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What Comes to Pass

Posted on Tue Apr 2nd, 2024 @ 10:17am by Delaney O'Callaghan & Jeassaho Kea (*)

Mission: Fractures
Location: SS Mary Rose, decomissioned
Timeline: Future Fracture
2726 words - 5.5 OF Standard Post Measure

In all her years of space travel, Eva had rarely stopped to consider the difference between a ship at port and a ship under power. Very early on, that might have been a fault of the type of vessel she'd served on, since the large tourist barges didn't really manoeuvre in the vacuum so much as lumber through it as a mud-logged bison might wade through a waterhole. Since then, the only probable excuse was her own perpetual distraction across a myriad of choices because if there was one constant in the universe it was that, even medicated, her mind liked to try and hold the entire capacity of its operational load as one ongoing, complex jigsaw puzzle. Even after she'd got the telepathic overload under control there wasn't much to be done about compartmentalising the rest of it. She lived with every experience vying for priority at any given time and that was her reality. It created an energy that at least some people seemed to enjoy.

Very few times, the comparison between locomotion and stagnation had become apparent because it represented a significant life change. She'd noticed it, for example, when she'd first returned to Earth with the intent to settle in one place and build a life's purpose around herself. When wanderlust had seen her leave that enterprise to the more capable, Eva had recognised the contrast once again when her medical and psychological requirements had necessitated the sojourn on Betazoid. As much as she had been aware of her own reaction to the change in circumstance, however, she'd never really stopped to attribute it to a physical disconnect. She'd always assumed it felt uncomfortable because she thrived on the concept of being constantly in motion. What she had failed to realise, at least until recently, was how much her own rhythm was in-tune with the internal mechanisms that kept a space-born ship functioning.

There had been a long night just recently pondering that very revelation, staring out at an uncommon landscape, and for one who had always lived her truth through her music, she could at least make sense of the kinship between heartbeat and engine pulse. Now that the week was drawing to a close and the systems were in the final throes of being taken permanently offline, there was a sadness that was sometimes overwhelming in the realisation that she couldn't share the new discovery with the people she'd grown to trust with all those untidy aspects of herself that often felt like flaws without the perspective of loved ones to reframe. It was a simple thing, to reflect on the absence of constant vibration and how quiet her own body felt without it, but she would have liked to mention it. There were a lot of things, really, so many conversations left unfinished. That just seemed to be the way of it.

Behind her, the personal quarters were darkened, empty now of over a decade's worth of memories. They'd given her one final night, a chance to make peace with the inevitable, and to make good with a promise made when the last chip had fallen and a dozen of impossible decisions had been taken out of her hands. She had expected to feel failure, and the guilt that went with it, but she was too old to be drawn in by old insecurities these days and, besides, what was one more loss in a long line of last goodbyes? A decade, Rueben had pointed out, was a lot longer than they'd expected to have.

And then, like all the others, he was gone too.

Eva sat at viewport they'd both spent hours of sleepless nights staring out of and closed her eyes as the sound of the door opening announced the dwindling countdown. She exhaled slowly.

"I'm coming."

Jeassaho was confused she knew she was on SS Mary Rose but she had no idea of the when as nothing about the configuration had made sense. Nothing was operating and the ship seemed to be drifting as she looked out a porthole before she decided to go on a search for someone. The ship seemed lifeless and deserted which was not a bad think for her mentally. She needed a moment's rest but she needed somewhere slightly more secluded and out of the way to that. Closer to the bridge would be better for her cause she could work more out once she woke up.

It was as she walked past a compartment that she heard a familiar voice and stopped. "Eva?" She questioned slightly confused by her appearance on the ship.

It wasn't shock, Eva decided, as the whip of her head upwards confirmed disjointed recognition that was difficult to trust at first because it had been so long. If anything, what burned in her chest was the sudden urge to burst out laughing, not entirely a rational response and yet there was something to be said for the timing of fate's little amusements. It had been years since the last visit, long enough back that there had been a tentative agreement that whatever had caused them had clearly resolved itself and that no more would be coming. It had left a sense of incompletion, of course, especially for Rueben who had anticipated an opportunity for some sort of final closure. It seemed almost cruel that this final displacement, the only one that had truly mattered to him, should come now, so close to the end of it all. The now-older Betazoid supposed she could at least be grateful that it had occurred in time for her to be aware of it; ten more minutes and Jeassaho would have found an entirely empty ship.

"Hey you." What else was there to say? Though not full-blooded, there was enough stamina in her Betazoid genes for Eva to appear older without it being particularly over-stated. If she'd started to turn grey yet, she hadn't allowed it take hold, though her hair was a natural brunette and her naturally-olive skin showed the odd pucker around the eyes to match the weariness that rested tucked behind her gaze. In many ways, she hadn't changed much; in others, deeper beneath the surface, she couldn't have been more different. "I'd say you're late but I'm not all that sure that you are."

Jeassaho stepped further into the room and took the woman in better. She looked older than the woman remembered so this meant she was further in the future than she had ever been before. Something about the way she spoke was sad but satisfied with how things were. She sounded resigned to whatever was going on.

“Hello...I think I might be late for something but I am not sure what.” The woman looked around confused still. “What is going on?” She wondered finally thinking that it might be the appropriate question. The woman did not look surprised to see her there younger than the woman which meant that she had experienced visitors before.

It seemed strange now to consider that she'd never really given any thought of what this exchange might look like. Eva had honestly never expected it to involve her a great deal, outside fate's constant insistence that these time ghosts turn up in her path more than any other. It hadn't always been the case but it had happened often enough that Eva had felt inexplicably responsible, as if something about her return was dragging these glimpses from a past hopefully far removed from their own. In the case of Jeassaho, the plan had always been to extract herself immediately, and now...there was no point. There was no one else to bide the time until the band snapped back and stole the woman away again. She smiled wanly.

"I won't lie, we did have some hope of seeing you a little earlier than this."

“We?” Jeassaho asked before came to realisation with a nod and moved to sit on the bulky container and looked around. “I have no control over when and when I go unfortunately. But I am guessing the we is you and Reuben?” She wondered looking around thinking she must be at least a decade and a half forward for things to feel so different on the ship.

A slow nod acted both as confirmation and acceptance. Here was the second half of the dynamic Eva had done her best to nurture since her return, the missing component that had left an unfillable hole and yet had ultimately been generous enough to step side and allow its companion half a measure of happiness towards the end. Unlike Reuben, Jeassaho was a telepath, and it removed the responsibility for navigating the emotional undercurrents somewhat. Eva had become so accustomed to knowing when to hold her tongue that it felt somewhat of a relief to finally be relieved of the need.

"He's gone," she stated quietly, and didn't bother to hide her own sadness at the news. Loving the same man was not in itself a crime, and the early years after the other woman's death had involved enough unspoken boundaries for Eva to be relatively assured they'd done right by Jeassaho's memory. "A few months back now, didn't quite make his 60th."

The telepath could feel the heartache and confusion like it was her own for a moment before she pulled back and nodded. “I always said he would not make it with the whisky he drinks.” Jeassaho commented sadly. It was a sadness but it did not overwhelm her because somewhere and somewhen there was a version of her husband looking for her. “I am glad he was loved when I was no longer there.” Jeassaho knew in her heart she would want him happy if she was no longer there. They had been through so much for her to not want him to carry on and live his life.

There had honestly never been a moment where Eva had doubted how the other woman might regard her husband's attempts to move forward. There had not been much of an opportunity to get to know Jeassaho half as much as she would have liked but there was an understanding there, a symmetry of philosophy that was in no small part responsible for Rueben's sentiments as time progressed. Eva smiled, grateful nonetheless to have her own grief respected, and dipped her head in acknowledgement. "We got to meet quite a few of your crew across the years." A soft huff of laughter conveyed a small sense of nostalgia. "It took him a long time to stop looking for you."

Dark eyes, wearied by a lifetime's burdens, studied Jeassaho for a long moment in silence. Eva had no idea what Rueben would have said at this point, they'd fallen pretty much into a very similar script that sought not to give too much away, for all certain things were difficult to hide. The timing felt too significant, however, not to mention there was the small matter of urgency giving the impending arrival of officials ready to escort her home. Rosie would be powered down then, and Eva was anxious that Jeassaho not be left in the dark to suffocate.

"She's being retired," she admitted, reaching out to run her fingertips along the bulkhead. "There's not enough of us left now to see past the wasted investment." The last words were not her own, tinged in a slight bitterness that came from having the decision delivered as more of an ultimatum. "I tried to raise the capital to keep her going but..." Eva hunched. Even her business acumen, refocused away from managing her bar to assume Nollel's duties once the woman had been forced to leave, had eventually exhausted itself.

Jeassaho knew that story. They had just had a massive refit but another couple of decades added on the ship it would require so much more work. “Times are different. She did well getting to nearly a 2 hundred years old. Not many ships get to that in active conditions.” Jeassaho praised feeling the woman’s anxiety. “These visits do not normally last long. I am sure I will be gone long before she’s turned off. Don’t you have somewhere to go? Someone to be with?”

Against the backdrop of darkness, illuminated only by the emergency lighting to avoid draining the system entirely, Eva's silence spoke volumes at first. There was a reason she was the last aboard as the ship was towed to her final resting place, a simple distribution shortfall that meant anyone who might have been so-inclined to join her was now too far away to have made it in time. Some were out of contact, others had simply relocated well away from the troubled sector and retreated to the safety of political neutrality. She hadn't rushed to involve them because it was better this way; safer. Rosie had enough ghosts walking her corridors.

"I'll return to Betazed to see family," Eva eventually replied, intentionally evasive. "After that... Well, I'll have to see what fate has in mind." Her dark eyes held the younger woman's for a moment. "I'll be fine. I'm certainly not ready to lie down just yet. I just hope..." She trailed off, aware that saying too much was no guarantee of positive outcome. "I hope you can make it work. It's a little easier, knowing that somewhere out there, you're all getting a shot at a different story."

“The universe and timelines are so fickle. Every step we make it in another universe and timeline it means something. And I wish your future is what you deserve. Karma goes both ways and I hope you get the good things that are needed.” Jeassaho said feeling her own brand of comforts from knowing that in another timeline things were different but people had a good life despite things that had happened.

"Give me a call some time." There was a familiar dry humour in the otherwise gentle chuckle. "I find it hard to believe there's any universe out there where I didn't feel like I left before things got properly interesting." No reference to whether she'd endured the same circumstances just prior to leaving, just the same general acceptance that the timing hadn't been quite right. " careful." Eva hesitated, struggling once more with weighing up the benefit of forewarning against the tragedy of accidentally triggering events. "Maybe have a little more to do with who he hires, I think he'd...prefer your insight."

A loud warning klaxon overhead interrupted and Eva turned her attention to the ceiling for a moment, recognising it as the signal she'd been told would require her to move immediately to the transporter room. "Time's up."

When she lowered her gaze again, the other woman was gone.

It was difficult not to wonder if they'd done enough without going too far. Little hints every time a new arrival had blinked in and out, attempts to provide some guidance without going into specific details that were bound to be different and, therefore, only likely to create a confusing lack of context and anticipation. As ironic as the timing of this final visit had been, Eva was glad, in a way, that Rueben hadn't been there for it. Life had been challenging enough without wondering if he'd sent another version of his wife unprepared to meet her own end.

The sound of the comm. channel activating roused her.

"Yes, I'm here. Take her all the way in."

There was a slight hesitation that gave Eva time to square her shoulders and resume forward.

"I'm aware, but this is how I would like to handle it." The saleyards would keep her inhabitable, keep her functional enough for boarding and tours. With fresh purpose, Eva understood now the importance of that. Her time with the Mary Rose was coming to an end but, somewhere out there, a group of people were inexplicably drawn to her, over and over again. The last thing she wanted was for another visitor to turn up to a lack of breathable atmosphere and sub-zero temperatures. "She deserves a chance."

As the corridor fell silent again, Eva slowed for one final moment to reach out with her senses.

And decided to take the long way.


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