A note from Capt. Stacey Templar, CO of the Mercutio:

This is one of my favorite logs.  It epitomizes the struggle between duty and family. Henry had just lost his wife to a transporter accident.  He had returned home with his children to be with his family.  Upon his return, he had a chat with a fellow crewmember on why he came back.

“Burning Out His Fuse” by Henry Crow

Following the physical and somewhat contentious meeting with Dr. Melanick, he wandered the halls a little, finding his way to the mess.  As he entered a few people glanced up silently but quickly broke the eye contact when he returned the gesture.

Taking a seat in the back of the room by a viewport, he watched the stars etch by like steaks of lightening.  After a few moments, a younger member of staff, a security officer he vaguely remembered before he’d left came up, standing at attention.

“I’m not active duty, kid.”

“Uh..Sir…may I join you?”

“It’s a free country.”

“Sir?”

“An old saying.”

The younger man quickly sat across from him.  “Sir, they’re all wondering why you came back.  After what happened….we figured you’d had enough.”

“It’s a long story.”

“I have all night.”

That small amount of assertiveness brought his eyes from the stars to the younger officer.

“I had a talk with my family back home and even after that I was unsure but my sister took charge and made all the arrangements.

“She packed my bags that night pre-flight.  Zero hour for the shuttle back here was nine a.m.  And I started thinking, I’m gonna be high as a kite by then.”  His eyes returned to the stars.  “I miss the Earth so much….I miss my wife.  You know kid, it’s lonely out in space, when you’re on such a…timeless flight.”

The younger man’s eyes never left his former Commander.

“And I think it’s gonna be a long, long time, till touchdown brings me round again to find I’m not the man they think I am at home”  He paused, sighing almost.  “No, no….cause deep down I’m a rocket man, who’s just burning up his fuse out here, alone.”

“But you have your daughter with you, that’s what I’ve heard.”

“Mars ain’t the kind of place to raise a kid, in fact it’s cold as hell.  Besides, there’s no one there to raise them if you did.”  He motioned around at the ship around them.  “And all this science I don’t understand.  It’s just my job five days a week, ya know…being a rocket man, like they used to say.”
“Well if it’s all the same to you Sir, I’m glad you’re back.  We’re all hoping the Captain comes to her senses and reinstates you.”

“Kid, I think it’s gonna be a long, long time…”