Posted on Tue Oct 10th, 2017 @ 6:54pm by Commander Sean "Shack" Byrnes
Dressed in his Viking style studded leathers, complete with an ax on his side made from the acid-resistant alloy Doolin had come up with, Byrnes walked through the ship. In passing crew would actually stop and watch him pass by, his hair done up in a braided style along each side of his skull, eyes forward and never looking at others. The intensity in those eyes did make a few uneasy, the gaze being both solid and unbending. Arriving at his destination, holodeck 3, Shack brought out a drive and plugged it into the computer interface. Waiting the few moments for activation he then stepped through the doors, passing through the arch and into a dark, temperate alpine environment.
Evergreen trees of various species were everywhere, no modern technology here, with a path leading up and up through a winding path to the small valley above. Uppsala, his destination, was up there. It was nightfall, the sun having just gone down, the path lit by torches as Sean began his ascent. Step by step, passing others and smiling at the children and women, meeting the men with warrior handshakes, Shack finally arrived. Thousands of Vikings were here in attendance, adn this Uppsala was Shack's, his own creation taken from the actual site on Earth. His was in mountains and a small valley, the real place out on an open field. But, it wasn't about accuracy to the original, it was about seeing to one's loyalty and service to the gods. There were the pens with nine different animal species, nine of each species, to be sacrificed and then hung from the trees over the next nine days. Seventy-two carcasses would be hung before it was finished, and the only element he had left out of his own Uppsala was the human sacrifice. That he could not get behind.
"Bjorn!" Shack heard his Viking name shouted from a camp fire, the name he had chosen to be called since it so closely resembled his own last name Byrnes. Looking over at the man who had shouted his name Shack saw his holo-friend and comrade Olov.
"Greetings, Olov!" Stepping in as Olov got to his feet, Byrnes hugged the man. Taking a step back Shack was given a horn full of mead, which he drank down. Belching and laughing he stuck his arm out and the cup was refilled. "I need to see Odin. I shall return to revel when my words are finished."
"Go, Bjorn! Wodan awaits those with courage and heart!"
"So it seems," said Byrnes, a little quieter and with less zeal. Carrying his horn of mead Shack made his way to the temple, which was a massive structure built here in the woods, and entered. Three totems stood tall in the inner sanctum. Odin, Freya, and Thor. He stopped just inside and bowed his head. "My sword for Tyr. My blood for Thor. My heart for Freya. My life for Odin." Once said he stepped further inside, going directly to the totem for Odin, stepping onto the dais and coming toe to toe with the wooden visage of the All Father. Using his horn Shack poured the mead onto the totem slowly, giving to Odin what had been menat for himself. He tossed the cup aside and then laid his right hand upon the totem.
"Odin, I often do not speak at you, or pray to you because I have no tongue for it." Byrnes felt a well-spring of emotions beginning to fester in his core; sorrow, anger, a bit of fear. "Many lives were lost, All Father. Their hearts were full of fear but they died in defense of others, the courage to stand their ground proven. I ask, All Father, that you allow the Valkyries to take them to Valhalla, that they may feast with the Aesir and go into battle with you for eternity."
Hand still up on the totem Shack's head fell forward as the tears flowed, his body heaving as the sobs took hold, weakening his legs. Going to a knee, hand still on the totem, he then placed his forehead on the totem as his sorrow and anger were spent here in the presence of his gods. His heart was happy that those who had perished had done so in combat, and he was jealous, to a degree, that they were on their way to Valhalla while he had to remain behind and await his own time of death. "As times change so do we, All Father. It is a different time, a different mindset, but my heart is yours. Thank you, Aesir." Getting himself under control and standing, hand now at his side, Byrnes gave each totem a bow from the neck in honor before he turned and walked out. "Computer, activate the EMH here on the holodeck." He stood on the deck for the temple at Uppsala, waiting.
"Acknowledged," said the computer, and then the EMH appeared, looking completely out of place in its Starfleet finery. "Please, state the nature of your medical emergency."
"No emergency, holo-man," stated Shack. "I need counseling, on the record, and you will provide."
"As you wish, Commander Byrnes. Please, what is it that is bothering you to the extent you feel you need counseling?"
Byrnes stepped in next to the EMH, his right arm going over the man's shoulders like an old buddy, smiling as he spoke. "Life, my dear Doctor. And, duty. Both have been tested and stressed over the last two missions and I want to make sure that I am following Starfleet protocols about medical readiness. Mental and physical." As he spoke Shack had began to walk, EMH in his arm, steering the holo-man over to the fire with Olov and his companions. "We shall drink and speak of things that need be said. You will document this counseling session and add it to my file so I don't have to hunt all over for the damn counselor, who is still busy with others."
"Very well, Sir." The EMH was out of his element, but if this was what the Commander wanted, he had no choice.
Getting to the camp fire and sitting down next to each other, Byrnes began to talk seriously with the EMH, who listened and spoke in return, all of it being recorded for Shack's medical file. For his part Shack drank synthehol mead, laughed and joked with the other holo-Vikings, while speaking to the EMH in-between. It was the best counseling session Byrnes had ever been involved with, and something he would continue in the future.