SIM:JP: LtCmdr Core & Dr Rahman: Heartbreaker
Author's Note: This version below includes a little bit of the ending from "One was bad enough" and "And It Only Gets Worse From Here" to set the scene for "Heartbreaker" Parts 1 & 2. My favorite part of this sim is when poor Tristam sees Rahman's image flicker. Seems the little homicidal hologram is quite persistent herself.
The events in this SIM occurred on stardate 239109.19
((Engineering, USS Mercury))
Holo-Rahman: I suggest a hard reset of the system, but beware, the kickback isn't pleasant. We'll need to set protections in place and...
::What he wouldn't give to have his telepathy back for just one minute - *one minute* to confirm who was who. Because right now - *right now* - he just wanted a hug. For a really bad day. Just a damn hug.::
Holo-Rahman: Excuse me?
Core: I can't work with *two* of you-
::In one swift move, the second Rahman snaked her arm around Alora's neck, a phaser - out of nowhere - pressed into the skin of her neck.::
::Alora’s eyes widened, taken by surprise at the action of someone she considered a friend - or perhaps the holographic version. She began to react, her hands reached up to grip the arm that held her, but the cold bite of metal against her skin made her pause before she could drop her weight and initiate any sort of attempt to wriggle out of the hold. It was one thing to do what she needed to do when someone had a grip on her. It was quite another to do it with a phaser threatening you.::
Holo-Rahman: One move and she's dead.
::As a Rodulan, Tristam knew little to no violence. Sure, cursing and swearing were a common thing, used during sadness, frustration and anger. Physical violence was uncommon from where he came from - hence, almost failing combat classes, weapons classes, and more. He understood that they were a part of the galaxy, but why they were entirely necessary at all escaped him::
::Now, in this moment, Tristam almost crumpled into a ball as he watched Alora become a Rahman's captive. He was back in another hostage situation.::
Core: Roshanara, *listen to me*. I'm not going to *do* anything to threaten you - I *can't* do anything to threaten you. Alora was only being my hands - if you need a hostage, take *me*. As the Garuda’s Chief Engineer, I'm more valuable than she is.
Holo-Rahman: Oh, I don’t know about that, Tristam. One, you’re self-admittedly terrible with engines, and two...
::She shot a glance at Alora, bearing her teeth like a shark.::
Holo-Rahman: I’d say she’s a fair bit prettier.
Core: Don’t break my promises.
::The non-holographic Roshanara stepped forward next to Tristam, addressing her double.::
Rahman: We don't have time for this! The ship is going to destroy itself in less than ten-
::She cried out and fell to her knees from the phaser blast. By the time she got her bearings, she saw her mirror image was holding the phaser against Alora’s head once more.::
::Oh gods. Oh Artist. What was he supposed to do!? His love interest just shot his love interest! MORE IMPORTANTLY - HIS LOVE INTEREST ALMOST SHOT *HIM*!::
::He couldn’t move from his position, couldn’t bring himself to move any useful muscle to help the non-homicidal Rahman, nor could he move to attempt to disarm the homicidal one. His breathing was ridged as he stood there, eyes wide, staring at Rahman.::
Rahman: ::wincing:: You, &@$%#...
Holo-Rahman: Takes one to know one, I suppose.
::Announced by the shrieking of duranium being torn, the first set of magnetic interlocks gave out and a massive explosion ripped through the deck.::
::Roshanara looked up at Tristam. Things were looking dire.::
::And then, a high-pitched hum rang throughout the ship. Nearby consoles began sparking and sizzling.::
Holo-Rahman: ::grabbing Alora tighter and taking a step back:: What did you do?!
Core: Nothing! I swear-!
::Slowly, Lieutenant Delano emerged from the chief engineer’s office with his hands raised.::
Delano: What are you doing, Rahman?
::Seeing the Vulcan, Tristam could only think about how glad he was the Delano had split off by himself. Hopefully he had contacted the ship . . . hopefully.::
Holo-Rahman: Trying to save the ship! Because apparently I’m the only one who understands the severity of the matter here!
Delano: Is that why you’re holding a phaser to Lieutenant DeVeau? You’re not going to solve anything with that.
::The lieutenant began walking in small steps, circling her while the consoles on the observation deck exploded below them.::
Core: Wholly agreed. Very wholly agreed.
::As another explosion rang out, the Rodulan found himself closing his eyes. The holographic Rahman’s image flickered against the plasma fires. She suddenly whipped the phaser out, aiming it dead set on Delano. She adjusted the power level on the weapon.::
Holo-Rahman: Freeze where you are or be turned into cosmic dust. It’s your choice.
::Tristam was helpless. He needed to do *something*. They were down to, what, three minutes? The engineers mind had lost all sense of engineering - there was no clear thought in his mind.::
Delano: Okay, I’m not moving.
::She continued to hold her aim on him, but he looked right back… or rather beyond her. Roshanara, still kneeling besides Tristam, noticed it, too.::
Holo-Rahman: ::narrowing her eyes:: What!
::He couldn’t do it. The Rodulan forced his eyes closed again, squeezing them shut as he waited for a phaser shot.::
::In one big scoop, another hologram--in the form of a familiar Caitian--wrapped his arms around Rahman. She let out an ear-piercing scream before their combined images fizzled in static, and then they simply disappeared.::
::Delano quickly ran up and caught Alora before she fell to the deck.::
Core: I don’t . . .
::He cracked open an eyelid. Everyone seemed sort of upright, and Alora was no longer in Rahman’s arms. Wait, Rahman - Rahman was next to him! What was going on! He didn’t understand, was so confused, and *damn* his shoulder hurt.::
Rahman: What… did you-
::The lieutenant interjected.::
Delano: It was Mei’konda - his hologram. He wanted to help - forced an overload. It will be a few minutes before she can rematerialize.
Rahman: It’ll also be just a few minutes before the entire ship is destroyed.
::Tristam, however, seemed to still be in shock, his gaze still directed towards where the other Rahman had once stood.::
Core: Rematerialize . . .
Delano: We're running out of time. The reset is starting. If we’re going to save Mercury, we need to do it now!
Rahman: Right. Okay, well now that the reset is underway, we need to manually restart the magnetic interlocks. ::She looked at Delano.:: Lieutenant, you and Vistain need to head up and take care of the segments on each of the upper levels. I’ll take care of the main sequencer here.
::After he and Danielle had left, Roshanara turned to the other engineer.::
Rahman: Tristam, make your way down to the lowest level to secure the…
::Her voice trailed off as she noticed Tristam’s blank stare.::
Rahman: Tristam? Tristam!
::Her voice barely registered with the Rodulan. She’d said his name - his name *was* Tristam. Tristam Core, Engineer. What was happening?::
Core: I can’t . . . I don’t . . .
::She snapped her fingers to get his attention, but it wasn’t working. The entire deck was now shaking. So, she did what came to her at the moment.::
::She looked back at him, the hand that had slapped him still in the air.::
Rahman: Tristam! Listen to me. We don’t have much time. I need you to get down to the lower level and manually restart the segment there.
::The pain from the slap had travelled down into his shoulder, lingering there, giving him something to hold onto and make sense of. Through the fogginess of whatever was going on in his head, he’d managed to process “lower level” and “manually restart”. That’s what they’d been trying to do in the first place. Why here was here.
Core: Simple engineering.
Rahman: Exactly. You can do this.
Core: With my eyes closed and a hand tied behind my back.
::Well hello Tristam. Good to see that he’d regained some form of sense.::
::She returned a relieved smile, glad to see she hadn’t lost him.::
Rahman: As soon as you and the others restart the segments, I’ll reinitialize the sequencer, and we’ll be back on the Garuda before you know it.
::With some form of stability back, the Rodulan nodded, and finally got some movement back into his body by making his towards the ladder to the lower level.::
Core: You owe me.
Rahman: ::nodding back:: I think I have just the thing that might cheer you up when this is all done. ::She raised a suggestive eyebrow.:: A certain Breshen flavor.
::He damn well hoped that it wasn’t *just* a breshen swuit stick she planned on giving to him after this.::
((Lower Level, Engineering, USS Mercury))
::Biting his tongue and praying that his shoulder only felt worse than what it actually was, Tristam slid down the ladder to the second level. There was no DeVeau to be his hands now, but considering the relatively simple job, he didn’t really need her. Manually restarting a segment just (kind of) meant putting the commands in . . . manually. A cadet could do this.
::So why was it so hard to remember what on Rodul he was supposed to actually do?
::Showing the uncertainness aside, he accessed the console. Remembering the actual manual input wasn’t as difficult as he expected it to be as soon as his right hand muscle memory kicked in - just because the Mercury was not a Sovereign class starship or Deep Space 17, didn’t mean that the consoles were any different. That was probably the main good thing about Starfleet engineering - consistency.
::There. He was ready. And he was just about to finalize the entire thing when-::
::Tristam whipped his head around to see Rahman again.::
Core: I was just about to-
::She stepped off the ladder and rushed over to him.::
Rahman: Change of plans! The sequencer is too badly damaged, and Delano reports the upper segments are fried. We need to get out of here! Now!
::As if to emphasize her point, the ship rocked hard, nearly knocking them both off their balance as another interlock gave out.::
Core: Then move!
::In the back of his mind, Tristam couldn’t help but wonder why she hadn’t bothered to contact him through his combadge or just get the Garuda to transport everybody back - the shock of suddenly appearing in a transporter room was better than losing his life to an Oracle class blowing up.::
::And then his combadge chirped.::
Rahman: =/\= Rahman to Core. Now would be a really good time to restart that interlock! =/\=
::The Rahman that was with him just looked back at him silently. And then her image flickered.::
::Before he could answer the com, she suddenly lunged at him, pushing him hard into one of the torn consoles on the wall.::
Core: Computer! Deactivat-
::The holographic Rahman silenced his voice as she elbowed him in the throat.::
::Tristam lost his breath, his balance. As he ended up on the floor, he vaguely heard another crack somewhere else in his already busted shoulder, but he didn’t dare gander at what else he might have broken in there.::
::Meanwhile, the real Rahman’s voice echoed from his combadge.::
Rahman: =/\= Tristam, what’s going on down there? =/\=
::The holographic Rahman walked over towards him, stalking him, before she reached down and ripped the combadge from his chest and then crushing it under her boot.::
::Tristam coughed, another attempt to regain some oxygen that he just been elbowed out of him. Through blurred vision, he could see Rahman walking off towards the interlock control panel.::
::Beat her to the control panel?
::Yeah . . . like *that* was going to happen.::
::*How*? He couldn’t *whisper*, let alone talk about her being a good person and that Starfleet wasn’t going to boot her as an officer unless it was over his dead body and that she didn’t need to destroy the Mercury just to save herself from prison!
::Distract her with an object and hope to Artist that the other Rahman or Delano worked their way down here when realizing that he wasn’t responding to their com calls?
::Sure. Okay, then. What was in reach?
::Wait . . .
::There, on the floor, somehow not that far from his reach, was the phaser that (he assumed) Rahman had used to hold DeVeau hostage. By the way the ship had been shaking, it was not at all surprising that it was end up down here. But the fact that the very weapon Tristam hated was now his only option had him cut up.
::He could deal with emotional turmoil later. Right now, he had a ship to stop from blowing up and several members of his crew waiting for him to do his job. And if he didn’t get that damn phaser, they would forever be unimpressed.::
::Phaser in his grasp after much pain, Tristam fiddled with the controls and took aim. He’d never had to fire one of these, and he sincerely hoped that it would be the last time.
::And missed. Badly.::
::His vision still dazed, he saw Rahman turn around, but then she returned an (unexpected?) reaction. She smiled at him and sighed.::
Holo-Rahman: You really are a persistent son of a bitch, you know that?
::His voice might as well have been a husky mouse squeaking.::
Core: I do try.
::She walked towards him slowly, getting close to striking distance once more.::
Holo-Rahman: I really didn’t want to hurt you. Not again. ::beat:: After what happened.
Core: If you didn’t want to hurt me, you wouldn’t have hurt me.
::She smiled again as she took another step.::
Holo-Rahman: Oh, don’t be like that, Tristam. I think we both know you kind of enjoyed it.
Core: You know what? I’ll bite. I did. But what I don’t enjoy is you taking someone elses life and toying with it. I promised Alora I wouldn’t put her in danger again, and you made me break that promise.
Holo-Rahman: Aww… well, I’ll be sure to send the lieutenant your regrets.
Core: You know what hurts the most?
::She glanced across his battered body before she leaned over towards him, taunting.::
Core: The fact that I would do anything for you. That I *love* you.
::That stopped her. She furrowed her brow in a brief moment of confusion.::
Core: And I’m about to shoot you.
::She didn’t get a chance to respond as Tristam pressed that trigger. His adjustments to the phaser beam had managed to send her launching away from him, and as he heard her not-so-soft landing, he pushed himself up, back towards the console.
::With speed he didn’t think he had at this moment, he’d managed to reset the sequence. Just in the nick of time. The sound of the interlocks coming back into realignment echoed up through the engineering levels.::
::But there, in front of him, lay the mangled body of Roshanara Rahman. The force of the phaser blast had pummeled her onto a broken bulkhead.
::He didn’t know if she was a hologram or not. He didn’t care. He’d just killed her. The Rodulan slumped down onto the deck, resting against the console, and found himself shaking. He’d lost all sense of thought, and the pain in his throat and shoulder became nothing but a distant throb.::
::She wasn’t real. She was dead. She was a figment of his imagination. An angel, if they existed.::
Core: . . . I’m sorry.
Rahman: Sorry? Tristam, you did it! We saved the ship; we saved the Mercury.
Core: I . . .
::He couldn’t respond.::
::She walked over towards him and then saw how hurt he was, gasping at the sight. However she then saw beyond the holographic corpse of herself, pinned against the bulkhead.::
Rahman: Computer, deactivate holographic systems.
::The other Rahman flickered once more before finally dissolving away.::
::Roshanara knelt down beside Tristam, checking on his injuries when the call from Garuda came.::
Mei’konda: =/\= Mei’konda to awaay teams. Relieef crews are beaming over to taake over repaairs and monitoring of the Mercury’s systems. Prepaare to transport back to the Garuda.
Rahman: =/\= Commander, this is Dr. Rahman. Commander Core has been gravely injured. =/\=
Mei’konda: =/\= A mediic will meet you in the traansporter rooms to determiine if you need treatment for omicron raadiation exposure. =/\=
Rahman: =/\= Damn the protocols. Beam him directly to sickbay! =/\=
Mei’konda: =/\= Doctor, the transporrter room is haaving difficulty establiishing a lock. Can you moove hiim a deck down? =/\=
::She reached around and wrapped her arms around Tristam, embracing him in a hug.::
Rahman: =/\= Then lock onto my signal, and beam us both there! Commander, please! I know I can’t order you, but… he needs help. =/\=
Mei’konda: =/\= Mei’konda to traansporter room one. Lock onto Doctorr Rahman’s signaal and beam two diirectly to sickbay. Rahman, prepaare for transport. =/\=
::She acknowledged as the com closed and then looked back at the Rodulan.::
Rahman: You’re going to be okay, Tristam. You hear me? Tristam?
::He wanted to sleep. He just wanted to pretend that this wasn’t happening - that none of this was real.::
::Her tone grew more dire.::
Rahman: Tristam! Stay with me…
::Her voice faded as the transporter beam took a hold of them both, taking them out of the burnt recesses of USS Mercury.::
Lt. Commander Tristam Core
Chief Engineer, USS Garuda
Dr. Roshanara Rahman
Technical Consultant, Under Arrest