Assignment to White Planet 8069 Chapter five THE FUNERAL
Narrator:After the explosion in the research dome, and the incredible rescue, we find ourselves in the hospital waiting room. Meinta and Damian Raen have both been injured, but are recovering. Allara is another story…
Jason Patterson: :: sits numb, staring at the walls in silence::
Karrina Calloway: ::sulks dejectedly out of Allara's room to the waiting area::
Governor: Karrina, how is she?
Karrina Calloway: I'm so sorry. ::sniffs, then sobs:: She's gone!
Governor: ::puts a hand on her shoulder::
Karrina Calloway: She was so delirious for a while...but she did make out a few words...
Governor: ::closes his eyes:: Were you able to understand her?
Karrina Calloway: ::nods: : She said that she was glad the young ones were okay and to not worry about her. And that she loves you and not to worry.
Governor: ::smiles a little:: That's Allara, always thinking about others.
Karrina Calloway: How is Meinta?
Governor: She's having trouble with her eyes from the fumes, but I think she'll be okay...
AJ: ::walks in and looks around and walks up to Karrina:: Is there anything I can do to help?
Karrina Calloway: ::to AJ:: I don't know.
Karrina Calloway: Governor Beren, we've got to have a funeral soon. I hope everyone can come.
Governor: Yes, I do too. Will your husband do the service?
Karrina Calloway: Sure, I can get in touch with Mikko right away.
Governor: Thank you. ::walks over to Jason:: Jason?
Jason Patterson: ::Looks up from the window, and back towards the room:: I will be there.
Governor: You doing okay?
AJ: ::sits down, but fidgets::
Jason Patterson: A little stiff but fine.
Governor: And emotionally?
Jason Patterson: If I had made her go out first...She would still be here.
Karrina Calloway: Don't say that. It's not your fault. We're just glad you and Meinta and Damian will be okay.
Governor: Jason, she was doing what she loved to do--helping others. You can't blame yourself.
Jason Patterson: I know. But I still feel it could have been otherwise.
Governor: But Jason, maybe if you had done something differently you all would have been dead. ::sits down next to him:: In looking back on life there is always something we could have done differently. I'm proud of you for helping yesterday--putting your own life on the line. You did more than many would have.
Jason Patterson: Many helped, my friend. Some just paid a greater price for their part.
Governor: Greater love hath no man than this....
Jason Patterson: I think it is about time for me to get back to the field.
Governor: Running won't fix anything, Jason.
Karrina Calloway: Jason, please stay.
Jason Patterson: I will wait 'til the service is over, but I'm feeling too closed up here in the domes.
Governor: ::nods:: You always have liked the freedom to move around the planet.
Jason Patterson: Yes I do. Gives me the chance to see things.
AJ: ::makes her way to a computer terminal and starts punching buttons::
Jade: ::wanders in sleepily, and finding the kid's room, she decides to pay him a visit::
AJ: ::doesn't find much information beyond generic statistics that they were told before arrival::
Governor: Speaking of seeing things...have you found anything interesting lately?
Jason Patterson: Several things in scans, but nothing positive.
Governor: What kind of things?
Jason Patterson: Well, like readings of radiation that shouldn't be here.
Jason Patterson: You said the place was never colonized before…
Governor: I'm not aware of it being colonized.
AJ: ::pulls up information on the planet history::
Jason Patterson: Well, it looks odd. Maybe a solar flare or something…
Governor: Would a solar flare cause radiation?
Jason Patterson: It would in some degree, but not in the scope I saw. And this is not over the whole planet, but in a fixed location.
Governor: That sounds odd...
Jason Patterson: I will check into it next week. I need to run out to Outpost One anyway. It was just beyond the outpost where I got the first readings.
Governor: Okay. Let me know what you find out. Now I'm curious.
AJ: ::continues to look through files, hoping to find something of interest::
Narrator: Meanwhile, in Damian's room…
Jade: ::lights a cigarette:: So, you're alive. Well, that's good.
Damian Raen: ::Damian is lying on a bed, propped up on one elbow:: Yeah.
Jade: You feel all right, kid?
Damian Raen: Had the craziest dream last night.
Jade: About what?
Damian Raen: ::shrugs, rolls over:: About everyone here. You were in it...
Jade: If you are dreaming about the people here, that is a nightmare.
Damian Raen: ::laughs:: Yeah. Well, a few of 'em died.
Jade: Oh, well, was I lucky enough to be one of them?
Damian Raen: Yeah, you died.
Jade: Oh, why couldn't it have been my dream? ::pauses:: So when are they going to let you out of here?
Damian Raen: ::shrugs:: Don't know. Hopefully soon.
Jade: What were you doing in the research dome to begin with?
Damian Raen: ::looks away:: Nothing much. We were just talking about some stuff.
Jade: ::arches a brow:: You like being mysterious, don't you, kid?
Damian Raen: You seem to be good at it yourself.
Jade: ::smiles:: Ok, I'll tell you my secret if you tell me yours.
Damian Raen: ::nods:: sure
Jade: You first.
Damian Raen: ::sighs:: Fine
Damian Raen: Meinta...you know her? She dug up some rocks the other day.
Jade: What kind of rocks?
Damian Raen: Well, you might know what I'm talking about... they're pink.
Jade: How would I know what you're talking about?
Damian Raen: ::looks closely at her:: How would you?
Jade: Um, maybe you've had a bit too much medication. I've never heard of pink rocks, and I'm not a ghost either.
Damian Raen: ::sighs:: Good
Jade: ::feels Damian's forehead:: Are you sure you're ok?
Damian Raen: Well there, that's my secret; Meinta and I were talking about rocks. Now it’s your turn.
Jade: Oh yeah, that's a secret.
Damian Raen: ::glares:: Yeah, well, you asked me for one. I gave you one.
Jade: That's why you made the comment that you're a compulsive gambler, a wannabe assassin, and running from enemies.
Damian Raen: Sure.
Jade: Ok, my secret?
Damian Raen: Yeah.
Jade: You remind me of someone.
Damian Raen: Sure, I'll bet I do.
Jade: There, I can be just as cryptic as you.
Damian Raen: Let me guess, someone from a hit list?
Jade: Um, no.
Damian Raen: Ha. Right.
Jade: Someone I counseled along time ago, a kid, about your age...he really needed help but he wouldn't let me.... ::looks away::
Damian Raen: Huh. Sure.
Jade: I tried to talk to his parents, well his father. His mother left, but all he did was beat on the kid.
Damian Raen: ::is silent::
Jade: And one day he didn't show up for his session. I found out he swallowed a bullet.
Damian Raen: Huh. ::trying not to look interested::
Jade: So I guess, I hang around you because maybe I think I can help you.
Damian Raen: ::doesn't look at her:: Well, I think, you know, I could help you too. ::shrugs:: I did in my dream...
Jade: ::laughs:: You helped me in your dream? I thought I died.
Damian Raen: I didn't help you enough. ::looks at her:: But if those people show up here, I won't let it happen.
Jade: What did you help me with?
Damian Raen: I tried to keep you alive... ::shrugs::
Jade: Don't worry about me kid, I don't even care if I die, just get yourself better. Oh, and Kid, if you ever need a place to hide, I have a secret spot.
Damian Raen: ::looks at her:: Really.
Jade: Yeah, well, take care. ::leaves the room::
Damian Raen: See ya.
Narrator: Back in the waiting room…
Governor: ::turns to Karrina:: Do you know what day Mikko would be able to do the funeral?
Karrina Calloway: Well, I don't want to wait. Could we do it later today?
Governor: ::surprised:: Well, if you think everything can be ready that fast.
Karrina Calloway: We could have quite a WP crowd by then, I hope.
Governor: All right. ::sighs:: I guess I should go tell Meinta about Allara.
Karrina Calloway: Good idea. Let me know if there's anything else I can do. I'll get Mikko to prepare his thoughts.
Governor: All right. Thank you.
Gabrielle: ::Gabi has been standing on the edge of the crowd just listening with tears in her eyes::
AJ: ::gets up from the terminal a bit frustrated::
Gabrielle: ::to A.J.:: What do you think will happen to the mission? Do you think they'll send us home?
AJ: ::to Gab:: I doubt it. They wouldn't spend this much money to send us here to bring us back this soon, but I'm beginning to think there is more to this mission than meats the eye.
Gabrielle: I know what you mean! Something isn't, well, NORMAL on this planet.
AJ: Have you noticed something in particular?
Gabrielle: ::Gabi hesitates as if she wants to share something but fear holds her back::
AJ: ::whispers:: Let's go somewhere more quiet...
AJ: ::stands and heads out to the hall way::
Gabrielle: Come on, I want to check something out.
Narrator: Gabi leads A.J. back into the hospital where she had been recovering. A.J. turns to make sure no one sees them and decides to follow.
Gabrielle ::Gabi and A.J. approach the infirmary door.:: Do you think we need an excuse to be here?
AJ: We are here to see how things work, we'll improvise if they complain.
Gabrielle: If anyone asks, we'll tell them I think I lost something when I was in here.
AJ: ::slight smile:: You're adjusting faster than I expected you might. ::tries the door:: It's unlocked.
Gabrielle ::AJ and Gabi stroll in as if they belong there::
AJ: ::quietly closes the door behind them::
Gabrielle: ::Gabi sees the door and looks around to see if anyone is noticing them::
AJ: ::pulls two small lights from her pocket and hands one to Gab::
Gabrielle ::A nurse is measuring medications
with her back to them. No one notices them so Gabi leads AJ to the door::
AJ: ::follows Gabi::
Gabrielle This is it! I saw people going into this door often. They used something to trigger it open.
AJ: ::nods, examines the door::
Gabrielle ::starts running hands around door frame, looking for a way in::
AJ: Probably a remote key lock system
AJ: ::pulls out her hand-held, taps a few keys::
Gabrielle: ::her hand stops at an indentation in the right door frame:: I found something! ::Gabi leans in and examines the hole::
AJ: Oh? ::whispers:: Seems a bit archaic....
Gabrielle There is some kind of shape outlined here. If we can figure out what fits it, maybe we can get in! ::mutters to herself:: Where have I seen this before?
AJ: ::moves closer to see:: Hmmmm.... ::looks around:: I doubt they would keep the key in here, we'll probably have to search the whole station.
Narrator: ::nurse comes back from rounds::
Nurse: What are you two doing in here?
Gabrielle Um, I was in here a few days ago and I think I lost my ring. We were just trying to find it.
AJ: ::slips light and handheld in pocket::
Nurse: ::nods her head:: I haven't seen a ring, but if I do, I'll be sure that it gets back to you.
Gabrielle: It's a gold band with a few diamond chips in it. Is it okay if we keep searching for a bit? It was a gift and I really want to find it.
Nurse: Yes, but please be quick and keep as quiet as possible. My patients need their rest
Gabrielle: Thanks so much!
Nurse: You're welcome. ::she goes into one of the other rooms.
Gabrielle: ::Grabs A.J.'s arm and leads her to a corner, pulling her down like they are searching.
AJ: ::gets light from pocket, sweeping under the counters:: Not here.....
Gabrielle: Maybe if we can search the pockets on the smocks in the nurse's station we could find something!
AJ: ::whispers:: Quick thinking.... ::nods::
Gabrielle: ::They sneak into a side room with lockers and pegs where nurses store their smocks. Gabi starts digging.::
AJ: Good idea.
Gabrielle: Gross! ::Gabi pulls out some used tissues and gags:: Maybe this isn't such a great idea!
AJ: ::shrugs:: That's not very professional.... ::finds a wadded up piece of paper:: I want to get a closer look at that hole before we leave too. ::pulls the paper out, flattens it:: Nothing but some times.... probably a work schedule. ::wads it up and replaces it in the pocket.::
Gabrielle: What time is it? We might have to come back after the funeral. Let's check out that hole one more time and leave.
AJ: ::continues to check a few more pockets:: Nothing of interest. ::nods:: Yeah it's about time.
Gabrielle: ::Gabi checks one more pocket as well and follows AJ out the door back to the special door::
AJ: ::shines light in the hole:: It's symmetrical, and not very deep. This isn't a typical key.
Gabrielle: I never actually saw what they used. It just looked like they placed a hand over this spot and the door slid open.
AJ: We should scoot to the funeral... if we're not there they may get suspicious.
Gabrielle: Right, I need to go to my room before hand. I'll meet you there.
AJ: ::nod:: Alright.
Narrator: Back in the waiting room.
Karrina Calloway: Governor Beren, I've contacted my husband. I'll be back later. If you need me, just plasmagin me.
Governor: All right, Karrina. Thank you.
Narrator: Later that day, everyone gathers in the assembly hall where Mikko will be speaking.
Mikko Calloway: Meinta! So good to see you!
Meinta: ::Looking pale and wearing dark glasses, leaning on her father’s arm:: Thank you, Mr. Calloway.
Jason Patterson: ::leans against a back wall, watching as others take to the seats::
Gabrielle: ::Gabi walks in alone carrying a wad of kleenexes. She pauses, biting her lip and looking to see if the rest of the crew has arrived yet::
Damian Raen: ::stands in the back of the room::
AJ: ::stands on the fringes, observing quietly::
Jade: ::stands in the back with AJ and Damien::
Gabrielle: ::sees the rest of the crew and walks over to them:: Hi, guys.
AJ: ::whispers:: I guess we should sit.
Mikko Calloway: Thank you so much for being here. Could everyone have a seat please?
Governor: ::shakes Mikko's hand warmly and then goes to sit down::
Mikko Calloway: On this sorrowful occasion, we come to honor one of our own, Allara Chekozky.
Damian Raen: ::slouches into a chair::
Mikko Calloway: Her heart was tender towards children and anyone who was in need.
Mikko Calloway: She always had a smile on her face, and she will be profoundly missed.
AJ: ::listens and watches::
Mikko Calloway: I know the Governor will have a hard time filling her post in his office.
Governor: ::tears running down his cheeks::
Gabrielle: ::dabs eyes with kleenex and wipes her nose::
Jade: ::whispers to Damian:: Did they release you for good or just for this?
Damian Raen: ::whispering:: No, I'm out for good.
Jade: ::whispering::Well, that's good.
Mikko Calloway: Let us shed tears of grief now, but leave comforted, knowing she's now in a better place.
AJ: ::whispers to herself:: Better place?
Damian Raen: ::looks up:: Hmmm
Gabrielle: ::whispers to A.J.:: What better place?
Mikko Calloway: Blessings on you all. Karrina and I give you our love and support during this time.
Jade: ::turns around to AJ, whispers:: Yea, Death. Anything is better than here.
Damian Raen: ::Laughs::
Governor: ::notices their whispering and tightens::
Jason Patterson: ::Stares at the ceiling, forcing back unshed tears::
Jade: ::pokes Damian with her elbow:: The Governor is staring at you.
Damian Raen: ::glances at The Governor::
Governor: ::watches them, concerned::
Meinta: ::gets up slowly and goes toward Damian::
Meinta: Damian. How are you feeling?
Damian Raen: I'm doing better. You?
Meinta: ::shrugs and looks away:: My eyes are still bothering me a lot. ::laughs a little:: And the crying doesn't help.
Damian Raen: ::to Meinta:: I hope you get better.
Meinta: Thanks. ::turns to leave, but stops:: Oh, and Damian...
Damian Raen: Yeah?
Meinta: ::quietly to just him:: I still think you are hiding something.
Damian Raen: ::rolls his eyes, then looks closely at her:: Aren't we all?
Meinta: ::grins wryly and holds out her hand:: Friends?
Damian Raen: ::shakes:: Sure.
Meinta: ::goes back over to her father and walks to the front of the room with him::
Gabrielle: ::to AJ:: Did you know anything about Allara?
AJ: ::quietly:: Not really.
Gabrielle: ::Gabi nods in agreement:: Me, either.
Mikko Calloway: Blessings on you all. You may come by to pay your personal respects to Allara and then exit the back.
AJ: This is an odd service...
Gabrielle: How so?
Jade: ::arches a brow:: what is with you people and odd and not normal?
Damian Raen: ::laughs::
AJ: I can't quite put my finger on it, but something sounds familiar to something I read once, but I can't remember where?
Mikko Calloway: ::walks to the casket, stops for a moment, looks up, taps the lid thoughtfully, then walks towards the back with Karrina.::
Gabrielle: I think I know what you mean. ::Gabi bites her lip again and looks hesitant to say more::
AJ: I think we need to have a team meeting soon....
Gabrielle: ::whispers to others:: Our turn
Damian Raen: ::looks at Jade:: What, you jealous? ::smirks::
AJ: ::stands and walks to the front of the room::
Jade: ::laughs and tousles Damian's hair:: yea, kid, sure
AJ: ::hesitantly walks past the coffin::
Gabrielle: ::Gabi is right behind AJ::
Damian Raen: Stop calling me "kid"::laughs::
AJ: :: returns to the back of the room and observes::
Governor: ::studies the picture of her that is propped on the casket and smiles::
Karrina Calloway: ::sobs quietly and speaks to friends she sees::
Governor: ::to Mikko and Karrina:: There is a private burial scheduled for this afternoon, right?
Karrina Calloway: Yes, Governor Beren, that's right. I'll see you there.
Gabrielle: ::Gabi pauses at the casket and looks at Allara's picture a moment, and a faint smile crosses her lips as she notices the tiny, almost unseen cross in Allara's hands::
Jade: ::whispers to Damian:: so tell me a bit more about these rocks
AJ: ::watches the WP folks talking quietly::
Governor: I've got to get her back to bed ::motions toward Meinta:: I'll see you later. Thank you for the service, Mikko.
Mikko Calloway: You're welcome, Governor Beren, it's the least I could do.
Karrina Calloway: Meinta, is there anything we can do for you? Do you have some ointment for your eyes?
Meinta: Thank you, Karrina. The doctors have been giving me stuff. ::gives Karrina a hug::
Jason Patterson: ::Walks to the front near the casket. Reaching in to a side pouch of his jacket, he removes a small crystal in the shape of a 4 pointed star, placing it on Allara's casket::
Gabrielle: ::Gabi gasps as Jason places the stone on the casket and looks for AJ::
AJ: ::watches Jason at the casket, but doesn't have a clear view. Sees Gabi react so tries to get a better view::
Narrator: After the funeral.
AJ: ::standing in the hall, watching people file out of the room::
Gabrielle: ::Gabi rushes up to A.J. before she leaves the funeral:: Did you see what I saw? I think I know how to open the door!
AJ: I couldn't see through all the people, but I knew something happened. You shouldn't play poker.
Gabrielle: ::Gabi looks confused by A.J.'s poker comment. Her eyes get wide and she gives A.J. a "knock it off" look when understanding dawns on her.:: Jason put a stone on the casket like it was some treasure or something. I think it's the same shape as the hole! ::She pauses and licks her lips as she gulps:: Do you think it would be, well, you know - desecration – to borrow that stone?
AJ: Why? But I doubt they'd bury the only key....You watch the door, I'll see if I can get it. ::walks to the door, looks inside::
Gabrielle: I don't think it's the only one. It seemed like everyone had one. I just don't know where they got 'em from.
AJ: ::looks back and nods, slips in the door and makes her way to the coffin::
Gabrielle: ::goes to door biting her lip again and wringing her hands together::
AJ: ::Sees the stone, slips it into her pocket and leaves::
AJ: ::whispering to Gabi:: Got it. Let's go.
Gabrielle: ::Rushes after AJ as she quickly exits::
AJ: Slow down a little, act like you belong wherever you are.
Gabrielle: This time might be a bit trickier. They're not going to believe me twice.
AJ: True, maybe we should wait till a shift change?
Gabrielle: Right! They change shifts at 9 right after dark! They only have one nurse on staff at night.
AJ: Right and they might not mention our being there. They have more important things to worry about right now. We'll just have to wait a little while. Hopefully in the meantime, no one will notice the stone is missing.
Gabrielle: Okay, I'll meet you outside the infirmary a little before 9. Don't lose that stone!
Narrator: It is now shortly after dark back at the infirmary.
AJ: ::Waiting for Gabi::
Gabrielle: ::Gabi meets AJ, rubbing her eyes:: Sorry, late again. I fell asleep. Still trying to recover from being ill.
AJ: ::hands Gabi the stone:: Here, go try it and I'll keep watch.
Gabrielle: ::Gabi takes the stone and walks into the infirmary as if she belongs there. No one is in the room at the moment. She walks right over to the door and begins to twist the stone to see if it fits. After a few turns the stone fits and as Gabi presses it in, the door slides open::
AJ: ::hears footsteps but doesn't see anyone::
Gabrielle: ::Looking back to see if AJ can see her, she motions for her to join her::
AJ: ::glances back and sees Gabi has the door open and
joins her:: So what did you find?
Gabrielle: Let's go in, quick! I want to see what's in here!
AJ: ::hears footsteps coming closer -puts finger to her mouth and motions to the door. starts to move, sees the nurse with her back to them, looking at a chart::
Gabrielle: ::Gabi freezes, hand still on the stone in the hole and the door open::
AJ: ::moves to the main door, mouths "Go" silently::
Gabrielle: ::Gabi seems to be trying to decide if she should dash into the secret room or leave and follow AJ::
Narrator:: Nurse starts to turn.
Gabrielle: ::she grabs the stone and the door closes as she slips out just in time::
AJ: ::AJ moves to block the nurse's view of Gabi:: Excuse me, I'm having trouble sleeping. Do you have anything?
Nurse: ::turns, looking surprised:: I didn't hear you come in?
Gabrielle: ::Gabi is safely out the door and headed to replace the stone on the casket::
AJ: ::shrugs:: I guess you were just distracted with your work.
Nurse: Oh. Do you have any allergies?
AJ: None that I'm aware of.
Gabrielle: ::slipping inside the doors, she glances to see only a few of the funeral helpers around::
Nurse: ::hands her a pill:: Take this with a full glass of water right before you lay down. You should get a good night's rest.
AJ: Thank you. Guess I'm not adjusting to this place as well as I'd thought. ::pockets the pill and leaves::
Gabrielle: ::Walking as if she needs one more good-bye at Allara's casket and places her hand gently on the casket. In her hand is the stone and she drops it back where Jason had placed it earlier. With a sigh, she turns and walks out::
AJ: ::heads toward the room where they held the funeral to wait for Gabi::
Gabrielle: ::almost bumping into AJ::
Thanks! You really saved me that time!
AJ: ::smiles:: Have to watch each other's sixes. So what did you see?
Gabrielle: All I saw were a bunch of shelves full of books. What's so secret about that? I wish we didn't have to put the stone back. I don't know how I'm gonna find another one. I gotta have another look at that room!
AJ: I'm sure there's more than one key. Did you say books?
Gabrielle: Ya, I couldn't read any of the titles. I don't get it. Something's definitely weird around here.
AJ: I agree. I think we need to get some sleep and we'll fill the others in tomorrow. We need to have a staff meeting before we hear from the Commander anyway.
Gabrielle: Yeah, all this sneaking around is giving me the creeps in a way. I don't usually do this! Must be something in the water. I feel courage I've never known before! If I'm not careful, I just may turn out to be a good agent yet!
AJ: Maybe? Or maybe you're just learning to rely on yourself. A little confidence goes a long way.
Gabrielle: Who knows?
AJ: ::nods:: Do you need a sleepy pill? ::pulls it out of her pocket:: I don't. ::hands Gabi the pill and heads to her quarters:: Night.
Gabrielle: ::shouts after her:: Thanks for the pill! Good night! ::Gabi heads off to her quarters, pretending to hold a gun and shooting at imaginary enemies around each corner.::
Narrator: At Outpost One, Astraia Mati struggled with words as she tried to write a letter to her cousin.
It is with great sadness that I write to you. We have heard, of course, of the death of Allara Chekozky. I dearly wish I could have been there to pay my last respects, but it is not to be. Once I am able to find someone capable enough to take over my responsibilities for a time, I will take my furlough.
I personally remember Allara quite fondly. Since the passing of my mother, she has been a great support to me. When I heard of her death, I did not want to believe it. My grief is too fresh to write much more of her. Please extend my condolences to her family and to all those who were her friends. I feel for you, too, my cousin. I hope that your recovery is swift and as painless as possible.
Please tell me where you bury Allara so that I may visit while I am there.
Narrator:Astraia pushed "send" and set her plasmagin aside. Bowing her head, she gave way to the tears that had been aching to come all day.
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This story is shpaing up so nicely!! Well done!
Bravo. Another great chapter. Way to get in on the action, "Gabi"!
shaping*... (lol) Way cool... And soooo much fun, thanks for twisting my arm to be in on this... lol.