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Messages - Viktor Söderberg

1
The Darling IC / Re: S1:Ep5 - Life from Red Clay
April 16, 2021, 11:15:58 AM
Waiting patiently for his food, Viktor looked around the table and savored the near chaos that came with everyone sitting down together for a meal. Jokes, questions, conversations and everyone trying to come down after a tussle. This was what he loved about being on the Darling. He didn't really have a preference of being planet-side or in the in black, but he would always love sitting around a table with people he cared about.
Among the chatter were genuine questions about payment, work and where they might be headed next. Everyone was banking for something a mite calmer and a bit easier on their minds and bodies.
Viktor looked to his Captain as the questions and comments circled. There is a man, he thought, who is in need of rescuing. Barnaby looked pale and wane with his eyes far away from their little group - whether in the future, the past or inside his own head, Viktor would never know. Even after Tabitha's comforting, he looked like he was lost in himself like a man adrift in the black with no tether.

The preacher tightened his grip on his mug, unfolded his long, lanky frame from his chair and stood facing his chosen family. He cleared his throat to gain attention from the babble and began to speak.
"I am inspired by being home near my given family to tell you all today how thankful I am for you, my chosen family. Though some of you may not know it, every time I come home I miss you all just a little bit more. And to our newest pair, don't think I'm discounting you here. I still consider you both family now and I'd love to make time to get to know both of you soon.
We all know we've been in a few doozies for our last few jobs and I hear that call to get to the next one and the hope that it is easy.... And Cap, I hope I'm not over stepping my bounds here - but I think we could all use a reset. A breather.
So once the storm passes I open my home to you. Those of you who wish can stay with my family and the rest I can make room and board at the church. There's work to be done if you want it, but I would encourage everyone to try to take the time to relax.
Rian, I can introduce you to a few local farmers to restock our pantry.
Tabitha, we can get supplies for that garden we talked about.
Mattie, Arlo... well... I'm not too sure what y'all would like to get up to but I bet my bonnet we can find something you'll like."

Viktor paused, only slightly too long, as he finally looked back at their Captain. His eyes were more focused but he was obviously still frazzled. Maybe because the preacher had taken over his Captainly duties to decide where they went next and whether or not he wanted a garden in his cargo bay!
Whatever was happening internally with Barnaby, Viktor felt in his heart that this was the correct course of action.
"And Captain, you could get some much needed rest. Get back your land-legs for a minute before we rush off to the next job. The port authority will take good care of your Darling and we'll take good care of it's crew - it's family - while you're here.
It may be a cold place here, but our hearts and hearths are warm and welcoming. If you want to stay a bit."

OK,
he laughed to himself, that last bit was kind of cheesy but it's true. I do hope they'll all want to stay. Lord knows we could all use a break.
2
The Darling IC / Re: S1:Ep5 - Life from Red Clay
February 18, 2021, 01:26:12 PM
Location: Hallway/Galley

At his words, Tabby's naturally bright personality turned up to 11. She beamed with the energy of her own internal sunshine.

"I was thinking we should try something hands on, for the crew's moral? Maybe a puppy?"
Viktor's face wrinkled at the mention of a dog. He and dogs never got along too well.
"No dog. Too rowdy. I think something more peaceful is in order."

"Or put a little herb garden somewhere in the cargo hold so they can work with some earth while we're in the black? Or we could all knit a giant blanket, a crew blanket. I just think everyone could use a little cheering up," she noted, looking up at him and beaming.

"I think Rian would enjoy the benefits of an herb garden. I know I'd like puttin' my hands in some dirt every now and again."

In the Galley, his mouth practically overflowed with saliva at the smell of the stew. He couldn't remember the last time he ate. He was sure it's couldn't have been that long ago, but suddenly he was starving. An effect of the cold and adrenaline rush for sure. He poked his nose in the direction of the pot and breathed in deep.

"That smells heavenly! I think I could eat a whole deer by myself." He gave a side-look to Tabitha. He didn't think she'd known there was venison in the stew. Oops. Well, he couldn't do much about it now except fill his mug full of hot cocoa and wait for the food to be ready.
3
The Darling IC / Re: S1:Ep5 - Life from Red Clay
January 11, 2021, 09:32:13 AM
Location: Med-Bay

Despite the dying man - who Tabby was miraculously able to stabilize - Viktor's work in the medbay was peaceful. In his time on the Darling, he'd always been friendly and protective of Tabitha, like a little sister. It was hard for anyone not to be friendly with their resident medic. However, he'd noticed recently that not only was her company enjoyable and pleasant, it often soothed the post traumatic stress that always lingered in his mind.

He considered what could be gained from her company and her medical experience, however "off book" it may be. Potter gone on his stretcher and the bay straightened up, it was time for the two of them to reconvene with the rest. Tabby was in the doorway ready to see who else needed tending or tea but Viktor stopped her with a light hand on her shoulder.

"Miss Tabitha, after all this mess is done and we have a little while to recharge what would you think about spending some time and teaching me a bit about your skills here? This boat certainly doesn't need two doctors but it can't hurt to have someone else with a little of your knowledge, if we're ever in a pinch."

If... more like "when". They were in more and more pinches these days if anyone was keeping count. It seemed someone was constantly getting shot or stabbed or filled with rejecting organs or hurting in one manner or another.

Thinking of someone being hurt, he remembered their missing mechanic. Maybe someone ought to go looking for him among the ship's hidey-holes. He'd check with Rian and the Cap to make sure the mech hadn't left and then see who he could fin
4
The Darling IC / Re: S1:Ep5 - Life from Red Clay
November 23, 2020, 11:40:27 AM
Location: Cargo Bay

The mule pulled up to the ship and to Viktor's astonishment, Mr. Potter was still alive. It looked to be a close thing, but he was still breathing. Tabby's greeting was as cheerful as ever, despite the fact that things were clearly out of sorts here at home too. There was a man Viktor didn't recognize and Rian appeared as he'd been on edge for some time.

Since Tabby had come to his side of the mule, Viktor helped her pull Potter out and get him into the hands of yet another unknown person. Though wary of the strangers in his home, Tabby was comfortable enough letting Mr. Unknown assist in getting Potter to the med bay. Then again, Tabby's judgement was much more... open... than most people's.

"Riggs vanished like the ship ate him up. Only about a minute after he let me know he found a tracker... checked the hull, wasn't a damn thing..."
It took Viktor a second to remember who Riggs was. With so many new people around lately some of them were starting to meld together in his brain.

Go with Tabby and Mr. Unknown or find Riggs? His urge to protect her pulled him towards Tabby, but then who knew what Riggs was up to. He gave a significant glance over to the Captain, not wanting to interrupt any exchange taking place there. He shifted his gaze between Tabby and Rian, silently requesting his orders. Barnaby tipped his head toward Tabitha. Viktor gave a nod in understanding and went.

His long-legged stride got him caught up to the trio and allowed him to wind around them before they reached med bay. He made it into the room first. This allowed him to quickly move some things around, putting what he thought were the most useful tools nearer the table and getting unnecessary things out of the way. He put a large metal container on the floor near the cot for Potter's snow soaked clothing. He knew Tabitha wouldn't want to get the furniture wet and a wet floor was a definite slipping hazard. This task done he stepped out of the way pressing his tall frame into a corner, there if needed.
5
The Darling IC / Re: S1:Ep5 - Life from Red Clay
October 22, 2020, 10:16:21 AM
The Away-Team:

Viktor felt a little heartsick at the state of their client. He was sure down to his soles that Mr. Potter wasn't going to make it. For a moment, it seemed as though Barnaby wasn't going to stop to get the man a snow-coat and Viktor wondered if their leader felt the same.
"Gorram it all to hell."
"Now Captain, let's not Damn it all just yet. There's always hope."

The preacher didn't know if he actually felt the hope he prescribed, but it was his job to rally everyone and keep their heads up. Despite his Good words a black mood remained over the group. They all seemed angry and frustrated and rightfully so. He returned to his thought that they should just throw Potter in a pile of snow and let him be. He wondered at this notion considering he didn't even think the snow would save the man, but it would save them from riding the rest of the way home with a corpse.

He stepped out of the mule to allow better access to the dying man. He took hold of the man under his arms pulled him horizonal on the seat and was half way to pulling him out of the door and directly into the snow before he realized what he was doing. Viktor settled the man on the seat and moved aside for those gathering snow.

As he paused and stayed out of the way to ensure there was not a "too many cooks" situation, he looked around to see if he could identify were they were. He saw a light that gave the impression of dancing between the snow fall. Lamp posts amost always mean the road was close. He walked a little away from their gathered group to see if he could tell how far it was. Maybe there would be a Miricle and there would be a doctor passing by.

But just as likely not.
6
The Darling IC / Re: S1:Ep5 - Life from Red Clay
September 11, 2020, 12:20:34 PM
The Away-Team:

Arlo looked into Mr. Potter's case as requested by the Captain while Viktor sat the walking corpse back upright in his seat and arranged him as comfortable as he could.

Arlo pulled out a bundle of papers and then the case was empty. He took his time reading over the documents. With no explanation, he handed them over to the preacher and said. "I believe I understand the urgency better now. Somebody in town must need what he's carrying, badly. Keeping him cold, shouldn't be a problem at any rate [...] can you help me pack snow into his clothes.

The soldier in Viktor thought it would be easier and faster to just put the man in a pile of snow outside. It would cause less of a mess in the mule and would keep him supine and still which would surely be good for his condition. But that's as far as Viktor would be able to treat him and he needed treatment sooner rather than later.

He looked at the first page of the contract he was handed. "Professional Organ Transplant Transporter" he said out loud. His voice fell like the snow down the mountain. "Oh. Yes." He'd never seen one come into town, but he'd heard tale of a local girl from his town who had - legend said - been a POTT to get some money for her family after her father, the sole earner, had died in a mine collapse. They eventually came to the church to inter her empty coffin. And request spare food supplies. She, nor the promised money for her deadly burden, had never returned. It was supposed to be an old wives tale to warn children against trusting strangers or some such. The preacher had never considered there to be any truth in it. A POTT sounded ridiculous, definitely couldn't be a real thing. Yet, here he was staring at the contract and the nearly dead man.

He flipped through the remaining pages, speaking aloud in broken sentences as he went along. "Contract for organ transport. Ownership remains with the Company until Transplant. In cases of theft, disappearance or other non-arrival situations. Forcible repossession. Client responsibilities. Delivery and payment. In cases of organ rejection or early expiration..."

The preacher's body cooled, as much from what he was reading as from the snow being packed into the mule. "Well, Barn. He ain't gunna make it. That's pretty sure. This is a contract for him to transport an organ or organs to someone - don't say who - at Primary Claim. Better than a cooler, I suppose. There's a bit here at the end about organ rejection which looks to be the stage he's in right now. Says to keep him cold. Maybe if we keep him cool and keep his fever down he can survive the transplant. Let's not hold our breaths, though."
7
The Darling IC / Re: S1:Ep5 - Life from Red Clay
August 24, 2020, 07:46:14 PM
Away Team

"Preacher I..." An apology formed on his tongue, but wouldn't speak itself. What good would it do? Unless Jesus empowered his clergy with atonement for incompetence. "I... uh... would appreciate you administering to Mr. Potter as best you're able. We'll get him back to Darling and hopefully Tabby can, I dunno, give him a tonic or some such."

Viktor trudged through the deep snow back to the mule and made no hesitation in following the task given to him. He pulled Mr. Potter off of Arlo. Viktor sat the client up straight and turned Potter's head so he could see his face better.

Just from looking the man over, Viktor could tell that something was wrong. His skin has an unusual pallor and was clammy to the touch. Vikor heard that the breathing was shallow and his inhalations were short.
The preacher wasn't in the habit of carrying a med kit any more, so he didn't have a depressor. Nevertheless, he pinched open Mr. Potter's mouth to see what he could see. Up this close, he could smell the man's breath. It was not pleasant. It smelled like urine. It made Viktor think so much more of Arlo. He must have felt like he was suffocating with Potter rank breath in his face. The man's tongue was slightly swollen, from what he could see.

He took the man's pulse. It was thready and slow, but at least he had one. Viktor dug a flashlight out of his bag. He held Potter's lids open and ran the light across his eyes. Non responsive. This was all a bit beyond his measly field medic knowledge. Now, if the man had been shot, stabbed, blown up - that he could handle. This was something much more serious.

"Sir," he said in the direction of their Captain.

"This is.

Well.

It's not ideal. We're going to need a hospital.



Or maybe a stretcher."


Viktor took a pause that was too long to be considered dramatic and too short to be considered spacing out. He was hesitating. He already felt like he got them in a mess by recommending this way instead of the safer way around the mountains. Or just being more insistent about waiting out the storm in the first place. He'd known better. He knew where his faults lay in their current situation.

"Cap, you do remember I was just a field medic right? Tabby would be better for this, were she here. I may be wrong and I very much hope I am... Sir, I think maybe his organs are shutting down. Could be just one. Could be multiple. Point is, he's definitely half way to Heaven if we don't do something soon."
8
The Darling IC / Re: S1:Ep5 - Life from Red Clay
August 05, 2020, 01:28:33 PM
Away Team

"Everybody...Stay here." He said, pulled his hat tight over his ears, and exited the mule.

"What did I tell him?" She said out loud as she watched Barnaby's receding back. "I told him this was a bad idea and we oughta head back, didn't I? I told him!"
She turned to look for affirmation from the men in the backseat. "I ruttin' told him, didn't I?" Her infuriated gaze darted from the Preacher to Arlo to Mr. Dried Grasshopper Husk.

Viktor felt like he had to defend his home. In a light voice he replied, "It's usually not this bad. We came during storm season. No one travels too far during storm season unless it's urgent."
He looked over to Arlo and shrugged as Mattie got out of the mule. "Mr. Potter must have something urgent to want to travel so far in this weather, right?" His tone had a pleading edge for the other man to affirm his statement. A request to relieve the guilt that this was his planet, and his judgement that left them knee high in snow on this mountain side.

Disregarding the orders given, Viktor followed in his Captain's wake glad for the ease of path the older man had left for him. He cleared his throat on his approach to not startle anyone, though he was sure they heard him crunching through the pre-packed snow.

Viktor interrupted whatever conversation was taking place in an attempt to make things right. He placed his left had on Barnaby's right shoulder from behind in friendly greeting and further attention getting.
"Sir, we should turn back. I'm sure Jeb here has a solid plan on continuing on," he tipped his head at the man, "but this can't have been in the pay considerations. Not to mention Mr. Potter doesn't look too much willing to survive us digging out this snowfall. We should turn back. Either go back to The Darling and wait it out or the long way around the mountains."
9
Away Team
"If somebody else wants to go 'fore Mattie, that's good, too."

"Oh, fun! Let's see. My name is Viktor and I'm going on a picnic with Barnaby. He's bringing apples and I'm bringing..." the pressure in his ears began to increase just a little indicating their assent into the mountains. He plugged his nose, held his mouth tight closed and pushed out a breath equalizing the pressure. "...bubble gum."

The preacher sneaked a look at the gentleman beside him. It looked as though he'd fallen asleep on Arlo's shoulder, his hands still around his all-important briefcase. Viktor was more than a little concerned about the man's health. He watched for far too long for the man's next breath in the movement of his chest. He was, in fact, breathing but it was shallow and far apart. Viktor said a little prayer that Mr. Potter made it to their destination continuing to breathe.

As he continued to study their client, Viktor's mind wandered from Potter's health to the contents of the case. He guarded it so dearly it could be anything he held precious. But, the preacher reckoned it was money. Either the money he'd owe them at the end of the trip, or money he owed to someone else - perhaps in the form of diamonds even! It could be papers too: deeds, leans, leases, IOUs and the like. Or, if he was thinking of papers, maybe it was blackmail material.
What if it was something truly hideous like a virus or some chemical that rewires peoples brains!

You're being ridiculous, Viktor, he told himself. Likely as not, it just some heirloom or your first guess, money.
10
Away Team

"Preacher, I reckon with the hover workin' we can get past just 'bout anything, don't you? Or this mining trail of yorn got some obstacles I ain't thought of? Listen, I ain't gonna force nobody t' do nothin', but seems safe enough to me. We'll turn back though if we got a consensus to do so."

Viktor thought about the request carefully and his answer was a little slow coming. Not ideal for the cold that was coming in, but he wanted to consider well.

He knew the path was narrow and ran up more into the mountains than the main road. He figured the hover could get them over any fallen trees or rocks hidden under the snow drifts. The danger lay in the path's narrowness and the possibility of it running against cliff edges. It had been a long time since he was in this area, so he couldn't speak to the conditions of the detour now. Presumably their new friends were. If they went slow and stayed behind Jeb's vehicle they should be OK.

There was another way to Primary Claim, but it went around this particular peice of mountains. It would be nice and safe. Assuming, of course, all the bridges and roads were still intact and not too terribly snowed over. However, this way would nearly double their already extended trip and it didn't look as though Potter was going to make it much longer. His chin was currently slumped down to his chest. Viktor wasn't even sure if their client was conscious or not.

"Cap, I won't sugar coat it. It won't be the best option. The hover will certainly get us over things, but the path is narrow. Not ideal if anyone needs to pass going the other way. And it may butt up against some cliffs. Though I can't recall well on that point. It'll take us up into this mountain range a bit, so it'll get even colder." Viktor looked at the crew and client assembled in their little vehicle. Aside from the Captain - who looked cold, but otherwise alright - Viktor was tempted to find extra warm blankets to put over all of them. Maybe that was Tabby's personality coming out in him or maybe just his experience of home and of people who weren't used to the cold and snow.
"We'll go slow. Stay behind Jeb."


"Jeb!" he shouted toward the others over the wind,
"Y'all keep a deliberate and measured pace for us and we should be good."

Facing the Captain again, pulling his goggles back down he said.
"Should we come to that consensus, there's another, safer, way around. Long though. Don't know if Mr. Potter will make it that far."
11
Away Team

One of the passing vehicles turned out not to be, flashed their lights at them and slowed their speed; a common motorist parlance requesting the same. "Alright." Barnaby said, putting on the brake. "Mat'." He didn't figure he had to tell her what to do in a situation such as this, but just wanted to make sure she was ready. It could be nothing. Road could be out down the way. Could be they needed help themselves. There was nasty, mean spirited, awful folk in the 'Verse and Barnaby Goodweather wasn't one of them. "I'm gon' slow and see what's what. Preacher. Any insight on what they might want would be helpful about now."

"Well, Cap," the preacher replied, "they could be needing some help or, likely as not, there's some problem up ahead. Usually, ain't no danger in it."
"Usually," he repeated somewhat reassuringly.

"Got a bridge out ahead! They sent us back!" the bushy gentleman shouted back, hooking his thumb back the way they came. "There's a detour this way, I can lead you over if you're trying to go to Primary! It's tricky to find in this snow, but we've used it more than once, so it'll be no bother for us!" the man continued, squinting at Barnaby to keep the glare of the snow and the worsening barrage of sleet out of his eyes. The other fellows in the vehicle were starting to don their outside clothing, the chill from the open window overpowering their heating mechanisms.

Viktor knew there was a detour round about this way somewhere, but he also knew it could be a complicated one. He leaned toward the other vehicle and thought he recognized one of the men. It was hard to be absolutely sure in this sleet though. "Jebidiah, is that you under all those layers?" the preacher called.

Viktor shoved his snow goggles up onto the top of his head so his face could be identifiable. The white blaze from the snow reflecting the lights blinded him briefly. "You're talking about the old miner's trail up the way here, right? That'll surely be a mess in this kind of weather."
12
Location: The Mule

Viktor was, as ever, ready for the weather at home. He wore long black thermals under his pants and a thick pair of wool socks his mother had sent him a few years back. A black tight-knit woolen vest was added over his usual preacherly attire to keep his core extra toasty. A black wool suit coat dotted with flecks of grey went over that. Lastly his long black overcoat. Though it would probably be too warm in the mule for that, with the top added and all the body heat circulating around.

With the captain at the wheel of the mule, Viktor was happy to let Mattie claim the passenger seat. It was the gentlemanly thing to do after all. That left the rest of the men-folk in the back. It was roomy for a mule, but he was still a tall man and he knees were closer to his chest than he would prefer. He managed to claim an exterior seat, leaving their guest stuck in the middle, with Arlo on the other side.

Mr. Potter looked as equally uncomfortable in his seat at Viktor did, though it was the man's own fault. If he would have acquiesced to putting his bag in the storage area rather than shoved between his knees, he would have given himself - and the other men - a bit more leg room. 

"Have you, ah, been to this planet before?" Arlo asked, being a good sport about it all.

"No," was the answer. Then, after a moment of silence, with Potter's eyes focused forward and his expression blank, "By the way, it is very easy to hypnotize a chicken," he added, his heavily accented voice barely audible above the flurry of wind and sleet passing them, but just loud enough to be heard by those in the Mule with him.

"Are you in the business of hypnotizing many a-chicken, Mr. Potter?" Viktor chuckled softly at his question, not really expecting a serious answer. "I'm sure we could wrangle you up a few. Be quite a sight to see!

As he turned his head fully toward their guest to guage his reaction, he noticed the man looked a little off color. Motion sickness could be made worse in the white swirl of the snow. He very much hoped the man was not about to be sick.
13
While waiting for instruction to begin, Tabitha made her way over to Viktor and stood on tip-toes to place her hands on his cheeks, smushing them together just slightly. Her hands lowered and she patted his heart. He stuck his tongue out a little at her in jest when she squished his cheeks and when she put her hands on his chest he lowered his head down and gave her a little peck on the top of the head.

He wasn't surprised to hear that the storm was going to require them to change their landing location. It wouldn't be a fun trek through the snow, but it could be done. The captain made the right choice, in his opinion, to wait the storm out. It would be much more comfortable up here.

Unfortunately, their passenger took issue with that decision. "You have been paid for a timeline, and the timeline must be kept...on...time. I insist. You have given your word. We land today. Now. Or. No pay,"
Viktor began to interject that landing in this storm wouldn't be ideal and the journey back to Primary Claim would be very cold and long. He didn't have time to do this, however. The deal was changed double the money to land now.
Frankly, he might have tried for triple, knowing the terrain if the storm didn't let up.

"Okay, folks. Belay that recent set of orders. New set formulating. We're landing at Secondary Claim afterall. We'll take the mule, only five spots onner so -- Mattie. You got some survival experience. Might need it. Preacher, you're native, could do with a body who knows his way around. And hell, whataya say, Mr. Arlo? Let's see what you got."

It was an interesting group, to say the least, but Barnaby knew their skills and Viktor couldn't deny they would be the best for the job.

"Bundle up is putting it lightly. Traveling through this storm won't be the best time we've ever had. We'll be able to do it, most likely, but it'll be a smidge miserable for a bit.
"Those that don't have snow gear can pick some up when we land, at the very least I recommend the boots, gloves and goggles. Hats too, if you don't got one. Snowsuits if the storm's real bad."
He let out a sigh. Riding the storm out on the ship would have been so much nicer, but home was home and he was certainly used to snowstorms by now.

He stepped to Barnaby putting his back to Mr. Potter and whispered "Argument could be made, crew wouldn't have needed to buy snow gear if we'd waited. What're the chances he'd pay for that too?"
14
Viktor could see the planet and a bloom of happiness filled his chest. He just finished up a quick note to his family saying he'd be in for a visit soon when Barnaby's voice came over the comm. He trailed a thick, black overcoat over one shoulder and slung the strap of his shore leave bag over the other. 

"This is your Captain speaking. We got ourselves a storm down on St. Albans. Ain't irregular but it does necessitate a change of plans. Meet me in the cargo bay quick-like and we'll go over details."

Viktor swung into the bay smiling and carefree. The storm couldn't spoil his mood - if it did he'd never be happy.  "Hidy gang. Gotta love the weather at home, dontcha!"
15
Location: Med Bay

"You'll be the perfect assistant!" Tabitha reassured him. "Just need to get the stap-"

He appreciated her confidence in him; He appreciated her confidence in everyone. And, for the moment, at least, her confidence was earned. This is exactly the type of medical work he was used to doing.

Before Tabitha could finish her sentence, there was a loud exclamation from Rian. He'd ripped the tape of himself before anyone could soften the adhesive for him. That wasn't ideal. They were already going to be irritating the area with their treatment. Extra irritation from the tape wasn't going to help the situation any. But, Viktor understood. Sometimes you just want to get things over with. Or, in this case, get things started.

Tabby went about her work with a fluidity and adeptness that showed how much time and practice she put into her craft.
"When I get the staple out, can you put on these strips for me? Right where the staple was?" she asked Viktor, pointing with an elbow toward the little white strips.

"And then the...dressing there...with the medical tape...could you...hand...me?" she added in a mutter, most of her attention on the process.

When the staple was removed from the wound, Viktor place the strips as instructed and handed over the dressing. with the staple removed and the clean strips applied the wound didn't look as nasty and angry as it had before. This was an injury well within their doctor's skills. There might be a scar but, even with his limited knowledge, Viktor was confident that the area would heal well.
16
""So here I am... 'the cook' if you still believe it. But Abernathy sure didn't. I am pretty sure he recognized me at the Baron's. If he hasn't told my dad and his crew that he's seen me here, he will soon. Prison doesn't silence anybody."

"Now, you might think that story makes me seem foolhardy. I did for a time. Felt like I'd been hoodwinked twice over. But if I'm a dunderhead for trusting people well then I guess that's fine. Folks deserve the chance to prove'emselves to ya. That I do believe"

"I'm the reason they died, you see. I wasn't good enough at what I was doing and they didn't get better."

Preacher listened to their stories one after the other, his heart getting heavier and heavier after each one. As a man of the cloth, he was no stranger to personal confessions but hearing such heartbreak from those he considered family was a difficult burden to bear. He knew that getting these things out into the open could be therapeutic if handled correctly and he also knew that that's just what Barnaby was trying to do.

As much of an open book as Viktor was, he did have a few things which he did not speak of much. Not that he was hiding them. Someone who was looking would probably find them, he just didn't care to elaborate on them often. What should he share with his family? His biggest struggled he did not think he could yet divulge. How could he explain something to them, which he did not even understand himself. Not to mention that he believed one's journey with God was solely between the man and the deity.

What else then?

He stood, pushed his chair in under the table and stood behind it like a pulpit.

He took a deep breath, raised his eyes from the table to his crewmates and spoke. "Friends, family. I think all of you who have already spoken and even those who have still to speak should know this one thing. We, all of us, have our baggage and burdens to carry." He looked at each person in turn a light in his eyes and a sad smile on his face. "These do not make us any lesser, but only serve to add to our persons as a whole. We would not be who or where we are today with out these experiences. Please know that these things we share today are merely a single stitch in the cloth of our being. The stitch may be unsightly but the cloth as a whole is beautiful and so are each and every one of you." He swept his arm in the direction of each in the group to further his point. He did not want a single person here to think they were not included in what he was saying.
He pulled his arm back in and interlocked his hands in front of his chest in a pleading gesture. "Please disencumber yourselves of these weights and know that if you ask of your friends and of your higher power then all is to be forgiven. You needn't carry this load alone. Should anyone here want to avail themselves of my counselling services please know I am always available to you." That order included himself, to relieve his burden in the company of his brethren and perhaps make himself a little lighter in turn.
"As to my own burden, you may already know that I served in the war, mostly as chaplain, but one does what one must in war-time. I will not deign to bore you with war stories especially those as trivial as my own, but I did not come away from those times unscathed. I was luckier than some. I came home where many did not. My body remained, whole - aside from a few dings here and there." Viktor blew a hard long line of air out his nose. He was uncomfortably warm and fidgeted where he stood.
"My mind, however, was broken by the stress. I had joined the fight to get away from my small mining town but I paid a price. The counselor's training that I'm sure you have all seen on my schedule - that is a deception." His eyes fixed on the table again in shame. A lie. He was a liar. It was a lie he thought he had comes to terms with, one he believed necessary, but it clearly still preyed on his heart and mind.
"Those sessions are not training but are, in fact, my own therapy for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I was worried that if my clients or flock knew I was in my own therapy that they would not trust me to manage theirs. It is a struggle I deal with daily. And, in times of stress my symptoms worsen." His gaze lifted again to the group.
"I should take my own advice I do so often not listen to my own wise words. I offer this burden of myself to all of you in the hopes that you will help me lift the weight."

He gave a final loving smile to them and returned to his chair, folding his hands on the table and hoping they didn't notice the mist gathering in his eyes.
17
Location: Bunks
Viktor studied the cards spread out in front of him. Thinking a few moves ahead, he realized winning this hand was unlikely so the interruption from Tabitha was well-timed and welcome.
Her hands held out for him to take, she asked, "Come with us?"

He gave her a big smile and nod. He neatly stacked up his cards and returned them to the small wooden box he'd had made for them. The box was returned to it's place, she took her small hands in his large ones and was practically pulled from his bunk into the hall.

"We're going to do medicine," she explained, release one of Viktor's hands to grab Rian's again. Her voice was high and light. Her excitement about being useful, or being able to practice her craft was evident. Everyone enjoys feeling useful.

Location: Corridor/Med Bay doorway
He talked as the walked. "Tabs, you remember I was just a field medic, right? I'm not sure exactly how useful I can be. What kind of medicine are we doing? Basic first aid and triage is the most I can be helpful with."

Location: Med Bay
Tabitha floated around the room setting up the area and getting Rian comfortable. Viktor wasn't sure that when she had said we're doing medicine, that she meant he was supposed to help. However, he should be prepared if, in fact, she did want him to help. He passed by her and Rian to head over to the sink. He rolled his black sleeves to his upper arms, the fabric feeling a bit tight around his biceps. He scrubbed up to his elbows, taking extra care to wash under his nails and between his fingers.
18
Tabby's decorating had always cheered the preacher. Her little way of making the ship more homey and welcoming newcomers showed how open her personality was and how she was hard-pressed to meet someone she didn't try to become friends with. He loved that about her.
Unfortunately, his miltary and convent side meant that the EXTRA decorating she'd done was a bit more than he cared for. It made his space look cluttered and claustraphobic. He wouldn't take it down though. He didn't want to hurt her feelings, especially when he knew this was her particular coping mechanism. Even so, he did sort of re-arrange things to try and get the bunk a little more squared away.

Viktor was sad to see some of their little family leaving this ship, but this was life in space. Turnover can be high. People leave. This was life in general. The bright spot in the clouds was that the new passenger was headed to St. Albans.
Home! He was going to get to make a trip home at least a year ealier than he'd planned, and he wouldn't even have to leave The Darling for a spell to do it this time. He wondered if he'd see Holger there? Friends in there youth, even though Viktor, himself, was a bit closer in age to Mona. Oddly, Viktor and Mona had never been close friends. Friendly, for sure, no ill will between the two, but never close. With so much time on The Darling and so much time spent with Holger in their youth he wondered why he and Mona had never connected much. Maybe they were just too different or too similar in all the wrong ways.

Viktor didn't immediately go in to greet the new arrivals. He didn't want to be in the way. More than that, he knew that the presence of a Man of God could be distrubing or uncomfortable to some types. He'd let them get settled and into the black before he go about making his own introductions. So, he sat in his bunk and played solitare.
Tabby had made him some real, honest-to-God playing cards when his old ones had gotten so worn you could see through them. The face cards were each a different member of the crew past and present*. Instead of the traditional black and red, the suits were pink and baby blue, which he was sure were her favourites.

Rian's voice floated in from the hall:
"It's not gonna be anything to write home about for a bit, but I'm hoping on St. Albans' I'll be able to get us stocked up on some real protein and veggies."

Viktor raised he voice a little louder than he normally would and called to the direction of the doorway, "I know a nice farm family there, Rian. I can introduce you and we can see if they have anything good they can spare."

*art style of the cards
19
Viktor wasn't surprised to see Rian already in the kitchen when he entered for his long-awaited cup of tea. Much like Viktor in church, the kitchen appeared to act as a place of calm and peace for Rian - when he wasn't shouting at the stove, cookware or food for misbehaving.

"Hey preacher. Ehh I was hoping to surprise everybody but no biggie... What do you think chocolate or crap, just chocolate I guess."

"I didn't intend to ruin any surprises, my friend, but a cake sounds like a much-needed treat right about now. Since I'm here anyway, can I give you a hand? I'm no brilliant cook, but I can stir and measure with the best of them." He indicated the bowl in the other man's hand, wanting to be helpful but not wanting to step on the cooks toes in his teritory.

A sound in the hall intrupted them and shortly Tabitha rounded the corner with a new woman that Viktor didn't recognize. She must have come in during the unloading of the cargo, but he didn't recall seeing her anywhere else. He must be tired.

[...]

"I'll make a cup for everyone, that's one, two three, four, five, six, seven, eight, and a half?"

"Tabitha, dear, are you pulling new friends out of the black of space now? Or do they just materialize near you?" he asked with a light chuckle.

He turned to the new woman. "Our lovely Tabby can make friends anywhere she goes. It's a delightful trait of hers. My name is Viktor. It's wonderful to have new faces aboard." He extented his hand to shake hers. He felt the warmth in his smile light up and lift his tired face.

It was always nice to have reasons to smile.
20
The stress and strain of the day and the mission had wrung the preacher out. He couldn't remember the last time he'd felt so physically and mentally exhausted since the war.
Sure, there had been a few close-seconds in his time with the Darling, but nothing quite like this.

The unloading of the clocks felt like it took a decade. He remained vigilant in watching over Tabby and just generally to lend a hand here and there where he was needed. It was a hour of mind-numbing work, but perhaps mind-numbing was just what he needed. He needed to be away and a peace with this ordeal, even for just a few minutes.

In the end it turned out that Barnaby had been correct in his assertion. No one on the Darling had gotten hurt. And no one else had gotten hurt either - at least not MORE hurt - as far as Viktor knew.

Once they were back flying again and Viktor had nothing else to officially do by the Captain, he took his leave. He took a long shower until the pounding of the water made his body feel as numb as his mind had previously. It was then off to the kitchen for the resident holy-man to have that, outstandingly belated, cup of tea that Tabitha had offered him earlier.
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