Personal Log, April 22, 2153, Commander Charles Tucker, Starship Enterprise, NX-01.
Got some rough news today. Earth was attacked by unknown hostiles. So far, over a million dead.
Florida was hit.
Took me forever to find what part of Florida. Turns out, right through my home town. Everything, gone, just like that. My family, my friends, my past, my goddamn life. Destroyed in an instant. And there’s nothing I could have done, I’m light years away.
That’s not even the worst part.
It’s the might-have-beens that get me. The possibles, the who knows.
The chances I had and lost.
…..the chances I gave up.
“I’m sorry, Commander. There’s been no trace of them.”
I turned and looked at him, disbelief all over my face. He was just standing there, calm as could be. That damn British cool of his just pissed me off all the more.
“What the hell do you mean there’s been no trace? They leave traces all over the damn place!”
I took a step towards him, only to be held back by an arm across my chest. I looked down, then followed the arm up to its owner.
“Trip, stop. You need to calm down.”
I glared at him, my anger redirecting itself at my captain.
“Calm down? You’re telling me to calm down? How the hell can I calm down when I can’t get this THING out of me?!”
I turned towards him, he flinched at the movement and the words.
“You’re already on med leave. Don’t make me turn it into lockdown, Trip.”
“DO IT! It’s gotta be better than being stuck out here with nothing to do and no chance in hell at having things as normal as they ever can be out here!”
He just looked at me, patronizing me with nothing more than a glance. Blaming my outburst on hormones. Like he had a fucking clue what I was going through.
“Trip, go to your quarters. We’ll talk about this later.”
I shot him one more glare, wanting to stay and yell some more, but my training took over and I turned on my heel and walked toward the door to the corridor. As I crossed into the hall, I heard him giving out orders to keep looking for them, but that we needed to keep moving on.
He was giving up, and I hated him for it.
The choices taken from fear and hesitation.
I’d always wanted a child, but not like that. But by virtue of my circumstance, I had no choice in the matter. I was forced by the inability and incompetence of certain members of the senior staff to have a child. My mother’s words and conscience might have had something to do with it, but that’s less of a point.
I was forced. And I wasn’t ready. Not by a long shot.
I lived and worked on a starship that had a talent for getting into trouble. My mindset was immature, unfocused, and I was always getting into embarrassing situations since I apparently couldn’t control myself when on my own, on a mission.
Hell, I ended up pregnant with an alien child. How’s that for self-control?
The stares and the whispers and the hushed conversations every time I entered a room. The hidden glances and the patronizing looks. The subtle eye roll every time I opened my mouth to lodge a complaint and the placating pats on the back that followed. Everything everyone else did grated on me during those weeks.
And that wasn’t the end of it.
“Commander, sedation is dangerous in these situations.”
“I don’t care, Phlox. I want the damn thing out, and I don’t want to be awake for it.”
He sighed, looking to the captain for validation. Jon had been treading lightly around me for a while, ever since our last argument with my thinly veiled contempt and references to his mother, and looked a little hesitant about confronting me again.
Phlox sighed again, obviously thoroughly disgusted at human propriety and tried to pin me down with a doctor’s glare. After I stared back he realized I was going to be as stubborn as I had been the entire time, and shrugged, resigned to his duty.
“Then I suppose I don’t have a choice.”
Neither did I.
When I woke up, Phlox and Cutler were standing outside the privacy curtain, talking softly. It was obvious, even the double haze of the curtain and my still drug fogged brain, that Cutler was holding something.
My child, no doubt.
She moved off, and Phlox stepped inside the curtain.
“Ah, Commander. You’re awake.”
He stood there and looked at me, and I could just hear his disdain for my actions and my behavior through his eyes.
“You’ll be happy to know that the freighter is docked with us, and is set to leave within the hour.”
Happy. Yeah, that was the word for it.
“When can I get the hell out of here?”
He walked closer to the bed, keying up the monitor next to the bed. He looked over the readouts, and didn’t even bother to look at me.
“You’ll be in your quarters by the end of the day, and back to work by the end of the week.”
He turned, and passed over me with a hardened glance I wouldn’t have thought him capable of.
It was put on a freighter and sent to Earth, where it took up residence with my little sister in Florida. She moved from Tallahassee to our old hometown to settle down. She stopped traveling so much, preferring to stay near it and our parents.
She never mentioned it in her letters. She knew better.
You know, I never even bothered to find out the gender of the thing. Never cared, really. I didn’t want anything to do with it, I wanted to shove the whole experience into the back of my mind and forget it ever happened.
Kind of hard, when your entire ship hates you.
They never looked at me the same after that, after it left. It was all shifty glances and sideways glares in passing. Conversations still hushed whenever I walked in. Not even my own staff gave me the time of day if they didn’t have to.
I was cut off.
By my goddamn circumstances and my choices.
And then the news of the attack.
That thing is dead, along with my sister. My baby sister, the light of my childhood life. Makes me wonder….
What would have happened if I’d kept it………
I couldn’t have done it. I wasn’t ready, I’m still not. I doubt I ever will be. I’ve changed this last year, I’m not the cocky, happy go lucky guy I think I once was. I’m cold, bitter, and alone, three things I never thought I’d be.
My entire life, I was surrounded by people. Family, friends, colleagues, coworkers, crew. I was happiest when I was around others, I hated being alone with no one to talk to. Now…. I still dread walking out my door in the morning. They still don’t look at me the same. Conversations still hush after all this time. They still don’t meet my eyes, they toss me sideways glares in the corridors, like they know they don’t like me but can’t fault me my reasons. Like they know they could have done the same.
I half find myself wondering what happened to it every time I think of Lizzie or read one of her letters. Then I remember why it came into existence and why I sent it off….. what’s happened since. And I find myself not caring.
My stupidity, my lack of control, my immaturity. Everything. Nothing’s been right since that mission. So early… what could have happened if I’d done things differently? If I hadn’t been so naïve about the differences and the possibilities. If I’d stuck to protocol, done my job and got out of dodge. If I hadn’t let my damn morals get in the way. If we’d found them.
We never found that ship. That woman doesn’t know she had a child.
I wonder if they ever made it home, fixed their problem for good. If she settled down, had a family. Time changes things. People change, attitudes, outlooks, points of view. Given enough time, the universe itself breaks down.
Time heals all wounds.