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The Crucible

Posted on Thu Sep 13th, 2018 @ 10:34pm by Captain Shran dh'Klar & Commander Jonathan Grayson & Lieutenant Commander N'Sachzny P'Glosho & Lieutenant Commander Estella Stratton & Lieutenant Samantha Howard

Mission: Ojnas Peace Challenge
Location: USS Washington
Timeline: Current

Estella waited until Jon and Sachzny were beamed up to retrieve the phaser and alter its settings. Her hands shook as she held the weapon. Still trembling, she holstered it and pressed her comm badge. Words were hard. Her tongue was dry and rubbery. Somehow she managed to keep an even tone when informing the Captain. She offered her apologies too before making her own way to the transporter to return to the Washington and sickbay.

The Andorian stood stoically as he considered his next actions carefully. He was like a father that had been given information about his adult children and now had to decide what the best coarse of action was. Some might think that sort of thought silly, as he was referring to himself and his officers in familiar tones, but while he kept such thoughts to himself, that was the reality in his mind. Finally, after hearing what Estella had told him and telling her he would beam up shortly, he now needed to do what he considered the right and necessary thing to do...he had to speak with Sachzny's biological father and inform him of the situation. He only hoped that when he got back to the ship, that he wasn't too late.

Having come to a decision, he walked out of the private area he had been standing in to take the communique from Estella and catching Sachny's father in his gaze, slowly and deliberately made his was towards the Ojnas. "They have found her and taken her up to the ship. It would appear that your daughter was in much greater mental and emotional peril than I would have believed possible. I am going to return to the ship, and if you wish, I think your daughter could use having you there to reassure her that things are not as desperate as she might believe."

Mozztar turned to face Shran, "I know Envoy, I suffered with her as she slipped from this world into one of confused madness". He bowed to Shran, "My gratitude to you, I would indeed wish to help my daughter". He went to move but then stopped, "Who is Jon? And why does my daughter refer to him as brother? Is there something between them?" He looked around for the Grand defender but he had left for the home ship, he shook his head. " Kashzir must inform our people of the treaty, I will inform him from you vessel if you have no objection".

Shran shook his head. "No objection at all." Shran hit his comm badge and called for transport. He looked back to Mozztar, " Commander Grayson, my First Officer. I believe he and Sachzny are rather close, though I dare not speculate beyond that." As he finished his statement, the two dematerialized in a blue haze, returning to the Washington.

The Counselor had lingered a few moments at a reasonable distance from sickbay. Her thoughts on Sachzny and the phaser that her Ojna friend had been holding when she and Jon had found her. The situation had become quite delicate. Although it pained her, Estella was going to have to find a way to communicate her concerns to the Captain as well as Samantha. Sachzny's condition was beyond physical. Some emotional damage had been done and it had had some serious repercussions.

** Sickbay**

Jon had arrived in Sickbay with Sachzny in his arms, Instantly the doctors and nurses took her from him and began to work on her. For his part Jon moved numbly out of the way but continued to stay close. He wouldn't leave Sachzny, not now when she so desperately needed to feel a part of belonging. His jaw was clenched tightly closed as emotions warred and all he wanted was to put things right again. *Sachzny, my sister. Fear not, you are part of my and Essie's family. Part of the Washington family. You belong here, your place is here with us that love you. Now you get better so we can go and get some vanilla milkshakes."

Dr Samantha Howard span on her heals the instant the transporter beam released the two crewmen, instantly in action with tricorder in hand. Within moments they had Sachzny on a biobed and resting comfortably, although it was apparent after some basic investigating that it was more her mental state that was the problem. Still she needed to know exactly what had happened.

" Jon.. a moment if you could" She indicated towards her office, a small glass shrouded island in the middle of sickbay..

Jon looked at Samantha as she gestured towards her office. He moved woodenly towards it, his gaze drifting to Sachzny as she lay on the biobed surrounded by nurses who scurried around her, taking readings along with scans all in the hopes to find what was wrong with her.

Entering the small office Jon stopped and looked to Samantha so she could ask her questions.

"She's going to be fine Jon, we'll get to the bottom of whatever's going on, although we may need the assistance of the counsellor in the future" Sam reassured, placing a comforting hand on the Commander's shoulder.

"In order to help her though, I need to know exactly what happened before you found her? Was she exposed to anything? Was there an emotional trigger? Anything you can think of could help" She started.

Jon shook his head, His eyes haunted, "No she wasn't exposed to anything. There was an emotional trigger." He admitted. "It was me Sam. This is all my fault. I got mad at her when she went off on a mission and didn't tell me." His body shook as he remembered what he said, "I told her we weren't friends. I pushed her a way." The anguish in his voice unmistakable. "I ruined her shining moment. She thinks she doesn't belong here. She doesn't understand I was just mad, thinking of myself and my feelings and I reacted in anger. She wanted to share this moment of happiness for Ojnas and I spoiled it. What kind of friend am I?"

"You're a human friend, and sometimes we say and do things in the heat of the moment that don't serve us very well. It's human nature"Sam tried to ease the situation a little "I have given her a mild sedative, something to calm her without putting her to sleep. You could try talking to her and explaining the situation, perhaps that would help?" She suggested with an encouraging smile. "It's never to late to mend fences, even if the horse had bolted. It always comes home for feed time"

Jon listened in silence as Samantha offered words of solace. When she had finished he looked at her, gratitude in his eyes. "Thanks Sam. That sounds like a good idea. I'll try that. It certainly can't hurt." He paused and tilted his head at her, "You know you make a pretty good counselor."

" Let's just say some of those skills are a required trait in my profession" Sam smiled warmly before gesturing towards Sachzny " Go...she needs you"

Jon nodded again, turned and left the office to return to Sachzny's side and hopefully help his friend recover and ease his guilt.

Deep within her mind Sachzny watched everything that happened, but still she couldn't tell anyone how she felt nor why she was now in this state. Jon seemed to be talking to her, but his words were muffled indistinct. She followed the Doctor and remembered how the pair of them had stood in this place as all those scans were taken, how ironic that it now seemed it was she who was to benefit. Would she benefit? Could she find her way back from this malady?

Jon approached Sachzny's bed, pulled a chair up to it and sat down. Quietly and without a word he took her hand in his, gave it a gentle squeeze. Then he leaned forward, his lips at her ear and began talking to her in whisper only she could hopefully hear. He talked of their time together on the Avalon and how happy he was to find she was here on the Washington as well. Talked of their love of vanilla milkshakes. The ordeal they went through with one of her countryman. He told her he knew she was a fighter. Finally he talked of what a good, close friend she was and how much he valued her being his friend and being in his life. That he would be lost without her in it. He told her he hadn't meant what he said. He had been angry and selfish, only thinking of himself. He didn't want her to leave, this was her home and she was part of not only the Washington family but his as well. He didn't ask her to forgive him as he couldn't forgive himself. He finished by resting his head against hers, maybe she could feel his thoughts know how sincere he was as well as sorry for causing her so much pain.

She could hear him, she could see him. She wanted to hold him, but her body wouldn't react. Her mind remained closed and cold to stimulus. As their heads touched a flash burned bright in her consciousness, deep within her subconscious she screamed for him to hear her.

Jon jerked his head back as if burned he looked at his friend still lying unmoving on the bed. "Sachzny?" He whispered as he placed his head back against hers, hopefully he could connect with her and lead her out of the darkness and back into the light and her proper place in his life and all the lives she had touched here on the Washington.

***Transporter Room***

Shran and Mozztar materialized on the transporter padd. Walking off Shran did his best to remain calm in what was increasingly becoming a very tense moment. It was ironic that it wasn't the peace talks that caused the ruckus, but rather events after the fact that had no true bearing on the peace talks but had such a huge potential impact for the Washington. Looking back to Mozztar the Andorian kept his voice even and as emotionless as he could, "I know you must contact your vessel, but perhaps you'd like to visit sickbay first to check on your daughter. I know if I were in your place and it was one of my children, that is what I would prefer."

Turning to Shran, Mozztar bowed. "Thank you Envoy, am I to be trusted to be on my own or will someone accompany me?" He smiled as he spoke, he had read that Humans use humour to mask their concern and so thought he to should do so. But truth to tell Mozztar had grave worries, he had followed his daughter's slide into this black hole of despair and even he could see no way out of it.

"I will go with you" replied Shran. "I would be in dire straits if anything happened to your daughter. She is quite vital to me." Shran hoped his answer would suffice without being too over the top. He slowly began to lead the way to sickbay.

Shran's answer surprised Mozztar, "Envoy, it sounds as if my daughter has a new home here. Does she also have a new family? Could this Jon be part of that new family?" He followed Shran and looked at everything, "This vessel is larger than one of our Eulges class vessels, Sachzny would be unable to leave this unexplored. She was in command of an Eulges class when she left, it had a crew of 36". He waited to see if Shran would react to the news that Sachzny was in fact the same rank as himself, the Humans seemed to react to things of that nature differently than an Ojnas would.

Shran nodded as he listen to Ojnas speak, taking in the information but showing little in return of emotional tells. "I am not surprised to hear that she commanded a vessel for your people. I have found her to be a valuable officer, so much so that I made her my Second Officer, which makes her third in command of this vessel. To be honest, doing that piqued the interest and the ire of quite a few people at the time, but then I have always been a bit unconventional when it comes to my command decisions." The Andorian thought for a moment regarding the relationship questions asked. "A new family? Hmm...I suppose you could say she has indeed gotten a new family. As to where everyone fits in, that I cannot say."

The Counselor had hesitated to approach the Captain. And with good reason as she wasn't sure how to approach Mozztar. Sachzny's deteriorating condition and the emotional strains that had led up to it left Estella at an impasse. Hard as it was, especially with the talks of peace being achievable, she decided to address her concerns rather than hide them. Seeing Shran and Mozztar Estella walked up to stand beside them as she took a moment to collect her thoughts and gather her courage.

Noticing the Human female, Mozztar turned to her. "You are the Human sister my daughter has feelings for, but you seem as conflicted as she. Is there a problem you wish to share?" He hadn't impeached Estella's mind, but had read her emotional state as she approached. Glancing about he now spoke quietly to Estella, "Tell me honestly, how do you find my daughter? Is she enjoyable to know?" Mozztar's English wasn't correct, but the language wasn't top of agenda at this time.

Estella wished things had been different. That she'd urged Jon to talk to Sachzny sooner. Perhaps if she'd been more persistent Sachzny wouldn't have.... But there was no going back. "I am, and have been blessed to call her friend. Sachnzny is like a sister to me." The Counselor replied without wavering though she could barely speak in more than a whisper. Her gaze went first to Shran then to Mozztar. She straightened. Her hand moved slowly to go to her belt. "There is something I need to tell you." Estella removed Sachzny's phaser from the belt at her waist. "This was in her hand when Jon and I found her." She paused as her voice had begun to crack. "It was set to kill."

Staring at the weapon Mozztar shook his head, "To contemplate that action, is forbidden in Ojnas society. More so for Sachzny, as she was P'som Tee. They considered it shameful to take your own life, a Ojnas family would never claim a body of those who died at their own hands". He looked at the floor and then to Shran, "Envoy please forgive my daughter, but I now have conflict in what to do now". He took a deep breath and then spoke, "Envoy where is the bridge, I must inform the Grand Council of this". Mozztar now displayed deep shame, at his daughters actions.

Shran listened and took in this new information and managed to continue to not outwardly show emotion. "Mozztar, I can understand you reacting in this manner, but if you will, as one father to another, I think the best action to be taken at this point is for you to be by your daughter's side. She is obviously in great turmoil and needs to know that she is not alone as she struggles past this incident. I know that may not seem logical, that my words might go against your traditions, but as a parent, sometimes you must put aside traditions to do what is best for you child. I humbly suggest this is one of those times."

Estella made a similar plea. "Please reconsider. Sachzny has sacrificed so much already." It took everything in her not to outright say what she thought or felt. Traditions while they had their place should never come before family. Sachzny had acted in the interest of her people and the Counselor feared that if her Ojna sister pulled through that her father's actions would fall like a killing blow.

Glancing between both Shran and Estella Mozztar seemed confused, "Surely you do not condone such behaviour? As an Ojnas I find it abhorrent, as a father I feel as if I failed my daughter in some way". He continued to look at the crew of the Washington, but their faces remained the same. "How can I, a member of the council, accept this?" He seemed unable to understand just what was happening, the Humans didn't understand his peoples reaction to this betrayal.

Shran shook his head. "I don't condone this sort of thing, but you can't worry about cultural norms at a time like this. Tell me Mozztar, what is more important at this moment, informing your people about this incident or being with your daughter and ensuring her safety?" The Andorian waited apprehensively for a reply.

Mozztar stood and looked at Shran, "My daughter is of an age where her actions reflect upon her and her family, but as a father I can not abandon her. I am not heartless Envoy, but I'm failing to understand why she would resort to this. Her mental state is one of utter confusion, as if she has been exiled into oblivion and lived alone. Why would she think in this way?" He looked at Estella, "Do you have an answer? You who claim to be sister and what do you say.........Friend. Just what is a friend? Is it like family?"

Estella met and held Mozztar's gaze as she pondered what she should say. "Sachzny made some personal sacrifices to obtain peace." The Counselor began, trying to be direct while not betraying her Ojna friend's privacy. She gave a small nod in response to Mozztar's inquiry. "A close friend is much like family. Sometimes our bonds are stronger than those of our blood relations. We share in each other's successes and joys, just as we do in our sorrows and failures. It is a sacred trust. When broken it can wound just as deep." She was not sure she had said enough. There were cultural gaps that she was not sure how to cross. To take one's life was a mortal sin. She would not argue that, but to utterly shun or condemn someone who had lost their way after feeling alone for so long... she simply could not condone. "I sense she's felt alone for some time. Forgive me if I speak out of turn, but..." Estella paused again before speaking once more and chose to speak her mind. She'd held back long enough. "While I do not condone her wish to end her life, Sachzny has acted on her own behalf and for those of others at great personal cost without anything to gain. To strip her of honor would be an insult to her."

Shran listened to the words the counselor spoke, hoping they might fit the situation better than anything he might say. He understood Mozztar's feelings in regards to Sachzny, the concept of family honor and the impact an adult child has on the family in that regard. It was a concept far more at home with him than with the humans, who didn't view it the same way. It was a very Klingon concept, something the Andorians as a more warrior type race believed in as well. "I don't have an answer for why Mozztar. In some ways you species and mine are quite similar, and I fully understand how important honor is to you and your family and why this looks so bad. I am unsure if the humans can fully understand it the way you and I do. But I think that your daughter has simply run into a cultural wall that she could not comprehend and as such fell into herself rather than seeking out the assistance of those that care for her. Humans are an enigma at times to understand, a jumble of contradictions wrapped in emotions that express themselves in strange ways at times. I am certain that we can figure this all out and correct this situation, including saving your family honor if we try. Please, let us proceed to sickbay and see how you daughter is at this time." The Andorian moved his arms in a gesture to show that he wished for them all to now proceed down the corridor.

Estella's words had barbs, and Mozztar now felt them sting. "Sachzny's honour is hers to lose or regain, but I will never strip her of it. My pride for what she has become, is beyond what you can imagine. But this slide into confusion and madness was not self induced, some outside influence has pushed her there. Perhaps she tried too hard to become more Human in her thoughts and habits, or she had formed an emotional bond which has been or will be severed causing her mental hurt". He turned and walked down the corridor speaking as he went, "If you know to what I refer, I suggest you might speak with the object of her affection. for only that object can reach her and bring her back from the brink of the blackness which now envelope her".

Shran stood before the door to sickbay, the door still closed. He had a look upon his face that made you immediately know he was piecing things together, but you would never know everything he had discovered. He was positive hearing Mozztar's words and having listened to things Estella had said previously exactly what the likely cause was, but the cause wasn't at fault for this, he was, and he knew it. He would not throw a subordinate to Mozztar to chew on at this point, even though he knew it might be the best way to placate the situation. "I take complete blame for the situation then" he said matter-of-factly. "I ordered her to do whatever it took to ensure this peace process went smoothly on the Ojnas side. We had negative events in the past with the more militant fanatics of your race and I wanted her to pacify them, by any means. This task obviously was a great strain on her, and for that, I can offer you myself if it makes things better. As for Sachzny, I am certain that Dr. Howard and Estella here will collaborate and come up with a means to bring her around and treat this great weight effectively. That said, please, take a moment to go inside and be with your daughter. I will wait here to give you a bit more privacy, and then we can go to a communications terminal so that you can contact your people."

Shran focused very hard to push for his telepathic center to respond. Sending a message to a nontelepath was difficult for him, considering his rather limited telepathic ability. He hoped Estella was getting the message. 'Keep Mozztar and Jon separated.' As he watched Mozztar and Estella walk into sickbay, he could only now hope that things would be alright.


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