((Flashback - Calesian Lunar Colony, Several Years Ago))
It took six long months before the dust settled a bit on that ill-fated colony. The situation shifted from one of great catastrophe and emergency to one of warranting lesser attention. It had reached a phase where things were stabilizing, though Bryce questioned what that even meant or entailed since everything was still pretty much a wreck. Casualties were counted. Hundreds had perished. Injuries were being addressed. That number reached in the thousands. Patient care shifted from emergency triaging efforts to ones addressing long-term impacts of those injuries. Sure, Starfleet had the most state-of-the-art equipment and innovation, but life-long complications were still very much going to happen for those that were stricken.
It was in this phase, that Starfleet Command took over the operation and sent more of their own in, relieving the medical efforts of civilians. Bryce had wanted to stay, having developed connections with several of his patients. They were his responsibility. He cared about their outcomes. He tried to stay but was pretty much forced out.
On Bryce’s voyage home, his attention remained fixated on the lunar colony he left behind. He arrived there a bright-eyed, perhaps naïve young doctor and left feeling like he lost a piece of himself. It was a piece that he felt would forever fade into the universe, becoming one with dark matter, dark energy. One that would tell none of his secrets, of his burdens. Of his grief. He was quiet, reflective, and turned his attention to media outlets but was surprised to discover that news coverage of the lunar disaster was minimal at best. What was being communicated was that things were tapering down and, while not untrue, it did little to fully articulate the situation there. It almost felt callous.
That feeling lingered and left something in him that he carried back. It festered.
Bryce’s partner at the time, a cardiologist from a local private practice that had hospital privileges, immediately picked up on it. His name was Cer Voya, an unjoined Trill, with dark-hair and piercing cerulean-colored eyes that penetrated the soul.
The tension between the pair boiled to a critical point one day, though the inevitable was months in the making. They were in their shared apartment when it happened.
Voya: Bry, I’m only saying something because I care.
Tagren-Quinn: Don’t you think I know that I am different? I see the images in my head when I sleep, when I’m awake. What do you want me to do about it? I can’t just magically turn it off. I’ve already sought out professional help. I’m a doctor, dammit. I know what this is.
What he didn’t say was probably the most important part: and that was that he wished his partner gave him a little bit more grace with it all. Of course an event like that would leave a lasting impression, but he didn’t need to be goaded over it on a daily basis. It was like picking at scabs. If Cer wanted him to heal, if he had truly cared, then he would have granted him the space and the time to do it.
Of course, Bryce was only slightly cognizant of Cer’s feelings and position in the matter. Cer felt frozen out, alone. But, at the time, the young El-Aurian was so absorbed in it all and couldn’t really concentrate on the reactions of others. He was not in a place to do it.
The irony of feeling frozen out himself, from his efforts on that colony and from Starfleet, did not arrive in the forefront of his thoughts.
Voya: I know you do. Trust me. But…
And that was the nail that ended that relationship. By the end of the day, one packed their bags and never returned.
Bryce floated between people after that, against the professional medical advice he was given. Still, the Betazoid nurse, Gexena… she was a good distraction for a time.
Until he found his footing.
Until he decided to make a change.
Knowing that this was irrevocably a part of his experience and history, he wanted to spin it into something where he could do something.
The decision to join Starfleet came about a year after his experiences. It seemed to manifest out of nowhere but, when the thought occurred to him, Bryce was angry at himself for taking so long to get there. It effectively dispelled those images that plagued him: the idea of helping more, giving his everything to give the best possible chance for better outcomes for others. All the while he would be in a better position to never be sent away again.
His entrance interview dug at this piece of his background though. He shouldn’t have been surprised.
The wizened Vulcan woman, dressed in command red, positioned at the end of the long table had clicked through a PADD and asked the question with no emotional undertones.
Official: Do you believe that that particular incident will shape your perceptions of future events?
He looked her square in the eye and his jaw clenched.
Tagren-Quinn: How could it not?
His voice was strong and, yes, a bit defensive.
((Present Day – Deck 8, USS Gorkon))
Experiences shaped who a person was and, much like evolution, that process continued on (and, in an individual’s case, through a lifetime). It was, at times, non-linear. Life events continually manipulated it. Coping mechanisms and choices could potentially be equated to adaptations and could result in overall resilience.
So, in a situation like this? Where choices were impossible, it was important to think things through and not silence any voices. Bryce could understand Lephi’s pragmatic position. Essentially, by exhausting time in searching for the scientists that could very well be dead, could deplete what resources they had left. Even if they were able to extract those individuals alive, that end result could mean disaster for them all – even for the people they saved.
Tahna’s position was also understandable – to not leave anyone behind. That was also seemingly a soldier’s mentality. Who could live life knowing they didn’t do everything possible to retrieve a fallen comrade?
The hybrid did not envy the decision on the Bajoran Commander’s plate. He only knew the man for a short while, but his composure during such a difficult time was commendable. It was something that could either make or break a situation.
Tagren-Quinn: =/\= The question becomes, where would we find a workbee? How many would we need? Is there one functional nearby? What about the anti-gav emitters? =/\=
Lephi: =/\= We'd undoubtedly need at least two workbees. I'd imagine we could probably calibrate a single anti-grav emitter to handle the rest of what we need. =/\=
Kero: =/\= Assuming we can lift the ceiling in the first place. =/\=
Working the situation. That is what they needed to do, and they all were doing their very best considering the circumstances. The young doctor weighed all the variables in his mind, and the feasibility of aligning all the pieces that would make their plan work.
Tagren-Quinn: =/\= I can call ahead to the triage unit the brig so they can dispatch some transporters and nurses in the event that we are able to recover our team members. If we pull them and they are alive, it’ll give us the time we need to move to the next point. =/\=
Nothing could have prepared him for what happened next. The Ferengi woman spun on him quickly, lashing out venom with every. Single. Word.
Lephi: =/\= We. Don't. Have. Access. To. Transporters. =/\=
Bryce blinked in silence, thinking back about what he just said and then realized his error. Transporters – ah, yes, that was the trigger word. What he had meant was the security officers serving as transporters for patients, not the technology itself. It was a classic mistake that was made more pronounced by his history as a civilian doctor. Hospital jargon did not always translate into Starfleet’s world.
If she was worried about the time as he was, then she realized that this squabbling would not bode well for them. Before he could offer clarification, it was the Bajoran Commander who spoke to try and smooth things over. Meru quietly turned her attention to the lab.
Kero: =/\= Look, there are good points on all sides, but this is what we're here to do. Find our missing crew and save lives. Make the hard decisions and try the impossible no one else will. There is more technology in this ship than on most planets. There are capabilities here we have and options we haven't thought of yet. =/\=
Lephi: =/\= I hear what you're saying, but if we waste resources on the transporter, we're shaving valuable minutes off of our longevity. =/\=
Kero: =/\= Then we go the route of an alternative. Give me an alternative, Lieutenant. Explain to me what other technology we can employ, right now, to get them out of there. =/\=
At this juncture, Bryce didn’t want to add fuel to the fire so he decided to not push things too much.
Tagren-Quinn: =/\= If we have our security officers from the brig help with manpower, in helping here or moving patients from here, that might take away from the needs in our triage area. However, the hands would be helpful, especially when considering other areas we are needing to explore, too. The question becomes – how fast could they get here? =/\=
And, what challenges might they face during their journey?
It wouldn’t be anything that they hadn’t faced, but things were crumbling all around and it was getting more unstable by the minute.
Lephi: =/\= I don't want to sound callous here, but it makes no rational or logistically sense to do it. =/\=
Kero: =/\= Your objection is duly noted for the record, with witnesses. Now, if we're done arguing the point, can we come up with a solution instead of beating it to death? =/\=
Bryce only offered a nod, not wanting to escalate things. Even if he was the doctor of the group, he was also the lowest ranking officer and didn’t want to come across as anything unintended, especially in a high-stakes situation such as this. Emotions were running high, but he was committed to offering his thoughts and ideas as needed. The Commander began to pace, deep in thought, as Meru knelt by the lab’s entrance. The silence between the group stretched on for what seemed to be an eternity.
Something came crackling through their suits, followed by a horrendous sound. Bryce’s gloved hands went to his helmet as he gritted his teeth.
Tagren-Quinn: oO What-what the hell? Oo
Peek: =/\= Commander Kerȯ̶̗̀ and team. Do you read? =/\=
Kero: =/\= We've got heavy interference, Crewman. Can you repeat? =/\=
Peek: =/\= Wȩ̴͈͆ ha̵̙̦̽ve po̶̜̖͆wer rec̵̻̈́͋onnecṫ̸͚ed, sir. Not en̵̰͋tī̴̠̱rely but̸̗̑ͅ enough ̶̟͐to ĝ̸̥̝et powe̷̠̫͛ṙ̷͓̃ to your section of ̴̫͊̍the ̵̞̆d̷̘͒͊eck. I̷͎͆s ̶̦̯̅it safe tô̸̮ do so? =/\=
Wait, did he hear that correctly?
Kero: =/\= I'm not sure, Crewman. ::He looked over to their Ferengi officer with a quirked dark eyebrow through the faceplate.:: Can Engineering restore power to this section? At least I think that's what he's asking. =/\=
Bryce glanced over to the Ferengi woman, deferring to her expertise.
Lephi: =/\= Response =/\=
Peek: =/\= L̸i̶f̸e̴ ̷s̵u̶p̶p̸o̶r̷t̴ ̵i̴s̶ ̴o̶p̴e̷r̵a̷t̸i̷o̶n̸a̷l̷ ̵o̵n̵c̷e̴ ̷m̵o̸r̵e̵.̸ ̵Y̴o̷u̶ ̵s̷h̴o̴u̷l̸d̷ ̸b̸e̶ ̷a̷b̶l̴e̷ ̶t̷o̶ ̴s̸c̷a̸n̷ ̷u̶s̷i̴n̶g̷ ̴t̸h̴e̵ ̴t̷r̵i̸c̸o̶r̵d̴e̸r̷.̷ ̸ ::The interference started to clean up, bit by bit, only allowing the Crewman's pause to come through.:: O̷n̸e̸ ̸m̷o̷r̴e̷ ̸t̵h̵i̵n̶g̵,̵ ̴s̶i̵r̴.̸ ̸H̶o̷w̵ ̶d̴o̵ ̶y̴o̵u̵ ̸k̵n̵o̴w̴ ̵t̴h̷a̷t̴ ̷a̸l̴l̷ ̶y̵o̶u̴r̵ ̶m̵e̶m̸o̶r̷i̶e̸s̸ ̷a̷r̷e̴ ̸t̶r̵u̴e̴?̵ =/\=
Kero: =/\= I errr… Does anyone want to take a stab at that? =/\=
Tahna: =/\= You don’t. ::She paused before elaborating, realizing that while truthful, it wasn’t the most helpful answer.:: Memory is a reconstructive process, event recall is rarely pure and is influenced by what we’ve learned about the world. But generally, I don’t think there are many reasons for you to possess a false memory that seems real. =/\=
The scientist glanced over at him, her dark eyes seeking additional input. It was such a strange question to ask, though, and a loaded one.
Those damned blips seemed to be the logical culprit. Thoughts turned to the scans he was doing in the background, but Bryce focused back on the question posed. When he replied, he wanted to remain aware and not go off on an unnecessary tangent.
Tagren-Quinn: =/\= Memories can be fallible, shaped by emotions and perceptions. If by false memory you mean a pure recall of a past event, then please know that perfect recall does not exist. Additionally, memories can be subject to external manipulation. The answer in a nutshell is essentially – Lieutenant Tahna is right, you don’t really know how “true” they are. =/\=
Lephi/Peek/Kero: =/\= Response =/\=
Tahna: =/\= If you’re concerned about your memory, might I suggest talking to a counselor? Corliss is a certified miracle worker, I believe. =/\=
Bryce nodded, as this was a topic within a counselor’s scope.
Lephi/Peek/Kero: =/\= Response =/\=
((OOC: Also happy to expand upon this if we’d like to!))
Tahna: =/\= So with power restored, what new options do we have for retrieval? =/\=
The prospects were exciting. Transporters would be thrilling, but Bryce didn’t want to be the one to say that word again. Again, he deferred to other’s expertise.
Lephi/Kero: =/\= Response =/\=
Tagren-Quinn: =/\= With power restored, scanners would be more reliable... =/\=
It was more of a thought spoken aloud than a question.
Lephi/Kero/Tahna: =/\= Response =/\=
Tagren-Quinn: =/\= We can get a more accurate reading on those life-signs, and any more that might be stranded on this deck. While we sort out the logistics of what equipment can be at our disposal, we can develop an extraction strategy in tandem. =/\=
Lephi/Kero/Tahna: =/\= Response =/\=
Tagren-Quinn: =/\= Even if we weren’t looking at the void of space and worried about the timing of power failure or structural integrity failure, we are still looking at possible injuries. Every moment we use takes away vital time from them. The sooner we can get to them, well, the better overall chances for successful health outcomes. =/\=
Subdural hematomas. The weight of an entire deck section on one’s person. He hoped that the Commander was right – that the scientists had enough time to move into a pocket to avoid serious injury.
Lephi/Kero/Tahna: =/\= Response =/\=