Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil:
for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
King James Bible, Psalm 23:4

Moira O’Shaughnessy was certainly not the first person anyone would mention in a discussion of individuals who not only had some knowledge of biblical quotations, but who spent any time at all thinking about them. However, in extreme circumstances – and this certainly seemed an extreme circumstance – even Lieutenant Commander O’Shaughnessy was known to bring forth a quote or two learned during her childhood in rural Ireland.

I will fear no evil... I will fear no evil... I will fear no evil...

Like bloody ‘ell I’ll nae be fearin’ evil, she thought from her dark, claustrophobic prison. Sure an’ ‘tis an odd thing te be thinkin’ o’ the 23rd Psalm at a time like this. Moira mentally sighed in the darkness. Though mayhap nae... poetry an’ music are akin te one another... an’ with one or the other, mayhap I kin find a way out o’ here.

Though it was only the vaguest suspicion at first, she became more and more certain that her prison was in fact her own mind. One of the first lessons she’d learned from her grandmother about the Shadow World was that thoughts formed realities there... that a mental image of a place could take you there. The Shadow World was as much in one’s mind as it was in what Emerald called the psiscape. So perhaps... poetry and song could be a key to freedom.

Moira had an odd ability to translate sound... a bit of music or the cadence of a person’s voice... into a picture in her mind. Generally, it was an image of something that was represented in the music, or an enhancement of the verbal description of whatever those around here were discussing. It was a gift that made her an exceptionally gifted holoprogrammer. That gifted holoprogrammer and engineer now began testing her theory that concentrating on familiar music might enable her to create an appropriate mental composition that would allow her to escape.

The complete lack of sensation troubled her. Such total sensory deprivation – having only her own thoughts and emotions as company – was disturbing, as she had been aware of the underlying emotions of those around her for as long as she could remember. But now, she couldn’t sense any of her fellow crewmen. She couldn’t sense Duffy. She couldn’t even sense her Imzadi... and her link to Emerald was stronger than any other she had now that her twin had died. If it wasn’t for the fragile connection she still felt to her Deity, she would have thought this condition had been induced by one of the psi-dampening drugs often used in cases of psychic trauma. But even with the use of the drugs, she should at least be able to use her other senses to perceive the world around her.

Being completely cut off from the world like this was one of Moira’s worst nightmares... and right now, she was discovering just how real this nightmare was.

Nevertheless, she worried at the problem in a systematic, though not necessarily logical, manner. She knew that one moment she had been working with Patel Jefferson, coordinating the installation of holoemitters and the EMH program for the refugees on their ship, the Hellbound... the next minute she was here, wherever here was. She understood very little beyond that. What could have happened? Was there an accident? Was she actually lying in Sickbay? Moira spent what might have been hours or even days trying to stretch beyond the limits of her prison. She knew there had to be a good reason that she was trapped in her own mind, and she knew that Emerald and Dr. Stern would do everything in their power to free her. Still, the questions of how she got here and why occupied most of her thoughts.

The Lord is my Shepherd, I have all I need.
She makes me lie down in green meadows,
Beside the still waters She will lead.
Psalm 23, Bobby McFerrin

When she finally did experience a change in her surroundings, she realized the reality of what had happened was even worse than her fears. She was indeed lying in Sickbay... but instead of an accident, she and Emerald, Malik’s two children and D’Konis and Larrick, two of the refugees, had all been temporarily possessed by agents of Legion. They had been recruited, because they were all psis, for the mission of assassinating Lucara to keep her from going back in time through the wormhole to eradicate Legion from Matina. Had it not been for Kahallan and Hitachi, they surely would have succeeded. In a struggle in Lucara’s ready room, she... or rather the entity that had possessed her mind and body... seriously injured Kahallan. Dr. Stern assured her that he would recover, but Moira’s guilt was immense when she realized how badly she had hurt the man she loved. If it hadn’t been for Hitachi’s quick action – shooting her – she might have done even more damage, perhaps even killed Duffy. The reason she wound up in Sickbay was that Commander Hitachi apparently liked to leave his phaser set to heavy stun... not only did she suffer from phaser burns, but she’d fractured two vertebrae when she was slammed into Lucara’s desk.

That wasn’t the worst of it, however. Emerald was convinced that there were no residual traces of Legion in any of them... and Dr. Stern believed as well that they were free of whatever had invaded their minds and captured their bodies. But Moira knew that was not true.

She could once again feel Duffy and Emerald as psychic entities in her mind, but she was unable to communicate with them. In fact, although she could now see out through the windows of her eyes, she was unable to communicate with anyone on a psychic level no matter how hard she tried... with the exception of Emerald and Duffy, she could barely sense any of her fellow crewmen. Though her body moved, though she spoke and ate and slept and worked, it wasn’t her doing any of those things. Whatever had possessed her was still lurking in the deep recesses of her mind. Were the others still similarly affected?

Worst of all, no one even suspected. Lucara even insisted that she had no cause not to trust them.

Ah, Goddess help us!

The part of her that remained untouched by the demon’s foulness wept. Her soul was deeply wounded by her participation in the attempted assassination of her Captain and her treachery against the one man she had come to love so dearly. Her inability to even warn her Captain of her own captivity frustrated her and made her feel utterly helpless. She could do no more than find some comfort in knowing that her Goddess still seemed to watch carefully over those Her priestess held dear... there were no further attempts to kill Lucara.

As hard as she tried, Moira couldn’t communicate with her captor. Nevertheless, he seemed to know her deepest secrets and most subtle emotions. She had no doubt that it was Legion himself – the same entity whose consciousness she’d brushed against when he had taken over Emerald’s mind and manipulated her in order to communicate with Captain Lucara. Although she was unable to determine just what Legion’s plans were, it appeared that communication was not one of them... either with her or with the outside world. He was just... waiting.

It was as if he was laughing – always laughing – at her struggles to free herself. Moira continued her attempts to reach Emerald, to touch her Goddess, even to communicate with Duffy on a more mundane level. The demon seemed to be toying with her, letting her reach out and come close to her goal. Then each time she got a glimpse of freedom, he slammed her once again against the walls of her prison. It wasn’t a physical pain... instead Legion bombarded her with emotions. Of course... as an empath, that was where she was most vulnerable. He filled her with feelings of worthlessness, self-loathing, futility... a sense of near-suicidal depression, an overwhelming longing for death that would never come. Each time, it took longer for her to recover her equilibrium. But she refused to give up.

So much time passed... far more subjective time than the few days she managed to count. Living in constant torment stretched minutes into hours and days into years. She lost track of the times she tried to tell Duffy about her captivity, to beg him to help her, only to be pulled back from her window of escape just before the words fell from her lips. She was only able to gaze into his eyes, silently trying to communicate with her soul mate. Moira knew Duffy didn’t have the strength or knowledge to free her – he didn’t even have the ability to hear her silent pleas. But she kept hoping that one day he would realize that there was something very wrong with her, as he apparently had when she had first been possessed. But Legion kept a tight rein on her, controlling her actions so that even to Duffy she appeared perfectly normal.

It was the day she looked into his eyes and saw the demon looking back at her – mocking and maniacal – that her hope all but perished. If it hadn’t been for the faint whisper of her Lady’s voice – fainter than Moira had ever heard it – she would have given up. The Lady had charged her with protecting Kahallan, and Kahallan had appointed himself her protector... and both had failed in their duties.

She restores my soul, She rights my wrongs.
She leads me in the path of good things,
And fills my heart with song.
Psalm 23, Bobby McFerrin

{Fear not, my favorite daughter.} The voice was nothing more than a gentle breeze dancing over the summer grass when once it had had the strength of roaring ocean waves. {I will not abandon thee to this demon, my child... neither you nor thy beloved.}

Lady! Oh Goddess, Mother! Please help me!

But Legion still stood between the priestess and her Goddess... for her only response was that same taunting laughter. What kind of creature was so powerful that he could interfere with the connection one has with the Creator of Life?

Moira found some comfort in knowing her Goddess was still with her. However, it did nothing to alleviate her fears for her friends’ lives. Legion was planning something, she was certain of that. But she could no more determine the demon’s intent than she could escape from the prison he’d crafted for her. She found wry amusement in remembering Father Lucas’ insistence on the destruction of these creatures. The Counselor had been right about the inherent evil present in these aliens... Legion actually took pleasure in watching her – and others – suffer.

She noticed, too, that Duffy was acting erratically. Legion obviously wasn’t letting either of his prisoners communicate with each another, but Moira prayed that Duffy had found some way to push past Legion’s walls or convince their captor that inappropriate behavior was, in fact, appropriate. He was Lucara’s Chief of Security... he was almost fanatically devoted to the safety of the ship and crew... Moira wanted desperately to believe he’d found some way to send a message to Lucara. And she hoped from within her tiny prison that Lucara would begin to notice, would deduce that something was very, very wrong with her Chief of Security... and by extension, her Assistant Chief Engineer. But if Lucara noticed his odd behavior, it seemed she had too many other difficulties to be able to connect Kahallan’s actions with Legion.

Even though I walk through a dark and dreary land,
There is nothing that can shake me,
She has said She won’t forsake me, I’m in Her hand.
Psalm 23, Bobby McFerrin

When Doctor Denovian came onboard with her tale of subterfuge from Admiral Paige, Moira felt the first stirrings of Legion’s terrible rage. He was hampered in his hunger to manipulate the situation – he couldn’t do anything without giving away his presence – and so he silently seethed as he spied on Lucara through Moira and Duffy. The fact that Lucara was so reluctant to accept the mission to destroy him on Matina pleased him immensely.

Despite Lucara’s desires to keep her senior staff apprised of the situation, Moira was unaware of just enough information to keep Legion at a high level of frustration, which in turn would have set the engineer’s teeth on edge if she had control of her body. And so when she discovered – after the fact, and only because Lucara casually mentioned that Moira was acting as Chief Engineer once again – that Chief Mulvihill had been sent on a spy mission to Matina, Legion was furious enough to rage her about her quarters. Unfortunately, only Kahallan was around to witness her uncharacteristic behavior.

Moira, helpless in captivity, was grateful she had been kept uninformed... she had learned enough about Legion to know he would have taken advantage of her position as Mulvihill’s assistant to murder him.

There was very little to occupy Legion during their slow, leisurely trip to Matina, so he contrived to have Moira and Duffy spend all of their off-duty hours together... occasionally being seen together in various places around the ship, but more often than not in her quarters. It was those times she especially dreaded... more so because only a short time ago she would have been overjoyed to spend time alone with Duffy. But this was not Duffy.

Whereas Duffy was unfailingly polite and soft-spoken, even in private, this caricature was coarse and uncouth. It gave Legion a great deal of satisfaction to release his hold on her limbs so that he could watch with depraved happiness as she struggled to free herself from Kahallan’s grasp... resisting his sexual overtures as best she could. But Kahallan was a strong man, and Moira was constrained from fighting as fiercely as she could have by Legion’s inhibiting presence. When she could fight no longer, she would drop limply to the floor and try to bury herself as deeply as possible in her mind... for she knew what obscene performances Legion forced them to enact, and she wanted to be as far away from it as possible. Each time, as she hid in the darkest caverns of her mind, she fervently prayed that Duffy was not aware of what Legion was doing. Perhaps, because he had no psychic abilities, he would be spared this knowledge.

She missed Duffy desperately; her love for him was akin to her devotion to her Goddess. But this Legion-inspired creature was not the man she loved. Moira began to loathe his very presence, cringing in her prison whenever he came near. The corruption of their love seemed to bring Legion rapturous pleasure as he controlled the two of them, directing their actions like a puppeteer. She had become very afraid of Kahallan.

She sets a table before me in the presence of my foes,
She anoints my head with oil
And my cup overflows.
Psalm 23, Bobby McFerrin

When Chief Mulvihill returned to the Eclipse with the news that the parts of Legion inhabiting the leaders on Matina were dead, the demon within her seethed and filled Moira’s psyche with a poisonous hatred for both the Chief Engineer and Captain. But despite his continual bombardment, Moira held tight to the deep respect she felt for both of them. It seemed there was finally a stalemate between them... she wasn’t strong enough to break free from his influence or even let anyone know of her dilemma, but she was strong enough to use her own emotions to protect Mulvihill and Lucara.

Moira had been trying unsuccessfully to reach Emerald since her awakening in this prison. She could distantly sense her Imzadi, but that too was an avenue to emancipation that was just outside her reach. As she watched the work shifts change and pass, Moira began to wonder why it was that Emerald hadn’t become suspicious about her silence. Could it be that Emerald was still infected with Legion?

And what about the others? Moira had to believe that T’Selar and Rilla were too young to be of use to Legion, and that D’Konis and Larrick, being civilians, were similarly unimportant. She hoped her desperate prayers to the Goddess for their freedom were being heard. But what about Emerald?

She struggled against the idea, enduring the demon’s silent laughter at her worry. She held tight to her belief, however, that Emerald’s foundation of logical Vulcan teachings was keeping her free. If it was just she and Duffy who were infected, perhaps there was hope... probably not for them, but at least for the rest of the crew.

Surely, surely goodness and kindness
Will follow me all the days of my life,
And I will live in Her house forever, forever and ever.
Psalm 23, Bobby McFerrin

As the Eclipse neared Earth, Moira could sense her captor’s anticipation. He wanted to start the same reign of terror here – in the heart of the Federation – that he had been unable to complete on Matina. She renewed her efforts to communicate with anyone on the ship... only to be continually beaten back. Her soul was battered and bruised, having received far more grievous injuries than her body ever had at the hands of her father. Still, her Celtic pride and sheer stubbornness kept her from giving up. Somehow, soon, she or Duffy would manage to convey the message to Lucara that they were all in grave danger. She hoped too that among the finest physicians and researchers in the Federation, there would be someone who could identify their dilemma and free them from their prisons.

Through it all was the soft whisper of a far-off voice... {Do not despair, my child. I am with thee. The time is coming when we will do battle with the demon.}

Much to her dismay, the suspicions of the medical personnel on Earth and at Utopia Planitia were not at all piqued by either herself or Kahallan. Legion was guiding them extraordinarily well. All during her interrogations – and interrogations they were – she used all her remaining strength of will to try to reach them... to no avail. Each question asked was answered with a polite and consistent answer. Legion was, by now, well accustomed to imitating her mannerisms and mode of speech. Some of the interrogators were indifferent, some were friendly... but none of them seemed the slightest bit suspicious of her.

Alone in her prison, Moira wept.

Fortunately, the senior staff members of the Eclipse were being kept isolated. She was neither able to get close enough to anyone else for Legion to similarly infect them... nor was she required to endure Kahallan’s abhorrent presence. These two facts, at least, brought her a small amount of relief.

During the inquest itself, she listened closely to the testimony of young Shendaria Denovian. To Moira, the young woman’s tale seemed outrageous, preposterous... and even under the best of circumstances, the engineer would have had a hard time believing it. However, what was becoming evident as Denovian continued her story was that Legion himself believed the doctor’s sincerity of her tale. Finally, the demon actually appeared to be apprehensive... and his attention to detail began to wane.

Glory be to the Mother and Daughter and to the Holy of Holies.
As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be,
World without end. Amen.
Psalm 23, Bobby McFerrin

More than once during the proceedings, she found herself behaving in a manner she never would have under ordinary circumstances... interrupting her superiors during an official investigation. Was her chance for escape finally imminent?

Hope welled in her soul as Denovian accused Kahallan of being possessed. Aye! Oh, by the Goddess, Shendaria! Aye! An’ I, too, lass... I, too. I donnae know how ye kin see it... but keep pushin’!

Legion was obviously so distressed by Denovian’s claims that his control over Duffy virtually disappeared. Whether he was inappropriately directing Kahallan’s actions and words or whether Duffy himself was trying to warn his Captain and the members of the Inquiry Board, it quickly became apparent that Kahallan was at the very least acting highly erratic. And there were several on the board who glanced often at Duffy, clearly wondering if he was, indeed, infected. She tried desperately to make eye contact with any of them, only to feel Legion forcing her gaze to the hands she held tightly clenched in her lap.

And Moira listened helplessly as Lucara continued to defend her crewmen. Oh no, Luca! Please do nae let this demon fool ye any longer!

She could only watch in fascinated horror as events played out in slow motion. Legion diverted his attention from her and actually reached out from Kahallan -- how in bloody hell did he do that? – to attack Hitachi... she watched as Lucara struck Kahallan... he blocked her blow and staggered unsteadily... Lucara is a Vulcan, very strong... one last attempt by Legion to escape what he sees as defeat in his host Kahallan as Kahallan tries to protest his innocence in a near-alien voice... and then the phaser blasts that seemed to go on for an eternity.

And finally he is still.

So very still.

Moira felt an instant of overwhelming grief, the power of which was enough to break through Legion’s inattention for just a moment. She gasped and half stood before she felt the demon’s iron control lock itself over her mind once again. She screamed in anger and frustration as Legion continued to attack Hitachi. No one heard her, of course.

Slowly... everything moving so slowly... Lucara trying to push Legion away from Hitachi... desperately searching the room for the source, the host... her eyes sliding past Moira, not seeing her... stopping on Denovian, stopping on Commodore Parr.

Lucara! Here! Ordinarily, her cry would have been almost deafening to anyone in the room with psi talent... but not today. Legion still held her prisoner. And he laughed at Lucara’s pathetic attempts to save Hitachi.

But when Chief Mulvihill began choking Hitachi, Legion raged again, his hold on the First Officer diminishing as Hitachi lost consciousness. That was when Moira herself was nearly lost... Legion poured the full force of his presence through her mind. It was worse than drowning, worse than being lashed about by a cyclone, worse than anything the young engineer had ever experienced in her life. She was lost and so very small.

But this was the same young woman who, as a small child, had stood up to the giant of her father to protect her twin brother. This was the same young woman who had fought against Legion’s mother to protect her friend.

This was a young woman who had more stubbornness than sense.

And so she stood up to the demon. Ye foul beast! Ye need me te spread yer evil, donnae ye? Well, I’ll die before I let ye win.

She listened impassively as Legion spoke to Mulvihill with her voice, watched as the force field surrounded her. Inwardly she smiled, despite the sickening disorientation the null-psi field caused. She’d worked with the Chief long enough to be accustomed to his lack of psi presence, so it wasn’t that much of a shock. And his words to Legion gave her hope and strength.

Aye, Chief, donnae let him get away with this! I’m beggin’ ye... I’m askin’ ye as an Irishman... te end it now! If ye kill me now, ye kin end this.

He couldn’t hear her, of course. But it was as if he knew her mind anyway. Her respect and admiration for the man grew as he stood up to Admiral Paige and held his ground against Legion.

While he continued to converse with Mulvihill, Moira noticed that Legion’s attention was now focused on young Denovian... and an explosion of depraved glee erupted around her. As Admiral Paige ordered the guards to shoot her, Moira realized that Denovian, too, was infected with the demon... though it appeared to be a different component, as Legion had not recognized Denovian for who she was until now.

The first phaser blast struck, and Moira sighed. Perhaps now, the nightmare would stop. A second hit and a third shocked through her nervous system before the blackness – blessed blackness – overtook her senses. She welcomed it with open arms.

Goddess bless ye, Barry Mulvihill, was her last conscious thought.

For he said unto him, Come out of the man, thou unclean spirit. And he asked him, What is thy name?
And he answered, saying, My name is Legion, for we are many. And he besought him much that he would not send them away out of the country.
Now there was there nigh unto the mountains a great herd of swine feeding. And all the devils besought him, saying, Send us into the swine, that we may enter into them.
And forth with Jesus gave them leave. And the unclean spirits went out, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the sea, and were choked in the sea.
King James Bible, Mark 5:8-13

She should not have been so eager to escape into the dark void of the unconscious mind. This was where one’s deepest fears resided and Legion was a master of manipulating those fears. If she thought her conscious time with Legion was harrowing, it was nothing compared to the nightmares in which he saturated her unconscious mind.

Time was rolled back and she found herself once again on the Eclipse... weeks ago, before any decisions had been made regarding their options surrounding Matina. Moira remembered that staff meeting. Lucara had been so reluctant to follow Admiral Paige’s orders and go back to destroy a planet and all its inhabitants, and her reluctance had pleased Legion. He had even allowed Moira, for a moment, to voice her own opinion about the value of following orders... playing the devil’s advocate and enjoying it.

Everything seemed so surreal. Moira knew this was a dream, but there were moments when the realism was far too believable. Events proceeded exactly as they had in the actual meeting... until Lieutenant Blakslee, Emerald’s assistant... no, Emerald had already resigned... it was Lieutenant Commander Jabbar’s assistant... came in with an urgent message for Captain Lucara. No one seemed to find that at all unusual, even when Lucara hurried out of the room. Everyone acted as if there was nothing amiss. Not even Duffy raised an eyebrow.

When Hitachi hurried out of the room, presumably to follow Lucara, after seeing the message Blakslee brought the Captain, those remaining simply continued their conversation. Moira watched with alarm as Lieutenant Commander Jabbar’s features seemed to melt and take on a new form. After a moment, Jabbar was gone and another science officer... Vona?... took his place. No one noticed, and addressed Vona as if he had been there all the time. It was as if Jabbar had never existed.

Moira felt a deep sense of foreboding.

Impossible things began happening. Doctor Denovian carried in her pocket the vial of alcohol-based liquid that could be used to grown another disk reader. It was suddenly transported from her pocket to a point outside the ship on the docks. When Kahallan tried transporting it back onto the ship, they discovered that all command functions had been locked under Lucara’s command code.

And it was Lucara who was on the dock with the vial.

And the private message she had received was a Tal Shiar coded message.

While Kahallan, Denovian, Johlann and several security officers attempted to recover the vial from Lucara using two of the shuttles, Moira and Chief Mulvihill worked on unlocking the computer.

Moira began wondering where the Executive Officer was in all of this. Surely there was something he could do.

"Computer, what'll be th' location o’ Commander Hitachi?"

Rather than an immediate response, the computer seemed to hesitate for several seconds. Did the computer really hesitate, or was it just Moira’s imagination? "The Executive Officer is in his quarters."

When several calls to Hitachi went unanswered, a hard knot of fear erupted in Moira’s stomach. The Chief was busy with the computer, growling angrily at the panel in front of him. She swallowed hard... it wasn’t her place to be making decisions like this. But she had little choice. She tapped her comm badge with trepidation.

"Medical an’ security teams te th' XO’s quarters... this is an emergency."

The news that came back was devastating... Hitachi was unconscious, gravely ill, poisoned by Lucara, or so it seemed. Thanks to Doctor Sadler’s quick thinking the area was quarantined, however the medical and security teams were both exposed to the airborne virus... as were three civilians who happened to be in the vicinity at the time: Johlann T’Selar, Johlann Rilla and their babysitter.

Time seemed to crawl as problem after problem cropped up.

Meanwhile, out on the Shadrach docks, Kahallan was closing in on Lucara... and infuriating Shadrach Station authorities in the process. Running a shuttle down the docks without permission... transporting persons, including two civilians, from the docks to the shuttle in violation of Shadrach rules... transporting persons, this time Lucara, Denovian, the injured civilians and security officers, from the shuttle back to the Eclipse in violation of Shadrach rules... Shadrach wanted Kahallan’s hide and they were determined to get it.

Though Denovian was able to isolate an antidote and administer it to the infected persons, she held little hope that Hitachi would ever recover.

Legion wanted Moira to know how alone she was. One by one, he was going to take every member of the crew away from her. First Lucara, then Jabbar, now Hitachi. Who would be next? If she had had the time, Moira would have screamed in frustration and wept.

Shadrach finally allowed Kahallan to return to the ship, extracting a hefty sum in "reparations" and threatening further retaliation if Eclipse made the slightest infraction of station regulations.

Doctor Denovian, as the highest-ranking medical officer on board was appointed acting Chief Medical Officer due to Doctor Sadler’s incapacitation. She declared Commander Hitachi unfit for duty. The ship’s senior staff removed Lucara from the captaincy.

Lucara... the woman in whom Moira placed her trust, the woman with whom Moira had trusted her life... sat in the brig, apparently a Romulan spy.

The Eclipse was without a Captain and without an Executive Officer. Commander Mulvihill, the senior-most officer on the ship refused to act as Captain. And so Moira’s fellow officers appointed her acting Captain.

The engineer could only wonder what tortures Legion had in store for her next.

She didn’t have long to wait.

Commander Naji Imad had been working undercover on Shadrach for several years, watching the Cardassians and Romulans. When the disk reader substance came into his possession, the Cardassians became suspicious of his activities and had just figured out he was actually a Starfleet operative. He came to the Eclipse requesting transport off Shadrach, and when he learned of the situation on the ship, offered his services as Moira’s Executive Officer.

Moira had no reason to trust Imad, however she sensed no duplicity from him... in fact the strongest emotions she picked up were dedication to duty and a sincere desire to be of assistance. Still, she wondered if her own senses were still accurate under Legion’s influence and inside this nightmare. Despite her relief of having an experienced Starfleet officer at her side, an overwhelming feeling of dread suffused her mind. Legion had something planned, but she was at a loss to determine what it was.

She didn’t wait long to find out, and even her most vivid imaginings paled beside Legion’s cruelty.

Fights were breaking out all over the ship. None of them were serious; however, the Security department was kept busy trying to keep them from becoming so. One of the shuttle pilots had to be subdued and taken to the brig after he attacked the repair crew working on his shuttle... he was ranting about conspiracies.

The Klingon exchange officer’s quarters had been ransacked and nearly destroyed... and some personal items had been stolen, only to have them turn up later in Chief Mulvihill’s desk drawer. Who onboard a Galaxy class starship would do something like that, and what possible reasons could they have for implicating the Chief in a theft?

In this dreamscape, Duffy seemed more his normal self, and so Moira dared to spend a quiet evening with him... he cooked dinner and they chatted about insignificant things. Moira was actually starting to relax. And that was a mistake.

Lieutenant Jainos, the Trill counselor who had stepped in when Lieutenant Lucas had been injured in one of the pirate attacks, discovered there were personnel files missing from the ship’s database. In fact, quite a number of files appeared to have been altered.

Such a magnitude of data corruption was virtually impossible with all the redundant backup systems a starship carried. And yet, it seemed to have happened anyway.

Moira struggled to escape the nightmare, to wake up. Perhaps being conscious and trapped with Legion’s cruelty was better than being trapped with him in her unconscious. She tried to scream. It was no use. All she could do was follow whatever script Legion had written for her.

Moira tried to explain how the tampering might have occurred to Kahallan and Jainos, and speculate on who might have both the knowledge and computer access to perform the tampering.

The computer, a helpful and dispassionate entity, informed them that the only person who had both the technical skills and security rating to modify personnel records was Captain Moira O’Shaughnessy.

Moira’s thoughts had only just reached the point where she was concluding she would be the next occupant of a maximum-security cell in the brig when Commander Kern called Kahallan to Sickbay... less than twenty four hours after stepping aboard the Eclipse, Naji Imad was found murdered in his quarters.

Circumstances did not improve after that, of course.

After Kahallan left, Moira called upon all the patience she had ever learned while teaching at the Academy to explain the workings of the computer to the Counselor and was relieved several minutes later when Kahallan interrupted her with a request to enter the CMO’s locked office. Moira’s mind raced to the most obvious conclusion... that Denovian was the latest victim of disaster.

"Aye, Commander... I'll nae want te see Doctor Denovian come te harm." She paused, biting her lower lip as she stared at the readout on the screen in front of her. Denovian could already be dead... or incapacitated... or perhaps Legion had something even more sinister planned. "I’m on me way down there."

Although she ran down the corridor to the turbolift... deciding against using the engineering conduits between floors despite the fact that her quarters were only a single deck below Sickbay... Moira felt as though she was moving underwater... or, more accurately, moving through a dream. She gritted her teeth in frustration while waiting for the turbolift, barely aware that Lieutenant Jainos was at her heels.

When she finally arrived in Sickbay, her relief at seeing Denovian alive and relatively well brought her up short for a second, as her heart thumped wildly in her chest. Her glance then took in the odd tableau before her... Denovian sitting in the darkness of her office, Kahallan standing in the doorway and Kern apparently ready to push past the Security Chief. Fear gripped her momentarily, thinking that Kern was there to harm the doctor, until she picked up the Klingon’s emotions. Protection... possessive protection. Unless, of course, Legion was letting her recognize only what he wanted her to perceive.

Kern moved minutely forward, and Moira watched as Kahallan fluidly swung his foot out to catch the Klingon on the back of his legs, dropping the larger man to the floor, and pulling out his phaser at the same time... though keeping it out of sight at his side. She could hear Kahallan’s quiet, even voice sounding sharper than usual. "Mister Kern, I ordered hold." In the space of time it took for Kahallan to fire off a series of questions to the doctor, Kern was up on his feet again... facing down his commanding officer.

"If you were not my commander, I would kill you where you stand." The Klingon had a look in his eye that frightened Moira – No! Not Duffy! Not again." But... you do or try that again and even your rank won’t protect you from me."

What madness was this? An officer threatening his commander?!

"Mister Kern..."

Her eyes narrowed, and her tightly fisted hands moved to her hips. She was frightened of this volatile situation, all the more so because Legion was so unpredictable... and thrived on strong emotions. The demon would find it most amusing to allow Kern to kill Kahallan.

"Stand down."

Denovian’s comments were even more disturbing... threats and accusations against Kahallan. It was obvious to Moira even from her vantage point in the hall that Denovian’s health was deteriorating. There was no way she could contain this situation, Legion just wasn’t going to let her. That would be too easy.

But her Celtic stubbornness made her try anyway.

"By the Goddess, what'll it be th' three o’ ye think ye’ll be doin’ here?"

Words... they washed over her without registering. Kahallan’s words, Denovian’s words... the empath, the engineer – I am nae the Captain, damn ye, Legion! – paid more attention to the emotions behind them. Were these the true emotions she might feel from these people in this situation if she was not trapped in this nightmare... or was Legion trying to trick her yet again?

Some of Denovian’s words remained at the edge of her mind. "Aye. Yer friend is dead an’ ye donnae feel safe. Well, me Executive Officer is dead, and I donnae feel safe either. But if we'll be lockin' ourselves in our offices, whoe’er is behind this will win. Legion will win." Moira heard a burst of the demon’s laughter... he believed he was going to win anyway.

The doctor spoke up, her voice weary. "The crew of this ship has been compromised, Captain. Your predecessor is a Romulan spy who might still have allies on board and who certainly has informed her people of just what we’re carrying. The Cardassians know it, too, and are trailing us, and the Romulans might also be out there. Legion could take over you or Miss Drake again and we would have no way of detecting it. And there is a murderer on board capable of killing the Executive Officer in the supposed safety of his own quarters.

"There is no one on the Eclipse who can be entrusted with this disk reader, sir, and Commander Imad’s death has proven that I can’t keep it safe. Maybe a bodyguard would make the difference, but then again, it might not. The Commander was hardly unable to look after himself, and that didn’t help him." The doctor’s voice cracked with emotion. "Naji... Naji nearly died keeping it from the Cardassians. It’s my duty as a Starfleet officer to ensure that it doesn’t end up in the wrong hands. Isn’t it?"

Moira stared at the young doctor, wondering why she was even trying to play out this farce. How was she going to win against Legion when he had her trapped in her own mind? How could anything she did here matter when Legion controlled the thoughts and emotions and actions of all the players in the play? He was simply toying with her, watching to see what she did. She could give up here... and he would find something even worse with which to torture her. Or she could play out this charade of his.

And was this dream version of Denovian possessed by the demon, as her counterpart in reality had been? And for that matter, what of Kahallan? A look of panic flashed across her features before being carefully hidden away again. She had to play the game. She had no choice.

"Commander Kahallan, what I’ll be thinkin’ is we’ll be needin’ te treat this situation with far more concern than a normal situation. An’ so what I’m goin’ te do is hold ye, Commander, personally responsible fer Doctor Denovian’s safety." If they were both possessed by the demon here in her dream, perhaps that would spoil one or two of his plans. "How ye decide te allocate th’ resources o’ th’ Security department te carry out this assignment is yer area o’ expertise, an’ I’ll leave that allocation up te ye. But if I hear o’ th’ doctor sufferin’ so much as a scratch because one o’ yer team members was nae doin’ his or her job... ye’ll be th’ one who’ll be feelin’ me anger." She paused, taking a breath to push down another tendril of fear. "Th’ doctor’s safety is o’ paramount importance... her safety is more important than mine." Because Moira would not have minded at this point if being released from the nightmare meant her death. "Do ye understand that, Commander?"

There was the barest hint of hesitation before the Security Chief spoke, as if perhaps this was a completely unexpected order. Deep in her mind, far from the actors around her, Moira smiled and sent a thought in Legion’s direction. Is that a point fer me, ye bastard?

"Aye, aye... like kith and kin, Captain, sir. By your word, I’ll watch over her."

Moira only nodded, still disconcerted by being called ‘Captain’. She turned her attention to the Klingon who had eagerly volunteered his services as personal bodyguard to Doctor Denovian. Could he be trusted?

"Commander Kern, while yer enthusiasm an’ dedication’ll be admirable, I need te be pointin’ out that in Starfleet we donnae bypass our commandin’ officers with our requests fer assignments. An’ nae only is Commander Kahallan yer commandin’ officer, but I’ll hae made him personally responsible fer Doctor Denovian’s safety." She glanced at the Klingon’s bare feet, which she had been trying to ignore, before continuing. "Now... I’ll be appreciatin’ it if ye’d dress yerself appropriately an’ meet me in th’ Captain’s ready room, where we kin clear up any other misconceptions ye might have o’ Starfleet procedures. An’ ye kin clear up any misconceptions I might be developin’ o’ Klingons," she added as her gaze once again fell to Kern’s bare feet. "After which time, ye may make yer request te Commander Kahallan. Commander Kahallan, based on his knowledge an’ experience, will make a determination about where yer skills kin best be used.

"Is that understood, Commander Kern?"

"Yes, sir." The Klingon’s eyes flickered to the doctor before he turned and left the room.

What is this game yer playin’ with me, Legion? She was about to leave the room herself when Denovian spoke again.

"S..." The young woman had to pause to clear her throat. "Sir, request permission to be present when you meet with Commander Kern. I feel I am at least in part responsible for his... reactions."

Moira raised an eyebrow. What kind o’ answer is that, ye lousy wart?

"Doctor, I’m nae interested in... reprimandin’ Commander Kern. But ’twould seem he’ll hae nae been adequately briefed on protocols... an’ what is expected o’ him as an officer in th’ Exchange Program. Captain Yeade should hae spoken with him... or Captain Lucara. Since there’s no record o’ either o’ them doin’ so... I’m goin’ te take th’ opportunity now." Her eyes flickered to Kahallan and back to Denovian. "Before it’ll be creatin’ more conflict."

"Thank you, Captain." The doctor nodded, and there was a quaver in her now husky voice. "I had begun speaking with Commander Kern on the subject earlier, but I’m afraid we didn’t have the opportunity to pursue it further." She hesitated for a moment. "Sir, if it isn’t too much trouble, I would like to meet with you as soon as you’re done speaking with Commander Kern."

Aye? And ye think I’ll let ye alone with me, do ye? Moira discovered she had begun thinking of everyone else on the ship as Legion. A twinge of loneliness stabbed her heart, but she pushed her feelings aside. Ye know I want te kill ye, ye bastard? donnae ye?

Moira nodded. "I’ll call ye when I’m finished with Commander Kern."

"Thank you, Captain."

Have you ever heard the wolf cry to the blue corn moon,
Or let the eagle tell you where he’s been,
Can you sing with all the voices of the mountain,
Can you paint will all the colors of the wind?
Colors of the Wind, Stephen Schwartz

As Moira made her way to the Captain’s ready room, she continued to look for a way out... some kind of ammunition she could use to escape her prison. For no particular reason, she began humming... it was an old, old song her grandmother had taught her. Odd. Why would she be humming at a time like this? She stood quietly in the turbolift as it carried her to the bridge... barely breathing, with a song running through her mind. That was when the felt the familiar, though still feather-light, touch of her Lady. No words... just the faintest touch.

Lieutenant Commander O’Shaughnessy, assistant Chief Engineer of the USS Eclipse, smiled. Maybe she just found her weapon against Legion.

She hadn’t much time to herself before Commander Kern was due to arrive in the ready room... but she absently hummed while waiting for the Klingon. And she smiled. And she could sense Legion’s puzzlement at her apparent newfound serenity.

The meeting with Kern last only about twenty minutes... interesting information about Klingons if any of it was true. But perhaps Legion knew as much about Klingons as he did about humans... enough to be dangerous, that was certain... but accurate nonetheless.

During the meeting, she kept a song going in her mind... far in the back where it wouldn’t interfere with her concentration... and in deference to the Klingon, it was rather martial in nature – John Philips Souza.

After Kern left Lucara’s ready room – Moira still refused to accept it as her own – she stood and paced to the far side of the room to look out the view port. She watched the warp effect of the stars for a moment before tapping her comm badge.

"Doctor Denovian, if ye’d care te come up te th’ ready room, I’ve some time te speak with ye."

There was something both relaxing and frustrating about the stars flowing by at Warp 5. She could only watch them for a few minutes... knowing that they were just a manifestation of Legion’s humor... before turning and picking up a small figurine from the ledge near the view port. Another bit of humor... it was a small alabaster cat that she’d seen on the corresponding ledge in the real Eclipse on her first day... no, that would have been her second day on the Eclipse. The tiny cat belonged to Dannon Yeade.

She set the cat back in its accustomed place and returned to the desk. She was going to find a way out of this nightmare. She ran her fingers over the computer console as she sat down. For now, however, all she could do was wait for Doctor Denovian to arrive. She tapped a few keys on the console and wondered of Legion had ever heard of a game called Solitaire.

Moira didn’t have a chance to find out, however. "Captain to the bridge. Cardassian vessels are closing to firing range and are hailing us."

Are they now? What kind o’ game are ye playin’ here? Are ye tryin’ te tell me ye’ve been advancin’ in Cardassian space as well, mayhap?

But game or no game... Moira was a Starfleet officer. She stood and, with a final glance at the alabaster cat, she strode out onto the bridge.

"Call Commander Kahallan te th’ bridge," she said to the tactical officer and then turned to the operations officer. "Status report."

"Shields at full, weapons on standby. Tactical reports that the Cardassians are holding at optimal firing range for their offensive systems with shields up, but have not actually powered up their weapons. They are hailing us and requesting to speak to the Captain."

Moira nodded. "Let ‘em wait a moment. We’ll wait fer Commander Kahallan."

As if on cue, Doctor Denovian’s voice was heard over the intercom. "Denovian to bridge... I’m sorry, Captain, but I’m afraid you’ll have to do without Commander Kahallan’s assistance on the bridge." She paused. "As of now, he’s relieved of duty for medical reasons."

Moira simply raised an eyebrow. Ah, so that’s the way ye want te play it? Sure an’ that will be fine.

"’Tis nae acceptable te me, Doctor," she said calmly in response to Denovian’s pronouncement. "When last I’ll hae seen Commander Kahallan, he’ll hae been in fine health an’ fit fer duty. Believe me when I say I would be aware o’ anything that would incapacitate him." At least outside this bloody nightmare that would be true. She tapped her own comm badge. "Commander Kahallan... yer duty station is on th’ bridge, an’ I expect ye te report here.


Moira allowed herself a brief smile as she hummed one of her mother’s favorite songs... by an old 20th century singer by the name of Bobby McFerrin. After humming a verse, she began softly singing the third verse. "Even though I walk through a dark and dreary land, there is nothing that can shake me... She has said She won’t forsake me, I’m in Her hand."

As she stared at the forward view screen, Moira broke into a broad grin. There in the middle of the thousands of visible stars was one star that shone more brightly than all the others... a small green star.

I win.

May the road rise up to meet you
May the wind always be at your back
May the sun shine warm upon your face
And rain softly fall on your fields
And until we meet again
May the Goddess hold you tight in the palm of Her hand
The Irish Blessing

Imzadi? Despite her certainty that the star before her truly did represent her freedom, Moira was almost afraid to hope, fearing that this was just another of Legion’s torturous tricks.

But the response she got was not tinged with any of the morbid overtones she had come to associate with the demon. I’m here, Imzadi... It was Emerald’s mental voice, filled with all the love and concern Moira had come to identify with her friend. Could Legion possibly fake even that? We think you’re going to be okay, Mo... just hang on a little longer. The mental touch was faint and soft... but Moira looked to the bright green shining star and trusted in her friend.

{Now the battle begins, my daughter.} Her Lady’s voice was stronger now, as though She had finally found the opening in Legion’s defenses that would allow Her access to Her priestess’ soul... and allow Her to free Moira from his custody. {Hold tight to thy faith, O Priestess... and continue thy prayers. I and thy sister – together with the priests of her gods – will free thee and thy beloved.} The pure love that washed over Moira was as familiar and as comforting to her as her mother’s warm embrace, her grandmother’s strong hands, and her beloved’s tender kiss. For all his obsession with emotion, this was something Legion could never imitate.

As bolt after bolt of excruciating pain lanced through her body and mind, Moira was grateful her Lady had given her some warning. Fire raced through her nerves, explosions engulfed her head... time after time, she tried to scream, only to find her lungs filled with acid and her throat already torn raw. There were moments when the physical, emotional and psychic agony was magnitudes worse than anything Legion had inflicted on her over the course of her captivity. Sound battered at her from all directions... loud and cacophonous. She felt as if her very soul was being shredded and could barely hold her own thoughts from second to second, trusting only in the reality of a Goddess and the presence of a green star that never faded.

Time ceased to have meaning, and her world consisted only of pain and despair... and that tiny spark of hope.

But the sound... yes, there was something she could do to free herself. Listening to the discordance... seeing the tangled webs of light and dark... she began reaching out to them with her mind... focusing on a single thread at a time, pulling it out of the knot. After a time, instead of discordance, there was a semblance of harmony... and then chords flowing from one to the next, rhythmically and soothingly. Each thread she pulled from the tangle decreased the number of chords, until finally she was left with a single thread... and the pure sound of A above middle C.

After what had been an eternity of suffering, the sudden cessation of pain and sound was almost as much of a shock as the pain itself had been. Moira lay quietly within her own mind, gently testing the boundaries of her mental shields... surprised to find them not only intact, but as strong as they had ever been – perhaps even stronger. The Lady’s warmth and love suffused her soul and intertwined among the foundations of those shields. Emerald gently brushed against them... and in the distance, she could just barely sense Duffy’s presence. Duffy... not what had been controlled by Legion... but the man she loved.

For the first time in what seemed like years, Moira felt at home within her own mind.

I’ve been alive forever and I wrote the very first song
I put words and the melodies together
I am Music... and I write the songs.
I Write the Songs, David Johnson

Imzadi? Moira’s eyes fluttered as she recognized the warm touch of Emerald’s hand on her arm. When her eyes opened, she found herself looking up into Emerald’s golden eyes. The smile that reached her lips was tentative and gradual, but it was genuine.

"Hi, Mo," said Emerald softly. "How are you feeling?" Her smile was dazzling... and real, so very real.

"Em..." Moira’s voice cracked, barely over a whisper. She swallowed, and spoke again as she nodded her head almost imperceptibly. "Alive. Sore... horrible... but alive." She took a couple of deep breaths, bracing herself as though the mere act of speaking was enough to deplete what little strength she had left. "Duffy... is he..." She searched Emerald’s face for a clue about his fate.

Emerald nodded, gently touching Moira’s face with soft fingers. "He’s okay, too. You don’t need to worry about him." Her face reflected wry humor. "He’s weak, of course... hating that. Keeps trying to get out of bed and failing miserably. But you’re the stronger psi, and you don’t seem to be as weak as he is." Emerald chuckled. "And if you’re as weak as you look, you can imagine how miserable he is."

The Orion brushed a stray bit of hair off Moira’s forehead. "Actually, your Duffy has everyone completely baffled. They don’t understand how he came to be infected by Legion in the first place... since he isn’t a psi at all." She patted Moira’s hand reassuringly. "But it looks like both of you are going to be just fine."

Moira sighed and closed her eyes for a moment, relieved that Duffy was going to recover as well. After all the torture Legion had subjected her to, she was a little surprised to discover she had no apprehensions whatsoever about seeing him. In fact, at this moment, she wanted nothing more than to sit beside him and hold his hand... his hand and not that of a Legion-controlled automaton... and to tell him how much he meant to her. "Legion took him te keep him from tellin’ ye an’ Lucara about me, I think. I tried so hard te let him know somethin’ was wrong. I’m thinkin’ he was about te figure it out." She sighed again. "Oh, Em! When I realized he was taken too... I near te died." Her bright green eyes filled with tears as she looked up at her Imzadi. She struggled to sit up. "Take me... take me te him, will ye?"

"Oh no!" said Emerald as she gently pushed Moira’s shoulders back against the mattress. "I’m not bucking the Vulcans and the top Federations docs... not even for you, Imzadi." Emerald’s wide grin took the sting out of her words. "They said you stay here until they're sure you're well, so here you will stay." She took Moira’s hand in her own and squeezed gently. "But I’ll bring him the message that you’re anxious to see him, okay?"

The young engineer smiled and nodded. "Aye... tomorrow mayhap will be soon enough." As much as she wanted... and needed... to see Duffy, her captivity and subsequent fight against Legion had weakened her more than she really wanted to own up to. "An’ I need te understand why ye did nae notice I was nae m’self... an’ what about young Denovian? Did ye free her from Legion, too?"

Emerald looked embarrassed. "Well, um, I, ah... I have some things to tell you about, Imzadi. But, ah, well, I guess I was a little preoccupied."

Moira simply raised a questioning eyebrow and grinned. "I see. An’ I’m thinkin’ yer preoccupation mayhap would have somethin’ te do with a certain Operations Manager, aye?" Moira chuckled. "Nay, donnae tell me now... I kin see ‘twill be a long story." Her smile faded. "Denovian?"

Emerald sighed and shook her head. "Not yet. The Vulcan mentalists and the doctors really aren’t sure exactly what freed you and Duffy... since they were doing the same things to Denovian and she hasn’t recovered. They think now it might have something to do with the cross-dimensional characteristics of the Legion entity that is infecting her."

Moira shook her head. "I donnae know, Em. I knew the Goddess was there... but Legion was too strong... she could nae free me herself. I did nae know what te do, how te fight him." Her hand held tightly to Emerald’s. "Oh, Goddess, ‘twas horrible, Imzadi! Th’ nightmares... Lucara an’ Hitachi an’ Jabbar... an’ what he’ll hae done te Duffy..." She paused and closed her eyes for several minutes, trying to regain her composure.

"Somethin’ Chief Mulvihill said durin’ the inquest," Moira whispered. "He was speakin’ o’ th’ biblical legend o’ Legion." She patted Emerald’s arm. "Could ye hand me that glass o’ water there, Em?" She waited while Emerald fetched the water tumbler, and sipped the cool water before continuing. "After... after they shot me... all I could think o’ was th’ 23rd Psalm... do ye know it?"

Emerald shook her head. "No. Is it something I should look up?"

Moira shrugged. "Nay. It does nae matter. ‘Tis poetry. An’ it took what seemed like forever fer me te realize that singin’ was what I needed te do te escape." She struggled to find a more comfortable position in the hospital bed. "Th’ whole time, it seemed like I had poetry an’ songs floatin’ through th’ back o’ my mind... ‘twas as if the Lady was tryin’ te tell me what te do... an’ I was jus’ nae quite bright enough te catch on." She chuckled. "’Twas always like that when I was younger... ‘tis a good thing She’ll be patient with me.

"But finally I realized if I actually concentrated on th’ songs, I'll hae been sendin’ Legion inte a shockin’ fit... I could tell ‘twas disturbin’ him a fearful bit. ‘Twas th’ openin’, mayhap, ye needed te free us." She sighed.

"An’ why’ll Duffy be freed when he’ll nae be a singer?" Moira smiled. "Partly because me Lady vowed that She’d free him as well... an’ partly because I’m thinkin’ he mayhap will hae been thinkin’ o’ a special song he used te sing fer his sister."

Moira passed a hand wearily over her brow, pausing in dismay. "But I donnae know what te tell ye about Shendaria... she needs te want te escape, an’ she needs te find her own weapon against Legion."

Emerald nodded. "Well, I’ll let the doctors know. I have a feeling they’re not going to like hearing about your Goddess." She paused, looking down at her friend. "Now you need to actually sleep, Imzadi," she said softly as she gently squeezed Moira’s hand. "Don’t worry... I’ll tell Duffy that you love him... and that you’ll see him as soon as you can."

Moira smiled as her eyes closed again and she drifted toward a peaceful slumber. "Thank ye, Imzadi," she whispered. "I love ye."

All my life’s a circle, sunrise and sundown
The moon rolls through the nighttime
‘Til the daybreak comes around
All my life’s a circle, but I can’t tell you why
The seasons spinning ‘round again
The years keep rolling by It seems like I’ve been here before, I can’t remember when
But I get this funny feeling that we’ll all be together again
There’re no straight lines make my life
And all the roads have bends
There’re no clear-cut beginnings and so far no dead-ends
Circle, Harry Chapin

© Kelly Cunningham