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Welcome Home Party

Posted on Sun Jun 10th, 2018 @ 6:30pm by Captain Henry Crow & Banks & Commander Edra Crow & Commander Vox Templar & Lieutenant Commander Caressa Melanick & Lieutenant Commander Brielle Jayde & Lieutenant Constance Stewart & Lieutenant Edruj Daughter of Thrawn & Lieutenant JG Chance Crow

Mission: Shore Leave
Location: Crow Ranch
Timeline: MD 2

Following the return to Earth and debriefings the entire crew has been invited to the Crow Ranch in Texas for a welcome home party and gigantic barbecue. The weather is perfect and there are dozens of tables scattered around the grounds. The stables are open for riding and the pool is open for a dip. There's a bar and the Captain is hard at work on the food.

Edra did a walk-though on the house. She'd gotten it prepared for all the guests, cleaning and decorating, inside and out. Between that and keeping track of all three kids, who had been acting out for the last two days. She figured, for the girls, it was excitement of being home again. Marcus must have been feeding off of their excitement since he likely didn't remember his last visit here. Whatever it was, it had meant more wrangling and hovering than normal for her and Henry. It wouldn't be so bad once the picnic was over and not adding to the stress.

Edruj had heard many times of a human party known as a bar b que but she has never been to one. She decided to wear human clothing known as a sundress and she carried a bottle of her own family made blood wine. She walked over to the yard where the party was set up. She saw Commander Crow the only crew member that she had met thus far. "Commander I have brought a bottle of my families blood wine. I hope that it meets with approval."

Edra was coming down from the porch when she heard the new Science officer call to her. She smiled and met the Klingon at the bottom as the bottle was offered. "You know, I can't say as I've ever had Klingon Blood Wine, certainly not the real stuff." She was surprised at the gesture, assuming it was a big deal among the Klingons to offer such a thing, especially from one's own family. Her smile was warm and appreciative. "Thank you. If you don't mind, we may actually toast with this for everyone a bit later. The crew does have a reason to celebrate." She looked from the bottle to Edruj. "Come, I'll fill you in and introduce you around."

Edruj smiled "In the Empire blood wine is used to share ones tales of duty, honor, and glory. Those tales worthy of a warrior. So it would be an honor to my house should a toast be made. Lead the way. What has the crew in such good spirits Commander?" The Klingon woman made an effort to be at ease in the environment, and with the clothing.

Edra was glad the toast would be a good way to use the wine, and looked forward to it a bit later. "We have just returned from almost a year of being lost at sea, so to speak." She saw the confusion on Edruj's face and continued. "Someone used technology beyond our ability to send us to another galaxy. One of our engineers figured out how to make the remnants of that machine work enough to put us back where we belong, but he was lost in the process. His memory will be toasted as well with this."

"A death truly worthy of Sto'Vo'Kor, to die in the service of your comrades is honorable. You all must be proud of him and sing his songs, tell his tales. Truly this is a joyous occasion." Edruj smiled "I look forward to hearing the tales, tell me about this crew."

"Well, this crew is the best, though I suppose I'm a bit biased. Many of us have served together for many years. It's a loyal crew, and I think this last venture will have only made it moreso." She began to walk, indicating that Edruj should join her as she walked toward the grill. "This here is our fabulous Captain, my husband, and, most importantly, grill master." She grinned. "Henry, this is Edruj, Daughter of Thrawn, our new Science Chief."

Erduj quickly composed herself to attention. "Captain my deepest apologies. This is not how an officer should be dressed when meeting a superior officer for the first time." She stood rigid as she spoke. If it was possible for Klingons to blush she would be beet red right now. She quietly chastised herself for the faux-pas.

"At ease. This is a celebration and welcome, I'm glad to have you on the team." He stuck out his hand. "My Klingon is a little rusty but, Qapla'"

"Qapla'" Edruj took the had smiling. "Your inflection just needs work sir. Thank you for inviting to me to your home. It is an honor not often given."

Caressa arrived with children in tow. She took them to the guest house, a daunting task in itself. "Hey you two get back here!" They were heading to the pool. " Dad first then fun! " Dejected they returned. They hit the porch to the guest house and in they went.

Debriefing had gone pretty much as expected. But when hearing about a picnic, Brielle knew that was where she wanted to go. She’d visited her family some, and they were their usual selves. She’d go back and see them more during the two weeks shore leave. Right now, she had Ossan in tow, well, somewhat. He was running around any open area he could as they made their way to the ranch. “Ossan Erik! Don’t go wandering off. I can’t chase you, and besides, there will be plenty of others to run around with once we get there.” He ran back over and grabbed hold of her hand. “Okay, mommy. I get to see Mars, right?” Realizing who he meant, she nodded. “Yes, you’ll get to see Marcus.” He smiled and bounced along as they got to the ranch. Now she had to find some familiar faces.

Vox hadn't been to a big crew gathering in many years. It felt nice especially with the ship being moved to a new fleet with a new mission ahead of them. He inhaled the warm Texas air as he grasped the handle and entered the large ranch home. He was wearing a longsleeve button shirt with dark blue jeans that he hoped would blend him in well.

Caressa Finally let the kids go. They bolted out of the guest house and ran over to the party. She just walked catching up eventually. She scanned the party. Its was getting to be quite the gala. You could see groupings of people. Engineering, Ops, Medical. She made her way over to the medical group and greeted her staff. She didn't stay long so they could let there hair down. Nothing is a bigger downer than having your boss hang around. She took a spot near the kids, grabbed a mug of beer and kept a eye on them.

Caressa took a seat at the closet picnic table. The introductions for brothers and sisters went without a hitch. They were all running around like rabbits. Mug of beer in hand and sitting back to relax for a change.

Edra had gone inside to get a glass of sweet tea and returned, watching the kids all from the porch. After some time up there, she walked down onto the lawn and sat at the table next to Caressa. "They seem to all be getting along," she ventured.

She turned to Edra, "Looks like they have never been apart. I was worried that being separated might cause a bit of a , well you know difference between them" taking a drink of the cold beer. She was trying to put on a good face.

Edra nodded, watching all five of them.

The kids were running back and forth chasing each other, laughing, giggling just being kids. "I hope they like BBQ. I dont think mine have ever had it before."

Edra chuckled. "If those are any kids of Henry's, they will."

Caressa nodded in affirmation. " Well he certainly cannot deny any of them" Sipping her beer again. She turned the can to look at the label. " Shock Top, interesting. I like this. Are you just drinking Iced Tea?"

Edra grinned. "I have to host this shin-dig, and someone has to put him down when he has more than he should." Her tone was mixed humor and annoyance, but the nod of her head was clearly in Henry's direction.

Evidently that comment didn't go over well. Caressa wasn't trying to start anything she just looked at her like she was a bit put off cause she was put off. "Hey, don't be hitting each other like that!" noticing the kids getting a bit rough. Especially rough with her little girl. She didn't call out on any one in particular.

Edra leaned forward, catching some of the action. "Karissa!" she called, and waited for her daughter to look at her. "Chill, okay?"

Gavin took off in defense of his sister and tackled Karissa. "Gavin Jacob Henry! What are you doing! " Yes she used all three names. She bolted over the table, but Edra was ahead of her.

Edra had seen the tackle coming, and stood, but it only seemed much more serious once she'd seen Karissa hit the ground. Suddenly she rushed over, and began pulling Gavin off of Karissa who was squinting from her head hitting the ground. But Gavin was holding on.

Caressa arrived just after Edra. She grabbed Gavin and between Edra and Caressa they separated the two. "What in the prophets name has gotten into you!" Mommy she was picking on Galena and its not right." She looked at him sternly. "That is no reason to be mean to someone. Now apologize" He stamped his foot at her. " I wont do it, she gets Daddy all the time. I hate her! She took Gavin to the side. "You do not hate her. Its not her fault. Its not anyone's fault." He started to cry and her heart about broke. She put him on her lap. "Its ok, I promise." By this time Galena had made it to her side. "Look you two. I have not been the best role model for this whole thing. We need to love them, its the only way to make things better." She looked up at Edra tears in her eyes. " I am going to be honest. I hated you. I hated you so much for coming back. I thought you took everything that was important to me. You didnt. They are what is important to me. If you can overlook my shortcomings, I can over look yours. We need to pull it together for them. Like it or not."

Edra had checked on Karissa as soon as she could get to her, but after a quick checkover, the girl was feeling better.

When her attention wasn't as focused, she watched the scene unfold with awe. She hadn't even conceived that the kids would be so aware of the overarching situation. And...Caressa's confession had taken her by surprise as well. She knew there had been the obvious divide between the two of them, but she assumed they'd gotten along well enough, and she should be thankful for that.

Her mind processed everything Caressa had just told her and remembered everything she felt when she'd returned from the alternate universe, finding out that Henry had thought her dead, and remarried. Then, later when Caressa had suddenly left because she thought something was happening between them, and she and Henry had subsequently reconnected. She also remembered the guilt she felt from that.

She found herself sitting on the grass next to Caressa. "You had good reason to hate me, at first anyways. I admit, I tried... I had spent four years trying to get back to him, only to find he'd thought I was dead, and I could only think that it was unfair because I wasn't dead. Stacey was the one who made me realize I needed to think of what was good for Henry, and I started to change my attitude." She looked over at Caressa, "When you left, what you thought was going on wasn't, at least speaking for myself. But after you left, he sank pretty low, almost quit, and I couldn't help but think it had all been my doing. I offered to be the one to go, but he wouldn't let me."

She had really not thought about how Edra felt in the begining. She looked at Edra. "Being a empath I know how he felt about you. Someone had to leave I made the choice for us all. A love triangle was not going to work for any of us. I am sorry for how you felt. I almost thought that he could handle two wives." She giggled a little, ' but I knew that would not work either."

"Lets say that we just be moms and move on. I know that I am ready to let the hurt go." She looked at the kids. " I am sure they are ready for it too."

Edra nodded. "I heartily agree, and I want the twins to know their father, and he them." She looked around until she saw Henry, and met his eyes before turning back to Caressa with a grin. "I also agree that he couldn't handle both of us."

She looked at Edra, then looked around her and caught Henry's gaze. She smirked a little. " Its a shame we couldn't mess with him just a bit.

The two women hugged. They dusted the kids of, and let them play again. For Caressa, it was like the sun just came out of the clouds. It was a new day and new life.

Henry had seen the looks and it took a moment to realize there wasn't going to be a brawl. Small miracles he thought as he walked over, setting a large serving tray on one of the tables. Loaded with abundance, there were ribs, wings, brisket, and other assorted meats. "Eat up folks, we got more coming."

Chance, Banks, and Kieran arrived a few minutes later. As soon as he saw the other children she could tell he wants to break off but he didn't. She knelt down. "You wanna go play?" He nodded enthusiastically. "Okay, but stay with the kids and stay away from the pool unless there's an adult around." He didn't need more than that as he tore away to join the group. Standing she turned to Chance. "Can you believe we're standing here?"

He watched Kieran run off to join the other kids, and took in the their surroundings. "Sometimes I wondered if we'd ever see it again, the real one." He looked down at her. "You making plans?"

She grinned a little. "I want the chairs facing west, I want a white arch to walk under, and I want red rose petals spread along a white aisle runner....just off the top of my head."

He smiled. "I like it. Of course, as long as you're there, the rest of it could be trash, not that I think you'd let that happen."

She didn't want to be pushy but at the same time the idea of being so close, literally and figuratively, was beginning to drive her crazy. "When?"

He thought about it for a moment. "That's a good question. I don't know what our new schedule is going to look like in this new assignment. I'm not sure when we'll next get back here."

Banks thought about that. "I have so much more to think about and plan...But the next time we do come home I'll be ready."

He was silent for a moment, watching the people who were milling about, wondering how she'd respond. "What if we didn't wait until next time?" Inwardly, he winced, hoping he hadn't just asked a stupid question.

She had been looking off into the horizon when he asked. She slowly looked his way, looking into his eyes to see if he was teasing her, but she realized he wasn't. "I...I...I..." she stammered, unsure how to respond, afraid to be more accurate.

Chance backpedalled. "We don't have to, I just...thought it could be a while, and I knew you wanted it to be here." He shrugged.

"There is nothing I want more. Do you think we could..before we leave again? That's kinda big to spring on your parents."

He paused, realizing the enormity of it all. "Well, we can ask. It doesn't have to be a whole lot of people, right?"

She thought about it as her heart was in her throat. "If they'll let us, then let's do it." She exhaled a breath she didn't know she was holding. "And if they say no we'll elope someplace." She hadn't stopped the sentence before it was out of her mouth.

He looked at her as a grin spread across his face. "Alright."

Banks saw Chance's grin and matched it. "Who's going to do the ceremony?" She had no real religious beliefs to speak of and Chance had never been very pushy about it either but she'd defer to him if he really had something in mind.

He thought about it and looked at her. "Do you have a preference?" When she shook her head, he continued. "Then I guess we just find someone who can do it on short notice."

Brie couldn’t help but laugh at everything that was going on. It didn’t take long for Ossan to run off once he saw others that he knew. As long as she could still see him, she was alright with this. She then noticed Melanick and Edra talking. She did have to admit that she was curious about the conversation, but knew it wasn’t her place to ask.

Hearing that there was food to be had, Brielle made her way over, suddenly feeling like she was starving. “Why do you make me feel like I’m eating for more than just two, little one” she asked quietly, knowing the one she was talking to couldn’t hear her anyways.

Vox had made small banter with some of the various younger officers present as he made his way to the refreshments and grabbed a frosted mug, filling it with cold foamy beer before slowly walking out the back double doors to the large wrap around porch to where Edra and Caressa were sitting. Not sure if they were discussing important but wanting to make sure they knew of his presence, he shuffled his feet slightly on the wood deck as he made his way over and sat down in a wooden chair with a padded seat. He let out a long sigh as he took in the warm air again. Catching Caressa's look, he offered a faint smile and reached out his glass to click with hers.

Caressa glanced over her shoulder, she caught Vox's look and turned around to make sure there was no one behind her. That are you looking at me moment. She smiled and then raised her mug to his. "Cheers! Your looking rather relaxed. Not used to seeing you out of uniform."

Vox smirked in a way that felt freeing. "Yeah, what can I say? I can enjoy life sometimes. I just get tunnel vision when we're aboard ship." He gulped his beer down and looked from one to the other, remaining silent.

"I think we all get tunnel vision. I live in my office. I have a pillow for those late all night sessions. Life of the CMO! I bet your job is more encompassing than mine." The breeze blowing lightly through her hair. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath. " Nothing like fresh air." The smell of BBQ wafted past her. "I think its time to grab something to eat."

Edra nodded, gesturing to Caressa. "I remember some of those days and nights as well." She smiled at Vox. "Can I get you another?"

Vox smiled brightly at Edra. "I would love another. Thanks Edra!" He watched her go and then turned Caressa. "So where are you from again, doc?"

"That is a great question, and a complicated one. I was born here on earth. I have a family ranch in Montana. I also have a family home on Betezed too. I have a very mixed family. Father human and Betezed. Mother Bajorian . She pointed to her nose ridges and ear ring. "Both were in Star Fleet. She smiled sweetly. "I am a mutt!"

Constance arrived she thought she was late when she saw everyone else their already. She was wearing skin tight blue jeans, red high heeled boots, red tight fitting tank top, she had her hair up in a ponytail. she had brought a bottle of Romulian Ale from her own stash and a bottle of good Whiskey as she put them on the table with the rest of the alcohol as she picked up a mug of beer and went to mingle.

After filling her plate beyond capacity, and getting one for Ossan as well, Brie attempted to find a place to sit down. Though right now she didn’t feel much like sitting, she wanted to stand, walk around. But that was going to be hard to do while eating. “Ossan! Come and eat and then you can play with your friends again.” He ran over, grumpy, but sat down where she’d put his plate. She stood next to him making sure he didn’t make too much of a mess. But, this was a BBQ, messes were going to happen.

Edruj filled her plate with some food and then took a seat on one of the benches. There was moment that she thought about what her friend at Starfleet Academy had told her, she should be prim and proper and ladylike. Well Edruj was a Klingon and hungry and the food was good. She simply dug in.

Caressa had corralled the kids, well attempted to, trying to get them food. She placed BBQ ribs and pulled pork on there plates, along with mac and cheese and all the good stuff. The paused for a minute. " Mom, whats this? Gavin picked at his food. "Trust me your gonna like it just try it." Galena Picked up and rib. " Do you just bite it?" Caressa just shook her head. " Yes bite it." Demonstrating with her own rib, sauce on each corner of her mouth. The kids did the same. It only took one bite, and they were eating like pigs. Pointing to them. "Edra, they are Henry's kids" Laughing as she made the statement. She then turned to Brie. " Looks like your little guy is liking it too" Noticing the BBQ sauce dripping. She grabbed a napkin to wipe her own face.

Edra grinned, finishing a bite of her own bite of brisket. "I never doubted it." She looked to her own kids' plates. Karina's was almost empty, Karissa was cleaning the mac and cheese off of her plate, and Marcus' face was covered in BBQ sauce. She sighed and took a napkin to his face, which she knew would be a temporary fix. She looked around to see if Henry would be joining them soon.

Henry was still slaving over two grill and a smoker, all the while maintaining a beer in his left hand. He was in heaven, as he filled plates of anyone who came by to make small talk.

Watching all the kids eating the food as fast as they were made Brie smile.. “Slow down, Ossan.” Hearing Caressa, she nodded, “Razot has been trying a lot of Earth foods lately. Though this is the first time I think this little guy has had BBQ.” She took a bite of her own. “As for me, I’m just hungry. Like, overly hungry. Though I am jealous of the drinks you all have.”

More members of the crew arrived as the day progressed. There was laughing and retelling of stories, new and old, some with new endings. The food was plentiful as well as the company. Eventually, the sun began to sink lower in the sky.
The temperature cooled, as did the grills. As the lights across the sky turned to pink and purple cups of the different liquors brought as gifts were put out, meant to be spread around as much as possible. Everyone was encouraged to get a cup of whatever struck their fancy.

Henry sat on the front porch, watching the crowd as they arrived and left. His mind went to those they'd lost on their journey, even beyond Hartsfield. Too many he thought as he sipped his coffee. He'd put down enough beers during the heat of the day and he didn't want to tie one on too bad tonight.

The party was winding down, somewhat. To say overeating happened was an understatement. But, she’d felt overly hungry at the time. That was all there was to it. Now, however, she was regretting it. Brielle had found a nice spot to sit, on a chair and not the ground like Ossan wanted of course. But now it felt like her stomach was in knots. She wasn’t going to blame the food, because Henry’s BBQ was always amazing. The knot was there though, and it wouldn’t go away. Honestly? She wasn’t comfortable sitting. But, everyone else seemed to be enjoying themselves, so she really didn’t want to bother them. Instead, she just kept trying to get a comfortable position as Ossan played around in the grass.

Edruj sat with a goblet of blood wine and some of her fellow crew members. She slapped one of the Security Officers on the back. "Come we are drinking blood wine and celebrating, songs must be sung..." She stood as she started to sing softly and slowly got those around her to join in, the more people joined in the louder she got. "'ej HumtaH 'ej DechtaH 'Iw / 'ej Doq SoDtaH ghoSpa' Sqral bIQtIq / 'e' pa' jaj law' mo' jaj puS / jaj qeylIS molar mIgh HoHchu'qu'" (And the blood was ankle deep. / And the River Skral ran crimson red. / On the day above all days. / When Kahless slew evil Molor dead.)

Constance took the blood wine that Edruj handed her she had never had blood wine before but she was open to tring anything new. so here she was blood wine in one hand Romulian ale in the other. she took a drink of the blood wine wondered if it was made from actual blood. she herd Edruj singing in Klingon she didn't understand what she was saying but what the heck when in Rome. She raised her voice in song with Edruj this was fun being back on earth with her friends and crewmates, eating delicious food having a few drinks and singing a Klingon celebration song.

"Qoy qeylIs puqloD. / Qoy puqbe'pu'. / yoHbogh matlhbogh je SuvwI' / Say'moHchu' may' 'Iw. / maSuv manong 'ej maHoHchu'. / nI'be' yInmaj 'ach wovqu'. / batlh maHeghbej 'ej yo' qIjDaq vavpu'ma' DImuv. / pa' reH maSuvtaHqu'. / mamevQo'. maSuvtaH. ma'ov." ( Hear! Sons of Kahless. / Hear! Daughters too. / The blood of battle washes clean / The Warrior brave and true. / We fight, we love, and then we kill. / Our lives burn short and bright, / Then we die with honor and join our fathers in the Black Fleet where / we battle forever, battling on through the Eternal fight.) Edruj continued to sing and she noticed Constance had joined in, she the Klingon smiled at her and sat next to the other woman. When the song ended, Edruj turned to the Security Officer. "Now that our journeys have joined there will be new songs written of the glory of the Mercutio. ehhh...." The Klingon woman laughed.

Caressa stepped off the porch of the guest house, from finally getting the kids down. Now it was adult time with beer in hand. She was listening to the security group sing Klingon songs. She just about spit out the beer she was drinking. It was nice to see everyone having fun and relaxing for a change. If any crew needed it, it was this one. She found a free chair near the bonfire, just people watching for now.

Constance laughed with Edruj " I hope so and new battles. New beginning all the way around for the Mercutio and her crew looking forward to having you aboard Edruj" she took a drink of her Blood wine thinking to herself " not bad".

After the toasts to absent friends, new ones, and future endeavors, and after cheers and Q'aplas were shared around, Edra watched people continue to mingle. She noticed the new Science officer making a name for herself with songs of glory. The XO had a feeling Edruj would fit in well with the rest of the crew. With blood wine in her cup, she walked up the steps to the porch and joined her husband. "I don't think anyone left hungry today," she said with a smile.

He looked her way. "If they did it wasn't for lack of trying. I can't remember the last time we put on a spread like that for so many people. But after all we went through they deserved it."

She took a drink of her wine and sat on the arm of his chair, draping her other arm around his back. You are assigned to two days of nothing starting now, y'hear me?"

"No can do. I'll be up with the rooster to get this place in line, then in the afternoon I'm taking all the kids down to the fishin' hole."

She sighed, not surprised by his response. "You know this is supposed to be a holiday, right? Take the kids out, but take the morning to sleep in, at least.

Caressa looked up to see Edra and Henry on the porch, she had to admit they did make a great couple. She made a mental note to make things for the kids better and to moving on. They would have there dad for a couple weeks. She smiled a little. Sitting on the outside of the circle of crewman. Sipping on the beer she had, it was empty. She grabbed a cup of whatever was near. Feeling the heat of the fire on come in waves.

Smirking as she heard the singing, Brielle sipped at the water she had, since the drinks were just out of the question. Ossan started trying to babble-sing along. She caught some of the conversations going on around her. "Shore leave, and yet you don't rest, Henry. Though, this place is more relaxing than the ship." She adjusted in her seat, was there a comfortable position?

"Don't get it wrong, taking care of this place is relaxing. Nothing better than getting up with the sun and reconnecting with this land. Everytime we get in trouble I'm reminded that I know I'll make it through because this is where I'm supposed to wind up."

Seeing the crowd starting to dwindle, Caressa decided that a seat on the vast porch of the guest house was in order. She said her goodbyes, gave a few hugs and headed to the guest house.

Vox was already on the porch, standing against the railing as he looked out at the natural land around the ranch. He saw Caressa leave through the back door and head toward the guest house. He noted that it was nice to watch her leave, though the alcohol may have kept his eyes on her longer than he should've. He inhaled deeply of the warm Texas air and finished the beer he was holding, his mind wandering from the house.


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