Starfinder – Iniuriosam Mors
Sergeant Byrnes was drunk. He sat in the chamber that held the torpedo casket that contained Major Shepard’s corpse, draped over by the flag of the UFP.
He had been off duty for an hour, and had not bothered changing from his fatigues. He held a flask of Algerion whiskey in his hand, taking shots from it at random.
He had been crying. He had just gotten off the comm with Major Shepard’s widow, back on New Australia, after getting the Captain’s permission to be the one to break the news to her.
It broke his heart to have to inform a heavily pregnant woman with another small child, that her husband would be returning home…to be buried.
The doors to the chamber opened suddenly and Byrnes saw it was the first officer, Commander Vaihuu, who was accompanied by another woman..a young female Vulcan that Byrnes recognized as Deputy Security chief Valor. He quickly jumped to his feet, dropping the flask which spilled some whiskey on the deck. He stood at attention, embarrassed to be caught drinking here.
“Oh..it’s Sergeant Byrnes.” Vaihuu stated, realizing who the unauthorized person detected by security scanners had read in here with Major Shepard. Vaihuu looked down at the spilled flask.
“Care to explain, Sergeant?” she asked, hands on her hips right eyebrow raised. The other woman had her hands rested behind her her phaser in her belt and uniform made Byrnes recognize she was with ship’s security. “I uh..was off duty ma’am..and I..had just gotten off the comm with Major Shepard’s wife. And uh..” Vaihuu raised her hand up to stop him.
“I understand Sergeant. Go get some rest, I’ll pretend this never happened.” Byrnes looked down shamefully, cleared his throat and then back up to meet the Romulan woman’s eyes.
“I’d like to stay here with the Major a little longer, ma’am if it’s all right with you?” Vaihuu nodded slowly. “Just make sure you clean that off the deck, Sergeant. If you need someone to talk to, come to my quarters, okay?” She said sympathetically.
She had not known Major Shepard long, but she recognized the intense loyalty and camaraderie the Macos had for each other.
“Thank you, Commander. Will do.” He replied, as Vai walked out, the young Vulcan woman remained, looking at Byrnes without any discernible emotional expression, typical Vulcan. But what Byrnes could not help noticing was how strikingly beautiful she was. He had met her when he came upon her being helped by Jem’Hadar freeing her from debris during the attack by the Tholians. “Well, this was embarrassing”. He said to Valor, as he pulled a hand cloth from his fatigues cargo pocket, wiping up the spilled drink from the deck plating.
“There is no need to be embarrassed, Sergeant. From what you described, it is logical for you to still be grieving the loss of your commanding officer. And friend, from what I noted.”
Byrnes sat back on the seat he was on originally, taking a swig from his flask, only some had spilled. He looked at Valor, still standing where she was, arms rested behind her back.
He raised his flask in a gesture to offer her some. “I must decline” she said politely. “I am still on duty.” Byrnes nodded and took another swig, sighing. “You don’t have to stay. I’m sure you have other things to do while on duty.” He said to her.
Valor looked at the casket, then to Byrnes before walking to sit next to him, straightening her short uniform skirt, an option that Byrnes was not unhappy the Vulcan had chosen for her uniform bottoms, as he found her legs stunning as the rest of her.
“I have lost friends and family as well. Vulcans are trained to control our emotions through mental disciplines. But we also have a gland in our brains that evolved naturally after practicing this, and it gives us a natural advantage at doing so.” Byrnes chuckled as he took another drink. “I’m Irish, for me it’s the opposite”. Valor raised a brow. “Irish..a culture from earth originating in the country of Ireland. I fail to see how that is a disadvantage?”
Byrnes laughed, and looked back to her. God her eyes were amazing. “It just means my people are extra emotional. I suppose that makes me the opposite of you.”Valor held his gaze for a moment before she slowly stood and adjusted her skirt again.
“They say opposites attract.” she muttered before turning to walk off. “Wait what did you say?” Byrnes asked, not quite sure if he heard her correctly.
Valor turned at the door and looked at him. “Nothing, Sergeant Byrnes. I must be going. If you need someone to talk to, the ship’s counselor is quite qualified. But should he be unavailable, I offer to..lend an ear, as they say. I hope you feel better soon, good evening.”
She walked out and Byrnes raised his brow questioning what just happened. The doors opened once again, this time Corporal Naveera, Corporal Hobbes, and Corporal Hicks strolled in, with drinks of their own. “What’s this?” Byrnes asked looking surprised.
Hicks laughed and sat next to Byrnes handing him a new bottle. “Commander Vaihuu contacted us. She suggested you might need some friends.” Naveera smiled and raised her drink, as did Hobbes and Hicks. “To Major Shepard. To Lightning squad!” she toasted. Byrnes choked back tears as he joined them in raising his drink. Naveera looked at him and smiled. “You are one of us, Byrnes. You are never alone.”
The sounds of laughter and clanking drinks echoed.