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Miserable Together

Posted on 05 Oct 2023 @ 1:53pm by Petty Officer 2nd Class Alizabeth Omari & Lieutenant Callisi Veera

3,295 words; about a 16 minute read

Mission: Miranda
Location: Sickbay
Tags: Solace, I Spy, rest, friendship

Laying on the mat wasn't the source of discomfort. Callisi had slept in far worse positions, postures, and precarious places. The mat was pretty soft, compared. One eye closed, the other covered by an eyepatch but by no means inactive, the rabbitess relaxed despite the sounds around. Coughing, complaining, motion. The sputter of the replicator, the clang of medical equipment being placed back on a tray quickly. The empathy in the voice of those speaking to patients. The distance of voices considering options.

The blue dot of that artificial optic spun to glance to Callisi's side, towards her 'bunkmate' as it were. The closest resident in proximity, and admitted at about the same time as her. She didn't disturb, didn't provoke, she just glanced to see if she was awake. Callisi was used to sleeping arrangements like this, but she was not quite used to boredom.

Fever dreams had stopped, mostly, even if the fever was only controlled, not gone. Whatever this was going around, it was... something. She wished the other effects were limited as easily, part of why the fever dreams were lessened was because she couldn't sleep, not without a sedative, this made everything else worse, the delirium, the weakness, the nausea, though she was pretty sure the last was contributed to by the delirium. It was damned hard to not want to throw up when every time you moved the air around you was, at the very least, offering up waves like the floor was over-heated, she didn't even want to think of the at most times, those were things of nightmares, or things she really did not want to think about with all the people around her.

Aliza had been doing her very best to not to stare at Callisi, but it really was hard to not look at her when they were next to one another. It helped that most of the time she kept her eyes closed, even when not asleep, like now. Her lashes covered the gold of her eyes and that decorated the center of her lower eyelid, but it was clear she was not asleep by the fact that her fingers were moving in a pattern, more to just move than anything else.

"The soup is coming around." Callisi offered once she realized that Aliza was not actually sleeping. "Don't want you to miss the chow line." she offered as she slowly moved to sit up ever so slightly. It wasn't BAD soup, but spilling it would make her feel like a child. Sick or not, that's something she wanted to avoid.

Her ears showed signs of a fresh wrap of damp, cool towels. Such an odd sight to be sure, like wrapping up someone's hair after a wash.

The golden skinned woman did not open her eyes to look for said meal coming around. "Oh yay soup, it feels like I haven't had that since the last time I had a fever, oh wait?" It was sarcastic, but somehow even with that there was a warmth to her voice. "All of this would only become better if everyone started singing songs of there people all at the same time."

Rolling the shoulder not on the mat, Aliza placed her hand flat and pushed lifting herself up through effort, letting the waves of sickness roll. Reaching for the ginger that Lou kept her supplied with she placed a piece on her tongue then sighed. "The medical staff have to be utterly depleted."

"I couldn't sing now if you put a gun to my head." the rabbitess clarified, her voice all the proof of that. "But, we have anthems." a smile slowly crept along her features. Her eye opened slowly, and she pushed herself up. "May I?" she motioned to the ginger. She couldn't stand the taste, but it helped.

She looked around at the state of sick bay. "They must be." she offered in response. "Back home, we can't mark or mention our medical staff when they're out in the field. No badges, no different uniforms. Their medical gear is in the same backpack as everyone else, and they're armed. Just like everyone else."

"The enemy would prioritize them." There was something different in Callisi's voice with that. Bitterness. Anger? No, deeper then anger. A hate. Whoever The Enemy was, they earned such an ire that they had a definite. They were THE enemy.

"It's nice to know that here, against civilized forces, medics don't earn that distinction."

"Anyone that tries to start drumming, or playing a loud instrument will be locked in a cabinet upside down," she said with a chuckle, a very, vey soft one that did not shake her body overly much. Making an assumption of what Callisi was asking, but wanting to be certain she nodded her head, "My remedy is yours." As much as she had been using it no longer reminded her of her aunt, but of medicine, there goes that pleasant memory.

With her eyes open her pupils dilated, held too wide for more than they should be, then adjusted. "Honestly? From a tactical perspective I can see the reasoning for both, even if I find the prospect distasteful."

"The Koldaran are brutal and distasteful opponents. They sacrifice anything in the name of victory. Including decency." the rabbitess shook her head gently as she took a piece of ginger, then hesitantly nibbled at it. It almost looked like even her missing eye winced, but the most distateful medicine has the most effective results. "They're vile, from their leadership down to the lowest soldier. We've never encountered non-combatants, but I'd wager even they are... at the least... unpleasant to be around."

"Ask me anything. It'll keep me distracted." she offered. "I'd rather be almost anywhere other than here, sick." she paused, then took a bit of a breath. A shudder. A shiver. Maybe holding back something more emotional.

"On second thought. that can ... that can wait until we're out of here."

"I was going to say, that could probably wait until we aren't surrounded in a place where probably even storage rooms around us are filled with the sick. Who knows how that might affect others," the human said, not put off by the topic, just the location.

Very, very. slowly golden eyes looked around at all the others. "I used to read science fiction books when I was younger, well I read of a lot of anything I could but those specifically, and compare them to what has happened until now. One of the things that I found that I thought was a wonderful idea, and one I thought we were close to, was that most highly infectious diseases worse than a cold or flu would be eradicated."

"Now, as a victim of my own misplaced idealism, I desperately wish for any hobby that I could do laying here." Looking past her neighbor to the room she shuddered as little electronic bugs began crawling over the people all around them.

"I dedicated myself to athletics when I was a child. I ran, I played, I played running, I wanted to be a pilot or a Kinetic star. I didn't have time for other distractions. Romance novels, fiction writing... I passed them up to focus on what I wanted for a career. Now, I catch up on everything I missed."

"Hobby, hmm?" the rabbitess gave a thought. "The Ministry of Reporting brought to my attention, something that begins with the letter..... P."

Aliza smiled, "I did anything I could to stay active, have to stay out from underfoot when you have more than a handful of siblings. I still run, hike, climb mountains in the holodeck, and go to the gym at least once a day. Twice if I am working through something in my head." She stretched her neck back and forth and focused, intently on Callisi, "Books came to entertain me when I had to stay in the shop. Mother would find copies of rare literature, she would say not a single speck of knowledge is wasted, especially in negotiations for better prices, I was one of the tactics, if people had really tried to know our family, she would know that they were serious about doing business."

Pausing for a moment to pick up on the thread of what was said, "For my life I wish that answer was a PADD in my hands but..." she looked around slowly. "A patient," using the most obvious first.

Callisi turned to return Aliza's glance. "The Ministry recognizes your diligence, and awards you the office of Inspector." she offered with a soft smile, the most she could handle right now.

"I found a lot of books that piqued my interest after my accident. Tales of fantasy from our time on the homeworld, legends and mythology. Hard to read modern science fiction when there's an entire department devoted to making fiction reality at the Emperor's whim." she rolled a bit to get slightly less uncomfortable.

"Do I get a special prize? Like maybe a suddenly discovered cure?" Letting her head fall forward slightly, it was suddenly a bit to heavy to keep up for long.

Picking up another piece of ginger while her cheeks puffed out in a long exhale. "I liked mythology studies, read some fantasy, but I never knew what I was looking for other than keeping my mind busy when my body couldn't be. It was only later that I really enjoyed the research aspect of other people's imaginations. I can certainly understand the last. Do you think that department ends up wanting to collectively throw something against a wall when the hand of the fates sneaks past their planning just to jumble a massive flaw in what they designed?"

"No. It just means it's your turn to see something." Callisi offered. Who didn't know how to play Ministry Reporter?

At the end, though, she either chuckled or scoffed. Hard to tell when you can only do the motion once. "Researchers in the empire call it Adhesive Research. Whatever sticks." she shook her head, "I could never live like that. Guessing, trying... failing." she rolled back to look at the ceiling quickly, perhaps a bit too quickly. Her good eye shut, and the posture she held was obvious that there was pain involved. No purge, just discomfort.

"..... I apologize." she managed after a moment, "It's passed. Yes. I think every species has a different word for it. When you're frantic for answers and everyone is counting on you."

Aliza was not being very creative in the moment, "The Ministry of Reporting brought to my attention, something that begins with the letter..... U"

"I am not the most comfortable at failing either," she offered with a hint of irony, "not making light of what you just said, or saying I understand how it feels for you, just empathizing in the small way I can. It is why I go around with my head stuck in my PADD when not having to be attentive to the Captian, soon I hope, or another reason. My mind tries to prepare for anything, then I hope I have at least a little handle on how I should move forward when something, unexpected happens. Yes, I am the cliche of expect the unexpected, though I did not expect where we are now at all. And nothing prepared me for this."

"Honored inspector, is a Uniform what you see?" Callisi responded with the best answer she could figure. Not a lot of diversity. "I... I've never been comfortable with failure." She turned her head to cough a few times. The soup was brought over. Thin, watery, simple.

"I couldn't settle for mediocre. It didn't win games, and it would do in the navy. Especially as a pilot." She grew quiet. Perhaps tremendous a particular event, one she may still blame herself for.

"Thank you. Conversation is a lost art."

Aliza smiled and repeated the response as Callista had, "The Ministry recognizes your diligence, and awards you the office of Inspector."

"It is an art handed down through generations. My family has been merchants as long as we have kept records. Merchants that can't talk with others can't really do the best by their goods and won't keep customers. Or so my mother says." She shrugged a little as the soup service grew closer. "It is partially why I am suited to my new job. Hard to deal with all those that need to see the Captian if I avoid listening to the problems they may have."

"Mother passed two years after she gave me a sibling. Father used to tell us stories of the things she did, so that we'd never forget her. She's the reason I push myself so hard."

A smirk, "She'd have this illness kicked. Radish soup, and it would be over. At least that's something about travel, a surprise around ever corner." she quipped. "Father was always good with math, something my brother and I both inherited. He's much better at it than I am."

"And yes. It's hard to deal with problem if you avoid the sources. Your diligence will be rewarded." a pause, "Hopefully with that miracle cure."

Tipping her head as she listened, then verrry slooowly she raised it again realizing what a mistake that was. "I am the youngest of six. My mother sounds like yours though, she would already have pushed everyone in medical to the best efficiency, not that they aren't already, and she would have trade ships bringing in every possible remedy she could find. Then she would chide me for lying around. My aunt would appear behind her, wink and then hold my hand and wipe my brow as my mother went off to organize the healing effort."

"My father is a gentle soul, but his true love is music. Most specifically jazz music that started way back on earth." The yeoman smiled wistfully at the thought of him, "He was our artist, mother was our organizer and they love each other to distraction."

She wished she could move more, even talking she rarely held still. "We will see. Each Yeoman has to find the best way to support the Captain, at least ours doesn't seem to be opposed to my working with him. Of course I have yet to remind him that he needs to eat, drink and sleep to serve us best. Hard to do that from sick bay. I don't even know if he is sick himself."

"Father never remarried. He lost his world, but he kept afloat with my brother and I.." she paused to sip at her soup, then continued. "Rural families back home are vast. Some around nine or ten members. Though, they operate farmland, or need many hands to do the tasks assigned to them. Urban families tend to be smaller. Hence, just my brother and I."

"Father's love was numbers. He'd teach my brother and I that there was a pattern to everything. Not just that two followed one but how and why. Numerical sequences that existed all around us. Math was his magic, his paint to color the world. His art."

"My brother picked it up instantly. It took me going through my Three to learn math to that extent." she paused, and turned her attention to look over at her. "You will do a commendable job in your duty. Of that, I have no doublt. Rest and recover. This will pass." a pause, "And I'm certain the Captain will be the last one to be relieved of this infection. They'll demand everyone be cured first."

Aliza took a deep breath, "My aunt laughed and says she is a spoiled dilettante. She travels, finds places that she thinks my mother would like to trade with, makes the first overtures and brings back samples of the wares. She always had something for the children when she would return, then she would stay a time. I am the only one with her wanderlust, or the lack of desire to be in the family business at least."

"Hopefully when they find our cure they will make a vaccination to follow shortly after so those that did not get will not. I do not recommend this as a way to get rest at all." She smirked enough that it could be heard in her tone, "Pleasant company not withstanding, and getting to know you, I would much rather we did in in another way."

"Consider then that the only way our next meeting can go is up." the rabbitess offered in humor. "We'll joke about this for our entire tour together. 'Remember when everyone got sick?' will be our inside joke. Every tour needs one." she offered. "During my last tour during my Three, we had a rookie so fresh behind the ears he put his boots on the wrong feet." she turned her head to cough a few times, before turning her attention back, "We reminded him which foot was the right foot for his entire time with us." she paused, remembering the rest of his story. Now was not the time. Her conversation partner made a mention that made her softly smile, "Then when this is behind us, we'll meet up and laugh. Pleasant conversation."

There was a desperate wish from the chocolate skinned woman that they were next to a wall, having something to lean her head back against would probably help steady her. “May the fates see it so and soon.”

“Did you mark his boots or change the color of one to the other? That is what my Mother would have done. Again, please remember she is an organizational savant, after my brother put the wrong item he was responsible for in the shop in the wrong storage locker a few too many times she set the lockers all lock when he entered the room but the one, and put a vid device on the correct locker that called to him by name, loudly, repetitively, every time he entered the storage area. Not only did it teach him to pay attention to the details, it taught all of us because it was so annoying.” A very small chuckle escaped at the memory.

"We left his boots untouched. Though they were never heel to heel when he woke. One would be on one side of his bunk, and the other on the other. Everyday fof just about three years, he'd wake up, roll out, lean one way to get one boot, then get up and go around the entire bunk to get the other. He couldn't keep them proper, so every morning he'd wake up with them pre-sorted." the memory prompted a soft smile. "He survived. Young too, signed up for his Three the day after his birthday. Old enough to serve, but too young to know his feet." she smiled again, a little more prominent. Or maybe it was a grimace from something. Hard to say.

"Might be time to try to get some more sleep."

Looking to the soup coming to the people closest. “At least they make it with more broth than solids now.” The Yeoman lifted a shoulder, becoming more pale as the the scent carried to them now. “Thank you, talking helps ground me, and the focus on all that I am assuming is unreal, reminding me I am not losing control of my mind.”

"I appreciate a good conversation as well. Reminds me of all the better parts of home. I'm sure we'll have plenty of time to talk, considering the comfort level." Callisi offered before she settled in for what would amount to an attempt to get some sleep.


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