Log of the Month for May, 2023
Posted on May 31st, 2023 by Scott Ammora
He accepted the new bars with honor and grace. Scott’s pride swelled, and the responsibility came bearing down, but his sense of accomplishment triumphed over it all. He was a Marine Captain. He felt confident in that moment standing on the pad with his friends and colleagues. Scott looked on at his commanding officer knowing that she wouldn’t have promoted him without due cause. Again, his heart grew in the acceptance of such an honor.
“Well then, Captain Ammora, I won’t hold you up further beyond saying the honor is well-earned, and that we appreciate your service.” The Commodore nodded to the transporter technician with an affirmation to energize.
And, yes, it was energizing.
2405, Three Years Later.
“Major Scott Ammora, I like the sound of that.”
“Thanks, I think this one looks better than the silver bars.”
“You know I would have preferred you to stay a lower rank than me for just a little longer. I know you’re good at stuff, but come on, give the scientist his due.” Lt. Commander Weston Brock put his arm around the shoulders of his husband, squeezing ever-so-lightly with professionalism coupled with love. “Congratulations, Major Scooter.”
“Don’t call me that,” Scott said, blushing. His gaze drifted to Captain Kuari and Commander Acacia across the lounge. He owed a lot to them for their guidance and friendship. He had always been humbled to work with such amazing officers and stalwart proponents of their crew, Federation citizenry, and the true meaning of Starfleet duty. He had managed a simple ‘thank you’ in the moments after his promotion ceremony, but he felt he owed them more. Leading by example was important and he really was thankful for their tutelage.
He had been pulled in a million different directions moments after the presentation had finished. He had fellow crewman congratulating him, he had department heads priding him on his accomplishments, and there was food and drink galore being passed around. It was all a bit overwhelming, but he had been instructed to enjoy every minute of it. So, he was. And there was one other major distraction… well… a Lt. Commander-level distraction.
He had been so happy when his husband had transferred from Starbase 60 to the Atlantis. Taking on the role of Chief Science Officer on a starship wasn’t something that Weston took lightly, but in the journey of their relationship it seemed appropriate. After Rear Admiral Harper and Captain Wright had been mutually promoted and retired to Risa, the gap of a science lead needed to be filled; and his knight in shining armor answered the call.
“The best part – ”
Weston interrupted, “I know the best part. Not only are we now of equal rank, you technically outrank me as Second Officer. Blah blah blah, I know. Get it out of your system and let’s continue running the ship, shall we?”
Scott smirked, “As long as you know where you stand.”
“Whatever. We should probably make our exit. We have that call we’ve been waiting on.” Weston’s head bobbed towards the door, indicating an intent to depart. The seriousness in his eyes showed the importance of two things: 1) Weston had their schedule fashioned way better than Scott did, and 2) a promotion was actually the second-most-important conversation of the day.
Pounding a flute of champagne, Scott agreed. “Yes, of course.” He bid farewell to some of the members of the crew, scooped a random appetizer off a passing tray and downed it, and then headed for the door with his spouse in tow. “You know I hate these calls.”
“You hate these calls because you always want your mother to weigh in.”
“Once a doctor, always a doctor.”
The walk to their quarters was a quiet one. Their hands had intertwined easily. Weston did this cute clench and release thing as they strolled, each tightened grip drew a glance from Scott and a returned smile. Words weren’t being spoken because everything at this point was out of their control. Hope for the best, prepare for the worst, and knowing that being together would prepare themselves for anything was of wonderful comfort.
The computer console was already beeping when the doors parted. Scott beelined for the display and tapped the screen fervently to make sure he didn’t miss accepting the communique. “Hey Momma!”
“You know, I’ll never get use to you calling me that.”
“You agreed to help and we aren’t going to not let our boy know who his mom is.” Weston said, leaning over his love’s shoulder. “Hi Pasha.”
“Hi Weston,” Pasha answered. She pushed back the chair and revealed her baby bump. She had long given up Starfleet uniforms and had shifted back into civilian attire. “Everything is good – before you ask. Third trimester is off to a great start. If they said ‘healthy’ one more time, I would think they were looking to give your, sorry our, baby an award.”
“We’re so thankful for you, Pasha.” Scott said, forcing himself not to well up with gratitude and appreciation from relief. Every call on the update of their upcoming child was strenuous. Not carrying the child personally, not being there for every appointment, and the ultimate worry of not being there on delivery was a taxing endeavor that both he and Weston had endured.
She smiled, “I know. I’m happy you wanted me and asked me. And that you trust me to give you boys a baby.”
Weston gripped Scott’s shoulder’s gingerly at the good news, “It’s a major honor, Pash.”
“Speaking of Major…”
2410, Five Years Later.
“I have a message for Lieutenant Colonel Ammora. There’s a call on subspace coming in from Commander Brock in San Francisco?”
Scott looked up from a PADD and bobbed his head, “Go ahead and patch it through to my office, please.” Within a second or two the image of his husband popped up onto the screen. “Hey there, handsome, how are things?”
“Do you think I’m an idiot?”
Blinking, Scott stopped what he was doing and stared into the screen. “I have an answer, but I think this may be a trap.”
“You know that the professors at the Academy have nothing better to do on their down time than sit in the break room and gossip, right? Obviously, people can’t keep entitled information to themselves. So, the real question is why didn’t you tell me?”
There was a hard swallow and a bit of frustration. “It was going to be the anniversary gift when I saw you this weekend.”
“After so many years, what makes you think you can surprise me?”
It was true. If Scott had to count how many times one of their surprises on birthdays or anniversaries had gone awry because they knew each other so well he’d need more limbs than he currently had. “That’s fair. I just figured that with Grayson growing up I didn’t want to miss stuff. I applied and accepted a teaching position at the Academy. So, uh, surprise.”
The grin on Weston’s face couldn’t have been bigger. “I know we’d talked about it, but I know how much you like active duty and the action of being on a ship. Grayson, buddy, come here and say ‘hi’ to your father.” In a split second the small five-year old was in Weston’s lap smiling across space.
“Hey there, champ, how are you?”
“You coming home, daddy?”
“I sure am, kiddo.”
“I can’t wait to see you every, single day!” The boy’s eyes showed love and spirit for his father, but also was tainted by the psychological detriment of having a parent almost permanently away from his day-to-day life. It was a sore spot between Scott and Weston, but service life was a certain commitment that came with pitfalls and sacrifices. Scott was just as excited to see his little boy every day as his son was to see him.
Weston set their child down and gave him a pat on the butt, “Go find Luna and tell her the good news about your dad.”
“Luna, Dad is coming home!” The words rang in the background as the young boy disappeared from view to find the cat that was presumably hiding under the couch wanting to be left alone from the toddler’s antics. Animal ownership and how one treats their familiars was still a practice they were trying to navigate. Rule number one, pet softly. Number two: don’t drag the cat by the tail. And, Scott’s favorite and the most frequently said, ‘don’t squish too much’.
“Small group defensive tactics. Battlefield strategy? Those two courses don’t seem to go hand in hand.”
“It’s all a part of a cohesive and fully-versed curriculum. However, some people can take both courses during the same term. It’s been dubbed the ‘Spectrum Conundrum’ amongst the people I’ve talked to. Focus on the unit and the here and now, and then move into a class that talks about fleets across multiple systems.” Scott knew the severity of undertaking both of those classes in the same term, but all the dynamics of Marine Corp logistics were in play. He thought he had secured his position on the merit of understanding how they all played together. The offer to teach was the cherry on the top of the sundae.
“You’re going to be great.”
“I’m sure I’ll learn some things… about being a dad and being a teacher.”
Weston chuckled mischievously, “You’ll have an equal challenge in managing Starfleet cadets as you do a five-year-old.”
2422, Twelve Years Later.
“Computer, transfer command protocols to Colonel Scott Ammora. Authorization Nolan Alpha Sigma 3-4-3.”
The computer’s steely voice responded, “Transfer in progress, secondary command authorization required.”
Scott nodded to the General, “Computer, confirm transfer. Authorization Ammora Epsilon Theta 6-2-7.”
“Command protocols transferred.”
General Theresa Nolan smiled and offered her hand to the newly-minted Colonel. “Mr. Ammora, I wish you the smoothest sailing in your first command. May the wind be always at your back and may this ship always fly true. You have your orders. You depart in three days for the Trill homeworld.”
“Thank you, Ma’am.”
And just like that, without pageantry or anything festive, the brass walked off the bridge of the USS Jacksonville. Scott stood stoically in front of his command chair, his staff milling about around him doing their duty. He had control. Displays beeped, consoles flashed, and the fresh scent of a brand-new ship lingered in the air. Many, many years of work and dedication had finally paid off.
“Major Brighton, the bridge is yours. I’ll be back tomorrow for a standard briefing at 0700 hours. Until then, please make sure that our disembarking checklists are complete and that you oversee department assignments accordingly.” Shaking the hand of his first officer, Scott headed to the turbolift and the transporter room. He had never thought he walked with authority but felt it with each footfall as he moved. The lynchpin was that he knew what awaited him at home. That was a more pressing matter.
Scott materialized in the living room, but there was no fanfare of his return or promotion. There were already raised voices. He saw his husband and son in a heated discussion – an argument, really – that had been repeated numerous times over the course of the previous weeks. Grayson was ‘less than thrilled’ at his father’s new posting. There was no amount of conversation or bargaining that would change the young man’s mind. He was pissed.
“Dad, this is bullshit.”
Weston stood his ground, “Watch your language.”
“I’m going off to the Academy in six months and when I need my father most, he abandons us!” Grayson noticed the appearance of his second father a split-second after his sentence finished. “Hey dad, congratulations on your promotion.”
“Cut the crap, Gray.” Scott dropped his bag on the couch and folded his arms. “Are we going for an eleventh round on this?”
Grayson rolled his eyes, “Only because I feel like I’m getting the short end of the stick. And, being old enough to know how it’ll affect my life, I think I have a right to weigh in.”
“Oh, you have, and we’re aware of where you stand. However, at your adolescent age, you will roll with the punches. Nothing you can say or do is going to change the decisions that have been made. This is a great step for my career and I need your support. Now, do I have it or not?”
“No, you don’t.”
Weston’s calm demeanor was being visibly tested. He looked from his son to his spouse and he perked an eyebrow in muted frustration. “It’s been an hour of back and forth. Again. Ad nauseum.” He shot a look at his offspring that was quickly blown off. “Grayson, go to your room, please. I need to speak with your father.”
“Yes, sir.” The words dripped with sarcasm so intensely that it was pooling on the floor. After the young man, all of seventeen, disappeared into his bedroom, the door sealed. If they could have been slammed, they probably would’ve been.
“Thanks for staying firm.” Scott said, embracing Weston with a hug and a quick kiss.
“Yeah, it’s getting out of hand. I’ve called for back-up.” Weston said, obviously perturbed at the situation.
Weston nodded, “I did.”
“Oh, hell. This is going to go over well.”
The chime on the door echoed throughout the room as Weston activated the door. Pasha Pruitt stormed across the threshold, dropping her own bag next to Scott’s. “Where is he?”
Scott put up his hands, “Pasha, let’s make sure we’re on the same page – ”
“Screw the rulebook, Scott. Grayson Phillip Ammora, get your ass out here!” The vein in her forehead was as large as Scott had ever seen it. You could tell that she was seething. And, with Pasha, there was no notice of what was going to come out of her mouth. However, as a co-parent to their boy, she had every right to voice her own opinions. Scott pitied Grayson that it came to this, but the fireworks that were about to start were probably worth watching with popcorn and from some distance.
The doors opened to the bedroom and Grayson reemerged. “Hi Mom. What are you middle-naming me for?”
“Don’t pretend you don’t know.”
“I just think – ”
“No, Grayson, you aren’t thinking. You trapse around here like this is some grand slight to your precious future. But, believe it or not, your fathers have their own futures and their own professions. You’re being selfish and argumentative only because you can be. You’re going to the Academy and will have plenty to deal with. Scott will be in deep space and Weston focused on his research.” Pasha folded her arms in a serious gesture of strength, leveling her gaze at the soon-to-be cadet. “You have one sentence to tell me why you’re being such a pill.”
The color drained from his face. One could see his thoughts racing as he frantically attempted to put together a reasonable argument. The stillness in the room was deafening. Grayson stood with his arms at his side, his eyes darting around for the words to say. He finally took a deep breath and a single tear dropped onto his right cheek. “I need my dads. Both of them.”
There was another pause and a collective exhale from Pasha, Weston, and Scott. Grayson’s eyes filled with tears as he plopped himself down on the couch, dropping his head into his hands. The three parents exchanged glances and looks of uncertainty. Ultimately, none of them were expecting that response and the future of the conversation had an obvious shift that none of them had prepared for.
“Oh, baby.” Pasha moved to the couch and sat down next to the child she had given birth to. “I understand, I do. What is your goal going into Starfleet?”
“I want to be a doctor like grandma.” Grayson had always had an affinity for Scott’s mom and wanted to pursue a career in the medical sciences. Weston and Scott had always supported their son’s interests and would always provide him the resources to reach his aspirations. Healing people was one of the most noble professions one could undertake and the pride they had for his pursuit of that career was unmatched.
“We all have our passions, Grayson. Your father has always wanted to command his own starship, like his father before him. He now has this opportunity to do so. It isn’t to stop you from getting where you want to go. But, support is a two-way street. They love you, I love you, and I know you love us. There has to be a middle ground so we can all get what we want.” Pasha put her arm around her son and squeezed tightly, “Don’t you want him to get what he’s always wanted?”
Through tear-stained eyes, Grayson looked up and locked eyes with Scott. “I do. I’m very proud of him.”
“And change is hard.” Weston said, moving to his son’s left and sitting down. “But this is only one facet of life. There will be other hard decisions, other life-altering events, and other trying times. You have to trust that we all stand with each other.”
“I know,” Grayson said plainly, wiping the wetness from his face again. “I’m sorry.”
Scott had stayed silent during the interaction. He knew that his decision to take a command position would separate them all. He knew that what he was going after was a once-in-a-lifetime gambit. But he couldn’t turn it down. And, he knew the gravitas of that choice. The magnitude of the process wasn’t lost on him, but Pasha was right. To be fair, she always was. He moved over in front of his son and knelt down, putting his arms on his child’s knees.
“Grayson. I love you. There isn’t anything in this universe I wouldn’t give you if I could. You have grown into a fine man and will be a wonderful doctor. There are few things in this world that I’m sure about, but that’s one of them.” Scott made sure that Grayson’s eyes locked onto his. “And I will ALWAYS be here for you. Just because I won’t be here physically doesn’t mean I’m any less a part of your life. Your ability to connect to your own feelings… to voice them… to let them dictate your actions is what I know will make you a fine physician. I love you. Do not ever think otherwise.”
More tears were brewing as Grayson dropped to the floor in front of his father and embraced him. “I’m so sorry, Dad. I’m just scared.”
The three huddled with their son on the floor. As Grayson grasped both his fathers, Weston looked at Pasha and mouthed ‘thank you’. A simple nod from her is all that was needed as they all knew the next chapter of their lives had started.
2432, Ten Years Later.
There was a cool breeze on the fall day as Scott stood in front of his parents’ graves. The brisk early-morning air cascaded over him as he stood in front of the memorial. The headstones were immaculately kept and polished. The visages of his mother and father’s faces flickered above their final resting place as a testament to the lives they fully lived.
“Major General Scott Ammora.” Scott said out loud to no one in particular other than his dearly-departed parents. “It’s an honor.”
The leaves rustled in the wind, some kicked up and swirling around him.
“Weston finally got what he wanted. He was promoted to Rear Admiral and took over the Science Department at Daystrom just a couple of months ago. Grayson made Lieutenant and got posted to the USS Trinity-C as Chief Medical Officer. Your namesake is still on the plaque on the bridge. Dad, you’d be proud.” Scott found himself visiting this locale on a fairly irregular basis to regale his deceased parents on the updates of their lives. “We hope we’re making you both proud.”
There was a part of Scott that always thought he’d hear them talking back to him. But, alas, all he was met with was the tree limbs brushing together. Life deals interesting hands sometimes. His parents had led great lives, raised great kids, and had passed away doing what they loved. Scott hoped that when it was his time to go he felt as fulfilled as his parents always seemed to be. And he hoped their example led him to give his own example to his son. Lineage was important.
“I love you both.” He placed his hands on both their altars, took a deep breath, and then kissed them both mentally. “Until next time.”
The preliminary landing party appeared on a pristine landscape, with rolling grassy scrub plains in all directions except to the west, where a mountain range rose nearby, its foothills dotted by scattered tree-like plants. The weather was sunny, pleasantly warm, and somewhat windy, with a hint of something resembling sage in the otherwise utterly clean scent of the air.
Scott surveyed the area quickly, seeing all the ins and outs of the navigable land. He pointed north. “Hill, head up there and make sure there aren’t any geological issues. From initial scans, it should be solid and sound. Chavrin, go east. Legace, explore the shoreline. Standard survey protocols. Let me know if anything looks amiss.”
Watching the three disperse on their assignments, Scott looked out over the horizon.
Maybe Pasha would carry their child. Maybe she wouldn’t.
Maybe Weston would get his dream posting at Daystrom. Maybe he wouldn’t.
Maybe their son – or daughter – would become a great doctor. Maybe they wouldn’t.
Maybe Scott would get his own command. Maybe he wouldn’t.
The story of his life was still a volume of blank pages. For now, he was still just a Marine Captain. Everything else was just a shimmer of what could be.