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Dealing with the Hangover


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#1 Capt Tyra Crawford

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Posted Star Date 22003.22 @ 03:13 (03:13 AM)

== Artemis' Engineering ==
 
== After Commiseration, Still en route to Pioneer ==
 
The days following a battle were some of the hardest, maybe even harder than the battle itself depending on what your specific role was, but no one told you that beforehand. They talked to you about what was needed of you, of what you might have to sacrifice and why that sacrifice was oh so critical. They'd remind you to think about why you were willing to sacrifice -- your family or friends or just innocent people, if you were truly altruistic -- but they never prepared you for the aftermath, for standing in the middle of destruction and bodies with no idea of where to even begin in making things right. Making things normal, a new normal.
 
Tyra had known to expect that. She wasn't some green midshipman overlooking the destruction of her first battle survived. She had survived more battles than she wanted to recount over tankards of ale but that didn't make it any easier or simple, especially when so many members of her crew were looking at the devastation left by their first taste of war. They were lost and they were hurting and with few exceptions, she could nothing more than try to give them structure so that they were busy. Maybe, that would keep that drowning feeling of uncertainty away.
 
She'd made a point of being as hands-on as she could be during the recovery effort, making certain that she was seen by the crew. It wasn't for her -- she'd much rather be hold up in her quarters with her best whiskey and some fitting music -- but she remembered how important it had been when her captains and commanders had been there in the aftermath, how reassuring it had been as if it was a sign that everything would be okay. She'd walked through Sickbay, stopping to talk to patients as they recovered before helping the medical staff with some of the simpler tasks. She'd assisted support in delivering items and making sure the right things were going where needed, though Cera had shooed her out of there after a few hours. She'd walked nearly every inch of the ship, checking in with recovery teams and repair teams as they worked and helping with a few minor repairs with oversight. However, she hadn't visited engineering in those walks...
 
If asked, she probably would say that she hadn't had a chance since they decontaminated the area and cleaned it out but that wasn't quite the truth. See, Tyra wasn't a very superstition person but she'd stood in enough battlefields, the bodies long removed, to know that such loss of life didn't occur without leaving a permanent thumbprint. She wouldn't say such places were haunted necessarily, though she would make an exception for the Gettysburg, but she would say that there was usually an unnerving hum in the air that seemed to serve as a reminder of the blood paid for the sins of men. And that was why she'd avoided the engineering portion of Deck 10, not that she'd ever admit to that level of superstition.
 
However, regardless of denial or not, she felt that chill work its way up her spine as she stepped into engineering. It was likely her imagination but it felt like the air dropped a few degrees as the doors closed behind her. No, she didn't see wisps moving in the air or feel air moving as unseen beings moved around her but it might have made her feel less ridiculous if she had. She kept her features schooled as she walked further into the area, aiming for her captan's mask even if she was dressed casually in jeans, a t-shirt and a jacket. After all, it wouldn't do well if her crew thought parts of the ship made her uneasy, even if anyone that had seen the footage from engineering would understand the feeling. Or who had seen it personally and really, that was essentially why she was there.
 
She tapped the metal object in her pocket as she moved, her blue eyes now shifting around in a clear indication that she was looking for someone in particular and if asked, she'd merely say she was in engineering returning what was likely a sentimental possession to its owner. She wouldn't mention that she had it on very good authority that he might be struggling with what he had seen in engineering or that a very reliable source had told her that he'd had a breakdown in the corridor prior to the crew wake. She also wouldn't comment on the fact that Cera had allowed rumors of a steamy rendezvous that had made them late to said wake swirl to cover for the previously mentioned breakdown. 
 
No, she wouldn't mention any of that but it didn't mean she didn't feel the need to investigate herself. Despite what some might say about her being nothing more than an aloof captain, a puppet master like her husband, she cared greatly about her crew, those she was close to and those she only knew from their files. It was just possible to do more than suggest counseling and rest for those she was closer to and this was just one of a couple check-ins she would be doing over the coming weeks.
 
Elias wasn't hard to find, not when engineering wasn't exactly fully staffed, and even if she had been moving discretely as she wound her way through the area, the sound of his flask tapping against the palm of her hand was intended to give her way as she approached. No need to spook Shadow. "I'm assuming this is yours based on the taste of the white lightnin' inside? I promise I left some, though I doubt you'd have an issue refilling..."

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#2 Lt Benjamin Elias

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Posted Star Date 22003.24 @ 00:12 (12:12 AM)

Benjamin found Kate standing in engineering, hands on a console as she stared at the viewscreen. She wasn't really working on anything, just... standing there. It wasn't an uncommon problem from what he'd encountered. From what he'd experienced. He walked up beside her and put on his best smile, which wasn't very good in the circumstances. "Everything okay?"

 

She jumped and turned towards him, hand on her chest. "You scared me," she said. "Don't sneak up on me like that." He couldn't help but chuckle, hands up defensively as she chuckled too. "Yeah, I'm okay," she told him. "I'm surprised you have time to care these days."

 

He rolled his eyes and leaned back on the console. "You..." He sighed and shook his head. "You know nothing's happening there, right?"

 

She winked at him. "Sure, that's what you and Cera both say." She smiled that conspiratorial smile she did so well and shook her head at him. "I don't know why you and she..."

 

"This is not a conversation I'm going to be having with you," he said and started to walk away. Of course, there was a smile on his lips as he went, which he couldn't entirely hide. Maybe because you think she's right?

 

"You know I'm right," she said playfully, pursuing him. "You mope around here, wearing that wedding ring despite repeatedly talking about your ex. And don't think Orivessa and I haven't noticed your more recent behavior."

 

That got him to stop. "What behavior," he asked bluntly as he rounded on her. He caught the edge in his voice as he said it, and the look in Kate's eyes as she heard it. Regret sank into him, but it was too late to choke the words back down. "Kate, I--"

 

"It's.. it's okay," she said. She took a breath as he deflated, feeling sheepish. "Guess I hit a nerve?" He just nodded at her as he stepped a little further away, and was glad that the room was mostly deserted. "We just worry, you know? You've been distant recently, even before all of this happened. And don't think I didn't notice you drinking on the job."

 

He shot a look at her, surprised. He'd been trying to be discrete, and thought he hadn't been spotted. It had just been a little nip here, a sip there, but... If it was obvious to her, who else noticed? he thought. He'd long prided himself on putting the "functional" in functional alcoholic, and keeping his recreational activities separate from his work. The fact that he was being blackmailed by the Syndicate - or more precisely, a former drug-runner-turned-strongman for the Syndicate - had evidently affected him even more than he'd thought.

 

Considering he'd thought it was tearing him apart, he wasn't sure what that meant.

 

She set a hand on his arm. "Listen, just come ask us for help, okay?" She gave him a wan smile before looking around. "I'm gonna go run a diagnostic on the environmental systems," she said. "Still feels off in here." She turned and left, leaving him standing in the middle of the room. Alone, and unsure.

 

What the hell am I doing, he thought to himself as he stared around the room again. I should just resign, get out of here. After all, if he wasn't in Starfleet anymore, there wasn't much that Harkens could get from him. Of course, that would mean he'd likely kill Iris, which was of course where it all fell down. That was the goal: keep her alive, and keep her safe.

 

But why? he thought. She's not your problem anymore. She was pretty clear about that in the damn divorce papers. He still felt the anger and vitriol she had spat at him that day she threw him out of his own house, the accusations and the hatred. All over some imagined affair she thought he was having. You don't owe her anything, he thought. So why do you care?

 

Because you love her. Loved her, he corrected, playing with his ring. Even now, he didn't think he would go back to her if she asked. But that wasn't the same as moving on, as he well knew.  He sighed, and wondered not for the first time how he was going to get her out of this mess. And yourself, incidentally.

 

He heard something behind him, and turned around in time to see Tyra walking across the nearly empty floor, tapping something into her hand as she walked through the room. It took him more than a moment to realize that it was his flask, which he had lost in the middle of the bridge. "I'm assuming this is yours based on the taste of the white lightnin' inside? I promise I left some, though I doubt you'd have an issue refilling..."

 

He sighed and leaned back against the console he was near, shaking his head. "I don't know what you're talking about," he said transparently. "Sorry I haven't gotten a chance to come see you since..." he waved a hand around the room. "Well, since all of this. I know I should have, but I just..." He crossed his arms back and looked in the captain's general direction, but couldn't bring himself to look right at her. "I just couldn't figure out what to say.

 

"So how can I help you?" he asked. "I'm sure you've got my report by now." I did turn that report in, right? he thought.

 

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#3 Capt Tyra Crawford

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Posted Star Date 22003.28 @ 00:05 (12:05 AM)

Ben offered a half-hearted denial of her statement, which caused just the slightest twist at the corner of her lips as she continued to tap the metal container against her palm. However, the shadow of a smile didn't last long as the engineer stumbled over an apology about not coming to see her since the battle, offering an explanation that he didn't know what to say. It might have seemed straight forward enough if she didn't notice the way he avoided looking at her directly.
 
She remembered being a very young officer the first time she'd truly seen something that had traumatized her. Despite being a newly minted JG, she'd been so young -- probably barely 22, which spoke to how quickly she had risen through the ranks in those early years -- and hadn't known how to handle it or process it. She remembered Rexar seeking her out, always the watchful mentor, and if she could have, she would have done anything to hide her feelings from him, feeling such shame over those feelings. However, experience and age, along with so much more trauma, had taught her that those feelings were natural and they were, in their own right, healthy.  She couldn't count how many officers she had chaperoned through that minefield of feelings but it was always up to the person to realize that there was nothing wrong with those feelings.
 
"So how can I help you?" he asked. "I'm sure you've got my report by now."
 
Now, the redhead did chuckle, though she doubted Ben would see what she found amusing in his statement. "I did and it was well written. Evie really enjoyed it before bedtime -- knocked her right out," she offered wryly.
 
"But this isn't exactly a business call or I would have come in something a little stuffier and probably more suffocating," she said as she pushed off of the console she'd taken to leaning against, leaning forward to set the flask on the top of the console he was leaning on. "Plus, if this was business, I'd probably be obligated to remind you that certain items aren't duty issue whereas I'm actually just going to tell you to not make a habit of losing it or you just might not get it back next time."
 
She let that hang in the air for the moment, her eyebrows having arched in emphasis before settling back over blue eyes that were closely watching him. "I wanted to check in with you about how the engineers are doing, about how you're doing. I've been elbow deep in Sickbay so I know how they're doing but I just... well, there's a fine line between allowing people to work through things on their own and leaving them feeling like no one else knows how they feel."
 
Now, it was her turn to look down, her hands, now empty, burying into her pockets. "And I'm not sure exactly where that line is for anyone right now...even me but I figure it's my job to try to find it."
 
You oversaw the **** show so it's yours to clean up...
 
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#4 Lt Benjamin Elias

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Posted Star Date 22003.29 @ 17:53 (05:53 PM)

Benjamin furrowed his brow for a moment as Tyra chuckled at him. "I did and it was well written. Evie really enjoyed it before bedtime -- knocked her right out," she offered wryly. He joined her chuckle at that remark. He knew it had been... dry. A summary of damages, steps taken to repair them, and then casualty figures didn't make for the most entertaining of reads, but there wasn't much he could do about that. Especially if you want to keep your sanity, he thought grimly.

 

"But this isn't exactly a business call or I would have come in something a little stuffier and probably more suffocating," she continued, standing up from where she'd been leaning and setting the flask on the top of the console he was leaning on. "Plus, if this was business, I'd probably be obligated to remind you that certain items aren't duty issue whereas I'm actually just going to tell you to not make a habit of losing it or you just might not get it back next time."

 

He grabbed the flask quickly and made it disappear into a pocket. He tried to figure out what to say, and the silence between them stretched out into an uncomfortable, interminable pause. The words just slipped from his mind as the guilt he felt at being discovered like that crept over him. He wanted to tell her why, why his drinking had gotten worse and why he had had the flask even on him, much less out in his hand.

 

But if you do, you risk everything, he reminded himself. Harkens and the Syndicate had a man on the Artemis, he knew. And he still had no idea who it was. He hadn't had much time to even try and figure out who it was, what with the battle throwing them into disarray so quickly after he'd gotten back from the wedding. And despite their relative privacy here, there were still people around, and he didn't know who might be watching by internal sensor, either. He couldn't risk telling her anything, and instead just let his head hang as his hand rested on the flask.

 

"I wanted to check in with you about how the engineers are doing," she finally continued, "about how you're doing. I've been elbow deep in Sickbay so I know how they're doing but I just... well, there's a fine line between allowing people to work through things on their own and leaving them feeling like no one else knows how they feel." She averted her own gaze then, hands diving into her pockets as if unsure what to do with them. "And I'm not sure exactly where that line is for anyone right now...even me but I figure it's my job to try to find it."

 

He nodded at that one, realizing just how close it was to his own thoughts at that point. We all have our own burdens, he reminded himself. "Most of the engineers are... well, they're busy. I've been trying to keep the rotation light, give people plenty of downtime. I think that Kate took it on herself to organize groups visiting the engineers still recovering, keeping their spirits up."

 

His shoulders hunched as he tried to look the redhead in the face, his eyes just refusing to stay focused there. "I... I guess you heard from Cera, didn't you?" He assumed she had; the Betazoid may have let her own reputation take a hit to the crew, but she wasn't going to sit by and not let her friends suffer, especially when someone needed to be told. "I'm doing better since then," he exaggerated. "I've been getting more sleep" - helped by gin, he added to himself - "and trying to make more time for other things. Went down to see Orivessa just this morning, actually."

 

It wasn't a total lie; he really had been doing a bit better since his breakdown. Fortunately the copious amounts of alcohol at the party had helped him that night, and he'd found time to talk to his family some the past couple of days. He hadn't been able to tell them anything, of course, but it had helped him relax and center some. He'd considered finding the ship's counselor to speak to them, but he hadn't made a real effort for that, instead consulting his still every night for a prescription-strength sleep aid.

 

The Andorian engineer, when he'd gone to see her, had been glad to see him, but had reamed him out for not seeing the counselor. How she knew, he didn't know; he assumed that Kate had told her. "You're in charge now," she had said to him, breathing hard due to the lung damage she had suffered. "If you're not okay, then the department isn't okay. Go. Get. Help."

 

And here the captain was, telling him much the same thing. Maybe one of these days, I'll listen to someone.

 

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#5 Capt Tyra Crawford

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Posted Star Date 22003.31 @ 01:18 (01:18 AM)

"Most of the engineers are... well, they're busy. I've been trying to keep the rotation light, give people plenty of downtime. I think that Kate took it on herself to organize groups visiting the engineers still recovering, keeping their spirits up."
 
Tyra nodded her head at that in confirmation, having seen numerous engineers sitting at the bedside of some of the injured during her visits to Sickbay and the makeshift triage facility set up in the cargo bay. It had been a sombering duty to visit the wounded, offering as much comfort as she could all the while knowing that a mountain and a half of letters were waiting for her to write to the families of those far less fortunate. Yes, there was nothing pleasant about recovering from horrific and graphic injuries but at least, you had been granted the opportunity to recover. Others were not so lucky.
 
"I... I guess you heard from Cera, didn't you?" He still couldn't manage to look at her and she had to wonder what puzzle piece she was missing. Cera had told her that she felt Elias was struggling and likely needed some guidance from someone well acquainted with that level of struggle but with a less of a tough love approach than Jenny. However, she had a feeling that Cera had failed to tell her something rather specific as Elias continued talking. "I'm doing better since then," he exaggerated. "I've been getting more sleep and trying to make more time for other things. Went down to see Orivessa just this morning, actually."
 
Her expression didn't show it but had this been a game of poker, she would have called his bluff without even a second thought. He wasn't a soldier -- he wasn't grizzled and angry enough to be a soldier -- but she had spent a large chunk of her career watching soldiers like hawks, looking for even the slightest signs that they weren't handling things well. It was one thing to lose a brother in war, a battle where the enemy played fair, but she had never accepted losing one to their own demons. And Elias wasn't handling things well. Was he bad enough that she would pull him and kick him towards the shrinks personally? No but he certainly had placed himself on her radar permanently.
 
She sighed slightly as the answer sank in. It was a textbook answer, hitting each of the facets someone would utilize to identify an issue, but it was nothing more than a platitude to ease her concerns for a younger officer. And the biggest issue with younger officers was that they lacked the experience to understand why that was so dangerously stupid. There was no weakness in admitting flaws; in fact, as her mentor had once told her, you possess your possessors or they possess you. She had seen far too many young men fall to their demons because they hadn't been willing to admit they existed in the first place.
 
"Cera didn't tell me whatever it is she probably should have told me -- she just said you probably needed an ear that had, and I quote, 'seen some ****' - but I grew up on a farm, Ben. I know the smell of bull **** when I find it," she said before holding up her hand to stop any protests that might come from that. "And that's fine. I'd be lying if I said I hadn't told someone something very similar and a lot of times, they did me a disservice by pretending they believed the lines."
 
She let her hand drift to tug on her braid, a restless tick of hers. Her blue eyes briefly shifted away from Ben to make sure that their little area was still vacant and thankfully, the nearest soul was across the room with their head under a console. All the same, she kept her voice low. "You don't need to talk to me -- Hell, I consider anytime a gun doesn't get pointed at me a victory in these talks -- but I need you to know that ignoring your demons, whatever they may be, doesn't make them any less real or any less fatal. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow but that **** eats at your soul if you don't deal with it."
 
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#6 Lt Benjamin Elias

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Posted Star Date 22003.31 @ 23:15 (11:15 PM)

For half a second, Benjamin thought he'd gotten away with it. He should have known better, but for some reason he'd thought that he'd be fine and could deflect her somewhat, at least for a moment. It wasn't hope, per se, and it wasn't really an attempt to deceive; either way, though, he soon discovered that he'd failed utterly.
 
"Cera didn't tell me whatever it is she probably should have told me," Tyra said, "she just said you probably needed an ear that had, and I quote, 'seen some ****' - but I grew up on a farm, Ben. I know the smell of bull **** when I find it," she added, holding up her hand to stop any protests he might have thought to offer. "And that's fine. I'd be lying if I said I hadn't told someone something very similar and a lot of times, they did me a disservice by pretending they believed the lines."
 
He felt his shoulders sink a bit, not so much at the rebuke as just the knowledge that she was right. He knew it; he had known it. He couldn't do this alone, but he had to. He couldn't risk her going in guns blazing if she knew that there was a traitor on her ship, that the Syndicate was holding a woman's life over him like they were. And he was fairly sure that's what her solution would be. He knew that she was from a security background, and could do an investigation like no other, but if he told her there was a mole on her ship, after all they had just been through, he wasn't sure what she'd do.
 
And he just couldn't risk that, even if it meant that he lost her trust.
 
While he was ruminating, she had been checking the area, noting only a lone crewman across the room, head stuck in a console. He was grateful that she kept her voice down anyway. "You don't need to talk to me -- Hell, I consider anytime a gun doesn't get pointed at me a victory in these talks -- but I need you to know that ignoring your demons, whatever they may be, doesn't make them any less real or any less fatal. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow but that **** eats at your soul if you don't deal with it."
 
He nodded at that, and answered in kind. "I..." He stopped, eyes closed for a minute as he tried to bring his eye back under control, the nervous twitch hitting again as he chose his words with care. "I know, and I will." A moment's consideration, and he reached back into his pocket and pulled out the flask. "Maybe until I do, you should take this. I know I'm not entirely myself at the moment, and once I can... I can figure some things out, I'll come find you and we can pour it out over a glass or two." He shook the flask a bit and gave her half a grin. "Maybe something better than this stuff. But for now, you should probably keep this."
 
He shook his head and looked around himself, mostly out of habit. "And I promise, there will be no more breakdowns in the hallway," he added. "I'd been pushing myself too hard after..." his eye twitched again, and he pulled up short. "...after everything that happened. I'm trying to do better about that."
 
He stopped and thought, and made a decision. "Does it get any easier?" he asked before he could reconsider. "This... all of this. Living it, dealing with it, getting over it. I know it's not what the Fleet is supposed to be, what we're here for, but it's still something they keep making us do time and again. Does it get easier?" He knew the answer, but some part of him was still hoping for what he knew she wouldn't say.
 
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#7 Capt Tyra Crawford

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Posted Star Date 22004.03 @ 18:07 (06:07 PM)

Even as she reached out to take the offered flask, her blue eyes were watching him closely. It was hard to say whether it was truly the gesture of a man admitting he had a problem and wanting a little relief from the temptation or if was a gesture of placation from a man who knew he had access to more. After all, she wasn't oblivious to the rumors and seeming proof of his particular hobby but she'd also refrained from digging into it, preferring a level of plausible deniability. 
 
In the end, there seemed to be no other option than the take him at his word with a strict adherence the concept of 'trust but verify'.
 
"I'll keep it safe and I'll hold you to the 'something better'. That stuff probably murdered a few hundred of my taste buds on the way down," she joked gently, placing the flask back into her jacket pocket.
 
"And I promise, there will be no more breakdowns in the hallway," he added. "I'd been pushing myself too hard after..." She didn't miss the slight twitch of his facial muscles and bit back a sigh of her own. "...after everything that happened. I'm trying to do better about that."
 
Now, it was her turn to shrug slightly. "All you can do is try," she offered, though she knew it was nothing more than a platitude. 
 
"Does it get any easier?" Ben asked after a moment of silence. "This... all of this. Living it, dealing with it, getting over it. I know it's not what the Fleet is supposed to be, what we're here for, but it's still something they keep making us do time and again. Does it get easier?"
 
It wasn't the first time she'd been asked that or something similar. Usually it was while standing at the foot of a biobed containing a horrifically wounded soldier or during the process of cleaning out the lockers of fallen officers or any other horrific task that went hand in hand with battle casualties. And usually, it was asked by a younger officer, like Ben, who had just experienced his first real taste of the horror of war. Sometimes, she had the energy for a well reasoned answer, something resting between reassuring and realistic, but sometimes, she'd been just as exhausted and worn down as them, barely able to offer much of an answer at all. Today seemed more like the former, fortunately.
 
"Easier? No. It never gets easier and it shouldn't get easier as there should never be anything about losing people that's 'easy'. But you get stronger and you get better at coping, even if it's not healthily. You learn the hard lessons that make next time maybe a little less horrible, that make you better prepared to manage a nightmare to the benefit of your people. You make sure that no loss was in vein and that helps, just a little bit, but it doesn't make it easier."
 
The redhead sighed slightly, hands burying back into her pockets. "The only difference between me now and 21 year old me getting her first taste of this kind of **** show is that I have the experience to know how to channel the grief and the anger into something marginally useful. Even with that said and with how much experience I have with this type of thing, I oversaw a battle that will likely end up being considered one of the biggest catastrophic loss of uniformed life in modern fleet history. I have a pile of letters to write to families and people who want answers that I don't have, that I will never have. and honestly, I'm not okay with that. I'm not okay with any of that and I should never be.  So I don't expect you all to be, especially those of you who haven't swam through the muck a couple times, but I also don't want to see this destroy more people than it needs to."
 
"So just promise you'll be a little easier on yourself? And if you can't be, let someone else help," her request was punctuated with an eyebrow raise, though it was hard to tell if it was just an accent to the request or something a little more suggestive.

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#8 Lt Benjamin Elias

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Posted Star Date 22004.08 @ 22:21 (10:21 PM)

Benjamin listened as Tyra talked. It wasn't exactly a rousing speech, but it was true. It felt true. It wasn't comforting, it wasn't a pile of sunshine keeping him buoyed up and optimistic. It was hard and tough to swallow, but it had the ring of truth to it.  He knew that Tyra had seen some tough **** in her day, things that no officer should be asked to live through, to command through, but had somehow come through it. Hearing her say that it was just as tough today as it was the first time it happened, if nothing else it made her human. And maybe my feelings aren't so far off the mark as I thought.

 

"The only difference between me now and 21 year old me getting her first taste of this kind of **** show is that I have the experience to know how to channel the grief and the anger into something marginally useful," she continued, hands thrust into her pockets again. "Even with that said and with how much experience I have with this type of thing, I oversaw a battle that will likely end up being considered one of the biggest catastrophic loss of uniformed life in modern fleet history. I have a pile of letters to write to families and people who want answers that I don't have, that I will never have. and honestly, I'm not okay with that. I'm not okay with any of that and I should never be.  So I don't expect you all to be, especially those of you who haven't swam through the muck a couple times, but I also don't want to see this destroy more people than it needs to."

 

She looked at him, eyebrow raised. "So just promise you'll be a little easier on yourself? And if you can't be, let someone else help."

 

He hung his head again for a moment, worrying at his wedding ring again. Right, he thought. Easier. He knew they were talking about the losses here, the deaths in the battle, but he couldn't help but pull back to the blackmail, the sword of Damocles poised over his head. She was right, he needed help, but he couldn't. Not with a spy still loose, not with Iris still in danger. He couldn't imagine seeing her body lying there, like L'Haan had been, or like the other engineers. He just... he couldn't handle it, if that were on his head.

 

"I'll try," he said. It was all he could say, and it was true. "Maybe I can go see Mary, see her band perform one night." He thought for a moment and nodded. "Think they're playing on Andoria at the moment, could maybe check in on Ori while she's rehabbing there."

 

It was pretty transparent, even to him. It wouldn't actually help him, but keeping busy was something, right? And it would be good to see Mary perform again; he'd actually really enjoyed seeing them play, and it couldn't be a bad idea. A good idea, maybe not, but not a bad idea. Didn't he have some music she'd sent he needed to listen to? He couldn't remember. Maybe you're still pushing yourself too hard.

 

Or maybe you're just trying so hard to not let everyone down that you're going to fail everyone anyway.

 

"Thank you," he said finally, trying to ignore himself and just press on. "I..." He stopped, shaking his head again. "I wish I could do more. Promise more. I just... Right now, I don't know what I can do."

 

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#9 Capt Tyra Crawford

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Posted Star Date 22004.14 @ 16:28 (04:28 PM)

There was nothing truly concrete in Elias' suggestions for the future and she had to wonder if he truly planned on following through with them, rather than just offering them as an offering to appease her concerns. However, the recovery process was a series of baby steps and sometimes, those steps didn't seem like they were very related to healing or even anything other than a distraction. And yet, there was something to be said for being distracted from the trauma and busy enough to not give in to the tempting and easier coping methods.
 
She was musing over that when Elias finally spoke again, saving her from having to find some sage words about how a weirdly eclectic band was somehow capable of corralling him towards health.
 
"Thank you," he said finally. "I..." He stopped, shaking his head again. "I wish I could do more. Promise more. I just... Right now, I don't know what I can do."
 
"The only thing you can do is focus on yourself. Keep busy and engaged -- don't isolate yourself from people that care," she offered with a shrug.
 
In her experience, people always wanted to make things more complicated than they were. Trauma and the effects it could have on a person were already complicated enough without people trying to say that there was only one way to dig your way out of it. Having experienced it and seen it in numerous others, she could say that was an honest lie. What had saved her soul on numerous occasions from the clawing talons of her demons was unlikely to do much of anything for Elias and what would help him was unlikely to make a dent in hers. And that was okay. 
 
"I don't want you making some grand promise or to promise more than what you can manage. Promises are nothing more than empty words without the ability or desire to follow through and I don't need more empty words. I get plenty of those from the powers that be. I just want you to know that you're not alone and my door is open if you ever need it," she added, her fingers tapping restlessly on the flask back in her pocket. 
 
She hadn't planned on taking it back with her but given the admission, it was probably best. She might entrust it to Cera as the blonde was likely to know when Elias was ready to have it back. Then again, with all the rumors, she wasn't sure if she could trust Cera to be entirely unbiased.
 
"Anyway... I will let you get back to avoiding idle hands and all that nonsense. I'll keep your flask safe and I think you should go to Andoria. It's freezing cold this time of year but I've found that there's nothing more distracting than the misery of nearly freezing to death," she offered the last with a wry grin and a wink before taking her leave from the area. She did cast one more glance in his direction before disappearing out of sight, her hand still evidently drumming on the flask as she walked.
 
== ETL! ==

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