May. 1st, 2010

hallelujahpilot: (child of a dying world)
After the crash, it wasn’t only medics that came to poke at Trudy. This was, after all, the enlightened twenty-second century, and both the twentieth and early twenty-first had demonstrated, painfully clear, the effects of trauma on the psyche.

She said she was fine. Yes, she felt bad – damn bad – that her crew were dead, and so were the other Marines. Yes, Ing Schmidt had been a good – a damn good – friend. Yes, these things happened. No, she didn’t have nightmares, because she was on so much fucking medication she didn’t dream at all.

She was fine.

--

This was, and wasn’t, a lie.

--

She had some nightmares later, sure; nightmares reliving the sheer helplessness as Samson Three One had tumbled through the air and she’d wake up with the sickening crunch as the ‘copter hit the tree. But then again, wouldn’t everybody?

(but one time, she had the same nightmare for a week straight, until she didn’t want to sleep, let alone couldn’t.

That time, she said fuck it to her pride, and asked the docs for the sleeping meds)

--

The trouble, at least for Trudy, was that she was an artist. She thought, she lived, in pictures. She saw the world in snapshots and drawings. Unfortunately, when she shut her eyes, those snapshots would flick through, one by one.

Normally, her response was to draw. Draw the images and change them, draw them until they were no longer in her head, draw them so she could deal with them.

Unfortunately, this didn’t always work.

--

The first time after the crash that Trudy bounced, she was flying co-pilot with Muhammad Farzan, and the flickering out of the corner of her eyes was enough to make her distracted. The flickering was something that she’d lived with, ever since the United States government shipped her over to the Gulf as a shiny new infantry private. She’d learned to live with it, but now-

But now, after they landed, Trudy pulled her helmet off and buried her face in her hands. Her breathing was even enough that Farzan could tell it was deliberately measured, and her knuckles were white around her hair.

“Hey,” Farzan said softly, taking his own helmet off. “C’mon, Sky-tiger.”

’m fine.

“Bullshit. You nearly sprained your neck you were lookin’ over your shoulder so much.”

She lifted her head, and her gaze wasn’t very friendly.

“Shove it, Prophet.”

--

Farzan didn’t back down. He had known her since flight school, and he knew what she was like when she was off-balance, and he knew what she was like when she needed to go and bleed out the mess in her head. And the trouble was that Trudy knew this, because she did the same to him. And she knew that he might be talking about not wanting her to crash another Samson because it’d be a bitch to replace, but really he was worried about her, and she might as well just concede defeat now.

(last time she refused to walk through the doors to the shrinks, he dragged her)

(then again, last time he refused, she threatened to tell his wife what an idiot he was being, so fair’s fair).

--

“Look, I just want the…flickering to stop. So I can fly properly.”

“Flickering?”

“Out of the corner of my eyes. It’s gotten…kinda bad.”

“Meaning…it was there before?”

“…sure, yeah. I mean, I’ve had it for years.”

“When do you first remember it?”

“I dunno. Since I was eighteen, I guess.”

“What happened when you were eighteen?”

Flatly, “I was deployed to Kuwait. As infantry.”

“Ah,” said the shrink, in tones that were partly oh, I see and partly this is going to take some time.

--

By the time Trudy left, she had a pounding headache and a firm conviction that she preferred getting the pins in her leg cleaned with pure alcohol than…whatever she just had to do. Hold the…images (flashbacks, snapshots, whatevers) in her mind’s eye (one at a time, which had prompted an argument about whether sky-ground-sky-ground-sky was one image or a series) as she watched the shrink’s finger move in front of her vision.

It was, the shrink told her, to wipe the image away.

Whatever, doc, she’d replied, and hoped to God that this wasn’t some messed up joke.

--

The flickering was a bit less, or so she hoped.

Maybe it was just the hope that it’d go away, but hope had never stopped her before.

--

She turned up for her appointment the following week.

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hallelujahpilot: (Default)
Trudy Chacon

November 2011

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