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Part of USS Odyssey: This Far, How Further? and Bravo Fleet: Frontier Day

This Far, How Further? – 6

Cape May, New Jersey, United States of America, Earth, Sol System,
Stardate: 78250.7
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Returning home, if briefly, was a welcomed one for James Preston McCallister. The Red Lion Hotel, his childhood home, was busier than ever. His parents had gone full out in celebrating Frontier Day, which had attracted a sizable crowd. His father had gone as far as to sell small models of famous Starfleet ships, including the Odyssey and Bellerophon. It only took part of a day to discover that his father, who originally had been entirely against his sons joining Starfleet, had been boasting about his sons and their commands. Furthermore, he had bragged about the accomplishments of his two daughters-in-law and now about his grandson, who was a cadet. James’ father had completely changed his tune. 

Coming home to enjoy a break away from the ship and to put some of the recent past behind him was needed. Sitting alone in his bedroom, the same room he had occupied as a kid, James was reminded of some good memories. Though it had changed in colour and decor over the years, it still felt like he travelled back in time every time he visited. The one thing that had stung the moment he had seen it was the picture of him and Karyn. It was there, sitting on the edge of one of the bedside cabinets. It was the same image he had of them back on the Odyssey that sat behind his desk in his ready room: their wedding day. 

“Hey, stranger!” A familiar voice said from the doorframe.

Looking up from the armchair he had been sitting at, reading over the brief speech he would have to deliver on the bridge of the Odyssey before it left Spacedock, James was surprised to see his sister-in-law there. “Laura!” He said with a big smile as he got up and hugged her.

Returning the embrace, Laura McCallister was pleased to see him. “Your folks said you were all coming here for the celebrations and to stay for some time.”

“Well, at least until Frontier Day,” He gestured to the PADD he had dropped onto the table beside the armchair. “Odyssey will be part of the big party before we head back to the Delta Quadrant.”

Laura smiled at him. “Deep space exploration agrees with you, James.”

“Thanks,” He replied. Being the former captain of the Bellerophon herself, she knew what type of life he and everyone were leading. “And how are you doing?”

She nodded before speaking. “I’m taking each day as it comes.”

Appreciating her words, James nodded. Laura had spent the betterment of the last two years watching his oldest brother, her husband, deteriorate with Irumodic Syndrome. Over the previous six months, he had been transferred to Starfleet Medical for palliative care. The news of Conrad’s condition had only reached James after Laura had sent him a message after the Odyssey had docked. He wasn’t angry at her for keeping the news from him.

“I was thinking about visiting him tomorrow,” James remarked. “I spoke with Horatio, and he’s going to organise a way to meet me there.”

Laura smiled sincerely. “James, I appreciate you both returning, but I also understand that Horatio is dealing with so much loss from the Bellerophon. I get it; they were my crew at one point.” 

James suggested they take a walk and head towards the outside bar for a good drink. Moments later, they sat outside in the warm weather, catching up. Laura was finishing a story about the first time that Lirissa Jaz, Bellerophon’s former first officer, had stopped her from going on an away mission. 

“So, there we were, attempting to negotiate the release of our away team, when I agreed to meet with the Wadi captain on a neutral location, and Lirissa was so convinced they were going to trap me in another game that she somehow overrode the transporter signal and beamed herself down instead!” Laura said fondly. “Turns out her suspicions were correct. We then had to play this stupid game to get her and the others back.” She shook her head, “I knew she would be an excellent first officer for Horatio. I just always hoped she would end up becoming a captain herself one day.”

James took a sip of his cold beer. “She was amazing; I know Horatio adored having her with him. Finding a fine first officer means a lot; having an amazing one is lucky.”

“To amazing first officers,” Laura said, raising her beer bottle to his and tapping the neck. 

“To amazing first officers,” James repeated before taking another swig. 

“So, what’s this I hear about Horatio having to save your ass from an alien ark?” Laura asked as she sat back in her chair after putting her bottle down. 

Chuckling, James shook his head. “I’d like to point out that the mission was classified, and I’m not confirming that he did or didn’t.”

“Rubbish, it was declassified by Starfleet a few months ago. They had finished their threat analysis and had concluded that any comeback was now relatively low. So come on, share details. Friends told me that you had become a school principal for holographic kids.

Trusting her with only a tiny amount of information wouldn’t break any rules. She did have level ten clearance since she had gone onto the reserve list to care for her husband. “Let’s just say a sophisticated computer program tricked us with its advanced technology.”

Smirking, Laura nodded. “Very well,” She sighed. “Do you have any other gossip since heading to the Delta Quadrant?”

“Nothing that hasn’t already been reported,” James replied as he rested back in his chair.


“Liar?” He challenged her. “What do you mean?”

“I know about your affair with a certain Brenari leader?” Laura questioned him, still smirking. “Alfie blabbed that one, by the way.”

“I’ll need to speak to her professors about reminding him about keeping classified information classified.” 

“It’s not classified, James,” Laura smirked. “Come on, tell me more about her.”

James sat up straight. “Nah, I don’t want to, Laura. It was a stupid mistake.”

“Hey,” She reached out to him and grabbed his hand. “Conrad would be pulling your leg about this, but I think it’s good you’re starting to move forward since we lost Karyn.”

 Appreciating the support, James nodded. “I know, but part of me still thinks she’s not gone. Does that make sense? Or does it sound really stupid?” 

Laura chuckled. “It does make sense, and it doesn’t sound really stupid.” She took another sip. “I get it. I do. Sometimes a part of me thinks that Conrad will be cured, and these last few years will be reset, and we can return to our lives.” Placing the bottle down, Laura looked at James. “And who knows, Karyn may still come back. Temporal mechanics does prove that could happen.”

 Sighing, James shook his head. “Temporal mechanics gives me a headache.”

“Every Starfleet captain says that,” She chuckled. “But in the meantime, James, don’t stop yourself from enjoying your life. Trust me, before you know it, you’re sitting by the bedside of your beloved, watching them fall from your hands, and you are helpless. Enjoy the time you have in command of the Odyssey and with my three amazing nephews! Life is too short to not enjoy every moment.”

 “Talking of your three amazing nephews,” James said as he noticed the arrival of his sons walking across the long garden that sat behind the hotel. It had been nice to be back with them, especially with Alfie recently returning from Academy. “What are you three up to?”

“No good, probably,” Laura remarked. 

Henri spoke up for them all. “No, not yet anyway, Aunt Laura!” He looked at his dad. “We want to go into town and go to their Frontier Day fair.”

James didn’t think twice about it. He couldn’t stop them from enjoying themselves. “Go ahead, but I want you both back for dinner. Your grandmother will kill me if you’re not back for her planned barbeque.”

As they all wandered off, Laura turned back to James. “So, is the Odyssey allowed to have civilians back on?”

He nodded. “Yeah, Starfleet approved it ahead of the Frontier Day celebrations. Though, I’m kind of glad they weren’t on the ship while we were in the Deneb sector. Having them that close to a mortal enemy of the Federation can give any parent the shiver.”

“No one wants their children in a danger zone,” Laura said. “At least you’ll have the boys with you amid the fanfare. But you must have a guardian angel looking out for you at Starfleet. It was lucky they ordered everyone off before you had to deal with the Lost Fleet.”

“A guardian angel?” James considered as he continued to watch his sons leave. “Maybe.”


  • Shrugging off his affair with the Brenari leader as a mistake? Has McCallister lost his mind? It was just so refreshing! Man needs to get his head examined! It's good to see even McCallister unwinding, safe in the comfort of home. With the inevitability of Frontier Day just around the corner just means that blow is going to land harder. And good to hear that civies are allowed back on Odyssey! More McCallister clan hijinks in the future!

    August 3, 2023