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Posted on 14 Apr 2017 @ 2:18am by Lieutenant Camila Di Pasquale

Mission: Shore Leave
Location: Venice, Italy

Venezia, la città dei canali, Camila thought as the shuttle she was on approached the archipelago of one hundred and eighteen islands that were renown worldwide. It was many things to many people, but to her, it was home. The place she had grown up running through the many squares and enjoyed the Carnevale di Venezia where elaborate masks covered every face.

She saw the Campo Sant'anzolo which connected the Campo Manin and Campo Santo Stefano. The heart of the city She thought. The Palazzo Trevisan Pisani , Palazzo Gritti Morosini, Duodo Palace and the complex of the Monastery of Santo Stefano passed by below the shuttle as it came in on its final approach. The place where trouble began and ended for me most of the time.

Camila's ultimate destination was Calle San Bernardo near the Grand Canal. She had communicated with her parents Veneto and Jessica Di Pasquale. Her little brother, Thomas, didn't know she was coming and she imagined the look on his face when he saw her. She had spent years defending him when he was young which had ultimately led her into Security to protect others. Now he was a young man who had a strong morale compass when it came to protecting others.

The shuttle landed and she disembarked with the other passengers and breathed in the fresh, salty air; the tang filled her lungs and she stepped aside to simply revel in the fresh air and the unfiltered sunlight. It was a beautiful day without a cloud in the sky and she shivered as the sun kissed her skin. It had been only two years since she was last on Earth, but with the rate of things on the Black Hawk, it had felt as if it had been twenty years. She shouldered the carry all and small violin case she had brought with her and began to walk.

"Welcome to Venice!" a vendor called out in Standard as he offered her a gelato.

She smiled and accepted the real, cold gelato that a replicator could never match. "Grazie. È bello essere casa," she told the man, thanking him and telling him it was good to be home.

"Ah, uno speciale trattamento per la signorina. Godere, perdere," the vendor responded in Italian, which translated out to 'Ah, a special treat for the young lady. Enjoy, miss'.

Camila smiled and made her way through the streets and over the many bridges in the city, pausing here and there as memories from the past swept over her. She had many good times and better memories of the wonderful floating city and a few that had gotten her in trouble, but she would not have changed a thing about her youth. At one corner, she spied the initials CDP carved into the stone and a memory engulfed her. She had been fourteen years old when she had carved her initials there and a priest had caught her. Instead of reporting it to her parents, he had made her work an entire summer in Monastery of Santo Stefano in atonement but had allowed her initials to stay.

It was a short time later when she arrived at the Calle San Bernardo, the street she had grown up on. Children ran and played with watchful parents who chattered to each other from the balconies at their leisure. One child ran up to her and offered her a flower with a smile before darting off again and she took delight in smelling it and enjoying the gift for what it was. Every balcony sported planters which overflowed with them, making vibrant splashes of color along the Grand Canal and their sweet scents filled her nostrils.

Finally, Camila arrived at a door which had a planter on either side of it filled with flowers and reached out to touch the chime. A woman who could have passed for an older sister opened the door and her face before she embraced Camila with tears of happiness streaming down her face. "La mia bambina è venuto casa!" she exclaimed that her little girl had come home.

"È bello vederti, mamma!" Camila responded to her mother, telling her she missed her as tears of happiness coming from her own eyes as she embraced her.

Jessica Di Pasquale whisked her daughter inside while calling out to her husband that his daughter was home and to get out there now. "Veneto, tua figlia è casa! Vieni subito!"

An older but robust man came flying from the living room and swept them both into his large arms, showering kisses on Camila's cheeks. "Camila, è stato troppo lungo! Mi sei mancata così, piccola mia!" he exclaimed, telling her it had been too long and how he had missed her.

"Mi sei mancata anche, papà. Sono venuto appena potuto," she responded, letting him know she missed him and had came as soon as she was able to. She kissed his cheeks and hugged him and her mother to her, her tears still flowing. The warmth of their bodies made her realize how much she had missed them and being home and she never wanted to let them go again.

Her mother ushered her into the living room with her father in tow and began to ply her with questions about the past two years, what she had done, what sights she had seen, the people she had met and served under and more. Camila did her best to answer, only leaving out details that Starfleet had deemed classified and certain things that she didn't wish to talk about. When she got to the crash of the Black Hawk she had to state several times that she hadn't been on it when it had crashed and assured them that she hadn't been hurt.

"Dove si trova Thomas?" Camila asked where her little brother was after her mother had served some soothing tea and a cake that melted in her mouth.

"È in ospedale, ma va tutto bene, Camila. Egli sarà qui presto," her father told her that he was in the hospital but is okay and would be home soon, holding up a hand to forestall more questions.

She asked why he was at the hospital, but her questions were fended off as her mother whisked her into the kitchen, asking about young men who may be in her life. Camila mentioned a few of the personnel that she had worked with and that she didn't really have time with how fast things had been going.

"Quando sta per farmi una nonna?" her mother asked her when she was going to make her a grandmother.

"Madre!" Camila exclaimed and blushed. "C'è tempo per quello. Io sono un ufficiale di carriera." She told her that there was time for that and she was a career officer.

"Sciocchezze. I bambini sono necessari per rendere più ufficiali," her mother retorted that babies were needed to make more officers.

Camila was saved by the sound of the door opening in the front and heard her little brother's voice call out to their Dad. She bolted from the kitchen and ran into the living room. "Thomas!" she exclaimed she she saw how big he had gotten and jumped into his arms as he had once jumped into hers. "Hai ottenuto così grande!" she told him. My little brother isn't little any more.

"Davvero... Camila? Sei casa!" Thomas said, glad to see his sister home. He hugged her to him before he sat her down and asked how long it had been since he last saw her. "Wow. Che cosa è stato, due anni?"

"Un po' più di due anni, ma sono casa per un paio di settimane," Camila said, letting him know it was just a little over two years, but she'd be home for a few weeks.

"È bello vederti di nuovo, sorella," Thomas said, letting her know it was good to see her before he let her know he had a surprise for her. "Ho una sorpresa per voi, dal momento che mi hai sorpreso."

"Una sorpresa?" she asked.

"Sì, una sorpresa," he said letting her know that yes, it was a surprise while grinning.

"Vuoi dirmi o devo indovinare?" Camila wanted to know if he was going to tell her or if she had to guess.

Thomas turned and called over his shoulder and a black haired, green eyed woman with a pale complexion entered the house. "Camila, questo è il mio fidanzato, Lia. Lia, questa è mia sorella Camila ti ho raccontato tutto," he said, introducing the woman as his fiance, Lia.

Camila went up and gave the woman a hug with a big smile. "Congratulazioni! È il momento che Thomas ha ottenuto agganciato. Ora non devo badare a lui," she joked after telling her congratulations and said that now she didn't have to look out for all the time.

At that time her mother came out and announced that it was time for dinner and ushered everyone into the dining room. She had made some of Camila's favorite dishes and the family gathered around to eat, talk, catch up on old times, but she was still reluctant to talk about what had happened during her time on the Black Hawk even when Thomas brought up the news of the Consortium and what had happened in the Gamma Quadrant.

Two hours later, Camila found herself outside staring up at the stars and all she could think was if she wanted to go back among them or stay at home.


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