Posted on Sunday, 1 November 2020 - 8:48pm by Commander Soral & Lieutenant Alex Kingsley
Escorting her two young charges through the airlock, Laura Kingsley paused just beyond the walkway. Scanning the crowd for the familiar face of her son in law. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it was Severine who spied him first although she showed her protectiveness of her brother by remaining at his side and encouraging him. For her part Laura walked a step behind, aware this would be the first face to face meeting between father and son.
It had been a whirlwind few days, her arrival on Vulcan had gone smoothly thanks to the Ambassador's assistance. Yet she had barely arrived when plans were then made to come to Jupiter to meet the Standing Bear. Given how concerned Severine was about her father, it had seemed a logical idea to try and appease her concerns face to face. And of course, Laura could not turn down the opportunity to see her daughter and son in law.
“It is good to see you, Soral,” Laura offered one greeting as she hugged him. As far from a Vulcan greeting as was possible. “Are you well?"
He returned the hug. "Indeed." He was recovering. His eyes rested on Severine and Soval. He knelt down. Severine for her part threw her arms around him, her Vulcan reserve gone. "Father! You are well."
Soral sighed and hugged her back. "Indeed."
Severine pulled back and took her brother's hand. "This is Soval."
For his part, Soval, a spitting image of Soral when he was young with strongly Romulan features that Soral himself didn't possess just stared at him.
The boy said nothing. His eyes narrowed. "I want to go back to Vashti." He finally said.
Laura flashed Soral a sympathetic smile, knowing this would not perhaps be the beginning he had hoped for. It was the most she had heard him speak, beyond conversations she had overheard between him and his sister. And she new this was a big change, it would not be easy.
Soral stood. "Why don't we go see the ship?"
Laura smiled. “That sounds wonderful! It’s been a very long time since I’ve been aboard a starship and I’ve been curious about where you two call home,” she enthused, noting Severine seemed more on board with the suggestion than her brother.
As they walked Soral processed his son's reaction. He understood it. He hoped that he could make some peace with Soval while they were here. Their first stop was the observation booth. He loved showing them ship from the outside. "That is the Fontana...it has been renamed the Standing Bear." Severine was enchanted. She just stared and Soval too seemed to be studying the ship. "She is small but comfortable."
“An unusual name...” Laura observed. “Why change it?”
"It has special meaning to the CO. It was also I believe a Fresh start. I must admit I have taken the naming plaque for the Fontana. A sentimental action." He motioned. "A brief tour?"
“Sounds perfect,” Laura enthused.
He took them to the ship, signed them in and started with a tour. He noted that Soval paid close attention although he spoke little. Severine, however, made up for that. She asked so many questions that he was afraid he'd run out of answers. They toured engineering, the medical bay, the bridge, his office and finally his quarters came into view. "Laura why don't you go in, Alexandra is there. I shall take the children to the holodeck."
Throughout the trip Laura had been quiet, keeping to the background to let Severine ask her questions and Soval to become more comfortable around his father. Nevertheless she did enjoy the glimpse into the everyday surroundings of her daughter and son in law. A computer monitor only did so much after all.
"Have a wonderful time," Laura ordered as Soral unlocked the door for her, “I'm sure we will join you shortly.”
He gave a nod and they headed off to the holodeck leaving Laura to surprise Alex.
As they moved away, she stepped inside. If she had expected the bland shades of blue and grey Starfleet still tended to favour, she could not have been more wrong. It truly did feel like a home from home.
She spun around when she realised something was in the room with her, giving out a little gasp of delight when she came face to face with an adorable puppy. He gave just one bark before darting around her, sniffing at her ankles curiously before seeming to decide she was no threat. "You must be Bones," Laura smiled kindly, crouching down and taking a moment or two to simply pet the animal. Alex had spoken of him often and it was easy to see why. What wasn't there to love? "Aren't you just adorable!"
Rising she saw the bedroom door was open and, within, her daughter seemed to be asleep. Debating if she should wait or wake her, she now realised that the darkened room wasn't quite as dark as she first thought...
Inching closer, a bright smile lit up her face as she saw the projection of stars being cast out. Her gaze fell on the small projector her husband had made when Alex was just a little girl. Before Laura and Alex left for Earth he had made a second. So that they could all fall asleep 'under the same stars'. For an engineer he was always a bit of a hopeless romantic.
Laura stood for a moment and watched. Amazed the device still worked and that her daughter had it with her. She had been so cautious about what she took with her - fearing her most treasured things would be lost or broken.
She suddenly realised Alex was awake, rising from the bed even as she deactivated the projector. "Mum?!"
"Surprise!" Laura cried out, throwing her arms around her daughter before holding her at arms length. "Miss me?"
Nowhere near awake enough, Alex frowned. "How...?"
"I didn't walk here, if that's what you are thinking?" Laura teased lightly. "Since Severine was having some difficulty believing Soral was safe and well, we decided to come visit. And Soval needs some time with his father. This was the perfect opportunity. Soral has taken them both to the holodeck."
"You normally wake up much more clear headed," Laura observed. "How about some tea?"
"Mum," Alex said, taking hold of her arm before her mother could walk away. Deciding she didn't care if she was still asleep or not, she threw her arms around her, hugging her tightly. "I always miss you."
"Good to know," Laura smiled. "Now, you go freshen up. I'll replicate some tea and then in a little while we can join Soral and the children in the holodeck."
Time seemed to slip away and soon the door hissed open. Three weary travelers bounced in. Severine, as always, talking and asking questions, Soval quietly walking with her, and Soral looking a little green. He'd replicated an amusement park and his injuries were still not healed but the children had had fun.
"Hello," Severine said hugging Alex. It was then that she noticed Bones.
"Hey you!" Alex grinned as hugged the girl back while her gaze studied her husband. He looked pained. "You look taller... you'll be taller than me soon!"
Seeing Bones curiously watching them before picking up his favourite ball, Alex smiled as the puppy dropped it at Severine's feet. "He wants to play," she assured the girl, "and he is very friendly. Go on, just throw the ball and he'll run and fetch it. He loves it."
Severine did as Alex said and as Bones enthusiastically barked and went after the ball she allowed herself a smile. She turned and grabbed her brothers hand. "This is Soval. Soval this is Alex." She shoved him forward and then ran off to play with bones.
Soval stood there a moment and then, "Hello," he said shyly.
Alex smiled, making no move to touch him or encroach upon his space, able to see this wasn't easy for him. He was not as... outgoing as his twin. In many ways he was far more like his father than Severine was. "Hello. It's nice to finally see you, Soval. You are welcome to play with Bones if you like, or if you'd rather have something to eat or drink, you can join us?"
The boy gave a nod and joined his sister. Soral staggered a bit as he made his way to a chair and sat down. The pain was evident on his face. There was nothing amusing about the amusement parks.
As Laura rose to fetch Soral some tea, Alex reached for him, worry evident on her face. "Soral...?"
"The program was fascinating. What you would call an Amusement park. There was nothing amusing about it...I can assure you of that."
Alex couldn't help but laugh. Laura shook her head as she gave Soral a cup of tea, "this will help," she promised as she sat back down.
"Indeed." He watched the children playing with Bones. Soval seemed so engaged. He was smiling and they were out of earshot. He turned to the women. "Welcome to our home," he said to Laura.
"Why thank you," Laura replied graciously. "I have to say, I didn't expect to see a twenty year old projector at work -"
"Mother!" Alex hissed, kicking her lightly under the table.
"What? I think it is wonderful that it still works," Laura said with a touch of defensiveness. "There is nothing wrong with having reminders of home. Or your childhood."
Soral raised an eyebrow. "Projector?"
Alex sighed, looking pointedly at her mother as if to say 'see what you've done?'. "It was something my dad made when I was little, we'd pretend to camp out in the living room whenever mum was away -"
"You should have seen the mess I always came back too," Laura chimed in.
"Anyways, it projected the stars in the night sky. And when I left for Cambridge he programmed it to be the same sky I would see from my window, and made another for himself. It's silly I know but it made me feel like he was there. Every night we'd turn it on and talk for hours until I fell asleep," she shrugged. "And since I couldn't sleep, I figured I'd try it."
"A very logical conclusion." He covered his wife's hand with his. He looked at Laura. "How are you settling in on Vulcan?"
"So far so good, the Ambassador has been a wonderful help," Laura beamed, not missing Soral's gesture. "My hair, however, may take a little longer to adapt to the heat. And I thought it was warm in Sydney!"
"It is warm indeed. I always find the ship quite cold." He looked at the children. "How are they settling in now that Liviana has left for Vashti?"
"Severine is taking everything in her stride, nothing seems to phase her. Soval is far more introverted. He says little unless she encourages him. But they are both settling in. It is a new home, new people. It is a lot to adjust to."
"Indeed. Fang and Thalia will help as much as possible. The new governess should help as well. She assisted me when my symptoms were at their worst." He sighed. "I wish...I had been there more for them."
Just as he finished speaking Soval walked up to Alex. He ignored his father for the moment. "May I have some sweet tea?"
Alex couldn't hide her surprise but she nodded as she stood, "of course you may. Here, you can take my seat."
Crossing to the replicator she ordered the tea and within moments was setting it down in front of the young boy. "If you want anything else, just say," she told him.
"Thank you." He said. He drank the tea. "You are nice, like Sevy said."
"That's very sweet of you to say," Alex said, standing beside Soral and taking hold of her husband's hand. "And you are very nice too. What did you think of the ship? I heard you got a personal tour."
He shrugged. "It's alright." He shrugged and then hopped off to join his sister with Bones.
Soral sighed. "Well, now for the second part of my surprise." He turned to his wife. "I have booked us for a week on Jupiter Stations Resort level." It was like risa rolled into one whole deck.
“I’m sorry, you did what now?” Alex blurted out. “But we can’t just disappear for a week. We have bridge duties, I have experiments to monitor... we have visitors.”
"Well.. we are all going, yourself, Laura, the children and I. Your experiments can be delegated and we are docked...Logic would say that we could disappear for a week."
“Some family time,” Laura added helpfully, seeing the tension in her daughter’s shoulders at the ‘delegated’ comment. She was so very much like her father that way. “I think it will do wonders for Soral’s recovery.”
Alex looked between them before she eventually sighed, “fine.”
Soral sighed and let out a breath he hadn't known he was holding. "I will need to go take care of a few tasks first. But I shall return." He stood kissing the top of Alex's head. He looked at the children. "I shall return shortly. I have a meeting to tend to."
Soval stayed quiet but Severine gave a nod. They went back to playing with Bones who was loving the attention.
“He means we’ll,” Laura offered, “how about some more tea?”
“You could be an ambassador for tea,” Alex commented, nevertheless sitting down, watching the children play.
“Because it is wonderful and helps me feel better every time,” Laura grinned. “I’m sure your experiment will be fine for a few days kiddo.”
Alex nodded, “I guess. And you are right, he needs time away from here. And it will be good for him to spend time with them both. And Bones clearly loves them.
“Severine,” she called across to the girl, “how about we introduce Soval to some popcorn?”
"Indeed! May I ask for something?"
"You can always ask," Alex assured her.
"There is a lecture that is to be broadcast on Vulcan are we able to...maybe watch it here?"
"I don't see why not... what lecture?" Alex asked curiously as she rose and crossed to the computer terminal.
"A philosophical one."
Soval rolled his eyes. He picked up Bones and hugged the little dog tight. For his part, Bones didn't seem to mind.