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Names And Ghosts

Posted on Sat Dec 9th, 2023 @ 5:55pm by Ka'see 'Cassie' Anderson (*) & Liha t'Ehhelih

Mission: Fractures
Location: SS Mary Rose - 2304
Timeline: Variant Time Line - Future
2478 words - 5 OF Standard Post Measure

It was better than waking up in sickbay but Cassie still found herself in a state of disorientation as she navigated the unfamiliar surroundings aboard the SS Mary Rose. Although she knew she was still on the same ship, an eerie silence hung in the air, and the place felt strangely empty. Her heart raced as she recalled passing a sealed area where the absence of atmosphere had sent shivers down her spine.

Turning a corner in the dimly lit corridor, she collided with someone, and a startled yelp escaped her lips. As she looked up, her anxiety transformed into relief as she saw the familiar face of Liha before her. However, a lingering unease gnawed at her, and she desperately hoped it was the Liha she knew. She was starting to believe that she was no longer where she had been with Delaney and Liddem in the future but she had lost them in the blink of an eye and stepped through the doorway of sickbay to being in a different corridor.

Cassie could not help but offer a weak attempt at humour to break the tension. "Strange day, huh?" she greeted, her voice wavering as she tried to mask her underlying fear with a forced smile.

Liha paused a moment, looking at the woman. Was this the Cassie she knew or a different one? Given that Cassie seemed to be one of the few constants across the timelines popping in and out of places like some holodeck gone buggy, it was hard to say. "Definitely," she replied, able to put enough sincerity in that noncommittal sentiment that it should suffice as a reply.

"You look like you have seen some stuff... past or future?" Cassie mumbled as she leant against the wall weakly. She had not slept well and even being unconscious in the future for a while had not helped sort out the sleep debt she owed.

There was a pause as Liha weighed the question. Past Cassie might or might not know about the temporal fissures. Future Cassie probably would, but then there was no real risk of temporal paradox here even if it was future Cassie. "Past," she said finally, and half her mouth dipped in a frown. "I don't recommend it - gets complicated trying not to tangle timelines."

Cassie nodded as she weighed up her own thoughts and feelings. “Future even worse.” Cassie rubbed her eyes and shook her head. “I have no idea how we ended up in this mess. I remember the Temperance then I woke up in a future sickbay.” She did not need to tell the woman about her future self yet.

"Not asking." Liha had no interest in knowing whatever future Cassie had seen that was worse. Her father had been a physicist, and she'd heard discussions of temporal theory. She hadn't paid great attention - certainly not like her sister had - but she'd listened enough to know nothing was fixed, but knowing too much had a tendency to lead to the paradox of causing the problem by trying to avoid it. "That way lies what humans call 'Cassandra paradox'. Though honestly, I'm not certain the past I was in wasn't an alternate timeline. There was a version of you we were told to avoid, but her surname was McAvoy."

“Heard of it.” Cassie was no way near a physicist nor was it anywhere near her favourite but she knew enough to not come out and tell the woman. But Cassie froze as she heard the name McAvoy and turned from where she had been trying to work out which way was the best to try and find a way to let them know where they were. “That is my … I guess humans call maiden name. I was born Ka’see McAvoy.” She admitted crossing her arms across her stomach.

Liha tipped her head trying to parse that into something that made sense. Maiden was one of those finnicky earth terms that could refer to a lot of different things - young woman, virgin, first, execution device... Given the context, first seemed most likely to fit. "So your first surname was McAvoy? Did you have to change it to go into hiding at some point?"

Cassie smiled as she indicated the corridor and started down the corridor as she decided. “I got married.” Cassie explained what she knew was going to be the a foreign concept for the woman. She had never given herself to the wrong person.

Uh-huh... An eyebrow slanted upward. "...and your husband was in hiding so you had to make sure no one could track him through you?"

“No…” Cassie raised an eyebrow as she watched the woman do the same. “You met Johnathan. Things are different for some of them.” Cassie commented before she paused not entirely sure the woman had met the man properly other than the last few months of him being onboard when she had already moved forward with her life.

"Yes..." Briefly. She'd not gotten to know him particularly well, but she was aware he'd existed and had been Cassie's husband. His surname had been Anderson, but she'd naturally assumed that he had taken Cassie's name. Apparently not. While most humans she knew of kept their names after marriage (like normal people), she recalled now that Burnie had mentioned that some followed a tradition from some section of ancient earth where the woman took the man's surname. He'd said it was mostly ethnic or religious tradition though sometimes it was just that the man had a more pronounceable surname. But McAvoy was not difficult to pronounce. "But why would you take his name? Most humans don't do that anymore, right?"

“I wanted the same last name as my ‘future children,” She straight up lied before she sighed and shook her head turning to Liha as they came to a turbo lift that was open and looked like it was working. “Do you really want to know all of this?”

That answer made even less sense. Children belonged to their mother's house, even Vulcans hadn't abandoned that clear common sense. "I don't especially care, I was just curious. I'd thought I had at least some understanding of Vulcan culture by now." Her mouth twisted sourly. "And it's not like I can ask Burnie about human things now."

“My culture? Im from a time where there are very few hybrids. I was accepted by neither…” Cassie blurted out before she coughed uncomfortable by the outburst. “Do you think it safe?” Cassie asked incubated the turbo lift leaning in to inspect it a little.

"Accepted by neither, so you went with the weirdest human customs. O-kay..." Liha shook her head. She hadn't belonged anywhere, to any side, for decades now, but she couldn't imagine being lost enough to surrender her identity for a spouse. She'd reclaimed her own name after Romulus and half the Empire had been destroyed. It had been strategic when she'd gone back, intending to join the Republic side in the Civil War, because anyone with a false or questionable identity would be instantly suspect. But even when she'd abandoned that for the sake of her brother, she hadn't been able to bring herself to go back to burying her own name again.

Of course, she'd been an adult; Cassie had been faced with confusion over her identity since childhood. She threw a wry smile, making the comment more snarky joke than judgment. Then went with the change of topic to more immediate matters. "As to this being safe? Your guess is as good as mine. Probably about as safe and anywhere right now."

Cassie shot the woman a look but said nothing as she silently stepped into the lift and pressed the terminal and watched as it painfully came alive and the door closed slowly. "This is SS Mary Rose but I have no idea where we are in... If you went to the past and I went to the future logically we are moving between times," Cassie murmured as she tried to make a little sense of the issues that were in front of them.

"Maybe." Liha wasn't her sister. Vriha would probably have an entire working theory based on advanced temporal physics that no one else here could understand. Well, maybe Burnie, if he were conscious. He didn't say much about his past, but she'd heard him get into an argument about temporal mechanics once. Granted, he was half-drunk and kept using phrases like 'timey-whimey' but he seemed to have the other guy back on his heels over temporal branch interference or whatever they'd been on about (she hadn't been a 100% sober either). But she knew enough from her Galae pilot training to understand the basic theory of time warps and why they were both a bad idea and insanely hard to pull off correctly. Not that a lot of people hadn't tried - of the pilots that Hobus hadn't taken, nearly a tenth had vanished is attempts to time warp back and save Romulus, or at least their own families (She liked to think a few had succeeded, and wisely disappeared into some remote colony or outpost since the Tal'Shiar version Temporal Investigations was a office you did NOT want knocking on your door).

"I'm no expert, but if some kind of time fragmentation occurred, we can't count on linear progression between temporal pockets. Or even that their position will be stable."

Cassie nodded. She had come to the same conclusion as the woman most likely at the same time as they had both been to different times and experienced different things. "Nope, but I do believe that it has something to the issues the ship was experiencing before we met the Temperance," Cassie said lining up a few ideas that had been swirling around in her head. "Have you seen Burnie?" She knew something had happened to him in the Grotto like it had happened to her to a lesser degree so it made sense it was most likely the same thing.

"...yes." The response was tight, tense. Liha's jaw worked, thinking of her last sight of him, catatonic in a biobed from her grandmother's time. "When we took that hit, he went down. No outward injury, but whatever was wrong in brain just... snapped."

The turbo lift staggered to a stop and the doors slowly opened to reveal the corridor that led to the bridge.

Liha peered cautiously through the door. No old style Starfleet uniforms, so that was a plus, right?

"2243?" Cassie asked quietly checking where Burnie was. If he was there at the very least he was safe with people whom Cassie would trust with her life. Cassie stepped out herself and looked up and down before she stopped pressing Liha back into the lift beside her. "Shh..." She whispered as a shadow passed along the corridor.

"Come out with your hands up?" A familiar voice called. "I saw you and I sense you."

"Jessaho?" Cassie commented.

It didn't sound like their Jea, and for a moment Liha considered just closing the door and heading to a different deck. There had to be some benefit to tripping timelines whenever you moved around, right? But the other side of that was that any other option might be worse. That didn't mean she was just walking out into whatever this scenario was. "It's Cassie and Liha," she said. "Which if you can sense us, you know. So why do want our hands up?"

"Because you are dead." The voice of Jeassaho came back. She was unnerved but at least this time with a timey whimey event it was not herself but other people she had used to know. That was not at all surprising after going to a future so this had to be another future from where they had been when they had faced the Temperance. Cassie raised an eyebrow but slowly stepped out with her hands up to see Jeassaho standing with a phaser looking very pregnant.

Dead? This future sounded even less promising than whatever one Cassie had just come from ...unless this was the one she'd come from. "Okay, we'll just be going then," Liha said, stopping at the turbolift door. "Since I'd really rather not play around with any temporal paradoxes pre-determining winding up in this future."

“Get out of the damn lift Liha. Goddess I’d forgotten how fickle you could be.” Jeassaho commented slowly lowering her phaser to look over them both.

"Fickle? That's a funny way to say 'has common sense'," she snarked, but stepped out of the lift.

“This is a different future than the one I was in.” Cassie hissed.

“So it’s still happening then? Been about six hours since I met myself.” Jeassaho knew at least she was not going to get sick from the pair being there unlike herself.

"Like 6 hours here would map hour for hour across temporal anomalies," Liha puffed. "But since we're here, yes, it's a good bet that things are still whoi'eri in our timeline."

"I do not remember this happening," Jessaho said with a shrug as she holstered her phaser and looked at them both. "Jax is going to go spare when I tell him about you too."

"Maybe you do not need to yet." Cassie offered helpfully.

"We can just go back into the lift and see when it takes us," Liha agreed. Though she felt some relief, taking it as this Jessaho not remembering this incident as a sign that this was a variant future, she had no desire to hang around in some broken down depressing variant.

“It does not really work like that.” Jeassaho said smiling fondly at the Romulan. “It is good to hear from you again though even if your snarking ass has not changed.” She laughed glancing at Cassie still smiling. “And you… just less snarking.”

“Well how does it work?” Cassie asked turning to look at Liha but she was no longer next to her. She spun around several times to see where Liha had gone but she was no where.

“Like that. You come and go as you please or whatever is happening to you.” The future version of Jeassaho said sadly as she watched her old friend looking confused and trying to make sense of it in the only way a scientist. She was not sure logic was going to solve it but she wished Cassie at least a little bit of luck in that records. “Why don’t you at least come out of the life and …” Jeassaho started but stalled as she saw that she was now very much talking to an empty lift.

Who was next going to visit? Was the bigger question for the Captain. What other ghost was going to turn up to haunt her.


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