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The Time Traveller And Her Father, Chapter 3

Posted on Jan 05, 2020 @ 3:29am by Ambassador Xana Bonviva
Edited on on Jan 05, 2020 @ 3:29am

Mission: Last Days of Empire


Location: BAJOR, Tinuviel Valley - McInnis Holding
Time: Dahlia is 13; Xana is 40

Dahlia looked around. It was so weird to be here *now* when she had just been here with her father who was here. Alive. And her age.

The teenager looked over at the place where her father had been planning to put in the bio-wire for the woolies. It had changed; over the years various generations of McInnises had built upon and improved up Gene McInnis’ initial design of biowire design. Still he was the foundation for all that came later.

Dahlia sighed, petted a few woolies that nudged her looking for handouts and made her way through the field. She knew she was supposed to nudge them back towards the holding pen but she never had the heart to do that. So she petted their fluffy heads and walked past.

The azure teenager was going to turn back to the house when something caught her eye. Walking down the hill, she walked past the small grove of memory trees to the small cemetery. Making her way inside the gated area, she walked past the older graves she walked to the grave with the bright white and red flowers blooming. Her mother was sitting cross-legged on the ground, clipping away the weeds.

“You know Gran does the same thing,” Dahlia said quietly.

“Your grandmother is getting too old to kneel down all the time,” Xana said. “It’s the least I can do to keep this up when I come.”

Neither of them said the truth that Xana was hardly welcome at the McInnis Holding, except for bringing Dahlia, so staying at the graveyard was probably the safer thing until she knew that Dahlia was settled.

“Everything ok?” Xana asked.

“Yeah,” Dahlia nodded.

“Good,” Xana said as she continued to snip. “I’ll probably get going once I’m done with the pruning. We’ll call every day, and I’ll pick you up--”

Dahlia knew the routine by heart, she had been doing this drop off at BAJOR for years. But looking around the cemetery she was struck by something, perhaps for the first time. No other grave had something *alive*; every other grave had replicas of fighting, glory, and honor. Botany didn’t scream honor for BAJOR. “Mom….why the dahlias? It can’t have just been for me.”

Xana smiled wanly at that as she placed down her pruning scissors down. Very gently she fingered a petal. “Your father and I weren’t stationed together when we first started dating. Whenever your father came to visit, he’d bring dahlias….I just figured before he left to go to the Prophets, we should return the favor and give him dahlias.”


Location: GATEWAY STATION-2; CO Ready Room -> Promenade
Time: Gene is 27, Xana is 29, Dahlia is 13

Gene McInnis stood in the open doorway of the CO of the GATEWAY STATION-2 as she dealt with a unique situation. She had instituted a policy of removing the doors of her Ready Room and allowed anyone who wanted to walk in to do so, and conversely, see what it was she was doing. If something was truly classified...well then there were places for that on the GATEWAY but this made for good optics and relationships. Gene, as the CO of the EIDOLON, knew the procedure; so he folded his arms, leaned against the doorway and waited his turn patiently.

“It’s an offense to our sensibilities!” the Ferengi Consul sputtered.

The Commanding Officer of the GATEWAY STATION-2 raised a white eyebrow at that but didn’t get up from her chair behind her desk. “Forgive me, I had no idea that the Ferengi Alliance had such *delicate* constitutions,” Bonviva replied. “Why then you must tell me what else offends you about my Promenade.” As the Consulate stared at her, the azure woman waved her hand as if to prompt him while saying, “Surely a fragile group as the Ferengi cannot handle the robust environment like the GATEWAY and as such I must make sure to outreach--”

“WE’RE NOT THAT DELICATE!” the consulate yelled. Caught unaware by his own outburst he straightened his tunic and said, “It’s just that we had some...well...if you must know we had some *females*....Ferengi females visiting. And they’re not like you.”

“No one is like me, I’ve got it,” Xana said dryly, resting her chin on her hand looking totally bored. “Go on.”

The Bajoran/Human CO of the EIDOLON rolled his eyes from behind the Ferengi, earning him a good natured slight shake of the head from the azure woman before she turned back to the Ferengi who was on a roll.

“It’s just between our females and our own community well then to have a member of your Starfleet community come up, release his lower clothing, bend over and expose his pale posterior--”

“Wait you’re upset because the pilots mooned you,” Gene laughed leaning against the frame of the door.

Holding up a hand for calm, even if she had to bite the inside of her cheek the CO of the GATEWAY, said, “I’ll talk to the pilots.” Tapping her desk she said, “Leave your other concerns here and I’ll review them, Consul.”

The Ferengi Consul slapped down a PADD on Xana’s silver desk and huffed as he went past Gene. “I’m very nice, I don’t know why he did that,” the Bajoran/Human CO said innocently.

“Can’t imagine why,” Xana replied exasperatedly as she leaned back in her chair with a smile. “Welcome to the Gamma.”

“Thanks,” he grinned as he sat down. Petting Angus, the large Rotweiller/German Shepherd who was the dog of the GATEWAY CO and who had ambled over, the man passed over his own PADD. “Obligatory notes,” he said referring to the warnings he always filed with any station Commanding Officer of sightings in nearby space.

The azure woman looked at it. “Anything urgent or of note?” When Gene shook his head she asked, “So what’s up?”

Gene smiled at that. They had been dating for a little while and it was no surprise that she could tell something was up. “Don’t you have to walk Angus?” he asked.

“You’re right,” she agreed. Grabbing the black leash from her desk, she clipped it onto her docile dog’s collar. The three of them -- Gene, Xana, and Angus -- walked through the Station Ops (after Xana chatted with her Ops Officer) and then made their way out to the bustling Promenade.

They walked around, letting Angus sniff the strange smells, as they caught up on life. At one point, their hands found each others as they peeked at the windows of the stores or people watched, while exchanging stories.

It was good to forget the troubles of the everyday and just *be*; especially with someone who understood and appreciated you.

Finally they found a bench, behind a small fountain, and after Xana bribed Angus with a treat, she said, “What’s up?”

“I’ve been wanting to tell you something,” Gene admitted. Leaning back he admitted. “It’s been on my mind for awhile but I wasn’t sure how to bring it up.”

Xana squeezed his hand. “It’s ok. Just be honest.”

Gene nodded. “Well ok. See there’s this girl--”

“Wasn’t expecting this,” Xana murmured, looking a little sick. “Did this just happen?”

“Oh no. It’s been happening for a long time. Well I don’t know how to explain it. She kind of pops in and out of my life,” Gene said. “But when she comes, it’s always interesting.”

Closing her eyes, the azure woman tried very hard to stay calm. “So here we’ve been together, whenever we can. And when I’m not around you have this other girl in your life when I’m not there?”

“Yes,” Gene nodded. “That’s part of what I wanted to ask you about. What you thought about her popping in and out of my life meant? Why would she do that?” When he got a death like glare from Xana he asked, “What’s that for?”

“You’re asking me what it means when a woman pops in and out of your life? Let me re-phrase: you’re asking your girlfriend what it means when your side-piece pops in and out of your life? Do I have that right, Gene?” Xana asked.

Gene looked over at Angus for a minute but the dog was noshing on the snack as if to say: “This one is all you”.

“I said ‘girl’ for a reason,” he pointed out finally as he looked at Xana, who still had a violet glare set at “maximum”.

Xana threw up her hands. “Now is not the time for semantics, Gene!” she yelled.

Gene waved his arms to get Xana to lower her voice; the last thing they needed was more attention and Xana yelling always got more attention. “Semantics are important here,” he replied quietly. “I’ve seen this girl on and off since I was 12 and even though I’ve aged she’s never aged. She’s always been the same age,” he whispered. Frowning he thought about his interactions. “Now that I think about it, I think she’s wearing the same clothes too, although I’ve heard her complain about that. Definitely same haircut and face stuff.”

“Face stuff?” Xana asked, rolling her eyes, having settled down. “Do you mean makeup?”

“She wears way more than you,” Gene admitted. “More than I see the women or men on my crew wearing.”

Xana sighed. “That’s probably an age thing,” she admitted. “I wore more at 12 than I do now. It’s experimentation.” Leaning back, and calming down significantly, “Well if you’re seeing the same 12 year old for well over a decade it either means you’ve got delusions--”

“Thank you,” Gene replied wryly.

“--or you’ve got some kind of space/time traveler,” Xana shrugged.

The Bajoran/Human just looked at the other CO. “I like how that just rolled off your tongue,” he replied.

“Weird is my business,” she flippantly replied. “Now why she picked you, I can’t answer.”

“I was hoping you could,” Gene admitted.

Xana pursed her lips in thought. “Random thought. Have you asked her?”

“She doesn’t like direct questions,” Gene replied. “She’s not a liar. I’d call her evasive; she doesn’t exactly like to volunteer for information..” Pausing in thought he said, “She’s appeared to me as far back as BAJOR, she’s come to the ACADEMY, showed up on the SUTTNER and now on the EIDOLON. She can be sweet or helpful. She’s certainly inquisitive. Not hurtful. Quiet. Interested in learning about things around her. But pops in and out randomly. No rhyme or reason. No one else from what I can tell I’m the one she comes to see but others see her when she shows up.”

“Yes, well judging from our last conversation I think we need to work on direct questions and answers anyway,” the azure woman replied. Shrugging she thought, “Bring her in for a Counseling Session.”

Gene sat there, thinking about it. It wasn’t a bad idea; it just wasn’t what he had been thinking of. Counseling wasn’t his first love, but it was how he had grown and risen through the ‘Fleet. In a way, it was how he made sense of things; perhaps it was how people made sense of him.

Shifting on the bench, he felt something poke him from inside his jacket. Belatedly remembering what he always brought to the GATEWAY; opening up his jacket slightly and he pulled out a (slightly pressed but not too worse for the wear) a deep purple, almost black dahlia flower. Wordlessly, he smiled and handed it over.

Taking it with a smile of her own, the azure woman softened. “I didn’t want to say anything but I thought you forgot,” she admitted. Twirling the green stem between her fingers so the deeply-colored flower seemingly danced mid-air she admitted, “I should have known you wouldn’t have forgotten. You’re dependable.” When Gene gave a wry smile and sigh at that Xana looked over, “What did I do?”

“Nothing,” he admitted, squeezing her knee. When she said nothing but stared at him (and Angus did too, Gene noted which was impressive) he finally said, “Dependable isn’t exactly the most thrilling thing dear.”

“Oh...I guess not,” Xana said quietly. Still looking at the flower she said, “I’ve had exciting and thrilling and that was great and what we have is not those things--”

Rolling his golden colored eyes Gene felt his ego deflate at being told he was as interesting as counting stardust while muttering, “I love your honesty, have I mentioned that lately?”

Xana smiled at that but continued on. “I love you more. And more importantly I like you.” When Gene became quiet and just stared at her she shrugged. “Love is like war, it’s easy; any idiot can do it. Like is hard; it requires consistency. And yes, dependability. I’ve not really had that in my life...almost ever.” They sat there in silence until she tapped his nose with the dahlia flower. “Don’t screw this up, McInnis.”

“Yes, ma’am,” he grinned.

“But if you want thrilling and exciting we’ll do that tonight at 2000,” she said as got up with a wink. “For now I’ve got to go tell my pilots to stop mooning people and you have a Counseling session.”

Gene watched her go with Angus and thought about what she said until he heard:

“So you told her I’m your side-piece?” Then there was a pause before he heard. “Sweet baby Kahless on a pogo stick I’m back in this costume again? This is so last season, I’m going to kill him I swear.”

The Bajoran/Human sighed and turned around looking for the source of that voice. “Come out,” he ordered. When he saw the young (and why had he never realized how young she was before?) girl come out he asked, “How do you know about side-pieces?”

“I’m 13,” she answered. Dahlia looked over at the empty space on the bench, and grimaced as she dusted off the same goth outfit she wore back at the Holding, and every other time she had seen her father. Looking off in the distance she murmured, “So that was--”

Gene raised an eyebrow. This was interesting. She had been either non-committal or intrigued by his crewmates; but now this was the first time she was showing any other kind of reaction. “Yes?” he prompted. “Do you know Commander Bonviva?”

The Bajoran/Human noted how the girl almost jumped at the name but then brushed it off. “You figured I’m part-Bolian and you’re asking me if I know another Bolian? What you think we have a secret Bolian handshake?” Smirking she said, “I could tell you but it’d involved several oxderlinks and co-families and bloodletting ceremonies; you don’t want that kind of mess.”

“And if I said ‘yes’,” Gene offered. He wasn’t sure that he was interested; it was more to see what she’d say.

Dahlia looked over for a moment. “I’ve been to an oxderlink. It was fun. Been to a wedding. Not my own but...we’ll say a relation’s of mine. Got a bunch more family as a result. But family is just a way to be nagged daily, at best; or be hurt daily, at worst.” Smiling wryly, with the same smile that he wouldn't even recognize, Dahlia said, “I’m saving you something to go through. Not that I think you’d be going through it.”

Gene leaned forward, resting his elbows on his knees. “You have a very dim view of families,” he commented.

Holding up her hands she said, “I’ve known you for years--”

“Argumentative. You’ve known me for days over the years,” Gene pointed out, with a smile.

Dahlia rolled her eyes. “Really? Okay, fine. So you’re telling me all the times I didn’t see you on BAJOR you just loved it? That you were happy to be there and didn’t dream of space? Or when I’m not a ship with you, you’re miserable and you want to go back to BAJOR feeding the poofies?”

“The woolies,” Gene corrected quietly thinking of the large animals he hadn’t thought of in a very long time.

“You knew what I meant,” Dahia said smartly. Shrugging she said, “Families may love you, but they hold you back and hurt you. Me? I want to get to know my family and then leave them.”

“Why?” When the girl blinked at that, the former Counselor realized he was hitting a nerve. “Why do you want to get to know your family and leave them?”

There was a long period of quiet, longer than Gene was ready for; and after some time he thought she wasn’t going to answer or just really leave him. Again.

“I want to know what it’s like to leave first,” Dahlia told the man who was going to be her father; who didn’t know that she was his daughter. “I want to know what it’s like since it’s so easy for them to leave me.”

Gene swallowed the lump in his throat; that was heartbreaking. It was true that however it broke down he didn’t know his time-traveler well. And yet he felt like he did know her; knew her better than he could logically explain. Clearly she was in pain, and it sounded like she had been in pain for some time. And it was hard for her to share; that was interesting to note as well. From previous times shared, Gene knew that she was smart; random knowledge of engineering, Klingon, and various cultures. And yet there were some clear serious emotional growth to be done and abandonment issues to be worked through.

Sighing, McInnis rubbed his brow and closed his eyes. His counseling was usually done on the fly, and yes he taught the kids on the SUTTNER and EIDOLON but something here felt out of his depth. Deciding to try his hand anyway, he opened up his eyes. “People don’t leave other people because they want to; it’s usually because of--”

But it was too late. His time-traveler was already gone.


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

Dahlia looked around the space bubble. At least it had been some time (she thought) since she had been thrown into here. “I didn’t say anything,” she pointed out, knowing how it worked. “I didn’t tell him he was married to my mother. I didn’t even say she was my mother.”

“Yes, yes, absolutely no points for sticking to the pre-approved agreement,” Q snapped. Tapping the air bubble in space Q said, “Technically I know you’re a fragile mostly water being with a limited intellectual capacity but I thought you were capable of following simple directions!”

The teenager looked at Q, anger boiling up to the surface but never coming through. “I said nothing wrong. I didn’t tell him--”

Q looked at the young Bajoran/Bolian/Human for a moment. “You didn’t tell him what?” After pausing he said, “What was it that you were so eager to tell Commander Eugene McInnis?” While Dahlia glared at him Q offered up, “Was it that you’ve figured out that your fear of being abandoned started all those years ago by a father who had the audacity to die when you were a toddler? By a man who had the willingness to pick a life that did not involve you?” Pausing for a moment he said, “It would not matter. I’m going to tell you, that you could tell him all that Gene McInnis would make the same decision again and again and again.”

“You don’t know that,” Dahlia growled, her fists clenched at her sides. It was the secret hope that had fueled her through every desolate night; that if only things had been different, if only one act had shifted somehow, then her father would have made a different decision and lived...

“I love Humanity, always arguing with me,” Q smiled. Waving his hands in a swishing motion, Q said, “I am officially granting you a once in a lifetime reprieve for this next visit. Tell your father everything--”

This sounded too good to be true. “I don’t believe you,” Dahlia said.

“I haven’t lied,” Q said firmly. “Tell your father everything in your little blue heart. But I tell you, by the end of this...he will make the same decisions.”




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