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Dox's Leap 5: Daughter of Mol Krunchi

Posted on Thu Aug 6th, 2020 @ 10:26am by Lieutenant Commander Mnhei'sahe Dox & Jaeih Dox-t'Aan
Edited on on Wed Aug 19th, 2020 @ 9:49pm

Mission: The Bulikaya Particle
Location: The Multiverse, Mol Krunchi
Timeline: 2397

The instances of disorientation were getting extremely tiresome even as the sights, sounds, and even SCENTS of this new reality began to flood Mnhei'sahe Dox's senses. As always, it took a few seconds to get her head back on and try and process where she was.

The first thing she realized was that she was outside and that it was night. The ground beneath her feet was soft and a bit uneven and there was a bit of dew on what looked like the crops brushing her thighs. Around her were rows and rows of ripe lehe'jhme fruit on thigh high vine stalks. On the cool breeze, she could smell the sweet smell of sserayl trees in the distance.

The night sky had an almost purple quality and the smell alone told Dox where she was. It had felt unusually familiar the last time she had been here and, at first, she hadn't known why. The smells and the sounds. The slightly thicker air, it was all familiar to her even before she had met the old woman named Nurema ir-Korthre, who had explained to her why it was all so familiar.

It wasn't Romulus, though the teal skies in the day looked so similar. It was the hidden world of Mol Krunchi she had returned to, in the farming village of Saithe.

The village she had been born in.

Looking around, it was quiet. There were still lights visible in the small village at the edge of the farm she seemed to have appeared in the middle of, so it probably wasn't that late. Then, the dimensional explorer felt a blast of hot air down the back of her neck and a loud snort that immediately reminded her of the spectral horse named Taxes, who was the ethereal assistant to Death herself. And for a moment, as she turned around to see, she wondered if Masato REI was there

Instead, she saw a Romulan animal called a Shaill that resembled a Terran horse. The Shaill was, however, longer in the middle with a thicker, coarser coat and a larger, wedge-shaped head. It was staring at her and began sniffing the slightly nervous pilot.

The creature sniffed Dox up and down for a moment before jerking back, seeming to be more than a bit confused. Then, she again heard the familiar voice she had heard in all of these leaps: her own.

"Khallianen! What are you thinking, running out here like that? I've half a mind to skip your…. treats?" This reality’s version ran down the slight hill after the Shaill that ironically had the same name that she had given her former Artan ship back home that meant 'seeker'.

Stopping short with a start… as she caught sight of Dox.

Speaking in Romulan, this version of Dox had a much thicker build overall. She was rounder in the face and belly, but also thicker by far in the arms. She had a mid-length mop of thick, black hair and was wearing a dark beige sundress over thick-soled boots and work gloves stained with grease.

There was that now-familiar moment of awkward silence as both women looked at each other. Looking over her local counterpart, Dox was getting used to the deductive reasoning that each leap had forced her to do. This was the colony world that she was born on. Nurema ir’Korthre had been Jaeih’s Hru’hfe as a child. The head servant and governess that had raised the elder Dox for years before escaping Romulus as a colonist and refugee and finding her way here. And when Jaeih herself ran from the Imperium years later and was pregnant with Mnhei’sahe, found her old governess and came here to give birth.

And here, on this bucolic colony world, Mnhei’sahe had spent the first year of her life where Nurema had been her Theirr’anov: her godmother and nursemaid. And looking at her counterpart, it appeared as if this version of Jaeih had not left after that first year and taken her daughter from this world. There was no evidence of the genetic overlay of human DNA that had given Mnhei’sahe her freckles or red hair. This counterpart had a farmgirl’s build. This was clearly her home.

The sound of another familiar voice broke the silence, as across the field, Dox heard her own mother’s voice come from the small, single story farmhouse at the top of the hill next to a mid-sized barn. It was her mother. “Mnhei’sahe. Get that animal secured. I’m preparing the evening meal and you need to get cleaned up.”

This was the first reality Mnhei’sahe had visited where her mother had been present, but at the sound of the voice, the local counterpart winced and her eyes went wide as she bit her bottom lip. Whispering, she lightly waved her hands at Mnhei’sahe, gesturing her to hide behind the thick-bodied Shaill. All the while the counterpart was staring, not at Dox’s clearly familiar face, but at the Starfleet badge on her breast.

“Yes, mother. Khallianen just needed to stretch, it seems. He’s getting a little restless again. I’ll take him for a run in the morning.” the counterpart called back.

“Well, if you must. Just remember that the harvest festival is at the end of week and the irrigation condensers are malfunction again. You had better have those units in the South Ridge repaired by midday, or there'll be Areinnye to pay.” Jaeih called back.

Ducking behind the large animal, Dox peeked out under its legs and could just make out the shape of her mother on the porch of the house, backlit from the door, before the elder Romulan matriarch walked back inside. As she did, her counterpart looked over and held a finger up over her lips, indicating silence as they began walking up to the barn.

The walk up the hill to the barn was a short, quiet one as the local counterpart lead the large Shaill by its bridle gently. Occasionally, the large creature would look at its mistress then back to Dox, and let out a confused sounding snort at the unusual circumstance.

After a minute, all three made their way into the long but narrow barn. It was mostly black wood all around with stalls for six Shaill along the left side, though most of them were filled with crates or bails of dried grasses for feed. There was a short upper loft area that seemed to also be over-stacked with crates and assorted tools. Along the right side, was a number of the antiquated, and rusted over manual plowing and field tending tools. There were a few gas powered lanterns along the walls that THIS reality’s version of Mnhei’sahe lit as she led the animal to it’s lone, empty stall.

In the far corner, was what was more interesting. A mid-sized, but clearly broken down tractor and a large collection of machine parts on a tarp that looked to be for some kind of wheeled vehicle. Some things seemed to be a constant in most realities, and Mnhei’sahe’s status as something of a proverbial grease monkey was among them.

As soon as the Shaill had been secured and given it’s feed for the night, the local Mnhei’sahe turned to her crimson-clad counterpart with almost wild eyes as she spoke in a somewhat strained and heavily accented Federation standard. “You… you are starfleet? You are… me? I do not understand?”

With a light smile for the local farmgirl, Mnhei’sahe nodded as she replied in both women’s native tongue to, hopefully, make the conversation easier. “I am, yes. I… know this will be difficult to explain, but I’m not here to harm you in any way. I promise you, my presence here is simply an accident.”

Sighing a bit of relief, the thicker built and dark haired Romulan woman nodded. “But… how is this possible? You have… my face. My voice. But… you’re different. And you’re STARFLEET. I know the symbol.”

“I am, yes. I… I AM you.” Mhnei’sahe pursed her lips as, once again, she tried to summarize her bizarre situation. “I come… from a different reality. A timeline where our life was… different from your life here. I was exposed to interdimensional particles that are bouncing me across the multiverse and have been encountering different versions of myself as I go.”

“Dimensional…” The other Mnhei’sahe’s eyes narrowed and her brows knitted as she pondered her counterpart’s words. “I’ve… read about things like this, but I never thought it could be… true.”

The eyes of the local counterpart were wide with wonder and Mnhei’sahe began to wonder just how sheltered this version of herself was on Mol Krunchi. In her own universe, her mother Jaeih had gone to extreme lengths to keep certain truths from her, including but not limited to covering up her own Romulan DNA with the human overlay that gave her the red hair she still had. It wasn’t hard to imagine that this Jaeih would have considerably limited this Mnehi’sahe’s knowledge on much of the universe if she thought it would protect her.

But her mother also taught her how to fight and how to fly a starship as a child. She taught Mnhei’sahe multiple languages and of multiple cultures and the Starfleet pilot was curious as to just how ignorant this farmgirl really was.

“Yes, I am from a different dimension. One that diverged from yours when I was a child, I am presuming. MY mother left this planet when I was only a baby. I grew up on a smuggling ship before… running away to join Starfleet. Have you been here your whole life?”

At that question, the alternate Mnhei’sahe looked nervous but also slightly annoyed. It appeared as that innate, Romulan suspicion was taking hold as she brushed her black hair aside slightly and stepped across the barn’s interior with narrowed eyes. “Of course. We have no ships here. No technology that could create energy signatures that the Imperium could detect. And even if I tried to leave when the Artan supply ships come… Mother would… Mother would never allow it.”

“Mother won’t even let me refurbish the old, solar powered harvesters even though we have the parts and I know how.” She continued as Dox began to realize what the annoyance she detected truly was. This version of her clearly felt stuck on the quiet little colony world.

There was a bittersweet quality to the woman, who acted a bit younger than her years and looked at her red headed counterpart with what might be best described as awe. She had longing and curiosity. She was frustrated and wanted to get out and get away. It wasn’t particularly hard to understand, though. With their longer lifespans, Romulans tended to mature a little slower than humans, and someone in their thirties tended to act a good bit younger for a while. Being forced to grow up much sooner than the woman before her had a major effect on Dox’s maturity level and seeing a version where she WASN’T being trained as a soldier from childhood, the differences were stark.

This Dox, it seemed, also had basic happiness. She had a past free of most of the worst experiences Dox had encountered. This Mnhei'sahe didn't seem to know the tortures Dox and her mother has endured. Then Dox thought about the silhouette of Jaeih that she saw on the porch of the modest farmhouse.

"I'm sure that's frustrating." Dox said sympathetically to her counterpart, who was starting to pace anxiously. "Is that what you want? To leave here?”

The black-haired double looked just a bit excited to talk about it. So much so, that she seemed to no longer care about the absurdity of the situation. Alternate reality doppelganger or not, someone wanted to listen, and the words began to flow out rapidly. “Of course! We… Mother and the others… Aunt Nurema… all of them… we came to this world to be free. To be free of the Fascism of the Star Empire. To be free to rediscover our Vulcan roots and explore what it means to be of both people. To learn to harmonize those heritages and simply BE!

“Mother says… ‘to be Rihannsu is to be of the Declared. Our ancestors chose their OWN path that led them from the bonds of Vulcan dogma. And now, we choose to declare that we can be both.” The other Mnhei’sahe said, with more and more excitement as she went. “And I study. I know the languages and the histories and the cultures. We have SO much more that connects us. But I can only learn so much here. I can only DO so much here.”

“How… how can I believe in reunification when I am removed from the worlds I wish to see joined?” She finished, dropping her arms, which had been gesticulating wildly as she talked. “You… you understand. You are… Starfleet! You… you explore the GALAXY!

“I do. And… it is not without its risks. I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve almost died just today.” The red-headed officer said honestly. “But out there, I can also make a difference. I’ve helped save entire worlds from very dark fates. And out there, I am working to aid in the goal we both share.”

“Re… reunification?” The counterpart said, her eyes widening again.

Nodding, Dox walked over the the woman and tilted her head with a light smile. This version of herself was frustrated and shared her wanderlust, but by and large, seemed happy. “But what about here? Do you have nothing you want to stay here for?”

It was a question that, in truth, the dimension hopping woman was more than a little curious about. This reality represented a thought that she had lingered on many a long night when her mind was fitful, after learning that she had once lived on this idyllic world. It was only for a year, but it was enough for Dox to imagine what was now standing right in front of her.

The other woman hemmed and hawed for a moment, running her hand through her shaggy mop of black hair. “Well… yes. Mother needs me for the harvest. Without the use of proper machinery, it would be impossible to tend to the farm by herself.” She said with a hint of sadness in her voice.

“And… though Aunt Nurema has passed beneath the wings of Al’thindor, I still have friends here that I would miss. Even…” This time, the young woman blushed slightly, and Dox couldn’t help but smile a little, figuring that her counterpart had feelings for someone else in the colony. “But it would be impossible. Mother would… I couldn’t.”

Looking down, Dox smiled at her nervous counterpart, feeling almost like what she imagined a big sister might feel like. But she also felt the rush of the Bulukiya particles beginning to surge within her again, so she spoke quickly.

“Listen… I’ll be leaving here in a moment. My time is up, and I wish we could talk more. But… whatever your heart tells you, listen to it.” Dox said as she felt the energy rippling around her. And as she did, her counterpart stepped back slightly in surprise. “And I know you look at me and see your dream, but for what it’s worth… I’ve long imagined what it would have been like to have grown up here. Exactly as you are. So, in a way, we’re both each other’s dream.”

“As for Mother... she can be stubborn and intractable. But she loves you immensely. And… no matter how much you think she won’t understand that you have feelings for a woman…” Dox added as she began to fade, suspecting she knew what was troubling her double. “Just know… that NOTHING is impossible, Mnhei’shae.”

With a wry smile, she held up her right wrist and pulled her sleeve down to show off her Romulan ceremonial wedding bracelet. Watching as Dox vanished, the dark haired Mnhei’sahe’s eys were wide and she had a massive smile on her face.

For a moment, she just stood there, processing the impossible thing that had just happened. Then, after a moment, she heard her mother’s voice calling from the house. “Mnhie’sahe. It’s time for evening meal. Please bring the toolkit in with you, we need to fix the loose hatch on the cellar door before it gets to late.”

“On my way, Mother.” Mnhei’sahe ir-Saithe t’Aan said as she stepped over and latched the stall door for Khallianen and filled his feeding basin with grain from a bag in the corner. Then, she walked over to the door to the barn and looked up to the stars for a moment and pondered her dreams, watching them twinkle in the dark lavender sky of her home.

A shooting star streaked across the silent sky, leading those yearning eyes away from the stars and down to the small city in the distance, past the far edge of her family's farm. Smiling, she thought not of space, but of the young carpenter and sculptor she had been seeing in secret for almost two years. She thought of her dusty, brown hair that always smelled of the maithe wood she worked in at her shop in town. She thought of the way she smiled when Mnhei’sahe said her name. She thought of her, and not the stars.

It was the unusual counterpart that her mind went to next. The woman from those very same stars who vanished and what she told her. Smiling, Mnhei’sahe walked up to her home, deciding that tonight might be the night to finally talk to her mother.

To Be Continued…


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