Who Ordered the Marine?

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OOC Date: April 24, 2011
IC Date: February 6, 2128

Dominic unthaws Xavier as the first Marine to be awakened after entering the wormhole.

Crew Stasis Hold

The sickly green glow of the stasis chambers provides most of the light in the cavernous hold - they make enough light on their own, little else is really needed. Two hundred and twenty such chambers are scattered about the hold, containing the entirety of the crew when they're in stasis, each roughly the size of a phone booth and cylindrical in shape.

While the majority of a stasis chamber is made of metal and contains all of the sensitive equipment needed to sustain the person within, the front is made of a high grade plexiglass that is completely clear, allowing a view of the person inside. One would almost think that they stand upright except that their toes do not touch the ground, instead they float in a greenish liquid that accounts for the color of the light coming out of each unit. The people inside wear only the minimum necessary - a version of tighty whities for the men, and the same plus a halter style top for the women. Numerous tubes and wires are connected to them at points all over their bodies, pumping in and filtering out liquid similar to the kind they float in. One of the elements of stasis involves removing all of the blood from the body and replacing it with a synthetic liquid that preserves the internal organs and bones and prevents the body from aging. The liquid they float in does the same for the skin, muscles and hair. Wires connected to the head and various parts of the body stimulate the muscles and brain to prevent atrophy and to keep the person in a hypnotized state of peace.

In addition to the stasis chambers themselves, the hold also contains several control and monitoring stations that allow manual operation of the stasis system when crew members are awake. One door is all that the hold contains, and it leads out to the central corridor of Deck Two.

Consciousness comes slowly, starting at the back of the mind and bubbling up like pockets of air in molasses. It seems to take forever. The first sense to come alive is the general sense of awareness, of being present in the here and now - wherever and whenever that maybe. Realization dawns that the body is floating, and the faint prickles of wires disengage in from the body follows shortly after. Warmth begins to flood in as blood returns to the body and synthetic preservative is cycled out. Tubes retract save for those in the nose and mouth that still provide oxygen. Bubbling and hissing fill the ears and the feet gradually touch the bottom of the chamber, the liquid draining away, and soon feet and legs support the body, or at the very least attempt to. Some may find themselves quite shaky despite the regular stimulation of the muscles. When eyes finally open, the world is blurry and vague. One sensation overcomes everything else.

The hunger.

Such hunger.

Dominic stands near the newly awakened Marine is being dethawed, resting against the pod of another Marine that is still in stasis. Resting on a table nearby is a pair of towels, change of clothes and boots. As the cycle nears it's end, Dominic pushes off the pod and gets ready to assist the Marine should he need it.

Comprehension is not a comfortable thing. After six years of floating in a drug-induced slumber, a return to reality is not precisely welcome, either. In the last moment of the cycle, just before the tube actually opens, Xavier's eyes snap open and he thrashes for a second against the bubbling, the hissing, the flood of liquid descending and the angry demands of the empty stomach. It's futile, this. He doesn't have the strength to fight his way out, though the pod opens up just a second later. The last of the tubes retract, leaving one wet Marine on his own, momentarily weak as a drowned kitten. Fighting the process catches up with him then and he drops unceremoniously out of it, onto the deck, fall just broken with his palms, and there he goes still, twitching and shuddering with an obvious need to be sick and an equal desire not to be.

Dominic's attention briefly turns to a nearby monitor as the man inside the tube starts to thrash about. As the tube opens and the Marine drops out, he looks back towards the man just as he starts falling. Dominic moves to catch the man as he hits the deck and catches himself. He stops in his movements as the man looks like he's about to vomit up what isn't there. "Morning, Marine." He says to the man, taking a few steps back just incase he manages to vomit something up. "Take your time. The nausea will pass soon enough." He watches the man for a few moments. "Can you stand or do you require assistance?"

As with any good Marine, the first words out of this one's mouth are somewhat vile, a hissed, colorfully murderous bit of Spanish that is unfocused and indirect. Nothing comes up, though Xavier heaves a couple of times as if thinking seriously about the virtue of painting the floor with it. The next words, when they come, are better. Kind of. "I'm fine," he grunts. Wet. Sticky. Undignified. Annoyed, even. But fine. Only then does he look up, and only then does he process who he's addressing. "Sir."

Dominic smirks at the man's first words, nodding. "That just about covers it." He says, mostly to himself. He watches the Marine as he looks up at him. "At ease. I brought some towels for you as well as a uniform to wear until you can get cleaned up." He offers the man a hand to help get him to his feet. "You're free to go to your quarters and wash up, put on a fresh uniform, and get some chow from the galley. When you're done, stop by my office and I'll have you caught up to speed."

Xavier reaches for and takes the offered hand, and pulls up to his feet with remarkable grace for someone of his size. Most of the stasis effects seem to be wearing off; most of the shaking subsides and he wavers when upright for only a few seconds. Now at last he takes the opportunity to look around, left, then right, noting that some pods are empty and that most are still full. "Yes, sir." Which brings him up to a total of four English words used so far, all of them accented.

Dominic picks up the towels from the table and offers them to the man once he's back on his feet. "It's February 7, 2128. In case you're wondering." He says to the Sergeant. "You know the way back to your quarters and the galley?" He asks after a moment. "If not, I'll be happy to escort you there." As the man towels off, he picks up the uniform.

Xavier takes the towel and begins to wipe off green stuff with quick efficiency; he starts with his face and blots his hair, and gets about that far when mention of the date is made. Darkness crosses his expression, causes his forehead to furrow, eyebrows crawling together. "I can find them, sir. And your office." See? He knows more than a handful of words, he just uses them sparingly. Some of that might have to do with the grumble that his stomach gives, reminding him that food is more important than asking questions. When he's gotten most of the gunk off, he reaches for the uniform.

Dominic nods his head as he takes the towels back and tosses them on the table as he hands the uniform over. "Alright. I'll leave you to it then. I'll see you in my office when you're ready." He says to him, nodding once. "Take as long as you need." And with that, he turns on his heels and starts out of the room.

CSO's Office - Deck Two

Unlike the many other offices aboard the ship, this office is smaller than the room that lays before it. Despite the lack of space, the room has been organized for maximum efficiency. Off to the left of the entrance is a medium sized desk with a plush office chair. Behind the desk, a wall rack hangs that displays various weapons from over the years. Two normal chairs sit on the opposite side of the desk for visitors and guests. Across the room from the desk is a large wall screen that continuously cycles through the numerous cameras on the ship as well as any other requisition security data about the ship and its crew members.

The rest of the walls in the room are covered by other personal effects belonging to the room's owner. Various medals, certificates and awards are framed and hung with care as well as various framed pictures of Dominic and various others. Though there is no pictures of him before he joined the military. For those who pay enough attention to the pictures and are observant enough may notice the picture of him and a young woman tucked in a darkened corner of the room. A large oriental rug has been spread out over the center of the room. Near the door, a number of single dog tags hang from small chains on a hook. Each tag has a different name on it.

Call it 30 minutes before Xavier reports for real, showered, shaved, though probably not having needed to shit. His uniform is even mostly intact, boots laced, armor straight. Most of this time was probably spent shutting the grumbling in his stomach up, food devoured like fuel instead of tasty goodness. He knocks on the door before coming inside, giving the metal three quick raps with bare knuckles.

Dominic sits at his desk, reviewing some data that streams across the screen of his data-pad. He looks up at the sound of the knocking at the door. "Come on in." He calls out as he sets the data-pad down on his desk as he stands to greet the visitor. Upon seeing who it is, he offers a smile before he motions the man inside. "Come in and have a seat. I take it you've enjoyed the lovely menu at Chateau de Galley?"

Xavier steps inside and pauses therein to salute, but this is short-lived and very soon he crosses over to sink down into one of the chairs on the other side of the desk. "Yes, sir," he verifies. "Seems the menu hasn't changed since yesterday. Or in six years, has it been?" Again there is a flicker of something dark, troubled by this tidbit of information that he has been carrying around for the last half hour or so.

Dominic chuckles and nods. "You'd be surprised, Sergeant. There's been a few recipes that have been added to the ship's database." He says with a chuckle before he sits back down in his seat. "But it has been six years. On January 9th, the Captain, the XO and the bridge officers were awakened early from stasis because we came across a derelict ship of Giver origin. It came with a message." He pauses for a moment before he continues. "The message stated that the Givers were being hunted down by a species called the Devourers. The Devourers had hunted the Givers to near extinction and in order to spare their species, the Givers gave the Devourers the location of a planet of species that were squandering their resources and were killing themselves. Earth. It was out of guilt that the Givers gave us the technology and location of New Eden. They tried to save as many of us as they could." He pauses again to let the information sink in.

It does sink in. Slowly. It's possible that it takes Xavier a moment longer than the average soldier as he has to translate, mentally, but the light bulb going off is almost visible. He doesn't brighten though; his expression darkens further and he hisses something in Spanish that might be a recommendation for the Givers and a small herd of donkeys. Maybe. "Fucking aliens," he adds in English. "They tried to save us? With this?" He lifts a hand and gestures at the office, at the ship, though he curls it back into a fist almost as quickly. "They *gave* our planet to their hunters?" Not happy, this one.

Dominic nods his head as Xavier speaks, a frown forming slightly over his lips. "That is correct." He says to him, pausing for a moment. "A few days after we awoke, we received a transmission from Earth saying they were under attack. Apparently the government built a second ship which they launched. We don't know if it survived or where they are. We haven't heard anything since. The ship and Earth are presumed lost. The Givers gave us three additional options since New Eden is no longer a viable home. Two planets and a wormhole. The planets were deemed uninhabitable and we set course to the wormhole. Last night, we entered the wormhole and found a fleet of devourer ships attacking a second alien species. We attacked the devourers and destroyed all but one ship which was disabled. We are currently in the Corona Borealis Supercluster 500 billion light years from where we entered."

Whatever else there might be, Xavier's thoughts about this are troubled. He scowls, teeth flashing in an expression of sharp, almost feral dismay, though he reins that back in and squares himself up. "Lost, sir?" That concept seems to trouble him at least as much as the idea of being 500 billion light years from anywhere, probably for obvious reasons. Other thoughts are not expressed so clearly, but they do not help his expression a whole lot. Still, that is not really a request for additional information, as additional information seems to be forthcoming. Thus he sits, though he nearly vibrates with this bright, burning anger, and tries to listen to the rest.

Dominic nods his head as he looks at the man across from him. "Yes. Lost. We are currently putting together a delegation to attempt an alliance with the species that was under attack." He leans forward slightly, resting his forearms on the desk. "I know this is a lot for you to take in and it might be hard. I'm authorizing you a 48 hour leave to mourn and to let everything sink in. During that time, you need to go see the Doc and the shrink to see if you're fit for duty. The transmissions that we've received are in the ship's database if you'd like to review them."

Xavier shakes his head, but the negation is unfocused. He scowls again at some errant thought, a gnat of something new buzzing through his anger, but that gets stapled down pretty quick-like. "And then what, sir? There wasn't much back there for me to mourn for, except for the whole fucking planet. Sir." While he might have been terse in the stasis bay, that is evidently not always characteristic of him.

Dominic sits back in his seat as he watches the man. "I don't know what comes next. None of us do. That's what we're all figuring out at the moment. The appointments and leave isn't my choice, but rather it comes down from the Captain, so I can't even argue them if I felt against them, which I don't. My door is always open if you need to talk. Any hour that you need to, should you need to. I need you at 100%. Take some time for yourself and report for duty in two days."

"Yes, sir," answers Xavier. He rises again, getting to his feet with that same unlikely grace, and offers another salute. This one does not come quite so readily as the last, but it is given none the less. With that and a subsequent dismissal, he heads for the door.

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