The Security Officer's Beat Patrol
Location: Deck 6; Near Holodeck 3
Timeline: Day 003 - 1530 Hours
Oscar Vladinchi had concluded his beat on deck 5, finishing off around the gymnasium before casually taking the turbolift to the lower deck. Other than meeting the Rifleman earlier around Holodeck 1, he hadn't encountered any other crewmen who were as approachable or talkative. Most of the crew seemed to be getting ready since after the big-wig's met earlier today, whereupon afterward he'd started his beat proper. Turning a corridor and passing near Holodeck 3, he kept his eyes out casually for any disturbances.
After a long day on the bridge, Freya needed to let off some steam. So she had headed to her quarters, taken her katana, and headed to Holodeck 3 for some combat practice. She was just turning the corner as she spotted the security officer heading towards her. Remembering from the crew manifest that he was Russian, she decided to put her knowledge of that language to the test.
"Privet, leytenant, how are you?", she said, smiling, her slight accent giving away the fact that she had not spoken Russian in some years.
Taken aback, Oscar did a double-take upon hearing his native language spoken. When he turned around, he caught sight of the Chief Flight Control Officer, remembering her from the meeting. The katana was, however, new to his memory of her.
"I tebe privet, leytenant. Chto privelo tebya syuda?" he replied. His accent was thick, surprising himself as he seemed to cheer up a tad bit due to this encounter.
"A little bit of sport," Freya replied, continuing in Russian. "I have a swordfighting simulation that I like to use to blow off some steam."
With a smile, she pointed at the sword hanging from her belt. Following her conversation with the counselor a few days ago, Freya had replicated a copy of her katana with a blunt edge, for display and training purposes, and hidden the real thing in her quarters. Still smiling, she drew the blade, and deftly flipped it in her hand, holding it out to Oscar handle first. "Replica of a family heirloom. Accurate to the tiniest detail, perfectly balanced. Only difference to the real thing is that the edge is not sharpened."
Oscar began to feel really at ease around this woman. For the first time since the incident, perhaps even before it, he was comfortable around someone. Something in the back of his mind warned him that such comfort could lead to death, but in all his recent years since the death of his family, he hadn't felt this at ease around someone in a long time. His russian came natural, deep, pure as he replied and took the hilt of the sword. Examining it, even his mannerisms matched those of his homeland; a slight bob of the hand, a sway of the stance, an action of approval as he handed it back.
"It does look real and nice, though I admit no knowledge to such weapons beyond museum pieces," Oscar replied equally in the language of his home. A passing crewman caught his eye, but the Vulcan respectfully kept his eyes forward as he passed. "I remember back home, during the happy times, I had a genuine Makarov. Then my home was destroyed and my family gone, the Makarov is no more."
A moment to reflect, then a nod as his eyes maintained their sight on the sword. "I admit though I like the style of it. Japanese perhaps, if I could venture?" he asked, eyes looking up to Freya.
Lieutenant Mannerheim nodded. "Japanese indeed. The original weapon was forged in the 1940s. An ancestor of mine was a general, I am told. The sword was given to him by a Japanese prince, as a token of friendship and gratitude." She decided not to mention the fact that it had also been awarded in recognition of the fact that her ancestor had been commanding the joint Finnish-German-Japanese force that had wiped out the Soviet leadership and ended that part of the second Weltkrieg - after all, it had not happened in the history of this universe.
She could, however, relate to the security officer's mention of losing his family. "My grandfather gave it to me. I have the original, too, in safe storage. It was due to be passed on to my father, but when my parents and my brother were killed, my grandfather decided to entrust it to me instead."
Oscar's eyes were intense in their observation of Freya. Not insofar as accusing, but listening; genuinely paying attention to her. He nodded carefully after she had spoke about her family, his head giving a slow nod as he looked away for a moment, before retraining his attention back on her.
"This is ship is weird," he said carefully, softly. "A lot of loss here, a lot of memories. I must tell you a secret you cannot tell anyone else, perhaps it will give perspective to our losses."
He glanced around, noting that for once the corridor was empty. Satisfied, his attention returned to her, and he continued.
"I died once, not long ago, in the Delta Quadrant. I was on a mission on a Nebula class starship, the USS Pennsylvania. Very fine ship and crew. I was the Security Chief there, we were sent to rescue hostages from the hirogen. I died in the effort, shot in the chest just right beneath the screaming girl and mans cage. When I died, I came here, but not alone."
He gently poked his forehead, "In here is someone else, a woman, a space woman, trapped also in that cage. She got sucked into here, somehow, sent me here and got me alive again. At first I was sure it was one of them situations in Starfleet that happen once every few decades, maybe hundred years. Weird situations about survival and perhaps resurrection. But then I got to researching the ships history, the crew. Despite being an Academy ship, there has been much death following most of this crew.
What is so weird then, is that I served on this ship in the Dominion War, almost died on that very bridge above us. Do you not see where I am going? The oddness? The strangeness? It is like this ship attracts things from different realities, distances, odd things. I am one of them. Have you not seen these odd things?"
Freya listened intently to the Russian's tale, her hand instinctively going to the pocket on her belt in which she kept her Terran badge when he mentioned different realities. "It is peculiar, indeed. This crew has many stories, most of them sad. Most would not believe what you just said, about dying and yet still living."
She looked at the man stood in front of her, and saw a genuine sadness in his eyes. "I have seen things nobody would believe, leytenant," she continued. "I was serving on an anti-piracy mission on the Cromwell, my first assignment after graduating the Academy. The ship was destroyed in an ion storm. I was the only person to get to the escape pods in time." Her voice broke for a moment, before she continued. "As I was drifting through the Badlands, I spotted another escape pod. And what I saw on that pod is an image that will never flee my mind. I saw myself, hunched over the controls of the pod, dead. But I was wearing a slightly different uniform, a strange one to my eyes." She shook her head. "Different realities. They can really mess with your head, especially when you find them crossing over."
"Da," he affirmed, equally listening to his new compatriots tale. He saw her sadness as well, and the mannerisms of her reaching in her pocket. He would have stiffened to alertness, but her reaction was more in comfort than anything. Perhaps messing with a medallion of some sort?
"Strange indeed," he said. "We have both seen loss, it is as I stated. Perhaps we are the ghosts of the living now trapped in purgatory, this ship. Maybe this is where we were sent to make up for our crimes of surviving when others did not."
Freya shook her head. "I disagree. I think this is not punishment, I think this is an opportunity. I know that for me it is. The version of me that died that day, she was not in a good place." She smiled. "Everything is an opportunity in life, my friend."
Oscar nodded solemnly, understanding her words. "It is. I should have died that day three weeks ago, but I now live. Perhaps because I gave that life to save others, I do not know. But your words are true."
"We all have a purpose in life, my friend, and we all have a time." Freya placed her hand on Oscar's arm. "And we will only know when that time is, when it finally comes, and our purpose is fulfilled."
Oscar looked at her hand on his arm, then nodded and placed his on hers. He smiled to her.
"Comrade in arms then, and tiny blessings," he said as he patted her arm.
Freya nodded. "Vsegda, tovarish."
Lieutenant Oscar Vladinchi
Lieutenant Freya Svanirsdottir Mannerheim
Chief Flight Control Officer