The Ghosts of Future Past - Part 1
Episode 4 - Truth, Justice, and the Federation Way
Location: USS Arcadia
Timeline: MD 3 (March 5, 2393)
[Previously in Future Past - Part 5 "Loyalty"]
. . . . . .
Terri was pondering in a corner how she should confront her erstwhile mentor when her personal cloaking device gave out. In her haste she had neglected to check the device’s power level before she sneaked out of the resistance camp. But who could blame her? She was incensed when she heard Adlerstein’s promotion and his betrayal. Who had time for thinking, much less checking anything? The traitor must be dealt with ASAP.
“How dare you?!!” She shouted, not at all caring or mindful of alerting security.
“Haeschen?”(*) Adlerstein said with surprise, calling the young lady by the childhood nickname he had given her after she expressed remorse at seeing a rabbit with a hurt foot when she was six. The little girl had asked Hans how to say ‘bunny’ in German, and for the rest of the day, lamented at the poor ‘Haeschen’. At first used to gently tease the young lass, Hans had used it since then as a term of endearment.
The look Terri gave him was anything but endearment.
“All those years you served with my dad, everything that you two went through, you still side with Bolanus. He wanted my dad dead! All it took was two stupid stars, and now you are ready to do his dirty work?! My dad should have left you dead on Pancre V!”
. . . . . .
“Too late for that!” She snapped. “As soon as I take down Bolanus, I’m gonna come for you. Mark my words!”
The old German general felt his heart break at hearing that same venomous tone color the words of the lady who once was small enough to bounce on his knee. He didn’t know what to say, what could he say?
“I won’t mention this to anyone else. If I see your father, I’ll give him your love. Be safe…Haeschen.” the marine said.
“I'm NOT your Haeschen!” Shouted Terri. She used to giggle whenever Adlerstein called her that, but now the name only tore her from the inside with rage. “You CAN’T call me that! You have no right. Don't you EVER call me that again! Do you hear me?!”
Hans took a step towards her, gingerly, the hate fueling her words making the German feel ever one of his nearly 60 years of age.
“You . . . will always . . . be the little haeschen that I . . .” he began.
Terri lost it and responded with a slap on Adlerstein’s left cheek instead of more words. Words were useless, not that she knew what else she should say. She shouldn’t have come here in the first place. Why did she think she could talk him out of it? Why had she had hope?
“We are DONE!” Those were the last words she ever wanted to say to him.
. . . . . .
Terri lied down on the flat bench and planted her feet firmly on the floor before removing the bar of weights from the rack just behind the head of the bench. She inhaled slowly as she lowed the bar until it almost touched the bottom of her sternum. Then exhaling forcefully, she pushed the weights back up.
Weight lifting was so much simpler than trying to make sense of all those revelations from the last twelve hours. She had little sympathy for the Founders, but Ishikawa, how could she betray her dad? How could she betray her? They had been family. Family! How could she?
Ugh. No, no. She need to focus on the weights. Ishikawa would pay for she had done. She would personally make sure of that. But now, she need to focus on the weights. At least the weights made sense.
Johannes Adlerstein was trying free weights by the far wall. Working out beat just sitting in his quarters, and at least occasionally he caught a glimpse of a pretty crewman once in a while. Speaking of which, he saw a lovely looking young woman on the bench press. Her blonde hair, nearly white it was so platinum, was cut somewhat short. Her oval face started to strain as she lifted the weights in repetition after repetition, her muscles flexing with each movement. She seemed to be almost angry at the weights, and Hans assumed she was deep in thought, perhaps taking out some aggression on the unfeeling iron weights. The sweat on her cheeks and her brow could not disguise her natural beauty, and Hans stopped working out altogether as he caught himself staring like a loon.
Go talk to her before someone calls security. he thought to himself. He took a step, another, gingerly, as if trying to sneak his way there past hordes of guards, weighing his options, what he should say, how he should act. He found it amusing to himself that he was just fine with leading men in combat situations but trembled like a leaf when it came time to chat with pretty girls. If that wasn't the height of irony, Hans did not know what was.
Finally, his steps of trepidation brought him to within ear shot of the woman. He guessed she was about his own age, maybe a hair younger. Her attire tried its best to be baggy and loose but still showed enough of her figure to allow Hans to see that, while she did not have curves built on top of curves, she was athletic and fit, and well-proportioned.
No no! Stop staring you lout! he chastised himself mentally.
He concentrated instead on the bar she was pressing, which still went rhythmically up and down.
Well? Say something!
"Uh...hello." The German said, his voice catching a bit.
Oh brilliant Hans. She'll be practically begging you to make love her now. His inner voice was full of self-deprecation today.
Terri cursed under her breath. She hated it when people broke her concentration. "What do you want?" she asked impatiently without bothering to look at the man, her eyes fixed squarely on the bar.
Hans heard her irritation in her voice. "I'm terribly sorry about bothering you, but I just thought you were very pretty, and wanted to say hello...plus I came to rescue that poor defenseless bar you seem to be trying to murder." The German hoped the levity would bring down her vexation.
"Get lost," Terri said plainly. If the man knew what was good for him, he would do as instructed. If not, then she would show him the way out herself. With her foot.
"I don't think you understand; if I let you continue to assault that barbell, I'm an accessory to assault at a minimum. That's a court-martial offense." Adlerstein said with confidence he really didn't feel. Her voice was like iron, hard, cold, unyielding. Maybe she was angry at someone, or some thing. Maybe she needed to talk to someone. It cost Hans nothing to try at any rate. And if humor couldn't make her lighten her mood, he could always just apologize and be on his way. Discretion was the better part of valor, they say.
"Ugh." Terri grunted as she pushed the bar up one more time. Some people just didn't know when to quit. She would just have to give him a piece of her mind then.
As she lowered the bar with both of her hands, she turned her head sideways in the direction of that ever annoying voice. "Listen up, you . . ." She was about to go on aN expletive-filled tirade when her eyes caught his.
"No . . ." she murmured in disbelief. He looked so young, but there was no mistaking it. As realization dawned on her, her concentration broke. "Ouch." She cried as the bar slipped from her hands and landed on her sternum. It hurt badly. But not as badly as the sight of the man standing next to her.
Adlerstein kept to the rescue, taking the bar in both hands and trying to heave it off her.
As the man tried to lift the bar off her, Terri stumbled off the bench and landed on her side.
"What are you doing here? You are not supposed to be here! You are supposed to be on the Kyushu. I checked!" Her voice was frantic as she struggled to get back on her feet. "No, no, no. It can't be. This can't be real."
First it was her dad. Now it's Hans. Why did she keep having nightmares of the ghosts of her past?
"Stay away from me. Stay away from me! I didn't do anything wrong!"
Wake up, Terri, wake up.
She was making a scene, and several gym-goers turned to look upon the drama unfolding.
Hans turned red with embarrassment. “I...I didn’t say you did miss...” he had both his hands up in a disarming pose to try and calm her down.
Terri breathed heavily as she looked around. She's still in the gym and Hans was still standing in front of her. It's . . . it's not a dream. But how? What was he doing here on the Arcadia? More important, what should she say? What could she say? All those things she had said to him the last time she saw him. But that was a different reality. This . . .
"Get out of my way!" she shouted and pushed him away, dashing toward the exit.
Hans fell on his rear, letting forth a grunt of surprise.
Nola walked into the gym, looking for the Kyushu's former acting CO. The repair was almost complete, which meant that she would have to make a decision on their next course of action soon, and the truth was, she didn't know what she should do. The last time she made a command decision on the Martok, people died because of it. She couldn't make another mistake like that. No, she couldn't. The Kyushu had just engaged the Themyscira a few hours ago. Maybe Adlerstein would have some unique insight. But no sooner did she locate Adlerstein in the gym than she saw Terri darting toward her, or rather the exit behind her. She barely had time to step aside to make way for the short haired blonde.
She made a mental note to check on the girl before making her way to where Adlerstein stood. The man looked rather shocked.
"Commander Adlerstein, is everything alright?"
“I’m fine. I’m not sure about her. It was like...she recognized me or...” he trailed.
Nola looked back in the direction of the doors, which had just closed behind Terri. "That's Lieutenant Lee. She was the Themyscira's chief science officer. She and Lieutenant Laren are the only two members of the Themyscira's crew who didn't escape with Captain Ishikawa. We are pretty certain that they are not aware of Ishikawa's plan. From what I understand, the Lieutenant has always been . . . volatile, although I'm not sure what that was about."
Then something connected in her mind.
"You were Captain Lee's XO on the Bunker Hill, weren't you, Commander?"
“I was, yes.” The German confirmed.
"Where . . . when Lieutenant Lee is from, she's Captain Lee and Captain Ymir's daughter. Perhaps she knew you from that timeline."
Adlerstein pointed in the direction of the door, sudden realization coloring his face. “You mean...I just flirted with my former COs future daughter?”
"Well, time travel is complicated, Commander." Nola said with a slight shrug and a small smile. "But if you have a moment, do you mind joining me in the ready room? I'd like to hear your opinion on something."
[To be continued in Part 2 . . .]
Lieutenant Terri C. Lee
Chief Science Officer
USS Themyscira NCC-85430
(NPC - Oliver)
Lieutenant Commander Nola Elbrun
Acting Commanding Officer
USS Arcadia NCC-89015
(NPC - Oliver)
Lieutenant Commander Johannes Adlerstein
XO, USS Kyushu