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Blueheart

Ensign Valdivia & Captain Blueheart - Old Friends Are The Best Fri

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((Valdivia's quarters, USS Darwin-A))

:: Months had already passed since he had returned to Starfleet, and he had yet to call Blueheart. With all he had helped with his return, he felt bad for having vanished once he became an ensign. But he had been on two ships in less than two months, moving mid-mission. He had barely had any time. ::

Valdivia: Computer, open a subspace comm link with Captain Raj Blueheart, USS Atlantis.

:: The two of them had served together for several years, before Valdivia had left Starfleet and Blueheart had been promoted and given a command. The two of them still shared a deep friendship and talked through subspace from time to time. His friend had been a key point in Valdivia's return, both in convincing him to come back and in helping with the paperwork. ::

((Captain’s Ready Room, USS Atlantis))

:: It had been a tough mission. Blood had been shed. Friendships shattered. Even love, lost. As he leaned back in his chair with a heavy sigh, he couldn’t help but reminisce about simpler, more elegant times. Those times had been on the USS Discovery-C. And those times had almost always included John Valdivia and Eric Lundrigan. No matter how dark things got, his two best friends were always there to shine a light that would guide him back to safety.

But those days are gone forever. Now there was only the dark.

As he bent his elbows to rest his palms on the vintage wooden desk, and laid the side of his head on his hands, just staring blankly across the vast landscape of the surface of the desk, his computer alerted him to an incoming subspace audio and visual link. He reached out to tap the screen, with his head still resting on his hands, but as soon as the face of the caller appeared on the screen, he instantly sat bolt upright, a bright smile spreading rapidly across his face. ::

:: Both their smiles broadened as the screens changed from the cold starfleet logo to their friend's face. ::

Valdivia: Raj! Good to see you.

Blueheart: John!! What a wonderful surprise! Would you believe me if I told you I was just thinking about you and ---- :: His eyes fell on the single pip on his friend’s collar. :: What’s that?? Tell me that’s a breadcrumb!

:: Valdivia touched his rank insignia. ::

Valdivia: Yep, I am an Ensign again. And on the Darwin, after some movement. This ship is fascinating! There is a containment sphere that could fit a whole ship. And so many labs...

Blueheart: :: holding up his hand :: Wait, wait, wait just a sec. You were a Lieutenant Commander when you left Starfleet. Surely they can give you some leeway and reinstate you as a full lieutenant or something? :: Who was he kidding? This was Starfleet. Or, as some would prefer to call it, Bureaucracy Central. He paused several moments before adding.:: Um, does it bother you that you’re starting all over again as Ensign?

:: The scientist took a few seconds to answer. He actually expected to get this question far more often than he had. ::

Valdivia: Not at all. Regulus III Academy policy prevented someone in the military from leading a project, so I had to do it. :: he looked at his friend. :: Oh, don't get me wrong. I am totally in favor of that rule, even if it did cost me a few pips.

Blueheart: :: smiling cheekily and rolling his eyes :: Yeah right.

Valdivia: Besides, this keeps me away from chairs too close to the center. :: chuckling. :: And you know I like that.

Blueheart: :: chuckling too :: I do. oO Sounds like something Mitchell would say too. Oo

Valdivia: What about you? How is captaincy treating you?

:: A fleeting dark shadow swept across his face. He had tried to look away then return his gaze back to the screen immediately but he was sure his friend had caught the slight movement of his eyes, if not the dark shadow itself. He attempted to flash a smile, failing miserably. ::

Blueheart: oO Oh, John! Where do I begin my tale? Oo Um.. it’s.. okay. :: He blushed furiously. ::

:: Even not sharing a room, Valdivia could see the atmosphere had suddenly darkened. ::

Valdivia: Yeah, right. That didn’t sound too okay. Paperwork piling up on your desk?

Blueheart: :: weak smile :: Let’s just say there are good days and then there are bad days.

Valdivia: I’m getting it I called on one of the bad days?

:: He sighed deeply, this time looking away from the screen altogether. Only after a full minute did he return his gaze to John. By that time he had decided to tell John. Surely his best friend deserved to know not only the joyful moments of his life, but the sorrowful as well? ::

Blueheart: John.. :: pause :: Emerson is dead.

Valdivia: Wha…? :: long pause :: How…?

Blueheart: :: fighting back tears by clenching his jaw :: Killed in action. It happened on our last mission.

:: Valdivia felt guilty for his previous jokes. It was hardly his fault, but he felt terrible anyway. ::

Valdivia: I am really sorry, Raj. He was a great man. I wish I could be there with you now...

Blueheart: Thank you, John. Your words have always comforted me in my darkest hours.

:: For the first time in the last months, he wished he had not rejoined starfleet. Leading a civilian project on Regulus III he had had the authority to leave for a few days and go with his friend on these hard moments. But not anymore, a new mission was about to start. ::

Valdivia: What happened?

Blueheart: The case is still being investigated. I don’t have any additional information at the moment. All I know is that I buried the love of my life and that he’s gone forever.

:: John’s face was beginning to get blurry through the wall of tears. ::

Valdivia: I… I am sorry, Raj. I don’t know what to say. If there is anything...

Blueheart: That is why it is so difficult to answer your question. Sure, being Captain is cool and I take great pride in wearing this uniform and carrying out my solemn duties, but then there’s this. The loss of friends and loved ones. Is it worth it, this loss? That is the question I grapple with every day now.

Valdivia: It is, Raj. And you know it. Your rank gives you greater responsibilities. But I am sure it also gives you more people to lean on during times of need. You must have friends on the Atlantis, and I am sure they want to help you.

Blueheart: I do, John, I do. I have the best crew in the fleet! And yet, being Captain is the loneliest job in the world. And you’re constantly a Captain, even when off-duty. You can’t do something crazy, you can’t be soft, you can’t grieve.

Valdivia: I used to know a counselor that would have told our captain back then that showing your feelings to your crew would make them respect you further, not make them think you are weak.

:: His mind flew back to those golden days John was referring to. Where was that counselor John spoke of? What he would do to meet him right now! ::

Blueheart: :: sad smile :: Those were different times, John. So much has changed since then. oO If only you and Eric didn’t leave.. Would things have stayed the same? Would I be happier? Oo

:: John was at a loss. He desperately wanted to help him. But he had no idea how. The two of them looked at each other, in a silence broken by Blueheart on the verge of weeping and Valdivia trying not to join into the torrent of potential tears. ::

Valdivia: I just had an idea. I know what you need.

Blueheart: :: He blinked rapidly to suck in pesky tears always trying to escape his eyes. :: Don’t say shore leave. It only reminds me how lonely and useless I am when not on duty.

:: Valdivia started writing something on a PADD, and after a few seconds hit the send button. ::

Valdivia: Go to the holodeck. Run the command I just send you. It will ask for captain’s authorization.

Blueheart: :: He arched an eyebrow out of curiosity. :: Will this get me in trouble with Fleet Admiral Wolf? :: He smirked faintly. ::

:: Valdivia smiled. The moment was still sad, but he knew for a fact his friend would like it. And it would help a big deal. ::

Valdivia: Just do it. Trust me.

Blueheart: oO Always, my friend. Always. Oo

TBC

===============================

Ensign John Valdivia

Science Officer

USS Darwin-A

NCC-99312

&

Captain Raj Blueheart

Commanding Officer

USS Atlantis

NCC-74682

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