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Posted on 08 Jan 2021 @ 12:43am by Lieutenant Commander Camila Di Pasquale & Commander Terry Walsh

Mission: Interlude
Location: XO's Office
Timeline: MD 1 || 0900 hours

So here he was, on the first day of being back in dock for repairs after the mess that was HASA and pirates, and Terry was sitting in his office. There were stacks of PADD's for requisitions still waiting to be signed and a stack of shore leave requests that were already signed and just needed to be sent away. Plus, he still had to do a cursory walk through the major repair areas to ensure things were proceeding as scheduled. Or to see if someone needed a fire lit under them. But what he really wanted to do was to get down to New Bajor and visit the memorial for the old Black Hawk. Pay his respects. And maybe after that, a stroll through Gamma Command. See what the fuss was all about.

But before any of that, there was the away mission to the Shran that still needed to be addressed. And one person in particular that he needed to talk to. He activated the comm and spoke. "Walsh to Di Pasquale, please report to my office at your earliest convenience."

In her office, Camila heard the Executive Officer and nearly threw a PADD in frustration. It was one thing after another and she had to wonder if it was a false summons, even though the crazy AI hologram was supposed to have been defeated. She secured her terminal and grabbed the latest reports on a fresh PADD, then tapped her combadge. "On my way, Commander," she said.

She got up and stretched, then rolled her neck, squared her shoulders and headed out of her office. If he wanted a fight, she'd give him one, she mused as she headed to the turbolift and requested deck one. As she rode upwards, she pondered why it had taken so long for this to come, but he had probably put her off in an effort to alleviate her temper. Which didn't help. Being put off made her temper worse.

Still, the ombre haired woman blew out a sigh and put on a neutral face as she exited the turbolift and headed to his office. She debated mussing her hair or wrinkling her uniform, but her Starfleet training wouldn't let her. So she came to the door and pressed the chime, then waited for him to allow her access.

"Come on in," said Terry, lifting a cup of coffee to his lips. It didn't really matter what time of day it was anymore. The big guy was going to have his coffee whenever he wanted.

Camila entered and came to a parade rest in front of his desk with her hands behind her back and her eyes focused on a spot just to the left of his head. "You wanted to see me, Commander?" She inquired politely.

"Have a seat," he said. "Coffee? Water? Anything to drink?" He leaned forward and set his coffee mug down on the desk.

"No, thank you, Commander," the Security Chief said.

Terry raised an eyebrow in curiosity. "No thanks for the refreshment or the seat?" he asked.

"Nothing to drink, Commander," the ombre haired woman responded as she took one of the seats, but sat on the edge.

"Alright," Terry said, nodding. "Back on the Shran you asked to speak to me privately. I said we'd wait until we got back to the ship. Now that we're back and things on the ship have settled down, what was it that you wanted to talk about?"

"I want to know, Commander, why you thought I was going to leave everyone there?" Camila asked, her voice rising just a little.

Ah, that situation, he thought to himself. "Well, as soon as you heard that communications were out and we were stuck, you said that you'd get back to the ship and let them know what's going on. Not 'we' or not 'the team'. Besides, we couldn't be sure what else wasn't working so that you couldn't make it back. Though, since you brought up the situation, you said that it was your job to protect everyone. And then made it apparent that you wanted to head back to the Black Hawk immediately. Doesn't 'everyone' include the away team that you're assigned to as the sole security presence?"

"Have you been eating bowls of stupid for breakfast, Commander?" She asked. "One, I wasn't leaving the team to their own defenses. I was going to get help. Two, I was the only person qualified to do it as I've had the training in Search and Rescue for zero gee and spaceborne operations. When I say everyone, Commander, I mean everyone. Too many personnel have died on this ship and I don't want another on my conscious. So before you jump to conclusions, how about fucking asking me next time?!"

From calm to utter rage and explosion. That was something that needed to be taken care of by properly trained personnel. Terry got up and took his coffee cup to the replicator and watched as a new one materialized. He took a sip and turned back to the security chief. "Simple answer and simple question, Lieutenant Commander. No need for the personal degrading 'bowls of stupid for breakfast' comment or cussing out a senior officer. I can see that your angry attitude towards Lieutenant Ryler when she simply offered her help on the Shran and your backhanded comment towards me regarding knowing your job better than you has some deeper roots in the deaths of fellow crew members." He walked back over to the desk and sat down. "Which is why I was serious about mandatory counseling sessions. Once a week you'll report to the counseling department to seek some help with your rage issues and how to deal with survivor's guilt. Or whatever this is." He activated a computer console and made some notes.

"You know, I thought I could come in here and talk to you, but it seems that third solid pip has gone to your head, Commander," Camila said. "It's obvious you're not going to listen and have a prepared speech, so I'll save you the trouble. I'm done with this ship. I'll be putting in for a transfer effective immediately."

Terry looked up from the console. "There's no need for a transfer. But your anger and survivor's guilt needs to be dealt with rather than being sent to another ship's counseling department. Feel free to put in for it, though, I suppose."

So this is how it ends the ombre haired woman thought a bit sadly. She looked at the man on the other side of the desk and saw no trace of the former man she had been friends with. Command changed him immediately, There was no sympathy, no understanding. Just a drone doing PADDwork and issuing orders. No attempt to understand. Blame. Counseling. Bullshit. Oh well. This ship had been hell since the first day I set foot on it. I never should have let the Captain shanghai me back after I left the first time.. She reached up and plucked the combadge off of her uniform, then pulled the pips off of her collar. "In that case, I hereby resign my commission in Starfleet, Commander." She set the items on his desk and turned to head for the door.

"Whoa," said Terry, hoping to catch her before she left. "That escalated awfully quickly. And is a little more than a transfer request." He looked at the pips and commbadge on the desk.

"No, Terry," she said as she reached the door. "You don't get to say another word to me. You've proven that you have no desire to listen and I no longer fall in any chain of command."

He looked from Camila, to the items on the desk, back to Camila, and then to the items. He went through their conversation in his mind, looking for the links between parade rest, transfer request, and resignation. What had he said or not said? It took him about a minute to try to make sense of it all. He looked back up to the office door, wondering if she'd still be standing there.

Camila watched him to see if he had anything else to say, then shrugged. "I guess I really do mean nothing to anyone on this ship," she said softly before she activated the door to open.

"Hold on now, I know you just said I don't get to say another word to you, but I'm sure that there's people on this ship that you mean something to just as much as you mean something to them," Terry replied. "If that made sense. Anyway," he picked up the pips and badge before walking to the open door, "reconsider, think about it. Think about the people that mean something very special to you on board." He held out the items in his open hand.

She took note of the fact that he didn't say she meant anything to him and shrugged. "People move on all the time in Starfleet. Ships, careers, lives. They'll be okay without me." She made no move to accept the combadge and pips or even look at them.

"Yes, people move on in Starfleet all the time. But it's usually due to orders, transfers, retirement, or some such," he said. "Only a few move on via resignations." He didn't force the times to her, but he still held them out. "You don't have to put them on, just take them back with you and think about it."

"Why?" The woman asked him. "You didn't think about anything other than trying to look good for the Captain."

It didn't take long to circle back to whatever was happening a few minutes ago, what with that little barb. Terry chose to let it go rather than fan the fires. He closed his hand around the pips and combadge and put them in his pocket. Without wanting to rehash backhanded comments, cussing out the XO, survivor's guilt, and mandatory counseling, he simply replied, "You're dismissed, Miss Di Pasquale. I'll inform the Captain of your resignation. Good day."

"You know, I came here hoping to talk to a friend that I used to know," Camila said. "I had hopes of an intelligent discourse. Yeah, maybe I ran off at the mouth a bit, but you clearly had no intention of listening. Your little monotone speech about survivors guilt and anger sounded prepared. I thought you were a friend, Terry, but you haven't been acting like one since the moment you got promoted."

He paused at the end of the desk and put the tips of his fingers on it, looking down. "I'm sorry you feel that way. I guess, over the year or so, I've developed and changed in ways that make me different than what I used to be when I first came aboard. I can still be a friend, just...a slightly different person."

"You don't think I haven't changed?" she asked. "I became an alcoholic and no one cared. I stopped being an alcoholic because no one cared and Dr Jennin threatened to take me off duty. I can barely live with myself, but no one cares about me. All they care about is what I can do for them. It isn't fair or right and as far as counseling goes, I was going to see that nutcase Tivan - under orders, mind you - and I've talked to Doctor Stuart. All any of them care about is documenting another case or asking me what I think as if I had the answers to my problems."

Camila sighed and went back to sit uninvited in a chair. "I'm tired, Terry. I'm tired of being afraid, of knowing I'm not good enough, of wondering what the crew really thinks of me every time one of their friends or associates dies. How do I weigh up to that? I've put in protocol after protocol, fought the Captain, and it still isn't good enough. I'm not good enough."

Terry pulled his chair out and sat down. "None of us are good enough in our own eyes, Camila. Believe me, I've had days where I've been tired and felt the same way. I quit trying to weigh myself against my mistakes and wrong choices and other people's opinions a while back. Not gonna lie, it took a while. Tell you what though, about your protocols, I'll see what I can do and put in a few words. How's that sound?"

"It hurts, Terry," she said, tears filling her eyes for the first time since he'd known her. "It's my job to protect everyone...but who is there to protect me?"

The big guy watched her cry. It struck him as odd, Camila crying...he'd never seen her shed a tear before. "I'm sure there's plenty of people on this ship that wouldn't want to see any harm come to you," he said. He walked over to the replicator and ordered a handkerchief. Terry then handed it to Camila and sat on the edge of the desk. "And sometimes we have to protect ourselves."

Camila took the handkerchief and angrily wiped her eyes. "To think I gave up booze..." she muttered. "As far as I know, the only time people wouldn't want to see harm come to me is when I'm fighting for their lives."

Terry shrugged. "Maybe try spending some off duty time in places like the lounge or rec rooms. Meet up with people and hang 'em there's more to you than fighting for their lives. I dunno."

"Look, just no counseling and please don't assume I'm going to leave everyone behind from now on, Commander," she said before she set the handkerchief down. "I know my job and do it well. As for the getting out, maybe. I hope the new mission goes well."

"No more assumptions," Terry said and then sighed. "I can downgrade the counseling from mandatory to 'highly recommend.' It'll be your decision, but I highly recommend that you schedule a visit. Not backing down from that one." He got up and went around the desk to sit down. "As do I. Hope that the new mission goes well. I think the entire crew needs that. And I think we've covered what I called you up here for. Heh, one way or another, we've covered it."


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