Part of Challenger: All For One & One For All

TEN

Napa, California, United States of America, Earth
Friday, September 27th, 2155
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The unusual warm breeze continued to hit against Nicole’s face as she drove across the rolling hills of Napa. It was now the fall and the different shades of orange, yellow and red filled the landscape. Fortunately, the sun was out today and glaring hard down on her home state of California. Driving a convertible car across the country had always been a pleasure she had enjoyed when she had been old enough to drive. When she had returned after three years on the ECS Polaris, her aunt’s cargo ship, learning to drive had been high on her to-do list. Now it came natural to her, just like piloting a shuttlepod or a starship. Sunglasses on and an almost tight scarf around her neck, she was pleased with what she had picked to wear today. Since leaving San Francisco she had changed out of her uniform and was quick to enjoy the time off from her work. After getting her car, she had enjoyed the long trek north to visit her family, mainly her sister Claudia. She had called ahead, told her sister and her brother-in-law that she was home and asked if she could stay with them. Instantly her sister had said yes and was very excited about seeing her. Being the middle child of three sisters and two brothers, she had plenty of people to choose from to stay with, however Claudia had been the one to stay in touch the most since she had departed on Challenger.

Going down a long, narrow road, she soon found herself approaching her sister’s vineyard. Claudia had taken over the vineyard over ten years ago when her former boss had passed away and had left it to her in his will. Since then both her and Cooper (her husband) had developed it into a thriving business. It had become their home too, one where their son, who was now six, was growing up. She slowed her car down as she approached the main driveway. The main building itself was separated into three parts; the central section and the west-wing were assigned to the business while the east-wing was strictly off limits to everyone besides the family as it was their private residence. Making her way up towards the east-side of the large building, which looked like a huge mansion if no-one knew what happened within its walls, Nicole carefully parked her car and got out. She leant over to the back seats and picked up her white jacket and quickly put it on. As she was doing this, she heard a familiar voice calling her out.

“Aunt Nicole!” Shouted Mackenzie, her six-year-old nephew. 

Without delay, she turned on her heels to see the little blonde boy running towards her with his arms out wide. She crouched down on to the floor, spread her own arms out and took him into a tight hug. “Mack, oh my goodness you’ve got tall!” She said after giving him a kiss on the cheek. Mack looked almost like a little version of Cooper. His dusty blonde hair with his blue-green eyes were complimented by his dimples and adoring personality. 

Affectionately the little boy returned the gesture, “I’m so glad you’re here! Mommy was worried about you!”

“Hey, you’re not supposed to tell your aunt that!” Another familiar voice spoke. 

Letting go of Mack, Nicole stood up to see her sister approaching them. Claudia Walker was the eldest daughter of the Levesque clan. She was only five years older than Nicole and was the odd-one out of the Levesque siblings. Unlike everyone else who had inherited their mother’s dark brown hair (though it was more silver now), Claudia had platinum blonde hair and green eyes. Out of everyone in their family, she was the most outgoing and outrageous one. She was confident and knew what she wanted out of life.

Claudia quickly called her son a traitor for letting out an apparent secret before she gave her younger sister a hug. “Salut soeur.” Claudia greeted her in their father’s ancestral French tongue. “It’s good to see you.”

After letting go of her sibling, Nicole continued to smile. For the first time in a long time she felt extremely happy. “Likewise, thank you so much for putting me up.”

Flapping her right hand as to say it’s not an issue, Claudia linked her arm into her sister’s as they started to walk towards the house with Mack holding on Nicole’s other hand. “I’m glad to have you, I know the rest of the family will be happy to see you but none of them have the room like we do.”

“I do appreciate it Claudia, getting away from everything is what I just need,” Nicole mentioned, “and it would be great to catch up with the whole family too.”

“Of course, it will.” Claudia remarked. “You say the word and I will get the message out that you are home. I’ll get everyone to come over for a meal.”

Smiling at the idea of a home cooked meal with everyone around one table sounded like bliss. “That would be good, but I don’t want to cause any problems with everyone. Maybe we can all see them over the next couple of days.” Nicole suggested.

“Are you kidding me? If any of them found out that I was harbouring you here, we both would be shot!” Claudia joked back. “I’ll get a message out tonight and see who is available.”

“As long as it’s not too much hassle.” Nicole said, feeling bad to put on the family only moments after she arrived.

“It won’t be, will it Mack?” Claudia said, getting her son to join her side in convincing his aunt to agree to her proposal.

“Not at all, could Luc and Gabriel stay for a sleepover?” Mack asked, mentioning two of his cousins.

“Let’s see what everyone says first about dinner.” Claudia replied, attempting to deflect the idea of having her house invaded by her nephews as she knew if they stayed, she would end up having her nieces too. 

Nicole chuckled at her nephew’s youthful eagerness. “Where’s Cooper?” She enquired about her brother-in-law.

“He’s out visiting colleagues in Pasadena, he’ll be back later.” She answered. “Let’s get you settled into the guest house and then we can catch up about everything.”

“That sounds perfect Claudia!” Nicole said, still smiling and following her sister as she led her through their massive home. 

 

Nicole had unpacked her bags after being shown the guest house by Claudia. It was a reasonable sized building that had everything on the ground floor. It had two bedrooms, with the master room having an en-suite bathroom. There was a small kitchenette and a large living space that had huge floor-to-ceiling windows that looked out onto the decking that had a spectacular view of the Napa Valley. As an added bonus there was an impressive fireplace with the whole building being decorated in a very modern style. Deciding not wanting to be alone anymore, she made her way out of her temporary new home and headed over to the main house. She entered through the backdoor that took her into the kitchen. There she found her sister preparing food, possible for tonight. Claudia was an excellent cook, traits she had inherited from their father. In the distance she heard Mack screaming with joy as he dived and swam in the outdoor heated pool that could be seen from one of the windows. 

When Claudia had seen Nicole enter, she went over to the glass door refrigerator and took out a bottle of white wine. Nicole knew what type, it was a Pinot Grigio, one of her favourites. Claudia also took out two glasses and began to pour. As she began to pour, Claudia informed her sister about tonight’s plan.

“I’ve spoken to everyone and in true Levesque family style, everyone is dropping everything to come and see you here tonight for dinner. Mom is beyond excited about a family reunion!” 

Nicole smiled, glad to hear that she was seeing everyone tonight before she instantly remembered that she could not drink alcohol as Claudia handed her a glass. 

“Umm Claudia, none for me thanks.” She pleaded as she took a seat on one of the kitchen stools that was under the centre workstation.

Claudia paused, pouring her own glass, looking perplexed at her sister’s words. “I’m sorry, but when did my sister not jump at the chance of drinking real wine? Surely that stuff you have on that ship of yours isn’t as amazing as the real thing?”

Shaking her head, Nicole replied. “It’s not that, it’s just I can’t drink at the moment.”

“Why not?” Claudia persisted with her questions. “Are you unwell?”

Nicole chuckled to herself, “No it’s not that either, it’s just-”

“You’re pregnant!” Claudia interrupted with. 

Nodding a few times in acknowledgement, Nicole said she was followed by her sister now screaming with joy and running to hug her. 

“This is amazing news Nicole!” Claudia said, still beaming with a smile. “I didn’t know you were seeing someone!”

Inwards Nicole groaned to herself. She knew this was going to be complicated to explain. She took a deep breath and explained to Claudia that she wasn’t “with someone” and shared what had happened between her and Burton on the transporter, that she was pregnant with triplets too. Once she had finished, Claudia (who was now sitting on a stool) seemed to be taking a moment to process and understand the whole thing. 

“That sounds pretty messed up Nicole.” Claudia bluntly said. “I mean getting pregnant by your own commanding officer without doing the actual deed…well it’s very boring!”

“Boring?!” Nicole repeated back, confused with her sister’s use of words.

Claudia nodded, “Yeah, where’s all the excitement of making a baby, the passion, the love, the whole romance behind it? You’ve been spoiled by that transporter!”

Nicole burst out laughing at her sister’s take on her situation. She had never considered how hilarious it all was. “I never thought of it that way before.”

“Another reason to be glad you’re staying with me and not our parents!” Claudia remarked. “Are you keeping the babies?”

“Yeah, I am.” Nicole said, without realising it she instinctively covered her stomach with her left hand. 

“Good,” Claudia reassured her as she gave her another hug. After letting go she looked at her younger sister, “And what about this captain of yours? What’s his take on all of this?”

Nicole sighed deeply at that question. Again, she explained how the two of them had agreed to raise the children together, but they weren’t an item along with that he was dealing with the recent death of his father. Claudia was shocked to hear the whole thing. 

“What about Starfleet? Are they going to allow you to raise the children on a starship? In fact, is it safe to do so?” Claudia questioned. 

Nicole shook her head, “Sadly Starfleet won’t allow families on a starship. I would have to take a position here on Earth. I was thinking about applying to be an instructor at Starfleet Training Command or seeing if there was something else I could do at Command.”

“That sounds great, but what about your dreams of becoming a starship captain yourself? I thought you wanted to be out there exploring space? And is Burton going to stay with you or is he going off exploring?” Claudia continued with her barrage of questions. 

“Well I would have to put my plans on hold and raise the triplets and I’ve yet had the chance to talk arrangements through with Lloyd yet. As I said, the moment we reached Earth orbit he found out about his dad’s passing.” Nicole explained. “I need this time away from Starfleet to think things through and make some decisions from there.”

Claudia nodded, showing she understood. “Well, honey you’ve found the right place to do that. Are you planning to tell the others tonight?”

Nicole shrugged her shoulders. “I don’t know yet. I need some time to think about it.”

Once again Claudia nodded to show her support. “Whatever you need Nicole, you’ve got me, Cooper and Mack’s support here.”

“Thanks Claudia.” Nicole said as she leaned in to hug her sister. 

 

The whole family were all sat outside, with outdoor heaters and a few fire pits all on to keep them warm while they shared their meal. Not so far from the decked-out patio that took up a bit of Claudia’s back garden, was the outdoor pool. Claudia and Nicole had stuck up various outdoor lights and a number of candles too to help set a calm atmosphere. Everything had gone to plan so far.

“Well, as always, that was superb and delicious,” spoke Anneliese Levesque at one end of the large oval-shaped table. She raised her glass of wine upwards and everyone around the table raised their drinks too. Claudia, the host and cook for the evening, smiled in gratitude. “It’s nice to have everyone together.” The matriarch of the family added. Which was followed by a number of them all agreeing. Anneliese was a petite woman; she was a force to be reckoned with when it came to her being highly protective of her family. It was her strength which her daughters had inherited from her that made them so successful. Her kind, caring nature made her an excellent teacher – something she had done for almost fifty years now at the local college. Her free spirit only enhanced her approach to teaching art to so many young people. Her almost grey/silver hair was always kept in the same fashion: tied up in a bun with bangs swiped almost to the right. Even though she was in her early seventies now, many people thought she was at least ten years younger. She had kept herself active through her work as well as being so active in her children’s lives as well as her grandchildren’s. As a result of that, she had earned the pet-name of “super nan” by them. 

Nicole was sat by Claudia, almost in the middle of the table. No-one had mentioned that she wasn’t drinking any wine. Instead they were all sharing stories and catching up about each other’s lives. At the other end of the table was their father, Anthony Levesque, who was taking a sip of his wine. Witty, intelligent, and formidable – Anthony had all the great qualities of a father. Being the former County Sheriff for Napa, he was well-known in the local community. After he retired from his position of sheriff, many had asked him to go on to enter politics, but he told his supporters the political life was not one he wanted. He was a pragmatic, charming, and tough man who was known for his ability to be graceful under pressure. He was only a few centimetres taller than his wife and shared the same colour of hair, although in most places his hair appeared whiter than hers. Nicole loved her father, just as much as her siblings did, he had always put their needs and safety above his. Back when she decided to join Starfleet, even though she had fallen out with both of her parents over it, it had been her father that had eventually told her to go and follow her dreams. Since leaving the Sheriff’s office, he had continued a small business venture he started when he was younger, running a small restaurant in the town. It was a typical bistro and many of Claudia’s products appeared heavily in its menu. Luckily for its patrons, Anthony did not cook. He had hired an old friend of Claudia’s to be his head chef, while Anthony had gone on to run the business side of the bistro and be its de facto maître d’. He had enjoyed welcoming customers, engaging with them and ensuring the entire staff were happy. Again, like his wife, he was in his early seventies and no-one would have thought it with the way he carried on. 

“To family.” Anthony said, adding to his wife’s sentiments as he raised his glass again to his loved ones.

Again, they all shared in the toast by clinking their glasses against each other’s. Anthony had placed his glass down and returned to cutting up the food on his plate. He spoke as he did this, “So Nicole how long are you home for?” 

Nicole had just placed her glass down and wiped her mouth lightly with her napkin. She looked down at her father, “Challenger is in the repair yard for at least two weeks papa.” She affectionately replied.

Cooper, her brother-in-law and Claudia’s husband, started to talk, “One of my friends said the Challenger was in quite a mess when she arrived. No warp-core? I reckon she’ll be in dry-dock for some time.” Cooper, like Nicole, was a Starfleet officer. He had been a scientist all of his life and had received a Starfleet commission only a few years ago after he spent many years as a civilian consultant. He was now working at Starfleet Training Command, preparing all future Starfleet scientists with what they needed to know.  He had served briefly on board the Miranda as its chief science officer before taking a teaching position at STC. Like Claudia he was confident, however his calmer, grounded, mature and level-headed traits made him the perfect other half to her. He had brought out a side to her sister she had never seen before. On top of that he was easy on the eyes and this was probably another reason why Claudia had instantly fallen in love with him when they met. His short sandy blonde hair and dreamy blue eyes made him particularly attractive. With being quite broad in the shoulders (Claudia said he was always working out or remaining active when he was home), Nicole had wondered if Claudia had also married him to further annoy her parents because he worked with Starfleet. 

“I think the crew are eager to return to duty.” Nicole commented. “With the war going on, I don’t think they like the idea of not being able to get out there and do their bit.” 

Cooper nodded, “I know what you mean.” He said with a friendly smile. Nicole had gotten to know her brother-in-law well before she was on active starship assignments; he had shared with her the values of Starfleet. She knew secretly that he had enjoyed his time on a starship and if it hadn’t been for them having Mack, he would instantly be back on active field duty.

“Can we not bring up the war at the dinner table please?” Anneliese requested from the other end of the table. 

A slight sigh came from Nicole’s youngest brother: Elijah. “Mom, it’s not as if you can avoid it. The media are constantly posting updates.”

Anneliese appeared to be flustered with her youngest child, “Yes I know that, but we don’t need to share all that doom and gloom in front of the children.” She said referring to her grandchildren who were all dotted around the table too. 

Elijah, who was twenty-six, just rolled his eyes and returned to eating his dinner. He just looked over to his husband who sat across from him, hoping for some support. Elijah, out of all the Levesque siblings, had always appeared to be the calmer one out of them all. He had also been the most determined with his life, he was career driven and this reflected at how far he had got in life. He was married at twenty-four after being with Thomas for some time and only last year the two of them had adopted Luke. He had been orphaned after his family, who had been friends of Elijah’s and Thomas’, had died in the Xindi attack. Being his godfathers, Elijah and Thomas were quick to take the youngster in their care. Elijah pushed back his dark brown hair from his forehead from partial frustration with his mother and shared a grin from Thomas. Elijah’s curly hair was kept short and he wore glasses, he refused to get laser eye surgery to correct his eyesight or take retinax. Thomas had always joked saying that Elijah had only worn glasses as he made a passing comment once that they made him look more distinguished and sexier. The two of them were junior partners in a law firm in New York and would always commute home to California on the weekends. The two of them had been friends at high school before they finally admitted their feelings for one another. In fact, it had been Nicole and Claudia who had pushed Elijah to tell Thomas how he felt by asking him to the senior prom as his date. The rest was history, the two of them had gone to Harvard Law School together and were quickly headhunted. Thomas on the other hand was the complete opposite to Elijah. He was a bit louder, loved his sports and kept active. He and Cooper had always competed in the New York and London marathons each year. Along with that they were always the first ones to get involved in playing sports with the children when the family was together. Unlike Elijah, who was quite slim built, Thomas was a bit more muscular. His hair was a light shade of golden brown and he had blue eyes just like Elijah. Many people would have commented that Luke had aspects of both Elijah and Thomas in him. However, both of them would argue over who Luke got his good looks from.

Not wanting to spoil the mood, Thomas spoke up. “Nicole, have you had the chance to go through Challenger’s transporter yet?”

Claudia made a scoffing noise at that question and quickly put up her glass of wine. As normal her sister was not good at keeping things quiet. She quickly did her best at busying herself with a glass of wine to prevent her from saying something that Nicole didn’t want shared. Nicole looked back at her brother-in-law to answer him after glaring at Claudia for a short nano-second. “Yes actually.”

“What was it like?” Thomas asked. 

Nicole placed her cutlery down as she shared her experience. “It’s the most unreal situation you can find yourself in. One moment you’re in one place, then you’re in two places before being deposited somewhere else. I could literally feel every part of me being dissolved and then being put back together.”

“Sounds scary!” Spoke Julia, Hadrien’s wife. Hadrien, the oldest of all of the Levesque siblings, sat next to his wife. Julia was the managing named partner of the law firm that both Elijah and Thomas worked for. She was faintly taller than Nicole, had long platinum blonde hair like Claudia and was hugely confident, again like Claudia. They were very similar in personalities, both strong-willed women and who had great senses of humour. Elijah had told Nicole before that he had seen how ruthless Julia could be in court and would not want to ever be on the bad side of her. As a boss at his company she was extremely fair and supportive of the younger staff, especially the associates and junior partners. Once again, like his brother, Hadrien was the complete opposite to his partner. If anyone had met Hadrien and Elijah they would instantly say how much they looked alike. The shared resemblance and their mannerisms were uncanny. Where Elijah was calmer, Hadrien was quieter. Like his siblings, Hadrien had worked hard – studying as a biologist. Understanding what laid beyond Earth’s atmosphere had excited him. He had taken his passion and had become an exobiologist at Princeton University. Both he and Julia had settled in New Jersey, so they were able to get to their work without any issues. Along with that they had made a home in New Jersey after their eldest daughter, Adele, was born over eleven years ago and was followed by their youngest, Léonie, three years later. Hadrien had worked part-time so he could still be around his daughters while Julia was one of New York’s most successful lawyers. She had been tipped to also run for public office a couple of years ago as New York’s District Attorney, however had declined as she felt the pressure of campaigning would take its toll on her family. 

Hadrien, in between swallowing his dinner, spoke up for the first time since they had sat down. “How often have you used the transporter?” He asked his sister.

“A few times,” Nicole answered. “You get used to it. It’s interesting.” 

“Have you met any new races out there?” Interjected her other sister, Caitlyn.

Nicole nodded in response, “A few actually.” 

“We had a Denobulan family start at our school,” Caitlyn mentioned, “And family isn’t the right word to describe them. They put our big family to shame as they’re allowed to marry more than once and have hundreds of children!” Caitlyn, who was an elementary school teacher for fourth grade, always made everything seem more dramatic than they really were. Her and Nicole looked familiar, both of them having inherited their mother’s long dark hair. Caitlyn’s husband, Scotty, was sat opposite to her and next to their son Gabriel. Scotty was the vice-principal of the school and both of them had met during their time as training to be teachers. He had only recently been promoted to vice-principal, something that Caitlyn was extremely proud of. Unlike the rest of her siblings, Caitlyn was a home girl and rarely left the confines of California. 

Gabriel, who was ten, joined in with his mother’s assessment of their new arrivals. “One of their sons was playing soccer with me the other day and when he was fouled his face blew-up up like a pufferfish!” 

Hadrien and Nicole both laughed at Gabriel’s interpretation. “Don’t worry Gabriel, he can’t harm you when he does that. It’s a survival instinct for Denobulans, just like pufferfish, they’re able to expand parts of their face to warn off predators.” Hadrien explained. 

“Denobulans are one of the many friendly races I’ve encountered. In fact, I met with their leader, Premier Nerlox on my first mission with Challenger. I promise you they love making friends with all sorts of people, make sure you look after the ones at your school and you will have many Denobulan friends!” Nicole added. 

Gabriel smiled at the reassurance handed to him from his aunt and uncle. Scotty looked down at his son, “See I told you that you had nothing to worry.”

The conversation around the table continued like that for the rest of the evening. Everyone just shared anecdotes from their lives.  

 

As it was a Friday evening, Claudia had offered for everyone to remain at their home for the evening (something Mack was especially excited about). As it was most likely going to be the last time, they were all going to be together before Nicole returned to the ship, they all agreed to it. As a result of this it didn’t take before the children had jumped into the pool with Thomas and Cooper leading them in. It only took a few more minutes before Elijah, Caitlyn and Scotty had joined them. Nicole had assisted Claudia in clearing up from dinner, her parents had remained outside watching the carnage unfolding in the back garden. When they had finished the two sisters had made their way over to sit on the side of the pool. Claudia had brought out another bottle of wine, while Nicole sipped on a mug of warm tea. 

“Can I grab a glass of that?” Asked Hadrien who eventually joined them. 

Claudia held up the bottle to her older brother, “Sure thing.” She said, “Where’s Julia?”

As he sat down, he answered her, “She’s just taking a call with one of her clients in New York. She’ll be out soon.” After taking a sip he looked at Nicole, who was sitting in the middle of him and Claudia now. “So how long gone are you?” He asked quietly to Nicole.

Nicole looked shocked at her brother. All three of them had their feet dangling in the swimming pool water. She looked at Claudia who raised her hands in defence. “I said nothing.”

Hadrien huffed at his sister’s lack of response. “Nic, come on, I’m a trained biologist by trade. I know the signs when a woman is pregnant, jeez I knew Julia was pregnant before she did with both girls. Plus, it was obvious something was up with you as normally you’re the first one to finish a bottle of wine before Claudia. So, come on then, how long?”

Nicole surrendered to her brother’s constant questioning. “Not that long, only a few weeks.”

Hadrien smiled at the confirmation that he was going to be an uncle again. “Congratulations,” He whispered before giving her a hug from the side. “When do we get to meet your new other half then?”

Claudia gave out a snort as she laughed and slightly choked on the wine she had just drank. Again, Nicole shot her a glare but told her brother what had happened.

“Jeez, you weren’t lying earlier about transporters being interesting. I didn’t think that type of thing could happen?” He stated in disbelief.

“You’re not the only one.” Nicole said deadpan. As luck would have it the three siblings were seated far from the rest of the family, so none of them heard what they were saying. “My CMO is looking into it to ensure the babies won’t be affected by it all.”

“Babies?” Hadrien repeated.

“She’s having three.” Answered Claudia as she filled her glass up again.

“Wow, you Starfleet types definitely know how to party!” Hadrien remarked. He took a sip of his wine. “What are your plans with it all?”

Nicole leant forward, “I really don’t know yet Hadrien. I didn’t expect to be pregnant, let alone do it while a war is on.”

“No-one could have predicted any of that Nic.” Hadrien threw back. “Give yourself some credit for what a great job you’ve done out there.”

“It’s certainly been a whirlwind ride.” She replied.

For a brief moment the three of them didn’t say anymore, they just watched the commotion happening in the swimming pool. 

“Mom and dad will be pleased to have more members in the clan.” Hadrien said, smiling.

Claudia nodded in agreement. “They certainly will.” She took a sip of wine, “And it will get mom off my back for a bit in having another one.”

“You’re lucky she hasn’t said anymore, in fact I think you owe Elijah and Thomas a big thank you for deflecting that line of questioning since they got Luke!” Hadrien stated. 

“I did, I sent them a case of my finest wine!” She countered back with and raised her glass in the air.

Nicola laughed slightly at the banter between her two oldest siblings. “It is good to be home.” She said, smiling. 

“Hey, why don’t we make something of the two weeks you have off?” Hadrien suggested.

“What do you mean?” Nicola replied.

“These days it’s rare for us to spend time together as a family. I’m not sure about the others but I’m owed some time off from work – we could spend it catching up. It’s not as if you and Claudia could drink this vineyard dry together while you’re here!” Hadrien suggested. 

“Hey, we could! We tried to do it before she left for Columbia, we could try again if she wasn’t expecting!” Claudia said in defence. 

Nicole smiled and turned to look at her oldest brother. “What did you have in mind?”

“I dunno, just some quality time together would be great.” Hadrien remarked.

“That does sound like a great idea Hadrien, still I wouldn’t want everyone to drop their lives just for me.” Nicole said. 

“I think Hadrien’s suggestion is a good one.” Claudia piped up with. “I didn’t want to say anything over dinner, but Cooper is being reassigned and leaves Earth in a few weeks. Spending some time together with you guys before he goes sounds ideal to me and it would mean the world to Mack.”

Nicole and Hadrien both looked at their sister.

“What do you mean he’s being reassigned?” Nicole asked.

“Where is he being posted?” Hadrien asked.

Claudia placed her wine glass down carefully on the poolside. “The Armstrong, it took heavy casualties and damage the other week and they need a new science officer and second officer. It will be ready to leave in a fortnight.”

“Is that why he said earlier he didn’t think Challenger would be fixed in two weeks, because the Armstrong is being worked on?” Nicole asked.

Shrugging her shoulders, Claudia answered. “Probably. I know he’s excited about his new posting, but I’m worried he won’t come back to us. The ship is a lot older than your ship Nicole.”

“Captain Charen is a wonderful woman to serve with, she’ll take excellent care of him.” Nicole said, trying to reassure her sister.

“Then I say we need to take this break.” Hadrien said again. “We should look at trying to get that large cabin we used to hire out as kids on Lake Berryessa. We can take all the children with us and it will be amazing, I promise you.”

“I’m in!” Claudia said without hesitation. 

Nicole smiled, “Yeah me too.”

“Right, let’s see what this lot all think, but if we do this, then everyone needs to know your news.” Hadrien remarked, looking down at Nicole’s stomach.

“Oh my god you’re so pushy Hadrien Levesque!” Nicole said in defence. “Okay, we’ll tell them!”

A few seconds later and the three of them had stood up, Hadrien had called everyone around and then allowed for Nicole to share her news. Shouts of joy and delight were shared with everyone. Especially with Nicole’s parents. She tried to explain what happened with Captain Burton and the transporter, but everyone was more bothered about her wellbeing and the unborn triplets. Hadrien then went on to share his plan about them all spending the next few weeks together. Unfortunately, both Caitlyn and Scotty had said they would not be able to get the time off from work for the first week as they were still teaching but they insisted on Gabriel going ahead without them. They would pop up once the autumn week break had started. Julia said she needed to head back to New York to meet with a client on Monday, but she would fly back and join them on the lake later on in the week. Through all of the excitement about their family trip, Nicole noticed Claudia heading over to Cooper. She whispered in his ear something, he simply nodded and soon enough they shared their news. Claudia explained she didn’t want to dampen the atmosphere or spoil Nicole’s good news, however they needed to tell them all about Cooper’s new assignment. The news he would be shipping off the same time as Nicole didn’t change much of the mood. Surprisingly both Anthony and Anneliese passed no judgement about his new Starfleet posting. Knowing them both, Nicole wondered if they kept quiet to avoid upsetting Mack – who appeared extremely proud about his father doing the same job as his auntie. 

The fun the family was having didn’t stop there. Hadrien had gone off to see if he could book the cabin on Lake Berryessa. He was able to and soon plans were being quickly drawn up by the Levesque family regarding their unexpected holiday.