Log of the Month for August, 2021
Posted on August 17th, 2021 by Scott Ammora
San Francisco, Earth, March 2398
The Presidio Nightclub, 10 Months Later
PADDs were scattered haphazardly across the bar top. He was tapping away diligently at his Advanced Defensive Strategies notes. Scott had been cramming for finals for what seemed like, well, four years at this point. He was pulling his own weight, making good grades, but he definitely was feeling the effects of senioritis. Wolf 359 had been an interesting review, albeit confusing as hell and he knew that if there was a section on the final – which he was sure there would be – that he wouldn’t carry all the nuances in his brain into the test.
“You know that you’re supposed to get up and move every now and again. Can you even feel your feet?”
Scott looked up and locked eyes with his boyfriend, Weston. A small smirk appeared and he shook his head, “If I can’t feel my feet I assume that the blood has gone to the brain for added intelligence.”
“You know the human body doesn’t work like that.”
“Too much to read, too much to remember, too much to possibly forget.” Scott took another sip off his fizzy beverage. He didn’t know what it was. It was blue, tasted a little sweet and a little sour, and Wes had promised that was non-alcoholic. “Plus I still have the Evolution of Starfleet Weaponry to study, the Mathematics of Shield Harmonics, and somehow find time to fit in a workout to prepare for my Practicum on Multi-Enemy Combat.”
Weston laughed, replicating some more synthehol and stocking his shelves for the night. “If you’d like, I could probably start a little skirmish tonight and you can test your skills. I’ll deny that I set it up, but that’s an option.”
Scott leaned back on the barstool, putting his hands behind his head, “I told you, babe, I’m not sticking around tonight. I have too much to do and not enough time to do it.”
“You know what I mean.”
“Scooter, you’re about two seconds from a full meltdown. You’ve got to give your brain a break. Relax a little. Try enjoying one night away from the research material and the worries of graduation. You’re going to do fine.” Placing his elbows on the counter, Weston leaned forward, “Plus, I enjoy seeing your handsome face as often as I can.” And he stole a kiss.
The energy of affection always entranced Scott, especially from this guy, but it wasn’t a deterrent. It wasn’t a distraction, either. It just was… happiness. When the universe would hand Scott a reprieve, even for an instant, it wasn’t by his request, but it was welcome. The complexities of what the future may bring – be it graduation, an official posting, or what their relationship might flourish into – always snapped Scott back to reality. A psychology professor once told Scott that he had ‘Short-Lived Long-Term Foresight’. The proverbial ‘It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey’. The problem: the journey always rose up and smacked Scott back to his senses.
“I can’t, I have to study.”
“Then play the piano for a bit. It’s up there waiting for you.”
“Yeah, trying to recall any music would push everything I know about Plasma-Based Munitions right out of my brain and God-knows what else.”
“You’re a pessimist.”
“And you’re stubborn.”
“That’s why you love me.”
“I’m rethinking that right about now.”
“Oops, you must have just lost Boarding Party Procedures.” Weston laughed as he moved around the end of the counter and readjusted some chairs at a nearby table. He walked up behind Scott and wrapped his arms around him, kissing him on the side of the head, “You’re stressing out.”
Scott leaned into him. The warmth of his man’s embrace was like a cozy blanket. And Weston had a smell about him. It wasn’t cologne, or even his aftershave, he just had a natural alluring scent. It also soothed him in times of discomfort, desperation, or all out destruction in his mind. He was very thankful for that. “I love you.”
“I love you too. Now, go on and get out of here. Go study. Use my place, it’s quiet. And I’d like to see you when I’m off work tonight.” Weston gave him a playful push on the back as he returned to his duties.
Gathering his reading materials and putting them in his bag, Scott slung it over his shoulder. “I can’t guarantee that I’ll be up that late.”
Weston didn’t even turn, but tilted his head back and bellowed a laugh, “Yeah, sure. See you tonight.”
Weston’s Brock’s Apartment, 11 Hours Later
3am. The doors to Weston’s apartment hissed open. The obviously-exhausted bartender strolled in and tossed his jacket on the loveseat. “I told you.”
Scott looked up from a singular PADD as he was kicked back on the sofa. “Hey, for what it’s worth, I stopped studying two hours ago.”
“Then comes sleep, Scotty.”
“Yeah, I know. My brain is too tired to sleep. Now I’m working through assignment requests, they’re due by Friday.” He scrolled through another dozen ships, shaking his head. “How am I supposed to narrow it down to three requests when there are SO many options?”
Wes slumped onto the couch next to him, “Talk me through the ones you like.” He pulled Scott’s feet into his lap and began to rub them.
“Well there’s… oh God… I was thinking about… oh, right there…”
“Complete a sentence, babe.”
He composed himself and referred back to his prime selections. “There’s the Bismarck, under Captain Stoltz. They need a munitions officer, but it’s currently assigned as a convoy transport to the outer colonies. Escort duty isn’t my forte.”
A laugh came from his partner, “You haven’t even graduated yet, how do you even have a forte?”
“Shut up. And then there’s Deep Space Eight, but, you know… it doesn’t go anywhere. It sits there. Granted there’d be a lot of comings and goings I’m sure, but, meh. And then there’s the Banshee under Captain Asper. I’ve heard good stories about that ship: they’re always getting into something somewhere and somehow.”
“Your want for adventure and danger worries me sometimes. What else?”
“That’s it so far.” Wes stopped massaging Scott’s feet and stood up, moving to the replicator for some tea. It had been abrupt, almost angry, and Scott wasn’t stupid enough to not notice. “You okay?”
“I thought you were going to put Starbase 60 on your list?”
Rolling his eyes Scott screamed internally. They had been having the same discussion for the last couple of weeks. Wes was bound for Starbase 60 for continual research in microbiology. He had recently been promoted to Lieutenant JG at the end of his internship at the Science Institute and it was time to ‘stretch his wings’, so he said. Which was ironic because that was all Scott was trying to do. Scott stood and dropped the PADD on the table with a heavy thud.
Weston turned, holding his steaming cup, “What?”
“Why do you keep pushing the Starbase on me? You know that it’s not where I want to be. It’s nowhere, it’s boring, it’s quite possibly where people go to retire or die, I’m sure.” Scott didn’t move, but he was so tired of having the same conversation, with the same argument, and the same outcome. It was spinning wheels, swimming through bubble gum, and drowning in repetition. He loathed it every time.
“Because I’ll be there!” Wes raised his voice slightly, “We’ve been together a year…”
“10 months and two weeks.”
“But who’s fucking counting, right? I just thought at this point, right out of the Academy you’d want some standard work to get your legs under you and, you know, be with me.”
Scott seethed: “I’m so sick and tired of you comparing my career ambitions against my love for you. It’s two separate things! And it’s unfair for you to use one against the other.”
“I’m not trying to, but it looks like you aren’t even thinking about it.”
He didn’t want to have this conversation. Scott threw up his hands and headed to the bedroom, “I’m tired, I’m going to bed.”
“Oh, so NOW you’re tired.” Wes called after him.
Scott spun on his heel, his eyes narrowing and his teeth gritted, “You want to really know why I am not considering Starbase 60? I get three requests – three. Chances are they aren’t going to take any of them. And if I put some backwoods, low-level, worthless Starbase on any of my choices that’s what I’m going to get. Hooray, I got what I ‘wanted’.” The last line dropped with so much sarcasm a pool of it had begun to form on the floor.
“It’s not that bad – ”
Continuing, interrupting Wes’s retort: “Why wouldn’t I want to be somewhere I could actually do something, where my talents could be useful, where people give a damn about the place, and I won’t fade into career oblivion? You’re asking me to settle.”
Wes scoffed, “Settle? To be with me?”
“It’s not all about you!”
It was his boyfriend’s turn to roll his eyes. “No, of course not, it’s all about you! You can be a pretentious prick sometimes, you know that?”
“This is my career we’re talking about, Weston!”
“This is our future together we’re talking about, Scott!”
“You are just so pissed that you didn’t get the Daystrom Institute post, aren’t you?”
Dead silence. The vein in Wes’s neck throbbed, probably visible to the naked eye as his blood boiled underneath his normally-calm exterior. He folded his arms curtly across his chest, “Hurtful.”
Scott mimicked the gesture, “Truthful?”
“Starbase 60 is the second-best choice in my line of work. It’s – ”
“It’s a terrible choice for mine! Now who’s being selfish?”
Wes took a step closer, setting his mug down on the coffee table, “Do you know why Starfleet relationships have trouble? It’s because they’re light-years apart from one another. Distance doesn’t always make the heart grow fonder. Sometimes it dampens the connection, the intimacy, the… love. And god knows what happens after that.”
“Shore leave, time away, constant communiques, letters, and the list goes on. It only goes that way if we let it. You don’t think that if I get posted on a ship that I’m not going to write or call? You don’t think I wouldn’t take my time to come see you? I’d hope you’d do the same.” The assessment of Wes’s argument was merely fallacy, subpar, a standard surface defensive response; at least, that’s how Scott felt about it.
Poking a finger against his boyfriend’s chest, Wes’s words became more pointed. “You want to be out there on the front lines, the frontier, and the danger zone; you want to be somewhere that could have a threat lurking around every corner. That’s because that’s who you are. And when the time comes where you’re in the thick of it, war and strife or whatever, wherever that may be, are you REALLY going to be able to get away? Am I REALLY going to be able to come visit? I doubt the answer to will be yes!”
Scott pushed Wes’s hand away, “It’s a two-way street, you know? If I come visit are you going to be able to pull yourself away from your research? What if a big discovery comes along? I’ve seen you pull 12-15 hour shifts at the Institute when you’re on the ‘edge of a breakthrough’. I’ve gone days without seeing you because it’s home for a nap and back at it.”
“That’s the nature of my work!”
“And the other obstacles would be a possible pitfall of mine!”
Wes rubbed his eyes, “We’re going around in circles.”
Scott stepped back, “Yeah. On whose career is more important, apparently.”
“That’s not it!” Wes threw his hands up in the air as if he’d been talking to a wall for the past twenty minutes. “It’s about what it means to be separated from each other. It’s the logistics of how we maintain this after ‘ten months and two weeks’ of seeing one another every day.”
“But you chose Starbase 60.”
“You told me to!” Wes burst out angrily, “You said, and I quote, ‘Take it, it’s not Daystrom, but it’s the best thing for your research and your career.’ Verbatim, Scott, we were at breakfast at Troyo’s down the street. And we talked about how when you graduated you’d pursue your options and look into Starbase 60. Thanks for including me in the discussion. Then again, from this conversation, you’ve already made your decision. ”
Scott laughed, “And, yet here we are, and you’re losing your shit over that decision. My decision.”
“We talked ad nauseam about it for a week before I made my decision about Starbase 60. We go round and round on a multitude of different places you want to post. I mention the Starbase every time and you blow it off. So what you call me ‘pushing’ it on you is a mere reminder that I actually exist in this relationship.” Weston wasn’t wrong. Scott had deflected a lot when it came to posting on the outpost. He didn’t know why, but it didn’t feel right, it didn’t feel like him.
“We’re talking now.”
“We’re arguing now! Because we never actually had a sit-down, Starbase 60-specific conversation!”
The chime on the apartment rang. Who could be ringing so late… or so early, as it were? No matter, it probably wasn’t a good sign. Wes activated the door and there stood a woman in her mid-40s, disheveled hair, elegant robe, and a very upset expression. “Guys, it’s almost 4am and I have to be up soon. Can you two call it a night with the yelling? I appreciate a good lover’s quarrel as much as the next person, but give it a rest, okay?”
“Angela, we’re sorry. Won’t happen again… promise.” Wes said as she walked away. He turned to Scott and pointed to the door, “Why don’t you just go back to the dorms, Scott. There’s obviously no settling this tonight, or ever it feels like.”
Scott’s eyes widened and his brain went sideways. They had fought before, worse than this on things more trivial, but they had always simmered down and made amends. This was different. There was a lingering animosity in the air that Scott couldn’t describe or put his finger on. He was suddenly speechless. He was hurt. “You – you’re kicking me out?”
“Since we are talking what’s your choice and my choice, let’s talk about my place and yours. You don’t live here.” Sharp and to the point the answer came.
“But, I stay here all the time… it’s practically our place now. Us together.”
“Perhaps you should think about that last part on your walk home.”
Scott put on his boots, grabbed his bag and jacket, and moved to the door. Stopping just shy of the threshold, inches from Weston, he pivoted. He wanted more than anything to give him a kiss goodbye like he always did, thought he noticed Wes’s eyes were averted to the right, unengaging. Scott sighed internally, “Thanks for letting me study here. Sleep well.”
Weston didn’t respond as the doors closed.
Presidio Park, Friday, Three Days Later
There was a breeze that night. It gently caressed Scott’s face as he leaned on the railing. He didn’t know how long he’d been there, but it had been awhile. Lost in thought and going over the previous three days’ events in his head had blunted his awareness of his surroundings. Final exams were looming, but he felt he was ready. One more weekend of cramming and then it would be off to the races.
He hadn’t done much socializing recently. He had turned down Pasha’s request for lunches, dinners, coffee dates, everything. She had confronted him in the hallway earlier that day and asked what was wrong. In a desperate attempt to elude the question, but not knowing how, he had muttered a simple “I’m fine.”
She had looked him dead in the eye and said, “Whatever happened, make up with Wes.” Damn that girl. She knew everything all the time. Or she could read him like a book. Or maybe she was telepathic and had kept it from him all these years. No matter what it was, she was spot on and always had been.
But, he hadn’t taken her advice. So, there he stood, by himself in his favorite spot overlooking the bay. It was nearly 10pm and those that passed by had dwindled to a few late-night stragglers who were either going to enjoy a raucous evening or were headed home early after partying too fast and too early. Nonetheless, Scott had stopped paying attention. His focus had turned to the waves. The waves of the ocean rolling in and slamming the shore, the waves of worry about everything, and the waves of remorse about how he’d left things with Weston.
No amount of thinking had leveled the playing field. In all of his replaying of the events that had transpired he couldn’t reconcile the tension of the argument or the reason behind the time and place of the scuffle. Most importantly, he couldn’t grasp the ramifications of what it all meant for his future, Wes’s future, or their future together.
“I knew I’d find you here.”
“It’s where I go.”
There was a silence, cut only by the breeze, much like what had happened almost a year ago in the same spot. It lingered for a bit, Scott’s eyes staying locked on the reflection of the moonlight on the water. Weston stepped up next to him, putting his weight on the banister and not saying a word. The two stood shoulder to shoulder for a brief moment longer before Wes spoke. “I love you.”
“I love you.”
“I don’t want to fight.”
“Me either.” Turning his head up to look into the eyes of his beloved, Scott murmured, “I don’t know what to do.”
“You do, you just don’t know it yet. And I won’t tell you what to do. I apologize for the pressure I’ve put on you. It wasn’t right, it wasn’t fair, and with everything else you’ve got going I should be helpful and supportive. I haven’t been.” Weston kissed Scott gently, “I want you to be happy. I want you to thrive. I want you to do what your heart tells you… as cliché as that sounds.”
Scott nodded, “My heart, my gut, and my brain are fighting. A lot.”
“You have to make your requests for you. You’ll regret it if you don’t, and I don’t want to be the cause of that remorse.” He took a deep breath, “Pick one from each. One from your brain, one from your gut, and one from your heart.”
“Cliché number two?”
Weston placed his hand on Scott’s shoulder, slightly gripping it in affection, “I’m going to be beside you all the way, light-years apart, or in the same room. Always. You’re my Scooter.”
“Don’t call me that.” Scott laughed.
“Let’s go home.”
Home. Realizing that Wes had never referred to his apartment that way caused something in Scott’s stomach to shift. Wes grabbed Scott’s hand, the firm grasp was as enticing and therapeutic as it always had been. The two walked back to Weston’s apartment sharing stories of what had transpired over their few days apart. A bad brawl at the club, Scott deleting half an essay by accident, and how they both missed their Thursday night dinner together. It was like they had never argued. They fell back into the same dichotomy they had shared the last year – ten months and three weeks now – and it felt good. Really good. It felt right.
The apartment was dimly lit as they entered. Wes headed towards the bedroom, “I’m going to shower and then get some sleep. Coming?”
Scott pulled the PADD of his assignment requests out of his pocket, “Yeah, give me a sec, this is due by midnight.”
Wes disappeared and the sonic shower turn on. Scott stared at the PADD for a moment and began to input his requests. First, the USS Bismarck. Second, the USS Iliad. Lastly, and he hesitated a second as his mind, stomach, and his heart raced to the finish. Finally inputted his final choice, Deep Space Eight, and expected to feel relief. But there was none. He reread his answers, his hand trembling over the button to send his choices, and his lip quivered as he took a shortened breath.
“Scotty, you coming?” Wes stood in the doorway, his smile accompanied by a head movement motioning in the direction of the bathroom.
“Yeah, sorry.” He deleted his third answer and re-entered a new choice. He clicked submit, placed the PADD on the table, pulled off his shirt, and followed the love of his life towards the bedroom, deactivating the lights.
The device flashed in the darkness, the screen reading his final choices: USS Bismarck, USS Iliad, and Starbase 60.
I really taken in by how organic the fight was. The way they both knew what to say to *really* hurt the other was so real and emotional. I honestly wasn’t expecting the ending. I agree that this may be the best one in the series so far. Nice work!
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This is, I think, the best of the series. (so far?) The relationship feels real, as does the strain of the impending possibility of it becoming long-distance. For once, Scott isn’t totally wrong and sabotaging himself!