Episode 4 - Truth, Justice, and the Federation Way
Location: USS Arcadia, Silent Triangle
Timeline: MD 1 (March 3, 2393)
::1604 Hours, Guest Quarters, Deck 9::
Terri looked at the captain of the Arcadia and then the Marine next to him. The man was talking something about New York and comics, but she wasn't really paying much attention. She couldn't: part of her was still dumbstruck by the realization that both of her parents were alive and sitting in front of her.
For the last two years she had gone through hell to put together a working chrono-generator, all for one purpose and one purpose only: to prevent the war so that her dad could live, so that he didn't have to die in her arms - and if they could save the Federation in the process, the better for it.
But in order to minimize disruptions to the timeline, the Themyscira was never meant to travel this far back in time. The Klingons, however, forced them to make the temporal insertion before the generator could be fully tested. So here she was, back in 2393, more than ten years before their target date and nearly a year before her own birth.
Of course, it could have turned out so, so much worse, for time is neither the philosophical abstraction nor the scientific mechanism that most people treat it as. It's so much more: it's a fundamental force with a mind of its own, and it didn't like being manipulated, especially when the manipulator didn't know what they were doing.
But if you have to change the timeline and you want to assuage time's inevitable wrath, then getting the temporal mechanics right is only the beginning. You must also have a clear purpose and a steadfast determination, for time appreciates clarity and steadfastness. Occasionally it even rewards you on their account.
She knew exactly what she was doing with Operation Catalyst, and she was determined to see it through, so perhaps this was her reward: having her family whole again, something she had never had before.
Except, of course, for everything time gives you, it takes something away.
In the timeline that was erased by the Themyscira's temporal incursion, her dad did not hold any more affection for her than he did for his crew - if he did, he never showed it - and she could count with one hand the number of times he told her that he loved her, and every time it was only because of Michaela or Theo's prodding.
In this timeline, however, he was cheerful and warm rather than distant and detached, and from the moment they met in the sickbay, he had gone out of his way to show her that he genuinely cared about her, even though he didn't find out about her existence untill a few hours ago - well, from his perspective she didn't exist utill a few hours ago. Captain Ishikawa must have told him what happened in the original time line. Nevertheless, all her life, she had dreamed about her dad finally forgiving her for her mom's death; now she had that forgiveness and so much more.
Her mom, however, was a different story.
She had always imagined that the woman who had given birth to her was the kindest and most affectionate person in the universe, but the Marine's first reaction when she saw her was a frown, which still lingered on her brows, and in the five minutes since her parents walked inside her temporary quarters on the Arcadia, her mom had not said a word. There was only that frown.
Terri bit her lower lip as her dad moved onto something about the Academy and Kalevian montar. She could feel her hands starting to fidget, and she never fidgeted.
Her mom must hate her. Otherwise why wouldn't she say something? Why would she frown at her mere presence?
Did she do something wrong? But she couldn't have, they had just met. Or was her very existence an affront to the Marine?
Did it matter? Her mom hated her.
At that thought, Terri's heart sank, and it just kept falling. She should have asked Alenis to stay. She needed her.
It couldn't have been more than five minutes since she sat down in Terri's temporary quarters, and Korra had already begun to regret ever agreeing to come here in the first place. Why should she trust the girl? For all she knew, this was all part of some sick joke, or worse, some nefarious scheme.
And how could Oliver warm up to the brat so fast? Between the two of them he was supposed to be the thinking one. Did he not find the girl's story just a tad too convenient and fantastical? Or was this what he still wanted after all those years: for them to be together, to have a family, to have kids?
No, no, no, they agreed. They couldn't. She couldn't.
She couldn't lose him.
Her frown deepened.
"This is a mistake." said Korra as she stood up from her chair. Without another word, she walked away.
"Korra . . ." Oliver called out, but to no avail, and the Marine soon disappeared into the corridor outside. He sighed.
He had hoped that some light-hearted chitchat would break the ice, but the chitchat turned out to be more of a monologue, and neither Korra nor Terri seemed to be paying any attention to what he was saying. So why did he keep talking? And for that matter why did he ask Korra to come in the first place?
He knew she would not take the news of Terri's existence well, much less meeting the girl, but he thought that perhaps things would all work out once the initial awkwardness passed. At least part of him did. Or was it because, after all those years, part of him still wanted for the two of them to be together, to have a family, to have kids?
No. They agreed. They couldn't. He couldn't.
He couldn't lose her.
Turning back to Terri, Oliver said with a wry smile. "Don't worry. She's just . . ." A sigh. How could he explain to Terri if he didn't have the explanation himself? "It's not your fault." That's all he could manage.
"I'll go get her." he said, standing up from his chair. "Everything will be fine."
Terri simply nodded in response. There was not a trace of emotion in her countenance, and she seemed almost Vulcan.
She had to: Terri Cornelia Lee never showed any weaknesses in front of others, not even in front of her dad. Especially not in front of her dad. She used to think that's the only way to earn his affection, and old habits die hard.
But as soon as the doors closed behind her dad, Terri sank into her chair.
Her mom hated her.
Lieutenant Terri C. Lee
Chief Science Officer
(NPC - Oliver)
Captain Korra Ymir
Squadron Leader, VMF-31
(NPC - Oliver)
Captain Oliver A. Lee