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Follies of the Living, Concerns for the Dead

Posted on 07/25/2019 @ 11:45pm by Lieutenant JG Finn Kidane

Mission: 1 - Twilight
Location: Battlestar Artemis
Timeline: MD 01: 2130 Z

On long, spidered out fingers, Finn Kidane rested his skull, their tips on his forehead. His eyes closed, the Sagittaron sat, eyelids flexing at each rhythmic pong sound from Lieutenant Commander Reynold’s heart monitor. The room was dark and dingy, not much larger than a walk-in closet. A pulsing red light matched the sound of the heart monitor, eerie dark crimson giving silhouette to everything in the confine. Finn's lips moved in silent prayers.

Give her light; reunite her with the ones she lost today, and before today, and in the days to come. May she feel no pain, only joy… her trials end. Her memory and eternal soul live free. Lighten her burdens from her shoulders so her worth is weighed fairly; we will bear it for her. So say we all.

When he sensed a shadow in the door, he lifted his head, his cheeks stained with the dry, salty gloss of old tears. He folded his fingers together, “Any more word on Picon?” He asked in a ghost of a voice. The body in the door sidled inside, stepping over the frame of the hatch.

“Totally nuked,” Ranulph Marshall said in a lamented sigh. It's weight was heavy but Finn sensed it wasn't personal weight- Ranulph's pain lay elsewhere and he was doing a good job keeping it compartmentalized.

Finn’s eyes squeezed shut, “Kay, thanks…” he rubbed at the bridge of his nose with a pinch of his fingers. His lips tucked together. The Sagittaron turned his attention back to the woman on the stretcher.

“Your boyfriend was there?”

Finn nodded and finally looked at the man standing above him while he was sitting in a simple fold-able chair. His eyes were bloodshot and glossy, “Either there or on one of the liners back to Libris. He usually takes the Chrion liner back.” He paused, "What about your wife? Is she-" he followed as the man began to move down.

Ranulph squatted and settled his eyes on the young man, “Mourn him later. We'll mourn them all later. Right now, we’ve got a big fight. You're in the superheavy leagues now, Kiddo. We’re all dead if we don’t. Sooner or later, this place’ll become a target, even as out of the way as it is.”

Finn looked at his own feet and nodded. He tried a smile but it didn't quite reach his eyes, “I’ll be right there,” his mouth quaked again, and he looked at Ranulph with soft, damp brown eyes, “Just umm… wanted to be here. For her.”

Ranulph’s disciplined anguish knitted at his nose bridge when he looked at the sprawled-out body of their XO. Her head was wrapped and much of the left side of her neck, chest and upper arm was a combination of charcoal blackened skin and deep red through split, crusty crevasses. “There’s nothing you can do here, Kid.”

Finn nodded and leaned a hand on his knee, “I know,” he said, lilting his words apologetically. “But nobody should have to be alone when they die.” He tried to cock a smile again, his eyebrows rising and his eyes went distant, “It’s a Sagittaron thing. Knowing we won’t all make it by the Gods’ design…” he nodded slowly, “It’s not right to die alone.”

"To be honest, I didn't know you knew her that well," Ranulph said.

Finn tilted his head so his gaze to look at the silhouetted man. He rested his chin on his folded hands, "I don't use this word very much... but I hated her." Ranulph's eyebrows popped, "She was hard to like... and she didn't much like us Sagittarons. And she never liked me manning the DRADIS." He paused and rubbed the flat of his nose, "She said my balls needed to drop first."

Ranulph chuckled in lamentation, "I'll be honest, I've thought that way a few times too. But that's what senior officers do around Juniors. Kid gloves. In her case, kid gloves with an iron hand. Remember when she threw that Pyramid ball at my head when we lost the inventory count?"

Finn nodded at that. The Weapons Control team had had to re-do the whole count, skipping chow and sleep. He sniffed, "One time, she got pretty drunk during a game of Triad. Whenever it got around to my turn she'd say... 'Are you in or out, Typhoid?'"

"So... why're you sitting here?" Ranulph asked.

Finn swallowed, "Making peace... I guess. Like I said, it's a Sagittaron thing."

“Finn what about the living?” Ranulph insisted, rubbing Finn’s shoulder at his neck, “She’s gone. We have to look to the living, whatever’s left of us.” Finn looked at him for a long moment, rolling beads between his off-hand's fingers. “Frak Finn, don’t make me pull rank on you. I hate doing that drek.”

Finn bowed his head and nodded, clamoring to a stand. He sniffed, “Go, go, after you Sir,” he said softly, gesturing at the door. "I'm right behind you. Promise. All the way."

“You’re a good boy,” Ranulph said, pulling his arm around Finn’s slight shoulders. He pushed Finn with little resistance through the hole that was the door and closed it behind him.

With a ping from the heart monitor, the latch closed. There wasn’t one after.


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