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SD 241910// Talrian/Kawolski //Nightime Confusions

Posted on 28 Oct 2019 @ 11:34pm by Lieutenant Talrian Bran

Mission: Tyr's Hand

Kawolski turned, trying to pull the blanket around him. He was dreaming and it was disturbing. It was somebody calling his name over and over. But quietly, which made it all the more creepy. Until, by chance, he opened his eyes and saw the security chief's face in the blue glow of the room's commpanel. For just a moment he saw the face as that of a grinning, goblin come to steal his soul in the middle of the night. He didn't know how his dream transistioned from whatever it was to him lying in bed, fighting his covers and the security chief's face floating in front of him. He held back the scream of surprised terror only through years of bunking with others.

As a petty officer, he only had three other roommates, but it was still other people and he'd have to face them in the morning if he disturbed their sleep. But it was a close thing, keeping from crying out. His heart beat rapidly as he struck his head on the underside of the top bunk.

"Kawolski," Talrian said, starting to reach out to steady the man but then stopped himself. "You awake?"

"Am I awake?" Kawolski asked, incredulousness coming off him without a single thought. Sure, he knew this man was an egomaniac of the first order and ready to deal out punishment - hadn't he already witnessed that himself on their shuttle mission? But, damn it! this was his quarters! His private area and it was...what the hell time was it?

"0130 hours," Talrian answered the question spoken outloud. "Get your gear and come with me," he ordered, standing from the squat he'd held while he worked to get Kawolski's attention. In a way he admired the younger man's capacity to sleep through disturbances. On the other hand, his Marines that slept through disturbances often never woke up again.

"What?" Kawolski asked, maybe a bit louder than he intended.

"What's going on?" Blair asked, rolling to the side of his upper bunk.

"Nothing, go back to sleep," Talrian ordered, as if it were his right and that simple.

"Yes, sir," Blair said as he rolled to the other side and put his head under the cover.

"Get your gear," Talrian said, making his way to the door while he waited.

"It's 0130?" Kawolski asked again. He was off duty! He had duty in just a few hours, why the hell was..."How did you even get in here?"

"I'm the security chief," Talrian said, simply.

Kawolski threw aside his blankets and sat up. His pack was at the foot of the bed, wedged into the corner where the bed met the wall. He still didn't understand any of this or why the security chief was in his room late at night. Or why he was being told to go with him. But, whatever else there was, it boiled down to this, he was an officer and was giving orders. But there had to be limits, didn't there? Kawolski wondered if Erickson was still in the brig, and all he did was lose his temper with the security chief. What would the man do if Kawolski disobeyed this order?

Sighing he quickly pulled on his uniform and boots, then grabbed his pack and followed Talrian out of the room and into the hall. The light in the corridor was too bright after the dark of the quarters he shared with the three other enlisted, causing him to blink and stagger a bit as he adjusted. He hadn't worked a third shift in some time and forgot that the ship stayed the same brightness in common areas the entire time. Somehow he'd forgotten it was all artificial lighting powered from the impulse engines.

Now that Kawolski was following, Talrian remained quiet. But, as he adjusted to the lighting levels, Kawolski noticed something seemed off about the security chief. His movements weren't as purposeful as before and he seemed to favor his left side as he moved. They entered the turbolift and exited, all the while Kawolski still wasn't sure where they were going. Only...Kawolski wandered the ship after reporting aboard. He knew this deck was comprised mostly of crew quarters. Specifically officer quarters.

"Where are we going?" Kawolski finally asked, worried about...well he didn't know what exactly. Talrian stopped at a door and pushed in the code. The door opened and Talrian indicated Kawolski should enter.

The rooms he could see of the quarters were spare and sparse. Almost everything he could see was basic and standard, right down to the art that should be hanging on the walls but was, instead propped against the base of the wall. It was all generic and inoffensive, exactly the type of thing that would be hung up to make the place feel 'homey' to visiting officers, or those staying for a short time. The furniture was equally utilitarian and with no style or flare. It was almost as if nobody actually occupied these quarters.

Except the desk in the room had the look of use. The chair was askew while a couple PaDDs were stacked, neatly and precisely cornered, on the edge of the desk. The screen was on but only showed the ship's logo, indicating that the person had merely put it to sleep instead of shutting it down. The counters of the dining area were clear of any dishes, pots, pans, foodstuffs.

The open area leading to the bedroom also indicated some level of occupation, if only because he could see some clothing hanging. If the rooms were unoccupied, there wouldn't be any personal effects in them - not that there were much. Even the bed appeared to be made and then remade until it was brochure perfect. For whatever reason, the young medic found the rooms sad and lonely. It was bereft of any personality or flair, indicating the occupant was merely occupying the space, not actually living here.

Yet, Talrian had already removed his shoes and placed them under a small bench next to the door. Another pair of highly polished black boots were there as well, not to mention a pair of dress uniform shoes. Kawolski looked back around the room and noticed even the carpet looked barely used.

"Single pot of Harvest Tea," he heard the security chief said over by the replicator, "hot."

Kawolski continued to look around the room. It had an emotional antiseptic feel to it. "I'm sorry?" he said, suddenly realizing his name - his last name only - was being used.

"Did you want to order anything?" Talrian asked removing the stacked pot and cup presumably full of the tea he ordered.

"No," Kawolski said, noticing as Talrian crossed the room and set the teapot on the coffee table before the couch, then sat on the couch. The wince was more than just noticeable.

"Why am I here?" Kawolski asked, the discomfort in his voice plainly evident.

Talrian picked up a PaDD and faced Kawolski. "I need your help," Talrian said as he sighed. Kawolski noticed the pale, drawn nature of his features.

"My what?" Kawolski asked, still unsure what he feared but he did fear something.

"You're a medic," Talrian said, "that means you can treat minor injuries, yes?"

He said it as a question, but Kawolski doubted it was anything but a query. A command maybe. "Technically, yes, but Medical is-"

"Busy," Talrian said. He looked around the room as if seeing it for the first time. He frowned at something, whatever it was, Kawolski wasn't sure because he couldn't find anything worth looking at in the rooms. But, now, he admitted he thought these were the security chief's quarters. That it should be cold, barren and devoid of any personality didn't surprise the young medic.

"I was there earlier and..." Talrian sighed, his hand going to his left side and pressing. Kawolski noticed his minor lacerations and cuts were cleaned, but not healed. It would only be a matter of minutes with a dermal regenerator to take care of those. If they were still present then...the security chief hadn't been treated, by anybody. "Medical was...they went through things and now they're busy treating others rescued from the planet. They're...too busy."

Kawolski shook his head. He wasn't a counselor, far from it and probably good for him considering what he heard the security chief say about them both before and after their mission. Good for him considering what happened with Commander Wallace-Shaw. But he knew this was more than Medical being "too busy". There was more there.

Talrian poured the straw colored liquid until the cup was full, then leaned back. He kept his hands around the mug but made no effort to drink. He also wasn't looking at Kawolski.

"Is Petty Officer Cindreth still in sickbay?" Kawolski asked, unable to resist throwing out the barb. He saw from the quick clench of the Trill's jaw and narrowing of eyes that he hit home with that one. Good, the security chief needed to be reminded what he forced one of his men to do - for "the good of the crew and ship".

"Partly," Talrian replied. "I've been told that they'll let me know when he's better, that I don't have need to sit there, waiting. They were...too busy...for me to be there."

"You were kicked out?" Kawolski asked, surprised that he was speaking and even more surprised that he was surprised.

"Technically they asked me to leave but," Talrian shrugged, then did take a drink of the mug. He kept it held in the grip. Kawolski was reminded of Trill biology and the coldness of hands and feet. "He was...unchanged." Talrian looked up then. "You can find out by accessing the medical database, so you just want to remind me of what happened? What I ordered?"

"Why am I here?" Kawolski asked, not wanting to answer the accusation. The very true accusation.

Talrian leaned forward and set the mug down. His right hand pressed against his left side once more. "I can't sleep," he said, looking up at the ceiling. "I've tried but the pain. It helped when I needed to stay awake but now..." He shook his head. "I've slept for a few minutes here and there but, not fully and not restfully. You're a medic, I'm not severely injured. You can help."

Kawolski took several steps closer to the man, letting his pack slip off one shoulder. "You said you were in Medical, sitting with Cindreth. They could have-"

"They were too busy," Talrian snarled. "Too busy taking care of Cindreth." The last was said low, a barely audible mutter. "His condition is...taking care of him is more important."

"But you're the one that..." he trailed off, not wanting to finish the sentence, not wanting to anger the security chief. But, he had ample opportunity to be seen.

"Ordered him to do it?" Talrian asked, his voice a mix of anger and something Kawolski wasn't sure. "Made him continue until it wasn't necessary anymore? Do you really think I need you to remind me of that?"

"Someone should," Kawolski said, arms folded across his chest. "I tried to warn you too many times, he was too damaged by that link. He may never be the same. I warned you!"

"I remember," Talrian said, shifting and wincing. "I remember it all, I didn't suddenly develop sleep-deprived amnesia. I know what I did and what I caused to happen to him. I don't need your reminders." He picked up the mug again, but this time he stared into the liquid. "I won't need them next time either. I made a call to do what was necessary to protect members of this crew. It was a calculated decision and I'll make it again if necessary. And, I'll hate it just as much then as I do now."

"But you could have stopped it!" Kawolski argued, his pack slipping off the remaining shoulder. He shoved it back, glaring. "You didn't have to do that to him."

"No, I didn't have to and he could have stopped at anytime as well. But there were over a hundred lives in jeopardy against the one. I had to play the numbers, that's part of my job. One for over a hundred. I know the cost. Better than you."

"But-"

"No!" Talrian shouted, leaning forward. "There are no buts! No ifs! There was a decision to be made and I had to make it! Who else was going to do it? Who else on this ship has the balls to put themselves in danger for others? You? No, you spent your time whining about what needed to be done. You even still blame me for Wallace-Shaw, but who hesitated? Who wanted to abdicate the responsibility for saving her life to others?"

"She would have lived if we got her back to the ship!" Kawolski said, his own voice rising. He felt his face burning at the accusation of cowardice and incompetence thrown at him.

"No, she wouldn't! We couldn't get to the ship in that craft and, this is important, there was no qualified doctor aboard the ship at the time!" Talrian shifted to the edge of the couch. "You don't get that do you? At the time, you were the best option for her and you did the best you could. It wasn't enough not because you couldn't but because she was too injured. If we got to her another five minutes later and she would have already be dead. If we didn't get shot down, you might have saved her."

"Why am I here? You go more than an hour being an ass to someone and started getting the shakes? There are no officers around that you want to bully?" Kawolski asked, trying to deflect his words and...was that compliments behind them? But he remembered working on her, still felt her blood on his hands, still saw the bleed hidden inside her head that eventually killed her. He still remembered begging not to be given the responsibility for her life.

Talrian shook his head. "Because I want to sleep. I need you to fix me so I can sleep."

"There's a lot of qualified people in Medical now, they can-"

"I don't want Medical," Talrian said, leaning back. His face looked more pale and gaunt, his breathing a bit more labored. "I want someone I trust."

"What?" Kawolski asked, the pack dropping to the floor. "You-" he couldn't find words to finish the sentence. Suddenly he turned and went to the replicator and ordered a tall glass of cold water, his mouth suddenly dry.

"Because, you've been willing to call me out on every chance possible. But not because you're a prideful ass like Erickson, you were willing to risk yourself for others. Because even when Wallace-Shaw was dead, you didn't give up." Talrian waited for him to turn back to answer the unspoken question. "Because I'm not an easy person for anyone to like but I am honest. I want honest in return. That's not been anyone I've met in Medical yet. You, on the other hand..."

Kawolski sat the glass on the coffee table then, with just a glare from the security chief, moved a coaster under it. "I don't...I'm just a corpsman."

"But you can run the thing over me and find out what's wrong. If it's not more severe than cracked ribs, you can take care of it. If it's more than that, then I..." he sighed. "I'm tired, Corpsman, I don't want to argue, I don't want to listen to yet another round of how I'm the most horrible person in the quadrant. Trust me, I know what a terrible person I am, I don't need that reminder from you either."

Talrian slipped to rest against the couch back. "Can you just do that? Take away the pain and hate me later? Or am I wrong about you?"

Kawolski stood, glaring, his jaw tightening as he crossed his arms over his chest. How he wished this was part of some bad dream and he'd wake up in his own bed rather than here, facing this problem. Finally he snatched his pack and pulled out the tricorder. "Lie down," he finally said, starting up the diagnostic tool.

Talrian grunted as he shifted positions to lie on the couch. Kawolski also brought out the medkit and dialed up several doses to put into the tricorder. "How long has it hurt?" he asked, determined that, since he was going to do this, then he would do it to the best of his ability. No matter who the patient was.

"Since you hit me when I took you away from Wallace-Shaw," Talrian said.

"That was..." Kawolski didn't want to do the math but it was, "All that time?"

"It helped me stay awake to do what needed to be done," Talrian said, simply. "It's still keeping me awake."

Kawolski sat on the edge of the coffee table and pushed the sleeve of the Trill's shirt up his arm in order to hit him with the hypospray. "Pain reliever," he stated and waited for followup questions. He'd keep quiet about the sedative unless asked. Talrian, however, was staring at the ceiling, his jaw clenched, his body tight and contracted. "Relax," Kawolski said as he began running the diagnostic cylinder over the security chief, concentrating on the torso and head. "I'll take care of the lacerations as well," he said, staring at the readout.

"Thank you," Talrian said. Already his lids appeared to be getting heavier. Kawolski wondered if he gave too strong a dose but he didn't think so. He'd check the records once he fixed the other problems. Unless the Trill's bioreadings indicated a greater emergency.

"You've got two cracked ribs and one bruised," he listed off, "several internal contusions, probably from being ejected from the shuttle when it crashed. At one point a concussion, you really should have let me check you out sooner." He turned to give the security chief a reproachful glare.

Only to find the man was already asleep. "Sure, okay," he muttered, digging the necessary tools out of his pack. It took less than an hour to take care of the injuries, all the while monitoring the patient to ensure that he was just asleep and not unconscious. Respiration, heart rhthym, circulatory, neural function, all appeared appeared normal for a Trill asleep.

After he finished, he contemplated waking the man and helping him to bed but...there would still be residual soreness and, despite a few close calls, he remained asleep through every procedure and if that were the case, then leaving him where he was would be the better choice. He took the covers from the bed and tucked them around Talrian, making sure his hands and feet were covered to keep them warm. As soon as he was finished packing, Talrian shifted to his side, pulling the blankets tighter around him.

"This is the weirdest frelling dream I've ever had," he said as he put the dishes back into the replicator, the matter to be reclaimed. Then, tightening his pack straps, he left the quarters. He had a short trip to Medical to chart on the patient and update medical records, then, much like the security chief, he looked forward to returning to bed.

 

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