SIM:Orman Once But Not Now

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Civilian Katy Orman - Once, but not now

((Starbase 118, Commercial Sector, 'The Dungeon', Bistro 5))

::Bistro 5 was a little while-you-wait cafe positioned fairly near the main transport hub for the commercial dome a deck above. It never closed, which was great for those on nonstandard shifts. It was also helpful when you were insomniac, which the woman sitting at the table had been for some time now. Her face, dimly illuminated, was impassive, gaze aimed not at the people working on getting the outer door open but down at the lit screen of a portable reader, where the words of an anthropological text slowly scrolled. She'd been here for hours, since before the station had shaken and the power went out, and she had yet to display much interest. Once, it would have been her duty, her calling, to be involved in all this. But not now.::

((Cue flashback music, shimmery haze, sound of flutes, fade in to a pleasantly-furnished office))

::The man behind the desk was shaking his head, speaking to the shellshocked-looking woman across from him::

Man: I'm afraid not, Lieutenant. Your security clearance is revoked until further notice.

Orman:  ::in a small voice:: But... I was poisoned by the atmosphere... the psych tests...

::The man's response was gentle but firm::

Man: Give it time, Lieutenant. Once we're absolutely certain you haven't been compromised, I'm sure you'll have your clearance level back. For now, enjoy the leave of absence, try not to stress out about it. There will be more things we need from you, of course. We'll send for you when we need you.

Orman:  ::plaintively:: Security is my... it's my life, sir. It's not what I am, it's who I am. Please, do all you can.

Man: Of course. Dismissed, Lieutenant.

((Cue music again as we fade back in))

::There was a cheer as at last the nonstandard bistro doors were manually forced open. Katy glanced up from her screen, noting that it was dark outside as well, thoug clearly there were attempts to brighten it going on; portable lamps set up, and the flickering indicated at least one fire was lit. Turning off her reader, she stood and stretched. After the first press of people had exited she followed.::

::Outside it was fairly calm. People tended to huddle next to sources of light. Katy chose a small crowd around a wastecan fire and listened to the chatter.::

Woman: --have power on other levels. But you know the Dungeon's gonna be the last to get attention.

Man: Have you heard any more about the explosions? I heard there were terrorists!

::A part of Katy's brain began paying very close attention to the conversation, trying to assess the situation, imagining strategies and priorities. The rest of her ignored that part, pushed it to the back of her head. It didn't matter. Once, protecting people was her purpose. Now... now she had some family, a few friends that she cared about, and the rest of the universe could go to hell. As she looked about at the scene surrounding her she reflected that it was already well on its way to doing so.::

((Hazy, music, fade out, you know the drill - to a very somber scene. Many people, various species, mostly wearing black. Two coffins at the far end of the room.))

Man: I'm so sorry for your loss.

::Katy nodded and shook the offered hand. She was fairly sure she said something, some appropriate response. Probably even smiled.::

Man: I worked with Mags for many years. She was... she was a fantastic person. We were all lucky to know her.

((slight blur as we fast forward, a smaller room now))

Simon: They just want to help, Sprout.

Orman: I know. I know, don't you think I know? I know. Of course they want to help. What do you do when someone... when... I don't know what to do. Of course they don't!

::Her big brother wrapped an arm around her shoulder::

Simon: I guess nobody does.

Orman:  ::a shakey growl creeping into her voice:: I just can't. I can't handle any more 'If there's anything I can dos' or 'She was a good womans'. I can't. I'll break. I'll hit someone, Simon, I really will!

::She started shaking a bit, and Simon held her closer::

Orman: Don't they... can't they see that every word is like, is like a whip, a lash with a whip?

Simon:  ::quietly:: I guess they don't.

::Some time passed without words::

Orman: I can't stay.

Simon:'re on leave, aren't you?

Orman: I mean... I just can't. I'm sorry. I can't stay here.

::Simon nodded. After a moment, he released her from the embrace. His voice, when he spoke, was tinged with anger.::

Simon: Go, then.

((and once again, cue the flutes, fade back to the present))

::The small crowd had finally registered Katy's presence.::

Woman:  ::nodding at her:: What's your name, then? I'm Sheila.

Orman: Katy.

Man: I'm Gosher. So, what are you here for? What brings you to the base?

Orman: oO Oh, what the hell. Oo The Clashing.

::There was a silence as the two questioners, and the few others huddled around the wastebin, nervously assessed her. The Clashing was an illegal tournament, all species, full contact, minimal rules. People sometimes died. It moved about, as illegal tournaments tended to do, and its current home was here on 118. It was a secret, of course, but this was the Dungeon. They'd heard.::

::Katy's thought process was interrupted when her eyes caught a person moving quickly, at the edge of one of the circles of light. A security crewman, clearly with somewhere to be in a hurry. Her eyes narrowed.::

Sheila:  ::noticing the focus of Katy's gaze:: There's extra security down here still, from that row over at Mundok's. Not that they're doing us much good now.

::There was a general mutter of agreement, but Katy wasn't paying attention. She recognised the security man. He'd been one of her people on the Victory.::

Orman: oO Maybe he got a transfer. But what if the Victory is here? The crew could be caught up in all this. That means... Oo

::Her eyes went wide, and for the first time today her face registered emotion.::

Orman:  ::to no one in particular:: I have to find her. Have to make sure she's safe.

::The small crowd watched her run off with some relief.::

Katy Orman Civilian