Part of USS Pioneer: Mission 1 – Operation: Shadow Strike and Bravo Fleet: The Lost Fleet

O:SS – Chapter 3

U.S.S. Pioneer
March 2401
0 likes 328 views

As the mission briefing concluded, the senior staff got up and headed out to complete their newly assigned orders. Ginell was quick to get up and, instead of going out through the bridge with everyone else, she exited the briefing room through the side turbolift entrance, unnoticed to all except for Cassian. 

“I was thinking we could start with converting cargo bay 2 into a triage center, then checking-” Naran was cut off before he could go on any further, “I'll join you in a minute, I'd like to check on something first.” Cassian said. Naran nodded, and continued on his own to sickbay to make the necessary preparations. 


Kosev made it to his ready room, throwing the PADD on his desk before plopping down on the couch. He let out a deep exhale before turning and facing the window behind the couch, resting his head in his hand, looking out into space as the Pioneer warped towards their destination: Saxue. If he was being truthful to himself, he felt more than a little nervous about this mission that they've been assigned to. So many lives depended on their success, and he was just now starting to feel the weight of all those lives, especially those of his new crew, on his shoulders.

He thought about what he said about the Pioneer's history in the last Dominion war, and he was proud to have chosen this vessel for his new command, especially given the current situation. He couldn't speak for the rest of his crew just yet, but to him, knowing that the Pioneer triumphed in all the battles it fought in during the last war, he hoped it would help the crews morale going into this new conflict deep behind enemy lines. Knowing that their ship was victorious in all it's previous battles may just inspire the crew to do something extraordinary, at least that is what he'd hoped. 

Kosev's mind began to wander as he continued watching the stars speed passed in the window, going back to when he was just a kid during the last war. He was protected from the brunt of the news, but every so often he managed to activate the Federation News Network and get the latest updates. After all, it was incredibly frustrating not being told anything about the war when you knew that people you cared about were out their on the front lines putting their lives at risk. His eyes began to well up as he felt a tear stream down his cheek, but he didn't care. He still sat there, watching the stars go by. 

The door chime rang, bringing Kosev out of his trance, but he still hadn't moved from the couch where he laid. “Enter.”

In came Savar, arguably Kosev's closest friend of many years and confidant. He raised an eyebrow slightly at the sight of Kosev on the couch, then walked up to the chair near the replicator and took a seat himself. “I wanted to check on how you were doing with this news.” He said plainly, his hands holding the arms of his chair as he looked at Kosev. 

“This mission… there is a lot riding on our success.” Kosev mumbled, blinking a few times as another tear fell down his cheek. “I've felt pressure before in my career, but none quite like this.”

“Indeed, there is a significant number of lives depending upon our success.”

“You're a big help.” He said wryly, finally turning to face Savar.

“And you're not telling me the whole truth.”

“Perhaps because you already know the whole truth, besides it's not like I'm thrilled to have to say it out loud.” Kosev reached for the table and took a sip of the now cold raktajino that he had left there this morning before the mission briefing. 

“Nevertheless, it might help you to talk about it. It's been some time since we last spoke of this subject.”

“And there's a reason for that, I don't like to relive it.” He felt himself starting to get annoyed, but as soon as he felt it he let it go. He knew Savar was here trying to help, and Kosev finally relented, “My parents and I were extremely close. When I got the news that their ship had been destroyed during one of the battles in the war, I just broke down and couldn't function.” He shook his head, moving his look from Savar to the ground.

Savar didn't say anything, he only kept his look trained on Kosev, clasping his hands together in his lap. 

“My parent's closest friends, a couple of humans, took me in and moved me to Earth soon after. They were incredibly supportive and thinking back I was very lucky to have them, but in that moment, the only thing I wished for was that I had died with them on that ship because I didn't want to have to live the rest of my life without them in it. They were all the family I had.” He felt another tear stream down his cheek. Kosev got up and grabbed a tissue from his desk before returning to the couch. 

“I just can't believe that now, after all of these years, I'm finding myself in a position to face the same enemy in a new war. Part of me is terrified that we won't make it, then there's another part of me that wants nothing more than to rip them all to shreds for what they've done.” Kosev pulled his head up to look at Savar and managed a little chuckle, “Sometimes I envy you and your logic, my friend. Days like today, I would give almost anything to purge myself of all of these emotions. This is not what this new crew needs from it's captain.”

“I know sharing these memories is difficult. But often enough, working through the trials of our past is the best way towards making a new and better future for ourselves. This crew needs to lean on their captain, particularly now. I am just here to remind you who you can lean on." Savar said as he slowly got up, starting to turn for the door.

“I know you suppress your emotions, but just once I wish you could feel how much I appreciate and care for you my friend.”

“I shall let you 'feel' it enough for the both of us.” He nodded slightly, putting his hands behind his back as he started for the door again.

“You know, at least one good thing did come from all of this.”

“And what is that?” Savar said, stopped to face Kosev once more.

"If my guardians didn't move me to Earth after taking me in, I would've never met you the next summer."

“Indeed.” Savar replied, a smirk appearing in the corner of his mouth for a microsecond. He nodded to Kosev again before turning and leaving the ready room to finish his orders from the mission briefing. 


Ginell barely made it to her quarters as she stumbled and gasped for air through the corridor once the lift stopped on her deck. She was sweating profusely, her heart racing to what seemed like a million beats per minute. Her hand was shaking so bad that she could barely touch the right wall control to open the door, but she managed and made her way inside her quarters. She stumbled over to the sink and looked at herself in the mirror attempting to get her breathing under control with no success. 

What the hell is happening to me’ she thought to herself. Unzipping her uniform, she took her jacket off in a desperate attempt to cool down, but again with no success. She stood there staring at herself in the mirror for what felt like an eternity before she her the door chime. Ginell's first instinct was to push whoever it was away, she was in no shape to be seen like this, especially since she was the ship's executive officer. But as her heart continued to race and unable to catch her breath, she relented and barely managed to mumble, “Enter.”

The doors opened up and revealed Cassian standing in the doorway. He was going to ask for permission to enter, but after seeing the Commander and the current shape she was in, he ran right to her, “Commander, are you alright? Commander?” He asked again, a look of concern washing over his face. 

Ginell tried to answer, but she couldn't catch her breath to say anything at all. Cassian, though he usually waits for permission first, used his telepathic abilities to briefly read Ginell's mind and emotional state, then grabbed her hands, “Commander, you're having a panic attack. You need to focus on slowing down your breathing. I want you to take slow, deep breaths. In and out.” He said as he demonstrated for her with deep breaths of his own. “That's it, nice and slow, in and out.”

Ginell began to calm down slightly, but her heart was still racing, so Cassian went to work on another method, “We're going to start counting out loud to twenty, count with me, one… two…” Her grip on his hands began to soften as they started to count higher and higher, her breaths becoming more and more regular. “That's it, deep breaths in… and out. You're doing great, Commander, in… and out.”

Ginell finally managed to catch her breath as Cassian took the towel from the rack and wiped her face from the sweat. He led her to the couch where she took a seat; he sat on the coffee table across from her, still helping her through her breathing. “That's it, you're doing great. Almost there, deep breaths.”

Cassian got up and got her some water from the replicator, then took a seat in the chair near the couch and watched her for the next fifteen minutes or so as she slowly recollected herself. With her breathing and heart rate finally back to almost normal, she finally spoke up, “I appreciate you coming here to check on me, Counselor, but I'm fine now. You can go.”

“I'll stay, when you're ready, we need to talk about what just happened, Commander.”

“I said I'm fine, now you can go. Dismissed.” She fired off, defensively. She didn't want to admit it, but not only was she was deeply embarrassed that he had witnessed that, but she was also incredibly scared, especially since that had never happened to her before. She wasn't the kind of person that got panic attacks, she was the one you went to when you needed someone to control a tense situation.

“I don't want to upset you, but we need to talk about what happened,” He paused as he considered his next words carefully, but he felt this was the only way she would accept his help, “or I'll have no choice but to report this incident to the Captain and Chief Medical Officer and have you relieved of duty.”

“This ship is about to enter a combat situation with far reaching repercussions. I don't have time for this, we don't have time for this."

“We will make the time, Commander. Like you said, this ship is about to enter a combat situation, and this crew is going to need their first officer performing at their best.” he said warmly, trying to ease the tension of the moment. 

Another fifteen minutes of silence between the two of them went by, Cassian looking down at his hands in his lap, twirling his thumbs. It had seemed like an eternity had gone by before Ginell finally began to open up, “After the briefing, I started to think back to the war and began to remember Yuriel. He was my fifth host, and my host during the war.”

“And you are host number six?”

“Actually, I'm the seventh.”

“Oh, my mistake, I apologize. Please continue.” Normally Cassian reviews the personnel records of his patients before their appointments to familiarize himself with details and previous therapy sessions, if any, but seeing as how he had just arrived and didn't plan on this session, he was going in a little more unprepared than he would've liked. 

“I don't like to talk about him, neither did Naiella, my previous host.” She knew that Cassian was going to ask her why and press, and when she picked up her head and looked at him, she saw that question about to come out of his mouth, so she intervened, “I died during the war.”

“I'm so sorry.” Cassian offered, finally putting the pieces together.

“I was captured defending a ground installation on a planet no one has even heard of before. The Jem'Hadar and the Cardassians attacked in the middle of the night and somehow managed to evade our lookouts and disable our perimeter alarms. By the time any of us knew what was happening, half of us had holes in our chest and were laying lifeless on the ground.”

She paused, tears coming down her face as she thought about that day over again. Cassian offered her a tissue, but she acted as if she didn't even see it, continuing to stare across the room emptily. Cassian put the tissue down and sat back in his chair, “Were you shot when they invaded?”

She took a few seconds to respond, but when she did, it was with a newfound quiver in her voice, “I don't know how I didn't get hit. As soon as they entered the command center, I immediately began to fight back. I managed a few good hits on the first two Jem'Hadar before I was stabbed in the leg and knocked unconscious.” 

She grabbed the tissue on her own this time, wiping her tears away before continuing, “They needed to keep someone alive to help them break the encryption code on the control consoles. The worst part is, I had no access to whatever it was that they wanted. I was only a field medic and had just arrived a few days prior." Ginell pulled her legs close to her chest, wrapping her arms around before continuing, “For the next several days… I was beaten and tortured for information I didn't possess.” 

“I'm so sorry you went through that, Commander.” Cassian offered, even though he knew it couldn't possibly come close to making up for what she went through. “Did you tell them who you were and-”

“Are you kidding me? Of course I did, I told them a hundred times.” She could feel the hurt and the rage starting to come back to the surface, “I wish I did know what it was that they wanted because believe me, I would've given it to them. I begged, I pleaded, I cried… and then, with a sharp twist of a blade, it was all over.”

Cassian never wavered his look from Ginell as more tears ran down her face, then she continued, “It's a miracle I survived. The U.S.S. Canterbury, after rescuing several refugees from a neighboring sector, returned when they had heard our post had been overrun. Apparently someone managed to get a message off before they were killed. They then drove the Jem'Hadar out of the compound and found my symbiote barely alive. If it wasn't for Naiella being one of those refugees, the Daan line would've been over.”

Cassian let five minutes or so go by before he said anything, “This is a trauma that, since you're a Trill, will be with you for the rest of your lives. It is completely understandable that the mission briefing dredged up these old memories and feelings to the surface, but you have to remember that you are Ginell Daan now, not Yuriel Daan. The best and most effective way to deal with this pain is to confront it, like you're doing now. The more that you bottle up inside, the more you'll be prone to additional symptoms like the panic attack earlier.”

She nodded, looking down at the ground, listening and taking in everything that he was saying, “You have nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed of, Commander. We will get you through this, together.” He smiled, trying his best to reassure her. 

“Thank you, Counselor. I will make it a priority to schedule additional time with you in the future, but now, this ship needs it's executive officer.” She got up and grabbed another uniform jacket that wasn't soaked in sweat and put it on, “We have our orders, and we don't have a lot of time.”

Cassian knew he didn't want her to push herself too hard, but given their current situation and where this ship was heading, there wasn't much other choice. All he could do for now was continue to monitor and support her the best that he could. 

Comments

Manage
  • Oh my days! What an ending! In a fleet where so many of us have younger characters who didn't see the harsh brutalities of war, you've given me (and some of them) the perfect outlet - seeing it through the lives of a symbiont in our Trill. With such senseless death all around her, it is a wonder she kept it together long enough for her to be captured, though I bet she wishes she hadn't! Thank goodness the symbiont survived. To be transplanted elsewhere, although I am intrigued by this mysterious sixth. I'm going to end on something I find highly amusing - an Andorian and a Vulcan as best friends. What a treat! Throw in a Tellarite and Captain Archer would be wondering what the hell had happened after all these years! I like how the Captain, unintentionally, managed to even get a smirk out of the Vulcan. I'll have to watch out for your writing on Venture.

    May 14, 2023
  • I love the choice you made to weave in the lineage of the USS Pioneer. That provides you a completely different angle to your storytelling against the Lost Fleet by captaining a ship that actually fought in the Dominion War. And survived! Of course, that's only the icing on the cake. The depth of Kosev's personal grief and history tied up with the Dominion feels so heavy and complicated. You personified the facts in his bio with such emotive dialogue. It's left me on the edge of my seat to see how Kosev will react to facing the Dominion in person: will he be enraged, will he sink into disassociation or depression again, or something else entirely??

    May 18, 2023
  • I wasn't expecting Trill war trauma but I was enthralled by the story and the avenue it let you explore. Kosev has his trauma, but Ginell's hit me more. It's so personal, so raw, the idea of remembering 'your' death is something I think I always knew the Trill would deal with, but this helped put it in context - it's repeating trauma in the face of a resurgent Dominion. I'm going to have to pay real attention as this is a fascinating concept.

    June 3, 2023