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[2006: JAN-FEB] A home isn't what you make it, it's what makes


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"Well... that was a good start..."

The sarcasm was more than obvious as that statement was pronounced. It was obvious that things wouldn't go perfectly as nothing is perfect, but he couldn't expect things to go THAT bad.

For the past couple of months, he had travelled far and wide basically non-stop to find a place to fit in. Obviously, he had not been looking in the right places since he was thrown around from one assignment to another because of many different technicalities which, in the end, made him look like the bad guy. Okay, he never was down with diplomacy and tact, somewhat arrogant on the sides and direct to the point of being blunt to the discomfort of others, but that didn't make him a bad guy.

Walking on a dusty road, he looked at the background and smiled. It was funny to him as this almost barren land he called home was more civilized than he could be himself at times. He wasn't a pain in the neck on purpose, he just looked that way because he was a practitioner of "extreme honesty" and loved to express himself and disagreeing with people.

A gust of wind hit him from the left side, blowing a cloud of dust in front of his eyes for a short moment, then everything going back to like it was before. Hopefully, things would go like that for him, as things got volatile for a moment and when things settle down he'd have another chance.

But nevermind all that, he was coming home, the one place where he was accepted as he was, with his flaws as much as his strenghts, the unconditional love from his family that nothing he could do would break. It was comforting to realize how much life was easy around here, as he was pulling up to an entrance perpendicular to the road he was walking on.

He stopped for an instant, looking at the fences running on both sides of the smaller road, leading to a bunch of buildings. It was odd how much he realized that every section of those fences actually reminded him of something of his childhood or his teen years, mostly good memories. He started walking down the road leading to the buildings, remembering different scenes as he looked in different places, smiling at each one of them as if he was there once again, doing all those things.

As he got closer to the first building, he noticed an immense beast just standing there in the fenced pen... That was Big Bad John... THE bull who had almost taken his life once in a stupid bull-riding attempt... and yet the beast was still around the ranch, kind of part of the family or something... As the man passed him, the bull looked at him with an air of defiance, as if he was saying "I might be old now, but I can still take you on, kid..." with a burst of air coming out of his nostrils.

A little further down was the stable where he had spent a lot of time working during the time he lived on the ranch. He could still hear his father telling him that he would benefit from learning to do everything himself, as technology was a pain in the neck because it kept breaking... Yeah, his father never was really into technology, even though he did appreciate it to some extent, usually when it involved a replicator and cigars... And behind the stable was the family's land, as far as the eye could see... well... actually he knew for a long time the boundaries of the land as he spent a lot of time in the past horseback riding around the limits just to get some visual reference to where their property was extending.

Before he was even close to the next building, he heard a voice and noticed someone waving in the distance.

"Holà Nino!"

Yeah, it was his mother alright. She wasn't the only one who spoke spanish on the ranch, obviously since they were in Mexico, but he could easily identify her by the starfleet uniform she was wearing, probably because she had just got home from work... Made him smile to see that, as he remembered seeing that same image so many times as he was getting back from school, his mother waiting for him to get home... Times changed, but everything just stayed the same... As much as it made him smile, the smile disappeared from his face pretty fast as he was getting home for another reason than just coming back from school... He was about to tell his mother that he was coming home because he got kicked out of two ships already... That gave him a "[...]py report card" feeling, as he could only imagine how his mother would react to such news...

He got to the house and climbed the couple of steps leading to the porch, his mother hugging him at the exact moment both his feet were on the porch.

"You didn't tell me you were coming to visit! I would have prepared something for you!"

It had always been like that with her... She always wanted to know when people came around so that she could "prepare something for them"... A very kind woman, no doubt about it... Kind to the point of actually allow some of his friends to come live at their house because they had family issues or other things like that... As much as he could try, he couldn't find a time where his mother actually said no to helping someone in need... It got him a little encouragement as he realized that he would still be welcome whatever happened to him...

"Yeah, well... I have some free time right now..."

Of course, as any mother would, she looked right through him and knew there was more to it...

"Okay, okay... there were some... administrative issues..."

"Well, you can explain everything to me after you've cleaned up, you're all dusty!"

That too, he heard a lot... But it is then that he noticed how his mother always had time to listen to whatever he had to say, no matter how many things she had to do and so little time to do them... It was weird how he never got around to see that before... Maybe it was a question of age, now older he got to understand things that he didn't when he was a kid... Or perhaps he was just an inconsiderate brat who didn't care about anything but himself when he was younger... He didn't think he was, but would he admit it openly if he had been?

Without further ado, he followed his mother inside the house as nothing had changed since the last time he was there... Okay, he was there just a couple of months ago, but still, not much had changed since he was a kid... Little paint here, new furniture there... But nothing major... It felt like an old pair of slippers, something you're sure to feel good in... And being at home like that sure made him feel better... He headed to the basement, as his room had been there for many years... As he was going down the stairs, he remembered the first day his room had gotten down there... He had been asking his father for years before he actually sacrificed what he refered to as his sanctuary to give the space to his son...

After he installed himself and cleaned up, he headed to the kitchen from which was coming the unbeatable smell of his mother's homemade meals. But when he actually got in the kitchen, another smell got to his nose: meat roasting on the barbecue... That was going to be a great meal, even more so considering that for the past months, he had been eating ration packs most of the time. Yeah, it was definitely good to be home after all... It was as if the problems he might have had professionally vanished each passing hour, worries making place to joy, anger to happiness... It almost seemed like some sort of group therapy where everybody was feeding off the positive energy from each other.

Days went by, the old routine established itself again: waking up early in the morning, working all day on the ranch until the evening, relaxing then sleep and the cycle starting all over again. But that was until THE message arrived... It was an expected message, but being back home was so comforting that the expectation just went through the airlock and got forgotten.

"Hey kid! You got a message!"

He turned to his father.

"Yeah, go, but hurry up!"

He ran to the house and sat in front of a computer terminal. The message was stating:

"Ensign Ramirez, you are hereby reassigned as Science Officer on the USS Columbia. The location of the shuttle that will take you there is included in this communication. I would like to remind you that your frequent reassignment might become problematic on a very short term basis. I would strongly encourage you to make that one last."

No matter what one does, reality has a way to come out of nowhere and slap you in the face. He sighed as he finished to read the message, noted the location of the shuttle and went back outside to finish helping his father. The day went by and he announced his reassignment during dinner, also saying that he was to leave the next morning.

When the morning came, he grabbed his bag and got out of the house, his parents waiting for him on the porch. He gave a hug to his mother and a firm handshake to his father, while, of course, both parents had their last-minute recommandations and advice. That too he lived many times in his life, noticing how redundant some of theses advice were. But they meant well, and that was something he couldn't doubt at all.

Yeah, leaving home was difficult, but then again, you have to leave it to truly appreciate it when you're there...

Edited by Nerreht
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