Posted on Thu Jul 2nd, 2020 @ 4:05pm by Ensign Lucas Miles
[Bridge of the Merchant Vessel Vallum Aelium]
The last few days had seen a flurry of activities that was very surreal for Lucas Miles.
After all, he had only just graduated Starfleet Academy a few short weeks ago. In that time, he had said goodbye to his friends, classmates, and his short-lived home on Earth. Now, he was on his way towards his first assignment on board the USS Independence as a Flight Control Officer. However, he would be stopping at Starbase 12 first.
"Did I ever tell you about the time your mother and I went to Temtibi Lagoon on Risa for our tenth wedding anniversary?"
Lucas sighed; his fingers flew deftly across the console before him making a minor course correction in the navigation computer as the freighter he was piloting hurtled through space. His action was so effortless that he only actively thought about it after he had completed the act. That was how used he was to being at the helm of this merchant vessel - well, his father's merchant vessel to be precise. He knew every nook and cranny of the ship, including the deficiencies of the navigational and astrogation systems.
In some ways, he had grown up on this ship. He would join his father on long hauls across star systems when he was on long breaks from school, learning about what it was like to make a living moving people and cargo across space. It was not an exaggeration to say that his home was equally on this old and dingy Anteras-class freighter with his father as much as it was his mother in her cozy bungalow in Bajor's Dhakur Province.
That was the pleasure of growing up with divorced parents, he surmised.
"You get two of everything" Lucas recalled his father saying shortly after both he and his mother broke the news to him when he was only fourteen that they would be divorcing. It had not come as a surprise to the young Lucas, but it had also been gut-wrenching. Now he realized that at the time, he had let the imagination of an adolescent boy run wild with all sorts of machinations as to how his world was ending. However, none of his fears materialized.
Even separated, his parents were diligent in their care and although both had demanding and consuming careers, neither shirked their responsibilities as parents. While he predominantly resided on Bajor with his mother, a botanist by profession. Lucas also got to spend time with his father who was a freighter captain.
"Yes dad, you've told me several times. " Lucas replied after a long pause. He swiveled his chair to look back at the lone chair where his father sat.
Drake Gates was a rather tall figure, with a tanned complexion, long blonde hair and an easy smile that revealed browning teeth – no doubt from the multiple raktajino he consumed daily. He was nursing a mug of the Klingon coffee even now. How he stomached the thing was beyond Lucas.
"You know, there is such a thing as too much information even between a father and a son. I don't exactly need to hear about how you and mom experienced the meaning of sexual liberation on Risa."
"Nonsense," Drake laughed. "You are old enough and besides, we all have needs. Unless you magically grew pointy ears overnight. And even then, I hear pon farr from Vulcans can be quite intense. You know, I used to have this Vulcan friend years ago who-"
"We are not having this discussion right now," Lucas replied and swiveled his seat back to face the helm station.
Drake laughed. It was the kind of hearty laugh that easily disarmed people because of how playful and genuine it was. It seemed to emerge deep from within Drake’s stomach. Without meaning to, Lucas smiled.
"Well if you won’t enjoy the sexual pleasures of Risa, then I hope you at least take some time to rest up before you launch into your new role on the Independence. I suspect it’s going to be very busy, so you should take all the down time you can now. Speaking of which, do you know anyone on the ship?”
Lucas shook his head. “Not that I know off, but then again there are hundreds of people on the ship.”
“You excited, nervous, terrified?” Drake asked as he took a sip of his raktajino.
“All of the above,” Lucas responded. He swivelled his chair to fully face his father. “How was it for you when you joined the Earth Cargo Service back in the day?”
Drake paused, his eyes glancing into the beyond as if lost in the past. “Well, it was all of the above for me as well. But you know, I also knew I was ready. And I had a hell of a lot to prove. After all, I had to prove to my friends that I could land a date with T’Pril.
Lucas blinked. “Seriously dad, you joined Earth Cargo Service for a girl?”
“Not just any girl,” Drake responded. “T’Pril – the most gifted pilot in the service at the time, not to mention those piercing green Vulcan eyes, velvet skin, wide hips, thin lips and–”
“But not comparable to mom, right?” Lucas interjected.
Drake paused and blinked. “I plead the fifth,” he said with a playful grin as he took a sip of his raktajino.
Lucas sighed again.
“The point I’m trying to make son, is I had a goal. Nervous and terrified as I was, I knew I was ready – well as ready as anybody can be when you are that green. You will find that you learn as you go. You will make mistakes – and sometimes they will be a doozy, but you will also learn and be better for it. But my guiding star was my goal and I strived towards it relentlessly.
“Now look at me,” Drake continued gesturing his hands wide out to signify his surroundings. “Living the dream. My own ship, crew, good reputation across multiple systems and all the latinum to live comfortably for two lifetimes.”
Lucas laughed. “Sure, living the dream.” He paused. “And what happened with this T’Pril?”
Drake took a sip of his raktajino, a playful grin on his face. “I don’t kiss and tell. But if you really must know, your mother is not the only person I took to Risa’s Temtibi Lagoon.”
“Of course,” Lucas responded rolling his eyes. He swivelled his chair back to face the helm control then paused and turned slightly right such that he could see his father through his periphery vision.
“Knowing what you know now dad, do you have any regrets?”
Drake shook his head. “Was it uncomfortable and painful at times? Did I question my choices? Absolutely, yes. But I wouldn’t trade even one iota for it all for all the latinum in the known universe.”
Lucas turned back to his console, his mind a little bit eased. Like his father, he was about to embark down a winding path that would be challenging but he hoped would ultimately prove to be gratifying. He only wished he would come out at the end of it as happy and seemingly carefree as his father.
There was a short series of beep from his console, catching his attention. “Approaching Starbase 12,” Lucas stated. “Looks like this is the end of the line for us both dad, until next time.”
Drake stood up and walked to the helm console placing his hand on Lucas’ left shoulder. “I’m always here for you son if you ever need anything, you know that right?”
“I do, thanks.” Lucas paused and a mischievous smile played across his face.
“I’m still telling mom about this T’Pril woman.”
Ensign Lucas Miles
Flight Control Officer