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Part of USS Andromeda: Mission 1: E Pluribus Unum

The Chantry Siblings

Avalon Fleet Yards
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“No!” Órlaith said, exhaustion in her voice as she emerged from the gangway and into the Andromeda’s airlock. Despite being over twenty-five years old, the Intrepid-class had that new starship smell.

“Come on, keep up,” Órlaith said, turning to look back up the gangway and into Avalon’s docking section.

The kids emerged with bags over their shoulders. Two girls, twelve and ten, and a much younger tow-haired boy, no more than five or six, all looked just as tired as their mother. The oldest had the expression of mopey anger that could only be accomplished by a teenage girl whose whole world was being turned upside down.

As the kids walked down the gangway, the door slid open again, and a blond woman, looking no older than 25, stepped through. She glanced down the passageway and smiled towards Órlaith and made her way towards her. “So, I see everyone is getting moved in?” She said, nodding towards the kids. Without pause, she stepped up to Órlaith and gave her a hug, “How are you doing?”

“I am well,” Órlaith said, returning the hug. She eyed Riandri with suspicion, “You haven’t aged a day in twenty-six years.”

Riandri shrugged and smiled, “Healthy food and staying active.” She paused for a moment, “Genetics help.”

“So, I heard you were at the shipyards and thought I would drop by and see how things have been going. Do you need a hand getting everyone on board?” Riandri asked.

“I need to look over things. I haven’t had a chance to follow up since I got the manifest finalized. Happy I got two familiar faces on the crew. Lieutenant Commander Hayden as my XO and Dr. Mulder as the CMO. They served with me on the Crazy Horse. Xander! Where are you going? Mindy, get your brother.”

The eldest Chantry rolled her eyes and chased after her brother as he ran from his sister squealing in delight to the aggravation of his sister.

Riandri laughed at that as she watched the kids, “I think you may have your hands full with them on board.” Turning back to Órlaith continued, “I am glad there are some familiar faces, having a known quantity such as your XO and CMO will go a long way in helping you get settled.” She glanced over at the ship, “Part of me misses being out there but at the same time I spend too long on a ship without much direction.”

Órlaith sighed, “I don’t know if I should thank you or curse you for this assignment. Too bad you couldn’t have pulled those strings before Cory took that deep-space assignment. I don’t have any family, as you know all too well. Cory only has his 108-year-old great-grandmother, and I’m not going to saddle her with the kids.”

Riandri pursed her lips, “Wish I had been able to. I am sure it feels daunting now but I am confident you are meant for this.” She reached out and put a hand on Órlaith’s shoulder, “Don’t doubt yourself; you are meant to be doing this.”

“We’re about to find out, aren’t we?” Órlaith quipped. She adjusted the luggage strap on her shoulder and smiled warmly as Mindy returned with her brother’s hand in hers.

“Mom,” she announced, her tone indicating she was thoroughly done with all of this. “Why couldn’t we just stay in San Francisco?”

“You know why,” Órlaith said. “We’ve been over this. Mindy, this is Commander Nalam. She and I served together years ago.”

“Yeah, back in the Dominion war on the Denver,” Riandri said. “I get the frustration of moving; San Francisco is a nice city, but life on board a starship,” she tilted her head towards the Andromeda gives you the option of seeing so much more.”

For once Mindy didn’t roll her eyes at Riandri, but it was obvious that the Commander’s words did not resonate with the teen. Simply shrugging, she replied, “I guess. But there is no one else my age here, and… well, I’m missing out on the Spring Formal.”

“Ah,” Riandri said, “I can understand that completely. But think of it this way. As the daughter of the Captain, I am sure there will be many parties and such you can attend when the Andromeda is in orbit around planets. I had to make a move when I was young and missed out on things, but with this,” she said pointing her thumb back towards the ship, “…you never know what you might find.”

“There are holodecks,” Elizabeth added with a grin. “I get to run the Adventures of Fotter anytime I want. I couldn’t do that on Earth.”

“That is an excellent point, Elizabeth,” Riandri said with a grin, “As the Captain’s kids, you may even be able to get reserved times, though you would need to run that by her.” She paused for a minute in thought, “I am sure you will also be able to find some other great adventure programs for kids in the database. Lots of Starfleet ships have kids on, some even have schools. So I am sure you will not be bored.”

“I hate school,” Elizabeth said with a frown.

“You’ll hate computer learning more,” Mindy said to her sister.

Riandri turned to look at Órlaith, “You have sweet kids.” As she said that, she looked distant for a moment before refocusing on Órlaith, “Any idea what your first mission will be?”

“Not at the moment, but I expect I will find out soon enough,” Órlaith replied. Producing a PADD, she handed it to Mindy. “Our quarters assignment. Take your brother and sister to get settled.”

Mindy took the PADD, “Okay, Mom.” She gathered up her siblings and ushered them down the corridor to the turbolift. As she did, she referenced the screen to make sure she was still heading in the correct direction.

“They are good kids despite me not being there for them when they were younger. I regret that so; maybe this is for the best even if it is less than ideal. At least this is a science ship and not a warship.”

Riandri felt her stomach drop at that comment but tried visibly to push the feeling aside, “I am sure spending time with them will be worth it, and like you said, it’s a science ship. You shouldn’t end up in any combat, and if so, the Andromeda is a fast little ship. She will look after you.”

Órlaith smiled and then hugged Riandri, “Thanks for everything. If you are still around tonight, swing by my quarters. I got some fresh veggies.” She patted her duffle affectionately, “I’m thinking eggplant parmesan with fresh homemade marinara.”

Riandri smiled at that. “Count me in. I do love a good home-cooked meal! My day is pretty open at the moment, though I do need to get back and review a few reports from the Deneb sector before the end of the day.”

“See you around 19:00 then,” Órlaith shouted over her shoulder as she chased after her kids.