Summary: When a Taelon takes a human's emotions, he gets more than he bargained for. Just what is in his mind as he puts things to rights? During "Essence".

As he traveled from the Taelon Embassy to the mothership, Da'an found his mind, as humans would say, reeling. As part of an experiment, he had taken into himself the emotions of a human male that was undergoing a medical procedure. To his embarrassment and shame, even though he had heard the name, he had not realized at first that the source of his new emotions were Renee Palmer's own brother.

I can not say for certain if I would have declined or merely chosen another person if I had realized the truth about who they came from. If I had known the consequences beforehand, I would have not gone through with this.

Just then, he had been berated by both Renee and his own protector, Liam. Even as she pleaded to have her brother's emotions, the younger man was glaring with an expression of disgust, and flashing in his eyes was something close to hate.

The combination of the incident, Liam's expression, and the somewhat unfamiliar emotions inside him was becoming more than he could bear.

Humans, and even some of us Taelons, say that we have no emotions, some part of him that was still rational thought, in some ways, it is correct. In others...it is far from the truth. We are capable of warmth, anger and caring for parents and children, but not grief or fear. We feel joy and pain, but not the passion of life.

It seemed to him that time passed by in a blur as he entered one of the rooms, one in which he could return the stolen emotions into the tubes that had contained them. In the same way that Da'an had taken them in, Richard Palmer could and would get them back.

As he placed his hands on the receptors, closed his eyes and began the transfer, he felt the stolen emotions leave him, as though they were a foreign object passing out of his body.

Now, this injustice can be put to rights, he thought as he opened his eyes slowly, Liam-

All of a sudden, he felt strong pain surge through him. Thoughts of the young man that the Taelon came to regard of as his child filled his mind. Da'an had somewhat recently betrayed those in the Liberation, and that included Liam himself. That had been the start of a fallout that was still ongoing.

Now, if his voice, expression and eyes are of indication, Liam...hates me...

It hurt more than he had been willing to admit, apparently even to himself. Da'an's eyes stung, and when he blinked, he felt something near one eye, and fall down his face from the other.

Am I...?

He touched his cheek, and found that his fingers were actually wet.

These are...tears. But if Palmer's emotions are in the tubes, why am I...?


After returning to the Embassy, Da'an relayed a message to Renee that the tubes filled with emotions were on their way back to their source. She looked grateful, but at the same time, mistrustful. Moments later, when he relayed the same message to Liam, the young Protector said nothing. The same expression of disgust and possible hate were on his face and in his eyes.

The same surge of pain from before coursed through him. Boone would never act or react like this. He would not be so-

Thinking of his late Implant and close friend flooded him with something that felt as though he would break apart from the inside. He had felt loss before, especially where Boone was concerned, but nothing like this.

"If you will excuse me, I need to...be alone," he managed to say in a neutral voice.

Liam said nothing, but nodded and left.

Da'an managed to get into his private chambers, which were patterned after human dwellings, locked the door and activated a field that effectively prevented sounds from within being heard from without. He didn't use it often, but this was one of those times that he was grateful for it.

I do not want anyone to see or hear me like this.

The Taelon sat on the floor, curled up against himself and took a breath to try to steady himself. It failed. Tortured sounds and small convulsions wracked him. He had heard it coming from some humans before, and some part of his mind identified the sensation.

Da'an was sobbing.

Everyone that I grow close to either dies, grows to hate or betrays me. This fact is tearing me apart from inside. Is this...despair?

"Boone," he managed to say before he lost all control, his voice sounding very broken, "William...I miss you...so much. I truly wish...that you were...here with me now..."


The following day, as Liam got his assignments for the day, he noticed that something was off about Da'an. His expression was back to what he considered normal, but his eyes were a bit puffy and red.

If I didn't know any better, I'd say that he'd been crying. Can't be, he returned the stolen emotions yesterday.

He decided to say nothing in either direction.

"I'd best get going," he said, and the Taelon nodded silently.

As Liam left, Da'an looked on sadly. The sorrow within him was still there, and he had no idea if it would ever fade. The only conclusion he was able to come to was that when he had taken in Richard Palmer's emotions, they had somehow been imprinted into his being, even after being returned. The full spectrum of emotions were now a permanent part of Da'an.

My thoughts going to both Liam and Boone had, in a very real sense, ripped both wounds open. I can only hope that I can control my feelings and keep this development from both the humans and my race.

If either were to find out, I am afraid of what the consequences would be.