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Alexander Richards: Home Is Where The Heart Is

Alexander Matthews

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((Transporter room 1, USS Mercury))

::It had been a very long few weeks that Alexander would be glad to put behind him. The biggest lesson he had learned from his recent experience was that the Academy can't teach you everything you need to know to survive out on assignment. He was thankful that he now had the opportunity to learn from his mistakes and hopefully become a better man for them. He walked through the doors into Transporter room 1 and was greeted by a face he hadn't met yet. He could tell from her insignia though that she was a crewman. The young man decided to strike up a polite conversation.::

Richards: Afternoon Crewman. Well, at least i think it's afternoon. ::He smiled.:: I don't think we've been formally introduced. My name is Ensign Alexander Richards. I transferred here from the 118 Academy branch just before we departed on the latest mission. Might I ask your name?

Leana: Crewman Sarah Leana sir.

Richards: Well i am very pleased to make your acquaintance Crewman. Are you looking forward to Shore Leave?

Leana: Yes sir. I hope to use the education facilities on board 118 to expand my knowledge on transporter systems and functions. Of course, I'll be glad for some downtime to be able to let my hair down. How about you sir?

Richards: ::Smiling.:: I'm glad to hear it. I'm off to meet my wife and my child. This is probably the shortest amount of time I have been away from them. Yet it's been the hardest enforced separation. I intend to put in a request for larger quarters during Shore Leave so that my family may join me on board.

Leana: I'm sure the captain will be happy to oblige sir.

::Whilst the crewman responded, Mister Richards strode across to the transporter pad.::

Richards: ::Smiling at the crewman.:: It was a pleasure speaking with you. Enjoy your shore leave.

Leana: Same too you sir.

::Before Richards had a chance to utter another word, he felt the tingling sensation of the transporter and saw the blue and white light envelop him. Within mere moments he found himself on board what he considered the Federations 'Diamond in the Rough' in the Beta Quadrant.::

((Starbase 118, Promenade, New Orleans section.))

::The young man thanked the operator at the 118 end and walked through the door emerging on the Promenade. First time visitors were probably over whelmed by the sight of it however, Mister Richards had spent some time on the base both during his time at the Academy and after his resignation from the fleet. Of course he still felt inspired by what he saw. The promenade was bustling just as he remembered it. There would be plenty of time to check out some of his old haunts later. For now, he fixed his eyes on the nearest Turbo-lift and headed straight for it. It had been over a month since he last saw his wife and child and no man or thing was going to keep him away from them any longer.::

::Mister Richards found himself only waiting a few minutes before the Turbo lift he had called arrived. Barring the lift getting stuck, Marissa would be in his arms in mere minutes and the ills of the universe would, at least for a time, melt away in her arms. He stepped inside the lift and spoke.::

Richards: Upper Habitat section, apartment block 147.

::The Turbo-lift whirred to life as it headed for the stated destination. Having been used to the rather short trips between decks on the Mercury, this trip seemed to take a lifetime. Of course in reality it was only a few minutes. However with the young man finally being so close to home and the comfort of his wife and son time just seemed to slow to a snail's pace.::

((Starbase 118, upper Habitat Section, Apartment block 147.))

::Mister Richards had a huge smile on his face as he stepped out into the corridor leading to his family's apartment. He acknowledged the Star Fleet security officer with a polite smile and a nod as he proceeded to walk down the hallway. He could feel his heart beat increasing with every step he took and his mind began to race. Moments later he was outside the door. He pressed the access panel and stated his entry code.::

Richards: Door code; Richards alpha gamma epsilon three two delta.

::The door slid open revealing the apartment. Marissa turned around and nearly dropped the bowl of cake batter she was mixing. Tears and a huge smile marked her face showing her elation at the safe return of her husband. As Alexander took one step into the room, little John Richards dropped his toy Galaxy Class star ship he had been playing with and ran across the floor like a Targ chasing it's prey. He wrapped his arms around his fathers right leg with tears of joy streaming from his face. Alex winced slightly as the contact agitated his recently healed burnt knee. He then lowered his arms and lifted his son in one motion giving the youngster a loving cuddle before kissing him on the forehead. Marissa, having put the cake batter down safely on the worktop, walked over and gave the two men in her life a hug. Tears still streaming from her eyes.::

Marissa: ::Drying her eyes.:: I had heard the Mercury had returned to dock. I wasn't expecting you for at least another two hours though. We missed you Alexander.

John: ::Elated.:: Yes daddy. We missed you so much. Mummy said you had gone off to be big and brave and to protect the Federation like Federation Man.

::Alexander could not help but smile. He had never been a fan of comic books but he found his son's youthful, uncolored naievity somewhat charming. Even if it did paint him in a better light than he should have been painted. oO Who am I to ruin my son's imagination. Oo He set his son back on the floor and turned back to his wife.::

Richards: ::Playfully.:: Federation man?

Marissa: I know neither of us like comics very much. But with you away on a mission I just thought what harm could it do.

John: I bet you took on those Klingons like Federation man takes on his enemies daddy!

::Alex froze for a second. It disheartened him to hear his son speak of the Klingons as enemies. Yes he had just been through hell and high water because of a few Klingons and his own impetuousness but, that wasn't the point. Alexander always felt that his attitudes towards telepathic races was enough racial hatred for his entire family. He did not want his son growing up as a Racist. Moreover, Captain D'Ciq of the Marine Corps was an honorable colleague and had helped to ensure everyone made it off the surface after his mistake. He turned to John.::

Richards: Now John. Daddy may have had to go and fight Klingons on his last mission but, I don't want you growing up thinking they are all bad. The Klingon Empire at this moment in time are still our allies even if the relationship between our peoples is strained. One of the people i work with is a Klingon and she is very brave, very honorable and helped save some of daddy's ship mates.

John: ::Quizzically.:: Really Daddy? Wow! Do you think I can meet her?

Richards: Yes son and more than likely sooner rather than later.

::Marissa stared at her husband. She knew exactly what that inferred and she couldn't quite believe it. In the past he had always considered life on board a star ship too dangerous for a family. She had no idea what had changed his mind but she was happy he had.::

Marissa: Does that mean you will be requesting new quarters and permission for us to come with you when the Mercury next departs?

Richards: Yes my darling wife. It does. I've missed you and John more than ever before on this previous mission. The thought of being away from the pair of you again for an extended period of time just breaks my heart. I plan on seeing the captain within the next few days to formally make the request.

::John's little eyes lit up like saucers at his fathers statement and Marissa began to cry. Neither could hold back their joy at being able to be with Alexander any longer. John picked up his Galaxy class toy and made a whooshing sound as he pretended to fly the ship to his father.::

John: So i get to fly in space on a ship like this daddy?

Richards: ::Walking over to the replicator.:: Not quite like that one son. Computer, create a die cast model of the USS Mercury. 1:2500 scale. ::The replicator created the model in seconds. He handed the model to his son.:: This is the ship we will be flying through space on.

John: ::Laughing.:: Don't be silly Daddy. We are to big to fit on this one.

::Both Marissa and Alexander burst out laughing at their son's comment. In all honesty it was comments like the one John had just said that made him regret never having taken his family on board the star ship he had served on before. It reminded him how important family was, especially in times of turmoil and upheaval. His family kept him grounded in reality, kept him sane. He could nor bare the thought of parting with them again. He walked into the living room and sat down on the sofa, putting his feet up. John jumped up and sat on his lap whilst Marissa returned to the kitchen. All his woes from the last mission just melted away in the moment. Home is always where the heart is and that would always be with his family.::


Ensign Alexander Richards
Tactical Officer
USS Mercury
PNPC's Marissa and John Richards

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