Sport Is Good For You?
Gardner took in the sight before him. Normally he should have to throw a temper tantrum right now, because the lot before him looked utterly unprofessional. Commander Tucker had a blond haired giggling girl riding on his shoulders. Not wanting to miss out on the fun Henry Archer had commandeered his 'uncle' Malcolm Reed for the same reason. The zip of Commodore Archer's uniform was halfway down from where it was supposed to be with a curious beagle puppy peeking out of the half opened garment.
That the crew of Earth's first warp 5 ship had taken to a somewhat eccentric attitude had been known to Starfleet for some time, but nobody dared to say anything. After all most of them had been in space for fifteen years now and six of those years had been spent in bloody wars against the Xindi and later the Romulans. No other crew had spent so much time on wartime duty.
Gardner let out a good natured sigh. If looks were any indication, this crew before him had become a big family, with kids referring to any adult not named mom or dad as 'aunt' or 'uncle'. Finally the fight was over. Not only the war against the Romulans, but also his permanent private war against the bean counters over at BuPers, who had pestered him for years with requests to transfer officers off Enterprise onto other ships. He had fought all of them off, but had the war lasted a year or two longer, he most definitely would have had run out of excuses.
"If you weren't the most senior crew and the most successful wartime crew on top of that, you'd leave me with a months worth of paperwork, writing reprimands," he said with good natured exasperation.
"Glad to see you, too," Archer answered with an unrepentant grin.
"Welcome home you lot," Gardner said. "You all have now three months of shore leave. Get settled in, you've earned it."
"Three months," Trip said. "Someone's in a good mood."
"No need to be a smartass, Tucker. We all know that if we gave you all the shore leave you missed over the years, the next time you'd show up would be to collect your pensions. Now get out of here and I expect to be invited to one of these weekly beer bashes."
Gardner could barely contain his laughter about the momentary looks of shock on some faces.
"Folks, I might have been a desk monkey all those years," Gardner said with a snicker. "Did you think we wouldn't notice that more often than not the bridge crew was predominantly female on Thursday mornings?"
Shaking his head with a smile he watched Starfleet's most legendary crew walk off. This lot on Earth, this was going to be good.
Soval walked over to the neighbouring house, but before he could spot any of the estate's new proprietors he was hit by a guided missile with blond hair.
"Uncle Soval, we've arrived. No more talking with the subspace thingy – we're staying and I go to school here and mommy said I can go do sports although daddy wouldn't take me there today and we have a garden and daddy builds me a tree house ..."
Soval looked down at the little girl, who tried – unsuccessfully – to wrap her little arms around his waist. Before the child would forget to breathe in her attempt to relay all the latest news within a single minute, he lifted her up and the little girl slung an arm around his neck.
"Welcome, child," he said. "Please calm yourself."
"Sorry, uncle Soval. That wasn't very Vulcan, was it" she said.
"Agreed. But your... excitement is understandable. Are your parents here?"
The child nodded vigorously. "Mommy is putting all the clothes in the new wardrobe. You gotta see, uncle Soval, its HUGE! And daddy is looking at all the gadgets in the kitchen and Henry is helping Grampa with the boxes. They won't let me help, although I'm much stronger than Henry and even stronger than Grampa. No fair, only because I'm a girl..."
"Breathe child," Soval interrupted calmly, trying not to bring an asphyxiated girl back to his new neighbours.
"Hi Soval," a clearly elated Commander Tucker greeted and Soval answered the greeting with a nod. Performing the Ta'al was not very practical when a ten year old child was resting on one's arms.
"She giving you a hard time?" a grey haired male asked as he was passing with a cardboard box full of belongings. Soval surmised that this must be 'Grampa' and therefore Commander Tuckers male parent.
"Not at all, Mr. Tucker. She is merely agitated as life outside the confines of a starship is a new experience."
"That's one way to put it," the human replied.
"Charles Tucker jr. where are your manners?" came the sharp inquiry from the kitchen and a short while later an elderly human female stormed onto the scene. Judging by the unmistakable resemblance this could only be Commander Tuckers mother.
"I apologize for my husbands lack of manners, Ambassador" she said.
"Do not concern yourself, Mrs. Tucker. T'Mir's energetic greeting was more than enough to cover for all of you."
The human woman started to laugh and kissed the little girl's nose, eliciting a giggle from the child.
"May I render any assistance?" Soval asked.
"Thanks for the offer Soval," Commander Tucker said. "But I think we've got it covered. Wouldn't be right to make you work. You surely had a long day at the office already."
"Hardly," Soval said and set T'Mir down. "V'Lar has taken to do all the paper work for me. Somehow she has decided that I have become frail."
The human laughed. "Welcome to the world of married life. Help me with that?"
Without answering, Soval grabbed the heavy wooden panel and positioned it at the wall, where Commander Tucker started to screw it into place.
"Frail my ass," he said to which Soval raised an eyebrow.
"Just saying what you as a Vulcan are only allowed to think," he quipped and Soval's eyebrow crept up a little higher.
"Indeed," Soval replied neutrally and grabbed another panel.
"Can I ask you a favour?" the human asked while he fixed the panel to the wall.
"What can I do for you?" Soval asked back.
"Well, today are all sorts of try-outs for the kids, finding them some sports to engage in, but none of us has the time to run off."
"Of course I will accompany the children, Commander Tucker. The exercise might help dissipating some of their excess energy."
"That's one way to put it," the grey-haired parent of Commander Tucker said, passing with another box.
"Just in time," Trip said and sat down on a large toolbox. "The last time I worked so hard for days was when the Xindi had shot our engines to friggin' hell."
"It sure was worth it," his father said. "Having your own little party basement is one thing, but this is something else. You sure had some money squirrelled away."
Trip snorted. "Man, I didn't need any money for close to fifteen years. With T'Pol's and my accounts we technically wouldn't need to work ever again. But then again, I'd probably go insane. It's only been three days and I'm already running out of things to fix."
"You'll manage," the elder Tucker said with a chuckle. "When's the boys coming?"
"Hm," Trip said and looked at his watch. "Five, four, three, two, one..."
"May I introduce, dad. Malcolm Stuart Reed – most punctual human in the universe."
Charles jr laughed and shook the hand of the Brit.
"Nothing's burning," Malcolm said. "Where's the terrible duo?"
"Soval took them to the sports try-outs."
"Oh dear," Jon said, strolling into Trip's new basement. "Damn, Trip, you really outdid yourself."
"Looks nice, doesn'it," Trip grinned back.
"So, where did you park the Ladies?"
"V'Lar is the only one with a finished house, so that's where dinner is at this week," Trip said as more people entered the premises.
"Soval coming,too?" Jon asked.
"Well, if the kids don't maim him, I think he will," Trip said, while Shran started to fill glasses with Ale.
"Where's Kov?" Malcolm asked.
"In the dog house," Trip said with a chagrined face expression. "Sometimes Vulcans take things too literally."
"Care to enlighten us?" Jon demanded.
"Well, Anna came in proclaiming that she lost weight," Trip explained.
"Well that's a good thing, isn't it?" Travis said.
Once the laughter had died down, Trip continued.
"Well yes, normally it would be a good thing, but... er... Kov offered to help her finding it again."
"That chap's a glutton for punishment, isn't he?" Malcolm said and downed his ale.
"Greetings," Soval said as he entered the basement.
"Soval!" the congregation cried out, prompting an eyebrow lift from Vulcan's venerable ambassador.
"How did ít go with the kids?" Trip asked and offered a glass of Ale to Soval, which he politely declined.
"Considering the potential hazard, I think events unfolded most fortuitously," Soval reported, eliciting snickers from the crowd.
"Do tell," Trip demanded, holding out his glass to Shran for a refill.
"First T'Mir tried out the Javelin throw. Unfortunately the device sailed past the projected landing zone and nearly impaled a long jumper."
"Ouch!" Malcolm said and took delivery of a refill.
"When she tried the long jump herself, we realized that the sand pit was actually too short for her," Soval continued.
"She wasn't injured, was she?" Trip asked, slightly worried.
"No." Soval replied. "But she was fairly inconsolable. Thankfully Henry was able to provide the consolation she needed."
Jon and Trip grinned at each other.
"Thank god they didn't try the hammer throw," Malcolm prattled.
"They did," Soval replied drily. "We should think about a way to rebuild their shed in which they store their equipment."
The group erupted in laughter.
"What about Henry?" Archer asked.
"He soon took to a sport called 'football'. Eleven players on each side quarrelled over a single ball, trying to kick the device into a net."
"Was he good at it?" Jon asked, accepting another refill.
"He managed twice to direct the ball into the net," Soval explained. "T'Mir was most pleased. It was finally decided that she should partake in the ritual as well. She proved most agile and adept at the practice."
"Did evvveryon survvvivve?" Malcolm prattled.
"All but an opposing player called 'a goalkeeper'," Soval said. "T'Mir struck a move called a 'penalty'. The unfortunate opponent was propelled into the net with the ball."
The group laughed again.
With a loud thud Malcolm's head hit the table.
"We should get him home," Shran proposed.
"I've got a wheelbarrow in the shed," Trip answered.