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Behold a Pale Horse, Pt. 4: Fiends, Roamings, Countrymen
Posted on April 7th, 2024 by Scott Ammora

1st Lieutenant Damien Hill, Security

After a cleansing shower, physically and mentally, Damien was ready to go. Ready to go to the party, at least. He was preparing himself to battle with his thoughts all evening, which posed a significant obstacle to his social and evening plans. If Damien wasn’t on his A-game at the first large event since the Xovul conflict, he’d take a hit to his reputation.

It was just another thing that angered him: Scott was now affecting his social life by not getting out of his brain. Why did this guy have such control over him? Damien was cognizant that his present conundrum of promotion and position title was directly linked to Ammora. Damn that guy. The answers to his problems weren’t going to come easy and a complete disconnect for the evening was warranted to clear the palette of any remnants of his consternation.

Time would show him the way.

The corridors were unusually busy for this time of evening, but he guessed it was because of the party in the lounge. Too many people, Damien had observed, had taken to using his strategy of showing up late. Follow the leader, Damien always said. He’d like to think he was the trendsetter, but he knew that people worked odd shifts and had other obligations. His entrance would garner more attention anyway. No threats on the horizon.

“Lieutenant Hill!”

Grease monkey. Damien buried his disdain for the engine rat in and smiled at the approaching engineer. Damien didn’t dislike engineers, but he found that out of all the positions on a Starfleet ship, engineers were usually the ones responsible for any issues or required to fix any issues. It made them hard to wrangle and, Damien thought, never around when they were needed. “Ensign.”

“Sonic showers should be up and running now, sir.”

“Yeah, I know, just finished, thanks. You guys do good work down there.” Damien was laying it on thick. He still had to interact with Main Engineering and, in security’s case, that interaction required a flare of professional nuance in order to stay in the good graces of the repair and diagnostic teams. Act of goodwill commencing. “Coming to the party tonight?”

“No, I mean, yeah, I think. I just…” Evan looked like he was about to sneeze.

Damien stepped back, “Good, I’ll see you there.” He spun on his heel and headed back towards the turbolift, his intended destination, leaving the confuzzled engineer behind. Okay, so it was an adjusted token of goodwill. Just friendly enough to maintain the dialogue, an invitation to not seem cold, and a getaway to keep the mysteriousness.

Evan had invited Damien to a poker game one time. Poker? Boring. He had respectfully declined the offer. To Evan’s face, anyway. He made quite the spectacle of retelling the tale to his comrades in arms back in Security later, but he was polite up front. That was a lower social cesspool that Damien didn’t want to wade into.

Ammora, on the other hand, had dove right in. Typical. He was a regular at the poker nights and had even looped in some of the other Security officers to play. Damien just knew that he’d get asked again someday, and he was dreading it. While Damien had done his best to keep himself in Scott’s good graces – for professional purposes as well as selfish purposes – he wasn’t keen on the idea of immersing himself too much deeper into that quagmire. Arm’s length.

Then again, ingratiating himself to Ammora’s friends would give him a little more insight into how the man operated outside of work and how he carried himself. The idea flashed through of gathering dirty secrets that Captain Tarnished had hiding away outside his work life. Damien could get the scoop on the inner workings of his mind, his romantic life, his fears, everything. Fact-finding mission, as it were.

He’d have to learn how to play poker. Meh, he was sure that Evan would chomp at the bit to teach him. As a plus one, he’d then lose a bunch to Scott to foster the veil of friendship and humbleness. It could work.  Back burner that one, Damien. Damien smiled to himself as he already had one idea and he hadn’t even gotten to the party. If one random interaction with an engineer triggered a thought, imagine what a room full of people could do?

Tapping the button on the turbolift, Damien waited. He was thankful that Jackson was down on the planet with Ammora and Mekel; it would make this night go a lot smoother. Jackson wasn’t clingy in the actual sense of the word. She was clingy-adjacent. Damien always found that she would appear at the most inopportune times when he was flirting with someone, talking with the boys about guy stuff, or when he was in the middle of doing something. There would be no such interruptions tonight.

The turbolift doors opened and he started in, almost colliding with two women in the process. “Oh, my god!” The brunette exclaimed.

“Whoa, sorry ladies, was in too much of a hurry.” The brunette was gorgeous. What a dress! The shade of yellow complimented her skin tone, her hair was done up for an evening on the town, and her smile – that slowly appeared as the startled expression melted away – lit up the hallway. Damn. Damien stepped back and motioned with his arm for them to exit.

“And who says chivalry is dead. Going to the party tonight, Damian?” The brunette spoke, Damien now recognizing her as Tara Anchor, engineer.

“Yeah, got to grab something from the office first, but I’ll be there.”

“Maybe we can get a drink?”

“Yeah, for sure. Absolutely.” Damien smiled seductively, “See you there.” And the doors hissed shut.

Now that is a grease monkey that Damien would get greasy with. He hadn’t even registered the blonde standing next to her. Was she blonde? Red hair? Bald? Glasses? Science? Medical? He didn’t know and he really didn’t care. Damien turned on his charm and his attraction mode when something blipped his radar. Blondie obviously hadn’t.

That was another approach he could take: flirtation. He knew of Scott’s sexual orientation. He had already set himself up as a trusted right hand man by taking care of the previous away mission, and Scott had been grateful. He could take it a step further and openly flirt with the man to get into better standing. Damien was confident in his acting abilities, but he wasn’t sure he could actually bring himself to go down that rabbit hole.

What the hell, Damien? He couldn’t believe that he was actually contemplating a plan that would see him attempting to make a romantic connection to a man for the sake of elevating his career. That is the old adage of getting a movie role from a roll on the casting couch. No thank you. Given that Ammora was easy on the eyes… no. Not worth it.

The security offices were still open, they always were, but the lights were on and Damien could tell that there was someone in the equipment locker room milling about. It was probably Bennett. He hoped that he was finishing his diagnostic report because it was officially late. In addition, he hoped that the self-assessment was on Ammora’s desk for transfer because it was too if not.

Walking into Ammora’s office, Damien scoffed. The man didn’t deserve the office. The work that he’d done in his absence was simple. Maybe Ammora got promoted because he knew how to do paperwork? Either way, Damien felt he was doing a better job than Scott did when he was around. That desk would be his at some point. He needed more minds to help him with this. He needed his brother.

Damien activated the comm, “Lieutenant Hill to Lieutenant Yzerra.”

“What’s up, Damien?”

“You going to the party tonight?”

“Who isn’t?”

“Come to the security offices on your way.” Damien said, plainly.

“I’ll head that way now. Yzerra out.”

Whenever Damien found himself in times of trouble, or had a problem he couldn’t fix, he called for Miguel. They went way back to the Academy and even their previous posting. They grew up together in Malibu, went to the same schools, had the same friends, and they ended up choosing the same path. Damien would say Miguel followed him, Miguel would say that it was the other way around.

Miguel was a fighter. He was always looking for a fight even when there wasn’t one. It was his machismo that Damien found admirable, he didn’t hide who he was, Miguel was Miguel. Authentic. You got what you saw from him. That was his thing – blatant respect and comprehension of oneself. There was the genetic cayenne pepper running through his veins, but he knew it was there. Hell, he added it himself teaspoon by teaspoon as he grew up.

He needed his brother to help get to the next step. He had a fight he needed help with.

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1 Comment

  • Kathryn Harper Kathryn Harper says:

    That he even contemplated feigning romance with the object of his scorn just to get ahead shows the sort of adversary Scott is clearly going to have to deal with; calculating, shrewd, and ambitious almost to the level that Brutus accused Caesar of being. I quite liked the use of the same scenes from part 2 and 3, but from a different perspective. Scott’s gonna have his hands full… Well done, yet again!

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