Cadet Ryan Isaacs - The Road Ahead

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Quinn Reynolds

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Oct 16, 2021, 10:07:13 PMOct 16
to Gorkon (IC)

((Hidden City Outskirts, Darime IV)) 


Isaacs: No. No, no no—


Bruises forgotten, aches vanishing in a surge of adrenaline, Ryan scrambled over to the other cadet. As gently as he could he rolled Jack over, fearful that he was going to discover the wounds that had killed Gilbert. A smoking hole in the chest, another friend lost to the capricious alien city they had woken up in. His eyes burned hot with tears, hands gentle on his friend’s broken form.


Isaacs: Come on, Jack. Stay with us. 


Ico: Not-not Jack, not you, not like that, not-not-not after....


The anguish in her voice cut him through to the core, resonating with his own distress to create starbursts of pain in the hollows of his chest. He squeezed Jack’s shoulder, while Ena seized the Kelpien’s hand and held it tight, as if she could physically keep him on this plane of existence and stop him from slipping away.


It was too late. Ryan could see it in Jack’s violet eyes, clouded and fading, the life bleeding out of him. But the Kelpien wasn’t afraid; instead he was at peace, untroubled and tranquil, the opposite of the two friends willing him to stay with them.


Ressan: It's my time. I can feel it. I have to... go now. But don't worry. ::His eyes drifted toward Ico.:: Isaacs... can get you out of here. You'll be okay.


Ico: No-no, not without you Jack, you have saved me, you have saved me, you...


It was a babble, a font of pure emotion subjected to the clumsy exposition of language, and one that faded with the creep of acceptance. Ryan ran a hand over his face, digging the heel into burning eyes, trying to keep the tattered shreds of himself together. Only Jack possessed any measure of calm. The Kelpien smiled fondly and touched Ena’s cheek, leaving a smear of blood behind.


Ressan: We... will see each other again.


Clasping Jack’s hand to her face, Ena stared at her friend, a flicker of understanding in her gaze. Ryan wished he shared whichever revelation blossomed behind her green eyes, wished he comprehended some reason or sense behind the madness he was living through. Instead, he stared helplessly and hopelessly as Jack’s pupils dilated, his gaze turned away from them and toward something only he could see. A serene smile curled his lips, and Ryan bit down on his own to stop them trembling. It was, at least, a small comfort that his friend wasn’t afraid, that he wasn’t leaving this world in terror or in pain. 


Ressan: It's... beautiful.


The with a final whisper of breath, he passed. Silence claimed them all. 


Ryan slumped, his fingers bunching in the fabric of Jack’s uniform. He couldn’t think, his mind blank, protecting itself against this horrid new reality. Likewise, Ena sat still for a long while, until finally she took Jack’s hands and crossed them over his chest, reverent and gentle. Ryan reached over to close the Kelpien’s unseeing eyes— 


And that was when Ena broke. 


It wasn’t the wild, hiccupped and gasping sobs which had accompanied Solomon’s passing, but something far worse. The quiet keening of uncountable loss, of someone bereft of hope, broken down and not sure how they could go on. It was palpable, sliding between his ribs and squeezing his heart, choking the air out of his lungs. How had it come to this? They were supposed to be getting some routine field experience, and now two of them were dead.


Time lost meaning. He didn’t know how long she cried for, only that when she stopped, his cheeks were just as damp. She offered her hand and he took it without hesitation, palm to palm, fingers interlaced, each only able to find some strength in the other. 


Ico: He said that the Kelpians believed that the body itself was nothing, that their remains should not be honoured as they were no longer them... ::She swallowed, her breath caught for a second before she could speak again:: ...Maybe... maybe we should leave him here. Don't let his sacrifice be in vain.


She stood and wiped her cheeks dry, smearing Jack’s bloody handprint. Ryan just nodded. What else could they do? Mutely, he did the same as he had for Solomon; taking Jack's combadge from his chest anything remotely useful from his pockets. Not that there was much, and with Ena’s tricorder lost somewhere in the pipe, they had even less to work with than before. 


Ico: We've been trying to get away from the city, away from those things... but maybe... maybe we should go there.


She pointed back toward the city, and Ryan pushed himself back onto his feet, running his hand across his scalp. His gut churned at the mere thought of heading back into the city, and he knew why. It wasn’t just because it was where Solomon had died, but because it meant that coming here had been a mistake on his part. 


Who was he trying to kid. Stay or go, it had definitely been a mistake. Coming here, trying the pipe—if not for those bright ideas, Jack would still be with them.  


It was his fault. Jack was dead, and it was his fault.


Isaacs: How do we avoid those drones?


Ico: I don't know, but it's the only option we have left, isn't it?


He heaved a sigh. She was right, of course. The only other thing they could do was stay where they were and hope for a rescue. But they had no idea if the drone guarding the pipe would stay there, or if anyone was coming soon—or at all. If they didn’t know where they were, or how they got there, it was easy to imagine a scenario where no one could find them.


Isaacs: Yeah. I guess... ::He sighed again, never feeling so helpless as he did then.:: I guess from what we’ve seen, they seem to guard an area. So if we see one coming, we just back right up. No heroics, run back the way we came.


Ico: Response


He took a step forward, then paused and held out his hand toward Ena. An invitation to walk alongside, or an invitation to take it; whichever she chose, and it let him save a little face if she decided against the latter. Why that was something to bother him at this, of all times, was a question to think about later. 


If he had a later.


Isaacs: We can figure this out. ::He nodded, not sure if he was reassuring himself, or her.:: Science and engineering, right? We’re the ones who figure things out.


Ico: Response


Heading back toward the bridge and the canals, with the strange blue conduits glowing beneath the water, Ryan glanced toward her. Jack’s blood was still on her cheek, and he swallowed, an ache rippling through his chest. Resisting the temptation to look back the way they came, where the Kelpien’s body laid in repose. Look forward, not back, figuratively as well as literally. Whatever mistakes he'd made, he would answer for them later; now he had to concentrate on working with Ena to get the pair of them out.


Isaacs: There has to be a power source for all of this, right? Maybe we can boost the signal in our combadges, let someone know where we are. That's half the battle.


Ico: Response


--

Cadet Ryan Isaacs

4th Year Cadet

Starfleet Academy


simmed by


Commanding Officer

USS Gorkon

T238401QR0

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