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Time and again

Posted on Sun Apr 28th, 2024 @ 7:15pm by Lieutenant Amelia Fox & Lieutenant JG Toareth Rouen (née Darqa)

2,785 words; about a 14 minute read

Mission: Fortuna
Location: 10 forward
Timeline: Stardate 52980.1


Amelia sat at a table near a window looking out at the stars. Try as she might, she still felt..... isolated from the rest of the crew. Syvar was her rock as always but there was still something....

And now, Toareth was onboard!

As she had feared, the group from the escape pod had all been given a debrief by temporal investigations and told they had not to discuss any future events with the crew, nor seek out friends, or family that they had known.... will know.... and give them any foreknowledge of things to come.

Temporal Mechanics! Her worst subject at the Academy. She could never quite wrap her head around causality loops... A leads to B leads to C leads to A or something like that.

She would have loved nothing better than to call up Melody and have a good natter about all this but, she knew that was impossible. Melody was still serving as a Lieutenant on the Merlin and she had never mentioned meeting an Amelia from the future. Or would she keep it to herself?

Deliberately seeking out Melody was tempting fate, not to mention disobeying a direct order. But it seemed that fate had put Toareth right in her path. Surely talking to her wouldn't break the temporal prime directive, would it?

When they had first met, they had instantly hit it off and Amelia had chalked this up to having met and befriended her daughter at the Acadamy, but now she was overthinking things, not something she usually did. If she met her now would, would it disrupt the timeline? of if they didn't meet now, would they never meet?

And, just as that final thought flashed through her mind, did the doors at the main entrance slid open. Through those doors stepped in Toareth. It was either through some wild happenstance against impossible odds or it was through the mysterious operations of this fate thing that Toareth went to the replicator, placed an order, and then, turning, decided against sitting alone or with anyone else. There were plenty of lonely tables, plenty of lonely patrons, and plenty of other places to sit, but Toareth chose Yours Truly.

With plate of food and beverage in hand, Toareth stopped a few feet away. "Lieutenant Fox, if I am not mistaken. And if I am not interrupting anything, would you mind if I joined you?"

Amelia has been lost in thought and the sounds of Toreths voice made her jump slightly. She quickly recovered and gestured to the chair opposite her. "Yes, of course, Tor.... I mean Lieutenant Rouen. No, I was just.... deep in thought."

Understanding that all too much, Toareth nodded. "Believe me, I know the feeling," She said as she sat and positioned her food and drink. "'Toar' is fine. Or 'Toareth.' I do prefer a first name basis. And thank you, by the way, Lieutenant. My mind has been aflutter since the shuttle bay. I think I need the company."

Amelia tried and failed to suppress a chuckle at her choice of words since the new Captain resembled a giant bird. She studied her friend's face closely and just as she had thought earlier, she was exactly the same as when she had last seen her. She glanced out of the window remembering a line Toareth had told her once. "Ah. No bird soars too high if he soars with his own wings."

A waiter approached them. "Can I you anything else?"

"I don't suppose you have any real blood wine, rather than replicated?" Amelia asked.

The waiter shook his head, and Amelia sighed. "Red leaf tea please."

He turned to Toareth "And for you?"

Toareth already had a beverage; water. But, why not something else? "El-Aur spiced tea."

"Madam I am not sure..."

"I programmed it myself," Toareth broke in. "It's there," she finished. A pinch formed behind her right eye, and slightly up, in her brain.

The waiter nodded and as he left, Amelia continued, without thinking "So how's Gabi? Has she settled in on the Merlin? She's in good hands, Melody will look after her. She still owes me a bottle of...." Her voice trailed off as she realised her mistake. "Nevermind, forget I said anything." She said as he took a long sip of her drink.

Toareth was rubbing away at her forehead above her right brow as though that would somehow massage away the migraine. The pain was not overwhelming, so she did her best to listen to Amelia, but only got about half of what she said.

"Merlin?" she asked, surprised. "Yes. She has settled on Merlin." Toareth stopped rubbing her forehead and blinked her right eye several times as she continued. "Gabi loves that character. She has gotten a little tired of Flotter." The migraine was barely one to even document. Her commbadge recorded the event though and she would have to log it later. "I'm sorry," she pointed indirectly at her head, "I get these migraines like clockwork. Just had a minor one. Irritating things." Getting back on track, "You said something about a melody. Gabi does love music so...uh..." she stopped, thought, "how do you know Gabi?" And then the only reasonable explanation shot to mind. "You must have perused the ship's manifest," and must have met her husband during the Security portion of her in-processing. "I do that too. Being in Sick Bay, I make it a point to know what I can about the personnel I am to keep healthy. And...I must admit," Toareth confessed, "I think I found some questionable gaps in your time in service." With a shrug, she added, "I have that too in my record. The Dominion War really did a number on us."

"Yes, I looked through the ship's personnel records to familiarise myself with the crew," Amelia said, clinging to the explanation that Toareth had offered like a lifeline. Although bluffing came naturally to her (hence her success at the poker table) Amelia did not like lying to friends.

She noticed Toareth's discomfort. "Are you alright? Do I need to call sickbay?" She asked, only slightly joking.

Toareth waved off the concern as the pain waned away. "Just a frequent migraine. I have had 1 about every 30 or so hours since they began." She sat up and looked Amelia in the eye as she confessed, "I have no idea what causes them either. Me...a doctor...without a clue as to why I get these migraines. In fact, no one has ever been able to find out why. And I have seen medical professionals across both the Alpha and Beta Quadrants." She shook her head as she played with her food with her fork. "Phalmectin is the only medicine that seems to help. Again, no one knows why because Phalmectin is not supposed to alleviate the symptoms of a migraine."

Amelia frowned for a moment. Toareth had never mentioned migraines to her before. Curiosity got the better of her. "What is Phalmectin used to treat?"

"Phalmectin is a memory blocker," Toareth responded. "Normally prescribed to counselling patients who cannot endure traumatic memories and often prescribed to violent individuals, criminals, the like, who are triggered by their memories. Give them phalmectin when they start showing signs and they get better...for a time. Overdoses can lead to amnesia, sometimes permanent." She shrugged. "Why does it work against my migraines?" And she shook her head making it evident that she had no clue. "And since it is a memory blocker, I use it sparingly. Don't want to become addicted to that stuff." She forked a bit of food into her mouth; chewed. Toareth realized she had opened up to Amelia rather quickly. It felt good to be open like that. Somehow, and this was something else Toareth found as a mystery, but Amelia felt familiar to her. "And we stumbled upon using Phalmectin because we were out of ideas and I asked the doctor to try anything short of knocking a hole in my head. That was..." she thought back, "that was many years ago. Long after I had started searching for a cause and cure; long after the migraines had begun in the first place."

Amelia was deep in thought. Memory blockers..... That made no sense.... unless it was blocking memories of things she hadn't done yet. No! That couldn't be it, could it? She just wanted to come clean and tell her everything but she could feel the temporal prime directive, hanging over her head, like the proverbial sword of Damocles. Besides, this was far too a public setting for such a conversation. And it would probably make things worse rather than better...... Would it?

She decided to change the Subject. "How's Rene?"

And that segue found Toareth pleasantly. "Rene is fine...considering." And before she could be asked 'Considering what?' Toareth decided to provide an answer. "Considering that he is still recovering, mentally, from the war, suddenly thrust into the position of Chief Security Officer, only recently discovered he is a father, and even more recently married." All that came out immediately and in a single breath. She knew the bit about him recently learning about being a father on top of the fact that Gabrielle was already 3 years old, which meant that he did not even know he had a child for the majority of Gabrielle's life thus far. Toareth answer was only going to breed more questions. And she could see that in the LT's face. That face. There was something familiar about Amelia's face but Toareth could not put a finger on it. She knew all too well that she and Amelia had never met before the Shuttle Bay. Still, a feeling of familiarity was there and it confused Toareth. Instead of trying to discover anything now, she would have to file that away into her 'Research Later' box. "Um...the Dominion War was chaos for everyone," she finished.

"I remember getting the Keneddy blown up from under me like it was yesterday but it seems like a lifetime ago. Thank goodness Starfleet came up with a way to block that Brean weapon or the war could have turned out very differently.". I know my girls would love to see you..... I mean meet you."

She bit her tongue at her slip.

Toareth caught that, and dwelt ever so briefly on those words; recalling the context of something Amelia had said previously. Again, she shoved that into the 'Research Later' box, jamming in there hopefully not to rear its head again for the next little bit. She also passed that up to her El'Aurian upbringing; so much indoctrination into the belief that El'Aurians had something of a relationship with time. Her catching of those words must have been said indoctrination trying to come forth. Toareth did not pass that up; she threw it away as she had no use for the superstitious. Though she tried to study into her husband's religious practices and keep an open mind there.

Toareth pressed on beyond her thoughts. "Well, everyone needs to have initial medical scans performed. And everyone includes civilians, even the children of Starfleet personnel. Bring them in sometime and we can knock that out quickly. And..." something else suddenly snagged a hold on her memories, "...I'm sorry. Stop me if I am wrong. You practice martial arts," she guessed and did not word it as though a question but more of a statement of fact. Toareth's expression indicated she was asking a question but with a hint of confusion as to how she might have known that.

Amelia smiled and nodded. "Oh yes, It was part of the advanced combat training I took with.... with a friend at the academy and it's come in very useful over the years. I remember during the training, I was on leave and got into a particularly nasty fight over a poker game. I'd done rather well that night and for some reason, they seemed reluctant to part with their latinum. I was doing rather well in the fight too." She grinned at the memory "Untill one of them drew his disruptor."

There came a slight twist in Toareth's stomach. She passed that up to the food she was eating but also realised said twist happened as Amelia told her story. Toareth showed no sign of discomfort and continued listening.

Amelia lost in the memory continued, not realising. "I'm sure I've told you this story. This was the night I first met Melody. She was also on leave and had been watching the fight. She said I had been doing quite well and only stepped in when she saw the weapon. She shot him in the back while his attention was focused on me." Amelia chuckled. "I knew she and I would be friends from that day."

"Yes," Toareth said flatly, "you...did...tell me that..." She had no recollection of ever being told that story, of ever meeting Amelia before this day, but somehow knew the truth of Amelia's words. A memory, more like a thread of a feeling of a long ago memory from a year's old half forgotten dream tugged at her conscience. "But how" She felt that pinch again in her brain, but, before questing as to how she could have another migraine so soon after her previous, that pinch turned into something of a...swirl...was the best way she could describe it to herself. It was a new and rather odd sensation; something she was have to research later. So many things, since meeting Amelia only this day, was she filing away in her 'Research Later' folder.

"...I...well I...also," she un-derailed her thoughts. "I also have studied fighting techniques. I studied, for some years, under the tutelage of the Qowat Milat sisters." She knew of the cloistered natured of the Qowat Milat, that many have never heard of them. "They are an order of female Romulans. Originated on Romulus of course. They have a few fighting techniques, but the one I found rather intriguing is the Verelan Gek'Ha Gen.

Amelia raised an eyebrow "Sounds interesting. You'll have to show me sometime." She let out a sigh. "I would have loved to have seen Romulus."

A strange, and small, sense of impending doom came upon Toareth. It happened sometimes when she thought of Romulus, stemming mostly from something she once told Nokron all those years ago. This time, the sensation came upon her without much thought. 'Must be habit,' she inwardly told herself. "You can," she said to Amelia. "From the brief alliance The Federation had with Romulus during the war, there is, right now, a diplomatic program to allow travel to, and tourism of, Romulus. Your outings will be heavily monitored however. And there are plenty of hoops to jump through." Toareth shrugged at the thought. "I've been there," she said as an aside. Toareth had actually been there several times without even one being authorized by or within the knowledge of the Federation. Save for her handler, Lynch. "It is a rather nice place." She finished before saying anything more.

Amelia's glass paused halfway to her mouth. For her, Romulus had been gone for over a decade and she had never taken the opportunity to see it. She hadn't even considered the Hobus supernova that hadn't even happened yet. Another thing she couldn't talk to anyone about.

What she said aloud was "Yes, of course." She took a deep breath and tried to focus her thoughts to prevent any more slips of the tongue. She studied her friend's face for a moment with mixed emotion, taking some comfort that there was at least one familiar face here but not quite the friend she knew.... know yet anyway.

A rhythmic chime, the opening chord of the Federation's anthem, sounded from Toareth's chest. It was her commbadge sounding off. It paused but a second then sounded again with the same chord. Toareth wiped her mouth and set her silverware upon the place of half-eaten food. "That's me," she said. Toareth triple-tapped her commbadge and the computer voice came over its speaker. =^="Deck 12, Port Side, Aft section."=^=

"Everyone on the team will have a 24-hour on call shift at some point every two weeks," Toareth explained. "Today it's me. I have a patient who is...uh...well can't talk about it openly. You understand." Toraeth stood and gathered her satchel and her materials to return to the replicator. "One of your flight ensigns though. Should be returning to duty inside the sevennight. Please excuse me." And with that, Toareth stepped off a little hurriedly.


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