Obsidian Command

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Memory of a Friend

Posted on 13 Mar 2024 @ 3:58pm by Chief Petty Officer Ibis Xeri

Mission: M4 - Falling Out
Location: OC, Medical
Timeline: Day 23 following Theory Testing
1852 words - 3.7 OF Standard Post Measure

Ibis lay still as Doctors Wagner and Sahar prepared her for their test. She didn't know exactly what to expect. It felt selfish to hope for too much, and at the same time, she wanted a great deal to feel anything telepathically again.

Folding her fingers over her belly, Ibis tried to sooth her nerves with a simple posture. Doctor Wagner had asked her to be ready to think of something emotional but not too upsetting, and while Ibis knew she had plenty such past experiences to draw on, it was hard to actually settle on an exact memory like that. Even though Ibis knew it wasn't meant to be, it still felt like a test— or a challenge like she had heard telepathic children on Betazed played: Think of something, then unthink it, then try and let me guess your thought. They would play such games until the control of ones own thoughts was honed enough to maintain your private mind and your open one. Ibis, having grown up on Earth, hadn't had enough exposure to socialized telepathy techniques as a child. She was too open, unintentionally or absentmindedly sharing her mental meanderings and daydreams with others, and having lack of filters in her inquisitiveness. She'd had to learn her control throughout her teens and twenties, as others had shown her they weren't really happy with that level of sharing.

Laying back, Ibis closed her eyes and tried to follow the directions without getting distracted by the readouts and displays and data that her science mind was curious about. She let them manipulate her to lay where and how they needed and to use and connect the monitors and hyposprays they had selected. She needed to allow her doctors and their staff to mind all of the technical matters of the process, and let herself focus inward. This was the part that only she could do. The inner focus the Doctors said they needed to conduct the test.

She found she had trouble settling on a thought for a while. She wasn't sure how much time passed as she felt a kind of chaotic unfocused inner state of mind. She tried to give attention to the noise of her thoughts. How would Wallace be doing with the kids right now? Would Ikemba give him any trouble making him guess at what he wanted? His language skills were still so limited, you had to intuit what he wanted form his mood and gestures and behavior and very little vocabulary... Olivia could be helpful sometimes in figuring out what Ikemba was trying to get across. but just as often she could complicate it with her own attitude or issue that would crop up without her telling you exactly what her trouble was. She didn't know most of the time either. Ibis wondered if she had been such a fire cracker. She didn't think so, and yet... it seemed like Ibis gave her own mother so much grief. It wasn't good enough for her that she'd come home. She was still in a sense... missing to her mother, she marveled. Here, but not here in the way she would have liked. In a way, Ibis wondered if she was even the same person who had been lost. She must have seemed a stranger to her mother. She felt like a stranger to herself now, trying to look back through time and settle on an emotion, one that wasn't too painful.

But the woman who had been lost was still lost... She felt herself trying to think of who she had been before he day of the Pyrryx attack. What had she been doing that day?

...She was in Astrometrics with Rachel the night before. They were going through the week's survey summary data. Ibis' specialty being in xeno-biology, she was recommending which systems were most likely to host known forms of life, even of the bacterial sort, or of other non-carbon types, such as silicon based ones.

Ibis breathed in deeply, remembering the music Rachel had chosen to work by. They had both discovered that they shared a taste for some of the same Earth Folk singers and female Jazz vocalists, but as their work had been somewhat demanding of their attention, they'd settled on some easy to hum along with instrumentals. It was a newish kind of friendship, at least it felt like it to Ibis. She'd spent years on multiple missions on the USS Nimitz. Although she'd been on a few temporary other studies and assignments with other blended crew occasionally, the survey assignment on the Sunrise was actually only her second new crew. She'd been making every effort she could to build new friendships. She was already on her fourth attempt at a new boyfriend in the six months since they'd set out. She felt like she knew everyone, but somehow at the same time, hardly new anyone.

Rachel was easy to work with. She was younger than Ibis, which was a strange feeling Ibis had been adjusting to since her new assignment as the Science Mate, leading the enlisted crewers in her department. She often felt like she herself was still eighteen, even though she'd long since developed skills and experience far outstripping her naive recruit self and was in her late twenties at the time.

Rachel showed her a panel of data on various systems, and Ibis double checked her rankings of them. they didn't speak very much, simply passing the data back and forth from their stations in a kind of jam session of their own, swiping and tapping in time with the music as it played, the chirps and beeping of their stations sounding like musical accepts of the computer itself singing along.

"So you know Major Wallace?" The younger blonde asked, hesitantly, breaking their working rhythm.

Ibis looked up into those impossibly blue eyes as Rachel bit her lip. Ibis felt Rachel's nervousness- a kind of flutter in the other woman's stomach. Did Rachel have some kind of crush on Wallace? Then she felt her own mix of defensive jealousy and shame, the sense of Wallace's rejection somehow still fresh, no matter how she'd tried to put it out of her mind the past few months and no matter who she happened to be going out with now. "Know him? As much as anyone, I guess. We've served together a long time anyway."

"Really?" Rachel prompted.

"Yeah. Ten years, give or take. He's mellowed a lot, if you can believe it." Ibis smiled in spite of herself. "When I first met him he scared me silly. He got right in my face and told me how useless a little science punk was going to be, and how weak I looked."

Ibis recalled how frozen and shocked she'd been at his diatribe. No one in her entire life had ever shouted her down like that, with veins popping out of their neck. He'd dwarfed her then as he did now, but after years working together, he no longer seemed to over shadow her quite the same as he had that first day. He'd been running a drill in the halls, training his Marines to repel a boarding party, and she, daydreaming at the time and missing the notices to take a detour, had wandered right in the middle of his active exercise. For the full effect, he'd blackened his own teeth and dressed like a space pirate in the exercise. It had been a jarring image for the crewman recruit on her first day on a spaceship.

"I might have cried. I can't remember. I don't even remember what he said exactly until he yelled that I was dismissed, then asked me if I even knew what dismissed meant, and that I was dumber than his newest recruits and maybe they should be lab scientists at that rate and I should be doing their PT. It's... funnier now I think, looking back. You want me to introduce you?"

Rachel shook her head quickly. "Oh, no, no. I don't want to meet Major Wallace."

Ibis looked confused.

"I just meant, do you know anyone else in the Marine complement? I figured, since you've worked with the Major, maybe you knew some of the guys in his unit, if you could introduce me?"

"Ah, I see." That made a lot more sense. It was almost an unwritten rule for the young women on assignment to page through the complement of Marines onboard for dating options, Ibis herself having dated a few on the Nimitz herself over the years. They didn't ever seem to stick more than a few weeks and she'd heard more than one rumor that officially dating her had put those guys in deep shit with their MCO. "Any one in particular?"

"Do you know Omeleye?"

Ibis had bit her lip. "That one is off the market."

Rachel's disappointment was a soft wave of deflation. "Has a girlfriend?"

"Engaged with someone back home," Ibis clarified. "But I'll introduce you around. I have a standing invitation for domjot."

"I don't know how to play domjot."

Smirking, Ibis closed down her workstation and gathered the padd she had translated the data to. She'd take it to the Department Chief to run it up to the captain at the staff meeting deciding on the next direction to take the Sunrise for further System surveys. One of the worlds was a very promising looking oceanic world, in fact. It had topped Ibis's list of planets to investigate."Every tough guy thinks he's a badass at domjot just because he's holding a stick. But domjot is mostly physics and geometry, some math for figuring out your best chances of point make ups." She winked. "I'll teach you. We'll make a ringer out of you and get their attention. You'll get your pick of the litter."

Ibis remembered Rachel's hopeful curiosity... and she remembered looking forward to surprising the whole unit with teaching Rachel to best them at domjot, laughing about it over drinks as Rachel would clean up the last points on the table... and wondering who Rachel might spark a relationship with...

She wondered at the life they didn't have, and the turn it had taken a few short hours later.

Ibis reached up to rub the tear from the corner of her eye, her mind returning to the present as she avoided delving into a darker, more painful association of memory.

She blinked her eyes clear, and felt like she had lost track of time. Had it been minutes or hours? She distinctly felt a mild throbbing at the base of her skull. But try as she might to reach out for a shared thought or emotion, she still felt alone in her own head...

"Oh, my head..." She rubbed at the site of the throbbing pain. Ibis cleared her throat and whispered to the doctors, her heart a mix of hope and disappointment as she clearly didn't suddenly have telepathy back in any clear way she could sense. "Is... did anything happen?"


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