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The Time Traveller And Her Father, Chapter 2

Posted on Jan 05, 2020 @ 3:22am by Ambassador Xana Bonviva
Edited on on Jan 05, 2020 @ 3:22am

Mission: Last Days of Empire

Even The Smallest Things Matter

Location: BAJOR - Tinuviel Valley
Time: Dahila is 13; Gene is 13

The girl startled him.

“Hello,” she said, and he nearly jumped out of his skin.

He hadn’t heard her walk up, which wasn’t all that strange considering. He’d been running a new fence line to keep the woollies in. It involved digging holes, driving fence posts, and running the new lines close enough to each other the woollies couldn’t squeeze between them. He’d gotten into a sort of internal/external rhythm, a meditational state of being perhaps. He hadn’t heard her, and he’d expected he was alone out there in the far reaches of his family’s Holding.

“Sorry,” she said. “I didn’t mean to startle you.”

He wanted to say “You didn’t,” but that would have been a lie, and his parents hadn’t raised a liar.

“I wasn’t expecting anyone out here,” he admitted, taking the moment to look her over

“You’re Bolian,” he observed.

“I get that a lot,” she smiled. “It’s the skin, right?”

He liked her smile. It seemed somehow familiar. And her sense of humor.

He nodded. “Don’t get many Bolians on Bajor. And even fewer out here in the Holdings.” He looked a little closer. “One of your parents was Bajoran.”

“My father,” she said, dropping her eyes. The earring twinkled in the morning light. It made him remember he wasn’t wearing his. Everybody thought he should wear it. But he’d never met any of the gods, and he wasn’t going to do something to honor someone he’d never met.

As they talked, he’d walked up to the hopper, the beat up little tractor he’d used to pull the cart with all the posts and line out to this hillside. He picked up a canteen, poured some water into a cup and offered it to her. She took it, sipped a bit, then slammed it back and handed it back to him. He drank out of the canteen itself.

“You haven’t come far,” he said. “You’re not tired. Your boots aren’t coated with dirt and mud. And you’re not terribly thirsty. You’ve only been here a little while.”

“All true,” she said.

“This isn’t wire,” she observed, fingering the lines he’d brought.

“No. They’re organic. We don’t use metal wire for the woollies. We tried it, but woollies teeth will cut straight through it if they decide to take a bite. They’re generally not smart enough to want to escape unless they think that patch of grass over there,” he nodded toward the other side of the road,” looks better than what they have. But once they decide … metal wire fencing won’t stop them.”

“Then what’s this?”

She seemed genuinely interested.

“It’s bio-wire,” he explained. “It’s the young marley vines, cut and spooled before the stalks turn woody. Woollies don’t like the way they taste. Some kind of alkaloid discrepancy maybe. If they take a bite, they spit it out. They don’t generally bite, but this is tough enough to really slow them down. And it’s a weed, so we finally found a purpose for all of it growing in the canyon. Takes a blowtorch to cut it, but it makes good fencing. It’s an experiment of mine. Dad’s letting me try it out here where I’m replacing an old fence line before we let the woollies out in the pasture.”

She smiled again.

He liked that smile.

“What are you doing out here?” he asked.

She paused, thinking over what she would say.

“I’m looking for someone.”

“Chances are, if they live out here, I know them,” he answered.

She’d noticed his lunch box.

“You hungry?” he asked.

“I could eat.”

“Gram makes good pickles. Got some cheese. And a couple sandwiches.”

She nodded, and he dug out the lunch box. He opened the pickle jar and the powerful scent of dill filled the air.

“Gram’s the pickle maker. Uses an old Terran recipe Grampa Devlin brought with him.”

He handed her the pickle jar, and she breathed in the aroma like it was perfume. She took one out and bit into it with a crunch.

She smiled again. “Just like home.”

“Just like home?” he asked. “You’ve been to TERRA.”

She looked at him. “Among other places. BAJOR. TERRA. GATEWAY STATION. VULCAN. BOLARUS IX.”

“You’re a Starfleet brat?”

“I suppose you could say that.”

She was being cautious. He wasn’t sure if she was being careful because of him or something else, but he chose not to push it any further.

They ate in companionable quiet. She was tall and slender, “coltish,” as Grampa Devlin would have described her. There were no colts on BAJOR. That was TERRA. The equines of BAJOR were more like large dogs. And mean tempered. On TERRA, colts were young horses, a bit gangly, but full of energy and curiosity. She was out to see the universe, and he was part of that universe.

He liked that.

He wrapped up the paper that had held his sandwich and stowed it back in his lunch box. Took another sip of water from the canteen.

“So … who you looking for?” he asked.

“McInnis Eugene,” she said, looking straight at him for the first time.

He grinned.

“Then you found him.”


She had no pictures of her father at her age, how was she supposed to know? Perhaps at one time her Grandmother showed her but honestly Dahlia couldn’t have remembered.

“So why were you looking for me?” her father asked. Her father as a damn teenager.

“verengan Ha'DIbaH,” Dahlia muttered to herself in Klingon. Honestly the only good part about taking Klingon for so long was that now she could curse in it.

Gene gave a look, trying to sort out the strange girl next to him. “You not only have lived in 3 different quadrants but you also know Klingon?”

Dahlia gave him a strange look. “Yeah so do you,” she said. This she knew without a doubt. It was (although she’d never admit to it) the entire reason why she took Klingon for years. Her mother explained that her father loved all things Klingon; that when he was stationed in the Delta he hung out at Klingon bar with his friends--

“I don’t know Klingon,” teenager-Gene McInnis pointed out.

The air around them shimmered ever so quickly as Dahlia remembered Q saying: Even the smallest things matter.

She had just told Gene McInnis he knew Klingon. But this Gene McInnis hadn’t learned Klingon. Yet.

“Damn it,” Dahlia muttered.

Gene meanwhile was staring at the girl next to him; the one who had been looking for him and was convinced he spoke Klingon! “Who are you?” he asked, really looking at the dark clothes she wore, the no mud on her heavy boots she wore, the heavy leather jacket, and heavy-kohl lined eyes that lined the golden eyes she had, the shaved head which just made everything about her stand out when it appeared all she wanted to do was hide. She was a contraction.

“Your tractor is broken,” she said changing topics, nodding towards the vehicle off to the side.

Gene sighed. He wasn’t that mechanical; knew enough to get around and that was it. “I figured I’d hike it back--where are you going?”

Dahlia had already gotten up, slung off her jacket and threw that on the seat of the tractor. Fiddling open the hood of the tractor she stuck her head under the hood she started throwing out pieces of the tractor and muttering things like “phased conduit” and “asymmetrical effect”.

Finally she popped her head out and said, “I’ll fix this but I need an E-M seal.”

Gene raised a blonde eyebrow at that and looked at his stuff and said, “I’ve got a screwdriver and my lunch.”

“You want me to fix this with a dill pickle and a screwdriver?” Dahlia asked, raising her own eyebrow. “Dude, seriously?”

Gene folded his arms and glared back. “Work with what we have. We don’t have fancy things out here in the Holding,” he said feeling defensive.

Dahlia felt a bit sensitive at that frown and backed down a little. The only time she met her father and now she pissed him off. Rubbing the back of her neck she thought through this, “Ok, engineers are supposed to resourceful…”

“You’re an engineer?” Gene asked.

The young girl smiled, really smiled at that. “I want to be...someday.” Looking around at what was in the truck she said, “You still have the paper from lunch?”

Gene opened up his lunch box, opened it up, and took out the old, used sandwich paper. “This is what is going to save the tractor?”

“Watch,” Dahlia replied, snatching it away. Making a concoction of sandwich paper, dill pickle juice and yes, the screwdriver (the head of which to bang it into place) managed to make an impromptu seal. Slamming the hood of the tractor shut, she yelled to Gene, “Start it up!”

Gene shook his head, not sure that this was going to work. However when he pushed the ignition, and gunned it, the tractor went off with a sputter and a start as Dahlia whooped it up in the background. “You did it!” he yelled from the seat of the tractor.

“It won’t last long,” she yelled back, as Gene turned off the engine. “But should get you back.”

The air shimmied around them again. Even the smallest things matter.

“This mattered?” Dahlia groaned, as her toes began to hurt. She realized her time was almost up, she ran to the tractor. While running she yelled, “Listen you have no idea how much I wanted to meet you--”

Gene ran after her, “But you just got here--”

Dahlia gave a sympathetic glance over her shoulder. “And I have to go. Trust me on this.”

“Are you sure you don’t want to stay?” Gene pointed out.

“Would love to,” Dahlia said, “trust me would love to but I’m need elsewhere.” As she got to the tractor, she turned to her father and noticed he didn’t have his earring. She felt bad that she wore his earring and she didn’t even believe in the Prophets. She was an atheist; she just wore it to honor him. Yanking off the earring, she traded that for her jacket. “This is why I came, to give you back this. It’s yours.”

Gene frowned at that. His earring? But he didn’t believe in the Prophets. And why would a girl he didn’t know, have his earring. Rubbing the back of his neck he sighed and looked back at the fence trying to think this through and then when he turned back around to say something--

She was gone. The girl who had been here for maybe the space of an hour or two, who was looking for him, had fixed his tractor, told him he knew Klingon, and had given him a d'ja pagh that she said was his was gone.

He didn’t even know her name.

Sitting down on the tractor he looked at the d’ja pagh he studied it. It was different from the ones his family wore. Every d’ja pagh was individualized, of course, but symbolized the family; and this one was a McInnis d’ja pagh.

The d’ja pagh was unique enough to show the symbols of heroism. D'jarra, the social caste, indicated on the earring, showed someone rising up.

And yet it was a McInnis earring; that Gene couldn’t deny.


Location: Space Bubble in the Cosmos
Time: Dahlia is 13; Q is ?

“What did I say?” Q demanded as he and Dahlia sat in a bubble in space.

Dahlia glared at Q. Seriously he was getting on her last nerve. “You said you hated boilerplate mumbo jumbo,” she smirked.

“Insolent child,” Q replied. “I could change you into an amoeba and be on my way.”

Dahlia said nothing but scowled at Q. “I get the small things matter,” she finally said. As Q gave some small golf-claps she pointed out. “Telling him he knew Klingon before he learned it, I get but that’s not my fault.”

“Oh of course not,” he replied insolently.

Dahlia felt her spine stiffen up but continued on. “I didn’t know when my father learned Klingon--”

“Shaky ground. Really do you think a Bajoran out in the sticks is going to learn Klingon?” Q pointed out. Cracking his knuckles he said, “Is that it? I expected more from you.”

The teen girl looked over. “My fixing the tractor should not count.”

“Why? Exercise is good for you,” Q pointed out. “Or I should point out that you derailed McInnis from what was his path? See originally walking home that day, he was going to bump into his neighbor and suddenly not see her as an annoying girl anymore but all those yucky boy hormones will kick in.” Q looked over and said, “He can’t walk home if he drives home in a tractor, can he?”

“Oh,” Dahlia exhaled. Belatedly she asked, “He had a girlfriend on BAJOR?”

“Newsflash. Your mother wasn’t a virgin when she met him either,” Q replied. “Did you want to see the video? For either of them?”

Dahlia shrieked and covered her eyes.

“NO TEEN SHRIEKING OR I WILL TURN THIS SPACE BUBBLE AROUND,” Q yelled. Calming down he sighed. “I’m not that mean. And it will be fine. Hormones always self-correct. It’s the one thing that always self-correct in humanoids.”

The teen girl looked up finally, uncovering her golden eyes. “So the tractor thing doesn’t count?”

“It counts, it always counts,” Q muttered. After a long pause he continued on, “You didn’t tell him your name, that was good. You didn’t tell him about your mother, I expected that one. You didn’t confess why you moved.”

Feeling guiltier by the minute, Dahlia muttered, “Say it. The earring. I gave my father his earring.”

“I know, I saw it.” Q thought about it for a long time. Drumming his fingers he finally said. “You may have another chance, Ms. Bonviva-McInnis. Try not to make too many mistakes.”

“So am I going back to Bajor?” Dahlia asked.

Q gave a look. “Yes. And no. But that’s for next time.” he said as he snapped his fingers. “But remember, you changed the past. That changes...everything else.”


Location: VULCAN; Vulcan Academy of Science Library -> Bonviva Home
Time: Dahlia is 13; Erika is 16; Xana is 42

Dahlia found herself back sitting in the upper stacks of the library. Looking around she saw her homework were she had left it. Picking up the PADDs, she threw that in her bag, got up and ran past the other students, past the lift, and down the old staircase and outside the library. She ran through the old square, through the alleyways, past buildings she saw everyday.

She kept running past the calm, serious Vulcans who were acting as if everything was so very normal.

Finally she ran into her home, past her mother who yelled at her. Instead Dahlia went flying into her room that she shared with her stepsister. Erika Wangel Byrne looked over from her bed across the room and asked, “What bug crawled up your--”

“Not now, Erika!” Dahlia yelled as she threw a pillow across the room that her sister dodged.

There was a knock before the door opened up and their mother stood there. “Girls? Are you packed for your trip to BAJOR?”

Dahlia sat up in horror. Every year as the only two children in the Bonviva household who were of Bajoran descent, Dahlia and Erika made the trek back to BAJOR to their respective families to spend time with their families. Was she supposed to be going to BAJOR now? No, she was fairly certain she wasn’t supposed to be.

“Mom, I don’t know if I can this year,” Dahlia said. “Besides, it’s not time for me to go.”

“The McInnis Clan loves when you go,” Xana said in that tone that would not brook any argument. “And what is this nonsense about not your time? Of course it is. You always go during the summer.”

Dahlia flopped on her bed with a groan and placed a pillow on her face. “I used to go during winter break,” she muttered into the pillow to no one in particular.


Location: BAJOR - Tinuviel Valley, McInnis Holding
Time: Gene is 15, Dahlia is 13; Devlin is 81; Q is ?

Devlin McInnis set a small plate of finger foods on the yard table in front of his grandson. Some sausage sliced thin, bread still warm from the oven, cheese and pickles … the hot kind the boy loved so well. Gene was reading, a frown furrowing his brow.

“And what has you perturbed, grandson of mine?”

Gene looked up and closed the book, using a finger for a place marker.

“Grampa, I understand why I need to know about quantum physics, relative mathematics, and xenobiology. Why do I need to read ‘Moby Dick’?”

Devlin took a seat opposite the boy at the table. They wouldn’t be able to do this kind of thing soon, eating and studying outside. The cold days were coming. He could feel it in his bones. And then he, too, frowned, his brow furrowing much as his grandson’s had.

“It’s for different reasons,” he admitted to the boy. “Nobody on TERRA hunts whales any more, even though as a piece of literature, it tells us a lot about what life was like for those who sailed and hunted whales as a resource. Nobody uses whale oil on TERRA. But the book is more than just a historical homage. It’s about obsession.”

“Obsession? You mean like Ahab’s obsession with the white whale?”

Devlin nodded. “And revenge. And hate.”

“Dig two graves,” Gene muttered to himself.

“Hmmm?” Devlin asked, surprised.

“Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves.” Gene looked up. “It’s a quote from Confucius.”

“Where’d you run across him?” Devlin wanted to know.

“It was a footnote in some history I was wading through,” Gene explained.

There was more. Devlin could tell Gene had more to say on the subject. But something else came up. Or someone else.

“Off with you,” Devlin said suddenly, standing, his face a mask.


“You need to be somewhere else right now. I can’t say more than that. You have to go.”

It was a measure of the boy’s trust, that he got up immediately, snagged one last pickle and set off for the main house down the road, “Moby Dick” in his left hand. He never looked back. Devlin admired that.

“All right,” he said finally. “Show yourself.”

Nothing happened. The wind in the trees flowed just as before. The sound of the woolleys talking softly to each other in the adjacent field.

“I know you’re here. Or are you a coward?”

And just like that, a man in shorts and a brightly colored shirt was sitting at the table, helping himself to one of the pickles.

“Good pickles,” Q said.

“You’ve got company,” Devlin accused him.

Q sighed and snapped his fingers. A willowy blue girl appeared, standing at the table’s other end. A Bolian girl … with nose ridges.

“How’d he know?” she demanded of Q.

“I am a servant of the Fey!” Devlin said, his voice suddenly large and loud.

Q shrugged. “What he said,” he waved what was left of the pickle before tossing it in his mouth with a satisfying crunch.

“You’ve no debt to call in here,” Devlin said. “Why are you here?”

“We’re not here for you,” Q replied. “And I don’t much care for your tone of voice.”

“You’ll like the back of my hand even less, you feckless child!” Devlin seemed suddenly larger.

“Both of you, stop it!”

The two of them looked at her. Looked at each other. Looked back at her.

“He’s here for me,” she explained.

“I’m her fairy godfather, you might say,” Q smirked.

“I’ve met fairies,” Devlin retorted. “They have a code. You, on the other hand …”

“You might be surprised,” Q replied, in a considerably quieter tone. “But she’s right. I brought her here because this was where she wanted to be. Mostly. She’s not ready to commit to it.”

But with everything involving the Q, ‘here’ wasn’t exactly what she’d expected.

The girl hugged herself, looked down.

“You’re hunting him, are you?” he asked her.

She looked up, the desire plain on her open, blue face. “No, I’d never,” she sighed. Then she frowned, unsure how else to answer it.

“Who’s your mother, lass?” he asked quietly.

The girl glanced at Q, and he gave her a subtle shake of the head.

“I can’t say,” she said.

“I remember him talking about some strange girl he’d met one afternoon in the hills. A Bolian, he’d said. Helped him jury-rig the hopper. And then ran off. That would be you, wouldn’t it?”

The girl didn’t say.

Devlin sighed. Sat down at the outdoor table across from Q. Helped himself to some bread and cheese. He offered the plate to the girl, who accepted a pickle and ate it without making a face.

“You’re hunting your own white whale, is that it?” he asked.

She looked at him, but she didn’t say a word. She didn’t have to.

Devlin turned back to Q.

“Treat her with real care,” he warned him. “The Fey have very long arms indeed.”

Q smiled warmly, took the last pickle on the plate.



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