March 17th, 2365
Danny sat down by the camp fire and slowly warmed his hands. It was cold tonight, as per usual for this time of year in Aberdeen. They were camping out tonight in Kirkhill Forest, a place that had been widely used for many years now for outdoor activities.
Danny was out here with his Uncle Glenn-brother and only sibling of his father. Uncle Glenn was...odd, to say the least. Danny never really understood the man, but he knew that out of all his relatives, Glenn was the easiest to talk to...he let Danny call him by his first name, which no one else did, and he let Danny talk about anything...say anything...he wanted without being a tattle tell. He was cool...in some respects.
But Glenn was also a bit of a drinker...he always had a flask of Scotch on him, and smelled bad some days, like he'd been through an eternity of gym classes and never showered. Out here in the open air, it wasn't bad, but in a cramped room...well, Danny didn't dare light a match, that's for sure.
"So, Danny boy, are you ready to roast some marshmallows?" Glenn said as he sat down slowly, a bag of marshmallows in one hand and his handy flask in the other.
Danny nodded. "I guess...not much else to do here."
"Aye, that's the beauty of it," Glenn said with a smile. He reached for some marshmallows and handed them to Danny, and after a few moments, the roasting began.
Danny watched as the fire heated up the marshmallow and grinned at the smell that was coming off it.
"That's the ticket, lad," Glenn said happily. "How have you been doing, anyway? Haven't had much chance to talk about life at all."
Danny frowned. "Fine," he said quickly, hoping to cut his uncle off from continuing the conversation.
Glenn wasn't going to be dissuaded so easily though. "Aye, a fine standard Scott answer...some things dinna change, hmm?" He took a sip of his Scotch and sighed. "Your mother?"
Danny nodded slowly. "She just won't leave me alone...it's..." He pulled his marshmallow out of the fire and frowned at it. "Never good enough with her."
"Well...she only does it because she cares. She wants the best."
Danny stared at his uncle and shook his head. "No, she wants me to be Scotty...the miracle worker...and I ain't him."
Glenn nodded solemnly. "Well...it's a heavy burden you carry, lad. You're the smartest Scott since...the miracle worker, aye?"
Danny flicked his marshmallow, took it off and ate it. After a moment realizing it was too hot he spit it out of his mouth and chugged his cold water.
Glenn smirked. "Well, I guess smart is a wee bit of an exaggeration..." Danny couldn't help but smile. Glenn took a sip of his Scotch and started again. "In all seriousness though...aye, you're a smart one. You have a lot of great potential."
"That's what they say...but I don't want to study all the time, I don't want to spend my days in some boring engineering club. I want to be...anywhere else, you know?"
"Aye," his uncle responded sadly. "I know the feeling...and maybe we all have to go through that. Your dad did...I did...and your granddad, aye, he really did...but that's all there is to it really. A lot of studyin', a lot of proddin', but in the end...you'll always be you and no one else. They canna take that away from you."
"A family tradition?"
Glenn sighed. "Aye...one long overdue to be gotten rid of."
Danny could sense that the subject was getting...a little too close for the both of them, so he decided to change it. "What's it like...out there, sailing the sea instead of the stars?"
Glenn smiled. "Beautiful...you know it was the miracle worker himself that started the tradition of sailing...at least that's what's been told to me by some of the older family members."
"Like Aunt Alice?" Danny said with a grin.
Glenn scoffed. "Aye, like that old bat...the day she tells a coherent story is the day Montgomery Scott himself rises from the dead!" The two laughed at that, long and hard for a few minutes and then Glenn spoke again. "One of the few things Scotty did for the family that...hasn't been too much of a pain. No one cares anymore though...the traditions just seem to be disappearing."
"Why are traditions so important anyway?"
Glenn stared at him for a moment and scowled a rare look of anger on his face. He put down his flask and folded his hands together. "Aye, I figured your father wouldn't really explain that too you...canna blame him considering..." Glenn looked at Danny and shook his head. "Sorry lad...back to your question...why are traditions so important?"
Danny stared at his uncle curiously. "Yeah, why?"
"They're...what makes us, us," Glenn offered. Danny shook his head in confusion and Glenn sighed. "Traditions are things...passed down, from generation to generation...ties that bind a family together through the ages and not only in name."
"Like...if I decided to take up rock climbing, and taught my son how to it...and he taught his...that'd be a tradition?"
"Are you dumb, lad? Rock climbing?"Glenn shook his head in amusement. "Aye, that might be one. But I'm not talking about just that kind of stuff...I'm talking about eating together during certain times of the year...cutting the roast before you cut the bread...drinking Scotch before you open the presents..."
Danny looked on in confusion. He didn't understand this at all.
Glenn sighed. "Never mind..." He took his flask and paused for a second, a small smile creeping on his face. "You know, there's a tradition that your granddad passed to me and your father some years ago...when we were close to your age, our father let us have our first taste of Scotch."
Danny smiled widely. "Really?!"
"Aye...of course, your grandma didn't like it at all, and she made us swear we'd never do it with our children...but a tradition is a tradition." Glenn grabbed a bottle of Scotch from his pack and gave Danny the flask. "There's enough in there for a first timer...and I got another bottle if you really take to the stuff."
Danny looked at the bottle and smiled. He was told by his father he'd have to wait a few more years before he could even hold a bottle of Scotch, let alone drink it. "But...I'm only 13!"
"A tradition is a tradition lad..." Glenn said with a smile. "I won't tell your mother, and I know you won't."
Danny nodded. He put the flask to his lips and took a big sip. He felt it burn down his throat and had to turn his head to cough, his face turning red. It hurt...but it hurt good.
Glenn smiled. "Aye, that's the way...small sips next time, lad, small sips."
It was early in the morning when Danny's father showed up, there to pick up his son. But what he found he didn't like in the least...and Glenn saw it clearly on his brother's face. After a moment of disbelief, his brother finally found the words to start their latest debate. "You...gave him Scotch?!"
"Aye, I did," Glenn responded glibly. "The lad needed to see the traditions of the Scott's at work...not the bad ones, but the good ones."
"Don't get your pants all twisted, Duncan-he'll sleep it off and be fine in the morning."
"It is morning, Glenn...god, can't you even keep track of time?"
Glenn stared at his brother and smiled. "Aye, I guess it is...hmm...seems the lad needs the afternoon to sleep it off then."
Duncan rubbed his eyes and shook his head. "I should have known better...you always find some way to mess up the simplest things."
"Aye," Glenn said sourly as he drank from his flask, which he had reclaimed earlier that morning. Danny didn't give it up easily though-that lad had a death grip for one so young. "He drank like a Scott," Glenn said with a grin as he looked at Danny's slumbering form in the tent.
Duncan sat down across from Glenn and sighed. "How the hell am I supposed to explain this to Kate?"
"She's a nice Scottish girl, she'll understand," Glenn said smugly. "From the marks on the lad's arms, I think she needs to let him drink...should help with the pain."
Duncan glared at him. "Don't go there."
"I have concern for the well being of my kin," Glenn said defensively. "Your wife is gonna hurt that boy one day, and a simple bruise will be the least he has to show for it."
Duncan sighed. "She...doesn't mean it." He stared at his brother fiercely. "That's how she was raised...she's been seeing counseling, and it's getting better."
"Only after...what, ten years?" Glenn shook his head and took a sip of his Scotch. "I may drink...but at least I don't hurt anyone."
"Oh really? Like you didn't hurt mom or dad?"
Glenn shook his head. "That bit...I dinna hurt them at all-they hurt themselves."
Duncan stared at him. "You made them go through hell while I was away...you were the only one they had in the house and all you had to do was behave!"
"Aye, and I was tired of ‘behaving' as you call it! It was nothing more than acting like a damned robot." Glenn scowled darkly. "20 years later and you still have issues with it. Build a bridge and get over it."
Duncan hung his head and shrugged. "Fine, whatever...just don't encourage my son to be like you."
"At least I know how to pass along the traditions," Glenn countered.
Duncan stood and threw up his hands. "I won't discuss this with you-not now. I'm taking Danny to mom and dad's, and then I'm going to have a great time with my wife."
Glenn stood slowly. "Aye, and what about my new born nieces? What about those twins of yours?"
Duncan froze. "What about them?"
"Will I be talking to them in ten years, hearing them say what young Danny said?"
Duncan looked confused. "Say what?"
"Say how he hates his name...how he hates his burden." Glenn stepped closer to his brother and put his hand on his shoulder. "Don't condemn him to our childhood...he should be free to be what he wants."
Duncan threw Glenn's hand off. "He is!"
"Your lovely wife begs to differ...all she does is have the boy study, and prepare him for surpassing the great Montgomery Scott. What kind of life is that?"
"He can be whatever he wants...all Kate does is push him to be the best...sometimes she pushes to hard."
Glenn smirked. "Aye, her pushes leave marks."
Duncan shook his head. "I'm done here...I'll see you the next time you decide to dock from your sea adventures." He began walking towards Danny's tent and Glenn didn't stop him.
"All you're doing is driving him away!" Glenn yelled.
Duncan ignored him.
"Another great Scott tradition in action," Glenn said sadly.