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The Thrill is Gone

Posted on 08 Jul 2018 @ 8:59pm by Lieutenant Camila Di Pasquale & Lieutenant Commander Jayla Kij

Mission: The Search Begins
Location: Camila's Quarters
Timeline: MD 2 || 1500 Hours

Shortly after she left Talon's, Camila entered her quarters and let a blood chilling scream out that seemed to come from the pit of her being. Her already small frame seemed even smaller when the scream died away and left her an empty husk. She shed no tears, but the overwhelming guilt that Joey had unintentionally stirred to life in her soul now burned with the same fury it had when everything first happened. Officer turning against officer, ship turning against ship. The Consortium's fault, all of it and who was to blame for it?

She made her way over to a wall panel and laid a hand on it. "Di Pasquale Alpha One Nine Four," she said. The panel she had touch scanned her hand and slid aside when she removed it. As the Chief of Security, she had taken certain liberties to have her quarters customized for a hidden weapons locker, but no weapons were visible when she stepped back. Instead, there was an assortment of bottles of different colors and shape that held various liquids.

She reached for a twisted brown bottle and looked at it before she set it back and pulled out a triangular bottle that had a green liquid in it. "You'll do," she told it as she closed the panel and carried the bottle to the replicator. "Computer, one chilled glass tumbler with ten grams of ice," she ordered and waited until the glass materialized on the tray. She picked it up and headed over to her favorite chair, which was standard issue but looked out one of the windows.

Camila flopped down in the chair and set the glass beside of her, uncorked the bottle and poured the potent green liquid into it. "Reduce lights to ten percent," she ordered. "Play something blues and rock, twenty-first century Earth, low."

The computer began to play The Thrill is Gone and the Security Chief set the bottle aside and picked up her tumbler, swirled the ice cube around, then took a long drink of it. The Aldebaran whiskey was strong and she felt it burn as it slid down her throat and landed like a bomb in her mostly empty stomach.

"Just when I think I'm putting the pieces back together," she mumbled before taking another drink. "The thrill is gone." She didn't blame Joey for her current situation or even Harvey for bringing her back to the ship. She couldn't even blame the desperate aliens on the station that had tried to take her team and the runabout prisoner. They were desperate as everyone else was and now she decided to try to drown them and the screams out once more.

"Why is everything turning to ash?" Camila muttered before she took another drink, the burn now mostly ignored in favor of the buzz that was beginning to take hold of her body. It would take a lot more of it to numb the buzz in her brain, but she had the rest of the Aldebaran whiskey and seven more bottles of various liquors if the whiskey didn't do the trick. She would go on duty and try to work through it, but the Security personnel on the new Black Hawk were more alert and quicker to pass messages up the chain.

The blues singer sang on about the thrill being gone as the guitar belted out a melancholy rift that seemed to reflect the singers words. "The thrill is gone, the thrill has gone away for me," she sang with it after the chorus had repeated for the second time. She refilled her glass and wished she had more ice for it, but the effect was the same regardless if it was chilled or not and she didn't feel like getting up to get more ice.

She adjusted herself in the chair and looked out towards the blue dot in the distance that marked the barrier between her and the quadrant that she had grown to despise. So many bad things had happened there and she couldn't make up for even a small percentage of it. She had worked long, hard hours on Deep Space Eleven and drank even more long, hard hours before she passed out at the end of each day. They had become a blur to her but she didn't feel the effects of the hard labor or the hard drinking. She had felt nothing but guilt despite being on the team that had gotten the message out,

Camila sighed as the song seemed to sink into her bones and finished the tumbler in one long drink. Either someone had replaced the whiskey with green water or her tolerance for it had grown. Either way, she poured herself another glass and closed her eyes. Maybe this is how they'll find me one day she thought. Just a shell of a woman with no spirit left in her.

On her way back to her quarters, Jayla quite randomly thought of Camila. She wrinkled her brow in thought. Her mother had always told her that when she thought of someone randomly like that, it meant she was supposed to go visit them because they probably needed company.

So, she turned around and headed to the security chief's quarters instead, pressing her thumb to the chime as soon as she arrived.

The chime of the door interrupted the music and Camila scowled. Who would be coming to bother her and why should she answer the door? Maybe if she didn't respond, whoever it was would go away, she hoped as she took another drink of her whiskey.

Jayla frowned at the door. She quickly consulted the computer and found that, yes, Camila was most assuredly in her quarters. She pursed her lips to one side and pressed the chime again.

"Vaffanculo!" Camila cursed as she set the tumbler down and made an attempt at getting out of her chair, then slumped back in it. "Come in," she called out. So I can tell you to go away. she finished mentally.

The doors finally parted and Jayla blinked at the dark room. "Camila?" she called softly as she entered, unable to see after the brightness of the corridor. "You weren't sleeping, were you?"

"No, I'm dead. Please leave the flowers and close the door behind you," came the response from the chair nearest the window. The back faced the room, but the slender outline of an arm could be seen on the rest.

"You can't be dead," replied Jayla. "If you're dead, I'll have to take you to the morgue. Then I'll have to perform an autopsy. And then there's the family to notify, not to mention a whole ton of paperwork to fill out. And I'm just not in the mood for any of that stuff, so you're going to have to come back to life."

Camila swiveled the chair around with one foot and peered through the dim lighting. "The thrill is gone, but not the Trill," she said when she saw the mottled spots and the words sank into her brain. "You could just dump me out an airlock. Starfleet funeral. Space 'em."

"No good," replied Jayla, her eyes finally adjusting to the dark. "I'd still have to do the autopsy and the paperwork and the notifying and it's all very tedious."

"Then replicate a glass and pull up some floor," the blond said as she gestured to the space beside of her. "Or sit on my lap. It'll be less than the weight on my shoulders."

For half a moment, Jayla half considered actually taking her up on it, but instead opted to take the chair next to her friend, sans glass. "What's troubling you?" she asked, folding her legs under and settling into the chair comfortably.

"What makes you think something is troubling me?" Camila asked after taking another large drink from her tumbler. "And dontcha know it's rude to let a friend drink alone?"

"Oh, all right," sighed Jayla, unfolding herself from the chair and going to the replicator for a glass. Returning with it to her chair, she said, "you're sitting alone in the dark drinking what looks like Aldebaran whiskey. That's usually a good indication that something is wrong."

The Security Chief leaned over towards Jayla somewhat precariously and managed to not spill any of the whiskey on the floor. "There ya go," she said. "And I could drink with the light on. It just helps set the mood with it down."

Sipping the liquid very lightly, Jayla offered Camila a vague grin. "And what mood is that, exactly?" she asked.

"Dark," Camila said as she took another healthy drink of her whiskey. "I would have thought that it was obvious."

Jayla nodded. Of course it was obvious. But, the trick was getting Camila to admit it. "Why?" she asked simply.

"It seems like a good place to be," the ombre haired blonde responded.

That response earned her a sort of scolding look. "Camila," she said. "I'm your friend. You can talk to me."

"There's nothing to talk about, Jayla," Camila said, uncaring of the look or tone. "The thrill is gone like the song said. I joined Starfleet to help make a difference. I haven't made a damned bit of difference at all and all I touch turns to shit."

"If that were true, don't you think you'd be bumped around to every ship in Starfleet?" Jayla pointed out. "No captain would want you. They'd keep sending transfer requests for you and you'd end up bottom rung at Jupiter station. Instead, you're here, on one of the most intensely challenging ships as far as security goes. That says something."

"I'm here because Captain Geisler wanted me here," the other woman responded. "I got invited to the wedding and while I was there, he shanghaied me and put me back in the same position I was in before. I didn't see any other ships wanting me."

"And do you think Captain Geisler would have wanted you here if you were no good?" Jayla asked. "He is definitely not one to take charity cases. So, obviously, he must think you're good. The other captains are missing out."

"That's above my grade," Camila said as she finished her second glass and reached for the bottle again. "I go wherever I'm told to go and my job is to deal with what no one else wants to do. They just don't think of what it does to us."

"They never do," replied Jayla darkly. She'd seen more death than she'd have cared to see. Nothing in medical school had prepared her for the horror and guilt of losing a patient. "I recommend talking to the counselor about it. It helps tremendously. Or even just a friend. Probably both." She offered Camily a weary smile. "It helped me, after all," she added.

"I don't need to talk to a counselor," the Chief stated in a way that said she wouldn't even entertain the idea unless she was ordered to go and then it would be under protest. She filled her glass, then offered the bottle to Jayla. "Drink up. I was told earlier that I should see a counselor. That led me back here. This is my counselor."

"This?" Jayla asked, holding up her glass. "This is kind of a jerk of a counselor- only makes you forget for a few hours and then leaves you with a hell of a headache the next day. Look, it's okay to be depressed now and again. I've been that way myself. Quite recently, in fact. The trick is to not stay that way. If you don't want to talk to a counselor, I suggest friends. Ugh. If only I'd learned that lesson sooner, I might not have been miserable for so long."

"Counselors give me a headache at the time and they won't let me forget," Camila countered. She sighed and downed half the glass. "It's just all the sheer death and constant fighting," she said after a moment. "Then we come through the Convergence Zone and go out to investigate. What do you think happened on the station? My team got shot at by not one but two groups of aliens and then another tried to take the runabout and we had to fight them off. It's non-stop fighting."

Nodding, Jayla sipped her drink again. Jeez, this stuff was strong! "Tell me about it," she replied. "I'm not sure we can change that, though. Especially here. All we can do is try to dispel the situation when it arises."

"Or run," Camila said and it sounded like it was the foulest thing she could say. She sighed again and finished the glass. "I just feel like I'm not doing a good enough job at my job. It makes me feel like a failure every time someone under my orders dies and I can't do a thing about it." Her voice broke while she was talking and her slim body convulsed a little as she choked up.

Without a word, Jayla set her glass down on the nearest hard surface and crossed to Camila. As slim as they both were, she still didn't think they'd both fit in the one chair, so she perched on the arm and wrapped both arms around her friend. "I know," she replied softly, thinking of all the people who had died in her Sick Bay since she came aboard the Black Hawk. "It's hard. It's exhausting. It hurts. All we can do is learn from it and try not to let it destroy us."

"So many..." the Security Chief choked out. "Xa-Xavier Hernandez was one of the first that I can remember. Twenty-three years old, Jayla. This was his first stinking assignment out of the Academy! He had a cadet girlfriend and she didn't even remember him due to an accident. Twenty-three, full of hopes and dreams and...and he was killed by another Starfleet officer who was told that we were the bad guys. Why?!" she screamed as the tears streamed down her face.

"I wish I had an answer," Jayla replied. "I even wish I could change it. Boy, do I ever wish I could change it," she added bitterly.

Camila hugged Jayla as she sobbed and fought to reign her emotions in but failed. "I...don't...understand," she said. "It isn't fair. Why do things like this happen to good people who just want to do good?"

"Yet another question to which I do not have an answer," Jayla replied, just allowing her friend to cry it out. "I don't understand it, either."

The other woman sighed and seemed to sink deeper into her chair. "See? Talking about it really helps," she muttered. "I feel worse already."

Unable to stop the laugh from leaving her throat, Jayla was just glad she was able to quell it quickly. "So do I," she said. "But, we can't really get much lower than this, can we? It's all up from here."

"Oh, I don't know about that," Camila said. "I have more bottles that can help me get lower. In fact....and don't tell Security...but I have a bottle of the blue stuff."

"Blue stuff!" exclaimed Jayla. "Nah, we don't need that. I have a better idea." She slid off the arm of the chair and settled cross-legged onto the floor. "Let's talk about everyone we knew who has died. We'll keep their memory alive. Hey! We could write a book about them! Then they'll never be forgotten. And maybe some people will learn something from it and this senselessness can stop."

"Let's....not," the slender woman said as she struggled out of the chair and stumbled to the wall. It took her two attempts but she got the panel open where her stash was. "Eeny meeny miney blue. I choose you," she said and pulled out a bottle with glass spikes and a coil of glass around it half fully of blue liquid that almost glowed. "Here we go. Old Forgetful."

Well, some people coped differently. Perhaps getting drunk once would actually help. As long as the drinker was not an addict, it wouldn't help. And Jayla didn't believe that Camila was an addict; addicts drank a heck of a lot more often than she did. "All right, all right," she finally relented. "Tonight we drink. We'll write that book tomorrow."

"We won't be able to write a book," Camila said as she poured half a glass of the blue liquid in her tumbler, then motioned to Jayla's. "Drink up so I can give you some of the good stuff."

"Oh, all right," relented Jayla, swirling the liquid left in her glass. She downed it as quick as she could, wincing as she did. "But, only one. I have a two drink limit on the hard stuff."

"One it is," Camila agreed as she poured a very generous shot in Jayla's glass before she corked it and set it down. "Probably shouldn't be doin' this since I'm the Chief of Security, but...who's going to put me in the brig?" She raised her glass to Jayla. "To getting schlossed without reper...repercush....without penalty."

Jayla giggled and clinked her glass to Camila's. "I can't remember the last time I was properly drunk," she said. "I mean, really truly drunk, not just buzzed."

Camila knocked a quarter of her glass back and had to steady herself for a moment. "I...just had a thought," she said as she watched the spots on Jayla start to move a little. "Wouldn't it be really horrible to...be drunk? She finished.

At first, Jayla's brow wrinkled in confusion, but then she realized what Camile was saying. "Oh!" she said. "Like a glass of water? That would be weird..." She took a swig of the new drink; it was much smoother. "Can't say I've ever been drunk before. I've been- well! Never mind that."

Camila laughed and gave a sage nod that seemed to turn her into a bobble head for a moment. "Turned inside out and tossed through a walla teeth, down a throat and into who knows what in some beings throat. Horrible." She paused to take another sip of her blue stuff and missed the glass on her first attempt.

"There's only one way I'd want to be in someone's mouth," replied Jayla. "Anything else- no go!" She contemplated the blue stuff and took another swallow. "Wow," she said, feeling the effects of it already. "This stuff is potent."

"....Oh, brutto Lollipop maculato!" Camila exclaimed, the Universal Translator interpreting it as Oh you nasty spotted lollipop! before she burst into giggles and sat down heavily in her chair.

Inhibitions being lowered, Jayla wasn't actually sure what she'd said. "Huh?" she asked, blinking confusedly as she took another gulp of the blue stuff. "What'd I... what'd I.... oh... yanno... the words... that I used..." She shook her head. "Wow. This stuff is very potent."

The computer began to play another song but Camila didn't catch what was being sung at first. "Yah. Words. Lots of them. Blue ones, too. I like the blue ones."

Being a Trill, the concept of "blue words" was completely lost on Jayla and her brow only wrinkled in further confusion. "Blue?" she said, puzzled. Then, she simply shrugged and gulped the last of the drink down. "If you say so," she finished, reaching clumsily for the bottle and completely missing.

"Blue, see?" the Security Chief tried to point at the and ended up pointing at Jayla. "See, blue. Blue stuff."

“Oh, Blue!” spurred Jayla. She finally managed to grasp the bottle and couldn’t figure out why the liquid would not pour from it. “Because the drink is blue. And... and... has it turned my tongue blue?” she asked, sticking out her tongue and attempting to look at it.

Camila laughed at her attempts to look at her tongue. "Nope. Well, I don't think so. It's dark in here." She took a step forward and stumbled, put her hand out to stop herself and suddenly found herself groping the Trill as she continued to halt her movement. A second later, her lips met Jayla's and their bodies pressed together for a moment.

Unbidden, an image of Liara Pol- beautiful, caring, warm Liara- rose in Jayla’s mind and she tore away from her friend with a grunt of disgust. “Sorry!” she said almost immediately. “It’s not you. It’s... Kij won’t allow it. He’s hung up on Liara Pol.” She shook her head and regretted it almost immediately as the room spun around her. She fell back onto the sofa, somehow miraculously not spilling the bottle of blue stuff that she had managed to uncork. “It’s ruined many potential relationships and more than a few friendships,” she finished.

The ombre haired woman ran the sleeve of her uniform over her mouth as she realized what she did. "I...I'm sorry. I tripped. I, uh think it's time to stop drinking."

“Tha’s prob’ly a good idea,” agreed Jayla with a regretful glance at the bottle; it took her three tries to recork it. “Maybe we won’t remember this in the morning. Can you stop the ship from spinning?”

"Go," Camila hiccuped. "Back to your quarters hiccup and turn off the gravity," she advised before she hiccuped again. "Brest thing for it."

“Mmph,” replied Jayla, attempting and failing to stand. “Damn, that stuff is strong,” she said, laying down on the sofa and falling immediately to sleep.

It took Camila a moment for her to register what just happened, then she gave a shrug. "The thrill may be gone, but the Trill remains." With a hiccup, she staggered off to try to find her own bed.

 

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