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Shields are Down

Posted on Sat Feb 6th, 2010 @ 6:56pm by Lieutenant Thomas Jenkins

Mission: Removing The Blindfold. Season 1 Episode 5
Location: Corridor, Habitat Deck

Thomas stormed down the corridor on the habitat deck, making his way to his quarters. His mind was racing with everything he'd been forced to take in - the war, Beverly's deception, and the way she tried to shrug him off on the promenade. He couldn't help but feel that everything he'd done in the last eleven years was wrong; starting with letting his parents pressure him into joining the Federation was a mistake. He'd already asked Ensign Sheffield to report early for his shift to make up for Tom's absence, whipping his commbadge down a random corridor shortly after.

Not paying any attention, Thomas barrelled between two people walking side-by-side down the corridor, paying no attention as his shoulders shoved each of them in opposite directions. He continued on, staring into nothingness, trapped in his own mind. As he neared his quarters, he began to tug at his uniform, suddenly more uncomfortable within it's fabrics than he'd ever been. Now doors away from his own quarters, he grabbed hold of the hidden zipper at the top of his jacket and pulled down with an angry force, trying to rid himself of the uniform and everything it stood for. Trying was a good word, because the zipper jammed about half-way down and wouldn't go any further.

"For fuck's sake!" He hollered out at his stopped at his door, looking down at the bastard zipper that was determined, perhaps, to make a point. Standing in place, he pulled at the zipper ferociously with both hands, making absolutely no progress but no doubt looking like a fool, drawing the gaze of a passer-by.

"Piss off!" He screamed at the top of his lungs, before turning his attention back to his zipper, shocking the crewman who quickly turned away and walked faster. Giving another tug, Thomas failed to make any progress with the zipper. Screaming out in frustration he frantically ripped at the jacket with both hands, grabbing and pulling and spinning in circles with elbows flailing in a desperate attempt to remove the blasted piece of clothing. Finally he stopped, stomped his feet and kicked the door to his quarters in frustration, then slapped the palm of his hand against the panel next to it.

Mumbling obscenities, he made his way through the opening door, into his quarters, still pulling at the tunic. Finally, he reached his hands behind his back, grabbed hold of the fabric, and pulled both the jacket and the red shirt underneath out from his waistband and up over his head - his head promptly getting stuck as he tried to pull them off, blinding him and resulting in him tripping over a side-table in the living room. He flailed around like a child having a tantrum, kicking his legs in the air and rolling around, screaming, as if it would help him get the demon shirt off. Despite inadvertently kicking the coffee table over, he finally he pulled them free. Pulling them off his arms as he scrambled to his knees, he crumpled the two into a ball and threw them onto the floor. Still reeling from the adrenaline and anger pulsing through his blood, he grabbed the closest thing to him - an empty glass that was once on the now over-turned coffee table - and with a blood-curdling yell threw it violently across the room, shattering it against the wall.

As the commotion ceased, the sound of the glass shattering resonated through Tom. His pips laying on the floor of the promenade somewhere, Tom stood on both knees in the middle of his destroyed living room, half naked with his partially torn shirt and jacket next to him, staring at the pile of broken glass scattered across the opposite side of the room. He stared for a moment, not moving, before he began to hyperventilate and panic. His arms dropped to his sides and his legs gave way, his weight shifting back until he was supported only by his knees on the ground, and the balls of his feet under his backside. Still staring forward, the tears gushed from his eyes and his face instantly flushed red. He gasped for air as the emotions overwhelmed him, now holding his arms to his chest, helpless.

Eleven years of anguish, kept hidden inside by reckless acts of carelessness and violence, casual sex and illegal activity, all finally surfaced. His mind filled of images from his childhood; he and his sister desperately seeking the attention of their parents whose pride had always been focused on their Starfleet son, Tom's brother. His mind shifted through memory after memory; his sister's advance acceptance into the academy being overshadowed by their brother's acceptance into the marines, his first acts of rebellion in school, his dealings with rogue factions in the academy, his brother's death at the end of the Dominion War.

As his memory reminded him of the days following his brother's death, Tom collapsed to the floor, pulling his knees to his chest and rocking back and forth in his own tears. As he sobbed and continued to gasp for air, he remembered the funeral, his tortured parents' faces as their prodigal son was remembered despite not being able to bury the disintegrated body. He recalled his graduation from the academy, and his father's drunken outburst in front of his peers - calling him a failure and a mistake, reminding him that he'd never live up to his brother's legacy - as if he'd ever had the chance. His knuckles stung as he remembered the blow the his father's jaw that he'd landed, and his chest felt even tighter as he remembered the group of his peers who had dragged him off of his aged old man.

Tom wailed out loud and buried his face into his knees as he pictured Beverly on the Genesis, engaged in a new war with the Gorn and the Tholians. It was as if he could see the destruction of the Genesis in the future’s alternate timeline, as it was destroyed by the USS Starke. His head didn't hold those memories, but the thought of Beverly dying in the heat of battle hit him just as hard at twenty-seven as it would have at forty-seven.

As image after image raced through Tom's mind, he slowly went quiet. Overwhelmed from the onslaught of emotions he'd never had the courage to face, exhausted from the cracking of his mental barrier, he continued to lie on the floor of his quarters, holding his knees to his chest.

He didn’t know what was happening. And he certainly didn’t know what he was going to do about it. Right now he was helpless, at the mercy of his own mind. Remaining on the floor, he released himself and continued to cry. And cry. And cry.


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