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Ensign Santeen - The Truths We Know All to Well


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((Flashback - Three Days Before Quikz's 26th Birthday))

((Santo Domingo Church, Granada, Andalusia Provence, Spain, Earth))
::Santo Domingo Church rose high above the Santeen family and their loved ones, but even its vaulted ceilings, gilded fixtures, and touches reminiscent of the beauty and expansion of the Renaissance period, could not contain the entirety of their immense grief. Indeed, their pain was a sackcloth garment which seemed to cling about their necks and constrict the very hope in their lungs with a vice-like precision that was every bit as cruel as it was unrelenting.::
::Quikz clung to his mother Helena and his remaining sister Rosemary amid a stunned silence which was accentuated by the staccato drops of their tears boiling down their cheeks. His mother was veiled in black and was adorned not only by the breaking of her heart for her deceased child but by the splendor of her beauty, which not even her lamenting could arrest from her visage. Rosemary, being only 19, trembled young and fresh-faced as she wept openly, the slick of tears wetting her face, only to eventually bury themselves into the collar of her funeral dress.::
::The priest offered prayers and words of comfort to the mourners, yet even as Quikz stood beside Esmer's coffin, those words felt just as hollow and devoid of life as he now realized his sister's body was, having been reduced to merely a brittle husk and shell of her former self. When the priest spoke of life beyond death, of promises divine and of pleasure in the face of pain, the words seemed to catch in his innards, rattling around within the go-betweens of his ribs and chest, like bits of bone too soon swallowed, too soon felt.::
::He simply couldn't breathe.::
::He was angry, hurt, and confused - a thousand emotions colliding and clamoring over each other all in the singular effort to somehow burst the dam of his soul into a moaning wail which he suspected could easily shatter himself, just as much as what remained of his entire universe. Yet, it was his outward silence and stoicism broken only by the slight tremor in his upper lip which Quikz allowed the world to see. He would be the face of the Santeen family. He would be the rock for his mother and sister which kept their feet from sinking any further into this ever-widening pit of despair:::
Santeen: oOI shall be strong for them. I shall be what my father cannot be. I shall be the man that they need, this I truly swear.Oo
((After the Ceremony, Santeen Family Cemetary, Santeen Estate, on the borders of the Granadine Countryside))
::After the ceremony at Santo Domingo, Quikz had been one of the pallbearers to carry his youngest sister's small coffin. Other than a few cousins and uncles and a close family friend who helped shoulder the load, he was the sole representative of his immediate family to guide Esmer's remains on her journey to her final resting place.::
::His father had not been in attendance, not at the church service, nor even at the graveside of his own daughter's funeral. Instead, Quikz was certain he was stumbling and wallowing around in his study in a drunken stupor, trying to drown the demons of his life by virtue of strong spirits of his own choosing, which he found decidedly easier to swallow than his own pride and guilt.:
::At the moment it was Quikz's seething anger and unabated loathing of the man that had sired him, that kept him from collapsing fully into the throughs of despair. It was hard to believe he was only days away from turning 26, a man in his own right, and yet he couldn't help but still feel the weight of his father's toxic pull in his life. To think he had spent so much time, wasted so much effort trying to live up to the expectations of his father, while yet the man himself was the epitome of everything that Quikz desperately hated and yearned to escape from in life.::: 
::Esmer's grave had been dug, as generations of his family before had been, by hand. He himself had underseen the task, and as such, he himself would be the one to bury her today. It was not that there weren't many willing to help. They had a large extended family and were of course well known in the community. Also, if truth be told, they very easily possessed the money and means to have hired as many hands to do the work as they desired. But Quikz had insisted that he would do it, alone. And by the fire found in his eyes, no one, not even his father would dare talk him out of such a solemn task:: 
::After the remaining family and friends had paid their final respects and parted, he stood for a few moments with his mother and Rosemary, looking down into the gravesite. For one moment, time stood still, as the three of them huddle around her resting place, speaking with words wrapped in silence but which broke the heavens with the thunderous fists of their grief.::
::Finally, he picked up the shovel, and Rosemary began the walk back to the house. His mother seemed to focus for a moment on a point outward beyond her pain and even beyond her son. Then, Helena Santeen, the inwardly shattered matriarch of this already shaky dynasty, reached out and touched her son's cheek with her delicate mature palm. Neither mother or son spoke, nor would they ever know how long they stood there like that, but through that one touch came the transferance of strength that they both desperately needed to share.::
::With that she parted, allowing Quikz to busy himself in the fury and pain that would be his work. Always his work. Striving. Fighting. Trying. Pushing himself to new limits, breaking his back by way of the sweat of his brow. For in this manner and in this manner alone did he ever seem to find his own means of personal salvation. Only in his breaking down, and rising again from the dust, did he ever find his resurrection. This was a truth known to mother and son, a truth known to them both only all too well.:: 
Ensign Quikz Santeen
Security Officer
USS Darwin, NCC-99312-A
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