Six Months Later

A knock came on Bridger's door. "Enter!" he called.

The door opened and Lucas came in. "Hey, Captain," he said, looking down at the printouts he was holding in his hand. "I was taking some readings near those black smokers and I thought you'd be interested." As he held out the papers to Bridger, there was a whirring noise and the holographic image of Carol Bridger appeared.

"Hello, darling," her voice said. "I've missed you terribly."

Bridger and Lucas were both startled. "Did you turn it on?" Lucas asked.

"No," Bridger said. "It just came on by itself. That's the second time…"

His mind was drawn back to that night six months ago, when the hologram coming on by itself had wakened him and prompted his visit to Medbay in time to see Lucas come back.

He looked over at Lucas. Lucas was staring at the hologram, with an odd expression on his face. "Lucas?" he asked. "Lucas, what is it?"

"I don't know," Lucas said slowly. "It's like I can almost remember -" He shook his head. "It's like a dream or something," he said, searching for the memory. "I was somewhere with her. We were talking. It was something really important, something I had to decide…" His words trailed off. Looking up at Bridger, he forced a grin. "Crazy, huh? You're not going to punch me out for dreaming about your wife, are you?" he joked.

He chose to stay, Nathan. And the reason he chose to stay was you. The words echoed in Bridger's head. Had Carol really been there with Lucas while he chose whether to live or die? Had it been more than just a dream?

He'd probably never really know. But whether it happened or not, somehow Lucas had come back to him. And he meant to make the most of every moment.