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Lt. Commander Tahna Meru - In The Broken World


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((Chief Science Officer’s Office, Deck 17, USS Gorkon))

((One Day After))

She had avoided her quarters for as long as she possibly could. 

There was plenty of work to be done. She had combed through Johnson’s file, and then again, and again. Learned all she could about the technology at his disposal. Separated projects that might help them survive this new timeline, and ones that might have to be put on hold to help the Gorkon survive. Hopefully, this would all be fixed soon. But…they really couldn’t know that, and she wanted to be prepared for the worst. 

She checked in on her friends aboard the ship, and the crew in her department. 

How are you managing, do you need a moment or an assignment to focus on, how’s your support network, do you want to talk, have you seen a counselor yet, here, have a biscuit. We are going to fix this.

If she stopped working, stopped helping everyone else, she would start feeling

Rok’s meals were set to replicate automatically, so she’d managed to stay busy and away from her quarters for nearly a full day. When she awoke slumped over her desk, shoulder stiff and aching from an unexpected nap, she finally conceded, and made the dreaded march up to deck two.

 

((Tahna’s Quarters, Deck 2, USS Gorkon))

Rok brushed up against her leg as soon as she entered her quarters, purring softly. The tortoiseshell feline fluffed her feathers and stared at Meru with her one good eye. 

Tahna: I know, I know, I’m sorry. 

She scooped the cat up, gently scratching between her wings, just where the cat liked it. Rok rubbed her head against the Bajoran’s chin. 

Tahna: There, tesha tah. I know I’ve been gone too long. 

Really, the cat was as introverted as Meru herself, and set up to be alone for much longer if needed. That didn’t stop the scientist from feeling guilty. 

As tempting as it was to fix another raktajino, take the cat with her back to her office, and keep working, Meru reasoned she was no good to anyone (especially in such a dangerous universe) if she didn’t at least try to sleep. So she gave Rok an apology treat, one she’d bought way back on Andoria (hell, Andoria…), and headed through the arch to her bedroom, rolling her sore shoulder. 

At least her bed would be more comfortable than her office desk. At least…

Her eye caught on her desk, and she froze. 

Her father’s painting hung there, her family home and kava fields vibrant and alive. They were all gone now, razed, maybe turned into a Borg stronghold. Had Bajor even existed without occupation for a little while?

A holophoto of her and Ena on holiday adorned the desk, but she could barely look at it, or the photos of her family. Had Ena, Ren, Tara, had they ever existed? Was it better if they hadn’t? 

Her uncle, her parents…she knew how hard they’d fought to be free on Bajor, she knew what they’d sacrificed, how they’d suffered. And now she closed her eyes and saw them all, everyone she’d left behind. Everyone she’d failed. Dead, or covered in cybernetics. Or both. 

And that was just the people she knew and loved. There were trillions of people out there, gone, because one tiny ship had failed to stop another. Maybe if she’d worked faster, been better…maybe…

She wanted to scream. She wanted to scream, and rage, and cry, and curse the universe and the Prophets and herself. She wanted…she wanted…

Her knees buckled and she hit the floor, hands clasped over her mouth, helpless to stop the silent sobs wracking her body, the pain in her chest, the nausea. 

She’d always imagined the worst thing that could come of being in Starfleet was some horrible death for herself. Oh, how wrong she’d been. How naive.

Rok brushed up against her side, the tiniest little lantern in the darkness. Meru gathered the cat into her arms and, finally, let herself mourn. 

 

--

Chief Science Officer
USS Gorkon (NCC-82293)
G239801TM4
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