PHD #233: Fresh Start
Fresh Start
Summary: The morning after his rescue, Cameron desperately wants to be clean and Ximena desperately wants some R&R.
Date: 17 October 2041 AE
Related Logs: Finally Found
Cameron Elpis Ximena 
Ewe Aerilon bunkhouse, Isle of Langley, Aerilon
Post-Holocaust Day: #233

He slept. Not only that, but he slept like the dead. That, in and of itself, is nothing short of a miracle. Even before his life, and the life of every human being, was blown into destruction and chaos, Cameron was not much of a sleeper. Insomnia was a frequent and unwelcome lover who cradled him in her arms late at night and shook him awake whenever he desperately desired sleep instead of her demanding embrace. So it is a cruel irony that on this morning, the one morning he could sleep in, the one morning where his mind was willing to let him sleep in, he was rudely awakened by a heavy weight slamming into his solar plexus, forcing the wind out of him. "Fffffffraaa…." he started to exclaim before his eyes opened to find the diminutive form of a little girl resting on his stomach, her hands on his chest, bouncing up and down eagerly. His curse is quickly downgraded into a, "…aaiend me! Hello friend Elpis, what are you up to so bright and early?" The cold gray light streaming in past the curtains in the windows is enough to tell Cameron that it is indeed bright. The early part he's assuming, as the little girl is generally always awake early in the mornings. She grins and bounces a few more times before rolling off of Cameron and tugging on his left arm. He lets out a soft hiss of pain as he sits up and rumbles, "Give me a couple of minutes, okay?" The girl studies the blood stain on his sweater somberly for a moment before nodding and dashing away to find something to occupy her time till he's ready to join her.

Sitting up slowly, Cameron places his booted feet on the floor, sitting on the edge of his cot as his hands run through his hair. He wonders if they have showers here or not. He feels filthy and ragged and can't help but wonder what amenities might be available now that the world has changed all over again. Best not to assume better than what he's gotten used to, though. Safer. He rises with a soft grunt, glancing around at the people who are still sleeping before picking up the coat that someone kindly gave him upon arrival, bundling himself into it with a small shiver before wrapping his arms about himself and looking around at the place for what feels like the first time.

The Ewe, as it were, was, in better times, a rather large and well-established sheep farm. And all of the buildings have mostly survived in fairly good condition. Barns, outbuildings, the old homestead itself, where the crew as they rotate down, and the survivors who have been coming in have been housed. Each of the buildings have been heated as best they can be, which often is not saying much, sometimes little more than just the fireplaces which were pre-existing in the building itself. As for amenities, those go with the tech of the area, which is to say low. Water, at least, can be heated, but indoor plumbing is not on the list of luxuries. It's buckets and sponge baths, or if you're willing to take your turn in line, and you can get in just at the right time, there's a small collection of metal bathtubs. Rustic, thy name is Aerilon.

"Yes, of course. I've already turned in my plans for where I'll be, and the map of the route I'll be taking." The voice comes, not from within the bunkhouse where the survivors are being housed, but in the yard beyond. "If I'm not back in 48 hours, just forward my work down along the line." But there's more than a bit of humour in the woman's voice drifting in through a window ajar to let in a bit of fresh air. The glass is intact and clean enough to give a decent view of the people beyond. A man, standing, dressed in the green coveralls of the navy, facing towards the building, clipboard and paperwork in hand, and a woman half his size at least. Well, no, it's difficult to tell how tall she would be, if she were standing. But she isn't. She's seated in a wheelchair, which looks rather cool and a bit tricky, all things considered. "Tell them I said you could have all the cool projects."

Quietly, so as not to disturb the other survivors, Cameron explores the bunkhouse they've been placed in. Last night he was so exhausted and tired after all the hullabaloo of traveling all day, being found, searched, accidentally shot, and then gathering everything up and coming here, he barely looked at anything other than the cot they gave him to sleep upon. His head tilts as he hears the clinking of dishes and the soft clatter of pans or pots where it sounds like someone is preparing food for the day. He definitely eyes the rudimentary bathing area thoughtfully, especially the barrel that has been set up over a firepit outside of one of the windows. Crude, but functional. Glancing about, he picks up a small towel, some soap, and a larger one from the sponge area and heads toward the door, determined to take advantage of a fire-lit bath before anyone else gets the same idea.

He pauses at the door, however, when he hears voices from outside. Voices he doesn't know. After knowing the same number of people, more or less, for eight months, it's still almost inconceivable to him that there is anyone else left in the universe. That they've been found& that there are others. He looks out the window first, studying the man and then the woman, his eyes flickering with professional curiosity over her chair before lifting again to try and make out he face. It's hard to see through the smeared and dirty glass. Clutching the towel to him for a moment longer, Cameron takes a deep breath and heads for the door, opening it carefully and closing it again before heading over to inspect the rain barrel. Gods willing, it already has water in it.

There may not be much in the way of accommodations at the Ewe, but despite appearances, the crew really have done what they can to make the survivors as comfortable as possible. And being that most of the crew can still head back on a raptor to do what needs doing, most of the accommodations have been left to the civilians. The small bathing area is regularly maintained, the water heated, as it is now, and changed after use. That's sort of up to the person using it though. Use the warm water, drain the water out, fill it back up and let it get warm again for the next round. of course, there are a few of these stations around outside, as well as inside the houses that have bathroom facilities, so it hasn't been terrible. The outside ones even have a portable curtain built around it that can be pulled closed for privacy.

Ximena shakes her head, at the man standing not far from her, "Just stop worrying. I said I'd be back in a couple of days. And I do have an uncommonly good ability to tell the time." her hand even makes a shooing gesture, before deft hands spin the chair around and she starts off in the opposite direction to which she was facing, which puts her into line of sight of the man with soap and sponge and security blanket…er…towel up against his chest, "You look as though you've only just gotten here. If it's too cold outside, I'm sure you can go into the main farmstead, or the little guest cottage." There's a pause, as she looks the man over, blood on his sweater and all, hands reaching up to tuck the hair whipping around her face in the early morning breeze behind her ears. "Though…you might want to stop by requisitions and get a change of clothes. We've got enough to go around. I warn you though…a lot of it is in plaid, which might not be in your color wheel."

Peeking into the barrel, Cameron dips in a finger to test the temperature before crouching down to inspect the fire, which has dropped down to soft embers during the night. A stack of kindling in wood is stacked up nearby. Clutching his towels to his chest to keep them off the ground, Cameron patiently starts to rebuild the fire, placing kindling over the embers first till they catch, then slipping in the logs, and then adding more kindling in the space beneath the logs to help them catch. He turns just as Ximena does, eyes nearly at the same level from his crouched position. He blinks. He couldn't see her through the dirty glass and now that he can, all he can think of is just how hideous he looks…. because she's gorgeous. Ocean eyes stare into her silver ones and his mouth gapes open for a moment before he remembers to shut it. It's bad enough he's a filthy, unwashed cretin…. better not to be a slack-jawed drooling one as well. "Uh, yeah… just last night," he replies, still staring into her face as if he'd never seen a woman before. Shaking his head, as it that might shake something back into place, like maybe his brain, Cameron murmurs, "Clothes. That would probably be a good idea…" The last thing he wants to do is put on dirty clothes after getting all clean. He rises up slowly, still clutching the towel to his chest as he asks, "Requisitions… where is that exactly?" He actually has some clothes in his packs; he was on a road trip after all when everything went to hell. But they're all dirty from the month long hike to the coastline. "Plaid is fine. Beggars can't be choosers," he replies with a crooked little smile.

"Just wait till you're back on the ship, and you get to remind yourself what indoor plumbing was like." Again, that easy, gentle humour, as Ximena rolls back, to give the man ample room. It wasn't so long ago that she was in his place, though Sagittaron was a much different animal than Aerilon has been. The staring she's gotten used to brushing off. It's sort of still common enough around the ship as she goes about her duties that she's used to ignoring the staring and the vertically, at least, half-sized engineer scooting about in The Chair where no such person ought to be. "Don't worry, The Chair's just for show." She pats an arm, before she spins around, lifting a hand to point the way towards a small cottage not far from the main house, "Come with me, we'll see if we can get you all squared away." And off she goes, fully expecting the man to follow along behind or beside her, depending on how fast he walks. Hey, at least she's not going at auto-strap speeds. "No one's a beggar here."

His eyes actually flutter shut at those words, a small shiver running through the man that has nothing to do with the chill in the air. He doesn't seem to be put off by her wheelchair and he doesn't give it a second look now that they're talking, his eyes always meeting hers comfortably. Well, as comfortably as someone who looks like he's been sleeping in the dirt for a month can look at an uncommonly attractive woman. It's only when she pats the chair and refers to it that Cameron studies it again noting, "It's very fancy. I'd show it off too. Pop some wheelies and do a backflip perhaps?" He smiles again as she offers to be his guide and jogs a few steps to catch up with her, his pace matching hers till he's walking beside her. "You're good with that… it's a custom design, yes? I've never seen one quite like it before," he notes with professional interest, circling around behind her to get a better look at it before rounding about on the other side. "You're very kind to show me the way… I don't want to get in the way of whatever it is that you were about to do?" He ponders her words for a moment before shrugging. "Over the past eight months, I've learned it's best to keep ones expectations simple and low. I'm not assuming that just because we've been rescued that everything is going to be like the way it was, or even close. But it's good to know… that things aren't so bad that people are starving or begging."

"I've had quite a bit of time to work on it since Warday. Upside to being an engineer, plenty of tools and time and widgets to widget with. Much more so since I was rescued from Sagittaron." Laughter ripples out, as slightly warm and burred as her voice, still with its trace of Leonitinian roots, despite the softening that time away from the Colony has brought, "I haven't mastered backflips, yet, but wheelies I can do no problem, especially when I need to get through hatches." There's a nod, at the question posed, "Oh sure. I've changed things up a bit, but I started with a good one to begin with. It even has the lift." which, she's not using at the moment. Useful as it is, it just looks a bit mad scientisty weird. "I'm glad to do it. Someone did the same for me, when they brought me back to the prison. Figure I should pay it forward. It's just this way." Ximena comes up on the small guest house, rolling into the open door, before she spins around. Supplies have been neatly stacked and binned, and there's someone on rotation from the quartermaster's handing out supplies, "It's been difficult, I won't lie about that, and it's not going to get easier anytime soon, the way I figure it. But we're trying to do right by the crew and by the civilians we're bringing back. Trying to make sure nobody wants for anything. But if you don't have hope, if you don't expect things anymore, or wish for things, seems like that takes some of the fun out of living, doesn't it?"

The crewman working the supplies perks up. Happiness must be part of the billet to the quartermaster's office, "Welcome to Ew—Welcome to the quartermaster's. You're new, right? Okay, let's see…" The man looks over Cameron, seemingly sizing him up by sight alone, "new threads coming right up." And he goes to get just that. The standard issue supplies of undies, socks and such, then two sets of changes of clothes, put together from the various salvage runs the air wing has made across the colonies. Yes, plaid figures in nicely. Aerilon represent! "Shoes okay, or you going to need new ones?"

The natural question to ask next is 'What happened to you?', though in Cameron's case it's more because his mind is already engaged on what sort of damage the woman next to him might have, how much usability she has left, whether or not she's been seen by a surgeon or a neurologist or, hell, even a doctor with some decent medical equipment. But he has enough social skills to know that it's rude to pry into someone's past and physical condition when you've only just met them and they haven't come seeking your professional advice. Whatever the damage done, if it's eight months old, it's unlikely that waiting a little longer to have it looked into is going to make much difference one way or the other. "Engineer, huh? I'm a doctor," he offers in return, studying the equipment more thoughtfully as he notes, "But I'm pretty good with building things, tinkering. Different focus though." His voice is hard to peg - too cultured to be Aerilonian, but there are definitely hints of it. One brow lifts at her comment, but this time his response slips past his censors as Cameron asks, "Prison?"

He follows her into the guest house, looking about him, familiarizing himself with the place as he answers Ximena absently, "Hope is all we have left to live for." Turning to her, he smiles softly and muses, "I have some things that I've collected and tended these past eight months… hopefully it will help offset the fact that there are eight more mouths to feed and bodies to clothe." Turning to the man behind the counter, Cameron gratefully accepts the clothes even if red plaid really isn't his color. Gods, not at all. But that's alright. He'll wash his clothes today and return the loaners again tomorrow. Glancing down at his feet, Cameron gives the crewman a cheerful smile and notes, "Boots still in good shape. Many thanks." Pivoting about, his new clothes clutched to his chest along with the towel, he looks down at Ximena and asks, "So, what is it that you're going to be doing for the next 48 hours?" And then the unintentional innuendo of those words strike him, his cheek flushing slightly as he fumbles, "Ahh, I mean, you said you were going off to do some work or something?"

"Half of my life, yeah. Spent the last eighteen in the Marines as an Assault Engineer. After they pulled me off of Sagittaron, couldn't really go back to that with my wheels, but I managed to get a billet with the Navy. Gotta finish out my twenty so I can retire." There's a quirk of a smile. As if retiring were even still in the picture anymore. "I don't mind it so much, really. I still get some interesting projects, even if I'm not on the ground anymore." Ximena waits off to the side, idling rolling herself back and forth in place, "There was…a lot of insurgency on Sagittaron, our people were under heavy attack from the SSLF, so we set up base camp in an old prison, the most defensible place we could find."

"You need anything else, you let us know." The crewman lifts a hand, flicking a finger in the air. "Just a tick. Yes, right," as he goes back to the supply bins, coming back with a plastic bag, emblazoned with a cheery smiley face and a 'Thank You For Shopping at The Emporium' stamped on it, "Some personal supplies for yourself. Toiletries and such. Little care package for flying Air Cerberus." Gotta love a man who takes so much pleasure in doing good work. "You need anything else, you come on back and see us." Ximena can't help but laugh, before she moves back towards the door, "I finally got leave, actually. 48 hours of R&R. Thought I'd come down and see the planet." She waits till it seems Cameron's got everything the crewman's handing out, "Come on, we can head back to the big house." Zoom, out she goes.

Chuckling softly, Cameron muses softly, "Spent all of my life being a doctor it seems. Both of my parents were doctors and I was conscripted into the 'service' as it were at an early age." His smile is a little sad, but very proud. His expression shifts slightly at her explanation, a light of comprehension entering his eyes as he murmurs, "Ahhh, that explains it then." And then, since she probably has no idea what he's talking about, Cameron adds, "Last night, the Marines who found us were very careful." That's a nice way of putting it, but then again they weren't the ones who started firing first. He gives the man behind the counter a warm smile and offers his hand, shaking the crewman's as he replies, "Thanks for the care package and the warm welcome. It's much appreciated. I'll be back with a little girl so if you have anything that might be in the smaller sizes that you could rustle up, I'd appreciate it. Most of her own things were burned and destroyed." Turning back to Ximena, he follows her outside once more, noting, "Shore leave. I think that's going to be the hardest thing for me. Being shut up inside a metal box in space. I'm used to the outdoors, the countryside, the ocean." He jogs to keep up with her again, asking, "The big house?"

"We've got kids clothes too, don't worry about that, just bring her by." With that, the crewman merrily goes about marking down everything he passed out and all. Ximena's already on her way towards the main farmhouse, rolling along in manual mode, conserving her batteries no doubt, "Yeah, we lost quite a few people on the ground. Guess nobody told them they were only doing the cylons jobs for them." It's not far to the house, and they'll arrive shortly, "Honestly, you get used to it." Wait a tick, "You get used to it or you go stark ravers and they airlock you." A slightly lopsided smile, before she looks back in the direction they're going, "Unless you want to shower in the barrel?" She's guessing not. "So what sort of doctor are you then? Not that it matters, really, we'll certainly have plenty of work for you, if you're the medical kind."

He honestly doesn't know what to say to the former, his eyes flickering to Ximena to try and gauge if she lost anyone she was close to on Sagitarron, murmuring softly, "Fear makes people do some really stupid and terrible things…" And to the latter? "Guess I'll be drinking lots of chamomile and valerian tea," Cameron muses with a sweetly despairing sort of smile. He laughs at her question, the sound full throated and warm as he shakes his head and confesses, "Right now a soak in a vat with a fire underneath it sounds heavenly. An actual shower? That's like being taken up to the Parthenon." He turns his head once more, studying the profile of the woman next to him almost wistfully before replying, "Well, I do a bit of everything, really. My father was classically trained in medicine, but my mother used alternative forms. Massage, acupuncture, herbal remedies, that sort of thing. So I can do all of your basics, from first aid to diagnoses to treatment. But I specialized in neurology and biomechatronics." His gaze remains on her face, to once more try and gauge her reaction, but he adds quickly, "I was going to ask you about that, actually. Who I should talk to about being, well, useful."

Ximena's expression is, for a brief moment, cold and hard and distant, every inch the Marine she used to be, "It wasn't fear. It was hatred, pure and simple. Didn't matter that the Cylons had destroyed most of their planet, didn't matter that the radiation was slowly killing ever last thing on that rock, didn't matter that they were walking corpses, waiting to die. They hated us, and they would have gladly killed every one of us if they could have done." Ximena gets to the door, leaning forward to push it open, before she rolls inside, "No showers till you're back on the ship. Tub in here though, and it's not cold." Indeed, the house is comfortable, complete with a fire burning in the hearth, the house designed to well distribute the heat through the rooms. "Sounds like you have the training we need. We're not always lucky enough to find people in as good a condition as we found you. But we don't triage. We take everyone we can. Nobody gets left behind if we can help it." And if there is a reaction from the woman, at the mention of his specialty, it's a tightening of her jaw, a brief moment when her expression shutters, like a door slamming to mask any other reaction. There's no hope there, there's only resignation. You live the life you were dealt, "Well, they'll be processing you soon, and you'll be heading up to the ship. Once you're there, we have civilian contractors working with us, offering their services. I imagine you could let medical know when they come to do your eval." She pauses in the center of the big room, a hand moving from her wheel to point down the hall, "Bathroom's just in there. Should be plenty of hot water. Take your time. It's been pretty quiet down here so far today."

He doesn't know what to say, the words, "I'm sorry," escaping his lips, even though he knows they are utterly inadequate. Cameron's spends almost every waking moment of his life helping others, healing others. The idea of hurting anyone out of malice, killing people who only want to help you… it's beyond his comprehension. He nods at her explanation, noting, "I was lucky. High up with the bombs landed, safe from the radiation, and I never travel without a very exhaustive medical kit, though the last eight months has exhausted a fair amount of my supplies." He can't miss it when she closes off and shuts down, and he knows better than to push or press on those locked doors. Maybe later, he can see her medical records, talk to her doctor, offer his expertise. Maybe. Instead he murmurs, "Triage isn't about turning people away, it's about ranking the level of need. Sometimes, in war time, those who aren't savable are left untended so that those who are have a better chance of survival. But they're never left behind. There's always something you can do for someone, even if it is only to give them a death that is painless as possible, giving them their dignity, or even just a hand to hold in their last moments."

He pauses at the hallway, looking down it toward the indicated bathroom before turning back to the wheelchair bound woman and offering her his hand as the other carefully clutches is new belongings. "I'm Cameron. It was nice to meet you and thank you again for showing me around. I'm sorry for delaying you on your day off. I hope you enjoy your exploration of the island. It's a beautiful place, though I wish you could see it when the weather is warm and sunny. But it's still beautiful this time of year, just a different sort of beauty. Your kind of beauty," he finishes. Wait, was that his outside voice? Did he just say that?! Sweet Aphrodite, she's gonna think he's trying to pick her up or something! And looking like he does. Oh GODS, he really needs to learn to keep his mouth shut.

"Not your fault." And it honestly isn't. "No one's to blame for their actions except them. At the end of the day, they'll pay for their crimes. That's the way of the world. Everyone gets the life they make for themselves, you know?" And if it seems odd, that a woman in her current state is saying that, it seems to fit with her general outlook. "You were lucky because you were on Aerilon. Cylons barely did anything here. Some of the others every inch of their surface was carpet bombed, nuked to slag." With all of the implications for the eradication of human life that that entails. "Be glad you were here." Ximena shakes her head as his explanation of triage. "This is wartime. But we haven't left anyone behind." At least not that she knows, anyway, "And we won't, not if the crew has anything to say about it." But she does accept the hand, tugging off her glove, worn to protect her hands from the tread of the tires and the dirt that comes along with that, her handshake firm, calloused, testament, perhaps, to the years of hard work she's put in, "Senior Chief Petty Officer Ximena Alteris, feel free to call me Mena or Xim. Good to meet you, Cameron." Whether it's his first name or his last, she doesn't pry. She takes what he was willing to offer, "No need to apologize. Like I said, I was glad to help. Hopefully, I'll see you around before I head back, or on the ship." The compliment receives a smile, wry would be being generous, the sort of smile that comes when someone pays you a compliment you patently know to be false. "Now who's being overly generous?" Once she's reclaimed her hand, Ximena wheels backwards, back towards the door, "Enjoy the hot water. When you're ready, there's plenty of food and warm drinks. Don't worry, we'll try to get you back as soon as we can." Once she receives the dismissal, she'll head back out of the house to leave the man to his creature comforts.

She doesn't believe him. He opens his mouth to protest his innocence, but closes it again, realizing that making a fuss will only embarrass him further and possibly annoy her. Maybe she'll understand when she gets out there. The stark contrast of the land, the pale grey of the light against grey bleached stone. She reminds him of the coast in winter, the dark of her hair, the paleness of her skin, the silver of her eyes. It's a stark unforgiving sort of beauty that some might call harsh but that Cameron finds striking and compelling. But no. She won't see it. Cameron seriously doubts that she can see herself any more beyond the wheelchair. So instead, he says nothing, just gives her a small self-deprecating smile and a nod before carrying himself, his belongings, and what's left of his pride to the bathroom.

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