PHD #296: Making Do
Making Do
Summary: When a meal and some uninterrupted sleep seem like heaven, you learn to make do.
Date: 19 Dec 2041 AE
Related Logs: Pressure Points - Damage Control
Cameron Ximena 
Hangar Deck - Starboard
This Hangar Bay is filled with boxes, crates and other various supplies that are needed throughout the ship. Most have been moved to one end and lashed with tarps to keep them out of the way. The place has gone from extra ship storage on one end and the ability to house over 450 people on the other end. Marines guard this area 24/7. One area has been tarped off to the side, that holds canvas showers and sinks. As a small improvement in the standard of living and sanitation, the Head, showers, and sinks have been hooked up to running water and sewage. Cots still fill the area formerly occupied by the Fleet's civilians, but with Sickbay out of commission they now serve as beds for patients with minor and moderate injuries. Medical staff have taken over the place and tend to those here at all hours, aided by volunteers who perform simple caretaker tasks, bring food down from the galley for patients, or simply lend an ear to those cooped up here for the duration.
Post-Holocaust Day: #296

It's a strange sort of deja-vu, like one of Cameron's nightmares or something, being back on the Cerberus, living in the Starboard Hangar, only this time with all of the cots around him filled wil injured, wounded, and dying patients. His own arm still in a sling from the attack of wild dogs on Tauron, Cameron has given up his light duty restrictions in the wake of the Cylon attack. He was there to help with the evacuation of the Sickbay and has been working ever since, taking the occasional cat nap and meal break to fuel his body and mind. So when Ximena suggested coming down to have food with him, well, Cameron couldn't think of a better idea. Rising up gingerly from the female tech lying on one of the cots, her face and hands heavily bandaged, Cameron adjusts her medication and checks her monitors before moving on and peering down at his wrist before remembering that he forgot to put on his watch that morning. No, wait. Yesterday morning. Rubbing at his eyes with his right hand, he runs his fingers through his hair and glances about slowly, looking to see if there is anyone in immediate and dire need, or if he can take a short break.

Damage control is never easy, not at the best of times, which, if you need damage control, clearly it isn't. But certainly at this juncture, it's been a proving ground for the less than able-bodied engineer. While The Chair certainly adds to her mobility, it certainly did NOT make it easier for her to do the job for which she's still commissioned. So while most of engineering was off in the corridors attempting to get damage under control there and prevent the ship from ripping herself apart, Ximena spent most of the incident with the FTL drive, trying to keep it from being the cause of the ship being torn apart. And once that was assured, she continued on to try to do what repairs and salvage she still could. The loss of both the ChEng and the death of Lt. Parres, Ximena's CO in M&R have worn the poor woman even more ragged than is usual, as she's now one of the most senior ranking engineers in the department, enlisted or otherwise. It's been nearly twenty-four hours since she's slept, or done anything more than stick a ration bar in her mouth as she worked. But finally, she has some relief, if only for an hour or three, and she makes her way down to starboard. Both to meet Cameron for their meal and to see to delivering another round of medical supplies. Not to mention handling the removal of the dead. Never a pleasant task.

Very different duties, very similar hours. Cameron, likewise, has slept but little; a few minutes here, a few minutes there. Though the chair makes Ximena short, it also makes her visible. Unique. Lifting a hand when his eyes espy her, Cameron begins to weave through the cots, reaching her side quickly. No idea how much time they might have, so he doesn't waste any of it, leaning down and placing his right hand for balance upon the armrest of her chair as he kisses her quickly, but with affection, before pulling back. "Hey," however, is about the most eloquent greeting she can rouse from him, his face and eyes mirroring the weariness and worry within hers. "Hungry?"

Ximena takes her small indulgences when and where she can get them. And for that brief moment the kiss lasts, her hand rises, cupping Cameron's cheek, clinging to that small bit of normalcy, before it breaks, "Starving. I figure you haven't been able to leave starboard, so I stopped by the galley on my way down." It seems the poor man never has a chance to go much of anywhere anymore, that doesn't involve doctoring or otherwise working. "Unless you want to get out of here and go see what they have up there for yourself."

He breathes a soft sigh, his breath feathering her hair and cheek slightly as he rumbles, "You are a SAINT." But glancing about uncertainly he does nod and concurs, "But I think you're right. If I stay here, I'm infinitely grab-able, and the very fact that they've had to call in untrained civilian help just to make ends meet? Means that I tend to get grabbed often, and not even in exciting and sexually inappropriate ways." His lips curl slightly as he murmurs, "Perhaps it would, indeed, be best to beat a hasty retreat for some quiet corner… if such a thing exists currently?"

"Well, that's alright then. I wouldn't want to have to slice someone's hand off with a cutting torch." Though it's said with humour, and indeed, despite what might be considered the 'normal' feminine reaction, Ximena has certainly never shown any sort of jealousy in regards to Cameron and the fact that he is, quite literally, a chick magnet. "I know the perfect spot, if you don't want to head back to the galley." There are always quiet places in a ship this big. You just need to find them.

One brow lifts in surprise, his lips curling with amusement at the unusual display of possessiveness, especially since the doctor has not found himself the target of much interest save for one aircraft mechanic. And it's been weeks since he's so much as bumped into her in the halls. Nodding, Cameron notes, "If you've already gone to the trouble to bring down the food, then lead on. I'm so famished I think even one of those nasty protein bars would taste like a three-course meal to me right about now."

Ximena does indeed lead the way out of the hangar deck, or mostly so, well, sort of. A quick duck behind one edge of the stairs brings them to a side door, which she opens, before she ducks inside. A flick of the light reveals…an unused janitor's closet. Likely to hold supplies for cleaning up the deck, but with the starboard hangar so long out of use as anything more than a glorified bunkhouse, most of the supplies were transferred over to the port hangar and it's closets. Still, there are some dusty crates and such, which could be pulled around for sitting and eating, "I figured you'd want to at least be close to starboard, if there was an emergency.

"You know all the best romantic hot spots," Cameron snarks teasingly as he slips into the closet and closes the door behind them, flipping on a light. But he nods, touched by her thoughtfulness, even if he replies, "I'm sure they can live without me for ten frakkin' minutes…." But there's no anger or bitterness in his tone. Maybe just a hint of worry as he busies himself, moving crates and setting up a little dining 'area' as it were. "I know this sounds crazy, but what exactly is going on? I've been so busy, I've only heard bits and pieces and rumors. Like we're stuck here, and the Cylons know we're here? So why haven't they come back en masse to blow up to Olympus and back again??" Yes, there is a quiet thread of fear in his voice, controlled from years of seld-discipline and training. Doesn't mean Cameron isn't afraid for his life. For Ximena's life and Elpis' life and everyone's life…

"Isn't that why we're dating? Because I know all the good places left in the universe to take you?" Ximena helps as she can, bringing out the food she brought with her. It's not nearly as fancy as the stuff she brought last time. But there is some sort of meat loaf, vegetables and crackers. No bread though. But it's food and it's warm. "The Cylons hid a dirty bomb inside the debris of a heavy raider. When it impacted the side of the ship, it caused the damage that crippled deck 10, and deck 11, where out FTL drive is housed, as well. Structural members on both decks were compromised, and we cannot risk an FTL jump until we repair the damage. If we do, the ship will rip herself apart." Ximena doesn't have to elaborate. We'd all be D-E-D, dead. "As for why they haven't come back, I don't know. But until we get the ship repaired, we cannot go anywhere. Not the Cerberus at least. The other ships can still jump to safety, if it comes to that." Which would mean leaving the battlestar and her crew behind.

"I'm with you because of who you are, not all the secret hidey-holes you know about. Well, that and the fact that you're one of the most beautiful women I've ever met…" he confesses with a guilty smile that isn't terribly repentant. The food she offers may not be fancy but it's real. Cameron attacks it with gusto, but eats slowly, savoring each bite. It's a testament to just long it's been since he's eaten when he sighs and murmurs rapturously, "This is the best meatloaf that I've ever eaten….." Her words, however, are sobering indeed and for awhile Cameron just eats quietly, thoughtfully. "But they'd do that, right?" he asks, "if it comes to it? They'll jump to safety and leave us behind?" Elpis is aboard the MV Elpis. Her safety is tantamount to Cameron, though the idea of losing her… of what losing him might do to her. It doesn't bear much thinking about. She's lost so much. How much more can she lose before she just breaks apart? "We're royally frakked. Aren't we?"

"You do know how to compliment a woman, I will give you that." And it's not that Ximena doesn't recognize that she's beautiful. She can look in the mirror and see her face. But there's a difference between knowing that you are and letting it make you arrogant, or self-centered, neither of which suit the engineer. "I'll remember you said that one day when we're old and wrinkled." Ximena took, tucks into her meal, enjoying not only the food and the company, but the freedom to just not be working. "They'll have raptors evac as many of the personnel as they can, which includes you, I have no doubt." Privileges of being a doctor, one would imagine, "Everyone, if they could do it, if not a skeleton crew to use the ship to cover the escape of the rest of the fleet before she's destroyed." As for frakked, "No, we're still here and we're still alive. We're still fighting. We're not frakked until we decide we are."

Chuckling softly, Cameron replies with honesty that somehow doesn't come out as either bleak or dour, just.. practical and realistic. "Do you really think we'll live that long?" He eats as well, but that the mention of removing him from the ship, his hand freezes in mid-bite, drawing away as he notes, "But… I'm needed here … and besides, we won't have the time to evacuate, unless we start doing it now. If they attack, there won't be time for anything except fighting or fleeing." He takes the hovering bite, shaking his head in confusion. "I don't understand. It's like we're rats in an experiment. Like they're … playing with us or studying us or something."

"Well." Ximena takes a moment, finishing the bite she was working on, before she continues, "I'm already thirty-six years old. It won't be long before I'm wrinkly. So you keep that in mind, just in case you need to start looking for a new most beautiful woman." She does shake her head, at his comment, "You'd be surprised how quickly raptors can evac people. They'd get you on board and evac you to one of the other military ships with an open hangar. The Elpis would probably be the first, if not one of the first ships to jump away, since she lacks any sort of weaponry."

Shrugging, Cameron counters, "I'm 38 and already getting crow's feet. You won't be seriously wrinkly for a good while now. And I'm not in any hurry to find some other beautiful woman. I'm perfectly happy with the one I've found." He takes another bite and forces himself to chew slowly, considering her words before asking a loaded question. "What about you?"

Ximena answers the question honestly, looking at Cameron. He deserves that much. "If they evacuate me, I go where they tell me to go. If they order me to stay here, then I stay here. I don't want to think that I'll have to leave you and Elpis, but if it comes to that, I am member of the Navy, and if I have to die so that you can live, then I'll go willingly."

He knew that before she said it. Doesn't make it any easier to hear her say it outloud. But it isn't as bad as he feared. He half expected her to say that she would be staying aboard. At least there is a chance that she'll be evacuated as well. A good chance, even. Taking another bite of his food, Cameron chews and chews and then swallows. "I wish I knew what it was all for… what the point of all of this is. Genocide? Experiment? A cat toying with a mouse for awhile before killing it? Clearly they could come in here and wipe us out if they wanted to. So why don't they? It's like those crazy frakkin' dreams and all that nonsense. It can't be just accidental or coincidental. The only question is, who's pulling the strings and making us dance? The Cylons? Or something else entirely?"

"I honestly don't know what they want or why they didn't bother to finish the job. It might be that they're cutting their losses. We disabled most of the ships that were in the fight with us." Hey, it's not as if Cameron couldn't go up to the obs deck and see the hulks of raiders and frak all floating around in space and such. "Unless we find one of them that wants to open p, I don't think we ever will know. They might look like us now, but whether you want to believe it or not, they are another species from us, something we might have created, but completely alien from us. Who knows what they think or why."

The food disappears all too quickly. But Cameron's stomach is full, so he can't really complain. It was a just a meal, but he feels 50% improved from the eating of it. He hasn't had the chance to leave the Starboard hangar since the attack, so there's been no strolling through the observation deck by the good doctor to take in the 'view'. "Oh, I don't think they are 'human' no matter how much they might look like us now. Doesn't mean I don't wonder about their thought processes, intentions, beliefs, and goals. The more we understand them, the better we can defend ourselves against them, anticipate their actions. First rule of warfare - know thy enemy. We have almost a complete blank on that score."

"Well, we have one in the brig, far as I can tell, unless someone killed her during the attack." Which might be possible, I mean, what better time to kill a compromised enemy agent, but when everyone is looking the other way. "Maybe you'll get your chance to figure out how her mind works." With her own meal concluded, rather than put away the dishes, Ximena wheels around to settle just behind Cameron, hands reaching out to find his shoulders and back. Massages she can do. And there's little else she can do, at the moment, to try to help him unwind and relax. "You going to have a chance to catch some sleep?"

Shaking his head, Cameron muses, "I'm not psychiatrist, and I doubt they would let me just sit around and 'chat' with her. Not that she's a particularly social creature. No, I'm far more interested in how she works - what makes her tick and, more importantly, what makes her detectably different from humans. There has to be something there. But I've yet been given permission to do any exploratory surgery on her." He seems dead serious about wanting to cut the Cylon prisoner up. He just wants to do it in the name of survival and science than just simple revenge. He turns as she wheels in behind him, but sighs as her hands land upon his shoulders and start working on the taut muscles there. The left side in particular is rock hard, and not in the sexy good kind of way. "Sleep? Mmmmm, a cat nap here and there seems to be the rule of thumb right now. Sleep until someone needs me."

Ximena works carefully, purposefully, as she tries to work the knots and kinks out of Cameron's shoulders and back, "You could still observe her, see how she reacts, her habits. How she processes information. Like watching a computer program to see where the flaws are. And I know we've recovered the mechanical model, there might be something useful there. See how they communicate with each other, relay information, work with their ships. They started out mechanical and became organic, there has to be some clue left in one that would inform you about the other."

Chuckling mirthlessly, Cameron rumbles, "I think shutting her up and cutting her up would be more satisfying. And I can't really trust anything that she says, and I'm sure she won't choose to show me anything more than what she wants me, or anyone, to see. Including interacting with one of the mechanical models." He's quiet and thoughtful for a moment before his hands reach up to come and rest upon Ximena's as he asks, "How about you? I'm sure you've been working hard, are sore and tired and sleep-deprived. Yet here you are, rubbing my shoulders. I think it's your turn now…."

"I more meant having you pull apart and dismantle one of the mechanical models to see how they work and operate, how they could have been evolved into humanoid models. It's not really your field, its true, but you're the closest thing we have. Artificial intelligence probably doesn't play much into your research, but." Ximena lifts her hands away, considering, "I think before we can dissect one, we need another one alive. We might get lucky. And we could probably get you some time to sleep in here, I could watch the door in case someone comes looking for you, though they would just page you on ship's comms."

"You're right…. that really isn't my area of expertise. But I honestly wasn't talking about cutting her up after she was dead. I was thinking more of cutting her up while she's still alive. I can't help but suspect that we've missed something. That there is some kind of marker, something unique that perhaps degrades or breaks down after death. Only way to know for sure is to do a vivisection." He turns around as she draws away from him, studying her face as he murmurs, "And what about you? This isn't a one way street here, you know. You doing for me. I'm sure you're tired too. Need to sleep." His hand lifts, lightly stroking fingers along her cheek before dropping away.

"You'd have to be pretty careful to avoid killing her before you were done." Ximena doesn't seem at all disturbed by the idea of Cameron vivisecting a living, well, whatever a cylon really is. "Or something that is different in them from the gitgo. We know react poorly to certain types of radiation that don't affect humans, that's somewhere to start." Ximena nods, considering, "If you like, but I think you need it more than I do. We could always take a nap together, before my alarm goes off and we need to get back."

"I'm a surgeon," he offers. "The whole goal of surgery is to keep the patient alive. But yes, there is a risk, and she might have a way to make things go poorly, despite my abilities and efforts." Well, the topic is dropped for now. After all, no one has asked Cameron to do anything, and it's not like he really has the authority to do anything. His head tilts for a moment before he rises up and comes around her, placing his hands on Ximena's shoulders for a change and slowly massaging them. "A nap together sounds good. They gave me some sort of pager or beeper sort of thing, should they need me and not be able to find me…"

It's not quite as easy for Cameron to reach Ximena as it is for her to reach him, but the pair have gotten used to making adjustments, "Perhaps, one things settle," she's not going with the whole 'we're going to die' routine, "You should find out what can be done from this point out. For all we know, the fact that she was on this ship is either a: the reason they knew where we were or b: the reason they did not come back to destroy us completely." There is a soft sound of ease. Yes, she's wound just as tight as poor Cameron, "Then we shouldn't have a problem, I have one of those too," though it's more like a walkie that starts squawking as they screech her name.

His hands pause for a moment at her point, digesting the possibility thoughtfully before resuming the massage. "We totally should have nicked a cot on the way here," he notes somewhat dolefully. But no matter. They'll make do with what they have. Honestly, even the hard metal floor would be enough for Cameron right now, sleep deprived as he is. They have each other for warmth. "What do you think? The floor or your chair? It doesn't have a reclining option, does it?" he teases her playfully. A barcalounger wheelchair. That'll be the day.

"I can get it to recline, but it's won't lay all the way flat, no. But we could probably make do with what I have." The padding on her chair, which does come off for ease of cleaning the mechanisms, is a start, "Or I could just drag one in here from outside." Though that might get a look from people, but she's willing to do it, if it comes to it.

"Mmmmmm, here, hold on," he offers and coming back around Cameron lifts Ximena from the chair to set her on the crate he was sitting on. The cushion is removed and settling himself down upon it on the floor he reaches over to help her slide off the crate and then settles her over himself. He rests upon the cushions, and Ximena his cushioned against him. "Good enough?" he asks, slipping his arms about her to keep her from sliding off and just to be cuddly and companionable. "I'm afraid if we go out there we'll just get snagged and dragged off to do something…"

It's a testament to how much Ximena trusts Cameron, or at least is comfortable in his company, likely both, that she doesn't seem to mind him lifting her up and setting her around. Certainly it makes things easier than if she were to try to do it under her own power. In other circumstances, she might well rail against having to have someone else do for her the things she's tried to do for herself since warday, but clearly the doctor is an exception. And once she's comfortably settled, she nods, "This will do. So no going out until someone rings the bell, or the alarm goes off and I have to head back."

His eyes are already closed, his body softening beneath her, his breath slowing. Ordinarily he would ask before just moving her hither and yon. After all, she's not a puppet or a doll for him to do with as he pleases. But time was of the essence and he just reacted and did. Chuckling Cameron muses, "We do a lot of settling these days. Some day I'm going to spoil you rotten. Pull out all the stops. But until then, yes, no moving till we must…."

"Even when I'm old and wrinkly?" It's softly said, as Ximena settles herself more comfortably against the doctor. It's not much, but they seem to have become experts at taking what little they can of joy from the end of the world. "Sleep now, I'm here." And she'll likely be sleeping herself, before too long.

Sleepily he snorts and murmurs, "Even when you're old and wrinkly, you ancient hag you…." But he squeezes her softly to belie the cruelty of his little taunt. He hugs her again at her comforting words, noting, "So you are…." and with that the doctor drifts off. His stomach his full, his arms are full; sleep is the natural next step.

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