[USS Tempest] "Dysfunctional But Whole"

  • From: Elizabeth Bethell <ejbethell@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: usstempest@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 24 Jan 2006 17:57:27 +0000 (GMT)

 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'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 
 "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.

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