"Home From Home" by Nick Fel

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There was an air of excitement around the base this morning as Nick Fel walked towards ops centre, datapad in one hand and stimtea in the other, weaving to avoid uncharacteristically enthusiastic junior officers that darted along corridors without paying much attention to their commanding officer.

Unsurprisingly, Colonel Redgar was already on duty, looking more or less the same as he had about twelve hours ago. Nick sometimes wondered if the operations commander ever slept. "Zoneball scores or holofilms?"

"Better," Redgar said, without taking his eyes off the displays in front of him. "Mail call."

That would explain it. Given their tenuous—not to mention expensive—HoloNet connection, Farpoint only received infrequent bursts of non-military data, so a packet of anything else, particularly communications from friends and family in New Republic space, was a base-wide event.

For most people, at least. It had been a long, long time since he'd received a comm from Alderaan. Even before the Empire had taken them away from him, he'd had little communication with his family since he left for the Academy. They'd never approved of his decision, but in true Alderaanian fashion they stood and protested quietly instead of trying to make him see the truth. In that sense, the Empire had made him homeless long before they built the Death Star, he supposed. He'd come to accept that he had very little life that he couldn't fit in an X-wing cargo hold and take with him.

Nick decided to detour via the communications centre anyway; he liked seeing the base active, seeing his people happy and just for a moment, not worrying about their enemies, or how far they were from home. Just recently it seemed far too often they were mourning or looking over their shoulders.

The excitement in ops was nothing compared to the scene above in the comms centre. Nick could barely even see the entrance for the crowd assembled around it, trying to check for messages before their shift started. More shouldered their way back out of the crowd, hands clutched around datacards like they were their most precious possessions, others looking downcast with empty hands, but at the same time sharing their comrades' elation.

He stood and watched them for a few moments as some of them stopped to read their messages in the corridor and show each other holographs, while others slipped away to read their messages privately. Nick smiled and turned back along the corridor.

All the life he needed was right here on Farpoint.

"Admiral!" Behind him, a young and flustered-looking comms staffer was pushing his way towards Nick. "While you're here, sir, we have a comms from Doctor Craig for you."

Nick thanked him and slipped the datacard into a tunic pocket with a smile. He might have lost his family, but he'd gained something much larger on the way.