<USS Banshee> "A Friend Among Endless Enemies"
- From: "Brad Ruder" <groundzero@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
- To: ussbanshee@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
- Date: Tue, 24 Aug 2004 17:48:35 -0700
“A Friend Among Endless Enemies”
by Lt. Commander Joshua Asper
& Ensign Christina Martinez
It had been a long shift and Josh was tired. For a moment he wanted to return to his quarters and sleep, but he wasn't ready to be a fiancee and a father just yet. So, he diverted his trip and entered the down-under lounge. The area was completely desolate - it usually was - with the exception of a booth on the far side of the room. Getting a drink, Josh moved over and motioned to the empty seat opposite of the woman. “May I sit down?”
Tina had been sitting there for hours staring at the stars as they went by. She felt isolated, annoyed, and completely inept at her work. Sara had been making her do the menial work like filing. In addition, she was watching her work to make sure her insubordination was burned deep within her soul. She was sitting there and then her silence was abruptly cut short. “Sure.” Tina looked out the window pondering the ways off the ship.
He nodded absently and slid into the booth opposite of her. He took a sip and then extended his hand across the table, “I'm Lt. Commander Joshua Asper, Chief Tactical Officer. I recognize you and at the same time I do not. I try to know everyone.” He smiled that trademarked smile and took another sip of his drink. Josh saw something in her, briefly, as her eyes fluttered to the stars again.
She looked over with her pale blue eyes with the intensity of a lion. She shook his hand. “Doctor Christine Martinez, soon to be off this stinkin’ boat...”
Laughing slightly, Josh looked out the window as well. “It's not that bad. It just takes some getting use to, you know? Not everyone eases into their first assignment with as much grace as expected. My first assignment wasn't any better. Just know that it will get better.”
“Well, Josh, is it? This isn't my first assignment. I was a doctor on the USS Striker and a very good one mind you. Sara doesn’t appreciate new blood. I think she is out to get me.” Tina looked down at her drink, took a sip, and reconnected with Josh’s eyes, “That’s why I want out. It’s so hard to make friends. It’s harder when they don't want it.”
Smirking, Josh nodded, “I know Sara and her personality. She's a damn fine doctor and an excellent human being. She does rub people the wrong way sometimes, but doesn't everyone? You take baby steps into her friendship circle. I've been kicked out of it and brought back in on multiple occasions. And, we've all got lots of stuff going on. Stress levels are through the roof on this ship.”
“Yeah, but you know what? I am sick of her. She might be a damn fine doctor, but she is a robot - void of emotions - and I am tired of people void of emotions. I spent too much time on Vulcan. I just might quit and give her that satisfaction.”
“You're really making it worse than it needs to be.”
“Hmm, no I’m not. Do you know what she had me doing yesterday? She had me treat my first patient in weeks: a child with the common cold.. A kid and she was supervising. I am not even mentioning the double shifts doing paperwork. I need another drink.” Her head rotated a bit, looking for a waiter.
“Welcome to the world of Starfleet. I don't know what it was like on the Striker, but Starfleet is hard work. No one is going to coddle a commissioned officer, least of all a medical doctor. What Sara,” he paused remembering the respect, “what Commander Crusher is doing is good for you and for the patients you treat. You need to see that.”
“Fine, you work with her. I’m going to get another drink, or can they bring it to me?” Her head against shifted to look around for some help.
“Man, Crusher must have really done something bad. I haven't seen someone this riled over something she's done since, well, come to think of it, me.” He finished his drink, took a look at what she had been drinking, and retrieved a drink for her and a drink for him. Upon returning to the table, Josh smiled. “Don't take it personally.”
Tina shook her head, “I don't, or, at least I am trying not too. I have been talking to the holodeck martial arts and shooting programs though. I’m never good at them. All I end up is sore in the morning. Boy, I am useless. Can’t practice medicine, can't shoot, and no Children. Useless...”
“What you can do is breathe,” Josh said with a smile.
She shifted in her seat, back to the outside stars. She almost felt at peace with herself. “Well, that’s all I have to say about her and the evil people in sickbay. How long have you been on this ship? Long time? Short?”
“Since her launch about two and a half years ago. Lieutenant Joshua Asper, Chief Tactical Officer. Before that I was on the Iliad and before that the Semitar.” Josh polished off his second drink and placed the empty glass on the table, “On my second captain with this ship. Longevity is sort of my style.”
“Two years? And you haven’t killed anyone yet?” She leaned over the table, “or have you?” Her scary half smirk said it all: she was at least going slightly insane.
“I have, actually. I'm not just the Chief Tactical Officer, I'm also the Shogun Fighter Squadron Commander. I've destroyed some people in space, shot people on the ground - not that I'm proud of it but I had to do what I had to do.” Josh leaned over the table and stared her in the face, “who have you killed?”
She laughed to herself, “Well, no one I’m proud of . Most were crewman who I couldn't save after an away mission or two. I am not a sadistic person. I’d rather have them live then die.” Pausing, Tina looked out the window again suddenly saddened. “I don't like death that much.”
“Who does?” Josh slightly laughed, “unless it's the death of one's career - then we can definitely count Crusher in.”
“All this talk of death is making me antsy.” She looked him up and down, “I bet you’re a better shot than I am and I’m going to drown my sorrows on the holodeck..Wanna come with?”
“You're a depressing person, you know?” Another smirk crossed his features, “but I will accompany you because I am a fantastic shot.”
“No guns though, I prefer hand-to-hand,” Tina narrowed her eyes a bit, “or was that just because you wanted to show off?”
“A little bit of both, I guess. I'm good with my hands too.” He let his _expression_ linger for a moment, but then realized what he'd done. Remembering Telsia and Cameron, he nodded, “I can't hang out for long, got dinner plans tonight. I'd love to do something with you, I mean, interact with you on the holodeck.”
Her smile faded for a moment. She realized that she may have made a friend so she smirked.. “You got plans? That’s OK. I’ll go by myself. If you are leaving because you feel intimidated...”
Josh laughed, a grin plastered on his face, “excuse me? No, no, no, darlin', I'm not intimidated. I have plans. I said I could go there and hang out for a while, but I have dinner plans. If you think that I'm intimidated by a doctor - you're mistaken. I dated Crusher for months, I've seen the devil.”
“But you have not seen me,” Tina smiled and got up, “well then, let us proceed to the holodeck, sir. Oh, by the way, I know several different types of martial arts. If you ever call me ‘darling’ again I shall introduce you to some of them Comprende?”
"I think I found out why Sara doesn't like you. You're even more of a bitch than she. Sara hates to lose - at anything. She sees you as competition." Josh laughed, fully expecting to be punched in the arm. "I use to be a security officer, I know my fair share of defensive and offensive tactics."
Winking at him, Tina smiled, “Why, thank you. That’s a compliment if I ever heard one.” Tina leaned into his ear and whispered to him as they walked out into the corridor, “Just be glad I’m in a decent mood. I may be a bitch, but I am hardly vindictive as she is. Besides, there are too many witnesses.” The walk down the corridor was tense; the turbolift ride was even worse. Her cat-like reflexes were ready for anything. They stepped out to the holodeck. “So, what’s your pleasure? A quick fix on Qu’nos or something harder?”
“Done them. Well, I have this program where you’re apart of a Splinter Cell program. Max Payne? Ancient Earth story,” she blushed a bit, “nevermind. Ah, yes, "Toast of the Town”. You may not like that because it’s an investigatory game. Not too time consuming. Silent hill? Nah, you surprise me.”
"I got it. Computer, initiate program Asper Shogun Theta Three Zero. Difficult level medium. Two shoguns and unlimited enemies." He heard and acknowledged the response from the computer in its dry voice before appearing in his shogun. Staring over at Christina, he smiled, "ready for this?"
“Shotguns? Ha! I could do it with a phaser. Those better be Zombies, damn it. Ready when you are,” Tina looked a him, that smile still on her face, “Bloke.”
"No, Shoguns, like the jet fighters. You want a challenge and a thrill at the same time - this is it. See that mass of green up there? That's the energy signatures of about four hundred Breen assault fighters." He laughed and tapped his controls, "you take the lead. Just keep firing and keep moving."
Josh watched as her fighter engaged and sped off in the direction of the green lights. She was ambitious and had a great attitude. The only thing she needed, from what he was able to observe, was a friend. He could be that friend. Throttling up, Josh raced to catch up with her.
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