Lt Cmdr Didrik Stennes - Polar night
::Didrik stood on the pebbly beach and watched the grey tide lap softly against the shore. It was near midday, but the sun hung low in the clear sky, bathing the small Norwegian island in a pink-grey twilight.::
::Across the sound, the mountainous islands were shrouded in low-lying fog; casting even more greyness over the already achromatic landscape. A sharp breeze blew in from the water, whipping around Didrik. He balled his fists and shoved them into his pockets.::
D. Stennes: I'm always much less reluctant to leave home when everything looks like it does now.
::Standing at a discreet distance was Didrik's brother Ulf. Four years Didrik's senior, Ulf had been the favorite son, practically destined for greatness. Brilliant, athletic, attractive, and blessed with a naturally magnetic personaity, Didrik always felt like Ulf was everything he wasn't.::
U. Stennes: I don't know about that. I always thought the island looked its best in winter. Look over there--
::Ulf gestured across the sound to the uninhabited Håkoya, a tiny, heavily forested rock that jutted out of the water. It's was blanketed in virgin snow on all sides.::
U. Stennes: You don't get to see that kind of beauty on Blargon VII, or wherever you're going off to.
::Didrik bit his lip.::
D. Stennes: oO You don't get to see it in a Federation penal settlement, either. Oo
::Didrik's unvocalized statement was no less true. This was Ulf's first visit back home since his release from prison two months ago. As it turned out, the qualities that can make someone a brilliant contributor to society can just as easily make someone into an habitual con man. Ulf's brilliance and charm made him a perfect trickster, and he was always in trouble for something.::
D. Stennes: At least when I go warping off this time, I'll have another qualification to add to my record. ::beat, jokingly:: After all, I didn't come all the way back from the other end of the galaxy just to see you, y'know.
::The brothers shared a laugh, and Ulf closed the distance between them, his boots punctuating the moment with sharp, staccato percussion as they impacted the crisp snow.::
U. Stennes: You know, Didrik, I'd give anything to have another chance at things. To try it again. It all could have been so different. ::beat:: I could have gone into Starfleet, you know. I aced the entrance exam, my grades were perfect. I was a shoo in. But they won't have me now.
D. Stennes: That's something. They didn't even take me the first time I applied.
::Didrik was confused by this new dynamic between his brother. It was as if the roles were reversed, and Didrik was the one to be envied. He wanted to communicate that there were some things about Ulf that outskilled Didrik, but it had the opposite impact.::
U. Stennes: Not because you were a criminal.
::The silence lasted longer than either Stennes brother was comfortable with. It was Ulf who finally broke it by changing the subject.::
U. Stennes: When do you leave?
D. Stennes: I report to Starfleet Headquarters in San Francisco tomorrow morning at 0800. From there... who knows? I've not been given my new assignment yet.
U. Stennes: It's too bad you can't stay over Christmas.
::Didrik nodded. His visits back home over the past few years had always been so brief. Almost by reflex, he offered the classic generic explanation.:
D. Stennes: Starfleet Officers don't have the luxury of choosing when and where they serve.
::Didrik wondered how many Starfleet officers had said those exact words over the centuries; how many missed holidays and milestones had been explained away with that underwhelming sentence.::
U. Stennes: You don't suppose you could get me a posting wherever you end up, do you? Bartender? Librarian? Motivational speaker?
::Ulf chuckled, but Didrik could tell there was some part of his older brother that was genuinely hopeful for such an outcome. Didrik smilked.::
D. Stennes: When I report for duty, the first thing I'll do is check the classifieds.
::Didrik clapped his brother on the shoulder, and the two walked back toward their childhood home.::
Lt Cmdr Didrik Stennes
USS Darwin NCC-99312-A
"Oh, can you see the stars colliding, shining just to show we belong?"