CSO Commander Alexis Wright

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Alexistential Blues

Postby Holly Kolodziejczak » Tue Jun 21, 2016 11:38 pm

by Alexis Wright

In the dark privacy of her bedroom and the bed she shared with Kathryn Harper, Alexis Wright writhed and panted, limbs tangled in the sweaty sheets, her soft whimpers coming faster and more urgently in a rapid crescendo before culminating in a sudden gasp. Her eyes flew open and frantically searched the darkness, heart hammering against her ribs in sheer panic, until the pounding in her ears gradually gave way to the sound of Kate’s steady breathing as she slept just inches away. Every single night, she thought to herself while hastily wiping away her tears and forcing herself to take deep, shuddering breaths. Every night, the same nightmares. When had she last slept through until morning? After weeks upon weeks of this, she wasn’t sure how much more she could bear. So very tired.

A familiar voice came over Lexy’s earpiece as she monitored the comms, its cadence even faster and more clipped than usual. “Sharks, Firefly - my warp core is going critical and I can not stop it...” Lexy’s eyes widened in shock, those words cutting through the chaotic cacophony of klaxons, hull breach alarms, and the frantic comms traffic of the Marines rushing to deal with boarding parties. Moments before, Lexy had been wrestling with the near-certainty that they were all going to die, but was suddenly more focused on what was happening out there. Her best friend—no, who was she kidding, she wanted much more than friendship—was about to eject into the middle of a dogfight, and there was nothing she could do to save her. With growing horror, she realized that she was about to hear the last breaths of what might have been.

Lexy looked over toward where her everything slept next to her in the dark, quietly choking back tears of relief that they’d both survived the ordeals of the past year and were now here together. The comfort that this thought provided, however, was no longer sufficient to ease her mind. Kate was the Captain of the whole ship now, and Lexy’s troubles were obviously unimportant compared to that. Though aching for closeness, she rolled to her side and faced away, berating herself for the desire to bother Kate with her selfish needs. She so desperately wanted their relationship to continue, despite the fact that everything was different now and that this scenario was far beyond anything she was emotionally equipped to deal with… she felt obligated to hide her own struggles in order to be a supportive partner, but lacked the strength of will to do so successfully. I am weak and worthless, Lexy thought angrily. Kate deserves so much more than I can give her in her new life. This wasn’t part of the plan.

Admiral Blackthorne’s sonorous baritone came over the comms, “Atlantis, this is shuttlecraft Naiad on approach, requesting clearance to land.” Glad that things would shortly be back to normal aboard Atlantis, Lexy smiled and responded, “Shuttlecraft Naiad, you are clear for approach and landing. Welcome back, Admiral, Captain.” She thought she detected a smile in his voice as well when he replied, “Thank you, Commander, it’s good to be home.” But mere seconds later, routine fell apart when sensors indicated the beginnings of a warp core overload aboard the shuttle. As a startled Lexy raced to comply with the order for emergency transport, her earpiece made her uniquely privy to the sounds aboard the Naiad — a sudden alarm prompted Admiral Blackthorne to begin, “What-” which was abruptly cut off by a painfully loud burst of static, and then… nothing. Urgently checking her sensors, she found nothing but an expanding cloud of debris. The emergency transport was unsuccessful, her hails in vain. She had been too slow and now they were dead. The world came crashing down.

Tears welled in Lexy’s eyes and she buried her face in her pillow, a sickening twist of guilt and shame in her stomach. Blackthorne and T’Kirr were dead, arguably because she had personally failed them, and she was angry at them for having the nerve to die like that and ruin her personal goals? She felt like a horrible selfish monster, hopeless and irredeemable, who deserved nothing good in life. It had been arrogant and foolish for her to think that she could become something more than a soulless academic, an organic machine only good for producing science. At least a machine wouldn’t hurt like this. Pushing the pain down deep, she sought solace in familiar numbness instead, pointedly ignoring the little voice in her head screaming that she was only running away.

Lexy crouched in a Jeffries tube on the Sigma Rho, cupping her earpiece to listen in silent dismay to Feyna’s scream of pain and the sounds of battle in response to her frantically whispered calls over the comms. Terrified and clutching her hand phaser in a laughable attempt at self-defense from the angry howls echoing up the tube, she realized how helpless she was to rescue Feyna. Hell, alone and cornered in this tube, she couldn’t even save herself.

Slowly, silently, she slid out of bed and padded barefoot to the bathroom, her presence triggering dim illumination as she closed the door. Here, with no one to hide from, she allowed her careful mask to fall away and regarded the reflection of a defeated woman in the mirror. The eyes that looked back were haunted, the face tired and drawn, and no trace of her typical professional confidence was visible in her slumped shoulders. Briefly assuming the mask again, she squared her shoulders and attempted a tentative smile, then dropped it with a sigh and wondered how she was fooling anyone. Maybe I just don’t belong here, she thought to herself for what felt like the thousandth time. I don’t know what I thought I had to offer.

The Sentinel had saved the Atlantis from certain doom mere moments ago, and pure adrenaline was the only thing keeping Lexy functional despite the looming specter of death. With the ship continuing to rock from hit after hit as the battle raged on, she continued to coordinate fleetwide comms and shipwide operations in what was feeling more and more like an exercise in futility. The elation brought by the explosive destruction of the accursed enemy Dreadnaught lasted only the few heartbeats it took for the shockwave to reach the crippled Atlantis. That dying gasp hit with enough force to take out main power, the abrupt change in lighting and simultaneous loss of inertial dampeners vertiginous and surreal. Panic rose in Lexy’s throat as the sudden disorienting motion pitched her to the floor, her head striking the console violently on the way down. She found herself completely powerless, swimming on the edge of unconsciousness where the fear and pain threatened to drag her under. I’ve let you all down, she thought, then nearly laughed because it didn’t matter. One more hit and they would all be dead anyway.

Pressing her back against the wall and sliding down, Lexy sank to the floor and hugged her knees to her chest, staring listlessly at nothing while considering her options. She was so far out of her comfort zone in so many ways that she despaired of ever getting back. The most disheartening part was that she’d been in this same position, thinking the same thoughts, on more nights than she cared to remember, for weeks on end. The scientist in her kept arguing that it was irrational to keep doing the same thing and expect different results, but had nothing to offer in terms of alternative suggestions. The only conclusion she had any confidence in was that repeated trials of additional self-loathing had proven ineffective. Knowing that her current state was not sustainable but unable to correct it, she had become mired in hopelessness.

It was Lexy that had sent Feyna to that exposed panel in the first place. She told herself that it made logical sense—Feyna was the mission’s Tactical Combat Specialist, after all— but on a deeper level, it felt like pure cowardice. This sort of thing was not even remotely in her wheelhouse, but if she’d sent the other woman to her death, she would never be able to forgive herself. Once they were finally transported to safety, Lexy waited with great anxiety as the medical staff struggled to restart Feyna’s heart, lingering nearby whenever she could until someone finally told her to get some shut-eye. She laid awake in bed and slowly sank under the waves of guilt, whispering quietly to herself over and over, “It could have been me…”

Scoffing at her past self for allowing fear to override logic, Lexy mentally enumerated all of the ways she had failed in these scenarios for several minutes before realizing with frustration that yet again, she had fallen into the same trap of self-destructive rumination that had only added to her misery. She looked up at the ceiling, the back of her head hitting the wall with a soft thud, and thought about the dire emotional straits Kate had been in a few months ago. I’m so glad she took my advice instead of walking away, she mused, completely missing the irony for several seconds before realization struck her like a bolt of lightning. How… how could I have not seen that sooner, she wondered, pressing the heel of her hand against her forehead. Her emotional distress was causing her to consider resigning her commission and walking away, and she had apparently already forgotten the advice that she’d so recently given to Kate in a similar situation.

Lexy stood and looked in the mirror again with a determined expression she hadn’t genuinely worn in some time, splashing water on her face and patting it dry, then turned and opened the bathroom door to find Anna standing there with an inquisitive curl to her tail. Scooping up the purring cat, she crossed to the console and booked an appointment with the counselor. “I guess we’ll see,” she whispered to Anna, who responded by rubbing her face against Lexy’s chin. With a brief smile at this display of affection, Lexy carried Anna with her back to the bedroom.
CSO Commander Alexis Wright, U.S.S. Atlantis

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Re: CSO Lt. Commander Alexis Wright

Postby Holly Kolodziejczak » Tue Jun 21, 2016 11:40 pm

This log takes place the night following our encounter with Coburn at the rogue planet. Thanks to Jason for proofreading this monster, and I think also the title (we picked it so long ago that I can't remember). :allears:

I'm so, so glad that this log is finally fucking done. D:
CSO Commander Alexis Wright, U.S.S. Atlantis

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Re: CSO Lt. Commander Alexis Wright

Postby Einar S » Wed Jun 22, 2016 12:26 am

That was a fabulous log! I really loved all the flashbacks too.
Well done :)
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Re: CSO Lt. Commander Alexis Wright

Postby Holly Kolodziejczak » Wed Jun 22, 2016 12:58 am

Thank you very much! :D
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Re: CSO Lt. Commander Alexis Wright

Postby Luceo » Wed Jun 22, 2016 3:46 pm

Although I proofread it, I certainly feel the need to comment as well. This is a great look at the very real effects the events of the game in the last year or so have had on one of its characters, and in some cases, from the unique perspective of having to listen to everything unfold over a comm channel. Well done!
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A Single Pot of Tea

Postby Holly Kolodziejczak » Thu Jul 07, 2016 4:26 am

By Ilaihr and Alexis Wright

Alexis Wright had been unsure what to do when she first received Ilaihr's invitation, and had opted to delay accepting it temporarily while she considered. Then the unthinkable had happened and everything had changed, and she had delayed again, buying time to muddle through her own personal issues. Now that she was finally prepared to accept, she fretted guiltily over the delays. Was the invitation still even open? What would she say if he asked about the schedule changes?

In addition, Wright felt woefully unprepared for one-on-one conversation, since the reasons for his invitation had been vague. She suspected it had something to do with either the extermination mission or the Gencodian experience, so she had rehearsed discussing both topics, but the intervening time had only increased her uncertainty. She found the older Andorian man to be something of an enigma that niggled at her scientific curiosity, though, which was why she now found herself standing outside his quarters at the appointed time despite her reservations. She took a moment to brush imaginary lint from her uniform and assume an appropriately pleasant expression before chiming the door.

The door opened shortly afterwards to an eerie pitch blackness, save for a strange orangey glow emanating from deeper in the room. "Hello, Commander." Ilaihr's genial smile appeared from the darkness. "To what do I owe the pleasure, my dear?" He gently took her arm and ushered her in. "Come in, come. Computer, raise light levels to fifty percent."

As the room lit up, its eeriness lifted as its features took on a less than Starfleet decorum; it looked like a scene out of the holodeck. Bookcases and artwork covered the walls, exotic plants and fabrics dangled from the ceiling, a number of ancient artifacts and tomes rested on the tables, and credenzas filled any free space.

He brought Lexy to the source of the glow; an ornately crafted mantelpiece and fireplace, set between two windows, with a coffee table encircled by armchairs before it. "Do take a pew, my dear. Would you like a cup of tea?"

Momentarily forgetting her practiced decorum, Wright's wide-eyed gaze took in the setting, filled to the brim with tantalizing odds and ends that suddenly put Ilaihr's tales of his long and varied life into perspective. Distracted, she allowed herself to be guided to an armchair before the fireplace and sat, wondering if it would be rude to ask questions about some of the items in the room. "Yes, tea would be nice, thank you..." she responded absently, but then the first thing he said finally registered in her head and the present moment snapped abruptly back into focus. "And what do you mean, to what do you owe the pleasure? Didn't you invite me?" She belatedly realized how she had gotten to this chair and silently scolded herself for permitting such a familiar action. While she was in uniform, no less!

He gave a light chuckle. "I did not believe you would come. I don't have many guests anymore.... in fact, you would be the first since I came aboard."

He pottered off into the next room to fetch the tea. He opened up his tea caddy and began muttering to himself as he chose the right blend. "Not the Cardassian blend, too petrichor-y... Rigellian? Too sharp. Bah... do I even drink this Efrosian blend? Ahhh..."

After some clinking and clanking could be heard, he returned to Lexy with a tray in hand. "I have settled on a nice aromatic Tulaberry tea from the Gamma Quadrant, blended by the Bajorans in the Tozhat Province." He slowly placed the tray down on the table, and hobbled back to his seat.

"I apologise for my familiarity, my dear. It is but my way." He smiled, noting the fluctuation in her emotions. "And you may ask me anything you wish; I am thankful for the company."

She began to make a genial reply in kind as Ilaihr took his seat, but abruptly stopped herself and narrowed her eyes at him. “Are you listening to my private thoughts, Lieutenant? I accepted your invitation as a courtesy, but your presumption of familiarity and invasion of my privacy are extremely disrespectful. Was that your intent?” Her voice was quiet, but the finely honed edge of anger in it was unmistakable.

He took his seat, easing himself down slowly before replying; he gave her a tired sort of look, but with a glimmer from his smiley eyes. "Not at all." His body decompressed, his bones temporarily showing him their age. "My abilities are complicated to explain, but they are a mixture of sight and sound and feeling. In my excitement and exhaustion I have become unrestrained, and I have forgotten my proper social etiquette."

He blinked his eyes a number of times, and with it some colour came to them; shifting from slightly milky to a light blue. "I do apologise my dear Commander, I have offended you." He looked on sadly, trying to sit up straighter. "I forget myself."

Wright searched the old man’s face for something that would contradict his professed contrition, but found only sincerity and sadness. Though skeptical, she carefully weighed the evidence and decided to give him the benefit of the doubt. Her expression remained stern, but she gave him a slight nod. “Very well. I accept your apology. Now, what did you wish to discuss?” she asked, picking up the cup of tea closest to her and settling back into the chair.

"There maybe many things to discuss, there may be nothing." He leant forward, reaching for his tea. Gazing into the dark purple liquid in the cup as it shimmered up at him, his mind wandered momentarily. "I once parléd with a Xindi-Aquatic for seventeen hours in silent contemplation over the trade of water purifiers, only to receive a one-word answer at end of it." He sipped his tea, collecting his thoughts.

"My door is open to all at all times, and something must have compelled you to accept my standing invitation at this time. Perhaps there is something that you wish to talk about, or maybe the invitation of tea was too good to pass up?" He chuckled.

Concealing her frown with a sip of tea, which was surprisingly pleasant, Wright considered her options. Clearly, she had misunderstood the nature of the invitation, which a rather embarrassing realization, but it was equally clear to her that this man was lonely and desperate for company. While there was a temptation to extricate herself from the situation, it was overridden by a mixture of curiosity and compassion.

“This tea is lovely,” she commented, in hopes of breaking the ice. “I’ve never been much of a tea drinker, but this is quite nice. Where did you come across it?”

“My crew and I; we went to hundreds of worlds, all across the galaxy. Sadly the Ferengi beat me to the Dosi and any really profitable trade in the Gamma Quadrant, but I did get a taste for tulaberries." He chuckled, thinking of how upset he’d been at the time over losing that opportunity, and how insignificant it now seemed in light of the terrible events that followed the opening of the Bajoran wormhole.

They chatted without incident for some time after that, Wright pointing out various objects of interest in the room and Ilaihr explaining with enthusiasm, regaling her with tales of his adventures with his former crew. The stories were admittedly captivating but often seemed fanciful to Wright, a fact that she endeavored to conceal for over an hour before insatiable curiosity eventually got the better of her. “I’m really intrigued by this crew of yours,” she said brightly, seizing a quiet moment when he paused for a sip of tea, “And such escapades! It’s hard to imagine that it all really happened!”

He got up from his seat, plodded over to a small table in the corner and grabbed a small picture frame. "Here they are." He returned, showing her a group photograph of his old crew. He was stood in the middle of the frame not looking much different, the 'twins' on either side of him, the exo-suit clad Mr Zzyxzzt behind him, his four children seated in front of him, and a Horta in front of them. On his left was an Efrosian, a Deltan, and a Tellerite. To his right was Dr Moran, an Axanar, a Caitian, a Cardassian and a Denobulan. Half a dozen Xindi-Insectoids were dangling from the ceiling.

"I think I've aged well." He laughed.

She carefully took the photograph from his hands, which trembled ever so slightly, and looked into the face of a somewhat younger Ilaihr. She looked from the photo back to elderly man seated across from her, noting with surprise that although his face was a touch more weathered and careworn, posture slightly more stooped, and hair a bit whiter, he looked much the same. Her surprise grew when she looked at the widely varied beings surrounding him, clearly not the types to shy away from a fight, but with postures indicating deference to the apparently frail old Andorian in their midst. Perhaps there was truth in his stories after all? The most noticeable difference between past and present was the distinctly commanding posture of the Ilaihr in the picture, despite the fact that even then he had been leaning on a cane.

Smiling, Wright handed the photo back to him with the care befitting such a precious possession. “You call them your crew, but this photo leads one to wonder if it wasn’t more like a family. It must have been difficult for you to join Starfleet and start over…” Realizing that she’d begun to tread on very personal ground, she stopped and pivoted to the marginally safer territory of his previous comment. “I can’t say how well you’ve aged, of course, without knowing how long ago this was taken, but I don’t wish to pry.”

"Family is what a crew is meant to be, my dear." He smiled sagely. "I'd say... this was taken around thirty years ago, some of them had been with me for even longer than that, and stayed with me long after. The doctor there was actually present when I first awoke." He chuckled to himself, remembering that incident all too well, as well did Kessel; but that was another story.

"But it was difficult... leaving everything I'd known my whole life. I could have bought a new ship, but..." He choked up; he quickly sipped his tea to cover this, what he considered an emotional outburst, then coughed to clear his throat. "I don't want to cause you any dispiriting." He smiled again at her, trying to lift the mood. "I have found a new crew now. I do miss being Captain, but I am happy where I am."

He looked at her more deeply for a moment. Without his telepathy, empathy, and 'sight', he could still see something in her eyes. He had forgotten himself, talking as he had this whole time, he didn't question why she was here. It was something he may have seen when that picture was taken, but he knew now was not the time to ask. "I may not be a captain, but I can still be a guide from time to time. Sometimes all that entails is being there to talk." He smiled yet again, in his soft genial manner.

Though the invitation in his words was not subtle, Wright seemed completely oblivious to it. “Thirty years! Then I’d say you’ve aged well indeed.” She picked up her teacup and took the last sip, buying time to consider her words. “I’m sorry to have brought up difficult memories, but I’m certainly glad you feel at home here.” As she set the cup back on the table, a small tinkling bell sounded in her pocket, reminding her of the time. Had she really been here that long? Her level of involvement in the conversation surprised her; she generally dreaded this kind of socializing, but this meeting had been far less painful than she’d expected. Filing that thought away for later processing, she hastily silenced the alarm and favored Ilaihr with a slightly sheepish smile.

“I apologize, Lieutenant, but that alarm means that I must depart for another appointment. I hate to leave so abruptly, but I lost track of time… thank you very much for the tea.” Wright stood to depart, hastening to add, “It really was quite lovely,” as he rose slowly to his feet with the help of his cane.

He slowly walked her to the door, his genial smile in tow. "Do come again, my dear. My door has always been open for those should they need it. And..." He pointed his finger up, bringing his usual animation to his exclamation. "I have many curios to show you, if you would entertain an old fool and his stories. There are even a number of books and journals I have written over the years, on particular topics. Such as... Alpha and Beta quadrant politics, economics and logistics, a manual to humanoid negotiation with the Tholians, the procurement and use of medicinal herbs and substances, my own personal studies of the Tamarian language, and my most proud achievement... a compilation of recipes from around the known worlds of the very finest cuisines those worlds had to offer."

He rubbed his hands together, gazing back around at his bookshelves, wondering the exact position of the cookbook. "I would love to entertain the crew one evening; we have quite a varied crew, and I have would greatly enjoy bringing a piece of home to everyone."

Wright nodded graciously at his rush of words as they walked toward the door, making noises of interest and vague promises to return soon, and thanked him again for the tea before giving him a parting smile and hurrying away. Her steps carried her down the hall and finally into the solitude of an empty turbolift; only then did she allow herself to heave a sigh and lean against the wall, exhausted. The interaction seemed to have gone quite well, but socializing in this manner often left her feeling depleted, so she was admittedly glad it was over. On the other hand, it had been far more pleasant than she had anticipated aside from a few bumps at the beginning; the conversation had been engaging, the company amiable. His promises of curios and stories had excited her curiosity, not to mention that he appeared to be truly interested in spending more time with her… perhaps compatibility between social misfits was inevitable.

Surprisingly, despite her initial reservations, she was already cautiously optimistic about their next shared pot of tea.
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Re: CSO Lt. Commander Alexis Wright

Postby Luceo » Thu Jul 07, 2016 5:30 pm

This log really captured the sense of visiting an older lonely person quite well, and it seems we have an unlikely friendship developing. Well done!
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Re: CSO Lt. Commander Alexis Wright

Postby Holly Kolodziejczak » Fri Aug 19, 2016 8:45 pm

Moving Day, with Kathryn Harper
CSO Commander Alexis Wright, U.S.S. Atlantis

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Re: CSO Lt. Commander Alexis Wright

Postby Holly Kolodziejczak » Mon Jan 02, 2017 9:46 am

Coda, with Kathryn Harper
CSO Commander Alexis Wright, U.S.S. Atlantis

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Re: CSO Lt. Commander Alexis Wright

Postby Holly Kolodziejczak » Wed Jun 21, 2017 9:26 pm

Dirty Laundry, with Kathryn Harper
Last edited by Holly Kolodziejczak on Wed Jun 21, 2017 9:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
CSO Commander Alexis Wright, U.S.S. Atlantis

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