Log of the Month for September, 2023
Posted on September 20th, 2023 by AJ Zuriyev
with Alexis Wright as Ken Zuriyev
“Goddamn, Kenny, ya did good.” AJ Zuriyev grinned at her brother, Dr. Kenneth Zuriyev of Starfleet Medical, on her communications terminal; this visit to Fort Kościuszko was the first time since the birth of her nephew that AJ had been able to talk to her brother. Kenny had certainly taken the more traditional familial path, with a wife and an assignment on Earth that allowed for children, while she had neither a partner nor the luxury of such a posting… not that she wanted it. Minuteman was exactly where AJ Zuriyev wanted to be, though she wouldn’t exactly object to companionship.
Kenneth’s wife, Yulia, had just excused herself from the call to feed their son, leaving the Zuriyev siblings some time to speak privately, which AJ had immediately taken advantage of. “And by the way, thanks for being willing to breed a grandchild for Mum and Dad! Maybe they’ll leave me alone now.”
He chuckled. “Glad to be of service. My son is only a month old and already spoiled absolutely rotten. Our parents are ridiculous, you should see them. I mean, my baby is objectively the cutest baby ever, but still.”
“Yeah, he’s pretty cute. Must have gotten that from his mum, yeah?” An impish expression crossed her face she added, with some relief, “I’m glad they have an outlet for their grandparental urges now, at least.”
“Very funny. He does have Yulia’s nose, but he’s got my eyes. Plus, you and I have similar features, so, nice self-burn. Anyway, c’mon, admit it. When you see his cute little face, your ovaries have to tingle at least a little, don’t they?” he said, laughing.
“Kenny, he’s adorable, but my ovaries are quite content, thank you very much.” AJ joined in his laughter as she scrunched up her face and added, “Also, ew. Don’t talk about your sister’s ovaries!”
“Okay, first of all, I am a medical doctor and I’ll talk about ovaries as much as I want,” he said with mock sternness, before breaking up into laughter again. “You know I’m just messing with you, sis. What you do or do not do with your body is your choice. We’re different people, and I have so much respect for you. I couldn’t do what you’re doing.”
Her laughter settled into a warm smile. “Thanks, bro. I couldn’t do what you do either, y’know.”
“You’re right about that. Your bedside manner would be terrible,” he ribbed.
“What, I couldn’t just yell at a patient until they heal?” She rolled her eyes, feigning indignation. “Sheesh, you just can’t please some people.”
“I mean, some of them might be into that kind of thing, but it’s certainly not one of the services I provide. Is that pretty much what your job is? Just… yelling at people and things until they comply?” His eyes twinkled with amusement.
AJ nodded eagerly, playing along. “Yep, that’s about it. If yelling doesn’t work, shooting them usually does. Yelling, shooting, and sometimes even yelling while shooting. It’s all pretty simple, compared to doctor stuff and making babies. I’m already amazed that you lucked into finding a gem like Yulia, but how did you two even find the time for it during all that doctoring?”
He breezed past her insult with a wave of his hand, pleading no contest. “Well, if I’m being honest, the ‘making babies’ part was pretty fun. Pretty easy to make time for that. I was very motivated.”
“Dude, gross! I don’t want that mental picture!” AJ’s facial expression scrunched again before turning mischievous. “Keep it up and I’ll tell you about some of my more successful shore leaves on Risa.”
“Hey, you asked! Always going for the nuclear option, Jo. One of these days you should talk to someone about why talking about ovaries and conception gives you the ick. It’s a natural part of life!”
“Sure it is, but it’s different when it’s my little brother talking about my ovaries or his involvement in a conception!” AJ started to chuckle as she conceded, “And yeah, I guess I did ask, but you can’t fault a Marine for responding with overwhelming force. Still, you were so busy before, and now, it’s gotta be way worse… she puts on a good show, but how’s Yulia holding up, really?”
“Starfleet Medical is pretty understanding about parental leave, fortunately. It took Yulia a few weeks to recover from the birth, but she’s starting to feel more like herself again. We are both pretty tired, though. Yesterday, the baby wouldn’t stop crying — she came and found me in the living room, pointed at me, and cried, ‘Damn your human blood, I can’t tell what this screeching thing wants!’ He laughed heartily, knowing that his sister would recognize that as being completely out-of-character for Yulia. “I took the baby so she could take a long hot bath and a nap and she felt much better after that. Being a parent is rough when your child isn’t able to communicate their needs, but his latent telepathic abilities are still developing. I don’t think it’ll be too much longer.”
“That’s good to hear. I can say from experience that Yulia’s a good teacher of Betazoid stuff. And as for the rest, well, I think I prefer deep stealth with a side of occasionally being shot at.”
“Oddly enough, we’re kind of doing similar things in that regard… I’m sneaking around the house to avoid waking a sleeping baby and dodging all kinds of bodily fluids. So… solidarity.”
With an attempt at gravitas, AJ bowed her head and raised a fist in solidarity with her brother, and even managed to hold the pose for a couple of seconds before bursting into laughter, which set Kenneth off as well.
“Ahhh, I’ve missed you, sis. I hope you get some leave in the near future so you can come see us. Yulia would love to spend some time with you, as well, though the prospect of you two conspiring to mischief is always mildly alarming.” He chuckled, with a smile that only slightly touched his eyes and faded before he continued. “I imagine that you’re heading out again soon?”
Fond memories of times spent with both Kenny and Yulia flashed through her mind, just as fleeting as her grin that came and went as the conversation took a less jovial turn. “No word yet from the colonel, but it’s a safe bet.”
Kenneth nodded, a rare serious expression on his face. “I know you live for this, sis, but please, for me, take care of yourself, okay? It’s hard, not knowing if you’re okay out there. Even for Dad, though he’d never admit it.”
“Yeah, I know.”
At that point, the conversation trailed off, each sibling briefly lost in their own thoughts. Kenneth was the first to interrupt the silence. “Sis?”
“Mm?” AJ replied, emerging from her reverie.
“Are you happy?”
AJ paused to consider, knowing that there had been times in the past when she had answered this question untruthfully, and Kenny could always tell, but never called her out on it. This time, however, her answer was fully truthful. “I am,” she said, smiling. “And you?”
“Yeah,” he said with a tired smile, “I just miss you. Be safe out there, okay? Don’t leave me alone with Mum and Dad.”
Her face grew solemn. “I promise. And I miss you too. Love ya, Kenny.”
“Love you too, Jo. Talk soon.” The screen went dark, and AJ Zuriyev found herself face-to-face with her own reflection in the glossy finish of the console, once again alone with her thoughts in her new quarters aboard the Minuteman. A small smile spread across her face as she regarded herself and thought about her brother’s question; for the first time in a long time, she was truly happy, and not only from the soul food of connecting with her younger brother and his little family. No, she realized, it was also from the deep contentment she felt with her current direction in life, that her hard work and sacrifice had led her to where she wanted to be. Her path was very different from his, but it was uniquely hers.