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RAdm. Cin Sha'mer | "Time Flies, And So Do I..."

Posted on 241710.24 @ 12:14am by Rear Admiral Cintia Sha'mer

Mission: Reconciliation & Reconstruction [Fleet Plot]
Location: Spacedock
Timeline: SD 241710.23

So now Indi was gone and all Sha'mer could do was wait. Wait until the Endeavour arrived at its destination, wait until they found signs of the Vindicator, or found the ship itself, or maybe the remains of the vessel, or managed to bring it back from wherever or whenever it went. Just, basically, wait for any kind of news.

Sha'mer was horrible at waiting. Normally she was a person of action. Now she was tied to a desk and that in itself was bad. Not that it would have made a difference if she hadn't accepted Sabine's offer and the job. If she had remained unassigned, or had applied for medical leave (she knew the inroads to that path well enough to know that it would've been granted, too), or simply left Starfleet altogether, she still wouldn't have travelled with Indi and the others to the nebula where the Vindicator had disappeared. There was just no point. There was nothing she could do there.

Isn't there, though? her treacherous mind whispered. Stars knew she had done enough weird stuff in those years of capture. Sha'mer rubbed her temples. Yeah, the stars knew, but she herself, for the better part, did not. So, whatever knowledge there was locked up inside her mind, it was not something she could or would apply while wearing this uniform.

She shut the thought away with whatever else occasionally escaped from that time, pushed it back inside the holes in her mind and grabbed the next padd from the overflowing pile on her desk. Maybe drowning herself in work would at least stop her from thinking.

It worked. For a few days at least, it worked. As she had predicted to Indi, it didn't take long before she hated the work itself. There was nothing more dull than to read padd after padd, report after report, allocate resources, assign them to ships and bases, keep track of what went were, and all the other necessary stuff which kept ships flying and functioning, but which was duller than dishwater.

In this period, Sha'mer found that there were still whole periods of lost time, moments when she looked at the chrono and realised three or more hours had passed. Oddly enough, if she was working, she also noted that during these lost hours she had continued doing her work, as a quick check proved. No mistakes, no omissions. She had been running on autopilot, while the majority of her attention was just… elsewhere. It might have scared her if she had actually cared enough.

But Indi's absence had other consequences. Sha'mer had found Indi almost immediately after she herself returned to Earth, and Indi was the main anchor which tied the new, past war, past capture-Sha'mer to the old one, the real Starfleet one. Indi, by her presence alone, had kept her from getting too lost inside her own mind, kept her more in the present than in the past. It was far from perfect. Sha'mer still waited until Indi was asleep before sliding out of the bed and going to the spare bedroom (which was there in order to be able to Michael or Ra'lin or both during a LOA, and which now only served as another painful reminder of their absence), where she either spent the night tossing or turning or in the grip of nightmares she could never remember the following morning, or both.

But now her anchor was gone and Sha'mer felt – and that did scare her – herself slowly sliding into the dark. She leaned more and more on the only other anchor she had, the damned paper pushing desk job, and by and by the backlog began to disappear. When her desk was completely cleared, she grabbed an empty padd and began to make notes for a private project of her own. That kept her occupied for awhile, but she abandoned it the moment she found notes in the documents she couldn't remember writing.

She sought other ways to remain (what? anchored? grounded? …sane?). That wasn't easy. She was not inclined to socialise, so going out and having 'a fun night' was not high on her list. She began to take long walks at night, where she kept moving until her arms ached from holding the crutches and her good leg almost hurt as bad as the other one from the exercise. It still wasn't enough. Her mind was no longer a safe place. Sometimes memories surfaced, froze her and disappeared again. She heard whispers just at the threshold of hearing coming from the deeper levels. The balance was shifting, and sooner or later, something had to give.

And then Sha'mer found something, buried deep in one of the layers of a padd about the inventory of Spacedock. It listed, amongst other items, ships parked in long term storage in the deeper landing bays. One simple name. Imperial Star.

Sha'mer stared at it for – another unknown period of time. The words never changed. The small vessel had been there for years. When Sha'mer compared records, it wasn't hard to deduce that Ra'lin had travelled on the Star from Trilista to Earth when she joined Starfleet Academy. The ship had been here ever since.

Here. Her own ship, the one which had brought her all the way from the Delta Quadrant to Federation space all those years ago. The ship she had left behind on Trilista when she began the trip which ended with her capture, because she was travelling as a Starfleet Admiral, not as a private person. It had never occurred to her to look up where it was, she had never even thought of it since her return. Yet here it was.

The next thing Sha'mer knew was that she stood there in the bay where few people ever came, staring at the familiar flowing lines. It was a small ship, larger than a shuttle but smaller than a runabout, but much more elegant in shape. Her eyes began to blur. Slowly she extended a hand, trembling all over. She touched the ship's hull, which was cool and smooth, just as she remembered. She let her hand move over it until it reached the sensor area near the door.

And with a soft sigh, it irised open.

Sha'mer climbed in, halted again as the door spiralled shut behind her. Only then the lights came on, a warmer, more gentle light than was customary on Starfleet stations and ships. A soft voice which seemed to come out of nowhere spoke, in Vo'Sh'un: "Welcome back, Sha'mer Go'dral Fin."

She closed her eyes and leaned against the bulkhead, as memory after memory unlocked itself and flowed over and through her. Nothing of the past years, of the time spent in captivity. But older memories, far older ones, nearly forgotten during those lost years, from her earliest memories to the time she spent on Trilista, building a new life for herself and for and with others. Tears streamed down her face, unnoticed, unheeded, as time went by.

After a long time – once again, she had no idea how much time had passed, nor did she particularly care – after the tears ran out and the memories stopped overwhelming her, Sha'mer took a deep, trembling breath and left the Imperial Star. Somewhere during this time, she had made a decision. And for the first time since Indi left, for the first time since she'd learned of Ra'lins disappearance, she had an idea and a goal.

Two hours later, she sumbitted a request for a Leave of Absence. Stars knew she had enough accumulated leave, built up even before her disappearance. And should this request be denied, Sha'mer knew that if she would apply for medical leave, that would be granted in a heartbeat.

It didn't come to that. Not much later, her request was approved. Sha'mer beamed down to her house just long enough to change from her uniform into something more practical and to lock the house up. Then she went back again and headed directly to the bay where the Imperial Star was waiting.


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