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Outpost Phoenix: Personal Com-Net image
Family Matters: Care Package

Outpost Phoenix: Personal Com-Net


by Lieutenant Lukas Behr
[Stardate ]

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( Takes place five days before the current plot. )

It was one of those rare days where he was scheduled off work but Jane had a shift at the outpost.  Rather than bring the medical officer to work, then go back after her day was done, he let her take the refurbished shuttlecraft while he worked on finishing touches in her studio space.  They had been so busy getting everything in their shared spaces squared away that neither had time to complete their respective workspaces. Lukas wanted to surprise her as thanks for picking up a package that had arrived with the latest post.

The medium sized shed was insulated against the weather, had large windows on three sides, had canvas for walls so Jane could paint them if she desired, and contained several skylights to allow as much natural light into the space as possible.  He added fixtures to each corner and along the apex of the roof in case she wanted to work when it wasn’t light out. There was already a drafting table and chair in the space, so he set those up with a view through the large pine trees and over the lake.  Storage shelves lined the bottom half of each wall. Some included a drawer with temperature control to store her paints. A large but shallow cabinet was installed on the back of the door so she could keep her blank canvases off the ground and flat. Another large table spanned one of the long walls.  It was split into two sections with the ability to raise the table or lower it, both so she could work while standing and create a tilt like the drafting table if she needed.

After she arrived home, he took the parcel from her with a kiss on the cheek and whispered in her ear to check out her studio.  The German smiled as he watched her face light up before disappearing out the back door. He stepped back to the stovetop to turn the heat down on the bratwurst he was cooking for dinner.  The chopped vegetables were ready to be stir fried when Jane returned and was ready to eat. She would undoubtedly decline to have any of the stuffed meat, so he was sure to include as many plant-things as he could to appease her.  He focused on the package while he waited for her to come back inside.

He opened the lightweight crate and immediately smiled at the overwhelming smell of ginger from within.  His sister had baked her delectable ginger snaps and included three dozen in the package. Lukas withdrew the bag and set them aside so he could divide them into two and wrap them in plastic.  He chuckled quietly upon remembering how Jane had asked him if he usually carried cookies in his pocket. “Yes, when they’re from home, I sure do,” he mused with a nod. Snugly packed were two bottles of double malt scotch and two bottles of Italian red wine.  A note attached signified them as housewarming gifts for both him and the medical officer. He set them aside and continued unpacking the crate onto the kitchen island.

Five tablets lined the bottom of the crate.  They were each labeled. ‘Mutter und Vater (Mother and Father),’ ‘Rosine,’ ‘Bodie und Lisette,’ ‘Adelina,’ and ‘Von uns allen (From all of us).’  The first four devices contained notes and news from their respective authors. Lukas took the time to read each one, smiling and chortling softly at times, while frowning and tsking in dismay at others.  He knew he would have to sit down and write to them all, but he was more interested in the final PADD at that moment. He picked up the last one and tapped on the surface. A video started to play.

A young blonde with hazel eyes smiles at the screen.  “Hey, Lukas!” she greets before turning the camera toward the others.  Her voice continues over the scene, speaking in cheerful German. “We’re in the gardens on campus for the day.  Just thought we’d send a hello. There’s Father, say hi to Lukas, Daddy!” The older gentleman gives the camera an indignant glance before lifting his hand to wave.  Armon is broad chested with calloused fingers from his work as a shipwright. His dark blond hair is short and his grey-blue eyes are full of wisdom. The waving gesture smoothly transitions into a ‘get that thing out of my face’ shooing motion.

The camera pans toward a beautiful matron.  She is only inches shorter than her husband, with light brown hair and hazel eyes.  Her features are rounded, her body curvy. “Hallo, Mother,” the voice behind the video nearly sings.  Elsie smiles brightly and waves before lifting her hand to blow a kiss. “Lukas, my baby boy. We are so proud of you.  Wish you were here!” Her voice is rich and clear, and her presence speaks of her profession as an opera singer.

Rosine takes a moment to focus on a bed of flowers.  “The spring came late but it was well worth the wait.  Everything is in bloom, except your favorite. But look at the gaillardia!”  She lifts the camera to focus on a couple. The man resembles Armon and Elsie, identifying him as Bodie, their older brother.  His arms are wrapped around a young woman with dark brown hair and green eyes. He and Lisette married four years ago while still studying university.  “Wave hello to Lukas!” the woman behind the camera instructs.

The couple each lifts a hand to wave into the camera.  “We hope you’re enjoying yourself at the edge of the universe.  You’re missed,” Bodie speaks with a small smile. His hair is medium brown and his eyes golden hued brown.  He is quite the opposite of his father, with narrow shoulders and a thin frame. He has hipster written all over him.  His wife smiles and nods. “Lina misses you terribly. She asks for Uncle Lukes all the time. You’ll have to visit soon.”  Lisette averts her gaze as she looks for her daughter.

A delighted squeal of laughter has the scene changing quickly as Rosine whips the camera to find the young girl.  She giggles along with Adelina as she watches an orange and black butterfly resting on the girl’s arm. The three-turning-four year old stares in awe, her sky blue eyes wide and focused on the slowly moving wings.  She turns suddenly to show her parents and points as the butterfly flies away. “Aww, look! It was on my arm!”

“Lina, wave hi to Uncle Lukas.”

The girl’s attention immediately moves to the camera and she smiles brightly, as if her favorite uncle was there.  “Uncle Lukes! Hallo!” Her hands lift and wave excitedly as she bounds toward Rosine. “Are you coming for our trip to Mars?  We’re going to see the institute so Daddy can teach there.” Adelina glances up at the woman behind the camera, then she reaches to hold the device still so she can grab the camera and kiss the screen.  “I miss you! See you soon!”

Rosine giggles quietly and uses her shirt to wipe the smudge from the lens.  She walks toward the gathered family and raises the camera to include herself in the picture.  “I know you’re out there enjoying the stars. We miss you terribly. I hope you enjoy the cookies and let us know if the wine was right for Jane.”  She smiles and winks knowingly. “I’m principle dancer in ‘Lady of the Camellias’ opening in two weeks. We’ll run for a couple months if you can make it back.”  She raises the camera to include everyone in the shot. They all wave and a chorus of ‘goodbye’s and ‘we love you’ fills the speakers.

A serene and contented smile settled on his features as he watched the screen fade to black.  Lukas had managed to perch on a barstool at the island and he leaned against the counter as he stared at the screen.  He was lost in his thoughts as he did the calculation on how long he’d served and how much leave he might be able to take - outweighing it against the two and a half month journey it would take to get back to Earth.  It would be a long time away for two weeks worth of visiting. His expression sank as he realized he would have to let them down. The PADD clattered lightly to the countertop and he lifted his hands to rub over his face.  “Von all den Orten die zugewiesen werden sollten, musste es der am weitesten Entfernte sein, (Of all the places to be stationed, it had to be the one furthest away.)” he muttered to himself.

   
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