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Posted on 06 Jul 2016 @ 11:49pm by Lieutenant Joey Geisler & Ensign Kelly Khan

Mission: History
Location: Off Starfleet Campus
Timeline: 2388 || Prior to Departure

It was the day before Cadet Senior Grade Kelly Marie Khan was due to ship out on her cadet tour and she had to admit that she was nervous. While she had been on cruises around the Sol System, it was nothing like the adventure that she had ahead of her. Her orders were to report to the Utopia Planitia Fleet Yards where she would board the USS Magellan that would take her and the other cadets on her assignment to the wormhole near Deep Space Nine. Once there, she was destined for the Gamma Quadrant which was thirty-five thousand light years from the Alpha Quadrant and a lifetime of travel without use of the wormhole.

She had said her farewells to all of her friends that she had made in her three years at the Academy, some sadder than others, but there was one person that she had yet to say goodbye to that made her sadder than all the others. That goodbye was with her redheaded pipsqueak cousin, Mackenzie Bergman-Bannerman, her older cousin by marriage. The two of them had had their ups and downs at first, but everything came together for them. The tiny redhead had been instrumental in Kelly getting her girlfriend, Gwen, which was another sad farewell, and many other things in her time at the Academy and she didn't want to say goodbye or farewell like she had with all the others.

Now it wasn't Cadet Senior Grade Khan who went to the house by the lake where Mack, Jake and their son lived. No, now she was going simply as Kelly Khan, a young lady about to head to the stars and leave her family and friends behind so she could get molded into the Starfleet officer she would become. With each step she took up the path, she felt as if gravity were intensifying and she wasn't certain if she'd be able to make it to the door before all movement ceased. It wasn't gravity, but the lack of desire to part with Mack.

She finally reached the door and with a Herculean effort, reached out to press the chime. Of course, she had the codes to grant her access to the house, but she just couldn't force herself to do it as if it were an every day occasion. Fear, sadness, trepidation and more warred with her and she had no idea what she was going to say or do when the door opened.

On the other side, Mackenzie Bannerman sat in the living room playing with her twenty-six month old son. She smiled when the little boy started running around in circles, then she opened her arms to him just as he began running toward her. Just as the chime alerted her that someone was at the door, she pressed a kiss to the top of his little head and rose to her feet with him in her arms. Just over two, and he was at least half her size thanks to his father being so tall.

"Come in!" Mack called, bending over to pick up some of her little boy's toys.

Kelly took a deep breath and entered her cousin's home, trying to put a brave face on the news that she was about to break. She smiled when she saw little Jacob and her cousin. "Jacob! Mack! I'm herrrre! she called out with a cheer she didn't really feel at the moment.

"Hey, Kel!" Mack moved toward her cousin with a bright smile, reaching out with her free arm to embrace her once she was within range. "I was beginning to wonder if we were going to get to see you today. How are you, kiddo?"

Jacob lit up when he spotted one of his favorite people ever and began to let out a string of baby babble that only he understood. Of course, 'KelKel' was the only decipherable word that could be made out in all of his excitement. He pumped his little arms, and before either of the women knew what was going on, the dark haired child lunged forward toward her.

Kelly scooped Jacob up and hugged him to her. "Hey little man. Are you being good for your Mommy?" she asked him before she looked at Mack, a bit of sadness in her eyes. "I've been better, Mack."

The little redhead frowned. "Kelly, what's wrong? Come sit down." She placed a hand to the small of her back and escorted her over to the couch so they could sit down to talk. "Did something happen? Do I need to beat someone up?"

Kelly allowed herself to be moved to the couch and sat down with Jacob in her arms. "No, nothing happened that requires a beating," she said. "I got my orders, Mack," she said softly. "I'm being assigned a ship in the Gamma Quadrant for my senior cadet cruise."

"Oh, sweetie," Mack said, giving her shoulder a gentle squeeze with tears in her eyes. "You knew this day was going to come, and if you're going to do everything you want to, then you've got to get out there and prove you can do it."

"I didn't know they were going to send me so far away, Mack," the petite brunette said sadly. "Without the wormhole, it's thirty-five thousand light years. That's fifty-five years of travel at warp eight."

"The distance is pretty horrible, but this is what you've always wanted," The redhead said, leaning in to hug her again. "You should be proud of yourself. I know I'm proud of you, and so is everyone else in the family. You're doing exactly what you wanted."

"I know, but I didn't expect it to be in another quadrant that requires a wormhole to even get to," Kelly said, hugging her cousin after shifting the little boy to her hip. "I won't even be able to get messages through to you or anyone else until couriers come back through."

"Things might seem bleak right now, honey, but it isn't. You'll be able to come back here some day. You have to believe that," Mack said. "I'm going to miss you like crazy, and so is Jacob."

"I'm going to miss you both, too," Kelly said as she reached up to wipe a tear away. "It's going to be at least a year before I'll be back. I'm even going to miss Jake."

Mack reached out to wipe the tears away from her cousin's face with the pads of her thumbs. "We're going to be here when you do get to come back, Kelly. We're all going to miss you so much, but we're all just so proud of you. This is exactly what you need to do all the amazing things you've for set for yourself. You can do this. You're a strong woman. You're a Khan."

"I know," she sniffled. "I just...I didn't think it was going to be this hard. I don't want to say goodbye, Mack. I can't say goodbye. It's too permanent of a word and farewell is too much like we're going to see each other next week or something. Who knows what's going to happen in the Gamma Quadrant?"

"So, we don't say goodbye. We'll say until we see each other again, because we will. I promise," Mack said softly, leaning in to press a kiss to the young woman's temple. "When are you supposed to leave?"

Kelly smiled. "In the morning," she said. "I'll be taking a shuttle to Utopia Planitia Fleet Yards and from there, I'll be on the USS Magellan until we get to Deep Space Nine, and through the wormhole from there to Deep Space Eleven where I'll be assigned to the USS Black Hawk."

"You're going to learn a lot from this experience, sweetheart, and we'll all see each other again before you know it," The petite woman said with a smile. She was trying to be strong for her cousin, and would save the breakdown for after she left.

"Thank you, Mack," Kelly said. "I'm going to try my best. I just wish that I could get communications through the wormhole and back without having to wait for couriers."

"That's why you write every day, or when something really important happens, then send them all the second you're able to. It will make you feel better doing that," Mack said with a smile. "And we'll all write to you, too."

"You're going to have a ton of communications to read when the courier gets through the wormhole," Kelly laughed. "You know how much I talk on any given day and now that I'll have a new assignment and new people to write about? You better shut down The White Lotus on the days that they come in."

Mack couldn't help but laugh. "Then, that's exactly what I'll do. It pays to be the owner, you know. Or, I could just turn it over to Lance on those days."

"I'm surprised that he's still content to run the place for you since he and Ivy got married and had a baby," Kelly said. "That man is dedicated to them and you."

"He appreciates it because I allow him to bring the baby to work. If I bring Jacob with me, why can't he bring little Lily with him?" The little redhead asked. "And Ivy gets to pop in whenever she wants to, so it works out."

"That's true," Kelly said. "Those two are going to grow up and get married one day." She gave a nod and looked at Jacob. "You like her, don't you little man?"

Jacob bounced on Kelly's lap and started to babble again, which earned a smile from his Mom. "You never know. They could end up that way some day, but for now, I want to keep him my baby for as long as I can. I'm in no rush to see him grow up."

"They're cute together though," Kelly said with a laugh when the little boy started to babble.

Mack smiled. "They are. She's not too much younger than little man is."

"I'm going to miss them both," she said. "I'm going to miss a lot of people here and it isn't going to be the same."

"We're all going to miss you, too, sweetheart," The smaller women said, giving her arm a gentle squeeze. "But it's not going to be a forever thing. You'll get to see everyone again. I promise you that. If we have to make the trip out to you at some point in the future, we will."

Kelly gave her another hug and leaned back. "I'll be back as soon as I'm able to, Mack," she promised her cousin. "And you know I don't break a promise."

Mack returned the hug and nodded. "I know you don't, sweetie. I'm so proud of you. Just look at this as a bump in the road toward greater things."

"A bump which is going to last me at least twenty years," Kelly said. "Fifteen if I use every trick I know to get to where I want to be."

"You're going to do amazing things, kiddo. Come on... let's not sit around here and mope. Let's go have some fun while we have the chance. We'll make tonight one to remember," Mack said, getting to her feet.

"That," Kelly said as she adjusted little Jacob while she got up. "Sounds like a plan."


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