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Posted on Mon Oct 4th, 2021 @ 9:01pm by Major Ashley Rogers

Mission: Chapter V: The Calm Before The Storm
Location: San Francisco, Earth
Timeline: 238703.03

Ash and Sara saw the twins and Perez off as they headed back to the Ourainavassa. Sara looked over at her sister, "You really care about those kids, don't you?"

"They're members of my crew," Ash said unconvincingly. "What?" she asked after seeing Sara's skeptical look.

"The old Ash didn't give a shit about her crew," Sara pointed out. Seeing Ash about to protest, "No. Hear me out. Ever since the Wrangler, you made it a point to push people away. It was a miracle you had any friends. You may have cared. But you never showed it. Seeing you with Miles and Mila, that was a side of you I haven't seen since before the war."

"Shut up," Ash said dismissively, not wanting to be psychoanalyzed by her sister.

"You leaving Starfleet was probably the best thing you ever did.... that's all I'm saying," Sara concluded.

Ash sighed, "Yeah.... it really has been. Now... mind telling mom that tonight?"

"Are you sure surprising them is the best idea?" Ash asked. "I remember the last time I showed up unannounced after being gone for years."

"You were released from prison then, this time... it's a little different...." Sara said opening the door. "MOM, DAD... I'm here. And look who I found?"

Laura peeked out of the kitchen and saw who was standing meekly behind Sara. She stormed over and pushed Sara aside and slapped Ash across the cheek.

"You really do have a way with people...." Sam said.

"What'd she do now?" Laura asked Sara.

"Technically.... " Sara started, noticing Ash's pleading look, "Ash was on Earth helping two orphaned kids find their friend."

Both Laura and Sam stopped with widened eyes, "What?" They looked at each other, confused.

"I'm sorry I dropped off the grid... I needed it," Ash started.

"To be honest, I totally thought that you ran off to go kill people for hire," Sam said jokingly.

Ash pursed her lips and stayed silent.

"O...k..." Sam acknowledged.

"I'm not going to lie and say that I don't do that. But that's.... not what I do. I'm the XO on a ship called the Ourainavassa. We've been out there in the Beta Quadrant trying to help people. We rescued Miles and Mila... we are after someone named Vulture that's doing some pretty unsavory things. Now if I think someone is unsavory.... they're pretty unsavory. T'Ango and Gunnar have been helping us to evacuate Romulans... Renee's joined us..."

"Renee? The Renee you left?" Laura asked.

"Yeah.... she also slapped me when she realized we were going to be working together..." Ash admitted. "And there's also the small issue of the Mirror Universe and a Terran version of me that' Renee also punched in the face... but she's such a pain in the ass that makes me want to apologize to all of you," she said chuckling nervously.

Sam paused, looking at his daughter, "Sounds like you've had quite a time since you disappeared on us."

"I have... and I'm not going to lie that I was perfectly willing to just continue to be gone..." Ash said honestly.

"Why?" Laura asked, confused.

"Well, you did slap me as soon as you saw me..." Ash pointed out.

"You deserved it. You don't exactly have the best track record when you go off on your own," Laura replied. "What were we supposed to think, Ash? You finally had your life in order... and without a word, you just left one day. We didn't know if you were dead or alive. We didn't know if you were working for the Section again or if they finally killed you. We only had rumors and rumblings of someone like you out there as an assassin for hire. I'm surprised you werent arrested coming back here."

"Uh...." Sara started.

"You knew?" Laura asked.

"I did spend a night in a detention cell with Miles and Mila..." Ash admitted. "Sara was doing her job. And yes, I may have done some unsavory things since you last saw me.... but it's different now. I'm different..."

"She's right... I wouldn't have believed it until I saw it. Those kids adore her," Sara added.

"I've never been proud of who I am..." Ash admitted. "I've always led a double life. I've always had to lie. I've always had to answer to Starfleet. Or the Section. I don't anymore. I'm free from that to be who I am. To make my own choices...."

Laura paused to consider Ash's words, "So killing people and saving children is what you've been up to for the last couple of years...."

"Killing bad people..." Ash corrected.

"Still being judge, jury, and executioner...." Laura shook her head.

"It was a mistake to come here..." Ash said as she turned to leave. "I left so you don't have to deal with me anymore. I can be your shameful disappointment that you never have to see again. I'm doing just fine on my own."

"You've never cared about what anyone thought of you. You were more irritated that you had to answer to someone. Your moral compass was broken long ago... yet left to your own devices, you're helping orphans find their friend," Laura said, grabbing Ash by the shoulder. "I never understood why you do the things you do and yes I have been ashamed to have been your mother and yes, I have been disappointed in you. But that doesn't mean you aren't allowed to come home."

"You're not making this homecoming particularly welcoming...." Ash said.

Sara nudged her sister, "Take the win..."

"I don't think this is a win..." Ash protested.

Sam looked over at his wife and then Ash, "It's a win... just accept it...."

Ash sighed, "I can't stay long... I have to get back to my ship and make sure Miles and Mila made it back with Perez."


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