<FWG> <Patronus> Issue 2, Article 2: "Damned"

  • From: Jason Ziredac <ziredac@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: fwgalaxy@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Wed, 14 Mar 2007 12:21:27 -0700 (PDT)

  by Narin Luviox
  Damned if she wasn?t still a commander on board this ship.
  Damned if everyone wasn?t still obliged to follow her orders.
  Damned if this ship wasn?t still the USS Coldstream.
  ?Damned if the condemning words of Captain Barsuk, the ones stripping all 
crew of rank, were worth following?
  There was a line flowing into sickbay, all the minor injuries that could 
temporarily be soothed by a hypospray and an assurance that it wouldn?t be too 
long. Narin looked at these people, seeing troubled and ailed faces that were 
once peaceful and jaded, and with each set of bloodshot eyes that met hers as 
she passed, more blame was falling onto Hayes McQuarrie.
  Damn him, she thought, and thought right. By himself he brought a plague upon 
hundreds of people, people who used to trust him, and?this scared her 
most?still did. Where this ship was going to go, she shuddered to think. If she 
didn?t do something about it now.
  Rounding the corner into sickbay itself, Narin was struck with even more 
sadness, and even more finger-pointing anger at Hayes. Here were the more 
serious injuries like impalements and relentless lacerations and incapacitating 
panic attacks. In the swarm of nurses, Narin tried to find Dr. Aylyn Cta, and 
at first failed. On a bed near the beginning of the extended care hall, she 
spotted an antsy-looking Markstrom Benson, pining for the dismissing attention 
of a nurse.
  ?Lieutenant Benson,? she greeted, dodging more nurses who were tending to an 
ensign with a failing heart. ?I thought you were out of here yesterday with 
only cuts and bruises.?
  ?I was, but I fell of a balcony in Engineering when we became targets of our 
own people.? Markstrom rolled his eyes. ?You know, when that sort of thing 
  ?Where?s Dr. Cta??
  ?Dr. Cta??
  ?Since when have you called Aylyn ?Dr. Cta???
  ?Have you seen her, Lieutenant Benson, or haven?t you??
  ?Narin, you?re freakin me out.? Markstrom flinched when she crossed her arms 
at this, and he flagged. ?She was going to one of the rooms last I saw. I think 
to check on Chi.?
  Narin left him there, and began to check the private rooms, until she found 
her. Aylyn was standing over Chi Mungoti, half in this world, half in the next. 
A PADD was in her hand, and a tray of used hyposprays was on the end table, on 
the corner of which was a quick spot of blood. Two and two came together when 
Narin saw a place on Chi?s forehead where tissue had just been reformed.
  ?Do we know what?s wrong with her?? Narin asked, startling the doctor.
  ?Sorry, Narin, I was in Tuesday.? Aylyn said, cryptically. ?And, ah, no, I 
don?t. I know vaguely but I don?t know why, or any of the specifics. At this 
point, there don?t seem to be any specifics, except, perhaps, psychologically. 
She?s somewhere between a deep sleep and a coma. Normally, if I?m reading her 
brainwaves correctly, I?d be able to wake her, but something in her mind?not 
her brain?wants to keep her out. All signs of her previous sickness are gone, 
  ?Do you think it?s PTSD??
  ?You?d think,? Aylyn replied. ?But those folks don?t stay out this long, this 
easily. And her, ah?her odd behavior started before the trauma.?
  ?Before or after she was sick??
  ?After. Right before the attack,? and Aylyn recounted the happenings that 
befell the lieutenant commander, including that word.
  ?Do you remember what it was??
  ?Started with a D, sounded something between Klingon and German, but neither. 
She said it only once, and when I asked her what it meant, she said she didn?t 
know.? Aylyn stopped and looked down at Chi concernedly, like a blessing for a 
matron. ?None of us have really gotten to know her too well; she?s been a 
little on the outside since we all got posted on the ship together. There?s 
something about her fright, the way she handled herself as this sort of 
paralysis took her over: it was like the cause of her fright would end the 
world, but would not affect her.?
  ?There?ll be a time,? Narin said. ?We?ll get her some help.? It was a stock 
condolence, but it had to suffice to slide the subject under the pile.
  ?I?d revel in the thought of how, if you?d be so kind.?
  Narin aimed her head forward to speak a slap-of-the-wrist in body language. 
?We?re going back into Federation Space, and we?re turning Captain McQuarrie 
in. The rest of us can get back on track when that?s over.? Aylyn went to 
speak, but Narin cut her off. ?Save it, Dr. Cta; we?ll be having a department 
head meeting?a discreet department head meeting, without McQuarrie?at 1300 
hours in my quarters. Get Lieutenant Benson released from sickbay, and I?ll get 
Lieutenant Trekar and Lieutenant Eyensworth. How?s Varia doing??
  ?He?s still out on meds,? Aylyn informed, sort of robotically. ?If you?re 
wondering if he can attend this discreet meeting, the answer?s no, sweetycakes.?
  Narin blinked exasperatedly at the epithet.
  ?What? My terms of endearment aren?t welcome anymore??
  ?If Lieutenant Commander Mungoti manages to become cognizant before the 
meeting, bring her. I know it?s unlikely, but??
  ?I?ve been calling people little nicknames for years??
  ?If she can understand what we?re saying and can say either yes or no??
  ?Narin, you??
  ?That?s ?Commander,? Doctor!? Narin demanded, almost shrilly. It made Aylyn 
stumble back a step or two. The actions of providence clamoring down upon the 
crew of this ship should have been welcomed, the fellowships broken for order, 
the establishment of rank mended for stability.
  Aylyn was still stunned and studying Narin for just one detection, one 
falsity to pivot. So Narin continued. ?If either of them are able to 
comprehend, confirm or deny, you will bring them. Is that understood, Dr. Cta??
  ?Yes sir,? Aylyn whispered, delicately.
  ?See you, at least, at 1300.?
  ?Yes sir.? The blankness in Aylyn?s bewildered mannerisms tried to break 
Narin?s heart, but she had impervious arms crossed, and her face was stone. She 
left the doctor and her patient, and took a low path, to the decks beneath, 
where prisoners ?(hostages)? were kept. 
  The lights were dimmed, and kept that way to no repair. Steps were taken with 
caution, and even more so were breaths. Inside the cell at the end of the row 
was a pathetic sight. A shield kept him like a zoo?s prisoner, and it was to 
remain intact until the captain?s sole discretion was relieved. No medical 
officers, and certainly no other commanding officers were authorized to disable 
the shield, for medical attention, or political liberation. The souls of no 
security officers were prepared to stand guard for him, and so, when the 
singularly eerie footsteps Narin?s boots tapped into the darkened area, it was 
the only sound that was audible.
  Other than the breathing. The breathing?her own and the admiral?s?put Narin?s 
gut in a hot air balloon. Hers was immediate to her, soft and clean and clear. 
Ramirez breathed a bloody gurgle, an aged wheeze, an angry growl, all just as 
soft as clouds in a dream. It almost felt as if she was before the cage of a 
great beat, one to be set upon gladiators for a sport.
  ?Commander,? he said, she thought. ?My assumption is that you also lack the 
ability to free me.? He was turned profile to her, and didn?t rotate his head 
to face her directly.
  ?Captain McQuarrie as left no stone unturned,? she concurred, questioning her 
quick allegory?s validity.
  ?Captain McQuarrie,? Ramirez sneered, as if he?d taken a knife from her and 
was holding it to her neck, ?is going to find himself in more deep water than a 
court martial when this is over. Tell me, Commander, do you side with him??
  ?No,? Narin responded without a pause. ?His actions have been reprehensible, 
  Narin breathed in through her nose and nodded deliberately.
  ?What must be done,? the admiral said, ?is this: we must return to Federation 
space, and we must turn Hayes McQuarrie in to the authorities. As I hear, the 
Lexington attacked us outright. That was their mistake. There are no orders to 
destroy this ship; only to apprehend the traitor, or traitors, and let everyone 
be on their way.?
  ?Admiral, what if there are other ships as impulsive as the Lexington??
  ?By then, I hope to be out of here so I can gain leverage and save the ship.?
  ?How should we get you out??
  ?Time,? said the admiral, the miserable admiral. ?It will either be a short 
time or a long time, depending on which way the rest of the crew will sway: 
McQuarrie?s way or the right way. Should the crew decide against following him 
wherever he?s planning to go, it will be short. Everyone will turn on him and 
the ship will be in the right hands. What to do when that time comes, you 
should have an idea.?
  Narin would have audibly gulped, had she not lost her breath first.
  ?But should everyone decide to go with him, my liberation rests solely in 
your hands. You must feign concession, make everyone believe you are backing 
McQuarrie. Then you will gain his trust, and use it to free me.?
  ?And how do you expect me to gain trust??
  Finally he turned to face her fully, so she could get a good, long look at 
his right eye, which was blood red: a hue visible only through the fifteen 
percent his eye wasn?t swollen shut. A nasty gash was also on that side of his 
forehead, and there were finger-width wipe marks of crimson where he tried to 
remove his blood from his skin. It was like war paint, or a ritualistic 
swathing of life-force for strength. 
  ?You have been fornicating with McQuarrie, have you not? Use your advantage 
over him, your feminine wiles, as it were, to gain his heart back. He hasn?t 
been remotely in agreement with you for twenty-four hours. That?s a good amount 
of time before you can ?patch things up.?
  Have your meeting, as you would. You?d better hope everyone decides against 
McQuarrie. Should they go with him??
  ?Then the ship and the crew will be compromised.? Narin went to leave but was 
  ?Then the ship and the crew will be damned.? Admiral Ramirez turned his head 
away and stood, heading to the sink to wash himself clean. He said no more, and 
offered no farewell when Narin left him alone, in his shadowy cell, with his 
shadowy breathing, and nothing underneath but fire and black ice

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  • » <FWG> <Patronus> Issue 2, Article 2: "Damned"