Part of USS Denver: The Fujiwhara Effect and USS Denver: Eye of the Storm


Rafter T Ranch, Terra Alpha
April 1, 2400 08:00
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Ethan sat at the kitchen table sipping coffee.  The Terra Alpha sun was rising over the eastern mountains sending yellow tendrils of light over the crest of the mountains as the black of night faded.

Mrs. Ackers worked at the stove making breakfast.   Bacon for sure from the smell of things and probably pancakes considering the twins were up despite the early hour.  Diana had a coloring book of horses… or was it unicorns?  Yeah, definitely unicorns. Arthur was sitting at the table with his toy starships playing Starfleet and Romulans making phaser noises.

A stomp of boots at the back step announced the approach of David Sackett, Ethan’s cousin and ranch foreman. The door creaked open and David entered in is sock feet.

“Mornin’,” he greeted as he hung his hat on the peg on the wall.

“Mornin’,” Ethan repeated. “I got the horses in the barn fed and watered, but we’ll need to take some hay up to the cows on the north pasture.”

“I figured as much.  I heard you talking to Jake this morning.  I figured we’d need to start feeding them. Might want to move them off that pasture to keep them from over grazing.”

“I thought of that, but we need to start separating the steers for sell, and I would rather do that on two-hundred acres rather than a thousand. The home pasture is too small for that herd.”

David poured himself a cup of coffee and sat down across from Ethan next to Arthur.  “Howdy partner,” he said to the child as he ruffled his shock of dirty blonde hair. “What do you have going on there?”

“Hey Dave,” Arthur said without looking at him. “Playing.”

“I see that.  So, what’s for breakfast ma’am?”

Wynonna Ackers turned from her skillet, “Pancakes and bacon.  Are the boys going to eat?”

“Nah, Shorty’s cooking for them in bunk house.”

“Brave souls,” Ethan chuckled.   “I wouldn’t trust Shorty to boil water.”

“I better make extra,” Mrs. Ackers announced and returned to her work. Both Ethan and David laughed,  and she was probably right.

“So, since your court martial cleared you, what are you going to do?” David asked leaning back in his chair. “It’s not every day you blow up a ship and get cleared of all charges.”

Ethan looked up from his coffee and took a sip. “It’s not like I had much of a choice in the matter. It was either the Pike or the Heracles.  That crew wasn’t going to fit on the Pike.”

“Well, all the same. I’m glad you’re home.”

Ethan took another sip of coffee considering the future.  He had been doing a lot of thinking on the subject.   He figured standard fleet service wasn’t going to cut it for him any more.  Too rigid. Too stodgy.  “Well, I got to be honest, I’m not completely sure.  Figure I would stay here for a while until I figured it out.”

“I think I can help with that,” Trinity said entering the kitchen. She passed baby Abbygale off to her husband and kissed Ethan before accepting the coffee cup Mrs. Ackers offered her.

“You didn’t pour my coffee,” David complained.  

“I didn’t,” Mrs. Ackers replied, “you aren’t my boss. She is.”

“Yeah?” Ethan said cautiously ignoring the banter between his cousin and house keeper. Cradling the baby he stared down at his daughter and she looked back at him with those curious blue eyes of hers. “What’s that?”

“Ranch boss, and father,” Trinity replied sitting down at the table across from Ethan.  Mrs. Ackers started setting the table for the gathered family with plates piled high with bacon, scrambled eggs and pancakes.  She even topped David’s coffee cup off as she did.

“Diana! Come and eat,” Trinity shouted.

“Okay mom!” came a disembodied voice from somewhere within the house.

“Come and sit down Wynona,” Ethan announced as he shifted the baby to his other arm. “Leave Starfleet?” He asked directing his attention back to Trinity and her original proposal.

“Yeah, why not?”

Ethan thought about it for a moment before speaking.  With his free hand he helped his son with the syrup and cut the pancakes into bite size chunks while Trinity did the same for Diana’s breakfast just as the other twin crawled into her chair doll in hand.  

“Uh-uh!” Trinity scolded, “Annie does not belong at the table.”

“But, mom,” the little girl pouted, “she’s hungry too.”

“You’ll just have to feed Annie after breakfast,” her mother said patiently. 

Sighing Diana jumped off her chair and ran into the other room before running back empty handed. “Thank you dear.  Now eat.”

“Awful hard to have a decent conversation around here,” Ethan joked with a piece of bacon in his free left hand.

“It’s like this every morning,” Mrs. Ackers added having joined them at the table.

“Ethan, we need you home,” Trinity pleaded as she took Abby from Ethan in order to feed the baby that was now starting to fuss, and a full on wail was about to erupt.

“I’ll think about it,” He said finally.  “It sure is good to be home.”

“It’s good to have you home,” Trinity said. “Now eat.  We have cattle to raise.”

“Yes, ma’am,” he said with a grin.