Previous Next

Eating Away

Posted on 07 Feb 2020 @ 1:10am by Senior Chief Petty Officer Mila Rasputin & Lieutenant Commander Joey Geisler

Mission: Sentience
Location: Mess Hall
Timeline: MD 1 || 1600 Hours

Senior Chief Petty Officer Mila Rasputin sat in a corner of the mess hall with a Betazoid blue leaf salad and a glass of tea in front of her and a small jar of jam beside the tea. Neither the tea, nor the salad had been touched, although jam had been added to the tea and dressing put on the salad. Her brown eyes stared into the distance and she could almost see Petty Officer Second Class Mofrich Torg's enraged, Dolmoqour-controlled face contorted in rage as he reached for her.

Again, she saw the cable in her hand and heard the crackle of electricity or whatever the cable had held connected with the Tellarite's body. Again, she smelled the hideous burning scent of uniform and the sentient being that had had hopes, dreams, and had been a valuable member of Joey's team. How had she continued to even be in Joey's presence without telling her that she had been the one to kill Torg? She couldn't stand herself or the secret anymore. She had only told Harvey, perhaps hoping he would tell Joey. Even Aidan didn't know what she had done.

She shoved the salad aside and put her head in her hands, tears once again sliding down her cheek at what she had done and the guilt kept eating away at her.

Now with the ship underway, Joey made her way into the mess hall to grab a quick bite before heading to the gym. Most of the baby weight she'd put on during her pregnancy was gone, but there were a few pounds there she wanted to lose, which meant gym time for her. And while her shift had technically ended a few hours ago, the new Lieutenant Commander was still in uniform with her gym bag hanging from the crook of her arm.

She was about to make her way further into the mess hall when someone in the corner caught her attention. Was that Mila with her head in her hands? And was she crying? She wasn't exactly sure, but there was only one way to find out. Joey made her way toward the table, and realized when she got closer that it was indeed. "Mila, what's wrong?" She found herself asking as she placed her bag on the ground and sat down next to her closest friend.

Mila looked up and jumped back when she saw Joey, her face going pale. "" She tried to make something up, but started crying even harder.

"Mila, honey, breathe," Joey urged her softly, carefully pulling her into a gentle embrace. "What's wrong? Did something happen?"

"I'm sorry," the smaller brunette sobbed and tried to pull away. "I didn't mean to do it! He didn't give me a choice!"

The taller woman blinked. She had no idea what Mila was even talking about, but still felt the need to comfort her regardless. Gently, Joey stroked the back of the Russian woman's head while she held her. "Shhh," she cooed softly. "It's okay, Mila. Just calm down and tell me what happened."

"I..I..he tried to g-grab me and I r-ran into the Jeffries Tubes," Mila stuttered and mumbled as the tears flowed. "I t-t-tried to use one of those S-s-security balls to stop him, bu-bu-but he tore his own hair out and came after me a-again." Her shoulders shook and her words became unintelligible.

The Russian took a deep breath and looked at her sestra with bloodshot eyes full of horror, guilt and sadness. "I killed Petty Officer Second Class Mofrich Torg," she said in a very soft, sorrowful voice and lowered her head, waiting for Joey's verdict on her crime.

Joey blinked again. Of all the things she was expecting to here, that was definitely not one of them. Nine months. That's how long ago it had been since everything with the Dolmoqour happened, and Mila was just telling her she was responsible for his death now? She didn't know what to think. She didn't know what to do. It was a lot to process, but the Intelligence Chief's mind just refused to allow that to happen. Her mouth opened and closed, then opened again. She wanted to say something, but words eluded her.

"I didn't mean to..." Mila sobbed. "I jerked some cables out of the wall and shoved them at him...and...and..."

"Breathe, Mila," the taller woman said as she continued to wrap her mind around what she'd just heard. "Why... why didn't you tell me this before now? It's been... it's been roughly nine months since that happened."

"I c-c-couldn't," the Russian woman stuttered and sobbed. "I kept d-dreaming he was s-still coming after me. For what I did. For what I did to you." The tears flowed freely and she couldn't bring herself to look Joey in the eyes.

It was still too much to take in. A huge part of Joey wanted to shake Mila for waiting so long to say anything to her, but what purpose would that serve? Instead, she brought her hands to the Russian woman's face and tilted it back gently so she'd have no choice but to look at her. "Mila... you need to calm down before you make yourself sick," she ordered, albeit softly. Torg had a Dolmoqour in his head, and Joey knew there was nothing that was going to stop him short of death. Especially with the parasite's lack of ability to feel the host's pain. "You did what you needed to do, because chances are, he would have killed you. The Dolmoqour wanted control of the ship. They wanted to get out of the Zone. And, if doing that meant killing people who got in their way, that's exactly what they were going to do. That's exactly what they did."

"He. He wanted me. To convert me. Because of how close I am being to Harvey," Mila said softly as she tried to look anywhere but at Joey. "I had to stop him but I didn't want to kill him."

"Have you spoken to a counselor about this?" Joey asked.

"Nyet, cannot," Mila said. "Is my burden to be bearing."

"Clearly it's not if it's doing this to you," the taller woman pointed out. She didn't really have any right demanding Mila go see a counselor. After all, she hadn't seen one when it came to dealing with everything that happened, but others processed things differently than she did. And not only that, she'd rather remove her eye with a rusty spike than have to deal with Tivan again. Just thinking that name made her skin crawl. "I think you should talk to someone from counseling. Lieutenant Stewart. Definitely go see her."

"It will not bring him back, and I will never forgive myself," the smaller brunette nearly whispered.

"No, it won't bring him back, but it will lessen the load a little bit," Joey said softly. "You really should talk to someone about what happened if it's been eating away at you like this for so long."

"Do not be getting mad at him, but I have talked to Harvey about it," Mila said. "He is saying that it was not being my fault."

So, Harvey knew about it and didn't say anything to her, either? How long? How long did he know? "It wasn't your fault, Mila, and I've already told you that, too," Joey spoke softly even if she still wasn't quite sure how to feel about all of this. Mila really wasn't at fault, and the Intelligence Chief knew she would have handled the situation the same way had their roles been reversed. However, what upset her was how long it took her friend to tell her. "In that situation, you did what needed to be done, or he might have killed you." And that, was something Joey definitely couldn't have lived with.

"Perhaps he just wanted to convert me and didn't have to die at all," the Russian told her. "I did it all the same."

"And that's certainly a possibility, though, not everyone had the ability to convert. In his case, it was fifty-fifty," Joey explained. She wanted to make Mila feel better about everything, but didn't know if it would be possible. "You can't let it keep eating away at you, though. Talk to a counselor. Talk to anyone you're comfortable with that can help you process things... even if it's not me. Just talk to someone."

"Fifty-fifty is better than no chance at all," Mila countered. "Was my choice to take choice from him."

Joey wanted to pinch the bridge of her nose as a headache began to build. She thought she'd be able to fix things, but this situation seemed pretty hopeless. Maybe she needed to talk to Harvey about ordering her into counseling. It was clear she needed it. "I think he wanted to kill you, Mila, and yes, you took that choice away from him. In that situation, it was the right call to make."

"Whatever he wanted, we'll never know," the Yeoman said.

"I... I'm not sure what else I can say here, Mila," the taller woman said with a frown. She really wanted to help, but they were getting nowhere fast, and seemed to be going in circles.

"Do not be worrying about it, Joey," Mila said as she seemed to rally from some hidden energy reserve. "I will be fine."

The taller woman shook her head. She didn't believe that for a second. "It's been nine months, Mila. If you were going to be okay, you would have been okay already."

"I will consider seeing counselor, but am not making promises. Will have to be good enough."

She couldn't argue with her even if she wanted to. "If you need to talk, reach out, okay? I'll do what I can to help you through this. And, if you aren't comfortable with me doing so, then maybe ask Harvey."

"You are having my promise," Mila told her. "I cannot be living like this."

Joey reached out to hug Mila, speaking quietly. "Remember that I boarded the Chimera over a year ago. My hands aren't exactly clean, and that's something I have to live with every day of my life. The circumstances of that, and what happened with Torg, are one and the same. They were all infected by a parasite... just in very different ways. If I can find a way to live with everything I've done over my career, you'll be able to do the same."

Mila returned the hug and gave a sniffle. "I just wanted to do administrative. Was safest. No danger. Wrong."

After a few moments, she pulled back and took Mila's face into her hands gently. "Sweetheart, I hate to tell you this, but no department in Starfleet is safe. You're going to get through this. It might take a little time, but you will."

"Then I will trust you." the Yeoman said softly. "For I cannot trust myself."

"Do that," Joey said softly as she rose to her feet. "Come on... let's get you home. You can use a shower and a little time to relax. Maybe talk to Aidan about what happened. I know he'll be able to help you through it."

"T-thank you, Joey," Mila said as she got up. "You are very good friend."

"And I'm here when you need me. Come on," she urged softly.

With a nod, the Russian headed out with Joey, hoping that Joey was right.


Previous Next