Pendragon and Amarus stood outside the seemingly indestructible metal door.
“Would it be possible for us to blast through with the ship’s phasers?” Pendragon asked.
“Not a good idea.” Amarus replied. “The blast would probably cause a cave in inside the cavern. Captain McCloud and Counsellor Trospheo would be trapped inside.
“What about a photo torpedo?”
“The same result.”
“Is there anything we could do to break through this door?”
Amarus thought for a moment.
“A low intensity proton beam could work, and I could make the adjustments to the cannon, but it would take some time.”
“Time is one thing we may not have. Work as fast as you can.”
A few hours passed. McCloud, Trospheo and Capria had fallen asleep inside the cave. McCloud began to stir. His eyes half open, he thought he heard a noise, as if some sort of hatchway was being opened. He then noticed that on the brick-like section of the wall a small hatchway opened and a had reached into the cave and tried to grab the phaser. McCloud leapt up, grabbed the arm and pulled on it. It was the female telepath. He held her from behind, put his arm around her throat, and with his other hand pointed the phaser at her head. The struggle awoke Trospheo and Capria, and also brought two other telepaths to the window.
“Any move from you and she dies.” cried McCloud. “Now I want some answers. What is this place? Why do you want us?”
The telepaths outside looked intrigued by the situation.
“We only wish to study you, and others like you.” the telepath gasped. “We seek you keep you here, to let you live in any world you wish to.”
“I don’t take kindly to being confined.” said McCloud.
“Let her go!” cried Capria. “They’ll only hurt us more!”
“If they’ve got any sense they’ll stop this whole charade here and now.” McCloud said. “You heard me, stop this now, or your friend here will learn more about death!”
“Do….what he says.” gasped the telepath.
One of the telepaths outside the window nodded. The scene began to shimmer again, but this time the scene did not change. Suddenly a huge hole with phaser burns around the edge appeared in the window. McCloud let go of the telepath.
“So this was an illusion too.” said McCloud. “The phaser was working.”
The away team outside were also amazed to find that they had indeed broken through the metal door. As they went outside the ledge they saw McCloud, Trospheo and Capria exit via the left. The three telepaths were not far behind them. McCloud turned to the female telepath.
“Why did you do it?” he asked. “Why did you keep us prisoner?”
“We only wished to study you, to examine you in certain situations. We had no idea that your species did not take to confinement easily. For that we apologise. You and your companions are free to go.”
McCloud turned to Capria.
“You must come with us. You can’t stay here.”
“But I can’t go with you. I must remain here.”
The telepath nodded once again. Slowly Capria began to change. She began to stoop, a hump began to form on her back. Her face began to show horrible scars. McCloud looked shocked.
“It was like I said.” she said. “My ship crashed here seven years ago. We were way off course, and we had sustained some damage to our dilithium crystals. When the ship crashed the telepaths pulled my body from the wreckage. I was the only survivor. I was badly injured. The telepaths tried to repair my body but I was the first human they had seen, and they had nothing to go on. No one can repair this damage. That is why I must stay here.”
McCloud again turned to the telepath.
“Is that why you brought me here? You wanted to give her a companion?”
“Yes, Captain. We wanted to make her happy.”
“But you can still make her happy. Will you return to her her illusion of beauty?”
“We will do anything in our power to keep her content. We will provide any illusion she desires. As for you, you are now free to go. Again we apologize for any harm that has befallen you.
McCloud walked over to Pendragon.
“It’s good to see you again, Captain.” he said.
“Likewise, Commander. Get us out of here.”
Pendragon activated his communicator.
“Pendragon to transporter room. Six to beam up.”
They were soon on their way. Just before the transporter beam hit them McCloud watched as Capria and the telepaths re-entered the caves. Her beauty had been restored. McCloud had wished that he could have taken her with him but some things are never meant to be.