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Posted on Sun Aug 16th, 2020 @ 11:12pm by

Mission: Mission 4: Letting the Hair Down
Location: Risa
Timeline: early morning

Sunshine. So much sunshine. Radiation was beaming through her eyeballs into her brain, lighting her all up. Ozzie wanted to cry for joy of it. While most of the pleasure planet of Risa was still in bed with hangovers or nuzzling, Ozzie was out with the dew still sparkling on the oatgrass beside the ocean, running along the shore line.

She darted through a flock of seabirds and took so much delight in upsetting them, watching them divide and cast off into flight ahead of her, only to somehow intuitively form up again and seek out another place to stand on one foot and preen.

She'd been so defeated after the borg had infiltrated the ship. Although no one had told her she'd failed, she felt it deeply. They'd successfully defended the ship. Her teams had performed well. Others had risen to action and taken back key decks and systems in the end. The borg had just slipped on board earlier than they'd known and with engineering breached, the Orion hadn't left soon enough. They'd become infested.

Ozzie thought back to that feeling she'd had earlier on the bridge, the sense of sleepwalkers. She’d not given herself credit for the feeling. And she'd said nothing.

If she had use of a time machine, she'd take it to that very moment and slap herself.

"You've got a double dose of intuition, kiddo." Her dad had told her. They had been driving patrol and she was riding along. She was bright eyed with the future before her, hand waving out of the window, cutting into the wind and toying with lift and drag against the knife edge of the closed fingers. "It might not seem so special here on Betazed, but if you ever get off world, you're gonna find it gives you an edge people out there need. Don’t take it for granted. Get tuned in. Listen to it."

Ozzie slowed down her pace to sip her water. She watched as the waves lapped over her footprints, obscuring the evidence she’d even passed this way. Holding the stitch in her side, she looked out at the skiffs on the water in the distance. The little boats with their little vacationing crews of two or five. Puttering around on the surface of the sea and not caring what lay beneath or beyond.

Able to carry on, happy. How? How could you exist, an island of pleasure in a universe so laden with death and pain?

“These feelings are just like all other feelings.” Her mother had taught when Ozzie had been arguing bitterly with her about the temple teachings and how they didn’t seem to fit the truth of the world outside the temple walls. Ozzie, then a young teen, had been angry about having seen a hurt child during one of her father’s patrols, and on another one, a dead homeless man. Nothing had made sense. “If you try to clutch the emotions and make them who you are, they block the spirit. Instead feel them, let them pass through you and express them safely until this wave passes. And when the next comes, do the same, until the waves grow calmer and calmer, and once again, the pool of your mind is still enough to see clearly.”

She capped her water bottle, let it dangle by the strap, and clenched her fists. Too many of their personnel had been infected. And the crew was so quick to slay them. Not her people, not security. They'd been trained on borg. Procedures were in place: if you could capture the recently infected, they could be reversed. They weren't dangerous until they formed their own infection delivery. Killing newly infected crew was just a gut reaction and came from nothing but fear and revulsion. She'd never encountered borg before that day, but she'd known that much. There were plenty of people that had come back from the collective and been restored to some degree. It was becoming more and more common all of the time.

Those procedures worked a lot less well if you’d been skewered or had your head severed though.

It was her fault. Her own fault for not speaking up early enough about her intuition. Ozzie’s fault for not issuing directives about preserving newly infected personnel broadly to the crew.

Ozzie started throwing driftwood and stones into the ocean, beating her chest and screaming obscenities at herself. She carried on until she was covered in sweat, and snot, and tears and collapsed to her knees, heaving sobs and staring out at a perfect sea, on a perfect morning.


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