1. Cliff House by Mackenzie Calhoun
A Confederacy of Decembers
“I suppose, you could say we’re a family.”
“How? We don’t even know each other.”
Doctor Beverly Crusher gave Gary Mitchell a smile, one that covered the irritation she might otherwise have felt. Mitchell was dressed in jeans (torn at the knees) and his ‘LIFEGUARD’ t-shirt. He had stretched his legs to the side of the table. “I think we’re family of a kind. We’re all from the same cloth, the same fabric.”
“You are a wise woman,” Ambassador Kamarag, son of Kaschuck, said in his nasal baritone. “Yet, we are all of a different time.”
Mitchell rested his elbows on the table swivelling around and knocking his knees together. “My sister and my mother are dead, my father I haven’t seen since I was ten and my aunt…well, I have no family to speak off and to cap it off it’s nearly Christmas. So here I am with two people I’ve no idea off…”
“My brother died some time ago,” Kamarag began, “my parents are long dead. I just have my niece and she is like a daughter to me. Christmas, is neither here nor there. I am grateful to have my niece.”
“And me,” Beverly said sighing. She looked out from where they sat at the Pacific stretching out as far as the eye could see. “My husband died almost thirty years ago, my son is gallivanting around the universe and I have no one. What family I had, was on the Enterprise.”
“No one?” Kamarag asked.
“There might be one person.”
Kamarag looked to Mitchell. “You notice we sit in San Francisco?”
“I work here,” Gary said.
“And I work and live here,” Beverly said.
“Yet here we are. Is there a sense of family here, or are we all creatures of coincidence?”
“I don’t overthink it,” Gary shrugged. “If I did, I’d go mad. We’re all here and that’s coincidence enough. Someone wants to bring us together for something. As someone who’s family is…no longer here, I am grateful,” he reached for his drink. “Here’s to us, here’s to this city and here’s to family.”
Beverly took up her hot chocolate and smiled. “I’ll drink to that.”
Kamarag laughed hefting his glass. “And I too.”
Something caught Gary’s eye, he stood dropping his glass and took off at a sprint away from Cliff House onto the beach. When Beverly looked, Kamarag had vanished leaving her. not quite alone for she saw, threading his way through the crowd, Commander Richard Tennyson. Grinning she stood to greet him.