((Interior. Federation Mining Facility, Relva VIII. Hobart-Tarn Personal Quarters.))
He decided on a slight gambit. Filling the time between the choice and the decision of what words to use to verbalize it by pretending to check the roast.
O. Hobart: =/\= And you’ve…touched base with the ship’s Sickbay? =/\=
Nolen looked away. He wasn't quite ready to have that conversation. He knew his father was searching for some sign that his son was healthy, top to bottom, and R'Ariel and Ohnari were doing their damnedest to get him there. But still, those were for him.
N. Hobart: =/\= Yeah, I checked in with Commander R’Ariel, she’s… not like the other counselors I’ve met. In a good way. =/\=
Omar tried not to let the slightly stinging truth of his son’s comment not show on his face. But after feeling his eyebrows quiver somewhat with the effort, he realized it was all for naught. He masked THIS particular misstep with another, more invasive check of the roast. One required him to cross just to the extreme left of the COMM-PADD’s framing as he lifted the cooker’s lid once more and churned the contents with his grandfather’s ladle. Now almost a billion lightyears away from where it was carved.
O. Hobart: =/\= Well, w-well, that’s great, son, really terrific. S’gotta be a lot off your plate too. A-and the rest of the “Lower Deckers” as it were? H-how you finding them? Any friends there? =/\=
The younger Hobart pressed on.
N. Hobart: =/\= The junior officers are an… interesting mix. Some new faces I haven’t really spent much time with, yet, though. We have a Gorn doctor. Oh, and a Pakh’wa-thanh engineer who scares the crap out of me. Triggers some kind of deep evolutionary response. I've never felt a closer kinship with small furry mammals than when that uniformed dinosaur smiles. =/\=
Omar turned back to the camera, his eyebrows pointed upward in sharp slopes.
O. Hobart: =/\= My, that’s quite the company! ::he leaned into the camera conspiratorially:: And you know, speaking of “deep evolutionary responses,” if you ever have anything happening in that arena, I want you to feel comfortable talkin’ to yer old man about it. I don’t want you to feel like you can’t tell me things, right? =/\=
Nolen stared at his father for a moment, stone-faced.
Omar stood slightly shocked, he hadn’t expected him to actually take him up on that. At least not at the moment. He was just trying to cover all these uncomfortable fatherly bases.
N. Hobart: =/\= ::mockingly:: Yeah, dad, wasn’t sure how to tell you this, but… I’m pregnant. See, there were these beads, OK? =/\=
Omar blinked once. Twice. And then snorted a great gout of laughter. When he had finally gathered himself enough, he straightened on his stool.
O. Hobart: =/\= But really now. Anyone out there catching your eye? =/\=
N. Hobart: =/\= No, no girlfriend. Two different women have tried to kill me so far, though, so you can share that at oneg.* =/\=
oO Just breathe through it, Omar, buddy. Just breeeeathe through it. You’re here. He’s there. He’s as safe as he’s going to get. Oo
O. Hobart: =/\= I, uh, don’t think that’ll get the response you want. =/\=
The simulated sound of tolling bells finally signaled. Giving Omar a graceful (and inconspicuous) reason to turn “downstage” as it were.
O. Hobart: =/\= Ah! Done at last. Well, I can tell you one thing just from the look of you, you could use some of what I’ve got here, I think…=/\=
Hobart: =/\= Is that the… =/\=
Nolen's dad did most of the cooking when he was a kid. A lot of dishes from all over Earth, samples of the family’s rich roaming, generation upon generation. But the one Omar Hobart was always proudest of was his pot roast. Nolen had mixed feelings, back then. It meant no ice cream for dessert. But, ‘round about the time the young Nolen shipped off for the Academy, he began to appreciate the roast more, and crave the dairy less. Besides, baklava was a perfect dessert regardless of the dinner that preceded it.
Omar raised a finger behind him, finally turning off the cooker and, for the moment at least, divesting it of its lid. Allowing the full aroma and steam heat of the dish dash him across the face and upper chest. All at once, seemingly every single component of the roast, from the tiniest of dry spices to the peak of the meat’s fullness, flooded Omar’s senses. Eating something delicious, but actually being there the second it stops being a simple mixture and becomes a full tilt dish. It was something Omar truly lived for. That small moment before you served the thing you made to the people that you loved.
Omar wanted desperately to be able to make his son a plate and hear everything else that he wasn’t saying on the call, but…there was something he COULD do.
If he would allow him, that was.
Nolen's mouth began to water, like the steam be knew to be collecting on their low ceiling.
N. Hobart: =/\= Think that'll transmit by subspace? =/\=
O.Hobart: =/\= Oh, don’t tempt me, son. If I could find a way to get my food to travel better, you would be getting much more than just some old roast. But…=/\=
He turned back toward the camera, the still uncovered pot steaming and melting the air of the scrubbers handedly with their delicious heaviness.
Nolen's brow furrowed. He couldn't read his father's feelings, so he didn't know what to make of the “but.” Usually they weren't good. Usually he didn't need them to be spoken to get a sense of what was coming. Nolen leaned in, bracing himself for bad news.
N. Hobart: =/\= But…? =/\=
O. Hobart: =/\= Would you allow your pop to give you a bit of advice? =/\=
N. Hobart: =/\= I really don't need any images in my head of Young Omar Hobart chasing women, please. =/\=
O. Hobart: =/\= No, no, no! It’s nothing like that, I swear! This is something real, something true. Sure, it might be a little corny. I mean, it’s still me, after all. But…it’s something I wish someone had told me. Back when I was where you are now. =/\=
Nolen considered his father. He'd usually been good for advice, especially when it came to plumbing. And even in the times when Nolen didn't immediately appreciate Omar’s words, he always heard them. And eventually they made themselves useful to him. From the Alpha Isles, Nolen gestured wordlessly.
Omar stepped closer across the space toward his son, millions and millions of miles away from him. Pulling the stool carefully across the small kitchenette floor, he sat. Bending carefully on his knees so that his face, more importantly his eyes, were as close as comfort and accessibility would allow across the din of subspace.
Obviously, this point would have hit a lot closer to home had he actually… been home, but Omar was a firm believer in taking what he could get. And then further trying to make the most of it.
O. Hobart: =/\= I know your abilities make it hard for you to keep out things and sometimes allows you to see people in sometimes not the best light… but please don’t let that keep you from opening yourself up to the crew around you. It’s hard, I know. Hell, it’s terrifying most of the time too. But those officers, those people around you? You are going to be connected to them for the rest of your life! That’s your FIRST crew. They have the potential to stay in your life forever. Don’t let them lose the chance to get to know you, son. You are too special for that. =/\=
He takes a breath, realizing now just how hard it is for the shudder of holding back tears. Total candor now overtakes his tongue.
O. Hobart: =/\= I should, uh…I should have told you that before now. I wish I had, frankly. =/\=
Those words caught in Nolen's heart for a moment. So much of his childhood, Nolen kept to himself. With scant other children to play with, his father was his closest connection. And in turn, his mother was his father's. And so it worked that the more Mara suffered, the more she cast out for Nolen to catch, the more Omar had to choose which pieces to pick up. Nolen wasn't usually the priority.
He couldn't sense his father through subspace. But Nolen had been around him enough to know it ate him up inside.
N. Hobart: =/\= You had other things to take care of. =/\=
He waved away his son’s altruism and clear care for others.
O. Hobart: =/\= No, Nolen, my sweet boy, that’s not your garden to tend. That’s on me. I just…sometimes it takes time. Too much, if you ask me, to realize the things you should do when you should have done them. Something about “hindsight” and all of that, you understand. But more than anything, I just want you to know that I’m here for you. No matter what. And I love you, son. =/\=
N. Hobart: =/\= Ikh hob dikh lib, tate.* =/\=
Omar beamed. Feeling more than just the warmth of the kitchen and its familiar smells and sensations. He felt the radiance of love and the easy joy by which being loved in return feels.
O. Hobart: =/\= And please! Bother me any time! We can talk about whatever ya want! We can talk your work in the Alpha Isles. We could talk department heads. We could talk…deep evolutionary responses. ::He said with a toothy grin toward the COMM.::
Nolen's eyes widened. This is why you don't tell your father things. Even about things as remarkable as dinosaurs with big teeth wearing starfleet uniforms. Sometimes, his father’s sense of humor could be as much the predator.
N. Hobart: =/\= No. Nope nope nope, never going to happen. =/\=
O. Hobart: =/\= Oh, c’mon! I can’t just let that lie. It’s such a great phrase! “Deep Evolutionary Responses”. It sounds like something that comes in a goblet on Casperia Prime. =/\=
Nolen smiled at that and chuckled. The conversation lagged and indicated to them both that it was a natural ending point. There was more to say, of course. There was always more to say. But things had gone well, and why risk a turn for the worse?
N. Hobart: =/\= Well, dad, I have to get some food and a coffee. We’re refitting EPS conduits and there’s a lot left to get done, down on Deck 6, so… send my best to everyone.
The Hobarts exchanged a mirrored smile and nod, signature farewell between them that one had learned from the other.
((Hobart Quarters, Room 7, Junior Officers Living, Deck 3, USS Arrow))
As the image of his father, enveloped in what he knew to be delicious-smelling steam, blinked to a black panel with the UFP symbol squatting in the middle, Nolen sighed. He looked over to his bed, still bearing the imprint of his earlier flop, and checked in with himself. He wasn’t that tired, after all. Not physically. And the conversation with his father, as much as he had dreaded it, had been refreshing. It was easier when they didn’t talk about mom.
He stood, slapped his open hands on his uniformed midriff, and sputtered out a stream of air as he considered his next steps. Food, then to Engineering to fetch the components he needed, and then to the Starboard Bow.
* “Oneg” - Hebrew; a casual, festive social gathering after the Shabbat meal
** ”Ikh hob dikh lib, tate” - Yiddish; “I love you, dad”
Ensign Nolen Hobart
USS Arrow (NCC-69829)
Chief Petty Officer Omar Hobart
Relva VIII Mining Station
as simmed by
Quentin Collins III
Chief Science Officer
U.S.S. ARROW NCC-69829
ARROW MISSION ARCHIVIST