520: A Thousand Reasons

by Rada Dengar
The Day After Sensor Ghosts

-=Hallway; USS Serendipity=-

Earlier today Tam had been teaching Rada how to play cricket, even though conventionally it was the adult who taught the child.

For the sake of the plants, Rada had decided against Tam’s suggestion that they play it in the arboretum and so they’d ended up in the holodeck. The location Tam had chosen was apparently referred to as “the G” although Rada noted that it in no way resembled the letter.

They were surrounded by stands packed with more people than many towns Rada could name and they all appeared to be watching them. He was certain that Tam had to be mistaken when he suggested people used to play here for a living; no amount of money could be worth having that many eyes on you for the duration of a game which could apparently last for days.

Rada found this cricket to be confusing, to say the least.

He was given a piece of wood and told to stand in front of three pointy sticks stuck in the ground. He then had a ball thrown at him, and, when he hit it he was instructed to run towards an entirely different set of pointy sticks and as soon as he got there he was told to run back and as soon as he got back he was told to turn around again.

He didn’t know whether he was coming or going.

There was even a strange man who kept shouting out “over” all the time but this just led a few people to move around and then the game continued.

Eventually he thought he understood that this game was sort of like musical pointy sticks, except instead of music cutting out someone brought the ball back and you had to make sure that you were close to one set of pointy sticks when they did or else you were out of the game.

It seemed that the longer you spent running, the better; indeed Tam referred to the score in terms of runs. So Rada had tried hitting the ball a really long way and he had succeeded at sending it hurtling towards the stands.

But as soon as he started running, Tam told him he didn’t have to as apparently he had scored six runs without running at all. So he assumed that because he didn’t have to run six was the maximum number of runs he could get but when he asked Tam, he said that of course it wasn’t. Very confusing indeed.

At one point the teams swapped places and it was Rada’s turn to be the one throwing the balls. As soon as Rada threw one, Tam told him that he couldn’t just throw the ball; that you have to bowl it. So Rada tried rolling it along the ground as he’d seen done in every bowling sport he’d seen only to be told that was wrong, too.

Tam had been very patient with him though and the game had turned out pretty well with them achieving victory against a country Tam called Pommyland, it was funny that Rada had never seen that on any maps.

Tam had been very encouraging through out even shouting “Go Dad!” at one point. Hearing him say that caused something strange to stir within Rada. Strange but not unwelcome.

Following the game, Rada realised that it was time that he and Wren had a talk.

He’d dropped Tam off with Kellyn to give Tam and Arie a chance to get to know each other and wouldn’t be coming back to pick him up for a few hours so the timing was perfect. Now he just had to figure out what he was going to say.

He rang the chime to the guest quarters where Wren was staying.

“Just a second,” he heard a muffled yell followed by the sound of some kind of commotion for a lengthy period and then finally “Alright, come in.”

-=Guest Quarters; USS Serendipity=-

He entered to see that the place seemed to be in a state of order and that Wren appeared to be quite out of breath. He realised that the two things were probably related.

“You know you didn’t have to clean up on my account,” he said, he realised that Wren’s version of cleaning up was probably throwing everything off the floor into the closet but still didn’t want her to go to any special effort.

She smiled and kissed him, on the cheek. Things were awkward as neither of them knew exactly what state their relationship was in at the moment.

They’d been in love one day and the next she had to leave him. They’d only seen each other once since that day and that was when Rada had first learnt about Tam and it had seemed at the time that they’d probably not be in the same room together again for a long time, now that they were; everything was uncertain.

“What makes you so sure I did this on your account?” she teased, gesturing around the room which wasn’t exactly spotless by anyone else’s standards but was orderly by hers.

“I figure that there are only two things which can make Wren Elton tidy up, and since I haven’t read about any royal visitors coming onboard that this must be for me,” he teased her back and she slapped his arm, then quickly looked concerned and asked “Are you alright?” when he cringed.

“Yes, I’m fine,” Rada reassured her “I think I just overdid it with Tam.”

“Sit down,” she said and guided Rada towards the couch, he began to ease himself down onto the cushion and she sat down next to him.

When he was half way down, she remembered that she’d hidden a shirt under the cushion so she yanked it out and threw it behind them. Rada turned to her confused at what she’d just done, but she just smiled sweetly and pretended like she hadn’t done anything.

“Can I get you anything?”

“No, thank you,” said Rada. “Look, we need to talk.”

Wren agreed with this but had been hoping to avoid it a little longer.

“What do you want to talk about?” she asked, although it wasn't like she didn’t know.

“When I left you and Tam on Earth it was because you said that you couldn’t leave your life there and you wouldn’t let me leave my life here but now you are here…”

“We can’t stay,” she cut in. She regretted having to say this “I’m sorry but Tam needs to have other children around…”

“He seems quite fond of Lair Arie,”

“…and there’s school to consider…”

“He can learn here.”

“…and what could I do for work…”

“We have a café here which is missing its chef,”

“…there’s also the matter of safety…”

“The Serendipity’s much safer than life on the run from his father.”

“It’s just, it would be such a big step for Tam,” she argued, although her words were losing their conviction.

“I think if you asked him, he’d agree to it.”

“It’s…” she couldn’t think of another argument, what would be the point anyway. She could think of a thousand reasons not to stay, and Rada would find a way to counter them all.

He took her by the hand and looked deeply into her eyes.

“Look, I know that this is going to be an adjustment, but I also know that you want Tam to have a father. I want to be a father to Tam. You want somewhere he can be safe from his real father. He can be safe here.”

Wren couldn’t disagree with this but made no definitive acknowledgement. Her eyes flickered down for a second before returning to Rada’s.

“I want you to stay with me Wren. I…” he wasn’t sure he should say this. “I love you.”

She didn’t say anything, but it didn’t matter as he had plenty to say for both of them. “I never stopped loving you and call it selfish, but I need you to stay with me because I’m not sure I’d survive you leaving again.” She looked almost sad as he finished his sentence “Please.”

She couldn’t say no to him now. She just leant into him, kissed him softly, and then offered the only reply she could.

“I love you too.”

Lt. SG Rada Dengar
Chief Engineering Officer
USS Serendipity NCC-2012