Log of the Month for July, 2023
Posted on July 31st, 2023 by Scott Ammora
Starbase 60, November 2399
Officer’s Quarters, Six Months Later
Another uneventful shift.
Checklists, protocols, random projects… you name it, and Scott had done it. It was worker bees milling about without any intention or goal, just regulations to follow and standards to be kept. Scott had finished his work and signed out, leaving the security offices and headed to the promenade. As usual, it was bustling with people coming and going, shops and restaurants alive with patrons utilizing the Starbase as merely a stop in their journeys to new destinations.
It all seemed stale these days. He had walked the path from the security offices to the holosuites numerous times. The walk seemed more and more arduous with each passing day. There was no longer any excitement in any of it. It just was what it was. This was his life. This was his mundane, repetitious, and tortuous life. Scott had loved it once, but the novelty had waned. Now it was just routine, and he felt it with each step he took.
Scott had run his normal program – the San Franciscan Presidio – for the thousandth time. He had deleted the normal people in the program to try and find some solace in solitude, but even that didn’t steady his nerves. There was something internally that was off about him. And, he was tired of the unsettled feeling that he couldn’t shake. There was an anxiety he couldn’t comprehend that kept nagging at him, pulling his focus from anything and everything he wanted to put his mind to.
The stroll back to his quarters was just as agonizing. The same amount of steps, the same vendors saying hello, the same people leaving their shifts at the same time they always did, and the same trepidation about another sleepless night before starting it all over again. The monotony was one of the things that was compiling on his mental wellbeing. He was exhausted.
The doors to his and Weston’s quarters parted with the normal hiss and he found himself alone. The stars outside twinkled like normal, the occasional ship coming into dock passed by, and the deadened atmosphere was deafening. But his heart was racing, his mind wouldn’t slow down, and his body was fatigued with absolutely no reason to be. He was living on a starbase where nothing remotely exciting would ever happen, period.
The computer console on the table flashed with a message and he activated it. Weston’s handsome face appeared with a smile. “Hey Scooter. We got a new assignment given to us today. New Project Orientation is happening shortly, followed by initial viability assessments. It’s time-sensitive, they say, but we’ll see. I’ll be home late, so you don’t need to wait up if you don’t want to. I love you, and I’ll see you soon.” And then he was gone.
The sigh that escaped Scott’s lip was lined with exasperation and frustration, much like every emotion he could express these days. Weston was one of his grounding points and he needed it fiercely today. But, duty called and his boyfriend was answering. It was what it was and Scott knew he’d done the same countless times in the past. It was the nature of being a Starfleet officer: sometimes the work took you away from your personal life. They both knew what they signed on for.
Just above the lip of the computer’s screen, on the shelf on the wall, Scott’s eyes found a holoimage of them on that overlook where they had had so many conversations, confrontations, talks, etc. He moved to it, deactivating the image, and spinning the red metal replica of the Golden Gate bridge in his hands. It seemed like a lifetime ago when he saw the real thing every day. A simpler time. Would he go back if he could? Maybe. But that moment in his life led him to where he was now. However, given his uncertainty of his future and his lack of faith in his current role, all the choices he’d made up to this point were in question.
Scott opened Starfleet’s personnel transfer portal and started perusing the postings. He’d done this a couple of times before, but nothing really jumped out at him. This time, right at the top, was the USS Atlantis under Captain Kathryn Harper. Assistant Security and Assistant Tactical officer flashed at him. Munitions expert. He bobbed his head slightly as he knew that was right up his alley and looked at the posting with diligence. Flagship of the third fleet. There had to be some action to be had there.
He opened up the subspace communication relays and called his father. It beeped as it connected and his father appeared on the screen. “Hey Slugger, what’s up?”
“What do you think of Atlantis?”
Retired Captain Preston Ammora smirked, “The lost city?”
“Funny, Dad, no, the ship.”
“That’s Zuriyev’s ship, right?”
Scott nodded, “Yeah, I believe so. Now it’s under Kathryn Harper.”
Preston shrugged, “She’s a fine ship. I’m a bit out of the loop these days on just how good it is, but I imagine that any ship would be grateful to have an officer like you or Weston. Are you looking to transfer?”
“I don’t know.” Scott was unsure, in every sense of the word. It had been weighing on his mind for months. The conversation with Pasha a couple of months prior had just set it all in motion. After that talk the Starbase itself and life on it had taken a gray turn. The world wasn’t as bright as it had been previously and, thus, here he sat asking his father questions he had only toiled with in his own mind. “I honestly, don’t know.”
His father’s face scowled slightly, “What’s going on?”
The acknowledgement he got in the viewscreen was less than he had hoped for. “Okay, vague. It’s not going to be all phaser fire and action, you know. That’s not why we serve.”
“Yeah, Dad, I know. I just feel like I’m wasting my training and my talents.” Scott put his arms behind his head, leaned back, and looked at the ceiling. “It’s taxing my heart and my soul to sit around when I could be doing something important.”
Preston smirked, “All the work we do is important in some shape or form, son.”
“For the greater good, yeah, I know. But for me, I’m burning plasma. Spinning wheels as the old adage goes.”
“Are you getting enough recreational time in? Holodeck?”
Scott rubbed his eyes, “Yeah, I try and get in some time every day after work. Even that isn’t helping these days. The programs that bring me calm aren’t bringing me calm anymore. They’re just reminding me of endless routines I’m stuck in.”
“What about that program draws you so much that has calmed you in the past that isn’t now?” His father’s eyes showed compassion and love, strength and resilience; all attributes that Scott had always striven to uphold like his dad. But the wisdom in that look was something Scott couldn’t grasp, but he surmised it was years and years of service and life experience that gave his parent that grace. He’d get there in time, but for now, Scott was still learning.
Scott shrugged again, “I don’t know. The freshness of the air, the sound of the waves lapping at the beach, the sheer magnitude of the Golden Gate Bridge, all of it, I guess.” It was a question he had never really pondered. What was it about that program? What was it about that location? Sure, there had been memories made in that location, holographic and in real life, but he just always felt drawn there and safe there. The human mind was an intricate mistress that couldn’t always be defined.
“It’s just a bridge, Scott.” Preston’s demeanor stayed true and collected, “It takes you from one place to another. Some people walk it, some people run it, and others take the train to get across it as fast as possible. But, remember, it’s a means to an end. It’s merely a construct and, in this case, a metaphor for life. What’s on the other side is a new experience that paves the way until the next bridge.”
He had never really thought of it that way. Scott thought it was a spectacle to behold: the architecture, the process of how it was built during a time without shuttles and maintenance units, with people dangling hundreds of feet in the air with little safety apparatuses above a body of water that would kill them on impact if they fell – or drown them even if they survived. It was just a marvel. And then another pin in the lock clicked. Each bridge he crossed in his mind was the same thing, just in a different moment.
Starbase 60 wasn’t some wonder of the known universe. But, despite the hardship he’d faced, he had met wonderful people. He was introduced to interesting races he’d only read about. Most importantly, upon retrospect, he had encountered situations that had made him grow as an officer and a man. He had forged memories with Weston that set the tone of their relationship and paved the way for their future. This place would always be a part of him.
Another pin. This place was also a part of Weston when, inevitably, the brilliant son of a bitch would find a new and better place to apply his talents. Weston didn’t want to be on this starbase either, but Weston embraced that and threw himself into his work. There would be a new adventure for Lieutenant Brock, to be sure. Scott realized that he should afford himself that luxury too.
“Hey Dad, I gotta go.”
Preston blinked, a slight grin slowly forming on his face, “Uh, okay, Scott. Give Weston my best and we’ll talk soon.” There was an understanding and pride that resided behind the façade of just accepting his son’s sudden change of conversational direction. But no more words had to be shared. Abrupt as it was, it was complete. “I love you.”
“Love you too, Dad.” Scott waved and deactivated the console, taking a deep breath in the silence that suddenly encapsulated him. He reopened the requisition file and clicked on the USS Atlantis’s posting. Without even reading the description again he clicked, ‘Request Transfer’. When the red words emblazoned themselves on the screen that it had been successfully submitted, he leaned back in his chair and laughed.
In that moment as his finger struck the button and the submission appeared complete, the weight of the universe disappeared off his shoulder. He wasn’t stupid, it would come back when he had to tell his boyfriend that he hadn’t really finalized their conversation about when and where this was going to happen, but Scott was content. There would be other battles, there would be other triumphs, and there would be other failures.
There would be other bridges.
(WRITER’S NOTE: And so ends the backstory of how Scott Ammora ended up on the Atlantis and set the tone for all the previous logs you’ve read from his character with Weston and his colleagues. For continuity, this log leads directly into, probably a month later, the log ‘I Know’, published on February 17, 2021. Thank you for your patience as this log series has taken me two and a half years to complete. I appreciate you reading.)