Like the waters of a vast ocean, the voices threatened to drown him. They surrounded him, weighed him down, pulled him inexorably into their midst. As uncountable as sea waves and as unsympathetic, they battered him from all sides.
Captain Jean-Luc Picard lay on his back, the metal table beneath him once cold and hard, but now beyond his ability to feel. He stared blindly upward, no longer seeing the complex equipment pervading the alien vessel. Numbness suffused his body, a welcome release from the thousand natural shocks to which his flesh had been heir.
A glimmer of recognition darted through Picard’s...