Obsidian Command

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Self-Destruct Complete

Posted on 26 Mar 2021 @ 2:04pm by Commander Calliope Zahn & Captain Corvus DeHavilland & Major Minka Mazur, MD (*) & Commander Thaddeus Zayne
Edited on on 26 Mar 2021 @ 9:03pm

Mission: M2 - Sanctuary
Location: Obsidian Command, Sickbay
Timeline: Backpost— following Half Way Home and Silent Release
2929 words - 5.9 OF Standard Post Measure

Calliope felt silly puttering around in a hover chair as though she were playing at being sick, but it was worse than silly when she tried stubbornly getting around on her feet and her knees gave out while trying to walk for any distance. So the chair it was. Working the controls, she piloted herself into main sickbay where she was meant to have a return intake exam with Mazur. She had considered pretending to forget the time, but decided that would only seem as petulant as it was and, worse, it might give Mazur more leverage over her with a claim of foggy headedness. Instead she decided on getting it over with.

She discovered that Sickbay was very different now. For one thing it wasn’t on reserve power. All the lighting and monitors ran full. For another, it was more staffed in medical teal than marine green. And then there was the condition. When she first arrived the place had been warehouse-like— the abandoned decks being occupied territory under marine guard had been stacked with supply crates and gear. Then later, it was a disaster, in so much as she could recall from the slivers of memory after the battle. One of the entry doors had been completely ripped out of the wall. There was weapons damage in the bulkheads and shot out lighting and shattered displays. There had been a debris collection pile moved aside including a giant robot, if she hadn’t imagined it…. But there wasn’t so much as a scorch in the carpet now. There was also a great deal less chaos and injured. The low buzz of voices was almost tranquil by comparison to her last impression of the place. “I’m here to see Dr. Mazur,” she told the nurse stationed near the door.

“Sure,” the Nurse smiled brightly, “Your name, ma’am?” she asked.

“Oh, right.” Calliope had forgotten that everyone was transferred in after she'd been down for the count. She could hardly expect to be recognized. “Calliope Zahn.”

“Ok,” she smiled, “Right this way,” she said, gesturing into the main deck and stepping up behind her to push her chair without asking if she needed to.

Calliope inhaled and set her hands on her lap. She would have preferred to have motored there herself with her last vestige of mobility, but she had proposed that morning not to stir anything. She needed to recover some dignity especially around Mazur and her staff. She had to get on whatever narrow ledge was that woman’s sweet side if there was any hope of being released early.

Looking around the Infirmary, things were quiet and calm, exactly as she’d have expected a well-ordered Starfleet deck to be. The occasional beep and boop of a computer terminal or other device and the various whispers of crew going about their job. That was until a peal of girlish laughter broke the silence. The happy noise had a grating effect on Calliope’s nerves. She grit her teeth and tried to smile instead of snarl, achieving some blend of both as she personally chastised herself. Why should it bother her that someone was happy? What could they be happy about in Sickbay? She craned her neck to locate the source. It was a short, blonde-haired woman who was laughing still, gently touching Commander Zayne’s arm like they were old friends. It wasn’t until she turned slightly that she saw it was Doctor Mazur. Maybe a body-snatching-alien Mazur— what other explanation could there be? Her eyes tracked between the two of them to see Corvus standing there, looking at the two of them as if hell had just frozen over and she was witnessing the end of days in front of her.

As the chair was parked alongside, Corvus and Calliope shared a side-glance of bewilderment with one another, Calliope wanting to ask what-the-hell this fawning was about and Corvus returning a damned-if-I-know subtle shift in her shoulder.

“...rrow night,” Minka’s voice carried brightly before she patted Zayne one last time on the shoulder and turned away from the two officers. She moved to the first bio-bed nearby but as she looked across her Infirmary she spotted the new face in Commander Zahn and headed towards her. The girlish smile on her face vanished with almost inhuman speed. “Welcome back, Commander,” she declared with the slightest hint of an ‘I told you so’ in her voice. “How are you feeling?”

“Oh, I’m…” ...dizzy, was what Calliope wanted to say, after witnessing that whiplash in attitude. “I’m hanging in there, Doctor. And yourself?”

“Things are settled,” Minka answered, “Can you stand up for me and have a seat here? I can help you if you need it,” she said, gesturing to the bio bed.

Calliope took a fortifying breath and then slid to her feet. She made the steps between the chair and the bed without assistance , but it was clear it was an effort and she leaned into the bio bed as she arrived. She tried to lift herself but couldn’t quite climb up and accepted Mazur’s offer for assistance, even though she detested having to.

As she settled down, Minka withdrew the tricorder from her lab coat and began a simple scan, “Doctor Walker is pleased with your progress so far, but Doctor Turan and I both have some reservations,” she explained as she scanned. “This is not something easily overcome.”

Doctor Walker was growing on Calliope. Her problem was too many Doctors.

“We’re confident you’ll recover quickly… if you stay on course.”

“How quick is quickly?”

Minka put her tricorder away, not seeing anything in the readings to be concerned about. Of course, she had a plethora of updated information on Zahn as provided by her very regular check ins in her current accommodations. But it was good to be certain nothing had changed dramatically. She folded her arms across her chest and gave a slight shrug. “I can see you returning to light duty in… three weeks. Possibly two. Full duty will depend more on how your body responds. But even then,” she shook her head, “You are looking at more than a year or regular regenerative therapy and a lifetime of maintenance therapy,” she explained. “You do understand you’ve damaged your body very significantly. Just because you regain a semblance of normal motor and cognitive function, doesn’t mean you’re healed,” she said, “You’ll recover to your life relatively quickly. But it’s a very long road.”

Calliope rubbed her hands over her face. It was never going to be truly over. But two weeks until she could try to return to something resembling her life? That was something she could latch onto, at least. She nodded. “I understand.”

Doctor Mazur looked back at her, half expecting to see a lie in her eyes but when she didn't’ see anything out of the ordinary she pressed on. “I’d like you to come by for a check in every two days. Doctor Turan and I want to make sure you stay on the path.”

It was easy enough math in her head. That was seven well-behaved visits away from a probably conditional release. She could suck it up for that long. “See?” She smiled at Corvus. “You’ll only have a couple more weeks to manage without me.”

Minka arched an eyebrow, confused, then looked over her shoulder to see Captain DeHavilland right there. She gave her a semblance of a smile and then looked back to Calliope. “I’ll see you again in two days.”

“That you will.” Calliope slid back off the exam table, worked some calculations for the distance back to the chair and made for it in three measured strides that were subsequently less sure. The chair being lower than the bed, she needed no other help and shuffled herself upright. Small wins.

Corvus cocked her head towards the exit, “Walk with me back to your room?”

They moved through sickbay together towards the entry to the recovery ward. “I have two chairs now. You can take your pick,” Calliope joked.

Corvus returned only a slight smile in answer to the joke. Any other time, she might have played along. But today, she had too much else on her mind. “How’s Lance?” she asked, trying to fill the awkward silence.

“You tell me,” Calliope teased. “You probably see more of him in briefings.”

“I suppose, now that things have settled down, he’ll have some more free time,” Corvus offered hopefully as they made their way along to the space Calliope had been assigned for her long-term recovery. She doubted it was as nice as the quarters she’d left behind, but it was a necessity.

They moved through the narrow hall past the nurse’s station into the community room. It wasn’t so much unlike the dormitory she’d first met Corvus in, now that she thought of it, back when she’d first been drawn into Corvus’ talking about her cadet tour. Calliope navigated sideways to hit the door panel to her room and then pulled off some fancy piloting to hover in reverse and open her arms. “Casa del Calli. Whaddaya think?”

“Looks cozy,” Corvus nodded, taking a look around and letting the door close behind her. It certainly wasn’t as grand as senior officer quarters but it would suffice. Technically her husband was still a senior officer himself, so they wouldn’t have to lose their shared quarters. Of course, it wasn’t like she had any real option. The path before her was set in stone. She’d spent quite some time mulling it over, and any appeal she might mount to what the Admiral had ordered. But every time she came up with a straw to grab ahold of, she came to the secondary conclusion that… he was right. There was no way to shake this to make it end any different.

Corvus paced around to one of the two chairs she’d joked about and stood just behind it, tapping her fingers on the back of it. She knew what she had to say, she just had no idea how to start the conversation.

“Cozy’s the word for it. Could fit four of these rooms in my office.” Calliope realized the way Corvus was kneading her fingers into the back of the chair rather than sitting in it that something was eating her. “What’s wrong?”

She chewed on the statement for a moment, trying to figure out where she wanted to start and ended up just sort of stumbling into it, clearing her throat to start. “I’m… sure you’ve met a few Doctor’s the last few weeks, but… one of those was Doctor Llwyd, of the Alexander,” she began.

“I… vaguely recall…” Calliope stretched her memory. There had been a veritable professional parade through her room when she’d been least cognizant.

“It so happens…” she said, rolling her jaw and looking away for a moment, “That he is good friends with a civilian Physician. Doctor Al Havash,” she said, looking to Calli directly. “Are you familiar with her?” she asked, her irritation rising to the top now.

All the good humor she’d mounted drained from Calliope’s face. “What… what is this about?”

Corvus looked into the seat of the chair, her temper flaring momentarily. “You didn’t answer my question,” she replied sharply.

“Yeah, I met Al Havash on Obsidian. When I was waiting for parts manufacture, I took a ride out to the civilian outreach. I figured since the station was back we could re-establish contacts.”

“Re-establish contacts, or secure another supply of the script Doctor Mazur wouldn’t fill?” she asked bluntly.

Calliope hugged herself defensively. “You can’t… I wasn’t… That was before!”

“Before what, Calliope? Before you were a Starfleet Officer? Or before you lied to me and told me that the vial you gave me was the last?” Corvus fired back. She was angry that she’d been lied to and that she’d stood up to the Admiral for her confidently, only for him to cut her down with the truth.

“Before I had a fight with Lance,” Calliope appealed to her, “Before I decided I wasn’t going to go back for it. I thought I needed it. My whole life I always needed it.”

Corvus shook her head and stepped out from behind the chair, brushing the hair off her shoulder. She didn’t get it, she didn’t get it and that’s what made it easier in the end, she supposed. Had she owned up to it, admitted she understood the position she’d put her in, maybe this would have been difficult. But it was excuses. The hallmark of the addict.

“Your focus right now needs to be on your recovery,” she declared in that formal demeanor she’d last used with Calliope when she’d demanded that last vial. She rolled her tongue over her teeth again, “Your actions don’t leave me any other choice, Commander,” she declared finally, looking up to her old friend and forcing that cold, professional facade onto her face. “I’m relieving you of your posting as Executive Officer of Obsidian Command.”

Wide-eyed and stunned, Calliope felt the words peel through her like a shot and carry off a lifetime of service and of friendship. “Corvus,” she whispered, and then tried to recover, “Captain.”

“There is no other option, Calliope. You’ve left my hands tied,” Corvus answered both the personal and professional plea. “You were knowingly consuming a drug that you were told would harm you. Something that’s been going on long before Obsidian,” she said with a sad shake of her head. “I spoke with Doctor Ryder, of the Paracelsus...” she trailed off, looking away. Ryder had been mortified to hear what had happened with Calliope, but he’d not been surprised. He’d warned her of the damage she was causing but, in his words, ‘all she heard was that I’d refill the script’. He’d been irate at Doctor Mazur for causing this wholesale crash after he’d worked so hard to walk her down. But when he’d seen the data showing the scans of Calliope, he’d changed his tune quickly and agreed one-hundred percent with the treatment. Even going so far as to request transfer to Doctor Mazur, so he could speak with her directly. Corvus’ last ditch effort to find some kind of leg to stand on to save her friend had only put the final nail in the coffin.

Emotionally it was as draining as it could be, and she wanted nothing more than to run from the room and just let it all stand but she knew she owed it to her friend and to her subordinate officer to explain her decision. Especially one this profound. “You have been knowingly consuming this drug, aware of the effect it was having on you. You approached Doctor Al Havash, leveraging your position in Starfleet to get the supplies she needed in exchange for refilling your banned prescription—”

Calliope’s mouth hung open in a false start. It had been different than that… the two weren’t dependent. She’d sent the supplies without any strings. But even she knew it was a thin explanation. And the medication was banned all the same.

“—You’ve lied to Lance, you’ve lied to me, and you’ve clearly lied to yourself,” she continued, suppressing the crack in her voice she almost let out. “This is not the conduct of a Starfleet Officer and certainly not the First Officer of a Fleet Starbase,” she added, this time unable to suppress the slight waver in her tone. She cleared her throat to settle herself, “Commander Zayne will be assuming the post of Executive Officer,” she declared, her voice settled and letting that hang on the air.

Calliope’s face was flushed as if she’d been struck. Pained, she closed her mouth, fixed her jaw, and nodded while trying to keep her shoulders square. Her eyes were filled with hot tears and she bit her lip as she gathered a breath. “Zayne is exemplary,” she tried to answer at least the one thing she had a response for.

“But he’s not you,” Corvus shot back hotly. “I chose you for this Command, Calliope. I ignored the Admiral’s suggestions on First Officers and picked you,” she raged calmly. “I know you’re capable of being an exemplary officer as well. But… whatever this is…,” she said, waving around at the room. “You have to sort this out first. You only have you to blame, Calli. And only you can fix it,” she said, swallowing the lump in her throat and clearing it once more. She turned towards the door to leave and paused just short of the control panel, looking back to Calliope. “You know that if you need anything to get better, I’ll get it for you,” she said quietly. “Get better, Calli. Let’s talk when you’re back on your feet… properly,” Corvus tapped the panel and stepped through the door and down the hall, disappearing from view as the door slid shut behind her.

Calliope folded her face into her hands.

 

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