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SLWatson November 23 2008 08:03 PM

Arc of the Wolf: True Bearings
This section picks up one year after On the Nature of Wind. In order to really understand this, you should have probably read that. Especially since the first story spoils the ending of that tale.

It's also the last 'complete' part of the broad story arc that I have done so far; I doubt I'll post the rest yet, just because there are so many gaps where big things happen that the stories I do have done have little context. It may be a long time; right now, my ability to write well seems to have abandoned me.

Nonetheless, if you're interested in reading them out of context, you can find them here. There are some Pike-era pieces, and some classical TOS-style fanfic that doesn't require a ton of context to enjoy. Even a bit of Christmas fluff. All listed in chronological order, to boot.

True Bearings is probably one of my favorite parts, if only because it was written rather easily. It's still close to the ground, and most of it is strongly character-based. It has some really light, warm parts in it; likewise, it does have its occasional gritty moments. Mostly, it's about the process of discovering what it's like to be a part of a family.

"A true bearing is measured in relation to true north..."

SLWatson November 23 2008 08:06 PM

Arc of the Wolf: True Bearings - Time
Title: Time
Rating: PG
Words: 3523
Timeline: 2244
Disclaimer: Scotty belongs to Paramount, Corry and family belong to yours truly.
Notes: One year later finds Scotty and Corry doing the best they can to keep their heads up in the mess they got into. Originally posted here.


The Lunar Spaceport was about the most dirty place in the solar system. Unlike the beauty that was Spacedock, or the utterly organized chaos of the San Francisco Fleet Yards, the Lunar port was a rough, dark, somewhat grimy platform in space. The only area that boasted anything like clean living was in the tourist center, and the rest of the damn place was just... well, greasy, really. Kind of like living in a really bad dive.

It was, sometimes, hard to remember that he was an engineer and not a grease monkey, but usually all it took to make him stop questioning his entirely debatable circumstances was to remind himself that he could be in prison instead.

It was far better to be a free grease monkey, Scotty figured, than be a prisoner. It was at least honest work. Further reasoning lead him to the old conclusion that he had gotten himself into it, and that eventually he'd be able to work himself back out of it -- in the meantime, he'd behave himself, work hard and thoroughly appreciate that he at least was wearing a Starfleet uniform and not a prison one-piece.

Still, on days like this one, it was kind of hard not to bitch.

He dropped to sit on the floor of his barely-closet-sized quarters; covered with muck from badly maintained personal vessels, he knew better than to sit on his bunk. He'd made that mistake once, on a tired day, and ended up having to buy all new bedding, rather than wait however many weeks it took to requisition it. At least he had coveralls to wear over his uniform; he had a bad feeling that if he ruined the uniforms, he'd probably end up in really deep trouble.

The monitor light was blinking, and once he managed to peel himself out of his coveralls, he got up, absently scratching at the back of one leg with a socked foot. Thumbing the switch, he waited forever for the outdated network to bring up his messages.

All right. Two new schematics, one tech journal, one letter from his aunt...

And one outbound assignment.

Scott grinned a bit to himself, scrolling down to open that message. He was in the rotation pool for shipboard assignments, but it wasn't nearly as often as he liked when he got one. And almost always, he ended up just staying within light of Sol, then it was right back to Lunar and right back to crawling around the guts of these bloody pieces of junk.

"Cargo Transport, Vulcan, U.F.P. C/V Nickelplate: 16 days..." He grinned wider. "About bloody time." And then he saw the estimated time of departure and the grin vanished.

Eight hours.

"Oh, sonuva --" That left about ten minutes to get properly cleaned up, two hours to get to Earth, however much time to pick things up, two hours to get back to Lunar...

He grabbed a clean uniform, dashed out, then skidded back in to grab his boots off of the floor.

It had been twice since Corry was 'exiled' to Vulcan that Scotty had been back to South Bristol, and both of those times were because his best friend practically begged him to go. Neither time had been very comfortable, but he went anyway to check on the family and report back. It wasn't in the least that Corry's parents didn't write to him, but Cor wanted an outside report on how they looked, and Scott was willing to bite the bullet and go do as he was asked.

One thing he never failed to complain about in his head, though, was that South Bristol was about as secluded as a place could get. And cab fare was a fortune from the transport station in Augusta, too. If not for the fact that the people were pretty friendly, Scott would have thought the town was xenophobic, but they were nice people. They just liked peace.

Which was why he was in danger of missing this damn assignment.

He still took a few precious minutes to steel himself enough to walk up to the door. This was the first time he'd come here of his own volition, and he was half-expecting to get pitched into the street on his ear. But finally, realizing that standing there was going to cost him this run, he went up and knocked.

It was a moment before Corry's mother answered the door; he'd stepped as far back on the steps as he could, and when she opened it, she frowned in puzzlement. Before she had a chance to ask, though, Scotty leapt into it. "Ma'am. I, uh... well, I got an assignment to Vulcan, and I wanted to know if ye had anything ye wanted me to take to Cor. Er, Andy. Yer son." And then he promptly mentally kicked himself. "Idiot."

Melinda blinked in surprise. "I... you're... all right." She half-smiled. "You came all the way from where?"

"Lunar spaceport, ma'am." At least that was easily answered. "I don't have much time, though."

"You'd better come in, then." She stepped aside and gestured to the door, and then frowned again when he shook his head. "We still don't bite."

"Aye, I know, but..." Realizing that he had no really good excuse to turn down the offer, though, he winced and stepped through the door. "Sorry, ma'am."

She eyed him a moment; ever since the court martial, she had been measuring him every single time she laid eyes on him, and Scott sometimes had to wonder what she was looking for. Though, really, he couldn't blame her -- he didn't think that the fact that he and her son had become two out of four of the first cadets ever court-martialed in Starfleet history was all that endearing. She was never stand-offish, or impolite, but the scrutiny was more than enough to make him study the floor.

"I'll just be a few minutes; I was going to send his birthday presents via the post, but since you're going that way..." And with that, she headed up the steps.

Once she was out of eye-shot, he relaxed a little bit. His own family had kind of gotten to the point where they did little more than shake their heads in disappointment; they hadn't wanted him to go into Starfleet, and then when he insisted, they pushed him until he gave in to go into command and not engineering, and then when he'd been booted out of command, they'd been suitably unhappy. And finally being informed that he was court-martialed, convicted and was going to be spending three years on corrective action (glorified grunt work in entirely inglorious places) had sort of broken any indignant fury they had over his actions.

Corry's parents, though, still cared a great deal about what happened to their son. And Scotty cared enough to try to be worthy of being even peripherally involved with this family.

Melinda came back down the steps with her arms full of packages. "Are you going to be able to carry these, or should I get a bag?"

"I can manage, I think," Scott replied, though he wasn't exactly sure.

She shook her head and then went to get an old duffle bag out of the hall closet, which she immediately packed the presents into. "How have you been?"

"Workin'," Scotty said, automatically, leaning briefly around the doorway to the kitchen to check the clock on the wall. He winced when he saw the time. This was going to be razor close.

"No, how have you been?" Melinda asked, zipping the bag and standing, then holding it out.

"All right, I suppose." What did that really matter? He took the bag, frowning a little.

She nodded and gave him that look again, that measuring look, that 'mother trying to figure out if her son's best friend was a bad apple' look, and it was hard not to go back to studying the rug underfoot.

And then she did something that froze him in mid-thought and damn near made him drop the duffle bag in hand.

She hugged him. Wrapped both arms around him, gave him a kiss on the cheek, then stepped back and this time it wasn't such a measuring look she gave, but a sort of warm one. "Be careful out there, okay?"

Scott nodded, still shocked, and gestured with his free hand. "I... uhm, I've gotta go." And with that utterly useless reply, he was back out the door.

It really did take most of the ride back to Augusta to get over that.

The Nickelplate was forty years old and it was still in better shape than most of the vessels Scott had been working on of late. It was, at least, manned by a steady crew and the only reason he'd gotten a temporary place onboard was because one of the regular engineers had fallen sick. She sure wasn't the Constitution, but compared to doing courtesy service maintenance on a slew of private vessels at Lunar, she was a step up.

At least he didn't spend pretty much every hour covered in crud; he was able to work in his normal uniform, sans coveralls, and do a bit of what he had been born to do.

The sixteen day trip was the most relaxing time he'd had in awhile; he cringed when he saw that they'd only be in orbit around Vulcan for an hour and a half, but still, at least Cor would have a familiar face for that long. Corry's letters were downright sparse, leaving Scotty to be the one doing all the talking, which he only did because he knew perfectly well that Corry's schedule for the Vulcan Science Academy was so marathon that Cor was lucky to have time to breathe, let alone run long conversations.

So somehow, against his usual nature, Scott found something to talk about. His favorite topic was cargo-carrying to the Fleet Yards, where he got to admire the four new Constitution-class ships being built or finished out, but there were a few occasions he managed some non-engineering talk, and even the odd occasion where he ended up rambling about things that occurred to him about life itself.

It was almost like meditation at the end of the day, really.

Vulcan, on the other hand, was not relaxing. Just walking from the port to the Academy was enough to make Scotty wish that he could drop on one of the obsessively manicured stretches of grass and gasp for air for a few minutes. It was incredibly hot, the gravity was a little higher than he was used to, and the air was thinner -- overall, it was one of the least human-friendly places he'd been to yet.

He wasn't enamored in the least with the planet, the architecture or the people. Even as close as he played his cards, the idea of living so... so coldly was just beyond his comprehension. Not a single smiling face -- even the two or three humans he saw along the way (when he wasn't trying to stay conscious) looked like they'd had their personality removed.

That made him worry a bit, though. He'd known when Corry had shipped off that it would be hard for someone that outgoing to survive in a place that frowned on excessive anything, but the idea of his best friend becoming a robot was enough to really bother him.

Well, he'd find out soon enough. He took enough time before approaching the desk at the main entrance of the Academy to catch his breath (didn't work well enough), then asked where Corrigan was. After a few moments of checking the computer, the secretary replied impassively, "Ensign Corrigan is currently in class and will not be released for two hours, thirteen minutes and six seconds."

Well, Hell if he was going to come all the way to Vulcan just to hear that. Scott put on his best poker face. "I'm afraid ye'll have to call him out o' class. I've got a serious, time-sensitive experiment for him and it can't wait that long."

It was the truth, in a way. The experiment being whether or not Scott could make passable New England Clam Chowder on a jury-rigged stove in an engine room while attending to his duties, and the time-sensitivity being whether or not the sealed container keeping it fresh would continue to do so in the brutal Vulcan heat.

The secretary rose one of her elegant eyebrows, and then stood and disappeared into one of the other rooms.

Scotty smirked to himself after making sure that no one was looking.

So far, so good.


SLWatson November 23 2008 08:06 PM

Arc of the Wolf: True Bearings - Time

His first look at Corry in a year was a blur of blond, blue and black, but he didn't quite have time to process it before his entire attention was focused on not ending up on the ground.

Really, Cor must have checked himself before running full-out into his former roommate, but it still took the screeching of service boots and some flailing not to land on the floor. By that point, two things occurred to Scott: The first being that Corry must be pretty acclimated to this climate, and the second was that he hadn't become a robot.

"What are you doing here?! I can't believe it, I thought that something was really weird about them pulling me out of class, and I had no idea what to expect, but--" Corry cut himself off about a millisecond before Scotty was about to tell him to slow down, then grinned and pulled the nearly off-his-feet engineer back upright. "Man, is it good to see you."

Despite nearly taking a header into a polished stone floor, Scott couldn't help but laugh at that one. "I'd never've guessed." He gestured to the bag and crate that he'd luckily set aside before he got bowled into. "I'm playin' delivery boy." And then he noticed the three or four Vulcan students who had stopped and were watching them. "And apparently, freakin' the natives out."

Corry was beaming, obviously not caring what the natives thought. "Delivery boy? Don't tell me you really have a time-sensitive experiment of the utmost importance."

"Sort of. But yer mother asked if I'd bring yer birthday presents," Scott replied, then raised an eyebrow at the Vulcan audience, demanding, "What?!"

Looking almost offended, the students headed away in a most logical manner. Corry laughed, shaking his head, "They're not that bad, but man, do you have any idea how hard it is to get through a day without so much as a smile?" His expression fell a little. "My brain's on fire, I swear. I mean, they give logically portioned rest periods, and they've given me a little extra time because I'm only human, but..." He took a breath, then shook his head again. "I didn't even remember my birthday was coming up."

Scotty frowned. Cor did look beat, despite his exuberance. "Good thing I reminded ye, then, isn't it?"

"Yeah, yeah it is." The moment passed and Corry grinned again, shifting right back into high gear. "So, how long're you here for? I can probably get away with spending a few hours doing something other than studying."

Sometimes, he really hated being the bearer of bad news. Scott shook his head. "'Bout a half-hour. Between the walk here, and waitin' while they called you out, and then takin' into account walkin' back."

Corry tried pretty hard not to look crestfallen, but it wasn't a perfect try. "Ah well. Wanna go sit down for a few minutes? You look like you need to."

"That'd be nice, aye," Scotty admitted.

It was a good bit cooler in the shadows of the garden, and that said something, because it was still pretty oppressive. Plus, everything was very neat. Very organized.

"I'm sorry that I haven't written much," Corry said, between bites of the soup that he'd near gone orbital over getting. "By the time I get done answering all of Mom and Dad's questions, and making sure Rachel knows she's pretty enough for college, I'm usually so tired I can't see straight."

"I don't really expect much," Scott replied, all but clinging to the bottle of water one of the Vulcan garden-keepers had handed him. That had improved his opinion of this planet immeasurably.

"Yeah, but I feel bad." Cor smiled, shaking his head. "'Cause you go to all this trouble to send me these long messages, and then I turn 'em on, promptly tune you out and go to sleep."

Scott ended up laughing so hard that he made himself dizzy all over again. Once he got half-a-breath back, he said, "Good God, man, I'd be disappointed if ye did anything else!"

By then, Corry was laughing too.

"That's fine, there's nothin' that interesting in 'em to begin with."

"Sometimes you get interesting," Corry said, after he'd stopped chuckling. "Your rants about how people should take better care of their ships are downright colorful."

"I've got probably about thirty hours of those in my head." Scott took a long drink of his water, then checked the time and winced. "And about ten minutes before I have to drag myself back to the Nickelplate."

"Hang here a minute, I've got some stuff to send home to Mom." Cor got up and headed out before Scotty could protest.

Luckily, there was less to carry back to Earth than there had been to carry to Vulcan; two light packages, and Corry kept the duffle bag all of his birthday presents had been in. That would, hopefully, make the walk back to the port a little easier.

Even after a whole quart of water and sitting in the shade, Scott wasn't looking forward to it, but he didn't have much of a choice. Plus, it was hard to want to leave Corry there -- he doubted that Cor got to be himself all that often on this planet.

Corry must've been thinking along the same tracks. Looking out into the dry, red heat, he said, "There's never enough time, Wolf, is there?"

The nickname made Scott smile; Corry was the only one left who still called him that, and every time he heard it, he felt a little like he had only just stepped onto the decks of the Lady Grey, with everything in the universe still well within his reach. It was really hard to believe that had only been just over a year ago. "There is. Just... not right now, ye know?"


"One year, Cor. One year, and ye can transfer back to Earth. Go sailin', have normal classes, and winter," he made a joking face at that, "with yer twenty-odd inches of snow..."

Corry nodded, his expression fading from a sort of tired look to a more easy one. "And standing on the swing bridge after the lobster fleet goes out, or getting coffee at the cafe..."

"Aye, just like that."

"Hey, Scotty... do me a favor, okay?"

"Name it," Scott answered, though he half-wondered what he was getting himself into.

Corry looked back at him then. "Go back and see my parents when you can?"

"I'm hardly a substitute," Scotty said, grinning wryly.

"No... no, you're not," Cor said, and for a moment it sounded like teasing, until he finished, "You're you, and that's why."

He didn't have time to ponder on that, or even really ask about it. It was still hard to leave, though. "Time I go, Cor."

"I know." Corry gave a half-smile. "Take care, Wolf."

The metal railing of the swing bridge was very cool in the pre-dawn, early September air, and the sunrise was about a half-hour away, give or take. Though, the fishing fleet was on the move; across the bay, he could hear the shouts of people preparing their gear, getting ready to head on out.

Scott didn't get to linger long on the bridge; boats always had right of way through the Gut, and a foghorn blast made him retreat to the other side. But for the moments he had stood there, he could see why Corry liked it. Sure, the bridge was massively outdated, but there was something...

Something kind of optimistic about looking across a working harbor and seeing the glowing running lights of boats, and the slow rise of dawn, and the timeless routine of generations. It was the first real look he'd ever had of this town, not from the perspective of someone who was only there because he had to be, but because he actually wanted to be.

It was a bit of a hike to the Corrigan household, but the lights were already on in the kitchen. He still didn't really like the idea of walking up and knocking, and he still hadn't quite puzzled out everything about this family of... of entirely incomprehensible New Englanders, but he'd told Corry that he would and so he did.

Cor's mother looked less surprised this time, even despite the early hour. "Good morning."

"Ma'am," Scott replied, holding out the packages Corry had sent back with him. "Yer son asked me to bring these."

"I know, he wrote and told me he'd be sending them," she said, with a chuckle. She took those in one arm, then got the other around his shoulders and didn't give him much of a chance to slip away. "C'mon, we're just about to have breakfast."

There was a split second where Scott thought about planting his feet and then getting out of there. He would never figure out exactly why he didn't do that. And eventually, he stopped asking himself.

He nodded once, and went along.

Nerys Ghemor November 24 2008 02:49 AM

Re: Arc of the Wolf: True Bearings - Time
I hope he learns to make some sort of connection here--it sounds to me like he's guilting himself more than she actually holds him responsible.

SLWatson November 24 2008 02:55 AM

Re: Arc of the Wolf: True Bearings - Time

Nerys Ghemor wrote: (Post 2329697)
I hope he learns to make some sort of connection here--it sounds to me like he's guilting himself more than she actually holds him responsible.

A bit, in a way. Looking back at how Scott pretty much lived in fear of disappointing his own family --


He loved them. Loved his family. It was never that he didn't; he wanted to make them proud. He wanted them to see how hard he tried, and see that he really was doing good, that he wasn't being a disgrace -- he'd gotten himself to school when he was still in primary, after getting himself up and dressed, and in secondary he still did all of that.
--it makes sense. Yeah, he did make massive headway in ONOW in really learning how to one: connect with people and two: decide for himself what life would be about. But still has some lingering twitchiness; that's a whole lot of conditioning he's gotta shake off.

Though, you gotta give the boy credit for not ducking and running when Melinda dragged him in for breakfast. ;) That was a whole lot harder for him, than her.

This is definitely the set where you see that kind of learning happen. Which is a big reason I do love it so much.

Nerys Ghemor November 24 2008 07:11 AM

Re: Arc of the Wolf: True Bearings - Time
I look forward to seeing the rest. :)

SLWatson November 24 2008 06:15 PM

Arc of the Wolf: True Bearings - Breathless
Title: Breathless
Rating: G
Words: 497
Timeline: 2245
Disclaimer: Yet again, Paramount's.
Notes: A book or two made the claim that Scotty was in charge of building the Enterprise, but seriously... he woulda been 23 when she was launched, and even as good as he is, he sure isn't good enough for Starfleet to put a young pup in charge of their newest ships. So, this is my sensible alternative. Originally posted here.


It wasn't so much that he actually minded zero-g, it was that first step that he really didn't like. That first weightless moment, and the stab of vertigo that went with it. After that, he didn't really have a problem and acclimated quickly. But it still took a force of will to take that first step into nothingness.

Scott had his eyes closed. That was not proper procedure in EV exercises, but he just couldn't force himself to push off the platform and keep his eyes open at the same time. It had to be one or the other.

He took a deep breath, then shoved off. His boots automatically demagnetized when he left the platform, and in an instant, he was free-floating in space with only a tether to keep him somewhat secure. Not surprisingly, he had to really make an effort to quell the urge to turn around and scramble back to what was perceived safety.

He did it, though, and stayed still for a very long moment. Honestly, he was glad to be out here. This sure beat the work he'd been doing -- while he was still a glorified grunt, now he was a glorified grunt who had the honor (even if it only felt like that to him) of UV painting the markings on the hull of a Constitution-class starship.

The vertigo passed and he opened his eyes.

His breath out was rushed and loud inside of the helmet, and he didn't even hear it.

The U.S.S. Enterprise towered over him, her white saucer section high above, her engineering hull directly adjacent. Nothing to obstruct the view of her in the dry dock. Her hull was illuminated somewhat from the lights of the Yard, but also some from Earthshine.

And starlight.

He just stared. He couldn't move; didn't want to move. Wasn't really sure he was breathing, either. Stayed perfectly still, in case moving would cause her to wink away like some dream he'd once had.

Wondered how feeling this small could... could...

"My God..." he thought, or said, he didn't know which.

It took the lieutenant that was in charge of this assignment three tries before Scott even heard the worried voice in his helmet. "Ensign?!"

Took another two prompts before he could even try to reply, "Aye, sorry sir."

"Are you all right? You sound like you're out of breath."

Scott nodded, though it never really occurred to him that no one could see it. "Aye, sir." Didn't take his gaze away from the Enterprise. "She's beautiful," he said, not even to anyone, just into the void, and it didn't touch the depth of how it felt to look at her.

"Yeah, she sure is something," the other officer said, showing that he didn't get it. "We better get to work. She can't be official without her marks."

Scott only nodded again, taking one more moment to just look up at the ship, suspended in space. She looked limitless. Infinite.

A dream. His dream.

He never had to close his eyes to jump off of the platform again.

Nerys Ghemor November 24 2008 06:47 PM

Re: Arc of the Wolf: True Bearings - Breathless
This is just gorgeous--like a painting or a film, very engaging to the senses. It has that same lyrical feel I love in the works of Diane Duane when she gets to describing the Enterprise. :)

SLWatson November 24 2008 06:55 PM

Re: Arc of the Wolf: True Bearings - Breathless

Nerys Ghemor wrote: (Post 2331925)
This is just gorgeous--like a painting or a film, very engaging to the senses. It has that same lyrical feel I love in the works of Diane Duane when she gets to describing the Enterprise. :)

I've drawn for this one, too. ;) It's short, but I couldn't draw it out to be any longer; so much of what he feels is on such a subconscious, indescribable level that there's really no quantifying it in words. Thank you!

DavidFalkayn November 25 2008 02:34 PM

Re: Arc of the Wolf: True Bearings - Breathless
Getting caught up on all my reading and I'm enjoying the beginning of this tale. I like your portrayal of Scotty--you give him a complexity and a deepness that the series really only hinted at. I wonder how much the various comic book portrayals of Scotty--especially the DC series--have influenced you? I know DC did, by and large, an excellent job in fleshing out the show's "secondary" characters--especially Scotty and Chekov--turning them into far more than the caricatures they were often portrayed as in the series.

Very nicely done--this series is very much a breath of fresh air--I love coming back to your work after a hard week or so at work.

SLWatson November 25 2008 06:28 PM

Re: Arc of the Wolf: True Bearings - Breathless

DavidFalkayn wrote: (Post 2335363)
Getting caught up on all my reading and I'm enjoying the beginning of this tale. I like your portrayal of Scotty--you give him a complexity and a deepness that the series really only hinted at. I wonder how much the various comic book portrayals of Scotty--especially the DC series--have influenced you? I know DC did, by and large, an excellent job in fleshing out the show's "secondary" characters--especially Scotty and Chekov--turning them into far more than the caricatures they were often portrayed as in the series.

Very nicely done--this series is very much a breath of fresh air--I love coming back to your work after a hard week or so at work.

Thanks so much! Believe it or not, most of what I drew from is on-screen canon and the occasional book; I've never read the comics. Well, at least for Trek. ;-) One book was Kobayashi Maru because it painted a very vivid picture of a young Scotty, who was very different from he was in canon and yet absolutely rang 'true' in characterization, and the other was Vulcan's Glory, but mostly for the secondary cast of characters and the definitive beginning of his time on the Enterprise. Also took at least a few things off of Doohan himself -- the rougher childhood, the cooking thing, etc.

Most of it, though, is just a whole lot of asking questions and then waiting for answers. Scotty was such a terrific character in TOS; he had good moments of comedy, but he also had his good moments of drama. He was sharp a lot of the time,yet painfully oblivious on occasion; one moment he could be jacked up manic and the next, he'd be an iceberg. He always looked like he was buzzing with energy, even when he was standing perfectly still. And his body-language is just a trip -- I dunno how much of it was subconscious on Doohan's part, and how much of it was acting choice, but he really did paint an awesome picture of someone who says a whole lot without ever saying anything... if you know his language.

This is all just me trying to figure it out -- a lifetime of observation, seven years of questions, and over 200,000 words of waiting for answers. ;)

Thanks again for the comment! I'm thoroughly glad you're enjoying it; it may not ever be what most people would expect when they try to imagine a backstory for him, but I sure hope always rings 'true'.

SLWatson November 25 2008 06:38 PM

Arc of the Wolf: True Bearings - Faithful
Title: Faithful
Rating: G
Words: 1253
Timeline: 2245
Disclaimer: Scotty belongs to Paramount, Corry and his lot are mine.
Notes: After two years away, how do you go back home? Originally posted here.


It was a strange thing that waiting for something you'd been dreaming of for two years could be such an ambivalent process. How it could be filled with hope and fear, and exhaustion, and trepidation, and joy. As though the very thing that you ached for was something to be afraid of.

Maybe it was the change again. Or, maybe it was just that he had time to think about it now.

Andrew Corrigan looked into the blazing red light of a Vulcan sunset, and waited.

He had hoped that his parents would decide to make the trip, but they had responsibilities at home and had told him that they'd meet him in Augusta. It was sixteen days from Earth to Vulcan, at least with standard travel, and sixteen days back. That was a lot of time for them to spend in space, just so that he would have some company on the flight. Rachel was in college, though lately it seemed like she had been spending more time than not doing everything but coursework, so Corry knew not to expect her either.

Scotty had likewise said he doubted he could get there; he was still working part time at Lunar, and the rest of his time was dedicated to the San Francisco Fleet Yards. Still not doing much more than providing manual labor and a warm body, but if his letters were any indicator, he was utterly enamored with the Constitution-class ships he was helping to finish out, and the Enterprise in particular.

Corry had, in the past few years, grown to appreciate how Scott could manage to say a good deal with very few words, provided you understood his language. He could ramble for hours about machinery and give an utterly passionate discourse on the latest engineering feats, but on occasion he would say something that transcended the words themselves.

Of the Enterprise, and getting to be there when they fired up her warp and impulse drives for the first time since she'd been completed, Scott only had one simple thing to say that spoke volumes of his wide-eyed wonder:

"She sings, Corry."

So Corry didn't particularly expect his best friend to drag himself away from the Fleet Yards. Besides, sixteen days after spending two years on a desert world with controlled people surrounding him would probably be a good chance for him to actually re-acclimate to being human. It wasn't that he hadn't come to really admire and even like some of the Vulcans that he worked and studied with. He found that, despite their rigid control, many of them were compassionate and even generous people.

But he had never stopped aching for Earth. For the ocean. For his family.

He took a breath and waited. The skimmer would be there soon. He wondered how long it would take him to get used to breathing real air again; it had taken him months to get used to the heat and thin oxygen here. He wondered if he would fall back into the life he'd come from; back into South Bristol, back into the little joys and sorrows that accompanied everyday life, back into the world. Into his own life.

The skimmer finally pulled up, and he put his bags in the back seat. One more look at the Vulcan Science Academy; it was such a beautiful building, the perfect functional artistry. But he wouldn't miss it.

He climbed into the front seat and watched the scenery pass by once they started moving. He still felt ambivalent. He wished he knew why he felt that way; it was kind of unnerving. In his head, there were four years or more worth of training that he had completed in two years, and all he could seem to think of was whether or not they had repainted the swing bridge yet.

The spaceport was surprisingly quiet; the rare times he'd come over here, half hoping to find some humans to share jokes with, were usually very busy. But tonight, it just seemed kind of quiet. The air took on a chill with the nightfall, and that added to the impression. Corry climbed out of the skimmer, more on auto-pilot than anything, and started unloading his bags.

Someone reached past him, pulling out one of his suitcases, and he was about to say something when he saw who it was and froze.

"What the Hell'd ye pack in here, anyway? Bricks?" Scotty grumbled, without an edge, setting the bag on the curb. Then he eyed Corry for a moment, failing to stifle a grin. "What? Ye'd think ye haven't seen me in a year." His idea of a joke, apparently.

Corry blinked. "I... you... I thought..."

"I'm always engineering somethin'," Scott replied, half-shrugging. Then he grabbed another bag. "Plan on helpin' with these?"

"Yeah." Corry shook off the shock for a moment, still halfway reeling. Between the mixed feelings on reclaiming his life and the exhaustion from the past two years, this little surprise was almost enough to knock him over. "How'd you manage that?" he asked, pulling the last of his luggage out of the skimmer.

"Hm. Lots o' hard work, some luck, and a bit o' conduct unbecoming an officer."

"Do I even wanna know?"

"It wasn't that bad. A little wager on somethin' that I was pretty certain of." Scotty chuckled, shaking his head. "Ye look like someone just smacked ye in the head with a pipe."

"No, I'm..." Corry let a breath out in a rush. "Geez, I just didn't except you to be here, y'know?"

"Aye, I suppose." Managing to get about half of Corry's luggage in hand, Scott waited.

After a moment or two, Corry got the rest of it, letting the silence fall while his tired mind tried to process everything. It wasn't for a second that he wasn't thrilled that his best friend had shown up to take him home, but it was such a real reminder that this was really it. He was really going back to his own life. His own world.

It was starting to sink in by the time they got to the C/V Millay; Scott chattering on aimlessly about what he'd been up to, Corry being wryly amused at the role reversal. Not surprisingly, it was almost all engineering talk -- even less surprisingly, Corry only half tuned into it, glad for the familiar voice even if he didn't have the brain power left to parse out the words.

Corry was just finally starting to feel like himself again when they went up the gangway, and then he got slammed into all over again.

Standing there, smiles going from easy to brilliant, and tearful, were his parents.

He stared, just stared, disbelieving, half-believing, forgetting what that whole breathing thing was about. He hadn't seen them in two years. Two years. Even with the letters, and the vid messages, it had been two years. But they were there.

"A little late," Scotty said, with a half-smile. "But happy birthday."

Corry told himself he wasn't going to break down and bawl, that it would be completely embarrassing to sob after two years on Vulcan. He tried hard not to, too. But his breath was already catching in his throat when he dragged his best friend in for a quick, fierce hug, and by the time he got to his parents, he was crying almost too hard to breathe.

So were they. He had no idea how long they stood there, all tears and relief and laughter. How long he let the pent-up longing for home vent. How long he cried for his family.

A few more minutes on Vulcan no longer mattered.

Corry was almost home.

Nerys Ghemor November 25 2008 07:08 PM

Re: Arc of the Wolf: True Bearings - Faithful
Wow...very moving!

I also like that you recognize the fact that reverse culture shock can occur--after spending that long in a foreign culture, undoing all the effort you spent in the adjustment isn't as easy as it seems.

SLWatson November 25 2008 07:11 PM

Re: Arc of the Wolf: True Bearings - Faithful

Nerys Ghemor wrote: (Post 2336108)
Wow...very moving!

I also like that you recognize the fact that reverse culture shock can occur--after spending that long in a foreign culture, undoing all the effort you spent in the adjustment isn't as easy as it seems.

Yeah, it can. Poor Corry has this real natural kind of exuberance that he had to keep pretty strictly controlled for a long time; this was actually really hard to write, because he was so ambivalent when I wrote it. Scared. "How do I just go back home?"

Thanks so much for the comment!

RobertScorpio November 25 2008 08:39 PM

Re: Arc of the Wolf: True Bearings - Faithful

SLWatson wrote: (Post 2336128)

Nerys Ghemor wrote: (Post 2336108)
Wow...very moving!

I also like that you recognize the fact that reverse culture shock can occur--after spending that long in a foreign culture, undoing all the effort you spent in the adjustment isn't as easy as it seems.

Yeah, it can. Poor Corry has this real natural kind of exuberance that he had to keep pretty strictly controlled for a long time; this was actually really hard to write, because he was so ambivalent when I wrote it. Scared. "How do I just go back home?"

Thanks so much for the comment!

And I think you convey it quite well. I liked this a lot. I read during my lunch break today; good job!


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