<USS Banshee> "In the Meaning of Dreams" Chp. 8

  • From: "Brad Ruder" <GroundZero@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: ussbanshee@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 25 Feb 2003 15:31:56 -0800

?In the Meaning of Dreams?
by Lieutenant Joshua Asper

Chapter Eight ?
?My Brother?s Keeper?

His mind was in a frenzy. Images from his past haunted him, while words echoed from the grave of his departed loved ones and kept sleep at bay. Throughout the ordeal of his mother?s death, being assigned to the Banshee for that matter, had led to many a nights suffering from insomnia. Returning to his roots, the colony on Kessik IV, hadn?t even offered relief to his bedtime woes.

The window was open, the air softly and invisible filling the room with a cool current that aided in the summertime weather the colony got. Josh lay on top of the sheets, his hands clasped over his bare chest as him eyes stayed plastered to the ceiling. Meditation had gotten him nowhere, and there wasn?t much he could do without being in the security of his own quarters on a ship away from it all.

Josh?s father had passed when he was sixteen, and now his mother just after reconciling their difference and bringing a soft and loving hand to his hard and hostile youth. Josh remembered the feeling he had after he had signed off with a heart-to-heart conversation he?d had with his mother just a week before her untimely passing, and he recollected feeling so loved and having everything finally going in his way.

Then tragic struck.

Everything that he?d fought for, his mother and her forgiveness had been stripped from him. To the bone. His emotions were like millions of nerve endings exposed on his skin with every passing person unsettling him. It was as if he had been stripped of his clothing, pride, and prestige and placed in a room with hundreds of people. He was on display, and the only thing he had to his credit was his dignity that was hanging in the balance.

The calmness of the night, the still of the wind and the silence of all life as it seemed, was shattered by the almost inaudible hissing of a door closing and resealing. Josh blinked his eyes, scanning his room as his eyes adjusted to the darkness. Shadows lined the walls, random objects were displaced, and his shirt was draped over a nearby chair. Josh sat up, propping himself up on his elbows as he struggled to focus his eyes.

Moonlight shined through the open window and illuminated his room as his eyes finally managed to receive images of what was really in the small confines. Just then his eyes darted to window as the moonlight was displaced for a moment as a figure started up the hill outside the residence. A silhouette of a young boy was established on the tall hill, the head tilted slightly to the sky, and the arms folded delicately across the chest.

Pushing his sleepiness aside he stepped onto the floor, his bare feet making harsh rustling sounds over the carpet. Josh maneuvered down the corridor, his arms feeling inches ahead trying to make sure no unnecessary sound was made. As the walls ended and the room spread out into a large family room, Josh made sure the figure was still on the peak of the mound staring aimlessly into the heavens.

Olivia, Josh?s sister, stood in the doorway watching as well, and a look of concern had crossed her face that was even evident in the dim moonlight. She had her robe tightened up close around her, as if the warm temperature was too cold for her liking. A tear was on her left cheek as Josh stepped up beside her and whispered her name.

She didn?t flinch, just turned her sorrowful face to meet his, ?He?s hurting, Joshua, and there isn?t a thing that I can do for him.? She brushed the unwanted watery passenger on her cheek into oblivion.

?There isn?t anything that anyone can do, Olivia, it?s something that only passes in time.? Josh placed a loving hand on her shoulder as he felt her shudder.

?You can help him, Joshua, you are the one with the key to his inner emotions and trials. Go talk to him and try to explain things.? She turned back to facing outside.

Shaking his head, Josh stepped away. ?I don?t have any key, special influence, magical powers, or divine inspiration, Olivia. I just don?t have it and the only thing I can offer to him is a loving brother who knows that this will all play out.?

Olivia snapped her eyes to his, a look of discontent, frustration, and intimidation lining the iris and the glowing green that was brought out from the limelight of the celestial body in the sky. ?You will go out there and stop this. If you don?t, no one will, and our brother will be doomed to an existence of hatred, dissatisfaction, and completely loneliness.?

?Olivia, I can?t??

?Joshua, you?re not listening, you are the only one that can persuade him that things get better. I don?t want Jerrad to go through life an angry young man whose sole purpose is to get away and avoid his problems.? Olivia looked back towards the figure, now seated, on the grassy knoll outside. ?I don?t want him to end up??

?Like me?? Josh interrupted, finishing her sentence for her whether or not his version was what she was trying to accomplish.

Turning back to him, another tear emanating from his right cheek, Olivia shook her head. ?No, that?s not it??

?Yes, it is.? Josh nodded, trying to cover his hurt feelings. ?You don?t want him to flip out like I did and end up like me.?

Olivia put a loving hand upon his cheek, the touch of silk coming from her extremity. ?You?re a fine young man, and it would be a wonder if most men ended up like you. Joshua, you know that you?re an excellent officer and the prime example for what young cadets should aspire to, but that doesn?t matter with Jerrad ? he?s family.?

?He needs a strong person?? Josh tried to counter, but to no avail.

?No, he needs a brother who is there to help and to talk to.?

Josh looked out at his brother, obviously distraught, who sat there mourning the loss of his beloved mother. He was on the border; Josh was, on whether or not to take that fateful step to aid his troubled sibling. Olivia?s eyes dived into his soul, telling him exactly what he should do without the mass amounts of words and verbal explanations.

Taking a step into the grass, Josh felt the breeze intensify on his naked torso. He rubbed his chest, some pitiful attempt to secure warmth, and walked up the grassy slope to his brother. Noticeable weeping could be heard as he reached the summit. The stars, millions of little specks lining the midnight sky, radiated the night with an impressive complexity.

Jerrad?s disheveled blonde hair was skewed to one side, the front of his shirt almost matted to his chest from repeated wipes of his teary eyes, and his hands trembled in anxiety and depression. Josh sat down in the moist turf alongside of his brother. He angled his own head to the skies and looked at the mass of celestial bodies in the sky.

?How does it all work, Josh?? Jerrad spoke without moving his eyes.

?I don?t know, but we?re pretty sure it started with the big bang.?

?Not ancient universe formation theories, Josh, I mean life.?

Josh smiled, turning to his brother, ?That is something that no scientist has ever proven, or will for that matter. Life is just one big mystery, and the purpose of that mystery is equally mysterious. We just keep reproducing and so on and so forth. It?s a cycle.?

Jerrad wiped his eyes cleaned once again with his shirt, ?Death is the most unfair part of that cycle.?

Nodding, Josh put an arm around his brother?s shoulder, ?Although, it is one that everyone has to face at one point or another. It?s inevitable.?

?There?s no point in trying to delay the inevitable, is there?? Jerrad gazed into his brother?s eyes. A look of pure innocence flowed from the core of his eyes, sincere serenity occupying his very being.

?Well, if you can prevent the inevitable for a substantial amount of time than it?s worth it, but otherwise ? no.? Josh tried to sugarcoat the real answer, but it came out in a blur and a big let down at the end, but Jerrad seemed undeterred.

Jerrad made a sweeping motion, encompassing all the stars in space, and smiled. ?She?s out there, Josh, and I miss her so much. I wish I had just one more day with her, one more hug, one more blessing from her, one more of everything.?

?It?ll stay like that for awhile, I?m not sure if the pain every completely goes away.? A pit formed in Josh?s stomach as he tried in vain to hold in his own emotions. He built internal walls of pride and dignity, but also with a sense of value and superior inspiration that his little brother needed. ?It?ll pass, but she?ll always be with you.?

?I know, but the pain is so much it?s almost unbearable.?

?Been there.? Josh nodded solemnly.

?We?ll move on, right??

?Absolutely, in time.?

?Josh, can I come and live with you in four years??

The question caught him off guard and he blinked a couple of times trying to process the request. He looked at his brother, now focused on a new task that was everything but mourning, and a look of determination and seriousness creeping into his features. Josh stumbled and mumbled a response, then rethought about it, then opened his mouth again ? but only laughter came out.

Jerrad looked a bit hurt as he lowered his head. ?I just want to have my family with me.?

?What about Olivia?? Josh pulled his arm back.

?She?s always fussing over Hayden and making sure that everything he wants is what he gets, I?ll just be the third wheel and the brother that she wants nothing to with.? Jerrad made a valid point; the couple was awfully into themselves and normally disrespected everyone else.

Shaking his head he looked about his surroundings, a world full of shadows. ?Olivia is worried about you, that?s why I?m out here.?

?Does that mean that you don?t want anything to do with me?? Jerrad would?ve made a good lawyer for the Judge Advocate?s Corps, but a shy boy of eighteen would end up eaten alive.

Trying to avoid the trap that he?d led himself into, Josh smiled. ?No, I?m just saying that four years is a long way away and to worry about it then. What do you plan on doing between now and then??

Jerrad stood and brushed the collected dirt off his pants and wiped his eyes once again with his cotton shirt. ?I?ve been accepted into the academy. I start this coming fall.?

Josh sprang to his feet, embracing his younger brother in a hug of congratulations, laughter escaped both of their lips ? all the while completely forgetting the mourning and the horrible emotional feelings on the situation. ?Congratulations! I?m so proud, and I?m sure that mom and dad would?ve been equally pleased.?

?Thanks, I did it for them.?

?No, they would?ve wanted you to do it for you.?

?I know, but they raised me and I want to show them that I?m a good son.?

?You are; you don?t need to prove anything to anybody. Just choose a department and give it your all based on what you want to achieve.? Josh put an arm around his brother?s shoulders again as they trudged down the slope and back towards the living compound.

Jerrad shrugged, ?I?ve already decided on a department.?

?Really, which one??

Jerrad beamed like he was his own sun. ?Security and Tactical.?

Josh beamed himself at the news that his brother would be entering the field in which he excelled at. ?Watch out for Professor Tyler McDonovan.? Josh laughed to himself as he briefly remembered the evil Betazoid teacher. ?Don?t every lie to the guy; empaths are a pain to have as teachers. I just have one question, why join security and tactical? Mom always had you leaning towards medical and science.?

Jerrad put an arm around Josh?s waist. ?I want to be like my brother.?

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