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A Friend In Need

Posted on Tue Jun 23rd, 2020 @ 5:44am by Lieutenant JG Vecon Fick & Mauricio Arnaldo
Edited on on Fri Jul 10th, 2020 @ 5:32pm

Mission: Death in Paradise
Location: Paradise


Fick made his way through the "streets" of Paradise. He was looking for a place called The Parlour, but wasn't having a whole lot of luck finding it. He was slightly hung over from the night before, but he was a pro at drinking and had had plenty of water as well as plenty of food to stave off the worst of the hangover. He was looking for Mauricio. The marine had contacted him, earlier than Fick really wanted to be awake, and begged for his help. Considering the state he had last seen the marine in, Fick was pretty sure Mauricio really did need his help. He had been rather vague in his description of exactly what Fick needed to help him with, but the Chief Navigator was really never one to tell a friend no, regardless of how awkward it might be.

He was relieved to finally find the place Mauricio had sent him to. The Parlour was a rather run down, hotel like, establishment. He wasn't exactly surprised that Mauricio had landed himself in a place like this after the night he had seen the marine having. The problem was, now that he was here, he wasn't exactly sure how to go about finding Mauricio. Although, once he thought of his comm badge he felt a little stupid for not thinking of it sooner. He cleared his throat, sighed heavily and tapped his comm. "Lieutenant Fick to First Lieutenant Arnaldo. Where you at, buddy?"

Mauricio was desperately searching through his room, trying to find the junk that was his and clean up the mess he had woken up into. He heard his comm badge somewhere amongst the debris and he was frantically looking for it. He could hear the matron of the Parlour shouting in the distance that his time was running short. Finally, he found his badge under the bed.

"Fick! Thank you for coming. Room... uh... 204. Just tell that awful woman you're coming to get me," Mauricio replied with desperate bursts.

"Alright... what's going on?" Fick started to make his way to Mauricio's room. He smiled at the woman behind the desk. "Hey there," he said pleasantly to her. "I'm just gonna grab the guy out of 204, if that's okay with you..." He tried to breeze past her.

"Hey, who are you now?!" cried the hotel manager as Fick walked past.

"He's with me," Mauricio called out from his room on the second level, as he waved Fick up the stairs.

"No guests, you hear?! Only my people can be guests. You pay extra now!" she hollered.

Mauricio grabbed Fick by the arm and practically dragged him towards him room, through the dimly lit corridor full of small rooms. Some of the doors were open, revealing the kind of establishment the Marine had found himself in. It was a "love hotel", for want of a better term, where guests from all around the galaxy could stay for a night, enjoy whatever they desired, and no one would ask questions. All they had to do was pay the bill at the end - something Mauricio was not capable of doing in his current state. He pulled Fick into his ransacked room - which was still an awful mess - and shut the door.

Mauricio stood before Fick, his clothes ripped and partially missing, his nose swollen and face bloodied, and the foul stench of vomit in the air. "Mi amigo. I need your help."

Fick had no choice, but to be dragged by the much larger marine. He gagged when he entered the room and put a hand up over his nose and mouth, his nose wrinkling. "Gods... what the freak happened in here? And what happened to you?" he managed to question through desperate gasps of air through his mouth. "Yikes dude! No kidding you need my help."

"I don't know!" Mauricio replied, his eyes moistening up a little. "I don't remember anything. That mad woman wants me to pay her but I have no money and I can't find all my stuff. What am I going to do?"

Fick looked around the room. "So how much money do you owe her?" He ran a hand through his hair and sighed. "And what of your stuff is missing?" he questioned. If he could get this down to dealing with one or two things at a time then maybe they could manage. "We also need to get you cleaned up."

"That ladrón keeps adding charges!" Mauricio complained, waving his hand at the door to signify he was talking about the hotel manager. "I'm trying to tidy up so she won't charge me as much, hopefully that helps, but I don't know what she wants. I think I've found everything but my boots and my PADD."

Fick made a face. "Well... if that's what needs to be done then let's do it. If we work together then we should be able to get it done pretty quickly." He looked around the trashed room again. "Although, this room is terrible." Fick went to the nearest trash can and pulled the lining out of it and started to pick up anything that he thought was trash, which was most of the things in the room.

"I know," Mauricio huffed as he gathered up bottles and rubbish and placed them in the bin. He began to think about getting back onto the Pandora, but that would only bring a set of new problems. He looked to Fick, his tone grave, "If the Captain and the Counsellor find out about this, they'll recommend I be discharged from service. They'll say I'm not coping."

Fick was silent for a moment, picking up things and dropping them into the trash bag he was carrying. It wasn't silence for no reason. He was carefully considering what he was going to say and do next. He looked sidelong at Mauricio. "The problem is... we don't even know what "this" is..." He gestured around the room. "And just... I mean... LOOK at you!" Fick gestured to Mauricio. "What happened? Do you know? Do you just not want to tell me? Or do you really not remember? Who were you with last night? What happened to the other marines you were with at the bar you all got kicked out of?" The questions came quick and rapid fire without even much pause for breathing.

Mauricio buried his head into his hands, carefully avoiding hitting his nose. "I don't know!" he whimpered. "I barely remember that bar. Just random snippets." He closed his eyes, hoping not to see the silver helmet again. Instead he remembered lying on the ground somewhere while a series of lights flashed before his eyes. They darted across the sky in dazzling colours, as if part of a laser projection show. He shook his head and sighed, "I was enjoying my freedom. Perhaps... no, obviously, I went too far, but I know now that I can't live the rest of my life in the Brig. I want to rejoin the rest of the world and live like a normal officer again, but I won't get that chance if the captain finds out."

Fick took a deep breath. "You don't remember anything? At all? Nothing? All a blank slate... So... what's the last thing you do remember? Do you remember who you were with at the bar?" He continued to grill the marine. Someone had to ask. "I mean, I seriously doubt the captain is going to be pissed off about you getting in a fight. That happens. You wouldn't be the first Starfleet Marine to get in a fight. I mean... you guys sort of have a reputation for drinking and fighting. So if you got in a fight... got a little drunk... I mean who cares? You're acting like being human is a big secret."

"Maybe for other Marines, it's okay to blow off some steam," Mauricio replied. "But I'm being closely watched. They already think my mental state is fragile and I could explode at any moment. Why else would they be okay with me staying in the Brig? But this, this would just be proof that I can't handle myself. They'll recommend psychiatric care, discharge from service." The tears threatened to well in his eyes, "I'll never get to serve again. My career and my life would be over." He looked to Fick, his eyes pleading. "Please, you have to help me. No one can find out about this."

Fick took another deep breath. He knew Mauricio was right. Considering everything that had happened since they came back from the bubble it was possible that they would think and do those things to him if they found out that he'd been fighting, but he wanted to try one more time. Fick didn't like hiding things and he was mostly a terrible liar. To be honest, he wasn't really a bad liar, he was just bad at remembering to lie. "But here's what I don't get about all of this... They say you're unstable and whatever... but you've never hurt anyone. Why would now be any different? I mean obviously there's probably another guy running around with a black eye and a fat lip, but come on. I mean, I'll do whatever you want me to do. No one has to know, but we're going to have to find a dermal regenerator, cause damn." Fick gestured to his own face in an attempt to make a statement about Mauricio and the state of his.

"It doesn't feel great," Arnaldo agreed, frowning, "It may not have been a fight, I honestly don't know. Maybe I just... fell somewhere? Maybe I was so drunk I fell on my face and just came back here to sleep it off."

Fick snorted. "Dude... have you seen your face? That was a fight."

Mauricio winced, "But could we... just tell people it was a fall? I'm not asking you to lie, Fick, but maybe we can just omit details. Like the state of the room, or even finding me here. And that I fell. You didn't see me fight anyone, so as far as you know, this was caused by a fall. I spent the rest of the night blacked out and that's all that happened."

Fick crossed his arms over his chest and stared at Mauricio. "So... that's a lie. I don't care about asking me to lie... but that's a terrible lie and what if the other guy that looks like you was a marine too? I mean, that's gonna be sort of awkward. Don't you agree? I'm not sure what we're going to say instead... but we'll come up with something. We won't talk about the state of the room, I'm going to have to tell them I came over here because they log our arrivals and departures. So maybe we should start there. Why did I come here?" He went back to cleaning the room while they talked.

'It wouldn't be a marine', Mauricio thought to himself, but he didn't dare say it aloud to Fick. He was in enough trouble as it was trying to explain his own injury and the giant black hole in his memory from last night. He wasn't about to complicate it with the few things he did remember.

"Because you were worried about me?" Mauricio suggested with a shrug. "I hadn't returned back yet and you wanted to know why. You came here and I told you that I'd gotten drunk and fallen down. That's all. The less we say the better. Trying to add more details only makes remembering it all much harder. I felt stupid for getting drunk and injuring myself so I was embarrassed to tell anyone else."

Fick nodded. "Alright, that sounds pretty good. So if I came here to find you... where were you? When I found you, that is... here? Or somewhere else? I mean... it would be easier to say here and just not talk about the state of the room. Yeah?"

"Yeah, just say I was checking out," Mauricio replied. "We don't need to mention anything else." He took a deep breath. "Are you sure you want to do this Fick? I know I'm putting a lot of pressure on you."

Fick shrugged. "You know if we found a dermal regenerator we could make that go away." He gestured to his face again. "But I mean... I'm okay." He looked around the room. "Well, it's a lot better in here... so where is the vomit smell coming from?"

“Over there,” the Marine replied with a hesitant frown, pointing by the window. “I can’t tell if it’s from the drink or possible concussion.” He started to walk over to the area when his bare feet felt something strange and rubbery. He groaned, “Okay... what have I stepped on now?”

Braving a peek downwards, Mauricio saw a strange object under his foot. He paused for a moment before leaning over to pick it up, though this only served to confuse him further. In his hand was a face mask of a female Ferengi, with the bulbous head and ears. Attached was a tiara made out of pink felt that said ‘KROLL’ across it. “What?” he cried, holding it up to show Fick.

Fick was a little startled. For a moment he didn't know if he should remain calm or freak out. He didn't like masks and he wasn't super fond of Ferengi. "Ewww... what the hell is that? Get rid of that!" He shivered all over, the mask making his hair stand up on end. He looked at Mauricio. "Whether you remember it or not... you must have had a rather eventful night. Ferengi princess much?"

Despite the situation, Mauricio managed a laugh, even if moving his face still hurt. "Well drunk me must have some interesting tastes... Wait, Kroll? Why is that name so familiar? Kroll... Kroll.."

Fick shrugged and moved toward the window to see how bad the vomit situation was. "I have no idea. I don't think I've ever heard that. Do you think it stands for something or is it a word in another language? It probably means "dumb Starfleet"," he joked with a chuckle.

Mauricio laughed again, as he held the mask still in his hands. “True. But maybe I could...” he lifted the mask over his head and pulled it over his face. It was a tight fit and sat awkwardly on his swollen nose, but he was prepared to suffer through the discomfort. “Wear it until we get back to the ship?”

Fick looked Mauricio over, his eyes narrowing. "Like that totally hides your face... but it's kinda creepy and they're gonna ask you to take it off anyway. I mean you might as well just go back with the black eye. I mean you fell, right? The less crazy we make this seem the better it will be... and the mask adds a level of crazy I'm not sure I like."

The Marine gave a slight shrug, hiding how disappointed he was. There was a little part of him that wanted to the wear the mask still, but he knew his friend was right. Mauricio gave a sigh. "Let's just get out of here, okay? I will pay you back for the room as soon as we're back on the Pandora. I just want to get back home and stop feeling so gross."

"No arguments there. I think we got this room cleaned enough." Fick looked around the room one more time. It definitely smelled better and looked better as well. He couldn't think of anything else they could do aside from pay the bill and get out. "Alright, let's go." He patted Mauricio on the shoulder and headed out of the door.

As the two departed from the room, Mauricio felt tremendous relief. At first it seemed like he had awoken into a terrible nightmare, one that would have had serious detriment to his future, but now he was coming back to reality and things weren’t so bad. He was also honoured to have a friend like Fick; not everyone would willingly help in this situation. He doubted anyone else on the Pandora would have come to the Parlour had he asked. Or if they did, they probably would have just turned him over to Lieutenant Griffin and the Captain right away. Not Fick though, he was a true friend. Now all they had to do was reach the ship and this nightmare would be over.



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