Reunited Again... Again
Location: Deck 6 - Sickbay
Heat. Intense, stifling, dry heat. The Bridge of the Fire Queen was burning hot as Katya continued to use her canon against the Breen. The room was red with emergency lights and the fiery glow from the Ultra-Plinian weapon below.
Mauricio could feel the oxygen in the room drying out; he found breathing getting harder and harder. He tried taking deeper breaths but there was no relief forthcoming. He started looking around him, hoping to find some support, for someone to notice his pain - but everyone else was fine. They were Anh'Iran, this ship was made for them. They didn't realise the horrible effects it was having on him as a human. Katya continued her assault on the Breen without seeing his distress.
His body started to seize and panic and his vision blurred. The screen panel in front of him became out of focus and distant. In his head, he was screaming for help. In reality, he was only gasping for air.
Then, everything went black.
== Sickbay ==
Mauricio's eyes snapped open in a panic. He took in a deep gasp of breath and felt cool, clean air filling his lungs. He expected to be hit with more heat and pain but nothing came. The room was pleasant and comfortable and he no longer felt like he was slowly boiling to death.
Looking around, he saw bright, white lights and he knew he was somewhere different. There was a calm here - a change from the chaos of the Fire Queen. He wondered if it was too good to be true, that maybe his mind had created a place of peace as he slowly slipped away. Or maybe he had already passed and heaven was actually just lying on a bed in a... hospital?
"Where am I?" He croaked.
Aeryn smiled as she walked up to Mauricio’s side. “Not in heaven if that’s what you’re thinking! You’re in Sickbay aboard the Pandora. Welcome home!”
"The Pandora?!" Mauricio tried to cry out, but he was too hoarse, the panic rising once more.
“Relax Mauricio, just lie still” Aeryn rested her hand on Mauricio’s arm. “Your body has had a pretty rough time of it, you need plenty of fluids and rest. Be a good patient and I’ll have you out of here in no time.”
Mauricio did as he was told and rested his head back onto the bio-bed. "I... didn't... want to come back here."
“Any particular reason why not?” Aeryn let her Counselling skills come into play as she took note of Mauricio’s readings.
"A long story, Doc." Mauricio sighed, resigning himself to his fate. "Are we at least going back to Paradise?"
"Unfortunately not." Came a voice from his left side. Mauricio craned his neck a little to see the ragged, tired outline of Captain Temple now by his bio bed.
"Oh." Mauricio frowned, returning to look at the ceiling. He hadn't had too many conversations with the Captain since leaving; he was never quite sure where they stood.
"I've just come from bringing Commander Nash." Nyx explained to them both. He tone was fatigued, but a hint of annoyance tinged around the outside. "He received a significant injury while we were defending the Resistance from the Alrakis Pact. What happened on the Fire Queen, Mauricio?"
"I don't know." The Spaniard replied, "When the Alrakis Pact killed Qaraq, Katya lost it. She stopped communicating, she became enraged with getting revenge."
“So she just took off on a mad need for revenge?” Aeryn shook her head. “I can understand how angry she’d be but to put others in danger is crazy.”
"She didn't respond to communication or even our requests for comms." Nyx added gruffly, "That's why the Pandora had to get involved, because she was too focused on revenge to lead the Resistance. We took all the hits, Commander Nash got injured, we could have been captured. It turned into a shit show that we had to clean up." He was lecturing, more than telling.
"I don't know what to tell you, Captain," Mauricio shook his head, "We only have a Resistance because of Katya. She brought everyone together, she kept us organised and unified. Katya gathered all those forces. But... Qaraq was the military strategist. He was supposed to lead the Resistance defences. By taking him out, the Pact disrupted our whole plan and Katya couldn't handle it. She only thought about hitting back at Thot Syn." He shrugged, "I will say, though, that by her destroying Thot Syn in revenge, Katya helped to disrupt the Pact's plans in return."
"True," Nyx gave a short nod, "But Ensign Jameson is right, she put people in danger. Including yourself."
"I shouldn't have been on that ship," Mauricio agreed, "It wasn't meant to be crewed by humans."
“You did what you felt you had to do” Aeryn offered a smile. “For now you need to rest, and recuperate.”
"I'd like to get back to Paradise." Mauricio remarked to himself. Being away from Starfleet had been a blessing for him; he didn't particularly want to head right back into their issues when he was still dealing with his own.
After Aenardha’s ordeal, sending out a telepathic burst attempting to call on all Broots in the vicinity (which managed to work as a matter of fact), she returned to Sick Bay. Her white in white eyes now took on a degree of crimson as they were still bloodshot. Her head pounded something fierce and, despite her mental abilities, she could not think it away. Perhaps another hypospray would take the edge off.
Aenardha allowed herself only telepathic vision in close proximity. That was the only telepathy she felt comfortable enough to utilize without feeling as though she would end up on the floor writhing from the pain of this migraine.
Upon entering Sick Bay, she of course recognized the mental patterns of Aeryn, but also picked up the presence of Captain Temple and, “Mauricio?” she quested. In her previous discussion with him, he made it very clear that he had no intention of returning to the Pandora. Yet here he was.
"Aenardha!" Mauricio called out, looking up to see the striking officer before him. "You just can't seem to get rid of me!"
“Or you of the Pandora,” she replied.
Not wanting to interfere with the Captain and whatever discussion he was having, Aenardha ventured to a vacant biobed and leaned against it, waiting to be seen.
Nyx noticed the Ensign's condition and immediately looked to Jameson for help. "Are you okay?" He asked Aenardha urgently.
“I am OK, sir. Thank you.”
Aeryn quickly made her way across to Aenardha, she could feel the pain that the other woman was in. She grabbed a nearby hypo off a tray and ran a quick scan. “How long have you been in pain? Do you normally take anything for it?”
“This is only recent,” Aenardha said, speaking so even the captain could hear. “I sent out a telepathic burst…a distress signal if you will…to all the Broots in the vicinity once we learned that Mr. Qaraq had been attacked.” Her migraine subsided somewhat. Aenardha’s eyes were still a bit pinkish from the bloodshot. Her antennae stood more erect. “In all honesty captain, I had no idea I could even do that or that it would work.” With her knowing that the ship and crew were up against compounding odds. “I had to try something.”
"Something! You damn near saved the day." Nyx remarked, "Because of you, more back up arrived and allowed us to leave." He decided to step back and allow Jameson to treat her.
“Looking at the readings I’d say you’ve over extended yourself.” Aeryn tapped the Medical tricorder then looked at Aenardha. “Your levels are still pretty high, but they’re slowly coming down. I’ll give you something for the migraine, it’ll subside pretty quickly but you’re to rest and give yourself time to recover.” She walked over to a tray and picked up a hypo bringing it back Aeryn pressed it gently to the other woman’s neck.
Aenardha tilter her head to the side allowing Aeryn to administer the treatment. “Thank you.” To Nyx, “Sir, please do not expect me to be able to do that often, or with that level of success. We were very lucky.”
“I didn’t even know you could.” Nyx replied. “But I agree, if it has this effect on you, we’ll definitely stick to more traditional means of communication in future.”
"Aenardha," Mauricio spoke out, "I'm so sorry about Qaraq... I wish we had done more to protect him."
Mauricio did not know the level of anguish she was in, and how weighed his words were. She had used the same telepathic link on Qaraq as she had with Mauricio. Only this time, the receiver of said link managed to die while she was still connected. Aenardha’s undying feelings toward Mauricio did, in fact, die off, but they were replaced with constant feelings for someone who is now dead.
Aenardha actually slumped her head toward the floor and her antennae likewise slumped in a depressing manner. If she had only reached out, perhaps she could have felt that the enemy was about to attack so brutally. Perhaps she could have stopped it. Mr. Qaraq would still be alive.
“I too wish we had done more,” but her thoughts were ’I wish I had done more.’
Aeryn offered a comforting smile. “There wasn’t anything more any of us could have done at the time.”
“We can’t live in regret.” Nyx said softly to the room. “We have to make impossible choices sometimes; as will our friends and allies. Qaraq could have chosen to hide or accept surrender like so many have done in the Expanse. Just let the Pact roll right over this sector. But he didn’t. He chose to stand and fight.” The Captain gave a slight a nod. “We should honour him for his choice and his bravery. He did so to protect his home, his family, and his friends.”
Mauricio listened to the Captain with a quiet frown, looking down at his hands as he rubbed them together. The sense of grief was palpable in the room, but he felt some comfort in Temple’s words. He felt like it was something, however over-sentimental it was, to hold onto for now. A brief spot of light in the dark. He nodded, too, “I agree.”
Aenardha actually looked at Mauricio. Looking back at herself as his eyes landed on her for a brief second ensured that. She had caught a glimpse of this thoughts and saw that breif spot of light in her own mind as well. They need to make that light last; make it bigger. “We can honour him by finishing this. He made a sacrifice and we cannot let that be in vain,” she said.
"Well said, Ensign." Nyx agreed, before turning back to Mauricio. "I know this is not the position you chose to be in. I respect you for wanting to help Paradise, but we can't turn back now. Once you're well enough, will you help us get back home, Arnaldo? Will you serve on the Pandora again?"
Mauricio took in a deep breath, looking to the Captain and then to Aenardha. He did want to be anywhere else but here, but that was before he had her around. Before they made their connection. Now he felt like he had a friend on board again, a friend like Lieutenant Fick had been to him. A reason to stay.
Aenardha was not reading his thoughts but already knew of his aversion to returning to the Pandora. She did, however, calmly send toward him a thought that he might enjoy a seeing a new face around; someone unfamiliar with his past.
Turning back to the Captain, Mauricio nodded. "I will, Captain. I will help the Pandora."
Nyx clapped his hands together. "Excellent! Well, I will let you get some rest. Let me know when you've gotten the all clear from Medical."
"I will." Mauricio replied.
Nyx turned to Ensign Sh'vastarth, "And you? Same deal. Get some rest, let Medical do it's thing and we'll see you on duty when you're ready. No more over-extending yourself, is that clear?"
“Absolutely, Captain,” Aenardha nodded. She had every intention on seeking advice or permission before ever attempting that again. She was already fearing the day an order to do just that would arrive.
"Take care of our people, Doctor." Nyx waved to Lieutenant Jameson on the way out.
“Always Sir!” Aeryn called out as Nyx walked away before turning back to the others.
Mauricio looked at the remaining visitors and put on a brave smile. "You know, this ship has something that even Paradise cannot match... Mindo's bar! Tell me, can we all go there for a drink once all this chaos is over?"
Aeryn offered a smile. “Just what the doctor ordered Mauricio.”