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Part of USS Denver: Mission 4: Can’t Come Home Again

Country Roads Take Me Home

Hacienda de Sandoval, Santa Fe, New Mexico, Earth
March 24, 2374 09:00
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Captain’s log: stardate 51225.7. The USS Denver and the rest of the 7th Fleet has been ordered to Earth.  There is some rumblings of something going on, but Starfleet will neither confirm nor deny the rumor that a major offensive is in the works.  As it is it looks like our job will be to defend Earth.  I hope it doesn’t come to that.  I for one am happy to see some time away from the front lines. The crew as a whole is war weary and we are looking forward to some shore leave.  For many of us coming home to Earth is a rare opportunity that none of us want to pass up. There is a tendency to romanticize war, but there is no such romance.   The old cliche, ‘war is hell’ has never seemed so apt. 

The gravel driveway snaked its way up a little rise between yellow boulders and green clumps of Rocky Mountain Juniper and piñon pines.  The evidence of a recent spring snow still clung to the shadows of the trees and rock. A soft breeze brought with it the vibrant lively smell of spring.

Rebecca topped the rise and the driveway dipped down into a small hollow to the southwest.  In the bottom of the hollow sat an ancient adobe house built in 1823 over the original 18th century foundation.  Directly south of the house was the log barn built sometime in the latter half of the 1800’s. A black gelding stood at the feeding trough picking through some alfalfa hay.

Rebecca started down the slope her toe kicking gravel and rocks as she navigated the less than ideal terrain.  She paused at the door.  The ancient hunter green door was thick from centuries of paint. What the original wood was anyone’s guess.

She softly rapped the door frame with her knuckles and a dog immediately started to bark in response. A male voice from within admonished the canine for making a scene. A moment later the handle to the door clicked and the frame made a wooden grinding sound as the door was pulled open.

“Hey dad.”

Jonathan Sandoval’s expression snapped to pure delight as he flung the door the rest of the way open and he wrapped his arms around his daughter.  “Look at you!” He said so happy tears were almost in his eyes, “What are you doing here? Why didn’t you call? I could have picked you up.”

Rebecca smiled, “We have been ordered to protect Earth, and I wanted to surprise you. Besides I enjoyed the walk.  It’s not often I get to experience real nature.”

“Come in! Come in!” Jonathan said excitedly as he closed the door behind them.  A brindle boxer was there to greet her shaking with excitement and obvious desire to jump on Rebecca and start licking her all over.  Rebecca kneeled before the dog exploded and she was immediately met with an relentless onslaught of puppy kisses.

“Look at you!” Rebecca gushed over the dog as she petted the animal.  “You are such a pretty girl.”

Jonathan stood patiently smiling watching the two get acquainted, “Where’s Milo and the kids?”

“Starbase 75,” Rebecca replied narrowly dodging a tongue that would have went into her mouth. “They’re doing good,” she said anticipating the next question.  “Milo is chief of security and Aimee and Liv are actually able to attend a real school with other kids their age.  Ethan, is taking a more homeschool approach.  He hates school. He just wants to be a cowboy, so his dad compromised that he didn’t have to go to school, but he would have a tutor. He’s doing more school, now than he would otherwise.  At least that’s that’s what his dad thinks.”

Jonathan chuckled, “The grass isn’t always greener.”

“Nope,” Rebecca said finally standing up. The boxer realizing that play time was over, spun and ran off down the hallway and disappeared.  “It usually isn’t.”

Jonathan nodded and wrapped his right arm around her shoulders and the two walked into the kitchen where Rebecca slid onto a bar stood at the center island while her father pulled down two coffee cups.  He filled them both with black coffee for the pot sitting on the counter.  He carried the cups to the island counter and handed Rebecca one. 

Rebecca took a sip of the coffee and a satisfied smile crossed her lips. “Real coffee.  I’ve been rationing my beans so mostly replicated for me.”

“Here,” Jonathan said as he turned and opened the cupboard and pulled a fairly good sized bag of roasted coffee beans.  I’ll make a trip to Columbia or Seattle later this week.  I can’t have my daughter fighting a war on substandard coffee.”

Rebecca smirked and held the bag giving it an inspection, “Thanks.”

“So, how’s the center seat?”

Rebecca shrugged, “It’s a lot to get used to. I didn’t realize how much pressure there was though.”

“You’ll get settled in. Your mom would be proud of you.”

Rebecca lifted the cup to her lips and sipped the coffee. She savored the drink for several moments before swallowing, “I hope so.  It sucks. I know Captain was her goal, and she never… well I made it. That has to count for something right?”

“Damn right!” Jonathan exclaimed. “God I miss her, but you are so much like her.  It’s not just that red hair and pretty little face.  You two walk alike. You comport yourself just like her. Even the way you laugh is just like her.”

Rebecca blushed, “I miss her too dad.  I’ve been thinking about her a lot lately too.”  Sighing she looked out the window.  She had not realized how much she was missing this place until she found herself sitting there.  Who says you can’t come home again, she thought.  This is home, no matter what anyone says.

“How long are you going to be in?” Her father asked.

“Until we are ordered to go someplace else,” Rebecca said with a shrug.

“Is it as bad as the news service is saying it is?”

“Maybe it’s worse,” she replied grimly.  “I don’t know, Tyra was ugly. Really ugly.”

Jonathan frowned, “I heard a lot of ships were lost.  I just don’t understand. Space is so big.”

“It is.”

“Then there should be plenty of space for everyone.  There’s no need for this.”

“The Dominion is a bully, and sometimes the only way to stop a bully is to give them a good beating.”

Jonathan sighed, “I guess.”

“Yeah it’s silly.  Come let’s go for a walk.  I haven’t seen the place in years, and I’m itching to get outside.  And then you can tell me about the Heather I’ve been hearing about.”

Jonathan smiled, “You got yourself a deal.”



  • TBD

    You really paint a great picture with your descriptive terms of environments. I can almost smell the pine trees and fresh air!

    October 1, 2022