Part of USS Galileo: Home Sweet Home and Bravo Fleet: Blood Dilithium

Chapter 5

Main Lounge, USS Galileo
Nov. 2400
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Grace made her way through the ship. The benefit of being the ship’s commanding officer’s daughter was that there were no questions. Everyone looked at her, but it was like they couldn’t be bothered.   Grace made her way into the ship’s main lounge; scanning the crowd, she found the person she set out to locate, “Captain Bates,” she didn’t wait for permission and sat in the empty chair. 

Eli had been trying to relax after what had seemed like the most extended duty shift of his life. His department still hadn’t listened to him, and he was trying to make sense of their mess. He was not in a chipper mood, already downing five cups of coffee. He was looking over reports when the Captain’s daughter sat opposite him, not even asking to do so. He knew Grace’s demeanor, but he ignored it. “Yes? What can I do for you?” 

“I think we both know why I am here,” she looked at the waitress. “I’ll have an iced tea and a grilled cheese sandwich,” she smiled. “Look, Eli,” she noticed the look on the man’s face, “Captain Bates. I want to know what your intentions are with my mother?” She folded her arms as she leaned back in the chair. “I think we both can understand this whole assignment has been a struggle for her. Her first command, an old flame from the past, and all those emotions mixed in with the various hosts,” she grinned with a sassy flare, “And don’t even think about telling me I’m too young, or it’s none of my business. She’s my mother.”

Eli was not expecting the bold question right off the bat, but that’s children for you. He looked at Grace as he took another sip of coffee. “Intentions, you ask. What intentions would you think if you had been in love with the previous host of your mother’s? Though your mother isn’t who I may have fallen in love with, the host who holds Ladra’s memories is… So my intentions are this…I don’t know because it’s something that takes time. Am I willing to love your mother like I did Ladra? Yes, absolutely, but I cannot, not will. I force your mother to want to be with me.” He said firmly with no doubt in the inflection of his voice. 

Grace thought for a moment; anyone could see the child’s mind was trying to unpack everything in that sentence. It was a lot packed all together. “I suppose this is just as strange for you?”  She looked at him, “knowing that she isn’t your Ladra, yet she is. I must admit that I live with her, and sometimes I find it odd.”  She laughed, “I mean, she’s been my mother and Naris for as long as I can remember, but it’s odd.” 

“I mean, I am just Grace; I only have one person I can ever remember being,” Grace looked at the Engineer, “to have several people inside of you, I imagine it’s a balancing act to remember which one is you, versus one of the others.” 

Eli nodded. “I can’t say I fully understand myself though Ladra tried to explain it to me. It is different, and it was an adjustment for me knowing Ladra isn’t there, but she is. I think it’s why it was hard for me to take this assignment. I can tell you this, though, Grace. I have no intention of hurting your mother or you, for that matter. I have thought about talking to you to see how this situation has been, but I figured it might be weird if an old codger like me came up to you to start a conversation.”

Grace nodded with an evil smile, “and I don’t want to see my mother hurt, either. That’s good for you because I am not sure Starfleet will find a new host for you, unlike my mother.” She smiled as she sipped her iced tea. 

Eli wasn’t sure how to react to that. He took another sip of his coffee. I didn’t figure you did. I feel like that was a threat. 

Grace gave a slight grin, “good; then we are on the same page.” She knew her mother would freak out if she found out about this conversation, but it was a risk she was willing to take. “You know, being in a relationship with a joined Trill, I am sure you heard about reassociation laws. I am just worried about how this will all play out.”  She sighed. 

“She talks about you often, you know?”

The remark threw Eli off, his face growing red. “I can’t say that I did know that. Hopefully, she says all good things. As to the laws, as I said, the decision is your mother’s, and I don’t want her to be unhappy.” 

Grace had threatened him, but she didn’t seem uncomfortable around him. That had to be a good thing. At least, he hoped it was. 

“Neither do I,” Grace sighed, resting her arms on the table as she held her head. “I guess this really has to make you wonder about second chances?” She took the sandwich off the plate and took a bite. “Do you know that she was married to my dad?” she asked as a matter of fact. “They were married when I was really young; he died in an accident. I don’t really member him.”

Eli frowned. “Hey, now it’s always better to focus on the good memories and not the bad. I can’t imagine what it was like not having a dad, but I can tell your mom did an amazing job making sure she raised you right. As to second chances, I never thought I’d get one. In fact, I was going to give up on it and stay in the Starfleet Corps of Engineers when I was asked to come here. The name, of course, shocked me, but I thought maybe this was that second chance.”

“She didn’t talk about it much, but considering I know it took her a month to make up her mind on an Engineer, I imagine it wasn’t an easy choice,” Grace was probably saying too much. “Mom did the best she could, all things considered. I mean newly joined and gaining an instant family.” She rolled her eyes like she understood, “that’s a lot,” she took a bite of food. With a full mouth, she added, “or so I am told.” 

Eli nodded. “So I have been told as well. I only ever loved Ladra, so I don’t know what it’s like to have a family or a child. I have been alone for many years and decided the only option I had was to dig deeper into the work I did. It is rare to become a captain of engineering, but I had nothing else to do.” 

She gave him an odd look, “so you lost your Ladra, and you figured it best to bury yourself in work. You know they have a term for that. It’s called depression.” She shook her head, “I mean, I am no adult, but there seems to be more to life than one person. You find something that makes you happy, and you run with it. Did becoming Captain of Engineering fix all your problems and make you happy?”

Eli looked. “It made me realize there was more to life than just one person. Becoming a Captain of Engineering helped me realize everything I could do in life. It’s why I have a different attitude. I learned about happiness, and I am grumpy. That’s just coming with old age. It’s why I drink so much coffee. 

“I think you need more coffee,” Grace replied boldly, “clearly, it’s not working.” Grace finished the last of her drink as she looked over at Eli, popping the last bite of her sandwich into her mouth. “My mom really likes you,” she smiled, “I’ve never seen her this happy, and I like it.”  She stood up, “for so long now; it’s just been me and her against everything out there. It could be nice to have someone else there for a chance. Good afternoon Captain Bates,” Grace nodded. Turning, she left the room just as fast as she had entered it. She’s said her peace, and now she was done.  

Eli smiled; there was something about Grace he liked. He hoped he would have some good opportunities to spend time with her and show her how a father figure can be.

 

Comments

  • Oh, here we go. This was a conversation that needed to happen. You both deftly the complicated relationships here. I adore the way Eli and Grace had this opportunity to address their current relationships with Vidre Naris and what that might mean to one another, AND THAT they're the two people who can confide in one another about the changes they've experienced knowing Vidre and knowing Naris. Meaty emotional work here, well dramatized. I especially loved this exchange: "I am not sure Starfleet will find a new host for you, unlike my mother” / "I feel like that was a threat". Ha!!

    December 11, 2022