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A Moment Of Peace

Posted on Wed Apr 10th, 2024 @ 9:37pm by Nollel Livaam (*) & Chief Engineer Michael Burnstein

Mission: Fractures
Location: Hydroponics Bay
1764 words - 3.5 OF Standard Post Measure

Nollel had no idea where she was in time on the SS Mary Rose but all she knew was that she needed a moment to reflect and think on her plan to find Michael and to get a message to anyone to figure out what was going on. She pressed the door release on the hydroponics bay and felt a moment of relief as she saw that it was bursting with life and had her fairy lights up that she had chucked up for a random date night for her and Michael months back after leaving his family on Earth so they could recapture some of that.

It felt like such a long time ago now as she activated the lights and turned off the main compartment lights and just stood there under it breathing in what nature could offer. Maybe it was just that the situation felt tough as she was alone with no one to talk to in hours since she had seen Liha and she had been through several fractures in time now and seen so many things that it was like a kaleidoscope in her head. Borg, empty ship, thriving ship, Jeassaho as Captain, Liha as Captain, her wedding and the moment she had seen in her own eyes when she was going to make the bomb, there was just so much.

Burnie sat up and shook his head. Wow - time slipping and not blacking out! It was still a weird sensation, one he'd never thought he'd miss, but at this particular deja vu a slow smile crept across his face. If not for enough prior experience to assume nothing in an unknown timeline, he'd have pumped a fist in the air and yelled 'I am back!' Instead, what he did was to rise slowly and quietly, looking around to get bearings. It looked Rosie's hydroponics bay - there were even the fairy lights from a date with Nollel. That had been... months ago? Overall, a point in time he wouldn't at all mind revisiting ...except that two Burnies showing up for date night might be an issue for more than just the timeline. Of course, he wasn't sure if they'd ever taken those lights down, and there was no guarantee he was even in the right timeline. Hmm...

He ventured a more careful look around. It was dark with only the little lights for a soft glow, but he spotted the woman standing in the midst of it. The way the light touched her hair made his breath catch, but he could see this was not as she'd been on that date night. There was something about her posture as though drawn in on herself, weary. As he made his way closer, he could see she looked like she had been on some sort of hike, or forced march. Which as he thought about it was reasonable description of wading through temporal weirdness.

The sensible thing would be to wait, observe, pick up more clues as to where/when he was. But she looked so alone, he couldn't bear to stand there just watching. Hoping he existed here, and that she didn't hate him in whenever this was, he moved from cover. "Nollel?" he queried softly.

Nollel took in several breaths and looked up at the lights again as she tried to centre herself to leave the sanctuary she had created for a moment and to find out where she was. She heard footsteps but ignored them until a familiar voice spoke up. She turned and took in Michael, he looked no different and in that moment she did not care she took several steps forward before she paused. “Hey…” She questioned stopping herself from just throwing herself at him. She did not know this Michael, it might be a version who hated her in some far-off future where she had hurt him or something.

"Hey." He came closer, giving her a hesitant smile. "Things have been, uh... difficult..." Probably. She looked like she was trying to recenter after something rough. He just wasn't sure what. Damn, but he hated not knowing what Nollel he was talking to. He pulled at the back of his neck. "Are you okay?"

“Tell me about it.” She commented looking at him finally seeing something that she had not in the minutes before. It made her step forward and wrap her arms around him tightly and bury her face in his neck. “No but it’s you .. really you… I found you.” She whispered the relief evident in her voice.

He startled a moment at the hug, and then it was as though all the tension and worry suddenly released. "It's you, my Nollel," he almost sighed in relief, wrapping his arms around her and drawing her tight. Then pulled back slightly, looking down at her. "How did you know it was me?"

“You are wearing the same clothes.” She revealed. “I splattered paint on your sleeve as you tried to give me a kiss as I finished something.” She said indicated to his sleeve and the white paint.

He glanced at his sleeve and laughed. "I've never been so happy to have not changed my shirt. I wasn't sure, especially because given the last time I saw you, I expected you'd be looking for me laid out unconscious. I guess you've seen me somewhere in the future and knew I'd been mostly cured?"

“Kinda. I ended up on the ship in the future and your name was still on it so I at least hoped that something was going right. You had left the past and the past place anyone had seen you.” She settled back close to him just savouring the moment of something going right.

Thank God for crew rosters... "I wound up... somewhere in the future and the people there fixed me," he explained, deciding to keep it simple and vague - if DTI was going to show up, he wanted her to have completely plausible deniability. "They said there were sending me back to my timeline." He smiled, feeling the comforting warmth of her body. "If I ever see them again, I owe them a huge thanks for pinpointing it well enough to land me near you."

The artist knew that she owed them a lot more than a thank you but right then and there she could do nothing more that just savour the respite they were getting. Nollel was relieved and pulled him by the collar down to kiss for a moment before freeing him. “I have no idea where near me is though…”

"Mm..." He smiled at the kiss. For that moment he didn't care where/when they were. But then the problem-solving side of his mind asserted itself. "Clearly Rosie's hydroponics bay. The question is when, but," he looked around, "your lights are still up so maybe we're near enough to when things went haywire to try to do something about it."

“Yes but it depends on whether it’s before or after.” She answered deciding to weave back through the plants and head towards a console to gather information.

"Hey, even if it's after, maybe we can find out what caused it and pass the info along if we shift backwards or run into other crew," he said, following her.

“We might not be in the right time stream.” Nollel said quickly before she frowned. “It has been a long day.” She said activating the console. It activated to her so that was at the very least a good thing and showed that she was on the crew. “I have seen a lot.”

"I know you must have," he said sympathetically, hugging her from behind. "I'm sorry I was so ...useless... especially when you needed someone with experience with this."

“It is fine. I just worried as I could not find you and a lot off the fractures I went into I was alone and some of them… some of them were scary.” Nollel had never admitted before that she had been scared of anything even when she had been sick thanks to the air filters she had tried to plod on through but the vulnerability showed in her voice as she brought up the crew listing and started to look down it.

There wasn't anything he could have done to change it, but he felt a stab of guilt anyway. What good was having a spouse if he was just another worry rather than back-up so you didn't have to face horrible things alone? "I'm here now, and I'm not going anywhere." He hugged her a little closer, but didn't press for more - there'd be time to talk later and he understood focusing on a problem to not deal with difficult memories or emotions. He was nearly the poster child for it. Or a poster child; Nikedoros had once said it was so endemic to Starfleet personnel that she sometimes wondered if some evaluation for the trait was buried in battery psych tests for potential recruits. "Do you see anyone who should or shouldn't be on there?"

Nollel closed her eyes and put a hand over his hand just enjoying him being there and having everything in place for a moment. They fitted so well together and for several long moments she had thought she had lost him in time. It had been paralyzing to not be able to help him when he had needed it. "No, it looks like the same when I saw it with Liha."

"Okay, so we might be in our own timeline." Given they'd been mid-battle last he recalled, he was happy to see everyone from engineering was still there. "We need to check the stardate."

Nollel did not respond as she brought up more information. “It’s today. Come on. If we’re going to go on another adventure through time we need to get someone to go towards the grotto and whatever is causing the issue.” She declared before pausing for a moment remembering the last time they had been there.

"We can go. I'll be all right now," he said, taking her hand and drawing her along with him. "I just need to pick up a tricorder and tune it for chronitons. That should lead us to whatever's causing this."

Nollel smiled at the fact he had seen her hesitation on going towards the door. If he could go to the grotto they would have at the very least a better chance.


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