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CH02: S [D06|0435] Holes

Chapter 02: Supplemental [ Day 06 | 0435 hrs. ] Holes

[ Lt T'Less | Officers' Quarters | Deck 10 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy | Peace Makes Plenty ] attn: @Triage

The Vulcan tactical officer passed few people on this deck that weren't part of the repair effort. She wasn't sure how close they were (or if/when they could expect to be) to finishing, but she did note that there were fewer sections walled off by forcefields and more crewmen gamma-welding striations in the support spars. Hopefully, by the time their next battle was thrust upon them, they'd be in better shape to fight more effectively.

It was a short journey between T'Less' quarters and those of Cameron Henshaw, who she planned to meet. Between writing after-action reports and ensuring she was adequately rested, she didn't feel she had taken enough time to debrief the other officers in her department - especially those who might need it more than others. In the multitude of events last night, some things had slipped past her. As the Vector's new Acting Chief Tactical Officer by necessity of circumstance, she couldn't afford too many missteps.

Her problem was compounded by a less-than-perfect period of meditation last night, which had failed to help steer her emotions the way she needed.

A few minutes of travel later (she did have to navigate a ruptured-but-contained plasma conduit along the way, monitored by a harassed-looking engineer), she came to a stop outside Henshaw's door. T'Less checked the PADD in her hand, before smoothing down her tunic and thumbing the chime.

When Cameron answered the door, T'Less blinked. She hadn't expected nightwear, despite the early hour, but reasoned that it was just something else she'd forgotten; not everyone else would both share her shift pattern nor her habit of rising early.

"Good morning, Ensign. I was hoping to speak to you for a few minutes." T'Less glanced down at the smaller woman's pyjamas. "Should I... come back?"
Nator 159: "I accept no responsibility for the ensign's manifest stupidity. Sir." [Show/Hide]
Ranaan Ducote: "A ship is a home; its crew a family." [Show/Hide]
T'Less: "Your odds of prevailing against us are... slim." [Show/Hide]
Valkra: "Come! We will shake the gates of Sto'Vo'Kor!" [Show/Hide]

Re: Chapter 02: Supplemental [ Day 06 | 0435 hrs. ] Holes

Reply #1
[ Ens. Cameron Henshaw | Cameron's Quarters | Deck 10 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Top Hat
[Show/Hide]
She had been barely functioning after she left James Mariner's quarters. She'd spoken to the various crew of the Allegiant who were free to speak to her, made notes, collated data, and forwarded it all to the captain for his purview when convenient, after which she'd returned to her quarters to attempt a desperate recovery from the ordeals she was putting herself through. She didn't even remember changing back into her nightclothes, or how she got into bed, but when the chime woke her, she was gasping and trying to remember how it all happened.

Dazed and almost delirious, she answered the door, surprising the Chief Tactical Officer with her state of unreadiness. Cam was actually too sleepy to feel embarrassed or awkward, and her eyes were barely opening, but her mind was already whirring into motion and process. She heard the Vulcan, understood her words, and was very tempted to accept the offer to come back later, but that would mean she'd just delay and put off what could be dealt with immediately, and more importantly, it could be critical. With a soft moan or mumble, she shook her head, “Nnnno, s-sir....ma'am.” said Cam as she leaned her head against the door frame, “Now'szfine.”

She turned around and invited T'Less in, pulling her dark open-top sweater over herself tighter, she forced herself to clear her head of cobwebs and awaken, “Computer, lights.”

Shuffling over to the replicator, she struggled to recall the drink she now took in place of alcohol or coffee. “Pepsi...kick...twenty-two eighteen edition.” The soda appeared and she turned to her guest, “Would you like something?”

She was wearing a small pale pink blouse under the sweater and a matching pair of pale pink loose trousers and fuzzy brown boots. It was comfortable, and her most favourite nightwear at the moment. After hearing the woman's response, she came over and settled at the table, taking a sip of the chilled soda drink in her hands. “How can I help you?” She felt her head clearing up, though the temptation to go back to sleep was still there.

Re: Chapter 02: Supplemental [ Day 06 | 0435 hrs. ] Holes

Reply #2
[ Lt T'Less | Cameron Henshaw's Quarters | Deck 10 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy | Peace Makes Plenty ] attn: @Triage

"Nnnno, s-sir... ma'am. Now'szfine."

Is it, indeed? T'Less only hesitated for half a second before following the young woman into her dim quarters. She wasn't one to do someone the disservice of assuming a person meant something other than what they said, obvious caveats aside. That said, she couldn't help the pang of sympathy for the exhausted ensign; none of them aboard were getting the rest a humanoid needed, and not everyone coped as well as others. To Henshaw's credit, though, she rallied quickly enough.

"Would you like something?"

"Spice tea, please. The default pattern is quite passable," T'Less replied, taking a seat at the table while Cameron replicated the drinks. "Thank you," she said, wrapping her fingers around the warm ceramic as fragrant steam rose languidly from the surface of the infusion. She let it cool for a moment as the Human across the table sat in her pyjamas. A tiny smile tugged at one corner of T'Less' mouth as she realised Henshaw had no intention of changing at all. It was gone in a moment, though, and could just have been a facial tic.

"How can I help you?"

The Vulcan hooked one knee over the other, and laid her PADD by the tea mug. There was little sense waiting, and she didn't want to waste any of Henshaw's obviously-short energy.

"I wished to discuss the battle with the Rotarran last night. There was some-" she hunted for the word, "- disharmony in our efforts that I want to address. Between the fighters and our own shipboard losses, we can ill-afford to be caught so flat-footed again." She took a second to sip her tea, the sharp flavour cutting across her tongue and warming her throat.

Henshaw's file detailed her background in counselling before making a lateral move into becoming the Captain's yeoman. From there she was moved into Flight Ops - it being 'merely' another kind of organisation and timing - and it was in that role she found herself on the bridge of the Sword during the engagement. She obviously had a talent for it, but that was generally preferred to be the starting point rather than the standard. Which brings me to my visit.

"We will know in a few hours whether or not we are likely to rendezvous with the rest of the ship. If we don't; I wish to begin a pattern of drills, simulations, to ensure we are better prepared."

T'Less ran one fingernail up and down the side of the mug as she watched Cameron and waited for a response either way. This was the first time they'd actually interacted outside of a shared bridge rotation, so she was still assessing what their personal etiquette might end up becoming. Not that these would be usual circumstances, I imagine...
Nator 159: "I accept no responsibility for the ensign's manifest stupidity. Sir." [Show/Hide]
Ranaan Ducote: "A ship is a home; its crew a family." [Show/Hide]
T'Less: "Your odds of prevailing against us are... slim." [Show/Hide]
Valkra: "Come! We will shake the gates of Sto'Vo'Kor!" [Show/Hide]

Re: Chapter 02: Supplemental [ Day 06 | 0435 hrs. ] Holes

Reply #3
[ Ens. Cameron Henshaw | Cameron's Quarters | Deck 10 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Top Hat
[Show/Hide]
Was that a smile on the Vulcan's face for a split-second? Cam blinked and it was gone, without a trace. Vulcans were nearly impossible to read, more so when one was lacking uninterrupted rest. As much as she wanted to look presentable to the superior officer, she felt justified by the fact she wasn't indecent (disheveled maybe) nor would she be on duty for a while more, so she simply continued, and her face fell when she realized what it was that T'Less had come to talk to her about. She felt her raw emotions welling up in her: Sheer anguish, guilt, shame, depression and even a self-destructive sense. It hadn't been more than a few hours ago since when she'd spent it talking it over with Thomas, who offered what comfort he could, and then they spoke about how to mitigate the chances of it happening ever again.

“The battle,” said Cameron, trying to compose herself even as she spoke, though her voice and the sudden quivers of her lips gave away the pain she still felt, added over whatever else she'd been through thus far, “yes, and being caught flat-footed is quite the understatement...I...I watched friends die right before my eyes.”

She bit her lower lip, “I'd spoken to Lieutenant Ravon several hours ago, after the battle...we...we discussed exactly this; how to avoid a repeat of the disaster, and I think we've got a solid plan of some sort...and we're going to implement them in the simulation training. Once all the fighters are rested and ready, we'll be running the simulations, with me participating as Flight Ops.”

She took a sip of her drink, and the cold drink's sugar rush almost kicked her, which was quite exactly what it was supposed to do, but she knew the energy boost was almost ineffectual now due to her level of exhaustion, still, it served its purpose to keep her going for as long as T'Less needed.

“May I ask? Are we going to deal with what we saw as we fled from the Rotarran? The Borg cube?” She looked over at the Vulcan with an extremely vulnerable and frightened expression, followed by resignation, “We can't quite ignore something like that, can we? No matter the circumstances, we're Starfleet, and we have a duty...”

Re: Chapter 02: Supplemental [ Day 06 | 0435 hrs. ] Holes

Reply #4
[ Lt T'Less | Cameron Henshaw's Quarters | Deck 10 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy | Peace Makes Plenty ] attn: @Triage

T'Less watched Henshaw carefully, unblinking as her gaze saccaded over every minute (and not so minute) detail of the ensign's face and body language as she spoke. It was somewhat easier given the woman's level of tiredness; less energy to spend schooling her expression. It wasn't difficult to imagine herself in Cameron's (currently fluffy) shoes... she'd been there before, during, and after the Dominion War on several occasions.

The tea was deliciously hot, just fragrant enough to open the sinuses, and stimulating enough to make sure she was prepared to start what promised to be yet another long day.

"I believe we are, yes," the Vulcan answered through a tenuous veil of aromatic steam. "Though going back in our current condition would achieve little of note, and so we are attempting to make the final rendezvous with Vector Three. We went to warp some hours ago; it appears that Engineering reached some acceptable compromise in the end."

Her mug landed back on the table with a quiet tap, then straightened the PADD against an imaginary line in the table while she shifted her weight a little.

"You blame yourself," she said, quietly.

It wasn't quite a question.

"You shouldn't. You shouldn't take more than your share, certainly. The fingers on the triggers belonged to the KDF. I was... surprised by Lieutenant ch'Rayya's death, and didn't bracket the weapons hardpoints on the Rotarran fast enough. The pilots themselves were nearly outmatched by the battlecruiser and its complement."

T'Less paused, tilting her head slightly to the right. The flattened scarred tip of her left ear caught the light from a passing mote of dust outside the window for an instant while she considered what next to say. "The feelings you have now, the grief and recrimination - turn them to your benefit. As you would have given your life for your friends, so would they for you, gladly. None of us are going to allow a repeat of what happened; all we can be is better.

"I plan to be."
Nator 159: "I accept no responsibility for the ensign's manifest stupidity. Sir." [Show/Hide]
Ranaan Ducote: "A ship is a home; its crew a family." [Show/Hide]
T'Less: "Your odds of prevailing against us are... slim." [Show/Hide]
Valkra: "Come! We will shake the gates of Sto'Vo'Kor!" [Show/Hide]

Re: Chapter 02: Supplemental [ Day 06 | 0435 hrs. ] Holes

Reply #5
[ Ens. Cameron Henshaw | Cameron's Quarters | Deck 10 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Top Hat
[Show/Hide]
T'Less replied in a succinct manner, and the news that they'd actually gone to warp, and she hadn't felt anything suggested that the ship at least was still holding together well enough to make a smooth jump. She felt grateful for the freely provided information, and idly wondered about the dissemination of the information, when the Vulcan made an acute observation that caused Cam's expression to darken, and then, went to resigned.

“It's hard not to,” said Cameron. “I try to convince myself of that fact. And even if I don't blame myself...”

She sighed and  took a sip of her drink, the cold ice and bite of the soda filling her senses, “...those pilots. You're right,” she looked at T'Less and said, “I too, plan to be better, ready for the next engagement. Though I wish I knew how I could turn something like that to my benefit.” She pondered that, wondering if perhaps it was a Vulcan thing they learnt to do.

Re: Chapter 02: Supplemental [ Day 06 | 0435 hrs. ] Holes

Reply #6
[ Lt T'Less | Cameron Henshaw's Quarters | Deck 10 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy | Peace Makes Plenty ] attn: @Triage

The march of emotions across the ensign's delicate features first encouraged T'Less (she wasn't simply numb!) before they worried her a little. Your average Human could match the passions of a Klingon with small persuasion, and could subsequently climb down from them all but immediately once they were finished with whatever had driven them to such heights. A Vulcan who allowed that - even her - would be consumed by it. It would take years of retraining to be allowed to assimilate back into society, and that assumed they were released from a kolinahr retreat at all.

That didn't mean there wasn't an obvious price, of course.

"... Though I wish I knew how I could turn something like that to my benefit."

T'Less pulled her chair closer to the table, turning so that she was sitting upright at it rather than more informally next to it. Her fingers clasped loosely together next to her PADD as she took a breath to speak. "'Emotional energy' is a neutral abstract for a reason. Whatever you feel can provide motivation to perform anything you require in near-infinite combination. But the mechanism for that... is personal. I can't teach you my way, because we are different people. Species, even."

She looked away from Henshaw for a moment, sipping her tea before taking a resolving breath and meeting her eye again; decision evidently made.

"Mine is fear," she said, simply. "I am scared that I might freeze, and dozens of people might be killed when some torpedo or fighter slips through the screen. I am scared that I might myself be killed by some lucky - or well-aimed - shot," she added, running a hand through her hair as she thought of her ephemeral passenger. "So that fear, that anxiety... I turn it to purpose. I let it steer my reactions in battle, I let it guide my intuition when strategising. And, thusly spent, it is neither wasted nor a danger to me. To my crew mates."

The words were delivered mostly-deadpan, matter-of-fact. As if a Vulcan hadn't just admitted to feeling but to feeling something base and instinctive.

"There is an old expression from Earth as I recall, with an unfortunate history but a reasonable premise. 'No stick breaks in a bundle'. You will not be alone, Cameron Henshaw."
Nator 159: "I accept no responsibility for the ensign's manifest stupidity. Sir." [Show/Hide]
Ranaan Ducote: "A ship is a home; its crew a family." [Show/Hide]
T'Less: "Your odds of prevailing against us are... slim." [Show/Hide]
Valkra: "Come! We will shake the gates of Sto'Vo'Kor!" [Show/Hide]

Re: Chapter 02: Supplemental [ Day 06 | 0435 hrs. ] Holes

Reply #7
[ Ens. Cameron Henshaw | Cameron's Quarters | Deck 10 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Top Hat
[Show/Hide]
Cam wasn't entirely sure if T'Less meant to provide assurance or comfort in her words, but she supposed that was the likely intent, considering the final remark, and she smiled wanly at the Vulcan officer. What intrigued her was the admission that T'Less indeed felt fear, or other emotions too. She couldn't quite comprehend the fact, since Vulcans supposedly purged all emotions completely from themselves, as far as she understood. And then there was the curious case of Sinead O'Riley, who had supposedly embraced the teachings of Surak during her stay in a monastery on Vulcan, and managed to achieve a level of emotionlessness similar to actual Vulcans.

But they all still feel, I'm sure, thought Cam as she took another drink of her beverage. “Thank you, ma'am.” She said, and she added, “and thank you for the trust you're putting in me. I honestly didn't know for certain that you can feel emotions...to that extent. I think fear would paralyze me...” or would it? During Declan Vasser's mutiny, Cam had aided Wenn Cinn and a team of loyalists by approaching a group of men, drawing all their attention on herself, then she unleashed a reckless assault on them, without the certainty that Cinn and his team could save her in time.

Then there was the time Jien held a phaser to her head, believing she had betrayed him and the Theurgy. She responded by almost confessing outright that she loved him, citing everything she'd done, and then taking that phaser and putting it to her heart, telling him to shoot if he really believed she would betray him. Jien. Cam felt her exhaustion and the pain of loss again as she thought of the captain, and wished for the umpteenth time she could know for certain one way or another, about his condition and whereabouts. She shook her head, when she realized she was nearly drifting off right in front of the lieutenant.

“S-sorry!” said Cam, “I was...just considering that lately I've been pouring all of my efforts into grief and loss. I've been letting myself be drained by emotions to the point I'm almost useless to everyone. I've been facing or dealing with this whole thing wrong, and letting myself feel alone.” She cleared her throat, and nodded at T'Less, “You are right. I am not alone, and we are stronger together. It's time I started working with the living again...”

After another hour or two of sleep...

Re: Chapter 02: Supplemental [ Day 06 | 0435 hrs. ] Holes

Reply #8
[ Lt T'Less | Cameron Henshaw's Quarters | Deck 10 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy | Peace Makes Plenty ] attn: @Triage

"I feel, yes," T'Less confirmed simply. She wasn't sure how to address the 'trust' comment; the acting Chief would only really have been reticent to admit her... inclinations to another one of her own species. "Most Vulcans keep a different form of control, of course." She looked off to one side for a second while she wondered where to go from there.

"Well, as I said, the mechanism must be personal," she continued, meeting Henshaw's mildly-bloodshot eye again. "If yours can't be fear, then it must be another. Your grief, perhaps. Or something else. I regret that I am unable to give you a clearer suggestion..."

T'Less watched as Henshaw's eyelids drooped, leaden, and considered again that her early-morning visit might have been too much so close on the heels of the night's events. And come to think of it, she had also mentioned speaking to Lt Ravon already, but hadn't said how long that particular meeting had been. A twinge of something close to guilt twisted in her stomach for a second before she sequestered it.

Something remained, though. Sympathy. A small crease appeared between her brows as she tried to remove the subtler emotion. Or at least work around it. Consciously unbidden, her hand nearest Cameron shifted across the tabletop, the sleeve of her uniform hissing across the surface, as if to take the younger woman by the hand.

"S-sorry!" she roused, as T'Less' hand halted its lurch only a couple of centimetres into its journey. The Vulcan instead nodded fractionally to show she was listening as the erstwhile yeoman spoke.

The Tactical officer wanted to discuss a drill schedule now, to get it settled and set as soon as possible, but she had obviously misjudged her timing quite badly. Overwrought and overtired as Henshaw was, it was a wonder she was sitting upright at all. She might have to simply return later - while Henshaw wouldn't forget given the impact the day had had on the Human, she didn't want to contribute to overloading on top of it all as well.

"... It's time I started working with the living again."

"Then I will allow that to crystallise and leave you to rest. I apologise for interrupting your sleep, Ensign. Perhaps a ninety-minute Do Not Disturb flag?" For a complete humanoid sleep cycle. "You may add my code to it to help enforce it if you wish."

She didn't stand, but her posture changed ever-so-slightly to indicate she was willing to leave if requested.
Nator 159: "I accept no responsibility for the ensign's manifest stupidity. Sir." [Show/Hide]
Ranaan Ducote: "A ship is a home; its crew a family." [Show/Hide]
T'Less: "Your odds of prevailing against us are... slim." [Show/Hide]
Valkra: "Come! We will shake the gates of Sto'Vo'Kor!" [Show/Hide]

Re: Chapter 02: Supplemental [ Day 06 | 0435 hrs. ] Holes

Reply #9
[ Ens. Cameron Henshaw | Cameron's Quarters | Deck 10 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Top Hat
[Show/Hide]
“Th-that's quite all right,” said Cameron unconvincingly. She was in fact very grateful for the offer and she wasn't going to refuse, but politeness demanded she make a token resistance to her superior officer. But the fact that she was dropping off right there told anyone with a pair of eyes that nothing was going to get between Cameron and her bed. Worst come to worst, she can sleep on the floor. It's clean enough, “okay...maybe I will take up on that. I'll be no good to anyone if I'm dead on my feet anyhow.”

Was T'Less reaching out for her hand? Cameron glanced at the Vulcan woman thoughtfully, drawing on what little conscious energy she had left, to smile in appreciation at the gesture. The woman was a mystery to her. But then, all Vulcans were...and Sinead O'Riley.

“I realize how selfish it might sound, but I look forward to a very long vacation...sometime soon.” she gave T'Less a wan smile even as she rose from her seat, to recycle her unfinished drink, and then to see her guest out with a, “I'll see you soon, lieutenant.”

She woke up about a minute later to find she managed to fall asleep leaning on the bulkhead near the door. Hopefully she hadn't gone off before the Vulcan woman had left, and she wearily retreated to her extremely comfortable bed, murmuring a “Lights...off...” before she was dreaming of happy Vulcans and dour Risians.

Re: Chapter 02: Supplemental [ Day 06 | 0435 hrs. ] Holes

Reply #10
[ Lt T'Less | Cameron Henshaw's Quarters | Deck 10 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy | Peace Makes Plenty ] attn: @Triage 

"Th-that's quite alright..." All the assertion earned her was the stereotypical Vulcan eyebrow-raise. "Okay... maybe I will take you up on that. I'll be no good to anyone if I'm dead on my feet anyhow."

"Very well," T'Less replied, rising with Cameron and replacing her borrowed seat neatly back under the table. She collected her PADD and placed her empty mug on the replicator plate next to the soft drink preferred by her host. Looking too closely at Henshaw nearly provoked a yawn in her Vulcan guest, and she had had technically adequate rest in her quarters already.

"I realise how selfish it might sound, but I look forward to a very long vacation... sometime soon."

"Hm," T'Less said, her wry smirk hidden as she turned towards the door, "I doubt you're alone there, Ensign."

The doors hissed open, and the Vulcan nodded her response to the Human's farewell. As they closed behind her, T'Less could have sworn that she heard a small thump from the other side of them... but no further bumps made themselves known, so she dismissed it as some dropped piece of equipment or other transmitting its impact through the deck.

"Gangway," called a goldshirt pushing an AG sled laden with removed - well, scrapped - duranium panels that had been blackened and twisted by heat. Their edges were curled with the telltale degradation of disruptor impact.

Her teeth ground together in her head as she flattened herself against the bulkhead to stay out of the man's way. So much damage that they could ill-afford. So many new casualties to clog their sickbay... that thought took her back some years to a darker place. This would not be a repeat. Not while she yet drew breath.

Once the sled had passed, she carried on down the corridor towards the lifts. Work to do.



FIN
Nator 159: "I accept no responsibility for the ensign's manifest stupidity. Sir." [Show/Hide]
Ranaan Ducote: "A ship is a home; its crew a family." [Show/Hide]
T'Less: "Your odds of prevailing against us are... slim." [Show/Hide]
Valkra: "Come! We will shake the gates of Sto'Vo'Kor!" [Show/Hide]

 
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