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Purposeful meetings

Posted on 18 Dec 2022 @ 11:41am by Crewman Apprentice Unknown 'Weirdo' & Commander Kristiana Petrova

2,389 words; about a 12 minute read

Mission: A New Frontier
Location: Holodeck

Kristiana was curious to know why this passenger was using a holodeck, rather than a holosuite. Normally those were reserved for officer use. Some of her curiosity was answered though when she saw what program the holodeck was running; a landscape simulation by Lieutenant-Commander Taliborn. The Sirran had always played a bit fast and loose with the rules, but as long as he delivered good work - and he did so, in exemplary fashion - she was allowing him that bit of freedom. With that in mind Commander Petrova stepped onto the holodeck, the door appearing and depositing her just a few meters away from the stranger.

"Tychon?" the weary redhead asked, a slight Russian lilt to her voice, still looking a bit pale and leaning on her cane.

The man in the wizard robes, who appeared to be in the middle of a lengthy conversation with one of the Sirran animals in the simulation, took a few moments to react. Then he gave the animal a courteous bow and said: "I'm terribly sorry, my dear, but it seems someone else would like to have a word with me. Let us continue our conversation at a later time, alright?"

The animal – a creature the size of a bear – grunted in response, rose and strolled calmly away, vanishing under the trees.

Then the man turned to the Commander and smiled. "Good day, Commander! It's good to see you up and about. Would you like to have a seat?" He pointed with the tall staff he held in one hand to a fallen tree which would make a perfectly good bench to sit on, if one didn't mind a bit of moss or some green stains.

"Sure, why not," Kris replied, though without a smile, just sounding tired. She made her way over and sat down with a wince, leaning the cane against the tree. "I swear, I wish I was back to full strength," she quietly muttered before steeling herself and turning her full attention to the strange man in wizards robes wearing an oversized top hat with ear cutouts in it. "Let me introduce myself. I'm Commander Kristiana Petrova, executive officer. I read the report from medical concerning your examination and - unique physiology. You have them quite stumped with - what was it, two hearts? Increased neuron density in your brain? Unique metabolism, heightened density of rods and cones in your eyes, just to name a few things."

The man looked surprised and intrigued. "Really? I have all that?" He sat down as well, cross-legged, idly twirling the staff between his fingers. "Unlike you, I did not see the report. All I've heard thus far is that there are no records of someone like me in your databases. But yes, that does deviate quite a bit from the human standard."

"It does. But that's alright. We're using your baseline as baseline for your species, no idea what to call it yet," Kris mused. "But I'm no doctor or scientist," she added, before looking around. She hadn't really had eyes for the simulation just yet.

"This is nice," she ventured a smile. "Commander Taliborn's program, so I'm assuming his home world?" Nature was nature, not too different across different M class planets with a nitrogen - oxygen atmosphere in the right proportions, similar amounts of similar sunlight led to similarly green plantlife - though in closer details these trees and bushes, grasses and underbrush was definitely not of Terran origin. The animals grazing even more obviously different. Larger, Kris observed. Of sturdier build, too.

"Yes!" the man said enthousiastically. "I asked him what his favourite place was on his home world and he showed me this. I don't have any recollection of visiting worlds before, so I'm really enjoying the oppurtunity to visit one now, even though this is just a simulation. And where do you come from?" he asked, more or less in one breath.

"Earth. Vengerovka region," Kris answered readily, more so than she'd thought she would. It was nice talking with someone that was - ... more than her, in terms of energy. It was hard to explain. "In have an old farm there, though it's been a while since I was there last. It was my family's until it fell to me," Petrova paused a brief moment. "The area's - not too dissimilar from this - " she motioned around at the Sirran woods " - though less forested."

The names were meaningless to him, of course, though he made a mental note to look this region up during a future visit to a holosuite or holodeck. "Thank you for sharing this," he said earnestly and gave a small bow. "I love hearing these stories, your connection to places lightyears away. Places you come from and where you will one day return to, if all goes well."

"Eh, not sure I'm very eager to go back there. Lots of memories. Not all of them good," Kris shrugged, glancing over at him. "How about you? Medical's report said you'd lost all your memories. Is there really nothing left, nothing at all?"

"Nothing really," the man replied, still looking grave. "There are sometimes… I don't really know, glimpses, almost an echo of an echo, and as intangible as one. Maybe the right circumstances might unlock them, maybe not. For all I know, my memories are lost in space and time, far, far away…" He smiled suddenly. "That sounds almost like something from a movie. Something big and heroic."

A soft, sad chuckle from the redhead. "Yeah, it does. I've read some sappy novels with similar sidestories. Though they always end well," she mused, considering for a moment. "If you want I can ask sciences to run a check on your pod and the clothes you had on when we found you. Who knows, maybe they can find something to trace back to where you're from. Planets tend to have dust and other trace elements unique to them. Might be worth a shot."

The man nodded. "That is true. And if nothing else, it will certainly give them something to puzzle on. And if not, well…" He spread his arms as if to embrace the holographic landscape, or maybe the universe itself. The wizard's staff still twirled between his fingers. "If you cannot go back, the only way to go is forward, eh? So much more out there to see, to discover. Life's too short to stick to one place."

She looked silently at him for a moment, as if to try and figure him out. That view on life, always looking forward, was that part of him, or just a result of not remembering anything? "Those flashes of memory you mentioned, what do they tell you? When do they happen?"

"It's not even a flash of a memory," he replied, switching effortlessly from exuberant to introspective. "It's more… a memory of a memory, perhaps. A hint that there is something, that not everything is fully erased. Echoes of a distant past. I had one when I went through the pockets of what was left of my clothes. One of the things I found was this-" The staff stopped twirling and he leaned it against the log, then reached inside the robes to pull out the broken device. "I don't know what it is. No idea what it was used for. But it makes me sad to look at it. Maybe because it is such a sad sight in itself, something broken beyond a chance of repair. But maybe it meant something to me, maybe I was attached to it… I don't know." He tossed the broken… wand, for lack of a better word, up so that it twirled in the air a few times, caught it when it came down. "Maybe I ought to show this to your scientists as well, give them more to puzzle about," he said with a smile.

"Can I see?" she asked. "I'm no engineer or scientist, though," She examined the device when given it, handling it carefully. "Seems to be a part - missing? Broken off. It's some kind of a device, for sure. I see what look like datalines, power connectors leading to something that's not there anymore. I recommend giving it to someone in engineering, maybe they can make sense of it. This kind of thing is their purfiew more than sciences, I think. But you might try both," Kris offered, handing the device back again.

The man nodded as he took it back. "Yes, broken or burned. There seems to be a bit of charring here and here." He pointed with a slender finger. "But I have no idea what it was meant for. Could be anything from a technological version of a wizard's staff to… some kind of tricorder or scanner, maybe." The device disappeared again into the recesses of his robe. "I'll ask Harva if he'd care to take a look at it when I see him again."

"Or El-Tee-Cee sh'Zoarhi if Taliborn is busy," Kris ventured. "Have you decided yet what you're going to do next? We're heading to Sal'kiiran space, though that probably doesn't mean much to you right now. We could drop you off on a station, or you could stay onboard."

"Sal'kiiran space…" he mused. "That's not within your Federation territory, is it? So it's new for you as well, am I correct?" The man's eyes began to twinkle, like sunlight over water.

Kristiana quirked a brow. "You've been reading up on what is and isn't in Federation territory?" She asked. He seemed well in the know for someone without memories. "The Sal'Kirrans have become Federation members, we're setting up a Federation presence in their region of space. Hence the task force we're escorting. Military presence, civilian colonists, materials, the works. This'll be an ongoing mission." None of that information was classified, she knew.

The man shrugged. "What can I say? I seem to have little need for sleep and I had to spend the first night in Sickbay – I believe I saw you there, as well as a few others, but you were asleep. So I read up on both this ship and the Federation, history and main species, and then I was deemed good to go. It must've been an older version since the Sal'kiirans weren't mentioned."

"Yeah I was. I got wounded, still recovering, but I should be fine," she spoke as with a wince she rose to her feet again, using her cane for support. "I should get back to my duties. It was - nice, to meet you though," Kris gave a soft, but honest smile. She meant it. "I'll see you around, I'm sure."

"Yes. To answer your question – if given the option, I'd like to stick around. Maybe I can make myself useful to this crew in some way… After all, it looks like I wouldn't be the only stray which got taken in." He smiled again as he recalled his encounter with the fighter AI.

Acting on a sudden impulse – which came from stars knew where, probably that same place which felt sadness about a broken tech stick and which knew that there were dark places in the deep voids of space – he jumped up and extended both hands. "Give me your hand," he said to Kristina, and there was a strange urgency in his words.

She was hesitant, though he seemed friendly enough. After a moment of regarding him with an amount of suspicion she did give him her right hand.

He held her hand between his own. Hers felt warmer than his, though moments later a stream of light, golden tinged with red, surrounded both his hands and her own. It came from him, from somewhere deep inside, was absorbed by Kris and vanished almost as soon as it had come. It felt… strange, the light had an invigorating quality to it, and when it left him it made him feel at once exhilerated and spent. "Woo boy," he whispered and released Kristiana's hands. Was it his imagination or did a few last sparks jump up?

Then they were gone, and it felt as if he had lost something, or as if whatever it was that he had done had extinguished the final dying embers of a fire which had raged within just a short while ago. Well, not literally, but something indiscribable close to this.

It wasn't a bad feeling, per se. More a clear demarcation mark between the unknown person he had been before and the as-yet-unknown person he was becoming.

Kris almost pulled her hand back, as it happened. She did stiffen a bit and narrow her eyes in suspicion, watching him carefully. If it'd felt in any way unpleasant she would've pulled back. Instead she led him do his thing, taking a step back and examining her hand closely, before looking at him again. ".. What did you do?" she asked in a low voice, misgiving in her tone.

"I… have no idea," the man replied slowly. "Something I felt you needed which I could give, is perhaps the closest I can come to it." He looked at her, but she didn't seem to be much different than before. At least, not visibly, but she somehow felt more robust, stronger, more… And there it was again, a word beyond recall, a shadow rising from the depths and then withdrawing again before it could be grasped.

The change was subtle, though. It took Kris a few moments to realize it herself. She tapped her walking cane on the ground again, then looked at it with a puzzled expression, tilting her head a bit. She rolled her shoulders, balled her fists and relaxed again, before looking at him. "I - don't know what you did, but - " she trailed off, not even sure of things herself. Thoroughly confused, she called the exit and left, with a considerably brisker pace than she'd been able to muster when she'd come in.

"So it helped then," the man said to the empty holodeck. "That's good."

Though in the wake of this strange event, he felt he had spent enough time in a simulated environment. He, too, called the exit and strolled out, twirling the wizard's staff idly between his fingers as he left.


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