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How it all started

Posted on 29 Jul 2016 @ 4:11am by Ensign Katniss Sutherland

Mission: Risky Business
Location: Katniss's Quarters

The day had certainly taken a toll on Katniss, both physically and emotionally. She had volunteered to do a double shift in an attempt to keep herself busy, but it hasn’t worked and she didn’t know how she had managed it, after all she had been in a daze for most of the day.

Katniss arrived back at her quarters and the doors closed behind her, the loneliness of her quarters hit her, she really wish she didn’t have to be alone tonight, but she didn’t have a choice, she didn’t really know anyone well enough to just drop by. The darkness surround her but she didn’t bother turning on the lights.

“Computer, access file Sutherland four, nine, one, omega and play entry.”

The computer acknowledged her command with a confirmation tone and the LCARS terminal in her quarters activated. The image of a handsome young man appeared, he had beach blond hair and deep green eyes, the type that you could get lost in for hours.

“Hello Katnip, I’m sorry I missed your transmission but your sister was chewing my ear over something that wasn’t even my fault.” The young man began to laugh “But I guess that’s Dana for you, anyway I hear your on my training mission tomorrow as a medic, I can’t wait to catch up with you and I have something very important to say, anyway see you tomorrow.”

The screen flicked and the words ‘End of Transmission’ were displayed.

Katniss dropped to her knees and she began to uncontrollably sob, it couldn’t have been a year already, oh she longed for her sister to be there with her, that way they could cry, hug and mourn Damien together. Slowly her mind began to draft back to that fateful day.

--- Shuttlecraft 8- On route to tactical training Scenario ---

Damien had the dumbest grin ever on his face as he sat looking at Katniss, she was sat opposite him and they were both surrounded by other cadets. They had been close friend snow for the past two years.

“So what did you want to tell me?” she shouted above the noise of the shuttle and the other cadets.

“Be patient” Damien said smiling even more.

“But you know I gate to wait.” She said frowning at him.

“Yeah, I know. You’re like a spoilt child at Christmas who wants to know what’s in her presents.”

Dana laughed “Oh, you know me so well.”

There had clearly been chemistry between them for several months, but neither of them had the courage to take it any further, plus neither of them wanted to ruin what they already had.

“Alpha squad listen up this is a tactical training scenario, you will be competing against Delta squad who will be playing the enemy. You will be dropped into hostile enemy territory. Your orders are to capture the enemy strong hold and capture as many prisoners as possible. We are joined by Cadet Sutherland who is your medic for the day.” He said pointing right at Katniss “Remember people this will be a live fie exercise so keep your weapons set to stun…Three minutes until landing and remember weapons set to stun.” He yelled.
Everyone else started to check their weapons, but Katniss was checking her medical kit, she wanted to be fully prepared.

“Don’t worry Katnip, I’ll watch your back.” Damien said looking at his weapon and then smiling across to her. “Just keep your head down.”

Suddenly her stomach churned as the shuttle began its rapid decent, she felt the taste of vomit in the back of her throat, she nodded at Damien as the shuttle came to land with a bump and the door to the transport began to open. Damien got to his feet and looked at the other cadet’s.

“Okay Alpha squad, weapons on stun and let’s give them hell.” Damien said as the other cadets all began to chant.

“Alpha squad, Alpha squad.”

All that testosterone didn’t impress her, after all she would be the one patching any injuries up.

--- Planet Unknown, Tactical training exercise---

The fighting was fierce, neither team wanted to loose nor they had been at it for a good couple of hours now. So far it had been uneventful for Katniss, she had kept her head down and out of the way towards the back of the company. She had so far she treated a sprained wrist and a subbed toe, but the way he was screaming you would have thought he had lost his leg. Ten suddenly from the front line a deafening yell, much louder and with more panic than the other two times.

“Medic….Medic…..Meeedddicccccccccc.”

Katniss grabbed her medical pack and began to run forward, her heart beating faster and faster, a few bolts of phaser fire went past her, but she was focused, she ducted and dived as she headed towards the screams.
It had only taken her a couple of minutes to get there but she froze to the spot as soon as she arrived, laid on the floor in front of her was Damien, he was bleeding heavily had clearly had a couple of serious phaser burns to his chest, the cadet knelt next to him was trying to apply pressure to the bleeding but it was seeping through his hands.

“More pressure” she yelled at the cadet as she quickly knelt between them, snapping out her tricorder. Several beeps and disturbing sounds began to come from it as she scanned her friend who was lying there drifting in and out of consciousness, the tricorder’s tones became more critical.

“Stun they said, bloody stun.” Katniss said reaching for her comm badge.

=/\= Sutherland to shuttlecraft eight, medical emergency…stop the bloody exercise…repeat medical emergency. =/\=

“Stay with me Damien.” She said loading a hyper spray and pressing it into his neck. “Don’t you dare die on me.” She said as she began she pulled a bandage from her med kit.

“Apply this, harder.” She said snapping to the cadet, his hands were oozing blood from the wounds below.

Katniss started throwing equipment from her med kit, she wasn’t equipped to deal with this type of injury. She reached for her comm badge again.

=/\= Sutherland to shuttlecraft eight, I need medical assistance and I need it now, I’m not equipped to deal with this, I need a doctor =/\=

Suddenly Damien grabbed her arm.

“Katnip.” He gasped.

“I’m here…..sshhh don’t try and speak.” She said almost crying.

=/\= Shuttlecraft eight to Cadet Sutherland, cease fire has been given we are on-route and are three minutes away =/\=

“Katnip….I’m dying…I have to tell you…..” he said grasping for every breath.

“No you’re not, you’re not dying on me, you hear me….” She said choking back the tears.

“I love you Katnip.” He said trying to smile.

Katniss gazed into those lovely green eyes, tears started to roll down her face, she leaned him and gently kissed him on the lips.

“I know…I love you too.” She gently replied as she stroked his head.

“Promise me..” he said “Promise me you’ll stop with the self-harm.”

She nodded her head, “I promise” she replied even thought he was in unbearable pain he still managed to give her a smile.

“I….I………” his head slumped to one side and he gave up his last breath.

The tricorder began to give out the sound that she didn’t want to hear, it was a long continues flat tone. He was dead and there was nothing more she could do, she collapsed over his body, still stroking his hair.

--- USS Magellan NCC 49873 – 2 Days later ---

Katniss was sat in the cargo bay, her hand was placed upon the flag draping the black photon torpedo casing. Her face was sad, she hadn’t left him since the accident. The doors to the cargo bay opened and several people came into the room.

“You need some sleep.” Dana said looking at the pain clearly visible on her sister’s face.

A lone tear rolled down Katniss’s face “I’m watching over a friend, making sure he gets home.” She said in a broken voice.

“Your performing the Ak’voh, a noble cause, we shall join you.” A half Klingon cadet said.

“The Ak’voh?” Dana asked.

“Watching over a fallen warrior’s body to keep away predators allowing the spirit to leave the body”

They were only a couple of hours away from earth, where they would hand over the body to Damien’s parents where a full traditional burial would be done. Katniss had never met his parents or his siblings before, she only wished that it could have been under diffrent circumstances

“I remember the first time I met Damien.” Katniss said in a gentle voice “Those massive green eyes and that blond hair…I thought he was quite fit actually……”

The group laughed as they began to tell stories about how they had all come to meet. It was another way of celebrating life and honouring the dead.

--- Scotland - Earth ---

The shuttle had landed just outside of the family castle in a remote village in a place called Scotland. The door to the castle was already open, and Damien’s family stood there, dressed in black. Katniss was in her dress uniform, she had requested permission to hand over the body as with the customs and in accordance to his will.

She stepped out into the gentle rain and walked towards his family. She was choked with emotion, what could she say, how could she explain that she couldn’t save him. Katniss had already tendered her resignation but her Commanding Officer hadn’t accepted it.

“Mrs Williams” she said lowering her head “I’m……”

“You must be Katniss..” his mother interrupted “Your just as he described you, your all he talked about, your friendship was very important to him and I’m glad that you were with him in the end..” she pulled Katniss towards her to embrace her “It was an accident Katniss, it wasn’t’ your fault, he would never want you blaming yourself, you did you best, no one could of asked more.” She whispered.

With that the sound of bagpipes began to fill the air and the cadets began to carry out the black torpedo casing containing Damien’s body out of the shuttle, it was time to say goodbye to a friend, or to someone who could have been more.

--- Katniss’s quarters ---

Katniss slowly began to come back to her senses, she had never been able to keep that promise to him, she still self-harmed partially because it was the only release that helped with the pain and with the burden that she carried. She could have done more, she should have done more and her lack of action had cost the life of a dear fear friend. She curled up on the floor and took the foetal position and sobbed some more.

“I miss you Damien.” she whispered "And I'm sorry...I'm so sorry"

"July Off-Duty Writing Challenge Entry."

 

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