Part of Challenger: The Romulan War: Whatever The Cost May Be

Whatever The Cost May Be – ONE

Ares City, Mars, Sol System
Tuesday, December 8th, 2155
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The moment the alarm went off besides him, Harvey Rafferty responded by groaning and turning over onto his stomach after trying to reach out to hit the wake up call off. Stopping his tracks, he finally realised  why he had to stop. Bolting up straight in his bed, he looked around his bedroom and smiled big time. He knew what today was. December 8th. His birthday.

Instantly he pushed the covers off his bed and jumped to the floor. Running across the room he picked up the hoodie that was hanging over the armchair and headed straight to the door . As he moved himself across the hallway like a flash of lighting, he pulled the item of clothing over his bare torso. Though to be more precise he was like an excited child on Christmas Day, eager to see what awaited him ahead.  Making his way into the living room he was greeted by balloons and banners up and around the place. Smirking at the effort his father had gone to celebrate his birthday, he turned around and saw his dad standing there with a mug of coffee in his hand along with a huge grin on his face.

“Happy Birthday Harv!” He said before making his way over to hug his son.

Harvey returned the embrace and appreciated, as always, the effort his father went into. Steven Barnes was not his biological father, however for the past three years he had been there for Harvey through dealing with the death of his parents during the Xindi attack and furthermore as he trained to enlist with the MACOs. “Thanks dad.” He replied. Though he missed his actual father, the closeness he had with Steven was just as good.

“Finally twenty!” Barnes said as he returned to the kitchen area and pulled out a wrapped up box. Passing it to Harvey across the worktop, Barnes offered his son his present. “Here, I hope it fits.”

Immediately Harvey sat down at the breakfast bar and took the gift into his hand. It was wrapped in blue and red wrapping paper with a similar colour bow around it. Pulling it across, the cuboid shaped box’s top opened with ease and inside wrapped in black tissue paper was a leather jacket. “Oh my god, dad this is amazing! Thank you so much!” Harvey said as he rose it upwards.

“I know you mentioned in your last letter that you liked the jacket one of your MACO friends had on, so when I visited Earth a fortnight ago I picked it up while in New York.” Barnes explained. “Are you sure it’s okay?”

“It’s perfect.” Harvey replied as he looked more at the leather jacket, taking into account the detail. Instantly he put it on and was looking at how well it fit him. “This is just something else.”

Smiling at his son, Barnes nodded. “Glad you like it.” He took a sip of his coffee. “Now, before I need to head to school, fancy a famous Barnes Birthday Breakfast?”

“Absolutely, plus extra bacon please!” Harvey answered as he took the jacket off and carefully folded it over the nearby stall.

Turning to return to the cooking he had already started, Barnes carried on their chat. “What are your plans for today? Are you still heading to Earth to meet up with your friends?”

“Yeah, I’ll probably stay over at one of theirs for a few days. You’re not mad about that are you?” Harvey checked.

Chuckling, Barnes shook his head. “Harvey, I used to go out drinking with my buddies when I was your age. Just don’t do anything stupid and when you’re back, I thought we could head over to Utopia, there’s a great new climbing experience they’ve got over there. Do you fancy doing it?”

“Yeah sure, that sounds good.” Harvey nodded in response.

“Good, because I don’t want to book it and then you get recalled.” Barnes said.

Shaking his own head now, Harvey sighed. “Unfortunately I can’t see that happening anytime soon. Now that Challenger is back and we’ve all been ordered to take three weeks of shore leave, I don’t think those orders are going to change. Not unless the Romulans attack here.”

“Well let’s hope that’s not going to happen anytime soon.” Barnes stated as he carried on cooking. “Oh I told Principal Donovan you would stop by at some point while you’re back.”

“Sure,” Harvey agreed, “I don’t have much else planned.” He sighed.

Wissant, France, Earth, Sol System

Stifling a yawn as she stepped down the staircase, Ghislaine Dubois placed the back of right hand in front of her mouth before removing it so she could sip on her hot mug of coffee. “Bonjour.” She called out to those who were present in the large family kitchen area she entered. Being back home at her chateau in northern-France was a welcome break. Waking up in a bed she had not been in for months was also a pleasant experience. The Challenger’s quartermaster and chief of the boat was no longer in her Starfleet jumpsuit uniform, instead she wore a simple white long sleeved top and a pair of black leggings.

“Bonjour ma petite fille.” Her mother said from where she stood at the big oven stove where she was boiling a kettle. “Comment ça va?”

“Comme ci comme ça, ma mère” She answered with a slight smile. In all honesty, she was still exhausted and was enjoying adjusting to being back home. Seeing her mother, Bridgette Chardonnet standing in the kitchen preparing breakfast made Dubois smile as she was taken back to her early childhood days of similar scenes happening every morning before she went to school. “Comment ça va, maman?” She returned asking her mother how she was. At seventy-two years of age, Bridgette was a retired marine biologist and instead helped around the chateau that Dubois owned with her husband. Friends of theirs had taken over managing it years ago when they had ventured off to join Starfleet. However one cavat remained which included that a part of the chateau was off limits and was designated for Dubois and her family’s private use. Her mother potted around the grounds, helping with odd jobs here and there. She mainly enjoyed undertaking the upkeep of the gardens or speaking to visiting schools who were there on residentials. Some nights she would help out in the kitchens with the cleaning up or would go into the local fishing town of Wissant and collect a range of goods to cook for her family when they were around. When her daughter had returned home, she had done exactly that.

Fresh croissants, pain au chocolats and broken up baguette sat on the long breakfast table that ran down the middle of the kitchen. Though Dubois enjoyed the food she had eaten on Challenger this past year, nothing would beat her mother’s home made breakfast. Fresh fruit was also available along with freshly squeezed orange juice. Her mother had not changed in over forty years.

After the water on the hob finished boiling, Bridgette took it over to the pot of coffee she was making and poured it in. While she made a new pot of coffee, she answered her daughter, telling her she couldn’t complain about her life. “Je suis toujours en vie et je ne peux pas me plaindre.”

Smiling at her mother’s optimism, Dubois leant forward and grabbed herself a pain au chocolate and started to tear it apart before she began to nibble at it. “Magnifique.” She praised her mother in between mouthfuls before her mother brought over the coffee pot and began pouring it in two clean mugs for them both. “Merci beaucoup.”

Her mother sipped on her own coffee before looking at her daughter. “When is my handsome son-in-law arriving?” She asked in a thick French accent.

Ghislaine loved how her mother was able to move from one language to the next. It had always been something her parents had taught her from an early age. From speaking her native tongue, there would be times her parents would speak in English or German. When learning Vulcan appeared on her school’s curriculum, she had been encouraged by them both to take it. Even if it was just for a year. “The May is arriving this evening. He should be here by ten o’clock.” She answered, referring to her husband. For the first time in over twelve months, both of them would have the same time off and she was looking forward to seeing Antoine.

“And your camarades?” Her mother asked, switching back to her French tongue as she finished that question.

“They’ll be here later this evening.” Ghislaine answered. “Are you sure you’re okay with so many visiting the chateau?”

“Ouais.” Her mother said, agreeing with a nod to her head as well as, shrugging her shoulders as she reached for an orange and began peeling it. “It’s your chateau, your business ma princesse.”

“I know, I saw that we were empty for the rest of the week and up until the weekend and I just thought it would be a good place for everyone to get together.” Dubois explained to her mother.

“How bad is it ma chérie amour?” Her mother asked before popping an orange segment in her mouth.

Knowing she was referring to the war, Dubois’ mood changed. “C’est de la merde.”

“Then having your friends here to get away from it all, is no issue. I will go into town and get the finest food and wine for them all.” Her mother insisted before taking a sip from her coffee.

“Merci beaucoup ma mère.” Dubois said with an appreciative smile before finishing her next bit of the pain au chocolat she had started.

Laguna Beach, California, United States of America, Earth, Sol System

With just a carry-on duffle bag pulled over his shoulder, Theo Metaxas walked up the white steps towards the main gates. The relatively warm California air hit his back. Looking down at the spiral staircase he had just taken up from Laguna Beach  and up towards the villa his parents owned, he looked to see if he could see anyone. So far there was no-one.

The huge black iron double gates that stopped anyone from entering were firmly closed and a quick peep through them revealed to Metaxas that no-one was around. Though it was almost mid-morning, he was expecting to see someone. Sighing to himself that not a single soul was present to welcome him home, he went over to the nearby access panel and put in his personal access code. It was a simple eight digit code, one that his parents had given him years ago. Instantly it recognised him and the magnetic locks on the gates became unsealed. Pushing one of them open he stepped through and closed the gate behind him.

Looking around the courtyard, he smirked to himself at how much not much had changed. Noticing the plants around the patio area had all been cut right back (probably something his father did as he was obsessed with gardening), Metaxas was still on the search for some life.

Wearing a pair of white jogging shorts, a salmon hoodie, a pair of flip-flops and a white baseball cap back to front, he looked a different person from the engineer that he normally was. Approaching the main doors, he once pulled the house bell but after not getting a response from anyone again, he tapped in his access code which was followed by a fingerprint scan. His parents had increased the security of their home a few years ago after his mother had become Deputy-Director of Fleet Operations at Starfleet Operations. Stepping inside he was once again presented with an empty house.

Sighing heavily, he dropped his bag down on the floor and walked over to the nearby circular table that welcomed all of their guests. On it a vase sat with numerous native flowers in it. All sending up a range of welcoming smells. His father, every week, always brought his mother a bouquet of flowers home. She had always placed them in the glass vase. Their romance had never died, even though both of them were extremely busy people in this day and age. He had always admired his parents for the small romantic gestures they did for each other.

That all said, he was kind of pleased he had the place to himself. It was more than likely both his parents were at work and he would be home alone for the rest of the day until they got home that evening. Being alone was something he kind of welcomed. Being off the Challenger for three weeks seemed like a good idea. He had initially returned back with his friends, but after watching both Liam and Niall smooching with one another on the transport down, he had changed his mind in travelling with them to France today. Chief Dubois had invited the entire crew to stay at her chateau for the rest of the week, especially for some it may be difficult to go home or find somewhere so late to take a vacation to. Though he may still change his mind later on this evening, seeing as it was less than an hour trip to get to France, Theo had opted to go home.

Deciding he would head up to his bedroom, Theo was about to make his way up towards the staircase that was before him but then heard movement coming from what sounded like the kitchen.

Slowly he crept through the hallway and approached the entrance to the kitchen. Wishing he had a phase pistol with him, Theo saw someone standing with their back to him bent over with their head in the refrigerator. Straight away he recognised who it was.

“Deacon! What the hell are you doing here?” He called after his brother.

Automatically, his older brother turned around and smirked at him. “I’m raiding the fridge, what does it look like dumbass?”

Rolling his eyes at his brother’s response, Theo walked across the room. “Mom and dad aren’t going to be happy with you.” He remarked.

“Thank you for the advice Starfleet.” Deacon replied, adding a scoff. Deacon was a lot like his younger brother. Blonde hair, blue eyes, though he was slightly smaller in height he had a lot more muscle. Only a year older than him, Deacon and Theo had grown up always having one another’s back as kids. Both of their parents had placed their careers before the family, as a result both boys had spent their time together. However unlike Theo, Deacon had not entered Starfleet and instead was a MACO officer that was currently assigned to Voyager.

“Anything good to eat?” Theo asked as he sat down on one of the breakfast bar stools that was sat in the middle of the kitchen.

“Nothing. Looks like neither of our parents have been home for days. There’s nothing edible in this refrigerator.” He turned to look back at his brother. “I didn’t know Challenger was remaining in orbit?”

Rolling his eyes, Theo nodded before confirming more facts. “The ship is undergoing more repairs and refits. What about Voyager?”

“Yeah, same thing.” Deacon replied before heading over to where their parents kept a kettle and took it off the stove to fill up. “My entire MACO unit is being shipped out to Nevada in a couple of days for training exercises. Thought I’d stay here for a few days.”

“Yeah, I was hoping to get away from everything before meeting up with some of my shipmates in France.” Theo commented.

“Well, enjoy the croissants for me.” Deacon replied after filling up the kettle and placing it back on the stove. “Did you tell either mom or dad you were home?”

“Nope.” Theo answered, popping the ‘p’. “You?”

“Nah, I didn’t have time. From being on constant standby during that entire mission, I was never certain if I was about to jump into a firefight with the Romulans or the Klingons.” Deacon replied. “How’s everyone on Challenger doing?”

Shrugging his shoulders. “Probably the same as Voyager.”

“Yeah, I bet.” Deacon sighed deeply. “Man, I’m starving.”

“Me too.” Theo sat up, rubbing his stomach. “I can’t believe they’ve not got anything in.”

“Let’s head out, that beach cafe we used to go to on the boardwalk as kids may still be open. Fancy breakfast? My treat, Starfleet!” Deacon offered.

“That sounds great MACO.” Theo said, jumping off his seat before his brother walked over and put his arm over his shoulder. Maybe being home wasn’t such a bad thing, Theo thought as they made their way out of their parents’ house and along to the beach they had enjoyed often as kids.

Ayr, Scotland, United Kingdom, Earth, Sol System


Mumbling back a somewhat affirmative response with just noises, Angela Hathaway kept her eyes closed and instead snuggled further into the strong arms she found herself wrapped in.

“Ange, we should get up.” The deep voice stated.

Shaking her head, she dug her nose further into the chest she was using as a pillow.

“But the boys may come in here.” The voice remarked.

“I don’t care.” She mumbled, opening one eye and looking up at the person she shared her bed with.

Giving her a charming smile, Rupesh Iyer greeted her with a simple “morning” before leaning in to kiss her.

Returning the early morning affection, she placed one hand on the back of his neck and returned the long passionate kiss. Though they had played around on the ship with the odd flirting here and there, plus a few drunken evenings, Challenger’s second helm officer and first sergeant had finally decided to take their relationship further. Returning to her two bedroom flat in Ayr, they had picked up Rupesh’s adopted sons the evening before and had flown back to the wet and very windy Scottish town she called home. Hathaway quite liked how they had their little setup. “Last night was perfect.” She said after letting go.

“Sure was.” Iyer agreed, keeping his hand on her cheek as he admired her beauty a bit longer. “I hope this doesn’t mean you plan to gossip about this with the others?”

Shocked and a bit dismayed to hear that, Hathaway sat up pulling the bed sheet over her chest. The sheet pulled away from Iyer, showing his bare chest and just barely covering his bottom half. “I take great offence that you think I’m a gossip.”

Rolling his eyes while smirking at her, he placed one arm behind his head before responding back. “Oh come on Ange, you and I both know that you’ve been spending more time with Martha and the others. I’ve seen you four in the mess hall, having your lunches together. It doesn’t take much for your gossip mill to get around the ship about how you were all discussing Ensign Reddick’s physique.”

Hating the fact he was partly right about that, Hathaway was slightly pleased that he hadn’t heard about what else they had spoken about. “I promise not to say anything…yet” she added at the end. Leaning back into him, Hathaway placed her head back on his chest and instantly Iyer wrapped his strong arms around her. “That said they are going to ask for an update when we go to France.”

Chuckling and shaking his head, Iyer knew that was coming. “And what are you going to tell them?”

“That you caved in and we finally admitted that there’s something here between us.” She answered quickly before turning over to look at him directly in his eyes. “I’m not allowed to lie to fellow officers.”

More laughter came from Iyer, “You don’t have to share it with them, or what we did last night.”

“What are you talking about?” Hathaway replied straight away. “Are you saying what we did last night was not good for me to share with my close colleagues?”

“There’s something called privacy, Ange. I’d prefer the rest of the MACOs not to find out, yet.” He replied, pushing a strand of her auburn hair out of her face.

“Oh come on Rupesh, you and I are going to out do Niall and Liam in being Challenger’s new it couple.” Hathaway remarked. “They’ve had plenty of time in the spotlight, I say our reign needs to start soon!”

Shaking his head in disbelief while still smiling, Iyer couldn’t believe how Hathaway was committed in outdoing both Jenkins and Stewart. “Fine, but I’m not having Liam complaining while we are training about Niall’s complaining about you rubbing in their faces.”

“Now there’s the man I fell for last night!” Hathaway giggled as she fell back down on top of him. “This is perfect Rupesh.”

“It is.” He replied, joining her with another big smile.

There was a knock on the door and straight away both of them knew who it was. “Silence has been disturbed.” Hathaway commented as she quickly wrapped herself in the blanket they had over the bed while Iyer leant over to the floor and picked up the underwear he had yanked off from the night before.

“Can we come in?” came the voice of Edro from the other side of the door.

“We head you two up, we’re hungry!” Moaned Roburn.

The two boys they had rescued from Ardana had grown a lot in the last few months while they had lived with Iyer’s parents in India. Now they were home for a few weeks, both Iyer and Hathaway had decided to spend it with them before Challenger was sent back out on its next mission.

The moment they were both decent and somewhat clothed, Iyer called out for the boys to come in. As they entered, Iyer took a moment to appreciate this family he was finally creating with Hathaway. He knew it was worth fighting for and worth putting on the uniform each day.