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[AU] Coping With Grief

Posted on Tue Aug 14th, 2018 @ 5:27am by Lieutenant Cailus Griffin & Lieutenant Kalin 'Shae' Brennan-Griffin PhD & Lieutenant JG Vecon Fick & Ensign Sasha Vieers

Mission: Divided We Fall
Location: Ready Room
Timeline: Immediately after “Just A Bit Longer”

After the captain was shot and he was rushed to ‘Sickbay’ (in reality, just a converted conference room), hours passed without word. Nurse Lewis went in and out a couple of times, his grim expression telling passers-by all that they needed to know, but Cailus and Shae stayed with the captain. They didn’t even take rest breaks.

Finally they emerged, both with red puffy eyes, holding each other’s hands. They didn’t say a word as they walked down the corridor, ignoring anyone they met as they got the turbolift shaft, climbing up to the Bridge. Once there, Cailus looked around everyone silently, feeling their eyes on him and Shae.

“Fick, Sasha,” he said suddenly, looking at them both. “Ready room, please.”

Shae held tight to Cailus' hand, not bothering to maintain any form of propriety in this dark hour. There was a sick feeling forming in the pit of her stomach; for as bad as things were in this moment, she had a feeling it was about to get much worse.

Fick felt like he was going to vomit if he opened his mouth, instead he rose from where he had been seated while they waited and made his way slowly to the ready room. No amount of deep breathing was going to fix what he already knew, by Cailus and Shae's faces, to be true. He'd kept saying to himself, the whole time that they had been in this situation, that it couldn't get any worse, but each time it had.

Sasha stood out from the small gathering in the most uncomfortable way; as the only "Splinter" group member present. Her casual attire noticeably different to the uniform-clad officers of Nyx's closest friends. However, she shared the same pale, drawn look on her face as the others. The same uneasy lump in her stomach that she knew there was only ever going to be bad news delivered to them.

After the group moved into the ready room and the door closed behind them, Cailus glanced briefly at Nyx’s various possessions before looking to the others. He nearly folded his arms before remembering that Shae was still holding his hand tightly.

“I’m sure that you’re both aware,” he said gravely, “but it must be said anyway. Captain Temple is dead.”

Fick couldn't breathe. He felt like he was far away and Cailus was talking to him at the end of a long tunnel. His breathing hitched in his effort to get a deep breath and he white knuckled the arms of the chair he was sitting in. It was everything he could do to stay conscious. The blow was devastating, even though he had been slightly prepared. Things could definitely get worse.

Sasha let out a loud and emotional sob before burying her face in her hands and turning away from the others. She let her fingers soak up the tears that flowed, her heart racing loudly in her chest. The Ensign didn't know where to go or what to do, except to express her deep sadness unreservedly in front of the others. If there was ever a time for breaking protocol, this was it.

As they grieved, Cailus waited, allowing them a few moments to process it. He had already mourned Nyx and would certainly mourn his friend more in the coming days, but now, he forced himself to take a deep steadying breath.

“As much as we might all want to grieve, there are things that must be done before we can indulge in that luxury,” Cailus told them grimly. “The captain wouldn’t want us to be paralysed right now. The splinter group were a heartbeat away from rioting earlier and our food supplies were stolen. I will need to return to retrieve the stolen food, as well as find a way to defuse the situation.”

"We also need to re-establish a Chain of Command," Shae stated in a dull, defeated tone. "As the only full Lieutenants present, Cailus and I are obvious candidates, but I don't think I would be the wise choice; there's too much tension between myself and the Splinter crew, plus I can't handle the responsibility of leading in addition to all the tasks I already deal with. If nothing else, everyone respects Cailus' commitment to the entire crew's safety, even the Splinter group." Shae looked up to Cailus with an apologetic gaze, feeling bad that she had just saddled him with the leadership of what was left of the loyal Starfleet crew, but he really was their only viable option.

Fick wasn't hearing anything anyone was saying. His ears were making a loud ringing noise that was drowning out all other sound. He felt a little like he might explode. As if every molecule in his body was vibrating and at any moment he was just going to fly apart. Before he really even knew what was happening he was up and running away from the group. He couldn't really run all that far, but he ducked into a Jefferies tube and made his way to what he considered his "room". He wanted to scream and break things, but he didn't have any things. He threw his blanket around and finding that unsatisfying he screamed. He didn't care who could hear him. He screamed until his voice broke and then lay, unmoving, in the Jefferies tube.

Sasha stood in silence after Fick had left. She had wanted to do the same thing, her mind telling her to give up all hope of them surviving this situation. If the crew could be sucked out to their deaths with little notice, if the captain of the ship could be killed so coldly and suddenly, if the divide between them all was too severe to repair; what was the point of hope? The reason she stayed in the room, however, was that it became apparent Griffin and Brennan weren't aware of all the facts.

"Many in the group fear Lieutenant Griffin, but they were willing to resist against what they perceived to be aggression." She spoke up, wiping her eyes. "I believe, however, that Rochester acted alone in stealing the rifle. He was the primary instigator; he developed a negative attitude towards the Captain months ago and it has only festered. Nyx and I were working on a way to safely segregate him from the others."

Listening carefully, Cailus had to resist the urge to facepalm upon hearing about the Captain’s spy games, all without telling his security chief. “Continue,” he said wearily, making a mental note to give Nyx a good kicking in the afterlife.

Sasha bit her lip. "My defection to the separatists was staged in order to give the Captain an inside person in the group. It was my job to ensure they got the food they needed to keep them happy, and to pacify any signs of violent dissent. Unfortunately, I underestimated Rochester's true feelings against the Captain. I didn't know he was planning to steal the phaser rifle, and believe many others in the Splinter group were caught off guard by today's events as well."

"There has to be a way to ensure that others do not follow Rochester's example." Shae sighed with worry. "If the rest of the crew get it in their head that Rochester was right and we're withholding food, then we have a massive problem! I have to carefully ration what leaves the garden, not just to ensure that we have food for the next day, but if we take too much at one time, it could upset a very delicate balance that exists not only within the garden itself, but affects everything else. Because of the time dilation, the garden can scrub the CO2 from the air faster and more efficiently than the life support system, so I've rerouted the fans to circulate our air through the garden to take stress off the pods, freeing up power for us to do other things. If we end up with a mutiny and they raid the garden without realizing the implications, the damage could cause a sudden strain on the pods and we would start losing functionality, maybe even as far as the shields," Shae explained. She had been working with several members of the crew, including a few of the Separatists, to teach them about how to maintain the garden and this balance, mostly because she and Nyx both intended for this knowledge to be readily available so that she could go back to focusing kon the nothing-space, but no one knew enough yet to make it all work like Shae could!

As Shae talked, Cailus felt the beginning of a headache forming, but he paid attention nevertheless. “I’ll establish a permanent rotating guard at the garden,” he said, “but that’s a temporary solution. We don’t have enough people to keep that up for long. In the meantime, we’ll have to step up efforts to educate everyone on our life support situation. The best way to stop anyone interfering with the garden is to ensure that everyone knows how dangerous that would be.”

Realising that what he had just said had the overtone of a directive, he sighed. By a strict reading of regulation, Cailus was now technically the CO, but all of their Starfleet discipline and rules seemed to be fading away more and more each day. Their uniforms were becoming increasingly ragged, duty shifts becoming irrelevant, and Nyx’s death might just be the straw that broke the camel’s back. “For the record, then, I officially assume command and all the responsibilities therein, etc. Let’s just try to move on from this without anyone else getting hurt. Sasha, please assemble everyone that you can find on the Bridge. I have to tell the others what happened. I’ll notify the Splinters later.”

"We should bring in the Splinters too, for the announcement," Sasha firmly suggested. "Many of them will be shaken by what's occurred and... regrettably, the Captain's passing may help swing some of them back to Starfleet service. Smith and Kaleri in particular I think are already willing to switch back. You will then only be dealing with a handful of Rochester's closest supporters still in opposition."

"I think you're right, transparency will work in our favor," Shae said in agreement to Cailus' assessment of the garden situation. "Once we're done here and everyone has a chance to process Nyx's death, I'll get started on educating everyone about the garden so I'm not the only one capable of managing it. Until then, I'd like to go check on Fick; he hasn't been handling our situation well, so I'm worried about him."

Looking between the two women, Cailus nodded in agreement to them both. “Very well. We’ll have the meeting on the Bridge tomorrow at 1100 hours, after everyone has gotten some sleep. Thank you, Sasha.”

After Sasha had left, Cailus glanced at Shae, finally allowing the mask to drop now that they were alone. He was tired and aching, but more than anything else, worry was etched into the old Martian’s face as he looked at his wife. “If you need help with Fick, come and find me. He’ll probably be in the tubes, around section D-12. That’s where he was the last couple of times he broke down.”

"I've found him there a few times myself," Shae replied with a nod. Then she placed a hand on his arm for mutual comfort. The look she gave him was easy for him to read: she was hurting too, just barely holding herself together, and once she got back to their quarters tonight she was probably going to break down and have a good cry. But neither of them were alone in this; they had each other, and together they would get through this.

 

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