SIM:Jhalib Ekal, "The encounter."
((Turbolift, Star Station Esperance))
::This time, this *place* . . . it was familiar and yet, not. He'd heard stories of it, had seen holos, but to set foot here? His mother used to say quantum slipstream drive was the most innovative thing of her time, but time travel . . .
::Time travel was something else.::
::Here he was, setting foot on Star Station Esperance. It was in perfect condition, operating at it's peak. He'd been a boy the last time he was here, decades younger than he was now. And he was back.::
::Stay away from the crew". He'd scoffed at that when the communications channel closed. There were only a handful of people associated with the Veritas known to still alive where he came from - there was no way he was going to go out of his way to *avoid* the crew. These people had been his family once. He wasn't here to stay, but if he 'accidentally' bumped into them, then he wouldn't shy away from it. He knew the huge events that would cause ripples, he could avoid those. But, minuscule interactions - like ones in a turbolift, for example - weren't about to cause devastation that hadn't already happened. In his time, at least.::
::Besides, the second he walked out of the turbolift, Ayden Diego Blake bumped right into a blonde, emerald eyed, familiar face.
Blake: Noree scrumbe-
::It had been on accident. He was so stunned, he'd dropped the PADD he'd been carrying. They were eyes he hadn't seen for twenty years. And she'd just sworn at him in Seritonian.::
::If his heart hadn't been beating out of his chest, he'd have laughed. He'd never heard her swear quite so liberally as a child - and by the time he was old enough to fully understand what she was saying, she'd mellowed out.::
::The woman, who'd be in her early thirties this year if he remembered right, had bent down to pick up the PADD for him. And he could only stare at her.::
Blake: I'm sorry - I wasn't paying attention.
::He couldn't wipe the smile off his face, bottom lip pulling between his lip.::
Ayden: It's my fault. I assure you.
::His mother frowned, stepping into the turbolift beside him, giving him a strange look - probably assuming he was a crazy man. Ayden kept his eyes ahead, both lips between his teeth now as she ordered her destination.
::She was heading down to Esperance.::
Ayden: Sorry to bother you, but do you have the stardate?
Blake: Uh . . . ::She closed her eyes for a split second.:: 239504.02.
::She was heading down to Esperance for Delano's wedding. Of course.::
Ayden: Right. Thank you. I just . . . uh . . . had a long week.
::There was a twinkle in her eye.::
Blake: Could have fooled me. You look like you're on top of your game.
::Oh Noree, his own mother was flirting with him. He chuckled.::
Ayden: I appreciate that. ::He twirled the ring on his thumb.:: But I know a man who would probably disagree with you.
::And just wait when he heard about *this* experience. His mother glanced at him, eyeing the ring, and then turned to him fully. She'd seen something, he just knew it, the Brekkian Betazoid whom had given birth to him staring into his eyes.::
Blake: I'm sorry, but . . . do I know you? I feel like I've seen you somewhere.
oO Scrumb. Oo
::He thought - very quickly - about her service record, about the incident, about everything his mother had told him prior to this moment and everything Constable had provided him with. It wasn't hard, coming up with an excuse that fit in with the giant hole of her memory. He hated lying to her, manipulating her past to his benefit, but unless he wanted to explain to Constable exactly why his mother was the source of a huge time quake, he wasn't about to go revealing exactly who he was to her, no matter how much he wanted to tell her about . . . everything.
::The temporal prime directive was still active, after all.::
Ayden: You're Starfleet, right?
::She nodded, but he already knew that.::
Ayden: I tended the bar, aboard the USS Ronin.
::No he hadn't - of course he hadn't been aboard the Ronin - but he was of a similar description to Tom Florence today that he could get away with pretending to be the Fabrini. It wasn't like she was about to go fact-checking his story.::
::His mother did, however, seem a bit disappointed at the story.::
Blake: I'm sorry I didn't recognize you earlier.
Ayden: In your defense, it was a pretty forgettable time.
Blake:::with a huff:: You're telling *me*.
::Her eyes lingered on him, thankfully failing to recognize his inside joke, and for a moment, he'd worried that his own eyes, his father's eyes, would give him away.
::This had been a bad idea, remaining in the turbolift - he should have listened to Constable's orders, bolted the second she handed him his PADD and she would have been none the wiser, had gotten on with her day. Now he ran the risk that she *would* check up on his story. This is why they'd sent him on a test run - for him to prove that he could do this simple task without causing ripples.::
::Oh, what was he thinking. He was being paranoid - she had a wedding to attend. This would be but a blip on her radar compared to the rest of today.::
::Finally, mercifully, the turbolift stopped (his stop), the doors opening. He glanced back at her.
::There was so much he wanted to tell her. Noree, he just wanted to *hug* her, but he couldn't even risk that without her thinking he was some kind of crazy person. But finally, after taking only one step off the lift, still in the way of the doors, the man gave Sky Blake a respectful nod with a soft smile.::
Ayden: Enjoy the wedding.
::She gave him a quizzical look as the doors closed, but didn't have time to make a comment.::
::He took a deeper breath and released it, finally noticing the shaking in his shoulders, despite the fact that he felt more comfortable in her presence (even at this turbulent time of her life) than he had during his entire trip to Esperance.::
::Time travel. It was dangerous work. Next time Constable said he had to avoid the crew, Ayden might actually listen to him.::
- This is the first posted encounter with Ekal - but actually wasn't supposed to be a proper Ekal sim. Initially this entire encounter would have been only Blake's side, but (surprise surprise), writing Sky Blake meeting a random strange and having an awkward encounter was not as interesting to read from her side as it was to read from Ekal's.
- Ekal fails to mention Mei'konda when talking about his wedding - just Evan Delano. This is possibly due to perhaps knowing Delano better - it's also more likely for Delano to still be around when Ayden is an adult (sorry, Mei'konda).
- This is also likely true for many of the Veritas crew members with "general" humanoid lifespans (100 - 120 year lifespan).
- Tom Florence was an NPC bartender aboard the USS Ronin. He definitely did not get that much screen time.
- It's not mentioned, but this is the only instance of time travel we see where Ekal utilizes the Guardian of Forever, rather than the CRI brace.