Telvan's Leap 7: New Host
The Bulikaya Particle
Location: USS Hera Observation Lounge
As Enalia popped into existence in yet another reality, she realized two things.
First, she was still around a foot off the ground.
Second, she was aboard the Hera in the lower decks - one of the observation lounges, if she wasn’t mistaken.
As the gravity plating took over and she thumped to the deck, somehow keeping her feet, she adjusted her uniform and glanced around, noticing a sleeping male Trill Ensign at one of the tables with several PaDDs in front of him. Since he didn’t seem to have woken up, she decided not to worry about him just yet.
She assumed her counterpart in this universe would be close by so she thought it best to at least act casual for now and check to see where this universe’s Enalia was.
However, when the computer denied her access and she had to log in with a backdoor account, she was mildly surprised. Even more surprised when she pulled up her counterpart’s records to find out that she’d been killed in action in space combat against her own mother during the Tribunal. The Telvan symbiont had been passed on, but she as the host had been laid to rest as she had wished - fired into a nearby sun.
With a shudder, she realized that she was lucky that she hadn’t appeared inside of that sun and wondered just why she was on the Hera. Then another thought occurred to her as she punched up a search of the name Telvan.
Up came the record of the young man drooling on the table behind her. A young man of barely 23 working in stellar cartography as a data entry officer. With short, slightly scruffy sandy blonde hair and a somewhat round, boyish face, his name was Donim. A year ago, it was Donim Tamel, but now it was Donim Telvan.
According to the records, there was no time to return to the homeworld for the transfer as her death in battle… still a difficult concept to wrap her head around… had been traumatic for the poor Telvan Symbiote. And Donim, it turned out, was the only other Trill on the Hera.
But Enalia couldn’t take any more time to ponder the issue as the young man bolted up in his seat muttering, “Directive 010: "Before engaging alien species in battle, any and all attempts to make first contact and achieve nonmilitary resolution must be made."
Blinking for a moment and wiping the drool off his chin with his blue sciences sleeve, he had clearly been studying Starfleet regulations fairly intensely before passing out. It only took a few seconds before he turned and noticed he was being watched, and his eyebrows knitted and he sighed. “Damn… okay. Wake up. Time to wake up.”
With a hint of a smile and not entirely sure of why or what she was doing, Enalia slipped into the chair across from the young man. “Hey. If you’re waking up, what do you say to a cup of coffee? I could use one myself.”
The young ensign slapped his cheeks, blinking a few times as he pulled back his chair a bit. “This… this is… wait, what? Is this real?”
“It’s a long story, but yeah. Thanks to an accident and me being dumped into your universe for a short while, we get to have a chat.” The spotted captain did her best to be congenial but inside she was starting to wonder if she shouldn’t have tried to hide for this leap and avoided the poor guy. “So do we get to have a civilized discourse or are you going to call security so I can spend the rest of my time in your universe in the brig?”
There was a moment of silence as the young man pursed his lips and looked Enalia up and down, processing. “This is some kind of… dimensional incursion? You’re me... HER… us? Sorry. This is a little confusing. Well… confusing to half of me, at least.”
“Wait? The White Rabbit? Is this something to do with her?” Domin said, with a slightly confused expression as the young trill worked its way through the memories he had inherited from the symbiote inside him.
Enalia shook her head and stood, heading to the replicator and punching in an order of two coffees and a plate of teacakes as she explained. “The White Rabbit could probably do something like this, but no not this time unfortunately. Though I wouldn’t be surprised if she had a hand in guiding me to the places I ended up...”
“No, this time it’s some experimental dimension hopping particle Dox has been hanging onto for some reason. Bulikaya or something. If your Dox has it, I’d recommend making sure time travellers from the future don’t try and steal it.” As the replicator finished, she gathered up the mugs and plate and carried them over to their table, sitting back down as she offered Donim one of the mugs and set the plate between them.
“Commander Dox? Uh… I’ll ask.” Domin said, glancing down at the offered mug and plate. “She’s been… trying to help me get some skill back with a sword. Turns out that knowing how to do something and having the muscle memory are… two very different things.”
“Kind of like having taste buds that like tea.” he said, looking at the mug in front of him with a depressed expression. “I LOVE tea, but I also don’t. It’s… frustrating. It’s all so… damn frustrating.”
In the moment, it was clear that the initial confusion was wearing off, and was being replaced by a level of frustration that Enalia could see might be a near constant for the newly joined young officer.
The older Trill woman chuckled softly. “I understand completely. You’re not sure if it’s you feeling these things or someone else. It’s one of the reasons I went with coffee - I remembered seeing you with a mug of it several times in my universe so I figured it would be safer. I love tea, but...”
Here, Enalia paused a moment to punctuate her point with one of the teacakes, stabbing at the air as if it were a sword. “You are your own person with your own hopes and dreams. The Enalia of this reality is gone. Honor the memories and ideals, sure. Learn from them and grow. But find your own path. Be who you are.”
“Which is now more than who you were before and that’s going to take some time to figure out. Hell, it took me what? Most of my life? Then again my life was a pretty big mess so maybe don’t use it as a benchmark.”
Looking at the offered cup, Donim rolled his eyes slightly and scoffed as he realized that he didn’t even check it’s contents, just negatively assuming it would be tea. “Figures… you were always better.”
“I get it. I can remember how hard it was for you… me… us? But you also had some measure of training. And Telvan had never been joined before, so there was only the one other mind to connect with. This is… different.” Donim said, holding up his left hand. “I’m left handed, and you were… are the opposite. It’s the little things that add up.”
“Walking around the ship that used to be MINE when I now barely have access to half the sections now. Knowing how to run most of the systems but finding my fingers not knowing how to press the buttons right. Walking up and forgetting what plumbing I have.”
“And the looks.” He said, this time with a deep melancholy in his voice. “People who were just MY friends before treat me differently. And your friends… try.”
“Rita is… Rita is Rita. She’s amazingly supportive. She’s always trying to help, but she inherited the ship and it’s responsibilities as Captain. Dox is her First Officer, making her just as busy. She’s… a bit more distant, but she’s trying too. But… sometimes it just makes it so hard to just BE who I am. Who I want to be.”
“Yeah, that part I’m not so familiar with. Realistically, my advice is to not worry about the friends you had in past lives and focus on figuring out who you are now and who you want to be. And if you don’t want the art of the sword beaten into you, that’s perfectly fine. It is good exercise though.” With a sip of her coffee, Enalia motioned towards the scattered PaDDs. “You seem to be studying hard. Are you finally taking the command promotion exams a bit more seriously? Or maybe expanding the scope of your goals?”
“I LIKE Stellar Cartography. I’m a scientist. It’s all I ever wanted to be. I always wanted to be out here where I can SEE it all for myself.” Donim said, still riding that melancholy. “But now… it’s not enough anymore. I didn’t care about rank before. Authority. None of that mattered to me. Now, it’s like this thorn in my side, everything I CAN’T do that I can so clearly remember doing.”
“It’s hard walking into a room and not having anyone care.” He said, nodding and taking a sip of his coffee. “I just want to… matter again. And I can’t do that staring at stars all day. Not knowing how to fight because my body doesn’t have the experience anymore.”
Suddenly, the melancholy was absent as Donim sat up a bit straighter and the timbre of his voice changed ever so slightly, and for the first time in the conversation, Enalia could see herself in the young man. It was becoming clear that the emergency bonding had not resulted in the most ideal bond, and those growing pains would take a while to overcome for both symbiote and host.
“I’m studying to transfer to the command training program. It’s the only thing I can do to even get a fraction of my life back.” He said, sounding very much like Enalia in the moment.
“Then if I may make a suggestion,” the Trill woman from another reality offered as more of a statement than a question. “Go the path of Science Command. With your background and original interests, you should find it not only easier but far more rewarding. Other than that, I expect you’ll do well in Command. You already have the experience and skills. You just need to finish sorting through your own emotions and selves and prove to Starfleet you are who you are.”
“I’m trying.” Donim said, his voice switching back to the more nervous tones from before. “After the joining, I spent three months on Trill with a docent who tried to get me through the worst of it, when everything was just… chaos. But… we weren’t really compatible. We still struggle. I have your memories, but sometimes, it’s like trying to read a different language and sometimes it makes everything I should know just seem alien.”
“I know I’m Donim. I’m not you. I’m not Enalia. I’m not an… Artan princess. I’m not married to Maica anymore. No castle or fortress.” Donim said. “All I have is this career, and even that hurts half the time. Hearing ‘Ensign’ all day long feels like an insult now when I used to be so proud of that rank.”
“I’m sorry. I should be better than this.” He added, getting angry at himself as he looked away. “YOU’RE better than this. But I’M not. Telvan deserved better.”
Enalia couldn’t help but chuckle softly and reach out to rest one hand on the young man’s hand. “If the White Rabbit did have a hand in which realities I was sent to, I think I know why now. You’re right in one regard. You’re not Enalia. Neither are you just Donim anymore. You’re Telvan. You’ve started a new life with all the wonders and opportunities it has available to it. Sure it feels like you’re starting over from zero... But you’re not. That’s the part you’re missing.”
“Each of us is more than the sum of our parts and as a joined Trill you are now more than the multiplied sum of yourself and everyone that came before you. You are the culmination of lifetimes of experiences, hopes, dreams... The symbiote’s own initial memories, my own... And now it’s your turn to add to that in whatever way you deem fit. You are Telvan. You’ll find your way.”
“Not yet.” He replied, a slightly forced smile as he looked at the stack of PaDD’s. “But… maybe I will be with a little time. It’s hard… but maybe someday. I just have to keep trying, I suppose.”
“Nothing worth doing is ever easy,” Enalia replied with that lopsided piratical grin of hers.
“No… I suppose not…” Donim said, shrugging as he took another sip of his coffee before looking back up at the woman that a part of him used to be. “Thanks, I… uh… you’re… shimmering a bit?”
Furrowing her brow, the Trill woman stood and looked herself over. “Looks like this visit was around... Thirty two minutes? I wonder where I’ll end up next...” She’d find out soon enough as the blue shimmer effect took her from this universe and on to her next.
Sitting there, looking at the empty chair where Enalia had just been, Donim blinked for a few moments. Then, quietly, he picked up the dishes and returned them to the replicator for reclamation. Grabbing his padds, the young joined Trill headed back to the small quarters he shared with another crewmember as his mind fixed on a single thought.
Tomorrow will be a new day. He thought, relaxing his mind and feeling the bond just a little more strongly in the moment. Tomorrow, we’re Telvan again. And we’ll be better.