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Lieutenant jg Jack Kessler - The weight of Hope

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((Forward Observation, Deck B, Mission Pod, USS ‘Oumuamua))

There were many places on the ‘Oumuamua that you could find some sort of seclusion if needed. Jack’s personal quarters usually were fine but when he wanted to really just think and escape his favorite place to work was in the Mission Pod of the ‘Oumuamua. Very rarely was anyone ever up here unless he had directed a Tactical or Engineering team up here for maintenance. Nothing was scheduled for the area so this was a great opportunity for him to finish up some light work and do it from the observation area in the Mission Pod. 

His thoughts were on his parents and the USS Caboto. The UDP and the Zet. An attack that for all intents and purposes was provocation by the Zet to gain technology they had no business getting their hands on and if it had not been for the UDP giving a pre-warp civilization warp technology, they would have never had the means of such an attack. Jack stopped what he was doing and began to stare out the observation window thinking about how many lives had been lost or worse, sold because the UDP had given the Zet warp technology? It was a disturbing thought and what more was the thought that his cousin, now his adopted sister was among those about to be sold. He leaned forward on the console in front of him with a gut ache and slight feeling of nausea as he realized how close they had come to missing out on that rescue. Yet how many others had already been handed off in such a manner that they had missed.

Jack slowly shook his head from side to side at the disgusted thought and then, there in the reflection of the observation window stood a familiar figure. Surprised that he had not heard anyone enter the pod Jack spun on his heels and looked up to the catwalk above. Lieutenant Commander Brodie stood leaning against the rail and was glancing down at Jack.

Brodie: I had a feeling it might be you.

Kessler: Sorry doc, I did not know you were up there. You waiting for someone? I can clear out.

Brodie: No…I was watching, not waiting. ::He turned towards Jack:: I get the distinct impression you’ve been doing the same?

The man was perceptive and a good ships counselor. Was he here to do what Jack was, reflect inwardly on some specific matter or was he here checking up on Jack? Brodie was a good man and in Jack’s eye, his father and Brodie would get along great. Two Scotsmen who loved to talk and share a drink with a friend.

Kessler: (stepping up the stairs to the catwalk and looking out into space) It’s a nice place to come and get lost in thoughts.

Brodie: I can go, if you’d rather have privacy.

Kessler: (glancing over to Brodie) No, I could use someone to talk to. (beat, looking out at Seytoxal) What are you watching from our watchtower up here?

The reference was meant to lighten the mood a little. Jack knew he was probably looking rather out of sorts himself as he tried to real in his thoughts and emotions.

Brodie: ::Far away voice:: The USS Esperanto… ::Turning to Kessler, more focused:: Sorry…it’s an old reference…Esperanto was a universal language…it translates as “one who hopes”…I suspect you can relate?

Jack nodded, he could relate to that but there seemed something more that the Doc was dealing with himself. Jack turned slowly and gently to Brodie. Everyone in the crew came to the ships counselors, they must need an outlet themselves like everyone else. Maybe this was Brodies or maybe, he thought to himself, he was Brodie’s outlet right now. He knew the counselor had a daughter close to Jack’s age, maybe this was his fatherly side trying to find it’s way out or maybe Jack was just reaching for something himself in a time as dark and distraught as this one was.

Kessler: Yeah, I just don’t feel like shore leave is the right answer for me. I can’t just drop all this and go have fun, not right now. Not while there’s still unanswered questions about my parents and the Caboto. (beat) It’s too heavy of a weight right now to try and push aside.

Brodie: Have you found anything yet?

Anything. Anything would have been great. Anything would have lifted that level of hope up higher. Anything would have been preferred to the nothing they had. 

Kessler: (lowering his head and sounding more defeated) No. I keep scouring the data feeds from that social media thing Vomek linked into but nothing useful. What about you, have you heard anything different?

Brodie’s empathy was genuine and Jack felt that. The man had suffered loss as well and Jack could see that in his response, he could feel it in his response.

Brodie: Nothing that I’ve heard. They’ve had a few vessels sweeping the area but so far; nothing. You’ve done the security training, what is it they teach you. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence?

Kessler: (look up slowly to the view port and the planet below) I keep telling myself, keep hoping that I am wrong but after what we have seen and dealt with out here, I can’t get the fact out of my head that they are already dead.

Brodie: I’m not going to lie to you Jack, it’s highly likely. 

Jack tilted his head sideways and looked over at Brodie. He did not try to baby you, he was there to give support, but he was holding the door of reality open, keeping it from slamming in your face. Jack appreciated the honesty and the bluntness of it.

Kessler: (softly) I know, (beat) that’s where the weight of hope becomes heavier to carry.

Jack looked back out into space and leaned against the catwalk railing. His hands gripping at the rails with anger, fear, rage, confusion and so many other feelings intertwined. He could feel the blood pulsing in his fingertips at the thought of what was a more than likely outcome for the Caboto crew based on what they currently knew.

Truth be told, Jack was strong enough that he knew he would be able to get through this with or without Brodie’s help. What he could not understand was how he was going to get through this and help Krystal get through it at the same time. His own emotions he could deal with and grieve in his own way but he now had this young girl who had already been through so much trauma to help.

Kessler: (looking back to Brodie) I can carry that heavier burden of hope knowing that the outcome is most likely the worst case scenario. What I do not know how to handle is Krystal. If the worst case should be true, this is going to destroy her world. (beat) I have no idea if I can give her what she needs. (backing away from the railing) I know I will do everything in my power for her but it’s not like I have any experience in helping her understand this type of loss.

Brodie: Response

Jack nodded slowly as Brodie spoke. He knew the entire crew would come to aid Krystal if needed, especially his crew. Many were survivors of the USS Thor and all had seemingly become much closer having gone through that horrific ordeal. Jack knew he was not alone in giving her the help she would need if this indeed went to the worst case scenario. At the moment though, even with Brodie standing right there, Jack still felt a million kilometers away from everything.

Kessler: I don’t mind telling you Alex. This is one of those moments where Starfleet thinks they have trained you for this and in reality (beat) no one can prepare you for this. 

Jacked leaned against the back railing of the catwalk, facing forward and folded his arms across his chest and just stared out into space. The planet in the background seemingly not even important anymore. His mind just started drifting into the void of space staring at the empty solitude of blackness between each glistening star.

Brodie: Response



Lieutenant jg Jack Kessler

Asst. Chief Tactical Officer

USS Oumuamua


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