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Re: Epilogue: For the Win [ Day 06 | 1430 hrs. ]

Reply #25

[ Doctor Lucan cin Nicander | Security Center | Deck 07 | USS Theurgy ] @Triage @trevorvw @CanadianVet

It was wrong. Not the same. Neither face nor light was like Nicander remembered it. Of course, when he'd first met Heather McMillan during Vasser's mutiny, she had barely emitted any light at all - hiding as she'd been aboard and leading a life in pretence of being a mere human. Of course, he'd felt the thing inside coil in disgust towards her, but it was only later - when Heather's abilities had been allowed to bloom freely and without restraint - that her transphasic levels had been reached. But this?

This was not the same, and Lucan's hopes already shrivelled. Could it really be the same woman?

The memory... The sight in the abyss.

The Savi host, obliterating Heather in front of Captain Ives.

"By the winds, did he truly kill you?" he asked, incredulous. How could she be alive, in any way or form? He stepped closer to the field, his pale grey eyes turning fully white by the shimmer. "I saw it. Wenn Cinn said you may have made it, and I couldn't believe him at first. I saw through it's eyes. I saw it's chitin claws activate that energy field. I saw you in front of Captain Ives, and how you reached for him. And then... you were no more. Motes in the air. I saw it! Am I lying?"

There was, however, no reason for this woman to lie about her identity. He could press her, demand that she'd tell him something that would confirm it. But Trent was there, and he believed her - being closest to her among all aboard the Theurgy - so he could but assume that this was no trick. The Savi had... somehow, restored her to life, only she wasn't the same as she used to be. Be that as it may, the import lay not in her face... but in her light.

Dreading the repercussions of what the Scion had done, Lucan felt his shoulders sag, and he sank down on his knees in front of the forcefield. He ran his tattooed hand through his hair, and tried to hold  on to hope. "Mister Akoni... if Heather's light can be unobstructed by the forcefields, I'd be grateful. Keep the gravity setting as it is, for your own safety... But please, give me the chance to be free of what festers inside. If Heather's light can drive it out... We have a weapon at last. A cure, and a means to end all of this."

Sitting there on his knees in his scourged uniform, Lucan slowly spread his mismatched hands in supplication. He closed his eyes, and waited...

...sensing the mounting roar of the thing inside. It knew what may happen, and tried to cease control. The struggle against it, it made Lucan's face twist, but he held on. The shadow inside clawed and teared, meaning to pull the Host body out of Heather's vicinity, but Lucan refused to move. Muscles along his arms and chest tightened, making him shiver. Still, he held on to his sanity.

"Hurry," he breathed between clenched teeth, eyes still closed - assailed by the images of what the beast wished to do to the three skin-puppets beyond the gravity field. He shook his head, hissing, face twisted, but he held on, and did not move from where he sat, hands still spread. "Yours is the light that burn the darkness, so shine!"

OOC: I suggest @trevorvw posts first, then @Triage or @CanadianVet? :)

Re: Epilogue: For the Win [ Day 06 | 1430 hrs. ]

Reply #26
[ Ens. Cameron Henshaw | Main Bridge | Deck 1 | Vector 01 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Auctor Lucan
“It is,” said Cam, almost sounding stubborn and obstinate, but her look was still soft, and a little dazed, “but I don't bear the loss alone. Every surviving...and returning wolf, bears them with me.”

She offered a weak smile, “I tell myself that everything that's happened...everything that's taken the lives of friends, family and crew, it all has to be worth it; we have to make it worth something. That we're going to get through this hell thanks to the sacrifices made and the lives given.”

Her eyes became shiny with unshed tears as she felt the familiar ache in her chest, the colossal sense of loss, but mitigated somewhat by the reunion with Jien and the Versant survivors. She enjoyed the feel of Jien's touch wherever he put his hand, and even though her body was a right sorry state, she was ready to be with him if he so wished, and she was sure he knew that too. Her eyes spoke of a deep yearning whenever she looked at him. An intense longing and even a predatory hunger that she exuded in his presence.

She had heard everything he told her; the experience and suffering of the survivors on board the Versant, along with the triumphs, and the unusual ally they had found in one Savi. As much as the universe seemed to hate them, there were unexpected souls that showed them kindness or compassion. And there was Martok. He was a harsh man, but not completely unreasonable. And now they were allies, and they finally had a moment of true respite. Cam could scarcely believe it.

She looked then at the hand holding her own. Taking her other hand, she laid it gently over the Chameloid's as they sat there. The sheer volume of all she wanted to tell him, and the thoughts racing through her mind of the things she had to do, still. “It feels like years,” she said, “but it's really only been months, hasn't it? I can't imagine what it would be like if were really years. All that you've gone through, and all that Thea's been put through.”

She clasped his hand with both of hers, looking at it thoughtfully.

Re: Epilogue: For the Win [ Day 06 | 1430 hrs. ]

Reply #27
[ Captain Ives | Main Bridge | Deck 01 | Vector 01 | USS Theurgy ] @Triage
Cam was so crestfallen that Jien felt compelled to tell her what she might not have learned if she was in sickbay.

"All those who have died in the line of duty aboard this ship, they have all carried us to this point, where we might not only find respite, but won a great victory over the Infested and the Borg alike. The former would use the latter to assimilate all, and then break the Hive Mind, making the Queen insane. All assimilated words struck with madness, and whatever life not yet touched by the borg would suffer a Collective devolved into insanity and unpredictability. This is what we prevented today. The Borg invasion would have been the end of it all."

Saying this, Jien looked down upon their hands as well where they sat in the couch. "It makes the losses no lighter, but I do feel it bring meaning to our mission. That while the Simulcast - it's true message - may only have reached a select few, this victory has compromised the plan the Infected had for this timeline entirely. I do not know if they had any alternatives besides the Borg to corrupt and undermine evolution, but I can hardly fathom a conduit as fitting as the Collective to destroy all intelligent life. This... uncreation agenda of theirs, it must be hinged on conditions beyond themselves, since they appear limited to using Hosts and their influence."

Cam being hurt, Jien tilted his head to look at her. "You should rest, and come back here tomorrow, when we are at Aldea. I would never ask you for anything after suffering a concussion and neck damage. I do appreciate that you came, however, so that I know you're still alive, and that you will recover," he said with a faint smile, raising his hand to stroke her cheek. "Knowing you were here, aiding Wenn Cinn, it brought me hope during the time on the Versant."

Because of what Semathal had done to him in the Scion's Nest, however, it was not likely Jien would let anyone near himself in quite some time...

Re: Epilogue: For the Win [ Day 06 | 1430 hrs. ]

Reply #28
[ Lt. Kai Akoni | Security Centre | Deck 07 | USS Theurgy ] @Auctor Lucan @Triage @CanadianVet

Kai stood outside the cell as the infected Nicander spoke to Heather. He watched with both skepticism and intrigue as the conversation played out. He was very unsure how this whole thing was going to go, as they all were. He was comforted slightly in the fact that there were precautions in place to help keep this little meeting secure. If there weren't, who knew how this would turn out? He didn't care to find out.

Everything was all fine and dandy until the prisoner had requested to have the forcefields lowered. This was so "Heather's light" couldn't be obstructed by the forcefields. Immediately upon request, Kai raised his right eyebrow in bewilderment at the audacity of such a request. He stood, arms crossed, unable to hide his reservations at the whole situation. The large man had immediately dismissed the request mentally, before pausing for a moment to think.

He looked towards Heather and the much taller Lieutenant that had accompanied her. There hadn't appeared to be any immediate refusal of the request from the two visitors. This slightly surprised Kai, but he decided to go with it. Kai had to think introspectively about the possible risks and benefits. He played out a few scenarios in his head, before finally coming to a conclusion. Kai figured he could lower the forcefields and keep the gravity cranked up high in between. He could at least ensure a little bit of a safety net; albeit not much, but it was better than nothing. Kai would keep his phaser pointed at the ready in case anything sketchy happened. He had no idea how what was about to happen, but it appeared, he didn't have much of a choice but to find out.

He was just about to give his reply to Nicander when the prisoner had implored Kai to hurry. Kai slightly rolled his eyes while grabbing his type 2 phaser and handing it to Lt. Trent with a curt nod. The large man then turned towards Nicander.

"You get sixty seconds. That's it. Got it?" he had said as he held the phaser rifle in his left hand, trained at where Nicander was, while simultaneously touching the forcefield controls with his right hand.

Kai took a deep breath as he prepared himself for what could happen. The fields disappeared with a quick shimmer and sound.

Kai hoped this wouldn't come back to bite anyone in the ass.

Re: Epilogue: For the Win [ Day 06 | 1430 hrs. ]

Reply #29
[ Cmdr Ranaan Ducote | Main Sickbay | Deck 11 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ] attn: @TWilkins

Ducote took Elro's less-than-subtle hint that he'd be better served - and would make a better servant - if he could get back to looking after the inpatients of the heaving medical ward. The ship's company was certainly in a sorry state... despite the bleeding-edge nature of the Theurgy design  the crew had been battered and shaken. Or, perhaps, only because of that design was it possible that so many had merely been injured rather than killed. The hybrid had to admit that there weren't many ships in the Fleet that could stand up to the sort of abuse this one had received and carry on flying, let alone fighting.

Still, though. It wasn't just Blue's condition that made him uncomfortable here.

"In the meantime, would you perhaps appreciate an analgesic for that headache that I imagine you have brewing? Alongside my assurance that I'll take a short break when we've moved out of any immediate patient risk, maybe even treat myself to a pastry."

"Ha. Yeah.." he trailed off, accepting the offer for what it was, but he crossed his arms across his chest anyway. "I'll take that deal. Just- one-forty-seven, you know... Since then I find it hard to be in places like this, is all."

As his old CMO, Kobol  would know of Ducote's treatment for his traumatic stress, and at least an overview of the terror attack's aftermath that had blunted his empathy. The stench of plasma burns (he could spot a few here), the hazy second-hand pain under a blanket of sedation (plenty around), the shouts of the hurt (covering their conversation right now), the groans of the critical-but-conscious. Forcibly, he shunted the memory away and moved a little closer to Blue's bed, taking her slack hand in his for a moment as he looked down at her.

"Gimme that shot, Doc," he finished quietly. "I'll go find the quartermaster afterwards and shake 'em down for some spare compartments."
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Re: Epilogue: For the Win [ Day 06 | 1430 hrs. ]

Reply #30
[ PWO Heather McMillan | Main Entrance | Security Center | Deck 7 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Auctor Lucan, @CanadianVet & @TrevorVW
Heather turned to look at Carrigan when she heard his question, and the tone in his voice caught her off guard. The hues of light that she had to concentrate on maintaining was lost and the light slowly faded away. She wanted to answer him, to try and explain, to put it all together into words, perhaps as much for herself as it would be for him to understand, and to cope. But that was when Lucan spoke. Like before he did not truly need to urge her, because she felt something within her when he told her to shine, and she was almost about to act on her own.

Kai warned her of the time she had before he slammed the door shut for the good of all.

Y-yes, Mr. Akoni, said Heather, with a small nod, and when the barrier was down, she did not waste time, and stepped closer, concentrating hard on making the light once more, and she let it surround her as the brightness engulfed the room. She thought of the time she was with Sonya Acreth and him. The doctor had told her to shine, and she felt no compunctions at that time, just like now. Part of her was mortified, but another part of her was eager to shed light on everyone. The realization soon came to her that it was like having a body you weren't fully in control of.

Carrigan and Lucan were both so bewildered and filled with questions about her. Questions she couldn't answer, because she herself wasn't entirely sure on the answers. She heard the affection in Carrigan's tone, and what bothered her even as she continued to shine for the full minute that Kai allowed the field to be down, was why she did not feel anything one way or another. When she was done, and the time was up, she lowered her hands and looked wonderingly at Lucan. Did it work? she asked wonderingly.

Re: Epilogue: For the Win [ Day 06 | 1430 hrs. ]

Reply #31
[ Lt. Carrigan Trent | Security Center |  Deck 07 | USS Theurgy ] ][/b] Attn: @Triage @trevorvw @Auctor Lucan

The question Carrigan Trent asked, a whisper even quieter than his regular speech, was one he had voiced for himself, never truly expecting himself to be overheard.  But it would seem that Heather had heard him, and her light died as she turned to look at him.  He could see how his words had hit her, as if she was not certain herself of what had been done.  Once more, a wave of horror crashed upon Trent's mind, and images of of of those monsters tearing Heather apart with its claws flashed into his vision. 

His breath caught, his heart sped up and he was on the very edge of losing what grip he still had upon his control when a weapon was thrust his way.  Of course.  Back up Akoni; it made sense.  As he took he weapon, the former XO's free hand came to the controls and set it not only for a wide pattern, but he also brought up the power levels.  Not simply enough to cause lethal damage to a humanoid, but to render one to a few traces of its constituent atoms.  If that thing did so much as twitch the wrong way, Trent would open fire, and deal with the consequences later.  "Akoni, I don't know what you know, and I don't care how good a shot you are, go for a wide setting, and turn up the power.  Stun, or even kill, won't even slow it down, and those bastards are fast." 

Once more, there was steel in Trent's voice; the voice of someone who knew how to fight, and fight well.  The voice of someone used to command, even though its burden did not sit easy on his shoulders.  He'd heard enough on the way to Security as to how he'd been disgraced, how the rumour mill stated he was inept.  He was not.  He knew he was not.  And while this was not his kind of fighting, his preferred method involving tens of thousands of kilometers of separation and weapons that could sterilize planets, it was still combat, simply on a different scale.

As the forcefield dropped, he  took aim, both hands on his borrowed weapon and his aim unwavering.  And through Heather's light, he waited.

Re: Epilogue: For the Win [ Day 06 | 1430 hrs. ]

Reply #32
[ Lieutenant Elro Kobol | Main Sickbay | Deck 11 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ] @Top Hat @Auctor Lucan

Elro nodded a firm confirmation at the Commander’s agreement that he would indeed accept the analgesic, though the Doctor was unable to avoid the slight twitch of his brow when Ducote crossed his arms defiantly, regardless of his acceptance for the painkiller. The Doctor had considered, in the past, given Ducote's empathic struggles, offering his Commander some time learning the key Vulcan meditation techniques that Adyen himself had learned to cope with with the wayward emotions that his empathy naturally attracted into his psyche… But he’d never quite voiced the offer with the man. Somehow, Elro didn’t think emotion-suppressing Vulcan meditation and Commander Ranaan Ducote would go hand in hand…

The Doctor fetched up a hypospray loaded with the correct compound, before softly adjusting the dosage it would apply to the Commander, tailoring it best for what the man would usually have required back on the Endeavour after a particularly dangerous scenario, dosing it a fraction higher than usual, factoring the larger ship and the bigger trauma. As he readied the drug, he listened as Ducote mentioned that he’d find the quartermaster and establish finding some additional space to move some of the non-critical wounded.

Elro smiled, and softly thanked him for his offer of assistance, pressing the hypospray against the man’s neck with a soft hiss. He prepared to say something else to the Commander, regarding the sort of sterile facilities that they’d be requiring… But he was quickly cut off.

“We need some help over here!” Someone screeched out from somewhere within the mess of trauma that had become beached outside of Sickbay, to which Elro responded, almost pushing himself past his cross-armed Commander with little more than and nod, grabbing his medical tricorder en-route to whatever malady awaited him.

Elro approached as the patient in question was lowered to a hover gurney like a ragdoll, a few clumps of burned blue hair poking out from a singed scalp the only thing that anyone could have identified the patient by. He flicked out his tricorder, but his examination by eye couldn’t differentiate between where her skin ended and her uniform began. Perhaps the lack of any of the traditional signs of rigor mortis meant that the figure was still alive, but the smell coming from the charred body was enough for Elro to know...

“We’ll take it from here…” Elro dismissed the security officer who’d carried the patient, who he’d confirmed as female, into sickbay. Her body had suffered through extreme trauma, one of her lungs was perforated, the other, collapsing. She had shards of crystalline polymer imbedded several inches into her face, along with evidence of subarachnoid haemorrhage and burns so severe that she’d require several hours of immediate surgery just for a slim chance to survive, that even if it was sucessful, it would be somewhat irresolute as to whether she had the capacity to survive.

And all of the Surgical bays were occupied…

Elro gazed down at her, catching his reflection in the shards imbedded in her face, blood pouring down from her wounds, glazing the gurney with a dark, sticky, crimson… The damage to her systems was extensive. He’d need to re-set her broken ribs, decompress her lung and put her on immediate respiratory support, remove the shards of polymer from her face and reconstruct the damage, stop both the external and internal bleeding, perform brain surgery to address the haemorrhage and treat extreme burns across her entire body… And somehow,  the team would have had to perform a surgery of that magnitude all without killing her from the complications of having to operate on four life threatening injuries at the same time.

As the gurney moved to a less crowded area, Elro weighed up the chances.

She would need a full team, hours of surgery, and that was just give her a chance to survive the damage that had been done to her body. If he arranged for that, they’d certainly lose other patients whom they definitely could have saved… He felt Nurse Jones glance up at him as his mind raced through the options, his eyes fixed to his tricorder and his chest tightening ever so slightly as he watched her heart rate flatline on his tricorder.

Elro, like any medical officer, couldn’t bare the thought of losing someone… But he had staunch faith in his ability to retain his medical objectivity, and knew that it was the only option to take, no matter how brutal it was to meet Nurse Jones’ gaze and softly shake his head.

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Re: Epilogue: For the Win [ Day 06 | 1430 hrs. ]

Reply #33
[ Doctor Lucan cin Nicander | Security Center | Deck 07 | USS Theurgy ] @Triage @trevorvw @CanadianVet
Whilst the light shone, Lucan was silent at first, biting down hard to remain in contol. Bathed in brilliance, he sat there, breathing hard and trying to tame the panic and need for shadow. The things inside wanted nothing rather than scramble out of the doorway and into the corner of the darkest corner of the holding cell. Still, Nicander remained, eyes shut and face turned away to ward his retinas - the eyelids barely enough to protect his eyes. The granted time was long, given the struggle he endured.

By the second, the thing inside coiled more violently, each moment seemingly more agonising then the next. The panic of the breast was, however, the fodder of Nicander's resolve. Even though it seemed as strong as before, the darkness was clearly affected... only it seemed not enough. Twenty seconds went by, thirty, and still it fought to gain control of its Host. Nicander's hope was waning, feeling how Heather's light wasn't the same as he'd felt during the battle at Starbase 84. As his hope waned, so did his will to fight. He felt his lips purse, and his aching jaw open. A scream built from his chest, but it was not his voice alone that resounded through the bared gravity field. Distorted, warped by an echo not born fully within the confines of present reality, his scream grated at the seams of their existence. A tearing sound of extra-dimensional agony.

And then, the time ran out, and the light faded... leaving Nicander doubled over where he sat.

The after-image of the light presided, but he had lost hope. For he felt it still - the beast yet present inside.

Slowly, he fell to his side, lying on the deck. The skin of his face felt lightly sunburned, he slowly regained his breath, and his voice was raw when he managed to speak. "Not enough..." he said hoarsely, swallowing. He didn't even manage to turn his head towards the three beyond the force fields. "Whatever the Savi did... it diminished you... I can still feel it inside."

And he could hear it laugh at him.

It was somehow worse than the struggle of the past minute, hearing the presence still inside his head. He covered his eyes where he laid with his tattooed hand, and shook her head. He had no words to offer, for what did you say when hope for sanity still eluded you, and you had little more spirit to offer - no verve for salvation left. He swallowed his grief, and offered what little constructive words he had.

"If we can amplify it... by science, by technology, somehow... there might still be a way," he offered weakly, not really believing in it - at his wits end and without optimism. Too long, he'd shared his body with the dark. A slave or a mere spectator, perhaps just a product of his own lies. He refused to believe that, even though he feared it might be true. He'd been no saint before he became Infested, bent on vengeance as he'd been, but had that ire just faded... or was he created from the public image he'd portrayed for the crew? A lie begetting life? False compassion made real? He was not even sure what he'd prefer to be true any more.

"Do not give up," he said quietly to them, for perhaps they still had hope left. He rolled over on his back, staring into the deckehead of his cell. "When the lights fade... there nothing left but the dark. So I will be here... until you can weaponize that light, and banish this thing inside me."

Re: Epilogue: For the Win [ Day 06 | 1430 hrs. ]

Reply #34
[ Ens. Cameron Henshaw | Main Bridge | Deck 1 | Vector 01 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Auctor Lucan
At the mention of Wenn Cinn, Cameron looked away, some of the unshed tears finally spilling. She remembered not too long ago, during Declan Vassers's mutiny, how he gave her a chance when most of the others, even Jien, was ready to write her off as a traitor. But he gave her a chance, to prove that she was not. He saved Edena Rez and Jien from the crazed captain, and now, once more, he had saved them all, with the ultimate sacrifice. How could they do any less than him, after all he did? How could they even begin to repay a debt which could never be repaid ever?

In the end, it came down to what Jien just said to her. Keep on living, fight the good fight, and don't lose hope or faith.

For the better tomorrow.

She rested her head against the palm of his hand when he reached out to stroke her cheek. Even now, in her present condition, Jien continued to fuel her desire and passion for him. His every touch was electric to her, but she refrained a little from acting on those base desires. This wasn't quite the time for that yet, and there was, as of yet, much emotions on the table that made some of her feelings and thoughts wildly inappropriate.

“When I don't look or feel like hell,” said Cam with a nervous smile, “I can give you more than just hope.”

Was she on some kind of pain medication? She wasn't sure if she ought to have been so forward. She wanted to kiss him so badly, but she wasn't sure now if he would welcome or allow it. Instead, as she made to get up, she leaned forward first, to kiss him gently on the cheek, and whispered, “And even if you didn't ask, you won't have to. I am here to help you and everyone else in this fight for as long as I am able to.”

She bid him good day with a smile, and slowly retreated from the ready room. She was out like a light almost before her head hit the pillow in her quarters, the events of the last few days catching up to her.

[ PWO Heather McMillan | Main Entrance | Security Center | Deck 7 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Auctor Lucan, @CanadianVet & @TrevorVW
It didn't work. The failure, as reported by Lucan, left a great weight on her, coupled with the intense exhaustion she felt from exherting so much light for so long. There was a time when such a feat was almost nothing to her. Almost. But now, it was a sheer battle of willpower just to keep up as long as she did. The man's scream was as unnatural as it was unnerving. She almost broke right then and wanted to run away in fear, but she only stayed, bolstered by the presence of Kai and Carrigan. If they couldn't handle it, then what hope was there for her anyway?

Even so, she was now spent, and it was all for nothing. She felt despair and hopelessness crawl into her heart.

Lucan tried to encourage her, told her to find a way to amplify it. She was the only Radiant to ever reveal herself to the Federation. They had no way of studying and understanding her people or how their light worked. Worse was the fact that the Radiants themselves barely understood their own light, they'd never had a need to, they just knew that it did and they communed together in their colony, disguised as Amish folk. But now, now, Heather was driven to understand her physiology.

She nodded at the Infested man. For him, to help him be free, she would try again, and try to find a way to restore the full extent of her light once again, or at least find a way to replicate it. She might have mumbled a response, but the rest was unintelligible, as she stumbled backwards and felt strong arms catch her, but after that, she wasn't sure of much else. It was probably Carrigan, and he was saying something to Kai, then she felt him hoist her right off the ground. She thought she would get better after getting away from the Versant, but maybe it was just too much in a short time and not enough rest. Either way, she wasn't going to get up until a full day's rest.


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