Regrets, I've had a few
Location: Deck 2 - Senior Crew Quarters
It had been a long week at the office for Captain Temple - a battle with the Talarians, new crew members, a euthanasia request, missing Chief Science and Chief Security officers, a long-overdue dinner with Engineering and Operations. It had seemed like a never-ending cycle. Overall, however, the outcome of these events had been largely positive. The Pandora was safely on her way to Paradise Outpost, the ship was repaired once again and flying strong, the crew were resolved and for the most part satisfied with their current predicament. The Expanse had thrown down their first major hurdle - the aggressive intentions of Talarian Gavar - but they had overcome it and even came out better for it.
When Nyx arrived in his darkened family quarters, he saw through the light of the corridor that Emilie was asleep on the couch, a blanket pulled over her body. Katrine and baby William were asleep in their rooms, the excitement of the past few days making way for a normal schedule again. As the door shut behind him, the only source of brightness came from the external windows as the blue flashes of the warp tunnel sped past and gave the room a slight illumination. Nyx decided not to turn the room lights on as he tried to find his way through the living area by sense memory alone - trying to remember how far the dining table was from the counters. Unfortunately, he didn't account for an errant teddy bear left on the floor by Katrine and when the Captain's lug of a foot came down on the toy, it gave an almighty loud SQUEEK! The surprise of the sudden contact and noise sent the Captain hopping, where he promptly crashed into the arm chair and came crashing to the ground.
Opening her eyes at the commotion, Emilie could just see her husband splayed out across the chair and floor. Her momentary surprise giving way to laughter.
"Are you alright, my dear?" She asked with mirth.
Nyx was upside down across the chair and he looked over to her with a pained but bemused expression. "Not quite." He pushed himself upright again and slid into the chair like a normal person. "I just hope you weren't wanting any more kids." He said as he adjusted himself.
Emilie rose and went by his side, "Why were you stumbling about in the dark?" She asked as she crossed the distance and put a gentle hand on his shoulder. At her command, the room was illuminated in a soft white glow, though not too bright.
"I didn't want to wake you." Nyx confessed, giving a slight shrug. "Mission failed, however."
Patting him sympathetically, Emilie smiled, "A valiant effort, but you needn't have worried. Do you want anything?"
"A tea, if you don't mind." Nyx replied, looking up to her. "I can get it, though, you were asleep."
"It's fine, I'm up now." Emilie retorted playfully as she made her way over to the kitchen. "How did the dinner go?"
"Wonderful," Nyx nodded, "I feel like both departments felt how much I appreciated their efforts these past few weeks, and moreover their successes in maintaining and improving the ship." He nodded, "Yeah, I think they know."
Emilie tapped at the replicator and put in details for a black tea with a dash of lemon, she didn't have to ask how her partner liked his drink, she already knew. "That's good," She replied from across the room. "That's what you wanted from the occasion, right?"
"Yeah." Nyx said thoughtfully, though not entirely convinced.
"Any problems?" Emilie asked, picking up the tone in his voice. She waited for the mugs to materialised inside the replicator, hot steam billowing out of them. She decided to give it a moment before taking them out.
"Well, I wanted to know how I could better show my appreciation, on a more regular basis, and they didn't really have a response." Nyx answered, chewing at his lip. "I'm not wholly satisfied with that."
Turning to lean on the counter, Emilie took in what he was saying and nodded. She knew how much Nyx wanted to give thanks to the departments working on the ship, it was important to him. "What did they actually say?"
Nyx shrugged, "Well Mindo said the best way to thank them is to not thank them at all." He frowned, "I... don't know if I can do that."
"You like to people-please." Emilie remarked with a smile. "You always have. But you need to listen to Mindo, Nyx, he's saying he doesn't need to be constantly thanked."
"I know." Nyx sighed, "But they do amazing work. The Expanse mission alone was an incredible feat - add to it everything else we've been through, how could I not show my appreciation? Plus I get the sense that some of the team want more from me. More staff, more resources?"
"Okay," Emilie nodded. She looked at the teas and the steam had calmed down enough for her to grab the mugs by the handle. She carefully walked them over to the seating area and Nyx took his with gratitude. Emilie sat down in the couch opposite. After they both took a sip, Emilie spoke, "Maybe when we get back to Carnwennan Station you can talk to Starfleet Command about doing just that?"
Nyx smiled, "I can. I can't guarantee they will but I figure Starfleet owes me some favours still. Or perhaps not? I don't know where I stand with them right now. I guess it depends on whether they believe the evidence we hand over."
"Either way, your crew and ship has been to hell and back, you deserve more resources." Emilie repeated firmly. "And until then, listen to Mindo. It's good advice."
Nyx reached out with his spare hand and Emilie did likewise, the couple intertwining their fingers together in the space between them. "Is it okay that I keep thanking you, though?"
"Oh of course you will." Emilie laughed, "Keep that gratitude train coming my way, my darling."
Nyx laughed raucously, then remembered to temper his volume. He smiled bashfully, "Consider it done. You've been my rock Emilie. I know you're always been there, but especially lately, too. I have had some regrets over the course of our journey into the Expanse, but having you with me is not one of them. I couldn't have done it without you."
Emilie squeezed his hand in reply, "It's been quite a ride, Nycolas Temple, but I wouldn't be anywhere else."
They stayed like that for a moment, both sipping gingerly from their mugs as they maintained their hand holding.
"Have you decided what to do about Sasha Vieers yet?" Emilie broke into the silence with a big question.
Nyx shrugged, "No. I know it's not my decision to make, but it's awful that she's still in so much pain and we can't help her."
Emilie thought about it and frowned, "If you weren't a Captain. Just a normal person, faced with this question what would you do?"
Nyx looked down then sighed, "Well, I did face this question once. With my father."
With a furrow of her brow, Emilie tried to remember if she had forgotten a story from their past and inadvertently stepped her foot in it. But she couldn't remember anything similar happening with Nyx's father - in fact, the senior Temple was all but estranged from Nyx and his brother Magnus, only spoken of rarely and usually quickly dismissed. The former Doctor Temple, now civilian nobody living somewhere on Risa, didn't even send a message to congratulate Nyx and Emilie upon the arrival of baby William. It's likely that he doesn't even know, given how infrequently Nyx contacts his father.
"You have?" She asked carefully, unsure if Nyx wanted to venture further down that discussion topic.
"I was eighteen. First year of the Academy." Nyx said softly, staring across at an empty space on the couch as he remembered. "Father had resurfaced on a civilian trade post near the Klingon border. Apparently he'd smuggled Blood Wine aboard and been on a three-day bender. He was so intoxicated and incapacitated, there was a possibility that he wouldn't recover. As I was legally an adult and technically his next of kin, the decision fell to me to decide if we would continue treatment if he was found to be neurologically incapable of recovery. Magnus and I had to have that talk."
"Oh wow, I'm sorry, I never knew." Emilie breathed out. She wanted to know why Nyx would never tell her that she had faced such a decision, but it was years before they had met and she realised he likely just wanted to forget it. He had never come close to mentioning it before. "Where was your mother at the time?"
"A conference on Betazed, I believe." Nyx shrugged, "She had no legal obligation to participate after the divorce, and had no desire to either. I don't think they had spoken in ten years before this."
"Did you tell her?" Emilie wanted to know.
"Once he recovered and the decision was no longer necessary, yes." Nyx nodded, "She was upset but pretended not to be. I think she hated the fact that the choice was put onto me by him."
"That's awful, Nyx." Emilie shook her head. "Far too much responsibility for a kid, even if you were eighteen."
"That's life with a dead-beat dad." Nyx retorted with a slight laugh, but the joke was only half-hearted. It was stewed in years of neglect. "Anyway, he's lucky he pulled through. It was a shit choice but I knew where I was leaning towards."
Emilie placed her mug on the table and crossed over to Nyx; she took the mug out of his hand too and placed them both on the coffee table, before settling into Nyx's lap and wrapping her arms around his neck. She planted a long, deep kiss on his lips. "I'm sorry."
Nyx smiled, "Don't be. But it is why I don't want to spend a moment away from our kids. I'm not going to end up like him."
Emilie kissed him again, "You're already not, my love. You're already not."