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Lieutenant JG Valin Dermont - After the Beep (Part One)

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((Set on Day Two of Shore Leave))

((USS Atlantis, Dermont's Personal Quarters - Deck 4))

::Dermont trudged into his quarters and tossed a PADD and his thermos into a chair.  He unzipped his uniform and took off the outer jacket, allowing it to share space in the chair.  He sat on the edge of his ottoman and bent down, giving a groan of relief as his boots slipped off.  As he leaned back, something across the room caught his eye.  It was a slow blink on the his personal console.  He frowned at it.  Really he had almost forgotten about it.  That light had been blinking since long before the repairs at DS26 and just yesterday he would have been content to let it blink for all eternity.  but now...::
oO What's changed?  Yer still the same ole pain in everyone's [...], yeah? Oo
oO Didn't use ta be that way...some would've called me fun. Oo
oO You mean yer wife, right?  Isn't she yer ex-wife now? Oo
oO Shaddup... Oo
::Sighing heavily to himself he strode over to the console and pulled out the small chair from under it.  He took a seat and decided it was time to do something about that light.  The greying engineer hovered his finger over the button for several seconds, letting out an audible growl at his own hesitation.::
Dermont:  Damn you...me...
::He jammed his finger down much harder than he needed to.  The console immediately sprung to life, displaying his list of awaiting messages.  He swore a second time, this time under his breath and he gripped the edge of the console hard.  What the hell?::
Dermont:  Sixty-three....::It came out as little more than a whisper.::
::Sixty-three messages.  He had not checked his messages since graduating the academy.  And any time someone had tried to make contact with him live, he always found an excuse that he was too busy.  It was never really a lie.  Dermont was always busy.  He made sure of it.::
oO But sixty-three?  I don't even know sixty-three people...and damn sure not sixty-three who liked me.  And how long have I no checked a message?  Eight months?  Nine? Oo
::There was nothing to do now except listen to them.  He took a deep breath and then another one.  One the third he tapped the first message.  So it began.  An image of his mother appeared. Helen Dermont.  The wonderfully kind Mama Dermont, halfway to eighty years now.  She had a sad smile.::
Helen: Valin, I know you didn't wanna fuss, but I've gotta tell ya, I'm just so proud of you.  Over forty or not, yer my boy and ye've made me so proud...
::He frown as he listened.  Another growl escaped his lips as he went to the next message.  Mama again.::
Helen: I know ya need yer space, son.  But I love you...
::Next.  Mama again. Next.  His father.  The of them looked very similar except Marcus Dermont's hair was cropped short and his beard was trimmed.  There was a familiar scowl planted on his face.::
Marcus:  Dammit, boy.  You better call your mama.  She so proud of you fer some damn reason and yer breakin' her heart ignorin' her.  Ignorin' yer family...
::More messages congratulating him.  His ex-wife sent a brief note saying well done, be mainly reminding him to send a message to their kids sometime.  The time was daughter, Brienna, and he nearly cried.  Thirteen years old and brilliant.  She was a jewel of perfection with the exception of one thing: she still thought her father was someone special.::
oO Poor kid... Oo
Brienna:  Dad, I know you've not talked to Mama Dee or mother and I just wanting to say that it's okay.  I know you just miss Uncle Maz.  I just wanted to say I love you...
::He jumped away from the console and kicked the chair across the room.  Dermont suddenly felt a pain in his chest and found it hard to catch his breath.  He stumbled to the shower, peeling off his clothes as he went.  He crawled into the stall and just lay there, trying to breath between tears.  He didn't know if he was more angry than sad, but he didn't it wasn't anyone's fault but his own.::
oO Oh you wanted ta be alone, didn't ya!  Well here ya go!  You get to look at all the people ya pushed away!  Get ta see how yer bein' an [...] makes them hurt just like ye'd been hurtin'!  This is all yer fault, ya damn idiot... Oo
::He wasn't sure how long he laid there, but at some point he actually took a shower and got himself dressed.  He gathered back up the chair and sat back at the console.  He tried to control his breathing as he began again.  The old engineer decided he was going to finished this list.  He needed to.  They had reached out to them and he owed it to every person on here to listen to what they had to say.::
Helen:  Merry Christmas, Valin!  It sure would be nice to hear...
Brienna:  Merry Christmas, daddy!  We heard you were moved to the Atlantis!  Mother got me...
Kyleanna:  How about you just try and act like a father for Christmas?!  Your daughter hasn't heard from you in months...
::The messages went on and on.  He heard from his uncle and his aunt.  His brother and his younger sister.  His mother kept up the called, sometimes breaking into tears.  Maddius, his old boss and best friend's dad reached out, as did nine other members of that family.  That almost made him smile.  That Bolian family had adopted him over twenty years ago and were reminding him they were still there.::
oO Great, so ye've disappointed two families... Oo
::He frowned as a picture of Rhona Dermont appeared on his screen.  Commander Rhona Dermont of Starfleet Security, currently stationed on Earth.  Her hair was pulled up into a severe bun and looking as intimidating as ever at fifty-seven years old.  She gave the screen a harsh glare.::
Commander Rhona:  So Lieutenant Junior Grade, it appears you are causing me disruptions at my work.  I do not enjoy mother showing up in my office asking me to drop what I am doing to hunt you down.  Call her.  Oh, and I would offer you congratulations on the quick promotion, but I've seen the manifest for the Atlantis.  ::slight smile.::  It is pretty slim pickings...
::He scowled at the screen as her image disappeared.  The two of them had never been very close.  Her and their father both never saw much in the younger Valin Dermont.  Too impulsive.  Too emotional.  He shook her words from his mind and kept going.  A message from Rav'riunt the Nausicaan collector that made him scowl.  Sent two weeks before the man tried to frame Serala for espionage and then attempted to kill Dermont's son.  He deleted it.  Next a message from a nameless Bolian.  They said four simple words.  "Talk to you soon."::
oO Oh, great...just great... Oo
::He got to the last message, not even bothering to hide his tears.  There were people that loved him and had not stopped reaching out, trying to reconnect.  And how had he repaid them?  By ignoring them.  He was sad, mad, and happy all at once.  The final message was from his son Kurdan.::
Kurdan:  Hey dad.  Just wanted to say thanks to you and your friends again.  Even if it was your fault I appreciated you know...you guys not letting me die.  And I know life it hard for you. But hey it is hard on us all.  I knew Uncle Maz since I was born, remember?  Anyway, I am just saying I will try if you will try.  Oh, and why didn't you tell me Brienna was heading to stay will you on the Atlantis for a while?!  She'd here now and leaving on the next shuttle leaving DS26!  So she will be to you...uhhh...soon, I guess.  Anyway, talk to you later, Lieutenant.
oO Um...what? Oo
::Brienna coming here?  Since when?  He had just listened to all the messages and while his daughter he spoke of it several times, Dermont had obviously made no such plans.   He sighed for what felt like the thousandth time.::
Dermont:  Well, Valin...it appears ye've got a few return calls ta make.
::He tapped a few keys, cleared his throat and looked at the console.::
Dermont:  Hi, Mama.  Well, a lot has happened...

Lieutenant JG Valin Dermont


USS Atlantis


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