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Posted on Wed Dec 16th, 2015 @ 6:28am by Lieutenant Rianna DiMarco

Mission: The Belle of Bellatrix
Location: Main Engineering, USS Farragut
Timeline: Following 'They Bloody Well Turned It Off'

The ship had been making its way out of the Triangle, and at last David's hallucinations were starting to fade. He could see movement at the corner of his eyes, every now and then he'd see something move and look up to see nothing there. Nothing that you wouldn't expect from mental exhaustion and fatigue. Which this incident had certainly been. In spades.

David hadn't left Engineering since he'd realized the nature of Ri's psychosis and had continued helping where he could and keeping an eye on her. Now, smudged with soot and lubricant, he made his way to where the Chief - someone he considered a dear friend - was working on a plasma conduit.

"Anything I can do to help?" He asked as he approached. "I've patched the wiring into the central waste disposal system, and rerouted power back to the main lines. Seems like that's in working order now, so I'm ready for whatever you've got left."

“There’s no shortage,” Ri responded almost mechanically, never looking up from her work. Her tone was dead flat. Her body language- which normally conveyed spring-like tension on a good day more resembled a brick with her shoulders high and squared and her jaw set so fiercely that her teeth had to be killing her. “Just take your pick.”

“You look like you could use a hand here,” He said, reaching past her to help her loop the cables back in place that she was working on. “My hallucinations are clearing,” He informed her. “Well aware that these are not snakes now,” He added, smiling gently. “Have you felt… any change as the ship has moved clear of the phenomenon?” He asked, carefully.

For a moment she didn’t answer, just twitched David’s hand’s out of the way and jammed the panel’s cover back into place. “I’m aware-“ she began, turning to him with her dark eyes full of hurt and loss and absolute fury. “-I don’t need to say another damn thing, okay? I know.”

David looked at her apologetically, his brow furrowed, not really knowing what to say or how to say it, “Wretched thing that field was…” He said, a note of anger in his voice. He’d seem whatever radiation or sonic frequency that was turn his friends and crew-mates into animals. And he’d seen it rip out his friend’s heart and leave it on the ground, tattered.

She nodded numbly, but that wasn’t all that was on her mind as she was pacing now like a caged animal would. Four short steps back and forth her arms folded tightly across her chest, hands balled into fists tightly. Ri took a few deep breaths and then stopped and groaned miserably. “It wasn’t real. I’ve gotta put all of this back, but- Gods- I could see him. I held ‘im. I smelled his hair, D.. I don’t know if that’s what’s worse or that I couldn’t get it past my mind that he’d never get past six. I couldn’t picture him grown up because he was just a baby. He had to still fit in my arms- that’s some screwed up crap right there..”

“I realized… I realized what was happening and… I should have… I didn’t know if I should have said…” He sighed heavily and shook his head, “I’m sorry, Ri… I just… There are literally no words,” The normally verbose scientist said, looking like he was about to cry for her if not for a tremendous force of will.

Ri turned and punched the wall hard. It wasn’t as cathartic as she wanted it to be- no soft skin meeting her fist- but it was enough to remind her that she needed to focus. Just meat, she reminded herself. The body was just meat. Mourning was a wasted sentiment when it had to be amazing to have to have no fear or hunger or pain.. “I’ve gotta work, D. There’s too much stuffed messed up. I don’t want the captain comin’ down here thinking the engineers aren’t worth their salt on his vessel.”

“And I need to help you,” David replied. He fell in beside her as she walked to the next broken system, “And I will not leave you side until you’re done,” He said, his tone simply and resolute. “What are we repairing next?” He understood how she was acting. Even in his own pristine life, he’d known loss, and he’d known the catharsis of working through the pain. And the loneliness of doing it alone. She didn’t deserve to feel the pain, but he couldn’t do anything about that. He could keep her from being alone though. And that he would do.

The engineer rubbed at her face for a moment then sighed. She leaned forward enough to thunk her head into his shoulder. “Thanks..” she more whispered than said.

David stood for a moment, uncertain what to do at first, but finally, he wrapped his arms around her in a gentle hug, “You’re welcome.” He said, quietly.

After a moment, Ri shook off his hug and sniffed, a little of the tension having given away to a resigned form of functional misery. “Let’s finish getting the air scrubbers back online so the ship doesn’t smell like one big jock strap in a few hours.”

“Is that where Wesley left his clothes?” David asked, suddenly.

“Wait, what?” Ri asked, stealing her gloves back off of David’s belt.

“Eh… nevermind,” David said, chuckling mischievously, “Just know that there’s security camera footage of it somewhere. And that if you could find it and provide it to me for blackmail purposes I will owe you until beyond infinity,” David, the smile on his face growing.

“Oh this has gotta be rich..” the engineer said with a shake of her head.


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