Part of USS Bellerophon: Volleyed and Thundered and USS Odyssey: Volleyed and Thundered

Volleyed and Thundered – 9

USS Bellerophon (NCC-74705), en route to Divinum, Deneb Sector, Alpha Quadrant
Stardate: 78194.2
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Ensign Jonarom gazed out into the vast, empty expanse of space before the USS Bellerophon. He was on high alert, scanning for any sign of Dominion ships lurking in the deep dark reaches of space between them, their squadron and their destination. The weight of responsibility hung heavily on his shoulders as he knew that the fate of the ongoing conflict rested on his keen observation skills. It wasn’t the only weight that he carried. Being known as the ‘child-genuis’ did some favours for his career, while the rest of the time, it was a barrier for him – more so recently. The chief science officer was struggling to be his usual self. On countless times, Jonarom had been described by his superiors as an exceptionally talented officer. His ingenuity was of a high level, and he always did his best to remain level-headed to promote a sense of humility when he understood the problem before him. However, the likes of Lieutenant Jarata had told him that with his brains and good looks, he would end up crushing the heart of those who fell in love with him. Jonarom had never considered his love life as something he wanted to be serious about right now. When he had told Jarata that, the Risian pilot had chuckled and had pulled him close when they were walking towards the mess hall together. Jarata had told Jonarom that he possessed a strong stature when he was in a room where he was sharing his latest findings that commanded the attention of everyone in it. He had gone on to say that he had a strikingly handsome face that left many of the crew spellbound. That super cute boyish look had raised a few eyebrows the day he had joined the crew. Jonarom had never seen it himself until he had stared at his reflection one morning. His hair was a rich, chestnut brown colour that perfectly complemented his piercing, azure-blue eyes, which were captivating and alluring by Jarata’s words. His physique was athletic and toned, but this was only due to him being so involved in keeping fit during his days at the academy. Jarata had mentioned this only added to his overall charm and appeal. However, the pilot and third officer had said to him that his smile truly captured the hearts of those around him. It was infectious and radiant, lighting up every room he entered with warmth and positivity. Despite his good looks, Jonarom remained grounded and dedicated to his craft, always striving to improve what he knew. His infectious charisma and genuine kindness made him a true role model for what Starfleet wanted from its latest generation of officers and for all who had the pleasure of knowing him.

However, for the last few days, he hadn’t kept his focus on his appearance or maintaining the charm or sweet smile he possessed. Instead, he was struggling with it. Jonarom knew it, and he was confident that Jarata’s attempts the other morning with the captain over an early breakfast were to restore his former self. It worked for a while, but he knew he wasn’t entirely back to his usual self. Yet.  

Then, out of the blue, Counselor Krizon Hilgan’s entrance into the astrometrics lab disrupted his train of thought, causing him to lose focus on what he was studying from the incoming sensor feeds.

“Ensign, any sign of Dominion ships yet?” Hilgan asked, his face etched with concern.

“Not yet, sir. But I’m keeping a watchful eye out,” Jonarom replied, his voice calm and steady, masking the anxiety he felt deep down. He was surprised to see the counsellor arrive and ask such a question. However, Hilgan had five years on the younger officer, so he didn’t question it. 

Krizon Hilgan was an un-joined Trill, who, with some experience of starship life, was the quieter one on the Bellerophon’s senior staff. Everyone knew he had an on/off relationship with Lieutenant Jarata; the two never appeared to work out whether they would settle down with each other. However, Hilgan was highly professional in all of his mannerisms. His short, curly brown hair was well-groomed, and his striking, chiselled face exuded confidence and charisma. Hilgan was liked by everyone and had a great sense of humour while off duty. That aside, he cared deeply for those on the ship and was good at his job. Jonarom had noticed on many occasions that the captain depended on his thoughts and ideas during various missions. Being the only counsellor on board, Hilgan knew how to juggle the mental well-being of all one hundred and fifty-two souls. So, it was no surprise to Jonarom that Hilgan was here for another reason.  

Hilgan had noticed the ensign’s long hours and appeared genuinely worried about his well-being. The dark circles under Jonarom’s eyes showed the lack of sleep, and the more messy hairstyle was another tell-tell sign. “Are you alright? I hear you’ve been working late a lot lately,” he inquired with empathy.

Jonarom hesitated briefly before confessing, “I’m just feeling a bit uncertain lately.” Then, finally, he paused and looked at the counsellor. “Am I that obvious?”

Hilgan chuckled somewhat. “A bit, but let’s just say your guardian angel was worried about you and shared his concerns with me last night over dinner.”

Jonarom smirked at hearing that. “I’m sorry, counsellor if your evening was spoilt by Lieutenant Jarata sharing his worries like that.” 

Waving it off as not a big issue, the counsellor replied. “Don’t worry, Jonarom. It’s adorable that Rubon cares for you and others like that. It’s one of his many attractive qualities.”

Jonarom blushed. “I’m so embarrassed.”

“Why?” Hilgan asked. “It’s important we have each other’s back, especially with what we may face ahead of us.”

“It’s not just what we’re about to face that’s the problem,” Jonarom shared as he fiddled with his hands before sighing.

Nodding at the ensign’s reaction, Hilgan showed he understood. “I get it, Jonarom, I do. The change in our routine, the change in mission and now this,” He pointed to the massive screen before them. “It’s enough to unnerve anyone.”

The ensign nodded. “I was almost in a better place, but this looming conflict makes me feel more anxious. Everything I read and heard about the Dominion War. It’s not what I joined Starfleet to do.”

Hilgan placed a reassuring hand on Jonarom’s shoulder and said, “None of us did, ensign. Both of us were born after the Dominion War. All we know is the gossip and rumours from those who were there. I understand completely. We’re all feeling the pressure. But we’re a team, and we’ll get through this together.”

A slight sense of relief washed over Jonarom as he felt the warmth and compassion of his superior. “Thank you, sir. That means a lot,” he responded, feeling a bit more confident and reassured. “It’s just, I’ve never had to shoot someone, and I suppose the idea of having to use this,” Jonarom pointed to the phaser strapped to his side, “for the first time in my career against another being because we are on a war-footing, it isn’t easy to digest.”

Hilgan had read and heard this point of view many times during his training and his time since becoming a Starfleet counsellor. “Again, that’s understandable,” He replied as he leaned against one of the consoles. He made himself appear more relaxed. “When was the last time you practised with a phaser?”

“I participated in the drill earlier today and had to fire at a few holographic targets,” Jonarom answered. “But it isn’t the real thing.”

“No, I suppose it’s not, but we can only prepare for the real thing. We’ll only know once we meet it head-on. So just keep calm, remember your training and do what it takes to keep yourself alive, ensign.” Hilgan advised.

The intercom then went off; it was the captain’s voice. “Senior staff report to the bridge; we are ten minutes from our destination.”

Jonarom quickly transferred his readings to the science station on the bridge, and together with Hilgan, they made their way to deck one to see what awaited them and the squadron. 

Comments

  • This was an excellent exploration of how someone who’s never seen war, or for that matter ever even had to use a phaser, is struggling to cope. “It’s just, I’ve never had to shoot someone, and I suppose the idea of having to use this… for the first time in my career against another being because we are on a war-footing, it isn’t easy to digest,” captures not just the macro concerns of what war brings, but even the micro concerns about what it means to take the life of another. That’s something civilian police officers, gun owners who find themselves in home defense situations, etc. all have to cope with, and now this science officer is working through what it means. It makes me wonder, when they get to the heat of battle, if he’s going to be able to pull that trigger against another living being - or will he hesitate in that moment?

    May 21, 2023
  • I really appreciated all of the high notes and low notes of this deep dive into Jonarom's psyche. He has all of these intoxicating feelings for a new relationship, perhaps romantically-tinged or perhaps not, and that almost doesn't seem to matter in itself. In the same breath, he's feeling pressure and isolated by his duty. I like that he's not simply afraid for what could happen if he has to face the Dominion, but he's even a little bit resentful that war isn't what he joined Starfleet for. That feels so real. Like, it's supposed to be his turn, and things are going real well, and as embarrassingly selfish as it can feel, it's not fair that he's not getting his turn. Now I gotta wait and see if this is setting up the arc of a triumph or tragedy, oh no!

    May 23, 2023
  • I really enjoyed getting to know this young officer and diving deep into who Jonarom is and even now under the pressure of war. How he looked so tired and worn out, I liked how the counselor cared enough even if he was just doing his job it felt as if it was truly genuine care and concern. The talk the two had seemed to help build his confidence back up, knowing that he wasn't alone that they would get through this together. Great Job!

    May 31, 2023