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EPI: S [D04|0100] Burn

[ Ensign Cameron Henshaw | Quarters | Deck 07| Vector 01 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Auctor Lucan
She had been laying there for hours. She’d accounted for every imperfection in the ceiling of her quarters in that time it felt like. She felt...numb. Battle and trauma had taken its toll on her already susceptible psyche. She’d been laying there in some loose-fitting sweatpants and a tank top. Her combadge was set on the small table next to her bed, and had remained silent. Her room was silent. All she heard was the hum of the warp core, resonating through the bulkheads of the ship. Thea’s soft song to her inhabitants. A moment longer she lay there, before she shot up to sit at the edge of the bed.

“Lights.” She mused, voice sharp with the soreness from days of shouting. The lights slowly increased, not too harshly, before she pushed herself to her feet. She shook her head, in a sense shaking the fog away before she started towards her replicator, pressing a button on the console above it. A cup of piping hot breakfast tea materialized before her, with a small container of milk beside it. She picked up the metallic cup, and set it at her desk, taking a seat herself before she popped open the console in front of her. The screen only had a single file open.


Below the title, it was entirely empty. She stared for a moment, glaring into the blank canvas with which to document the horrific violence that had taken place just hours before. “Close report, begin personal log.”

There was an evident chirp from the console to queue her to speak. She remained silent for a moment before she started. “Personal log, Ensign Cameron Henshaw. Stardate 57655.68.” A deep sigh escaped her and she took another sip from the piping hot beverage. “I can’t sleep. I-” She didn’t even know what to say that could accurately describe her feelings. “I feel relieved that it’s done. Glad that we were victorious...and horrified. Horrified at the cost.” She was silent for a long while after that. Not a sound escaped her lips. She was gaining little from it, from dwelling, painfully on everything that had happened over the past several days. A walk perhaps would help. She rapidly rose to her feet and snatched a black shawl from her chair. It was loose fitting, clearly meant to be worn for comfort. She pulled it over and grabbed a small flask, engraved with a flowery design on it. It had been a gift. A gift from Ian. It was filled to burst with potent, real tequila that she’d gotten from Fisher after they’d turned the promenade into a bloody warzone. She stepped into the corridor, her quarters sealing behind her, quickly stuffing the flask into her pocket.

The halls were in shreds. There were bulkheads hanging off some of the walls, scorch marks across the floor. Some of the sections were even dark from broken conduits. Remarkably, there was little traffic. It seemed that many others were sleeping off the fight. Or, like her, they were sleeplessly tossing in their beds, remembering what and who had been lost. She didn’t make it too far in the corridor, just beyond the threshold into Vector two before she stopped and looked to her left.


The door practically stared at her. Tempting her. Daring her to enter. She wanted to enter as well. So...she did.

[ Ensign Cameron Henshaw | Security Center | Deck 07| Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ]

Cam stopped at the desk and looked at the officer, a woman with short dark hair and enlisted pips. “I’m here to see Nicander.” Cam shot at her, without a second's hesitation. The woman looked her over once, noting her attire and pursed her lips. Cam didn’t miss the look. “Is there a problem, crewman?” She snapped, irritation evident in her voice. The crewman shook her head and handed Cam the wristband, which was slapped on instantly. “No need to show me the way.” She started in the direction of his cell and took a deep breath, breaching the doorway into the brig.

It too, was in tatters. The escapee had caused incredible damage during his flight. Repairs however, were far more critical elsewhere at the moment, though she assumed the brig would be put right somewhat quickly. The cell she wanted was easy enough to find. She’d been there not too long before. It was late, and she assumed that most would be resting. Perhaps even Lucan would be. There was a single officer in the corner of the brig, sitting down, appearing utterly exhausted as he flipped through a PADD, his head bobbing every few moments as he fought the intoxicating call of slumber.

Cam said nothing to him. If he slept, she didn’t care. Nor did she intend to turn him in. Who was to blame him?

“Lucan.” She crooned quietly, at the entrance to the cell. Her head hurt. Her body hurt. She’d yet to seek treatment for her injuries she’d sustained on the bridge, but knew full well she likely had a concussion. Her hair was hanging loosely, instead of pulled tight like usual. She just glanced into the cell. Before she’d even given him a chance to reply, she questioned, “Are you alright?” She’d wanted to ask since the moment she’d heard about what happened. Something in her begging her to check. Something she knew was forbidden, but she cared little.

Re: EPI: S [D04 | 0100] Burn

Reply #1
[ Doctor Lucan cin Nicander | Brig | Security Center | Deck 07 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @BipSpoon  
Like a foul echo, Lucan could sense him. A tremor in the darkness, resonating within himself.

As he laid there on his bunk, with his remaining hand covering his pale eyes, he was unable to sleep from grief and dread. He thought of Ji, and the others whom the Klingon had killed just outside his cell. When he couldn't bear to cope with the guilt, knowing he should have been more persistent in pushing Ji away, he tried to make sense of the change in the void inside, and the new presence in his mind.

An identical host... Another version of himself from a deviant timeline, sharing the same connection he had to the collective consciousness. It felt like there were two of him in the same skin, only they were probably light-years apart by then. Already, he had glimpsed Savi of the Scion caste though the inky lens behind his eyelids, and the insides of an unknown vessel. This, without even having to use his farsight ability. He couldn't rationalise it, but that echo of himself persisted over all other imagery rising out of the murky void. It was like he was more attuned to that connection than other Infested hosts out there. Like a putrid mirror image of my soul, adjacent to my own... and yet not. By the winds... make it stop.

For weeks upon weeks, he'd been in that cell, aiding the crew as best as he might with research and insight, knowing that he couldn't lay his eyes on anything outside those bulkheads lest the other Infested would learn things they shouldn't. The relative comfort he'd found in his incarceration was that by remaining where he was, he kept the crew safe, and he was able to preoccupy his mind with research and reading, with visitors of different Departments who saw him as a resource. Sure, the degree of civility in those hearings had varied, but once they left, he could resume his research. He'd made his cell his sanctuary... but after the breach, in which the other him came aboard... it was like he was no longer alone in the cell.

The dominant manifestation of the collective consciousness was now his own spectre, and through its presence in his mind, he could sense the vector-borne madness of the Niga virus. Lucan could feel him, this unclean contagion, and the tangible presence of the void inside was no longer a mere whisper. He was locked up in the holding cell with this living apparition, a temporal revenant of a timeline avoided, and it could sense Lucan as well - laughing at his misery.

It was true that the parasites - while separate entities - didn't consider themselves individuals, as they unanimously spoke like conduits of the darkness. Yet the host bodies - the skin puppets they inhabited - they were very different. The hosts, when their minds were not subsumed by the parasitic hold, held all the attributes of their old personalities. And this new host that dominated the depth of the abyss... it was too familiar for comfort, because Lucan had been the same as him before Heather MacMillan severed his mind from that of the parasite inside. If she hadn't, Lucan knew that he would have been that shadow still.

Restless yet exhausted, haunted by what his shadow had done immediately after crossing the anyonic phase variance, Lucan had lost track of time. Too many hours, all spent trying to make sense of his new reality. In the small hours of the night, he still struggled, since he felt even less a solitary individual. He couldn't even remember what it was like to be alone in his own head. Yet now... he had become an involuntary dyad of brittle sanity and sin.

"Lucan." A quiet voice, from outside the purgatory of his thoughts. A tether. "Are you alright?"

Shivering as he just wore pyjama trousers, Lucan slowly sat up, removing his tattooed hand from his eyes. His other hand was still a broken mess of metal parts, clicking servos and fried synapses, since given the state of the ship, no engineer had managed to make time for him... if they even dared come inside his cell to remove it. His hair unkempt and voice raw, he looked towards the figure and spoke. "I... have seen better days," he managed hoarsely, not that I can recall any at the moment.

Blinking, Lucan didn't rise to his bare feet as he tried to make out any tell-tale attributes of the figure with the shawl. The lights were dimmed for him and any other occupants in the cells farther down the corridor of the brig, but the trace blue light of the forcefield emitters illuminated female features that he hadn't seen for many weeks. Contact with her had been restricted to messages screened by security. His digital pen-pal, of sorts. "Henshaw?"

She must have heard what happened, he supposed, the Captain's Yeoman being more informed than most of the Department Heads aboard. Seeing her was supposed to be a relief, and welcome sight, but feeling like there was a third person inside the cell - inside his head - his first instinct was to tell her to go. To leave him alone. To not return. But try as he might, the words failed him. Whether it was a selfish survival instinct in reaching for that tether, or mutual worry for her after the battle, he didn't know. "I would ask how the battle went," he found himself saying, swallowing against the dryness of his throat, and knowing he had to remain ignorant, "but please... don't tell me anything."

Tell her to come inside... he heard his shadow say, but he refused to acknowledge the words. Against his better knowledge, he told himself the words were imaginary. In the subtle blue light, he noticed her injury, and concern for her pushed his own plight aside.

"By the winds, you are hurt. Has anyone taken a look at that?" he asked quietly, belatedly realised that he might just have done exactly what the voice in his mind had told him to... by suggesting that he might help her.

Re: EPI: S [D04 | 0100] Burn

Reply #2
[ Ensign Cameron Henshaw |  Brig | Security Center | Deck 07 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Auctor Lucan
Her first look at him, rising up in the condition he was in, elicited a response she had not expected; sorrow. She was concerned, deeply so, and despite her own injury her face softened and she took a quick breath. Her eyes traced down his torso, to the nearly ruined arm that was attached to him. She hadn’t expected to see him in that condition. Truthfully, she knew she ought to have at least tried to ascertain his condition prior to her arrival but...her whims often neglected the logical side of her mind. “I can see…” Her voice gently offered before she started to fully look him over for further injuries.

The blue light obscured much from her. Human eyes weren’t designed for such conditions, but it was just enough. “Yes.” She confirmed her identity, “You can use my name you know.” Henshaw. Ensign. Her name had hardly been used anymore. That was simply a product of the life she had chosen, but in this instance...she was able to take a brief reprieve from it. Their last meeting had shown her a glimpse of something she hadn’t thought she’d find on the ship since her ill-advised affair with her superior. With Lucan, she felt she had something of a companion, even if only through letters that were first browsed by brig officers. Brig officers which, no doubt had their own gossip pool active about why exactly the two were writing one another with some frequency. Her care for their opinions though had been dashed to pieces.

Her head slowly shook side to side. “I won’t. I’ll allow you to draw your own conclusions.” She wished she could share everything. To spill every horrible feeling that had plagued her since the moment they’d arrived in the Klingons home system, but she knew she couldn’t. That beast inside of man always watching. Always listening. Always a presence in their conversations, a fourth witness beyond only the security officers. A presence which she’d accepted, but no less hated.

She stepped inside, fearlessly. “I hit my head a few times. I was going to go in the morning but uhm-” She licked her lower lip, “I couldn’t sleep.” Her last words were quiet, and thick with the emotional drain that the battle had inflicted on her. “It’s okay, it hurts but...I think it’s just a concussion. Easy fix, yea?” She honestly wasn’t certain but she was pretty sure it was. “You’re more hurt, it looks like though.” She approached him, and gazed at the arm. “Nobody has bothered to look at it?” She was upset. He too, was a person. A member of the crew even, and not one person had bothered to come and ensure he was able to have mobility of his arm? She released a frustrated, angry sigh. It wasn’t anger simply at those who had neglected to repair it, but anger at the entire situation that had taken hold of the ship. Anger at everything. “Can I see?” She raised a brow at him as she got close enough to touch.

She didn’t take action though, not until he had given his consent.

“I did hear. I heard...everything. I’m so sorry.” She slowly crouched in front of him, making an attempt to lock eyes with him. “And...I’m sorry that I haven’t been here sooner. I-” She looked away, shame washing over her features as she searched for the right words. She struggled to find them, simply shaking her head. “After last time I was worried. Worried of judgement. Scared of more loss.” Her eyes made their way back up to him. The events of their last meeting had haunted her. During the day, she feared for retribution and judgement from the crew around her. At night, in her dreams, she was able to enjoy what she wanted. Her subconscious subtly prodded her in the right direction, but she fought it tooth and nail. All she was able to bring herself to do, was to write to him.

“How-” She knew she was likely to ask a very loaded question, but she needed to ask it anyhow. Her own fear for his well-being taking over, “How do you feel?” She half expected a mad rush to spill from his lips, and half expected utter refusal to discuss it. If he let her, she placed a hand over his knee, anchoring herself to his person.

It was time for the truth. It was time for honesty. It was time for her to worry for herself for a change. “I was-” She swallowed, forcing her nerves back into hiding, “I was worried for you...terrified. I thought that maybe-” Again, her gaze broke away from her, her mind trying to shield herself from the onslaught of emotions she’d felt on seeing him. An onslaught that she wanted to feel, so she forced herself back to him. She wanted to feel every painful second of it, and every second of warmth that came with it.

Be careful. Her mind cawed at her, but the other side egged her on further. The side she had come to trust more. The side she wanted more. The side that concerned itself with her and not simply the approval of others around her. She was trusting her instinct for once, not fighting it with what she thought ought to be the action she took.

The coming weeks would be challenging for the crew. They had lost so much during the conflict, and would continue to lose in their fight against the monsters that infected men and women, much like Lucan before her. “Can I sit?” She glanced next to him. She was no stranger to caring for those who had been wounded, both mentally and physically. However, her actions weren’t those of a counselor, they truly were actions of something who genuinely cared. Who genuinely wanted to help. Who truly, fully wanted to be there for one they cared for.

“I’m sorry.” She repeated. She knew she ought to have come sooner. To be there, to talk to...whatever. Cameron had changed a great deal recently, and the battle had been the binding agent that solidified the person she had become, leaving the shattered woman of the past behind her.

Re: EPI: S [D04 | 0100] Burn

Reply #3
[ Doctor Lucan cin Nicander | Brig | Security Center | Deck 07 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @BipSpoon 
The mild chastisement he received over using her last name was light-hearted and served to break the ice a little bit, for while it was true that they merely had traded messages over the course of the past few weeks, Lucan realised that by Human standards, using her first name would of course have been more fitting. A quick smile, in spite of things. "Of course..."

He hadn't expected her to let slip something of mission import, since her position was one of high demands when it came to discretion, but he was nonetheless relieved to hear that she hadn't forgotten the circumstances surrounding him and his incarceration. More concerning, however, was hearing how she'd received a concussion, and she'd not been able to visit sickbay to have a look at it yet. She stepped inside the holding cell, the biometrically activated bracelet allowing her to pass through the overclocked forcefield completely unscathed. Before he could comment on her believed concussion, she asked about his arm, and for a moment, he didn't understand what she meant, until he remembered his own condition and looked down at the useless metal lump attached to what was left of his right arm. She asked to see it, and he raised it briefly.

"There is no pain," he said quietly, the blue light shimmering across the mauled bionic arm. He didn't explain how it happened, since she had likely read the report about how he helped determine that there was an Infested on the Klingon High Council. "The artificial nerve-endings were fried immediately. I just can't remove it on my own. Though I thank you for your concern, and for coming."

She crouched down before him where he sat, and apologised, even though he was being grateful. She alluded towards the lack of visits from her end, which was understandable, but the fact that she apologised suggested that she was ashamed for being ruled by her need for an unscathed public image, serving in the position she did. Hesitation revolving the repercussions of being affiliated with him. He, however, knew exactly the danger she courted by being inside his cell, so he was the last to ever judge her for it. He simply smiled faintly and dismissed it with a hand-gesture. "Just let me take a look at your head."

Gently, he raised his tattooed hand to brush her hair away with the back of his fingers, looking at the laceration caused by some manner of blunt force trauma. While his pale grey eyes examined the injury, and his fingertips brushed over the area ever so gently, she asked him how he was feeling. She placed a hand on his knee when she asked, and the gesture of support was appreciated. Knowing he had to address what resided within when explaining it all to her, he also found it easier to speak while he preoccupied himself with looking at her injury.

"Before... he crossed over, the connection I had with the collective consciousness... it was severed by the transphasic light waves. Yet with him here, it is as if we - being the same host and having the same conduit to that place - somehow magnify the... the presence in my mind. It's... as if the twin parasites, while separated physically, are still connected by being the same, and share the same breach - creating a wider abyss. The images are more... profound. The whispers louder. The presence stronger. The change happened at the worst of times too, just having witnessed that Klingon assassin escape, and..."

Lucan frowned, the vivid memory coming to him, of seeing Ji getting her head twisted around, and then Commander Tiran - whom had made the transphasic light cannon to preserve his sanity - getting shot in the crossfire. There had been someone else visiting, someone whom he didn't know the name of, but the two women had helped him cope with his situation in their respective ways. Tiran had been an advocate for his rights on the Senior Staff, instrumental in him being able to receive visitors at all. Ji... had been a friend who could have become more. Someone who saw him as a person rather than an enemy, despite the abuse she suffered by his shadow, and who wished to continue seeing him. I told her to go. She would have lived, had she just listened. But I let her stay.

"Yes..." he said when she asked to sit, and moved to the side to give her some room on the bunk. She said she was sorry, and it helped, hearing someone care. He wasn't prepared to talk about what had happened when the Klingon escaped. Instead, he wished to distract himself by preforming what Federation medicine called a Vestibular-Ocular Reflex test. "Could you please look at my eyes while I turn your head?"

The normal response was that Cam's eyes would remain on his. In the abnormal response, the eyes would drag off the target when the head was turned in one direction - the eye movements back to him being belated. This response would indicate a VOR deficit on the side of the head turn. Movements were to remain small, the patient’s head not to move very far either to the left or right, and the movement direction was to be unpredictable.

"Break her neck... She asked, so show her what happened to Ji..." said his shadow, and he blinked, since the voice sounded so like his own. Swallowing, he willed himself to ignore the voice, regardless what it might say.

"Don't apologise," he said to her while he looked into her eyes, his tattooed hand gently turning her face side to side with his fingertips. "I don't hold your absence against you, knowing quite well what I represent in the eyes of the crew. By the winds, I - if anyone - understand, and I don't judge you for it. Do you feel any neck pain? Any tenderness here?"

Lucan ran his fingers to the base of her skull and down her vertebrae when he asked his questions, all the while ignoring the the voice in his head. "Oh, that dainty, fragile skull. Imagine the paintings you could draw all over these dull bulkheads... using her insides as your palette. No one could stop you, and the rest would definitely stay away from you if you did..."

"I have no medical tricorder here, much less a hypospray," he said with regret, determined to ignore the voice regardless how prevalent it had become. He removed his hand from her, all the while not looking away from her eyes, even if the blue light from the forcefield emitters were casting her white top into an icy shimmer. The dramatic play of blue light and shadows over her face was captivating.

"I would have kept you overnight for observation if you came to see me in sickbay, but you should know that if you have shown or felt symptoms of concussion, you are at increased risk of permanent cerebral injury if you experience another concussion before you have fully healed and is completely symptom-free. Besides medicine, you need to rest, and avoid duties which cause dizziness."

After all that had happened, loosing her, and the way she treated him as a person, would be beyond devastating. "Cam... please promise me you go to sickbay tomorrow, and get yourself a medical scan?"

Re: EPI: S [D04 | 0100] Burn

Reply #4
[ Ensign Cameron Henshaw | Brig | Security Center | Deck 07 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Auctor Lucan
She gave him a single once over. ‘Henshaw’ felt almost like a title, anymore. Impersonal. Direct. Loaded with the rank that often preceded it, and the job that she had to perform to ensure her own survival and that of those around her. Cam, however...felt nicer. It felt gentler, and truthfully the personal nature of using her first name seemed more fitting to the situation. She wasn’t there for work, she was there for something else entirely, something of a far more personal nature.


Her eyes traced down his torso, drinking in his form before locking on the mangled arm. It was hard to see. Mechanical or not, it was his limb. It enabled him to hold things, to drink, to eat, to read...hanging there lifeless, it seemed almost...inhumane. “Good.” Of course she’d read the report, she knew what the damage was from, that however didn’t excuse the fact that it hung there, useless. “I can fix a thing or two, but I think this is beyond me.” She frowned, running fingertips over some of the sharper parts left in the wake of its destruction. As he lifted it, she used her left hand to prop it up, helping him hold it momentarily. “I’ll try and have someone come by to put it right, even if we can’t get you a new one right away, you should have to sit here like this. That isn’t right.” In her mind, it was just as foul as letting one with a severed limb lay in wait for medical attention, held only by anticoagulants and a tourniquet while they waited for the care they needed.

His hand gesture, waving off her shame, was ignored. She turned her head to allow him to look at it but her face was no less ashamed of her actions. “It’s not okay.” She offered to him, closing her eyes so he could get a better look at the laceration, which had stopped bleeding shortly after she’d acquired it. The blood had been rinsed from her hair, making her appear a sight better than she had just hours before. “I should have come. I shouldn’t have let...opinions of others, overpower my morality. I don’t plan to any longer.” Her jaw tightened as he ran his fingers over part of it, her lungs taking a sharp inhale as his fingertips hit a tender spot of the injury. Her hand on his leg, tightened in tandem.

Then she silenced herself, and allowed the pain to fade into the abyss as he spoke, and shared what had happened, or at the very least what he felt comfortable sharing. The silence between them hung for a long moment, allowing her to absorb what he’d said and piece it together with the reports that she’d read on the events that had taken place. As she sat beside him, she placed a hand on the side of his face, “I can’t fathom what you felt with him here, I can only...guess. What I will say though,” She gave him a gentle smile and shook her head, “That wasn’t you. He might have violated your mind with his actions, violated your very sense of being...but it was not you, Lucan. You…” She trailed off, lowering her hand again to sit on his leg, “Are nothing like that. Your actions have been outside of your control. Those...things, want to erode you.” Of course, at that point she was guessing, just sharing her own thoughts. “To erode you down until you give in, and let it use you. You are strong.’re nothing like him.” She’d seen the security footage, and while she’d heard and read her fair share of the actions of the very man before her, she long accepted they were not the actions of his own psyche, but those of the monster within him.

"You may share his sickness, but not who you are."

She didn’t question him on the events that had occurred. No doubt, he’d have his fair share of questioning over the coming days, and she didn’t want to be one of those that forced him to relive the nightmare that had unfolded. Not unless he really wanted to. Her eyes locked on his, participating in the test. For a moment, she said nothing, and her eyes remained as still as those of a healthy person, not one with a critical injury. She said nothing, until he spoke again. Instead, she just lost herself in the abyss of emotion behind his grey eyes, that while some might consider cold and harsh, she thought quite the opposite. They were warm, and to her, they held a certain vulnerability and gentleness that few had, though buried beneath the trauma of his own experiences, particularly those so recent.

“You should hold it against me though.” She swallowed and let out a deep breath, her chest rising and falling several times before she spoke again, her voice quieter, and filled with disappointment in herself and her own actions, “No pain there, no.”

Not there at least.

“What the crew thinks of you is little more than someone to blame for...everything.” For obvious reasons, she didn’t go into detail, and it was a fact they’d discussed prior. “Allowing me own desire for their acceptance to twist my own-” What was it that had been so diminished? Her desire? Her morality? It was that and more. “My own moral code, and my own desire to be able to sit and to talk with someone, and to be able to talk to you about everything you’ve been through, was wrong. Sorry, is the least that I can say.” Her nostrils flared as her eyes met him once more, watching the blue light from the forcefield dance across his grey orbs.

“I didn’t believe you would. I appreciate the exam but I came here for more than that.” She reached into her pocket and produced the small flask, “Honestly I don’t know if you even drink or-” Or if he allowed himself to drink, “But I could use one, and frankly I’m tired of sitting in my quarters and drinking alone.” She looked down to the flak and pulled the cap off of it. Again, she met his eyes, staring into them for a moment. The attraction that she’d felt towards him those weeks ago, had not waned.

In truth, it had intensified. She’d been haunted by dreams of the events that had unfolded, and her want for more. Though her fear had held her back, she was past it. One single event could have unfolded differently in the battle, a panel could have exploded a single bulkhead back...and she’d have been dead. She’d have been dead, and she’d have been bottled up in her own thoughts, without companionship, dead without a chance to achieve what she wanted. She didn’t plan to allow that to come to pass. Near death, was a brutal, but effective teacher.

“I’ll be careful.” Her voice lowered, even another degree from what it already was. She only had some light duties to attend to so far as she knew in the coming days, the concussion would heal fine. Unless Ives intended to throw their already broken vessel against a horde of Romulans or Klingons, she’d hopefully have the chance to heal. Healing herself emotionally was far more important to her.

“I will. First thing.” Well, after the staff meeting but...again, that wasn’t something she was free to share with him. Her gaze broke after a long while, and she blinked, lifting the flask to her lips and letting the harsh golden liquid run down her throat before she held it out slightly for him. Her face and eyes met his own, chocolate hues dancing to his throat and back up, dilating with coquettish inclination.

“Could I...Could I stay here for a while? I really don't...want to be alone. I’m tired of feeling alone, of being alone.” Every word was truth. Every moment not on duty, had been spent largely in the solitude of her own quarters. Solitude she no longer wished to let herself wallow in, and in the imprisoned man, she saw a fellow in that feeling. A fellow in the feeling of impending darkness at all corners, matching with utter isolation from others.

Re: EPI: S [D04 | 0100] Burn

Reply #5
[ Doctor Lucan cin Nicander | Brig | Security Center | Deck 07 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @BipSpoon 
It was surreal, hearing Cam say she wouldn't care what others thought, that the opinions of others wouldn't dictate her wishes to be with him. He, an Infested. The feared enemy, this wretched thing biding its time in the brig, and only called upon to spy behind enemy lines. The newer officers couldn't even show their faces to him, at the risk of the others of his ilk identifying them through his eyes. A tactical advantage for the Theurgy and the mission, of course, and he understood it, but he felt... unclean. A leper oracle, only approached when absolutely required.

So when Cam said that, and urged him to find strength, he wanted to believe her. She distinguished him from the one that had crossed over, even if it was just the cannon mounted outside the cell that made the difference between them. A dark thought, self-disparaging, but also relevant. Yet Cam smiled at him when she said it, and she likened it to a sickness, which was an acknowledgement that not all officers were prepared to make. Some refused to see him as a victim, blaming him for what he'd done under the influence of the parasite. It made them lesser in his eyes, and remembered their names. They were hardly made of the stuff of Starfleet officers. Paranoid, panicky people that didn't deserve the uniforms they wore.

Cam, however, guessed at the corrosive nature of the chaos that resided within him, how in lack of proper control of his mind, it sought to break him down. His shadow self. This version of him that was a personification of his darkest nature. She thought him strong, able to separate himself from it, even if that voice was his own - channeled through a breach into a terrible collective consciousness. My will, my words, echoing through a hellish void beyond our comprehension.

That Cam had faith in him... it didn't just serve to help him distinguish his own self, it actually made him believe her. Not just because she seemed so genuine, but because he wanted to think himself a sovereign individual. I have to.

Her concussion, while hard to evaluate in the dim lighting, didn't seem severe, and he was relieved that her neck wasn't hurting from the impact. The motions of the examination was comforting for him, a distraction, but he had listened to her apologising. Try as he might, he wanted to believe he was entirely professional about the situation, but the memory of her last visit reminded itself when they were as close as they were, and he found his pale grey eyes straying over her face while she spoke. To the arch of her brows, the way her lips moved, and the manner in which the blue light caressed her neck. She seemed like a mirage, but as he'd touched her, he knew she was really there.

"However much you blame yourself, thinking you erred... you are here now," he said quietly in his deep voice. "It shows that you nonetheless remained true to yourself in the end. And by the winds, I am grateful that you did."

Cam produced a flask, and Lucan's eyes darted to it. Immediately, given the profound presence the shadow had in his mind, he knew he shouldn't be drinking it. Anything that would undermine his self-control was a bad idea. "I shouldn't, but please," he said with a smile, content with being her company instead of partaking. Instead, as she met his eyes, he drank her in with his own. She was saying she'd have a proper medical exam, and tipped her head back - emptying the flask. Numerous health-related comments about what she did came to him, but the sight of her stole the words away. That was when she asked if she could stay, and Lucan caught himself staring.

"Well... I may insist that you do, for ancient medical practices in the Federation once stated that someone with a concussion should stay awake for several hours, or to have someone wake them up every hour. This advice stemmed from the belief that falling asleep with a concussion could lead to coma. A debunked practise, but..." he chuckled and gently took the flask out of her fingers with his remaining hand. "I wouldn't mind keeping my eye on you. See, drinking alcohol may prolong symptoms of the injury or in some cases, even make them worse. We can't have that can we?"

Lucan also knew a concussed brain could be especially sensitive, making the effects of alcohol more pronounced. Even just one drink with a concussion could lead to intoxicating effects, and besides that, he hoped it wouldn't make her concussion symptoms worse. He just put the empty flask aside on the bunk. The whispers were there still, suggesting what macabre things he could to to her before anyone could stop him, but as loud as they were, unnerving and prevalent, he had to keep the inclinations at bay, and be there in the present. The reality. Her. He focused on the manner which her hand rested on his thigh, and found distraction in running his arm around her waist.

"Are you cold?" he asked, lips close to hers, and made her his sole focal point, finding his tormented mind soothed by her presence - not just being a means to forget.

Re: EPI: S [D04|0100] Burn

Reply #6
[ Ensign Cameron Henshaw | Brig | Security Center | Deck 07 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Auctor Lucan
Chocolate orbs fluttered across his chest, and up to his eyes. They almost peered into him. It was as if she was trying to read his mind. Which of course, was an ability that she by no means possessed. A healthy serving of emotional intelligence allowed her to get a good read on someone, but certainly not the ability to see another's mind. She’d been hideously envious of the betazoid ability to peer across the emotional looking glass of the psyche of another humanoid. Particularly as a counselor, the ability would have made her one of the best in the fleet. In her current circumstance, the idea only made her wonder what could possibly be hidden behind his eyes.

His…sickness had taken over him in the past, just as her own had. While she knew that the monsoon that was hidden within her own mind, had only subsided for the time being. Eventually, the storm would come. It would drive her to egotistical, maniacal optimism as the rains poured and thunder struck. Eventually though, it would start to flood, and the horrific cold would follow it. When she could hardly leave her own bed. Or when she’d try to walk out to sea.

True to herself.

That had been it for so long. For years, she hadn't been herself. She’d been the perfect officer and daughter, trying to appease others while hiding the existence of her own condition from the powers that be. The sheer will it had taken her to simply accept that she too was sick, and that instead of trying to hide every shred of it…to embrace it? That had nearly broken her.

“I probably shouldn’t either.” She coughed with a small laugh as he set the empty flask down, watching his eyes against both the flask and herself. She was no stranger to a drink, which was plainly evident in how quickly she’d downed the tequila. Within moments she felt the familiar warming sensation growing from her abdomen and across her limbs as the alcohol slowly worked its way into her bloodstream. She looked at the flask, down beside her leg, and slowly turned her attention back to Lucan.

“Several hours?” Her right eyebrow rose in a coquettish display, lip curling slightly, “What am I supposed to do for several hours?” She inched ever so closer to him and canted her head to the left. She brought up her hand, eye locking against his own, and used her thumb to brush the stubble against the side of his cheek. She felt the sharp bristling against the pad of her finger and slowly lowered the arm back down, allowing it to find a resting place against his thigh.

Gooseflesh fired across her arms as his arm wrapped around her, and the hand in his lap pressed against his abdomen, fingers curling against the exposed flesh. Her other hand started trailing its way up his back, fingertips gently caressing their way up, her own nerves firing across her fingertips, lighting up a Christmas tree of synapses as the warmth of his skin spread to hers.

The unquiet mind she possessed, urged her forward. It rallied her composure and desire, and drowned them.

“Cold?” She smirked and shook her head. “Maybe a little.” She bit the tip of her tongue and the hand that rested against his abdomen, slowly inched down his front. It stopped at the waistline of his pants, brown eyes dashing up to him ever so briefly, pleading for his assent. A moment passed. An agonizing, burning moment of wait before she proceeded. Lithe fingers slid into the waistband, and her head slowly fell forward in search of his lips.

Re: EPI: S [D04 | 0100] Burn

Reply #7
[ Doctor Lucan cin Nicander | Brig | Security Center | Deck 07 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @BipSpoon 
The unsaid, in regard to what she might do for several hours with him, was the answer he gave her. For to bespeak the evident might break the spell of the moment, and he cherished it too much to ruin it. This confirmation that as bleak as his prospects were, despite recent losses, and how assailed he was by his infestation, there were still people who cared for him, and wanted him to prevail. He did not have to face the shadow inside alone, caged up in his cell and left to deal with the creeping madness. Cam was there, believing in him, able to discern him from the demon that both dwelt inside and now roamed their timeline.

Two Cycles had merged into one, the intent clear; to make sure this one would end like all others.

Yet the wind of hope is the last to abate, Lucan thought as he looked into her brown eyes in the dim light - their faces close. The tension between them, mounting by the moment, may either have been the result of something long overdue, or the mutual need for someone else in the aftermath of battle. Perhaps both. Certainly both. The wish to feel alive, with someone whom you found kinship with. They both had their plights, different in context but the same in how they were compromised by their weaknesses. Perhaps, with Cam, Lucan might find how they could gather strength together, and face whatever else this cursed Cycle had in store. A timeline which wasn't the same as any other, unique in how the Theurgy was still spreading the truth about what had befallen the ruling factions of all Quadrants.

Her touch was unmistakable, and even if he could have found the words to caution her - with his grasp on his wits being so challenged - it had been made clear she knew the risks of being with him. She wanted him in spite of the danger to her, and he would simply have to devote his thoughts entirely to her, and ignore all else that the shadow might urge him to do. So he didn't deter her when those fingertips traversed his skin. With only one hand, he was even indisposed to help her - much less stop her - embracing her as he did. Instead, he slanted his lips across hers, and gave away to the rekindled desires that remained between them.

The touch of her fingers, up his back and down his abdomen, was quickening him, but not so much as the closeness to her, and the feeling of her figure so close to his own. His tattooed hand sought the skin of her lower back, underneath the hem of her top, and ran up her spine. He held her close, until he needed air, and began to kiss the nape of her neck - his heart having begun to race with the anticipation of their long postponed reunion.

With the rush of blood through his veins, the hellish cravings whispered in his mind became more pronounced, but after so many years having shared the privacy of his mind with that of the parasite's influence, ignoring the profane inclinations wasn't just the norm, it had become his utmost priority. Cam's survival depended on him. More so now than the last time she'd visited his cell. So he would only loose himself in her... and not the raving madness that coiled inside.

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