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Bringer of War, Harbringer of Heartbreak (Or: Stupid Boys, & the Girls Who Love Them), Part II

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Posted (edited)

This whole JP was wonderous. An emotional and devastating end to a mission and to something else... (Part 1 is here.)

Great work by @Nolen Hobart and @Talia Ohnari


((First Officer’s Ready Room, Deck 1, USS Khitomer))


Talia could feel the determination radiating off of him. He’d made up his mind, and that felt like a slap to the face. She winced, taking in his words. He was angry, emotional, conflicted. But…he was resolved. At least, he was trying very hard to be. 


After a moment, she felt able to speak with a clear and steady voice. 


Ohnari: Well. You are certainly very efficient. How strange you cannot see how fitting this role is for you. Filing your resignation before any inquiry has even been hinted at, ::beat:: I thought we were both just…exploring things. ::grimacing:: How silly of me; you've been three steps ahead this whole time. Preemptively breaking up with me. ::her gray eyes flashed in anger for a very brief moment, the only hint of emotional expression she would allow:: Prior to us actually having been together. ::nodding:: Well. ::mostly to herself:: that is that, then.


Her words hurt him. It wasn’t the first time that he’d heard those words, or something substantially similar. Actually, no, those words in particular were the first, but the sentiment was common practice to Hobart. From high school through the Academy to now. And they never felt more right to him, or wrong. This was different! For one thing, he was pretty sure he didn’t want things to go that way. And for the other, he felt the ethical pull away from what he actually wanted. It wasn’t a convenience, this time. Or that’s what he told himself.


Hobart: ::stammering:: I… that’s… the way it is. In this uniform? It’s all wrong. Everything.


He looked back down at the PADD on the desk, which had the spirit of a resignation on it, but none of the words, yet.


She knew what he was doing. Pushing her away, before it could become more complicated and therefore, painful. But, even though she could see that from an objective angle, at that moment? It just hurt. Hurt, and incensed her. Later, when her emotions had cooled, she could accept it. But now? It felt like a “get-out-of-relationship-free” excuse. 


Ohnari: ::coldly:: Please pass along my condolences to Connor and the Captain on the cancellation of the upcoming nuptials, seeing as they also outrank their prospective partners. ::for a brief moment, her anger shifted to sadness, not for her, but for him. And whatever restriction he but upon himself and any sort of happiness.:: As your doctor, I must insist you leave this room. Shower, eat, whatever. Just…get out of this room. 


He closed his eyes and grimaced. She had a point. There was a longstanding tradition of officers fraternizing and intermingling, even with their direct subordinates. Starfleet wasn’t as rigid about these things as his heart wanted it to be. As much as Nolen Hobart dwelled in the gray between regulations, it was only ever for the ship. For engineering. For his crew. The rules were tools meant to be used, but not for himself. He pulled out his chair and shook his head at her.


Hobart: I can’t. Not yet. I have to do this. ::beat:: If I do this, then… maybe they won’t go after the Captain so hard. The crew.


He sensed the wavering blue at the edges of his mind and felt his own core fall away inside, as if he was a husk. His heart wasn’t in this, but he never liked listening much to his heart in the first place.


She could almost feel the cracks of her heart widening. It would hurt, badly, but not now. Now was a time for a retreat. And she pictured steel reinforced doors of her mental shields slamming down with a hearty clang. He wouldn’t get to sense her pain. He wasn’t listening, not really. He was doing what he assumed he had to. Refusing to entertain any other angles. Plus. the voice of hurt was louder than the one of compassion. She could apologize later. Or, in this case, just never think on it again. 


Ohnari: How noble of you. Sacrificing yourself for us. Which we never have, nor would ask that of you. But, so clever you are. Doing it alone, knowing we would refuse and talk you out of it. ::her voice began to crack, her time was coming to an end:: I do not know what happened to have you punish yourself for….existing? What amends you’re trying to make. ::a brittle smile ghosted the corners of her lips:: You are an exemplary engineer, and a brilliant officer. ::once again, the hurt and anger flared behind her eyes:: But sometimes you can be an extraordinarily stupid man. 


Nolen leaned heavily on the chair back, and looked at her as she spoke. He owed her that much. But his mind raced with images. Places he’d never lived, soldiers he’d never seen, and a boy he’d never been. He was hurting her, and all at once he felt shame for doing, and a rationalization that it was better, because the longer they went on as they were, the more he was going to do. And then another wave of shame for the self-indulgence of it. 


The urge to go and hug him was compulsory, at least that’s what she told herself. Being an empath and all. It had absolutely nothing to do with what she felt for him. If she was more honest with himself, she couldn’t handle the rejection had she even attempted it. Even with the hurt and anger, she felt sorrow for him. The last thing he would want. Nodding, mostly to herself, she began backing up, towards the door. 


Hobart: ::weakly:: Thank you, Lieutenant.


Ohnari: ::giving the most formal of head nods:: Of course, sir. 


Nothing left to say or do, she glanced briefly at the wrapped present sitting on the corner of the desk. Deciding it was now a parting gift, she quietly let herself out. Once in the hall, Talia walked at a steady pace towards the exit, to return to the base. The first tear escaped before she had a chance to do anything about it. oO that was fine. It can go. But that was the absolu- Oo 

the second followed before she could finish her thought.  oO Alright. That one too. Now it's done. Not a single additional one. Oo 


Left alone in the silence of his ready room, the Khitomer XO stared at the PADD he hadn’t been writing on. What had he just done? His breathing grew shaky and his eyes welled up in an absence he felt distinctly. He didn’t care whether it was the right thing to do, anymore. And he didn’t want to make any more sacrifices for the uniform, today. He gripped the device tightly and felt an almost irresistible urge to chuck it across the room, and smash it against a bulkhead. But he wouldn’t indulge himself in that, so instead he opened the drawer, slipped the slender device inside, and shut it without a sound.


He needed to get out of this room, grab a shower, and whatever.




Edited by Zenno
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  • Zenno changed the title to Bringer of War, Harbringer of Heartbreak (Or: Stupid Boys, & the Girls Who Love Them), Part II

I am enlisting warrior hopefuls for our Crusade of Vengeance for destroying the cutest Ship on the USS Khitomer.

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