Literary Challenge #45 : Freestyle
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Join Date: Nov 2012
Captain's Log...Stardate...blast it.
06-25-2013, 05:18 PM
Does it really matter?
No. not now. I will most likely feel differently later...but that what Supplemental Logs are for. Right now I don't care. I'll just try to convey what happened. To whomever is reviewing this, forgive the lapses in grammatical correctness, or established protocols. I'm still in shock.
I've just exited the Commandant's formal dining room at Starfleet Academy. It's not as I remembered it from graduation; the northeast quadrant of the room has been mirrored twice. The room has four doors, four replicators, four dining room tables.
And, for the last hour...four versions of me.
I couldn't prove they *were* me; some anomaly divided the room into the four parts, an anomaly that confounded all sensors... but one knows when it's them they're staring at in disbelief.
Version 2 of me appeared to be from the so called 'mirror universe', based on his uniform, and was about ten years younger. He was outraged at the appearance of my first officer, L'naa, throwing a dagger that bounced off the unseen barrier dividing the room. He was alone in the room, pacing back and forth like a wild beast. A fresh scar on his right arm was glowing crimson with infection.
Version 3 was older, with a terrible scar across his face. The distinctive edges of the scar...the way it didn't heal properly...well, I would guess that this version of me had a near fatal encounter with the Borg. I gasped when I saw his companion. R'nee...a classmate at the Academy who died in a shuttle accident. Tears began to fall from her eyes when she saw L'naa, and version 3 visibly sagged in his seat. Both were attired in what appeared to be Commodore's uniforms.
Version 4 was very old, and sat with an even older version of R'nee. He wore an Admiral's uniform, and she was in a summer dress...but...were those the markings of a Trill peeking through her long hair?
L'naa and I looked at each other. The shock of seeing R'nee was a punch to the soul. She was one of our closest friends at the Academy. Confusion? That doesn't begin to explain the state my mind was in. I was about to ask what was going on when a flash of light appeared in the center of the room.
Q smirked and said, "Ah...we're all finally present. Now how about you figure this out so I can go back to watching an absolutely fascinating nebula that's forming in the Gamma Quadrant?"
Version 4 stood up, straightened his jacket, and spoke quietly.
"No games, Q. Not again. I won't have them spend the next thirty years trying to figure this out. I'm going to make this brief." He turned to version 2, myself, and version 3 in turn, and explained.
"There was an event a number of years past...quite some time for me, not as much for you. Even the best at the DTI couldn't figure it out. Too many paradoxes. A reality where the Borg decimates the Alpha Quadrant. A reality where the Borg have been wiped out of existence. A reality where Vulcan has been destroyed. One where Romulus still exists, and is the center of a Pact that threatens the Federation. A reality where the Klingons and Federation are at war."
I think my jaw dropped further with each thought. A destroyed Vulcan? Romulus still intact? No Borg?
Version 4 continued. "A reality where some friends still live...and others where some friends have passed on."
Version 2 shouted, "Silence, old man!" He pointed to R'nee, screaming, "She is in a coma! And she," now pointing to L'naa, "ruined my life!"
Version 3 stood, trying to make peace. "Hold it...hold it. I know how you feel, son. I truly do."
Version 2 became even more outraged. "You know how I feel? How dare you claim to know how I feel?"
Version 3 looked away, sadly. He slid up a sleeve to show a faded scar on his right arm. "Sara and Arky's wedding."
The room became silent. It was on Sara and Arky's wedding day that the shuttle accident that claimed R'nee happened. And...I don't know...but I could kind of tell....in the other reality, that shuttle accident claimed L'naa instead of R'nee.
Version 4 motioned to the doorway...and an older version of L'naa entered. She spoke quietly. "I can imagine the pain you're feeling. In our reality we all survived the accident...but in each of your realities, you lost someone...and guilt or blame ate away like a cancer. You didn't, or couldn't move on. But it was nobody's fault. You must try to move on...before it's too late."
Version 2 shrieked, "It *IS* too late! My wife lies in sickbay in a coma! The wedding was last week! The accident was last week! It is too late!"
Version 4's R'nee spoke up. "What did you find at the accident, when you woke up. In your agonizer's pocket?"
Version 2 stalled in his rage. "A...a...small vial, with a red sphere inside."
Version 4's L'naa looked at me, and asked, "Find anything on an away mission last week?"
My jaw dropped even more. I found a similar vial containing a red sphere on Nukara Prime. I had tripped on a rock that appeared from out of nowhere.
Version 3 slumped down in his seat. He withdrew from a pocket a vial with a red sphere. "I...I...found this last week. In my garden." He smiled at his R'nee. "Our garden."
Version 4 smiled sadly, holding up a similar vial. "Under the pear tree. Right where I planted it."
Q smirked again. "Hmmph. Microscopic remnants of Red Matter. From Hobus? Or the Caeliar? Eh. Matters not. But what exactly do you intend to do with it? Your little experiment has done nothing but make a very interesting dining room."
Version 4 sat down. "Q, we've had our dealings over the years. I've figured out what Red Matter can do. That the event I spoke of earlier changed the rules of fixing paradoxes. I made sure that the four of us...the ones where changing the past could make a difference...each got a bit of Red Matter. And with all the paradoxes coexisting, it won't unravel the universe to go back and fix an accident, would it?"
It was Q's turn to sit down, thinking for a moment. "No. No, it won't. But there isn't enough Red Matter to fix all your problems. And no...I can't fix all your problems, either."
It was hard to find my voice. I was about to propose that Version 2 get it...after all, R'nee was his wife, and he had the longest to live. Well...if she didn't kill him first...it is the mirror universe, after all.
But Version 3 beat me to it. "Much as it hurts us...here." He tossed his vial to Q. "Give it to the pup. From my experiences with the mirror universe he won't appreciate the gesture...but I hate to see me in pain."
Version 4 likewise tossed his to Q. "Do it, Q. Save us the trouble for once, won't you?"
Q raised his eyebrow at me. L'naa grasped my hand, putting the vial of Red Matter into it. I didn't bother asking her why she was carrying it...I don't want to open yet another temporal can of worms. She held on to my hand...and I felt her telepathically letting go of the guilt she had about the day of the accident...and the sliver of blame she had put on me. Knowing that it was just an accident and not somebody's fault brought tears to my eyes, and I too felt blame and guilt start to slide away.
I tossed the vial to Q.
Version 2 was speechless as Q opened the vials. He bent over as if punched, then actually smiled. He stood straight, turned without a word and started to walk out of the room. As he did so, the scar on his arm disappeared. He paused at the doorway, turning around with a smirk that mimicked the one Q had, as if to say, "See you around, me."
Version 3 took R'nee's hand, got up, and silently walked out. I saw the pain in his eyes...my eyes....and hoped that he could find peace in his garden. Correction...their garden.
Version 4 stood at attention, and gave me a salute I didn't feel I deserved. He walked out his door with his L'naa & R'nee, who both gave warm smiles and a small wave goodbye. I couldn't figure out what they lost in their reality...but they weren't overjoyed at this resolution, so they too had to make a sacrifice...I just don't know what it was. Maybe it had something to do with the Symbiont Temporal Symposium that was proposed for funding after the war ended?
As they walked out, there was another flash of light. Q was nowhere to be seen.
The other sections of the room started to appear hazy...so I decided that it was a good time to leave. L'naa was still holding my hand, and we walked out together...hopefully to a future where we would find a way to let go the pain of the past.
I caught a reflection of myself in the replicator as we exited...and thought I saw yet another version of myself for a moment...one that looked worse than all the others, who looked like he lost everything in the universe.
I'm not sure, but I think I heard something like, "Don't go into the B'Tran Cluster..."