RP Narrative: "All the King's Horses" (220418)

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Poison Toocool
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Last edited by Poison Toocool on 220429.1854, edited 1 time in total.
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Poison Toocool
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CHARACTERS:

Evelyn Rieko, Retired (Starfleet Reserves)
James T Hode, Retired (Starfleet Reserves) ((Poison Toocool))

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Poison Toocool
Command - Vice Admiral
Command - Vice Admiral
Posts: 4955
Joined: 101129.0557
Duty Post: CO
Ship/Station Posted: Denkiri Centre
Grid: 3rd Rock Grid
Location: Gamma Quadrant
Has thanked: 425 times
Been thanked: 450 times
Contact:

220429.1844

RP NARRATIVE
--------------


On the USS Taylorholic Durant

James T Hode felt exhausted. The day had been a blur. He had barely slept the night before. Then there was the strain of meeting Evelyn again, feeling awkward after... listening to the song she had sent and... refusing to imagine what she asked him to imagine... but thinking of it anyway, until the dawn's light shimmered on the waves outside the porthole. He had little to pack. A device or two, two suits of clothes. He supposed anything he had would disappear if and when the timeline was changed. Before he left the boat, he used the onboard printer to print a picture. He trimmed it carefully. He took a pen and wrote a sentence or two on the back, and put it in his deepest pocket. Then it was time to go. A transport came to get them. There was the hustle and bustle of Headquarters, and a beam up to the station... and finally, the walk onboard the Durant. In both timelines, this was once his ship. It seemed familiar, yet... the faces were all strange. He understood Hal Jordan was the CO now. He remembered Hal. After they came aboard, they were shown their separate quarters. After a few moments looking around at quarters he had seen but never used himself, he splashed some water on his face and combed his hair... Then he made his way to the lounge, where he and Evelyn had agreed to meet for tea. He strode in. The place was empty. It seemed to have been refurbished. There was a small coffee bar tucked away past the couches. Evelyn was there. "Hello," he smiled at her. "Shall I get us some tea? Or would you prefer coffee?"

Evelyn Rieko-Hode: Thinking of James now, she feels a bit more at peace with the way things are, because Jim admitted to her that he loves her in a reply message to her PADD, and that somehow made her feel so much better. Last night was so wonderful and sweet. They had a lovely dinner together at an elegant restaurant, and then when they returned to Sandown she asked Jim to join her for a nightcap at the cottage. He went silent, and she thought he would say no, that he should get back to his boat, but then he said yes, and her heart soared happily. She'd fixed the drinks, and he built up the fire. It had been so sweet, sitting next to Jim, he took her hand in his. They held hands, while they sipped their drinks by the fire. It felt very romantic and sweet, but so bittersweet. Then he said goodnight and went out to sleep on his boat, and she sent him a message and the song, “If You’re Not the One”, to his PADD. This morning, they had not talked about the messages they’d exchanged. They were rushing around at Headquarters, and were ready for pick up by the USS Durant. Their old ship. It felt strange being back here as a civilian. She had been the First Officer to Jim and Admiral Toocool. Now Hal Jordan was the CO, with the Change of Command from Admiral Toocool. Jim had told her in the correct timeline she was the CO of the Durant. So, in that timeline, right now she would be on the bridge, making decisions and giving orders, instead of waiting for her husband to join her for tea. She looked up as Jim joined her in the ship's lounge. He smiled at her and she smiled back, "Hi Jim, yes, tea would be lovely, thanks.”

Jim kept his hands busy. Now they were on the starship, the enormity of what they were about to do... if successful... pressed upon him like a heavy weight. "Tea, Earl Grey, Hot. Teapot, milk, sugar, two cups." His voice as he told the computer what to make was low and scratchy. His throat felt tight. The 'what ifs' crowded in on him as the tray of tea things appeared. He stood there, his back to the room and his... wife... and closed his eyes. If a man could change his circumstances through wishing... but no. He opened his eyes and saw again the replicator and the tea pot with the Durant emblem, and knew his course had not changed. He was the man caught between two times. Caught between two women. Caught between... two loves. He sighed, feeling as old as an El-Aurian. He picked up the tray and shuffled over to the small round table, and sat down as gingerly as an elderly man afraid to lose his balance.

Evelyn watched Jim as he came back with the tea tray. "Oh this looks lovely, a few small sandwiches, and cookies.. I mean biscuits as you Brits say." She smiled at him. She took a cup and added a dollop of milk in it and poured the nicely steeped tea into it and handed the cup and saucer to Jim. Then she poured her tea, “Oh, no honey? Sugar is fine.” She added the sugar and stirred her tea slowly, thinking about their arrival on the ship. How Russell Sprout, an old friend, had looked quizzically at them as he personally showed them to their quarters. He had attended their wedding. He looked at her as she looked around her quarters, and asked, "Is everything alright?" He looked her in the eyes, his expression was more like he was asking her if things were okay with her and Jim. 'Yes everything is fine,' she'd said with a smile. Then Russ had taken his old CO to VIP quarters. Now Evelyn was sitting here with Jim drinking tea, convincing herself that everything was going to be fine. They would be able to find a way to correct the timeline. She picked up a cucumber sandwich and bit into it, her mind wandering… then after a while said, "Jim, did you..." She was about to ask him did he do as she asked and think about the two of them… together… but she changed her question, "I mean, have you thought about what you will say to the Queen and her court when we have our meeting with them?"

Looking at the tea tray, feeling the distance between them. Feeling the cold metal of the ship about them. Jim wanted to look at her, and say, before it was too late, 'Let's go back to Sandown.' But he couldn't. He took the cup and saucer from her but put it down to cool a bit. He heard her ask about honey for her tea, instead of sugar. When did she start doing that? He picked up a napkin from the tray and crumbled it in his fingers. He straightened it out on his knee, and then took one end in each hand. No, he wasn't alright. "Is this how time connects..." he brushed one end of the napkin against the other, "intersects, and affects the other. Even if we find the one who initiated this... violation of the temporal prime directive, even if they still have the technology to reverse what they did... is there any guarantee that these two times will interconnect at exactly the right moment to put things back into place?" He looked at the napkin, "I... I... we can't speak to the Cronon court. We need to somehow get her alone. But even if she... agrees... somehow... What if we can't get it back? Or what if we make things worse?" All the worries and doubts that had kept him awake all night spun around him. In a gritty voice he added, "I don't have any answers. We just have to try."

Evelyn looked to Jim, seeing how agitated he was. It seemed he realized that he could be trapped here in this time, and never see Araina again, so she tried to soothe him, but she had to be honest with him, "Yes, you're right Jim, it is possible that you could be trapped here in this timeline... I don't know the percentage of resolved temporal crimes and the unresolved, but I know, the Temporal Investigations Department is working on this, and so are we." She bit her bottom lip for a moment thinking, and continued, "I know it's very hard for you to consider having to live in this timeline for what may be a long time. I know it's difficult for you to accept this life. It's easy for me because I have no memory of the other timeline. For you it's so bizarre I'm sure, if you had not been living on Cronon, that metamorphosis of your enzymes and blood cells would not have happened and you would have been just like me… living an altered timeline but not aware of it." She shook her head and laughed a little, "Just think, right now we would be going to explore Planet Rojon, and all the beautiful plant life there, or going camping on earth. Really doing it and not using a holoprogram. We talked about doing those things. We would have spent the night together after that lovely dinner we had last night at that fabulous new restaurant… but you are not oblivious... you remember the true timeline, and I understand what has happened, so here we are, on our way to Cronon to put things back, and correct the timeline.”

Jim ignored the food that had been served with the tea... he supposed the computer still remembered his voice and his standard order for tea with finger sandwiches and cake... a small high tea... something he had enjoyed immensely... but couldn't stomach now. Not with these butterflies. He felt as green as an Ensign their first time on a starship. He didn't have his 'ship legs' anymore. Not that they were needed, with the anti-grav plating and artificial gravity. There was a time when he was so finely tuned to every sound and movement of the ship he could feel any change of speed and sense every change of direction. Sipping his tea, he wished he had a Mr Spock to advise him, like the Captain James T. Kirk who lived centuries ago, but whose logs were still required reading at Academy. That Enterprise had time traveled more than once, and always safely made it back. As had others. In this case, though, the ship wasn't going to travel back in time. Time would change and... they would simply be wherever they would have been had time not changed. Right? Would he wake up in the bed of the Queen of Cronon after a good night's sleep, never knowing he had been back to Earth and married to Evelyn in some other history? Or would they go back to when time had diverged and live it all over again, never knowing they had been that way before? 'How dreadful,' he whispered, knowing there were some things he'd never like to experience again. Mistakes, bad decisions, things that filled him with regret if he thought too much about them. Jim listened to Evelyn trying to reassure him. She wanted him for herself. She didn't want him to go back to Araina. She laughed and talked about what her other Jim had planned with her. It all sounded lovely. "I wish I could be that Jim," he said sadly. "But... if we know this is wrong... the only honorable thing is to make it right."

Evelyn looked to Jim as he spoke sadly, saying he wished he could be her Jim, the Jim she remembered. "Yes you're right Jim, I will do my best to find out what happened and correct the timeline. " She smiled at him, "I remember the night you woke up with full memory of the true timeline. I told you not to worry, we would find out what was wrong and make it right. At that time I didn't know what you were talking about, but then it came to light that you really did live on Cronon for over two years. Your blood and organs told the story when Dr. Remick and I examined you. So, there's no way your body would have the changes it had if you had not lived on Cronon. In this timeline you never visited that planet… so we have proof." She shook her head and looked into his eyes, and said, "Jim, I said we would find out what was wrong and make it right… but the problem for me is what seems right is wrong, you staying with me, and what feels wrong is right, you with Araina. And yes this is so much bigger than the three of us. There's a war going on, people dying that are not supposed to. So anyway, yes I agree with you one hundred percent. We are doing the honorable and the right thing. I'm all for it. I'm here with you, and I can't wait to get to Cronon. She sipped her tea, then said, "I am accepting things now, as best I can. Whenever I feel sad or I feel like I want to say ‘I love you’ or have thoughts that we should be sharing life together, I remind myself that this is not real. It's not supposed to be. It's an altered timeline, and that this,” she moves her hand toward herself, then toward him and back to herself, “was never supposed to happen. We are not meant to be together. It feels right but it's not.” She smiled mischievously at Jim, trying to lighten the mood, and said, "Really, in the true timeline I don't even know if we are friends or if I even like you. I probably find you quite annoying!" She laughs softly.

Jim chuckled in spite of himself. "Well... I was no Admiral Toocool, but I did like things done a certain way, and some members of the crew were... shall we say... rather irritating. Our journeys into the Nekrit Expanse were harrowing, to say the least." He added, "I wish it could be us, darling. I always had a fondness for you, and if we had never gone to Cronon... who could say this..." he pointed to her and to him, "would not have happened. I would have been very lucky if it did. You are beautiful inside and out. Knowing I will lose you when... when we are successful... is tremendously hard. I have to push myself to keep going. If it were not for that war... it would be too easy to forget this is... not right."

She felt happy when he laughed. That was one of the things that made her happiest.She smiled, and placed her chin in her palm, listening to him speak. "Yes you did like things a certain way in this timeline also, and you were very decisive in your actions as CO. You were quite intimidating at times on the bridge." Then she heard him say maybe they would have been together if they hadn't gone to Cronon in his timeline. She caught her breath, a near gasp, when he said it was tremendously hard to know he will lose her when the timeline is corrected. "Oh Jim, I feel the same way, it hurts me to know you will never be mine. I wish things could be different, but they can't. I admired you so much on the bridge when you were CO, I'm not sure when I fell in love with you, but I'm sure I was the first to fall." She laughed, "and lucky for me it was requited love… at least in this timeline. You know I want to be with you so badly at times.” She smiled again, “Did you think about us... imagine us together last night?" She waited for his answer. She looked out at nothing for a moment, her thoughts swirling, "You said I'm alone in your world, the true timeline... I wonder if that's because... I love you, but you're gone… on another planet, with a wife." She felt the sadness trying to return to her heart, and she did her best to push it away, "I hope I find love in your timeline… I hope I get married and have two children, and live in a beautiful home that I'll decorate." She smiles sadly.

Looking at his empty tea cup, Jim said, "Evelyn, if we are together in this timeline, and if more than one timeline exists - and I suspect that they do - then there will be a timeline where we are together. You and I, the two that sit here together, may never know about it. But the universe is a complicated thing. Our science and our knowledge doesn't even scratch the surface even after centuries of exploration and knowledge gathering. Time is not fixed. Time is a portal. We know this. We have seen it, and experienced it. In my timeline, which is the right timeline for me, our stories diverge and you... and I, chat now and then together as friends. In your timeline, your right timeline, you and I are married. They are... two sides of the same coin divided only by the mystery of time as a dimension. Someone used temporal physics to alter things for us both. It seems apparent that the crux of this rests at Cronon." He looked to her then, "Please don't ask me to dream of what could be. It hurts, Evelyn." He stood up then, "Why do you keep pushing me? What do you want? An expression of undying love? To break my heart???" He shook his head. "It's already breaking!!! Let's try to get through this without... without... being broken, ok?" He would sigh and move to her, and, if she allowed, kiss the top of her head. "I need to get some rest. Let's... let's talk again after we're underway."

Evelyn shook her head, "It's so ironic, the very things about you that have kept us apart are the very things I love most about you… you're honorable, A very honorable and good man! You keep your word and your promises...You do the right thing. You are a knight in shining armor for your queen!!” She feels her eyes well up with tears. “I think that would sound so romantic to anyone that hears it... but not me. No, I don't want to break your heart or mine.!! I think... I believe… I just want to hear you say you love me, I read it in your email, but I want to hear you say it...look at me and tell me. It's been so long since I've heard that from you.. .well, I guess for you, you've never said it to me…” She felt confused for a moment with the timeline issue, then continued, “ but can you say it to me now? I will try my best to be satisfied, and work diligently to get you back to your world."

"Evelyn, it won't be enough. It will never be enough. You love your Jim and you want him to love you. I am not that man. I could say the words but would they mean the same? You would know they are empty. I would know they are empty. I am not yours. I am the Solio to a Solia... my soulmate lives on Cronon... I can feel all sorts of things for you... deep affection, yearning to touch, wishing your arms were around me... I'm not a statue!! But I can't do it. I. Can. Not. Cheat. On. My. Wife." Jim ran his hand through his hair. "I do love you. Just not how you want to be loved. That breaks my heart. Because you deserve it."

=^=
Last edited by Poison Toocool on 220429.1851, edited 1 time in total.
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Poison Toocool
Command - Vice Admiral
Command - Vice Admiral
Posts: 4955
Joined: 101129.0557
Duty Post: CO
Ship/Station Posted: Denkiri Centre
Grid: 3rd Rock Grid
Location: Gamma Quadrant
Has thanked: 425 times
Been thanked: 450 times
Contact:

220429.1850

"Their old ship. It felt strange being back here as a civilian..."
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"Just think, right now we would be going to explore Planet Rojon..."
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"Please don't ask me to dream of what could be..."
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