Ayden Blake (Flashpoint)

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The following information refers to a possible future revealed in the USS Veritas mission "Flashpoint".

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Family

In praesens, in posterum

Ayden Diego Blake is a 'multicultural' humanoid (of Vulcan, Brekkian, and Betazoid descent) native of the 25th century. He is better known by his alias Jhalib Ekal, but is currently located on Delos IV as the radical Jhalen Novu.

History

Raised on the Betazoid homeworld, Ayden's lifetime is plagued by the devastation of a long-arching war where resources on the outskirts of what remains of the Federation have been sucked dry. His mother intended to keep him from harm by having her son remain as far from the edges of the Federation for as long as possible, so their residence remained firmly on Betazed with the members of the Eleventh House. However, during his youth, he would still remain in close contact with Tasnim Shandres. It's also implied that he was mentored into his early adulthood by Evan Delano.[1]

Ayden would occasionally work in a diplomatic capacity for the Eleventh House alongside Istrol Vataix, son of Rivi Vataix.[2] But in 2451, members of the house are lost in an attack by the increasingly powerful Tholian Assembly. Among those killed are Istrol, and Ayden's sister, Ilakai. After a debate among his closest circle, Caslo Eislas chooses to inform Ayden's mother Sky Blake, but the news leaves her catatonic. Her condition deteriorates rapidly, to the point that she no longer recognises Zhou Tai-Sheng, and Blake passes away a mere week following her daughter. Caslo attempts to persuade Ayden to take a more active role in the Eleventh House's politics, but Ayden chooses instead to step away from Betazed altogether. Ayden opts to choose his own path, though remains under the watchful eye of the Twentieth House of Betazed.[3]

He meets Merce Ekal in 2464 when he suffers life-threatening medical episode and is taken to a Betazoid hospital. After several months of courtship on Ayden's part, Merce gives his case to a fellow colleague, and the two begin a serious relationship.

Following severe complications to a medical episode, Ayden is admitted into hospital again, this time for two weeks as doctors struggled to find suitable treatments to his deteriorating condition.[4] Concerns surrounding his circulatory system had doctors recommending a heart transplant, even to consider an artificial heart, but Ayden refuses, much to Merce's dismay. However, after several days of uncertainty, doctors come up with a blood treatment to improve his oxygen circulation, and Ayden is finally released from medical care.

Ayden becomes anxious when rumours suggesting an impending attack on the Betazoid homeworld was imminent - so, six years into their relationship, he and Merce leave Betazed and migrate to Etamoa V, an out of the way Federation world. When Mazar is all but annexed, he and Merce decide to adopt an infant Mazarite and name her Nairen.

In 2477, Ayden meets Narm'ei Constable and is invited to join the Temporal Integrity Commission. He accepts, and upon learning of the Veritas' involvement in their current galactic state, he goes to Zhou Tai-Sheng to learn more about what occurred. However, Zhou becomes suspicious of Ayden's interest, and quickly connects the dots, assuming Ayden will attempt to change the timeline. Instead, he encourages Ayden to "let sleeping dogs lie". Zhou passes away the following year.[3]

For a handful of years, he begins to travel between Etamoa V and Cait for "employment purposes". On a jump back to 2389, Ayden accidentally leaves traces of his being on the Coverian homeworld, his travelling persona remaining in the Federation Identification Archive. Confused and upset, Merce confronts Ayden when he finds himself in doubt about Ayden's true identity, as he matched the exact description of Jhalib Ekal from years before Ayden's supposed birth. Ayden chooses to explain the situation in it's full and confusing detail, as well as his current position in the Temporal Integrity Commission - after a frustrating argument, the two manage to reconcile, and Merce opts to move to Cait to be with Ayden on a more permanent basis. They become engaged to marry shortly after the move.

Ayden is assigned the 'case' of the USS Veritas and it's part in the instigation of the current state of the galaxy, one of the primary travelers sent back to certain places and points to make 'adjustments' to the timeline in the hopes that one small change in the past will make a better present. However, before he could make his first jump, the Guardian of Forever becomes unresponsive, and the Temporal Integrity Commission is forced to find other means of time travel.

Jhalib Ekal

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Ekal Chronicles

Choosing to operate through history as Jhalib Ekal, he completes small work on Star Station Esperance during a jump back to 2395, and literally bumps into Sky Blake on a station turbolift. Convinced he looked familiar, she asks if they'd met before, though he claims to merely have worked behind the bar of the officer's lounge aboard the USS Ronin. Though he wasn't told of her destination, he tells Blake to "enjoy the wedding" of Mei'konda and Evan Delano.[5]

Ekal is later seen aboard the SS Rowena as it drops two Starfleet officers back to Kidman I after rescuing them from a malfunctioning escape pod, performing minor upgrades to the freighter's sensor equipment. When asked, he claims to the Rowena's captain that he is from Rigel V, having opted to leave the Rigel system due to ongoing and heated political debates regarding the Kalar. He would be asked by the freighter's captain to take apart the escape pod, simply shrugging at Tristam Core's insistence that the process may not be worth the work.[6]

On Star Station Esperance in 239508, Ekal meets with Roshanara Rahman and Mei'konda to individually restore their memories of a premature trip to the USS Veritas, claiming to be with the Department of Temporal Investigations - and providing documentation to prove it.[7] Though he fails to explain the reasoning to Mei'konda, he separately admits to Rahman that the two had perhaps caught a glimpse of something vital to an investigation he was undertaking when they inadvertently entered a second temporal anomaly on their return trip to the USS Mercury. He asks Rahman to describe a battle between Starfleet and Tholian factions, specifically asking who fired first - though the answer she provides (being a Starfleet quantum torpedo) causes him to express disappointment. Before she can further ask about the investigation, Ekal vanishes.[8]

Ekal travels to Eporue station, an ore processing facility under Tholian rule, to travel back to 2395, claiming to the station's enforcers that he was searching for two Andorians. When left alone in the room, he activates his CRI brace, and falls backwards in time to the Coalition Outpost Eporue (Eporue's very first iteration of use). Though in poor physical condition, he immediately attempts to seek out the USS Veritas.[9]

Stealing one of Eporue's shuttlecrafts, Ekal tracks down the Veritas and is brought aboard, but is unable to immediately discuss the Temporal Integrity Commission's plan with Captain Rahman. Instead, he is taken to sickbay by his mother and G'var, almost collapsing due to his deteriorating health along the way. He meets Alora DeVeau, and becomes apprehensive of the tricorder she wields (as he is posing as a Rigelian, and would be instantly recognised as Ayden Blake with a single tricorder scan). He pleads with her and Nic del Vedova as their patient, not to report his heritage to ship's staff. As a show of good faith, he relinquishes his CRI brace to G'var, but asks that his mother leave as he is treated.[4] In an attempt to lighten the mood, DeVeau asks if he likes cats, but Ekal finds himself unable to answer due to it being one of the distinct ways to identify him. He congratulates her on this confounding achievement but quickly realises that the Veritas medical staff is not how he recalled it in historical records. Suddenly realising Chythar Skyfire was absent from the group, Ekal panics and demands a PADD to track the new and missing information.[10]

I found a plan in place for the Veritas's premature destruction. The Commission's chief of operations is using it as a last ditch effort - she seems to think that because the Veritas fired on that Tholian vessel, then it's directly responsible for the state of my galaxy. So if the Veritas never *gets* to that encounter, and looks as if it's been destroyed through some other means, then that crisis is more or less averted and the Tholians go about on their merry way. Except that it's not a fool proof plan, because it's not been properly calculated - there's over a hundred and twenty unaccounted people immediately taken from my timeline that could have any number of consequences. By my understanding, it'd make the situation worse than it already is. But they believe this is their last choice, so they're going ahead with it anyway.

Jhalib Ekal, The Ekal timeline.

His health temporarily treated, Ekal spends the next hour tracking the changes to the timeline with the Veritas crew, and explains the distinct differences from his history (the "Ekal timeline") and their present (the "Montreal timeline"), which he believes was caused by the successful adjustment back in Joseph Washington's office months only recently setting, successfully pushing the Veritas to Havley's Hope earlier than expected, and resulting in the USS Montreal's change of staff. Because the Veritas and the Montreal are no longer separated and began working together upon hearing about the USS Artemis' banking between the Shoals and the Tholian border, and with a crew change resulting in different people filling different roles, the Veritas was no longer destined to be destroyed by Tholians upon meeting. He explains to Captain Rahman that, in spite of this, the Temporal Integrity Commission has already launched their plan to destroy the Veritas prematurely, so to stave the possibility of war with the Tholian Assembly.[11] Regardless of both the Veritas crew and the TIC's efforts, Ekal truly believes that conflict with the Tholians is inevitable, but he believes they can alter how devastating the conflict with them can be. But now that Ekal was aboard the Veritas, the crew had a tactical advantage and could quickly locate the Artemis with his assistance.[12]

Ekal is brought into Veritas Engineering for his expertise as Geoffrey Teller details demolition plans for the Artemis, but he admits to the crew that his knowledge regarding the Artemis specifically is actually quite lacking (as Starfleet did their best to cover the incident and refused to disclose details of it's existence to the civilian TIC). Teller goes on to state that the Veritas was not well-equipped for cybernetic warfare attacks from the 25th century, but Ekal volunteers his services as a temporal mechanic native to that century, and begins to work on countermeasures to plans put in place years prior to the current stardate.[13]

A tender peace is brokered with the Tholians following the destruction of the Artemis, which leaves Ekal in a perpetual state of shock. With his timeline successfully averted, he no longer has the ability to return home and struggles in the realisation of his own continued existence.[14] Though the CRI brace can afford him with one more jump backwards in time, he is caught in the Veritas evacuation when it's deuterium depletes for seemingly no reason, and lands on Limbo with the rest of the Veritas crew.[15] It's mentioned that due to the warmer and more humid climate of Limbo, Ekal's health improves slightly,[16] but he is unable to leave through means of the CRI brace due to his lack of knowledge regarding Limbo's coordinates (as to attempt a jump without accurate temporal coordinates with the CRI brace in its current configuration could result in his transport into space). He attempts to assist the crew with what little survival capabilities he has but proves mostly useless due to his frail physical condition.[17]

After Blake is incapacitated following a venomous snake bite, Ekal performs a mind-meld to "check in" with her. They discuss her son Ayden's middle name ("Diego") and from where it originated: the name of one of her old captains, prior to her affliction of amnesia. He realises that she's identified him correctly as her son, though he admits to her that he's uncertain if he'll suddenly cease to exist like his partner and daughter. Blake reassures him that he will, eventually, find his place again.[18]

Geoffrey Teller and Wil Ukinix devise a plan to rescue the crew from Limbo using Ekal's CRI brace.[19] With Captain Rahman, they manage to determine a way to split the small dose of chronometric particles between a small team of people.[20] Tristam Core makes necessary adjustments to the transporter in the CRI brace, allowing it to set spacial coordinates as well as temporal, much to Ekal's apprehension. However, he admits to Blake and Zhou Tai-Sheng that he has to leave upon the crew's return to the Veritas: because of his extensive knowledge regarding fixed events, the temptation to consult him regarding major incoming conflicts may be too much to avoid, and Ekal believes it necessary to take himself out of that equation.[21]

Quick rundown - the CRI brace uses two key components that work together in a twisted kind of harmony. The transporter module, and the chronometric radiation, which you've all been given a small dosage already. My condition is a result of fifteen years of continued exposure to the radiation - contrary to rumour around camp, one shot of it will not cripple you. There is no one up on the Veritas, and when we get there, the Compass will be too far into Limbo's atmosphere to notice anything out of the ordinary more than they had by that point. When we get the ship back up and running within acceptable parameters, we would have already passed this point in time on Limbo. There is no timeline or event for us to inadvertently wreck. Do yourself a favour, and don't stress over that.

Jhalib Ekal, Jump start - redux

Along with Teller, Evan Delano, Aron Kells and Kelrod, Ekal jumps to the Veritas.[22] He and Delano make their way to deflector control, and he's tasked with writing a program to realign the ship's deflector array (a task which he initially struggles with, but manages to complete).[23] The crew is successfully returned to the ship.

True to his word, Ekal leaves the Veritas with the intent of meeting his father for the first time. Before he goes, he alleviates his mother's concerns regarding Rivi Vataix and the Eleventh House of Betazed coming to her aid for Faith Blake's migration to the Federation, referring to the Vataix family as the "cavalry". He says his goodbyes to Sky Blake, and jumps with the CRI brace one last time to 2391, the year of his birth, and his father Sabor's death.[2]

After tracking down Sabor, and with a window of just two days prior to his death, Ekal knocks on the Vulcan's door in the middle of the night. He holds no information back from his father, immediately explaining that he is his son, and goes so far as to detail his experiences to him about his life in the 25th century, and everything that occurred aboard the Veritas.[24] But a dark curiosity pushes Ekal to remain, seeking answers about the vague story regarding his father's death. Ekal witnesses the attack that ultimately kills Sabor, and though he had the power to save him, chooses to preserve the timeline in its current state and walks away from his father shortly after his last breath.[25]

Jhalen Novu

“My timeline no longer exists. Not because of what we did here today,” Jhalen quickly added, “but for other reasons, unrelated to this. But you’re right. I’ve seen how bad things can get if we do not act immediately.”

“And how bad can it get?” Whylen asked.

Jhalen gave a frustrated sigh and tried to think of a way to give her the specifics, while also not giving her the specifics. It was a delicate balance he had to keep, but one he’d learned long ago. “I have seen war at the most inopportune times, for everyone. I’ve seen chances squandered and wasted because of the people that placed themselves in power. I have seen a planet burning, because it lit itself alight.” There was a pause between them as they stared into the darkening landscape. “I have seen the splintering of a civilization, because they were too busy enthralled by the violence they thought to be effective, instead of using their silver tongues.”

The fence between now and future

Spurned on by his father's needless death, and with an extensive understanding of what the Brekkian homeworld of Delos IV became in his native timeline, Ekal adopts the new identity of Jhalen Novu. With the intention of changing Brekka's poor political climate and relations with other planets, he spends four years learning everything about the increased tension in the Brekkian government and builds a file worthy of blackmail against Brekkians in position of power. With plans to unify Brekka as a planet, he manages to band together with a small rebel group of five people and drafts a unification accord that would bind the separate leaders or governments of territories of countries of Brekka into one single diplomatic entity.

However, his plans stagnate when his small group realise they need a sixth person to accomplish this task. One of his members, Voma, successfully convinces a young Brekkian scholar named Whylen to at least meet with their radical group in person. Though his health is clearly poor, Jhalen manages to convince Whylen that their plans are sound and non-violent.[26]

The group successfully infiltrate and shut down the government building in Nar Talone. Though not all government leaders or representatives were part of the meeting, Jhalen successfully strong-arms all 52 people from different countries and territories into signing the unification accords.[27] They escaped the building with no resistence.[28]

Jhalen and his five rebels retreat to land inherited by Sky Blake. He is confronted by Whylen regarding his true identity, and though he does not disclose his real name, he admits that he was born on stardate 239101.22, which would make him about 6 years old. He also explains that his father was Vulcan, prompting Whylen to enquire why he cares about Brekka when he could simply leave to be on his father's homeworld. He responds by explaining his mother's background on Brekka and gives a vague idea of the planet's future. When asked how he intends to hold all 52 governments to their signatures on the partial accords, he reveals he has a long backlog of intelligence gathered on those in power over the last four years and intends to use it if required.[29]

Appearance

Despite the strange timing of his appearances, Ayden as Jhalib Ekal looks to be an otherwise unremarkable, middle-aged, vulcanoid Rigelian, possibly holding a Bajoran relation (given his minor nose ridge) - this however is proven false when bioscans are run, revealing his Vulcan, Brekkian, and Betazoid heritage. He is of medium height with a wiry build, sporting a thick head of short and curly greying brown hair, wearing clean and crisp clothing. To the common passers-by, his eyes are a generic brown and are nothing overly special, but they are near identical to the eyes of his father, Sabor.

His condition deteriorates considerably after jumping to meet the Veritas in 2395. He looks and feels incredibly tired, his complexion often pale. Due to this deterioration, he is now no longer able to support himself for long period of time, having to sit due to exhaustion after just a few minutes standing. His breathing has also been impacted, and Ayden will often yawn just to regain breath (not because he has lost interest). However, though his physical capabilities have been heavily diminished, his cognitive abilities are still finely tuned.

Today, Jhalen Novu often sports white clothing and wears beanies to obscure his pointed ears from Brekkian eyes.

Personality

A mildly whimsical kind of person, Ayden comes off as extraordinarily young despite his age and physical health. He is a chatty kind of person, generally always positive even when much of the state of the galaxy is at a bleak point in it's history. However, much like his mother, he takes stressful situations seriously, and will not push himself anymore than he deems necessary, well aware of his physical condition not generally being up to task. He is, however, incredibly stubborn and head-strong, unwilling to compromise on things he whole-heartedly believes in, and responds negatively when others tell him he is unable to do as he wishes.

He is a temporal mechanic by trade and is quite capable around starship equipment, managing to perform adequately when using the Veritas' older equipment (which is approximately a hundred years out of date in comparison to his native technology). That said, nowadays he delegates the use of technology to those with far quicker hands, as his lack of energy leaves focusing his efforts on menial technological tasks problematic for him, especially if required on a regular basis.

Strangely enough, when asked if he likes cats (or any other household pet by extension) by Alora DeVeau, he likens the prospect as being in the same room as a snake about to eat him alive, inducing unnecessary stress. This is supposedly because he or his sister "had an incident" with a small animal with claws, subsequently scarring his mother for life to the point where Ayden and Ilakai were not permitted around any animals with claws, no matter how friendly. By the time he was an adult, he had an ingrained aversion to such pets, thus his own daughter was also not permitted around them (which was, to his surprise, supported by his partner).[10]

References

  1. "Old skool was the best school, evidently.", J.Ekal, USS Veritas, SD 239601.23
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Goodbye, Jhalib Ekal.", LtCmdr S.Blake, USS Veritas, SD 239602.12
  3. 3.0 3.1 "A better time of it.", J.Ekal, USS Veritas, SD 239512.08
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Traveler's condition.", J.Ekal, USS Veritas, SD 239511.11
  5. "Something about those eyes.", LtCmdr S.Blake, USS Veritas, SD 239504.03
  6. "Kidman I", LtCmdr S.Blake
  7. "New Old Memories", Cmdr Mei'konda, USS Veritas, SD 239508.16
  8. "Eyewitness" Part 2, Cpt R.Rahman & J.Ekal, USS Veritas, SD 239508.20
  9. "Jump start.", J.Ekal, USS Veritas, SD 239511.03
  10. 10.0 10.1 "Temporal dysphoria.", J.Ekal, USS Veritas, SD 239511.14
  11. "The Ekal timeline.", J.Ekal, USS Veritas, SD 239511.17
  12. "Objective.", J.Ekal, USS Veritas, SD 239511.21
  13. "Handle with care.", J.Ekal, USS Veritas, SD 239512.16
  14. "New Years Day.", A.Blake, USS Veritas, SD 239601.01
  15. "The may-day.", LtCmdr S.Blake, USS Veritas, SD 239512.23
  16. "Friendly faces.", LtCmdr S.Blake, USS Veritas, SD 239512.26
  17. "The ranger.", LtCmdr S.Blake, USS Veritas, SD 239512.28
  18. "From nothing to something.", LtCmdr S.Blake, USS Veritas, SD 239601.11
  19. "Thinking 4th Dimensionally, Part 2", LtJG G.Teller & Ens W.Ukinix, USS Veritas, SD 239601.09
  20. "Dawn", Teaser, USS Veritas, SD 239601.11
  21. "Every action...", J.Ekal, USS Veritas, SD 239601.14
  22. "Jump start - redux.", J.Ekal, USS Veritas, SD 239601.15
  23. "Can't you see the irony?", J.Ekal, USS Veritas, SD 239602.05
  24. "Life for some's a little out of reach." (Part 1), A.Blake, USS Veritas, SD 239602.27
  25. "Life for some's a little out of reach." (Part 2), A.Blake, USS Veritas, SD 239602.27
  26. The sixth recruit, Archive of Our Own
  27. Hostile takeover, Archive of Our Own
  28. Brekkian governments held hostage, forced to sign partial unification accord, Federation News Service
  29. The fence between now and future, Archive of Our Own