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Cmdr. Evan Merlin | A Cry for Help

Posted on Mon Oct 28th, 2019 @ 10:13pm by Commander Evan Merlin

Mission: Dust Stirring
Location: Cold Station Theta
Timeline: SD 241910.28


It didn't happen often that he actually craved sleep. In fact, for a humanoid he slept remarkably little, and often when he did he felt a bit drowsy at most. But now he felt tired. More than tired. Exhausted was probably a better description.
He walked through the corridors of the station, deserted at this time of night. What was closer, his office or his quarters? His quarters, he decided at last, and found that he had stopped when he pondered the question. He was leaning against one of the bulkheads. On impulse, he placed both hands against it and closed his eyes.

It was

as if the whole weight

of the station

came crashing down on him

and all his filters and shields just disappeared.

A multitude of voices, fragments, some familiar, some not: "…the quality of this gagh is disgusting. I don't see how we can possibly serve this…" "Spectal analysis of the star would indicate that…" "…was so scared last night, I couldn't even *breathe*" "Explore the arboretum, maybe have a little swim?" "… The station shouldn't have to live in fear."

With a gasp, he wrenched his hands free from the bulkhead and staggered back, to the middle of the corridor. This, he realised after taking a few ragged breaths, was one of the corridors which boarded the outside of the station – in fact, it was one of the few which had actual windows placed where people could watch outside. Was that important? Maybe.

But for that one moment, the station itself had felt alive, and that last phrase still echoed through his mind: "The station shouldn't have to live in fear." Whoever had said it (and he had the feeling that if he could concentrate one moment longer he'd know who it was) hadn't meant it literally, of course. But right now, it seemed, it felt as if it was, as if the station itself was alive, found one voice and a means to reach out to him.

Why him? Well, of all the questions that was the easiest one. Wasn't he, when all was said and done, the station's CO? Yes, Sector Command was stationed here, and the Admiral who lead it, and Commodores were seen here regularly. But he was the station's commander, the one ultimately responsible for her safety and for the safety for everyone who lived here.
And the station was afraid.

He took another deep breath, released it slowly, ran one hand through his wild hair. Then he deliberately stepped forward again and placed his hands in the same spot. He closed his eyes.

There it was again. Not as strong as it had been the first time, and the cacaphony of voices were now softer than a whisper. The station had talked to him before, now she was listening.

"I'm sorry, my dear," he whispered. "I wish I could promise you it'll be alright, but I can't. There's something rotten here and I don't know what it is. And until I do, I can only react, not kiss and make it better. But I'll try. You know I will." There seemed to be a sigh, from very very far away. "You know I care for you," he continued. "And if anyone wants to harm you or anyone who lives here, they'll have to come through me. And that is something I can promise."

Another sigh, even fainter than the first, and then the presence left him… but not completely. He knew he'd always be aware of it, just like he was aware of the sounds of the station, tiny sounds like the hum of machinery and electricity which felt like heartbeats to him.

He gave the bulkhead a few gentle pats before he started walking again. Strangely, he felt a lot calmer now, though still incredibly tired.

There was another sound, one he heard with his actual ears, not with some inner ear planted deep inside his mind. He stopped again, turned around to locate the source. It seemed to come from ahead, and down… A few more steps lead to the entrance to one of the station's smaller tubes, and when he opened it, a tiny black ball of fluff leaped out towards him. Reflectively, he caught it. It snuggled against him and began to purr.

With one hand he cradled the little creature against his chest, the other one he used to close the entrance again. Then he lifted the purring creature up. "This better not be a tribble," he muttered.

A soft mew of protest when it was lifted from its warm spot to be scrutinised, then the purring continued. Bright green eyes looked into his own. No, it wasn't a tribble. It was a kitten, black but for a white spot on its chest and (he saw later) a second one on its belly. "Where did you come from, little one?" The words ended in a yawn. "Never mind that," he added when he could speak again. "I'll give you some food and water and we'll see if we can find your owner tomorrow, okay?"

The kitten snuggled back against him and purred even louder.

In his quarters he placed a pillow on the ground for the kitten, replicated some cat food and water in a bowl, then staggered to his bed. He was asleep before he'd even properly hit the pillow.

Five minutes later, the kitten jumped on the bed and settled in himself. He closed his eyes and fell asleep, still purring.


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