Obsidian Command

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Closing the Distance

Posted on 20 Mar 2021 @ 4:55pm by Commander Calliope Zahn & Lieutenant Commander Ethan Walker, MD, Ph.D

Mission: M2 - Sanctuary
Location: Ardeshir Sick Bay
Timeline: Backpost— following Matinee
1396 words - 2.8 OF Standard Post Measure

She was ready for it this time. Ready for the surreal animated grasping tendrils that came out of the walls of this particular nightmare hall. Maybe it was just how many times she’d been through this dream and how lucidly she’d begun to dream during the detox, being always suspended somewhere between asleep and awake... Calliope was finally in control of the dream.

For the first time in the recurring dream, she didn’t draw her phaser at all. Instead, she drew her knife. She took a running start and leapt fully into the eerily lit T-junction ahead, a thousand strands thinning themselves into fine taffy strings to try to catch her in flight, missing her legs as she tracked in slow motion in mid air, stretching for a long jump. Even so, one fine tendril managed to gain purchase on her left arm forming a quickly growing spiral and turning her around completely. Before she hit her feet, she slashed along sideways into the lash around her arm, even while the honeyed resin began tracking down to try to freeze her in it’s hardening state. Cut off, it fell away, the thickening vine landing as a grey, disembodied limb on the ground, the five fingered hand flexing open before falling limp and dead. That was new.

“Captain!” She called, looking up at the man in the junction as he came into the light. Winters was standing there, looking perplexed but pleasant.

“Commander Zahn,” he said, “There’s someone I’d like you to meet.” He motioned across the junction to the shadowed figure obscured by the long coat.

Calliope put her Captain behind her defensively.

The figure came close enough for her to feel its warm breath and Calliope reached out a hand to throw back the hood and finally unveil this haunting figure that had visited her over the years. But as she did so, the entire coat fell to the floor. There was no one there at all. Just a six foot vapor dissipating as if a final expired breath had gone up in the chill air. And she felt the presence as if it walked right through her—

— Calliope jolted upright with a gasp.

She threw the sheets off and looked around, shaking off the dream. The edges of her vision were blurred and darkened. This wasn’t the Paracelsus. She brought herself to stand beside the bed. Air, she needed some air to clear her foggy head. Taking a run always did the trick. But she wasn’t ready for a run. She shambled into the light of the nurses station and scratched her tummy while she waited for the coast to clear. When no one was looking, she made it to the exit, not noticing the little sensor that went off when her life sign was detected outside of Sickbay...

She moved through the halls in her gown, grasping the rail in the wall for support. A crewman passed by and she nodded hello. After he was behind her, she could hear him tap his badge. “Medical, are you missing someone?” he said.

Calliope paused as she came to a viewport. The scene outside was stunning. When she had first arrived to OC, the lights were mostly off. The surrounding space dead and still. She hadn’t seen it quite like this.

In the distance Obsidian Command appeared toy-like. She held out a hand and squinted just a little bit so that the visage of it seemed to sit like a top spinning ever so slowly in the palm of her hand. Tiny little ships and shuttles and workbees traced their silent lines to and from the station.

“It still amazes me how we can build something so large and so complex just… out in the middle of space,” Doctor Walker intoned from behind her.

Expecting he’d likely catch up to her, she didn’t even look at him when he spoke. “You can see my house from here,” she said.

“Looks good doesn’t it?” he smiled back, “Certainly better than it did when we got here,” he added, approaching on her left by the viewport, his hands in his pockets as he looked on appreciatively.

She thought back to that awful day. “We were just getting the grid up…” She let her hand fall away, the station remained suspended. “They came at us so fast. So many of them. We were swarmed. I guess we held them off long enough.” If they hadn’t she’d have woken up in a very different place, maybe. “I haven’t seen the reports.”

“They’re not going anywhere,” Walker shrugged, “They’ll keep until you’re back on your feet properly.”

“Yeah, I know.” There was more than enough support now, as she could see from the little gleams reflecting off the various ships outside. She reached back in her recall for the names of the boats she had known were enroute. “That’s got to be the Theseus.'' The outline of the four nacelled prometheus class against the desert of Obsidian was just discernible. There was a Vesta visible through an open bay door. “The Caelian? Or did she head out? Is it the Exeter? Or the Mississippi...” She had never seen a Vesta before landing on Obsidian Command, in spite of Lance’s work with the propulsion theory behind it. As the Ardeshir moved through orbit and OC floated along in a lower, counter orbit, another ship began to peek from the other side of the station. Calliope had never seen the Admiral’s flagship before but the carrier class was easily recognizable. “The Alexander. They were enroute that day. They must have shown up in time for the party.” Calliope huffed an exhale as she imagined the turn of the tide when the muscle came out of warp. “The raiders had to know it was over then. Must have had some runners.” Maybe she couldn’t read the reports yet, but she had some pieces to work with. “The Admiral, he makes Corvus nervous. I never dealt with much of the brass myself. Serving on the Paracelsus, we mostly worked the border colonies as a hospital ship. Our scrapes were never this big.” Calliope hugged herself with one arm while still leaning into the support rail. “I should be with Corvus, helping sort out the station and report to the Admiral. I wanted to put this off. I didn’t *feel* unwell. I thought it could just wait until we were secure and online, and *then* I could deal with it.”

“There’s a station chock full of qualified Officers that can help Captain DeHavilland write reports,” Walker answered, “Your husband included. I don’t think you have anything to be worried about on that front. Just worry about you, and getting better. The rest of this, it’ll be there when you’re done. If you focus on the healing process, on putting your mind on that, I promise, you’ll be back on your feet in no time and back to form.”

“Work is easier, somehow. There’s a task or a goal, you break it down and get it done. It’s not like I’ve never had a stop over in sickbay for injuries before. I just… I don’t know how to do this. What is there to focus on?”

“I can think of quite a few things to focus on,” Walker smiled, “There’s a number of exercises we could work on together of a therapeutic nature as well as mentally challenging. If a task is what you need, I can certainly help you there,” Ethan grinned, stepping back and gesturing back down the corridor towards Sick Bay. “What do you think about some regular clothes and some meditation in the Counseling suites. It’s certainly a whole lot more relaxing than the sterile antiseptic white of the Sick Bay.”

“Alright, that sounds better.” Maybe she’d sleep away the days less with something to try. She took a last look at the station, near and yet too far yet to get back to. She had to close the distance. She started with the walk back to sickbay.


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