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A Brief Respite

Posted on 01 Sep 2016 @ 9:55pm by Lieutenant Camila Di Pasquale & Lieutenant Commander Temerant Bast

Mission: Click Three Times
Location: Sickbay
Timeline: MD6 || 1800 Hours

To say that the day had been harrowing would have been something of an understatement. But then again, all of his days seemed to be harrowing lately - ever since they'd left Deep Space 11. All of it was beginning to take its toll on him, and he was longing for a few hours of sleep. A growling in his stomach also reminded him that the last time he'd eaten was about seven hours away - and even then, combat rations had done very little to ease his appetite. But with replicators down, it had been the only option.

He'd made sure every officer on his team had a half-hour to stretch their legs and get a bite to eat, before getting back to work. Now it was his turn. And despite his own exhaustion and the hunger in his stomach, there was only one thing he wanted to do.

He tucked away the data padd that held the latest damage report, grabbed two packets of emergency rations, and brought them with him to Sickbay.

Nurse T'Lura pointed him toward a biobed a short distance away from the action of the main ward. Camila was dozing off on the bed, no doubt from the painkillers they had to be giving her. The readout indicated that her vital signs were strong and stable, but nonetheless, he felt a pang of worry at seeing her like this.

He walked up to the biobed, and took her hand in his own.

Camila opened her eyes and gave a wan smile when she saw Temerant standing there with one of her hands in his. "Hi, Caramel," she said and gave his hand a squeeze. "I must have been napping again. It seems like that's all I've been doing since I've been in here. You look like you could use a few hours, too."

Temerant chuckled derisively, and sat on the edge of the bed. "I could, but that's not likely to happen." His mood grew more somber. "We still don't know how many people we've lost. The ship took quite a beating."

"The estimate right now is around a hundred," she said with a sigh, then decided to change the subject when she saw the rations he had brought. "So, are you happy to see me, or are those rations in your hand?"

Temerant nodded somberly at the mention of the hundred or so missing. They wouldn't have confirmation before internal sensors were back on-line, and that was still a few hours away.

He held up one ration pack, and handed it to her with a smile. "I'm afraid our candle-lit romantic dinner will have to wait," he said. "In the meantime, I can offer dehydrated hasperat."

Camila accepted it and looked at it. "Mmm...nothing like something dry and spicy after surgery to make a girl swoon," she laughed. "All we need now is a pitcher of water and the soft light of emergency power and it's like being in Venice." She opened the ration package and looked at him. "How are you holding up through all of this, Temerant?"

"Don't worry, the ration kind does live up to its format - dry and tasteless," he said, tearing open his own packet. "I'm holding up fine. Haven't yet found a place to hang my hammock, and I think they're close to finding out I don't really know what I'm doing," he joked. He took a bite, before speaking again in more serious tones. "I took charge of an Engineering team, and we've been restoring life support to critical areas. We're almost done. But between the battle and this... whatever that was, everyone is overworked, tired, hungry, and completely stressed out. I let my team take half-hour breaks in rotation, to rest and eat, but I know not everybody has been doing that."

Camila took a bite of her hasperat and gave an exaggerated moan pleasure. "Mmm...spicy cardboard. Yum. You're such a romantic," she said after taking a sip of water. "I've been in contact with my Assistant Chief and K-9 Chief to keep tabs how things are going in my department and have them putting personnel on rotation, too. Security is the one department that can't afford to fall right now and all I can do is lay here and give orders and get updates on everything that's wrong. It just doesn't stop."

"I know," said Temerant. "Oh wait!" he exclaimed, suddenly thinking of something. He pulled out a tricorder, flipped it open, and set it down on the table, resting on its side, its screen giving off a faint glow. "The closest thing we can get to candlelight, under the circumstances," he said.

She reached over and picked up the PADD that had been sitting on the stand by her bed and activated it. After searching through it for a few seconds, the sound of Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata began to play softly and she set it back down. "Now we have some music as well. I have a question for you since you said you had yet to finjd a place to hang your hammock. Would you consider staying with me once I'm let out of here?"

He put down his ration pack and reached for her hand. "We haven't fully surveyed the damage on Deck Two," he said, kissing the back of her hand. "You might need to come stay with me. I might need to come stay with you. Or we might need to find new quarters together. But I can promise you this. We'll be going home together - wherever home may be," he said, giving her hand another kiss.

"I don't know what the extent of the damage is, either, but as long as you're okay, then I'm okay with being wherever you are," Camila said. "I just want out of this place. I keep hearing the cries of wounded people and smelling death. It's enough to make me want to ignore Doctor Abrams and check myself out. I can rest just as easily on a mattress in a Jeffries Tube as I can here, and it would be quieter."

"Trust me, it doesn't look much better than that out there," he said, nodding toward the corridor. "And things won't improve for a while. I just hope things don't get worse before they get better, but we have a lot of work to do if we want to get there."

He stroked her hair softly. "Don't worry, I'm sure we'll manage to have our own little corner of the ship to settle in. With a more comfortable bed than this," he added, indicating the hard mattress of the biobed.

"A pile of hay would be more comfortable than this, Temerant," Camila said ruefully as she took another bite of the spiced cardboard and washed it down quickly with a drink of water. "That feels good," she told him when he stroked her hair. "Keep that up and I may have to find a way to reward you without my biomonitor going off."

Temerant chuckled. "Save your energy," he said. "At least one of us needs to be able to stand up straight in a day or two."

"I know," she said. "Right now, I'm all talk, anyway. I don't even have the energy to get out of bed myself to use the facilities. Do you know how embarassing that is, Temerant?"

"Oh yes, I do," he replied. "Lamorra had a bad back. I remember being trapped in a hospital bed more than once, pretty much like this one. Even turning over was impossible, let alone trying to stand up."

Camila gave a small smile. "I keep forgetting that you've lived more than one life and that you've experienced more than most people on the ship has. Does it ever get confusing?" she asked him. "I know as Bast, you're still relatively young and the same goes for Temerant, but how do you incorporate everything into one mind?"

"It is confusing at first. When they put the symbiont inside you, and the memories and thoughts start integrating, and you get two different memories of what you were doing the previous week, or sometimes conflicting opinions on an issue. But with time, you start being able to reconcile them. Two years ago, I remember helping realign the magnetic constrictors on the USS Fearless, when I was a junior Engineer. But I also remember giving a lecture on the half-life of antiprotons at the Trill Science Academy at the exact same time. But there's no conflict between those two memories."

"Amazing," she murmured. "Here I thought it was difficult to incorporate what I learned in one position in my new position. Then again, it wasn't a big switch going from Assistant to Chief of Security and Tactical, but from my time at the Academy and my current experience, it seems like I've got so much more in my head and sorting through what was needed then and what is needed now. You, though....you have several lifetimes of experience." She cocked her head and looked at him. "Does that mean you can call upon the skills of a previous host if it held a position that you never studied?"

"Only to an extent. It's like knowing the basic concepts and principles, but not the detailed equations. If one of my previous hosts had been a surgeon, I couldn't operate on anyone, but I'd know the requirements of the surgery."

"So, you don't get all the memories and skills of the previous host?" Camila asked as she finished her hasperat and took a long drink of water.

Temerant's eyes wandered blankly over the beige walls of the treatment room, as he searched for the right words to describe what it was like. "I remember playing through T'Vorak's cello suite, all three hours of it, in front of a packed house at the Vulcan embassy. I remember the anticipation, the electricity in the air just those few seconds before the bow touched the strings. I remember the elation, the pride I felt when the Ambassador himself came to congratulate Lamorra on her timing and precision. But for the life of me, don't ask me to pick up a cello and play it for you. I remember applying for research grants from the Trill Science Ministry, I remember the stress and the long hours of research, the disappointment when a hypothesis didn't pan out, and the exhilaration when others were confirmed, and I remember the thrill of working out an equation on the rate of decay of antiprotons, and I remember the basic principles governing astrophysics. But I don't remember the specific equations that Wilem spent months and years developing. It's about remembering the emotions, and the experiences, not the exact details."

She listened quietly and heard the emotions in his voice that he described and knew it was like he had been there, but as an observer who could relate and as performer at the same time. It was curious to her, but she was also getting tired and tried to push it aside. "So, you have the memories, but not all of the knowledge, right?"

"The closest analogy I can think of, is trying to remember a language you haven't spoken in years," he illustrated. "You remember words, a few phrases, you might be able to carry on a short conversation."

Camila nodded. "I understand. It's a good analogy, Temerant," she said. "It must be very unusual, but not for a Trill who is joined. It must be a difficult process to go through when you remember something that you know that you didn't do or experience."

"Sometimes," agreed Temerant. "But you get used to it. It's a true merging - the host and the symbiont's personalities and their minds truly do become one. The symbiont's memories are my own. And the host's memories as well."

She lay back on the biobed and looked at him. "I'm sorry I'm asking questions like a freshman at Academy. Not much was really known about the process of Joining until Odan had to be transferred to a new host on the Enterprise. What made you decide that you wanted to be Joined?"

"You can ask me anything you want, whenever you want," he replied, holding on to her hand. "Why did I decide to be Joined... now there's a heavy question. I guess it was a way of pushing myself, of reaching for something higher. Of contributing to Trill society."

Camila gave his hand a gentle squeeze. "I think you would have pushed yourself even with your symbiont," she said. "You're just that type of person. Look at you now; you came on as a Lieutenant in charge of Operations and now you're a Lieutenant Commander and Second Officer. You're going to go far, Temerant. What's the next step for you?"

"Wherever it is, it'll be with you," he said. "And you're on a high trajectory yourself. From Security officer to Chief of Security and Chief Tactical Officer in a very short time."

"That was done out of necessity after Del Rosario was found to be Consortium of his own free will," she said. "Captain Geisler didn't have anyone else to choose from at the time and I was the logical choice."

"Don't sell yourself short," he replied. "He speaks very highly of you. You've earned his trust. Something I haven't managed to completely regain."

"You were made the Second Officer and given a promotion. I think that's a lot of trust," she pointed out.

"Still, there's a distance there, a wall that hasn't been breached, that I haven't observed in his interactions with others. With you, for instance."

"One step at a time, Temerant," Camila said. "You'll get entrusted with more just as I did during a time when the Captain didn't know who he could and couldn't trust. You've been extended a measure of trust; now it's time to show him that it is well placed and that you have the ship and crew first and foremost in your actions."

"Funny," he chuckled. "I thought that's what I'd been doing all this time."

She looked at him for a long moment. "You have been, Temerant," she said softly. "But the actions you took while being controlled still make people look at you twice and think three times. It's going to take a while, but you've been entrusted with a lot more than just Operations now. Use that trust to build more among the crew."

"That's the plan," he said, smiling. He looked at the chronometer on the monitor. The half-hour he'd given himself was almost over. "I should get going. There's still a lot of work to be done. Is there anything you need?"

"Your visit was more than enough, Caramel," Camila said with a smile and squeezed his hand. "Go get this ship back in order and I'll see you when I get out of here." She looked up at him and puckered her lips for a kiss.

"I love you," he said, as he leaned in for one last kiss before heading back to Engineering.

She was stunned at him telling her that he loved her; so far they had been having a lot of fun and decided to be monogamous with each other, but love? She knew that he was working his way into a special place in her heart. She lay back on the biobed and began to search for an emotion that she hadn't known in some time and wondered if she knew what it was if she found it. It was a question she was still thinking about when sleep claimed her.

 

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