SIM:JP: Aron Kells & Roshanara Rahman: Reunion (Part 2)
Author's Note: On stardate 239005.03, Aron Kells was combined in a Ring-induced temporal incident with his 60-year-old self to create a double who was infused with his memories from the future. Aron Kells himself was kept prisoner for nine months while his double returned to the USS Mercury and continued to serve as CO, believing he was in fact the 60-year-old Aron Kells who had traveled back in time from the year 2421. Both Kells and his double's subsequent actions after stardate 239005.03 have altered the original timeline.
This SIM was written and presented on Jun 28, 2013 (corresponding to the IC stardate 239006.28), but the events in this SIM take place in 2404, in the original timeline before it was disrupted by the return of Kells and his double from the Ring. It has been presented in italics to emphasize this distinction from the current/altered timeline.
(( Epsilon Camelopardalis III-F Ocean Colony, 2404 ))
KELLS: Rah-- Lieu-- (beat) Roshanara. I've come a long way. Will you talk with me?
:: But she ignored him, didn't answer, and turned to the Dopterians. ::
RAHMAN: It's all right. You may leave us.
:: His three companions turned almost at once to go, leaving the two alone much more quickly than Aron had expected. He opened his mouth to speak, but she beat him to it. She was still quite expressionless. ::
RAHMAN: I'm not leaving with you. If that's why you're here or if Del sent you.
KELLS: It isn't. At least, not exactly. If you wanted to go, I *would* take you. (beat) But, no. What I really want to do is talk.
RAHMAN: Your determination was evident from the moment you landed.
KELLS: You knew-- Never mind. Of course you knew.
:: She nodded and beckoned him into her little dwelling. Inside, he found that he'd been right, or at least partially: The walls were rounded and mostly transparent, though he doubted there was a light. She'd have an excellent view. Except for the smell, the company, and the likelihood that the whole thing would sink at any moment, it was almost nice. ::
RAHMAN: Fine, then. You can tell me why you're here over a cup of coffee. The Dopterians don't share my fondness for caffeine.
KELLS: I can't say I do much, either, these days, but all right.
:: Inside, "decorating" the place were various strange contraptions and monitoring devices for the structural integrity of the community. There were half-assembled pumps and other pieces of equipment laid out on a workbench and on the floor. Clearly, the little studio served both as her quarters and her workshop.
She had him sit down on a chair between the curving window and a bookshelf paired with another chair. Strange, really, since it was clear she didn't receive visitors often. The chair Aron sat in felt barely used at all compared to the worn out seat across from him. She poured him a cup of coffee and sat down herself. ::
RAHMAN: Forgive Mister Hahtal. He is rather paternal over his people.
KELLS: Oh, I can understand that. (beat) But are *you* one of his people?
:: It was meant as a rhetorical question, but there was a hint of a true question to it, as well. Was she? If she'd already decided that she was, then maybe there wasn't much he could do or say. ::
RAHMAN: I suppose. Is that why you're here?
KELLS: I'm not here to call you back to Starfleet or assemble the old gang for one last hurrah or anything like that, if that's what you think. (beat) Nor am I here to otherwise engage you in some kind of outdated power relationship.
RAHMAN: I didn't think so. It's all right. I already have a father.
:: She smiled, though not at him, as she stirred cinnamon into her coffee. ::
RAHMAN: And a Dopterian who'd like to think of himself that way.
KELLS: I-- what? No, that's not what I mean, not at all! I'm here to *apologize*.
:: Well, there it was, spoken plainly. He didn't even need to say what for, because her knowing look was a little too knowledgeable, her stirring a little too mechanical, her face a little too devoid of any care to prove that she didn't *really* care. ::
RAHMAN: It's all right, captain. You did what you needed to do. For your ship. For our ship.
KELLS: Maybe. But that doesn't make your dismissal right. It's always been my goal to work *with* my crew, not against them. Maybe the books do say that you should have been discharged. I should have said to hell with them! I shouldn't have -- you know, listened.
:: If she agreed with him, she didn't reassure him with a nod or other sign of approval. Instead, she looked off into the distance, out to the rolling waters that lay beyond the windows. ::
RAHMAN: It was a difficult time after I left the Mercury. Frustrating, disheartening... and frightening above all else. At least during my first rehabilitation after the Tempest, I still felt... like myself. But after you discharged me... it was as if a piece of me disappeared every day, until I didn't recognize myself at all.
:: She then turned back to him, her green eyes reflecting his. ::
RAHMAN: That is... until I realized I just needed to get away.
KELLS: But that's what I'm telling you: You didn't have to. You still don't, not if you want to leave this place and come back. I know I said I wasn't here to bring you back, but I'm here and *if* you want to come back....
:: But he could see her frown already forming. ::
KELLS: You don't have to answer immediately. Think about it. There are alternatives--
:: She put her cup down to interject, although her voice remained calm. ::
RAHMAN: No, there's no other way. At least not for me...
:: She held her breath for a moment, obviously expecting him to fill something in. He looked at her quizzically. ::
RAHMAN: Or didn't he tell you?
KELLS: Tell me-- tell me what?
:: And who was "he"? The Dopterian overseer? ::
RAHMAN: Hmmph... I had just assumed...
:: Another grin formed, teasing him. ::
RAHMAN: ...since I figured he told you everything else eventually.
:: Not at all, or at least that didn't make sense with her response. Then it clicked, the only person she could be talking about. Indeed, the only person for whom that particular, almost joking smile made sense. ::
RAHMAN: "Recommended for medical isolation." That was Del's final report. Not quite a quarantine since I don't have a disease per se... but basically, I've been diagnosed as incapable of living as a functional member of society.
KELLS: And you, you saw that as some sort of betrayal, because you-- you're--
RAHMAN: No, captain. I agree completely with that assessment.
:: She laughed then. ::
RAHMAN: Yet ironically, I can't even check into an actual asylum for such isolation. Too much stimulus... and so, I decided to do what an engineer would do if she had a faulty component in a system: take it out.
KELLS: And replace it with what? You aren't a power converter to be produced by a replicator en masse when you burn out, all right? You -- you're a person. With a-- a problem, maybe. But not *faulty*, not *broken*. All right?
:: It was important to him that she understood this, and when she failed to do anything but maintain her benign expression, he rose from the chair, his anger overwhelming. He stared out at the sea. ::
RAHMAN: It was supposed to be temporary. Del tried to be a saint-- no, he *was* a saint. He worked tirelessly for several more years on his own, long after the rest of the medical teams had shifted onto other newer, more interesting, and more promising cases. In fact, before you, he was the only other person who sat in that chair to join me for a cup of tea.
:: She picked up her cup again. ::
RAHMAN: Hmmph, he doesn't really like my coffee, either.
KELLS: (softly) So that's why he left. Where he went.
RAHMAN: But eventually, I told him he needed to stop coming here. He needed to move on with his own career.
:: Oh, Aron remembered that well: How Del had been so devoted to his career after the end of his engagement back in 2389, how he'd made it through lieutenant commander and chief medical officer and had then plateaued. No, worse than: He'd given up. Sunk back down in the department, had been in danger of demotion, and had taken leaves that often went a few days past when they were supposed to end. He'd told Aron once, in the darkest corner of a moment, that he was considering leaving Starfleet, and when Aron had asked why, Del had told him it was for an old friend. Not that he'd thought much of that then, but now-- ::
KELLS: It worked. He did. He moved on with a lot of things. (beat) He's a commanding officer now, of a small hospital ship. He had to be talked into the commission, but Command was insistent, what with the war and whatnot.
:: With his back turned to her, he didn't see how the news caused her face to light up with joy. It was her first genuine reaction of their conversation. ::
RAHMAN: I'm glad to hear that. He was rather argumentative about the whole thing when he was last here -- I'm sure that's hard to believe.
:: Aron allowed his smile to flicker back as he turned around. ::
KELLS: I think I can trust that it's true.
RAHMAN: ::shaking her head:: And he had promised he would keep where he hid me a secret... for real this time.
KELLS: He did.
:: He shook his head at her polite incredulity. ::
KELLS: He didn't tell me anything. I found you all on my own. (beat) He did try to stop me, once he knew what I was doing. I mean, once he sort of knew what I was doing. I don't know that he was at all certain what I would do when I got here. (beat) Nor was I. (beat) But you-- you, here and now. I sort of understand, or I think I do, that what you really need is to be left alone. (beat) Yes.
:: She smiled again before taking a sip of her coffee. ::
RAHMAN: Well, good. Better late than never.
:: What more was there to say? Oh, there were the usual polite goodbyes, but the end of the conversation had come and they both knew it. Aron's trip back to the argonaut was quick -- the Dopterians were polite now, but it was clear that they wanted him to leave. He wanted to, as well; he found that in that moment he had never wanted anything more. But, again, once he was above the water moon, he found that he didn't jump immediately to warp. To be at warp was to admit the momentum of the situation, and that he wouldn't do. He stayed at impulse as he passed two outer planets, and only was shaken out of his reverie by the ringing of the comms system. He activated it, and there was Del's head waiting for him. ::
DEL VEDOVA: She's gone.
:: His voice was almost and carefully devoid of feeling, but Aron knew him better than that: Del was seething. ::
DEL VEDOVA: The colony is in an uproar! They think "her visitor" kidnapped her somehow. She's left no trace, nothing even for me to follow. It really does look like-- (beat) I can only assume that wasn't you.
KELLS: Oh, no. I did visit her. But she isn't with me. She must've....
:: He didn't finish the thought. Instead, he smiled. ::
DEL VEDOVA: What?
KELLS: Nothing. Nothing at all.
Commander, 17th Fleet, Starfleet Science
Patient Reference Number 912-804-117