Posted Jan. 24, 2023, 9:09 a.m. by Lieutenant Cara Esmé O’Farrell (Counselor / Education Specialist) (Jennifer Ward)
Posted by Lieutenant Commander Gravel Mardusk (Chief of Security) in It All Come Out In The Wash… Except Blood Stains
Posted by Lieutenant Cara Esmé O’Farrell (Counselor / Education Specialist) in It All Come Out In The Wash… Except Blood Stains
Posted by Lieutenant Commander Gravel Mardusk (Chief of Security) in It All Come Out In The Wash… Except Blood Stains
Posted by… suppressed (15) by the Post Ghost! 👻
The little boy Cara was helping search for was 5 and had only recently been issued a civilian combadge and was always forgetting it. Once Cara managed to get the parents to breathe and stand in one place it was a matter of asking the computer for a location of the badge. (The computer was being heavily taxed with all the inquiries). The transporters were reserved for medical and security necessity so they went on foot. He had gotten seperated in the covert evacuation and hidden himself behind an environmental control access hatch. He was too afraid to come out on his own.
It took a few of hours and a team consisting of the entire counseling staff, security, medical, and a few volunteers from science and engineering to get everyone settled. Children were taken to the school rooms for their parents to pick them up, families sent home. Off duty officers and non essential personnel were sent to their quarters after stateme to were taken. Those waiting to hear back about the wounded had their names taken and that information Cara put into the computer so they could be contacted when there was news.
Cara wanted to be with Gravel rather than doing disaster control. He should not have gotten up like that, like it had never happened. It was weird, and it made her worry. Helping the crew was where she was supposed to be. It came first and it helped. She didn’t regret it at all. But as soon as she was done she headed toward the security office. And yes it took her longer than it would anyone else to get there. But even in the wake of the attack, security still found it amusing and necessary to point the way for her, even if she didn’t ask (which she did because getting herself lost now was another probkem the crew didn’t need). The corridors were empty except for security patrols and other vital personnel. A large part of it was just the sense of normalcy it provided, Lt O’Farrell would always get lost.
Cara turned into the security office and nodded to the Lt behind the desk who nodded when she pointed at Mardusk’s office door. She pressed the chime.
The door slid open to the office. The usually opaque and illuminated floor was off, and the lights of the room were set low. “Hey. C’mon in, doll.” In the dimly lit room, the immense bulk of Gravel in his chair was still easily seen. He was leaned back in his chair, feet up on his desk, with a large glass of something resting on the desk in his right hand. He turned his head slightly and looked at her, his smile subdued in the dim light.
Cara stepped all the way in and allowed the door to close. Her eyes took in all the details even while her gaze landed and stayed on him. Oh this was going to be one of those times where it was going to be hard to separate the very personal feelings from the work. She walked around to the back of the desk and leaned a hip against the ledge near, but not on, his leg. Then she took his other hand.
“Get everybody handled?” he asked somewhat quietly; his normal thunder now more akin to a far off storm.
Cara nodded. “Yeah. We did. Everyone’s been sorted. Either settled in their quarters or being seen by the doctors.” It hadn’t been easy or simple, but they were all taken care of. She searched his eyes, “Talk ta me, Grah-vel.”
He smiled as his eyes closed and he said “Sure… you want the work stuff first? Or the boyfriend stuff? I’m flexible, either way.” and one eye opened and looked at her. “Surprisingly flexible, if ya wanna try out the desk for load bearing capability.” and he winked then closed his eye again. “Those little bots do a hell of a job, gotta say.”
The statement about those little bots made her stomach sour. It wasn’t like she could just yank them out of him if it was even safe to do so. Cara smiled and raised her brows. “Tha’ makes me think ya in a mind for the boyfriend stuff first.”
He grinned slightly and took a drink. “Oh… I’m always in mind for the boyfriend stuff first with you. But I doubt we’d make it to the work stuff if we started there.” He opened his eyes and looked at her. “But if you feel we both need a break from work for a bit…” and he looked down at his desk and pressed an icon, locking the door and engaging a privacy field. He reached over and set his hands on her hips and gently and smoothly lifted her off the ground and set her on the desk in front of him. “Medical says I am a hundred percent okay. Care to do your own exam, Doc?” and he leaned in and gave her a kiss.
Cara leaned and murmured against his lips, “I am sure medical did a fine job, but I’ll feel better doin’ one myself.” She began to kiss him with all the still unspent adrenaline and fear racing through her veins. She wasted no time discarding his uniform top, and then let her hands move over him, against his skin. There was nothing wildly about it, just the passion carried in the intense care and depthless love conveyed through her touch.
As they made sure their uniforms were in order and nothing was out of place from the ‘therapy session’, Mardusk set a holo back upright where it had been knocked over on the long cabinet on the side bulkhead of his office. He looked at Cara and grinned. “Well that was fun. I’m surprised at you. You didn’t get lost once.” and he chuckled as he adjusted her top a bit.
Cara tossed her hair over her shoulder and looked up at him with a grin. “Hey I told ya, give me enough time I can memorize how ta get ta certain places. And I am very familiar with where we went.” She tugged his jacket straight. “So, now, puttin’ my professional hat on, do ya wanna talk ta me or someone else.” It was part of the procedure and debriefing.
Mardusk shrugged and gestured to a seat. “Might as well be you. You’d be reviewing the file anyway. Unless it’s some kinda conflict of interest, but as this isn’t a session, I’m okay with it.” He took a seat and said “Ask away, Doc.”
Cara slid into the seat and contemplated a moment. “Tell me what you’re thinking, how you’re feeling, now, that it’s over.”
He shrugged and said “Feelin’? About like ya’d expect: relived, pissed, guilty, happy, tired, concerned… you name it, I’m pretty sure its running around in there somewhere. Thinking? Well, I’m thinking I want something to eat. I’m thinking I’m glad you are okay. I’m thinking that I am so pissed at the Skipper and XO for not listening to me when those bastards first arrived. I’m thinking about those kids Rogan froze in that goo and how they’re gonna handle it. I’m thinking about those parents who were telling me I wasn’t doing anything when I was tryin’ to keep everybody from getting killed along with me. And I’m thinking about Della and Rogan smashing her against that fu<%ing wall.” He paused and looked at Cara. “How’s she doing, by the way?”
“Della is going to be okay. Physically she’s battered, concussion, bones damaged, muscles torn, bruised all over, but the docs are takin’ care of her, and physically she will heal. It’s her mind I’m worried about. She was ordered inta that den of snakes and she never shoulda been. That will be a long process for her.” Cara was worried about Della. “The children are scared, but they are all bein’ checked in sickbay and their parents are there. We’ve started some copin’ methods with them. One of us from counselin’ will go home with them to help them settle and start processin’.”
“You know that threatening children is the fastest way to create hysteria and control the crowd. Now that it’s over the parents will be able to think rather than panic. They will willna like how they acted. You also know you did everything you could to protect as many as you could. And you succeeded. You know it and I know it, but I’m remindin’ ya anyway.”
Cara was in total agreement about how the command staff handled this, but that was going to be a whole other discussion, by people much higher up than her. “Anythin’ ya feelin’ surprise you?”
The thing about Gravel was answers didn’t have to be dragged our tricked put of him. He wasn’t afraid to look at himself and examine what he saw. Beating around the bush would get a counselor no where. “Anythin’ yer tryin’ or choosin’ not ta think about?”
He nodded and took a deep breath and slowly exhaled. “Yeah… I do know all of that. I do. I just…” and he shook his head exhaled again. “I guess I expected more of ‘em, ya know? I mean… I get it. Those were their kids and the parents were scared outta their minds. And the ones that weren’t parents were scared outta their minds too. But not one time did any of them even try to help. They didn’t go to the kids… not even their folks. They stood scared and did nothing.” He leaned forward and rested his arm on the desk and looked at her. “And I’m not even mad at ‘em. I’m just really disappointed in them.”
Cara nodded. She understood, she did. She was both disappointed (because she would have tried to do something) and relieved (because she would have been a distraction) she wasn’t in there. “It wasn’t much better on the other side. Your response teams seemed ta be the only ones able ta think and function. Once people started coming through they were no help at all. Like they noticed no details. Not a case of two people have two different stories, they had none ta tell.” Cara leaned forward, resting both her hands on his arm. “A lot went wrong today. The crew didn’t respond like they should have. The civilians and families didnna report ta the emergency family shelters like they should have. People were delayed in reporting the danger.” Cara shook her head. “Either the crew is very poorly trained, or the hostiles had help. Either insight inta the minds, emotions, and personalities of the crew, or inta our procedures and systems. I’m inclined ta believe they had a lot of help with all of that.”
“Have ya given or recorded an official statement yet? The brass is going ta want ta know what happened, step by step and why ya acted the way ya did at each step.” Sometimes the details needed to sit, but the sooner they were written/recorded the better.
He nodded and said “Fourty minutes after I got here. Wanted to make sure that I got it while it was fresh. And yeah… I said the same thing you just did. Prolly won’t make the Skipper happy, but I called it like I saw it. Too many folks standing around with their thumbs up their a$$ not doing a damn thing to assist. Civilians and officers alike.” He shook his head and said “And I’m probably gonna be put on suspension pending an investigation. Standard when a Security Officer kills someone.”
Cara knew that too. “Yeah. Normally it would be a simple matter of checking the security feeds, but....nothing about this feels right.” She sighed, “So, I won’t be doing your official interview. Given everything and a certain admiral’s aid, I don’t want them saying anything about us being a thing. It’s insultin’. Yeah I love you and that’s why I won’t hide nothin’. And the captain can like it or not, things were poorly handled from the top down.” Cara took a deep breath and stood. “Come on. Let’s get you food ‘fore yer blood sugar drops. And you tell me whatever else you need or want. Nothing else needs my attention right now, just you.”
He nodded and said “Ok.” just as his comm chimed. He looked down and let out a sigh. “Well… we can take all the time we want for food. I am suspended pending an internal investigation, effective immediately.” He stood up and said “Wait here a sec, doll.” and he walked out the door. A few minutes later he came back and said “Ok, we can go. Got the Interim CoS in place and the Fleet Investigator will be here in a day. So let’s go eat.” and he offered her his arm with a tired smile on his face.
Cara found the fact the investigator would arrive so quickly juxtaposed against the crap scene going on, in and around Atlantis suspicious. Oh they had to come, and maybe it would bring answers as to what was really going on. Cara slipped her hand onto his arm as they walked out of the office. “Where to, lover? You feel like crowds or wanna be alone?”
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