Another Ghola

“Another cup?” Captain queried.

Alathea shook her head. “Nah, I’m good.”

They sat in the Captain’s ready room, a spot among the myriad chats they’d shared. The woman, surprisingly, attempted to assist her in navigating the chaos unfurling within her since stumbling upon that blasted database in her ship.

“So let me recap. The presence of the database shows that Bene Gesserit intended to inform you of your continued existence and another mission.”

“It’s not belief, it’s fact. That’s how Bene Gesserit rolls.”

“And you believe events described in that database are exactly what will happen.” 

“Yep. They plucked those snippets from the memories of our ancestors, folks who lived and breathed through those moments.”

“I thought females didn’t fight in the empire.”

“They don’t, usually. But the high-and-mighty nobles bring their concubines along for the ride. And wherever there’s an army marching, you’ve got a parade of women tagging along for a good time. Families pitch in too, keeping the soldiers spick and span or peddling alcohol, drugs, and whatever else they might fancy. There’s an entire economy tailing the troops. Trust me, there’s no shortage of women. Laundry and brothels—those are the two big gigs for the ladies.”

She shot a glance at the captain, whose face morphed into a canvas of horror. “I doubt that ever happened on Earth.”

Alathea grinned. “Oh, it did. You can bet your bottom dollar on that. We’re all human, after all.”

The captain shook her head as if trying to shake off the unsettling notion. “Alright, but the timeline is changeable. I don’t see why you wouldn’t choose a different path.”

“I don’t know. The Bene Gesserit boasts ancestral memories spanning thousands of millennia. They've encountered nothing suggesting that the timeline can be altered.

“Or that’s what they told you.”

Alathea blinked.

“You said yourself that they’re manipulative. Maybe that’s part of the manipulation. Making you believe you cannot change anything, and that you have to go with their plans. They trained you. They taught you to think that way. Now you can try something new. And I will support you. I will even order B’Lana and Seven to stop with the attempts to communicate with the Empire and instead help you adapt Holtzman’s drive to our ship. It should be doable and we will not be in debt to anyone.”

Alathea swallowed, tears blurring her vision. This woman was something else. These folks were something else. Ready to forsake their deepest desires just to aid her. And it felt genuine. No one in the empire even came close to this level of kindness.

“In the meantime, you can lend a hand. We’ve got a peculiar situation on the ship that could use your expertise. A crew member we thought was dead suddenly came back—alive but genetically altered. Given your firsthand experience with resurrection, maybe you could assist her.”


There’s another Ghola on board! Alathea hurried towards the medic bay. The door swung open, and she entered, her eyes scanning over Harry, the Doctor, and a bald woman with a distorted face seated on the bed.

“Ah, meet Alathea. She claims to have risen from the dead,” the Doctor announced.

The woman fixed her gaze on Alathea, who offered a smile. “I sense, Doctor, that you’re doubting my story.”

“Well, the procedures that brought both of you back must be significantly different.”

“And how were you resurrected?” Lindsey chimed in. “You look entirely human. Did you already go through the doctor’s treatment?”

Alathea glanced back and forth between Lindsey and the Doctor. “Well, I started as a human. The Doctor never gave me any treatment. What are you talking about?”

“Ensign Ballard has a genetic pathogen that altered her human DNA to the Kobali protein structure. Alathea’s blood never showed such protein,” the Doctor explained.

Alathea nodded. “Yes, they changed my DNA in vitro, before I even became a fetus.”

“Who resurrected you?” Lindsey inquired.

“Bene Gesserit. Well, Bene Telaxy actually. At least, the ones who teamed up with Bene Gesserit.”

“Never heard of them.”

Alathea nodded. “I know. I’m the first one from the Empire ever to contact you guys.”

“So why did they resurrect you? Did the humans in the Empire lose the ability to procreate?”

“No, I’m resurrected for a specific task. But how did you regain your memory?”

“My memory?”

“Yeah. You’re recalling your previous life. There must have been some method to awaken those memories.”

“There wasn’t. I remembered everything, even my death, from the moment I woke up in that stasis field.”

Alathea blinked. The woman was fortunate not to have to endure that torturous experience.

“What about you? You didn’t remember your past life?”

“No. Each time, it took a rather traumatic experience for me to regain my past memories.”

“Each time?”

“Yes. They have resurrected me 10 times. In total, I have memories of 11 lives.”


Alathea nodded.

“What procedure was used to help you regain your memories?” the Doctor inquired.

Alathea glanced over at the faces, sensing they were about to hear something quite disturbing. “Well, they usually subjected a ghola to some trauma. Initially, the method involved trying to make the ghola kill someone who resembled their loved one from the previous life. But by the time they started my ghola cycles, they found a different method, less cruel. They would subject me to targeted exercises that would make a part of my spine tender, and then a person resembling someone from my previous life would start quarreling with me. Sometimes it would get physical, but mostly it was verbal—targeted questions and comments to increase distress until the dam inside that blocks my memories bursts.”

She glanced again, noting open mouths closing rapidly, hard swallowing, and grimacing.

“That’s horrific!” the Doctor exclaimed.

Alathea shrugged.

“So you died 10 times? Do you remember each of those deaths?” Lindsey asked.

“No. Before a mission, the Bene Gesserit usually takes a cell sample from me so that if I die during the mission, I don't remember it. The only deaths I recall are the ones where the Bene Gesserit killed me after a successful mission.”

“But why?”

“Because in the Empire, gholas are considered a disposable tool. And by law, I had to be disposed of after the mission.” Alathea shrugged.

“And I thought I had it bad,” Lindsey mumbled.


Taking the captain’s words to heart, Alathea dove into crafting a Holtzman drive for the Voyager. The first step involved a thorough analysis of her ship to understand its workings. Alongside Seven and B’Lana, they brainstormed how to transfer the engine to the Voyager and explored the possibilities of creating an even larger engine.

“I just chewed out Harry and the Doctor in Kobali,” Lindsey whispered, standing at the door of Alathea’s ship.

Alathea set down the tools she was using to scrutinize her ship, realizing she had missed Lindsey’s approach. But it didn’t matter; she was secure on the Voyager. “By the tone of your voice, I sense you consider that bad.”

Lindsey raised her head, piercing Alathea with her eyes. “How are you doing it? How do you adapt to the changes?”

Alathea shrugged. “Our situations aren’t really comparable. Each of my new lives as a ghola started several centuries after a last death. There were no people I knew, no familiar places. Everything changed. I couldn’t go back to the old life. Not like you.”

“It doesn’t feel right.”

“Being here, in your old life?”

Lindsey nodded.

“Your DNA is different, that means you are different, and you’re desperately trying to be as you were,” Alathea observed.

Lindsey frowned. “You do not know what you’re talking about!” She rapidly turned on her heel and left.

Alathea shrugged; those were emotions Lindsey would have to sort out for herself. She wiped her hands and approached the storage compartment where she kept her Bene Gesserit robe. She put it on and went to the bridge.

“Captain, I have a small request.”

Captain twisted in her chair. “Yes?”

“Can I be present during the Kobali meeting? I want them to see me in the robes.”


“Maybe, back in the past, Kobali and Bene Telaxy met and exchanged knowledge. Just because I don't have the same pathogen as Lindsey doesn't mean they didn't use the same technique. My DNA didn’t have to be changed to Kobali one. Maybe if they see me, and they had previous contact with the Empire, I can help with the negotiations and avoid the worst.”

The captain smiled. “I like that; you’re questioning what the Sisterhood told you. By the way, the Doctor told me about your account of your memory awakenings. We’ll have to talk about that later. But yes, feel free to be here.”


Kobali attacked without warning, and Alathea grabbed the rail to steady herself. It was a bit of a bummer that they hadn’t requested communications. She mused about telling the Captain to request communication when Lindsey and Harry entered the bridge.

“Hail them. Tell them you’ll surrender me.” Lindsey didn’t waste any time.

Alathea found herself nodding at her suggestion. Hailing them meant she would be visible to the Kobali.

“Don’t listen to her, Captain,” Harry said.

“I appreciate the gesture, Lindsey, but I’m not giving you up,” the Captain said, exactly what Alathea expected her to say, true to herself one hundred percent, as always.

“It’s not a gesture. I want to go,” Lindsey stated. “I don’t belong here.”

Alathea blinked. Lindsey told the truth. She wished to go. How much did Alathea’s words contribute to that? She didn’t want to chase the poor girl away. And this way, she would lose the only other ghola she ever met.

“She’s not well. She doesn’t know what she’s saying,” Harry said.

“I know exactly what I’m saying,” Lindsey responded.

Good, the girl knew what she wanted and went for it.

“Shields at 13 percent,” Tuvok announced.

Alathea fought the smile; the Captain would have to hail the Kobali now.

“I’m detecting power fluctuations in the lead vessel’s warp drive.” Harry was back at his station, suppressing the pain of rejection. “A poltroon Burst could overload the core.” 

Alathea studied him, completely engrossed in his work, as if he hadn’t argued with the love of his life just seconds ago. That’s a strange man.

“That would destroy the ship,” Lindsey said.

“They’re not leaving us much choice,” Harry replied.

The argument continued.

“Whatever we do, we have to do it fast,” Chakotay said.

“You’re sure this is what you want?” the Captain asked.

“Captain, I can fire that poltroon burst myself.” Harry ran towards them, leaving his post.

So he was not suppressing his pain; he was fighting for his darling, even when she didn’t wish him to do so. Interesting.

“Stand down, Ensign,” Chakotay blocked him.

“We can’t just let them take her!” The full range of the despair Harry felt burst out.

“Even if you stop them, I can’t stay on Voyager,” Lindsey said.

She was gentle with him. That woman was way wiser than Alathea had even assumed. It's a pity she would not stay here.

“I don’t want to lose you,” Harry said.

“You already did, but at least, this time, we’ve been given the chance to say goodbye.”

Such wisdom, such kindness. Those Kobali are a lucky bunch.

Finally, the captain turned towards the screen and hailed the Kobali. A tense conversation ensued, turning into a friendly one as soon as the Kobali figured out that Lindsey would join them. But they didn’t react at all to Alathea. As soon as the conversation ended, Alathea leaned towards the captain.

“Was I in their visor?”

“Yes. Those were my orders.”

“They didn’t react at all to me.”

“I noticed.”

Alathea nodded. “That means they never met Bene Gesserit before.”

The captain shook her head. “Seems so. Anyway, I wish to commend you on exemplary behavior during this attack.”

“Why? I did nothing.”

“Exactly. You were doing only what I expected you to do.”

Alathea stared at her. There was no need for her to react. The captain was making smart decisions. But every fiber of the captain’s body was warning her that such a comment would not be welcome. So Alathea just smiled and bowed slightly to the captain before leaving the bridge.


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