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Posted on Tue Dec 8th, 2020 @ 1:38am by Commander Titus Livius Drusus PhD

Mission: A Day in the Life
Location: CSO's Quarters

The timer in the top right hand corner of the screen kept ticking down towards zero. He watched it tick down below four minutes as Anna continued to talk on and on about a reception Titus’s father held in honour of the new Bolian ambassador.

“Selene Merula made a complete fool of herself with one of the ambassador’s staff,” Anna was saying, thoroughly engrossed in the detail of a world that Titus couldn’t stand, but his wife thrived in. “She kept asking him questions about four party marriages, and she was frankly obscenely fixated on it, until poor Maximus had to quietly tell her that she was confusing Bolians with Andorians. I mean, can you believe it?”

“No,” Titus said, managing to summon a respectable amount of enthusiasm, “that’s extraordinary. She must have been mortified.”

“Oh, she’s so dense I don’t think she realises even now,” Anna dismissed it with a chuckle.

Titus smiled politely, watching his wife retell the story with the energy of an enthusiast. They were never a good match, he thought. Theirs was an arranged marriage made for the political benefit of their fathers and while that alliance had faltered years ago, their marriage lived on. He certainly didn’t dislike Anna. In fact, he had a tremendous respect for her. She was the mother of their children, after all. But they always found it difficult to connect on an emotional level. The marriage wasn’t exactly loveless, but it was without joy, other than their children. It was built on a kind of respect; respect for their families, for the Magna Roman state, and for their children.

The timer ticked down below three minutes and thirty seconds. They were coming to the end of a forty minute real-time communications window back to Magna Roma. The first thirty minutes was taken up with news about what Titus had been up to on the station and how Marcus and Helena were going with school. There was talk of the political situation back on Magna Roma and how the elections were just around the corner. Then some broader news about which cousin was getting married and which great aunt had died. But it felt like Anna was holding something back, like there was something that she needed to tell him but was unsure about how to do it.

“Well, we’re almost out of time now,” Titus said after a moment’s pause, deciding to try and press the issue. “Is there anything else going on back there?”

Anna bit her lip and looked away with a subtle nod. There was definitely something else. “Your brother’s been promoted.”

“Gaius?” Titus asked. Gaius, a veteran of the Dominion War and as unashamedly ambitious a man as the family had ever produced, was a colonel in the Magna Roman Defence Force as well as a reasonably senior official in the provincial government of Tiberia. Titus shifted slightly in his seat.

Anna nodded. “Yes,” she said. “He’s been promoted to legate and has been given command of the Forty-Fourth Legion, in Argentium.”

Titus nodded slowly. Gaius, his younger brother, was now a legate. The equivalent of a commodore in Starfleet. “I see,” he said.

“He’s told Marcus that he might take him on as a cadet next year,” she added. “He’s very excited about that.”

Marcus, who was coming to the end of his secondary schooling, had always been more martially inclined than his father. He’d loved the old stories of great heroes fighting for the glory of the Empire and struggling to overcome great peril. Titus always suspected his son would want to enter the legions, and now he knew for sure. He glanced at the timer as it wound its way closer to zero and looked away, clenching his jaw as he felt a surge of anger boiling inside him.

Anna could see it. “I’m sorry, Titus,” she said, trying to calm him. “I was afraid you weren’t going to like this news.”

He looked back and breathed deeply. “It’s fine,” he lied. “Tell Gaius I’m happy for him and let Marcus know that if he wants to cadet with his uncle next year, that’s fine with me as long as, this year, he keeps his head in his studies.”

“I’ll tell him,” Anna said, nodding.

“Thank you, Anna,” Titus said, curtly. “The communication window is about to close anyway, but I have to go.”

“Okay, I understand.”

“I’ll talk with you again soon,” he said, reaching out to tap the control on the terminal. “Good bye.” In a blink, she was gone.

Titus sat back in his chair, alone in the stillness of his quarters. A legate! He looked over to where his uniform hung and stared at it. The blue uniform - not red. The three gold pips - not four. He clenched his fists and his jaw. What the hell was he doing here? How had he let himself become so comfortable in this place? In this job?

He was a first officer! He had made it to that step before the captain’s chair. But then the Montreal was assigned to Starbase 332 and he found himself a chief science officer again. A backwards step. And he let it happen.

He was complicit in his own stagnation.

The worst of it was, he didn’t know how to fix it. He didn’t know what he could do to get his career back on track. He was stuck.

He lifted himself out of his chair, snarled at his uniform, and crossed to a cabinet next to the replicator. Inside was a bottle of Cavae Molendini sixteen year old whisky and now seemed like a good time to drink.

Commander Titus Livius Drusus
Chief Science Officer
Starbase 332


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