(( Holodeck 3, Lake Cataria, Betazed ))
Dermont glanced at the display beside the doors. It looked like Wyatt already had the program going. Good. He'd have hated to simply be standing in an empty striped room waiting for the lad to get there. He had changed into his off-duty clothes and tossed his freighter jacket over top. In one of the inner pockets, his thermos sat, freshly refilled. He strode through the doors as they parted.
Ral: Welcome Lieutenant.
The younger engineer sat on a bench, overlooking the scenery.
Dermont: Eh there, lad.
Ral: Is it how you remember? A little quieter maybe ::smiling::
It was gorgeous. This section of the lake was secluded, a pair of small groves to either side blocking the view of any other nearby jetties. The water was perfectly calm and spread out before them, reflecting the image of the distant mountains on its surface. On the far side of the lake there were a few cabins at its edge. They were spaced out enough to get their occupants a measure of privacy.
oO Not that there were any occupants right now, seein' as it's a hologram. Oo
But it certainly seemed real enough at the moment. And it brought back the memories of his kids learning to paddle one of those small two-person kayaks. They had flipped more times that he could count, but it had been all in good fun.
Dermont: ::Nodding and returning the smile.:: Aye. Just so. This is a fine program, lad.
He approached Wyatt as the lad stood and indicated the jetty a little ways down the slope. They weren't exactly on a hill, but there was just enough of an incline to allow the scenery to unfold before them. He had a feeling the caretakers of the Lake had influenced the terrain to purposely give every visitor the perfect view no matter where they approached the lake from.
Ral: Shall we.
Dermont: Why certainly.
The pair chatted casually, both of them seeming to enjoy an opportunity to revisit good times from their past spent at the real Lake Cataria. It wasn't a long walk, but the path meandered in such a way to allow them to carry on a bit of a conversation while continuing to soak in the beauty of where they were. Eventually they approached a gentleman standing near the jetty. He was obviously an attendant to assist with boat-related activities. Even knowing he was a hologram, Dermont couldn't help but nod to him.
George: Back again Wyatt! Your usual boat?
Ral: That would be perfect. Thank you, George.
Watching Wyatt calmly and easily climb into a small blue boat, Dermont followed behind him. He hadn't been in such a contraption in over a decade, but he managed to get seated without falling overboard. The young man grabbed the oars and the other man, apparently named George, untied the rope that kept the boat from floating away. Without much preamble, Wyatt aimed for open water.
Dermont: Ya need a 'and with the boat, lad? I'm, uh, pretty good with propulsion.
oO Ya know...'cause Imma engineer...our job's ta make things go. Oo
Ral: Please, call me Wyatt, Lieutenant. I don’t mind rowing; I find it relaxing. ::smiling:: Did you visit here often when you were married?
He nodded to the other man.
Dermont: ::Nodding.:: Aye...Wyatt. ::he grinned.:: As often as we could. Maybe once a year. On the freighter fer 'bout four months atta time. Then a couple o' weeks down, usually at our apartments on Bolarus. Was our home port. But Anna would always make sure to make some time for the Lake and her parents. After the War, o course.
Wyatt reached behind his seat and after a moment pulled out a pair of what Dermont guessed was some sort of ale. He passed an uncapped one to the older engineer and kept one for himself. Then he lifted his own towards Dermont.
Ral: Cheers. Here's to another successful mission ::smiling::
Dermont returned the smile and clinked Wyatt's bottle with his own.
He then tilted back and took a long pull. It was good. He smacked his lips and involuntarily let out a small burp. That led into a chuckle. He glanced around at the openness of the lake and let out a long contented sigh. After a moment, he tilted his ale over the side of the boat and let a bit of it splash into the water below.
Dermont: Fer those o' the Aldrin we weren't able ta save. ::He paused for a moment.:: But, none of 'em woulda made it back without us. We saved the crew, salvaged the Aldrin, adopted a new life form, and survived another Chon AI. I'll take the win.
It was a terrible thing for anyone to lose their lives, but he was coming to terms with it being the nature of their business. He didn't have to like it, but it was a part of the risks in exploring the unknown. Had they died in another pointless battle with the Valcarians or Romulan rebels or whatever, he'd be much more upset. But they went out exploring. Into the darkness and the mysteries of this part of space. Dermont hoped when his ticket was punched, it was from pushing an unknown button on an unknown planet. Curious and stubborn to the end.
Dermont: So tell me about yer parents, lad. 'Ow does a human and a Betazoid find love?
Which was of course a ridiculous question. He'd been a human married to a Betazoid for sixteen years. But everyone's path to togetherness was different. Sometimes it felt like life was nothing but chaos and happenstance. And other times it seems like Fate went out of its way to make certain things possible.
Dermont: Ha, not too dissimilar ta me own. Except mah Anna was a daughter ta one of the Betazed diplomatic aides. And we eloped. And it took a few years fer parents on both sides ta forgive that move.
Dermont: They were right ta be a bit upset. This was in Seventy-one. Mah oldest, Kurdan, was born just a few months before a pair o' wars kicked off. A baby and wife on a practically unarmed freighter in the middle o' the Yolanda and then Dominion Wars. ::Another sip of Ale.:: But we were in love. And I got really really good at flyin'. Well, flyin' away. ::He grinned.:: Tell me about you and Starfleet. Was this a 'ard decision? Or was it written in the stars fer ya?