Saruman in the chest. The blow knocked the wizard to the floor. Saruman shouted at Captain Shield and the Russian put the aircraft on automatic pilot. He hurled his shield at McCloud and the shield knocked McCloud off his feet. As Shield moved toward him he noticed that there was someone else on board the aircraft, someone who has bound and gagged. His eyes widened when he saw who it was. The prisoner was Capria. In the battle in 1999 McCloud then knocked Shield off his feet, but this time Shield picked McCloud up and delivered several blows to his stomach, chest and head. McCloud was barely conscious. Then, as Shield prepared to deliver the final blow the scene began to shimmer. It changed once again back to the cave. Again the female telepath stood at the window. Capria was also in the cave.
“Most interesting.” mused the telepath. “When reliving memories he is distracted by the presence of the human female.”
The telepath then gazed toward the ceiling.
“Perhaps we can add variety to this experiment.”
Outside the away team were making adjustments to the phaser cannon. Trospheo and Pendragon were examining the entrance with a tri-corder.
“I don’t understand it.” said Pendragon. “This door is made of adamantium, thought of as the most indestructible metal ever until the 22nd century. A phaser blast of the power we used should have sliced through it easily.”
Then Trospheo placed her hand on her temple and let out a slight groan.
“What is it?”
“A presence, like the others, but much stronger.”
Then Trospheo began to shimmer, and seconds late she was gone. Seconds later she appeared in the cave with McCloud and Capria.
“Most intriguing.” mused the telepath. “Same form, but different pigmentation and mild telepathic abilities.
Capria sprang to her feet.
“It’s not fair!” she screamed. “You said I could have him! You said he was mine!”
McCloud noticed that Trospheo was wearing a phaser holster. He walked over to her and took out her phaser. He aimed it at the window and tried to fire, but no phaser beam came out. He adjusted the setting and tried to fire it again, but again the same result. Each time McCloud fired at the window the telepath flinched.
“The subject continues to use violence in an attempt to escape. Most interesting.”
The telepath then went to the exit and left. McCloud walked over to Capria and grabbed her by the arm.
“It’s time for the truth young woman. Why are we here? What do they want with us?”
“We are part of an experiment. They want us to mate, to produce offspring, so they can observe us.”
“What about the illusions? Why do they make me re-enact things from my past?”
“They wish to observe you in crisis situations. They wanted to see if you would protect me, or rescue me.”
“You say they want to observe us?”
“They have done this with other creatures for thousands of years. Haven’t you heard the others in their cells down the corridor?”
“You mean this is a zoo?”
“Of sorts. A zoo of races from all over the universe.”
“And they keep everyone happy by providing illusions for their guests, making the re-live happy memories from their past. I noticed that when I attacked the window they flinched, as if they didn’t know I was about to attack the window. Does that mean that there are points when they can’t read thoughts, when they can be blocked out?”
Capria paused once again.
“That’s it, isn’t it? They can read all thoughts, but angry, aggressive thoughts are beyond their reach. They can’t read angry thoughts. It seems as if I may have found a way to combat them.”
Then the scene began to change once again. This time it was the car park underneath Madison Square Garden in New York in the year 1986. McCloud recognised the scene as one in which he battled one of his own kind, a battle he originally won. His foe was dressed in a suit and tie and held a large broadsword in his hand. His foe looked confused.
“I’m not going to take part in this lab test anymore.” he cried.
The scene began to shimmer. Seconds later he was back in the cave. The female telepath was again standing in the window. A concerned look appeared on her face. McCloud stared at her.
“Lost you control didn’t you? I was right. You can’t read aggressive thoughts!”