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Cmdr Townson - Tracey's Choice


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((Earth Starfleet Headquarters))

Personal Log. I find myself sitting in my temporary quarters, looking out the window towards the setting sun of the San Francisco bay area and contemplating my experiences over the last few days. It's hard to describe my feelings from what I have been through, and it feels all like a mind-numbing dream, and a part of me still thinks that maybe it all was. But it felt so real. I was there, if only for a short time. Back home. Back in my universe of origin.

But was I? It seemed so real. The sounds, sights, smells. It felt real and maybe that was enough, even if it wasn't. But while there, I was offered a choice. An awful choice and when I chose and returned here, it was as if not one single second had passed. But to me, it felt like an eternity. As I prepare myself to return to duty, I can't help but wonder what, if any of the consequences would have been for me should I have chosen differently. I guess I'll never know. But one thing is certain, I will never forget this particular return visit to Earth. It all started when I arrived a little more than a week ago.

((Time Warp - Home of the Townson Family - Earth))

::The house loomed large in front of Tracey as she gazed along the pathway that led to the front door. She stood there for a moment gripping the handle of the hover-stroller tightly as the fall colored leaves swirled at her Starfleet issue boots. She knew she was heading into uncharted territory and had not been home for quite some time. In fact, this was not her home at all, but the home of her namesake who ended up in a different universe on that fateful day she found herself here in this strange, peaceful universe.::

::Tracey slowly made her way up the pathway towards the black front door of the home and after climbing a few steps, she breathed heavily for a moment and looked into her hover-stroller as a feeling of almost panic gripped her. The smiling and cooing Romulan infant inside however brought a sense of calm back to Tracey as she mustered up the courage and lifted the ancient door knocker. Before letting it drop she looked at the intricate details on the carved iron-clad ancient device and she found herself chastising herself for feeling so insecure. She had battled the Dominion in a relentless war in her universe of origin. Watched friends and family die, walked the battlefields where the stench of death and charred flesh from phaser fire pervaded the surrounding environment. So why was she so scared of this, she thought? With that in the back of her mind, Tracey let the iron knocker drop and a loud clank could be heard from within. Moments later the door opened a crack and then further as an older lady stood and smiled.::

Cynthia Townson: Tracey. ::smiling:: How wonderful it is to see you.

Tracey Townson: Thank you. I hope I am not intruding.

Cynthia: No no! ::opening the door wider so Tracey and the child can enter:: Please. Come in.

::Tracey smiled nervously as she pushed the stroller ahead and entered the home. She looked around the home that was in the same neighborhood she grew up in and in the same location she remembered, but the home itself was just so much different. This was an estate compared to where she grew up. Her home was much smaller and looked nothing like this one did. Tracey entered the hallway and looked around in awe.::

Cynthia: Anything familiar?

Tracey: ::stealing her eyes away from her surroundings and focusing back on her mother she slowly shook her head and tried to smile a bit:: I am sorry, mother. The neighborhood is familiar to some extent but the layout is just so different. This is a much larger home than that which I remember, for example.

Cynthia: I see. ::with a hint of sadness in her voice she attempted to change the subject as she loomed closer to the hover stroller:: So this is the little one I first met on DS26.

Tracey: ::following the older woman's gaze:: Yes, mother... ::looking at her mother:: My apologies.

Cynthia: ::standing up straight and putting her hand up:: No. Please. I am pleased you think of me in that way.

Tracey: I know you must miss her terribly.

Cynthia: I do...:looking away for a moment:: but it has been so long. Sometimes I forget.

Tracey: Are you certain you will be able to do this? I do not wish to burden you.

Cynthia: ::turning back to Tracey and smiling:: Anything for my daughter, and I do have help. Your uncle Sorel has taken a permanent residence close by and will assist me.

Tracey: I don't believe that Starfleet is any place for children. ::looking down at her adopted Romulan infant.:: And he needs special attention.

Cynthia: I know. You've always thought that way.

::There was a long silence between the two of them as they watched the child in the stroller falling asleep. Tracey then leaned down and placed her real left hand on the cheek of the child and whispered in Romulan.::

Tracey: Heis'he Hvaid. Arhem ssaed llhnae. Krenn hwio nhrai erh'na shikaen Townson. (My love Hvaid. I will return. Here you will become part of the Townson family)

::She then kissed the boy on the cheek and stood up and looked at the woman who was her mother in this universe.::

Tracey: I thank you once again. As soon as you find yourself overburdened, please contact me. I shall attempt to find other accommodations. I can't live outside of Starfleet, and I cannot take him with me. It is a difficult choice for me.

Cynthia: I know, Tracey. Don't concern yourself. I am here.

Tracey: I wish I could bring your daughter back to you.

::Once again there was a long pause as the two women stared at each other. Then Tracey's mother spoke.::

Cynthia: You have. In you.

Tracey: I must go mother.

Cynthia: ::nodding solemnly:: I know. ::smiling:: Now don't worry, Tracey. He'll be fine. Better than fine.

::With those words, Tracey felt a sense of calmness wash over her like she felt in her mother's presence when she was a child. Tracey smiled warmly then gave her mother a hug before giving one more tearful goodbye to her Romulan son, and then left to return to Starfleet headquarters in San Francisco for her new assignment.::

((Earth Starfleet Headquarters))

Personal log - Supplemental

All was going just fine as I arrived here in San Francisco for my briefing and to await my new assignment. In my free time, I would try to relax and had called my mother many times to make sure all was OK. She kept on reassuring me all was fine and I was happy that my mother found someone who could speak Romulan to Hvaid so that he would understand his native language as he learned to talk.

On a few occasions I would even head to the Academy grounds and watch the Cadet exercises on the grounds. But as the Academy was not far from Starfleet medical, where I was housed in their Psychiatric ward for two years, I would sometimes find my focus to shift towards that building and the window to my old room, recalling those days when all I knew was fear and anger and sadness. It felt like an eternity ago, but how quickly those memories could return. Who would have thought all those years ago, that I would now be fully integrated into this universe's version of Starfleet, and a full Commander at that? Certainly not I. Especially after that Kobyashi Maru test. But lo and behold. I made it. So two days ago, I headed back to the building I once called home and decided to pay my Psychiatrist a visit. It was that day that I faced my fate and the choice I was confronted with that I made. One that I really hope was just a figment of my imagination.

((Starfleet Medical - San Francisco - Earth))

::Tracey entered through the familiar doorway and headed inside the building she was an in patient at when she first arrived to this strange, peaceful, universe. She made her way through the busy, bustling corridors and arrived at a main desk. The nurse on the other side looked up at Tracey and her eyes opened wide when she noticed the pips on her collar and then quickly stood at attention.::

Townson: Please. At ease, Lieutenant. I am looking for the office of Doctor Samuel Huff.

Lieutenant: Yes, Commander.

::Tracey watched as the woman worked and then looked up questioningly at Tracey.::

Lieutenant: You are aware that Doctor Huff is a Psychiatrist.

Townson: Yes. Now if you will, Lieutenant.

::The Lieutenant gave Tracey the information she needed and Tracey went to visit her old Doctor. All went well and after about a two hour conversation, Tracey took her leave and headed back to Starfleet Command feeling proud and happy that the Doctor was impressed with her progression and that she was much more integrated into this universe than she ever imagined she could be. She entered a turbolift that would bring her to her temporary quarters and there were four people inside. The doors closed and turbolift moved along on its trajectory. Three of the officers were of Lieutenant rank and one was a Captain. The Lieutenants were standing at attention and Tracey nodded at the Captain. The lift stopped short of Tracey's destination and the three Lieutenants quickly exited the turbolift. The doors closed and the lift continued. Suddenly the Captain, who was behind Tracey, spoke.::

Captain: You no longer come to attention in the presence of a superior officer, Commander?

::Tracey frowned at the question then turned towards the man behind her who was now wearing a black uniform with red trim and had a phaser on his belt and a communicator that was no longer part of his uniform. Her eyes moved towards the stripes on his sleeve that represented that of a Captain. The uniform was exactly that of a Captain in her universe of origin.::

Townson: Who are you?

Captain: I am a Starfleet Captain. And you are to come to attention in my presence no matter what the circumstances, Commander. Or have you forgotten your training in this universe?

::Tracey did as the man said but kept her eyes locked on the man waiting for him to make a move. He didn't and in that moment, Tracey tapped her com-badge.::

Townson: Starfleet command security...

::The Captain smiled.::

Captain: They can't hear you, Commander Tracey Townson.

Townson: I'm sorry. I don't know who you are.

::Tracey remained at attention but was ready to attack. Her false right hand was rising clandestinely ready to be used as a weapon if necessary. She didn't have anything else to defend herself with.::

Townson: Who ever you are, please return me to where I was heading.

Captain: I will return you. In due time. But first I wanted to let you know that we have been watching you. At ease, Commander.

::Tracey relaxed her posture and looked over the man's uniform. Every detail was perfect. It was if he knew of her Starfleet.::

Townson: Me? Why? Who are we?

Captain: All in due time, Commander.

::The man snapped his fingers and Tracey knew her uniform had changed as well. She raised her right arm all the way up and looked at the stripes of that of a full Commander.::

Townson: What are you doing to me?

Captain: I am giving you an opportunity to right a wrong.

Townson: ::shaking her head:: How?

::Suddenly the lift started moving again. Tracey turned to look towards the doors of the turbolift that changed to a sickly familiar sight. She turned back towards the Captain and he was gone. Then the turbolift rocked and almost threw Tracey to the ground. It was the telltale sign of an attack. Tracey looked at the steel workings of her now uncovered false right hand which she used to keep herself from falling by bracing herself against the turbolift wall.::

Comm: =/\= Marine contingents report to cargo area 57. Triage units report to deck 22 section 57. Commander Townson, report to the bridge. =/\=

Townson: I'm back...ev...everything I knew is gone. Captain Riley, Captain Waltas, Captain Blueheart, Doctor Sampi, Doctor Velana the Tiger, Independence, Discovery, Atlantis, Avandar. My time at Starfleet medical. My rise back through the ranks. Hvaid! Everyone! Everything! They are all gone!

::The turbolift doors opened to a chaotic scene as dead officers lay all over the bridge. The bloodied familiar face of Tracey's old Captain Roberto Cedeno turned towards Tracey and barked his orders.::

Cedeno: Take the helm, Commander. Fast!

::Tracey ran from the turbolift towards the helm and threw the bloodied body of the dead officer in the seat to the floor. Tracey sat quickly and could feel the liquid blood of the dead officer on the back of her uniform as her fingers danced over the controls of a configuration she had not used in years.::

Townson: Three Jem'Hadar battlecruisers flanking us. Attempting to find an escape route.

Cedeno: Hyperwarp now, Commander! No time to be pretty!

Townson: Yes, Captain.

::And with that, Tracey pressed a button on her console after entering coordinates that would hopefully not have them colide with the battle-cruisers and closed her eyes as the battleship Resolution jumped to hyperwarp. Tracey then slowly opened her eyes and turned towards the Ops station and the Captain who had brought her back to this universe smiled this time in a uniform with Lieutenant's stripes.::

Captain/Q: Good work, Commander.

::Tracey sighed as she jumped from her seat and headed towards her former Commanding officer who was badly injured in his Captain's chair. Captain Roberto Cedeno looked up at Tracey's yellow eyes and spoke softly and his breathing was labored.::

Cedeno: My injuries are grave, Commander. If I don't survive, I trust you with this ship and crew. Never give in to the Dominion.

::Then the medics arrived and began to care for the Captain. Tracey turned back towards the Captain that brought her here and spoke to him quietly.::

Townson: Please tell me this is a holodeck scenario.

Captain/Q: No. This is as real as your so called life gets. Would a holodeck capture all this? The smells, the tastes, the feeling?

Townson: ::pausing and looking over her bloodied uniform and then looking back at the Captain.:: No. But why?

Captain/Q: Now you have that which you really wanted. Your returning to your universe of origin, and your own command.

Townson: ::looking at Q sharply:: Captain Cedeno will not make it?

Captain/Q: No.

Townson: Then what...what about me?

Captain/Q: I am certain you'll be a fine Captain. I can go now. have you decided to stay?

Townson: No no. That's not what I mean. I mean me. The one who was me here?

Captain/Q: Ohhhh ::scratching his chin and nodding:: Well she's just, you know. Gone. Like everything else from that strange, peaceful universe.

Townson: Can't you just put her back to that universe where she came from?

Captain/Q: ::shaking his head:: Sorry, us Q have no powers in this universe. If we bring someone here, the other will just disappear. Like poof.

Townson: Q? You are a Q? So that's it. I read about you while studying in the other universe.

::A voice from the back of the bridge sounded.::

Voice: Commander Townson! We're are draining energy reserves while at hyperwarp.

Townson: Then drop us out. Be certain no enemy warships are in the area.

Voice: Yes, Commander.

Townson: ::to Q:: I...I can't do this. My life...my child is in another universe. I can't be responsible for the loss of all that I had and the loss of an individual who was here and made a life, no matter how bad, here for herself. You should give this...gift to the one who was here. I don't deserve it. If anyone should disappear, it should be me. I stole her life. I couldn't live with myself if I stayed and took her life once again. It was bad enough I did it once.

::Announcements for ship repair specialists began chiming through the Comm as Q looked at Tracey.::

Q: I could send you back. But you'll never have this chance again. Are you sure.

Townson: ::nodding:: Yes, but if you can, remove her memories of her time in the peaceful universe. I know from experience, it would be easier.

Q: It is your choice.

::Q then snapped his fingers and they were both on the turbolift at Starfleet headquarters in their Starfleet uniforms of the peaceful universe. Tracey felt for her three pips on her collar with her now covered right prosthetic hand and realized all was back to the way things were.::

Q: Welcome back, Commander. All is as it was. I hope you make the best of things. We will be watching.

::Q then snapped his fingers again and disappeared. The turbolift doors opened to the sterile air of the hallway ahead that lead to her temporary quarters and she paused at the doorway to the turbolift and looked back inside and wondered if all that happened during that short trip real or not.::

-TBC-

Commander Tracey Townson
Intel
USS Invicta
H237708TT0
--
Envoyè depuis mon palm pre

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