((Personal Quarters Section, USS Gorkon))
Submersion of the past.
A mixture of faces overlapped rapidly, accompanied by the smell of seared flesh and the sounds of heart shattering wails and horrific screams. It wasn’t a flashback, rather a recollection, a montage of blood and pandemonium. Bryce quickly steered the conversation into another direction, not wanting to voice in detail the images that depicted despair and anguish that was not his own.
But became his own, living or descending within him, forever a part of him. A knowing that impermanence and fragile balance of life, struck like lightning viscerally right through the core of him.
As a doctor, he knew. He had seen it, his hands marked by it countless times by the blood of others. Eyes bearing witness to tragedy and death, ears not unaccustomed to the various different types of cries.
But this was different. Not to this level, not all at once. Over and over and over and over, in rapid succession, he had been subjected to the turmoil and bore witness to a disaster in humanity. No rest period in between. No one to lean into.
Tagren-Quinn: For what it’s worth, it led me here.
There was a feeling, the one that appeared in the chest cavity and pit in the gut when one poured everything out into the open that left a sickly emptiness behind. Despite it, he sat up straighter and smiled faintly at her.
Tagren-Quinn: And, I think to your point earlier, I can tap into my personal experiences as a means to better serve our crew. I can recognize similar things in others, get them the… the help they need. I’ve been in the darkness and pulled myself back out, bit by bit. Some might view it as a… liability. I hope—I hope that you don’t but… I wanted you to know these things, as Acting CMO.
Namura: As Acting CMO, of course. ::She smiled, rather a little more crooked than before, though it came with a sigh.:: Is that why you ended up sleeping on the sofa instead of your bed? Or are Starfleet mattresses just not cutting it?
He was taken aback by the question, but slowly he eased into a tentative smirk.
Tagren-Quinn: I normally do, just last night I guess… I guess I crashed as soon as I got back.
Speaking of which, he glanced down to see the glass of water still in his hands. Taking another drink, he set it down on the living room table and took stock on how he felt. His head, despite the turn the conversation took, was feeling much better.
Bry’s sight traveled towards the dark-haired Tali, who examined her own hands knotted together before standing, her empty mug dangling from a slender finger, her eyebrow arching ever so slightly towards him. The action caused him to rise from his position in the chair.
Namura: I mean it, though, Bryce. Corliss has a wonderful heart, is one of the most endearing souls ever to step out of the wondrium that is Betazoid society, and does everything with such care and compassion, you'd never know she made peanut brittle on the side.
He was touched by her reassurances. There were many comments circulating the medbay about Namura’s disposition, some of which felt like a variety of tall tales and fables created by the mouths of techs with too much time on their hands.
Up to this point, outside of a few comments that he thought he remembered from the night before (it was a night out with colleagues!), he had witnessed none of those things.
Instead, the woman before him, right then, was who he saw.
Tagren-Quinn: I… I have no doubt. We’ve made a number of referrals to her and her team after this last mission. She’s been wonderful in that regard, and many sing her praises.
A pause, and Bryce wondered if it was something that he said.
Namura: …we're a tight-knit crew, and we've all been through a lot. Apart as well as together. There are moments you'd think we barely knew each other but it only really comes from knowing one another a little too well.
With a small smile at the corner of her dark red lips, she handed him the cold mug of green tea. He took a few steps closer towards her to retrieve it, and then stood blinking idly for a second or two, processing her words.
Namura: And I'm always around somewhere if you want to talk. But tell a soul and I might have you shoot you.
To that, he quickly responded weakly with…
Tagren-Quinn: Oh, now, who would take the early shifts in the surgical suite, then?
A little bit of the humor made its way back through, paired with a vague lopsided smile, though he wasn’t sure if it was his way of disarming the weight of the moment around them or if he just wanted…
Solemness then transformed his youthful features.
Tagren-Quinn: Thank you.
Tagren-Quinn: I mean it, truly I am appreciative. Thanks… thanks for stopping by.
Tentative steps towards trust, maybe even towards friendship.
And, with that, they parted ways, leaving behind the acute pains of the past in the conversation’s wake.
As the door swished closed behind her, Bryce stood there for a second staring off before leaning forward towards the frame, planting his hands on either side of it and lowering his head as chunks of hair waved forward into his eyes. A moment or two, he just breathed, before pushing himself backwards.
When the swirling settled, he realized he hadn’t asked how she was - really was. There was something in the background there, calling to his El-Aurian side, but he failed to register it until right then, in that landscape of clarity. He didn’t know what it was, or even if he should have broached the topic at all.
Had… had he missed an opportunity to reach for more bricks for the road towards trust and community?
Ensign Bryce Tagren-Quinn, M.D.
USS Gorkon (NCC-82293)