Return to the Core
Location: The O'Dell/Gavarus Family Quarters - Deck 14
It had been a long and stressful day, but a satisfying one. Fiona O'Dell, space pilot. Hero of the day, saved a good man, helped save the ship. Blew somethin VURRAH big oop- I get to stamp a D'deredix on the Banshee. Made the Captain proud. Not a bad day's work, Leprechaun.
As the Starfleet ensign made her way through the family quarters, she waved at her neighbors as she passed them in the corridor. Clad in her blue uniform top with her black pants, the diminutive test pilot strode at a slow pace, taking her time getting back home to her family. It had been a long day, and she looked forward to having a few beers with Gavarus and catching up, telling her story. Of course, there was Minnie, too, and the thought of her odd little family greeting her with a hug made the lass of the heather who'd taken to the stars misty-eyed, as a smile settled onto her face. As she turned the final corner, she stepped up to the door whose nameplate was a compromise between their eye levels.
ENS GAVARUS, B
ENS O'DELL, F
The smile widened as she took a deep breath, and sighed. After everything that had happened, none of which had she freaked out about, it was a weight off her shoulders to arrive at her door, where the big pig and the giggling cow were waiting.
Stepping into the living room, Fiona announced, "Home, hail, the conquering hero?"
To no reply.
In the center of the room on the mid-sized coffee table, was what looked to be easily a dozen data PaDD’s scattered about, one still active with a video presentation or what appeared to be a step-by-step instruction for assembling an internal combustion engine.
Behind the table, Briaar Gavarus was hanging half off of the couch, with her legs on the cushions and her back splayed out over the side. Her left arm was still up on the couch and her right arm was up over her head as she snored loudly, a stream of drool running up the side of her face, pooling in her hair. Tucked between her left arm and her gently rising and falling belly, little Minnie was curled up in one of her green felt onesies snoring in what sounded like a squeaky moo.
Taking in the sight, there was the temptation to just let them sleep, but she couldn't. "Ach! me wee poor bairns, what've they done to ye whilst I was aweey? Whist! Come, come m'loves, this wilnae do a t'all. Wake oop, wake oop, let's get us all proper ta bed, aye?"
Slowly, Gavarus's eye's opened one at a time as the groggy, upside-down Tellarite engineer in the stained blue tunic that was flapped open, with a black tank top underneath. "Huh.. whuzzi... F... Fee?"
Then, as she processed what she was seeing, her eyes snapped open wide as she tried to sit up and, instead, rolled straight off the couch onto the deck as little Minnie rolled back onto the couch, still half asleep herself. But now, the two-meter tall, 190 kilogram Ensign was doing her level best to scramble in a panic, to her feet. "OHMYGAWDS!!!! Fee!!! Fee!! Is it really you!?!? Ohmygawds!!!"
Failing to get to her feet, the anxiety-riddled, portly porcine instead scootched around the coffee table, wobbling on her knees and all but knocked the tiny test pilot off of her feet with a massive, overly tight hug. "It is! It... It IS you!!!"
A stream of tears started down Gavarus' face as she started hyperventilating as Minnie slowly and groggily woke up, blinking and yawning as she looked at her wee ginger mother happily, "Mum? Mum!"
"Ohhhhh, me poor darlins, what happened to ye? Aye, tis me, I'm home, all is well! We're oota nightmare space and back to normal, and I'm here and I'm okay..." Stroking the frizzy, wiry blonde hair of her life partner, O'Dell held the pig-snouted woman to her and cooed reassuringly. "Shhhhh, it's okay Briaar, it's okay... I'm here, and I missed ye too, love. We're alreet noow. C'mon Minnie, c'mon over and give your wee mum a hug, aye? I've a space hero story to tell ye, aye?"
Extending her spindly arm out towards her bovine daughter, tears rolled down the cheeks of the midget Mariposan. During the mission, she'd had her work to focus on, then Garnak, then the problem of where the Hera had gone, the dealing witht he Persephone and convincing them to help. By focusing on other things, she had avoided considering her own plight, and stayed cool, calm and collected. But then she remembered what the Captain had said, and that what for her was a few hours, had actually been days here on the Hera.
Now, with her porcine partner, exhausted and crying, clutching at her desperately and her half-pint herder coming in for the family hug, she realized how terrified she had been of losing them all this time. Of how the hole in her heart had been cautiously closed, seeing the Hera and the three Romulan starships crawl out of that stargate. How relieved and suddenly exhausted she was to be back in the stout and strong arms of her odd little family.
"Shhhhh... s'alreet, m'loves, tis alreet. I'm here, we're safe,m we're all back together agin, aye? S'alreet, s'alreet... shhhh." Stroking the hair of her daughter and her partner, O'Dell squeezed both gently to her, muttering a grateful prayer to her god that they had been delivered safely back to her, along with the starship upon which they made their home.
Slowly, the raking sobs from the portly porcine finally slowed down and Gavarus reluctantly peeled her thick fingers off of Fiona's back that she had been gripping onto as if her life depended on it. Pulling back, she snorted and wiped he sloppy snout on the sleeve of her uniform top. Then, after a second, an awkward smile crept on her face.
It was the kind of smile she rarely let anyone but Fiona or Minnie see, where the slightly extended lower tusks that she kept ground down could really show. But then, remembering the horrible things that the Fiona in her nightmares said, Briaar bit her bottom lip for a moment, forcing herself to remember that she was awake and this was the real Fiona. "Ah'm... sorry. It was... It was.. kinda effed up while we were in there. I did everything I could to keep us awake so we wouldn't have nightmares... but it was... like... super hard."
"What... what happened to YOU out there? You said... a space hero story?" Gavarus said, an awkward smile on her face as she craved the distraction, getting back up to her feet.
As she did, little Minnie, who was still clinging tight to Fiona looked up and squealed with a massive smile, "Pace H'RO!!! Pace H'RO!!!"
"Aye, that's right wee one, space hero, aye!" Fiona patted her daughter's head while she eyed her partner's sudden self-consciousness. Leaning in, she planted a kiss on her porcine partner's lips- nothing she'd ever done before, to be certain- and took Gavarus face in both hands, squishing her cheeks slightly. "Hey.. tis me, I'm really here. Cap'n said the place ye were in was some kinda nightmare dimension, but... This is real, I'm really here, and ye dinna hafta be afraid, briaar. I'm home, all is well, we're all safe. I promise."
It was unusual for Fiona to be the one doing the reassuring, but it was clear that her partner and their little one had been through the wringer, and they needed for Fiona to be the strong, reassuring one. Just like your old man, came the thought in her head, which she heard in her father's voice, and it made her smile. She was indeed her father's daughter, it seemed, in more ways than one. As she looked into the warm brown eyes of the Tellarite she'd devoted her life to, hoping to calm whatever fears remained in the woman, she stroked her the big woman's hair and kissed her forehead.
Stumbling slightly as her eyes went wide, Gavarus brought her calloused, three-fingered hand up to her quivering lips and smiled improbably wide as she just stood there blinking. She hadn't been sure earlier that she wasn't still in a nightmare, and now she had to wonder if instead, she was in a dream. But she nodded, accepting the truth that what had just happened was real. "Holy F@#$, I need a beer. Beer?"
"When in any universe do I NOT need a pint a' bitters? Besides, we kin get drunk to clean this place oop," Fiona wisecracked, flopping down on the couch and opening her arms for the toddler who was now easily half her size to come over and cuddle in.
"So... so what happened out there, Fee? I was working in Engineering with Thexy and I know we detected a graviton stream that gave us coordinates to use to get back. Was that you?" Gavarus asked, getting two beers from the replicator, and a sippy cup of grape juice for Minnie.
"Twas indeed, m'love, twas indeed!" With that, Fiona O'Dell took a few soips of beer, more than enough to get her buzzed- and began relaying the tale of her epic space adventure. How she had gone into single combat with a D'Deredix class Romulan balle cruiser, fired on and destroyed one, single-handed. Then how she'd warp hopped out to avoid the explosion and recalibrate her next attack run, when the fleet had been sucked into the vortex, all save for herself and the Freight Eagle.
The retelling of the tale was embellished by sound effects and the occasional turn of fancy, as most of O'Dell's stories tended to when she was in her cups. But she told the tale, beginning to end, for her rapt audience of two, organizing her thoughts for the report she'd promised the Captain.
"So Herself is g'win to do what she can to help Garnak, and I'm off duty at least until the Chief comes back with her wee ones on the ootside, finally, which is g'win to be of enormous relief to her I'd imagine." O'Dell shuddered at the thought- for a skinny, bony little gal like her, the concept of carrying one child was a nightmare she didn't want to contemplate, forget about three at once.
While Fiona told her tale, it made Briaar so happy just to have her back that she barely noticed that she was actually cleaning, picking up the scattered PaDD's and putting them on the side table in a much more orderly set of stacks, while picking up some of the assorted bottles scattered about. Bottles that were noticeably not from alcohol, or even synthahol. Instead, the empties scattered about the room were from energy drinks.
"Yeah... It's been... I was really trying to not fall back asleep. But anyway... " Looking at the small pile of them in her thick arms, Briaar blushed a deep pink as she dumped them in the reclamator for recycling. "I am so glad you're okay. That is seriously awesome. And I'm even happier that the CAPTAIN is really seeing just how frickin' amazing you are, Fee. And how damn smart and cool and capable. I mean, I file my reports on how important you are to everything we build at work in regards to troubleshooting and brainstorming and everything, but now she's SEEING it for herself. You're coming up with the IDEAS that saved the frickin' SHIP!"
"Pffft. I was joost in the right place at the right time. Blind luck, Briaar, I swear. Seven seconds later and I'da gone wi' the fleet. And the graviton thing was joost a guess, really, but it seemed to work, so..." Taking another swig of her beer as she directed Minnie along, helping her pick up her toys, Fiona shrugged. "Honestly ye had it worse than me, Briaar. Ah wish I coulda been here fuir ye two, but, sometimes Mum's gotta work i guess."
That made Fiona giggle, which in turn made Minnie giggle. Making a crazed face and snarling, Fiona moved in on Minnie with her hands in claws. "Arrrr I'm gonna get ye! I'm the tickle monster RAWWWWR!"
With that, she fell to tickling the playful bovine, who ended up rolling on her back squealing in delight and as she protested delightedly. Which lasted until Fiona caught a hoof to the hand, which casually knocked it away, nearly toppling Fiona in the process. She didn't react, instead playing it off as part of the game, but it reminded her of a project they'd begun that wasn't finished- and the deadline was arriving.
"Shite. Briaar, we nivvir finished that boffer belt design, and Mona's coming back aboard in a few days." Scooping up the minotaur child in a hug and kissing on her, Fiona drove home the point, her tone light so as not to alarm Minnie, but get Briaar on the same page. "With babes that fly, remember? Fook, we were supposed to have it done... d'ye think Mona mighta left the plans? She was workin on the overload problems along with the refresh rate and the energy demands, aye?"
"Yeah. I know the Chief took some of the early prototypes with her to noodle with while they were on their way, but... hold on." Briaar said, going back over to the stack of PaDD's and shuffling through them and making a mess all over again. "Yeah, here it is. I was playing with the specs, trying to keep my head busy while... ya' know... and I had an idea for an excess energy recycling coupling. Something to bleed off the overload of juice back into the system with minimal loss."
Looking at Fiona, who was favoring her hand where Minnie kicked it, Briaar silently mouthed, Are you okay?
Silently, O'Dell nodded and shook it off, indicating that it was negligible but had reminded her that their wee bundle of joy was bound for considerable strength. Her all-too-mortal parents would have to be clever if they were to survive her childhood. And if the ship was to survive it.
"So... noow that I'm home and we've done a fair job of tidyin' oop here. What say we replicate a nice family meal, she can eat and we kin drink, and we'll all curl oop and pass oot together. As a family, aye?" Smiling, Fiona patted her doting daughter's furry belly while she reached for the three-fingered hand of her partner in crime.
There would be shepherd's pie- vegetarian, of course. There would be talk and hand-holding and drinking and laughter. There would be confessions and reassurances. There would be showers and bedclothes and a pile of a mismatched family gathered together in one bed- not recommended by most child care professionals, but it suited the unusual family unit, for now.
Together, the family slept... peacefully, happily, and safely- together.