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1 pointDamn! Right in the feels @Kali Nicholotti & @Randal Shayne ((Sickbay, USS Columbia)) (Time Index: Shortly After Returning from the Planet’s Surface) ::He was haggard, and miserable, and ill, and spaced out to degree he’d not experienced since the night he’d graduated the Academy, but there were duties to attend to. It was this that allowed him to proceed from hour to hour since his most timely return to the ship. A mission as hectic and fraught as the one he’d just undertaken (and failed, by most honest recountings) would have taken the spark out of anyone, and the radiation still had yet to leave his system entirely. But the subspace information packet he’d found in his quarters upon his return made him wonder if hallucinations were joining his growing list of symptoms.:: ::Dear god, he was being transferred.:: ::His focus on the orders was kept to an absolute, so that he might not have the mental freedom to consider their implications for him down the line. He liked it here. A good ship, with a good crew, on a good mission. He trusted these people, worked with them for years in some cases. His best friends were here- and it was that, more than anything, that left him absolutely gutted. But orders were not negotiable, and though it was not a habit conducive to maintaining relationships, Shayne had a habit of going where the fleet needed him, whether he was asked or not.:: ::So, with his gear prepped, he steeled himself for the most crippling part of this effort- saying goodbye.:: ::Quietly, he approached MacKenna’s bed. He’d heard of her actions on the planet below- nothing could quite describe just how painful the thought of not being there to defend her was. With a kind smile that belayed his unhappy news, at least for the moment, he spoke, in a voice just loud enough for them both to hear.:: Shayne: It is so good to see you. How are you feeling? ::Like her normal self, Ash hadn't been paying attention to anything or anyone approaching. When she heard him, she finally looked up with a smile the likes of which hadn't graced her face since, well, she didn't know how long.:: MacKenna: A little lopsided. ::It was a joke, though she was markedly horrible at humor. She rarely shared it with anyone around her, but for whatever reason, he was different. She looked up at him, reaching with her remaining hand, wanting to feel that he was actually there. So much was running through her mind, it was hard to just let it all settle, but when she caught a glimpse of his eyes it instantly faded into the background. There was something there.:: ::But what was it...?:: ::He’d heard of her injury, but had no idea her hand was mechanical before asking about her. It was common knowledge, so he wasn’t violating any level of privacy, but it still felt intrusive. Still, upon hearing that her hand had nearly been torn off, he’d been happy to hear it was a mechanical apparatus, and not a sudden amputation.:: Shayne: Will you be alright? ::It wasn’t a question he originally wanted to ask- for if she wasn’t alright, he’d be compelled by affection and care and decency to do everything he could to alleviate her suffering. But orders wouldn’t permit him to stay long.:: MacKenna: I will be okay. They are already working on a replacement for me. ::She still couldn't really handle looking at what used to be her hand, so she didn't. Instead, she tried to delve deeper into his eyes to figure out what was really going on. And maybe it was nothing, she hoped it was nothing, given her inability to read people. But something in the back of her mind told her it wasn't. No, he had the same look in his eyes then that Radi had given her...:: ::It wasn’t fair to keep the truth from her. If he didn’t tell her now, he’d never get another chance. And from the way she was searching through him, rifling through the files of his mind with her eyes, she knew something was amiss already.:: Shayne: Ash. I’ve… been transferred.:: ::He didn’t think he’d ever referred to her by her first name, and it felt right. But it also filled him with heaviness- when would he get the opportunity to do so again?:: ::There is was. Ash was stunned, but not at the same time. Something deep inside knew that was what was coming, but the majority of her mental capacities were trying desperately to keep it from being thought of. Now that the words spilled out into the distance between them, there was no hiding from it. The worst part of it was that this was the life she had chosen.:: ::Internally, her mind began its own meltdown. She did not give her feelings easily, and she did not grow close to many people. Somehow, this man had found a way in, and quickly. It had taken her by surprise in so many ways, on so many levels, but the current had been so strong, so determined that this was the correct path to take that she’d not been able to fight it for long.:: ::A future she longed for, but would never have, flashed between thoughts of how inadequate she had to be. The universe had to see her as unworthy. Everyone left, and the changes that followed were impossible to deal with. It made her more than uncomfortable, it made her want to scream, cry, throw things, or just hide. She didn’t know how to cope. She didn’t want to cope. Her mind saw only impossibility and loss.:: ::Internally the idea of the looming loneliness festered, the meltdown gathered momentum, her insides screamed with her inability to do anything about this. Behind her pools of emerald green, tears welled up and threatened to unleash a flood. Yet, outwardly, she barely managed to hold it all together.:: ::Barely.:: MacKenna: When? ::She barely managed to get the word out and even then it sounded more like a squeak, like a forced question just to divert his attention away from the fact that she was falling apart.:: ::Shayne quite nearly shattered at that single utterance. It was so filled with hurt, with disappointment and longing and pain that he simply couldn’t process it. His empathetic nature felt like it was dissolving him whole, and there was nothing he could do. His chest felt like it was collapsing in on itself. It took about ten seconds for him to force his lips and voice to provide an answer.:: Shayne: I just found out a few hours ago. I leave today. Soon. ::A million thoughts raced through her head and she fought them all. What was the right thing to say?:: oO Don’t leave. Don’t go. Stay here, stay with me. What about the things you’ve said? The look in your eyes? The feel of your touch? What if I loved you? What if I wanted you? What will I do without you? Oo ::It wasn’t fair. He, more than anyone else, had made this feel like home. She’d not been aboard long, but his words, his actions, they had all made her feel as if she belonged right where she was.:: ::Now that would be gone.:: MacKenna: But…::The fight against her tears turned in favor of the tears. A single one escaped and rolled down her pale face.:: What about…? ::The sight of the single tear unraveled him. If his body followed the example of his mind and his heart, he would have collapsed into a puddle of sorrow and misery. He’d often seen people saying goodbye in films, in holodeck programs, and had wondered why each had been so consistently overacted. Now he knew- they weren’t overacting at all. This is how it felt to leave a soul mate, a partner, a friend. A dream. The will to get over the pain quickly faded, and he let it wash over him, years of repression leaking forth as his own tear began a downward trend.:: ::She couldn’t get the words out. Yet, at the same time, she needed to know. Had they been headed on the path she had been imagining in her mind? What would happen now? She didn’t know about them, but she wasn’t able to just turn off the feelings and the needs and the wants.:: Shayne: I have to. ::He’d wanted to say so much more, but his throat was tightening like he was suffering an allergic reaction. If he had any sort of choice, he wouldn’t be taking off now. He was happy here! Columbia was a home- his home! He knew the crew, knew the ship, saw a future to be sought after within these walls. Now all he saw was dust and broken promises, both of his making, spread eternally before him.:: ::Reaching out, with her remaining hand, she pulled herself up and to the edge of the bed. As soon as she’d gotten his hand in hers she gripped it harder than she probably should have.:: MacKenna: I don’t want to give this up. ::Whatever this was. Oh how hard it was to keep from wrapping herself up in his arms in some grand attempt to physically keep him there. It would be impossible, given her size versus his, but she certainly wanted to try. Her mind was screaming all of the reasons he should stay, but she didn’t dare want to say any of them for fear that he would either take them as her being too much, or in speaking of them they would become real.:: ::And the only other time she’d fallen for anyone, he’d been transferred and killed in combat.:: ::A shiver ran down her spine. It was like history repeating itself, only this time she had been given a small opportunity to say what she felt.:: ::But could she…?:: ::He gave a slight gasp, and he wanted to believe it was the strength of her grasp, but he knew it was the sensation of finally being wanted, and knowing that, in a few hours, he’d likely lose that sensation permanently.:: Shayne: I don’t want to either. ::Truer words had never been spoken. He had touched the face of peace, of hope, of sanity and of kindness, and it was hers, locked behind a curtain of flame red hair, held back by bright, shy eyes. He genuinely didn’t know if he had the strength to go. At this point, it almost seemed like the battle was being lost.:: MacKenna: I think… ::squeezing his hand more tightly, her voice shook enough to show how difficult all of this was for her. Still, she had to get it out.:: I think I’ve fallen for you. You can’t leave. ::As the statement was made her voice trailed off into almost a whisper. Had he heard her? And how would he take it? And where would they go from here…?:: ::Shayne died.:: ::It was as simple as that. One moment, he was a man, a Starfleet officer, a proud cog in the finest machine ever devised, and a lonely, disheartened figure, kept warm by the glow of his love for the Federation. The next moment, that man was replaced. The most important thing in his life was no longer to be found behind the helm of a starship. It was here, on this biobed, clutching his arm like a drowning angel. How could he leave this? For the first time in his entire life, he just didn’t give a damn about orders.:: ::Almost as if he was in a trance, with his free hand, he slowly reached up past his torso, up to his chest. His clammy palm gently caressed the sigil that had defined him for his entire life.:: ::He clenched it.:: ::And with one final, mighty effort, removed it from his chest.:: ::He was free. He was free now, to love this woman the way she deserved, the way they deserved. He’d not wanted to say anything, for fear of jumping the gun. But they were too close not to care for each other, to similarly handicapped to not cling to each other. Orders be damned! The scrawl of some ancient, withered admiral was all that was preventing Shayne from staying, and sharing with MacKenna the care and affection he showed to the people who mattered. The badge was off. For this moment, he was not an officer. Now he could stay with her, happily and joyfully, perhaps as a civilian, watching her increase in rank and supporting her on her journey to greatness, all the while adoring her.:: ::And then the vacuum swallowed him.:: ::Even as he watched MacKenna’s gorgeous, vulnerable, deep green eyes, he felt… wrong. Almost as if he was taking advantage of her. He knew what it was, but didn’t want to admit it. The combadge, still clutched firmly in his hand. It gave him purpose, direction, drive. Without it, he was a shell- hardly the man MacKenna had come to know.:: ::If he stayed now, he’d be a broken man- emptied and spiritless, even with such beauty by his side. Ash deserved better. She deserved someone with life!:: ::Bracing himself, and digging deep for whatever strength he had remaining, Shayne grimaced, and shoved the combadge back on, almost like he was driving a stake through his own soul. Another tear rolled down his contorted features.:: Shayne: I have to. ::He righted himself, and overshadowed her, and placed an adoring, affectionate kiss on her forehead.:: Shayne: Because I love you too. ::He gave a sharp exhale, and prayed that no one was watching them- he’d never been so vulnerable.:: Shayne: This is not the end. I promise you that. ::He could almost feel the universe itself capitulate to his decree, and he wouldn’t have accepted anything less. Now that’d he’d found joy again, nothing short of Judgement Day would keep him from the other part of his spirit.:: ::The sheer ferocity of the emotions struck her deeper than anything ever had before. She could feel it shoot through her like lightning. Words, feelings, nothing was left unsaid. Nothing was left unknown. And when the smoke had cleared it became apparent that even now, even as protocol stole him away, maybe she wasn’t alone in the wide and all encompassing darkness that was.:: ::Knowing that these moments would be all that she would have for the time until they met again, she stood in his shadow and drank it all in, committing each and every detail to memory. The feeling of strength that came from a connection deeper than words could possibly define was not something she would soon forget, or let go of.:: ::No, this would not be the end.:: MacKenna: I refuse to say goodbye. ::Her voice trembled slightly. She would not say it. No. The universe had brought them together once. The distance would only be temporary. It had to be.:: Shayne: We will see one another again. BE with one another again. If I have to swim the Empty myself, then so be it. ::Taking in the warmth of his proximity, the overly shy and normally silent red-head looked up and for a moment lost herself in his gaze. Putting every little bit of resolve behind her next words, Ash knew he would believe her. He’d have to, as she’d never been so sure of anything else in her life.:: MacKenna: I’ll be waiting for you. ::Then, she pulled him closer and kissed him, letting her actions tell him all that her words could not.:: TBC! Lieutenant Commander Ash MacKenna Chief Science Officer USS Columbia And Lieutenant Commander Randal Shayne Chief Engineering Officer USS Eagle
1 point((Poseidon's Lounge, Deck 2, USS Atlantis)) ((OOC: Day 1 of leave evening hours.)) Raga: Careful, Valin. That's the spiciest dish my people make. Unless you want your own exhaust manifold cleaned for the rest of eternity, you might want to avoid it. ::The Al-leyan grabbed a plate for himself and joined Dermont at the buffet. The engineer gave a big grin at his best friend on board the Atlantis and ladled even more into the bowl. There was no doubt Raga was right, but there was just something about being told he shouldn't that just made his want it all the more.:: Dermont: Bah, Toryn. Have faith in yer good buddy... Raga: Oh I do. I have faith that that will send you to sickbay. ::He chuckled:: ::Dermont's plate was now stacked high and he thermos was tucked under one arm. He carefully balanced his food and with one free hand pointed a finger at the other man.:: Dermont: Don't ya think I've fergotten yer little mutiny either, lad. Raga: Mutiny? What in the winds are you talking about, Valin? Dermont: You in cahoots with sickbay gettin' me in fer mah physical. I know ya were in on it. Just been thinkin' on an appropriate response. Can't let ya go unscathed now can I? ::Watching the Al-Leyan go stone-faced on him was all the admission of guilt Dermont needed. He glanced at the owl-bird-thing perched on his friend's shoulder. Even her expression seemed suddenly stiff. It was like the two of them practiced in the mirror together. Dermont slowly guided the conversation towards an empty table.:: Raga: I have no idea what you're talking about. I would never need to use such underhanded tactics to get the Chief Engineer to report for his physical knowing he a responsible, Starfleet officer who would never shirk his mandated duties by creating problems with the ship he feels compelled to fix on his own when he has an entire department of engineers to delegate the work to. Because he trusts them to know how to fix their own ship to his highest of standards. ::Dermont narrowed his eyebrows and gave the Security Chief a hard stare. The man wasn't giving anything away, but the engineer would swear the other was attempting to be funny. The terran leaned in closer, seeing if Toryn's mask would slip. Without taking his eyes off of him, Dermont began to stuff his face with a biscuit, smacking loudly. Nope, nothing. Spitting crumbs in the security officer's direction, Dermont relented a bit.:: Dermont: Well, o'course not. Yer Mister Shinin' Example. That'd be a terrible thang ta do ta yer good friend Dermont. Causin' him ta need all sortsa nonsensical tests and pokes and prods. Ye'd never do anything ta bring 'bout such hazards to poor lil ole me. Bah...what was I thinkin'? Yer too good a soul fer such antics! Knight, maybe...never Mr. Raga.... ::The other man just took another sip of his damn tea and said nothing. He wondered how long they'd play this game, but before they could find out a voice cut through the air. It was a beautiful voice that brought a sad smile to this face. He couldn't help but stop his eating and just listen. He had no clue what she was saying, but somehow the words cut straight to his soul. He just sat there when it was over as all around him applause broke out. Toryn's elbow brought him back to the here and now.:: Raga: That was beautiful. Dermont: Aye it was. ::He banged his thermos on the table as way of adding to the applause.:: ::A clanging of a utensil on glass cut through the clapping, and the first officer addressed the crowd.:: Williams: ::Raising his voice slightly:: My dear shipmates. I am pleased to see you all here. As you can see and hear we have a ship of many talented people. Although we only know each other for a year, and some only for a few days, we still have much to explore. This quadrant has its mysteries but so do the wonderful people we work with. The singing skills of Ensign Maeli here are but an example. I hope we can do this more often. A talent show like the old days on Earth might be a bit overkill but if you want to interest your fellow crewmates into a hobby we could have a monthly entertainment evening or something. Right captain? Brell: ::Responding loud enough for the room to hear.:: Agreed! We must remember to pursue our off duty passions, and share them with fellow shipmates. Williams: That settles it then. I want you all to enjoy your evening tonight. Relax, feast and enjoy! That’s an order! Brell: Just don’t go anywhere, In about an hour I have a few surprises to share. ::As if in challenge, another song picked up and carried over the party. He instantly recognized the tune as a Klingon one. In face, he himself had sung it on more than one occasion on board the Endurance. His Klingon crewman had taught all of them many a song while drinking their evenings away on whatever local pub their freighter parked in orbit over. Dermont had to grin as he listened to the Klingons and their Worene companion carry on with what must have been a slightly intoxicated enthusiasm.:: ::A glance over at his friend revealed that Klingon drinking songs did not elicit the same warm memories. He knew that Toryn had a troubled past with the Klingons, and did not hold the feelings against him. They had cost his brother his life, much as the Romulans had taken Dermont's old crew from him. However, his was the superior officer of one of the two officers and outranked both of them. If Dermont could hold it in and not shoot Danara or Serala on sight, Toryn could reign it in. Of course, he had noticed the Al-leyan's temper had become much shorter as of late. But that was a whole other mess...:: oO Which is perhaps a good reason ta shoot Serala...heritage aside... Oo Dermont: Perhaps ye'd best leave the scowlin' of junior officers ta me, eh? Raga: Huh? Bad enough having one of them on board. Now there's two. ::He said with far more spite in his tone than he would have expected to hear.:: Dermont: Rein it in....Lieutenant. One of those lads calls you a superior officer.... ::Another song from the Rodulan and their first officer. Despite himself, Dermont found himself enjoying the evening. Of course everything hurt and he was so tired he couldn't help but stifle another yawn...but still. Enjoyable. His eyes couldn't help was wander on the group and he spied Serala enjoying the singing as well. Which made it his turn to scowl. He still wasn't convinced that she wasn't under some sort of mind compulsion. The scans he had covertly taken of her and her husband had revealed a large presence of mental stimulation, as well as increased levels of dopamine during said stimulation. Perhaps she was being brainwashed...:: oO She had better hope she is...fer her sake... Oo ::Dermont couldn't help but look over at Toryn. The poor lad had been finally struggling past his own brainwashing due to his bloody heritage to try and tell Serala how he felt and then she went an got married! Without warning. It had crushed his soul. And while Dermont had just overcome to own prejudices to start calling Serala a friend, he couldn't see past such as transgression against Toryn. There was just no way the damn woman didn't know how Raga had felt. Their junior officers had known it, everybody had known it. The watched the bird peck at Toryn.:: Dermont: Is yer bird thinkin' what I'm thinkin'? Now yer hidin' from her? From her?! She should be on bended knee tryin' ta make amends! ::Dermont had been in a biobed at the end of the mission, on a Romulan Warbird. Then he had been stuck in Jefferies' Tubs since he had gotten back...he had not yet heard any gossip about the two of them.:: Raga: Valin, please it's fine. I need to stay away from her for a while. The cloud messed us both up and she's dealing with what happened. Besides. ::He turned to face the grizzled engineer:: I think things between Lael and I are going well. So, I have someone to focus on as well. oO Happened? Somethin' happened... Oo ::But the mention of Lael brought an even deeper scowl to the engineer's face. Lieutenant Commander Lael Rosek, Chief Engineer of the USS Veritas. Half Al-Leyan, and a pain in Dermont's [...] by proxy. She was a woman in a relationship...who had spun into Raga's life and turned it upside down. He had taken great pains to know as much about this woman as he could. And he didn't like her not one bit.:: Dermont: Bah, damn pain in mah [...]... Raga: Why do you not like Lael so much? oO Fair question... Oo Dermont: Hmmm...ya know, it was originally because I was rootin' on ya endin' up with someone from the home team. ::He put up a hand before the emotions rolled out of Toryn.:: I had me heart set on you and that damn Romulan. As far as I'm concerned, that's still the safe bet, despite current events. And this damn Lael just swoops in and put yer heart all a'tangled. And unless yer plannin' on playin' third wheel, doesn't she have a man already? ::The engineer knew that many cultures didn't not practice monogamy, and Al-Leyans sometimes needed to have intercourse with literally the first Al-Leyan of the opposite sex they could find. So perhaps that wasn't as important to them. But dammit, Dermont was a human and Lael was half-human and he doubted his current partner wasn't going to be keen on Toryn climbing under the sheets.:: Raga: response Dermont: Yer so wrapped up in all of this...can ye just take a step back...from all of it. Just fer a bit. Ye've got so much drama fer a man without any ex-wives... Raga: response ::Dermont was a very overprotective friend. He knew he had his nose firmly where it didn't belong, but he had no plans on removing it any time soon. The more angry or embarrassed or depressed Raga become the more the old Terran was going to latch on. He'd drag the damn Al-Leyan boy to the other side of this mess one way or the other.:: ================= Lieutenant Valin Dermont Chief Engineer USS Atlantis A239410VD0