Slowly setting up the table in their quarters, Carter Westerham adjusted the layout of one of the forks before picking up the lighter on the side and igniting the single white candle in the middle. In the background, the computer started to play one of his wife’s favourite songs, At Last by Etta James, just in time as the doors opened wide, allowing his other half to walk.
“Well, this is certainly a welcome change,” Corella Banfield stated with much appreciation as she stepped over to her husband. “What’s the occasion?”
Turning around, Carter smiled at her and welcomed her home with a hug and a kiss. “Who said there has to be an occasion?”
“Oh, you’re good,” Corella replied as she returned the gesture and started to sway in time for the music. “Thank you, Carter,” She murmured into his shoulder as she remembered them dancing to this song at their wedding over fifteen years ago. It had been probably the only non-Klingon they did at their wedding. Though time had flown past; their marriage had been one she had loved, and spending time together like this was always special. Once the song had finished, a second one started (another one of her favourites). A Love That Will Last. Closing her eyes, she placed her forehead against her husband’s shoulder and found herself miming the lyrics.
‘Cause I just want one love to be enough
And remain in my heart ’til I die
Her mother had commented that the lyrics alone made the song almost Klingon.
“Is this better than staring at those readings in astrometrics any longer?” Carter asked as he kept his wife close in his arms.
“Far better,” Corella agreed. The song came to an end, and she looked up at her husband. “So what’s for dinner?”
“Pan-fried duck breast with creamy white beans, with a cherry chocolate mousse for dessert,” Carter answered.
“And where’s Logan tonight?” Corella asked about their youngest.
“Upstairs in his room, his been fed and watered and is doing homework.” Carter dryly answered.
Chuckling at her husband’s wonderful sense of humour, she knew that Logan would have had dinner already and had agreed to give his parents a wide berth from seeing them engage in anything romantic. Too gross for his taking. Corella looked at the table and saw that Carter had gone all out with the detail. It included champagne in an ice bucket, and a single red rose lying across where she would be sitting in a moment. “So, I suppose we should chat about the news that’s racing around the ship.” She said as her husband pulled her chair out for her to sit down. Taking her seat, Corella pulled the serviette over her lap.
“Sure,” Carter replied as he went to the kitchen area and brought their meals out, “this new squadron idea sounds interesting.”
Corella nodded in agreement, “We’re going to lose a lot of good people in the transfers to the Themis,” She mentioned.
Placing her meal in front of her, Carter then put his down before beginning to open the bottle of champagne. “Do you want to transfer?”
Corella shook her head, “Absolutely not. We’ve just settled; I think Abbej will go instead.”
“That’s a shame to hear,” Carter said as he popped the cork and poured the drink into his wife’s flute. “I take it that she and Tierra are still set on divorcing?”
“They filed the paperwork this morning,” Corella shared and picked up her glass to see and listen to the faint fizziness of the drink. “It’s a shame what happened has brought their marriage to an end.”
“Indeed,” Carter agreed before taking his glass and sitting down. “I take it then you’ve heard about me then?”
“A full reinstatement into Starfleet and an offer to return to active duty leading our cadet squadron on the Telemachus,” Corella responded, “Yeah, I heard a few things!” She smirked at him. “Are you going to accept?”
“Would you be okay if I did?” He asked.
“Of course, Carter,” She answered. “Being a retired officer who was some cranky old professor never suited you!”
Carter chuckled at her loving insult, “Then I suppose we’ve got a lot to celebrate tonight.”
“Why, what else have you heard?” Corella wondered.
“You’ve not heard?” Carter checked of which his wife shook her head. “I heard from the twins, they’re going to be joining us once the Themis arrives in the Delta Quadrant. Their entire squadron is being assigned to Odyssey’s cadet unit.”
Hearing that their eldest two would be with them soon was great news that Corella couldn’t have hoped for more. “By the hand of Kahless, that’s incredible!” She got up and quickly hugged her husband. “Does Logan know?” She asked after letting go of him.
“He does,” Carter acknowledged. “It was Brook who had got in touch with him. I only received the confirmation after I saw the update to the unit’s roster this afternoon.”
“Amazing,” Corella said, happier than before. “You know what that mysterious interlink frequency I’ve been tracking for weeks is no longer as exciting as that news. Our family will finally be home.”
Carter laughed, “Well, that’s the other thing that both Brook and Athena wanted me to share with you.”
“What’s that?” Corella questioned, still giddy at the news of her children coming home.
“Now they’re fourth-year cadets and they want to be treated as such, so they won’t be staying here with us. They plan to stay with their fellow cadets in the dormitories we’ve set up on deck seventeen.” Carter explained carefully, fearing that his wife may erupt at hearing that news.
Considering that notion for a moment, Corrella got it and just nodded at first before responding. “That’s fine; they will be close by, and that’s all I care about.”
“You won’t be saying that when they want to be coming home for their parents to prepare them a decent home-cooked meal,” Carter said.
“It’s a small price to pay to have them back in our lives again, Carter,” Corella said with a smile. She picked up her champagne flute, “To family,”
Mirroring the same gesture, Carter raised his glass, “To family,” He agreed before they gently touched the side of their glasses against each other. They proceeded to enjoy a sip of the drink and started their meal.
“Oh wow, that’s amazing news, guys!” Flemen almost screamed before jumping into giving his friend a huge bear hug. “Samris, you’ve kept that one quiet for weeks!”
Samris chuckled as he returned the embrace from his friend, “Thanks, Craigen, we’re pretty excited ourselves!”
“Indeed,” T’Rani said in a deadpanned and toneless expression.
Jen chuckled at his old academy classmate’s reaction after sharing the news with their little group of friends, but he knew how much this meant to her. He knew how long she had been trying to become a mother. She was finally having that opportunity and he couldn’t be any happier for her. “You must be pleased, T’Rani.”
“I am,” The pilot replied with a slight bow of her head. She looked up at Samris and then to the rest of the crowd that had assembled in The Auditorium for a late evening get-together. “That is not the only news we wish to share with you all.”
“Oh no, why do I feel like you’re about to burst my happy bubble?” Flemen asked, sounding deflated as he perched himself back down on the stool he had just got up from to hug Samris.
Samris and T’Rani clasped their hands together, and he spoke for them. “We’ve agreed to join the Themis.”
“No!” Tomaz said, stretching out the last vowel sound in disappointment.
Confirming with a nod, Samris explained their thoughts behind it. “T’Rani has been offered the chance to lead the training of the pilots assigned to the Themis, which as you know includes that brand new starfighter squadron. And to top it off, Captain Cambil wants her to be the second officer. Plus for me-”
“Say no more, my friend,” Tomaz interrupted, gently slapping his friend’s shoulder in a sign of support. “We get it; you finally get to be a chief counsellor.”
“Yeah,” Samris confirmed with a huge grin. “Also the Themis is just like a mini-Odyssey, so a great place to raise our new family.”
“Well let’s raise a toast to the newest addition to the squadron,” Jen insisted as he raised his glass to the group and they all joined in with a cheer before taking a sip from their drinks.
Flemen looked over to Jen, “So, Lukiz, we heard you got an offer to join the Themis as well. Are you taking it?”
Jen shook his head, “Not a chance, being on the Odyssey has been a blast and I’m not done with her yet. Plus Decter is eager to take the job, I can’t deny him that chance.”
“Wow, so I suppose that’s it,” Tomaz stated. “It will be the end of an era with so many people moving forward.”
“But it’s the start of something new and exciting,” Samris added. “And as the captain said, we’ll still be working together.”
“Ladies and Gents, to the new chapter!” Flemen said, raising his glass and them all copying again and repeating his cheer.
Placing their drinks down on the bar, Samris and T’Rani said goodnight as they wanted to return back to their shared quarters and begin their packing. It left Flemen, Tomaz and Jen at the bar. A holographic waiter walked over to them and asked what they wanted.
Tomaz shared he didn’t have to get home to look after Tomaz as his babysitters were taking care of him so he was up for anything tonight. Jen reminded them that they all had the morning off tomorrow, which prompted Flemen to begin ordering a number of cocktails and other drinks for them to consume.
“We may regret this,” Tomaz stated.
“Never say never,” Flemen told his friend just as the drinks arrived. “You only live once!”
“Gentlemen, to the next chapter for the Odyssey and her crew!” Jen said raising his drink.
“To the next chapter!” Tomaz and Flemen said in unison as they knocked their drinks against Jen’s and quickly downed them.