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Into the Fire

Posted on Thu Nov 23rd, 2023 @ 12:02pm by Jeassaho Kea (*) & Dr. Izriel "Jaxx" Lonn

Mission: Fractures
Location: Future Fracture
Timeline: Immediately after "Straight from the Frying Pan"
1365 words - 2.7 OF Standard Post Measure

There was nothing quite as disorienting as staring at a person and seeing your own eyes gazing back.

Words of warning hadn't served as much preparation, as it turned out. There weren't a lot of guidebooks on how to navigate the psychology of actually holding a conversation with yourself and though both were representative of a man who was just the type to ponder these things as a hobby, it had never occurred to him to speculate. A conversation like this had a million starting points, each as valid as the next. As the seconds ticked down and the pair stood, unwilling to be the first to shatter the brittle silence, both Betazoids reached a very similar conclusion at practically the same time.

He's not that short.

Izriel, who couldn't figure out if he was the first or second iteration, slowly wet his bottom lip and took some small consolation from the fact he hadn't got utterly lost looking for his intended target. "She said it would be strange."

A slightly older, slightly more careworn look of utter reservation studied him intently. "That probably covers it, yes."

Dual hesitation. Both of them were used to being around people who took control without a second thought.

"We seem to be running into ourselves a lot today."

"Yes, so I heard."

"You've already seen Jeassaho then?"

"Yes, we've...spoken."


"She thinks she's in labour."

As the pair of them ran down the corridor, the younger interloper tried not to wallow in the ridiculousness of enjoying having rendered himself speechless. The priority, after all, was Jeassaho and the baby and probably not the impending final revelation that had already exposed itself enough not to be a complete surprise but which he doubted he'd ever be ready to actually confront. The last laugh was far from secured and likely to be at his expense at this rate.

By the time he skidded to a halt, having nearly overshot the doorway in his haste to keep up, the older Jaxx was already fussing. As suspicion had warned, there was very little about their interaction that screamed doctor and patient. It possibly wasn't the time to dwell on it but it kept occurring to him that he wasn't the first of his timestream to experience this. More than that, Jeassaho had experienced it.

In the end, all he could do was try to stay in the background of the telepathic slurry as best he could.

Contractions? How far apart?

Jeassaho in the moment of being alone in her quarters have wished that she had made the younger version of her fiancée go with her. What if he disappeared before he found Jax. But all the thoughts disappeared as he appeared and gathered her up from where she was standing leaning over the sofa. “Five minutes or so.” She admitted. “I thought it was just braxton hicks when Liha and Cassie were there.” She added before remembering that she had not told him that yet.

The expression of resigned, gentle frustration on the other telepath's face was instantly relatable. "Can you make it to sickbay?" Behind that familiar acceptance, a swirling mess of tangled emotions blurred the line between attending physician and expectant father. The general condition of the ship suggested a reduction in quality of medical facilities, and the mixture of professional obligation and paternal concern was being tempered only by a very intentional focus aimed at sparing Jeassaho from the distraction. All births were high stake situation; this one was no exception.

The woman stood up straight. “Yeah…” She whispered as she doubled over and gripped Jaxx hand as the contraction hit hard. “Last time was no where near this bad.” She hissed thinking back to her and Reuben’s child that she lost.

She's still face up, just as stubborn as her mama, he reminded her silently, one arm already around her waist. Just concentrate on your connection, nurture the bond; remember she will take your lead on this.

A glance upwards at the familiar stranger hovering in the doorway saw the older Izriel pause just fractionally before reverting, unnecessarily some might say, to spoken word. "Sickbay hasn't moved. Do you think you can beat us there and start setting up?" Once again struck by the oddness of making eye contact with himself, both iterations lingered in the moment, a tether stretched taut from either end; an entreaty to one best equipped to empathise with its intensity. Jaxx understood then how isolated they were, gained an understanding as to why things felt so empty in a ship he had always considered to be quite a bustling community, at least from first impressions. Brave and bold, tinged with the desperation of those who had grasped hold of the only flicker of hope amidst extreme loss.

He nodded, hesitated only long enough to share a similar look with Jeassaho, and then turned to lead the way.

The woman ignored the conversation between the pair as she concentrated on soothing the baby and enjoying the sensation between them. It was was always stronger between mother and child but she hoped that Jax would feel it too. “I am remembering but it’s just hard.” She hissed through the contraction as it lingered. She stood up and gripped his arm to support as they started to walk to the sickbay.

"We'll go slow," came the gentle reassurance. "Just tell me when you need to stop."

Sickbay hasn't moved.

That single assertion had failed to take into account just how much lighting played into a sense of orientation. Only several branching corridors into his journey and Jaxx, who was not quite familiar enough to be an expert on the ship's layout yet in any case, was almost certain he had made a wrong turn. At the very least, he had probably opted for the long route, which wasn't ideal when his fiancé was about to give birth to their daughter.

He didn't have enough time to comprehend that sentence as more than a simple statement of fact.

A turbolift was necessary and deposited him at the end of another unhelpful stretch of corridor, occasionally broken up by non-descript doors that showed definite signs of excessive repair. There also wasn't enough room inside his overwhelmed mind to make much sense of the state of the ship, or why he had yet to encounter another living soul outside the two, soon-to-be-three, trailing behind. Clearly something catastrophic had occurred, there was too much about the state of things that hinted at more than just the natural entropy of time. Rhueben was dead. It was possible many of the others had suffered a similar fate.

He didn't want to know.

The further into the gloom Izriel travelled, the more he was certain of that. Whatever phenomenon had befallen his version of events, there was surely an arbitrary amount of time before the curtain closed on this reality, and whilst it seemed to be prominent enough to attract several of the crew, they had no way of intentionally navigating the time skips that he knew of. Information, at least the kind that hinted at futures that were impossible to predict, wasn't any kind of comfort. Izriel was astute enough to know that if he spent the rest of his days trying to control what was to come, the only guarantee was that he'd wind up disappointed to some degree. Or making things worse. Ignorance was safer, even if temptation was doing its best to convince him otherwise.

A turn around a corner was interrupted by the sudden shudder of a ship lurching under impact.

Before he'd had a chance to peel himself off the wall, a second shudder almost sent him to the ground. He staggered, flat palm pressed against the scorched metal and took several steps before a third barrage sent him flying. Several decks away, the faint tendrils of telepathic broadcast left him with a fleeting sense of panic that he could do nothing to alleviate.

The world flashed white.

I'm sorry.


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