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Burn Soother

Posted on Sun Jan 19th, 2020 @ 8:48pm by Commander Nathan Hawkins
Edited on on Sat Feb 15th, 2020 @ 6:50pm

Mission: Genesis
Location: Personal Quarters
Timeline: 2430-01-06, 03:55

"Shields down to 37%!"

"Structure integrity falling!"

"They're locking weapons! Brace for impact!"

Thick smoke burned in his throat, his vision struggled to clear with each blink of his heavy eyes. Everything was a struggle to process as the bridge around him began to take further losses.

The wail of the klaxon had long since become a dull sound, the explosions around him and showers of sparks too were dulled as Nathan forced himself to sit having been roughly thrown across the deck moments before.

"Hull breach! Decks twelve through to fifteen!"

"Multiple casualties!"

"Where are those reinforcements?!

Nathan pulled himself back into his seat feeling queasy from the concussion and the fresh thought there'll number had been called. He glanced over to Captain Thompson, the seasoned woman had somehow kept her seat, those slightly gnawed fingers clinging desperately hard into the arms of her chair. "Have faith, they'll come. Divert remaining power to the shields, return fire!"

The USS Vigilance trembled upon another bombardment, the bridge shuddered violently and the lights spluttered into darkness momentarily.

"Nathan!" Captain Thompson reached over and pulled his sleeve. Leaning toward him the younger man could see for the first time in their service together the fear in her eyes, the bravado she'd been commanding the crew was a facade. She knew it was only a matter of time before they meet their maker. "Nathan," she pulled again. "Take the helm, put some distance between us - do whatever you can!"

In his muddled state he hadn't seen the helmsman had slumped at his station and was unresponsive. Coughing Nathan staggered over and took the pilot gently by his shoulders. His careful touch wasn't necessary however, it was clear from his still expression and glazed eyes the pilot was already dead. Muttering an apology Nathan lowered his body down and took over, the damaged ship barely responded to any command as it juddered again under enemy fire.

They'd been swamped, the ruthless enemy attack had picked off the life-pods they'd launched earlier - it cut him to the bone to see his friends die in such a manner now is seemed as the Vigilance trembled with her systems quickly failing they were soon to meet a similar fate.

Through the white noise Nathan heard a gurgling rasp behind him, against his better judgement he turned.

"No!" he hissed in horror and abandoned his station. Captain Thompson had been fatally wounded by flying shrapnel pinning her firmly in her seat. "Jen," he whimpered pressing a palm to her bloody neck. "Hold on," he fruitlessly applied more pressure in a desperate effort but he could already feel her slipping away.

The panel beside her bleeped registering an incoming message and the faintest glimmer of hope: "Hold on Jen, the cavalry is coming."

Her narrow chest gave a great heave, then fell still.

"Jen," he shook her slightly pleading. "Jen, no, wake up, come on."

Receiving no response Nathan stood back feeling utterly empty, broken and terrible frightened at his new situation. Slowly he reviewed the destroyed bridge around him, fires flickered, smoke lingered heavily in the air and no one stirred. He was the only one left...

The helm station bleeped in alarm seizing his attention.

Spinning he hurried over, failing to understand the meaning of the alarm until it was too late and the terminal exploded sending him tumbling over into oblivion.

Gasping great lungfuls Hawkins woke with a start. He felt slick with sweat as he sat upright catching his breath pushing down his demons into the depths of his soul where they lived and bred. He glanced to the bed still half expecting Carla to there, chiding himself Nathan tossed away the sheet and padded into the bathroom.

Squinting in the light he headed over to the basin and gripped the edge tightly, his heart hammered painfully and his breathing catch in his chest as he battled to steady himself. The nightmare had felt so real, the smoke, the noise, the warmth of her blood running through his fingers and those eyes that seemed to piece him...

He heaved drily over the sink for a moment or two before releasing his grip on the bowl and slumped down. The coolness of the floor was soothing and finally allowed him to return to some normality.

As he lay Nathan again scolded himself, it'd been months since that day plagued his dreams he hoped that chapter had finally drawn to close, one of two survivors from the assault on the USS Vigilance wasn't something one could easily forget, nor the loss of the wife and son years previous. He'd practised hard keep things under wraps if Porter, Rigby or Teagarden knew they'd be merry hell to pay. He couldn't afford to let them know, his career and personal life had suffered enough already, this fragile state would certainly spell his termination from duty.

With a dismissive shake of his head Nathan stood, stared steely his reflection momentarily before tossing on some loose slacks. He needed to go running, it had become his saving grace, now more than ever without Carla to caress and distract him. The vast arboretum was his preferred destination and unlike some others he actually enjoyed running in the rain, it was a soothing place to organise his mind and ready himself for the days challenges ahead.


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