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Part of USS Mackenzie: Mission 14 – Echoes of the Past

EOTP 010 – What We Carried

USS Mackenzie
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Riandri sat beside Carolyn, her hand resting atop her daughter’s, enthralled by the stories and events that spilled forth from her daughter. She couldn’t believe how much she had missed and the adventures Carolyn had.

“You’ve had quite an adventure since you joined Starfleet. Guess it keeps you on your toes. I take it you are enjoying it, Starfleet, that is?” Riandri asked.

Carolyn chuckled.  “The Zebulon Pike…the Mercy…and now Mackenzie…there’s always something out here that needs the Federation.”  She thought for a moment about her dad’s time on Denver and beyond. She felt a quiet tremor in her heart, “I…I have to ask you about something else.  Dad told me about you being El-Aurien.”  Her smile faded slightly, “I know what we studied in the Academy…but I wanted to ask what it’s like?”  She bit her bottom lip, “I want to know what to…expect.”

Riandri let out a rapid scoff mixed with a light laugh, “For you, I…” she paused and shook her head. “I don’t know. I have never come across another half-human, half-El-Aurien before so I don’t know what has passed on from me to you. It is something we could look into, I would love to help to uncover this with you.”

She gripped Carolyn’s hand firmly as she continued, “For me, there was a lot of, still is, a lot of figuring things out even with having 170 years under my belt.” Riandri paused for a moment as she thought back to her early years and the pain it brought, “My home.” She inhaled sharply as she felt more tears well up, “El-Auria, my home, was destroyed, as I assume you know when I was a bit older than you but by El-Aurian standards, I was little more than a child so many I ended up learning a lot on my own. In general though, long life, centuries, with the ability to control when we age. That is a nice perk I have to say.” A sad smile crossed her face, “We are also empathic, not like a betazoid though, with some telepathy. I can get a good sense of people and their feelings though that didn’t start developing until I was a bit older and I have met a couple who could project an image of themselves into another mind though I have tried myself.”

“In addition to that we can sense the flow of space and time, frustratingly so,  as we can sense changes to it and the timeline. This can manifest in something called the Af-Kelt, or time sickness. This can range from feeling uneasy to severe headaches, vomiting and loss of consciousness. It’s not fun at all. I unfortunately get hit hard by it,” Riandri said with a little laugh as she thought back to the few times it had happened.

“I can also sense the world around me differently from humans, it is almost like music and every action resonates within it. I know some El-Aluriens have been able to help guide those around them by manipulating this though I have never tried,” Riandri made a quizzical face at her remark. “Maybe I should.” She shook her head and then lifted the locket she had been holding since they entered the room, “This though is something I have worked on, we can capture moments, well the essence of them within an object. I wanted to have our first meeting remembered.” With that she held out the locket to Carolyn, “I want you to have this to remember the moment.”

Carolyn accepted it tenderly, gently holding it in her palm. A familiar feeling ebbed and flowed through her hand, connecting with a deep part of her that she felt as if she had forgotten long ago but had been there since she could remember.  A warmth erupted in her chest and spread to her limbs, her face growing hot until it passed and then faded.  She blinked, “I…”  She blinked again, her eyes seeing the world around her in a new light.  She explained what had happened once the locket touched her skin and shook her head as she recounted each moment and sensation.  “I…it’s always been there…but I never felt…connected to it.”  She gave her newfound mother a curious look, “I’m weirdly thankful I only got half a dose of this…this would be hard at full power.”  She put her other hand on her mothers, “I can’t imagine growing into yourself with this…gift?  What would you call it?”  Crawford was curious to hear of her mother’s young adult days, if El-Aurians even had such a thing.

Riandri smiled sadly at that as she thought back to her younger days. “Honestly, it was just there but after El-Auria was destroyed I… I, sort of, shut off for many years. It wasn’t until I came to Earth and started to make it home that I began to think about this stuff. Even then I didn’t figure stuff out until a few years back when I found a small enclave of El-Aurians.” She stopped and looked over her daughter again and squeezed her hand tightly, “I have a lot I want to tell you, lifetimes of stories though some are too painful to think on.”

Crawford smiled reservedly, “You don’t need to share it all today, Mom.  Stories are meant to be read one at a time, not all at once.”  She had a thought, “We do share our gifts coming to us late in life.  We may be separated by years, but we’re alike in ways too.”  She returned to her drink, “You and Dad aren’t here for this reunion…how bad is this New Maquis thing?”  She put a hand up, “I’m not asking for state secrets…I worry about him…and now you.  Space is a dark place sometimes.”

“I wish I had come for a reunion, wish I had the courage to come before orders made me. Glad they did thought,” Riandri said with a smile. “As for the New Maquis, it’s not good, we need to get a handle on things as soon as we can. It wasn’t good the first time. If it hadn’t been for the war I don’t know how it would have gone. There are a lot of moving parts and we don’t know most of them.”

“Guess that’s why I am here to help figure it out,” Riandri continued. “But while I am here I want to get to know you.”

Crawford’s reserved smile broadened, “That makes my heart happy, Mom.”

Throughout the rest of their time together, they traded stories of life growing up on different sides of the universe.  Eventually, they had to return to their respective duties, and they hugged back and forth until both felt like they could handle being apart.  This time it wouldn’t be years, but hours.

The shadow of the New Maquis, The True Way, and Pandora Crawford hung heavy over each of them as they returned to their responsibilities.