USS Traveller
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A Toll Twice Paid

Posted on Wed Jul 17th, 2019 @ 4:55pm by Lieutenant Chester O'Hamlin & The Narrator

Mission: S1:4: A Murder Of Crows
Location: Sickbay, Morgue

It was a quiet place, as befitted the use. Here the death could find their rest, their final arbitration passed on to some other place if you held with such things. There were few lockers along the room's back wall, as the burden of storage was either passed onto to the cryocrypts of Deck 5 or the bodies were disposed of in the manner provided in their service jackets.

But after the attack, with almost 15% of the crew killed by Reka marauders, the drawers were filled. OUt in the hall, a line of cryocasks had been laid out three deep, each holding a body, each chilling it down to metabolic zero. Except for one. The controls of the casket had been difficult to master, the language barrier being far easier to overcome than the fact the handles had been designed for five fingers, not four. But Kela had opened the casket, a bleating alarm filling the air for a moment.

Her brother, Detus rested within the padded white interior. The puckered burn mark in his chest where the Reka phase staff had touched him frosted with coolant. He could have been asleep. He should have been asleep.


"...dammit," the words left the horned Chadrian's lips as a curse, and her first punched into the wall beside the casket as her face screwed up in anguish. Kela didn't let out a cry as she did it again, the pain of bruised knuckles a pleasant change from the ache in her chest.

At the sound of the alarms, Chet ran to see what was happening. Alarms were rarely, if ever, good. Although, when he spotted the issue, he realized what was happening. It was simple mourning. He couldn't begrudge her that, could he? "You really shouldn't open these," he said gently as he approached. "It preserves the bodies for burial. Or whatever your people prefer."

"I prefer my brother alive," Kella said more harshly than she'd have intended. "Your ship has advanced weapons and sciences, why can't your medicine bring my brother back?"

Chet took a deep breath and chewed his lower lip in thought for a bit. "We may be advanced in engineering and medicine, but we still haven't worked out a way to bring back the dead," he replied gently. "We're clever, but not quite that clever."

"Clever enough to venture up here," Kella said, some heat turning her words bitter. "The pilot, Jolani, told me how you couldn't leave your home galaxy because of some great barrier? But you figured out a way. If you could figure that out, then putting someone back together shouldn't be that hard. Because if its impossible for you, then what the hell are you even doing out here in the first place?"

"I know!" Chet agreed. "I know! It seems so unfair, doesn't it? We are capable of so much, and yet in other areas, we can't do anything at all. I wish I could. By the great bird of the galaxy, I really wish I could, but there are things that are still way beyond my capabilities."

"Then why come here then? Why did your captain fight a Myriad and win us our freedom if he couldn't assure it?" Kella snapped. "He was my brother! I kept him safe for six months on that ship before you're lot turned up. Within a week of being on this ship with you..."

Her voice trailed off, as he eyed the caskets grim contents.

"What am I meant to tell his fathers? My mothers? I took a brother of my family out into space and now..." she made a sound in the throat, something mournful and sharp. "He didn't even want to go. I had to convince him it was an adventure, a once in a lifetime opp..."

“Tell them he died a hero,” Chet replied softly. “That he died fighting alongside allies who would have just as readily given their lives for him if they’d been able to. That his life and his death were honorable and that we shall tell his story for generations to come. I’ll make sure of it,” he promised.

"I don't even know where they are," Kella said, looking up in an attempt to hide the tears in her eyes. "They could be on the other side of the cluster for all I know. Hells the Myriad could control my homeworld by now. And I'm here, losing my self in useless grief."

"Impossible," replied Chet. "There's no such thing. Grief is always useful. It helps us remember lost loved ones and remembering keeps them alive, in a sense. So you grieve. Grieve as hard or as long as you like. And remember your brother. And when you think you're done grieving, come and tell me everything about him."

"I might just hold you to that," she said with a sniff. She looked down at the casket and the still form of Detus. "We got to space, little brother. But I'll get you home sooner or later."


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