Posted on Fri Dec 22nd, 2017 @ 4:34pm by Captain Elijah Michaels & Lieutenant JG Elliot Keller & Commander Bertrand Cuprum & Commander Cor Cordale & Lieutenant Commander Ziyal Tajor & Lieutenant Ishan Satele & Lieutenant Hel Samedi & Lieutenant Commander Alec Wescott & Lieutenant Jaton Alyl & Lieutenant Sara'draphia T'eseri & Lieutenant Odelle Lin & Captain Allen Jones & Lieutenant JG Scotty Kayne & Ensign Todd Bailey
When the Sinful strike back
Location: Epsilon Sigma Shipyards
The feeling was very different today, compared to the last time the fleet was here.
There were ships, blackened hulks, needing so much work , that many of them would simply be scrapped. This would be the end of their journey.
There was a cargo bay full of long white coffins; each one representing a letter home to a family soon to grieve a son or daughter.
The Medical bays were working overtime to help those who were carried home.
But here and now was a time for celebration. Here was a time to remember that some ships HAD returned, and some people WERE standing upright and breathing. Despite what they faced, the Fleet had won its first and only victory against the Jenarrii, and that needed recognition.
The crews had been assembled in the larger hanger, a space that could accommodate so many people at once. Admiral Goddard had already been speaking for some time. As well as a cluster awarded to each person who was involved in the battle, he was identifying several specific individuals for commendation.
All those assembled were in full dress uniforms including medals and ribbons. The Hangar was filled with a varying level of races and genders.
"Now for the specific awards to those who have shown extraordinary acts of heroism and courage. When you are called step forward." Goddard cleared his throat. "Commander Bertrand Cuprum and Commander Cor Cordale for your calmness in command and your actions as Leaders you are hereby awarded the Silver Star of Valour."
Another ceremony. More applause. More ghosts. Cordale knew the routine better than most. They call the names, you applaud, you move on. The pips on his collar were held on with the mortar of his own hard work, the blood and sweat of his own hand. But these medals? How many of them were soaking in someone else's blood? How many of them shined with the light taken from someone else's eyes? He had signed a few dozen of those action reports where mothers and fathers are told their children served and gave the ultimate sacrifice. He insisted on reading them all.
He stepped forward, and even had the nerve to have a pair of dry eyes and a neutral expression on his features as he walked forward to accept his commendations. "Thank you sir." he managed to speak three words without choking.
Bertrand had tried. He had brushed his hair, and replicated a new dress uniform. Within a couple of minutes it looked like he had slept in it. He really wasn't suited to ceremony. But he had been to more of them than anyone here, with the possible exception of some of the Admirals. He knew why this had to be done. He was also aware of the waves of mixed emotions that always accompanied these things.
Stepping forward he took the medal and even shook Goddard by the hand, "Thank you, sir. Let's not do this again soon, eh?"
"Lieutenant Commander Ziyal Tajor and Lieutenant Commander Alec Wescott, for your duties as First Officers and acting upon the orders of your superiors you are to be awarded the Bronze Star of Valour."
Ziyal stepped forward and accepted her medal formally. For her, she felt that she hadn't really done anything valourous, just lots of planning. However, she understood that it wasn't her who the medal was about. "Thank you sir."
Alec was surprised at his award, feeling that he hadn't really done much in his role as First Officer, but graciously stepped forward to accept the gleaming medal. He didn't really do medals, however accepted it on principal rather than anything else. "Thank you sir." He said, shaking the Admirals hand, before turning, and returning to his place.
"Lieutenants Valeria Mordin, Hel Samedi and Odelle Lin and Jaton Atyl for your actions in keeping your Ships afloat and in the fight, you are to be awarded the Starfleet Cross of Merit."
Valeria arrived on the spotlight, walking behind a gravity-repellent mobility chair. Hoverchair for short, certainly, but Valeria would explain that it didn't actually hover. Though, that wasn't the important part. In the chair was Hel Samedi, still recovering from her ordeal on the front. A little paler than usual, a little more bandaged up than usual, but present and accounted for.
Wearing her dress whites and seated in aforementioned hoverchair was Hel Samedi. Her skin almost pure white in contrast to the almost impure white complexion she normally had. She looked thoughtful, pensive, and didn't feel like she deserved an award for catching an explosion with her face. Still, she accepted it with the grace of an officer and a practised smile.
Lin stood up, a little shocked that she had won the award but she was delighted all the same. She grinned and gave a nod to the Admiral.
Jaton was the final of the four. He stood straight and tall, a slight puff in his chest. He was well aware of the fine figure he cut in his dress whites, glad he had taken his father's advice of going to the tailors of Savile Row in London to have them made before he left Earth. He accepted the medal from the admiral with a slight bow. "Thank you, sir" he said, shaking the admiral's offered hand. As he went back to his place among the rest of the crew, he pinned the cross to his uniform, where it would remain for the rest of his career.
"Lieutenant Junior Grade Scotty Kayne and Doctor T'eseri, your actions as Senior Officers within the fleet have earned you the Starfleet Service Medal."
Scotty stood up, and went to receive his award, he was proud of his accomplishments up to this point.
A little confused, Sara followed what the other officers had done. After recieving her medal, she simply returned to her seat.
"Captain Allen Jones, Lieutenant Junior Grade Elliot Keller, and Ensign Todd Bailey your dedication to duty on the Planets Surface as well as your acts of heroism in direct action against the enemy have earned you the Starfleet Service Medal."
AJ stepped forward to receive the award with a very heavy heart. In war casualties happened, but that doesn't mean AJ have to like it. He had not slept well since returning from the surface. He had seen worse but this was fresh and the images where like a bandaid being ripped off an old wound. He would do his job and accept his medal but he didn't feel inside he deserved it.
Todd was helped to slowly shuffle forward by a nurse from Sickbay. He was gently stopped before the Senior Officer, and as he looked up at him through dull, lifeless eyes he whispered in a hoarse voice "I'm sorry Sir, I simply cannot accept this. To many of my friends and fellow crew lie dead or are horribly scarred and injured, and for what, so we who survived can collect gongs or put ribbons on a dress uniform we probably won't wear for one year to the next? None of those who now lie in those coffins can! I'm ashamed that I didn't do my duty as I should have, I'm alive and to many of them are dead, what right do I have to be rewarded for that failure?"
He dropped his stare back down to the ground, then whispered to his nurse "Take me back to my place please."
Bertrand, still near the podium, understood survivours guilt better than most here. He stepped forward now.
"Ensign Bailey... Todd," he used the mans first name, "We don't wear these to celebrate that we are better, luckier, or more skilled than those who don't stand here. We wear them so that each time someone looks at them and asks, 'What's that for?", we have a chance to talk about those who were left behind, so they are never forgotten. If we did not take a moment to commemorate this event had happened, then there would be no meaning to their sacrifice. Wear the medal, not because you deserve it, but because they can't."
Todd looked hollowly at the Commander and answered "I'm not being disrespectful by not accepting it Commander, I would gladly give my own life if it meant one of my friends could be the one standing here now in my place, but it's a reminder that they're not, and that I failed to ensure that they came home safely. I know the families of a number of those crew members who died because we came through the academy together. How do I face their parents and loved ones and tell them they're dead because I failed to do my duty? This isn't a 'pity poor me' situation Sir, I'm ashamed that I'm here, and I...I...I...", but he couldn't finish the sentence as sobs wracked his body.
Bertrand knew this was going to take time and counseling. Weeks, months, hell, he was still going 25 years later. But now was not the time or place.
"Ensign Bailey," Bertrand growled. "Shut your mouth, take your medal, and return to your place. That is an order."
One more crewman to hate the old battle axe, Bertrand thought. He was used to that.
Todd looked at Commander Cuprum, absolute hatred in his eyes "No....Commander, I will not, and you can't force me to!!! These awards are voluntary, and any recipient can choose to accept or refuse of their own accord. You can thrown me in the brig if you want to, but you'll never force me to take something I don't believe I deserve...Sir!"
With that, he motioned for the nurse to escort him back to his place.
Hel furrowed her brows, watching the exchange. Part of her agreed with the man, another part wondered whether raising drama in a situation like this was respectful of the dead to begin with.
The nurse looked to Cuprum, knowing she needed the senior officer's permission to be dismissed.
"You are wrong, Ensign," Cuprum corrected. "Your service record is not up to you to pick and choose, any more than your orders are. You have a commendation and medal on your record. You are welcome to add insubordination citation to it, if that helps you feel better about yourself."
He couldn't help himself. He was angry now, angry at a thousand slights and tiny arrogances. A hundred minds in this room, awash with emotion rode over him, mixing with his own feelings and coming out in a stream of vitriol.
"I am sure your dead friends would be so proud of your childish display and the fact you dismiss out of hand any recognition of the cause they willingly, and gladly, laid their lives down for. You are officially on restricted duty until you have completed a psychiatric appraisal and it is a condition of your continued service that you attend weekly counseling. I would also advise you, Ensign, to ask permission to speak your mind to a senior officer in future."
"Cuprum," Goddard's voice spoke quietly as a reminder to reign himself in.
Bertrand fought against the wave and just managed through clenched teeth, "You are dismissed!"
Todd said nothing at first, but the hatred towards the arrogance of the Senior Officer still showed in his eyes, possibly even more fierce now. Whatever drove that 'thing', because in Todd's eyes he wasn't a man, he was a hollow sounding gong, bitter, twisted and lonely, someone who took perverted delight in making others suffer pain simply to appease their own shambolic pathetic life.
He was going to see his dead friends walk past him in his sleep time and again, asking why he was still living and they were dead. He already knew he'd be paying visits to the psychiatrist and Counsellors, so the officer saying so was him simply wasting his breath and words. Todd no longer cared what the Batazoid thought of him, his opinion of counted for nothing. If he had had a single shred or shadow of reason, or compassion, he'd have waited till the ceremony was over and then spoken to him, but instead, he'd been a firebrand, allowing his anger and bitterness to overshadow his reasoning and decided to belittle a junior officer, make an example of them and disregard their mental state or ability.
"Aye...Sir!" he answered, and shuffled back to his place.
Elliot then proceeded forward to receive his award and pin it to his chest as was custom. The Diplomatic Officer then returned to his place in the formation.
"Lieutenant Tarlee and Ensign Courtney Baxter you are to be awarded the Starfleet Service Medal."
Both Tarlee and Baxter stepped forward to received their awards from the Admiral and with an about turn they returned to their positions.
"Finally for his role in leading the counterattack and holding the line against superior numbers and displaying the qualities of a leader, Captain Elijah Michaels you are to be awarded the Silver Star of Valour."
Elijah marched forward at the calling of his name. He wasn't one for medals though his collection of ribbons and medals seemed to suggest otherwise. The Captain stood to attention and then with an about face smiled at his friends. He couldn't have done it without them.
He would speak with Bailey and Bertrand when it was appropriate to do so. Right now however was about honouring the sacrifices of the fallen and to commend and recognise the actions of the survivors.
Goddard handed out additional awards to Chief Ainsley and Crewman Halsey for their actions on the Fearless, as well as several others from various portions of the fleet. With the last of the Officers and Crew in receipt of their awards, the old Admiral then returned to the Podium.
"With our Enemies halted it is now time for us all to go about our duties and rebuild." He said firmly. "We remember our dead, care for our wounded comrades and look to continue on in our mandate to explore strange new worlds, seek out new civilisations and continue boldly going where no one has ever gone before." Goddard then signalled for the sound of attention. "Attention on Deck, all hands dismissed."