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Dr Blueheart - Death Remembered


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((Briefing Room, USS Avandar))

::As he awaited the mission briefing, his mind began to wander until it arrived, rather unexpectedly, at a destination he was not entirely prepared for.

Emerson.

Oh sweet, dear Emerson! Emerson who always made things better. Emerson who always harnessed and dragged the sun through the darkest of clouds to shine on his gloomy days. Emerson who always made the pain go away. Emerson who was murdered. Emerson who is dead. Emerson who is gone. Forever.

He sighed, staring blankly at the PADD before him. A swirl of memories spun furiously in his mind.::

((Flashback – stardate 239112.27))

((Brig, USS Atlantis))

::Raj had intentionally used the name Marcus while the security officer was present, though he knew full well that it was indeed Kelrod who he was conversing with.::

DICKENS: ::sighing:: Please, sit down. What I'm about to tell you... Marcus wanted to wait 'till we ended this assignment to not cloud your judgment with what it implies, but it seems that you've already found out by yourself...

BLUEHEART: ::taking a step back:: What? ::frowning, perplexed:: What did you say?

DICKENS: Just before we entered the Norlian Nebula, after West departure it has come to my knowledge that Emerson has been... kidnapped.

::His lungs vomited out the air in them and he staggered back, trance-like, staring at the man in front of him with unseeing eyes.::

DICKENS: I have seen some footage from DS26 security where he's seen with a bag in his head being dragged by some unknown people. The only way security hasn't found him is because he's not on the station anymore, so his whereabouts and condition... it's unknown.

BLUEHEART: ::voice soft, raspy:: You’re.. telling me now? Now? ::suddenly roaring:: NOW??!! You [...]!! I trusted you!!!

::He launched his small frame at the Angosian-Betazoid, seething with rage and confusion. If he wasn’t mad a while ago, he surely was now. He coiled his right arm back, ready to strike at Kelrod’s smug face, but was stopped by the man himself.::

DICKENS: Captain, I'm not the optimistic Betazoid that will put things sweet for you. Reality is that he's captured against his will and dragged out of the station. We can't know if he's dead or alive, all you have is an impression, a feeling that might be clouded by the situation and the temporal distortions we're experiencing.

BLUEHEART: ::shoving himself away from Kelrod with disgust:: You had no right!! No right to keep that information from me!!! ::He clasped both his hands on top of his head, moaning in frustration and sheer anger.::

DICKENS: Once we're out of here, we'll head back to DS26, after Townson charges and the implications of dealing with a ship out of time, I'm sure SF HQ would like to interview most of us and do an investigation. Then I'll see to help you discovering any trace of Emerson that we can find and talk to Starfleet Intelligence, along with Townson to know the true.

BLUEHEART: And they’re going to just believe you?? You?! The THING inside Marcus?!! ::He scoffed in disbelief.:: This isn’t happening! This isn’t happening!!

::He shook his head repeatedly and slammed his back against the far wall of the cell, sliding down the smooth cold surface till he was sitting on the floor, legs outstretched before him, like a broken ragdoll.::

DICKENS: As of my... condition, I've met a lot of intel personnel, and have some of them as... friends. I'm sure I can get something about him but now you have to focus and being the captain that you've been since I joined you first day on the Bridge.

BLUEHEART: ::looking up and narrowing his eyes:: And how am I going to do that, huh? I’m a bloody war criminal for the gods’ sakes!!

DICKENS: I have a plan ready to deal with all that's going on here. I'll let you here to calm down and analyze your feelings and rationalize what you've felt and what I've told you. ::looking back to see the Counselor:: I want you to speak with Danzia, you know the drill, you were in her place before and talking about things is the best way to overcome them and deal with them properly, right?

::Raj looked past Kelrod and saw LtCmdr Danzia preparing her questions. Suddenly an idea began to form in his mind. A dark, sinister idea. A selfish idea, but one borne out of desperation, out of love. He cannot be in here if he was going to rescue Emerson!::

BLUEHEART: ::suddenly looking up with a blank stare, all emotions drained from his face:: You’re right. You’re absolutely right, Commander.

::He stood up just as the Bridge hailed the acting Captain, signaling the arrival of the Romulans. Raj could only drop his jaw and gape at the man standing before him.::

DICKENS: I have to go now, you know, deal with the Romulans, navigate through time rifts... the usual Starfleet stuff. ::placing a hand on his shoulder:: Don't worry Raj, If we get out of this we'll find about Em, if we don't,... we'll have a lifetime to think and talk about it.

::Raj turned the other way as Kelrod left the cell and left the security suite. He grew numb. He wasn’t sure what to feel next. Anger, that Marcus/Kelrod knew about the kidnapping all along but withheld the information from him lest he be distracted? Fear, of what might have happened to Emerson? Confusion, as to how he was expected to keep something like this from affecting his duty to ship and crew?

How could he not have known?::

((End flashback))

::His heartrate soared. He wrung his hands under the table. Those merciless memories would continue their attack on him.::

((Flashback – stardate 239112.31))

((Bridge, USS Atlantis))

::Amidst of all the chaotic action unfolding in and around the ship, Raj felt a cold hand grip his heart and clench its fist. He took a small step back, startled by the sensation. It was more a notion, a feeling, than a sensation. A vision, perhaps. His first thought was that he was experiencing a heart attack, but he soon realized that the symptomatology was all wrong. But something else was.

Something was terribly wrong.

It was as if the hand squeezing his heart was a dark shadow, snuffing out all the light from the organ. He became afraid, he became confused. He felt smothered. He was asphyxiating.

Something was terribly wrong.

He was suddenly overwhelmed by a profound sense of loneliness, abandonment and desolation. Tears welled up in his eyes but he quickly blinked them right back in like the expert crying clown that he was. His heart was no longer beating. It was but a husk. An empty shell waiting to be rid of this world by a rogue wind.

Something was terribly wrong.

He felt as if the entire universe collapsed in on itself and around him, crushing him. He was being crushed on the inside as well as on the outside like an insect. The loneliness was intensifying. He was adrift in endless blackness, severed from his sanctuary, severed from the anchor that bound him to his own private haven. He drifted off deeper into the abyss of blackness, into nothingness. He was ceasing to exist.

Something was terribly wrong.

It all happened in a fraction of a heartbeat that seemed like an eternity. He knew instantly what was it that was terribly wrong.

Emerson!

He struck an emotionless façade while being dead inside. Thank the gods for exploding starships and deadly space battles! Thank the gods for sweet, sweet distraction! ::

((End flashback))

::He leaned back in his seat with a soft, barely audible sigh. These were the nightmares that kept him wide awake on most nights.::

((Flashback – stardate 239201.11))

((Starfleet Morgue, DS26))

::The hall was appropriately dim. It reeked of bleach and death. A single metal table stood in the center of the hall, illuminated within a cone of white light, surrounded by an audience of cabinets brimming with the dead. A white sheet covered the body. It took forever for him to take three steps towards it.

He was amazingly calm as he drew back the white sheet. Once pale skin now tinged green, stared back at him. How many times had he attempted and failed to count the freckles on that face. The fiery red hair was now dark, wet and oily with disinfectant. The eyelids were stitched close. How dearly he missed those infinite emerald orbs! What he would do to lose himself in them again. The palest of lips were sewn together, the sutures making little X’s across the mouth forever sealed shut. What secrets hid within?

Withdrawing a small, folded piece of paper from the breast pocket of his uniform jacket, he stared at it for several seconds, rubbing his thumb across the surface in circles, before gingerly inserting it into a pocket on Emerson’s uniform. Just over his still heart. Resting his palm there, he looked adoringly at the lifeless man, peering into eyes permanently shut. A soft breath of air escaped his lips. It might as well be his soul departing. He leaned in and kissed the cold, bloodless lips, the catgut X’s [...]ing his own.

Raj knelt beside the table and took Emerson’s cold and rigid right hand into both of his. Squeezing it gently, he silently invoked Athena’s blessing for a soul’s safe passage to the stars and beyond. He closed his eyes not to focus his thoughts and prayers, but because he was ashamed that he never really believed in gods and demons and the life eternal. Death is finite. Death is final. Death is the end.

A lonely tear emerged from hiding to roll down his face. It would prove to be the last tear Raj Blueheart would ever shed.::

((End flashback))

::He sat forward once again, the briefing was about to start. This time he clenched his fists under the table. He made a solemn vow that moment. He would seek answers. He would seek closure. But most important of all, he would seek vengeance.::

TBC
================================
Captain Raj Blueheart
Medical Officer
USS Avandar
NCC-80203
D238601RB0

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