Written All Over Her
Episode 8: A Greater Power
Location: Holodeck 2, Deck 5
Timeline: Day 179 at 1045
The lights in the fabricated environment of Holodeck Two were dim, except for a single lamp with its intense circular glow focused on the woman sitting in the chair.
Brynhild Keil sat in the chair, hands laced together on top of her head and arms hanging loosely over her slightly angled form. She was dressed only in her "duty style" bra, her shirt hung over a chair so her midsection was exposed. A stereotypical gristly looking gentleman with long black hair in a ponytail sat hunched over her side. If she was feeling any pain from the hyper-speed needle driving into her flesh over and over, she didn't show it. She did feel the pain, of course, but it was nothing compared to what she felt emotionally...so the pinpricks didn't matter.
Little seemed to matter except getting this tattoo. It was important. Her psyche couldn't process things until the loss had been properly commemorated.
Mid process however, the tatoo artist was disturbed by the sudden and rather curt chime at the 'door' to the holodeck.
"Enter," she called when he heard the chime, curious as to who it was.
Only supreme self-control kept her from jerking when she saw the captain walk in. "Computer, freeze program," she said, and the dark man froze with pen hovering and she got to her feet like the good Marine she was. She saluted. "Sir."
Over her ribs was the nearly-finished image of a ship's upper half over the words 'USS Roehampton' followed by a number: the crew complement, minus the few who had survived. Herself included. This singular area was clearly just one in a long history, since there were names scrawled over her visible skin on both hips, her other side, shoulders, and down both arms. If she was self-conscious about either her state of dress or the ink, she didn't show that either.
And to that, she wasn't. She just waited at attention for the captain to speak.
Drayton observed the woman's art work for a second and then nodded approvingly. "That's an interesting way to remember people," he mused before walking over to the wall of the 'shop' to have a look at some of the artists other designs, "I thought these things went out of fashion centuries ago?" he asked.
She took that as her sign to be "at ease" and so she moved into that pose, hands behind her back as she watched him walk over to the replication of the tattoo shop she favored. "Out of fashion but not out of existence, sir. I got my first one when I was a teenager and have kept the tradition."
"If you don't mind me asking," he queried as he turned and tried counting the tattoos that he could see, "how many do you have?"
"There are seventy-three names, sir," she replied stoically, her gaze and stance remaining steady. Inwardly, she wasn't sure how she felt... But she wasn't ashamed of the words and art on her body. It was a part of her, and a coping mechanism. Something she needed right now. "The first eleven names were when I was sixteen."
"Wow..." Drayton trailed off as he perched on the edge of one of the parlour's beds. "I hope this isn't in place of a visit to the Counsellor?" he queried, hoping he wouldn't have to reiterate his orders for the woman. It wouldn't make a great start for their working relationship if she had disobeyed his orders.
Brynna's brow knit slightly. "Certainly not, Captain. I've already made an appointment to see the counsellor." She may not like the idea, but she certainly understood the need for it and she would not disobey. "This is just something I do for myself."
"We all have our ways of dealing with things, just do me a favour and avoid getting any on your face," he grimaced as he pointed at her head and wiggled his finger with a laugh.
That made her smile slightly, a faint laugh escaping her. "Never on the face, sir," she said. "I just don't like the look."
"So, I've been meaning to talk to you for a few days, but I have been conscious about giving everyone some time to recuperate but there is much to be done," Drayton told as he decided it was time to get down to business. "You indicated the other day that you wanted to stay aboard and help with the Nihari investigation. You still up for the job?" he queried, out of hope rather than expectation.
Brynhild straightened her back a little further and lifted her chin. "Yes, sir," she said. "I owe it to my wing. I owe it to myself. I want to help."
"Excellent," Drayton grinned as he rubbed his hands together, "why don't you carry on with this tattoo business and we can carry on talking? I'd love to watch it done, if you have no objections?"
"No objections, sir," Brynna said easily. She relaxed her stance and then slipped back into the chair, moving carefully between the seat and the frozen-in-place needle. She eyed the placement of the needle and the new tattoo and then settled back as she was before. "Computer, resume program." And then just as if nothing had happened, the artist began his work again.
"So," the Captain began as he sat back and watched the artist at work, "I'm sure you know that we don't have a Fighter Wing aboard the Nogura, but, that needs to change if we are to really defend this area and investigate the Nihari threat, we're going to need multiple weapons in our arsenal," he told as he moved his head around to look at the tattoo in progress. "So, I'd like you to draw up some suggestions for how we can adjust or reconfigure our auxiliary craft complement to cater for your needs."
Brynna turned her head enough to meet his gaze, although without moving her body at all so she didn't throw off the ink-in-process. "I'm hoping we'll be able to requisition some actual fighters and I don't have to modify shuttles to shoot better, sir," she said with a wry, half-smile.
"Well, if we get our order in quick enough, the Lexington is heading out this way in a few days with our newest personnel. I'm sure they could drop us off some fighters at the same time," he told, diverting his eyes from her body and back to her face. "Any idea how many you would want? What class?"
"That depends on how you see us best fitting into the ship's new mission... Are we scouts? Interceptors? Or more likely to be straight-out dogfighting?" she asked thoughtfully.
"We don't need scouts as such, our sensor suite is magnificent. So, our need is more likely in an interceptor, space superiority and control role," he advised her as he finally gave her more attention, and not the tattoo. "I want to make sure that the next time we come up against any threat out here, we have resources to strike, and strike hard and strike first if necessary."
Brynna rolled through her memory of various fighter craft and their roles. "We could probably fit in a greater number of quicker strike craft, interceptors, or maybe a smaller number of heavier hitters. They're bigger and a bit slower but would pack a bigger punch. Downside, we have limited room. Probably a single twelve-plane squadron at most, but I'll have to get a better look at the space we'll be allocated."
"I'll make sure that you have access to the shuttlebay and anything else you need," the Captain nodded as he made a plan in his head. "I want an effective combat unit. If you think heavy hitters would be better, we'll go that route. But, if we are to get what we want, we need to get our order in ASAP," he continued.
"I'll get right on it," Brynna said. "I'll make sure you have a strong sword-arm, Captain."
Rising to his feet, the Captain nodded. "Once that's done, back to taking some time. Counsellor Kizohl will be expecting you," the Captain reminded her before adding, "I'll leave you to your tattoo."
The major figured in this case, he would forgive the lapse in protocol if she didn't stand up. She nodded once from where she say. "Thank you, sir. I won't let you down."