=/\= Main Engineering, USS CHARON =/\=
Landon tried to steady his hand like a child would try to conduct surgery. It was impossible to focus and every fiber of his being was screaming bloody murder into the blood that so noisily pumped through his veins. The task felt like it was just beyond his ability to do, but it should have been as routine as brushing his teeth. It wasn't like the work was difficult, it was simply too much. With every attempt to try and use the realignment tool, the moment he began to work, his hands would erupt into a violent tremor.
What was wrong?
"Sir?" A crewman said, in the most irritatingly whiny voice Neyes had ever heard.
"Does it look like I want to hear you, Ensign?" Landon snapped, continuing his futile effort with a stubborn determination.
The Ensign stood, suddenly beside himself with shock, not knowing what to say. A few little mumbles of nonsensical words squeaked from his mouth as he tried to figure out how to handle the Commander's outburst.
Landon rolled his eyes, and scraped up the largest bit of patience he could. It was undetectable. "I'm sorry." He choked. "What do you want." It was more of a demand than anything else.
"Here's the report you asked for on the inertial dampening power requirements." He didn't take his eyes off the Commander as he set it down on the console nearby, unwilling to get any closer to the fiery Trill. It wasn't like Neyes was a wonderfully cheerful person all the time to begin with, but he was usually pleasant and patient. Apparently he was having a bad day. In fact, he had begun to become increasingly irritated as the repairs got closer and closer to total completion.
"Why did it take more than an hour to do something I could have asked the computer to do for me in 5 minutes? I wanted this done promptly, Belkin. Instead you trot it up to me like I owe you a pat on the back and a cookie! WHY. Did. It. Take. SO. Long." Landon's fists clenched and his eyes clamped shut.
"Commander, are you… feeling alright? You're turning red." Ensign Belkin took a small step back. Others in Engineering were beginning to stare at the small situation developing between their boss and the Ensign. Their attention only worked to fuel Neyes as his temper began to spiral out of control.
Landon could practically feel the hairs on his arms and neck digging into his skin. The creeping and crawling discomfort was worming its way up and down every inch of his body. The whites of his eyes were replaced with the blood red of someone who had slept as light as a feather and for less than 3 hours a night all week. His dampened constitution was evident in the large sags beneath those eyes. He was a walking, ticking time-bomb and the fuse on his explosion was just a few centimeters shy of ignition.
A few crew members muttered off in the distance.
"Answer me, Ensign! NOW." Landon stood up and towered over the nearly terrified young officer.
"Sir, I… I did it as quickly as I could." Belkin fumbled every word.
Landon's assistant strode up and put a hand on the enraged shoulder of his superior. "Sir you shou-"
It was all it took for the bomb to go off.
The alarm that sounded in Neyes' mind was deafening. He had spent more time fighting for his life that anyone else on the ship. He had a lifetime's worth of combat hours and they all boiled to the surface as an unreasonable man took the wheel to his reactions. With frightening speed, Landon whipped around and took the assistant by the cusp of his uniform collar, picking him up off the floor and slamming him against the nearby bulkhead. Landon's finger wrapped around the cloth as if letting go would mean letting some disgusting criminal loose and free to attack. Heavy breathes came in and out as Neyes fought off the desire to tear the man's face from his head. It was a moment of weakness that Landon was blind to, he couldn't see anything past his own fury.
The look of shock and horror on his face was all it took to pull back the veil.
Landon instantly dropped the man and gulped his feelings back. His face belied his own shock at his actions, and he held up his hands as if the motion would somehow excuse his behavior. By now the entire department was staring in awe at Landon as he was suddenly the center of their attention.
Feeling worried by his own actions, and unfathomable embarrassment, Landon's face melted into a sorry expression of apology. "I… Probably can't say anything to make you forgive me. I'm sorry, Petty Officer. Please take the rest of the day off. You too Belkin. I need to relieve myself, obviously." He wiped his face with his hand, trying to bring himself back to center. "Nealson you're in charge until further notice."
Lieutenant Nealson came up and took the PADD from Neyes, slowly, careful to allow his movement to be predictable and compassionate. "It's ok, boss. You've been working twice as hard as anyone else. We were honestly waiting for you to snap so you'd finally let yourself get some sleep." He looked to the rest of the crew, who mostly nodded, recognizing that they understood. Apparently he had been less than friendly to the crew as he slipped deeper and deeper into his dependency. "You need to take it easy."
"The Captain needs those warp diagnostics done-." Landon started, still concerned with his work.
"WE will finish them. Go, before I call sickbay."
Naturally, the crew didn't know Landon was running on stimulation drugs to keep him awake and lucent as he worked himself into this unsalvageable mess. The simple effort his crew made to overlook this outburst was… heartwarming, however. Perhaps he hadn't given them enough credit. With a weak smile, he bowed with a little respectful acknowledgement. "Alright. I'll go… Thanks"
The crew started moving back to their regular duties, dutifully forgetting all about his lack of composure.
Neyes turned on his heels and started for the Counselor's office.
=/\= END LOG =/\=
Lieutenant Commander Landon Neyes