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Remembering the Fallen

Posted on Tue Apr 20th, 2021 @ 7:21pm by Colonel Sehan t'Varis & Subcommander Kaiae t'Lien & Centurion Nancy Gable & Lieutenant Rehana t'Shaan & Major Ashley Rogers & Sublieutenant Seira t'Reiza

Mission: Chapter IV: Unravelling the Mystery
Location: Memorial Hall, I.R.W. Ourainavassa
Timeline: 238702.17

Much was on Raven's mind as she entered the memorial hall. She was the first to arrive, and, as the commanding officer, should have been the one leading the proceedings. However, for this first part of the memorial, she had decided to entrust that role to Kaiae and Hatham, the two most senior Romulans on the crew. She herself would be leading the second part of the day, the ceremony to dedicate the memorial that had been set up in the main hydroponics bay, half of which had been converted into a park for the crew to use as a recreational area.

The memorial hall had always been a plain, empty chamber, adorned simply with the ship's banner on the back wall. but now, the first banners to honour the fallen had been hung on the ceiling. And there were not just those of the fallen Romulans, no, the crew had insisted that Gedak and the other non-Romulans would be honoured the same way. She stood under the Ferengi's banner, which she had designed herself. It was fashioned after an old Earth flag, reflecting his love of the culture of the "roaring twenties", its black, red and white stripes reflecting the colours of the suit he had always worn. A row of portraits of the fallen had been erected before the ship's banner, adding a more human element to the proceedings, which was reflective of the crew's diverse backgrounds.

Slowly, she walked over to Gedak's portrait, and placed her hand on the frame. "I miss you, old friend," she muttered quietly, a single tear rolling down her face. "There will never be anyone like you."

Major Ashley Rogers, wearing the dress uniform of a Starfleet Commander walked into the memorial looking uncomfortable and somber. It was never easy to lose a crewmember. It's been a long time since Ash went to a memorial and about as long since she's been in this particular uniform. But she was convinced to wear it and it just made a bad situation worse.

Renee walked in wearing a simple black dress, as nondescript as possible. And she did a double take at the Ashley Rogers in front of her. She had been dealing with a Commander Rogers for the past week or so and she could easily tell this one was not her despite wearing a Commander's uniform. "Ash." she nodded.

"Renee," the Major nodded back.

Renee rolled her eyes as she looked at the Major, "For being a bad ass, you never get this right. May I?"

"What?" Ash asked confused before she realized what Renee was talking about. "Please."

Renee then proceeded to adjust Ash's crooked rank pips, "This must have been hard for you to put on again..."

Ash nodded, "Yeah. I never thought I ever would."

"It still looks good on you," Renee said. "There, fixed."

"Thank you," Ash said as she straightened her jacket. "Ready to say goodbye to Gedak?"

"No, but we have to," Renee sighed.

Rehana tugged at the collar of her black suit. She'd never belonged to the Romulan military, the Federation, or any organization that had a dress uniform, so she'd done some research and figured out that Romulan and Ferengi funeral customs would accommodate an austere black suit. Rehana was a smartass, but she wasn't so rude as to show up to a funeral dressed disrespectfully.

She wandered over to Gedak's memorial. "I'll miss you, you ornery little gremlin," she whispered. "Wherever you are, I hope there's a lot of latinum and pretty Risan ladies."

Arnason and T'Ango arrived side by side. They had not known many of the departed well, but Gunnar had been present at the last moments of three of them and paying respects would be the right thing to do in any case. They were both in dress uniforms. T'Ango in Dosadi dress: dark blue trousers with a bronze stripe down the leg, calf-high black boots, a white linen shirt laced closed but leaving an opening at the neck to display a beaded necklace strung tightly about the throat with a jeweled warrior's pendant, and a black cloak and long sword had been added for the formal affair. Gunnar wore his old Starfleet dress uniform. He had been given an honorary Dosadi commission, so that uniform might have been more appropriate, but he couldn't help feeling like he looked like an extra from a Three Musketeers holovid in it. He had however conceded to leaving the neck of his uniform shirt open enough to show a beaded necklace strung tightly about the throat with a jeweled pendant at the center.

They walked slowly along the memorials, pausing a moment longer at each of the two Romulans Gunnar had watched slip from this world. Finally they came to Gedak's flag. T'Ango took his hand, squeezing gently to offer support; he may not have known them beforehand, but every patient lost hurt.

Raven looked up as Rehana stood next to her and chuckled. "Not quite. Latinum, and pretty Risian boys. Our dear Gedak never told anyone except me. He was gay. And most of all, he was a good friend." She had donned the same outfit she had worn for the formal meeting with the Terrans, except that she had donned a black jacket of the same design instead. Losing this many crew had hit her hard. That her oldest associate, and one of her closest friends among the crew, had been one of them, made it even worse.

The Lynn twins entered the hall next. Mila was wearing her Ceran dress uniform again, while Miles had put on a simple, black suit, with his rank insignia worn as a lapel pin, and a silver medal, shaped like a cross, on a yellow ribbon, was pinned to his chest. His girlfriend Sari was clinging to his arm, having swapped her usual overalls for a simple, black dress. The three gazed up at the banners, before standing in the middle of the room with their heads bowed. The crew had become like family to the twins, and the loss of so many had hurt them greatly.

Seira studied Miles for a moment from a distance; and resolved to make a point of meeting the other young pilot...as soon as, perhaps, he didn't have an Orion draped over him. She was learning more about other species and their behavior in the last few months than she had in the last few decades of her life before this; but it didn't change that her first reaction to such a public display was to flush veridian across her cheeks in secondhand embarrassment, and wish the pair saved their display for somewhere more private. Though she supposed it was perhaps extremely restrained, from what she'd heard about Orions. Finally she pulled her eyes away from the pair for now, and back to the wall of images that she assumed were a custom of one of the other species on the ship. Before they had acquired the Ourainavassa even, she had come very close to joining the dead honored here; even as it was, half the crewman who had been assigned to her damage control team that day had banners here, the first losses under her charge as an officer, no matter how young and unseasoned of one.

Nancy arrived in Galae dress uniform, appropriate to the commission she had been given by General Dorvaela. She spotted Kaiae and Hatham preparing off to the side, both in similar dress uniforms, though Hatham's was an older design. Her eyes cast around the room looking for Kaol. If he didn't show for this, there might well be another banner hung in here soon.

Commander Ash Rogers walked in alone and immediately spotted her counterpart having her uniform adjusted by Renee. Was that jealousy that she felt? For herself? She had to admit that the Major cleaned up nicely if she didn't look so damn uncomfortable in a uniform she should be wearing with pride.

Kaol walked in after the Terran and was desperately trying to pace himself so that he didn't have to interact with her. Quite frankly, he wasn't sure which version of Rogers this was... it didn't matter he didn't want to be here and definitely did not want to have to make small talk with a sociopath. But unfortunately, she had stopped her forward progress.

"Kaol, good to see you here," the Commander greeted.

Kaol’s eyes darted back and forth between the Rogers standing next to Renee and the one in front of him, trying to determine which one this was.

"I'm not your Rogers, in case you were curious," the Terran said, seemingly reading the anxious Romulan's mind.

"Thank you for clarifying..." he said.

"You look about as comfortable me over there. What is it with this universe? Take pride in what you've done and honor your dead," Rogers muttered.

Kaol looked at her, afraid if he said anything that she would hit him like Kaiae did... or worse, "He shouldn't be dead."

"But he is. You can't change the past, Doctor. Well you can, but then I get very displeased that I have to go fix the repercussions... you might as well accept it and move on. I hear Lt Arnason has been coordinating with you to improve the medbay. That's the kind of behavior befitting of a doctor," the Terran said.

Kaol perked up, "I find myself enjoying you Terrans more and more."

Rogers smirked, he is definitely as gullible as Arnason said, "Careful, I may take you back with us."

Kaol's eyes widened and he backed away slowly, "It was good talking to you, Commander."

The Terran chuckled to herself as Kaol scampered away.

Kaiae noted Kaol's entry with a moment of relief, honestly; her new rank already felt ill-fitting sometimes, and having to discipline the doctor for disobeying a direct order would have been awkward, especially given the multiple chains of command aboard the ship.

Raven turned to watch the hall slowly fill with lower-ranked crew, as well as her senior officers. Those who had uniforms were wearing them, and the rest had all dressed appropriately for the occasion. She nodded to herself in satisfaction, before walking over to Major Rogers.

"I must say, Ash," she said, with a genuine smile on her face. "That uniform suits you. I mean, it suits the Commander, so I can't see why it wouldn't suit you as well. I have invited our new Terran friends to attend, but the Captain has informed me that they would not want to intrude on the Romulan part of the ceremony. Although she said she would join us for the wake. That's the Viking in her, I guess, never saying no to a good bout of drinking."

The Major shifted uncomfortably, "Don't get too used to it... this isn't me anymore." She looked over and saw the Terran talking to others. "I look like her," she grumbled to herself before turning to Raven, "That's nice of them. Now that we're alone, what do you think of them?"

Raven shrugged. "I am not sure, yet. They are likeable enough, but whether they are trustworthy remains to be seen." She looked around the room. "Mila seems to be making friends with their Captain, Doctor Kaol seems to be getting on well with their Arnasson. It appears as if our crews are working well together. Let's hope it stays that way."

The Major then watched at the Commander made her way over to Renee and they seemed to greet each other amicably.

"I'm not sure if that makes me more or less uneasy," the Major said. "It's still taking a lot of getting to to have a Terran version of me walking around. She seems to be making an effort to fit in, which again... still not sure how I feel about that."

"The correct answer is suspicious," Hatham said, coming up to join them. He lifted a hand. "I know. You think I'm being a paranoid Romulan, but we're all thinking the same." He glanced at Kaol and frowned. "Or at least all of us who took insider threat training every year in the Galae."

Raven nodded. "Good point, and I agree. Having an amiable relationship with them is one thing, trust is entirely another. We need to work together with them, which does require an extent of trust, and being on good terms certainly helps as well. Trust, on the other hand, is earned."

"Hatham, you have my permission to punt the other me out of an airlock if she even looks like she's thinking about something that would be detrimental to this ship and crew," the Major said.

"Her lifespan may be measured in hours, then." Kaiae observed.

The Major raised an eyebrow at her Romulan comrades, "We will just have to learn to live with her disappointment then."

Meanwhile, Renee greeted the Terran as she walked over, before asking "I thought the Terran crew weren't coming."

The Commander shook her head, "They're not. But I was at Tactical when Mr Gedak perished. It's only... appropriate... that I pay my respects. He died in battle and should be honored."

Renee nodded, "That's quite honorable of you."

The Terran smirked, "That's the new nicest thing you've ever said to me. I'm growing on you, aren't I?"

"Are you still trying to flirt with me? At a funeral?" Renee asked, slightly dismayed.

"Is it working?" Rogers smirked.

"No," Renee said definitively as she nodded towards Major Rogers and the other senior officers, "Besides, I'm fairly certain that they're just looking for a reason to toss you out of an airlock."

The Terran turned to the other group, waved, and smiled, "I don't think they'll do it during the funeral. Afterwards, perhaps. I might as well push my luck now."

"I'm not quite that paranoid," Hatham was saying, and noticing the smile and wave, gave a grave nod in reply. "She may last the day. If she behaves."

Gable rolled her eyes slightly. "We don't need any more funerals. And don't you two need to get this one started soon?"

The Major looked to Nancy, "If we jettison her out of the airlock, wouldn't that double as a funeral? Quick, easy..."

"Yes." Kaiae gave a half-nod to Gable, side-stepping the airlock suggestion for the moment with a glance at Hatham as she started towards the area under the ship's banner where they would read the names of the dead, settling earlier on her reading those of the Galae officers and crew, and him those of the crew from the Claw that he had been counted among.

With a firm nod, Hatham moved to her side, progressing to the end of the hall together. Kaiae was the senior officer, so it was for Hatham to begin. He stepped up to the center dias.

"Attention!" he called, drawing himself up as he waited a beat for the crowd to comply. "We have gathered to remember those whose banners have been hung. In the face of danger they stood with us; in the face of death they did not turn from duty. There is no greater honor than to die protecting one's own. They proved their mnhei'sahe with their last breaths." Hatham paused, looking at those in the hall. They weren't all Romulans, but the Romulan way was all he knew. "We say in the Galae 'Live fast, fly high, fight hard, die well.' This they did. Like the Alth'Indor they are reborn in the fires of our hearts. So long as they live in our memories, they live."

"Now they will be named, and remembered." He stepped back, yielding Kaiae to begin.




Following the ceremony at the memorial hall, Raven invited the crew to join her in the hydroponics bay, where a small memorial garden had been set up. Surrounded by flowerbeds with plants from each of the fallen crew's homeworlds, and flanked by smaller versions of the banners from the memorial hall, a large, black stone tablet had been put into the ground, listing the names, ranks, and departments of all those who had lost their lives. On top of the stone was a silver phoenix, taken from the design of the ship's crest. In its claws, the bird held a scroll, with a quote.

"It is foolish and wrong to mourn those who have died. Rather, we should thank our Gods that they lived. - General G. S. Patton"

Kaiae's head tilted sideways ever-so-slightly, considering: The idea of a monument or memorial like this, incorporating a garden around it, was far from foreign to her. The idea of a garden aboard a warbird, however, let alone a smaller, lighter model like a Mogai, was.

"It's not standard, but there is something aesthetically pleasing about it," Hatham remarked, coming up alongside her. "I've heard that out in the country people often hang memorial banners from trees."

"I've heard similar. It is simply...not what one expects to find aboard a warbird. Though, quite elegant." Her gaze wandered towards the plants that were native to their world, somewhat in sorrow. "...Soon to be endangered species."

Raven walked up to the two Romulans. "Thank you for what you did back in the hall. I knew you two would put together a most appropriate ceremony. As to why this ship has a hydroponics bay as large as this? I have no idea. Growing food? Scientific study? Your guess is as good as mine. We've split it into three areas. One is the memorial garden, one is a park to use as a recreational area for the crew, and the third is used as a greenhouse for Miss Hernandez."

Hatham smiled, approving of that last use. "I'd gladly cede some recreation area so Ms. Hernandez could expand her larder."

Renee heard her name and joined the conversation, "I'm sure the crew would love some fresh vegetables from time to time. Just apparently not in stew.... I wonder if I can get our Ash to garden for me..."

Mila couldn't help but giggle when she overheard Renee as she joined the group. "Now that would be a sight to behold. Beautiful memorial, Colonel," she added.

Raven nodded. "Yes, and I think most people are here now, so, shall we begin?"

She walked over to the cenotaph, and turned to face the assembled crew. "Everyone, thank you for coming," she began.

"We have heard the names of those we lost. And we all know some of their stories. And as we repair our ship, and try to fill the holes left in our crew by those who went too soon, our lives will move on. But we will not be the same. Our crew is like a family. It may be dysfunctional at times, but each and every one of us brings something to the table that makes us all better for it. Take Doctor Kaol. Yes, you may have been unable to save the life of Gedak. But, Doctor, ask yourself this. How many others did you save that would have died if you had not been there? Lieutenant Hatham, Major Rogers, you may have lost people during the boarding operation, but did their sacrifice not allow us to retrieve intelligence that will be vital for our continued mission? Lieutenant Rehana, some of your technicians may not have survived the battle, but did their work to reinforce the structural integrity field not save many more lives?"

She held out her arms to her side. "We must not give in to guilt and grief over our failures. Yes, we should learn from them, but we must allow ourselves to move on. As Gedak once said to me, every slip of Latinum lost is a lesson learned. So let us look forward, not behind us. We still have a lot of work to do, and we will save many lives. As the great General Patton once said, we should not dwell on grief over those who we have lost. We should be thankful for what they did for us when they were alive."

The colonel reached behind the memorial stone, revealing a silver trumpet that she had stashed away there. "For centuries, it has been a tradition on earth to play a salute to those who have fallen. And, indeed, Gedak requested this very piece to be played at his own ceremony."

She turned to face the memorial, lifted the instrument to her lips, and began playing Ich hatt' einen Kameraden - "Once, I had a comrade", the funeral tune of Earth's German military forces. When the tune ended, she held the instrument in her left hand, and, with her right hand, saluted in the way of the same military.

Finally, she turned back to the crew, some of whom had bowed their heads as she played, others having mirrored the same salute, or given salutes of their own cultures. "Thank you, everyone. As per Gedak's final request, we will now proceed to the memorial hall. To share memories, stories, and plenty of drink."

 

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