“Yes, Tremt, pregnant.”
Tremt Hunsen had heard the words echo in his mind for several seconds. He couldn’t quite fathom the entire situation he found himself in as it didn’t make sense to him. Looking at Horin beside him, the two were alone in a private room (one of many that sickbay had on offer), sitting on the biobed. Hearing her confirm his question for the third time in a matter of minutes since he had arrived in sickbay still didn’t make it all appear real yet. The ball had yet to drop with him.
“But how?” He asked.
Horin looked at him and glared, showing she wasn’t impressed that he was asking that question.
“Are you sure?” Hunsen checked for clarity again.
Horin nodded one more time, “Of course, I’m sure.” She threw her hands up in the air, frustrated with Hunsen’s response. “Unless Doctor Slyvexs has forgotten how to use a tricorder properly!”
Realising he had pushed her buttons too far, Hunsen quickly showed how sorry he was for his behaviour. “Oh, Imzadi, I didn’t mean…” He paused as he took a breath. “I mean a baby…You and me…” He took in another breath. “Wow. Just wow.”
“Surprise.” Horin sarcastically said.
Nodding in agreement, Hunsen calmed himself down. “Surprise is right.”
“Well, it’s not really, especially when one of us…” Horin trailed off as she looked at Hunsen.
He completed the sentence. “…one of us forgot our injection last month. Remi reminded me of that. It’s just that the way things have been going on lately-”
Horin placed her hand upon his arm, stopping him from blubbering on further. “You don’t have to apologise.” She assured him.
“I don’t?” Hunsen paused.
Hunsen smiled at her. *Imzadi, I love you.*
*I love you too, Imzadi.*
Hunsen leaned in and softly kissed Horin; a sense of happiness rushed over them both simultaneously.
Walking down the corridor of deck eight, Captain McCallister was heading home and feeling like, for the first time in ages, things were starting to become normal again as he was able to finish his shift on time and be back to make dinner for his sons. He couldn’t remember the last time when this had happened consistently. Since returning to the Delta Quadrant, the ship felt like it had gotten back into a routine working well. Thankfully, they had no emergency or crisis to deal with. McCallister was counting down the days until they did; until then, he was enjoying this moment.
Stepping into his quarters, he started to unzip his jacket below his right shoulder and stopped when he saw his son Alfie walking down the corridor with Jorgeh and Wylem. Smirking, he remembered his conversation with Court earlier that day in the shuttle bay.
“Hey, dad,” Alfie called after him, “is it okay for Jorgeh and Wylem to join us for dinner tonight? Uncle Tobias said you gave it the green light?”
McCallister nodded. “I did, and yes, of course, they can.” He said to his son before looking at the other two lads. “Gentlemen, come on in and make yourself comfortable.”
Wylem smiled, and Jorgeh thanked the captain as the doors opened and Alfie led them in.
Stepping into the main living area, they found Henri and Theo. While Theo set up the table, Henri sat on the corner sofa, playing with a holographic game console. Seeing their guests, Henri and Theo welcomed them in. Straight away, Wylem offered to help Theo but was turned down politely; instead, Theo said he was almost done and that Wylem could see what Henri was doing.
“Dad, do you mind if I change before dinner? I wanna get out of my uniform.” Alfie stated.
McCallister had made his way over to his study area to drop off a couple of PADDS he had with him, and after hearing Alfie ask that, he just nodded to his son.
“Hey Alf, please can I borrow some clothes to get changed into as I don’t wanna wear my uniform either if that’s okay?”
“Sure, we’re the same size,” Alfie confirmed and took him up the stairs towards his bedroom.
While finishing off his study, McCallister called out to Henri. “Henners,” He said using his nickname, “have you heard any more about that scholarship from Pike City?”
Henri answered with a flat-out “No, nothing still!”
Wylem looked at his friend, “Pike City?”
Henri rolled his eyes and shook his head, showing he didn’t want to talk about it.
Wylem looked to Theo for answers, who looked up after sensing the glare. “Pike City is the capital of Cestus Three; it’s a Federation planet in the Beta Quadrant. They have some of the biggest sporting teams in the Federation there. Theo hopes to study sport later this year at Pike City University.”
“What about the Odyssey?” Wylem asked, sounding almost alarmed that his friend would be leaving.
Henri shrugged his shoulders, “Unfortunately, Wylem, the Odyssey isn’t the capital of the Federation’s sporting achievements. I can learn much more on Cestus Three and hopefully join one of the sporting teams there.”
“What sport would you do?” Wylem questioned.
Henri rubbed the back of his head, “Well, baseball is pretty big there; if not, I’m considering athletics, swimming or even diving. Though basketball may be fun too.”
“You do need to settle down on options,” McCallister said as he reentered the main living room from his study and headed to the replicator. “Wylem, can I get you a drink, especially as my two sons have forgotten their manners when we have guests for dinner.”
Shaking his head, Wylem politely declined. He turned to Henri, “How’d you get back to the Beta Quadrant?”
“I’ll organise transport back if the Odyssey has returned home,” Henri answered, and then he realised that Wylem may not be able to understand what all of this meant. “Don’t worry, Wylem, we can stay in touch. We can call each other over hyper-subspace or write to one another.”
“That’d be great, thanks, Henri,” Wylem replied with a smile. He turned to Theo, “What about you, Theo?”
“Unfortunately, I’m heading out too,” Theo admitted. “I’ve got a place at the Aldebaran Music Academy; I’ll leave the same time Alf does when he goes off to Starfleet Academy.”
Noticing Wylem appeared a bit surprised at this news, McCallister had picked up his drink, a glass of iced tea. “Wylem, I suppose you’re not familiar with Human customs, but as the boys are hitting the age of adulthood, they get to choose their next steps of education and their lives.”
Wylem rubbed the back of his head, “I suppose I’m not,” He paused, “I was just getting used to having real friends again.”
McCallister smiled at that comment, “I get that, Wylem; when my older brother, Conrad, went off to the academy, I found his absence hard to deal with at first. However, I got closer with my younger brother Horatio, and we became good friends in time, and I made plenty of other good friends.”
“Plus, you’re only a year behind us in human years.” Henri offered as comfort.
Wylem sighed. “That’s the thing; I wish Jorgeh, and I were humans. We truly don’t know enough about our Rylsanti heritage.”
At that point, both Alfie and Jorgeh had returned to the main living area, and Jorgeh, wearing a pair of Alfie’s joggers and one of his favourite purple hoodies, looked at his brother. “Come on, Wylem, we’ve already spoken about this and Doctor Sylvexs said based on what she can tell, we’re almost human with our growth rates. Who’s to say we’re not on par with Alf and his brothers?”
“Actually, if we’re going to be precise here, we’re part El-Aurian, so our growth rate can fluctuate.” Theo pointed out.
“Theo, not the time to be a smart ass.” Alfie shot his brother a look.
“Fellas, it’s perfectly normal to feel a sense of sadness and concern as the next chapter in your lives is on the horizon. Whatever journeys you take, I can assure you there is always a home here for you all on the Odyssey.” McCallister said as he went over to the kitchen. “Now, how does pizza sound for dinner tonight?”
“Pizza sounds good, dad,” Alfie said with a smile.
“As long as there’s no pineapple on it,” Theo added
“And there’s double pepperoni!” Henri stated as he got up from where he sat.
Smiling at his friends, Jorgeh looked down at Wylem before sitting next to him. “Seriously, Wylem, things are going to be okay. I promise.”
“Will they?” Wylem asked. “If you and Alfie leave to join Starfleet Academy later, then I’ll be left here by myself.”
Placing an assuring hand on his brother’s shoulder, Jorgeh comforted him. “I promise you that I’m not going anywhere right now.”
Wylem appreciated the gesture. “Okay,” He sat up and leaned into his brother. “Thanks, Jorgeh.”
“Anytime,” Jorgeh said, smiling and hugging his younger brother.
Seeing his friend calm his brother down, Alfie looked to his dad. “Dad, why do Jorgeh and Wylem need to have dinner with us tonight and not at home with their dads?” He asked quietly.
Pausing to stop himself from revealing anything, McCallister smirked at first. “Uncle Tobias has something he wants to ask Max. I’m sure we’ll speak to them later.” He quickly changed the subject. “Will you pass me the cheese grater?”
Checking himself out in the mirror for the tenth time, Tobias pushed down on the dark blue shirt he wore and was pleased with how it fitted tightly against his chest. Deciding not to wear a tie, he kept the collar open and checked again to ensure there wasn’t anything on his grey trousers again. Pleased, he looked fine; he touched his hair slightly to ensure there wasn’t a single stray out of place.
“Computer, deactivate mirror,” He ordered and got a response in the form of a beep followed by the mirror before him fizzling away from existence.
Making his way downstairs into his quarters and towards the main living space, he looked around one more time and felt the atmosphere he had created was okay. A few candles lit here and there while soft guitar music played in the background. Their dining room table had candles and some flowers in the centre of the room. It was laid out for two people to have dinner.
Everything was ready. Everything was perfect.
Turning to the table, he picked up the single rose he got from the arboretum earlier and then picked up the two champagne flutes. He took a seat on the armchair facing the main doorway and sat waiting for the arrival of his boyfriend.
Only seconds later and Max walked in with a PADD in his hands. He was about to order the computer to raise the light level when he stopped and saw the table covered with what Tobias had done earlier. Then he saw Tobias sitting in the chair, grinning like a Cheshire cat. Almost bursting out with laughter, Max shook his head as he dropped the PADDS in his hands down on the small glass coffee table near his other half.
“What on Earth are you up to?” He asked as he approached him and took the rose out of his mouth.
After he lost the rose, Tobias handed Max the glass and rose his one, “To us.”
Liking what he saw so far, Max clinked his glass with Tobias’ flute and repeated what he had just heard. After taking a sip, he looked at his partner. “You still didn’t answer my question. What’s going on here? Why have you gone to so much effort? Where are the boys?”
“They’re with James tonight as we’re having some time to ourselves,” Tobias answered vaguely.
“Okay,” Max said, prolonging his response as he tried to work out what Tobias was up to.
Taking both of their glasses, Tobias immediately popped them on the table and turned to Max. Taking hold of Max’s left hand, Tobias started his prepared speech. “I just want to say these past seven months with you have been the best ones of my life. I know we’ve known each other for longer, but what we have, I feel, is real. We’ve gone through a lot, from the situation on the Quirennal to moving in and having the boys together; it just feels right what we have.”
Max nodded in agreement. “I think you’re right. The last seven months have been great, and I’ve loved every single moment with you.”
Tobias smirked at that. “So that’s why I want more of them, with you,” Getting down on one knee, Tobias pulled out a velvet-covered box and opened it. Inside sat a thick silver ring with what looked like diamonds running through the middle of it. “Maxwell Jack Duncan, will you marry me?”
Surprised, shocked and overwhelmed by the question, Max blinked several times before he answered. “Yes!” He exclaimed, “Yes, I will marry you, Tobias Finlay Court!”
Smiling at hearing that answer, Tobias stood up quickly as he took the ring out and placed it on Max’s finger before he pulled him in for a kiss.
Standing in Stellar Cartography, Commander Banfield was finishing off the latest set of deep space scans the ship was taking while it ventured further into deep space. She had taken over from the team on duty, saying they could go home early for the night. Being in Stellar Cartography brought back some good memories from when she held the role of Chief Stellar Cartography Officer on Starbase 212. It had been one of the highlights of her career, being able to use the station’s advanced sensor array to map out what was happening around them. She loved being in the room with its advanced holographic displays showing off what was happening around her. Setting the computer up to complete its next scan, she pressed the button to commence it when she heard the doors open behind her. Familiar footsteps walked across the walkway towards the central platform.
“Why am I not surprised to find you in here by yourself?” her husband asked as he approached her.
Turning around to look at Carter, she smiled instantly at him. “What can I say besides that I’m a sucker for…”
“…stellar cartography,” He finished as he rolled his eyes. Still in uniform, Commander Carter Westerham looked around the room. “I suppose it’s quieter than the lecture halls back on Mellstoxx.”
“It is when you can dismiss your staff,” Banfield said with a devilish grin. “What are you doing here, anyway?” She asked before returning to the scans. “I thought you had a debriefing with some of your cadets tonight?”
“I did; I finished early.” He said with a sigh. “I wondered if you fancied going out for dinner tonight? Logan is out with his friends, so I thought we could treat ourselves?”
Appreciating his sentimental thoughts, Banfield smiled and was about to turn around to face him when the console beeped at her. Stopping herself, she turned her attention back to the readings.
“Problem?” Westerham asked his wife as he leaned over her shoulder.
“Far from it,” She answered, “Long-range sensors have picked up our first M-class world.”
“M-class? We’ve not seen one of them in this region for a few weeks now. Any life signs?” He wondered.
She shook her head. “No sentient life signs picked up at this range, but it’s beaming with other living creatures. Certainly worth a look.”
“Is our dinner about to be interrupted?” Westerham asked, sounding a bit disheartened at that prospect.
About to confirm that Banfield stopped herself. They were still days away from the planet at maximum warp. “No,” She said as she turned to her husband, “I’ll log it and then raise it in tomorrow’s senior staff meeting.”
“Are you sure?” Westerham checked. “You sure you don’t want to call the captain?”
She shook her head, “No, it’s no emergency, so why don’t we go home, get changed and then head out for that dinner you offered?”
Turning to one side, he gestured towards the door and held his other hand for her to take. “This way than Mrs Banfield-Westerham!”
Laughing at his romantic overtures, she took his hand before linking her arm into his. “Sounds perfect, Mr Banfield-Westerham.”