USS Pioneer NCC - 74757


Docked at Starbase Sirius
Speed: Docked
Shields: Nominal
Hull: Nominal
Systems: All Systems Nominal

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Gitche Manitou (Great Spirits)

Posted on Thu Sep 17th, 2020 @ 4:51am by Staff Sergeant Gaagii

Mission: Episode 10 - New Home, Same Pioneers
Location: Quarter of Gaagii - Deck 4 - USS Pioneer
Timeline: MD005 0030 hrs
1536 words - 3 OF Standard Post Measure

Gaagii had returned from After 11, and for the first time in a long time, he felt like he had been walking on air. Sofia Cipriani was a breath of fresh air for him. However, ever the cautious man that he was he would not simply jump into things. He decided that a late night spirit quest and consultation with his ancestors would be best here.

He retrieved his medicine bundle and laid it out on the floor. Gaagii took great care in spreading the items out as he prepared for his quest. Included among these items were a jawline from a fox, and a bundle of horsehair. These items represented two of the spirit guides that were known to Gaagii. Along with these was a small bundle of raven’s feathers. This was to represent him, Gaagii the raven.

Gaagii sat on the floor before his laid out medicine bundle cross-legged. He lit a mixture of tobacco, incense, and herbs that would burn in a bowl made of turquoise. These herbs would guide him on his quest. His eyes closed slowly as he wondered how long his soul would walk the spirit realm.

The first thing that Gaagii saw was a place that he believed to be perfect for the purpose that he sought. It was secluded and beautiful, just inside the tree line of some gentle unused woodland adjacent to the back meadow of a farm that he did not recognize. Just off the deer path from the meadow into the woods was a Druidic circle of trees where it seemed that he had set up a camp. Three enormous, ancient beech trees that appeared to be grandfather, father and son anchored that section of woods. The grandfather tree, which had passed on, stood beside his camp. Piles of slash and deadfall nearby provided fuel for his campfire. Two tree stumps became a meditation seat and a table for his water jug. The paths that had been cut through the woods were lined with wild red and black raspberries.

Gaagii had no tent, just a small piece of cloth to lie on. The only weapon that he seemed to have were his two tomahawks. He could see the insignia of the SFMC emblazoned upon them clear as day.

He was welcomed by soaring turkey vultures, which showed up as Gaagii took stock of his surroundings. Three were floating above the path that led from his camp. It was here that he noticed a horse saddled and tied up to a tree near his camp. One flew over low as he settled what little equipment he had. A pair flew low near him as he finished setting up camp, and as he walked out to the edge of the meadow one of them circled him for a better look.

That first day was jangly, with lots of racing thoughts. Gaagii started by establishing a sacred circle around his camp, and opened the space well enough that he felt the presence of spirit guides and guardians aplenty. At dusk Earth Mother had put on a welcoming show in the woods and the field beside his camp – the most magnificent visual feast of fireflies he’d ever seen.

Gaagii’s rational mind wasn't too concerned about his safety – the normally cautious Marine seemed serene and off his guard. However, he discovered that his rational mind goes to sleep when the sun goes down. He spent the first hours of the first night imagining that every shadow was a black bear, that every swaying bush was a bush wolf, and that every rustle of leaves was a cougar slinking in. He even started imagining what a cougar attack would feel like – the slicing tear of claws into his stomach, the remorseless crush of jaws around his neck.

He had made a firm decision to track time only by the movement of the sun, but in the middle of that first night, in the grip of his inner fears, he lost faith in nature and that which was around him. He needed to know what time it was. For some reasons he remembered that there was a duffel bag and a watch stashed within it. He took a burning branch from his fire and went to get it. When he approached the bag, the light revealed that a seething carpet of black ants covered the end of the bag. They weren't on anything else in the camp, just that one pocket that held the watch. He burst out laughing, and told Her, "OK, OK, I get it – no watch!"

Gaagii spent the days meditating, in both sitting meditations and walking meditations along the forest paths. He had changed his clothing to something that was a bit more suitable for the occasion. He now wore traditional garb of the Navajo made from deerskin. He sat by the fire at times a beat on a drum while chanting. Gaagii attempted to summon the spirits of those he sought to speak with.

By the middle of what he thought was the second day a deep peace had descended. The solitude was a huge gift – whenever he emerged from a very deep meditation, he wasn't pulled out of it by the need to communicate.

When he wasn't in meditation most of Gaagii’s thoughts had an ecological theme. Given the setting and his personal connections to the environment that is not too surprising. Sounds became very prominent out in the woods, and there was an insistent contrast between natural sounds like the wind in the trees and bird songs, and the constant drone of what he recognized to be a warp core. The intrusive sounds served as a reminder that Gaagii was still attached to the physical realm. The silver cord still served its purpose and kept him anchored.

On one of his meditation walks, he stepped from the end of a forest path into a barley field ready for harvest. To a farmer's eye, it was a perfect field – utterly weed-free, dense and uniform, the heavy heads of grain bent in submission waiting patiently for the combine's knife. However, as he stared out over that table-flat sea of monoculture he suddenly understood that I was looking at the beginning of a chain of events. Barley creates food, which feeds people, which can destroy that which is natural. However, people also have the power to break the cycle. Gaagii took this a sign that he must assist in breaking this cycle. He must continue to fight the good fight as it were.

On what could only be the third day the visions came. First, there were two in the morning, and after each one as he lay on his mat staring up into the trees, the vulture that had visited him when he arrived came and circled twice low over the canopy of leaves. A third vision came that night at sundown. The message was, If you wish to travel this path, you must accept that all the shadows of humanity, even the very darkest, live within you. You must acknowledge and integrate all of them in order to become whole. Gaagii thought that it would be a long journey. He thought that this symbolized that he would have to do wrong for the right reasons. As he came to terms with this the three animals, which usually accompanied him made themselves known: the horse walked into his sacred space this time, the raven came and landed at his feet, and on a branch of one of the beech trees perched and owl.

Gaagii knew what all of this meant, however, what surprised him was this time they were accompanied by an otter. The sight of the otter as it was perched on the horses back was odd to Gaagii at first. Nevertheless, as the animals converged on the sacred space they began to communicate and it became clear what the otter symbolized or more accurately who it symbolized.

After a short commune with his guides including the new one Gaagii knew what needed to me done next. There was no decision, no questioning, no talking himself into staying or leaving – he was simply complete. He closed the sacred space, drummed and sang once more once more to the spirits that had guided him.

Gaagii’s eyes fluttered open and his nostrils filled with what was left of the incense scents. He felt tired, but complete and fulfilled. He was rejuvenated and ready to move past the doldrums that had been affecting him all of this time. Nothing in his quarters seemed to be disturbed and yet everything seemed to be worn down, as if quite some time had passed since they were placed there. “Computer time…” Gaagii requested and the computer told him that only three hours had passed since he entered the meditation. On the eve of Operation Whackamole Gaagii had a new lease on life, and a new path to walk. Now the question was could the raven get the otter to walk it with him.

Sergeant Gaagii
RECONN Fire Team Leader, USS Pioneer


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