Transporter Room – 1400
“Welcome aboard Starbase Bravo, Lieutenant.” The transporter officer accepted the man’s proffered PADD and signed off on his arrival. “Your quarters are marked here, and your belongings have been transported already.” Henry Longfellow gave the man an indifferent nod and left through the doors without speaking. The journey from Montana to here had been bittersweet. His wife was finding her way to a medical frigate somewhere, and their last day together had been spent wondering if they’d made the right decision. Longfellow grumbled as he walked the corridors. Space was a fascinating place and it held far more adventure than working on Earth. That had been the impetus behind their path change. His wife had seized on it as a way to get a piece of The Undiscovered Country before they were too old to enjoy it. Henry had agreed, but as he turned corridor to corridor until he stood before the door to his quarters. – he was starting to wonder.
Longfellow’s Quarters – 1430
“What were you thinking, Henry?” He asked himself out loud. Some might have called the situation a mid-life crisis or something but it less of that and more of the need to do something different. He had spent his life working on hospitals in Montana and hadn’t ventured much outside of the state. Suddenly the two of them were discovering how isolated they had become. Space offered a bigger sky than Big Sky Country and stars beyond measure. In theory, it was the answer. In the practice of the moment, it was the question. He sighed and tapped the keycode into the door and it swooshed open, revealing the spartan features he had expected. A living room, a bathroom, and a sleeping room. It was the simple life in Starfleet, he had learned. Two years in the academy had prepared him for this moment…and yet he resisted stepping into the room. It felt as if it was the point of no return to cross the threshold. There would be no turning back.
Come on, Longfellow, he shouted at himself in his head. He forced his feet to cross the doorway. He let out a deep breath as the door closed behind him. He’d put in his application for physician and it had been approved speedily. He was convinced it was something to do with the recent events and less with his application and resume. He wasn’t a sterling surgeon from the high-rise hospitals out East or West. He was a small-town doctor who found a special joy in riding horses in backcountry Montana. Stepping aboard a massive starbase with plenty of glittering lights and windows felt awkward. He’d have to make do.
It took him a few hours to hang his photos and mementos, and adjust the lighting and furniture to his liking. The music of Duke Ellington echoed in the background as he moved and shifted. There was something about the early Earth years of Jazz. Power, emotion, and theme ran deep in the music and lyrics. He wondered if those that had been listening to the men and women of that time realized the greatness their ears were beholding. He sat down and felt a sense of accomplishment in his efforts. He glanced at his chrono. Dinner would be soon enough and tomorrow’s duty would be coming with a new day. For now, he clicked over to Billie Holiday and allowed the music to bring him some peace in the chaos ahead.