Charon's Opus ::
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Taking it off the back burner

Posted on Tue Sep 15th, 2020 @ 10:17pm by Passenger Kol Wescott-Fitzgerald & Executive Officer Kenneth McTigue

Mission: The Forgotten Arm
Location: Kol's quarters
Timeline: 24hrs after leaving Mars.

A hard day's work in space did not feel like it. Ken's shoulders felt tired, but his back didn't hurt. His eyes were droopy, but his feet didn't feel heavy. The downside of working in micro gravity is that exhaustion doesn't hang on you like it does down the well, and thus you cannot lighten your burden of it by sitting down and sighing in relief. It was one of the few things Ken truly missed about being on Earth.

But there were still a few things the engineer needed to do before he could strap himself down and dream of chasing girls in the pubs of Galway. One of them was talking to Kol. He knocked on the man's cabin door with his knuckles, a polite gesture instead of a demanding one.

Kol had been sat on his bunk reading on his hand terminal so it took him little time to respond, "Hey..." Kol started before the door had finished opening, pausing once he noticed who his visitor was, "What's up, Ken?".

"Hey Kol." Ken greeted. "Just here to collect your weapon. I remembered you hadn't secured in the locker."

"um, yeah, sure," Kol said awkwardly, stepping back to allow Ken entry into his cabin. Once in he went to wall compartment and opened it, withdrawing his firearm and it's ammunition clip, "There are only four rounds, what I had left from Eros" he admitted with an awkward shrug beforehand them out towards Ken.

Ken accepted the weapon, checked the chamber and made sure the magazine well was empty before pocketing it, and the magazine. "It's just ship-board rules. Nobody but Mickey, me, and the captain... Well, Mickey and me have access to the weapons on board. In the rush out of Eros and Mars I kind of forgot." The engineer shrugged.

"I don't blame you, recent events have been dominating my thoughts too," Kol admitted, not taking his eyes of the service weapon, "In truth, I'm happy you're taking it, I haven't been able to use it since Eros," after Sully, "it's never really brought me much luck" he finished with a shrug of his own.

"They're tools, Kol, not lucky charms." Ken said as looked at the weapon. "They are meant to keep you and those around you safe. That way you can find luck again tomorrow." Ken put the gun and magazine into his jumpsuit pocket. "I'll lock it in the safe. You can get it back when you step off the ship."

"Maybe not, But after Eros it's just a reminder of things I'd rather forget" Kol clarified, "Besides, I've been on ships before, I know the drill, should have brought it to you myself" he admitted.

"Is all good, Kol," Ken said and turned to leave.

"Good," Kol accepted as he watched Ken make to leave, "Before you go, can I ask you a question?" he asked, his tone cautious.

"Yeah?" Ken turned around to look at Kol.

"Do you think this is just the beginning?" Kol asked, admittedly a somewhat dramatic question, but he couldn't shake that what happened on Eros was the just the start. He never wanted to see what he saw again. Even now, sometime after, if his mind wandered too far into the event of that day the acrid smell that had accompanied the infected burnt his nostrils.

For a long moment Ken was silent, considering the question. "Honestly, I cannot see this being the end. People will go to Eros to investigate, will get infected, and hopefully stay there. Likely though, at least one more station will get infected because the inner planets will enforce lockdowns."

"What do we do?" Kol asked sincerely. It'd been on his mind since they'd departed the forsaken belter settlement. After so many years with the UNIB, it was in his bones to investigate and bring those that break the law to justice, but this feels too large, too important for himself and maybe even the crew of the Tross to take on. He selfishly hoped the answer was "nothing" and that they'd be absolved of any participation in whatever was to unfold next. But with the way, things seemed to go for the crew he expected his wish wouldn't be granted in the long run.

Ken turned around and looked at the other man. "Kol, this hasn't been the first time I experienced something so heinous, so awful, so horrendous that you're left wondering how you can go on. I was part of the marine attack force on Anderson, and I was part of fighting against the Nicaraguan MILA. After both actions I was left considering how you can go on." Ken shrugged as he continued, "I've read some of the great philosophers to find help, read the Bible and the Quran. What we do, is carry on. Take the next step and the next. And if a chance comes to help someone, you try and take it. I hope that helps."

The words didn't but the gesture did, and that was enough for now, "Yeah, I guess you're right. I thought I'd seen stuff too, but..." he shooked his head as if the action would shake away the more persistent of the thoughts, "thank you".

"We all have our stories, Kol. Mine aren't all bad." Ken joked with a smile that didn't exactly touch his eyes. "Maybe one day I'll tell you about the one with the monkey." And with that, Ken walked away, one gun richer to add to the ship's armoury.


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