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JP: Fleet Captain Diego Herrera & Lt Kael Thomas - Time To Say goo

Sedrin Belasi

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JP: Fleet Captain Diego Herrera & Lt Kael Thomas - Time To Say goodbye

((USS Vigilant, Deck 1: Captain’s Ready Room))

::It took Kael a little while to work up the courage to ask the captain what he planned to do. It wasn’t that he didn’t want to do it, he just didn’t want to have the discussion about doing it. T’Rella didn’t have anyone on board to look after her things, so Kael had hoped the Captain would allow him to do that for her.::

::Diego looked up from his PADD as he heard the chime at the door. He hadn’t been short of visitors lately, which was to be expected after such a gruelling mission, and he wondered who he’d be meeting with this time.::

Herrera: Come in!

::Kael entered and found the Captain behind his desk. He was surrounded by PADDs, of which would likely be mission reports and briefings. The Captain looked as though he’d had a lot less sleep than he should have. ::

Thomas: Captain.

Herrera: Kael. What can I do for you?

::His chief engineer had been through the mill, that was for sure. His team had ended up almost literally up to their eyeballs in bluegill parasites and it was a miracle that most of them had made it back.::

Thomas: Sir...I know Ensign T’Rella, didn’t have any family close by.

::Kael hadn’t really talked about how he felt about all of the deaths he’d seen while on the mission. He witnessed Solor and Varis’s death, and arrived back to hear about T’Rella’s. Kael knew death was a natural thing. He was even taught, and somewhat conditioned, to expect it during the course of his starfleet career. But it was entirely different in person. It was entirely different to watch one of your own get infested by a parasite, to then tear the life from another. Kael’s dreams were of bluegills.::

::Diego immediately put the PADD down because he could tell that Kael really needed some friendly support. He’d been with Solor and Varis’s team when they’d been killed and T’Rella had effectively been his assistant.::

Herrera: That’s right. What is it, Kael?

Thomas: Well, I’d like to be the one to pack up her belongings...to...err send back home.

::Diego thought carefully about the idea. Being as he wasn’t related to T’Rella, there could, in theory, be a complaint if word got out that he’d packed up her things. However, Diego just couldn’t see a situation where he wouldn’t be willing to field that complaint, because he didn’t think that her family, who were Vulcan, no less, would speak out in anger about the fact her department head wanted to take some time to adjust to the fact she was gone.::

::The Captain seemed to look at Kael for a while. Kael thought the Captain was about to deny his request.::

Herrera: I’ll do you a deal. You’re good to do it if I come with you.

::That seemed like the best solution. That way, any objections would have to be levelled at Diego, and he could keep the chief company at the same time.::

Thomas: Of course sir….Thank you.

::Kael hadn’t anticipated the Captain wanting to help or come along. It was easy to imagine the Captain didn’t personally know, or want to know everyone onboard. Being detached was a way to keep yourself protected, to shield yourself from the death, and the loss of those who serve under you. Kael wondered if the Captain was different, or was this simply a way for him to move on also.::

::The pair reached the Ensign’s room, with very little conversation. Both appeared lost in their own thoughts and intentions.::

Thomas: It will be locked sir. You’ll need to override it.

::Diego raised an eyebrow and bit his tongue as he looked at the door. He wasn’t even sure if he was ready to walk into the room and he hadn’t known T’Rella even a fraction as well as Kael had.::

Herrera: Computer, override locking mechanism. Authorisation: Herrera phi three seven seven echo.

::As the doors opened, a scent hit Kael. It was the same scent that the Ensign had clinging to her clothes each day in Engineering. Her meditation candle. In the small confines of the room, it apparently permeated the cabin and all its occupants.::

::The room was immaculately kept. Everything has it’s particular place, and everything was folded and left perfectly clean. He wasn’t surprised by that at all. She was a precise, almost fastidious person. It was not shock, that her room reflected her work ethic.::

::Kael had arranged some containers for her items before asking the captain. Picking up one, he moved to the first cabinet. There was a picture of her and her family in the frame. A traditionalist, it looked as though the photo was a printed one, and not in a digital frame. The image of T’Rella instantly brought back memories, and brought back that he wasn’t going to see her again. That she was gone. Tears welled in his eyes, and streaked down his face.::

::Wiping his face, and sniffling, Kael realised that hiding the fact that he had teared up was no good.::

::It was a painful moment for Kael and Diego had the utmost of sympathy for him. It was always difficult to see people lose those who were close to them, even if that had largely been in a professional capacity.::

Herrera: You alright, Kael? You don’t have to do this now if you need some time.

Thomas: I’m ok. Just hit me a bit when I saw her picture.

::That was understandable; he hadn’t seen her since before the bluegill mission after all and seeing her image on a picture would likely be enough to remind him that he wouldn’t be seeing her again any time soon, either. Diego felt the same way to some extent, although he was protected to a degree by the fact they hadn’t crossed paths all that often.::

Herrera: Yeah, that’s understandable. Take your time.

::Placing the picture in the container, he turned to face the Captain.::

Thomas: It’s not meant to be like this all the time is it? I don’t think I’m overly fond of people I work with… ::He trailed off, finishing that sentence wasn’t necessary.::

::That really did strike a chord with Diego. Two of the people he had considered friends had become casualties during the last mission. One hadn’t made it. While he hadn’t been as close with the other two members of his crew, he felt like he was responsible for them and really did care about the fact that they were now dead.::

Herrera: ::Nodding slowly:: They tell you when you go through command training that you should keep a distance between yourself and those under your command. I don’t think I agree. I think maybe it should be like this all the time, because then it reminds you that your crew are the resource that you have to be the most careful with. On some level, losing three people wasn’t too high a price when the number of Laudean lives that had been saved were considered. That attitude is one that only people who didn’t know the people we lost can take, though, because I would pretty much do anything to not have had to write letters to the families of Varis, T’Rella and Solor.

Thomas: Yeah, I know. I suppose you’ve got a harder time of it than most.

::Being the captain, and responsible for far more people than Kael, was a huge burden. One of those burdens was times like this and the need to place calls into the families of those who have lost their lives under your command.::

::Diego waved off the comment almost as soon as Kael had made it, screwing up his face.::

Herrera: Agh… I don’t believe that. Sure, I’m the guy who has to make the awkward call home, but we all feel losses like these. I didn’t know T’Rella that well, but I know I’m gonna miss Solor because I’d known him for a few years. It’ll take time for us all to adjust.

::Swallowing that comment for few seconds, Kael acknowledged that he really had no idea what the Captain was going through. What he could acknowledge was his appreciation.::

Thomas: Thanks for coming with me also. It’s a little harder than I expected.

::This was a bit of a last goodbye, that he didn’t get to say to T’Rella. A sense of closure and a boot long for Kael to accept the loss.::

Herrera: No worries. I think this is gonna be good for me, too.

::He started helping Kael load up the first container that he’d brought into the room.::

Thomas: ::Taking a deep breath.:: This helps me, say a kind of Goodbye that I didn’t get to.

::The pair very sensitively packed up the contents of the room, ready for the handover to her parents. Kael was glad for the Captain’s company during a difficult time. He’d not spent much time with him over the past few months, and he’d certainly grown a lot of respect for him since then.::

::Diego wordlessly helped Kael to square away T’Rella’s belongings, aware of how important a step it would be in the chief engineer’s grieving process. He and the lieutenant had been serving together for a good while now and Diego felt that he needed to make more of an effort to get to know him. He’d not found his way down to engineering that often since launch and that was something he needed to put right as soon as possible.::

::The unlikely duo, finished packing up the late Ensigns room with minimal fuss, and great respect and compassion. With the contents packed and ready to be transported to her family, Kael paused to take a look at how her entire life was now packed into a few boxes. Kael pondered just what his box contents might look like when his time came around. ::

::Exchanging a nod of completion, and thanks, the pair parted their separate ways. ::


A JP by

Lt Kael Thomas

Chief Engineering Officer

USS Vigilant


Fleet Captain Diego Herrera

Commanding Officer

USS Vigilant


Deputy Commandant: UFOP: SB118 Academy

Edited by Leo Handley-Page
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