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Not So Zen Playground

Posted on Wed Jan 15th, 2020 @ 9:32pm by Lieutenant Zeri Zanti & Lieutenant Amélie D'Aramitz

Mission: What Stalks The Night
Location: Zen Playground - Counseling Offices

(( So, this is going to be taking place after the hangar exploded, just before where we currently are timeline wise. The hangar exploded, it was a warning for the ship to leave. People died. ))

Amélie sat among the sand in the Zen Playground; her facial expressions devoid of any kind of emotion, but there was a deep sadness in her eyes as she swirled her fingers through the sand; creating a pattern then smoothing it over and creating another. Even with the tranquility of this room, she found it difficult to relax; to clear her mind.

In the background, Zeri watched from the doorway for long moments, apparently unbeknownst to Amélie. After a time, Zeri padded into the room of calm motif and gently touched the shoulder of her fellow Counselor before settling down at her side. The two of them sat there on the floor, in the sand; each hushed by troubling thoughts. When Zeri spoke up, her voice was reflective and somber, and though Amélie could not know it, Zeri was as good as echoing the words that had been spoken to herself once upon a time, when she’d suffered the loss of her husband Paul. "We are living and dying all the time. The only sadness is when those two meet. But I assure you, nothing has sufficient urgency to concern the dead. So let the lost souls pass in peace. It is your noble soul’s anguish that torments me. A living, vibrant woman brought low by loss and pain. Would you care to talk?”

"What of those that the dead have left behind?" Amélie asked softly, casting an upward glance at the older woman before returning her attention to the sand around her. "I had to tell Ensign Cavanagh's wife that he had been killed." She stopped speaking, leaning forward and scooping up a handful of sand with her right hand, letting it rain down onto and through the fingers of her left as she fell silent again.

Zeri sat there, still and quiet, giving the other woman the chance to disclose her distress.

"She told me that this morning she got up, she made him coffee and turned off his alarm. They had a rough night with their little one. His name is Emerson, he's thirteen months old and he's teething." Amélie shook her head slightly. "She woke her husband up, they had breakfast, he kissed her goodbye and he went to work. The last thing he said to her? He'd come home during lunch so she could get a quick nap. It just..." Another sigh. "It doesn't make sense. And I think, how is this right? How is any of it right? None of them woke up this morning and planned to die, and now we're telling families that someone they love desperately is gone."

For all it’s focus on exploration and discovery, at its core, Starfleet was a very dangerous career choice. Encountering menace and bodily peril was a matter of when, not if. Officers and enlisted crew were aware of this risk, and for the most part prepared for such hazard. But it was always the most difficult on the families - who may not have had the time or guidance to come to terms with such eventualities in advance. And navigating through such a bitter loss without that time was doubly difficult. But these were not the sentiments Amélie needed to hear right now. As a Counselor, these were the sentiments that she would turn over and regard when consulting the family, but in her current state, she was more akin to patient than Counselor.

“I will let you in on two of the most poorly kept secrets this profession has to offer. First…” Zeri reached down to her left foot and unzipped her uniform boot. “...sand is meant to be felt between the toes, not under footwear.” She removed her boot and 24th century sock then buried her toes in the sand. She nudged Amélie with her shoulder and scooted a bit of sand over the Counselor’s boots. “The second secret makes more sense when you are barefooted.”

With a sigh, Amélie unlaced her boots, carefully setting them aside and wriggling her toes in the sand. "It feels nice at least," she said softly. "I mean the sand..." she paused for a moment, her expression becoming pensive. "So what's the second secret?"

“Plenary pain and true happiness - they are not contending emotional forces that swoop in to fill the void left by the other. But the conditions in which those feelings thrive are quite counter to one another. The happiness I speak of is love of another; not the memory of a loved one, but the physical company shared with a living other when your souls or personalities mesh so completely that you feel as one. Emerson’s wife - what is her name?”

"Katherine," Amélie replied quietly. "Her name is Katherine."

“It may be that Katherine never again feels that tower of happiness. We can hope that she does and in time, encourage her to seek out new companionship, but for many, it simply is never the same - never as potent. That is down the road, and of no moment now.”

Zeri shimmied her toes through the sand and nestled them atop Amélie’s. “Look at me Amélie. If happiness can only be shared with another, what does that say of pain and loss? Don’t let Katherine think for a moment that she must bear that burden alone. She will want to be alone, perhaps, and for a time that is healthy. Don’t let solitude cultivate despair. Be there for her; I promise it is all she needs. Her heart will heal if you create a sense of understanding and togetherness for her. That is what she needs. Now please tell me, what do you need in me? Shall I be your friend and sit here with you as we are? I should always like to think you a friend. Or do you need a colleague with whom you can bounce around therapeutic practices? What may I be for you, Amélie, to bolster your love and compassion so you may share it with Katherine and all those others who will surely need it.”

Amélie climbed to her feet carefully, spending a moment walking through the sand, feeling it squelch between her toes. After a moment of contemplating, she turned back toward Zeri, but before she could speak, the computer interrupted.

"Gravity plating failure imminent."

"What the..."

Before Amélie could formulate any more of a reaction the gravity plating failed completely and both Amélie and Zeri found themselves floating in the room, surrounded by particles of sand and objects.

“Guard your eyes,” Zeri called out, her voice sounding muffled as she spoke into her chest, her head tucked in protectively. Zero-G training had been her least favorite part of the Academy - after Survival Training - and she was already feeling sick to her stomach. A boot floated past and Zeri instinctively reached out for it, sending herself into a slow tumble. Without further warning, her insides heaved and the remains of her most recent meal ejected from her mouth, mingling with - anything with which they came into contact.

Closing her eyes tightly and keeping her mouth closed, Amélie reached one hand in the general direction of the other woman.

"Gravity plating restoration in forty seven seconds."

Amélie winced inwardly, already feeling herself tensing up. This was going to hurt.

A lot.

“Evade the bonsai tree,” Zeri advised, though she could do nothing to slow or alter her own awkward trajectory. She’d managed to capture one of her boots - or was it Amélie’s - and had it tucked under her arm with her other hand held out, nearly blindly, for the other woman’s. The tranquil Zen Playground was a spiraling explosion of debris and Counselors, locked in slow motion for thirty more seconds. Then it would all come crashing down, which was a direction Zeri could no longer fathom.

There was no warning this time, just a sudden feeling of heaviness as the gravity was restored. Forgetting to keep her mouth closed, Amélie screamed as she felt herself being propelled back toward the floor, this time at a much faster speed. Seconds later, it was over, just as quick and as painful as she had predicted.

Well, not entirely over. With grav-plating engaged, Zeri’s midair blunder came to a sudden, crashing halt. And it was most unfortunate that she’d been directly above her precious bonsai tree. In a heap of gangly legs and flailing arms, Zeri landed headfirst among the branches. From the pain in her left wrist, she knew straight away something was broken, but it took long seconds for her lack of vision to register. With a twist she trembled out of the tree only to land upon her newest friend and fellow counselor; Amélie D'Aramitz. Crippled as she was, Zeri could not readily right herself and Amélie found herself pinned beneath the body of Zeri with the Ba'ku woman’s sightless face pressed against her own. A face scrawled with bloody rakes and two empty glaring eye sockets that were weeping pale pink tears. One of Zeri’s ocular implants dangled against her cheek, suspended by a small bundle of conductive wiring or optic nerves.

I have been blind before, Zeri tried to calm herself, on numerous occasions have I been blind. But her adult memory was blessedly unaware of each of those details surrounding the accident during her childhood which had caused the original blindness, and each subsequent curtain of blindness had been medically induced during the subsequent surgical procedures. This, now, was far more corporeal and she could already feel herself going into shock.

“Amélie,” Zeri pleaded, “sickbay…” and her head dropped down limp against Amélie as Zeri passed out.

 

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