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Thread: [M] When the Abyss Looks Back [IC - Hannelorian & cwlee]

  1. #31
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    Once the pair had departed and the door to his quarters had slid shut, the commander sank bank into his seat and projected the files in front of him once more. He leaned back, wiggling his fingers in the air to control the hologram. "Johanna Godwin," intoned a computer-generated voice. "Confirm purge of data file: Johanna Godwin?" A moment of silence hung in the air as the commander deliberated. Deleting the doctor's file would erase her from the Sovereign's database, making it take anyone weeks to gain access to the Federation's main database to find her. "Confirm," he ordered.

    Alexander hurriedly followed the doctor, who seemed in no mood to converse, her usual fruity and witty remarks were absent, and her tone stung his heart a little. He decided to leave the conversation alone, as he had initially intended. It was clear the doctor was far more involved in the matter than Alexander had anticipated... another miscalculation, he cursed; it was just one error after another. As the ensign escorted the doctor back to her chambers, Alexander hovered outside the door. "Alright, Jo, I'll leave you to it," he said absentmindedly before trotting off.

    Two days had elapsed since Alexander's last encounter with the doctor. Despite immersing himself in work to distract his mind, he couldn't rid himself of the image of Doctor Johanna lingering in his thoughts. Their brief time together in the secluded spot continued to replay in his mind. Eventually, curiosity overpowered him, leading him to make his way to the medical bay, not without some sort of gift for her.

    Upon entering the medical bay, Alexander immediately recognized a familiar face, Nurse Hathaway. "H-Hey!" he called out nervously, for some apparent reason. Clearing his throat, the officer approached the nurse, holding two cups of tea. "Per my assignment, I thought it'd be best to pay Doctor Johanna a visit today," Alexander began, raising the two mugs of tea with an awkward grin. "It's tea. From an herb in Alpha Centauri. It's a great destressor, in my opinion." With less than three day remaining until the Sovereign would undergo the Fog-Of-War protocol, the officer's thoughts were occupied not by the impending procedure, but rather by his concerns for the doctor's well-being.

  2. #32
    The Grey Lady
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    Nurse Hathaway stopped when he heard Ensign Breakerfield's voice. His eyebrows raising slightly at the look at the cups of tea in his hand. "Dr. Godwin... you probably don't want to go in just now." He commented rather bluntly as he took great care not to raise his voice too much. He had no desire to be heard widely. Hathaway recognized he had little authority here, this was a military vessel and he was a civilian, the Ensign could and would simply do as he pleased. "She hasn't been sleeping, she's working on something and it's put her in a foul mood... the tea might... help though."

    Deep within Johanna's lab she had set to work, her notes were everywhere, and it was clear she was actively trying to resume work she had abandoned years ago. There was a variety of lab equipment that was spread across the room and assorted devices with which she had been working. "What did you do Mushani?" Was the question that Johanna was trying to answer. This had become all consuming over the last two days. Johanna had only taken short breaks, and they were to either attend to the sick or injured, or her continued review and final clearances for assorted pieces of business.

    Hathaway in his usual style had sent advanced word to Dr. Godwin that Alexander was going to find her. "Okay. Okay... He... yes." Johanna understood that Alexander was assigned to protect her, and that no matter what she said he would still do as he pleased. Johanna felt back into her chair and leaned backward sighing deeply as her eyes cast toward the ceiling. How long had it been? How many hours had she spent and still she felt no closer to coming up with an answer. How was it possible that she of all people could not figure it out, not yet. Yet she was close, she felt so shockingly close to something that it was infuriating to know it was just out of range.
    Thanks to Hayabusa/Ryoku for the set.

  3. #33
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    The officer gulped at Hathaway's comment. She hadn't slept? Her mood had soured ever since she received this intel and their conversation with the commander, and with good reason. Alexander wasn't sure how he could help the doctor relieve her stress, but regardless, the man gripped the two mugs tighter in his hands as he nodded to the nurse and pressed on, determined to assist the doctor in any way he could.

    As he approached her laboratory, he found the entrance shut, as usual. Alexander reached for the buzzer only to remember that his hands were full. The man sighed as he placed his mug on the floor and pressed the button before picking the mug back up again. Alexander waited for the doctor for what seemed to be minutes, hours. His heart began to pump rapidly, his calculatory brain overthinking of all possible scenarios to why Doctor Johanna would not open this door.

    However, eventually the entrance to her lab hissed open, and Alexander fixed his posture. "Doctor, hope you've been well," he greeted, despite the nurse having briefed him about her lack of sleep and intense stress. The man acted oblivious to it, hoping to not trigger the doctor in any shape or form. "I've brought tea from Alpha Centauri. Thought we could share a drink again," Alexander initiated, grinning nervously, likely being too bold; the doctor was surely in no mood to have a cup of tea, let alone get distracted and converse with him.

  4. #34
    The Grey Lady
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    Johanna looked tired, well put together as always but the dark circles beneath her eyes betrayed her. Physically, emotionally, mentally she was exhausted. The sight of the mug in Alexander's hand was a welcome one. With an outstretched arm and a beckoning hand she took the mug from Alexander and brought it to her lips before saying much of anything. She took a dip swig from the vessel and smiled happily as the warm liquid made it's way down her throat. "Thank you..." She muttered softly, the taste of the tea was earthy, green. It was refreshing and hearty, distinct and unusual but delicious never-the-less.

    The doctor took another long drink from the cup before setting it down on the desk at which she sat. "He likes you. Hathaway that is." Johanna said rather off handedly. "He guards my door like.... well... like a faithful hound I suppose. He won't let anyone in to see me. But you, he let through." Johanna chuckled lightly, bits of her familiar humor and tone cutting through the seriousness with which she was now carrying herself. "Despite being a Nurse, he isn't one for people. Yeah, he puts on a good face, a nice act. He especially doesn't like the military."

    Johanna let out a deep sigh as she leaned back in her chair, slowly pulling her legs up onto the edge and sliding them beneath herself. "It's good." She commented softly, her gaze now finally rerouting to look at the ensign. "The tea." The truth was that Johanna needed the distraction, just for a moment she had to allow her mind to think about something else, anything else. And for now this would have to do. "It's nice to hope I'm doing well." There was a sincerity in her voice, almost a genuine surprise. "I didn't think you would retain the capacity to care for my well being, after all I'm just steps away from war criminal status." Johanna spoke candidly, freely as she took another sip of the tea.
    Thanks to Hayabusa/Ryoku for the set.

  5. #35
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    Alexander's cheeks warmed as the doctor sipped the tea, clearly enjoying it. Letting out a sigh of relief, Alexander relaxed and took a sip himself. "Hathaway?" he asked. "Hard to tell. Yeah, he does put on a good face," the officer agreed, savoring another sip of the tea that reminded him of home. "I see why you keep him around. He works hard."

    "Not sure if I would go as far as calling the man a hound though," Alexander remarked, chuckling along with the doctor, feeling a lightness as her fruity personality resurfaced. As the doctor moved to her desk, Alexander took the opportunity to sit across from her. She seemed more relaxed now with his presence, but having been absent for the past two days, Alexander couldn't gauge the stress she might have endured. For a brief moment, he gazed into her eyes, lost in thought, until she mentioned the tea, bringing him back to the present.

    "Huh? Oh, yeah, from Alpha Centauri," Alexander repeated, realizing he had already mentioned it. He cleared his throat, looking away from the doctor and hunching over in his seat. "Well, for one, it's my duty to ensure your well-being, doc- Jo," he corrected himself, clearing his throat awkwardly. "I'll admit, though," he added, leaning back in his seat now," I didn't expect that from you." The officer wasn't sure if that was a compliment or not, but he smiled as if he enjoyed this new discovery about her. Or no, maybe he admired her more for it.

    "But two, whether you're a criminal or not, Jo, I think I at least owe you for finding me a neat spot back on Charon station. I don't think even the most moral person in the Universe could've helped me find that spot, so hey, here's to the mission. I'll be with you the entire ride, and I'm sure Hathaway will be too." He began to whisper the last bit, "Hell, I know I'm a loyal dog to the Federation, but I want to help you, doctor, in any way I possibly can. As long as you let me, of course."

  6. #36
    The Grey Lady
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    Johanna held the mug in her hands and appreciated the faint warmth it was providing. Her lab was always cold, purposely so, and this was a nice change. Listening intently as he spoke she raised the mug to her lips once more to take another deep swig of the tea. "I'm not in any sort of danger. There's nothing to keep me safe from. Not aboard the Sovereign." The notion that she, a simple doctor needed protection at all was outrageous. She was more at risk of some strange and novel disease acquired by the crew on assorted field missions than anyone actually on the ship consciously taking an issue with her.

    "So after all you've heard... well, let me rephrase. Watching you hear what you did, I could see on your face how it contorted... changed. Your view of me is different now. I'm not the fun doctor who knows the best bars. I'm... dangerous." Johanna rose from her seat and moved to the front of her desk, leaning back against it now, perched ever so slightly upon it, just enough for stability. "And while we're not comparing people to dogs, or hounds, perhaps you shouldn't refer to yourself in such a manner."

    Johanna's mind drifted on the notion of loyalty, and certainly right back to the Commander for whom... at least for a moment there Jo got the idea that he seemed to have no loyalty, he was his own master, or rather his master was not on this ship. "Loyalty to the Federation?" Johanna contemplated but did not laugh, she wondered about herself now. She had no particular loyalty to anyone, save the doctors and nurses who worked under her regardless of their affiliation. They depended on her, and she upon them. But outside of that? "You're a better team player than I am." She finally responded with, offering a gentle nod of her head.
    Thanks to Hayabusa/Ryoku for the set.

  7. #37
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    Alexander remained silent for a moment as he thought of a reply. It was true, learning the truth about the doctor had certainly changed how he perceived her, but whether it was a negative or a positive connotation, the ensign was still figuring it out. For what it was worth, Doctor Johanna unlike any other medical personnel he ever worked with. He couldn't quite pinpoint what it was about her that captivated him, but beneath his stoic military exterior, he yearned for warmth and companionship. Nonetheless, Johanna's presence seemed to stir something deep within him, drawing him to her in ways he hadn't calculated or experienced before. "Eh, maybe I'm seeking danger" was all Alexander had to say about it.

    "Well, I wouldn't say I'm a team player," Alexander said, continuing their conversation on loyalty. "But you could say I put in effort where I consider it important." He nodded at her with a confident grin and took a final sip of his tea before gently setting the cup down on her desk, careful to avoid her paperwork. "Still, they say if you're an officer of the Federation, you're just as much of a dog anyway." He shrugged. "I don't mind. It's not the names that hurt me, but rather their inability to live up to their own names."

    The ensign burst into a light laughter, realizing he had been thinking aloud. He apologized warmly, blinking a few times in her direction as if trying to recalibrate. Taking a deep breath, he leaned back in his eat, feeling as if they were just two regular people conversing rather than an officer and a doctor. "And respectfully, Jo," Alexander continued, "I've seen my fair share of crazy in my years of service, but this one really takes the cake, I think! A mind controlling biological thing? That's something straight out of science fiction. My parents were both scientists, and neither of them ever engaged in anything like this." The man's fascination carried a blend of awe and intrigue.

  8. #38
    The Grey Lady
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    "Well..." Johanna began, but she seemed for a moment to lose her sense of words, not knowing exactly what she wanted to say. Or perhaps she did know, but simply had failed to formulate the proper expression of such sentiment. The idea that he might look poorly upon her, that he might judge her... it mattered and Johanna didn't know why. Never in her life had she concerned herself with the thoughts of others. But now she did, what he, this more or less stranger, thought was something that weighed heavily on her consciousness. "I suppose you're in the right place if you are seeking danger." The Doctor took several steps forward stepping ever closer toward Alexander.

    "It's funny... I never wanted to follow the Federation's orders." Johanna chuckled lightly, thinking about her own path in life, her own choices. "And yet... I still am." The loss of her own agency was something she thought about quite a bit. She rejected a life of military service because she longed for her freedom. But even in the great wide universe, there was still the Federation to command her to and fro, to compel her to follow their orders and do their bidding. Perhaps freedom had always been something of an illusion.

    Standing above Alexander who had seated himself some time ago, Johanna reached down and instinctively moved to rest her hand on his cheek for a moment. His skin was warm, soft. She hadn't known why, and when she realized she retracted her hand and sighed. "Mind control... not exactly." Johanna did laugh, it was rather crazy, an insane idea. But what was truly funny is that it was real. It was all so real it was painful. "More like a choir." Johanna once more stopped in a moment of thought. "Sing choirs of Angels, sing in exultation." More ancient Earth trivia, things long, long dead. "It's a group of voices together, in unison. They make decisions together as one. There isn't really control... at least, I don't think so... but we'll see." All Johanna had were theories at this point.
    Thanks to Hayabusa/Ryoku for the set.

  9. #39
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    Alexander froze in his seat as he felt the chilling touch of Johanna's hand, his face flushing with warmth. When she withdrew her hand, he blinked a few times, shifting in his chair in an attempt to relax. "Angels," the officer commented. "What are those?" The man furrowed his brows in confusion. Despite all the trivia Alexander had learned from his parents, there was still much more he didn't know than he did about the history and culture of old Earth. The word echoed in his mind like a foreign entity begging to be understood.

    "What would happen if there is control then?" Alexander wondered aloud. "Would that make the situation better or worse? I'd imagine it would be better, right? Seems like we'd be able to manage the damage more effectively if we could control it." The officer continued to muse. "And Jo, after this is all over," he added, unsure why he felt so talkative today. Perhaps the long days without seeing the doctor had taken a toll on him, his unconscious mind secretly yearning for even a moment spent with her.

    The man opened his mouth to continue, when the entire laboratory suddenly dimmed to red, and a blaring siren rumbled in their ears that was followed by an even louder loudspeaker announcement, "Exercise, exercise, exercise. All personnel, this is an unscheduled exercise. The captain has initiated the Fog-of-War Protocol. Please head to your designated stations immediately. Exercise, exercise, exercise. All personnel, this is an unscheduled exercise. The captain has initiated the Fog-of-War Protocol. Please head to your designated stations immediately. Exercise, exercise, exercise. All personnel, this is an unscheduled exercise. The captain has initiated the Fog-of-War Protocol. Please head to your designated stations immediately."

    Alexander tilted his head, staring blankly at the doctor. "It's too soon. We must be a day or two early," the officer remarked, wondering if he had miscalculated. Or perhaps the captain realized the situation was far more dangerous than initially thought and decided to play it safe. Regardless, the protocol had been initiated, and the ensign was already at his designated station. Marines marched through the halls, verbally alerting everyone in case the loudspeaker hadn't been loud enough. "Fog-of-War Protocol now, doctors and nurses! C'mon, go, go, go!" the marines impatiently ordered as if it had never been the medical personnel that had caretaken these soldiers.

  10. #40
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    Johanna thought on the concept of angels for a moment before stopping to explain. "Angels... hmm. Winged creatures, agents and creations of God. They carry his will and govern the realms. They protect mankind. At least so the belief went. The highest of the choirs of Angels exist only to praise God at his throne." It seemed rather silly when one thought about it. But Jo paid it little mind, best to let these things go. The ancient world was full of little oddities like that. Things they believed in to give them comfort when science could afford no true answer.

    "If someone is controlling it... that means they have an agenda. In many ways, that is far worse." Johanna let the words fly out, and to that thought too she would hope to let it go free, to fly away. It was something that could not help the situation nor change the reality of whatever it was they were about to walk into. "And we... above all, should not seek to control it." She had let the thought pass as Alexander began to offer something else about when this was all over, but he could not finish it because the time was upon them. "We are early. Very early." Johanna commented as she moved to step outside of her laboratory and into the central area of the Medical ward.

    "Alright people this is it!" Johanna called out to the assembled group, a small legion of medical personnel. "Anyone who can be cleared is to be cleared and returned to duty, we need every last bed." All of this menial work would have been done had they been on schedule. "Alpha team is to stand by for potential deployment into the field. Beta team is to stand by the arrival gates to see to any injured coming back from the field." She cast her eyes over those who seemed unsure or a bit worried and only gave a warm and reassuring smile. "Hazmat protocol is to be strictly enforced. Everyone must be suited up and ready. Let's make sure we get baseline stats on every officer leaving this craft. All returning personnel will be subject to strict quarantine and isolation. We're not taking any chances here."

    Johanna dismissed the organized group to attend to their designated stations and complete their assigned tasks. Every last member of the team had a job to do and was so doing.
    Thanks to Hayabusa/Ryoku for the set.

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