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Lieutenant Nathaniel Wilmer - "The void of absence"


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((Memorial Service - Deck 42 - Bar))

::The clock said it was 0859. In the bar, the bar with no name, Starfleet had decked out the establishment with all the trappings and accouterments of Federation last rites. Two UFOP banners hang parallel to one another on either side of the constructed dais. Beautiful, and deeply rich sun bathed the surroundings in illuminated hue. The light from several large bay windows cast a half shadow on all in attendance. Due to the fact that not every crew member could attend the service, top ranking, and relevant friends and family of the departed had been allowed to attend in person. Others, who could not attend, were allowed to pause their daily activities and observe the service from their work stations.::

::Nate stood in front of the bay window, a small PADD designed for discrete reference was in his right hand, and both hands were behind his back, draped just below the base of his spine. Lieutenant Commander Akeelah D'Sena, his very good friend, stood next to him. She had been discussing last minute details, arrangements of flowers and individual funerary rites, and now there was little if nothing left to discuss, as the service was about to begin.::

::Nate turned to her. She looked exceptionally handsome in her dress uniform. And yet, due to the seriousness of the event, absolutely no inappropriate thoughts were currently in Nate's mind. All he kept thinking about, was how little he knew Masha Kall, and what he might say about that.::

::He turned to his friend, straightening out the wrinkles in his dress grey and white uniform.::

Wilmer: Well...this is it.... it's time.

D'Sena: It is. ::She hesitated and nodded slightly:: Just breathe, I believe in you.

::Nate smiled and looked at her. The orange aura the sun cast on her, painted her in a generous glow, that gave all new beauty to her dark and mysterious eyes.::

Wilmer: Thanks Akeelah. It's nice to know I have your faith in me...

::He cleared his throat, and placed a hand on her shoulder for a moment. Nodding, it was time to begin the proceedings.::

:: Of the fifty five officers and crewmen in real time attendance, all were quiet as he walked up the three raised steps, to the podium. His footfalls echoed throughout the bar, and he stopped, paused and turned to face them all.::

::A moment, and he cleared his throat. He felt no nervousness, only stoic realism filled his mind.::

Wilmer: Good morning. It is the sad truth of all who find themselves in command, that one day they must be called upon to perform such responsibilities for their fallen honored dead. Today, we have lost not one, but two of our sisters in uniform. Warrant Officer Masha Kall and Ensign Zoe Heriot, two beings from opposite ends of the galaxy, whose only commonalities were assignment to this ship and unwavering devotion to Starfleet and to each and every one of us....

::He paused, a single person coughed, clearing their throat from the back of the room. Someone close to one of the deceased broke out into hushed, but still audible tears. Nate continued::

Wilmer: ...I had the great pleasure of knowing, working and spending some brief recreational time with Zoe. She was remarkably at ease with herself, energetic, athletic and unafraid to try new things. She tested herself, and applied her talents to the devotions of her trade, and lived by a code, that became for her, a way of life. I remember the first time I ever met her. It was on the holodeck, during a moment where everything seemed to be descending into absolute and unplanned chaos. Zoe's charming naiveté offered her a vantage point of innocence that gave those of us--who were too vaunted and full of ourselves--and told us that it was okay to laugh at the absurdity of exploding birds on a beach.

::Nate smirked, and found that the truthfulness had gotten a chuckle or two from the grieving crowd and lent a moment of levity to the proceedings. He smiled somberly.::

Wilmer: Later that evening, she proceeded to have several drinks with me, and after assuring me that she had become intoxicated, proceeded to name the holographic bartender Fred. :: He let out a genuine single laugh. ::I didn't have the heart to tell her she'd been drinking synthehol all night long.

::The crowd seemed to enjoy the truth of that idea and let an appropriate tension easing laugh to the moment.::

Wilmer: But that was how she was. And those of us who knew her, can attest to the fact that Zoe Heriot was the most caring, real, true and honest of us. She was a true innocent. On a professional level, she was also the most competent junior astrophysicist I've ever had the privilege of working with. I have no doubt, that in time, she would have excelled in the stellar cartography department. She was a genuine and sweet friend. And I take no shame in admitting that I will shed tears for her....

::Nate paused, and placed the PADD down on the podium. This was partly out of reflex, and partly because there were no words left on it. Now came the hard part--the toughest thing he would ever have to say.::

Wilmer: The next thing I'm going to say, will no doubt upset some of you, and rightfully so. When Commander D'Sena asked that I should officiate these proceedings, I was tasked with not only writing eulogies for my friend Zoe, but for Warrant Officer Kall, as well....

::He throat dried. And he swallowed it away, speaking with only heartfelt honesty..::

Wilmer: I know nothing about Masha Kall. And I am ashamed. ::He looked to every single one of his brothers and sisters in uniform, attempting to make eye contact with all and finally wresting his eyes on those of his Rodulan friend.:: I was tasked with filling the blanks, of doing research on Masha Kall. I even began to ask around the ship, attempting to find as much as I could on a woman I had never even seen in the flesh. Up until I read her personnel file, I didn't even know she was Ullian, And after a while of realizing, that hardly any one else knew her, I began to realize something. To dig up these facts, and present them in a funerary format in the interest of detail, was a disservice to her. I should've taken the time to get to know her while she was still alive...

::He paused and slammed a solid, but firm knuckle down on the podium in emphasis.::

::He saw in the crowd, that Kael his newfound daughter was there, dressed in black, and that the sudden slamming of his fist not only filled the room, but made her jump as well. Charlotte was next to his daughter, and looked to him with a compassion he was not used to, and had never seen before. He continued.::

Wilmer: ...because like it or not, we're all family out here. All of us. How many times have I used my personal interests, my job, my selfish recreational activities as an excuse to not get to know that new ensign that fills in the bridge position? How many times have I seen that lone engineer sitting at the lunch table in the galley, and told myself that he probably wanted to be left to his thoughts? We are not alone. We were not meant to be alone. On this ship, or any other we might find ourselves serving on in the future... ::he paused wondering how many future posts he might see.:: ...we are not only ambassadors from our representative cultures, we are a society of one. One ship, one crew, one family. There is no excuse for not knowing Masha Kall, for not knowing the person who shares our desk, our workspace, our halls and our hearts.

::He felt a single tear roll down his check as the sincerity began to fill the room, and others of greater sensitivity than he, began to cry aloud.::

Wilmer: ...we have all suffered two great losses today. But the greatest loss of all, is that everyday we all stand at the edge of danger, and we are all sometimes, alone, scared, seeking the familiar face of friendship, companionship...::He paused and looked again to Akeelah with sincere remark: ...and love.

::He paused, and picked up his PADD in conclusion.::

Wilmer: ...we are not alone.

::With that, he pressed a button on his podium, and a yeoman nearby, practiced with the established signal stood and blew his boatswains whistle.::

Wilmer: Stand at attention! ::He called with bravado. :: Honors 'hup!

::With that, all in attendance stood and turned to the port. Two individual photon torpedoes fired, one after another, streaking through the flaming corona sphere of the nearby sun. Each memory and the of the remains of each woman, turned into a flaming jet of spiritual essence, easing into the setting terminator of the forever burning star. Each would glow only for a moment, and be seen no more.::

::It was a fitting ending, to such great and wondrous individuals. And suddenly Nate remembered a poem he'd read once as a teenager.::

My candle burns from both ends,
it will not last the night,
But oh my friends,
and oh my foes,
it gives a glorious light...


::Nate realized truer words were never written by humankind.::

::And all were dismissed.::

END

Lt. Nate Wilmer
HCO/Acting First Officer
USS Apollo-A

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It was just too good :)

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