Canopus Station
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Letter to Mamma e Papá

Posted on Tue Jul 28th, 2020 @ 8:24pm by Lieutenant Commander Mara Ricci

Mission: S0E0: What Came Before
Location: Ricci Home, Sicily, Earth

It was a beautiful Sicilian morning as Carmen Ricci stirred from her slumber. Her husband had been up for hours already, pottering in his garden of a vineyard that he insisted on maintaining. But she liked to sleep in as often as possible. When one reached the age of 81, one was entitled to have a lie in every day if one wanted.

But now it was time to get up. Viola, her elderly Pitt bull, followed her to the kitchen and slumped onto the floor as was her usual wont. “Povero cucciolo,” Carmen cooed at the dog as she started the coffee. (Poor puppy.)

It was then that she noticed a blinking light on the nearby consol into which messages from the family in their far reaches came. The farthest of these was her youngest- and by far the brightest- child, Mara. “Viola! We have a message from your sister!” she said when she saw where the message had come from, in a voice that made the dog sit up and take notice. Carmen hurried to the consol and sat down. She would not wait for her husband- who knew how long he would be?- but opened the message at once.

“Ciao mamma e papà!” said Mara’s smiling face at once. “And hello, Viola! Are you being a girl girl? Not causing mamma any trouble, are you?” The dog’s tail thumped against the floor and she panted happily. “That’s good,” Mara continued. “Ravioli also says hi,” she added as the dog excitedly jumped in front of the camera to see who her mummy was talking to. “Ravioli, get down.” And the dog disappeared. “I hope you’re all well. I’m doing all right way out here. I know I mentioned roping part of the station in my last letter. That remains the most exciting task I’ve accomplished to date. But, at the moment, we’re dealing with a lot of glitches, likely caused by a hostile life form, although how they’ve managed to do it is beyond me. I think I’ve managed to keep it out of the press, though. For the time being, anyway.

Mara’s eyes darted left, then right, as they did when there was something she didn’t want to tell them. She opened her mouth, then closed it and Carmen knew that her daughter was carefully choosing her words. “I… I've been seeing someone. He’s… I don’t really know the right word. Infuriating is closest to it, but in a good way. You know, like he infuriates me, but I kinda like being infuriated. Does that make sense?”

“More than you know!” laughed Carmen.

“Anyway, that’s how it feels. His name is Sp- Stephen. I’m so used to calling him by his last name because like I said, he infuriates me.” Again her eyes darted.

“What are you not telling me, cuore mio?” Carmen wondered aloud.

But, Mara seemed to have decided not to continue with that line. This appeared to be all Carmen would learn about this Stephen for the time being. “I’ve also got a very dear friend called Meilin,” Mara continued. “She’s a Taoist. I don’t really know a lot about it, but she actually was able to use Taoism to help me with this new prosthetic arm I’ve got.” She held up her left hand. “At least I think it was Taoism. I can’t be sure. I think she and I are as mismatched as Stephen and I are. If I could get the two of them together, we’d be the three most unlikely people to ever occupy the same space.” She grinned that impish grin that used to make Carmen laugh when Mara was small, and it still had the same effect today.

“Captain Ingram is…. well, papá would like him, if that explains it. I like him, to be perfectly honest. He’s intelligent and fair, even if he does get on my nerves from time to time. Also, since I suspect he listens to all outgoing messages, I shall have to put in that he is the finest example of a Starfleet Captain and deserves every promotion imaginable.” And there was the impish grin again.

“Well, I’d better be going. I still have about a million bioneural gel packs to swap out and at least a thousand relays to repair. Good thing I have a fantastic team or I’d be your age before I finished. I love you both! Take care of each other!” She blew them a kiss and the transmission ended.

“She is a good girl, Viola,” Carmen commented. “But not as good as you!” And she kissed the dog's head. Viola’s tail banged against the floor again. “It is time for breakfast!” Carmen announced. “And the coffee is ready! Let’s begin our day.”


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