Black Diamond Dogs: Semper Fi
"Great to have you back! A lot of us didn't think we were going to see you again."
"You had to know I could not stay away."
"Well there's that...but honestly we didn't think you were going to live." Cobalt admitted.
"Oh, right." Salen smiled. "There were more than a few moments when I wasn't sure of that either. I see that cut you got from Captain Kirk's fist left a scar."
"Yes it did." Cobalt beamed proudly.
"Do you know where Razor is? I thought that he'd be here to greet me."
"Don't take it personally. It's July 11th on the Earth calendar."
"July 11th? What does that mean."
"It means it's the one day of the year that no one ever sees Razor."
"No one knows." Cobalt shrugged. "He's hold up in the observation deck I think, but if I were you I wouldn't go in there."
Cobalt gave Salen a sad smile and left. Salen looked down the hall of the Black Diamond and wondered what his next move should be. He had expected a rowdy reunion with his usually boisterous and outgoing human friend. The Intrepid had dropped him off at an unmanned research station for the Black Diamond to pick him up.
It had not been easy to leave Joanna behind. The wedding had been beautiful and the two week Honeymoon afterward had been nothing short of living in Heaven. Joanna had been tearful at their separation this morning and it broke his heart. He could still smell her scent on his clothing from her embrace. Wandering the halls of the Black Diamond Salen's thoughts returned to the farewell.
"I want to come with you." Joanna whispered.
"I have to go alone."
"I know." Joanna sighed. "The life of a Starfleet Officer's wife isn't an easy one, I learned that from my mother, but being married to a Black Ops runner...I can't help but worry about you."
"Please do not think that I am choosing the Black Diamond over you. I just...I..."
"You belong there." Joanna finished with a sad smile. "I know, and I understand. There probably isn't anywhere else in the galaxy that you truly fit in and I know you'd be miserable here on the Intrepid."
"I could never be truly miserable if I had you around."
"You say that now." Joanna chuckled. "Just wait till you've endured six months of routine research vessel Starfleet work...you'd be crawling up the walls with boredom."
"Maybe." Salen smiled.
"You need to go." Joanna pushed on Salen's chest.
"I love you, Joanna."
"I love you."
Salen leaned in and engaged his new wife in a deep amorous kiss. Joanna returned the kiss and raked her hands into his soft white hair. When he tried to pull away Joanna bit down on his bottom lip to hold him hostage. Salen reached up and brushed her cheek which he found wet with tears. After hesitating for a moment she released him unwillingly.
"I am so sorry, Joanna. I can stay, I can tell the Dogs 'no'."
"No." Joanna shook her head and pushed him away. "You have shore leave in three months, I will see you then. Go stop the bad guys that the rest of us can't touch. I'm proud of you."
Salen gave Joanna one last kiss before leaving her quarters, which they had been sharing on the journey out to the research station. Joanna wanted to say her good byes here rather than the transporter room in fears that she'd be seen crying. As it was only the Captain and Joanna knew that Salen was even on board. He'd made his way alone to the transporter room in the middle of the night and quietly beamed himself down to the station and waited for the Black Diamond.
Now on the Diamond he was a little hurt by the fact that Razor wasn't there to greet him. Cobalt had warned him not to hunt the new Colonel out, but he decided that he was going to anyway. Coming to the closed observation deck doors Salen ran his hand over the contact that made the door chime.
"Piss off!" Razor roared from inside.
"Razor, it is me."
"That is right."
There was some scrambling and what sounded like some glass breaking. The door opened and Razor appeared with a bright smile on his face. Salen looked him over and noticed that his hair was disheveled. Salen wrinkled his nose at the powerful scent of alcohol.
"Salen!" Razor cried and threw his arms around his friend. "What are you doing here?"
"Reporting for duty."
"Shit, man, I'm sorry, I thought we were picking you up tomorrow."
"Razor, have you been drinking?" Salen asked as he untangled himself from Razor.
"Yeah." Razor admitted. "Come on in, have one with me."
"I think you've had one too many already."
"Don't start lecturing me, Vulcan, you've only been on board a few minutes."
"You can play the role of my conscious any other day of the year except this one." Razor growled darkly.
Stunned by the agitation in Razor's voice Salen fell into silence. Razor looked at him mournfully and started to say something, but stopped himself. Salen furrowed his brow in confusion as Razor turned away and walked back over to the observation deck window. Putting his broad shoulders against the glass he slid down to the floor and picked up a blue bottle of Romlan Ale and drank straight from it.
Walking over carefully Salen sat down in front of Razor and studied him for a moment. It was clear that Razor had been crying, his eyes were rimmed in red. Salen couldn't remember ever seeing Razor looking so miserable. He took another pull on the blue Ale before offering it to Salen. Feeling that the best way to get Razor to talk was to share the drink with him he accepted.
Razor smiled as Salen took a swig at the powerful alcohol. Salen kept the bottle in hopes of keeping Razor from downing anymore of it. There were the remains of several broken bottles in the corner that looked like they'd been flung there violently. Razor tilted his head back against the window and closed his eyes.
"You want to talk about it?" Salen asked quietly.
Salen switched his position and leaned his back against the glass as well. Razor clumsily reached for the Ale. Salen spent a moment in a game of keep away, but eventually allowed Razor to have the bottle back. Razor nearly finished off what was left before belching loudly. Salen gave him a disgusted look which made Razor laugh.
"You're a good friend, Salen."
"So are you, which is why this new alcoholism of yours frightens me."
"I'm not an alcoholic. I never drink."
"You're drinking right now."
"Today is different," Razor whispered "today doesn't count."
"Why doesn't today count?"
"It's...it's my brother's birthday today."
Salen wasn't sure what to say, he didn't understand. However the tone in Razor's voice was like he had just told him something of extreme significance. Having given the admission Razor bowed his head and tears silently streaked down his face. Salen had never seen Razor in such a vulnerable state and he didn't know how to deal with it. Salen reached out and put his hand on Razor's shoulder.
"I murdered him." Razor whispered.
"I murdered him, I murdered my brother."
Salen couldn't hide the shocked expression that fell across his face. Razor glanced at him before turning away. Salen could feel Razor's pain in his own heart. Razor dragged his hands through his short spiky hair.
"I wish..." Razor slurred "I wish I could say that our father beat us, that our mother didn't love us, that we weren't given every chance in the world to succeed. But it would be a lie. Our parents gave us everything, they did their best to raise us and we threw it in their faces. I can't even remember which one of us started it, me or Mike."
Razor's eyes had a far away look as if he was trying to see into the past.
"It started small, just shoplifting. We loved the thrill, we were just having fun outside the 'norm' of our perfect little suburban life. When Mike got that phaser it was...it was the coolest thing I'd ever seen. We spent hours out in the woods practicing with it."
"So it was an accident?"
"Yes and no." Razor admitted. "It didn't happen out in the woods. We needed more of a challenge, we started to break into houses. At the same time we were both excelling in school, no one ever suspected anything. My mother was a little worried about how much time we spent together, that we weren't making outside friends, but my father had two brothers and he said that it was good that we were so close.
One night we broke into this house and the daughter was still home. I panicked, I wanted to leave, but Mike, he stayed calm, he had 'plans' for her. He said he wanted to have some fun with her. I didn't understand and he told me that I would when I was older, and that I should go keep watch at the front door."
"He raped her." Salen whispered in horror.
"I figured that out when she started to cry. We fought, I'm not even sure how I got the phaser, in the struggle it went off, and Mike was dead. My father came to my trial, that was the last I saw of him. My mother, I'm actually glad I never saw her again, I don't think I could face her."
"How old were you?"
"I was seventeen, Mike was nineteen. I ended up with a thirty year sentence, which clearly I didn't serve much of."
"Not really. Beckett. He got me out, erased my past, gave me this new life. However none of that can give Mike back his."
Razor struggled to his feet and started searching for something more to drink. Salen got up and guided Razor away from the liquor cabinet and over to the couch. Razor sat down heavily and groaned in pain as he rubbed his temples. He looked like he'd welcome death. Salen wondered if this happened every year at this time, and figured this was why no one went near Razor on this day.
"Razor...I...I do not really know what to say."
"You don't have to say anything, Salen." Razor flashed in a sad smile. "I'm grateful just to have you here to talk to. Beckett was the only other one who knew. I didn't realize how much harder it would be to be the only one carrying the secret."
"I am honored that you would share it with me."
"Thank you for helping me bear the weight."
"I'll be better tomorrow."
Razor pinched the bridge of his nose and then suddenly pitched forward. Salen rubbed between Razor's shoulder blades as he threw up on the floor. Heaving for breath Razor glanced up at Salen and smiled sheepishly.
"It might take two days to get over this binge." Razor forced a chuckle.
"As long as you are going to be okay."
"I will be. It's good to have you back."
"It's good to be back."
"Come here, I need you to sign something."
Razor staggered to his feet and stumbled over to the console. He tapped on it a few times, clearly not getting his password right. Eventually he got it right and brought up a page. He stepped to the side and offered the console to Salen.
"What is this?"
"A formality. I'm making you my First Officer."
"What about Flash?"
"He just wants to fly this bird. he doesn't want the responsibility. I need you on this Salen, I'm too hot headed to run this ship on my own. I need your cool Vulcan logic to even me out."
Salen chuckled and reached out to put his handprint on the console, his digital signature. Razor's mood shifted instantly. He threw his arm over Salen's shoulders and pulled him into a rough hug. As much as Salen enjoyed being back, Razor had a powerful stink to him at the moment that wasn't making him particularly pleasant to be with.
"You need a shower, Razor."
"Yeah. But first I need my new First Officer's opinion on a new crew member."
"A new crew member?"
"We need a new doctor."
"Why? Salen, the last one drugged me unconscious when you needed me most, and stood by while you died slowly. You think I was going to trust that quack with our lives again? My first order was to get rid of him. Starfleet sent me two candidates to replace him, and I can't decide which one on my own."
"Who are they?"
"Well the first has been in the service for seventeen years as a CMO. He's got an excellent track record, and several medals of honor, his main drawback is that he has no experience in Vulcan medicine."
"Few doctors do. Who's the other one?"
"That's where things get tricky." Razor admitted. "I was shocked when I read the file, I couldn't even believe that they'd propose it."
"Who is it?"