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A Getaway

Posted on 30 Oct 2018 @ 2:23am by Lieutenant Camila Di Pasquale & Lieutenant JG Ian Beckett

Mission: Fractured
Location: Holodeck
Timeline: MD 2 || 1900 Hours

It had been a grueling, long, hard shift and there was nothing that Camila wanted more than to escape the ship and run away to somewhere that no one could find her for a few hours at least. Instead, she opted for a long sonic shower, then dressed in a pair of fashionable cut off shorts, a long sleeve dark top that revealed her smooth stomach and a pair of sneakers. A trip to the replicator provided a bottle of 1811 Chateau d'Yquem white wine, a small meal of steak crostinis, a jar of olives, and a couple slices of chocolate cheesecake.

Gathering everything in a basket and adding utensils and a glass with a spare in case hers broke, the ombre hair Security Chief left her quarters and headed for the nearest holodeck. It was her intent to go to an Italian retreat that she had saved as a program, but she was more than willing to go almost anywhere. Her mind was clouded with thoughts of home and escape, and she wasn't paying attention to where she was going until a sixth sense in the form of another crewman nearly became the closest surface for her to run into.

She stopped and took a step back, intending to excuse herself, then stopped when she saw Ian Beckett looking as if he had just came back from a hunting trip, complete with a bow. "Er, excuse me," she said politely. "But are you the Huntsman looking for Snow White?" she asked before she realized how much like a flirtation that was.

Ian caught himself and saw a blur of hair before quickly stepping to the side. Once his senses were back in check, he noticed that it was the Security Chief he'd met in Talons. Then he chuckled. "Well, I've never been accused of being the Huntsman before. Or looking for Snow White for that matter." The young man was still in his garb from his holodeck program of...well, his holo-novel world. He rested a hand on the bow that was across his chest and smiled. "But if you know of a Snow White that needs rescuing, I still have a few arrows in my quiver. And I'm a decent shot."

A smirk crossed Camila's lips and she felt a spark slowly kindle to life inside of her. There was still a lot of darkness, but she chose to fan the spark in the hopes of turning into a flame to drive the darkness back more. "What if I wanted to be the Huntsman?" she asked with a devious grin.

Ian noticed her smirk and grin. He wasn't sure if it was the long work hours coupled with the exhaustion or the fact that he'd just come off of his favorite holodeck adventure, but he stepped to the side and removed the bow. Then he made a sweeping bow at the waist and offered it to Camila. "Then we shall find this Snow White together and rescue her!" he announced to the corridor.

"I prefer phasers, but thanks," she said with a laugh that felt really good and not forced at all. "And I was thinking of a nice Italian park that I know of. You may not have any monsters or stags to shoot, but we can shoot the breeze and have some wine, if you're up for that kind of thing."

Ian leaned his shoulder against the wall after standing back up. "Oh yeah, Italy. I remember now from our first meeting. I'm up for shooting the breeze anytime. And a little wine never hurt anything. Let's go see this little piece of Camila's Italy."

"I'm actually Sicilian, if you want to be technical," Camila said as she resumed walking. "Even though it's part of Italy, we have our own subculture and traditions. The retreat, though, is in Italy, or as much in Italy as the holodeck can make it. Back in the olden days of the twentieth century, if you had called a Sicilian an Italian, it would have been an insult leading to a fight or even an execution."

Ian put the bow back across his chest and fell in step beside Camila. "Okay, Sicilian, I'll keep that in mind. I'm just glad that you don't appear to be the kind that carries on the fighting and execution traditions from back then. You aren't, are you?"

"Camila will do just fine," she said with another smile as she glanced over at him. His gear was certainly primitive, but on him, he made it look good. "Do you dress and hunt like that often?" she asked.

Ian laughed a little and glanced over at the woman whom he hadn't heard laugh before tonight. It was then that he noticed her top, her shirt, that is. She seemed pretty relaxed; a lot more so than the first time. "No, I don't often dress up in leather and carry weapons. But when I do, I'm stylin'." He ran his free hand through his hair for effect and then shook his head, letting it flop back in place. "And I wasn't actually hunting, per se. How about you? You ever dress up like this and go hunting?" he added with a smirk.

Camila looked over at him. "You should," she told him. "You look good like that. Of course, you couldn't get away with it on duty, but it suits you, Ian. As for me, I've never been hunting unless it was for an investigation. It's hard to hunt in a city that's full of canals."

He looked back over at her and nodded. "Thank you, Camila. Maybe I'll find some combination of it that isn't as much huntsman and is more casual." She was right about hunting in that kind of environment, though. "Maybe I can take you sometime. You're sharing your holodeck of something close to you. I'll return the favor, if you're willing."

"I'd be agreeable to that," she said as they arrived at the holodeck. "Computer, load Di Pasquale Seven," she ordered it and waited for the acknowledgement that it was running before she opened the door. Inside was a scene straight from nature with a nice big lake, a picnic table made of wood and the sound of woodland birds chirping and a gentle breeze blowing. "Welcome to my escape, Ian."

"Sounds like a plan, then," he replied. "We'll have to get you fitted for the appropriate attire when the time comes, though. But I don't see that being an issue." He followed her inside and heard the doors close behind him. "This place is beautiful." Then he turned to her and smiled. "It suits you, Camila. You look good, peaceful, in this place." He put his hand between her shoulder blades. "Lead the way. This is your place."

Camila shivered and took an unconscious step forward when she felt his hand between her shoulder blades, then looked over her shoulder at him. "No offense to you, Ian, but I'd rather not be touched by surprise. As for this place, I think it's the only place I've found peace since I joined Starfleet..." her voice trailed off and she looked out over the lake as if wanting to memorize every detail of the scene.

"What kind of attire do you suggest?" she finally asked.

"No offense taken, Camila. Thanks for letting me know, though," he said. He noticed how her voice trailed off with that statement. But decided not to broach it. When she was ready, she'd talk to him. If she wanted, and their friendship progressed to that point. "Attire. Well, we'd go with something period. Something that would match or complement this," he said gesturing to his outfit. "If you wanted to hunt, or work, alongside me, it would be something similar. There's also the option of going more...well, Snow White, let's say. But you're Security. You seem more like the fighting the type."

Camila turned and looked at him as if studying the lines of his face, her gaze open and honest, but not judgemental as if she were reading his character. "There are times when I just don't want to fight," she said softly. "Times when I just want to lay my phaser down and forget the things I've done and be someone else for a change. It's a hard thing to do every day and we haven't exactly had good luck on this ship."

He stood there, watching her stare at him, and was silent. He remembered that the last time, he tried to be a counselor. That was a mistake. He should've been a friend. A listener at the very least. "No, it seems like we haven't had the greatest luck. So far as I've seen since coming aboard. But you've got this place. Your place. You don't have to carry a phaser here. And you can be whoever you want to be," he replied in quiet tones. "We can have a seat at the table, eat and drink, forget about what's outside for a while. Or I can teach you how to shoot a bow and arrow for fun. It doesn't matter, just take some time for yourself."

"Thank you, Ian," she said and gave him a warm smile. "Meanwhile, I have some steak crostini and chocolate cheesecake and wine I can share with you if you'd like?" she offered as she headed for the picnic table. "I just want to put reality behind me for a little while."

"Hey, that's what I was doing in here for a bit before we ran into each other, putting reality behind me," he said. "I'm all for it. And I wouldn't mind at all sharing a but of Sicily or Italy with you. Thank you, Camila." He followed her to the picnic table and sat down. "So is this a family recipe or something readily available in your area?"

"The crostini?" Camila asked as she opened the basket to pull out the wine and glasses, crostini container, and olive jar, leaving the cheesecake slices in the basket for the time being. "No, just something I found in the replicator, but they are Italian and made from baguettes. Help yourself."

He watched as she removed everything. "Ah, okay," he replied. "Thank you." Ian removed the bow and put it on the other end of the picnic table. He unbuttoned and unlaced some of the outer leather garments in order to be more comfortable and relaxed. Then he picked up one of the crostini and took a bite. "These are as delicious as they look. Oh, hey, did you ever get to that violin like we talked about last time?"

"I haven't had time in the middle of everything," she admitted as she uncorked the bottle and poured two glasses. "I also lost my Assistant Chief to Operations and had to promote a new temporary one to the position until we get back across the Zone, then the Captain had me working on a couple projects. It's been nonstop go since then."

He nodded and swallowed another bite. "That's too bad, losing your Assistant and being so busy. But such is life in Starfleet. Or so I'm learning. What kind of wine do you sport this evening to go along with this and the olives?"

Camila picked up the bottle and looked at the label. "It's a 1811 Chateau d'Yquem," she told him. "I'm slowly learning about wines from Commander Walsh. If you want to know anything about wine, just ask him." She reached for one of the crostini and took a bite after setting the bottle down. "I usually go for something harder, but it felt like a picnic kind of day and I'm glad I did. That, and running into you."

Ian nodded, "I'll keep that in mind." He picked up the glass and took a sip. "You'll have to introduce me to some of the harder stuff one day. You'll remember from Talon's, I'm not the very best at picking out drinks." He looked over at the ombre haired woman and smiled. "I'm glad you ran into me, too. Or nearly did." He thought back to the woman he met that day. How somber, serious she was. Either she was hiding it well or she had started to relax. "You look good, Camila," he said, realizing afterwards how many ways that could be taken.

She started to respond with a comment about the harder stuff, but the rest of his comment made her give him a shy smile and a faint blush crept up her cheeks. No matter how he meant it, it was something that hadn't been said to her by anyone in quite a while and it made her feel good. "Thank you, Ian," she said. "I'm starting to feel that way again, slowly." She paused and took a sip of her wine and looked at him over the rim of her glass. "For the record, you look good, too."

"You're very welcome, Camila," he said. He watched as her complexion changed a little and added, "You deserve to feel that way. No matter how long it takes." The look of her peering over the top of her wine glass made his smile widen. "And thank you, too." She really did look good, better than before and, well, her revealing top hadn't gone unnoticed either. Ian picked up his glass to take a drink, "People just need to say it more often. About you, I mean."

"I don't know why they would," Camila demurred but it increased the blush to her cheeks which she hoped another sip of the wine would cover. She set her glass down and reached to open the olive jar, then realized she hadn't brought silverware with her. "I won't tell if you eat from the jar if you don't," she said.

"Because you do. Look good, that is," he said honestly. He looked at the jar of olives and nodded. "Your secret is safe with me. Camila Di Pasquale does not eat olives from the jar. Period. End of discussion. Signed, Ian Beckett." Ian leaned forward and reached in with his fingers, grabbing a couple of the olives. One he popped into his mouth and the other he held between his thumb and index finger. "Okay, let's see if you can catch it. Open up, hotshot." He held his hand up and took careful aim at Camila's face.

She laughed at his disclaimer, then opened her mouth. "Let's see how good your shot is, Mister Beckett," she told him before holding her mouth open. Her brown eyes seemed to shine and then she moved her hands together in a gesture to see if she could throw him off.

"Hah! Alright then, you're on!" He re-took his aim and noticed the gesture she was making with her hands. Then he looked back to her face. And then back to the gesture. "Oh you're a sneaky one." Then he just let it go. As if in slow motion, Ian watched the olive hit her lower lip and roll down her chin before hitting the table. "Huh, looks like I was a little low. Maybe another try to hit the mark?"

Camila laughed again and paused to take a sip of her wine and another bite of crostini. "What do I get if you miss again?" she asked.

Ohhh, that was a loaded question. Where to go with it? What to say? How to answer her question? Ian took a deep breath and slowly exhaled. "That, hotshot, is an interesting question. I'll tell what you get, but you have to agree to tell me what I get if I make it. Fair enough?"

"You tell me first, then I'll tell you," the ombre haired woman countered and realized she was having fun. Am I actually flirting with this guy? she wondered, then gave a mental shrug. He was handsome, strong and she had spent far too many nights either crying or drinking herself to sleep. She had no idea what would happen beyond them meeting on occasion and having lunch, but she didn't want to look that far ahead and spoil the fun she was having now.

"Okay. If I miss, I buy you your favorite bottle of the hard stuff next time we're at a station. And I'll personally deliver it to you. Or," he added with a slight pause, "if you're looking for something sooner than the next station, I'll give you a piggy-back ride back to your quarters when we're done here. Running." He picked up another crostini and savored each bite.

"I think I'm going to try to stay away from the hard stuff, but a good mount is hard to find," Camila said before she realized how bad that sounded. It was out, now and all she could hope was that he took it in the piggy-back way that he had offered. "If you get it, I'll..." she paused and wondered what she would do for him. Phaser lessons were boring and not the best way to get to know someone more. "I'll go on a planned date with you," she finally said. "Your choice of venue."

"Fair enough," he said with a smile and a wink. He would like a date with her, but he also would like to give her a piggy-back ride down the corridors of the ship. Torn between the two, Ian took aim again and tossed the olive. Either way, he was a winner. And so was she. This time, he watched at is landed right in her mouth. "A planned date it is, then."

She caught it between her teeth and gave him a wink before she bit it in half and chewed before swallowing. "Oh, I bet you missed the first time on purpose just so you could set me up for that, didn't you?" she jokingly accused him, her eyes sparkling. "Well, never let it be said that Camila Di Pasquale doesn't honor a deal. Name the place and time and I'll be there."

Ian grinned and rubbed his chin. "Nice catch. As for setting it up, I can't say whether I did or not. But it worked." He smiled at her bright, brown eyes. Ian didn't know what, if anything would happen between the two of them. But he knew he wanted to spend more time with Camila as soon as possible. And this date would provide the perfect opportunity. "Arboretum, day after tomorrow, eighteen hundred hours. I'll bring the food and drink, too." He picked another olive out of the jar and tossed it in his own mouth.

"Done," Camila said as she ate the last of her half of the crostini's, then opened the picnic basket and pulled out the two containers of chocolate cheesecake and slid one to him. "Want a refill on your drink, Ian?" she asked. She was surprised that she had so readily agreed to a date with him or even suggested it, but she found herself looking forward to it.

"Sure, I'll take a refill," he said. "And that looks so good, I think I'll have to add a few laps around the forest the next time I'm in here. You know, I won't tell that you eat your cheesecake with your hands if you won't." His mind was already racing with ideas on what to bring for their date. He'd suggested the seafood, one of his favorites, at their first meeting. But now he knew a little more about the woman. Maybe something to her tastes.

"Tell anyone you like...except Khan. She'd be jealous that no one got her chocolate cheesecake," she said as she scooped her piece up and took a big bite. She gave a groan of pleasure at the chocolatey delight before she set it down again. "She'd probably want to fight both of us, but that's the joy of being a Chief."

Ian laughed as he picked up his piece of cheesecake and broke out a Scottish accent. "She 'Kahn' try, but I'll fight right back." He then took a big bite and savored the deliciousness and the texture. After swallowing, he said, "I'd never tell anyone. You're too good and too much fun for me to go around telling people you eat like a chimpanzee. Besides, who'd believe me?"

"Like a chimpanzee, huh?" Camila asked with a raised eyebrow. "I'll show you like a chimp when I climb you and pop your dome open like it's a coconut," she mock threatened as she brought her hands up under her arms with her elbows out to her sides. "Ook, ook, this, you hairless monkey."

Ian hadn't yet put his piece of cheesecake back down when Camila started. Now, he was fumbling around, tossing it in his hands, to try to keep it from falling. She had most certainly caught him off guard with that. So when he finally caught it, He held the cheesecake up in his hand and laughed. "Okay, okay, you crazed chimp! I don't want to mash this in your face so I can get a head start. But I will if need be." He didn't know where this side of Camila had been hiding, but he was glad to see it. It was fun.

She laughed at his juggling act, then suddenly jerked and looked up as something made a sound in the trees. "Uh, Ian," she said a bit nervously. "If this is the wrong program, we may have Jem Hadar here in a second."

Ian dropped the dessert on the plate and sat silently still. He slowly reached for the bow, knowing that it wouldn't do a lot against a Jem Hadar. "Aw come on Ian. Think like an Operations officer." He turned to Camila and said, "We shut it down. That should take care of that. Or tell the computer to remove any Jem Hadar in this program."

Camila's face fell, then she laughed. "I'm sorry," she said. "I was trying to trick you so I could put the pie in your face," she admitted. "You set it down, though."

It took Ian a minute to catch his breath after he started laughing. "Ohhh man, you're a sneaky one. There's nothing for you to be sorry about, either. If anyone should be sorry, it's me." Ian quickly picked up the dessert and launched it at Camila.

"Oh merda!" she exclaimed before the cheesecake hit her left cheek and slid down to plop on the table. She laughed and scooped some of it off her cheek to taste it, then launched her piece at him. "Here, have some, too!"

"For the love of...!" But Ian didn't get to finish his sentence as her cheesecake hit the bridge of his nose and slid down to his chin before landing on the table. He wiped it off his nose, tossing that part to the ground, and then licked his lips. "You know, I was taught to not wipe my mouth on my sleeves... So, I'm gonna use yours!" Ian jumped up and ran towards Camila.

Camila jumped up from the table and fell backwards with an oomph as her foot caught on a root and she hit the ground on her back, the breath knocked out of her for a moment.

Ian had been closing the short space between them rather quickly and couldn't stop in time when he saw Camila fall. He immediately felt bad for causing it. But suddenly felt worse when his leg caught the edge of the bench. The ground was coming up to meet him and he was stumbling that he wouldn't land on Camila. To no avail, that is. He found himself on top of Camila, legs straddling one of her legs and elbows in the dirt on either side of her. He was still trying to catch his breath as he stared at her.

She winced as she suddenly felt his weight come down on her and pin her leg and looked up at him. His lips were very close to hers and the thought crossed her mind that she should kiss him. She shoved the thought aside and threw her entire weight to the left before she scrambled out from under him and half ran, half crawled towards the lake. She had no real plan at this point, but she was definitely having fun and the thrill of it was exhilarating.

Ian's stare into her brown eyes had been interrupted by the scrambling out. He rolled onto his back and sat up, watching her run towards the lake. He grinned and got up to take off after her. He wasn't sure what he would do with her when he caught her. But there was always the lake. Camila was a little taller than he was, but she was lighter. There was always the possibility of snatching her up and jumping into the lake with her. Or at least threaten to when he caught her. "Better move faster than that!" he called out.

Camila darted towards the left and seemed to get shorter rapidly as she ran down a set of steps that had been obscured by some bushes. When she reached the bottom step, she took off towards a short dock while drawing great breaths of air. "Computer, create swinging vine here," she called out. The vine materialized and she leaped up to grab it and used her momentum to swing out over the lake while giving a Security war cry.

Ian noticed Camila disappear down a small hill. If there were stairs, he wasn't going to make them. Instead, he sped up and jumped them. Landing safely, he looked up in time to see Camila swing out on a vine and scream as she headed into the lake. Ian walked to the dock and stood at the edge. "Well I guess I wasn't far off with chimpanzee earlier. Nice swing."

At the apex of her swing, a power surge caused the holodeck to glitch for a moment and while the main program resumed, the vine vanished as it wasn't a saved part. As a result, Camila found herself holding onto nothing and fell fifteen feet down and landed in the lake with a spectacular splash. She floundered around under water for a moment before she surfaced sputtering water and looked around to get her bearing. Operations...he did this! she mentally assumed. I'm going to get him for this...

Ian squatted down. "Hey, let me give you hand up, Camila." He extended his hand and noticed how wet she was. "Come on, let's get you up and dried off."

She swam to shore and shook her wet hair, sending a spray of water his way as she reached for his hand. Under the water, she braced her legs against a couple of seemingly solid rocks and waited for him to get a grip on her. "Thanks. I don't know what just happened but the holodeck glitched."

He wiped the water spray from his face. "These things have been known to do that," Ian replied. "I'll put it on my list to give a go-over tomorrow. Things have been messed up since the time distortions." He reached down and took hold of her hand. It was the first time he'd felt her skin. It was soft and made him smile. But she had a firm grip to go along with that. And that made him smile wider. She was full of surprises.

"I wouldn't worry to much about that," Camila said sweetly before she gave a big yank and turned at the same time, using her braced legs for leverage against his position.

Ian splashed head first into the lake. What just happened was so far from his mind. He splashed and sputtered until he broke the surface and looked at Camila. His dark hair was wet and sticking to his head. "Yeah, I can see why I wouldn't to worry about it. At least not right now. I'd love to take a swim sometime, but this leather is getting wetter and wetter. And I'm getting less buoyant." He paused and took notice of her. "But I can have a little more fun." Then he splashed Camila and tried to backpedal away from her.

"We're even now," she laughed when he splashed her. The water was far from cold and the sun was also warming them both. "And, wouldn't it make sense that if you're less bouyant, you wouldn't want to go out in deeper water?" she questioned him.

"Even it is, then. And yeah, it'd make sense," said. But some of that seems to have left me, he thought. "That said, how about we head back to the table? Dry off a bit. Maybe we can have the computer create a warm breeze to help blow dry us?"

"Computer, increase heat to thirty three celcius," Camila requested as she worked on wringing the water out of her hair. "It'll help dry you quicker if you get out of the water," she said.

Ian came up out of the water and ran his hands backwards over his head. Some of the water ran down the back of his gear while a few drops managed to find their way under. Not that it mattered. He was soaked. "You made it hotter in here. That works, too." Yeah, that didn't sound flirty at all, he thought to himself afterwards. If he were honest with himself though, she did.

She laughed and watched him as a faint blush crept up her cheeks. "You certainly make it hotter, too," she said. "Er, your request." She helped him out of the water and looked him over. "Now let's get that leather off of you so it can dry easier."

Ian noticed her blush again and wondered when the last time was someone complemented her like that. "Well technically, I requested a warm breeze. So I guess we both make it hotter in our own ways," he said with a wink. "You realize that most of this outfit is leather, right?"

"Er...computer, replicate men's robe and one woman's robe, full length lightweight and two body towels," she requested. At the arch by the exit, two soft grey robes appeared. "There we go. Now we can be comfortable and get out of our clothes."

"Indeed we can," Ian said. He took a towel and the men's robe from the arch and noted there was no place to change other than behind a tree. So he walked over to the opposite side of the picnic table and put the robe and towel down. He then started taking off the outer layers of leather until he reached the undershirt. At which point, he removed it and laid it next to outer garments. Then he picked up the towel and began drying off his torso. "Man, talk about a weight lifted off your shoulders." Then he tossed the towel over his head and started drying his hair.

For a second, Camila debated deleting the tree, then shook the thought off, but it would definitely have livened things up. She quickly grabbed her own towel and robe and found a stand of trees to go behind where she quickly got out of her wet clothes, toweled off and put the robe on. "You know, I never expected things to go this way," she said. "But it's definitely been more fun than I've had in a long time, Ian."

Ian finished removing his clothes and drying off. Once he'd put on the robe and secured it at the waist, he tossed the towel around his shoulders and headed back. The leather could dry off right where it was. "Then I'm glad to have exceeded your expectations this evening, Camila." he said with a smile. "Good to hear that you're enjoying yourself, too. I'm glad I got to be the one that was around to see it."

She hung her clothes on branches to dry and came back out. "So am I," she said. "Care for more wine? There's still almost a full bottle."

He sat down and leaned back. "I would, yeah. Let's see if we can't help that bottle out a bit," said Ian. "Between the excitement and the wine, we should both get a decent night's sleep tonight."

Camila reached for the bottle and filled both their glasses again. "It's a bit warm since i didn't bring ice, so I hope you don't mind." she said as she corked the bottle again and offered him a glass.

"I don't know if I don't mind or not," said Ian. "This is the first time I've had warm wine. Thank you," he said reaching for the glass. "So, more fun than you've had in a long time. What did you do for fun before a long time ago?"

"I played violin, did some parkour, climbed mountains and orbital skydiving when I got the chance," Camila said as she took a sip of her wine. It wasn't bad, but it was better chilled. "How about you?"

Ian swallowed the drink he'd taken and nodded. Not bad. "I'm game for just about anything outdoors. You already know I love archery. I also like horseback riding. I had a horse growing up, Hercules. Kind of a rusty, fiery, color. I loved that horse so much that I had a holodeck version created of him that I've kept for years. He's my trusty steed when I do that part of my archery programs. Other than that, I like cycling and phaser rifle shooting."

"I've never ridden a horse or even seen one in person," she said. "Growing up in Venice, animals bigger than a dog were a lot harder to take on gondolas and generally there was no room to put them if they did find someone willing to take one across the thousand waterways. Are you any good on the range?"

"I'd imagine it wouldn't be easy in Venice. But maybe I can bring Hercules in sometime and introduce you two," he said. "As for the range, I'm decent. Better with a Type Three than the handheld versions. I just can't seem to get the accuracy down with the long distance shots, though." He paused and laughed. "Call it the curse of an archer. I want to hit the long distance target specifically where I aim."

"With a Type II, you have to raise it just a little to account for distance." Camila told him. "Just like archery. While a phaser may shoot light, a bow shoots an arrow. The arrow is likely to drop in flight, so you'd aim higher, right?"

"Right," he said. "I just never considered that with such an advanced weapon as our phasers." He took another drink of the warm wine. "Learn something new every day, they say. So, growing up in Italy and mountain climbing...did you ever get you climb in the Alps?"

"No, but I learned to hate Bindoon, Australia when I was there for SAR training," she replied. "But if it weren't for Bindoon, I wouldn't have gotten my appreciation for mountain climbing. I certainly wouldn't have gotten it in Venice."

Ian chuckled. "No, you wouldn't have. If anything, I imagine an appreciation for swimming would come out of a city with canals and waterways." He held his glass up. "It's not that bad warm. How about another, hotshot?"

"Oh definitely," Camila said as she filled his glass again. "I learned to swim before I learned to walk, really. My parents couldn't keep me out of the canals until they told me they got a fine every time I decided to for a swim. It was a lie, but I believed them, then got sneaky about going out for a swim."

He nodded a thank you for the filled glass. "You? Sneaky? I can't imagine it," he said with a grin. "So how did you get sneaky? How creative can Camila DiPasquale be when she wants something she can't get to?"

"Young me used to open my window at night and go out for a dip when no one was around," she admitted as she took another sip of her wine. "Then teenager me used to go where the adults couldn't find me and do whatever I wanted. It didn't always work, but they learned that I never gave up on what I wanted."

"Yep, that's pretty creative and sneaky. Sounds like young you and teenage you would have been fun to know and hang out with. But I bet that mentality has stayed with you all of this time, too," said Ian. "Never giving up on what you wanted has probably served you well. And I don't mean just on the job."

"Ah, if some of the buildings in Venice could talk," Camila mused, then laughed. "Then Monsignor Del Toro could force me to take a hydro brush to resculpt the strong of the Basilica of Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari again. I carved my initials into the corner stone and he happened to be watching at the time, even though I didn't know it. It took me six hours to do that. AS for it serving me well, it helped me get through SAR, that's for sure."

Ian nearly spewed his wine from his mouth. "A Monsignor! You were caught by a Monsignor carving into the cornerstone of a church!" He set his glass down and forward, laughing. "You are a wild one, Camila. I think 'hotshot' is a fitting name for you, you little ball of fire."

"Oh, I calmed down a lot after that," she said. "Especially after my Dad found out, who told my Uncle, who told my cousins and everyone else. I had nine hundred eyes on me a day after the word got out. I couldn't get a gelato without three people knowing what I was doing before I did."

"Sounds like the whole town kept an eye on you," said Ian. "A gelato, though? What's that?" He'd picked his glass of wine back up and then took a sip.

Camila thought for a moment before she responded. "Gelato is made with a base of milk and sugar. It is generally lower in fat than other styles of ice cream and typically contains less air and more flavoring than other kinds of frozen desserts, giving it a density and richness that distinguishes it from other ice creams. It's texture is also a lot different, but it's soooo good. It's the first thing I got when we went on our enforced shore leave when I went back home."

Ian licked his lips. "Oh wow, that sounds real good. And I'd bet the real stuff is so much better than what you could replicate here. You said 'enforced' shore leave. I've never heard of that kind of shore leave. It usually doesn't take much to get crew members to leave the ship and duties. Especially if it's back home."

"I was actually talking about when we lost the original Black Hawk," she said quietly as she reflected on what had occured. "And you're right, but I could really use one as soon as we get out of this Zone."

"Oh," he said quietly. He didn't want to go back to that topic and put a wet blanket on the fun. Sooo.... "That settles it, then. Camila Di Pasquale, you are ordered to get a gelato as soon as we get out of this Zone. By order of the Admiral of Fun, Ian Beckett." He nodded his head once with a downward motion, sealing the deal.

"Admiral of Fun, huh?" Camila asked with an arched eyebrow that would make a Vulcan proud. "So what rank do I get?"

"Well let's see." Ian thought for a second. "You could be my Fun Yeoman at Command Master Chief," he said with a grin and wink. "Or you could be an Admiral of Fun just like me. Then we can enjoy being the funnest and wackiest people on this whole ship."

"We'll have to set course for Fun Fleet Headquarters on the USS Good Times!" she exclaimed as she refilled their glasses.

Ian smiled and held up his glass for a toast. "To the USS Good Times! And Admirals of Fun, Camila DiPasquale and Ian Beckett! May their days on the Good Times be many!

Camila raised her glass and tapped it to his. "Indeed, Admiral Beckett," she said with a smile that met her eyes. "Indeed."

 

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