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Part of Starbase Bravo: Q3 2400

Never and a Day

Heriah's Quarters
2400
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“There is something I was once told,” Heriah leaned back in her chair. Her current patient sitting anxiously on the couch across the table from her. The twin lilacs leaned this way and that. The eyes of Heriah met the gaze of her patient between the lilacs. “A great apocalypse awaits you,” she continued. “Such a profound word, ‘apocalypse.’ Surround yourself with those who know and love you. Only then, will you survive the waiting apocalypse.”

“But what if I do not? Are you saying that not surrounding myself with those who know and love me will prove fatal?”

“Absolutely not,” Heriah replied. “Not doing so will keep the information hidden. It is always a hard lesson to learn; that you may never truly known yourself until you surround yourself with those who know and love you. Otherwise, what is hidden may very well remain hidden. Not doing so will not prove fatal. On the contrary, not surrounding yourself with…you know…will actually keep you safe.”

“But unknowing,” said her patient.

“Do not think you are the only one with this burden. As I said, those words were spoken to me.”

“And have you…surrounded yourself with those who know and love you?”

Heriah thought briefly, about Cynndle and about Dr. Longfellow. The latter having departed. She could not easily surround herself with just one person. She had to make new connections.

“I have been trying,” was Heriah’s response. “These things are not to be rushed and apocalypses are not to be sought. Let connections happen naturally and the knowledge you seek will eventually present itself. I cannot say when, but there is no substitute for surrounding yourself with those who know and love you.”

Her patient looked down and away. “Do you…”

“…love you? It comes with the job. That is not to say I have to…I choose to. Intrinsically and platonically? Yes, I do.” She put her PADD and other notes down. “So you can stop feeling like everyone hates you, that you have no one to turn to.”

The session continued on a few minutes longer and Heriah’s patient departed in a better mood than when she arrived, hopefully equipped with the knowledge she needed for recovery.

Heriah returned to the seating area and picked up the Codex of Ț’Ril, opening it back to her bookmark. She realized she was nearing the one-third mark of the codex and was only understanding maybe a third of what she had read up to that point. Figuring that was the best she could hope for at the moment, Heriah pressed onward. Even the high priest of the Alle’Ke’Zonda’er said that he did not fully understand the codex in its entirety. Not even considering herself to be part of their religion, Heriah decided to accept that she may never fully understand its contents.

Finding where she left off, Heriah continued.

Five and ten days into the fifth month of the third year after the festival of Ril’s seventh joining, Ț’Ril travelled the countryside and, upon witnessing the crowds of uncountable numbers behind her, went to a nearby hill and ascended its slope half way. There, she sat upon a rock. “Alle’Ke’Zonda’er is this rock for it knows not what it does but it serves its purpose to the fullest. Such is the way of all creation not understanding itself within the age of reason and to the fullest of abilities to reject the good and accept the bad. You,” and Ț’Ril waved an outstretched hand over the crowds below, pointing at the people below, “you can only try to be Alle’Ke’Zonda’er. Intent never guarantees fruition. Some of my words you will understand and much you will not. The time of my final passing comes closer but will strike at a time I know not. Such is the way for you all. Therefore, I say unto you, lovest one another and knowest one another. Only then shall a great apocalypse befall you all and only with each other can you see to the survival of your brethren and you sisteren. Knowest each other not, lovest each other not and you will be safe from the great apocalypse. Yet you will be more like the rock upon which I sit. Unknowing of your ways, outside the age of reason and serving a purpose you know not.” The crowds looked on in silence and in ill-understanding of the words that were spoken to them. Ț’Ril rose from the rock and, realizing her words were not yet understood, ascended the hill further, crossed the crest and went down the other side.

Wait.

Heriah turned back one page and re-read the part of ‘lovest one another and knowest one another.’ Her memories took her back to when she visited the Alle’Ke’Zonda’er and met with the high priest. At the time and for the years that followed, she had thought the high priest was speaking prophetically as though, if there were an entity such as Ț’Ril, she was speaking through him, or at least giving him the words to speak.

“All this time,” and her words ended but her thought continued with, ‘he was reciting scripture.’

<i>’See? Nothing but a regurgitation of what is written in that silly little book.’</i>

Heriah put the book down and closed it. With the bookmark off to the side, she picked it up and placed it atop the codex. Picking up where she left off later was suddenly not a priority. She rose from her seat and went to the window, looking out upon the stars.

“He recited scripture to me. All this time I thought…” and her words ended again. She thought of how the high priest indicated to her that there was something Ț’Ril wanted him to tell her. If it was all true, and since the words were written within the codex, of course Ț’Ril would have wanted her to know. Ț’Ril would have wanted everyone to know, whether they would read the codex or not.

Still, there was something about it all that ate at Heriah. A younger and unjoined Heriah, trying to find her place in the universe apart from her family’s business, wanted to know what was meant for her life. She had wanted something profound that would define her. She felt the high priest was giving her more than simply repeating the words written in the codex.

<i>’That is what life is. Repeat. Sorrow and repeat. Sorrow and repeat.’</i>

After her own father left the family when she was younger, Heriah never did find another father figure. She had hoped to have found one in Dr. Longfellow but now even that was gone. She could not bring herself to hope in Elegy as he was already her boss.

<i>’See? Sorrow. Might as well end it all now.’</i>

“I know not the time of my passing. And I shall not make it now,” Heriah said as she turned and looked back at her quarters. It all seemed somewhat lifeless, joyless, emotionless.

Heriah thought on how much longer she would need to try to surround herself with those who would know and love her. After that, given that the feat was even possible, how long would it take for her own apocalypse to come about.

<i>’Never and a day.’</i>