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Among Friends

Posted on 26 Oct 2017 @ 12:25am by Lieutenant Camila Di Pasquale & Lieutenant Commander Terry Walsh

Mission: Crossing Over
Location: Flight/Holodeck
Timeline: November 14, 2388
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Camila left her office with the intent of going back to her quarters and starting to read the book that she had been given, but her feet had other ideas. She found herself wandering the corridors of the new ship aimlessly, only pausing when she saw something of interest; the ship was a class she wasn't familiar with and as the Chief of Security, it was her job to know every inch of it.

She gave a mental snort. You're off duty, Di Pasquale, she chided herself. Big deal. It's not like I have a social life or anything else anymore, she mentally retorted as she continued to wander without a destination in mind. As she continued to wander, avoiding anyone's eyes that passed her way, she decided to focus on nothing and let her feet carry her wherever they wanted.

A turbolift to a random deck later, Camila exited and saw a sign that read Flight Deck Observation Gallery and shrugged. "Why not?" she asked herself. "Let's go see little ships of war." She followed the route and soon found herself overlooking the Flight Deck which with rows of neatly parked - if that was the right word - fighters that she wasn't familiar with. They weren't the Valkyries that she had been used to seeing on the old Black Hawk and she stood there simply looking at them and letting everything else around her fade to the background.

Terry had been down on the Flight Deck following up on some of the maintenance reports. Several of the Gryphon's had been through a lot. Now that they were all on the mend, he had a chance to review the work. Making his way over to one of the consoles, Terry brought up the most recent 'ready to fly' report. There were still a several on Bravo Flight that were still down. He shook his head and hoped it wouldn't take long.

Then he checked the time on the console and sighed. It had been a long day and he was still on the Deck. Terry put his arms behind his head and stretched...long.

Movement caught her eye and she let herself focus on the Flight Deck for more than the odd fighters. She looked past the fighters and saw a tall bald man in a red uniform collar and a smile came to her lips. Of course the Captain would have wanted him back, she thought as she remembered their talks. An urge to leave hit her but she pushed it aside.

If anyone knew what it was like, Terry would, Camila before she turned and headed back to the turbolift to take it down another deck. When it stopped, she stepped out and approached the Flight Deck, but her steps were slow as if she was half afraid that she had been seeing things. What if it isn't him? What if it is and he accuses me of running away? went through her mind as she approached and saw that it was the Commander of the Black Knights and cleared her through, barely loud enough to be heard.

The opening of the doors had become a normal sound to everyone on the Flight Deck recently. Terry didn't turn around when it happened. But a few seconds later, the sound of a light cough or something behind him caught his ear. He turned around and was surprised.

"Camila?"

The fact that he recognized her right away gave her hope; she had lost weight and had new worry lines, but she was still recognizable as the person he had known. "Hi, Terry," she said a bit hesitantly. "I thought it was you that I saw down here. If you're busy, I can see you another time."

When she spoke, he kind of looked at her sideways. She was quieter. And then offered to leave. And she was...thinner. "I'm never too busy for a friend, Camila. They can handle things for the rest of the evening. Good lot, these guys. C'mon." He led her away from the hustle and bustle and towards the doors. "It's good to see you back."

The look her gave her almost sent her running, but then he bustled her towards the doors. Maybe he's trying to get me out of here so no one else see's me, Camila thought. Then again, he called me a friend. "Thanks, Terry. It's good to see you, too. I've actually been back since the wedding, but I hadn't planned on staying. Captain Geisler had other plans."

When they got over to the doors, Terry pulled over a couple of containers. "It's not the greatest, but it's a seat for the moment. Sit. Rest. Take a load off." He sat down and offered one to Camila. "The Captain seems to have other plans a lot." He leaned back and put his back against the wall, stretching out his feet. "What brought you down here?"

The fact that my feet didn't want to go back to my quarters she thought as she sat down on one of the containers. "I was just checking out the new ship and came to the observation gallery for the flight deck and thought I saw you. Did the Captain shanghai you, too?"

"Nah, I got a set of orders while on shore leave. It was a surprise, though. So...the Cap shanghaied you?" asked Terry. "He's got a streak that I bet most people don't know about, sounds like."

"He did and he does," Camila said. "I was heading for my transport back to Deep Space Eleven and got detained by Security. By the time it got cleared up, the Commander there offered to transport me to the ship before it got out of range. When I materialized, I was here on the Black Hawk and the Captain gave me my orders and tried to walk away like it was all normal. I had to chase him down."

Terry shook his head. "Gonna have to keep my eyes open around that man. So did you catch him? I have to know."

"I did," she said. "All he really said was, and I quote, he needed the best damn Security Chief in the Quadrant and wouldn't accept any reason I gave that I belonged on Deep Space Eleven. When he makes up his mind, it stays made up."

"Well, he was right. You're the best damn Security Chief in the Quadrant," said Terry. "Let's put work aside, though. I'm off duty and I'd bet you are too." He pulled his legs in and sat forward, arms on his knees. "You look like you could use something to drink in a nice relaxing atmosphere. How about it, Camila?"

The best damn Chief in the quadrant wouldn't let personnel under her die Camila thought. "As long as it isn't alcoholic," she said. "I don't do that anymore."

"Nope," said Terry. "Tall, cold, glass of lemonade...on the holodeck. Best place I know to find a relaxing environment." He stood up and offered his hand to Camila.

"Is a mountain lake part of it?" she asked as she accepted his hand and came to her feet.

"Of course it is," he said grinning. "Someone once took me there to relax, among other things. It's a great place." He released her hand once she came to her feet and patted her on the back. "Let's go."

"Only if it wouldn't be any trouble," Camila said as she headed for the door.

Terry stopped for a second and turned around, looking her straight in the eyes. "Camila Di Pasquale, it's never been any trouble to hang out with you. Besides, we have some catching up to do."

She wanted to flinch away from the eye contact, but she wouldn't let herself. "People change, Terry," she said quietly. "Things change, but I appreciate you taking the time. I could use more friends."

Terry nodded. "Yeah, people do change. I'll agree to that." Terry left it at that for the moment and headed out the door. He knew that people changed. He'd changed once, but found himself once again. He also knew that it took time. "Camila, you'll always have a friend in me. There may be a lot of new people here, but there are still some that you knew from before. All it'll take is what you did just now, going up to them."

"Until another Consortium happens," Camila said. "How have you been, though? I missed our talks and training and I'm really sorry I let you down on that when I left the ship without telling anyone."

"Don't worry about it," Terry said, as they walked down the corridor. "We'll just pick up the training later. Right now, we'll pick up the talks. I've been doing well, Camila. I took your advice, you know. Started talking to other people, making friends. It helped. As a matter fact, I've found someone to talk to that has really helped me in a lot of areas."

"Oh yeah?" she asked as she walked beside of him. "I'm really glad you found someone, Terry. You really had a lot of weight sitting on you and it doesn't look like it did before other than you working on those new birds I saw on the deck."

"Thanks, Camila. She's lifted a lot of weight off me," he said. "Those birds are the new Gryphons. Top of the line fighters right out the door. I love 'em. Now if only I could just get the pilots to keep them together..." He chuckled as he let it trail. "But that's what we do best. How have you been?"

"She, huh?" Camila asked with a raised eyebrow and a smile. "Is it serious or are you just friends?" She debated skirting the question he asked, but it would hang there like a weight between them. "Not bad," the Chief of Security said. "I spent a lot of time on Deep Space Eleven helping to rebuild what we tore apart when we infiltrated to play the message that got the Consortium to stand down."

Terry nodded. "Rebuilding is a good thing. And yeah, she." He looked at Camila and grinned. "Daniella Blake. We started out as friends when she torpedoed me in the ship's pool on the old Black Hawk. We walked the decks, talking. We've recently spent shore leave together. And, most recently, she's moved in." Terry could have gone on and on, but he paused for second.

The short ombre haired woman gave him a warm smile. "What a way to meet someone," she said. "Getting torpedoed in a pool. That has to be a memory for the ages. Moved in already, huh? It must be serious if that's the case. I'm glad you found someone, Terry. I really am. You carried a lot of weight on your shoulders when I first met you."

"I'd like to think we're on the path to serious. But with everything that happened before, I'm staying more watchful." They rounded a corner and came into view of the turbolift. "I did and still do, some. You were there for me when I literally lost my mind. And afterwards. I'll never forget that, Camila."

"It was that Consortium virus that did it to you, Terry," Camila said. "I was doing my job to help a fellow crewman and you were in need of help. I wish I could have done a lot more at the time. As for you and Miss Blake, I'm going to be looking forward to meeting her and maybe getting a wedding invite one day."

Terry stumbled a bit, but caught himself. "A what?!" He looked at her and started laughing. "Always catching people off guard, Camila. But yeah, I have to get you two together. Dani's schedule can be odd sometimes; she's a nurse in Medical. I think you two would get along."

She laughed the stumble and double take, but winked. "I don't think I've met her," she said. "But anyone who can make you laugh is a good person in my book. I'd be happy to meet her, Terry. She sounds like she's good for you."

"She is, Camila. Real good." They came up to the doors of the lift and Terry watched them swoosh open. "I'll see if I can't make it happen, then," he said, stepping inside. "But just in case you see her before we all get together, she's a little over five feet, petite, sparkling blue eyes, and the brightest blonde hair you've ever seen." There was a huge smile plastered on his face as he pictured his Dani Angel.

Camila listened to his words and tone and watched the smile on his face. "It sounds like you're in love, Terry," she said. "I'm really happy for you and wish you both the best." She stepped into the turbolift. "When I get hurt the next time, I'll be sure to ask for her."

"Deck Eight," he said as the doors closed. "I'd say I hope you don't get hurt next time, but not in your line of work. So, outside of the Captain, am I one of the first people you've touched base with from the old Black Hawk?"

"I talked to Joey via subspace once and I had lunch with her earlier today," she said. "I can't believe she's married to the Captain and expecting twins. She's come a long way since she was my Assistant Chief and I'm proud of her."

"I'm glad you did that with...Joey," he said. "I've never met her. Seen her around, of course; briefings and such. But yeah, I can see why you're proud of her. She's doing well." The lift slowed as it approached Deck Eight and the doors opened. Terry put his arm out. "After you."

Camila stepped out and waited for him. "I'll have to introduce you to her when there's time," she said. "I have never met so dedicated an officer."

"I'd like that," he said, stepping out. "She sounds like a great person. Have you had a chance to explore this Century class yet?" He started down the corridor towards one of the holosuites.

"A little," she said. "In fact, I was walking around her when I saw you and decided to stop in and see how an old friend was doing."

"It's not a bad thing, walking the ship," said Terry. "I've done that before. It's better when you have someone to walk with and talk to, also. But I'm glad you stopped in, Camila. Been a while. Oh! I know you said you don't do alcoholic anymore, but I bought a bottle of my best wine to give you as a gift for helping to get me started out of my slump. I'll keep it for you, if you want."

"We'll have to save it for a special occasion," Camila responded. "I wanted to get you something when I was on shore leave, but my head....well, I had a lot on my mind. Thank you for thinking of me, though."

"Sounds like a plan, then," said Terry. "It's okay, Camila. Your just fine. And you're welcome. I try to treat my friends right. My good friends...better than right." He continued down the corridor towards the holodeck.

She smiled as she walked beside of him. "It's always good to be among friends," she said. "And I'm glad I can count you as one, Terry."

"It is. And I bet you have more on this ship than you realize, too," he said. "There's a lot of new personnel since it's a bigger ship, but there are still some people from the old Black Hawk around. I'm glad to call you my friend as well, Camila."

"There is," Camila agreed. "I've spent the last few days going over personnel files for Security alone and getting things sorted. The Assistant Chief left with the other Chief and I'm stuck doing it myself just like the first time I took over."

"Then you already have some kind of an idea of what to expect," he replied, turning a corner. "Surprises will be fewer and you'll be able to properly train whoever Starfleet sends for your Assistant. You've got this."

"Thanks, Terry." She rounded the corner with him. "I do know one thing," she said. "I'll be getting a lot of exercise just walking around this ship. It feels like we've been walking for an hour."

He started laughing. "Yeah, it's a big ship, that's for sure. There," he said, "Holosuite Two, three doors down."

"I'll say it's big," Camila said. "I'm going to have to revise my Security plans for this. I knew it was big, but you never really get how big something is until you walk it."

"Agreed," said Terry. Turning to address the panel on the wall, "Computer, load program Mountain Lake."

"Please specify," stated the Computer. "There are currently fifty-seven holodeck programs with 'Mountain Lake' in their title."

Terry grunted and input the stardate for when Camila had first loaded the program for him. "That Mountain Lake," he said.

"Program active. Enter when ready," it stated.

Terry looked to Camila. "Go ahead. This is your place after all."

She entered it and sighed when the cool mountain breeze brushed against her face, causing her ombre hair to flow back over her shoulders. She inhaled the moisture laden air as she walked towards the start of the path that led to the lake and smiled before she stopped. "It's just as I remember it," she said. "Did you get it off the old ship computers?"

Terry smiled, "Good. And yeah, I did. Along with mine. I copied them to an isolinear chip just in case of anything. That's one thing I learned after Mark Shelby died. If you find something you like that has helped you, do what you can to keep it around as long as possible. Memories are one thing, but if it's on the holodeck, you bet I'm backing up a copy." He put his arm around her shoulder and patted it. "Come on, there's a nice little table with a large bench down there with our names on it."

The mention of death made her flinch and she had to shove the screams in her mind to the back of her head again. "That sounds good," she said as she headed the way he had told her. "Did you actually program the holodeck to put our names on it?"

"Huh, I never thought about that. But no, I didn't," he said. "It could be done though. Or you could have just your name on it and fill-in the other one at a later date." He grinned and ribbed Camila, letting it pass. "Computer, a pitcher of ice cold lemonade and two glasses with ice in them on the table please." He paused a second. "That way it's waiting on us."

Camila smiled as she came to the table and straddled a bench before she reached for a glass and filled it. "I think this is what I need," she said. And there will never be another name beside of mine like that again.

"Well drink up, then. I love a good glass of lemonade on occasion," said Terry. He poured himself a glass of it and straddled the bench, facing Camila. He took a long drink and savored it before setting the glass down. The breeze blew across his bald head and sent shivers down his spine. "Well, how is it all? Is this," he said, gesturing to their surroundings, "working for you?"

"It's nice," she said as she took a sip of her lemonade and looked around. "I forgot how much I used to love coming here. There was another program I had, but I didn't get it when I went back to the ship after it crashed or much of anything else. I don't even have my violins, but such is life in space."

"At least you've got this one. And you want, I can give you the isolinear chip that it's on. That way you'll always have it." Terry pause for a second to enjoy the sounds of the birds. "You know, you should try to rebuild your violin collection. Get some new ones. I had to start rebuilding my wine collection after the crash and helped to take my mind off of it all. Violins are more interactive that wine, though."

"I don't know about that," Camila said. "I've had plenty of interactions with wine that turned into some strange adventures. I'll have to think about if I want to play or not again. I didn't really have that much time to play when I was on the old ship, but I do have a really good memory from one instance."

Terry leaned over and put his arm on the table. "Oh yeah? I think I'd like to hear about that one, if you don't mind. Those that stick in our heads and make really good memories have to be the best."

She took another sip of her lemonade and leaned against the table as her eyes unfocused for a moment. "It was shortly after I first came aboard," she started. "After Chief Del Rosario shot Captain Geisler with a phaser, I was just an Assistant Chief and a Junior Grade Lieutenant at the time time."

"I was in the holodeck working on a holo video for a performance that I had planned and Captain Geisler came in while I was playing," Camila continued. "I didn't see him and I was dressed up like a pirate at the time and when I stopped playing, he started to clap. Of course, it startled me but the Captain goes where a Captain wants." She gave a small chuckle. "He started walking and talking with me and ended up promoting me to a full Lieutenant and gave me the position of Chief of Security. In the holodeck. While I was dressed like a pirate."

Terry took in everything his friend was saying. When she finished, he spoke up. "Wow, Camila. I can understand why that's such a really good memory. You were making a holo video, sounds like you were enjoying yourself, you got promoted in and rank and position, and...you got to dress up like a pirate. You can't beat that. But give some thought at least, starting to play again. I'd bet you really enjoyed it."

"I did," she said with a smile. "It's one of my better memories since I joined the ship." She took another sip of her lemonade. "I can only hope there will be days like that again."

"I hope so, too," he said. "This Black Hawk needs some good memories of fun times made in her."

"How do you like your new fighters?" Camila asked him.

"Oh I like them a lot!" he said. "Starfighters all fly pretty much the same, but these have their nuances to get used to. I really like the fact that it holds more Micro Quantum Torpedoes. More bang for Starfleet. The large Flight Deck is something to get used to, though. Oh, speaking of large areas, have you managed to explore your Complex yet?"

"I did and I have to say I'm impressed with everything but the size of my office, but without an Assistant Chief, I plan on spending a lot of time out of it and checking up on the personnel and running drills," she said. "I already put in new protocols for Security, but I'm waiting for approval from Command before I implement them. I don't plan on boarders getting anywhere if we ever get boarded again."

"I hope they get approved, Camila," he said. Then he took a deep breath. "It's good to have you back. I have to say, I eventually grew to like that Granite of a Security Chief. But our first introduction...Camila, we ended up beating the hell out of each other afterwards and became pretty good friends."

"You went from fighting to being friends?" Camila asked. "How did that happen? Also, don't forget if you're looking for a scrap, I can bring back the Jiu Jitsu program that you were learning so the training mech can beat on you again. I'll be able to once I get back into the routine again."

"Well," Terry said, turning his head slightly, "it's a guy thing. He hit on Dani, insulted me, we beat each other senseless, and had a new-found respect for each other." He turned back to her and grinned. "I'd like to get back into the SAR training. And I'd look forward to a scrap with you, too. Once you get back into the routine, of course."

She looked him over thoughtfully for a moment. "Do you do weight training, Terry?" she asked him. "I need to put on a little more muscle if I'm going to be the Chief of Security again. I can't depend on a phaser or just Jiu Jitsu in a fight. Not with my weight and size."

He took another drink of lemonade and put the glass back down. "Yeah, I do. If you're serious about it, we go over a beginning plan for you and see where you're at. Adding a little strength to the Jiu Jitsu could make you a dangerous little woman."

"I'm not that little," Camila lied as she finished her lemonade and refilled it. "I have wiry strength," she continued. "Appearances can be deceiving and I usually have a phaser to back me up."

Terry watched her pour some more lemonade in her glass and smiled. "I have no doubt about that, Camila. Wiry strength...yeah, I can see it." He swirled the ice in his glass out of habit. "I can help you out."

"I'd appreciate it, Terry," she said. "I kind of let myself go the past few months after everything went down and I didn't really take care of myself very much, but I'm back now and I can only go up from here."

He topped off his lemonade and took a quick sip. "That's the Camila that I remember; positive, moving forward, ready to take the world by storm. Or maybe just a thunderclap to start with," he added with a wink. "We'll start small. As far as taking care of yourself, you've got friends here that'll be right alongside you whenever you need us."

Like I have a choice on how I start Camila thought as she took a sip of her lemonade. "I know and I really appreciate it. Can I ask you a personal question?"

Terry set his glass off to the side a bit. "Of course you can. What's on your mind?"

"How did you deal with the aftermath of war?' she asked him quietly. "Not the cleanup, but those that didn't come through it."

Terry took a deep breath. "Camila, it's something that can take a while to actually 'deal' with. But it doesn't need to take a while begin working though it. Take me for instance. When Mark died in that fighter explosion, I kept it all buried inside and didn't talk about it. At all. The numbness, guilt, and loneliness began to set it. And I'd lose sleep on occasion. So I just buried it even deeper and didn't start working through it. Because, you know, grief is personal. I've learned that everyone responds differently to loss. Some people show grief in a way that can be seen and felt by people around them. Others do not. I'd say that the first step of dealing with the aftermath of war regarding those that didn't come through it is to figure out which way you grieve. And then let yourself grieve."

The numbness, guilt, and loneliness began to set it. And I'd lose sleep on occasion. So I just buried it even deeper and didn't start working through it. bored into her mind like a photon torpedo hitting her while she had no shields. She thought about all the time she had spent on Deep Space Eleven working through three or more shifts at a time, then going back to her quarters and drinking until she passed out wherever she landed. Followed by a repeat for the next three shifts. She looked down at herself and saw how thin she actually was and knew if she could see it, others could.

"Thanks, Terry," Camila said at last. "It really sounds like you've came a long way since you and I last had a talk like this, except you were the one asking me the questions. I feel like I've let you down by coming to you like this." You let him down, Joey down, Xavier down and everyone else, so what's one more? she asked herself and wondered if his offer of the wine was still on the table.

"You're welcome, Camila. I may have come a long way, but it was you that gave that push," replied Terry. "And no, no you haven't let me down by coming to me. You've...made me happy; it means you trust me. See, we talk to people we trust. People that we know will support us. People that will listen without judgment. Thanks for trusting me on that level as a friend." He reached up and gently patted the back of her hand.

"Can I get a hug?" she asked him with a wan smile as she tried not to cry at his words and her own self loathing.

"Of course you can," Terry said, scooting forward on the bench. He wrapped his huge arms around her and pulled her in, hugging Camila and patting her on the back.

Camila returned the hug and smiled. "Thank you," she said. "For everything."

"You're welcome," he replied quietly. He reached for his lemonade and took another long drink before setting it down. "You know my door, or holodeck, is always open. But you know what you need to do next? Get out. Go for a swim. Do something. You gave me that push I needed and it helped. Now it's my turn, Camila."

"I think I'm going to go replicate a violin first," she said. "And take you up on that offer, but I'll contact you first in case Miss Blake has other plans for you."

"Good. Sounds like a good plan to me," he said. "Will Dani and I get invitations to your first concert after you get back into the swing of things?"

"Front row and center," Camila promised him as she finished her lemonade and looked out over the lake. "I'll let you know as soon as I'm ready." Which will be when the music finds me again.

"I know you will." Terry looked at his glass with a little bit of lemonade left in it. It was fine. This wasn't about the lemonade anyway. He followed her gaze out over the lake and saw some birds fly by. "It's a beautiful program. I can leave you with it for a few minutes while you get reacquainted. And then violin."

"Thank you, Terry," she said and meant it. "I'm glad to be back among friends."

"And your friends are glad to have you back among them," he said. The brawny man stood up and un-straddled the bench. "Enjoy yourself for a while." With an added wink and pat on the shoulder, he turned and headed away from the table before calling up the exit. The doors opened and he paused, turning. "Welcome back, Camila." Then he left and let the exit disappear.

Camila watched him go and a small smile appeared on her lips, the first real smile in some time. With friends like Terry and Joey, she was sure she'd make it back at some point. It was just a matter of time.

 

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