The Junk Heap
Location: Lieutenant William's Quarters
The assignment to the Century felt odd, to Laura, as she walked casually through the Starbase's docking ring, and observed some of the vessels in dock. There were fancy ships. There were old ships.
There was a Sovereign class starship, which still had apparent scratches, scrapes, and burn marks from battle damage.
The word "Cent-ry" was visible along the hull. Inductive reasoning suggested that the burn mark was covering up the 'u' in "Century".
Laura stopped, mid-stride, and leaned her head back, and closed her eyes. "Oh. Come. On." She whispered. "Thanks, Daniels. I really appreciate that Transfer. And the promotion. To a worse posting." She groaned.
She checked on board, which was apparently a formality; the officer in question, quote guarding unquote the door, was a janitor for the docking ring, and he was less than inquisitive to literally anything, instead just waving as she went on board.
Laura raised an eyebrow, in a Vulcanlike fashion at the lack of Security involved on this ship, and hastily hid it, chastising herself.
She deposited her gear in her quarters, then called up the location of the Chief Security and Tactical Officer. In her quarters.
Laura pressed the door chime, and the door, deciding that was good enough, opened.
"Piece of crap." Clarissa groaned.
"The ship, or that door, in specific?" Laura asked.
Clarissa tilted her head. "Both." She said, quietly.
Laura frowned, then observed the nearly empty bottle of Whiskey.
"You're drunk." Laura said, quietly.
"I prefer Clarissa, but I do answer to 'That Drunk Girl', from time to time, yes." Clarissa swirled the bottle. "Can I interest you in a glass?"
"I don't drink." Laura replied. "Are you alright?"
"Oh." Clarissa shrugged. "More for me."
"Ma'am, you don't seem okay." Laura said, quietly.
"I'm not." Clarissa replied, with a laugh. "Nothing about this is alright. But I've got the stuff for that."
"I was going to say I was here to reporting in, but you're intoxicated, and off duty." Laura frowned. "So, I cannot. Obviously."
"Sorry to be a bummer." Clarissa retorted.
Laura tilted her head. "Ma'am. Are you just... drinking?"
"You mean, am I just sitting here, drinking? Well. No. I'm also-" Clarissa held up something else.
"What's that?" Laura asked.
"This is a type of chocolate. Except it's not chocolate. The chemical compounds normally found in chocolate, from the planet this grew on, instead causes an excessive, borderline delusional, dosage of dopamine in Humans." Clarissa replied. "Want some?"
"I shall entirely pass. Lieutenant, are you saying you are high?" Laura asked.
Clarissa shrugged. "It's not a restricted substance."
"Your life can't honestly be that bad, that you need this." Laura said, grabbing for the chocolate.
Clarissa tried to stop her.
Laura grabbed her wrist, and twisted it behind her back. In precisely 9 seconds, Clarissa was face down on the floor, and Laura had the chocolate in her free hand.
"What the-?" Clarissa asked.
"Peace, and long life, Lieutenant. I am Staff Warrant Officer Laura. The Security Investigations Officer." Laura said, dryly. "This is not going to help you."
Clarissa struggled against Laura, and frowned. "What the hell are you?"
"A Vulcan, ostensibly. It's not something I advertise. Or embrace. Or act like. Or talk like." Laura replied, before letting Clarissa up, and hastily moving to the recycler. The chocolate vanished in seconds.
"Awww, man. Buzz kill." Clarissa groaned.
"Lieutenant Williams, you must cease." Laura said, sharply. "This is not going to help whatever is wrong."
"You don't even know what's wrong." Clarissa snapped.
"Then, by all means, tell me. I have no desire to be your enemy. I am trying to be your friend." Laura replied, in a calm, Vulcan toned, almost soothing voice.
Clarissa stopped, short, disoriented by the tone of her voice. It struck a chord, in her mind, somewhere, and she stumbled back, on to the chair she had been sitting in.
"Vash?" Clarissa asked, blinking.
Laura raised an eyebrow.
Clarissa blinked a few more times, before shaking her head.
"Who are you?" Clarissa asked, almost barely audibly. "You're not T'vash."
"T'lara." Laura noted, calmly, focusing herself, as she sat down, across from Clarissa. Something flashed in her eyes; a recognition. "Where do you go?"
"What?" Clarissa asked, quietly.
"Where do you go? When you have your... attacks?" Laura asked, before collecting a cup of tea for Clarissa, and handing it to her. "It's Vulcan tea. It acts as both a calming effect, and it will help clear toxins out of your body."
Clarissa took the cup, uncomprehending. "Thank you. I think." She sipped the tea.
"Where do you go?" Laura asked, again.
"I don't understand." Clarissa frowned.
"Something... broke you. You space out, and you go somewhere. It's called Post Traumatic Stress Disorder." Laura said, calmly. "I'm guessing you hide it from people."
"I... Try. Haven't been too successful, on this ship." Clarissa nodded. "I can't tell you where I go. It's classified. I don't talk about it."
"What happened?" Laura asked. "Please. Just. Talk."
Clarissa shook her head. "I can't. If I tell people, I'll get court martialed. Again."
"Lieutenant, there are many things that might get you court martialed. That chocolate, during a red alert, is among them." Laura frowned. "We'll have to discuss this. Officially. You know that, right? It's kind of my job."
Clarissa winced. "I guess."
"I'm not here. Officially. Right now. Right now, I'm here as a person. And I'm worried about you." Laura said, quietly.
Clarissa frowned. "I can't tell you." She handed the tea cup back towards Laura. "And I don't drink tea. But I can show."
Laura raised an eyebrow. "How?"
"You know how." Clarissa replied.
Laura shook her head. "That's dangerous. You could still get in trouble."
"If anyone found out." Clarissa replied, simply.
Laura took the cup back, and took a sip, then nodded. "As you like." She said, with a nod. She placed the cup aside. And extended her hand. "Have you-?"
"Yes. I used to be bonded to someone." Clarissa replied.
"Ah. That explains why you would be comfortable with it." Laura nodded.
My mind, to your mind. My thoughts-
It's dark in here. You might be eaten by a grue.
7 Months ago, U.S.S. Lavelle
The ship was boarded. Powered down. The Breen had attacked. The deck was buckling. There were two doors, that Clarissa had to open.
She was under fire. She only had time for one.
She had to decide who to save, and who was going to get sucked in to space, along with the Breen who were attacking her.
She leaned her hand around the corner, and fired her phaser a few times, so she could read her combat tricorder, to determine who was in each room.
Room A contained the security team she had sent to this deck, to try and repel the very Breen she was currently in a firefight with. They had locked themselves in the door, probably planning an ambush for the Breen in question.
Room B was nearly empty. This seemed like a very clear choice. There was only one life sign-
-And it was Vulcan. She queried it on her tricorder.
Lieutenant Junior Grade T'vash. The Tricorder noted.
Clarissa winced, and leaned back, against the wall. Well. Shit. She thought to herself. The one god damned person on this ship, who Clarissa would save over literally every other god damned person. Or her own staff. Her friends. The people who trusted her with her life.
T'vash wouldn't hesitate. Clarissa knew this. They had shared minds often enough.
Just as T'vash would know exactly the decision Clarissa would make. Clarissa had lived her entire life with everything, and everyone she loved, eventually taken away. She tried to be good enough, for people to stay with her. She tried her absolute best.
But she had made T'vash a promise, when she had proposed. T'vash had insisted that she could never keep such a promise.
The only thing in the known universe that mattered one damned bit, to Clarissa Williams, was a quiet, reserved, Vulcan doctor, who Clarissa would move mountains to protect. And that was her promise. Her proposal. No matter what. No matter what rules, or ethics she had to break. Clarissa had promised T'vash that she would always, always, choose her wife, first.
The needs of the one, outweighed the needs of the many.
She pulled open the door, and found T'vash, unconscious. The atmosphere was beginning to leak, through stresses in the hull, and the ship didn't have the power, to keep the SIF field together enough to prevent it.
So Clarissa held her breath. And she pulled T'vash out. She pulled her in to a Jefferies' tube.
She sealed it.
And she kept pulling.
And a few seconds later, there was a loud sound, from the other side of the sealed tube.
And then, there was the eerie sound of nothing. Not even the sound of the ship's normal functions, from the other side.
But Clarissa kept pulling.
She had a promise to keep.
3 months ago, Deep Space 5. Judge Advocate General Hearing; Starfleet vs. Lieutenant Commander Clarissa Williams
"Evidence has been given against your conduct by members of the mission, in question, which is not refuted by anything but your emotional attachment, stating that you knowingly, and willingly, sacrificed the lives of 19 Starfleet Officers, to save one, you held of higher value." The Judge stated. "Do you deny these events?"
"Your honor, with respect, if you were asked to make the impossible choice between your spouse, and other people, who would you choose?" Clarissa asked.
"Objection, your honor. The Defendant has already had ample time to invoke this attempt at an emotional defense of her actions, which do neither alter the events, nor excuse the people who are dead because of her." The J.A.G. prosecutor countered.
"Counter objection. The claim that these people are dead because of her is a misrepresentation of facts." Her lawyer countered. "As stipulated, by the defense, in previous statements, the deck decompressed only moments after she had rescued a single person. Attempting to rescue more than one would have resulted in 21 people being deceased."
"Motion to have the counter objection struck from the record, as the only person, or persons available to verify this, are the defendant, 19 dead officers, and one doctor who has stated, under oath, and with corroboration from the defendant, that she was unconscious at the time, and thus, not able to testify to these events." The J.A.G. prosecutor argued.
"Original objection, and motion sustained; the events of the case, to the extent that it can be verified, in a court of law, have already been entered in to record." The Judge noted. "The defendant will directly answer the question."
"I did the best that I could, in order to be able to live with myself." Clarissa replied, squaring her shoulders. "I chose to spare my wife's life. Those brave young men, women, and androgynous life forms chose to stand their ground, to ambush a Breen boarding party, rather than evacuate an unsafe deck. My wife was unconscious."
"You are not technically married to Lieutenant Junior Grade T'vash." The judge corrected. "And we can neither find a verification that they were notified that the deck was about to buckle, nor can we find, as the prosecution has noted, any such attempt, by you, their superior officer, to order them away from a hazardous position, as is your technical duty, so whether by intention, or neglect of duty, you are still technically responsible. I have heard enough. Lieutenant Commander Clarissa Williams, it is the decision of this court that you have wasted enough of my time. Your defense of your actions constitutes a not guilty plea, in abstentia. Sufficient evidence has been provided to argue that, through neglect of your duties, as expected of your rank, your inaction, at the very least, resulted in the deaths of other officers. It is the decision of this court, that, as it cannot be technically proven that you had time, with which to rescue said officers, but it can be proven that you had time with which to warn them, you are found not technically guilty of causing their deaths, as a form of manslaughter. You are, however, found guilty of negligence of duty, causing death, and are to be demoted, in rank, from Lieutenant Commander, to Lieutenant, and restricted to the brig, at Deep Space 5, for a minimum of 3 months, prior to accepting your next assignment. You will also be ordered to undergo court-mandated counseling, and anger management classes, in the hopes that you may be capable of curbing the insubordinate attitude you have displayed to this court, in open defiance of direct orders. Bailiff, please remove the defendant from this court."
3 days before assignment to the Century
T'vash had not visited her, during her time in the brig. Not once. Not even to say anything. She received a formal notice of revoking of "emotional compromise", regarding Clarissa, as "the emotional attachment was no longer a concern", on the last day she sat in the brig.
Clarissa had found T'vash, in the mess hall. She slammed her plate down, across the table from her.
"Lieutenant Williams." T'vash said, quietly.
"Cut the shit, T'vash." Clarissa opposite her replied, in a truly pissed of tone.
"I am presently digesting food. It shall be 2.5 hours until my next planned defecation." T'vash retorted.
Clarissa narrowed her eyes. "Is this how it's going to be? We had one fight. One."
T'vash raised an eyebrow. "I do not, as a habit, exaggerate, or mislead other people." T'vash replied. "I stated, very clearly, that our relationship was an impossible feat, which would result in severe consequences, should we continue it. Your actions were very clearly emotionally biased, and I told you that I could no longer hold an emotional attachment to you, because of them."
"I saved your damn life." Clarissa stated.
"And, in so doing, you disrespected everything that I am, and everything that I stand for." T'vash replied. "And you knew this."
"Don't give me your needs of the many speech, T'vash." Clarissa demanded.
"It is everything." T'vash retorted. "It is why I am a doctor. It is why I chose to save 7 lives, instead of my wife. It is why I do every thing. Every moment, of every day. You have shared my mind. You know this."
T'vash was rationalizing her choice to separate herself from Clarissa. She had already made this decision. Clarissa knew this. Clarissa could do literally nothing to stop her. She knew this, as well. Desperation maintained that she try. She couldn't lose anyone else. Especially not T'vash. "Stop." Was all that Clarissa's desperate, quiet voice could muster.
"Our fraternization is terminated, Clarissa. It is you, who must cease." T'vash said, shaking her head. "You shall not change my mind. I am leaving."
"You're what?" Clarissa demanded.
"I placed a transfer request." T'vash said, simply. "It was approved. My shuttle leaves in 3 hours."
Clarissa was shocked. For T'vash to transfer, she would have to surrender her seniority, here, and her good favor with her commanding officer, which may result in a prolonging of her next promotion. This was very serious. "You can't just leave. We need you."
"You have an emotional need." T'vash corrected. "I explained the situation to the Captain. The Captain agreed that the emotional level of connection we have is a detriment to the crew, as it cost 19 lives, so you could save one. You do a disservice to yourself, and your uniform, as a Starfleet Security Officer."
Clarissa grabbed at T'vash's hand. Desperately. Trying to feel what T'vash felt. Trying to understand. T'vash refuted this attempt, by withdrew her hands from the table.
"Your permission to violate my phobia of physical contact has been terminated, as part of the termination of our relationship." T'vash noted. "You expressly do not have permission to freely enter my mind. Doing so constitutes criminal assault."
Clarissa withdrew her hand. "You're extremely serious."
"As you well know, I am very rarely capable of being anything else." T'vash replied. She looked down at her finished salad, then held her hand up in the Vulcan salute. "I do not harbor you ill will, Clarissa Williams. I wish you peace, and long life."
"You say that, and yet you're abandoning me." Clarissa retorted.
"I am choosing to live my life, in a manner appropriate to my beliefs, and requirements for my own health, and well being, as a person." T'vash replied. "I should have died. There are 19 people, whom I had to do autopsies, or post-mortem reports on." She narrowed her eyes. Clarissa could tell her control was faltering, and Clarissa could tell that T'vash hated the fact that Clarissa still was capable of having that affect on her. "They were people. Good people. Some of them I considered friends. You let them die, for me. You think this is some kind of kindness. You think yourself romantic. I had to sign off on 19 funerals. You made me responsible for their deaths. How am I supposed to forgive you for that?"
Clarissa was silent.
"19 families broken. 19 people are dead." T'vash said. "Three of them had sisters. Seven of them had brothers. Most of them had living parents. There are 9 children whose mother, or father, is going to have to explain why the other parent is not going to be there for them. Ever. Again."
The word 'sisters' was a dirty ploy, which was presumably why T'vash had used it first. T'vash was fully aware of the devastation of Talia Williams' death, and subsequent resurrection, on Clarissa's life. This was not logic. This was nothing more than T'vash using an excuse to cause Clarissa harm. They both knew it. They also both knew Clarissa could hardly call her on much of it.
"Don't you dare bring Talia in to this." Clarissa hissed.
"She had children." T'vash pointed out. "There was a chief medical officer, who had to do the same thing for her. To you. To your parents."
That was it. The last straw. Clarissa threw her bowl at T'vash, and stood up, moving several steps away.
"You heartless wench." Clarissa grumbled.
"Do not attempt to provoke emotional fights with people who know how to provoke your emotions better than you can, theirs." T'vash replied.
This was true. Clarissa could rattle T'vash's control. She tried not to, as a respect of that trust. But T'vash was Vulcan. Through, and through. The needs of the many outweighed the emotions of the one. To T'vash.
"Using my mother's suicide is more than a little bit of a harsh move." Clarissa said, sourly.
"Your mother died, because your sister died." T'vash said, walking past her. "How many people are going to do the same, after this, because of your actions?"
Those were not words Clarissa wanted to hear. They weren't words that Clarissa wanted to contemplate. T'vash very likely knew that, and did not care.
T'vash did not care.
That summed things up, in 4 simple words. Clarissa stood there, in a silence inflicted by the ghosts of 19 good people, and T'vash's lack of caring.
Clarissa went, in search of a drink.
It seemed fair.
Laura staggered backwards. "That was..."
"Sorry." Clarissa nodded. "I've been told that I have a very strong psychic constitution, that leaves people a little disoriented. I can't imagine that was gentle. That's... That's where I go. When something reminds me of T'vash. Or... When I feel really bad about... That."
Laura steadied herself. "That's something, alright. A bit much, actually. Give me a minute. I have to remember... The things. With the controls." Her face blanked, and she seemed to completely be still, even ceasing her breath. It would be a disorienting thing to witness, if one weren't accustomed to it, and Clarissa was.
Clarissa remained quiet, taking the cup of tea, and taking a sip. It was surprisingly spicy, and bitter, yet it helped her regain misplaced strength. There was something curious about it. Clarissa couldn't quite place how she was familiar with it.
Laura took a deep breath. "Thank you. For your... experiences."
"Your life... really is that bad." Laura said, quietly. "I get the dopamine chocolate."
"No need to rub it in." Clarissa said, quietly. "Nice tea."
Laura frowned, and looked down at the tea. "I kind of regret that, now. It will clear anything toxic out of your system. I suspect you needed the intoxicant."
"I'll be..." Clarissa yawned, and leaned over in her chair, before falling asleep.
"I didn't mention the sleeping herbs, did I?" Laura asked. "Only affects humans. Naturally. I'm quite immune." She noted, before quietly picking Clarissa up, and placing her on the couch. "I suspect we shall have a great deal to discuss in the morning. After I've done my homework. Not that you're hearing any of this."
Clarissa snored loudly, in response.
"Charming conversationalist." Laura said, with a raised eyebrow. "I didn't think I was that boring." She added, before quietly leaving, and coding a security lock on the door, so the door wouldn't let anyone else in.
Lieutenant Clarissa Williams
Chief Security and Tactical Officer
Staff Warrant Officer Laura
Security Investigations Officer
Chief Medical Officer