PHD #315: It's Not Your Fault
It's Not Your Fault
Summary: Damon visits Radcliffe in the makeshift Sickbay and presents her with a Fleet Commendation Medal. They chat about Nikolai.
Date: 07 Jan 2042 AE
Related Logs: Breaking Point
Damon Radcliffe 
Hangar Deck - Starboard - Midship - Battlestar Cerberus
Post-Holocaust Day: #315
This Hangar Bay is filled with boxes, crates and other various supplies that are needed throughout the ship. Most have been moved to one end and lashed with tarps to keep them out of the way. The place has gone from extra ship storage on one end and the ability to house over 450 people on the other end.

Marines guard this area 24/7. One area has been tarped off to the side, that holds canvas showers and sinks. As a small improvement in the standard of living and sanitation, the Head, showers, and sinks have been hooked up to running water and sewage.

Cots still fill the area formerly occupied by the Fleet's civilians, but with Sickbay out of commission they now serve as beds for patients with minor and moderate injuries. Medical staff have taken over the place and tend to those here at all hours, aided by volunteers who perform simple caretaker tasks, bring food down from the galley for patients, or simply lend an ear to those cooped up here for the duration.
Condition Level: 2 - Danger Close

It's been a long day for Brina who has been sitting here, unmedicated so unable to get to sleep, too restless to do so where before she could at the slightest hint of boredom, a byproduct of having too much running around her head. After hearing various people talk about what happened she has fallen into a bout of depression, one that has done pretty good at stripping her of her appetite, a tray full of food set to the side, ignored.

Visitors! There aren't balloons and flowers and giant get-well cards, but a flock of Deck crew come into the makeshift sickbay, led by Damon. He's wearing his greens instead of his usual coveralls, although most of the other deckies look like they just came in off of work. "Petty Officer Second Class Radcliffe," he starts, his voice projecting loudly into the large space. "For acts of exceptional bravery and selflessness on 4 January 2042, wherein you repeatedly risked your own life for the benefit and safety of the ship and crew, I present to you, on behalf of Colonel Pewter, the Fleet Commendation Medal." He pulls out a small case with a medal inside it and presents it to her as the others cheer and applaud. That ought to cheer her up a little, right?

Brina looks at Damon and manages a smile, the presence of the Chief helping do that more than what she's presented with. "Hey, D. Wow. That's for me, really?" Chuckling, she takes the medal and looks at it, turning it this way and that while she inspects it, giving it as thorough of a looksee as she would if it was a Raptor. "I did what anybody else would have, Chief. I just happened to be in the right place at the right time." The box is set down as she adds softly, "We didn't lose anyone else but Nikolai and the pilot, did we?"

Damon gives Radcliffe a grin and sits down on the side of her bed. "You did what nobody else did," he says, "and from what I hear, it was a damn good thing you did. I'm just glad you seem to be recovering well. Medals are nice and all, but I prefer having you alive, y'know?" The other visitors drop off what few things they did manage to scrounge up and bring for her - little snacks, trinkets, and notes scrawled on torn-off pieces of paper - before giving her their best wishes and filtering out to head back to work. "No, we didn't lose anyone else. Couple injuries, mostly minor. We'll manage."

The others are all smiled at as well as patted when Brina's able to touch them, their gifts put next to the medal one by one, each person thanked warmly and sincerely. Once it's just Damon and her the smile fades, the worry returning to her expression. "I'm glad to be alive. I was so scared, Damon. But I'd do it again a million times over." A tear works its way down the corner of her eye and the outer edge of her nose, the normally tough deck mechanic humbled and locked in the heavy grip of mourning.

"Let's hope you don't have to do it that many more times," Damon says, putting his hand on her shoulder for a brief moment. "I know I wasn't there when it happened, but I talked to most of the people who were and I read the reports. It was a nightmare, and you did well." He lets the hand fall away. "If you need to talk, or… or anything else - different people cope different ways - I'm here, yeah? What happened was completely frakked. Nobody needs to deal with that alone."

Radcliffe hasn't had a chance to talk with anyone so the offer is readily accepted, Damon's hand looked before she tries to say anything, his eyes held by hers when she begins afterwards. "I keep…thinking that if I hadn't yelled at him that he wouldn't have freaked out, Chief. I feel responsible for what happened." Clearing her throat, she reaches up and behind her head, pillowing it with her forearm as she thinks. "He was at the tube and I didn't do anything but watch. I should have chased him off or tried to calm him." Blinking, more tears are shed, causing her to groan at herself.

"I know it's tempting to think stuff like that," Damon says sympathetically. "And I know you feel bad for jacking him up. Petra does too - in her own way, anyway. You did what you thought was right. He did have his eyes closed, and he did seriously damage a Raptor. If anyone's responsible, it's me. I should've realized he was burning out and making mistakes. And as I understand it, there was nobody who could've gotten to him in time when he was at the tube." He leans over to grab some tissues and offers them to Radcliffe. "Nikolai had already lost it, Brina. It was too much for him. He'd made his choice. You can't blame yourself for not being able to stop him."

"He was a good guy. Just not cut out for what we've been going through. Not that any of us really are. But he…" The tissues are accepted with a mouthed 'thanks', the corner of her mouth then quickly quirked into a smile which does nothing to brighten her eyes. "Okay. So I will work on the guilt…" Looking up as she dabs her face dry, she adds playfully, "I so deserve a kiss for all this," that said to Damon as a joke.

"I wrote a memo to Colonel Pewter for your medal - you'll have to write a memo to Rose for a kiss," Damon jokes back. About Nikolai, he agrees, "He was a great kid." Even though Damon's only seven years older than Nikolai was. "Not much of a deckhand, though - and man, did he ever get nervous around officers." Chuckling, he recalls one of the first times he witnessed it firsthand. "I remember - this was a while ago - the XO came down to the Deck to talk to Chief Atreus. Nikolai was on his way out, so he was the first one to pass the Colonel. He jumped to attention, literally, and screeched 'XO ON THE DECK!' so loud his voice cracked. And saluted with the wrong hand because the XO was on his left, then tried to fix himself and ended up saluting with both hands. The whole Deck burst out laughing. I thought he was about to cry."

The story soothes Radcliffe's aching feelings the rest of the way, allowing her to laugh as she listens to Damon's retelling of the events. "Must've happened when I was off duty. Man, what I would have paid to be there." There's a moment when she realizes that she's laughing at the misfortune of somebody else but there's also the realization that it is their talking about someone in fond memory which is alright. And hey. Laughter. Best medicine and all that, right? Stretching, she looks around before saying sheepishly, "I really hate to do this to you, D, but I kind of…er…got to visit the little hero's room. I'll see you later, yeah?"

Damon chuckles and nods. "I'll give you some privacy. I'll stop by to see you again later on today, yeah? Make sure you're doing okay and all." He rises with a grunt and points to the medal. "Say what you will, but you fully deserve that shiny thing. Who knows what might've happened if you weren't there and if nobody reacted as quickly? We might've lost Nikolai and Captain Abbascia, Brina, but you saved many more than we lost." And with that, he heads back to the Deck.

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