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Artinus Serinus - One moment you're in love


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One moment, you’re in love. The next moment, you’re in hell.”


The young, blonde man spoke dourly. He had at one time even been considered a pretty boy, not a “pretty boy”, just a genuinely beautiful young man. Unfortunately, time and tragedy had aged him prematurely. The shadow of loss hung about him like a weighty, immovable cloak of iron. It hung around in his bagged and hollowed eyes, his distant voice, his disciplinary record, and his general demeanor; slumped and scruffy. The man that he once had been, was long gone, along with a rank, and having his name on the Petty Officer list.


Branson had finally escaped the shadow of the USS Eagle when her crew transferred to the state of the art Juneau. And Ensign Artinus Serinus, one of his former bosses, had left them when he transferred to the Arrow. None of them had stopped the madness that happened that day. They tried to fix it after, even though they were as powerless as he was to advert, slow, or even lessen his downward spiral. Ensign Serinus had even ordered him to attend weekly counseling sessions for grief, but wouldn’t let him near the man responsible. He had wanted hours with the perpetrator of his abject misery, but only needed a minute or two.


The Emergency Counseling Hologram had given him the idea, inadvertently. The spark of madness and/or genius that led him to the devastating holodeck addiction that had developed by reliving the happy moments over and over again. On the holodeck, she was still there with him, or as close as was possible. He knew deep in the core of his intellect that is was a facsimile, but he had made certain that his senses were tricked every time. The tone, timbre, and tempo of her musical voice were as perfect as the gold flecked emeralds in her eyes, the shine of her long brown hair, the little idiosyncrasies of Crewman Second Class Adrianna Vala’s personality, or her caring and intelligent manner. Even her half-Vulcan ears had matched the real one’s with stunning accuracy.


That was the past.


Presently Crewman Second Class Branson Ofrey lay on the couch. It was leather, and a shade of burgundy that might appeal especially to the tragic victims of a different addiction. The new Counselor of the USS Chekov, one Lieutenant Commander Dtar ch’Monos, sat across from him in a matching armchair, gripping his well trimmed white goatee. The holo emitter over the space window displayed a lovely spring day on the Crewman’s homeworld of Velestus. A nice touch.


Let’s start at the beginning” the Counselor told him in a voice that was as cold as the officer’s frozen home world, and as clinical as the Vulcan Science Academy.


The Andorian had no doubt read his file, but seeing as he was new here, he wanted to hear it all for himself, and that meant that Branson had to reopen his old wounds all over again. Must he martyr himself for his own healing every time he changed assignments, or a new counselor took over his treatment?


We met in the mess hall, aboard the Eagle. She was absolutely the most beautiful woman I had ever seen, let alone, met. And that has yet to change.”


Branson took a moment, but then pushed himself fprward, with all the determination of a seasoned Starfleet Security person.


I asked if I could sit with her, and she let me. We talked for the most magical fifteen minutes of my life. Her voice was like music, her eyes were green pools flecked with gold. She was friendly, attentive, and just a really sweet person. I felt like I had met an angel.”


Every angel returned to heaven eventually.


We met every day for lunch afterwards and had deep and meaningful conversations. Two enlisted people. A Security guy and a Cargo Specialist. When I asked her if we could become a couple, she was as delighted as I was after she told me ‘Yes.’ After that, we spent every off duty hour together. Waking, and sleeping. We danced the tango on a holodeck program set in the streets of Rio de Janeiro, we pushed each other at the gym, and made madly passionate love. It’s like our souls had become entwined.”


Commander ch’Monos looked at him dourly. “Go on, Crewman.”


It was the best 10 weeks of my life” He hesitated “Then that day came.”


The Counselor rang in again. “The day you lost her.”


The crewman bit his lips, inhaled, and then released his lips. “Yeah. . . It was supposed to be an easy supply run to a new colony. But then some of our people caught an intruder. Somehow, before he was caught, he released a nest of Alterian Spider Birds on board, and we had to go clean it up. We were clearing deck 7, and we stormed into a room. It was a room like any other, but that room has been frozen in my mind forever. Webs were everywhere. Ral spotted it first, and directed Serinus to it.”


The Counselor looked at him. “It?”


The crewman’s voice became shakier with every syllable as he got to the heart of the mattter. “A spider sack, like they use for prey. A person sized spider sack. They couldn’t find lifesigns. They tried it a few times, then we were ordered to cut it down and open it.” He closed his eyes tight and grasped his forehead. “It. . . was her, doc. I did the only thing that I could do, I puked my guts out.”


Even the professional, experienced, and clinical Counselor took pause. After several moments of crushing silence, he began to write on his PADD. His patient sighed impatiently, and the doctor finally prodded him along. “Tell me about the funeral.”


Branson opened his eyes and looked up at the other man with angst and self pity. “It was closed casket.” For rather obvious reasons “I begged until they let me see her. . . But I just couldn’t do it.” He had seen enough the first time. “So I just reached out and grasped her bicep. The feel of that uniform shirt will haunt me for as long as I live.”



And then the dam broke and flooded the couch with tears.

Edited by Artinus Serinus
Fixed formatting issues with fonts.
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