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All These Years

Posted on Wed Jan 3rd, 2024 @ 6:51pm by Ensign James Phoenix

Mission: Hard Earned Peace
Location: USS Washington
Timeline: Just After Toy Soldiers


Just after Hela vanished the turbolift stopped and the doors slid open and Phoenix stepped out. He still wasn't sure if Hela was telling the truth. For all he knew there could be a Borg Drone or a blood thirsty targ waiting for him instead to assimilate him, or maul him, if it was the targ. There could be anything, or anyone behind that door, or nothing at all.

He started walking to his quarters which was a long-ish walk from the lift. He hoped that Ash was inside, but part of him hoped she wasn't. He wasn't sure why, maybe anxiety? He couldn't be certain. All he knew to do was to go to his quarters. If there was no-one there, then Hela would be bluffing, and he could forget the entire encounter with the god, unless Hela returned to collect a debt regardless. Or maybe his best friend was waiting for him. 362 years since they had seen each other last, not including Ash's mirror counterpart. There was so much to catch up on.

His thoughts kept racing through his mind. Everything felt like it was going by him very slowly. But while he was distracted in his thoughts he had made it all the way to his quarters without realizing. He looked around him for a moment in disbelief that he got there that quickly.

He turned around to face the entrance to his quarters. He stood there for some time, loosing himself in his thoughts again. James didn't know how much time had passed by while he was spaced out, but he shook off the feeling and forced himself to push the button to open the sliding door to his quarters.

It was dark inside his room as he had left it. He saw a familiar silhouette of a person he hadn't seen in a long time. There was enough light in the room to make out that the figure was facing away from the entrance and towards the window. She had dark auburn hair and was wearing an off white tank top with black pants. She had a familiar presence. One that could not be mistaken for anyone else that wasn't Ashlynn Regan. This was his best friend. The person he had been missing for hundreds of unconscious years.

He was terrified. What would he say? He relaxed slightly to gather his thoughts. He would just call out her name and go from there. It was all he could come up with being this nervous.


Ash turned around to face him directly in his eyes. She raised an eyebrow. "James?"


"Yeah... It's me" he trailed off before both him and Ash fell silent, looking at each other. They were speechless and unsure where to start. Eight conscious and hundreds of years spent in a deep sleep. What would he even say besides that?

"You're alive...." she said before trailing off.

"So are you" a loose tear fell down his cheek. She was really standing in front of him.

"Don't just stand there" Ash quipped as tear rolled down her face.

James stepped forward and without thinking, he hugged her, resting his head on her shoulder. "God dammit I missed you."

Ash smiled as she wrapped her arms around him. "I missed you too."

The pair stood there for a while, in each other's embrace. 369 years since they had seen each other. He finally had his best friend back. Even if he owed Hela a debt and even if she was villainous, he was grateful for this. James and Ash stood there for a few more minutes before Ash spoke again.

"You should probably turn on the lights so it isn't a cave in here" she quipped again.

James let out a breath. "Yeah probably" he chuckled before moving over to the light control. He could have just called out to the computer, but he needed to move himself around so he could make himself understand that this was real and happening. He tapped the button to turn on the lights which were a little bit bright. Suddenly, her heard Ash wince in pain slightly.

James quickly turned on his heel to see what happened. "You good?"

She cleared her throat. "Yeah. After being in a dark room for a bit the lights caught me off guard."

He raised an eyebrow. "How long were you waiting?"

Ash shrugged. "Not too long. But enough to to let my eyes adjust. It is weird though. One moment I was on leave on Earth and then I was here. I am glad I'm here now though" she smiled.

James returned the smile. "So am I" he said before they both fell silent again.

After a few minutes James spoke again. "Feel free to make yourself at home. I know it's not much, but does the job of living in space."

She chuckled. "I'll bet."

James looked at the replicator as Ash sat down. "Care for a drink?"

She smirked. "Surprise me."

"Will do" James smiled as he pressed a few buttons on the machine. Soon after a tray of two drinks appeared on a tray. One was a yellowish-green drink consisting of both lemonade and iced tea, known as an Arnold Palmer. The other was a hot Earl Grey tea.

He brought the tray over to Ash and set it down. "Take your pick.

Without speaking she reached for the Earl Grey and held the cup in her hands as she leaned back on the small couch Phoenix had in his quarters. "How were you able to fit a couch in here?" Ash asked as she looked around.

James took the Arnold Palmer for himself and sat down next to her. "Was already here. Presumably from the officer who was in here before me" he said, taking a sip of his own drink before placing it down.

She did the same and leaned her head against her hand. "Fair enough" she trailed off. "How have you been these last eight years? Conscious years and all."

"All things considered I've been okay. After I was unfrozen I spent about two years re-adjusting before applying to Starfleet Academy" James began. "After I graduated I served on Deep Space Two and Earth Spacedock before coming here."

"How long have you been on the Washington?" Ash asked him.

"I'd say the better part of a year" he said. He did wonder how she knew she was on the Washington without him telling her, but he assumed that she had already found out by asking the computer, or by another way.

Ash smiled. "How do you like it here?"

"Being my first shipboard posting as an officer, I really like it here all things considered" James returned the smile.

"All things considered?" She asked.

He sighed. "I can't talk about most of them, for clearance reasons, but some of the missions I've been on since coming here took tolls on few of us, including me" he trailed off.

She rested a hand on his arm. "You know that after all these years, I'm still here for you, right?"

James smiled sadly. "Yeah, I know."

After a few moments of pure silence James and Ash caught up about everything they had experienced leading up to now, provided that they were allowed to. He was glad that his best friend was back. Regardless of how he got her back he was grateful of Hela, although he still didn't trust the god, and he couldn't help but feel like he screwed up. He had his best friend back, but he could have jeopardized himself or worse, the rest of the crew. It was probably nothing. For now, he was just gonna enjoy the company of his best friend.


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