SIM:Lt.JG Jackford Kolk - The Long Road Home
((Kolk Residence, Seattle, Earth, Sector 001 - Stardate 238408.16))
::Jack and Jarod slumped amid the muddy remains of their mother's favorite rhododendron. They hadn't spoken for many minutes. Covered in mud and leaves, they just stared at the ground in front of them until finally one of them broke the prolonged silence.::
Jackford Kolk: I didn't kill her.
::The following silence was just enough to make Jack wonder if he'd spoken too softly for Jarod to hear.::
Jarod Kolk: I know.
::Jack nodded slightly then echoed the length of his brother's silence before speaking again.::
::Another cold silence, though this time Jack knew he'd been heard. A breeze sent shivers down his spine.::
Jarod: I know.
::Jack allowed for another few moments' silence before standing to return to the house, but he stopped at the sound of his brother's voice.::
::Jack was more worn out than he could remember ever being. Emotionally, he'd run out of energy an hour after getting off the shuttle when his brother had said the only three words that Jack could now remember from the miserably stressful week that had followed: "You missed her." After the fight he'd just had, what little energy that was left after many sleepless nights was gone and all he wanted was a shower and a week of uninterrupted sleep. But he stopped to hear his brother out, biting his tongue to keep from snapping.::
Jarod: Uncle Ted said... ::he swallowed, unsure of how to say what he meant to say. Unsure whether he wanted to say it at all.:: You have a girlfriend?
::Unsure of where his brother was going with this, he tried his best not to snap impatiently at him.::
Jack: Yeah. oO Unless I ruined it. Oo
Jarod: I... I'd like to meet her.
::At that Jack's jaw dropped. He couldn't speak. His brother was reaching out more than Jack had thought he ever would. He tried to think of something to say, but all he could do was pull his jaw back up and then pivot at his waist to look at his brother over his shoulder.::
Jarod: I'd... I'd like to get to know you, Jack. ... It's what Mom always wanted; it's what she always prayed for.
Jack: I... sure... I guess.
((Federation Transport, En Route to DS17))
::Jack couldn't remember how he'd managed it, but he'd gotten his brother quarters on Deep Space 17 and there might even be a chance that he'd have a job there. Apparently the station commander had been thinking of starting a very small school of sorts for the few children aboard the station--a one-class-for-all-ages kind of thing--and a widely respected teacher from Earth was "a welcome addition to his pool of sentient resources." Jack remembered cringing at the phrase, "sentient resources." He always hated it. It made him feel like a just another cow on an ancient cattle ranch, chewing the cud and waiting to be turned into someone's soon-forgotten hamburger.
::Regardless, arrangements had been made and the brothers were now making their way into space. It still astonished the Lieutenant that his brother had even been willing to beam off the surface onto Earth Spacedock to await the transport. Despite the awkwardness that still resided between them, Jackford had learned something about his brother. Something he never knew before this trip: Jarod loved him. Jack had always been disgusted with how many things Jarod swore off as evil and unconscionable all his life, like Starfleet and space travel, shuttles and transporters, even (for a short time when he was 13, until their mother made him cook his meals) replicators. But, inconceivably, Jarod had let go of all that--or at least begun to--because he wanted to get to know his brother. It was a gesture that could never be denied, and one Jack knew he would never forget.
::While the small transport was still many hours out from Deep Space 17, Jack finally sought the privacy necessary to record a message he'd meant to send the moment he'd left the Ronin.::
::He glanced down, always uncomfortable with having to pretend to see someone whom he couldn't see.::
Kolk: Addy, ... I've wanted to say... I... I'm sorry Addy. I treated you terribly, and I'm sorry. I should have let you come with me. ... But, I guess if you had, then my brother wouldn't have been able to show me how much he cares. ... You won't understand completely; you don't know him, but... He's coming to DS17 with me! He wants to meet you. He's never set foot off Earth since... since Dad. And now he's coming all this way because he wants to meet you. He wants to meet my girlfriend... ::Trying to pretend he could see her on the screen he looked up for just a moment.:: I hope you're still my girlfriend...
::There was so much more he wanted to say. So much had happened, but he didn't know where to start. Still, he kept talking. He knew he wasn't being very articulate nor were his thoughts at all organized, but he figured spilling his guts randomly was better than not sharing them at all.::
Kolk: I miss you. And I'm sorry. I missed her too. oO Oh, that's not clear, is it? Oo ::He looked straight at the Federation Logo with the word "Recording" quietly blinking on the screen in front of him.:: Mom. She... she died before I made it back. ... It's been so hard to keep from just shutting down, shutting everything and everyone out; maybe that's why I haven't called you. But Jarod... his gesture shamed me. I thought he'd be hurting more than me, closing off more than ever. But instead he's reaching out! Maybe he finally saw how closed off he'd been keeping himself all these years. But if he can keep from shutting out the universe after...
::He'd been getting almost excited, but thinking of his mother's lifeless body lying in the casket took that all away in an instant; his head dropped again.::
Kolk: ... ::He swallowed hard.:: If Jarod can, I will. ::Looking up, with the tiniest hint of the old sparkle in his eye.:: I miss you, Addy. ::Was he smiling now? He looked off to his right.:: I think I'd like to get a pair of kittens. ... Jarod and I will be arriving early tomorrow. Give my best to the rest of the crew. Kolk out. ::He took a deep breath.:: Computer, save and send.
::As the computer chirped its compliance and Jack turned to return to the main passenger area, he thought he sensed someone just outside the public communications alcove he'd been using; perhaps they'd just been walking past and brushed their sleeve on the wall. He shrugged it off and returned to where he'd been sitting next to his brother, who was reading an old math textbook--actually made of ink and paper! Jack chuckled inaudibly and picked up his own "book," a mystery novel set on Betazed which he'd downloaded to his PADD before leaving the Ronin.::
|Lieutenant J.G. Jackford Kolk
Assistant Chief Engineer
USS Ronin NCC-34523