The Only Thing Left Was Hope
Location: Deck 2 - Captain's Quarters
Bewildered, Nyx blinked several times, as he saw his daughter Katrine was in front of him, impatiently pulling at his arm.
"The lesson stopped!" Katrine complained immediately.
Nyx took a second to snap back to consciousness. He was lying on the couch in his quarters; Katrine had been in the midst of a learning lesson on the big screen, but now it was just the frozen face of some joyful looking female presenter holding up a color wheel. He wasn't aware of when he had dozed off, or for how long Katrine had been shouting at him to wake up again, but he had been jolted back to reality by her impatient cries.
"Okay darling." He said patiently. "No need to yell. The files might have gotten damaged a bit."
"But I want to sing the Rainbow song!" Katrine pouted, folding her arms over her chest.
"I think you know that one already." Nyx braved a smile, before muttering under his breath - "And lord knows I've heard it enough times." He clapped his hands together, "How about we've had enough time in front of the screen, eh? Let's have some art time instead."
"ART!" Katrine shouted excitedly, immediately and thankfully forgetting about the Rainbow song.
"Yes! Quiet art time." Nyx added, "Get out your books and pens and how about you *draw* some rainbows?"
"I need to sing the song to get all the colours!" Katrine insisted as she raced out of the living room and into her bedroom.
'Darn', Nyx thought to himself.
"She's not going to give up on that." Came Emilie's voice.
Emilie walked around from the bedroom corridor with William in her arms, a slight smirk on her lips. Nyx was surprised to see her, not expecting her back yet.
"When did you get in?" Nyx asked, as he raised himself up to a sitting position again.
"Not long," Emilie replied, giving Nyx a kiss on the cheek before she sat down next to him. Both mother and father doted over their little boy, who giggled and squirmed in his swaddled blanket. "I thought I'd let you sleep a little bit longer but then... disaster." Emilie looked at the TV, the frozen face boring creepily happy eyes at them.
Nyx turned the screen off, "I'll have someone look at it. How was work?"
Emilie had returned from her maternity leave as the Pandora had docked with Carnwennan Station. With William now six months old and able to be looked after by a nurse - or Nyx - she was feeling ready to work again, albeit in shorter hours. She had been missing her role as the Education Administer onboard the ship - that was, until she stepped back into the role today.
"Disaster." Emilie sighed, "We've lost three teachers now, they've all transferred back to the Carnwennan. We were already consolidating mixed age groups into singular classes, now I don't think we've got enough staff to hold a legitimate curriculum. At least not a truly effective one."
"So more of the happy smiling interactive videos?" Nyx asked, giving a nod towards the screen. Katrine had been participating in a simulated lesson, provided by Starfleet to ensure the children onboard vessels received an adequate education while away from school. While the videos were instructive and very, very happily presented, it couldn't replicate a real classroom environment. With the number of kids and teachers now reduced on the Pandora, that "real" feeling would be getting less and less.
"Yes." Emilie replied, "But they can't compete with real lessons and the socializing kids get at school. I'm afraid that Starfleet will deem the Pandora's education department inefficient and insist on removing the kids onboard."
Emilie had been feeling this fear all day, like a lump in her stomach it had been sitting upon her. If Starfleet didn't believe the kids of the Pandora were being properly educated - to the same standard as a planetary or base-side education - they could require the children and partners to disembark the ship. That would mean leaving Nyx, her friends, Katrine's friends, and losing their life they had built on the ship.
Nyx felt his wife's nervousness and immediately put an arm around her. "Hey now, it won't come to that."
Emilie frowned, and William's face softened as well as he watched his mother, "What if it does? I spent so long away from everything on leave, I... feel like I dropped the ball."
"No," Nyx shook his head, giving Emilie's side a squeeze. "It's not your fault. You can't help that we've had people transfer off; that's bound to happen anyway with everything we have been through. We merely have to insist to Starfleet that those teachers are replaced."
"Won't that just look like we can't keep people onboard?" Emilie asked.
"If anything, that's on me, not you." Nyx insisted, "And no, staff turnover is a normal part of ship service. We just need replacements." He gave a little shrug, "Admiral Milne owes a few favours, I know I can count on her to replenish the education team with little concern."
Emilie relaxed a little and sank into her husband, placing her head on her shoulder. William gave another little giggle, before closing his eyes. "I knew being married to a captain would have some perks." She cheekily commented.
Nyx gave a short laugh as well.
"Speaking of Milne, how did *your* day go?" Emilie asked.
Nyx's smile faded. "Confusing, aggravating, pretty much stock standard."
"We're forced into a position of both holding out - for now - and trying to continue our goals of exposing what happened in the Expanse." Nyx tried to sum it up, "We're doing nothing, and everything, at the same time. But as long as we *look* like we're doing nothing. I... I don't get it, really."
"So are we going to Earth or being re-assigned?" Emilie frowned. She knew there was only so much she could ask and had learned over the years that Nyx would only tell her what she could know.
"Neither." Nyx shrugged, "We are staying here for now. But staying here also feels like we're just waiting for Section 31 to come to us. So we have to stay alert, but not too alert. It's all so uncertain."
"Basically it's now come down to a game of politics." Nyx offered, "Numbers and believability."
"Oh!" Emilie perked up, "Well you have a few people who can help you there."
"Not my mother!" Nyx immediately retorted defensively.
Emilie laughed, "You may not have a choice. But... okay, what about your brother?"
Magnus Temple was Nyx's younger brother, who was currently serving in the office of Federation External Affairs at the Palais de la Concorde, on Earth.
Nyx considered this and gave a nod, "Good idea, Ems. I'll need to be subtle about it, though. To not raise suspicions."
"Good luck," Emilie replied, "You know your mother will find out if you do. It's like she has a homing beacon on the two of you. You call up Magnus, she'll be right there."
"Well I was referring to Section 31 but you're right, my mother is probably a bigger concern." Nyx smirked. "Though maybe my father is worse.... Are you still sure you want to be married into this family?"
Emilie looked down to William, shaking her head, "I'm afraid it's a little late for that."
"Thank god." Nyx relaxed back into the chair, "I suppose for the first time in years, all of us are in the one Quadrant."
"And it sounds like you could use some help." Emilie nodded, "Maybe it's not such a bad idea to reach out to your family?"
"Just my brother." Nyx immediately replied, holding up his hands, "That's all!"
Emilie laughed, "That's all. Come, we'll make some dinner and you can give him a call afterwards, huh?"
Nyx had also perked up at the thought of speaking to his brother. After years away in the Expanse with very little contact, the thought of speaking to Magnus again was giving him some reassurance. He helped himself up off the couch and took hold of William while Emilie stood as well. He gave her a kiss on the cheek.
"Thank you." He said modestly.
Emilie smiled, "Any time."