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Auld Lang Syne

Posted on Dec 31, 2017 @ 7:14pm by Commander Jacob Crichton
Edited on on Dec 31, 2017 @ 7:14pm

Mission: Fear Itself

= Auld Lang Syne =

(cont’d from “End of the Year”)


SCENE: 56 Bottles
STARDATE: [2.17]1231.1515

Time went on, and while it didn’t exactly take the pain with it, it layered on new experiences. Sometimes the pain burned so hot that nothing could ever cover it over, but Jake Crichton had found that, most of the time, pain could be absorbed… not forgotten, no, never that, but integrated, until it became another part of who you are. Jake supposed that was called moving on.

He’d get there in the end, Jake knew. On a long enough timeline, the wonders and terrors of the universe had a way of balancing out, and Jake knew himself well enough to know that, eventually, the thrill of discovery and adventure would find its way back in, would fill his soul and cover over the pain of losing his friends. Jake would go on, and he would carry the best parts of those he’d lost along with him.

But he wasn’t quite there yet. And as Jake sat, chin in his hands and a cone-shaped paper hat perched jauntily on his head, he found himself wishing he could be anywhere but where he was at that exact moment. Around him, the New Year’s Eve celebration surged - the observation of the completion of any planet’s orbit around its sun wasn’t usually cause for celebration, even for a planet as politically significant as Earth, but Jake knew from experience how hard it was to be stationed so far out on the frontier, and the officers of Starbase 56 looked like they’d take any excuse to celebration. Jake didn’t begrudge them their fun, but he wasn’t in the mood, and he regretted letting Heck Solorzano talk him into coming.

Heck suddenly appeared at his side, wearing his own cone paper hat, but with silver tassles instead of the metallic blue ones that crowned Jake’s own hat.

“Why are you sitting here alone?” Heck said, shouting so that he could be heard over the big band music that filled the bar behind them.

“I’m not in the mood for celebrating,” Jake shouted back.


“I said I’m not in the mood for celebrating!”

“Is it that thing with the phoboguy?”

Jake shot Heck a look.

“Phobophage,” Heck corrected. “Look, I get it, man, but that’s why you need to relax tonight, Jake! You’ve been wound so tight since you got here, I’m worried that commander’s pip is driving you nuts!”

“No, *you* are driving me nuts,” Jake said. “Look, Heck, I’m going to go.”

“No way!” Heck shouted. “It’s only 30 minutes until the new year!”

“Heck, the Earth completed its orbit over two hours ago!”

“Semantics,” said Heck. “You’re going to miss the countdown, Jake!”

“I hate countdowns,” Jake said, pushing himself away from the bar and getting to his feet. “They usually end with an explosion!”

“That’s what I’m talking about,” Heck said. “That’s the kind of loco shit you hear from lifers like your Captain Kane!”

Jake shot Heck another look. “What do you mean?”

“You think *he’s* at a party tonight, Jake?” Heck asked. “Or you wanna bet me that fine hat you’re wearing that ol’ Goldeneye is barricaded in his quarters?”

“He’s my commanding officer, Heck,” Jake said, putting as much edge into his tone as he could while still shouting loud enough for Heck to hear him. “And both of us are your superior officers.”

“There it is again!” Heck said. “Look Jake, you don’t have to pull rank on me to leave. You’re a grown man, you can decide what parties you want to go to! But as an old friend, you want my advice?”

Jake sighed. “Fine. What is it?”

“You’re trying too hard to be like Kane,” Heck said. “But you’re Jake Crichton! Not a lot of people have that advantage, man!”

Jake couldn’t help but grin. “You trying to flatter your way out of an official reprimand, Drogan?”

“Is it working?” Heck grinned back. He’d always had an infectious smile, and it was in fine form tonight.

Heck leaned closer, so Jake could hear him better. “Look, Jake… go, stay, you do what you need to do. But think about what I said, yeah? Brooding ain’t a good look on you.”

“Thanks Heck,” Jake said. “I’m gonna go.”

“Alright, man,” Heck said. “It was great to see you. You’ll check in before the PHOENIX ships out, yeah?”

“I promise,” Jake nodded. “Happy New Year, Heck.”

“And a Happy New Year to you, Mr. Commander Jake Crichton, sir!” Heck said, giving Jake a theatrical salute, followed by a click of his heels. Then he grinned again, and Jake grinned back, and the two friends hugged, and the pain started, slowly, to get covered over once again.



SCENE: Cade Foster’s Quarters

Cade looked up from the PADD he’d been studying as the door chime for his quarters sounded abruptly. He wasn’t expecting visitors, not this late at night, and the only person he could conjure who might have a reason to call him so unexpectedly was Dr. Aerdan Jos. Cade frowned at the door. He knew Aerdan was concerned about him, but he didn’t want to validate too many of the Andorian’s concerns all at once, lest he be subjected to even more unexpected, late-night wellness checks.

Cade resolved to sit still, hoping his visitor, whoever it was, would take a hint and bugger off. Unfortunately, several moments later the door chime rang again. Cade sighed, dropped the PADD on the couch beside him, and got up to walk towards the door.

He stopped a few feet away from the door and frowned. “Who is it?”

A muffled reply came from the other side of the door: “Commander Jake Crichton.”

Cade blinked. “Crichton?”

“Surprise inspection, doctor,” Jake said from beyond the door. “Open up, if you please.”

“I very much *don’t* please,” Cade said, frowning again. “This isn’t regulation procedure and you know it.”

“Call it an unofficial inspection, then,” Jake said. “Open up, Foster.”

“Go away,” Cade said, turning to head back towards the couch. Behind him, the door chime sounded again, and then again. Cade rolled his eyes and turned back towards the door. “What do you want?”

“I have something for you,” said Jake. “Come on, Foster. I won’t leave until you open the door.”

Cade growled a collection of unkind words under his breath as he approached the door and thumbed the control. The door slid open, revealing Jake Crichton, wearing an impish-looking smile on his face.

“You look like an idiot,” Cade deadpanned.

“Same old Cade,” Jake grinned.

This simple statement hurt Cade Foster more than Jake could have realized, but it was part of the doctor’s nature that he let very little of this hurt show on his face. Instead, Cade set his jaw and frowned.

“Is there something I can do for you, commander?”

“You can invite me in, for a start.”

“I don’t think so,” Cade said. “I have a lot of work to catch up on, and I’m on shift at 0700.”

“It’s almost midnight,” Jake said. “For Starbase 56, anyway. I’m not exactly sure how they calculate… someone was trying to explain it to me earlier, but I couldn’t hear them over all the trumpets.”

Cade didn’t have the faintest idea of what Jake was talking about.

“I don’t have the faintest idea what you’re talking about.”

“New Year’s Eve, Foster,” Jake said. “I was hoping you’d drink a toast with me. For auld lang syne, you know.”


“It means times long--”

“I know what it means, Crichton,” Foster said. “What I’m not clear on is what you’re asking me.”

“Call it burying the hatchet,” Jake said. “You and I haven’t always gotten along, but I’ve always respected you. And I think that goes both ways.”

“No,” Cade deadpanned again.

Jake ignored him. “When I heard you were coming back aboard, I wasn’t exactly thrilled… but then, we’d also just been through quite the shit storm, so the truth is I didn’t feel too much about anything.”

“I heard,” Cade said.

“That was a bad time,” Jake said. “I’ve had a lot of those. But I ‘ve had a lot of good times, too, and I want to start the new year thinking of those. And now that you’re back aboard, well, it just so happens you’re the person I’ve served with the longest. We go back a long way, Foster, and uh… I don’t want us to be at each other’s throats anymore.”

“Worried the shiny new rank won’t be enough to keep me in line?” Cade asked. He wasn’t sure why, he just felt like it was the thing to say, and he didn’t much like the way saying it made him felt.

“Maybe,” Jake said. “Or maybe I’m just feeling nostalgic. And we both know you don’t like to drink alone.”

Cade frowned. The worst part was that he was tempted, really tempted, to step aside and let Crichton come in. They could replicate a bottle of whiskey - hell, Crichton probably had access to the *real* stuff, after all, rank has its privileges - and spend the evening passing the bottle back and forth, trading stories. The trip down memory lane might even make Cade feel good, but the whiskey was a sure thing. One night wouldn’t be so bad, after all. He’d been good for awhile now, maybe it was time to treat himself. Just a little.

“No,” Cade said at last. “I don’t drink.”

Jake looked confused, and Cade hated it. That’s how everyone always looked when you told them you’d given up a vice. It said everything, that look - “oh, you’re trying to pull yourself back together? You, of all people? Why even bother?” - and you eventually got so sick of seeing it that you kept your sobriety to yourself, hiding it like it was something to be ashamed of instead of something to be celebrated, and hoping that the question just never came up again. But of course, it always did.”

“Oh,” Jake said.

“Yeah,” Cade said. “Is that all?”

“No, it… I just…”

“Didn’t think I’d ever clean up my act,” said Cade. “Great pep talk, coach, I can tell you’re going to be a great superior officer.”

“It’s not that,” said Jake.

“So what is it?”

“I… don’t know,” Jake said. “I guess you’re right.”

“It’s a gift and a curse,” Cade said. “Now if that’s all, I do have work to do.”

He turned to go.

“I’m happy for you,” Jake said. Cade stopped, and looked back at him. He searched Jake’s face, looking for the edge of sarcasm, the hidden insult, but he didn’t find it. Crichton’s face could be so punchably earnest sometimes. The deep, reptile part of Cade’s brain reflected that was a trait that would probably get the young commander killed someday, but Cade pushed that thought aside.

“Really?” Cade asked.

“Yeah,” Jake nodded. “You deserve it.”

“Deserve what?”

“Whatever it is you think is worth sticking around for,” Jake said. “Really, Foster, I’m happy for you.”

Cade stared at Jake for a moment, not sure quite what he should say. Eventually he found the answer, and it was obvious as these things often were, but Cade still couldn’t quite bring himself to say it, so instead he said the next best thing.


“Sorry to have interrupted you,” Jake said. “If you’re busy, I can go.”

“I am busy,” Cade nodded. “But… I appreciate what you said.”

“Of course,” Jake nodded. “No charge.”

“To auld lang syne, monkeywrench.”

Jake smiled. “To auld lang syne, Dr. Foster.”


NRPG: Happy New Year!

JAMIE: Hope I did okay with Cade!

Shawn Putnam


Jake Crichton

Executive Officer



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