SIM:The Truth Hurts
(( Deck 5, Holodeck 3, USS Apollo))
- Vik stood in the center of the room, looking at all the projection arrays and lifelessness of the room. It had always fascinated him how such a place could instantly be transformed into anything you could set your mind's eye on. He was wearing the preferred off-duty garb; a black wool pea-coat, a thin henley-style black undershirt and a pair of faded jeans. they were probably the only articles of clothing he had left from his time on Earth. His wardrobe mostly consisted of uniforms and the occaisional black suit for espionage. Non of that here tonight.
- He took the photo-file he was holding and opened it. It was the original electronic version that his father had given him right after the family split apart. He always told him to hang onto what he had left. Vik had looked through it from time to time, usually when he was thinking of his mother. He'd only been through a small portion of the videos stored inside, mostly because of the pain he felt; the pain of never being able to have those memories again. The smell of the faded metal enveloped him as he took off the leather casing. It wasn't very often he took this thing out of the leather, for he never knew what atrocity or accident might be waiting to take those memories from him. He closed his eyes and savored the moment. The very first picture was a picture of him and his mother standing in the kitchen. He pushed the button on the bottom signaling the book to play the video.
- He never remebered being that short or frail, or even the idea of baking in the kitchen with his mother. He smiled at the thought of who was behind the camera, and what it meant at the time. His father was capturing some important parts of Vik's childhood for him to remember always. Young Vik would stand up on his tip-toes and poke his finger in to the dough, with his mother turning to scold him. He laughed slightly with a broad smile on his face. He looked up and to the console by the door. He walked over briskly and connected the photo-file to the port. ::
Lanius: Computer, run a file scan on the input I've supplied. render all points exactly as they are interpreted.
Computer: Processing request, stand by...
- The room lit up all at once. The first thing to change was the smell in the room. Instantly he could smell bread baking. It was always one of his mother's favorite things to make, not to mention the most practical of all things. His mother appeared, along with the pint-sized Viktor standing right by her side. the fresh oak cabinets, the sun outside rising through the window, the table and chairs with the permanent coffee rings where his father once sat. It was all there. Even the breeze blowing through the open porch door could be felt, the same warm all-encompassing blanket that caught him every morning. It was real. ::
Lanius: Computer... :: he paused for a moment biting his lip :: begin playback...
- The computer chirped and the action began. He was curious to this experience, as it was one that he didn't remember. It was something that his father recorded for him and his wife to recount after years of marriage. He didn't count on having to give it to his son to remember them by. The breeze could finally be heard, the door creaking as it shifted back and forth. His mother began to knead the dough in front of her, with pint-sized Viktor moving in for the kill. The finger made it to its target, as did his mother's ::
Mary Ann: VIKTOR FAELRUN! How many times must I repeat myself, lord knows I'm soundin' like a broken record by now...
- Her irish accent was thick, just the way he remembered it. The computer had done a mint job in translating the audio feeds into reality. Little Lanius just looked as his mother and smiled a devlish little look. Vik couldn't help but laugh out loud, knowing that even though he didn't remeber this moment in time, it didn't surprise him at all. She turned to him and picked him up and set him on the counter. ::
Mary Ann: D' you know what I'm bakin' boy? Any ideas?
Little Lanius: No ma, none t'all.
Mary Ann: This is your fadder's favorite... Friendship bread. And so it goes, dat whoever ya share it wit will be with ya forever. :: She offered him a piece of a finished loaf. ::
- He watched as the boy took the piece of bead and looked at it. He broke a smaller piece of it off and ate the other. He quickly hopped off the table and ran to the other side of the room, undoubtedly where his dad would have been standing. He knew that that little boy truly believed in what his mother had told him, and he knew exactly who he wanted to give that piece to. He just looked blankly for a moment at the small boy in front of him; the look of joy on his face, the sheer excitement of being able to share a family tradition with someone he loved. Vik closed his eyes as he felt the water welling. He bit his tongue striking away the urge to let loose. ::
Lanius: Computer... Move to the last file... explain.
Computer: Accessing. File contains verbal data stream, author, Faelrun Lanius III.
Lanius: Generate male author, use files contained in the input I've provided. Use this model for playback of the audio.
- He knew it wouldn't be the same as hearing it straight from the old man's mouth, but it would have to do. He wasn't quite sure what he would be watching in the next few minutes, but in his mind, it was propbably something he needed to hear. He'd been avoiding that portion of video for long, long time. ::
Computer: Acknowledged... *chirp chirp*
- At once the room turned black and a single light could be seen shing from ceiling to floor. Within the confines of the light the image of his father had appeared. The man was roughly 6'3 and of average build. The characteristic cleft graced his forehead signaling his lineage. His hair was still that jet black, and Viktor recognized him to be in his late 40's. He'd recorded this right after the splitting of the family. His face was expressionless as he seemed to stare right into Vik's eyes. He couldn't look away, not for a second. He hadn't seen the man since the happening. It was almost as if he simply vanished, never to be seen or heard from again. ::
- The figure didn't move, or speak. He stood silent and stoic in a room of darkness. He wondered if the image created by the computer wasn't just some recreation of Viktor himself. He brought himself back center and remebered he was looking at an empty hologram, nothing more. ::
Lanius: :: he said in an almost whisper like tone :: Computer... Begin playback...
Faelrun: === Boy... I know that there's gonna be some things that I'm not gonna be able to explain to ya... Some hard things that, you wouldn't understand. Your mother and I... We both love you very much, don't ya doubt that for a second. It's just that, you're mother and I split for some reasons that I'm not proud of. Some things I did when I was away. I told ya both it was business... :: The man looked at the ground now. The computer had rendered what emotion it could into the hologram :: I'm sorry for being such a scoundrel son... Boy... the truth of the matter is that I wasn't faithful. I met someone in Dublin. We'd been seeing each other for quite a few months... The day I left is the day I told yer ma. I love you boy... I do. :: The tears were welling in his father's eyes, and Viktor's :: I just wish I could have been around to see you grow up, to see you in your uniform and to hold you tight on your graduation day. To be able to see your future family, your wife, your kids... I threw all of that away on account of a lust that lasted a few months. Don't hate me boy... I guess, what I'm telling ye... is don't be a hard callous man like myself. Don't throw it all away, when it's right there in front of ya...===
Lanius: Freeze program...
- He was crying now, standing there in the holodeck with his holographic father. It wasn't the words that had hurt him the most. It was the realization of just how much he'd lost by trying to understand his father. He'd turned into the man without ever realizing it. He began to feel the sadness slowly slip away and become replaced by anger. It was true, he was angry at his father for what he'd done. But now more than ever he was angry for taking his character from him and replacing it with his own. He instantly felt a rage take over, and he lashed out throwing a punch straight through the hologram and into nothing. He fell to the floor on his knees and collected his face in his hands. He began to scream into his hands. He jumped up and turned to the image ::
Lanius: YOU KILLED US! YOU TOOK EVERYTHING FROM US YOU OLD WRETCH! AND WHAT ARE WE LEFT WITH.... :: he was breathing heavy as he spoke :: Nothing but shadows and dust...
- He sat now on the floor of the holodeck. oO Was it worth it? All of this? Oo. He thought about it intensely, about how this would affect him for the rest of his life. The man that he thought he knew to be one of chivalrous intentions, who taught him about how important family was, and how at no cost should it be broken up. And to learn that the polar opposite was true of him, it made the last 7 years of searching for the real reason seem like a huge void that could never be filled. He decided right then and there on the floor of the holodeck aboard the USS Apollo, that no longer would he be living in the shadow of the father he could have had. Instead, this was his time. ::
- This was the time to learn who he was, not his father. He knew the truth, and because of that, he no longer had to live in the dark. And to think that a trip to memory lane was sparked by a simple dinner in C39, amongst all the madness that had just ensued, it made Vik smile. He wiped the tears from his eyes and stood once more. he turned back to the image of his father. ::
Lanius: And sometimes from the dust rises the courage to carry on... And carry on I shall...
- He turned and gathered the photo-file putting it back into it's leather case. he grasped it tightly for a second, and slipped it back into his coat pocket. He turned to his father once more, and with a smile spoke ::
Lanius: Computer... End program...