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The Pacifist’s War
Posted on June 3rd, 2021 by Rike Herschel and Emilaina Acacia

by Rike Herschel and Emilaina Acacia

Rike was not a nervous or anxious person. Was being the keyword. Ever since Harper’s announcement of the possibility of war, Rike was frazzled. She has always been a pacifist, finding violence and cruelty abhorrent. She always attempted to live by compassion and avoid the human survival mechanisms of violence and aggression, so to hear that it is a possibility that she might be in the midst of war, shook her.

It wasn’t until she was carrying a bucket of water that she realized that her body was trembling uncontrollably. She had been struggling to stay awake during her shift, as she had been jerking awake shortly after managing to fall asleep. She couldn’t keep working with tremors and exhaustion, “Deck 15,” decided she needed to go to Sickbay to fix whatever all of this was.

There was finally some quiet in Sickbay, though the standard trickle of patients combined with those they were taking in to ease the burden on Refuge’s clinic was keeping Atlantis’s doctors busy. Doctor Acacia was doing rounds in Sickbay, a duty she’d finally settled into after some time. 

She’d always preferred data or complex test results over working directly with patients, but she’d been doing the latter more and more since boarding Atlantis. She had a knack for it, putting most people at ease with her empathy. Today her job had put her in a good mood, a pep in her step after a recently released patient had thanked her. 

Rike stepped off of the turbolift and nodded at crew members entering it behind her. She walked down the hall, staying close to the wall as she approached sick bay. It was hard to keep her eyes opened as she yawned, trying to avoid falling asleep while standing up. She had five cups of coffee that morning, yet could barely function as is. She turned the corner, nearly avoiding a collision with someone leaving, then approached the next medical personnel that appeared not to have a patient at hand. “Oh, excuse me.” She then recognized the doctor who had healed her broken arm previously, “Oh, Emily! Lovely to see you here. I am in need of a little bit of help.”

“Nice to see you too,” Emily smiled, recognizing Rike as a patient, though she didn’t remember off the top of her head what she’d been in Sickbay for before. As she led Rike to one of the biobeds to sit down, she pulled up Rike’s chart and nodded thoughtfully as she reviewed the past data. She only read until Rike had situated herself on the biobed, at which point she looked up at her and began scanning her with a tricorder wand, “Alright, what seems to be the problem?”

Rike clasped her hands together, “Right. Lets see… I have had little to no sleep in five days, I’ve developed tremors, and when I do manage to get sleep I wake up with dread. Oh, and a headache.” She gave Acacia an awkward grin. ”I’ve also had… mmm… about 500 milligrams of caffeine this morning and I still feel like death.” As much as Rike tried to keep up her usual energy level, she seemed sluggish, with her hands shaking as she made gestures and her eyes twitching.

Emily nodded attentively as she watched the scan readout, then returned her focus to Rike with a sympathetic look, “That sounds like some serious symptoms of anxiety. Is there anything in particular you’re anxious about, or an event that set this off?”

“Oh let’s see… only the announcement of potential war from the captain!” Rike attempted to respond lightly, only to quickly tense up. “Nothing stressful about that at all!” She added with dripping sarcasm.

The Doctor nodded again, understanding. She fished into the cabinet next to the biobed and retrieved a bottle of pills, then sat it next to Rike and instructed, “Alright, you should take one of these in the morning when you wake up, and one at night before you go to bed. I also want you to see the ship’s counselor as soon as you can, just to talk through your feelings,” she tapped away at the console next to the biobed, checking the counselor’s available times, “How about this Wednesday at 1300 hours?”

“Oh, that is good.” Rike took a deep breath in, “This is all just new. Never had to deal with war before. I just absolutely loathe violence. Never had to deal with it on my last posting. Going from a tiny science vessel with just five of us scientists posted to this ship is… stressful. Not to mention that I am also having to supervise Ensigns now. It is all just- a lot.”

Emily gave a small smile and patted Rike on the shoulder, then gave a soft sigh, “All I can tell you is that it’s going to be alright. And it will be, for most of us. From what I can tell you’ve integrated into the crew quite well so far. I’m personally holding out hope that the Captain can prevent an all-out war, but if it does come to that, I’ll be glad to be at my post doing my part,” she smiled again, standing up a bit straighter, “How about we have lunch together once the threat of war is gone, so you have something to look forward to, hm?”

Rike mentally listed the wars in which it didn’t end in total annihilation, but it still did not ease her at present. She muttered to herself as she then tried to arrange a timeline in her head, “Uhh. Let’s see… interplanetary conflicts tend to last on average six months to a year. I’m sure we might find out if war is going to be a thing in the next three…” She then looked at Emily, “If we all aren’t dead by the end of this, consider it a sure deal!”

The Doctor smirked at that, making a small note on the console before focusing fully on Rike, “Good. I’ll see you then, okay?” She smiled warmly, extending her hand for a handshake to close out their visit, “You’ll get a reminder about your counseling visit from the computer. Come back if you’re not feeling better within a week.”

Rike shook Emily’s hand firmly, “Thank you, doctor. I’ll be sure to put that down in my personal calendar right now.” She released the grip and pulled out a piece of paper and a pen, jotting down a note for next week. After she put the pen and paper away, she gave the doctor a smile and a nod, then headed out of Sickbay to resume her day.


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2 Comments

  • Kathryn Harper Kathryn Harper says:

    It’s always good to see the main story’s effect on the characters, and with something as daunting as the prospect of war, it’s certainly understandable for Rike to seek out help. Emily’s reaction is empathetic and kind, and I liked her idea of scheduling lunch after it’s all over, along with Rike’s calculation of when that might be and her noting the appointment with the counselor on actual paper. Well done, both of you!


  • Scott Ammora says:

    I will echo Harper’s sentiments. I thoroughly enjoyed the interaction between Rike and Acacia. My favorite part: “If we aren’t all dead by the end of this, consider it a deal.” I chuckled, because I get that feeling of foreboding, but hope. Great log!




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