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If These Fish Could Talk

Posted on Thu Nov 24th, 2016 @ 5:51am by Commander Jesse Temple

Mission: 863
Location: Crew Quarters / Earth

Jesse Temple crashed onto his soft, wide bed after a long night on duty on the Bridge. He had walked into his quarters after meeting with the Captain, kicked off his shoes and let his uniform lay where ever it hit the ground.

"Computer, lights out." He mumbled.

With a chime, the quarters dipped into darkness. The good thing about life on board a star ship was that the outside world was almost always the black emptiness of space, so one could always catch some shut eye at any time without worrying about natural light keeping you awake.

But despite his eyes closing before his head even met the pillow, Jesse's mind was still whirling away. He thought about the Gorn, his actions, Cestus III, the crew. He wondered if anyone would come to his off-duty night, or if it would just be him sitting around drinking with a bunch of holograms.

Of course, he decided, it would have to be a New Orleans theme. He had a few favorite haunts he could recreate for the crew. An exciting, jazz-filled music club, or a more sophisticated hotel, or maybe a steam boat down the river.

Jesse smiled in the darkness, thinking of home. All these light-years away and he could still smell the city he knew so well...

= Two Months Prior - New Orleans, USA, Earth =

On small dinghy his grandfather had nicknamed the Enterprise, another nod to his jocular sense of humour, marine Major Temple was casting a line along side his mentor, Admiral Thurston. The afternoon sun beat down on the pair of would-be fishermen as the Enterprise drifted softly under hanging trees and around tall reeves.

After the death of his grandfather, Thurston had sent Jesse onto a therapeutic Black Ops mission, which the younger marine enjoyed a little too much, and was now making good on the promise to go fishing on the Louisiana bayous.

"Catch much out here?" Thurston asked skeptically as he struggled with his rod.

Jesse was leaning back in the boat, one leg hanging over the side, barely watching his line. He looked over to the Admiral with a grin, seeing the decorated Federation officer and accomplished military man, struggle with a basic fishing rod.

"It's all monitored these days," Jesse replied, "Suppose once upon a time there were gators and all sorts around here. But they regulate the water and the fish supply, keep it safe for the tourists."

The Admiral huffed in frustration, his line wrapped awkwardly around the spool, forcing Jesse to reach over and swap their rods over so he could fix it. Thurston mumbled a thank you as Jesse got to work untangling the mess he created.

A few moments passed as the water lapped against the wooden boat. Jesse paused his endeavour to fix the rod to open up a can of beer, chucking one to the Admiral.

"How often did you and your granddad get out here?" Thurston asked tentatively, opening his can as well.

Jesse gulped down his beer and frowned, "Not much in the last few years of his life. But almost every weekend when I was a teenager."

It was a big conversational step for Jesse to speak of his grandfather in the past tense like that. It had taken a few months and many, many rounds on a phaser rifle but he was starting to accept William Temple's death.

Thurston nodded along, looking out to the water, "Thank you for including me in this tradition, Jesse, I could see why you two enjoyed it so much."

"I feel like I grew up out here," Jesse replied earnestly. "We fished, drank, and talked out our ways. You can say what you want on the bayou. Ain't no one but the fish to hear you."

Thurston nodded again, and began to think poetically, "Seems like the further into space we travel, the more we find, sometimes the more we forget ourselves."

Jesse gave a knowing laugh, "That's the water talking. Many a men have wanted to throw their modern lives away and live off these grand rivers before."

"But there's something to it, Jesse," Thurston insisted, giving him a solid glance, "A simplicity we've forgotten to carry with us."

Jesse just took another gulp of beer. He'd been fishing on these waters plenty of times, but this was the first with such a novice. He expected twisted fishing rods and inexperienced skills but not philosophical conversations on modern humanity.

But as Jesse had just said, you can say what you want out here. If these fish could talk, they would reveal plenty of his own deep thinking and random theories.

"Aye, sir," Jesse simply replied, "We should put it into the Academy syllabus. Fishing 101. Just do it on the Californian rivers, don't go clogging up my quiet spot with hordes of cadets."

Thurston laughed now, "Wouldn't dream of it."

Jesse smiled and leaned back in his spot, resting against the wooden rim of the Enterprise dingy. He titled his head towards the sun, feeling the heat and enjoying the relaxing day. If he could do this for the rest of his life, he probably would.

"I had an update on your next assignment," Thurston spoke, "The Star of India? Looks like you'll be ready to join the crew in about seven weeks."

Jesse murmured in response, decidedly not a firm reply, and the Admiral frowned. He waited a moment, wondering if the young marine would add something else.

Finally, the Admiral continued, "Won't be state of the art fancy pants. You'll be using your cunning and tenacity, which is what you needed for your career."

"Supposing I don't go back?" Jesse asked, opening one eye to look at Thurston, "What if I prefer the simplicity?"

Thurston laughed, "Now that's definitely the water talking."

"Maybe," Jesse shrugged.

The Admiral took a swig of beer, "And what would your grandfather say about that?"

Tenmple laughed, "He'd tell me the river's no place for a Marine. You ain't helping the fish, that's for sure."

The two men chuckled between themselves as suddenly the Admiral's line began to tug and bend. They both leapt up again as Thurtson started reeling in their catch, both hollering and laughing as they did...

= Present Day =

Jesse fell into a quiet slumber, his mind fogging over with pleasant thoughts of quiet days on the bayou, and earnest conversations with friends. Whatever theme he would choose for their off-duty night, it had to fulfill the criteria of a relaxed environment, plenty of banter, and hopefully the making of a crew building experience.



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