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Last Duty

Posted on Mon Apr 12th, 2021 @ 2:48am by Subcommander Kaiae t'Lien & Centurion Nancy Gable & Lieutenant Kaol Ralaa

Mission: Chapter IV: Unravelling the Mystery
Location: Ourainavassa, Medical
Timeline: 238702.17

The perfectly-arrayed dress uniform with medals and award ribbons, the tight topknot of braids of hair, none of it did much to disguise the subtle veneer of exhaustion that had begun to settle in over Kaiae's face the last few days since the battle; what time had not been spent surveying the wounded or working with Hatham on preparations for the memorial or work on their other plans had been spent mostly with other duties, and only to a small degree on sleep. Still, she'd gone far longer before; and suspected the overall circumstances themselves more to blame than anything else.

The scene that greeted her when the doors to the medical bay swished open was rather more orderly than before, and less full; she hoped this meant more personnel had been released back to their quarters, rather than the alternative.

Gable was, unusually for her, similarly attired in Romulan dress uniform in preparation for the memorial, though a lab coat was thrown over it while she was still working. Spotting the officer and noting the weariness about her, and the simple fact that she had come to medbay of her own accord, she headed over. "Kaiae, is there anything you need?"

"Nothing that should take much time; just a status update on my people." Though, if any further deaths among the Galae officers and crew had occurred in the last day, there would be no time to fashion anything for today's ceremony; they would have to hold a smaller event later.

Nancy nodded, understanding. Kaiae was the senior Romulan of the transferred Galae crew, or at least the person who had taken on the responsibility as such. "No, and I don't expect any more." She glanced around, lowering her voice. "There's only one Romulan here I'm truly concerned about. Dr. Kaol does not seem inclined to attend the memorial."

Kaiae's left eyebrow climbed a bit. "Are there that many critical patients still; that he feels he cannot be spared?" The scene around them was fairly sedate to her eyes; though she was far from a medical officer herself.

"No. If there were, I'd be staying," Nancy said flatly. "Gedak died on his table, and while he's still blaming everyone else, he also says he can't show his face at the memorial. Maybe you can get through to him?" It was said in a tone that conveyed 'God knows he won't listen to me'.

There was absolute silence from Kaiae for a long stretch, accompanied by her mouth actually dropping open a bit, stunned into the unschooled reaction. When she came out of it, it was to whirl on the man in question, stalking over to where he was working and giving him no warning before slapping him hard across the face. "...And you find that fact a reason why you wish to avoid attending; rather than a reason why you must?!?" It was the sort of horrified, angry, but most of all completely astonished tone with which a human might have asked if one was raised by wolves; the confrontation of something so antithetical to ones cultural bedrocks or view of the universe that it was nigh-impossible to believe or accept.

Kaol look stunned as he processed what just happened. He was expecting the slap to have come from Gable but he looked up to see a Romulan dress uniform with Subcommander rank. His mind finally processed who it was and he reached up to rub the sting on his face, "Subcommand Kaiae?" Seeing the displeasure of a fellow Romulan was drastically different than dealing with Gable or Rogers. "With all due respect, ma'am... how can I possibly be there knowing that he died at my hands? That I couldn't prevent the failures of this ship and medbay from ending his life?"

The slap had been unexpected to Nancy too, though maybe it shouldn't have been - Lord knew she'd wanted to do that, made all the more tempting because she knew that it was allowed for more senior officers in the Galae. But Kaol's reaction confirmed her decision to let another Romulan handle it.

"It was active combat. He died at the hands of the enemy." The firmness of Kaiae's first point led into the more incredulous tone of her second one. "Should you nevertheless feel some responsibility, however, is that how you were taught to handle it? By being too afraid to face it, like a--" Kaiae mentally bit down hard on her instinctive first choice in wording here, as 'Ferengi' would only complicate this. "--small child?"

"I am not a child. Am I the only one that feels any semblance of responsibility for a senseless death? Did you know he died not because of his wounds, not because of combat, but because we couldn't replicate enough blood for him to survive surgery? Am I to go to this funeral, look into the eyes of everyone, knowing that I presided over his death and was helpless to stop it? When if he was literally anywhere else, he would have lived?" Kaol tried to assert himself to the senior Romulan.

"Yes!" Kaiae hissed in emphasis and shock. "If you truly feel a degree of responsibility; you must see to those last duties to him all the moreso! And if you do not--if you feel it was simply the circumstances of things entirely out of your control--then you must move to salvage what control you can, out of simple decency to those in your charge; to do what you can for them, even if it is only a proper end." She could just as easily have been speaking of herself that last bit.

"Or I can continue to do work here so that it won't happen again," Kaol said, confused as to why she didn't understand. "I am here to save lives. Not make appearances to mourn those that have been failed."

Kaiae's fingers twitched at her side; resisting the urge to reach them under her tunic and pull her blade on the man; to challenge his seeming cowardice and his abdication of things he should have learned long, long before he was grown, let alone a lieutenant. "You will attend." The flat, forceful tone made it clear this was an order.

Kaol gritted his teeth, "Is that an order, ma'am?"

Kaiae's fingers twitched even further, actually moving closer towards where she could draw on Kaol--How had the man gotten this far in life or in rank? Whomever had raised him had serious amends to make for...this. "Yes." Kaiae hissed out the emphasis of confirming her order to the surgeon.

"Very well," Kaol said, "I will obey your order. But I would like to let you know that I do not agree with you."

The incredulous look was back on Kaiae's face. Her other hand came a good quarter of the way up, possibly to strike him again for this near-insubordination of a comment; then slowly lowered itself as her voice dropped to an even more flat and forceful one than before. "That is not my problem." She turned away from him without waiting for anything further, gave a courteous, slight dip of her head to Gable, and exited the medical bay without another word.

Gable gave an equivalent incline of her head, mouthing 'thank you'. Left unsaid was that the thanks were less for convincing him and more for the fact that doing so kept her from throttling the idiot. Looking over at Kaol, she said. "Go, get into some appropriate attire."

Kaol nodded quietly. This was not a battle that he would win. The Terran Rogers may be right... perhaps he should just play by their rules. Getting slapped by the ranking Romulan on board was not what he was expecting.

 

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