Elizabeth sat rigidly bow in right hand and violin to her chin. Over the speakers played a melancholy piano accompaniment, as she played along to Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata. The notes rose and fell as the vibrato echoed off the walls as the violin seemed to weep and then scream out in agony.
As the final notes fell to silence the dull hum of the ship came back, and it seemed to punctuate the loneliness she felt aboard the Aquarius. Sighing she slid her violin into its case and carefully closed the lid.
Standing she went to the replicator and got herself a coffee. She had been dreading going over her messages. Her cousin Ethan, and his ship were missing in the wake of the century storm. Dimly she wondered how her Uncle Milo was dealing with that… or his wife Trinity. They had the twins and another baby on the way.
Sitting down behind her computer she opened it and to her surprise there were no new messages. I guess there’s no new news, she mused.
Sighing she logged into the subspace network and after a few minutes later her mom appeared on the screen. “Hey Mom.”
“Liz? What time is it there,” her mom asked concerned.
Elizabeth shrugged. She really didn’t know, but if she had to guess it was well after midnight. “It’s late,” she admitted, “Couldn’t sleep. Keep thinking about Ethan, and other things.”
“Other things?” Her mom asked.
Elizabeth took a sip of her black coffee and then took a deep breath before continuing. “On our last mission a group of criminals were causing earthquakes. Our captain was buried alive. Every time I close my eyes to sleep I see that rubble. It scares me mom.”
“Oh sweetie,” her mother cooed. “You’re here, and you’re fine.”
“I know. It’s just messing me up.”
Her mother gave her a warm smile, “Tell me all about it.”
Elizabeth spent the next ten minutes detailing the mission in great detail. Her mother was a good listener, and only interpreted to make poignant observations or ask relevant questions. After telling the whole story she felt better.
“I suppose you’re right. I hadn’t thought of that time that fort we built collapsed in on us as kids. I think I tried to block it out. I was probably only buried for fifteen minutes before dad dug us kids out, but it felt like days. The wood and dirt made it real hard to breathe too. Speaking of dad. How is he?”
“He’s doing good. You know he had that heart replacement last month after his second heart attack.”
“I kept telling him that he needed to exercise.”
“You know your father. He is always using that store as an excuse… the thing is he’s usually right. We can’t keep good help. Lost Tony to Starfleet two weeks ago so I have been covering his shifts and your dad’s been staying late. But, we’ll find someone.”
“I suppose you will,” Elizabeth replied worry still etched across her brow. “Why don’t you sell the store. Grandpa has been asking for help on the ranch for a long time. With Ethan missing Trinity and Grandpa can’t do it all.”
“David’s running things over there. Your grandfather just wants us close by. I love my father, but he’s not an easy man to live with. Always got an opinion.”
Elizabeth laughed at that. So did her mother. She supposed the apple didn’t fall too far from the tree in this case.
“Speaking of Ethan. Have you heard anything about the Pike?”
Elizabeth sighed. Here it was. The conversation she had been dreading. She would have much preferred to pretend this wasn’t happening until she knew something more than nothing. Shaking her head, “No mom, I haven’t, though if we don’t find something soon Starfleet will likely declare them MIA, and presumed dead. They have the USS Crazy Horse looking for him, but last I heard that ship didn’t even have a captain. It’s own captain is missing the second officer is in command right now.”
Her mother sighed, “Milo is… well you know Milo. He’s playing it strong, but I know my brother. He’s not doing well.”
Elizabeth sighed. Her Uncle Milo was her favorite of her mother’s brothers and sisters and she didn’t want to think about how he must be feeling. He was on Earth with her Aunt Becca as she was an Admiral in Starfleet, and far from the rest of the family. “Aunt Becca, will help him through this. And you never know; ships do pop back up from time to time.”
“They do, but often decades later. Anyway, other than your last mission how is your new assignment?”
“It’s fine. Little challenges for the most part. The Aquarius is a fine ship, but periodic maintenance is a bit of a drag,” she said with a shrug.
“Making any friends?”
Elizabeth frowned, and after a moment she shook her head, “Not yet, but I’m sure I will… eventually.” Her mother frowned with concern, and Elizabeth finished off her coffee and pushed the cup aside. “Mom, I suppose I should try to get some sleep.”
“Okay sweetie. I’m glad you called.”
“I love you mom,” she said just before closing the comm line. Standing she placed her cup in the replicator and pressed the recycle button.
She paused at the corner she used as a music area considering picking up her guitar. Strumming always relaxed her. In the end she decided it was already too late and padded into the bedroom changing into pajamas she slid into bed.