33: Can Heaven Be So Envious?

Can Heaven Be So Envious?
by TC Blane and Zanh Liis
Following "Burn Out"
Bridge/Sickbay, USS Alchemy

"I used to be Snow White- then I drifted." ~Mae West

"You have the bridge. I'll be in engineering working with Kellyn to keep the warp drive operative. Everyone here is ordered to arrange at least eight hours of rest and a square meal for yourselves between now and when we reach Bajor."

TC folded his arms across his chest and leaned back against the tactical station and rubbed his eyes. He was still adorned in the black outfit that February had first discovered him in. His five o'clock shadow had grown to about a high noon shadow with overcast.

The only way anyone would know that he was a member of Starfleet would be from the golden and silver comm badge attached to his breast, which was a stark contrast to the overall sight that he currently struck.

"It seems, Mr. Blane, that you are in need of quarters."

TC smiled. "Not half as much as a shower and shave."

Salvek nodded as he made his way to the turbo lift. "You may assign yourself a open berth at your leisure." He stepped into the lift and turned around before the doors slid shut. "And Mr. Blane…" the Vulcan added as the doors began to slide, "get some rest."

TC watched the commander depart, and then stood.

"Well, an order is an order. Who wants to go and clean up first?" TC looked at Samson and Reece, but they deferred to him.

"You go on ahead. If anything exciting happens, I'll ring you up." Reece said, content to remain where he was for the moment.

"I think we've had enough 'exciting' for one day. I hope." Micah grumbled as he took up the tactical position again.

Reece indicated the lift with his eyes. "Go on, Commander. Have a nice nap."

TC thanked the Trill with a nod and made his way to the lift. Before he went after that shower and shave, though, he had one stop he wanted to make first.

=^= Sickbay =^=

TC strode into sickbay and glanced around. He spotted Jariel seated next to the stasis chamber. His head was hung low and he seemed to be asleep.

"Pardon me sir." The holographic doctor suddenly appeared in front of TC. "But unless you have a medical need, I am afraid that you can not be here." The doctor looked TC up and down. "Crew only."

TC frowned at the image and stepped forward causing the doctor to take a step back. He looked the doctor up and down, his eyes narrowing menacingly, then pointed to the comm badge on his shirt.

"Oh. Sorry." The doctor stood taller. "Still, unless you have a need…"

TC cut him off. "Unless you want to be reprogrammed as a holographic janitor I suggests that you get out of my face. I have not slept, shaved, or washed in over thirty hours, so my patience is short." He stepped by the doctor and quietly made his way to Jariel.

The doctor raised his eyebrows. "Obvious aggression issues." He turned and walked back to the CMO's office. "Probably was not breast fed."

TC made his way to stand next to Jariel. He noticed that the man was not asleep, but was silently chanting in prayer. Not wanting to disturb him, TC made his way to the other side of the stasis chamber and gazed upon the still form of Zanh Liis.

He reached out to touch the chamber, but his hand stopped just short of doing so. He hoped that she would make it out of this. That she wouldn't soon be lying in a quantum torpedo tube with a flag draped over it instead.

He wanted to imagine that when all of this was over they could sit down, her with her coffee and him with a glass of wine, and they could swap sides of the rescue story before they headed off on their next adventure.

There would be a next adventure- wouldn't there?

"Snow White." Blane said softly. He almost laughed as the words reverberated in his mind, finding that with all the time he'd spent with Zanh Liis in the past several months, he appeared to have picked up her habit for blurting out seemingly random, two or three word sentences at the oddest times.

Jariel opened his eyes, and rose from his chair. "Mr. Blane," he cleared his throat, still seemingly unaccustomed to being able to speak aloud. "It was kind of you to come here. Thank you."

"It's nothing. I wanted to see how she was doing." He folded his arms across his chest. “I did not mean to disturb you.”

"It most definitely is something, and I know Liis would appreciate it. As do I." Jariel rubbed his tired eyes as he spoke. He appeared understandably drawn. He was also sporting a five-o'clock shadow by this point and looked like he could be a mirror-universe version of himself at the moment, if such things truly existed. "What did you say before? It sounded like 'snow'."

"Oh, that? It wasn't important. Just for a second there, looking at her, I was reminded of the story of Snow White."

Jariel gestured for TC to take the seat he had been occupying, knowing the man must be exhausted. TC waved him off, and paced back and forth along the length of the stasis tube.

"A story about winter weather?" Jariel asked, completely serious.

A bemused smile almost, but not quite fully formed on TC's lips. "Negative. Snow White was a princess, in a very old story. They say she had hair dark as ebony and skin white as snow, that was how she got her name. She. . ." he omitted the word 'died' not wanting to even speak it in the same room as the Captain considering her current condition. "She fell asleep after being poisoned by an evil queen. Big red apple, if I remember right."

Jariel rested a hand on the tube and peered inside again. Now he could understand the reference.

"Did she survive at the end of the story?" He knew that in tales of this kind, often the hero or heroine was not so fortunate.

"Affirmative." TC rubbed his stubbly chin thoughtfully. "In true storybook fashion, all it took was a really good kiss from her prince, and she was restored to life."

Jariel's eyes dropped to the floor. "Would that it were so."

TC stared into the tube again. “It will be.” He glanced at Jariel. “She is not destined to perish like this.” He closed his eyes. “When he shall die, Take him and cut him out in little stars, And he will make the face of heaven so fine That all the world will be in love with night And pay no worship to the garish sun."
He glanced over at Jariel, who had a questioning look upon his face.

TC smiled slightly. “Shakespeare.” He explained. "I should go," his words implied one course of action, but his body language indicated another. His feet were still very much planted to the floor beside the chamber.

"Would you like a moment alone with her?" Jariel asked, and then without answering he moved to the doorway. "I could use a cup of tea. I didn't want to leave her alone. I would return in just a few minutes, if you would stay."

TC nodded. “Of course.”

Once Jariel was gone, TC drew in and released a long, slow breath. He started to say something, then stopped. He started a second time, and then sighed. Folding his arms across his chest once again he simply stared at his fallen captain, his thoughts silent for the moment.

It was then that TC noticed the Doctor had left a PADD on the counter beside the chamber, and he couldn't resist the urge to pick it up. Scrolling down, he saw two words that jumped out at him off the screen. Those words were"Self Inflicted".

TC realized what she'd done, and understood immediately why. With his background, it wasn't hard to comprehend. Still, looking at the results of that action before him, he hated that she'd had to make that choice.

He wondered if she had lost faith in her own rescue, or if time had simply run out. Knowing that the information in her head would be incredibly valuable to many of Starfleet’s competitors, she made the only choice available to her.

He leaned in close to the glass and stared at his captain’s face. He knew that she could not hear him, but he believed that her spirit would.

“Even if we are trained to die, we have got to believe that we're going to live.” He stared hard at the still form in the tube. “No one gave you permission to die. So don’t you abandon your post. Or I swear, I will hunt you down in the afterlife and drag you back.” He tapped on the glass. “You know I would find a way.”

Lt. Commander TC Blane
Zanh Liis
USS Alchemy NX-53099