Part of Starbase Bravo: Q2 2400

A Death Back to the Future, IX

Holodeck 3
3.20.2400
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Holodeck 3 – 0900

It has been a year since I saw my daughter, the voice of T’shalaith rumbled in Henry’s head as he walked the path to holodeck 3.  When we reunited it was like we had simply been paused.  Her love for me flooded my senses, she thought in his head, and I was never the same after we came back together.  Maybe that’s what changed in me.  My heart grew just from spending time with her.  Longfellow could feel her memories wash over him and the flashes of Palisa in various stages of her life.  She is the best of me, doctor.  The other three are miracles in their own…but Palisa is the heart of my legacy.

He turned a corner and continued to walk.  He muttered to himself, “She was one helluva resident and doctor.  Knowing what I know now…she is very much your daughter.”  He felt her expressing her thanks as he entered a turbolift.  The ride was quiet and as he found his way to the holodeck door, he felt her nervous energy slowly fill him.  Longfellow took a breath and stepped through the door.  Palisa Jacobson stood in the middle of the holodeck, a Katraic Ark sitting on a table.  Three others turned as they entered, their ears signifying their race.

“Doctor Longfellow.”  Palisa ran forward and embraced him tightly,  “It is so good to see you again, sir.”  She pulled back, her eyes bright and alive with feeling.  “It’s logical, I mean.”  Her terse smile formed into a focused look as he acknowledged her.

“Dr. Palisa.  You’ve come a long way from your residency.  Chief of Trauma Services at Denver Central Health?  You’ve come a long way.”

She blushed and stared at her feet, “I’m honored by your words, sir.”  

Henry rolled his eyes and rested his hand on her shoulder, “The honor is mine.”  He turned to the group, “These are?”

Jacobson nodded to each of them, “High Priest Parlak, Secondary Priests Yaras and Basal.  They are here to provide the transference services.”  She looked back at Longfellow, “She’s in there with you, isn’t she?”

His headache had continued and grew worse as they had spoken.  He winced, “She sends her greetings, but encourages us to get started quickly.  My head isn’t able to keep up with her very well.  Your mother is a very powerful force to try and hold onto.”  

Palisa gave a long nod.  “Then let us begin. ” 

Parlak spoke, his booming voice carrying in the holodeck, “You must know, Doctor Longfellow…this is not a ceremony that is done much at all.  I am trained in the art, practice, and process…but I have not done such a thing in my time.  There is a risk to this, you must know.”

Longfellow gave a brief nod in his pain, “I did my research, High Priest.  I am aware.  Risk is my business…and it’s part of my job.  Do what you must.”

Palisa spoke quietly, “Computer, lock doors, code Sarek20112.  Activate program PalisaCero1.”  The beep sounded as the door lock clicked into place and the room faded into a scene straight from the Vulcan homeworld.  The Arc now sat on a stone slab next to another slab.  The three men stood garbed in Vulcan priest outfits and Palisa wore a traditional dress as she stood to the side.  The air felt closer here and Longfellow realized it was set to imitate the Vulcan world down to the environment.  She gestured to the empty slab, “Your place is here, Doctor Longfellow.”

I am close to leaving you, Doctor, T’shalaith spoke to him as he walked up and laid himself down.  I can say I will miss your conversations. 

Longfellow smiled quietly, “Me too.  Me too.”

Parlak stepped forth, “We will now perform the fal-tor-pan.  Take your places, please.”  Yaras and Basal shifted into position as the High Priest rested one hand on Longfellow and the other on the Katraic Ark.  Longfellow felt an intense heat growing in his head and he grimaced as it spiked, sending pains through his head and into the rest of his body.  He locked his jaw and grunted as the process began.  Parlak began to speak the words.  

I promised I would protect you, Doctor, she spoke soothingly to him, I will aid High Priest Parlak in this ceremony.  It is ancient knowledge, but not forgotten.”  He didn’t respond because he couldn’t.  The heat and pain in his head were searing.  The sound that assaulted his ears was as if thousands of shuttles were traveling through every nerve of every piece of his body.  He felt his body convulse but be held down by the two secondary priests.  He couldn’t even hear Parlak as he spoke, invoking the words of an ancient rite and an ancient language.  The world around him grew brighter and brighter until he could only see white.  The sound suddenly cut out and he looked around, seeing nothing.

This is my farewell, Doctor Longfellow, she said as she stood before him, fading slowly.  I leave you now and wish you the bests of lives to be lived.  From here to wherever the stars take you…may you live long and prosper.  She stepped closer and kissed his cheek, You are what I needed in my hours of need, Doctor.  Remember your oath.  Remember my promise.  Remember me.  A final grin and she was gone.  The world went black, and his own breathing returned, followed by his heartbeat.  A moment later his eyes opened and the world of Vulcan returned to his vision.

Palisa stood next to him, a relieved look on her face.  “You survived.  We thought we had lost you for a moment.”  She glanced at the Katraic Ark and the Vulcan Priests that were examining it carefully, “I could feel her…if only for a moment.  She was here, with me…I felt her joy…her relief…her power.”  She swallowed her emotions and put her hand on his chest as he lay there, “You’ve given me the chance to know my mother much longer than I ever thought possible.  My family…they are in your debt, Doctor Longfellow.”

Henry slowly sat up, his mind clear for the first time in hours…and the pain was ebbing away.  He let out a long breath and slid down, finding his feet supporting him.  He turned to Palisa, “You should transport out of here to your ship.  The Major and his delegation cannot find you.”  Palisa nodded, “We are way ahead of you.  Our ship is cleared for departure once we transport.”  She paused and looked to the ark, “My mother sent me one last request.  She wanted you to have this,” she handed him an isolinear chip.  “It is a holographic program of her…Katra.  As near as they could make as they transferred her.  She wanted to be able to talk to you from time to time.”

Longfellow swallowed his emotions for a moment as he took the chip, “That’s very…kind of you…Palisa.”  She allowed a quiet smile.  “You’d better get going. Save travels.”  She stepped away to the group and the ark.  Giving him one last long look she opened a communicator and called for transport.  The glow of the transporter took them, leaving Henry alone.  Glancing around the program deactivated and the door unlocked.  The silence felt overwhelming.  He’d spent so much of the past few days with T’shalaith in conversation and then with her in his head…it was the sudden loss of that companionship that jarred him.  He stepped through the door and made his way back down the corridors.

At a corner, a figure clocked watched as Longfellow departed.  He slipped into the holodeck, searching.  Finding nothing, he turned back around and caught Longfellow turning a corner.  The figure set off after him, carefully.