Posted Dec. 26, 2019, 6:40 a.m. by Lieutenant Commander Ethan Nash (Chief Tactical Officer) (David Shotton)
The doors closed behind Nash and he stood, quietly just a few steps into his quarters after his shift had finished. It was like this almost every Christmas since then, and not a single one had ever grown any easier. The room was silent, the sound of people outside in the corridors dulled and cut off as the doors had slid shut. Ahead of him the large floor to ceiling window was open, curtains pulled wide apart as he seldom closed them, letting the stars and blackness of the outside into his room. Somehow, it made him feel a little less empty like that.
After a moment Nash took a step forward. More steps and his tunic had been removed, allowed to fall in a pile next to the sofa with his comm-badge still attached although the cigar stub had been removed from the breast pocket and clenched unlit between his teeth. His steps ended at his liquor cabinet and with both hands he opened the twin glass doors that held his tumblers. Reaching forwards he took one particular tumbler out, this one only ever used on this one night of the year. Looking at it he used his tongue to wet his lips ever so slightly, and took the cigar out from between his teeth, laying it to one side forgotten.
He turned the tumbler over in his fingers and examined it softly, the shape of a sleigh being pulled by reindeer being revealed as he turned it to face him, three names etched in the glass under the picture. He hardly paused though as he set the tumbler down and now took out a bottle that sat at the top and rear of the cabinet. This drink he only ever drank on special occasions, very special occasions, when he needed them. Unscrewing the lid, Nash poured a practised two fingers into the tumbler. No ice, he picked up the tumbler and turned to the chair that sat in the middle of the room, facing the window. More steps and he was at the chair, bottle placed on the small table beside it and his hand moved to the PaDD that never left the table, sliding it towards him and picking it up.
“Computer,” his voice broke the silence, it was low as always but it no longer held it’s practised harsh undertone. “Play the Nash Family Christmas Album very quietly and turn the lights down, way down.” He sat as the music began, only just being loud enough to register that there was music and break the silence. The lights dimmed so that the light coming in from the stars outside barely matched the light from the Atlantis’ quarters.
He took a sip of the fiery liquid, at one time the only drink he drank and only on occasion. Letting the exquisite burn roll down his throat and the warmth spread from his belly, he turned on the PaDD and navigated to one particular folder. The image of a smiling woman appeared and he looked at it for a moment without moving. She was stunning, and Nash had always told her that. Deep but fiery red hair with slight curls framed a face that was round, with a pointed delicate chin. Her eyes were large and round, bright and full of life and mischief. Flecks like gold surrounded her pupils that seemed to change color the more you looked at them and made you second guess exactly what color her eyes really were. She was holding a flower, just a single flower and around her finger on her left hand was a wedding ring, a locket sat on her pale skin around her neck, the chain seeming to enhance the lock of hair that randomly seemed to cover it.
After a moment, Nash smiled gently then changed the picture. This new picture showed a young girl, only a baby yet with hair and eyes that matched the woman’s on the previous image. Not the chin however, the chin was a good, solid Nash chin and the young girl had most definitely inherited her fathers nose. The image showed the young girl in what looked like a smile, although people at the time swore that the girl was too young to be really smiling. Nash knew better. The young girl had been his world and he had been prepared to lose everything for her. Things had a funny way of working out however. He took another drink and changed the picture once more.
This picture showed the woman and the child from before sitting outside a building with a single tree, but this time they were with a man. A much younger and more idealistic version of Nash stared back out of the picture at him, as he held the flame haired woman in his arms and she held the child and looked back at him, seemingly about to perform some act of mischief on Nash’s unsuspecting ear beside her lips. The younger image of Nash wore no uniform, but he held himself in the proud way that all young Starfleet Officers did when they had received their first Command assignment. Only that Officer had never known this would be the last day he would see his family again. Nash ground his teeth and looked at the younger Nash with something akin to hatred. Even if the younger Nash had known what was going to happen on the home world he had built with her, he knew the stupid fool would still have done his duty. Nash took another sip of his drink, and let the fire burn away any thought of pity for the young Nash. Idiots didn’t deserve to be pitied.
He kept changing the pictures, looking at the photo’s as the music played. He knew he had tried to move on with his life, meet other people but Nash knew he didn’t deserve to. Not when choices he had made had affected them like that, stolen what they deserved. People had told him it wasn’t his fault, that no matter what he did, it wouldn’t have changed anything. If it was true, it no longer mattered. He had done what he had done, and he had done what was right in the bigger scheme of things despite the consequences. But was it worth it? He ground his teeth and finished the drink, pouring another. The Nash of today might have just let everybody burn if it meant not losing his universe, but that was the rub. That wasn’t what Nash was and the flame haired woman would never have accepted that from him, he would of lost her just the same.
The music kept playing and the pictures kept changing. It was Christmas after all, and the final picture sat on the screen as he lifted his head back and closed his eyes, trying to remember her voice and her scent, the sound of his daughters giggles. He had recordings, video’s of them, but they were for another day. Today he needed to remember, to spend time with them in his own way. It was his way of saying sorry to them, keeping them in his heart when he tried hard to keep others out. It was Christmas, after all. Nash closed his eyes, and simply remembered as he held the tumbler, the gift she had given him to celebrate his assignment, etched with their names so that he would never forget his family while he was away. He had promised her he never would, that he would always be there. Nash kept his promises.
Lt Cmdr Nash
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