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[AU] Stuck

Posted on Mon Jun 22nd, 2020 @ 6:06am by Cailus Griffin & Lieutenant JG Vecon Fick
Edited on on Fri Jul 10th, 2020 @ 4:56pm

Mission: Divided We Fall

A Mission Post by Lieutenant JG Vecon Fick & Lieutenant Cailus Griffin
Mission: Divided We Fall


Lieutenant Vecon Fick wiggled his way further under the console. He could almost reach the damaged line that needed replacing. Potentially it would return power to the console above him, but it was being difficult. Fick wasn't the biggest guy in the world. He wasn't all that tall. He didn't have long limbs, although he did have rather long fingers, but the wire was way back there. He could just brush it with his fingertips, but he couldn't get ahold of it. As he worked his way into the console the space also got tighter and tighter. In a last ditch effort to grab the wire, he lunged himself back and grabbed it, pulling it free easily. Unfortunately, the reason it came loose so easily was because it was badly frayed. It snapped loose when he pulled, neatly slicing the pad of his thumb open. Fick jumped when it happened, more surprised than serious pain, but when he jumped he realized he was pretty tightly crammed into the space under the console.

Panic rose from his gut to his throat and blood sprang immediately to the surface of the cut, dripping down onto his face as he tried to wiggle his way back out as quickly as he could. It was slow going. A lot slower than he wanted it to go and he was starting to freak out just a little bit. He could only imagine what it must look like from the other side, just his feet sticking out from underneath. He was making progress, but he didn't remember the space being this tight when he'd crawled in there. As depressed as he had been lately this wasn't really the way he imagined himself going. Maybe he'd get lucky and someone would find him.

For Cailus, walking through Deck 2 on his regular ‘rounds’ (a laughable concept, given that it took barely forty minutes to sweep all three decks), it took a few moments to identify the sound as he was walking through the corridor. It was a sort of scuffling coming from inside an open room, almost like the sound of a mouse, an odd sound under the circumstances, and Cailus instinctively shifted a hand towards the phaser at his hip. Oh, how he’d kill for a good old fashioned space monster...

Instead, upon entering the sensor substation, Cailus saw that the large console that dominated the small space seemed to be in the process of eating someone, with that someone’s legs wriggling in clear anxiety as their torso was completely engulfed by the console. With a sigh, Cailus crouched down next to the hole in the console base, already knowing who it had to be. Only two other people onboard were as short as that, and they typically had more sense than to get themselves trapped.

“Are you alright in there, Vecon?” Cailus called into the console innards, bemused.

"No!" Fick was totally relieved to hear someone else's voice, especially the voice of the security chief. "I... I think I'm stuck!" He sounded like he might be on the verge of tears, or maybe he was already crying. "Can... can you pull me out?" His feet wiggled, but that was about all he could do.

“Stay calm, Lieutenant, I’ll have you out of there in a moment,” Cailus reassured Fick gruffly, although fortunately, Fick couldn’t see Cailus roll his eyes in exasperation. There was something endearing and familiar (if slightly annoying) about Fick’s predicament, so similar to countless other baby-faced young officers that Cailus had seen over the years. Thus, after clasping two firm hands on Fick’s legs, Cailus yanked the trapped man out in a single smooth motion.

Fick yelped in surprise and lay on the floor outside the console for a few moments with his eyes closed. His face was smeared with blood from where his lacerated thumb had dripped on him, but Fick didn't know. Then he realized that he was free and he opened his eyes and looked up at Cailus. Slowly, he grinned.

“Better? Cailus asked wryly with a raised eyebrow, still crouched next to Fick.

"Like tons better. So much better." Fick sat up. "You know the worst part is that I didn't even get the plug out that I was after." He held out his bloody left hand and a little wad of wire. "Oh man... I guess I really cut my thumb." He started trying to clean his hand on his uniform, still sitting on the floor. "The flipping wire snapped in my hand... that's what started all this mess." He put his wounded thumb in his mouth.

The sight of Fick sitting on the deck, sucking his thumb, nearly made Cailus roll his eyes again. The kid just looks so damned young, as if he should still be in a cadet uniform, studying every day and partying every night, rather than stuck in a literal abyss.

Was I ever that young? Cailus wondered grimly.

Shaking off the errant thought, the security chief instead opened up a wall panel, pulling out a first aid kit. “On your feet, Lieutenant,” he ordered curtly.

Fick got up and took his thumb out of his mouth and looked at it. "Jeeze... you wouldn't think a little wire could do so much damage. Thanks for saving me," Fick said softly. "I shouldn't have crawled up in there when I realized I couldn't reach it, but I was thinking about other things." He sighed and his shoulders drooped.

Opening up the first aid kit with practised ease, Cailus took out the dermal regenerator, activating the device and running it over the cut without fuss. “Thinking about your Klingon, I take it,” he commented off-handedly as the gash on Fick’s wounded thumb obediently mended itself.

Fick nodded a little bit. "Yeah... although I'm starting to think I'm never going to see him again. He might not be my Klingon any more." He sighed. "I don't want to be here, like this, forever..." He looked at Cailus. "Sorry... I know you don't want to hear it."

After packing up the first aid kit and returning it to the bulkhead, Cailus considered Fick for a moment, taking the measure of the man. Resigning himself to the inevitable, Cailus crossed his arms, glancing idly at the hallway through the open doors to ensure they had some privacy.

“Never apologise for talking about this, Fick,” Cailus said in a more quiet, gentle tone than he typically used. “When you’re in these situations, when everything is crushing you down, remember that you are never, ever alone. Being part of a crew means more than just being on the same ship. It means being part of a community, a family, where everyone relies on each other without prejudice or expectation of reward. I may not be a friend like Shae or as personable as the captain, but I won’t judge you for being scared or depressed. I’m your shipmate. I’m here to help.”

Fick looked up at Cailus. He had to. The man was considerably taller than him. His eyes teared up a little, but he wiped them quickly. "I just... I'm overwhelmed. I feel like I'm just spinning my wheels. It's been weeks." He pressed the heels of his hands to his eyes in an attempt to not be a huge baby in front of Cailus. "I'm sorry. It's stupid. I should just be patient... I just... I feel like I can't be patient anymore, but I can't figure out how to get us out of here or even how we got in here. I know I'm not the only one that feels this way." He lowered his hands and looked at Cailus. "I feel stupid." He let his hands drop to his sides and sighed dejectedly.

“Welcome to Starfleet,” Cailus said with soft irony. “They didn’t tell you about this part at the Academy, did they?”

Fick hugged himself miserably and tipped his head back and forth. "They told us, but telling us and having it actually happen are sort of two different things. I mean I got that I could lose my life and all... but this isn't dead... this is some sort of limbo. I'd almost rather be dead and even if I came up with something... who's gonna listen to me anyway. No one takes me seriously." He looked at Cailus. "I mean... do you? You probably see a greenie, not someone capable of anything that older, more experienced officers can't come up with."

“You are green,” Cailus pointed out with a matter-of-fact tone, fixing Fick in place with a penetrating look and a frown. “Quite frankly, Mister Vecon, you’re one of the greenest young officers I’ve ever met, in either century. You are also the man whom, two months ago, I trusted to shoot Shae across hard vacuum in the craziest damned maneuver I’ve ever seen. You are the man whom Captain Temple trusted to be his primary helmsman ahead of much more experienced officers. You earned your rank, and the respect that comes with it, regardless of your age or record.”

At that, Cailus stepped closer to Fick and pointed at Fick’s red collar, with the solid gold pip and the hollow black pip clearly visible. “Any time you feel like this, Lieutenant, just touch those pips. They’re a permanent, tangible reminder of your achievements and your place in this universe. Nobody, not me, not even the captain, can take that away from you. Ever.”

Fick did reach up and touch the pips. He knew Cailus was right. He had worked to be here. Worked hard even. His parents were proud of him. He felt like, in some ways, that he had been proud of himself until this had happened. "I know... you're right..." he said, sounding like a scolded child. "I just feel... stuck here and not just like a little stuck... like seriously epic stuck forever stuff."

Cailus huffed in bemusement, unable to help himself. He glanced around the room again, which was even smaller than the bathrooms in crew quarters, and sighed. “Fick, do me a favour,” Cailus said after a moment, adopting a contemplative tone as he looked around. “Imagine being stuck in a confined space about the same size as this room with two other people, both Vulcans. Your ship has been destroyed, your entire crew are dead. You are six months away from Federation space of maximum warp, drifting in a nameless star system in a region of space that rarely sees warp traffic. Nobody knows you are there."

Lost in the memories, Cailus took a step backward, looking supremely uncomfortable. “The only way to survive is with emergency cryosleep, but the system is basic, waking you up every five years to perform maintenance on the pod systems for two days at a time. So you wake up into the freezing cold dark again... and again... and again... and again. Decades pass by. Thirty years. Fifty. Eighty. A lifetime.”

Fick looked horrified. "I don't really want to imagine that. That sounds like pure torture. Did... did that happen to you?" He was staring at Cailus with that same horrified look on his face. "How... how long were you out there?" He was almost afraid to ask, but at the same time he couldn't seem to stop himself. His heart went out to the Chief.

“Eighty seven years,” Cailus said with a quiet intensity, refocusing on Fick. “My point, Fick, is that we survived. There is no such thing as ‘stuck forever’, not for people like us. All of this bubble universe nonsense is just one more obstacle that we’ll conquer. Believe in victory and victory becomes reality.”

"Yeah... mind over matter, huh? I've been trying. It just gets harder and harder the longer we go on."

Falling silent for a few seconds, Cailus cleared his throat loudly, as if to shake off the personal moment that they had just shared. He moved to the door before stopping, looking back over his shoulder. “Now buck up, Lieutenant, and come with me. You’re having dinner with Shae and me tonight.”

"I am?" Fick smiled a little and took a deep breath, squared his shoulders and followed Cailus.



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