SIM:Shelley: Sweeping the Ashes
Sweeping the Ashes
(( USS NIMITZ - Stardate 2388.06.19 ))
DAVIDSON: There are another seven Borg coming but i have a plan.
LI-CHEN: What’s your plan, sir?
DAVIDSON: I think i can modify our tricorders to send out Borg signals. Then we can move out of here with out incident.We will also have to configure one to display our life signs so that once we leave they will keep coming here.
LI-CHEN: Once we leave here, we should head to stellar cartography. Eight or nine survivors locked themselves in there. :: beat :: They were survivors as of yesterday, at least.
D’CIQ: ::Looking to Fanel, as he stands fast fighting the Borg in front of him and Sten.:: What are your orders now sir??
DAVIDSON: Sir once we start moving we need to get to the shuttle and get out of here.
:: Fanel, the team’s ranking officer, made no response. As the team began to get out of the Officers Mess Hall, Davidson took the tricorder that was modified to display the Away team’s signatures draws a phaser, and shoots a near by Borg then turns to run down the hall::
DAVIDSON:=/\= Sir they will keep following me and give you guys a chance to get to the shuttle and make it out of here safe.=/\=
:: Shelley turned to the rest of the team. ::
SHELLEY: But how is HE going get off the ship?
:: Suddenly Shelley was taken hard into the bulkhead, a borg drone bursting out of nowhere to tackle her. Her eyes bulged as the thing reached for her throat with some kind of plasma cutter. ::
:: There was a sharp, sharp pain in her left hand and then someone -- she didn’t see who -- took down the drone. As Shelley watched the creature fall, she saw a small tube extending from its wrist. And she saw the other end of the tube drop with a slight popping sound from the jagged hole it had torn in the back of her left hand. ::
SHELLEY: Oh god...
:: She could feel them. The little borg THINGS, the little robotic life forms that worked like a cancer, multiplying inside a person until they had taken over and turned the person into something else. She could FEEL them moving under her skin, in her hand. She imagined she could see them moving under her skin. Her fingers were twitching and she wasn’t sure if it was her own nervous reaction or something THEY were doing. ::
:: Shelley continued to stare at her hand. This wasn’t happening. This couldn’t be happening. She could feel them moving into her wrist and she could no longer move her fingers of her own volition. She could barely feel her fingers now, but they were flexing on their own. In a moment of clarity, the doctor fumbled one-handed in her medical kit for one of her auto-tourniquets -- a small programmable rubber band that would automatically adjust itself to perfectly stem blood flow to an injured appendage. She wrapped it around her bicep and set it to its tightest setting. The pain of its constriction was intense and she cried out briefly, but it was better than... better than the alternative. But she knew it wouldn’t be enough. Once the nanoprobes reach her upper arm, they’d find a way through. The only solution was... ::
:: She closed her eyes. Swallowed. Felt tears rolling down her cheeks. And then she opened her eyes and stared unblinking at D’ciq’s bat’leth. ::
TEAGAN: Doctor, what's wrong?
SHELLEY: I need you to... remove my arm.
:: It was just surgery, she kept reminding herself. Excise the infection. Get it done and worry about recovery. Easy. ::
D'CIQ: :: Looking to Shelly, and then Arielle.:: I can't, I just can't do it.
TEAGAN: Honey, that's the only way. Go to the other side and take Jimmy. ::Arielle knew Askade will not cut Fiona's hand, she has to do it.:: NOW!
SHELLEY: Just... please. Do it. Now.
:: She lay down on the deck plates and extended her left arm away from her. She could feel the things swimming in her blood, crawling through her skin. Halfway up her forearm now. She had a hypo of analgesic in her right hand, but there was no time to wait for it to take effect -- instead, she clamped it between her teeth and pointed to her left elbow. A clean cut -- as clean as possible under the circumstances -- at the joint. Closing her eyes, Shelley bit down as hard as she could on the hypo. She heard the swish of the blade in the air, heard the thunk as it hit the deck plate beneath her arm and felt the sharp tug and searing pain and her left arm was severed at the elbow. And then she blacked out. ::
(( USS DRAKE - Whale’s Quarters - Present ))
:: With a sharp intake of breath, Shelley sat up in bed, and for a moment felt panic fluttering in her chest as the darkness of the room seemed to press in on her. It took several moments for her to control her breathing, to get her heart rate back to normal. ::
WHALE: You okay?
:: He rolled over to look at her. Even in the darkness, she knew he was concerned -- it was all through his voice. The doctor ran a hand through her sweat-dampened hair and took a deep, shaky breath ::
SHELLEY: Yeah. Yes, I’m fine.
:: A slight movement in the darkness and she felt Whale’s hand on her back. A light circular motion. Comforting. He’d spent many nights doing the same thing back on Starbase 94 -- it had been one of the few things that had helped her get to sleep in the days after... ::
WHALE: The dream again.
:: It wasn’t a question. ::
:: They’d always called it “the dream,” but what it really was was a flashback, a replaying of one of many terrible events that had occurred as part of Starfleet’s attempt to investigate the Duster’s Range mystery. The colony itself had been assimilated and the majority of the crew of the Sovereign Class USS Nimitz had fallen to the same fate -- and Shelley had nearly followed. ::
WHALE: Do you want me to-
SHELLEY: No. No.
:: Reluctantly, she slid out of bed, pulling on the dressing gown that she’s tossed on a nearby chair the night before. ::
SHELLEY: Go back to sleep. I’m going to get some water and have a shower.
WHALE: You sure?
:: Forcing a weak smile, she leaned down and kissed his forehead. ::
SHELLEY: Sleep, David.
:: Leaving him to -- hopefully -- a good night’s sleep, Shelley stepped into the bathroom and let the door slide closed behind her. Leaning on the sink, head bowed, she took a few deep, fortifying breaths and closed her eyes briefly before lifting her head to look in the mirror. The woman she saw staring back looked tired -- understandably -- but otherwise didn’t look too bad for having just passed her forty-second birthday. Only one small streak of grey sullied her red hair, which was far less than Whale despite him being five years her junior. Or was he her junior? That was a bit of a tricky question, wasn’t it? He was, biologically, going to be turning thirty-eight early next year, but in terms of actual years since his birth, he was nearly one hundred and forty-eight years old. ::
SHELLEY: Frelling time travel.
:: Then again, if it wasn’t for time travel, she would never have known David. Never have... the thought trailed off as she saw her wedding band sitting at the back of the bathroom counter, up against the mirror. It sat there, seemingly staring at her, accusing her. ::
:: Richard. Their fourteenth wedding anniversary had passed back in October without either of them making an effort to contact the other. She felt bad about that, but at the same time, felt angry -- for years, she had made an effort to be the wife he wanted, to try to give them as normal a life as possible after the death of their young daughter, but he’d responded by taking a deep space assignment on the USS Hormigonera. Shelley had quit her civilian job and enlisted in Starfleet so she could serve on the Hormigonera herself, with her husband... but Starfleet administrative foul ups had placed her on the USS Tiger instead, along with the recently-reinstated Ensign David Whale. For the first year or so she’d continually tried to get herself reassigned to her husband’s posting, but had never succeeded. ::
- I’m tired of trying to make it up to you
- Sweeping the ashes and hiding the truth
- I’m tired of pretending everything’s all right
- Let me feel, let me feel what I’m feeling tonight*
:: Looking down at her cybernetic left hand, Shelley stared for a long time at the Starfleet Academy class ring that encircled her ring finger. Engraved with the year 2363, the ring had been David’s graduating class ring in the 23rd century, but had been resized to perfectly fit her finger. And then there was a hand on hers and she looked up into David’s eyes. She hadn’t even heard him enter the room. ::
SHELLEY: You... you were supposed to go back to sleep -- you’re on duty in the morning.
:: He smiled slightly, taking both her hands in his. ::
WHALE: I’ll just make Sullivan do all the work. I can nap in my office.
:: Shelley just nodded and stared at their joined hands for a long while. ::
WHALE: Fiona, are you-?
SHELLEY: Do you love me?
:: His tone indicated his confusion. She looked up, held his gaze. ::
SHELLEY: Really. Do you?
:: With a sigh, Whale led her out of the bathroom and he sat down in one of the ridiculously plush armchairs Roxy had managed to smuggle aboard and he pulled Fiona down onto his lap. She instinctively curled up slightly, resting her head on his shoulder as he rubbed her back. ::
WHALE: Fiona... :: pause :: When I first woke up in this century... frell... there was nothing. Nothing for me at all -- everyone I knew, all my friends, family -- had all been dead for years. When I finally... when I became functional enough to rejoin society, to rejoin Starfleet, you know how I saw it? Something to do to pass the time until I could find a way back. You know, Starfleet was always stumbling onto temporal disturbances and all that. I even figured maybe I’d be able to fin the location of the Guardian of Forever. Maybe use it to go back to where I felt I belonged. All I could think about was Gianna Dacosta.
:: The girl he left behind. Shelley had found out a lot about Gianna when she was first getting to know Whale -- including the fact that when the Ackerman Event occurred, there was a small box in Whale’s quarters that had contained an engagement ring he’d been too nervous to present on his date with Gianna the week before. ::
WHALE: I made JG then full Lieutenant and I didn’t really care, because I was just biding my time and looking for that chance to get the hell out. Every time the Tiger headed out on a mission, I crossed my fingers for a rip in the fabric of time I could just slip through... :: pause :: But then... you. I rarely think of the old days anymore, at least not in an “I wish I was there” way, because whatever I had back then wasn’t you. There was no Fiona Shelley back there. You made me want to stay.
:: He looked at her, making sure there was eye contact. ::
WHALE: Do you understand? You made me want to stay. :: beat :: So yes. The answer is yes, I love you.
:: Tears had begun to form in Shelley’s eyes and one -- probably more -- rolled down her cheek. throughout their friendship, there had been many late-night talks surrounding Whale’s past and how he missed his old life and how much it had all meant to him... and to hear him saying that she meant more to him than any of that... She kissed him softly on the lips, then held up her hand to show him his class ring. ::
SHELLEY: So this...
WHALE: My only regret about that is that I was too drunk to remember saying “I do.”
:: The fact that his eyes were now glistening put an end to her ability to keep her tears from falling. ::
SHELLEY: So... you do?
WHALE: I do.
SHELLEY: Me too.
:: She kissed him again, then very reluctantly extricated herself from the embrace and stood. Whale looked at her questioningly. ::
SHELLEY: The Ithorian wedding chapel on 118 may be all right with polygamy, but I’d rather just have one husband at a time. I need to get a divorce.
:: Whale nodded. ::
WHALE: Let me know when you’re going to make the call and I’ll... make sure I’m elsewhere.
SHELLEY: I was going to do it now, before I chickened out.
WHALE: Can I have a quick shower first? Not sure it would do for me to wander around the ship in my present state.
:: Shelley nodded, then the nod slowed and a smirk slowly spread across her face. ::
SHELLEY: The shower stall is fairly spacious, you know...
*OOC: the lyrics used in this sim are from “Sweeping the Ashes” by Serena Ryder