"Troubled Memories"
[Previous Post Ashley's "Family Reunions Always Lead to Plotting the Downfall of the World"]

<<I look up towards the stillness and peacefulness of space and gaze upon the beauty of the stars. Each sparkle of light represents a cherished memory, a dream of hope or a fantasy of love. It is only when we take the time to look up into the heavens that we can fully understand. That an individual is made of memories, hopes and dreams which are gathered throughout life. Without these things, the soul of a person would be as black and desolate as a night without stars.>>

- Said by Bardef Talak Emzaw, Oltharian Priest, to a then young apprentice to the Oltharian Religious Circle by the name of Elan Talak Fairborn.

Setting: USS ANUBIS: Main Engineering
Stardate: 63073.1045

Like a mythical colossus of stone the Oltharian stood between the Engineering Control Island and the ANUBIS' Warp Core, his white eyes lost in a world beyond the limits of this one. The Chief Engineering Officer had already pried himself out of one created reality to find his way back to this one, but after having spoken with the ship's Avatar the towering giant had found himself torn between realities.

"Lieutenant Fairborn," Annie began as she looked up at the engineer. "Are you alright?"

"An individual is made of memories, hopes and dreams which are gathered throughout life. Without these things, the soul of a person would be as black and desolate as a night without stars," Elan replied through quoting words spoken many years ago by his uncle.

Time Index: some 22 years ago

Those who had hoped to be allowed to follow the path of the Religious Circle sat around the black stone statues, their thoughts focussed on their meditation. Their first test had started far before the sun had begun its journey through the skies, and unknown to the Circle's hopeful, their numbers had counted one more from the start.

The priest in charge of this group occasionally glanced in the direction of the green bush behind which the 8 years old boy had elected to hide. Bardef knew of his nephew's presence but instead of acknowledging it by calling out the boy's name or going over to see him, the simple priest only insured from time to time that all was well.

Elan knew nothing of the methods of meditations, his parents both belonging to the Scientific Circle, having opted to instruct their only offspring in the more *practical* ways. Even though lacking such knowledge the young Oltharian already showed great promise in his abilities and patience, something which Bardef could only rejoice about in silence. Mallock and Sholla had dreams for their son; alas Bardef already knew that the boy's dreams were far differed from those of his parents.

The sun, the physical representation of their god, had already traveled midway across the skies and although the young apprentices had so far proven the strength of their faith with relative ease, the youngest and most inexperienced of the group began to show signs of fatigued. The test required the adepts to meditate for one full rotation of their world. 38 hours of nothing more than sitting, thinking, pondering and concentrating. Even for those who had been instructed in this way, the test would soon enough prove to be a challenge, but for Elan, the challenge had already started a few hours back.

The boy's eyes opened to their fullest when he had feared that the rumbling of his stomach had alerted his uncle and the others to his presence. Luckily for him though, it had appeared as if the sound had not traveled as far has he had expected, Bardef not having moved a muscle. Doing his best to contain his growing hunger, the young Oltharian closed his eyes and focussed on images which he hoped would divert his attention away from the pain in his belly.

Elan's eyes once again opened to their fullest as he felt something land on his folded legs. Fear that he had been discovered filled his mind, but that idea soon vanished as he observed his uncle casually walking around the statue. No indication that he had been discovered could be found, yet the proof that someone knew he had been there could not be mistaken for anything else. Hunger soon gave way to reason and without asking how or why, the young boy quickly ripped at the bread which had miraculously appeared to answer his need.

Setting: USS ANUBIS: Main Engineering
Stardate: 63073.1050

"Lieutenant Fairborn?" The ship's Avatar demanded in as a concerned tone as the artificial being had been able to voice despite her inability to experience emotions. To Annie, Elan represented far more than a member of *her* crew, more than the man responsible for her continued functioning. To the Avatar of the ANUBIS, the Oltharian had been the closest thing to a father she would ever have.

"Those were simpler times," Elan replied as if he had been answering another question, spoken by someone else. "Happier times," he added with a heartfelt sigh as a single tear escaped from his still fixated eyes.

Setting: VALLA ROYALE Orbital Outpost, Cargo bay 7
Time Index: 6 years ago

Their undercover mission had been a success; the crew of the USS DISCOVERY had not only managed to determine the identities of the rogue elements present on the station, but had also set their many business partners against them. Had the away team brought these thieves to justice, their punishment would have likely been several years in a Federation prison, but this way the members of the mysterious "Tight Five" had been granted a lifetime of running from those they had once called allies.

The Captain had been pitiless in her plan, not having hesitated to deal back a fate that the Tight Five had on many occasions bestowed on others, and no one amongst the crew had felt any remorse in this poetic justice. Satisfied that balance restored in the universe, the crew had been ready to return to their regular lives as Starfleet Officers.

That was when it happened. When life for the Oltharian took an unexpected turn and set him on a path that he had never imagined nor even considered possible. That was when Lt. Commander Amber Satori stepped in harm's way to save the crew she had come to admire, and to save the engineer she had come to love.

Setting: USS ANUBIS: Main Engineering
Stardate: 63073.1055

"Elan," the Avatar stated having used the Chief Engineer's first name, an act that the artificial being rarely favoured as it hinted to a closeness between them that could not be mechanically or logically explained. "Why are you crying?"

The emotional reaction to the scenes that the Engineer had been summoning had been beyond the Avatar's comprehension, as well as the reason why the Oltharian seemed so obsessed with continuing with this travel through his own memories. The journey had obviously been a painful one for the gentle giant, yet despite his knowledge of how to end the visions, Elan seemed poised to endure the journey to its bitter end.

Setting: NEW ALEXANDRIA, Long-Term Medical Facilities
Time Index: 3 years ago

The same day Elan had accepted to work for Admiral Koneki and the NEW ALEXANDRIA complex, Amber Satori had been transferred to the state-of-the-art medical facilities of the base. What had been stranger had been that the Oltharian had never made the request even though it had been what his heart had desired.

It had been over three years since Amber had fallen into a coma after having been knocked over the head by a trans-dimensional being. Although every available resources had been used, no actual cause could be found to explain the state that the Communications Specialist had fallen into, it had been as if a part of her had been taken to another dimension, out of reach of her physical body.

Since that day Elan had visited her every chance he had, hoping that her condition might have changed while he had been away - but nothing had ever changed. Her body had not moved since the last time the Oltharian had come visiting, and her bio-readings had been as shallow as they had ever been. Working as the Robotics Engineer had been the only way that he could survive each day without madness taking over his soul .

As mush as Fairborn towered over her, the giant felt insignificant while gazing down at the unconscious woman, his latest visit to her bedside ending in the same manner as the hundred previous had - with him leaving and her staying.

Setting: USS ANUBIS: Main Engineering
Stardate: 63073.1100

"Who is to say that one reality is better than another?" the Oltharian inquired as he looked away from the warp core and onto the Avatar who had been standing by his side. "Who makes the decision as to which reality is real and all others only dreams?"

"We are all masters of our own reality," a sage old voice replied, the Oltharian not having needed to turn around to know who had offered these words of wisdom. "To hide from the truth is not the way, not *our* way. You left OLTHAR PRIME to seek the greater truth of the universe, be it good or bad. You cannot turn your back now on all that you have discovered, regardless of how painful it may be."

The Oltharian turned to face his uncle, ready to challenge his words but when he did the Chief Engineering Officer noticed that the elder priest had not been alone. A smiling woman with fiery red hair stood by the Elder Priest, her emerald eyes gazing with absolute admiration and love at the towering giant.

"Elan," Amber began as she slowly approached the gentle giant. "If you give in to these false realities you will not only lose yourself but everyone else that truly means anything to you. This is where you belong, where you have always been meant to be. You are meant to explore the galaxy, to help those in need, to create mechanical wonders and most important to venture forth and not be held back by the hardships of the past." Amber paused for a moment as she reached for the giant's face and lifted a tear from his features with a delicate finger. "As long as you are in this reality I will always be with you, here, where it counts most," the alien woman added as she pressed her hand against the man's chest where his heart was. "If it is meant to be, we will be together again, not in a dream or in a false reality, but in this one. Then you will be able to tell me about all of your adventures, all of your hardships and how you never gave up on your dreams. Be strong Elan, for us all."

The Chief Engineer closed his eyes and fought back a new wave of tears. When his eyes finally reopened the ANUBIS' Main Engineering had once again been empty with the exception of the Oltharian and the ship's Avatar.

"Annie," Elan offered as he ever so slowly turned to face the android. "How can I help fix this situation?"

Francois Charette (f_charette@hotmail.com)

Lieutenant Elan Talak Fairborn
Chief Engineering Officer


Robotics Engineering Officer