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Cadet Ico Ena - They're not around


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While our characters are trying to stay sane and continue to save the ship and their fellow crewmates, we get to see the point of view of one of our PNPC’s and how fear and guilt can take over someone’s feelings.

Amazing work, @Alieth

 

((Room 05-1005, Tahna’s Quarters, Deck 5, USS Gorkon))

Ena opened a new box and, with extreme care, began to place its contents neatly across the bed. After all, the yellow alert meant she had all the time in the world to do it, and since she didn't know how long it would last, she might as well extend those activities for as long as she could.

The entry into that strange place in subspace had meant that she and Meru had to put aside the investigation of the older Bajoran of the strange nascent star that now represented the heart of their research. Not only that, but shortly thereafter, Tahna had been required to conduct some sort of investigation into some pod they'd rescued... while Ico was left behind to basically analyse data and produce spreadsheets. Not that it bothered her, far from it, she'd had more than her fair share of adventures on Darime IV, but when the yellow alert had triggered, all the ship's non-vital operations had been shut down... including the powerful computer usage Ena required to continue her analysis. Since her activity was non-essential, she had had to leave everything as it was and head back to her quarters, suddenly idle.

Soon she had discovered that the replicators were off-line (no tea or craving snacks for you Ena!) and the computer in the room had its functions limited so... well.... she was unpacking.

A small smile crept onto the shy Ena's expression. Confirmation that her cadet cruise would take place aboard the Gorkon had come just before the ship left the solar system, and Ico had had to rush to pack everything up and toss it into a runabout before the flagship of the Tyrellian sector left sector 001. She had barely had time to sort anything out, let alone say goodbye to her friends. Farewells that, in some cases, had been painful, but had left her with a promise, a visit, in the indeterminate future, with him, to Bajor. She looked forward to it and see again that smile.

Be that as it may, the next surprise had come when the Quartermaster had confirmed that she would be sharing a room with her best friend. Whether by the hand of the Prophets or some benevolent officer or a good-natured Admiral, the two girls had soon found that a new bed had been pushed into the standard junior officer quarter, and efficiently placed on the wall opposite the one occupied by Meru's bed... and that had been all. Little ceremony and a little bit cramped quarters, but... there they were. Sharing a room once again.

Of course, taking things out of their boxes hadn't been an option because they had so much to talk about, so many books to discuss, so many places Meru had to show her, so many labs to snoop through, so many silly fights over who had the best spot on the reading nook next to the teeny window of the room and so MUCH to talk about that putting things out of their boxes had ranked very low on Ena's list of priorities. Thus, the containers had simply piled up in a corner until that day, some open, just to pull out a rare book or a sequinned tunic that Ena had NEVER worn despite her mother's insistence that she wear it in case of a ball. The young Bajoran let out a giggle. Did she really not know her own daughter? She would roll herself into a ball under a table before actually participating in a ... ball.

She shook her head as she pulled out a small package wrapped in blue paper. And then she remembered. She had just had time to go to that little café near the academy and bring back a selection of Meru's favourites. She had intended to give them to her as soon as she arrived but of course, life had got in the way.

Pushing the gift aside as if it were the most valuable thing in the sector (because, evidently, it was, at least until they succeeded in getting Commander Caedan to retro-engineer the recipe), she rose to lay it on the small table next to Meru's bed. The cadet pushed aside the small white and gold prayer candle that occupied the centre of the cabinet and, then, the light faded.

Darkness surrounded her, a particular kind of blackness, a void of any light, of any existence, oppressive and dense. One that reminded her of when Ena had woken up, dizzy and confused in that damned cave, not so long ago.

Ico: He–hello?!

Her voice was lost in that immense emptiness, no matter how hard the young cadet strained to hear something, anything. Perhaps, at the edge of her hearing, she heard an echo, or the sound of water, or a distant hum.

Ico: ….no…. not again.

Her nostrils filled with the smell of mould, of moss and alien plants, of those spores that floated, shiny and eerie in the cave but not there, not in that dark reflection of her reality. Her hands sweated and she felt a metallic, bitter taste in the back of her throat, one that she tried to swallow without success.

The buzzing became faster, not as fast as it should be, but coming from everywhere, from all sides at once, surrounding her, encircling her and Ena knew that this time, this time she could not save herself. There was no one there, no officers, no friends, not even the strange voice that had sounded in the back of her brain and that had been silenced when they had extracted... it from her brain, if they had done that at all. Somehow, Ena knew that not even the Prophets would hear her there, not again, no more.

The hum filled her ears, reaching out from everywhere in that endless night, and she set the box slipt down her finger as she put her hands to her ears and let herself fell to her knees onto a floor that not only she couldn't see, but which didn't even exist.

Ico:... please… not again

Her pitiful whisper was lost in the blackness full of whirring noises, in that space before the light, made up of the horror of absences.

Voice: Again, yeah, one more time.

Ena raised her head and there, in front of her, she saw Sol, his chest still scorched, the hole that had torn his young life from him blacker, darker than the inside of a black hole.

She tried to speak, but the words failed to escape the lintel of her lips.

Second voice: Once more, once again.

 Ena turned only to look at Jack. His face serene even though his purple eyes looked beyond her, lusterless, like the last time she had met them, before Ryan closed the Kelpien's eyelids forever. 

The young Bajoran's heart thundered a racing tattoo on her chest as she hid her green eyes behind her hands, her breathing quickened to ragged gasps.

Ico: Nononono….no…. not again, Prophets, not again. 

Sol & Jack: Again.

The buzzing rose in pitch, close, too close, as when she was trapped in the tunnel, with the drone at her heels, but this time there would be no helping hand to aid her, no leap to salvation, no loved one to pick her up in her fall. 

She could not move.

She could not run.

She could not escape the doom her deceased friends had designed for her.

Because she had left them behind, left them to their fate, their bodies lying forever in the darkness of that cave on an alien world. No matter what she did to put that behind her, no matter what ceremonies she performed, she had left them behind... and now she had to pay the price.

Then the light came back. And the crates and the room and Meru's white and gold candle and the box of kava cookies forgotten on the green carpet.

But Ena did not see either of these, her eyes bleary with tears behind her hands, her frail body shaken by inconsolable sobs in which horror and guilt mingled.

 

Cadet Ico Ena

4th Year Cadet

USS Gorkon NCC-82293

E239702A10 

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