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The Beginning of Something New

With their ship in ruins the crew of the Galileo wait for their new assignments

Cornelius Harrington I presume, Part 1

USS Oberon
Early 2399

Neil looked in the lounge window, seeing his reflection in the glass as he ran his fingers through his temples. “Jesus grey,” he muttered, attempting to cover up the aging hair with his darker brown strands. He couldn’t help but realize how much older he looked. Was it actual maturity? Or was it the stress of it all? He really couldn’t answer that question.

Yet here he stood, in the Officer’s lounge of the USS Oberon, waiting to see what the next step in his career was going to be. He’d already been turned down for a Command of his own, mainly due to age and experience. He sighed, seeing the doors open behind him. “Captain,” he greeted the man. Was this going to be another denial or, worse, a transfer to a different ship? As he watched the man approach him, his entire career suddenly flashed in his eyes.

: Flashback 20 years ago:

The young man stood there, looking out over the large meadow that led to the entrance of Starfleet Academy. Behind those gates were the famous gardens once tended by Boothby himself.  And behind that, four years of schooling. To say that he was scared, nervous, or even excited was a complete understatement. In the back of his mind, he couldn’t help but ask himself if it was too late. Was he sure about this career path? Crossing that entrance came with a high price, a price that included the loss of his parents.  If he proceeded, what little relationship he had would be lost. Could he do that?

He reached up, rubbing his shoulder. He could still feel the pressure of his father’s hand on his shoulder as the man tossed him out of the house. Neil knew throughout the years that his parents disagreed with the military aspect of Starfleet.  To them, it wasn’t the utopia painted in all the stories.  He took a deep breath, “No more Neil, it is time,” he told himself.

“Neil..”

“Neil, are you listening….”

“Cornelius Harrington, did you hear what I said?”

Neil shuddered, oh how he hated that name, and Captain Everton knew it. “Excuse me, Sir,” he smiled, turning to face the man. “My mind must have drifted off, you were saying?”

The older man laughed, “I give you possibly the news of a lifetime, and you daydream,” he took a deep breath, “Perhaps it isn’t time,” he tucked the padd back into his tunic.

It finally hit him, as the words Commanding Officer said replayed in his mind, “Are you serious,” he blurted out?

Everton smiled, “I am.” He took the padd out and tossed it at Harrington. “There isn’t much detail there. I have seen more detailed reports from well….” He shrugged, “Listen, don’t read too much into this yet; you know how Starfleet can be.  However, it’s a start, and they don’t have your next assignment listed, so…”  He looked at the man, “keep an open mind.”

The conversation continued for a few moments, before Neil took his leave  Lucia wasn’t going to like a move that didn’t include a future.  As he walked through the bridge, he spoke to no one in particular, “Captain Neil Harrington,” he wrinkled his nose, gaining a few odd looks from the crew around him. He didn’t really care who heard him, “Captain Cornelius Harrington,” he shuddered, “No.”

He heard a laugh behind him as the turbolift door opened, “Keep dreaming, Captain,” the voice mocked. “The day they make you a Captain, I get my Admiral pips,” the Chief Engineer laughed.

Neil turned as the lift doors started to close, “Well then, Admiral, see you in Engineering,” he commented.  Stopping by the nearest replicator, Neil ordered up one long-stem red rose and a toy stuff starship before heading off to his quarters.  Neil walked in, holding the rose in front of him, making the short distance to his quarter. “Tengo mi comando,” he blurted out, attempting to practice his Spanish.  “I think,” he added.

Lucia laughed but tried to cover it up. “Mi Amor,” she kissed him, “Stick to English, dear. That was horrible.”

Neil reached down, ending their embrace, scooping up the three-year-old now clinging to his leg. “Tonight we go to the holodeck; I reserved it for the entire night. Whatever you two want….”

Cornelius Harrington I presume, Part 2

USS Oberon
Early 2399

While Neil had wanted to visit some of Earth’s most famous sites, Lucia only enjoyed a quiet afternoon on the beach. Sun, sand, and water; they were her only requirement for a date with her family. Neil knew that he could protest, but after several years of marriage, it didn’t work.  In the end, he would be dawning sandals, cotton pants, and some sort of loose-fitting Hawaiian shirt.  One of the few words of wisdom someone had shared on his wedding day was a simple phrase that consisted of two words, “Yes Dear.”

They were simple and yet carried strong meaning. Neil also knew that Lucia didn’t like it, and at times, he meant it more as a condescending phrase. He looked up at his wife, as she motioned to the pile of clothes Tess had left in her wake.  The small child had taken one look at the water, and all you could see was a half-naked child running to play.  

“Yes, dear,” he replied.

Lucia shot him a look, with a playful glare. Neil only smiled, scooping up Tess’ belongings, “You do realize if you keep encouraging this, we will be getting a call from Security one of these days regarding a naked three-year-old running through the ship,” Neil laughed.

Lucia only giggled, using her foot to splash water up at her husband. “Well then, her father is going to have to leave the bridge and assist his wife,” she added more as a fact, then a question. She smiled, patting him on the chest, and then turned to play with her child.

Neil opted not to reply because he knew she was right. Instead, he plopped down into a nearby chair and looked on as his family played. He watched as Lucia would gently scoop up water, then dump it on Tess’ head. He smiled, but internally he was nervous. He couldn’t help but wonder how this new position would change the dynamics of his family. Their life would undoubtedly be different if he did get a Command. Still, they had always managed to keep what they had and make it work.

He thought back to the day he’d met Lucia. Little did he know that this Hispanic beauty would change his life. She had brought out the best in him and shown him a life that he’d never seen. Pulling out a padd, he started to read a book that had taken him almost 20 years to finish, but he was close. He was going to use this free time to finish this once and for all, finally.

:Back At The Academy:

It was the first day of his life at Starfleet Academy; Cadet Harrington stood in the corner of the room scanning the crowd; the sheer number of Freshman Cadets was exasperating. He hadn’t expected this many people. Walking up to the cafeteria counter, Neil grabbed an apple and a carton of milk. He wasn’t that hungry, but he knew that the rest of the day would be rough, so eat now or don’t eat at all. Scanning the available tables, he saw an empty one near the back of the room. Making his way through the crowd, he sat down and pulled out a book.

At least till the Commanders interrupted him, the only thing he planned on doing was to read.   He knew that the rest of his time here would be spent on essays, reports, and tests. So now was the time to read, or he knew that he never would.

“Whatcha reading?”

Neil replied, “Ulysses by James Joyce.” Sliding over on the bench away from the voice.

“Dear Lord, why?”

“It is a compulsive read; you can’t help but read it,” he turned his back to the figure, attempting to read his book.

“Compulsive or not, Cadet..,” the voice paused, attempting to get his name, “You will be reading non-stop for the next four years. Why start your Academy life with this,” she asked, taking the book; out of his hands.

“Lucia Pineda, Diplomatic Cadet at least for now. I have plans, and I don’t want to be an Officer forever,” she added, “Youngest Ambassador ever, that is my goal.”

“For starters,” he turned to face the figure, interrupting her. “I’d like my padd back, please.” Neil never considered himself to be nervous around women, but she was gorgeous. She had long brown hair that swept over her shoulders. One look at her sent his heart into flutters. “I hmm,…. Well..”

She read a line out loud, “Stately, plump buck Mulligan came from the stairhead, bearing a bowl of lather on which a mirror and a razor lay crossed.” She gave him back the book, “Who in the hell reads this crap.”

Neil snorted, “I do, and unlike most Cadets….”  He looked up into her deep brown eyes and just melted.  He couldn’t allow her to get any more control over him, “If you will excuse me, I have things to take care of,” he took the book from her and quickly left.  He could hear her laughing behind him as he took off. 

“See you later, Ulysses,” she called out.

Later that night in his quarters, he spoke with his roommate, “Alex, you wouldn’t believe it. She was gorgeous, annoying as hell.  But those eyes.” 

Alex laughed, “day one, and already smitten.” 

“Whatever,” he tossed his pillow across the room.  Neil rested as his mind continued to drift off to Lucia. He couldn’t believe her forwardness.  He shook it off; he didn’t like her, he tried to convince himself. He was about to go for a walk when suddenly…

Neil jumped out of the chair, “Oh my god,” he shouted, turning back to see Lucia and Tess holding a bucket formerly filled with seawater. “You two are toast,” he raced after them.

He quickly grabbed the giggling three-year-old, tucking her under his arm. He raced after his wife as she kicked off her sandals and ran down the beach. “No,” she shouted playfully.

Neil only laughed as the water dripped off his daughter’s body running down his chest. “Oh my god, you are so cold and wet,” the father felt a cold shiver run down his spine. Catching up rather quickly, Neil placed Tess on Lucia’s back. The child reached her arms around, holding on for dear life shouting in her ears, “Mommy.”

Neil laughed, letting out a small snort in the process. He stepped backward, still laughing, failing to see a rather large tide pool behind him. Lucia raised an arm to warn him, but it was too late. Neil had been laughing so hard he fell over backward, landing waist-deep in the cold water.

Neil sat there looking up at his family, the lower half of his body completely submerged in water, freezing and wet. Lucia couldn’t help but find it entertaining. Tess raised her hand and pointed, “Daddy all wet,” her small hand covered her mouth and nose as the child laughed.

“Yes, Daddy is,” Neil replied; reaching up, he grabbed Lucia by the hand and pulled both of them down into his lap. “So are both of you, now,” he tapped the child’s nose.

Lucia screamed, but it was too late; her husband had been too fast. “I’m wearing white,” she blushed, “Now, how am I supposed to walk through the ship back to our quarters.”

“Carefully,” Neil replied. He embraced both of them. His whole life changed with one book and a rather forward lady. If he had known how much Lucia would have changed his life for the better, he wouldn’t have waited so long to marry her.

As Tess rested her head on her father’s chest, Neil wished time would slow down to this very moment. He could have spent the rest of his life here. Wrapping his arms around the small child, “my sweet baby girl,” he kissed the top of her head.

Lucia gently massaged her child’s back, looking at her husband. “You are a good father, Neil Harrington, and you will be a fine Commanding Officer.  Starfleet will see that,” she could see the fear in his eyes. “Now let’s get back, put someone to bed, and pack,” she smiled, placing a blanket over Tess.

Cornelius Harrington I presume, Part 3

USS Oberon
Early 2399

If there was one thing the Commander had learned from his time in Starfleet it was that packing your belongings had to be a science. When the brass said it was time to move, well, it was time to move. Neil looked out over the pile of assorted boxes, bags, and knick-knacks, sighing; he had always told himself that he wouldn’t be a packrat. However, since getting married and having Tess, well, his life had become even that much more “cluttered.”

He wrapped his arm around his wife and smiled, “Well, I think that is it. They will have our stuff beamed over to the transport soon, and we depart in 30.”

Lucia tucked Tess under her arm and rested her on her hip, “…and a pilot?”

“Luc,” Neil acted shocked, “that hurt, you know we don’t need a pilot.”

“Neil, I wouldn’t board a craft being piloted by you if you were the last pilot in all of the Federation,” she smiled lovingly. Lifting her head, she placed the back of her hand on Tess’ forehead.

Neil caught the sign, “What’s up, little lady,” he looked at Lucia, “Not feeling well?”

“She’s been running a fever,” she replied.

“Well, give her an aspirin, or whatever you give babies,” Neil acted like it was no big deal, “She will bounce back fast, won’t ya,” he wiggled the toddler’s foot. “They bounce back,” he said, showing his lack of knowledge of child medicine.

Protectively the girl’s mother pulled her back, “Stop that,” she slapped his hand, “Leave my baby alone.”

Neil scoffed, “Your baby?” Neil was about to say something when they were interrupted by an incoming call.

Lucia waved her hand as Neil opened the channel, “No, that is fine you go to work. I,” she overly stressed that last word, “will deal with the packing and the baby and work on a trip to sickbay when I am free. No problem.”

Neil blushed slightly as the Commodore on the screen let out a small chuckle. “Problems, Commander,” the older man joked.

Neil tried to reply but was interrupted by Lucia ranting in Spanish. Neil had no idea what she was saying, but he figured he would find out sooner or later. “No Sir, just the stress of packing, moving, and prepping for a new assignment.”

The Commodore leaned forward almost as if he was attempting to hide his comment, “Don’t worry, Neil, I’ve been married for 20 years, I understand.”

“I HEARD THAT,” Lucia shouted from the other room.

The older man laughed, “My apologies Mrs. Harrington, now Starbase 72,” he picked up a padd. “the station is located ….”

: 2 Hours Later :

The trip to the station had been relatively quiet, all things considered. Locked in a tube with about 20 people and someone else at the helm, Neil was ready to depart. Out of the corner of his eye, he could see Lucia still attempting to comfort their child. Her fever had gotten worse, and in the last hour, she’d stopped eating. Neil wanted to fix it; he didn’t like to see someone he loved hurting. However, their resources were limited, and the required staff none existent.

Neil walked over to Lucia. He could see that she was tired, and it was getting time to depart. The craft would dock with the station, and his first stop after departure was Sickbay. The vessel had received clearance, the crew departed, and the welcoming committee greeted the incoming personnel.

Neil cradling Tess against his chest, he spoke, “First stop, I promise is Sickbay,” he stated, “No Officer duties.”

Lucia had managed to get her handbag, taking Tess back, she kissed her husband. “You need to be an Officer,” she smiled, “I know better. I will take her to the Doctor, you go.” She patted his chest, “Can’t be late, now go.”

Neil returned the kiss, leaning over. He was about to kiss Tess on the forehead as the young child turned and vomited all over his father’s uniform. Neil swallowed hard; if there was one thing about being a parent; it was puke. He turned just in time to be greeted by a Security Officer.

“Cornelius  Harrington, I presume,” the female Officer offered a hand but pulled it back, seeing his condition.

Neil blushed in embarrassment, giving a half-smile, “That is me…reporting as ordered,” he tried to make a joke.