"Starts With Goodbye"
Continued from Tiffany's "Trouble Along The Way"

Setting: Alien Planet
Stardate: Far Distant Future

Enaii stood waist deep in a sparkling field of golden grass, she had no idea how she'd gotten here, but she recognized the place immediately.  More importantly, she recognized the time.

This day, with its two crimson suns scorching through a thoroughly crisp breeze blowing straight from a frozen wasteland, marked a fateful day, both in her past, and her future.  The day, that while on an undercover mission in the Obsidian Order, she and her lover, another undercover operative working for another government, stumbled into a reproductive garden and created their love child.  Though her mistress had infiltrated the Order as a Risean pleasure servant and so required no surgical alterations, Enaii herself had infiltrated as a Cardassian.  When their daughter was conceived, or more accurately created, they had abandoned the child to the government of this futuristic planet, so that no one would find out the true genetic lineage of the young operative.

Talia would live her first two years here, without love, without her mothers.  Then some unknown force would return the child to Enaii, back in the past, four years before the day that the ILO had woken up to this very morning, but several centuries before the day that she was experiencing now.

"Enaii?" the voice called out from behind her, and the ANUBIS's acting ExO closed her eyes against a sudden wave of emotion that passed over her.  "What are you doing?" the voice was happy, slightly curious, and so lively that Enaii did not dare move lest she cause the sound to fade.

"Liana," she whispered, barely audibly.  She couldn't move, she wanted to open her eyes, but knew this hallucination would be too fleeting were she to indulge herself.

"Of course it's me," the voice chuckled, the woman sounded as melodious as the sweetest angel.

Suddenly, gently, Enaii felt the woman's hand on the small of her back, tracing her hips as she circled around the operative.

"Enaii, are you alright?" concern laced the Risean's voice, the worry caused Enaii physical pain, and she opened her eyes to reassure the voice.

"Oh gods," she gasped, the illusion stood in front of her, as real as the day they had been here so many years ago, so many years in the future.  Liana wore a baby blue dress of the finest silk, it hugged her legs in the breeze, as her blond hair flowed backwards in the wind.  She could see their future child in her eyes.  "You are so beautiful."

An incredible smile spread across the Risean's lips, lighting up all her features, making her beauty stand out even more, if that were even possible.  Enaii reached out slowly and gently ran the tips of her finger down the contours of the woman's cheek, her porcelain skin standing up to the touch.  "You feel so real," she whispered in disbelief.

"Of course I'm real," Liana countered, a little taken aback, "Have you eaten anything strange?  I didn't hear about any local toxins, but maybe we should get you back to the ship."

"No!" the operative objected strongly before calming completely, "No, I'm well.  I just got caught in the moment, with the suns at your back like that, you truly look divine... like the gods themselves sculpted you."  She watched her lover's face blush, and struggled to burn the image into her mind, she never wanted this moment to end.  "I love you so much Liana.  I wanted to tell you while we were here, but I never had the strength to admit it until we had no more time left."

"Enaii, we just got here yesterday, and we're staying here for at least a week," the Risean objected, "Are you sure you're alright?"

The Intel Agent smiled widely, her eyes sparkling in the crimson sunlight.  "Perfect.  I just wanted to make sure you knew how I felt."

"I know," Liana whispered as she leaned forward and just barely touched Enaii's lips with her own before parting.  "I love you too."

The pleasure servant reached out and took her young lover by the hand and began to lead her on a walk.  The Operative followed without sound, simply taking in every movement of her lover, committing it all to memory, taking not a single second for granted.  After about an hour of walking silently together, Enaii had almost forgotten about everything, just living in this moment of time.  Whether she was in her past, her future, or a pleasant illusion made no difference.  All that mattered was being here, in this place, at this time, with this company.  As they approached a massive granite wall, carved decoratively in alien heiroglyphs, the reality of her life came crashing back down on the Operative with the force of a tsunami.  They didn't know it then, but this beautiful walled garden, with its gorgeous flowered archways and open sky, was one of six reproductive gardens on this planet.  Couples seeking to have a child would visit the gardens, samples of their DNA taken through undetectable means, and a child was created in one of the baby labs.  This only happened if the forces of the garden, something Enaii didn't fully understand, deemed the couple worthy of a child.  If their love and connection to eachother was strong enough.

Liana's love for Enaii was strong enough to abandon their child in order to save her lover's life.  Enaii would never forgive herself for allowing Liana to make that sacrifice.  But now, as they stood outside of the garden, the ILO had to make a choice.  They could walk inside, as they did so many years ago, so many years from now, on this day, and Liana would have to make that sacrifice again.  Or, Enaii could lead her away, they could explore another garden, and if this really was happening as it had before, if Enaii were really reliving this time, Talia would never be born and her lover would never have to shed tears over their lost child.

The Operative paused, her mind racing a light year every second.  She had never questioned being Talia's mother when the girl showed up on their bridge, she had looked at the child as a gift, a piece of her long broken heart returned to her, a little bit of Liana that would outlive them both.  She never debated keeping the girl at that point, but she had been alone... she could change things now, she and Liana could be happily together.  She had told her daughter many times about her other mother, about how much Liana would have loved her... but the operative had never once that she could remember told the girl that she herself loved her.  Enaii was proud of their child, protective of her, but did she love Talia enough to sacrifice this chance?

Inhaling deeply, Enaii looked at the orchard to the west of them, it would be only a short walk, and they could dine on succulent fruit and lounge under a sweetly fragrant tree. They could forget about this garden with its unique purpose.  Exhaling, Enaii sqeazed Liana's hand just a little harder.  "This garden looks interesting, the walls are so intricate."

The Risean nodded, "I don't suppose you know what these hieroglyphs mean?  It almost looks like it tells a story."

"Well," Enaii almost choked, but managed to keep her throat clear, "Let's go in and check it out."

The angelic woman almost glowed, "Let's!" she exclaimed as she lead the ANUBIS's ILO into the floral sanctuary.  It was just as amazing as the agent remembered, with petals that flowed like liquid over the ground and a sweet perfume filling the air.  A fountain with water too clear to even exist sat in the center, a single bench facing the misted spray stood inviting them to sit and relax.

Quietly, they took their place and sat mesmerized by the natural rhythm of the garden.

After what seemed like hours, Enaii finally spoke, breaking the silence.  "I am not from this time."

"Neither of us are Enaii, but it sure is a magical era, is it not?" Liana replied.  "Wouldn't it be glorious to stay here?  Maybe we'll live long enough to see something like this in our lifetime."

"No," the Operative corrected, "I didn't mean that, I mean, I'm not the Enaii from your time line.  I come from your future."

The Risean nodded, "That does explain a lot.  You seem older, harder... like the years have chiseled you."

Enaii looked away from her former lover, she hadn't thought about the young lady she had been those many years ago, before everything changed, before the universe became cold and empty.  Sitting beside Liana she had almost deluded herself into thinking she could exist just like she had before those years had sculpted her.  But even in these mostly quiet moments, her former lover had picked up on how different she was.  Suddenly she became accutely aware of the starfleet uniform she was wearing as it became heavy on her flesh.

"Can I ask you anything?  Or will it violate the temporal prime directive?" the Risean half teased.

"Ask," Enaii whispered, "I could never deny you anything."

"We're..." Liana paused as if not sure how to say what was on her mind, "Not together in your future, are we?"

"No," the operative replied.

"What happened to us?" the pleasure servant inquired.

Enaii sighed and closed her eyes.  The pain was almost too much to bear.  "We have a child, you and I, she will be born today and she is six years old in my future, which is almost a decade after we return to our time.  She is half Risean and half Human."

Liana nodded, "So we leave her here?  So that your cover won't be blown and you won't be killed?"


"But how?  How could we possibly have a child together?  Especially one born today???" the Risean questioned, the confusion evident in her voice.

"I'm not exactly sure how it works," the ILO answered, "but this place is where the people of this planet come to have their children created from their genes.  The garden works automatically, we have already been sampled, our daughter should be born very soon."

"Is she why we break up?  Is that why you stopped outside of the garden?"

Enaii shook her head only slightly, "We never broke up," she wanted to continue but choked on her words.

"But you said..." Liana argued feebly, knowing where this must be going.

"I stopped because I thought I might be able to make your last days less painful.  I thought maybe I could convince you to run away with me once we got back to our time, if we didn't have the knowledge of our abandoned child, I thought we could make it work."

The Risean was quiet for a few minutes, as if digesting her immanent death.  "You decided to bring me here anyway?  Even when you could have changed it all?"

"I'm sorry Liana," Enaii barely managed to force the words from her throat, she could feel the hole in her heart eating away at her under the pressure of her growing self-doubt.  "I had to, for Talia.  I'm married now, my wife adopted our daughter..."

The Risean smiled the most pure, unburdened smile.  "Talia?  Is that our daughter's name?"

The Operative nodded.

"It's perfect!  Tell me about her."

Enaii grinned, "Talia is more beautiful than the Risean ocean at dusk, and smarter than both of us combined.  She is gentle and kind, but a fiersome force of nature at the same time.  She loves with all her heart, and hates with all her heart, and never does anything halfway.  She can't sing a lick, but she dances like every rythm calls her soul to move and her body is just following along.  She has blonde hair and she is just beginning to develop her Risean markings.  I see so much of you in her eyes."

Tears were flowing freely from Liana, and her left hand covered her quivering lower lip.  "Does she know of me?"

The Operative took her former lover's hand tightly into her own.  "Of course she does.  She was named on Risa as tradition would dictate, adopted there, and your father presided over my wedding... he transfered your rite to my wife, and your spirit."

"My spirit?!?  I will be preserved then!"  The Risean gasped, "Oh Enaii, you could not have given me better news than to know that not only would I live on through a child, but my energy would not be dispersed into nothingness after my death."

The ILO smiled weakly.  She knew how much the rituals surrounding death meant to the Riseans, but she did not personally believe in such invisible forces as souls and spirits.

After another long moment, Liana spoke once more.  "Enaii... tell me how I die."

The operative swallowed hard, she had hoped the woman would not ask this of her.  "Two months after we return to our time we will fight over leaving Talia here...  I will tell you it was not worth your sorrow, and I will leave you.  That night, your true identity will be discovered, the tight five will reveal who you are to the Cardassians.  The beatings will be brutal, and they will go on for hours.  In the end, I will come to you, and you will die on my blade."  Tears broke from her eyes and streamed down the ILO's cheek before she was able to control herself.

"Thank you Enaii," the Risean choked out, "I know this will not be easy for you, but knowing you will come to me, to release me from the torture, and to preserve my spirit... it brings me great comfort."

"It shouldn't!"  Enaii barked, "You will die, and I will kill you!"

Liana sighed and grinned just slightly, "Yes.  But I will die looking into eyes that love me, you will take my last breath into yourself, my child will live for years to come, and she will know of me!  She will be a dancer, a fireball, a smart gentle soul who carries me in her eyes.  What is the point of life if it is not that?!?"  The Risean gently stroked the back of Enaii's hand with the fingers of her free hand.  "You need to let go of these demons...  it's time to move on with the rest of your life."

Before the ILO could reply, and in a dizzying instant, she was back on the bridge of the ANUBIS, alone, and more than a little disturbed that she had lowered her guard enough to allow herself to be sucked into an illusion.

Growling to herself and harshly wiping away the wetness on her cheeks, she walked to the ExO's station and began trying to figure out what was going on.

Lisa Mac Isaac <lisa_mac_isaac@hotmail.com>

Writing the hopes, dreams and future of:

Commander Enaii
Intelligence Liaison Officer / Acting ExO

"Whatever absolute darkness there is out there in the universe, she's on a first name basis with it."
~ Hex Fanggot regarding Enaii (Written by Marissa Montonera-Lombardi)