As the white light consumed the screen, Chythar instinctively raised a hand to protect his eyes until the light faded. When it did, there was nothing -- he was no longer the bridge of his ship, there was nothing on the viewscreen in front of him. It looked like a big, blank space for a moment before it shifted to Skyfire Beach. Near the waterline, the only occupant of the shore was a redhead in a red Starfleet uniform. It wasn’t until she turned around to face him that Chythar made the connection in that he’d seen this woman before -- captain’s pips, red hair, eyes of a similar color to his own. His mother, Captain Kyrethia Angelica Skyfire. He was only a small boy when she died, and his pulse skyrocketed when he considered he might also be dead.
As the question “am I dead?” burned around in his mind, he swallowed roughly and closed the distance between himself and the captain, his muscles tensing a bit as he did so. As he stepped forward, she smiled softly at him.
“CD. You wear the teal uniform well. Starfleet life isn’t too rough on you, I hope?”
“Mom. I...Am I dead?”
She moved close to her son and pulled him into a warm embrace, the sort of familial contact he had missed out on for his entire adult life. Everything else vanished away, and there was nothing else that occupied his mind. Even though this was only a holodeck program, he was willing to accept the fact that he might, in fact, be dead if it meant that he could hold a conversation with his mother for the first time in over twenty years.
“What have you been up to? Last time I saw you, you were up to your ears in linguistics and learning Russian with your uncle.”
Chythar attempted to come up with an answer. He wanted to answer with confidence and conviction, but his words came out in a jumble of a summary. “Overall? Let me nutshell it. I’ve experimented in the realm of love, had my heart broken and mended, provided myself as a role model to a few medical officers and a little girl I’ve become a godfather to and will probably never see again, become CMO of a few vessels, became a lieutenant commander, well decorated officer, and finally a barista for Uncle Chris. Now I’m slinging coffee aboard a starship because my clearances have been suspended.”
Ky smiled softly and took his hand, walking with him along the shore line near the water. She loved the beach, and even though she was probably only a figment of his imagination at this point, he fell in step beside her.
“Love is a tricky realm. It’s never the sort of thing that comes easily. Even with your father.”
“Dad’s dead, Mom. He took the supernova rather hard, and I was basically raised by Uncle Chris after your funeral.” She seemed unsurprised, and nodded sagely. She seemed, to his eye, almost jaded by the news. As though she knew Calvin was already dead.
“So these officers and the little girl you inspired are colleagues of yours, then? Friends you’ve made in Starfleet?”
CD nodded slightly. “The little girl is currently on Earth with her father, but she did a marvelous science project on pain medication absorption by different species based on reading my SFMJ back-issues.. She wants to become a medical officer when she grows up. Some of these colleagues have read my work that was published in the SFMJ, and have served with me for a number of years now.”
Ky smiled again, and the warm, motherly pride in her son was evident in her eyes. She stopped and gave him another hug, pride and love washing off of her like tidal waves of a tsunami. As the emotional overload hit him, he tensed completely under her grip and did his best not to flinch. However, due to motherly instinct, she noticed and let go almost immediately.
“You didn’t flinch the first time I hugged you...you’ve changed….” This was a conversation he hadn’t ever envisioned having with his family, especially because he had no real family to speak of. He felt isolated from the Moonsongs due to his connection with Raissa being so tenuous and his biological family being dead, so he nodded slowly and took a breath. “I’ve had my DNA scrambled, Mom. I’m a T2/E6 now, and I’m still getting used to the empathic overload. Series of freakish accidents.” The smile quickly disappeared, replaced by one of concern. Having one’s DNA toyed with was never a fun experience, but to have it stated so bluntly was an unusual experience for the captain.
“Indeed? Well. We have no reader ancestry, so this is...very different.” CD just nodded. “Yeah. I’ve been getting training in how to deal with it.” She nodded and ran a hand along his bearded face. “That’s good. So...you mentioned your love life is not anything special?”
“Not really, no. Nobody special right now. I have a dog, though. Given to me by a pair of colleagues because I’m a high stress depressive. Devlin’s an adorable beagle.” She glanced over his shoulder to see the five year old beagle running toward them. “You always were good with dogs. And yes, he is quite adorable. That’d be him, I trust?” CD turned and patted his leg. “Come here, boy.” Devlin ran up and gave a yip of greeting as he approached. The captain knelt down and extended her hand to him, which was sniffed for a moment before being given a friendly lick.
The moment was picture-perfect. Mom, Chythar, and his dog. A moment of serenity before a sudden burst of gale force wind came in and disrupted everything. The world went black, and Kyrethia and Devlin faded from view,
Chythar woke suddenly, the sudden wind from his dream sending a chill through his body. The abrupt motion disturbed the dozing beagle beside him, who noted his master’s distress and gave a whimper, nuzzling up against the doctor’s chest and licking his face reassuringly. “It was just a dream, boy… just a dream…”
Chythar Skyfire, MD
Brew Continuum Barista
USS Veritas NCC-95035