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(BACKPOST) Imaginations and Contemplations

Posted on 12 Jun 2016 @ 4:37am by Lieutenant Commander Adam Casey & Lieutenant JG Catherine Cooper
Edited on on 13 Jun 2016 @ 7:43pm

Mission: Outbreak
Location: Security Offices and Sickbay
Timeline: Backpost to previous story arc.

Cooper was getting kinda tired. Odd for her but the constant emotional toll of having to deal with the sufferer’s of this sleep virus was not easy. It took all of her training mental and otherwise to deal with it especially since it was not always a good idea to simply stun them all. Even then she’d gotten multiple bruises and a small cut. She was on her way to another call…

“Stay back varlet! Have at Ye!” She heard a voice and she looked up at a wild eyed security officer on standing on top of table.

Around him were several officers all a little concerned about approaching the cutlass wielding security officer. One pulled out her phaser and Cooper gently put her hand on the younger woman’s. The officer lowered the weapon puzzled but stepped back to allow her deputy chief to take point. Cooper looked at the man on the table, “Be ye friend or foe!” she called to him and struck a pose, he blinked at her confused, “I be Admiral Westbrook of his Majesty’s Ship Enterprise and these pirates are keeping me from my sworn duty! Who be you?” He asked wiping his sweaty forehead and blinking rapidly but his Earth British accent still strong. Cooper took a gamble, “I’m Commander Cooper of the freighter Lucky Charm, I saw the battle and come to help but I see they’ve lost their stomach for fighting…”

The man looked around only to see that during the exchange the others had gone, unknown to him motioned by the hand cooper had kept behind her back even as she reached out him, “Come Sir, let’s return you to your ship…” He looked at the offered hand confused but a small part of his mind remembered her as someone who could be trusted and so he took her hand, lowering the cutlass.

A site to site later found Cooper overseeing him being gently hypo’d and laid on a makeshift cot in sickbay. Unseen for a moment Cooper leaned against a quiet area in sickbay and closed her eyes breathing deep and slow as she prepared to get back to it. Trying to quickly work through the many emotions she had so she could work on this cleanly without muddying the waters with her own negative emotions and ego.
Kneeling by the bed, Adam held onto Amy's hand as she lay alone, weak and helpless. He had never felt as useless as he did at the moment, but he knew there wasn't anything that he could do yet. He tenderly removed the cold flannel on Amy's forehead, and replaced it with a fresh one, trying to bring down the fever. He knew it wouldn't work, but he had to do something.

He stood up as a nurse began to check Amy's vitals, and so to give her room, he moved to a part of sickbay where he thought he was alone. He leant against the wall, his eyes closed, and gently began to weep, not knowing he wasn't alone.

Cooper had gone into a light meditative trance for a moment and didn’t notice right away she was no longer alone. She heard the nearly silent crying and that got her attention and she looked over. Somehow not surprised to see who it was, he seemed to be one that felt and scarred deeply. She pulled out a real cloth handkerchief from her pocket and offered it to him saying, “You know we got to stop meeting like this people will begin to talk…” her voice was joking but the smile was gently understanding. She had thought to leave him be but was never one to allow someone to suffer unless that's what they truly needed and that didn't appear to be the case here.

Accepting the handkerchief, Adam wiped the tears, looking at her. "I can this happen? Amy...she's eight, and...and if we don't find a cure...she could..." He didn't want to say it or think of it

Cooper glanced over at the direction of the biobeds, she hadn't heard one of the kidlets had gotten it. "Well crap..." She thought. And it was a few moments before she spoke, internally adjusting to the news. When she did it was with confidence, that confidence she projected no matter how she felt internally. "These things happen because life is a messy thing, good and bad lucky us we get the lot. As for a cure, of course you'll find one. I don't know if you noticed but the crew on this ship is fairly brilliant. We survived the best efforts of an old, powerful group of thousands to kill us. We can handle some sleep virus. You can handle this." The last she put a hand on his shoulder to get him to look up. Her eyes were full of a calm confidence. It was scientist she and the others needed now, not a grieving father but she wasn't sure how to express that quite yet so stopped there. Her mind continued to work various problems helping to slow her down as she moved her hands to her pockets to lean against the bulkhead nearby.

"I'm failing, Catherine." He said, as he looked up at her. "The girls...I'm doing the best I can, but they haven't had a female role model in years. I'm doing the best I can with what I have...but I can't always give them what they need." He said, looking at the ground. He sighed. "I'm sorry, I shouldn't burden you with my problems."

Since Cooper's mind could operate on multiple tracks at once, it took her a moment to separate them into something he could understand. She then addressed everything in his reply, in order, mentally counting off on her fingers. "Now I know we've had this talk, they'll get plenty of female role models here..." She repeated patiently, knowing how upset he was. "Your best is well enough, I heard rumor that a cure is close and you've a hand in it. So good there. You need a hand you call me, what are friends for eh? And don't worry about it, a burden shared is a burden halved...least it better be or its kinda pointless." She leaned down to look into his eyes, "Feeling less burdened yet?" looking for all the world like a tall, curious pixie.

Adam sighed. "Not especially. They'll have female role models, perhaps, but they don't have a mother. Amy...when she was hallucinating, she saw her mother. Maria was upset because she wanted to have a mother, and she doesn't remember hers." Adam explained. "A kid asking for her dead was heartbreaking."

Cat’s face took on a somber expression, “That it is.” She agreed simply but sadly. The statement all the more powerful for its simplicity, it validated, accepted and supported all once. Even her short phrases seemed to multitask. She moved to stand next to him and said nothing for a time her mind its usual whirl. She figured he knew he needed to get back out there to be what he need for them but it was important he have this time, to feel what he was going to feel. Emotions of all sorts were valid in that that had to be dealt with and not ignored.

And feel them, he did. Adam stood next to her, a multitude of emotions racing through him. Anger, fear, sorrow, love and pride. Anger at what had happened to the people here, and to his daughter, fear for her life, sorrow at the lives lost and the pain his daughter could be in, love for his children and pride in them for being so strong. He tried to control them, but he was failing in that. He felt that, although a cure was being found, he had failed in other respects, and he didn't like failure. He abhorred it.

And yet he was excelling at it. But he needed to focus on the good. "When...when Amy was born, it was the happiest day of my life. I had a daughter. It wasn't too long before she fell pregnant again, and Maria was born. Then Jessica, my wife, fell pregnant for a third time. We knew it would be a third girl, and we decided three was enough. But then, during childbirth, there were complications. We're supposed to be medically advanced, and yet we still miss things at crucial moments. That was why I never wanted to leave my kids alone anywhere, because I didn't want to miss a crucial moment. But they're missing so much; they have missed so much. Now I'm here, and yes, they've found a cure, we think, but...where do we go from here?"

Cooper was interrupted by a routine security check, she replied to that then replied as though there had been no interruption as she pulled out her yo-yo and began doing tricks. “The Buddha tells us, ‘The only real failure in life is not to be true to the best one knows.’. It sounds trite but I’ve yet to meet a parent or loved one who didn’t want the best for the other. It’s never ‘oh don’t fail’, it’s never ‘fear everything and hide under the bed, It’s never ‘don’t move forward it might be trouble’. It’s always do your best, be true to what you know, and when possible be happy. It’s all anyone can do…” She said glancing over at him as she executed a rather complicated ‘around the world’. “I’m not a counselor so your mileage may vary…” She shrugged realizing she seemed to be getting into the mind version of deep caving when she talked to him lately.

Adam nodded as he sighed. "If there is one thing I've learned, it's that you don't win points for being an idealist." He said. "This used to be so much easier. I'm dreading the day they hit puberty; I do not want to have 'the talk' with them. But I've always feared for the future. Some people like to think that the Federation is perfect, that we all live in harmony. That's never been the case; people just don't see or ignore the darkness." He said. He looked over the sickbay, and saw the nurse still by Amy's bed. "I know, I'm a closet Neurotic. Never used to be that way. But my view on Starfleet changed years ago, and my view on life changed not long after that."

“In my world you win points for not letting the darkness in life twist you but not holding on to pain is tougher than some people think, no shame in it.” She paused considering briefly the items she still had trouble letting go truly. She let out a calming breath, letting her own go aside for the moment as she would say she was a ‘work in progress’. She continued to work with the yo-yo.

“The point isn’t to ignore the darkness, I know that though some think I only see the world through rose colored glasses..” She could find the silver lining in anything, if she was on fire well at least she wasn’t cold. If one arm was broken well at least it wasn’t two. If she lost a family member it reminded her to treasure the ones she had honorably. She looked a little sheepish for a moment, well aware that her generally positive views could be seen as not being a realist.

She saw the world as it was and took that into account but she meant what she said it was a win in her book when it didn’t twist her soul. If the Buddha was right and ‘We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, we make the world.’ And she meant to make her world a good one but these were muddy waters and she didn’t feel entirely able to navigate them so what she said instead was, after putting away her yo-yo, “You may want to see a Counselor for some of this deep mind caving stuff but if my opinion means anything I think you’re a good Dad and not a complete loser. To quote a friend of mine if you were on fire I’d put you out…with water even…” she said barely hearing the strains of Bach flowing through the back of her mind that was acting as an anchor point for her focus.

"I haven't spoken to a counselor in years; you're right, of course, I should, but it's finding the time." Adam replied. "I appreciate it though. I just...I've been overcompensating ever since Jessica died. Jessica's older sister, Maria, demanded custody of my kids, and took me to the courts. She failed, but it didn't stop her trying twice more. She blamed me for Jessica's death, and in a way, I did too afterwards. It turns out the Doctor's warned her there was a chance she wouldn't survive the third pregnancy, but they didn't know until after she was pregnant. Naturally, she didn't tell me. But I should have known."

"Well everyone reacts to loss differently I guess..." She said thinking on this 'Maria'. "And there are somethings we've no way of knowing. Love is trust and you trusted your wife when she said things were fine." If anything it was his wife's for not letting him it on it but she wasn't going to say that. She continued, "Hey you want to make time to see anyone and I'll take the kidlets on a tour, they'll love it."

"I think they'd like that, Catherine. Thank you." Adam said, nodding. "I think they would welcome that. So would I, in truth. I just...I hope this damned cure works."

Cat smiled and rested a sympathetic hand on his shoulder, "It will work, if you don't want to have faith, know the science is solid. It will work..." She repeated, she glanced over at the activity near the kidlets. "Looks like someone's awake..." She smiled, "Best get over there.." She moved her hand to offer him a hand up.

Accepting the hand, Adam stood up. "Thank you." He said, with a small smile, before walking over to Amy's bed, where he knelt down, smiling at her and holding her hand. He looked back at Catherine, and motioned for her to come over.

Catherine who'd been about to leave the family to their reunion paused in her leaving but gamely headed over and smiled at the child on the bed. "Feeling better?" She asked.

"A...a little." Amy said, smiling at Catherine. She held out her hand. "I...saw my mommy." She said. "But she...wasn't there?"

Catherine immediately sat next to the child and gently gathered her up so as not to disturb her or the father holding her hand. “She’s always with you in spirit, in your memories, helping you. Did you feel better when you thought you saw her?” She asked gently, her heart going out to the kid.

Amy nodded. "I...I miss her." She said, as tears slowly rolled down from her eyes, holding onto Catherine. "Will you...stay here?" She asked. Adam looked at her, and felt a tear roll down his cheek, as he kissed Amy's hand.

"Then she's never really gone..." Cooper said gently then thought on the girls other question, quickly. Things were slowing down on the ship, if they needed her they knew where she was. "Of course sweetheart.." She said hugging the child, "You want to hear a story? I know a great one about a brave Princess who kept her Kingdom safe because she was both smart and wise, she lived in a big castle with huge library and gardens..." She went on adding a bad guy Count Stygian and other details, bringing the story to life. Her mind this time bringing depth to her words instead of speed with a shift of focus. And she went on painting a beautiful picture pulling Amy out of her own world into another...

Adam watched Catherine telling the story to Amy, and smiled at the scene. Amy was thoroughly enraptured by the story, and holding onto Catherine. It made him feel better, seeing Amy happy and excited again, something he wasn't sure he would see again. He just sat and listened, watching Amy and Catherine, thankful for Catherine's actions.


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