USS Alexander


On the Fly

Posted on 25 Aug 2020 @ 7:37am by Admiral Zavareh Sepandiyar & Lieutenant Commander Hamish Pembroke (*)
Edited on on 25 Aug 2020 @ 4:21pm

Mission: Season 1 - Into the Deep
Location: Holodeck One
Timeline: MD3 - 2105HRS
2535 words - 5.1 OF Standard Post Measure

.: Holodeck One :.

The mountain stream was cold, colder than he remembered it being the last time he’d been here. It added a level of realism that he found refreshing, even if it did get into his waders a little bit and give him a chill. Zavareh pulled the slack from his rod and drew it back and then flung forward into the distant river, snatching it back just as it hit the water and repeated the gesture. The simple action and finesse required to dance the fly lure right off the river was therapeutic to him in a way that very little else was. He’d stumbled into the holoprogram when Vice Admiral Millerton had insisted that he join him for a ‘retreat’ in Idaho on a pristine river in the middle of nowhere.

Zavareh had taken an amalgamation of some of Earth’s most pristine fly fishing locations, as well as a bit of flavor from a few other worlds, all combined into one of the Admiral’s most beloved files. This was the place he went to when he needed to clear his mind or when he just wanted to relax. It was one of the very few holodeck programs that he ever used - he simply didn’t have a preference for the diversion but that was far from the same case with his sons. The twins were regulars on the holodeck, blowing through their rations rapidly and usually negotiating with their brothers to give them some of theirs; a fact the other two exploited for their own ends. It stopped surprising Zavareh anymore at how many extra chores the twins did trying to ‘buy’ rations from the others.

For Arsalon and even Cyrus, Zavareh didn’t mind their spending hours on end in the holodeck as he knew both of them were using it to advance themselves. Arsalon had always been fascinated by engineering topics and neither he nor his wife thought twice about encouraging that. Cyrus was the same only directed at medicine. He’d even gone so far as to volunteer with the onboard Marines as a field medic. It was his passion and Zavareh was proud of both of them, even if he didn’t quite agree with their choices - particularly Arsalon’s - in life thus far. He couldn’t deny that they were strong young men and deserved the chance to live their lives the way that they wanted to.

The question now was what was going to happen with his other three children? Roham was more than old enough to have found himself a life away from him, back on Earth or somewhere else in the Federation, but he seemed content to be here with him on the Alexander. Had Saman still been alive, he had no doubt he would have pushed him out of the house just as he had with Arsalon, but that part of him was gone and he couldn’t bear to willingly ask his children to leave. Not when that was all that he had left of her. It was heart wrenching to him to want them to leave and find their own way, but being terrified to let them. It was the same with the twins. He was all over them on the regular for their mischievous ways, but he couldn’t really imagine life without them there causing trouble. They might have been a walking pair of disasters, but they were his disasters; life wouldn’t be nearly the same without them.

It was nice having Cyrus back home though, even if his return was a bit dubious. He would have never followed a girl halfway across the Federation on his Cadet Cruise; of course Zavareh would have never let that be a distraction to him when he was in the Academy. He had been laser focused on graduation, not on dalliances with the opposite sex. He hadn’t met the young woman in question but that hadn’t stopped him from querying the manifest for the details of her service and background. He would have gone to Doctor Pembroke and asked him directly, but with Cyrus working there he didn’t want to add any fuel to the nepotistic fire he was certain was burning among the other cadets as well as the rank and file crew of the ship.

Had he known that this was going to happen, he would have shut it down, or at the very least shuffled him to one of the other vessels in their erstwhile task force. Having him aboard was going to create problems, but unfortunately Doctor Pembroke had already shuffled every cadet he could off the ship and onto the others nearby so he had no room to maneuver there. All he could do was do his best to avoid interacting with Cyrus on duty and try to avoid the appearance of nepotism.

As he cast his rod, he sighed, admitting to himself finally that he needed to go and talk with Doctor Pembroke directly. He needed to settle with Hamish that he had no part of this and that he expected him to treat Cyrus just like he would any other cadet. Even if that meant failing him on the cruise and sending him back to the Academy with his tail between his legs. His son needed to succeed or fail on his own merits without his fathers input, no matter how far up the totem pole he happened to be.

Zavareh’s attention was snapped away from his thoughts as trout snagged his lure and fought to get away and he reeled it in as quickly as he could, smiling as he waded out into the shallows a bit to give himself a better footing. He drew the fish in and scooped it up in his net to unhook it and have a look at it. If this had been a real river, he might have put it in a basket and prepared it for dinner later, but here on the holodeck there was no point. He carefully unhooked his favorite lure from the fish and set it back into the water where it swam off into the distance.

He began to adjust his gear and wade back out into the water when the holodeck began to chirp and a small arch appeared in the water behind him. He sighed in defeat and began packing up his things. He’d set the computer to warn him when he had five minutes left on the hour so he had time to pack up before the next hour began and the next occupant was ready to start their allotted time. Zavareh expected his crew to respect the time allotted to each crewman on the holodeck and that started with him. It was important that the crew saw him setting the example on that. He quickly cut his lure from the line, put it in his tackle box and wound up the line. The pole he disassembled and put into the tube he’d had on his back and slid the circular tackle box he kept in the tube and sealed it up.

“Computer, end program,” he ordered.

In a whoosh, the mountain river was gone, as were his waders and fishing vest leaving just the Admiral in his uniform holding his fishing pole tube - a prized personal possession. He turned and headed for the door, stepping out with a minute to spare, to see a pair of Ensign’s holding hands outside the door waiting for their turn. Both snapped to attention at the sight of the Admiral, probably the last person they expected to see walking out of the holodecks. Zavareh didn’t often wander the ship and get involved in the operative departments so he didn’t know the names and faces of the crew at large. It wasn’t like it was when he was a First Officer and knew every officer and crewman by first name. He was so far detached from that now that he often wished things were that simple again.

Zavareh gave the pair of them a nod, “Enjoy your hour, Ensign’s,” he said, heading down the corridor to the lift. The doors to the lift opened a moment later and a quartet of officers dressed for hover ball stepped out, greeting the Admiral politely one at a time before heading down the corridor towards the holodecks laughing and carrying on with one another. He stepped into the now empty lift. “Deck three,” he ordered, setting the tube upright on the ground in front of him.

It was a relatively quick ride up to deck three and when the doors opened, the Admiral stepped out and made his way down the corridor, stopping at a terminal to find out where exactly he was going. He had a decent idea, but he wasn’t absolutely certain. Confirming that with the computer, he went along the corridor and found the door he was looking for. He pressed the chime and waited.

A moment later the door to the Senior Officer’s quarters swished open to reveal a tall, sandy-haired man wearing what amounted to pajamas. Doctor Pembroke had a roguish smirk on his face when he opened the door, probably expecting someone far more interesting than the Admiral. But on seeing Zavareh the smirk vanished and was replaced by genuine concern.

“Admiral,” Hamish greeted him quickly, “Are you unwell?”

“I’m fine, Commander,” the Admiral answered with a terse expression. “May I come in?” He asked, not eager to have this conversation in the hall.
Hamish stepped back from the door, gesturing inside. The Admiral stepped through and the door hissed closed behind him.

“Can I offer you a cup of tea?” Hamish asked, confused as to why there was a four star Admiral in his quarters this late in the evening. In the three years he’d been aboard the Alexander, he had never spent more time alone with the Admiral than it took to do his annual physical.

“No, but thank you,” Zavareh answered, turning about to face the Doctor. “I wanted to speak with you about the Cadets you’ve been assigned.”

“Ah,” Hamish nodded, gesturing to the couch, taking the armchair as the Admiral sat down on the couch, perched on the edge of it. This must be it, he thought, when the Admiral finally came to him to discuss the plant in his department.

Zavareh set the fishing rod case against the little coffee table between them, “I understand that, among the cadets in your charge, is my son. Cyrus?” He asked, well aware of the answer.

“That is correct, Admiral,” Hamish nodded quietly. “I had a few brief words with him this afternoon.”

“I wish to make a few things clear regarding Cyrus,” Zavareh replied, looking to Hamish directly so that there was no misconception. “I did not participate in his placement here as a Cadet,” he declared clearly, “It was as much news to me as it was no doubt to you,” he added.

Hamish raised an eyebrow curiously. That wasn’t the statement he was expecting from the Admiral. Not in the slightest. He was expecting a lecture on his expectations of how he would treat his son, perhaps even the offer of something to make it worth his while. It wouldn’t have been the first time a Flag Officer had done the same for one of his own.

“Given the option, I would have transferred him to the Theseus or the de Grasse, but unfortunately it seems you’ve already transferred off all you could. That means he’s stuck here,” he sighed.

“I’m sure I could discuss with Doctor Corduke,” Hamish replied.

He shook his head, “No, at this point I wish to draw as little attention to Cyrus as I can. That is why we are having this discussion here,” Zavareh said, adjusting his glasses, “I have made it clear with all of my children that their success and failure is dependent entirely on them. That I will assist them where I can, but that they must stand on their own,” he outlined, “I have told Cyrus this, and now I am telling you so that you understand my expectations.”

“Admiral, if you’re expec-,” Hamish started, only to be cut off.

“My expectation, Hamish, is that you will treat Cyrus no differently than any other Cadet in your charge,” Zavareh cut him off, “You can also expect that I will not hold any ill will towards you for any failures on my son’s part.”

Hamish smirked, “Three years I’ve served with you, Admiral, and I believe that’s the first time you’ve called me by my first name.”

Zavareh cocked his head and gave the slightest of smirks, “We are in your home.”

The Doctor nodded sagely, “I won’t lie, I was surprised to see such an overly nepotistic gesture from you, Admiral, but I’m glad to hear it wasn’t your doing.”

“He is… following a young woman…,” Zavareh sighed.

Hamish chuckled, “I cannot say I blame him,” he replied. “She is… well. I can see why he would follow,” he added with a playful smirk, more akin to his usual cocksure grin. “You can be sure that I’ll treat him just as pitilessly as I will the rest of the Cadets Starfleet Academy was too busy to bother with,” he declared with a laugh.

“Good,” Zavareh nodded, reaching for his fishing rod case but not getting up quite yet. “Captain Drake tells me you’re going to be sitting for the Commander’s exam.”

“Quantum Slipstream has nothing on the scuttlebutt, does it?” Hamish smirked.

“Edward is a good First Officer,” Zavareh countered.

“Certainly outmaneuvered me,” Hamish agreed. “But yes, I will be taking the Commander’s exam. Once I’ve had a chance to digest… everything else.”

“Well,” Zavareh replied, standing up. “It’s quite past time you did.”

“I appreciate the vote of confidence.”

Zavareh picked up his case and put it on his shoulder, “Well, I’ll leave to your rest, Hamish.” He said, “You’ve never used it, but I will remind you that my door is open. Should you need anything.”

“Thank you, Admiral,” Hamish grinned. “I’ll remember that.”

Without another word, the Admiral made his way to the door and out into the corridor, leaving Hamish alone with his thoughts. It was an evening of firsts, to be certain, but in a good way. Ever since Llwyd had pointed out the Admiral’s son was with them he’d had a pit in his stomach. He hated dealing with this kind of drama, but at being given express orders to treat him no differently, Hamish felt a surge of relief. Like a knot had been untied in his stomach. Grinning to himself, Hamish locked the door, turned off the lights and hopped into bed. Today had been a good day, but tomorrow - tomorrow would be even better.