PHD #249: He Said, She Said
He Said, She Said
Summary: Ximena takes Cameron over to the freighter for a look-see, but an innocent offer of support leads to a conversational conundrum that results in serious misunderstandings.
Date: 2 Nov 2041 AE
Related Logs: Water Therapy
Cameron Ximena 
Civilian Freighter
Post-Holocaust Day: #249

The raptor trip is…considerably shorter than the trip up from Aerilon, but considerably more crowded. Supplies and such are still being transferred between the battlestar and the civilian freighter. Everything from beds and linens, to scraps and paint and other supplies needed to finish off the renovation. But somewhere in all of that, Ximena has managed to have a +1 added to the boarding list, one Cameron Adair, and they're now in the process of coming down off of the raptor into the hangar of the freighter. The deckies working today know Ximena's routine, and it's as easy as getting her out of the raptor and lifting her down to the deck, "You coming, Cameron?"

Everyone is curious about the freighter, or at least everyone in the Starboard Hangar is, since it's to be their new home. So when Cameron got the invitation to go and take a look at it, naturally he said yes. He would have brought Elpis along if he could, but it seemed potentially difficult enough for him to be allowed to come over, let alone bring along a six year old girl. "Coming!" he calls after Ximena, climbing over boxes and supplies awkwardly till he's free. "You sure this okay?" he asks for, like the millionth time as he catches up with her, looking about curiously.

"You are a doctor in the fleet. It is part of your duties to make certain that the environment where the members of the fleet will be residing is safe. Additionally, you have no small amount of experience in the cultivation of plants and herbs. We can built things to spec, but we need educated eyes to make certain that what we're building will actually work. That's where you come in." Ximena wheels back, giving the man room to move off of the raptor's winglet, before she spins around to look out over the hangar. Which is large, to say the least. This was, after all, a transport freighter.

Chuckling softly, Cameron muses, "I fear you are greatly exaggerating my skills at being able to do any of this, but lead on," he offers with a wry, if tired, smile. Looking about again, he asks, "How far off is it, do you think? Before the ship is done being retrofitted? How many will she hold?"

"So you're not a duly licensed practicing physician? And you haven't spent most of your life growing plants?" Ximena begins to make her way through the hangar deck, skirting the small clusters of people working. The place has that new paint smell in the worst way. "I can't say for certain, but I don't think it's too long. I could give you the specs for the ship, size, capacity and such, if you like, but suffice to say, it will hold round about 12-1500 people. More or less depending on how we configure the sleeping spaces. On top of that we have areas for hydroponics as well as soil based crop growth. More hydroponics than soil, however. For obvious reasons."

Chuckling again as she counters him Cameron shrugs and simply notes, "Yes, and somewhat yes, but I don't think that makes me necessarily qualified to judge something on this sort of scale." But then he stops as a thought strikes him and turns to look at Ximena asking, "No, wait, is that really the reason I'm here? To give you an 'expert' opinion about the refitting of this ship?" Cause Lords, if it is, Cameron is woefully unprepared to do so, thinking those reasons were more 'excuses' to get him onboard. "Frak," he mutters under his breath, patting his pockets for anything he might have brought along that would be useful, like maybe a datapad. Or heck, a pen and some paper? Realizing that he's stopped moving but Ximena hasn't has him dashing after her again before finally catching up. "So, will quarters be like the military racks? Or will people, families, have spaces of their own do you know?"

"No one is really qualified to judge something on this scale, I don't think, not even that Ms. Ibhanas from the hangar deck. But we all have to do things we weren't prepared to do." How much like their first conversation…or was it the second? "The reason you're here, is because I wanted to you to see the freighter and get an idea of where you'd be living, and eventually working." As for racks, "I imagine there will be racks, like we have for the military, for single people, but there will also be other areas where families can live. It simply isn't possible to separate parents from their children. We're trying to give as much variety and privacy as we can. It's not easy to live the way we do." Ximena pauses as she gets to a clear spot, "Alright, what would you like to see first?"

"No," Cameron concurs unhappily, "it is definitely not easy to live as you do. But even single people need privacy, at least from time to time." It never occurred to him that he might be able to have some influence on what happens here, make recommendations, and as such he asks, "I'm guessing there is a panel of some sort, both military and civilian, that is making decisions about what is needed? How to design the layout for this place?" At her question, Cameron blinks and mutters, "Gods, I have no idea. Is there any part that's finished yet?"

"Most of the ship is 'finished'. It's space worthy, as you can tell. Most of the hydroponics that were remainder from the people who used it before has been cleaned and readied for use. More is being built. Most of what's being done right now is making it 'look' presentable, and building out the living and food storage areas. And I'm sure there are civilians working with the military to work out what needs to be arranged. But frankly, I'm just engineer. My job is to fix what's broken and keep things running once they are."

Nodding Cameron files the information away, coming in too late to offer any terribly useful or concrete ideas it seems. "Well, I'm sure it's been thoroughly discussed and vetted. I dunno. If it's all done, I guess take me to where the medical labs and offices will be?" Honestly he doesn't know where to start, the ship feeling as vast and overwhelming as the Cerberus, and his ability to control and manipulate it just as small and meaningless. In his mind there were mad fantasies that are just that; mad and fantasies. Best to leave them in the back of his mind and unspoken where they can do no harm.

Ximena pauses, spinning back around to look at the man walking beside her. Her tone of voice is neither flippant or irritated. Instead it's concerned, "Something's bothering you, Cameron, what is it?" There's a moment, where she pauses, "It's never too late to offer ideas. It's not as if any of us have actually done anything like this before."

His hands flex before he shoves them into the pockets of his cargo pants, shrugging as he looks down at the floor, rocking back and forth. "Nothing. Everything. I'm just… I'm just going through a rough patch, is all. Not at my highest levels of cope. Feeling very much that if wishes were horses, beggars would ride. If nothing else, it was a lot easier keeping eight people alive than worrying about how to keep thousands alive." Sighing he sits down on a crate, lips forming an unhappy straight line. "I'm used to being in control. I'm used to having the answers and being able to figure them out. But now I'm hobbled. Everything is out of whack and off balance and hobbled and I have no idea what is realistic and what is pure rubbish any more. Do we plan for bare survival? Or do we plan a bit past that, so when we emerge on the other end we're still human inside?"

Ximena moves around, once Cameron settles down on his crate, hoisting herself out of her chair and working her way over to his crate, settling, finally onto it beside him, one of her hands reaching out to his, if he allows it, "It's hard. At first. Living down on that planet, you could imagine what was going on. But you couldn't know. Now you know, and you can't quite grasp the scale of what's happened. Of what's still happening and what you have to do, right? Wondering if you have the strength to do everything that's being asked of you. Wondering if you'll have anything left to give, once people have taken what they need from you."

His hand curls into hers as she reaches for his. Nodding, he murmurs, "It didn't even matter, what was going on. All that mattered was food, shelter, safety. Whittle down one's existence to the bare minimums and life becomes incredibly simple. Master those minimums and it becomes almost perfect. But here. Live as it was, but not as it was. We need to ration, to figure out how to replace the stores that we have because once they're gone we can't just go and pick them up from some colony or company or factory. Every time I write a prescription I have to ask myself, "Is this really necessary? Can this person do without this medication?" I feel like that hole in the sweater you borrowed. Slowly unraveling. I have the strength to do what is being asked of me. Doesn't matter if I have anything left to give. What I fear is that I will give it all, and it won't nearly be enough."

"The difference is, that now, you're not alone, Cameron. You're not the only doctor everyone's looking up to. You don't have to be the only glue holding everyone together. You have the medical departments from four other ships to assist you. You've got nurses and corpsmen and a slew of medical staff to work with. And we're not at a point right now where you need to worry about giving your patients the care they need. It's not just people we're been bringing back from the colonies we're visiting. The fleet has been working around the clock to replenish and stockpile our necessary supplies." She points to some of the crates and storage bins that are being unloaded. All manner of supplies to outfit the freighter. "Whatever the failings or shortcomings or negatives are, of being in the military, the greatest benefit is the knowledge that we are not alone. Not in our joys and not in our sorrows." Ximena squeezes the hand Cameron's allowing her to hold, "And you're a part of us now, for better or worse, even if you don't wear a uniform. You're not alone, Cameron. And your ideas are valuable, so is your skill. But it's just as important to think of yourself. Your needs, your hopes, fears, dreams. Your humanity and the humanity of every person in the fleet. At the end of the day, if we cherish and nurture those things, provide for them, support and protect them, then we've succeeded."

He shakes his head replying, "That isn't it… it isn't rational it's just… Gods. I fear this life. This kind of living. Do you know what I was thinking? What I was wishing? I wanted a park. Right here in the middle of the ship. Green space. Grass. Publicly tended gardens. I want people to be able to have some beauty in their lives. Privacy. And not just for civilians. A place where service people can come as well and take a 'vacation' from time to time, if you will. Have a room of their own. A place to be quiet and alone if like, or social. I wish for spaces for art. For music. I fear… surviving. I fear that if we live in these soulless metal ships, without nature, without beauty, without time and space for our lives, that we will lose the very part of us that makes us human…"

"And it's not enough for you that there will be acres of plants of all kinds, that there will be people working, doing good work, providing for themselves and their families? For all of the fleet? If we could have found a garden ship, or one of those luxury passenger liners we would have, Cameron. But this is all we have. This is what we have to live with. We can hope that this won't be all that there is, but the reality is that if it is, then this is what we have to learn to live in. I don't agree though that we lose our humanity in ships. Do you know how many of the military have spent most of their adult lives in ships? Barely touching down on solid ground for more than a few weeks. And none of us are robots. A ship is no more soulless than a house. A ship, to me, the Cerberus is my home. More my home than the house that probably is nothing more than rubble now on Leonis. And who says you couldn't have your garden? Your quiet place. If you want it, ask for it, find a way to make it happen. Unless you want to go back to Aerilon."

He stiffens slightly at her words, sits up a little straighter, the emotion that had been brimming in his eyes vanishing beneath the ocean color of his eyes, swallowed up by the sea of them. He squeezes her hand lightly before releasing and shifting to stand up again. "Sorry. Didn't mean to insult your home. Don't mind me. Just running off at the mouth." His hands slip into his pockets again as he takes a few steps and then turns around. "Can't go back to Aerilon, even if I wanted to." Which, strangely, he does. "I wouldn't be able to survive there on my own. And, for the moment at least, Elpis needs me. And she needs to be here. And I'm more of use here than on Aerilon. So here I will stay. It's the only logical choice."

Ximena's gaze falls away, as Cameron withdraws his hand, physically and mentally moving away from her. The hand he held settles back on the crate, adding a bit of support, the woman making no further attempt to engage him, "Don't do that, Cameron. Don't shut yourself off from me. But you know, that doesn't even matter, not really." Ximena pushes with her hands, moving back to settle into her chair, "What's important is your life, and hers. Don't cut yourself off from the possibility that the two of you might have a good life here." Once she's settled, she shifts the chair to face him, her own expression schooled, carefully neutral. "You wanted to see the sickbay, I think?"

His hands fist in his pockets as his eyes drop to the floor and he counters softly, "What else am I supposed to do? You ask me how I feel. I tell you how I feel. And then you criticize me for my feelings, asking how what I have is not 'enough' for me. I told you that it wasn't rational, and then you counter my feelings rationally. If you don’t want to know how I feel, then don't ask me to tell you." His shoulders shrug as he lifts his gaze and offers her a small crooked smile. "It's my own fault. I should know better. I should be rational, and most of the time I am. I made a mistake of allowing myself to wallow for a change. I won't make it again." As Ximena suggests the Sickbay, Cameron's face has returned to it's usual self, or at least a slightly tired and weary version thereof. "Sickbay sounds good. Let's go see what it's got." As he follows in her wake, he notes, "I was speaking with Lt. Vandenberg about perhaps seeing if there are any hospitals still standing on Aerilon, see if we can perhaps raid them for equipment and medication and supplies. That sort of stuff will be harder and harder to come by, and I don't know if we have the means to make any of it onboard. But if we could knick some of the equipment - diagnostic, surgical tools, maybe even lab and pharmaceutical production equipment … could go a long way toward stretching our drug supplies…"

"I didn't criticize you. All I did was ask a question. Because I wanted to understand how you were feeling, help you to work through them. I apologize if it came off in a way I didn't intend. It won't happen again." The smile isn't returned. Ximena turns away, begins to make her way through the freighter, having learned the layout so well, it seems, she's no need for a map or a blueprint. She keeps the pace comfortable, allowing the man walking beside her to take in the freighter. Things are looking well, from what can be seen. What housing areas they pass are all fitted with sleeping arrangements, some even have boxes of linens waiting to be parceled out. There's the beginnings of a galley, showers being added. It's quite a sight, given that most of the crew working on the freighter are working outside of their usual skill set. "I'm fairly certain that's a top priority for the salvage crews. But I can't be sure. You'd have to speak with..well, I suppose you already did."

He leaves the topic behind. He felt criticized indirectly, even if it was not her intention to do so. But dredging it up and arguing the interaction will only make matters worse he suspects. Not better. Best to simply do what he does best - put on a cheerful disposition and just make the best of things. Since she seems in no hurry, Cameron does, in fact, take his time as they walk along noting thoughtfully, "Colors. We should raid some paint stores or something," he notes with a quick grin. "Paint some of the rooms bright, cheerful colors. Maybe let families paint their own spaces? Divvy up some work and let them have a small amount of personal flair to their new homes as it were. His head tilts, shoulders shrugging as he muses, "I honestly have no idea what the salvage crews are offering. I merely offered my assistance, to point out the most valuable pieces of equipment, stuff we don't have or might need parts for in the future, and of course what drugs are needed. But then you don't really need a doctor for the latter part. Just take it all and sort out what isn't needed later. Most likely if it's in a hospital, it'll be useful. Except the billing department. That doesn't have anything useful in it," he adds in light humor.

"I think that would be a wonderful idea. You could certainly see if it's already been done. And if it hasn't, well, it doesn't look as though we'll be leaving anytime soon, so there would be ample time to find what we need. After all, we didn't get all this paint," a hand rises to indicate the new paint on the walls, "From storage on fleet ships. We had to get it from the planet. We could make a few more trips back. Try to create spaces that would be more livable." Her expression hasn't changed, nor her tone of voice, as she turns towards the starboard side of the ship, moving down along a secondary corridor, "You'd be surprised how useful a doctor could be in those instances. I'm sure they’d be glad to have you. As you could see from the raptor trip over here, space is at a premium. We can't really afford to take everything. So having someone knowledgeable with a salvage crew would go a long way towards making the best use of the space we have." A moment, as she pauses to roll her wrist in a circle, flexing the joint, "It's just ahead now."

"The trick is figuring out just who to talk to. So many different people in charge of so many different things, and all of them busy, busy, busy. I guess I'll start with Ms. Averies, since she was most recently the apparent spokesperson for the civilian population. But even that has changed, I've heard." Though often terribly perceptive, Cameron isn't always the best when the opposite sex is involved. By her unsmiling features and matter-of-fact tone, he gets the feeling that Ximena is decidedly displeased with him, but hasn't the slightest idea what to do about it. He tried to apologize and he stopped acting like a sad sack, but that apparently was not enough? "Well, I'm happy to help and offered my services, should they want them." He nods at her comment but glances down as she rolls her wrist, asking, "That bothering you?"

Indeed, the soon to be sickbay isn't much further than a few meters, as Ximena turns into the room, still in the process, like much of the ship, in being built out. It's almost a mirror of the one in the Cerberus. Apparently, if a design isn't broke, there's no need to fix it. "I would say speak to whomever is spearheading things for the civilians. But your best point of contact for the salvage runs would be Major Hahn, as the commander of the air wing. She would know if it were possible to add a few stops for supplies as you need, to the rotations the raptors are already making." Ximena sets herself up off to the side of the room, so that she won't get underfoot while Cameron moves around, "I'm fine. Go on and have a look around."

He makes a mental note of the name proffered and then, rather uselessly offers, "Sorry," as if apologizing for just about everything. Wandering through the civilian Sickbay doesn't take Cameron very long, his only real concern being a decided lack of medical equipment. In an emergency, it just doesn't look like they would be sufficiently prepared. Returning back to Ximena's side, Cameron suddenly asks, "Am I keeping you from your duties? Do you have work that needs to be done here? Can I be of some assistance to you or the others while you're working here?" He likewise doesn't want to be underfoot or in the way, and better to be busy than idle.

"So am I. More than you know, Cameron." Ximena moves over to one side of the room, pulling open one of the tarps that have been hung down on the rods that will eventually have curtains for patient privacy, "There's equipment here you could unpack, if you had a mind to. There's more in the storage bays. They haven't wanted to move much in before they were sure the rooms were ready. But no, you're not keeping me from anything. The raptors are coming pretty regular, so let me know when you need or want to go back, and I can get you on one heading back to the Cerberus."

Chuckling softly, he rumbles, "I could do that, so long as no one would mind me doing so, or I wouldn't screw things up. Don't want to mess with the 'master plan' as it were," he jokes, fingers running over the boxes and crates stacked throughout the space. "Course, if it's the same layout plan as the Cerberus, I suppose I couldn't do too much harm." His head turns toward Ximena as he asks, "But you are going to be here for awhile? Working on stuff?" Glancing around, he lets out a soft sigh of uncertainty before crossing over to the wheelchair bound woman. Crouching down next to Ximena, Cameron takes one of her hands and looks up into her face. "I totally frakked things up, didn't I?" he asks, blue eyes searching grey ones with a hint of worry.

"I think people would be glad to have an extra hand. The crews are already working around the clock to make this place livable for the civilians coming in." Ximena moves away from the crates, to give the doctor a clear view and proper access to what's been brought in so far. "It seemed the most efficient way, to make it look like the sickbay there. Good use of space with not very much waste." And with who knows how many civilians will one day be on this ship, they're not wasting any space that could be useful. "I'm not scheduled for a shift for the next while, I could stay and help you if you wanted me to." She doesn't move back, nor does she attempt to retrieve her hand. Nor does her tone of voice change, "How can we expect to have a friendship, much less anything else, if we can't even communicate without one or the other of us pulling back and putting on a show we think the other person wants? That's no basis for a relationship. Relationships, friendships and otherwise are supposed to be about being open and honest, about accepting the other person, and not being afraid to disagree or have to work things out." There's a moment, when Ximena quiets, before she continues, "I thought that I could be that for you, I'm sorry that I'm not what you were looking for."

"Then I'll stay and work," Cameron offers simply. "You're welcome to stay here and help me, unless you've got someplace more pressing to be or better things to do." Her lack of reaction is less than hopeful, causing Cameron's eyes to narrow slightly in concentration as he asks, "So you're just giving up on me? Throwing in the towel? Because we're not instantly at ease with one another and perfectly compatible? I mean," he offers with a shrug, "if you're not interested, if it's not worth the bother, you're of course free to do whatever you decide. I'm not 'looking' for anything. I met you. I like you. I'm attracted to you. But we still barely know each other. Just because we stumbled doesn't mean I'm off to find a new dance partner."

"I'm where I want to be right now, Cameron." But at the rest, Ximena's expression grows, not angry, quite, but close, "I never expected us to be a perfect match, Cameron. That would be impossible, for more reasons than the obvious. But I didn't expect that the first time we had a disagreement, you would first: think the worst of me, and then second: put on your smiling happy doctor face. I don't want that and I don't need it. When I want and need Doctor Adair, I'm not going to have any qualms about telling you so. But right now, I don't. Right now, I want Cameron. Just Cameron. Warts and all, because that's what you're going to get with me. And I think you know better than to insinuate that I'm not interested."

He takes her anger, accepts it, listening to her words quietly and without interruption, though his thumb lightly rubs over the hand he still holds, unless she jerks it away. "Seems a bit unfair, accusing me of 'thinking' the worst of you when all I was doing was 'feeling'. You asked me how I felt, you responded in a way that felt critical and disappointed. I felt hurt and misunderstood and not in the frame of mind to defend my emotions. So I did in turn what felt best. Swallowed down the bad feelings till another time. A stronger time. It had nothing to do with thinking. It certainly had nothing to do with thinking the worst of you. If I put on my 'happy face', as you call it, it's because I needed to, not because I thought you needed me to." His head tilts as he continues to lean against her legs, though he's careful of the injured one, staring up into her face with a small and uncertain smile. "I'm glad though…. that you're still interested."

"Yes, but then instead of asking me if that's how I felt or if the way it seemed to you was how I intended it to be, you immediately reacted as though you were sure that was how I felt or what I intended. Instead of communicating, you assumed for me. And what stronger time is there, than when you're with someone who cares and supports you? You don't have to carry around the burden all alone anymore. I know I have more than my own fair share of baggage, but that doesn't mean that I don't have room for some of yours, too." There's a faint smile, as Ximena turns her hand, taking Cameron's fully, "As a young friend of mine used to say, "Boys are stupid."

"What? And you never make mistakes? Never draw back from a hurt like you would pull your hand back from being burnt, without the thought or wish to ask why what you touched was hot? I'm not perfect, Ximena. My emotions are just a fragile and just as tender as anyone else’s and yes, sometimes irrational. And I told you that to start. Besides, I'm not used to sharing my pain. I'm used to being the confessor, not the confesser." His lips quirk though, fingers squeezing hers as she turns and holds his hand, noting, "Well, that is very true. I'm a guy. With all the stupidity inherent in that gender."

"Of course I make mistakes, Cameron. I'll be the first person to admit that. But I also know that different relationships and different situations call for different reactions. And perhaps in this 'relationship' the reaction shouldn't be to just blindly pull you hand away when you're hurt. Maybe it should be to reach out for someone who can make the pain go away." Ximena nods, reaching out to place light fingers against your cheek, "You had better get used to it, then. because there's definitely a confessor clause in this relationship. Don't feel too badly, though," she offers towards the end, "You still have some redeeming qualities."

"Well, then cut me some slack," he offers with mild sardonic humor, starting to feel once again a little persecuted when he's already explained himself to her over and over again. "This is all new to me and my reaction was, and is, to pull back. I'm an old dog and here you are, demanding I learn a new trick." But he leans into her touch slightly, and offers, "I'll try." And then she turns the cards on him, causing Cameron to snort softly as she sizes him up, grousing, "You're one tough cookie. I can see that I have my work cut out for me. Going to have to toughen up for sure." Rising up he runs his hands through his hair and looks about them, muttering, "Right! Work. Work, work, work. Get a crowbar, willya?"

Ximena leans in, as Cameron asks for leniency, close enough that she could almost reach out to touch his lips with her, but rather than a kiss, she offers a soft reply, "You're not that old. Don't forget, I've seen you in your swimsuit." But there's humor there, as she settles back, "I'm half metal. Tough is part of the design schematics." But once he steps away, and places his order, Ximena begins to rummage in the storage around her chair, coming out with a crowbar, "Crowbar, sir."

Cameron chuckles as she leans in close, his gaze flickering from her eyes to her lips and back again. "I work out," he offers as an excuse before she pulls back. "Oh yes," he notes. "I live in fear of being sideswiped by you every day. You don't even have a license plate number so I could report you…" But he grins as she passes him a crowbar, giving her a salute before rolling up his sleeves and getting to work. "Tell you what," he suggests as muscles bunch beneath his shirt as he works the lid off the first crate. "How about I unpack and move stuff and you get it all connected and running?" She is, after all, the mechanic, right?

"Yes, I could tell that too." Easy hands move her chair out of the way, before she heads over to the small bag that's been taped to the inside of the hatch leading into the room, filled with a handwritten inventory, bringing it back to offer to the doctor, "Here's a list of everything in here, and what box it's in. I can get everything set up, once you pick a place you want it."

He glances over his shoulder, giving Ximena a wink before rumbling, "Bit hot in here…" hands reaching down to strip off his sweater entirely, tossing it to one side, leaving him in just a tank top as he reaches for the list with one strong, callused hand, studying it before nodding and setting it aside. He continues to work the crate open, pulling out the various bits and pieces of what will be, once it's assembled, a diagnostic table, carrying them into one of the examination rooms for Ximena to start putting together. And so they continue, with Cam occasionally flashing Mena a cheeky grin as he flexes a muscle in his work while he admires the skill and deftness with which she works, along with the delicate length of her neck as she bends over the task at hand.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License