Posted on June 2nd, 2009 by Persephone Busard and Ian Blackthorne
Ian Blackthorne and Persephone Busard
It had been a very, very long week for Percy. At first, her prime concern while off duty was to try to block out memories of the coup. She’d tried various remedies, some working better than others (She’d built Cubit a little sister which she had decided would be called Rubix). But it seemed the point for avoiding the memories had come to a close, as she was aware she would be questioned concerning the incident in a day or so. That required a change in tactics that she was fully aware would not be pleasant. Thus is was that earlier in the day she had made the decision to sit down and write out personal additions to the letters that she knew the Admiral would be sending out to the grieving families. She walked now towards what she had been informed was a temporary office for Admiral Blackthorne, a PADD full of new files in her hand and a solemn and tired look on her face. Pausing for a moment at the door, she rang the chime.
Ian sat at the desk, mostly empty except for a terminal and a few PADDs, writing those very letters. Even with one hundred and ninety six of them to write, he still intended to give every one a personal touch – the families deserved that. When the chime rang, he hoped it wasn’t that JAG investigator again, who had already interrupted him twice. “Come in.”
When she heard leave given, Busard entered and stood at attention.
“Sir. I don’t suppose you’ve finished the letters of grievance for the families of the engineers who died recently?”
Looking up at her with a stoic expression, Ian replied, “All but the last one, Ensign Robards, which I’m in the middle of.”
“Oh good. I…well, I wrote a few anecdotes for each of them, and thought it might be appropriate to attach them to your letters. If that meets with your approval, sir.”
With that, she approached the desk, and gently lay the PADD down on the edge without disturbing anything that was already present.
He nodded and took the PADD, reading through a little of what she had written. “Of course it meets with my approval. We can never do enough for these families, but every personal touch helps.”
“Yeah…” Percy trailed off before sighing, “Permission to speak freely, sir?”
Ian put the PADD down and leaned back in his seat. “Please do, and be at ease.”
She promptly became at ease, and nodded as she leaned against the nearest wall.
“To be honest, what really gets me is that I know full well that if they’d died in action, fighting against the enemy? I would have been fine. But they died tied up and poisoned.”
She went silent for a moment as she thought to herself: And I watched it happen. Then after the moment was over, she spoke up again.
“How do you deal with that, sir?”
Ian considered his response, deciding against the cliched speech, and instead went with the starkly truthful reply of, “Drinking, mostly.”
Percy chuckled at that.
“Well, see the problem is, every time I try that I always seem to wake up with some mechanical monstrosity looking me in the face. Sometimes it purrs.”
A small robotic head with a very small pink bow on its head popped out of her workbelt and whirred. Percy reacted with a nearly motherly laugh and a pat on its head.
“This one mostly just beeps and whirrs, though.”
“Ah, I see Cubit has a sister.” His face lightened a bit, then regained its stoic expression. “It doesn’t help, you know. It just makes you feel it a little less.”
Percy’s expression returned to its solemnity.
“I know. Besides, you do too much of that and you start disrespecting their memories. And on top of that, Doug-er McKnight would kill me. It’s just a matter of time, I expect. Everything seems to be.”
Nodding in agreement, he answered, “Losing those under your command is never something you can just ‘deal with.’ It hurts like hell, but yes, in time that does fade. The best you can do is honor their memories and continue to fight for what they died defending.”
She nodded as well.
“Yessir. Hell, at least Puddington and Carter survived. Wouldn’t be the same without those two.” She smiled a little. “After all, Engineering just wouldn’t be right without a little mayhem.”
“Seems to be an Atlantis tradition, not that I mind. After all, I’m still an engineer at heart.”
Busard chuckled. It was hard now to picture the Admiral as anything other than an admiral, but she supposed at one point he was just another grease monkey like her. It was something of a comforting thought.
“I’ll bet. Thank you for talking to me about this sir. It’s been….well, it’s been hard.”
“I know it has, Commander. But we’ll go on, and carry on the traditions of excellence that they died for.” He stood, locking his eyes with hers in an intense gaze, and continued, “That is how we give their deaths meanings, because we’re here to keep going. Harris did not beat us. Remember that, because that’s how everyone we lost would have wanted it.”
And with that, Busard saluted, turned on her heel, and exitted the office with noticeably more bounce in her step than when she entered.