Back In Uniform
Posted on Sun Oct 22nd, 2017 @ 3:54pm by Lieutenant Commander Esmé Dumont
The Deuterium Argument [Rebooted]
Location: Starfleet Academy, Grounds
Timeline: Backpost - Before completion of refit
It had been twelve years since Esmé Dumont had worn a Starfleet uniform. Though they were chiefly designed for comfort, she could not help but feel its weight today. Leaves rustled with a gentle breeze that cooled Starfleet Academy, and Esmé could not help but smile as she walked along the winding paths through the grounds. After all, it would be a long time before she felt the fresh air of San Francisco again.
Her path brought her to the intersection of walking paths that every Starfleet officer knew. It was in the center of the quad among various educational buildings, through which the expansive Golden Gate bridge could be seen in the distance. The quad had quite a bit of traffic, which was to be expected for the middle of the day. Glancing from person to person, Esmé's eyes finally settled on the one for whom she had been looking.
A handsome cadet also locked eyes with Esmé and headed in her direction. "Wow," he said, a somewhat tentative smile coming across his face as he gave her a long glance from head to toe. "You look really different." Though he wore a Starfleet cadet uniform with a single pip indicating he was a first year cadet, he had soft features that made him look barely old enough to wear the uniform.
Esmé returned a warm smile and reached out, embracing the cadet. It was a welcome embrace, and he returned it eagerly. There was an undertone of heavy emotions about the whole interaction. Finally, Esmé spoke in her deep voice, her words heavy with a French accent. "I've always been proud of this uniform, even if it does feel like a lifetime has passed since I wore it."
It was impossible for Esmé to explain to the cadet that the outfit symbolized a life she had given up when she made hard choices at the end of the Dominion War, the effects of which were still felt across the Federation and throughout intergalactic politics. However, on Earth, the war was but a distant memory. The years that followed had been so challenging, shifting to a post-war environment where there was such great need in the quadrant. Five years of tending to the physical and psychological healing that was needed had left her empty, and it was at that point she had left Starfleet to focus on a civilian career and her family.
Releasing from the embrace, the handsome young man looked at her with wide eyes and said, "For the first time in my life, I'm going to be alone. I think I just realized that."
Esmé returned a warm smile and reached forward to hold both of the young man's hands in her own. "Gabriel," she said, "I am always with you, even if we are light-years apart." There was a pregnant pause, and then she said, "This is something I have to do... something I need to do. But, never doubt that I am with you for each step of your journey. I always have been; I always will be."
Gabriel gave something of a forced smile at that. He wanted to be there for her, but his mind would not let go of the distance that was about to be. Finally, he said, "It's nearly time, isn't it?"
"Indeed, it is," Esmé responded simply, reaching forward to gently caress his face. "Mon cher," she said with incredible warmth, "je t'aime."
The young cadet gave her an encouraging grin. He really was proud of her, even if it meant things would be changing again. With a slight chuckle he said, "I love you, too, Mom. Now, get going."
"Yes, sir," Esmé said back with her own chuckle.
Turning away from her son at this moment was the hardest thing she'd had to do since burying her husband. She knew she would see Gabriel again, but so much could change in the time and space between them. But, as she had said, this was something she had to do. It was time to find her purpose again.