Part of Starbase Bravo: Q2 2400

Burned Out

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Lihran leaned over a console, a pale green light illuminated his face. He emits a small sigh and looks back down at the data and numbers scrolling past his eyes. He drags a tired hand over his face, head tilting ever so slightly as he hears footsteps behind him. He straightens up and turns just in time to come face to face with his husband. Lihran folds his arms over his chest, his voice low, “I do not like the data, Covel. We must leave the system. Get farther than the system.” Covel reaches a hand up to momentarily touch Lihran’s cheek, a brief moment of tenderness before turning and starting to walk away, “We will discuss that with the other officers on the bridge. Come.”

Lihran cast a hesitant look at the singularity core and console he was working over before hurrying after Covel. His tone urgent, “I know I am just an engineer, but even I can see that this is not in our favour. Other Romulans are vacating. Now. We need-”

“Lihran, enough already. All conspiracy theories,” Covel gave a sharp glare over his shoulder at Lihran, adding, “Mind your station.”

Lihran clamped his jaw shut tight, clenching his fists at his side, “My apologies… sir.” He nearly spat the last word. Lihran inhaled deeply, calming himself for the moment, thinking to himself, ‘Why have I not left him already? This is maddening.’

Covel leads them onto the bridge, taking his seat, folding his hands over his stomach as he leaned back, “Now, Engineer Lihran has some… concerns. Albeit they are a bit silly.”

Lihran murmurs, “You will be the death of us all, Covvy…” He gave an amused smirk at seeing Covel’s displeasure at the nickname shared between the husbands. Lihran stepped up to the console and pulls up a model, the equations and data on a screen. He straightens and walks briskly over to the screen, pointing to the image of their Sun, “Now, as a star burns, its heat puts outwards pressure and the gravity of the core pulls inwards at the same time, stabilising each other. Now, as the star burns through its fuel and cools, the outward forces drop.” He pauses, to stare around at the blank and unimpressed faces staring at him, drawling, “This is children’s knowledge. You should all know this. The extrapolations show we are just on the cusp of pushing over the threshold to supernova. I am a lowly engineer, and I know this! This is ridiculous!” He slammed his fist on the console in a fit of temper.

—–

Lihran shifted his position, the PADD falling out of his lap and clattering to the floor. He was passed out cold in a chair in the Engineering department of Starbase Bravo. He had gone several days without sleep by this point, far more than even he could handle. He had barely left his station, determined to intimately learn the base’s systems. When other engineers pushed him to take time off to rest, he brushed them aside, far too adamant to avoid sleep.

A Vulcan startled at the falling PADD, not expecting it. He sets his down and tentatively approaches the sleeping Romulan to see if he is still alive.

—–

The lines of data start to turn red and a warning flashes on the screen. Covel leaps up to his feet as Lihran whirls around, panic on his face. Lihran shouts, “We need to leave, NOW!” Only just now believing his husband a bit too late, Covel starts barking out orders. Romulans frantically run around as alarms go off, the ship jolting and rolling to get going. 

Lihran was unable to do anything but watch.

 This time, they were too close. This time they stayed too long. This time they were unable to make their timely escape and watch from a distance.

—–

Lihran jolted awake with a scream, leaping up to his feet and falling backwards over the chair, clutching his chest, his heart racing. The Vulcan that was checking on him startled and leapt back, putting a hand on his chest. It took Lihran a solid minute to get his bearings and remember where he was. He clears his throat and stands up, bracing himself on the console, mumbling some sort of apology. He closed his eyes and runs his hands over his face, trying to calm his rapid pulse.

The Vulcan offered, “May I suggest you speak to either a doctor or a counsellor, Ensign? Perhaps both.” 

Lihran snapped weakly, “I’m fine, thank you very much.” He mumbled, as if trying to convince himself more than the other, “I’m fine, really.”