<USS Banshee> Back in the Saddle

  • From: EnsnSaraCrusher@xxxxxxx
  • To: ussbanshee@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 28 Jan 2003 16:00:52 EST

“Back in the Saddle”
Sara Crusher, Lieutenant, CMO
Stephanie Crusher, Captain, retired

Sara was passing by a tavern on her way from another failed attempt at 
getting a meeting with Admiral Fatima when she heard a familiar voice. She 
paused, rocked back on her boot. 

She heard it again. 

The laughter inside was loud, a symphony - but that warm yet decisive voice 
could cut through it all like a knife through butter, glide like a dolphin in 
a wave. Outside of the opera, very few voices could do that. It took years to 
develop a voice like that. Years of being obeyed. Years of being used to 

Sara peered through the doorway into the midst of the glittering bodies of 
loose women and the strange, hulking darkness of non-humanoid visitors 
looming on barstools. The pale hand she expected was there, poised outward, 
fingers splayed like a shadow crane. 

"You're too kind!" 

Sara couldn't see her face, but she could picture that mouth, turned up in a 
dignified smile that said to the recipient 'You are special.' It was a smile 
that inspired the desire for more smiles. It was a smile that inspired 
loyalty and obedience. It was a smile Sara could imitate flawlessly, but 
liked to pretend she couldn't. Except sometimes around Asper. But he was an 

Sara surveyed the crowd restlessly. When she was sure none of her crewmates 
were hiding within it, she walked toward the bar where she was sure that 
familiar shape would be.  

There, sitting at the far end of the bar, was the woman the voice and laugher 
belonged to. Sara watched as she easily commanded the conversation with out 
the others knowing it. Her long, honey colored hair was pulled back and she 
wore her uniform. Why? What in the world was she doing here? Sara decided to 
stay close to the bar and just watch the other woman for awhile. 

Stephanie Crusher, the indomitable, nicknamed once or twice "the crush" out 
of an ambiguous deference to her cute sensuality and her occasionally 
merciless attention to detail, was bored.  When she got bored, she smiled 
more widely, which sometimes, as now, led to the other people in the room 
assuming she was having a simply marvelous time and providing more of 
whatever was producing the boredom. Just now, however, there was nothing else 
Stephanie would have rather been doing. 

There didn't seem to be much she enjoyed anymore when she was away from Earth 
and from her garden. Classes were lackluster. Bars like this one provided an 
occasional diverting glimpse into the life of those who chose to live by a 
moneyed economy instead of conserving a little and indulging in utopian 
Earth. The choice endlessly confused her. She'd never even held a bar of 
latinum, although she'd once been given a pair of latinum hoop earrings by a 
fervent admirer with sketchy taste in jewelry.  

But now she'd grown adept at navigating the rapids of their conversation and 
she could kick up a little surf of her own when she wanted to. For instance, 
at the moment she was trying to get the bejeweled and radiant Orion girl at 
the side of the bar to admit that she wanted a one-night contract with the 
barman. They were sending each other such signals that they might as well 
have been non-sentients creating a stink with pheromones. 

It was something to do. 

Stephanie raised her glass and toasted the bartender, making a cute admiring 
comment about his biceps. A few years ago, she would have cultivated an 
admiring blush to accompany the gesture, but now as crows feet crept toward 
the corners of her eyes and a vague strand of silver hair had once been 
glimpsed blighting the gold of her tresses, it was safe enough to be an 
outrageous flirt. Never loose with her favors beyond her smile, Stephanie 
wasn't too affected by that, but it marked the change in her life with a sort 
of dismal finality that did, occasionally, sting. 

"And to lovely starship Captains," the bartender replied, doling out a shot 
of aquamarine liquid to a green-garbed Klingon mutt. 

"That's lovely starship teachers," Stephanie qualified with a small smile. 
"But I'll take the toast. I never turn down a compliment." Taking in the 
Orion woman with a generous gesture, and grinning devilishly, she added, "No 
beautiful woman does." 

The Orion woman's cleavage glittered as she leaned forward to accept her 
drink from the bartender and Stephanie wasn't the only one who noticed that 
his steady hand shook enough to spill a few drops on the counter. The 
bartender paused to wipe them up with his towel when the Orion woman extended 
one long, green finger and said, "Oh, let me." She dabbed the liquid onto her 
fingertip and sucked it off, taking her time and lowering her lashes. 

Stephanie was amused, as she always was, when people insisted on acting as if 
they were in holovids. It was one reason she liked spending time with these 
money-economy types. They liked melodrama. And Stephanie liked to act, as 
long as she could be the director too. She sipped her drink and smiled at a 
Human man who had noticed her handiwork and rewarded her with a rye chuckle. 

Sara never ceased to be amazed at her mother’s abilities. She had grown up 
watching her mother play her little games. She had such a way with people, a 
strong presence that would dominate you in an instant and you would think 
nothing of it. As Sara watched her mother from the end of the bar where she 
couldn’t be seen she realized that her mother had so many of the traits she 
wished she had. 

A tall handsome human man walked up to Stephanie and Sara watched in 
amusement as he tried his best to pick her mother up. The man smiled and 
flirted without a clue that the woman he was talking to was married, a mother 
of two and even a new grandmother. But the way Stephanie was working him no 
one would have guessed any of that. 

When the bar tender finally made his way to Sara’s end of the bar, she 
ordered a pina colada. He smiled at her as he put the drink down in front of 
her. "She’s something else that one." He said when he noticed who Sara was 

Sara laughed. "You have no idea."  

The sound of laugher had once again traveled across the room. Only this time 
it had caught the elder Crusher’s attention. 

Stephanie cocked her head to the side as the fog of her boredom lifted 
slightly, retreating to its ever present position just outside of sight. "As 
I live and breathe. Aren't you on your way to Earth, young lady?" Rushing 
over to hug her daughter enthusiastically and plant two firm kisses on her 
cheeks, European style, Stephanie held Sara at arm's length. "I like what 
that Cyanah's doing for you! What a healthy flush! A drink for my daughter, 
sir! And don't call us sisters, or I shall be offended. What mother wouldn't 
want the credit for such a lovely young woman?" As the bartender rushed to 
provide the drinks, Stephanie sat beside Sara and finally gave the younger 
woman a chance to speak. 

A blush nearly as red as her hair washed across Sara’s cheeks. All the 
stress, worries, and panic of her life at the moment seemed to be swept up in 
the hurricane that was her mother. "Hi to you to, Mom." She giggled as she 
reached for her drink. She wasn’t quite sure were to start in answering her 
mother’s questions and besides she had some of her own. "We were on our way 
to Earth but we had to drop something off and then ended up getting delayed 
here." Her smile seemed to fade as she thought about Captain Morrigan and the 
impending investigation into the events of their nightmare run to Cardassia. 
She sighed a little and the smiled as she looked at her mother. "What are you 
doing here by the way? And in uniform?" 

"Oh, you know me and uniforms, dear heart. If I'm not wearing 'em, I feel 
better in slacks and a tight-fitting jacket, and then who can tell the 
difference?" Laughing heartily, and raising her drink in a toast to her 
daughter - Sara hadn't even noticed when they'd arrived - Stephanie tipped a 
measure of amber liquid down her throat. It went down so smoothly that Sara 
wondered if the bartender had been watering down his ale, but it still felt 
like acid on her tongue. Funny - she didn't remember her mother being able to 
take her liquor so well. "So, my little girl, tell me all. I know you hate 
letters, so now here's your chance to prove that the storyteller gene didn't 
skip a generation!" 

Sara stared into her glass for a long moment trying to think of what to say. 
The dream she’d had that morning still played in her mind. "This was only 
meant to be a quick stop to drop off a ship we found while in Cardassian 
space. We were going to head for Earth like I said in my somewhat brief 
letter." She smiled a little. She really didn’t write home as much as she 
should. "But then all hell broke loose the minute we docked." 

"Good. My daughter should always be the center of attention. Like I say, if 
all hell is going to break loose, make sure you're right in the eye of the 
storm." With a small sigh, she stirred the liquid in her drink with a lazy 
rotation of her wrist. It twirled in a pirouette, dove in a whirlpool. 

A weak sound that was meant to be a laugh escaped from the back of Sara’s 
throat. "I’m not the one in the storm, Mom." She paused a moment to look at 
her mother’s hand resting on the bar. Without thinking she reached out and 
started to play with the ring that her mother wore on her right hand, 
something she hadn't done since she was a girl. "They arrested my Captain for 
something she didn’t do. None of us know what to do about it. Commander 
Andros is talking to Admiral Fatima but he won’t even see the rest of us."  

"I see." Stephanie paused, nibbling slightly on her lower lip. "Admiral 
Fatima. Tall man, broad-shouldered, dark hair, dark moustache, silly little 
accent? Limps a bit if he thinks no one's watching him?" 

Sara nodded. "I guess so. I haven’t seen him. I can’t get past his 
Sara was starting to get that helpless feeling again. She was running out of 
ideas fast and would soon have to tell Morrigan that she couldn’t get her 
surgery moved to the station and worse yet she’d have to tell Cyanah she 
couldn’t help get Morrigan out of this mess. "The man doesn’t even care 
Morrigan needs surgery or that she’s paralyzed from the waist down. I’ve 
tried everything I can think of, Mom, but no one ever listens to me. They all 
see me as some silly kid or something." 

"Mmm," said Stephanie, in that voice that Sara had learned meant she wasn't 
really listening. "Admiral Fatima. Well, you just let me know where he is. 
I'll call down, see what I can do. He ought to owe me for that passing 
grade." She laughed a little, and Sara noticed how brittle the undercurrent 
of her tone was, as though it was aging, becoming like sandpaper, being 
undermined by the same score of little wrinkles that was creeping across her 
complexion. Sara started to reach out and touch her mother's shoulder, but 
Stephanie's broad smile was back, and she was galloping down another avenue 
of conversation. "How many people are on your ship, dear heart? How many 
quarters total?" 

"Huh?" Sara was a little thrown off by the sudden change in topics. "About a 
hundred and fifty crewmen... Enough extra quarters for a whole delegation 
plus some. Nothing fancy though; we’re a small ship." She watched her mother 
closely, her head tilted to one side. Something didn’t seem quiet right, but 
she shrugged it off. "Why do you ask?" 

"I just want a favor from an old friend, that's all, dear." Stephanie tipped 
the last of her drink down her throat. "Nothing to worry yourself about. How 
is your Cyanah?" 

Sara had forgotten how conversations with her mother tended to bounce around. 
She liked having her mother there, even if she would never openly admit it. 
Sara closed her eyes to take a moment to check on the person her mother had 
asked about. "She’s worried about the Captain, but other than that she’s 
fine." Sara finally smiled brightly. "She’s back on the ship working in her 
lab." She could already hear her mother’s next question so she decided to 
beat her to the punch. "Wanna meet her? I’m sure she’d love to meet us for 
dinner or something." 

"Of course! Of course!" Stephanie's wide grin and open expression was 
childlike in its pleasure. She wrinkled her nose affectionately at her 
daughter. "But later," she added, as the distant look returned to her eyes. 

Ok that was it. Something wasn’t right. The last time she had talked to her 
mother all she could do was ask to meet Cyanah. It was becoming clear to Sara 
that she wasn’t the only one with a lot on her mind. "What’s wrong Mom? 
Something’s off." Sara watched her mother’s face as she continued to play 
with the ring absentmindedly twisting it back and forth around her mother’s 
finger. "Is it Dad? Matt? Did something go goofy at the academy?" 

Only Sara would have been able to attend the tiny details that betrayed the 
falsity of Stephanie's smile. "I'm on leave from the academy, dear. A little 
time off." 

That was a first. Her mother never took time off, unless it in some way had 
something to do with her or her brother. Suddenly the entire world seemed to 
no longer matter. All Sara wanted was to know what was bothering her mother. 
She stopped playing with the ring and instead wrapped her hand around her 
mother’s hand. "Why?" 

"I'm getting older, dear. I had you and I had Matt, and now you're both grown 
up and - well - good. You had your stable home and so did I. But I did have a 
life before you, you know." 

Sara nodded. "Your ships." 

Stephanie half-shrugged. The bartender took her glass, and replaced it with a 
tiny apertif, something pale blue - a dessert wine. "I came to the station to 
ask a friend of mine for a position on her ship. Nothing fancy, just a useful 
seat on the ride where an old Captain can't do any damage." 

"I think it’s wonderful you want to get back out there. I was little, but I 
remember how you were on your ship." Sara giggle. "I also remember causing 
trouble for you security staff."  

Stephanie moaned. "Don't remind me. Kayla Stewart never forgave me for that 
ruckus you caused. In ten years, I haven't gotten a response to a holiday 
greeting from her. Why did you have to keep running off with that damn ferret 
of hers?" Without letting her daughter respond, Stephanie waved the question 
aside with a flippant gesture, and continued rambling down a different path. “
I do want to get back out there. You needed... well, hon, you don’t even 
remember all that, do you?” Cupping her fingers beneath Sara’s chin, 
Stephanie smiled and nuzzled her cheek against Sara’s red hair. “But 
what mothers do, you know. What’s best for the children. And you leave us, 
and grow up, and become beautiful, and meet strange women from lesbian 
planets.” She grinned. Sara was relieved to see a vestige of her mother’s 
natural gregariousness returning. 

“You’ll love her, Mom,” Sara said, patting Stephanie’s hand.

 “Of course I will. I just hope she’ll be tolerant of an old woman.”

Sara wasn’t sure what part of that statement to attack first. “You’re not 
old,” she said for a start, wondering whether her mother was aware of just 
how well she’d aged. “And anyway, Cyanah will love you too.”

 “Oh, I hope so.” Stephanie dug in her purse for some Starfleet credits to 
chink on the counter. The bartenders in places like this liked some credits 
to round out their latinum every once in a while since the Federation gave 
generous exchange rates. “And I hope I’ll be good enough for her. It’s 
a long time since I’ve been out there analyzing stellar cartography raw.”

“What?” Sara stammered.

“Well, I suppose it’s like they say. You know, riding a bicycle and all 
that. You probably never forget. But still! I’d like to make a good 
impression on my daughter’s Imzadi!” Stephanie leaned in and kissed Sara on 
the forehead. Her step had a little spring in it and her posture said ‘action.
’ “Now to get in touch with that silly Admiral Fatima. Too big for his 
britches, always wanting power. Little snot! As long as my old friend’s out 
of commission, I can’t get my favor, can I? Tit for tat, my dear, tit for tat.

Stephanie wasn’t even watching Sara through the duration of her monologue 
which was just as well since Sara was staring at the wall, open-mouthed. “
Mom? You’re coming onboard the Banshee?”

“I’ll be back forthwith, my dear. You enjoy a drink.” Stephanie snapped 
the bartender and mouthed the words ‘pina colada’ with a wink. “If you 
to find me, use your comm. badge. Love you much. See you soon.”


Stephanie, in a whirlwind, disappeared.

The bartender, with a flourish, deposited a pina colada in front of Sara.

Sara, with her jaw still open, shrugged and drank.

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