Dysfunctional But Whole Malcolm and Caitlenn Ross "Patch me through to Earth," Malcolm said gruffly to the computer. In nasal tones, it said, "This will take approximately five minutes and twenty two seconds." "How, in God's name, is that an approximate time?" he grumbled. "Do it." The little beep sounded extremely miffed as the call was put through but Malcolm just sat back and waited. He hated waiting and by the time the connection was made, he was twiddling his thumbs or tapping on the desk. The face on the screen made him sigh. The daft bloody computer had put him through to the President's office. "How may I be of assistance, Fleet Admiral?" the little Bolian chimed. "I'm trying to put a call through to my estate in Scotland, could you just redirect me?" he asked, his blue eyes glinting with annoyance. "Of course, sir, one moment please." The screen frizzled and the blue face was replaced by a rather sleep disheveled one with long, wild black hair. "Morning, Cait," he chuckled. "You look like you've been dragged through a bush backwards." Cait blinked then sighed as she felt a blush crawl up her cheeks. "Hi Dad," she groaned. "It's four a.m. here, how else d'you expect me to look? Be glad it was me and not Una. She's got her rollers in and is pottering about downstairs with her face mask on. It's like something out of a mid-twentieth century horror B-movie." "Yes, well," Malcolm huffed jovially. "I've got some news..." With a smile, Cait sat back a little from the comm-unit. She could tell it was good news because her father was practially bouncing up and down on his seat and tapping the Edinburgh tattoo on the desktop. "Go on then, out with it." "It's about Hamish," he grinned. "We found him!" It took about thirty seconds for the information to filter through and then Cait just stared flatly at him. "Not funny, old man. He's dead." "No, he's not," Malcolm chimed. Dear God, he thought, when was the last time you chimed about anything, Admiral Ross? "He was captured and taken to a POW camp in the Gamma Quadrant. We just liberated it. He's alive." "Alive?" Cait asked again dubiously. When her father nodded, she felt a smile pull at her lips. "Can I talk to him?" "Err... there's something you should know. They were being starved. He's extremely thin, on liquids because his stomach can't take solids yet. And there's something else." Starved? She forced herself to remain smiling. After all, it didn't matter what he looked like. Her big brother was coming home. "Spit it out, old man." "They tortured him." It came out in a strained whisper and he saw the darkness in his daughter's eyes before he even finished. If he wasn't careful, he'd have a girl on a revenge spree. Oh, he was no fool, he knew what his girl was capable of. She was a sociopath and he knew it. It was only his influences that had kept her out of an institution at times. But he loved her, in his way. "They managed to repair the damage to his hip," he said in a way that he hoped would sound cheerful and positive. "But..." she said with narrowed eyes. "There's more, I can see it in your eyes." "He lost his left arm to them." "The whole arm?" "Aye," he sighed, his tiredness pulling his natural accent out of him. "Are they dead?" she asked in a way that sent cold shivers up Malcolm's spine. Looking into his girl's eyes, he saw the coldness, the hatred seep in. "Yes, they're dead. The Marines killed most of them and are finishing off the rest as we speak." "Good, I hope they burned and begged," she hissed. "Where's Hamish? Can I speak to him?" Malcolm gulped back a flinch. The change had been instantaneous: Cait had gone from cold hatred to soft care for her brother in the flicker of an eye. "He's still under treatment. When he's well enough, he'll move in with me and then we'll call you back. Will you tell Una for me?" "Of course," she beamed. "The boys are going to be thrilled. I'll rally the troops and we'll be at DS9 before you are." Nodding with satisfaction, Malcolm let himself smile. "You're looking good, Cait. How's the little one?" "Fine, she started school this morning. We had a lecture from the teacher because she couldn't write her name," Cait laughed. "That would be because she categorically refused to learn until she went to school," Malcolm chuckled. "She's as stubborn as her mother and her grandfather. I hope she gave the teacher hell." "Oh don't you worry about that, Dad. She's my little girl alright." They chatted for a while, mindless stuff of home and family that seemed to work fine for them. It had been a long time in the forming but Cait and her father were finally close to a certain extent. He'd asked them all to move from their little cottage to his large estate in the north east Highlands and the boys had grown up healthy, strong and as happy as they could be without their father. Cait was right, he thought, they were going to be thrilled. The Ross family, he mused as he cut the connection. We're dysfunctional but we're whole again.