Popular Post Kali Nicholotti Posted February 24 Popular Post Share Posted February 24 (( Interior, Corridor, Deck 3, USS Arrow, approximately 2 hours later )) The ship was a flurry of activity, much of it routine. As the Arrow traveled at low warp to a destination yet unknown to him, Nolen approached his own destination: his quarters, tucked among those of every other junior officer on the ship. Relieved of his duties on the Bridge, Ensign Hobart walked zombie-like from the turbo-lift as a chorus of vague, indecipherable whispers chewed at his mind, and a swelling sea of mental trauma threatened to drown his sanity. He came to the door of his quarters, indistinguishable from every other door on that stretch of hallway, but for the display plate above the door controls. Placing a fingertip on the otherwise featureless lit contact, he paused for a moment to peer up and down the corridor. Hobart: ::through a sigh:: Okay. Stepping inside, Nolen looked around his room. An interior cabin, there was no viewport to the stars he knew to be whizzing and curving past the ship in its warp bubble. His eyes finally landed on his duffel bag, left unceremoniously on the foot of his bed. His thoughts turned to the task of unpacking, but just then a sharp, fiery hot stab of hatred made itself known, leaping out of the morass of emotions from the cargo back a few dozen meters aft. In response, Nolen's mind instinctively conjured up fear, and then changed tack to aimless rage. Having subconsciously settled on "fight" over "flight," he gripped the strap of his duffel and with a hiss launched it across the room, where it connected with the far wall and fell to the floor with a thud. Inhaling deeply, Nolen closed his eyes and nursed his throbbing knuckles. Should have used the other hand. (( Flashback, Stardate 238906.14, Hobart Residence, Relva VIII Mining Colony )) A teenaged Nolen sat on his bed, staring out the window of his bedroom. The stars outside were cold and distant, and the rock face of the barren excuse for a planet was cold and near. His father stood in the doorway, still dressed in his gold-shouldered uniform. N. Hobart: I still don't understand why you didn't stay on Betazed. It was a lie. Nolen understood full well why they didn't. But it was a lie told for a purpose, to draw out a truth. O. Hobart: ::sigh:: It was... not a great place to be. After the Jem'Hadar destroyed the leadership, people started to lose hope. And that's contagious, even for people who can't read minds. Then there were the camps. Even after liberation, all that hurt just kept stewing. Even now, it's not the same as it was. N. Hobart: Yeah, you didn't want to put her through it. ::beat, turning to face his father:: She could be stuck there right now, stewing with a billion other broken people. Instead of just me. Nolen felt his skin getting hotter. He knew his resentment pulsed through the walls, even if his words didn't reach that far. He knew his mother could feel his anger. Heck, she might even be reading his thoughts at that very moment. Serves her right, he thought bitterly. When she had her fits, he felt them. He even dreamt them. There was no escape for him; why should there be for her? Omar Hobart stiffened at his son's words. He locked his pale brown eyes onto Nolen's black pools, his face taught. Nolen knew this look. This was the look he spent the past ten years being afraid of, the look he knew he'd someday have to master, too. This was "Starfleet." But the clenched fist was new. Nolen could practically taste the bitterness nagging at his father, even before the man spoke. O. Hobart: ::measured:: None of us get to choose the life we're given. We don't get to control the things that happen to us. We can't go back and change the past, no matter how much it hurts us today. It's been a lot for you, but it's been a lot for all of us. We didn't choose the War. We didn't choose the Occupation. We didn't choose to give you empathic powers. We chose to come here, away from it all. So that you might stew with just one... ::sneer:: "broken" person, instead of a billion of them. His father sighed, and Nolen felt his own shoulders slump. O. Hobart: I know today was not a good day. And I know you're suffering right along with her. But... ::pause, thoughtfully:: ...have I ever told you what a "Jewish Optimist" is? Nolen shook his head and perked up. So often the Betazoid side of his family dominated his every waking and non-waking moment, he relished the opportunity to connect with his Human side, if only to leave the other behind. (( End Flashback )) Leaving the duffel for a moment, Nolen strode to the replicator on that same wall. Hobart: Computer, ::waiting for the soft chime:: give me the strongest stimulant I'm authorized to replicate. Drink form. Hot. As a steaming mug of Zariphean coffee whirred into existence within the replicator's small alcove, Nolen pulled out the PADD tucked into his uniform's back pocket. Maintenance wouldn't schedule itself. A sweet-sour wave of grief rolled over him, and he tenderly ran his hurt hand through his hair to put himself together as much as he could. He didn't trust his dreams on this ship, not now. Not with two cargo bays packed to the brim with broken people. As his father's words a decade ago echoed in his head, Nolen made for the door and set himself a challenge to stay awake and busy for the remainder of the trip. Hobart: "Somebody who believes things can't possibly get any worse." ::hesitant sip, a look of disgust:: Oy, that's terrible. ::another sip:: Exiting his room, he turned left. It was a straight shot to Main Engineering from here, encircled by both the permanent and makeshift Sickbays, and this drink promised to keep him awake for three days. TBC ——— Ensign Nolen Hobart Engineering Officer USS Arrow (NCC-69829) A240001NH3 5 1 Quote Link to comment
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