The Call (Story is related to Cobalt Liberty III but any information in here is meta)

Matt sat at the desk-top console in his quarters. The Okoboji was small, and so were all of its living conditions. In his small room there was the bed, one shelf and a half desk half console with one small chair which he now sat in. It was 6:47AM on the Okoboji, but nearing 11 on the western coast of Florida, back on Earth.

He tapped a button and the console connected, beeping once. He considered activating the visual display as well, but decided to keep only the audio. She was use to communication like this and wouldn't think anything of the lack of video.

He heard a click and an older woman's voice came through the subspace comm. "Hello, this is the Guthrie residence."

It must be a close friend, or perhaps Jamie or Jason's family? Her mother, perhaps. His spoke his response slowly, intentionally. He could only imagine the uncountable frantic comms that had been exchanged over the course of the last few days. "Hello, ma'am. I'm Matt Svenson. Could I please talk to Jamie?"

He heard a bit of a sigh from the other end. The older ladies voice was kind but guarded at the same time. "Oh, Mr. Svenson. I'm sorry, but Jamie isn't feeling in the mood to...."

He cut her off. As much as he understood what she was doing, he knew this conversation was going to happen. "Please, ma'am. I'm a close friend to Jason and Jamie. I was with Jason... uh... the uhmmm... I was there."

He hoped his stumbled words still conveyed his determination. the long pause gave him worry that they hadn't.

Finally the older woman spoke again. "Let me check..... Mr. Svenson."

"Thank you, ma'am." He replied before sitting back in his chair staring at the blank screen.

A few moments later a younger woman's voice came on and Matt immediately recognized it as Jamie's voice. "Hello?"

He leaned forward again, but his tone was still controlled, slow and, he hoped, somewhat calming. "Jamie, Hi. Its Matt Svenson. ... I'm sorry."

He heard her start crying on the other end. He closed his eye. "Jamie, I'm just so sorry."

She couldn't speak and for a few moments her crying was all that there was. Finally, the crying subsided to a point where she could at least snivel out a few words. "He said.... he said it wasn't going to... going to be that kind of... of mission."

He knew Jason pretty well. It was likely he downplayed the dangers of every mission he went on, to protect Jamie and the kids from excessive worry. "I know, Jamie. I'm sorry." He frowned to himself wondering if he was going to find anything else to say other than he was sorry. "It was unexpected by everyone, Jamie. I'm sorry." Damnit, he thought. Again, really?

Her snivels were still impeding her words, but less so than before. "They told me that... that there was another team there with him. I... was wondering...."

He took the opportunity to NOT say 'I'm sorry' and instead say something else. "Yes. It was me, Jamie. I was there."

The snivels reverted back to crying again, and Matt just listened. It took a while for her to calm down again, at least to a point where she could finally talk. "How? How... I mean, what happened?"

Matt was a bit surprised, though he inwardly chastised himself for not anticipating the question. He reconsidered the fight in the engine room of the USS Evans. How do you tell your friend's wife that you shot him to save him from a fate worse than death? "Uhmmm... Jamie, the details are...."

"HOW!" She cut him off and her tone was sharp even though still laced with the gaspy breath of a woman who was crying. "Matt... tell me."

He hated lying despite how much he had to do it. Hated it. Before he could consider all the possible lies he could tell, the truth, though lacking in detail, blurted itself out. "He was shot, Jamie." Oh crap... where was he going to go from here?

She started crying outright again, but only for a brief moment. "Oh God.... the Borg... shot him!" He cries muffled anything else.

Matt jolted just for a moment and he wondered why he hadn't considered saying what she had assumed on her own. He grimaced again, disappointed that he was feeling relief from an untruth. "Jamie, I was there with him. He didn't suffer at all, and his last words were to you and the kids. He loved... loves... all of you." That was mostly truth, at least only a twist on it.

Her cries were there but now so was a bit of anger. "Did you kill the Borg that shot him? Did you? I hope you killed him!"

His words came without thought. "The one who shot him suffered, yes." That was complete truth.

He quickly changed his tone. "Jamie... I have Jason's wedding band. He gave it to me, just before.... I'm going to have it sent back to you. It should be there in a few days. Ok?"

Both her anger and cries subsided as she responded. "Ok."

For the next few minutes Matt tried to guide the conversation away from anything about that specific day. He asked about the kids. They were doing well enough. They were both too young to really understand. He asked if she needed anything. She had a good support group with her, so, no. They briefly exchanged some details about his memorial, of which Matt wouldn't be able to attend.

After a few minutes more Matt's door chirped. He glanced at it "Just a minute." He turned back to the blank screen and Jamie and Matt said their good-byes. He promised to call again in a few days, then they disconnected.

Matt leaned back in his chair, he rolled his eyes back in his head as he closed his lids and took a deep breath. Feel it. Stop. Put it in one place. Close it off.

He opened his eyes and stood. "Come in."

Lt Chaze, his Andorian Executive Officer stepped in, a PADD in her extended hand, another two tucked under her opposite arm. "The eval numbers from yesterday's training."

He took the PADD from her.

She pulled another PADD into her hands. "Are we still doing training routine four, vehicle sims, today?"

Matt looked at his PADD. "Yeah, but.... scratch the sim runs for this afternoon. Lets go back to the range sim. I want to see if we can get these numbers for the heavy weapons up a bit more."

She nodded. "Alright. Tonight's still free, though?"

"Yeah" he responded, not looking up.

"Okay." She paused for a moment. "Galinic, Ahz and I are going to head over to Lorek III. They're doing some cultural wrestling contest. You want to come?"

Matt was still reading through the info on the PADD. "No thanks. I got plans."

"Plans?" Lt Chaze's voice was suddenly more inquisitive and almost teasing.

Matt looked up at her. "Yeah... plans." He paused. "I'll be taking one of the shuttles, again."

Lt Chaze smirked as she turned to leave the small quarters. "Uh-huh." She almost laughed. Almost.

Matt just shook his head, wrinkling his forehead and curling the corners of his mouth into a forced frown. "Go get lost."
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