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Day 01 [1715 hrs.] Sar-unga Grieving

Day 01 [1715 hrs.] Sar-unga Grieving

[ Sar-unga Neleo | Personal Quarters | U.S.S. Theurgy ]

Sar-unga lay in her bed, blankets tangled around her bare legs and arms. Her room was dimmed, but not dark completely. Some human gentleman crooned an old love song from the speakers, her playlist used to muffle her thoughts just a little.
Earlier, she had received calls from her Captain, and earlier she had thrown the combadge across her room. It lay embedded in her uniform, which she had crumpled up and kicked around the moment she got to her quarters. She lay in her bed in a pair of boyshorts and an undershirt. She had no tears left in her to cry—indeed, she didn't have any sadness left to go with it either. She had tried to look for her new favorite target, the Klingon who violated her, only to find he too had died. Every joy she had had been removed from her life.

She felt something beyond anger, beyond rage and fury, and right into an emotion that Standard did not have words for. Kriisk, a feeling like anger that emanates from one's existence, and not from whatever hellhole emotions usually come from. Her very cells, the DNA within them vibrated with this feeling. How could this have happened? How could she have dedicated all this time, this effort, her love and passion to this cause, only to be so bitterly betrayed?

She had been this way since the battle ended, lying on her bad and listening to thoughts come from other voices in her head. Her father's voice, "Your fault your fault your fault," her brothers, her dear sweet baby brothers, "How could you do this? You watched us die, and yet you live on without a scratch. We sacrificed it all for you, you cruel, heartless bitch." Her mother, still alive, all Sar-unga could hear from her voice was screaming, wailing. The sounds of a newborn widow, the sounds of a mother who will bury her children. For hours, this is all she heard, and all she wanted to hear.

If she heard the captain's voice one more time, she thinks she'd absolutely lose it, if she hasn't already. Why did the wrong video go out, what the hell was the captain thinking, why did they retreat?! They were so close to winning!

Kriisk brewed in her gut like the acrid drink coffee humans liked so much. She wished it would all stop. She wished someone would buzz her door, come in, and tell her it was a sick joke and they were all still alive. Hundreds of years of life, hundreds of years of avoiding death, and they were just little blips wiped out so easily, it just couldn't be true, it couldn't be...

Re: Prologue 09: Sar-unga Grieving | Day 01 [1715 hrs.]

Reply #1
[ Commander Carrigan Trent | PO Neleo's quarters | USS Theurgy ]

As Executive Officer, there were several duties Carrigan Trent did not much care for.  And this was one of them.  During the battle, he had been the one to give the Asurians the attack signal and had been coordinating with their forces.  Just as he had been the one to direct them into a screening action while Theurgy was preparing to withdraw.  And who had not known their idea of a screening action would have put them in a knife-range fight with Task Force Archeron, to be left vulnerable as they would fall out of the vector's effective barrage jammer envelope. 

And had left them open to the 9000 micro-torpedoes launched belched by the 600 pods that had been laid by the Supremacy and Conquest, Sankolov's Domination-class dedicated pod-layers. 

So if anything, there was much of the blame to be laid onto him in the final analysis; errors had been made all around, and losing their broadcast, and the early arrival of Task Force Archeron had made a thorough hash of their careful plans. 

So, as ordered by the Captain, he would go and see their Asurian officer, and try to speak with her, for they needed her to speak to her people sooner rather than later. 

So, upon reaching her quarters, her location according to internal sensors, he resisted the temptation to simply use his command override to force the door open; instead, he simply pressed the door chime.  "Petty Officer Neleo?  This is Commander Trent.  May I come in?"

Re: Prologue 09: Sar-unga Grieving | Day 01 [1715 hrs.]

Reply #2
[ Sar-unga Neleo | Personal Quarters | U.S.S. Theurgy ]

Her brooding was forced to a halt by a familiar voice. It seemed odd he would ask to come in, especially when she knew she didn't have much of a choice. She pushed herself up from the bed and wandered around her newly-messied room, looking for something to wear that wasn't her uniform. She could hardly bear to wear that disgusting thing right now.

"If this is a social call you can turn yourself right around and leave." She answered as she picked up a pair of sweats and sniffed them to ensure they were clean. She knew that this was not a social call. She outright ignored everyone who had tried to get in touch wih her lately. Either Ives or Trent himself must have gotten tired of her radio silence.

Without warning, her door slid open and she stood there in her tank top and sweats, her eyes stained pale and puffy with her tears from earlier, her hair flyaway. She had not noticed, but in her grief, she had been pulling her own hair out. But deapite all this, she was far from pathetic. Her pure hatred had once been reserved only for one target. Now, with her favorite scapegoat gone, it was aimless, spreading through the air like acrid smoke.

"Whatever you've got to tell me better be good news." She grouched, secretly hoping maybe one of her family had made it.

Re: Prologue 09: Sar-unga Grieving | Day 01 [1715 hrs.]

Reply #3
Trent, even when he was at his most displeased, was always unfailingly polite. 

By some it was seen as a show of weakness, that he was too meek to use strong language.  But it was an approach that had seldom failed the XO throughout his career; yelling was not his way, although he had been known to raise his voice on occasion. 

But he had made it clear than when addressing someone, he expected to be acknowledged, and properly at that.  However, this time (especially given that the corridor was deserted and there was no one to hear the retort that had come through the door panel), he decided to forego the kind of correction he would have demanded in the mode of address his interlocutor had used. 

But something was telling him the door was going to open, eventually.  And as such, he held off on turning around, or overriding the lock as he would have been well within his rights to do.  And sure enough, the door did open, to reveal the Asurian security officer.  And she looked like hell.  Through the open door, he could not fail to notice the uniform crumpled in a corner, just as it was clear she had been crying and was left rather distraught.  And those reddened eyes were speaking volumes about the animosity she had chosen to bear him. 

"No, Miss Neleo, I have no news to give you."  His voice was his usual near-whisper and while it was quite dispassionate, there was an undercurrent of empathy to it; he had lost enough friends throughout the course of his career, including one he'd killed on this very ship with his bare hands, to understand the sort of loss she was experiencing.  "We have had no contact with your people since the battle, and you are the only one who is able to initiate communications with them."

He then took a deep breath, and once again he asked.  "May I come in?" 

And while it was voiced as a most polite request, there was a hint to his voice that at this time, he was doing Sar-Unga Neleo a courtesy by coming to her in her quarters and being willing to meet in this sort of an unofficial setting, as opposed to the much more formal, and intrusive, means he could compel if he was so inclined.

Re: Prologue 09: Sar-unga Grieving | Day 01 [1715 hrs.]

Reply #4
No news. Perhaps she should not hold onto silly hopes. She wished she could rage against Trent just for being here, how dare he come by and check on her. How dare he treat her with kindness. How dare he make her feel guilty for being so furious.

He wasn't just being kind for the sake of it, she thought. He was honest at least; they just needed her for diplomacy. She could at least justify her anger in this way.

She leaves the doorway and lets the commander follow her in if he wishes. She seats herself on her bed, her tail fwaps against the bedding with agitation. Her eyes are trained on the commander as he enters, feeling like there's nothing more she hates than him right now, despite his kindness.

Re: Prologue 09: Sar-unga Grieving | Day 01 [1715 hrs.]

Reply #5
For a moment, Trent was expecting the door would be closed in his face.  And he couldn't blame her, even if he would not let that particular reaction slide.  He had already given her one freebie, and his tolerance for insubordination was hardly infinite.  But, after a brief but somewhat tense silence, she stepped aside, leaving the door open behind her and the XO stepped in after the Asurian security officer.

As she made her way to the bed, he selected one of the few chairs in the quarters for himself and he seated himself despite not being invited to do so.  After all, this was an informal meeting, even though there would be official matters discussed.  But there was something nagging at him.  Her slenderness reminded him, to a degree, of Heather McMillan.  Except that unlike the Radiant, Sar-Unga Neleo radiated an aura of sheer toughness and, presently, barely constrained anger.  And he could not fault her for that either.

Once the door hissed shut, Trent finally spoke.  "Miss Neleo, I'm not going to lie to you.  The Captain did instruct me to speak to you.  We need to speak to your people again and I cannot understate just how important it is that we explain the failure of the mission and offer our regrets for your people's losses."  He kept his voice at its usual near whisper, and then he leaned forward, resting his elbows on his knees and his chin on his interlaced hands.  "And I would like to offer you my personal condolences as well, for the friends and family you have lost today."

Then, he straightened himself in his seat.  "I don't know if the same is taught to NCO's when you make Petty Officer, but at the Academy, they teach Cadets there are a few basic rules to giving orders; don't give one that is unlawful, don't give one that you know won't be followed, and don't give one if you  can't enforce consequences for not following it, let alone if those consequences won't solve the problem." 

"We both know there's no way I or the Captain can actually compel you to establish contact with your people and let us speak to them.  Nor can I even legally give you that order.  This is why I'm going to ask you, please, to put us in touch with them."

Even as he spoke, the Commander's eyes did not leave his interlocutor's, but part of his mind was thinking of what he had seen earlier; she was slender, pretty even, despite her rough edges.  Or perhaps because of them?  But that was hardly germane to their conversation. 

"And from me, I want you to know that if you want to talk to someone who isn't a counselor and knows what it's like to lose people in battle, I can make myself available for this.  And before you ask what I could possibly know, well, I lost a friend of twenty years during the mutiny; Sjaandin Fedd.  I... I actually killed him myself, with my bare hands; the mind degraded his higher functions, and what I expected to just put him on the ground for the time being turned out to be lethal."

Re: Prologue 09: Sar-unga Grieving | Day 01 [1715 hrs.]

Reply #6
She kept her eyes trained on him as he took a seat in the room. Her tail punctuated his speech with it's occasional flump on the bed. She had to take hold of her tail to keep it from making such an annoying sound the whole time.

Trent was tough-as-nails, easily one of the more hard-boiled officers aboard the Theurgy. It only felt natural to Sar-unga to compete, prove she was bigger and badder, especially on her own ground. It was an old instinct not entirely bred out of the Asurians as a whole. When he spoke, she put on an air of disinterest and disdain, despite her listening to every word he had to say.

She wanted badly to speak with her people, to mourn with them. His 'orders' were at least tempting in that way--but what would she say? What could she do? No doubt, her people felt the same pain she did.
"Fine. I'll talk to them. Shall I let them know you have regrets, then? Shall I tell them you have a condolence or two in your back pocket?" She grimaced. Condolences weren't even a word in Asurian, she has no idea how she'd even translate it. Even if she did, it'd be meaningless to her people.

"There's nothing I can say to make the hurt go away. There's nothing anyone can say. Sure, you might've gone through the same pain, but you are not me--not us. Your pain does not suddenly mean ours goes away. So unless you have a pre-written script for me to read out, I have nothing good to say to them on your behalf--or anyone's for that matter." She simmers. Regret was not a familiar concept for Asurians--but she's starting to find she has many. Maybe she regrets what just came out of her mouth. Regardless, she steels her face so Trent can't see her doubts.

Re: Prologue 09: Sar-unga Grieving | Day 01 [1715 hrs.]

Reply #7
"Any message you would give your people from this ship, that would have to come from the Captain.  It's over my authority to give you, as you said, a script."  Trent had not failed to notice what, among men, would have been considered a silent dick-measuring contest.  But then again, he was not one to engage in such things; he knew his authority and what it was derived.  Others may be willing to entertain delusions of challenging him or seeing where they stood with respect to their respective standings, but he knew his place, and how to put others back into theirs if need be.

But still, he let the Petty Officer vent.  She had much to be angry about, and while he was no counselor, he knew how to listen.  And, if anything, he had a few things to share himself.

"I know you want to grieve your people, and if you wish to contact them for that purpose, you will be given communications access to do so.  I only ask that you also arrange for a conversation between the Captain and a member of your government in a few days' time, so matters may be discussed directly."

"And while I won't apologize for anything I did during the battle, there are a few things I wish I could have done better.  I wish I'd pushed to have some time, even just a few days, drilling with your people so we could understand each other better, so I could have a chance to understand your doctrine, and be clearer in what we needed, in knowing that their idea of a screening action meant getting into knife-fight range.  If only to make sure they would have stayed within our EW envelope when we were withdrawing."

"Your people fought well, and they deserved much better than getting caught in a storm of torpedoes from a full pattern from a pair of Domination-class pod-layers."

Re: Prologue 09: Sar-unga Grieving | Day 01 [1715 hrs.]

Reply #8
Though the idea of contacting her people tempted her so badly, she had no idea what she would say. Would she be able to say anything? Would she just stare, dumb and mute, at a loss for words, kind of like how she's doing now with Trent? Her tail twitched in her hands, her knuckles had gone white as she clutched it, the pain brought her back into herself again.

“I want contact with my people for myself. I'll find someone you can talk to. If they're still alive.” Her tail whipped free of her hands the moment she let it go and thumped on the bedding again. Thump thump thwap.

“But I'm not a politician. I don't want to be the face of this massacre. If I'm going to be talking to any officials, one of you is going to be there taking responsibility for this.”

“I trusted you humans and the Federation way too much.” She admitted, perhaps falsely. This could be her anger talking, or it could be what she truly believes. She didn't know yet. “And now I'll be lucky if I'll ever get to go home. I'm the one who put Ives in contact with my people in the first place. If I had kept my damn mouth shut, this wouldn't have happened.”

Yet again, her emotions led the two of them astray. Right off the topic and into an abyss of self-blame and guilt that Trent had no business being a part of. If anything, she's admitted weakness where she should not have. And she was at least somewhat aware that blaming herself entirely was cutting out big parts of the picture. Her eyes, having turned soft and glistening in sadness, twisted into a glare once more. 0-90 in seconds.

“Don't think I let you—all of you,” She waved her hand, gesturing to some plural entity that conveniently embodied whoever was standing in front of her at any given moment, “off the hook just because I agreed with the idea.”

Re: Prologue 09: Sar-unga Grieving | Day 01 [1715 hrs.]

Reply #9
"That is all I ask, that you find someone for the Captain to speak to."  Trent's voice never rose above its usual quiet level; that was the way he spoke, and when it rose to what most people considered conversational levels, it meant he was getting agitated, and he practically never shouted or yelled.  He had instructors and superiors who liked being loud, profane even, as a way to show their dominance in a given situation.  But not Trent; he relied on simply his presence and competence to dominate a room, and more often than not, it worked. 

That, and an agitated leader could cause agitation around him, whereas his calm demeanour tended to keep tempers lower and foster a certain serenity even in high-stress environments. 

"And while you suggested initiating communications, it was the Captain's call to do so, and I supported it.  In the end, all you did was to show us a course of action; following it, that was beyond you.  I for one will do everything in my power to keep any blame from falling on you, including from yourself.  And you've been alive longer than I have, and if I learned one thing it's is that even the best laid plans can, and do fail.  And you know this too."

He had indeed seized upon her own self-doubt and recriminations.  And he could hardly blame her for it.  After all, he had gone down that path in a most self-destructive way himself.  In this case, he rightfully had much of the blame to bear, and not just for the Asurian dead.  He had no idea how many Starfleet people he had killed earlier that day; people who had committed no crime save follow orders that were entirely legitimate for all they knew.  His gunnery had gutted a Starbase' combat capabilities, eradicated fighters, and gutted a starship.  He had to have killed hundreds...

But he chased those thoughts aside.  "Sar-Unga," he started softly, "you can contact your people any time you wish.  But my only request, other than trying to find someone for the Captain to speak to, is that you take the time to speak to your people, to any friend or member of your family who is still alive, and mourn with them as you have every right to."

Re: Prologue 09: Sar-unga Grieving | Day 01 [1715 hrs.]

Reply #10
Though Dyan would never say so, or even know so consciously, Trent's quiet, calmed voice kept her from engaging in a shouting match. Her own agitation was too much--if he had brought any of his into the room, it wouldn't have ended well. In a way, he was the perfect man for the job.

Her thoughts raced past her mouth faster than warp speed, and her mouth opened and moved about like she was trying to speak and couldn't keep up. In the end she was silent as Trent spoke, even though she had meant to talk. She listened, and despite her rage and anger and all the pain inside, for once she let what he said into her mind and really, really thought about it. She was old, but in a way, sheltered. Asurians lived on two motherships and hardly ever contacted other species. Experience-wise, she was young still, and she knew this. Maybe he was right.

All this went through her mind in the moments between his last word and her next one. Her tail stopped it's thumping, instead lying curled by her leg like some sort of scaled creature seeking pity. When she opened her mouth, her voice was calmer now, deeper with less tension, but she tried not to betray any more of her weakness than she had already done.
"I'll fulfill both those requests. Just let me know when I can hit up communications."


Re: Prologue 09: Sar-unga Grieving | Day 01 [1715 hrs.]

Reply #11
At first, Trent expected to be interrupted again.  There was just too much rage, sorrow and just raw aggression within Sar-Unga Neleo, commonly known as Dyan Cardamone, to just accept what was being said. 

But, it would seem that with enough repetition and quiet patience on the Executive Officer's part, he had managed to get through to a sufficient degree that she had stopped talking despite obviously wanting to put words to her thoughts.  But instead, she listened.  An she she spoke, she looked much smaller, much more vulnerable.  The anger was gone, and all that was left was a woman grieving her losses. 

"You may do so any time you wish.  You will have access to the Flag Bridge and communications from there whenever you're ready."  Slowly, Trent rose from his seat and he offered the Petty Officer a long, slow nod.  "I'm sorry things went they way they did, and for your losses.  And I would like to thank you for your time and agreeing to speak with me."

And that much was genuine.  He could have ordered her to his office.  He could have had her standing at attention and lectured her.  But instead, he had tried to seek her out and speak to her in a much more polite manner, to make a request instead of giving orders he knew damn well he could not enforce. 

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